Saturday, January 30, 2010

Curiouser and curiouser
You name it, Euphemia has chewed it up and spat it out at our feet. We've come across false teeth, old pony tails, teeny tiny plastic horses, bullets, 38 bottles of blue-o, many an old metal mystery object, horse shoes and ancient spectacles. We also stumbled upon this bandage, which is triangular in shape, made from a fine cotton and printed with diagrams of how to tie it for various injuries.
Call me crazy, but I think that's a great idea and so obvious!

Above are two of the many gorgeous kitsch tea towels I have. Gwennie and Doris must have bought one as a souvenir of their trips, or they had been given them by travelling friends. Note one is to mark the year 1960 and it's in brand new condition. I also have a mint condition 1970. Currently in use in the kitchen are a couple of Hayman Islands, circa 1965? Fortunately, a tea towel is pretty much the same size as a pillow slip, and many of them will come out of retirement to commence a new career in the bedding industry.

I have two of these old flour sacks in pretty much new condition. They have never been used. They too are pillowslip size. What are the chances?

Above, the Queensland Centenary booklet from 1959. The other is a mint condition, boxed Holly Hobby diary from 1977. I would have been pining for one aged 5.

You name it, we had bottles of it. I've emptied some of the mystery items down the drain. The paraffin oil in the dark bottle is from 1932. The pure cod liver oil on the right hand side went to live in France, via Ebay.

I love this. It's an old stencilled doll cushion/toy. It's meant to be cut out, sewn together and stuffed. She's so quaint.

The old specs above are actually driving goggles that would have come with an early car. They are beautiful things.
I had a lot of pairs of these old boxed stockings. They sold on Ebay. Apparently, although very old, they can be rehydrated and worn still.

Anyone for a six pack of Guinness, circa 1960?

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Dr Frankenstein guide to decorating
There's many an uncertainty when it comes to home restoration, renovation or decoration, but one thing I know for sure is it's going to cost us an arm and possibly a leg too.
But as all former Girl Guides know (or sisters of former Girl Guides anyway) the secret to success is to be prepared.
I've been collecting little decorating ditties for months now. I know that short of handing over one of our children to the bank, we are going to have to use our current resources to add the finishing touches.
We aren't short on furniture, quite the opposite. I'm going to take a paintbrush some of the more ordinary pieces. The furniture in the house is mostly dark and dank. I want our house to be full of shocking colour, but on a fairly neutral white and grey background.
I'm showing you some of the decorating bits from my 'Look Book'.  As you'll see, I'm not really following any particular style at the moment, and there's going to have to be a lot of refining to get everything to flow. I've taken bits of this look and bits of that, but some of it is going to have to be sacrificed. I can't live out every decorating whim in the one house.

My husband and I are huge fans of this diorama style wallpaper, although, from the reaction of people we've shown, it's not a look that is widely appreciated.
You've got to love a formal garden. Fortunately, hedges and creepers take more elbow grease than coin.

The bedroom above is from the book Flea Market Style. Love paper lanterns, $2 or not, they're just pretty.

Don't worry. I'm saving this look for  when I get my holiday house in India.

Painted furniture.

The little pink chest of drawers gave me the idea to ultimately use our old clawfoot bath in the garden to grow herbs. It's already a vile, lolly pink.
Next I have to go room by room, on paper, and detail what furniture I'll use, the colour scheme, etc. It fills in my time, and scratches an itch, while I wait for the actual work to start!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Some tidbits....
I thought you may be interested in a few little bits and pieces.

We think this flask is covered in crocodile skin. It has the feel, texture and patterning of crocodile skin. I came across an old crocodile handbag in a flea market on Mount Tamborine recently, and the leathers were very similar. My husband was just a little bit chuffed with this one.

This little pearler is the City of Brisbane street guide. The date of publication is unknown, although someone looking at it recently thought about 1931? But how many people would have a car in 1931? It's a far cry from today's complex coloured 'UBD'.  The maps, numbered 1 to 63 simply list the suburbs covered, ie, Map 10 is Bardon, Ashgrove and Red Hill. Our tiny street is on Map 9, Kelvin Grove and (the rest of) Red Hill. The suburb of The Gap, just beyond Ashgrove, is not included on any map. I believe in the early part of the 20th century this area was mainly a series of small farms.

I love these little shoe thingys - what are they called? These are for childen's shoes. I found them in an old metal trunk under the house. They are definitely staying with me. For the moment I've tied them together with some old lace, but I'll eventually give them a light sand and maybe some bees wax or oil?

