Tuesday, 25 August 2015

As Summer Flies By

Hollywood Glamour From The 1930s

I found this small collection of cards and the photo of Bogey at the Olney Fair in July, the last of our summer fairs before a well deserved (or not depending upon your view) break before the Autumn fairs begin in September (in Stratford Town Hall on Sunday the 6th to be exact).

One Of The Stalls At The Olney Fair

When I began to write this blog yesterday it was a hopelessly miserable day, Northampton was covered in rain and severe weather warnings for the week to come ruled the airwaves. So I decided to reminisce about summer just at the moment that it begins to slip away (August is the cruellest month etc).

Vintage Gardening 1930s Style

Our home was full of sweat peas this summer, a daily procession of flowers lasting from early June to late July. I had earlier in the year been inspired by the lovely cover of Popular Gardening from the 1930s to grow some for myself and the results were great, my own little bit of re-enactment, employing traditional horticultural techniques gleaned from a 1950s Mr Cuthbert's guidebook (featured in an earlier blog). I spent quite a few hours listening to TMS picking flowers in the garden, TMS is of course Test Match Special.

Sweat peas From The Garden

They looked particularly nice when put in old jam jars, we took a few bunches along to our stall at Bicester.

'Random Makes' - One Of The Stalls At The Stratford Fair

We returned to the Town Hall in Stratford on the first Sunday in June, it was a really warm sunny day, and it seemed that everyone wanted to sit by the river (finally making their way to the fair in the late afternoon as we began to pack away). There were some lovely stalls and I particularly liked this collection of embroidery threads in their original box, thanks to Hannah from Everly Vintage for bringing them along.

Some Vintage Threads In Their Original Box

We had been looking forward to Midsummer weekend since before Christmas when we were invited to take the fair to the inaugural Flywheel Festival at Bicester Heritage in Oxfordshire. It was a fantastic weekend and I really enjoyed wandering around the beautiful historic cars as they prepared to take to the track and the combined forces of the Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire Home Guard on morning patrol was very reassuring.

Summer Flowers At The Bicester Flywheel

We arrived on the Friday to set up, we find a large marquee waiting for us and were joined by some lovely motors in the picnic area on the Saturday and Sunday. Many thanks to B for bringing along some lovely flowers, I always look forward to seeing your stall. The Flywheel will be taking place again in 2016 and we will be there.

The Marquee Housed The Fair

A hop, skip and jump and we were back in Northampton for the July Jumble, stalls filled the rooms inside and formed a 'vintage village' on the lawn outside. The next Jumble will take place in Northampton at St. Matthew's on 9th January, the next Northampton fair will be taking pace on Saturday 12th September.

Some Of The Stalls On The Lawn At The July Jumble

It was a day for 'small finds' for us although I spotted quite a few pieces of furniture being squeezed into cars or hauled away into the surrounding streets.

Little Finds At The July Jumble

In early August we visited the Canal Festival at Blisworth, it has been taking place for several years, people sell from boats moored along the Grand Union, cream teas in the church as a brass band marches through the village. There are always a few gardens open along with garage sales. This year we found a box of original threads and some lovely buttons, well worth the trek down a long winding lane.

So Many Colours

I remember as a child being fascinated by the displays of coloured threads whenever we visited our long since departed local craft shop (which was once on Abington Avenue near the Kawasaki garage in the late 1970s) and I love finding things that remind me of those visits.

Vintage Military Buttons

The buttons were a great find and the set of six enamel coat buttons from France are quite old and would look nice stitched onto a modern knit.

French Enamel

The festival field was full of trade stalls, 'street food', a display by WW2 re-enacters and a small collection of lovely vintage caravans.

Spotted At The Blisworth Canal Festival 2015

A trip to London is as much about finding somewhere nice that serves nice tea and cake as anything else to me so it was not surprising that I was not included in a trip to London when the other part of Vintage in the Shires went sightseeing. I was pleased with my colourful notebooks which was my reward for not complaining, they come from the Transport Museum shop.

My Notepads From London

The two original loom ottomans were a bargain find from our local second hand shop, we call in every now and again and always seem to find something to take home. 

Two Bargain Ottomans

We love vintage textiles, especially barkcloth and linens from the 1930s through to the 1950s and tend to buy it whenever we find it. These pieces were picked up at various places during the summer, there is one curtain, a cushion cover and piece made into a nice peg bag.

 Vintage Flowers

Boxes for storing hats, clothes and linens are another favourite of ours and we found this pretty box at Blighty Bazarre when we last visited Leamington Spa.

