Monday, 27 June 2016

These boots are made for walkin' and that's just what they'll do

Amassing my collection of vintage and vintage inspired shoes has always been a priority to me, not only as I believe an attractive pair of shoes is so important to completing an outfit but also because of the vast array of wonderful styles that were on offer during the '60s and '70s. One of my favourite aspects of fashion from this time period is the footwear and I admit to wasting far too many hours browsing eBay and Etsy for the most beautiful styles and colours imaginable, often having to close the window with a sigh as they come with the price tag to match. But occasionally you'll stumble across a wonderful bargain or find something perfect in a local store and I've quite a fair collection by now and felt inspired to share it with you.

I was a little slow to collecting actual vintage footwear, mostly because I had never found any in the flesh and was concerned about fit. I'm lucky in that my feet are rather small at a UK 4, but they're also wide which is where my problems with fit come in. The first few I ordered online turned out to be too small, but I managed to sell them on without making any losses and it proved to be a positive learning curve as now I know what to look for to ensure they fit (I recommend measuring the inside length and width of a pair of shoes that fit you well and asking the seller for the measurements of the shoes their selling. Then you can compare if they're similar enough to be comfortable as vintage shoe sizing isn't always reliable to today's equivalents) Good quality vintage shoes in the kinds of mod and groovy styles I like aren't usually cheap, but the most expensive pair I own was £50 and that was for a pair of suede boots so it can be done inexpensively! I feel keeping a price limit stops me from owning a ridiculous amount too, which I could easily do as I love shoes so much.


This 1970s pair are one of my most favourites although I confess I don't wear them often as I usually twist my ankle! They're surprisingly comfortable despite being so high as they're platformed at the front. I found them at a local vintage shop and flipped when I saw they were my size as they were so perfect. I was even more excited when I tried them on and they fit like they were made just for me! These cost £15 and although the condition looked fab when I bought them, I wore them for a night out and the entire sole fell off of one of them (resulting in me having to pull a Sandie Shaw and spend the rest of the evening barefoot) Luckily it was nothing the cobbler couldn't fix!


These aren't vintage, they were £6 from George at Asda, but Mary Jane style shoes were the staple of any '60s mod girl and have been my primary shoe of choice since I was 16 (partly due to my love for Alice in Wonderland as well as the '60s). I've owned many pairs over the years until they've fallen apart, and if I have heavy walking to do these are my go to as they're comfortable as well as cute and suit just about any outfit. You really can't go wrong with a pair of these in your wardrobe! Although these are just from Asda they've lasted me 3 years so far and show no signs of giving up yet.


It occurred to me when browsing my wardrobe one day that to me, purple is a basic that I can throw on with any outfit like others probably think of black as being. These shoes were an Etsy find, and although they fit me like a dream I'm unable to wear them often as the back of them cuts into my heel within minutes drawing blood. Even band aids are no match for these! If anyone knows of any fixes for this issue, I'm all ears, as these would be my staple otherwise.



These are another Etsy find, sold by a seller I follow for only £25 and still in their original box. I saw them as soon as they were uploaded and put them in my basket before anyone else had a chance! They're actually a size US 9.5 and I'm generally a US 6.5 so they're a full three sizes too big. But that's why they created insoles, right?? They're actually very comfortable as they fit just right width-wise and I'm able to tighten the buckle to secure them. They always draw a ton of compliments and I often get asked where I got them from people hoping to snag a pair of their own.


These are undoubtedly one of my best finds - I was excited enough to find such a gorgeous pair of 1970s boots barely ever worn in my size for only £10. You could of knocked me over when I looked inside them and saw they're made by none other than Terry de Havilland, the "Rock n Roll Cobbler of the 1970s" who designed shoes for the likes of David Bowie and Marianne Faithfull among many others. They're real suede and incredibly comfortable.


