Sunday, September 26, 2010

Winter Dresses....thankyou Joan Holloway

Who hasn't been inspired by Mad Men?

Well, I have been searching for some practical, snugly warm winter 'going out dresses' for an eternity, without any satisfaction. Why is it that even in rockabilly circles, women are constantly encouraged to wear flesh revealing clothing, even in the midst of bitter Victorian winters? I mean, its great for showing off tattoo artistry etc, but come on ladies....who wants to freeze their toosh off? !!

So, whilst watching Mad Men one evening, it occurred to me that Joan Holloway has the right idea ! Dresses that flatter her wonderful curves, and fit where a dress should fit, looked glamorous, and appear, most important of all, warm enough for winter ! So I set about finding a pattern and making myself a couple of Joan inspired winter dresses......

This is the result, of which I am quite delighted.

The first is a leopard print number and feels great to touch as it is a bit stretchy and has a small pile.

The second is my favourite colour green cord, which is also snugly warm and feels great to touch. I have a cunning little dark green velvet hat that matches the green waist band perfectly, it makes for a darling little outfit !

Unfortunately, a number of factors have prevented me from making more this winter, but I have a nice little pile of fabric in store for next winter season and by then I may have collected a few more patterns to vary my ever expanding wardrobe with ! A proper 1950's fitted coat is also on the cards....cant wait to try my hand at that if I ever manage to find some top quality heavy weight coat fabric !

I have also done a bit of pre-summer sewing for one of my darling girlfriends. Two Mexican inspired peasant tops from a charming vintage pattern. I love these tops and have decided to make myself a couple as well....they can be worn with a skirt, shorts or Capri pants and look fantastic dressed up or simply to wear around the house. I will be holding an Alice Jean's market stall in November (more on that at a later date) and plan to have a few of these little beauties available to purchase too - stay posted for more on that one !!

Happy spring sewing everyone....cant wait to share my spring creations with you all at the end of the season !

Scrum-diddly-umptious Lemon Self Saucing Pudding

Ths kiddies and I delighted in making this tangy and delicious pudding on a perfect September Spring day this week, the best part of which was in the eating !! I dont know what it is about Springtime, but it brings out the cook in me and nothing beats something citrus-y for that burst of springflower freshness !


6 eggs - seperated
400g white sugar
4 tbspoons SR flour
600ml milk
grated zest and juice of 4-6 lemons (depending on size and juiciness!!)
2 Tbspoons dessicated coconut


Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Place the egg yolks and 300g of the sugar in a bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add the flour, milk, lemon zest and juice and beat vigorously. in a seperate, clean bowl whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Add the remaining sugar and coconut while whisking. Gently fold in the egg whites into the lemon mixture. Poor into oven proof dish and bake for 1 hour. (I used individual ramkins, 6-8 depending on size, and baked for aprox 30 mins, or until browned on top)

Serve with King Island Cream, or your favourite ice-cream. Mmmmmmmm!!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Collection of Little Golden Books

Ever since childhood, Little Golden Books have been a favourite with me. I loved "The Taxi that hurried", "Scuffy the Tugboat" and "The little red caboose", but my alltime bestest Golden Book Story was "Goodbye Tonsils". I think I particularly liked that when MaryAnne went to hospital to have her tonsils out she was pampered and doted on, and grandma bought her a big pink teddy bear!! And MaryAnne was so adorable with her little brunette bobbed haircut, I wanted to look just like her !!!

Now that I have children of my own, collecting Little Golden Books has become a bit of a passion for me. How I adore the darling pictures, particularly if pre 1970's Golden Books. Artists such as Tibor Gergely, Mel Crawford, and Elenor Dart made the charming stories come to life so beautifully.

Here are just a few of my favourites out of my collection. I would love to hear if you grew up with Little Golden Books, and particularly what your favourite stories were....everyone has their favourite I am sure !

This is me with my favourite 'Goodbye Tonsils' which I found, to my great delight, at the Sydney Vintage Fair 2008 !

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Vintage Shopping Fun......

