Autumn Palette

Hi !

A few weeks I had a go at making a mood board in Autumn colours. I grabbed a few favourite items from around the house – with a Vintage theme. As the background I used a vintage botanical style butterfly print I bought at a print shop on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy (one of my favourite places in Melbourne to shop).

I layered over fabrics that I hope sew garments with this spring summer.

My TAA vintage leather handbag from the 50’s fair, one of my 3 strand necklaces – 60’s costume jewellery – I seem to have a knack of finding these – and they are not popular in the greens and brown autumn colours that I am lucky enough to be able to wear.

I took a couple of snaps – rearranged – had a play – this ended up being about the most fun 15 minutes of my whole life!

Australian Home Journals are great for vintage inspiration – haven’t tried to use one of their plain paper patterns yet!

I definitely intend to work like this again as a design jumping off point – Why not try it? Especially if you have lost your “Sewing Mojo”!!

I wonder if it could help me with more inspired cooking!!


A walk home

20's Castle-like house

20’s Castle-like house

I found myself without a car on Friday for a few hours so I walked home – I snapped a few of the houses and gardens on my way with my phone.
It was a lovely warm spring day – perfect for noticing details that it’s hard to see when you are whizzing past in a car, with two bickering kids in the back!  I hope you enjoy peeking over fences and through shrubs with me!!

Spanish Mission apartments

Twenties Bungalows

A "Federation" in compulsory colour scheme and wonderful dracaena plants - one day mine will look like this!

Another cutey - look at that blue sky - and the palm!Bungalow with original timber struts – you see lots of these replaced with Greek or Roman Columns.

Orange native rock orchids - I have dozens of these in the garden - let me know if you would like some!

Triffid - and a little neglect.

Even the house numbers are stylish

Coprosma repens – reminds me of NZ – it grows everywhere there.

A little Mid-Century Modern! Love the agave plants!

Another one - peeking through the Grevillea and the Bottle Brush plants.

I only had one woman come out and complain to me and ask me not to photograph her house – it’s of course not shown here.  Shame – as it had lovely Art Deco leadlight windows – just like the one I used to live in in Jenkins Street with Louise, Tina and Diana – those were crazy days!  Not much money, or food, fun parties, candles melting onto the carpet and lots of love.

Sculpture by the Sea

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It’s on again soon – If you are looking for a fun family day out – which combines exercise with culture, and staggering scenery – you can’t go past: Sculpture by the Sea

Last year we all got up very early and went and did the walk before church – nothing like endorphins in the morning – usually an unfamiliar feeling for me!

The kids really engaged in the unfolding sculptures of the walk, around the cliffs between Glamourama and Bondi beach.

I would recommend good walking shoes as the walk is a decent distance, backpacks with water and perhaps a snack if you kids are  anything like mine – hungry and thirsty all the time!

If you can, go early in the day – it’s cooler.  Also go early in the season as it gets increasingly busy as word gets out!  Beware of locals  jogging – oblivious to meandering families with small children.

My favourite pieces was the sand shoes and the felted fabric-like sea anemones – soft tactile texture and colours.

The photos I put up are from the last two years we have been and I think they show, there is something for everyone – you have to admire the artists, they have got skills.

What: Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi
When: Thursday 3 November – Sunday 20 November, 2011
Where: Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk, Sydney, Australia
Cost: Free

Op Shop Tour – Sydney’s Inner West

A few weeks some friends and I took an Op Shop Tour!  Part of the Sydney Fringe Festival it was compared by the gorgeous and curly-haired Joanne  O’Callaghan – it rocked!

Joanne is funny and she sings!  We got some great stuff!  It cost $30 and was totally worthwhile.  It was so pleasant to not have to drive ourselves around Sydney’s Inner West – it can be very congested.

We met up at The Marrickville Community Centre which houses Reverse Garbage and the Bower – it’s on Addison Road and these places are worth a look on their own!  Off we go!

Our first stop was at the Anglicare Op Shop at Summer Hill,105 Carlton Crescent, Summer Hill NSW 2130.  It is  a big warehouse, with a small quite exxy shop to one side or, do you own sorting from great big bales of clothing, linens and fabrics.  They sell the stuff by weight – I got 3kg at about $8 per kg.

I was on the search for 50’s fabric – look what I got at the first stop!  I think it’s 50’s – what do you think?  I think it’s linen but I haven’t done a burn test.   Should be enough to make a dress with.

Isn't it beautiful?! I love the fish!

This woman wanted a Flapper’s 20’s hat – also found at the first stop ! – Amazing!

I found this pretty crepe embroidered in gold metallic thread vintage evening bag – appearing on Ebay shortly!

A 50’s evening dress!  This dress is tiny – not my size but it was such a treasure I had to preserve it for fashion history!  It is constructed with a technique which I believe is called couching –  an ugly name for a beautiful thing!  Yes all that cord is manipulated into the fern and flower shapes and  hand sewn down!  The fabric is sheer and disintegrating in places, only one strap is left – half off – The dress is hanging up in my equally shabby sewing room – looking gorgeous!

Next we visited a small Presbyterian Op Shop in Dulwich Hill where I got a whole stack of amazing Notebook mag early editions, another woman got the coolest home-made quilt and a motorbike helmet decorated in a mosaic of small mirror tiles – like a disco ball!  Where she was going to wear that  – I can’t imagine!  Just up the road  Toni and I tried to get Coffee and Lebanese pastry from Abla Patisserie. 425A New Canterbury Road, Dulwich Hill,’s best kept secret – but you need patience – we had to get back on the bus so missed out! Wah!

