Monday, November 29, 2010

Pot luck
I was at my friend Anna's house on the weekend. I wish I had taken some photos of her decorating. A fashion person by trade, she is a natural with interior decor as well.
Whilst there, I spotted some very pretty floral pots. They were a recent purchase from Hawken's Nursery, so the very next morning I was there, stocking up on pots of various sizes.
I got these for the front door. I'm waiting to find some sort of clipped fig to go in them.

I got these blue ones for the back door. I've put gardenias in them. Once they finish flowering I'll give them a trim to get them in more of a ball.

...I got these smaller pots for inside and I've put potted palms in them.

This is my new little 'installation'.

The black ceramic cat and the little wooden elk are new purchases from two different thrift shops ($6 and $2 respectively).
This afternoon I'm putting a hedge in along our front fence...just waiting for the heat to die down.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ding dong merrily on high
Today we Christmas-ed Euphemia. We put up the tree, all seven foot of it, decorated it in our chosen colour story of lime, pink and silver, and decked out a bit of tinself here and there as well.
It looks much better in real life. Any self respecting department store would be happy to have it on their floor I think.
We jazzed up the front door with some little gold bells.

This will be our first Christmas in the new Euphemia. As a nod to her previous Christmases, I also put out some decorations we found when clearing out the house last year.  We have a cute reindeer with a real bell, a box of tiny glass baubles and a box of Christmas candles that are useless, but I can't stand to throw them out.

Once the decorations were done we took a drive over to Ascot to further research different styles of roof to put over the french doors downstairs to protect them from the weather.
We're looking at a roof something like this.

It needs to be something quite elaborate and pretty to break up the austerity of the side wall of the house. We are yet to add the window hoods, etc.  Incidentally, this is one of my favourite houses in Ascot.

It's so understated and beautiful. It doesn't need an underground concrete carpark for 16 cars (the latest 'must have') to say 'look at me'.
On the other hand, I had to share this renovation with you. Formerly another low-key but elegant residence, it's now been tampered with almost beyond recognition. Judging by the look on a man who was walking his dog past it at the same time, we weren't the only ones appauled. Why not just work with the natural style of a house, particularly when it was as beautiful as this one. The chimney, terracotta roof, gabling and weatherboards are totally at odds with....whatever that addition is on the right hand side.

Another attraction in the Ascot hood, is the house right on top of the hill, formerly called Bishopbourne. It used to be the official residence of Brisbane's Archbishop, but now it's a private home. They have a monstrous lawn surrounded by a chain wire fence, and swanning around on the lawn is a family of peacocks, mother, father and chicks in tow. It was so windy the mother was sitting ....on her chicks....presumably to keep them from blowing off the hill.

They also have two deer and another large woolly animal, which we believe is either a llama or an alpaca. At this time of the year we refer to the deer as 'reindeer'.

This is their view.

Crazy stuff. I love it!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dinky ditties
Despite the fact that we moved into our house in April - last year - I am still finding little gems spewed forth from Euphemia.
In the last couple of days I've found this little Bovil Book of Nursery Rhymes, small but precious, it's filled with beautiful illustrations and twee poems like:
Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard
To get out her Bovil pot;
But when she got there, the cupboard was bare,
Her children had collared the lot.
I also found this dinky Gala Furniture Showroom catalogue from the classily named, Coupon Furniture Company, which used to be on Ipswich Road at Woolloongabba.
It illustrates all the furniture from maybe the 50s and 60s,  most of which was still lurking around many a home in the 1970s. The prices are in pounds so it must be pre-1967.

I found this old collection of books.
 The top one called Handy Home Guide is a souvenir of the first post war RNA Show. I'm not sure if that's the first world war or the second? I think it may be referring to the first world war.
Anyway, Euphemia never ceases to amaze me with her haul of loot. However, these three ditties are making their way onto Ebay, in fact, I think I've got the furniture catalogue already listed.
Tomorrow we are Christmasfying the house. I had the debriefing meeting with my mother and sisters this morning to plan Christmas lunch which is at our house this year. I'm actually getting quite merrily on high!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Have a little Faith
I try not to watch the news or read a newspaper. Ironic really, since I have journalism qualifications.
The reason I avoid the news is because I no doubt see or hear something that I find so alarming I can't get it out of my head for days, and it affects my sleep.... and I'm an ordinary sleeper at the best of times.
Yesterday, I must have let my guard down somewhat and came upon the story about overseas companies buying up Australian agricultural land.
In 1950, when baby boomers were children the world population was 2.55 billion. Only sixty years later, it is now 7 billion, and by 2025 (in 15 years time) it is predicted to hit 8 billion.
That is a quadrupling of the world population within the life of a baby boomer. You can imagine how important is is to protect productive land, and to treat it in a way so that it remains productive in the long term.
Anyway, in a roundabout way, this got me to thinking about our current insatiable thirst for nostalgia. Vintage is the catch cry in the fashion world. Turn on the television and you'll see reruns of MASH, I dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, I love Lucy, Green acres and The Flintstones. Trawl Ebay and all kinds of everyday items from the 50s, 60s and 70s are going for ridiculous amounts of money, like Fiesta ware (below) and remember my Sebel chairs.

