Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Channeling Elizabeth and Audrey....

In the interests of growing my short heavily bleached blonde locks a little longer, I have returned to my 'natural' brunette colouring. Try as I might I simply could not get my hair to grow much longer than Kim Novak without it looking 'ratty' and 'feral' whilst blonde. So, here am I, back to my old self - albeit with a much shorter 'do' than before (which I actually think is quite cute !!) - in a photo shoot for my dear friend Brooke........and trying my very best to invoke an Audrey Hepburn or Elizabeth Taylor - ish look !! Kisses to you all, and a very wonderful thanksgiving. (I am giving thanks for the awsome blessing of mothers and sisters, fathers and brothers this year !!!) XXXXX

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Buildings galore....

I have recently moved to the quaint little riverside hamlet of Cohuna in Northern Victoria, and, apart from continually raiding the remarkable trash and treasure shop here (smile) I have also enjoyed day dreaming about the potential residing in a couple of empty architectural treasures...... here are some photos......what would you do with these darling buildings if money was no object.........

A dance studio?.....

An antique shop?..........

A 50's diner?......

A music studio?......

Ahhh, to dream is to make our everyday lives brim full of hope.....
Aside from the potential in my new little home town, I have also recently had a trip to Hobart, where I spotted the following beautiful art deco buildings. There were many more to be seen, but I was a bit slack with my camera I am afraid...........

And a couple of pretty scenes too.....what an adorable city Hobart is. I felt very much at home and at peace there - I highly recommend a sojourn there if you can !

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Corset love - an obsession with reducing my post baby waist.....

I dont profess to be anything like Dita Von Tease, although I admire her beauty and classic fashion sense immensely. For one thing, she is so very tiny where I am tall, for another, she hasn't had 3 kids in succession and her implanted boobs and floorless figure are fine testament to that - lucky (and hardworking) gal that she is !! Looking as brilliant as Dita does not come naturally though (hence my hardworking statement), as I am sure she would tell you herself. It takes discipline, forethought and a great deal of endurance....check out the photograph below....such a tiny waist is not attained without a good deal of 'waist training' in good old fashioned corsets.

As any fashion historian will tell you, back in 1946 Christian Dior introduced the "New Look" to a style hungry post war consumer market. To me, that look is classic, beautiful, full of eternal graceful appeal. Nipped in waists, hourglass figures we all flattered by Dior's tailored jacket and full skirts, and as the 1950's came along, sundresses, full skirted evening gowns, cocktail dresses, office wear and pencil skirts. Think Joan Holloway.

And so, to pull off a truly stunning vintage 1950's look, one must, I am afraid to tell all you modern gals, resort to undergarments that provide that nipped in waist and hour glass figure. But it is not all bad...infact, personally, I dont think it is bad at all ! I cant tell you how much I miss my natural 26inch waist since having children added an unbudgable inch to my middle for each child (grrrrrr !!!). The only way I can achieve it comfortably is with a little help from a corset, and although I only wear one every now and again if I am off to a particularly important 'do', it gives me that extra confidence just knowing that my belly is held in (smile) and my clothes are not straining at the seams ! It also has done wonders for my posture and (hopefully) my elegance too. I would wear one all the time if I were not chasing babies all day long !!!

So, I wanted to share with you my very small, but growing collection of corsets. This is the first time I have attempted to do my own 'self fashion shoot', and i have to confess it was a bit of a laugh.....I have ended up with carpet burnt knees from racing from the tripod to the pose on my brand new carpet (what a shame it's not carpet burn from that other very worthy means of attaining raw knees - smile, wink !).

The corset above is my first attempt at a waist cincher. It is made from pretty floral curtain material (for thickness and strength) and is lined and boned and laces up at the back. It can pull me in to a rather hideous looking 24-23inches, but needs assistance to achieve it - and who would want to anyhow, it just looks ludicrous on my 174cm frame and build. This corset looks lovely worn in a sort of peasant style over the top of a blouse like above. I had planned to wear it every day when I made it, but I soon discovered it was a total pain in the neck to have to get in and out of it as it laces up at the back.I always needed someone to help me, and that was totally unpractical for my lifestyle......what to do, what to do.......

