Monday, January 30, 2012

Living Doll - Miss January

Living Dolls are mothers, nurses, models, photographers, graphic designers, grandmothers, students, teachers - infact you name it, they come from every walk of life but have this one thing in common - they love and live vintage !

Our beautiful Miss January 2012 is my ever adorable friend, Trish Blair with her unique and wonderful take on vintage, sewing and styling !!
What does Vintage mean to you?
Vintage means to me anything that’s from the70’s and older.
What was it that first prompted your interest in Vintage Culture?
My first brush with the 50’s came through my grandmother, she travelled to the states during that time. She always carried an old fashioned purse and a bamboo handled knitting bag and wore a coat with a brooch! She had the amazing Barsony style lamp in her home – It was a gorgeous lady in a canoe, with red and white shade – she gave me some lovely printed 50’s fabric – boats with moody colours – teal, black and purple and some jewellery that she bought there. I think since she died I have found myself drawn to 50’s things.
I have been shopping in op shops since I was a student (I studied Fashion Design) because it was very cheap – those days are gone! In Wellington, New Zealand where I grew up, there was a great local op shop that I would visit. From there I amassed had the most amazing handbag, hat and hatpin collection from the 50’s and 60’s. Unfortunately when I moved to Australia, with a suit case and my sewing machine in ’92, I had to leave it all behind.
Since moving to Sydney, I was invited to the 50’s fair for the first time back in 1998! I loved it and have gone pretty much every year since, even with a month old baby in a sling! This has really sparked my interest. We didn’t really have a rockabilly scene in Wellington (and anyway – I hung out with Goths in the 80’s!). I was amazed by the commitment to the look and the authenticity.
What is your favourite era, and do you 'live it' every day? In what ways?
I love the Fifties and am learning about the Forties.
I adore Mid-Century design, the architecture, the atomic legs on the furniture, the lucite handbags, the big dresses, tiki style and the graphic art. Post war optimism and energy sparked an incredible time for design – and the possibilities and creativity seemed endless.
No I don’t live it every day! I don’t have the time to do the full hair and make-up – I work and have two kids! I also struggle with getting the hair right (James at Sterling Hair did my hair the day of these photos). I do try to incorporate a vintage piece in my outfit everyday whether it’s a brooch or a necklace.
Our home is decorated in an eclectic way with items from many eras scattered throughout from 50’s and 60’s retro, Australiana, Kiwiana, PNG tribal, too, I would rather be practical than a purist. My husband doesn’t mind my creativity – as long as he gets his boy toys - we compromise


Tell us about your favourite item of vintage clothing, kitchenalia, music, furniture or whatever!
I think it has to be my collection of Vintage Sewing patterns they are so inspiring. I have a good number that I use as inspiration for my sewing projects. I usually have to alter the pattern to fit and it is a challenge to find fabric to use – I search op shops and Ebay for genuine fabric – or use what is widely available in fabric shops, some of the stretch sateen prints are lovely, are easy to sew, and you can get a nice fit easily. I don’t really have a problem with making "new" vintage – some vintage garments get quite tired looking, and many are tiny! Finding garments in my size is even harder, sewing is more affordable.

Can you share with us why vintage culture continues to hold such appeal for you?
As a bit of a textiles nerd the diversity of the designs, in textiles and clothing, are especially so interesting to me – and seem to be of endless variety. As a designer – my eyes are always hungry to see something new. The fabrics such as 40’s tropical florals and 50’s atomic prints on barkcloth, the painterly floral cottons, the ugly but beautiful mottled browns and olives of vintage scarves, they really float my boat!
Do you have any tips for anyone starting out in the vintage scene?
I think follow your heart. I think if you love something, whether it’s a style or a look, don’t worry about what others think. You will not please everybody, – so you might as well enjoy yourself!

