Around here lately…

A relaxed 40th birthday party at Bexley Bowls club. Smoked BBQ, kids running around, big hair, good friends.

Exploring Pirrama park in Pyrmont (also known as chasing the kid around freaking out that he’ll jump into the harbour)

A trip out to the Eugalo farm to pick up the very last of the (long) season’s hydrangeas for a beautiful lady and her equally beautiful new baby. While up there we had a very fancy lunch, Little A went exploring in the bush with Blue in tow and we met the neighbours.

 

Photos and abodes

You might remember from this post that a couple of months back SAH and I had spent weeks furiously cleaning our house, even going so far as to call in the big guns: SAH’s Super Awesome Mum.

We finished off a hand full of half done projects, SAH even started a new project (thanks for the heart attack babe, it looks great), and generally readied ourselves to have the house photographed by ace photographer Luisa Brimble for a feature in the Beetle Shack’s Creative Family Home Project.

Emily is showcasing one home a month this year on her friendly blog, The Beetle Shack. Inviting her reader’s to take a peek into the creative spaces of some lovely families and we were very chuffed to be asked.

The feature is now live on the blog, so you can pop over and check out our house in all its clean glory. We had but one stipulation – you can’t document our horrible bathroom or kitchen. Those spaces are beyond cleaning and Lightroom filters to make them appear lovely, it’s a pity but some day we will renovate and they will be as fabulous as the rest of the house.

A week after I hosted Em and Luisa I got an email from the features editor at Cosmopolitan magazine. They were looking for ladies who collected strange things; I told them they had contacted the right gal. And a few days later I welcomed a small team of a photographer, stylist and writer into our still clean house to document my dressing room with all its crazy knick-knacks and scary toys.

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I am quite pleased with the article as so often what you say can be skewed to make you look ‘kooky’ and more interesting to the general public. I am not pleased however with the fact that my age is as big as my name – gah! And double gah that this Sunday the number will tick over another year.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my birthday in fact I generally have a birthday week (and with all this press it feels like a month of ME!) but I am feeling sorry for myself as I traipse towards 40. Constantly being reminded as I teach students who weren’t born before the Internet became mainstream, that I am old even though I don’t really feel old. I am getting older.

But before I sulk off to ponder life the universe and everything at 35, I have to say that my life so far – as documented in the articles above – has been colourful and interesting. A good combination.

Camberwell Markets

Words cannot adequately describe the ‘can’t sit still’ excitement I feel when I am close to good junk. On approach I get butterflies in my stomach, I get agitated when I can’t find a parking spot right away (or if I’m a passenger and the driver doesn’t drive with surgical precision to the market), if I am talking to someone I usually stop mid sentence, loose my train of thought and go in to ‘the zone’ preparing to sweep and scout each table, isle and pile for gold.

Thrifting and markets usually work better for me when I go with someone I’ve known for a long time and they don’t get upset when I walk away from them to investigate. Tanya and I worked out a technique many years ago that has worked for us, we meet at the beginning of the market/thrift shop/collectables store make sure we touch base a few times and at the end but in between we are both in hunting mode. It also helps to split up so we don’t both grab for the same stuff. Sounds ruthless but it works.

Last month while in Melbourne I made plans to meet up with Jess and spend a day junk hunting together. Long time internet buddies and Instagram haul admirers we definitely had similar taste but were we market compatible?

After making my way to Jess’s house in the early misty morning, she confessed to me in the car on the way to Camberwell Markets that most people didn’t have the stamina to thrift the entire day long with her and I knew in that instant I had found a suitable market buddy.

Luckily we found a close parking spot so I didn’t have to get grumpy but I did pull like a puppy on a leash when Jess suggested we get coffee before riffling through the markets – which would mean walking the ENTIRE length of the markets without looking at anything. I declined and said I could last a little on an empty tank.

The first table I (almost) rushed to when I saw what I thought was a Barsony black lady figure, holy moley! And it was $100! Thank god I had Jess there to point out that it was a replica. A REPLICA!! She informed me that we would be seeing more of them in the future as it was a thing now and the table we were standing at specialised in replicas (and not advertising the fact they were not originals). Stung a little by this reveal I managed to pick myself up and press on with Jess and her adorable baby girl G.