I love discovering wonderful 'new' vintage inspired shops - everything from bars and restaurants, furniture and antique shops, market stalls, clothing shops, reproduction shops, op shops, or online stores. I love to collect business cards of these places and so I thought I would share some of them right here with you all. A good number of these places have online shopping too, so you can shop from anywhere in the world (there are some awsome things about moderninity !!). Some places, however are a little 'lost in time', so make sure you keep them in mind when passing through out of the way places !!! Happy shopping everyone!! My fav. vintage clothing shop !


Make sure you visit when in Yackandandah!

Do drop in if you are ever in Boort !

A glamerous, deco styled cocktail bar - divine !

Great repro clothing at

Inspirations atomic furniture at

Call in if you are ever in Lockhart - excellent prices and great variety on everything from antique furniture to cannisters!

Call in if you ever visit Narandarra....beautiful kids clothes and vintage car bricabrac !!

Amazing repro clothing using vintage fabrics...Justine can make you up whatever you need...excellent mens duds too !!

Wonderful kitchenalia, including repro aprons etc

Best music selection you can get...everything old and original, and terrific contemporary rockabilly/hillbilly/rock'n'roll.

Incredible selection of radios, smoking tables, cannisters and classic deco and bakelite peices.

Echuca's one and only classic vintage clothing shop - truly inspirational!! Check it out in High Street, Echuca

Check out this store jam packed with clothing and accessory goodies

Bendigo's finest selection of vintage clothing and accessories....dont miss this shop located in View Street opposite the Gallery.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Living Dolls - Miss September 2010

Introducing the beautiful Lauren Maringola, our wonderful Miss September Living Doll !!

What does 'vintage' mean to you?

Although vintage technically spans from the 20s to the 80s, when I think of vintage clothing I tend to think for the 1910s to the early 1960s. I also love previous centuries, but think of them more as antique and not as wearable fashion.

What was it that first prompted your interest in vintage culture?

My love for historical clothing came out of books and movies I loved as a girl- especially the romantic fashions of the early 1900s. I fell into vintage culture by accident, actually, and for about ten years loved and cherished vintage clothing and researched fashion history without the smallest inkling that there was a whole subculture devoted to vintage. The internet really broadened my understanding of how widespread the love of different eras were. I am somewhat shy in real life, so originally I was a little scared getting into the whole thing, but now really enjoy dressing up and going to events that recreate the past.

What is your favourite era, and do you 'live it' every day? In what ways?

I have two favorites- the Edwardian era and the 1930s. I love to collect the clothing, periodicals, and vintage patterns and recreate the clothing through sewing. I don't live it every day, but I do wear a lot of clothing I make myself from vintage patterns- most of my day to day wardrobe is recreated 1940s and 1950s clothing with some modern clothing with a vintage feel mixed in. Although most of our furniture is antique and my husband drives a vintage car I couldn't do without my modern conveniences like the computer, tv and dvd player, and my modern sewing equipment. I don't have enough discipline to do my hair and makeup every day.

Tell us about your favourite item of vintage clothing, kitchenalia, music, furniture or whatever !

One of my favorite things I own is a set of red leather bound antique books called the "Little Leather Library". They are so cute and small! I got them at a library sale ages ago and there's a good hundred of them at least in their original little cardboard box.

Can you share with us why vintage culture continues to hold such appeal for you?

I really love sharing information about the past and learning more and more. Finding others with a similar passion is really fun and interesting. With the internet making communication and sharing resources much more available it's fascinating watching more and more people who come to identify in some way with the past, or take the aesthetic of a bygone era and put their own personal twist on it. I think the 1930s through 1950s was an era that was extremely flattering to women of all different sizes and shapes, and the glamour is somewhat empowering in a way- it certainly helped me find my self esteem in the way of physical expression of style.

Do you have any tips for anyone starting out in the vintage scene?

Experiment with what works for you. The more I learn about the past the more I understand that there were so many more different styles out there than what we come to expect as the stereotypical look of the period. Play with your hair and makeup, play with proportion in clothing, and don't be afraid to try something new. It's all about what works for the individual. And if you're really interested in the history start researching it yourself. The internet is great, but there's a lot that simply isn't available on the internet. Lots of libraries still have bound issues of past magazines- go and spend some time looking though them for more style inspiration. And invest in yourself- if you're really interested a personal expression of style consider learning to sew so you can make your own clothing.

