Sunday, July 31, 2011

Butter, flour, sugar

It's amazing what can be achieved with a little butter, sugar and flour. Yesterday we had the Red Hill Fair, the main fundraiser for our kindy. Our cake stall raised almost $4000, not bad for some baking, well I suppose it would have been about five tonnes of cakes. Get a load of this....

...and that was about 2/3 of it. Cakes and sweeties as far as the eye can see. This is me simultaneously texting and selling cakes, being the clever person that I am! Please, don't anyone else try this.
I dragged out my special dachshund apron for the occasion.

I even got to serve a gang of fairies (I think that's what you call a group of them). They let me take their photo because I couldn't find my daughters at the time (they weren't behind me then) and I didn't think they'd believe I served a fairy gang actual fairy cakes!

I spent the whole day working on the stall. It was fun - kind of.
I spent $50 on ingredients and turned it into $35 worth of things to sell, through the magic that is my kitchen.
Now, late last week I was in one of my favourite thrifties - it's whereabouts shall remain a secret still. There wasn't a whole lot on offer, then what should I see as I was walking out? This painting, which is no doubt a  
I asked the lady who worked there how much it was. Hmm? $2? Then she said, they were having a half price sale so it was actually $1. Some of you may think I overpaid, but I love it more every time I look at it.
Right, I've got some jobs to do pronto before my date with Kevin on the ABC at 7.30.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Lost and found

Our letterbox would take out an Ugly Letterbox Competition, if there were such a thing. It's not fixed to anything, and because of the slope of our land it quite often goes sliding off down the hill.
I know the postman gets frustrated with the whole thing, because sometimes I find our letters lying on the grass and I just know that he's thrown them in the general direction of the letterbox, rather than posted them in the slot. One day I say, we'll get a brand spanker.
Our palm has gone the same way as the letterbox. Winter is really knocking them around. This one is just plain old embarassing. I'm afraid it may be lost for good.
Despite my suffering from pneumonia, I know a good kerbside pick-up when I see one. I spotted this table calling out to me from the footpath last week. When my husband got home I asked him to drive down there and get it for me.
'You know this goes against everything I believe in', he said as he hoisted it into the back of his ute, and I knew how much he must love me.
Grey laminate, octagonal, genuine 50s or 60s. It looks a bit ordinary now, but just wait. Despite all the terrible things the others said about it on the way home, we immediately sat around it and had a game of poker on the verandah. It will do very nicely indeed.

This is what the girls are bringing back from their walks at the moment. If its your tree that's losing it's flowers bit by bit, day by day, I apologise.

I am off now to do some things for the Red Hill Fair. Don't forget, this Saturday 10am-3pm, Woolcock Park Red Hill.....

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bad lungs and good books

I have pneumonia. I know. Please don't feel sorry for me, I've been doing enough of that myself. Whilst sitting around doing nothing sounds like Heaven, trust me, the novelty very, very quickly wears off.
I spent this morning reading Don Burke's Organic. It's all about building an organic vege garden.

Periodically, I paced down to the blank spot in our yard with the tape measure and measured the space for no real reason. I made lists of vegetables I would grow, and all the paraphenalia I'll need to get started.
I'm very excited. Now all I need is a working set of lungs.
At my request, we took a drive to Brookfield in search of horse poo. That's something else I'm going to need a truckload of. All we could find was one bag. I'm hoping the shortage has got nothing to do with Hendra Viras!
On the way back home via Fig Tree Pocket, we noticed lots of houses still laying flood damaged and empty. It's so sad to see and there are so many of them. Let's hope the well-oiled-machine that is our government will soon get around to finally distributing the financial donations made in January. It looks like many people could do with the assistance!
I'd have to say I'm also a bit chuffed about another book. It's called Australian 50s 60s Decor: Furniture and furnishings of the Mid 20thC by William and Dorothy Hall. You'll find it at the council library.