This nostalgic twist was predicted years ago by the 'futurist' Faith Popcorn (below). (

She is a New Yorker who has been 'predicting' future social trends for companies for a long time. I don't mean predicting, as in the gypsy type way, but rather she analyses the way we live now to see what we will be doing in the future.
One of her trends has been what she calls 'Down Ageing'. That's when, nostalgic for their carefree childhood, baby boomers find comfort in familiar pursuits and products from their youth.
What has also been the case with this trend is that not only are boomers looking back, but younger people are finding solace in the years before they were born. So they become nostalgic for a past they never lived....enter Mad Men!

I am 38 (well, almost 39) and I have given up trying to keep abreast of new products, technology, gadgets and social networking. With respect to Ms Popcorn, it is almost a no-brainer that in our chronically fast paced and ever, ever, ever changing world that we would reach back into our childhoods for a security blanket.
I find constant change, seemingly for the sake of change most of the time,  irritating and stressful. I can only imagine what it must be like if you're 75.
I know this subject is unrelated to renovating, but I find it interesting all the same.
I've listed Faith's other trends below. Remember she came up with some of these a decade or more ago. She likes to document all of her future trends so we know that she came up with them first.

1. 99 Lives – Too fast a pace, too little time, causes societal schizophrenia and forces us to assume multiple roles.
2. Anchoring – A reaching back to our spiritual roots, taking what was secure from the past in order to be ready for the future.

3. AtmosFear – Polluted air, contaminated water and tainted food stir up a storm of consumer doubt and uncertainty.
4. Being Alive – Awareness that good health extends longevity and leads to a new way of life.
5. Cashing Out – Working women and men, questioning personal/career satisfaction and goals, opt for simpler living.
6. Clanning – Belonging to a group that represents common feelings, causes or ideals; validating one’s own belief system.
7. Cocooning – The need to protect oneself from the harsh, unpredictable realities of the outside world.
8. Down-Aging – Nostalgic for their carefree childhood, baby boomers find comfort in familiar pursuits and products from their youth.
9. Egonomics – To offset a depersonalized society, consumers crave recognition of their individuality.
10. EVEolution – The way women think and behave is impacting business, causing a marketing shift away from a hierarchical model toward a relational one.
11. Fantasy Adventure – Modern age whets our desire for roads untaken.
12. FutureTense – Consumers, anxiety-ridden by simultaneous social, economic, political and ethical chaos, find themselves beyond their ability to cope today or imagine tomorrow.
13. Icon Toppling – A new socioquake transforms the world as the pillars of society are questioned and rejected.
14. Pleasure Revenge – Consumers are having a secret bacchanal. They’re mad as hell and want to cut loose again.
15. SOS: Save Our Society – Rediscovering a social conscience of ethics, passion and compassion.
16. Small Indulgences – Stressed-out consumers want to indulge in affordable luxuries and seek ways to reward themselves.
17. Vigilante Consumer – The consumer manipulates marketers and the marketplace through pressure, protest and politics.
You can see a little movie on each one of her website if you're interested.
Alright I promise I'll get back to paint colours and cushion covers now....I just think it's interesting to consider where we've been and where we're going sometimes.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Yesterday we went to the beach. I never miss an opportunity to drag more stuff home. I managed to find an old bottle and a piece of driftwood which later fell to pieces when I threw it on the garage floor.
I have been looking for some time for the perfect pieces of driftwood to make a coffee table. I have seen one before which was basically three pieces of wood arranged like a teepee with a solid piece of timber on top to make the table top.
The hand skills required for this sort of project are obviously way beyond me, but my husband would be able to do his spare time (ha!).
Anyway, my search continues, I have been trawling for inspiration. Although it may be beyond me, maybe something will transpire at your home.

