Truly for You recently got in touch about the vintage caravan and camper van decorations that they make and sell. I was intrigued and asked them to send some over for me to take a peek and review. I have to say that I was delighted when they arrived and so was more than happy to write a review of their lovely handmade decorations. I am going to be chatting and finding out more about the Vintage Caravan ornament (which looks just like a Sprite 400) and the VW Splitty Camper Van ornaments here as these two 1960/70s designs are both ideal for followers of the yay retro! online vintage shop.
Truly for You was set up in 2010 by Kim and Richard who live in The Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales. Along with Julie, they make and send lots of different styled plaster cast decorations, which can be used to celebrate special events, anniversaries, wedding days, birthdays and Christmas. As you can see, the ornaments arrive safely wrapped in a lovely flat box which fits through your letter box (so no waiting in for your postman!)
They design the original ornament in plasticine or other modelling materials, then Richard makes a mould. Richard or helper Julie cast the items in an ornament grade plaster, then Julie and Kim paint them. This means that each vintage styled van ornament is totally handmade, hand painted and decorated and utterly original.
As you can see each ornament can be personalised to the customer’s requirements. I asked if I could have a camper van with yay retro! written on it, and since I sell online I came up with a number plate to reflect this. I was particularly impressed by Kim's choice of font which is a close match to the one that the yay retro! brand uses. I also thought the sparkly, glitter headlights were a cute touch.
As you can see, the vans are hand painted and so this means you can make a special request to match your particular caravan or campervan's colour way if you wish. I adore this sky blue caravan decoration as pastel blues are 'in' at the moment. Twinned with the flower power curtains this super-cute vintage ornament has found a home in my office, I just wish I actually had a vintage caravan in reality!
I asked Kim if they have a van and she told me: "Many years ago when our son was small we bought a 1960s fabulous 9 foot caravan. We gutted it and lined it with oak veneered ply wood, painted the ceiling as a sky and fitted it out beautifully … but it wasn’t to be, Richard didn’t enjoy towing and we didn’t have the funds for a camper. I still dream of having a camper as we love visiting France and especially Italy."
Since you can have anything written on Truly for You's ornaments they are a great gift idea and way of marking special occasions. Vintage Van Christmas decorations are a huge seller for them, as well as Baby’s First Christmas and Wedding Days where people often buy them as wedding favours (as they can be personalised they can double up as name place card).
Apparently Truly for You have also produced large runs of items for various businesses including Haven Holidays - they ordered Caravans and Beach Huts for their annual conferences. They also supply camper van decorations to White Dub Weddings VW who hire their van "Gracie" for weddings and events in Dorset & the New Forest. These are given to Brides and Grooms as a thank you for hiring "Gracie" for their wedding. Truly for You have supplied lots of other businesses too and are happy to offer generous discounts for large orders.
It's worth noting that you can make a special request for special order designs too.
above and below...Vintage Camper Van Christmas and Wedding decorations, complete with the date. Don't forget you can have pretty much any message on your van decoration.
If you would like to buy a Truly for You vintage camper van or vintage caravan decoration you can find out more and buy at Truly for You
. Currently Kim and Richard are developing more vintage and retro styled items to add to their range as well as launching mermaid and unicorn keepsakes.
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Many people who buy from the yay retro! online vintage shop are keen vintage caravan or camper van owners. One such customer is Cameron who is one of the people who set up and runs The Retro Caravan Club - a fantastic, upbeat and welcoming organisation for owners of vintage caravans. Have a read of this in depth blog post about caravans from the 1950s, 60s and 70s and find out more about how you could get involved. Many thanks indeed to Cameron, who has sent over some amazing photos of his extensive retro caravan collection and taken the time to answer the questions below about the vintage & retro caravan scene.
above....Cameron's 1963 Sprite Alpine, beautifully renovated inside and out with it's original features intact
Tell me about your caravans, how many you have, why you got into them, how long it takes to renovate one and why you have so many?
