Each year we have a (fairly) strict timetable of who, where and when to visit over the Christmas period. We go to my parents the weekend before Christmas, spend the day itself in Glossop by ourselves, some friends come over on Boxing Day; after that, it’s a slow, day-to-day movement over to Barnsley then up north to Sedgfield. Although it can be fairly tiring, it does mean that Christmas feels like it’s stretched out.
This year, I had to go to my parents on my own, as Aidan was in Australia with work. I would call him a lucky so-and-so but not after seeing the state he’s been in since he got back! Anyway, this meant that I couldn’t physically carry all of my presents from my parents back home. So I brought just one:
Not only is this the cutest piece of owl paraphenalia that I’ve seen in a long time, it has another feature that just adds to the kitschy cuteness:
It’s a detachable, pottery, baby owl! So, not only is this a decorative item but, if you are that kind of person, you can take out the tiny baby owl and hold it for a bit. Or hide it in unexpected places. Not that I would do any of those things of course…
Our house is fairly Christmassed up this year. We do have a stack of stuff that we roll out each year. My mum has been watching Kirsty’s Homemade Britain and made us one of these to add to the decorations:
My picture doesn’t really do it justice, but it does look lovely hanging in the window. Aidan has also made us a wreath for the door, I’ve made a strange Christmas tree shape from a magazine like this, and I’ve half made some bird baubles like this. However, I’ve forgotten to take pictures of those. I do have a picture of the tree though:
We did our usual trick of getting it cheap from the German market in Manchester and just hoping for the best. Last year, we had a double-trunker (or a Siamese Tree); this year it’s just a very, very odd, tall, sparse, thick-then-thin shape. We’ve still bunged on all of the baubles though. Hang on, when I say we, what I actually mean is Aidan. I was out on work Christmas do. Less said the better…
We’ve also put the West German pottery to good use:
The stars came from a window display when I worked at Monsoon in Manchester (boo, hiss!); they were being thrown away so I ‘rescued’ them. You can see a few of our cards here too. We’ve had so many this year! Mainly because I now have a Year Seven form so received lots of misspelled cards from them. The best one was from a little lad who had stuck one of his old primary school photos on the inside of it (“I had to cut D— and L—- out so it would fit just me!”).
Last but definitely not least on the handmade front… Aidan made me an advent calendar for the second year running. Once again it featured one of the fantastic Christmas images from the Galaxy magazines:
Today, I’ve got plans to: wrap Aidan’s presents, make his card, plan the veggie Christmas dinner, make a friendship bracelet as a present for someone, go to the gym, meet one friend for coffee, meet another for a hot toddy, meet Aidan for a pint once he’s finished work… It’s not all going to happen is it?
I imagine when the designers thought this one up their thought processes went a little like this:
“Hmmm, everyone wants a dead deer’s head hanging from their wall nowadays. But what about the vegetarians? Perhaps they want to share in this experience too! And what about the people who want a barometer on their wall as well? Eureka! I’ve got it! Why not combine the two into a wall ornament which is trendy yet fully functional.”
I give you: the Plastic Deer Barometer.
We found this on Saturday in a charity shop in Glossop. I pointed at it and laughed, then the laughter turned to… hang on, that’s really kitsch, isn’t it? Do you think that would sell on Ebay? Quite possibly…
We’ve compared it to the German barometer we currently have hanging up in the kitchen, and it does appear to be working. It’s completely made of plastic, and I can’t see any manufacturer’s marks on it. It does say ‘Made in GB’ and in tiny letters M.M. Ltd. Wish me luck trying to find the maker from that!
As is always the case with us, something like this just has to be displayed for a while:
It’s replaced the wooden backed print of a girl playing a guitar for the time being. I wonder what any potential buyers will think of it! I’ll be honest, I think it’s growing on me. (Well, not literally growing on me… that would be weird). I think this has the potential to hang around for a while.
- Charity Shop Challenge (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
Last week was spent frantically sorting out and preparing for the Saturday Sale in Glossop of West German Pottery. Saturday morning dawned and everything was ready:
Wowie Zowie owners Jenny and Goff were first in at the crack of dawn… well, not quite. But they were first in as the shop needed to be opened. A quick whizz round and they’d grabbed a gorgeous lamp, a fantastic Italian planter that we were quite partial to ourselves and some other lovely West German Pottery. I’ve said it before (and I’ll say it again!), but their shop really is the embodiment of all of my retro shop fantasies. Every time, and I do mean every single time, we go in there, we’re blown away by how fantastic it is. I love the fact that some of our stuff ends up in there.
