Thursday, March 31, 2011

Alice Jean's Frock Swap - THIS SUNDAY !

You (and any girlfriends you like!) are invited to the first annual

Alice Jean’s Frock Swap

Sunday the 3rd April 2011

Please come adorned in your prettiest high tea attire for an afternoon in the company of other most elegant, invited ladies.

Our venue is the Gannawarra Hall (Cohuna-Koondrook Road, via Cohuna) from 2pm-5pm

Cost is $10 per head

Clean out your cupboards and bring 5-10 garments/hats/shoes/bags/jewellery/perfume or beauty products that you no longer desire, for “swapping”

There will be an exhibition of vintage garments and a delicious Devonshire tea.

It promises to be a fine afternoon,

but only if we are to have the pleasure of your company!

Quote of the month - April 2011

"It is possible that blondes also prefer gentlemen."

Mamie Van Doren

So well said Mamie !! Let me add that brunettes also prefer gentlemen too !!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Beautiful Overnewton Castle

How adorable is the party setting above - and what lucky boys and girls to be off to a 5th birthday party and receiving a Care Bear each !!! Talk about memorable, beautiful and delightful !!! On attending a recent Book Swap afternoon at the charming Overnewton Castle, I was thrilled by the decorations for this party in the main function room....I simply had to take photographs and share them with you !!

I love Overnewton Castle, home to my good friends Mark and Becky. So, to add to my 'Services' tab on my blog, I wanted to share some of the lovely events on offer at Overnewton available for everyone to enjoy.....

And don't forget Overnewton is also available for wonderful functions - weddings, birthdays, parties and events....not to mention extravagant 5 year old birthday parties !!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

More Beautiful Buildings.....

I thought some photographs of great mid century architecture were long overdue on my blog. I had a scrounge through my files and found some wonderful buildings that I have not shared with you before, and I thought you may like a little snippet of structural inspiration......

This first house looks like a rental property of sorts as it doesnt seem to be in a brilliant state of repair and frequently has cars parked all over the place, but I did manage to catch a photo on a rare occasion when it was car free. I would love to get my hands on this little treasure in the town where I now live !! There is another wing behind the tree and it actually goes back a fair way too, so it appears to be quite a reasonable size. LOVE the chimney, the angled roof and the symmetry of the two wings with the entree doors in the middle. If only I could get into that garden and make it a real early 60's showpiece !!! It's on a lovely size block with some nice established trees too.......anyone want to come and live in Cohuna with me????

These few shots were from a day trip to the towns of St Arnoud and Ararat. Isnt "Brays" the most adorable shop out???? Located in the darling little town of St Arnoud I adore the art deco shop front, the Bray's tile work at the entree and the superb script sign writing.....everything about it is so perfect !! I day dream about finding a township full of shops like this one, simply waiting to be discovered and revitalised somehow !! Instead I tend to see them being modernised (like the horrific vandalism performed on the now Dale Spinks Chemist in Kerang - it used to look exactly like this shop and is now unrecognisable !! SACRILEGE !!!) or else I find shops like this one exploding with garish coca cola or tattslotto signage and junked up windows that the entire shop front effect is invisible. There you go, that is my complaint for the day !! I cant deny it, I am a heritage architecture lover !!!

Isnt it just too divine for words? Ooooo, lets make an entire mid century town and all live there together in our beautiful, quaint mid century aesthetic world !!!

The photographs below are from the township of Ararat in Victoria. Check out this classic old cinema complex. I couldnt ascertain if it was still being run as a cinema, but seeing as there was no advertising, I assumed not. This is one thing the area where I live really needs - a good classic cinema. We must travel up to an hour for a night at the movies, and anyone living in Swan Hill, a further hour up river from me, has either a 3 hour trip to Mildura, a 2.5 hour trip to Bendigo or a 2 hour trip to Echuca to enjoy the flicks. As you can see there is a real opening for a visionary in this region - you would have a clientele of aprox 50,000 people to draw from....but you can only come if you play art house and classic films too !!! (Smile !!)
Anyhow, that bit of promo has nothing to do with the Ararat cinema !!!

