Friday, April 29, 2011


With a royal wedding it's time to revisit some favorite movie weddings:

Elizabeth Taylor in Father of the Bride (1950)

Gene Tierney in Razor's Edge (1946)

Joan Crawford in 1937's The Bride Wore Red...

...which is really more about this number!

Myrna Loy and William Powell in Double Wedding (1937)

And of course, How To Marry a Millionaire (1953)

The original run away bride! Ginger Rogers in It Had To Be You (1947)

The Philadelphia Story (1940)

Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face (1957)

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Monday, April 25, 2011


What a beautiful day for ANZAC Day! No dawn service for us this year but a nice sleep in, watching some of the march, then off on a jaunt to the other side of the river. We had a lovely stroll along Brunswick Street in Fitzroy. We popped into shops to look at overpriced vintage clutch purses (but so pretty!), try on some hats and look at frilly knickers. We picked up some stuff at bike stores then found a table for two under a plane tree for tea. Very relaxing! And everyone is so polite over there - no beggars, no crazy people!

We then trotted off to Chapel Street to do some boy shopping - we bought a new Mac and a camera - which is a super duper professional one! Today is last day of our long holiday so I'm going to catch up on some war movies.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter bunny!

Happy Easter! I've been super busy eating chocolate, watching old movies and sewing up a storm. I've made two shirts, a rather tight skirt (must stop eating chocolate!) and some jimjams. A friend came over with some proper Jewish chicken soup. While we were cooking Lyle came in proudly bearing a rat. Nice. While I was taking it out to the rubbish I found George with another one and while trying to save it from becoming cat food the little beggar bit me. Ouch! From now on the little critters are going to have to save themselves because it really hurt and I was worried about getting really sick (no lockjaw so far!) Not much fun.
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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I am now officially a sewer - I have a stash!

Had a day off work to spend with my sweetie. We slept in, I watched an episode of Xena with the cats, before we headed off to Prahran. We went to our regular cafe at the markets, where I had the biggest Anzac biscuit I've ever had in my life - so big I came over all thrifty and wrapped it up in my hanky for later. Then - excitingist of excitings - I went to Spotlight. There was lots to choose from and I got some bargains. Mainly cotton for shirts, a new skirt, a dress and a pair of pajamas. Yippee! My favorite part is button shopping. Though the fabric bit was a bit stressful. They cut the fabric and I completely panic that I've not bought the right length. My young man has been on at my to treat myself to a fabric shop for a while, and he's right, I love sewing and now vow to do it more often. It was so nice to spend time with Mr C, and now we're having our favourite dinner - yakitori chicken. Yum! I also bought a few secret treats on etsy - but that's a surprise for when they arrive!
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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Half watched movies

God I hate Spielberg. I dragged myself through Empire of the Sun and he just confirmed for me yet again that he is one of the least original, banal directors ever. And people LOVE this film. Grrrrr.

I then watched a series of Damien Parer's news reels. I must confess that I didn't give this my full attention, not because the footage isn't moving, but because, if you're an Australian, you're probably very familiar with his work. It features some of the iconic imagery of Australian forces during the war - notably on the Kokoda Track. Parer actually won Australia's first Academy Award for one of his news reels.

I've been thinking I'd like to do the Kokoda Trail trek - but people die on it even these days so I'd have to do a tremendous amount of training!

Also got around to watching Melville's Silence de la Mer - one of his first films. Based on a famous Resistance novel published by the underground press. As a film it's wonderful, as a Resistance piece it's curious. A Nazi officer is billeted in a farm house in rural France. The owners, an old man and his niece show passive resistance by ignoring the officer. They literally only say one word to him throughout the film. The role of the officer is surprisingly positive - he's a Good German. But I do find his naivety difficult to swallow and somewhat unbelievable. Though one of the conditions of Melville being able to film the book was that he get it vetted by Resistance leaders. All but one approved it - so if they're not troubled by it, who am I to quibble. As for resistance - it's of a very passive kind. The French have a word for these type of people during the Occupation which translates roughly as 'the waiters' - people who did nothing but sit out the occupation and wait for it all to be over. Not quite what we've come to expect from the Resistance myth. The film barely conveys that even to do this was an extremely brave act. So I was left with the feeling that they hadn't done quite enough. Again, who knows what I would have done in similar circumstances. Still, it's an economical piece of film making.

