Wednesday, 30 June 2010


Well, I did it. I bought that Indian sweater. I contacted the seller yesterday morning to ask if he had any more of these sweaters, and he replied at 11pm last night (damn time zones) saying yes! So while lying in bed listening to the rain at 11:30pm, I managed to spend close to $300. That's ok. Just don't tell J how much I spent on it ;)

She's going to be an expensive few weeks, I feel. I just spent $180 on two brake drums for the FC (required to pass a roadworthy, and I still need to find two more), and I have a whopping $3000 dentist trip coming up (I'm a sook - I need to be knocked out and as it turns out, anaesthetic is really expensive). So I am going to be frugal for a few weeks *cough months cough*. But to distract you from my financial indiscretions, here's a cute vintage kitten.

Back to business... J, his 10yo brother and I saw Toy Story 3 in 3D last night. It was tops, but take your tissues, because it's a sad one! Tomorrow night J, our mate D and I are going to see the Butterfly Effect in town, and Friday is drinks out with the work girls (I'm driving though... need some time off alcohol). I can't wait for the weekend so I can relax!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

How much is too much?

Quite meaningful words for me at the moment, as I had quite a weekend of excess. I did some pretty silly things while "celebrating", and I'm only just getting over the hangover from Saturday (it's Tuesday now...) not to mention the bruises and cuts. But I can answer my question re: that night... that was definitely too much!

Anyway, I digress. I want to ask the question... how much is too much to pay for an item you've been dreaming of? I am obsessed with vintage motorcycle sweaters, namely the Indian sweater worn by the character Burt Munro in 'The World's Fastest Indian' (fantastic movie, by the way). So elusive is this sweater, I can't find a picture on Google, but here is a dodgy one from IMDB:

Now, J's father is obsessed with Indian motorcycles. OBSESSED. He spent 20 years lovingly rebuilding a 1950s Indian Chief motorcycle, and now he's moving on to a 1930s Indian Scout. And he's always watching Indian parts on eBay. Last night he showed me this amazing sweater that sold on eBay for US$255. And my knees went weak.

Now, that's a normal price to pay for a vintage Indian sweater, but this one is reproduction. Am I stupid? I've emailed the seller to see if he will be listing any more, and I *may have* offered US$230 straight up for one in a size large (mens... still way too big for me, but I will get it taken in by my seamstress). I don't know if I can justify paying around AU$300 for a sweater, but I don't want to let this possible opportunity pass me by either!

Oh God, I don't know what to do! (Apart from frantically check my emails to see if the seller has responded yet. What time is it in France right now?)

Thursday, 24 June 2010

A weight has been lifted from my shoulders

This morning I sat my first exam in 5 years. It was for a horrible subject (Organisational e-Transformation) and I think I passed. I have to admit though, it was touch and go there for a while, with a great many teary breakdowns occurring, and a great deal of chocolate consumed.

But, lets put that behind us (as I have, with a celebratory drink of bourbon at lunchtime!) and celebrate the fact that I am hopefully (providing I passed) only one subject away from finishing my Grad. Dip!

Now, to celebrate? I bought a dress from etsy. A long-sleeve dress for once. You know what, I don't think I own a single long-sleeved vintage dress. And really, I ought to own a few considering how nippy it can be here in Winter. Why, yesterday it was -1 when I left for work!

Pretty, pretty, can't wait for it to arrive!

Monday, 21 June 2010


In light of my recent 1940s fascination, I bought a snood from eBay. I figure it's an easy way to wear my hair in a vintage style on those days when I don't have time to do my hair (read: every day seeing as I gym it up weekday mornings).

I just bought one from eBay for $10 (inc. postage, even with the dollar so crummy!) just to test the waters. I'd like to try crocheting my own though.

I took my inspiration from these two pictures. And instead of taking photos up against a lovely kitchen wall, I decided to head down to the dairy for a snap. Excuse the pose, it was blowing an absolute gale that day. 

And I'm wearing my new dress I bought on etsy. She's a fixer-uper, with a few little patches wearing thin, and it needs to be taken in at the waist. I'm also trying out a new foundation (Maybelline SuperStay 24hr) which seems to be a much better match than my previous MAC products. I think I changed colour a bit somewhere along the line...

