Saturday, 30 June 2012


Last night I attended the first of the MAD events which were organised by my friends Chris and Susan. It was similar to a Pecha Kucha night where designers, architects and enthusiasts presented 20 slides, with each slide taking 20 seconds to present.

Given that this was held in a 1960s house in the middle of suburbia, the calibre of presenters (and guests) was quite exceptional. Amongst the presenters was a who's who of Brisbane design -  Stuart Vokes from award winning architectural firm Owen & Vokes; Brian Steendyk, architect and designer of the famous Cero chair; Bud Brannigan, award winning architect who is designing the space at the Murwillumbah Art Gallery which will recreate the late Margaret Olley's chaotic Sydney art studio

Just fascinating stuff for a wannabe design vulture like me!

There were other presentations covering topics as varied as the demise of the Gold Coast motel, jewellery design, Japanese culture, the history of Australian travel posters, the preservation of the Russell Jack House by Analissa Capurro and an hilarious chronicle of Braniff Airways fashion.

All of my images from the evening were taken with instagram which is not working at the moment. Boo! I'll add them in later. 

 EDIT. Here are some of the photos from the MAD night.

There's nothing like a hostess of a party wearing an official hostess dress. Cuppa anyone?

This is Susan who presented the Braniff Airways fashion slides. She's dressed in vintage Pucci.
It was a lot of fun. I mistakenly thought it was a themed dress night  (that's actually tonight!) and wore a luminous 1960s orange pant suit. Yikes! Most everyone else was dressed in sombre Melbourne black. Rookie mistake!! I had to say that I dress like that all the time...

Orange pant suit. It was bright and the mirror was smudged.
I don't have a full size mirror, so you are spared the full retro impact!

Anyway, tomorrow is the interiors house tour. A few other bloggers and some Fun and VJs readers will be joining me on that tour. It will be a fantastic morning out. 

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Cubby house mayhem

The kids are on school holidays, so we are up to no good here, there and everywhere.

On Sunday I was called away for most of the day and Jason was in charge of the boys. They were cleaning out the sandpit near the cubby house when I left mid-morning. It made my heart glad.

When I returned home late afternoon, my glad heart turned into a sad heart after I heard what the boys had been up to throughout the day.

It seems Jason thinks the boys have graduated into Master Painters and didn't think it was a problem to get the paint brushes out and let the boys paint the cubby themselves...while he was in the shower...without drop their school sport shoes...which were caked in paint when they tramped up the steps, leaving little white paint marks all over the back deck...Arghhh!

I repeat...Arghhh!

The poor old cubby house.
What was Jason thinking???

Anyway, looks like the cubby house has moved up on the renovating agenda. Lucky it's school holidays. We're waiting for a few good weather days to tackle it properly, under parental supervision.

It should be a fun project.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Visiting Thea & Sami's studio and lemon syrup cake

What a crazy busy week we've had. Hence the lack of blog posts from around here.

It was nice however to end the week with a visit to Thea & Sami which is one of Brisbane's best screen-printing design studios. Thea invited me, and a few other Brissy bloggers, to an ultra-casual morning tea in her shop/studio.

Thea's fabrics.
In the background you can see vintage chairs with her fabrics used as upholstery

I bought a few tea-towels. They are very cool.

Thea designs and hand screen-prints natural fabrics and creates linen homewares - they really are first class products. I've always admired Thea's work from when she used to create hand screen-printed clothing. She is renowned for her award winning Brisbane printed skirts that was favoured by a former Premier of Queensland (and it wasn't Peter Beattie!).
Image courtesy of Thea & Sami blog.
The skirt is no longer available but Thea still sells the  screen-print as a panel

Thea's screen-print of Brisbane is available HERE.
It is fabulous and touches my Brissy heart.

It was also great to catch up with Katherine from theoldboathouse, A-M from The House A-M Built, Annie from Red roses and crystal and of course Thea. We stuffed ourselves full of cake and sweets. A-M brought delicious carrot cake, Annie treated us to some home-made jam drops and I brought along a fantastically easy-to-bake lemon syrup cake.

Jam-drops and lemon syrup cake

I promised everyone to include the recipe here. It is a Nigella Lawson recipe from her How to be a Domestic Goddess (I think Jason bought it for me...ever hopeful he is...).

