Etsy Made Local Sheffield 2017

I had a great time at the Etsy Made Local Christmas market earlier this month! It was a two-day event running from the 2nd – 3rd December and was organised by Sophie, Jayne and Rob from the Etsy Sheffield Team. It was the first fair I’d done in ages, so I was really excited about it.

In and around the Cutlers’ Hall

The market took place at the Cutlers’ Hall in Sheffield city centre. I’d never been inside before. It’s so ornate, I really loved it. You wouldn’t think it was so grand from the outside.

Stained glass window at Cutlers’ Hall

All the previous fairs I’ve done have been craft fairs or trade shows selling greeting cards, so it was my first outing into the real world with Magic Town Midway.

This way for Etsy Made Local

It was good to meet customers face to face and find out which sort of things seemed to sell and which didn’t. I was surprised that I sold very few of the Christmas items I took for some reason, even though there was a very festive vibe and Christmas songs playing all day to get people in the mood! You can never tell what will take people’s fancy though! Here I am at my stall…

The Magic Town Midway stall!

Of course I took way too much stuff with me, and had the same amount of stock again under the table in boxes!

Vintage things! That Mike Read mug didn’t go!

One of the items which attracted the most attention was this celery jar. Lots of people picked it up and said things like ‘No wayyyy my Great Aunt Mary had one of those!’. The little squirrel nutkin brush seen below was also a firm favourite with everyone who saw him, although he didn’t manage to find a home.

Mr Celery, Squirrel Nutkin, Crazy Clown and Fruit Cat, guarding the stall.

Here’s a brilliant photo by Heather Isobel Photography of the Etsy Sheffield stallholders, gathered on the grand staircase just before we opened on the Saturday morning.

The Etsy Sheffield Team, photo by Heather Isobel Photography

And this is my photo.. taken all the way from the back of the group!

My photo of Heather taking the photo of us!

The main hall was very grand and perfect for a Christmas market. It got very busy, especially on the Saturday.

The main hall. My stall is on the right hand side. Photo by Heather Isobel Photography

Rob manning the stall…

Customers browsing at my stall! My assistant Rob stands by, ready to, well, assist.

I love this next photo! So happy that Mr. Celery found a new home in time for Xmas! ๐Ÿ™‚

The lovely customer who bought Mr. Celery from my stall. Photo by Heather Isobel Photography

There are so many talented artists and makers in the team, not to mention vintage sellers too! Check out the Sheffield Sellers on Etsy site here for more info and links to all the traders who took part in this year’s event.

Look at these beauties I got from fellow vintage seller Laura at Grey Day Vintage. Aren’t they fab! Loads more cool things in her shop too, so have a look!

Fun things from Grey Day Vintage

Hopefully there will be another Etsy Made Local hosted in Sheffield next Christmas. Follow the Facebook page to stay tuned, and for info on events running throughout the year.



Etsy Made Local – Cutlers’ Hall Sheffield

Getting pretty excited here as only a week to go until this…

Etsy Made Local – Sheffield!

It’s going to be a fun and festive two-day market, taking place on the 2nd and 3rd of Decemberย at the magnificent Cutlers’ Hall in Sheffield city centre (opposite the Cathedral). The market is one of 40+ Etsy Made Local fairs taking place up and down the country on the same weekend, giving people the chance to shop directly from local Etsy sellers in person, and just in time for Christmas too! The EML at the Cutlers’ Hall is being hosted by the Sheffield Sellers on Etsy team, and will feature over 70 stalls selling arts, crafts, handmade and vintage.

Add yourself to the official Facebook event – Etsy Made Local 2017

Here is a full list of Etsy Markets taking place on the first weekend of December – find one local to you!

This is the first time I’m taking part in an EML fair, and I can’t wait! I’ll be bringing as much Magic Town Midway stock as I can fit in my car, including some fine vintage bric-a-brac and old-fashioned homeware, quirky curios, toys and books, and a selection of greeting cards (both my own designs and some vintage ones too)! There will be lots of cool stuff, perfect for unique Christmas prezzies, and I might even manage to squeeze in some exclusive new stock which hasn’t even made it to my Etsy shop yet!

