Recently I spent a bit of time restoring or upcycling a 1940’s display cabinet that had seen much better days, it was battered and bruised painted over twice and in need of some TLC. We spent hours sanding it back, cleaning the awful silicone off the glass, painting, creating a wicked front panel and attaching new doors etc etc I could go on forever the amount of work we’ve done.
This really got me thinking about what we didn’t know how to do, I mean if we are going to do something like this again I’d really like to be better at it. So here’s four things anyone considering restoring any kind of furniture really needs to know:
How to Weld?
I’m sure this is the hardest out of the four How To’s I’ve picked out, but it’s the most rewarding. You start to tap into all kinds of territory once you know how to weld. And ladies, this isn’t just one for the guys with this skill you’ll be able to fix metal furniture like rusty holes or create your own design.
Course Pick - Kangan Institute, Docklands VIC
How to Upholster?
Considering the cost of getting a chair upholstered, I think this one is definitely worthwhile. There is definitely an art to upholstery but if you can learn it it will pay off in the future. I’ve got so many projects at home, I buy chairs cheap and say, oh I’ll get that re-upholstered well we have a pile of chairs still waiting and I keep wanting to buy more??? Hoarder alert! I’m sure many of you can relate.
Course Pick - Macquarie Community College, Carlingford NSW
Not in NSW, check with your local Community College.
How to Paint and/or Stain Furniture?
For anyone who’s painted furniture before, you’ll know it’s not the easiest thing to get that beautiful streak-free finish. Often people choose the wrong paint for the purpose of the furniture they are about to paint, and often people choose house paint which is a big NoNo.
Wouldn’t it be great to really have a skill that can turn crappy furniture into a piece of art?
Course Pick - Porter’s Original Paints, Waterloo NSW
How to use Power Tools?
Now we’ve all watched Scotty Cam and his handy work on telly then watched our Dad who probably has no idea but he’s watched Scotty Cam on telly. It would be awesome to actually know how to use and I mean effectively use the power tools in our garage, what tool would work best for what application and what’s the safest way to use them.
We did have a little incident with the sander attachment to the drill, I was like a girl on a mission sanding this thing and next thing my dress is completely caught up in the drill… I freaked out and all I could think about are those backyard power tool accidents you hear, it could have been me.
Course Pick - Bunnings, Nationally (keep an eye out for different DIY classes at your local Bunnings)
Hope y’all have fun getting down and dirty!
Austin is a fantastic city, it’s a place I could actually live with it’s down to earth vibe, honky tonk bars, food trucks and the live music capital of America I was completely in my element. None of that fancy pants shmants here, although it is a little hipsterish in places which makes for good clean food and vegan taco food trucks (huh?) which were surprisingly tasty even if it had scrambled tofu and weird fake chicken on it.
But you don’t wanna hear about my eating adventures, as per previous post the vintage shopping highlight is obviously the Antique Extravaganza in Warrenton but I did sneak away for a few hours to see some other stores around Austin.
Austin is made for vintage shoppers, every year they release the The Vintage Around Town Guide, it’s fantastic! (I’m even thinking we need something like this in Sydney.) Here’s a link to their web which you can download the map as a pdf from there, otherwise they are in the foyers of all hotels in Austin. So So Rad.
I trekked out to Catherine’s Antiques it was quite far and expensive to get to via taxi AND IT WAS CLOSED! Not happy Jan. It shouldn’t have been closed according to the store opening hours, don’t you hate that! Anyways so I headed over to the North Loop Blvd, it’s home to cluster of stores. Can’t go wrong.
It’s hard to choose a favourite out of these, I bought the most stuff in Hog Wild Vintage - mainly home accessories and furniture, Big Bertha’s Paradise Vintage - high end designer clothes and jewellery - the owner was the best and that’s where I picked up my Mexican Skirt (see story below) but I really liked the vibe of Blue Velvet Vintage - clothing, jewellery and bags really good prices, staff very helpful and it was just a nice store to be in… so can’t really pick just one.
Hog Wild Vintage
Big Bertha’s Paradise Vintage
Blue Velvet Vintage
Things to know about Austin:
Vintage shopping is cheaper than San Fran & Vegas, I picked up a 50’s Mexican Skirt (as pictured) for $90. At Viva they were about $200, at home they are $150-$250 so BARGAIN AND it had been altered to fit ME! Well probably not for me but someone my size so no alterations when I get home, best score of the trip me thinks!
