Tuesday, 12 July 2016

A Lucky Pick Up - Inside A Vintage 1980s Sad Sam Honey Pyjama Case

There are some things that just totally typify the 1980s for me - one of them is the pyjamas case. No single bed was complete without one. Isn't it sad - do they even make them anymore? I had a plush mouse with a huge skirt (!) to look after my pyjamas in the 1980s. Haha

I was doing my usual stock hunt the other weekend at a house clearance when I happened upon a huge skip bag full of plush. Nothing exciting until I found Sad Sam's Girlfriend Honey - she's huge! She felt solid, so I had a quick peek inside the zip and spotted some real gems. I paid and took her home for a good wash.

The contents were better than I was expecting - vintage 1980s tee shirts. Two of them Snoopy. My favourite!

Have you ever found anything exciting in thrifted items? I've found some great stuff...hmm? Maybe another blog post there :-)

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Oh The Places You'll Go Dr Seuss Keepsake for Emmett

I really love Pinterest - I've been a fan since the beginning. An online scrapbook to remember internet bookmarks in a visual way?! I was first in the queue. One of the earliest things I pinned was this brilliant idea, way before Emmett was even born. Unfortunately, like many Pinterest pins I'm not sure my source is correct (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong)

The idea is to get each of your child's teachers (i'm starting with Emmett's nursery ladies) to write a little message in the pages of the book. Each year, you add each teacher in secret and then present the book as a surprise when they finish school or graduate. I'm sure keeping it a surprise will be trickier as he gets older, but I'm going to try my best.

Emmett starts school in September. It's bitter sweet as I will miss having him around everyday, but he's so smart and so ready for school it feels right. I know he's going to love it. We were also one of the lucky families that got our first choice school. I'm so excited.

I bought my special edition in a slipcase on ebay. I also found some really nice covering notes other families have produced here. They are still quite a few listed if you'd like to make this part of your family tradition. Have you started one already? I'd love to hear how it's going

No affiliate links - I just thought it was a really lovely idea and wanted to share :-)

Monday, 4 April 2016

New Financial Year Business Goals 2016-2017

For my I have the start of a new year where I set myself personal goals, but I always like to set myself some business goals at the start of a new financial year which for me is the start of April. Here are my plans for the coming year

  • Increase my shop inventory
  • Design and have my own pin badges made
  • Increase my Instagram followers and continue to comment and interact more
  • Build a business website
  • Try and blog at least twice a week
  • Approach more business' and publications to collaborate with and source toys for
  • Streamline my own collections
  • Take more pictures
  • Research and cost for garden office

How about you? Do you have new financial year goals or resolutions?

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

My Best Ever Pica Pica Vintage Hauls Part 3 - The 1980s Disney Collector

This was my most recent eye popping find. Last year I happened upon a house clearance sale disposing of a whole lifetime of collecting. The other dealers were most interested in the huge piles of Christmas collectibles and handbags, but for me it was the Disney. The family had obviously been huge fans and were regular visitors of all the American theme parks during the 1980s and early 1990s but what was most exciting for me was the condition. Everything was in it's original carrier bags and there were multiples of everything - not just one keyring but 20 all in a carrier bag...not just one coin purse, but 12 in a carrier bag. Like I said, EYE POPPING. Some of the best items were from this great print range by Australian artist Ken Done.

I bought these spoons because I loved them - I have a pot full. I can't find anything out about them. are they simply teaspoons from the cafes and the collector saved them? I'd love to know

After again making a huge pile of awesomeness came the most exciting news - there was more! I'd been pleasant with the sellers and struck up a conversation. It turned out it had been a huge house - they had another two lorry loads at least from the same collection. Over the next two weeks I proceeded to get two more car loads of stock from them. I love it with my job that I never really know what I'm going to find next. I'm going to put that original 1985 carrier bag in a frame to remember just how great a find this collection was.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Care Bears Sighting - The Supermarket and the Cinema...for £1!

After an especially stressful wrangle around the supermarket with a grumpy 3 year old and a 1 year old (busy day out + supermarket trip = GRUMPY) I totally pushed my luck. I was really happy to find this little bargain in the Tomy Gasha Capsule Toy Vending machines on our way out.

