Thursday, November 29, 2012

House and Garden

It has been wild and crazy round these parts (I'm talking weather here - not life. It's always wild and crazy here as far as that's concerned!) The power went out around 1pm and we were without electricity until 10 this morning. It was quite nice playing Uno with the girls by candle light. A struggle for them though without their gadgetry "What did people used to do in the olden days, when you were a kid Mum?" Ha-bloody-ha! Perhaps that's why I am still the undisputed Queen of Uno? All that experience playing cards etc by the light of ye olde candle in the days before electricity, running water etc! 

That is Woolfy's lovely handmade garland draped across Her Maj, being blown about by the wind.

The wild weather is just a hiccup though, Summer is definitely on it's way. Our garden, not even two months in the ground, has gone gangbusters.

(click here to see how much it's grown)

And can you believe, from this little whirl of grey 'fluff'

the most beautiful flower appears?

We've had more ouchflower surprises, in orange too

And speaking of electricity (although I'm not anymore, am I?), here is the new Swedish pendant light (not Ikea) we have installed above my new desk (which you can't see in the photo because we just - by a smidge - ran out of time to install it properly - we came this close, which did make me sad, but I'm a big girl and I've gotten over it...took some time though!)

Just to show you what we're working with in this house (!) here's the same spot before we worked our ply 'magic'

Yep, that's right. The previous owners built the back extension (although to call it that is s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g the truth big time!) around the old outside dunny! (toilet) And not in a cool Iggy Peck way either! 

Notice how the toilet opened out into what can only be loosely called, our living area! Lovely! Not very pleasant when someone's doing number two's (or one's for that matter!)

Here's the desk propped in place to give you an idea of what it's going to look like when it's done

much better eh?

Our bedroom has had a fresh coat of paint too. Dulux Silver Thaw - not quite the colour I thought it was - too much purple, I thought it would be greyer, but (and I'm not sure if I should mention this here as Anth reads my blog!) we can always repaint it down the track...can't we Anthony?

Pressed tin ceiling - every room in this house has a different ceiling! Some tin, some plaster with ornate roses and cornices, and others, the 70's ones, plain and unadorned.

We have the ply cut and ready to go to build a bedhead and bed-sides, but we'll have to tackle that in the new year (that's when I'll hang my dreamcatcher Pippa)

I'll end this by saying Happy Birthday to this cheeky little Vegemite kid

Anth's Dad at seven.

and to Pippa, and Tammi (who turned the big 4-0 TODAY!) x

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Vintage Tea Towel Tuesday

A quartet of pretty vintage tea towels.

(not a dog, cat, or chicken in sight!)

I am going to restrain myself from rabbiting on (ha-ha!) about them, because there's going to be a little pop quiz at the end of this post and I don't want to give the game away.

Made in Romania

What is it about brown, and orange that's just so lovely? (oops! I might have just let the cat out of the bag...) Compare it to it's 'twin' in pink and green...


Which one do you prefer?

Made in Poland

Made in Romania

Right class, are you all paying attention? To win one of these tea towels (your choice) send me a note telling me which t.t. you think I like best. And which t.t. you like best. Easy peasy Japanesey! (is it still okay to say things like that?) If more than one of you get it right (um, hello!), I'll do the random number thingo, and let you know who gets the gold star next Tuesday.

I love the washing instructions on these

it's not like we're talking cashmere!

Thanks for reading my blog x

p.s.  the winner of this t.t. was comment #16, which just happened to be written by my lovely partner in retro cooking crime, Donna from Hung Up on Retro. Donna has won two of my give-aways...perhaps I should ban her from entering this one? Only joking Donna!


Monday, November 26, 2012

"Wild horses could not drag me away from


Awesome mid-century horsey textile, with teak trim, and a leather loop to hang it from.

"Heyeyey, it's a beautiful thing"

You, on the other hand

were a big, fat mistake.

Huge tapestry (1 x 1.5 metres), made in Turkey by Guney Sanayi. What was I thinking when I parted with cash for this monstrosity? What was Sanayi thinking? (Adelaide just said she reckons he was on acid!!!)  

You tell me...There is definitely something unnerving about this ode to puppy/pussy love. The more I look at it, the more it freaks me out. And the chickens! What's with them?

"You can call me a fool, you can call me blind" In this case, it wouldn't be far from the truth.

p.s. Lyrics from Gino Vannelli's 1987 hit, Wild Horses.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Here are some old greeting cards I found in an op-shop a few weeks ago, still in their little cellophane packets, 25 cents each...

designed by Brian

designed by Sue Adams
(more on The Phil Taylor Studios here)

My life at the moment - except I'm the one wielding the paint brush(!) and one of the reasons things are going to be a bit quiet round here for a while. I also have a couple of assignments rapidly reaching their due-by-date so it's time for me to stop piss-farting around and get them done! Pity I don't practice what I preach as far as homework's (etc) concerned!
designed by Lesley

designed by Heather S. Buchanan


designed by Francis Saint Mark

designed by Patrick

they're lovely, aren't they?

