Thursday, August 27, 2015

Something Old Something New

Today's post is a little tag that I've been included in, which was devised by the lovely Bianca over at Ditsy Sprinkles.  Bianca was kind enough to include me as one of her 'regular reads' and I was also tagged by Kiki from According to Kiki. 

These are the tag rules...(when I was a kid 'tag' meant something else completely so I'm assuming I'm now 'it' and have to chase you around?!).....anyway....

* Thank the person who tagged you.
* List 5 blogs you've followed for a long time.
* List 5 blogs you've recently discovered.
* Tag all of your readers to join in!

I actually was reading quite a few blogs regularly, but a couple of months ago I had a big blogging break, then came back and my blog did a total flip and completely changed to this whole vintage lifestyle and simple living space that it is now.  Just before I had my break I was completely burned out with not only my own blogging, but also feeling the pressure to read all these blogs.  I was getting absolutely nothing done and weirdly I was just creating a whole pile of unnecessary stress in my life.  Having said all that...when I finally came back I changed my blog content, as well as the design, and now only religiously read three old favourite blogs...absolutely without fail....because these ladies I consider my 'friends' and one day we are all going to meet up somewhere (I'm thinking some tropical island somewhere because it will be about the mid-point), and we're going to look like these four ladies above.  I'm thinking I'd be the one on the end in the glasses pulling the stupid face, so Bianca, Kiki and Stephanie you guys can fight amongst yourselves as to who is going to be who in this funny photo from the 1940s!

So..I'm afraid I'm not going to list 5 blogs that I've followed for a long time because I'd be fibbing about the other random 2, so here are my beloved 3 blogger buddies.....

Stephanie Eva

I can't remember exactly when I first started reading Stephanie's blog but what first struck me was her sense of humour, and how much like mine it is.  Immediately I was hooked and very much enjoy her beauty posts (it is a beauty blog!), and her no nonsense reviews and opinions.  Her YouTube channel is also fantastic and her videos always give me a giggle.  She's been doing a Weekly Vlog of late and having a 15 hour time difference I always tune in to her Week in Adventures every Wednesday or Thursday morning, and I'm always excited to see Lola (her ex-cat) make an appearance.  Stephanie has actually become a good friend, someone I chat to via a fancy App that let's us text and send photos, and even chat over the phone (which we've done twice....totally weird!)

According to Kiki

Kiki writes a parenting, food and lifestyle blog and it has also been a pleasure getting to know Kiki on another level (other than just through blogging!)  She has the sweetest daughter called Penny, who if she wasn't living on the other side of the Pacific, would totally have an awesome time on a play date with my little girl Imogen.  Together they could tear my house apart or perhaps terrorise Kiki's tortoise, Luna!  Kiki has some fabulous recipes on her blog, that are great for busy Mums and her regular fashion and makeup posts are always really varied.

Ditsy Sprinkles

Bianca is in the UK and she was actually the very first blogger that I connected with.  She has a lovely blog where she posts about her latest craft projects (she's very clever!) and she also posts about all things beauty related, with the odd outfit post thrown in for good measure.  She lives in rural England, which makes me feel like I'm an Australian equivalent of her, and I'm always tickled pink when she mentions how she feeds the fox (that visits her home regularly) as well as the badgers!
With my own blog having a recent subject shift I have been discovering lots of new blogs lately, all focusing around a similar theme.  Here are my new favourite reads.

Boyer Family Singers

No idea how I stumbled across these young ladies but they are three of the sweetest sisters you could find.  They have their own singing group, (which was part of my attraction as I was classically trained and sang in way too many choirs and musicals) and do all the old 'Andrew Sister's' numbers, which I actually grew up hearing because my Dad had some Glenn Miller Big Band records, and I totally adore this type of music. They love all things vintage, have gorgeous wardrobes of clothes HANDMADE by themselves.....they are all incredible seamstresses...and their blog covers topics such as their singing, lifestyle, fashion, beauty and all their incredible creative projects.

Chronically Vintage

Jessica over at Chronically Vintage is such fun and is another recent discovery.  She is a professional vintage blogger (what a job!) and has a Etsy vintage shop where she sells gorgeous vintage pieces.  History is her passion, particularly the period from the 1920s to the 1950s.  She has a fabulous wardrobe of vintage clothes and takes fantastic photos, having a photography background.  Jessica lives in Canada (in a recent post just missed out on having a face to face with a cougar!) and has a channel over here on YouTube.  She brings together fabulous vintage finds and does great hair, makeup and fashion posts.

