Tag Archives: 1940’s
Well if the banner isn’t a hint enough for you then I will try another tactic…”JEEPERS CREEPERS, YOU MEAN I’M THE FACE OF AN INCREDIBLE WEBSITE DEDICATED TO 40’S EVENTS AND LIFESTYLE?!” Yes indeedy.
From entertainers to venues, attractions and traders, Friends of the 40’s is the source of all your vintage needs…and I’m the lucky girl who’s mug will be glamorously slapped all over their scrumptious pages! Mwuah ha ha ha!!! Thank you for all your kindness and support team! Also a huge ‘WOOHOO!’ to Candee who’s images they are using!
The following article was written for WWII Reenactors Magazine’s Christmas issue, which was never printed. I wanted to share it with you all regardless. Apologies for the festive content, but thought it would be useful reading for present buying at any time of year!
Tis the season to be….stumped at what to buy WWII enthusiasts and 1940’s passionistas (like my wording?).
I thought it would be the easiest thing in the world by quoting the simple words “Just get me something Art Deco or 1940’s…” How hard can it be? So when my eyes are scorched with the site of such festive offerings as Scooby Doo bubble bath and a questionable ex-rental copy of Freddy Got Fingered, my clenched jaw grin does nothing for my yuletide spirit.
So for those of you who are struggling to buy reenactors and collectors suitable Christmas gifts, you will find this page ripped out of WWII Reenactors Magazine and thrust infront of your nose along with your car keys.
“With three Kings of orient are, smoking on a rubber cigar…” Those who are partial to a death stick or four (apparently they soothe your throat and give you a movie star voice if the old advertisements are correct!) will be thrilled to receive a 1940’s cigarette case for carrying to events. There are many different styles out there, from trench art to novelty patriotic, so head on out to the next flea market, antiques centre or Ebay. Remember that cigarettes used to be a lot smaller, so that these old cases are more for display, role ups or business cards. You may even find a women’s compact that includes a cigarette case in the design. And what about an ashtray for the home? Neither Mr. Mew or I smoke, but we do have a small collection including a Winston Churchill ashtray and a bakelite lamp with a match holder and ashtray moulded into the base. You may also find some matchbox covers made from enamel and metal baring the photos of great WWII leader or service men and women on the sides.
“It’s the most wonderful time, for a beeeeeeer…” Drinking gifts for those who like a tipple! A couple of bottles of Spitfire Ale twinned with an enamel mug and WWII bottle opener can be a fantastic offering. Dress you gift up by presenting it in a wooden crate filled with hay or you could even photocopy WWII newspapers on A3 paper and use it as gift wrap!
“A beautiful site, we’re happy tonight, walkin’ around in women’s underwear….” Now for the ladies! A 1940’s powder compact perhaps? Some seamed fully fashioned stockings from What Katie Did, or perhaps an original tilt hat or handbag! You will find many vintage clothing shops online, but sometimes auction sites are still where you can pick up the best bargains. Even if the seller doesn’t list UK shipping, you can email and beg. In most cases I have found that they will ship internationally! What about a pretty top from Heyday Online? Some things are currently around £20 in the sale, so this is the perfect time for early Christmas shopping (and won’t she be impressed at your organisation this year!).
A 1940’s sweetheart brooch or necklace can also be a wonderful idea. Sometimes these were made by soldiers to send back to their girlfriends and wives in WWII and you can find some lovely unique pieces at very reasonable prices. Knowing that they were made for a loved one makes each item a 1000 times more special than your Elizabeth Duke collection *shudder*. Why not pick out a reverse carved lucite brooch? Some of these were made from the windscreens of crashed aircraft in WWII and sold for the war effort. From roses to spitfires, these brooches are incredibly wearable and a fun thing to collect. Why not present it in an old jewellery box too? If you eagerly wish/ are forced by hair and teeth to go clothes shopping with your partner, make a mental note of sizes that she tries on and check online for its chest, waist and hip conversion. Vintage sizing is a lot different (especially when you get to 1920’s garments or international sizing), so knowing the equivalent in inches will help you buy items of clothing such as vintage dresses, suits or jackets. Just remember that you can take things in that are a little too big, but you can very rarely led things out that are too small, so play safe with your sizes!
