Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Kustom Krafts Brisbane Retro & Vintage Markets - Sandgate July '13.

It had been ages since I had been free to attend a vintage market so I was pleased to find myself at the entrance to the Kustom Krafts markets at Sandgate again in early July.

I had a limited budget so buying new dresses was not on the cards.  That was fine by me because I had a mind to buy brooches and other accessories.

I had a great time browsing the stores.  There seemed to be a lot more stores selling homewares this time which I think was a good move.  One stall in particular took my attention, Beautiful Trash.  The stall had a nice range of glassware, china, figurines and other vintage homewares at very reasonable prices.  I didn't buy anything because I was saving my cash for brooches but I was sorely tempted by a few pieces.

 I also had eyes for some of the pretty vintage dresses that Cassie's Corner had on the racks. Cassie is always my first stop at the Kustom Kraft's markets and this time was no exception.  She always stocks an excellent supply of brooches.  I browsed through them for ages before choosing a pink poodle brooch and a more sensible gold leaf one.     

I then discovered a recent addition to the Brisbane Vintage stall holders, Vintage Affairs.  They had a all kinds of goodies to interest me, from recycled fabric, scarves, hats, dresses and jewelry as well as a few Australian Home Journals (my addiction!)  The kind folks running the store willing to let me haggle on prices so I could take home a black feather bandeaux as well as a hair scarf and red flocked handkerchief.  I was stoked!

I must admit I was at first little nervous about my outfit.  Though I loved my thrifted 50s frock, it was the first time I'd tried wearing the belt over cardigan style.  However I received a few compliments which settled my worries.

Dress: Home-made dacron fabric frock with original belt (thrifted)
Cardigan: 60s knit cardigan (thrifted)
Shoes:  Wittner navy and white wedges sandles
Accessories:  Thistle and heather brooch (Kijaro Vintage), long pearl strand (gift), vintage navy scarf in hair (Chapple Street Bazaar), pearl earrings, 60s cane bag (La Bella Donna)

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Very Thrifty start to July

My sister-in-law, the ever effervescent and hilarious Grosby asked me to take her out for a morning of thrifting.  Knowing it would be an absolute lark I readily agreed and arranged to pick her up early the next weekend we were both available.

We hopped between garage sales across a bunch of suburbs in Ipswich City.  I've lost count of how many we actually went to in total.  Grosby bought a few items, including a coveted game of Labyrinth that had been a favourite of hers when she was young.  I came out with quite a few items myself!

That day taught me another thrifting lesson:
Take your time and look carefully at everything.  Then take a second look!
I had quickly browsed items for sale on the tables, inspected a lamp and decided there was nothing for me.  I had actually said my courteous thanks to the lady holding the sale and was about to walk out when I noticed a washing basket filled with what looked like vintage men's trousers.  A bit of digging came up with three vintage scarves, two 60s knit tops and a 50s home-made dress.

 I paid $7 for the lot.  The seller was happy to see her Great-Aunt's clothes go to someone who would wear them. Win-win.

We continued on to other garage sales.  Some we left empty handed but that only fed our fever for more.  Definitely the best buy of the day was a leather Glastonbury bag (doctor's bag) in perfect condition for an incredible $20.

I must admit that I find a kind of thrill in the element of the unknown that is central to thrifting.  Will that next stop be full of great buys or instead will there be nothing to inspire?  Will you find that perfect lamp that you're keeping an eye out for or will you find something else, entirely unanticipated?

As well as my fashion goodies I bought a few items for around the house - an enamel dish to join a few other enamel items in my laundry, three tins for my craft room and a copper planter which I hope to pot with a fern and put in my bathroom. 

I wasn't looking for a tea light holder but I came across a little antique stained glass cup which reminded me so strongly of the stained glass windows at my Grandfather's house that I was immediately attached and knew I wanted it.

I hope Grosby enjoyed the morning as much as I did and I really hope we get the chance to do it again sometime soon! 

Friday, July 19, 2013

So Come, Kiss Me Kate! - movie review

I had a spare evening and the house to myself so I decided it was high time I watched another 50s movie.  With PJs on, a cup of tea at hand and two cats in the lap, I slipped the DVD of 'Kiss Me Kate' into my computer.

After the usual loading screens I was greeted with a title screen for the movie - our lead character, played by Kathryn Grayson looking every bit like a pinup girl while being gleefully spanked by a devilish looking lead, Howard Keel.

My last movie review of 'On Moonlight Bay' included a spanking scene and before that, 'Pillow Talk' included a scene of the lead actress being manhandled.  I'm starting to pick up a theme here....

The story of 'Kiss Me Kate' revolves around a divorced couple Fred and Lilli who are thrown together again to act as the lead actors in a musical theater production of the 'Taming of the Shrew'.

If you've read/watched the play (or watched the excellent movie adaption starring Elizabeth Taylor), you'd know that two leads, Katherine and Petrucio, are pitted against each other - one aiming to tame, woo and keep his ferocious bride, the other, bitter, easily angered and determined to remain free from male domination.

With such two actors playing such two roles in such a play - what could possibly go wrong?