(Image removed as my tastes have changed and I no longer find this image of me worthwhile)

Right away I got cracking on making a full corset as I wanted to hold in my post baby belly as well as reduce my waist. This one is wonderful as it has a steel busk in the front which is ideal for easily getting in and out of myself. It laces at the back, but once done up, I dont need to touch the lacing's and simply undo and do up via the busk. Unfortunately, this one was not laced properly initially so it kind of has a square look to it, rather than the beautiful curve I was after, and I did try wearing it every day for a while, which unfortunately bent the plastic 'boning' into a funny shape as my body retaliated. Lesson learnt - use steel boning if possible. I must get this one laced appropriately so I am comfortable wearing it out again, but otherwise, it has worked a treat - any volunteers for the relacing? (OK, now I am getting too cheeky !!)

(Image removed as my tastes have changed and I no longer find this image of me worthwhile)

In a Bridget Jones style attempt to hold everything in (albeit rather unattractively I must confess), I bought myself a girdle from the USA. (Girdle Bound - for everything in underwear!) I couldn't bare to show you the front of it (hideous!!) so I photographed it like this. It comes to just under the bra and goes down to mid thigh holding everything in to perfection, despite the complete unsexiness of the look !! I actually love this girdle because it draws my waist in to 27.5 - 28 inches without needing to be laced etc. It also holds in my baby belly brilliantly ! This is some truly heavy duty girdle material let me tell you !! And it is wonderfully comfortable to wear, I wear this one alot actually, and I know my friends will now be looking at me and wondering "Does she have that hideous thing on today????"

(Image removed as my tastes have changed and I no longer find this image of me worthwhile)

But I have now saved the best of my corsets till last. I recently got this little miracle worker in the post from my beautiful friend Miss Kim of the Lindy Charm School For Girls. The only way to describe the wonder this performs is to tell you that it effortlessly takes my waist from 29-30inches back to my post baby 26inch dream! As you can see by the photo, there is a bit too much flab lolloping over the top which tells me it is time to get into the toning exercises again !! (Smile!) This 'Dior' corset guarantees to reduce your waist by up to 4 inches and it is perfect for all those 50's style dresses that require the figure of Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe or Elizabeth Taylor. And you simply wont believe how very comfortable this is to wear as well......it is an out and out winner - thankyou lovely Kim !!

Have a peek at these photos above and below (there's that dreaded flab again !!!) showing just how much the 'Dior' corset (waist cincher) can pull me in........

(Image removed as my tastes have changed and I no longer find this image of me worthwhile)

And now for a bit of final inspiration....who can possibly deny the beauty of a corset, particularly a Hollywood showgirl style one as seen in the pictures below? Frills and bows, lace and sequins - the stuff all little girls dream of ! Who doesn't want to be thought beautiful?

Above Allyn McLerie wowing the audience as Katie Brown in the film 'Calamity Jane'

Marilyn as the Saloon singer with a heart of gold in "River of no return'

The most famous corset lacing scene in all of history ( to me anyhow !!!) Scarlett O'Hara was supposed to have had a 16 inch waist according to the novel......get a tape measure and have a look at the size of a 16 inch waist, then tell me if you think a waist of that size is beautiful or not !! It makes a Barbie Doll look overweight !!!

Dita in a darling little outfit with that disarmingly small waist again.

The stunning gal's from Melbourne's Hi Ball Burlesque, driving the tremendous resurgence of showgirl/burlesque performance and thus, the wearing of gorgeous burlesque corsets such as these...... those outfits are so very dreamy ....sigh.....

And finally, have a peek at this snippet from Oprah of the woman with the worlds smallest waist....this is truly scarey....... thankyou Eddie for this one !

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Music of the moment - November 2010 - Professor Longhair

If you have never heard of Professor Longhair, it is high time your musical knowledge was updated to include this master of New Orleans Piano, and one of the undisputed for-runners of rock'n'roll. In my book this guy is a total legend, having created a sound distinctly his own and with a groove you wont be able to help but shake your booty too. I first heard 'Fess on the film of 'Dead Poets Society' years ago (1988) singing 'Hey Little Girl', and even though only a couple of lines were heard, it was enough to make the song a total favourite. I was never able to track down a copy (not that I looked particularly hard at the time - I was 14 !!) and it hasn't been until the last couple of years that I have re-kindled that interest and discovered an amazing catalog of terrific music from this talented man, who spent most of his life as a janitor. So simply click on the youtube links and enjoy kicking back to a bit of 'Fess.......just imagine you're in New Orleans with a serve of gumbo and maybe a Hurricane Cocktail........


From Wikipedia: Professor Longhair was born on December 19, 1918 in Bogalusa, Louisiana. He made a living as a street hustler until he started to play piano seriously in his thirties. He taught himself how to play a piano with missing keys so his style became distinct.

