Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Meeting Jenny and a Faux Fuchsia sighting

I've been making the most of my new-found freedom now Son#3 is at Kindergarten. Anyone want to meet up for a coffee? Just let me know!

Today I met the gorgeous Jenny who writes The Five Year Project and owns Jitta Jack Homewares. She and her hubby are renovating a Queenslander too. Jenny had some spare brass window fittings that they no longer needed and she kindly offered them to us for our renovation. What lovely people! We organised to meet in Paddington for morning tea.

I wasn't too sure how I would recognise Jenny...When I arrived at the restaurant, I had to explain to the waitress that I was meeting a friend but I didn't know what she looked like...like it was an online date or something (I suppose it was!). But I found her easily.

Anyway, the poor waitress had this massive chocolate smear on her face that no one had pointed out to her. She was so embarrassed but was grateful to be told. I took the smear as a sign that the food must be good; which it was.

Jenny and I were having a great old chat over coffee and cake. And then Jenny told me Faux Fuchsia had entered the building.

Faux Fuchsia is Brisbane's, if not Australia's, most popular blogger...but you never ever see her face on her blog. The Courier Mail calls her a "cult blogger". Jason had a Faux Fuchsia sighting in 2010 that you can read about HERE. It's very funny.

So, you'll hear two versions of today's FF sighting. One is the truth and the other is totally fabricated. Can you tell which one is which?

FF sighting version 1

'Are you sure? How do you know?" I whispered quietly.

An immaculately presented blonde in an ankle length blue and white chevron dress pushing a bugaboo pram was escorted to her seat by the formerly chocolate-smeared waitress.

"It must be her. Look at the hair. Look at the pram; it has a Missoni cover. Who else could it be?" Jenny responded in hushed tones. Clearly, Jenny knows her high-end Italian textiles.

"Oh, you're right. It is her. No way!" I gasped.

The social media junkie in me instantly reached for the iPhone and tweeted with shaking hands.

"OMG. Faux Fuchsia is at the same cafe as us. Should I say hello?"

Jenny texted her sister in Melbourne too!

The call out went as far as Victoria and Wagga Wagga about whether we should interrupt Faux as she was innocently minding her own business. And the resounding response was yes.

I would've chickened out because I'm painfully shy, but Jenny was completely brave. After we had paid the bill Jenny initiated conversation with Faux. I was completely flustered. I couldn't keep my eyes off Faux's hair.

She has amazing hair. I wanted to touch it but that would've been totally weird, right? And her baby is just beautiful. He was rocking the military look in some camo shorts. Extremely enchanting.

Faux was perfectly lovely, not minding the intrusion at all. And if she did mind, she disguised it very well.

Afterwards, I read all the tweeted questions from Faux's cult followers on twitter. "Was she eating carbs?" "How were her nails?"

I'd make a poor detective because I didn't notice any of those details at all. I was just star-struck, like I had just met the Stig without his helmet.

FF sighting version 2

Jenny and I smiled and nodded when Faux was seated at her table. Faux smiled back and exclaimed loudly.

"Oh, I know you! Brismod. Dahling! How are you? How's that handsome old Jason going with the renovations?"

She came up to our table and couldn't stop talking to us. 

"Love the Australian Modern publication you've been promoting on your blog. I've already bought my copy at the Paddington Antique Centre. Here it is. Could you please autograph it for me? Love your work! Retroliscious."

Speaking of which, tonight is the last night to enter my competition for your very own copy of Australian Modern. Leave a comment HERE to win!

p.s Thanks a million Jenny for an enjoyable and eventful morning. And Jason will be beside himself to get some new brass window fittings!! xx

p.p.s Lovely to meet you Faux!! And Jason will be beside himself to know that I met you! xx

Monday, 30 January 2012

Fun night at the Australian Modern launch

Australian Modern is well and truly launched.

What a fun night and many thanks to those who came along. Chris and Susan certainly know how to make their guests feel welcomed and are very generous in opening up their spectacular mid-century home to new people. Everyone also went home with a copy of Australian Modern which is now available HERE.

And I was so pleased to finally meet a few Brisbane blogger friends who came out of the woodwork to attend. It was like I already knew you guys...I'd like to send a shout-out to the handsome Ross and Mark from Pantone801 , EL from Home and made daily who is just lovely and the gorgeous Nat Duncan from Precinkt. It was great to have a good chat and finally put a face to the name.

I am such a bad blogger and took no photos of the evening!! So many people went to great effort with their retro op-shop clothes too. My flammable frock was like wearing an inbuilt sauna. I swear I shed a kilo from wearing that thing...which is why I will be wearing it all the time now.

