Ladybird Picture Word Book

Last weekend, we had a look around the charity shops of Ashton-Under-Lyne. It’s one of our favourite towns for chazzer hunting as not only does it have lots of charity shops to look round but it also has a couple of fantastic veggie cafes to visit: the incomparable Lily’s Vegetarian Indian Cafe and a new one (to us) called Topaz which is run by MIND. We’ve still not managed to eat at Topaz; when we popped in on Saturday all of the tables were full and there was a wait time of 20 minutes. The tiny tots could not wait that long unfortunately. And I do mean ‘unfortunately’ because the food that was being brought out looked amazing. We’ll go back and try it out soon, I’m sure.

As per usual, we came back laden down with all sorts of random stuff. We’re trying really hard at the moment to sell lots on eBay to fund this year’s holiday. Last year, we went to Croatia with the proceeds of our eBay sales; this year we’re seriously thinking about a road trip round Iceland. People on the tiny island we stayed on in Croatia thought we were crackers for doing the trip with a (then) seven month old and two year old… no doubt a road trip with the pair of them will cause more raised eyebrows. But anyway, it’s to be firmly decided yet. In the meantime, we keep racking up the sales, sorting out the loot and trying to spot the gems amongst the dross.

This is one of my favourite things we found last week:

It’s a 1985 Big Ladybird Picture word book. Compiled by Lynne J Bradbury and illustrated by Lynn N. Grundy. A quick Google search brings up some images tagged with Grundy’s name, and that distinctive style just jumps out! It’s like my childhood on the page: I distinctly remember that orange and yellow striped cat. However, I can’t seem to find any information about the illustrator herself; just a few lists of books accredited to her. Hmmm… this might be a little puzzle to work out.

I’ve got a vague idea at the moment of creating a few prints for the kids’ bedrooms using some of our retro and vintage books. We’ve got a fair few building up now, that I’m trying very hard to keep out of grubby hands until I’ve managed to photocopy the pages that I want. Unlike many other crafty/mumsy types, I’m pretty shit at actually getting these ideas manifested. I’ve even bought some picture frames for another project – bought them over a month ago and still haven’t put the pictures together. Plan for the weekend perhaps? Anyway, I’m digressing… The Picture Word Book. Back to that and it’s fabulous pictures.

I really think some of these would look brilliant as prints up on the wall. In my head, there should be loads of them in different kinds of coloured frames. Not all from this book, obviously, but there are plenty to choose from that would look ace. I think the ‘Story Words’ page is my favourite as I just love anything with toadstools, magical creatures and gnomes. The dragon is probably the cutest dragon ever – I’d like a print just of that actually. For my own bedroom, never mind the kids.

These two seemed particularly apt for this time of year. The sun is shining today, it seems warmer and brighter than it has done for ages. Even last week’s snow seems a long time ago now. Corliss is giving me a daily update on the state of the snow. Today’s assessment of ‘It’s allllll gone now!’ did make me feel very cheerful. Don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of snow, but have you ever tried to actually do anything with small children when it’s snowing? It’s horrendous, time-consuming and stressful. Well, it is for me. I fully admit I could be in the minority opinion on that one! I much prefer the springtime, summer, autumn: basically, any time of the year as long as the sun is shining, even just a little bit.

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This is basically our living room. Fireplace, record player, lots of stuff piled on any available surface. Just add a few more toys in, random bits of paper, West German pottery and voila. Just minus the ashtray. Obviously that was essential in 1985.

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Apologies for the blurriness of the bottom of that one; I couldn’t get it to scan in focus as the book is ever so slightly too big for my scanner. That picture is mainly for the toadstools… Those are meant to be beads bottom left, but they look like blueberries. Another page I think could work well in a kids room.

