Friday, November 30, 2007

just one wish....

Oh, to look like Grace...if only for a day!
It's time to watch Rear Window and To Catch a Thief again I think.
I've been perusing the Sartorialist this morning and he reminded me
of the joy of watching old movies with his references
to Cary Grant and Irene Dunn in
The Awfull Truth.
Grace and Cary in To Catch a Thief for me though is the
perfect movie star combination

more frocks from the Rescued by Bowerbird label

I have been busy over the last few days deconstructing and redesigning two very beautiful white lace wedding gowns from the 1960's. They are in the process of being transformed from floor length, long sleeved extravagant frocks with trains to short sleeved, above the knee shift dresses - perfect for a balmy summer party or a night out on the town. The lace and beading still in tact - they are really beautiful.

The other two I have just completed include (on the left) a beautiful silk teal blue Ricki Renee of Sydney party frock (circa. mid 1980's). I removed the rather unattractive long puffed sleeves so common around that time, took the (ahem!) shoulder pads out and also raised the hem a few inches to just on the knee - finishing it with the original banded hem to give it back it's bell shaped look which has made a comeback in a big way the last couple of seasons.
And this little number on the right has the most exquisite fabric. An original (circa 1960's - I think, although it's hand made so a little tricky to pin point) ball gown. The tartan teal, orange and green is just beautiful - so eye catching. However the sleeves needed re-adjusting as they were just too huge and it was totally impractical being floor length.
Now I think it's really edgy - I'd wear it out to a posh bar for a night out with the girls!

Both will be available on the bowerbirdvintage web site soon

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Check This Out!

I have just found Elk Accessories online . I love a brooch so I'm in heaven. Lots of delicious jewels and other interesting goodies to look at....only problem is that a few of those that I covet are sold out at the moment :(

It's who you know!

One of the most important things I have learned since starting my own business is that networking and talking to other people in similar situations is soooo crucial to your success.

I've never been great at putting myself out there but in the last 12 months I've joined a number of organisations that have helped me connect to other people in business who are either at the same stage as me or who have years of experience. The one thing they all have in common is that they are happy to share their ideas and give advice.

Talking to others about what has worked and what hasn't, has been very empowering and motivating. I've found that just knowing that your not alone and that others have similar experiences - both highs and lows - is comforting and keeps you focused.

There are a many, many groups out there to choose from. The best ones for me have been:
(click on them for the link)

The NSW Women in Business (free! ...and 100% fantastic!)

Also, Ive been told the follow are very good too:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

and then there's Agyness....

Having just declared my delight in the Dita's of this world making vintage glamour seriously sexy again, lets not forget the quirky 80's punk revival being led by the uber cool English model of the moment Agyness Deyn. Her androgynous look is kinda beautiful and although she's supposed to be a tomboy she always looks groomed to perfection to me.
Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) there really aren't too many people who can pull off the whole Duran Duran, Culture Club look with the style and panache of Deyn. Personally, I wouldn't even try as the eighties certainly weren't my fashion high point the first time round, but Agyness is really rocking it now...

Photos: Imaxtree

Monday, November 26, 2007

A return to super glam - 1930's style!

I love return of glam on the catwalks at the moment. The 1930's ankle length sheath dresses with inticate detailing that accentuates the body in all the right places! Bejewelled gowns, high gloss satin, bias cut silks or antique lace with feathers, delicate beading and fringing. It's fantastic to see vintage high glamour making such an impact.

I particularly like the return of seriously styled hair a la Dita Von Teese. The finger curls and glossy waved bobs styled to perfection remind me of Hollywood in it's hey day. It's great to see such elegance being revisited - it's the reason I love vintage so much. You can't beat old skool glamour!

I'd personally like to thank Dita for always making an effort -
and making it always seem effortless

Sunday, November 25, 2007

handy lessons

Although the final stages of building a (very comprehensive) website is slow going...the organisation and preparation appears to be never ending...then there's the testing, the continuous changes and re-evaluation of functionality...did I mention the testing???
Anyhow...while such things can be laborious and frustrating, actually being part of such a creative process is really very exciting and extremely fulfilling. I have loved everything from drawing each page of the site freehand (in crayons no less!) and discussing the look and feel with the web designers to the fashion shoots, and the endless hours of editing and preparing text.
And most importantly, this last few months has taught me a few very valuable personal skills that may have been lacking in the past:
1 . Patience! A handy lesson for me has been to always over estimate the time it takes to get things done...and not to freak out about things that are fundamentally out of my control. Timeframes blow out...just use the extra time wisely!
2. Prioritise! Spending time working out what my priorities are and focusing on what needs to be done and in which order is soooo important! As is not getting bogged down in the details and wasting time on insignificant things.
3. Support! I have finally learned to network and to ask people for help and advice. The support of a great mentor, which I now have, and the help of a team of experts has made the process so much easier
4. Enjoyment and down time is essentail for a healthy, happy life - And it's your right!
Working from home and for myself is the ultimate reward! I am more disciplined and focused and work much harder now but I have also learned to take some time out each and every day to appreciate how great life really is...and I've never been more relaxed!

