Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Handmade Childrens Dresses

 About two months ago, I got all fired up...... I love sewing and find it very therapeutic, but with the winter cold my machine had remained stashed away in the laundry room gathering cobwebs and dust. Who wants to sit in a cold old laundry on a winter's day? Anyhow, all of a sudden, I felt the creative urge to bring out the sewing machine and create all sorts of havoc in my toasty warm living area, as I spread fabric, bobbins, ribbons and thread from floor to ceiling in a passionate creative frenzy of dressmaking.

I have been collecting children's clothing patterns from the 50's-70's for ages, and when I decided to have a crack at an online sustainability based shop, well, I needed some home made stock to fill it !!! Out came the dress patterns and reams of beautiful fabric I had stashed over the years, and I sewed with might and main. Needless to say after two weeks my neck was aching, and I needed a visit to the chiropractor, but the creative satisfaction was well worth it as I surveyed all the pretty frocks on hangers in my dining room.

The next fun bit was doing some little photography sessions with my daughter, and daughters of friends in the finery - after many laughs, and innumerable milkshakes and cake for thankyou's, the dresses and pictures were complete and ready to be put on my shop. I am not overly concerned about them selling, however, as they will easily fill the wardrobe of my little 'rainbow girl' if they don't.....and to my delight, she adores any clothing made for her by Mummy.

Let me just say I am so very very thankful I have had this phase of my life where I can spend time doing this sort of thing - I realise it is a great privilege to be able to spend quality time doing 'homemaking activity's' these days, sewing, baking etc, and as I survey the collection of beautiful things that have resulted from my endeavours, as well as the confidence, sparkle and joy that my children possess, it isnt hard to find something to be thankful for - despite the frequent frustrations of being a mum.
Anyhow, I hope you enjoy peeking at the results of two weeks of hard sewing labour here, and maybe, just maybe, my perfectionist grandmother looking down might be proud that I have finally learnt to sew with neatness and skill ! I hope so !

***** Alice Jean's Soda Pop Shop is now closed. Thank you for your support !!! ******    

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Movies on my must see list

I am feeling the urge to go to the flicks lately, namely because after a dreary winter with not much to tempt me, spring brings with it a beautiful array of my kind of films......
Firstly, I want to feast my eyes on the fashion in......

Secondly, I adore French films and particularly Audry Tautou ....................

And thirdly, I simply cannot go past a new period classic adaption ...........

I would love to hear your reviews if you have seen these flicks, and keep me posted of any in a similar vein coming up to mark on the calandar !!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saving our historic buildings.....

Isnt it wonderful to arrive in a city or town, and be totally inspired by the beautiful historic architecture that you find there? Whenever I drive through Bendigo, a town I have known and loved all my life, I still find myself in awe of the beauty of the buildings built on the prosperity of the 1860's gold rush. And when I first visited Mildura in Victoria's far north west, I was gob smacked by the amount of stunning and mostly untouched art deco public buildings - a result of the slowing down of the towns progress from that time, thus retaining most of the fine architecture for today....phew !!  But what of places that have no regard for their heritage? And what of more modern, contemporary architecture that has not quite yet come to public attention as being worthy of preservation...... I am thinking of 1950's and 60's cream brick houses, of the same era public buildings (one example off the top of my head - Echuca Council Offices), of sites given provenance by their association with people who are today's leaders, artists or visionaries. We are in truth probably only 10 years away from these sites being recognised by the broader public in the same way they now view art deco buildings, but in the meantime, what can those of us with a love of mid century architecture do to rescue these beautiful icons of our recent past from the clutches of the spider like web of 'newer is better, bigger, bolder' type developments?

Firstly, I would suggest that education and awareness are paramount. How will the broader public recognise the value of our recent past places of significance unless they are shown the value? Events like the recent 50's fair at Rose Seidler House (more on that in another post soon to come) do MUCH to promote the value of our more recent cultural times - more such events and publicising of places of mid century significance are a must !

