Sunday, 5 October 2014

An Indian Summer & A Very Vintage September

French Ephemera

The sunny days of September 2014 will linger long in the memory and it is with a little sadness that I sit down to write as flecks of rain begin to strike the dry ground, beckoning the arrival of Autumn. The month started with one part of 'Vintage in the Shires' setting sale for France en route for the Braderie in Lille.

A Pair Of Watercolours

The streets of Lille devote themselves to a celebration of street selling that continues into the night aided by the soft moonlight and glare of the traders lanterns. The French do it better than the British, can you imagine any town or city across our fair land that would dare contemplate such a thing? Wake up England!

Sweet Dreams 

This sweet bear in her pinafore dress and the rather gangly hound soon settled into life in Northampton.

A Curious Dog From France

Have British telegrams ever been as pretty as these which are from Belgium during the 1940s? Sadly plain telegrams unadorned with flowers brought news of sad loss to so many families .

A Telegram From Belgium

Although there is something reassuring that things of beauty found their place during a time of monumental upheaval across Europe.

French Enamel Ware

French enamel wares are always very popular however it appears that the French have 'cottoned on to' our liking and the bargain finds were few and far between.

My Finds During The Gallic Departure

You might have guessed by now that I was the part of 'Vintage in the Shires' who remained at home to prepare for the fairs ahead. Undaunted I made my way to the local monthly antique fair and returned with a couple of tea-pots, a Pyrex mixer, utility milk jug and gardening booklets by Mr Cuthberts.

A Very Retro Clock

I also picked up a 'starburst' Metamec clock from Germany in one of the charity shops on Kingsley Park Terrace in Northampton, they are becoming quite collectable and make a statement in a minimalistic or retro themed interior.

The Vintage Market At St Matthews

A short rest post the French trip and we were ready for the return to St Matthew's for the Northampton Vintage Fair. There were two rooms of stalls inside and a vintage market outside on the lawn and everyone seemed to have a great time in the sunshine.

Cherry's Stall At St Matthew's

Many thanks to everyone who came along and made the day feel so special, I hope you managed to get to ride on one of the vintage buses.

St Matthews In Northampton

St Matthew's is situated a mile from the centre of Northampton and sits in the area known as Phippesville, it holds a special place in our hearts as the first ever fair took place there four years ago (and I sang in the choir lead by Stephen Cleobury in the 1970s!).

Yellow Formica - Yes Please!

We spotted this cupboard outside and it is now on it's way to Scotland waiting to be installed in a 1960s caravan.

You Will Not Find This In 2014

I appreciate detail and how I would love to have a roll of the wallpaper used to line the base of the cupboard - Cath Kidston would be proud, it dates from the 1950s.

Getting Ready For Sywell

There was little time to pause before preparing for the Sywell Classic (I had a great time riding around on the 1940s Batavus although I felt a bit underpowered when placed near some of the motors on display, up to 1000 HP).

The Vintage Fair In Hangar One
The Vintage Fair gathered inside the cavernous space of Hangar One and as guests wandered around the stalls the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight flew overhead. The sound of the Merlin engine as the  Spitfire banked sharply above the fields of Northamptonshire was truly wonderful. 

Suzanne & Cherry's Stall

The flying displays and hotrod sprints were great fun and there were some very stylish and iconic vehicles on display. Hangar One was very busy on Sunday as guests made a bee-line for the fair before the aerial attractions began.

The Textile Store
I was very busy on the Saturday and did not have time to look around outside (or inside the fair!) until Sunday, I found some nice embroidery on Gianna's stall.

Afternoon Tea At Betty's

It was lovely to see Martin & Lesley (along with Suzanne on leave from ambassadorial duties) enjoying afternoon tea in front of the lovely Betty. Betty has been hand-built following an original 1930s design and is the perfect partner to the beautiful 1940s Citroen named Yvette who first visited us at the Jubilee Garden Party in 2012. The leaded windows are such a nice detail, the diamond lattice pattern dates back to the 11th Century and was last used on a large scale in the mock Tudor details found in 1930s houses.

