Monday, 12 August 2013

What is Vintage Living? Part 1

I have been progressing in this adventure of living vintage, and I still have work to do. Leading my life that way is truly what I am aiming for. I thought I would share my opinion about what is it to be 'vintage' and of how I intend to lead my life.


Clothing & Decor

To me, it is one of the best parts of being vintage, because it is a way to define one's identity. I personally am very fond of the 1930s and 1940s. Therefore, I am currently looking for genuine clothes or for clothes in the style of that era. I would never be comfortable in just a t-shirt and jeans, which are clothes for hard work (and t-shirts are pieces of underwear by the way). Sundays are for one's best clothes, so I always wear a suit on that day.

Wearing clothes from a previous era is not always easy, but it is necessary. People will talk and say comments (whether good or bad). It may offend the vintage wearer, but the best thing is to ignore such nasty things. I personally feel that wearing what I like is part of my identity and that it is what I need to be happy in life.

Sunday Clothes

Home decor is also very important, because it is the element that will create a special mood or not. Little by little, I am replacing modern furniture and actually anything modern by something old which was made to last. What does that mean? With the exception of a laptop that I keep (because yes unfortunately it is 2013), no mobile phone, no television set, no microwave, etc. I do keep a laptop because it is the tool I need to recreate that era at home. Would you simply imagine for example only being entertained by the wireless when you know how rude the programmes are these days? No way, give me vintage programmes! The same applies to cinema and much more! A computer allows me to recreate that.

I wouldn't want any ugly modern things to ruin my 1940's decor. I utterly love Art Deco so, this is one of the styles that I like to have at home.


Practical Things

I do experiment a lot with vintage and so far I have noticed that I learnt a lot of things. For example, in my kitchen I mostly keep bone china, enamelware and cast iron. I would never go back to a regular pan to prepare a nice steak. Cast iron does not only make food tasty, but it is also healthy! And on the bright side, it keeps its warmth so it is very useful to save energy!

For my birthday, I was given such a luxury : a 1940's General Electric washing machine and it looks like this:
Source here

I was really pleased with it and since I make my own soap, I can wash clothes for a reasonable price. Adding baking soda also helps to clean clothes. And believe me, a dryer is not going to come anywhere near my home!

Vintage living is about trying things and saving things too, because that's what people did back then. Unfortunately, today people throw away things if they are broken. Mending is necessary to keep vintage objects or anything at all. Making the best of what I have is something that I want to learn more about. I want tips and I want to be efficient.


Behaviour

In today's society, many golden rules are broken. Living vintage also means respecting a certain etiquette. 

I couldn't be more annoyed when I go to any public place and clerks or strangers talk to me in an informal way. It shows a lack of respect and it gives the impression that I am not important enough as a customer for example. Like grandad likes to say: 'we didn't raise pigs together, show me some respect!' (he always likes to add a bit of humour).

Hats are also an issue. To me, it is common sense that a man should remove his hat in a church for example, or at the table and at school and so on. It is again a sign of respect and I feel all of this is slowly going away.

Holding a door to someone, saying 'hello' or 'thank you', removing your hat when a lady is present in the lift, all of these details make a difference. Respecting these rules is also a sign of a good education.
Source here


To me, being and living vintage is a way of escaping what I dislike about today's world. 

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Wartime & Rationed Picnic

Hello all!

I really must apologise for my long absence. My lack of motivation made me avoid writing anything for the last few months. Now I am back with some news. Fairly recently, I had this project of creating a vintage themed event, since these are so rare where I live. The idea of a WWII picnic came to my mind and I felt that I had to do everything I could to make this come true. I had very little time, but I managed to make this happen.

Knowing a few people who are in touch with the local medias, I managed to publish a small article in my town's newspaper and I even managed to have an interview on the wireless. I was rather nervous, but pleased afterwards.

This event turned out to be relatively small, but the people who attended it were very interesting indeed. I had a small display of things related to the era and there was this man with his impressive military collection. He had all kinds of things, helmets, medals, genuine propaganda posters and a lots more. I didn't even know that he was living rather close to where I currently live, so I now have an invitation to see his wonderful collection at his historic house. The owner of this collection also brought objects that were related to my hometown's military history (not only WWII, but most of this things were from that period).


It was great to celebrate vintage, but most of all to remember and honour those who made sacrifices during the war. People were invited to respect rations and to be reasonable. For the occasion, I made my own load of bread and used all kinds of wartime recipes.


Hopefully, I shall be able to organise something similar next year but on a larger scale. I already have a few ideas and since I will have more thing to think of something more elaborate, chances are that this project will grow.

So that's it for now, but before I go, I am letting you folks know that my Etsy Shop is now on facebook. Click here for the link.

Cheerio,

The Vintage Bloke

Monday, 25 March 2013

Montreal = Lots of Vintage Fun!

