Monday 30 May 2011


We took the kids to a local carnival and funfair yesterday, and between watching the local cheer-leading squad and being deafened by the boys clanging the bell on the train ride, I sneaked off and looked at some of the bric-a-brac stalls. All I picked up was a book for 20p, but it's a good one - Fancy Dress for Children by the marvellously named Barbara Snook. 

Ms Snook is full of ideas for all kinds of outfits, but the whole book is basically sketches. There's the odd pointer as to materials, but no detailed instructions. For example, the Demon King's crown is captioned 'Black with red jewels, fruit gums on fine wire'. Or you could send your child off to the party dressed as a crab - only gardening gloves, tights and ping-pong balls stand between her and that first place rosette.

Costume designers on Doctor Who started here

There are lot of costumes based on slightly dubious cultural stereotypes - Sheiks, Rajahs and Gypsies abound, and basis of their apparel is apparently night attire. We are told sternly that the pyjama coat and trousers of a Mexican should NOT match, a blue coat and apricot pants are often worn together. And I imagine that only in 1969 would a book suggest that a child go to a party dressed as a cigarette!

I particularly love the hairdressing hint 

Where this book excels though, is in the unexpected costume. We've all seen a toddler look adorable as a ladybird or bee, but when you get that letter home from Nursery explaining that Ruby is to be a limpet in the Nautical Nativity, where do you turn? Why, page 89 of course!

Poor big sister seaweed looks rather sulky.
That would have been me.

Cute as a butterfly bum is, don't forget the tights.

How about a Belisha Beacon* costume for a tall skinny child? Or a Saucepan, on the Boil, made from corrugated cardboard, with cotton wool spilling out from the top. Snook helpfully suggests that 'This can be worn by a very plump child'. 

Eley Kishimoto S/S 2011

In the introduction, we're told that 'the essence of a successful fancy dress is in its immediate identification. It may be witty, even topical, but never obscure'. Hmm. There's nothing esoteric about a child sprouting footware from every limb. I'm sure we could all immediately identify him as a nationwide chain of chemists...

And what about the child wearing a top-hat and tails, carrying crampons and an ice-pick? Why of course! A Social Climber! I can also just picture the 6 year old Chaucer fan begging to go as the Wife of Bath, as opposed to a Princess. Who wouldn't want a necklace of bath-salts and pumice stone?

I leave you with my absolute favourite though - the Bird Table! Put aside the horror with which a small child wearing peanuts would be greeted at most school events - and consider the craft implications. 'The success of this SIMPLE costume depends on the care taken to model each bird accurately'. Yeah, cos constructing a lifelike goldfinch, blue-tit and sparrow from papier-mâché and feathers needs no tutorial...

Sigh. Another parenting fail.
Lakota x

* A flashing light on a pole, to indicate a street crossing

Linking up to Flea Market Finds

Thursday 26 May 2011

Trashion Magazine Winner is...

...The Vintage Knitter! I took a screen grab of the random number generator, but couldn't figure out how to include it in this post. So you'll have to take my word for it.

Congratulations! If you email me your address at I'll get it in the post to you asap.

There's still a chance to win one of FIVE vintage style hanging bird decoration from Plum and Ivory though, just click here. And look out for the chance to win a digital subscription to Vintage Life magazine, coming soon...

Lakota x

Buttons and rings, my two favourite things

Blogger was all pre-menstrual again yesterday – I wasn’t able to comment on any blogs for a while or even log into mine, so I went off in a strop to find my glue-gun. [The choice of the crap crafter. Also my superhero weapon.]

And now I’m feeling quite pleased with myself.  I love jewellery, and have managed to create a host of new pretties to wear, costing mere pennies. Earlier in the week I’d decided to glue a brooch pin to the back of a domino, and dizzied with the success of this 15 second project, decided to take the plunge into making rings. Yes, I actually glued things to ring bases. Vintage buttons, to be precise. The Comtesse de Ferveur mentioned one a friend had made her, and it was a light-bulb moment. I’d do a tutorial, but this is advanced craft of the most challenging kind, I’m not sure you knitters and dressmakers would get your heads around its complexities *smirk*

Obligatory arty Etsy style shot

But seriously, they’re quite cool, don’t you think? The only effort involved is when the buttons have a shank, as you need to remove this before you glue it to the ring base. The black plastic button I attacked with a hacksaw, and the vintage metal anchor button took pliers. Then I used sandpaper to get the back as smooth as possible. Use plenty of glue, and I’d recommend warming the ring up a bit first, or the glue just sets 
on the cold metal before you can attach anything.

