Sunday, 26 February 2012

When a good renovation loses its way

Since Jason's Peugeot has been at the mechanics for repairs, our renovation has been in complete shut down mode. I know. Anyone would think we were the Australian Labor Party deciding on who will be leading this great nation of ours.

image from here

It's clear to me now that Jason and I need to regroup and unite. The weeks of paralysis and dysfunction that our renovation has suffered under Jason's erratic and often chaotic leadership needs to come to an end. This renovation is bigger than anyone of us.

So I've given Jason an undertaking that I will not be seeking to undermine him when it comes to his beloved mid-life crisis sports car. My not-so stealth campaign to mock his choice of car is over.

He suspects I've been leaving random anonymous comments on the blog saying his Peugeot is a 'chick's' car. Let me just clarify to you all, I have never called Jason's car a 'chick's' car. I do not leave anonymous comments to myself. You can search this blog and interview other bloggers, but you will find no evidence that I said those things. A hairdresser's car perhaps...but never a 'chick's' car.

I have also given Jason my unequivocal support for his renovating efforts. I need Jason to finish the job that he  was meant to do - renovate this Sow's Ear. I've realised he is a populist renovator and that he is adored by the masses.

So I pledged to him my support. No more, "Are you sure you know what you're doing?" comments will exit my lips.

Apparently things came to a head when some video footage of Jason using foul language while installing a handle on the garage door, was doing the rounds on the Internet... Anyone without a trace of suspicion would think it was unusual that it was released at that precise moment. Shirtless Jason threw down his tool belt and said, "I'm not lifting one more finger on this renovation!"

Fortunately, providence came into play and the mechanic called Jason late last week to say his car was fixed. It is as good as new. Those tense few weeks are finished and we can all return to normal...however it may be some time before we bounce right back into the renovating swing of things.

Whatever the outcome of tomorrow's important leadership challenge, be confident that we at the Sow's Ear will eventually be on track, fighting the good fight against heritage green and rotting timber fences...We get things done...which is probably more productive than what our elected representatives in Canberra have been doing the last few days.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Renovator's Rescue: part four

Someone was asking about the renovator's rescue house which I have been stalking for the past few months.  We drive past this house most days on the school run. 

It was in a pretty bad way when it was first on the market and whoever bought it is slowly bringing it back to life. The house was on the market for under $400,000 which is basically at land value for a 604 sqm block in this spot.

Here are some photos of where the house is at - call it house renovating voyeurism...

This shot was taken a month or two ago, when the house was raised and re-stumped. They also boarded up the front verandah and have installed a dinky little window which  I personally don't may look better when it is all finished though...

I took this photograph this afternoon. You can just see the slab has been put down under the house and there is a brick wall arrangement attached to the left hand side of the home. It's very curious and I wonder why they did that? 

In this shot you can see the house has been extended at the back. The home has also been re-roofed with tin - there were tiles previously but the tin looks a millions times better on this home 
I can't wait to see what else they do with this place!

P.S you can read about this particular house from these previous posts
renovator's rescue
renovator's rescue part 2
renovator's rescue part 3

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The fence

We're in the process of obtaining quotes to reconstruct our front fence which is in a very sorry state. The plan is to have a fence which is in a style that is consistent to the age of the Sow's Ear - inter-war period circa 1928.

There are no old images of the Sow's Ear that we are aware of to indicate what the original fence may have been. We are relying on information from heritage reference books and the fence styles that are used on other period homes in our neighbourhood. It is basically an educated guess...rather than a complete stab in the dark.

The images below illustrate the style we have chosen.

Our new fence will be similar to this fence. It is actually not too different from our current fence which doesn't have the double top rail.
This image is from the Brisbane City Council's Heritage unit which has heritage fact sheets online. Here

This is our old fence which we'll be replacing.  Most of the posts are rotted through. Poor old fence. It's beyond redemption.
I'll let you know when work begins.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Pretty art glass and Peugeot update

There are a few more dust collectors in the Sow's Ear.

I picked up my bud vases last week and just love them. They are nice and heavy; very substantial for bud vases. They also have a slight lean to them which you notice when the two vases sit side by side.

And earlier this week I bought another I needed more. This one is Swedish (I think) and is wafer thin. Again I love this style and shape of vase. It will pretty up the Sow's Ear quite nicely.

Swedish vase and Murano style bullicante bud vases
Thanks everyone for the hilarious and sympathetic comments re the Peugeot 'citron'. The car is now in quarantine at the service centre. They are waiting for parts from France so it will be at le mechanique until further notice. Apparently there is more wrong with the car than just the air con. The air con fail is just a symptom of a bigger problem. Fortunately it is still in warranty.

