Tag Archives: Vintage

Front Porch by Fiona Lenord

15 Jun

Upcycle: verb. To reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original, moving it ‘up’ the consumer goods chain.

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I love creative people who breathe new life into old things. I’m not talking about The Toy Story theory of extending a discarded item’s life by passing it on to another to be loved all over again but rather upcycling. Pushing the boundaries of an item’s original purpose and creating a new form. Front Porch is one such brand riding the upcycling wave. Front Porch was launched in 2012 by Fiona Lenord after making a tree change to the Blue Mountains, NSW. Behind the brand is Fiona’s 23 years experience as a Textile Designer specialising in hand painted florals, including 13 years with iconic Australian brand Sheridan. This wealth of experience shines through her apparel and homewares designs. The attention to detail and the love put into each piece is really beautiful.

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The Front Porch signature piece is a dress made from upcycled textiles. The design is a simple strappy A line cut with a soft rope drawstring, tapering down to varying lengths. Fiona describes her latest best seller, The Foofoo, as “the love child of a poncho and a kimono. Both styles can be layered up and down for all seasons. Worn casually or dressed up for weddings and formal events”.

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A keen op shopper who loves hunting through secondhand stores and flea markets for vintage items, Fiona found herself “rescuing” old fabric like brocade, seersucker, vintage lace, retro 60’s prints, Australian printed tea towels, embroidered and crocheted tablecloths and doilies. The textiles span across the decades creating diversity in Front Porch, “I have a collection that is constantly rotating from soaking tub to a dye bath, clothes line, sewing machine and ironing board” notes Fiona. The history of the textiles also strike up sentimentality in her customers, some have even commissioned dresses made from family heirloom fabrics. “My biggest surprise has been the repeat customers. I have some customers who own over 30 of my dresses! I have met an amazing network of creative women and friends through this venture and feel lucky to have bonded so quickly with the Blue Mountains community”.

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In keeping with the nostalgia of her products is Fiona’s brand name: Front Porch, “I wanted a name with nostalgia, history and quintessentially Australian. I grew up on a fruit Orchard in Kurmond. Our fibro 1960s bungalow had a decorative Besser block Front porch. It was a backdrop to many family photos, a place to greet visitors and hang out.”

 

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This is my Front Porch dress (above) made from a white tablecloth with pale blue embroidery and trimmed with vintage lace. Not only is it cool to wear on hot days and perfect for throwing over my cossies at the beach, it’s also super comfy! I honestly feel like I’m wearing my PJs but I must look fabulous as I always get comments whenever I wear this.

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I first met Fiona on her stall at The Bluebird Market in Leura and now I have the privilege of calling her my friend. Talented designer is but one of her many hats. Fiona is also a wonderful mother, a professional wearer of red lipstick and owner of a great infectious laugh. I urge you all to seek her out. Front Porch has a stall at The Glenbrook Rotary Market on the 3rd Saturday of every month in the lower Blue Mountains. This is a lovely market full of local farmers, bakers, artisans and producers. Front Porch also visits other Sydney markets so please Like the Front Porch Facebook page for updates. Fiona regularly sells direct from her Front Porch Facebook page so even if you are not in Sydney you can still own one these unique pieces.

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Do you own a Front Porch original?

* Thank you to Fiona Lenord for the use of some of her images.

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The Salvos Warehouse, Michinbury

31 Jul

The Salvation Army’s branch of op shops are called Salvos Stores and some are much bigger than others. The warehouse/depots are huge and require a committment of at least a couple of hours to really scope everything. The warehouses stock furniture, books, homewares, clothes, shoes, bags, manchester, toys, light fittings, DVDS and well just about everything. As well as setting aside the time to visit one of these stores I’d also recommend that  you also dress warm, especially in the colder months as the concrete floors and the vast openness of the warehouse makes it feel like you’re inside a fridge.

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If you are looking for a piece of furniture, the Salvos warehouses are a great place to start. I’ve purchased lots of pieces that I’ve upcycled with a coat of paint or new handles. They also stock a fantastically huge range of books. I can spend ages in the book section scanning all the spines and adding more novels to alarmingly long list of books to read. If you are an avid reader then you truly must buy your books second-hand, it will save you a fortune!

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If you plan on scouring the endless racks of clothes then grab yourself a little trolley, trust me, you’ll need it. I always go through and grab everything that catches my eye and then proceed to sift through my pile. This is my trolley before culling. The G Star Raw t-shirt is in new condition and only cost me $4.50.