June Bugs and Georgia Peaches

Stay tuned for some gorgeous vintage style outfit posts here at June Bugs and Georgia Peaches.  Total style inspiration and beautiful photos, I'm telling you!  Put together by two sparkling red heads, Amanda and Katie, they regularly get together to showcase the loveliest clothes...which is going to end up costing me a fortune because I want everything they wear!  Their blog is one of those that you go to when you want to have a relax with a cup of tea and drool over all the pretty pictures.

Forever Amber

As well as sharing my name, Amber over at Forever Amber, seems to share a similar sense of humour because I always get a giggle from her writing.  As well as the name and the humour, we are both journalists, although she now blogs full time and does a fabulous job.  She lives in Scotland and blogs about a great mix of everything that takes her fancy, although she does have a big love for 1950s fashion (so has an amazing dress and shoe collection) and she has the most gorgeous red hair.  I discovered her because she recently started following me on Twitter, so I checked her out (ok, her blog, not her) and I haven't stopped reading.

The Glamorous Housewife

I found this blog when I made the switch on my own, and by that I mean starting to embrace the old housewife tag.  Bethany, who is The Glamorous Housewife, has actually had a little holiday of late, which has been since I've just discovered her, but now that her kids are back at school she seems to have got back up with the blogging and vlogging (she has just started her food channel called "Making it Modern", which is turning vintage recipes into tasty dishes that are more appealing by today's standards!)  She blogs about a lot of different topics that are relevant to women who are at home with kids, so lots of cooking, homemaking, relationship, style and inspiration type posts.  A good mix of everything really. 

So there you have it!  My favourites and new finds in my blogging library!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Vintage Makeup 1940s

This post is the first of a series where I will be attempting to recreate some vintage makeup looks.  I thought I would start with my favourite decade, the 1940s.  This style of makeup totally suits my ability (or lack thereof!) and limited time, what with having four kids and never enough time to myself.  I also like that the eyes are kept very natural looking, and in reality this is exactly how I've been doing my eye makeup for a while anyway.  The red lips are a bold statement for me, but it is slowly growing on me, and I have even ventured out of doors and up the street looking like this!  What a triumph!  Today my hair style is courtesy of a short tutorial video I watched yesterday over on The Boyer Sisters blog, a very easy hair roll, that...yes!...was very easy, and I managed it in the first go.

For a little makeup history the 1940s were a time of rationing, from food, clothing, supplies, and yes..even makeup.  This was to the point where women were often forced to make do with what they had, so boot polish used as mascara was not out of the question.  However wearing makeup was encouraged, particularly the bold red lip, and it was considered to be 'necessary and vital' to the US war effort, and as a moral booster for the busy women on the home front.  British women were doing just the same, the bright red lips being worn as a symbol of courage and resistance and masking their grief. 