And finally, here's a photo of the inside of the dairy. It's not used any more, except as a breeding ground for feral cats. My great uncle used to be able to milk six cows at once.We're not milking now, just breeding for meat!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Brown paper packages, tied up with string

... these are a few of my favourite (etsy) things! (As you can see, I'm shopping instead of writing my essay. 333 words to go out of a 5000 word essay on the contributions social networking sites make to democratic society - oh yeah, it's a blast!)

Friday, 18 June 2010

Oh my gosh! and FC updates

It's going to be a quiet day at work today, seeing as all our shared drives are down. It doesn't affect everyone, but all of my work is located on those shared drives, so I'm wasting time by shopping instead!

I absolutely had to share with you the most amazing skirt I've just spotted in the Mags Rags online store. It's a 1950s Lady and the Tramp skirt! If this skirt had a larger waist, it'd be mine!

I've always loved Lady and the Tramp... I think Lady is just so beautiful.

Now, FC news! For my new readers, I own a 1959 Holden FC Special, and she's a beaut. I'd had some serious trouble with a previous panelbeater, who took my money but didn't do much work. That's currently going through Consumer Affairs, and I should find out today if he's agreed to refund me, or if not, I'm escalating it to a full VCAT claim.

So anyway, I found a new panelbeater who has been just fantastic. He's even organised a mechanic (the panelbeater's brother, in fact) to do a roadworthy inspection on it, and he's currently trying to source parts for the mechanical side of things, so really, if all goes well, I could have the car roadworthy and registered in the next month or two!

Anyway, my lovely panelbeater emailed me heaps of before and after photos, so I have them as evidence should I need to go to VCAT. I know you're not a panelbeater, but even you should be able to spot the difference.

Before proper work done (those spot welds were actually there when I bought the car, so the first panelbeater didn't do anything - well, except cover the seams in silicon and black spraypaint... like we wouldn't notice!)

After proper work done - full perimeter welds!

I'm so happy I've finally found a decent panelbeater and mechanic. I'm just so excited at the possibility of being able to legally drive my baby on the road after two years! Will keep you updated...

Thursday, 17 June 2010

A Stitch In Time

I'm not a knitter by any means. But that won't stop me from trying!

My workmate, who is currently this 1941 sweater that Tuppence Ha’penny gave away a few months ago, just purchased this book online. And the lovely lass is going to let me photocopy pages so I can try my hand at knitting!

(Off topic, she is almost entirely finished the 1941 sweater, she's just finishing the sleeves! I'll be sure to snag a picture once it's completed!)

Anyway, back to the book. It's called 'A Stitch in Time 1920-1949, Vol.1' and it features 60 vintage knitting and crochet patterns. The best part? Each pattern has been adapted for today's yarn thicknesses and is available in multiple sizes (ranging from a 30 to 60 inch bust!)

The book is available here from Knit on the Net, and examples of the patterns included are available in this Flickr stream. Here are some of my favourite patterns that I'd love to try out:

(All images are copyrighted by Arbour House Publishing Ltd 2008)

But first? I must learn to knit. I'm penciling in to attend a few knitting classes as soon as I do some sewing classes! I'm truly turning into a stereotypical librarian - spectacles chain? check! twin sets and cardigans? check! being crafty? check!!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Help a Very Special Kid (Melb / Geelong)

Hi all, I don't normally share these sorts of things, but this is for a very special cause!

Ros is a Very Special Kid, and wants to meet as many dogs as possible in 2010. She can't leave her home in Little River (near Lara, between Werribee and Geelong) so the dogs will need to travel to her.

Do you have one of these breeds? Because Ros would love to meet him or her!

Afghan hound
Airedale terrier
Australian shepherd
Bernese mountain dog
Border terrier
Bull mastiff
Cavalier king Charles spaniel
Chesapeake Bay retriever
Clumber spaniel
Cocker spaniel
Curly Coated Retriever
English mastiff
English setter
Flat coated retriever
French mastiff
German shepherd dog
Gordon setter
Irish setter
Irish wolfhound
Italian greyhound
Jack Russell
Japanese chin
Kerry blue terrier
King Charles spaniel
Miniature pinscher
Neapolitan mastiff
Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever
Old English sheepdog
Pembroke Corgi
Portuguese water dog
Shih tuz
St Bernard
Standard poodle
Welsh Springer spaniel
West highland white terrier

Contact me for details on how to contact Ros, and feel free to repost this anywhere and everywhere! I'd love to help, but she's already seen a border collie! P.S. How cute is my munchkin, Ace?