Star button via Ebay

Nice manicure, shame I forgot the handcream

A trio of happiness
Vintage metal, Mother of Pearl, Plastic

[Screenshot from QVC]
Anchor brooch by Stolen Thunder
Today's Exclusive - 11 spot Domino brooch

Vintage button from Gran's collection
Having serious anchor love at the moment

As you can probably tell, I'm really taken with this idea, and will doubtless never need to buy a ring again by the end of the week. I'm thinking that a plastic apple button would make a great homage to Marc Jacobs - or alternatively cute party bag gifts for a little girl's birthday. 

Oh, and I made this ribbon corsage type thing as well - with an actual needle and thread! I know this idea entered my head via blogland, but no clue where - sorry if it was yours and I haven't credited you - let me know.

Go forth, and accessorize!
Lakota x

If you haven't joined the swap yet - I'm closing it later today as I have a big spreadsheet to wrestle with!
Trashion Magazine is out now - so this will be your last chance to win the launch issue 

This is my Monthly Make for May
recycled fashion finds

Tuesday 24 May 2011

The Magic and Madness of Ebay. Part 1

Ebay. It's a fertile source of vintage (and not so vintage) fripperies, genuine Mulberry Alexas all the way from China, and last year's Primark playsuits. If you type 'chewing gum' into the buying page, the related searches it gives you include 'used chewing gum', 'half eaten sandwich' and 'Britney Spears bra'. Yup, it's a whole compendium of crazy, but some items (and sellers) take it to a hitherto undiscovered level. So, welcome to the first in an occasional series of magic and madness I've found on Ebay. For your delectation today - Spirit Dolls!

Oh yes. You thought reborn dolls were a bit freaky? Indeed they are, and I would swear this is in fact a real child - for $400 I would expect him to be, frankly - but Spirit Dolls go one better. 'Barry' on the left there doesn't do much (unless you count emptying your bank account - spookily realistic again) but don't you want a doll who can 'communicate with you through dreams', 'cause lights to flicker', 'slam doors' , 'create cold spots' or 'play with the faucet'?

You do? Welcome to the world of haunted dolls. Each occupied by a spirit - usually of a child who 'died' in tragic circumstances - and more often than not sold by someone who is 'downsizing', and cannot keep all their paranormal collection of rowdy offspring. What is not explained is why the dolls in question so often resemble the bastard offspring of Chucky from Child's Play and Little Orphan Annie. Look away now if you don't like clowns...

This is Madalyn. Gosh, she's just adorable isn't she? 
Perhaps she died at a birthday party, choking on a Chicken McNugget.

The seller in question is very concerned about the spirit friend she's  flogging on Ebay  passing on and begs:

"All I ask is that you give your spirited doll a good and loving home. Treat each of them with the utmost respect. After all, you too may be a spirited doll someday"

Yes, just as the Bible tells us folks...lead a good life and end up trapped in the body of Tiny Tears, spending eternity turning a fridge on and off.

Of course, you'd probably want a friend for Madalyn wouldn't you? This is Mira, who fell in the creek and drowned whilst trying to catch tadpoles.

She should have used a net...

Oh goody, she can stand up.
Wouldn't it be lovely to see her crossing your room at night?

Whilst researching this post I very nearly clicked Buy It Now rather than Add to Watch List. Phew. I could have inadvertently purchased a 'Haunted Evil Demonic Wooden Zebra'!

Be careful what you buy at the bootsale...

The seller claims to have bought it at an antiques market without knowing it was haunted, much less demonic, and despite being a collector of the paranormal, 'does not want any part of demons'. Well who can blame her?  Just listen to her sales pitch:

"About a week after bringing this into my home weird things started to happen...doors slamming when no one else was there and heavy footsteps, disembodied voices and a horrible smell at times..."

