Thursday, 19 February 2009

Magpie Tendencies Anyone?

I have come to the conclusion that I must have been a magpie in a previous life ~ I would have been happily flying around with a tiara on my head, rings on my toes and maybe even a little sparkly number flung around my neck too...

It wouldn't have been the real thing of course ~ I probably would have been a poor magpie as I am in human life, but you see this doesn't matter to a magpie (or me) as a bit of fake bling ~ as long as it is vintage, is perfectly fine. More than fine. My absolute joy in life is to have a box full of lots of broken bits of old paste jewellery, that just need to be reinvented in some way. Odd earrings, brooches without pins, necklaces without clasps and even pieces with missing stones, I see past their little misfortunes and want to love them again and take them home with me.

I know that there are others out there just like me; blogging has enlightened me of this fact! I used to think I was a bit strange. Very strange. Now that I have got a bit older, I relish the fact that perhaps I am a bit strange, as I don't want to be just like everyone else. That's where vintage bling comes into it's own. I have the most fabulous 1950's glass necklace in a smoky grey colour that every time I wear it generates compliments and whispers of 'where did you buy it?' followed by a gasp of surprise when they ask 'how much was it?' The gasp is for how little I paid for it! Perhaps I should just say 'Tiffany's' and keep 'em guessing!

my favourite vintage glass necklace from the 1950's...a bargain at less than £10!

This week I have painstakingly removed hundreds and hundreds of teeny glass seed beads from a fragment of a 1920's/30's dress. I just had to salvage those tiny little silvery sparkles just a bit bigger than a speck of dust. You see, I told you I was strange! They are worth it, new beads are lovely, but a bit too perfect. I like mishapen, I like a scratch here and there but most of all I like the colour of old bling ~ it sparkles but is not too shiny. I hardly need to mention this as I know that I'm speaking to the converted...

teeny tiny silvery pink glass seed beads...

Edwardian large brass & paste dress ornament...

1930's square faceted glass dress ornaments

an unusually organised bead box... (before gorgeous girl opens the lid!)

Art Deco glass buckle...

1930's beaded dress decoration

Victorian paste buttons...

one of my handmade miniature pillows...
fine dress silk in grey stripe c.1910, decorated with a 1920's diamante panel

There are a few exceptions to the vintage rule however, especially when it comes to handmade. Last year I met a talented jewellery maker who creates entirely by hand, wonderful sparkling rings using Swarovski crystals. Each one can take hours to make and they are so unique. I met Anne last year whilst participating in the same craft fair (I always see so many lovely things, I end up spending more than I make!) Her website Cristaline is well worth a look and you may be lucky enough to meet her yourself at a craft fair...

my growing collection of handmade crystal rings from Cristaline

I could go on and on about my magpie tendencies; the way candlelight bounces on the facets of little paste stones, chandelier lustres hanging on a Christmas tree, but most of all it's my eyes that light up when I spy a little sparkling treasure that all the other magpies out there have missed...

Is anyone else a bit superstitious about magpies? I have this thing about one for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl etc. If I see a lone magpie I have to do a little salute ~ yes, as if I were in the army standing in front of an officer ~ that kind of salute! I was told a few years ago that by doing this I would avoid any sorrow. And now I just can't stop myself! Lord knows what people think of me if they see me driving my car saluting them as they go by. So, if you ever happen to witness this ~ it was the magpie I was saluting, honestly! Strange, strange, strange...
Until next time...


  1. Hi Ali

    What gorgeous pictures! I am just getting into the whole vintage side of things really, but I do love the fact that things have had a life before I've owned them and that where they have actually been used it shows! You do great things with the sparklies that you buy.

    So glad you like the things I'm making. Have you got any tips on how to stuff things really full with lavender? I'm trying to do hearts but they seem to end up all saggy and not looking right! Maybe it's just practice?

    Have a lovely weekend, Mel xxx

  2. Wonderful post. I love all those photos and I much prefer the reference to magpie tendencies than pack rat - which I usually call myself. I think I need to switch! You're right, those beads were well worth the work. Just the patina on them speaks volumes.


  3. Lovely pictures!
    I am defiantly a magpie; I can’t resist anything that sparkles!
    Love Lou xxx

  4. Hello Ali,

    Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog, I'm delighted to have discovered you!!

    I do the same thing with magpies and if I see one I look around frantically for another one somewhere!! I saw six on Sunday which I understand means I have some gold coming my way. Hurrah! Hopefully it will be a nice bit of vintage jewelery as described in your blog! Must keep my eyes open.... :-)

    I had a little peek in your shop and oh it's gorgeous. So French and dreamy!

    Really nice to meet you!

    Love Charlotte

  5. My family think im strange because i stroke my fabric sometimes , im not strange am i ?
    I love sparkly costume jewels they remind me of my Grandma and those days of dressing up as a child !

    Sara x

  6. Thank you for the sweet comment!!! I am so glad you like my painting. I did do the banner as well. You find the most BEAUTIFUL things!!! I LOVE your blog. Have a GREAT day!!!

  7. Hello Ali - lovely to find your beautiful blog and website.
    I am a kindred spirit,

  8. Gorgeous, beautiful, absolute, eye candy, thankyou so much for your visit.
    You have cheered me up no endxxx
    Hugs Lynn xx

  9. ah yes, I am a magpie too! If it's pretty, sparkles or is pink and fabulous,then I have to have it!

    Thank you for visiting yesterday. I am always so thrilled to find a new name, and a new link.

    Have a lovely Wednesday

    Sadie C

  10. Hi there... thank you for your lovely comments... 40something & a mum eh...? how lovely.... thanks again... Marion

  11. A girlie after my own heart! Magpie eyes are often very useful, and i hope you never lose yours, its wonderful...keep saving though beads, you never know just when you will need them!!

    Much Love from a Vintage Magpie x

  12. Well hello fellow magpie, greetings from across the sea.
    Thankyou so much for your visit.
    Everything is lovely and that precious snow baby is darling.
    Life is much more delightful when surrounded by the things you love.

  13. Hi Ali,
    You know I love it all - so sparkly, shiny, pretty! Your necklace is beautiful... Yes, I'd just say Tiffany's and leave it at that - it's gorgeous!
    I'm off to look at your shoppe.

  14. Thanks for following my blog! I will sign up for Yours! Lovely blog and shop. I guess our kind of women are born magpies! Anything silvery or glittery cathes my eye!

    I will come back later to read some more!

  15. Hello Ali

    Thank you so much for leaving a lovely comment on my new blog. I'm so glad that you have, as it has helped me discover your blog which I absolutely love! Beautiful photographs and such a lovely selection of things. I love the postcards of Paris and that glass necklace, what a find!

    It is interesting how our blog/website names has been inspired by relatives dear to us. It is a nice way for them to be remembered. I shall keep looking at your blog and website.

    Isabelle x

  16. funny...I was also a magpie....or I still am one...


Thank you for stopping by ~ I love to read your comments..