Friday, 28 June 2013

Vintage concrete planters

Love them or hate seems like the concrete planter is having a renaissance of sorts with happy homemaking gardeners.

This pair was a roadside find last Christmas. The faux barrel shape design is kind of quaint but you should've seen Jason's face when he first saw them. That 'how many more plants do you want to kill?' kind of look.

We just planted some jade plant cuttings in them as, I'm afraid, succulents are the only things which I can manage to keep alive. And it helps that the cuttings came from #1 Son's terrarium science project. Recycling is the name of the game.

(It may take a good while before the measly cuttings become more impressive!)

Some of the best vintage concrete planters in Brisbane can be found via Katherine at theoldboathouse who has a shop in the Cottage Garden Nursery in East Brisbane. She finds the coolest designs.

vintage concrete planters
image from Katherine's instagram feed

And here is another fabulous example of a concrete planter I found while browsing the net. How cool is this? Deliciously perfect for a mid-century home.

Willy Guhl cement plant pot from Angelucci

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Home advice for Kevin

You could be forgiven for thinking that you were in a coma for the past three years, after hearing about the resurrection of Kevin Rudd to the position of Australian Prime Minister. Yesterday saw yet another Labor leadership spill which saw the deposition of Julia Gillard as PM. Interesting times for Australian politics.

Three years ago I gave Julia some home advice when she got the top job and after the shock of seeing a photograph of her home. You can read about it here. So in the spirit of being fair, I think it is important that Kevin receives similar advice.

But do you think I could find an interiors shot of his Norman Park Queenslander home?

Apparently the Rudds bought their home in 1994, however the only shots I could find of their house was their carport and verandah...

What are Kevin and Therese hiding? Has Kevin let the cracks in his VJs get out of control? Is their home full of fussy antiques or are they closet hoarders? How do you really know someone unless you see how they live?

This is the front entrance to their home which seems to be nestled back from the street. It is very private which I guess is a good thing when you are in public life. At least no one can do a Google search and randomly critique your home with wild abandon.

image from here
The carport screams 1990s faux heritage to me (much like the Sow's Ear's decorative finials, that I dislike immensely). I'm not a big fan of the porthole fretwork or the colour scheme on this carport. I also think they might need a Dulux colour consultant to pay them a visit...

Their home is screaming out for Whisper White and Pure Black trim which could win the hearts and minds of all the 'designery types' out there. Imagine how striking that entrance could look with a white picket fence.

image from here

From what I can see of the verandah, my uneducated guess is that this Queenslander is from the early  1900s. It has fabulous bones, but where are all the house plants or potted colour to give it that sense of homeliness? Also, where's the macrame pot hangers? I could hook the Rudds up with Pippa from Ouchflower blog - she can knot a few macrame creations to give that verandah some quirk.

Again the paint work is letting the home down. It makes me weep to see the French doors and panelled doors painted in three colours - cream, white and heritage green. So 1990s. And why are all the doors shut? Again, what are they hiding?

I'm also on the fence about the painted decking boards, preferring the natural oiled timber look on a verandah.

The wicker outdoor furniture is a nice choice for a Queenslander verandah - a classic! I also reckon their outdoor furniture would look even better if the house was a different colour. Don't you?

And doormats. You can't have all those entry points without a doormat or two. I think the Rudds need to invest in a nice doormat. But they really ought to give the Governor-General one as a gift too. The one below would be perfect for Yarralumla.

Hope they take some of my advice. They'll get in the pages of Belle Magazine if they play their cards right... Are you curious to get a sneak peek inside?

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Sofa shopping at Dansk Vintage

This afternoon I ventured into Dansk Vintage's store room to view their fabulous range of Danish mid-century modern furniture. Jason and I saw a vintage sofa on their website that we both liked, which is a rare occurrence given our vastly different aesthetic mission was to investigate further.

Wow, wow, wow! I felt like a kid in a sweet shop, surrounded by so much vintage Danish goodness!

So, the sofa in question is actually a Hans Wegner designed daybed made by Getama. It is in an unrestored state but it is still such a lovely piece of furniture. It also converts into a decent sized bed as the back rest lifts up to provide more mattress area.

The owners of Dansk Vintage are very nice people with such a wealth of knowledge of Danish design. And as you know, we like nice and knowledgeable!

Decisions, decisions, decisions...

Monday, 24 June 2013

Latest op-shop finds

It's been slim pickings on the old op-shop scouring treadmill...but I have managed to find a few things which I thought were very cool and worthy of bringing into the Sow's Ear.

Like this 1960s Ellis Ceramics dish which for all the world looks like a hospital kidney tray. It is all kinds of awesome and for the past little while it has been filled with Lego body parts.

