Retro china, glassware & kitchenalia to buy

our blog - May 2017

Collecting & Buying Mid Century Siamese Cats

One of the most popular vintage animal ornaments being collected by yay retro! customers are cats. Mid century cats are most often tall Siamese cats which can come singly or in pairs. Some were made in Japan for the gift and souvenir market, whilst others were made by well known local pottery brands such as Hornsea & Trentham. Vintage cat ornaments can date from the 1950s, 60s or 70s.

Kitsch, flowery 1960s cats are fun and almost always snapped up quickly by eager collectors. Probably designed for the holiday souvenir & fairground market, these come in all shapes and sizes and look fantastic displayed singly or in large groups.

The Hornsea cats (below top left) were designed by Marion Campbell and come in 3 or 4 sizes from small to large. People are always looking out for particular ones to complete their collection.

Trentham Pottery Cats (above middle right) can be straight forward Siamese or bright orange and turquoise glazed, both are really lovely and are popular gift buys at yay retro!  

Extra special cat ornaments from the 1960s would be the more abstract and minimal cat designs such as Elizabeth Skipworth's Lotus Pottery Cat (below top right), The Baldelli Italy cat which comes in bright orange, lime and blue glazes (below bottom right) and Celtic Pottery cats designed in Newlyn, Cornwall by Bill Fisher (above bottom left). Arthur Wood created a Baldelli styled money box cat which can be seen below (middle left).

Stylised minimalist cats are always at a premium and the one by Blue Mountain, Canada (above bottom left) is absolutely superb. This flat faced design with it's long curving tail was only in the yay retro! shop for minutes before being bought by a regular cat collector.

We are not at sure about the date of the minimal cat above top left, however he certainly has the right look for any vintage cat lover. If you have any info on him please feel free to email me

In the 60s Brandy Glass vases became a much loved ornament, with a siamese cat climbing up the side of the glass and a terrified praying mouse sitting inside. These are now much sought after as a complete set, and it's rare to find all the pieces together as seen in the one below which is for sale at yay retro! now.  Search 'cat' at yay retro! by clicking here.

Vintage Pineapples For Sale

Pineapples became a 'thing' in the 18th Century when growing them in Europe became possible with the invention of special pineapple growing houses. They were exceptionally expensive to produce however, and a fresh fruit could cost up to £8000 in today's money. Because of this wealthy people would often rent a fresh pineapple to put on their dinner tables to wow their guests! 

Eventually we began importing pineapples to the UK, and canning them, which meant that more and more people could eat them. During 1st and 2nd world wars however, imported foods became rare to non-existent, and the pineapple once again became a treasured fruit.

An array of Vintage Pineapples for sale at yay retro! can be seen below:

This is probably the reason why it became a sought after ornament in the 1950s when rationing came to an end and foods were again being imported. Such was the excitement of this gorgeous tropical fruit being available in the shops again, it became a symbol of prosperity and 'the good times' in many people's homes.

Pineapples were designed as preserve pots, salt & pepper pots, vases, candlestick holders, ice buckets and even drinks containers for cocktails.

In the more affluent homes, the plastic pineapple ice bucket was a must-have item, it showed you were affluent enough to have a home freezer - something which was exceedingly rare at the time. For those fortunate enough to have a bar in their sideboards or even an actual bar area, entertaining at home became all the rage in the 60s with well stocked drinks cabinets and fancy drinking glasses denoting the fact that you had 'made it' to your neighbours. Glasses were often decorated with pineapples, lemons, oranges and cherries - all fruits included in cocktails.

For the more reserved home, the pineapple would still make an appearance, this time as a preserve jar, and companies such as Sylvac, Goebel and Villeroy & Boch all made Pineapple shaped tablewares.  With the current vintage revival, the pineapple motif has once again come to the fore and is one of the most popular items to buy in the yay retro! vintage shop. Why not search Pineapple in our shop now?

