Thursday, December 31, 2009

Quote of the month - December 2009

"Love from the center of who you are, dont fake it. Run for dear life from evil, hold for dear life to what is good. Be good friends who love beauty in everyone."

The Message/Romans 12:9, 10 & 17a.

As the old year (and decade!) fades away, LOVE is what I want to hold to stepping over the threshold into the decade to come.

I have been doing some soul searching between Christmas and New Year, and I have come to the fresh realisation that

A parents ultimate goal is that their children grow up knowing they are loved. The goal of a happily married couple is the same: That their spouse continually knows that they are loved.

These are my New Years Resolutions - that I find time each day in some small way to make sure those I care for most dearly know that they are loved.

May you find love this year, in surprising places, in both little and big ways.....and may you have eyes to see where a little love is needed around you everyday.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The wonderful art of Haddon Sundblom....

Imagine a western Christmas with no jolly man in a red suit ho ho ho-ing at us in every window and at every Christmas Carols event! We owe our modern day interpretation of Santa Claus to the magical artistry of Haddon Sundblom.....never heard of him? (especially my Australian counterparts)? Well, you are sure to have seen his images gracing countless Coke Christmas advertisements at Christmas time over the years......let me tell you a little about this inspiring artist.........

Haddon was born in Michigan in 1899. His family was a mix of Swedish and Russian in heritage, and Haddon was first generation American. He studied at the American Institute of Art and began painting advertisements for the Coke a cola company in the 1930's.
It was at this time that he turned to the 1822 poem "The night before Christmas' for inspiration for a Christmas advertisement, creating his interpretation of 'jolly old St Nick'. Sundblom based the rosey faced, beaming Santa on himself, and fitted his atire and merriment to the poetic description. For the next 33 years, he painted many many portraits of Santa that have etched themselves into popular culture.

Haddon was also a revered glamour and pin up artist, inspiring the likes of Gil Elvgren and Joyce Ballentine.His many stunning vintage pin up images were used in advertising, calandars and Playboy magazine. Haddon passed away in 1976 leaving what would have to be the most recognisable image in all popular culture, Santa Claus himself

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Giveaway Competition

With Christmas on the doorstep, I decided it was a perfect opportunity to host my very first giveaway here at Alice Jean's !!

I have been very very busy sewing sewing sewing, and the end result has been some darling little girls pinnies in all sorts of colours and fabrics - just ready for your daughter, neice, grandaughter or friend to play in. Here is a picture of my own little baby doll modeling how they can be worn - with jeans and a long sleeve top - but they would look just as darling on their own or with a summer t-shirt underneath.

To win this adorable little Christmas pinnie, simply put a post on your blog, with a link to this competition, and share your favorite childhood outfit. Post a photograph or draw a picture of it if you wish, or simply describe it. Once you have done this, leave a comment on this post with the URL of your post so that I can check it out. The winning entre will have this pretty little pinnie sent to them in the mail - what a lovely Christmas pressie !!! You have until the 18 December to get your entre's to me.......I cant wait to see all your sweetest childhood frocks, costumes and duds !!! (The prize is a pure cotton, size 18m to 2 y.o., fabric covered button and contrast hem pinnifore, in festive Christmas colours. Normally valued at $28)
If you do not blog but would like to enter, simply send me an email with your entry and I will post here at Alice Jean's for you.

If you are not into competitions, feel free to browse these other little pinnies I have created. They are for sale for very reasonable prices - please spread the word !!!! (Click on images to enlarge for detail)

Pink and white daisy dress
Size: 18months - 2 years
Price: $28

Vintage 1970's Fabric
Size 3-4
Price $28
Yellow Pinnie with wooden buttons
Size: 3-4
Price: $25

Roses and stripes
Size 3-4
Price $28
Blue ribbon dress
Size: 18months - 2 years
Price: $25

Pink Stripes and Roses
Size 3-4
Price $28

Navy 'Holly Hobbies' pinnie - vintage fabric
Size: 3-4
Price: $28

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A very vintage Christmas......

