Friday, 19 December 2014

Busy being fabulous

Busy week.
That old chestnut.

I've been...

getting dressed. Obviously.

1950-60s Kashmoor wool jacket, 1970s St Michael pussy-bow blouse, knit top, sequin beret, ankle boots and bangles - charity shopped
1950s brooch - flea market
1970s Dereta velvet maxi skirt - Ebay

Spending a lot of time here...

Browsing round town to finish off the Christmas shopping...

and listening to Nina and lots of other kids belt out Christmas songs in Sheffield cathedral.

 Had a haircut...

which looks better when it hasn't been squashed under a beret while out in the rain. Oh well.

Rescued more 1950s-60s-70s clothing from the rag bag in the charity shop...

as well as some amazing fabrics...

and plenty of unused linens.

Been pretty successful with the Ebay selling on behalf of the charity too. Someone give me a halo.
The kids have been partying...

including a little cross-dressing.
Cool dude Claud and blonde bombshell Owen. 
 Well, it is panto season, after all.

Christmas; a time which incorporates both the sublime and the ridiculous...

from Jess' extra winter fluffiness, and a new-to-me 1970s C&A maxi... 

to Nina's Christmas jumper off the market. Classy.

The kids have finished school for the holidays, the cards and parcels are posted, just a final food shop and bit of gift-wrapping to do, and the job is, as they say, a good 'un.

Now bring on the mulled cider, I feel like celebrating (and then I'll catch with your blogs, I promise!)


Saturday, 13 December 2014

I've got the brains, you've got the looks - let's make lots of money

Brrr, it's cold. My coats and hats are on rotation, and you may not see a denim jacket again on this blog till Spring. 

I know winter has truly arrived when it's too chilly for a denim jacket. 

I'm road-testing this 1960s coat, but it may not be destined to stay in my wardrobe.

As much as I like it, there is something off about the proportions.

Perhaps it's that halfway house/car coat length; I look as though I'm wearing a child's coat. In fact, the whole outfit feels like something I would have worn when I started school on 1968. 

And I'm not sure what I think about that.

Wonderful label though!

1960s Horrockses wool coat, 1960s St Michael skirt, 1950s mohair scarf, 1980s Japelle bag, and everything else apart from the boots - charity shopped

Wednesdays are fast becoming my favourite day.  

The couple who donated the vintage fabrics and clothes last week came back with an epic load of clothing and linens. I persuaded the manager to let me price some up and put them out in the shop, and two 1960s jackets sold within minutes. Everything looked a bit smarter after a going over with the steaming machine, and I deliberately priced the stock very reasonably in the hope that it would sell and therefore prove the point that there is a market for vintage. (And then I tipped off a friend to go and look, and she bought several pieces.)

So I am optimistic that all this manoeuvring means that the shop will develop a vintage rail, and if I can be in charge of it, so much the better.

In addition, look what will be heading for Ebay this week;

Early/mid 1960s jackets, coats, dresses and a suit...

1970s tweed waistcoats, dresses, and a maxi skirt with tags...

early 1960s lace and knitwear.

And a late 1970s panne velvet dress by Mary Quant. I assume it is from a range she did for a catalogue, so sadly it doesn't have the value of her earlier designs. And it's something of an oddity amongst the more classic styles of the other donations, but maybe the lady who collected all these treasures had a disco moment. Good for her.

The couple are coming back next week with more. The manager specifically requested they bring their donations on Wednesday as I will be there to sort them (no one else wants to) and I am overjoyed. I know the volunteers are amused by all of this, and by me, but there is a business point to be made here; vintage sells. The charity is missing out on much-needed revenue if they overlook this. 

So - my plan is to sell the above stock on Ebay and give the proceeds to the shop (minus my fees). It's for the greater good. And of course I will have the opportunity to buy for myself along the way. 

Like the red Horrockses coat. Although I think I've changed my mind and that can be sold too.

