Saturday, April 19, 2014

    Hallway Update

    It's been a while since I did a house update - the little things take time I think.

    Repenting in leisure does not suit me .. especially if I have to walk past something
    "not quite right" everyday, and especially even more if that something is an art work,
    which usually, being a thing of beauty, has a pretty price-tag too.


    I wanted something to go above the hallway bench.

    I'm not sure where I got the rest of my idea from.  Things tend to come to me in dreams,
    so we'll go with that.  I know I was aware of steel words you could buy from stores,
    but they weren't quite right for me - size, pricepoint, or font. 

    I know I did steal some inspiration from them though.

    A cheaper copy, if you will.


    And I wanted to mount it somehow.

    I know it's a bit trendy, but I do love the pallet look.  I have a pallet coffeetable, and have
    always loved a rustic edge.  Also, I have Scottish blood, so you know .. hello pricepoint -

    This pallet was gifted from a friend who actually made the most awesome deck seating
    system with built-in flowerpots.  From pallets.  Oh yeah.  'tis sweet.  Very sweet.


    So there you have it .. a bit more of my house.

    I dismantled the pallet and put it back together to the size I wanted, and then I shaped
    wire to make my word.  Once happy with everything, I wrapped the wire in wool and
    fixed it to my pallet. 

    By the way, try finding a nice thick wool in Melbourne in a good hue. 
    I seriously bought the last ball of this stuff and I looked in a fair few places.

    That frame with the bunny in it?
    I bought that on my honeymoon 18yrs ago.  The frame that is, the bunny print was
    another gift from another friend ( I have good friends, huh? )

    There's more hallway, obvs .. we've just put some prints up on the other side too ..
    but I haven't finished tweaking, so .. another day.

    I just wanted to share this because it's one of those projects that worked out just how
    I wanted and I so love walking past it and I love it.  I think it looks great with the
    yellow and red and green and orange .. I couldn't have planned it any better if I tried :D


    Friday, April 11, 2014

    This is Versailles: 2012 Edition

    It's true i've drip-fed a 2012 holiday over 2yrs now, but it's also true I write this blog primarily
    for me, as a diary ( and there was a lot of stuff we did to sort through! :) )

    It seems every school holidays I get a little chance to add to it further, and these school
    holidays are no different.  It's just important for me to do it, and have it done :)

    So this is Versailles.

    I've been lucky enough to visit Paris once before, as a couple, but a jam-packed schedule
    meant no time for leaving the city, and Versailles is a train ride out of town and takes up
    a whole day easily.

    The Train to Versailles

    Seeing as this was a "Paris with Kids" holiday and we'd spent all our time delighting them,
    and trying not to drag them through too many castles and galleries, my only wish this time
    was to see Versailles.

    Plus I am a bit of a sucker for a trip on a train :)

    Versailles 2012

    There was an amazing art exhibition on at the time which I found fascinating as I
    didn't expect it at all. 

    I really liked how the artist's work both blended and complimented the opulence
    and more traditional art on show.

    Versailles 2012

    Versailles 2012

    Versailles 2012

    Versailles 2012

    Versailles 2012

    My favourite piece was the crocheted lions below.  I could have admired them for hours,
    but the natives were restless.  Gone are the days of contemplative meditations in galleries,
    soaking in the details .. hustle!  hustle!  hustle!

    A few times I found myself alone in a room full of strangers.  My "seen it, next!" family
    several rooms ahead, as I eavesdropped in on snippets of guided tours and soaked it all in.

     ( Still, I took the boys to the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition in Canberra last year and my
    eldest held my hand and paused to ask questions about the works and the era as we
    shared a headset.  It was a happy day :)

    Versailles 2012

    These works/ installations were all by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos
    You can read more about her and this exhibition here:

    Versailles 2012

    My boys and a selfie :p

    Versailles 2012

    After thoroughly discovering the Versailles interior, we headed outside and boarded a
    trolley car to take us to Marie-Antoinette's Estate. 

    We thought we were quite clever by avoiding the crowds, but alas, when we arrived,
    we had like almost 2hours to kill before they opened the gates on the Petite Trianon. 

    *Le Sigh*

    The Petite Trianon was Marie's little house to escape court life, although when I say
    "little", it's still quite the palace and would still be an impressive huge home if you
    plonked it down in modern Toorak.

    So we hung out nearby and drew with sticks in the dirt and played chasies for a while
    and waited..

    Versailles 2012

    We also checked out Marie's little mill and little farm.

    Much has been made of the fact the Queen liked to 'escape to the country' with
    her children and pals.  They'd don peasant garb and milk goats and play at the simple life,
    albeit, in a romanticised way.

    The people of France, already not in love with the aristocracy, hated on her all the more.
    They were living the peasant life, and there was no-one to pre-wash THEIR goat's teats or
    groom them all pretty-like before they had to do the hard yards.

    Versailles: Marie-Antoinette's Estate

    The truth is many wealthy French aristocrats built similar faux peasant estates on their properties.
    It was a bit of a garden trend, the same as crazy paving and pink flamingos in the 50's.

    Rustic life was very popular in paintings and plays/novels of the time, and of course must
    have been a welcome relief from the stuffiness of court life at Versailles. 

