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I trekked to the other side of the world yesterday for hatmaking supplies and the like. Bought a red straw capeline, a cream straw hood, a black felt capeline, cobalt petersham ribbon, more neopolitan striped petersham, small gold and silver combs for my fascinators and a long length of the most divine pale olive French silk netting...honecombed and extraordinarily fine with weeny velvet spots randomly placed all over. More on what this is all for later.....

It's been a while.....

Now let me see, what have I been up to?

Let's not talk about work....ever.
But let's talk about...

...my new snood crochet pattern circa 1943.

...my completed hat in pale pink sinamay with pompoms and pleated ribbons of neapolitan icecreamness.

...and my latest plan for a 'LaRue' coolie sun hat trimmed with rows of fine natural raffia.

...my newly cut hair that can be set once more.

...the truly interesting documentary "Unfolding Florence"..I do love a woman of eccentricity who could play the banjolele.

...my first ukelele lesson and the wonderfully fun Ukelele Land concert in Newtown Saturday night last.

... my new crush on Tyrone Shoelaces who played his uke and sang love songs and showed slides Saturday night last.

...my plans for April in Paris 2007 which are well underway.

...my search for a new summer parfum (mixing Jo Malone's Vintage Gardenia with her French Lime Blossom is a goer)

...my looong list of to do's from my vintage Mcalls craft magazines.

...a shopping trip which gleaned a long box of Leone Violet pastilles and a box of tiny violet flower shaped sweets from a lolly shop in the CBD and a hefty cake of Provencal 'Violette' to bathe with.

...an attack of the vapours over Joachim Phoenix during a yet another viewing of 'Walk The Line'

...my newly blooming shell pink Wisteria.

and finishing Ava Gardener's autobiography.
  • Current Music
    James Darren

This week gone by..almost.

Sunday was just another day.

Monday was the day I finished my whimsy (in modern day vernacular..a fascinator). A meringued creation in pink sinamay with linen gumleaves tipped in pink and of course..a tiny kooka;brown feathered and pinkchested and laughing.

Tuesday was gelato day. The first day in ages that a peppermint gelato seemed like the order of the early evening.

Wednesday was champagne day. As much as one wished to drink whilst looking down onto a curved coathanger bridge and out to the speckled lights of a harbour rarely seen from this height.

Thursday was a shopping day and a day for new hair in a new city salon. I'm happy with my bright new hair, happy with my new eiffel tower scarf, happy with my Parisian lilac soap and Flavigny Violet Pastilles and very happy to have met up with a dear friend for dinner, for duck curry and discussion.

Friday has been a day of rest and relaxation. A sleep in and the last episode of ABC's Come in Spinner on dvd for brunch, 'Moulin Rouge' for lunch and ebay for afternoon tea.

Saturday will be for vintage scouring

and Sunday will be for 50's Fairing.

'tis a season

There is often discussion about which of the four seasons most appeals to people and why. I must admit, I love each season for what each is. Different for what each brings forth. I live each season without looking back or forward to the next.
I read once, in a wonderfully creative soul's journal, a list of seasonal inspirations. Concepts, places, all sorts of "things" that to her corresponded with the seasons. She, as many romantics seem to, detested summer and could give not one postitive comment. I however, when living through summer, love it for all it is worth.
Here is how some my life and interests correspond to and are part of each season.

Autumn is: clear skies and colourful sunsets, swinging in deserted parks at night, frangipanis that bloom right into April, Easter, cameos, Bowral NSW, sailors, Anzac Day, knitting, a renewed interest in baking, Ruth Park, ecclesiastical incense, corned beef and mustard pickles, Jean Rhys, champagne,'The Rocks'pubs, creme brulees, Dymphna Cusack, cemeteries,the Mitford Sisters, red leaves, Devonshire teas, Evelyn Waugh, oil painting...

Winter is: Foggy mornings, newly knitted hats from vintage patterns, the smell of woodfires, early darkening evenings, Katoomba NSW, Absinthe, French food, be-caped heroines, red lit and rose scented boudoirs, wool suits and crocodile handbags, scented candles, "The Hydro Majestic", "The Carrington", thunderous skies, walks in the rain, fruitcake and homemade jam, meloncholia, cumquats, clementines and mandarins, pianolas, tweed and herringbone, pompoms, home-roasted chestnuts, bakelite, chenille dressinggowns, Schubert, steamtrains...