So without further ado, let's get on to the makeup.
Being quite a simple look I didn't have to go out and buy any special makeup, I had everything I needed already.  Products used were:
Revlon Photoready Perfecting Primer 001
Clinque Super Balanced Makeup in 04 "Cream Chamois"
Urban Decay Basics Naked 2 Eyeshadow Palette - Colours "Skimp" and "Primal"
Maybelline Hypersharp Wing Liquid Eyeliner
Dusty Girls Natural Mineral Mascara in "Night Fall"
Dusty Girls Natural Mineral Blush in "Pink Ladies"
MAC Lipstick Matte in "Viva Glam"
Just so you can get an idea of the difference this 1940s look made to my tired old face, this is my ghastly 'before' shot.  For some reason I put my eyebrows on lop sided today.....
Anyway, starting with primer and foundation....
Now I don't wear foundation often, but for the purpose of this demonstration I have.  Normally I just put on a moisturiser and then once that has absorbed into my skin I use a tinted moisturiser by Natio.  Love this product.  But today I have decided to do it properly.  A primer will help get your skin ready for foundation and help you get a smoother finish.  I'm going light on the foundation here because I'm not that big a fan, and I'm also using a liquid foundation because I find that a powder will 'stick' to my crows feet and wrinkles around my eyes and make them look worse.  For a true 1940s look a matte finish is preferable, but today my preference was to NOT look like the Crypt Monster.
I was quite pleased to discover that a 1940s 'eye' was exactly how I've been doing mine anyway, which is just a light dusting of colour, and is very natural.  With your eyeshadow brush apply a neutral beige shade to your whole eyelid, then apply a slightly darker neutral, or a light brown to the socket and blend.
Ok so liquid eyeliner is not my strong point, so you might have to squint when you look at this bit and just imagine it looks perfect!  For a 1940s look you will need to only apply a thin line along the eyelashes of your upper lid, from the inner corner to the outside, and just extend slightly past the outer corner.  You don't need the little flick, that's a 50s thing!
Now if you have a brow kit here you would be defining your brows and accentuating the arch, and also having them quite thick.  I have pretty out there brows as it is without adding extra colour or thickness to them, so I always let them do their own thing.  I know, I probably shouldn't, but that's just the way it is.
Anyway, this is my finished eyeshadow.
Don't forget the mascara.  Quite a thick coat, but only on the top lashes, which this actually suits me too because I ALWAYS forget to put mascara on my bottom lashes!  Idiot!  However for a night time look, or a bit of Hollywood glamour, you can put it on your lower lashes too. 
Just a light dusting of blush (or they called it rouge then), in a rosy pink to the apples of your cheeks.  Why do they call them apples?  Anyone??
And then finally top it off with a bright red lipstick.  The traditional colour of the 1940s was a real pillar box red, but go with what you've got.  This is the first real red shade I've ever owned and was chosen for me by the lady at the MAC counter (thank you makeup lady), and she successfully picked out a shade that remarkably suits my skin tone and weirdly brings out the green in my eyes. 
Voila!  The finished 1940s vintage makeup look!

Friday, August 21, 2015

A Week in Meals

As a request from the lovely Stephanie I have been recording what I have been cooking and baking this week, just to show you what sort of things get my family through the week, and how I use all simple basic ingredients to make my food from scratch.  This week was probably a good week to demonstrate because I've been on a super duper tight budget due to shearing being a seasonal job, so during winter there isn't much work for my husband, and by the end of winter we tend to 'fly by the seat of our pants' so to speak.  I have spent very little on food this week, picking up some apples and bananas yesterday, a bit of milk during the week (we go through litres a day) and a few other odds and ends.

Firstly I must apologise for the lack of quality of my photos.  I'm not a food photographer by any means, and these have all been snapped quickly on my phone as I don't have time to set up my camera and fancy lighting, props and such when I have four starving children demanding to know when dinner is ready!