    I know if I worked in the Melbourne CBD all week, i'd be wishing I had a pad to retreat to
    down the Peninsula. 

    Plus, I love to hang out in the garden and pet animals.  Sounds ideal to me.

    Marie-Antoinette's Estate

    Everything was rather idyllic and painterly.

    However, the fish in the pond grossed me out a LOT.  ugh.

    Marie-Antoinette's Estate


    Finally, in the heat of the day, when everyone was tired and getting cranky,
    we boarded the trolly car again and found even more painterly wonder.


    Are you freaking KIDDING ME?

    Boat hire was quite reasonable, but to be honest, resistance would have been useless.


    best put the kiddos to work then ....


    ^ I love this pic of AB

    Yeah, Versailles was pretty unimpressive.

    Versailles 2012

    I wouldn't recommend it AT ALL :p

    Versailles 2012

    P.S. : You can see other images from our holiday here:
    i-phone montage
    The Arts et Métiers Train Station
    Les Marchés de la France
    The Cafe de la Prominade
    Les Averries :: Our Country House in France
    Paris Daily

    Saturday, March 01, 2014

    The Death of Craft

    I believe in hands-on discoveries, and worry that a neat home smacks of boxed-in expression.

    When my kids were younger we did a lot of gluing and sticking and painting. 
    Gathering leaves, creating montages, creating cities and empires of sticks. 

    Wishing the same joy for every child, I used to gift art and craft items ..

    I gave gifts of meaning.  Of mind & creativity.


    I hoped they were appreciated, but I sometimes gnawed on nails and wondered, as I do,
    why I can't conform?  Birthdays are fraught for me, any gift-giving occasion really. 

    I think too hard and then wonder if I screwed up.  And I don't like to give a gift that isn't
    loved - I find it hard to gift and forget - I like to know how that gift is going .. and perhaps,
    if you hate it, can you like, give it back? 

    Because I freaking loved it and I wanted you to love it too.

    We all know I have ishews with gifts.


    Anyway, when the youngest went to kinder last year, I happily donated all the things
    we didn't do anymore but had lots of life left in them - stamp sets, all our pretty papers
    ( leftovers from a job in the paper industry, oh, you know, a DECADE ago?! ), and I got
    GREAT joy when I saw some of those distinctive offcuts used in the children's take-home craft.

    An Easter chicken hatching from a Stardream Metallic egg is not a vision easily forgotten.

    That's the gift I like to give.


    So then, why was I so inwardly shitty this year when the kids got an annoying artbox for
    Christmas in the family Kris-Kringle?  Isn't that the very gift I would give?


    The drive home, where they nagged from the backseat to get into their new present as
    SOON as they got home, PLEASE MUMMY.  And I was grumpy and said no - "tomorrow".

    I'd spent like 3 days cleaning my house so it resembled my dream of Magazine Feature. 
    It's never this pretty.  And my kids are freaking animals.  I knew the paint would be
    acrylic ( and it was, it always is ) and I just didn't 

    I just wanted my pretty house for one more day. 

    It was my gift to me.  I didn't want to ruin it.

    Cranky Mummy, boo.  Grinch.
    Is that how others felt when they received my well-intentioned gifts?


    (  ^  Note: this is a recent art smock/ paint set purchase I made from IKEA.  Because I am a sucker :) )

    Anyway, I did let them, but outside, and I couldn't even karcher off the stains off the deck
    later on.  The fancy new Christmas clothes that weren't changed out of first are now daggy
    around-the-house-clothes.  Stained.

    But I dont like being an ogre, so normally my house is a Lego pit, and there's stuff everywhere.
    I still believe in imaginative play and my house suffers for it.

    And so it was today that I made Play-doh.

    But oh, not the normal kind, this was a fancy-schmancy new kind - no cook -
    just cornflour and HAIR CONDITIONER.  I had to try that, didn't I?

    It made my hands smell like apples :)

    And much joy was had.

    And to tell the truth, cleanup was better than regular playdoh .. the cornflour turns to
    powder and so all the mess picured involved no chisels or swearing .. just a wipe and a brush up.


    No-Cook Cornflour Playdoh:

    1 cup hair conditioner ( I used a no-name variety, it cost a dollar )
    Pop that in a bowl
    Add a few drops of food colouring
    Start adding cornflour a cup at a time.

    The recipe I used said i'd only need two cups, but to add more if the mix was sticky.
    I seriously used about 4 cups in the end - which was almost the entire contents of a
    brand-new 500g bag.

    Apparently it wont last very long, but to be honest, you want that stuff out of your house
    before long anyway, right?  I am predicting it will last as long as my patience, and that's
    a win for everybody :)

    Enjoy! x

    Friday, February 21, 2014

    Come And Get it

    I used to love Peter ( G'Day ) Russell ( G'Day ) Clarke .. who didn't ?
    I used to work at an office in Brunswick just down the road from his local, and on Friday nights
    we'd go for a drink and watch Peter fall off his stool.  Quality entertainment.

    This pic is so studly, i'm considering using it as my profile image on facebook:


     .. and I know this clip is not new, but rediscoveries are always fun.

    Potty-mouth Peter kinda fits in with the one we used to watch down the pub ;)

    Enjoy :)