Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips


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Picquot Ware – Instructions & guarantee information

A while ago I shared a blog post about Picquot Ware. In my original post I discussed the ‘lucky find’ my husband and I had when we bought some pieces of Picquot Ware at a carboot sale last summer. I also shared some progress on polishing up the pots and how I planned to keep them in tip-top condition. Well, since this blog post was published, I’ve been lucky enough receive countless comments on the article from people who still own and use their Picquot Ware.midcentury modern picquot ware teapot coffee setIt seems like my little blog post sparked an outpouring of stories, memories, cleaning tips and advice from fans of the brand and I’m delighted with every single comment I read. It’s wonderful to learn about the origins of the company, the people who worked there, the cost of the products ‘back in the day’ and to hear that pieces of Picquot Ware are still going strong in households up and down the country. I look forward to opening up my comments section and seeing what new information has been shared – there’s quite a little ‘community’ of us Picquot Ware fans over on the original post now!

My own Picquot Ware set – before and after polishing

Last week, one of the people I’d been talking to via the Picquot Ware blog post comments section, Lesley, got in touch with me via email with some amazing news. A Picquot Ware instruction leaflet and guarantee had been discovered amongst the teaset that Lesley had inherited. I fired an email back and asked if it would be possible to share this information on the blog so that the whole ‘community’ could benefit from it. Lesley very kindly scanned the documents and forwarded them to me, with permission to share it with you all today. So here’s what we’ve all been waiting for – the original Picquot Ware guarantee, teaset information and cleaning instructions.Picquot Ware Guarantee Continue reading “Picquot Ware – Instructions & guarantee information” »


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My favourite reads + ‘Swing Dance’ book review

November is here and you know what that means. Not only is the countryside is looking particularly glorious with golden leaves and harvest fruits on the trees, but it also means that Christmas is on its way! Which you can probably guess from my festive blog posts last month is something I’m already particularly excited about. November is a great month; the days are bright and fresh, bonfire night is coming soon, and it the slightly cooler weather makes me want to snuggle up in the evenings with something good to read. That’s the reason I’ve compiled this blog post about my favourite publications and am launching a lovely giveaway to win a copy of the newly published ‘Swing Dance’ vintage culture book – so please read on!book magazine review landlust the simple things swing dance-3I was lucky enough to get my hands on the new issue of LandLust magazine at the weekend. If you’ve not yet heard about LandLust I’m not surprised; I hadn’t either when I first started researching the publication last month, but I’m so pleased that I’ve discovered it now. The magazine first launched in Germany 10 years ago and now has over a million readers there. Building on this success the magazine is about to launch in the UK too.book magazine review landlust the simple things swing danceMuch like my regular favourite mag (which I’ll tell you a little more about in a minute!) this publication focuses on country life, cooking, crafts, gardening and much more. With thrifty articles on making homemade piping bags, low-cost Christmas decorations and DIY ‘scrap-wood’ shelf projects it’s no wonder that I’ve been intently pouring over every page since it arrived. It’s hitting the shops on 5th of November so be sure to pick one up or visit  www.landlust.co.uk for more information on this new title.book magazine review landlust the simple things swing dance-4I’ve been excited about checking out the newly published ‘Swing Dance’ book since it hit the shelves back in mid-September. Last week I finally got my hands on a copy and couldn’t wait to sit down with a cup of tea and enjoy browsing the vintage-inspired pages. Written by Scott Cupit, founder of the world’s largest swing dance school ‘Swing Patrol’, the book is an insight into the world of contemporary swing dance and, as you may have noticed from my various blog posts on the subject, this is something I am really keen on learning more about.book magazine review landlust the simple things swing dance-7The book explores the most popular swing dance styles including the Charleston, Lindy Hop, Collegiate Shag and Balboa and offers a step-by-step guide to perfecting the dances. It also focuses on the associated vintage culture of each style including the music, hairstyles, fashion, make-up and history of each dance, so it’s not just about learning the steps!book magazine review landlust the simple things swing dance-5Seeing as its Tuesday Shoesday I couldn’t resist sharing some photos of the gorgeous vintage footwear page within the book. I’d love a pair of gold dancing shoes like these – they look so comfortable and glamorous! Both Hubby and I have a few pairs of brogues in our wardrobe and I love wearing them for dancing lindy hop; they make jumping and kicking so much easier than when I’m tottering around in heels!book magazine review landlust the simple things swing dance-6If you would like to win a copy of this gorgeous new book – great for anyone interested in vintage culture, fashion, beauty or dance – I have two to give away to my wonderful blog readers. Enter via the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this blog post for your chance to win a copy of this brand new publication.book magazine review landlust the simple things swing dance-2 Continue reading “My favourite reads + ‘Swing Dance’ book review” »