Now is your chance to provide us with an overview of who you are and what you do.
I am married to an Aussie and we have two kids. We are doing up our 60’s designed house in Sydney’s North. I hate cooking but I love to sew. I recently started blogging over at – I love connecting with people who like vintage and or sewing – I hope you take a look sometime.
My twitter handle is trishblairsews and I try and put up a little snap every day of vintage pieces around the house. I just do it to amuse myself.
It’s a dream of mine to produce a range of patterns for vintage clothing. Things that are hard to find, but appealing and beautiful, and in your size!
Finally, what or who inspires you and why?
Audrey Hepburn – such style and such compassion. I am also inspired by Mena Trott of check out her vintage style!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Close your eyes and dream momentarily - What inspires you?

Sitting in an enchanting little cafe in Gertrude Street, Fitzroy today (and what a captivating place that part of town is) I was inspired to start a little campaign to find out what inspires my readers....and in doing so, I hope it inspires many others in turn !! I want to ask people three questions, because I believe, especially at the beginning of a year, it is important to reflect on where we are at, who we are and where we are heading....sooo......

What Inspires You?

It could be anything from beaded fabrics to man landing on the moon !

What Is Your Dream?

It could be anything from performing with elephants to cooking through Julia Childs cook book in a year !

What Do You Want from Your Life?

It could be anything from making a difference in the lives of unloved children to becoming the next editor of Vogue

Please feel free to share all your dreams and aspirations, no matter how crazy or wild (the wilder the better if you ask me !!) - because we all know that 'putting it out there', and speaking our dreams, even just realising what our dreams are, can begin to set the wheels in motion to manifest these things in our lives.

And as for me......

What inspires me?

a) the richness of the seasons unfolding around me
b) People who overcome great adversity
c) Miraculous occurrences in the everyday
d) People who do not judge others and live great lives of compassion and unbridled love

What is my dream?

a) To have a beautiful, gracious, warm hearted family who are all wrapped up in love for one another.
b) To look back at my life one day and see it as rich, full, victorious, and lived with great beauty, delight, enchantment and wonder.

What do I want from my life?

a) An inspiring occupation that brings much good to society.
b) Kindred spirit friends and family surrounding me.
c) A pretty home of my own, brimming with creativity and joy, in a pretty place, with a wonderful community and the capacity to be somewhat self sufficient.

Ha ! It is just so hard to limit such imaginative ramblings to a couple of lines isnt it !!! My mind could go on and on with all the wonderful things I aspire to !!!

May you do the same!

May you be inspired as you do so !

May your inspirations be the fuel for others too !!!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dressing mid century vintage and cancer recovery.....

I am very excited to share a guest post with all my regular readers today.....the lovely Jackie Clark has a passion to inspire and help women who are suffering from and recovering from cancer to feel beautiful, valued and treasured. Jackie has kindly written this wonderful post for Alice Jean's detailing how 1950's fashions can help the female cancer patient attain a feeling of classic beauty once the light of cancer, fashion can seem awfully frivolous, and yet the other side of the coin is that we all desire to look and feel beautiful, no matter what brick walls and hurdles life shoves in our way. I do hope you enjoy this article ! Thankyou dear Jackie !

The Fabulous 1950s Help Cancer Patients Look and Feel Beautiful

By: Jackie Clark

Looking good can play a big role in helping cancer patients feel good. Although it’s tempting to throw on a pair of baggy sweats, the ultra-feminine look of the 1950s can help women battling cancer to feel less like a patient and more like a young Elizabeth Taylor. The fashions of this era are all the rage; thanks to the cult TV show “Mad Men.” Here are the main features of 1950s style, starting at the head and ending at the toes:

Side-swept bangs and curled hair

Marilyn Monroe hairstyles, with softly waved bangs gracing the forehead, are an alluring style for wigs worn during chemotherapy. Flipped-up curls give a contemporary look. For some cancers, chemotherapy is the primary treatment option, and hair loss usually results. Mesothelioma treatment, for example, almost always requires chemotherapy. After treatment, a short, Audrey Hepburn hairstyle eases the growing-out phase.


Scarves wrapped around the head and tied neatly at the back were popular in the middle of the last century. This is a cute, comfortable alternative to a wig during chemo or the growing-out stage.

