Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Milton Moon

I may not have made much progress with this blog lately, but elsewhere, I'm doing ok. My husband (I'm not even going to pretend I had anything to do with it) has finished the main room downstairs and now it's up to me to do the finishing bits; furniture, rug, sideboard, mirror...
Last update, we had a thousand colour swatches on the wall. We went from white to blue, grey to green. Nothing was happening and in the end we had to put the anchors on the airy fairy swatches and get ourselves to the paint shop and make a decision. A bit of pressure can work wonders with procrastination.
After a few minutes we laid our peter pointers on a wee square of colour called Milton Moon and walked out with 10 litres of it.
The cane is a recent purchase and another work in progress. The covers are off getting made, hopefully as we speak and should be here in a week or two.
Originally when that light was hung the room wasn't painted and we weren't so keen on it, but now it seems to fit in a lot better. The outdoor lights on the other side of the French doors are a very similar style, plain glass with a black metal frame.
How's that grey? We are also happy with the oyster lights in the coffered ceiling. They were also quite the decision.
Both the girls have these el cheapo, yet a la pretty lights in their rooms. I got them on sale at Recollections.
It was my birthday recently. My people gave me this jardinière which I'd spotted up at Paddo Antiques. It will roost downstairs, maybe with an orchid or fern in it.

Riddle me this. Why is it that all the best television shows aren't on television or they are shown at 2.30am? Arrested Development, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, 30 Rock.

One more thing. I'm reading a great book at the moment called The Baroness by Hannah Rothschild. It's about her great aunt Nica who ran away from the Rothschild lifestyle to live in New York with her African American jazz musician boyfriend. Those Rothschilds were a wacky bunch.

Friday, February 7, 2014

WALES, WALTS, King Ferns and Concrete Parrots

Oops! Five months have just accidentally slipped by without me updating the Old Girl. We've been busy doing lots of things, house-related and not. Tomorrow some electricians will be here and they'll be connecting the power to the downstairs rooms. So excited! Power points will go on, lights will go up, it's going to be a revolution! It seems like we've been shuffling around down there in the dark forever and this will suddenly make things a lot more civilised.
I have started working full-time. I know! It's actually been a lot easier than I thought it would be. I enjoy getting dressed up and going off into the world, although as I friend of mine says, it's only been a month.
I've been wearing heels, clothes that actually have some shape. I do my hair every morning and paint my face like a geisha. I work as a writer for a property investment company. I love what I do, although sometimes I feel everyone around me is talking Dutch; dividends, unlisted trusts, asset realisations, WALEs and WALTs, everything is an acronym. I'll get a handle on it eventually.
I refuse to feel guilty for working. I'm not here all the time for my daughters, but I think it's also important to set a good example for them. I want them to grow up and have careers and interests of their own. I think it will be very important particularly for their generation. I don't think girls their age are necessarily going to want to grow up 'and get married and have children'.
Already, with my own friends and colleagues, I know so many women who are in their 40s and single by choice. It really isn't unusual anymore. 
Here's a concrete parrot I bought at Woolloongabba Antiques recently. For twenty clams I couldn't in all honesty leave the little sweetie behind. Isn't he adorable. He's happiness-inducing.

