Archive for the ‘Food & Friends’ Category

Yesterday, I baked six loaves and gave them to my neighbours.

It’s a tricky thing to do when we’re all self-isolating, but we’ve figured out a safe delivery system. I either leave a carefully wrapped loaf on their front porch, then text them to say it’s been delivered OR I leave wrapped loaves at the far end of our back deck. That way, they can walk up our drive and pick them up. So far it’s been working brilliantly, and no-one has come within two metres of each other.

And it occurred to me that it’s at times of crisis that the community bonds we’ve worked so long and hard to forge really stand us in good stead. We’re all in touch almost daily, and if any of us have to leave the house to buy groceries, there’s always an offer made. “I’m going to XYZ, do you need anything?” We’ve got each other’s bank account and money is being transferred immediately so that no-one is out of pocket. By doing this, we greatly reduce the number of times any of us have to go to the shops.

I only needed Weetbix from the supermarket, so Carol picked up three boxes for me while she was there and left them on my back deck…

Lovely Jane has been ordering eggs in bulk from a restaurant wholesaler and gifting them to us fortnightly…

Carol needed rye flour and grain mix, so I left some for her on the back deck…

PeteV was driving through Robertson and stopped to buy a sack of potatoes – he delivered these to us…

And when my lovely friends heard that I was baking bread to share, they sent me sacks of flour – an incredible gift during times of shortage.

Steve is stuck in Italy at the moment, but that didn’t stop him ringing Lario International and getting them to deliver this wonderful Italian flour to my door. That’s a hot tip, by the way. If you can’t find things on the supermarket shelves, start calling wholesalers. You’ll need to buy in bulk, but many of them are struggling because of the loss of restaurant trade, so most are happy to sell to the public at this time.

My darling friends Kevin and Robyn who operate an amazing mill in Tamworth surprised me with a bag of their artisan bakers flour…

It came with a note that made me teary…

It’s been wonderful to have such a strong support network at this time. Even though we’re all staying home and only venturing out for essentials, it’s important that we’re still talking and texting and checking up on each other. And doing whatever we can to look after each other, while always staying at a safe distance. Take good care, dearhearts. ♥

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Vintage Haberdashery

Good morning!

I thought during this time when we’re all social distancing and self-isolating that it might be good to tell you about some of the more interesting websites I’ve come across lately.

The first is called The Swagman’s Daughter and it’s run by a lovely lady named Leonore in the UK. She spends her days emptying out vintage warehouses and selling the treasures she finds at local markets and through her website. Even if you’re not buying at the moment, it’s a great place to spend a couple of hours browsing.

I don’t have any affiliation with the business, but I have ordered from her in the past and I adore some of the things she has listed. And it’s not just haberdashery, she also has vintage fashion magazines and early 20th century French postcards, old ordinance maps, toys from the 60s and 70s, art deco jewellery and much more!

Let me show you two of my favourite purchases from her…

But…a question before you scroll any further – how many of you know what this is? Can you guess by the colours?

It’s a box of hosiery mending threads from the 1940s! Stockings were obviously a huge deal back in the day and women went to great pains to repair them.

I bought multiple boxes – one to use, one to keep, and a couple to give away. The threads are in brilliant new condition and gloriously smooth to sew with. Can you believe they’re 80 years old?

I love the subtle colour variations…

And on the topic of hosiery, I also bought this wonderful wooden darning egg, also from the 1940s. It comes complete with a little latch hook to repair ladders…

I think Leonore’s prices are extremely fair, especially given that many of her items are one-offs. She ships worldwide and sends everything out in recycled packaging!

Just to give you a feel for pricing, the box of threads cost £4 and the darning egg was £5 (the egg isn’t on her website so you have to email her if you’re interested in one).

Hope you have as much fun exploring her site as I’ve had! ♥

PS. I did warn you yesterday that vintage haberdashery was my new collecting passion!

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Faux Fernery

Good morning! How are you all today?