I also picked up a nice little set of Orrefors crystal candle holders at the children's school trash and treasure. I think they are called Stella. And as some of my buddies have informed me, the Sow's Ear is the place to be during a black-out with the amount of candle holders we own!

I have also been saying yes to Glomesh. Yes, yes, yes!

I am becoming someone's 93-year-old great aunt Myrtle. Sensible shoes and a Senior's Card shall be next on the agenda. Actually, I have sensible shoes, so it's just a Senior's Card that I need...Anyway, I am loving having such a sparkly coin purse to whip out of my handbag when doing the groceries.

This blingy clutch is not a Glomesh branded handbag. It is called Sterling Mesh and is made in Australia. For some reason the purse looks silver in this photograph but it is really gold. It will be getting an outing next weekend at the MAD functions and is also very discotheque-worthy!

The little Figgjo Market milk jug was found at an op-shop by my friend Melissa . She very kindly gave it to me, after I twisted her arm and made her cry...She's so lovely! It goes very nicely with my slow growing collection of this china pattern.

See it is a perfect match to the Figgjo Market teapot and plates I found at the Salvo's last year.

Have you had any good finds lately or picked up a great bargain? I'd love to hear what you've found. 

Friday, 21 June 2013

Revisiting the boys' bedroom makeover

It's been about eight months since we renovated the boys' bedroom (read here) and I thought it was timely to revisit what we did and show you how the room has fared with its two energetic occupants.

Too often one just reads the before and afters in blogs or magazines, but you never really hear how the 'afters' cope with day-to-day living. So, here is my review of what worked well and what didn't...

It would be safe to assume that there are still lots of toys which make its way under both the boys' beds. I was fooling myself to think their Lego stuff could be contained in little wicker can't...especially with a mum like me who does not possess a 'picking-up-after-the-kids' mentality.

I just have to get on their back and tell them to move their toys to the playroom under the Sow's Ear. They don't need to bring so much into their room. It is however better than it was.

The white on white colour palette is standing up well. It is still fresh and bright and has given the room a great lift.

The white painted frames which we bought for the vintage Cuban movie prints are looking good and we are really happy with them.

The reality of our children's toys under the bed situation...

The pale wool rug in their room has been okay. It is still shedding wool after all these months which is quite a pain... The rug does adds some extra warmth to the room and stops some of those winter draughts coming through the cracks in the floorboards. One day it will be fur ball free...I hope.

rug fur balls
The block-out blinds we purchased, on the other hand, have been fantastic. They cut out the morning glare and have probably bought us an extra 15 minutes of sleep time in the morning. Those boys are such early risers! The blinds are in great condition despite the heavy-handedness of the boys.

We love a floating shelf but sadly this particular brand of floating shelves has not worked out. They do not sit flush to the wall and have a noticeable lean to them...and that was even when there was nothing on the shelves. Shelving fail! We will probably remove them and buy something that is better designed.

floating shelves in the boys room

Shelving fail when they have a severe lean to them.
The bag hooks we bought for near the bedroom door have also worked out well
All in all, the room is still a lovely space...when it is tidy. If I could find a tidy potion to feed the kids, I would...and then I'd take some myself!

Have you discovered things which don't work out after you've renovated or bought something too? Tell me all...

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

I Will Week

It is a little known fact that most Australian home owners do not possess a will.

Apparently there's a whopping 36 per cent of first home-owners who are walking around without a will. Yikes!

Considering our homes are one of our biggest assets, it seems reckless not to leave clear instructions for what to do with our estates after we're gone.

Who wants to rely on intestacy rules if your dodgy cousin Barry could possibly inherit the lot? It just seems like you would be leaving a lot of extra confusion and administration for your loved ones if you don't have a legally prepared will.

And scrawling a note on the back of a napkin as your will is just not going to cut it in a law court, so I've been told...

Jason and I had our wills drawn up when we bought our first home together and have updated it after each child was born to make sure that our children are provided for... if the worse should ever happen to us.

Preparing a will is something that is really easy to procrastinate about, but it's a good feeling when important things like that are organised.

Still haven't decided which one of the boys will get the mid-century furniture...

It is a relatively simple process to get a will. You can either use your family solicitor, if you have one, or contact your relevant state or public trustee who can advise your best course of action.

Have you got a will? Did you cut anyone out? And what did you leave me? Ha!

p.s This week marks I Will Week in Victoria with State Trustees encouraging Victorians to prepare their wills. If you live in Victoria, you can find out more information here.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Dinky window reveal

That dinky little window in the bathroom is now finished. I probably shouldn't keep calling it that, because it doesn't look dinky at all now it has been primed and has a couple of coats of gloss white.

Single-pane casement window with chrome casement stays and handle

It's a major improvement to what was there.

The old window which was just odd bits of louvre glass which could not open or close.

