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Vintage Style Christmas Gifts 2012


Modern Christmas Gifts for the Vintage Lover
By Kitten von Mew

My parents always seem to find my Birthday and Christmas gift buying a nail biting experience. Not being into the 1930’s and 40’s themselves, they are always worried about getting the wrong thing when it comes to antiquities. Luckily, vintage seems to be somewhat the fashion at the moment (huzzah!), meaning that modern shops often stock homeware and accessories fitting to our lifestyle.

I have decided to bring you a few ideas that may help when you are out of ideas and are fed up with ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ products!

First I bring you Royal London Watches. I met this company at War and Peace 2012 and saw their stunning timepieces for myself. They have a special line of WWII inspired watches, fitting for any civilian outfit and even one that would blend in perfectly for military! Waterproof, battery powered and with leather straps, they will certainly stand up to outdoor events, without letting you down in the style stakes. With ladies and gentleman’s watches, the main 2 greats are ref. 41109-01 and 41110-01 on their website.
Cost: Between £59.99 and £69.99 from www.royallondonwatches.co.uk

Royal London Watch Company and Kitten von Mew at War and Peace 2012

Royal London Watch Company and Kitten von Mew at War and Peace 2012

Dotcomgiftshop has some fantastic vintage gifts for the home and garden. So many in fact that it took ages to narrow it down to 1 item! Luckily Candee Photography and I had done a photoshoot including their beautiful Birdcage Cloche Glass Cakestand. With a little bird handle on the domed cover, it is ideal for housing cupcakes, biscuits, cheese selections and more. Too pretty to keep hidden in a cupboard, this glass cakestand is an ideal Christmas gift for those who love to entertain!
Cost: £19.95 from www.dotcomgiftshop.com

Dotcomgiftshop Sugar Bowl with Kitten von Mew. Copyright Candee Piccies

Dotcomgiftshop Sugar Bowl with Kitten von Mew. Copyright Candee Piccies

Glass Bird Bell Jar and Cake Stand

Glass Bird Bell Jar and Cake Stand from Dotcomgiftshop. Copyright Candee Piccies

The Wartime Farm House on the BBC has been a hugely successful and informative television series off the back of Edwardian Farm. The book that accompanies the series is full of farming history, wartime recipies, useful hints and tips for using herbs, making natural shampoo and even a footstep diagram of how to do the foxtrot. Beautifully laid out, this hardback book is a great addition to any 1940’s home.
Cost: Around £20 from www.wartimefarm.co.uk
BBC Wartime Farm Book

BBC Wartime Farm Book

Finally a fantastic Christmas gift for men, this is in fact the official Torchwood Dressing Gown from Find Me a Gift! Based on a WWII RAF Greatcoat, it features brass buttons, shoulder boards and 2 pockets. Made of 100% cotton towelling the bathrobe is a fantastic way to lounge around the home or trudging to the showers at WWII events! It fits men’s sizes medium to XL, but I am hell bent on having one of these myself, so the extra room will come in handy for stashing biscuits and hot water bottles… It is currently on pre-order and due in 26th November, so get your order in now in time for Christmas!
Cost: Around £49.99 from www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk

Torchwood Dressing Gown from Find Me a Gift

Torchwood Dressing Gown from Findmeagift.com

And for those who want to bring a little vintage into their Christmas decor, check out these gorgeous Union Jack paper chains too!

Union Jack Paper Chains by Find Me a Gift

Union Jack Paper Chains on our Christmas Tree!

 

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BBC’s Wartime Farm Book by Octopus Publishing


Wartime Farm Book with Kitten von Mew

Kitten in her kitchen reading Wartime Farm

This week a rather exciting parcel arrived on my doorstep from Octopus Publishing! If anyone was a fan of The Edwardian Farm series on the BBC, they will know that the latest is Wartime Farm, taking you through pre and wartime farming life. This wonderful parcel was the book to accompany the series.

Beautifully presented with lots of interesting photos, fact and recipes, the reader can learn all about farming in the war, the machinery and techniques, the Women’s Land Army and my favourite part…wartime recipes for food and Soapwort shampoo! There is a splendid section dedicated to country fashion, hairstyling (with instructions for Victory Rolls) and entertainment (You can learn the basic foxtrot with the footstep diagram!) and even about the wartime evacuees that descended on the countryside.

Womens Land Army Poster

Women’s Land Army Poster

It always shocked me how much food was rationed in WWII, but to see it in pictures really does bring it home when you see the size of a piece of cheese or lard that had to last your family a week. There is a chapter on preserving and drying meat and fruit with some fantastic and at other times baffling recipes with step by step instructions.

I will definitely be trying the elderflower cordial recipe and possibly the Baked Potato Pudding (A pastry base with raspberry jam, topped off with mashed suede and potato which is baked in the oven). Im not too sure about the mock marmalade which uses crab apples, but the Soapwort shampoo certainly sounds interesting and Ruth Goodman said it was the best she had ever used and was now converted to it!

BBC Wartime Farm Series

BBC Wartime Farm Series

If you are looking for Christmas gifts or perhaps an interesting coffee table book for fans of the TV series, you can get this stunning hardback book from the publishers, Amazon or other book retailers.

Kitten von Mew Calendar Teaser!


I have had quite a few emails asking whether I could post a few of the 2013 calendar pages as they wish to pre-order, so here are some below!

Just email me with your name, address of delivery and quantity and we can sort out payment when they have arrived back from the printers.

I will also be selling them at Wartime in the Vale on the 23rd/24th June!

Kitten von Mew 2013 Calendar

Photography by Candee Photography, Graphics and Layout by Kitten von Mew

Kitten von Mew’s 2013 Pinup Calendar!