People in Austin and Texas are lovely and real, everyone will enjoy a chat with you. Ask them for information about anything they will gladly help.
There isn’t too much to do other than shopping, eating and drinking. I think there’s one museum and a few sites nothing major so unless you want to shop, eat from food trucks and drink in some of the coolest bars in USA then Austin is not for you.
See ya later cowboy!
The Lonestar Roundup, one of the biggest Classic Kustom & Hotrod Shows in USA. It’s a double header a lot people at Viva usually back it up and head to Austin to go to the Lonestar Roundup.
Ok comparison with Viva, and in my opinion only (I mean this is a blog and I can say what I like right?) Viva has more glitz and glamour, it’s got more style and more to offer as it runs over 3 days and 4 nights. Lonestar is a REAL carshow, it’s got a swapmeet and probably double if not triple the cars of Viva, it’s down to earth and a lot more laid back, a lot less “who’s got the biggest flower in their hair?” if you get my drift. To pick a favourite of the two would be impossible as they are different events e.g. Viva $100 tix Lonestar $15 tix. I really enjoyed both.
The Lonestar Roundup brings a lot of people to Austin, at night after the show the cars do mainies up and down South Congress the locals pull up their camp chairs and beers to watch the cars go by. It’s a bustling night, with bands playing at different bars in Austin in particular The Continental. There’s a food truck food court on South Congress, we stopped in for a taco or two.
Here’s my snaps, enjoy!
Vintage shopping is a treat in San Fran, most of the stores are located at Haight & Ashbury which is my most favourite part of San Fran. Haight Street is super trendy and once where the hippies of the 70’s were in full force. Today you’ll find between the vintage stores organic coffee, peace loving hippy stores and record shops. The vintage stores on Haight St do give you a varied price range $$ which is good so everyone can shop, don’t expect to find any “antique” style stores on Haight St whilst there are antique stores in San Fran they are scattered all over the city so completely different shopping experience to Las Vegas “Antiques Lane”.
The following stores on Haight Street stood out the most, firstly Mystery Mister, now they also had a stand at Viva Las Vegas to which I bought my lovely Lucite Bag so when I found out they were in San Fran I headed straight to the store – not exaggerating we literally flew dropped our bags off and got the Muni to Haight St – the store was sweet, plenty of quality vintage clothes and a little bit of that hipster-antique thing going on with taxidermy deer foot ashtrays and really cute rustic animal cards. I snavelled a Japanese Elvis Chopstick Holder, haha makes me laugh, we aren’t sure if that’s exactly what it is but it’s very cool and I love him dearly. Bernie was really helpful giving us tips on the night spots around town and other vintage and Thrift stores to visit.
Relic Vintage, a new store, they’ve definitely hit the mark – probably my favourite from San Fran – unfortunately I didn’t take too many photos I was too distracted. They have the best of the best, they are reasonably priced but most definitely not the cheapest as they stock quality vintage pieces. You’ll need to do little repairs if any to the clothes that they sell, they’ve a great range of bags and jewellery and again like the others they have a fantastic range of men’s clothing. We were lucky enough to score a (like new) 50’s Black Suit with White fleck, you just can’t but these in Australia and it was much less than buying a Hugo Boss or Armani. The girls working there are lovely, helpful and don’t mind how long you spend in the store, a sign out the front with famous daily quote adds tonnes of character and a little picket fence in the window.
Things to know about San Fran:
None of the stores about really cater for “home décor” they are more about clothing, jewellery and accessories like hats and bags. We only found one store that we really liked for vintage home décor, The Other Store, they had some wonderful things in there probably better than most of the Vegas stores to be honest. Pricing was good on most items and they had a big range, very little furniture which suits me. This photo is of The Other Store’s Easter display… CUTE!
Victorian homes are on the West of the city (near Haight St) everything on the East got knocked down by an earthquake in 1906, the Victorian homes were kit homes painted in various pastels. You may have heard of these homes being called a Painted Lady, this was the named used for the homes that had 3 or more colour scheme. It’s associated with prostitution in SF because in late 1800’s it was a 500 male to 1 female population and the Painted Lady homes were possibly used as brothels. (See I learnt something, thank you City Sightseeing Tour hahaha!!)
Lower Haight St is a little sketchy, same with Mission St I don’t advise walking these at night or on your own. I know I can be a little sketchy sometimes but this was head down no eye contact moments in the day time so I’d hate to see what it’s like at night.
The Thrift shops were a complete let down, don’t waste your time, they’ve been raped and pillaged.
