Many years ago I across the wonderful bold, yet minimal screen prints of Jane Foster, and bought several of them for my home. Since then I've gone on to buy more as gifts for friends and a few sneaky extras for myself which now appear in my lounge, dining room and bedroom! I have also purchased her soft toys and board books as presents for my grandchildren, oh! and a couple of mugs - for me.
Recently Jane brought out her first Colouring Book which I was very excited about and quickly ordered. Upon receiving it I was literally blown away by it's quality, so thought I would write a review as this is no ordinary colouring book!
Jane Foster's Colouring Book with some of her framed prints in the background....
The book has a chunky square format measuring 20 x 20cm (8" x 8") and has a huge 45+ pages to colour. The paper is of an exceptionally high art quality, almost card strength with a smooth surface which allows you to use paint, pens or crayons. I bought a new set of Papermate retro styled felt tip pens - a relaunch from the 1970s and a set of new colouring pencils and got stuck in....
With pages that are designed to be removed from the book it makes it easy to colour them in without fear of ruining the pages beneath, and also allows you to turn the page as you work. Cleverly, there is a thick board at the back which you can lean on as you colour in.
I've found it SO relaxing to colour these beautiful pictures of flowers, birds, fish and more. I can sit and meditate, think or dream, as I play with colour combinations and completely unwind. If you've not coloured in of late (and I haven't), it's something I would very much recommend! It's the perfect excuse for a bit of 'me' time and can be done whilst listening to the radio, to music or while the TV is on. I even spent some time in the garden at the weekend with this gorgeous book.
Once the pictures are completed I can think of lots of things they could be used for. Why not pop into a frame as I have done below? You could punch little holes into the corners and make a string of square bunting and hang across a wall. Peg the pictures on to ribbon or write a letter on the back and send to a friend. Stick a page onto card and make into a birthday card, or cut the pictures up to make a montage of images of your own. I would recommend this book to anyone of any age from 3 to 103. I have bought another to give as a gift and can envisage buying more. If you would like to buy one they are in Jane's shop here. Buy now and you'll receive an adorable free print! Mine was the cutest hamster as seen below.
One of the colouring pages in a frame in my home..... A free print with my order
For me Jane's work just zings with happiness and positivity. Here are some more screen prints by Jane Foster in my home, the sausage dog is a new purchase which is in my bedroom and the beautiful bird is above my sewing table. I hope you'll pop over to Jane's shop and buy some goodies of your own :O)
If you fancy a shop at yay retro!'s online vintage shop selling homewares and cookware from the 1940s to 1970s nip in here
I am not a lover of handbags, however I do have an absolute addiction to the amazing bags made by Ellie of Jelly Jam Vintage based in Dorset. I have 4 of her vintage fabric bags and am sure to be investing in more of these wonderful creations. They are perfect for use as an everyday handbag, as well as being a handy shopping bag and 'carry all'. Here's a lovely interview with Ellie about her bags, inspiration and life in general!
Ellie tells me she is not a handbag person either, but has many customers like me who buy again and again: "I wouldn't know the difference between a Mulberry and a...um... see I can't even think of another designer bag name. I have a lot of repeat buyers. Believe me you're a mere beginner compared to some. I don't know how many my top customer has, over 30 I should think! I like that I've got to know lots of lovely people who keep coming back for more".
She says: "I have always made stuff since I was a little girl. I learnt from my mum and my grandmother, both of whom always had a project on the go. I remember approaching the local toy shop to sell felt mice and rabbits I'd made when I was about 13. I did quite well! I studied art and design and education when I left school and got into the groove of staying up very late painting and making things. My final art pieces involved textiles on a giant scale".
Based in lovely Dorset, Ellie originally sold vintage items at an antique centre for 16 years, however she gave it up last year to focus on the handmade side of things and to run courses from her workshop at home. Alongside being a busy sewing entrepreneur, Ellie has what she calls a 'proper' job. She teaches in a primary school part time, she loves the balance of a job that really challenges her mentally and emotionally versus the calm of two days a week to create her own things to sell.
Ellie says that she has a vast collection of vintage fabric and needs to sew and make items to sell so that she can justify buying more lovely fabrics! As well as making beautiful vintage bags, Ellie creates soft furnishings such as cushions, curtains, lampshades and quilts. She says: "It wasn't a conscious plan to make bags, I used to sell a lot more children's furnishings using vintage nursery fabrics, however trade has gradually shifted to bags. Now they are my main seller with other things such as lampshades and cushions going on in the background. These are more often bespoke pieces for people's homes".