Gordon Fraser was a British publisher and editor. He founded the Gordon Fraser Greeting card company in 1938 when he was unable to find a stylish, inexpensive Christmas card (nothing's changed Gordon, Christmas cards are still tacky. The nice ones...still pricey)

vintage Gordon Fraser cards aren't exactly cheap either btw - ten dollars + on ebay!

Take care x

p.s. I'll contact the winner of this  directly.
(and spill the beans with the rest of you next time I post)

p.p.s. this post was inspired by Donna's on 70's Wrapping Paper.     


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vintage Tea Towel Tuesday (and a little give-away)

There's no forgetting what this gorgeous 70's number was made for...

Subtlety is not its strong point. Why waste time pussy-footing around?

I really like it, do you?  I would hang it in my kitchen, above the sink if I didn't have hundreds of other worthy candidates clamouring for wall space.

 (and if I thought certain girlies of the teenage variety would read it and obey  oblige!)

If you'd like to funk up your kitchen and (hopefully) send a message to the errant dryer-upperers in your life, just drop me a note in the comments and it's yours.

(more than one of you and I'll pick a winner randomly next Tuesday 13 November)


p.s. I always include a few extra vintagey surprises in my give-aways...just saying...

p.p.s speaking of give-aways, check this one out.

Monday, November 5, 2012

I Raise My Glass

Donna and I were blown away by the fabulous response to our first "It's A Retro Cook-Off!" link up. Our retro cooks did not disappoint. In fact their efforts in the kitchen were nothing short of brilliant(ly awful!) From the sublime to the ridiculous, fantastic to gagtastic, devine to Chicken Devin, our cook-off had it all!

It was an absolute blast and in some cases, (a few more than others!) a real test of mind over matter:

"Dana's Swedish Salmon Mould is not real. It cannot hurt me. It is only a photograph. I do not need to vomit. Look away from the screen Kylie, you are not in the same continent, let alone the same kitchen!"

You get the picture (and if you've checked out some of linkys you will know exactly where I'm coming from)

To show our appreciation for everyone's efforts, I thought it might be nice to recap in the form of a virtual "It's A Retro Cook-Off" 'Cook Book'. I will save this in a link in the side bar of my blog to make it easy for you to find a particular recipe, something delicious(?) you can inflict on  serve with luuurve, to those you love.  All occasions covered btw, from cocktails to Christmas. Spew bags at the ready, here you go...


Pippa's Creme of Celery Shake
Unusual Coleslaw's Barossa Lightning

Tam's Devils on Horseback
Jenny's Shrimp and Orange Cocktail
Unusual Coleslaw's Prawn and Grapefruit Cocktail


Dana's Swedish Salmon Mould
Pippa's Fiesta Peach Spam Bake


Donna's Salmon Party Salad
Unusual Coleslaw's Salmon Meringue Tart
Lakota's Cod in Custard

Tam's Hawaiin Sandwich

Lea's Mumma's Marshmallow Salad


Tina's Sausage Puff
Rebecca's Easy Beef and Cheese Pie
Chicken Devin


Unusual Coleslaw's Jellied Pea Salad
Sarah's Celery and Peanuts


Pineapple Princesses Whispering Shells
Pineapple Princesses Pineapple Paradise
Moira's Apricot Nectar
Ann's Aunty Flora's Chocolate Pudding

(the Princesses have had trouble linking up, you MUST check out their recipes)

Loo's Orange a la Turque
Tam's Coconut Banana Rolls
Wendz Fridge Tart
Unusual Coleslaw's Rum Pudding
Pineapple Chiffon Cake

(this had to have its own category!)



I bow down and take my apron off to these guys, when you check out what they've cooked, you will too. Oh and they're not just fab cooks, they write lovely blogs too!


(all pics courtesy their creators)

p.s would you join in if we did this again? After Christmas perhaps...

p.p.s. tardy contributions still welcome. I'll add your recipe to our 'book' whenever you join in. Just add your link here.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

It's A Retro Cook-Off!

Good afternoon everyone, welcome to "It's A Retro Cook-Off!" Thanks for dropping by, and an even bigger thank you if you've popped on an apron yourself and joined in. We love you guys! You're awesome! 

