Friday, 24 February 2012

Review - Vintage Fair at the Boileroom, Guildford

The Boileroom in Guildford is a Music/Arts/Creative venue in an old pub, on Stokefields just off York Road.  I've been to gigs there, and performed there, several times over the last year.

In December last year they announced a Vintage Fair, with stalls provided by several different stall holders.  I popped along and to be honest, I was a bit disappointed.  It seemed a bit disorganised and to my mind, 1990's C&A doesn't count as 'Vintage'. (Snob that I am).
However, a few of us Ukejammers were asked to play at their 11th February event and agreed.  I am pleased to reveal that The 2nd Fair was much better organised, with a great vibe, and a lot of really lovely vintage clothes & accessories. 

Vintage hair-dos were being provided by Lucy Hayward from Hair That Turns Heads.

The various music acts that were on throughout the event really added to the ambience (including the band I am in - 'Genevieve & the Zut Alors!')

Genevieve & The Zut Alors!  Photo By John Hudson.
The Boileroom has obviously decided that 'Vintage' means 'cakes', so they weren't serving their usual noodles and had only dainties available.  I think this is a shame - I for one was hungry and a chocolate brownie didn't really cut it for me.

It would be helpful for them to provide a changing room with a full-length mirror.  currently you have to try on clothes in the loo and there are only small mirrors in there.

The space at the Boileroom is very small, and with lots of stalls it is very cramped. If a band is performing on stage you risk becoming the centre of attention as you squeeze past them to get to the stage-based stalls.  In general you will have to be prepared to do some squeezing and rummaging to hunt out your vintage (nothing new there really).

However, there is FREE entry - unlike a lot of these non-London based vintage fairs, which is a welcome benefit.

One stall that caught my eye was selling Iphone covers, Kindle covers & Ipad covers made from vintage Tweed fabrics, with clasps made from vintage brooches.  They have a shop here, but these particular items aren't on there at time of posting.  Keep an eye out and maybe they will be added.

The vintage costume jewelery on offer was great quality, and very reasonably priced.

There were some extremely high quality offerings in the high price bracket (i.e. upwards of £100), including furs and 1930's embroidered silk jackets.
Also there was menswear - something often lacking at small fairs.

Unfortunately I was on a training course for the day (I performed & shopped in my lunch hour), so I wasn't able to really get dug in (though I did manage to bag a beautiful coat).

I believe the Boileroom are making these Vintage Fairs a regular event every few months, and so long as they maintain the quality of stallholders I would recommend a visit.  If you're local keep an eye on their website for the next one and pop along.  It seems they have the next one booked for 7th April.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

(Knit &) PurlJam, aka Stitch 'n Bitch

For a few months I've been hankering after some lovely vintage-style cardigans.  Finding original vintage knitwear that's in great condition AND fit's the modern woman, can be a trial (as anyone with 'a bosom' will know!).

I received a wonderful Christmas present from Mr G of a book of vintage knitting patterns, re-written for the modern knitter.  How exciting! Except I don't know how to knit.

I investigated getting some lessons, but the local knitting teachers were asking more than I could afford (which is nothing, basically). Quel domage!  Mr G had bought me a basic 'how to knit' book, but it's just not quite the same as having someone show you.

Fortunately I have got to know a lovely lass called Gemma through UkeJam, who is a knitter extraordinaire.  She gave me a lesson over dinner a few weeks ago, and we got to chatting about setting up a local Stitch and Bitch group.  I believe these groups started in the US - the premise being a bunch of people who get together in a pub or bar, to knit and, erm, chat.  There are already a few local-ish groups, but none in my hometown.

Our inaugural meeting was yesterday, 20th February, at The Snug Bar in Godalming (chosen for it's lovely atmosphere & even lovelier 2-4-1 cocktails).  We invited several twitter friends and people already known to us.  These included experienced knitters, those who had knitted a little bit, and complete beginners.

I hope to be able to make a gazillion jumpers like the one I'm wearing (which is wonderful and is available here from Rocket Originals!)

Gemma oversee's a new knitters first lesson

My first time using 'little' needles! The training wheels are coming off.
Cocktails were drunk, knitting was erm, knitted, chatting was chatted, and I learned to knit 'in the round!'

Check me out! I can now make tubes, not just squares!

Being an inclusive bunch, we were not at all sexist and invited my mate @Timato_ along, ostensibly to record our first meeting in photographic form.  Gemma managed to get him knitting too (his first time!), and this is his offering:

Tim knitted his first item - a blanket for a slug.
We intend to meet every 2 weeks at The Snug Bar (who were very accomodating and hardly raised an eyebrow at us, even when I lost control of my wool ball which shot across the floor leaving a wooly trip wire in it's wake).  I believe that setting aside this time to knit will really help in the completion of projects, which otherwise could get 'left behind' in the busyness of life.

Our next meeting is on 5th March, 7pm at The Snug Bar in Godalming.   We have a facebook group if you're interested in coming along to join us!/groups/379762208716375/.  Knitters, crocheters, sew-ers & cocktail lovers all welcome!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Land Girl Chic

I'm currently snowbound and freezing in my little wooden house, because I've run out of heating oil.  This has become a yearly event for me.  Every year I think 'oh, I'm low on oil, I must order some more', and then I forget about it... and then it snows... and then my heating goes off...and then the oil supplier can't get to me for over a week.

This does actually bear a striking resemblance to my home, though mine is a bit draftier...

However, in the true spirit of 'make-do', I've simply piled on layers of cashmere and shoved a cat down each trouser leg, and I'm toasty warm again (if a little scratched from the cats).  I've got to thinking a bit about how I'm going to 'make do' over the next 12 months, which lead to me thinking about my garden, which led to thinking about Land Girls, which lead on to thinking about Dungarees, natch.

You already know about the Land Girls, so I'm not going to re-hash this over and over again.  Suffice it to say that I'm totally on board with their spirit.  It's time to stop complaining about the rising price of food and get out there and grow something.  Of course, if you can do it looking fabulous then more's the better.  I've been having a little lookie on the interweb to see what's on offer and here's a few ideas:

Cord Dungarees by Freddies of Pinewood, £55

Cotton drill reproduction landgirl dungarees by Apple Tree Lane, £49

Land Army Dungarees by Tara Starlet, £68
I'm a bit in love with all of the dunga's I've shown here.  Despite the fact that whenever I mention the word 'dungarees', my husband looks at me as if I've gone mad.  "Just look how pretty they are!", I cry.  He appears not to share my enthusiasm & still glowers.  But I don't care.  I envision myself digging away in my plot looking totally marvellous.

I have to say that, although the Tara Starlet dungarees are my absolute favourite, I can hardly see myself actually gardening in them.  They are far too nice to cover in mud.  Probably a bit too tight on the old bottom to make bending over practical too.  The Freddies of Pinewood ones look pretty hardwearing, and the Apple Tree Lane ones probably the most practical, and the most historically accurate (and the cheapest too).

As I take another look at the original Land Girls, I realise that what they were wearing probably didn't feature very highly in their minds as they dug.  Most of them are wearing mens trousers that are too big for them and their oldest wooly jumper.  So long as it was practical, kept them warm and meant they could grow potatoes, they probably didn't care.

I guess the real spirit of the Womens Land Army lies not so much in what one wears, but what one does.  I hope to make 2012 a 'Land Army' success, as I venture forth and conquer my veg patch.  And nevermind what I wear whilst doing it.

But maybe I'll still save up for those dungaree's anyway.....just to help me get in the mood!