As Spring is almost here, Your Vintage Life has written a new article for Vintage Life magazine. It refers to the wartime campaign of “Make Do and Mend” and “Dig For Victory”, highlighting that this ethos is as relevent today as it was 65 years ago. Filled with ideas for Easter gifts and how to bring a little bit of colour into your life this sprintime…it is all you need to motivate you to Spring Into Action!
Spring into Action
“Make Do and Mend” was introduced during the Second World War, encouraging women to be thrifty, making the most of their limited housekeeping money. The campaign suggested ways of recycling clothing and textiles, re-knitting woollen clothes, making blouses from pillowcases and skirts from men’s trousers. They were also given tips on how to use less and save more.
“Dig for Victory” was another campaign encouraging people to turn gardens into allotments to provide food for the family and the community. This would save money and ultimately free up valuable space on the merchant shipping convoys for war materials. Both campaigns became a way of life until the end of rationing in the 1950s.
Both are as relevant this springtime as they were 65 years ago. Spring is a time of hopeful new beginnings, with blossom covering the trees, daffodils in full bloom and the annual contemplation of de-cluttering the cupboards. Now is the perfect time to re-introduce the old campaigns, combining the recycling of vintage with the individuality of handmade and home grown.
Enamel kitchenware has been around since the 1700’s but it wasn’t until the 1930s that it actually became fashionable. The pre-war housewife loved it for it’s easy to clean, non porous finish as well as it’s chic new look. As it came in a variety of bright colours such as terracotta, green, blue and white, always with an alternative coloured edging, she could really start to co-ordinate her kitchen for the first time. However, it’s popularity declined in the 1950s when the even easier to clean melamine was introduced.
Why not add a real home grown feel to your kitchen window sill this spring, by planting herbs and chillies in vintage enamelware? Jugs, flour jars and deep stew pots are perfect and by mixing up the colours your kitchen will have a brightness that will compliment all the flowering bulbs outside. 1950’s children made and grew an indoor garden; planting grass lawns and rockery flowers as well as making trees and benches from plasticine. Why not have a go, using a vintage enamel deep baking tray and watering regularly. Alternatively, pick bunches of home grown tulips with a vintage basket and display them in an enamel jug.
Introduce spring florals to your home
Vintage wallpaper is a great way to add nostalgia to your home as well as giving it a fresh new feel. Finding original wallpaper is not easy, however single rolls are out there to be found. Give a tired space a burst of spring energy by hanging pastel floral designed wallpaper on a feature wall. 1950’s homes were not shy of a pattern or two, with many enjoying clashing patterned walls and curtains within the same room! Don’t waste the offcuts though: wrap your favourite hardback books to protect them or to personalise a notebook for a gift this Mother’s Day. Once you have cleaned out your cupboards, why not paste eye catching wallpapers inside to offset your vintage china. It will bring a smile to your face every time you open them, long into the winter months.
Hand paint your eggs
Traditionally every Easter, children made hand crafted bonnets and decorated eggs. This year, surprise a loved one with a hand painted boiled egg in a vintage eggcup for breakfast. Lay a tray with your favourite teacups and hide the egg in a 1930’s Heatmaster egg warmer. Designed with a lid and inner felt jacket to keep it warm, this is the best vintage eggcup you will find. Imagine the smile on their face when they lift the top off! For a retro look use the Tupperware plastic version designed in the 1960s
Supermarkets entice you to buy Easter eggs from Boxing Day but this year why not make your own chocolate treats. Home made truffles taste fantastic and make great gifts. Have a go at making them egg shaped…..it doesn’t matter if they are not perfect! Everyone will be so impressed that you spent time creating something, rather than just throwing a shop bought egg into your trolley. Personalise them even further by placing them in carefully chosen vintage treasures; a teacup, a jelly mould or a finger bowl champagne glass are all ideal. They will need to be eaten within 3 days, but the gift will last a lifetime.
We can learn a lot from the 1940’s creative thriftiness. Simple thoughtful pleasures of mending, recycling, growing, making and spending time rather than money, were the values of the day.
“Do Mend and Make” is our reworded campaign for 2011….be inventive with your home by reusing and mending vintage pieces then give them your own handmade individual twist. Just think of it as your own personal victory!