I don't know why I can't pay attention at the moment but I'm half watching the 1948 Ealing drama Against the Wind. It's about the SOE - one of my favorite topics. I missed the beginning so I'm not really sure what's going on. But other critics have said it is confusing at the beginning so I'm just waiting for the story to start.

And I half watched Olivier's Hamlet. I'm not a huge fan of Hamlet to begin with - he seems like a moody teenager - most annoying. And at 40 Olivier was surely a trifle long in the tooth? Though regarded as his best at the time it's now been downgraded. And rightly so.

So not showing much movie stamina right now! And my book pile is growing and I've neglected that too. And I should be sewing... What have I been doing with my time?!

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Laziest blogger award

The Laziest Blogger Award goes! Been super busy busy at work, with night shifts and author talks, school holiday programs and more auditing work. Busy but good. Now it's time to watch some movies and relax before I do a Sunday shift tomorrow. Been buying still more patterns. I think it's time to take a break from that for a while, and actually start sewing!

A house dress - how glamourous will I look doing the dishes?!

I am completely in love with this pattern but a bit concerned about getting the fit right. The original owner has drawn a plaid pattern on the bodice and I'm thinking a contrasting fabric there is a pretty good idea.

Because I love vintage sleep wear. And because madam on the left has a cute hair set.

I broke my pattern rule with his one. I generally keep pattern and postage to $20 or under - but this one is just so special I spent a bit more.You don't get many culotte patterns from the 40s.

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

New hair cut

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Friday, April 8, 2011

Glamour puss!

Last night I had a makeover. I finally got my hair cut. And holy moley! I've found a hair dresser who's interested in vintage styles. I dropped off my Lauren Rennells styling book and the Turudich bible of 40s styles. And she read them both! Then spent the rest of the day researching techniques online. What a marvel.

First up we talked about colours. I wanted something dark, she wanted red. She started to point out colours that were in fashion and didn't seem to mind when I told her I didn't care about that! Hairdressers always tell me not to go dark as it will 'wash me out'. I was hoping this was just the spray tan interpretation of what I would call 'elegantly pale'. So dark it was.

The cut was exactly as the book described. She then set my hair in pin curls, bless her. Perhaps not the set I would have done, but at least she's giving it a go. I'll see how I go with it tonight.

So, an informed hair dresser who listened to what I had to say, explained what she was doing and let me have my way if I insisted. She asked me to pop in and see her today to show her how the set turned out and listened to my feedback about how we could do it better. Awesome!

And because winning one thing isn't enough for me - check out this competition! I could win this little guy!

I'm sure Mr C thinks I need a proper pincushion instead of leaving pins on the floor for him to step on. And if I don't win this cutie, they can help me make my own pincushion:

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

A stitch in time

Look what arrived at the library this morning! A stitch in time knitting features patterns from the 20s, 30s and 40s. Sadly, I am not a knitter. But luckily, I have a mum who's a whiz at it!

I'm looking for a new cardi so that I can give my brown one a rest. These are the options:

What do you reckon? It will depend a lot on what wool mum can get in country Victoria too, but I, of course, am thinking mulberry and plum and wine colours.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Glass half...

Some things aren't so flash. A fight with my dad about the wedding. (Yes, seriously. And the wedding is A YEAR away!) My mum's darling Nik cat fading. A friend losing her beloved dog. Discovering a massive potential auditing headache. Realizing ALL my girlfriends now live interstate. My sister's in a financial pickle.