Camping Chic

As we strolled around we came across this cute caravan that has has been lovingly restored (just a little re-golding of the lattice panel to go) by owners Julie and Mick.

Lovely Accessories

Inside a lovely collection of original 'bits & pieces' along with some vintage fabrics and stylish flooring completed the cheerful look.

Vintage Practicality & Detail

Mick and Julie will hopefully be setting up camp outside Olney Church Hall for our last fair of the year on 13th December, the caravan will be decorated with vintage Christmas lights, I cannot wait!

A Very Popular Ford
 See You At The Olney Xmas Fair

There was a lovely collection of Fiat 500s in original colours, it is not difficult to understand why the modern 500 is such a popular car.

An Original 500

The Sywell Classic will be taking place over the last weekend of September 2015 and we are looking forward to returning!

Poster Potential

Although September has seen the fair take steps in new directions it has been nice to find the odd piece
in the tried and tested (and sometimes exhaustingly frustrating) ways. The vintage tin with cute doggies from the 1930s was an Ebay find and the crochet cushion cover was another find on Gianna's stall at Sywell. So I do not confuse anyone with my captions by poster potential I mean I think I will use the image on the poster for the Olney Xmas Fair.

Princess Elizabeth (c1948)

The jigsaw was a great find in one of the cabinets at Brackley Antique Cellar, the image is the Princess Elizabeth.

Happy Camping

The plastic cups date from the 60s/70s and are great for vintage picnics and camping, we found them on one of the stalls at Sywell.

On Trend Handmade
It was lovely to see Wendy from Random Makes who brought along two lovely cushions made for us from vintage tea-towels. Wendy's designs can be found at 15 Collingwood in Northampton.

A Byatt

Byatt was a favourite painter of the late Queen Mother although I wonder if she was aware of the sometimes risque reflections of strategically placed nude figurines (not apparent in this particular subject) which Byatt resorted to for presumably his own amusement.

Lovely Embroidery

Embroidery is such a difficult thing to portray with a camera, if one shows the whole thing the beautiful needle work seems tiny and insignificant, shown close up the detail is realised but the whole is lost. It is better to handle and use (and iron) to appreciate fully, either as a table cloth as originally intended or upcycled into bags, cushions, quilting or dresses.

Sunday 12th October

If you would like to come along you will find the fair in Leamington Spa on Sunday 12th October followed by the Olney Fair on Saturday 18th October.

Olney - North Buckinghamshire
Anyhow it is getting late and I have to be up early in the morning. I hope you have enjoyed the extended summer and we hope to see you soon.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

The Autumn Fairs & The Sywell Classic

Dressed For Autumn

It has been quite a while since I last blogged and the fair has been 'resting' since we broke up for summer back in July. With September upon us I thought it would be a good time to publish some information about the Autumn fairs which start with the Northampton Vintage Fair on 13th September.

The Autumn Vintage Season Starts Here

Quite coincidentally Northampton Heritage Open Days will be taking place on 13th September and free hop-on and off rides are available on classic vintage buses, all of the buses depart from George Row in the town centre (visitors to the fair can arrive in style, take the Northern Route and alight at St Matthew's). There will be two rooms of stalls, an 'old style' tea-room and a vintage market outside on the lawn, bring a picnic if the sun is shining. The last weekend in September will be a very exciting as I am organising the 'Vintage Village' inside Hangar One at Sywell Aerodrome, part of the Sywell Classic.

See Us At The Sywell Classic - 27th & 28th September

The first Sywell Classic took place last year and the event is likely to be busy, it is a mix of classic vehicles, driving and flying as well as evening entertainment and overnight camping. Sywell Aerodrome is a Second World War airfield that has been refurbished in a style influenced by Art Deco.

Sywell Aerodrome In Northamptonshire

The warmth of the sun may be but a distant memory when we return to the Royal Pump Rooms for the Leamington Fair in October although I am holding out for an Indian Summer.

Sunday 12th October - The Royal Pump Rooms

The fair will then dash across the Shires to Olney for the fair on the 18th. The stalls inside the charming Church Hall will be augmented by a small vintage market outside if the weather is good.

