Monday, February 27, 2012

Outre Gallery

While working in the CBD of Melbourne over summer, I happened across the most outstanding gallery I have ever beheld, and I wondered what rock I had been dwelling under to have not heard of this fantastical place before !!! The Outre Gallery in Elizabeth Street, Melbourne is a destinational spot for any lover of modern/mid century design and inspired artists if ever there was one! I found myself in awe of the selection of artist on display, and seriously inspired to up the anti with regard to my personal art collection....what more fitting way to celebrate the various epochs of ones life than by the purchase of a classic work by the likes of Shag, Matte Stephens or Derek Yaniger (apart from painting your own amazing commemorative works of course !!) Here are some samples of the work on offer....

As a placemaker, I am captivated by the works of Matte Stephens - they are so beautiful and he has such a disarming way of capturing the spirit of a city, even when he is not a 'native'...check out Melbourne and Sydney below.......

(I am sooooo saving up for this Melbourne print)

And the always sensational Shag prints....the trouble with his work is that it is nigh on impossible to choose a favourite to purchase, they are all so wonderful........


And my newly discovered love of Derek Yaniger.......I am instantly back in the 60's !!

You simply must visit this gallery - in person or online - to appreciate the calibre of the work they carry......I have been truly inspired...believe me, there will be more about this wonderful place in the future at Alice Jean's......

and if you are in Melbourne this week, here is an event not to be missed at the gallery:

Australian Modern Launch
Exclusive Pre-Opening Floor Talk $20

Prior to our official event on Friday night (7pm), we are holding a special presentation for limited numbers at 6:15pm.

Chris Osborne (Brisbane) is the editor of this new publications Australian Modern and he will graciously be doing a short talk on Antipodean Mid-Century Style and History.

Cost is $20 (cash on the door) which includes ONE magazine (valued at $16), floor talk and refreshments. One partner or friend can also be admitted free (single magazine applies to people coming as a couple)

If you would like to come along to this pre-event at 6:15pm before the official opening, please reserve your place either by calling 9642 5455 or via email

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Flower of the season - Hydrangea

Here in Australia we are fast approaching the end of Summer.....I must admit, I am not sad about that fact. Although I love swimming, BBQ's and daylight saving (long summer evenings), I am not a big fan of scorching heat that makes it too hot to be bothered going anywhere or wearing pretty clothes, crispy countryside (although it can have it's artistic look from time to time), and a general feeling of uncomfortableness every time I step out the door once it gets past 9 in the morning. That said, there are some redeeming things about the summer season. Despite the meteorological phenomenon of  sometimes getting entire weeks (and even months) with the temperature consistently above 38 degrees (thats 98F for those in the Northern Hemisphere), one plant always lifts my hot summer spirits....the ever so humble Hydrangea. It captivates right from December around Christmas time, all the way through till  Autumn when its showy flower heads start to fade to the darlingest green hue - perfect for drying or long term arrangements. And I have to say, they really are one of the most photogenic of all flowers too.... just take a look at these lovely images from pinterest and my sisters garden which prove my point.....

 As for their relevance to a mid century blog, does anyone remember, like I do, hydrangeas in their grandmothers garden? We would celebrate every Christmas at Grandma Jean's home and her front garden would always be heavy with big showy pink and blue blossoms. I always acquaint them with Christmas time and with Grandma Jean and all the old fashioned homeyness that was wrapped around the peaceful little green house on the forest and river's edge.

Research mid century and you will also find that hydrangea style adorned many fabrics, its hues were reflected in colours from porcelain bathroom fittings to crockery, and many hats were decked out in hydrangea was very much one of the flowers of the era.

Keeping hydrangeas:

Hydrangeas are actually quite hardy plants, but they will soon let you know if they are low on water !! A droopy flower head and leaves are the tell tale signs, but a good soak will set them to rights again. If you live in mountainous regions (where the soil is more acidic), your flower heads will inevitably be blue, or blue tones. If you live on the flats like I do, where the soil is more alkaline, you will have rosy hued flowers. To change the colour of your hydrangea flowers, you simply need to change the pH of your soil with a kit from a nursery.....I have tried the old wives tale of placing a steel pot scrubber in the soil to turn them blue and it doesn't work - get the kit from the nursery !

Some interesting info about Hydrangeas:

Hydrangeas are popular ornamental plants, grown for their large flowerheads, with Hydrangea macrophylla being by far the most widely grown with over 600 named cultivars, many selected to have only large sterile flowers in the flowerheads. Some are best pruned on an annual basis when the new leaf buds begin to appear. If not pruned regularly, the bush will become very 'leggy', growing upwards until the weight of the stems is greater than their strength, at which point the stems will sag down to the ground and possibly break. Other species only flower on 'old wood'. Thus new wood resulting from pruning will not produce flowers until the following season.