weekend leisure

There's nothing quite like a swim, a big fruit salad and a good cappucino (in that order) to cure the symptoms of a few too many good wines the night before!
The water was glorious at Wanda beach, North Cronulla this morning

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Kamalh's Kool

Frankie magazine features the iconic crooner Kamahl on the back page in their latest issue. The interview is about his life when he was in his twenties. Now, Kamahl isn't someone that I would normal think about, let alone bother to read an entire article about - but being on the train with two stops to go and having consumed the rest of the mag I ventured on...

And gee I'm glad I did. What a honest, warm man with a conscience and a heartfelt message to those of us out there who are so busying looking for social acceptance that we forget to learn as much as we can about life. His comment about his insecurities and wanting people to like him really touched me; "Instead of reading or learning a language or finding out about other things, I'm still seeking applause...".

I'm not sure about you, but I spent a great deal of my youth desperately seeking approval from others. And although I've always been inquisitive and thirsty to learn about the world, alot of the wonderful opportunities and experiences I had were marred by my lack of self confidence and a fairly low opinion of myself (too fat, not smart enough, not pretty enough blah, blah, blah) .

As I've gotten older, the desire for acceptance from others and all those youthful fears I trudged around with have dissapeared. This is because I made a conscience descision a few years ago to unload that cargo and work on attaining dreams and and chasing grand, magnificent plans instead of wasting any more energy on my insecurities and being miserable. The crash course in the art of being good to yourself is not always an easy one - remembering to be nice to yourself takes practice! But it's worth the effort just to be able to spend each day feeling happy about life and moving forward. As Kamahl says; "theres no point having regrets".

I won't divulge all the details of his interview, instead I urge you to buy the mag for 8 bucks if you don't already have it - It's a little corker by the way - and read the article. His earnest account of his life and who he is today is a short, sweet read that makes him pretty cool in my book.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


While I have always watched trends evolve and passionately (sometimes misguidely) followed fashion where ever it has ventured (apart from hotpants and I steer well clear of anything resembling lycra - even at the gym), I am declaring that RIGHT NOW is the most enjoyable fashion moment ever!!!

Now, I know what your thinking...but you love vintage...what about the fashion of the 30's, 40's, 50's? and yes, they were all amazing...they still are. But you know what? We are still wearing them...Any decade from the 1920's to right now is pretty much in fashion.

The catwalks are brimming with beautiful frocks influenced from every decade and every style imaginable....and the more you mix it up the better. I love that there are no rules. As fashion progresses it's no longer about a certain look or style being prevalent. Fashion now is HOW you wear something. It's more about personal style than ever before. You can be as outrageous or as sleek as you please - no one bats an eye.

Looking at the latest trend reports from Europe, Ive realised you can wear anything you damn well please. The only rule? Pull it off with confidence and your own personal style...don't be a slave to a label and have loads of attitude - That's fashion baby!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Final Photoshoot - PHEW! (Not Quite)

Yesterday we completed the last photoshoot - thats five different modelling shoots and 3 sets of accessories in total...
.....Actually, thats not true! We still have the kiddies clothing to do...tha's o.k though a girlfriends two very well behaved little girls have kindly volunteered themselves for the job...with some homemade cupcakes as incentives!

almost there
check out some of the shots of the lovely Karin from yesterday's shoot

Friday, November 16, 2007

My latest Purchase!

You have to buy one of these canvas bags...They are sooo cute. At $18.95 it's the best bag you'll ever buy! And environmentally friend too. Hop onto their site here and buy one now. I just did!

On Line Forum Fun

I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs that one of the components of the new website will be an interactive forum where people can observe and also provide feedback on a vintage garment from the Rescued by Bowerbird label as it is being transformed into something totally new. You will be able to log into the forum from the home page.

From there you will be able to see, in sequence, the photos taken of the garment each time something changes on it. The first photo will obviously be of the garment prior to it being re-worked. The idea is that you have a look and then provide a comment/feedback on what you think the garment might need ie: "Great Fabric, but it too long , I think it needs to be shortened...and maybe needs some beading or something..."

