Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Vintage travel case ...but modern

These cherry, mustard, sand or chocolate coloured soft leather travel cases from the 1950/60/70s are so very much more elegant looking compared to their plastic predecessors which do not look nicer the more worn they are. However the old-fashioned cases are also less practical than the hi tech rolling models or the back-pack option. That is, unless you are creative and add some dee-eye-why to that cool retro case with some shoulder straps!

Found this crafty solution on my friend's blog, who is based in Australia; his comment was: "saw this guy on the train today. he was traveling light in style!check out his home made suitcase / backpack solution.". Ditto, Rob, ditto.

Have a beautiful dark yellow-y one myself actually, one of several small vintage treasures I have recently inherited but which are still in Germany... to be retrieved and shown here as soon as I have collected them.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Long lost friends found in the blogosphere

Well... not that long and not very lost either... but it's been a while. I am referring specifically to some talented young designers I met during my placement at Puma 2 years ago who's blogs I found ---

--- one of which got me particularly excited... the lovely Nadia had gone to the same uni as me and came from the same village as my ex-boyfriend. She was on placement 1 year before myself at Puma and initially returned there to work after graduation. She then took the brave leap into freelancing to start her own label Nadinoo! And am I impressed by the stuff...?!?! Beautifully dreamy, as sweet as a cupcake, uniquely cute and very wearable indeed. She only just launched her online store last Wednesday and all the pieces are carefully hand sewn by her little self.

Yesyes, those images there are Nadinoo designs- flowers and frills, bows and bells which you can look at here: and purchase here:

Nice umbrella too :)

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Subversive Spaces at the Whitworth Art Gallery Manchester

The subversive spaces exhibition at Manchester's Whitworth gallery looks at the relationship between surrealism and contemporary art. It includes work from Sarah Lucas, Douglas Gordon and Gregor Schneider, alongside pieces by surrealist past masters such as Paul Delvaux, Brassaï, Dalí and Magritte. Subversive Spaces runs until 4 May 2009 so I will hurry over before I miss it and as soon as I have a free rainy weekend; I find surrealism fascinating.
Photograph above: Kinderzimmer (2009) by Gregor Schneider; Photograph: Joel Chester Fildes , from

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Japanese fabrics... cutesyheaven

Admittedly I came across this on I must express my love for etsy a second time. An etsy shop bursting with printed Japanese fabrics, also selling buttons and other trims?! ARGHA hmmmMM...!!! Tiny little prints and a million polka dots to choose from!!!The fabric&button fanatic has spoken.

My first etsy love were those wolf earrings I had blogged on here a couple of weeks ago (sent with the sweetest hand written thank-you note and wrapped in pink tissue paper and even a free little pair of earrings made internet shopping quite the opposite of impersonal&cold).

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Clean graffiti

So I was flicking through and came across their blog featuring Ellis G fire tagging. He is most known for outlining shadows with chalk in the streets of NYC.

This reminded me of another kind of unconventional street art. After some knitting with the droppin' stitches group, my fellow knitter Janine and I were strolling down the streets of the Northern Quarter which features some street art (but most of it actually on NQ cafe/bar walls) and came to talk about reverse graffiti. It is created by *removing* dirt from a surface and therefore not only actually defacing objects and legal! Big corporations have already used this method for advertising, cleverclever, there is even a company specialized in exactly this

Apparently the 'Keep Britain Tidy' group oppose reverse graffiti. Practising artists such as Moose aka Paul Curtis have been charged but no one has ever been able to make a case against him; he says, "No one owns the dirt." I also prefer viewing it as alternative street art that removes dirt and leaves nothing but a piece of green, clean art.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Ode to the bike.

Oh I love my bike. Lovelovelove it. Amen.

(I can't help it - I'm going to have to look like an obsessive Howies fan but the tee above was at the Howies sample sale - the rosary is a bike chain. It's admittedly isn't quite my style bag but I am definitely a bike believer.)

My first attempt at a bicycle purchase was during my final year at uni with the main aspect being: cheapcheapcheap. A collapsible cute mini and brand new bike off ebay: only 50 quid! Biddingbiddingbought. Sent in a big box all the way from China. Had a sticker on the handle bar "no two person ride". Aha. And even with just one person ride it very quickly fell apart on its few outings. It had back wheel suspension that made you bounce vigorously when pedaling, pretty hilarious to watch! Got looked down on at the bike doctors "that'll last 2 weeks!". Oh. And then it got stolen when I ..errr... left it unlocked. What a shame.