The answer to that is 'Lois and Bill, incorrect deliveries, dinner before acting, gangster thugs, a rancher and a whole lot of spanking'.

Come on!  You know you have to watch it now!

The whole movie was fun from start to finish.  All the characters are hammed a little but this doesn't detract from the movie at all because it doesn't try to be serious at any point.

As most of the movie is set on the stage, there aren't many scenes which showcase the actors in fashions of the day.   There is one or two scenes in which Kathryn Grayson wears a yellow housecoat which she makes look so chic.  I definitely need more housecoats in my life!  Also, keep your eyes peeled for the white, scalloped petticoat that Lois wears under her pretty dress during the 'Why Can't You Behave' dance number.

I think it's only fair to warn you now that this movie does involve men in tights...
 The music numbers are fun and not too long.  My favourite songs from the movie are 'Why Can't you Behave' and 'Brush Up on Your Shakespeare'.  I'm not terribly fond of tap dancing but those tap performances included were thankfully short and not too out of place.

Jack Handey wrote, in his book 'Deep Thoughts'.  "If you ever discover that what you're seeing is a play within a play, just slow down, take a deep breath, and old on for the ride of your life."


Apple Relish Recipe

Apple Relish (Mrs. H. Offner)
page 96

  • 1 banana chilli (because I'm a great, big chilli wuss), cored and deseeded
  • 500g green apples, peeled and cored
  • 500g brown onions, peeled
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 3/4 tblspn salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • sterilised bottles or jars
Put the chilli, apple and onion through a food processor or mincer in batches.  Ensure that you get a good mix of the three ingredients in each batch.  Process until fine.  Add the vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.  Bottle in sterilised jars.  Ensure that there is sufficient vinegar in each jar to cover the other ingredients and try to remove any air pockets.   Seal the jars and keep in a cool place.   It is good to use after two days.

This recipe turned out to be very cheap and quick to make.  It was also very economical, producing two jars full.  I don't forsee myself going through even one jar so I may have to give the other to my Mum. 

I would be very interested to see if using my food processor produced the same texture and consistency as using a mincer.  I do wonder if a mincer would create a more juicy mixture and make it hold together in a different way.   Really, the food processor just produce tiny sliced up bits of each of the vegetable ingredients.   I don't have a mincer of any kind at home so I made do with the food processor.

I ate the relish atop of pork sausages after the prescribed two days and enjoyed the flavour very much.  I haven't found any other way of using the relish as yet - if you have any ideas let me know!

Mrs H. Offner

In December 1932 a Mrs H. Offner attended a kindegarten college graduation ceremony - was this as a graduant or a parent/friend to a graduant?  The Courier Mail unfortunately didn't provide any details in the article.  

There were also a few reports of a Mrs H. Offner assisting in fundraising events on the Northside of Brisbane, including attendance (as a committee member of the R.S.S.I.L.A) of a Bridge Night at Nundah in August 1939 to raise funds for Kingshome and running the drinks and ice-cream stall at a Virginia Carnival to raise funds for the Australian Comforts Fund in September of 1941

In May 1940 a Mrs. H. Offner was the president in attendance at a fund raiser in Virginia to raise funds for the scouts and cubs' new hut.  Some of the attractions at the fete included 'Rides in a breeches buoy', 'fire-lighting by friction' and 'chariot races'.  

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Thrifting in June #2 - and a few lessons I learned from the day.

Another weekend in June saw me getting up early to go to another garage sale which sounded promising.  Unfortunately, when there I found nothing that excited me except a small decorative jug - and I wasn't going to be rude enough to ask the seller to break a $50 note for a $1 purchase! 

 Lesson #1 - Have change!  Large notes are often unwelcome to the seller and might limit what you want to or can buy. 

The weather was unseasonably wet and I was feeling miserable as I drove back home.  En route, I spotted another garage sale and faced the wet once more to see what this one had to offer.

 I saw a little red transfer-ware decorative saucer with a hunting scene on it. It came with it's own hanging wires and was $4.

A dig through a box of linens produced two barkcloth curtains.  I wasn't sure if it was enough to make a short skirt from but for 50c I was willing to try.   I asked the lady running the sale if she had any sewing patterns.  She replied that she didn't but a few minutes later dug out a 1950s sewing manual which she sold to me for 50c. 

Lesson #2 - If you are after something in particular it pays to ask the seller.  The clutter at garage sales can sometimes hide that prized item.

My husband has a decanter with Brandy in it but we've been on the lookout for a nice and reasonably priced one with matching glasses for his whiskey.  I saw this decanter and glasses set for $35.  I asked the seller if they'd take $25 for it and they were happy enough to agree.

Lesson #3 - Don't be afraid to haggle on prices.  Often people just want to get rid of things and are flexible on price.  

I had better luck finding clothes and accessories at my next thrifting attempt.... but that's another post.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Winter Outfits - June '13

Between a bit of thrifting, a bit of sewing and a visit to Atomic Martini Vintage (one of Brisbane's best vintage stores for good quality vintage pieces) I had a lot of 'new' pieces to play with in my wardrobe over June.  Below are a few outfits I wore and managed to get photos of. 