Lemon-Syrup Loaf Cake
125g unsalted butter
175g caster sugar
2 large eggs
zest of 1 lemon
175g self raising flour
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons milk (I used Greek yoghurt because that's just how I roll)
23x13x7cm loaf tin buttered and lined

For the syrup:
juice of 1 and a half lemons
100g icing sugar


Pre-heat your oven to 180 C/ gas mark 4.
Butter and line your loaf tin well.
Cream together butter and sugar and add eggs and lemon zest, beating them in well.
Gently fold in the flour and the salt, mixing thoroughly and then add the milk (or yoghurt).
Spoon the batter into your prepared tin and bake for 45 mins or until cake tester comes out clean.

For the syrup:
Put the lemon juice and icing sugar into a small saucepan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves.

As soon as cake is out of oven, puncture all over with skewer and pour over the syrup. Leave cake to cool completely before removing from the tin.

Make it, because it is simply good.

Also, Thea's shop/studio, if you're interested, is located in Unit 1/ 6 Jones Road Capalaba. It's open every Friday from 10am to 4pm or by appointment. It's good to support local designers, so they are able to keep on creating. Thanks Thea!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Windows done

Well, kind of...

Jason spent some of the weekend painting the exterior of the windows. All he has to do now is peel the tape off from the interior and install the brass window fittings. 

Jason gave a coat of paint to another section of the new weatherboards but I didn't get a chance to take a photo before it became dark.

And on the weekend I scored a new art glass piece and a West German pottery vase from a school fete.  Someone must've cleared out Granny's china cabinet because there was some cool stuff that the family didn't want. Yay!

yellow art glass

Steuler pottery vase

Friday, 15 June 2012

New clutch on the Kitchenaid blender

We touch upon all the important issues on Fun and VJs.

There may be doom and gloom out there in the big, bad world... but that is nothing compared to when your trusty blender fails to blend, midway through making pumpkin soup.

We've got the older style Kitchenaid blender with the glass jug. The clutch is the little crown on the top.

The rubber clutch which makes the blades spin in the blender jug had deteriorated. All the prongs had fallen off which meant no more blade spinning. I hate it when appliances break, usually you have to throw it away and buy a new one or there are expensive repairs. Most things these days aren't built to last!!

Our Kitchenaid blender is about six years old, so I called the helpline to find out what we needed to do to repair it. It turns out the rubber clutch is replaceable and they gave me the telephone numbers of the stores which stocked the part. You can even replace the part yourself (instructions here). What a relief!

Clutch on the Kitchenaid blender
Apparently the clutch deteriorates over time when you blend very hot liquids or if you pull the jug off the base before it stops blending. Guilty!

I went to Executive Chef in South Brisbane which is one of the places that stocks the part. For the magic sum of $9.95 the nice people at Executive Chef will sell you the clutch and if you bring the blender base with you, they will even replace the clutch for you. Very cool.

That is the most inexpensive repair ever (much cheaper than the Peugeot!). I had to share this with you, as I'm easily impressed by the small things.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Mid-century weekend jaunt

My friend Chris, publisher of Australian Modern, is staging a Modernist Architecture and Design (MAD) weekend from 29 June to 1 July in Brisbane. I for one can't wait!

There will be three separate events which make up the MAD weekend.

Photo shoot for Australian Modern last year at Chris and Susan's home
The first two sessions are design and architecture talks (well-known Brisbane architects, designers and collectors), documentary films about modernism, a twilight cocktail party and dinner on Friday 29 and Saturday 30 June. These events are always a lot of fun and are hosted at Chris and Susan's fabulous mid-century home.

On Sunday 1 July from 10am the much anticipated modern house interiors tour is on! You'll get to visit some fine examples of mid-century Brisbane homes.

I'm a definite for the house tour (loved the last tour) and our babysitter will decide whether Jason and I attend either the Friday night or Saturday session.

There is a cost for each of the events. Bookings are essential to assist catering. Spaces are also strictly limited.

If you want to find out more details or would like to book a spot, contact Chris+Susan (07) 3395 4571 or email

Monday, 11 June 2012

And the winner is...

Jason flew back into Brisvegas this afternoon from New Zealand, especially to pick the winner for the Soup and Elastoplast competition. We take our competitions seriously around here...

Congratulations The Click-Clack Lounge! Please email me so we can arrange delivery of your Elastoplast Heavy Fabric Waterproof packs and $150 Bunnings gift voucher. Thanks to everyone who entered and gave such fabulous tips. Also thanks to Soup and Elastoplast!

