Saturday, October 3, 2015

Fainting Sofa ~ Completed~

It's finally finished!! Yeah, so that took longer than the few days I originally assumed it would. The project was side-lined for a while (due to health problems and other projects that had priority), but last week I got to work and finished her. 

Isn't she a beauty? I snapped a few quick pictures to share, but I will post some better pictures when my sewing studio makeover is completed. Everything is a bit of a mess at the moment, but it is starting to come together. The chaise was the first step in turning my old "hobby room" into a proper work space. I've been making do with a multipurpose space for too long and need a space dedicated solely to the business.

Anyways, the chaise was certainly an ambitious project for my first major re-upholstery project, but I am quite happy with my results. 

(Brown painted wood, discoloured and faded fabric)


I picked a turquoise blue fabric and light grey paint. When I took off the old fabric, I realized just how massively faded it was and rather icky. The new fabric is so much better! (The lighting in here was weird when I took the photos; the new fabric is less shiny and smoother than it looks in the photos.) The fabric has an almost velvet like feel and is super soft. The colour also looks great with the green walls of my studio. I had originally planned on making trim to finish off the edges, but I went with a grey gimp instead since I didn't have enough fabric left. I think the gimp actually looks better than the trim I was going to do! 

Final price for this one-of-a-kind beauty? With all the material, paint, etc she ended up costing about $230. My goal was to spend less than the $340 it would have taken to replace my cheap Ikea sofa. I think I succeeded there! It always surprises me how antiques can often be less than buying from a big box store. Normally one thinks antique=expensive, but that really doesn't have to be the case. Some antiques are pricey, but there are still plenty of bargains to be found. 

Speaking of bargains, I also just bought a Victorian chair to replace my old desk chair. My previous chair was also from Ikea. The Victorian chair I ended up replacing it with is solid wood, with soft green velvet (which doesn't need replacing, yay!!). Price difference? The Victorian was $10 cheaper than replacing the Ikea chair. I mean, which would you rather have?!
Old vs New
Well, I should get back to work on my studio makeover. I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

That's All.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Victorian Brilliantine Recipe (plus a couple new videos!)

(Brilliantine bottle from my vintage bottle collection)

Today I thought I'd share this great Brilliantine recipe. Brilliantine is a men's hair product used as a hair tonic to add shine. Here is a simple recipe from an old Barber's Manual (circa 1900):
For "alcohol" I used Vodka. The book doesn't give instructions, so I just poured everything into a jar and gave it a shake. It worked out well! While I haven't tried this recipe on myself, I made a batch for a friend of mine and he loves it. It doesn't have enough hold for him to use it alone, but he likes to use it in combination with a little hair gel or as an aftershave (he loves the smell). I thought it might be a bit drying, despite the glycerin, but he hasn't had any issues.

I've also posted a few more Youtube videos in the last week:

That's All.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Opps, I'm back!

I'm back after a month's break from blogging. I hadn't intended to take a break at all, but life got busy and something had to give,

However, I come back with (hopefully) exciting news! I decided to relaunch my YouTube channel! I haven't made videos for ages but I really missed it. I'm planning on posting two videos a week for the foreseeable future. The first video will be a quick vintage beauty tip or recipe (mainly Victorian and Edwardian), and the second will be a longer tutorial. Instead of just hair, there will be a mix of hair, makeup, beauty recipes, and testing historical hair products (including recreating a 1920's marcel curler!). I will still be blogging as well, but supplementing my posts with videos. My videos will be posted on my blog, but if you would like to subscribe to my channel as well that would be much appreciated!

So far, I've posted a channel trailer (which includes a bit of a sneak peak for upcoming videos) and one hair tutorial. A new video will be posted tomorrow, as well!

If anyone has any requests let me know! 

That's All.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

~The Vintage Vegetarian~ Grapefruit and Walnut Salad

It's been a while since I've done any "vintage cooking", so I thought it was about time to try something new! My health is still a bit of an issue at the moment, therefore I picked a recipe that was relatively straightforward and quick to prepare. I selected a salad recipe from a Victorian cookbook that sounded (hopefully) yummy.

 Grapefuit and Walnut Salad

The original recipe

My initial thoughts
Sounds easy enough. Not sure about putting cayenne pepper on grapefruit though... That might either be surprisingly good or really weird tasting. 

The Ingredients
(Makes approximately 4 servings)
  • Two Grapefruit
  • Walnuts
  • 3 Tbsp Oil (I used a light olive oil, but I would suggest trying grape-seed oil if you have it)
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper

Cooking Instructions
  1. Cut grapefruit into pieces. The recipe doesn't specify what size/shape, so I cut mine into bit-sized chunks.
  2. Measure out walnuts. This doesn't need to be exact, but you should have roughly twice as much grapefruit as walnuts. I crushed my walnuts slightly to make them easier to eat. Add the walnuts to the fruit.
  3. Mix the oil, lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper together. Pour over the fruit and nuts. 
  4. Chill in the fridge for a couple hours.

The Result

Hmm.... I'm still not quite sure about this one. I was expecting to either love it or hate it, but the end result was just "meh". Not bad, not great. It was very quick to make, with total prep time only being about 5 minutes. But the end result was just so surprisingly bland! The taste of the vinaigrette disappears under the taste of the grapefruit (though I did notice a slight aftertaste, which I suspect was the oil). Toasting the nuts a bit might help this recipe, but I don't think I'll bother to try this one again. I'd rather broil my grapefruit with a bit of honey , instead of wasting any more on this recipe. 

Let me know if there's any type of recipe you want me to try next, or a specific ingredient (or alternatively a recipe that doesn't include a certain ingredient, such as dairy, eggs, etc)!