“On the first day of Christmas my daddy gave to me, a Barbie and Im 33…” Childrens gifts are tricky. You don’t want your 1940’s themed home full of pink and garish blue plastic toys, but thanks to exciting TV advertisements and playground conferences about the latest craze, these flashing, beeping, peeing, talking, squeaking land fill accessories are all that they can think about. There are some super vintage and vintage repro toys out there. From train sets (imagine creating a WWII electric train set in your home for the kids?), military airfix sets, beautiful wooden toys, even doll making kits.
Traditional dolls houses can teach your little ones good house keeping on a miniature scale and the fact that you may come home every so often with a tiny wooden dresser or electric light fitting will make them feel like every day is a special occasion. Why not build an anderson shelter for the outside! Just remember that a lot of vintage toys will be painted with lead paint, so if your little ones are partial to seeing how many toy soldiers they can fit in their mouth at once, you may need to respray the items with child free paint. You may also wish to teach your children that Bernard Montgomery (plastic or not) would rather not survey the gruesome terrain of their molers.
If they are hell bent on modern toys, what about Sylvanian Families which use more realistic but traditional looking accessories (create your very own Dale Farm with a few Sylvanian Family Romany Caravans and a gaggle of BBC reporter badgers and a couple of political figure ducks. The kids will love it…
For those who are a little strapped for cash but not strapped for time, why not use your arts and crafts talents to create personal gifts of the ‘make do and mend’ kind! Pull out some ration recipes in an old book or online and attempt to recreate the biscuits or cakes from WWII. Grab an old felt beret and stitch a needlepoint design of flowers or swallows, or make an old fashioned toy. Another great idea is to buy a box frame and fill it with WWII insignia. You don’t have to use the originals, just go somewhere that can reproduce/ photocopy your images in high quality. From ration books to medals, to old family photos; you can create wonderful displays for friends or family with minimum effort. Why not get your Grandad’s medals framed for your parents or create a WWII military uniform for your son’s teddybear (this was done for me by a great friend and I was absolutely thrilled!).
So hopefully I have given you a few ideas for Christmas, Birthdays and more. Remember that you don’t have to spend a fortune, there are always bargains to be had. Pre-plan next year and buy things at WWII events to hide away for special occasions! This will spread costs and save your pocket from the inevitable Christmas rush.
I wish you all are wonderful Christmas and a purrrfect New Year. Thank you for your friendship, readership and support through a whole year of exciting events. Next year promises to be even more exciting!
Yesterday Mr. Mew and I went to our 1st ever vintage fair to SELL rather than buy. The fair was at a pub called The Vic in Swindon and we packed up my clothes, shoes, bric-a-brac, pincushions and Mr. Mew’s light boxes and headed for the open road. Itw as a nice venue actually, and we were well situated by a plug point so that we could plug in the light boxes.
They certainly got a lot of attention! Unfortunately people seemed to be drawn to stalls with large 80’s jumpers and 70’s handbags as opposed to 1940’s and 50’s wear. We ended up only selling a few things, but had such a good time that we didn’t care!
At 1.30pm I went onto the stage for my singing set. The stage was also covered by one of the clothing stalls, but amidst the faux fur coats and a basket of hats, I belted out a selection of festive crooners and 40’s hits in my blue Heyday dress!
At the back of the room, the landlord/ one of the pub workers was filming the scene and posted a video on You Tube. 20minutes after my set they had laready put on some more festive tunes and on came a female voice. I said “oooh! I know that song, that’s the one I do!”…not realising I was actually listening to myself!
On Saturday I performed at the Ashdown Camp in Evesham for a reenactors group Christmas party. Cosy and warm from the log burning stove in the corrugated iron mess hut, it was an intimate affair but a wonderful one. The ladies of the group had all turned out in their best, some even in beautiful long gowns, and the men in the German uniforms. There was a small bar and buffet and I sang a 40 minute set at 9pm which included 40’s songs, Christmas tunes and a sneaky 50’s number!
I wore my long black and white gown with a train, red gloves and a 1930’s red santa cape, which was originally worn by a girl in the circus (bought in LA).
Everyone was so kind and Mr Mew and I chatted with them all evening until we had to go home.
Above is just a short little video taken that night. it was so dark, our little camera struggled, but it just serves as a nice reminder of a lovely evening!
