Saturday, 31 December 2011

2012? Bring it on!

So this is my final post of the year! I've had a brilliant 2011 and met so many interesting and talented people along the way. This was the year that I stepped Dolly Cool a gear, by making new and exciting products, doing more varied and larger shows, making my website better, and getting some fabulous model shots done.... A HUGE THANKYOU to the 3 lovely ladies....

and Nadia!
You gals are all wonderful as the faces of Dolly Cool :))

This morning has been spent taking down all the cards, tree and decorations and having a clean up. I always like to start the year a fresh and can't do that with last years Christmas clutter hanging around. 
I'm already really excited about 2012, as I already have some amazing opportunities in the pipeline, some great shows lined up and some brand new products already waiting in the wings to be my first collection for the new year. So what will I be doing tonight?
 We always have a really low key affair on New Years, I can't be bothered with all the fuss (and expense!) so 
tonight (as every NYE) will be spent with good friends, food and wine - perfect!
I hope that you enjoy yours, whatever you get up to and look forward to lots more blogging (both posting and reading) in 2012.
Happy New Year! :) ♥xo

Monday, 26 December 2011

Happy Retro & Vintage Christmas!

 Hello and hope you all had a lovely Christmas day yesterday and you got some nice gifts and ate some delicious food. I know I did! I thought I'd share with you some fab retro and vintage things that I got for Christmas.....
First of outfit post! I've spent much of December in scruffs holed up at home working manically on orders, so it was nice to get dressed up for Xmas eve when we had friends round for a meal. 'Scuse my kitchen bin!
Sailor top - Collectif
Hight waist skirt - Lady K Loves
Jewellery - Dolly Cool
Glitter Shoes - Manchester Market!
And the back view of my new bow seamed tights - £3 in the sale from River Island :)
And on to the pressies.....
50s fashion print - from Michael. This is such a fab book. Tons of really great images, perfect inspiration for designers like me!
Journal/Diary covered in original 60s fabric, from Michael. 
He didn't realise when he bought this, but the fabric is pretty much the same pattern as our Formica 60s habitat dining table you can see above!
Charity shop challenge goodies from my sister Elaine. Didn't she do well?! I'm so happy with all these cool things. Love both plates, I've been after a square Pyrex cooking dish for ages, and a cool USA measuring jug so I can now make American recipes that are in Cups! 
Happy Christmas to me, from me! Some vintage cats eye frames (my 6th pair!). I got these from Etsy for $20. They came from the USA in just 5 days, even with the Christmas post! 
I'm going to get my prescription put in these in the new year :)
And a set of 3 60's drinking glasses picked up in my fave local hospice shop, just before Christmas for 75p for the lot. Happy days!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

What I've been up to this week....

Blogging absence means its rather busy here at Dolly Cool HQ!
Its not been all work and no play though....this is a little look into my week....
This is my back garden snowed! 
We put up our Christmas Decorations...This is the pink tree with my vintage baubles on ♥ 
And the real tree that we have in the window, mmmmm smells of pine when you come in the room :)
I've been really busy making masses of orders.....
I went to see Adam Ant live in Manchester. AA was one of my childhood faves  - and heart-throbs! Not quite so dashing now....
But he was back then - WOOF! ;)
He was absolutely brilliant and put on an amazing show. What a showman! And he still has his trademark two drumkits too, which sounds awesome.
I also treated myself to some red glitter shoes - just £12.99 off the market in Manchester! 
I was inspired by some fabulous shoes that Kally had on last weekend at a show we were both trading at, but I'm a bit rubbish in heels (I do have some beautiful red glitter heels that I hardly wear as they are too high!)- so flats are more my thing!
Hope you have all been having a good week and are getting all sorted for Christmas! :)

Thursday, 8 December 2011

London Trip - Gig, Theft, Kustom Kristmas and a lipstick review!

