Sunday, 28 February 2010

Marimekko Giveaway

I'm giving back!


I have a super-cute Marimekko cushion to give to one of my lovely readers. It is made from Mini-Unikko fabric designed by Maija Isola and Kristina Isola  - which is a charming take on the iconic 1964 Marimekko Unikko design.

My uber-talented friend Melissa (the silent daughter) from Seamstress and The Daughters made this beauty from fabric I had left over from a previous project. So, it is like eco-friendly too!

It is gorgeous and I know you want it.

This is what you have to do to be in the running:

1. You must leave a comment on this post between Sunday 28 February 2010 ending Sunday 7 March 2010 at 9 pm (AEST or Brisbane time).

2. If you are super-duper keen and want to advertise my giveaway on your own blog, you get a second entry (you need to tell me though, because my sixth sense is a bit dodgy).

3. The competition is also open to everyone and I'm happy to post overseas.

4. I will announce the winner on Monday 8 March 2010.

Your odds of winning this are extremely high and it would be madness not to enter (sorry for the hyperbole).

So, a big thank-you goes to Melissa for helping me with Fun and VJs first ever giveaway.

If you are a Brisbane dweller, Seamstress and the Daughters will be at the BrisStyle Indie Designers Markets on Saturday 6 March 2010 at St Augustine's Church, Racecourse Road, Hamilton. Well worth the effort of going if you like unique hand-crafted items.

Seamstress and the Daughters have really cool stuff such as, my favourite, the iGranny.

If I had an iPhone and was still working in PR (yep, my previous life), I would buy this. If you can't wait until Saturday, go here.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Kitchen Collage and Kitchenism

The Picasa collage thing is very enjoyable, so I did a quick collage of our still newish kitchen.

I didn't realise how opinionated people were about decor until I started reading design/home blogs. And when it comes to kitchens there seems to be some very passionate views being aired about the best type of benchtops, cabinet materials, appliances, colours etc. etc...

A new scourge in our troubled world - Kitchenism!

In Blogland there appears to be an anti-granite fraternity, a white kitchen insurgency group, anti-visible microwave lobby, "say No" to the island bench movement and countless other kitchen factions. It's enough to give a good-natured suburban renovator a complex!

I don't see why it would matter if you are not the person using the kitchen? Shouldn't we show more tolerance?

From my perspective a kitchen is only as good as the food that is produced in it. The best food I have eaten has usually come from a non-designer kitchen - my Mum's.

Good food produced in a gorgeous kitchen is just a pleasing aesthetic bonus. However, there is much disappointment if "friends" with a fab looking kitchen just re-heat party sausage rolls for a sit-down dinner party (we don't eat there anymore because we are Foodists - yet another scourge).

Anyway, I hope my kitchen doesn't annoy your kitchen decor sensibilities.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Contrary Arabia Finland plate

By far the grooviest thing I have in my collection of serving platters is a heavy stoneware Arabia plate.

Mum lent it to me when I was hosting a party because I was in dire need of serving platters. She said I could keep it.

Arabia Finland Fructus plate

Arabia is made in Finland. This 1960s hand glazed design is called Fructus by Gunvor Olin Gronquist. It is of an exceptional quality and for a nearly 50 year-old plate, it looks brand new.

The underside of the Arabia Finland plate

I don't really know that much about Arabia, but I have always adored the cute little jam pots that you see floating around on the internet. They are considered highly collectable.

I guess this plate is not to everyone's taste because it is brown and the fashion now dictates for plain white serving dishes. And true, food does look better on a crisp white plate (I'm partial to Villeroy & Boch).
But I like to run against the tide sometimes and whip this plate out just to be contrary. In doing so, it has become my most favourite. Finnish brown stoneware in a sea of white china certainly creates a point of difference.
I even like to shake things up a bit further and make delightfully retro food. My "devils on horseback" are a winner and you'd be surprised how quickly they disappear at a party!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010


Is it just me or are geckoes taking over the world?

I've lived in Brisbane all my life and I can't ever recall seeing geckoes gallivanting so blatantly when I was younger.