So...away we go.....
Monday - During the day I feed my kids sandwiches, toast or cereal for breakfast, and then they get sandwiches for lunch.  Nothing exciting here.  I will also have toast or perhaps a toasted cheese and tomato sandwich, which I cook  up in the fry pan....having put butter on the OUTSIDE of the bread, so it's extra unhealthy.  It's delicious.  For dinner on Monday we had this ridiculously good leg of lamb.  It was a small one, but perfect for the kids and I because my husband has been away shearing this week.  It's rather backwards, because when we are short of cash we eat like kings, meaning that I dive into the stock of home grown meat in our freezer, and this means finding legs of lamb, pork shoulders and other enormous slabs of meat to roast.  My husband butchers our animals himself, so this process doesn't cost us anything, plus NOTHING compares to home grown meat, lamb especially.  I did my usual roast potatoes, pumpkin and carrots, served it up with some peas and gravy and we were away.  There was plenty of meat left over which I cut off the leg, stuck on a plate and wrapped up for the next night's dinner.
After dinner I made some ice cream (not for dessert!), but we were running low.  I have two ice cream containers that I have on rotation, so when one runs out I make more, so there is always a bit in the fridge.  My recipe for this can be found here.  It's really sweet, so you only need to serve a little bit.  I find that the mini ice cream cones work well for the kids.  They love them and you can give them the littlest bit of ice cream and they are still happy.
I also made a Hedgehog Slice.  This is my Nan's recipe, and one that my Mum used to make often.  I need to have a supply of either cakes, biscuits or slices in the pantry because my eldest needs snacks in his lunchbox at school and my pre-schoolers are bottomless pits.
This recipe calls for 250 grams of butter so it's not for the faint hearted!
Tuesday - Tonight's dinner was simple, we had left over roast lamb which I fried up in fry pan with some onion, garlic, beef stock, gravy powder, peas and mint sauce.  I then made some mashed potato and made Shepherd Pies.  I used mashed potato for the tops of the pies so they would be more filling and so I wouldn't use as much pastry.  It was a bit of a 'Let's make this stretch as far as we can' effort and I was feeling very 1940's while I was doing it!
In the end these pies weren't that filling, or perhaps I was just extra hungry, and as my 12 year old was asking for more, I decided to whip up a Bread and Butter Pudding for dessert.  I stray from the recipe with this a fraction and put jam as well as butter on my bread, which I think just gives it a little more flavour.
Wednesday - Another day of sandwiches (boring but cheap and substantial) and for dinner we had exactly the same as last night, although there was more potato to lamb ratio going on.  Since my four year old only paddled in his Bread and Butter Pudding the night before I decided that I would make a Self-Saucing Chocolate Pudding, which I haven't made for ages, but it's really quick and easy.
It also only has two tablespoons of cocoa throughout the whole recipe so it's not too rich, which is perfect for kids.  After dinner I had another empty ice cream container so I made more ice cream, so there was now plenty in the freezer.
Thursday - Another toasted cheese and tomato sandwich kind of day (Mmmmm...they're just so good) and I filled the kids up with tinned spaghetti and more sandwiches.  I must put in a plug and thank the Earl of Sandwich of this incredible invention, it is proving to be a life saver in these lean times!  Anyway dinner wasn't very exciting.  I had a packet of pasta (the nicer egg ribbon pasta, not the dried stuff) which I simply plopped a jar of pasta sauce and cheese on to.  Some nights I just can't be bothered.
However I did make more cordial today (recipe here) and a Wheetbix Slice, which is also my Nan's recipe.  Wheetbix is an Australian Cereal and comes in these individual mini brick shape bits of wheat cereal, which my daughter loves, although I think are pretty tasteless.  They go really gluggy really quickly (blergh!) and if she splashes it around and gets it on the floor or table you have to be pretty quick to wipe it off because it sets like concrete.  I'm dead serious.
The cordial makes up about 2 and a half bottles and lasts me about 2 months.  It's really easy and works out as a cheap way to have cordial.  The oranges and lemons in this batch came from my parent's orchard, so it's a lovely batch of extra home made cordial!
This is the Hedgehog and is a big hit with my kids.  It's really quick and easy to make, which is the type of recipe you need when you have lots of kids who are always eating you out of house and home.
Friday - I gave my kids Scrambled Eggs With a Face for breakfast this morning, which basically means slopping scrambled eggs in a bowl and drawing a face on with tomato sauce.  Classy, I know, but they love it.  I had toast with bread I had baked the other week, which I pulled out of the freezer this morning.  At the moment I am baking a loaf of bread in my bread maker, however I didn't use a pre-prepared bread mix, rather did this one from scratch.  I haven't done it this way in the bread maker before, so we will see how it goes!  Dinner tonight is likely to be $5 worth of chips from the Fish and Chip shop up the street because my eldest son has a ballet concert and I have to be there by 6.15pm! 
Anyway, that's my week of cooking and baking!  I hope you've found it somewhat interesting! 
What are your best quick and easy meals or sweet treats to make?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Victory Roll

One thing that makes the 1940s a decade that is recognisable over any other is the Victory Roll.  This fabulous and far out hairdo was created during a time when the world was at war, times were tough, the men were overseas fighting and the women were encouraged to seek employment in tradition male roles, like factory work and farming.  It was a time when there was little to spare and fashion changed to suit the limitations in fabric available.  Suits became more slim lined, skirts a little shorter, and clothes for women were a little more masculine in their silhouette, often because they had been made from fabric from men's clothing.  Stockings were actually a status symbol during this period, as they were in short supply, and only the wealthy could afford them, hence women drawing a line down the back of their legs to give the illusion that they were wearing them. 

But the one accessory that women did have was hair, and during such a resourceful time, where everyone saved and reused everything they had, having a fancy 'hairdo' was cheap, and one way of dressing up any outfit.
These photos above (courtesy of Pinterest) are taken of ladies during World War II.  Having hair up was practical for those who were employed, and the feminine curls and rolls took the edge off the sharp military style skirts and jackets.