Sounds pretty much like life with toddlers to me, but no, she blames the demonic zebra, yours for only $24.99. I checked the feedback of some of these sellers, and they all seem to have given 100% satisfaction. My favourite comment was this one:

Fast ship and as described. Would do business with again! My wife says Thanks!
(Haunted Baby Secret Doll Possessed Scary Demon Ghost)

One can only imagine the occasion that calls for a baby doll with demonic possession as the perfect gift. If your budget is a little larger than $24.99, who could fail to be enticed by this title?

$999.00 (free shipping)

That free shipping might just seal the deal for the casual shopper. The listing was accompanied by a lengthy and no doubt nonsensical story about how the doll came to be in their possession, but as it was written in gothic font and basically began "it was a dark and stormy night", I rather thought it was typed by someone who got a D on their creative writing course. This kind of tale gets the 'real' sellers all riled up. The seller at Dorian Midnight's Dark Emporium huffs:

"I have seen people paint dark eyes on dolls, write ludicrous long stories, with no merit about their “haunted dolls” and even  claim they have a infinite supply from a “magic Grandmother”, or some other fictional person, in an attempt to sell an otherwise plain and ordinary doll to somebody, for no other reason but personal gain."

Naturally, she'd never take any of her dolls out to a cemetery and pose them on a selection of other people's graves! I mean, that would just be wrong, wouldn't it? 


Sweet dreams y'all!
Lakota x

Want more? See The Magic and Madness of Ebay Part 2

Sunday 22 May 2011

Don't judge a tin by its, erm, lid?

Hello, and welcome to my 50th post! [Yes, I know it took me a while. That's me]. It also seems like a while since I've found a decent bargain in a charity shop, and I nearly missed this not particularly attractive biscuit tin on the shelf. I'm glad I didn't though, as it was full to the brim with cookie cutters and all sorts of cake decorating paraphernalia.

I seem to be developing a large collection of cookie cutters, and this tin enabled me to add to my gingerbread man army, including a teeny-weeny Mr and Mrs pair only a few centimetres high. I can also now make gingerbread pigs, should I so desire. [I do, obviously]. I think the tong-y things are for crimping icing. It makes me happy to know that if any icing ever needs crimping, I'm all set.

There was also a mini heart shaped cake tin, and over twenty icing nozzles of different sizes, some of which appeared to be really old.

I know that these plastic things are icing cutters for making leaves and flowers, and that the dangerously large thumb tack is called an icing pin, but I have no idea how you'd go about using it. I'm also clueless about the metal hoop, and the yellow tools which look suspiciously like medical instruments, possibly for ear-wax removal. Any domestic goddesses of the cake persuasion who can shed some light? Perhaps I should actually read the 1981 copy of Cake Icing and Decorating by Carole Handslip which I picked up for 75p a few months before. I do wonder if the tin was later donated by the same disillusioned baker...


The contents of the whole tin was £1.50, and having looked on a couple of sugarcraft websites, I've discovered that just a single icing nozzle can cost up to £2.50. There were 22 in there, plus 10 cookie cutters and all the other bits and pieces. So I'm declaring it a bargain!

 I'd also like to say hello to all my new followers - hurrah to reaching 200 - and thanks again to everyone who follows and especially those who comment, I really appreciate it and am amazed the blog has got this far in 4 months. I'm constantly inspired by so many of your blogs - and I've been challenged to do an outfit post. We'll see!* And I can't wait for the great charity shop swap.

Finally, if you follow - you've got a great chance of winning one of my giveaways. Do enter my Plum and Ivory giveway if you're in the UK, and the Trashion Magazine competition is open worldwide.

Lakota x

* Did I sound jauntily nonchalant there? I'm terrified.

Linking up to Flea Market Finds

Saturday 21 May 2011

Plum and Ivory Giveaway!

As I mentioned yesterday, the lovely people at Plum and Ivory are running a little giveaway for followers of Faith Hope and Charity Shopping. (Delivery to UK addresses only please). They have put aside 5 of these gorgeous vintage style metal hanging birds for 5 lucky readers - I have one already otherwise I'd be swiping one for myself.

These look sweet just hanging from a drawer knob, or would add
a gorgeous vintage touch to an Easter or Christmas tree.

