Monday, 31 August 2009

Guest blog : Monique - Original Mischief

Original Mischief

We are so glad to welcome the lovely Monique from Original Mischief to talk to us about barkcloth. Monique is an avid fan of vintage and vintage fabrics and has some gorgeous vintage fabric creations in her new Etsy shop! Thank you for your article and piccies, Monique - it's all so wonderful :) Stay tuned next week for a guest blog by a veritable crafty living legend :)...and don't forget to let us know if you would like a guest spot in the weeks to come...


I can’t thank Vanessa from Retro Age Vintage Fabrics enough for allowing me to be a guest blogger.

I have collected vintage fabric for just over 10 years and, although there are many people that have collected fabric for a lot longer, I have concentrated my efforts on barkcloth and terrycloth.

Original Mischief

What is barkcloth? Originally, bark cloth was cloth made from the Tapa tree which was beaten into sheets and worn by the people in the South Pacific and surrounds.

Bark cloth was (and still is for that matter) used for both ceremonial and functional purposes and was usually decorated with stylized plants and fish.

The barkcloth fabric that is the highly sought after textile we know and love today has the rough, nubby texture of bark but is made typically from cotton. Depending on the period the barkcloth was made, it was also made from other materials such as fibreglass and polyester, although it has a different ‘hand’.

Original Mischief

Barkcloth was made primarily between 1930 and 1960 – although some countries still produced barkcloth into the 70’s – and was used for all manner of household decoration such as curtains, bedspreads, cushions and upholstery.

Patterns included big, blousy roses, art deco geometrics, art nouveau flourishes, tiki flora, metallic thread, and of course, the well known beatnik look.

There are literally thousands of patterns available on the market if searching for barkcloth – the USA has different patterns from the UK and both countries have different patterns from Australia.

Australia was still producing barkcloth into the latter part of the 1970s when the fabric was covered in pop art and flower power designs in orange, lime green, hot pink, red and blue. The designers of the time really let their imaginations go wild!

Barkcloth today is made into handbags, purses, cushions, dresses… whatever you can dream of. Some barkcloth pieces are more sought after than others such as any of the colourways of Glen Court or Zebra Crossing. Even some of the flower power fabrics are highly sought after given that they hark from a time when an explosion of colour was all the rage.

If you want more information on barkcloth, some sites I would recommend are: (True Up – page 580) (ezinearticles)

Books I would recommend (especially to see the pictures!) are:

Vintage Textured Barkcloth by Margaret Meier

Fabulous Barkcloth: Home decorating textiles from the 30s,40s & 50s by Loretta Smith Fehling

Again, thank you Vanessa for allowing me to wax poetic on barkcloth – a fave of mine and I’m sure of many others… or soon will be!

Monique – Original Mischief

All words and images courtesy of Monique, Original Mischief

Original Mischief

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Just a wonderful weekend - strategising!


I think I've had the loveliest weekend in a while - not that I don't usually have wonderful weekends...but, well, this one has been super sweet. I am sleeping so much better now that I have removed lots of caffeine from my diet - seriously, it does make a difference! I usually drink two coffees in the morning and I had some diet coke in the evening - not much, either. But now I have removed the diet coke and it's amazing what a difference it has made. I am sleeping so much deeper and I feel more rejuventated when I get up...try it!

This weekend was filled with lots of family time - we had guests, so it always makes for happy times and laughter galore. We worked some more on the front rooms, worked out superannuation (goodness!) and I rustled up our usually Sunday roast with yummy lamb, potatoes, sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin and peas. Sunday night and I'm completely chuffed and satisfied...

I hope you had a lovely weekend! Lots of vintage fabric coming your way this weekend - and there's some surprises in store for some lovely customers, too :)

Oh - and by the way - have you found the forum? Ze Pip-o-lada forum? It's my new home, I think :)


Friday, 28 August 2009

I am sorry this is so serious....


This is a serious post today. I am sorry for being so serious at the end of the week - yay, 'tis the weekend! - but this is an important message I wanted to write about.

