Thursday 31 January 2013

Redheads Rock!

I was digging through my mum's kitchen drawer to find some matches (no I have not yet given up smoking) and found this great box of "Redheads". Like many lovely things, they are made in Sweden, and they inspired me to do an ode to the beautiful redheads I know. The first pic is of me and the matches (yes yes, I am not a true redhead - but close enough).

my lovely niece Zara, my clever friend Kim from The Painted Blackbird, beautiful Claire my husband's amazing friend and mentor and gorgeous Tink our lil one's guard mother who now lives in DC. All such fun talented people. 

Our Pied Piper

Glen is like the Pied Piper of our family. The kids just seem to gravitate towards him. I think because in the whole crazy bunch, he is the only one that is truly calm. Isn't this just a lovely snap of the cousins all together?

Wednesday 30 January 2013

Leith's First Day At His New School

Here are some pics we took this morning before Leith set off to his first day at Kunyung Primary. My boys are so Kooky. Leith takes photographs so seriously (as if an author posing for his debut novel pic), Kian is just all cheese. Don't you just love the Canadian Mountie hat?

He set off with fierce independence today, refusing our offer of seeing him to his classroom, despite the fact that all the other kids' parents were taking them down and they had attended the school for a few years. He emerged this afternoon as happy as could be, declaring it was the best school in the world. He even described his Physical Education lesson as "almost as much fun as a play-date with William" which is so odd for Leith because 1) he hates sport and 2) nothing comes close to the fun of a Leith/William play-date. When asked what sport he had played in the lesson he described something which sounded like rounders, but could just as easily have been soccer - he said there was a ball and running and points. The Murrays - last of the great sporting families! Anyway, I was so happy for him because he loves learning and this little place seems so perfect for him. It even has beautiful sea views!

Forms Of One Kind And Another

I have been filling out LOTS of forms. Forms for bank accounts. Forms for schools. Forms for medicare / travel / centerlink / lease agreements..... just a whole lot of horrible forms. Forms with spaces that are too short to write information that is too long. Forms with check boxes for everything but the thing I want to check. Forms that ask for bits of information that you have not got yet and so have to fill out additional forms in order to get. AAARGH! However, I have Xanax and my sister Karen, who does not seemed phased by forms. Either she has been living in Aus for so long that she is used to forms, or maybe she is just a calmer, more adult person than me. Anyway, I digress, this post is actually about much nicer forms than the ones I have been describing.
On Sunday, while my lovely Karen was helping me fill out forms, Darren took the boys to see the annual Frankston Sand Sculptures. Every year they have an exhibition of pieces by sand sculptors who are asked to create work within a certain theme. This year the theme was Under The Sea. Other years have featured dinosaurs, toys, and creepy crawlies.
The boys don't look very happy or enthralled in the pic but Darren reassures me they had a marvellous time.

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Our House (Any House) In The Middle Of Our Street (Any Street)

Oh my goodness looking for houses to rent / let is difficult. Mostly because if we were quite poor in SA we are V poor here after dividing our SA Rands by ten. My sweet sister has got Leith and Kian into good schools, in good areas i.e. far away from anything we could afford. But there is this place called Frankston. If you say the word Frankston here in Melbourne, people look at you funny and raise their voices and speak slower, as if there really was something wrong with you for even mentioning the place. Frankston has a bit of a bad rap, people think it is dodgy. But then again dodgy here is v different to dodgy back home and there is a nice little pocket of Frankston with old, quaint weather board houses that have wooden floors. There is one in particular I love love love. It's like half the size of our house in Durban, but it is us - no horrendous carpets and badly renovated kitchens. The very best thing about it is, out the back there is a lovely studio space in which I could hide. It might be difficult to rent anything, seeing that we don't really exist yet and landlords generally prefer real people to ghost immigrants, but please hold thumbs that we get it because it would make me so happy. What do you guys think?
The back
The lounge looking into a strange series of rooms divided by sliding doors which we would make the boys bedrooms and playroom.
A wee kitchen and small breakfast nook space.

Happy Birthday Dad

My lovely Dad is 75 years old today. He is my hero, a quiet, rather pessimistic one, but a hero all the same. He has given me so much valuable advice in my life but the two bits that have really stuck with me are: 1) "You can eat an elephant if you do it one bite at a time" 2) "Don't expect anything, that way you will not be disappointed but may at times be pleasantly surprised"

My Dad and Mum on their wedding day
My Dad with my sister and I
A painting of mine of my Dad, sister and teeny tiny me

I am not sure what I would have done without my loving family lately. They are all so kind and they know me so well. Huge appreciation folks!