These are both modern pairs from Topshop purchased last summer. I've not thought much of the so-called '70s revival as a whole, it seems to largely miss the entire point and focus on the blandest styles that look no different to anything else. I was pleased to find these sandals however as I'd been on the hunt for a pair of lace up gladiator sandals for such a long time, but genuine vintage pairs are usually sold for well over three figures. These are pretty accurate in style for the time too. I've debated with myself many times whether to dye the lighter pair purple.

Pattie Boyd and her gladiator sandals in Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco in 1967 with George Harrison


This pair I thrifted and were originally a tan colour. I'd spent months searching for a pair of green vintage shoes to complete a specific outfit, something I felt had to be common but I kept coming up empty so I decided to get creative. They're originally from Office and I painted them with proper shoe paint so they've stood up well. I think they look accurate to the time period and I'd doubt anyone would know any different if I didn't say!



These are the aforementioned boots that I purchased for £50, but to me they were worth every single penny as I'd been dreaming of owning a pair of boots like these ever since I first got interested in the '60s and they're my exact size and usually sell for far more. They were cheaper because, as I'm sure you can see, one of the top hooks is missing (which I'm sure could be replaced by a cobbler when I make the effort to go in) and some of the lining was coming away inside which I've hand stitched back into place. Structurally they're sound, and I wear them almost every day in autumn and winter.


These shoes were the most recent addition to my collection, too wonderfully mod to pass up. The beautiful tan shoes you see below have been somewhat ruined by constant use which upset me greatly, so I bought these dusky pink ones to take over as a more everyday shoe. Both pairs are original vintage 1960s. The cobbler (whom I've come to know quite personally by now!) thankfully managed to fix my tan shoes up twice, the leather keeps tearing away from the sole at the front so I only save them for very light wear nowadays to try and preserve them for as long as I can.


Wednesday, 22 June 2016

In my room

I'm moving back to my family home for the summer on Thursday and as I type this my room is already mostly dismantled and boxed up. Although I haven't been the happiest living here, I really love the space I created for myself and I'm going to miss this little nook in particular so I thought I'd take some photos.


As I'm sure you can tell I have more things than I have space, but I've never let that stop me! The things on the wall were thrown together at random when I moved in with the promise of organising it properly which I never did, however I'm quite attached to the arrangement by now. Same story with my pin board below.






I'm going to miss my record player dearly while it goes into storage for 3 months! I'm spinning as many records as I can in the meantime to make up for it!

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Green is the colour


This dress was something that came together quite by accident and it's probably my favourite thing I've sewn to date! I never, ever have any luck with thrifting vintage sewing patterns, so in the past I've always had to try and seek out one that I like the look of online which is no easy task as there's often far too many to even go through. However when visiting my favourite charity shop recently they unexpectedly had a box full of patterns from the 60s-80s many of which just so happened to be in my size! At only 50p each I snaffled up a bundle that took my fancy. A few days later I was visiting a vintage store a few towns over and I noticed they had off cuts of vintage fabric available for £1 a piece. Naturally I grabbed all of the crimplene, some of it is just so beautifully patterned and still waiting to be used on something perfect but as soon as I saw these two greens I had an idea with my earlier patterns!


Whilst I do love the maxi dress pictured, I'm much more of a mini skirt girl and confess I mostly bought the pattern for those wonderful sleeves and ruffle bib so decided to combine it with elements of the second mini dress pattern. It was genuinely frankensteined and I wasn't sure how well it'd pull together, but thankfully it did and all the pieces fit! Sometimes winging it does work!

All in all this dress cost £3.50 - £2 for both fabrics, £1 for the patterns and 50p for a zip (which coincidentally is a genuine '60s vintage metal one. I'm not that pretentious, it's just all they have at the market and why spend more on a new one?) Whoever said sewings an expensive pastime is a bold faced liar.