We circled the aisles, delved into boxes, chatted, swooped, enabled and haggled. It was a fantastic morning. We are definitely drawn to the same things so we had to be chivalrous about some items but we did end up buying matching vintage posters that were far to sweet too leave.

Meeting up briefly with my sister-in-law and the family for brunch, Jess proceeded to take me to her ‘secret vintage lair’. You know, every collector has one. A store that continually turns up great finds that it is your own precious gem. Sworn to secrecy I wasn’t even allowed to take photos, but needless to say I came away with a trolley filled with goodies.

And to prove our staying power, we ended up being kicked out of the store at closing time. Meaning we had junk hunted from very early morning to very late afternoon. A compatible match for sure.

Leaving the marketings and the vintage lair I felt completely sated but slightly worried about how I was going to fit everything in my suitcase for the plane ride home.

#thriftlifebrag

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A few weeks ago I put a call out to join me in a little humble brag about some of the tops scores you found in op shops, well I can tell you there were some mind blowing responses on Instagram. Tagging their images with #thriftlifebrag these ladies kindly shared some green inducing treasures.

These beauties were picked up in an op shop for 50¢ by Rare Pear.

Fabulous mid-century modern candelabra – $1.

$10 from an op shop in Enmore a Barsony wall hanging bust. One of those once in a lifetime finds.

Pottymouth Mama has a vase habit that see’s her hit up op shops for a fix.

How beautiful is the colour of this vintage chair? Would cheer up anyone’s office – it certainly put a smile on Rainbow Vintage Home’s face!

The ridiculousness of this image is these fabulous canisters were picked up from one garage sale. From one hoarder to the next. Kiss the Cats is a consummate thrifter with a real talent for finding gems as you will see from the following submissions…

One church sale, many fisher price toys.

The spoils of *one* full day of thrift shopping – I told you she had a knack.

A quick drop into a thrift shop on the way home from errands produces all this.

Not one but THREE hugely rare 60s beach towels. I am in awe.

New couch? Just please!

Not bad for random thrift stop: 60s beach towel, huge purse and knitting patterns (that boy’s carry has a seal on the pocket, perfect for seal obsessed Little A)

Roller disco?…

Gillian Girl is ready!

For vintage wearing ladies this label is pure gold, to find it in an op shop is unheard of (what a lucky duck!)

If you want thrift luck – this lady has it! Quiet Vintage Sewing found this framed with glass Tretchikoff print for $15!! But that’s not the best one…

This pig-tailed Barsony lamp with ribbon shade set Quiet Vintage Sewing back $10. That’s right, Trish just won the internet. Game over people, that’s it. $10! I wept and I am sure she did to. Probably wee’d a little too, did the ‘yes yes, just take my money and give me the lamp so I can run down the street manically laughing’ dance too.

Wow.

Thank you ladies for participating the first Thrift Life Brag round up. Are you inspired? Have you scored bigger and better? I want to see them! We all want to see them! Post them on Instagram with the hashtag #thriftlifebrag and it could be included in the next Thrift Life Brag round up for the world to drool over!

 

Mummies go mild weekend

Gone are the days when I would stay out all night, drinking and talking with boundless energy. These days I call it a big night if I stay up past 10pm – whoa! Slow down there.

So what once could have been a girls gone wild weekend, turned into mummies go mild when I met up with two girlfriends in Melbourne last week.

As members of the ‘tall girls trio’ Ginger, Tini and I towered over colleagues when we worked at McGraw-Hill together, sharing a similar sense of humour and the same meteorological conditions* we became firm friends. As our lives took us in different directions (new jobs, new babies, new cities) we kept in touch and occasionally tossed the idea around of meeting up somewhere but never really committing. Then at the beginning of this year the stars and moons aligned and somehow Tini and I had booked our tickets to Melbourne and where we would all meet up and see Wicked (the musical) together.

*you know, like that joke short people ask tall people ‘how’s the weather up there?’

