My Vintage Life - Modflowers

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Hi there everyone! Jen has asked me, Sharon from modflowers, to be her guest blogger today. 
Time for a cup of tea and a nice little break from sewing! 
I feel very honoured to be given space to write about the vintage things I love, for such a lovely blog - thanks so much Jen!

I collect tins!

Why do you like vintage?
The hunt…
the rummaging…
the kind, helpful and sometimes eccentric people who work in charity shops…
the idea that things have had a whole life of their own before I come to know them…
the possibility of unearthing a design classic that I wouldn’t get to own any other way…
the memories provoked by stumbling across something recognised from years ago…
the patina of things that have been used and cared for over long periods of time…
the softness of old fabrics…
the eco-friendliness of reusing things…
the quality and weight of older pieces compared with stuff manufactured nowadays…
the lovely details you get on old boxes, picture frames, door knobs, tins
the stories that objects would tell if they could speak…
the styles
And last but by no means least:
the prices! Nearly all our furniture (apart from the sofas) is vintage!

My eBay china cabinet. I removed the red crosses stuck on the doors - ugh! - and lined it with wallpaper. 
What's your favourite vintage era?
1960s – 1970s. Definitely. It’s the era of my childhood, of which I hold very fond memories. 

I love ceramics from the era, particularly Hornsea Pottery, as my parents were both from Yorkshire and we visited the pottery (now defunct) several times during childhood holidays. 

I also collect 1960s Carlton Ware bird dishes, though I don't think I'll be buying any more as they've got rather expensive recently. Plus, sometimes you can have just enough of a good thing...

Carlton Ware bird dishes, Hornsea Pottery jars and vintage nature books
I'm a huge fan of vintage Ercol furniture and have a few pieces. Our extending kitchen table and matching Windsor chairs were a Boxing Day eBay bargain - nobody else was bidding, but I am very dedicated!

Our Ercol kitchen table and chairs, with one of my favourite Heals fabrics as a tablecloth
I also have an Ercol coffee table, a tea trolley (missing its wheels) that the television sits on and a desk that I use as a dressing table. I'd love a set of pebble tables, but I won't pay the prices they fetch!

Of course, my number one love affair with the era is with fabric. The sheer exuberance of 1960s textile designs is what really inspires me. I love finding ways to make them into something fresh and contemporary.

But saying all that, I do like a mix of older and newer things in my home – I don’t want to live in a retro museum!

What's your most treasured vintage piece?
In pure design terms, probably my “Danish ladies”, a couple of unusual papier mache candlesticks bought from Winters Moon a few years back.

My Danish ladies!
In terms of most dear to my heart, definitely something inherited from my parents. Probably the cabinet that originally belonged to my paternal grandfather (I never met him as he died before I was born). 

The cabinet spent many years in my dad’s garage, sat on blocks to keep it off the damp floor, stuffed to the gills with old cigar tins and Heinz babyfood jars full of screws, nails, rawlplugs and electrical bits and bobs. Since coming to me it has found a new life as a pantry in our kitchen, filled with vintage Kilner jars of spices and dry goodsOccasionally I toy with the idea of painting it, but I like it in its original scruffy state.

Our pantry
Another treasure is my dad’s old canvas suitcase, which used to hold his equipment when he went out and about making tape recordings. He recorded bands and concerts and also wrote, performed in and taped his own audio plays - complete with sound effects! 
The inside of the case has been reinforced with wood so its quite heavy and very sturdy, like a trunk. I use it to keep my handmade cushions in (stops people sitting on them!) and to display them when I do stalls.

modflowers cushions in dad's old suitcase
What is the most recent item you've bought?
Vintage fabric. Always fabric! I can’t stop buying it… whenever I see a great piece, either on eBay or in a charity or vintage shop, I always have a mini panic that if I don’t buy it then, I’ll never see that design again! 

I especially love stylized 1960s and 70s floral prints. Its great that so many wonderful vintage fabrics emerge from attics, trunks and cupboards to be used and enjoyed again.

Some of my vintage fabrics. The blue paisley print near the top of the left pile was once one of my grandma's dresses.
What would you most like to find?
An original Papa Bear chair and matching ottoman by Hans J Wegner. Not very likely to turn up in my local charity shop I know, but a girl can dream… ;)

Image from William Miller Design

How amazing is Sharon's collection?
So many beautiful pieces.
I have some serious envy!
Many thanks to Sharon for this wonderful guest post.
Please check out her beautiful cushions in her Etsy shop here. x


  1. wow - beautiful fabrics and photos... thanks for sharing! :o) xx

  2. Fabulous post Jen, not only do I love checking in on your blog I am also loving these guest posts! There are soooo many talented creatures out there - thanks for sharing!

  3. Oh wow, so many gorgeous things... I love the bird dishes! x

  4. Thanks Gemma!

    I've just noticed by the way - the papa bear chair is described in the newspaper clipping as a "chair for a man". No wonder that stylish 1950s lady looks so pleased with herself!

  5. Lovely post hankyou for sharing, love the Danish Ladies and of course all the nostalgia. x

  6. What an amazing post- thanks to both of you and the pics are fab! Those bird dishes are fiendishly expensive just now- I have lost out on a few! You display them in such a lovely way! Jo xx

  7. Loving everything here! The cabinet lined with pretty vintag paper is stunning and I love the carltonware bird dishes, havn't seen any like that before...x

  8. beautiful pics! love the bird dishes on the wall. x

  9. Totally amazing and 'yes, yes, yes!' to all the the above - the hunt, the rummage......and so much more.

    Nina xx

  10. Wow! What a wonderful collection! I particularly love your Carlton Ware bird dishes on the wall, they look so fab!

  11. Ah Sharon I love your home and all your fabulous vintage pieces - and lovely to get a good look at your fabric stash, it's a cracker! Lovely guest post. x

  12. Ok, I'm gawping at all the lovely collections here... the hornsea and the bird dishes... the ercol... all gorgeous! Thank you for sharing your lovely finds x

  13. a lovely post. gorgeous photos and i spy some very delightful bird dishes on the wall. beautiful. xo

  14. What a gorgeous collection. I love your Ercol table and chairs :) off to look at your shop now...

  15. Thanks for all the lovely comments everyone!
    You can read more of my musings on fabric, life and vintage finds on my blog at

  16. Wow, that collection of bird dishes is something else! Very lovely. Kellie xx


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