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1950s Picquot Ware & my tips for polishing metal

I thought that today’s blog post was just going to be about polishing up silverware and that I would be able to share a straightforward set of tips on how to bring your old teapot back to life. However, while I was polishing my pots, I turned them over and found a name stamped into the base – Picquot Ware. I was intrigued and after buffing up my DIY polishing project I headed indoors to investigate.

*** Update – new post just published containing the original Picquot Ware instructions, range & guarantee ***

*** Update – new photos of the rare Picquot Ware Coffee Percolator are now on the blog ***

DIY polishing midcentury modern silvertea set picquot ware teapotMy husband found these kitchenalia items at a recent carboot sale and I loved the shape as soon as I saw them. I adored the curvy design and I imagined it to be the kind of tea set that might have been used to serve passengers on the Titanic or on a Mallard steam train journey in the 1940s. Continue reading “1950s Picquot Ware & my tips for polishing metal” »


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Tuesday Shoesday ~ The shoe shop that time forgot

Wow, just look at these photos. This amazing old shoe store has recently been discovered after being locked up for over 50 years. A family in the US inherited an old building from their grandparents and were surprised to find it was a perfectly preserved shoe shop, which had remained untouched since the 1960s. vintage shoe store in usa
Continue reading “Tuesday Shoesday ~ The shoe shop that time forgot” »


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Create a glamorous party look with silk rollers

I’m sure you’ve heard me say it many times before but I love the glamour of the 40s and 50s and even though my wardrobe of vintage dresses and cute swing dancing shoes is gradually growing, the one thing that I’ve not yet been able to achieve is the hair styles from this era. I’ve watched some fab videos on YouTube to learn how to do the victory rolls of the 40s and have tried time and again to get the polished Hollywood glamour look of the 50s but my style always seems to fall flat within a very short space of time.Remington Professional Silk Rollers_-6

I usually try out my vintage hairstyles when I’m heading out to a hangar dance or a nostalgia show and the limited amount of time I have to get ready, coupled with my general hair-styling incompetence, means that although I can sometimes leave the house with a passable hair do, by the time I’ve been flung around the dancefloor a couple of times my hair is flat again. Which is really unfair because my hair is naturally wavy! I have no idea how it manages to ends up so straight and lifeless – if I wanted it to be straight it would kink up immediately – but the minute I want to look glamorous and polished, my hair decides that it has other plans and wants to slob out instead.

So here’s the point of my blog post today – I’ve just finished trying out my new silk rollers for the first time and I wanted to share my experience with you, along with a couple of photos to give you an idea of what look can be achieved with my new Remington heated rollers (available from Very.co.uk or Amazon). I tried a tentative curl the night before and that seemed to stay fairly well without any hair spray so I decided to give it a go all over and see what happened.

As a complete roller novice, I wasn’t sure what to expect and wondered how I could be sure of the finished result if I couldn’t really see what I was doing. But nonetheless I plugged in the unit to start heating up and read through the comprehensive instructions that came with my Remington Professional Silk Rollers kit. I discovered that I needed to wind the sections of hair around the roller and roll up to the roots so that the roller was underneath my hair. The instructions promised that this would give me the Hollywood glamour look I’d been desperately trying to achieve! Other options included using rollers from front-to-back on the top section of your hair for volume rather than curls, and the hair could be rolled up the opposite way to give a flicked-out look. I never imagined that rollers could be so versatile!

