Faux Fuchsia has been having a bit of a Festival of Scarves over on her blog, and it's had me thinking a bit about The Magic that is a Scarf, not least because my Sisters and I finally sorted through the remaining things of our Mum's a couple of weeks ago, and a large bulk of what we had left to sort was her Scarf collection.

There were perhaps 100 scarves in Mum's wardrobe. The number made my Father go somewhat pale when he realised how many there were and mentally tallied up the cost (one thing about the Magic of The Scarf is that they do not take up a lot of room, so Mum had squirrelled away quite a collection over the years without him noticing). Mum was not wedded to a particular style or brand. She had scarves from all over the place, from designer to no brand, collected from the early 1970's onwards, and it would appear that a large proportion of them were souvenirs for her - printed silk scarfs from various Museums around the world (the Picasso Museum for example), or from places like Thailand, where she'd purchased a lot of Thai Silk scarves in small market boutiques. For Mum, these scarves reminded her of her travels. For my sisters and I sorting through, they just remind us of Mum, especially those that were her favourites and that she would wear often.

I brought home a few of them with me.

This first one is one of Mum's Hermes scarfs - Grand Aparat. Mum loved horses, and Greys in particular (she would always bet on a Grey horse for the Melbourne Cup, although they would never win...). Grand Aparat has been issued many times since it was first designed in the early 60's, although Hermes never reissue the same colourways, so that is a good way to date a scarf (my guess would be the early 90's or late 80's for this one).

I used to borrow this Chanel scarf above quite frequently in the early-mid 90's (back when everyone was wearing scarves, as they were a "thing"). I would wear it to work in my part time job at Witchery (mid-range Australian chain store). Witchery did not at that time sell accessories, and I would constantly be asked by customers if my scarf was anywhere in the store on sale, which always made me laugh (Chanel logos were not particularly recognisable by the average person back then).

This post was going to be about how I wear my scarfs (I like to avoid looking like I've just finished my shift as a flight attendant, so will never wear them with a navy blazer). I tend to wear them as belts on my jeans, as headbands, as tops, tied around the handle of my handbag, and in winter around my neck in a couple of different knots that I favour. But as I was writing the post and looking for images, I decided to write about all the other things that you can do with scarfs. A lot of people do not have the lifestyle for scarves, or do not like the look on themselves of a scarf, but still love the artwork and designs, and the beauty from the lustre of the silk.

One thing that I am constantly asked about as a Designer is where to find artwork, and what to put on the walls. I am not terribly fond of what I term "filler" art - meaning something that has little artistic merit, but that fills a blank space and blends in with your interior decor. Often these artworks are not actually that cheap, either. I really think you should love what you put on your walls, and that it should add to your home.

So instead of spending a lot of money on an original artwork of dubious merit, you could instead purchase a scarf and frame it. Ebay has a lot of Hermes scarfs listed on it - the ones without boxes sell for less money than the ones in their boxes, and older designs are often sold for half the cost of retail (Hermes scarves sell for $580 Australian for a 90cm Carre). Of course you could find a scarf by any designer, however from an artistic point of view, Hermes really does lead the way with their scarves.

The beauty of using a scarf as art for your walls, is that you can choose something modern or traditional, something pictorial or graphic - there are so many options. You'll find the colours that you want to use in your space easily in a scarf as well. And for around $400 (average cost of a second hand or new with tags scarf on eBay) you get a very large, and quite exquisitely detailed artwork for your money. The image above uses the same scarf in 4 different colourways to great effect.

Another option for your scarf is to use it as a cushion. Now, for this you'd want to be certain that your cushion is well taken care of (this is not the case in the AV household - it would be on the floor within 30 seconds and probably repurposed for a fort by the children). I think the 70cm Carres work best for this, although the 90's do look good as a European pillow, as on the bed below (and isn't it beautiful with its scolloped back and nailhead trim)

Naomi, who writes the blog Coulda Shoulda Woulda is a bit of a collector of Hermes scarfs, and wrote recently of her experience having a cushion made up with one of them, which was so interesting to hear about. Here's her Tres Kelly Hermes scarf after it's been made into a cushion (which is removable in case you want to wear it again in the future and convert it back from a cushion).

via Coulda Shoulda Woulda

However if you do not have a scarf at hand, but like the look then etsy has a few sellers that sell ready made cushions made from scarfs - at $225US a cushion for a Hermes one they are actually quite good value when you consider that the scarf itself would have originally been more expensive, plus you can easily pay more than that for a standard silk cushion that is 70cm square.