Ellie currently lives in a 1930s house, she loves renovating properties and gets itchy feet once a house is finished. This is the newest house she's lived in and has had quite a lot of work done including moving the kitchen into a bigger room and creating a workshop for me in the old kitchen. The living room was the final room to be finished last month.... she says: "I waved goodbye to the horrible orange pine and marble fireplace and had the chimney breast opened up. There were nice original hearth tiles under the carpet and I sourced a vintage French stove which has been converted to bio ethanol. I've coveted these for years and am absolutely delighted with it. Fabric plays a big part for me when decorating. I'll plan the whole colour scheme around a cushion or a pair of curtains. The living room is where I've used lots of mid century fabrics in my favourite, blues, greens and mustard. They look great together and not too pretty".
Ellie like many of us vintage collectors, has some great collections of vintage home wares: "I've got a loft full of TG green polka dot china that hasn't been unpacked for 12 years! I have way too much stuff to display everything well. At the moment my kitchen is home to my most treasured collection of Kleen Kitchen Ware. This has been sourced over 20 years although I have probably only bought two pieces in the last six years. I like things that are practical and the social history surrounding them. I wonder whose kitchen they stood in and why anyone would need a 3 pint jar to store their ground almonds. Some jars are redundant these days. I don't know anyone who buys tapioca and sago so I keep other things in those ones. Other collections include old toys, Mobo horses, Magic Roundabout figures, Meakin Rosa china, nursery fabric, colourful shoes, 2cvs....(!)"
I think Ellie's photos are fabulous making the bags a 'must-have' item and encouraging me to buy over and over.
It's usually Ellie holding the bags in the photos, and occasionally her sixteen year old daughter steps in as a model. Her family are now very well trained in getting the best feet and bag shots! She says: "The sun comes out and I'll shout 'I'm just changing my shoes, can someone take a photo!' If I'm home alone I'll resort to the lovely old wall at the bottom of my garden".
To get the very best photo of her bags, Ellie has been known to take them on holiday or for days out! She's even taken her sewing machine on holiday with her. Recently she made a series of cactus barkcloth bags and wanted to photograph them with the right colour backdrop, so she took them on a day out to the Eden project in Cornwall.... She says: "I only got one or two strange looks but sold all four bags in a flash". She's also been known to take them to the woods, the beach, cafes, or to borrow a nice old car... "Part of the fun is deciding how to style the photos and I know my customers like them".
Ellie says that there are so many favourite items to choose from on the yay retro! online vintage shop, and particularly likes the bold designs on some of the 1960s and 70s children's toys I have for sale. The Galt squirrel puzzle, the lotto games, the sweetie tin are amongst her top picks.... "I'm a sucker for any Fisher Price (oops another collection) and if I didn't already have it would be snapping up the minibus which was a childhood favourite".
Going forwards, Ellie says that Jelly Jam Vintage will see the development of the workshop side of things, which combines her skills of creating and teaching. She offers workshops for small groups on appliqué cushion making and lampshade making with more courses in the pipeline. If you would like to see more of Ellie's work you can find Jelly Jam Vintage on Facebook here
and Etsy here
. If you fancy a browse around the yay retro! online vintage shop, pop in here!
yay retro! love to feature the work of artists whose work we admire, and over the past year I have been following Clover Robin a Print Pattern Designer and Artist. Clover's detailed collages can be bought as individual artworks, cards and prints; happily Clover agreed to a little interview for the yay retro! blog. I hope you enjoying reading and taking a look at Clover's glorious work....
Clover tells me that she was born in Bridport, Devon and lived there until she was 7, she recalls walking to the beach after school. Later her family moved to Exeter and lived close to the river, where she could see the rolling hills from her bedroom window. Every weekend was about beach walking or heading out to the moors....She says: "I always knew I loved being outdoors and wide open spaces but never so much as now that I am living in London. As a result my work has become really botanical, featuring landscapes reminiscent of my childhood".
"London can be a tough cookie and a bit of a concrete jungle which makes the lovely natural spaces and parks particularly special. There is a huge amount of green space here and living next to Greenwich Park I'm constantly influenced by the stunning flower and rose gardens"
Clover studied surface pattern design at BA level in Leeds: "Surface pattern is awesome because it basically means applying any pattern to any surface. People usually choose to specialise in fashion or interiors, but I love to see the crossovers in both. While I'm pursuing illustration more at the moment, I LOVE wallpaper and would definitely like to create something in this realm at some point".