I enlisted the help of my mother, who talked me through her experiences of hair styling using rollers in the 60s while we clipped the heated rollers into the hair. The ends of the rollers were cool to touch and even the velvety middles weren’t too hot to handle so it was an easy process and before long every hair was curled and clipped up. It was just a case of being patient and waiting for the rollers to cool down. I expect that the curls could probably be released sooner for a more relaxed wave but I wanted to try it out ‘properly’ during this first attempt so I waited until all the clips and rollers were totally cold. I’m guessing that this helped to set the curl so that it lasts longer because they looked very bouncy as they tumbled out of the rollers! Remington Professional Silk Rollers_-5

The hair actually looked more glossy than usual and you could really see all the highlights in each of the curls, which added to the Hollywood glamour effect. The rollers even added volume and I think it gave the effect of practically double the quantity of hair that went into the rollers in the first place! I didn’t use hair spray to set the curls but they still lasted a good amount of time – I really wanted to give the curls a good test it out so that I’d know whether they would last. Next time I use the rollers I will definitely use hairspray afterwards because I think this would help my hair style look great and last through even the bounciest of jive dances!

Let me know what you think about this hairstyle and I’d love to hear if you have any tips for making curls last longer. Also please share your ideas for different hairstyles using rollers because I’ll definitely be using these again and again to style my hair! Tweet me @Cassiefairy or leave me a comment below.


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Tuesday Shoesday ~ a history lesson in 40s footwear

As you know I’ve started learning to swing dancing, including lindy hop, charleston and now balboa, all of which are intrinsically linked to the 1940s era. I’ve been going to hangar dances and I’m attending another 40s dance this coming weekend. I’ve been delighted to find that there is quite a vintage ‘scene’ going on in the area I live so this very weekend I had a choice of four dances to go to on Saturday night! You may have already spotted some of my vintage clothing blog posts, but I’ve hardly mentioned the footwear. This is mainly due to the fact that when I dance, my feet need to be comfortable so that I can bust some moves on the dancefloor so I’ve worn the same pair of shoes every time. IMG_6337IMG_6359

My preferred dancing shoes are a simple pair of plain black low-heel shoes with a baby-doll strap. They are simple but are so comfortable and I’ve owned them for about 8 years – long before my passion for dancing came into being. But even back then, they were my go-to shoes for nights out with my friends as I knew that I would still be comfortable on the walk home, even after a whole evening of dancing. So when I started going to dance lessons, these shoes were the obvious choice and I’ve worn them to every lesson since. I’ve written about them before in my article about taking care of your shoes, and this pair have been reheeled and buffed up to a fine shine many times over the years, which is why I think they have lasted so long. The problem is that I’m starting to worry about the day when they finally fail, when the heel snaps during a speedy spin or when the buckle pings off after a keen kick. I want to find a suitable replacement but have no clue about what type of shoes to go for.

steam railway 40s weekend and vintage fashion-5steam railway 40s weekend and vintage fashion-6

As you may have seen in my blog post last Tuesday, I have a fab pair of Orla Kiely baby doll heels which I wore to a 40s steam railway event last month. They were comfortable enough for walking around all day long, but these are too heavy with their chunky heels and platform sole to be any good for dancing, plus the t-bar isn’t quite right for the era. So that’s where my research into 40s footwear comes in. I know I want my dancing shoes to be comfortable but I also want them to look good with my choice of vintage attire so I’ve taken a look at what shoe styles were popular during the era. I imagined that the selection of shoes would be quite limited but in contrast I found that there were a large selection of what I would call ‘modern’ styles around in the 1940s so I’m sure that I will be able to find a replica version of these old designs if the originals prove to be too pricey for my thrifty budget!

