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Cheap date: Walking in Peckham

16 May

I will admit I had a bit of a prejudice against this walk. First, P wanted to take to onto the set of a pre-teen drama and then we were going to walk through Peckham? It didn’t sound like a great way to spend a morning.  Luckily, I was proved completely wrong.

Firstly, it turns out that One Tree Hill ISN’T just a C4 television show, but is also part of Honor Oak Park. From the top of the hill you can see an absolutely amazing view of London, while feeling that you have completely left the city.

The walk from the top of the hill down towards Peckham Rye is gorgeous. Unfortunately you can occasionally hear the odd car or plane, so you don’t feel totally out of London, but it’s so beautiful it’s easy to imagine you are walking through an ancient woodland.

In my mind, Peckham Rye was going to be really dodgy. Perhaps it is in the surrounding streets, but I hugely recommend the park. We did see a man drinking a cider up a tree, but otherwise, this is a huge Victorian park that has been restored to its full glory by some very green-fingered volunteers. It is probably due to the endless rain we’ve been having, but everything looked in full bloom, lush and green and alive.

We wandered through the park, taking in the different gardens and the wildlife (we saw this heron flying to its perch, stalking a fish and then stabbing into the water with its beak to catch it. Also I am 99% sure the ‘rock’ next to it is a turtle). (UPDATE: I am now 100% certain it was a turtle – thanks to Jake for confirming).

After we came out of the park, we caught the bus back to Brixton. All in all the walk took around 2 hours, although there was a lot of stopping for photographs. If the day had been nicer, it would have been great to take a picnic with us, but despite the gloom it was a great way to spend the morning and all for the price of the bus fare there and back!

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Visit: Crystal Palace Antiques

8 May

Yesterday Hannah and I took a trip out to Crystal Palace Antiques, just near the Crystal Palace bus station.

Having had two separate groups of people suggest it as a great place to check out, we had quite high expectations. And this four storey warehouse did not disappoint! It is full to the brim with antiques and design classics.

The basement is filled with lots of amazing 1950s and 60s furniture which wouldn’t look out of place on the Mad Men set.

And everywhere else was full of interesting and wonderful pieces that I would love to have at home.

Prices vary but overall they seemed to be quite reasonable. The more modern furniture seemed to be more expensive. I’m not sure whether this is because it was made by a well known furniture designer or just because it is so much more desirable these days. Very unique furniture was also, unsurprisingly, fairly pricey. But most things were only slightly more expensive than IKEA – certainly less expensive than somewhere like John Lewis or M&S for really well designed, well made furniture. Plus it is an absolute JOY to browse. Well worth the visit.

Crystal Palace Antiques is on Jasper Road, Crystal Palace. You can also follow them on Facebook.

Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair – The Vintage Furniture Flea

30 Mar

Upcycling projects

Katie visited Judy’s Affordable Vintage fair a few months ago and so I thought I’d go have a rummage. This event was particularly up my street as it was all about furniture and home accessories. It was great for inspiration but a lot of the items for sale were ready to go straight into your home and I was looking for an upcycling project. The most scary thing about the fair was that I recognised many of the things from my childhood. My mum still uses crockery in the pattern below! Does this mean I am vintage now too?

There were lots of sewing boxes around the fair that I particularly liked.

Upcycling projects Upcycling projects

I also really love this French glass.

Upcycling projects

And although I’m not quite come round to the idea of this style yet I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.

I did really want these two storage jars but the woman on the stand wasn’t very friendly so I didn’t bother.

But I did buy a fabulous basket blanket box. I’ve wanted one for ages but don’t really have the room. However this one is really compact and it needs striping and respraying and reupholstering so I have my project and thing the trip to the fair was well worth it just for that.

Stands particularly worth a mention are Your Vintage Life., Retro Bazaar, Rare and Racy, Oh So Retro and the lovely girl I bought my blanket box from. I seem to have had a very forgetful weekend (see my post about The Crafty Fox Market) and I can’t find her details so any help appreciated!

