There is something so wonderful about vintage ribbon. It has a special feel to it - a silky softness that only the passage of time can impart.
I love vintage ribbon and I try to scoop it up whenever I am lucky enough to find it. My favorites are the velvets - rayon or silk, it doesn't matter. They are so pretty and their texture, so sumptuous.
I love the way the colors fade unevenly over time. In fact, my favorite part of old vintage ribbon rolls is the outermost layer - the part that has been exposed to the light and naturally faded it to the perfect pastel shade.
The silks and satins are gorgeous as well. I like to use the wider widths as instant sashes for my girls' party dresses.
Isn't the two-toned blue ribbon fabulous? I have less than a yard of it, but I am saving it for something very special.
O.K., now I must go back to the real world and finish my Halloween treats... or else I will have some very unhappy trick-or-treaters tomorrow night!
I really love to make my girls their Halloween costumes, but this year I found that I was just way too busy to do it. So I pushed aside my maternal guilt and hit the catalogs and websites. I found just what I was looking for at Chasing Fireflies...a beautiful Southern Belle costume!
I am a huge fan and collector of vintage prom dresses and this costume, with all it's minty-green, frothy ruffles, reminded me so much of a vintage gown.
It is so well-made - look at all those layers!
The dress was back-ordered for almost two months and I was getting very worried that it would never arrive. Thank goodness it came in the mail today - my little one would have been soooo disappointed if it hadn't made it in time! Now all she needs is a matching parasol, white gloves, a wide-brimmed portrait hat, and some warm weather for Friday so she won't have to wear a coat over this wonderful dress (not that it would fit over all those ruffles!).
While we were in London, we decided to explore a bit and
take some little side trips.We like traveling by train (plus my husband is afraid to drive on the
wrong side of the road!), so we purchased Britrail passes and headed out.Our first trip was to Brighton Beach.
Brighton is only about an hour from London.I'd always heard it described as being a bit on the dilapidated side, but I had also read that it had lots of cute antique shops and restaurants. We were also very curious about what the shore would look like, so we decided to check it out.
The Brighton Beach pier reminded me of Coney Island, NY.
I loved this shabby wrought iron railing.
The girls immediately spotted the colorful carousel, so we had to do that first thing.
Then, candy, of course.
These cones of flying saucer-like discs were sold all over the UK. They're very pretty and very sour!
Aqua railing heading down to the beach.
Personally, I'm not a big fan of fish and chips, but I though this sign was cute.
The beach! There is no sand - just large smooth rocks. The water made the neatest sound as the waves rolled in and out.
After the beach, we hit the shops. This area, called The Lanes, had some adorable, very hip stores and restaurants.
We found the most incredible chocolate shop,with the coolest name - Choccywoccydoodah.
These cakes are completely made out of chocolate!!!
Brighton was a lot of fun and I'm glad we took the time to visit there.
I recently acquired a very pretty vintage hat. A hat so pretty, that it truly deserves a post of it's own.
I often buy old vintage hats just for the millinery flowers - to use in other projects. I bought this one on eBay and, while it looked pretty in the photographs, I really just intended to take it apart and use it for the flowers. But that all changed when I unwrapped it and saw it in person.
It was truly the prettiest hat I had ever seen. And I've seen a lot of hats! It was completely covered in the most beautiful pastel millinery flowers - in all my favorite shabby chic colors.
These photos are all of the same hat - there are so many different types of flowers decorating it - Roses, Violets, Pansies, Forget-me-nots, etc...
We seriously did more than just shop on our trip to Europe. We really did. We went to wonderful museums, went picnicking in gorgeous green parks, explored quaint little towns, and ate in cute little bistros. And, of course, we went antiquing. Although, I suppose that really counts as shopping, doesn't it? London has several wonderful antique malls. One of them is Alfie's Antique Market. I especially love Alfie's because they have a great number of dealers specializing in vintage textiles.
I used to design and sell pillows sewn from remnants of vintage and antique fabrics. Alfie's was always a good source for me. They have remnants dating back to the 1800's! One dealer has about a million antique trims - with enough yardage available to complete a good sized project.
If you love old ribbons, those can be found as well. I had to have a yard or two of this pale pink silk one - it's five inches wide and pure shabby chic.
While not necessarily in my color palette, there were many examples of beautiful tapestries and elaborate metallic trims.
This basket was so cute. I got in a bit of trouble for taking this picture. The dealer didn't want any pictures taken of his stuff and even wanted me to delete my picture! Can you imagine!
