Fred and Polly

Remember Dick and Jane?

Well I would like to introduce you to their grandparents:

Fred and Polly, and Willie and Eva.

Fred and Polly are thinking of stealing eggs from a nest; but cue Fairy “Kind Thought” who saves the day and reminds them how much the mother- bird loves those eggs!

Now meet Willie and Eva, and their charming “Chat about Water”. Not only are they introducing young readers to words like wash-ing, fall-ing and pud-ding, they are also providing a lesson in the importance of water, and the dangerous and naughty habit of boys throwing ice at one another.

This quaint little 1920’s copy of Chambers’s (not a typo) Twentieth Century Reader Book 1 once belonged to a boy called Egbert ( his name is neatly written on the front page), and is chock-a-block full of lessons – but unlike our generation who learned to read with the help of Dick, Jane and Spot’s frivolous running, jumping and catching, Egbert and his friends appear to have had a triple whammy of lessons – literarical*, practical and moral!

My favourite lesson in this little Reader – and there are many – is a story cunningly disguised as a fun quiz, but where words such as por-trait, mis-chief and lis-ten are learnt, and where sleepy boys, mischievous boys and untidy girls are put right – literarical*, practical and moral!

See if you can spot the right answer:

“What kind of boy or girl are you?”

  1. The sleepy boy who is always tired in the lesson – “Do you think he will ever be clever? I think not.”

2. The boy who gets into mischief – “If the teacher sees him, he will be kept in at the end of the lesson.”

3. The little girl who always wants to tie her hair! “I am afraid she will not be a very good reader, if she does not attend to her look better.”


4. The boy and the girl who are clean and tidy, who hold their books nicely, and are wide awake, not sleepy, at school. “They always know what the teacher is saying, because they listen.”

“Work while you work, play while you play, that is the way to be happy and gay!”

Got to love the olden days!

*If ‘literarical’ is not a word – don’t judge me – blame it on Dick and Jane.

Mona goes to the Seaside – a Vintage Postcard

Last week I experienced the thrill of stumbling upon a little vignette of life from some 98 years ago.

And in the most unlikely of places.

I was browsing in the “bargain” section of our local Charity shop. ( I have a routine, you see – I begin at the “bargain” section where the not so old, and usually, grimy things are found, then I go on to the “boutique” section, followed by the “homeware” section – more on that in a later blog – and then lastly I while away an hour or so in the book section).

But here I was, in the bargain section, wading through second hand clothes and broken odds and ends when my attention was drawn to something completely out of place. There, on a table, nestled between dirty pieces of crockery and kitchenware was something intriguing: the distinctive colour of aged cardboard, and the black inked cursive of yesteryear made my heart race.

It was a postcard dated 13 January 1919!

Needless to say, I rescued it from its undignified spot in the bargain section – I know you would have, too- and I continued my thrift shopping routine, safe in the knowledge that I had hit the jackpot and that any more finds of the morning would pale in relation to this one; and once home I settled down to read the little gem:

Mona’s message to Nellie is a little postcard- sized precis of a typical beach holiday. She mentions that ‘they’ go bathing very often (Mother included), and that she is missing home, but not the idea of going back to work – sentiments still expressed by young women today; but in 1919, this simple synopsis of a day at the beach invites so many questions – what kind of bathing costumes would they have been wearing? I’m thinking knee length suits with flouncy swimming caps. Would Mother have waded into the sea from a portable bathing hut ? How many days did it take to journey to the Holiday Resort? Did they get there by bus or by train?

And what could Mona’s job have been?

I have taken great delight in ruminating over these questions, and while we will never know some things, one thing I am sure of is that Mona would  not have expected her little postcard to be so captivating a century down the line!

Pics from The Graphics Fairy (

Crochet a Granny Square Lamp Shade Cover

Add a bit of shabby chic pizzazz to an old lamp shade by using crocheted granny squares.