Last weekend, I packed my Dolly Cool bags and headed off to the big smoke for Kustom Kristmas! I arrived on Saturday afternoon, and after something to eat, went to watch psychobilly band King Kurt at the Underworld in Camden. Great gig, lots of flour throwing and fun and then the downside to a great night - I had my wallet stolen while getting on the bus to go back to my friend Kate's. It all happened in a second, as these things often do. Someone was obviously watching me and had seen me take my Oyster card (Travel pass) out of my wallet, and put it back in my bag, at the top. A few minutes later after a scrum to get on the bus - my wallet was gone. I'd been pickpocketed :(
I was obviously really hacked off, but got straight on the phone and cancelled my cash card. There wasn't much else of use in the wallet - but it did have £40 in cash inside, and it was a fabulous (and expensive!) metalflake and leopard Trophy Queen wallet! Boo Hoo. Anyway, there was nothing i could do, and pointless being cheesed off all weekend about it, so it was onwards and upwards for Kustom Kristmas!
Me in my new deadstock 80's does 50s hawaiian dress, and my Dolly Cool Sugar Skull & pearl necklace with my friend Emma who had come to see me even though she is due to give birth in two weeks! :)
And a full length shot on my dress, with my buddy Kate (who organised the event). Photo kindly pinched from Rockalily :)
My stall with me rooting round in my cherry print case! This comes with me everywhere. My friend Mark haggled at a car boot for me for this and I got it for £5. Photo again kindly pinched from Rockalily as I forgot to take pic of my stall!
Art Korner! Kate aka Clumsy woodburned art, Nik from Pretorius Custom Instruments and Leah from Juan is Dead - awesome Mexican and Day of The Dead inspired mosaic art!
Kalahula and Lily Bamboo
Mariana's Tasty Treats. Mariana certainly makes a great cake!
Ree Ree from Rockalily  with her lipsticks, and general scene in the pub! Cosy and festive! 
My 'healthy' meal (ahem) Chunky chips with spicy tomato relish and garlic and chilli mayo, yum. A large slab of Mariana's blueberry cake for dessert. Even yummier.
And now onto my review.....I was across the way from Ree Ree from Rockalily all day. I have been wanting to get one of her lipsticks for a while, but I'm a bit funny about make-up - I like to see it first, and as a MAC user, I like good quality lipsticks. Cheap ones that slide off after 20 minutes are a no no! Anyway, I should have believed the hype as they are very nice quality, in lovely colours. I opted for the Rockette Red:
You can just tell when you put it on that its nice quality. Rich, moisturising and a great colour. I wore this all day yesterday and it stayed on pretty much all day even after eating and drinking. Very happy indeed and they come highly recommended from me! You can get them in 4 regular shades, and 5 special edition shades too. Click here to visit the Rockalily website.
And this is the lady behind the lipsticks who also got some things from me!

Ree Ree wears Love/Hate necklace, Trash Earrings and a cherry and leopard hairclip, all by me - Dolly Cool :)
I had a great day, met some lovely people and did well on my stall. All in all, a fab weekend!

Friday, 2 December 2011

Off to London for Kustom Kristmas

Its showtime! This Sunday, the 4th of December, I will be in London touting my wares at Kustom Kristmas!

For the second year in a row London Lowbrow & Kustom Ko-op will be celebrating Kustom Kristmas at The Horatia in London.

Featuring stalls selling Kustom art and alternative crafts, cake, tattoo inspired clothing and jewellery, tiki and tattoo art and much much more.

Live music comes from Mojokings and The Devil Wrays. Bands start at 7.30 pm. DJ Burns will once again be providing the musical entertainment between bands.

Stall holders and artists include:

Dolly Cool
More Brains, Vicar?
Tattoo A-go-go
Just Can't Help It
Georgia Kay Jagusch
Pretorius Custom Instruments
Ben Nuthink
Sweet Jane
2 Dollar Jo
Lily Bamboo
Juan is Dead
Old Skull Forever
Rockalily Lipsticks
and Haunted Tattoos

The pub will be serving roast dinners and Mulled wine till 6pm and Mariana will be serving up her now legendary cake all day and all night, or until it all runs out! Best of all this event is FREE ENTRY! Yay! :)

Pics from the last event can be found here!

Hope to see some of you there - please spread the word if you think you know anyone who would like to come :)

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Trip to York

You may have noticed my posts are a bit few and far between at the moment....this is due to the time of year and  being inundated with orders from Dolly Cool! I'm not complaining of course, but it does leave a little less time for doing fun things to blog about! Last week however, Michael and I took a much needed day off and we went on our annual visit to one of my favourite places in the world, York. I went to University here and lived for three very happy years in this fantastic city. If you ever get chance to go, you absolutely should!
We arrived around 12 on Thursday, just in time to go and get some delicious lunch in a one of the tea rooms. We then hit the Charity Shops - of which there are many, hurrah!
The row of Charity shops! Sadly, we didn't get anything on this trip. York has a lot of students, and a lot of tourists so all the good stuff gets snapped up right away! Always worth a look though :)