Amazingly I would have been quite fashionable (for a change) if I had lived during this time as dark hair and curls were all the rage.  As my hair has got progressively curlier after having my last three children, it would have meant less work in the morning (or rather less discomfort during the night), as I set to work curling my hair.  Probably sleeping in rollers would have been the go, or setting it in pin curls. 
Doing hair became a real hobby and was a bit of a craze during the 1940s, probably a bit like scrapbooking is a thing today (or is that already gone by the way side?) Anyway.....
At the end of the war, when the Allied Forces were declared victorious apparently the 'V' for Victory was everywhere, and was even seen in hairstyles...therefore the name 'Victory Rolls'.  People were celebrating everywhere (there was much to celebrate!) and even women's hair was partying too!!
There are so many variations to the Victory Roll and the other fancy 'up-dos' of the period, and as I am discovering, it really is a matter of mucking about.  I'm pretty average at doing my hair, although having said that I've never really given it a go, so today was as good a day as any to have an experiment.  This is what I came up with.
Ignore my face, I had 3 kids in my bed the other night, had no sleep and I'm still recovering....but this is my attempt at some Victory Rolls.  There are 3 across the front, and so you can see them better I've just tied the back out of the way.  There's a big old nothing going on back there, so don't worry, you're not missing out on anything much.  Since I'd just washed my hair last night it was falling in lots of natural curls so it does look alright down too...
(I'm looking more and more like my Grandmother!)

Anyway, I achieved this in about 5 minutes, would you believe.  I discovered that it is easiest to use something to roll your hair around.....for example I used my bottle of Rosehip Oil, which is a small bottle, is a cylinder shape and is probably the diameter of a bit less than a 10 cent piece.  (I'm talking an Australian 10 cent, which I think is similar to an American Dime.)  I started at the bottom of my hair, rolling the bottle up, making sure to roll it 'inwards', or rather so the curl is rolling 'up'  my head, instead of curling under....if that makes sense.  Once it's at the top I just jab in a bobby pin at the front of the roll to secure it to my head, carefully pull out my Rosehip Oil container, and then pop a pin in from the back.  It may need another pin or two, then finish it off with a bit of hairspray and you're away!

My rolls here aren't this....
..or super this....
....and to be honest I don't think this look is really me.  But a toned down version works just as well and it's a nice way to get your hair up off your face and make your day a little more interesting!
Have you tried anything different with your locks lately?


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Fortunate Finds

This week, and the next couple of weeks, are a sort of 'forced' lesson in budgeting, making do and being rather thrifty.  As my husband is a shearer his work is seasonal, meaning that the bulk of his work is done in the warmer months, so come winter it slows right down, and then towards the end of winter we have to live rather frugally, as the money we have made from selling our lambs and our wool is starting to whittle away.  We always get through, but each year it's a good lesson in how to get by when times are tight.  

At the end of this week I plan on showing you what I have been making for meals and snacks (this post idea comes from the lovely Stephanie) and how I manage with a limited budget and feeding a large family.