More Pretty Vintage Florals

 Here is the poster for the Stratford Fair. The Town Hall is situated in the centre of Stratford adjacent to the Garrick Inn.

Our Next Fair - Remember It's A Sunday

The Stratford Fair will be followed by the Northampton Fair the following weekend. If the weather is good there will be plenty of stalls outside to complement the stalls inside the hall, tea and cakes will be served throughout.

Stalls Inside & Outside

We will then have a short two week break before taking the fair to the Sywell Classic for the last weekend in August, we had a great time last year and cannot wait to return. Hope to see you at a fair soon.

See You At The Sywell Classic

Friday, 5 June 2015

Rosettes From The 80s & 90s

We found a bag full of these old pony show and country fair rosettes at when we visited the Antique and Collectors Fair at Newark yesterday. The photo shows just a few (the ones that have been ironed), there are lots and we will be taking them to the Stratford Fair on Sunday.

More Pretty Things  From Newark

We did not have long to look around the hundreds of stalls before driving to Oakham for lunch in the  Castle Cottage Cafe (three visits in three weeks) but found some pretty pieces of enamel,  a pair of little dogs and an old Nestle advertising board.

Cute Scotties 

It has been a busy week as the Stamford Fair took place last Saturday, some lovely stalls filled three rooms at Stamford Arts Centre.

Vintage Cottons

I loved this old Sylco drawer full of vintage cotton reels and wish that I had bought it. Fortunately the lady who brought it along will be joining us again in Stratford so it might just be there.

Suzanne's Stall

Suzanne set up home for the day in the Blue Room and can be found on Instagram @suzihearts.

More Vintage In The Blue Room

Mick and Julia brought down some interesting bits and pieces (and I have just remembered the lovely tartan tie that I forgot to buy, once again I will have another chance as they will also be crossing the Shires to join us inStratford on Sunday.

The Doors Will Open At 11am

Hope to see you in the Town Hall in Stratford on Sunday. 

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Vintage Flowers & The Summer Fairs

Vintage Flowers From France

I love the vibrant colours of these old seed or plant labels from France. We bought them years ago and I  unearth them from time to time with intention of putting them to some decorative effect but I can never think of a suitable project (or more likely that I do not want to part with them).

More Vintage Flowers

Picking up the theme of vintage flowers I gathered up some tins for a group photo, most are original from the 1930s-60s however a couple of Cath Kidston's from more recent years have 'made the team'.

A Very Floral Fire Screen

The lovely screen was found by one of our stall holders and we were supposed to deliver it to another of our stall holders, however at some point another fire screen was found at a car boot sale and the original was no longer wanted. We liked it and were happy to offer it a home.

Saturday 30th May

There are locks of stocks in flower shops at the moment, they last for ages and the colours complement the poster for the Stamford Fair. You will find us as ever in Stamford Arts Centre on St. Mary's Street, there will be three rooms full of stalls.

Sunday 7th June

The Stratford Fair will then take place the following weekend on Sunday 7th June.

All The Advice You Will Ever Need

I love these little Mr Cuthbert's booklets, they are perfect for 'vintage gardening' as they detail how things would have been grown in the 1950s. They also look lovely displayed on a shelf or windowsill as the covers are so colourful and bright, acting as a reminder of the summer to come on greyer days.

1930s Style

I spotted this pack of cards on one of the stalls at the Northampton Fair back in April. Metrovick manufactured street lighting in the 1930s and presumably wanted to glamourise their very utilitarian products by employing a stylish image in their promotional wares.

The Flywheel Festival In June

We will be joining this new event which will be taking place over Midsummer weekend in June. The vent is being organised by Historic Promotions and will take place at Bicester Heritage in Oxfordshire.
The setting is very authentic and has many pre-War (World War 2) buildings and is set to become a hub for the for those with a passion for vintage aeroplanes and automobiles. Tickets and information can be found on the event website.

Bargains Galore

We will then be returning to St Matthew's in Northampton for the July Jumble. There will be stalls inside the hall and more outside on the lawn if the weather is good. The jumbles are great fun and take place in January and July.

Stalls Inside & Outside

One week later the fair will arrive in Olney. Currently no dates have been arranged for August however we may well be returning to Market Harborough, watch this space!

Best wishes for summer and hope to see you at one of the fairs.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Oh Oh Oh What A Lovely Fair!