Hydrangeas are moderately toxic if eaten, with all parts of the plant containing cyanogenic glycosides.[4Hydrangea paniculata is reportedly sometimes smoked as an intoxicant, despite the danger of illness and/or death due to the cyanide.[5]

In Japan, ama-cha, meaning sweet tea, is another herbal tea made from Hydrangea serrata, whose leaves contain a substance that develops a sweet taste (phyllodulcin). For the fullest taste, fresh leaves are crumpled, steamed, and dried, yielding dark brown tea leaves. Ama-cha is mainly used for kan-butsu-e (the Buddha bathing ceremony) on April 8 every year—the day thought to be Buddha's birthday in Japan. Ama-cha is poured over a statue of Buddha in the ceremony and served to people in attendance. A legend has it that on the day Buddha was born, nine dragons poured Amrita over him; ama-cha is substituted for Amrita in Japan.

The pink hydrangea has risen in popularity all over the world, but especially in Asia. Pink hydrangeas have many different meanings, but generally means, "You are the beat of my heart", as described by the celebrated Asian florist Tan Jun Yong, where he was quoted saying, "The light delicate blush of the petals reminds me of a beating heart, while the size could only match the heart of the sender.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Living Doll - Miss February

Living Dolls are mothers, nurses, models, photographers, graphic designers, grandmothers, students, teachers - infact you name it, they come from every walk of life but have this one thing in common - they love and live vintage !

OK Girls and Guys, hold onto your vintage hats....this months Living Doll is none other than My Little Rockabillies Kat Creasy, about to share her wonderous insights on life, passion and vintage love !!! And I couldnt choose from all her amazing photographs, so have gone over my usual quota of three - just so you could all continue to be inspired.........
What does 'vintage' mean to you?
 It means a passion i havent found in anything else, it is my whole world

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

My Parents love for classic cars rubbed off onto me at an early age, and i felt i needed to find a scene that would accept my fair skin and red hair- that was far from normal in Byron Bay

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

 Everything i involve myself in, my friends, home,business and the way i dress reflects the 1940's and 50s. I personally prefer fashion wise the 1940s, i collect crepe dresses-and tailored suits

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

 I have this white floral dress that an elderly lady of 89 gave to me after seeing me on the collectors- she said that she knew i would treasure it, and i have! its my absolute favourite, it fits me perfectly and i was over the moon when i got the phone call from her.

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

I think because i was so accepted straight away- even when i didnt when i didnt know anything about it, people took me under their wing and showed me whats what, my obsession with 50's atomic everything- jewellery, clothing and furniture has become a part of me- im totally and utterly in love with it.

Do you have any tips for anyone starting out?

All i can suggest is research like crazy- i wish i knew what i know now when i first started, i missed out on alot of bargains because i had no idea what things were worth and how collectable they were- and be yourself, find your on style and keep going until you feel comfortable in your own skin, what do you truly love about it all and the passion will remain for you.

Now is your chance to provide us with an overview of who you are and what you do.
 My I own 'My LittleRockabilly' which is a jewellery, accessories and makeup artistry label based in brisbane! I write a column for Australian Classic Car magazine 'Cruzin' called kat's kulture supporting designers within the rockabilly scene. And a Pin Up Column in International magazine 'Pinup America' I play Guitar, Bass and I Sing in our Brisbane based band "them lonesome bones"
I am an avid vintage collector, kustom kulture enthusiast and i obsessed with anything Atomic, Space Age, Western, Rockabilly, Horror,Psychobilly, Pin Ups, Hot Rods,street machines, Tiki & Burlesque. I dont like the simple things in life..i like fun excitement and travels, experiencing new things and gaining opportunities to fulfill my love for this kulture in any way shape and form that i can.. I adore meeting people with similar interests and making new friends

Finally, what or who inspires you and why?

This might sound crazy, but art deco and shabby chic bedrooms do. I could spend hours looking at boudoir pink, black and red 30's-50's bedrooms, queen anne dressers, i feel it rubs off onto me fashion wise and with my jewellery label- i love the elegance of it all.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A 50's Wedding

"All you need is love, love,
Love is all you need"

Just in time for Valentines Day, I have a darling wedding to share with you! Recently my 51 Pontiac (who I am inclined to think I should call 'Ruby Baby') had the most prestigious honour of being wedding car for the ever lovely Lauren at her Echuca rockabilly styled wedding.

Not only did the Bride and Groom look smashing, but the entire guest list seemed to know the couple intimately and honoured them by dressing accordingly in 50's, rockabilly, or tiki styled outfits.

The wedding party looked decidedly Rockabilly in their spotted dresses and red shoes, and the ceremony featured songs by no less than Kitty Daisy and Lewis.

Lauren, as a reader of my blog, thankyou for allowing me the honour of being a part of your day of days....a long happy fulfilling life together to you both !

Do enjoy browsing the lovely photographs (by Tamara Cadd Photography) and may your upcoming Valentines day be filled with love and romance this year !

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sharing the Valentines Day Love....

My dear gal pal Brookie is running a fantastic competition to win one of three super duper glamour portrait prize packs just in time for Valentines Day.....Brooke has provided the vast majority of photographs for this site over the years I have been blogging, and is a passionate vintage advocate in her own right too.... now it is your opportunity to be a model for her incredible talent and creativity....check out this competition - and her 'All about Eve" blog for more details - best of luck and Happy Valentines Day !!

Click on the adorable and romantic photograph for details.........
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