July 1, 2016

Time to make some proverbial lemonade

This wasn't the post that I had planned for today. Not in the slightest, however sometimes things arise in life that are beyond our control and one of those is impacting Canadians from coast-to-coast right now.

As things stand at the moment, it is exceedingly likely (to the point of almost being a given) that Canada Post, our country's national postal system, will go on strike or lockout from tomorrow onward.

Rumours of such began to swirl around recently and when the local post office employees confirmed them to us in late June, we knew that things had become deeply seriously. This strike (or lockout) will mean a complete and total ceasing of Canada Post's services.

This in turn will result in no mail being able to be sent or delivered inside or out of the country.

{A sight we won't be seeing again on Canadian soil for, as things appear now, at least a few weeks time - the delivery (or sending out) of any mail from Canada Post. 1940s image source.}

As a result, like many other online Canadian small business owners, this means that (as things like courier services are out of the question price wise, especially in relation to the modest average transaction totals from my shop) I have pretty much no choice but to - for the first time ever - temporarily put my Etsy shop into Vacation Mode until the strike is over.

Effectively, "Vacation Mode", as Etsy calls it, allows my store front, sans listings, to still be visible. However, as no listings are shown, customers cannot purchase items for the time being.

After a somewhat slow (minus certain periods) spring, much as with that of 2015, I was incredibly eager to embrace the summer and hopefully see an increase in sales, which has happened during that season for the past two years.

We don't know for sure how long the strike will last. Some sources are saying it could be 3 - 4 weeks, others have mentioned the possibility of it running into August or even September. Strikes by their very nature are an uncertain thing and we, as the public, are simply at the mercy of the postal system and the Canadian government for this one.

My shop will remain in vacation mode until the strike lifts, at which time, I will resume normal business - complete with many new listings.

The mail itself however, will have a large backlog and that will take several weeks for Canada Post to work its way through, so even after the strike is over, online businesses will continue to feel the impact of this summer pause in normal postal speeds and services.

While I will be heavily impacted from an economic standpoint because of this strike (my shop is not a hobby for me; it is a full-time business and a vital part of my income), in a lot of other ways, it will still be life as usual when it comes to operating my Etsy store.

Though I can't sell online at present, I can still source and photograph items, and draft listings, all of which I certainly plan to do during this time.

I'm a million miles away from happy about this strike and how it will impact my business and income alike, but I've always been the sort to try and look for the silver lining in life and that's what I'm going to do here.

I'll rejig my usual work schedule a bit and focus even more on the blogging side of things, while perhaps also allowing myself a (*gasp!*) day or two off - at least when my birthday rolls around on the 10th of this month.

Oh, and today as well, which speaking of birthdays, just happens to be Canada’s 149th! (Believe me, the irony of a Canada Post strike potentially starting the day immediately after Canada Day itself is not lost on me.)

{Happy birthday wishes to Canada, eh! Home of stunning landscapes, Mounties, moose and bear a plenty, countless doughnuts and hockey sticks, and one of the loveliest, safest and most beautiful countries you could ever hope to encounter. Vintage Image source.}

Going beyond the sudden and very disruptive impact of this postal strike (which I know will impact/hurt many other Canadians as well - and that, of course, there is an impact on postal workers themselves, too), June was a pretty rough month for me due to some extremely stressful and emotionally painful family related situations, that I can't go into further detail about due to their extremely private nature (Tony and I are both fine, please do not worry).

As well, my health had some ups and downs (in no small part due to said personal life issues), and the abundance of rain started to take a toil on me, too, from a mood perspective.

I usually enter July in high spirits and with recharged batteries, so to speak, but this time around, I just want to find a couple of shady trees, string a comfy hammock and recoup for the next two months.

No dice, I'm afraid, but I will be going easy(ier) on myself for a while, as I continue to deal with the emotional impact of June's events and the stress of this postal strike alike.

Life will always throw curveballs, challenges and upsets our way. For better or worse, such is unavoidable. What we do have, at least to a degree usually, is some say in is how we opt to respond to and deal with these surprises and stresses.

I've never been one to shy away from a challenge or to let the universe get the better of me, so I'm going to gather my proverbial lemons and make so much lemonade, I might just have to set up a stand on the front yard and keep my selling skills at this sharpest this summer after all!