Jason had a little sanity saving break this long weekend in NZ for much earned R&R. He bought me this lovely warm wool and silk scarf. It rained all weekend in Brisbane so he didn't miss any renovating days!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Where's a plaster when you need it?

Sponsored by Soup*

I don't think I've been more grateful to be doing an Elastoplast promotion after the major stack that #2 Son had on his scooter yesterday afternoon.

We were visiting friends down the street. The boys took their scooters and went on ahead, while a friend and I were following. It's a steep street and Son #2 lost control of his speeding scooter and came off it, hitting the kerb spectacularly.

Thankfully he was wearing a helmet. He's grazed all of his nose, his hands and knuckles and both his knees. The poor thing is our worst patient at the best of times, so the animalistic bellows emanating from him were 10 decibels louder than normal.

When we came home, I tore into the individual plaster samples which I was meant to pass onto friends and used them on #2 Son. (Sorry Soup!) The no-name placebo plasters that I usually use weren't going to cut it this time. The Elastoplast Heavy Fabric Waterproof plasters have done the trick. The ones on his knees are still intact, although the one near his thumb is just starting to peel off in one corner. But it will be time to change them soon anyway.

grazed knee with Elastoplast plaster strip

The plaster which is just starting to peel off

This blog post was actually meant to remind you that the competition for the $150 gift voucher ends tonight but now we've had a legit reason to use the plasters, I can tell you that they do the job.

If you haven't already entered the comp, just follow the link here for your chance to win. Jason will be choosing the winner.

*Soup have kindly organised $150 worth of Elastoplast products to be donated to a local non-profit community group of my choice (our local Scouts group). Thanks Soup and Elastoplast!

Friday, 8 June 2012


You can see I was stumped for a blog title!

The final hopscotch window was installed last the rain of course. I don't think Jason even sees the rain any more and I've never ever seen him consult the Bureau of Meteorology for a weather forecast when planning outdoor work!

Despite the weather, he managed to install the window. A clean and a coat of exterior gloss white will get the windows looking lovely again.

Anyway, I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

The windows are salvaged from an old Queenslander. We changed them so that all the windows were in keeping with the house. It gives a more seamless appearance to the exterior of the house. 

This is Jason planing the windows in drizzly weather, so that they would fit comfortably

This is the bedroom side of the Sow's Ear. The colourful side with green, amber and clear panes of glass. Maybe we're not quite matchy-matchy after all! The sticky-out section was an addition to a bedroom in the 1950s - it is part of our master bedroom

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Op shops and getting into some studio pottery

I've got the op shop bug at the moment. I blame my friend S who does a weekly run to a few not-so-standard op shopping areas. I can't remember where she took me...even though I was driving!

But Logan Central has a couple of good shops which proved excellent for cheaply priced retro bric a brac. I'm finding myself drawn to studio pottery lately...mainly because it's inexpensive and no one else seems to want it! Yeah...yeah...there's probably a reason for that!

Pottery vignette
L to R: Bay Keramik pottery vase, cup from Monte Lupo, studio pottery bowl make unknown
I picked up a studio pottery bowl which I can't identify from the back stamp but it had a fantastic shape and interesting glaze which appealed to me. It was only $3.

Vintage Sydney souvenir scarf. Made in Japan
I also found an amazing graphical souvenir scarf which I couldn't leave behind. I'm passing it on to a friend.

Carina Lifeline is also another goodie but the prices are slightly more expensive. I found a West German Bay Keramik pottery vase to add to my growing collection. It has a contemporary look to it...not sure how old it is though.

Don't fret that I'm becoming a hoarder though. Jason will never allow it. What comes in gets swapped out. I've done a mini-clean up of all the old baby gear which was stored under our house and donated it. And our kitchen cabinets have also been picked over and re-released into the big wide world.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Barefoot renovating and a $150 voucher giveaway

Sponsored by Soup*
Dodgy brothers barefoot renovating is our specialty at the Sow's Ear. Where footwear is optional and safety gloves are an afterthought when it comes to DIY.

As you can imagine, we've had a few renovating boo boos. It's mainly Jason who gets injured but I've trodden on a few rogue nails when I do barefoot laundry duties...

