Home, Sweet Home

Getting back on track

The only spot not covered in boxes

The only spot not covered in boxes

We have finally moved back into our house after an extended renovation and I couldn't be happier. Unpacking was a mix of fun and drudgery - fun because there were things I hadn't seen for ages and it was like buying or receiving them all afresh!  Drudgery because, you know, we carry too much stuff. I tried to apply the 'handling each item and seeing what it gives me' thing, but I was more keen to stuff everything away asap and get on with our lives.  Still, I did discard a couple of things, which I'm proud of, and I will continue to cull once we're settled.

And today, I started making again!  It feels like ages and it was such a breeze to get everything ready, made and cleaned up. Just as well, I have a lot to catch up on!  We are booked in to do the Gathered market in August and The Vegan Affair in September.  I will start booking into other markets as they pop up.

In other news, I understand there is an auction to be held next Sunday offering some wonderful items designed by the likes of Jacques Adnet, Andre Arbus and Gilbert Poillerat. Sigh.  Aside from the fact that there is no way I would be able to get my hands on any of the goods on offer because a. the auction is in Rouen, France and b. I don't have a million euros; the auction makes me feel sad. The auction comprises light fittings and furniture from the Palais des Consuls in Rouen, which was built in the mid 50s following the wartime destruction of the previous building.

The Palais des Consuls  was designed by four architects (P Chirol, R Flavigny, F Herr and R Pruvost) and was sumptuously decorated internally by some of France's finest.  The light fittings are incredible, beautiful ironwork, vast bas-relief plaques.  And they're all being taken out and either sold off or rehoused who knows where.  Of course it's Rouen's business, but really, could the local government not live with the spectacular fittings in the more public areas and just renovate the offices?  Such a loss for Rouen, I say.   Here's a pic of the Palais, and an example of some tiny little torcheres you can snap up at the auction:

Source: France 3 Normandie Gorgeous!

Source: France 3 Normandie

Source: auctioneers guery-encheres.com Swoon! But you can see why they would want to rip all this rubbish out.

Source: auctioneers guery-encheres.com
Swoon! But you can see why they would want to rip all this rubbish out.

Also, speaking of loss, the Glasgow School of Art!  Ugh, what were the chances? Two devastating fires in 4 years? We had the good fortune of visiting the school some years ago before the fires and, well, I can't really add anything, but Glasgow, the world in fact, has lost a monumental work of art.


Adrian Feint - 1894 - 1971

We were in Sydney for Christmas and we decided to pop into the wonderful Art Gallery of New South Wales. We like, among other things, to seek out the AGNSW's collection of one of our favourite Australian artists, Adrian Feint.

I won't regurgitate his biography here, but the Australian Dictionary of Biography has a nice summary and there's a short (and not particularly helpful) mention on Wikipedia. He was known for his woodblock prints (he studied under Thea Proctor and Margaret Preston) and his commercial work (some wonderful covers and content in Home and Art in Australia magazines). But it is his post war paintings (oil and watercolour) from the 1940s and 1950s which we find especially appealing.

We were happy to see that the AGNSW has acquired a new work:

Adrian Feint - The Striped Petunia (1939)

Adrian Feint - The Striped Petunia (1939)

We didn't find many of his other works on display, as it happened, but we know that the collection includes this painting:

(courtesy of the Art Gallery of New South Wales) Adrian Feint - Flowers in Sunlight (1940)

(courtesy of the Art Gallery of New South Wales) Adrian Feint - Flowers in Sunlight (1940)

While in Sydney, we were staying in Elizabeth Bay, a picturesque part of Sydney near Potts Point and heavily populated with beautiful art deco apartments. We found that Adrian Feint lived in Elizabeth Bay for some time and so we put on our deer stalker hats and tweed capes and went to find out where.

The AGNSW also has in its collection the following painting, which provided us with a clue because we could see this building from our apartment:

(courtesy of the Art Gallery of New South Wales) Adrian Feint - Del Rio, Elizabeth Bay (1944)

(courtesy of the Art Gallery of New South Wales) Adrian Feint - Del Rio, Elizabeth Bay (1944)

The Del Rio apartments are glamorous, in an old Hollywood way, and sit nestled on the hill looking down to the bay. It turns out that Adrian Feint lived near the building and we think we pinpointed the address, but we weren't able to confirm this. There is a beautiful park opposite Del Rio, which we understand was vacant at the time the painting was completed. Here are the apartments now:

Glamour lives here.

Glamour lives here.

We understand that Mr Feint moved at some stage to another apartment in Elizabeth Bay, on Elizabeth Bay Road, so we tracked this down too:



We suspect Mr Feint lived in one of the rear apartments as these would have had the view of the bay, which is often featured in his paintings.

So, there you have it, some pleasant and diverting detective work from our holiday.  We hope your break was relaxing too, and we both wish you all the best of the new year!

New Product Launch

Rose and Cucumber Face Mist

I have been working for the last few months on a couple of new products, the first of which I am proud to say is released today!  

Rose and Cucumber Face Mist is an excellent toner and can also be used on the face just to refresh the skin.  Made from gentle rose water and soothing cucumber water, this face mist is blended with hydrolised oats.  One of my favourite ingredients, hydrolised oats instantly sooth the skin, making it look and feel soft.  

You will note, of course, that this product is completely natural, vegan and is not tested on animals.  The labels have been beautifully designed by Karena at Magic Jelly.

Rose and Cucumber Face Mist is the perfect accompaniment to Pink Moon conditioning face soap and will shortly be joined by another new product, a face serum.  More on that later.  

If you are interested in trying Shanghai Lil & The Scarlet Fez's Rose and Cucumber Face Mist, come and say hello this Saturday at That Dapper Market at Bowden. 