There will be some amazingly talented local artists and craftspeople selling at Cutlers’ Hall, so if you want to plan ahead and decide which stalls to visit then follow the link for a full list of traders for both days – Traders List, EML2017.

There’s also a very handy Etsy Sheffield Christmas gift guide to give you a bit of inspiration if you need it!

Sheffield Sellers Etsy Handy Xmas Gift Guide!

๐ŸŽ„Etsy Christmas Gift guide๐ŸŽ„

Ooh and I nearly forgot to say, there will be a fully licensed bar and cafe open at the Cutlers’ Hall for the duration of the weekend, and entry to the fair is FREE! Yeahhh! So put the date in your diaries, and hope to see some of you there!

EML information

Here are some ways of keeping up to date with Etsy Sheffield news…

Sheffield Sellers on Etsy website

Etsy Sheffield Facebook Page

Etsy Sheffield on Twitter

Etsy Sheffield on Instagram




A few weeks back I took part in Inktober,ย a drawing challenge started by American artist Jake Parker in 2009. He set himself the task of coming up with a new pen & ink drawing every day in October to help develop positive drawing habits & improve his inking skills. Since then the challenge has evolved somewhat into a big thing and thousands of artists all over the world join in every year, posting their efforts daily on Instagram.

Inktober logo

More info on Inktober here – The Inktober Initiative

I noticed lots of Inktober stuff happening on Instagram last year, and on October 1st I decided on a whim to give it a go this time! I used to draw a lot when I was younger, yet don’t seem to get round to it much anymore. As a kid I’d start drawing without considering whether it was going right or wrong… now if I start something with the intention of it being a proper drawing and not just a random doodle, I seem to overthink what I’m doing and how it’s going to turn out, and sometimes I just don’t start at all! Why does that happen as you get older?!

There are a list of official prompts which get released every year, which I stuck to only occasionally.

Official Rules
Official Prompt List for 2017

Mainly I just went with the flow and drew whatever came to mind. I decided to stick with the first idea I had and finish it, instead of starting again if I felt it was going wrong! Otherwise no doubt I’d have restarted drawings numerous times and never actually finished anything. Proud to say I somehow actually managed to stick with the challenge all the way through, which I was quite surprised about!

This was day one. It was based on one of those Fisher Price pop-up Jack in the Box clowns you used to get as a child. ๐Ÿคก๐Ÿคก

My first Inktober!
The first nine drawings, all together.

I wasn’t all that pleased with any of the first nine I drew, except for the dolphins! And the ninth one itself turned out particularly odd and freaked me out a bit. The first few days it was really hard to post the drawings up on Instagram as it felt a bit weird with everybody seeing them.

Dolphins on day seven

I feel like the next lot came out slightly better. In particular I was quite happy with this one I did of the Dave Clark Five. Took me ages to do all that cross hatching though.

Koalas and Kangaroos

The koalas and kangaroos picture on day 13 was based on an old postcard I found in a charity shop where a kangaroo had been really badly superimposed next to some koalas.

The next nine!

The tooth on day 18 was to celebrate the end of five months of ongoing root canal treatment! Hooray!

By the 3rd set I feel like I’d got on a bit of a roll. Day 22 was a picture of Big Daddy, based on the 1983 annual which I found on the bookshelf when searching for inspiration.

Big Daddy, 1983

Here are the third set together. The good thing about doing Inktober was that you never knew where each day would take you! I can’t even remember what prompted me to draw Bruce Lee, Mary Hopkin or Ed Sheeran. However the fish were inspired by a trip to Hull and the Alan Boyson BHS Mural.

Another nine Inktobers.

This dog picture is actually just a drawing of two dog ornaments, side by side with an inpirational quote around them.

Day 25, inspirational dogs.

Here are the last few…

Last of the Inktoberz. Until next year (maybe)

I managed to stick to my rule of completing the first thing I drew until the last day when I felt extremely uninspired and ended up drawing a picture of the Pope which was particularly bad. I couldn’t bring myself to finish it and after that I didn’t get the pens out again until November 5th when I had a strong urge to draw Alvin Stardust. I must say I’m glad I waited as I think Alvin turned out to be my best work.

Alvin Stardust, and my final Inktober.

Ps. Check out the Alvin Stardust wikipedia page. It will blow your mind when you find out that Alvin wasn’t even the original Alvin.

