Wednesday, 28 May 2014

My Little Bird Obsession...

... is preeeetty bad.

I've been checking eBay daily, searching for bargains from the 70s retro-style range. I've been pretty lucky and I have won a dress for £2.50 (plus P+P), and a romper for £6.00 (plus P+P). I'll post pictures when they arrive.

This post however, is about how I bought some shoes from the range for when Aurora is a little older. We've been lucky that we received lots of baby-clothes as gifts when Aurora was born, so I persuaded my husband to let me buy some items for when she's a couple of years old, with the money we saved for her clothing during my pregnancy. He said yes, so went mad at Mothercare.

Well... not mad, I wish. I got a dress and cardigan, which I will post with the eBay items, as well as the shoes and trainers in this post

I have no idea how old Aurora will be when she can wear them, the sizing of children's shoes is alien to me. The shoes look like they'll fit a toddler and the trainers a four year old... maybe?! Anyway, she'll fit into them at some point.

I just love the retro, 1970s/1980s look of them, as they remind me of what I was dressed in as child. In fact: in the post about the items I got from eBay, I'll include a photo of me as a child in similar clothes.

Here are the shoes and trainers:

Although I want Aurora to stay a baby forever, I can't wait until they fit her. 

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Day Out in Dedham

What to do on a rainy Bank Holiday Monday, with a 6 and a half week old baby - who has no idea of what's going on and just wants to eat, sleep and poo - that's cheap and fun? Get out into the countryside of course. Constable Country - situated on the Essex-Suffolk border - to be precise.

It's an area my parents took my brothers and me to when we were younger, we'd walk (or row) from Flatford to Dedham along the River Stour. I took my husband for his first time a few years ago, and we have since been back several times.

Row boat hire is available for either £5 for half an hour or £8 for an hour's hire, but we didn't think that was a suitable activity with a baby...

Usually we drive to Flatford and use the car park which cost £3.50 (free for National trust members), but this time we drove to Dedham and found a free parking space on the street.

After getting a Rossi ice cream from the Art and Craft Centre we took the 40 minute walk along the river, over the flat fields with awkward kissing gates and a herd of cows, to Flatford. The kissing gates were only awkward because we had the pushchair/travel system, or whatever they are called these days. We only had to lift if over 2 gates - we were able to get it through the other 2.

After a look around Flatford, which included Morris dancers, we took the walk back to Dedham and got some lunch. We could have taken a picnic but I'm not that organised at the moment - so we got a toastie and drink each, from Pandora's Box, before heading home.

I got a few photos, but what with pushing the buggy or holding Aurora, I didn't actually get photos of Flatford or the river!

We started off in lovely Dedham

Rossi ice cream - Southend's finest.

A rather pointless kissing gate - an easy one to get through



The gate to get to Flatford was on the other side of the herd


Sunday, 25 May 2014

Den of Vintiquity's change of direction

Having a baby is obviously a life changing event, so it's probably no surprise that when and what I post on Twitter has changed.

I was quite sick during my pregnancy and tweeting about the vintage items I loved/wanted/had for sale became less of a priority and not possible at some points. What certainly became more of a priority was saving money and saving up for our little bundle of chubby cheekiness: so I took the decision to stop selling the vintage, retro, antique and craft-made items at What the Butler Saw.

We still have a lot of items stashed away and want to keep selling in the future; whether we return to What the Butler Saw in Leigh on Sea, or sell in one of Norwich's great vintage shops, is still undecided.

We did have a stall booked at Gresham's Antiques and Collectors fair in July, but sadly it has been cancelled by the organisers. However, they run fairs at Newmarket Racecourse in Suffolk, and we will hopefully be securing a stall there for August.

What this post is really about is to announce how I will probably be changing the direction of how I use Twitter (the @denofvintiquity account). Although I will still tweet about vintage, it will be more baby/parenting and introducing Aurora to my love of vintage and craft.

I also want to become more interactive on Twitter (and on the blog, although I need to learn how to do that), as I feel I just chuck tweets/posts out at followers at the moment.

Thanks for reading this and hopefully I'll still see you on Twitter!

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Baby's Blankets

I put off creating this post about blankets as the weather has been so sunny and warm, that it seemed a bit pointless. Sadly, it's grey and raining and Aurora and I are snuggled up in one now.