There has been much reported in the media this week about a certain advertisement made in the UK. It features a car load of girls chatting away while the driver texts. What happens next is a horrific thing. It stopped us in our tracks. It made us cry. Yes, it made us cry. After so many years of our Aussie 'if you drink and drive you're a bloody idiot' campaign you would think these reality commercials wouldn't leave much of a sting. But this one does.

We don't really use a mobile (yes - we do live in the 21st century!) and would never text while driving...but this advert stops you from contemplating it forever.

If you're 18 years or older YouTube deems you are old enough to watch the ad. So I am putting the link here for those of you who want to see it - to learn, to think, to contemplate how all of our actions really do have a direct impact on those other wonderful human beings around us. Action has a reaction. Everything has a cause and an effect.

If you don't like these types of commercials please don't watch it.

Thursday, 27 August 2009



I have been finding myself thinking about change lately. When I was...ahem...younger, I was so carefree and went with whatever was on the go. Change never made an impact - in fact, if things stayed too static I got a little bored. Now I am finding the opposite. I need stability...almost hate change. I find it harder to adapt to new situations and am suspicious a different future. I am forcing myself to chill out, to take things as they come. I don't want to be a stiff 'ol thing! I want to embrace life, no matter what it may bring...


Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Curtains almost decided on...


We are such the slow-pokes when it comes to making decisions. Any decisions. Not necessarily life decisions, but definitely purchasing decisions. What colour paint for the exterior? Do we render or not? Do we rip out front garden or not? What colour do we paint the boys' rooms?

I have decided on white paint for the boys rooms as they are only a medium size room - the walls will be a lovely Dulux antique white and I am thinking of a slightly paler shade for the ceilings and the huge window that dominates one wall in each room. I have been toying with ideas for window covers - Roman, blinds, curtains blah blah. But I really like the idea of ceiling to floor sheer curtains across the entire wall and then a pale blind (to match the external brick colour) for night. I have finally come across sheers I love. They are by Spacecraft and they are called the Amsterdam curtain. I think they are part of an entire series - linen etc - but I am just going with the large 240cm drop sheers at the moment. Can't wait! So relieved to finally find something that a) impresses me b) makes me think constantly about it and c) gets me all excited. I was sick of looking at curtains and blinds :)


Tuesday, 25 August 2009

More vintage fabrics 30% off!


I have put another cluster of gorgeous vintage fabrics on sale today - they are 20% - 30% off, so fabulous bargains! Lots of lovely fabrics, too - couture silks and barkcloth included...

Sale fabrics are here.



Monday, 24 August 2009



I love the new ideas popping in my head
I love my toddler splashing in the bath
I love my husband's infinite patience
I love my Mum - what on earth would I do without her?
I love listening to 3AW every morning
I love listening to Derryn Hinch before dinner
I love my mechanic working hard to fix my Camry
I love my son reading Turkey for around the millionth time
I love playing Lego with my boys (all of them)
I love my garden (even if it looks like rubble at the moment)
I love taking some time out like I did today (sorry, babe!)
I am loving the fact I don't need to mention vintage fabric every day!


Sunday, 23 August 2009

Arabia Ruska by Ulla Procope - want some?

Arabia ruska

We are massively time poor at the moment. I have a tonne of original Arabia Ruska packed away and I was hoping to get it up on Ebay months ago. But I just haven't found the time. And I may not find the time for a very long time. So - if you're after Arabia Ruska let me know. We have lots of dinner plates, bowls, side plates, bread and butter plates, large mugs (with saucers from memory), small mugs, a tea pot and other stuff...all reasonably priced. So if you're after any of it drop up a line...

Arabia ruska

Arabia ruska

Arabia ruska


Patterns in our front garden


A large part of rejuvenating our 1970s house is freshening up the front without losing the 70s aesthetic. We are slowly putting all of the jigsaw pieces together - fencing, paving etc. But what to do with our front garden?

We didn't want to do the rock and grass garden so popular at the moment. I adore design - lots of structure and symmetry. While Googling garden design I came across the magnificent Red Sand Garden at the Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne, Victoria. The photo took my breath away.