Anyway today my boys were all at either school or day care, so I decided it might be fun to take my little girl thrift shopping.  I had a limited budget (read whatever small change I could find in my car and handbag....surprisingly there was $20 in change) and I found a few wonderful treasures.
I gravitated towards the knitting and craft section, being a new found hobby of mine, and immediately discovered this amazingly beautiful hardcover book.  A tiny bit creased at the top of the dust jacket, but otherwise it is in pristine condition.  It is full of gorgeous vintage looking crafty projects and the most beautiful photography.  It was $1. 
Then I found this one which was also a $1....
Another craft book, it also has great photos, with a mix of vintage inspired things and lots of fun projects.  This one also comes with patterns, all neatly tucked away in an envelope in the front cover of the book.
Finally I found this, and nearly fell over, considering I'm right into vintage fashion now and learning to knit....
Fashion through from the 1940s (my favourite decade), and lots of lovely knitting patterns that are well above my skill level (yet...hopefully...) but one day I might be able to give them a go.  I especially love this green short sleeve knit top on the cover.  It shows photos from the original pattern as well as the patterns made up today.  The lady in the charity store didn't know how much it was, there was no price, so she tossed it in the bag for free.  What a lovely bonus!
My last four purchases were an apron, two dresses and a skirt.  The apron was $1.50, and something I've been thinking about getting for a while since I've started dressing up a bit every day and baking a lot.  I have kids and work with flour at home way too much to not have an apron!!  Anyway I'd been looking around but had been holding off because every one I saw was $30 and over...some were even over $60.  What!?!  I considered making one too but with fabric at around $25 a metre on average I didn't think this was much better.  I was very happy with this one.  So much so that I decided to snap myself being a '1950s happy 'off-my-face' with joy' housewife...kind of like this....
Am I close??
Ok, I'm weird, but I like my cheap apron, which I think I will practise my sewing skills on and jazz up a bit.
The skirt I bought needs to be trimmed and hemmed...because I'm 5 foot nothing basically, and with the massive amount of fabric that will be left over I am considering making pockets to sew onto it for a bit of decoration.  Not sure yet.  I'll have a fiddle and let you know. It has a pretty pale pink rose pattern on it and it was a bit hard to walk away from when I knew all I really need to do is shorten it.
Finally I found these two dresses for a steal at $4.  Not bad for loose car change!
This one I ummed and ahhed over, and finally went to try it on.  It has a shirt front, although I don't think it is supposed to button all the way up because this pink cami showing is actually part of the dress.  It has elastic around the middle and frankly I look a bit like a potato sack in it.  The pale pink is a bit washed out for me, but I loved the navy bird print.  Luckily I was wearing my blue cardigan today so I threw that on over the top and voila!  I was happy with this!  It's a little shorter than I would like really, but it's a chiffon type material and will be fine for summer.  (sorry about my blindingly white legs, my excuse is that it is winter over here....sunglasses anyone?)
This last dress has a very 1940s shape about it, a bit like the bird dress does with the cardigan.
This is another floaty material, a good one for the warmer weather, and has that real 1940s bust line going on, with the darts under the bust.  I always wear a cami top underneath everything...since having had four kids I feel more to speak....and I just happened to have this red one on today when I tried this dress on, which picked out the red flecks in the dress.  I thought it looked fine with this red cardigan (also a charity shop bargain), altogether making up a nice outfit.
Thrift shopping is not for everyone, and it's normally not something I do often, but when you are on a budget it is something worth considering.  I've had some wonderful finds, and knowing the quality of things that I have given away to op shops in the past, I know there is all sorts of high quality things out there to be recycled, up-cycled and given a new lease of life.  In today's world perhaps we should all consider it a lot more?
Have you had any great charity store finds lately?



Monday, August 17, 2015

Old Skills Are New Skills

As I have mentioned in a previous post here I have just started to learn to knit, and today I successfully undertook my first crotchet project.  I was pretty chuffed because it initially made no sense to me whatsoever.  Last night I visited my Mum for dinner and she showed me how to do a basic chain stitch, and even though I was a big old muddle head at first, it suddenly 'clicked', the light bulb went on, and I could get my head around it.  A couple of YouTube videos later and it was seeming a lot more doable. 

So far with my knitting I have been practising away making a scarf of sorts with simple stocking stitch, but last night I also 'sort of' mastered moss stitch and have begun a lovely green scarf.... see below... (note... scarves are definitely all I can manage for the moment....!)

It is these sorts of traditional skills that I have wanted to learn, to go along with my new simple lifestyle, so along with all the baking and cooking things from scratch, it would be great to be able to make all my own clothing as well.  The other thing is that doing all of these things takes time, so rather than rushing through life and trying to complete as many tasks as possible at once (multi-task really is an evil word), knitting, crotchet and sewing really makes you sit down and focus on the job at hand.
Ok, so the flowers are a bit wonky, and actually a bit uneven, but I was pretty excited to create SOMETHING when yesterday it was all a massive mystery. 
I have only been knitting a few weeks and it was amusing the comment I got from my husband.  "Why are you being such a Granny?!"  Ok, yes...I know, sometimes these time honoured skills can seem a bit grannyish (is that a word?), but there was a stage a few years ago when knitting became really trendy and today people of all ages clack away with their needles. 
Knitting and crotchet are a lot like sewing, where today it doesn't actually save you any money to make your own clothes.  Wool is really expensive but the whole point behind making yourself a garment is knowing that you have MADE it yourself.  Watch out everyone I know because you'll be getting scarves and crotchet flowers for gifts ..... unless of course, I can extend my repertoire!

