Saturday, 26 April 2014

Lily’s and Violet’s take on Lily & Violet Vintage!!!

Lily & Violet - Totally Unique, Totally Gorgeous 
The Lily & Violet Vintage venture has been so named because of our ‘angelic’ girls….( and if you were reading our very first Ooodles of Poodles you would already know this!!). ….(and if you know Lily and Violet, you will also know that we have used some ‘poetic licence’ in this statement!).  Lily is 7 years old and a bit and Violet is very nearly 8. 
After hearing the two of us planning, wheeling and dealing and taking them around numerous ‘vintage’-type destinations over the past few months we thought you might be interested to hear what they think of our new vintage venture adventure!!!
Lately, ‘Lily & Violet’ has cropped up in conversation on a very frequent basis in our homes and so both our girls have got the idea that this new venture is named after them.  Well, actually they don’t think of it as being named after them but more belonging to them!!! 

When we pass by the shop they both shout “that’s our shop!” and they both think they are famous because they will have a sign!!   We have to take some of the blame for this and we have been encouraging them....And, they have got some very clear ideas about what we will be selling and their personal involvement…
Shortly after we had towed the first caravan home, Violet was heard to say “Hey Lily, my mum has got a new caravan!!!!” and Lily replied “So has mine”!!!! 
There was almost a falling out at the very first hurdle when they discovered that there was actually only one caravan…. We did try to explain but in the process have managed to make quite a few promises about when they will have their very own caravans!! 
It would seem quite reasonable that they have their own Lily and Violet vans but that could be a little way off….. And now they are both getting a little more discerning over exactly what they want out of their own caravans….  
Lily’s will definitely have a bunk bed and her pet cuddly toys will be stored in their ‘cages’ underneath the seats!!!! Lily is only expecting to use her caravan for going away on holiday or if she can’t get to the real Vet!!  
Violet’s idea is much more practical - she would like to use her caravan as a bedroom where she doesn’t have to clean up !!! The only people allowed in Violets caravan will be Violet herself and big sister Indi. (We think Violet is just trying to earn some brownie points with here!! It is doubtful Indi would actually be allowed inside!!)
So ‘vintage’ - what do you think it means??? 
Well, to us vintage, in terms of caravans, is pre 1980s and with the all important glass windows. And, in terms of the clothes it is anything from the 1950’s (or maybe a bit before!!) to the late 1970’s.  
We asked Lily and Violet what they thought….
Lily - “Well, anything old fashioned and used in the olden days but not really nowadays”
Violet - “Old - really, really old like the caravans”
When pushed on how old vintage is then both girls suggested that we were vintage!!! (They could be right but surely ‘Nan’ or ‘Dad’ would have been a better answer).
As you know the Lily & Violet Vintage boutique will be Totally Unique and Totally Gorgeous.  We asked Lily and Violet what they would sell in the shop if they were in charge…
Violet - “Old fashioned vintage caravans - so that if you buy one you wouldn’t need to clear up any mess”
Lily - “I would sell old toys - I have got lots of old fashioned toys that I could sell in my own corner”
We think that Violet has got a really good point !! Your caravan could be your own personal haven where your ‘mess’ stays exactly where you left it - without getting added to or trashed!! 
We probably will not be able to display a caravan in the shop, but each caravan will come with her very own transformation book so maybe we should have these in the shop?? - what do you think??
Lily’s suggestion that she has lots of ‘old fashioned toys’ is not strictly true. ‘Lots of toys’’ is definitely true and ‘old’ could be true but I have a feeling that Lily is thinking in terms of months and not decades!!
See - Perfect Fit!!
Both Lily and Violet have seen the sorts of things that we will be selling in the shop and we are constantly faced with cries of “oh, can I have that??? I really like it and it fits - see?”. 
We now spend a lot of our time answering the “is this vintage??” question. 

Both of the girls are now getting pretty clued up and they are both expert caravan spotters - “There’s a caravan!! - Oh, no good!! it’s got plastic windows.”  or (as happened in a charity shop recently) “There is a vintage coat behind the curtain, Mum”  Shop Assistant - “Yes, being an animal charity shop we didn’t want to put real fur on display”. 
Sadly, Lily also seems to think that:
vintage = dirty 
and Violet thinks: 
vintage = dead or extinct 
Even more sadly, in some cases they could both be right and fairly frequently one or the other of them is right!! 
Although you might be faced with the odd bit of ‘dead’ (I don't think we have ventured into extinct...) at Lily & Violet Vintage, we hope that you will never find ‘dirty’ - if you do, we will have failed and will need to know about it right away…..
If you have kids, big or little - ask them what they think ‘vintage’ means… and we would love to hear their answers!!
 Mary & Lisa x 