I knew I had to know what those gorgeous little 'pods' were - so I called the Gardens today and were told they were a native everlasting daisy - the Dargan Hill Monarch.


I had decided by garden design would be only green with red highlights - but I am willing to consider this lovely yellow flower. I want lines of them in the front garden.


Apart from stripping the front garden and working on garden design we had our first family Monopoly night last night. Star Wars monopoly, of course. Lots of yummy milky Sago, hot drinks, laughter and serious teaching of Monopoly rules later...the six-year-old won. Yes, he won. Beat us...with a little bit of help...:). It was such a wonderful weekend - after being sick so long I really am stopping to smell the roses. I love life. I adore my family. I love days filled with delicious family time. I am so very thankful for it all...


Friday, 21 August 2009

No Impact Man - a true inspiration for us all

No impact man

I always try and live my life as green as possible - I am an advocate for sustainability, reusing old items and living life on earth with as little carbon footprint as possible. But I know I could do more. Here is one family - on Fifth Avenue, Manhatten, New York, who took his carbon footprint down to almost zero - and adored the whole journey. If you'd like to know more about No Impact Man visit here - and don't forget to sign up for his No Impact Project to live a week of living as 'low impact' as possible...

Go No Impact Man!

My favourite little thing...Zi...


One of my favourite things this week - little Keziah in his Aunt's arms. Isn't he just gorgeous? It's my favourite little red beanie ever. He's an old friend's little bub and just the bees knees - makes me want to have a third (and then I!...)

We have a full weekend ahead of us - lots of business included. It's Monopoly night tomorrow night and we may be driving up to Melbourne to visit the Pompeii exhibition at the Victoria Museum. Lots of gardening, lots of laughing...lots of bloody renovating. Does it never end? Now we're choosing the exterior colour for window panels and, but laborious, I tell you...

Thursday, 20 August 2009

1957 'vintage recipes'...sweet tooth, anyone?


I love whipping around the kitchen. And whip I do - like a tornado. I make mess, spill things, whip things onto walls...all in the name of baking. You see - I cook dinner, but it doesn't flick my switch. But baking and cooking sweeties does - and popping healthy home cooked alternatives into my sons lunchbox.

I have the biggest sweet tooth in the world - yes, it is even bigger than yours! I could eat chocolate all of the time, but now without the gallbladder - well, no can do! I baked a cake this arvo - a yummy vanilla tea cake - and this thought struck there such a thing as a vintage recipe? Or - are recipes timeless? Methinks they are - even if I don't want a hock pie or a braised liver (weekly meals way back when) - I think baking and cooking is timeless...

To honour the art of baking I am popping on some lovely recipes today - featured in 1957. Enjoy Treacle Cake, Apricot Custard Pie, Green Tomato Pickles and Peanut Butter Cookies. Delish!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Here's where I am up to...

vintage fabric

Thanks to the inspiring Pip at Meet Me at Mikes (I do have to visit that store again!) we've had a wonderful couple of days analysing blog life and getting to know each other is me :)

Making : Chocolate Self Saucing pudding and future personal and business plans
Cooking :
Above - + whiting fillets, fresh rice and the greenest broccoli ever...
Drinking :
Sookie Stackhouse series - up to book three
Good health
A my flowering magnolia and my boys growing up to fast
With my boys, my husband and looking forward to Monopoly night
Good compost as I haven't cleaned my Bokashi bin in two night
For everything to be easier at the snap of fingers
Our business, time with my husband at night
Waiting: For a loved visitor to arrive on Friday
Soundgarden, all over again
Where my youth is going?
Loving: The fact we have booked a holiday

Hoping: That it's going to be an easy ride next year - or it'll be all out war
Marvelling: At how precious life truly is
More sleep - and more time
"the roses"
Black - always, almost everyday, head to foot black
Breaking news - it's almost an addiction
How brittle people are
My life is truly blessed. I am very grateful for what I have.
About strategy. I love a good challenge.
Hopeful, grateful and fearful
Inspirational people and places
Opening: Soon...a bottle of scotch
Giggling: At the Golden Girls - and at our toddler!
Feeling: Satisfied

vintage fabric

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

30% off - Retro Age Vintage Fabrics sale!

