A New Obsession


That's all I need to say. Barkcloth. I've been poring over barkcloth samples for the last couple of weeks with a shameless enthusiasm and I can't see my excitement in seeing these beautiful fabrics diminishing in any way. 

Recently, a friend of ours made an amazing skirt out of barkcloth with a scene of deer in a forest. It was gorgeous and she looked swell in this dazzling fabric.  So, it got us thinking...

We have a couple of 1950s TV chairs we would like to have reupholstered and so this started my barkcloth journey/pilgrimage/crusade as we wanted something which melded the 1950s design of the chairs with something a bit older, perhaps a 40s style fabric. Barkcloth was used through the 30s to the 50s for a range of uses but particularly upholstery and curtains.

What particularly appealed to us was the exuberant designs, lavish swirls and feathers, make believe flowers, vivid colours in unexpected combinations.  We also loved the gorgeous modern take on toile, bright scenes of waterfalls, ruins, mansions, forests and yachts. How could anyone resist?

So, here is my first purchase - not even for the chairs! No, this will be for cushions, but look at it!

Apologies for the photo, I whipped it out of its envelope and snapped it as soon as possible!

This fabric is the sort used for curtains along the art deco style hotels of South Beach, Miami in the 1930s, so it doesn't come more highly recommended!

Creative Types

Home Sewing

I was recently commissioned to make a batch of sample soaps for an Adelaide based fabric and sewing supply store called The Drapery.  The soap I made was The Emperor's Chai, and I packaged these in small brown envelopes and added labels designed by my friend Karena at Magic Jelly - more on Karena later.  The soaps will be given away to The Drapery customers so if you are after a natural, sustainable fabric or some indie designer patterns or books, then I recommend giving The Drapery a look.  

Talking to the lovely ladies from The Drapery about the amount of people out there taking up, re-visiting or continuing home sewing is inspiring.  I was reminded of the recent trip my partner and I made to Melbourne where we caught up with our friends and where we got to talking about blogs.  It transpires that our friend has a blog called Needle & Spindle in which she talks eloquently about her love of knitting, crocheting and spinning.  I marvel at our friend's talent and passion!  I have since been eyeing up balls of wall thinking, yes, maybe I can start learning that mysterious (to me!) art of knitting and this was largely driven by my sighting of this brilliant winter hat on Needle & Spindle:

And if that hat isn't enough, guess what it is called?  A Pineapple Stack hat!  I love it!  Our friend designed the distinctive pineapple stitch and offers the pattern for sale via Ravelry.  This hat has even won awards!  I'd like mine beany-style, with a fold-up and pompom.  Yes. 

And back to Karena, she has taken up sewing again with her usual vigour.  She applies the same meticulous attention to detail to her sewing as she does to her art and design.  But Karena has taken this all one step further (of course!) by designing her own fabrics!   What?! you say?  I know, who designs their own fabrics?  Well, take a look at these beauties:

I absolutely love the moths of course, but look, the lillies are brilliant too.  You can purchase these fabrics for yourself through Magic Jelly's shop at Spoonflower.   I have seen the fabrics printed and they look fantastic!  Available in a range of beautiful fabrics including a whole lot of natural fibres - combed cotton, cotton poplin, cotton voile, linen cotton canvas, organic cotton knit, organic cotton sateen, heavy cotton twill or silk crepe de Chine.

Making things is great fun, and I'm lucky to know so many talented creative types.


Upcoming Event

I am happy to report that Shanghai Lil and The Scarlet Fez will be at the next That Dapper Market on Saturday, 29th March 2014.  Here is the flyer for the event:

We had such a good time last time and met a lot of lovely people and got to help them make a selection from the 19 different varieties of soap we had for sale there!   

This time around, there won't be so many varieties, but there will still be plenty to choose from.  I think I will group them into "floral", "aromatic" and "gourmet" to make things easier for people.  

Also, I hope to have bath salts and room sprays there too.   And...fingers crossed...new perfumes!   

So, there will plenty to see, smell and buy!   Here is a shot of the stall from last year (this year, it will be bigger!):

I am lining up some other market gigs too, so I will keep you informed both here and on facebook.

1960s Toy Stencils

Colour Inspiration

Some time ago, I came across a bunch of old toys and stuff from my childhood including these wonderfully coloured plastic stencils.  I love that translucent soft plastic and the 1960s Eurasian designs.   I think my favourite was the seal, though the lion and squirrel come pretty close.

19th Century Papier Mache Mushrooms

The Museum of Economic Botany, Adelaide Botanic Gardens

I don't know why, but I often feel drawn to Victorian things in the days following Christmas.  I think it must be a desire to be grounded in that quiet, solid world of elaborate design, earnest pursuits and brown things after the brash, noisy rush of Christmas.

Boxing Day, I like to pore over (or is that paw over - I do both) my small collection of 19th century gardening books, read a little Tennyson and go through my collection of cabinet cards and cdv photographs. 

So, today, I was pleased to make a visit to town with my partner and we wandered through the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, including the wonderfully stern Museum of Economic Botany.

Within this small museum, there is housed an amazing collection of 19th century papier mache mushrooms, apples, pears and plums, made by Heinrich Arnoldi & Co, Gotha, Germany.   They live in lovely Victorian cabinetry with their original labels.  They were a joy to see!

A Glorious Day

Guess what I'm doing?

Well, I'm doing a few things, but this is one of them:

Otherwise, on this wonderfully sunny and springy public holiday, I'm making a new soap, a new perfume and listening to bossa nova while catching up with some reading.  Perfect, yes?!  I hope your day is as relaxing!