Saturday, December 17, 2011

a tale of two brownies

T'was the week before...etc etc, you know how it goes.

I really like this little helper, I think he's rather sweet.

With only 4 working days between me and some serious rec leave, cheeriness levels are on the up.  Ho, Ho, Ho, in fact.

  I'm planning a re-organisation of the home front in the hols, and have started on the back and front verandas.  I found an extremely ugly but practical rack which I've drafted into service for fishing rod storage.  Each millimetre of space is hard won.  I keep thinking I'll have a garage sale but I haven't really identified all that much to get rid of. Yet.


 I have decided to part with this vintage Kodak Brownie Starlet camera, there are only so many cameras and so much shelf space.

Strangely, the term 'Brownie' seems to be almost unreasonably popular, and this week  another Brownie which came into my life via a cake stall outside Bankwest.  I bought a plate of brownies on the way to work from the nice ladies at the stall, thinking that given the season I would share them with my workmates.  Bad luck, people.

I shared one with someone - in celebration of one of those tiny smidgens of happiness which occasionally drop into the pit of despair (and can so easily roll unnoticed behind the couch, where they hide with the minuscule remnants of our self-actualisation) - but everyone else was out of luck. Call me Grinch.  Best Brownies ever.  Congratulations, ladies with headscarves.  You are the queens of Brownie.

There are only a very few framed fish drawings remaining, I am pleased and slightly relieved that others liked them as much as I do.  These are the only ones left apart from some of the smaller ones. I can see the floor in the loungeroom.





Quote of the week:
'The day they discover that yoga mats are carcinogenic will be the happiest day in my life.'
Tim Minchin

Status of the week from Facebook:
'Mum goes to personal training at 8am this morning and comes home drunk in a taxi.'
(anonymous, for their own protection - and no, not one of my kids!)  Gotta love the Xmas season....

Ephemera, ephemera, ephemera - a plethora of ephemera

I finally got around to taking and uploading the pics of the fantastic vintage and antique magazines I found in an old suitcase.  Ah, happy days.....


Monday, December 12, 2011

the swan and the jackalope, a tale of Xmas present(s)

It must be close, the girl-child and a friend arrived and, in a whirl of activity, put the Christmas tree up and decorated it.  We also scattered some other decorations about.  She's placed some presents under it already.  There was considerable disappointment that I didn't have to go to work today, I suspect she had planned on a grid search to see if I have gotten her presents yet.  She may have been disappointed, I sure wasn't.

 (We'll call this one Silent Night, shall we?)

My Xmas present to myself this year was a small sound system. (OK, the first of my presents to myself!)  I've spent almost three years in happy silence - you can hear the serenity - after years of living in a house with at least two televisions on at all times (different stations, of course) as well as various other computer games, music, and portable noise making devices.  I've reached the point where I don't mind a little background music.  My avoidance of the I-empire means that I got a small CD player, although I note that instruments of the empire can be plugged into it also. 

We journeyed to Hardly Normal to make the purchase, having spied something in the catalogue which fit the bill.  Amusingly, having been assured by the salesman that they had nothing at all to match my requirements - although he didn't seem to want to show us anything at all - we were on our way to the door when we crashed into a huge pile of the very item I was looking for. (He must have had a man look.)  We made haste to the checkout, where we were asked the name of the salesperson - "what is this term?" we asked.  At least you couldn't say he tried the hard sell.

Say hello to my little friend the Jackalope.  I got him this week and he fits perfectly in the glass case, although he doesn't photograph so well in it.  He makes me smile.

I seem to be acquiring a small swan collection - this one was made in England and is delightfully vintage. Amongst other treasures this weekend, a small suitcase full to the brim with vintage Enid Gilchrist magazines with patterns for children's clothes, part of a 1934 West Australian newspaper, and lots of beautiful 1918 - 1940 crotchet and dressmaking magazines.  The illustrations are beautiful and some of the patterns are glorious.  The ads, of course, have their own special appeal and when I get some time I'll include some for you to look at.

Back to the present plotting.....

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Digital TV, fish and finishing off projects

Summer is here!  In a display of hysterical optimism, I've taken the electric blanket off the bed, washed the accompanying snugly lambie, and packed them away.  I've also packed away the winter hat collection, gloves, coats and boots and lashed out on a new pair of Trippen summer sandals.   I hope it doesn't snow. Frankly, the sandals are so nice I'll risk the frostbite.