Re-creating a vintage styled Christmas is the ultimate goal of every vintage loving momma like me! I want my children to delight in the romance, magic and sheer beauty that Christmas can be - just as I remember it was when I was a child. The house decorated fantasticly in merriment (often home made decorations too - even better !!), Jim Reeves crooning carols on the stereo, a trip to church to celebrate the reason for the season, extended family around - happy, laughing and dressed in their 'Sunday' best, and the dinner table weighted down with decadent delights for everyone. And, of course, what should be the 'piece de resistance' - the Christmas cake topping off a fine time.....and yet, my memories of the cake are a bit disapointing I must say - it was too super rich, crumbly and dry. I don't know who made it in my family but it is time that aspect of my reminiscent vintage Christmas was updated - to something all vintage loving domestic divas would nod in approval over ! Even if you don't particularly like Christmas or fruit cake (like me), you simply MUST try this one! To have a true heritage, vintage Christmas, you must have Christmas cake, so why not have one that everyone at your Christmas party will drool over....and while you are nibbling away, enjoy my little tribute to the vintage beauty of Christmas - the movies, the images, the advertising (!), the food, the elegance, the parties, the fun - HAPPY VINTAGE CHRISTMAS EVERYONE !

'Aunty' Hannahs DIVINE Christmas Cake

1 medium tin crushed pineapple with fruit juice
500gms of dried fruit of choice (apricots, sultanas, apple etc) – diced.
½ cup Sherry
1 cup juice of choice
125gms butter
1 cup raw sugar

Place all together in large saucepan and boil for 5 mins. Let cool for ½ hour or so.

Add 1 ½ – 2 cups of SR Flour
2 Large eggs whisked
1 Teaspoon nutmeg and cinnamon

Mix all together. Place in a lined and greased large spring tin. Bake at 160 degrees Celsius for 1-1 ½ hours. Allow to cool in tin. Ice and decorate as creativity desires !!!

(Dear Candice, Please accept my recipe and little Christmas song as my entre into your wonderful Christmas Competition - the rest of my post is over 200 words! The link to your competition I posted here at Alice Jeans a couple of posts back - Thankyou for a wonderful competition, and a merry Christmas to you, Darling Vintage Vixen ! XX)

Monday, November 30, 2009

First Day of Summer...

Today (December 1st) is the first day of our Australian summer...time for those who love the look of Dita Von Tease (as I do!!) to get out the broad brimmed hats, paper sun parasols and the sunscreen to preserve or English rose complexions! I am 30-something now, and I wish I had heeded the advice of my Grandma Jean away back in my primary school days. Grandma always told me time and again to cover up (hat, sunscreen, etc) whenever I was in the sun or I would end up "looking like a wrinkled old prune" - and she was so right ! But it is so much more than prevention of wrinkles and skin from the sun will also prevent blemishes and discolouration that are really the first tell tale signs of an aging face. Oh to go back in time knowing what I know now !! Young girls, if you are reading this please protect your skin ! You will thank me for it one day !

There are products and cosmetic procedures to remove the signs of sun damage (think Nicole Kidman - what did she have done to remove all those 'BMX Bandit' freckles, I am desperate to know ?!!!) but at this point in time they are very expensive ($2500-$3000plus) with no real insights into long term health and safety from their use. The best cosmetic procedure once again is protect protect protect.

Personally, I don't like to go to heavy on the sunscreen as it leaves a very greasy look and heavy feel to my make up all day long - I cringe when I leave greasy finger prints on my glass sliding children do enough of that without my adding to it ! I am also quite wary of exposing my skin to too many chemicals - I once visited the snow with some friends and after putting sunblock on our faces, I reached out to wipe a dab of it off the car, and came away with sunscreen AND chips of blue paint off the car - not impressed !!!! For these reasons, although I am not into product promotion here, I prefer to use Olay SPF15 moisturiser every day - it is not too heavy, and the chemical component isn't as bad as an SPF30. For the rest I prefer old fashioned methods of hats, parasols and shade.

As you can see by the pictures I have attached to this post, people in the past have not always been aware that the sun is the primary cause of aging. Once again, Grandma was right - against all the information available at the time, she knew about skin health and I have to say, her complexion was beautiful right up into her 70's.......I only hope my grandchildren may one day be able to say the same about me........I think I will have to do something about these freckles for that to happen !!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I am thankful....

In the 1950's people had just lived through World War II, preceeded by the years of the great depression - they knew what it ment to be thankful for little things. Though Australia really does not have an official Thanksgiving Celebration, I none the less think it is so important to be greatful for our blessings, so, as it is Thursday November 26 today, here are my musings of thankfulness...

