Wednesday, March 30, 2011

renovating part six... are we there yet??

Slowly, slowly, the house is coming together... we have many of the big things checked off our to-do-before-we-move-in list.

Renovating with a three year old can be almost as challenging as a long trip... ahh who am I kidding? A 12 hour long haul flight is a piece of cake compared to this...

Renovating genius Mr Fixit has fitted some doors we scrounged (from a project I've been working on). Painting them almost felt like sacrilege... but I really think they look better painted, don't you?

More amazing repairs by Mr Fixit, in the form of rotten floorboard replacement. Is there no end to his fixiness??

Lucky we decided to paint those floors huh? We're at that point where big effect things like painting have kind of lost their impact... now it's time for all the little nitty gritty details that seem to take ages.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Our beautiful School of Arts building sits on a cliff overlooking the sea. It's a truly magnificent location, and has been used for some fabulous events. This one was no exception. It seems whenever I visit this place, I end up dancing the night away to some very cool tunes!

Donna Townend has some wonderful friends (some are my friends too!). Creative and inspiring, these people have been portrayed by Donna's skillful hands... dancers, writers, musicians, artists... It makes me feel so fortunate to be a part of such a vibrant community.

I love the way the portraits show a painterly use of the medium... a great effect of worked up colour to add depth.

The portraits show the artist and their totem animal - from whales to dogs to snakes, a menagerie of beasties was present. Donna's use of light is beautiful.

And the woman herself, with her totem, the sea eagle. Magnificent use of colour and imagery.

Monday, March 28, 2011


So in between work, renovating, parenting, partnering, house keeping, and just generally living, I managed to squeeze in a trip to Sydney to catch up with some WONDERFUL and talented friends. Check out some of their work here...

We were planning to go to the incredible Greenhouse, but alas it was closed for a private function (booooo!!!) So instead, we dined at the surprising Berta... Wow. I say surprising, because it seems so un-Sydney... tucked away in a non-descript back alley - and I mean non-descript - I'd walked past this alley hundreds of times and never even thought to wander down into its dark, murky depths.

Nestled underneath a neat new building of apartments, this lovely little space looks out onto an urban view, complete with graffitti and chain wire fences. But somehow, that view is strangely comforting and exciting... simply because it's not the water.

And the food... whoa. Nibbles of olives and deliciously salty home-made grissini, and roasted almonds, fennel seeds and fava beans were scoffed while catching up on news. Saffron and prawn rissotto, which was eaten so quickly I didn't get to photograph it!! And what can be done with an iceberg lettuce blew my mind... Then there was the soft polenta with mushrooms... bestill my tastebuds!

The empty risotto dish...

The soft polenta with mushrooms and iceberg lettuce salad... mmmmmmm

The experience was totally delightful, as meals with great friends often are, but the staff in front and behind the scenes helped make this dinner a memorable one. I'll definitely be back to Berta.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

renovating part five... black floors

I've been inspired by the many black floors I've seen on my research trawls through the web. Sorry I can't remember where I found this lovely floor image! It has the perfect gloss level.

As you can see our floors are timber, and quite lovely in parts, but there's been such a great deal of patching that really, a cover-all approach is the way to go... I start by cutting in around the edges.

Then fill in with the roller. There will be a lot of filling in cracks I feel... *sigh*

But the end result is not bad - do you agree? I'd love to hear anyone else's experience of black floors...

This room is next! And stay tuned for the all-new-improved kitchen!! Now fully lined!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

goodbye garden... sniff...

One not so great thing about moving is leaving our cherished garden, built up over the last eight years.

It's evolved from a plain block of grass with a few ornamentals, surrounded by lantana and bush, to a lush, flower filled and sometimes edible expression of who we are as gardeners.

We couldn't have done it without the help of some talented wildlife - bees, spiders, tadpoles, our chooks, ladybirds, lacewings, earthworms (oh how I love them)... the list goes on and on...

Some of the beautiful produce we've enjoyed from our small plot...

Potatoes: once grown with the no-dig method, once in the ground and once in tyres...

Mulberries: a favourite sweet treat while garden wandering

Nectarines: got to get these early before the fruit flies do!

And lastly our ever faithful grapefruit: this old girl just keeps on giving... and giving... and giving!
Thank you my lovely garden, I hope the next people who live here tend you with as much love as we have...

Friday, March 18, 2011

new wheels

A new old bike for me, to go with our new old house! So this is my new little obsession... actually it's more a rediscovered one, as when I lived in Sydney in the 90s, I never drove my car. I only ever travelled by foot or bike, and it felt great.

I'd forgotten how great, until I picked up my layby on this little beauty and rode around my street. Fantastic.

As I was painting away this week, I was listening (as usual) to something on the ABC radio that I'd downloaded as a podcast. This week, it was By Design, and the episode I was listening to had two great interviewees - Mike Rubbo, a film maker and blogger, and Mikael Colville Andersen, the blogger behind Cycle Chic.

Having just checked out Mikael's blog, I'm now a certified afficionado... bookmark it, like NOW!

I'm inspired to try this at home... just need to get me some of them red booties!

And leg warmers... perfect for the impending Australian winter.

That basket has my name on it...

And one for the men-folk... a Danish Pedersen - whoa!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

renovating part four (what lies beneath...?)

Ripping out the floor coverings of an old house in Australia will almost always reveal some classic newspaper media from last century... Our house was no exception.

Imagine that, depriving your family of vitamin B1!! Good gracious! How embarrassing...

Love those images of industry surrounding the bikini girls and fishermen...
hmmm... some things never change!

Which one is the secretary?

Those blasted nails in the floor! They're a blasted nuisance!

Remember to vote if you're going to the races!

renovating part three... classics

Classic builders' fare for lunch

Classic linoleum found under the festy carpet.

Classic linoleum version 2, found under more festy carpet. I think this may have been the original living room, because under the window, we found a concrete hearth.

And you remember those "classic" timber panelled arches, lined with "classic" faux brickwork?

Gone, baby, gone. Now, for that turquoise shagpile...

And how about that flesh pink coloured front room? Also GONE!! And good riddance!

While I was away visiting my family, I checked my facebook page, only to discover Mr Fixit had (single handedly) demolished the laundry... Today he discovered the joys of yellow tongue... How NEAT is that worksite?

As I write this tonight, Mr Fixit is back at the worksite, getting some more done before work tomorrow. He really is a classic!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

dad's gadgets

My family always used to poke fun at my dad's collection of "junk" that he would add to almost daily, collecting odd bits and pieces found in all sorts of strange places... walking to the bus stop, the caravan of an old film buff who lived at the back of a drive-in, dusty junk shops...

It's only now that I look back on his bower bird behaviour and see it as a worthwhile pursuit. One of his many hobbies was 16mm film. He made some really cool films, that
he's transferred now to dvd. Some are of family holidays, and some are funny little stories he'd thought up and shot with some mates in the 1950s...

This is his 16mm film projector... Dad would set it up sometimes after dinner, and we would sit on the steps and watch ourselves prance and dash around the screen, the sound echoing around, laughing at ourselves and each other...

Some other choice pieces in his collection:

Mechano, c.1940,

WW2 aircraft cameras,

and some strange hybrid gadget made from a gramophone turntable and two gramdeck reel to reel tapedecks... I'm not exactly sure what it does, but it worked!