Monday, 30 July 2012

Visiting Queenslanders in the street

This morning I had morning tea with a lady who has lived in our street for 27 years. V contacted me when she stumbled upon this little old blog a few weeks ago. She was researching butterfly chairs and covers when she came across my blog posts and then realised the Sow's Ear shared her street address.

V and I have a lot in common apart from living in the same street. She and her husband have been renovating their home for over 20 years. They own one of the oldest homes on the street. It's an original 1910 two bedroom Queeenslander cottage which they have tastefully renovated while raising three children. It's such a lovely family home decorated in an eclectic style over the years with collected and found objects.

When I visited V this morning, she took me through her home and gave me a run down of its history. She had old photographs of the home which she obtained from her neighbours. She is so lucky to have photographs. There was one photograph of what the home looked like when it was first built and how the roads were just dirt.

V and her husband bought their home in the early 1980s and were even married in the backyard. It is a home which is obviously well-loved.

Here is a small snippet of V's home. I just love how the integrity of the main home is still intact even after a major renovation...that is a rare thing in this day and age.

Central hallway to the main house with bedrooms on either side.

Dining room. The casement windows with green and amber glass are original to the house.
This room was originally the lounge room and part of the bathroom prior to the renovation
Another view of the dining room.
The bedroom at the end is the master bedroom but it was originally the kitchen!
You can also see the back door which leads to the laundry and downstairs bedroom for the teenager.
This is part of a new section that was designed by a heritage and conservation architect. It adjoins the main house but is essentially a separate building to contain the living and kitchen area.

V's island bench is a salvaged church altar. It is amazing.
She also mentioned the resident ghost that periodically visits....wooohoooo....She had lots of ghost stories about certain  homes in the street...woohhooo....
The fire place and bay window are part of the extension. I like how it is sympathetic to the era with the use of salvaged leadlight windows and some period pieces but it is still decidedly modern in its construction

This is the front verandah. It was enclosed when V and her hubby bought the house. They've opened up one side to create a lovely seating area.
Anyway, V has inspired me to approach some of the elderly neighbours still in our section of the street. They may know more about the Sow's Ear...I just have to get over my shyness...or maybe I'll just send Jason over?

Sunday, 29 July 2012

New look

I swear I will never mock fashion models ever again... I had some new profile photographs taken and it's frickin' hard to pose seriously without looking like a complete dill. Who'd have thought it was hard work?

From about 100 head shots, the number was whittled down to about half a dozen usable shots. There was a severe edit.

The reason for the shots was to update my social media profile as it has been almost three years since Fun and VJs began. I posed the question back in April about whether to replace my avatar and most of you said that I should have a better profile photograph. So I did what I was told and organised some retro-inspired shots.

I enlisted the help of Yvette to act as my stylist. She weaved her magic, giving me big teased hair and over the top makeup. She also selected a Blue Hawaii vintage outfit to complete the look. Hilarious but very fun!

Chris from Australian Modern was the photographer. He does a lot of studio photography using old-fashioned film. He's old school but on this occasion he did some digital shots just for me.

This was the selection of flowers and rhinestones for that added bling
My friend Susan catered. She baked little tarts and served espresso coffee in her Martin Boyd cups. Classy! 
Sadly, I am not all comfortable in front of a camera and the full frontal head shots were shockers.  Models must practise their camera face all the time. It is a skill which I don't think I will ever be able to master but by the end of the session I was getting the hang of it. Looking away from the camera worked best for me. 

It was such fun and now you can put a face to the name. Mod. Brismod.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

VJ sheeting

Well, all the work to clad the walls underneath the Sow's Ear is done. Jason spent most of last week getting the VJ (vertical join) sheeting up. It's the cheats option to get that VJ look without the big hit in the back pocket.

We're really happy with the results for underneath the house. Previously it was clad with asbestos fibro on the outside and the inside walls were just exposed framing. This is quite typical of Queenslander homes which were re-stumped and enclosed underneath.

Jason was keen to get the walls lined to keep it cleaner and neater for his man cave ambitions. The VJ sheets have the added benefit of being more durable than plaster board and comes already pre-primed.

Now that the walls are up, you know what that means? More painting. Ha!

If we ever move from this place, I bet you we buy a brick house which you don't need to paint.