I'm so in love with these sleeves. I was slightly concerned they might not meet my puffy expectations as things never look as voluminous unworn but I needn't of worried. The patterned crimplene is a much thinner fabric than the green on the bottom half so it flows just wonderfully and is the perfect blousey material. I made the buttons the same fabric as the skirt to tie it in a little as the greens aren't a perfect match (but I personally think compliment each other just right) Unfortunately it means the buttons kind of blend in to the busy pattern, but I still like it.

I didn't add any interfacing into the cuffs simply because I didn't have any but I don't think they look like they needed it. I had fully intended for the buttons on the cuffs to be functional, but because I have skinny wrists the sleeves were turning out too big so I just slip stitched them shut and can slide my hand in no problem.





What do you think?

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Someone's painting and I think it's me

I think all artists can relate to that feeling of lacking inspiration for large periods of time, and then suddenly having a burst of energy where you want to create all of the things. I've been so bogged down with drawing things for my university course that I haven't even wanted to draw in my spare time for a long period, so I'm thrilled to be back drawing for myself. I've also begun publishing "speed draw" videos for my YouTube channel which has been great motivation. Portraits are one of my favourite things to draw so naturally it's what I've been focusing on.



Freddie was the first to be drawn, I'd been itching to draw '80s Freddie for a while as I'd never drawn him with his moustache before. I'm always apprehensive of drawing facial hair, but really it's not that difficult.

Almost immediately after I then drew Roger Taylor, who definitely benefited from the warm up that drawing Freddie provided as I think he came out much better. In fact this is probably one of my favourite drawings. Now I really need to draw Brian May as he's the only member of Queen I've never drawn a proper portrait of which makes me feel guilty!




The other day I drew this picture of Donovan which really needs to have the photo retaken as it does the drawing no justice, I didn't realise how bad the lighting was. It was just a quick draw so it's a little less polished than the other two, it was more an experiment with adding the design aspects.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Vinyl Q&A


I saw these questions floating around on Tumblr and thought it'd make a fun post! I've wanted to post more about my vinyl collection too, so this felt like a great introduction. It's not a tag, so feel free to snag it yourself and be sure to leave a link if you do I can have a nosy.

01. Name your five favourite albums

This is really tough! I'm not putting them in any particular order and I'll only allow myself to pick one from each artist.

  • ➳ Pink Floyd - The Piper At The Gates of Dawn
  • ➳ Syd Barrett - The Madcap Laughs
  • ➳ Roger Taylor - Fun in Space
  • ➳ Queen - Queen II
  • ➳ David Bowie - Diamond Dogs

I wanted to also include Led Zeppelin III, The Hurdy Gurdy Man by Donovan, and The Court of the Crimson King by King Crimson. But that's more than five.

02. The last record you bought?

A Nice Pair by Pink Floyd which is a "toofa" style compilation of their first two albums The Piper At The Gates of Dawn and A Saucerful of Secrets released in 1973. The Syd Barrett era of Pink Floyd is my favourite and I've been after an original of The Piper At The Gates of Dawn for a long, long time. I found A Nice Pair at a recent record fair and it felt like the next best thing and essential for my collection regardless.

03. With what artist do you own the most records? Least?

Queen are my most, I own 30 LPs, two of which are boxsets. This doesn't even nearly surprise me as they're one of my favourite bands and probably have the largest discography. Least is tricky, as there's a few artists I only own one of. I only own one Rolling Stones record (Out Of Our Heads) as it's the only one I've ever found. I have found their later records sometimes, but I'm only really interested in their '60s material, the later stuff doesn't interest me so I've passed. I also only own one Small Faces record, as again they're just really difficult to find. I almost broke and bought Ogden's Nut Gone Flake on eBay recently, but held off because I know it'll mean so much more to me if and when I find it in the flesh. For me, half the fun is the hunt and there's little like the elation of unexpectedly stumbling across something you've had your heart set on forever.

