Adoring all things vintage, retro and downright quirky

Monthly Archives: April 2008

 

 

Another day, another fabric find, ah it’s a tough life!

 

I have been tipped off about a great little online fabric shop called Funky Fabrix which is located in Australia – yes, sad but true, all the fabric shops worth their salt are in the US or Australia! They stock my fave, Alexander Henry (see his new ‘Aviary Flock of Gulls’ fabric below) as well as other designers such as Michael Miller, Robert Kaufman, Free Spirit and Amy Butler.

 

As usual, there are only a couple here to illustrate the types of designs available, but really, they have HUGE range and I think the prices are pretty good – around $13.50 AUD which is mere £6.36! Peanuts!  They also offer ‘FAT QUARTER BUNDLES’ which are pre-cut and ready to ship – they measure 56cm x 46cm (22″ x 18″) and each pack contains 2 or 4 fat quarters. Bargain! This will set you back around £12 plus shipping.

 

 

 

Closer to home, as an update to my Stitching and Bitching in the South West post, I have located a fantastic little online store in Cheltenham called Rosa-Blue. They do ready to go fabrics at around £25 a metre which is pricy but they are all original designs – below are a few of my personal favourites. I have totally fallen for the heart fabric – positively blissful. And the ‘Bistro’ fabric below would be perfect for making a handy little shopping bag – tres chic!

 

Also, in my endeavours to track down the lushest of lush textile treats for you, my humble readers, I have been bewitched, yes, bewitched by the new range of children’s fabrics at the Designers’ Guild

Reminiscent of the Mr Men books, this happy flower print isn’t just for kids – braid my hair and call me Miss Sunshine, but I’ve got a hankering to do a spot of DIY and cover the walls of my boring old office in this very wallpaper. It will bring a smile to my chops even on the greyest of winter days. This is just one of the Primrose Hill range – go see for yourself how utterly edible they are!

 

 

 

 

 

That’s your lot for today…oh and for those local to Bristol and the South West, remember the second Bristol Design Festival kicks off on June 13 -17. Hundreds of creative designers, including those from fashion, interiors, furniture, lighting and textiles will descend on Bristol – so come down to The old Fire Station on Silver Street to see what the best of the West has to offer!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why are there no fabric shops? Why?

 

I have been thinking of creating a resource for those in my local area of Bristol and Bath for some time now as I have been growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of fabric shops in the South West.  

In London, there are more places to grab a fabriky bargain than you can shake a stick at so bear with me. Here goes:

 

My local haunt is The Nylon Shop on Two Mile Hill in Kingswood (no website sorry!) It smells bad but it’s cheap and has a good range of fabrics, often with new ranges coming in. The have mountains of felt for smaller projects and I bagged some great little trimmings for next to nothing to embellish my bags with. It’s a good all rounder and is open quite late so you can always pop there after work. Next door has this strange little shop full to bursting with feathers and findings, fake fur and other fripperies that can add some pizzazz to your projects.

 

 Fabric Land, York House, Bond St, Bristol – 0117 942 6155

Enter with caution! Is it me, or do you want to be inspired while you are shopping for material? Now, I don’t mean to be mean but unless you are searching for some nasty wet-look fabric for that fetish outfit you’ve been considering making or are a mum in desperate need of a nativity costume for Emily and Jack’s debut performances, then this really doesn’t have much for you. Ok, that’s a bit harsh – it has good cotton, a range of handy things like netting and calico and felt but in terms of getting some stylish textiles, I really wouldn’t bother.

 

 
Avon Textiles – St. Nicholas’ Market, Market Gate, BRistol – 01454 632 279

Yet another mixed bag to be found at Avon Textiles, tucked right out the way at St Nick’s Market off Corn Street. I went there, eyes full of promise, a happy heart, and returned with my little face crumpled and frustrated. It was old and smelly (again? C’mon people, get a glade plug-in! Heard of Febreeze anyone???) It had lots of putrid flarey old fabrics and lots of punky neon netting which I saw lots of A Level students buying to incorporate into for bizarre art projects but that was about it – plus it was quite pricy. So be warned, not all it’s cracked up to be.

