Friday, July 26, 2013

Oh......the treasures that can be found in a thrift shop!!

As I have alluded to before I love to fossick for 'finds' in thrift shops. The beauty of thrift shops is that you never quite know what you will discover when you step over the threshold. Sometimes there is not a single 'pretty' that tickles your fancy and then there are those times when a 'find' jumps out from it's hiding place, trips you up and finds itself in your bag ready to begin another life in another home!

Not so long ago I was looking in the childrens' dress up section of our local thrift shop (why I have no idea as my girls are grown up) and found a man's wool brown suit. The trick with thrift shops is to look in every nook and cranny.....more often than not there are treasures in the most unlikely of places.

"So".....I hear you say. "Surely there is nothing spine-tingling about a man's brown suit????" Ordinarily no.....but at a glance I could see the wonderful cut and the tailoring that one usually finds in a man's jacket. Now, I'm not a gal that wears a lot of brown, nor am I a gal that normally wears men's clothing; so to notice this poor old, may I say, vintage, piece of men's apparel was a peculiar thing for me to get excited about! "BUT.....a man's jacket; you've got to be kidding!" Yes...a man's jacket. I liked what I saw from a glance and had an inkling that perhaps, just perhaps, I could transform it into something half-way acceptable for li'l ole me to wear about town. I know, I know (yes I can read your thoughts)......but the buttons and button holes are on the opposite side to that of a lady's jacket!! I concede that point, BUT button holes can always be covered by a smidgen of lace, a trailing ribbon or some other embellishment. Actually there are so many things that lace, ribbon, buttons etc etc can cover....but I digress.

Besides, I am always on the lookout for jackets that I can tart up.  It's what one can do to tart up these pre-loved jackets which is the adventurous part. Indeed I have 'tarted-up' numerous articles of clothing in my life.....'tis such fun!

So, once home with my new acquisition to my wardrobe, I set to work gathering up an assortment of different laces, a doily or two (of course!), ribbons, a vintage brooch and a gorgeous vintage buckle, which was a present from my husband many moons ago;  and started to design and play and stitch. There was a notion formulating in my rather fuzzy head that if I added a dash of lace with hints of the colour blue, and a brown and blue length of ribbon, maybe, just maybe I could fashion something quite unique; which funnily enough, when out and about my 'one of a kind' jacket  receives so many favourable comments from people.

First things first, I snipped off the buttons and cut a doily in half and began to stitch each half of the doily along the lapels of the jacket with tiny, almost invisible stitches.
On the inside of the jacket I carefully snipped around the doily, stitching it onto the lining on the inside of the lapel, with just a hint of the edge of the doily peeping out in the front.

I covered the buttonholes with a gorgeous blue vintage buckle (which I love, love, LOVE)...that my husband bought me as a present and a trailing length of blue/brown ribbon stitching it in a visually pleasing effect down the length of one side of the jacket.

Once the doilies were stitched in place I then proceeded to stitch smidgens of lace over the doilies, following the line of the lapels, stopping at the neckline.

I then stitched another length of ribbon at the top of the lapel, trailing it around the back of the neck and bringing it round to the other side.

I then covered the end of the ribbon with a beautiful, vintage (of course) brooch.
So there you have it.....what was once a rather drab man's jacket, is now revamped into a 'new' fashion statement! I might add that my 'one of a kind Sarah Lizzie's original' is hanging on a vintage mannequin (another 'cheap as chips' thrift shop find), posing in front of curtains fashioned out of vintage Italian coverlets with a vintage hat case sitting nearby! Aaaah....yes, there is many a thrift shop, vintage find in my humble abode!
Mmmmm.....looking at this photo, my poor old vintage, stained mannequin could do with a little 'tarting up' with a dash of lace.......must see what I can do!!
 ........just stepping out in my 'tarted up' jacket!!

Linking up to Karen at Quilty Creations where for the month of July she is holding a Something Old Something New challenge? Thank you Karen, it has been fun being part of this linky party.....I could write a tome on the subject 'Something Old Something New'....just because of my propensity of bringing many a vintage find home to live with me!!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Something Vintage.....Something Blue

Oh I do love to sit my gluteous maximus on an old comfy chair. Which is just as well as our li'l ole humble abode is filled with many a vintage chair. Some that have been recovered by moi (many a bona fide upholsterer would raise their eyebrows heavenwards as to the manner in which I have recovered my chairs); and some rather woebegone 'upholsterer's delights' that are sitting waiting rather patiently to be transformed into a new object on which one can lounge, in a rather relaxed manner.

We are in the middle of a very frosty and chilly winter, where I am greeted every morning with a new day of shivers. Old Man Winter has slowly crept up our country road and covered everything and everyone in his path with deep frosts, biting winds and at times horizontal rains. Indeed, there are days when I rather feel like the legendary Snow Queen sitting in her icy castle where stalactitic and stalagmitic encrustations abound!

The upside of this wintertide is that our home has several fireplaces that are ablazing with wonderful heat 24/7 to melt away all signs of Old Man Winter. Open fires are truly one of the magical things of Winter. They invite you to sit in a comfy chair with a cuppa, to stare into the hypnotising dancing flames and flickering embers, slowly being warmed from the tip of one's toes slowing travelling upwards until one is warm and cosy. The downside is that sometimes these fires spit out hot embers  that unfortunately, on one occasion, found it's target on one of my favourite vintage rocking chairs and left a very noticeable black hole in the upholstery. (I am afraid that I don't have any photographic evidence of this mishap.....this tragic event happened before I started my recent journey into blogland.

Oh no........what to do.............??

My 'dowry of cloth', (of which I have waxed lyrical in an earlier post)...those piles of glorious hand embroidered doilies that I have collected for years, have come to the rescue.....yet again. I covered the seat of my chair with a selection of embroidered pretties and an assortment of blue fabrics from my stash, hand stitching them carefully in a visually pleasing arrangement.


And.....I must admit I love my old and  "oh so comfy" chair even more. my 'parlour' where an assemblage of  vintage chairs sit each day, there happens to be a chair, which I have christened 'The Throne'. This beautiful artefact of bygone times was on display in my favourite vintage shop in Sydney, 'Frou Frou Old and New'. As I looked in the window it beckoned me, enticing me to take it home with me. Of course it was not as it appears below, it was covered in olive green upholstery and the wood frame was ostentatious gold!
Me being me, saw beyond its tacky exterior and carted my treasure home. With my trusty staple gun and paint brush in hand I immedialely set about to transform my 'throne''. I covered the beautifully carved wood in white paint quickly wiping it off  before it dried, to give a limed effect with just a hint of gold peeping through. I then covered the less than desireable olive green upholstery with part of a vintage Italian coverlet, also a find from the lovely Parisa, from Frou Frou Old and New. The coverlet is a lovely white damask with lovely raised cartouches and touches of lemon, apricot, blue and pink flowers. Of course every chair needs a cushion, so I stitched a cushion, using the same vintage coverlet and fashioning a garland of ribbon flowers weaving in and out of a bowed ribbon.

So these days as I sit in my  parlour, enjoying the ambience and warmth of a fire, I have a choice on where to place my gluteous maximus. Will it be the 'queen-like'  throne, the new doily-covered rocking chair or.... perhaps my chaise lounge which is next in line for my amateur upholsterer treatment!

Linking up to Karen at  Quilty Creations  where for the month of July she is holding a Something Old Something New challenge? Have a 'bo peep', it's all about turning something pre-loved, something which has seen better days, or in my case something vintage, into something new, into an object which will give many more years of pleasure.