"Enjoying Ourselves"

It has been a busy start to 2015 and as February draws to an end we will see out winter with The Stratford Vintage Fair which is taking place in the Town Hall on Saturday 28th February (2015). The Jumbles warmed up deepest January and before long we were on the road for Leamington Spa followed by The Stamford Fair which took place on Valentine's Day. The image of the children on the beach is from a 1930s annual that was given to me by one of the stall holders at Stamford before the fair opened. It was a lovely way to start the day.

A Hidden 1930s Watercolour!

I found so many things at the Stamford Fair that my car was full when I went home and to be honest there were a great many more things I would like to have taken home if I had seen them first (or if I had had more time to look around - many thanks to everyone who sat at the door for me). I will start with the pretty painting which was hidden in the pages of a drab looking autograph book, which I found in a large sack full of textiles, it cost one pound! It belonged to someone who was attending bible classes back in the 1930s, it contains a number of charming illustrations and verses.

Miss Gladys Cooper

I really liked this postcard of Gladys Cooper from Edwardian times, it also cost me just a single pound.

 Vintage Sanderson - "Constantia"

In the sack (please pardon the expression) with the little autograph book was a huge curtain about twelve feet wide, some parts of it were faded but it was covered in the most beautiful sprays of peonies (I can name around four of them - and yes you can get yellow peonies). I would say from the condition of the lining that it dates from the 1950s or early 1960s. It is a Sanderson fabric although it is a heavyweight sateen rather than the more common linen.

An Original Ottoman

I also found this lovely ottoman from the 1950s/60s, it is in completely original condition and the cute red formica table at the Stamford Fair. Both were brought down from Derbyshire from some friendly people who joined us for the first time (it was their first ever fair and they had some great some great things).

A Detail Of The Ottoman Fabric

Textiles of all sorts could be found on the stalls which completely filled the three rooms available to us.

A Vintage Floral Cape

I loved this 1950s cape which would have been used in a hairdressing salon, it is made of early nylon and has a wonderful floral pattern all over (again featuring peonies and red lilacs). 

The Coronation 

This is table cloth from the Coronation in 1953, it had a few old tea stains but cost hardly anything so I decided to take it. A soak in detergent followed by a plunge into a strong bleach solution (not recommended for a number of reasons) ending with a hot wash removed the lot without harming a fibre! I also found some lovely brownish crochet cushion covers from the 1970s, a pair of pink curtains from the 1940s, some lovely pieces of fabric including a large piece from the 1930s decorated with stylised shells and this huge 1970s lamp-shade.

A Huge Lamp-Shade

I also found the some Picquot Ware pieces and some old glass pepper pots.

Picquot & Pepper Pots

I paid three pounds for this set of Coat's embroidery silk samples. I am guessing they are from the 1960s or 70s, there are about one hundred and sixty different colours and all are numbered.

A Coat's Thread Sample Set

I also found three boxes of threads, the striped box is full and contains twenty-four spools and a lovely retro sewing basket covered in orange fabric. The threads were used to crochet doilies.

Vintage Haberdashery (At A Snip!)

I liked this pile of vintage hankies, they would look great sewn together to make a cushion.

Children's Hankies

I am getting better at keeping secrets and managed to keep these kissing pixies hidden until Valentine's Day (I found them at the Leamington Fair earlier in the month!)

Valentine's Pixies 

We had some vintage Valentine's cards from America in a draw, stylistically and artistically the cards are so much better than contemporary interpretations.

Valentine's Greetings From The USA


 The fun began back in early January with the Northampton Vintage Jumble, it was great fun and a chance to find some vintage bargains when little else is going on.

The Northampton Jumble 

The Northampton Jumble was followed by the Olney Vintage Jumble, it was a freezing cold day, especially for the stall holders who braved the conditions outside, inside the Church Hall it was much warmer.

Gentlemen At The Olney Jumble

There were plenty of bargains to be found, I found a lovely old Singer from 1911 at the Northampton Jumble.

January Jumble Finds

The Olney Jumble got off to a great start when one of the stall holders gave me the Bessie Smith biography. Particularly as the very same stall holder has consistently asked for some more 'up-beat- music at the fairs but instead of taking a step into the 1950s I delved further into the past and played Scott Joplin.

A 1970s Biography Of Bessie

 I also found four lovely yellow cushion covers decorated with sprigs of anemones.

A Set Of Cushion Covers

The lovely fabric was found in one of our stall holders Etsy Shop, it is decorated with boats asnd lighthouses and is very similar to the design created by Cath Kidston about ten years ago.

1950s Fabric

The fruit crates were in good condition and will be good for storage once I have cleaned them.


Here is the poster for Saturday's Fair, hope to see you in Stratford.

See You In Stratford Town Hall