Thursday, 30 August 2012

My fairy op-shop mother

Gather around people. I have a fairytale to share.

Once upon a time there was a girl called Brismod who lived in a pig (ie the Sow's Ear). She dreamt one day to furnish her home with the most retro of homewares, making her house a home with her Prince Hi-Vis (ie Jason).

One day she received an email out-of-the blue from her fairy op-shop mother. Her name was Midcentury Jo from Desire to Inspire and she had commenced her spring cleaning. She wanted to bestow her hoarded collected treasures to her fairy op-shop daughters. She summoned her other op-shop daughter Katherine of theoldboathouse, as well as Brismod to her castle in the land of S'wich (Ipswich).
Jo's 1860s colonial home

Image of Jo's office which I took from her blog Desire to Inspire

Fortunately the generous fairy op-shop mother had a very good design eye which married well with her relentless need to op-shop. Katherine and Brismod could not believe their eyes when the fairy op-shop mother was pulling Hornsea cup after Hornsea cup from her cupboards...

Midwinter Stonehenge Sun crockery set and Hornsea Saffron crockery

"Here, take it. You will enjoy this. It will make me happy to see you enjoy this. And I have some brown stone-ware things for my new fairy op-shop daughter, Makeminemid-century (Mmmc), that you must share," pronounced the fairy op-shop mother.

"Katherine, see that you bring Mmmc on your next visit. Brismod is getting greedy and it will do her good to know that she is not the only chosen one. Besides her cupboards are getting full..."

After a short but very enjoyable day in the land of S'wich, Katherine and Brismod returned home with a boot full of delicious retro wares to own and share...grateful to know such a kind and generous fairy op-shop mother...

Katherine's car boot. She drove but I was concerned that her boot would not be big enough from past visiting experience.
Jo donated all the bowls for my bookclub flea which is on Saturday 8 September (details to follow).

to be continued...

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Coffee at the Beaumont in Highgate Hill

I visited Brisbane's leading location scout, Nat Duncan from Qld Film Locations at her very cool new apartment in Beaumont which is a 1970s high rise in Highgate Hill. Katherine from the oldboathouse was my partner in crime and visited too.
Image taken from here

We all played ladies over retro Japanese stoneware cups and delicious homemade cake in Nat's corner apartment which has outlooks to the Brisbane River, Mount Cootha, and the CBD. Katherine and I were in awe of the apartment's spectacular position and the cool retro vibe of the space. Her apartment has many original elements, such as original 1970s kitchen, which gives it a lot of personality.

Cake and coffee and Japanese stoneware cups

cool vignette on Nat's sideboard

Nat started a blog about her apartment and it has some interesting information about the building and her apartment.Check it out to see photos of her apartment.

Anyway, it was a good catch-up with some gorgeous people!

The funniest thing about our visit is Nat's Lucite spaghetti light which now hangs in the master bedroom. Nat called me a number of months ago asking me for the name of our know...the one who hung our chandelier...

I reminded her of the story of our spectacular 'what goes up must come down' chandelier story (read here) and let's not forget old Wazza...Although I would still recommend our electricians (they've always been very good apart from the one incident...), I feel obliged to provide the gory details of our chandelier experience. It makes a funny story and you have to laugh!

Nat was pretty cool about it all and called Carlo anyway. And didn't they redeem themselves admirably (although I have a feeling that Wazza wasn't involved). It looks fantastic! And it hasn't fallen down once!

Orange Lucite spaghetti light

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Tread carefully

Why you would need to wear hi-vis to paint the stair treads is beyond me? But hey, who am I to get in the way of a man and his need for safety-ware?

Painting stair treads on a Queenslander house

The weekend was spent pretty much prepping our new external stairs for painting. Jason whipped out the trusty Sicaflex and filled all the gaps in the stairs to weatherproof it. You know, nail holes and all the timber joins. Apparently, wood rot begins at the joins therefore a good weatherproof gap filler is an important preventative measure.