I am thankful for the 'big' things:

Freedom, peace where I live, the abundance of our western life

I am thankful for the 'little' things:
Roses, chocolate, music

I am thankful for beautiful everyday gifts:
The rain that feel on the weekend, the healthy pitter pat of my childrens feet all over the house, having a pantry full of yummy food and a garden full of flowers, my daughters blue blue eyes,
I am thankful for my little world:

Snuggly warm beds on cold nights, for celebrations with those I love, for sunsets by the river or lake, for dewdrops on my arum lillies, for a wonderful country childhood, the smell of roast chicken after a cold winter walk, for home lights welcoming me home when I have been away, for summer evening swims under the river redgums, for fires on the beach under a breathtaking stary sky, for words of encouragement, for birthdays and Christmas mornings and the wonder and delight on my childrens faces.

I am thankful for the relationships in my life:

For the amazing family I was born into, for my grandparents who have blessed my life with so much goodness and have now 'gone on', for little gentle hands and smiles and giggles and spice, for the love of a wonderful man, for the love and blessing of God - despite 'me'.

Thankyou God for all the wonder, romance, beauty and goodness that has been and is now in my life. I give you all the gratitude held in my heart.

There are so many things I could add to this list - it would be miles long if I went through everything, but these are the things that first spring to my mind......may we never forget in everyday, to be greatful for all that we have!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

"Just Like that" - Scottie Bakers first musical release !

My darling husband has been working hard on some original rockabilly styled tunes for the past year, and (a big thankyou to Jamie and Graeme at Preston Studios in Melbourne) will be releasing his first album in 2010 - exciting!!!

Here is his first song "Just like that' which was released on the "It's a Gas Volume 2" compilation in June of this year....just a taste of what is to come !!

This tune is heavily influenced by the style of Johnny Cash, but the forthcoming album will also incorporate a number of other well known traditional Rockabilly influences - for example Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly - as well as the influence of some more obscure Rockabilly artists and hillbilly music. The one uniting factor on the ablum however, is that Scott has kept the music as authentic and 'old style' as possible, using traditional recording techniques, equipment and instruments. Please enjoy this little number and stay tunned for more wonderful Scottie Baker originals when the album is released next year !!

Quote of the month - November 2009

I read this in a biography of Grace Kelly many years ago and noted it down for inspiration...if anyone is able to tell me the true author of this, I would love to find out !

Never by many are marvels wrought,
By one or two are the dreams first caught,
The dreamer must toil when the odds are great,

Must stand to failure and work and wait.....
Must keep his faith though he stand alone,
Until the truth of his dream is known

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The ultimate vintage competition!

I have never really won anything in my life - except for lip augementation surgery from a gossip mag comp. 10 years ago !! (Yes, its true, although I cant really tell the difference from before and after !!! Funny huh??!!) But I simply HAVE to enter this competition - who wouldnt want to win this wonderful prize pack !!? I have been lying in bed and daydreaming about what I would purchase if I won, before I nod off, for the past few evenings !!! So get on board, the lovely Candice De Ville hosts the most fantastic blog - - be sure to check it out. My little old attempt at 'A vintage Christmas' will follow in a seperate post in the next week or so........Fa la la la la, la la la la !

Oh my word - can this add have been for real?????

I love so many things about the 1950's, but this add is just toooooo much ! I love scouring my collection of vintage magazines for wonderful and insightful bits a peices, but this add had me both grimicing and laughing all at once - not quite the response the promoters of this product would have been hoping for I am sure !! What do you think?

Divine Oreo Balls...

Thanks ever so to the lovely Mel for this recipe! It has been a frequent guest at coffee time for my dinner parties, and made regular appearances at high tea ! They have even been privy to the green room at my husbands Elvis performances ! In short, these little numbers are the last word in decadence - they are sure to become a favourite ! ** They would also make quite delish Christmas gifts if packaged up elegantly - fun fun !!**

2 Packets Oreo Biscuits
250gm Light Philly Cheese
1 Block of Chocolate of choice (White, milk or dark)

Crush oreo biscuits in food processor. Mix through philly cheese - I use my (clean!) hands for this part, as it is a bit too much for the food processor to handle. Roll mixture into balls. Melt chocolate and dip/roll balls into melted chocolate. Place on a tray to set in the fridge. Before I pop into the fridge I have sprinkled coconut over the balls for a bit or variety. You could leave them plain, or use sprinkles, nuts or coconut if you wish.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Vintage Movie Club

So much looking forward to this months movie !! The Tennessee Williams classic 'A streetcar named desire' from 1951 starring the incomparable Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando. I remember studying this play back in highschool, but about the only thing I remember about it is that Leigh's character, Blanche, stays away from bright lights to hide her age !!! What a thing to remember (probably something I need to start applying to my own life !!!!) !!!

