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.

Friday, August 23, 2013

A Study in Black and White

While we are on the subject of The Classics, let's take a moment to enjoy the majesty that is BLACK AND WHITE.
I have been reading this book lately by Celerie Kemble.

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Study in the Classics

Remember when I posted a photo of this beautiful house, and some of you pointed out that it is actually in Rockhampton. As I've said many times, I grew up in Rockhampton. It's a town that usually makes the news for all the wrong reasons, but it actually has some ridiculously beautiful old Queenslanders, so many in fact that some of them are sitting in a state of decay.
This one however, Cooloola, is quite the opposite. It is the picture of perfection, and I've now had permission of the owner to show you the inside.

Let's skirt around the outside a tad more first.
This house is a perfect example of why some bits and pieces are considered classic. They just work, they're beauitful and they don't go out of fashion. Take that timber planter box at the front door,for example. That style of planter is at the front door of many a fancy address on Park Avenue in New York.
I recently bought a white Didier Parakian dress. Five minutes after I put it on, I had spilt make up on the front of it. I could never live in a house like this, but I take great delight in looking upon it.

It's all in the details.....
There's a young lady in the house. This is her quarters.

What more can you wish for than a pink bath tub?

A study in blue.
This is what life in the tropical north should look like.

Rhythm and symmetry. So reassuring.

Excuse me. Pineapples.

In case you're wondering, and I'm positively sure you are, this is the lady responsible for this big pile of wonderful.
Frances Russell, wife, mother of three, interior decorator, designer. I imageine Frances' home is a tomato sauce/soy sauce/red wine free zone.

If you're needing any decorator services, go to
You can also read Frances' blog at

Thanks again Frances!