Yes, this post was inspired by felt doughnuts swooshing through my Facebook feed. You never know where or when inspiration will strike.
My good friend Chris Carroll at The Life Creative, who has brilliant taste and style, has just launched his new online store, The Life Creative Shop.
Filled with chic, simple and bold homewares, Chris has curated a collection of pieces that appeal to our sense of fun with a modern vintage vibe. (He’s even made decorating with Macrame stylish, which isn’t always easy.)
Lured by the felt doughnuts, when I popped by The Life Creative shop, I came down with a serious case of lust over the latest range. And here’s where it gets even better …
I asked Chris if he could provide Vintage Current readers with a special offer to celebrate his site launch. He very generously agreed — see details below!
A Few Favorites + Special Offer for My Readers
I could fill a virtual cart with the items I loved on the new site, but here are a few of my personal favorites to give you a sense of the style and range at Chris’ new shop.
Let’s start with this piece that is, to my mind, a must have for any home office, kitchen party or kitsch lovers abode.
Felted Doughnut Garland
It’s 2.5 meters long and comes in 5 different doughnut styles and colourways. *Drooling*
Flamingo Wall Hooks
These guys are made of hand painted birch plywood and can hold up to 10kgs!
Monstera Leaf Print Cushion
No retro home worth its salt should be without a Monstera Leaf motif. From midcentury to the late 1970s, these giant tropical leaves were a ubiquitous decorating choice.
A good animal print never goes out of style. I particularly love this “Foxy” print because you can never have too many reminders that you are one!
These items should give you an idea of what’s in store, but there are heaps more to help you perfect that mix of classic vintage and modern style in your own home.
As I mentioned, Chris was kind enough to offer our Vintage Current email readers a special limited-time 15% off storewide discount code!
If you’re already subscribed to our email updates, you’ll see that code in this week’s issue. Please be on the lookout for it and let’s show Chris and his new store some love!
And if you’re not currently receiving our updates, we can fix that right away.
Subscribe today and you’ll get the 15% off bonus, plus a free copy of our popular “10 Minute Morning” style guide!
Walking through a home wares store the other day, I was struck by the “Spring Sale” banner and the Christmas tree in the background. Where did this year go?
Only a short time ago I was in the USA, then moving back to find a new place in Melbourne, now I’m watching the blossoms come out and planning what the holidays will bring.
A large part of my seasonal excitement comes from having a new vintage home to play with. Its charms and quirks are many, causing us both delight and frustration, but always filled with the pleasure of making a house a home.
I returned to Melbourne in the depths of Winter, and while it doesn’t snow here, it is cold. As in, you can see your breath in the air while still in bed, cold.
After spending three months in the USA where they have a much better handle on interior climate control, it was a shock to our systems.
We first started looking for a new place to live around the city in Melbourne, but all the apartments and town houses seemed so small and devoid of romance. I had a hard time envisaging them as our new home.
As luck and a little Googling would have it, we stumbled across a small three bedroom house just a few blocks from where we’d been staying. A short walk later and we knew, this place had our names written all over it.
I could barely wait to get inside.
There is a wonderful feeling that comes over you when you just know something is right. That’s the kind of joy we felt walking through the light filled rooms.
Priority number one on moving day was having the heating turned on, so we knew that even while we waited for the furniture to arrive, we could sit like happy polar bears on the ducted heating.
Every day here has brought new ideas and surprises, simple things like how great the old-fashioned window sills are, the perfect height for Lola to stand at and watch visitors on approach.
We’ve watched the garden turn from what appeared to be a lot of sticks and overgrowth, into stunning plumes of wisteria and lilac bushes.
As the sun has now finally started to come out with regularity, I’ve been extremely glad to turn off the heating, (a bit of nasty bill shock there). Unlike the majority of the world, and certainly the wonderful hydronic radiator heating we’d had in Philadelphia, the gas ducted is a bit vintage technology I can live without.
According to the team at Bosch, Australia and California are the only two places that still predominantly use gas ducted heating, while the rest of the world has figured out the comfort and health benefits of hydronic heat systems.
Hydronic heating provides a lovely, unobtrusive form of heating by channelling heated water through either pipes in the floor slab or through radiator panels on the wall. The heat from the water radiates through the room space creating a warm and cosy feeling.
Having a few lovely hydronic radiators installed under our windows might have taken up a little more space than simple vents in the floor, but I would like to be consistently warm instead of alternating blasts of hot air and dust then going back to freezing in various rooms.
Nana rugs are nice, but having to wear them in my ‘work from home’ office isn’t the most motivating situation.
Weekend trips to the Camberwell market have yielded some fantastic treasures including a wonderful set of vintage china for my regular coffee treats. Touches like these in regular rotation go a long way to making our guests feel special and add something memorable to a simple afternoon tea.
I’ve also taken this opportunity to look at investing in my home wares more wisely, finding things that not only serve a purpose but require little maintenance and save me more money in the long run. I’ve even tired to pick more hardy plants in an effort to waste less money with my “thumb of death”.
