Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Living on a prayer
My day went supremely smoothly. Everyone got dropped off and picked up as planned. Nothing was left at home by mistake.
My predecessor is extremely well organised with notes and labels as far as the eye can see. I couldn't wish for more.
I had a leisurely lunch and drove home this afternoon feeling very smug and singing Living on a prayer with the radio at the top of my lungs.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The invasion of the gold bunnies
We are currently experiencing an invasion of those little gold bunnies. We got home this afternoon to find two more anonymously left on the door step. The children think that the easter bunny must have decided they were so good, he came back and left them more chocolate.
I don't know who would have left these this afternoon? Maybe they're right, or perhaps these things breed like real rabbits.
Over Easter I made this salad and got rave reviews, so I thought I'd share. It's a chef's salad of some sorts.
It's  just a matter of layering. I took a super retro iceberg lettuce and cut it into wedges, like an orange. Then I scattered some par-boiled and chilled green beans and broccoli over the lettuce. The next layer was finely chopped spanish onion and pieces of roasted pumpkin, plus a few cherry tomatos.
At this stage mix up some whole egg mayonnaise and greek yogurt - about 50/50, and dollop the dressing on in little spoonfuls.
Then it gets more exciting, with cubes of danish fetta, crispy fried pancetta (or bacon) and some roasted almond flakes. It's got so many ingredients you could easily leave out a few and it would be fine; however, don't leave out the dressing, fetta or pancetta/bacon, they're key.
Tomorrow is my first day of work and I've left no stone unturned in my pursuit of a smooth morning. The only forseeable hurdle will be Peaches and her usual wardrobe meltdown. In anticipation of this, I've ensured all of her favourite dresses are clean and pressed, and hanging in her wardrobe.
I shall be cooking a beef strog in the slow cooker over night, so it can be easily reheated for tomorrow night's dinner. Fingers crossed it doesn't burn the house down.
I've had a cook-off today and that's all in the freezer ready to pop into lunch boxes in the morning. The school bags are half packed, and we've all gone over tomorrow's checklist of whose going where, and when and by whom they will be collected.
I even have petrol in the car, which never fails to amaze my husband. I like to play chicken with that fuel light, and push it beyond its boundaries. Amazingly, I've never actually run out of petrol, but I have had to turn the air conditioning off a few times when it's been touch and go.
Hoping everyone had a great Easter. Here's to the next quarter....onwards and upwards!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Pottering around
Today I did some good old fashioned pottering around the garden. Gardening is very soothing I find, and I had a suprisingly productive day in the end.
I tossed out some herbs that had gone to seed, and replanted some other plants that were crying out for bigger pots. With our budget constraints in mind, I'm mad for good old fashioned cuttings at the moment. It's amazing how many plants will just grow if you break a bit off a large plant and stick it in the ground.
I've also found that there are quite a few plant sellers at the Ferny Grove markets on a Sunday morning. We got our murraya hedge plants there for $1. Although they're small, they grow like a weed those things.

Geraniums are cute, grow from cuttings and are seemingly impossible to kill, the darling little eternal optimists.

This spiky beast is a euphorbia. I had to wear gloves to repot it. They are quite good looking plants and can often be seen sporting flowers when nothing else is.
This is the outdoor table I scored during the council clean up. As (bad) luck would have it, my friend was driving past just as I was going through someone's rubbish to get it into the back of my car. Although she was sweet enough to say most of her furniture has come off the side of the road, I've been to her house, and I don't think that's quite right.

I also forked out actual money,although not much, for some other pieces of furniture lately. Take this iron and glass table for example, it was $15.

Or, this side table, which I will probably tart up and use as a bedside table - $14.50 on Ebay. It's not the best photo, but hasn't she got good pins.

I also got this pot stand for $3. It's not the greatest example of one, but this is by far the most user friendly way to store your saucepans. Has anyone seen any modern versions of this? Every house should have one.

After my gardening efforts, I moved onto the drawers of the big sideboard, which are so jammed with junk they don't open or shut very easily. I found these forks, which I then silvo-ed whilst complaining to my husband that we should have 'staff' to do that sort of thing. Likelihood of this happening - nil, which is a pity.
They will be going into our everyday cutler drawer. They're just too good to sit in the dark any longer.  We already use the old style bone-handled knives with the big wide blade. They leave modern day knives for dead as far as good looks and usability go. I'm amazed at how small old dinner plates and portion sizes were, but the cutlery is huge?
Whilst I'm proud of my modest domestic efforts today, they pale in comparison to the old man, who started the fence this morning. He concreted in the posts and hung the gates - rails and pickets still to come.
 They will be painted white, so they'll stand out more. We wanted extra large posts to hang the gates off. My husband went to two large well known hardware shops and was told at both of them that this size is no longer stocked, and only available on special order. As luck would have it, we found an 'old-school' timber yard last weekend so we went out there, and we had a choice of this larger sized post in various timbers. So there you go. They are called Schimmell's and they're at Redbank Plains. Don't scoff, you never know when you'll need a timber yard.
Similarly, the big hardware stores told us we wouldn't be able to get the hinges we wanted, but there they were at Paddington Hardware. I love that shop. I wish all my shopping experiences were like that.
I'm off to have a look at a book a friend of mine gave me today.
I don't know much about Katherine Hepburn, but I'm an extremely impressionable person, so don't be surprised if this time next week I've taken to wearing pleat-fronted trousers and head scarves.

