Feeling rather dowdy and more than a little despondant, what with the flood crisis in my part of the world and all, I decided that my best effort at cheering myself (as is my usual method) would be to put some thought into my outfit for the day....at least then I go through my day feeling good about myself and how I look. So, here is today's summery outfit which was perfect for taking my kidletts to the park in the morning and sitting by the pool in the evening while they splashed and played and generally wore themselves out !! I made this dress a few years ago from some vintage late 60's material and I love wearing it...not least of all because the vintage pattern gives me a more curvacious figure ! It is a light fabric with a bit of 'give' and I just adore the aqua colour...I need to find myself more of such eye catching stuff !!!!
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
Ten years ago, my girlfriend and photographer extrodinair - Brooke - and I put together a book titled "Homesteads of the Mighty Murray"..... It was a journey down Australia's Murray River exploring 12 of the diverse historic homseteads to be found established upon the rivers prosperous banks. Sadly, as is the case with so many would be authors, no publisher took the opportunity to publish this wonderful book.....although I did notice one of the publishers produced a strikingly similar book 5 years after I had pitched them the idea. Hmmmmmm, I am convinced it's not what you know, but who you know in the publishing game !!!!
Now with the wonders of online publishing, I want to take the opportunity this year to share my book with the world. Over the next 12 months I will be posting each of the chapters of my book, one a month. I do hope you enjoy this little bit of insight into my portion of the world, it's history, it's beauty and it's story......
Homesteads of the Murray - Introduction....
I don’t doubt that Poppa Mick loved that great old river. He certainly gave his grandchildren a love for it. Many a day he took us into the bush by the murky yellow depths and fished for hours on end, while we played under the river gums. He would dig up witchity grubs and tell us they were for lunch, while we thankfully tucked into Nanna Alice’s tomato sandwiches instead. And when at last we fishermen were all fished out, we would head home for Nanna to cook us up a tea made from our bounty. For most river children like me, this was their blissful childhood.
I was always warned about getting to close to the river and falling in. The river was dangerous for a little girl, and the reserved fear of the river has never really left me, making it’s snaking bends and coves all the more rich with mystery, adventure and allure. Even today when I swim at her sandbars, there is a wariness inside. I recall all the stories of people who have been tragically drowned in her waters. People who have been sucked into one of her powerful whirlpools, even tales of sections of the river where streams of water run deep underground, re-surfacing kilometres downstream. The river is an enticing enigma with an air of untamable power – despite all the weirs and locks to the contrary. She demands to be treated with respect.
In places it dawdles, sluggish and heavy with mud after torrential rains. Yet high in the mountains where it’s life begins, it sprightly dances, clear and sparkling as diamonds. Running for 2530km from North Eastern Victoria to the South Australian coast, the Murray River is one of the longest navigatable rivers in the world. For centuries it has given life to the peoples of this dry continent.
In the 1840’s and 50’s, white settlers too succumbed to the Murrays magic. This seemingly reliable water source drew visionary men and women to establish immense estates, or “runs” along the steep banks. Cattle and sheep now grazed on the riverland grasses alongside kangaroos and emus. Primitive homesteads and foundling communities were set up, benefiting from the plentiful wood for shelter, just as their native brothers and sisters did.
As settlement grew, homesteads were exchanged for gracious riverland mansions, and community spirit ran high. Work in rural Australia was plentiful for those who were willing and able. At the turn of the 20th century 44% of Australians lived in rural areas, and so, humming with people, growth and prosperity, the Murray river region was firmly established as a vital agricultural region for newly federated Australia.
Australia’s renown as the country that rode on the sheep’s back was due in no small measure to the gift of water from the Murray. Wool clips were transported from pastoral stations to inland ports, destined for markets in Melbourne and Adelaide via that now romantic element of steam travel – paddleboats. Farmers in the heyday of river travel were able to tell exactly which steamer was puffing up the river to their landing long before the wooden boat actually came into view. The tone of the "toot toot" from the steamers whistle would announce their imminent arrival.
The pastoral stations of the Murray have also united the cultures of the various settlers along the river. The natives of each region rubbed shoulders in the workplace with the Chinese, Italians, Americans, Tongan and Polynesians, and the English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish from the earliest days of settlement. Throughout the years these people have transformed the Murray region into the vibrant smattering of cultures and heritage that we see before us today.