           Well ho.ho.ho. Digital TV has come to Albany and the streets are quiet as everyone is glued to their set.  Regular readers may know that I got a 32 inch LCD TV from the recent socialist redistribution of belongings.  Faced with so many coloured wires and plugs a lesser woman may have quit, but I decided to unplug everything and follow the labels.  I am the Queen of TV tuning.  Gee, so many episodes of CSI and Law and Order. Sigh.

We got some good fishing reels at a garage sale on Saturday, I picked up some interesting fishing rods from the verge and they now have reels.  There were some lovely vintage frames to replace the many which were sold with my fish, and a little 50's table.  The table is largely unremarkable and will probably end up as part of a suitcase or hatbox table. I also grabbed some fantasy books for number one son. 

It was lovely to have a weekend where I wasn't focused on the Summer Street deadline, and I was able to start sorting and clearing up all the stuff on the back veranda.  I also got to finish restoring a lovely mirror a friend brought back from England for me and I was pleased with the result.

While I was finishing off, I also stabilised a lovely little vintage papier mache tray, and a vintage stepladder shelf.  I like the tatty old look and haven't sanded  or oiled it.

I'm very pleased with this coffee table, I found the metal frame on the verge and we sourced the huge jarrah slab at the local salvage yard.  I've left some of the saw marks on the top and oiled it, its due to be waxed then it's all done. Its very tactile. The frame was sanded and treated and rubbed back with steel wool and treated and then lacquered.  I'm quite pleased with the outcome.

A bit more sorting and I'll almost be able to get to my work bench!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

next stop, Xmas!!!

Wow, another Summer Street Fair has been and gone.  I have that aching footed, stiff kneed exhaustion which comes from 3 big days of craft and people.  We had a great time, sold heaps of our work, and met lots of new people.  I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.

There are lots of great photos on the Facebook page, if you missed out this year, look out for us next year.  You can catch up with the exhibitors through the page too.

                                   Lots of my fish drawings, jewellery, and other vintage frippery found new homes, enabling me to see the floor in the lounge room for the first time in ages.  Most has been tucked away but I will be listing on Etsy again when I've had a little rest.

In the packing away I did notice that the suitcase stack in the sitting room is now so tall that I can't lift a suitcase over my head to the top without serious health and safety risk.  

To celebrate our success, a couple of us hit the garage sales, car boot sale and Boatshed Markets. To celebrate, I had the freshest of oysters for lunch, and I have some baby asparagus, picked this morning, for tomorrow.  And the cherries - oh, the cherries.  Spectacular! 

One of the highlights of the time was our dinner at Joop Thai in Albany on Thursday after opening night.  Its brilliant to go into a local restaurant without a reservation at 9 pm and be welcomed with a smile and reassured that the kitchen is still open!! Thanks guys, and the food and service were, as always, great.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Karma, dogma, the 10 Commandments, and tent construction for beginners

You know those days when nothing goes right?  Today wasn't one of them. As a matter of fact, I can pretty much barely remember one in the last week or so.  Of course, there are always tiny irritations, blips, glitches. Admittedly,  my memory isn't what it used to be.  But on the whole, the sort of week there should be more of.

On Monday, a quick round of the op shops to celebrate being on holiday. Gold bangle for $3. Bali gold, but gold nonetheless.  Which reminds me: email daughter who made off with it and demand return thereof.  On Tuesday, it was sunny.  To add to that, we went to the salvage yard for a good prowl.  I got a huge slab of jarrah to use for the top of a table I'm rescuing. (I'll post a before and after when it's done.) Slight sunburn.  Wednesday, a day at home, finishing off work for the impending Summer Street Fair. I'm surprisingly organised. Thursday, close friend's birthday lunch, good company, great food. Friday, op shops, lunch, yay. 

Saturday - so many garage sales, so little time.  OK, our mojo was slightly disturbed due to circumstances beyond our control and we almost missed part 2 of a killer garage sale - part one was a classic about 12 months ago and we'd been waiting for part 2.  Antique meat safes for $15 and cupboards for $10, depression-era, packing crate stuff, yum. I love that packing crate furniture. 

On the other hand, I have 3 wooden meat safes already, and two tin ones, and I probably couldn't have squeezed it into the house with a shoe horn.  I did get an old 1940's/50's map of the Mount Barker area, showing plots of land and ownership, which cheered me up.  And an old chrome Sunbeam toaster, the one with two wide slots, in mint condition and hardly used.  The holy grail of toasters.  It's not a minimalist Scandinavian stainless steel toast experience, it simply makes brilliant toast. And I have that from a toast affectionado with a fine legal mind.