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My kids are obsessed with anything transport related at the moment. I think my aim of today should be to get them to say ‘fuselage’. Considering Dexter can’t yet manage ‘Mummy’, you’d think it would be a tricky task but the kid has managed to say ‘Corliss’ ‘teddy’ and ‘double’ (pronounced doo-blay in our household. It’s what we call it when Daddy carries them both around at once; a ‘doo-blay’ or a ‘double-pick-up. Dexter held his arms up to Aidan this morning and said, ‘doo-blay doo-blay’.As a further aside, he’s also managed to do a forward roll this week, albeit unintentional. The lad’s a secret genius, I tell you.) so perhaps ‘fuselage’ is a goer.

There are tons more pictures in the book but I’m going to save some for another post. I’ve spent so long fannying around with the scanner this afternoon while Dexter is snoozing (Corliss is now at pre-school) that I’ve done nothing else. Need to get some washing on the line while the sun is out and get some more in. No-one warned me about the washing before we had kids… oh my word, it is NEVER ENDING. I think it should be on some kind of leaflet they give to you once you get pregnant: ‘Forget All the Baby Prep and Get Prepared for the Washing’. When people used to say to me they’d spent an hour at the weekend doing their laundry, I used to think – this is pre-baby and about people with kids obviously – I used to think, ‘What the effing jeff are you doing all that time?’ Nowadays, if I could only spend an hour a week on laundry I’d be flipping cartwheeling with joy down the street. If I could do cartwheels, that is.


Retro Finds In New Mills

Last weekend we planned to go to Buxton and New Mills on Saturday, thinking that there wasn’t really much in New Mills to do. How wrong we were. We ended up spending the whole day there near enough. It’s a nice little town on the edge of the Peak District, a bit like Glossop really. It’s got a few charity shops, a good veggie cafe and some lovely walking near by with the Sett Valley trail.

I actually found some retro bits and bobs! It feels like that never happens nowadays. My first find was this:

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The picture on the top book’s front cover was almost good enough to convince me to buy the book. However, a sensible head prevailed and I left it behind.

I like the charity shops in New Mills. A couple of them are a bit expensive but the Lighthouse charity one always has some interesting things in, as does the Oxfam. For once, the Oxfam isn’t ridiculously overpriced so we ended up leaving with lots of things from there.

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Vintage Irish linen egg cosies

I don’t mind if these don’t actually sell on eBay because we’ll just use them over the Easter weekend. They’re pretty funny; I’m not sure anyone really needs egg cosies but I couldn’t resist those patterns. They weren’t cheap for a charity shop (£3.99) though. They were from the Oxfam, as was this:

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Now this was just a daft but that I really do not need. At all. But I couldn’t resist it. It’s got toadstools on it and inside it! Sadly, it’s age 6-9 months so I’ve got no chance of squeezing Dexter and his lanky legs into it.

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The inside of it

I’ll just keep it. Just in case. I’m a bit in love with toadstools on things. I’m currently trying to decide if these look a bit too babyish for Dexter:

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I think he can get away with them. I’ve already ordered some similar ones with a carrot print on. Think I might have to get these as well. Actually, I’ve just talked myself into it. Back in five minutes…

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So, to continue with the Retro Finds… It’s been a heck of a long time since I found anything West German or Italian in am English charity shop, and I almost didn’t even ask about this as I thought it would be expensive.

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Cute, isn’t it? It’s got a little sticker on saying ‘Monaco’ so it would have been a nice bit of tourist tat to bring home from your hollybobs. How much, how much do you say for a nice little San Marino dish?

£1.50.

I know, £1.50! It was in the window and everything. I snapped it up, ignored the bloke in the till with his weird banter and skipped off gleefully into the sunset. Well, not quite, but you get the sentiment.

We finished up with a little walk around the river. I do mean little, mind. Dexy is still just tottering around so we couldn’t go too far. He and Corliss had great fun putting pebbles into the river and Corliss was fascinated when her dad found some old bits of pottery in the water.

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This weekend we had planned to go to Sheffield on Saturday, having been told it’s good for antiques by some friends of ours, John and Laura (hello! Look, the creepy Easter rabbits are getting further down the page, aren’t you pleased?) but the small matter of a bit of snow has put paid to that plan.

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What a Busy Week!

