Sydney’s Best Opshop for Sewing and Craft supplies and a chance to give

I am going to share something amazing with you today, and then I am going ask for your help in return.  If you live in Sydney you will benefit the most, so please stick with me.

A highland man in traditional dress (feathered headress,  and ocre face paint with nose piercing, decorated with ore feathers, woven arm bands decorated with fresh plants,  an amazing neck peice from which is suspended a length of fur.

A highland man in traditional dress and face paint with nose piercing

What am I on about?

Well I am not known for my athleticism, but my church group is doing a Walk for Water for a remote village in the highlands of Papua New Guinea.

Gumine District is in the Simbu Province of PNG .  Gumine is a two flight from Port Moresby, and another 6 hour drive on largely dirt roads.  Our church runs a tiny health clinic there staffed by two female nurses who meet the medical needs of 14,000 locals, there simply is no development, or infrastructure in this, one of the most remote communities in the world.

The Bolkoma Clinic in Gumine (a tiny one room building) - the site of one of the water tanks.

The Bolkoma Clinic in Gumine – the site of one of the water tanks.

There is a local stream, used for washing, bathing, as a toilet etc.  It is a half a day trek to get to a clean water source.  There is no water source for the medical clinic.

A large crowd of Papua New Guineans wait patiently to see Doctors.

A big day at the clinic! The locals spread the word that doctors were coming to visit the clinic – hundreds of people turned up, walking for hours to get there.

So the funds will be used to provide a rainwater collection system and tanks, one for the clinic, and one for the church building – which will be shared, and benefit, the entire village.  The goal is $10,000 – most of which is for the cost of transporting the materials to Gumine.  If we go over that goal, the excess will be spent to support schools in PNG.

What you get: Information

I have to confess. I didn’t want to share this with the sewing community. I wanted to keep this amazing Social Enterprise to myself so I can have my pick of the amazing vintage fabric that this place is donated.

Yeah, that’s called greed isn’t it.  Not good.

Achieve is the the charity you should put in your will, to send your sewing stash to, just in case you have more fabric/patterns/wool  than you can use in one lifetime!


112 Bowden Street

Meadowbank  NSW  2114


Monday 9-2

Wednesday 9-2

Friday 9-2

First Sunday of every month 9-2

How can you thank me?

This is such a worthy cause, one which I am proud to support.  Your contribution would be gratefully received.  It’s easy to donate and is Tax Deductible in Australia.

Isaiah 58:10
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

Gumine Highlands, just green mountains stretching out for miles.

Gumine Highlands – note the complete lack of development.

Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

A day out

I have been at home a lot recently.  My work contract ended and we have been renovating madly.

But I snuck away for a haircut.  I went to Sterling Apothecary in Chippendale.  It’s really fabulous.  The decor is vintage barbershop – right down to the Bakelite power points – fantastic attention to detail.  While I was there some TV types were scoping it out to use it in an ad.

Tony Vacher cut my hair – as you can see, I’m pretty pleased with it!  He is amazing.  A very understated guy of huge talent.  He masterminded the decor of the place, and is a very experienced in “precision cutting”.

You know it’s a good haircut when you wake up the next day and boing! You run your fingers through it and you are good to go!

I am experimenting with letting a little of they grey come through, as I have been dying my hair since about 1987 and I am really over it!

Then on the way home I popped in to Spotlight, had time for a quick outfit photo in the Centre Loos! I wore my Forties Jeans

Just for a look – below are a few shots. I visited Gertie’s Fabrics, to see if any new ones had been added to the range. Didn’t find any and they were a little messy!

See that stack of infant prints?  I bought some of the diamonds.

I have been sewing some toiles, testing patterns – not ready to cut into it yet.  I will keep you posted!


Fifties Fair 2014 – What we wore (Or “Two Ladies for Tea”)

Hello!  I’ve been busy, a new job, a traveling husband, lots of appointments for my son, so here’s some photos of my sewing buddy Toni and I at the fabulous Fifties Fair at Rose Seidler House in Wahroonga, Sydney from August.

Full Length Shot Fifties Style Dress

We were super excited but fashionably late arriving around midday after the epic wrangling of hair and false eyelashes. Just as we had taken these first photos – down came the rain. Darn it. And whoops, our slips are showing.
Head and Shoulders Fifties Style Hair and Dress

Still it didn’t last long and we were at last in. Excited face.