04. Do you own any box sets?

Yes, not big ones, but box sets nonetheless. I have The Beatles Box, a 9 disc compilation spanning their entire career that was released in 1980. It was highly sought after when it was released as it contained recordings and mixes which had never been made available to the public before. I also have Queen's Rock Montreal and Live at The Bowl box sets.

05. Any originals?

About 90% of my collection are original pressings, the rest are pressings of up to a few years later but I don't go for the modern pressings they put out of old artists. I don't mean to sound snobbish, but they're very low quality in comparison and it annoys me how they press the vinyl from digital remasters instead of the original analogue tapes, it's missing the entire point of vinyl! Not to mention second hand vinyl is so much cheaper! You can buy an original pressing of some records for a few pounds, when brand new would cost £20+. The only modern pressing of an old album I have is The Court of the Crimson King by King Crimson and that's because the original usually sells for around £200+. I hope to stumble across one one day, you never know, but until then I have this copy. And it comes approved by Robert Fripp who's particularly finicky so it can't be too bad!

06. What record do you want to own most?

My absolute number one grail item is the original mono first pressing of The Piper At The Gates of Dawn by Pink Floyd. Pink Floyd are one of my favourite bands and it's my favourite of their albums. It's also the one most predominantly featuring Syd Barrett who means the world to me which obviously makes this LP even more important to me personally. However being Pink Floyd's debut I'm sure you can imagine the crazy prices it sells for! Also high on my grail list is a promo copy of Roger Taylor's Fun in Space complete with the press kit. I've never even seen it for sale to give you an idea of how rare it is (but I have seen photos so I know it exists!) It was Roger Taylor's first album, and also my favourite so it would mean everything to have this in my collection. I have the Strange Frontier promo + press kit, which is Roger's second album which makes it feel even more important to have the Fun in Space one too. I have it watched on eBay and Google, so I literally get notifications every time anyone lists anything to do with Fun in Space so fingers crossed it'll turn up one day!

My Strange Frontier promo record and press kit. They're sent out to the press to promote the album and were usually thrown out so they're pretty collectable! It includes the full album, photos to give them something to use in the magazine, a statement about Roger and the how/why he wrote the album.
07. A record of yours that you never listen to?

Quite a few to be fair. Although I have a large collection, I tend to just listen to my favourites over and over. I still like having a large collection though, as it gives me choice for when I do want a change. I rarely, if ever, listen to my 45s, though I do fantasize about one day setting my chair up next to my player with a cup of tea and going through them. 45s can feel like a pain in the ass because it's only 3 minutes until you have to flip it over, but then again it ensures you're really listening to the music which is lovely.

08. Do you own any albums on vinyl released after you were born?

Quite a few! Queen released The Miracle, Innuendo, Made in Heaven and several live albums after I was born. Roger Taylor released a lot of stuff after I was born too: Happiness?, Electric Fire, Fun on Earth, as well as all of The Cross' discography bar Shove It. I'm also a huge fan of The Killers and own some of their stuff on vinyl (I even have a Killers tattoo!).

09. Tell me about a record of yours that means a lot to you

Probably my copy of The Beatles Help! It was one of the first records I ever bought, and so is special to me just for that reason. It's one of those records that means nothing to anyone else, it's not rare or collectable, but it has that emotional attachment for me. Also my copy of The Madcap Laughs by Syd Barrett. It's a first pressing and was the first LP of Syd's I was able to buy, and it's an album in general that means a lot to me.


10. Why vinyl?

It’s tangible. I like going shopping specifically for music, flicking through crates of records and hoping, that euphoric feeling when you do find an artist you love, getting to look at the artwork on the sleeve close up in detail, looking at the grooves and figuring out which ones are your favourite song on the LP, the almost hypnotic feeling of watching the record spinning, and watching my collection grow and grow. Vinyl requires a level of attention that other formats don’t because you can only listen to a few songs before you have to flip the disc over. When I play iTunes or my iPod I tune out and it becomes background noise, but vinyl demands attention at all times.

