Saturday, 29 November 2008

The Healing Power of Shopping

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that shopping, correctly executed, can lift a woman's mood beyond all reason. (I'm pretty sure that's what Jane Austen wrote.) It's a running joke with my girlfriends that shopping makes us feel better. We're all reasonably intelligent women, not especially shallow or materialistic, we know it shouldn't be that simple, but, like children bribed with a lollipop, we are ridiculously happy with a new pair of shoes or a pretty thing for the house.

So when I went shopping this week, it was a refreshed and happy Kitsch Elaine who returned with bags of booty. My first purchase is scarily pink and cute. I'm not entirely sure about this now I've got it home, but IT WAS IN A SALE!
I might take the crystals off and de-bling it!

Also not sure if I am brave enough to wear these shoes every day, but they are fab. And the lovely girls in Shrinking Violet helped me to try on every pair of shoes in their lovely shop, so I definitely recommend them!
They look a bit pink in this photo, but they are pillar-box red. If I'm not brave enough to go out in those, I also got some more 'grown-up' boots.

You're wondering who the cutie in the boots is? No, not me, it's a lovely designer vinyl doll called "Lil' Leona Leopard" by Lisa Petrucci. I love her paintings inspired by Kiddle dolls (not so keen on all her pin-up girls). This little cutie was also in a sale!

If you've read my previous blogs, you'll know I enjoy shopping in Indian and Chinese supermarkets in Bristol. Well in St Nicholas Market, there's a South African shop - Kalahari Moon. I enjoyed browsing, but only bought some sweets.

Christmas cards. Year after year, I feel guilty because I know I should make my own Christmas cards, but I never get around to it in time. And I know I should be promoting handmade cards, but look how cute these cards from Oxfam are! And they are for charity...

Last but not least, I'll also show you my charity shop haul.

I seem to be collecting kitsch china birds now. I do like them. No idea what the plastic tiles in the bag are, but I'm sure I can use them somehow....

Well, that's show and tell over for today!

Friday, 28 November 2008

I saw Bill Oddie on a Zebra

Yesterday, I saw Bill Oddie on a zebra!

No really, I saw him on a zebra crossing, near the BBC in Bristol (where they make all the wildlife programmes). I was possibly a little over-effusive when I said hello, and as it was lunchtime, he was probably keen to get to his lunch. Whatever the case, he said something I couldn't make out and walked swiftly on. Fair enough I suppose. At least it gave me the chance to do a silly drawing.

(My American readers will have no idea who he is. Don't let it worry you.)
(Oh and you may not know what a zebra crossing is, either...)

Thursday, 27 November 2008


A Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!

I know it's a bit of a cliche, but I thought I should take the opportunity to be thankful for the good things in my life. Especially as my blog has been a bit miserable and whiney of late!

I'm just going to mention two. Firstly I'm thankful every day for Mr Kitsch (ahhh!), who is so loving and supportive.

Secondly, trees.

Shall I leave it there? If like me, your heart lifts every time you see a tree against the sky, you don't need any further explanation.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

I'm in an Etsy Treasury!

Hoorah for Tracey at paperdollsforboys! She featured two of my vintage dollies in her Etsy treasury.

I love all the wooden dolls she's chosen. I'm proud that I'm in such good company. Thank you Tracey!

Saturday, 22 November 2008

The Big Nit and The Big Knit

The Big Nit is me. I managed to get myself all depressed at the start of the week. Partly because of what I said in my last blog (feeling I can never make a living doing what I want creatively), but largely because of being a bit stupid and not doing what's good for me. I get a mild version of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), and I hadn't been getting out in the daylight enough. Nor taking enough exercise, nor eating healthily, nor doing enough creative things to keep me happy. D'oh!

So on Monday, I felt I could have stayed in bed all day. However, I did get up, I did go for a walk in daylight, and I did feel all the better for it. And I did eat/drink some healthy foods, kickstarted by having to have one of these Innocent smoothies from Sainers.
For the last few years, Innocent smoothies have got people to knit little hats for their smoothie bottles in order to raise money for old people's welfare. It's called the Big Knit, and is such a fun idea. I was SO pleased to find a little dolly in there. I had to have it. Mr Kitsch chose a blue and white one, for his friend who's a Bristol Rovers (Football Club) fan. (Bor-ing!!)

Sadly, my little dolly only has one eye. I don't think I'll fix it though. I'll just accept her slight disability. I hope the person who knitted her knows she's gone to a good home.

You can check out more photos of these little hats at the Big Knit Flickr group too.