Here’s a link to a long list of San Fran vintage stores, go for it next time you’re there.
Oh and if you’re looking for somewhere to stay and kinda like the whole grandma vintage thang (like me!) then check out this hotel White Swan Inn, it was so cute! Very homely and comfortable, the floral wallpaper gets me every time!
Until next time folks…
The people of Texas don’t do things by halves, this is an Antique Fair on steroids and then some. This event is held twice a year, running for two weeks, about an hour out of Austin city (you’ll need to hire a car) is made up of 5 different towns in rural Texas completely street-lined with stallholders full of antiques and collectables.
So much you don’t know where to look from ceramics, art, clothes, hats, jewellery, furniture, linen and so on.. You’ll find hipster style vintage to grandma’s old barn yard vintage, and super fancy antiques. Not as much clothing as you’d normally find at a vintage fair but plenty of bags and jewels to satisfy those fashionistas.
Now I allocated a day at the fair, totally underestimated. To put it into perspective I managed to get through only 1, out of 5 towns participating!! So you’ll need at least, at the very least 2-3 days. See map, I went to Warrenton only.
Map - AntiqueWeekend.com
I went on the second last day of the two week fair, there was still an abundance of vintage goodies. Considering it was close to the finish line the stallholders were keen to strike a deal, not wanting to load anything into their vans (I know how that feels) so I was able to get a lot for half price. Good to know. But with loads of good stuff still avail, I’d hate to know what I missed out on the previous 12 days.
The people from Texas are the nicest and sweetest kind, they like to say “Hi to y’all”, it’s cool. The country Texas vibe with BBQ Brisket food trucks, corn dogs, coffee and beer, it’s not just about the shopping but the experience too.
Overall was a great day, the shear volume of goods and size of the fair was completely overwhelming, I’m so glad I took a day out of my trip to venture out of the city and do my favourite thing “vintage shop”.
So our first ever Viva Las Vegas (Viva), it was all that I hoped it would be and more. 4 nights and 3 days of rockabilly all in one casino. It was awesome.
Thursday night (opening night for ticket holders only) was manic, vendor and band sections were open at 5pm and the crowds went wild. Especially the vintage vendors, it was out of control shopping, I don’t think people could swipe their cards fast enough. I picked up a few little goodies like my Lucite Bag, oh I love you.
Friday we hung by the pool, watched the Aquasonics and the Men’s Vintage Swimsuit Competition - now guys before you laugh first prize was a brand new Gretsch guitar pretty impressive. The pool party (and the entire event) was like stepping back in time, girls subtly swinging their legs in the pool twirling their parasol with perfectly curled hair and ruby red lippy, the guys were also dressed appropriately with thigh-high boardshorts, hawaiian shirts and some were even wearing vintage twin sets. Tip - Don’t wait until Sunday to go to the Pool Party, you’ll line up there is strict limits to the number of people let into the pool area, and everyone has the same idea.
We caught the Charles Phoenix Retro Slide Show, was hilarious, Charles collects old slides mostly from the 50’s & 60’s of almost anything, I particularly enjoyed his commentary on the slides with the lesbians wearing matching knitted sweaters, or were they sisters? either way they were weird.
Saturday is the day everyone can’t wait for, it’s jam-packed full of things to do including the main day of the Car Show. There are more markets, head-liner acts on the main stage such as Dick Dale & Little Richard, thousands of classic kustom cars (I can’t just say classics as I doubt many of them would be original or restored to original condition, but kustom YES), Miss Viva Pin Up Contest, Sailor Jerry Tattoo Contest and heaps more. Here’s a few pictures of the day, it was the best day of the weekend.
A bunch of Aussies met up for a photo, REPRESENT!
Saturday night closed for us with the Miss Viva Las Vegas Burlesque Competition, hand selected acts from around the globe compete here to be crowned Miss Viva Las Vegas. Missy Lisa from Texas taking out the title, you can watch her performance here.
The performances were of the highest quality, mostly classical/traditional acts a little different to the character of performance we like to do in Oz but very entertaining. Tip - If you get over to Viva you need to get tickets to the Burlesque Shows at 12 noon, they are for wristband holders only, and you need to line up. If you wait til about 1:30-2:00pm and they have any tickets left there usually isn’t a line.
All in all Viva Las Vegas was more than what we expected and more again, we would definitely go again just with a little less time in Vegas beforehand, Vegas time by Sunday had taken it’s toll with 8 nights in a row up after 3am… mmm… Vegas BABY!