Thursday, 31 July 2008

Anyone recognise this vintage cotton fabric?

Here I am saying to people I am a vintage fabric legend and I can tell and here's one that stumped me. Anyone recognise it? We bought it as part of a large estate collection earlier this year (all vintage fabric from a vintage fabric collector)...but is this one really vintage? Anyone know of it?

Am just about to put some fabrics up in the website - yay! I am functioning today :)

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Beautiful vintage cottons...and bricklayers...

I have around 12 vintage cotton fabrics photographed and waiting to be popped onto the website. The above one is a favourite out of this collection - I love trippy prints! Most of the fabrics came from the same estate, too - this woman had such a lovely eye for design!

The above pink one was still in it's original 1960s wrapping - it's a dress length cotton in wild pink and purple shades...

The above cotton is a cotton rayon, vintage 50s. It's got a lovely abstract, painterly pattern - I can soooo easily imagine a dress made with this fabric...

The above fabric is another cotton rayon, lovely and drapey and perfect for clothing. Vintage late 50s or early 60s.

Retro indienne 1970s cotton with a stripe design. Very kitsch!

THE favourite of this collection - the above fabric is a super rare 1950s amoeba cotton rayon. Magnificent!

The above cotton is a heavier cotton featuring an abstract diamond design. Quite a striking blue and purple colourway!

Pretty dot cotton in orange and greens - very sweet!

Lastly - retro psychedelic cotton with linen weave. Bright and uber cool!

I photographed others but just haven't blogged about them. Hopefully I'll get them into the shop either tomorrow or Friday. I have lots to do before the weekend - we're getting a skip to get rid of stuff (I have having a massive environment cleanse!) and a gardener is coming to clear the front of the house (it's horrid - you should see it!) - all of the garden beds and lawn etc - ready for a sustainable and water friendly rock and native garden. Next I need quotes off bricklayers to build a front fence (high as we can) and brick off one side of the garage - anyone know who expensive brickies are?? Are there any questions we should ask him/her to get the job done quickly and done well?

When the fabrics are available they will be here.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Did you feel the earth move?

The earth moved for me so it must have for you - I finally got this stock up onto the website! It's a small miracle...seriously :) You can view them all here.

We are working on a number of little projects at the moment. The idea is to grow the business. Marketing speak, see. I'll never forget talking to a CEO of a university about their annual report I had just written...30,000 words, 89 pages...and all she could talk about was one line I wrote about cultivating the business. She didn't like that word. Not. One Bit. She knew what I was meaning but hated to think the Victorian Government would think she was erring towards horticulature and botanical courses.

Anyhoo, we have decided to focus on our creative skills as well as our business skills. That means doing things with vintage fabrics and other things collagey. I suppose move into the purchase/gift arena, not just the supply arena. Be more things to more people.

But that takes time and anyone that knows us knows we are fans of turtles. We have one pace. We're working on it all but it'll be launched when we're good and ready. Gosh - hopefully before 2009! Where the heck is 2008 going? I spotten Santa stuff in the supermarket the other day and audibly groaned...there goes taking the five year old to the supermarket for six months!

Saturday, 26 July 2008

House and Garden 1974 - Florence Broadhurst and the Atomic coffee maker

I have a fascination with old advertisements. These two are the pick of the crop of the (now famous) Australian House and Garden 1974 magazine. There are lots of others to view so I may pop some more up later on...but for now...enjoy two advertisements, one for the Atomic Coffee Maker by Bon Trading Co and one for Florence Broadburst...

Anyone who loves mid-century design loves the Atomic Coffee Maker. I have a brown one - well used and abused, but still wonderful. It is a genuine original coffee maker - not one of these Chinese fakes that are now so popular on ebay. They are sold as original and vintage (mostly without the top label - people say it 'wore' off etc) and buyers pay hundreds for a fake. I wonder if they are as good as the original. Mine weighs a tonne for something so small. I shall take a shot of it for you if my memory functions one day :) A search on ebay australia for Atomic Coffee Maker brings up these listings if you're see how much they have recently sold for click here. Look at that original one, mint in box - $1200.00! Anybody got one?