Jason got up bright and early and slipped on his new hi-vis shirt which he bought himself for Father's Day. The glint of fluoro early on a weekend morning can be too much to bear for people who aren't used to it...I told Jason in no uncertain terms...

Eating breakfast with Mr Hi-vis. There was no need to put an overhead light on...the glow from his shirt was enough to illuminate the room.
Pencilled in stair treads
We've chosen not to paint the entire stair treads, opting for a painted finish for the edges only and leaving the rest of the tread au naturel with an oiled finish. This is similar to what was done on our back staircase leading from our deck.

Jason (ably assisted by Son # 1 and a steel ruler) measured each tread carefully and then marked it with his carpenter's pencil. Jason's become such an expert with a paint brush that he cuts in freehand - no painter's tape for him after three years painting the Sow's Ear. Well, I was impressed...

Keep you posted on the progress!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012


Awesome equals two Panton S chairs found in an op shop.

These are awesome! They are replica chairs but they're in such great condition...we have so many chairs. They will make great statement in a study 

Not-so-awesome equals Jason getting over-excited and buying his own father's day present...

Jason was in Morayfield today and popped into Masters to buy tradie clothes. Hi-vis yellow shirt and blue pants...I  told him the blog post re Masters the other day was meant to be tongue-in-cheek...

That is all.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Wannabe tradie

Sponsored by Nuffnang

Our belt sander has gone walk-about. Where could it be? Doesn’t it know we need Jason fully-equipped to sand down the decks in time for spring? I suspect Jason’s hidden it somewhere…

Never fear, I’m going to buy Jason another one, as encouragement to continue his DIY thing. For Father’s Day. Ha! The poor thing will never escape DIY while living here. Never!

And because I’m into online browsing for gifts, I was happy to hear that Masters Home Improvement recently launched their online store. Hooray for more competition in the world of hardware for all of us tireless home improvers!

Well, Masters have declared it a sock, jock and tie free day this Father’s Day. Normally fashionisto Jason would be thrilled to get a pair of designer jocks; however the belt-sander would be far more practical…

Jocks and a power tool would be a great combination. Yeah!

Then I had a light bulb moment. Maybe I should get Jason tradie clothes instead? If you’ve been following our renovations, you would know Jason’s home handyman uniform consists mainly of rags… He looks like a complete and utter hobo.

Jason in his old work clothes

So, I started wandering through the Masters site and searched for shirts, pants and shoes. Boom! I can kit Jason out from top to toe all online…
I give you wannabe tradie Jason.

Men’s long sleeve polo shirt $12. In fashionable orange high-vis!
image from here

Hardwick men’s cargo work pant $25
image from here
Blundstone Safety Boots Havana $99.97
image from here

We’re spoilt for choice. What do you think? Tradie clothes? Belt sander? Jocks?

Or should I just go all out and indulge him this Father’s Day and get the lot...? What are you going to get the Dad in your life?

And if you think the Dad in your life needs a shed load of stuff to keep him occupied, then enter Masters’ Father's Day Competition by posting a picture of him on their Facebook competition tab for Father's Day and in 25 words or less tell them why you love him.  

Sunday, 19 August 2012

External Queenslander stairs

We have brand new stairs! Hooray!

The lads worked all day to get the stairs finished by late this afternoon. To say we are overjoyed would be a gross understatement. It's a beauty!

I give you a pictorial of today's activity:

all the balustrades are on

bud pattern feature panel which is consistent with the rest of the Sow's Ear. The diagonals are in place for a decorative valance that Jason wanted. He wanted to see how it was done so he could replicate it on our back deck.

Stairs at twilight. Sorry for the terrible shot...You can just make out the curve of the valance in this image

solid substantial stairs to access our laundry
The next stage of this project is for a roof to be constructed over the entire stairs. That won't be a for a little while yet...but in the meantime we have a great set of stairs which we can paint!

