Tuesday, November 30, 2010

At the market: old shoes new shoes

Fash n Treasure Canberra last Saturday:-
Not a big crowd --but it was thus great being able to spend time chatting to people about their loves. It was a thrill to meet a fashion blogger whose blog manages to score interviews with some great designers.
Called sneaky peek blog--it's an interesting read.

My highlight:--selling a red pair of All Stars in a size 13 to a male vintage lover who was thrilled with them--his shoes size says it all!

I love old shoes.
I love all the shoes I sell--they have character, they have the wisdom of age, they are a snapshot in time, and finding the right person for the shoes is as joyous as finding the shoes. I love seeing who buys what shoes--what their style is--how they think about things.

Shoes take us places, they protect our feet, they make us comfortable--But they can also transform our image. From such a small item comes such a large effect. A look can be completely changed by a shoe. Same as a hairstyle and glasses. I often am intrigued how something so little can have such a transforming effect.

I love old leather shoes especially. I love practical sturdy good looking shoes. If they can have a slight bit of quirk or interest all the better. New shoes often disappoint me. Vintage shoes are usually made better. The shoes moved with your feet. So many shoes now--they look stiff and with a mind of their own. People often look awkward in them like they are fighting with the shoe--like the shoes are to just sit on your foot as an ornament.-- a sculpture or decoration--not real. They seem to compromise on this and that--the style is way out you wear them out to a formal occasion only to have the heel fall off. How often have I seen this!

.....This is why vintage shoes and boots are a real treasure. But also why I was thrilled to find at the market, shoes that are made with excellent quality natural materials yet had an appealing modernity to them. They are made in Argentina--the home of great leather and artisan shoemakers.

So here are some shoes I had for sale--still for sale in fact....

From left to right: 40s grey suede and brown leather trim peep toe wedges, 80s/90s light camel nubuck leather longline lace up brogues with a flared wooden heel, 90s snakeskin pattern leather squared toe ankle boots.

These are circa 40s/50s bowling shoes in a perforated brogue style with wing tip and suede inserts. Wow! They are amazing- style and design really went into these....

Above are some shoes sold by Carajo of Argentina--a brother and sister duo selling bags and jewellery as well. Their shoes smell beautiful--on real leather, yes!, they are soft and supple yet strong, they are modern in the gladiator style, yet hint at Argentina as well. They use other wonderful natural materials such as canvas and cork and the leather insoles are not coated with synthetic so absorb your sweat readily. Josefina was ready to chat warmly about her gorgeous imports.

The next vintage fair I will be at is at Marrickville Town Hall on the 10th, 11th and 12th December--just in time for buying Christmas and New Year outfits and that unusual gift!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Vintage frog inspiration

I LOVE frogs...so this was a happy moment this morning...
....as I was getting ready for tomorrows Canberra Fash n Treasure market, what creature was cosily sitting inside this old umbrella? Yep! A cute, one can only call it taupe colour, frog. I love the colouring and how it blends with the subtle earthy colours and traditional design of the umbrella. Don't you love the yellow irregular spots on black markings down the side of its legs?

Great naturally occurring colours like this is what inspires me to look for appealing pieces of vintage. I find that pieces from the depression era, say the 20s and 30s-40s used this sort of colouring with splashes of bright here and there. The bright was never lairy though--but ever so slightly subdued...just as in the umbrella.

We have lots of frogs here and with so much rain this past season they are breeding happily.
Below are some other frog photos from our place.

Anyway--if you're in Canberra come on over to the Fash n Treasure market at the OLD BUS DEPOT tomorrow ie Saturday 27th November. Starts at 10am and finishes at 3pm. It promises to be a great one with the weather pretty good and all stalls booked out.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mitchell Road Gallery---4th Birthday and revamp

Mitchell Road Antiques and Design Gallery in Alexandria, the place I adore and have stalls in, is 4 years old this month, and is slowly but surely having a revamp. Not too much--the general flavour, brand points and feel of the place needs to stay but it just needed some painting, tidying and a little more visible interesting promotion.

Things that have happened so far:-
cleaning and tidying entrance foyer
painting foyer
2 new chandeliers in foyer
large stairwell light
display cabinets in foyer
new street signage
painting Mitchell Road frontage
insertion of photo prints of inside to window cells on road frontages
general tidying upstairs

Now just to get the cafe area going!

From a bland old non descript colour (above)....

...... to a bright rich burnt retro red (below). That's Emma by the way--she's one of our great stall holders and ready to help you on Sundays behind the counter.

The entrance foyer all painted up and display cabinets operational. (Stairwell not done yet)

The fantastic metal and industrial look of the old water pipe system looks great against the new red.

New chandelier photographed from below. Reminds me of a spiders web with dew drops hanging off.

New A-frame sign and flags, looking down Mitchell Road Alexandria--cross street is Fountain Street. Mitchell Road is lined with large plane trees and even though common they look fantastic all in leaf and cool the area significantly in summer.

One of the points of interest of Mitchell Road Auctions and the Design Gallery is the continuously changing "graffiti wall" on Fountain street. Geoff, the owner is prolific and artistic and who knows what he'll think up next. To celebrate Melbourne Cup week and racing season he painted on some race horses. It was so clever really--the further away you went the more realistic they looked.

The brand colour of Mitchell Road Auctions and Design Gallery has always been yellow--yes, it is bright, but no going back now as it's known as the "big yellow brick building in Alexandra". So the new paintwork had to be yellow again--this time slightly more intense. Those window cells were blocked off anyway, so Filip, our amazing steampunk craftsman, organised for large photo prints of inside views to be pasted onto the outside. These can be replaced with new photos when they wear out.

AND...being the 4th Birthday we need to share the joy with the public so there has been 10-50% off just about all items in the Gallery from last weekend. I am not sure when it's ending so come on in asap and grab that item you've been wanting for a while at a cheaper price.

Will post some enticing photos of inside soon!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Youthful Bohemian pzazz at Canberra

Boho, foho, folk, ethnic, tribal, hippy styles all in one.

Well, I am not always ready with my camera and to engage my mind when I see a particularly stylish person at the vintage markets and fairs. This is mainly due to my being new to this facet of blogging but also because if I'm busy with customers I can't drop them and devote time to hobby photography.

This time however I knew I had to do it--everything was right--my partner was there to help, I had been serving this group of slightly boho dressed people and had time to take note of their dressing. I have to confess I am a wannabe hippy and the 70s bohemian/folk/ethnic/tribal style of dress has always been my love and I often have elements of this style in my own dressing. So this girl impressed me immediately.

Sophie is 15. When I heard this I was amazed. I still don't have the dare and confidence to dress with such eager difference and natural taste. And when it comes to mismatched matching well I think she has done it extremely well. She told me she doesn't try too hard--just whatever takes her fancy at the time--and she does wear different styles also....obviously a natural.

Here Sophie wears all thrifted pieces--batik floral harem pants, 2-tone teal and brown brocade fitted jacket, fabric moccasins, a pop of colour with a royal blue longline t-shirt and to tie it in, a blue and white striped tie--no pun intended! Her green leaf earrings echo the pattern of the brocade.

Thanks Sophie for allowing me to stage your great look to the world.

Canberra Way We Wear Vintage Fashion Fair


So... I'm late with this post, as Canberra's Way We Wear Fair was on last weekend. Yesterday was Paddington Vintage Fashion Market at the RSL auditorium.

Canberra again was a hugely successful fair with thousands enjoying the beautiful Albert Hall filled with incredible vintage items. Canberra residents obviously love their vintage as they oooed and ahhed often and came dressed in vintage of all sorts. The theme was the little black dress with prizes for best dressed and an historic exhibition of LBD's including many from the 1920s.

The next Canberra Fair is in May, however for those Canberra-ites eager for another vintage fix before Christmas there is the Fash n Treasure market coming up in 2 weeks at the Old Bus Depot and Marrickville Way We Wear Fair at the Town Hall on 10,11, 12th December.

The Albert Hall rear area.
The Albert Hall rear area looking out to Lake Burley Griffin--it's just beyond the trees. Albert Hall is near the end of major renovations. The back is painted and paved, the front still isn't. Inside is complete, with brilliant new lighting in the style of the era it was built ie 1920s.

Part of the little black dress exhibition.

Looking from the stage down to half the hall of exhibitors.

A stall packed with goodies.

