Sunday, September 25, 2011

Me Hearties

Sculpture and kitsch and vintage metal - all rolled into one. I couldn't walk by these two sitting on the ground in a thrift shop. It is the craftsmanship, the quirkiness and the novelty of these bronze bookends which took my imagination. I have them listed in my ebay shop

Bronze is an alloy 90% copper and 10% tin. Because it stays liquid when melted for a long time, it is ideal for pouring into intricate molds.  Bronze sculptures go back to 4,000BC in Iran and Mesopotamia. Earlier attempts saw craftsmen experiment with mixing arsenic with copper - hmm... short lived experiment. Tin was discovered by the survivors as a better mix!

These babies were made using a galvano method of plating popular in the 1920s which was a time consuming and expensive process (which is why it is no longer done commercially.) It involved dipping the plaster mold into molten bronze which was electrically charged so it stuck onto the plaster in a gradually build up of layers (taking hours, sometimes days).
Shall we say then that these two were kind of keelhauled in hot bronze?

Bookends themselves were developed in the 16th century. Up to that time, books were kept on lecterns and stored vertically - book shelves then had to be invented to make getting that book on the bottom accessible without having to move all of them every time. Bookends were developed as a means of stopping books falling of shelves and hitting people on the head! Hence the necessity for their substantial weight. These days they also serve as decorative objects.

I swear that these two are slightly different - perhaps the same face - but the face angle is different or are they different pirate faces? You decide! But pirates continue to be a romantic theme (OK Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom have helped this). They were terrible people who lived terrible lives but they represent a sense of freedom - they offer us an alternative to our daily lives. Their's was a life not bounded by social conventions. We can gloss over the fact that people genuinely feared them (for good reason), they were thieves, murderers and rapists, they enslaved others, and their lives were ruled by risk taking. Not having responsibilities to tie you down sounds like fun - but I am not sure about their short life spans. Better to live in the fast lane and die young? My opinions change about this as I age.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

30% OFF everything sale until 27th Sept.

I have finally reached my goal of having 200 items listed in my etsy shop and now I would like to share with you the celebration. 
This is also a thankyou for those of you support evaelena as customers and via the blog and facebook.

30% off everything in the shop for a week only. Sale finishes Tuesday 27th September. This is THE time to get your Xmas presents early.

Use the code YAY200ITEMS

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dragons in New York State

Its so nice to hear of the fate of my vintage goodies in their new homes. This 19th Century silver dragon chopstick holder has found a new home in Richfield Springs, New York. His new owner, fellow etsian Mary Jo has made a beautiful miniature landscape garden box which sits above her sink. The dragon looks quite excited to be in his new home! A perfect rock, balancing a jade budda on his tail - and a fisherman about to catch a fish - this looks like dragon heaven. Mary Jo loves to collect and you can see her vintage finds in her shop MJs Fabulous Finds at

The miniature garden started in China in the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD) with an emperor who had his empire rebuilt in miniature including rivers, hills, and forests so that he could gaze upon his kingdom from his palace window. It was forbidden and punishable by death for anyone else to have a miniature garden. Later, the Chinese started making bonsai gardens and then monks brought them to Japan in 794 AD and the Japanese took to the art with a vengeance, although for many centuries it was an activity for the noble and the privileged. The west took some time to embrace the art of bonsai and it was not until 1935 that it was classified as a legitimate art form.

I love Asian decorative arts and I will be listing more pieces soon, like this lovely cork miniature landscape above. Here in Australia we are very privileged to be near asia and all the wonderful cultural influences (did I mention food? OMG don't get me started) from these rich and varied countries who have thousands of years of cultural history in the decorative arts.

Even in this climate of multiculturalism and extensive travel, vintage decorative objects from Asia in particular carry an exciting exoticism. For me they speak of a past time that I cannot imagine easily, and it is that mystery that appeals.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lemondrop Vintage Giveaway Ends


Well the Lemondrop VIntage giveaway is over. Thankyou Marie for your lovely article and work and thankyou everyone who participated. 