Tuesday, 15 June 2010


Well, I am a librarian after all... and it appears I've been neglecting my librarian duties by not providing you with books! I kid, I kid.

Today I checked out three books on 1950s homes and decor. See?

Today I'll look at the top book, 'Australian 50s:60s decor : furniture and furnishings of the mid 20thC' by William and Dorothy Hall, 2007.

This book is full of history and stories of how mid century furniture and design came to be. There are also profiles of designers and homeowners alike, and it is organised into the categories 'shape', 'material', 'pattern', 'colour' and 'texture'.

I can't help but feel like the houses and products displayed in this book are not representative of the average middle class, mid century house. I do appreciate the theory on colour combinations and texture, as well as a bit of background on major designers of the time.

I'll look at a book each week, so stay tuned for next week's book, '50/60/70 iconic Australian houses' by Karen McCartney, 2007. It might be as late as Friday next week though, as I have an exam on Thursday morning which I severely need to cram for!

Monday, 14 June 2010

For Sale

Tis that time of year... to eBay! It's been a long while (I've been putting it off), but I had to list a dress for my workmate, so I thought I'd throw a few extra things on there too. Just giving you a heads up for some items you may be interested in.

To see my eBay sales, click the 'My eBay Sales' button underneath my blog banner, or click here!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Mid-century desk fan

Yesterday after my appointment with the oral surgeon (good news, I don't need my wisdom teeth out!) I went op-shopping without much success. I did manage to buy a 50s style dress with a broken zip that I'll replace, but I was itching for more, so I went to How Bazaar, which sells antiques and collectibles.

I fell in love with a few things, including a beautifully restored Singer sewing machine table (which is on the to-buy list, someday), a 10 piece 1950s Gayware canister set in red and white (amazing, and therefore expensive) and a 1960s Sunbeam portable hood hair dryer (only $60 and brand new - I might go back and get it!)... But I only allowed myself to buy one thing. Well, two, actually. I bought a 1930s pink floral plate for $4, and see, that doesn't count because it was so cheap. I want it for plating up pretty cakes and cookies.

The purchase that counts is this. A finger-chopping mid-century Pye metal desk fan in baby blue:

Pity it's winter right now so I can't use it. Why must I always purchase things in the wrong season?

Friday, 11 June 2010


I diverge a little from my usual ramblings to bring you an authentic Chinese recipe. I'm not sure if you are aware, but I lived in Beijing for a year while finishing my undergrad degree, and one of the main things I miss is the food! (If you'd like, check out my blog on my experience here.)

So I thought I'd have a go at cooking 粥 (zhōu), which translates to 'gruel', I guess. My friends and I used to eat 粥 a lot at the local 小吃 (xiăo chī/snack) restaurants when we needed a quick or cheap meal.

I found this recipe on the Chinese website Betty's Kitchen (贝太厨房). It's pretty simple, just rice, chicken, some vegies and seasoning. I added a bit of brown sugar as I like my 粥 sweet.

If you'd like to have a try at cooking authentic 粥, here's the recipe - I've even translated it for you!


大米 100g rice
鸡胸肉 100g chicken breast
胡萝卜 20g carrot
油条半根香菜碎 10g chopped coriander root
盐1茶匙(5g) Salt, 1 teaspoon
香油1茶匙(5ml) Sesame oil, 1 teaspoon
干淀粉少许 A little dry starch (corn flour, I guess)

1. 胡萝卜切细丝。油条切细丝。
2. 鸡胸肉洗净,切丝,以少许干淀粉和盐抓拌腌制备用。
3. 大米淘洗干 净,锅中加入1500ml清水.
4. 大火烧开后倒入大米,沸腾后改小火熬制60分钟.
5. 放入胡萝卜丝和鸡丝,滚煮2分钟关火,加入盐和香油调味。
6. 吃时撒上油条 丝和香菜碎即可。

1. Cut the carrot and coriander into thin strips.
2. Wash and shred the chicken breast, and mix with salt and corn flour.
3. Wash the rice, then add 1500ml water to the boil.
4. Add the rice to the boiling water, once it’s boiling turn down and simmer for 1 hour
5. Add carrot and chicken and cook for 2 minutes, add salt and sesame oil.
6. Sprinkle with coriander and parsley.

