Sunday, 28 August 2011

My Mixmaster!


I finally got my vintage mix-master.  The mixer itself with the beater I won on eBay for $41.00 (with $25 post), no bowls however.  There are quite a lot of bowls for sale separately, but postage for these was going to be about $40.  Luckily I found the perfect bowls at the op-shop yesterday!  They came with beaters that don’t fit, so I think they are from a newer model, but they fit perfectly.  So for a total of $70 I have my mix-master!  Now to make a cake…….maybe next week for father’s day.


Here are my other weekend op-shop treasures.

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Pictures with old timber frames - $3 each

Jelly moulds- $1 and 50cents

Tea strainer – 50 cents

Vintage hairbrushes - $2 each (these are for my son for Christmas-  he loves them and always tries to pinch my silver ones)

Glass bowl - $1.50

Ceramic Cat – 50 cents

Happy thrifting!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Tin Can Telephones


I made beans on toast today for breakfast, having decided that we need more legumes in our diet – just some fried onion, a bit of curry powder, two tins of butter beans, a tin of tomatoes and a dash of cream – yummy!  (A 50s housewife would have probably cooked her own beans, but they did use some canned products, especially fruit.)

This meant that I had a few cans laying around. What to do?  Seeing it’s Sunday and the children are home ALL day, I thought of telephones to keep them busy for at least 10 minutes.

As I write this late afternoon, they are again playing with them in the garden, although the string has been replaced once , so it was a great idea!

P8210102 P8210104

How to do it?

  • Get two empty cans – the ones with the top that you pull off have a safer edge than those cut off with an opener.

  • Turn both cans upside-down, so that its intact end is facing up, and drive a nail through each centre using a hammer, making a neat hole

  • Thread one end of the string through one of the nail holes. Make a BIG knot in the string on the inside of the can, so that the string remains attached to the can. Cut about 10 metres of string (I used rainbow wool) and put the other end into the other can make another big knot. The cans are now tied to either end of the string.

  • Hold one tin can (or give it to one child), and give the other tin can to another child. Have them walk away from each other until the string between the cans is taut.

  • One speaks into the open end of one tin can while the other listens to the open end of their tin can.
  • Expect lots of shouting of ‘can you hear me yet?” and have spare sting on hand for when it breaks.

According to Wikipedia:

When the string is pulled taut and someone speaks into one of the cans, its bottom acts as a diaphragm, converting the sound waves into longitudinal mechanical vibrations which vary the tension of the string. These variations in tension set up waves in the string which travel to the other can, causing its bottom to vibrate in a similar manner as the first can, thus recreating the sound.

So it’s a science lesson recycling, and fun in one.  Enjoy!

Fairy Tales - Rumplestiltskin


I think that as a 1950s mother I would have read my children classic fairy tales.  They were quite popular in the 50s and Disney made a few into movies – including Cinderella.and sleeping beauty.  But not Rumpelstiltskin.

My eldest daughter is studying the story in English at the moment, they have to rewrite the story form a different point of view.  Here is the original story.


By the side of a wood, in a country a long way off, ran a fine stream of water; and upon the stream there stood a mill. The miller’s house was close by, and the miller, you must know, had a very beautiful daughter. She was, moreover, very shrewd and clever; and the miller was so proud of her, that he one day told the king of the land, who used to come and hunt in the wood, that his daughter could spin gold out of straw. Now this king was very fond of money; and when he heard the miller’s boast his greediness was raised, and he sent for the girl to be brought before him. Then he led her to a chamber in his palace where there was a great heap of straw, and gave her a spinning-wheel, and said, ’All this must be spun into gold before morning, as you love your life.’ It was in vain that the poor maiden said that it was only a silly boast of her father, for that she could do no such thing as spin straw into gold: the chamber door was locked, and she was left alone.

She sat down in one corner of the room, and began to bewail her hard fate; when on a sudden the door opened, and a droll-looking little man hobbled in, and said, ’Good morrow to you, my good lass; what are you weeping for?’ ’Alas!’ said she, ’I must spin this straw into gold, and I know not how.’ ’What will you give me,’ said the hobgoblin, ’to do it for you?’ ’My necklace,’ replied the maiden. He took her at her word, and sat himself down to the wheel, and whistled and sang:

 ’Round about, round about,
Lo and behold!
Reel away, reel away,
Straw into gold!’