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My daughter was thrilled with the orange crocheted top (below) I got for her with tags still attached. Op shops are a great place to look for vintage serving ware too. Old tea cups with matching saucers are quite sought after now and priced accordingly. I’m always looking for vintage cutlery to use as serving ware. This bone handled knife will be perfect for a plate of scones and let me tell you, someone has sharpened its edge to within an inch of its life!

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This Salvos actually has two stores. The main warehouse and a Bargain Basement store at the rear of the property. This store is much smaller than the first and sells only bric a brac, clothes, bags, shoes, manchester and toys. I’m not convinced it is cheaper than the main store but it’s still worth a look. On this day I picked up some vintage tablecloths and some fabric including a metre of green silk, all for under $10.

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Salvos Warehouse 4 Archbold Road Michinbury NSW. Open Mon – Fri 8.30am-4.30pm Sat 9.00am-1.45pm

Garage Sale – The Vanguard

20 Apr

We went to a different kind of Garage Sale today held at The Vanguard, a live music venue in Newtown, Sydney.

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The cool people who work at the live entertainment bar & restaurant were selling their wares direct from the venue. I love this concept!

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We were happy to take a few of the larger items off The Vanguard’s owner, Russall’s hands including a piece of its history. His old beaten metal trunk is destined for life as a coffee table at our place. Sold for $20. Russall even threw in a huge red bean bag for free (because he wanted it gone & because my kids REALLY wanted it) My protests fell on deaf ears and next thing I know the kids are happily squished in the back seat of the car with a ginormous red bean bag. So yeah thanks Russall, the offspring have been dragging each other around the house with it all afternoon & are currently watching TV in it on top of the lounge!

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The little vintage suitcases were only $5 each. These have become quite collectible so unfortunately I never see them in op shops anymore. I’m sure they will be happy nesting with my existing vintage luggage which hasn’t been added to in years. The large metal Moroccan light fitting once hung in The Vanguard’s bar, I snapped it up for only $20. You can’t see in the photo but it has tiny red glass beads in all the punched holes. I would have also taken the much larger brass one (as seen in the pic above, centre) if only I had a space high enough to hang it. This one will be part of our own bar, hung in our outdoor entertaining area. I just love that we’ve been able to take home a piece of The Vanguard and that it will rock on with us for years to come. Priceless.

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The Vanguard support live local music and so should we by supporting these venues. They do an awesome dinner & show package but you need to book early as seats fill fast. The Vanguard also support the increasingly popular cabaret entertainment that is Burlesque with their troupe, The Jaded Vanities regularly creating new shows for The Vanguard and touring the country with them. My beautiful friend and memorizing burlesque performer, Tasia is a regular on stage here. Be sure to see her in the spotlight, it will take your breath away.

The Vanguard, 42 Kings street Newtown, Inner Sydney.

Blaxland Op Shops

6 Jul

I love visiting op shops in country areas, they seem to always be laden with fantastic vintage items particularly homewares. One of our favourite day trips is to meander through the Blue Mountains, NSW. You can spend the whole day or whole weekend even, exploring the amazing National Parks (second largest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon) browsing in unique boutiques and eating some fabulous food along the way. I highly recommend it.

Blackheath, Blue Mountains

Blaxland is one of the first towns along the Great Western Highway as you begin to ascend the mountain. Don’t be in too much of a rush to race to the top or you will miss all the little gems along the way. The little strip of shops that line the Highway at Blaxland is home to three op shops and I managed to hunt down great finds in each one. We almost outdid ourselves in the first op shop, Bibles for Mission. There were so many retro homewares to be had that I was contemplating starting a collection! Crocheted tablecloths, vintage tea towels, Fondue anyone? Don’t worry I left lots of great items for others to find. I restrained myself to a white melamine Bessemer butter dish $2.50 from the early seventies. A good wooden spoon 50c, how hard is it to find a good one! 6 white rice bowls for $6. The find of the day was this set of 8 BBQ plates for only $5. These are Ornamin Ware Melmac from the sixties. I picked them up for a laugh but my partner snatched them from stating they would be perfect for his BBQ! They are in great condition.

Ornamin Ware Melmac BBQ plates

The Cancer Help Op Shop had a great selection of books and they are selling them for next to nothing. Three books for one measly dollar, madness! If you an avid reader you really must have a look in your local op shop. Prices range up to $5 for hardcovers. Why pay more than $30 retail? Most books are in excellent condition, only read once then discarded. What a waste of paper. Do your bit for the environment and your wallet and buy a second hand book.

A huge event in the Blue Mountains is Christmas in July. Well now after hitting our last stop along the Blaxland strip, St Vinnies I’m rearing to go. I purchased a matching set of christmas themed tableware for a grand total of $11, oh and some festive fairy lights for $3. Ho Ho Ho!

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