Monday, 2 June 2014

I'm Bringing Puffy Back!

Yes, that's right.  In the words of JT (aka Justin Timberlake), "I'm Bringing Puffy Back!". 

12 months have passed since my car accident that brought Powderpuff to a holt and I'm chuffed to be slowly returning to work.  It's still a daily struggle, so a lil inspiration from the easy-on-the-eye JT is not going astray....

When I started planning the 'Powderpuff Comeback', I decided to try and come back with a BANG!  A big part of this plan was to organise a new photo shoot for Powderpuff and I wanted to do it right.  I wanted beautiful photos that capture the style and story of Powderpuff and also some lovely product photos for the webstore.  So I started rounding up some very talented people to make my vision for this photo shoot, it's not an easy task co-ordinating so many busy people....

Finally a date for the shoot was set.  And what a coincidence??!! It ends up being on the anniversary of my car accident!!! That's gotta help Bring Puffy Back with some more oomph, right?!  For me personally, it was really great to have the shoot to slowly slowly work towards, especially since it was making something positive on an awful date in the calender year for me. 25th of May.

Melbourne Photographer, Brooke Orchard was the first person I cemented in for the shoot.  I had met Brooke at a Vintage Fair and after randomly starting to talk to her (I do that a lot), she gave me her business card.  I was really impressed with her work.  Especially her Vintage Style Photography or PinUp Photography.  Brooke shoots beautiful candid style pictures, where it looks like a snapshot in someone's day, is right up my alley.  Personally I am not into cheesecake pinup style photography and neither is Brooke.  Her use of natural light is beautiful.  I am yet to see the results from Brooke, but I am confident they will be wonderful.

Location Location Location!!! Yes, it's all about the best location in real estate, but this theory applies too on a photo shoot.  Thankfully my bestie, Joey has a gorgeous home and he allowed us to shoot there.  Joey and I have built a solid friendship over the last 14 years over good food and junk shopping.  And Boy! Does he have a great collection of mid-century modern furniture, nicnacs, lamps, art and a stupid amount of Barsony lamps and statues.  A great home for capturing the era from when Powderpuff's clothes are inspired.  Joey is also the man behind all the photos in this blog post, capturing the behind the scenes moments for us.  My best friend is better than your best friend.  Thanks, Joey xx

We also had two outdoor locations on the west-side of Melbourne.  We took advantage of the beautiful art deco building built in 1932 that was originally the Olympic Tyre and Rubber Co. and a quaint lil cobbled laneway nearby.  Big ups to the models and hair and make-up artists for changing the looks on the road.  It's no easy effort.

Babes! Next it's all about the babes.  Powderpuff likes to use models that are not only gorgeous, but help women imagine themselves in the clothing.  Once again the models were a size 10-12, somewhere in the middle of our size range, hopefully more likely to show the fabulous fit of Powderpuff's clothing.  Sydney pinup model, Elixir Black was the first model I approached to take part in the shoot.  I first saw her approx. 4 years ago in a Deadbeat magazine and have wanted to shoot with her ever since then.  Thankfully this gorgeous doll said, Yes!  Elixir was so great to work with.  She goes from giggling and bubbling about silly things to, bam, posing like a sex kitten in seconds.


The second babe was Jacqui.  Whom has been a Powderpuff customer for years.  When I say I had the pleasure of meeting her several times in the past, I mean it.  Jacqui is a sweetie pie.  Totally cute and a delight to be around.  And Jacqui has a 'butt that just don't quit', bonus!  I really thought Jacqui's personality would shine through in the photos, so even though she doesn't have any modelling experience I asked her to also join us.  Maybe not the smartest idea on such a big shoot, but she did so great.  Everyone on the shoot thought so, good work Jacqui! Now she just needs a cheesy pinup name....


If you are a reader of the fabulous Frankie Magazine, chances are you are familiar with the work of our Make-Up Artist from the shoot, Dana Leviston.  She's the girl that creates the , "Get Fancy" Frankie tutorials.  Apart from doing weddings, your special events and celebs, Dana and her business, Lady Day specialise in vintage makeup styles.  Dana also bought her lovely make-up assistant Jemma along for the day to help beautify and splash some colour.  Unfortuantely we ran out of time to have Dana work some of her magic with her amazing 60s styled eye make-up, so we'll definitely have to have her along to our next shoot, or if you're in Melbourne, book Lady Day for your big night out.