{Recent weeks have hit me hard, just as this summer's Canada Post strike will, but I'm holding my head up high and will soldier on. Making lemonade aplenty from each of these unexpected events. Vintage photo image source. }

I might not be feeling like (or making even a minute fraction of) a million dollars today, but the sun is shining, the birds are genuinely are chirping at this moment, and I've got a fun Canada Day themed outfit all lined up, so you know what?

It's all good.

Sooner or later the strike will be over, I'll have bounced back from June's difficulties, and we'll be looking fall, my most beloved of all the seasons, in the face once more.

First though, I've got my nation's birthday - and my own - to celebrate. Ice cold glass of lemonade firmly in hand, naturally.

Happiest Canada Day wishes to all my fellow Canadians and an amazing, fun filled start of July to all those elsewhere! 

June 29, 2016

It isn't every day that I wear cherries...

Outfit details

C. 1930s black plastic ball tipped hatpin: Unknown, had for many years
1930s/1940s wide brimmed green straw hat: Jardin Antiques
Glittery gold tone metal round shaped earrings: Claire's
Red cropped cardigan: Fairweather
Cherry print vintage style Hilda Dress (no longer in stock): c/o Voodoo Vixen
Green faux leather skinny belt: eBay
Green plastic bangle bracelet: Forever 21
Assorted vintage bangle bracelets: Most likely all thrifted from various sources
C. 1950s pink ruched gloves: Unknown, had for years
C. 1950s wicker, velvet and millinery cherry handbag: Lu Lou's Frou-Frou
Nude seamed nude stockings: eBay
Red patent faux leather pumps: Payless
Lip colour: MAC Russian Red

Special Offer: Voodoo Vixen has very kindly extended a 20% off coupon code on all of their online merchandise to my readers. Use the coupon code Vintage20 at checkout between now and July 31st to save 20% on anything your heart desires from their wonderful website.

Photography by Tony Cangiano

But when I do, you better believe that I bring my crimson fruit filled A-game to the table! :D

I've never been the sort who follows trends or is drawn to overly common things - indeed, such is no small part of the reason why I opt to sport vintage fashion - and I will just about always cheer for the underdog. Thus, while I do very much adore cherries, given their immense commonality in the vintage/rockabilly/pinup girl/retro style world, I would say that I've somewhat sidestepped them, both consciously and subconsciously over the years.

That isn't to say that I haven't rocked cherries here before, because I have (e.g., in this fun 2013 outfit) - and I am very partial to cherry themed jewelry - but I don't reach for them everyday by any means. When I do, I like typically try to select pieces that have that little something to special to them, that helps to ensure they don't blend into a sea of basic red and black fruit prints.

This gorgeous and immensely feminine looking mid-century vintage style Hilda Dress from Voodoo Vixen nails that to an absolute tee for me.

Not only does its pattern go beyond the usual cherry print, but it includes the colour pink and the most adorable little jars of cherry jam on it (seriously, I can't even!).

I have very fond memories of picking and helping my mom to can, cook and bake with cherries when I was growing up (as detailed in this post from five years ago), so the moment I laid eyes on this beautiful dress, I knew that it had passed my cherry litmus test, so to speak.

I've had the pleasure of working with Voodoo Vixen here twice over the years (both times in 2014) and was really delighted when they recently contacted me about teaming up again this summer. They kindly sent me this enchanting Hilda dress, which - perhaps not surprisingly given how pretty it is - has already sold out, for review and I sincerely want to thank them for it.

On one of the very few sunny weekend days that we've had in the past couple of months, after a full and exciting day of vintage shopping, errand running, and MEC visiting (for Tony) in Kelowna, we returned home to Penticton and took a small trek on foot up part of the very first mile or so of the famous local KVR (Kettle Valley Railroad) Trail.

To my mind, the KVR Trail and the views that it offers are some of the most stunning sights to be seen and experienced around these parts, and I felt like they would suit my first vintage outfit post of the summer really nicely (likewise for this Voodoo Vixen dress itself).

It was early evening by the time we got there, but luckily the sun was still out and did a delightful job of bathing us in its golden warmth as the day wound down.