Skirt: Handmade from a 40s Hollywood sewing pattern. 
Blouse: 50s Mustard scalloped shell top (Cassie's Corner)
Cardigan: SAS blue cardigan
Shoes: taupe Wittner peep-toe pumps

Skirt: Sage green pleated skirt with belt (Atomic Martini Vintage) 
Jacket and blouse: Lovers black work jacket, Target black blouse
Shoes:  Naturalizer t-bar heels
Accessories: Black opaque stockings, vintage green bangle (Remember When), navy and white polkadot scarf (thrifted), green headband.

Dress: Red and white cocktail sheath dress - Brisbane designer (Atomic Martini Vintage)
Jacket: Long red microfibre jacket
Shoes: Target black pumps
Accessories: Black Kate Hill handbag & string of pearls (gift)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Thrifting in June #1

In June I decided to try 'thrifting' to see what Brisbane had to offer at op shops (goodwill stores) and garage sales (yard sales).

The photos of my success below make it look like Brisbane is awash with thrifting goodness but the truth is that for every win I had there were also three visits to garage sales or op shops that ended in empty hands and wasted car fuel.

This first lot of goods below were bought from a garage sale in Cooperoo (South Brisbane).   The whole lot was $50.

I loved the sweet little 1940s hooks and eyes still with original packaging.  The coffee coloured lace is tatted - I haven't yet measured it to see how much there is but it looks to be about 3m.  The light blue sateen fabric will be made into a project sometime in the far off future (we all know what a slow-going seamstress I am!) but the white lace collar is finished and ready to wear immediately. 

I was sorely lacking a nice, medium sized crystal vase so I jumped at this one.  The little glass jar will join others in my bathroom to store some lavender for baths.  The pretty jasperware plaque (much lighter green than the processed photos makes it look) is already hung up in my downstairs hallway above a washstand.  The little embroidered doily was too pretty to pass on and the small cherry serving bowl took my fancy. So pretty!  I wonder if I can lace ribbon through the slits in it for a nice effect?

There was a soft sheepskin hat like a shaped beret, I think from the 60s. A floral bandeaux style half hat covered in blue and white flowers and ribbons took my attention and for $3 I couldn't say no.  But the real find was a sage green 1950s (60?) hat heavily decorated with flowers.  Both of the large hats were $5 each. *gasp*  

Sassy D has already poo-pooed the sheepskin hat and husband has said I look like Ivona Humpalot from Austin Powers when I wear it... but I love it.  The other accessories I bought were three scarves, a pair of gloves and a light green bag.

Who can say no to pretty 50s aprons?   Not me, especially when they are sheer blue with flocked polkadots on them. 

I spied a set of 1950s nylon Pajamas in lavender.  I spied a pretty pink bed jacket.  I spied a long slip.  And I spied a mint long sleeved, long nightie which would serve me well for cooler weather.  God bless my husband for putting up for my love of unattractive 'grandma' sleepwear! 

Last of my buys from that garage sale was a lot of linen.  There were three table cloths - a light blue damask one (top left), a pretty minty-blue barkcloth one with fruit and walnuts printed on it and a pink runner with lace inserts.   I also picked up a little mint napkin which I intend to embroidery as a placemat.  I also loved the traditional style tea-towel with red and white stripes as well as a funky 70s tea-towel and a quaint blue and white tea-towl... cute dutch girls and boys. Argh!

There was also an Edwardian era parasol that I bought but I seem to have deleted the photo I took of it and am feeling too lazy to take another one.  (I know! Bad blogger!)

It was a splendid buy and I don't know that I'll ever find another garage sale to match it's great value.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Ginger Cookies

Ginger Cookies (Mrs E. Miller)
page 11

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup crystallised ginger, chopped
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup cornflakes
Prepare two cookie sheets and pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. 
Cream the butter and sugar.  Add the egg and beat well.  stir in the preserved ginger and sifted flour.  Drop spoonfuls of the batter on the tray about 5cm apart.  Press cornflakes into the top of each biscuit. 
Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown. 
Let cool on trays for a few minutes before placing on cooling racks. 

Quick, simple to make and delicious to taste!  I enjoyed these biscuits so much that I made a second batch a few weeks later.  (Yes - I'm very behind in my blogging right now!)

The cookie texture is soft and crumbly but the addition of the cornflakes gives an excellent crunch.  The crystallised ginger gives all the flavour and it packs a punch!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Goodbye Google Reader

<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/6346971/?claim=8e4ckb3gfyp">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>
Google Reader, used by so many to follow all the pretty and interesting blogs on the web,  has ceased to be as of today (1 July 2013).

What to do?  How can you keep up with all of those blogs easily in one spot? 

Well - you could sign up to bloglovin' and follow blogs (maybe including my own! - hint hint!). 

Or Feedly , which I'm using and loving almost as much as I did Google Reader. I like the different options for viewing new entries and the easy way to categorise blogs.

Is anyone else using other feed readers in replacement of Google Reader other than these two options?  I'd love to hear about any others which are worth a view.