My favourite Tea Towel find

On Thursday after work, I popped into my local Animal Aid Op Shop as a reward for surviving my art class with my group of disengaged teenagers….Actually, it was quite a successful class. They drew sugar candy skulls using  Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) as their inspiration.The Mexican holiday gathers family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. I think it is a lovely tradition and one I would like to see one day. Dia de Muertos isn’t until October 31st but in desperation to find something that would interest them, I decided to do this activity early. It was lovely to see them all focused and absorbed.

Oh yes, the Op Shop, I hear you say. I found a beautiful pile of linen tea towels, vintage and unused. They are too nice to chop up and use in one of my creations. There were several Indigenous Art of Australia ones which I am going to put in my shop. The one I am keeping for myself though, is pictured below. It celebrates the Golden Jubilee of Country Women’s Association of Victoria 1928-1978. This non-party political, non-sectarian volunteer organisation  states that “Whilst the focus has often been on tea and scones, there is so much more on the menu of this dynamic Association which aims to improve conditions for women and children.”  I love the patchwork design of this tea towel. Even my nineteen year old son said, “Cool tea towel”. Can’t ask for much better than that!

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Something to make you smile

I challenge you not to smile at my latest thrift shop find. I couldn’t believe my eyes, when I saw this flower faced doily, smiling up at me from a pile of linen. It’s very kitsch with its bright, happy 50’s colours. I like to imagine who made it, putting so much care into their work. This is one doily, I shall definitely not be chopping up, to use in other creations. In fact, I’m tempted to frame it.

happy doily 1

Smiling daisies

doily face 2

Go on, you know you want to smile…

Vintage biscuit tin with a twist

Visiting my grandparents, we would sit in the kitchen at their 50’s Laminex table. It had a marbled grey top and was matched by red chairs. I don’t remember anything ever changing in that room, that’s probably why I loved it and remember it so vividly. There was a red biscuit tin that had flowers on it made from dry biscuits and popcorn sitting in the corner. Recently, I found a black version of it in a charity shop. It was a bit beaten up compared to my grandmother’s but I bought it anyway and gave it a good scrub with hot soapy water. The funny thing is, I had noticed the interesting glass lid on my grandmother’s tin, but hadn’t realised what it was. Inside the tin, are instructions that refer to a BLUE MAGIC DRY-NOB. I’ll let you read the instructions below, but basically, it’s to keep your biscuits fresh and crispy. Who knew? I’m currently storing my doilies in there instead of biscuits because I don’t know what is in the BLUE MAGIC DRY-NOB. Still, I probably shouldn’t worry, my grandparents ate biscuits stored in their red version and they lived to be ninety and one hundred….

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The amazing Krispy Kan

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BLUE MAGIC DRI-NOB

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The base

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Instructions inside the lid

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I wonder who thought of making flowers from popcorn and dry biscuits?

Stop collecting and start making

I have been collecting some lovely chenille bedspreads and woollen blankets from charity shops lately. Also, I am always on the lookout for doilies and old buttons. I have amassed quite a big pile, so to justify their presence in our home, I decided I really needed to do something with them before my husband returned them to charity shops. I’ve made a start with this lovely old pink chenille bedspread. Old chenille is really lovely and soft, perfect for making pillows or soft toys. It doesn’t matter if there is a hole or small stain on it either, you just place your pattern elsewhere. Some of these lovelies have made their way into my Etsy shop whilst some are going to be in a school fete in a few weeks. I just found a rusty coloured chenille bedspread too. I have in mind to make some foxes but am still figuring out a pattern and how I will decorate them.

Somebody who is very clever at figuring out patterns is Gentle Stitches. Recently she gave me a woolly award which sounded quite intriguing. The Blogging without obligation award and the best thing is, no rules or obligations. It is actually available for anyone to put on their blog, but I thought I’d copy Gentle Stitches and award it. I’d like to give this award to Re:retro and Poppytump because they make me laugh (in a good way)! See here for more information.

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I have got rather behind with my awards and the lovely Gentle Stitches also gave me a very shiny award, the Shine On award. Thank you Gentle Stitches! I would like to award this to The human Sarah because she draws the most beautiful little birds.

shineon

owls in suitcase 2

A suitcase of owls

red button

Winter Owls tag made on my sewing machine and hand dyed with tea.

A complete house refurbishment

On the Australia Day weekend I completely refurbished a house. Not bad eh? Well actually, I must confess that it wasn’t a real house, but a little house to display knick knacks. I found this brown house in a charity shop and decided it could do with a make over. I love finding some unloved object and saving it from landfills. For more about saving from landfills you might like to visit Livingsimplyfree who is on a journey to simplify her life and shares lots of valuable ideas.

First of all I sprayed the house with white paint (if I was doing this again I would use a paintbrush as I think I would have a more even finish). Next for the fun part, decorating. In my scrap bag I had little pieces of vintage sheets which made perfect wallpaper which I glued on and then varnished. Also incorporated into the decorations were an old stamp, piece of doily, scrap of old music and a book page. Some of the rooms I left completely white for possible later decorations or for those knick knacks that prefer a minimalist decor.

brown house  watermarked

Before

owl house watermarked

After

top storey watermarked

Salt and pepper owls

Bambi watermarked

Vintage Bambi brooch

yellow room watermarked

I do like matching wallpaper with eye colour, one can’t be too coordinated.

deer watermarked

Tiny deer

Colourful Owls watermarked

It’s impossible to look too groovy.

dolls's head watermarked

A broken doll’s head I found whilst digging in my garden

Key watermarked

Vintage book page and porcelain key

brass owl watermarked

What a shame we’re too big to fit in the house.

Happy Australia Day!

My Country

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes.
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins,
Strong love of grey-blue distance
Brown streams and soft dim skies
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

A stark white ring-barked forest
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die –
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold –
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land –
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand –
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Dorothea Mackellar
A  homesick young Australian woman wrote this poem sometime before 1908, while on a visit to England. It was a poem taught to all Australian children during my time in Primary school. Whilst most Australians are now city dwellers, many of us still feel a deep connection to the land and it’s a poem that speaks to our national identity. I think I could live  elsewhere, for a while, but would always be yearning for my beautiful, harsh country.
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My home is in Melbourne in South Eastern  Australia.

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Australian wild flowers

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A vintage find.

Tipping the scales

Look what I found in a charity shop on Monday. These beautiful vintage blue kitchen scales. They were a little grubby, but hot soapy water soon remedied that. I like the nice big bowl on the top and the fact that they can weigh up to 5 Kilograms. In them you can see my stepmother and father’s lovely organic apricots they grew. They don’t have a large garden but manage to cram in an amazing amount of edible crops. In the front garden is an apricot tree, crab apple, strawberries, rhubarb and herbs. In a little courtyard are tomatoes and lemons. You walk under an arch of passion fruit, past a natal plum, snow peas and beans, to the narrow backyard where there is green tea, another lemon, a kaffir lime as well as assorted vegetables of the season. No nasty chemicals are used. Luckily they sometimes produce too much and we get to reap the benefits! I was going to make my grandmother’s delicious fresh apricot cake to share with you but it is too hot to bake today as it is still 39.5 C at 8.15 pm. Hopefully tomorrow will be cooler.

blue scales

Vintage scales

scales and apricots

Home grown organic apricots