Anyway, now it’s over I do feel glad I joined in on Inktober. It was quite stressful at times trying to keep up with it, and I hated it for the first week, but it’s the most drawing I’ve done in ages and I’m going to do some more soon I think.

Check out all the pictures individually, as they happened, over on my Instagram >>> Magic Town Midway


The Lexicon and Bracknell Underpass Art

At the start of October we went down south for a few days to see our friends Anna & Keith and to check out Bracknell’s newly unveiled town centre.

Anna, Keith & Rob with a wooden dolphin in Bracknell

We’ve been to Bracknell loads of times but only to the town centre once, and it’s changed beyond all recognition since then!

Our first/last trip to have a look round was on a rainy Sunday afternoon in November 2014, it seemed particularly dreary with hardly anyone around, and most of the old town centre having already been demolished. I love old shopping precincts though and despite the fact it was so bleak, there was something I really liked about Charles Square.

Charles Square, Bracknell, 2014
Dreary Sunday in Bracknell, October 2014
Bracknell, 2014

One of the things I liked most was the fibreglass mural by William Mitchell, above an empty shop in Charles Square. It was commissioned in 1974 for the 25th anniversary of Bracknell becoming a ‘new town’ after the war. I was worried they’d get rid of it as part of the redevelopment but am pleased to hear it’s been save and will be on permanent display on the centre of a roundabout in the town centre! Coincidentally, there is also a William Mitchell mural in Sheffield which I love. The Sheffield one is made from concrete. It would be such a shame to lose these things.

Mural by William Mitchell, 1974. It shows the history of Bracknell.

Read more about the work of William Mitchell here –

More photos I took on our last visit, on my Flickr page – ‘One hour in Bracknell, November 2014‘.

The new centre is called The Lexicon. It opened at the start of September. I wasn’t sure what to expect as despite the fact I can tell places are run down and past their best, I’m never keen on change when it comes to town centre redevelopments. I must say though, I love it! It looks great, and there are so many good shops, plus a food market on the day we went. Think I could easily spend a whole day looking round and spending up! It’s hard to believe this is the same place as the photos above. I couldn’t relate the new places to the old at all (even when they were pointed out to me) and I was completely disoriented!

The Lexicon, October 2017
Catholic Church of St. Joseph – I love the design of this building.
Cakes at the food market. I really wanted some Pecan Pie but I’d already had a piece of carrot cake in Marks & Spencer.
Pipe installation display thing in the shopping centre.

There are still a few glimpses of the old Bracknell here and there! I particularly like the library, and the lettering on the side of the Royal Legion building.

A few glimpses of old Bracknell

One of my other favourite things is all the decorated underpasses you get to walk through on the way to town. Some of them are simple and others are ornate. The more ornate the better in my view!

Bracknell Underpass
Seasonal Bracknell scenes, pre Lexicon.

Apparently there are 76 underpasses in total so I think we only saw a small selection! Here are a few faves…

So random, these ones are brightly painted tiles.
The kid with the cross face! LOL! And the woman with the beach ball.
Rob with the girls

I’m not sure on who the artists are, or the age of the murals. They must have taken ages to do though.

Great cattle scenes, these ones are painted, I really like them!
Weirdness. Two girls in a flowerbed in their swimming costumes.
Walking through…

One of the underpasses focused on communication through the ages..

The sun shining in on this scene
Jungle underpass! Love the lion and the parrot. The close up shows what the little mosaic tiles look like. They’re textured.
Anna and Rob with a cowboy and kids. Very bizarre. The more you look at it the more fantastic it is!!
Classic underpass view

We got the train back in the evening.. I love this mural above the station entrance. Art is everywhere!

Bracknell Station entrance and old-fashioned train mural

If you ever go to Bracknell, make sure you check out some of the underpass art, I feel it’s one of the towns finest features!


Vintage Greeting Cards – Charity Shop Find!

A few weeks back I found a collection of old greeting cards for sale at St. Luke’s vintage shop at Broomhill (one of my fave charity shops btw). Anyway, I collect vintage cards so it was lucky I found them! This is just a few of them…

Vintage greeting cards

There were about 30 in the collection, some were unused but the majority were addressed to a couple called Dave and Stella. There are birthday cards, engagement cards, wedding and new home cards. Some of the 21st cards are Dave’s, and some are Stella’s.