Back View Fifties Style Dress at Fifties Fair

This is a few hours later and I feel like Lurch, trying to get up that hill in those heels, (that I had so carefully hand dyed). I was exhausted by about three pm – the terrain at the site is precarious in flats, lots of sloping driveway , the bush garden section steps, and crazy paving.

Full Length Fifties Style Dress with Vintage Car

Toni is still looking fresh on the way back to the car. I loved her colour combo of Tangerine and Teal – quite unexpected and exciting. She made her hat copying one in my collection! She also made her dress in genuine vintage rose print fabric. Check out all those tiny pleats around the neckline and sleeve hem – wow!

Full Length Fifties Style Dress with Vintage Car

But by now I am over it. My feet are killing me, the hair has flopped and I wish I had a flying car. Still, it was a fun. More photos to come…

The details.

Pattern Used: Um, I have to dig it up – it was a Princes Seamed Sixties Dress with very puffy sleeve heads. The skirt was just pleated – no pattern required
Fabric: My favorite Cotton Lycra Sateen* in a Border Print from Lincraft (this fabric was also used by Laura Ashley – for a dress sold out very quickly)
Necklace: Vintage Pink Multi- strand Pink Faux Pearls from Vinnies about 15 years ago
Shoes: Target Suede Wedges (ow!) – Plus Suede Dye
Handbag: Vintage Brown Beaded purse – Salvos $25
Belt: Self-fabric with a vintage celluloid buckle from my stash
Hat: Amazing Floral Confection from Salvos $25
Watch: Gold Marcasite Vintage Costume Watch – a present from my parents when I was a child

*I cant say enough good about sewing with this fabric. It handles so beautifully when you are sewing. It has great body and drape and looks fantastic made up! I have just sewn a dress in a quilting cotton – such hard work to make it look good.

Gertie’s Fabrics!

Hi I love Gertie’s blog and her style and it’s been wonderful to see her growing success. So yesterday (no luck) and today, I ran into Spotlight, to have a peek at Gretchen Hirsch’s brand new fabric range. Fell in love the Red Bows on the black background – I need this! I also love the Red Roses which I would love a top in – needed also! The other designs are nicely executed – the Kitschy Cats, the Cherries and the pastel Tropical Prints. Great to see the beautiful rose/polka dots border print – hallelujah! But… they are all Polyester (looks like Crepe de Chine to me). Sad face. Sure, I get that they are easy care – no ironing and all that. But even as an experienced seamstress I really have to love something to even think of sewing with the stuff. And it’s so hot to wear in an Australian summer! We need cotton!  Or maybe viscose! What are your thoughts? If these float your boat, then snap the up while they are on sale at $11.99/m 148cms wide (normally $16.99). The new book’s only $25 currently too. Congrats Gertie! IMG_8202.JPG IMG_8197.JPG Continue reading

Stamp Collecting

Did you collect stamps as a child?

I did – Mum worked for the Department of Foreign Affairs before she had my brother and I – one of her friends saved a big box of stamps and Mum planned to repackage them and sell them for the church fete!  She seemed to always get such labour intensive tasks assigned to her!

Guess who had first pick?!  I think my brother and I probably had the best collections on the street!

I spent hours looking at the stamps as a kid and imagining the far away lands.  Quite educational.

Last year at the Fifties Fair there were a few lengths of fabric printed with stamps designs which I had never seen before.  They were, as most things at that event, quite pricey so I held back and didn’t buy anything.  So I have now spend the past year dreaming about stamp fabric!

This year there was very little fabric for sale, probably due to the rain – disappointingly.

So thrilled to find this stamp print at Spotlight recently!   And at just $8 per metre.  It reminds me of that time as a child and the stamps are vintage, not like some other similar fabrics currently available.

Can’t wait to make it up – perfect for yet another Fifties Style Novelty Skirt!

Vintage Australian Stamp with Crocodile

Vintage Australian Stamp with Crocodile





Fabric Printed with Vintage Stamps - French Stamp picturing the Arc de Triomphe





Sydney’s Best Opshop

Those of you in the know will not be surprised to hear this.  I declare Sydney’s Best Op Shop to be the wonderful Salvos at Tempe / St Peters – AKA Tempe Tip!

And those of you who might be visiting Sydney will be thrilled to learn this place is a short car ride from the Airport! And it’s just near Ikea – if that takes your fancy after your flight too!

This store never fails to disappoint in coming up with the goods – and I usually find myself gasping from how good it is at least a few times!

I fount this gorgeous “Vintage Glamourpuss” handbag. In my early days of attending the Fifites Fair, I remember seeing the maker of this great range of bags selling her wares, however they were always well out of my price range so I am just so pleased to have finally nabbed one and for just $8 – yay!