And finally, the Ararat Hotel. What a lovely treasure !! Looks like they are revamping it tastefully too !!! (Hmmm, except for the tabcorp signage out the front !! Can someone please tell Tabcorp to restructure their signage to be sympathetic to Heritage Planning controls ?!!!)

Well, as you can see there are some real treasures around. That is the undeniably lovely thing about country towns, because progress moves much slower, a huge number of these darling old buildings are retained and are ripe for the restoring !!! They can often be picked up for a song too. Sooner or later 'normal people' are going to be priced well out of the housing market in the cities, and who knows, maybe then focus will turn to our beautiful country towns and we will see them thrive with art and culture again, and buildings such as these will have the chance to really live once more.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Oatmeal Choc Chip Cookies

Since moving into my own rental cottage, I must confess I have been very slack on the cooking front. Recently, however, I seem to be finding my mojo again - to the great delight of my little poppets !! Here is a sample of some goodies.......

Oatmeal Choc Chip Cookies

125g butter softened
125g sugar
75g soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
135g plain flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
85g oats
250g chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 190 degrees C (375 F). Grease 2 large baking trays. Put butter, sugars, vanilla and egg in a bowl and beat with an electric whisk untill smooth.
Add flour, cinnamon, baking powder and bicarb soda and mix well. Stir in the oats and choc chips.
Put two tablespoons of sugar in a small bowl.
Taking a tablespoon of cookie mixture, form into a ball, dip one side in the sugar and place sugar side up on the baking sheet.
Press down the cookine using the bottom of a glass to make a flat circle.
 Bake in oven for 5-10 mins until golden.
Serve with milk or a smoothie to your kids, and maybe a glass of my home made bailies to your hubby for supper together !!

Perfect end to the day !

An Amelie experience.....

Well now, three photographs of the same outfit might be somewhat induglent, but I simply wanted to show how much I love this outfit. It is one of my most comfortable to wear (my post baby belly doesnt seem to show at all !!!) and i adore red and green in this shade.

 The green cardi is lovely and light for a summer day, and the colourful skirt has the most dreamy print of romanticised rural orchards, stone bridges, water mills, streams and crops....I just love it !! I made the skirt from a 1960's pattern out of patchworking material. I dont know about you, but I hate seeing beautiful prints cut up into quilts that are only ever seen by the few who sleep under them. I would much rather wear a beautiful fabric as a living, working peice of art. So although this skirt is not strictly vintage in the fabric sense, it does capture the feel of all those beautiful vintage skirts with scenery and images as their print. And my little girl just loves looking at it and tracing the roadways and rivers on it :o)

And the final reason why I love this outfit so much is that it echos the predominant colours in one of my altime fav. movies = Amelie. Take a close look at the film and there is this shade of green in almost every still. Obviously the film makers have done this to create an aura, to evoke certian feelings in the viewer, and to no doubt use the depth of colour as an indicator of Amelie's personality. This outfit is my tribute to what I find an inspirational movie, hopefully it is somewhat reflective of my personality too - there is such richness and depth in this shade of green ! I do hope there is a little bit of green in your day today too !!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Homesteads of the Murray - Chapter Two


On the left bank of the upper Murray, the Victorian side of the boarder, and near the junction of the Cudgewa Creek, you will find Tintaldra. A quaint rural hamlet, general store and pub included, sitting in the shadow of the hills and dales that make up this spectacular river valley. Sparkling like all rivers do when untouched by mankind’s pollution and grime, the Murray river here is fresh and clean and new.