Vintage 21st Birthday Cards

I think they must have married very young (by todays standards at least) as there is a ‘Happy 21st Birthday to my Wife’ card from Dave to Stella. It’s a big padded one in a box! Cute or what!? I can’t imagine 21 year olds choosing cards like this anymore…

Happy Birthday to my dear Wife

I’m guessing all the cards are 60s, it’s difficult putting a date on them though because some of them are so quaint with sparkles & foiling that they look almost more like a 50s style. And a few of them seem a bit 70s to me. However, looking through them I feel they must all have been sent within a couple of years of each other and therefore there’s no way they can span over three decades! Any ideas? Wish people would date their cards so I don’t have this problem!

I love these pretty ones with glitter and gold foil keys. A lot of them are padded. You never see a good padded card these days do you? The ‘Happy Birthday Greetings’ bit on the one at the bottom is padded. The one on the left also has pink ribbon on the key. All these little touches seem to make the cards of yesteryear really luxurious somehow.

Key of the door

Really love the wording inside this next one, plus the inscription from Stella’s Nan and Grandfather!! So old fashioned with the cigarette! Probably be a vape fag these days, if that’s what you call them. (That’s what I call them).

21st Birthday Card complete with real cigarette. No vaping. Just pure nicotine like a proper young man.

An illustrated one. I’m not really keen on the illustration style, but it’s fun and very of its time I suppose! Weird how it has the garish little cartoons, but also a classic scalloped gold border and script. It’s quite big too.

Illustrated card with gold scalloped edging

This next one is one of my favourites. It’s got foil horseshoes and held it’s held together with ribbon.

Large 21st Birthday Card with beads, horseshoes and a key.

On to Dave & Stella’s engagement cards now. They’re all really pretty and floral and the pink one with two hearts is padded. The middle bottom one with the rose is like a pillow!

Engagement Card selection

Quaint and delightful wedding cards, all in a similar style with wedding bells and horseshoes of course. The one in the centre on the bottom row is photographic and shiny, and I like it best because it’s different. Seems a bit ahead of its time compared to the others.

Vintage Wedding Cards

I really love this fab pop-up card, it’s my favourite one out of all of them.ย  I would be so happy if someone gave me this on my wedding day!

Congratulations on your wedding.

The way it says ‘Here’s to years of Happy Sledding’ makes me laugh! So quaint and lovely. Get ready for the inside…

Pop-up card! Look at them on their sleigh!

I feel like pop-up cards need to make a come back! Bet they’d be ridiculously expensive to manufacture though.

Lastly, here are a couple of New Home cards. I assume Dave and Stella went about things in the ‘proper’ manner and did not cohabit until married. Shock horror if they did, tut tut. The weather house card is so nice with the funny little picture inside, I love everything about it.

New Home Cards – ‘Set Fair’

I think if this last one was a card it would be my overall favourite, but it’s actually an envelope! It’s pretty much the best envelope I’ve ever seen though! The illustration and typography are spot on. What fun, eh?!

Humour! From GUESS WHO!? We’ll never know I suppose, but whoever filled in the comments was obviously a bit of a card! LOL – gerrit?

I love finding collections of cards such as these, but it does make me think of Dave and Stella and wonder how their lives panned out, and why their cards all ended up in a charity shop. Best not to think about it too much, but I do hope they’re still out there somewhere, still happily sledding.

Aren’t old cards just the best? Anyone else collect them?





Saturday in Huddersfieldย 

A couple of Saturdays back we went to Huddersfield for the day. I’d only been once before and that was ages ago, so it was definitely time for another visit. I really love Huddersfield, it has some of the best Victorian, Modern and Brutalist architecture I’ve ever seen. It’s worth spending the day there just to check out the buildings. Even the 1970s carpark is bloody great! (in my opinion anyway!)

Market Hall Car Park, Alfred Street

As soon as you leave the carpark and approach the main shopping precinct you’re greeted with this magnificent view.

Buxton House and mural

This is Buxton House, a high rise block of flats just off the main shopping precinct. There’s a walkway which goes right underneath the building and I love the mural, by Richard Fletcher. The flats and mural date from 1968.