This dress, like the other two garments that I've received in the past from Voodoo Vixen, is well made from a medium weight fabric with a hint of stretch to it.

I should note that this dress came with a matching belt, however, even on the smallest hole, it was a good couple of inches too big for me and as it is a fabric belt, not a leather/faux leather one, I didn't want to damage it by piercing a tighter hole. Instead I'll wear it with garments like my denim capri pants that hit me lower down on my torso and thus not on the narrowest part of my waist.

Voodoo Vixen frocks aren't always super long, so before selecting this product, I spoke with my VV contact who confirmed that it would hit below my knees (for a sense of scale, I'm just barely 5'2" tall), which is a personal must for me with all dresses and skirts.

I wouldn't mind a few more inches of hem length here, but am equally okay with where it falls now and do very much appreciate a shorter hem length (by vintage standards at least) during the roasty-toasty summer months.

Having a fairly petite bone structure, garments are often too big for me in the shoulders. This dress has cap sleeves and is a little too big there, which while not tight, does make lifting my arms a bit tricky, as the cap sleeves become micro sleeves on my upper arms and restrict them a touch.

This is by no means a big issue at all (and I could always have them removed by a seamstress, if so desired) and I had no problem whatsoever comfortably wearing (and climbing a gentle hiking path in!) this dress for about ten hours straight on the day that these snaps were taken, so really, this is not an issue and I only mention it for the benefit of others who may be small shouldered as well.

This lovely vintage style frock is fun, sweet and just a blast to wear. I love the subtle keyhole detailing at the neckline, the functional pockets, the becoming a-line skirt, and of course the endlessly enjoyable red, white, pink and green cherry print that it is bedecked in from top to bottom. I'd recommend this dress to anyone and do so hope they bring it back into stock for those who may wish to add a "Hilda" to their own old school wardrobes, too.

A dress this vibrant and fully patterned doesn't need a ton of further embellishing, but naturally a few accessories were in order, including a wonderful c. 1950s wicker, velvet and millinery cherry purse that I've had for a few years now.

It's one of my favourite bags I've ever owned, however it is in rather delicate condition however, so I only bring it out once or twice a year, as a general rule. I couldn't think of a better dress to partner it with than this charming Voodoo Vixen one, so out it came to play in the warm June sunlight.

Vintage pink gloves, a quintet of bangle bracelets, one of my beloved 1950s Austrian glass fruit brooches, my equally adored green 1930s/40s wide brimmed straw hat, simple gold tone circle shaped earrings, and red pumps complete the look, which really does seem like such a fitting sartorial note to launch the summer - especially since local cherries are in season again right now.

It's true, I might not wear cherries all the time, but I love when I hit upon a piece that really stands out from the crowd for me and which I know I'll happily reach for many times over the years.

This whimsically sweet cherry print dress from Voodoo Vixen is just that and I look forward to spending many a happy summer in its company - this one very much included!

June 27, 2016

Meet Kate-Em: British vintage blogger, lover of museums, and one seriously skilled knitter

Though you wouldn't know it from the continued rainy weather (see this recent post) around these parts, summer has emerged once more and most of the world is enjoying far drier and balmier days than we are. With the return of the glorious season, it's time for our latest edition of the fun and exciting reoccurring post series, Meet a Fellow Vintage Blogger.

For June's delightful conversation, I'm elated and honoured alike to say that today's interviewee is none other than Kate-Em (pictured below), who many of you may know from her fantastic blog, What Kate-Em Did Next, which has been online for a few years now.

Kate-Em resides in good, old Blighty and has been very dear friend of mine for ages. In addition to having a heart of gold and an immense talent for knitting, she loves vintage something fierce and is an avid member of the online vintage world, often taking the time to comment and show her support to others in our midst (which, as you know, is something I hold in the highest esteem).

Sweet, creative, and lovely as the day is long, Kate-Em and her blog both deserve a spot of your time and I hope that you'll join me in bestowing such their way on this lovely last Monday in June.

{The beautiful header from Kate-Em's blog, which stars photos of both of her grandmas and a great-aunt.}

For those who are just meeting your wonderful blog, What Kate-Em Did Next, for the first time today, could you please share a bit about your site with us, including when it launched and what inspired you to start a vintage related blog?