 

 

 
Shannon, 68 Walcot Street Bath 01225 424222

 

Hurrah! This is more like it! Shannon is an exclusively Scandinavian store and has…wait for it…Marimekko fabrics in store! Yay! It ain’t cheap but it certainly is pretty. Don’t need to say anymore, just visit if you get the chance (note to above fabric shops: atmosphere goes a long way!)

 

 

Eastville Market, fabric supplies,  Eastville, Bristol, Avon BS5 6XY, 0845 355 2264

Cheap cheap cheap, often naff but good for buttons, bits and bobs for crafty projects. Cups of tea sell nearby for about 40p and the best bit is, it’s right next to the following resource…Yes, you guessed it – IKEA!

   Ok, so I sometimes ramble on about Ikea but to be honest, I’m so strapped for places to go, that Ikea offers a very reasonable and tasteful alternative. I have made many a cushion from treasures found at the Swedish furniture superstore.

 

 

And that’s all folks. Isn’t it sad? For  such a creative and diverse area as the South West, this is all I have managed to find – yes there are John Lewis, Cath Kidson and Laura Ashleys in abundance but it’s the little folk that I care about. So please, please, please, let me know if there are any others I have missed – there are bound to be but the issue is that I haven’t been able to find them, anywhere. Marketing goes a long way, eh?

 Until next time….

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Did you know…

That there are so many web pages on the internet that even if you had hundreds of people scanning the internet 24 hours a day for the rest of their lives, you would never read them all, you wouldn’t even read a squillionth of them? That is why today has been good. The search engines were creaking and rattling in my favour, lady luck was smiling and I managed to find some super little sites that I may not have otherwise ever have seen.

 

 As usual, this is a resource, so please go ahead and see for yourself how fab these little online stores are – and of course, if you do buy something, let me know how it goes!

 

Touchy-feely fabrics

 

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: all the best fabric sites are in the US! Ok so it’s massively bigger than the UK but c’mon people! Honestly, I see a site, bookmark it, then quickly check the contact details, and hey ho, it’s never in the UK. This is my call to arms! We need more fabric sites in Blighty!

 

Back to the good stuff:

 

I have located two new textile resources – and yes, they are in the US – but they are wonderful! Shipping costs aren’t too bad either (thank God for the weak dollar!)

 

Make me

 

This little site specialises in both modern and vintage textiles from the 50s, 60s and 70s. With Jetson-inspired fabrics, there is no mistaking their quality and authenticity. I am itching to get my hands on some the gorgeous salmon gingham below and I just adore this cute kids fabric

 

  

or the uber cool ‘cross town’ design (below) –  I can just see myself swinging a cute shoulder bag around town in this fabric. They also offer vintage lace trims too…

 

 

Melina Made

Melina’s vintage reproduction fabrics, bags, wallpaper and accessories are great. She also does a modern range but it’s her vintage designs that catch my eye.

 

 

 The best thing is she sells swatches with all 17 fabrics in for only $18 so if like me you use them for small projects it’s a steal!

 

Other sewing bits

 

I have also come across Glitter and Grunge which hosts profiles for a number of unique little artists, most of which have their own websites or etsy page. I particularly like Vallen Queen’s vintage-inspired tea cosies (above)

 

Creations with a vintage slant

 

and Tammy Gillet’s designs such as this beautiful vintage-inspired paper creation while Karen Vogel’s unusual vintage pendants are truly exquisite.

Likewise, Silly Boodilly’s designs are a unique combination of folk art and victoriana – a new favourite of mine!!

 

 

Silly Bodilly\'s unusual brooch designs

 

 

And finally….some vintage eye candy…

Janet Lauers\' original  mosaic creations

Janet Lauer is a mosaic artist and creates under the name of Grindstone Mountain – her work is amazing. Do have a look at her website if you want to see more these wonderful items.

Sleepy Hollow Crafts just makes me happy. I love this little vintage doll.

And lastly, we have feasted our eyes, so now, let’s see what our tummies say to the rather splendid offerings of a little Somerset farm shop called Godminster who sell a range of ‘vintage’ goodies for foodies. They are so fab, they have won an award…

 

 

Now, wouldn’t you like these to clutter up your pantry?

   


If I had my way…

I would have a wall full of clocks, all ticking away. I absolutely love them; perhaps it harks back to my grandparent’s house in Ireland where every room seemed to have the soft tick-tocking of a carriage clock counting away the days of my summer holidays.