But despite the cost of sewing, knitting and crotchet, there is the joy in actually making the item and you can be happy in the knowledge that you are creating clothes that you know where they have come from, and how they were made.  By this I mean that someone stuck in a sweat shop, being paid $1 a day, hasn't made your clothes.  By making your own you are abandoning the support of cheap labour, and this is a good thing.
So where do I go from here?  I really want to learn to do Granny Squares as I want to have a whole blanket made out of them, just like the ones my grandmother made who was apparently brilliant at crotchet and made my Mum a WHOLE suit out of it, and people couldn't stop asking her where did she get her Chanel suit!  With  my knitting I still haven't learnt how to cast basically I'll just have to knit this scarf from here to eternity...or at least until I work that one out, and I will also need to learn how to increase and decrease my stitches so I can start to do garments.  Oh...the challenges that lie ahead!
Have you taken up a craft or hobby lately? 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Make Do and Mend

'Make Do and Mend' was a campaign that came to light during the early 1940s in Britain as restrictions and shortages of materials occurred, due to everything being needed for the war effort.  It wasn't just fabric, for example, metal that was normally used for things like zips, was needed for things like ammunition and weapons.  The silhouette of clothing changed as less fabric was available and people were given a limited number of coupons per year to spend on clothes.  Therefore the posters for 'Make Do and Mend' began to appear, where women were encouraged to alter clothes to fit, repair items to last longer, and women began to be quite inventive with their wardrobes as a result. 

Lately I have been doing this bizarre 180 degree turn with how I dress and the way I live, and after a few weeks of experimenting, have found that the whole 1940s look is my absolute favourite.  Of course, having lived in jeans and a shirt 24/7 I had only one skirt and no dresses, so over the last month I have been gradually rectifying this WITHOUT spending much, if any, money.  The idea of 'Make Do and Mend' is in the back of my mind but I have been approaching it in a different way, because basically, I'm not a sewer.  Yet.  I plan on learning, starting from next week as my deadline for my magazine work for the Spring edition is tomorrow, and thankfully I have finished all my articles and sent everything in.

So how have I managed to completely update my wardrobe and turn it into a closet of cute 1940s inspired pieces?  Simple.  Three words.  'Charity store' and 'eBay'. 

Let me start with the charity stores.  I'd never been a big one for scouring charity stores, or opportunity shops (op shops) as we call them here.  But there is a big one in a town near me and they never fail to have good things, and remarkably lots of things that are obviously brand new and have never been worn, and it is these sorts of items that I have been stumbling upon.  In my journeys I have come across two skirts, two jumpers (sweaters) of them pure wool, and three cardigans.  The cardigans and jumpers have knocked me for six especially as all of them show no signs of wear at all and I probably spent a total of $20 on all these items.  Yesterday, for example, I was looking for a winter coat for my 5 year old, (which I found one for $2.50) and I came across a very pretty dark red cardigan with sort of puffed sleeves, which was really quite 1940s looking.  It was $2.50 too, and since the entire store was having a 'half price on clothes' day I paid a crazy $1.25 for the cardigan and the same for the coat. 