Next weekend I am singing at the vintage fair at The Vic in Swindon as well as manning my own stall!
I will be performing at Twinwood in the Casablanca Club on Saturday and Sunday evenings at around 11.30pm and Le Cafe De Bois at 10.30pm.
Fingers crossed that the weather will improve, but atleast you can come and shelter in these 2 amazingly themed clubs. Step into Rick’s Cafe from the movie Casablanca and be transported to 1940’s Morocco for the evening where I will be performing my Carmen Mewanda and then mosey on to Le Cafe De Bois, a French chic, 1940’s cafe for a chance to see my Pipe Dreams act in all its glory.
On Saturday Lisa from Candee Photography, Jacob, Richard, Papa Mew and I headed to Tysley Locomotive Depot to start a 2 day photo shoot for a 2013 calendar! Having done my research on the period of the trains, we matched 1940’s and 1950’s outfits according to the engine and had a tiring but very successful shoot. On Sunday we spent all day at the beautiful and very well kept Ansley Station on the Severn Valley Railway line. It was wonderfully quiet and I got to try my hand in the signal box, hand a token up to the engine driver and pose on the platform with the Station Master.
Everyone was so accomodating, it was a real privilege!
If anyone goes, head to the other opposite side where the beuatiful gardens are and take a look at the original Ministry of Food WWII milk pail near the bridge! Im excited about the most rediculous things!
On the Saturday I got to debut a new corset costume made for me by Gaynor of The Garrison, sho has created the most amazing ATS corset costume out of original uniform pieces. Sabre Sales provided the insignia and the whole outfit went splendidly with the Shakespeare Express Steam Train!
Many thanks to Neil Howard and the team for a great weekend.
I thought I would show you some photos taken by Mr. Mew at Beltring this year (edited by myself). I did between 2 and 3 acts per day and some modelling for Heyday Online, so the week was flat out busy for me!
Pipe Dreams (my new act that debuted at War and Peace) went down a storm, although I nearly fell out of my pipe when climbing down! Smoking really is dangerous!
Mr. Mew and I stayed in Gracie Wheels for the whole week which was fabulous, although we were right next to the entertainment tent so couldn’t get to sleep untl gone midnight. It was great to have a caravan there though, especially as a migraine sufferer and using it as a changing room!
The weather was pretty good and stayed mild with just a few showers. I managed to pick up a few bargains in the stalls and even got to sit in the cockpit of a Lancaster Bomber nose, as well as meet the original Allo Allo cast!
I am well known for my hoarding skills, just as much as my pin-up poses! Having been an avid carboot sale hunter since the age of 4, I have progressed to antique markets and flea fairs in the vain hope of a bargain. Nowadays carboot sales frustrate me a little. Gone are the days of 20p sales, as antique dealers set up camp next to people clearing their loft of 90’s decor. But do not fret dear Catnips, for there are still bargains to be had and treasures to be found! Take my Art Deco sofa set for example, bought for £15 from Ebay and recently valued on the Antique Roadshow at £800. Now that is pretty good going!