Ah, Sunday.  Sunny.  Warm.  No wind. House tidy(ish).  Sorted out the veggie garden. Finished an amusing book. Finished a couple of small projects. Built a tent.  Yes, built a tent.

There seems to be a continuing demand for tents from my daughter.  She had one.  It's disappeared. I got another one at a garage sale.  The poles evaporated. Some sort of dimensional paradox in the garage, apparently.  Given the precarious future of tents in her possession, I am concerned when she borrows mine.

In the most recent socialist redistribution of crap I made a point of grabbing anything vaguely tent-like which came my way.  In the detritus, I found a perfect 3 "person" tent.  No poles.  There were the springy poley things from a much larger tent, separately, on another day.  An adjustment here, a tweak there, some re-threading of that ropey stuff in the middle, using a cunningly contrived wire thingy to help, and hey presto, a perfect tent.  And  enough bits left over to replace the poles on the dome tent from the dimensional paradox. I am the Tent Queen.

* I've been watching The Bible: A History  on SBS while I've been tapping away here. (A multi-skiller, me.)  Amongst other spurious and badly conceived claims, it said Queen Elizabeth I ordered that the 10 commandments be painted on the walls of every church. Were not the churchgoers largely illiterate? Hmmm.  NB: this what we call a Hypothetical Question.  DO NOT contact me with your views. I really don't care that much.

I'm left hoping that Anne Widdecombe MP does better in parliamentary debate than she does as a documentary presenter.  She says she disagrees with the views of Christopher Hitchens, Stephen Fry and others, but offers no intellectual reasons to counter their logical and articulate argument.  She's all for the top 10 but skips over the other 600-odd which were apparently the 'other' laws.  I hope Karma doesn't run over her dogma, but it very probably will.  Stephen Fry is, on the other hand, a Very Smart Man, and to be encouraged.

Monday, November 14, 2011

How sweet is a Sunday afternoon, when you don't have to go to work on Monday! Time seems to pass more slowly, in an exquisite way.  Made sweeter, quite literally, by fairy floss from the local agricultural show, and a new Jo Nesbo book for $2 from a garage sale.

A member of the Saturday saling triumvirate travelled from Geraldton for a spot of garage saling, tip shop trawling and a tiny chaser of opshopping. We did the rounds on Saturday. Amongst the finds, a restored 1950's desk, more books, some more old maps, chairs (various) and other treasures. Some nice chaps were selling up their grandad's house and shed, so there were lots of interesting rusty bits, including some interesting old keys in an old ammunition tin.  The visitor got some old maps of Yorkshire, and some lovely mid-century bits and pieces, including an unusual linen basket and a lovely bed tray.

Sunday was earmarked for a 'mega garage sale' in Mt Barker, approx 50kms north.  It wasn't necessarily 'mega' but it did have some lovely finds.  A deco mirror, in mint condition, a lovely metal folding outdoor table, a Dean Martin CD, a book about Hunter S Thompson, and a domed glass cake cover. And we sampled the scones with homemade loganberry jam - yum! We swept through the local Tipshop, more books,a sawhorse/plantstand/stool, more chairs, a 60's telephone table, AND just as we loaded the goodies in the car a local dealer was arriving - out of luck.  He looked so disappointed. There sure wasn't much left.

We found that we had a whole hour to get to the tipshop in Denmark, so we unloaded and headed over there, it was a hive of activity.  I found a lovely solid iron chair, crying out for an interesting makeover.  I spent my last $5 on a pie from the bakery and we headed home.  Luckily, a lot of the things were heading to Geraldton because space around here is at a bit of a premium.   

Today, we had time for a quick couple of opshops before a spot of lunch.  I got a nice gold (yes, gold) bangle for $3 and a sterling silver chain for $3.  Yup, a couple of books.