During my recuperation I have also been whizzing through the latest Instyle mag. Loved Nanette Lepore's decoration of her house in the Hamptons. It was refreshingly different, and not white. If you come across the magazine, have a look. Unfortunately, there aren't very many pictures though.
While we're on the subject, this is her City pad in NYC. Not bad either!
...and New York and great style, leads me onto this book.
It has C.Z. Guest on the front, but I believe it's difficult to find and expensive to buy? It's something to keep your eyes open for if you're into that sort of thing. I think it covers all of Truman Capote's Swans, like Babe Paley and Slim Keither also.
Well that's all I'm good for at the moment I'm afraid. Let's hope the drugs kick in tomorrow with gusto!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

There's plenty of other stores

It seems David Jones is in a bit of a bother, and their sales are down - dramatically. The finger is pointed squarely at the Carbon Tax, but could we just be moving away from large department stores?
I just love workshopping a subject like this. It's so interesting.
I don't really frequent department stores myself. I find them overwhelming, and just too 'overstuffed'. My eye doesn't settle on anything long enough to want it that much.
I also think they've propped themselves up with 'sales' and discounts so much that customers now expect to pay less than the rrp for their purchase. If the item isn't on sale now, it probably will be next week.
Maybe it's just me, but when I look at the lack lustre, mass produced merchandise on sale, with all the quality of a movie prop, it seems like it's just something to sell, rather than a great product that people will want to buy. Here's a shelf, quick, put something on it to sell!
I think the service has improved in department stores, but only once it hit a crazy low, when it was near impossible to find someone to take your money. One day when I was buying a toy in the other big department store, the woman who worked there actually, literally, tried to talk me into going to another counter so she didn't have to serve me. She said the toy I was buying should be 30% off, but she didn't think the discount would work on her cash register. I said I didn't care, and I didn't, I just wanted to pay for it and get out of there. Hey presto! Her register worked perfectly, I got the right price and she skulked off, I'm assuming to hide from any more customers.
When I was a teenager I worked at Sportsgirl and we did training in customer service. We were encouraged to suggest clothes to customers if they were having trouble finding something. We swapped sizes for people, said hello to them and made eye contact.
Maybe DJs customers are all off shopping in their neighbourhood boutiques, where they get attention and an already edited stock which they know will suit their taste.
We must also be approaching a point where we do not need any more retailers. There must be a stage at which there is the perfect number of shops for a population, when they can make a decent living. Past this point, business is thinned out and making a buck becomes more difficult. What is the economic term for this?
Could it be that retail therapy is not filling the void it once did? Are we evolving? 
I may be a mad consumer, but I would estimate four out of five things I buy are second hand. It's more of a sport, I get something that's more unique and interesting, it's recycling, and quite often, better quality than something that's new. It's win, win, win.
Now, The Red Hill Fair is on Saturday, July 30th at Woolcock Park. You must all come and buy a cake. I am the Cake Stall Convenor, and we take our cakes very seriously. I've even set up a blog, which you can see here.
The Red Hill Fair is our kindy's major fundraiser, and every family has to make eight cakes for the cake stall. I set up the blog to distribute the recipes. Maybe it will be of help to you too as cakes are often used to financially prop up educational facilities.
The Fair is a great day, it starts at 10 and finishes around 3pm. Don't worry, I intend to remind you again before the BIG DAY.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Smug earthy types

Yesterday we went to the organic markets at Downey Park. I thought it would be a very pleasant thing to do. I'm not sure if I was a bit grumpy because I got up so early, or if it was my imagination, but I seemed to be met by some very smug earthy types flogging their wares. They obviously had me pegged as a petrol-guzzling consumer at first sight.
Enquiring about the price of produce if it has no label is apparently a no-no, this means the price is too obscene to be printed, ie mushrooms for $24 a kilo.
Anyway I got this beautiful spinach which was the find of the morning.
It was also an invaluable exercise to press upon my husband a sense of urgency to get our vege gardens up and running. I've been using the tried and tested technique known as 'nagging', but it doesn't seem to be getting me very far.
I've been studying the whole vege garden thing. I've watched an entire series of Jamie Oliver, can't think what the show is called but he digs up beautiful vegetables from his magnificent kitchen garden and cooks with them.

Jamie has a Brian to look after his garden full-time.

 I won't have a Brian, but then again, I don't think our garden will be on a scale that requires someone full time.
Brian does amazing things like growing strawberries in a hanging basket, and planting a single potato only to dig up three tonnes of them six months later.

I made this little purchase recently on Ebay. The cane bookcase will be given a coat of paint soon, and fits neatly between two bedside tables. I think it's cute.

If you're squeamish look away now.

Theodore Buttons has grown into quite the stealth hunter and regularly brings us trinkets like mice, some still alive, and rats, like this beauty. He brings them into the house from outside and takes them directly to the pantry, I think because this is where we keep our food?