Crafty Fox Market, Dogstar Brixton

26 Mar

Yesterday I visited The Crafty Fox Market in the Dogstar in Brixton (great venue). There were lots of lovely stands but here are a few of my favourites.

Robin and Rose sell handmade bath bombs, candles in jars and pretty jewellery.

Cool and clean designs featuring the London skyline by Cecily Vessey.

I loved these silver rings and she also made beautiful cut out animal and bird pendants by From Chaos Comes Beauty. I’m very tempted to commission a ring for my little finger as I really liked the one in the bottom right of the picture but it was just a bit too big.

Finally, I loved these salt and pepper shakers. The illustrations are so cute and as the sign says, they make great gifts. I thought I’d picked up a card but can’t find it so any help on their name would be appreciated!

UPDATE: These belong to Joy Nevada. Thanks Joy and The Crafty fox for letting us know!

Style on a Shoestring – The Shoestring Splendour Swap Shop

9 Feb

Thank you to all the people who braved Arctic temperatures on Saturday to make it to the Swap Shop and to those who sent their apologies. As a result of the weather we were a little quieter than expected but those of us there did some successful swapping.

Alex picked up this lovely coat donated by Zoe.

I went away with a gorgeous and unworn wool jumper, a scarf, a sequin scarf/headband and another jumper. Plus I gave away a pair of boots that I felt guilty about not wearing every time I looked at them. Much better to know someone else is getting some use out of them.

The Cherry Blossom Cakery provided amazing cake for sale again and Katie had a manicure by Alex, our newest addition to the clothes swap experience.

At the end of the swap we packed up the things that had been to both events without finding a home and took them to the Save the Children charity shop.

We’re already planning the next swap shop for April so start clearing out your wardrobes now. We’ve discovered the most common worry about coming to the swap is that people don’t think they have enough to donate. We don’t expect everyone to turn up with bags of things, one item is enough but we’ll be charging a small entry fee next time too so if you don’t bring anything at all you don’t need to feel too bad!

Would you prefer a week night or Saturday? Let us know in the poll below.

Shoestring Swap Shop

18 Jan

After the success of the last one, we are planning another swap party!

The Shoestring Swap Shop will be on February 4th at the Railway pub in Clapham North, from 1-6pm.

As well as a massive swap party for clothes (and any gifts you got this Christmas that you think are just not you), you can also buy some delicious cakes from the Cherry Blossom Cakery, make Valentine’s cards for your loved ones, and lots more.

If you are interested in hosting a stand showing people how to upcycle their clothes or furnishings, e-mail us at Shoestringsplendour@gmail.com.

If you would like to come, please RSVP on the Facebook event page or by dropping us an e-mail at the above address. More details will be coming soon, so make sure you sign up today.

Hope to see you there!

PS: as a further enticement, here’s a reminder of my bounty from our last event

East London Design Show

8 Dec

Another weekend, another great design show. This is a great time of year to see what artists and designers in your city have been up to as the Christmas fairs bring together so many people to show off their work.

The East London Design Show was held in the gorgeous Shoreditch Town Hall, which I have only ever been into the basement of, so I was excited to see the rest of the building. There were hundreds of artists, and lots of really interesting and creative ideas on display.

I came away with a brilliant giant calendar and weekly planner from Katy n June and saw a few other bits I really liked these little critters (below) from NooDoll.

Another favourite was the brightly coloured stand from Kate Clarke.

The Make Do and Draw stand was amazing – tiny wooden models of streets. They can even create a doll’s house of your house if you give them all the dimensions. So much detailed work!

Not pictured but also worth a mention: Heart Zeena had some great Christmas tape, which I bought (and have already used here), Goodwin & Goodwin‘s letter holders were brilliant and I was seriously tempted to buy one for myself, and great stationery from Lollipop Designs.

Silversmith Class at the Papered Parlour

29 Nov


A couple of weeks ago I went to The Papered Parlour in Clapham for their silver ring making course which my lovely boyfriend bought me as a birthday present. They do a range of courses including sewing, printmaking and silversmith courses. Each one is a specific project so that you take away a complete item that you’ve made yourself at the end of the day. Oh and you get cake and tea to keep you going!

