Monday, August 29, 2011

Time Out Back

I recently took a week off and 'went bush' as we say in Australia. So my head is elsewhere and not really settled down into the intricacies of my vintage world. There is plenty of 'vintage' in the outback but not of the manmade (woman made) kind.

We flew to Broome on the far north west coast of Australia (5 hours from Sydney by plane) which has a rich and varied history and is known for its pearl industry that involved a great influx of Chinese and Japanese pearl divers to this remote place at the end of the 19th century.  The Indian Sea here is pale aqua and the sands are pure white, and fine like velvet between your toes. Further out as we drove into the wild - there are boabab trees everywhere - and it looks a bit like Africa. 

The striking wall of orange to the right is a Devonian reef dated between 375 and 350 million years ago, when a tropical sea filled the Canning and Bonaparte Basins. 

The structure was built by lime-secreting organisms, mainly calcareous algae and extinct coral-like organisms called stromatoporoids. Though corals were present, they were much less important in reef-building than the corals of modern times. Gastropods, brachiopods, bivalves and stromatolites were also present in and around the reef. 
We camped here and when you walk along the cliffs you can see some of the fossilised animals preserved in its walls. The river runs beside it, and now and again on the banks, as we walked past, a fresh water crocodile, (known for their docile nature) would amble back into the water. Needless to say, we couldn't swim there! 

The journey ended by driving onto Cable Beach back in Broome to sip champagne and watch the sun set over the western coast - a novelty for us easties! Is there anything more vintage than a good sunset?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Click away and Win

The Marlie and Me giveaway blog has started. Go to the site and click away (its dead easy) for a chance to win a whole bunch of goodies including $30GC from evaelena. Then you could have for example,                                                   this
or this

                                                                              or this

or this little French 1930s lead terrier called Tulip who really needs a home!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


In the mid sixties when was peace and love was cool, I was a suburban teenager in Sydney Australia, reading Timothy Leary and tie dying all my T shirts purple much to my mother's disgust.  I handpainted my sneakers in colourful psychedelic swirls to match my favourite album cover, Disraeli Gears, by Cream and wore them on the weekends hanging around with the real hippies pretending I was not a school girl. The look my friends and I were going for, was 'gypsy'.

Cool looking hippies fresh from Ashrams and communes would sell trinkets, incense, jewelry, stinky Indian cigarettes and everything else. The girls had beautiful long hair and flowing skirts and the dudes had long hair, beards, headbands and waistcoats. Everyone was called 'man', and there was a genuine sense of hopefulness and change.

Hippy clothing and jewelry stretched those boundaries held tight with suits and ties, short back and sides, button earrings, strings of pearls, little waists with full skirts and cardigans. Hippie fashion embodied sense of freedom and experimentation which matched the developmental stage of most baby boomers around at the time. Being young was a time of experimenting and a time of potentials and looking beyond.

Dangly earrings and anything that was vaguely Asian, particularly Indian was an important part of the look and reflected increasing interest at the time in eastern philsophy and religion. The bigger, the more dangles the better. Enough to toss your head from side to side and to announce your entry if the patchouli oil or the ankle bells hadn't given you away.

There is genuine sense of freedom when you wear dangly earrings or clanky bangles - I still wear them from time to time,  and I  love the physicality of them and their the sound  as I move. This sound continually reminds me of their presence and it is that sense of playfulness which is so innocent that I still enjoy which is at the heart of the hippie, boho look. I wonder if the current trends in boho and hippy inspired fashion is also means of escape and play for this current generation- I hope so!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Free $30 gift Voucher from Evaelena

Teresha from is doing a promotion called Spa for Ma Giveaway Blog Hop  between August 18-31. I am part of a collective of bloggers who will be offering prize packages. If you like my stuff but don't want to pay for it (he he) then here is your opportunity to win a voucher.
                                        Go to and play!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Hunt

Rozelle markets in Sydney Australia is an inner city weekend flea market located in an upwardly mobile suburb.  It is one of the very few true flea markets in Sydney and attracts high end dealers with equally upwardly mobile prices.  Amongst the overpriced dealers who can see their prey a mile away, there are a smattering of casual garage salers and a handful of old school, somewhat scruffy dealers who throw everything in boxes (which they have bought at auction) and allow customers to rummage through their chaos to find treasures and buy them for a reasonable price.

Last week, I was rummaging under such a seller's table in a large box of stuff and I found a tattered blue cardboard box at the bottom.  Inside was this exquisite gypsy necklace nestled on an old pink silk scarf. Now, this is not my usual style, but there was something about the opulence and complexity of it that took me aback. I extracted myself from under the table, and presented it to him wordlessly. There was a momentary expression of genuine surprise on his face before he turned away to serve another customer. And then the haggling began. The more he waxed lyrical about its value and virtues, the more I wanted it, of course. 

It was if the necklace has taken hold of me and wrapped its beautiful bejewelled coils around my neck. I can usually walk away once my limit is reached, but the the fine faux pearls kept me there. We finally agreed on a price and clutching my little blue box, I walked away feeling flush with triumph. 

We get attached to things before we even buy them, psychologists have found, and that emotional attachment increases once we own an object. We have all experienced the "I have to have it" feeling when we shop. Presenting goods as if they have no value is a neat psychological trick. It makes us feel as if we are true explorers looking for a treasure. The act of searching is a primeval biological urge - it is tied to our very survival -the gathering bit of hunting and gathering. 

There is a sense of achievement when we find something and this is a kind of ego investment which is hard to turn away from. I look forward to auctions and markets because I delight in those processes of looking, and can do it for many hours. Had the gypsy necklace been presented on a mannequin in a carefully designed stall, I would not have looked at it twice. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011


I have hundreds of vintage things that I have been collecting, pulling apart and recycling - they are starting to pile up in boxes in the lounge room, the dining, my study, under the stairs and now the hallway. The volume of stuff and the projects underway means that I never have to go to another auction or flea market again....Oh really? Maybe just a quick stop by the auction house....But what determines what project I finish and what vintage things I choose to list? Serendipity?

There doesn't seem to be any particular thread, but any psychologist will tell you that there is a kind of internal logic that operates outside of our conscious awareness which determines the choices we make. Even the small decisions about which piece of fabulous vintage something or other to put on etsy.

Take the last few days for example - I had two commissions over the last week and both involved wombats - go figure. One for a girl from Adelaide (wombats are their emblem animal) and one for a girl in the states who has a passion for the animal. Both are very happy with the resulting pendants. But was some giant wombat in the sky channeling these two girls to approach me? Before this I hadn't given wombats a thought and they are not native to the Sydney area where I live, so I only see them at zoos and I havent been to a zoo for many years.

In the same week I came across vintage black lace fingerless gloves and listed them at the same time as finishing a project that I have been thinking about for some months - the three coat of arms hair pins. At a stretch (excuse the lacy pun) black lace might suggest medieval clothing which equals heraldry.

Hair pins, British and Canadian heraldry and black lace gloves and wombats? The pins turned out even better than I imagined - they just need a good head of hair to do them justice. Wombat hair perhaps? A medieval damsel with long tresses.

Before these were even listed this week, my head moved on to another project of a single pearl kangaroo cufflink begging to be made into a ring - OK kangaroos certainly relates to wombats, but where did the retro New Zealand maori tiki make itself present in my consciousness? Aah yes, of course, serendipity - the tiki is an ancient polynesian symbol for luck and it is this element of chance that ties all of these things together, the tiki was just giving me a heads up!