If you are interested in any of the pieces here, email me and I'll give you the details and my Ebay seller ID. I'll be listing this little lot either today or tomorrow, but if anyone is keen to buy, get in early for a price and I'll happily sell direct to keep the fees down. Everything is a wee bit musty and needs a good airing, but I've washed what I can, and there are some great labels.

What were the chances that I would start to volunteer at the charity shop just as this lady's house was being cleared by her relatives? If they had brought in all these donations before I started, or on another day, everything would have ended up in the rag bag. 

Sometimes the universe moves in wonderfully fitting ways. 

Classic 1960s English-made heritage label wool coat for sale - make me an offer. It's all for charidee, folks!

I'll be showing my wares over at Patti's for Visible Monday.

Have a great weekend. xxx

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Oops, I did it again

My name's Curtise... 

and I have a faux fur addiction.

When I spotted this 1970s St Michael fake fur jacket in a charity shop, my first thought was ooh, I don't have one that colour, quickly followed by a glance at the price tag, a try on, and a brisk walk to the till.
(In my defense, I've just sold one I rarely wore, which clearly created a vacuum. And I intend to sell the mid-length black coat, once I've repaired the lining. Do I protest too much?)
This is the 1970s shirtwaister from my charity shop haul last week.

I'm hoping I remind dear Beate of her chic Granny.

And this dress caught my eye at Sunday's local vintage market. 
Of course it did.

It's good to see the Abbeydale Picture House being used; the event was bigger and busier than last year. 

Look what Nina persuaded me to buy. An aged one-eared donkey. 
She felt sorry for him, and to tell the truth, so did I. Honestly, this will ruin my hard-faced reputation; don't tell anyone. 
1970s Jersey Masters dress - charity shopped
1980s boots - Second to None, Walsall 
That print and the lovely buttons are clearly Art Deco-inspired, which is so typical of much early/mid 1970s fashion.

1970s English Lady dress - vintage market
Boots - retail

1950s carpet bag and 1960s copper leaf brooch - flea market
Bangles and 1970s stainless steel pendant - charity shopped (although I think Vix might have given me the black and gold bangle... Oh no, I can't remember!)
Leather gloves - retail (sale)
I love all the textures and warm colours; the dress is a fuzzy brushed nylon, it's like wearing a 1970s highly flammable blanket.

Do you think I should shorten it? I'm thinking I will. If I get round to it...
What's next? 
Charity shop day tomorrow (thank you for all your thoughtful comments on my last post), celebrating my mate Sue's birthday with a curry and a quiz, a PTA meeting, my usual stint in school, finishing off the Christmas shopping and knuckling down to writing the cards. 

Steady on, I almost sound organised! 

Friday, 5 December 2014

Anyone who had a heart

I am very happy to report that I am loving my experience as a charity shop volunteer.

Why the bloody hell didn't I do it sooner? 

(Well, I did do a stint in Oxfam back in 1986, when I was an unemployed ex-student with no clue what to do with my life. Now, I'm an unemployed ex-employee, still without a clue. Plus ca change...)

This 1960s dress came home with me from work on Wednesday, along with a few other things.

Funnily enough, the 1970s wool coat is from the same charity shop, but about 3 years ago; it was on the £1 sale rail.

I liked the long sleeves but they were uncomfortably tight and made the shoulders ride up, so...

I chopped them off. I still need to do a quick hemming job, but I much prefer the shorter sleeves.
Just as a side note, it appears that I'm channelling Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black in the recent-ish TV series. 
What's it all about?
Never mind Cilla - back to the charity shop.

I've been itching to get at the window display and play with the mannequins, which I did this week.  It's like being a stylist for someone who doesn't whine about all the things they can't possibly wear, and simply accepts my suggestions without any argument. Fantastic.

And although I have picked up bits and pieces from the shop each week (it seems rude to leave empty-handed), I've been waiting for some vintage clothes to appear. 

Along with the blue 1960s frock, these two 1970s shirt dresses are rather elegant; good labels too.

They were rescued from the rag bag. I wasn't on sorting duty, but I spotted a fellow volunteer putting armfuls of what looked like old fabric into the Black Bag of Doom, and squeaked out a request to take a look.