 Speaking of which, I was reading recently that Retail Therapy is a real thing, and buying stuff will make you happy, so there. I knew that all along, but some people were doubters.
My mother grew me this king fern from when it was nothing more than a baby frond. It's been in my care for about three weeks and so far, so good. It's very refreshing to have some greenery around. I hope I can maintain the round-the-clock care that ferns demand.
Tomorrow my sisters and I are surprising our mother for her birthday with tickets to see Dolly Parton. I'd love to see Dolly, but only if I could click my fingers and have her sing to me in my own lounge room. I'm not one for large car parks and crowds, all those things involved with seeing live concerts.
A friend gave me this vintage flamingo tin for Christmas. She got it on-line from the US. I love it. I was talking to another friend about decorating motifs. She's got a sixth sense when it comes to this sort of thing. She's been onto flamingos for years, and pineapples and about six months ago she predicted the onset of toucans, which has now come to bear......just wait, you'll notice them everywhere now.
My older daughter is 10 this year which means the secondary schools all need the proper paperwork and applications filled out for year 7 in 2017. She has already been accepted into one school and to secure that place we now have to pay a $1000 non refundable deposit by the end of February. Meanwhile, we are waiting to hear from another school, however, that won't be until the end of March. This means we'll have to pay the deposit at the first school, just in case the second one doesn't come through - it's quite the racket.
The girls have just chosen the colours for their bedrooms. Peaches chose a baby soft pink, or at least that's what we thought. On the walls it's more vile fairy floss, but anyway, we can work with it. She's been banned from putting anything else pink in her room though.
Mims is half painted, it's a lovely quiet, rich cream colour.
Out in the main room.....
....we're not having much clarity with the colour, despite hauling every visitor we get in front of the colour swatch wall and demanding they pick one.
Maybe I should throw a dart.
Is Shapelle out yet?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Up To Pussy's Bow

I know that negativity is frowned upon these days, but there's only so much I can take. I've had it up to pussy's bow with seeing this sort of shenanigans.
Is the Council actually trying to preserve it's self proclaimed 'character areas' or are they not? They say one thing and yet it seems every week I notice some poor house falling victim to this type of 'creativity' or whatever misguidance was involved.
This house is in Girraween Grove, near my sister's house, and I watched this disaster unfold week by week.
Girraween Grove is the quintessential Ashgrove streets, wide with trees down the centre. Ashgrovian houses sit side by side, some gabled, with verandahs, big green gardens, some leadlighting, a bit of curly wrought iron in the gates. It's elegant and beautiful, and then someone has come along and plonked this eyesore right in the middle of it.
The same Council who harps on about heritage protection has, just in recent years, allowed the Regency Theatre to be knocked down and the Shingle Inn to be removed by developers - the latter apparently under the condition it was relocated, but instead it was 'misplaced'.
Brisbane doesn't have enough beautiful buildings to be so nonchalant with their preservation.
I've been stewing on that for a while. I feel a bit better now.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Ta da!

Our herringbone floor is done. We nearly chickened out a couple of times, especially after the first two laying quotes. I'm so pleased that we persevered and got what we wanted.
Remember this photo below was our inspiration. I actually like our longer zigzag pattern more.

I just love it when a plan comes together! Now there are some more trims to do, before the floors are actually covered up again so we can paint the room.
The lights have been ordered. It's all systems a go-go.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Pineapple Head

Laurel Avenue, Chelmer would have to be one of my favourite streets. It's a long winding, tree-lined street with one spectacular house after another. This one, above, would have to be one of the roughest diamonds and it's currently for sale.
It has 38 bedrooms, that ought to be enough I would think. I can't see why you'd need more than that.
Look at that spectacular kitchen. I wouldn't change a thing.

I think a few segways wouldn't go astray.
We talked with another family about buying it, but then agreed that was getting dangerously close to a cult. We planned to turn this room above into a skating rink. Then again, what children would be allowed to come over for a play?
Anyway, to get my mind off not having the means to buy this joint, as well as the fact that a sexist is running the country, I turned to pineapples to soothe my nerves. Don't write them off as kitschy nonsense (...or actual fruit, I suppose), they are a legitimate decorating icon.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

They're her-re!!

Eventually, we decided on a larger tile than we originally chose. We felt these ones would be more effective in a larger room. Now all we need is someone to lay them. He shows up Monday.

I gave my husband this for Father's Day. He loved it, especially the little wheels. I bought it from a retired builder who had been given it in the 1960s by a lady who owned a fancy hotel in Sydney. He'd done some work for her and this was a thank you gift.
It's very spectacular, in person, and exactly what I've been chasing for a long time.
It's what every cocktail hour needs, plus one of these....
Meanwhile, back downstairs, the ceilings have been finished and trimmed. We're now filling the nail holes, sanding them, and we're planning on getting the ceiling painted before the tiles go down. 
Once the tiles are layed, they actually get covered again by drop sheets and plywood until the skirting is done and the walls are painted. It seems like an odd order, but that just how it happens.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Oops, I Did It Again!

