HOME-MADE: Pretty crockery turned into even prettier things

Turn me into something pretty

Today’s Home-made post is more than just one project so there’s loads of options requiring different skills and time so there should be something to suit you. Your primary material is crockery, lot of bright colours and patterns- ask your friends or family for any bits knocking around they don’t want or visit a charity shop, you’re likely to get some great vintage patterns for great prices (for more on buying craft materials from charity shops click here). I found these projects on allaboutyou.com which is the website for several different magazines all compiled together, it’s a big site with loads of great resources. Go forth and have fun! Feel free to share your own ideas or improvements on the projects.

Here’s the link


HOMEMADE: DIY Fabric Gift Tags

Creature Comforts' DIY Fabric Gift Tags

This quick little project is perfect for a rainy day this summer, or easy to sit in the sun doing. It come from one of my favourite websites- Creature Comforts. Enjoy recycling all those scraps you, your, mum or your grandma have lying around into cute vintage-style gift tags. You don’t need to limit yourself to only using fabric, get creative, pull out tissue paper, used wrapping paper, or magazines- the possibilities are endless!

You can find this project here.


Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair

On Sunday, Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair came to my Student’s Union. I was really, really excited about this so I took a lot of my student loan out of the cash-point and arrived at opening time. I had a strategic plan, quick look around the whole fair, picking out cheap items or things which I would be gutted if I didn’t get, and then back around once more when I had decided on my items. I meant to take pictures of the fair, but I went into a shopper’s frenzy as soon as I left my flat. Poor Paulie (my boyfriend) was dragged around the fair several times for almost two hours, and bless him, he did not moan.

I like to divide my shopping into categories, part of my desire to organize everything. So firstly, here is one item I picked up on the first round of looking around the fair. I was trying my hardest not to spend an absolute fortune, so it was a toss up between cigarette case and a reel of old ticket stubs. My instinct was that it would be more difficult to find the ticket stubs so that’s what I went with.

I also picked up a lot of £1 and 50p items which I intend to turn into other things. You’ll probably be seeing these things sometime soon in Home-made.

But my bargain of the day was this vintage real leather clutch purse. I could not have put it back down on the table when the stall owner told me I could have it for £3.

I have saved the best ’til last. This was my most expensive item, a new hand-made handbag. I bought this from Fennella for £15. Fenella sells lots of different handbags, each unique and at very affordable prices. It took me a long while to decide which one to get. This is exactly the sort of hand-made items I like, taking used clothes, curtains, rugs, belts, pretty much anything used, and then make them into something completely new. The strap is a leather belt, the main bag is made from an old tapestry-type curtain, the front red part is leather cut from something else, probably clothes, and then vintage pictures, text, sketches, magazine cuttings, etc covered in varnish and then sewn on as embellishments. Even the lining has been made from material salvaged from something else. I imagine part of the reason why Fennella can sell bags at cheap prices is because all the whole product is made from recycled/reused items. I have been meaning for so long to get to grips with learning how to use a sewing machine so I can do projects using the same idea as Fennella, but, for the meantime, I will settle for buying instead of making.

And even with buying all of that, there were so many items that I exercised restraint, and did not buy. There is one stall where lots of old “junk” is turned in to charms and pendants. You pick out whatever you want from the boxes, pick out a vintage chain,  and then the jeweler at the stand and the buyer discuss and design exactly how and what you want the “junk” to be made into. There was also a lot more jewelery that I really wanted to get, an absolute abundance, and loads of clothes too. And then, like my ticket stub, there are vintage items that are incredibly hard to find like glasses, french magazines, even flying goggles, and Judy does not lie, the whole fair was very affordable.

Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair travels- so far they have been to 22 cities and 6 major festivals in the UK. On the website you can find out when the fair is next coming to a city near you or sign up to their email list so you have a reminder.

Feel-good shopping

Where I live, there is a road called Albany Road. It’s super busy with lots of supermarkets and green grocers, and the pavements aren’t wide so it is a real nightmare, especially in my wheelchair. There is one big reason I think it is worth braving the crowds for though- it has lots and lots of charity shops.
Charity shops (or thrift stores if you’re American), in my opinion, are under-estimated. My favourite shop is Tenevous. I wanted to go to Albany road to buy some new records (which I collect), some vibrant material (to make purses and bows), and some new patterned crockery, I managed to get all three for a grand total of …£4!
Charity shop shopping is perfect for:

  • Cheap clothes to make in to costumes or even just to buy as a costume.
  • Ball dresses– people donate their wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses and ball dresses- all of which you can customize or wear just as they are. For my first sixth form ball my mummy found me a dress that was absolutely gorgeous, we bought it for £5 but it must orginially have cost hundreds. Not only did I know I would have a unique dress, which looked vintage and expensive, but it meant I could spend lots more on my accessories.
  • Finding material to make new things- buy tablecloths, curtains and even clothes in great patterns
  • Pretty wallpaper to use as wrapping paper, to make giftbags, to make cards, or to use as draw liners
  • Anything vintage– clothes, coats, and especially jewelry and crockery, my coffee cup and saucer was only 50p and it is really pretty, the photos don’t do it justice. When I went to university, I didn’t want to buy a proper dinner set because I was afraid that someone might drop my crockery by accident, which would make me really sad, so my mummy and searched charity shops for mix max vintage plates, bowls, etc. A couple of months later, I read about a very fashionable London teashop which was famous for using vintage mix max crockery, right on trend- you read it here first.
  • Books– there are always classics and you’d be surprised how many people donate books only published within the last few weeks. As a student, I’ve also found textbooks there, barely used and at a fraction of the price. Oxfam have stores devoted just books in, they usually have a store in cities with universities so try and get your textbooks there before you buy on Amazon.
  • Records– actual record shops sell vintage ones for lots more than charity shops. You can’t be certain you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for but if, like me, you just want to collect ones with pretty covers or are just looking for anything you would like then charity shops will definitely be cheaper. I bought four records for £1 on Friday.
  • Vintage fabrics– I bought some great vintage duvet covers and tablecloths for my flat.
  • Furniture-there are now charity shops devoted entirely to furniture. You can buy new and used furniture and electrics, great to buy either vintage or furniture to do up, but everything is already good enough to use just as you buy them. The stores usually deliver for a small charge too. Lots of my student friends bought cheap tellys for their living rooms, they are absolutely ancient but a television for £10 for a student living room is a bargain.
  • Children’s clothes– my mummy said that she bought most of my clothes from charity shops when I was a baby and in to my toddler years. Children grow so fast, you’re constantly needing to buy new clothes. This means that baby clothes are always in good condition in charity shops, you never get much of a chance to use them all; and baby’s are expensive, getting clothes from charity shops really saves you a lot of money.
  • Toys, games and soft toys– there’s always an abundance, I’ve got lots of good games, puzzles, etc from charity shops. Sometimes a couple of pieces are missing but ,on the whole, I think most charity shops are a bit picky about what they take in now.

And my last top tip: if you can, go to charity shops in particularly affluent areas, they always have immaculate clothes from expensive or designer shops. The best thing about charity-shop-shopping though, is that you can buy great stuff, much cheaper than vintage stores, and you’re helping to raise money for great causes. Hope this has inspired you to have a wander down to your local charity shops, let me know if you find any treasures.

For easy things to make with stuff that can be bought from charity shops or things lying around your house, keep reading, there will be home made gift projects coming soon.

Happy shopping!