I cannot say I own anything of great rarity, but have certainly found my own personal jewels. If like me you just want to search for things to improve your vintage inspired home and WWII collection at the same time then read on! Until the next flea market, I was left twiddling my thumbs, so Mr. Mew and I stepped out for a wonder around Warwick. Not the most enthralling shopping hub, but with 2 lovely antiques centres, I thought I would show him the old military booth in the main one. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to us, the poor man who had manned it for these many years had ‘passed on’ so we were left down hearted. We did however totter along to the other one, more famed for costume jewellery antique homeware and random books on cricket. There is a small vintage clothing section at the back of the shop, but prices are rediculous (£32 for a pair of evening gloves?!). I myself love old books and the covers of sheet music, so after gawping and hopelessly hinting at the things I couldn’t afford, we headed to the book stand where I could peruse the pages of Enid Blyton, Biggles and more. There is nothing quite like the smell of old books. Take a good long sniff of your Kindle or computer screen and tell me it smells just as good. I adore it when you find one marked with the receivers name, or the odd ticket used as a bookmark still lodged in one of its well-worn pages. We came away with a few lovely finds…
The first ‘Spinsters Progress’, bought for £1, is well used and first owned by the W.H.Smith & Son’s Library in London. A first edition, this book also has the fabulous ‘BOOK PRODUCTION WAR ECONOMY STANDARD’ logo inside, which is something I always look out for and collect. This mark, found framed by a book and sitting lion is found in one of the front pages of some books printed during WWII in England. Because of paper, glue, thread and ink rationing, books started to be produced meeting certain criteria, much like CC41 clothing. Look out for this mark in your own collections. Usually you can also see what date the book is publiched and which addition it is. Older books will say ‘First Edition … 1942 / First Published’ or ‘Tenth Edition/ Tenth Impression…1949’ etc, whilst post war books may have a line of numbers (something like 6 5 4 3 2 56 57 58 59). The lowest number usually indicates the edition (the example shows that the book is the 6th edition), whilst the larger numbers, if any, indicates the date of print (1956 in the example). This can be handy when looking for collectable first editions such as your children’s Harry Potter books, your Ian Flemming collection and the like. Bear in mind that just because it is a first edition, it doesn’t make it rare or collectible! It’s just a nice thing to look out for when you are at a rummage sale or confronted with a box of old books in your loft. The second hard back book I found was H.M.S. by Klaxon and bought as a gift for Mr. Mew. At a whopping £12, I wouldn’t normally spend extravagances on such an item, but it is rather a lovely book. Dating it is a little confusing as although it states 1918, the first entry was written by Professor J. Scott of a ‘recent Airship Journey accross the old Bed of the North Sea, July 1, 1923.’ A collection of short Naval stories and poems centred around the 1st World War, it is a really interesting read and was definitely worth the money. Reading true and old accounts of the wars is always fascinating. If you are into WWI or the British Navy, this could be a good book for you and can be found online.
On to my favourites! Now, any lover of WWII newspaper humour and political comic satire would have heard of Jon’s ‘Two Types’. These two British characters enthralled soldiers and public alike with their rather forthright ‘Damned if we do, damned if we don’t’ manner. These two thoroughly English gents military gents, gave everyone a well needed chuckle in the war years. We happened across a copy of ‘Jon’s Two Types in Italy’, which although slightly dog eared was complete and a bargain at £5. Very collectable, grabbing yourself anything to do with Jon’s Two Types is definitely a worthwhile investment and a great read for the coffee table! Another bargain in my book *titter* was a hardback of ‘New Pocket Cartoons by Osbert Lancaster’ for £3.50. When I initially saw this book, I was convinved that it was a 1970’s publication, with a pale pink and grey illustrated dust jacket over a bright yellow cover! On closer inspection I was pleased that it was infact a 1941 First Edition. A fantastic book, it has reprinted satorical cartoons from the Daily Express, some rather non P.C. for the modern day audience. Books in hand, we made our way to the till, stopping briefly so I could sift through a wad of music sheets! I just LOVE the covers and typography of some of these and managed to grab an original Singing in the Rain, Auf Wiederseh’n Sweetheart and Lay Down Your Arms for 50p each. Bargain!
So all in all a successful trip and the kind gentleman of the shop also knocked off another £2, which made the sheet music free. My next stop… a good old table top rummage sale and a flea market, so I will let you know how I get on! Word for the wise, it is a lot more fun going with a set budget and seeing what bargains you can pick up or you may find yourself flittering away that cash before you can blink. Save up your coins and set yourself a limit. With so many carboots and fairs coming up in the summer months, you will need to pace yourself for some good bargain hunting! Never be afraid to offer a slightly lower price, but don’t insult the seller by going rediculously low. They will usually have put up the price of their goods by £1 to £5 depending on what the item is, just incase someone fancies a barter. Happy hunting!
On Sunday I entertained the crowds at Colchester Football Stadium at a British Legion event! The stadium played host to a recreation of the football game from Michael Caine’s classic Escape To Victory between the Nazi soldiers and POW’s. Before the match I sang some 1940’s classics before doing my family friendly RAF Fancy Fan Dance outside the grounds. Then at half time I sang 3 songs (see the video above) for the crowd. This was the first time I had sung in a stadium and it was very strange hearing my voice echoing around the place!
Although very tired from a stupidly bad nights sleep at a rather awful B&B, Richard and I had a lovely time and hope that the British Legion raised heaps of money at the event!