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.


A new perfume by Shanghai Lil & The Scarlet Fez

I am pleased to release a new fragrance, Nightshade, which will debut at That Dapper Market this coming Saturday.  Nightshade is a beautifully rich and mysterious blend of essential oils, absolutes and resins but the shining stars in this all-natural, vegan fragrance are cocoa and tuberose.  It is heady and would be described as an 'oriental' with a fine sillage and good staying power.  Just in time for winter.

It is always difficult to describe a fragrance, but I can tell you my thoughts on this one.   The floral notes are intense and suggest hot-house rather than meadow.  It is tropical, but out of season, like an orchid delivered in a white box full of tissue in the dead of winter.  It is other-worldly - a visitor from far away, sophisticated and alluring.  The cocoa and the resins underlying the floral notes bring warmth and softness, which is the reason why I think Nightshade is more of a cooler season fragrance than one for a summer release.

Come and sample Nightshade at That Dapper Market and say hello!

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.

1960s Colour Inspiration

Capri, by Crown Lynn

We recently acquired a set of Crown Lynn crockery in the Capri range.   Made in New Zealand, Crown Lynn was the largest manufacturer of pottery in the Southern Hemisphere up to the late 1970s, and the "Colourglaze" range was one of the most popular styles.  The "Colourglaze" range was also sold under the names "Capri", "South Pacific" and "Caribbean Ware". 

The range of colours is inspiring, with names like Pumpkin, Jade, Tropic, Duck Egg, Oyster, Clover, Ant Green, Coral, Cocoa, Citrus, Honey and Mushroom.   Apparently, there are many other colours too, so my inner collector (not so inner, really) is all fired up!  Here are some snaps:


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 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.

1940s Interiors

A photo survey

There are so many wonderful image collections out there, on flickr, pintrest and the like, but it is surprisingly difficult to come across images of interiors from the 1940s.

My interest in 1940s interiors is a personal one, that is, I'm looking for inspiration for our home, so I have put together a short(ish) collection of scanned images from some of our books and magazines, which I think is worth sharing here.  This selection follows on from an earlier post on 1940s fabrics.

The images are mostly of fairly modest homes, a reasonable starting point since we're not likely to be in a position to furnish our home with Andre Arbus anytime soon (which reminds me, I need to speak to those lotto people about this on-going issue...) and I have selected them because each one has a particular feature or finish that interests me.

And why the 1940s?  Well, it's hard to pinpoint, but I'm very fond of art deco, streamline moderne and post-war modernism and the 1940s is the in-between point of these styles.  It's a place where there is a way to blend the otherwise very distinctive and opposing styles spanning either side of the second world war, and that's great for me and my partner and our eclectic tastes.  So, here we are:

1. Textiles: Stroheim & Romann. Ceramics: Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Co. Ltd.  From 'Furnishing the Small Home' - Margaret Merivale (1945).
2. Fireplace treatment. Designer: W. Curtis Green R.A. ibid
3. Room detail. Joseph Aronson. ibid.
4. Studio room by Helen Park. ibid.
5. Room detail.  Oliver Hill. ibid.
6. Dining room, Bowman's Ltd, London.  From 'Design in Every Day Things' - Australian Broadcasting Commission (1941).
7. Hand woven woollen materials by Catherine Hardess of Melbourne. ibid. 
8. Living room of Miss Patricia Detring, Bel Air. Designer: Paul T. Frankl Associates.  From 'The Studio Year Book.  Decorative Art 1943-1948' - ed. Rathbone Holme & Kathleen M. Frost.
9. Scale model of living room.  Designer: Edward D. Stone. ibid. 
10. Japanese pavilion, World's Fair, Paris 1937.  Designer: Junzo Sakakura.  From 'Furniture & Interiors of the 1940s' - Anne Bony (2002).
11. Shangri-La Hotel 1939-1940.  Photographer: Julius Schulman. ibid.

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.

Available Stock

A guide to some mighty fine soap!

After the Christmas rush, I have sold out of a number of varieties, which I am currently busy replenishing.  However, there is still soap left in the store and below, you will find some of my favourites:

Top row:
Evening Star - Gentle and indulgent, Evening Star soap has a rich and creamy lather, brimming with luscious oils including macadamia nut oil and pine nut oil. The scent of basil and star anise is fresh and seductive, just what you need after your day out on safari. A Pernod martini is recommended after use.
Sunday Spice -  A gourmand's delight, Sunday Spice is a creamy, rich soap packed with luxurious oils for your skin like cocoa butter, shea oil and avocado oil. With the mouth-watering scent of carrot seed and ginger, you'll think you're on the bank of a river, sitting on a gingham picnic rug with a slice of home made carrot cake in your lap! A super luxurious and delicious soap.
South Pacific -  We all have our own Bali Hai and in this soap you will be wafted there on a dream of exotic lemon and tropical flower scents. Enriched with coconut oil, cocoa butter and apricot kernel oil, your skin will think it's on holiday too! A great conditioning soap.