So first of all I’d like to discuss heel height, and I discovered that shorter stacked heels and chunky square shapes were popular in the 40s. I am rather pleased about this because I prefer a shorter heel and find it difficult to dance in anything over 3 inches so I’m sure that a pair of vintage shoes would be suitable to dance in. I found out that evening shoes were sometimes a little higher, but here’s the thing that really surprised me; wedges were popular in the 1940s! I genuinely thought that this style was a much more recent invention and I spent the whole of my 20s wearing wedges, never realising just how ‘vintage’ I was being! Practical lace-up shoes of the era, such as brogues or Oxford shoes for daytime also featured chunky stacked heels so the women of the 40s were definitely a fan of a little extra height!   1940s shoes styles baby doll slingbacks peep toe

Popular 1940s shoes styles

The Mary Jane shoes or baby doll shoes that I love so much are typical styles of the era. Evening-wear in the 40s usually included straps around the ankle or across the foot and even slingbacks made an appearance. Straps could be added to peep toes, wedges or court shoes/pumps to turn them into jazzy party shoes – again, I thought that peep-toes were a more modern invention – how wrong I was! I think that the addition of straps might have been to do with the energetic lindy-hop dancing the women were doing in the evenings, so that their shoes stayed firmly on their feet during all those jive kicks! 1940s shoes Aldens catalogue from 1949

images from Aldens catalogue 1949

Most of the shoes in the 1940s were black, light tan, brown or olive green with only a few exciting shades of patriotic red, white and blue available. Brighter colours became popular after WW2 as you can see from the yellow shoes in this 1949 catalogue image. Two-tone shoes were popular; not only in Oxford shoes, saddle shoes or loafers as you’d expect, but also around the top of pretty court shoes or slingbacks, so many of these would have contrast stitching or added trim in a different colour. In terms of embellishment, most styles were relatively plain with a little punch-hole decoration in the leather. Bows or flowers in the same fabric or colours of the shoe were added to evening or summer shoes for decoration.

From this research, I have concluded that I should invest in some baby-doll Mary Jane shoes, possibly with a peep toe (and definitely in red or blue!) with a contrast white stitching or perforation pattern around the top. Does anyone have any suggestions of where I can find something like this – original vintage or modern? Please let me know in the comments below! And if you have a favourite pair of vintage shoes yourself, please send me a photo of them, I’d love to see your favourites too 🙂

 

 


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1940s fashion for men

If you’ve been reading my blog over the past few months (and even earlier this week, because I mentioned it again in my dancing shoes blog post!) I’ve been getting very ‘into’ the 1940s scene and swing dancing. It started when I went to the Mid-Suffolk Vintage Festival back in June for the D-Day celebrations and I couldn’t keep the crazy grin off my face all day. We met a few members of the local lindy dance group there and they invited us along to a dance class the following Friday. Thankfully we decided to go and we’ve barely missed a lesson since!Vintage Festival and D Day Remembrance 2014-9 Vintage Festival and D Day Remembrance 2014-20 Vintage Festival and D Day Remembrance 2014-10

Luckily, there is a thriving 40s culture in East Anglia and I am never short of events to attend – in fact, there are sometimes too many and only next week I have three dances to choose from! I can’t keep up with getting different 40s outfits for each event and I find myself desperately coveting my friends’ circle dresses and tweed jackets.  I’ve shared a few of my photos from recent events and I’ve been particularly interested in what the men are wearing…