11. Do you buy more vinyl than digital music/CDs?

Yes. I like to have digital too to take on the go, but I don't really buy it *coughs* I have zero interest in CDs and never have. Even as a child I held on to cassettes for as long as I could and then went straight to digital. I hated CDs and didn't see the point, I don't like the sound of them and they're so impractical (remember Discmans and walking whilst trying to keep them perfectly still so the disc didn't skip? Yeah, that)

12. Do you own any rare or collectable records?

I own a test pressing of Roger Taylor's second album, Strange Frontier. It's probably one of my proudest things. It's got completely blank labels and sleeve because they weren't designed yet! I also own promo copy and press kit for Strange Frontier, and also Queen's album Jazz which is also the most expensive record I've ever bought so far (and so far the only time I've spent three figures on a record, yikes!)



I don't think my other records are particularly rare though. It's hard to judge, because I have records that are rare, like Blue Rock by The Cross which was only released in Germany and then pulled shortly afterwards, or Old Wave by Ringo Starr which has a similar story. But because I've seen people wave around Beatles butcher covers like they're no big deal on YouTube, it kind of skews my opinion of what's rare now, you know? Which is a shame really.

13. Have you got any of your records from your parents?

Nope, I don't really share musical taste with my parents beyond Adam Ant and David Bowie, they think most of what I listen to is noise. All of my favourite music I’ve found for myself throughout the years, which actually makes me happier than inheriting music taste as it makes it 100% mine.

14. How did you get into vinyl?

When I began listening to classic rock and other old artists, I began looking through charity shops and such for the records just because it was the format it was originally released on and felt like something I wanted to collect. It was honestly more the novelty aspect that intrigued me about vinyl the most at first, I had never been exposed to it before so it was something completely new to me, and I just liked looking at the artwork and thought of it like memorabilia. After I had a couple though I naturally wanted to play it, and as soon as I bought a record player and played my first vinyl I was hooked in a huge way!

15. What’s your favourite record at the moment?

I've been listening to a lot of David Bowie recently, particularly Ziggy Stardust and Diamond Dogs. But it changes constantly!

When I hear that rock 'n roll, it gets down to my soul

I love music, it's my biggest passion. If you want to make my heart grow fondly of you, talk about music and you can't go wrong. My all time favourite music is from the '60s and '70s; British invasion, mod, psychedelic, folk, prog rock, glam rock, oh I love it all!! I don't tend to branch out very often, I know what I like and am perfectly happy to stay there (in fact my natural instinct is mild offence when people try and recommend new bands I 'need' to listen to. Um, no I don't!) I don't see anything wrong with knowing what you like, and music is such a comfort to me that I don't feel any need to 'shake things up'. I'm quite satisfied to be stuck in a time warp, after all most modern music wouldn't even exist without these predecessors who changed music for the better. I wanted to share a selection of my favourite bands and artists, along with some favoured tracks. This was originally going to be a "top 10" but I couldn't narrow it down from 11, ha!

Pink Floyd


Pink Floyd were one of the first bands to get me interested in older music and they've always remained my most favourite. I personally favour their earlier more psychedelic sounds with Syd Barrett present (I really love Syd Barrett, you should check out his solo work too ♥ I struggled not to add him to this list as a solo artist, rightfully he deserves to be so as he means so much to me). But I often feel guilty for drawing attention to the earlier stuff because I truly love all of Pink Floyd's music. I feel like some people are intimidated by Pink Floyd, or don't really "get it" as they're mostly a prog band and most of their albums are concept based, but I'd honestly urge you to sit down and give at least one of their albums a listen all the way through as you really can't judge them otherwise. A truly timeless band, their music sounds just as fresh and relevant today as it did when originally released. I don't even know what to say beyond ugh I really really love Pink Floyd!!!!!