This is the cardigan I found, and what I am wearing today...
The skirt I have posted here before, and was a charity store number, and is more 1950s due to the enormous amount of fabric in there.  It's a full circle skirt that also has pleats, so it's technically more than a full circle of really....I could get a couple of poles and pitch a tent with it.  I've also attempted my first Victory Roll in my hair here....and although it didn't quite work out it looks alright, sort of a 'toned down' V-Roll, which actually I think suits me better.  Can you believe it...I actually went out wearing this bright red lipstick (!)  If you knew me, and my non-makeup ways, you'd appreciate the significance of this!
So....the other way of updating my wardrobe that I mentioned.....eBay.  And I don't mean just buying things off there, but actually selling items.  I went through my wardrobe and cleared out everything that I wasn't wearing, things I didn't want, things that were....ahem...way too small....and listed them on eBay.  So far I have sold $450 worth of my things...yes, I said $450...and have been able to re-invest that back into my new style.  As people have paid me straight into my Paypal account (fabulous invention this!) I have just let the funds sit there, and then used the money from this account to buy new clothes, so haven't had to take anything from our actual bank account.  I have also been smart about it.  Instead of buying things randomly, choosing things on a whim and snatching up the first things I lose my heart to....I have been researching everything and making sure I build a real 'mix and match' wardrobe.  I am finding that my base colours are red (which I never would have worn in the past because I was too scared of standing out...what the!?!...but have now discovered it's a flattering colour on me), also navy, a teal green and a beige/camel sort of shade.  Come summer I am thinking about maybe introducing a bit of pink because I'm an 'Autumn' shade girl, but I will give this a bit of thought.  By doing all of this slowly I am not making wasted purchases, I am also reducing the amount of unnecessary things in my wardrobe, plus I am also creating a whole host of different outfits.
Today I thought I would show you my dresses that I have purchased, and keeping in mind that I have a red, a navy, a teal green, a camel coloured, a black and a white cardigan (most of these from charity stores), I have plenty of different outfits, and at them moment I am wearing these dresses, even though it is winter.  It doesn't get that cold here, compared to the Northern Hemisphere, and a cosy cardigan has been ample.
I love this dress.  I ummed and ahhhed over this for quite a few weeks before buying it.  I'm so glad I did.  It is a shirt dress, it's lined, it's quite full in the skirt, it feels great on...soooo comfortable...and it's got bunnies on it!!  Yes really.  Those red and green blobs are feathery things, I think...but the white blips are little rabbits!  I love the wide collar, and this is it teamed with my teal green cardigan.
Below is the dress with my red pure wool jumper that I got from the charity store for about $4.  It had obviously never been worn.  Actually, it reminds me of my old school jumper.  Same style and same wool.  Very warm however and I love this 'blue red' shade.
Actually, I look like I'm wearing my old summer school dress and jumper.  LOL...scoff.  Except for the fact our uniform was purple.  Gorgeous.
Here's the cardigan from the first photos.  Love that those tiny accents of red and green in the dress can be brought to life with either a red or green cardigan.  I should try the white cardi with this too, although I'm thinking the darker ones will work better.
Teal green dress in all it's glory.  This one I had my eye on for ages, and I was getting worried about missing it because it was half price and I was sure that my size would sell out before I could snap it up.  It's by Elise Design, an Australian designer, and normally her dresses are $160 or so.  I had to wait until I'd sold enough via eBay before I could get this one.  My patience paid off and here it is!  This is also ridiculously comfortable, is fully lined and the colour brings out the green in my eyes and the auburn in my hair.  Love love love.  I specially bought this teal green cardigan knowing I was going to get this dress, but I do have a skirt in this colour has a tiny pattern on it, which in amongst it are bunny and fox heads, which I only recently realised, I thought it was just spots.  It was a charity store number that I got a while ago.
This dress is by Hell Bunny (why all the rabbits today!!) and is really comfortable too.  It's also a bit of fun, love the blue and white gingham print, which then has cherries, apples and flowers on it.  The navy cardigan and the dress were bought with eBay money, and the cardigan will go with other dresses and skirts.
These two are sweet.  The beige number needs an iron, however.  It came from ModCloth in America and I haven't ironed out the 'packaged up and posted' creases.  It came with the belt and is comfortable, although it isn't lined so it will be interesting, and probably a little terrifying for onlookers, to see if it's see through.  The red dress was another ModCloth purchase and is not as comfortable as my other dresses, but its 'cuteness' outweighs the slight restrictive feel around the waist.
This is an attempted 'selfie' of my first go at a Victory Roll, which was a bit of a failure, not the true spectacular 'hair-do' that the 40s women were renowned for, but it still looked nice.  The Yarragon Vintage Market, who I mentioned here is planning on having 'Glamour Days' where they will give lessons in hair and makeup styles of the 1940s and 50s.  I am planning on going along!
Also, with the thought of 'Make Do and Mend', I have made sure I have put the spare buttons to these new dresses carefully in a tin, so if they fall off I can fix them, and will make sure I follow the Care Instruction labels when it comes to washing, drying and ironing them. 
Do you have a 'capsule wardrobe'?  Do you think you could adopt a 'make do and mend' attitude?