Chris kindly sent to me a few snaps of the night, so have a squizz here...

Door girls. Check out the pineapple jugs on those girls! 

Susan and Chris - a makeshift tiki bar in the courtyard...
the weather was rainy and miserable on the weekend. boo!

Moi and the boys from Pantone801. Jason said Ross looked like Ralph Fiennes...

Chris and entourage  - KA and Mr Tikibeat (Australia's finest tiki carver)
And for those who couldn't make it to get their copy of Australian Modern, make sure you enter my competition to win one. It is open world wide, so just leave a comment HERE to go into the draw.. 

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Study before and after

Another room down. 

Jason found the study to be the most frustrating room to work on because it was poorly constructed in the first place. Nothing is square and it was rough as guts. 

It still is, but that's an old house for you. It would quickly lose its appeal if we tried to make it into the Taj Mahal. It's come a long way though from how it used to be.

The only thing left to do is to source a suitable light fitting for the ceiling. Anyway, here are the after shots. 

View of study from the sunroom.
The architraves around the windows were replaced and made to match the rest of the house.  The two chairs are Danish Quality Furniture (DQF) which were made in Brisbane.

New brass fittings (which caused so many tears last week) on the old casement windows 

quad was used around the walls as skirting  - to seal the gap from floor board to wall.
Jason built floor to ceiling book shelves last year in a dead space in the corner of the room.
We've centred the desk under the window when we decluttered the study.
We also moved all the electrical points lower to the ground, there used to be one power point at waist height near the door. 
It's nice to be able to open the two doors of the study to get a nice breeze on hot still days.

A fresh coat of paint in the study made a world of difference. We used Dulux wash and wear for the walls
and gloss white for the doors and windows. We scraped the cream paint off the old door knobs. Jason then polished the copper plate

 And here are the before shots:

This photo was taken just before we moved into the Sow's Ear in 2009.  It's very crude in its construction.
On our first inspection of the Sow's Ear there was a large wardrobe blocking one of the two doorways. It was used as a craft room but it was basically a junk room.

Bodgy wood work

We put the desk close to this wall because of the lack of power points in the room. We also had a set of  book shelves on the other side of the desk

We've put these shelves in Jason's hobby room under the house
It's a gorgeous room now - such a pleasure to blog in the new headquarters.

P.S The Australian Modern giveaway is still open. Make sure you leave a comment to win your very own copy. Open to all world wide. HERE

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Australian Modern Giveaway!!

 Guess what I have in my grubby little hands?

Two copies of the new Australian Modern which will hopefully end up in the hands of two lucky Fun and VJs readers.

article about Meadmore Furniture in Australian Modern

It's hot off the presses. There's 66 pages of Australian mid-century goodness. From articles about Googie architecture to Clement Meadmore's iconic corded furniture to Paris fashion arriving in post-war Australia; there's a bit of something for everyone, even those who aren't mid-century enthusiasts.

even the ads are cool

So how do you win?

Just leave a comment on this post. This competition is open world wide and you don't have to be a follower to enter. If you leave an anonymous comment, make sure to leave a contact email so I can contact you. Entries close Tuesday 31 January at midnight (AEST). I'll announce the winner on Wednesday 1 February.

Good Luck!!

And if you can't wait that long to get your own copy, just click onto the Australian Modern website HERE. It has the full list of launch dates around the country and local stockists.

p.s For those who are attending the Brisbane launch. I'll be there, wearing a paisley frock. Can't wait to meet you all.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Study photos - more progress

It's very nearly finished. These photographs were taken yesterday. Jason's still fiddling around with the window hardware tonight. He can't seem to leave them alone..

The doors haven't been painted yet, nor do we have a light fitting but apart from that it's close to being finito. I should be able to move back into blogging HQ tomorrow after I clean the floors.

Disregard the disarray you see in the photos. Things are a bit all over the place at the moment but I thought it would be good to show you the layout of the study.

The study taken from our sunroom

The study taken from our front entry

This shot is taken from the study. You can see it has two entry points which makes it a nice little home office.
 And in breaking news, Jason's favourite work shorts are tearing to shreds. He may soon have to go shirtless and short-less!

impersonating a castaway with his poor old shorts

Sunday, 22 January 2012

The many ways to insult a brass screw

Jason's dark and stormy. He's been working on the study all day and he's still at it. It was going quite well until late this afternoon. He'd finished the painting, cleaned himself up, had a break and poured himself a nice glass of Cabernet. Then he decided to put the brass fittings on the windows...