He began his career in New Orleans in 1948, earning a gig at the Caldonia Club, where the owner, Mike Tessitore, bestowed Longhair with his stage name (due to Byrd's shaggy coiffure). Longhair first recorded in 1949, creating four songs (including the first version of his signature song, "Mardi Gras in New Orleans," complete with whistled intro) for the Dallas, Texas based Star Talent label. His band was called the Shuffling Hungarians, for reasons lost to time. Union problems curtailed their release, but Longhair's next effort for Mercury Records the same year was a winner. Throughout the 1950s, he recorded for Atlantic Records, Federal Records and other, local, labels. Professor Longhair had only one national commercial hit, "Bald Head" in 1950, credited to Roy Byrd & His Blues Jumpers. He also recorded his pet numbers "Tipitina", "Big Chief" and "Go to the Mardi Gras". However, he lacked the early crossover appeal of Fats Domino for white audiences.

After recuperating from a minor stroke, Professor Longhair came back in 1957 with "No Buts - No Maybes." He revived his "Go to the Mardi Gras" in 1959; this is the version that surfaces every year at Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

In the 1960s Professor Longhair's career faltered. He became a janitor to support himself, and fell into a gambling habit.

He appeared at the 1971 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival to restore his standing, and played at the 1973 Newport Jazz Festival and the Montreux Jazz Festival.His recorded live set, Live on the Queen Mary (1978) came from a party given by Paul and Linda McCartney. His single visit to the UK, in 1978, was commemorated by The London Concert.

By the 1980s his albums, such as Crawfish Fiesta on Alligator and New Orleans Piano for Atlantic, had become readily available across America. He appeared on the PBS series Soundstage (with Dr. John, Earl King, and The Meters) and co-starred in the film documentary Piano Players Rarely Ever Play Together. The latter became a memorial tribute when Longhair died in his sleep from a heart attack in the middle of filming. Footage from his funeral was included.

In 1981 he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. He was awarded a posthumous Grammy for his early recordings released as House Party New Orleans Style, and in 1992 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Quote of the month - November 2010

"You find out who your real friends are when you're involved in a scandal"

Elizabeth Taylor

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Market Day....

 Just thought I would share some photographs with you of my adventures at a local market. Gotta confess, financially, it was a bit of a disappointment for my side of the stall, but as for fun with my gal pal, Julie of Narioka, it couldnt have been better....we had a lovely day and oodles of fun together.....

Julie sells the most darling childrens dresses at very reasonable prices, as well as small accessories and patchworking trims, quilts, fat quarters, pin cushions and bags. Check out her online madeit stall.....

I was selling anything with that 'Alice Jean's' feel to it.... second hand clothes, my own retro inspired handmade childrens dresses and womens blouses and skirts, aprons, vintage books and magazines, shoes, bags, china, and canvas artworks based on little golden book illustrations........

So what do you all think, should I perhaps try my luck with a market stall at a more 'artsy' market (like Warrandyte) or should I resort to Ebay instead? Would love to gather some opinions for future ideas and direction.......

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Living Dolls - Miss November

Our darling doll for November is the charming (and brilliant blogger to boot) Amy Jensen ( aka Dizzy Dame )

What does 'vintage' mean to you?

precode and precolor

What was it that first prompted your interest in vintage culture?

This is a hard question because I do not recall a standout moment, I must of been 13 when I first saw a photo of Bonnie Parker and wanted her dress. I have just always loved history.

What is your favourite era, and do you 'live it' every day? In what ways?

1930s is my favorite. I live it through many of my photos.

Tell us about your favourite item of vintage clothing, kitchenalia, music, furniture or whatever !

I love my vintage record players and my collection of photographs, vaudeville items.. so on.

Can you share with us why vintage culture continues to hold such appeal for you?

I love the style so much and the way of life.

Do you have any tips for anyone starting out in the vintage scene?

watch as many silent films as you can, and that goes to anyone ;)

Now is your chance to provide us with an overview of who you are and what you do.
I love photography and do a lot of that,I love to recapture an era that is lost. I love the history of old hollywood/show business, I blame it on my family that was in it,perhaps it runs through my blood, I often think about them when I do certain photos that scream old glamour, they would be proud!

I have a wonderful boyfriend who loves vintage as well, he adores the 1950s the most,we have a lot of fun reminiscing with the past. We now have a 1949 Chevy deluxe to add to our fun.

I am a very simple midwest girl really,that prefers jazz and dancing with a full moon in the country.

Finally, what or who inspires you and why?

Old films,old photographs, John Galliano, Hitchcock,vamps, art deco, music,gun molls,30s gangsters.

Just things I love.

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