Jason had lots of VJ off-cuts which he used to make this back wall  - as an added bonus. You can just see the irregular joins but once it gets two coats of paint no one will ever know...

Monday, 23 July 2012

Aria and under the house

In some circles it's considered gauche to photograph a restaurant experience. Thankfully, I don't mix in that circle (if I don't include Jason) and snapped photos to my heart's content when Jason and I went to fancy schmancy Aria for lunch.

How often do I get to go somewhere a little bit posher than say, Maccas? Almost never. And these images are to record for posterity a lovely luncheon in 2012.

aria menu

slightly warmed vichyssoise
Velvety deliciousness

duck pie with spiced pears and a witlof and raisin salad in the foreground, a cast iron pot of crisp hand cut chips
I was too embarrassed to have my new $2.50 op-shop jacket hung up. Even though it's wool and bespoke (but for someone else, as Jason likes to remind me).

decanted wine, and a view overlooking the Brisbane River

 It was simply superb. The whole experience was excellent.

And it made a lovely change of routine from this.

The last of the VJ panels were put up under the house yesterday. Yay!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Old barn door

It's odd the things you don't quite see until you take the time. 

One side of the old barn door to the laundry is unpainted (the other side is orange).  After three years living here at the Sow's Ear, using this door almost every day to do the laundry, I've only just realised. 

It's really noticeable now that Jason has lined the under the house area with off-white VJ sheets. Really noticeable. 

What a great old door with its old rim lock though. Jason built plain but rustic style architraves to give the door that certain gravitas. 

I suggested to Jason that perhaps we could just give the door a good sand and paint a protective coat of Estapol satin to finish it off. He looked at me like I was out of my mind and just said, 'White." 

That's that I suppose...what would you do?

Old barn style door in a Queenslander.
We'll have some more painting to do with all the new walls up

Friday, 20 July 2012

VJ wall lining progress

Those coffee dates Jason and I have been enjoying petered during the week. There's too much work to be done. 

Over the last few days, Jason has been working underneath the Sow's Ear, lining the walls with VJ panelling.

Considering that this project was quite an impromptu undertaking while Jason's on annual leave, he's made substantial progress.  Again, I should've known better than to think Jason was just going to relax. 

Anyway, it's good to always have a project to work on, so I've been told...

Here's a few shots of what's been happening:

Jason started lining the walls on another section of wall

The plan is to use this area for general storage. We hope to get some shelving or utility cupboards to organise it properly

This is the first wall which Jason lined with the VJ panels. It's been undercoated, as have the bricks, and it will need a few top coats  of vivid white to finish it off.

An action shot for the fans. I told Jason the shirt will disappoint the fan base. (you do realise Jason is quite unaware that I take these photos of him...just in case you think they're staged....Check out the tool belt that he is most proud of)

This is a shot of the painted concrete floor under the house. It's maroon. And it's peeling off.  It would be great to have the concrete floors polished but it may be overkill...lots of things to ponder...

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Out and about, VJs and books

It's so strange hanging out with Jason during the day without the children - we've been making the most of it and going to as many child unfriendly places as possible. I lie, most of the places we visit are "child friendly", it's just that we don't feel friendly when we have to go to such places with children! If you know what I'm saying...

Jason and I having coffee at Riverbend  Books where we picked up some holiday reading. I picked up a classic which I've never read 'Fahrenheit 451', while Jason is reading the Stieg Larsson trilogy
Jason started placing the VJ panels onto the downstairs walls. He's just doing one wall at this stage and he will see how he feels finishing the rest off. No need to rush when you're on holidays...

Jason and his assistant Son #1 
Today, Jason finished putting the VJ panels on the first wall. He also built the window architraves - there is a bit of builder's bog covering up some fubars. Paint will make it all go away too. It's a forgiving medium.

Anyway, it's all rather fancy for underneath the house but I suspect Jason is thinking big with his ultimate man cave. He's been talking trestle tables and dioramas...scary boy stuff.

VJ panels on the wall
Last night was book club at K's place. She's a new member in our close-knit group which has been going for over seven years. K's home, in the western suburbs, was hit quite badly in last year's flood. She and her partner have only just moved back into their place after many, many months of repairs.