I'm not sure how many I have! I have around 10-15, though it varies as they have a habit of following me home! I've caravanned all my life, since I was two weeks old. My Grandparents are very hardy caravanners, still going away in their new caravan at 78 years old. Obviously caravanning must help you enjoy a long and active life. I caravanned with them all over Europe as a child, it was never a question of stopping when I left home, I couldn't wait to get a caravan of my own. I always liked the look of older ones and I've found them to be much more practical and easier to use than modern ones.
I couldn't possibly put a time limit on restoring one, as each one is different. And they will always need ongoing maintenance going forward, just like a classic car, due to their age. Sometimes you hit lucky and find a barn-stored example that needs a good clean, service and external re-spray, and I can turn something like that around in a few months. The longest restoration I have done is my 1962 Sprite Musketeer which was nearly a complete rebuild and it took me four years.
Ironically, I don't remember vintage caravans as I'm in my early 20s, and we were always lucky to have a nearly new caravan when I was growing up. It was my Grandparents' stories of their tiny 10ft 1966 Sprite 400 (their first caravan) that always fascinated me.
above... Cameron's 1967 Safari Caravan, loving the vintage rug and flower power cushions!
What would you class as a vintage caravan date-wise?
We class a vintage caravan as pre-1982. A huge recession hit Britain in 1980, and most of the long established manufacturers couldn't survive and ceased trading between 1980-1982. At the same time, a law was passed in the UK that new touring caravans as of 1983 could not be fitted with single pane glass windows, although some of the more expensive makes had been using plastic double glazed windows as early as 1973. There was a huge wave of change in designs, chassis types and fittings giving 1982 a very definitive "end of an era".
What model/makes are the caravans? Which model/makes are the most popular?
Without doubt, Sprite caravans are the most popular. Sam Alper, who founded Sprite caravans, was very much the Henry Ford equivalent of the caravan industry. They were stylish, practical, lightweight and cheap. At their peak in the late 1960s, they were turning out around 12,000 caravans per year! So there's plenty still around and they're very easy to work on. The more expensive makes such as Carlight, Viking, Cheltenham, Royale and Safari are very popular on the established classic caravan scene. Their style and quality is unrivalled all these years later.
Which are your favourite makes/models and why?
I'm one of the few people in the country who collect Sprite caravans. Because they made so many and they were so cheap, they never gained much respect with the established classic caravan scene. Consequently, some of these once popular models survive in mere handfuls due to so many people viewing them as "disposable", scrapping most of them decades ago. But at shows, they always attract the most attention as people relate to them more than the more popular "upper class" manufacturers. In their heyday, the more expensive caravans were unobtainable to your average buyer. My favourite models are my 1962 Sprite Musketeer and 1970 Sprite Major because they're both very iconic looking, with the infamous Sprite "swan neck" roof line and still very practical and easy to use, all these years later. Caravans tended to be styled rather conservatively, as typically in the mid-1950s, the average new caravan buyer would have been 50+ years old to have been able to afford one. Sprite changed all that and created a trendy caravan, with designs and interiors changing on a yearly basis to reflect design trends.
above Cameron's Sprite 400 van, complete with vintage awning, fab latch hook rug and crocheted blanket which no vintage van should be without! I love this van, as we had one when I was growing up in the 1960/70s!
How easy is it to source a vintage caravan and where is it best to look?
There's plenty of vintage caravans listed on eBay every week. You'll also find a generous selection on Gumtree. Of course, Clubs such as the Retro Caravan Club are a good place to look too as enthusiasts tend to like their caravans keeping within the Club, so there's plenty of bargains to be had.
What sort of price range would you be looking at for a retro caravan?
How long is a piece of string! They can very from anything from a couple of hundred pounds to around £15,000. Of course, don't expect to pay much more than £1500 for a project, though rarer early models can command much higher prices in a derelict state as their end value is higher. Your average usable and restored 1950s-1970s vintage caravan seems to sell for around £2000 - £5000, depending on what it is. Pre-war and immediately post-war caravans typically sell in excess of £7500 - £15,000 due to their rarity and collectability.
above...Cameron's 1958 Sprite Alpine, I love all the genuine vintage accessories he has sourced including vintage plastic storage jars & cutlery tray. Plus just look at that pink plastic sink *adore*!!