Once the next few weeks calendar has settled, I plan to get out the sewing machine again and knock up some new insulating curtains to keep the summer heat out.
This time I’ll be ready for the season and can save my money for a little more Christmas cheer.
This post is part of a Nuffnang native advertising series.
Hydronic Heating is a method of heating utilising heated water to distribute warmth throughout a building. It offers superior comfort, operational efficiency and silent operation and is also known to minimise the negative effects to allergy sufferers caused by circulation of airborne particles, such as pollen or dust, that occur in ducted heating systems.
I always dreamt of becoming an Archeologist.
I had grand plans of becoming a superhero/adventurer, part Wonder Woman and part Indiana Jones, tromping through the desert sands uncovering treasures and dusting off the next great thing for mankind. I loved the challenge, the mystery, the sheer romance of it.
But what I never expected was how this desire would later emerge in my real life.
Let me rewind for a moment ….
Here at the new salon location we’ve moved to, we now have a garden to play with! Yes, our little 1950’s house sits on a small block with an unruly garden. I’ve learnt that shortly before we moved in, it was overrun, unloved and untended. There was a little chainsaw action before we arrived, but that’s about it.
A Vision Takes Root, Blossoms Into A Plan
When I stand at the front gate, I picture the house and garden in its heyday. I can see the small holes in the concrete fence where the little iron gate would have been, the rounded troughs in the earth where a tree once rose. She is beautiful but neglected; her life isn’t over, just dormant.
As the spring sun gave us reasons to smile last weekend, I hastily gathered as many small flowering plants as my wallet could handle. I’d planned to fill the gateway garden bed with colour, alleviating the dullness of an empty space covered in pine needles.
Standing back from the lawn, I let my imagination overlay reality with images of neatly edged beds, filled with blooms and welcoming friends. There were old bricks scattered about the backyard, under trees and shrouded in thorny weeds. As I plucked the bricks from amongst the roots, I avoided the spiders’ nests, scraped off years of encrusted dirt, and stacked them up in preparation for my vision.
The house had provided the bricks, a small broken shovel and an idea. All I had to do was make it happen.
A Surprising Discovery
My first strike into the soil was sharp. The loam gave way easily, but beneath it I hit an unexpected resistance. Down on my hands and knees, denim soaked in mud, my fingers curiously pushed back the earth.
What I found, in the very spot I’d chosen to slice my shovel, was the original concrete garden edging, roughly 10cm below the soil. Whether this had been deliberately grown over or was the work of years of debris and neglect was unclear.
But the sheer joy of finding this small piece of history overwhelmed me as, thrilled, I dug away more and more to reveal the extent of the original design.
Sure, it’s a small thing and certainly no ancient discovery, yet it provided an even stronger sense of connectedness to this place. I revelled in how my vision for this space dovetailed with the original plans, and that I could be a catalyst for bringing them back to life.
An Unexpected Life Lesson Emerges
I could have stayed in that cold dirt for hours, chipping away at the layers, with my mind so full of parallels: How deeply we bury our original plans for ourselves, letting them become neglected in the debris of daily life. How expediency and convenience so often become weeds that strangle our intentions of beauty enjoyed at a gentle pace. How we settle for the lot we are given rather than digging deeper to find another way, getting our hands dirty in the process. I found myself waxing unexpectedly philosophical.
I may only be her keeper as a tenant, but I cannot help but take a sense of ownership.
I need to rescue, to strip back the layers and let the original beauty shine. It’s a kind of therapy for me, in much the same way that I love taking moth-eaten, beaded cardigans and darning them back into worthy service. In our throwaway society, this gives me a sense of connectedness, of greater meaning and purpose.
This type of mindfulness carries over into my consumption habits and helps me see the end game — to slow down and appreciate what lies beneath, and to leave things better than we found them.
Have you ever had a similar experience, where the mundane starts your mind racing philosophically? Did it transport you back to your childhood dreams? Are you seeing things differently as a result? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below …
Making your house a home with simple DIY projects is one of the great joys of vintage living.
Taking what is old and giving it new life, imagining possibilities and reviving the story of something that is otherwise forgotten. I have a few tea caddys no longer in service and they have sat prettily on the window sill gathering dust; now it’s time to put them into a different kind of service. With a little love and creativity they can take center stage as you plan your Spring decorating. After all, what could be a more appropriate way to celebrate the coming season than with taking something out of hibernation and giving it a brand new life!
Time Time clock via Etsy
Tea Caddy Magnets via Martha Stewart (full directions here)
Image via Kika Reichart
Image source unknown
Image via Babble
Tea Caddy DIY lamp via Shelterness
If you have any spare tea caddy’s and want to send them my way, I’ll give them a very good home!
||MagnaPool is an alternative to traditional salt water and chlorine pools, using a blend of natural minerals. MagnaPool provides pool water that is healthy, nourishing, luxurious to swim in and environmentally friendly. Visit http://magnapool.com/
What a summer this is turning out to be! Such a mix weather wise, not the usual unrelenting heat we have had in past years. With loads of rain things are actually looking lush and green this time and with all the new landscaping we’ve been doing (dare I say it), tropical!