Not one to miss an opportunity I decided to make the weekend an extra long one and squeeze in a few visits with some of my gorgeous Melbourne based publishers on Friday and Monday. Little did I realise that it would mean Friday morning would become a screaming rush of blearily eyed pre-dawn wake up, hair & make up, flight and taxi dash to my first meeting with a new publisher (hello, here is my portfolio I am very good please give me work. K thanks bye). After which I rushed off to my next appointment to get my nails did at Trophy Wife (the original and best) with an Ashley Goldberg inspired design.

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Then finally meeting up with the ladies a MoVida for an amazing lunch and much needed wine. The lunch quickly turned into a new business meeting as we celebrated Tini’s new career as a commissioning editor (hello, here is my portfolio I am very good please give me work. K thanks bye).

It was complete bliss to see those ladies and have a good laugh together. Sometimes you just don’t realize how much you miss a friend until they are sitting next to you regaling you with their child’s hilarious poo stories and it dawns on you that a little friendship piece has fallen back perfectly into place. Or maybe it’s the way you effortlessly complete each other’s spontaneous modern dance pieces late at night with such flair.

Playing the enablers to each other we shopped at a few of the outlet stores on Bridge Rd Richmond, spending a large amount of time trying everything on in the double wide Gorman outlet store. I really do like Gorman but had to admit defeat after 90% of the clothes I tried on did NOT suit my hourglass shape, they are designed for twigs to give them the illusion of an hourglass shape. I did however purchase a few bits and pieces including a pair of polka dot jeans that will replace my maternity skinny jeans that I shamefully still wear (at home and just up to the shops promise! Please don’t take my sartorial card away!).

Wicked surprised me. I have to confess to not being a fan of musicals. I find them contrived and unbelievable but Wicked caught me unaware and I enjoyed it immensely – although obviously not as much as others as, at what I can only assume were, the famous songs in the show there was enraptured applause and hootin’ and hollerin’ like it was a rock concert. Wicked fan club?

I had read the Gregory Macguire series of books, the first of which the musical is based on, years ago and had loved it. But more recently when I revisited the first book for book club found I had a different taken on the story and hated it (go figure!).

The next morning I experience potato dumpling euphoria at Babka in Fitzroy and was chuffed to introduce one of my favourite cafes to my tall ladies. Taking advantage of our current location and bidding a bitter sweet farewell to Ginger, Tini and I proceeded to vintage stop ‘til we pretty much dropped – right in to the comfy seats of Stagger Lee for another delicious meal. Where we were met by David and Evie and their brand new baby girl. The last time I was in Melbourne was for their wedding, so it was very special to see them glowing with happiness as new parents. Such a sweet family unit.

Saying goodbye to Tini on Sunday morning I headed off bright an early into the Melbourne mist on a mission to meet up with Jess for a day of markets and thrifting. First stop Camberbwell markets (and a separate post for that).

Monday saw me flitting between publishers crisscrossing the city, and enjoying the glorious non-autumnal weather.

I don’t get to visit my Melbourne clients very often but when I do it is highly enjoyable. Being able to sit down and discuss not only the projects we collaborate on, but book design in general, things happening in the industry and share a laugh are some of the reasons I steadfastly stick to trying to my make living in publishing. It’s the people AND the product that makes Australian publishing to rich (but not monetary rich, no if you want to earn your fortune don’t look at poor old publishing).

I arrived home travel weary and very happy to return to my little family late on Monday night.

Melbourne is a funny place. On maps it looks small and manageable but those blocks of streets are huge when you are walking and catching public transport. I like to think I know the city well (well enough for an outsider that is) but I am always shocked at how little I really see when I don’t have a car. I suppose you can say the same for Sydney.

It was a well earned break and I got lucky with the company I kept whilst in town.

I am this person’s mum…

And that’s pretty rad.

After a luxurious 9.30 sleep in, we divided our mother’s day between our mums.

Lunch was with SAH’s parents at Pazar food collective (the new incarnation of La Lupita) for far too much good food. And at which Little A took a chunk out of his head on a low lying metal shelf. It shook us up and his hair was matted with blood, but it didn’t seem to slow him down at all.

Afternoon tea was at my parents for even more delicious food and a bit of homemade pizza, which Little A excitedly helped with. He was so proud. And so was I.