Well, it’s not really been any busier than usual but it certainly feels like it. Aidan has been working away this week, standing around on an airfield testing out road signs. I think it sounds a lot more glamorous than it probably was. So I’ve been on my tod with the two munchkins. Jeez… I don’t know how people do this on their own. I am shattered. Admittedly, Dexter decided this was the week he wanted to wake up again in the night. As soon as Aidan arrived home, Dex slept through again. Typical. I decided the way to power through the week was to get out and about. For me, this involved a bit of charity shop hunting.

Now in the days before children, during my school holidays and actually before I had a car too, I used to get on the train into Manchester then get the tram down to Altrincham and Sale one day, then Prestwich and Bury the next. It didn’t matter how long it took, I could spend aaaaages in every single shop and would come home usually laden down with my finds. I think I even got the train to Bolton and Preston a few times. The key thing – I realise just how important this is nowadays – I could literally wake up and be out of the door in half an hour if I needed to. Not any more.

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Came up on my Facebook memories today - 5 years ago!

Now, it’ll take half an hour just to get the change bag ready. Even though I’ve now got a car (I can drive, it’s still a revelation to me) it’s an absolute faff. Getting kids in and out of the car is not my favourite thing to do. Especially when the one year old has discovered he can get free by putting his arms above his head and slipping down through the straps. Looking round the charity shops is also fairly chaotic. They need a wee, a nappy change, a snack, more snacks, a drink, it’s not the right drink; they want to get out of the pram (one year old) and pull things off shelves; they want the toy the other one has got… That can be in one shop. It’s a miracle we find anything any more!

This week I went to the Emmaus in Mossley. It’s a ginormous charity warehouse filled with all sorts of stuff. We always enjoy having a good look around there. We’ve convinced the kids that charity shops are actually called toy shops, and this one is a particularly big toy shop… They do furniture upcycling there, it’s got a cafe and it used to have a really interesting collectables room but that’s gone now. This time, I did manage to buy a few things…

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Loads of picture frames!

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More picture frames...

There’s another batch of them too! My mum is a keen eBayer, like me, and she’d told me to look out for job lots of picture frames. Apparently people are buying lots of them to make into big displays. I was dubious, but she seems to be right so I thought I’d give it a go. I must admit, I can see why people would like it as a display. All the ones I picked out are proper wood or older metal. Some would look good painted, I think, but I’m not skilful enough to try that.

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60s Schnapps glasses

These glasses were thrown in for free – I love them, but we really don’t need them. So they’ll go onto eBay too. I’m ebaying everything in sight at the moment, trying to save up for a new laptop.

The final things I found, just as I was leaving were these old chairs:

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Folding wooden kitchen chairs

They were a fiver and I grabbed the thinking I could try my hand at painting them. I’d got Dexter under one arm at the time, wriggling like mad, so I didn’t pay too much attention to them. But now I’ve got them home, I think they’re too nice to paint.

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If someone else wants to do that though, I do think they would look good in a bright colour. We’ll see, hopefully I’ll sell them and make some money.

Did you see the picture of all of the West German pots at the start of this post? That was when we lived at Duke Street and we honestly had those pots out like that for a couple of weeks! We just had nowhere to keep them. Thankfully, we have a double garage to keep them in here. And we do have a few of those pieces of pottery still.

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See the big 1950s Scheurich? We love it, absolutely love it. Goes well with the Sanderson wallpaper and the Lego… That’s not supposed to be part of the display, but there’s nowhere else to keep it out of Dexter’s reach.

After the Emmaus, I went up to the ‘top’ part of Mossley. Never again. It was like another world up there; there were about five people in the whole town and only one charity shop which was really expensive and full of tat. I genuinely felt the people that were about were looking at me thinking, ‘how did they get over the border?’

The next day, buoyed up by a good sale on eBay, we went to Hyde for a look round the chazzers. I got nothing. Absolutely nothing. It was a complete waste of time. I know you can’t predict what and how much you’re going to find, but I normally get something. Ah well, I think we’re going off to Holmfirth today for a look round, a walk and a drink in the Longley Farm cafe. Happy Saturday and good hunting!