You can be as inventive, outlandish as you like. Obviously, not all ideas/comments can be used, but those with the best ideas will be implemented. A photo will be taken, uploaded and more comments can be provided, implemented again etc etc. The process will continue until mostly everyone agreeds that the garment looks fab and is ready to rock and roll...It will then be available for sale on the Rescued by Bowerbird home page.

And if someone who provided comment/input into it's creation buys it then they will get a designers discount on the garment!

The first frock off the rack will be a corker....I will post photos in a few days so you can get your thinking caps on

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rescued By Bowerbird - New Frocks!

A few days weeks ago I stumbled across some amazing vintage fabrics at a craft fair. Metre's of beautiful coloured & patterned materials for a very reasonable price indeed! Greedily, I bought as many as a could carry and raced home to rummage through my box of vintage patterns for appropriate dresses that will showcase the fabrics.

I've decided to make a couple up in the classic 1950's sun dress style which I adore. It suits so many body types, and always looks a million bucks. This little number will be part of the Rescued range. It's not quite finished yet - no zip, not hemmed either and I'm going to make a large fabric belt to accentuate the waist. But look at the gorgeous material - How Very Retro!!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

shoes, glorious shoes!

Each time someone comes to visit me at home, we inevitably end up in my wardrobe - which is actually an entire bedroom that has been coverted to store my own clothing, shoes and accessories, as well and a large collection of bowerbird stock - including the 24 piece Recued by Bowerbird collection and all the new things I'm currently working on - It's a big room! (and yet it's starting to get a little cramped in there anyway!).

The first thing they notice is my vast shoe collection which spans one entire dedicated 7ft high book shelve as well as half a triple sized built in robe. Most people are amazed by the sheer volume first and then secondly, the colours.

Although I do own several pairs of black (19 - I counted them for the purpose of this blog - although I have decided not to disclose the number that the entire collection comes to, just in case my partner is reading this!), the majority of my shoes are really, really bright. Red's, pinks, yellows, and green & blues...I love coloured heels. They are particularly fabulous with a plain black dress although I love to clash them with colourful dresses as well.

For me, fashion is all about colour. and I don't just mean cordinating my red, white and blues. As with the shoes, I will happily wear a floral 1950's sun dress with a pink cardigan, my favourite red vintage beads and a pair of orange and blue heels. Clashing colours for me is the perfect way to give an outfit a quirky twist or a bit of an edge and the best bit? Wearing something bright always puts me in a good mood!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Getting Closer...

Bowerbird Vintage online boutique is an extra step closer today to becoming a reality...A message from the programmer to say that the site, although not yet complete, is ready for me to start entering text and up loading images...oh, so much to do and soooo exciting!

It's been a real joy to watch something that you draw on a few pieces of paper slowly become a reality

Take a quick peek at it HERE (remember, it's still just an embryo right now!)

Web Store of Fine Arts

If you are already looking for inspiration for christmas gifts this year you must have a look at Moose: Art for living. Another very cool Aussie indy art design collective featuring beautiful works of art, handmade jewellry, wallets, ceramics, fabric ...all by emerging Australian and international artists. And the best part? by buying on line at you are supporting creative people, investing in their dreams and helping them continue on their inspired journey.

Silver Ring, Birdie Brooch and Umbrella Earrings all available for sale at Moose

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A few beautiful things you need NOW

1. Buy Saskia Haveskas's (of famed Potts Points florist Grandiflora) new hard cover coffee table book Grandiflora Arrangements. A truly stunning expose of her incredible taste and pure talent. This book is breathtaking... Perfect christmas gift idea. $77. I got mine at Myers

2. Save your pennies and invest in one of Akira Isowaga's masterpieces. I covet this entire outfit from his latest range. Oh, the colours simply blow me away!... Although, I'd happily accept any piece from this collection...It's all beautiful. Go on -have a look: or check it out on at Vogue .

3. Buy a Sue Rice bathing suit. I purchased my first "grown up" swimsuit this year from this swimwear designer and expertise in women's body shapes. Usually, I think of swimming costumes as kind of disposable and generally spend a minimal amount of money (ie: I have been buying Bonds costumes for the last couple of years at $40 a pop - such great value!). However, this year I decided to slurge and buy a costume that is designed to last, looks fab, and can go from the beach to the bar. Sue Rice is a genius when it comes to swimming costumes. My new tankini makes me feel a million bucks! Oh, and you can easily buy online as the website has a comprehensive size guide - you can't go wrong. Otherwise visit her store at 170 St Johns Road, Glebe
4. Red Lipstick. The most beautiful look for summer is a tan (faux of course), red lipstick and minimal eye makeup - a few lashings of mascara will do. Try Estee Lauders Rich Red. For $40 it's a steal.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Vintage Accessories

bowerbird vintage drop earrings - just what you need for your next party?