Some of the ancient architecture near the Minster (York's impressive Cathedral)
And here I am outside the Minster. Well wrapped up as it was a cold day...brrrr
Nice isn't it? Its just as impressive on the inside. I was lucky enough to graduate in here.
My absolute favourite street anywhere is this one - Stonegate. It looks so pretty when they have the Christmas lights on
And the world famous Shambles - which dates from the 14th Century
Also famous - Betty's Tearoom. Always a queue to go in! I've still never been in here, I'm not queueing for cake, and its really expensive! We had afternoon tea at a tea room round the corner with no queue and a coffee n' cake special ;)
We stayed over, so at night it was out for a delicious meal at an Italian Restaurant, followed by (quite a few!) drinks in various pubs. One of my Faves is The Snickleway -one of the oldest pubs in York, and apparently one of the most haunted pubs in the country. I'm not in tune with all that stuff, so I've never seen anything funny - but a lot of people have!
I was drinking the festive and warming mulled wine....

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

New (old!) Plant pot

Saturday just gone, it was a lovely bright, dry autumnal day so I was up and off out early with Michael and my sister, Elaine for a spot of bargain hunting at the big fleamarket at Earlestown. To be honest, it was very slim pickings and I didn't really see much (only one thing!) that I liked enough to buy. Having a tiny house, we just do not have any space for any more clutter so it has to have the wow factor for me to buy it! I always love having a good old rummage through all the crap though - kind of like sifting for gold! - and can't think of how I'd rather spend my Saturday morning :)
Here is my sole purchase anyway;
60s/70s plant pot - £2.50
Not exactly a 50p bargain, but I loved it! The seller looked me up and down and told me it was £3. I haggled him down but he wasn't for shifting much!
Elaine said that she felt that she was overcharged for things too - most likely because we looked smart and well dressed in a sea of tracksuit wearing/scruffy shoppers. Note to self - look like have just got out of bed and don't do hair/makeup next time!
And how it look in situ in the bay window next to our egg chair. Orange and brown is my absolute favourite colour combo for homeware and interiors, yet I'd never wear it clothing colour wise! 
This plant is known as a Zebrina Pendula, or Wandering Jew- and was a present off my mum. They are fab plants if you kind of (ahem) forget to water them as they don't really mind and grow like wildfire anyway in a lovely shocking purple and green. When they get a bit straggly, you just cut off the ends - and stick them in fresh soil, and they grow again. This plant is on its 4th re-incarnation and still going strong :)

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

I'm dreaming of a green Christmas.......

At weekend I went into Manchester for my monthly creative group meet up, and also to do a bit of Christmas   shopping. I don't go into town that often really, only usually once a month or so, and I was pretty shocked at how busy it was, how many shops were in full on Christmas mode (6 weeks before the day!!) and more importantly, the shocking amount of people that were completely laden with piles of plastic shopping bags. This got me thinking to what a wasteful time of year Christmas is, and so I thought I'd do a post on how we can all be a little bit greener at this time of year. I'm by no means an eco-warrior, but I do care about the environment and try and re-cycle and reuse everything I can where possible. If I at least inspire one person to change a habit, then I'll be happy!
 1. Wrapping! - Most people just look at the print, and what's on offer without even considering the environmental impact of their paper. The majority of papers are just that - paper, which is completely fine and 100% recyclable. However, for those who prefer a more 'luxury' package - you may usually get something like this:
Foil or plastic shiny wrapping. You can't recycle this, and it will just go into landfill - which if you think about how many people dump this stuff each Christmas, is pretty bad. You can still get lovely (and recycleable) paper wrapping, so if you want to be be green, avoid the foil!
If you get a present wrapped in this....peel off the tape, and reuse!
Along the same lines as the foil-y wrap are the plastic bows. Ugh! Yes, your pressies look pretty, but what happens to them after the gifts are ripped open? In the bin.....x 100's of 1000s the world over. Your presents will still look lovely and be appreciated just as much without bows and ribbons on! If you really feel you have to use bows, then try and get paper ones, use paper ribbon, or use textile ribbon for crafty friends who you know will re-use it for something else!
Greeting cards - If you are being super green, some people don't send them at all. Fair enough, but I like to give cards. I always make sure they are charity ones, and preferably recycled as well. Make sure you recycle envelopes when you receive them, your paper goes into the recycling bag on Christmas day, and your cards as well at the end of the season! 