Spring is: jasmine, wisteria and freesias growing wild, mint scented mornings, weeklong birthdays, August winds, Leura NSW, vases of pale pink Stock, Jacaranda trees in bloom, picnics, Paris, 1930's gardening styles, rhinestones, cottage gardens, The Everglades, forget me nots, violets, walks through art deco Sydney, Collette, brand new ensembles with matching everthing, falling in or back into love, rare bunches of lily of the valley, , ivy, lilac soap, the racing season, anodised aluminium picnic cups, cointreau, technicolour musicals...

Summer is: freedom, celebration and relaxation, the cricket on television, games of cricket watched from heritage grandstands, aquamarines, vintage swimsuits and matching coverups, eating seafood caught from sapphire waters, oysters, Tahiti, Hawaii, coral jewellry, the smell of fallen gumleaves; dried in the sun, the smell of the sea, Christmas bush and Christmas Bells, gardenias, swimming laps in clear, creature-bottomed rockpools, baked Christmas dinners on hot days, pearls, straw and raffia, fig jam, NSW South Coast beaches, fine licorice-strap sandles, 1960's Hawaii, Gidget, Blue Hawaii and Fun in Acapulco, The Isle of Capri circa 1955, The Water Babies, rockabilly and western swing, dancing, New Years Eve and The Sydney Festival...

As I said before, I 'live' each season to the end, but who could escape noticing last night's strange warmth without anticipating what is coming fast...and yes, I noticed this morning the first spring freesia; the scent to me is the olfactive equivalent of being in love.


I have been allowing myself to enjoy nightly one single 'Charbonnel et Walker' English Violet Cream. After tea I take a "dark enrobed" dainty from its pearlised mauve box and close my eyes to the taste of chocolate and violets. I am now down to five.

I carry in my purse a small box of Leone Italian violet pastilles that I purchase from a kitschy sweetie shop south of where I am. They make such a nice change from strong mints and not to mention how sweet the delicate packaging looks when I snap open my purse.

Last Thursday night I happened upon a shop selling English sweets and such, that I admit I have only just discovered. I am so glad I did as my first glance inside found never before tried, "old fashioned", cellophane wrapped rolls of Swizzels 'Parma Violets' in two sizes; shoulder bag and evening purse. I left the store with a baggie full, feeling very content to have come across a new way for me to eat violets.

I have long had a penchant for violet flavoured treats. Three of my favourite things I bought in Paris last are in desparate need of replenishing. My near empty bottle of Benoit Serres Violette liqueur sits in a cupboard knowing the end is nigh and a crumpled bag with a frayed pink ribbon is all that is left of my Laduree crystallised violets, which I scattered over every cake and dessert I served a year back. My next trip will bring back another black tin of Mariage Freres violet tea as well.

The next delight I would love to try is violet marmalade on toasted brioche. Perhaps from the wonderful 'stylish shop' of M.and Mrs Charron of Toulouse...Perhaps.

And also,
I know this isnt violet flavoured but it is violet coloured..I wonder...has anyone else except for me tried Vok Parfait Amour liqueur...mixed with champagne?

Cake topper

I found yesterday, packed away, a small pink china lady.
A topsy turvey Marie Antoinette. Who is missing herself from the waist down but still has her beautiful powder-wigged head. This lovely thing was atop a cake which was in the shape of her beautiful skirt, iced in pink and covered with rococo pipings. I would have been about eight when I was presented with this wonderful cake. I was thrilled to bits.

For my sixth birthday, (my first ever party where small friends were on the guest list), my clever Aunty made me a cake that was a smash.

It was a round cake covered in peach coloured icing. In the centre, stood a ribbon-wrapped maypole from which a pastel rainbow of narrow satin ribbons fluttered into the hands of tiny maypole dancers who encircled the top of the cake. These little dancers were those tiny plastic cupie doll babies which she had dressed in royal icing crinolines in colours matching their ribbons. There dresses were glittered in silver. It was positively exquisitive!

