Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Homemade wedding ideas: the V&A Quilts exhibition

Bishop's Court Quilt (1690-1700)
Seeing London’s V&A museum’s fantastic new exhibition entirely dedicated to quilts and patchwork has spurred me on to start thinking again about crafty ideas and homemade favours.

The attention to detail, time and effort put into the quilts on display was astonishing (some date back to the 1700s). The beautiful wedding quilts, made especially for the wedding night by the bride’s family, were particularly poignant - evoking the individual family histories behind each stitch and fabric square.

Wedding Quilt, Miss Nixon (1870-1880)

Natasha Kerr wall hanging (2007)

The V&A can always be relied upon for its fabulous gift shop, and the Quilt’s exhibition shop was no exception. I had to literally claw myself away from the bundles of limited-edition V&A / Liberty print fabric squares (charmingly tied up with bows), the lavender hearts, the pretty floral buttons and the stacks of gorgeous quilting books. Now where’s my needle and thread…

  • Click to read about the V&A’s wedding dress archive in my previous post here.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Inspirations from Iceland

For a city the size of Portsmouth (population: 115,000), Reyjavik is astonishingly – achingly - hip. The tiny main street Laugavegur is lined with mini boutiques without a big brand in site, and there are beautifully styled people everywhere.

I was there writing a city guide, but I managed to squeeze in a bit of wedding research at the same time. I spent far too long in Frida Fraenka taking pictures (my baggage allowance wouldn’t stretch to all that crockery I’m afraid) - a den of antiques, bric-a-brac and curiosities. A little cubby hole at the back was piled high with fabrics with some great 50s and 60s florals and embroideries, while the china tea sets practically teetered off shelves and tables.

This dreamy dress also caught my eye at vintage shop Nostalgia (on Laugavegur). And I loved the simple display of flower cuttings and branches in old glass bottles at Andersen & Lauth on the same street -  a nice idea for a more contemporary look (dare I say it!) for table decorations.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

London’s first vintage wedding fair

While I was rummaging last weekend at Clerkenwell vintage fair, I heard on the grapevine that London’s very own vintage wedding dress fair is about to launch, and a quick search on Google confirmed that The The London Vintage Wedding Fair will indeed take place on Sunday April 11th .

Held in Notting Hill’s 20th Century Theatre, it looks like there will be a good mix of vintage dresses, accessories, antique veils and tiaras – plus retro hair stylists and make-up artists on hand to complete the look. And I certainly can’t resist the lure of goodie bags and bubbly. It’s in the diary. 

Photo by Retrostuff-etc                               

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Antique printing blocks

I picked up these wonderful old wooden letter printing blocks at one of my favourite London vintage furniture shops, The Dog and Wardrobe, just off Broadway Market in the East End (head to the market on a Saturday for an array of food stalls, cafes and boutiques). 

I thought I’d start experimenting with using them to block-print our initials and the wedding date on the front covers of the Order of Service booklets (I may start to regret this idea 100 prints later!).

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Vintage wedding dress hunting: Clerkenwell vintage fair

I cut my Sunday morning lie-in short today and peddled down to Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair - a newcomer on the London vintage fair calendar, and not as big as the likes of Hammersmith and Battersea - which makes it all the more appealing if you’re feeling a bit bleary eyed!

It’s a good place to start if you’re looking for initial wedding or bridesmaid dress ideas or for hunting down old lace, textiles, jewellery or divine pillbox hats with net trims. Pieces range from 1800s to the 80s and are well-priced compared with buying in the shops (it also has a tea room and handy alterations booth.)

A Vintage Wedding's stand

Elaine Bernstein's stand

A few stands caught my eye: A Vintage Wedding had a range of frou-frou net and lace bridal dresses, while I loved the adorable bridesmaid dress at Elaine Bernstein’s stand. I couldn’t resist going a bit snap-happy at Fola Solanke’s beautifully styled stall (she’s a Friday regular at Portobello) – honeymoon inspiration perhaps? I just need to track down the perfect 1950s swimsuit…

Fola Solanke's stand

Friday, 12 March 2010

I love... Frolic's DIY wedding favours

I just came across floral designer Chelsea Fuss' gorgeous blog Frolic! and loved this homemade favour idea: potted violas wrapped in newspaper. She uses Le Monde Diplomatique no less (for that certain Parisian je ne sais quoi)… but I can imagine faded vintage magazine pages would make a lovely alternative too. See more of her beautiful creations here.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Vintage wedding jewellery ideas

I haven’t even begun to contemplate jewellery yet, but my colleague Sue sent me a link Sarah Drew’s handmade collection of vintage bridal headdresses and necklaces, and I couldn’t resist posting a couple of pictures up. Sarah cleverly combines antique brooches, lace, pearls and gems to create one-off pieces, and you can even provide your own brooch to personalise a look.

I love the sound of her Boutique Bridal Jewellery Weekends that she hosts in Cornwall: a weekend of making your own bridal or bridesmaid’s jewellery and even wedding rings – perfect for a pre-wedding bonding session with your bridesmaids or a creative and crafty hen do.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Alpine inspiration

I am just back from a week’s holiday in the Alps where I visited the beautiful French farmhouse La Rochetaz that my godparents Neil and Flossie have lovingly restored over the past few years. Flossie is a 1930s fan and I couldn’t resist snapping some of her gorgeous crockery collection, including some Clarice Cliff originals. She has such a great eye for finding vintage treasures, and their home is full of inspiration.

This Robert Browning quote that they have written in their hallway also caught my eye and a brought lump to my throat!