New country was what Charles Huon De Kerrilleau admired when he passed through the area in 1837. Even though the region was in the midst of a severe drought at the time, the beauty and possibilities of the upper Murray so impressed Charles that he hotfooted it to Tumut, the nearest licensing station, to take up a lease on the land surrounding present day Tintaldra. The journey was not only long, hot and tiresome, but no white man had ever ventured into that part of the country before – it was a lonely challenge to cross those mountains. The exhausted Charles De Kerrilleau went strait to the pub upon his arrival at Tumut, and while resting himself there before going to the licensing station, he told proudly of his beautiful land discovery. Rowland Shelly, a Tumut landholder, originally from County Argyle, upon hearing the news of fair land in the upper Murray, made his way discreetly out of the pub and to the licensing station to take up a lease on the land himself. He took Welaragang Station for himself and Tintaldra Station for his brother William. And so it came to pass that William Shelly of County Argyle found himself as the manager of the Tintaldra selection, and witnessed the first white settlement of the upper Murray.

Tintaldra grew in prosperity and size, growing from 18,000 acres to 24,000 acres with the success of the cattle industry in Australia in the mid 1800’s. The station changed hands 4 times as it was being established in those early settlement times, until at last it was sold in 1858 to Mr Sydney Grandison Watson, and life on the quiet station outpost was to alter quite drastically.

Watson was a landowner from Walwa, who gradually progressed his holdings further and further upriver, taking up properties to total over 100,000 acres. Sydney Watson, his wife Isabella and their family lived an isolated but very prosperous life high in the upper Murray hills.

With the Victorian population swelling during the gold rush of the 1850’s, cattle grazing became quite lucrative for river stations, suppling meat to the gold fields of Bendigo, Beechworth and Ballarat. Watsons Tintaldra station had a big hand in the 1850’s beef market. All good things, however, come to an end as the gold began to peter out and the people remained in search of work. Sydney Watson could see money to be made from the new faces who were beginning to arrive in the Tintaldra area, and with good business sense, he opened up a punt to cross the river and a general store to service the growing community. Gradually the township of Tintaldra grew up about these enterprises, and a pub was the final addition to a township fully owned by Sydney Grandison Watson.

The township became a mecca for the upper Murray locals. With a policeman, postal service, doctor, blacksmith, wheelwright and customs house, it became the foremost township of the area. But this late 1800’s boom was the first and really the last boom time for the little town. A monopoly of ownership at Tintaldra saw preference given to the townships of Walwa and Corryong for new businesses, and Tintaldra became and stayed the quaint river village it is today.

Sydney Watson continued running his property, it’s size slowly dwindling to the area surrounding the township, where once it had extended along both sides of the Murray river for many miles. In 1910 the Watson family sold both their station and the leases on their Tintaldra township enterprises, the input they had given to this vibrant country community drew to a final close.

Sophie De Jardine, whose father served as French Counsel General in Melbourne, married Kenneth Mackinnon in Paris in 1909, and returned to Australia to live. The Mackinnon family purchased “Tintaldra” once they realised that their station, “Marion Downs”, in Queensland would not be suitable for Sophie. And so the generations of Mackinnons were established at the Tintaldra Homestead in 1910.

A weatherboard homestead of 54 squares, “Tintaldra” had been built at the turn of the century, by the Watsons, to take advantage of the spectacular mountain views of the river, its valley and the glorious distant Snowy Mountains. Sophie established formal hedges and rose gardens to grace the granity hillside on which the homestead stood.

30 years after their arrival in the area, the outbreak of World War 2 rocked the community of Tintaldra, many local boys going to fight for their country and for freedom. Kenneth and Sophie’s three children, Ian, Jaqueline and Ronald were part of the 1940’s era of Australian fighting men and women. Both Mackinnon boys, Ian and Ronald, proudly fought for Australia in the stark Middle East, and with great relief returned to the rolling hills and mountains of the Snowy’s. It was at this time that the Government proclaimed 2000 acres of “Tintaldra” on the Cudgewa road, and residual NSW land holdings as Soldier settlement blocks. “Tintaldra” shrunk smaller yet again.

In 1951 it was newly married Ronald who stepped into the management role at the station, while brother Ian pursued a legal career in Melbourne, remaining chairmen of the pastoral company. Together Ronald, wife Jenny and their three children Jamie, Annabel and Alex worked the Tintaldra land, and under took to change the homestead somewhat.