We are all (the boys and I) keeping very low. Son #3 was swiftly bathed, fed and put to bed. The two older boys are under strict instructions to be on their best behaviour. They know that there is some Jekyll and Hyde renovating occurring in the Sow's Ear.

And the reason? The tiny brass screws which come with the brass window pulls and casement stays are snapping in half.

brass screw cleanly snapped

The screws are no longer referred to as screws now. Jason has officially renamed them any profanity you could possibly imagine:

sh*t things,
f*%^ing useless things
pieces of crap
stupid b#^%ards

The screws are not a standard size and there are no spare screws which come with the window hardware. The shops are shut because it is Sunday evening. Mr Hyde, I mean Jason is making do with the little he has at the moment. He just wants to secure the windows before we go to sleep tonight.

I asked poor old Jason how everything was going and he used an analogy to describe his feelings: "You know the first day when wear a new pair of shoes. When you have to walk from one end of town to the other and  you start to develop large blisters on your feet. That's what it feels like. Every bloody step is just agonising."

That's when the latest screw snapped. As did Jason.

I inadvertently took some video footage while I was photographing the "motherf*%^er" (i.e the brass screw, NOT Jason). It's only four seconds of insults which are luckily, in this instance, G rated. 

The Study. It's looking great.
Anyway, you have been warned. Brass screws suck.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Shower curtains

Shower curtains in our unventilated bathroom have a low life expectancy at the Sow's Ear. That is a fact. I have a couple which I alternate between when they need to be washed. But eventually they start to show the black speckling on the bottom hem which is the sign of mould. And the blight keeps spreading.

That is the down side of  having our only shower over the bath tub. But I guess that's just life. Anyway, one set of shower curtains is beyond redemption, so I've been looking for a replacement pair -  just simple white shower curtains.

This is a lot harder than it sounds. Most have stripes, ducks, jacquard print...the best is the curtain inspired by the movie Psycho. Imagine doing your best Janet Leigh impersonation with bloody shower curtains. Gruesome.

image from here
The white waffle shower curtain which I ended buying seemed rather tame by comparison.

waffle weave shower curtain
Apparently this particular type is hotel grade. The blurb accompanying the product said it was their 'most opulent shower curtain...with a definite luxury feel'. I'm a bit of a sucker but you know...I have a feeling this will be the closest I will get to a hotel bathroom in a long time. It was inevitable that I would fall for the spiel.

I bought the shower curtains from here

It does feel luxurious. It also looks good too. I hope it stays as pristine as it is now.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Night painting

It's half past eight in the evening as I begin typing this blog post. We've had dinner, the dishwasher is loaded, the two youngest boys are snug in bed and I'm catching up on some writing work which needs to be finished, except that I'm writing this instead...

And Jason is painting the study. He arrived home from work at the usual time this evening, mixed up a Martini, drank it, ate his dinner and then put on his Fun and VJs uniform. Painting shorts. He's painting the study like a man possessed. What a classic. His propensity to work is almost freakish!

Who could be arsed painting at night when you don't have to? It's not like we're on a renovating TV show nor are we selling the Sow's Ear in the near future...

Looks like the study will be finished sooner rather than later. So, does anyone else out there paint in the evening?

Jason's painting the study ceiling and walls tonight.
The doors, windows and architraves will be the last thing he paints.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Retro wall plate - Ruscha?

I'm loving this new but old retro wall plate which was in a stash of vintage goodies provided by the very generous Jo at Desire to Inspire.

We hung it up in the kitchen. It works well with the floral art photographs which were taken by Sarah at Molly's Maison, which everyone admires when they come to visit.  I'm not sure of the plate's provenance but it looks like it may be West German pottery, as it just has numbers inscribed on the back. Perhaps it's Ruscha? I don't know. If there are any WG pottery experts who do, please let me know.

It's a happy burst of retro colour to add to our mix of collected things. Thanks Jo!

Retro wall plate

One side of our kitchen

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Brothel...oops! I mean Study progress

It was high domestic drama last night. I was reprimanded for my hoarding ways when we were clearing out the study in preparation for sanding and painting. Poor Jason can't stand that we have excess stuff and issued me a stiff warning: "There's no point renovating if you intend to keep it as a brothel!"

I told him to take a chill pill but that didn't go down well. In an effort at self-preservation, I told him I'd improve my bower bird ways...clearly, I was lying but it was enough to quell Jason's fiery temper.  This is one of the ground-hog day arguments we play over and over again. You know how it is...same argument, different day...