I have lots of work to do this week so I'll be sanding, oiling, sorting, pricing, making....2 weeks to go.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Quilts, tiedyed sheets, and fish

Only 4 working days lay between me and 2 weeks on leave.  It almost makes a Monday look good. Almost, but not quite.    
These beautiful roses are out at the moment, I think they are quite old and they seem to grow almost wild here, around old houses (or sometimes where old houses used to be.)  The scent is wonderful. 
Last week was weird, weatherwise, with a huge dump of rain mid week which left tide lines in the street and water washing in through shop doors.  Days start out brightly sunny and warm, and seem to end rainy and dark, but not cold.  One of the opshops was flooded, disrupting our Friday trawl, but amongst things at the non-flooded shops we found this quilt, some white quilt covers and sheets which my daughter is insistent on wanting to tiedye in rainbow colours,  and great chunks of her summer wardrobe.
'Work' has moved from the top end of town, surrounded by opshops, to the other end where there are lots of lovely and expensive clothing shops - this is not good news.  Its not very far, but the oppies are just too far to get to quickly, and to get anywhere one has to go past at least one desirable boutique in any direction.  So far I've acquired a new dress and assorted other wardrobe additions.  Its waaay safer to stay in Narnia and skip lunch altogether.  (We've christened our bit of the workplace 'Narnia' because we live in the dark behind a bank of cupboards.  No windows.  No natural light.  But nothing can take our overdeveloped sense of irony.)

I've been making more things for Summer Street Fair, which is coming up on the 24th November.  Some brooches from children's game pieces and wooden jigsaw pieces. I also traditionally finish off bits and pieces, or discover things I forgot I had.  I've been meaning to photograph this piece for ages, its made on a mirror so its hard to get a really good shot.   The images are of local fishermen and include some other very old photos of fishermen and whaling.  The mirror came from a commercial fishing boat.

Some old TV classics arrived in the mail a week or so ago, and I've been spending some quality time with David Niven -"The Rogues" and "The David Niven Show".  To prove that my tastes are nothing if not -broad - I also watched Thor.  I picked up Sibella Court's book Etc on sale, it's truly beautiful.  My head is full of ideas, and two weeks won't be nearly long enough.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Gotta love these 3 day long weekends! Although my Friday opshopping was off, I spent the weekend feeling it was Easter, and the garage sales were less than thrilling.  

Today, we took the remnants of the wheelbarrow collection to give to someone who creatively re-uses all sorts of things in her garden.  I took a few photos while I was there.  Who thought geraniums in washing machines would work?

I decided that having a teeny walkway through the veranda to the back door was becoming tiresome, so I went into a fixing sorting moving frenzy (apart from the bits where I drank tea and ate passionfruit sponge cake while reading the new Terry Pratchett).

I decided to finish one simple project - a small table from an old metal stool base and the top of a jarrah lazy susan.  I hate varnish.  It goes cloudy and chips and behaves badly but takes ages to get the bits off which haven't flaked off.  I was very pleased with the result though, the Danish oil gives the wood a much richer look.  

In order to actually get to the bits and the tools I needed, I had to move the old pine meatsafe in the way.  And that meant stabilising the dodgy back leg.  It wasn't all that big a job and I haven't done the cosmetic surgery yet but a bit of a wipedown and some fairly rudimentary archeological carpentry and it is out of the way and being useful.  I think I'll schedule the cosmetic surgery for Xmas holidays, when I have more time.  In the meantime, a friend scored the cute chest of drawers formerly occupying that spot.  See, I do give stuff away.

I also used some of the containers gleaned over the past four weeks for planting, and after watering this evening I snapped some pics in the evening light.  Very gardeny.

 Really, my small Canon camera is still doing OK.  Yesterday, I went with a friend to the Harvey Norman camera sale.  There's two hours of my life I'll never get back.  Still, we met a nice lady in the queue ( I kid you not).  They offered us coffee after waiting for an hour, but were greeted with a cry of damn the coffee, gin and tonic or nothing!  What was frightening was that we, and the nice lady, were the queue.  Still not quite sure why we had to wait 2 hours... and then, the woman at the till didn't want to walk from her till to the other one to accept my friend's (considerable) outlay of cash.  Since I had time to spare, I had time to notice that most of the prices were in fact higher than the local Dick Smith store, where I had been in the morning.  AND got served immediately.

I'm glad the Queen had a nice holiday.  She's had some bad years, and I'm sure she's a nice old lady, she's obviously quite fit and works hard.  Old (German) family, done a lot for the hat industry, and so on and so forth and I think her father was a good man doing a very hard job at a difficult time.

I think that in 2011, however, it's a bit of a stretch to think that anyone would actually expect a woman to curtsy, and the whole bowing and scraping thing really needs some thought.  If we accept that someone is born to be better than just about everyone else, then we accept that all people are not equal and that they don't have the right to be treated equally.  It's a short step in stilettos over the lawn to the bad old days. We can be dignified and respectful without making asses of ourselves.