My mum had (still has actually) an Australian cookbook from the 1960s when I was growing up. I didn’t know who the author, Margaret Fulton was then. When I lived in Sydney, I discovered that Margaret Fulton was probably the first Australian cook book writer and is still going strong in her 80s, One day while wandering around my neighbourhood, I found one of her early (1974) omnibus cookbook in a hardback in a secondhand book shop and snapped it up. I wanted my own Margaret Fulton cook book too. The photos were so different from how the cook books are styled nowadays. I think I bought it more for the nostalgic value than from wanting to make things from it. But then again I think that’s how I am with the cook books I buy. I keep them and occasionally leaf through them and treat them more like reading material! Feasting on the gorgeous photos is a treat too. But when I need a recipe, I turn to the internet. Do you do that too?
However, there is one thing from my mum’s original Margaret Fulton cook book which mum used to make when I was little, that I have recently in the last few years, started to make again. Our whole family loves scones and they are so easy to make. They are so yummy with clotted cream and strawberry jam, who doesn’t like a Devonshire cream tea?! Now my mum asks me to make them for her! And I do.
We got this lovely mid-century modern Metamac electric wall clock which we had plugged and running in our guest room. It ran so smoothly and beautifully. We loved this little clock – an English made beauty in a minimalist style. Then a couple of years later, we decided to renovate our place and had to pack up everything. So into the storage this clock went (for its own protection, ironically) When the renovations were completed, for some inexplicable reason (I think possibility laziness and inertia), we did not unpack all the stuff we had put into safe storage quite so quickly. This clock was amongst the things that sat in storage for another good few months.
So finally when it was unpacked and placed back into its rightful position on the vintage little bookcase in the guest room, to my horror, the second hand refused to budge. No matter how I tried to cajole it, it steadfastly remained dormant.
Lesson learnt was electrical items, whether vintage or not benefit from being used or at least turned on to run occasionally. So now, I have found an antiques dealer who is willing to take a look at my clock. I keep my fingers crossed that all it needs is some oiling to get it going again, since it was running fine before the long hiatus. I love my vintage treasures, I don’t think the current disposable culture is such a good one. It inculcates values which advocate waste and instant gratification. Both of which permeate into other aspects of our lives and do not make us better people at all.
So as I type this, I am full of hope that the antiques man can fix the clock for me and I can have it running beautifully again on my book case.
This little vintage ceramic vessel was gifted to me by a good friend from work and in fact this was part of a vintage cup and bowl set she used for lunch in the office. She knew that I was a fellow vintage lover and we used to chat in the office pantry over lunch about our latest finds in the weekend flea market or in a thrift shop. We reveled in those exchanges and traded nuggets over treasures that we love and items that we were looking out for. It was a work friendship that transcended past the office and carried over time and place. We have both left the company that we worked together in and also both moved away from the country where we first met. But the friendship cemented over our common love for these beautiful old things, has remained. I inherited this together with the bowl when my dear friend left the office and now use this vessel as a vase and I use it very often as I find the shape and size so convenient. Whenever I see the beautiful blooms in it, I think of my dear friend across the miles.
Have you ever had a moment where you just cannot remember when and where you have bought or been given something? I had one of these moments a few months back when I was culling my wardrobe. As I live by the “you wear 10% of your clothes 90% of the time” motto, I try to cull my clothes every few months as they live in a vintage gentleman’s dresser, which if you are familiar with vintage pieces, you will know that it is a modest sized piece of furniture, mostly for hanging suits.
Anyway, back to my wardrobe culling, I found this batik skirt with a gathered elastic waistband, looking starched and never worn in my wardrobe. I had no idea how it got there and have no memory of buying it. I wondered if it were a piece of old batik which I had asked my mum to sew into a simple skirt? I had gone through a phase some 10-15 years ago when I was buying a lot of batik so I suspect it might have been an old batik piece which had somehow made a comeback and got stuck between pieces of clothing until I noticed it?
It was a mystery. In the end, I asked my mum to cut the long batik skirt short so that it was more wearable, from ankle to knee length. Here I am wearing it with my mid calf leather boots amidst beautiful autumn leaves. I love upcycling old fabric and I am glad this batik skirt has now gotten a new lease of life.
Some wise person said simplicity is not about deprivation, but it is about creating space for living. We know many of us now live in spaces which are getting smaller. Hence I am a firm believer of surrounding myself with things that I love. Every item is specifically selected, serves a particular function (aesthetic function IS also a function, LOL) and has a special place. Things which don’t fit this simple principle is edited out, it makes life much simpler, and the house easier to upkeep. It also uplifts your mood and gives you emotional space not to be cluttered with so many physical items.
Being vintage lovers, our living space is filled with many vintage, retro pieces but they also sit side by side with some other new pieces, existing in perfect harmony, neither overpowering either. Living with preloved also helps save the world from unnecessary landfill and waste, another principle which many vintage lovers also respect.
How do you want to create your space for living?
What do you get a vintage lover for their birthday? Recently we celebrated a good vintage (won’t tell you exactly what vintage that is, but definitely would be in the retro and vintage category by now). In the mail from New Zealand came a lovely package and together with the beautiful card, there was a book that is just up our alley. And then yesterday, a slightly belated gift came. In the carefully packed box which was transported over from Australia, was a lovely vanilla candle in a vintage parfait glass. The scent from the candle even though unlit, was discernible in the living room and was a nice freshener.
There’s nothing like these gorgeous vintage pieces from lovely friends and relatives to help you celebrate a good vintage.
Sometimes less is more. When you (1) have a serious client meeting; (2) need to meet government officials for work; (3) have a personal meeting with your banker who will evaluate if to give you a bank loan; (4) are interviewing for a new job, sometimes the safest thing to do is to wear a sombre suit or a dark-coloured dress to project the “right” image (unless you work in the creative areas or one of those new economy industries, then you want to dress the OPPOSITE of this). But wearing a serious, dark outfit may be so dampening, dull or drab. To keep the image but yet to add a touch of individuality, style or focus of interest, you can consider adding a vintage brooch such as this heavy gold-tone beauty, to the outfit. It will strike the right balance of “proper” and “style” and you can be serious and yet not look like a member of the regimented work army in typical corporate uniform. So experiment and have fun!