I served mine with 烧包 (chā shāo bāo/barbeque pork buns), and if you're super keen, there is a great recipe here (in English). You need dedication though with this recipe - it's a two day affair!

I should add - I absolutely loved this meal, but J and our friend C both weren't overly phased. Perhaps it's something only Asian folks will like? Either way, I'll be making it again soon, and it'll be all for me!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Chenille goodness

Yesterday was a very exciting day. I received my chenille bedspread from the US. Unfortunately I didn't get home from work until 10:30pm, as I went to a fundraising screening of the new Sex and the City movie (don't bother, it's terrible - thank God it was for a good cause).

Anyway, back to the chenille. It was love at first sight. I had to wait until this morning when I made our bed though to finally witness the glory that is white and pastel chenille. And here she is:

Absolute perfection. Next to do in the bedroom is paint my silver bedhead white, find new lampshades for our lamps, and give my bedside table a new lick of paint.

Re the lampshade issue: our current ones are fine, just the shade is so narrow it's very, very hard to get your hand up underneath to turn them on or off! So I'm thinking about buying new shades to recover in atomic fabric. I might hunt around the op shops for a pair of shades. I have covered an old lampshade in the past, and it was relatively simple so I'm confident I could repeat it! (And yes, I'm reading a 1950s Mills & Boon novel).

And... I have sinned. My shopping ban was going smashingly until I saw Solanah's recent blog post with photos of her summer wardrobe. Now, I admit, I can be the jealous type at times... Suddenly, I felt the intense urge to buy something vintage. So I did. A dress I'd been watching for a while on etsy. Luckily it came to under AU$50 inc shipping, no thanks to the US dollar, as it needs a repair or two. It's a 1940s day dress. I don't know why, but lately I'm digging the 1940s a whole lot more than the 50s.

And finally, the postie was kind to me again today, with my 1950s dress pattern arriving from the US. I love when sellers go the extra mile to make your buying experience a joy - I received a personalised note and a vintage floral hankerchief along with my pattern. Now I must be strong, and wait until after my exam before beginning sewing!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Village of the Giants

Not a lot is happening in my neck of the woods at the moment.

- I'm busy putting off studying for an exam, but actually writing my last 5000 word essay for the semester due in just under two weeks
- J is at home sick with a cold
- My spending ban is going relatively well, so no exciting purchases to speak of
- We're getting new neighbours on Friday... hopefully they're as nice as the last, and tolerant of some loud vehicles and 50s music on occasion
- Work is hectic and I feel like I need a holiday already
- Poppy is going to puppy training on the weekend (hurrah)

In some random news, J and I watched one of the movies I purchased a few weeks ago from DeepDiscount.... a movie titled 'Village of the Giants' (1965). And it was weird. Really, really weird. Basically a group of rebel teens eat a potion that turns them into giants, and they wreak havoc on a town. There was a lot of 60s go-go dancing, a young Ronnie Howard (think Richie Cunningham from Happy Days) starring as a boy genius, and a scene with two 6-foot ducks dancing in a nightclub. Strange with a capital S.T.R.A.N.G.E!

Saturday, 5 June 2010

The Great Unveiling

My 1940s day dress is complete! I finished it last night while I should have been writing my essay. Seeing as I was missing the sleeve pattern piece, I met with Trudie, the crazy Dutch seamstress in the nearest town, and she helped me knock up a pattern piece to follow, which turned out perfectly. Excuse the shine I've got going on, not to mention the uninterested look...

I think I just need to take in the blouse a bit more as it's a smidge too big, but other than that, it's perfect! I've very proud of myself, especially as this was the first thing I'd sewn since Year 8 sewing class (we made aprons). I even did the buttons and invisible zip myself! Now I've built up my confidence somewhat, I'll make my next dress in a heavier fabric. I specificially chose cheap cotton for this dress just in case I didn't like sewing, or I screwed up royally along the way.

