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Shop Update & Merry Christmas

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Hello,

Life has been really hectic this month in the lead up to Christmas…it always is.  I’m sorry to have neglected this blog space for a while now, and hope to pick things up here afresh next year!

In the meantime, tomorrow (Sunday) at 12pm AEST there will be a few vintage things added to the Latest Arrivals section in the online shop.  Also, a few select items on sale, just for this month only!

I’ll be doing a couple of post office runs next week so that if you’re in Australia, you’ll receive items in time for Christmas… There are some lovely stoneware pieces in particular that would make beautiful gifts.

I’d like to keep working through the Christmas period, but I know it’s not possible – we have six weeks of school holidays starting next week, including a special trip into the city to Santa land once school’s out on Friday.  I’m hoping for a laid-back Christmas Day with a nice glass of bubbly and an afternoon swim at the beach like last year, if we can manage it!

So, if I’m not here for a while, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.  And with particular thanks to my repeat customers who have bought from me several times through 2014….I very much appreciate it & am happy to have helped fill your home with vintage finds!

All the best,

Alison

Trip planning : booked!

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Fourviere Hill ~ view of Lyon

Hello,

I was in a bit of a mad panic this week. With Christmas and the school holidays coming up, I thought I’d better get on with looking into this trip to France next year, otherwise it would be February before I finalise things.  I’ve been pretty casual about it, thinking I had plenty of time.

One night however, I randomly searched accommodation in Bordeaux and Lyon, and found a lot of places in the areas I wanted to stay were already sold out!  So, that – and given I don’t have an unlimited budget for this trip – spurred me on to get my arse into gear and finally organise an itinerary with some accommodation.

Partly my hesitation was also emotionally-based.  While it’s exciting and the fulfilment of a dream, I have mixed feelings about travelling on my own, without the family.  Am I really going to do this without my loved ones in tow?  How will the kids be when I’m gone?  How will I be without seeing my family for almost a month — bawling my eyes out on the TGV?  What if I can’t communicate effectively with the French?  What if the GPS doesn’t work in rural France?

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Village Saint Paul, Le Marias, Paris

But, then I stumbled across some B&Bs.  Where the owners speak English and are genuinely lovely and helpful… where one owner will be collecting me from the train station and dropping me back, cooking me homemade dinners (hopefully they won’t mind me sobbing into my meal if I am missing the family back home).  That has put me at ease.  I know I will meet friendly souls who will help if I need it!

And my ever-supportive husband has said that even though we can’t afford to all go together this time, use it as an opportunity to also scout for towns to stay in when we can all go.  So, I will do that too.

If you’ve ever planned a trip around a country, it’s very hard to choose between locations to stay. Some are a given, like Paris…but with so many beautiful towns it was really tough choosing.  I also had to research when the major brocante markets are on, plan as best I could around those dates, and look at transportation between each destination.

Given I haven’t been to France for many years, it’s not just about buying brocante though, as much as that’s my main purpose.  It’s about seeing the sights, tasting the food, and experiencing the culture.  I have booked some amazing places to stay that are quite reasonably priced, that I will share with you here soon….

My advice would be though, plan well in advance!

Alison x

Welcome summer & vintage stock

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Hello,

Welcome summer.  Hydrangeas and agapanthus have started blooming around the neighbourhood, as if on cue.  It must seem strange to the other side of the world, but purple agapanthus flowers spells Christmas time to me!

I’ve had a bit of a break from the online shop, sourcing a few more vintage things, but mostly spending time with the family and getting ready for Christmas.  The lead up to Christmas is a special time with school concerts, visiting Santa and putting up decorations.  I read recently that the lead up to Christmas is for the adults, Christmas Day is for the kids – I think that’s true!

Also my youngest is starting school next year – losing my baby forever (!!) – so we’re trying to make the most of the last few weeks of the year with a few day trips before school kicks in.

However next week there’ll be some more beautiful things added to the shop, and I’ll let you know on Instagram and Facebook when they will be available.  In the meantime, here are a few previews…

Alison x

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Large French faisselles (cheese moulds)

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Early 1900s English marmalade pot

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French portrait oil painting

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Victorian tooth paste pot & Queen Bee soap

Latest Arrivals now in the shop!