P.S. the bride and groom from our recent wedding are in Brisbane News' Sum of Us column this week. The groom is v. funny, it's worth a read.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

At last!
In my last post I was lamenting the fact that although we had been searching for some old iron gates, they just weren't showing up.
Well, last night at our friend's house, what did we see leaning up against his shed? That's right, and after prying them from him, he reluctantly agreed that we could have them.
They are just what we wanted, and much better than what we were expecting to find.
Now we can get the fence done. It's technically our back fence, but as our house is much easier to access from that street, it's the side that is most often viewed.
Aren't they pretty? 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

This morning we took a rain soaked drive to Warwick in search of some old iron gates for our driveway. Usually when we 'put something out there' it shows up, but not this time. Still, we unearthed quite a few other gems instead.
In our family we all have blue eyes (even the cat) and big appetites, so the first thing we did in Warwick was stop for breakfast at a little place we found called the Belle Vue Cafe.
It was gorgeous with a classic long servery and dinky fifties style chairs and tables.
The breakfast menu had crumbed sausages and eggs and lamb's fry. I had to wonder if it was some kind of themed restaurant, but it wasn't. It had just become wedged in time, and in 2011 it was refreshingly unpretentious.
On my way out I was inspecting the beautiful long counter, the likes of which you just don't see these days. 'Has this place been open a long time', I asked our waitress.
'Yes', she said 'about 101 years I think?'.
Next I found a hole-in-the-wall second hand shop called The Bric A Brac Barn. Now, if there's one thing I love, it's bric a brac. It's at 23 Lyons Street and is open from 9am Tuesday to Saturday.
I managed to get my black cat a couple of kittens, which are a perfect match. They were only $6 for the pair, so how could I leave them behind? That's it for the ceramic cat buying. The last thing I want to be is the lady who collects china cats.
I also got a delightful vase in the shape of a swan, $8.
This West German pottery vase travelled back with us also, $35. It's in mint, mint condition. I'm just about to try and find out what the numbers mean on the bottom. I've never seen any pink West German pottery, than again, I'm hardly an expert.
These tea towels are going straight to EAP as a shop-warming gift. I'm sure she'll turn them into something fabo.

The lady at the Bric A Brac Barn gave us a tip off that we should go down to the second hand shop at Aratula to look for a gate there. No luck, but I found this outstanding German medical cabinet. It was spectacular, but unfortunately, also sold. It was $2950 which I thought was an excellent buy....for someone else.

The shop is in Elizabeth Street, Aratula, just behind the fruit shop. They said they regularly get a shipment from Germany, etc.
Ok, that's it from me.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Reverse nesting
If you have ever had a baby then you'll probably know the term 'nesting'. It's that period before the baby arrives, when you are madly organising the house to accommodate your new family member and your new routine.
Knowing that you'll be spending a lot of time 'in' you need the house to be in tip top shape, clutter free and running smoothly.
Lately, I have been what can only be described as 'reverse nesting'. I am rearranging the house because I will soon be spending a lot of time out of it. That's right peeps, I'm about to join the work force again - on April 27 to be precise.
I have managed to secure myself one of those rare part-time marketing gigs. I'd like to say it was through my sheer determination, but it was more good luck. 
The only way I'm going to be able to manage this whole working mother thing is to be supernaturally well organised. That means rosters, frozen sandwiches, weekend ironing, one-pot dinners and actually reading school newsletters, rather than relying on my good friend Tor to give me the heads up on anything important I need to know (five minutes before I need to know it).
It's going to take military precision to get everyone to their (correct) destination on time, but it must be do-able. Thousands of Australian women do this every week. Some work full-time and have twice as many kids as me. 
I began by de-cluttering my wardrobe. It may be an odd place to start, but for the past six and a half years I've only needed suitable garb to visit one of three places; the park/playgroup, the supermarket, kindy/school. Now I need to step it up a notch or two.
This afternoon I realised my wardrobe is full of what could only be described as the clothing equivalent of 'seat warmers', as in those people who take up seats at the Academy awards while the stars visit the loo. Apparently, it's very bad to see empty seats on tv. Whilst seat warmers in your cupboard may look perfectly keepable, when it's actually time to put them on you realise the fabric is a bit itchy, it's too tight around the waist, the straps don't stay up, the zip's broken or it makes you look like you've suddenly put on 10 kilos.
Some people have this nagging yardstick, by which they decide whether to throw out the dregs or not. It can really work against you. For example how many clothes do you need 'in case you want to paint something', or for 'just around the house'.
If I had thrown out everything I didn't wear, I'd have barely anything left. Enough of leading myself up the garden path. Today I was ruthless. 
I went from this.
To this.

Yes, I was quite startled to see there looks very little difference in the photos too, but trust me, in real life, it's a whole different world.
How about another before.....


Peaches got the brilliant idea of storing my skarves in that little pink basket on the floor. Unfortunately, she upturned all the toys out of it from her room, but it's handy having a four year old that's smarter than you sometimes.
Meanwhile, Mim made off with half the stuff from my throwing out pile, which somewhat defeats the purpose, but anyway.

In the past few weeks that I've had my blogging break, I have also turned 39 and taken up reading again. I'm already onto my third book this month, Tim Winton's Breath. To tell you the truth, I'm finding all the surfing guff to be astonishingly boring, but I have a feeling it'll get very good soon.

We've also had a couple of visits from the Tooth Fairy for the very first time. Unfortunately, due to having a couple of aperatifs prior, she can't quite recall where she's stashed the teeth, but I'm sure it'll come to her soon enough. Let's hope the previous owner doesn't come across them first.

My friend EAP over at is opening a little store in the Woolloongabba Antique Centre. It should be all set by Monday, so pay her some special attention if you're over there. I'm catching up with her tomorrow night for dinner, and can't wait to hear all the juice.

We are currently working our way through Season Four of Mad Men. We've got one precious episode left! Here we go....