How did you get involved with the retro Caravan Club? What is your role?I co-founded the Retro Caravan Club in December 2015. It was a conscious move away from the established classic caravan scene, which had become quite stagnant. We wanted a fresh modern approach to a Club, with an easy online joining process (as opposed to a self-addressed stamped envelope and a cheque, as we'd previously been used to) and a strong social media presence. Other than that, we wanted to break down the traditional formalities that Clubs typically involve. We even toyed with naming ourselves the "Porta-Potti Owner's Club" because we wanted to show that it's all just a bit of fun. We hoped we'd reach around 40 members by the end of January 2016 to allow us to meet the minimum requirements for a printed magazine. To our absolute amazement, it completely took off, and we had around 170 members by the end of January 2016! Today, we're not far off accepting our 800th member, easily making the Retro Caravan Club the biggest Club for old caravans in Europe. My role is the Treasurer and Magazine Editor. I have a background in journalism and art and design, so the magazine is a real extravagant labour of love for me. The Retro caravan Club Facebook page is hovering around 8700 members at the moment, and followers are from everywhere in the UK - we even have active rallying members from the Continent!
above...Cameron's 1962 Sprite Musketeer, complete with original radio with delicious Formica suround
What is the best thing about being a member of The Retro Caravan Club?
Without doubt it's the atmosphere and camaraderie. The rallies are amazing, with help and support offered from the moment you arrive on site and plenty of enthusiastic people who don't take themselves seriously at all. The more you get involved, the more new people you meet and very quickly form strong friendships. One of the most rewarding things for me as one of the founders is watching these friendships develop. It's amazing how much you have in common with everyone - I think it takes a certain kind of person to willingly drag a 50 year old tin box around the British countryside with them and watch for leaks as the rain beats down on a Bank Holiday weekend! That British eccentricity seems to be the foundation of our success.
How much is it to join The Retro Caravan Club and what benefits do you receive from joining?
It is £15 for the year, running from the date you join to the same date next year. You receive the current issue of our Retro Caravan Club Journal which has grown to 48 pages now. This is printed quarterly and is bursting with rally reports, technical articles, historical pieces and information about the Club. You also receive a code to access our member only area on our website to access Club information and view our rally calendar. We host nearly 50 rallies throughout the year, with a generous mix of social rallies held on campsites and display rallies where our caravans are on show to the public. Our social rallies offer very generous discounts on the usual nightly fee, with an £18 nightly fee price-cap, with most rallies coming in around £12-£15 per night with full facilities, which is excellent value for money.
above... Cameron's 1970 Sprite Major, I love the addition of the red contemporary retro design wallpaper which really sets off the stunning white enamel and formica kitchen area. The orange flower power curtains and cushions are simply stunning in the seating area - what a van!!
What upcoming events does The Retro Caravan Club have and do any tie in with vintage events?
We have a Club stand at the two Retro Festival events Newark in June and Newbury in August, which is one of the biggest vintage festivals of the year. Our members receive a great price deal, as well as being positioned in pride of place within the event itself. It's great to have your caravan as a base to keep returning to, so you can keep trundling back with arm-fulls of vintage tat, have a cup of tea, then go back out to buy more.
above...Cameron's 1963 Cheltenham Puku caravan...complete with amazing Formica effect table (created by applying vintage wallpaper sealed with yacht varnish! I love the genuine vintage 1950s curtains in this van, along with the Atomic wire fruit bowl (a hard one to track down) and beautiful 50s vase!
Do you have vintage wares inside your vans? If so what are your favourite brands and why?
All of my caravans are restored to reflect the period that they were designed in. I exclusively use vintage items to furnish and equip them. I'm particularly fond of Gaydon Melmex, which was an early form of Melamine as it was widely promoted for use in caravans in the late 1950s onwards. Melmex has more of a flair to the shape of the plates and cups than the newer Melamine. I find that Midwinter china fits most china cabinets supplied in caravans. I have quite a lot of Midwinter sets, my favourite being Queensbury and Sienna. I also carry a selection of Feathaware items, which originated in the late 1950s, almost exclusively designed for camping. Their aluminium folding chairs are iconic but also practical due to them being exceptionally lightweight. They also designed the first plastic water carriers, which were all supplied in bright garish colours until the late 1960s.