And round about the wheel went merrily; the work was quickly done, and the straw was all spun into gold.

When the king came and saw this, he was greatly astonished and pleased; but his heart grew still more greedy of gain, and he shut up the poor miller’s daughter again with a fresh task. Then she knew not what to do, and sat down once more to weep; but the dwarf soon opened the door, and said, ’What will you give me to do your task?’ ’The ring on my finger,’ said she. So her little friend took the ring, and began to work at the wheel again, and whistled and sang:

 ’Round about, round about,
Lo and behold!
Reel away, reel away,
Straw into gold!’

till, long before morning, all was done again.


The king was greatly delighted to see all this glittering treasure; but still he had not enough: so he took the miller’s daughter to a yet larger heap, and said, ’All this must be spun tonight; and if it is, you shall be my queen.’ As soon as she was alone that dwarf came in, and said, ’What will you give me to spin gold for you this third time?’ ’I have nothing left,’ said she. ’Then say you will give me,’ said the little man, ’the first little child that you may have when you are queen.’ ’That may never be,’ thought the miller’s daughter: and as she knew no other way to get her task done, she said she would do what he asked. Round went the wheel again to the old song, and the manikin once more spun the heap into gold. The king came in the morning, and, finding all he wanted, was forced to keep his word; so he married the miller’s daughter, and she really became queen.

At the birth of her first little child she was very glad, and forgot the dwarf, and what she had said. But one day he came into her room, where she was sitting playing with her baby, and put her in mind of it. Then she grieved sorely at her misfortune, and said she would give him all the wealth of the kingdom if he would let her off, but in vain; till at last her tears softened him, and he said, ’I will give you three days’ grace, and if during that time you tell me my name, you shall keep your child.’

Now the queen lay awake all night, thinking of all the odd names that she had ever heard; and she sent messengers all over the land to find out new ones. The next day the little man came, and she began with TIMOTHY, ICHABOD, BENJAMIN, JEREMIAH, and all the names she could remember; but to all and each of them he said, ’Madam, that is not my name.’

The second day she began with all the comical names she could hear of, BANDY-LEGS, HUNCHBACK, CROOK-SHANKS, and so on; but the little gentleman still said to every one of them, ’Madam, that is not my name.’

The third day one of the messengers came back, and said, ’I have travelled two days without hearing of any other names; but yesterday, as I was climbing a high hill, among the trees of the forest where the fox and the hare bid each other good night, I saw a little hut; and before the hut burnt a fire; and round about the fire a funny little dwarf was dancing upon one leg, and singing:

 ’"Merrily the feast I’ll make.
Today I’ll brew, tomorrow bake;
Merrily I’ll dance and sing,
For next day will a stranger bring.
Little does my lady dream
Rumpelstiltskin is my name!"’

When the queen heard this she jumped for joy, and as soon as her little friend came she sat down upon her throne, and called all her court round to enjoy the fun; and the nurse stood by her side with the baby in her arms, as if it was quite ready to be given up. Then the little man began to chuckle at the thought of having the poor child, to take home with him to his hut in the woods; and he cried out, ’Now, lady, what is my name?’ ’Is it JOHN?’ asked she. ’No, madam!’ ’Is it TOM?’ ’No, madam!’ ’Is it JEMMY?’ ’It is not.’ ’Can your name be RUMPELSTILTSKIN?’ said the lady slyly. ’Some witch told you that!– some witch told you that!’ cried the little man, and dashed his right foot in a rage so deep into the floor, that he was forced to lay hold of it with both hands to pull it out.

Then he made the best of his way off, while the nurse laughed and the baby crowed; and all the court jeered at him for having had so much trouble for nothing, and said, ’We wish you a very good morning, and a merry feast, Mr RUMPLESTILTSKIN!’

I suggested that my daughter write from the point of view of the spinning wheel –can’t you just see it - “She expects me to turn this straw into WHAT?!”

Here is a 1950s fairy tale window display for Christmas.

And here is the recent version from Shrek – when someone did write the fairy tales from a different view point.


And this sounds interesting:


Then there’s the musical version?!


And the ballet….


