Friday, 30 July 2010

Repurposing retro curtain fabric

Who has the lairiest clothesline in Brisbane?

Freshly laundered 1970s fabric

Well, that would be me.

I went to visit Mum yesterday because I hadn't been for a couple of weeks.

My parents are notorious hoarders (unfortunately, not all of it is good), but sometimes there is a stash of something in the back room that can be useful.

I see it as my filial duty to take something out of their house every visit, because I know it will be one less thing for my brothers and I to pack up when our parents go to hoarder heaven.

That's an awful selfish thought, isn't it?  You'd forgive me if you saw how much stuff they have never thrown out. Seriously.

Anyway, I always encourage Mum to de-clutter and she is always happier when stuff is moved out of the house.

1970s curtain fabric

Like old retro curtain fabric. I have a plan for these as I prepare for summer. Think outdoor colour for the deck. Perhaps some cushions...And this thick material is perfect for that.

My mum must also have ESP because she brought out this large bag with three Hari Krishna orange coloured cushions, which she picked up on sale from K-mart.

They were $1 each and she thought of me. Bless her thrifty hoarding heart. My visit was serendipitous.

(How did she know I've been thinking cushions? There is no way she reads the blog because she doesn't have a computer.. at least not one that works and from this century.)

Although they are not what I had envisioned, I'm definitely going to use them as they'll be very handy as inserts for when I eventually have cushion covers made.

Cushion riches! I'll keep you informed with very important cushion updates.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Danish style tear drop light

Danish style light

This little tear drop cutie arrived from Canberra today. I tell you, it's an Australia-wide search for affordable vintage mid century lighting. (Even with postage, this was still cheaper at a vintage Canberra shop than another light I was eyeing off in Brisbane).

My movements are somewhat restricted with a little one still at home with me. Vintage light shops, architectural salvage stores and antique places are really out of the question. These stores are not fun for either of us, so my quest for lighting is relegated to online shopping, for now.

I'm finding ebay to be slim pickings. And the only real bargains I have ever obtained have been because items are misspelt or incorrectly classified and that's not often.

This new light has a lovely, elegant shape. It also has the all-important teak cap which always seems to be missing on this type of light fitting. The ugly curly energy saving light bulb will be nicely hidden too. I like to be green when I can.

The new light will be for Sons #2 & #3's room, if Carlo the Electrician ever returns to finish the rewiring of the house.

Carlo and his crew must come back, because we haven't paid him for the considerable work done already. One consolation, I suppose...more time to find lights.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Dreaming of Florence Broadhurst cushions

For some reason or another I've never jumped on that soft furnishings train, so we are cushion poor.

But I'm at the station now and I'm about to board.

Soldier cushion made by Melissa from Seamstress & the Daughters

It started a month or two ago with this cushion, which I bought for our youngest son's birthday. Vintage 1950s Napoleonic soldier fabric - it was too hard to resist. Nothing like some foppish soldiers to decorate a boy's room!

Recently, I bought a grey Rapee cushion at Spotlight. Very suburban I know. It's fairly simple and I liked it. This is the only cushion in any of the main living areas - a very sorry state of affairs.

Fingers sample and Kabuki sample

And now, I'm toying with the idea of having some scatter cushions made from my favourite Florence Broadhurst fabrics.

The samples came yesterday. They're gorgeous but the fabric costs $143 per metre. Perhaps not the fabric for a soft furnishings novice...I absolutely love the Fingers pattern above all the designs but I have to think about it before I commit.

Thinking...thinking...maybe I should wait for the next Signature Prints sale...or just bite the bullet and splurge?

Sunday, 25 July 2010

The deck

How sad! Down to three chairs.

I've not taken any official before shots of the deck. It is huge. Mostly because it was extended, hence the row of posts in the middle of the deck.

You can also just see that when it was extended, they used different timber decking. Most people don't notice (or they are very polite) until we point it out. Not ideal but I guess old houses have their quirks.

The heritage colour scheme will go at some point and we plan to remove most of the lattice. We don't really see the point of the lattice, as it obscures our view and with the deck being quite high, there are no privacy issues.