30% off vintage fabric sale

Thanks to our sweet six year old and his love of Paint we have the cutest banner to announce our 30% off vintage fabric sale - the sale is on until Sunday, 23 August and features some gorgeous fabrics including polished cottons, 40s-70s cottons and a super rare original Marimekko fabric (pictured below) - that's 30% off, too!

Visit the sale here. More to come soon :)

30% off vintage fabric sale

30% off vintage fabric sale

Monday, 17 August 2009

Guest blog posts starting - and a favourite fabric!

vintage fabric

Firstly - I am so sorry these photos are a little average. I need to iron this piece - but one of my least favourite things to do is iron! But this is one of my current faves so I thought I would pop some close up photos of it...doesn't it just ooze romance?

vintage fabric

vintage fabric

I am making Monday's our guest blog day and this should be kicking off soon - if you're interested in promoting your vintage love, then please contact us! We have some wonderful people who you'll be meeting in the coming weeks...

vintage fabric


vintage fabric

Sunday, 16 August 2009

1950s vintage tutorial - how to make curtains

How to make vintage curtains

How to make vintage curtains

How to make vintage curtains

You are more than welcome to right click and save these scans (or let me know if you need a higher resolution) - it's such an interesting vintage tutorial I couldn't help my pop it on the blog...

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Stonehenge vegetable patch

Vegetable patch in backyard

We have been moving and shaking our front and backyards and a side courtyard over recent months - we're renovating the inside as well as the outside! As you know we always try and be as sustainable as possible - reuse and recycle is our personal motto. What faces most people with an early 70s house is usually faux volcanic rocks - huge in the 70s, oh so not liked in 2009 :). What to do with so many of these? Give them away? Well, yes, we could. Or we could create a line of large vegetable patches at the rear of our back yard and reuse them in a meaningful way. The above shot was taken today (gorgeous day) - lots progressed after the shot, but we basically have one patch ready to fill with yummy compost, soil and mulch...two more coming tomorrow, hopefully.

At the front of our backyard is my all time favourite tree. A gorgeous magnolia. Every year I take photos of her when she blooms. The one below was taken today...I hope you like her :)


Saturday morning shenanigans


So - how did I go? Thus far today...

1. I want my two papers out on my front lawn when I get up with the toddler at 5.30am tomorrow morning

Well, said toddler got up at 5.45am and by 5.47am I was wandering around my pitch black front garden spying for rogue papers. No papers to be found. Nothing in weeds. Nothing in long grass. This is a first for reliable paper man.

6am - next paper check. Nothing. Have they forgotten or are they still in bed? Toddler running around house screaming his head off (laughing-screaming we call it)...eldest son is woken up by shrill toddler and grumps out to the lounge-room and slaps himself prone on modular suite...oh, dear...

6.05am - water boils for double Gloria Jeans vanilla plunge coffee. Relief. Intense relief.

6.15am - next paper check. Nothing. Fake dawn - quite beautiful. Magpies waking up in their trees. Nothing like that sound - beautiful. Toddler bring all toys from play room out into lounge room. Oh oh - it's going to be that type of morning. First coffee down. Lush.

6.30am - next paper check at dawn. One paper in weeds. Still can't find the other. Toddler is elated paper has arrived. Excited babbling as I rip the plastic sheath. Toddler grabs paper and 'reads' for five minutes. I then retrieve thrown pages and put it back page by page. This is now a Saturday ritual.

6.45am - thud outside. I walk out in early sunlight. It's quiet. Second paper is on the pathway. Relief mixed with sleep-deprived 'I wanted this an hour ago' miffed-ness. Retrive paper, bring inside. Toddler does his second paper ritual for the day. I sit back and watch...where is my energy? My second coffee is down.

7am - I have put the papers back together and have quiet toddler and older son in dining room chowing down Weetbix and milk. Silence - no yelling over Lego like five minutes ago. I can start to read the paper....