I have so much to tell you, which is surprising, as I’ve struggled to find the energy to blog over the past couple of months. I think that was partly because my posts were taking such a long time to put together. So this decision to write a short post each day is remarkably freeing! Mind you, some days you might just get a photo of my dinner. Also, fair warning: I’ve recently started collecting vintage haberdashery, so expect a few posts on that too.

When Big Boy and Monkey Girl were planning their wedding (and to their credit, they arranged all of it – we just had to figure out what to wear), they tried to do it as sustainably as possible. I’ll be writing about this over coming days.

Wedding flowers were a particularly tricky area – most wedding florists use fresh flowers which are discarded at the end of the night. Literally thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars worth of blooms can end up in the bin after just a few hours. Thankfully the kids found Anna at The Faux Fernery, a Sydney-based silk flower hire business. The process was identical to using a regular wedding florist – Monkey Girl and Big Boy chose the colours, style and stems they wanted and Anna arranged them at the venue. The flowers were essentially rented for the evening – they didn’t get to keep them.

Anna’s fee was half of what comparable fresh flowers would have cost and there was no wastage, which made me ridiculously happy!

On the night, there was quite lively debate among the guests about whether the flowers were real or faux – it was honestly that difficult to tell. Even the kookaburras were fooled!

If you’d like to see more of Anna’s glorious work, have a look at her instagram account here.

The bouquets, buttonholes and cake flowers were real and prepared by our young friend Emma, who has just finished her floristry course. They blended seamlessly with the faux flowers.  I’ll show you those another day!

Finally, thank you for all your lovely comments yesterday! I won’t be able to reply to all comments at the moment, but I am reading them and incredibly grateful that you’re still following. One question was asked though about Monkey Girl’s nickname. I can’t remember where it came from now – she’s been a part of our family for so long – but it’s very apt because she IS a cheeky monkey. I love her to bits! ♥

PS. to Dan and Dredgey whom I stole the photos from without credit, my apologies. I’ll be doing that a bit over the coming days, as I can’t remember who sent me which photos! xx

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Crazy Times

Hello dearhearts.

I’m sorry I’ve been absent – it’s been a crazy time, as you all know.

It hasn’t all been bad – wonderful Big Boy and Monkey Girl got married at the beginning of February, before all the COVID lockdowns began! It was an incredibly joyous day and thankfully, nobody got sick. I’ll try to write a few posts about the wedding soon and how the kids organised it as sustainably as possible, but in the meantime, I thought you might enjoy this photo.

In this time of flux, I’m going to temporarily change how this blog works.

Rather than writing long posts, I’m going to try and put up a short one every day (if possible), just to say hello and check that you’re all doing well. Hope that’s ok with you – I don’t have the energy at the moment to do much else!

Take care, talk soon. xx

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Vintage Treasures

A story in two parts…

Part 1: Potts Point Vintage

If you’ve been reading along for the past couple of years, you’ll know that we’ve been trying to reduce our environmental footprint. And since watching The True Cost, we’ve tried to source our clothes secondhand wherever possible. Now that’s easy to do for everyday clothing, but what about the big wedding we have coming up next summer? It’s much harder to buy evening wear and suits secondhand, but we wanted to try nonetheless.

Thankfully my friend Anita, who is a style goddess, put us on to the wonderful Arnold at Potts Point Vintage. If you live in Sydney and love vintage clothing, do yourself a favour and pay him a visit. His shop is a glorious Aladdin’s cave of immaculate pieces from the 1920s onwards.