Now is your chance to provide us with an overview of who you are and what you do. Tell my readers as much or as little as you like !!!!

I am really inspired by the day-to-day wear of times past, and the clothing of the average woman as well as high fashion and movie fashion. I'm constantly amazed at the forgotten information, especially since vintage fashion was just this last century. The past is a constant source of inspiration for me aesthetically and I really enjoy learning as much as I can about fashion history and the way it related to culture. I am a one-woman business right now, and part of what I do is make sewing patterns so that we can recreate really difficult to find styles of vintage day to day wear. Vintage patterns are like blueprints to the past- and long after the clothing is fit to be worn if we have them preserved for the future more and more people can incorporate vintage style into their lives. I went to school for fashion design, so it's fun to incorporate my passion into something that others can use to create something for themselves. Before working on my etsy store full time I worked for different theatres and independent films as a seamstress and designer. I love sharing little things I find on my blog, too-

Finally, what or who inspires you and why?

There are too many people to list since. Style wise I am really inspired by Casey of Elegant Musinge ( and the way she takes vintage and incorporates it into livable style. I am also really inspired by classic film stars Ginger Rogers, Barbara Stanwyck, and Priscilla Lane.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Quote of the month - September 2010

"Without confidence, there is no friendship"

For something a little different, I thought I would refer to an ancient Greek scholar for my quote this month. I have recently learned, once again in my life, of the tremendous power for good and blessing that there is in pure friendship. To truly be a friend, two people must have confidence in each other...confidence in, I believe, the essential goodness, genuineness and 'realness' of the other. Without confidence friendship cannot exist. The Bible puts this concept in terms of love this way "There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out all fear." Thankyou to all my darling friends who have shown confidence in who I am and loved me extravagantly over the past month..... I love you too!

From the beautiful relationship/friendship film "Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood"

A little about the philosopher who gave us this quote: (from Wikipedia)

For Epicurus, the purpose of philosophy was to attain the happy, tranquil life, characterized by ataraxia - peace and freedom from fear, and aponia - the absence of pain, and by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends. He taught that pleasure and pain are the measures of what is good and evil, that death should not be feared, that the gods do not reward or punish humans, that the universe is infinite and eternal, and that events in the world are ultimately based on the motions and interactions of atoms moving in empty space.

Epicurus warned against pursuing love too ardently. However, having a circle of friends you can trust is one of the most important means for securing a tranquil life.

The power of confident friendship in "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe"

Fascinating !! 

Flower of the Season - Winter 2010

Over the past winter I have sojourned to Melbourne on many occasions and wound up in the charming inner city suburb of Clifton Hill. It was always such a pleasure on a bleak grey day to wander down Queens Parade, poking my head into various cute little shops, cafe late in hand. However, nothing would send my head spinning with delight as much as the heady whiff of jonquils in great overblown bunches, sitting prettily in buckets on the footpath, just waiting for someone to carry them home to a snugly winter living room.....

Jonquils are my very favourite of all winter flowers....the come along just when the world seems quite cold and dead and liven things up with their colour and their intoxicating scent. And from an old fashioned gardening perspective, they are so very easy to grow !! Simply plant your bulbs in the ground and let nature surprise you come the cold chilly season. When I was born, my mother recalls coming home to our old farm homestead with her new baby, and finding the garden lawn brimming with swaying jonquils. They do so well planted, old fashioned like, under a buffalo lawn.... while the lawn is dormant (and where I live, frost bitten) up come the jonquils....and by the time the spring growing season is upon us, the jonquils are about finished and can be simply mown over with the lawn mower when it requires it's first haircut. Alternatively, they look marvelous popping up through violets, or planted alongside freesias in contrasting colours like red, or purple.

My only suggestion pertaining to the growing of jonquils is that you allow as much time as neat garden appearance will allow you, to let the jonquils die back naturally. It is at this time that they are storing energy for the next flowering season and they are drawing nutrients to do so from the spent leaves of this season. It's hard to resist the temptation to lop off scraggly leaves, but hang out as long as possible....or if you bulbs are in a pot, pop them somewhere discrete !! Jonquils love sun, and well draining soil with moderate water. And give them a little loving care and they will reward you with days and days of happy winter cheer !!
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