Kitten von Mew as Rosie The Rivetter

As some of you may know, I have been working on a 2013 pinup calendar, which will be released late May! Due to the last calendar being so popular (thank you so much for your support!) and selling out before Christmas, I wanted to find out whether anyone would like to pre-order their copy. You will receive yours hot off the press!

The format will be much like the 2011 version – A3, metal spiral bound and you can frame the pictures afterwards!

I have been working with the amazing Candee of Candee Photography to create this extra special, limited edition calendar and we are so excited about it! My friend Neil Howard (Puffer Nutter Extraordinaire) has done an absolutely stirling job with helping us organise shooting locations we would have completely overlooked or not been allowed into under normal circumstances too!

Some images (like the one above) from our shoots have been released, but we aren’t releasing any more until the calendar is ready!

So if you would like to pre-order your 2013 Kitten von Mew calendar, get in touch at kvm@email.com with the email heading ‘CALENDAR’ with the quantity and an address and I will keep your details until they are released! If you would like a signed copy, remember to let me have a name or message you want putting on the front!

Gizmon iPhone 4 Covers


Kitten von Mew with the Gizmon iPhone Case

I HAVE to tell you about these amazing iPhone covers! I have seen some cases that are disguised as old cameras by having a photographic image on the back or silicone rubber moulded into a vague shape, but THIS is the Ferrari of all phone cases.

I contacted Gizmon to say how fantastic their iPhone covers were for vintage peeps like myself, who still need to carry their phones around at events. How amazing would it be to walk around with this, instead of hiding your phone in your bag or pocket? So they sent me one to feature on my blog and show at events. Roll on summer!

There are 3 colours to choose from – Black, brown (shown) or a grey-white. The coloured part is a silicone rubber and the rest is plastic but looks incredibly realistic. With the phone cover you get a carry sock, 2 little rings that fit either side so you can put it on a camera strap, a slightly flatter ‘lens’ for the front, which is less bulky and an attachment for the bottom so that you can put it on a tripod!

Fitting the iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S, it comes apart in 4 pieces and easily assembles. You can use all the functions of the phone when the case is on, including making and taking calls, texting, charging and there is a hole for headphones too.

The 4 parts of the Gizmon phone cover

So, onto taking pictures! You will see the original iPhone camera lens – bottom left. The big lens on the cover in non-functioning, but incredibly convincing! The Gizmon iCA Case uses your volume buttons (top left in photo) to focus and take pictures, so it looks like you are using the shutter button of a real camera!

Currently Gizmon sell these cases in Japan, China and the USA. They are $65, but really worth it if you want to disguise your phone with a realistic cover. I know I will use this all the time at events and sometimes it can be so fiddly taking photos and pressing the right button!

A list of online stores, including Amazon, that are selling the Gizmon iCA phone case can be found HERE.

The great news is that the company now plan to release matching camera straps, tripods and full leather cases too! They already manufacture a macro lens and fish eye lens that screw onto the bottom left of the iPhone cover for great photographic effects.

Vintage Valentine’s Day Gifts


It seems that most people with a love of vintage also are old romantics too. We have an appreciation of traditional values, old fashioned courting and the appreciation of manners and wooing.

For those who are still struggling with ideas for Valentine’s gifts, whether you are already in a relationship or planning a surprise attack of romance, hopefully I can help a little!

So… Firstly roses. Traditional, beautiful and unfortunately expensive at this time of year. People seem to think that a dozen red roses is a must have, but a single red rose can say just as much as it’s 11 counterparts. So save the pennies for something else and opt for 1 flower to symbolise the only love in your life.

Romantic meal for two? Depending on what your finances are like, you could opt for the first restaurant you went to together, make an epic paella together (a wonderful culinary bonding technique) or a carpet picnic for two! Imagine sticking on an old film like Some Like It Hot, laying down a rug and some candles on the floor and a feast of nibbles. Just make sure you have a fantastically norish dessert too!

So, onto a Valentine’s Day Card! You will find original vintage Victorian, 1930’s and 1940’s cards at antiques markets and online (Ebay etc) for anything from £2.50 to £6.00. If you think how much you usually pay for a card, that is pretty fantastic, don’t you think? And heaps more meaningful than a modern card too! Even if it has a romantic message written inside from the original recipient, just add your name! When you start giving each other vintage cards, you can put them out every year as Valentine decorations too.

Valentine Gifts for Women…It is always lovely to receive presents…as long as they aren’t your classic body paint and naff cuddly toys from the supermarket. Vintage girls love romantic gestures, sweetheart brooches, love letters, theatre tickets, a new hat or some special repro lingerie from What Katie Did! Why not get your gal a 1940’s sweetheart pin or lucite brooch? Maybe a vintage locket with both your photos inside! Think old fashioned romance!

Valentines Gifts for Men…Difficult if you don’t want to get too mushy, but perhaps buy him a 1940’s mug and serve him breakfast in bed, a special tie bar and vintage tie, or perhaps a vintage style photo of you in pinup lingerie taken by the amazing Kate Donovan! Imagine his face as he unwraps a cheeky photo of you in seamed stockings and your hair all done up! Kate can do all your hair, makeup and styling, so all you need to do is relax and enjoy the experience.

So there you have it. Hopefully some of this has given you some ideas. Just don’t forget that although we are caught up in an amazing world of emails and instant text messages, there is NOTHING like receiving a handwritten love letter or card through the post. So please, make the effort this year whether you are sending it to your loved one’s work place or the home you both live in! Slip it into their shoe, briefcase, lunchbox or letterbox.

Kitten von Mew taken by Candee Photography 2011

Gift Buying for WWII Enthusiasts


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!