On our first visit, Pete came home with this bespoke suit, tailored in Italy in the 1970s from exquisite Ermenegildo Zegna wool. It cost us $249 and the jacket fits him like it was made for him. In present day dollars, the fabric alone would have been worth $2,000…

The following week, we dragged Small Man in to try on a black wool suit that had been too small for Pete. Again, a perfect fit and this one didn’t even need hemming! It was handmade by a tailor in Sydney several decades ago. All of Arnold’s suits are thoughtfully selected, carefully cleaned and in great condition, and his prices are extremely fair. Small Man’s suit was just $129…

It was almost too much to hope for a hat trick, but Big Boy was so impressed with the suits that he and Monkey Girl popped in the following Saturday. He found the most gorgeous formal tuxedo – made by Rundle Tailoring in Newcastle between 1992 – 1996 from Australian cool wool in a panama weave (with silk lapels and stripes).

Bronwyn Rundle very kindly provided us with the information (she was able to identify the suit from the label) and mentioned that some of the ladies who might have made the suit still work for their company. Rundle Tailoring continue to make their suits locally – one of the few Australian companies to do so. They’re definitely worth supporting if you’re in the Newcastle area and looking to get something custom made!

Despite being as old as he is, Big Boy’s tux looks brand new and fits him perfectly with absolutely no alterations needed. Arnold had just $145 on it, which is the price to rent a tuxedo for one night.

As you can imagine, we’re pretty excited by all this (as is our new friend Arnold). We honestly didn’t think we’d find secondhand suits that would be good enough to wear to a wedding … and we’ve ended up with three amazing outfits far better than anything we could afford new (a contemporary Zegna suit starts at $5,000). If you’re looking to buy a suit (or a vintage fur coat, or a 50s hat, or a 60s evening gown), pop into Potts Point Vintage first. It’s really luck of the draw as to whether or not you’ll find something in your size, but that’s part of the adventure!

Potts Point Vintage
2/8a Hughes St,
Potts Point, NSW 2011

E-mail: info@pottspointvintage.com.au

. . . . .

Part 2: The Opera Coat

It’s funny how one thing in life can inspire the next.

While searching in my favourite opshop for a “mother of the groom” outfit (I’ve found it, by the way, but you’ll have to wait until next year to see it), I came across a badly torn vintage coat in the throw out pile. It was in appalling condition – the lining was shredded and the wool was badly matted. The shop assistant very kindly told me I could take it home if I thought I could do anything with it, so of course, I did.

When I got home, I instantly regretted that decision.

The lining in the sleeves was badly damaged (I suspect they’d been eaten) and there was some seriously gross crap (sigh…literally) in the cuffs which needed a vacuum before I could even go near it. The shoulder pads had turned into matted cotton wool. I removed the sleeve linings completely, then hand washed, then MACHINE washed, then tumble dried the coat. ALL of which are contraindicated, I know, but you didn’t see the revolting stuff that was inside the cuffs…

The wool in the coat shrank, of course. I didn’t dryclean it because a) it was free and b) I wasn’t sure that I could save it. Thankfully, the shrinkage was a good thing because it now fits me perfectly and the bouclé Astrakhan fabric has regained its sheen. (I’ve since found out more about the fabric from the Vintage Fashion Guild website!) I remade the sleeve linings in cotton ticking and then nearly lost my mind trying to figure out how to reattach them properly (I’ve never done any tailoring before). The lining needed shortening by an inch overall to compensate for the shrinkage.

Throughout the whole process, I kept wondering if I should just toss the whole thing in the bin. It was hideously gross at the outset. But the label “Milium Insulated Fabric” and the single button told me that it was a 1950s opera coat. Milium was an aluminium-backed lining introduced in the 1950s and only around for a decade or so. And I kept thinking about what an interesting life this coat must have had, and how I didn’t want to be the one to throw it away.

After five hours of unpicking, washing, more washing, drying, relining, restitching, hole-mending, and defluffing, I stepped back and took a look … and as if by magic, this incredibly glamorous coat suddenly appeared…

It’s now 100% clean, gorgeously retro and I believe it’s 60-70 years old. I’ve quite literally rescued it from landfill, which makes me incredibly happy!

. . . . .

Are you a lover of vintage clothing too?
If so, please tell me about your favourite pieces! ♥

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