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Hello, it’s a cold and rainy Sunday here in Melbourne. Earlier this week I went on a kindergarten kids’ excursion to Collingwood Children’s Farm in 33 degree heat – they did well walking around the farm – and now we are back to wearing jumpers and jeans! Such is Melbourne weather in Spring.

A new collection of vintage stock is now available in the Latest Arrivals section of the shop – please take a look! There are some small Christmas-themed items using vintage fabric I had made by a local sewer and upholsterer here in Bayside. All of the vintage pieces make great Christmas gifts of course!

Life is getting busy now that we’re almost at December and I’m determined to get Christmas shopping out of the way and organised at least a fortnight beforehand. We’re also in the throes of home renos again..one bathroom, but it’s enough!  Although there’s a lot to be planned for next year, I’m not ready to start thinking about 2015 properly yet.

I hope you can take the time to enjoy the last few weeks of the year with your family, and try to live in the moment without getting caught up in the pre-Christmas rush. I am determined to!

Alison x

Antique French Countryside Painting

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I thought I’d share a couple of photos of this oil painting from France.  It was painted in 1909, and depicts the small village of Soulliac in the distance.  It never ceases to amaze me that paintings such as this one can survive the turmoil of the first and second world wars, and then the many years after, and still be available to us today.  It is a privilege to be its custodian, even if for a very short time.

It is quite a large canvas, so would look wonderful in the centre of a mantlepiece.  I think it is absolutely beautiful and such a treasure.  Yet another painting I really don’t want to be selling, but it’s my job!

Available this Saturday, 15th November at 12pm AEST in the online shop.

Alison x

Next shop update

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Hello, I hope you had a great weekend.  We had a hectic weekend, including a lot of scouring for vintage around Ballarat.  Some stories from Saturday…will keep them for another time, but let’s just say I went to great lengths to secure a vintage medical cabinet.  A long way down a dirt road out in the bush in the middle of nowhere!

Just wanted to let you know that the next shop update is scheduled for November 15 at 12:00pm (AEST).  There will also be some lovely Christmas-themed vintage items available this month!

I’m aiming for the 15th…life is getting really busy towards the end of the year now though.  If the date changes I will update the blog, and Instagram is always a good way to see the upcoming products as well.

Alison x

What do you get for a million?

I succumbed to one of those procrastinating internet browsing sessions this afternoon and ended up on Sotheby’s international realty website.  How exactly I’m not sure, as we’re hardly in a position to buy an overseas property…but it is interesting to compare what you can get overseas, versus our neighbourhood.

Here, $1M Australian dollars doesn’t buy you much of a house anymore.  In our suburb, you’d be lucky to get a block of land around 500 square metres with a house needing significant renovation, or a slightly bigger block of land – with no house on it.  It would buy you a nice apartment though, with potential water views from your balcony (just try to avoid looking at the rooftop of the supermarket directly in front).

Cross over to the other side of the world, where the lavender fields stretch far and wide & the countryside is dotted with old stone buildings, and the equivalent of $1M – about 700,000 Euro gets you something quite amazing.

This farmhouse near Avignon in Provence is offered at 750,000 Euro (negotiable I’m sure).  You get 10 bedrooms, the main farmhouse and two separate stone dwellings, a pool, 2500 sq metres of Provencal countryside and oodles of charm.  And lots of hard work, renovating and maintaining…but that’s not really something we need to factor in at this point..

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I guess the only question remaining is… I wonder what you would get for half a million? After all, no-one really needs 10 bedrooms…

Alison x

Locally-Made Bath & Body Products

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For a while now I’ve been looking for (and testing, the fun part!) some bath & body products to sell alongside vintage items.  Happily, I’ve come to the realisation that what I’ve been looking for is being made on my doorstep, here in Melbourne & surrounds.

Of course, I love French bath products just as much as the next person.  However, even though I sell many French vintage items, teaming them with “new” products made in France might’ve made sense on paper… but it didn’t feel right to me.

I sell vintage from anywhere in world, because regardless of what country it’s from, it’s being re-used and given a new lease on life.  One way to be more thoughtful & ethical in our consumerist world!  I’ve always been hesitant in stocking brand-new things in the shop…because I really believe in utilising things from the past.

Sourcing locally-made soaps and bath products, made by small businesses and using Australian olive oil and lavender from fields in our countryside, is a better & more ethical choice, too.  We truly do have it all on our doorstep in this beautiful country of ours, given our farmed produce is arguably the best in the world!

