Monday, 29 December 2008

Advertising for Dummies

Seeing as the New Year is a time for new beginnings, I really must get on with promoting the website. Going completely against my natural instinct to procrastinate til the cows come home, I thought I'd try and get a head-start by throwing open the floor and asking for your ideas. I would really like to get some of my things featured in the press, so any tales of success would be much appreciated!

I also plan to bring you the beginnings of the 'secret project' I mentioned in my flea market post shortly.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Peace and Goodwill To All Men (And Women)


Calm has descended on the Rose&Bird household, presents all wrapped, food all bought and relatives all visited. It will just be myself, the Mr and the Guinea Pigs at home, as it is most years. All that remains is to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Peaceful and Healthy New Year.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Winter Sunshine and Giant Fleas

Hello all!

I have just returned from the Shepton Mallet Giant Flea Market.
Giant fleas, I hear you cry, how horrid! But seriously, folks, there aren't really any large bloodsuckers involved (apart from the odd stallholder, maybe!). This is a more upmarket version of that great British institution, the Car Boot Sale. Except it's more expensive and mostly undercover in the 'relative' warm! There was everything from deer antlers(!) to fudge for sale, with a lot more in between. I spent a good couple of hours wandering around and got quite a nice haul of stuff. I also said hello to my friend Liz (The Washerwoman), who had a stall there. By this point Dear Husband had got bored and gone back to the car, which left me free to peruse the stalls, reasonably guilt-free! You can see all but one of my goodies in the picture below. The other item was a large piece of velvety fabric, but that's under wraps as it's going to be part of a project:

The winter sunshine in the title refers to our journey to the Bath & West Showground where the market is held. It was a pretty drive over - wintry trees, rolling Somerset hills and stone villages. There were lots of cows and sheep in the fields, even lambs in one! Somerset really is a beautiful county, but I think it rather misses out to it's more well known neighbours, Devon and Dorset.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Anyone Seen my Mojo?

Anyone else have days like that? When you just can't put your finger on the pulse? I am having a serious creative crisis at the moment. I keep telling myself the vintage and handmade thing is where my happiness lies, but I just can't get myself in gear to go and make the damn things! I have so many ideas, but how to a) bring them to life and b) make money from them? The website is my main outlet, but as yet I've had one sale as I'm just no good at promoting it. What I am good at is buying fabric on ebay! The shoestring budget doesn't help (I joke not, it's literally shoestrings).

Hmm, bet Cath Kidston never had this trouble!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

What your Mother Should Have Told You...

(Image: 101yarns, ebay)

I was lucky enough to win this and two other editions of 'Woman and Beauty' magazine on ebay a few weeks ago. I can't find much information about it, other than the fact that it was published in the 1940s and 50s. If anyone knows more, please do get in touch. 2 Issues are from 1948, the other from Jan 1950.

It struck me that the problems women faced then are much the same as those we encounter - what to wear, how to manage your budget, who to marry etc. The tone of the magazines is great - much like the women who would have read them it's kindly but no-nonsense with lots of practical solutions. I suppose it's similar to something like Prima or Good Housekeeping would be today. What I do notice is a lack of the showing-off factor you seem to get in so many of today's magazines. You know, the kind of articles where someone waffles on about the 'hand-sourced from Mongolian artisans' fireplace and 'Antique French' sideboard for 20 pages, complete with lashings of glossy photos of stylist's twiddly bits.

I don't know if it's simply because there was less available (some food rationing went on until July 1954) or just that people were more practical and less concerned with material things (particularly having just come through the hardships of World War II). The magazines have lots of ideas for making clothes and accessories yourself and how to get good value and style out of store-bought items. The adverts are really interesting to read - many of the products and brands are still around today - Johnson's Baby Powder, Kalms tablets, OXO cubes, Horlicks, Anadin, Gossard to name but a few.

A feature on 'foundation garments' proves that Trinny & Susannah, Gok Wan and co, are just re-inventing the wheel with Spanx, Magic Knickers and Wonderbras!

Sisters, it's time to listen to the wisdom of our Mothers and Grandmothers - they've been there, done that and bought the figure-crunching girdle!