Monday 28 January 2013

Lumiere Art + Co

My sister has a friend named Emma who runs a delightful on-line shop called Lumiere Art + Co. Emma has been so sweet and encouraging about the ONCE blog and our future product ranges. I can't wait to meet her. She makes beautiful soft home-wares such as cushions and pillow cases and relief printed artworks. 
This is a short description of her process taken from her site: "Our cushions have been relief printed, created by direct contact with a raised surface or object. Each print is unique has its own individual qualities and intricacies.Our recycled PET cushion inserts are soft and squishy, and best of all they are friendly to the environment."

Here is a short description of her prints: "Mandala represents home, intricacy and simplicity. Mandala is a Sanskrit word that means, "circle". It is used to establish a sacred space and employed for focusing attention.Lumiere Art + Co's artworks are all relief printed using a press and signed by Emma Cleine."

Second-Hand Haven

Yesterday we took a break from the forms and chaos of trying to set up a life and went to a place called Waverley Antiques. It is a large warehouse in a fairly industrial part of town that has hundreds of separate vintage stalls. Almost like an indoor permanent flea-market. Each little nook is rented on a monthly basis and is set up like a teeny tiny shop. There is one central pay point, which means that stall holders do not sit in their stalls, they just pop in occasionally during the month to make sure their stall is looking nice. I am not sure it would work in SA due to shoplifting (there are only three people manning the whole place and it is as big as an airport hanger). There was a bit of junk but generally there were some beautiful pieces. Of course Darren found three biscuit tins to add to his collection. The prices are fairly reasonable (much more so than buying a can of coke or a box of smokes!). We may in the future consider having a stall there, however we really need to focus on the on-line shop first. I am so itching to start, but I suppose opening a bank account, finding a car and a place to live comes first, so I just have to be patient.
We have previously been to a few of these kind of warehouses in Tyabb, but they are much further out from Melbourne centre, and if I remember correctly a bit more expensive too.

Sunday 27 January 2013

Thrift Shopping 3 and Bettie Page Dresses

I found this absolutely stunning vintage curtain in an op shop the other day. It is very hardy fabric and it is huge. I bought it because I thought I could use it to cover an old armchair for our new home, but at the checkout this lovely girl behind the till suggested I make a Bettie Page like dress from the fabric. Now I have many beautiful 1950's dress patterns on the ship over here so I might well sell the fabric with one of these patterns for a retro loving seamstress to make up.

The dresses shown above come from a shop called ModCloth. My fabric is shown in the middle and is only a tiny detail from the large piece of cloth. Because the fabric is so thick and hardy it would hold the flare of the fifties dresses beautifully without having to wear the numerous petticoats that one usually has to in order to hold the shape of the dress.

Thrift Shopping 2 and a Beautiful Little Blog

My wondrous and oh so missed friend Sam, sent me this link to an amazing little blog by a girl named Marianne who runs Esme And The Laneway. She is so hip and beautiful and blogs about vintage fashion and hairstyles and make-up and her experiences in Melbourne city. She looks like Scarlett Johansson.

these are pics of her from her blog
 this lovely little dress we found in a JHB thrift shop would look grand on her don't you think and will be in our soon-to-be opened online store.

Saturday 26 January 2013

Lost Forever

This is a rather sad little post that goes out to the memory of my best friend Richard who would have turned 45 years old to day. It has been almost six years since his death and still (and forever) there will be for me, certain times of day, light, smells and full moons that have a Richard shaped hole in them, never to be filled.

He would have hated my blog, so sorry Richard to even dare to do a post about you, but you did torment me at times too, so maybe it's ok?

Thrift Shopping 1

I know I said I would post some of my thrifty finds yesterday, but time she slips away. Especially when one is trying to: buy a car, look at houses to rent, set up medical and schooling benefits cards, open a bank account, buy new cell phones and figure out how they work (those of you who know me, will know how traumatic this one is), make slow roast lamb for our late family Xmas, paint a little wooden doll house I found in a thrift / op shop for Eloise for our family Xmas, get into vaguely the right sleeping patterns, change the adapters / plugs on all our electronics and entertain two little boys who have been on holiday for FAR TOO LONG!
I am astounded I even got to a thrift shop or two. But I did - of course I did! Here are some pics of little gems I found in the kitchen wares and fabric departments. They will all soon join the goodies in our boxes of vintage treasures that, when our ship comes in (literally not figuratively as that might take a little longer), will  be for sale in our ONCE shop.

vintage tea towels and a fab circular table cloth
a pristine set of 6 applique place mats with matching serviettes and a beautiful Johnson Ware plate
grand granny print fabric and the most 70's of crocheted tray cloths

Thursday 24 January 2013

Public Messages

Not being very good with words myself, I so admire artists who construct artworks using words. I think this is more difficult than it seems. Words strung together in the wrong order can be twee. I think Jenny Holzer is a genius. This is what says about her:
"In 1979, Jenny Holzer began posting random aphorisms and broadsides bearing cryptic messages all over New York City. Since then she has employed language as her creative practice. She uses a tone of anonymous authority that forces readers to stop, question the declarations and subsequently decide whether they concur or disagree. "I started the work as a parody, like the Great Ideas of the Western World in a nutshell," to make "big issues in culture intelligible as public art."
While Holzer started with street posters in New York City, she has since expanded her work onto LED signs, posters, benches, plaques and even the web (Please Change Beliefs). Merging an advertising reality with the 'art world, Holzer has gained popular success and her thoughts have been printed on t-shirts, pencils, and license plates. Whether it be in a museum on a street corner, Holzer controls her audience -- making them look and judge."