I'm not sure if you've ever spotted friend-material amongst the celebrity elite, but I have. I wish I was friends with Nigella. I really like her.
She has her own talk show you know. I didn't know until I found a dvd of it at the library. It's hard to watch at first, then it grows on you.
Yesterday I took Peaches to a birthday party. Three hours early. Turns out it was on July the 10th, but not at 10am as I'd written on the calendar. At least I had the right day, and we hadn't missed it all together. We went back three hours later and had a lovely afternoon.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Show and Tell

My husband is out tonight. He has to go out to see a game of his beloved Rugby Union, since it's only on pay tv and we don't have that at home. 
I thought I would take advantage of the spare time and do some show and tell.
Firstly, my camping photos, just because I said I would. This is our palatial tent in which we would have been asleep,well and truly, this time last Saturday night.

This is the creek we camped beside. If you look closely, you'll see two fairy hunters hard at work.
Finally, my 'arty' campfire shot.
Now back at the ranch, this afternoon we lit some little glass and metal lanterns and hung them in our nude frangipani tree. They some what brightened the place up.
While I think of it, EAP has done a post about that cracking house that appeared in the episode of Mad Men, when Don runs away to California and meets Joy. You can see her post here. Ha! I just wanted to show off about being able to insert a link now.
We have a seventh birthday to celebrate next month, and in an effort to be organised, I have bought a gift already. This skirt is made by a company called Heavenly Creatures, which is Australian. I think it must have been stencilled by them. It's more beautiful in real life of course. It's what I call ballerina pink. It's always possible it may get pushed to the back of the wardrobe and never worn, but I'm confident I've backed a winner this time.

Did anyone notice that Easton Pearson recently had an 'Archive Sale', in which they presumably dragged out stuff that was years old. Anyway, I felt the need to go and have a rummage. At one stage, and my sister will back me up on this, I tried on a white cotton dress with massive frilled sleeves. I honestly looked exactly like I'd just escaped from some institution by wrapping my bed sheet around me to fashion a dress. I really should have taken a photo. Oddly, I was still tempted to buy it, but instead I got this, I know it's not much on the hanger, but I like it for some reason and I've worn it maybe five or six times in two weeks. It's not very flattering I will admit. I wouldn't recommend it for you young ladies still trying to attract a love interest.

I also got this LBD. It's nothing exciting, but it's a classic, and I think I'll get lots of wear out of it...that reminds me....
 Before I had children I barely ever wore flat shoes. In fact, at one stage I had 17 pairs of just black heels. Up until I started working in April, I was so out of practice, when I put on heels I walked like a transvestite. I had to get some good shoes for work. They had to have some sort of heel, but still be comfortable enough to wear all day.  I found these.. and it was love at first sight. No thinking required, no regrets, no second thoughts, and if they were available in other colours I'd have them all.

It's hard to beat a black suede wedge with some bling on the toes.I'd love them in red, raspberry, orange, lime and cobalt blue too.

Now enough about shoes, let's talk glass chickens. These.
They're tiny little things. My husband's mum gave these to my girls. Today, whilst having a fossick at a thrifty, I found the mother hen. I wish I'd had the good sense to photograph them together so you could see the size difference. She's quite a find, and much bigger than she looks in the photo. That strawberry is huge, like an apple, so it's all a bit out of proportion.

Thanks for the osteopath tip. I'm going to go and see that one at Kangaroo Point as soon as I can. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

One emergency physio required!

That was an unexpected break. I've had computer problems, camera problems, time issues, etc.
I'm back but sans any photos I'm afraid. We went camping on the weekend and I took lots of 'arty' campfire shots, but I haven't been able to get them off the camera for reasons too boring to possibly go into.
Have you noticed that Bush Fire signs now range from 'low' to 'catastrophic'. I was looking at one as we drove bush over the weekend, and I asked my husband if he thought that, in the case of a 'catastrophic bushfire', would anyone have the presence of mind to move the arrow?
I need help with two things. One is a good physiotherapist, preferably close to, but not in, the city? I've had a bad back for two and a half years now. I did originally visit a couple of them but I found they'd look at my back, give me an exercise or two (ie, stretching like a cat), charge me $75, and in two weeks time want me to go back so they could give me a photocopy of another exercise. Why would they not give me all the exercises at once? Nothing worked, but I'm desperate enough to give it another try. I'm also open to other treatments like acupuncture and voodoo.
Secondly, I'm in need of a couple of easy craft projects for the girls to do over the holidays. I know the holidays are nearly over, but I'm running behind a bit. They're getting sick of playing with the ball of string and the empty cereal box they were given at the start of holidays.
I shall be back tomorrow and I'll be bringing photos with me!