Anyhow, the play not only won the Pulitzer Prize, but the film went on to have 12 Oscar nominations, of which it won 4 ! (Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White; Best Leading Actress; Best Supporting Actress; Best Supporting Actor)

This is deffinatly one not to be missed. Contact me through the comments page of this post if you would like more info about meeting times and places etc. We meet the third thursday of each month (Nov.19th) and this will be our final film for 2009, so we hope to see you there !!!

Monday, November 2, 2009


I came across a wonderful 1960's knitting pattern book and thought I would share some of the great patterns over the course of the next few months - for my knitting friends, if you attempt any of these I would love to see pictures of the finished darling Nanna taught me patiently how to knit in primary school and I can still do it, but to my embarressment, I can only create a scarf !! Perhaps I need to jump in the deep end and just have a try at something like this !!! (The pattern was in two sections - just click on the first set of instructions to enlarge it to readable size....)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Castlemaine Theater Royal

A few weeks ago I was in Castlemaine, Victoria, for a University subject, and simply could not help but stop and take pictures of the beautiful Theater Royal. After looking into the history of this wonderful building at the link below, I was amazed to read of its colourful and facinating history. So much so that I have copied it here for other fans of architecture and history to also enjoy. Thanks to the Theater Royal website for this information. The Theater Royal is an active working theater and also hosts live shows, movies, functions, has a Bed and Breakfast, and a a delicious cafe restaurant. If you are in the lovely town of Castlemaine do drop in and enjoy !!!

Castlemaine's Theatre Royal is the oldest continually operating theatre on the Australian mainland. Back around 1852 an early structure of rough timber and canvas was constructed to provide live entertainment for the thousands of diggers who swarmed into the district after discovery of what was to become the richest gold yielding area in the country.

It was a theatre assembly hall and auction rooms. Contemporary reports state that the supporting poles were decorated with gum leaves, and the plaster and lath walls were lined with crimson baize with a raised gallery at one end for the auctioneer or speaker.

With the advent of prohibition on the goldfields, a new proprietor in 1856 announced in the Mount Alexander Mail that he proposed to "..rebuild the front portion, which will become a hotel, the rear portion to be remodeled as an elegant theatre, which will be convertible to a ballroom"

It must have been a fairly impressive building by then, because the outrageous and notorious Lola Montez deigned to appear for a limited season [two nights] of tableaux playlets and dances. Madame Montez was the first of many well known artistes and performers who graced the Theatre's stage and provided the swelling population with cheap entertainment.

The Theatre Royal and the Royal Hotel thrived but disaster struck in November 1857, when a fire, which started in a neighbouring boot and shoe manufactory [built of wood and canvas] leaped across the narrow dividing laneway and completely destroyed the hotel and theatre the latter with all its scenery and properties.

Benefits were held for the Lessor and shortly after, the phoenix arose from the ashes in the form of a stone and brick building with a substantial iron roof - much of which exists today.

Another attraction in 1860 was the exhibition in the Hotel of '3 Monster Alligators' including the skeleton of a further alligator, plus the opportunity at scheduled times to hear a discourse on how they were captured after '17 months hard labour'. How many hotels today could offer that sort of diversion for the patrons?

Over the next 28 years the Theatre Royal played host to many traveling companies, exhibiting drama, melodrama, circuses, tragedies and comedies by many of the great [and not-so-great] dramatists. In addition, variety and minstrel shows were very popular, as were concerts and recitals, Gilbert & Sullivan operettas always a sell-out.
Fire struck again in 1887, gutting the building. That didn't slow it down long though
The Royal Hotel breathed its last and the Theatre was rebuilt utilizing the whole block.

By the early 1890's the Theatre Royal was again being advertised in rapturous terms.
With the coming of moving pictures the next owners moved with the times and the venue became the 'People's Popular Picture Palace'. It was extensively re-modeled in 1938 having lost its High Victorian verandah, dress circle, fixtures and fittings in the early 1920s.

By the early 1970s the Theatre had fallen on hard times. It had a crumbling art deco fa├žade and only one performance a week was being advertised. The Theatre Royal had reached the point where only the small gallery [a mere ghost of the splendid original Dress Circle] was open, and heating and mod-cons were at an absolute minimum.

As a result of the hard work put in by the previous owner Ray Lindstrom, cinema manager Les Thornton, and a loyal and enthusiastic staff, the Theatre Royal came back to life.

