Wednesday, 29 September 2010

200th Post Giveaway!

Well, I was planning on doing a giveaway for reaching 50 followers, but I blinked and now I'm into the 60s! Thank you, and welcome, to all my new followers - I think I can thank Bombshell Bettie's giveaway for that! (If you didn't know, I'm sponsoring a giveaway on Bombshell Bettie's Vintage - a cute pair of brogue heels - so hop to it and enter if you have a size 9-9.5 foot!) But back to this blog...

I have this cute French-inspired giveaway for my followers: a vintage embroidered collar, a red plastic F21 bow ring (size 7) and an adorable handprinted card and envelope for your Mon Chéri.


Open to worldwide readers.
Post a comment to enter.
Re-blog or tweet for an extra entry!
Winner will be drawn in one week - Wednesday 6th October


Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Homemade bread

Well, I was planning on taking a few more outfit photos this week, seeing as I have the week off, but I am now out for the count after my little tumble I took on Sunday! I went to the docs yesterday because my neck mobility was getting much worse, and turns out I have whiplash and a cracked sacrum! So now I am wearing a very stylish foam neck collar, and spending a lot of time lying down (because sitting hurts so damn much).

But anyway, yesterday afternoon T and I made a loaf of bread! Except T wasn't overly enthused as the process didn't involve the TV or PS3 in any way, so I was left to do most of it.



The instructions called for leaving the dough to rise in a warm spot, and the only warm spot in our house is inside the reptile enclosures. I chose the lizard's enclosure, because I didn't like my chances of extricating the snake should he wrap himself around the bowl!



I ended up rushing off to the doctors halfway through the process, so my mum (who came down to watch T) popped it into the oven. Unfortuntely, when the bread was done, J was home by then, and he left it sitting in the oven to cool (wtf?) and didn't read the instructions to remove it from the bread tin after a few minutes, so it sweated and turned mushy on the edges :( That boy can't handle instructions.

Other than the mushy bits (which I cut off), the bread is delicious! Next time I bake a loaf, I'll make sure I don't need to rush off anywhere! 

Monday, 27 September 2010

Outfit post

It's been a while, so here is an outfit post!

I slept in pincurls last night, and they looked awesome initially, but they'd already dropped out by the time I took my photos (about 15 minutes - and my hair is 4 days dirty!)

Yesterday I fell over hardcore as I caught my foot on the lamb's pen I was trying to exit, and cracked my head and my back on the ground. And boy, am I feeling it today - I can't move my neck much, and any movement hurts my coccyx (tailbone). But I must soldier on - today is Day 1 of babysitting J's little brother - so we're off to Bunnings to buy some more veggie seedlings, then we're going to bake bread! More photos to come, as I'm entrusting T (the kidlet) with my camera.

P.S. Free to good home - one little lamb! He's being such a noisy little blighter - if I'm not near him 24/7, he makes a huge fuss.

Blouse - 1980s (I think) from op-shop
Skirt - vintage, handmade, from op-shop
Crinoline - eBay
Heels - Target

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Homemade laundry powder (and more random pictures)

(Argh, what the hell is going on with my DIVs? Bear with me while I fix them up)

Today I mixed up my homemade laundry powder! I followed the recipe on the blog Toward Sustainability (which I am just in awe of, by the way).

The recipe is:

4 cups grated pure soap (e.g. Sunlight soap) or Lux Flakes
2 cups Borax
2 cups washing soda

... but I was limited to a smaller storage container so I mixed up half-measures for each. I spent HOURS searching for a retro style laundry powder tin during the week, but it appears they've all disappeared! I was spotting them everywhere a few weeks back, but perhaps I've missed the boat. I will let you know how it scores on cleaning powder once I run out of my commercially bought stuff.


In other news:

It was J's birthday yesterday. I made him a lame caterpillar cake using strategically arranged cupcakes. He thought it was cute (because it was so lame!)


My veggie patch is getting an extension! My brother put in my posts yesterday using the post-hole digger and rammer, now I just have to wait for the chicken wire fencing to be attached. We're also removing one layer of the frame from my existing plot, and using that to create a second.