Hello, I’m Kate-Em. I started my blog in May 2012 as I really had an urge to write about all the things that were buzzing about in my head. I had been doing lots of knitting, researching vintage fashion and reading lots of history books and I wanted a place to chat about all of this, to share my thoughts and show the things that I found. I had been reading a few blogs and it seemed like a blog of my own might be the kind of thing that I was looking for. And it was!

I tend to write about my knitting and craft projects, historical places I visit, exhibitions I go to, fashion history and vintage fashion, share vintage photos and patterns and share the odd outfit. I really don't like having my photo taken but I want to share more outfits so I am going to have to get over it!

How would you say that the blogging world (vintage and/or otherwise) has changed since then? Has your blog adapted in any way in response to these changes?

I know that many people who have been blogging for a long time have seen a bit of a decline in blogging with the rise of things like Instagram. I can’t really say that I have noticed those changes from my blog’s point of view. I really enjoy following other blogs and chatting with their writers via the comments.

I have met some fascinating, wonderful people that way. I also enjoy seeing snapshots of blogger’s lives on Instagram, things that wouldn't necessarily make up a post but are interesting in their own right. I enjoy sharing pictures like this on Instagram and they may or may not make it onto my blog.

You’re extremely passionate about knitting – when did that love start and how has it factored into your life and blog alike?

I am lucky to come from a family full of crafty women, knitters, sewers and embroiderers so I have been around it all my life. My Mum used to knit and sew my clothes and my Granny and Grandma knitted for me. My Auntie knitted me a rag doll, Jeanie (pictured above), when I was very young who was a constant companion. She regularly had to be ‘taken to hospital’ by my Auntie as I wore her out from cuddling her.

I think that my Grandma taught me to knit when I was about 7 and I used to knit clothes for my toys and then the toys themselves, progressing to proper garments as a teenager. I didn't knit so much when I was at university or in the few years that followed and then I got back into it properly about 12 years ago.

I had a breakdown 6 years ago and ended up having to resign from my job through ill health. It was an incredibly difficult time with far reaching consequences and it is something that I am still dealing with today. Knitting has really helped me during this time, giving me something to focus on, to calm my brain and help keep myself steady and manage my anxiety. Knitting has well documented positive effects on mental health and I definitely found that to be true.

When I was able to, I made myself attend a local knitting group. It was a huge step, it took lots of working up to and my husband dropped me off and then sat in the car for 30 minutes waiting to see if I managed to stay or if I would run out crying and need to go home. I managed to stay, mostly by knitting furiously and not speaking to anyone for ages until I felt that I could squeak out the odd reply. Luckily, I landed in a group full of the most brilliant, amazing, talented, generous and supportive women that I could have hoped to find.

When I decided that I would like to start blogging it seemed obvious to me to be the place to combine my love of knitting and vintage and it has all gone on from there.

What are some of your favourite types of things to knit?

I like to knit 1940’s and 1950’s jumpers and cardigans for myself as I love the shapes and the interesting stitch patterns that were commonly used. I like knitting hats from that period too. I also like to knit vintage children’s patterns for friend’s with new babies and for my niece. I knitted early 50’s double breasted jumper for her for Christmas.

She has just put in a request for a scarf, pink with yellow spots, and I think I have just found a 1930’s pattern with matching mittens that should do it! I also enjoy knitting commission knits as often they are glorious patterns but not ones that I might make myself either due to style or size so that way I still get the fun of seeing what they knit up like!

You have a fabulous collection of vintage knitting patterns, some of which you’ve generously shared images from with on your blog. How did that collection get its start?

I have always been a collector of stuff and I think that I always will be. At a knitting show a good number of years ago I came across a stall selling vintage haberdashery, books and patterns. I came away with a 1940’s knitting book and a 1950’s knitting magazine and that was it.

They just hooked me, I loved all the garments, the fashion history, the style and I thought ‘this is what I need to knit’! So then I started looking out for vintage patterns wherever I went and the collection was born!

Are there any types of vintage patterns in particular that you find yourself drawn to?

Apart from patterns for items that I would like to make for myself there are certain types of patterns that I look out for. I love the cozy glamour (that sounds like opposite states but I totally think it is a thing) of bed jackets so I always pick up patterns for those if I find them. I love patterns featuring Fair Isle so they would always be winners as would picture/motif knits.