There were, I think, nine people on the 5 hour course taught by Jenny Gray, with lots of help from Lara who was looking after us for the afternoon. The ratio of teacher to students was just right and the atmosphere was relaxed.  After a run through of the basics and a guide to the tools we would be using, we were off. The most difficult things for me were measuring the length of silver needed to make a ring the right size and choosing which design I wanted to make. We started off by making a simple band. First we learned the techniques for sawing, bending and soldering it into shape and then the more painstaking work of filing and sanding the join to make it disappear as much as possible. Everyone was so involved in their projects that it was hard making everyone stop for tea and cake but luckily we did, as the cake from Cake Sisters was delicious.

Once I’d got mine to a decent standard I became a bit ambitious and an idea for the overall design of three bands soldered together started to take shape. Two thin bands on either side of a thicker one. With a good bit of help from Lara and Jenny I managed it but we slightly ran out of time. I loved the class and would definitely recommend it the only annoying thing is that now I’ve got the ring home it feels a bit small. I knew the measuring bit would be my downfall!

We were shown loads of different techniques so everyone made something completely different. You can see more photos on The Papered Parlour’s Facebook page.

Craft Central’s Made in Clerkenwell show

27 Nov

This weekend saw Craft Central open their studios to host the Made in Clerkenwell show.  The show/shopping extravaganza was over many, many floors within the organisation’s two buildings in Clerkenwell. Hundreds of artists opened up their studios, letting people inside to see where they produce their art and buy some stuff too!

There was such a variety of things on offer – lots of jewellery, textiles, posters, letter-press prints. Everything was handcrafted to such a high standard and there were some really amazing and unique things on offer.

Some of my favourite things were:

These amazing earrings by DeAnna Kiernan Jewellery.

All the gorgeous painted porcelain by Helen Beard (although I also particularly liked them when unpainted – the colour and shape just looks so crisp!).

These wonderful London prints from Vic Lee (I was tempted to buy one of the East London prints, maybe of my old haunts Broadway Market and Columbia Road, but now that I’m down south I thought it might make more sense to get something closer to home. Sadly he only had Northcote Road, which is a bit too yummy mummy for me!).

These sensational (literally, they were light as a feather with a texture that felt amazing) ceramics from IKUKO Iwamoto Ceramics (above top) and these lacey ceramics from Janet Stahelin Edmondson (above, bottom).

And this unbelievably intricate bowl from Ane Christensen, made of painted copper with hundreds of tiny holes in it.

All in all, an absolutely inspiring day, showcasing some wonderful UK-based artists.

Unfortunately my budget is a little stretched right now, and I am only allowing myself to buy presents for other people. I didn’t see anything that quite matched the people on my list, so walked away empty handed. However, next year they have a wedding craft fair, and hopefully my money plant will have bestowed some spare cash on me by then so I think I’ll be going back very soon!

The New Vintage Event, Brixton

21 Nov

Last Saturday saw an event from The New Vintage. Held in the Living Bar in Brixton it was an afternoon of designer and crafters stalls, in a bar with a band, a book swap and some dancing. It was pretty crowded when I arrived and I must have timed it well because the dancing started just after I’d done the rounds of the stalls. Sadly the dancers moved too fast for my camera but here are a few of the designers stalls I particularly liked.

Lucy Loves This is a designer whose text based designs are becoming hugely popular on her Etsy site. At the market she had a range of Christmas cards and her signature letter designs. I bought a cool snowman card and when I got home I ordered a name print for my cousin’s daughter’s first birthday which I framed for her first birthday.

I loved this decoupage range by Nova and Lorsten, especially the Mills and Boon coasters and old romance magazine place mats. Apparently it’s incredibly easy to make your own with the right decoupage lacquer and a bit of imagination. These bottle tops are cool too.

And finally, because everyone’s starting to think about Christmas I loved these felt decorations by Rachel Clowes. All are made from recycled materials so they’re not only pretty but environmentally friendly too!

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