This is one of the easiest ways to do it:

  • basic Granny Square pattern
  • yarn of your choice. I used double knit, and a 4mm crochet hook.
  • make up 9 Granny Squares, each measuring approx. 130mm x130mm

Start with a row of squares, placing 3 squares corner to corner, like diamonds.

Insert a row of 2 below, and a row of 3 below that, slotting into the diamond shaped angles of the rows above.

You will have 3 rows of granny squares all in a diamond arrangement – a row of 3, of 2, and of 3.

Insert 1 granny square into the diamond shaped space at one of the ends of the middle row. In the picture below, you will see the added square on the left.

Sew all of the squares together ( slotting the square on the far left into the space on the far right), so that you eventually have a closed loop of squares (diamonds) with openings at the top and the bottom.

Slide this cover over the old lamp shade.

Pull the corresponding corners of the diamonds together on the inside of the lamp shade and tack together with yarn.


How to Display Your Vintage Handbags


When is it OK to be a wallflower?

When you are a vintage handbag and you need to be displayed, of course!

Vintage accessories are far too pretty to be stored away, and one of the most effective ways to show them off to their best advantage, is to simply hang them on a wall.

I have arranged mine on a large, otherwise bare, wall in my bedroom, but why stop there? Create a hat “headboard” above your bed, or a handbag focal wall in your guest loo.

Whether you have 5 or 500, display them all!

Have fun with your vintage collections! You love them, others will too!


Never Judge A Vintage Book By Its Dusty Cover

  Don’t you love it when the serious things in life lose their seriousness, when the winds of time blow away the stuffiness, and the hilarity of it all is exposed.

Vintage books can be like that.

Books that were no laughing matter in their day, that were written with authority, where staid advice was meant to be dispensed, but with the passing of time have become quite – and sometimes completely – comical.

I have the pleasure of owning a vintage book so delightful that I actually themed a lunch around it:

“Good Form – A Book of Everyday Etiquette” is written by a Mrs. Armstrong, way back in 1889, when ladies’ first names were as private as their ankles.

This old book is a giggle from start to finish, and what adds to the charm is the conscientious underlining of certain salient points by the previous owner.

Mrs. Armstrong sets the tone of the book with her opening sentence:

“ A visiting card is one of the principal mediums by which we signify our social existence.”

She then makes it her mission to instruct the (lady) reader in the niceties of civilized society. We are advised, amongst a myriad of other things, that

a girl should never go on dancing with a bad partner, for fear that people should think that it is she who is in fault.”

I loved this little book so much that I just had to share it.  I invited a few girl  friends round for a “luncheon”, I printed some of the more hilarious  quotes  onto napkins and personalised placemats for each of them, set the table with silver cutlery and  roses and enjoyed a fun, la-di-da, tongue in cheek sit down  meal together.

Except for the knives and forks being set back to front, I have to say that even Mrs. Armstrong would have been suitably impressed!

Vintage Coat Hangers

Do you remember when coat hangers were not fit to be used as coat hangers until they were dollied up by Granny in that crocheted coat- hanger -jersey -thingy.

{Ditto the toilet seat and spare toilet roll}

Well I have to admit that I possess some.

{Crochet covered coat hangers that is}

But let me quickly add that they are not the aforementioned type – ok, yes I do own a few 80’s inspired jersey covered hangers which I keep for purely utilitarian reasons (and because I can’t throw anything away, and because Granny made them…) – but, no, the ones I ‘d like to tell you about are absolutely GORGEOUS!

I have a bit of a coat hanger fetish, actually, so I was over the moon when I inherited some charming candy coloured, vintage hangers. Swathed in an under layer of satin, and ornately crocheted in a delicate cotton of matching shade , I just knew that these beautiful Cinderellas could not be hidden in the cupboard with their ugly – yet younger – step sisters.

So this is what I did:

1 x wooden board just wider than the widest hanger, painted in a pretty pastel

5 x nails at equal intervals down the center of the board

5 x beautiful vintage coat hangers

Hook a hanger on each nail

Voila…easy peazy… a work of art!