So, knitting, dollies and smoothies - I'm not depressed now!

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Commercial Purposes

Several things have got me thinking about making money this week. And when I say 'making money', I say it with a hollow laugh and a wistful look in my eye.

Firstly, I had a warning from Flickr that I was not to use my account for commercial purposes. As far as I can tell, this was based on my having links to etsy on my profile. (I've been discussing the details with Renee on her blog.) I can only think that Flickr have a very limited knowledge of what Etsy is all about. Does anyone make much money from Etsy? Oh sure, there must be some, but even when I look at shops that have loads of sales, they're often all small value sales. Each sale takes a fair amount of time, even if you can just repeat the listing. If you sell vintage and one-off handmade items, like I do, every listing is different and you have to spend time on it. So when I look at the amount of time I spend on it, I don't even make minimum wage. Most of the time that doesn't matter - I do it because I want to, and the rewards are more than monetary.

However, in an ideal world, I would like to make a living from stuff like this eventually. I gave up my job a couple of years ago, and used my redundancy money to buy a period of ... um...I'm groping for a phrase here that doesn't sound as naff as 'self-discovery'...let's call it 'dithering'. I've managed to extend that time by selling our house (oh yeah, Mr Kitsch doesn't have much of an income, either) and we're living off the capital (mostly). In my best moods of self-belief, I KNOW this is the right decision, and I'm very happy about it, but at other times, well... you know.

My belief in the money-making potential of art was also threatened by a conversation we had last weekend. Mr Kitsch invited some friends over who are in a very good indie band. They were telling us about their plans, and although they know their band is good, they are also convinced that they can never make much money with it. They cited their many musical heroes, who have fantastic reputations and are well known in the indie world, but who still can't make enough money to go on tour.

The music business is changing in all sorts of ways, good and bad, but I think it's basically just about art. Does art sell? Does the ability to sell music, art, craft, kitsch vintage tat on the internet mean that lots of people go out there and flood the market? Are people like me just deluding ourselves? And if I type lots of unanswered questions in a blog does that make me sound like Carrie in Sex and the City?

OK, heavy stuff here. Take a deep breath and then let go. Feel better? No, neither do I.

Here's a picture of a nice doggy - hope it helps.

Oh by the way, this picture is available on a card in my Etsy shop Buy now!!!!

Kitsch Fun!

Too many blog thoughts, not enough time...
So I'll just quickly show you some pictures of some wonderful new kitsch additions to my collection. First, part of a lovely parcel I got from the ever-wonderful and very generous Gretchen from Shop66 -
I'd been meaning to order those cute little cat brooches ever since I saw them, and I'm glad I did - they're even smaller than I thought. So cute.
Next some groovy items from ebay
It's a poodle - IN A HAT!!! How brilliant is that?

Nothing says Christmas like a demented plastic reindeer with glitter on his antlers!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008


Do you ever see weird shit for sale on Ebay, and think to yourself 'Who buys this stuff?'...? - - Well, it's mee!!

And yet, despite the weirdness, I like to feel there's something rather fine and wonderful about buying an enormous box of 18 (yes, EIGHTEEN) large, pottery, baby doll heads. If you're one of those people who get freaked out by disembodied doll heads (and that's a surprising number of you, I've found), then probably best to look away now.
They are slightly freaky, I will admit, but I think en masse, they have a magnificent grandeur and presence, which I can only attempt to capture in a photo.

And individually, they're just sweet little dollies...

No, really, they are...

I'm not entirely sure what to do with them. I definitely want to use some, but probably can't use all of them, so I will put some on etsy.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Little Things Mean a Lot

I am a big fan of little things. (Did you see what I did there?) Little toys and dolls are so much more appealing to me than big ones. I love miniature versions of almost anything. I also like things that are naturally small - buttons, beads, shells. And my idea of a treasure chest is a little box full of stuff - toys, charms, beads, buttons, jewellery, bits and bobs of curiosities and kitschness, in fact.

I've been selling boxes of destash stuff in my etsy shop, but I was cleaned out a couple of weeks ago, by a lovely customer who bought every box I had listed! I've only just got around to re-stocking, and have added a new version - in a retro purse, instead of a box.

I LOVE seeing boxes of cute stuff from other etsy shops too. The queen of cute stuff is Gretchen at Shop66. This is one of her Secret Toy Stash Tins. I love them!

Here's one from MoonParade and one from ShabbyVintage Mom

And here are a couple from oldefrostfarm1780 and ShaneLilyRain

Doesn't it make you want to just rummage through and see what's in there?