We have finished all the clothing and are now photographing all the accessories for bowerbirdvintage at the moment. Photographing jewellry is not that easythough! Actually, none of it's been easy really - when you don't know what you are doing. Luckily, Ive had a few good people on the job teaching me the tricks of the trade!

And although not easy, it has been fun - Particularly the clothing shoots with my two fab models Karin and Gabrielle - and what patience they have!

Monday, November 5, 2007

I Heart 1985

Although I should have been working on the web site layout on Saturday, I got a little side tracked turning a long sleeved silk column dress (Circa 1985) into someting a little more wearable.
After chopping the sleeves off and elasticing them to give them that extra va va voom puff, I hemmed it up to a more fashionable length at the knee (as opposed to the shin which just looked plain silly), let it out at the rump and took it in at the waist

Luckily, I got it finished just in time to wear it to dinner with my beau on Saturday night. Check out the beautiful embroidery on the front - so worth taking the time to tranform it!

Championing the Hand Made Craft

Another day another link to Handmade Heaven! Check out the Etsy webstore for more handmade objects of desire. Jewels, bags, craft, clothing toys, you name it, it has been hand sewn and is currently selling on Etsy.

I am totally obsessed with the amazing handmade arts web community...It's a beautiful thing. there are so, so many talented people out there fashioning things from vintage materials, felt, buttons, upholestry, lino, wood...

It warms my heart to see that creativity is alive and thriving on the net


One Red Robin

Speaking of talent, have a look at the brilliant One Red Robin who is also featured on Etsy. How cute are these little softies made for the Mirabel Christmas Craft Appeal being championed by the good people of fab Melbourne store Meet Me at Mikes

Sunday, November 4, 2007

It's that time of year again...

Scultpures by the Sea is on again kids.

It's always worth a visit and this year looks set to be the most spectacular ever.

Staged alongside Sydney's Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk, Sculpture by the Sea, is Australia's largest annual outdoor free to the public exhibition of sculpture.

There are over 100 scultpures from 18 different countries.

Take a few hours to enjoy the artwork as well as the amazing views...then head down to
Pompei's Gelateria and Pizzeria in Roscoe St (I think) Bondi for the best gelati you'll ever eat
The pistacio is out of this world...

Scuptures are on until November 18.

Daniela Turrin
archi tekton
Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2006
Photo by Louise Beaumont

Never Shopped Out

Always on the look out for great blogs, online stores and fashion sites, I stumbled into Never Shopped Out this morning!

This site rocks. It's a very comprehensive guide to all things fashion and shopping including directories for online boutiques, up and coming sales around the country, store reviews, magazine on-sale dates and a list of other really helpful info.

Put this little gem into your favourites list now...

see below for link:

Never Shopped Out: A Shopaholics Resource - Services to help you Shop

Never Shopped Out: A Shopaholics Resource - Services to help you Shop

Friday, November 2, 2007

Kate Shannahan Bolero's Available Now

I have just up-loaded some of designer Kate Shannahan vintage bolero's onto our Ebay store. Kate, who is a theatre costumer designer as well as having her own line of vintage inspired garments, will be one of our showcase designers on bowerbird online when we launch in a couple of weeks time. Her bolero's and shugs are truly gorgeous. All hand sewn in vintage fabrics each one has it's own unique design. Most of them are reversable, which makes them really versatile to.
If you don't want to wait until bowerbirdvintage goes live I have a few on sale at our ebay store now:

The Perfect Vintage Dress for a Party

I am tagging dresses for the online store at the moment as we are very close to finishing the programming now. My days are being spent on the final photography and layout of the site as well as preparing descriptions for each item.

I thought I'd put up a few of my fave vintage dresses which I have been sorting through over the last few days...

Right: 1950's baby blue cocktail frock with lace extension belt and bubble skirt. It's the perfect summer party dress!

Below: Black velvet strapless cocktail frock (circa late 1940's) with midnight blue satin bow and front split. This dress reminds me of Rita Hayworth in the movie "Gilda" (1946)

Below: 1960's cotton shift dress with fringing
and sash belt

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Check out some of the cutest stuffed art you will ever see at Bencke. From artist Gillian Bencke who makes totally amazing creatures from rescued fabrics - perfect!