It's a pretty fabulous excuse when one of your best lady friends is the BEST at vintage styled hair and you can fly them over from Adelaide to make the models hair look amazing and hang out at the same time.  Enter, Miss Molly Doll.  Most of our customers know Molly's (and butt) from our webstore where she fills out our clothes quite nicely.  Or maybe you were lucky enough to come along to one of her Vintage Hair Turtorials we used to host in our old Powderpuff Boutique store in Adelaide.  Molly didn't disappoint, she created beautiful hair, worked fast and brought the goss from Adelaide to me and made me smile.  Thanks Mole Dawg, Love P Jizz, (yes, we have stupid nicknames for each other).

When you're after a custom car or a hot rod for your photo shoot, it's pretty handy when your main squeeze owns a hot rod business.  Rancho Deluxe is the Melbourne based business where Benjamin builds traditional hot rods and is highly regarded for his amazing craftsmanship.  Benjamin owns one of the most beautiful 1932 Ford Roadsters in Australia that he built several years ago, (along with a small tribe of other vintage vehicles).  The '32 is the show stopper though, so we were lucky that he bought it along for the day; or was it Ben whom was lucky with all the beautiful ladies...?  And then he was awesome and helped Brooke by holding the reflector thingamajig and got sore arms and only complained once.  What a guy!

Excited to receive some of the photos from the shoot.  There was a lot though!  It'll be a big job for Brooke, so we'll just have to be patient.  And then even more patient as Powderpuff slowly starts to roll out our new styles and  new colourways of past styles.  Most of you have probably seen some sneak peeks of what's coming soon from our Facebook Page or Instagram (@powderpuffboutique), there's been some great positive feedback and excitement.  There seems to be quite a lot of anticipation for our new Wing Bust Dresses and Bad Girl Catsuits, meow.

Lots and lots to do, but now I've written the 'Bringing Puffy Back' blog post, I'd best go put JT on the stereo and get to it....

But first, I'll just end this post with a photo of myself, showing the models how it's done, ha!

Paula-Jane xo

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Powderpuff + Melbourne + Car Crash + Surgery + Rehabilitation = ARGH!!

Tuesday last week marked 9 months since our near fatal car accident and that anniversary was marked by me going back into hospital for more surgery.  Not quite a positive activity to mark the occasion, but one more step towards recovery.  So hard to believe so much time has passed since the accident and I am still struggling with my injuries, which are hindering my return to working on Powderpuff.
When I woke in hospital after the car accident and was told by the surgeons that I wouldn't walk for 3 months, my thought was, if I work really hard at rehab, I could be back working within 2 months.  Boy, was I wrong! But that's my usual 'go getter' attitude.  Now 9 months on as I struggle with daily tasks and pain, I can't believe how wrong I was.  What a crazy time it's been since moving to Melbourne, so how about I start from the start and fill you in on all that's been happening since the big move.....

Early April last year I closed the Powderpuff store in Adelaide and moved to Melbourne with my son Rocket so he could attend an Autistic Specific School here, that are not present in South Australia.  Rocket and I had only just settled into our new home and finished setting up the new home studio for Powderpuff, when only 7 weeks after the big move interstate we were in a car crash.

It was May 25th 2013 and we were driving home on a country road in the evening, it was dark and raining and we were travelling at 100 kph and so was the other car that T-Boned us  It hit our car right were I was sitting, in the passenger seat.  Thankfully my son whom was sitting right behind me, escaped with only a little scratch on his head and my boyfriend, whom was driving, had minor injuries from the seatbelt during impact.  I was not so lucky though.  I had to be cut out of the car and airlifted to the Royal Melbourne Hospital for emergency surgery to stop the internal bleeding.   

Over the next 10 days in the Royal Melbourne Hospital, I had two more surgeries on my pelvis that had multiple fractures and my broken ankle.  Thankfully I don't remember much about my accident and time in hospital, but what I do remember was horrific.  The excruciating pain laying around broken for all those days before surgery and being slid from bed to bed for surgery and into massive X-Ray machines etc.  The result of my surgeries; my X-Rays make me look like Bionic Woman.  I have approximately 28 pins and 3 plates in my pelvis and 2 pins in my ankle, (those two are what I had removed in surgery on Tuesday), and left with some VERY long impressive scars around my pelvis area.