We use our covered deck quite a lot - it really is an extra room for us. Unfortunately, we have been using it less as the outdoor deck chair situation worsens - they are perishing and we are down to the last three chairs.

The chairs are really not worth saving...for us at any rate. We've had them for the last 12 years, so it's time for some new outdoor furniture. The old table is still okay and we'll be able to keep it as a spare table for downstairs.

Row of posts 

With just over a month before the start of spring, we've ordered new outdoor furniture. Yay! It is very exciting. It will be ready in a month and I will share photos when it arrives.

The back deck and that's Buster the Budgie in the corner

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Bakelite toilet seat

*Warning: this post contains images which may induce sudden nausea. Please stop reading if you have a weak stomach.

I dislike our toilet. From the plastic cistern to the old plastic seat, to the scratched Caroma porcelain.

With a simple purchase, made this morning, I have improved our (but mostly mine, because the boys I live with do not care) quality of life by 1000 per cent.

Yes, the right toilet seat is not something to be taken for granted. Ever.

This morning I went to Red Hill to check out a vintage lighting store which also happens to sell new bakelite toilet seats, which are manufactured in Melbourne. Instead of walking out with a light, I walked out with a new loo seat!

Bakelite is a really thick, heavy duty material which is quite reassuring when one is perched on a toilet. We had an old bakelite seat when I lived with my parents and we also had one in our last house.

When we replaced the toilet in our last place, the bakelite seat did not fit, so we bought an expensive thicker-than-average plastic seat. 

It was still inferior to the old bakelite one, in my opinion.

But I am most ashamed of myself for putting up with the cheap, flimsy white plastic toilet seat and not replacing it straight away when we moved here last year. 

Disgusted, really, after I removed the old seat and realised why it was so obvious the constant faint smell of urine was not at all due to my cleaning efforts. 

Vindication should never be this hard. Who knew what lay in wait?

You think this is gets worse...

Oh God, the horror! 

I did warn you to cease reading.

The bathroom renovation is definitely on the cards but it will be a while away before we can afford to do it properly. And we're not too sure what we will do and how we will go about it...

Small easy fixes are needed in the meantime, even if they are temporary.

Black and shiny new seat

New bakelite seat

Anyway, my morning has been arduous. One small step, one giant leap kind of stuff. I need a stiff drink.

P.S I've saved the old toilet seat to show all the boys when they come home from school and work. They must aim harder.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Afghan Rug

New rug in the "still to be painted" sunroom

We bought a new rug for our reading nook in the sunroom. 

A flat weave wool rug, apparently hand knotted in Afghanistan. I wouldn't swear on the Koran about that though, especially since it was an ebay purchase. Anyhow, it's an inexpensive rug and it is perfect for this area.

(The wool rug we used to have here was the wrong shape and size for the space. It now lives in our main bedroom and it looks like it was always meant for that room.)

I've been hankering for something a little more tribal and this rug satisfies those urges. The mix of traditional rugs/textiles and mid century modern decor has always appealed to me, but even more so when I started blogging. 

The deep indigo and burgundy in the rug are comforting colours and add more warmth to the room. I also like how it is not too plush and manageable enough to give it a good beating and shaking outdoors (I'm a cruel woman).

Tomorrow, I'm off to find a non-slip rug underlay. If I can't find it locally, it will mean a trip to that tempter, I call, Ikea...

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Outdoor furniture

image from here

While searching for suitable outdoor furniture to go on our covered back deck, I stumbled upon this. It is very simple, modern and sleek.

And thinking out loud, maybe two galvanised Tolix side chairs or cute Casala chairs for the ends would be cool.

tolix side chair

Casala chair circa 1970s

I like this outdoor setting very much, so it's a contender.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Empty picture frames

op shop frames

I picked up three old picture frames when I was out and about this morning, so that I can frame some of Number One Son's art work. 

Nothing too fancy, as I'm sure what is on display will change depending on his tastes and art projects which grab his attention at school. 

The frames may get spray painted depending on final approval from His Nibs, because he is very particular.

If I get the green light, I will spray paint the frames (to a colour of his choice), crop his work to fit the frames and tape it on mount board. Hopefully, a simple and inexpensive way to add some personality to his new improved room.