The winner is JC Lo who hails from the lovely tropical city of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. 
JC selected two goodies from my shop which are on their way as we speak. Congratulations JC!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Beyond my control

Its early spring here in Australia, and I spent the weekend at our farm which is 4 hours drive north of Sydney. On the way I stopped in at Gloucester which is a small town, and went in for the first time into their only thrift shop. To my surprise were these 1960s Italian lucite star salt and pepper shakers which were identical to a pair of candle holders I had sold only the day before! What a peculiar coincidence. Does the cosmos want me always to have a pair of stars nearby? Anyway, I have listed the new ones, lets see what happens!

Our farm is beside the Manning River, and at night does a great inky black sky full of non lucite stars and I spend most of my time when we are there in the garden. Its nice to have a bit of time out from the city and get stuck into my garden jobs. I went overboard in the early days with the orchard and now have over 70 fruit and nut trees to maintain including a very long hazelnut bush hedge which has flung a couple of nuts at me last year, but I will have to wait to something more substantial. 

The lovely pink blossoms above is a Yarahapinni Blood Plum tree. This is an Australian variant of blood plums suited to Australian conditions and it has the most beautiful deep red leaves in summer.

The last time it fruited, there was so many plums that the tree split in half down the central trunk from the weight of the fruit. A stake, a severe pruning and heavy duty bandage rescued it and here it goes again two years later. 

Last time the plums ripened the exact week I wasn't there. There was more than enough to feed us and the hordes of lorikeets which came to feed! I made plum brandy, plum pies and the most incredible plum paste to serve with cheese that Xmas (my Spanish Xmas), and then continued to eat it all year as thick plum jam on toast. 

Here is the recipe I used  (I added a stick of cinnamon and few cloves to spice it up)  

2kg blood plums, juice of 2-3 lemons, sugar, whole cinnamon, cloves.Quarter the fruit and put plums and stones in preserving pan lemon juice. Bring slowly to boil, stir occasionally and simmer until fruit is soft. Push fruit through a sieve, measure the mixture and add equivalent amount of sugar, return to pan with spices. to boil. Keep simmering until mixture reaches setting point. Test by putting tsp of mixture on saucer and cool in freezer. If it sets, its ready, if not keep boiling and testing every 10 minutes. When ready, pour into paper lined rectangular cake tin, do not refrigerate! Cut into squares when set - which means it should be firm when cold and hold its shape - a square of plum paste - not a blob of it!
Speaking of out of control plants - the other thing I planted at the farm in the early days was a single white lotus in the pond behind the house. The first year I had one perfect white flower which bloomed on Xmas Day. What a thrill. The second year, ten. The third year - about fifty and the next year too many to count. They are lovely, but short lived and make great homes for small green tree frogs.

It is not surprising I love vintage things with flowers on them. Nice to bring the garden indoors in our day to day lives.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Is there a theme this week? As usual I don't know - clocks and wood figure prominently. These are a few of my new listings in my ebay shop were I am focusing on larger items which is not part of any giveaway yet..

Of course, wood and time figured prominently in our travels in the Kimberely last week. Faced with millions of year old landscapes and surrounded by weird looking trees - not suprising really. 

One of my favourite philosophers talks about time being essential to our sense of identity. There is no separation of time from other things, says Kant, time helps us perceive our lives and make sense of them. The felt experience of time is very different to all of us and seems related to how old we are and how we are living our lives. In the context of a busy life or a long life - time seems to go more quickly.

This is perhaps why we cling to the past - we don't on a philosophical level have any choice as it is the only knowable thing. The future is impossible to predict and the moment you think of the present - it becomes a memory and it is gone from now. In fact, if we can't perceive of now, does it even exist? Isn't it always becoming the past?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

New Giveaway! Win $25 voucher at Evaelena

New Giveaway now on at Lemondrop Vintage - check out Marie's very cool vintage blog and enter for a $25 free gift voucher for my shop on Etsy.

Marlie and Me Giveaway Ends

The Spa for Ma Giveaway Hop at Marlie and Me has finished and thankyou everyone who has entered and thankyou Teresha for your fine work! The giveaway received close to 2500 entries!
I am pleased to announce that the winner of the $30 voucher is
Kristin Sawatzke 

Yay Kristin! Congrats. I can't wait to see what you choose!