Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year to You







From Pinterest, of course. And me. See you on the flip side!

xx

Friday, December 30, 2011

Red Wall

Well.......................wall is such a generous term for this little space. (We do live in a shoebox after all) But it's the closest thing to a dining room wall we have, so that's it's name.  It is practically in the centre of the house, everyone has to walk past it 100 times a day, so it is a great place for notice boards. But it also sets the tone for the house, which is already cluttered enough already.

A white board & a blackboard, because we are an equal opportunity family.

Taking the crap down. 100% better already.

Discovering that the notice boards have been stuck on with liquid nails. Nice.


Removing liquid nails leaves holes in your wall, which need to be puttied up, then sanded.
 A few times.


Finally, the undercoat, then the magical blue tape. I love this tape, it stays good for 14 days without leaving it's stick on the surface, unlike regular old masking tape which can only be left on for a matter of hours. Blue tape is the shiz.

After this, about 6 colours of red paint to really get the depth in.

Wanna see it?

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Do you like it? I love it. I can't even bring myself to hang anything on it yet.

Soon, heirloom blue & white plate collection, soon....

Next stop, Kitchen makeover!



xx

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Regatta Hotel

I have a fascination with old buildings - holidays will see me sightseeing historic architecture & places of interest rather than shopping. I know, blasphemous! One of the exciting things for me in moving to Brisbane was the sense of history in the many old buildings that survive today. It wasn't all sunshine & tropical fruit that drew my fancy! I've always been a bit in love with the classic Queenslander (think house style, not Sir Joh) so it was a thorn of annoyance that after 5 years living in this city, I hadn't really had a chance to tour an old building.

Until recently.....

 Thank you Regatta Hotel.

The Regatta Hotel, built in 1874, sits on the Brisbane River, where it has seen history flow on regardless of countless drunken nights & quiet rendezvous. It has been flooded SIX times, & still manages to look like a graceful old lady, which is exactly what she is. Flooded in 1887, three times in 1893, 1974 & again in January 2011 - every time her cellars & sometimes even the second floor have been inundated with Brisbane River's murky waters. You can read more about her history here, although one point worth mentioning is that in 1965, 2 women tried to order a beer from the public bar & when they where refused, handcuffed themselves to the bars footrail in a display of feminist insurgency. This protest eventually led to laws being changed that allowed women equal drinking rights to men, so we should all light a candle of thanks to their honor. Or at least raise a toast.



The hotel will be opened in stages throughout 2012, but it was very interesting for me to see the the old glimpsed through the new. These bricks at the entrance will eventually be covered, so I am glad I got to see them before then. Flood Markers at the front will show the water level from each flood once the scaffolding is gone.


Attention Brisbane coffee drinkers - this hotel serves an extremely decent cup of coffee. I am embarrassed to say that I have turned into a bit of a coffee snob & would mostly prefer to make my own rather than drink some disappointingly dirty water somewhere. This coffee was so good I had 2 cups. I know.


The Regatta Hotel treated us to a lovely morning tea, & even put out activity bags for children. Very thoughtful. The children who attended really loved them.


And of course it freed up the adults to chat! Don't bloggers love a chat? Those ladies to the left, hiding behind their iPhones, are Bronnie, Melissa & Kym. Then Steve & his lovely wife, & their 2 gorgeous children.


The functions manager took us on a tour to show & tell what upgrades had happened, & what was going to happen. They have managed to keep many historical elements, which is just as well as the building is classified by the National Trust of QLD, & is also entered on the Queensland Heritage Register. If you are interested, lunch & guided tour packages are available here.


The hotel is named The Regatta Hotel because of the rowing regattas held close by, to celebrate Foundation Day in 1842 & then Separation Day in 1859. In true cultural cringe colonial British style, competitive rowing became the thing to do, with rowing carnivals closing Coronation Drive until the 1950's. These days the only thing that might close Coro Dr would be a flood, or maybe a car accident. Rowing is still a popular activity though, & it is nice to see the Regatta honouring it's past with thoughtfully placed decor. Probably handy in case it floods again, too.


Sitting on the first floor balcony, enjoying that divine coffee, watching the river flow by...


Can you think of anything nicer? OK, maybe a gin & tonic but it was a brunch, people!


This was The Boatshed Restaurant & beer garden, & after the ground is levelled it will again be a fabulous new restaurant with an open kitchen & a lovely beer garden area without hazardous stairs to trip you up. This area used to have a toilet block that was famous for it's 2 way mirrors - patrons couldn't see in but those at the urinal could see out. Until one day, when they suddenly realised that the magic film on the mirror had lost it's magic & everyone could see into the urinal. Woops! I'm told there was a hasty assembling of large promotional billboards ...

 Kym and Bronnie looking relaxed & happy.


I was so happy to finally meet Maria in person, who I have emailed with for ages!
Just as lovely in real life.


 Hello Jacqui! What is that cheeky grin in aid of??


I took this picture from the City Cat jetty across the road. Not sure who are those guys waving at me, maybe they are telling me the City Cat is about to board? Happy to have their photo taken? Just gosh darn friendly? I don't care, it made me smile :)


After a lovely morning, I headed back into the city. I really love that you can traverse this city via the river, it is restful & exciting all at the same time. Regulars read their books & hardly look out the windows, but I love it, & take photos just like all the tourists. I always find a hundred things to look at.

Back into it!
Thanks Regatta Hotel for an interesting & informative morning.

xx

Disclaimer: I was a brunch guest at the Regatta Hotel. No money was paid for this post.

Goodbye Christmas, see you next year.

Christmas 2011 feels so last year.

Even though it's not.

So let's wrap it up quickly & kiss it goodbye........

Real tree, surrounded by lots of presents. Monkey boy stays very close at all times.