Short listed work

An eight year old interpretation of the D Day landing a la Bayeux Tapestry. God bless him.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Bedroom progress - nearly there

We moved Number One son back into his bedroom on the weekend. He had been sleeping on a mattress in our room for over a week.With school resuming today we wanted  #1 to be able to have his room back.

His room is not quite done - the French doors and the wardrobe doors are yet to be painted. We just ran out of time. We also need to hang some of  #1's artwork onto the bare walls and add some other final touches like coat hooks, blinds, new bedding and a small set of vintage drawers/shelves. 

The furniture is very basic. The double bed used to Jason's when he was bachelor, and the desk is some 1980s grey vinyl thing which was passed onto us by Jason's family. It's fine. It is all perfectly solid and functional. 

We realise it is a room which will evolve over time to our son's eight year old tastes. At the moment he is crazy about WWII Cromwell tanks and other military vehicles, but who knows what he will like next month?

At least he won't have to share his room with the flakes of paint which used to fall off the wall. It's a lovely looking room now which he likes enormously. 

I'll share some more shots of this room when we do the finishing touches after serious consultation with #1.

This bedroom opens from the kitchen and opens out onto the back deck.

 1980s desk with IKEA chair

He still likes to sleep with Teddy

Bare white walls waiting for art

Before show taken from the back deck

Before shot of the flaking paint

Monday, 12 July 2010

Salon theatre in Brisbane

What a fab night at Chris and Susan's Theatre in the House! It was a full house with about 70 people crammed into every nook and cranny. A great night with a very appreciative audience.

The play format was a rehearsed reading of a new comedy that is under development - Journey to Milan by Brisbane playwright Lorna Bol and presented by the Forgetting of Wisdom troupe and directed by Errol O'Neill.

It was a very polished performance of a very entertaining play. It was hilarious and also clever.

The play is about Jess (Bev Langford) who has recently lost her husband Ted (Leo Wockner) in an accident. Her sisters Hilda (Penny Everingham) and Veronica (Kaye Stevenson) with all good intentions rally to support her, but do they listen? They want to sell her house and decide she must have an overseas trip. Jess tries to resolve the problems she had in her marriage, while dealing with her sisters, and her own ideas for the future.

In the after show chat it was sad to hear the difficulties this troupe have had obtaining government funding to stage their shows. The director said that older actors, older playwrights and smaller professional theatre groups are often overlooked in attracting funding. Shiny, bright and youthful seems to attract government funding. Old and wrinkly does not.

Sadly, this theatre piece may never see the light of day as a fully staged production due to lack of funding. 

When one considers Australia's rapidly aging population, it seems a shame that plays like this are left to languish...especially since they would resonate and appeal to a broader public.

Anyway,  I was very fortunate to have seen Journey to Milan. And my furniture worked a treat in the show. It's cool to have your furniture as part of a set.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Danish tile top table

mid century Danish tile table

Our friends, Chris and Susan, lent us their Danish tile top table because they no longer have room for it at their place. It's great because we can road test it and use it without any commitment. We can hang on to it for as long as we like until we get sick of it or if I find a small sideboard or cabinet to replace it.

It will fill the void that is currently in the back corner of our sun room.

I also have a new ugly lamp which I snapped up from Katherine at theoldboathouse. It gives a lovely warm glow in this room. The etching in the background is from local Brisbane artist, Helen Kennaugh.

Look at the gorgeous pattern on the tiles

Tonight, I'm off to Chris and Susan's place to watch a play which they are staging at their house - Journey to Milan by Lorna Bol. Not too many people put on salon theatre these days, but it is such a fab night enjoying the arts in such an intimate setting.

Our t.h brown bar stools, viking chairs and coffee table will be part of the stage props. They were whisked away this afternoon. Our furniture will be famous!!

 So long furniture

A funky stage

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Bedroom progress, awards and a thank-you

New fittings for the windows

Jason added a quad border onto the built in robe so it matched the rest of the room. 
He's very pedantic about the small things.