Mural by Richard Fletcher, 1968, ‘Systematic Sequence in Line and Shade’.

One of the main places we wanted to go was the market. It’s an open market, quite old fashioned with little cafes, fruit and veg stalls, plus loads of bric-a-brac and records. You can get anything! We were in there ages, you need to get there early on a Saturday I think as they start packing up about three and close at 3.30pm.

On our way to the market we passed a shop with all these sweets. But we didn’t get any.

Huddersfield Open Market

Huddersfield Open Market

I picked up a few little treasures for the Magic Town Midway shop, I could have spent all day in there.

There’s a really nice big shopping centre in Huddersfield called Kingsgate, but the market was definitely the best, and mostly we spent the rest of the day looking round charity shops of course! We also went in Lidl to get some crisps, and a cool record shop called Vinyl Tap.

Vinyl Tap record shop

My favourite thing I love about Huddersfield is definitely the architecture, and all the different types. Below (clockwise from top left) – The Library and Art Gallery built 1937, ย Lion Chambers built 1853, Kirkpatrick Buildings built 1883, The Concert Hall (part of the Town Hall) opened in 1881. I really like the lion on top of the Lion Chambers but I found out he’s not the original from 1853… that one was so badly erroded by the 1970s that he was replaced by today’s lion, who is made of fibreglass!! (He was also wearing a scarf on the day we visited.) It’s kind of disappointing that he’s not real, but funny at the same time. It’s good that he’s still there in some form at least.

Huddersfield buildings in all their glory.

This is Westgate House, a mid 19th century building with a frontage which was rebuilt in the 1920s.ย 

Westgate House, on Westgate

We also popped into the Byram Arcade which is just opposite Westgate House. It was built as as a retail development in 1881/82, and has an amazing interior. There is a good art shop inside.

The Byram Arcade, Westgate.

The old Co-operative building on New Street is another one of my modern 30s favourites. It isn’t in use at the moment and I don’t think it has been for awhile. It was built in 1936 (opened 1937) and has really cool block lettering and a long tiled glass window on the corner. It’s very grand and I think it was one of the finest examples of a department store anywhere in the country when it opened. It has also housed a nightclub and a music school in more recent years, and part of the building is now Wilkinsons. I hope a new use is found for it, it would be terrible if it got knocked down. More about the building here.

Co-operative, 1936


The long and amazing glass window on the corner of the Co-operative building

Opposite the Co-operative building… all the concrete slabs above Home Bargains are a real contrast to the opposite side!

New Street view

I really like this street and the random mix of buildings. You can’t beat a good old shopping precinct, that’s what I always say!

Looking down New Street, about 5pm-ish.

Here are a few more views around Huddersfield. I seriously think I could spend a whole week here, a day was not enough to look round all the charity shops, plus the market AND see all the architecture too! There’s so much we didn’t get to see yet. Clockwise from top left – Mural on Ramsden Street (The Development of the Woollen Industry From a Cottage Craft Practised as an Ancillary to Farming, Up to the Beginning of the Industrial Revolution, 1966) by Harold Blackburn, a view of New Street, Mural on Princess Street (Facets of the Local Scene, 1967) by Mural Consultants, a view of Station Street.

In and around Huddersfield

We also wanted to go into the train station to see if we could get a glimpse of Felix, the Huddersfield Station cat, but she wasn’t around in the main entrance and we couldn’t get onto the platform for a better look! I have never seen a more grand station than this one. It was built in the 1840s at the end of the Industrial Revolution.

Huddersfield Train Station

We did see this magnificent portrait of Felix, which is up on the wall. Underneath it says “Felix”, painted by Rob Martin, 2016. Frame lovingly constructed by Little and Often. Dedicated to the memory of Kenny Everett, this painting is ยฃ75,000.00.

Portrait of Felix by Rob Martin, 2016

Check out Felix’s facebook page and follow her for news and updates! Next time maybe we’ll have to go to Huddersfield on the train!


New in the shop: Vintage Children’s Books

I’ve been busy getting the Magic Town Midway shop back up to speed after taking a few weeks away from it while I was redesigning the branding. Here are a few recently listed items…

Some fab new (old) children’s books arrived in the shop at the end of June.