I have to tell you, I’ve had a couple of very good mother’s days in a row I think it’s my new favourite special date. Thank you family.

Thrift Life: the brag

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Thrift Life is a sporadic feature created to showcase various op shop, charity shop and thrift shop vintage finds. 

I love a good thrift shop. It’s the adventure of the hunt. A quick nip into that op shop you just happen to drive by, never know what you’re going to find (it’s a bit like a box of chocolates in that way). Charting errands by importance of how close they are to Vinnies or Salvos.

Of course I have my favourites, ones that reward my persistence but I do tend to cast my thrift-net wide. Travelling far and wide for my finds, all over Sydney and sometimes outside the city altogether.

The nature of our vintage style means the majority of stuff I buy is second hand, and the nature of my spending is that I am a tight-arse and don’t like parting with large amounts of money.

But the thing is I don’t just like finding stuff, I love seeing other people’s found treasures too. It’s the excitement in other people’s good fortune and the slight zing of jealously. It spurs me on to keep hunting.

So that’s why I am launching a little social media show and tell: the Thrift Life Brag.

Have you ever had the “find of a life time” in a thrift shop? Have you felt the pull of the thrift and scored?

Here’s your chance to show it off and have a thrift brag!

Just take of photo of your score or scores and send them to me hello{at}designcherry.com or join me on instagram @astredcherry , posting your images with the hashtag #thriftlifebrag

I will compile all the images in one big thrift life brag post in the coming weeks!

What are you waiting for? Send me your images! Let’s see your awesome finds.

This morning I picked up a toy fridge for Little A, to add to the garage sale bought oven and SAH built kitchen.

Then later in the day, after the neighbourhood experienced a black out I was forced to take a break, what to do? Oh let me see, I’ll take a trip to an Op Shop I hadn’t been to in a long time. Bingo! 1 tea towel, set of cups and saucers and a little painting. But the scores I’ve been so crazy happy with, so much so I almost peed with I found them are my novelty hats. YEARS of thrifting and this is the first time I’ve ever found 60s sun hats. Then there is this telephone graphic bed spread. And this awesome fitted and flat sheet set. The finds are too numerous too list and frankly if I don’t photograph it when I get it home, I won’t bother to later as it becomes a part of the house.
So come on- share your finds with us!

Bush, Water, Easter

When our friends offered us the use of their holiday house over the Easter long weekend we said ‘oh please yes thank you!’ and thought to ourselves ‘aren’t we lucky to have such generous friends?’ when we arrived at the property on Good Friday afternoon upon opening the door, our jaws dropped and SAH quickly faced each other to high five – the place was amazing.

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I’ve said it before but it’s worth saying again, we have some very cool friends. And Kate and Felix along with their two daughters are part of that collective. Supreme taste and artist sensibilities make them interesting people to chat to, while their warmth and generosity makes the friendship glow. Felix used to be my boss a million years ago but not so long ago we wrote a book together and now regularly meet up in the staff room at the design college where we both lecture. Kate is an accomplished artist and print maker and recently completed an installation my father and I commissioned for my mum in honor of her completing her PhD (you can read my mum’s response to the artwork here on her blog)

So the house was always going to be cool, but as SAH and I are used to spending holidays in fibro beach shacks we knew to expect something a little more polished than a rickety hut but were blown away by the architect designed module home set high on the side of a hill, a few hours south of Sydney.

It was a complete luxury and we enjoyed every minute – aside from the minutes we were chasing after Little A pleading with him not to destroy the quality of the house.

We spent the days ‘embracing slow’ as Jodi would say. Letting the mornings unravel in their own time with cups of tea and copious amounts of bacon, sitting on the veranda and listening to the trees.

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When we were ready we packed up the car and made our way to the beach. The first day the surf was huge and rough, so seaside paddling was out of the question. Instead we watched as surfers enjoyed the crash and power of the waves from the safety of the beach while Little A madly constructed sandcastles.

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We visited one of the towns not so far away and got caught in the Easter weekend tourist crush. It broke the magic a little for us, so after sifting through the collectable shops and downing a few pies we high-tailed it back to the sanctuary of the house.

Where the local kangaroo gang finally made an appearance and Little A happily bounced on the trampoline yelling out to the unfazed animals ‘I a kangaroo like you!’