Jason wrangled a courtesy car until it is fixed after a curtly worded email was sent to Peugeot Australia. They've been  quite accommodating and organised everything for poor old Jason...which is far more than the service centre was prepared to do.

We are not complainers by nature but have slowly realised that it is the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. The most amusing part about this is Peugeot did not organise a Peugeot hire car for Jason. It's a Toyota. (I told him he should've asked for a ute so we could transport building materials and go to the tip!)

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Open letter to Peugeot l'Australie

The background to our car problems

In my best Inspector Clouseau hand:

Peugeot l'Australie

Monsieur, Madame

On zis day of loverz, I write to you to tell you der iz no lurve being felt in zis 'ome.

Monsieur Jazon waz told by le mechanique zat 'iz Peugeot cannot be fix-ed. La air con iz dead. Oh la la. 

Jazon is 'ot and 'e needs la air con in 'iz car.

Der iz a probleme. You do not know what it cud be... 'E must bring car back again. And zhen you tell Jazon you have no courtesy car until 27 February? Mais, ce n'est pas possible!

Jazon iz sad and mad.

Alors, now iz poor wife is left unlurved on le jour de la Saint-Valentin. No kisses, no fleurs, no champagne... She cry tearz of sadness. La journee est rooined.

'Ow cud a companie Francaise do zis to lurverz? First, le renovating mojo 'az gone, now l'amour. C'est tragique!

Comptant sur une prompte reponse.

Je vous prie d'accepter l'assurance de ma considerations distinguee.

Madame Brismod

Translation: Fix the f*&#ing car toot sweet, you slack b@$*@#ds!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

I told you so...

I'm not particularly gracious. It is a character flaw to be acknowledged and ashamed of...

On Friday evening straight after work, Jason met us at the children's school for a function. He seemed hot and bothered, a little agitated.

"What's up?" I asked, noticing the tense body language.

"It's the car. There's something wrong with the car. It's stuffed," he said with utter desolation.

Jason bought a mid-life crisis sports car about 15 months ago when he turned 40. Sleek, sexy and completely impractical for the family of five which he conveniently forgot about when he signed the car contract. The new Peugeot may well be the fourth child in the family. You can read about Jason's car here if you want to know more.

Image from here

"Oh no! What's happened?" I gulped expecting to hear the worst.

"The screen on the dash says there's an electrical fault. And now the air con isn't working. It's like a f%$#ing furnace in there. I've just been pouring sweat on the drive here."

"The air con? Oh! That's no good...Didn't you wind down the windows?"

"That's not the point. There's something wrong with the car!"

"It's still running isn't it? If it's only the air con, then it's not the end of the world..."

Apparently it is. Jason is miserable, like there's been a death in the family. He's so devastated that there was no work done on the Sow's Ear this weekend. Nada. He's even off his food!

I know. It's serious stuff we are dealing with in the First World. The weekend was quite warm, but according to poor Jason it's been the hottest one on record. I think he's overreacting slightly. Psychosomatic, perhaps?

The car is booked for a service next week. I'm hoping the car will be back to normal. We need Jason happy and cool again and, more importantly, I need to wipe the not-too-discreet "I told you French cars were sh*t!" smirk off my face.

Wish us luck. Progress on the Sow's Ear is depending on it.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Retro kids clothes (or why my kids look like David Cassidy)

I swear my Mum keeps everything. When I went to visit her this morning I received a huge bag of  retro kids clothes. They used to belong to my brothers who are all in their early to late 40s.

I always take anything that Mum decides to part with (even if I don't want it) as she needs to declutter. It's my filial duty to help her.

So I dived into the bag to see what treasures she wanted to bestow on  her grandsons. Man did I giggle. I just can't recall my brothers looking like public servants from the Whitlam administration...Mum said the clothes were mostly bought in Myer and they are in very good condition given their age.

Below you will see my boys are modelling their new old clothes. They were genuinely excited to get some clothes... they didn't even care that the clothes were about 40 years old; there was no judgement.  Too funny. Note to self: buy your kids more clothes.

So, if you are in Brisbane and spot a trio of boys who look like they escaped a Partridge Family cult, that'll be us.

purple flared jeans in brush cotton and polyester cotton shirt with stiff pointed collar. This is called the flamingo pose according to our model.

Most of the pants have the permanent press. This is son number 2 channelling Travolta in his early years

Son number 1 vying for Australia's next top model with this pose. High -waisted flared pants.
By far my most favourite part of the fashion parade was the vintage swimming trunks. Check out these belted beauties. They are actually very cool and I would hazard a guess that no one else at the school swimming carnival will have the same pair...

vintage swimming shorts

Anyway, what should I do with all these retro kids clothes? With the other retro clothes Mum has passed on I just fold them up and put them in the boys' wardrobe.