One of two geckoes playing in our front entry last night

They seem like they are colonising the house. Actually, when Jason removed the old outdoor lantern on Sunday, he disturbed a nest of gecko eggs inside the cavity. I would've taken a photo, but I was too busy dry retching at the sight.

Reptiles are not my cup of tea I'm afraid. Let me rephrase. I'm afraid of reptiles.

My nightly view while I'm tapping away on the laptop is of geckoes suctioned onto the outside window playing cat and mouse with the bugs. It is a very mesmerizing David Attenborough experience as I observe these little lizards gobble up their meal. And they don't even know that I'm watching.

I know they are a good to have around to eat up all the bugs and spiders but...they really love what we have done to the place and seem to be moving in!

Our gecko problem is exacerbated by the fact we have no fly screens on our windows and because we don't have air conditioning we need to have the windows opened during summer.

Another project: how to flyscreen a Queenslander house...

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Outdoor lantern installed

Jason installed our freebie outdoor lantern this morning (thanks again to Maisie and more).

After checking that his life insurance was up-to-date, the green light was given to Jason for his first ever electrical job. Insisting that footwear be worn was another essential element to the job. I also double-checked that he did indeed turn the mains power off.

Despite Jason's generally poor adherence to occupational health and safety standards, I am happy to say I was not made a wealthy widow today.

The brand new shiny lantern looks good. Sadly, it also highlights that a serious external paint job (or, at the very least, a house wash) is required...

Brand new shiny light

Out with the old and in with the new

Friday, 19 February 2010

Agapanthus Philanthropy

large agapanthus plants

Many thanks to Katherine from theoldboathouse who organised my agapanthus. She has a friend who is a keen gardener who was happy to share her plants. I'm extremely grateful for their kindness. Who knew people could be so nice?

I planted them all yesterday and have my fingers crossed they will grow and flower spectacularly.

Agapanthus are very easy to grow. They prefer full sun and are reasonably drought tolerant which is perfect for Brisbane's climate. They stay a glossy evergreen and flower beautifully over the summer months. I think these agapanthus are blue but I'm not sure. I guess I will have to wait until they next flower.

They also tend to multiply and clump together. To ensure they flower you have to give them plenty of room and de-clump regularly. And when you plant agapanthus you need to cut the leaves back slightly to ensure that the roots take.

They will look fab next to the agaves as they mature together.

agapanthus and agave attenuata in a row

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Rice paper lantern

On the weekend, enough was enough. We bade farewell to the old green comical conical plastic light shade in the front entry.

And then the bare compact fluoro light bulb swayed ever so slowly to greet us as we entered the front door. It really needed a shade.

Rice paper lantern in the front entry

For the total sum of $10.30, I bought two Chinese Rice Paper Lanterns. One for the entry and a smaller sized one for Number One Son's bedroom.

It's a little 1960's Suzie Wong whimsical, but it works and is a great improvement from the previous shade (from my perspective, at least).

L to R: old shade, new shade

Now, it's just a matter of saving some dollars for the real deal.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Photo collage

I've been really slow on the up-take of the photo collage for this blog.

Here is a collection of photos of the freshly painted lounge room - this is just a practice run to see if I will be a collage blogger or not.

Don't worry, I'll use my new-found collage skills sparingly.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Agapanthus and lamp update

I've scored an agapanthus supplier for my garden through this blog. Woo hoo!

A few agapanthus that I had in other parts of the yard which I transplanted to the front garden

First it was the agave fairy, who was so generous, then a sleepy head brother ,who still doesn't know there are plants missing from his yard, and now, an agapanthus philanthropist, who doesn't even know me, has come to the party. How good is that?

And a big thanks to everyone for the feedback about the lamp. After careful consideration of your valuable comments, I am going to find a new taller base for the organic textured retro shade and with the existing base, I will get a shorter light-coloured drum shade. I am also toying with the idea of painting the timber base white...

lamp on the retro telephone table
One lamp will morph into two - mood lighting central. Thanks again everyone!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Oh ugly lamp, can you be transformed?