I’ve found two local businesses who make handmade products that I love.  They are palm-oil free, and use all-Australian ingredients.  I source bath salts fragranced with pure essential lavender oil from a lavender farm in country Victoria… And this month, also teaming some Queen Bee Handmade soaps with vintage pieces.  Both the bath salts and soaps are lovely to use, natural and well-priced.

For some time now I’ve admired Queen Bee Handmade at Camberwell Market.  It’s obvious how much care and time has gone into Kim’s beautifully handmade, hand-stamped soaps, that contain Australian olive and essential oils.

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I am so happy to be supporting local businesses in conjunction with selling vintage.  It makes logical sense to me… and I know how having your own small business is hard work!

So, treat yourself to some of the lovely bath & body products that will be featuring alongside the vintage home wares in the shop.  You will be shopping ethically, and supporting local Australian businesses in the process.

Alison x

French Vintage Zinc Pieces

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Some very quick photos taken on the weekend… a French galvanised zinc pitcher and bottle-drying wall rack – both beautiful pieces – that will be available mid-November.

I’m looking forward to taking some better photos of the bottle-drying rack – isn’t it amazing?  It is the perfect size, not too big or industrial, but large enough to hang lots of things on to be very useful in the kitchen.  It is also a feature just on its own.  I love the patina on both these pieces.

I’ll add more photos of upcoming stock here in the near future!

Alison x

Rustic French Cake Tin Moulds

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Aren’t these just beautiful? Lately I have been buying various old French tin moulds for the shop, to use as vessels for fragranced candles.  I was fortunate to learn candle-making from an experienced friend earlier this year, and now wish I’d learnt sooner.  Candle-making is a relaxing and sensory process – you can’t rush candle-making, so it forces you to slow down; the warm wax is lovely to work with, and the house also gets perfumed as a result!

I can only hope that my obsession with old rustic tins is well-received in the shop. The sets of French tartlet tin candles sold out quite quickly, so I’m hoping customers see the beauty in these like I do…they would look particularly beautiful at Christmas time.

The next lot of candles will be available for purchase mid-November, however if you are looking for a custom order, I’m happy to make something for you in the meantime, just drop me a line.  The smaller tins are wonderful for tables at vintage-themed weddings or as little gifts.

Alison x

Shop Orders

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Hanging herbs for ‘Herbes de Provence’

Hello,

We’re hoping to hang out in some sun a bit like this up North for the next few days.

So shop orders received between 26th September – 2nd October will be posted on Monday, 6th October.  Thank you for your patience.  If you have kids in tow like me, enjoy the rest of the school holidays!

Alison x

Sunday Reading

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More like photo viewing than reading, the Vintage Whites Market girls’ home tours.  Created on a budget.  No stylists employed, lots of DIY, not a $1000 rug in sight.  Just simple, rustic vintage homes with lots of character.

I’m a firm believer that you don’t need to follow the latest design ‘trends’.  In fact a lot of styled interiors you see in magazines feature products from the businesses who paid the most to be included!  It’s a bit of a wrought really.  So just choose what you instinctively love!

Here is the link to their two home tours: http://www.vintagewhitesblog.com/2014/09/2014-fall-home-tour.html

Enjoy your Sunday.

Alison x

Thank you Herald Sun Home Magazine!

Hello, well this morning we had a good laugh at ourselves in the Herald Sun’s Home magazine – it’s a special kind of awkward seeing yourself in print – but were wowed by the photos of our place! Thank you to Herald Sun for the opportunity and for writing about our renovation story.

It was a lot of fun meeting with Jo Hawkins who wrote the story, and Chris Groenhout, the photographer was just lovely.  The photos were taken on a freezing morning back in July!

The changes we made to the house were admittedly hard work, as anyone who’s lived through a renovation knows, so we’re lucky to have it documented in this way.

Enjoy your weekend! Alison

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Spring holidays

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We’re all looking forward to two weeks without a school bell determining our morning routine, and just letting the days unfold.  It’ll be great having the next few days filled with reading books & building Lego in our pyjamas, then getting out in the sunshine.  (Because it will be sunny, it has to be, after this week’s return to winter in Melbourne!)

While I don’t like setting to-do lists in the holidays – the less we actually do, the better our holidays are – I’d like to try some new recipes from this list.. and get around to reading this blog I only just discovered, written by an Australian couple renovating a French chateau.