The bedroom is completely undercoated except for the French Doors which lead onto the back deck. We'll start the top coat in the evenings later this week. It is easier to paint when the children are asleep.

Also I'd like to thank Trish from A dream house for Trish (she's in the process of designing and building a home in the Hunter Valley) and Lou from The little house that could (she's renovating an 1880s Queenslander in the outer suburbs of Brisbane) for giving me a Sunshine Award. Thank you so much for thinking me worthy of this award and for reading my blog.

To accept I need to reveal seven things about myself. I've done this before here and I've also done one for Jason here...

Thankfully, I'm thoroughly here's seven more interesting things about moi:

  1. Over the years, I've studied Mandarin, Italian and of course French as a hobby.
  2. When I was learning Mandarin, one of the guys in the class would later invent the Furi knife and another guy would later become a federal Member of Parliament. Little did they know what a famous blogger I would become!
  3. I own a set of Furi knives.
  4. I used to work as a coat and handbag girl at a City nightclub when I was at university.
  5. I played the cello at high school. Averagely.
  6. Jason and I were married within ten months of meeting and spent more money on the honeymoon than we did the humble little wedding.
  7. Jason and I attended the same large high school (two years apart) but did not know each other at all until we met several years later at work.

As you probably know by now, I don't like to tag other people. I'm the weak link in the chain. Sorry. Again, if I am a follower, leave comments or have you on my blog roll, then you know I like your blog. It doesn't get any more complex than that.

Finally, I'd like to say thank you to Kylie from Flying Ducks. I won a double pass to see the new French film The Hedgehog (Le Herisson) from her blog giveaway. Kylie writes a great little blog about her life and apartment in Brisbane and has been featured in Apartment Therapy and Design Sponge.

Jason and I saw the film last night at Palace Centro. What a gem of a film! It's a moving story about friendship, love and life set in an elegant apartment building in Paris. We would both highly recommend it if you wanted to see a great film.

I won't make a hash of the plot description. The Sydney Morning Herald has a review here if you're interested. You won't be disappointed.

Thanks again Kylie!!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Work begins on the bedroom - # 1 Son

Flaking paint, water damage and frameless window

View of the room from the back deck

Our eight year old son, Son #1, had a sleepover at a friend's house on Friday.

While he was away, we quickly cleared the furniture out of his room and began the process of renovating it.  It's been a long time coming, but Jason has only just recovered from the trauma of the master bedroom's partial renovation.

There isn't a lot of major work to do in this room - it is mostly cosmetic as the paint work is very poor and badly damaged.

Jason replaced the French door trim/moulding to make it consistent to the rest of the house. I think it is a Splayed profile. There was also no window frame which was was soon rectified.

Yesterday, the room was sanded and scraped to get rid of the worst of the flaking. There was also a substantial amount of wood rot around the sill - Jason thinks he's got rid of most of it, but I guess time will tell.

Today, Jason undercoated the entire room. It's looking good already. I'll share progress reports throughout the week.

Click here if you want to read a before post and see photographs of this room from last year.

New window frame

New door frame 

Thursday, 1 July 2010

How much is that Poppy Light?

Remember the Poppy Light I wrote about yesterday and and how it would look great in our master bedroom.

Yeah, yeah. I know it's not everyone's taste and it may look like evil tomato aliens and could frighten the sweet bejesus out of us all in the middle of the night...but, hey, it is seriously funky.  I could make it work - a dramatic feature against an all white canvas.

This morning I emailed the store to get prices. My price guesstimate was around the $1500 range. Oh dear. How naive was that guess? Who knew?

This is the pendant version of the same light - it has 30 moveable arms
image from here

The email read:
"The 75cm one would be $3799, and the 150cm one is $4469.
The shades are all mouth blown glass and is available in red, dark violet and ceramic. The reason why the lights is called poppy is that the outer leaves will open aprox. 2 minutes after the luminaire is switched on."

Holy cow! 

I wanted to send a reply email to ask if the poppy light also produced premium grade opium. 

It would want to. 

Tricia Rose's advice of snapping a branch and propagating it was definitely a good one. I could start an illegal light cartel and charge $100 a branch.

Alas, another light is ruled out. And the search continues...

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