Maybe it’s the change in weather, but I’m really starting to hanker for a holiday. And I’d really like to take it in one of these.For a good part of my childhood my parents took us on caravanning holidays in the UK. It was the only way they could afford a holiday with four kids, back in the days before economy flights. At the time I don’t think I really appreciated how cool our caravan was. It was quite retro even then but really well made and built to last. It had an orange and brown colour scheme inside (need I say more?) and I also remember the brown and cream plastic Tupperware set that we ate and drank everything from. My favourite bit was the little foot pedal that pumped in the water to the sink. I really, really wish my parents hadn’t sold it (when I was still young and foolish and didn’t care for such things!) as I would give my eye teeth to have it now. And if I did have it, I would like to decorate it something like this…
I’m taking lots of inspiration from the book My Cool Caravan written by Jane Field-Lewis and Chris Haddon, which celebrates vintage caravanning in all its guises and is a really good guide to buying, renovating and enjoying them. I first came across these guys at the Vintage at Goodwood festival last year where there was a wonderful display of some of the best specimens of restored caravans. A new book called My Cool Campervan is due to be launched soon and there’s more details on the website
My other, rather indulgent dream, is to find one of those little baby caravans to do up and have permanently stationed in the back garden, which I could use either as playhouse for the kids (how cool would that be?) or maybe even a little outdoor hidey-hole for me, whenever I want to escape and think. Something tells me that the kids might win that one!
Have I mentioned that I love tulips? Well I do and if anyone out there ever wishes to make my day or say it with flowers, well tulips will always do it for me. Why, because they’re not as showy or sweet-smelling as roses or lilies. In fact they’re quite a simple, unassuming flower really but their colour and their shape is iconic for me! I can’t wait for them all to come into bloom – they make me smile just to look at them.
Anyway, today’s post is a little homage to the lovely tulip as you may have guessed and what better way to celebrate than with this vintage dress, which I came across on the My Vintage website. Actually, My Vintage owner Emma tweeted about it and I couldn’t resist a peek (I’m sure she does it on purpose!!).
This cute 1950s vintage tulip print prom dress has a cinched waist and a full skirt – perfect for twirling around in at a spring wedding or tea party. I love the print – so sweet!
And because I’m in a bit of a tulip fever today I’ve included this extra little something for the weekend, a gorgeous 1920s Art Deco pewter brooch, also available from My Vintage. I can imagine wearing this pinned to a colourful little cardi on a summer’s day, as a way of declaring to the world that I’m a fully paid up member of the tulip fan club.
I’m so happy that craft is all-pervasive these days and just to prove the point, I’d like to show you these groovy knitted lampshades created by Helen Taylor of Ose Designs
Their curvy, organic shape makes them a really quirky addition to the home (is it me or do they remind you of little toadstools or top hats?). Helen, a life-long maker and do-er, developed the design one day after she stretched a tube of knitting over an old lampshade frame. She loved the asymmetric shape, as did her friends, and you could say she had a bit of a light bulb moment (ho ho!).
Now we all know what happens when caution is thrown to the wind and jumpers are flung over nearby lamps (or the less adventurous among us can imagine) but fear not, the design has been rigorously tested and complies with the British Standard for Safety, meeting fire safety requirements.
Thanks to Helen’s background working in sustainability, the lamps are also knitted from yarns chosen for their lower environmental impact such as recycled materials, silk and linen. Likewise, the simple wooden bases are made from chunks of oak wood that is FSC certified.
This week has had its highs and lows and serves to remind me, yet again, how fortunate I am. Life is fleeting and precious and it’s important to enjoy what every day has to offer, no matter how insignificant it may seem.
On Tuesday I went to visit a new exhibition called Graphic Nature at Sheffield Museum’s Millennium gallery.The collection of modern and traditional pieces of art and craft have been influenced by nature and the natural environment and every single thing, to my mind, was just beautiful. I’m writing a review for Crafts magazine which you can read in the next issue but suffice it to say, I highly recommend! And while you’re there, you can enjoy all the other fab, free displays at this excellent gallery.
While I was there I also snapped a few interesting examples of architecture.
The last shot shows the Sheffield Hallam University building that proudly displays a poem called What if? by Andrew Motion. It was a great place to sit and think in the sunshine for five minutes, which I don’t often get the chance to do.
Like many people, I arrived home that night to enjoy some yummy pancakes with my family. Now that we’ve had Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday to give it its proper name, and we’ve all had our fill of sugary, lemony goodness (nutella, jam, maple syrup – delete as appropriate) what’s next? This is my son’s usual question too. What’s the next big event we can all look forward to on the calendar? Erm, well that would be Easter and all that yummy, chocolately fun. Until then though, one or two of us may be heard saying, “I’ve given up chocolate for Lent”. It got me thinking: what does this actually mean and why are they really doing it anyway? I’m writing an article on this very topic – more details to follow soon!
I also want to mention the lovely Gemma Leak, a talented Harrogate photographer who has just celebrated six years in business with an exhibition of her wonderful work. It was a great night catching up with some local peeps and I also discovered another side to Gemma. I already knew her family portraits were fantastic but also on display was some of her travel photography, which was simply stunning!
Finally, I just wanted to show you this adorable hand-beaded bee brooch that Sarah Fitton of Ditsy Bird Designs sent to me. I challenged her to come up with a bee design because, believe it or not, I love bees slightly more than teapots. Didn’t she do well? Thanks Sarah!
Yes, dear friends, you will definitely know when it’s time for tea with this hilariously cute teapot ring by Purple Shmurple (love that name).
Purple Shmurple makes individual jewellery with a natural theme and a vintage feel from materials such as wood, acrylic and glass. Trust me, there are some strange and wonderful items to be found in the folksy shop. Have a gander! http://www.folksy.com/items/1462193-Teapot-Clock-Ring