And Brando the lamb is doing much better. His scours has almost entirely cleared up, he's eating lots more grass and is very noisy!


There's lots of farm work going on. Yesterday the paddocks were fertilised in preparation for sowing lucerne in 5 days time.


I have a new favourite vehicle too! It's a John Deere Gator, and my dad bought it from a golf course for $500 (retail $20k+, but it needed a lot of work). Now I can easily transport water from the dairy (which I use on the garden) instead of lugging watering cans back and forth a few times a day! Ace (pictured) and Poppy love it too.



And last but not least, J finally caught a swarm of bees for his empty bee hive! Because yesterday was the first warm Spring day we've had so far, several hives swarmed and he managed to grab one swarm that had formed on a tree branch. Providing all things go well, we should be able to harvest at least 6 kilos (and up to 20 kilos) of honey each year, not to mention the beeswax I can make candles out of!


Thursday, 23 September 2010

My week so far... in pictures

Apologies upfront to Emma aime for somewhat stealing her idea of her "What Emma Did" posts... I don't have much vintage-related news at the moment, I'm sorry - this month of no spending is making it quite tough! But hopefully this will tide you over:

Freecycling. These flowers are from a lovely lady in exchange for my old iPod! Her daughter lost her iPod on the bus recently, and I had an old one sitting in a drawer gathering dust (I still have two!) so I thought it could go to a new home. I've also given away some old clothes and a cardboard box for a lady who is expecting kittens (well, her cat is, not her personally!) and received some old bricks to create a garden path with.

DIYing my own laundry powder. More details to come soon. I want to use our grey water on the garden (plus even Omo Sensitive is giving me the rashies lately, so I want to go greener).

Sewing reusable vegetable and fruit bags to use at the grocer. Total cost $8 for the tulle netting, and I have enough fabric to make about 10 bags.

Attempting (and giving up) Kitty's vintage hair challenge. Going to the gym each morning before work is not conducive to hairstyling! (Can you believe I'd had the curling iron on my hair about 5 mins before this pic? Pffft, I give up with my hair.)

Gathering up items for a market stall. I've removed all the non-vintage or vintage-inspired garments from my wardrobe, as well as all of my unopened makeup and 95% of my nail varnish collection. Market stall to be held in the coming month or two.

Donating a $25 microloan to this lovely Kenyan lady on Kiva, so she can buy goats and sheep to then sell for a profit.

Reading the 道德经 (The Dao De Jing - the main text of Daoism/Taoism) - it's classical Chinese at its greatest. But reading classical Chinese is very slow going for me - one page usually takes an hour or so to translate, then comprehend!

Listening to a cool CD J‘s dad thoughtfully brought me back from the US recently - it’s from the famous Sun Records in Memphis, where Elvis and many other famous artists were first signed. Check out Milton's rockin' quiff!

One half-day of work to go, then I have almost an entire week off! (I say almost, because I have to travel to Melbourne for work on Thursday... couldn't get out of that). And I'm babysitting J's little brother for the week, so we should hopefully be doing some exciting stuff! Stay tuned.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

How does your garden grow?

I have snow peas, broccoli, Dutch carrots, onions, spring onions and potatoes growing. My spuds are just about ready to harvest, and my broccoli plants are growing at a rate of knots... I'm just praying they actually deliver some broccoli for me! The hard part about growing underground veggies like the spuds and onions, is that I never quite know when they're ready to harvest!

The rye grass around the outside of my veggie patch is growing great guns too, as you can see in the final picture! I was contemplating spraying the surrounding area with Round-Up, to kill off the grass so I can lay down some paving or gravel, but I a) don't want the chemicals affecting the veggies, and b) I don't want my little lamb accidentally ingesting some, as his pen is right next to the veggie patch.

So I'll whipper-snipper the area, then just lay down some old bricks that I'm collecting tonight from a Freecycler (a user of Freecycle). I have next week off work, thanks to the UCI cycle race being held in Geelong, so planting more veggies and tidying the area up is high on my To-Do list.