And the second thing we can do is to voice our love and appreciation to the valid people and government bodies. Petitioning the Heritage council in your state to register significant buildings (before it's too late) is vital, as is supporting actions to oppose inappropriate development at the expense of historical significance.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for appropriate development. But not at the expense of our heritage sites. We are a democratic community in Australia, so theoretically we can exist together with consideration and empathy.....those of us that LOVE history, and those that want to develop something new (and make money usually).

If you value historic buildings, can I suggest helping out one cause that is playing out in Hornsby, Sydney at this very moment? The beautiful CWA buildings are under threat of demolition from the local council for nothing more than supposed 'access to extend the swimming pol complex', although there appears to be some hidden agendas involved (typical!). Please head to this website and register your name on the petition to save this building from turning to dust. There is also a facebook site that you can join to stay updated.
I would love to hear of any other heritage site issues that are of concern to my readers, please post a comment if you have a story of this nature to share. And always remember, there is great power in numbers, together we can make a mighty difference..............................

Friday, August 26, 2011

Quote of the Month - August

All about beauty ......


" Taking joy in living is a woman's best cosmetic"

Rosalind Russell

"Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart."

Khalil Gibran

"You dont love a woman because she is beautiful, but she is beautiful because you love her"


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gillian's dreamy Earl Grey Tea Cake

This cake is simply to die for !!! You simply MUST try it - either for afternoon tea, or for a scrumptious dessert served with cream, custard or icecream. Mmmmmmmm..............

Earl Grey Tea Cake

1.5 cups of chopped fresh dates

1 tsp bicarb soda

 1 cup of brewed earl grey tea

 2 apples peeled and grated

1 1/4 cup of self raising flour

3/4 cup of brown sugar – for a lighter version, use raw sugar and a tablespoon of golden syrup

150 grams butter melted – if you prefer a less “greasy” cake, reduce the butter to 80g- it still works well

2 tsp of natural vanilla extract

4 eggs

Preheat Oven to 180C. Line baking loaf tin with baking paper. Place dates, bicarb of soda and tea in a bowl. I left the tea bag in the bowl during this time for around 10 minutes. Using a barmix or hand held blender, blend the mixture till smooth. Set aside. Mix flour, apple and sugar in a bowl till combined. Add in butter, vanilla, eggs and date mixture. Mix well with wooden spoon.

Spoon into loaf tin and bake for 45-50 minutes till cooked when tested with a skewer.

Rest and cool before removing from tin.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Favourite Hand Made Things....

Alice Jean's adores all things handmade - we all know that this was the way things were done way back when in grandma's day. Home made clothing, toys, food, decor - it is the most induvidual, creative, expressive and unique way to live and I am a huge fan of all things non-mass produced ! So let me share with you a few of my favourite handmade webstores specialising in the wonderful world of handmade and nostalgic.... with Christmas already starting to poke it's head around the corner (can you believe it !!) keep these sites in mind for your shopping and support local people, artists and communities wherever possible !!

Bobkin on madeit

Letters                                             Custom made with vintage children's illustration

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A giveaway at Alice Jean's

In celebration of my humble little online store (and because we all know that giveaway's are designed to promote) I am having a wonderful giveaway for Alice Jean's Soda Pop Shop !! And it is so easy to be a part of !!

All you have to do to enter is simply promote one of my products, with a link to my shop and my blog on your blog or facebook page. Simply let me know you have done so via a comment on this post or email to me and you will be in it to win it........  I will be checking out all the entries - the best promotional blurb or post will win one of these fantastic little pamper packs with all the lovely goodies below.......

Included in this package are:

1 X Carolyns Cupcake Soap valued at $12.50
1 X Mango and Berry Body Butter valued at $24.95
1 X Mango and Berry Lip Balm valued at $9.95
1 X Slice of Carolyns Cake Soap valued at $16.95
1 X 'Hope' Butterfly canvas by Alice Jean

And just to let you know, I am always up for a bit of cross promotion provided it fits with the ideology of Alice Jean's...sustainable, mid century aesthetic style living. Let me know if you are interested in mutual sharing of information on blogs or facebook, and until then - happy competing !!

Monday, August 15, 2011

A diamond in the rough......

