Thursday 29 November 2012

Brixton East, SW9

You know that amazing vintage shop you've always hoped would appear just around the corner from your house? The one that sells original pieces carefully chosen and displayed beautifully? And (obviously) open just in time for Christmas pressie buying? 

Well funnily enough that very store has just opened its doors in Brixton! (apologies if this isn't your down-the-road location too, but these beauties don't come around very often!). The shop is called Brixton East and it offers a fabulous, fun, selection of second-hand homeware from eras mainly from the twentieth century.  

It has a sense of British nostalgia bringing fond memories back with images, logos and colours taking you back to cosy childhood memories or a perfect imagining of period home trends. Reusing fantastic designs from days gone by - and my...don't they look good...

Brixton East has opened this month at 100 Barrington Road, just a hop, skip and a jump away from the increasingly trendy Brixton Village. Its owner, the ever smiley and charming Andy Luckett, will be opening this treasure trove every Friday, Saturday and Sunday up until Christmas.

The fantastic shop space has been converted from a warehouse built in 1871 and lovingly restored by Andy. It is just by the railway tracks across the road from what used to be Brixton East railway station, hence the name (one for you fact fans!). It really is right in the centre of Brixton, so worth a peek just to see the canaverous space and impressive beams alone. 

Brixton East will only be the shop for limited times throughout the year so be warned to make sure to check it out soon! The space will also be used for galleries, plays, art shows and a whole exciting mixture of events throughout the year, so keep your eyes peeled...

But here's a quick further look into the shop...there's vintage upholstery (70s nude optional)...

The most marvellous mannikins and pinny collection...
Fabulous festive treats...

Unique lighting from talented Cornish designers...

Even finds for animal lovers...

Oh and don't forget to try one of Andy's Brixton it's treats all round in my dream vintage shop! 

Sunday 18 November 2012

Christmas shopper's knee: sales guide pt 1

Catherine Tough at The Workshop sale
In an attempt to avoid recreating last year's 'Christmas shopper's knee' incident (which left me limping through Liberty looking for last minute gifts and then having to explain to the doctor that - no I hadn't been doing any vigorous sporting activities just rushing from one side of town to the other in a desperate search to find the perfect pressies for friends, family, the boy's family and the rest of the boy's family that I may have only remembered in a mad panic before my last chance shopping trip) this year I have decided that a schedule for shopping visits put together with military precision is the only way I'll come away unscathed. 

All while keeping my bank balance as untroubled as possible, I do love a good bargain, and finding cool, original gifts y'know no pressure. 

So here's the first instalment of the finest sales I have pulled together for sensible shopping trips to cover the bases for all those pesky presents, to *hopefully* help fill up the proverbial Santa's sack with no knee nasties

HERE GOES! *straps up knees* *packs up flask of hot chocolate* *grabs oyster card* *and gets shopping*

So Of Cabbages & Kings is a great place to start on Saturday 24th November, in Abney Hall on Stoke Newington's fabulous Church Street. This occasional market is always worth getting to N16 for (and if you haven't yet been to Stokey - a very good excuse to explore!) and will be showing lots of independent crafters including this time the lovely What Katie Does, whose Wonder Cat print (pictured below) is also already gracing the bedroom wall in casa Fay. 

Then starting off a bumper weekend...on 30th November - 2nd December The Cockpit Arts Studio Open House at Holborn is a fantastic way to see the wonderful wares of 165 clever creative designer/makers, some of the interiors highlight include Thornback & Peel, Mary Kilvert and Yoyo Ceramics and a whole host of other creative gift ideas too (the jewellery always blows me away). 

My next pit stop will be Donna Wilson's sample sale also on from 30th November - 2nd December. A must-visit, when Donna annually opens up her studio and sells off her knitted goodies, with seconds, discontinued products and some fun one-offs available for very nice prices, thank you very much. Theo Theo are also just a studio away selling off clever and witty designer pieces to take away at bargain-ous prices too. 

Also on this busy shopping weekend on Saturday 1st December the North London Vintage Market will be holding one of their most excellent Crouch End based fairs. Packed full of quality vintage homeware pieces from 22 nostalgia inducing sellers it is definitely worth a rummage for fab one off Christmas gifts. 

