Adoring all things vintage, whimsical and downright quirky

Tag Archives: retro

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.






bigbuttons41.jpgForget zips, leave Velcro be, buttons is where it’s at.

Indeed, I have gone barmy over buttons this week and have been eagerly seeking out the best places to buy your buttons – if anyone knows any more, please let me know and I can add them to my list which will be appearing shortly on the right side of this blogski.

big pink button                   big pink button                    big pink button

One cute little on-line shop is Josy Rose which caters to all sorts of whimsical crafty bits n bobs including jewellery findings and the like. I particularly like these pretty little ‘mother of pearl’ buttons which can look really vintage when coupled with a lacy fabric.

Josy Rose buttons

Likewise, Vintage Buttons– which actually, does what it says on the tin, offers lots of Victoriana and kitsch buttons that will give a little oomph to your vintage-inspired creations.

 big pink button                    big pink button                   big pink button  

One of the best places to snap up a bargain button is on eBay. One of my regular haunts is Button Heaven as they have a selection from 1930s to 1980s – I recently got some fabulous Bakelite beauties here and have already been embellishing my bags with them.

If you live in London, you are certainly well catered for as there is a host of shops – one I have heard good things about is The Button Shop in Forest Gate however, they don’t have a website, well only a landing page, so you will have to visit in person like in the olden days.

 big pink button                     big pink button                     big pink button  

For buying in bulk, then wholesalers like Jaycotts are a sure bet  and for cute buttons to stitch onto any knitting projects or if you are sewing for children (see cute Japanese fabrics in my last post) then Knit and Sew do a good range.

big pink button         big pink button          big pink button

So there you have it, at the moment that is what my studious research has produced – there just have to be more button shops around so please let me know if you come across any worth adding.

Cath Kidson

Ok, so it might not be the most pressing debate in the entire world, but I have been thinking about these two queens of the chintz and wondered what people’s thoughts were on the encroaching popularity of the Cath Kidson empire – which, to my eyes, is the funkier, younger sister of the more sophisticated Laura Ashley.

Laura Ashley

Is Ms Ashley getting knocked off her throne (upholstered in the finest flowery fabric) by the eager young upstart that is Ms Kidson?

The subject raised its head after the new Cath Kidson shop on Park Street opened up recently – this veritable explosion of colour assaults my eyes daily. For a colour-lover like me, I am totally digging the new range of funky fabrics, even the latest range of clothes make you feel like you should be wearing clogs and cycling through the countryside with a small dog in your basket and paniers full of french bread and strawberries (are you with me?) However, there is the other camp that seem to think that Ms K is over priced and, ehem, a little over rated.

As a purveyor of all things vintage, I am surprised at myself for feeling a bit tired of the whole fakey retro stuff – but only because you can’t turn a corner now without being confronted by some type of 50s memorabilia of some sorts – surely Laura Ashley and Cath Kidson are breathing some life into the old?

We’ll see if Cath Kidson has the longevity gene like old Laura A, who let’s face it, has done a grand job of reinventing herself from the flowery church fete-type frocks of the 80s.

Bring on the revolution!

Light Bright by Alexander Henry     Leo by Alexander Henry     Daybreak by Alexander Henry

I just have to share my new love – I have stumbled across THE best fabric designer – Alexander Henry. His designs are so beautiful and really capture the essence of retro inspired modern prints. I have just taken a little selection to show here Beach Scenics     Soho Stripe by Alexander Henry     Seaweed Stripe by Alexander Henry

but I really can’t urge you enough to check out the site.

I got mine through Sew Mama Sew but there are a few other suppliers too – unfortunately there is no UK based supplier which means ordering from the US but mine took just over a week to come and I am overjoyed with my choice – I’ll upload some images of the bags I intend to make with them as soon as they are done.  However, for now, here is a little taster of good old Alexander H’s gorgeous collection!!

Factory girl by Alexander Henry   Hollywood by Alexander Henry   Ringo by Alexander Henry