Leaving the front of the home untouched, Ronald and Jenny removed the 2 oldest wings of the house and replaced them with a kitchen and sunroom, creating a practical, family oriented dwelling. Handmade bricks from the old kitchen were used to create a walled in court yard, in which original grapevines still grow, producing abundantly.

In 1952, devastation arrived on a scorching hot wind. With fear in the air, and no doubt sweat streaming down sooty faces, Ronald and Jenny fought fierce bushfires that threatened to destroy their historic homestead. They swept into the station and devoured trees, land and cattle, the family managing, fortunately, to save their own lives and the weatherboard house they called their home. Once the immediate threat had blown over, the charred ground was a constant reminder that the residents of the station faced the hard task of starting over.

Thanks to Jenny Mackinnons diligent work, the homestead was soon surrounded by the shade of cyprus pines, Japanese maples, poplars, magnolias, blue spruces and a tulip tree. A fine orchard was established, providing fruit for the Mackinnons of the upper Murray, earth having to be brought in to combat the problems of gardening on a rocky rise.

The Mackinnons have not only begun again, they have diversified and found success in the land that has been their own for 90 years. Alex Mackinnon has taken over the management of the Tintaldra property, and turned his hand to small seed and grain crops, as well as the familiar cattle.

In 1986 it was Jo who came from the city to build her life as the wife of an up country pastoralist and grazier. Alex Mackinnon met his wife when travelling in the green beauty of the Irish countryside, and brought her to the Tintaldra family home to live. Jo Mackinnon has never looked back, and does not miss Melbourne with all its business and its people at all. The initial transition for the Arts/Humanities graduate and retail worker to farmer was made all the more easy for Jo, with many marriages in the area at the same time as her own. Having lots of young couples in the district, life in the Tintaldra community has never been lonely although it has been isolated.

The community in which Jo found herself is as warm and friendly as ever it was, meeting for events and festivities at every opportunity. They are also a progressively focused people, realising that cattle will not be the mainstay forever. The need to diversify farming practises is high on the agenda of many families in the district. Herb production and renewable energy are but two of the alternatives that are opening up. Retaining youth, environmental issues, agricultural sustainability, tourism and e-commerce are high priorities for the people of Tintaldra and surrounding areas, who have formed committees to combat the associated problems with the progress of these issues. Throwing herself into country life, Jo has joined the management committee for one such organisation.

Four active children and management of the farm’s office and accounts has kept Jo busy, aside from the committee for progress. Her office is the original customs house which was moved from up the river, where the Bookkeeper use to live in days when all transactions were done by hand. The Tintaldra office still houses all the original ledgers for the station and the township.

Being of a practical nature, the Mackinnon garden has had some modifications to allow it to be more manageable for the stations mistress. Easy care salvia, roses, rosemary and lambs ears surround the cream and white retreat on the hill. Some trees have also been removed or lopped for safety. However, the homestead looses none of it’s beauty through these treatments, it brightly watches over all the excitement and activity in the ever changing upper Murray. One year it could be floods engulfing the valleys, the next it could be droughts and bushfires. In late 2000 it was the splashing of world famous long distance swimmer Tammy van Wisse right past the Tintaldra homestead on her way to South Australia that brought the station to s brief halt. Next year, who knows?

In a place perfect for fly fishing, white water rafting, canoeing, bushwalking and snow activities, is it any wonder that the Mackinnon children are as healthy and happy as any children could be. Full of exuberance, Edwina, Henry and twins Harriet and Amelia play with Sally, their golden labrador, have a hit of tennis or a swim in the Tintaldra pool, ride their horses and help Alex on the farm – there is no stopping their boundless energy and life.

When one thinks about it, a house and property are really just that – another house and property. Board and bricks and glass. Soil and water and sun. It is when a home stakes on the influences of the people who have passed through it’s doors, when a property reflects the care of those around that it becomes a thing of beauty and inspiration. At Tintaldra today there are people who love the country and it’s way of life. People who give themselves to their community. People who care about the future and making today count for tomorrow. And people who have a heritage of love and companionship with this land. With that, Tintaldra is not only another pretty property, but a place of hope, hardwork and country dignity.