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Marj and her Electrickery

Imagine….you are now the proud owner of our Totally Tropical Marj and you can use her for just about anything…..  She could be your own hobby room (maybe you have a secret obsession with those Lidl weekly bargains for obscure crafty things and need somewhere to explore your creative side…) Or, maybe you are the proud parent of a budding garden fairy who would love to have their very own
Fancy yourself as a Festival Goer??
garden hideaway.  Just maybe you fancy setting off for Glastonbury in vintage charm with tropical style, receiving admiring glances from fellow festival goers.  Or maybe, you are going to put Marj to work and set her up as your vintage nail and brow salon…. The possibilities are endless, so who knows?!? You do!! 
Are you dreaming yet?!?  So, hold that thought…..
Over the past few months, whilst working on our Totally Tropical Marj, we have had many many discussions about the type of power we think people may need in their caravans.
We are hoping that, if we explain it all to you, (as far as we understand it!) you could let us know what you think - bearing in mind what you plan on doing with Marj. So, here goes….
Traditionally, caravans were powered solely by gas (apart from the road lights that would be powered from the towing vehicle). The gas would generally power the cooker hob, grill and fridge (if there was one) and the internal lighting.  Some caravans also came with gas heaters. 
Whilst in the process of transforming Marj, we decided that the gas lighting could mean nothing but trouble.  For one thing, gas light mantles and accessories are now quite hard to come by and we are not sure how useful or safe a gas light would be.  So, we have opted for no gas lighting.  
Marj had a mixture of electrical installation - 12v for her lights and 240v for her sockets.  12v will work off a battery, so in a caravan you would have something called a leisure battery that would be concealed under one of the seats and used to power the lights and with the use of an inverter, possibly the sockets too (but it would depend on what you plug in as to whether it would work).  
We have pondered for many an hour over the requirement for 12v power.   If you are at a standard sort of caravan or camping site you can usually book a pitch with electric hook up and negate the need for using a leisure battery.  At home, if you have an electricity source outside or the ability to plug in to an internal home socket you will not need 12v supply.  
But, 12v power could be useful if you have no other source of electricity. So when you are at Reading festival or Glastonbury (or Glastonbudget - look it up - its brilliant….) then you could make use of a leisure battery for your lights.  But, do you really need this ??? Wouldn’t it be just as easy to use portable lights or torches ???
In the end we decided that Marj would have 240v electricity supply for her lighting and sockets and gas for her hob and fridge. If you want lights and don’t have electric then get a torch!!!  - And then along came ‘The Boatman’ and he has made us think the whole thing through again…
We love The Boatman
The Boatman is Jeremy and he is one of our favourites !!! We have mentioned before that our vintage adventure has led us down many an interesting path and we have come across some very brilliant people….well, Jeremy The Boatman is one of those people.
Getting the electrics in the caravan sorted is not the sort of job that most electricians are used to doing.  As fate would have it, one day I was stuck at temporary traffic lights in Dursley idly reading the sign on the car in front - “The Boatman electrical fault finding blah blah, “ - when it suddenly dawned on me that this person could be just who we need.  So, after a short period of stalking, The Boatman was persuaded to come and meet Marj, Hilda and Rita.  Being a boatman he ‘got it’ right away - he was even used to calling the vans by their names! 
Now, used to living on a boat, Jeremy was all too familiar with the need for electricity when no mains power source is available - yep - the leisure battery to the rescue! So, together we have hit on what we think is a brilliant plan….  When you buy one of our caravans, she will come with mains powered 240v lights and sockets and no leisure battery.  However, if you wish the lights to be converted to 12v this can be done as a ‘bolt-on’ and likewise if you want light and socket conversion.  
Dreeeeaaammmm, dream dream dream - If you owned Marj, where and what do you think you would use her for?? What source of power do you think would be most useful?

We would be really interested to know what you think.

 Mary & Lisa x 

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Marj - Glorious and with a Totally Tropical Taste!!

You may remember that Marj was our second baby bought from an advertisement in a classic car magazine.  Although, she was our second baby we decided that she should be the first of our girls to get the Lily & Violet Vintage transformation!
Marj is a 4 berth (bit of a squeeze) 1977 Sprite Alpine and when she first came to us she needed quite a little bit of love and care to make her the beautiful van that she has become!  
Marj when she was first rescued
She has had a whole catalogue of works done including a new side panel, complete internal restructuring, new electrics, new gas, new foam seating and cushions and new upholstery, new flooring, new external electrical fittings, new skylight, new door locks, new window capping, new internal lighting complete re-sealing and water testing.....
Phew!!! have we really done all that?? 
And of course, interior and exterior painting and decorating (our favourite bit!!) - actually, Lisa did quite like the window frame cleaning bit and is an expert at wielding the wire wool…
Being ‘girls’ we chose all of her paint, fabrics and wallpaper before we had even started! When our website goes live (very soon) you will be able to see the caravans that are in the pipeline and the ‘mood boards’ associated with each of them. 