My mancbike nr 2: ebay again. This time a Hercules Balmoral 1974. 50 quid again. Picked it up from a Manchester suburb, love at first sight. Undisguisedly Rusty and headturningly squeaky, but rides beautifully like it could go on for another 35 years. And according to the bike doc who seems to like me now ("ah the balmoral!") this may be a realistic lifespan estimate. Yesterday on my ride home I passed some scallies who looked my beloved 2-wheeler and commented somewhat surprised "that's an OLD bike!".

Cycling opens up a whole new Manchester! The wind in my face and exercise wakes me up on my 13-17 minute cycle to work which takes at least twice as long on bus&foot. It took me a little while to get used to being a vulnerable cyclist amidst careless seemingly cars but I'm not even scared of roundabouts anymore (always helmet-wearing nevertheless).

Bikes are ace,

Manchester is flat,

Bikes are life improvers.


And these should exist in every city : “Die Radgeber (’bike provider,’ a wordplay on the German word for advisor - ‘Ratgeber’) is a bicycle repair shop in Leipzig, Germany (home sweet home) where the customers repair their own bikes. Germans know their bikes.


Closer to my own home now : praise to the 'I bike MCR' group! I'm not a member but am planning to take part in the next critical mass which consists of a monthly tsunami wave of cyclists flooding Manchester streets. Next one is on 24/04/2009, starting 18:00 at the central library. Show your love, spread the love.


Bike trends in Mancatraz (by own observation) show vintage ladies bikes in muted colours (1950s), complete with wicker basket and bell - Dawes have recently brought out a new vintage inspired very lady-like bicycle and an international fashion magazine (Streetwear Today, May09 issue)featured (photo below). Men's vintage bikes tend to be more brightly coloured (80's) racers. And minimalistic and lightweight fixed gear bikes (fixies) are gaining popularity these days.

Last note: donate bikes to help people in Africa - transport aids development!

Thursday, 2 April 2009

When ideas are running faster than fingers can type...

... I end up with an overload of stuff I want to post but no time to, as I want to go enjoy the sunshine before the big hot ball of fire disappears again. It doesn't help that my computer crashed yesterday while typing up a long homage to umbrellas.

So, number 1 : which I came across when googling opening times for the Magma shop in Manchester where I'm planning to buy some artfartfashion mags the read in the sun. It looks one of the many designer's shopping heaven. Well, for the designers with similar taste buds to mine anyway (Jack: know it?) Never mind the cringe worthy shop name. They also generally look like they take themselves too a bit too seriously, brrr. Found some wantful wonderfully ueberpractical and very designed things. The mac book hardcover is one (I should probably be more gentle with mine in any case, case or no case), another is a pitter patter umbrella (as shown above and opened to the right).
And then ... I keep coming across them... the desire to own one grows stronger every time..

Being the perfect opposite of the accurate digital photos, sometimes even photoshopped afterwards (which I thoroughly enjoy myself) , the result of lomophotography is charmingly unforeseeable. The hues that can be achieved are unique and stunning. Unfortunately I actually know nothing about these cameras, will research & ask around before purchasing.
Oh yes, numero dos: howies sample sale in Manchester starts today and is on till Sunday! Woohoo! I was going to resort to ebay (jeans? risky business.) but this is superduper news!
Ciao for now!

Wednesday, 1 April 2009


... is the name of one of amazing Tom Waits' albums (if you like the sound of a gravelly bourbon drenched voices backed with experimental instrumentals, get in). Manchester raindogs living in the rainiest city of the UK make brollies an essential part of life. They are a most underrated accessory. My boyfriend has a beige one of those duck umbrellas.

And in the opposite case, when the sun is frying your brain like last year at Benicassim music festival on the south coast of Spain, a Japanese-style parasol saved my health and my look when passing out on the beach after a long night and then strolling from beach to cafe to beach again. This year I shall do the same but will spray it (as it surprisingly survived last years festival) with waterproof & colourful paint. Just in käse Manchester-y weather should occur.

So, you have actually managed not to leave yous beloved rain shield on a bus/in a cafe/whoknowswhere but then -alas!- an unexpected sudden change of air pressures around you forces air to turn into a forceful wind, in and under you brolly and turn it inside out! You fumble it back, one of the corners has come loose, it's looking very sad and so are you. This happened to an exquisite stable-looking ones of my own (indigo polka dotted, dome shaped, black leather handle). As well as one hand painted by my lovely German friends as a leaving pressie. And a superfavecolourpurple-coloured one.

Simple solution if the metal bits aren't hopelessly bent:

For detailed instructions see

And well, if it's broken beyond repairability think of the showerproof fabric! Perfect material for a bag (bike messenger anyone?), shopping tote, a rain poncho or even a taffeta-look skirt (probably using more than one broken brolly). More ideas...??