Olney - North Buckinghamshire

After a short pause for breath the fair will turn north to Lincolnshire for the Stamford Vintage Fair on 1st November.

The Second Of Our Two Visits To Stamford In 2014

August seemed to fly by however trips to Newark and the Blisworth Canal Festival produced some nice finds and I was kept busy preparing stock for our new display, Unit 45 at Brackley Antique Cellar.

Upcycled & Ready

I like original things in their original state however I also think that everything can be improved so when the original finish is damaged I like to paint! I tend to use acrylic eggshell (Little & Greene have some great colours) or chalk paint and wax.

Unit 45 - Brackley Antique Cellar

Quite a few of the units at Brackley display 'vintage' as well as traditional antiques and it is well worth a visit.

Painting By Numbers

I know any claim to 'taste' must lie in ruins but I have to admit a liking for well executed examples of paintings by numbers from the 1960s. I can imagine them hung as a group on a stairway.

A Collection Of French Boxes & Tins

We found the 'french collection' when we visited Newark, a lady had travelled over from Belgium especially for the fair and she had some lovely things. The mirrors were a great buy although I had to employ two pieces from an old "Escape From Colditz" game to repair one of them, it took ages - look closely before you buy!

A 1940s Print & Companion Dog

The print is from 1948 and was sold by Boots during the 1950s and the lovely dog on wheels complete with vintage patches were both finds from Newark. 

A Cute Bunny From The 1960s

Newark has something for everyone and if you look closely you will find some pretty things (I sound like Alec Guinness) underneath an old sack cloth or at the bottom of a box of clutter.

A Pretty 1930s Mirror

A crinoline lady complete with parosol walking through a cottage garden of delphiniums and hollyhocks appears so frequently in 1930s homewares and crafts. The painting on this small mirror is very delicate and in wonderful condition and it must have taken a long time to complete (actually it is a sort of 'painting by numbers', templates were provided in hobby and home magazines of the time). 

See You At The Fair!

Have a safe journey and see you at the fair.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

A 'New' Bicycle, Fantastic Finds & The Vintage Jumble

Preparing For The Vintage Jumble

It has been nearly two months since my last post and I have a lot of catching up to do! In between the fairs we have been on the hunt for 'vintage' and visited Newark and numerous car boot sales around Northampton and have found some quite a few things. The cycle is a 1940s Dutch Batavus which we found on Ebay and collected from Corby a couple of Sundays ago.


The poster is for the Northampton Vintage Jumble which will be taking place at St Matthew's on Saturday 5th July. The doors open at 11am and there are bound to be lots of bargains (as well as lovely homemade cakes). The stalls will be inside the hall and if the weather is kind there will be lots more stalls outside on the lawn. As it is a 'Jumble' there will be lots of vintage bargains.

Finds From Newark

During early June we visited Newark for the Antiques & Collectables Fair and brought back a colourful collection of finds. Although Newark and similar fairs do not specialise in 'vintage' there are some fabulous traders who regularly have stalls and there are literally hundreds of pitches outside to wander around. If you go be prepared to stay for several hours and walk quite a few miles.

My Favourite Find

I really like this old wooden table which I purchased from gentleman who had brought it over from Ireland. It was painted a bright turquoise at some point and has since weathered gracefully and would make a fine potager table for the 'vintage gardner'.

The Same Table As It Was At Newark

The next Newark Fair will be taking place in August.

Found For A Pound

On a much more thrifty note we found this lovely silk scarf from the 1950s in one of the charity shops in the Kingsley area of Northampton. The ground is a delicate pale blue onto which the beautiful birds have been printed, the colours are vibrant and intense and the detail is precise, they were originally painted by Rowland Ward who was a noted taxidermist.

More Vintage Birds 

This lovely table cloth decorated with budgerigars was embroidered during the early 1950s (I think) and was also a find from one of the charity shops in Northampton (again for a very small amount). The style of embroidery is different when compared to the more common pieces from the 1930s. Hand sewn embroidery virtually disappeared as a pastime shortly after this cloth was completed and so in it's own little way it is an important thing, helping to mark the rapid changes in taste and lifestyle which took hold as the 50s became the 60s.