Button Earrings

Button earrings with colored faux gems are back in style. For work, button earrings with swirly loops are tastefully elegant.

Scoop necks, V-necks and square necks

Fifties necklines are feminine but leave cleavage to the imagination during the day, a feature that breast cancer survivors appreciate. For evening, necklines can dip lower for those who dare, a la Jayne Mansfield.

Fitted bodices

A fitted bodice with princess lines flatters every figure. Another classic look is a gathered bust that narrows to a slim waistline.

Full skirts and cinched waists

This style accentuates or gives the illusion of an hourglass figure. Circle skirts are a pretty variation, but the poodle skirt is best reserved for costume parties. This curvaceous look is especially flattering for women whose cancers have caused them to lose weight, especially common in mesothelioma, pancreatic cancer and gastric carcinoma.

Pencil skirts

A pencil skirt that hits somewhere around the knee is a sleek classic. A kick pleat, slit or French vent in the back adds a flirty twist. For work, a matching jacket gives a smart, Joan Crawford look.

Pedal pushers and wide-leg pants

Now known as capris, pedal-pushers originated in the 50s with cyclists trying to keep their pant legs out of the bicycle chain. Wide-leg pants reminiscent of Katherine Hepburn slim the legs.

High-waisted, two-piece swimsuits

These swimsuits are flattering to women of all ages, and the high cut hides most surgical scars. Women everywhere are rejoicing that they’re back in style.

Medium-heeled pumps

Fifties’ pumps get their sexy look from toe cleavage and kitten heels, not ankle-twisting stilettos. Fun variations are peep toes, sling-back heels and ankle straps. For casual wear, choose a fun take-off on the saddle shoe.

No matter what you prefer the 50’s style has something to fit all of your needs. It is important to remember that despite having cancer you can still be fashionable and confident. Looking and feeling confident in how you dress will help for an overall recovery.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Quote of the month January 2012

A small bit of quotation inspiration for the new year - isnt a new year just thrilling? Who knows what is around each corner the new day presents us with - what people will we meet? What wonderful sights, tastes, smells, sounds and feelings will we encounter? What joyous events will we participate in? What will make us cry, laugh, despair, rejoice? I love the potential and promise that a new year heralds hope is that this year I find miracles occurring continually in my life, and magic moments flooding my way....that is my desire for each and every Alice Jean follower too - may all your prayers be answered, in the most beautiful ways, for you this year. Mwahhh !! XX

Oughtnt we to be prepared for the best too? After all, it's just as likely to happen as the worst.
Anne of Green Gables
Three great essentials of happiness are
1. Something to do
2. Someone to love
3. Somthing to hope for

The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today.

There is no oil without squeezing the olives
No wine without pressing the grapes
No fragrence without crushing the flowers
And no real joy without sorrow.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Celebrating 300 followers with macaroons.......

Oooh !! I recently hit the wonderful 300 followers mark with my precious little blog - personally I cant believe that there are 300 people who choose to regularly read my sentimental musings here, not to mention the 1000 odd people who pass by every week - I am humbled and honoured !!

So, having hit this lovely milestone, I felt that a small celebration was in order, and considering the wonders of Hardware Lane where I now work, the options were endless. However, I could not go past the charm and very Alice Jean's style of this darling little macaroon shop "La Belle Miette"

I jumped in the deep end and bought one of every flavor available - simply because I couldnt choose - and that ment there were enough macaroons to share around everyone in the office, and then some. Let me assure you they were pure heaven on earth, from the equisit Earl Grey Chocolate flavour to the Violet & Blueberry delight. My only complaint is that they are gone so simply must sit down and take the time to savour every bite !

So a huge thankyou to all the wonderful people who follow my blog - I wish I could have given you each a macaroon !!! I will send you all out a cyber kiss, but I am afraid it wont hold a candle to these lovely gastronomic circles of divinity. And of course if you are ever in Hardware Lane, Melbourne CBD, there is no excuse but to stop by and enjoy a macaroon for yourself !

May love, kisses and macaroons fill the lives of each adorable person who stops by Alice Jean's in 2012 !! XOXOXO

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