Middle row:
The Emperor's Chai -  With delicious and spicy cardamon through a creamy blend of cocoa butter, macadamia oil and pine nut oil, you will have your very own dream cup of chai in a bar of soap! All that, and beautifully served up packaged in its own box.
St Clement's -  Wonderfully scented with mouth-watering sweet orange and may chang essential oils, this beautiful soap will have you dreaming of summer escapades through the citrus groves of southern France. Blended with oils including olive oil, olive pomace, macadamia nut oil, vitamin E-rich rice bran oil and jojoba, St Clement's is well suited to condition and gently sooth sun-kissed skin.
Madame X... -  With the seductive scent of ylang ylang, rose geranium and black pepper, this spicy floral will bring out your adventurous side. Lavished with super rich oils including olive oil, olive pomace, cocoa butter, apricot kernel oil and exotic musk melon oil, your skin will feel sensuously smooth and silky, ready to start your day of mystery and intrigue! Packaged in green - the colour of the unconventional! What a soap!

Bottom row:
Smokey Joe -  This soap is a sophisticate. A luxurious blend of oils including olive oil, avocado oil and vitamin E-rich rice bran oil make for a fine conditioning soap. The smokey, green and earthy scent of cade and vetiver takes this soap to another level. It is the lapsang souchong of soaps.
One Fine Summer -  Lying in the grass looking up at the blue sky, walking through the pines by the beach front or drinking your first Pimm's No.1 cup for the season, One Fine Summer will evoke your fondest summer memories. With a gorgeously breezy citrus-floral scent and lavishly blended with macadamia nut oil, shea oil, olive pomace and olive oil, One Fine Summer is a luxuriously creamy, all-natural and vegan soap. A superb skin-conditioner.
Spring Sherbert -  A sumptuous blend of oils including apricot kernel oil, cocoa butter, olive oil and vitamin E-rich rice bran oil give this soap its fine lather and conditioning properties. But for you romantics and dreamers, it will be the fizzing floral scent of lemongrass, lavender and lavendin that will fill you with the excitement of a new spring day.

Shanghai Lil and The Scarlet Fez soaps are $7.50 and postage is $7.00 for up to 3 soaps, and $11.00 for 4 soaps or more.  Let me know if you have any queries or if you would like to reserve a favourite soap which is not currently available.

Of Worthy Advice and Bad Art

Book finds

While being a lovely sunny day, there is always time to pop into second-hand bookshops and dig up some treasures from dark and dusty shelves.

My recent finds include "The Practical Way to Keep Fit" (ha!) by Harry Roberts and "How to Write, Think and Speak Correctly" (I know what you're thinking, reader) by C.E.M. Joad.  Both are part of Odhams Press Ltd's quaint range of self-improvement books for the Everyman, probably from the 1920s and both have the same lovely endpapers. 

Knowing how to write, think and speak correctly is all very worthy (an' all that), but the guide to keeping fit is my favourite of the two, mainly for its illustrations.  The text is ponderous and preachy and reminds me of being trapped at a party by a perfectly lovely but deadly dull guest.  The illustrations, however, are a bit of a hoot.  They range in quality, staying on the dark side of mediocre for the most part, but some are really very bad!  Some have quite funny captions and others are just, well, inexplicable.

You're telling me it does!

Well, that's all very well for him!

 Not even trying.

Blackbird, Fly

...super hyper mega fun.

The Blackbird, Fly is a twin lens reflex camera.   The viewfinder is on the top and you look down into it - one of the lens is for the viewfinder, the other to capture the image on film.  It's made of plastic and comes in a range of bright colours.   I haven't taken mine out for a spin for some time, so I might get some more film and experiment.   

Here are some snaps of some 60s architecture in my local area, taken with the Blackbird, Fly.

Mater Dei, Woodville Park and Ukraine Catholic Church, Woodville.

And some other brightly coloured snaps:

Mini Golf at Semaphore and Kingston Park beach.

Underwater Wonderworld

A trip to the museum

A lovely day out today.  My friend and I were passing the South Australian Museum and we decided to pop in just to see how much it has changed since we were last there - which was some time ago.  We were pleasantly surprised when we found some old favourites were still there (love the Victorian cabinetry in the Pacific Island exhibition room) and some new displays (minerals!).  We took a lot of pics, but here are some I took from the underwater exhibition room, the mineral room and the Pacific Island exhibition room:


Space Age Fun

Flea market find 

I picked up these little paperback books a couple of weeks ago from a local flea market.  I can't say I'm a fan of science fiction, but I love the cover art on these numbers!

I think my favourite cover is the charming, almost domestic, scene of three guys fixing a spherical ship of some sort.  Love the leisurewear and how it looks like the type of illustration used in DIY home renovation magazines of the time - you've got the green lawn, the stepping stones, quite an idylic scene!   Great colours - even the aliens look cheerful!