I recently picked up a few vintage children’s books, so I’ve got a good little selection for sale now. Here are a few pix…

This one’s maybe my favourite! She-Ra Princess of Power, Threat to Crystal Castle!

She-Ra, Princess of Power. Threat to Crystal Castle

In this book you can follow She-Ra on her quest to protect Crystal Castle and save Etheria from certain doom at the hands of the evil Hordak! I particularly love the illustrations, they’re really bright and vivid. The book is from the 1986 Mini World series.

Amazing graphics!
Look how fantastic She-Ra and Swift Wind look when they’re in flight!

Here’s a large paperback Tufty activity book dating from the 1970s.

1970s Tufty Activity Book

The book has loads of puzzles, colouring pages, quizzes, stories and projects. And of course some good lessons in safety!

Make your own weatherman!

And obviously it features all the old faves – Tufty, Willie Weasel, Mrs Wise Owl, Mr Bunny Brown Rabbit, Bessie, Bobbie & Betsy, and Police Sergeant Badger.

Awww…look at Tufty having his donkey ride!

Does anyone remember Little Blue, the elephant? He had his very own kids TV series on ITV in the late 70s / early 80s, and I’ve got three little paperback books for sale which come as a set.

x3 Little Blue books, all dating from 1980

Here are the lyrics to his theme tune to help jog your memory…and I’ve found the opening credits on YouTube, so you can sing along if you like, it makes it all the merrier…

Little Blue, Little Blue
Why do they call you Little Blue?
Playing in his bath one day as some of us do,
He bit his mummy’s fountain pen and broke it in two.
The ink it squirted in the water – wow!
His mummy has a blue boy now.

They scrubbed and they rubbed
He cried and kicked up a din.
The more they washed it off
The more it washed in.
He cried ‘Oh mummy, mummy, what shall I do,
I’ll have to stay a Little Blue,
I’ll have to stay a Little Blue’.

The lyrics are some of the craziest and best I’ve ever heard, although they do kind of make me feel a bit sad somehow. I’ve wracked my brains trying to remember Little Blue from my childhood but I think he was just a bit before my time and probably didn’t get repeated a lot like Bagpuss did!

Little Blue – his mum is called Mrs Jellybun!

Happy Days With Peter Pussy – A Linette Picture Book. This one has pretty scalloped edges and a textured front and back page.

Happy Days with Peter Pussy

Peter Pussy’s day out includes the most marvellous adventures any cat could wish for ~ playing on the beach, a boat trip, refreshments at a cat motel, ice cream, fishing with Daddy, and a game of Blind Pussies Buff!

One of the lovely illustrations from the book
Some of the pages, all with full colour illustrations. Such a cute book!

This is a fab little book called Bobbity Bunny, it’s all about a pink toy rabbit who escapes from a stall at the fair to try to find someone who will dance with him!

Bobbity Bunny book

It isn’t dated, but I think it’s late 50s or early 60s. The illustrations are so nice.

Bobbity Bunny chats to a deer friend!
More Bobbity Bunny fun!

This Emu book I picked up really made me laugh!

Rod Hull’s Emu On His Own, 1978

The story is about Emu and his solo expedition to the supermarket to buy some cabbages. It doesn’t get much better, does it? There are some amazing, not to mention amusing, illustrations of Emu up to his old tricks. Images are in both colour and black & white.

Emu, shopping for cabbages.

Lastly, I found an amazing set of six 1970s cut-out shaped picture books.

Six animal picture books!

These books are not easy to find anymore so it’s great to have a set of six! They were printed by a company called Peter Haddock Ltd of Bridlington, UK, who produced picture books from the 1950s right up until 2012 when they closed.

The titles included are –
The Singing Contest
Joe and the Outlaws
Fire in the Forest
The New Alarm Clock
The Frightened Wolf
The Strangers From Another Planet

Inside the front cover, plus a selection of pages. I really like the yellow chick with berries in his beak.
Ever seen a fire engine manned by ducks before?

The stories are wide-ranging, covering topics such as forest fires, bank robbery and kidnap! They’re written in quite an old-fashioned and matter of fact style.

I would have loved these illustrations when I was a kid!

There are more pictures and details over in the Magic Town Midway Etsy shop, follow the link to the book section to see any currently available books –

The Magic Town Midway vintage Book Shelf.

x J x