Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Council Cleanup

Twice a year, each council in Sydney organises a clean-up for its suburbs. It is a chance for people to get rid of all that oversized "junk" that won't fit in regular wheelie-bins such a fridges, washing machines, broken doors etc. It's also a chance to do a good clean out of your "stuff", see what you may not need anymore, haven't used in ages etc.

Council clean-up is a virtual treasure trove for thrifters. Amongst all the broken appliances, old paint tins and bags of damp grotty magazines are some real treasures. It's a win-win situation for all involved, people get rid of unwanted stuff, others find treasures in that junk and the council avoid rubbish being thrown out onto the kerbs haphazardly throughout the year (mostly).

Some seekers get straight in there, rummaging through bags, lifting wardrobes to see what's underneath. I'm not that much of a heavy-weight, I have a quick look as I pass by and see if there's anything of interest. There is a sense of fun to the whole thing, the rule is that you are supposed to leave it until the day before the clean-up to put out your junk, although people generally start a couple of weeks beforehand. But with the bulk being left out the evening before, you can spot people out with their flashlights, piling up their utes. Everyone's idea of treasure differs, some people are looking for bikes, some for wood, computer parts, glass etc for building projects, some for toys...

This system sure beats Ireland for example, where there is no such thing as a council cleanup (or wasn't when I lived there). Instead, if you need to get rid of big junk you have to hire a skip (at the cost of a couple of hundred euro). You hear shuffling and banging noises during the night and wake up to find your skip has been filled with the whole neighbourhood's junk!!! This is much more fun!! The council generally leave it till late afternoon/evening to collect so everyone has a good chance to look, it works out better for them too as it means less for them to collect.

Here's what I found this year, all on my own street:

Yet another typewriter, an Adler Gabriele 35 for anyone who's interested in such things. As an aside, I have seen an Olympia typewriter the same as the one I found a while back, sell for $220 on eBay and have also seen it retail for $495 on specialist vintage typewriter websites. Not that I'll be selling mine as I LOVE it, but interesting...

I found this stash of cafe-ware outside an apartment block last week. There were boxes of cups and saucers, loads of huge pots and cook-books, I think it must have been from a cafe that was updating or maybe closing down.

I needed a good scales, I have a vintage-style one in our kitchen that is very temperamental, a bag of mince could weigh 500 grams one minute, 350 grams the next. So I was delighted to find this nice big one.

I love this chalkboard, I thought it would be fun to write up a weekly menu-plan on it, but a certain little blond cupcake has other plans for it :-)

And the 3 pans are Chef-inox professional, they are the 20cm wide, 4.5 cm deep one (again for anyone interested) which retail new for between $59 and $79 EACH!!!

Our local playgroup did a clean-out to coincide with the council cleanup, we spent a few hours clearing out broken toys and old furniture, I couldn't believe it when these 2 gorgeous vintage kiddie chairs when into the pile, SCORE!!! Aren't they sweet?

And lastly a couple of wire baskets, perfect for storing crayons, foam shapes etc for the boys.

Not a bad haul at all!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sydney Made Simple

I have been checking out all the gorgeous prints and illustrations available on Etsy. I especially love cute little city illustrations and liked the idea of having one of Sydney in the boys' bedroom. Unable to find anything suitable I took it upon myself to design my own.

Before becoming a stay-at-home-mum I was a graphic designer. I have been out of the workforce now for 4 years and am planning to be a full-time Mum until my kids are all at least school age. I am sorry to say I have totally neglected keeping my skills up to scratch. Last night I downloaded trials of both Photoshop and Illustrator and have had great fun today, while the boys napped, playing around with them (hence the new blog header). This little Sydney illustration took me about 20 minutes and I plan on printing it on A3 matt paper and framing it for the kiddies' room. I like to think it has a certain naive charm :-)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Ferry Lovely Find

I know I'm not alone in loving vintage children's books, I also love finding Australian story books. With all my boys having been born here in Sydney I am enjoying building up a little collection of books featuring koalas, kangaroos and all things Aussie for their "library". I was thrilled to come across this delightful book last week in Vinnie's that is both vintage and Aussie!