Join the Club

Keeping up to date with Shanghai Lil & The Scarlet Fez news

If you have been following Shanghai Lil & The Scarlet Fez's blog (of course you have!), you will have noticed a change in the way it looks.  Take a look to the right:

Karena from Magic Jelly has created these fantastic buttons in the sidebar, all designed to lure you into the world of soap!  I must say, I love them, and I keep clicking on them for fun, they look so good.  Perhaps I should keep that to myself. 

You will have noticed that one of the buttons is for you to subscribe to a new newsletter that I will be releasing in the next week or so.  The newsletter will have news on upcoming markets and other events of interest, new product arrivals, special offers for subscribers and most importantly, fun!

You can also subscribe to this blog - there is a mini form just under the buttons for that.  If you subscribe to the blog, you will receive an email alerting you to new posts.  

Also, Shanghai Lil & The Scarlet Fez is now on Instagram!  You can find me at #shanghaililandthescarletfez.  The photos I will post here will be different to the content of this blog and Shanghai Lil & The Scarlet Fez's facebook page, but will focus on soap, what inspires me, more soap and anything else that captures my fancy.  Join up and welcome aboard!

New Product Photos!

Merging Interests

I have long collected vintage photographs and I was keen to incorporate them into the Shanghai Lil & The Scarlet Fez fold.  My friend Karena from Magic Jelly has kindly shared with me some of her vast knowledge of digital graphic programs to enable me to use some of my collection of photographs to promote my soaps.  With the keen eye of my partner, I have put together some images, which you will now find on my product listings at the store.  I am very pleased with the results and thank Karena and Stevie for their help!

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.

A Brief Holiday

Through the grainy, hyper-coloured lens of Harinezumi

My partner and I have just returned from a short holiday to Melbourne.   We drove along the Great Ocean Road, which has to be one of the world's great coastal drives, and I took along my bag of cameras, including the Harinezumi.  This little toy digital camera has a number of effects but they all come out looking roughly like a super 8 film, faded or saturated with time. 

We arrived in Melbourne via Geelong.  I hadn't been to Geelong before, and I loved it.  It had a lot of great domestic architecture and was very atmospheric.  I felt the past, being in Geelong.  Of particular note was the Eastern Beach precinct.   It was a dream for nostalgics, with sweeping lawns, a brilliant blue paddling pool, handsome red brick kiosks, brightly coloured picnic seating and, best of all, a whimsical fountain of joy!   The fountain itself was wonderful to look at, with lots of shells and stylised dolphins, but surrounding these were four large water birds standing on turtles!

We also visited the Heide Museum of Modern Art.  There was a wonderful exhibition of work by Emily Floyd called "Far Rainbow".  The exhibition was made up of a number of different media; prints, wood sculptures, a slide show, even grass matting!  I thought it captured an idyllic early 1970s feel with its primary colours and wooden toy-like shapes.  Of course, there is a more substantial reading of the work, but you can find this out for yourself here!  The two snaps below were taken at the exhibition (no flash, of course).

The Good 80s

Hurrah for Hoarding!

This may come as a shock to you, but the internet hasn't always been around.  I know, imagine!   Magazines used to be my number one path to inspiration, though they often fell short of my expectation, or alternatively, exceeded my ability to be 'cool'.   I kept most of my magazines, not being one to throw away ANYTHING, so I am pleased to be able to present a few images of the covers of an early 1980s magazine called Stiletto.  It was large format, had coloured covers but newsprint within, and it covered off on a wide variety of fashion, music and popular culture, with an inevitable focus on the Melbourne and Sydney scenes.

I remember reading through them (and this was one of the magazines I thought I couldn't quite live up to) and marveling at these strange types who dressed however they wanted and lived their entire lives in glittering nightclubs and bars.  I'm sure the reality was quite different, but they had an impact on me nonetheless.

Now I look at these magazines with nostalgia, but also, I can look at the covers afresh and note how imaginative they are.  I love the collage, the photocopied graininess, the hand-coloured detailing, strident patterns and limited colour palette.  There's no shoulder-padded corporate power-walking here, just good fresh design working within the restraints of budget and technology.   

Leaving all that aside, I MUST do a spread on the fashions within - everyone needs to know how to wear a sack well!

The New Melancholy

Autumn, Aspire and Annuals

I know it is stating the obvious, but autumn is here.  It seems to be a bit early, the leaves are well under way to their new colours, there are dahlias out, it smells smokey at night, it's cooler and now, daylight savings is over.  As much as I really don't like (I'm being mild here) the very hot weather, it is sad to see the summer go.  Sad in a melancholy way.  

But I love the small rituals of a change of season.  The decision to pack away the linen and pastel coloured argyle socks, switching from rose scented tea to chai, dusting off the Balmoral boots, raking leaves, ordering violets and looking through bulb catalogues, moving from citrus and herbal scents to woods and resins.   They are small and personal things - I'm certainly not a 'no white shoes after labor day' type of person - but each one is a rediscovery of things forgotten (if only for 6 months), and an anticipation of cool days ahead, rugged up and cosy.

Here's a flower.  A dahlia from our garden, no less, and I see we aren't the only ones keen to have a piece of this:

I was very proud during the week to have picked up a copy of Aspire Magazine, a free publication circulated at various venues around Adelaide, because I am in it!   Well, it wasn't about me in my gracious living room (a la "Hello" magazine), but there was a small article about Shanghai Lil & The Scarlet Fez soaps!  I was very happy about it and I'm chuffed to be in this new, very smart, magazine.   Here's the article, but I recommend reading the whole magazine, of course!

And finally, I am at the Wattle Street market in Fullarton on 12 April 2014, and Pop up at Prospect (Prospect Road) on 26 April 2014.   Come by and say hello and smell the soaps, bath salts, room sprays and perfumes I have on offer!

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:

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.