A Lovely (To Be Ironed) Table Cloth

I found this large cloth of pink flowers embroidered onto heavy-weight unbleached linen at a small car boot sale of about ten stalls which takes place in the garden of a nursing home close to where we live. Usually we arrive too late to find anything of interest however our visit last Saturday was great and we returned home with some cute retro bits and pieces along with the table cloth.

Colour From Stenia

We had a super time at the Northampton Fair in May and there were some very nice stalls  including Stenia's who brought along a lovely kitchen cupboard and first aid cabinet (along with lots of other things).

'H' At The Northampton Fair (St Matthew's May 2014)

Wendy from Random Makes brought  'H' to the Northampton fair (after his brief appearance on television as the Woman's Cycle Tour dashed pass through the rain). Sitting on the lawn he made quite an impression and helped to make it the busiest ever fair at St Matthew's.

Northamptonshire Home Guard On Patrol At The Olney Vintage Fair

The hardships of a very rainy day were lightened by the gentlemen of  The Northamptonshire Home Guard who patrolled the streets of Olney on the look out for customers for the fair and Fifth Columnists (there must be some, even in rural Beds and Bucks).

The Stamford Fair

There were some fantastic displays on show at the Stamford Vintage Fair at the end of May including an on-trend retro inspired handmade collection, original vintage fashion and accessories from the 40s, 50s and 60s, costume jewellery and lots of original decorative and utilitarian wares for the 'vintage home'.

Vintage For The Extremities

The fashions and in particular a long rail of original dresses attracted a lot of attention at the Stamford Fair. We also had some visitors who arrived in wonderfully authentic clothing (Land Army I believe), it is always nice when this happens and the effort made to dress in period clothes is much admired.

Lovely Original Dresses

The pleasant June weather has made visiting car boot sales a pleasure and they have been a surprisingly rich source of interesting items including some very retro pieces.

Vintage Wedding Cake Decorations

These wedding cake decorations were found wrapped in tissue paper in an old shoe box and date from the 1950s/60s. I really like the stalk carrying a baby in a Moses Basket whose presence I would suggest is percipient although not of an imminent new arrival (it was an another era after all, Billy Liar, Room at the Top, Don't Look Back... etc).

The Social Arrangements Of The Early 60s

These Lilian Rowles nursery prints were very nearly the first thing I saw when I arrived at a sale last Sunday, it was a beautifully sunny morning and I could not believe that someone else had not spotted them.

Nursery Prints From The 1930s

I spent twenty minutes walking around with them tucked under my arm until a gent with a van offered to look after them along with a clothes airer and small cabinet I had just bought from him. The thought of lugging them all around was not welcome so I gladly accepted (and kept my fingers crossed that I would not do what I had done the previous week - I bought two Crown Devon storage canisters, very 1970s, and left them on the stall only to completely loose track of where I had left them, finally returning home without them).

A Beautiful 1950s Dinner Service

The roses decorating this dinner service, in pink, yellow and blue are very Cath Kidston in appearance, so it was especially nice to find a box full of original pieces which are now over sixty years old, including plates for six in three sizes.

Retro Styling

This Philishave in its original leather case along with a little cleaning brush caught my eye at a little car boot sale of no more than ten cars that takes place in the garden of a nearby care home.

A Murano Menagerie 

At the same sale we also found a small collection of Murano glass figures from the 1970s, I particularly liked the peacock, the little hound and the creature with the large eyes.

A Bit Of Up Cycling

I spent a couple of hours in the garden transforming a couple of folding stalls and a folding chair. The wood was painted white using chalk paint, then sanded and waxed and the seats were recovered in pieces cut from a new Cath Kidston tablecloth.

Flowers From My Garden

The roses picked from my garden are for the people who arrived only to find that Market Harborough Fair had been cancelled. We are really sorry and hope that we never have to cancel a fair again. They are Rosa Benjamin Britten, Rosa Handle and Rosa LD Braithwaite.

Best wishes until the next time and hope to see you at the Jumble next Saturday.