Friday, October 09, 2009

Make & Mend

Well, 'vintage-love' has even made it onto the highbrow TV programme of Newsnight !! Did anyone see the show earlier this week? OK, so maybe they were already preaching to the converted to many of us blogging ladies, but perhaps it will inspire others out there who have not considered buying secondhand, or to hand make something before, to at least consider it. Mary Jane Baxter (she has a blog) is going to be travelling around Britain reinventing vintage items, making things, and recycling items rather than buying new, in order to spread the word...(She said to let her know if you have any 'Make Do and Mend' needs or ideas and she could come and see you during her trip...)

So, inspired to actually get on and use up some of the vintagey bits and bobs that I have collected up over the last few months, I got down to completing a few projects that I have been meaning to get done for a while...
An old willow basket was given a frilled cover made from vintage floral linen...

I'd bought a pile of old shoe stretchers at the flea market which were very rough and ready...

But with the addition of some antique fabrics, French velvet ribbons and millinery flowers, they could now be well received as Christmas gifts...

Wooden coat hangers have been covered in pretty vintage cottons...

And a work in progress is this old wooden drawer that I bought at the beginning of the year and have been putting off for a while! I shall line the cubicles in fabric or wallpaper and use as a small shelving unit.

And the pièce de résistance, is a new flapper girl hat stand for my collection. I had bought a lovely old wooden candlestick recently, which has a metal insert making the base very heavy and sturdy. I also gathered together some c1930's velvet fabric, cream rayon thread, a vintage costume brooch and a half moulded dolls face that I had been keeping for a special project.

Firstly, I firmly filled the toe of a pair of tights with polyester fibre filler and tied-off the bottom to secure.

I then glued the dolls face onto the head shape.

I was inspired by the look of the elegantly classic flapper girls, who wore cloche hats and furs all those years ago.
A short tube of velvet, seamed at the sides, was hand gathered around the top and pulled tight. I created curls of hair from the shimmery rayon thread. Both items were then glued where they touched onto the head - The head was then glued onto the top of the candlestick.

I didn't have any faux fur, so used a Victorian ostrich feather trim around her neck, looping round to make a large rounded collar effect; all glued into position with a glue gun.

A tuft of feather and the addition of a costume brooch with faux coral bead creates the right look to her hat. A sparkly button finishes her neckline.

As I have used mostly old items to create her, she sits happily amongst my authentic boudoir girls.

So although my make do and mend makes have all been rather frivolous recently, its nice to be able to reuse all my redundant riches that have been cluttering up the place, and to have completed the projects that I have been putting off for a while (except for the painted drawer that I still need to finish! ;-))

Have a lovely weekend,
Niki x


  1. Oh! She is charming Niki! What a lovely project.


  2. Dare I say that Mary would only need to stop off at your place and could produce many shows about your thrifty creative ways to give cast off items new life! You are a wonder!

  3. It looks great Niki, and I bet it was so enjoyable to do. I love the shoe stretchers, what divine colours those velvet ribbons are, a particular weakness (of many!) of mine.
    Have a great weekend,
    Hen x

  4. Hi. You seem to be a very skilled decorator. The photos are great and make me feel the atmosphere. It reminds me my grandmother who loved to sew too. We have still her old sewing machine and I've been planing to use it again little bid. Thanks for inspiration. Great post!

    Take care,

  5. Flapper lady is quite stunning, Niki!

  6. Oh, what lovely projects, one and all...

    That programme sounds exciting. Shame I only ge French TV!

    One of my 14 year old pupils was wearing a vintage scarf very proudly today - she and I were so impressed with each other for mutually admiring it.

  7. I have the perfect face just like yours and the perfect hatstand given generously by you and can't wait to fill my stocking, can't wait to create her and will call her niki :-)) hee hee

    those shoe stretchers have my name on them LOL .... I love your shoe stretchers !!

    Hope you have them at the christmas fair.

    best wishes ginny

  8. I wish I was that clever to create "something out of nothing" your blog is so inspirational...I love it love Lucey x

  9. Ohhh I just love the shoe stretchers, they are wonderful!


  10. WOW!! I just love her! Nice when a project just comes together isn't it??

  11. Niki, you are amazing!!! i love what you did with the shoe stretchers...they are so charming...your flapper head stand is gorgeous...she is such a lovely creation, everything about her is so wonderful!!!

  12. You are soooo talented, Niki!! It's always such a peasure to visit your blog!

  13. You should have your own television show Niki! I wish we got that programme in Australia. I love your pretty doll and the idea for the old drawers has given me ideas. Enjoy your weekend! xx

  14. So much talent! Love the flapper lady and the shoe stretchers.

  15. Your flapper lady is absolutely adorable!!! Oh my goodness, you did such a wonderful job making her!! : )

    ~ Wendy

  16. She is darling!!! Love the colors.
    Your blog is always full of great ideas. You are so inspirational!

  17. Really fact she's my can't go wrong with the roaring twenties and anyone who wears a cloche is alright by me!! ;)

  18. Niki, you have done it again, she is perfect, you make it look so simple but the transformation is clever clever lady...your home looks wonderful

  19. She is absolutely lovely

  20. These are just tooooo Beautiful.

  21. Love the doll, so clever...
    looking forward to you adding some christmas items to your shop.

  22. Anonymous2:54 pm

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Thank you for finding the time to visit me...
Niki xx