What a blessing this river has been, rising grandly in the rush and gurgle of mountain streams, and winding it’s way through valley floors laden with ferns and greenery, out into the open country of the plains, rolling along still, under the fire of mallee stars. To me there is perhaps nothing quite so thrillingly Australian as the sight of a river gum in all its aged splendour of mottled bark and gnarled limbs. As it cascades its branches across its watery lifesource, there in is a sight give pride to any child of Australia.
I am a product of five generations of Australian farmers and as such, the love of the Australian rural lifestyle – especially in the river country – is something I cannot escape from, and would not want to. This book is about the sentiment within me, and so many Australians just like me, who stand with pride in our rural heritage. The beauty of our rural land, not only in its landscape, but in it’s stories and it’s people.
So journey with me if you will, down the meandering Murray, catching a glimpse of the stations of this mighty river, as it sojourns through the nation. Behold the impact that men and women have made as they carved their dwellings out of a courageous life on the land. Enjoy the beauty that God and men have created hand in hand. Sense the struggle and the heartaches that wrung the very core of the bold residents of the river. In honour of the colourful pasts of these jewels of the Murray, the river pastoral stations of our land deserve this, the following tribute.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
With summer upon us in Australia, the kids and I took the opportunity to make our own ice-cream from a recipe I had stashed away, and it certainly was delicious !!! It really does one good to make your own 'standard favourites' as you soon realise (in this case) just how unhealthy they are.....I LOVE ice-cream, but have been alot more cautious about eating it since we made this....it is now much more of a treat for me, and less of a regular thing. So if you have a spare afternoon this summer, grab the kids and mix up some home made ice cream...fill in your school holidays, and delight your taste buds as a special treat !
(Above - our home made ice cream with ice magic and sprinkles - yummy!!)
Home Made Ice Cream
1 Tin condensed milk
1 Cup water
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
4 Cups cream
Whip the cream
Add water and condensed milk mixed together
Add whatever you like - fruit puree, fruit bits, dried fruit, chocolate, lollies, topping/flavouring...
Place in a container, cover with gladwrap and freeze for aprox 12 hours.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
I have been working on this little project for quite some time now and am thrilled with how it has turned out !! Formally this dress had sleeves, a matching belt and made me look super matronly in 1950's style. But after a little Mad Men and Barbie Doll inspiration, I decided to try to similarly replicate Betty Drapers Barbie Doll Dress with the matronly dress as a base. I removed the sleeves and created a silk cumber bun - and look at the difference !! So happy !!!!
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Today I was inspired to dress somewhat like a 40's pin up girl. I donned my button detail red high waisted shorts (made to my own pattern) and a cute little collared, pinup girl print, tie front top. ( I need to find a pattern for this one....it was a gift from Brookie, and I want more !!!) I found some darling red and white spotted wedges in Echuca this week, and I popped a red hibiscus in my hair for that holiday look. Ta da, transformation of dowdy Mum in pajamas to 'sexy mamma' (here's hoping !!) dispite my not-quite-ready-for-summer legs ! Let's just say the fake tan will be making an appearance tonight - milky white is lovely on the face, chicken meat white is just not acceptable on the legs....a hint of colour and a bit more tone required !!! For now it's off to enjoy the summer day with my little ones !
Monday, January 3, 2011
What does 'vintage' mean to you?
It took me a while to answer this question (not least because, for some reason, I kept singing it in my head to the tune of ‘What Christmas Means to Me’ by Stevie Wonder!) but I suppose for me it means not having to wear what mainstream media tells me a woman should wear. I can pick and choose what I want and create my own style.
What was it that first prompted your interest in vintage culture?
Tell us about your favourite item of vintage clothing, kitchenalia, music, furniture or whatever!
Can you share with us why vintage culture continues to hold such appeal for you?
Do you have any tips for anyone starting out in the vintage scene?
Now is your chance to provide us with an overview of who you are and what you do.
I’m 23; Adelaide born and bread. I spent the last three years doing a Bachelor of Visual Arts, majoring in photography, which I loved but I’ve taken a bit of a break from the world of art, this year. I’m a would-be movie buff and spend far too much time watching TV shows; I suppose I’m a bit of a pop culture junkie.