The window architraves are repaired and the undercoat to cover the old cream walls has been applied.
The windows will be repainted white.
Here's an alternative view of Jason for his fans.

Jason put an architrave around the door. It used to have nothing but now it is nicely framed .
It is only a small room at approximately 3m x 3m. As Blog HQ I'm hoping it will be finished soon.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Australian Modern - Brisbane Launch Party

Want a mid-century modern night out? Get in quick as tickets are strictly limited.

Australian Modern is the new publication about mid 20th century design. It will be available throughout Australia from select bookshops and vintage stores. You’re invited to come and celebrate the launch of Australian Modern.

Meet the Australian Modern design team and the Brisbane contributors. Get your very own copy of Australian Modern ‘hot off the press’ at the Brisbane launch party.

WHEN: 8pm Saturday 28 January 2012

WHERE: On the Lawn at 9 Burchell Street Carina 

TICKETS: $20 includes a copy of the book, cocktail on arrival, with finger food provided

 BYO: Please bring your own drinks 

 DRESS: Op-Shop Retro Modern

 RSVP: Bookings Essential. Contact Chris & Susan 07 3395 4571 

It's going to be fun. I'll be there wearing my very best patio dress...what are you going to wear?

P.S The Australian Modern website is nearly ready to go live with all the details about how to get your hands on a copy of Australian Modern. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Study windows and a hammer holster

Jason found a hammer holster in some of the bits and bobs which Mr Rooney, our southern-dwelling builder, left behind in our garage. 

Jason  imagines he's a tradie but I have to remind him that he's not...especially when he's carrying one of the children's hammers in the hammer holster...It's true!

hammer holster

So, fully armed with his holster attached to his middle, Jason began work on the study. The project involves
fixing up botched window architraves and a wonky bullnose and scotia. It was a bit of a pig's breakfast, really.

The new architraves are similar to the what is in the rest of the house. Jason also reinstated some VJs (vertical join boards) which were missing near the windows. We find that giving the windows some TLC goes a long way to improving the look of a room. And with a coat of paint or two, it will come up schmicko!

Stay tuned for another study update soon.

P.S thanks so much for all the lovely well-wishes for my birthday.xx

removal of bullnose and scotia. It will be recycled again in the study.

All the old window architraves have been removed

Monday, 9 January 2012

Birthdays, mention and study renovation

Birthdays are fun when you reach an age where wearing deep red nail polish doesn't look too out of place. Unless of course you're at home doing breakfast dishes...but I won't let that deter me. Thanks N, L & G!

The bounty of lovely birthday gifts
Jason also bought me some rather impractical underwear. He is very much of the mindset that gifts should be of the sort that keep on giving (in this case, to the hopeful 'gifter'). Classic. (It's in the background in the above photo!)

Birthday bubbles
Also, I'd like to thank the lovely and friendly Julie-Ann from the Decorating Forum for the shout out  today. She's made special mention of our deck renovation on the forum which you should all check out HERE (if you want). This is a great site for useful home design advice and worth a visit if you are renovating or decorating.

And perhaps the loveliest gift of all is the start made on the study renovation. If you follow Fun and VJs on Facebook, you would've seen snippets of the progress we made on the weekend and the crying over spilt beer fiasco. Work is well and truly under way for a revamped study. Hooray!!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Deck reveal

The very last project for 2011 was to complete all the work which we started on the deck. I'm happy to say that it is now finished and it has come a long way from where it began.

The deck was pre-existing when we purchased the Sow's Ear in 2009. It would've been added by previous owners in the early 90s (it also appears that the deck was extended after it was originally built). Anyway, it is a great space. Our main issue with it was that it was unusable during warm summer days. The tin roof made it too hot to sit out there comfortably.

Our deck is a major part of the house, taking up approximately a quarter of the size of our entire home. Yep. It's huge. The orientation of the deck with the lack of shade trees combined with sun and tin roof equalled HOT AS HADES!

So a retrofit of an insulated ceiling was the solution. Fortunately, we had enough height to do this. We only lost about seven centimetres by adding insulation and a ceiling.

Below are some before shots of the deck. 
This is the deck in mid 2010.  Our outdoor setting was on its last legs and we had three deck chairs remaining. You can also just notice the variation of the different boards used from the middle posts - from old deck to new deck. 

When we renovated the kitchen, we replaced the old casement windows with bi-fold windows and had a servery built. It makes a nice little bar area when we have people over.

This is the deck when the house was on the market in 2009 and is an image from the real estate listing.
And here are the after shots:

There used to be lattice above the balustrade in this section.