Vintage 1960/70s Wooden Play Tray Jigsaws For Sale

Many people buy vintage jigsaws from the yay retro! online vintage shop. We sell genuine vintage jigsaws from the 1960s, 70s and 80s which are illustrated by artists such as Dick Bruna and Gwyneth Mamlock.  One of the most sought after brands is of course Galt Toys with collectors seeking out the very best jigsaws to put on display in their homes, as well as to give to their children and grandchildren play with.  We are always adding fresh designs to the yay retro! website, with this stunning red squirrel and cute mouse being currently available by Galt.

The most popular type of jigsaw tends to be the wooden play tray with lift out pieces.  These are particularly loved when there are pictures revealed inside when the pieces are removed. At the moment I have 3 EJ. Arnold jigsaws which have beautiful interiors and are sure to delight both adults and children alike. One is a house with rooms inside, another is a bedroom and finally a must-have kitchen unit jigsaw....

You can see the appeal of these in the pictures below which show before and after shots... taking the pieces out is like opening up the cupboards to reveal what is kept inside which feels very exciting. EJ. Arnold are famous for creating educational toys for schools and health professionals, and this series of jigsaws come in stunning vintage condition.  

Another popular vintage toy maker is Willis Toys, We love the cottage jigsaw for it's bright primary colours and the way it mirrors the work of Dick Bruna of Miffy fame. We think many of your will like to pop this one on display on a shelf. The car jigsaw is ideal to teach children about size and matching. Crafters among you might like to make the cars into brooches - a popular use of vintage wooden jigsaw pieces from play trays.

Thinking of brooch making the woodland scene jigsaw - below left - would be perfect for this. In wonderful condition the pieces are the perfect size and feature little animals and birds.  Search for jigsaws at yay retro! now by using this link, I can combine postage for you.

We've just set up a new brand page in our Retropedia for Galt Toys, why not check it out here?

Ultra Rare Worcesterware Sea Dreams Teapot Stand for Sale in Box

yay retro! is delighted to have this incredibly rare teapot stand made by Worcester ware in the 1960/70s for sale in our online vintage shop. Decorated with two sardines, the design is from the highly sought after Sea Dreams range. This comes in it's original box and is in superb condition. Ideal to hang on a wall as an artwork or to use every day this is vintage at it's best! Take a look and buy here. Even the box is beautiful on this wonderful vintage item. The front of the stand is metal and the back is cork.

Jane Foster's Colouring Book - A Review

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

yay retro! love Jelly Jam Vintage Bags!!

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 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!

Quick Fixes to make your Kitchen Look 1950/60s

If you live in a new home as I do, you may despair at how to make your kitchen look more vintage.  I adore the 1950s/60s look of plain cabinets with chrome D shaped handles, however my kitchen had extra long thin brushed chrome handles. With the screw holes being placed miles apart I assumed I would never be able to replace them with something more vintage looking. Happily an online search unearthed these chrome handles which although larger than the originals, at least have the right look (see pic on right below).  

Vintage kitchens as found in the Fifties House book by House & Garden (on left of this pic).

I have then added heaps of vintage table and cookware from my online vintage shop, yay retro! which has moved the room towards the look I dream of. Items such as Vintage storage jars to house all my kitchen utensils, Scandinavian oven dishes used as fruit bowls when not in the oven, and my prized Poole Pottery biscuit barrel all go to making the room look more vintage. I also use enamel flowery saucepans which make cooking more fun! One day I will paint the units a green or blue colour, and add a coloured formica worktop to make it look even more authentic.

On the other side of the room I have space for a free standing vintage kitchen unit, this one was originally made in 1957, and has been completely renovated by Resto-worx of Redruth, Cornwall. I keep all of my plates, vintage Pyrex and cookware inside this, and it has a fold down worktop which acts as a spare work surface... perfect in my very small kitchen. I commissioned Meadow-Made Vintage in Norfolk to make some simple shelves for the wall, and these are used to display yet more of my vintage collection. To complete the look I've added a genuine vintage vegetable rack which I use for recycling and a vintage 60s stool for when guests come.  If you would like to buy vintage kitchen wares for your home why not pop in to yay retro! online now by clicking here?