K is studying fine art. Her home is full to the brim with art and beautiful kilims and rugs she has collected over the years. It's just beautiful.

a corner of K's home

K's partner showed us some of his antiquarian books. Sadly they did not escape unscathed during the Brisbane floods. This one is a physician's manual dating back to 1653. It was just amazing to be able to touch it.
We discussed Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore. It's not a book for the masses but it's certainly a very funny, hypothetical take on the life of Christ...filling in the gaping holes of the new testament. A book for those with an open mind and a sense of humour. (K cooked us a Lamb roast in honour of the book!)

Our next book is The Unfortunates by B S Johnson,which I can't wait to get my hands on.

Chocolate and hazelnut cake was the bomb!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Jason's holidays, sandcrab lasagne and insulation

Jason's started two weeks of annual leave today. I thought he was just going to mooch around and relax in his undies at the Sow's Ear for the next fortnight...I am so naive...

At 6.45 this morning he ordered some VJ sheeting to line the walls in our downstairs area. He wants to tidy up and neaten the area under the his leisure time. I think he's planning the ultimate man cave because that is realistically all we should do under there for the next few years.

We had coffee together after dropping the children to school and kindergarten - so rare to be by ourselves! Some people asked what we talked about... Directly behind Jason is a stairway to a cult, so we were sufficiently diverted by cult members
When we arrived home, the delivery person for the VJ sheeting was knocking on our front door. I tell you what, we didn't expect the delivery until the next day. It was a good surprise, but it also meant Jason was keen to start work.

As I've said before...if I could bottle his enthusiasm and motivation, I'd be rich. I'd also guzzle the first bottle because I just don't have his drive. God knows I need it.

Jason started insulating the downstairs walls - we had left over wool insulation from when the sunroom and deck ceilings were insulated.
He wanted to use it up as it was taking up space in the garage.
Note Jason's attire. He's in his good hipster street clothes as we were off to a romantic lunch together...
After insulating the entire downstairs area, it was time for a lovely lunch at Gillian's Garden Cafe in the Cottage Garden Nursery in East Brisbane. Now, there's a good idea if ever I saw one - eating first class food surrounded by lush greenery. It really was a great place to lunch.

I ordered the very famous Gillian Hirst sandcrab lasagne which I've never had before. OMG! Decadent with a capital D. It tasted like 1989 - in a good way. Jason had twice cooked lamb shanks which were also delicious.
All in all, it was quite a productive day with lots of little breaks in between to make it very enjoyable.

Insulated wall waiting for the VJ sheeting to go up

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Love Vintage

I threw my paisley top on and high-tailed it to the Love Vintage Show which is being held at the Brisbane Convention Centre in South Brisbane. It is a one-stop shop for those looking for vintage clothing, hats and accessories.

For a moment, I swear I was transported onto the set of an MGM musical, such was the dedication of the hard-core vintage dressers. You would've thought you were seeing Rita Hayworth, Bette Davis and Elizabeth Taylor swanning around. They were immaculately dressed and groomed which made for great people watching on a wet Friday night.

Vintage frock

The frocks were stunning. There were high-end designer outfits, revamped vintage outfits, men's vintage, a few stalls which stocked small collectable homewares and a mid-century furniture stall. The stall owners are from all around Australia so there is a lot of variety.

mid-century furniture from addVintage

My friend Susan bought a lovely brunch coat and gorgeous Horrocks sun dress (I am so uninitiated, I thought it was from the malted milk company. That would be Horlicks...). Susan was very pleased with her haul.

For myself, I bought an old silk scarf, as it didn't require a petite frame... which I do not have...oh well...

silk scarf purchased at The Vintage Advantage stall
The best part of the evening was finally meeting Kitty from Kittys Vintage & Kitsch. She was so nice and just gorgeous - she was wearing the most divine ruby red 1950s evening frock. Kitty has her own store in Mt Tamborine, which I am just dying to visit. She also has a stall at the Woolloongabba Antique Centre.

Anyway, Love Vintage ends tomorrow for those keen to have a sticky beak.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Ravenhead glass

My eyes are always peeled for textured bark glass to add to the collection. I never really stumble upon the really good retro Scandinavian crystal, just the cheaper more ubiquitous British glass made by Ravenhead.