It never ends this painting a Queenslander caper.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Side stairs progress

You gotta love tradies who will work on a public holiday. Mr D and Scotty arrived at 6am and commenced constructing the new side stairs.

The morning was like this:

Mr D the builder clamping the timber in place..

This was first thing in the morning. The boys put the tall timber posts into the metal stirrups.

Throughout the day we could see steady progress. Jason pitched in as the first year builder's apprentice. He got all the monkey boy jobs, like priming the timber ends, holding posts and beams straight and passing tools to the lads.

Jason must've been a useful part of the team, because later in the morning the lads whisked him away to have smoko with them. He's in, our wannabe tradie Jason.

The first of the timber stair stringers is being fitted

Mr D uses an awesome pink drill, which will now be referred to as the lifestyle drill (I've made a mental not for Jason this Father's Day)
Jason took the opportunity to pull down the side fence which had fully rotted in the supporting posts. It was starting to get to that dangerous stage, so Jason dumped most of the fence into the rubbish skip Mr D had organised for the stairs.

We'll widen the path for easier access to our backyard
We'll also be removing the garden bed closest to the house as it narrows our path. It will allow us to have a wider more direct route to our side stairs.

Later down the track, we'll probably reinstate a new side fence, but that can wait until we have more time and money!

By late afternoon, the boys got through quite a bit of work with the stairs very close to completion. They'll be coming back over the weekend to finish the balustrades and nail the final few decking boards onto the back landing.

almost complete stairs

The second stage of the process is to add a roof, but we have to wait until Mr D and Scotty are between building projects. They're busy people.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Somebody stole our side stairs

The work has begun on our side stairs. The old rickety steps were removed today to make way for something safer.

The number of times I would catch Son #3 dangling in between the gaps of the horizontal railings was enough to prematurely grey me.

Missing stairs
Mr D, the builder, is back with his trusty side-kick Scotty. They got through a lot of work today and hope to have the new stairs built in the next couple of days.

dressing the hardwood timber 

Real architects, avert your eyes. Jason's been designing. I know. Don't judge us.

rough sketches of the sunroom side of the Sow's Ear

The plan is to kick out the sunroom roof to make the new stairs a little more weatherproof, so we can access the downstairs laundry without receiving a drenching. That will be the second stage of the building process of the stairs.

So, lots happening here at the Sow's Ear. Stay tuned!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Getting ready for warmer weather

It's still quite cold in Brisbane but the days have been so glorious and sunny. We've been taking advantage of the dry weather and cleaning some of the winter cobwebs away.

We took the high pressure cleaner from the back shed and cleaned our outdoor furniture which was looking quite grubby. I also gave our old outdoor table a clean and oiled it. It's not a fantastic job but it's a bit tidier than before.

Casala chairs drying in the sun after a clean
It's  a lot cleaner than before and is another place to sit for the boys when they have their friends over.  Notice, I also cleaned the concrete...
Jason finished painting the back of the cubby house and then proceeded to prep the floorboards before applying decking oil. Our belt sander is still missing in action, so he hand-sanded the verandah as best as he could.

The boards just sucked in that decking oil. Jason's applied three coats so far.

Oiling the decking boards on the cubby house
Earlier in the week, I went with one of my friends to a fair trade wholesaler of hand crafted gifts on Brisbane's southside. It was completely awesome. I picked up a 'children of the world' bunting which was handmade in West Bengal, India for the boys' cubby house. I loved it so much, I bought a second one for Son #3's Kindergarten as it is quite multicultural.

(If you want to know the details of the wholesaler just email me, you will need an ABN to purchase from them though)

Colourful bunting for the children's cubby house

And in very exciting news, work on our side stairs will hopefully commence sometime this week. We can't wait!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Missed that 3rd year blogiversary

It's been three years since Fun and VJs became more than just a figment of my imagination...Sadly, I forgot to mark our 3rd year Blogiversary.