For a chance to win one of these little lovelies, you just need to :

1. Be a public follower of my blog, and leave a comment on this post saying what your favourite item is on the Plum and Ivory site. (Remember your profile needs to be public so I can contact you if you win! If you're not a blogger please ensure I have a way to contact you)
2. 'Like' Plum and Ivory's  Facebook page here
And that's it!

If you'd like an extra entry into the draw you can blog about the giveaway, or tweet the following:
"Win one of 5 vintage style hanging bird decorations from Plum and Ivory at Faith Hope and Charity Shopping blog."
Please leave an additional comment if you do either of these. The draw will take place on June 10th.

Good luck!
Lakota x

Friday 20 May 2011

Spirit of Summer Fair, or escape from the charity shops

In addition to my marathon wander around East London last weekend I also went to the Spirit of Summer fair at London Olympia for a few hours. Whilst the ticket prices for shopping fairs like this are always on the pricey side - about £15 - I usually manage to obtain free tickets, and on this occasion was lucky enough to have been sent complimentary passes by one of my favourite online gift companies, Plum and Ivory. Spirit of Summer (and similar events like the Country Living Fair) are excellent for sourcing unusual presents, and discovering new companies and products you'd have difficulty finding on the high street. It's a great way to support smaller British businesses, and I came across all kinds of wonderful crafters, designers, and artisan food makers.

These patchwork style tiles were £5 apiece, but I know some of you shabby chic and quilt lovers are drooling! They are beautifully made by Welbeck Tiles in Cornwall. They did garden birds in addition to the florals, and have many more designs on their website, but my favourites were those copied from vintage postcards.


This is Brighton circa 1910

Postcard style tiles £10 each

They had virtually every British seaside resort you can imagine, and I think one or two would look lovely just propped on a shelf. Some were the back of the postcard, so you see the 1/2d stamp and read the message. I enjoyed Archie's card to Mum and Dad that he was having a lovely time, and had "got all burnt up!" They will even make you tiles from your own postcards if you can't find what you're looking for.

There was also a presence from interiors magazine favourites such as Jan Constantine. The ladies on the stand were a bit dubious about my camera - but as Jan's new designs are already available in the catalogue and on-line, I think I managed to convince them that I wasn't planning any kind of industrial espionage! Of course, if anyone is inspired to get their felt stash out after seeing this picture I can't be held responsible...

I guess my willingness to buy helped as well! I've always liked her cushions - yes, I know they're everywhere, but hey - although the hefty price tag of around £60 for a small union jack design has put me off up until now. But at the fair I found this 'make your own' kit - everything you need to stitch one at home, and for the special 'show price' of £20.

So, watch this space, surely even I can manage this?

On to some other stalls I visited:

 Lovely thrown porcelain by Linda Bloomfield.
Everything is hand made and dishwasher and microwave safe.

I spent a lot of time ruining Beyond Fabrics' display by unfolding
all their gorgeous materials, but the stall holder was very patient and I did buy!

Totes, trugs, plant holders made by recycle-recycle
Everything is made from recycled rice bags as part of a fairtrade project in Cambodia

Rice sack washbag with carved coconut hook

Reverse of their waterproof fold-up picnic rug

I have seen these kind of products before but the quality was excellent, and everything looked extremely durable. The bright colours are lovely too.

I of course went to Plum and Ivory's stand to thank them for the tickets and to check out their new range of 'affordable luxury gifts'. They have something for every budget - from delectable cashmere ponchos, to hair slides and book marks made from vintage fabrics.

Wrap around leather bracelets

Pashmina style pure wool scarves

Vintage fabric bookmarks and hair accessories

Cashmere poncho

I'm excited to say that I'll also be posting about a Plum and Ivory giveaway in the next couple of days, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

I am beginning to collate all the prospective swappers details now so apologies if I haven't been commenting on your blogs as much as usual. The swap seems to have generated a lot of excitement and I will do my best to make sure that everyone gets to take part, but it will depend on numbers and of course countries of swappers involved, so please bear with me! I will try to let everyone know their swap partner by next weekend, but as the numbers are getting quite large it may be the second week in June when I return from my holiday - will keep you posted!

If you'd like to take part, please ensure your blog is linked up to your profile so I can find you when you comment - and active bloggers only please.

Lakota x

Opinions on the fair are my own. This is not a sponsored post.