From the Royal Melbourne Hospital I was moved to the rehabilitation hospital at Brunswick which would be my home for the next 7 weeks.  It was just like what you see in the movies or docos when you watch people learning to walk again.  I remember the first time I was made to stand, the pain cannot be described.  Taking my first steps in a gutter frame, how being out of bed for 15 minutes would tire me out for the rest of the day.  Boasting to my boyfriend how after weeks I'd walked to my hospital room door or the table just metres away.  And when I finally walked 100 metres on my gutter frame, it took me 30 minutes.  The fastest woman in the world has run the 100 metre race in 10.62 seconds! But at least when I finished, I was also sweating. 
For the first 6 weeks after surgery I was confined to bed or a wheelchair and short times on my gutter frame.  I could not sit straight and had to lean back in a special wheelchair and bed at 60 degrees.  Unless I was laying flat or standing straight in my frame.  Tough.  Don't even get me started on the hospital food, tee hee.  Finally being able to shower on my own, having my catheter out and being able to toilet alone were all major milestones.  Independence and dignity were totally lost.  I can't even count how many people have now seen me naked!
(Picture of a gutter frame, cos I had no idea what one was before either)
The support I received (and still do) from my family, friends, Benji, hospital staff and customers since the accident has been amazing.  I was surrounded by so many flowers in hospital I couldn't even see them all, and my room's wall was covered in cards.  Friends visited from Adelaide, Sydney and all corners of Melbourne and beyond.  Surrounded by so much love, it was hard to be angry or depressed about my immobile situation, they definitely kept my spirits high.  THANK YOU and BIG LOVE to you all. 
Many have asked about whom looked after Rocket?  As many of you know, I'm a single mumma, my parents, Maureen and Peter came and lived in our home in Melbourne for 3 and a half months to care for Rocket and myself.  Amazing huh?!  I've always known how lucky Rocket and I are to have such wonderful parents/grandparents, but this just topped it off with a cherry on top.  Plus all there visits since to help me out since whilst  I'm still struggling to get back on top.  Huge love and respect to them.
So if we then fast forward to me leaving Rehab Hospital, at this stage I was only just starting to use crutches and weight bearing on my 'good' leg.  I had another 6 weeks of rehabilitation whilst still not walking to complete at home.  Still lots of visits back and forth to the hospital, at the start I figured I should've just stayed there!  But it was lovely to be back home with Rocket, I had missed him like crazy, even though my parents still brought him to visit everyday.

Still now every week I attend rehab hospital and yes, I still walk with a limp.  Everyday tasks continue to take so long to complete, my diary is always full of doctor and specialist appointments.  Weeks just roll into the next, with not much seeming to be achieved, except for hospital time and sleep.  A full recovery is expected for me, that is until the hip replacement that is forecasted for me in 15 to 20 years and the early onset arthritis....oh, and I'll probably have another arthroscopy on my knees in a few months.  The big challenges are over now though.  It'll be a quite some time that I continue on with my Hydrotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Pain Specialist, Physiotherapist, Exercise Physiotherapist, Pain Specialist Physiotherapist, Psychologist and the list goes on...
The surgery last week was just one step closer to recovery.  And I am healing better than expected, but in saying this, I have written this blog post today since I'm couch-bound in pain from my ankle and back.  I am now like an eighty year old lady, I have my good days and bad, and yes, the weather does effect my pain levels.  Just like your Nanna.
Hoping that also from writing this post finally, it is at some level putting the accident further behind me.  I so badly would love to be back working full time on Powderpuff, slowly slowly and I will get there.  There are some new designs brewing, and an upcoming photo shoot planned for hopefully end of next month.  A goal like that, is the best thing to keep me motivated and moving forward.  Health wise, I look forward to being able to run and exercise and have more energy for my son, fun, work and life.  Here's hoping all of that is in the near future.
Not surprisingly, the accident has taken it's toll on my business badly.  Happening so soon after the big move to Melbourne almost stopped it dead in it's tracks and put an end to Powderpuff.  Think it goes without saying, financially the business has taken a big hit.  Thankfully though, my business I love is still going, on a much smaller scale, but still plodding along.  I have been doing a skeleton amount of work just to keep Powderpuff running, so I will have a job to return to work. Part of that has been organising local Melbourne production companies to make the garments, this has not required a large amount of work from myself.  I did try and return to work last October and vended at Camperdown Cruise, a Rockabilly 3 day festival in country VIC, but it was too soon and my health went downhill after that.
I now know I cannot rush my recovery.  Fingers crossed though by the end of March, one year after the accident, I will be back working full-time.  Come on universe, make it happen!!!  Til then, please keep updated with what's going on at Powderpuff HQ on our Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram, user handle, powderpuffboutique.  It'd be super lovely if you know any ladies that would also like our wares, please share us with them via social media or word of mouth.  Powderpuff could sure do with some more customers to ensure it's survival into 2014 and beyond at this point.
I really could go on and on about my accident and rehabilitation, it has consumed and dominated the past 9 months.  Trying to once again move on, I'm going to leave it on this positive note...
 Paula-Jane xo