But then there are good things. Like payday. (Oh no! Etsy beckons!) Like autumnal sunshine. Hairdressers that find forties styling techniques exciting. Friends over for pizza. Breakfasts with puppy dogs. A new cycling buddy. Winning a blogger's give away!!! A new blouse pattern! Yay! My poor demented kitty cat coming inside for the first time in a year. Xena!!

Look at the pattern I won!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Pattern frenzy

More pattern shopping. There are 1940s patterns out there selling for $70. It's crazy. So I figured I'd snap up patterns on the cheap while I can. I really should buy some fabric soon, but it's so expensive here.

This is a 1941 pattern. Dolman sleeves like this were popular in the early 40s but dropped off with the war. Thought it would be nice in wool crepe for winter.

Again, I'm looking for a winter outfit so will probably go with bracelet length sleeves. I've never sewn a peplum before and not too sure that it will suit me. If it works I'm hoping I can adapt it for my pansy dress reconstruction.

Love the bow detail! I think this is such a librarian's outfit.

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

A film or two

Well, it's certainly entertaining, but I don't think I can get my head around the fact that this isn't history in any way. The character of Spartan society troubled me a little too, I'm not sure this is altogether something to admire. Still, it was fun and it did look awfully good.

Beneath Hill 60
A good film. Not brilliant - but I good small film about miners digging tunnels beneath enemy lines in WWI. I'd just finished reading the book on the battle for Pozieres so I know that contributed to my enjoyment of the film. It's got some real tension going on. Good stuff. But the best stuff is the story of how it was made. Local football clubs filled the trench sandbags as part of their training. Little old ladies from the area knitted gloves and wrote love letters in their period handwriting. German backpackers in the area volunteered to be German troops. Returned soldiers from the Middle East played wounded troops. Plus they managed to make Townsville look like a bombed out, muddy Belgium.

The life and death of Colonel Blimp
Another Powell and Pressburger film and I absolutely loved it. It chronicles the life of an old fashioned soldier from the Boer War to WWII, and how he struggles to understand the changing nature of warfare. As with many P &P films it is also about what it means to be English. Near perfection.

La Vie en Rose
I don't often abandon films. But my! what an unpleasant woman Edith Piaf appears to have been. And because I disliked her so much I'm inclined to doubt her claims to having worked for the Resistance during the war - she certainly entertained enough of the Gestapo. Plus, it's hard to see how you earn an Oscar for pretending to be drunk and screaming at people. Horrible.

Pepe le Moko
The French original. A complete fairytale of a film. Pepe is a thief who is holed up in the Casbah of Algiers. As long as he stays there he's safe, but the instant he leaves he'll be scooped up by police who have waited years to catch him. Of course, he's undone by a woman. It's regarded as the proto- film noir. Remade pretty much shot for shot in the 40s with Charles Boyer and Hedy Lamarr (ah, Hedy!) which makes for pretty spooky viewing. Which do I like better? I think this version. Jean Gabin as Pepe is superb, Charles Boyer makes him a bit of a soft playboy. Can't remember who the woman is but she's flintier that Hedy - plus she has those amazing 30s eyebrows! The shots in the Casbah are beautiful, helped by a curious barrel distortion? Vignetting? Anyway, the edges of the frame are quite blurred, only the very centre of the shot is in focus. Dreamlike.

Double Indemnity
Because we love Barbara Stanwyck. I don't normally do much film noir because I can't stand to see people willfully putting their head in the noose, but this is one of my favorites. Two people both rotten to the core, who couldn't leave well enough alone. I've decided to read the book.

F For Fake
Technically speaking, I didn't watch this because I abandoned it halfway through. I think this is Orson Welles' last film and it's a loose documentary on a pair of hoaxes. I hated it. The editing techniques are superb and ground breaking, it's here that the movie derives most of its energy. Because apart from the editing, it's a curiously passive film that doesn't really explore or do anything. Bored me to tears and just proves again that I hate the 70s.

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