I don't think I could replicate this cake but may have a go at making my own Dolly Varden for my birthday coming, using my china lady. I have the skirt shaped tin that was my mother's in which I shall bake a white chocolate cake and ice in frilled layers of pale pink.

Train of thought

I heard that song the other day... (I am so out of the way of mainstream number ones), 'Red Fingernails, Black wine',isn't that what it is called?? or is it the other way around?? ....

anyway, for an unguarded moment, I thought it must have been the new INXS? singing away in such an obvious manner. The sound reminded me of eighties INXS or for that matter Noiseworks..or maybe Boom Crash Opera???
Regardless, it set me to thinking back to that blessed era and of the many nights at local venues spent ruining my hearing.
My next memory was of 'seeing a band' circa 1987 at a 'very'local/non-innercity venue; that band being THE DAMNED.

They were touring to promote their most recently?('85) released album, Fantasmagoria. Having at that time, a bit of a crush on Dave Vanian, may I state emphatically that he lived up to my romantic expectations. I remember he wore a white swashbuckling shirt, tight tight black trousers, purple cumberbund, black leather gloves and hat trimmed with a purple bandana and a waxed black moustache ( so well groomed for a 'grimly fiendish') It was a night to remember.

My next drifting of thoughts went to US VOGUE's description of the Wedding feast of Miss D.Von Teese and Mr M.M. This March article described the sheer extravaganza of this wedding feast in a castle in Ireland. Let me (with a nod to Vogue) relay some of the details.

The banquet dining tables were lit by towering candelabras spilling with garnet fronds of love lies bleeding, roses and clusters of dark-burgany grapes. The table was set with black and ruby Waterford crystal goblets and Wedgwood black basalt porcelain roses are scattered over the black Irish linen tablecloth and black on black monogrammed napkins. The placecards are black pastry ovals dotted in pearls with the guests initials. From observing the one photograph of this banquet hall it appears to be painted in red. The effect is astounding. They dine on Dublin Bay prawns, Irish lobster, Angus beef and blackberry and absinthe sorbet. Swish.

This then led me to remember a small passage in a book recently read entitled Against the Grain or (A Rabours) by J.K Huysmans (1884).
In Chap.1. The main character reminisces about a dinner party held for his decadent friends.

" The dining room was hung with black and looked out on a strangely metamorphasised garden, the walks being strewn with charcoal, the little basin in the middle of the lawn bordered with a rim of black basalt and filled with ink."

"The dinner itself was served on a black cloth and decorated with baskets of violets and scabiosae and illuminated by candleabras in which tall tapers flared."

"..a concealed orchestra played funeral marches."

"The viands were served on black bordered plates,- turtle soup, Russian black bread, ripe olives from Turkey, caviar, mule steaks, Frankfurt smoked sausages, game dished up in sauces coloured to resemble liquorice water and boot-blacking, truffles in jelly, chocolated tinted creams, puddings, nectarines, fruit preserves, mulberries and cherries. The wine was drunk from dark-tinted glasses...after coffee and walnuts came other unusual beverages, kwas, porter and stout."

These musings have inspired me. I am going to endeavour to come up with my own dark, dream dinner and table settings. Move over Martha..
  • Current Music
    "Is it a dream?" The Damned 1985

Four and twenty

The day today is still and cold and strangely yellow.
The walk to the corner shop earlier on was very pleasant indeed.I walked home not seeing a soul with my basket filled with foodstuffs and a bottle of vin rouge for tonights boeuf bourguignon pies. A decided lack of cars is a wonderful thing too, pity school holidays ends today.
Now I am home. A young Perry Como is singing to me as I sit by my small radiator and tap, tap, whilst small shiny blackbirds sit in wait to be baked into tonights pies.
  • Current Music
    Kewpie Doll - Perry Como

Just Ducky

Last night I purchased, from a well known Tea Centre in my city, a sweet little silver tea infuser in the shape of a duck. I will take it to work to brew some tea in my violety cup and saucer. That should make some painful person squirm.