Do you have a veggie garden? What has grown for you, and what has been a flop? I always fail at growing capsicums - they are so puny and always have black spots :(

Monday, 20 September 2010

Mary Poppins

Late last week, Mum and I traveled up to Melbourne to see Mary Poppins the Musical! We bought tickets way back in March, but the six month interim seemed to fly by until it was finally upon us.

We ate dinner at Supper Inn in Chinatown - if you're from Melbourne, you'll know it as the restaurant from the Visit Melbourne ad with the chap and his giant? It's a poky little restaurant, hidden down an alley and up a flight of stairs. We ate steamed duck with veggies, and barbecue pork, and their bourbon and coke was not only cheap, but also very generous with the bourbon!

Then it was off to Her Majesty's Theatre for the show. Now, I'm not going to lie. It was different. There were some parts that were drastically different from the film which I didn't like as much (call me a prude, but I can't deal with men in nude, one-piece leotards). But the rest of the costumes, as well as the sets and actors/actresses were phenomenal. I almost convinced myself that wearing 1910s clothing every day would be practical. And I could kill for Mary Poppins' coats (she had three (?) - one black, one pink and one purple... there might have been more, actually, but my memory fails me). My highlight was the very chap-like chimney sweeps singing "Step in Time".

The following morning, after a yummy breakfast and one-hour walk along the Yarra (what a disgusting river, by the way), Mum and I headed out shopping! I ended up buying some tea and a cup and saucer from T2, three 1950s dresses and some ginger chocolate from Haigs. We also ate delicious cupcakes from The Cupcake Bakery, where the sticky date cupcake blew our minds!

I nearly went crazy in T2, wanting to purchase a tea cup and saucer in every colour available... but I limited myself to just one, in red. I also grabbed some Just Ginger and Creme Brûlée teas. The only other store I really wanted to look at was Retrostar - a massive vintage clothing store that sells mainly retro gear, but they have a few vintage pieces too.

Out of about 10 dresses that I tried on, I purchased 3 (and one was paid for by my mum as part of my birthday present). The dresses are:
1) a black/brown check 1950s day dress with yellow flowers
2) a green/white check 1950s day dress, and
3) a 1950s pinky/blue lace and chiffon boatneck cocktail dress with cummerbund waist

We then had an amazing brunch at cafe Issus, where we dined on Thai chicken salad and Eggs Benedict, then it was off to the station for an early train home. After such a massive weekend, I am well and truly exhausted - can't wait for my week-long holiday next week!

The Ups and Downs of The Gangsters' Ball

I originally wrote a full-length post for this, but decided it was too long, so I'm offering you a shortened version first (then you can skip down to the measly photos):

- Wildilocks (the hair salon) cancelled my appointment, and were very rude about it
- I had no styling products to do my own hair, and couldn't find another hairdresser
- Our hotel was under renovations, was sweltering and our view was of scaffolding and tradies' behinds
- The hotel smoke alarms were so sensitive they went off at a whiff of hair spray or deodorant 
- The battery in my camera died before I could take any outfit snaps
- I have some amazing blisters (but they were totally worth it)

- Chinese for tea was tasty
- The GB itself was amazing


I was super excited for my hair appointment at Wildilocks in the city - I was planning on getting a smoking 1950s formal updo, but it wasn't to be. Half an hour before my appointment time of 2pm, I was walking through the city from our hotel carpark to said salon, when I received a phonecall, and was told that my appointment was cancelled because my stylist was sick, and they couldn't squeeze me in with another. The stylist on the phone was really quite rude, and actually tried to turn the blame around onto me, because she couldn't get through to me at 10am - no shit, I told them I didn't have any mobile reception at home - why not call the home phone number I left too? I am not blaming them for their staff member getting sick, I get that, I've been there. But, jeez, you understood it was for a formal event, so why not offer to stay back past 5pm and make it right? But I guess it's easier to lose a customer (sorry - I am really peeved at this).