Make your Contemporary Dining Room look more 1950/60s

I've been reading the 'Fifties House' Book by House & Garden which looks at post war home design, and have been inspired to move my furniture about to create a more 50s look in my dining room. Something I noticed in the vintage rooms was that they had block shaped sideboards, often putting them side by side to create a minimal look for storage and display (see bottom pictures).  I have two minimal John Lewis sideboards which I had in different parts of my lounge diner, they were really annoying me with the 'contemporariness', however by standing them together under the window, I think they've given the room a much more 50s look and also made the space look wider.

I now have a long clean run to put my vintage ornaments and glassware on display which makes the room look less cluttered.  If you have a sideboard or side table, why not try putting the pieces together like this?

Another change I had previously made was with the dining room furniture. The table is a simple modern one from MFI before it closed down. This came with tall leather clunky chairs (all very 1990/2000s)....I gave these away and instead invested in some simple 1960s kitchen chairs which matched the table colour much better and made the room look much larger as they do not dominate.

Without spending too much money, these small alterations have given me the look I would like.  I've then added vintage tableware from my online vintage shop yay retro! , this includes 1960s table mats and cookware, 1950s glassware and knives, along with some vintage fabric napkins. If you would like to take a look at all the lovely vintage wares on sale at yay retro! to give your home some vintage pzazz, click here.

Where Can I Buy Great Vintage Bedding from the 1960/70s?

The yay retro! online shop is the place to buy top quality vintage sheets from the 1960/70s. I always have stocks of wonderful single and double sheets ready for you to browse, click and buy. 

Right now I have lots of the most popular colours of yellow and orange, as well as some delightful flower power pink bedding. Whether you are looking for pure cotton, easy care St Michael or Marks & Spencers sheets, Dorma, Osman or even Pal Albeck designed sheets, yay retro! is the shop to keep an eye on.  Here is a snap shot of some of the vintage bedding I have for sale, all with combined postage for you:

Many vintage lovers use vintage sheets on their beds, as tablecloths and picnic blankets or make them into clothes, quilts, cushions and curtains.  You can even sew them together to make duvet covers.  Go shopping at yay retro! now for vintage bedding in our vintage textiles section - scroll through to find, or search 'sheet'.

Just Add 70s Vintage to your Lounge with yay retro!

Are you looking for that little bit of vintage for your home on a budget?  Maybe your lounge could do with a pop of vintage pzazz and you are searching for that special affordable something.... The yay retro! online shop can help!

Right now we have some superb items in stock all at great prices.  Let's start with our 1960/70s orange and red vintage rug - this is in amazing condition and looks barely used for it's age. At just £55, I think you'll agree this is a real bargain. It measure a good 136cm x 70cm and sits nicely in front of a sofa (as shown below) or in front of a fire.

Add a handy folding vintage side table for just £25! This is really handy for drinks by the side of your chair, as a lamp stand or as an occasional table. We love the minimal look on this one and know that many people jazz these up with paint effects too. 

If flower power is more your style, then you are sure to love our vintage 60s stool. Covered in bright orange and yellow daisy fabric, this one has white legs and makes for a very ornamental piece anywhere in your home. Ideal for popping a drink or bits and bobs on too. This comes in at just £25.90.

If you are looking for a little display shelf for your retro and vintage knick knacks, yay retro! has a lovely collection, prices start at just £9....Click here to find our vintage display shelves - be sure to scroll down to locate them.

Last but definitely not least, are our fab framed vintage artworks, prices start at only £6.50 and include lots of gorgeous vintage illustrations all in contemporary frames. Available with combined postage, you are bound to find something you love! Pop in to yay retro! now.

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