This gorgeous set is set to stay, at this point. It must have been used by the family at Christmas time, as there's a coin included (see top right hand side) which would have been put in the pudding. The coin is from 1912.

These lovely old dears (the three pics above) are staying with us too.  I packed them up today.
If I had a crystal ball, I think I'd be seeing a lot of Silvo in my future!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Back to the future II
Please don't get me wrong. I love a beautiful, expansive white kitchen as much as the next person. There is something fresh and clean, and appetising about white. It makes all food look great, however......if I see another all white kitchen I'll scream.
It's getting to the stage where I think, if you've seen one, you've pretty much seen them all.
I plan to use some white in the kitchen, but I don't want it to look like it's been soaked in bleach for a week. And if I leave a tea towel and a dirty coffee cup on the bench, I don't want the look to be 'ruined' (as in interior decorators the world over stamping their feet and throwing their arms in the air).
Here are some photos I referred to, to get used to the idea of using colour in the kitchen.

As you may have detected, I love grey, but I'm using that a lot elsewhere in the house. I love the look of stainless steel with dark timber. I also love exposed shelving, cold, stone bechtops. I like a kitchen that looks like it sees more action than someone just walking to the fridge to pour a glass of wine.
In my mind I'm seeing patterned mosaics, open shelves, stainless steel drawers, a stone benchtop, and the piece de resistance, the butler's pantry.
I'll let you know how it all comes together.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Happy findings
I have been busy packing up our keepers in order to put our things in storage for the work to commence at Easter.
Amazingly, there are still objects popping up for the first time. Something I found today was a 'dance card'. Now I thought 'dance cards' were more a term of phrase rather than something literal. This is a card which is folder in half and fits into the palm of my hand. It's from 'The Bankers' Ball 1932', Brisbane.
Inside it is headed 'Programme', then there is a column for 'dances' (the one step, fox trot, modern waltz, one step, fox trot, old time waltz, fox trot, etc) and a column for 'engagements', which I assume is partners.
Gwennie would have been 19, and Doris a bit older. There are no names filled out on the card, so it must have been taken as a souvenir.
Also pictured above, and I'm sure they caught your eye, the handsome things, are a set of french doors. We picked them up last week at the Restoration Station just down the road. They are from a hospital at Warwick. They will feature in our lounge room and lead the way out onto the back verandah. 
They are mammoth in size, and are finished with a final coat of brown paint which has nicely crazed. The stencilling on the glass is too damaged to keep, so we will need to scrape it off entirely. At this stage, and of course, it's all subject to change, we intend to put them up as they are. It would be a shame to restore them too much to the point where they look like new doors - I don't get that?
The little cards pictured above feature Australian birds. I'd have about 50 of them at least. They were stored in a biscuit tin, so old it's pattern had rusted off. They were collectible in Capstan tobacco tins in 1912. They're beautiful, although their fate remains up in the air. In all honesty, I don't know when in the forseeable future I'll get a chance to do something with them - and I don't know what I'd use them for anyway.
The final photo is of a pile of keys. We must have 100 old keys in various sizes and styles. I don't know what to do with them either. 
The largest key, on top of the pile is very similar to our front and back door keys. They could take someones eye out they're so huge.
My packing attempt today was a bit half hearted, but I'll really get into it from Wednesday when school begins.

P.S. If you're after a good read, have a look at Rock Wallaby is my country cousin, a brilliant writer and amazing photographer. She lives on a property up north and is bringing up four very cute children.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Back to the future
We have currently got our plans finalised - finally. We're underway, planning the building schedule, doing costings. I've spent the last 10 months compiling my 'Look Book' of design and decorating ideas.
I thought we may have a break from the past to look into the future of Euphemia.
If I've nicked any photos from your blog, please excuse me. Along the way, I have neglected to note where I got the various photos from.
These are my bathroom ideas:

We'll have three bathrooms, including: a main bathroom upstairs, a bathroom downstairs and the ensuite for the main bedroom.
I'm not sure if you can see similarities in the bathrooms above, but there are certain elements in each photo which I like.  We'll have a free standing clawfoot bath. The original clawfoot we took out of the house is now down near the cubby, ready to be converted into a herb garden. We heard that re-enamelling was expensive and generally not very long lasting, so we've gone for a brand new bath.
We also have a couple of old marble topped washstands and have been pondering whether to have a hole cut in the top of one for a basin to be inserted. 
I also like the look of pestastal sinks with pretty mirrors and lots of open shelves close by.
I have been collecting etched glass containers for the bathroom shelves, and intend on acquiring myself a pretty collection of old mirrors for the walls.
There's exciting times ahead!