I asked Clover how she came up with her ideas: "There's inspiration everywhere, other than the all the outdoorsy stuff I mentioned earlier, I'm a sucker for a beautiful design shop. I love books and could sift for hours through the styling pages on Pinterest!"
Clover's working process really depends on what she's working on and where she is, though she says: "I'm never happier than when I'm out and about with my sketchbook and little bag of paper cuttings and scissors".
Usually she says, she starts by researching the project, finding lots of inspiring imagery, looking at colours, shapes and textures. From this she starts creating and sourcing the papers for her artwork which can take minutes or hours depending on the different elements. Then she translates all the ideas and elements of the work on the page. This can have quite surprising results which is what makes each piece completely unique.
Once done, she scans everything in to the computer to clean it up, adjust scale and size, hues and contrasts to create the special look and feel of her work.
Music is a great way to stay focussed one her work and she loves to sing along to old 90s indie music. Someone recently suggested Baroque music for focus and optimum proactivity - although she was sceptical, she found it really works!
She goes on to say: "I have a small but ever growing collection of vintage-y vases and jugs so all of the vintage jugs yay retro! have for sale appeal to me...There's also a particularly delightful red enamel teapot I could probably find a home for too!"
yay retro! are always delighted when happy customers write to us with photos of their purchases in their homes. This week both Fiona and Rebecca have sent me pictures of the vintage Scandi framed illustrations in their homes.
We adore the way Fiona has shown her pictures from yay retro! off in a minimalistic way, standing them in a trio on her staircase ♥, she says:
"Attached photo shows where I have put my gorgeous pictures I bought from you, the pinky ones are going to St Ives. I will send a picture from there when I go. Many thanks Fiona"
Rebecca went for a pair of our Reidar Johan Berle 1966 pictures, and hung them on her wall over her fireplace:
These pictures have proved very popular with 5 batches selling out immediately. We have popped them into contemporary box frames which can stand or hang, and happily we have more of these available here. Why not pop in? Combined postage is available.
Recently during a vintage online browsing session yay retro! found some wonderful up-cycled mid-century furniture for sale. Created by Karen of Vintage 11 we just love the understated nature of these sensitively renovated sideboards and chest of drawers, which were originally manufactured in the 1950s, 60s and 70s by Scandinavian designers and companies such as G Plan & Ercol.
Karen tells me that she works in her studio behind her home, and says:
"I love to add geometric design at the moment, as it fits so well with the mid century pieces that I favour. To achieve this design, I mask the area off with frog tape, and repeat the process when each area is dry until I have achieved the desired look."
We adore the colour schemes she uses which perhaps reflect her location - a stone's throw from the coast in North Shields. The pastel greys, yellows, charcoals and rich blues are just delightful.
Marvellous painted designs on Vintage 11 furniture....
Vintage 11 is Karen's full time job after she left teaching in 2015. Having always been creative, that summer she started to renovate a pine table and chairs set, working on it in the evenings and at weekends. To her surprise, upon completion it sold immediately - Vintage 11 was born! We asked how she comes up with her ideas:
"I will buy a piece of furniture that I love the shape and design of, and start working on it with a loose idea of a design. I usually change my plan as I'm working as I'm always full of ideas! I just love trying something new, yet always keep in mind that it has to ultimately be something that somebody would like to have in their home. Sometimes I see a colour combination that I like and think it would look fantastic on furniture, though I might have to wait until the right piece comes along to try it."
Not everything needs painting...these stunning pieces were polished and left as they were...
Karen loves mid century design and so concentrates on this era of furniture. If a piece is in need of some love, then they are perfect for her as she wants to improve pieces and give them a new lease of life. However, she knows that some items don't need painting, and those are left as they are and sold alongside her painted pieces in her Etsy shop.
The great news is that Karen is happy to work with clients to develop bespoke, one off pieces and can ship throughout the UK, and local people can collect.
Karen enjoyed browsing the yay retro! online vintage shop and selected several pieces of vintage china as her top picks. These include the Midwinter Eden
serving plate because of it's fabulous pattern and the Figgjo Flint
Daisy dishes as she adores Scandinavian design. Karen says she would love a vintage tea set, but she's banned from buying anymore vintage wares (shame!) She has a Hornsea Pottery tea caddy that was her Grandmas, and she bought the coffee and sugar caddy's to match.