Chazzers, Hats and Children…

A good rummage around the charity shops has long been one of our favourite ways to spend a Saturday afternoon, particularly on a soggy, miserable day. With two kids in tow now – oh yes, we had another. There is a legitimately good reason why I’ve hardly been around for the last two years. So, with two kids in tow, it can be a bit more challenging to spend a day chazzer hunting. It calls for a bit of patience and a lot of snacks. We may have also told the kids that they’re called toy shops…

Today, we decided to combine a trip to the Hat Museum in Stockport with a look round Marple and Romiley charity shops. The route kind of works, there’s free parking in each place and the promise of the museum was enough to keep our three year old on board all morning.

It was slim pickings today though; for me at least. There were a few interesting looking things:

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I liked the look of these two retro AA touring maps, but I couldn’t think of anything I could do with them. The pictures on the front were pretty good.

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But I just couldn’t justify buying yet more retro things to turn into pictures… It hardly ever happens and I end up with a pile of forlorn looking objects that I eventually either eBay or stick on the car boot pile.

These were also pretty funny looking:

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Again, more junk we really don’t need… These are kids 7″ singles featuring different nursery rhymes and some pretty snazzy illustrations on the front.

These were both in one of the best charity shops in Marple. Look at this:

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They make a real effort to set out their items well and we usually find a couple of bits and bobs. Today was a rare exception as we left empty handed. I can’t remember which charity it is in aid of, but it’s in the old Blockbuster shop in the centre of Marple if you want to have a look.

Romiley was next on the list. We found a few bits and bobs for the kids, toys etc but nothing particularly retro or vintage. I’m convinced the chazzers are getting more savvy to it. The prices certainly seem to be getting higher for quite mundane things. I’ve got to say, we had a nice look round (despite the never-ending rain) but my word, were the volunteers miserable today. Grumbling about getting things out of windows and muttering about the kids playing with the toys. Yes. We will put stuff back. Yes. We would like to look at things before buying them. Yes. I’m going to ask if a game is complete before I buy it. Sorry for asking! I know they’re working for free, but crikey, cheer up!

Anyway, we finally ended up at the Hat Museum. If you’ve never been, it really is a great afternoon out. The kids had a great time looking at the different hats, trying on the ones that were allowed to and looking at the old machinery used to make hats. We’ve been a few times now and we all still like looking round.

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What’s not to love about tiny hats for pets?!

A lovely day overall and a nice way to spend a soggy Saturday. I’ve spent all evening sorting out our ridiculous toy mountain and listing some of the good stuff on eBay. Hopefully, they’ll do okay and make me a few pennies, which I’ll probably spend on more toys we don’t need.


It’s Been A Long Time…

It’s been a very long time indeed. Since my last post, we’ve had another baby and continued to expand the empire – the pottery empire – slowly, yet surely. Potsandpots is doing well in its online incarnation, supplying pottery to buyers from around the world. We’ve had some lovely buyers, both old friends and new, come and visit us at HQ in Hadfield. It’s been great fun.

But, I can’t help feeling that it’s time to do something new with it… Perhaps it’s the New Year; perhaps it’s that now we’re out of the baby phase (finally!) I feel like I’m starting to get some of my time back. Whatever the reason, Potsandpots is well past due an upgrade. And so is my blog. The creepy Easter post has been the first thing you see for long enough! My New Year’s Resolution (well, one of them) is to do some more writing this year. So here I am. Let the Retro capers begin!*

*in reality, they have never stopped. They just weren’t being documented.

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Carstens Ankara Display in the Dining Room


Creepy Vintage Easter Cards

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In Germany, they make a really big fuss around Easter; many homes hang little Easter eggs in their trees and gardens, and sending cards seems to be the thing to do. I don’t think I’ve ever sent an Easter card before, but it’s an excuse to get creative.Around each holiday or festival day, I love searching out vintage images associated with the event. My Halloween post is a popular one each year, so presumably I’m not alone in finding these sorts of things fascinating.

Anyway, I realised as I was searching for some pictorial inspiration just how creepy some of these images are, particularly the Victorian ones.

Albino rabbits have a lot to answer for…

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Neither of them look particularly joyful…

Greeting at Easter

 

By ‘Greeting’ they mean: “We will kill you….”

 

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“…and possibly stuff and mount you.”

 

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Easter Greetings! We’re here to eat your cute little chicks. Or possibly stun you with our laser glares…”

Rabbits – naturally – are a recurring theme in Easter cards. Combine these with eggs and you have:

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Creepy dancing rabbits wearing eggs…

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Unhinged rabbit versions of Wuthering Heights, as performed from within a giant egg…

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Don’t ever accept eggs from strange rabbits.

And this, which is possibly my favourite rabbit-and-egg combo:

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Translating as, “A Happy Easter” yep, it’s that classic image of a rabbit guarding his eggs with a gun. And standing on its back legs. Just be warned, I think this one might possibly be the real Easter Bunny. He doesn’t give up those eggs willingly.

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Man-faced baby riding a sheep, pulling a giant egg. Mainly included for that man-face… I’m pretty sure he’s whipping that sheep, too.

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Nothing says Easter like a smoking, suited chick. And just why, oh why is the wife still wearing part of her egg? Does that mean she’s not long hatched and there’s a bit of sugar-daddery going on here too?

Now here’s a theme, see if you can guess what it is:

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I’m christening it: “Dead eyed rabbit serves as transportation.” These poor rabbits. Don’t they ever get a rest from their stony-countenanced chicken circus masters?

Easter Painting

Oh, there you go. Revenge enacted by that other popular Easter symbol… er, the painting kitten. This pair look like they’re about to eat this chick.

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Not if the elves get there first though… this one never stood a chance.

Actually, these elves/gnomes are really creeping me out. If someone sent me one of these, I don’t think I’d be able to put the cards up.

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He draws them in with his promises of painted eggs, but look at him eyeing that chick up to the right. It’s a goner.

I’m sure you’ll agree, any of these are enough to send the shivers up anyone. I think my favourite (if that’s the appropriate word) image is of those dancing rabbits wearing the eggs. It could almost be an inspiration for the Donnie Darko film poster. I’m sure their eyes follow you round the room…

For some more creepy Easter cards and a lovely bit of information about the origins of the Easter cards, visit here.


Was Maria Felix the Inspiration for H. Walter’s Ilonka?

A couple of years ago, I posted a piece about our painting of ‘Ilonka’ signed by H. Walter. The origins of the dark haired beauty’s painter still remain a mystery (despite a heck of a lot of Googling on my part… what can I say, it’s replaced good old fashioned research). However, some light may have been shed on ‘Ilonka’ herself.

Ilonka by H. Walter

Ilonka by H. Walter

One of the comments on my original post suggested that the original model for the picture could have been a famous Mexican actress called Maria Felix. There are certainly striking similarities between the two women:

Maria Felix

Was Maria Felix the original ‘Ilonka’?

Born on the 8th of April, 1914 Alamos, Sonora, Mexico, María de los Ángeles Félix Güereña was one of the most famous Mexican actresses of the era. She starred in 47 films, none of them English speaking as she always refused to learn English. There’s a fabulous obituary published here about her, which describes her life more eloquently than I ever could.

One of the more relevant and interesting points mentioned is that she was painted several times by various artists, including this gorgeous painting by Diego Rivera:

Maria Felix painted by Diego Rivera

Maria Felix painted by Diego Rivera

Apparently, she was furious that he had painted her in a see-through dress!

Whatever the truth is – perhaps the elusive H. Walter was inspired by Maria Felix to paint ‘Ilonka’ – Maria Felix herself is a woman worthy of comment and further discovery. By all accounts, feisty, opinionated and highly entertaining; this fascinating woman has brought some Mexican glamour to the hunt for ‘Ilonka’s origins.

MariaFelix


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