The Florence Broadhurst advertisement is one of a few I have. I love these old advertisements that feature photos - look at that fab photo of her! She was a woman - and designer - well before her time and I am often saddened that she passed before she could see how her designs are now adored and loved worldwide. Before her murder in 1977 her wallpaper designs were very popular in Australia and in select pockets internationally, but if she could ever have forseen just how much her amazing designs have influenced modern textile, wallpaper and interior design I think even the flaming-redhead would have been amazed. We have one piece of original Wilson printed Florence Broadhurst fabric in our private collection - Yvans Geometric. You ca view the fabric here at Signature Prints - the fabric is manufactured by them and retails for $143 a metre. While you're there have a look at some of her other designs and marvel at the imagination of one of the world's most amazing interior wallcovering/matching textile designers of the 20th century...

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Meme - 35 questions

I have seen this meme around the blogland traps and just read Jhoanna's answers, so thought I may do my own :)

1. Where is your cell phone? Unknown
2. Your significant other? Justin
3. Your hair? Brown
4. Your daughter? None
5. Your son? Two
6. Your favorite thing? Family
7. Your dream last night? Police
8. Your favorite drink? Coffee
9. Your goal? Happiness
10. The room you’re in? Loungeroom
11. Your church? Buddhist
12. Your fear? Sharks
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Retired :)
14. Where were you last night? Workroom
15. What you’re not? Fragile
16. Muffins? Date
17. One of your wish list items? Tattslotto
18. Where you grew up? Melbourne
19. The last thing you did? Breastfed
20. What are you wearing? Black
21. Your TV? Sony
22. Your pets? Cats
23. Your computer? Portable
24. Your life? Wonderful
25. Your mood? Pensive
26. Missing someone? Justin
27. Your car? Camry
28. Something you’re not wearing? Engagement ring
29. Favorite store? Supermarket
30. Your summer? History
31. Like(love) someone? Boys
32. Your favorite color? Orange
33. Last time you laughed? Today
34. Last time you cried? Today
35. Who will repost this? Unknown

Am home today with a sick baby :( - so back to Tessa and other retro stuff tomorrow...

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

A worldwide call - do you recognise this vintage fabric?

I'll get back to the Tessa and fab retro mags tomorrow - but for now, an important call to all you vintage fabric lovers right around the world.

I had a lovely lady contact me yesterday with the following wish:

"if you recognize the material in the curtains or the dress im wearing.

the picture was taken between early 60’s…I was born Dec 1957, and I think

im between 2-3 yrs old, and lived in Hutchinson, Kansas at the time….

thank you so much for responding… My mom has passed on, and I would really

like to get this fabric…."

Get your heads out of your fabric stashes and into your resource books - anyone is the USA recognise this fabric? I think you would make a lovely lady's day if you go...

Thanks for all of your responses to the Tessa post - I can't believe they still make furniture...and I agree with one of the comments - it's gorgeous! Back to all of this tomorrow...

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Retro chairs and advertisements from House and Garden 1974

Ye olde Tessa. Very cool stuff, isn't it? And it looks so comfy. When was the last time you walked through Freedom and the like and saw furniture with this cool design and individuality? Sometimes modern furniture seems so safe, so been there, done that. But I am biased as I am a true vintage and retro lover...

I would love this as a feature chair for our main loungeroom. We have a mint early 1970s Fler velvet modular suite and we need a feature chair to brighten the room up a little. Something manly, for Justin. Something bright, for me.

The things that have cracked me up while reading House and Garden 1974 - you had to write away for brochures or to order your product. That Tessa ad doesn't have a phone number, just an address. And then they give you two -----dotted lines for you two write your name and adress. Musn't have liked phones back then! I remember not having one until I was at least eight - we all used the one at the local milk bar before that :)

The chair on the bottom was manufactured by Friss of Denmark and was available at David Jones stores for $499.00 - expensive for 1974!

These are all imported from Norway and were available from David Jones in NSW. The one on the left was $295, the middle one $280 with an extra $160 for the stool and the one on the right I have partially chopped off was $280 and also available from Myer.

The top fawn one is an imported Norwegian number on a swivel base. Blonde timber frame with genuine hide cushioning. $280.00. The other three are on chrome bases and range from $200 to $260.00.

Chrome was huge in that era! The middle one is a black leather with chrome frame by Top Hat of Melbourne and available from Elegante Ineriors in Cremorne NSW for $366.

I might try and learn how to use our scanner (J is a computer geek so why should I learn how to use it all when I can call on him LOL) - there's some fab bread recipes and instructions on how to make your own modular lounge....ooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhh.....