I think that finding period outfits for men is more difficult than it is for women – there are plenty of 40s and 50s replica dress companies out there for us and a thriving vintage online market. But there are less specialist retailers out there for men’s vintage clothing, especially as my husband doesn’t fancy going for the whole military get-up. So far he’s been looking rather swish in brogues and braces but I’d like to invest in something a little more ‘dressy’ for the evenings. And that’s where scarves come in!vintage mens fashionI really like the idea of buying my husband a silk aviator scarf from classy menswear brand Knightsbridge Gentleman’s Neckwear and I’ve nabbed a couple of photos from their website in order to show you the type of classic men’s fashion I’m talking about. I’m sure you will agree that it would fit in perfectly with the 40s style we are trying to incorporate into our dancing wardrobe. I also love the combination of braces with a bow-tie so there might even be a bow-tie in hubby’s Christmas stocking this year! I think he wears the look really well and he’s even started wearing braces in ‘everyday life’ so I’m hoping that this smart look might be here to stay 😉


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My day out at the Vintage Festival & D-Day Celebration

Last weekend I had one of the best days out ever: I visited the Mid-Suffolk Vintage Festival on Sunday so I thought I’d share my photos of the event this Sunday. Hubby, mum and I headed to the Mid-Suffolk Showground unsure of what we’d find at this brand new event and was pleasantly surprised. It was a fantasic event with vintage cars, military trucks, family-friendly war re-enactments (no loud bangs or gore!), vintage shopping, platoon softball games and displays of original militaria.

The marquee played host to an authentic fashion show, demonstrating the uniforms and outfits that would have been worn at the time – from Land Girls to Naval Officers and American Squaddies. But the vintage fashion didn’t stop there: everyone we met was wearing stunning 40s and 50s outfits, military uniform and original dresses. It made me wish I’d dressed up a little more and worn my vintage handbag and tea dress – so that’s a must for next time!

Taking place just after the 70th anniversary of D-Day and buoyed up by the celebratory nature of the event we all threw ourselves into celebrating D-Day and enjoyed watching the gorgeous singing, dancing and tap group My Favourite Things. The girls looked like true war-time pin-ups and we found ourselves transported back to that very day 70 years ago as they sang all the original hits in perfect harmony. After watching lots of the crowd swinging and jiving on the dance floor, hubby and I decided to go to the afternoon dance class to learn a few moves so that we could join in with bopping along to the vintage tunes that the DJ was spinning.

After stumbling our way through a dance class and discovering an extra left-foot that I didn’t know I had (!) more treats arrived in the form of afternoon tea and a big slice of Victoria sponge: my favourite. We watched the softball game and cheered along with the crowd and the military wives cheerleaders, before taking a stroll around the stalls and viewing an amazing Women’s Land Army collection from Cherry Betty Vintage – check out her Facebook page.

The lovely sunny day and hazy afternoon certainly added to the jubilation of the event, and everyone I saw had a massive smile on their face. I certainly felt the same way and had aching cheeks by the end of the day from all the smiling I’d been doing 😀 I left the event with an invitation to a local dance class and hubby has been conscripted into the nearby softball team, the Mustangs, so it looks like our vintage festival experiences won’t be over anytime soon!


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Create a vintage-inspired look for Spring 2012

This season, vintage is back in a big way. Last year designers, such as Marc Jacobs and Anna Sui in NY Fashion Week and Fendi and Prada in Milan, presented their Spring 2012 collections with a clear theme: the Retro Demure lady from the 40s and 50s.

  The 1950s Housewive: Jonathan Saunders

As you can see from this Jonathan Saunders design and Marie Claire article (above) pastels are key in creating this look, as are pettiskirts to create a full-skirted effect. This retro 50s housewife style made recurring appearances on the Spring 2012 catwalk and most designers chose to recreate a cinched waist silhouette, fresh cotton fabrics and cute retro prints.

The vintage rockabilly style has been a popular alternative fashion for years (think Dita Von Teese) and has now finally gone mainstream; Where once you needed to shop online in specialist stores (such as Vivien of Holloway pictured left) to get your 50s look, this season these ladylike cardis, full-skirted dresses and retro accessories can be sourced on the high street (Primark, Topshop, ASOS and H&M below).

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  Diner 8

  

And don’t forget to style up your 50s look with a pretty pettiskirt from www.Cassiefairy.co.uk!

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