There's been alot of cookin in my kitchin over the last couple of days, but NOT alot of eatin! (which in all honesty is quite surprising, because none of my fixins were as gag-tastic as I thought or hoped they'd be)

I like to think of "It's A Retro Cook-Off!" as the bloggy equivalent of an old-school Smorgasbord. So grab a plate, and check out everyone's offerings, I'm sure you'll find something to tempt repel your tastebuds.     

Anyway, enough chit-chat. Here are my contributions to our buffet...

Pineapple Chiffon Cake 1963

I found this recipe on retro Ruth's fabulous blog The Mid Century Menu. It is described as "a mouth-watering fluffy filling, layered with chocolate cookies"

Here's the recipe:

And here's my reality:

You know what's missing don't you? A big glug of yellow food colouring! I can't believe I forgot to add this - a splash of 'poison' would've brought this cake to life! It looks so insipid compared to its glowing/radiactive 60's predecessor. I was pleased though, that I managed to turn it out of the tin in one piece!

Tasting Notes

Kylo-meter: 2/5 fluffy? yes, mouth-watering? no. Not yellow enough. Would've been nicer without the biscuits.

Antho-meter: 4.5/5 Anthony loved this - good thing too, see kiddo-meter! (but he also loves Arnott's Orange Slice biscuits! Ewwww!)

Kiddo-meter: Despite saying "No offence Mum, but I thought the whole idea was to cook something that looks really gross - this doesn't!" both daughters refused to try it. Which says it all really, doesn't it... 

Curried Chicken Divan
(that's divan, not devine!)

Chicken Divan was the signature dish of a 1950's restaurant in New York, called The Divan Parisienne.

I'm sure the original Chicken Divan didn't contain a can of soup like mine does, but this is how it has been prepared by housewives for over sixty years. Chicken, mushroom, celery, soup it doesn't seem to matter which can you open! I suppose that's how they kept things interesting... 

Anth tells me he grew up eating "this muck" which is probably a slight exaggeration because I am sure there were other things on the menu (he grew up in Singapore after all)

Feast your eyes on vintage Chicken Divan:

image via
(this is a posh version)

and the Curried Chicken Divan  we ate for dinner:

the 'sauce'

(Campbells Chicken Soup, mayo, milk, lemon juice, and curry powder. Yum! )

(btw, this is what our plates looked like after dinner!)

Tasting Notes

Kylo-meter: 2.5/5 there was really nothing wrong with this, there just wasn't anything right with it either!
A waste of beautiful, fresh brocolini!

Antho-meter: 1/5 "not as good as my Mum's" (do you think I should consider this a compliment?)

Kiddo-meter: .25/5 once again only one taster. Her comment: "this stuff is confusing my tastebuds!" I won't tell you what her big sister said it smelt like...

Black Magic Chocolate Cake made with Condensed Tomato Soup (1970's version)

Another recipe I found here, courtesy of retro Ruth.

According to Ruth canned tomato soup is a common ingredient in depression era and mid-century cooking. I've baked chocolate cakes with beetroot, potato and zucchini in them, but I have never made one with tomato soup before, have you?

I know you might not think so, but I've saved the best for last. This cake is delicious. Although, it definitely qualifies as gag-tastic in its raw state:

told you!

and it didn't look too appealing while it was cooking either - the tomato soup kept bubbling to the surface and errupting like larva from a volcano, or blood from a scab to be more precise (sorry)

"scab and matter pudding..."

But despite all that, I promise you this cake is truly


(I can't tell you how desperately I wanted to decorate the top of this cake with a circle of cherry tomatoes, but I knew I would give the game away, and have no takers if I did)

luscious and moist

rich and velvety

so good (and so easy) I implore you to make it!

you won't be disappointed, promise.

(and fyi neither of my girlies could pick the 'mystery' ingredient)

Tasting Notes

Kylo-meter: 4.5/5 my only negative, the ooze factor during cooking.

Antho-meter: 3.5/5 Anthony liked this, but preferred the Pineapple Chiffon Cake. Once again I'll mention his devotion to the Orange Slice biccy - do not base your decision on this man's opinion! His tastebuds are clearly taste-challenged!

I kid you not, I have just served him a slice of Pineapple Chiffon with two Orange Creams on the side! Gross!!!

Kiddo-meter: 5/5 tomato soup undetected (sucked-in girls! Ha-ha!)

Okay, that's it from me. I've got a lot of left-overs to get through and wonderful blogs to visit. It's going to be a great Saturday arvo.

Thanks to retro Ruth for kindly sharing her recipes, thanks to my partner-in-crime, the lovely Donna. Thanks again to you gorgeous retro chefs out there for sharing your disasters delights, and thank YOU for reading.


p.s. Don't forget to add your link here and over at Donna's too. I'm sure there will be something to make your mouth water at her place. Or not...

Now, get clicking and check out these! (please)