I picked up some vintage fuzzy felt just before Christmas, and even though it was destined for the Magic Town Midway Etsy shop, I couldn’t wait to have a little play! I had quite a few fuzzy felt sets when I was little and spent hours creating stuff! This is the ‘Play School’ edition and the sheet inside is dated 1960. It’s in pretty good nick considering how old it is. The only problem was that I couldn’t find enough Y’s in the box to complete my New Year’s message for Instagram! Oh well! It still looks good anyway don’t you think?!
I love the graphics on the box, and some of the instructions on the sheet are so dated it’s ridiculous. The sheet refers only to a male child throughout!? I do love all the little pictures of the full range of fuzzy felt sets on the other side though, it makes me wish I had all of them!
If you love fuzzy felt too, this set is available from the Magic Town Midway Etsy shop, and not only that, but you can save 30% off the usual price until the end of January. Hooray! Happy New Ear!
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.
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.
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.
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…
Of course I took way too much stuff with me, and had the same amount of stock again under the table in boxes!
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.
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.
And this is my photo.. taken all the way from the back of the group!
The main hall was very grand and perfect for a Christmas market. It got very busy, especially on the Saturday.
Rob manning the stall…
I love this next photo! So happy that Mr. Celery found a new home in time for Xmas! 🙂
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!
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.
A few weeks back I took part in Inktober, 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.
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.
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. 🤡🤡
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
This dog picture is actually just a drawing of two dog ornaments, side by side with an inpirational quote around them.
Here are the last few…
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.
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
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.
The book has loads of puzzles, colouring pages, quizzes, stories and projects. And of course some good lessons in safety!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
It isn’t dated, but I think it’s late 50s or early 60s. The illustrations are so nice.
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.
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
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.
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 –
After trying several different ideas for my new Etsy shop branding, I decided to go with the theme of a vintage fairground or circus.
I decided this mainly because the word ‘midway’ is an American term for a sideshow or an area of amusements at a fairground. I like the idea of my shop being a bit of a bazaar, almost like a little museum of curiosities from the past mixed with art from the future. A kind of sideshow. As I collect and sell vintage, the vintage fairground theme definitely seemed like a good idea! I did a few rough sketches, then started researching vintage lettering and patterns.
Lettering was one of my worst classes at college so I’m actually quite pleased with how these turned out. I drew all of the letters by hand, scanned them, and then played about in Photoshop ’til they looked right.
Somewhere on Google images I found a picture of an old fairground sign which said ‘Our aim is to please you’. I really loved the idea of this for my shop and decided to use it on a scroll. I also found some fairground pictures of big painted wooden arrows bearing slogans like ‘Winner’ and ‘Get Lucky’, so decided to have one of these each side of my banner to frame it nicely and welcome people in!
The main arch across the centre of my final design is based on a sign I saw above a ghost train! The orange circles along each edge are the lights. And the striped background was an idea I got from an old fashioned coconut shy. I wanted the banner to be bright and eyecatching, as well as something I could use across all social medias.
It took me awhile to get it all together, but I’m pleased with how it looks now 🙂
Hello, Janine here! Welcome to my new corner of the internet – ‘The Magic Town Midway Blog’!
I had a previous long-running blog, ‘The Dilys Treacle Blog’. When I started blogging in 2009 I’d set up a small greeting card publishing business, Dilys Treacle Treasures, with a website and Etsy shop of the same name. I used to write about my adventures in card publishing, plus anything else I liked.
Several years down the line however, I’d moved away from the greeting card world as the business side was taking up more time than designing and doing stuff I loved. In 2015 I reopened my Etsy shop to sell some remaining stock, but also listed some vintage things too, mainly stuff I’d picked up at antique shops but never had room to display!
My love of history and mid century design meant that collecting vintage trinkets had been a long term pastime, and it seemed a natural progression to curate a vintage collection online which I could sell in my shop.
Before I knew it the vintage side had taken over and I was out and about most weekends scouring the local area for old treasures…anything from cool toys and books, to quirky curios and bric-a-brac. I must confess that around 80% of the time I feel unable to part with the things I find and they end up somewhere in our front room, but mostly I know the treasures will be heading to good new homes and that makes me happy enough to let them go! I’ve recently added a selection of vintage greeting cards and postcards to the shop, plus a few antiques, and I’m also planning on using it as an outlet for my own artwork and illustration stuff in the coming months, so there will be a real random mix.
Once I’d started selling vintage I renamed the Etsy shop and the blog ‘Magic Town Midway’. I’d liked the name Magic Town for awhile, and a midway is an American term for a sideshow or amusements at a fairground, which I thought fitted in well with my ever-growing online bazaar!
I’ve been working on rebranding for the last few months and have now started afresh by getting a new blog too. The whole shebang! So, without further ado, I hereby christen this blog The Magic Town Midway Blog!