Oh for a tattslotto win !! I would grab this little beauty and breath life back into her generally untouched gorgeousness again.....and oh my, check out the bathroom, heavenly !!! (Just lose the ghastly vanity....)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The adventures of Super Mummy and Rainbow Girl .....

If you are a Mum you will relate. It's pouring rain, the kids have been couped up inside for almost two weeks of school holidays. They have watched every age appropriate DVD your library contains, and you are seriously considering playing the others. Your computer keyboard wont function properly due to the remnants of bread roll caught between the keys from your sons venture online with Wow Wow Wubsie games, (the state of my keyboard at this very moment) the lounge room floor is littered with popcorn and leggo, and the grizzling, fighting and complaining puts you in very near need of a straitjacket. What do you do????

All of a sudden, in a flash of inspiration, it's SUPER MUMMY to the rescue. Ceasing three old t-shirts, you tell your wee ones that today is super hero day and they will need to design on paper their super hero outfit. The whining and fighting stops. They sit down at the kitchen table and draw diligently for 10 minutes. (This in itself is a miracle as the children have the attention span of a Crusty Demons of Dirt Biking fan at the latest screening of Jayne Eyre). OK, you now have three hilarious costume designs, and the children are majorly intrigued by Super Mummies antics as she swiftly cuts out various satin colours from her stash and deftly aplicays them onto the t-shirts in desperate next-to-no-timedness.

All at once, out of no where appear 'Star Boy' in a blaze of blue t-shirt, red satin star on front and gorgeous streaming red satin cape. 'Green Darcy' flies in with a spiral logo in electric blue satin on the front of his long sleeve apple green t-shirt. And' Rainbow Girl' arrives with outstretched flying arm in her tri-coloured rainbow on pink t-shirt with apple green satin cape.

Super Mummy is blown away by the creativity of her children - in particular 3 year old Rainbow Girl who cries out "Rainbow Girl to the rescue" thrusting her fist into the air and zooming off to save 'Petal' her teddy. Talk about one hilarious way to fill in most of a day, and the children spent the remainder of the day playing super hero's. Which was just as well, because Super Mummy was very much in need of an Earl Grey Tea and a magazine......

Stay tuned for more adventures in the next exciting episode of Super Mummy and rainbow Girl !!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

So excited to share my new shop with you !!!!

Oh wow, I am so very excited to share my online launch of Alice Jean's Soda Pop Shop with you all...for regular followers of my blog, you will know that I am all about the sustainability of mid 20th Century living - the beauty of handmade goods, natural products, locally sourced items where possible and the hands on, tactile experiences of a life before electronics (although I realise the importance and benefit of these things !).  That's what Alice Jean's Soda Pop Shop is all about....bringing the ethics and aesthetics of the mid twentieth century to everyone.

I will be doing a post about all the charming handmade dresses (including girls sizes 6-12 ...something I have been requested to provide SOOOOOO many times) in the very near future, but in the meantime, pop over to the shop to enjoy all the other lovely products !

If you have any product suggestions, any ideas, any comments about this venture, I would dearly love to hear from you - and please, oh please, pass on my humble little webshop site to all your friends....it would mean the world to a little single mum of three in a very small, quiet corner of the globe !!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Living Doll - August 2011

How delightful it is to bring you our beautiful Miss August - Esz Molnar, one of the most beautiful gal's - inside and out - that I know !  

What does 'vintage' mean to you?

Anything from the late 60’s and earlier. I don’t really have much interest in anything later than that!

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

I can’t really remember - My first foray into the vintage look was a Vivien of Holloway dress. I don’t mind a bit of repro but I soon discovered that *real* vintage was not only cheaper but way more unique. It’s only been a couple of years since I’ve been wearing vintage but I remember it being quite a revelation that I don’t need to fit into what’s “trendy” - instead picking a silhouette that suited me. The rest soon followed!

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

I love the 50’s the most but have a great fondness for the 40’s and the early 60’s. The 40’s I wish I had more of but I’ve found great solace in the plethora of 40’s sewing patterns available! Which reminds me, I really should complete that 40’s dress I’ve been making. :-D

My favourite styles are slim, wiggle dresses and also the 50’s New Look. Quite a contrast I know but I wake up most mornings either craving a wiggle dress or a ridiculous puffy skirt. Unfortunately the puffy skirts are probably more suitable for the weekend!