** All photographs used in this article are by the incomparable Brooke Orchard at Brooke Orchard Photography - check out her highly awarded and nationally acclaimed talent !!

Friday, March 11, 2011

One Exceptional Event

Oh doesnt this look like the most fun in the whole world ?!!! For those of us who have adored Charlotte Smiths two books about her amazing 5000 peice corture collection, the chance to see a live fashion parade of some of her garments at the home of one of the Myer Family in Toorak is nothing short of 'to die for' !! If you are able to be there, you absaloutly must ! I am going to be there, and I have an extra something dazzling to look forward to in the event, as I will be modeling one of these divine outfits for the show - oh, hyperventilating at the very thought !!!! SOOOOOOOO EXCITED !!!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Quote of the Month - March 2011

"I have learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not our circumstances"

Martha Washington

Living Dolls - Miss March

Here is our darling 'Living Doll' for the month of March. Say hello to Jules from Poppet Vintage

What does 'vintage' mean to you?

To me vintage is all about fun, the past and cherishing things that existed before our time. Technically, I suppose vintage ends when the 60s did, but time has a habit of moving fast, and our labels have to adjust accordingly. Basically if it’s sorta old and I love it, then it’s vintage to me!

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

I think my interest in Vintage and Retro style came from watching too many re-runs of Get Smart, The Brady bunch and The Monkeeys when I was a kid. I thought “99” was the greatest woman alive (and still do!) She was smart, tough, funny, impeccably dressed and one hell of a role model...I feel quite lucky that I got to grow up with these shows shaping my little brain.

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

The 60s is my favourite era that’s for sure. It was such a great decade for change, there certainly was a lot of excitement packed into those 10 years. A lot of my fashion inspiration is drawn from this period, at the moment I’m particularly inspired by the way boys were dressing in London in the early to mid-60s...Basically I wanna be as awesome as George Harrison.

I certainly don’t “live it” every day though. In my day to day life I’m influence by all aspects of the last 100 years. There is so much amazing fashion to delight in from all eras that I don’t like to limit myself to one particular style. I’m more than happy to wear a cute 40’s blouse with a 60’s skirt and an 80’s leather tie. I just go with what makes me happy 

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

Goodness! When it comes to Vintage clothing I have a lot of special pieces. My favourite is a mid 60s red dress with a great white collar and belt, I totally feel like orphan Annie when I wear it, and always wanna break out into “the sun’ll come up tomorrowwwww” I think that’s what I love most about 60s fashion, there is such an element of fun to it!

I have a great collection of 60s prints, lots of big landscapes and seascapes and a few saucy nudes...oh my! I’ve collected these over the years from op-shops and garage sales, and now they are scattered around my house and shop.

I absolutely love the music of the late 50s and all of the 60s. At the moment I can’t get enough Doo Wop! Also on high rotation are The Beatles (especially the early albums) The Everly Brothers, The Kinks, Beach Boys and all the amazing girl groups of the 60s

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

I think I will always have one foot in the past....there is just so much inspiration to be found in vintage culture. Like many people in the scene, I often feel like I was born at the wrong time....oh to be a teen in the late 50s... the music, the clothes, the innocence....ahh I love it! I would have killed to be in my 20s for the entirety of the 60s. I just can’t imagine anything better than being around to see the rise of the Beatles and the rise of those hemlines.

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

The internet is an amazing resource for people wanting to learn more about Vintage fashion. Or if you wanna do things the vintage way open up some books. “Love Vintage” by Nicole Jenkins is an amazing and in-depth look at vintage clothing and I would defiantly recommend getting your hands on a copy.

I think it’s really important to stay true to who you are as well. Fashion is one of the ways we express ourselves to the world, so you gotta do what is right for you. There should be no rules when it comes to dressing vintage. Mix some old with new, blur the lines between eras and draw inspiration from lots of sources. Just remember to have fun and be confident in what you wear.

