Lady Magpie & Me
China cups and cakes, bunting and bows, jams and jewellery, postcards and pinnies, all set to 40s and 50s tunes. This was the backdrop for the first ever Lady Magpie and Me event in Castle Douglas, south-west Scotland, hosted by Leah Halliday: a traditional vintage fan who brought together a large mix of sellers for visitors to explore and enjoy. Regional editor, Kath Lord-Green, caught up with Leah at her opening event…
As soon as I arrived I could feel the buzz of this first ever event. I could smell the homemade cakes from the pop-up vintage tearoom and almost taste the anticipation as busy vendors put the final touches to their stalls.
The produce-swapping table went down a treat with leeks, rhubarb and jams changing hands at such a rate that the table was bare in a matter of hours. Visitors thought it was a fantastic idea.
I started in one corner of the room, where an array of vintage bags, hats and jewellery tempted my eager eyes, then made my way through crowds of people wading through stalls selling vintage clothing, upcycled gifts, handmade aprons and new photographic prints.
To regain my staminer after elbowing alongside both new and old “magpies,” I stopped for a beautifully-presented cake, washed down with a coffee live music from Zoe Bestel (see issue four for more on this young lady), who didn’t disappoint with her beautiful ukulele upbeat quirky tunes: a real NU-folk singer who the crowd adored.
I caught up with Leah (after her turn with the Dumfries Community Choir) to find out what inspired her event…
“I’ve always been described as a bit of a magpie when it comes to sourcing my vintage treasures so I wanted to try to incorporate this idea into my new venture. I purposely wanted to use a different name and to separate Lady Magpie & Me from the other things I do.
You appear to live a very vintage life style? What era do you love the most and why?
“I love the music from the 40s and 50s and, with a background in fashion, I’ve always been particularly drawn these eras. There’s a timeless elegance to this period of fashion, when women dressed like women. The silhouette was so flattering and I love the fabrics.
How did your love of vintage turn into a business?
“Anyone who owns such an extensive collection of eclectic finds really does run out of space eventually. So the obvious thing to do was to start selling them. I’m sometimes sad to say goodbye to my vintage treasures, but it’s nice to keep them for a short while before they start their life in a new home. Having always made handmade gifts for family and friends, this seemed the perfect option. Smaller items would allow me to sell via my website alongside my vintage home wares.
Has your passion inspired others?
“I know through teaching at my So Sew Pretty workshops, I have given people the inspiration and confidence to have a go at making their own.
Does your work life inspire your home life or visa versa
“My work and home life are inseparable! My work is my life and my life is my work and I probably couldn’t have it any other way.
How would you describe the vendors at the event?
“We had a whole host of different stalls holders at our very first Lady Magpie & Me. I wanted it to be a showcase for high quality and original crafts and artisans. You can see some of them on our Facebook page.
Will the event be repeated?
“We are already hatching plans for the next Lady Magpie & Me. Initially, I had hoped that this was going to be a twice-yearly event, but from the overwhelming response we have received from both visitors and stall holders, we are planning to host Lady Magpie & Me again in spring, summer and again around Christmas.”
Leah is well under way with planning her next event: a Christmas fair on 3 November 2012. Check the website for details…
Words by Kath Lord-Green, Scotland regional editor for Pretty Nostalgic