I find it comforting and what’s more, old clocks have none of the ear -jarring rawking rasp of the tacky modern alarm clock. Style has certainly been passed over in favour of substance – for example, that awful clock that runs away from you in the morning is my idea of hell…

Give me a gentle ticking and a solid bell ring any day!

 

So the reason for a post on clocks is that I have seen a lovely one I fancy for my kitchen (above) and it’s a snip at £20 from good old John Lewis but while I was browsing, I came across a few other little fancies that I thought I could share.

 

Having done a bit of research, I discovered an important name in clock making and design – George Nelson who is one of the most revered designers of the 20th Century. He created some of the most well known clock styles around such as the Sunburst clock created for Vitra (above) which has been redesigned and revamped dozens of times.

 Vintage Clock from Newgate Clocks   

Another well known clock-makers is Newgate Clocks, which is actually run by people I know from my home town. They have helped bring back the humble wall clock into the collective consciousness of the style savvy. I particularly like their classic vintage clock and the stylish Bond Street clock but if these aren’t for you, they have plenty to suit every taste. 

Living Lounge does a number of funky, modern clocks, as does Nest and Retro to Go while over on Flickr, there are a number of great clocks, such as Thrift Store Addict’s collection of retro time pieces. These wonderful finds remind us that you can still pick up a bargain if you look hard enough. In fact, I have been quite taken by his obvious eye for a stylish bargain, just look at these little beauties…

 

 

 

 

 

 

This amazing retro clock below would look super in my living room, in fact, having browsed on Thrift Store Addict’s photo stream, if you in any doubts about how to style a retro or vintage clock into your room, have a little look see there for a boost of inspiration.

 

 

  

 

 


 

Well, who would have thought it? Crocheting is back in again.

 

I have long been a secret crochet fancier and when I was a poor student, my home was swathed in macramé and crochet style plant pot holders purchased for a few pence from the myriad of charity shops I frequented.

 Crochet is back

 

However as time moved on so did my tastes. I will even go as far as to say that I felt the whole crochet lark was, ahem, a little passé. How wrong I was! This wonderful arty craft is back with a vengeance. I have noticed it cropping up in the wonderfully styled photographs in a plethora of interiors mags and I am truly delighted.
Much of the mainstream popularity of crocheting has been thanks to Erika Knight who kicked off the revival with her books – which are beautifully produced and full of inspiration.

 jewelery box

However, there is also a huge – and I mean HUGE – crochet community on the web.  Here are just some of my favourite crochet -inspired bits and bobs, including a few tutorials to get you started if you are new to all this.
This funky monkey is from Niche Stores – they do a good rang of cute and quirky products that not everyone will have found – a real treat!

 

 

These cushions are a work in practice from a very creative young lady who goes under the name of Moline – check out her amazing designs at Etsy 

 

And if you are after inspiration to create your own crochet clothing, it isn’t all shapeless cardies and beenie hats, Knitboy’s creations stick two fingers up to crochet’s fusty reputation – likewise, Alessandra Hayden’s beautiful bag below is testament to how tasteful a little touch of crochet here and there can be – visit her profile for the full measure of her talent…

 

Beautiful skirt

 

 

 Asian-inspired crochet bag

 

In fact the more I started researching, the more I found. Goodness me!
So here are the pick of the bunch for tutorials and inspiration – all that’s left is to get those fingers crocheting!

 

http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Cottage/3606/tutorialpage.html

 

http://crochetme.com/

 

http://www.beehandmade.com/

 

http://moonstitches.typepad.com/moonstitches/2007/11/rhubarb-scarf.html

 

http://applehead.typepad.com/applehead/2008/01/a-good-start.html

 

http://goodhooking.blogspot.com/2006_03_01_archive.html

 

http://www.coatscrafts.co.uk/Crafts/Crochet/Projects/Crochet+Project+-+Corsage.htm

 

http://www.purlbee.com/the-purl-bee/2006/9/6/vintage-crochet-pot-holders.html

 

http://www.primrosedesign.blogspot.com/

 

http://indiefixx.com/2008/02/26/tuesday-tutorial-stitch-school-with-primrose-designs-a-contest/