Monday, May 27, 2013

Finders Keepers Winter Markets!

6 months seems to whip around awful fast doesn't it - feels like only a few weeks ago we were peddling our wares at the Summer Finders Keepers...

But as much as times seems a lost concept at G&J HQ, it is indeed time again for the Finders Keepers Markets, Winter edition.

And there are a few changes afoot...
A change of venue is probably the biggest one for everyone to be aware of. After five years, the Sydney Finders Keepers markets have outgrown the halls of Carriageworks and the markets have moved across the tracks; to Australian Technology Park! As such, the markets have trebled in size (yes, that's THREE times as much amazing-ness)...AND there are food trucks and a 'market lane' of food stalls to boot. Hurrah!

There are so, so, SO many designers to be aware of at these markets, and after a careful fossiking through the designer profiles, we are keen to check out these little beauties...

...for beautiful organic jewellery.

...for stunning, handmade leather-goods.

3. Marcue
...the go-to stall for shoes, glorious shoes!

...for the lasses with a good set of pins; these shifts are pretty darn cute!

...for original vintage and antique book plates.
(they are also our neighbours...we anticipate many purchases)

...ceramic heaven!

...there is no limit to the amount of pretty tea-towels one can own.

...sleepwear that's pretty and functional.

...yes, they do a brilliant range of knits etc. but these McFadyen picnic blankets made us audibly coo. And reminded us of one of our favourite regency drama actors...

...for the most beautiful silk scarves

AND lastly, 
...for beautifully tailored clothes and elegant accessories with a pinch of vintage flair.

See you there!
Friday: 6pm -10pm
Saturday: 10am - 5pm


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Saving history

When I moved to Ashfield almost 10 years ago, there were a few things that made the location extra special.
Firstly, the flat I had moved into was in a building that looked like an original picture plate from an Austen novel - an ancient crepe myrtle drapes over one end of the front yard whilst abundant lavender bushes line the pathway to the front door. In the morning the sun hits the Victorian lacework on the front porch, projecting the intricate patterns across the wall.

The stunning lavender path and the top of the house - back when it was painted pink

When I was first peeking through the windows of my flat-to-be - hardly able to contain my glee - one of the residents came outside, introduced themselves and told me about the history of the building. It was the original Rectory that was built in 1880 to house the family of the Rector of St John's - the church across the road from the house. In the 1920s the Rectory building had been relocated onsite (another stunning pieces of architectural history in itself) and this original building had been converted into flats. I was captivated with her descriptions of how lovely it was to walk through the churchyard every day on her way to the train station, and walked that way myself on my way back home.
Under one of the Acorn trees, looking at the oldest surviving building in Ashfield, circa 1840

You see that lovely little piece of green land to the left of the Church? That's where they want to build, cutting down all the trees to do so.

To this day I still walk through this original 1840s churchyard on my own 1 kilometre journey to the train station every morning. In Winter tiny snowdrop flowers emerge from between the graves and every Spring is heralded by the heady perfume of wild freesias bursting from every corner. There is a shady walkway lined with Palms, gnarly Acorn trees and some truly beautiful fir trees. Majestic eucalypts on the boundary of the property are home to Kookaburras, Rosellas and Cockatoos. Walking home through this in the last light of the day is magical and I feel able to slow down and breathe out. 

Just a few of the wildlife nestled in the branches

The beautiful trees at sunset and in full sun

It might sound slightly morbid, but I've always loved graveyards. In hundreds of years their intention never changes - they are exactly as they were and there is something truly evocative about that.
The original gravesite, thankfully not affected by the current development application. Photo: Copyright John Cowper

Recently the church has put plans to council to develop the remaining green spaces of the site. An obtrusive new Ministry Centre will completely obscure the view of the original heritage listed building from the street. And with a recent proposed change of zoning from Special Uses to Residential, the Church's plans for building flats in a far corner seem a whole less far-fetched. I have since spent many sleepless nights drafting and re-writing a 10 page submission to council opposing these plans.

A concerned neighbour who lives on the adjacent property has written a truncated version of her own submission to council so that concerned folk who want to express their concern can do so.
You can download the letter here:
If you care about this issue, sign and send this letter by 5pm May 17th to:

General Manager, Ashfield Council
Post: PO Box 1145, Ashfield NSW 1800 DX 21221
Fax: 9716 1911

Ashfield is the second most densely populated municipality in New South Wales and sadly we also have the lowest ratio if parkland to people in the state. To remove this historical piece of parkland from the public is deeply upsetting. And one I hope we have the power to stop.


p.s. this original Heritage Walk brochure for the area is really fun

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mothers Day! A little bit about my ma...

Today is Mothers Day - a day when we take some time to show our love and appreciation for our mothers, grandmothers, aunts and all the other strong, amazing women in our lives.

And this seems as good an occasion as any to give my own ma a bit of praise...

My beautiful mother Amanda picking flowers in the late 1970s
Here she is holding me in 1984. The tweed jacket I'm wearing is her handiwork!
My parents were idealists, passionate about the very specific decisions they had made about the childhood they wanted my younger brother and I to have. We were both birthed at home (in Annandale and Marrickville respectively), raised on a vegetarian diet and surrounded with music, books and sunshine. The television was almost never on and when it was always proved a rather strange experience: you see we had two; one that had a colour picture with no sound and beneath it, covered in a cloth, was a black and white television that provided the slightly out of sync audio.
Almost all our food was made from scratch by my ma - there was even a brief period when my parents grew wheat to grind into flour to make bread believe it or not - and it was all delicious, wholesome, unprocessed fare.