A while ago, I had a week off so a little holiday was required! When I have the occasion to do so, I like to visit my friend Véronique in Montréal, so I booked tickets and there I was in Montreal! This has been a very very pleasing week (though my wallet would say the contrary)! On the vintage scene, my trip has been very successful and I look forward to doing something similar again.

First of all, Véronique and I visited various thrift stores and antique shops. I found a late 1950's or 1960's tweed jacket which unfortuately was too big for me, but I brought it back home anyway. I might sell it on Etsy. When I saw the union label on the jacket, I had to have it!

The said jacket
One of the shops that I like to stop by when I visit Montreal is La Baronne de l'Insolite. The seller is a charming lady who sells nice things. Of course, this is an antique shop and the Baronne knows that Véronique and I love old 78 rpm records and vintage clothes. We left with a pile of records and  Véronique bought a lovely vintage hat with a veil and a feather. In my case, I left with a 'penguin suit' which dates probably from the 1920s according to a friend. It is not it the best condition (it has several holes and needs mending) but I was very pleased with it.

Poor picture taken whilst travelling of the 'penguin jacket'
Véronique wearing the lovely hat and me

After that, I found some film rolls for my vintage camera, so that I could meet a new vintage friend: Jill from Tea with the Vintage Baroness. I seem to be able to find baronesses easily in Montreal! We had a trememdous time! We first ate at the most wonderful Dominion Square Tavern which is now a restaurant. It is said that the restaurant did not change much since the 1920's. You can understand how satisfied I was with it. The menu was also very nice and tasty. Their sticky toffee pudding was pure bliss!

Véronique and Jill at the 1920's restaurant. Jill is wearing an original 1930's dress

A few snaps of the restaurant

After discussing over a good meal, an attempt of swing dancing evening was planned. I say attempt, because Véronique and I did not know how to dance (though a little lesson was given) and also because the place was very crowded. However, I did enjoy it and thankfully, Miss Jill has been able to teach us the basic steps (which is the only thing that I learnt). The music was really nice and it was also enjoyable to see the good dancers jitterbugging! As Jill said: 'I have been bitten by the jitterbug!'

The following day, Jill, Véronique and I went vintage shopping. We stopped a at wonderful shop which Véronique likes to call 'Le Monsieur's'. The place is specialised in vintage hats and women's clothes. Seeing my style and knowing that I would not buy anything on display, Le Monsieur kindly showed me vintage gentlemen's items. I bought a tie pin and a pair of cufflinks, whilst Véronique left with a wonderful late 1930's/early 1940's hat and a 1950's or 1960's one. Of course, the first one is my favourite. Jill gave herself a little treat: a wonderful vintage ring. I guess we were all very happy.  Le Monsieur said that I have to come back, because next time he'll show me men's hats and vintage watches!

I really enjoyed this little trip and I hope to see the Vintage Baroness again,

That's all folks!  

Thursday, 28 February 2013

There's a War On, You Know

Hello to you all,

I am writing to you, because I need your help! About a year ago, I went to a charity shop and found this:


The lady who worked there, said it was supposed to be from WWII and that it could be either a British or a Canadian helmet. Now, my guess is that it is Canadian because I found it in Canada, but I could be wrong. Since I'm no expert, does anybody know anything about it? Is it even from the war? It is interesting that it still has its coat of arms and it is rather clean for its age. The inside looks as if it has never been worn!

I am interested in WWII a lot and I love to collect a few bits from that era. Here are some examples of the things I've gathered.

1942 Stamp Series with King George VI

A few French Magazines:

 

These are only a few things that I own from the war. Of course I cannot show you everything, but I am hoping to add many more things to my personnal collection in the near future.

Have a lovely day,

Ernest


Thursday, 14 February 2013

A Bit of Family History

If there is a person who influenced my love for vintage, I would easily say it is my great-grandmother. She does not know if, because she passed away in 1954 and I unfortunately never had the chance to meet her. I can only hear stories about her through my grandfather and his brothers and sisters. When I was younger, grandpa arrived with some photocopies of a photo taken on her mum and dad's wedding day. I cannot explain why, but I was fascinated by this woman. I needed to know more about her and I wanted to see more photos of her.

The wedding in July 1929

It is rather fortunate that my great-grandparents were very fond of photography. I am the lucky one who can now have a look at the photos. For some reason, they seemed to enjoy taking shorts in front of their lovely home.

My great-grandparents on the porch of their house which was decorated for a special event


Genealogy is such an interesting thing! In my case, I feel it is important to talk about it with people like my grandfather. Isn't it a treasure to have testimonies from people who actually experience a most fascinating era? In order to preserve memories, it is my duty to find out about what happened in the past.

My great-grandmother in the 1940s

Have a lovely day,

Hugo