The bright white colour scheme works well with our mid-century style of furniture

It's a fantastic entertaining deck, with different zones for seating.

So what did we (um...I mean Jason) do?

Removed extraneous lattice and laserlite roofing
The lattice closed in the deck substantially on two sides. It may have been put in as privacy screening, but over the years the shrubs and trees around our fence line have matured enough to afford us privacy. It is much more open and our views are now unimpeded. We also replaced sections of old brittle laserlite roofing with tin roofing.

The 'heritage' colours of cream, dark green and maroon were well past their use-by-date. We used Dulux exterior acrylic gloss - Vivid white (which is the untinted white straight off the shelf - a bright white that is probably not to everyone's taste but works for us) for the weatherboards and deck railings; Peppercorn Rent (it's a chocolate brown with a green undertone) is the contrasting trim on the top handrails, window sills and guttering. The ceiling is also painted a gloss white, which surprisingly evened out the imperfections and warps that naturally occur when retrofitting anything.

Oiled the decking boards
We oil the floor boards at least once a year with Cabots Decking in a Merbau tint. The tinted stain evens out the variation in colour of the two types of decking boards. It is quite a rich colour, which hides the sins of the past. It is hard to pick the difference now and the boards look more seamless.

Insulated the ceiling
Standard ceiling insulation was used on our deck to make it more comfortable on hot days. Fibro cement sheets were used as to make a panelled ceiling. The panelled ceiling on the deck mirrors the ceiling inside the house which we thought was a nice touch ('same mother, same father' as our literary builder, Mr Rooney, would say) - it makes the deck feel more like a natural extension of the house.

interior panelled ceiling
Insulating the ceiling was a massive job. You can read about how massive it was here here, here and here, if you're super keen...This is real life weekend renovating which happens over a matter of months rather than days!

The difference the insulation and new ceiling has made is amazing. We can now sit out on the deck, have lunch and not fry. Heavenly. Comfort and function can never be underestimated.

Added new light fittings
There were old fluoro lights on the deck but we swapped them out for more discreet bunker lights which provide low ambient lighting which is perfect for entertaining in the evening.

Decorated with new and vintage furniture
We splurged on a new outdoor setting which can seat a crowd of adults and kids. Over the years I've collected and thrifted a number of vintage mid-century pieces such as Casalino chairs, T H Brown bar stools, butterfly chairs, Stoppino nesting tables. A friend of mine also sewed some retro curtain fabric I had into some colourful outdoor cushions. They add a splash of colour while cushioning our backsides!

So there you have it.  A new improved deck which we can use all year round; and another project is crossed off the renovation list. Yay!!

p.s Special mention must go to Mr Rooney, our very helpful builder, who assisted Jason on the weekends to make our 'new' deck possible. Thanks!!

Friday, 6 January 2012

Change of plans...already

So much for the big pronouncements for 2012...

Jason's putting on hold some of the 2012 renovation plans after he looked at our rather unhealthy bank balance just after I published that last blog post. Ha! Christmas and New Year are an expensive time of year, doubly so if all your life and income protection insurance is due on Boxing Day. Yikes!

It seems our reno desires are bigger than our budget at the moment. The decorative valances for our deck and recladding the bottom half of the Sow's Ear are postponed for now, so there will be no getting jiggy with the circular saw this month. It may be an Easter project.

Unfortunately, the priority will be on finishing the exterior painting while we save up some dollars. We have a lot of paint. And painting is a relatively inexpensive task when DIYing. The second carport needs to be finished too, as it is still in heritage colours.

Jason is planning to renovate the study at the same time - it is a small room and hopefully it will break up the monotony of just painting. There are window frames which need fixing and some VJ (vertical join) board  to reinstate on the walls; that may be the variety needed to spice things up around here. It will also be within our meagre budget.

Study windows with old tear-drop window hardware.

Study windows. The bullnose and scotia and window frames require some work!
Original casement stays
The funny thing is he went to buy brass window fittings on his way to work this morning. That's keen! He loves his polished brass and has bought enough for the seven windows which are in the study. I've said it before but Jason's all about bling and bedazzle.

I'd be inclined to keep the original hardware myself but this is a battle I know I will lose. Truthfully, the originals don't function well and the stays don't 'stay' either. And they don't bling.

To appease my guilt for replacing 80 year old fittings, Jason tosses it in a box in the garage so it remains with the Sow's Ear, but really he would have no qualms throwing it in the wheelie bin when I'm not looking!

Image from HERE

brass casement window stay

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