My brother and I hanging out in the garden in Marrickville
By today's standards some of these choices still seem extreme, so you can imagine how bizarre they would have been in the early 1980s. We lived a very simple life, both by choice and by necessity - my father was a musician who drove taxis, whilst my mum, then a primary school teacher, looked after us at home until we started school. And my childhood could not have been a happier one. My brother and I had several cubby houses we had created, dotted around the generous quarter acre block of a backyard and loved playing in the garden, learning about the different herbs and vegetables. We would go outside in the early hours and only come back in at night-fall. We were healthy, robust, adventurous children who had an appreciation for the small things in life instilled in us from an early age.

Reading to us with her 'reading glasses' which we found out only recently were completely for show. She was always quite the joker!

Messing around in front of the humongous rosemary bush in the back garden, behind the old stone shed.

Our birthday cakes were never new-fangled, tiered contraptions covered in a slick of coloured icing; we had wholemeal spiced pear upside-down cake. Rewards were fancy fruits - creamy custard apples and juicy mangoes. Summer treats were frozen bananas dipped in lemon to retain their creamy colour.

My brother patiently waiting for the cake-eating to begin at one of his birthdays - I love the decorations of colourful wooden beads and streamers. Not to mention that shirt!
Most of our clothes were made by our ma on a very old and very heavy sewing machine. Her handiwork was spectacular with hand smocking and embroidery on a number of beautiful pieces. Sometimes it's hard to believe when looking through old photos that we were even part of the 1980s because my mum dressed us so well. I can thank her for teaching me how to sew and to knit and to use my hands skilfully. I can safely say that my own talents will always seem rudimentary compared to hers.

Some examples of her work - a simple play dress on the left and some hand-smocking on the right.

As a kid I do remember going through periods of longing for different, 'normal' things - I held white bread exulted above all others and would do just about anything to get my hands on a pot of chocolate yogo. I absolutely LOVED the chain store clothing my well meaning grandmother would buy me for Christmas (that would all mysteriously disappear around February), wanted a Barbie doll pretty badly and would read banned trashy books like The Baby Sitters Club secretly at night with a torch.

Now, as an adult older than my own mother when I was born, I can only thank her for her steadfast patience, perseverance and practical skills. My brother and I both know how to create tasty, nutritious food in a flash; how to sew on a button and fix a hem; how to plant something and keep it living.
And most importantly we understand that hard work pays the greater dividends, to never give up no matter how ridiculous the whirlwind, to believe in our own abilities and to remember that happiness is more important than monetary gain. Given our chosen professions of designer and luthier (my very talented brother makes handmade guitars under the moniker Lockwood Guitars) are so very niche and specific, this last point is particularly important. We know that no matter what seemingly ludicrous decisions we make in life, our ma will always encourage us to do what feels best and true for us at any given time. And that is a luxury so many do not have.

Riverside hugs with ma

So here's to my mum Amanda - Happy Mothers Day!


Monday, May 6, 2013

Presenting...Prairie Moon, our Winter 2013 collection



w i n t e r  2 0 1 3

"Shot gold, maroon and violet, dazzling silver, emerald, fawn,
The earth's whole amplitude and Nature's multiform power consigned
for once to colors;
The light, the general air possessed by them - colors till now unknown,
No limit, confine - not the Western sky alone - the high meridian -
North, South, all,
Pure luminous color fighting the silent shadows to the last."
- Walt Whitman, Prairie Sunset

Proudly designed and made in Australia

'Prairie Moon' is now available to purchase through Ginny & Jude Designs and all stockists.
The ‘Midnight Cowgirl’ blouse in Blush - $130 || The ‘Paris, Texas’ skirt in abstract Green - $165
The ‘Sunnyside’ headwrap in Persimmon stripe - $30 || The ‘Prairie Swing’ necklace, Agate - $65

The 'Bebe' beret in Teal, Crimson and Noir - $140 || The 'Midnight Cowgirl' blouse in Noir - $130
The 'Paris, Texas' skirt in Purple plaid - $165 || The 'Prairie Swing' Necklace in Agate - $65
 The ‘Midnight Cowgirl’ blouse in Noir - $130 || The ‘Paris, Texas’ skirt in Purple plaid - $165
The ‘Prairie Swing’ necklace, Agate - $68 || The ‘Cedar Bluff’ swing coat - $270
The ‘Evergreen Prairie’ blouse in Pastel and Primary - $115 || The ‘Texan Belle’ skirt in Blue and Red - $150


The ‘Midnight Cowgirl’ blouse in Blush - $130 || The ‘Paris, Texas’ skirt in abstract Green - $165
Vintage woollen scarf - $35 || The 'Cedar Bluff' swing coat in abstract Green - $260

~ C R E D I T S ~
Photography: All photos copyright Lyndal Irons
Hair and Makeup:Tania Bowers
Model: Ito Omoregbee
Styling: Rabia Lockwood

All pieces from the Prairie Moon collection 

are now available to buy from Ginny & Jude Designs