28 August 2010

Keep Young and Beautiful!

Today I did something very girly and fun - a three hour workshop on 1930's and 40's hair and makeup. The girls from The Lindy Charm School for Girls come down to Melbourne a few times a year and I signed up back in April for one of their very popular afternoons.  I work in an industry where most women don't wear any makeup, and there's a bit of a judgement factor that you're not 'green' unless you're wearing hemp, so this was a treat!  The workshop covered how-to's on makeup, hair and vintage garments.

Me using a wooden dolly-peg to shape pin-curls.

For a 1940's look, a very pink rouge is applied in little circles on the apples of the cheeks. Beet-root juice was used as an emergency substitute during rationing.  This was a new one for me! I usually use a very neutral coloured powder blusher for every-day and apply it in an upward sweep along my upper cheekbones.
 The idea with the 40's look is to mimic a natural flush - as if you had pinched your cheeks!

The final result! Thanks Chrissy for helping me with the upsweep.

The 'do from the side.

Chrissy and Kim lacing one of the girls into a waist-cincher for an hourglass figure. She was still smiling when they finished and lost three inches in her waist! Va-voom!

Kim demonstrates a four-inch waist loss with a Dior-style cincher!  The 'New Look' original vintage suits have a smaller waist in the skirt than in the jacket, so you need one of these!  Ouch! What was it that Meatloaf said..."I would do anything for Vintage....but I won't do that!" (or was it love....).  Apparently, her Pilates teacher said it helps you work your core muscles since you sit up straight all day (which also has the added bonus of keeping the boning from impaling you). At least half a dozen slim girls in their 20's bought these and raved about them when they tried them on.  Maybe next time...!

A final pic: one of the first skirts I made two years ago.  The pattern was McCall's M5390.  

I would highly recommend the workshop if you can get into one - the remaining three in Melbourne this month are sold out.  The girls were great, it was very low-priced for the three hours and it was heaps of fun.  

Now, repeat after me, 'Though shalt always endeavour to wear red lipstick!' The Lindy Charm School Motto

25 August 2010

Planting Garlic and Purple-tinted Cauliflower

I love cauliflower! Yum! This is my first time growing it and one is almost ready to harvest.  This is 'Snowball Improved', an organic cultivar, seeds were from Green Harvest. I sowed the seeds in punnets in mid-March and transplanted them about six weeks later in early May.  As I have previously mentioned, we have had a VERY cold winter so these grew slowly. Everything just had a sudden growth period a couple of weeks ago with a bit of warmer weather (meanwhile, it's back to winter - it hailed yesterday).  Apparently the purple tint is normal.  In the past, farmers would blanch cauliflower by keeping it covered (like celery or rhubard). Cauliflower and all other brassicas (cabbage family) contain anthocyanins that can help protect the cells from sun damage. Sometimes the purple tint is a heat response.  I'm guessing this was a response to sunny weather after months of cold and grey.   Plants are amazing, they make their own sunscreen!  The purple cauliflowers that are available would have orginally been selected from plants that had a strong purple tint.  Anthocyanins are also antioxidants - the same ones found in blueberries.

Planting Garlic
In a temperate climate like Melbourne, garlic can be planted all year.  A couple of weeks ago I decided to plant the remaining garlic from my last crop early in the year.  Here's a step-by-step on how to plant garlic:

1. Choose garlic is still firm and has no sign of disease or insect damage.  Break them into individual cloves - each of these is a bulb, similar to a tulip bulb and will grow a new plant.  Keep the papery outer layer on - it will protect the bulb while it's in its early growth stages.  The bulbs don't have to be sprouting but they will grow more quickly if they are.

08 August 2010

Green Manure

No, this isn't about what happens when your dog eats spinach! Green manure, sometimes called a cover crop, is another way to get more nitrogen and organic material into your soil.  This is my first go at one and I posted a picture last time of what the mustard greens looked like a couple of weeks ago.  The crop was grown from seed planted in late May.  They were about knee-high yesterday and it wasn't raining, so I decided it was time to dig them in.

Here are my second-favorite tools, after my Felco secateurs, my inherited Wolf-Garten interchangable head uber-tools:

First, I cut a big bowl of the taller ones and saved them for dinner... they were yummy sauteed with some olive oil, garlic and lemon!  Back in the garden, here's what I did: