Messerschmitt KR175 Bubble Car

The Messerschmitt KR175. Image from Wiki Commons
The Messerschmitt KR175 looks like a hybrid - a cross  between a scooter and a car. 15, 000 of these very distinctive three-wheeled bubble cars were built between 1953 and 1956, when it was replaced by the KR200.

Owing to the fall-out from WW2, Messerschmitt, the famous German aircraft manufacturer,  was unable to manufacturer aircraft during this period, allowing for an opening into alternative ventures.

The car was made under agreement with aeronautical engineer and former Messerschmitt employee, Fritz Fend, who had designed the Fend Flitzer invalid car  in 1948- a cheap, easy to maintain microcar for people with disabilities. However the KR175 proved popular with able-bodied customers and was evidently "a good city commuter"(wiki), despite the fact that there there were a few initial problems, resulting in some 70 odd modifications during it's production run.

Inside the Messerschmitt.  Wiki Commons
Salient features of the car included a bubble top which was also the door, single seating and a handlebar steering wheel.

Although it looks great and was presumably, economical, I can imagine it would be quite hairy driving this around the city. Occupants would be so low to the ground..and vulnerable. Imagine being behind a Hummer in traffic?

Definitely cute. Wiki Commons

Tiddly Winks

Ah, Tiddly Winks (also known as Tiddledy Winks and Tiddlywinks)...such a cute name for an old favourite. In its simplest form this is an easy game for  children and best played on the floor on a flat surface, as it involves flying objects...basically the idea is to flick your winks (discs) into a cup using a squidger - a tool for pressing down on one side of the wink. The one who gets the most winks into a cup wins.

At the height of its popularity in the Victorian era 1890s, Tiddly Winks was a popular craze for adults and in the 1950s a more complex version  was played with enthusiasm by Cambridge undergraduates, leading to a new set of competitive rules.  For an insight into the history of the game, check out The North American Tiddlywinks Association's article here.

Tiddledy Winks circa 1939. From Black Market Antiques

Adult Competitive Version
In this version the game is played on a 6 ft by 3 ft mat placed on a table with a pot in the centre, with four players positioned at each corner. Players are divided into pairs, with each player controlling a colour - blue, red, green and yellow. Traditionally red and blue are opposite green and yellow.

The object of the game is get as many of your own colours into the pot as possible, while preventing your opponents from doing the same. By  flicking a wink on to an opponents colour, (called squopping), they can be  prevented them from landing one of their own colours in the pot. However another colour may be flicked on top of that colour and so on, often resulting in a pile of winks of various colours.

All players take turns to flick and if a wink of the right colour is landed in the pot, that player gets another shot. If not, play moves to the next player. The game ends when all one colour is in the pot.

The adult game of Tiddlywinks involves some serious skill, both physically and strategy-wise and is taken very seriously indeed and there are National associations and tournaments in the US and Britain. More comprehensive rules and all the intricacies of the game can be found on the English Tiddlywinks Association website.

Great Vintage Haircuts

6 Decades of Hair

As far as hairstyles so, there's probably only so many configurations hair designers can come up without making us look totally absurd, so inevitably the fashion gurus will seek inspiration from the past for a new take on an old concept.

It's interesting to consider that up until the 20th century, womens hair was almost universally kept long and while there may have been a variety of elaborate styles, there was really no such thing as a woman's "haircut".

It seems only in the last hundred years, when women began to shake off the style shackles of the status quo did we begin to get experimental with hair cuts. Below are a few classic cuts emblematic of particular decades and the famous women who wore then-some of these styles have been recycled frequently and others have yet to be rediscovered...

 1920s Louise Brooks
1920s bobs have been been recyled in some form or other since their inception and were particularly fashionable in the 1960s as well at various times in the decades since. Actress and trend setter Loiuse Brooks was among the first to shear off her locks and is generally credited with popularising the bob cut for her generation.

Brooks's style here features hair cut to chin level and slightly higher at the back, a straight cut Cleopatra fringe and two emphatic points which follow the line of the cheek bone. Looks particularly good with dark hair and smoldering eyes.

The geometric bob can be quite severe and thus doesn't suit every head - the dramatic lines will tend to highlight a less than perfect bone structure....but if it suits, the wow factor is high.

Lousie Brooks -dramatic hair
1930s Marion Marsh
Marion Marsh - soft and feminine
1930s hair focused on a softer, wavier, more feminine bob that flattered most features. The Marcel Wave, a type of undulating curl that softened a woman's looks, was extremely popular.

Wonderfully pretty early film actress Marion Marsh's hair is a partly smooth, stylised version of the Marcel Wave with its contrived curls strategically placed to emphasize the eyes and cheeks. The salient feature here is Marion's neatly curled side fringe, snipped to brow level.

On screen, Marsh specialised in 'damsels in distress'...a persona that depended upon a sweet, vulnerable female charisma, rather than a pert, assertive look.

1940s Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman's glowing Swedish looks pretty much ensured any style would look swish on her...nethertheless the thick wavy just below chin length hair cut she wore in the 1940s showed her strong and sensual features off to full advantage.

Ingrid Bergman -thick and luscious hair
By the 1940s, the Marcel Wave was pretty much dead in the water and longer, bigger hair came into vogue.

The emphasis was on hair and lips and Bergman in particular cultivated a wholesome, healthy look which departed from the Vamp style of the 20s and 30s.

Ingrid's hair style is really just a well cut longer bob, curled into thick waves and pulled back off the forehead to create a sumptuous yet classic look.

1950s Jean Simmons
As the 1950s rolled around, shorter hair made a comeback and the rich glamour of the 40s gave way to to a still glamorous but edgier look - at least for those 50s gals who were hip enough to try the new styles.
Jean Simmons - short and sexy

The style favoured by perky British actress Jean Simmons reflected a completely new look for the era. Jeans hair is short but not severely so - it has height and wave and a tousled, casual look.

Jean's hair is brushed back at he sides but with a couple of carefully selected kiss curls pulled across the forehead to soften 
the effect on the face. Highlighted kiss curls were characteristic of the 50s - often hair would be short with two curls pulled out just above the eyebrows.

1960s Natalie Wood
Natalie Wood - simply sexy
Hair got looser and freer in the 1960s and Natalie Wood's long silky  bob reflects the casualness of the era. This is a style that could easily blend in to the 21st century...

The hair has height  and the ends are gently curled under, while a low low side-parting gives a sexy sweep to the style. Simple but effective.

The 1960s was the first decade where women could  be more relaxed about their hair. There was a diverse range of styles and if you so pleased, you could just wear it long, free and wild. Strangely, letting hair totally loose probably hadn't happened since we were living in caves.

1970s Jane Fonda
Alan J. Pakula's 1971 thriller, Klute is a memorable film, not least because of Jane Fonda's funky wash and wear shag cut. The feathered cut is a style that has been much emulated, with variations,  in recent times.

Maybe it's because Fonda's character Bree Daniels, was so coolly wayward but there's something about this cut that screams sex appeal. It's chief feature is the heavy fringe and angled, wispy lengths - everything on the head is moving forward toward the face.  At the time it was an innovative cut and ushered in a whole new era of shags.

Jane Fonda as Bree Daniels- the cut that spawned a thousand shags
 Long Hairstyles of the 1950s
Five 1950s Outfits
Ten Tips for Healthy Hair

Simone Signoret

An icon of French cinema and the 'thinking man's sex object' actress Simone Signoret was born in Germany in 1921 to French parents and grew up in Paris among the middle-class. After gaining a teaching licence she tutored in English and Latin for a time and worked part-time for French collaborationist newspaper, Les nouveaux temps as a typist.

During the Occupation, as a teenager she became a regular patron at the Café de Flore, a popular meeting place for leftist artists and intellectuals. It was during this time Signoret decided to venture into acting, encouraged by her then lover, Daniel Gélin. As her father, linguist, André Kaminiker was a Jew who had fled to England in 1940, she chose her mother's maiden name professionally, to avoid uncomfortable questioning from the Nazis.

Earthy Appeal

Although Signoret was suitably gorgeous and glamorous in her early years, she was not a dazzling beauty in the conventional Hollywood sense...not for long anyway. Throughout her career however, she possessed intensity and a seductive charm. The wide spaced and smoky heavy-lidded eyes, full mouth and soft blonde hair helped to project the sensual image of a woman of passion. She also had the look of a woman who has suffered...perhaps one who has loved and lost, known tragedy and maybe even been tossed around a bit by life's vicissitudes. Indeed, for these reasons, she was often cast as a prostitute or fallen women...she seemed to be able to manifest internal pain through expression and nuance. Film critic Phillip Kemp described her as projecting a 'vulnerable strength'.

As murderous accomplice Nicole Horner In Diabolique

Film Triumphs

Scenes from 'Room at the Top'
Scenes from 'Room at the Top' 
Signoret made several films in the 1940's but her first widely successful role was in 1950, as a streetwalker in Ophüls' La Rond,(Circle of Love) a portrait that attracted International attention. This was followed a year later by Becker's Casque d'or,(The Golden Helmet) a part loaded with erotic intensity. However it was her role as the deceptively vulnerable schemer Nicole Horner in Clouzot's Les Diaboliques (The Fiends) in 1955 that firmly established her as an International player.

Perhaps predictably, she was criticized by the beauty worshippers for 'letting herself go' and consciously rejecting glamour as she grew older - however, as a character actress, age was never an insurmountable barrier to her screen success and in fact some of her greatest film triumphs were roles in which she appeared as the 'older woman'.

Signoret was one of the few actresses who's career options expanded with age. At 38 she was cast as the sensitive and knowing older woman, Alice Aisgil, for which she won an oscar, (the first French person to do so) in director Jack Clayton's 1959 drama about sacrifice and brute ambition, Room at the Top.The role earned her wide critical acclaim and set the stage for a transition into the next phase of her career.
A face that tells a story
A face that tells a story 
~Hordes of young girls never copied my hairdos or the way I talk or the way I dress. I have, therefore, never had to go through the stress of perpetuating an image that’s often the equivalent of one particular song that forever freezes a precise moment of one’s youth.~
Simone Signoret

While not adverse to taking on dreary, unflattering roles, Signoret more and more rejected the prevailing philosophy of attempting to obscure the vagaries of age at whatever cost...she was not afraid to be herself and declared she would 'go on acting until she could play grandmothers'.
In rejecting mores of artificially induced glamour and 'youthfulness' Signoret had sacrificed little by way of charm and her trademark intensity. With a tender smile, she could conjure a screen presence of great depth and sensitivity. Indeed she remained a key figure in French Cinema for over forty years, appearing in over sixty films.

Often she seemed to prefer roles that portrayed women oppressed by the past -playing a concentration camp survivor to effect in Sydney Lumet's Lumet's 1967 thriller, The Deadly Affair and the following year offering up an impressive performance as Arkadina in Lumet's screen adaption of Chekhov's The Sea Gull.

Yves and Political Philosophy
~Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads, which sew people together through the years.~Simone Signoret

Simone and Yves
Simone and Yves Montand
Simone Signoret's first husband was director Yves Allégret but by 1951 the marriage had been dissolved and she remarried, this time to the legendary French actor and singer, Yves Montand...a lasting relationship that threw the actress into political controversy and oftentimes, personal emotional tumult.

Montand had worked his way from the docks of Marseilles to stardom, having reputedly been discovered singing in a nightclub by Edith Piaf, who became his lover. Montand was allegedly a womaniser and said to have several affairs during his marriage to Signoret, including one with Marilyn Monroe, of whom Signoret broadmindedly said "If Marilyn is in love with my husband it proves she has good taste, for I am in love with him too." Even after his death Yves ignited controversy, the body having to be exhumed by court order for a paternity test.

The couple were known for possessing a strong social conscience and engaged with several causes . They campaigned publicly against the atom bomb, the Vietnam and Algerian Wars and Montand became an active member of the French Communist Party. Their leftist politics earned the couple admiration in many quarters, vilification in others..particularly in the United states in the 50's, where rabid McCarthyism put a temporary halt to any US career aspirations. Later on, all was forgiven (at least by some) and they were welcomed.

Gone but not Forgotten
Signoret was also a writer and in 1978 penned her melancholic but amusing memoir La nostalgie n'est plus ce qu'elle était’ (Nostalgia's not what it used to be) and in the year of her death, 1985, published the the novel Adieu Volodya. Simone Signoret died at 64, after suffering a long (cancerous) illness and is buried in the cemetery Père-Lachaise in Paris, next to Yves, who died in 1991 .

Jack Lang, French minister of culture, once eulogized, “Miss Signoret was an unshakeable militant, in the front rank of all the battles for human rights, under all regimes and on all horizons. It was faith that sustained her, faith in her ideals of liberty and progress." Yet Simone Signoret will be remembered for much more than her political activism.. The actress was fearless in most aspects of her life, including as a performer and to many, she remains the personification of an ideal of womanhood....strong, sensuous, suffering, sensitive and soul-searching. Ssssspecial...

Jean Seberg

She had a face as delicate as a rare orchid, a sweet, seductive voice and an offbeat personality that hinted at depths rippling beneath the surface - actress  Jean Seberg remains a fascinating icon of mid 20th century cinema. Eternally hip, Seberg's looks and fashion could easily slip into 21st century culture, as hers is a style statement that seems timeless. She was among the first to sport the gamine haircut .. a  decade before Mia Farrow appeared wih her striking vidal Sassoon ultra-short cut in Rosemary's Baby. Her clothes were French-trendy and her demeanour knowing and sophisticated...yet beneath the ice cool exterior she was a bundle of nerves.

Jean Seberg, Still from Breathless
American born Seberg rose to prominance in Otto Preminger's much hyped 1957 film Saint Joan, based on the play by George Bernard shaw. Chosen from thousands of hopefuls, at the time, the leading lady's only experience was a stint at Summer Stock performances - being thrown in at the deep end of a major International production was an overwhelming experience for the senstive Jean, who balked at the attention that was suddenly thrust upon her. Inexperience revealed itself and her performance in the film was heavily criticised. As she put it herself:
"I have two memories of Saint Joan. The first was being burned at the stake in the picture. The second was being burned at the stake by the critics"
Preminger took a second punt on Seberg the following year,  with the film Bonjour Tristesse but again the actress was pummelled by the critics, despite the fact that her performance is quite mesmerising.

However, not dissuaded from acting, Seberg moved to France and finally struck the right chord with Jen Luc Godard's ground-breaking New Wave film, Breathless, which fortuitously proved to be an International success. Both the role and cinematic style suited her fragile personality and she moved from defeat into the realm of 'critic's darling"...offers began pouring in, from Hollywood and elsewhere. Around this time, Seberg spent time in a private clinic, citing "fatigue", her divorce from director, François Moreuil and "the shock" of too many changes, involving "things I didn't understand" as the cause. As the 1960s dawned, several US films followed, notably Lilith (1964) with Warren Beatty, Paint Your Wagon (1969) with Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood and Airport (1970), opposite Dean Martin and Burt Lancaster.

Seberg the actress...script in hand.
Jean had been inspired to act from childhood, partly as the result of watching Marlon Brando's performance as a war -injured cripple in the 1950 film, The Men. She was deeply impressed with what she called the "strength and power of an actor". Yet her own emotional vulnerability seemingly grew as her professional success moved forward. Before the 60s were over she suddenly withdrew from Hollywood films and though she continued to work in European cinema, her last American film was in the made for televison, Mousey in 1974.

Jean Seberg died, too young, in August 1979. After having been reported missing for eleven days, she was finally discovered in the back seat of her car, not far from her Paris apartment, having apparently taken an overdose of barbituates and alohol and leaving a suicide note that read:
"Forgive me. I can longer live wih my nerves."
Strangely, Seberg's second and by then former husband, the much older Romain Gary, a novelist and diplomat, also committed suicide...15 months later.

Conspiracy Theories
Since her premature demise, several theories have emerged about Jean Seberg and the role of the FBI in her death. Many believe her support for radical causes such as the Black Panther Movement and rights of American Indians, targeted her as a subversive. Jean apparently believed this herself and there was some evidence that the FBI had surreptitiously obtained personal information about her in order to smear her name publically and 'cheapen her public image' by planting a derogatory article in Newsweek magazine. Whether or not the FBI can be implicated in her death is still an open question.

Retro Fonts

Font Inspiration
If you're looking for a style guide to vintage lettering, look no further than Retro Fonts by Grigor Stawinski. Stawinksi's style guide has fonts going back to 1830, through to the close of the 20th century,

The book, which should be of particular interest to graphic designers and typographers, has eight sections, each reflecting a particular stylistic period and examples of the fonts in their own context. Some featured styles include Art Deco, Bauhaus, Swiss, Sixties, Disco and Punk. An extra bonus is a CD featuring 222 uncopyrighted fonts.

Apart from anything else, it's interesting to look back and reflect on how lettering mirrored the design influences and culture of the day. What do our fonts say about us..?

Cousin Itt

What's Itt all about..?
Man of mystery, gibbering eccentric, 1960s hippie metaphor....who or more to the point, what, is Cousin Itt? (yes, there's two 't's, though one seems more appropriate)

Cousin Itt
I am of course talking about that hirsuit, linguistically challenged short-arse who made regular, memorable appearances on '60s TV show The Addams Family.

Like Thing, the extraordinary but helpful solitary hand that lived in a box, Cousin Itt was an oddball concept, impossibly absurd, yet he nonetheless managed to seriously intrigue 1960s TV viewers.

Freudians may argue that the hairy but hip and groovy Itt represented the wild untamed id, the primitive libido - something strangely sexual (but we won't go there). Others claim Itt symbolised the 60s counter-culture and the anti-establishment winds of change that were sweeping the era.

Retro Reassurance

An article in The Guardian Newspaper reports that replacing modern technologies with older, retro versions in the homes of elderly patients can help with memory loss by triggering recognition and offering visual cues to the confused. In these exponentially fast times of changing technology, it's easy to be bewildered by the vast array of modern technology on the market.

Vintage Pears soap ad
The article, Retro-decorating: the future for dementia care?, claims that some health care providers have seen positive results from making simple changes in the environments of dementia patients - things like retro advertising posters hung up in the kitchen to remind people of the sorts of things they'll find in the cupboards and using Pears soap because of the evocative smell.

However, while the posters and such are helpful, evidently the best technique is to modify technology around the home. According to a UK director of Dementia services:
"If you provide older examples of these objects, for example an old bakelite phone, someone with dementia might remember how to use it and be able to make a phone call, whereas they may not with a mobile phone, even if they had been using the mobile perfectly well just six months ago."~June Andrews
It all makes sense - people feel more secure with the familiar. As it's short -term memory that dementia patients have difficulty with, while often still retaining information from long ago, the old familiar styles and ways tend to offer reassurance.

The Guardian article can be found here

Kombi Vans

Kombis parked at Cronulla, NSW
Like flares, Neil Young, wild hair and a laid-back attitude, the VW Kombi van is a legend of the 60s and 70s - representing freedom, adventure, travel and general escapism. Like it's predecessor, the Volkswagon Type I, the Beetle, the Type 2, the Kombi,  is a cult classic among cars and was the inspiration for a new style in transportation -ie; the cargo, passenger van.

The Kombi story dates back to 1950, when the first generation Kombis or Microbuses were produced by Volkswagon. These early model Type 2's had a distinctive split windscreen and were produced until 1967 and in '68, the single windscreen took over.  Early Camper Box variations were built by Westfalia, the offical VW camper converter, from 1951 until 1958.

From 1958 the SO (Special Model) campers were introduced. According to the Westfalia website, in the 50s and 60s many US servicemen returning home, brought back these campers from Germany. In the middle decades of the 20th century, caravanning was really taking off and the VW camper vans were a neat and innovative alternative.

Inside a 1970 Kombi camper van. Image form Wiki Commons
Kombis and Freedom Culture
!967 VW Kombi. Peace man.
In the 1960s and 1970s the Kombi became an iconic counter-culture symbol, representing freedom and the rejection of staid, stay-at-home conservatism. Customised hippie vans began to appear on the roads, covered in peace-loving symbols and colourful psychedelic swirls.

In Australia, the Kombi has long been synomymous with surf culture and the  freedom and alternative lifestyle the image conjures - the waves, the clothes, the music, a couple of boards on top and away you go. Bank managers don't drive Kombis....

Still Loved
"It's a funny thing with VWs like Beetles and Kombis; they get in your blood and never get out..."~ Roy Hodkinson, founding president of The Kombi Club (carsguide)

Kombis still have a loyal fanbase -the Australian Kombi Club has 5000 dedicated members. In recent times, its retro appeal has made it an even more desirable set of wheels. Every year the the October, the Old Bar Beach Festival , which celebrates Australian beach culture, features an impressive line-up of iconic Kombis. The festival actually holds the record for the most Kombi/Transporters lined up in one area - there's a Kombi swap meet and a chance for owners to mingle and exchange transport stories over music and a BBQ. 

A Kombi lovers paradise. Kombis lined up at the Old Beach Bar Festival. Image from the website.

Camper Shoes

Camper black and cream Combo shoes have a 60s look
Camper Shoes began in Barcelona in 1981 and grew and grew until the point they now have over 300 stores in cities worldwide. They claim to transcend cultures through innovative design, responding to a "new international reality". Hmm...I don't about that but they do have some very appealing shoes, some of which seem inspired by past decades. The shoe sandal above has a distinct Mary Quant look.

Camper cream and tan casual men's shoe
 The tan and whte Peu shoe above is reminiscent of the two-toned shoes of the early 20s but overlayed with a contemporary sporty look. A jazz feel in a casual, laid book shoe.

Piruete girls shoe

Piruete is from the Camper for Kids range and according to website blurb, is a shoe created for "kids who want to be ballerinas". The design is classical and sweetly feminine, with the stylish white folds along the T bar. A rubber, sole, padded inset and velcro grips make it a practical as well as a 'romantic' choice.

Ferris Valve Radio

Ferris valve radio circa 194os
Not exactly a dash radio....The old Australian made Ferris valve radio above was designed for both car and home, running off 240 or 12 volt.  The radio bolted into metal hook brackets under the dashboard of a car and with some effort, could be removed temporarily for picnics or used in the home permanently. Heavier than a sackful of bricks, this radio is 'portable' only in that that it can, if needed be moved around - it's certainly not portable in any sort of lightweight, convenience sense. The rounded deep red steel casing and bakelite knobs suggested an art deco influence but I believe the radio is probably from the 1940s. An original advertisement boasted its features as:
Ideal for truck or car, on the mantelpiece, in boats or caravans. Especially useful for the family man, country people and commercial travellers.

Ferris radio ad. Image by Micheal Karshis at Flickr
Sydney based Ferris Bros Pty Ltd was formed in Australia in 1934 and were chiefly concerned with developing and manufacturing car radios, while AWA (Amalgamated Wireless Australia Ltd.) cornered the home radio market.  "Chum " Ferris, the younger of the two brothers, had shown an early bent for electronics and in 1932 began assembling home radio receivers from his rented flat atop a butchers shop. His elder brother George joined him in the business two years later.

The Ferris Fultone 56, was the first car radio designed and manufactured in Australia and although the war interrupted business for the Ferris bros, in the post-war decades to follow, their name was to become synonymous with car radios.

Caravanning holiday at Tidal River,.At right is the 1940s Singer car the Ferris radio was originally housed in.

Jacks Game

Traditional Jacks from otherland
Also known as Jackstones, Jackrocks or Knucklebones...

The traditional game of Jacks is very old and was probably played as far back in time as the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Greece - and perhaps even further back than that. It was a child's game born out of imagination, at a time when there were very few purpose made toys for kids.

Originally the 'Jacks' were small pebbles or bones found by children and made into a game which involved tossing them in the air. Eventually they were made out of clay, ivory, wood or bone and in more recent times, plastic and metal.

It's amazing how such extremely old games can transcend time and while this particular game may have lost some ground to the tech generation, it's still hanging in there and is played in many parts of the world. The beauty of Jacks is that, like marbles, it's inexpensive fun, employs manual dexterity and can be played just about anyway...on the bedroom floor, in the street or the playground,

Plastic Jacks from the 1960s.
The Rules of Jacks
  • Find a friend and a clear space, preferably on the ground and toss to see who has first go
  • Gather your ten Jacks and scatter them on the floor in front of you, facing your opponent
  • Toss the ball in the air with your throwing hand
  • Ok, now while the ball is in the air, with the same throwing hand, pick up one Jack (onesies)
  • Keep repeating 'till you have picked up all the Jacks. If you wish you can put the Jacks you capture into a pile before you throw the ball again, rather than leaving them in your hand.
  • Note: If you slip up, you have to give your opponent a turn. If they slip up then you can pick up where you left off, wherever you were in the sequence.
  • If you've been successful toss the Jacks out on the floor again
  • Throw the ball in the air
  • This time you have to pick up two Jacks at a time
  • Then three at a time and the one left over
  • Then four at a time and the two left over
  • Then five at a time 
  • Finally you have to pick up ten at a time
  • Then go backwards down to onesies
  • Remember:if at any time you slip up, your opponent gets a go. The champ is the first one to complete the whole sequence.

Although it's not quite as much fun, you can also play Jacks by yourself, just to hone your skills. There are also more advanced Jacks games, involving  Flipping, Pigs in a Pen and Around the World. Read about them here.

Jumbo Jacks from Amazon

Tin Toys

Tin wind up monkey xylophone player, available at Tin Toys and Collectibles
A thing of beauty is a joy forever~John Keats
Whether it has a mechanical action or not, a tin toy is a beautiful object to look at and lovely to hold -it's that smooth, shiny surface, the rich colours, the quirky patterns and for many, the nostalgic image of childhood it conjures. A tin toy has charm.

A Little History
Tin merry-go round from Litily Maha
When manufacturers began to use tin plate to make toys back in the mid 19th century, it was considered a cheap substitute for wood. The toys were made from sheet metal and painstakingly hand-painted. However, in the late 1800s a process called offset lithography was invented, which meant designs could now be printed directly onto the tin, making production a simpler process.

By the early 20th century, Germany, which had developed the spring activated tin toy, had pretty much cornered the tin toy market and was the largest producer. During this period the most famous and innovative  tin toy maker was Ernst Paul Lehmann who exported almost 90 % of his stock to the rest of the world.

Classic spinning tops from Tin Toys and Collectables
In time however, other countries, - including France, England and the United States, began manufacturing their own tin toys. In the US, tin ore mines were opened in Illinois, facilitating the production of large numbers of tin toys. Unfortunately for the German manufacturers, post WWI, anti-German sentiment was at an all time high and this, together with the ramping up of US production, meant that the US became the new world leader in tin toy manufacturing.

1966 Tin Robotank-Z Robot
Alas, it was a relatively short-lived triumph.  A lull in production during WWII and the rise of cheap post war Japanese manufacturing, saw the end of the US tin toy ascendance. Tin toys remained popular until the end of the 1950s, when new, cheaper, safer and easy to manufacture  plastic toys swamped the toy market. Tin toys are still being produced today and not surprisingly,  China has become the leading producer.

In the heydays of tin toy manufacturing, there were literally hundreds of products made from  tin - anything from simple hand clickers and buckets and spades to mechanical robots and pedal cars. The world's first toy robot was made from tin. Of course, many of these early pieces are now quite collectible and as is the case with most collectibles, condition and original packaging go a long way toward premium prices- although, the 1966 Japanese Tin Robotank at right, sans box, sold for auction in 2007 for $557.Included below are a few resources for those with a deeper interest in tin toys.

Robot timer from TinToyArcade
The Art of the Tin Toy - David Pressland has been collecting tin toys since the 1950s and he now advises and sources for serious tin toy collectors. The website includes some terrific pictures of vintage toys.
Tin Toy Arcade  - this website has a vast selection of contemporary tin toys, many of which are reproductions of older styles.
ebay, Antique Tin Toys - there's some real beauties among this lot. Vintage toys from sellers all over the world.
My Tin Toys - includes a lovely selection of tin toys for sale and a resource page for collectors.

Striped Tee

This multi retro-striped classic ringer T-shirt is cuter than a kitten in a flowerpot and very cheerful.

The  Tee is designed to be a snug, body-grabbing fit but if you want to go a little looser, just upsize. Made from 100% preshrunk ring-spun baby rib cotton - soft as a cottonball.

 Available in our own HR store for $24.99. Sure it's a T-shirt but hey, that only makes it more special! Furthermore, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you're keeping starving writers in instant coffee and barbecue shapes.

Fringe Handbag

Ethnic appeal
The leather Minnesota fringe handbag above has an early 70s feel - perfect with long hair and a paisley shirt and the warm colour and suede texture give it an authentic frontier feel. Minnesota have been making American style bags since 1945, so  they've had plenty of time to get it right.

Fringed bags have been spotted on the city streets of Europe since last year, having become somewhat Boho chic - sometimes with super long fringes that look like a trip hazard. However,  this one is understated and sturdy.

Sophia Loren Style

When Sophia Loren first hit the Italian cinemas in the 1950s, there was a vava-voom factor that reverberated internationally. Although not perfect, she was closer to Goddess stature than most mortals on the planet. Loren simply had an impossibly voluptuous figure, which, paired with striking green cats eyes, light olive skin, high cheek bones and sensuous lips, mesmerised audiences.

However, there was more to Sophia Loren than mere physical assets. In the 50s, the Hollywood sex bomb industry valued well-stacked bodies,, big-breasts, rich  lips and bedroom eyes and while Loren had all of these, she also possessed an inbuilt elegance and dignity. She was sexy without being obvious...seductive without being tarty; and on top of everything else, she could act, winning an Academy award in 1962 for her performance in Vittorio De Sica's WWII drama, Two Women.

The Rags to Riches Legend
Film audiences weren't the only ones to be swept away by the charms of Ms Loren and at just fifteen, she captivated influential and married film producer,  thirty-seven year old Carlo Ponti, who become her husband one divorce and seven years later. Ponti was instrumental in Loren's career and they remained apparently happily married until Ponti's death in 2007. Loren rejected the idea of remarriage, publicly proclaiming, "it would be impossible to love anyone else".

Sophia Loren in the 1950s
Much has been written about Sophia Loren's childhood of grinding poverty in the slums of 1940s Naples, her illegitimacy and her ambitious, star-struck stage mother, who saw a way out of the poverty slide by meticulously grooming and guiding her daughter toward the spotlight. Loren's mother,  Romilda Scicolone had herself had aspirations of being an actress and at a time when there where few opportunities for uneducated young women without funds to forge a successful career, acting must have seemed a viable option for the young and beautiful Sophia.

The impossibly shapely Sophia Loren
Indeed it was, as Sophia succeeded where many failed - eventually becoming one her generations most iconic  and acclaimed actresses, forging a long career in film, as well as a lasting  reputation as one of the worlds most beautiful women. Romilda Scicolone must have looked upon her daughters success with a warm sense of satisfaction and the comforting realisation that her early instincts and decisions had been justified.
Italian Style
Loren's look was richly Italian and passionate. - her excessively shapely curves, devoid of excess fat,  meant clothes clung to her like a second skin and the whole effect was intensified by a kind of half sultry/fiery/amused expression and masses of thick dark hair, always stylishly cut.

Loren knew how to accessorize
Basically the Loren look was classic upmarket sexy but with a zingy European edge - she often employed  lots of tasteful accessories, such as pearls, expensive beads,  Italian shoes, hats, gloves, bright scarves and luscious make-up which reflected flawless skin, dark-edged eyes and red smouldering lips.

1960s Sophia
Apart from the elegance of her clothes and accessories, perhaps  the single biggest factor in Sophia Loren's style image was the way she carried herself...and still does, no doubt. Though she was not  shy of wearing a sexy, tight-fitting, flesh exposing outfit,  when she did, there was no hint of self-conscious trashiness. Sexiness seemed as natural to Loren as a cat arching its back and thus the sex-appeal never appeared cheap or was the real thing.

Dorian Leigh - the first supermodel
Diana Doors -the British Marilyn