Here we all are, myself, Toni, Sam and Sarah.  Don’t we look happy?  We are outside our next stop;  Lady Coco NimetClothing Store   at 161 Canterbury Road, Canterbury NSW, where we were all excited by our purchases, as the sign says, everything in the shop is $10 and its for charity!  Amazing.  It got a sheer beaded cardi (I love a beaded cardi!) a Witchery wool wrap cardi and a leather belt which was $1!  The smiles could also be from the pink champagne!  Thank you!

On to the Salvos at 7 Bellevue St, St Peters NSW 2044, known by some as the Tempe Tip – I think my friends were getting tired by then but I did really well here with:

Charlie Brown beach wear in glamorous giraffe print!  I got a beach chair too – set for summer!

This silk retro style print – which is begging to be up-cycled into a 50’s wrap style shirt I think.  I got a 30’s DVD and some other bits and pieces, I did find you really had to search – as the place is huge.

Last was back to Marrickville to the  AFTER-A-FASHION, Recycled Clothing 245 Marrickville Rd MARRICKVILLE 2204.  Ah The ‘Vale.  Vietnamese Butchers and Grocers (so cheap), fabric shops, two amazing op shops (the Salvos is just down the road), – I think I love you.  But not your air traffic.

These two lovelies are studying costume at Nida and they are from Melbourne – you can tell by their shoes I reckon, don’t they look great?  They had fun.  Wonder what movies they are going to make costumes for – how much fun!

A few bits of fabric above, two pieces of  funny Swiss flannelette – should be good for PJs.  Wool skirt and a lovely bright prints both destined for up -cycling.

After 4 hours, I was hungry and exhausted.  The rest of the gang went home through Newtown and ate lunch – then shopped more!  I had to go and collect my flesh and blood however.

Next time I would take a packed lunch!  But I can’t complain about anything – it was a brilliant day out – we supported charity and saved stuff from going to landfill – win!  Do check it out!

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Coming up Roses Gypsy Blouse

Hi there!

The kids and I have been home from work and school on holidays for two weeks.  As always I think I am going to read and sew to my heart’s content, and blog, and bake.  As always the unexpected happens and my plans go awry!

We had a big conference at church during the middle weekend and were having an extra seven people to stay – gulp!  I had allowed the first week of the hols to de-clutter and redecorate the sewing/guest room – Ha!  The 70’s mural was depressing me every time I went in the room –  then I discovered it was concealing a patch of mould – yuck.  Then I became determined to get rid of it!  It took two days of scraping!  What is left is are pink walls,  I only managed to get one layer off – but I am channelling  Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic, and Megan Morton’s guest room, and we are living with the “aged” look of the wall for now.

I was so excited to finally get my little collection of art deco mirrors up – and my “shabby” prints – oh and to get the room cleared out a bit – I have lots to put on eBay – it’s stacked up in the laundry – watch this space!

So anyway – I was so excited about this week’s Sew Weekly Challenge – Spanish Harlem – though I have few references – I have been to Spain and I adore anything in a Rose Print – had a look at some images of West Side Story (which I have never seen) and the wonderful Rita Moreno,  and I went for it, kinda, of by churning out my go-to gypsy blouse see below.  I also had hopes of making a black circular skirt to go with it – but I didn’t have enough fabric and there was no way I was taking my lively offspring to the dreaded fabric shop!

Oh and by the way Sydney has recently seen its first Costco store open up and I bought a colossal bag of Reeces Peanut Butter cups – which I have been working my way through – whoops, and then I decided I needed to make this top a little, ahem – roomier.

So Plan B was to have a crack at Very Easy Vogue 9963 from the 70’s by the looks of it and make it a little longer – I hate it when things are too short.

My photographer for the day was my 8-year-old Alex, and my father in-law Mario (he’s Italian not Spanish, and he did not wear his glasses!), our location is Sydney Markets at Flemington.  They have a hall of flowers, a flea market on Saturdays, and the Fruit and Veg hall – with stinky fish and nuts and unrefrigerated cheeses.  It is not a patch on Melbourne’s Central Market, but hey, it’s all we’ve got! It is a very fun thing to do on a Saturday and our whole family, well probably me mostly – loves it!  You get the whole United Nations experience, that in Sydney, in one place.  And on Saturdays the flowers are dirt cheap – go and get a whole houseful (a word of advice – the roses are not going to last long ‘cos they’ve been there all week).   What’s not to like?

We even found this lovely Spanish Lady – Ole!  Tyres, lawn mowers – a very random selection!

Warratah’s: New South Wales Floral Emblem – aren’t they amazing?


You just can’t get a chamber pot anywhere these days.

I got flowers; lillies, warratahs, and orchids $5 a bunch (free), a box of apples $10, a set of hot rollers $5 and a 1950’s vase also $5 – score!

The Facts

Fabric: Cotton Lycra from Spotlight $30
Pattern:  Very Easy Vogue 9963 60 cents
Year: c. 1970’s
Notions: some elastic
Time to complete: Time taken – 2.5 hours – love this!
First worn: September 2011
Wear again? Yes! lots – I really love this print

Total Cost: About $30