Enjoy your bedtime story!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Scotty Dogs

scpinup   sdscalaes  scottu

I love scotty dogs, or scottish terriers to be precise.  They are said to be extremely loyal, especially to one owner, and often stubborn – sounds just like me!  Although scotties have been in Australia since the 1800’s, for some reason they seem a perfect 50s dog. They look cute, and they are black (therefore chic), they’re a great size for suburban life, but they are not too delicate.  They are extremely photogenic, and pair nicely with the white highland terrier, and were often used in advertising in this way, as in this 50s ad for scotch whiskey.

sdscotch   scpears

They are used in many areas of design.  Here is a site with some great scotty collectables.

sdglassees  dbcollectibles-scotty-dog-ornament

bookend  bowl

Some famous Scottie owners include: Humphrey Bogart (below left), Bette Davis, Julie Andrews, Liza Minellli, E.B. White, George W. Bush, Queen Victoria, Ronald Reagan, Theodore Roosevelt, Dorothy Lamour, Wallis Simpson , Eva Braun, and Shirley Temple (below right).

bogie   sdand st

I do aim to own, or be owned by, a scottie one day.  I don’t think one would cope with my children at present, but maybe once they are older (or have left home!) and my little staffie (Staffordshire terrier) has left us.  For the present I will make do with my little collection – I have found the odd vintage scottie collectable in op shops, ebay and gift shops.

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Vintage money box, small china model, cast iron model bought new in Melbourne recently.

If you love scottie dogs, Here is a free pattern for a 3D felt scottie dog.

Or if you live in England you may lie to apply adopt these three cuties

Find more about them and other scotttie dog info at this terrific English Blog - ScottishTerrier News.

Have a great 50s inspired day,Deb xxx

Friday, 12 August 2011

Self Stitched Challenge


I finally bought a new sewing machine, after my last one died a few years ago.  It’s an Elna and cost me $150 new.


Here is my first item – a little circle skirt for my youngest daughter.  I actually sewed the hem by hand, which took a while but the pattern itself was quite simple. You can view a video tutorial here

 P8120040   P8120038

 P8120041   P8120039

It has a simple elastic waist band and no side seams- great for twirling!

To commit to using my machine, and to get my monies worth,  I have joined the Self-stitched Sept 11 challenge.  It is for people who

“ wish to challenge themselves to wear their lovely handmade creations more than they currently tend to for the duration of September 2011. The signee decides the specifics of their own challenge, eg, what constitutes 'self-stitched', how many self-stitched garments they plan to wear each day, and so on. It is then up to them to try and stick to this throughout the month as best they can. It is not a competition, it doesn't matter if a participant isn't able to fulfil their pledge, life has a habit of getting in the way of good intentions!”

So -'I, Deb Clark (, sign up as a participant of Self-Stitched-Sept '11. I endeavour to wear, or get one of my children wear a hand made or refashioned item each day for the duration of September 2011.'

I aim to take a photo each day as proof!

If you want to join, click on the ink here.

I have a few patterns and some fabric, so I’d better get sewing…………

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Vintage Mix Masters



In my bid to be a glamorous 50s housewife, I have taken to making cakes.  I have come to the decision,like any good housewife of the time, that I need a mix master.

Now I could get a new one, or a slightly second hand one, but I am going to try and get a 1950s one.  How do you tell the difference between mix masters?

Sunbeam have been making mix masters since about the 1930s.   Here is an ad for a glamorous 1930s model (left), every brides dream wedding present, and one for a model from the 1940s – notice the curved handle.  It also had 10 speeds.

Model3Ad sunbeam 40s

The first Sunbeam appliance to be made in Australia was the Mixmaster 9B, in 1948.

In 1957 the model 12 was released, and was the first Mixmaster to have twelve speeds.  Perfect for fluffing egg whites and whipping cream. Here is a copy of the booklet cover from 1957.

Model12Book-oct 1957  $(KGrHqUOKm4E4PccYS4mBOP8HeThSw~~0_35

Models 11 and 12 were offered in yellow, turquoise, and pink, in addition to the standard white, and there were even a small number of chrome machines made in both model 10(left) and 12 (right).

Model10C   Model12CStandard2

I would love either of these! The model 12 continued until about 1967. For some reasons then the machines went with a different look and became boring and somewhat ugly (think Brady Bunch and Alice).  Thankfully the new machines introduced by Sunbeam Australia in 2002 have gone retro and look just as good as they did in the 40s and 50s.  They start at about $350 if you are interested.

new mm  red

I do LOVE red, so I think either one of these, preloved of course, or an original 50s white one. Originals start at about $40 on ebay, and up to about $300 for reconditioned ones, and postage is about $35.  I will keep you updated!