One of many Jason DIY wounds

When we were contacted by Soup to test the new Elastoplast Heavy Fabric Waterproof strips, we thought why not? We really suck at wound management...the first-aid kit is stocked with cheap-arse no-name plaster strips...because we mostly use them as a placebo effect...our kids pop a plaster on even when they don't break skin and are instantly healed.

Anyway, testing Elastoplast has been enlightening from my perspective. I never realised that using plasters for moist wound healing is better than letting a small wound air-dry. It prevents scabs and scarring. Who knew this stuff? By rights, Jason's poor head shouldn't be so scarred!

I asked Jason if he had any fresh wounds that required managing. He pretty much told me to F off...especially as I had a knife in my hand. No wounds to be managed this week.

So, I wrapped an Elastoplast plaster over a minuscule scratch I had on my finger and put it under the tap to test its "waterproofness". No kidding, the water literally bounced off the plaster fabric. It's made of Hi-DryTex material which makes it breathable and super-waterproof.

It beats the no-name generic plaster strips which become sodden and peel off at the sight of water.

Hm's probably not an idea to skimp on your medical supplies after conducting this test... Not all plaster strips are equal.

And with that, Soup and Elastoplast want to share the love. You can win two packs of Elastoplast Heavy Fabric Waterproof strips to try out and stock in your first-aid kit, as well as $150 Bunnings voucher to splurge on your DIY projects. Hooray!

Simply leave a comment on this post telling me your best first-aid tip...

Entries close Sunday 10 June 2012. No international! Jason will pick a winner which will be announced next Monday. If you leave an anonymous entry, please include a name and email address so I can contact you. Good luck everyone!

*Soup have kindly organised $150 worth of Elastoplast products to be donated to a local non-profit community group of my choice (I'm thinking our local Scouts group). Thanks Soup and Elastoplast!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

If you squint really hard

Image from here

then you could mistake our new addition to the Sow's Ear as a Featherston Relaxation chair...

Webbed mid-century Australian chair

I did say squint hard!

They are still a great mid-century Australian chair though. We bought them from my new mate Jo from Murwillimbah (remember Jo from here ?) who contacted us to see if we would be interested in buying these chairs. Obviously, the chairs ticked all the boxes for us.

The original webbing is unusual as it has cord interwoven between the thick leather strapping. The lines of the chair are reminiscent of Jens Risom, Douglas Snelling and Grant Featherston. We think the chairs may be from the late 40s or even 50s but we're not sure.

Jo said there was an interesting story behind the chairs...she wasn't too sure whether it was entirely true or not. Who knows? But we love a good story, no matter whether it is fact or fiction.

Anyway, she bought the chairs from an old man who used to provide the leather for Grant Featherston's chairs. He told her that Featherston sketched the design for these chairs, which were then made accordingly. Funny story, isn't it? It makes the provenance of the chairs a little more intriguing...even if it proves to be bogus.

Regardless of the provenance, the chairs are very cool example of a well-made chair that has survived at least 50 years of use. Jo has another chair in black leather which she is keeping for herself.

The new chairs are on the enclosed front verandah for now. We have so many chairs we can play with !
Webbed chairs aren't to everyone's taste, but we are really pleased with them.

Friday, 1 June 2012

All about the free lunch

You heard. It's all about the free lunch. And I have two vouchers to give away, courtesy of Grill'd Wintergarden.

Ever since I sent Jason to the Grill'd launch event as my proxy, he's been a regular (like weekly) at this burger joint. His favourite is the bacon and cheese beef burger. We've been assured that it's healthy! I kind of feel ripped off since I still haven't tried them myself, but I take Jason's word for it that it's pretty good.

Anyway, we were sent two complimentary Grill'd Wintergarden burger vouchers to give away, so if you are in Brisbane and have a hankering for a freebie lunch, just leave a comment on this post.

The winner will be selected randomly...eeny meeny miney mo style. If you're an anonymous reader, remember to leave your first name and contact email. Closes midnight on Sunday 3 June 2012, with the winner announced on Monday.

Orrefors Fuga bowl by Sven Palmqvist found in an opshop in Logan. Of all places!! 

Vintage teak carving found in Vinnies in Logan

An amazing Japanese made bedspread found in Logan!

Oh and I had no images for this post and just included some rather good opshop finds of late!

EDIT 4 June 2012 : Congratulations to Melissa who won the burger vouchers from Grill'd Wintergarden. I will contact you to send out your prize. Thanks to everyone who entered!!
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