Patterns featuring people smoking are a favourite as they are from the period when smoking was not seen as harmful. I’m not a smoker but find the history of the tobacco industry fascinating and frightening and the knitting patterns accurately reflect people’s behaviour at the time. They are a real social history snapshot. I also have a special section of ‘so bad it’s good’ patterns where comedy poses, props, backgrounds, horrific hats and monstrous jumpers have a special place.

Where are some of your favourite places to source vintage knitting patterns from (online or off)?

I most enjoy sourcing vintage knitting patterns from charity shops, junk shops and junk markets as I like the excitement of rummaging through a big pile and not knowing what treasures I may unearth. I also buy at vintage events and some knitting shows have dealers that stock vintage patterns. Online, Ebay can be a good source, especially if you get a bargain. Etsy is a great source, especially if you are not bothered about owning the original pattern as many sellers sell PDF’s of patterns in their own collection.

My two favourite are 1940’s Style For You and Pretty Old Patterns. The Victoria and Albert Museum have some free vintage patterns on their websites. The Vintage Pattern Files is a great resource and bloggers such as Subversive Femme, Va Voom Vintage, and myself all put free patterns on their blogs.

And how about yarn and other supplies?

I like to source yarn from a shop or knitting show as I like to support small businesses and see and feel the yarn myself. I really struggle to wear wool as it itches me like mad so it is important for me to be able to put the yarn against my skin and see what it feels like.

I also like to play with colour with the balls of yarn themselves, to see how they work against each other and with my skin tone. I get most of my supplies from local shops, charity shops and markets too. I appreciate that not everyone has access to good, local shops but that is what I prefer.

Do you find that you have a lot of WIPs on the go, or do you prefer to start a project and see it through to completion in quite a linear fashion?

I laughed out loud when I read this question, Jessica! In my head, I am the kind of person who starts a project and sees it through but, from surveying the evidence in many knitting bags and various piles, I have to conclude that this really isn't the case.

From a quick look I am going to confess to the following WIP:

-A 1950’s cardigan that needs one front lace panel knitting

-One half sewn up 1950’s cardigan

-A colourwork partial headband

-The beginnings of a sock -One 1960’s bag to sew up

-Four 1950’s hats knitted but not sewn together

-A 1950’s feather and fan jumper, back complete, front recently started -A 1940’s jumper that needs some rows of crochet to finish the neckline

In my defense, projects get picked up and put down around other activities such as commissions, or social knitting occasions when I need something easy so I can talk lots too, or when it needs to be easily portable. I am going to crack on with them though!

And what would be your absolutely dream knitting project (that you haven’t tackled yet, that is)?

One day I want to knit a really colourful and complicated 1940’s Fair Isle cardigan for myself but I want to improve my colour work skills first as I want it to be fabulous! I have two amazing jumper patterns, one that is 1940’s with seahorses on and on that is 1950’s with a parrot on that I would like to make. I also want to knit some 1940’s underwear and a 1940’s or 50’s swimsuit from an historical interest point of view.

What advice would you give to those who want to get into knitting, but have never done so before?

Choose the nicest yarn that you can afford, one that speaks to you and makes you excited about creating something. You are more likely to stick at learning to knit if you like what you are knitting. Likewise, you don't have to start with a scarf or a square. If you think you would find that boring then choose something else, a simple hat or shawl or a pair of wrist warmers for example. Most patterns are graded in difficulty or you can ask your local yarn shop for advice.

Don’t feel like you should start with chunky wool just because it grows quickly. If the needles feel like broom handles in your hands or you fall in love with a gorgeous ball of 4-ply, knit with that instead.

It is perfectly possible to teach yourself to knit from a book or from online tutorials but I think that you can't beat someone showing you and sitting with you for those first few rows. If you don't have a friend or family member who can show you I would advise going to a class, but are sure it is a small group so you get plenty of attention. Or, turn up in a yarn shop and say “help, I need to learn to knit. Show me now”!

Remember that it takes practise, you will most likely feel weird and uncoordinated at first and then it will click. Mistakes can easily be ripped back or can be counted as part of the garment’s individual charm, depending on your approach!