Looking at the yay retro! shop www.yayretro.co.uk, what are your favourite items for caravanning and why?
You absolutely cannot go wrong with Melamine in a vintage caravan. It came in all kinds of colours, so you can easily find a set which suits the decor of your caravan. For me, the more garish, the better! So I'm choosing the bright orange melamine cup and saucer set by Rosti Mepal. I'm also very partial to vintage tins and containers, as storage is at a premium in a caravan. It's not practical to carry large boxes of tea bags or sugar with you, so decanting it into something smaller and just taking what you need is a must. I absolutely love this 1950s tin. Finally, it's always good to accessorise in a caravan and keep the decor quite simple. It helps create an illusion of space. Currently, Pineapples are very trendy - they were originally seen as a symbol of wealth in the 1800s, but also represent a bit of exotic glamour. We can't get enough of them over at the Retro Caravan Club!
Find out more about The Retro Caravan Club here
Go Shopping at yay retro! now for vintage caravan, campervan and homewares!
Some recommended buys for your caravan at yay retro!
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Hi, I'm Sue and I run the yay retro! online vintage shop selling vintage homewares from the 1960/70s. I've massively got into crochet again of late and have been busy making jumpers for myself and grandchildren since January! Crochet is very quick and easy to do and being able to work with lots of lovely yarns and colours is very satisfying and relaxing. Here is a very simple free pattern for a Granny Squares waistcoat for you to have a go at. I've adapted a vintage 1960s cardigan pattern to come up with this design. This pattern fits a ladies size 12/14 and I used Scheepjes Stone and River washed yarns which are cotton and acrylic and come up around DK in weight. However you can use any yarn you fancy so long as the resulting squares measure 2.5 inches each when complete.
If you wish to make the waistcoat bigger or smaller, simply get one of your favourite fitted cardigans and make enough squares to fit the width across the the chest armpit to armpit to assess your personal measurement. Don't forget men like Paul McCartney were wearing these in the 60/70s, swop the colours for earthy tones and I am sure it would look great on a guy too!
Free Pattern For Crocheted Granny Square Waistcoat 1960/70sHere are the instructions for each square, I used a 3mm crochet hook. (Don't forget the squares should each measure 2.5 inches when complete. Change your hook size until you have the correct tension to make the squares the right size.)
You will need 114 squares made like this:
Chain 5 and join with a sl.st
Round 1. Chain 3 and work 15 tr into the ring, join with a sl.st into 3rd st of 3 ch. fasten off
Round 2. Join new colour in a space between any tr. ch 3, 1 tr in same space., *ch1, miss 2 tr., (2 tr., 2 ch., 2 tr) in next space = corner, ch 1, miss 2 tr., 2 tr in next space., rep from * to complete round, sl st in 3rd st of ch 3 fasten off.
Round 3. Join new colour in space between any space before a corner and complete 2dc in same space., *ch 1., (2dc., 2 ch., 2dc.,) = corner, ch 1, 2dc in next space, ch 1, 2dc in next space, ch1, now complete corner and repeat until round complete, ch 1, sl st to join. fasten off.
Round 4. With main background colour (I used pale grey), join in any dc and complete one round of dc with 2 dc at each corner.
Neatly & firmly knot and tie in your loose ends as you complete each square
Check your square measures 2.5 inches and then make 114 squares.
You may decide to block your squares to ensure they are consistently square. (You can do this with an old chopping board, simply get 4 brass picture hook nails and hammer these into the board to match the 4 internal corners of your square, then pop your square onto these for an hour or so to shape.) Below is a picture of my homemade blocking board with the Scheepjes River and Stone washed yarn I used to make my waistcoat. I ordered 2 more balls of full size yarn for the background/edging grey colour
Once you've completed, your 114 squares lay them out to form this shape:
The back (as seen on left of photo above) consists of 5 rows of 8 squares, then 3 rows of 6 squares.
The front consists of 2 parts (as seen on right of photo above) each is made up of 5 rows of 4 squares, 2 rows of 3 squares and 1 row of 2 squares. (You'll notice I made the fronts to match one another, but you don't need to do this).