They're about 1.5" tall, flocked and scented. If flocking and perfume scented toys aren't a nod to the 1980s, then I don't know what is?! We got Friend Bear who's Pienapple scented (!) There are 8 different ones to collect. I've since seen them in the cinema too, so hopefully you'll find them round where you live too. I'm saving my £ coins for my next supermarket visit, but maybe I'll leave the grumpy over tired children with Daddy next time :-)

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Lucky Dip Club Review - February Unboxing Galentines Surpise Box

When I hear that thud every month of my Lucky Dip Club box coming through my letter box, I go and grab it straight away. I put it up safe away from the sticky fingers of Emmett and Rudie and I save it for a quiet moment with a cup of coffee so I can have a nice long look at everything in peace and quiet.

I was excited for this month's box. Galentines is something I think I heard for the first time last year - it's a basically cute term for sending your girl buddies something at Valentines. Cute, huh? And who doesn't want to let their girl pals know that you love them? In celebration of this, this month's box contains a little set of Girl Gang greetings cards, a GIRLS lettering banner, BFF 2 part keyring, Unicorn and rainbow enamel pin and a note book. The quality of the notepad paper is ace - nice skinny lines (my favourite)

I'm so lucky with my own Girl Gang. I work from home so I have no work colleagues. It can be lonely at times. My pals are totally essential and I'm lucky that we all have the same dorky sense of humour. I feel incredibly grateful to have such good people in my life

If you missed sending your girl pals something on Valentines day, it's never too late. Everyone likes a special surprise in the post :-)

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

My Best Ever Pica Pica Vintage Hauls Part 2 - The G1 My Little Pony Motherlode

Here we are for part 2 of my best ever hauls of stock for Pica Pica Vintage. This time I was at a carboot sale outside my local area. I'm terrible - I can't drive past a jumble sale, car boot sale or charity shop without stopping for a little peep. I was visiting my Mum in Sussex in 2011. I was already quite satisfied with my finds so far at the sale until I caught a glimpse of all those pony tails all jumbled up in a box together. I abandoned my route up and down the rows and ran over worried that someone else might have spotted what I'd seen. Without digging in the box too deeply, I asked the price for the whole lot. I could have cried. They were all mine. I'd just bought nearly 200 vintage My Little Ponies.

They were all in good condition, and luckily only in need of a little TLC to get them ready for my customers. I really wish I'd taken pictures of them all lined up drying in the garden in the sunshine. It was of my most lucarative collections I've ever bought as there were some real gems including rare accessories and Europe and UK exclusive ponies. All of my collectors were really pleased. By the time I'd finished sorting everything out I even found some ponies were complete with all their original accesories. I still sometimes dream about that find.

Do you have something missing from your collection? Just send us an email vic(at)picapicavintage.com and we'll do our best to help!

Monday, 21 March 2016

Collectors Guide - Know Your My Little Ponies 1980s to the Present

If you're looking to start a collection or replace your old lost toys, We love My Little Pony. Here's a rough guide to the toy line so far:

Generation 1 (G1) 1982 - 1995
This is by far the most popular line with collectors. For pure nostalgia and style they are great. There is literally something for everyone with the original Earth Pony line, the Big Brother clydesdale ponies to the clear glitter ponies. Prices start at around £6 for one in good condition, but you can expect to pay over £100 for international exclusives and variations.

Generation 2 (G2) 1997 - 2003
How can a toy line get it so wrong? This version was a disaster with hardly any commercial success in the USA and discontinued there in less than a year after launch. Their strange skinny bodies and hippo like faces had none of the charm or cuteness of the original line. You can pick up G2 mint in pack ponies for less than £10. However due to their unpopularity some of the later play sets and ponies are still quite valuable due to their rarity!

Generation 3 (G3) 2003 - 2009
After a pony hiatus, they were back. They'd learnt their lesson and came back with a chunkier pony with lots more in common with G1. This generation was targeted to a younger age group, so everything was more solid and less fiddly with no small pieces and less accessories.

This was the first line that the artists really got into - there are some great customised ponies in this generation. The value in this generation is in the charity exclusive and convention exclusive ponies.

For new or younger collectors this is a really great place to start. They can be picked up extremely cheaply with prices starting at as low as 50p a pony online if you buy job lots.