They brought a variety of new films four or five nights a week, matinees, live theatre, discos, bands and live music for various age groups on a regular basis, a supper bar, liquor licence and-until quite recently, a video shop.

In 1999 new owners John & Donna Walter restred the Theatre, utilising the 1938 renovation as a foundation and reinstating the ice cream and juice bar.

Julian and Renee de Crespigny with David Stretch and Sarah Burdekin bought the Theatre in December 2004 and have set about continuing the restoration of the Theatre and in the process, aim to grow the business and establish the venue as a landmark regional entertainment complex.

Castlemaine is very proud of its Theatre Royal. It has a history of over 150 years of continuous entertainment on the same site, in substantially the same building, with no ostensible break in service.

Castlemaine's grand old lady of entertainment looks set for many more successful years

Still known as the Theatre Royal and the Royal Hotel, the two buildings were joined by a form of lobby and continued to do good business. In 1860 the Royal Hotel was advertising the availability of 'Iced Drinks! Every Day! No Extra Charge!' with
'ice for sale in small or large quantities!'

Monday, October 26, 2009

Doing your hair like Marilyn....

Didn't she have the most amazing look? Love her or hate her, you have to admit Marilyn was a beautiful woman. Personally, I don't think her acting was given the credit it deserved, as all the focus was continually on the way she looked and her love life. Some of her films are just wonderful - she was so much more than Laura-lie in 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' !

Thankyou to my beautiful friend Mel who let me do her up to go out on the town in Melbourne. I took inspiration from the above Marilyn hairstyle to do Mel's hair, and the following is a step by step guide to what I did - so you can achieve the same look !!

1. Firstly, you will need a short cut with layers at the sides and back. If you don't have this then it really wont work (obviously!!!)
2. Wash hair and before it is dry apply a liberal amount of gel all through your hair (about the same size as a scoop of ice-cream from a proper ice-cream scoop!!!). Hang your head upside down and dry with a hair dryer. I like to do this because it adds alot more volume and lifts the hair up and away from the scalp.

** Marilyn's hair was bleached to billi-o (Aussie expression there) and it therefore held style very very well - tortured hair usually does. If you hair is not bleached this gel process will effect pretty much the same result, although you may need more or less gel depending on your hair type. My hair is reasonably fine so I use alot of gel, Mel's hair is quite thick and wavy so a little bit of gel went a long way.

2. Once the hair is dry, use a hot curling iron to create defined curls all over the head. Only do small pieces at a time - too thick and the curling iron will be ineffectual. Refer to the photograph for an example of the amount of hair to use....Mel's hair has a natural part a little to her left of centre (right of centre for us looking at her), I decided to leave this part and direct the curls towards Mels ears on either side of the part (see photograph for what I mean!!). 3. Spray the curls with hairspray (maximum hold) as you go.

4. After spraying the hair, tousle the curls up a bit with your hands and move them 'into place' however you like. Pull back the sides of the hair over the ears and pin into place - you don't want alot of 'boofy-ness' out each side or your head. Dont be afraid to be a tad 'vicious' with the curls, they will hold and should keep most of their definition.

5. Once you have it looking 'just so', you can squirt it with hairspray again, or leave it as is.

And this is the end result - beautiful!! This is Mel and I out on the town.........

Lovely apron givaway....

Hope into this link for a wonderful give-away competition and win one of these cute as pie aprons to complete your vintage kitchen look....

Thankyou Madeleine Miranda for hosting this exciting giveaway !

My green things

I adore all things green - as you will see from these photographs. Things need not be in 'mint' condition, just so long as they are beautiful enough to grab my attention, and that certian colour of green that I just love - usually pastel, sage '1950's' green. It is a delight to share my small collection with you....

Poor old green phone ! It smashed in an accident where my whole sewing table (a home made 1950's cabinet) collapsed. We have managed to peice it back together, but it will never look as good as it did....however it still works a treat !!!

Can anyone give me some details on the clock in the picture? I have not been able to find out anything about the company, or this item and would love to know more !

My Nanna Alice had a number of depression glass peices, but being a child at the time, I did not appreciate their great beauty and let them slip through my fingers. As such, I am keen to get my hands on some in her memory - that will be my next treasure hunt.

Hubby is also importing a sage green 1950 Buick from America at the moment, which will tow our sage green caravan (under restoration).....then all we will need will be a sage green house and our collection will be complete - or will it??!!!! (Are they ever ?!!!)

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