I would think that I am living a vintage lifestyle to an extent. I don’t like to consume rampantly and am always very disillusioned when I go shopping in regular stores. Everything is just so poorly made. However, I’ve never really been very good at styling my hair in the vintage way.

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

Oh gee this one is tough! I have a few showstopper dresses which don’t get worn very often but I love them just because I have them. These include the blue linen big collared dress in one of my pics. It has white embroidered grapes all over it and little mother of pearl embellishments on the collar. Also, my most recent purchase of a spectacular 50’s Nat Tuman fine silk taffeta dress which will be debuted at a friends wedding in Fiji. It is bright blue with pink roses, a big gathered section at the hip and structured neckline. (so hard to describe - must get pics!) It might be entirely overdressed for an island wedding but overdressing is a habit of mine! I bought both these dresses from Etsy. I LOVE Etsy!

Oh and I could go on and tell you all about my collection of dresses. They have their own special rack outside of my wardrobe and are ordered by colour (of course).

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

The attention to detail and quality in craftsmanship. I think it’s incredible that I can find a dress that is almost 70 years old, in perfect condition and ready to wear and know it will last for many decades to come (with care of course). I thoroughly doubt that most of the clothes manufactured today will ever have such a good innings!

I love that back then, no one would dare walk out the door without a carefully considered ensemble. These days, people don’t even wear PANTS anymore!! (yes it’s all about the clothes for me)

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

Research! Vintage goes through phases where it’s trendy to mainstream fashion and it’s all too easy to pay too much for something that you’ve been told is a “Mad Men Wiggle Dress” when it’s neither from the 50s/60’s nor is it even a wiggle cut! A good all round starting point is Nicole Jenkin’s book Love Vintage which goes through the eras and tells you what to look for in each particular decade. I don’t think you need to be a purist, but it helps everyone if you know what you’re buying. And if you’re unsure and just want the look, start with Repro - Vivien of Holloway, Trashy Diva and Tara Starlet are good places to begin!

Now is your chance to provide us with an overview of who you are and what you do.

Gosh I don’t know where to start! I’ve really found myself within the vintage scene. It’s great to meet with like-minded souls. The people I’ve met are conscientious, generous, considered and gracious which encourages me to bring out those same characteristics within myself. The care that they take into dressing carries through to every aspect of their life and I find that a very noble way to live.

Hmm. Now if you’ve been reading my blog - which isn’t a fashion blog but a drawing one, you will note that I have really jumped into sewing. It’s been quite a revelation AND a learning curve. Oh boy! Still such a long way to go! But it’s very satisfying making my own things. The only problem is, I go into shops and think “I could make that!”, yet I need to find the TIME somewhere. If only I had that time-turner spell Hermione uses in the Harry Potter books (I am such a geek) ;-)

Oh and I draw stuff too ;-)

Finally, what or who inspires you and why?

I’m inspired by all the sewing and vintage bloggers out there (yourself included Sen!). For art, where I always struggle to find inspiration, I usually go to ConceptArt.org and look at all the awesome work people are drawing out there which inspires me to get off my ass and DRAW. Which is what I’m about to do right now :-D

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Sydney Rockabilly Crowd in Marie Claire

Oh how very thrilling it was to see so many beautiful friends appearing in the July 2011 edition of Australia's Marie Claire magazine..... I have just been itching to share it with all my worldwide blogging fraternity! May I just congratulate Pia Andersen of Vintage Allsorts for doing such an amazing job orchestrating this fabulous shoot.....and I must say that although the model look terrific, she is not a patch on all the real rockabilly gal's and dolls that appear here !

Robyn looking glamorous as always in her leopard print

Pat Cappocci and Pia Andersen getting their groove on...

Beautifully talented girls from Retrospec'd

Georgio and Marc - always dapper and suave !

Georgio, Robyn, Sue and Geeves standing out in the crowd !

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