Monday, 21 July 2008

Australian House and Garden 1974

As most of you know I am a huge fan of old retro mags. Love them. Can't walk away from one if I am lucky enough to come across one. These images (sorry for the flash glare!) are from Australian House and Garden, April 1974.

How cool is this lounge? So passe now :)

I am such a fan of this loungesuite - how uber cool is the colour? I can still imagine this in any room in 2008 - I absolutely LOVE that colour!

The divine Marimekko makes a splash on the front page with their Unikko design in green, yellow and black. Those were the days of the large indoor plants - I remember my Mum used to spray and wipe the leaves!

Danish goes rustic alright! Goes with the fab loungesuite above - love it, love it, love it!

Lots more to come - fab shots of chairs, rugs and great advertisements...until tomorrow, bye for now! Enjoy this little kitsch interlude...

Sunday, 20 July 2008

When life goes kerthud...

No joy.
Everything has gone black.
I am having trouble feeling.
One of my oldest friends is stuck in New York (she just got a job at an ad agency) and is just about to get a cab to get the airport to get a plane back to Paris (where she lives) for a biopsy on her throat.
The NY emergency department repeated one word over and over. Cancer. Cancer. Cancer. She needs to be urgently checked by a specialist. Tuesday is the day.

My life is on hold until Tuesday.

She is 32.

She is so wonderful.

She is one of my closest friends. The ones where your life wouldn't be so rich without them.

I am with you, mate. Take care sweetheart. Sending you all of the things most positive in the world for it to be just a virus. Yes, a shitty virus. A naughty virus.

My heart is so sad, so broken.

I'll be there on Tuesday :)

To those of you out there in blogland please give yourself, your kiddies, your husbands and wives, your Mums and Dads, your brothers and sisters, your friends one of the most heartfelt hugs you can find. Tell them you love them. Tell them they make your world. Remember to tell each other just how much your adore them...

I adore you, Sam.

And as I always say...

we'll be right

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Gorgeous vintage fabrics going up for sale...

I have been having a great time of late cleaning up. I would take photos of the fabrics but, to be honest, they are never in the state I want them to be! One day, when the vintage fabric gods smile on us, I'll take some shots of the workroom. For now, photos of vintage fabric just about to be uploaded will have to do :)

I am doing a small freelance job at the moment and, even though it was hard to work for someone else, I am slowly enjoying myself. You may not be able to tell (in fact, I know you can't tell!), but by 'career' I am a copywriter or technical writer. People pay me to write things. Annual reports. Press or print ads - or campaigns. Radio spots. Business proposals. Brochures - you name it, I write it. The silliest thing I have ever written? Well, apart from my plays (yes, some of which have been produced) I worked on the launch of the Ford Taurus in Australia. They drove the car, fitted with tape over badges, for me to look at to write articles for the launch. The funny part? I didn't have a licence, couldn't drive it and I am no car person.

But, inbetween writing away, we have been completing our Retro Age tax and also working on uploading some fabrics onto the website. These shots are the ones going up in the next couple of days.

I think some of them may go up on Ebay - I haven't decided yet. But keep an eye on the website and ebay auctions if you're after a particular one...until next time - take care and I hope you have a great day!

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Powerhouse Museum online sampler book filled with vintage fabrics

Isn't this wonderful? The Powerhouse Museum has collated its vast collection of antique fabric samplers and offered them online as a sample book. The swatches are wonderful - and you can zoom so far into the weft and warp that you can see weave, effect and fibre (almost!). The samplers are dated 1830s to 1020s and is available to view here.

BTW - I wouldn't recommend a garage sale unless you're willing to see all of your lovely items (that we shouldn't have sold!) up for sale on ebay. Hrumpf...dealers!

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Hmmm...secondhand dealers and garage sales...

We held our second ever garage sale yesterday morning. We thought it may be a bit of fun - plus, we needed to clear out the old wooden shed to house the chickens that will arrive in around eight weeks. If you need to get rid of stuff you can either throw it out, donate it to charity (which we did with some) or try and hold a garage sale to see if other people could use things you can't...