Ravenhead Siesta glasses

On an op-shop crusade, I spied a set of 1970s Ravenhead Siesta beer glasses. I love their shape because they remind me of the Iittala Kekkerit glasses designed by Timo Sarpaneva. The set I picked up are the much poorer cousin...


Apparently, the Siesta range was a design by AH Williamson who created over 1700 glass designs for Ravenhead - mass produced mostly for public houses and restaurants.

They're a funky looking glass which will make a good talking point when we invite people over for dinner.

And this last shot is of my kitchen shelves which I've re-arranged. It's all happening here at the Sow's Ear! Not.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Sow's Ear in miniature

The little old cubby house was never going to get away with being faux heritage colours for long. I still don't know how that colour scheme (cream, dark green and maroon) ever became popular  in Queensland...was it a marketing ploy amongst paint manufacturers in the 80s or something? Who knows?

Anyway, the cubby house will be the Sow's Ear in miniature, boasting the same colour scheme as the main house (it sounds like we have an estate...if only!).

After the initial false start, we prepped the timber surfaces as best we could and got the drop sheets down. It's coming along quite well. I'll show you the final photos when it is all finished.

first coat of paint on the cubby house

Jason looking like a giant on the little house. He's painted all the high to reach finials and gables. We'll have to sand back the front verandah where the kids got paint-happy!
Again, ignore Captain Safety and his barefoot style renovating.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Sow's Ear update

The last couple of weeks have been quite ho-hum on the renovating front. Just painting and more painting. But there's been a break-through!

Jason happily announced he's completed painting the Sow's Ear exterior...which means the main house exterior is finito, fini, done.  It's a big achievement for the over-worked home handy man.

Painted weatherboards - is there anything nicer?

All the building work which Mr D our builder, undertook during April is now completely painted. That's three sides of the downstairs area of the Sow's Ear...equating to many tins of paint and many hours of snow blindness for dear Jason.

Jason and his powder monkey (aka son#1) painting behind the not-so-energy-efficient hot water system

The pièce de résistance is the formerly heritage green VJ door which has been transformed into a very bright shade of orange. Pronounced aweronge. Go on, say it.

I believe Jason is cutting in.
Two orange doors. The lower door leads to the garage area.
The rickety side steps will be going and replaced with something more sturdy.

And that's the latest on the Sow's Ear. But don't be fooled that we are almost reaching the conclusion of our renovation...there is still so much to stay tuned. 

Monday, 2 July 2012

MAD house tour

Another day and another cool house tour. Yesterday, I attended the much-anticipated mid-century house tour from the MAD weekend.

It started at the north end of Brisbane in Aspley, where we visited a cute 1960s 'affordable housing for the masses' style home, which is owned by two young architects. They're renovating their home to preserve the charm of the original design while sympathetically adapting it to suit their home-based architectural practice.

This nook is located at the front of the home near the kitchen. It takes advantage of the wonderful light filtering through the push-out casement windows.

The front facade. They haven't done any work on the tired exterior as yet. The French doors open out from where the dining room is situated. 

The tour moved on to a modern renovation of a Queenslander in Auchenflower, which is owned by two well-respected architects. It's a completely breathtaking home, beautifully curated by its owners.

fabulous dining space

modern black kitchen with mirror back splash

mid-century wall unit which was inherited by the owners. Out of focus, of course, but you get the picture!
The tour meandered its way to southside Tarragindi. I've previously featured this house on the blog here. It is still one of my most favourite houses and I've made it clear to the owners that we get first pick if they ever decide to move on! (Poor Jason, he paints and paints the old Sow's Ear and here I am plotting our next move!)

Master bedroom which features a window seat.
Original house plans. The architect who designed and owned the home was also available to answer questions.  He's become very friendly with the new owners!

The last house of the tour was a Donald Spencer designed  home in Carina. Again, I've already featured snippets of this home here. It is a compact but very liveable home which suits the empty-nester couple who own it

The light and airy lounge room

Original house drawings and plans

These house tours which are organised by Chris and Susan really are excellent - they're already planning the next one...

It was also great to finally meet a few readers and fellow bloggers who were able to make the tour. Everyone was very nice and a lot of fun. Fun and nice is always good in my book!

I'll let everyone know when the next tour is scheduled. 
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