Thursday, 27 May 2010

Readers' Weddings: Laura and Dave

Castle Lachlan in Argyle, Scotland was the backdrop for Laura and Dave’s cosy, homespun wedding, where the theme was a laid-back atmosphere and “lots of colour”. 

Vintage details: Print designer Laura trawled charity shops and Ebay for the striking 60s/70s vintage tablecloths. Yvonne Mullock made an exact replica of a 1940s dress that Laura found in Glasgow (albeit 3 inches longer); and the bridesmaids sourced their own colourful vintage dresses.

Homemade things: As for the fabulous woollen confectionary, Laura explains: “There was a knitting team for the cakes... my friends Anna, Jeni, Bec, Lorraine, Leigh, Glo and myself knitted all the wee ones and my Mum, Grandma and Grandad were the team behind the wedding cake.”

The bride and groom made the place names together, using a picture of them dressed up as Candice-Marie and Keith from 70s Mike Leigh film Nuts in May.

All photography by CandySnaps 

Monday, 24 May 2010

Vintage shopping in Lewes

I took a trip to visit my friend in the picturesque town of Lewes, near Brighton over the weekend (an effective distraction from thinking about The Stag)… Sarah lives in the most gorgeous cottage down a cobbled street (life envy!), and she took us on a tour of her local antiques and vintage shops (with stops at pretty cafes along the way). Needless to say I was in vintage heaven – there seems to be shop after shop crammed with bric a brac, old fabrics, crockery, vintage clothes and antiques.

First stop was The Patchwork Dog & Basket to look for fabrics and ribbons:

Over the road, the permanent indoor “Flea Market” had an overwhelming array of goods – I liked these bottles that could make pretty individual flower vases:

And then on to Lewes Antiques Centre on Cliffe High Street, where we scoured floor after floor of antiques, including 50s kitchenalia, and lots of lovely lace and lingerie. I also liked these wicker lamp shades that could be used as decorations in a marquee.

Lunch at Bill’s in the sun felt like we were on holiday. I loved the pink lemonade bottles which I nabbed for future use as vases for table decorations!

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Handmade hair accessories

Our trip up north to the Wirral the other week was a whirlwind of wedding planning, but I managed a few moments of calm looking out to sea through the rooftop studio windows of friend and designer Emma Embery. Emma is the most talented embroiderer I’ve ever met – she creates intricate large-scale embroideries on dresses and shawls, making it look effortless when it must be anything but.

She is also a true vintage magpie – rummaging in markets and antiques shops for pretty bits of lace, antique pearls and delicate fabrics to turn into hair accessories, jewellery or appliqués. She has very kindly offered to make me a bespoke head piece as a wedding gift – I can’t wait to see the results.

Here are some pics from her lovely studio:

Monday, 17 May 2010

A simple idea from Anthropologie

If I had to live in a shop, that shop would be Anthropologie - the beautifully eclectic, colourful and inspirational American import that sources goods from around the world, hikes the price up, and displays it so gorgeously that you cant resist wanting to buy everything in sight. Anyway, last time I was in there (drooling over hot chocolate bowls and patchwork bed spreads), I spotted this simple display of lavender sprigs taped to the wall, and took a surreptitious photo.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Recycling vintage embroideries

My eagle-eyed colleague Sarah came back from a trip to the Paris flea markets last week with another bundle of beautiful vintage embroideries - this time some pretty cotton table mats which are partly finished, leaving the faint outline of flowers still to embroider.

So the question is, what to do with them? I could try and finish them, but time is ticking and I quite like them as they are! I could make them into cushion covers for the chairs (see pics below), as my mum and I have started doing with Sarah’s last Parisian haul of embroideries (and the other lacey bits we have collected). Or we could use them as place mats for the top table? Or how about Sarah’s idea to ask for guests’ input in the creative process?

Here are some of the (69p Ikea) cushions that we have started re-covering:

Monday, 10 May 2010

Vintage hen weekends

If the idea of being dressed up as Joan from Mad Men is far more appealing than L Plates and a pink tutu, then these hen weekend ideas could be your ideal alternative to the usual girlie getaway:

Firstly, Vintage Vacations on the Isle of Wight – where you can bed down in a 50s airstream caravan complete with fabulous retro décor, stay in a quirky beach shack, or spend a weekend in a converted tabernacle where you’d have trouble prising yourself away from the wood burning stove it's so cosy.

An Airstream

The Shack
The Mission
The Bungalow

Up North, there is the bohemian La Rosa caravan park in Witby – a cornucopia of kitsch abodes, from a converted truck and old-fashioned gypsy caravans, to a big top tent - along with plenty of eccentric touches such as an open air roll-top bath in the orchard!

La Rosa
For something a little more luxurious (with prices to match), British homewares company Pedlars has just opened the spectacular Balbegno Castle. Kitted out in their signature heritage-inspired style, it would make the perfect vintage retreat.

Balbegno Castle

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Vintage Nirvana… Kate Halfpenny’s studio

Vintage Heaven does exist – you’ll find it behind a hand-painted screen that hides rails of delicate dresses in Kate Halfpenny’s London studio. The moment you step inside, you can’t help but fall for the idea of becoming a Halfpenny bride – and fall I most certainly did - for a beautiful 50s number that she is currently recreating for me.

But back to her studio… the huge space, hidden down a cobbled mews in Camden, is a feast for the eyes: vintage gowns, fur stoles and lace caplets are hung haphazard among strings of antique necklaces, or draped over old-fashioned tailor’s mannequins; silk ribbons and trims spill out from the drawers of wooden cabinets, while old-fashioned glass bell jars display her new jewellery collection.

Don’t expect the usual bridal experience – Kate’s no-nonsense approach is refreshing and she has an expert eye in picking out the right vintage dress from her collection, or will make a vintage-style dress to order. I went a bit snap-happy at my last appointment there (no pics of the dress I’m afraid though!):