And more often than not, I've had the 'WTF? moment' of being greeted by the sight of miniature David Cassidys when the boys dress themselves in the morning...


Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Vintage bud vases

Late last year, a pair of old Anchor Hocking bud vases I had on display in the kitchen were smashed. And no, not in a fit of passion either. 

A gust of wind blew over a picture frame that was leaning behind the vases...sealing their fate. Bam, crash, shatter and they entered bud vase heaven.

(I felt like Deb from Loyalist Cottage who often features a broken item of the week on her blog.)

The vases weren't  terribly valuable, but I was still sad they broke. They were a matching pair that had been passed on to us by a friend when he was clearing up his Dad's house. He knew I liked to collect coloured glass.

one of the ruby red anchor hocking bud vases which broke. Boo! 

Bud vases are kind of handy, especially when you still have little ones picking flowering weeds which you are obliged to display with pride near the kitchen sink. Dandelions are the flower de jour. 

So, I found two controlled bubble vases which would act as a substitute. Again, these aren't valuable but I love their sunny yellow disposition. 

controlled bubble bud vases
I have no idea of their provenance but they could be from the 60s...who knows? They're happy and I like matchy-matchy bud display the weeds and other bits from our garden. 

How do you display your sprigs from the garden?

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Painting under the deck

This is one of those soul destroying jobs which makes renovating truly suck; painting under the deck.

The top of the deck is done. Now it's time to paint what's underneath

We've only tackled a small part of it. Turning green joists into white.
I said to Jason we could probably get away with not painting it, however he was adamant that it was the silk purse mantle he was aiming for, not the sow's ear prize. Freakin' perfectionist...sucker for punishment if you ask me.

We really wished all the joists were not painted heritage green and that it had been left 'au naturel'.

Ah! the early early 90s have a lot to answer for - from Billy Ray Cyrus' Achy Breaky Heart and the resurgence of line-dancing to heritage green painted with gay abandon in the suburbs. They are all up there on our 90s sh*t list.

There is so much more to do!! And we are being careful not to get paint on the decking boards. Painful task.

The whole underneath the deck will need two coats to cover completely...if we are lucky...

It's a huge job. We'll tackle it in manageable bites though. Bit by bit, little by little. There's no rush. I'll let you know how we get on.

P.S And speaking of early 90s music. What ever happened to Frente!?

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Vintage hospital beds

It's that time of the year again  - kerbside collection!!

We spent the morning putting out our hard rubbish for the local council's kerbside collection. And what we put out was really rubbish. We're feeling very cleansed after the big effort.

So, tonight I've been browsing on eBay. Yes, don't worry, the irony of this is not lost on me. What goes out must come back in for the consummate hoarder.

But look what I found...It's this really cool hospital bed.

Image courtesy Moderni Designs on ebay
Image courtesy Moderni Designs on ebay
For some reason this really appeals to me. It would make a great spare bed or kid's bed. Sadly, we have no need for it at the Sow's Ear, but maybe someone out there ends tomorrow night.

Imagine how authentic your hospital corners would look on this bed. The photos have been styled extremely well too by the people of Moderni Designs.

There is also another antique Queensland Hospital bed on eBay at the moment. This one is very Florence Nightingale style. I can see it in an old rambling Queenslander with high ceilings and whitewashed floors. I'd be tempted by this one as well if we were in the market for beds.

Sorry the photo here is tiny but it was all I could manage. Just go to the link in the caption to see a larger photo.

Image from here
I'd never really thought about hospital beds for the home before. Hospital medical chic? What do you think? 

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Shower curtain rings and Australian Modern winners

After I bought our new 'luxe' shower curtain a fortnight ago, fancy-schmancy shower curtain rings have been uppermost in my mind. I know...I should be concerned about the impending civil war in Syria, but the shower curtain rings are troubling me.

You see, I'd like to upgrade from the clear plastic ones which are currently doing an adequate job. They are no longer right (they never were, but I never noticed them before). I've found a more attractive replacement to match the 'opulence' of our new shower curtain.

Image from Gallop Lifestyle HERE
Aren't they nice? They'd look great in a more traditional bathroom like ours. I'm going to order them and see if they are any good. I'm hoping they won't rust.

And a big hearty congratulations to the two winners of the Australian Modern competition!

Sonia from Raine & Sage and Emma from Grace & Issie are the lucky winners. I'll be in touch to get your details.

Thanks so much to everyone who entered! If you are really keen you can buy a copy online from Folio Books HERE.
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