For me there are lots of memories wrapped up in scarfs, both the ones that were my Mum's, the ones that Mr AV has bought me, the ones I've bought myself and where they've been worn. And the magic of the scarf is that not only will they instantly transform an outfit from basic to interesting (check out MaiTai's posts where she shows how a basic outfit is dressed up by the way she adds her accessories if you don't believe me), but they can add a lot of personality and colour to your home as the Art that they really are if you're not inclined toward wearing them.

This time of year is a strange one in fashion and seasons. Here in the Southern Hemisphere, we have watched all the Winter fashions unfold in the Northern Hemisphere, having just stored all of ours away in mothballs as our Summer heats up. And then, just as our shops launch their Autumn/ Winter fashions, the overseas retailers are winding up their Winter sales and putting out their Spring/ Summer.

 This can be a benefit, if you use some forward thinking in picking up items for the season ahead. The problem though, is that when it's 40C outside, you don't often wish to be receiving shipments of woollen items and coats, even if they're heavily reduced... it's a long time before you'll be wearing them.

Here in Australia, David Jones (a leading Australian Department store) launched their Autumn/ Winter collection with a big fashion parade in Sydney - on January 28th. That's right, the start of our hot weather (it won't cool down until April or May at the earliest). According to The Australian newspaper reporter, the collection (for Winter) featured cropped sleeveless tops and light skirts, and the David Jones buyer stated that the beauty of featuring these items was that women could buy them now and wear them immediately, without having to wait for actual Winter before getting all their new things out.

I wait with baited breath to see the launch of the Summer fashion in July with coats included (presumably, as it will be freezing at that point in time, and that's what we'll all be wanting to wear right then).

But as the sales finish with the overseas retailers, we end up with an in-between season where we all match up. So I thought I'd post a few things that have caught my eye for transeasonal dressing (or even Summer dressing here in Australia). I bought two new dresses in the past month, and so thought I'd review them here.

They come from Boden, a UK catalogue company that produces Mens, Women's and Children's clothing. They're not well known in Australia (at all) but most certainly are in the UK and in the USA as well. Their pricing is mid range (cheaper than Country Road and Witchery). I buy children's wear from them (I like that they don't have logos all over them, are sturdy and wash up well, and don't make the kids look like mini adults - the colours are great, and the styles are fashionable without being in the fashion victim territory), and I will occasionally put something in the basket for myself, especially when they are doing discounts (sign up for emails if you are interested as you'll get them sent to you regularly).

via Boden

The first dress that I bought was this one above - the Easy T-shirt dress . Boden do Petite sizing, as well as R for regular length and L for long length. They also have online reviews, which I find useful in working out sizing. And as for sizing, they go from a size 6- 22 (UK sizing is the same as Australian sizing), so cover a larger part of the population than local retailers who won't go above a size 14 or 16.

I needed a dress that was a good, everyday sundress. This dress is great - it has a high waist, and the pleats over the tummy bit are reasonably flattering. I say reasonably, because it is a dress that on me can give a slightly.... maternal air... on the wrong angle. That says I need to spend a bit more time at the gym and that I need to stand up a bit straighter in general, but I decided to keep it because it is so comfy, can be thrown into the machine, and overall looks really nice. I've had lots of compliments on it. Plus it wasn't expensive, so is a good everyday dress. I will say though that it is fairly short. It comes about an inch higher than my knees, and I am 5'4". So if you are taller, or like your dresses a little more modest in length, then go for the Long, rather than the Regular. There's also a version of it in a maxi dress. But I don't really do maxi dresses due to being somewhat height challenged - they swamp me unless I wear heels with them.

via Boden

The other dress I bought was this Leila Ponte Dress, above, which I put a photo of myself up in on Sunday's blog post (repeated below). It's a really thick stretchy cotton, with 3/4 sleeves. I thought it would be a good transeasonal dress, and with tights and a cardie in Winter could do for then. Again it has a higher waistline, and the skirt length is short, so the same comments go for above re sizing. It's got a lot of stretch in it, so is really comfortable to wear, and would make a good day dress for the office, that could easily be dressed up for evening.

me in the Leila Ponte dress, a bit shorter on me (and I'm not a tall model....)

So, a couple of reasonably priced dresses that can be worn now, which is nice.

Aside from that while browsing around the internet I found a few items that I have already in my wardrobe (so won't be buying duplicates of), but thought I'd recommend to anyone out there that was looking to pick up a few bargains.

Via The Outnet

Firstly, The Outnet has a large shipment of Tory Burch that has just arrived. One of the items is this Lyot chambray Tunic , above, which is 55% off. I bought this top around 2.5 years ago, and it's one of my most worn items in Spring and Autumn. I wear it like pictured in this image, with white or black skinny cropped pants and ballet flats - the loose top is very comfortable, has concealed pockets in it and is generally a good workhorse of a top with kids. It is quite generously large, so don't feel tempted to size up on it. It has a bit of gold button detailing on it, which makes it look a little bit dressier.

I was also checking out the Cable Melbourne website to see what their new Winter knitwear was like (it hasn't launched yet, but the images are up). In their sale section are a lot of the Summer range, so worth having a browse there anyway, but there are also a couple of the Winter staples that I have, and they're half price. There's only a few left in Larges and XL, but if you're looking for a really high quality cardigan, I highly recommend picking them up during the sale period.... they are certainly worth it. I wrote a post about Cable last year, as I love their things so much. My version of this (in grey) is around 4.5 years old, I have worn it to death, and yet it still looks brand new.

Via Cable Melbourne

Lastly, I was sent an email from Netaporter showing the latest Lela Rose collection which has just arrived with them. I fell in love with this beautiful skirt and top - it's just like a watercolour painting, and is SO pretty. Unfortunately Netaporter did not send me an 80% off code with the email, so I will not be buying it. Sob. It's already selling out at full price, so it seems a lot of others have been very taken with it too. Others with deeper pockets than I....

via Netaporter

They also have this beautiful silk skirt, also watercolour influenced. So pretty

 via Netaporter

So while the shopping stars are aligned here in Australia, we have Winter on sale, Summer on Sale and new season Winter and Summer in the shops and online as well. Talk about seasonal confusion! What are you buying? Summer or Winter?

Well, the crazy weather in the Northern Hemisphere with the Polar Vortex and major floods in the UK has been matched in a very small way by the crazy weather we've been having in Adelaide lately. This week, Adelaide set a new record for the most number of days over 40C (and our hottest month is traditionally March, so that bodes well...), but the very next day we had the largest rainfall in a single day for the past 45 years. It set some sort of record in general for February, and caused widespread flooding. 

Coming on top of the crazy wind storm/ tornado type thing the previous week that felled trees all over the city and cut off power for up to 3 days to some homes (60,000 homes had power cuts), I think we've had our fair share of strange weather events. 

rising water over the floor...

At the AV house, we experienced a bit of minor flooding - the walls of our cellar were weeping water as the ground was so wet. This has never happened before in the 3 years of living here, the cellar has always been bone dry. Mr AV's home office was also nearly flooded as a result of the brand new sump pump, which had been hastily  installed by the plumber, failing and needing to be replaced. Coupled with a few deluges from blocked gutters (due to the wind storm the previous week), there was a reasonable amount of drama here on Thursday. Fortunately things are drying out, and we've suffered no significant long term damage. I spent a bit of time on Saturday throwing soggy cardboard boxes that had contained wine out, and drying out a small patch of new carpet that was fairly sodden (thank God, again, that our carpet is charcoal coloured).

Aside from that it's been blissfully quiet here this week. We are waiting for a few orders to come through, plus with the heat and rain other things outside were put on hold. A few builders would come and go fairly briefly each day, but I largely had the house to myself. 

The new mirror splashback was installed in the laundry, it reflects a lot of light around, and reflects the butterfly wallpaper opposite it, and I'm really pleased with it. I spent a bit of time organising the cupboards and am finally sorted in there.

The plumber came and installed the washer/ dryer. One of the washing machines is an 8KG washing machine, and the other is a washer/dryer combo. I rarely use the dryer, so having two washing machines was of more use to me, and the dryer will just be used to finish off towels and in emergencies. I just need to get the ceiling mounted laundry airer up this week, and it's all finished.

hard to get a decent picture of it due to the angle

The new door to the cellar was installed. The original timber door had been taken off years ago and was rotting in the old stairwell, so the replacement door is an aluminium framed glass door with vents at the base (for good cross ventilation in the cellar to stop rot). It also has a lock on it. This is forward thinking for when the children are older....

during the flood

Mr AV's home office had the light well lined in mirror, and will have the trellis put up over it sometime this week hopefully (screwed to the timber battens you can see between mirrored panels). It reflects a lot more light into the room with the lid off it (to stop people from falling in until we put a proper grate over it), and it doesn't actually feel like an underground room. Here it is with the minor flooding problem going on and lid on. 

Outside, we've been staring fairly morosely at the mess in the back garden. Hopefully this will get a site clean up this week, and then I'll have to tackle weeding the garden beds, whipper snippering the remaining lawn and pruning the hedges. It's all a bit feral at the moment. 

Aside from the mess on the home front, we've had a social week with a few meals out. Wednesday night saw us out celebrating a friend's birthday at Singapore House. I haven't been since it opened around 4 years ago (no idea why not, the food is great), and it was buzzing mid week.

both images via

Saturday night saw us out at a Charity dinner with friends at a private house, which was great fun, and then today we went for Yum Cha at Citi Zen with my family. The Yum Cha there is really good, and after stuffing ourselves we walked it off in the nearby Veale Gardens in the South Parklands. Lots of Roses to look at, and waterfalls to keep the children away from. 

I wore this dress which fortunately has enough stretch to be forgiving of my expanded waistline after lunch. I might do a blog post about it mid week, as it was a good buy.

 Hope you had a happy week, and I'll leave you with a virtual Pimms.


Sorry for my absence - life has been busy. With the three children back off to school/ preschool in the past two weeks, I thought I'd have more time than I'd know what to do with... but trying to pull this house into some semblance of order and cleanliness, and the backlog of errands left from the frantic school holiday period have kept me off the 'net and busy.

Speaking of cleaning, this was a (highly glamorous) recent purchase: a steam mop. The other day I vacuumed the entire house, then mopped all the floors (I usually just do it in bits on an as needed basis during the school holiday as it's so frequent). It's much faster than a normal mop, the floors dry quicker, and it cleaned the floors better. It took me 1.5 hours to do he whole house (mopping was a half hour)... and made me reflect that sometimes living in a small space does have advantages. Our old house in Melbourne could be entirely vacuumed by plugging into a single power point in the hall. It reached all the corners and used to take me only 20 minutes.

In renovation progress, it's been all about the slate tiling outside. The poor tilers have been working away through the heat (43C today again), and have today finished laying all the slate, and will finish off by grouting on Monday.

It looks amazing and it's not even finished and clean. I'm so glad we did the lino inside and the Mintaro slate outside (early in the project in order to offset the cost of the slate, I decided to do linoleum inside). The linoleum inside feels like leather underfoot, very comfortable. The slate outside will outlast me.

If you are ever installing natural stone (of any kind), bear in mind that you get variations in colour/ the sizes of the stones will be slightly bigger or smaller than each other, and you may find different thicknesses of tiles. This is something that always upsets clients, but natural stone is not a porcelain tile, so you will find variation because of this. The Mintaro slate is actually pretty consistent in colour - there's a little bit of texture on some pavers compared to the generally smooth appearance, and there was a little bit of inconsistency in the thickness of the tiles, but the tiler sorted most of thickness issues out.

Back inside, the powderoom had the architrave and skirtings installed and painted and the toilet was installed. This has been sitting in the shed for the past 3.5 years, so it was a momentous occasion when it finally made its way inside. It's from Duravit, and was purchased at 50% off in a warehouse sale I attended when S was only 2 weeks old.

The clothes airer has arrived and will be installed in the Laundry. I'll be able to dry a full load of laundry on it. I have to spray paint the ends white, as black only was available. I would have liked one of the slicker and more modern versions available overseas, however the shipping would've been prohibitive, so I stuck with something available locally. It's a bit faux Victorian, but being at ceiling height (and in the Laundry) I'll cope.

The art light arrived at long last - I ordered this back in September, but some problem with manufacture meant that it's only just turned up. It's an LED light - I love the new generation LED's which put out a warm glow and cost only a couple of cents to run per hour. LED's also don't produce heat, which is important near artwork. Halogens are the other option are widely available and best avoided. I'll never forget working in retail many years ago, and finding that when we took displays down after a couple of months from the top of the shelves the clothes would have bleached out patches from the heat produced by the lights.

We had friends to a very casual dinner mid week. I'm so enjoying getting out all the entertaining bits and pieces that haven't been used for 3 years, like the horn dragonfly napkin rings one of my Sisters gave me after a trip to Vietnam.

And I also went to a Champagne lunch during the week with a couple of friends - the guest speaker was Natalie Fryer from Jansz and Yalumba wineries. She's their chief Winemaker, and the foremost expert in Australia on Sparkling wine. She was such an entertaining speaker, giving lots of insight into the making of Australian Sparkling, and the way the French make Champagne. the protection of the Champagne 'brand', and the differences between French champagne houses in production. Apparently the place to go and visit is the Charles Heidsick cellars, which are 1000 years old and recently decorated by Dolce & Gabanna. Christian Louboutin designed a special crystal shoe to drink champagne from while you taste the various champagne vintages.

I wore Ikat (Oscar de la Renta for The Outnet) with my late Mum's amber beads. They match a pair of shoes I've had for a while perfectly.

Hope you've had a good few weeks too!
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Architect & Interior Designer. Mother of three. A sometimes Cook, Baker, Reader, Gardener, Fashion Lover, Renovator, Writer of random things in South Australia email me on anadelaidevilla@bigpond.com
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