Queen


I adore Queen, and although they're a hugely successful band it's unfortunate how little people actually know of them and their back catalogue beyond the hits. People dismiss them because they don't like Bohemian Rhapsody or Radio Ga Ga which is a crying shame because they're so much more! They literally crossed over every single genre, they were so incredibly innovative, and all four of them were so talented in their own right. To a lot of people Queen = Freddie Mercury, which is such a disservice to John, Brian and Roger, they were so much more than Freddie's backing band (and Queen is actually Roger and Brian's band if you want to get down to it). The four of them together were a magic that will never be matched.


David Bowie


I remember it took me a while to get into David Bowie when I first began listening to him, although now I have no idea why! He's such an inspirational human being, and I'm always transfixed by his lyrics, he could write a song like no other. He's another one of the few musicians that I never grow tired of no matter how many times I listen to the same songs over and over, and another who's sound never dates.


Donovan


I find Donovan such a one of a kind. His music is the sound of my daydreams, if that makes sense. If I could live in a fantasy world, it would be pretty much like a Donovan song, and as such I always feel completely transported whenever I listen to him. Often when I'm in a funk, it'll be a Donovan song heard out of the blue that speaks to me and pulls me out of it and for that I can never thank him enough.


The Beatles


Confession: I love Ringo slightly more than I love The Beatles, and I arguably might not have ever gotten into the Beatles if it weren't for Ringo. I remember when I first began listening to them it was like I suddenly understood so much of pop culture references, and discovered that songs I'd loved for years were actually Beatles covers and I'd never realised!


Small Faces


I've always loved the Small Faces, Steve Marriott has the most incredibly powerful voice and I just love their sound so much, whether it be their classic mod sound or their more psychedelic, concept offerings. It makes me sad how underrated they are too; whilst they're undeniably popular with fans of the time period, so many people are more familiar with and think you're referring to the Faces with Rod Stewart which is such a shame. They achieved so much in only 4 years, and they're so distinctively '60s.


The Monkees


Often dismissed as a "TV band" (which is ironic when you consider how many other bands have been manufactured that no one bats an eye lid at!) The Monkees are so much more. I really respect their story, how hard they fought to be taken seriously as musicians and how much they had stacked against them. I love how each members diverse personality is so securely stamped throughout, lending a completely different sound to each track and yet still working harmoniously together: Micky brought the soul, Peter the rock, Michael the country and Davy the musical theatre. And the TV show is absolute gold!


Nancy Sinatra


One of my all time favourite women, and ashamedly the only woman on this list. I love her sass and attitude, she's truly one of a kind, and she's absolutely one of my biggest style inspirations to boot! She's always done her own thing, and her music is so distinctively Nancy. A gorgeous woman in every sense.


The Move


I actually got into The Move because of Nancy Sinatra: she does a cover of Flowers in the Rain, and I noticed one day when looking at my record that it was penned by Roy Wood. "That guy from Wizzard who sings about Christmas???" Yes, the very same! I'd never heard of The Move before that second, but as soon as I gave them a listen it was immediate adoration. I find their songs so catchy and upbeat (even when the lyrical matter isn't!) and they deserve to be so much more popular than they are. Their sound is so quintessential of the late '60s.


Cat Stevens


Cat Stevens is the only artist on here that I got into kinda because of my parents. My parents aren't music orientated people and only had a handful of CDs, one of which was Cat Stevens. I never realised until I first watched the film Harold and Maude (one of my favourites!) for which he provides the soundtrack, and realised how many of the tracks I already recognised. It's just the perfect music to relax to, and I love the raw emotion to his voice.


King Crimson


Last but by no means least, King Crimson I got into blindly because I loved the cover art of In The Court of the Crimson King. They took a little listening for me to "get it", but as soon as I did I was head over heels and they've remained one of my most favourite bands ever since. They've had many different line ups, my favourite being the original although that's not to discredit the later albums which are wonderful. My favourite song is I Talk To The Wind, which unfortunately isn't available on YouTube. 

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