When I was pregnant and thinking about what I wanted for the nursery and the baby, I knew I wanted lots of cosy knitted blankets, clothes and, as it turns out, toys. 

This post is about the blankets, some of which I managed to get at really great prices from the pop-up charity shop at Southend Hospital: handmade by the volunteers and sold at (far too) reasonable prices. I was also lucky enough that family members, friends and even strangers are much better at knitting and crochet than I am, as well as being generous. 

Here are a selection of my favourites:

Blankets one - four were all bought from Southend Hospital's charity shop. Although it doesn't show on the photo, blanket 2 has sparkly thread running through it!
1) £9
2) £3
3) £3

I bought one or two each time I had a scan or midwife appointment.  

Number five was also from the hospital's charity shop and cost £1. Number 7 is a shawl which was a present from my mum and dad's neighbour, who has also knitted Aurora an all-in-one (which I will post about another time). 
Six and 8 were knitted by people I had never met which I think is lovely (not that I've never met them - the fact they are generous enough to make and send lovely items to a stranger). Eight is a cot blanket knitted and with lining, which was a gift from my husband's friend's mum; whilst 6 is a shawl knitted by Aurora's great-gran's hairdresser!
5) £1
6) gift
7) gift
8) gift

To give an idea of the sizes, here's Aurora to give perspective (dressed as Toby from The Labyrinth as we were watching the film and singing and dancing along that day).

Although I love them all, I have two favourites. One is a child's blanket that my mum picked up from Norfolk and Norwich hospital, also knitted by a volunteer from the charity shop. For this blanket the lady - in her 90s - said she had used a pattern from the 1960s - which is obviously right up my street. It's amazing and the lady only wanted £19 for it!

My other favourite blanket is one that Aurora loves, she's very happy when snuggled up in it. Her great-gran, the mother of my husband's late mum, began knitting it before she died last year and was completed by my husband's aunt. It's very special for that reason.

Monday, 19 May 2014

A Crafty Little Bookcase

I have posted this on my Tumblr site, but I thought I'd stick it on here too. 

I spent a long time thinking about how I wanted the nursery to look. Obviously it had to be a bit vintage-y, retro-y, erm crafty-y, thrifty, bright, unisex and fun. There are certain things I didn't want, such as clutter, Winnie the Pooh (Disney stylee) or anything dangerous... obviously.  I've gone for an eclectic nursery with craft, vintage and up-cycled/re-purposed items in; I obviously didn't want to get furniture from any old high-street shop.
One piece of furniture that was definitely needed was storage for books: it was important in the design of our nursery that the books are safely stored but easily accessible. 
So here is a re-purposed item, which I think is perfect for storing books for little people: a hand-made herb planter.
I was inspired by the book shelves you find in libraries, where the children can flick through the books. And probably inspired by the storage in vinyl record shops. So I was on the look out for something suitable for a while.
After spending much time on EBay I came across this unpainted herb planter, made from reclaimed timber, for £15. I made sure the timber hadn't been treated with chemicals and bought through Buy It Now.

Just to be sure I sanded it down before I painted it. 
The paint used was a paint designed for nurseries and children's rooms and furniture. After looking on the internet and reading up (for ages) about paint safety for children, it seems regular VOC (volatile organic compound) free paint from any DIY shop would be suitable these days. Most paint sold is now VOC-free, but always check the label. It's purely personal preference (well, my husband's demand) that a (pricey) paint that claims to be suitable for children to chew on was used. 
Knowing the colour of the walls was going to be a bluey-green, I wanted a vivid contrasting colour for the bookcase.  I opted for a soft yellow

Once painted, I stuffed it with lots of books I had/remember having as a child - books I have kept, and ones I bought at boot sales, charity shops and vintage book shops. 

I absolutely love our re-purposed herb planter bookcase but we do have far too many books to fit in it. Hopefully though, when she's older, Aurora will use it just for her best loved books.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Retro sun visor

This week I have been SO excited waiting for this item to arrive. I've been lurking by the front door every time the postman was due.

Ever since we popped to Mothercare in Lakeside (20 miles away, when Aurora was four days old!) and I first saw the Jools Oliver Little Bird collection, I have been in love: reasonably priced retro kids clothes on the high-street.