We’ve managed to get quite a number of my new plants in, Elephant ears, Monsteras and Jasmine all adding to the growing picture. So with any luck, if this amount of rain keeps up, I may yet have the lush green pool side vision I’ve dreamt of. The Magnapool has been simply stunning; both to sit by and to relax in on warm evenings. I find that hot weather plays havoc with my legs and fluid retention, so having such an incredible space to soak and revive is an amazing luxury.
Today’s dress I’ve been saving for a special occasion. It is an original vintage Hawaiian piece I bought from a friend who wore it when she won Miss VLV, so it has an illustrious past. It is one of those fabulous numbers that is both gorgeous and infinitely comfortable, meaning it will become a piece I reproduce for myself in the future. There are quite a number of pieces like that in my collection; pieces I’ve had every intention of making patterns from and then remaking them ten times over for love. The reality is though, that I just don’t have the time or the level of skill to do that quickly, so I’m gradually handing these over to friends who can take this on for me.
Dress – Vintage Hawaiian
Bangles – Vintage op shop find
Shoes – Bordello ‘Genie’ style in brown snake skin finish (these have the same last as those sparkly ones I posted earlier)
My plan is to eventually have a small but perfect collection of the vintage pieces I love the most, complete with patterns so that I’m able to reproduce their beauty as they become more fragile or as I need things more suitable to different conditions. Have you taken or made any patterns from your favourites? How do you deal with the inherent sadness of wanting to both wear and preserve them?
This post is part of a Nuffnang native advertising series.
MagnaPool is an alternative to traditional salt water and chlorine pools, using a blend of natural minerals. MagnaPool provides pool water that is healthy, nourishing, luxurious to swim in and environmentally friendly. Visit http://magnapool.com/.
This post is brought to you by Nuffnang and Zodiac Australia
The decision to build a pool at home was a big one, and one that has been a long time coming. When Zodiac contacted me a couple of weeks ago to see if we’d like to trial and review their MagnaPool mineral salts pool system, I laughed, as this is exactly what we’d already installed so I knew I’d be happy to write about it. I’m already sold.
When we first bought this property over seven years ago, one of the key reasons we chose it was for the space it had to put in a fantastic pool area to our own design. I love looking at water, I love its calming sounds and rippled surface, but I’m really not much of a swimmer.
My swimming experiences all make it somewhat of a hassle for me. Firstly I have coloured hair and I hate the damage lots of chlorine does to it. I also hate the damage it does to my swimsuits and my skin. I have very sensitive eyes and even sitting by indoor chlorinated pools causes my eyes to become so red it makes it hard to see. Choosing the right pool set up became a big research project for us.
Putting in a pool is a huge investment and one we really wanted to get right, so when we heard about MagnaPool from our builder, it was something I consulted both online reviews and my resident chemist (Dad), about.
In a nutshell, a MagnaPool uses magnesium (a natural mineral) to detoxify and balance the water. Magnesium is what you find in all those amazing mineral baths and spas around the world; know for their ability to sooth aches and pains, relieving stress and anxiety. I’ve had arthritis in my legs for years and years, sometimes to the point where I just can’t be on my legs, so this idea that as a non-swimmer, I can just rest, relax and float in a pool that is going to help relieve this is amazing!
Magnesium and potassium (the two minerals found in the MagnaPool system), are also credited with relieving skin ailments, helping with sensitivity issues and also being far safer for my coloured hair, (superficial I know).
As far as the filter system goes, MagnaPool uses a glass filter system instead of sand or other media. These Zodiac Glass beads are made from recycled glass and discourage bacteria from attaching to them, which is a known issue with sand filters. So the overall water quality is cleaner, more sanitary and also due to the minerals, much better to use on the garden when it is changed over!
Making the decision on this one was really important, but we also found out that pools that were currently using a chlorination system could be changed over to MagnaPool. We vacillated a bit in making the decision due to the initial extra set up cost and our tightly stretched budget, but when all the chips were down, there was no second guessing just how good a decision this would be. It is one of the best things we’ve done with this whole renovation.
Not only is the water absolutely stunning to look at, but it leaves my skin actually feeling better than when I got in; smooth and silky, not stinging or stinking of heavy chlorination.
Pools are such a big part of the Australian backyard lifestyle, and finding ways to make our experiences with them even better is something I see advertised all the time. Fancy sofas and lovely accessories, all wonderful of course, but if I can suggest one thing to start with; it would be converting to a MagnaPool.
I’d like you to experience of what it is like to bathe in this type of water, so Zodiac have provided me with 50 sachets (2 per winner) of their MagnaPool mineral bath salts to help you create your own mini experience.
Given, it isn’t the same as floating around under the sunset, but add these to a bath soak and see just how it feels. Let your entire body relax, aches and pains drift away, while your skin soaks up the detoxifying minerals.
All you need to do is be one of the first 25 to leave me a comment about why you think MagnaPool mineral salts would be right for you.
Terms and conditions apply
The competition is open until 5:00 pm AEDST on 6th February 2015