Stitch your squares together right sides facing in horizontal rows and then join the rows together as per the layout in the photo above. Stitch the shoulders and sides right side facing. Now complete a row of dc in main colour round each armhole. Now complete 2 rows of dc in main colour around all outer edge. Press lightly with a cool iron on wrong side to complete.
I hope you find this pattern easy and useful, if you get stuck or would like to show me your waistcoat do email firstname.lastname@example.org! Why not go shopping in the yay retro! vintage shop now?
Many vintage collectors love pottery birds. These can be made in Scandinavian countries such as Sweden, however it's worth noting that many designers were making birds in the Scandi style in England in the 1960s and 70s. A question I am often asked is where can you buy mid century pottery birds? They are so very hard to track down, and often sell very quickly indeed. Happily yay retro! have several Scandi styled English pottery birds for sale right now in our online vintage shop!
In this blog post I will show you some of the vintage birds to look out for and also highlight the ones that I have for sale at the moment. Do come back and re-check the yay retro! shop by searching 'bird' from time to time as my stock will vary from week to week.
Robert Jefferson Mid Century Birds for Poole Pottery
In the 60/70s Robert Jefferson was busy designing tableware for Poole Pottery. He also designed a range of peacock and bird wall plaques and dishes which were created in small numbers. These are Scandinavian in style and as such as highly desirable. They can be cream, turquoise, green or blue and green and it would be lovely to collect all the variations! I have a two headed bird or peacock for sale (above) in my online vintage shop right at this moment (5.4.18 - sold just after writing). The larger bird below is a keeper for now and I have applied a plate hanger to the reverse and hung it on the wall as an artwork.
Carltonware 1960/70s Birds to Buy & Collect
Another sought after pottery brand which created a range of birds is Carltonware. The company made money boxes, ash trays, egg cups and salt & pepper sets all in the shape of birds with psychedelic flower patterns which are very influential on contemporary designers. I have never been able to find an ashtray as these are so rare and sought after! Obviously people use them as display pieces now....However I have been fortunate to source two of the peacock money boxes for the yay retro! shop. One is available as of this moment (5.4.18) and the other has sold.
Most vintage collectors use these as ornaments and it is hard to imagine now our giving them to a child for fear of a breakage!!
Another rarity I have managed to source is a Calrtonware egg cup cruet set! This features 4 little birds on a flower power tray and is extra, extra special! I've never seen one before. Again this is available to buy now.
Jersey Pottery Birds
Jersey pottery created a vast array of designs in the 60s and 70s and one of the loveliest and again rarest was their version of a bird ashtray. I hardly ever manage to find these. As you can see they are hand painted and made in a variety of colours and patterns. This adds to their charm and makes them even more collectable.
Arthur Wood Pottery Birds
Arthur Wood made a lovely selection of pottery wares again in the 60s and 70s. Included in the range were some stunning pottery bird dishes and also wall hangings which were created to dispense string (of all things!) Again each is hand painted and so is individual. The bird dishes can be used as ornaments, for serving nibbles, storing eggs or for plants.
The string holders are now mostly used as wall display pieces and are all different, a flock of these would look amazing!
Hornsea Pottery Birds by John Clappison
As well as mugs and preserve pots with bird patterns, John Clappison produced various bird shaped potteries for Hornsea. These included salt and pepper pots and ash trays - it hardly seems credible now that you would want to use these adorable creatures for ash! They are so very Scandinavian in shape and design that many people hang them on the wall. These are snapped up as soon as they go on sale for obvious reasons adn appear in blue, borwn and green glazes to match the Hornsea tablewares.
Hornsea animal shaped salt and pepper pots include owls, birds, fish and cats, and are never for sale for long as they are super sought after. As you'll appreciate these are mostly used as ornaments now and they can sometimes be found singly or in pairs.
Lotus Pottery Birds by Elizabeth Skipworth
These are an even rarer find as most often you'll spot the bulls created by the Skipworth's in their pottery in Stoke Gabriel in Devon. Happily as of today (5.4.18) I have a real beauty in the shop for sale. Curvaceous and minimal in design this is a wondrous object to have and to hold.
