Monday, August 24, 2009


I have just had the most fantastic, relaxing weekend :-) I have been in awe of the work of Spanish artist Salvador Dali ever since I was a teenager. A few months ago I heard whispers of an exhibition of his work coming to Australia, and was later gutted to learn it was only visiting Melbourne and no other cities. An opportunity to see 2 huge collections of his work brought together doesn't come around too often. Fast forward a couple of months and my very lovely hubbie suggested I take a trip to Melbourne so I could get to see it!

So first thing Saturday morning I flew from Sydney to Melbourne, went to check into my hotel and headed off to the National Gallery of Victoria.

What can I say about this exhibition? I was blown away to see so many of his amazing paintings in real life, I crouched down and moved around each piece (no mean feat as the gallery was packed), looking at how the light fell on his brush strokes, the incredible vividness of the colour he used, the liquid surrealism of his paintings that just makes you want to dive into them and swim around. There were many pieces I had never even known about, sketches, photos, film clips. It was fantastic! I spent almost 3 hours looking. The terms "mad genius" and "creative genius" are thrown around a lot, I fully believe that Salvador Dali is one of the few people in the world who actually deserves such a description.

I then took a little walk along the banks of the river. Did I mention that I went on this trip ALONE!!! I know a lot of women whose dream idea of a break away from it all would be a pampering weekend at a spa with the girls, or a weekend of shopping with friends. My ideal break is to go a-wanderin' solo. As I'm sure a lot of mums will testify, being with your children is the most wonderful, rewarding experience, but the constant routine and chaos can get a little tiring sometimes and so it was just bliss for me to go away alone for 38 whole hours, and do whatever I liked, at whatever pace I wanted, when I wanted without having to factor in routines or time-limits.

Heading back towards the hotel I came across Degraves Street, a fantastic little alley-way style street full of funky shops and eateries. It had a grungey vibe about it I liked that kind of reminded me of an area called Temple Bar in Dublin where I used to hang out as a student.

Then back to my hotel for a "nana-nap". 2 hours of late afternoon sleep, unheard of for a mother of three! Back up again and out for dinner, I found a delicious Asian restaurant and had prawn and rice rolls and then prawns in chili sauce with steamed rice (I love prawns).

And then, thanks to my husband, I spent the night in prison!!!

Perhaps I should clarify. My hubbie had booked me into a five star hotel in the city which was converted from a former prison, the Intercontinental Rialto Hotel. It was bliss, the comfiest bed ever, a super powerful shower, lounging in my white fluffy robe watching movies and eating ridiculous amounts of chocolate and snacks. My room included access to the Club Intercontinental where I was treated to evening drinks and canapies and a delicious breakfast.

My initial plan was to sleep in till midday abut after falling asleep at 10pm and waking at 7:30am after a night of pure uninterrupted sleep, I felt like wandering again. And where better than the Camberwell markets I have read about in various blogs. Off I went on the tram!

All I can say about this place is that I thought I'd died and gone to vintage heaven!! Hundreds of stalls selling all things vintage and all things gorgeous. Clothes, homewares, kitchenware, memorabilia, industrial, it was all there.

How adorable is this little model of a child's school desk, it even had a mini-chalkboard on the inside, apparently it was an apprentice's piece, gorgeous!

The original gourmet sausages eh? That's quite a claim.

Even though I had a 23kg baggage allowance for my flight, I had travelled with a small carry-on bag only to avoid having to wait at baggage claim. However when I saw this stack of fabulous vintage suitcases an idea formed in my head - buy one of these for ten bucks and fill it with 23kg worth of vintage fabulousness from the market and fly it home. Then I thought about how difficult a divorce would be on the kids, so in the end all I bought was a little vintage box brownie camera for $2 and a dressmakers ruler on a metal stand for $5. But it was bliss spending a few hours just wandering the market. I had an early evening flight back to Sydney and am happy to be home with all my fellas, refreshed and rejuvenated!

And now, all will be quiet on the blog front for me for the next couple of weeks as my wonderful Dad is arriving today from Ireland :-) We are all very excited and counting down the minutes!!! The boys love spending time with Grandad and H has a million outings planned, including picnics, tree-climbing, chasing... Hope Dad's not too jetlagged :-)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sew little...

Being a regular admirer of other bloggers' amazing craft projects I constantly vow to make beautiful things of my own. I am FULL of ideas, almost all of which never come to fruition. I especially love the idea of sewing gorgeous things to use as decor in my boys' room, all of which would involve my own needlework as I don't even own a sewing machine (though I have great hopes of coming across a beautiful green vintage one in working order at an Op shop or market someday).

Browsing on eBay I have come across many very beautiful vintage sewing boxes and especially love the wooden concertina style. They regularly sell upwards of $60 and I grudgingly decided that somebody who sews/crafts as seldomly as myself has no business owning such an item.

That was why I was so excited when I came across this mini-version at a recent market for $5!!!

Isn't it gorgeous? The box itself measures 27 cm wide by 13 cm deep by 12 cm high, the perfect size for somebody with limited supplies such as myself.

I love the little swirl carved detail.

Speaking of sewing, you may remember me waxing lyrical back in January about making H some bunting out of vintage style materials I had gathered. Well, 7 months later and I have the sum total of 10 triangles sewn so far. At this rate of production I reckon I can churn out a project per year... Impressive!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Not so 80s

I love interior design books. I used to buy them regularly but now with so many fabulous home decor blogs out there and with high quality "coffee table books" getting so expensive I tend to use the internet more for my inspiration.

It's always a treat to come across a nice interior design book in an op shop or at a market, however they're usually out of date and not very relevant to current design. I recently came across Terence Conran's "New House Book" in Vinnie's, I looked at the copyright page and saw it was published in 1985. At only $2 though I decided to buy it anyway, planning to take it home and have a chuckle at what was considered stylish in the 80s.

However when I looked through it I was interested to see that many of the interiors featured would look perfectly at home in today's top design books, here are a few...

These gorgeous rooms, photographed almost 25 years ago just go to illustrate that simple design, with vintage touches, is pretty much timeless.

What kid wouldn't love one of the above rooms?

The book is also full of practical advice on room layout, renovation procedures, materials to use etc. So what was originally a $2 purchase for a bit of a laugh has now become one of my favourite home decor books :-)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Definition from the Oxford English Dictionary:

Noun. an obsessive desire to set fire to things.

What nonsense! Pyromania, ACTUALLY, is the obsessive desire to hunt down and buy vintage pyrex (at least in my case).

What's not to love about vintage pyrex? It looks great, lasts forever and can be used daily. To be honest, my cooking needs all the help it can get and my potato-bake looks so much more delicious when it emerges from the oven in a gorgeous pyrex dish. Unfortunately I don't come across it that often, and even when I do I only buy it if I love the pattern. Here are some favourites...

Blue peacock patterned mixing bowl - $2

Christmassy snowflake baking dish - $5

Pink leaf patterned bowl - $3

Orange casserole dish - $3

Usually the problem is finding lids to go with the dishes I buy, but if you come across a lone pyrex lid don't pass it by. I picked up this lovely grape patterned one for $1 and find it great for cooking shallow items in the oven such as fish, aubergine slices etc.

With a brand new uninspiring glass pyrex casserole costing about $45 in departments stores, why not go out and hunt down some vintage pyrex which usually costs under $5 per piece? Next time you see some, snap it up! Unless of course you see me reaching for it too, in which case, run for your life!

To see some serious pyrex collectors check out Pyrex Love.