Well, to start things off it took us much longer than anticipated to get all of our stuff together. We're talking 'til 4am here. Inside. Outside. Inside. Outside. And we were freezing - it got down to around three degrees, I think. We now think we either a) had a lot of stuff or b) we were really disorganised! At 4am we were satisfied we had it all under control so we toddled off to bed to get up at 5.30am for some brekkie, coffee and to start lugging it out our open garage. The ad in the paper said starting at 8am, but we figured the desperadoes would start at 7am.

Boy - were we wrong. Totally wrong.

At 5.45am - yes, 5.45am - the first van turned up and out popped two dealers with torches in tow. Would we mind if they had a look at our stuff while we sorted it out. We were so shocked we said, "we suppose". While they were rifling through things FIVE MORE VANS TURNED UP BEFORE 6.15am. Sorry for the yelling - but, gosh - how bad is that??? We were still in the pitch blackness of night and I had something like 10 people rushing around the garage, driveway and grass rattling things, talking etc and flashing their torches everywhere like some alien hunters out of the X-Files. All I could do was worry about the neighbours (who later told us they thought we had possums). And I was so peeved I didn't haggle and told them all they could buy whatever they wanted at a price we wanted. 'Nough said - so they all bought up, loaded their vans and drove away. By 6.15am were had some around half of our stock and we weren't open 'til 8am!

The most hilarious offer? A woman rifled through all of the fabric I wanted to sell - a massive box load worth a tonne, even to dealers etc. She hissed and tut-tutted her way through it. I wanted $1 for big pieces and 50c for small pieces - just a token, really. I had secretly hoped a seamstress would wander in and want it. But this woman pounched on it. She came up to me and said in quite a loud voice she would give me $5 for the material as it was all dirty and cheap and it wouldn't sell for the rest of the day. She didn't know what came across her when I calmly told her what fabric it was and if she wanted it she could have it for $10 and to enjoy onselling it at the market. She took it for $10 - a steal! - and stalked away with it all. Sigh.

To cut a very long (and freezing) story short, it was an experience, I tell you. We sold a tonne and were very happy, but my view of secondhand dealers (and I am one myself, as I have to be registered here in Victoria to sell vintage fabric) has diminished somewhat. Do you have to be so desperate to turn up at 5.45am (apparently you can get the paper around here from 4.15am) and just walk on up to people potttering in their garages in the dark, thinking nothing was wrong...seriously, we were dazed and confused with the onslaught of dealers desperate to get stock at good prices.

My parting shot should be shame on you, but as Justin says, that's the life some people choose to live and everyone has the right to earn a living. Yes, I know, I say - but at 5.45am can't people even have some manners??

Have a great weekend all!

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Returning to vintage fabric work...

I work up this morning feeling almost my usual self. I haven't got any pain from the gallbladder surgery any longer and can literally jump out of bed with loads of energy. I do have some side effects of not having a gallbladder - one of them being I am currently experiencing almost constant irregular heartbeats!! (we're trying to get to the bottom of that one - woe!) and evening nausea, but on the whole I am so glad I had the surgery. If you looked at the incision areas you wouldn't think I had surgery just two weeks ago as of's amazing what modern medicine can do :)

I have been busy getting our books up to par to visit ye olde taxman tomorrow. A lovely visit - lucky he's a nice man! My problem is always the same, year in, year out, BAS in, BAS out - I get behind on booking in new fabric. If you own a business you'll understand what I mean by booking in - you know, logging the item, giving it an item number, attributing cost, GST etc. For some reason, I hate doing this! The books are the last thing I would like to do with Retro Age :)

However, now that I am kind of up-to-date with the books it also means fabrics have been booked in and can be uploaded onto the website to be available for sale. So I have selected a small group of fabric (as pictured) that I shall work at getting up onto the website in the next day or two. We have a busy day tomorrow - the nongs that we are made a snap decision to have a garage sale on Saturday - an 8 degree day. Yes, that's right - 8 degrees. And as it's the morning it'll be way less than that. I'll be frozen. And not happy.

So when I've worked at shoving all of our left-over stuff out on the driveway and garage and Justin is happy we've got enough stuff to offer (seriously - where the heck do we fit it all??) I'll get at putting this gorgeous drapery fabrics ups. Amazing, aren't they? And I have yardage of everything - bulk is always good!

I've also popped up some ebay auctions tonight - just three, but they're all lovely fabrics. Bulk there, too - bargains, if you ask me. But I am biased. You can see the auctions are here.

If you want to view these fabrics when I finally get them onto the website you can view them here.