Miss January

Do you know my lovely friend Kesenya over at Alice Jeans?  She has chosen me to be her Miss January  Living Doll – how exciting!

Please go and take a look – her blog is such an inspiration to me.  She never disapoints with her great photography and well researched writing.  She just has a lovely heart too – and seeks to up-lift and inspire, not tear down and criticise.

Thanks for choosing me lovely – and keep up all your great work!

By the way – my brother Gavin Blair most of the photos she used – not bad for a deep sea diver!  Thanks Gav!

Busy hands

Busy hands

It’s Friday. It’s the last day of the school holidays.

I haven’t finished my supposedly “super easy” poncho ‘cos I keep getting distracted by trips to the hardware and massive gardening sessions in the rain.

I hope you are getting something crafty done today – or have a little project planned for the weekend.

What about this cheeky little number – so 50’s and I am sure you could knit that in a weekend. Me – that would take a lifetime.

Have a lovely Australia Day weekend.

My new best friend Etsy

Source: etsy.com via Trish on Pinterest



I’ve finally bought something from Etsy.  I am currently waiting by the letter box as I write this.  It’s coming to me from the US of A and I can’t wait.

They used to be hand-made in Hong Kong – check the label, they usually have an old-fashioned look to them or the size shown in inches.  This dates them usually as 50’s or 60’s.  They are generally made with lovely soft lambswool yarns.

If you like this sort of thing there are literally hundreds of them available on Etsy.  The good thing about it is that there are no suspenseful auctions.  Just the price.  Find one that suits you.

It cost $35.20 including postage which is a total bargain as I have seen them for over $100 in Mint Condition (lovely vintage shop in Rozelle, Sydney).

Before it arrives I need to make that long, black, full skirt I have been dreaming of for ages – to wear it with.

Care Instructions for Vintage Beaded Garments.


Just a small area?  Spot clean with a tiny dot of dishwashing detergent on a damp sponge.  Rub gently in one direction.  I do this all the time on all kinds of clothes.

If you can afford it: Dry Cleaning

A good Drycleaner should warn you that some sequins and buttons can be damaged by the drycleaning process.  I have had one button break in 20 years of having garments drycleaning.  Ask around and find one who people trust.  When I worked in Fashion my boss always had her Italian Designer clothes sent to somewhere in the Northern Beaches of Sydney (from Double Bay)  – I will research and see if I can find out what they were called.

If you are on a budget: Handwashing

In Australia there we have beautiful Eucalyptus scented Wool Washes.  I love the really cheap “No Name” Brands specifically for woolens.

Fill a bucket with warm water  (never hot as this will shrink your woolen garment)and a small ammount of wool wash  (a tablespoon should do it).  Gently swish it around in the water and maybe rub a little straight detergent on the “problem areas” and lather gently with your fingers.  Don’t go and make a cup of tea – or leave it to “soak” – I have done this and forgotten about things for weeks and come back to mouldy destroyed garments and buttons that fell apart.  Sob!
When you are happy that it is clean – empty away the soap.  Refill the bucket with clean water and rinse away the soap.


I don’t need to tell you- you never put woolens in the dryer don’t I??!  This will shrink them and your children will be wearing miniature vintage garments!

Get a towel and lay it folded in half on a flat surface, an outdoor table is ideal.

Carefully lay your garment flat – and put it into shape, cover it over with the top half of the towel.  The cotton of the towel will “wick” the moisture away from the wool.  It will take a day or two (unless it’s Summer) to dry fully.

When it’s dry.  Check it over to make sure no beads or sequins have come loose during washing.  You can easily mend anything loose now, and avoid the damage getting worse.

If you are interesed.  Wool shrinkage is caused by the fatal combination of Heat and Agitation, that’s why the washing machine or clothes dryer are so good at this!  The scales of the wool fibres unlock and relock closer together.  Sorry, textile nerd moment.

Here’s blogger and author Kelly Doust and I in our vintage beaded cardis, at the 50’s Fair.  She was very sweet.

Thanks for stopping by!

Dotty Perkins Ripoff

This is my latest. It’s a Project Runway pattern. It looks easy and probably is but I hadn’t sewn a stitch for three weeks. Things started badly by me smugly not reading the instructions and totally messing up the first toile. It was a sickening shade of orange which probably didn’t help how I felt about things!

See the tricky red topstitching? Mmmm red.

I think I have had that 80’s Ball and Chain zip in the stash for over 20 years!


I got my repro 40’s Fruit Bracelet and my 60’s Fruit earrings (from Mint Condition) out for the photos.

The idea for this dress came from Mena of the Sew Weekly’s “Make this Look” section. She named it the “Indigo Denim Prom Dress”.  The original look was from British Chain Dorothy Perkins.  I loved that dress – but I don’t wear things that short.  Also don’t like pockets in dresses.  And you can bet I never follow instructions on zip insertions – way too difficult.  There are easier ways!

<div style=’padding-bottom: 2px; line-height: 0px’><a href=’http://pinterest.com/pin/51158145736930313/&#8217; target=’_blank’><img src=’http://media-cdn.pinterest.com/upload/51158145736930313_yhbim24F_c.jpg&#8217; border=’0′ width=’524′ height =’473’/></a></div><div style=’float: left; padding-top: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px;’><p style=’font-size: 10px; color: #76838b;’>Source: <a style=’text-decoration: underline; font-size: 10px; color: #76838b;’ href=’http://www.sewweekly.com/2011/07/mtl-indigo-denim-prom-dress/’>sewweekly.com</a&gt; via <a style=’text-decoration: underline; font-size: 10px; color: #76838b;’ href=’http://pinterest.com/trish_blair/&#8217; target=’_blank’>Trish</a> on <a style=’text-decoration: underline; color: #76838b;’ href=’http://pinterest.com&#8217; target=’_blank’>Pinterest</a></p></div>

Can you tell? – I am pretty pleased with it – I think it is one of the best things I have made in a year.  Maybe I need to keep making toiles – instead of just winging it.  My patience will be tested again.

The treasure is out there

We are just back from three weeks in New Zealand, visiting family and friends.  We had a lovely time and I unearthed some treasure!

Had to share what I dug up!

British Women’s Weekly Magazines from the 1950’s.  A gift from Sue – thank you.  They have some great tips for remodelling dresses that no longer fit – I plan to use some of these ideas!

1930’s Art Deco Chrome Yacht – a bargain at $15 from Motueka Market.

Crown Lynn Capistrano Bowl and Plate, very mid-century, nice for chips and dip – don’t you think?  A gift from Auntie Noeleen – Thank you!


Totally fifties fruit dish with wire handle, about $1 from Motueka recycling centre.

Stylized Maori Fishhook wall vase – needs a string so I can hang it – but for $10 who’s complaining?  I don’t know anything about this piece – have seen one on a Kiwi TV show with a small Maori Doll tucked inside – if you know anything about this – I would love to hear!  Found it in a funny junk shop in the Wairarapa (North Island).

Not bad hey?  All carefully carried home in my trusty backpack and nothing broken!