Our neighbour, Helen, was next through the doors and I was more pleased than anything else really that she bought one of the pots! I love it when we sell something to friends and family; it’s like a little confirmation that it’s not just us and a few others who like this stuff AND that we might have a chance of making a go at this as a real business. Helen’s pot is already in her window and I like that the WGP world is spreading through Glossop. She bought an excellent 1950s Scheurich Heinz Siery piece to put her flowers in. I’ll grab a picture one day, if she’ll let me!
After that, Julian, Lisa and Chris were the next to arrive – and were amongst the last to leave! As always, lovely to see them and this time, Chris bought some pieces of pottery as well!
Chris is holding the pieces he bought and Lisa is holding what has been christened Julian’s ‘Chef Hat’ Carstens. They bought some other lovely things as well, but I won’t give them away. Instead, you can go and visit Lisa’s blog here and take a look for yourself.
Lots of people came on the day, virtually everybody we’d invited. Unfortunately, in all of the excitement, I completely forgot to take many pictures! Richard Holland, who owns the largest Ceramano collection in the world, came along with his friend Janet, who professed herself to not actually being a collector. I think we may have changed her mind though as she left with more than Richard! Unsurprisingly, Richard bought a large Ceramano piece, along with a small Ilkra. Janet bought a few gorgeous 1950s pieces by Scheurich and Bay, including that fabulous orange Bay Contura piece that I loved; and a few of the glass solifleur vases. Steve and Lesley from Derbyshire came over – they’d already bought a few bits and bobs from Aidan’s Ebay: penguinaidan. They took one of the amazing Scheurich huuuuuuuuuge Wien pots! Those are seriously amazing pots:
Stuart Brownrigg, who runs the most amazing West German pottery stall at Bygone Times, turned up carrying a bottle of German champagne and some delicious-looking rhubarb chutney from his wife, The Kitchen Witch. We should be having some of that for our lunch today! Stuart bought a fab Ruscha 313 with a crackle glaze and… I’ll be honest, I can’t remember what else! He was another who managed to escape the photographs! He did provide us with some information regarding pots we’d still not managed to identify. As always, it was fantastic seeing him… and as to re-use a thought, you really should get yourself up to Bygone Times to see his stall if you haven’t already. Trust me, it’s worth it.
We also met Kevin Thorpe and his wife, Joanne for the first time. Kevin is a relatively new collector, but yet someone else from the North West who has discovered the love for West German pottery. Thankfully, he was more than happy for me to take a picture:
As well as the few smaller pieces in the box, Kevin and Joanne bought two massive Scheurich vases with psychedelic flowers on the sides. I absolutely love how pleased Kevin looks in this photograph! Really lovely to meet them both, and again, very glad that we had something that they liked.
Stefan, a recently met collector was last through the doors and he was like a whirlwind too! That seemed to be the theme of the day, regardless of how long you spent. At one point, we had that many people in the front room, even I had to make a retreat to the kitchen!
More than anything, it was just such a lovely feeling to have brought so many people together who enjoy looking at and chatting about West German pottery. I was ever so excited – though this might have had as much to do with the amount of diet coke and tea I’d drunk by the end of the day! By five o’clock, the last person had left and we were left with a still very full living room, a few more pennies in the pocket and a extremely satisfying feeling of having made a little mark on the WGP world. A massive thanks to everybody who made the huge effort to come along: Jen, Goff, Helen, Julian, Lisa, Chris, Steve, Lesley, Richard, Janet, Kevin, Joanne, Stuart, Stefan and Dave (dragged along by Helen, probably!). We promise to try and make it at least an annual event.
Well, we are now back safe and sound in our little house in Glossop after a stonkingly good trip around Deutschland. It really is becoming a home away from home. In the last few days of our trip, we stayed near to Bremen, scouting out the retro and vintage goods around there and up to Bremerhaven. Bremerhaven was a bit like Morecambe…
Bremen itself was fantastic. We didn’t get to see too much due to the driving-around-like-maniacs-whilst-looking-for-pottery aspect of the trip, but from what we saw it’s a place I could quite happily live in. True Mid Century design sprung up from every corner. The pizza place above caught my eye because of the giant Scheurich pot in the window. I assumed it was some kind of retro shop; slightly surprised when I realised it was just a takeaway.