Obviously I've sought out true vintage, retro, hand-made and second-hand clothes (and toys and books of course) for Aurora, but I have also had to use the high-street shops too. However, I've actively looked for vintage/retro/vintage style clothes, but I've also actively tried to avoid an exclusively pink and princessy wardrobe – not easy if you shop at the usual high-street suspects. It was flipping hard buying clothes for a baby whose gender we did not find out until she popped out. With regard to buying high-street though it's necessary to paraphrase Henry Ford: you can have any colour you want, as long as it’s pink for a girl, blue for a boy, or yellow/grey for sex unknown. Yeah, great, thanks… I am aware these are things that annoy me (and many other parents/to be/rational people) and not everyone, but I honestly don’t see why I should almost HAVE to dress my child in a certain colour, or with certain set of animals/toys/images, just because that’s what’s been decided by other people, that a certain gender prefer. Grr! I feel the same about aiming certain toys, books and activities at one gender.

Anyway I sort of digress, I could bang on about that for ages, but I'm not going to. This post is about sharing the excellent retro sun visor from the Little Bird collection: a collection which is not just pink and princessy clothes for girls or blue and macho for boys.

And here it is!

As soon as I saw it I wanted it and being only £6.00, I was able to get it. Obviously one can Google ‘retro sun visor’ and find cheaper versions, but you can tell from the images that they are, well cheap. 

The Little Bird sun visor has a rainbow headband, which is elasticated at the back, with a yellow terry cloth on the inner part and a thick, yellow plastic visor. It’s not flimsy at all. Also, it’s totally unisex!

I remember having one when I was in primary school in the 80s, and I am so pleased Aurora will get to enjoy a good quality one too, although there are a few years before she can do that...

Mothercare Little Bird sun visor - £6.00 - for 3 - 8 year olds. 

(This post has nothing to do with Mothercare, I just love the visor/Little Bird... for what it's worth; I hate the Baby K collection).

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Aurora's vintage wardrobe

As a lover of all things vintage, it is only natural that I force encourage Aurora to enjoy it also. Whilst she still has no say about how she's dressed, she'll be in carefully selected retro and vintage outfits, when she's not slobbing-out in sleepsuits anyway. 

When I found out I was pregnant I started looking for vintage baby items straight away. I started with the usual suspects - eBay and Google. I really have no patience for waiting days for lots to end, or for bidding wars, so generally go for (reasonably priced) 'buy now' items on eBay. And there are many online shops selling vintage baby items now if you're able to use Google.

I sell vintage and antique items (until recently in a shop in Leigh on Sea, but at fairs now) so I have been fortunate enough to come across some amazing items through meeting other vintage sellers and hunting around vintage, second-hand and charity shops. My parents found these gems in Norfolk when hunting for items to sell.   

As well as getting items online, at fairs and those old-fashioned things called shops, we've been really lucky that people have given us (lots) of clothes as gifts, and some have been vintage.

Here are some of Aurora's vintage clothes -  she already has a better wardrobe than her parents...

From top left to right:
  1. Adams' dress from the 90s bought from Rowdy Roddy Vintage* (RRV) - £14
  2. 70s dress, also from RRV - £18
  3. Vintage knitted cardigan from RRV - £8
  4. Vintage romper from RRV - £8
  5. 1960s romper - a gift from family
  6. The flipping excellent design on the 60s romper
  7. One of the 50s/60s dresses from Norfolk - part of a bundle of items 
  8. Another vintage item from RRV** - £9

*No vested interest here, I just love the shop!
**I've honestly not been given/promised anything to promote RRV!

Vintage baby

Here it is; my first post for this blog: one month and one day after giving birth to my first child.

Aurora arrived in March after I was induced early, due to having developed gestational diabetes. A much wanted baby, who my husband and I didn't think we'd be able to have.

Well, Aurora's here. And life's got flipped-turned upside down - but in the best way ever. The nine months I spent feeling awful and the labour are all forgotten... erm, naaaht. But it was all worth it.

So now it's all about getting on with caring for, nurturing, teaching, encouraging and discipling Aurora in the manner I (and my husband) think is best. I have not read any parenting books and don't plan to either. I will accept advice from healthcare professionals, family, friends and even strangers, and I'll Google things if I am concerned at all, but mainly I will be going on what feels right or... natural?

Anyway, welcome to my blog which I aim to be about Aurora, vintage and anything and everything. Watch this space!

Dawn x