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.

Friday, 13 June 2014


Sadly it has been necessary to cancel the Market Harborough Fair. It is such a shame as there had been a lot of interest in the fair and we were looking forward to returning especially as the fair previously held at the Three Swans had become so popular.

See You In July

Our next fair is the Northampton Vintage Jumble on 5th July

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Spring Into Summer Goes And Bits & Bobs From A Car Boot

The Fairs & Flowers Of Summer

I have been busy preparing the posters for the 'summer' season of fairs and gathered these flowers from some shrubs to decorate my 'office' in the garden. Summer must surely be upon us as I also ventured out to the Wicksteed Park car boot sale this morning (something I would not not do if there was the merest hint of wind or rain).

There are Eight Fairs Up To The End Of July

The car boot did not start well and at first I thought I wasn't going to find anything at all but keeping in mind some old saying along the lines of 'if ye look then ye will find' I persevered and was rewarded with some nice finds.

Pretty Paragon China From The 1930s & 1950s

The cups are very pretty and perhaps not the sort of thing one might expect to find in a field on a Sunday morning.

The Car Boot Haul

I will share the posters for the forthcoming fairs along with some photos of recent finds and of some pieces I have been working on.

Six Days To Go!

Spring ends and summer begins on Saturday when the fair returns to St Matthews in Northampton. The will be two rooms of stalls, an 'old style' tea-room and if the weather is good a vintage market out side on the lawn. Bring a picnic and I will do my best to conjure up the sun.

 Retro Drawers

I enjoyed painting this set of drawers, they cost a couple of pounds from a local second hand shop and the things on top are finds from the Stratford Fair back in March (more about this later).

An Additional Date Due To The Success Of
The Olney Fair In April

After Northampton the fair will visit Olney and there will be stalls inside the small hall and once again outside on the forecourt. This worked very well when we did this for the first time at the Olney Fair on 5th April and we will hopefully be able to do this again if the weather is kind.

Green, White & Violet

In between fairs I taught myself how to make basic use of our sewing machine and made some lengths of bunting to use at the fairs. I owe three cups of tea to the three people who identified the significance of the colours I used, it is of course in recognition of the brave fight for womens' suffrage. 

Our First Visit Of The Year To Stamford

May ends with the Stamford Fair before we cross the shires for the Leamington Fair on Sunday 8th June. The yellow table and kitchenalia were finds from the last Leamington Fair, the table is from Blighty Bazaar (a lovely emporium in Regent Street, Leamington Spa) and all the things on top are from Teddy & Mavis who brought some lovely things along to the fair.

Lovely Finds In Leamington Spa

I also found a yellow and black gramophone needle tins at Leamington to add to my small collection and many thanks to the 'pack of vintage dogs' who helped with publicity. I am always looking for old 78 records and would love find something by Bessie Smith or Scott Joplin.

Vintage Doggies

The 'Dogs on Wheels' gathered together to have a natter about their plans for Easter.

Who Let This Lot Out?

The Leamington Fair always looks lovely so I went back to the golden age of cinema for inspiration for the poster for our visit in June. 

Sunday 8th June

I also found a lovely scrapbook at the Leamington Fair, it is full of snippings from the 1930s and I will write about it in more detail one rainy afternoon perhaps.

1930s Decor - Scrapbook Style

June continues with the Market Harborough Vintage Fair which will be taking place in our new home - The Methodist Church on Northampton Road. There will be an 'old style' tea-room and home made cakes by Les, George & Family who have made the cakes at the Northampton Fair for the last four years - many thanks.

The Harborough Fair Has A New Home

We are looking forward to seeing everyone who enjoyed the fair at The Three Swans.

Crinoline Ladies

This pretty crumb brush is perfect for clearing away after tea and scones (the best scones are always  crumbly). There will be some lovely cakes along with some great vintage bargains when we return to St Matthew's in Northampton for the July Jumble.

Summer Bargains

It is one of our most popular events and if the weather the good there will be lots of stalls outside on the lawn.

Vintage Books 

I have been collecting quite a few books for children from the 1930s, the covers are colourful and sometimes there are some great illustrations inside. They are also inexpensive, especially when found at car boot sales!

A Lovely 1920s Watercolour

I found the picture when I visited Brackley Antique Cellar, I liked it because stylistically it is very 20s/30s and is of Berrynarbor which is a small village in North Devon. It is a place we have passed by many times on our way from Combe Martin to Barnstaple and beyond.

Which Frederick Leighton?

I did for a moment just think it might be by the illustrious Frederick Lord Leighton but with some assistance from a very helpful gentleman in Bonham's 19th Century Fine Art Dept it was identified as the work of a second Frederick Leighton who was based in Streatham in London, he exhibited at the RA in 1926.

Remember These?

I found this lovely set of brushes at the monthly small Antiques fair which take place in Abington Church Rooms, originally it would one have hung in an old post office or corner shop, I can remember similar things displaying different grade of pencil when I was a child.

Summer In Sunny Stratford

The fair will be returning to the lovely Town Hall in Stratford in July. The image on the poster is of the High Street in Stratford, it shows the famous Garrick Inn on the right hand side and the Town Hall can be seen on the left. David Garrick commissioned a statue of Shakespeare which was one mounted outside the Town Hall.

One Of The Stalls - Stratford Fair March 2014

The stalls are set out on wonderfully old wide oak desks from the 1930s and the numerous windows open onto the busy streets of Stratford, the sounds of the 1940s drift out on the same breeze that draws the fine voile drapes into the light.

Leamington Artist - Terence Sinclair

Terence Sinclair has joined us at recent fairs and his work portraying some iconic British images has been received well. Terence's work will be on display at all of the summer fairs except Olney on 24th May.

Our Last Fair Of The Summer

The summer season will end in Olney on 19th July (just as our last fair of the year will be the Olney Christmas vintage Fair in December). Weather permitting there will be stalls outside too.

Best wishes for the summer and hope to see you at the fair.