So I was stuck in the city with no hairdresser, no hair styling tools other than a paddle brush and some Bobby pins, and some seriously dirty hair. Nearly in tears, J suggested just doing it myself, and getting a hat to cover up my hair... Ha! Yeah right, I wasn't taking that for an answer, I wanted to look bombshell beautiful.

Finally I calmed down enough and decided Js idea was valid, seeing as I'd have no hope finding another hairdresser with an opening within the next 3 hours for what might be a 1 hour styling gig. So I headed to Priceline for some hair wax and a comb, and off to Myer for a fascinator (thank God for Spring Racing). But, have you ever seen the prices of fascinators at Myer? Jeez, talk about expensive! So it was off to Diva for a bargain purchase. Then we got some bourbon and checked into the hotel. And it was time for more disappointments.

The room was like a sauna, and turning the thermostat to 0 degrees did nothing. The bathroom was disgusting. Using any aerosol products like deodorant and hairspray set off the fire alarm and evacuated the whole building (I know because I was the one using the hairspray). The building was undergoing refurbishments, so our bedroom window looked out onto scaffolding and tradie plumbers cracks.

With the help of bourbon, I pulled myself together and had a cold shower and washed my hair with hand soap (I didn't pack shampoo, thinking my hair would be looking beautiful by now). Then we drank and watched terrible TV and wasted away the afternoon.

We ate dinner in Chinatown, and the food was amazing! Poor J found it a bit spicy though. We had gongbao chicken, dry fried beans with pork mince, Qingdao beer and peach juice (宫宝鸡顶,干煸四季豆,青岛啤酒和水蜜桃汁). Amazingly good real Chinese food.

Then we sauntered back to the hotel and got dressed for the GB! And, this is where it gets even more disappointing... My freaking camera battery went flat before I could take any outfit shots! It said it was fully charged when we left home, I swear! I should have taken my DSLR, but I was worried it might get pinched.

So all I have are a couple of bad iPhone photos :( I'm so sorry ladies (But I guess it hides my crappy hairstyle.)

Now... the GB itself totally made up for any disappointments I'd experienced throughout the day! It was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! Big band, swing and r'n'r music playing, utterly amazing acts and performances, and everyone looking beautiful in 20s-50s fashion (although there were some who missed the mark by a few decades or so...).

Once photos start popping up online of the acts / fashion etc, I will post some for certain.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Green Update

We're over a third of the way through September, so I figure it is time for a Green Update. How are you all doing? Here's what I've done:

Separating my recycling and compostables from rubbish like it's going out of fashion

Tidied up my vegige patch. My snow peas and broccoli are growing amazingly. I can't wait to harvest (pics coming on the weekend). I'll be planting more veggies in a fortnight's time.

Turning off electrical items and switching off lights. No heater use either.

Reading a few books on being green/recycling. Currently reading 'No Impact Man' by Colin Beavan (thanks to the library) which is giving me some fantastic ideas.

Using Blackle all the time (unless I want to search for images, in which case I use Google)

Switched to using handkerchiefs instead of tissues (next step - reusable rags instead of paper towel)

A few little fails - we have consumed takeaway food, as a few of J's mates came around on Saturday to watch movies and sink brewskies. And I purchased a few things for myself:
ONE: A pair of black vintage wrist-length gloves to wear to the Gangsters' Ball (which is this weekend!). Total $15 from etsy;
TWO: a ticket to see the Smashing Pumpkins in October;
THREE: a ticket to Soundwave Festival in March next year (if you haven't seen the lineup for Soundwave, and you like metal... good God, go check it out! Rob Zombie is touring Australia! Knock me down with a feather, he never tours here!)

In my defense, I simply had to purchase the Soundwave tickets, as they're nearly all sold out for the Melbourne leg, and seeing Smashing Pumpkin is a no-brainer. So that just leaves the vintage gloves, which I really wanted to top off my outfit for the Ball. Which is this weekend!

My posts might be a little sparse until Sunday evening - I'm off to Melbourne this afternoon to see Mary Poppins - the musical! My mum and I are staying in a motel in the CBD tonight, and shopping up a storm tomorrow! (I'll be almost entirely window shopping though - apart from Christmas pressies).