Why not go shopping for mid century birds at yay retro! now? Search 'bird' using this link.
At this time of year many people are starting to think about trips in their vintage caravans and campers. Whether you have Mazda Bongo, a Vintage VW Dub, a T5 California, a Vintage Sprite or Monza then you'll almost certainly be looking to buy some vintage camper and caravan kitchenware to make your trips as fun as possible!
yay retro! is an online vintage shop which has a great range of vintage Thermos flasks for happy campers and glampers to choose from. I also stock a range of vintage melamine from the likes of Rosti Mepal and Gaydon Melmex.
Many people adore the 1960s Gaydon butter dishes, cups and saucers for their iconic shape. I always make sure that the Gaydon I have in stock is great quality ready to use in your van (or home) every day! Did you know that melamine was first introduced as a replacement to china tablewares for your home? Many people buy it for theatre productions and also care homes as it has the look of china, yet it is extremely durable and can take knocks and bumps. This is also why campers love it too of course!
Vintage Tupperware comes in fab colours such as orange and yellow, so is another top choice for vintage lovers. It's ideal for packed lunches and for taking pre-cooked meals away with you to reheat on your stove! One of the most popular things vintage campers look for are Skyline fish slices, what cooked breakfast is complete in your van without one of these?!
On the subject of breakfasts, eggs probably play a key part when you're camping! Stock up on our super plastic 1960s egg cups and also our stunning sky blue egg storer - there's only one of these so be quick! Go shopping at yay retro! now and use the search box or the handy links below to find what you need - combined postage available.
Search for vintage melamine at yay retro!
Search for vintage plastic at yay retro!
Search for vintage Gaydon at yay retro!
Search for vintage Rosti Mepal at yay retro!
Search for vintage Tupperware at yay retro!
Search for vintage Skyline Kitchen Utensils at yay retro!
One of the most sought after pieces of vintage kitchenalia is the humble vintage 1960s plastic roll top bread bin. I only find 1 or two a year as these gorgeous bread bins have not often been saved by those who updated to brash metal and grungy wood in the 70s and 80s. A fabulous design, this was a staple of kitchens up and down the country in the 60s. You can find them in pastel shades of blue, green and lemon as well as bright reds, blues, oranges and yellow like this one. Then of course there are the avocado green ones - a shocker of a colour from the 70s which is making a come back! I think they are a complete must-have item for any self respecting vintage styled home. If you would like to lust after the other bread bins I've found and sold in the past click the image below.
yay retro! have just found this complete set of vintage Prestige Skyline kitchen utensils. They are now for sale in our online vintage shop, simply click the picture above to see if they are still available (they may well sell out fast). These wonderful kitchen utensils are rarely found in this kind of condition mainly because people do actually use and I hate to say it abuse them!
Made with a wooden handle and lovingly painted with stripes these sturdy utensils do like to be looked after (not slung in the dishwasher), many people don't realise and quickly ruin these stunning design classics. Invest in this set and a very quick handwash and dry is all you need to do to keep them in tip top shape.
I think this fab set was given as a wedding present and got popped in a cupboard only to see the light of day now! The colours are bright , the paintwork is snazzy and the chrome is shiny...what are you waiting for....check them out right now at yay retro! They are ideal to use every day or simply to have on display.
This kitchen utensil design is imprinted in most people's memories as most households had then them back in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Made in an array of colours from pale green to vivid sky blue they altered the design only fractionally over the period in which they were manufactured. A fry up wasn't complete without a trusty Skyline fish slice and stew just wasn't stew unless it was served with a Prestige ladle. Dad's carved roasts every Sunday using the fork and many a processed pea was served with the serving spoon! If you have fond memories of these vintage kitchen utensils why not pop into yay retro! now and search 'Skyline'?
yay retro! is the place to shop for this amazing and rare find - a Hornsea Springtime butter dish in unused condition. It has no staining, chips, cracks or crazing and appears as wonderful as the day it was made! Designed by John Clappison in the 1960/70s this has a bright yellow and blue and turquoise flowers all around the edges -superb as a gift idea for any vintage collector. You could even use this as an ornament or jewellery box - Buy this now!