Now is your chance to provide us with an overview of who you are and what you do.
I run a cute lil’ Vintage clothing store called “Poppet” in North Fitzroy. I sell ladies and gents clothing and accessories from the 40s-80s. I also design and make seasonal collections of lovely clothing that I sell in the shop and online. My life isn’t all work though. I also enjoy all manner of craft, particularly sewing, knitting and crochet. I really enjoy the old timey feeling I get when I’m working with my hands to create beautiful things. I also love music, and like nothing better than busting out a few tunes on my ukulele and banjo!!

Finally, what or who inspires you and why?

My amazingly talented friends are a constant inspiration to me! I feel very lucky to know so many wonderful creative people. I am always impressed and motivated when I see people that know what they want from life and go for it.

I also get inspired by all the beauty and creativity that has been put forth into our fine world. Music, fashion, art, craft and the written word, these are all things that feed the soul and make living life an absolute joy.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Flower of the Season - Summer 10/11

Well, Summer has passed us by the the Southern Hemisphere and if you are like me you are wondering where it went and what happened to the beautiful balmy evenings, and dry days with skies bluer that one can imagine - skies one can look into seemingly forever and ever so rich is it's blueness. Unfortunately where I live, for the first time in my life summer was nothing but uncomfortable humidity, storms and rain rain rain ! Not 'real' summer at all. Unlike roses and some trees who have toughened up after 10 years of drought and then struggled to perform in this years tropical weather, the humble Crepe Myrtle bush has come through the environmental upheaval with a bountiful display of flowers and mesmerising colour this February.

A darling little bush or tree, Crepe Myrtles offer something delightful for every stage of the year. When leafless in winter Crepe Myrtles are quite captivating through the allure of it's trunk structure and attractive bark. This is especially seen when mass planted or in a close compact row. In Springtime as it leaf's up, Crepe Myrtles are a lovely addition to any shrub border. By late summer Crepe Myrtles are profusely blossoming in all manner of shades from red through to pinks and purples. And finally in Autumn, the Crepe Myrtle bush puts on a dramatic leaf colour display in an equally as vast range of Fall tones.

From Wikipedia:

While various species and cultivars are able to fill a wide variety of landscape needs, crape myrtles are chiefly famous for their colorful and long-lasting flowers. Most species of Lagerstroemia (Crepe Myrtle) have sinewy, fluted stems and branches with a mottled appearance that arises from having bark that sheds throughout the year. The leaves are opposite, simple, with entire margins, and vary from 5-20 cm (2-8 in). While all species are woody in nature, they can range in height from over 100 feet to under one foot; most, however are small to medium multiple-trunked trees and shrubs. The leaves of temperate species provide autumn color.
(sorry about the istockphoto, but I just loved this image so much I had to include it watermark and all)

Flowers are born in summer and autumn in panicles of crinkled flowers with a crepe-like texture. Colors vary from deep purple to red to white, with almost every shade in between. Although no blue-flowered varieties exist, it is toward the blue end of the spectrum that the flowers trend, with no sight of orange or yellow except in stamens and pistils. The fruit is a capsule, green and succulent at first, then ripening to dark brown or black dryness. It splits along six or seven lines, producing teeth much like those of the calyx, and releases numerous small winged seeds.

In their respective climates, both sub-tropical and tropical species are common in domestic and commercial landscapes. The timber of some species has been used to manufacture bridges, furniture and railway sleepers. 

If you are seeking a shrub with great landscaping potential and a harking back to the 1940's and 50's gardens, during which they were very popular, then look no further than a Crepe Myrtle - its a little darling !

Outfit of the day.....

 Ok, I didnt wear this today but a couple of weeks ago - I have only just gotten around to posting it though. Green is one of my favourite colours to wear - so fresh and cool and happy. I love green. On the other side of the coin, I totally loath my hair and just cant wait for it to grow. It is so unhealthy and frizzy, just putrid. Mu hair growns very fast, so I am hoping all the dryness from the bleaching I did to it last year will have substantially lessened (read that as having been cut out!) by the time wintersun rocks around in June. Till then I continue with the conditioning treatments and rinses to give it as much shine and health as I can. At least the green dress can brighten my mood in the meantime !
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