2. Shopping for Gifts - The fun part! Or not, in some cases. When shopping for presents, really think about what the person you are buying for would actually like, need and use. Not what YOU like, what THEY like. Also think quality, not quantity. I personally would much rather have one thoughtful gift that I will use and love, than a sack full of 'novelty' (read: Landfill) gifts. If you are doing a Secret Santa at work, good (and well received) presents for people who you don't know so well are always things like 1/2 bottles of spirits or a bottle of wine for drinkers, small boxes of luxury chocolates, such as from Hotel Chocolat, a quality notebook (such as Moleskine) or cashmere socks (which you can pick up inexpensively from places like TK Maxx). All of these things can be picked up for around £5-£10 and will be more gratefully received than a huge box of 24 different scented bath salts from the local bargain shop.
For like minded green friends and family, why not consider doing a 'Charity Shop Challenge'. My sister and I did this last year, and it went so well that my other sister is joining in this year! So, the rules are that you have a budget - for us its £10 per person, and that all gifts must be from a charity shop. This is good in two ways as you get some nice things, which is recycling in itself, but your money is also going to a good cause too.If you have a few pounds left over - many charity shops now do lovely fairtrade teas, chocolates and spice grinders, which will finish off your charity gift bundle off nicely -  win all round.

Don't forget to take your re-usable shopping bag with you every time you go out, too. I have about 4 of these nylon shoppers, that I keep in various handbags. It means that when I'm out shopping - I don't need a plastic bag from the shop. There were people last weekend with piles of plastic shopping bags - like 8 in each hand. Most looked like they only had one small thing in each. Most of those people probably throw the bags in the bin when they get home. Start refusing plastic bags, and using your own and be instantly greener!

3. Re-gifting! The dreaded taboo! I personally don't think there is anything wrong with it if done in a positive way. Passing on the dreaded lavender bath salts from Aunt Frieda to your best mate is not cool. Passing them onto your friend's gran, who may actually love them is!
Does anyone actually use bath salts????
 If you get presents that you don't like or want, why not pass them on to someone who WILL like them, donate them as a raffle prize to help raise funds for your local school or club, or donate them to your local charity shop. Just because you don't like it, someone else most likely will.
So there we go! My tips for a greener festive season :)

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Trip to The Vintage Village

Today, Michael and I went to The Vintage Village, which is a big vintage fair held in Stockport Market Hall. I was tipped off about the fair by another stall holder at the vintage fair I did last month, who told me that it was by far one of the best in the area. Having never been to Stockport (even though its only a half hour drive from where we live!) it was also a bit of a day out to explore somewhere new, too.
Here are some photos from the day...
Todays outfit:
 Fake fur coat £5, Ebay and wearing my poppy with pride, as it was remembrance day today
Bow Bag from Woodchip Boutique - custom made just for me :)
Boots - Tesco years ago
Tights - Tesco (yesterday!) £6 - 150 denier fleece lined...cozy
Michael loitering outside some nice Georgian houses we spotted on the way to the market
House detail - stunning!
And the Market hall. A beautiful Victorian building dating from the 1860's that has been recently refurbished back to its former glory
Building detail. Isn't it nice?
And so inside we went! As it was a lovely sunny day it was naturally really brightly lit inside and it was actually quite warm - so I was a bit hot in my fur coat and fleecy tights!
And some of the stalls...
The quality and choice of the stalls was pretty amazing, and the pricing was fair - not stupid.
 There were over 80 separate traders too - so lots to drool over.
We had a good look round, then went to peruse the rest of the town centre, and had some lunch while deciding what to go back and buy!
And this is what I got;
60s storage jar set - £7
We have been after some of these for years. I can never find the right thing though at car boot sales and charity shops. There is always one missing, they are too big, in poor condition or just not the right kind of look that we like. This set is immaculate - and also came with an extra little pot for er.....not sure!
And the lids have sliders on them so you can pour the contents out of the spouts!
Giant 60s print in frame -£5. Loved the colours and style. 
And my fave find of the day (well, Michael spotted it actually!)
50s dress - UNWORN! - £20
This seller had some amazing stuff - 40s/50s/60s homeware all in the original boxes, and some dresses and gloves that were pristine, almost certainly unworn. He told me that they came from the home of a lady, who was 91 when she died, and had been a complete horder. She had basically NEVER thrown anything away, and hardly used what she bought (lots of). I've never seen a stall like it! I wanted it all!!
Close up on the neck detail. There are two patterned pearly buttons that are attached to a flap that closes with metal hooks. The style is a fit and flare (my fave - suits my pear shape!), and has the classic cap sleeves, metal back zipper and pinked inner seam edges that tell me that its more than likely an original 50s piece. 
by Lanfield - Gowns and Two piece suits!
The dress is pristine and only smelled a bit musty - and I'm pleased to report it has survived its first (and probably only) wash in decades! The only thing that I'm going to alter is the length of the skirt as it falls below knee on me, so I'm going to make it a little shorter so its more me!
And a view of the new storage jars in situ in our kitchen. I think they fit in perfectly :)