Generation 4 Friendship Is Magic (G4 FiM) 2010 - Present
Lauren Faust took the reigns for the cartoon series for this generation. With a pedigree in Powerpuff Girls, it's easy to see the parallels. This series has pulled My Little Ponies back in front of a brand new audience and for the first time has really encouraged the new wave of male collectors, even coining the Bronie title for the once neglected male fans. The toys are super cute and already a big hit with collectors. Keen eyes will already see play sets and ponies in store exclusive deals in Argos and ToysRUs. The mold for these guys is smaller than it's been before with a more Japanese / Kawaii cutesy style. With values already creeping up I can see this as a good bet for a future collectible.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

My Best Ever Pica Pica Vintage Hauls Part 1 - MEGO Dolls & Mint In Box Fisher Price Toys

I've got a great nose for a bargain and I've really tried to fine tune my eye to spot the best vintage toys for my customers. I've been running Pica Pica Vintage for 6 years now (with two bouts of maternity leave thrown in for good measure) but I've actually been thrifting ever since I can remember (sheesh - over 25 years?!) I was THAT contrary child who didn't like 1980s neon pink Barbie dolls. I spent my childhood searching out 1960s and 1970s Sindy dolls as i preferred their more realistic clothes and furniture. They had brunette hair that was more like my own. Maybe this was where my love affair with vintage began?

Anyway, here is part 1 of some of my all time favourite finds of the past 6 years. Isn't it a bummer we only think to take more pictures now? I really wish I'd have had the thought to take pictures at the time.

Ones early morning I was feeling down heartened to have only found some 1980s McDonalds toys - still good for my inventory, but nothing to get too over excited about. Suddenly I spotted the corner of a box. Straight away it was the bright blue and red of vintage Fisher Price. Soon I amassed a huge pile including the Fisher Price record player mint in box along with several other sets including the airport which I was really pleased with. I had a word with the stall holder and asked if it was ok to start a pile. I always find this polite and also showing that kind of courtesy will show you're a serious buyer and could even mean you get first dibs on things that haven't been unpacked yet. This haul made me take a trip to the cash point for more money and three trips back to the car with a trolley of toys. This collection turned out to all date from the 1970s / 1980s and had been looked after perfectly with most things never having been removed from their boxes.

The final cherry on the cake was finding a carrier bags full of 1970s poseable MEGO figures. I carefully took them all home to research. Unexpectadly, in my bag of familiar Marvel characters was the ultra rare Zorro figure. No listings on eBay existed with him in his full outfit including his cape. I was delighted to sell him to a London collector for over £100. If only he'd had his sword. The thing is, everything owned by this collector was so well looked after it probably was there and I missed it. One of the things I love most about my job is that I'm always learning. I'll know what his sword looks like for next time

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

My Collections - Vintage Fisher Price Little People

I used to collect (read: hoard!) a lot of vintage toys. The saddest thing about this though was that there were too many to even display properly, so they were all sat in boxes. This was part of the reason I founded Pica Pica Vintage as a way to thin out my collection.

My biggest collection was vintage Fisher Price - the mid century style paper decals really speak to me and I have such a fondness for those Little People that fit just so perfectly into little hands in a way that they've never managed with subsequent attempts at replicating that original toy line.

This year I've been more about really drilling down and thinking properly about how I want my home to look. I will say that the Marie Kondo book has definitely been an inspiration, but my friend really made me laugh in saying that by buying the book we'd just be cluttering up the house even more! Haha. All that being said, it has made me think and as a result I completely down sized my collection - only keeping one of each of the figures and listing everything else in the shop.

I find this little group of guys much more pleasing to look at now and I honestly prefer the money in the bank rather than sat sadly in boxes in the loft.

If you're looking to add to your Fisher Price collection, some of mine can still be found here in the shop

Friday, 4 March 2016

Hello There - 20 Facts All About Me

My name is Vic. I'm 34. I'm married to my best friend and we have two little boys, Emmett and Rudie. This is my blog and business Pica Pica Vintage. Here's 20 facts about me. However it is you've found my little corner of the internet, thanks for stopping by!

1) I learnt to crochet 4 years ago when I was pregnant with Emmett and it's one of my favourite ways to relax in the evening

2) I am totally unashamed to say that I love Eastenders. I think Danny Dyer is the best thing to happen in the history of the show #sorrynotsorry

3) I didn't learn to drive until I was 29. I wish I'd learnt earlier. My first car was a vintage Mini. It was stolen and I've never seen it again.

4) The best place I've ever been to was Tokyo. In 2018 me and Alex will have been together longer than we've been apart. We hope to go again to celebrate.

5) I love Dr Pepper and Cherry Coke. I'd happily drink it everyday if it wasn't so bad for me.

6)  In my previous career I owned Pink Kat and then Robot Shop mainly based in Camden. I studied fashion at LCF until I dropped out and started my business.