If you love antique lace and lace trims, there are stacks and stacks of it everywhere.
More vintage fabrics. These are French and very old.
I couldn't leave without some millinery flowers. These velvet blossoms were a must have.
And if you get worn out from all that antiquing, you can have a lovely lunch at Alfie's rooftop restaurant.
ALFIES ANTIQUE MARKET 13-25 Church Street Marylebone London NW8 8DT
I have been very busy working away on my new website, Bee and Belle. I am hoping to have it up in the near future - just waiting on a bunch of merchandise to come in for the holidays. Bee and Belle will feature vintage craft kits (with real vintage materials) and a multitude of pretty things for your home.
If you love vintage fabrics and textiles, millinery flowers, ribbons and vintage wallpaper, you will be a big fan of Bee and Belle! There will be vintage finds (you know how I love those flea markets and antique shops) and lovely items for entertaining and decorating your home. Here are some sneak peaks...
A trip to London is not complete without a visit to the very posh and sophisticated department store, Liberty of London.
No artist, interior designer, crafter, seamstress, knitter, quilt-maker or fashionista should pass up an opportunity to see this stunning store. While Liberty of London's charming printed fabrics are known around the world, the store has so much more to see.
Look at the lovely flowers that greet you on the first floor. Hydrangeas and peonies are my absolute favorites!
Doesn't this look like a Victorian still life painting?
I always take the "lift" straight up to the textile level, where I am greeted with beautiful ribbons,
richly hued yarns,
and jars full of millinery flowers in every color imaginable.
The store also carries home decor, furniture, rugs, cutting edge fashion, over-the-top jewelry, cosmetics, and lovely giftware. I loved the patterns on these tote bags.
And these bottles with vintage labels are so pretty.
I could obviously go on and on, but I won't since my kids would probably like some dinner! But, if you have an opportunity to visit Liberty of London, make sure to leave enough time to really take in the entire place. There were sooooo many beautiful things to see. And don't forget the candy!
I absolutely love flea markets. There is something so thrilling about searching through all that junk and coming up with that one fabulous find. My husband likes them, too. The kiddies, not so much. So, we usually take turns between entertaining the kids and getting quality alone time perusing the stalls. Luckily, I got in a good chunk of time to myself when we went to the Portobello Road Market in London this past summer.
It was super crowded (not a great place for strollers) and there was soooo much to see.
Of course, my first goal was to find some vintage millinery flowers. It didn't take long.
There were incredible vintage hats.
The girls were getting hungry, so we stopped at a lovely little cupcake place called The Hummingbird Bakery . Aren't these the prettiest cupcakes!
Next, I checked out the vintage fashion.
Prom dresses galore! The colors and fabrics were a shabby chic fantasy come to life!
There were ruffles...
... and beautiful dresses in a myriad of fabrics.
I did buy a few things (which I'll show you in a later post), but the prices were generally pretty high when you factored in the terrible exchange rate. We ended our visit to Portobello Road with some more baked treats. Pastel sprinkles are just too wonderful to pass up!
Well, it's time to say "Au revoir" to Paris, cross the
English Channel, and head on over to London (where fortunately everything was
OPEN.Yay!).One of my favorite
shops in the UK is VV Rouleaux.VV Rouleaux is probably the prettiest trimmings store you will ever
find.It is pure, unadulterated
Look at their storefront...
The window displays are gorgeous!
Check out these vintage -inspired prize ribbons.
Ribbons! In every color and texture imaginable! And look at those millinery flowers on the wall in the background! Most of them are reproduction, but they do have a selection of vintage ones as well.
The shop is filled with beautiful little vignettes and
wonderful displays of hats, millinery, trims, tassels, buttons, etc...
So, if you find yourself in London, VV Rouleaux it is truly
a must-see. And bring your camera, because you will not believe your eyes!
Much like every other shop in Paris during our visit, Repetto was closed.While they are known for their
exquisite handmade dance shoes and ballet flats, it is really their shop window
that draws the crowds.
Repetto first opened in 1947 and has an ever-changing
display of the most unbelievable antique dance costumes and tutus.
Just look at those frothy pink ruffles.
Repetto also makes a very pretty line of tutus and clothing
for little girls, too.
My little one really wanted a tutu and was so sad that they were closed. Luckily,the department store, Printemps, was open and they had their
very own Repetto boutique for girls.This
was a must have, don't ya think?