Do you think there are points that were, objectively, better about knitting in the past and/or nowadays?

In the past, many people were taught to knit (and sew, mend etc) whilst they were children and it was an activity just as much for boys as girls. Obviously it still is, but it isn't always portrayed as or seen as such which is a huge shame.

Starting young gives you longer to become skilled and it must have helped that it was a very commonplace activity. Vintage patterns can be short on explanation as they assume the knitter already has a certain level of knowledge, gained by experience. I wouldn't mind a time machine to allow me to go back in time and buy all the patterns and knitting magazines that I could get hold of!

Now is an incredibly exciting time for knitters, especially with the help of the internet as a wealth of patterns, tutorials, yarns, gadgets and like minded souls are there at your fingertips. Although I tend not to knit from modern patterns I like to see what is out there and what is popular. There is greater yarn choice from interesting fibre mixes to specialized independent dyers. There is a very vibrant knitting scene with crafternoons in shops and plenty of fibre festivals.

What are some other crafts, aside from knitting, that really speak to you?

I enjoy crochet too though I am still quite a beginner at it. I have some great vintage crochet patterns so I really want to master it. I also enjoy sewing and I am really keen to do that more. I went to classes for a while and made a couple of bags, a dress and a cape. I

want to get better at garment making so that I can use vintage patterns and increase my wardrobe! I like embroidery and cross stitch too and I am slowly working on some patchwork using the paper piecing method. I also like the odd bit of paper crafting. I really love to make things so the more crafting the better for me!

How long have you been wearing vintage styles for, and what era(s) do you find yourself most frequently drawn in terms of your own wardrobe?

I have been wearing vintage styles on and off since I was a teenager. Back then I used to go to lots of jumble sales and find great 1960’s dresses to wear with vintage velvet jackets that I bought from a market. I wore a great, full length embellished 1960’s dress of my great aunts to a university ball, if only I could still fit it! I most frequently find that items in my wardrobe are 1940’s or 50’s in style but I love fashions from the 1930’s and the early 60’s too.

Do you incorporate vintage elements into your home as well?

I do but not as much as I want to and hope to do some day. I am always on the look out for things for my home. I have quite a collection of vintage china which I use or have out on display. I have a 1930’s clock on my mantelpiece and a 1950’s Singer sewing machine on an old cabinet.

I have my grandparent’s bureau which holds china in 2 display cupboards and my embroidered tablecloths and crochet doilies in another cupboard. Our spare room houses all my craft supplies so that has plenty of vintage sewing baskets, haberdashery and books in it, for use and for decoration.

You have such a cool job – working at a haberdashery – can you please tell us a bit about what is that like?

I absolutely love it!! It is just the best job for me. I like to be interacting with people so I love having a chat to the customers and helping them out with their haberdashery emergencies! I’m also very nosy so I like seeing what yarn or fabric people buy and then finding out what projects they have planned for it. I love it when customers come in and show me their finished projects.

I like helping people if they get stuck on their pattern or if they need advice on styles or colours or coming up with ideas for creating 1920’s headbands for dogs or hammocks for growing pumpkins (true). Being surrounded by gorgeous yarns is great, though bad for the bank balance! I like seeing all the new stock as it comes in and ordering it on the shelves, working out which colours sing together. It is such a cheerful place to be!

Living in the UK, have you had a chance to attend many vintage related events before?

I get to a reasonable number of vintage fairs which I always really enjoy. There is quite a big 1940’s event that happens near me which I have never managed to get to as it always clashes with something I already have planned. Maybe next year I will be better organised. I probably don't get to as many events as I would really like to so that is something for me to work on.

We share a mutual passion for museums in person. What are some of your favourite ones (and/or exhibits) that you’ve been to? Is there a museum, anywhere in the world, that you’d love to visit, but haven’t yet?

Tricky question! Many of the big London museums are favourites of mine. My Uncle used to take my sister and my two cousins to the National Maritime Museum regularly when we were very young so that has happy memories. We were particularly fascinated by a paddle steamer you could explore and Lord Nelson’s blood stained stockings! I love the Natural History Museum, both the collections and the building itself. I also love the Victoria and Albert Museum as it is so diverse and has so much to see.