I know there is good in you. Surely?

Organic texture - looks like twigs and tree matter was used in this lamp shade's construction.

Provenance: acquired via my parents via a Brisbane flea market circa 1980. Perhaps it a late 60s early 70s lamp?

To my knowledge, it has never been used in the time it has lived at my parent's. It has been sitting in a back room with a plastic bag over its head. Chronic hoarder disorder there.

The lamp still works by the way.

My Mum was elated when I showed it some attention and was more so when I brought it home with me this afternoon. We need a lamp - mood lighting is non-existant and candles aren't an option with the little destructo (son number three) who resides here.

What to do? What to do?

Ditch the shade?
Buy a new shade?
Paint the base?
Refinish the base?
Recover the shade?
Paint the shade?
Leave it in all its retro glory?
Ditch the whole thing and get myself a new lamp?

I'd be interested to know what you think.

Monday, 8 February 2010


The blog giveaway phenomenon baffled me at first - comment on a blog post and win a prize. Then I read about the bountiful year that 2009 was for Mise at Pretty Far West. Four prizes in one year! A lucrative business this blogging.

I've entered some giveaways since I began blogging regularly last August, with very little success. There was much disappointment when I didn't win a Little Bert chair from a mod blog I follow or the Florence Broadhurst book Jane offered on My Pear Tree House (I believe Mise won, choosing the other book on offer). But that was in 2009.

The year 2010, however, has been a prosperous one and it is only just the beginning. I am the winner of two giveaways - the first of which arrived on my doorstep on Friday afternoon.

Lantern giveaway which arrived last week

The very lovely Edwina from Masie and More had a free light from Buyster Lighting to give away to one of her readers. It is now in my possession.

I am thrilled to bits because I love free stuff, as my regular readers know well. The lantern is perfectly in keeping with the Queenslander house style too. Thank you very much Edwina!

We already have an outside lantern. Unfortunately, it is worn and cracked. It still works, so it wasn't high on the priority list for replacement. With our newly acquired light, lantern replacement has jumped up onto the list.

Lucrative business this blogging.

Old worn lantern and rusty ship's bell

See one of the cracks in the glass

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Spiky statement - dracaenas and agaves

The stolen goods were planted today. They are planted in a row along the front garden bed and are looking very groovy albeit a little knocked around - those agave leaves bend and snap easily.

We are going to plant agapanthus between each agave, but I haven't sourced my supplier just yet. I'm also  planting dracaenas on each corner of the garden bed to make a spiky statement.

I was a bit over-enthusiastic with my daylight raid at my brother's and have more plants than I really need.

Anyway, this is what I did with one of my dracaena cuttings:

dracaena marginata are commonly used as indoor and outdoor houseplants

Since buying the Sow's Ear, visits to the florist (who am I kidding? I buy flowers for myself at Woolies) are a luxury, and what flowers I do use in the house are what I can scrounge from my (or my brother's) garden.

Usually it's foliage, because leaves tend to last longer than flowers.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

While he was sleeping

I hit the motherload of free plants. I'm talking the motherload.

Mum and I paid a visit to my brother's place while he was still asleep. There were so many agaves growing wildly. I was only limited by the space in my car and the fact I was ill-prepared for plant pinching. Next time, and yes, there will be a next time, I will bring my loppers to cut through the thick stalks of the monster agaves.

The best bit of all is that he won't even notice that they are gone and he still got a sleep in. Thankfully, I had our mother's tacit approval. She gets first dibs though.

And if you are wondering what the pictures are above, they are definitely not of my bother's place. His place is the complete antithesis of the above images.

I drive past this place often (it is owned by a local architect who also runs his business from the premises) and covet their lawn and landscaping design. It is so simple but highly effective - large agaves borders, agapanthus, cupheas, gardenias and healthy lush hedge. Does anyone know what the hedging plants are in the third image? 

I would love to have a garden similar for our place. One day, maybe.

Ill gotten gains - agaves, frangipani and dracaena cuttings
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