By the way, most of these photos are from the most amazing website on the history of the mix master called angelfire, which you can access here.

Hercule Poirot has class


I had a lovely day off work today  (Dad was going into hospital so I had arranged it, but he went in at 7.15am so my day was free anyway).  I drove the,kids to school, bought groceries, cleaned the fridge and  freezer, made soup, casserole, biscuit dough, cooked apples for crumble (all to go in the oven tonight), did 2 loads of washing, washed the car – all by coffee time at 10.30am.

A bit of time for ebay, and then some TV and ironing.  Enter Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot on ABC.


As well as using those “little grey cells” and solving mysteries, he is so suave, and so well dressed.  The costumes are beautiful , the buildings gorgeous, the accessories accurate and the cars sublime. 

hercule sugaar

I mean look at that sugar bowl! And the moustache of course.

And some lovely clothes and hats. All very 1930s rather than 50s, but so beautiful.

her fas

Ah….time to hop in my Nissan Micra and pick the kids up from school…..xx

Monday, 8 August 2011


I have just made the most delicious biscuits without a recipe.  Well, now there’s one, but you know what I mean!

I had the oven on for cauliflower cheese and roast veg to go with the corned beef for dinner (first time – yummy!), and didn’t want to waste it.  There were no eggs or butter, so desert was a peach fool – pureed tin of peaches mixed with whipped cream and bit of yoghurt, but we still needed something for school lunches. 

Making treats at home is more 50s and cheaper and healthier than buying pre-made, so I do try!  Luckily I buy my oil by the tin – 4 litres at a time, – so there was still a cup left. 

Here is my recipe for ‘but I really need another cookie too mum even if it is bath time’ pantry cookies:

1/2 cup oil

1 cup sugar (it makes anything taste good)

1 cup plain flour

1/2 cup chopped nuts (any, but I had cashews)

1/2 cup dried fruit (my children hate sultanas, so I used goji berries)

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup  of liquid ( I used the syrup from the tinned peaches at dessert)

Mix together and put tablespoons full on a greased baking tray.  Place in a hot oven for 10-15 minutes.

The result?

P8030001  Yummy!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Vintage Mama Vintage and Retro


I have been selling things on ebay on and off for about five years now.  It’s time to get serious.  My collection of clothes, books and bits and pieces has grown, and grows every week as I hit the thrift shops, so I have decided to open a shop on ebay.  This way I hope to make a little money, and bring the idea of vintage to more people, affordably.

You can view my store here.  Oh, it’s called Vintage Mama Vintage and Retro.

Saturday is my thrift store day and my finds today were these:


A table cloth that actually fits my table, and a glass jug with six matching glasses (that blend nicely in to the cloth I know!)– just perfect for us when my elder son is at uni and there are six of us!  Cost - glassware $7 and cloth $4.

I also bought this cloth that is a bit small, but looks cute on an angle:


I love the earthy colours, even though I am really into red and blacks, so I might have to keep it.  And I know my dining set is not 50s, but trying to buy 50s furniture in Mackay (middle of Queensland) is difficult.  Our population is growing so quickly that there isn’t that much second hand furniture that is affordable, around.  But I keep looking. I did pick this gorgeous couch up a few weeks ago at a thrift shop ($45 inc delivery) – late 50s early 60s I think, and only a little crack in the vinyl on one arm.  It actually has pale green cushion covers on the seat, and matching arm protectors, but I am into red, so just covered it all with some red fabric.  I’ll make covers one day.


I found this sweet tray today too, but as I really have to many now I will definitely put it in the ebay shop.


I have finally worked out that clothes look better when modelled rather than flat, so I have roped in my teenage daughter for some modelling ( not that she was really happy about it, but I did promise money for the movies, and I promised not to show her face!). Here she is modelling a cute leopard print lined jacket (it’s a bit big, as she is an 8 to 10), and her lovely friend Alana who just happed to drop by (and is a perfect size 12) in a lovely 80s dress.

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I am sure practice with photographing  headless girls will make me better – I have spent years trying not to do just that!.

Have a lovely weekend – I have to go for a bike ride with the children now……