Long time readers may recall the infamous cake disaster of Feb '11. If you don't, you can refresh your memory here.
Well sadly, and quite unbelievably, I've done it again. You'd think I would have learnt to outsource this particular task after the last time.
Recently it was Mims' 9th birthday. We had a combined birthday celebration in the park with her friend, who was also turning nine.
Between me and the other mother we easily halved the tasks. Originally, Sharon recommended that I do the party bags and she would do the cake, owing to her having the advantage of a mythically large cake tin.
Mim had, however, already been looking at birthday cakes and picked out something she loved. 'Oh, well ah, actually, Sharon,' I said, with a little more pomp and circumstance than I meant to, 'Mim has actually chosen a cake design she wants, so do you mind if I do the cake instead?'.
Sharon is very fun and easy going so had no problem with that. I didn't give it another thought, oddly, despite 'the incident' in Feb '11 when it was Peach's birthday.
Mim had picked out what I rather deludedly considered a simple cake. It looked like a series of three iced butter cakes, all slightly different sizes and atop one another, rather grand looking, with some fresh flowers on top.
I only had two tins, one was bigger than the other but they were different depths, error one. In hindsight I also realise that there was not a big enough size difference between the two, and added to that, when they came out of the oven they were different heights. The smaller one being the higher one.
Even at this stage the fact I was on the cusp of another disaster had not become apparent to me. I carried on happily. I professionally sliced the top off the larger cake and turned it over so it was (kind of) a flat surface for the other one to sit on. The smaller one however, was oddly shaped. It had barely any sides, it just rose from the base to the top.
I couldn't really slice the top off, because it would still have sloping sides - are you following?
Anyway, I didn't see this as a massive issue. I carried on, putting bamboo skewers through the two cakes to hold them together.
Then I iced the cake, doing the 'crumb layer' first, which you then freeze, fixing all the crumbs in place before the proper icing goes on. I was smugly explaining this professional approach to anyone who walked through the kitchen.
Once the cake came out of the freezer I put on the final pink icing. It was a bit runny, so I adusted it and kept going. Once finished, I was starting to twig. I looked at the cake in front of me, my head involuntarily turned to the side, like an inquisitive labrador.
Mim walked through the kitchen and looked at my 'creation'. 'What's that? Did you ice a hat?'
Due to the sloping sides on the top cake, it did look like a hat. I could deny it no longer. I got some impromptu marshmallows out and put them around the perimeter.
Darn! I said....or words to that effect.
It was one of the most hideous cakes I've ever seen in my life. A close rival to the Feb '11 cake disaster.

I swear I turned my back for a milli-second and when I looked at the cake again, the marshmallows had all moved, like they were trying to get away or something. The icing was melting. I stuck the whole thing in the freezer.
I told my husband what happened and he opened the door to see for himself. Silence. Then a weak, 'it's ok'.
Things didn't improve. The cake didn't magically right itself in the quiet dark of the freezer compartment. Just before we left for the park I got out the fresh flowers to put on top. A resounding 'nooooo' came from my unsupportive onlookers. They told me the flowers were too pretty to put on the cake. What they meant was, the flowers would have been wasted sitting on top of such an ugly beast. The phrase, 'you can't polish a turd' came to mind.
Off we went to the park. We set up our trestle table and I popped the pretty flowers on the table in a vase instead. Apart from my own actual kin, everyone at the party was very supportive when I pointed out the cake.
The afternoon was not exactly cooling down and occasionally the odd kind passer by would stop to push the sliding marshmallows back on top.
I showed Sharon my cake, the very special design that I insisted on making myself. She leaned in, 'Does it have stretch marks?'
And yes, I think if you look closely at it, then yes, it does have stretch marks.