While I was sewing, Jeeves (the bearded dragon) was frantically digging in his enclosure. Someone ought to tell him you can't really reach China that way. He's a cutie though...

Friday, 4 June 2010

The Gangsters' Ball 2010

One of my greatest disappointments of 2009 was that I couldn't attend the Gangsters' Ball, as our friends scheduled their Bucks and Hens night for the same evening. J, our good mate C and myself were devastated. C, who lives a few towns over, is the same as us... born in the wrong decade. He solely listens to 40s and 50s music, drives classic cars and all that jazz, so the Gangsters' Ball would have been right up his alley.

So we have had to wait an entire year to get the chance to attend, and I have just discovered the details and dates of this year's soiree! The Gangsters' Ball will be travelling to Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne in September 2010, and the specific dates as follows (info taken from the Gangsters' Ball webpage):

Sydney - Metro Theatre - Saturday 4th September
Brisbane - Tivoli Theatre - Saturday 11th September
Melbourne - Forum Theatre - Saturday 18th September

This year’s stellar line-up includes:

MC: Madame Leila Montansano (Paris/Berlin)

Cabaret & Vaudeville: Circus Trick Tease, Carni Coconut featuring Mark Winmill & Fez, Lou Lou & the Lucky Charms featuring Lou Harwood, Kelly Ann Doll with Daniel E and Shannon McGurgan, Lena Marlene, Jamilla Deville, Imogen Kelly, Anna Lumb and the vixens from Scoundrelles & Bottoms Up! Burlesque with more to be announced over the coming weeks...

Magic & Illusion: Mada V’s Vegas & Julia Madotti

Live Band: The Velvet Set (10-piece Swing Band)

(image from The Velvet Set)

Every show also features Australia’s best Swing, Rockabilly and Rock & Roll DJ’s, The Gambling Den - with Poker, Roulette and Black Jack tables, Swing and Rockabilly dancing contests, Cigarette girls & pin-up models, merchandise stalls, cocktail bar, 1920’s themed photo booth and fantastic prizes for the best dancers and lucky door!

Ticket information is available here. I'm off to start planning my outfit now!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Vintage sewing and a freebie!

Well, remember a while ago I started sewing a 1940s day dress that turned out to be quite the challenge for my entirely novice sewing skills? You'll be happy to hear that it is nearly finished!

I am very proud of myself, for I sewed the buttonholes and invisible zip myself, when I thought that would go to the seamstress to tackle. Granted, the sewing machine did the buttonholes, and I don't know how I would have survived without a specific zipper foot (honestly - I had no idea my Nan's machine had such wonderful options until I read the instruction manual).

The only downside is that I have discovered another piece missing. I first thought only a skirt panel was missing, but this didn't matter as I could just copy the pattern piece from the opposite side of the skirt. Easy fixed. But now I've discovered the cap sleeve piece missing too. I've tried mocking up a little sleeve, but it doesn't seem right. So tomorrow I'm off to see a seamstress in a nearby town, and she's going to help me with my sleeves. And then, it shall be finished! Hurrah. Stay tuned for the pictures!

(Image from Veer)

I will be giving away the pattern to someone who'd like it - just leave a comment. It is a larger sized pattern, with the ratio of 38-32-41 (vintage size 20, for a modern day 12-14). One skirt panel piece is missing (but you can easily copy the opposite side panel), and the cap sleeve piece when making the short sleeve version is also missing. More information and pictures are available on etsy, where I purchased it.

Now, I am on the lookout for another pattern to attempt, and this one caught my eye on Ruby Plaza. I actually stumbled upon Ruby Plaza a few days ago while searching for 1940s dresses, and I will definitely be buying from there in the future - the prices are much cheaper than eBay! On second thought, perhaps I shouldn't have told you that...

This 1950s dress looks much easier to sew, and I like the two different necklines. I just need to find some fitting material, as Spotlight and Lincraft don't have the greatest range. Can anyone recommend stores in either Melbourne or online that offer a great range of material, especially heavier fabrics suitable for winter?