Dirty little window

Having the window custom made was a good experience for us, especially as we have mostly worked with salvaged joinery. It is so much easier fitting something new than the old stuff according to Jason. It just slotted into position, as it should.

The little window cost $135 not including the fittings. And it is another small project we can tick off our list.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Buying Florence Broadhurst bed linen

It's mid-year sale time in Australia and I've finally bought the Florence Broadhurst bed linen I have always admired. As my regular readers know, it is my mission in life to never pay full retail and also to not enter a big shopping mall (they depress me).

So it was win, win all round when I discovered from a friendly commentator that Adairs online stocked some of the Florence Broadhurst range and that it gets discounted at sale time. Hooray!

The Japanese floral bed linen with Chinese Key pattern backing

I scurried to the computer and ordered the Japanese Floral quilt cover, Florence Broadhurst Chinese Key pillow cases and some random flannelette sheet set (there is free delivery until June 30).

I really love the pattern of our new quilt, although the overall quality and general finish of the product is not as great as I would have expected...which is a shame...Thank goodness it was heavily discounted...

The Chinese Key pillow cases, on the other hand, are fabulous. I'm kicking myself that I didn't buy the whole sheet set because it is just gorgeous. The sheet set I was after is now sold out.

Florence Broadhurst Chinese Key pillow cases
It is great having some new bed linen this winter. Nothing like a new quilt cover to freshen up a bedroom.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Rainy long weekend

What a wet horrible long weekend we had!

Fortunately for us, it was mostly spent indoors listening to ABC Classic FM's countdown of the top 100 movie scores. Ha! Yes, we are super-geeky.

The boys were listening with us when it came to the last three in the countdown...LOTR, Star Wars, and The Mission
We felt like we were back in the days before TV with the whole family gathered around the radio. The boys were thrilled when the music for Lord of the Rings and Star Wars made it into the last three. They sat there enthralled, as they love these movies. The fabulous music from The Mission was number one.

A well-covered Jason fitting the new bathroom window

And it wasn't all music and movies at the Sow's Ear. Jason fitted the little window in the bathroom...and it looks excellent. The weather was too wet for painting, so the window will come out again next weekend. We're hoping for a few days of good sunshine to paint and finish that little project off.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Dinky little window

Today, I picked up the new window that we had made. As it was being loaded into the boot of my car, the man from the joinery place said it was a dinky little thing. I chirped up and said of course it was dinky, "It's for a dinky little hole in the wall."

Jason arrived home ill this evening and is becoming acquainted with the toilet bowl as I type this...(poor sick Jason!), which means I have no one else to share the joy of the window with. Luckily the blog is my outlet. Ha!

So, please admire my dinky new window...Isn't it darling?

single light casement window with arctic glass

The dinky little thing is made from Surian Cedar and the glass is fixed into place with timber beading rather than the putty that we have in all the original windows. We also opted for toughened arctic glazing to match our other windows.

The new window will have to be primed and sealed with an oil based primer and then painted with a few coats of gloss before it will be ready to install. 

Fortunately, this weekend is the Queen's Birthday holiday which means a long weekend. Hooray!!

If painting goes to plan, installation of the window will be this weekend. Cross fingers!

Monday, 3 June 2013

Swift Whip Rotary Beater

I now own a Propert Swift Whip rotary beater. My life is complete. Well, not really but I know that I'm going to love my new egg beater. Especially after I tossed out my old egg whisk.

One of my friends who read this blog post spotted the rotary beater of my dreams at a charity shop and snaffled it up for me. She knew I had serious egg beater envy...Ha! Thanks S.

Propert Pty Ltd in Australia made the Swift Whip rotary egg beater from the 1930s to 1980s. My egg beater is most likely from the 1970s because it has small plastic gear wheels. The earlier versions of the same beater would have metal gears. 

Obviously they were built to last as I have friends whose elderly parents are still using their Swift Whip rotary beater. And they are guarding them fiercely from their children's clutches.

My 40 year old beater seem to be in very good nick. I'll be sure to whip something real good with them tomorrow. 

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Concentrating on the front garden

Over the past few weekends, we've been working on our front yard...nothing too drastic, just weeding and clearing out garden beds. It is a low-cost project as we hunker down for a Brisbane winter.

When we first moved into the Sow's Ear we planted quite a few agaves which have matured into great beauties. Now they are growing pups.

Agaves in the garden beds

Today, we transplanted some of the larger agaves into a side garden bed and and have started clearing some old sword ferns which have grown out of control. We'll spend the next few weekends getting everything up to scratch.

And in very sad news, one of our nicest flowering grevilleas is dying. Over the past month we noticed its leaves were browning off and now it is looking quite decrepit. We're going to give it a severe prune and hope that it may grow back. If it doesn't come good, it will have to be pulled out. Boo!

dying grevillea

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