I recently saw the 100 Years of Vogue exhibition which was just fabulous and visited the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms which was really interesting. I’m excited as an exhibition that I couldn't get to London to see, Fashion on the Ration, has moved to the Imperial War Museum North which is much nearer for me so I will be able to get to see it after all.

I would one day like to visit the Anne Frank museum.

My favourite museum is Beamish, an open air living history museum near Durham. It has a 1900's town with a bank, printers, bakery, pub, dentist etc and you can go inside each one and explore. Members of staff are dressed in period clothing and talk about how life would have been.There is also a 1940's farm, a Georgian farm and a pit village and mine. You travel around the site on trams and buses. It is the best day out!

In addition to vintage, museums/history, and knitting, what are some of your biggest passions/interests?

Reading! Definitely one of my biggest passions. I always have a book on the go and have an overflowing bookcase full of books waiting to be read. I am no good at all at not buying a book that catches my eye, even if I have plenty to read already. I give most genres a go but not surprisingly I really enjoy historical fiction. I also read a lot of social history books, particularly about the role and experiences of women during the second world war, but anything from the 1920’s-1960’s I would find interesting.

I like going walking in the countryside and exploring beautiful places. One interest that I haven't been able to pursue for a good few months is boxing! I used to go to boxercise and boxing training regularly and loved it. I am waiting for a neck/shoulder problem to be resolved and then I hope to start again as I miss it!

Circling back to fashion, what are some of your “must have” vintage accessories for the sunny summer months that we’re launching into again now?

A lovely big straw hat to keep me cool and shady and a large, light scarf as a cover up as my skin really doesn't like the sun. I’m still looking for my perfect straw bag as they just shout summer to me. I’m after two, a smaller handbag type and a larger one that fits a book and my knitting in it! I want to knit a short little summer bolero to go over dresses. I like hair flowers for summer up do’s and a good pair of sunglasses of course!

Any cool summertime plans that you’d like to share with us?

I’m hoping to get out and about lots this summer, exploring, walking and visiting. I’m excited to be going on holiday to the Isle of Wight. I have always wanted to visit and see it’s beautiful beaches and scenery and visit it’s historic attractions so I’m over the moon to be finally going.

And last, but certainly not least, what’s on your needles right now?

On my needles right now is the final sleeve of a modern knit! Shock horror! It is a loose jacket with one button at the neck and it reminds me of a 1950’s jacket or swing coat. We have some fabulous super chunky wool in the shop where I work which I was desperate to knit, but, it is a yarn type that there are no vintage patterns for as it didn't exist then. So a modern pattern that is vintage in style fitted the bill!

I think it will be perfect as a summer evening cover up and also for those periods in spring and autumn where you are too cold in just a cardigan and too warm in a coat.

Connect with Kate-Em on the following sites:


Meet the past interviewees who have taken part in this delight ongoing post series:

February 2015: Emileigh | March 2015: CiCi | April 2015: Helen Mae | May 2015: Esther | June 2015: Ms. Falcon | July 2015: Jessie, and Laurence & Sylvain| August 2015: Holly | September 2015: Rhia | October 2015: Franny | November 2015: Emily | December 2015: Porcelina | January 2016: Nora | February 2016: Kate | March 2016: Carla | April 2016: Jessica E.| May 2016: Skye

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Thank you very much for this stellar interview, dear Kate-Em. I sincerely appreciate your time and how candidly you spoke about your life and treasured interests here with Chronically Vintage's audience. I feel blessed to have you as a friend and to share so many passions in common.

If you're not already following Kate-Em's blog, I highly encourage you to do so. She posts marvelous vintage related entries there - many of which are chalk-a-block full of awesome mid-century images, and is one of those beautiful souls that the blogsphere is genuinely better for having in its midst.

Next up, we'll be slipping on a pair of vintage sunnies and a cute sundress or playsuit and hightailing back to the Pacific coast of North America, where I'll chat with another truly treasured friend of mine, whose many interests, incredible vintage fashion sense, love of themed attire, and exciting travels throughout the area will leave you spellbound (and wishing there was a magic button that would allow you to instantly copy her gorgeous wardrobe into your own closet).

Until then, my sweet dears, enjoy this first leg of summer and all the fun, excitement and - hopefully - beautiful weather it holds in store!