No cake, no giveaways and not even a second thought until it was already over. Thankfully this blog is made of the tough stuff. It is definitely a persistent little bugger, so Happy Blogiversary to it!

I thought it would be fun to see what we were doing three years ago today. From memory, I don't think I was terribly happy, as we were in mid kitchen renovation mode and I was very hungry. The blog post below was chronicling some of the smaller projects we tackled when we first moved into the Sow's Ear.

Hop into the Tardis and travel into the past...a time before I knew how to caption images...

Wednesday 5 August 2009
The first few projects 

With any condition Queenslander house there is always work. And lots of it when they need TLC.

The first job we did was to sand the deck and oil it to bring it back from the brink. It's a massive covered area, so it was a big job - particularly when it was pouring rain every time Jason was ready to oil it.

The second project was to sand and scrape the front entry ready for a coat of paint. Jason also needed to fix up the VJs which were covering the architraves. It looks a million dollars now.

We used Dulux acrylic low sheen white (wash and wear) for the VJs and a gloss white for the doors etc.

We are now living without a kitchen, waiting for it to be installed later this week. It was ripped out last Friday, so it has been an experience with my hungry boys.

Anyway, I can't wait for it to be up and running!

*the image above has been pixelated to protect the innocent

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Lack of motivation

Yep, we've been struck by severe lack of motivation here at Fun and VJs. There are a number of small half-finished painting jobs hanging over our heads and it seems decadent not to be tackling them while the weather has been nice and dry. Who knows when La Nina conditions will hit us again in Brisbane town?

This morning, Jason bought another tin of exterior paint, so we could finish off the cubby house which we started a month or so ago. We needed to finish all the white and I gave the little old door its first coat of orange paint. The whole thing looks compact but adorable.

The cubby house looks incredibly cute

The only thing left to do is to paint the finials and trim on the back but it is a tight squeeze between the cubby and the fence line. We can't seem to find our belt sander either...when that is located, we can sand back the little verandah and give it a coat of decking oil.

Jason is straddling the side fence to paint the back of the cubby house.  Not much room at all.

white cubby house

This week, I'll try to get a start on the second car port. It's the last heritage coloured thing we have to paint over...and people on the street have been noting the unfinished nature of the Sow' Ear front yard. We've just been putting it off because it's just a pain to paint! (Jason just read this paragraph and said I should paint the front car port in my bikini...I'm snorting with laughter...he's dreaming!)

Also, I found out through local sources that the Sow's Ear was painted heritage colours only this century i.e in the early 2000s.  How funny is that? I had assumed it was last painted in the early 1990s but no, apparently it used to be white back then.

Anyway, expect more painting updates over the next little while...

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Latest op-shop finds

I did a bit of an op-shop fossick yesterday and came up trumps in terms of Scandinavian crystal and serving ware. I was in the Logan vicinity and visited about three oppies for a quick browse.

It seems Kosta Boda is not terribly desirable in Logan and is being donated to the charity shops. So sad to see these languishing on the shelves...

Kosta Boda grape bowl designed by Ann Warff
iittala solaris plates designed by Tapio Wirkkala
Kosta Boda Party  plates designed by Ann Warff in 1970s
I found four large plates and a smaller entree size plate at three separate op-shops. So funny. 
the haul also included pineapple serving ware which I will pass on to some friends and more Ravenhead bark glasses to add to my kitchen shelf.
My friends Chris and Susan are having the ultimate retro garage sale on their lawn in September. I'm going to have a stall to raise some cash, the profits will be put towards our annual book club Christmas party (we're going to buy prawns this year. Ha!).

Some of the retro op-shop items I've found over the past few months will be for sale on my stall (I can't keep it much as I'd like to...). My prices will be cheap, so if you're keen to start or add to your Scandinavian crystal or pottery collection, stay tuned for the details.

Let there be prawns for Christmas!

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