7) I still love Reeves and Mortimer. We're going to see them live again this month and I can't wait.

8) I collect midcentury furniture and ceramics

9) I've been a Lauren Laverne super fangirl since she was in Kenickie. Her BBC6 Radio show feels like she's playing from my own brain jukebox. I love her.

10) I'm still sad that Mad Men is over

11) I love doing laundry and I'm deadly serious about how the dishwasher should be loaded.

12) I'm at my happiest hosting ridiculously themed dinner parties or cooking for friends

13) I think Tiger and Hema are the two best things to happen to the British high street in ages

14) I hate going to the hairdressers. I wear my hair in a bun everyday.

15) If I was on Mastermind, my specialist subject would be Katharine Hepburn

16) My favourite director is Wes Anderson. My favourite film is The Royal Tenenbaums

17) I'm not competitive, but really like playing board games. I never win

18) I really love stationary. A stationary shop in Tokyo made me cry

19) My favourite band are Beach House

20) I really love lists

Thursday, 3 March 2016

#MarchMeetTheMaker Instagram Daily Challenge with Joanne Hawker

One of the things that's made me take a bit of a personal hiatus from Facebook is just how amazing and supportive the Indie Business community is over on Instagram. I'm at home all day with my children when I'm not working and when I am working I have no colleagues. Being able to chat to like minded folk in the same boat is not only encouraging, but frankly, essential!

I was so happy when I found this list of daily photo prompts posted on a stream on Instagram - not only are the prompts very inspiring, but it's been a great way to meet new people and open up about the workings of my business and hopefully get me into a better routine of focusing my social media presence and growing my business.

It's not too late to join in - you could easily catch up as today only marks Day 4. In case you're not using Instagram, here's my first 4 days:

Day 1 - Brand
Pica Pica is the Latin word for magpie. I love magpies - and it's my job to hunt out vintage toy treasure for my customers

Day 2 - You
A rare selfie from me (I'm not much of a selfie taker) If you place an order through my eBay store, I'm the one that found the vintage toy, cleaned it, listed it, packed it and posted it. When I'm not looking after the children I'm working on my own sewing or crochet. Current guilty pleasure is Sons Of Anarchy

Day 3 - Workspace
This is one small corner of the box room at the front of our house. I have another room that stores most of my inventory. This is my space for listing and packing. I thought I could have tidied it and made it look neater, but I'm actually in the middle of a really busy period for me and this is what it actually looks like

Day 4 - Tools
Essential items for me are a mini screwdriver set. everything battery operated must be tested first. I love Bic Biros for taking notes. Cute tape measure. If you're using something everyday, may as well be cute, right?

I really hope this might have sparked your interest to play along. Find me on Instagram @pica_pica_

Take a look through other makers taking part #marchmeetthemaker

Find Joanne Hawker, the creator of this great prompt series:
@joannehawker on Instragram

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Show And Tell - My Madballs Collection

Here's a brand new feature where we're going to be showcasing the amazing toy collections of our lovely customers.

Madballs were launched by AmToy in the mid 1980s, part of the American Greetings group. Their gross out humour was on a par with Garbage Pail Kids, so of course children loved them and parents hated them. There was also a cartoon series and computer games based on the toys. During their lifetime people complained of injuries as a result of the hard materials used to manufacture the balls. They later changed to a softer foam. The distinction between these materials is important to most collectors. 

Madballs are back again with versions of the original characters available to gross out a whole new generation. Lets get the ball rolling and meet Johnny and his collection (Haha. Sorry!)

Johnny James Walker



Sydney, Australia 

When and why did you start collecting?

Madballs were my favourite toy as a kid in the eighties I revamped my obsession about 10 years ago and here we are, I used to have a lot of movie props/collectibles but now its just the toys.

Favourite item in your collection and why?
My favourite is Fist Face the purple foam 1985 Madball pictured.

Latest addition and where you got it?My last toy was a while ago I think it was Snake bait loose also pictured. I find these treasures on ebay, esty  or Parry's Game Preserve.

Something interesting or a fact about your collectionThere are foam balls and rubber ones most collectors try to get one or the other. I'm different I like both. I also love similar handmade items like my crab and my snail.

Your holy grail item you dream of findingI would love to find another Splitting Headache Madball or another Screamin Meemie baseball bat these 2 items are super rare. I own 1 of each but id buy another if I saw one.