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Sunday slowly rolled out as we returned to the beach to explore rock pools and finally get to have that promised swim in a much calmer ocean (well the boys did, I just sat on the beach and happily watched).

Monday we sadly packed up and said good bye to the house, the view, the kangaroos and the trampoline as Little A protested and exclaimed ‘I can’t!’ – as in he couldn’t leave he was having far too much fun on holidays.

The trip back to Sydney took hours longer as the entire population returned from their own long weekend break. A stop in Berry for donuts and a leg stretch was welcomed but my favourite part of the drive is going from Berry to Gerringong. And I have often told SAH (many times on this trip in fact) if we won lotto I would buy a holiday house in that area, possibly Gerroa. The land where the rolling green hills stretch from the volcanic mountains down to the sea is one of the most picturesque, comforting places I know. My first driving lesson 2 hours after I got my learning permit was along those country roads in my friend’s father’s battered Landrover Discovery and I fell madly in love with the area there and then.

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Having said that, the holiday house is not too shabby at all. A beautiful place to stay and was a welcomed weekend away. Thank you K&F.

 

Eye of the tiger

I write my best blog posts when I am falling asleep, I can see the entire entry laid out and somehow I am able to write sentences that make sense – interesting content effortlessly constructed. Then I fall asleep and loose the lot.

The other night I wrote a wrap up of the last few weeks (they’ve been big) and was very happy with it. My only problem was it was in my head, not my computer. SAH has suggested I use the Dictaphone app on my iPhone. I suggested I would feel like a tosser and it would scare the words away. So the solution is to take notes right? But after a long day, laying in bed trying to relax and fall asleep the last thing I want to do is sit up and write notes. I am can barely be arsed to sit up and put socks on when my feet are cold.

The solution is mind-control, I’m just putting this out there WordPress.

But I digress. It’s been a big few weeks and no doubt if you read any Australian blogs this week you’ll have come across mentions of the Kidspot Voices of Australia 2014 blogging awards. There have been nominations, judging and this past weekend the finalists were announced along side a blogging master class and launch party. Well I am pretty proud to say this space of rambles has placed in the top 30 personal blog category. That’s right, people actually read my blog and like it – winner!

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Awards are given in three categories and then an overall winner is chosen at the end of the year. All the awards are judged by a panel of industry peeps but to be considered in the first place, you need to be nominated by readers. So I wanted to say thank you to those who nominated me, you are awesome thank you for liking me and my blog enough to do so. (ps. I nominated myself as well because, why the hell not? If you can’t toot your own horn who will?)

So enough with the humble brag.

While SAH and Little A drove down the coast for a weekend away with his family I stepped out for the weekend, attending the blogging master class during the day and the launch party at night. With my trusty wingman, Goose erm, Ursula by my side we had a rollicking good time at the launch party, took a swag of photos, met some lovely bloggers (like Keeping up the Holsbys, Blah Blah magazine and My Square Frying Pan), met blogger friends in the flesh or IRL as the kids say, and my wingman may or may not have been convinced to start her own blog by Bron. Thanks for hosting a great night Kidspot.

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It was a great bookend to a jam-packed few weeks, which included 2 photo shoots (house + me for blog and magazine publication), a fun hand painted signage project for Megan Morton and some really interesting book design briefs.

Phew! I’m just a little bit tired.

My kid was here

For the last two weeks SAH and I have been frantically cleaning the house and finishing off projects left, right and centre. SAH’s saint of a mother came in last weekend and helped with the final push in cleaning. She washed the walls, the floors (3 times) and the ceilings. She deserves a medal. My own mother whisked Little A off for two days in a row so we could clean without fear of our work quickly being undone.

It lasted a heavenly week, until oh about 2 hours ago when I had to sit down at my desk to work and Little A went to work on the studio/sun room. Being a fan of Milk Please Mum‘s sporadic chronicling of the wake of destruction by her own children, I thought this would be an excellent time to join her in this documentation.

My kid was here:

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IMG_9312Our cleaning frenzy was brought on by our house being featured in an exciting project later in the year. Can’t wait to tell you about it.

 

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