That's All.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The infamous 3-hour sweater

Hello everyone! I've been MIA for a while due to work (it's exam time for summer students), but hopefully life will be back to normal by the end of the week. I am very much looking forward to kicking my feet up for a few days before diving head first into all the sewing I'm behind on.

The only project I've managed to complete lately is another 3-hour sweater. This is my third one, and possibly my favourite. I love the soft minty green shade of the yarn and I extended the bottom ribbing which I think gives a more flattering fit for my body type. On my last sweater, I made the mistake of not switching back to small needles for the top ribbing (the pattern doesn't actually tell you to), but I fixed that on this one and am much happier with the neckline. I opted for a little yarn tie at the neck instead of a button, but I may change it since the tie doesn't like to stay done up. Other than that, I followed the original instructions (a lot of the "3-hour sweater's" you see use a modified version of the pattern). 

Anyone else tried the 3-hour sweater? (If not, you can get the pattern for free here). I've never heard of anyone actually completing it in 3 hours, but it is a very quick knit. Perhaps the 10 hour sweater would be a more correct name. It's my go-to quick vintage knit at the moment. I'm torn about what to knit next though. Any suggestions?

That's All.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Swim Suits (1926)

Whoops, just realized I haven't posted in a couple weeks. This short little post will have to do until work slows down a bit! Aren't their bathing suits adorable?! I'm not sure which is my favourite. I think I'm torn between the checkered one and the spider web one. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Birthdays and Beautiful Buildings

My birthday was weeks ago, but I completely forgot to post the outfit photos until now. Whoops. Anyways, my parents treated me to a day in Port Hope on my actual birthday. We ended the day of antique shopping with coffee just down the road in Cobourg (the two towns are only a few minutes drive from one another). Cobourg has my favourite coffee shop, which always has the most amazing cakes and tarts, quirky but elegant decor, and classical music playing the background. It's simply wonderful!

My outfit is a mix of 1920's and 1930's styles. I knit the sweater loosely from a 1920's pattern (same shape, different gauge and stitch pattern). The skirt is 1930's in inspiration (also me-made), and the hat is a vintage piece from the 1930's (I wish I had a better shot of the hat as it's my favourite, but it had slipped down my hair quite a bit by the time these photos were taken).

 I also wore my new necklace, which I made about 30 minutes before heading out the door. It was inspired by some 1920's necklaces I had been lusting after on Etsy. I love real vintage jewelry, but I'm always hesitant to wear my pieces out of the house in case they accidentally fall off somewhere. With me-made jewelry I know that I can always just make another one if something happens to it.

I snapped these few quick outfit shots outside the historic Port Hope town hall. Isn't she a beauty?! I do love Victorian architecture. 

I've actually been touring a few Victorian buildings lately. A friend and I went to the local "Doors Open" event a few weeks ago. "Doors Open" is an event that takes place in various towns across Ontario and gives you a chance to tour local buildings of interest. They are often historical or otherwise important, and may include a few private homes! I just love poking about in other peoples houses. We toured an adorable stone church, a couple houses, and the local "castle". 

Trafalgar castle was built as a private home in the early 1860s and converted to a ladies college in the 1870s. The original owner, Nelson Gilbert Reynolds, served as the Sheriff of Ontario County. The building cost a fortune to construct and he had to sell it only a few years after completion, likely due to gambling debts. He was actually quite the colourful character and had a total of 24 children (there were rumors of a few illegitimate children as well). 
Photo of Trafalgar Castle (Circa 1863)

Over the years there have been a number of additions and renovations, but I was quite impressed with how many of the original features were preserved. It was too dim inside to take many pictures, but I snapped this quick shot of the main staircase:

Here are some great historical shots of the castle I found in the local archives:

Some of the additions were added in 1887. A few years later, you can see another wing was added to the building:
One of the reception rooms in 1919. It still looks quite similar, only with different furniture now of course. Check out that amazing plaster work on the ceiling! 

And now for some shots of college life dating from around 1906 to 1920:

The college is doing a great job preserving this lovely historical building. I am so glad that such an impressive building has a dedicated group of people taking care of it. A few years ago when the plaster work needed repair, they spend the time, money, and effort to have it repaired properly by a local master-craftsman. There have been renovations and updates over the years, but for the most part they have been done with a lot of respect for the original building. There are so many local historical buildings that have been left to rot and decay, or have been "renovated" beyond recognition. It does my heart good to see at least some people are still working to preserve the past, while still using the building to serve the present. 

I have such a deep love of historical buildings. Preservation is so important and so often ignored. I have been known to yell at the tv whenever I watch renovation programs where they rip out original features (that's the reason the only show I watch anymore is Rehab Addict. Nicole Curtis is amazing).

I received a book of "interesting places to visit in Ontario" for my birthday, which lists a bunch of historical sites and ruins. I'm hoping to get a chance to check out some of the historical sites while they are still around. I have a bunch of day-trips planned out, but they will have to wait until August when work slows down a bit (I actually have a number of tutoring students doing summer school this year!). 

Anyone else visit any interesting historical buildings recently? 

That's All.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Summer Seaside Fashions (1914)

I just bought a huge bunch of fabric and am so excited to get working on some new pieces for the shop. Unfortunately my blood pressure is still an issue, which means until my specialist appoint in a couple weeks I'm taking it easy and focusing more on the design side of things. I've been very inspired by the fashions from the late Edwardian and early 1920's recently. The fashions of the late 1920's are very sleek and glamorous, but I love the femininity of the earlier designs. There is something almost naive about them, and they have this a great mix of the earlier Victorian style with the very beginnings of the flapper era. I'm also a sucker for unique draping and a large amount of fabric, so a lot of the early designs really appeal to me.

I hope everyone is having a great week!

That's All.