While also on Saturday 1st December in my very own South London the annual Workshop Sale will be held in East Dulwich, with 25 world class designer/makers offering their unique combination of gift ideas with brands like Catherine Tough knitted loveliness and Annie Shurburne rugs selling products at special Christmas pressie rates, it calls itself 'South London's Best Kept Secret' so shhh...

Then on Sunday 2nd December I'll be heading off to Sandown Park for the Wonder Whistle antiques fair, a perfect destination for vintage finds. I'll be seeking out some antique kitchenalia for the boy's mum here, plus maybe sneaking a look for lovely mix and match era crockery for erm me (as a reward for all the hard work shopping??) Anyway moving swiftly on here's a fab video from Wonder Whistle to see why you shouldn't miss it...

Now if that all seems a bit too much for one weekend *checks knees* Cockpit Arts will also be holding an Open House at their Deptford Studio on 7th-9th December so double the case to visit! 

Phew, so that's a good start. Now time to put my tired legs up, have a cuppa and a quick break...before more shopping hints to follow soon...

Sunday 11 November 2012

Pound Shop Pom Poms

I see them everywhere. Paper pom poms hanging off ceilings, in shops, in photoshoots, in people's homes...sweet, crisp bursts of colour adding a perfect zeitgeist hint of craftiness...and you know what? This interiors trend junky has gotta have them. 

So the question is buy or make? And on this budget month (is there any other type of month?!) coming up to Christmas I thought I'd have a go myself. Consulting my good friend the internet and with materials courtesy of Brixton's pound shops, I cobbled together some ideas to begin my adventure in pom pom making: 

I started with one pack of £1 (this is something we may regret later...) of regular tissue paper and split it up into pinky and greeny colourways, I had about 6 or 7 sheets for each pom pom. 

Then I had to work out how to do a concertina fold. It was pretty easy really, I just folded it about an inch and a half wide and kept on folding until I had run out of tissue paper.

Then I tied a bit of string around the middle...nice little bow tie effect here...

Then I snipped a round edge off the top of either end (of one of the pom poms - the other sadly forgotten/*tactically* left uncut for effect)

This is the stage that the cat started to get interested...

Then all I needed to do was separate each sheet of tissue paper and fluff up until it got all pom pom-y! 

All fairly easy, although either my cheap tissue paper or clumsy hands meant I did rip up my precious poms a bit while fluffing...
But in the end these beauties looks pretty...erm ok...I reckon if I pack in a few more sheets of tissue paper I could do a stirling job with these bad boys.

Here's a finished pom pom (cat for scale)
And both my crafty creations

After my first foray into the world of pom poms, I reckon I'm in, I'll keep making and won't be parting with my pennies to buy readymade. In fact I'm now planning on making some white tissue paper pom poms in many mini sizes for my Christmas decs this year. So lock up your tissue paper, this new pom pom queen is coming! 

(Links to the lovely websites that helped me out here and here - thank you!)

New stuff and things

Bear with me guys...
Lovely image from Jim Bob Art
I'm going to try out some new stuff on the blog. Still love the old format but feeling the need for a shake up. 

DIARY DATES: I love reporting back from markets and fairs, but hope to help you all get your diaries in order so I'm going to starting giving you a heads up on where the best homeware and vintage sales will be going down. It would be great to hear you have a chance to visit too. 

MORE SHOPS: I'm going to bring you more shop reviews, but not just visits. I'm going to start to scour cyber space too and point out online discoveries for your perusal as well. 

MAKES, BAKES...MISTAKES: I try, I tend to fail. But enjoy giving making things a go. And *sometimes* something lovely can come from it (remember I only said sometimes...).

FAVES: When something lovely comes your way, it's good to share. So I'll be popping pics up of products, places and maybe even people that I think are good enough to share. 

OTHER STUFFS: And I might just try some other ideas. Cos, you know...why not? 

Oh and sometime soon *glares at designery type boyfriend* the old blog will get a makeover. Those birds are really starting to get on my wick so think it is time for an update. 

And you know what I might even pop a pic of my mug on here soon - roll on the new times!