One went on Ebay recently – you might find one there

Looking for wool for winter sewing? I picked up this lovely double Faced black and grey wool it is a beautiful quality – 3 meters were $15 – there was a few on the rack – one was labelled Smouha fabrics – an exclusive fabric importer in Sydney – now defunct.

I always check out the furniture, though I am banned from bringing another stick of furniture into the house, and the lighting section.  The fifties kitchen set was about $600, the the antique chair was a steal I thought at under $200.

And remember my tip for great op shop karma – always take something to keep the awesomeness coming!



7 Bellevue Street










Birthday Treats!

On my birthday* my lovely friend/enabler and I had a shopping jaunt. There was coffee and treats.

We visited a junk/antique shop in Epping that was closing down.

My friend very kindly let me buy a Vogue Patterns 1968 Counter Book, she had asked the owner if he had any of these and he brought it to us.

We had a big trawl through what was on offer – like pigs in mud, you might say. Isn’t it the best to spend time with like-minded friends?


* My birthday is in March and yes I know its been a long time since I blogged, thanks for sticking with me.











20140625-164553-60353665.jpgVogue 1968 Counter Book - Woman in Black and Red A Line Striped Dress with White High Crowned Hat

Treasure from a Pre-TV World

Gosh, the beginning of the school year is so busy isn’t it?

I must make a note to watch our commitments and make sure I have at least cleared off the notice board of the previous year of school before the year starts!

We have been busy teaching Sunday School, getting our youngest organized for his first year of club soccer, as well as the usual round of Parent/Teacher meetings – there literally is a deluge of paper to contend with, and lists of stationary to buy, and I still don’t feel like I have gotten on top of things since we got back from NZ!

The kids are busy, the little one joined the Drama Club (!!!) and will do Gymnastics next term. The eldest one with also do Senior Gymnastics

So here’s the bit about Opera. This is a book I found many years ago in an Op Shop – It’s a guide to Operas. My Dad, who is a bit of an Opera buff, comes to Sydney he likes to go to the Opera House and catch one, so we study before we go. The handmade cover is very beautifully embroidered isn’t it. It’s a much loved book from a Pre-TV world. It’s nearly 100 years old. It fell off the book case the other day and this postcard was hiding inside. I have no idea where the building is but its sweet. Don’t you think?

A book cover, that’s a nice easy sewing project, make it as simple or crochet the edges?

Hope you are managing to juggle your load successfully…





Crown Lynn and Excess Baggage

As its Waitangi Day today – let’s take a look at the Crown Lynn crockery I bought in NZ shall we?!

Now, I tried very hard not to spend lots while in NZ but when in op shops and tip shops (we need more of these in Australia) I went to town!

Consequently my kid’s, husband’s and my two bags were all a little heavier and fatter on the trip home.

These goodies came from The Motueka Sunday Morning Market, op shops in Motueka, The Tip Shop at Motueka, and the Tip Shop in Nelson.

They were all around a dollar, I may have paid $5 for a bigger dinner plate at the market.

Do you stuff excess items in your family’s bags when traveling? Come on – ‘fess up!

Crown Lynn Cups and Saucers


Kelston Ceramics "Melody"

Kelston Ceramics “Melody”



A collective sticky-beak at thrift scores and op shop finds – care to join in?


Holiday Reading – The Australian Women’s Mirror April 1947

Happy New Year!!  Still no sewing projects completed despite my having six weeks off, however I read four books while I was on holiday so that was something.  It’s been so long since I read a book that I wasn’t sure if I still could.  My reading consists mostly of Facebook updates, online articles and interiors magazines.  So as a result – I am pretty up to date with current events and my house looks fab!

We traveled to New Zealand – here we are at Kaiteriteri Beach under Mum’s fifty year old beach umbrella (I tried to fit it in my bag but it would not fit).

One day while out bike riding I dropped into the local library where I found three Australian Women’s Mirror magazines from the late forties.

I hope no-one is offended by the racist by lines on the cover – I can crop this or remove the photo – I hope you let know if you think I should do this.

I sat there and photographed my favorite fashion images and adverts. Aren’t they great? I particularly like the hairstyles and the illustrations.

The actress on the cover is Virginia Mayo.  I had never heard of her but I learned that she was in the original version (need to see that!) of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” which we saw while in NZ – it was fun.  Nothing like free babysitting – thanks for that Mum and Dad and for lovely holiday.

I hope your new year is starting well.