Thanks Johnny. I especially love the display case that means they're all able to be on show. Such a great idea. 

Do you have a toy collection you'd like to share with us? Send us an email - we'd love to hear from you :-)

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Lucky Dip Club Review - January Unboxing The Donut Dinerette Surpise Box

If you are yet to come across the delight that is Lucky Dip Club, then you're in for a real treat. Leona explains it much better than me - but essentially it's a monthly surprise box through the post full of vintage and kitsch inspired treats showcasing the best new designers and Indie business'.

There are lots of exciting changes for this year. Unfortunately the lovely twine that used to wrap around the outside has gone, but instead there are now really cute stickers to seal and decorate it. I hear that there will eventually be custom printed boxes in the future which sounds exciting. Also, the collectable charms that came in 2015's boxes are replaced with a new monthly enamel pin. Enamel pins are so popular right now, so this is a really nice addition to the box. Probably the most interesting change is the brand new exclusive Girl Planet mini magazine. All the features that used to be limited to just one fold out sheet now have space to breathe with lots of new articles and longer interviews with more pictures. If editior Zabby's colourful Instagram feed is anything to go by, I'm really interested to see each edition. Has this peaked your interest?? Thought so! Lets have a look inside this month's box.

First thing, as always is the gorgeous attention to detail. I'm a really sucker for stationary and packaging. The colour coordinated tissue paper, envelopes and paper bags all sealed with stickers are a real treat to take your time opening. This month every item has been exclusively illustrated by Mel Stringer. She's not an artist I'd come across before, but that's one of the great things about Lucky Dip Club - it's like Leona knew we'd be totally into her!

This month contains a super cute dry wipe 'Donut Forget' magnetic board and pen,  donut necklace, an art print, embroidered patch and a donut sticker set. I think my favourite items are this months pin and the launch of the Girl Planet magazine. All in all I think it's really great value for money and I love supporting such an influential indie business. Most importantly I'm at a time in my life when basically the only thing that comes through my letterbox are dreary bills, so who can say no to a monthly box of sunshine?

Monday, 1 February 2016

Our Shopkins Collection

We were out shopping and Emmett found these at the counter. The little shopping basket series 3 came in were so cute. This was a while ago, before Shopkins became the biggest selling new toy line in the USA. A quick look on Instagram will show you queues round blocks for the release of series 4.

I'm a big fan of anthropomorphic toys (basically anything inanimate with a face) Shopkins tick all the boxes for cute and the collectable factor is very addictive. I feel they are definitely going to be a collectable for the future. Already some of the rare figures command huge prices on ebay. Also, anything that promotes community with children is a good thing - there are various Shopkin swapping parties advertised online and I also really like the nod to the collectibles of the 1980's like bubblegum cards and Lil' Babies figures that you could trade with your friends.

Series 4 is definitely the best series so far with the addition of super cute Petkins with animal faces. Also a first for this series are the Shoppies dolls. They're really cute too and have already been a big crossover hit with doll collectors. I think the prices are reasonable. The smallest set for this series has two random figures in blind bags in a stackable crate (the crate is available in white, pink and fuschia) This retails for around £2.49 in most shops. I think this was our favourite set as the stackable crates add a lot of play value. We bought the bigger pack so that we knew we'd get some of the Petkins. The paint job on the cabbage sold us too!

I painted up this thimble shelf to display them in my office when we're not playing. Cute, huh?

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Shopping Small - Why we love our customers

Dear Indie Shop Customer,

When you Shop Small, you're not just paying money to a company, you're putting money straight in our actual pocket.

For me, you're paying towards our dinner. You're paying for that car repair that comes from nowhere and I have no idea how we're going to afford it. The relief in the beginning of small business when you hear that email ping on your phone in the supermarket and realise that someone has made an order that will pay for your shopping. Most importantly you're allowing me to have a job that allows me to be here everyday and look after my children at home.

We try hard to add extras to your order that only an indie business can - a hand written note, maybe a flyer or postcard that we've designed ourselves (it hasn't come from our art department because we don't have one) We've packed your order while our babies nap in the next room. We picture that you'll love opening your parcel.

The fact that you've chosen to persevere with our clunky website or slow payment processing - we love you for that and we're more grateful than you realise.

Thank you for every penny you've sent our way,

Lots of love,

A Small Business Owner

Some of my favourite Indie Business'

Lucky Dip Club
Dotty Cuckoo
I Like Cats
Retro Kids