Charity shop finds


I haven’t found as many good charity shop items lately as over the summer, but there’s been the odd few things. I got this vase for £2, which I’ve planted an aloe vera in, for my own plant version of Sideshow Bob.


This box of Chris Ware stories, which hilariously was put in the children’s section as a board game for £7. Definitely not suitable for young children.


This bananagrams game for £2. This one is suitable for all the family.

Recent charity shop finds

The good thing about spending the summer in a small town full of old people is that there are a lot of charity shops and jumble sales, they often have good stock, don’t overprice and there aren’t a lot of other people looking for the same things as me (which is more likely to happen in a big city).

Teatray and trinket dish – £1 each


One of my other kitchen trays, a plastic one from Tiger, recently broke. This brown floral number is ideal for forcing tea and cake on visitors, Mrs Doyle style. (As soon as I found this picture of her, I realised that my dad actually owns that very same trolley- his has lived in the corner as long as I’ve lived, with a couple of half full bottles of whiskey and brandy on it, and an empty bottle full of 5p coins). I couldn’t find any information about who the artist of the geese print was, there was a “Praesidium” logo on the back, but they seem to have been a big manufacturer of coasters and ashtrays.


Handmade 60s dress – £3.50


This was someone’s home dressmaking project. There is no label, and all the hems and sleeves are hand-stitched. It’s really nicely made, and is fully lined with a gauzy skirt underneath. It fits me well.

It’s funny how the fit of clothes can change so quickly. I seem to have been a total average size in the 60s and 70s. Clothes from that era tend to fit me well. 80s clothes are always too big around the shoulders, which is not an area you can adjust easily. Currently clothes are too tight round the hips and too short in the waist for me.


The yellow striped fabric reminds me of the sets from The Prisoner. I’ll see if I can find some sort of No 6 motif or badge perhaps to add to the collar or the chest.


Set of 3 Hornsea Ware kitchen canisters – £7


These pottery kitchen sets from Hornsea were everywhere in the UK in the 60s and 70s. As well as being useful in the kitchen, they’re also very popular for putting plants in, which is what I’ll be doing with mine (the wooden lids also made great coasters). I’ve got lots of cacti and succulents which are outgrowing their original pots. I’ve been slowly collecting attractive pottery pieces from charity shops (including a bigger one of these Hornsea pots in dark brown), and once I have enough, I’ll have a big repotting session of all the plants. I still need to find 4 more pots though.

Dallas stickers – 10p each


Ideal for adding a bit of 80 oilman villainy to zines.

Bert oilcloth travel pass- 50p


This is going in the post to my friend Chella, a native New Yorker/Sesame Streeter (same place). She’s going to use Bert to keep her business cards in, and help her make friends and influence people.


The other day I had to go to Maidstone. I really can’t think of any other word to describe the place rather than dull. It has the usual chain shops if you want to buy some things, and a pretty town hall and museum, (and a prison with huge stone walls slap bang in the centre) but that’s about it. It’s the sort of place you go to run errands, no other reason. It’s not horrible, but not particularly interesting either.When I was at school I sometimes went to gigs at the student bar there, but it was such a pain to get back in the evenings I didn’t bother too often unless I knew someone who was driving. When I was really little I used to go to see the Sooty Show and pantomimes at the theatre, and that was the high point of Maidstone in my estimations.

I bought some boring black tights and socks that I desperately needed, and had a poke around the charity shops and a nice second hand shop called Trash and Treasure. There was another second hand clothes shop that seemed to be 80% (real) fur coats. As a long-term vegetarian I found going in there really creepy, especially as it’s the only vintage clothes shop I’ve encountered that doesn’t play any music, and the owner barely speaks. Just silence and dead things. I couldn’t get out quick enough. I had good luck with the other shops though, I got some nice things for very little money.

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Golden Hands Monthly

I got this stack of 70s craft magazines in a junk shop in Devizes a few years ago. That place was amazing, a multi-floored cavern of junk. It’s gone now, I think. Here’s some photos.There’s the usual ultra-cheesy raffia work projects and crocheted plant holders and so on, but the clothes patterns are actually mostly pretty nice, which is why I bought the magazines. What I’ve scanned is a mix of nice things and weird stuff though. I also couldn’t scan double page spreads very easily, because the binding on the magazines is dodgy, and I didn’t want to pull them about too much in case they broke. These issues are from 1972 and 1973. I have another issue from 1976, but it’s printed on much cheaper paper (the paper quality wasn’t sterling to begin with) and the contents are pretty dull.


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Costumes for Plays and Playing

cover of Costumes for Plays and Playing by Gail E Haley

When I was a kid I used to borrow this book again and again from the local library. The first thing I ever sewed myself was from it. A friend of mine at junior school’s older sister was in a school play of Toad of Toad Hall, and we went to watch. When you’re 7, 13 year olds seem incredibly impressive. What impressed me even more were the weasel costumes. I wanted one for myself. Armed with an offcut of brown fabric and a toy sewing machine I’d got at a bootfair, I made a hood with ears like the ones in the book. It was wonky, and I was a bit ashamed of it though, and wished I knew how to sew straight (looking back, I’m not sure the toy sewing machine was actually capable of a straight seam). My opinion of my sewing projects has improved slightly since.

The book pretty much tells you how to make a costume for most things, mostly made of cardboard, papier maché or fabric things which button on, to save ruining an item of clothing. If you want an entire Tudor costume that buttons onto a t-shirt, and then a game to get you into the mindset of the character it’s the book to read. It also has lovely illustrations. It turns out the author is also a children’s illustrator.  I couldn’t remember the title, and looking on Amazon never gave me much joy, but once I discovered that you could search on the British Library’s catalogue with very vague terms (in this case “costume” and published in the 70s or 80s and various other terms like “plays” “children’s” etc) and get useful results, it didn’t take me long to find, and to purchase a cheap 2nd hand copy online.

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All the cheesecloth & macrame you can eat


I got this 70stastic book for £1 from a charity shop, mainly because of the pictures. The textual parts are worthy and Blue Peter-ish, with lots of making things out of tea chests and copydex (why doesn’t tea tend to come in chests these days?), guides to home tie-dying, and sentences like “and kitchen foil gives a touch of glamour”.

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Stuff I Own- part one of many


This is a board game I got in a charity shop. I think the title deserves an exclamation mark. It encourages children to lie to customs officers convincingly. You get to smuggle dodgy perfume and boxes of cigars through customs. In my head it belongs to an imaginary Father Ted episode where Ted & Dougal are stuck inside on a rainy day, and decide to play a board game, they have a choice between Trivial Pursuit- Papal Edition or Smuggle, then Dougal turns out to not understand the concept of bluffing