Wednesday 18 May 2011

Faith Hope and Charity Swapping! Let's do it!

Entry to the swap is now closed

I knew you'd be up for it! Any excuse to go shopping - and it's entirely guilt free. Quite a few of you have expressed an interest on my last post here, but I'm going to keep it open until the end of next week so other people can sign up too. I'll sort out the swap partners, then I reckon about 6 weeks for the hunting and gathering - what do you think? Do tell any blog friends you think would enjoy it, and if you could put the button below on your sidebar and link it back to this post, that would be great.

EDIT - If you are a new follower and are interested, can you please make sure there is a link to your blog on your profile so I can visit you before sorting the swap. This will take me a while to sort out as it is without having to message people first to find their blogs. Some people have commented but their blog isn't linked in. Thanks for your understanding x
  • So, this is supposed to be fun and thrifty and I don't want to give too many orders, but I was thinking at least 3 items, with a maximum of 5.
  • At least one item must be sourced from a charity shop/boot sale/garage sale/jumble or similar
  • At least one item should be handmade - it doesn't have to be handmade by you if you're not crafty!
  • One item should be jewellery of some description
  • Try and get a sense of what your swap partner likes from their blog posts, pictures etc - and it's not cheating to ask them questions before hand!
  • There is no minimum spend. If you are thrifting genius who sources art deco jewellery from jumble sales for 25p, all the better! Absolute maximum spend is £12 but there is no need to spend this amount if not necessary - remember you will need to post things too.
  • I'm sure I don't need to say this, but do give anything second hand a launder / clean up if necessary!
  • Remember to let your partner know when you receive your parcel, and then it would be lovely if you posted about the swap so we can all share what we got.
Any thoughts or suggestions? Does the money element sound right to you? I don't want to be bossy, but I don't want anyone being disappointed either!

Lakota x

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Kylie's groovy Grannies and other delights

Look what the postman brought me -a  pink paper package tied up with string! [OK, first it was in a giant paper postal sack with a customs label, but that isn't so pretty, or as easy to bastardize song lyrics for.]

It's a parcel from the very lovely Kylie at Lucy Violet Vintage who blogs about her incredible op-shop and roadside finds in Perth, Australia. If you haven't checked out her site yet, wherever have you been? Kylie got sick of me bellyaching that there were no granny blankets to be had in my neck of the woods - at least not without paying silly money - and promptly shipped some off to me. Vintage granny blankets made by vintage Aussie Nannas - I love them! (Kylie had been a bit worried that by the time the boat came in I'd have made my own, but those of you who have seen my crochet endeavours here and here will know that was never going to be very likely).

I was further spoiled this week by our resident flamingo fancier and kitsch lover Scarlett of Scarlett loves Elvis who sent me a patriotic Welsh dragon apron she pounced on for me in a charity shop - perfect for making my welshcakes. (It was also in pink paper, but I was too busy ripping it open to find a camera). I haven't got a decent photo yet so you will have to imagine its glory, but here's a pic of my new yurrhrin's (as they are inexplicably pronounced in the valleys), also from Scarlett. They're brilliant - and I have the perfect nail varnish to match. Thanks lovely! 

Finally, thanks ever so much to Janys from Arty Crafty Stuff, who recently sent me one of her gorgeous  notepads, handmade with her own block printed painting on the cover. It's gone straight into my new (to me) handbag. You can see more of Janys' work on her blog or at her DaWanda shop

Anyway, whilst out and about in the charity shops and boot sales of South London I have also found myself spotting things I think my blogging buddies would like, and it got me thinking. I've seen swaps on other blogs - does anyone fancy Faith Hope and Charity Swapping? I haven't thought the details through fully yet - now there's a surprise - but it would probably involve letting me know you fancy it, me sorting out the swappers (I'm guessing most will be in the UK, but if you'd be up for posting internationally, or if I can find a swapper in your country, then great) and deciding on a little budget, theme and deadline. Then you check your partner's blog, find out a bit about them, and look out for second hand treasure and handmade loveliness you think they'd like. Result - everyone gets lovely parcels in the post. Anyone up for it? Let me know and I'll sort out a button and an 'official' post.

Lakota x

Edit: You don't have to blog about second hand stuff particularly, open to anyone who fancies it