More later :)

Friday, 14 August 2009

Do you really know what you want?

Do you really know what you want?

I love lines in vintage mags - I know they're no different from what you see in modern mags, but I love on type and design.

I know what I want over the weekend...

1. I want my two papers out on my front lawn when I get up with the toddler at 5.30am tomorrow morning
2. I want my plunger ready for some vanilla coffee goodness at 5.35am
3. I want my papers to survive the toddler's 'reading' frenzy at 5.40am
4. I want some good weekend articles to soothe me at 5.45am until big son get up all grumpy and dazed and confused
5. I want fun happy family time all weekend (tantrums inbetween okay)
5. I want to sleep in on Sunday

Not much to ask for, is it? Roll on Saturday....

Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

500 divine descriptions - and inspiration


October Leaf
Apple Jam
Pumpkin Spice

If you're a colour lover you must visit this site. Pure colour eye candy.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Do women keep it all turning around?


I ventured out today. Well - not far. I left home, grabbed Justin's parcels and then jaunted off to the post office for him. He has been busily snipping away, keeping the house going, doing the cooking and cleaning and every other thing we get up to, just to ensure I rested in bed to defeat this evil virus...

The lady at the post office knows Justin well, as you can imagine. She knows we've all been felled by this virum - parents and kiddies alike - and she was tut tutting Winter and the chills it brings. And then she said an interesting thing..."Mothers have to fight on, don't they? Or else everything falls apart..."


Do Mothers make the world turn around? Or women, in general? In my little life definitely not. Granted, I keep an eye on things and am usually the steering committee and Justin is the project team...but, in truth, we move and shake just as much as each other. I hope this isn't a rarity out there in house-land. I couldn't do it all without him. Super Mums just don't exist in my world :)


Vintage fabric : 1940s or early 50s dress cotton with flower and bow motif

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

The Wish Jar and the Wishing Critter

Wish Jar - Wishing Critter

I wish I could remember where I got this image from. I remember the blog - American or Canadian - and the lovely crafty gal who told us about her wonderful crafty things and her life. And then her life didn't take such a great turn and her blog isn't there anymore. If I remember the name I'll pop back to attribute the image - unless anyone recognises it?

I was in bed ill today - with a lovely virus. Not happy, Jan. But then again it gave me some space from the business and allowed me to tuck myself in at home to take the day nice and slowly. Tomorrow I hope to restart my engine again.

Things I was thinking about today include:
  • Feeling satisfied saying no for a long time to using plastic bags - I am fully weened
  • Wondering whether I should start to order my groceries online - it seems so easy and not much more expensive - but it would save a heap o' time!
  • Wondering about my heart echo stress test coming up and hoping the heart is healthy
  • Trying to understand ebay's new fee and store structure as we're looking at re-opening Retro Age on ebay
  • Preferring Eric to Bill in the Sookie Stackhouse novel #2
  • Wondering when we shall finish our massive vegie patch and painting a bedroom
  • Looking forward to Project Runway Australia
  • Accepting I have to clean the workroom and overhaul the space
  • Loving the fact my boys were quiet and caring about me while sick
  • Being thankful J kept the day going and all of the orders completed and out the door
A better day coming tomorrow :)

Monday, 10 August 2009

Reading with Pip - and Sookie Stackhouse

True Blood Sookie Stackhouse Charlaine Harris

The lovely Pip over at yonder Meet Me at Mikes is hosting a reading club right now. I am debating whether to join or not - not because I don't want to, as I dearly do! - it's just the time issue. She pleads with us all to keep on reading and I absolutely agree - I read everything. Magazines, newspapers, blogs, books, manuscripts, plays, poetry...if there's wordage and a meaning I am reading it! I love language - and it's something I am trying to instill in my sons, too. Logie has been read to since he was months old and he adores his books...books are a lifetime love. The younger son loves eating them, ATM...

My current read is the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris, made famous by the series blockbuster True Blood...and that gorgeous Bill :) If you love a funny vampire book then you'll love these...

True Blood Sookie Stackhouse Charlaine Harris