Des (the lovely upholsterer from Berkeley Sofas and Chairs) thinks we are ever so slightly mad when we show him the swatches we have!  But everything always turns out as expected - Totally Unique and Totally Gorgeous.  Actually we think Marj is a quite understated for us, but we would love to know what you think!! Please, let us know..
See - Palm Trees!
Marj is now ready for her big unveiling!! We have worked really hard to make sure that Marj will not disappoint.  She is absolutely beautiful (even if we do say so ourselves!) And of course she has a totally tropical taste! All of her paint is from Little Greene as is her wallpaper and the fabric is (for the most part) Designers Guild.  We are particularly fond of the fabric used in some of Marj’s curtains - little palm trees!!! soooo cute.
Marj has just completely surpassed our expectations and could now live up to the name we originally had in mind for her - Marjorie.  But who needs a Marjorie when you have got a Marj??? We have decided that Marj can only ever be Marj for us - changing her name now would be like changing the name of one of your children (do people do that ??)
Marj - Gorgeous and Totally Tropical
This week Marj has been the subject of her very own photo shoot and she really is a very special little caravan.  Whoever become the lucky new owner(s) of Marj will really be getting a whole lot of loveable caravan.  

Both of us want to keep her but we can’t - it would mean the premature end of a beautiful relationship with the amount of jealousy that would be involved!… (but, it is going to make us both very sad and there will be many tears shed when she leaves us). It is amazing how these vans each take on a personality of their own and become part of your life! - no, honestly, they really do!!!
She would make a brilliant extra room in the garden and is also perfectly towable  - so maybe she will become a festival goer or a hobby room or a play room or a room to hide your teenager (or for your teenager to hide out)…
If you think you could offer Marj a loving home then her requirements are very few….She has become very close to the rest of the Lily & Violet Vintage fleet and postcards sent yearly (at least) will be a condition of sale.  Whilst Marj is not expensive to keep, she does need a gas bottle for her hob and fridge and electricity for sockets and lights. 

Whilst she is quite capable of surviving without any others of her kind, Marj will thrive the more time you can spend with her. She needs company and is a very sociable little caravan, she loves life and is keen to do some sightseeing (but only if you are). Really, all she needs is love (and a little bit of silicone now and again!). We don't want her to sit alone in a field to get damp. None of us would like that - it would be heartbreaking!! 

A caravan is for life not just for holidays!!

We think that we may need to do a home visit prior to relinquishing her and we may require references.. (not really!! - actually, we might…) !!

Mary & Lisa x 

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Do You Know What Katie Did?

The Lily & Violet Vintage Boutique will not only be selling vintage clothing that is Totally Unique and Totally Gorgeous, we are very proud to announce that we will also be offering What Katie Did lingerie.  
What Katie Did are the world leaders when it comes to vintage style underwear - who would have thought it? - the silver screen glamour of the ‘40s and ‘50s available right here in the sleepy town of Dursley.  
Beautiful Lingerie For All
Wake Up Dursley!! - it’s high time each and every one of us put a little glamour into our lives - and what you wear underneath is sure to radiate through to the surface… So whether its a corset, a waspie, a merry widow or plain old (actually, not so plain) bra and knickers, come and have a browse at this beautiful lingerie!
The other week we were lucky enough to visit What Katie Did in their Portobello store, where we were taken through the whole of their range.  This really is beautiful underwear that we are sure every woman will love!  We are going to hold seamed stockings and tights as well as a selection of bras, knickers and shapewear. So if you need a bit of waist nipping, bum shaping, hip smoothing, suck it all in, underwear  (and, lets face it - most of us could do with a little help every now and then )…. then you know where to come!!!  
What Katie Did - The Boutique
One of the main lessons we learned on our visit was the varying techniques on getting into some of this lovely underwear - there is definitely a knack!! “cross one leg over the other and wiggle”, “ready? breathe in” … but the results speak for themselves…. the merry widow will give you that lovely accentuated nipped in waist, whilst the corselette will suck it in and smooth it out!
Then we got onto the varying styles of bra - bullet, cone…..The question we have been asking ourselves is how do we know what you would like to wear?? The answer - ask you!! So, are you ready to bite the bullet or is the balconette where it is at??? Let us know what you think.. We have gone ahead and placed our first order but we are hoping that you are all ready for this glamour revival and that our second order will follow quickly  - so tell us what sort of things you would like and we will do our best to oblige..
We are now fully versed to offer advice but we are not trained to take measurements… so we will be encouraging you to try them all on - just make sure you allow enough time.  There is no way to hurry an hourglass!
So, if you didn’t know before, now you do!! 
What Katie Did

We just know you are going to love it!! 

Mary & Lisa x