And on Saturday J and I are off to Melbourne for the Gangsters' Ball (and staying up there again). But there should be plenty of pretty pictures coming of outfits and hairstyles and whatnot!

Monday, 13 September 2010

FREE TICKET to the Gangsters' Ball

I can has giveaway! Our friend can no longer make it to the Gangsters' Ball, so I am giving his ticket away.

It's on this coming Saturday (18th September) from 8pm until 1am, at the Forum Theatre in Melbourne CBD.

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!


To enter this giveaway, you must be able to attend, as I don't want it going to waste. Just leave me a comment to enter. Re-blog this for an extra entry.

The winner will be drawn at random on Wednesday evening, and the ticket will be sent Platinum Express to you Thursday morning. Otherwise, you can meet me in the city on Thursday evening, all day Friday, or from 2pm onwards on Saturday to collect your ticket (or at 8pm at the venue, of course!). 

Ticket price is $77.20, and there are still tickets left, so purchase one more and it could be a cheap night for you and your beau or BFF!

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Meet Me At Mikes quilt

Yesterday I had the house to myself, as J is back to working 7 day weeks again (but only 10 hours a day now, not 12). So I decided to make a quilt! A workmate had posted the Meet Me At Mikes summer quilted throw tutorial on Facebook, so I figured it'd be something fun to try! But first, an outfit post! I bought this 1940s dress on etsy (was it etsy? or eBay?) a while back, and have been meaning to post it for an eon! (OT, but I had some awesome curls going on yesterday - it's a pity my black hair doesn't show up detail very well in photos).

Now, back to the quilt. I did diverge from the tutorial a little - the MMAM one used complete fat quarters, but I cut mine into triangles so there would be more variation in the pattern. I also added wadding, and adjusted the dimensions to suit me!

To be thrifty, I used leftover fabric from my past few dresses, and some offcut sections I'd bought from Spotlight for $1 each. For the backing, I used an old floral sheet from Mum's linen cupboard (I asked her first! This sheet was way down the bottom, and hadn't been used in decades, so I figured it was fair game.)

It was pretty simple, really.
1. Cut out fat quarters, then cut in half diagonally.
2. Lay out the pattern on the floor
3. Sew together each column, then join the three columns together (pressing seams as you go)
4. Sew the backing on
5. Sew the wadding in!

All in all, it took me only 3 hours to do - and I reckon it looks pretty good! It certainly is warm and snuggly. Total cost? Just $18 for the wadding! Everything else I already had. I'm pretty proud of myself! (And yes, there is a motorcycle in our living room.)

Monday, 6 September 2010

Two negatives = positive?

Well, Sunday was a really bad day for being green on one hand, and pretty good on the other!

Thanks to the very crazy weather we've been experiencing, we lost power for the entire day. So that meant no running water (as our water pump requires electricity to work), no entertainment of any kind, and no cooking! All of our food was either frozen or required some sort of heat, so we were forced to purchase food for breakfast, lunch AND dinner from a nearby town (which is on a different power line... lucky buggers - we always lose power thanks to our lines running through bush, meanwhile theirs comes straight through empty paddocks).

But I figure, the amount of electricity we saved by not using a single appliance might cancel out the bad effects of buying food? The only downside is that some of our critters (the snake and bearded dragon) require a constant 28°C to keep healthy and out of hibernation, so they had a chilly, dozy day.

That used to be a trickle...

Poppy the water dog

(Ace is overly ambitious with his stick retrieval - that dog will try and drag entire trees from the water!)

We're also flooded (can you tell?)! One of the joys of having a river as a fenceline. The dogs are having a grand old time splashing through the paddocks, but it's not all good - the water is washing away our precious topsoil, which we need to grow our crops. J and I spent a good while on Sunday digging a channel to allow some of the floodwater to flow into the old creek (which only flows during extreme floods).

Here is our weir, before (this is actually a good flow... normally it's less than a trickle):

And after. The water level is higher than the highest concrete pillar seen in the above photo... so it's up about 2 metres: