A Magazine Rack for Cool Cats

This is what I do on days off

We had a few chores to run on the weekend but we made sure we popped into a couple of junk shops along the way.  As you do. We're not going to buy anything, we said.  We have enough stuff, we said. Let's wait, we said. But look at this:

How could we resist? It's only small and has some great 50s graphics on it.  So, here it is, our new magazine rack:

But it's back to work for us.  We will be at the Wattle Street Market next Saturday, and the following Saturday, we will have our final market for the year, at the Makers and Shakers Market. Our store will be closed from 15 December 2016 until after Christmas.  Any orders placed during that time will be processed on 27 December 2016, so if you are buying for Christmas, my advice is to not leave it until the last minute!

King Penguin Books

An Inspiration

We like to collect stuff and more often than not, our collections come from items made or designed between the wars. Our small, incomplete collection of King Penguin books is an example. We can spot one of these beauties across a room full of aggressive bookworms at a book sale! Printed between 1939 and 1959, the series ran to 76 volumes (sigh) covering a diverse range of topics from the natural world to antiques. The text is usually very worthy but the covers are brilliant! What does that say about me! 

The colours and designs are a rich source of inspiration.  I was going through the books and it made me think of autumn and lying in the grass under falling leaves. I know this might sound like a shameless segue, but it did prompt me to make another batch of our woodsy Arcadia eau de cologne.  Such are the links in daydreamy trails of thought.

 British Reptiles and Amphibia. Edible Fungi. A Book of Ducks. English Ballet.

British Reptiles and Amphibia. Edible Fungi. A Book of Ducks. English Ballet.

Looking Back at Old Me

A Box of Paper

We are preparing for a garage sale and so I have been going through some old, forgotten boxes in the garage. It's a bit like peeling an onion really - as I come across the bits and pieces collected over time - an arts and crafts vase (1989!), a Smash Hits magazine (1983!), my collection of colourful rocks (1976!).  And while there aren't any tears, it is certainly a moving experience.

I found a box of my old school and university papers and I shuffled through them looking at bits and pieces.  I marvel now at some of the things I had to write about and it made me feel a little bit proud of making that decision to leave my secure job and go to university just to do something I was interested in.  I should remember this more often.

Finding some of my primary school books was a bit of a laugh too. I think I was obsessed with time travel, disasters, my clothes and the words "obviously" and "typically".  As an 11 year old, I wrote a story called "The Wonderland" set in Kings Cross in Sydney.  I'll spare you the jagged narrative, but this will give you an idea of what it was about: "...I can remember waking up to see mushrooms walking up a pavement made of toffee...there was a pudding dressed in a maid costume.  Next to it was a sausage which looked like a chef" and finally "I saw a potato with a crown perched on its head.  As I turned it said, in a tight voice 'what are...you...doing...here?" Upon answering, I was promptly arrested by "two chubby scoops of icecream".  So, I was also obsessed with food...

Amongst my university papers, I found some of the art projects I had to complete as part of my Visual Arts major.  I can remember doing the aquatint, but not the collage.  The latter looks too precise but I guess it must be mine (in any event, it's cute).  Here they are:

Well, thank you for indulging me.  I don't live in the past, but it's nice to visit once in a while.

Funny Photos

Easily Amused

I have been collecting vintage photographs for some time now and anyone who has seen any of the Shanghai Lil & The Scarlet Fez online presences would probably note I am fond of using old photographs to promote or enhance our brand.  I'm happy I can share two things I love simultaneously!

It is hard to pinpoint my reason for collecting these photographs.  I prefer casual, vernacular photography as I feel there is something more intimate, familiar and spontaneous is the snaps of ordinary folk.  My collection itself is somewhat haphazard.  Sometimes, I focus on one sort of photograph - Victorian photos of people taken from behind; handlebar moustaches; colour photography from the 1940s, but there is one particular group that I find gets a good reaction from others.  This group is made up of men, women and/or children at ease, fooling around, falling over, mugging for the camera, dressing up.  In other words, funny photos!

In an age where we probably overshare our lives, these photos still manage to capture something surprising in folk's everyday lives.  I love them and I hope you enjoy them too:


A night out on the town in the 1940s and 1950s.

Bars, nightclubs, restaurants and cafes.

Getting a bit tired of the rustic wood and exposed light-bulbs in bars around your town?  Not that there's anything wrong with that, but just have a look at this small selection of nightspots from the 1940s and 1950s.  Sure, half of them wouldn't have let the likes of me through their doors but I'm sure anyone going to one of these places was up for a good time!  

Happy New Year to all!

  The Blue Room at the Chi Chi, Palm Springs, 1950s. From   Palm Springs Holiday  , Peter Moruzzi.

The Blue Room at the Chi Chi, Palm Springs, 1950s. From Palm Springs Holiday, Peter Moruzzi.

  Coconut Grove at The Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles, 1950s.  From   Impact of Design  , Clive Carney.

Coconut Grove at The Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles, 1950s.  From Impact of Design, Clive Carney.

 Les Ambassadeurs at The Diplomat Hotel, Hollywood, Florida, 1950s. From Designing a Good Life, Norman M. Giller and Sarah Giller Nelson.

Les Ambassadeurs at The Diplomat Hotel, Hollywood, Florida, 1950s. From Designing a Good Life, Norman M. Giller and Sarah Giller Nelson.

  The TV Room at Driftwood Motel, Sunny Isles, Florida, 1950s. As above.

The TV Room at Driftwood Motel, Sunny Isles, Florida, 1950s. As above.

  Riviera Resort Hotel, Palm Springs, 1950s. From   Palm Springs Holiday  , Peter Moruzzi.

Riviera Resort Hotel, Palm Springs, 1950s. From Palm Springs Holiday, Peter Moruzzi.

  Del Tahquitz Hotel, Palm Springs, 1940s. As above.

Del Tahquitz Hotel, Palm Springs, 1940s. As above.

  Ocotillo Lodge, Palm Springs, 1950s. From   The Alexanders, a Desert Legacy  , James R. Harlan.

Ocotillo Lodge, Palm Springs, 1950s. From The Alexanders, a Desert Legacy, James R. Harlan.

  The Latin Quarter, Sydney, 1950s. From   Impact of Design  , Clive Carney.

The Latin Quarter, Sydney, 1950s. From Impact of Design, Clive Carney.

  Richlor's, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, 1940s. From   The Leisure Architecture of Wayne McAllister  , Chris Nichols.

Richlor's, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, 1940s. From The Leisure Architecture of Wayne McAllister, Chris Nichols.

  Tropicana Night Club, Havana, Cuba, 1950s. From   Havana Before Castro  , Peter Moruzzi.

Tropicana Night Club, Havana, Cuba, 1950s. From Havana Before Castro, Peter Moruzzi.

From Paris to Juan les Pins

Voila!

On a recent trip to my parent's house, I was digging around in their cupboards and I came across a crumpled old brown paper bag.  Crumpled old brown paper bags are like a red rag to a bull to me, so I zeroed in on this to find out what was within.  This is what I found:

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The Patheorama is a 35mm film viewer.  You load the film across the viewing window, close the lid, hold it up to your eye and wind the film manually using a wheel located on the backside of the viewer.   The images appear through the window one at a time, black and white but tinted.  The films are all French, one of Paris, another of Norway, Switzerland, a cartoon and the Riviera.  

I don't recall seeing this device when I was young, which might have been a good thing as the old film is very delicate and brittle.  The images are murky through the scratched lens, faded and elusive.  I love them!  Here are some delicately coloured scenes of Paris and the Riviera, near Antibes and Villefranche, I think:

I asked my mother about the viewer and she told me that her father had been given it by a friend who had returned from the continent during the first world war.  It makes me happy to think that I can still rummage around in my parents cupboards and find new treasures, just like I did when I was a kid!

Post Market Post

The Human Snail

Here is a picture of me working at my blog:

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Well, it's not really, it's a snail, photographed by an amateur photographer in the 1930s.  A recent addition to my collection of snaps.  I have been working quite hard recently, in preparation for two markets over the weekend just gone.  The fall-out of this is I have been slow to post to my blog! 

One of the products I launched over the weekend is the gift pack.  Not just any gift pack, but a party in a box:

Karena from Magic Jelly prepared the beautiful labels and patterns, of course, and each gift box is different, containing a variety of Shanghai Lil & The Scarlet Fez products.  Some even have Magic Jelly buttons, coasters or mirrors!   They were well received over the weekend and I plan to have more ready for the next round of markets before Christmas. I hope to be able to offer some via the online shop too, so more on that later. 

I have had a couple of enquiries from people asking where I will be next.  There are a couple of simple ways to find out:

1. sign up to my monthly newsletter - I will tell you about the markets for the following month, any special offers and any other news relating the Shanghai Lil & The Scarlet Fez;

2. follow me on Facebook.com/ScarletFez;

3. visit me at a market and ask me!