80s felt dress hat with velvet band, 50s black tapestry handbag, 70s Glomesh shoulder bag with black enamel and gold detailing. I always find it rather fascinating how items from any era can work together if there is at least one binding element--in this case it's the colour black.

Some sellers have a cute creative knack!

Beautiful 60s crepe and lace empire waist formal dress.

An enticing collection of formal bags.

You know me by now--I can't help but spend time observing and being amused by the nature of an area. These obviously sensible magpies, thought it much easier to get breakfast out of the cigarette trough that had been lazily used for disposal of coffee cups and muffin papers. A few seconds later I heard the hungry cries of a baby magpie and walked over to see Mum feeding the big ball of grey fluff--photo below. As soon as she left, those hungry cries started again and I got the feeling this wasn't going to stop too soon! Neither were particularly scared of me.....just a delightful way to start Saturday morning!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Way We Wear Fairs. (WWWFairs) November & December

A slightly strange name but it is sort of cute and comes with the appropriate twist. These Fairs are run by Keith and Fiona Baverstock from Victoria. They are amazing in their energy and enthusiasm, driving marathons from one state to another nearly every weekend. The WWWFairs are 2 or 3 days affairs that are on in Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra twice a year. They always have a wonderful themed display of fashion/clothing items from their extensive antique and vintage collection and Fiona gives an insightful talk about it.

This is a really busy time of year for me with many big fairs close together all wanting to take advantage of the spring and summer weather and the party atmosphere. People get out more, feel better, and look better. It's also starting to get into party time, tax cheques being received (for those lucky enough), there's racing carnivals, music festivals, end of study year celebrations......
....which is all great. However, whilst we may have great things to go to, it's also nice to spend time shopping for an unusual item to wear or appropriate bag to take to these many events.

It's also the traditional time for what is tenderly called "spring cleaning"--gee, makes it all sound so romantic!--but I don't reckon there's much romance in an itchy nose after the lounges have been turned upside down--but .... good reason to not disturb the dust. Seriously though--there's more people house hunting, and more redecorating or changing a small item or two to make their place feel different.

So with so much activity going on I am going to assist many by taking my items to the following places.....

Canberra this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 5th, 6th, and 7th November, 2010.

The Way We Wear Fair at the Albert Hall, Commonwealth Avenue, Yarralumla. ACT.

Fri 6-9pm, Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 10am-4pm

Entry cost: adults $12, child 10+ $6. This ticket is valid for the whole weekend.

The Albert Hall is a beautiful venue built in 1928 in a Georgian style. It has very large windows which is rather unusual for an old building--this allows lots of natural light in. I will be on the stage--no not performing...but the place will be packed with dealers selling a wide variety of items from antique to retro.

Sydney, Friday, 10th, Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th December, 2010.

Another Way We Wear Fair at Marrickville Town Hall--in the trendy areas of Newtown, Erskineville and St Peters.

303 Marrickville Road, Marrickville. (cnr Petersham Road).

Easy to get to either from Old Canterbury Road or Princes Highway and within easy walking distance of Marrickville Station. Plus there are buses from the city.

Times: Fri 6-9pm, Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 10am-4pm

Entry cost: adults $12, child 10+ $6. This ticket is valid for the whole weekend.

This is the first time the WWWF is being held here after a few years at Hunters Hill. The Town Hall from photos looks magnificent and was built in 1922.
This fair will be at a great time of year to get your artsy vintage clothing to wear around the holiday season--and to buy presents for those secretly longing to receive vintage--but were always afraid to ask.

For further information on both of these fairs visit...

I won't be at the November and December Wentworth Park Fair but will focus my attention to my stalls at Mitchell Road Antiques and Design Gallery as it is traditionally a busy time of year there. I have many fantastic timber/industrial pieces needing cleaning and restoration which I keep putting off, so having a market or 2 less will help me get things going.
I will also be putting in some great new and quirky clothing, accessory and textile items after the November WWWFair, so come on in for an inspiring browse--although anytime is always a good time there!

Monday, October 25, 2010


Today I went for a walk around the streets of Narellan. I do this sometimes esp as I get to walk through this gorgeous park alongside the Library and Camden Council Chambers. This park as a guess is about 4-5 years old although parts have been added later--like the childrens' play area. I don't normally focus on kids things, as mine have grown up now, but you can't help but notice what an enchanting and intelligent play area for kids this is. It's also an aesthetically pleasing place for adults and families, with quieter more spacious areas towards the back and plenty of seating and shelter.

What I particularly like is the focus on Australian native plants and animals and how they feature throughout the park and play area. What a great way to learn about our native species--something that has been lacking in recently past decades. We seem to know about and grow so much of other countries fauna and flora but little of our own. And as time goes on we are seeing less and less of our birds in suburbia.... (animals went a long time ago, although if you're lucky you can see a dead wallaby as part of roadkill).... and more of exotic pest species such as Indian Mynahs (which sadly are a pest throughout much of the world). We have such charming birds that I know most people adore, but seem to know little about keeping them around...councils seem to be little interested in doing their bit too. This, I get the feeling, is due to developers having the upper hand and clearing new housing land completely of native trees and shrubs that are used as food and nesting by these birds. No food, no home for breeding, no birds--think of it in the human sense and we really are selfish. There is no reason we both cannot exist together.

So here we are with some hopefully wonderfully inspiring photos for your own garden or play area. I am so glad Camden Council were visionary in this park plan. They left tall Eucalyptus trees that have been there for many decades which hopefully will provide nesting hollows and food for birds, insects and bats. I hope they will upkeep it to do it justice.

Grevillea row, looking down to the Library and right to Narellan Town Centre. So nice to have this large open space next to a shopping centre.

Council chambers in the background. Dianella species or Flax Lily in the foreground. Has sprays of tiny blue flowers.

Possum on the pathway. Themeda species or Kangaroo grass to the right.

Close up of Kangaroo Grass--I love this grass --it is so decorative--not much left around the place though--most (99.9999%) of yards remove it and plant Kikuyu or something. However, it is being used more as decorative planting-yay!

Crimson Rosella stencil with Panicum species grass planting. The recent persistent rains have brought everything to its best. Colours become so much richer and everything sits upright.

Rubberised Platypus sculpture. The kids can sit/play on this without getting hurt.

A wood Goanna. Goannas are large lizards that are famous for running up trees when threatened.

Eucalyptus leaf stencil. How nice to decorate plain cement with something like this.

A great mosaic seat where the local school kids were able to fire their own mosaics to use in the seat. How proud they must feel when they play here.

I even think the drain has been aesthetically landscaped. Go the landscaper!

Looking towards the more open back area. The lower waterline has been planted out with native plants including sedges which like a wetter area.

This is a Melaleuca--water loving but drought resistant--there were many planted in the waterway and all coming into flower so perfectly. I actually love the buds just as much as the flowers.

This was growing under one of the Eucalypts....Dicondra repens or Kidney Weed. It's not a weed at all but a native ground cover that likes the slightly wetter areas. Again rarely seen in suburbia due to everyone wanting a "lawn".
Having said that though, I do think many many people just do what they do from innocent ignorance, and what everyone else and the "experts" tell them to do. If they only knew how easy it is to grow many native species and how unusual and interesting they can look. I know many would use them more.
Here's hoping this can inspire just one person to give them a try!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sydney Vintage Clothing Jewellery and Textiles Show

I was so busy at the fair last weekend that I did not have time to take decent photos and when I did it was more to grab some food and drink and check out the other stalls. I have included one photo of one corner of my stall below. I managed to get a dressing area in which was a godsend. The floral fabric you can see is a 50s bedspread, and is divine. The material has flecks of shine in the weave and there are little tight frills at the joins. A friend wanted to buy it to make dresses out of and I told her she couldn't. Some things are just out of bounds for destruction IMHO.

The best dressed in vintage competition was held on the Friday night. As always it was a great fun event although not as many entrants as in the past. Not sure why, as there were so many walking around in vintage that would have done themselves proud had they entered. I have some photos of the men's division winner. I have also added a photo of the last fair and some of its contestants--namely my sister and her friend. My sister is wearing our mums 50s day dress and her accessories. Have you noticed the famous Dame Edna Everidge there?

To look at these photos you would think...hmmm, not many of the young crowd there, however I can assure you there was--more and more are coming to this sort of event as they become free and confident to create their own style, and know they can buy good quality items at very reasonable prices.

The next Show will be held April 2011. As always it will be the 3rd weekend, the 15th, 16th and 17th April. Make the date in your diary--it will be massive as always!