Robert Montgomery (pic from yesterday's post) is another word artist I like.

It is very odd being in a "first world country" people have a lot and discard a lot. Tomorrow, when it is light, I will photograph the discarded things I found today in an Op Shop (charity shop). 

Wednesday 23 January 2013

All Change

Well this is my first post from the new land. I feel completely bombarded by emotions to tell the truth. Part of me feels (to paraphrase Withnail) "we seem to have moved countries by mistake". And the other part of me is going "Whoo Hoo" so much excitement. Here are three things I did and felt on my first day.

1) I bought a copy of Frankie Magazine. Yes!

2) I thought about all the people I know and love back home with the greatest of longing.

Installation by Robert Montgomery at the De La Warr Pavillion
3) We had lunch with my family (my wondrous mum and dad, my beautiful, kind sister Karen, her winner husband Glen and the little egg, Eloise). This was magic and made all of my fears of change take a back seat for a while, because these are my family. The boys have a new half sister in their lives and and she will make their world fuller and they hers. Sorry about the bad pic - but the first bubble bath together absolutely must be recorded, no?

I will now try to sleep because it is 3.15am and unless I want to be permanently nocturnal I will have to try to  make this night time, my night time.

Tuesday 22 January 2013

The Land Down Under

Well we have landed, and will probably sleep for a while. See you when we wake up.

Sunday 20 January 2013

Good Omens

I don't know what it is about crows, I am not really a superstitious person, but they have always been around on the best days of my life. On the way to my first ever solo exhibition we had to slow down for crows in the road. The day I married Darren, as my father and I were walking down the stairs to the wedding event, we saw a crow standing on the sill of the window we passed. The day Leith was born, as I was coming out of a kind of sleepy daze, a crow actually tapped on the window of the hospital room I was in. Whether or not they are good omens is not important really, but you do have to admit that they have such a beautiful form. There is a strange little blog called crow-a-day run by Davitt Powell. The two images on the left are from his blog and the images on the right, and below are by Ron Issacs.

Saturday 19 January 2013

Two Little Guys I Just Have To Paint

I have recently met two little guys I just have to paint. Firstly Cath's Italian Greyhound and secondly Juliette's Sphinx Cat.

This work by Rachel Howard is great inspiration for the painting of the Italian Greyhound

Friday 18 January 2013

Michael Borremans

I love the work of Belgian painter and film-maker Michael Borremans. His paintings are so beautiful and yet so foreboding.

Wednesday 16 January 2013

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Public Notice

So today is our last day in the beautiful city of Durban. V heart sore to leave all my histories and loves behind. We leave for JHB early tomorrow morning and will spend a little bit of time with our beautiful friends up there before we take off for good. Today my friend Anthony posted this on his Face Book profile and for me, where I am at currently, it fits so perfectly. 

Hand Book

This image is so beautiful. The original source link may not work though, sometimes I get so frustrated with Pinterest as getting to the original source of images can be so challenging.

Monday 14 January 2013

I Love Pattern

I do very much love pattern. Vintage wall paper and fabric is such a beautiful source of pattern and I have been collecting these for ages (soon to be sold on ONCE). Look at this beautiful pattern inspired painting by Kathe Fraga and this great vintage dandelion wallpaper.


I also found this beautiful little butterfly pattern in the Stitchcraft Magazines. They are so delicate. I think they would be quite sweet stitched onto a little girl's cardi, or pinafore.

Sunday 13 January 2013

Stitchcraft And My Strange But Lovely Husband

I am beginning to suspect that Darren is a closet knitter! He has a passion for old Stitchcraft magazines, which he claims he collects for image reference of a time gone by, but I think he might be a late night crochet master.
I was paging through one of his mags and found a pattern for these delightful knee-high socks. I am so clueless about both knitting and crocheting, but I am putting this out there for those of you who are not. I am embarrassed to say that I don't even know whether it is a knitting pattern of a crochet pattern, please inform me someone (that means you Penny).
Anyway - I love the socks and think they would look amazing in red just as they appeared on the cover of the 1970's mag. I hope I have made the image large enough for interested parties to download and print.