From 1950s bark cloth to 1960s psychedelia, there was so much fabric - a lot of curtains but also lengths of unused material, all musty and fusty but in great condition.
My colleagues laughed at my obvious (and to them inexplicable) excitement, and commented that none of it would sell, as it was all old-fashioned
They also observed that it smelled; and yes, it did. 

But it doesn't now. I brought home a huge bag, full of the fabrics shown above, which have been washed and are now fragrant and beautiful and awaiting transformation. (The photos show their before state; unwashed, creased, and probably untouched for well over 40 years.)

1960s dress, 1970s C&A wool coat, 1960s pendant, beret and bangles - charity shopped
Boots - retail (sale)

So help me out here, my dears - what can I do? 

The manager and volunteers neither like nor value this kind of donation. The whole lot would have been consigned to the rag bag if I hadn't been there. Goodness only knows what gets binned on all the days I don't work. They don't want to put it out in the shop, and they don't realise that there is a market for it. I have explained that I like it, and that I know other people who do too, but I think I am seen as rather eccentric and odd. 

Do I accept that I can't be there every day to check the donations for anything vintage, and gratefully pay whatever pittance the manager charges me for taking this stuff off her hands? Do I try and educate them? Where do I start with that? I would love them to put aside anything old and quirky for me to look at and advise them about, but I am only there once a week, and there is very little storage space. Donations come in and are usually sorted within the hour - it's a fast turn around. 

Should I feel guilty for paying just £5 for a bag of vintage clothes and fabric which I know are worth more than that? I feel there is a moral maze here which I am struggling to negotiate, and a practical/logistical one too, come to that.

I'd welcome your thoughts and opinions.

(Just to add; the charity does put items on Ebay, but only if they believe they will fetch over £20.)

Am I making life more complicated than it needs to be?

Should I just take the money (vintage frocks, fabric, lithographs, old Christmas baubles) and run?

Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

A flash of Feminella

I'm not quite sure why, but I feel as though I am chasing my tail at the moment, and I don't like it.

I especially disapprove of having insufficient time for blogging!

Our school Christmas fair appears to have sucked the life out of me, but it's done now. Successfully, I think, but without a single photo taken... Oh well, you weren't bothered about seeing the tombola and a shedload of craft stalls, were you?

My fabulous 1970s Feminella coat, on the other hand, is a Must See.

 If it looks pink, it's a trick of your screen; the coat is a tiny red and white houndstooth, and I always feel happy when I wear it. It tends to garner compliments, so it's good for the ego.

Peacock pendant - vintage street market
Most bangles - charity shopped
Narrow gold bangle and beret - gifts from Tania


Austin Reed silk dress and cardigan - charity shopped
Ankle boots - Ebay

A quick scout round the local charity shops today resulted in a few purchases. 

This Indian-made silk beaded top is exquisite - and very heavy. Just £4.

I'm slightly concerned about the peachiness of the 1970s St Michael pussy bow blouse, but I have to say the colour suits me far better than white or cream.

The 1960-70s Danish stainless steel party dish is still in its original polythene bag.

And look! My favourite find, a Tufty board game.

Only Brits of a certain age will remember Tufty the road safety squirrel. He was first introduced in 1953 as a vehicle to teach young children about safety issues.

I'm sure I remember being given a handkerchief featuring Tufty and his friends when I was attending a pre-school playgroup in 1967-8.

(Can you imagine giving a child a hankie now? They wouldn't know what it was.)

Who's that sniggering?


This game was produced in 1973, as were the animated public education films in which Tufty and the gang featured, voiced by Bernard Cribbins.

             Harry Hare and Willy Weasel are clearly the bad boys from the council estate.

I'm late, but I am sheepishly popping my head round the door over at Patti's for Visible Monday, and Judith's for Hat Attack, and apologising profusely for my poor time-keeping.

Must Do Better.

Nothing says sorry I'm late like a quick flash and a cheesy grin.

I'm on a mission to catch up with you all now - what's the gossip?