These are just a few of the charmingly illustrated pages. My boys love going out on the harbour ferries so this book will no doubt become a favourite. It was published in 1966 by Angus and Robertson, I never even knew they were a publishers as well as a bookseller. What also interests me is that the book features glimpses of the Sydney Opera House which was designed in 1957 and finally opened in August 1973. The outside must have been completed by the time of this book's publishing unless the illustrator was going off the projected drawings.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I LOVE London!!!

I absolutely LOVE London, what a place!! Having grown up in Dublin, so close by, I travelled every other continent of the world before I ever went there. I always assumed it would just be a bigger version of Dublin, how wrong I was!! It's really a buzzing, fantastic, lovely city, with so much to see and do. I visited for the first time at the age of 29 and then went 6 times within one year. It could very well be my second favourite city in the world.

I saw Muji's "City in a Bag" range on a blog and really wanted to get the London one, unfortunately they do not have a store here in Australia and I couldn't find a supplier, the UK store only delivers within EU, so I was thrilled to find one on eBay!!! I LOVE it! They also do Paris, Tokyo and others. Unfortunately they don't do my favourite city in the world... Sydney!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Kids Corners

Some kiddy stuff.

I saw the idea of using vintage board games as decor on Flickr and loved it. This Lone Ranger game was an eBay purchase 99 cents and the French/English game was $5 in Vinnie's. The tin toys and lamp are as previously posted, I used the wooden drinks crate I wrote about before as the table base, I had being using it for storing the boys' craft materials but it was a bit heavy to lug around so now it has a new purpose.

The Lone Ranger game is from 1966 and is made in Australia and the French game was made in Canada in 1980. Nice to have some games from before everything started being "Made in China".

This is a shot I previously featured, the little book display is an old spice rack I spruced up with white paint, along with some of the boys' tin toys and a little case I jazzed up with some robot paper.

This is a shot of the boys' shelves I took a while back, rare for them to be so tidy!!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ugly Duckling

I went to a carboot market last weekend and picked up this first aid box.

I fell in love with it straight away, it's metal and has a LOT of rust on the front as you can see but the inside is in pretty good condition and I reckon with some sanding and a few coats of spray paint I could turn this ugly duckling into a real swan. I just love its colours, the red, blue and white scream "Nurse Nancy" to me :-) It cost $2.

I picked up a few more things (of course).

Vintage wooden ruler, love that it says "Made in Australia" - $1

These photo frames fit 3 standard size photos each - $3.

Cute native Australian animal dominoes - $1

Vintage skipping rope - $2.

REALLY old whisk/egg beater - $5.

What visit to a carboot market would be complete without adding to the boys' little car collection, this was free!! A very nice old lady took a shine to my eldest H. and bought it for him despite my protestations, he was delighted!

Cute clock - $1.

Little drumming toy - another freebie, the girl at this particular stall was the most chilled person I have ever seen (too chilled?) and just said "take it" when I asked how much.

We had a lot of fun at this carboot market, just 2 of the boys were with me, our middle munchkin was having a nice dada-son morning out. First stop was a stall selling toys where I picked up a cute little camera toy for my youngest for $1, he was then content to sit in the stroller munching on a rusk, playing with his new toy. My eldest had fun checking out all the different toys, had a few turns on the bouncy castle and enjoyed brunch from the sausage sizzle. I took a few photos on my camera phone and will post them if I can ever work out how to get photos from my phone onto the computer.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Corners of My Home

Inspired by the Corners of My Home pool on Flickr I decided to have some fun doing a few of my own.

Bedside Table.
Old story books 50 cents each at a carboot market. Wooden figure $2 in Vinnie's (great for storing jewellery). Other items as previously posted.

Kitchen shelves.
The letters (my sons' initials) were chipboard letters I bought in Spotlight and painted with chalkboard paint. The cute Wedgwood style salt and pepper shakers were an eBay purchase. The goblets as
previously posted.

Sideboard in Living Room.
In reality most of my stuff is pushed back out of the reach of the kids, all books are up high out of reach of my youngest, AKA "The Shredder", ornaments and glassware are pushed well back out of the reach of my middle boy who treats a lot of things as he would a ball, as in throwing them!! So I had fun while they napped moving things about to how I would like them arranged
. I love this arrangement, FREE typewriter, $5 vase and $5 lamp. I will be doing a few more corners so watch this space!