It looked out onto a square, also demonstrating some Mid Century design and sculpture:
I like to imagine that inside each of these flats is a dark, wooden flooring; Scandinavian furniture and some ’50s ceramics. Unfortunately, I think the truth would be far from that vision.
Another amazing building we spotted was this church. We couldn’t go inside for a look-around, but Aidan did take some hasty shots for me, without the ‘Pin-hole’ setting that I played around with for the previous pictures:
We found some good things in Bremen and Bremerhaven, not just some retro design to ogle but objects to keep as well. My favourite place was a junk shop we stumbled upon in some back street that was run by a quite mad old lady, who happened to have a good eye for spotting more things we might like. Unfortunately, most of what she picked out for us was chipped or cracked… didn’t stop her barking ‘Funfziger Jahrer!’ at us and then laughing like mad when we smiled at her. Anyway, amongst other bits and bobs, we got these:
A J.H. Lynch print of ‘Tina’, which we already have a copy of, but was a bargain. And… a Scheurich 279 in a gorgeous ORANGE Lora glaze. It was cracked slightly, but for five Euros, I really didn’t care. It can sit next to my other one and help to look after the baby 414s.
On our final full day in Germany, Sunday, the weather was atrocious in the morning. So we made a quick decision to drive down to Cologne, where a 50s-70s festival was being held. All I can say is: heaven. It was amazing. Every single stall was like something out of my dreams and we were beside ourselves with joy.
You can see Aidan is eyeing up the wares here! Unfortunately, the prices were a bit higher than what we’d been paying, so we only bought a few pieces: tiny Otto and a few Scheurich 50s vases. We ummed and aahed about a pair of gorgeous teak, Danish chairs but then decided we didn’t have anywhere for them to go, nor could we really fit them into Wanda the Van-Car by this point. The festival was a lovely finishing point to the holiday though and set us up happily for the long drive back to Glossopdale.
Today, I was supposed to be unpacking Wanda but this plan has been thwarted by being unable to find the car keys! I should probably get looking for those now…
Now, I’m writing this in advance, so it might very well not be sunny by the time it’s published. I don’t care. At this moment in time, I’m feeling much happier so it’s all about colours to reflect that mood.
Teacher’s strike aside, I’ve got two devolved INSET days… in Basic English, this means I’ve got a five day weekend starting this morning. First stop: Manchester to get some accessories to go with my ‘thrifted’ (to pinch the Aussie/American parlance) Monsoon dress ready for the wedding we’re going to this weekend. I also need new makeup, shoes and a weekend bag. Then, later today I’m signed up to a knitting course at the Smithy Studios in Glossop. Friday morning… don’t talk to me about Friday morning… Oh, O.K… I’ve got a driving lesson. I’m a bit scared. The less said the better. Weekend = posh wedding at Lumley Castle (good luck Sarah and Matt!). Monday – day tripping somewhere with the Holtster.
So yeah, all in all, I’m quite happy.
Yesterday, I still felt pretty rotten after the Thursday-IBS-Extravaganza. I’m trying to give it a more positive sounding name, but honestly on Thursday, I felt like some kind of monster was going to burst out of my abdomen Alien-style. I’m surprised the neighbours didn’t knock on to ask what all the noise was about. Sorry, Jim, that was the sound of your mentalist IBS-suffering neighbour groaning in agony.
Friday, I felt a bit better but still very much full of headache and feeling sick so decided to stay at home again. I hate being off work. I feel guilty and that makes my stomach even worse and so the cycle begins again. At least this time it was nearer to the weekend so I’ve got today and tomorrow to sort myself out properly.
Anyway, I went for a walk around Glossop yesterday before lunch time and I honestly think that did me as much good as anything else. I don’t know if it was the good weather that did it or not, but I actually found a few bits and bobs in the charity shops:
I’m going to keep these two tops (plus another one but I’m wearing that now!) and the brooch. Vintage brooches are one of my favourite accessories, despite the ribbing I get about it from one of my work colleagues (you know who you are!). There are a couple of girls at school who occasionally wear brooches on the blazers and it breaks my heart to have to ask them to take them off.
Now, I haven’t gone mad and I haven’t completely turned into a little old lady… but just look at the covers for those books. The illustrations are great! Unfortunately, I can’t quite read the signature on the ‘Substitute Lover’ one. It looks like Lin something or other. I might ask Leif Peng over at Today’s Inspiration if he knows who drew these.