If I really put my mind to it, I may be able to do something like this, maybe.

I would dangle something other than shells. No one has less of an affinity with the beach/sea than me. I think my husband would back me up on that.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Putting it out there
Remember a few posts ago I proudly displayed my kitsch 60s drinks tray.

If you look on the shelf in the centre there are two red bulls. A lot of homes had these bulls when I was growing up, and I had it in my mind to actively pursue one for Euphemia. They're not so easy to come by you know.
However, today I was at a Lifeline store. I was looking at two vulgar orange soup bowls, I picked one up and when I put it down, what did I see on the shelf next to it? Tra la la. An El Toro bull, a little worse for wear but good enough and $9 can you believe it?? I thought the one we had was bigger than this, but my mother says it's about the same size. (I was a lot smaller then)

I think I have mentioned my knack for 'conjuring' up things before, it's uncanny. My friend's mother, Carmel, calls it 'putting it out there'. It's a handy skill to develop.
Someone left a comment regarding the bulls on my tray that they were most probably by Aldo Londi Bitossi. However, I have since researched these bulls, and while beautiful, the ones I'm familiar with and that were in many homes in the 1970s were the more garden variety "Made in Japan" version like the little fellow up top.

I also picked up this little sugar pot cover thingy for $4.

My grandma used to have these, but she had shells on hers instead of beads.

All in all however, an extremely unproductive day where my list of things not achieved far exceeded what I did manage to get done.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hey Presto!!
Problem solvered. Re, my problem stools, I had an idea to use the front door colour, some of which I have left over. This idea seemed the most popular amongst everyone, which gave me the confidence to 'give it a shot'.
Today I took the leftover Sensual Red which is an aqua enamel (water based enamel). To this I added some leftover White aqua enamel. Gave the tin a little shake.....and got this. I think it's a very satisfying, sugary enough shade of domesticus pinkus horribilus.

This is technically only the first coat, but I thought it was photo ready enough. Not too sure what to call the new colour.  Stool sample?
Soon I will tackle the 'safety orange' stool which needs sanding first.
I took the unused spray cans of orange back to the shop and they happily swapped them for me, sans receipt, for a gloss white and a gloss black.
The paint shop I go to, which I can't recommend highly enough, is the Paint Place at Milton. I can't remember the name of the street, but they are opposite that famous burger 'restaurant' (and I use that term loosely). They are incredibly helpful, and ridiculously patient with all my stupid questions.
In the next couple of days I am tarting up some old photo frames, using my new black and white spray packs.
We'll see how that goes. While my intentions and ideas are wildly heady, unfortunately my hand skills remain ordinary, at best.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Some days are diamonds
...and other days everything you touch turns to poo. I put my daybed together, with a fairly ordinary result.

I have severely under-cushioned, and my cushion arrangement was also tampered with by a three year old. I also need to soup up the other verandah furniture. One endearing point however, is that it is very comfortable.
If my daybed was less than spectacular, my kitchen stool makeover has been an outright disaster.
I wanted to spray them, so I was bound by the limited range of colours offered in spray cans. I'm not sure if the paint shop had fumes in it, but I decided 'Safety Orange' was the best choice.
Hence, this...

How bad is that, and it actually looks much better in the photo!! I have had it back to the paint shop this morning actually, because some of the paint has bubbled up. They think I was just overzealous with my spraying. You have to be patient (my shortfall) and spray several very light coats, at least five minutes apart.
I have to sand off the bubbly paint now. Hells bells!
Not being sold on the Safety Orange, I had a look at our paint supply that we already have and made my second knockout decision in two days, an insipid grey called Dulux Chanson.

Now I have got two stools in two horrid shades of colour, each half painted. I can't stick them in the shed/too hard basket beca├║se I've just picked up the beautiful new cushions for them. What will I do?
For now I think it's time to pack up the paint before I do any more damage!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Two tiny trinkets
Have made two tiny purchases of late. Firstly I got this tray from my favourite op shop (I will not be divulging that contact). It reminds me of the Mad Men era.
It's so awful, that it's wonderful. I was born with an appreciation of kitsch.
This is a bad close up of it.

It's the best $2.50 I've spent in ages.
This morning I picked up this very rustic little pottery bird from Green Tangerine, which is right next to the Paddington Antique Centre. I think it's from Mexico. They have a selection of colours and birds and are $22 each.

I just sprayed the old iron bed I'm using for a daybed on the front verandah. Hopefully, I'll be able to put it all together tomorrow.