I’m also hoping to get some time to do a bit more candle making, and sort out vintage linens for the online shop.  That’s sounding like a to-do list!  I’ll also be re-stocking grape dip tins for Springtime planting.. and more French vintage.  Here’s a sneak peek of one special piece..

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Just a note on customer orders: as it’s school holidays, any orders placed between 27/9 – 3/10 may have a few days’ delay in postage.  Rest assured your vintage will be posted asap after then!

Alison x

This week’s French finds

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Rustic baskets, a beautiful landscape oil painting on board,

and lots of petite French treasures going into the shop this week. Alison x

Vintage Oil Paintings

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Oh, art.  Or to be more specific:  landscape paintings 1940s or earlier, in oil, unframed, on canvas or board.  Typically originating from France or England.  That’s my very definitive preference, anyway; one of the things I love about art is that the appeal is so specific to the individual.

The more I keep going with my little online shop, my preference would be to sell more vintage & antique paintings in future.  (Ideally over time, I’ll have a small collection to call my own, instead of selling them all like I do now!)

Art is so subjective though, and as a seller, I can only hope there are enough other people who see what I see in a painting.

Above is one section of a French oil painting that will be coming to the shop later this week.  I wanted to share a little sneak peek of it..its colours are perfect, the detail of the windswept house and farm animals is so beautiful…in my opinion, anyway!

Alison x

Taking product photos with a tripod!

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Last week was a bit of a revelation.  I spent $50 of my hard-earned money on a basic tripod.  I’d been putting it off for months, as profits I make go straight towards buying more stock so I can stay in business!  Spending money on equipment does take a backseat.

Well that was a mistake.  The $50 was the best money I could have spent, given I take all the product photos myself…and quality presentation is so important.

My photos still not near where I want them to be – things like lighting and depth of field, not to mention the styling of product shots (that one deserves another blog post altogether!).  It’s a continual learning process.

But the tripod is a huge advantage.  Once I have a table set up, for most products the tripod only needs small adjustments.  I’m freed of holding a heavy camera.  And all of a sudden, due to the stability of the camera I can drop the ISO back down and work with a wider aperture.

I know a few people who haven’t bought a tripod yet and are frustrated with their product photos too.  My advice would be to definitely invest in one!  I have a long way to go, but it’s certainly making life easier and cutting down product photo time.  Alison x

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Banana & Coconut Bread

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I spent a good part of the afternoon baking for the week ahead, a little time consuming, but it means no  pre-packaged snacks for school lunches!  Two growing boys eat….a lot.

The best recipe was Teresa Cutter’s Banana + Coconut Bread.  I discovered Teresa’s website a few months ago and her list of recipes are fresh, healthy and easy.  This banana bread is nut-free, and very moist from the six eggs and almost 1/2kg of bananas.  Only four fresh dates for some added sweetness, and olive oil instead of butter.  It’s delicious, great with green tea on the side.  I would highly recommend giving it a try!

Alison x

 

Thank you Country Style Magazine!

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Just look at that verandah.

The latest beautiful Country Style out today, The Garden Issue for October…

..and Bayside Vintage is in it!

Thank you to Country Style for featuring this beautiful French zinc bucket…

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A rare piece, originally used for laundry soap, but it would be great for the garden..

..I think especially to hold a topiary plant.

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Why do we collect?

tumblr_m2xlo5jiI11r7ggovo1_400Almost every one of us collects…whether it’s vintage objects, antique furniture, or something as simple as your movie ticket stubs!

As a vintage seller, it’s fascinating to me to find out what people collect and why.  We don’t always know why we collect what we do, though – it might be the excitement of finding a particular object, it may be the nostalgia that’s conjured up by certain things.. or it is driven by a deeper emotional connection to a time, place or person.

I’m not sure of the psychology is behind my own collecting habits as I tend to move through types of collections quite quickly!  I’ve collected everything from old glass fishing floats, vintage bottles, tins, certain types of English & French tableware.  I’m drawn to the beauty in those objects over other things, at that particular time.

There is a quote in a book I have by a brocante seller in Paris…”he sells useless things, just for the pleasure, the sheer futility of it.”  There is an undefinable feeling about vintage objects: while they may not always be the most practical things, they provide an emotional reaction that we value.

What do you collect?  I would love to know!  Alison x

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