I love all of the little compartments to this bag. My first thoughts were to sell it, but it might be good to keep in my bag to keep all of my junk in. I usually just throw my phone, makeup, keys and purse into the bottom of my bag for work, so perhaps this would be a good solution.
That one will probably end up on Ebay as we’ve got more than enough pots knocking around our kitchen.
The two dresses you can see both appear to be from the ’80s, but masquerading as ’60s pieces. The dark blue one is handmade and has an almost digital feather print and a batwing top/tight skirt shape; the bright pink is a vintage Jaegar shift dress. Both are amazing: neither of them look any good on me! The blue one at least fits, but my ‘posterior’ as Aidan calls it doesn’t quite work with the dress… Just because J-Lo can work it, doesn’t mean I can, unfortunately.
Today is dedicated to work for my Masters then tomorrow we’re off to Stafford for the day to see my sister on her birthday.
- Busy Saturday (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
It’s been a lovely Christmas – and it’s still not really over for us. The weekend before Christmas, we had the early one with my family. Then we’ve spent Christmas Day in Glossop, had friends over on Boxing Day. This week, we’ll be seeing Aidan’s family as well; all before we have to start thinking about going back to work… Ah well, we knew it couldn’t last.
Anyway, how else to celebrate a wonderful Christmas than by sharing pictures of the retro and vintage goodies we gave and received?
To kick things off:
I absolutely love this. Another present from Aidan, and it’s probably one of my favourites. If you’ve not visited the site already, it’s worth another trip to the Tretchikoff website to have a look at all of his prints.
Luckily for me, I got lots and lots of presents! A green Casio watch, a Spirograph, a Tamagotchi… yes, I am a grown woman, if you can believe it?! I also received three new Scheurich 414 pots, but unfortunately the pictures have come out quite blurry. I’ll take some more another day; maybe even attempt to take some vaguely stylish ones… you know how that normally goes.
Here are two things I got Aidan:
A book all about retro and vintage prints by Tretchikoff, J.H. Lynch, Shabner, Maio and those 70s big-eyed children pictures. It’s fantastic, even if I do say so myself. Aidan seems to quite like it too. I bought his copy from Ebay (and America, no less) but you seem to be able to buy it on Amazon here. Review of the book as well. Even if you’re not a fan of these types of prints, it’s still a gorgeous book to look through.
I also got him one of these:
The teatowel, not the pots! It’s pretty good. I’m not sure if we’ll ever actually use it though; it’s a bit too swanky for wiping pots and pans. The seller, skinnylaminx, is on her holidays at the moment. When she returns you should definitely have a look at her shop on Etsy.
So, what’s the best retro or vintage thing you got this Christmas??
- Scheurich 414: Updating a Look (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
I’ve been thinking about setting up a vintage and retro stall at my local market in Glossop for a while now, but still haven’t got the guts to really go for it! It’s ridiculous: I’ve even found out how much it is but I’ve been stumped by being told I need public indemnity insurance (or something like that). I’m a bit chicken at the moment to ring up and find out about it. I suppose if it goes any further, then I’ll really have to do it and I’m a bit of a wuss really. Despite the fact that I’d love doing it, I still need a push to make me set it up.
Anyway, the Glossop Rotary Club are holding their first car boot sale of the season tomorrow morning. Aidan and I have decided to go and hold a stall, but I’m actually going to have half of it for retro and vintage items: my ‘Little Owl Vintage’ section. As I type, I’m in the middle of creating some labels for my items. I need to get a move on really as we’re supposed to be meeting friends in the pub at eight…
Wish me luck tomorrow! If this goes well, then I’ll get the stall going.
When I said a lot had come down the other day, that was nothing compared to this:
It’s probably about a foot deep at the moment. Apparently, GMTV were in Glossop yesterday reporting that it was the coldest place in Britain at -9 degrees! Well, lucky for me, school was closed and is closed tomorrow as well. So, with no work to do, what did we spend our afternoon doing?
Playing around in the snow:
Our friends, Rachel and Deiniol, came with us to the local park. We began by building a snowman, a bog-standard one I might add, but Deiniol, being a bit arty like, had to improve on it… Hence the snowman at the top that looks like it’s about to open its eyes! Unfortunately, some scallies knocked it down soon after we left it.
And here’s Big Bob out the front of our house before, again, some unknown reprobates kicked him down:
Fingers crossed for another Snow Day on Thursday! I might take a visit to the local swimming baths if I’ve nothing else to do…