In her home she has two vintage sideboards; one in her living room that belonged to her husbands' Grandpa, and one in her kitchen that she refinished and added a geometric design to in white, graphite and copper - sounds marvellous! Interestingly she also has a science lab table in place of a traditional dining table. Her sons have a fun vintage wardrobe that she refinished with a chalkboard door and different coloured legs.
*HaPpY* email of the week:
"[my mosaic fish] is really lovely...bigger than I was expecting! He will look great with my other mosaics on the kitchen wall, so I'll be saving up for a medium fish next.
Thank you and please thank Fiona for her hard work and perfect birthday card too. Here's the picture of them all....Feeling chuffed!"
yay retro! opened its online doors back in July 2012, since then I've sold to people all over the world from Norway to Japan, The USA and New Zealand. Of course the UK is where most of my customers are based, and some of them have become real regulars over the years. It's absolutely fantastic when a customer buys from me again and again, as I get to know them over time (all be it via email, Facebook or Instagram), and I am also reassured that they were happy with their items, the safe packaging and that I am getting the 'right' vintage stock in that they are looking for.
One of my most recent repeat customers is Mandy, who has just sent me a selection of photos of her many purchases. It's brilliant for me to see yay retro! wares on show in their new homes. If you've bought from yay retro! and wish to send me some pics to share with other vintage lovers, please send them to email@example.com.
Thanks to each and every one of my customers*, I really do appreciate your custom
*you are now running into the 1000s!
Want to join in the vintage fun? Pop in to yay retro! for a browse now, combined postage available wherever possible.
The Yellow Vintage Fair is held every year at The Ageas Bowl in Southampton. This prestigious fair has so much to see and do that it really is worth getting there early and spending the whole day browsing the stalls and soaking up the atmosphere. The great thing is that it is undercover, so rain or shine you are sure to have a good time.
This year the fair takes place on the 20th March from 10 til 4. There are over 100 stalls, there's music to listen to and also classic cars to peruse! (I wish I could go, but live too far away now - doh!)
If you would like to have a browse of some vintage do pop in to yay retro! online now.
Just to let any collectors of Box of Frogs mosaics know that there are 4 new mosaic birds in stock at yay retro! this afternoon. These 4 small birds complement each other beautifully and combined postage is available. Why not take a look at the whole range of vintage china mosaics yay retro! have available by clicking here?
One of my favourite places to buy cards is Rocket 68, a design company run by designer and illustrator Jill White. Jill has been designing and illustrating for over 22 years, working for national magazines and publishing houses as well as for big name brands such as McVities, Sainsburys, Cadbury's, Boots and even Harrods. What I love about Jill's work is that it most often references a vintage age, whether it be vintage imagery or a vintage art style.
Rocket 68 have just launched an exciting new card range entitled 'Windowbox' which I have to say I have fallen in love with! Happily Jill kindly let me have some of the cards to photograph at yay retro! headquarters, and here is the result.
This year it seems cacti and succulents are a must-have item to have in your modern vintage home, and these cards tie in with the idea fabulously. Jill told me that: 'As a child my mum had an array of them adorning her windowsills, all in mismatched 1960's patterned planters. I can remember sketching these and spending hours colouring in the patterns on the pots!' I love the joyous colour ways on these cards, which also come with brightly coloured envelopes.
The cards have a very printerly quality, having the 'just-pulled' feel of a freshly made artist handmade print (such as a lino cut or mono print). Jill hand draws the designs initially, and in this series of cards then scanned and enhanced the illustrations with the aid of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. She told me: "I work with lots of 'layers' so I can experiment as the design unfolds. The 'pulled' distressed print effect is actually done digitally".
Jill says that after a visit to Amsterdam in the summer of 2014 the window boxes were so amazing and vibrant, she immediately had a spark of inspiration for a new Spring/Summer range. The illustrations themselves were inspired by the 1960's illustrations in books she would read as a child. She says: "These vivid simple shapes which have been etched in my mind. Fabrics and tea towels from that era, feed into my designs, and I recall a pair of trousers my eldest sister had with the same colour ways as my red and yellow Dahlia design! Dahlia's are my favourite flowers hence they commonly feature also in this range."