Getting out the good cutlery. I might keep this out all the time, I love it so much.
It belonged to Mr BC's grandparents, & it still looks brand new 4 generations later.

Hanging up this dead branch, bauble arrangement. I am loving it sick & have no intention of taking it down, although I plan to change the decorations occasionally.

Sprinkling reindeer food on the front lawn before bed.
I wonder if all that glitter upsets their digestion, or if the oats sort of balance it out.

A snack for Santa - Christmas cake, gingerbread, chocolate money & milk.
When I was little we left out beer, but now that we all know the dangers of drink driving no one does that anymore.

And let the day begin!

Hope your Christmas was pretty special, & you are looking forward to 2012 as much as me.
Bring it on!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

I've been featured!

Featured here
One of my posts has been featured on Mum's Lounge, & this is just about the best Christmas present ever for this little blog!

Best wishes to you for an awesomely wonderful Christmas. I hope you spend it happy & relaxed, enjoying a full table & a cheerful family.

See you post yule!

xx

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Last Minute Christmas

For a variety of reasons, I've left everything a bit late this Christmas - but that's OK, because it was the 'Stress Less' theme this year, remember?  We are talking things at a relaxed pace, & overall this is working out very well.
On Monday, I ventured forth to the shops to do the bulk of my shopping. The stores where not that busy, & the people there were not in a frenzy. They were cheerful & civilised. I know, I was shocked too. The store staff where easy to find, very helpful & cheerful as well. The lay by counter at Kmart had no queue, just two friendly helpful ladies waiting for me to give them something to do. The Post Office had one person in the queue ahead of me. All day, I found parking spots with ease! Unbelievable. My cousin asked if I had encountered the Zombie Apocalypse, & maybe I had but I was loving it.

Yesterday was not such a clear run - 2 toilet emergencies from a small child meant plunging into a particular store full of frantic shoppers 3 times before hitting the check out. Going to the chemist to fill a script to find there was a national shortage on tablet insulin. At Christmas. Expected delivery at the end of January. What the WHAT??

Me, wide eyed with panic 'But I'm diabetic! I can't wait that long!'

Unhelpful chemist assistant 'You are not the only one in this boat. You can ring around other chemists but I would be surprised if anyone had any, or any substitutions. You will need to go & see your Doctor & get her to give you a script for an alternative.'

Me, with FFS clearly stamped across me face 'There is no way I can see my Dr at this short notice . It takes months to get an appointment & her office has closed for Christmas'

Lets just call him unhelpful Chemist assistant, I'm sure he was just doing his job. 'Well you will need to see a GP to get a script.'

Me 'Fuckballs.'

My regular GP is super efficient, which is sometimes is a pain. He will send you for every test under the sun before he diagnoses anything, which is theory is great but sometimes all you want is a goddamn script. Luckily I got in to see another Doctor, who is so laid back that sometimes I think he is only pretending to be a Doctor. He had no idea there was any shortage situation, & just wrote me a script for what I'd asked for. So I won't be going into a diabetic coma over Christmas, but now I am well behind my last minute schedule.

But the name of the game is Chillaxxxx, so lets just breathe easy.

I made the following few projects for myself, but they would make lovely last minute gifts, or stocking stuffers. They took no more than 30 minutes each.......because Mr BC worked some magic on my other sewing machine (that is 20 years old rather than 120 years old) & finally dealt with the tension issues...of the machine. What?


I bought this tea towel with the intention of framing it but then it got so popular I turned off the idea. Do you do that too? I am forever loving something only to hate it when everyone else gets wind of it. . See, I am not behind the times - I am super advanced, heheh. Turning it into a pillow didn't seem so expected. I do love the sentiment & it is something that we can all benefit from looking at every day.



I do not love this, despite the cheery hot pink corduroy. I made it because my pins where all over the shop, being a painful nuisance. The felt leaf hides some dodgy glue work.


I do love this. The material I used is sentimental for me, & it is super practical. I love the wonky way it looks.


Ta-DA! It's a needle book!
I didn't really have to tell you, did I? oh, well then....

Moving on to decorations.


It's not Christmas in this house until these candle sticks are out. I hand painted them when Teenage daughter was just born, in time for our first Christmas as a family. There is a northern hemisphere Christmas with Santa & the reindeers having fun in the snow; & a southern hemisphere Christmas with Santa & his reindeers cooling down at the beach..



The themes continue on the back, where Christmas angels hover in the sky. Some people have made fun of these, but I don't care. I love them.



I was getting agitated that we hadn't put up a tree yet. We have a fake tree for emergencies or when we are not going to be here at Christmas, but it doesn't feel like Christmas without the smell of a real tree in the house, dropping pine needles all over the presents. Brisbane doesn't really do real trees, probably because of the heat. The year before last Teenage Daughter & I drove 90 minutes up the coast to spend $120 on a real tree, which was excessive but completely worth it. Leaving it to the last week paid off because we got an awesome tree only 20 minutes away, on the day they had been reduced to $20!! Winning!

Overall, Christmas is coming together without too much drama. The turkey is defrosting in the beer fridge, ready to be brined tomorrow & cooked on Saturday. There is a ham in the fridge that seems to be half eaten, hmmmm. There is pudding, custard, Christmas cake & old fashioned gingerbread in the pantry. All I have to do on the day is make some salads, chop up some fruit for the pavlova, plate every thing & relax.

That red wall is starting to look pretty damn festive....

Merry Christmas to you & your family, hope you have a happy, relaxed, stress free day.

xxx

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bright Light City

Every Christmas Mr BC & I love to drive the kids around at night to look at Christmas lights. It's a strange pastime for someone who can hardly be bothered to switch on the porch light, although I shared a sense of disgust at someone recently spending AU$250,000 on Christmas lights for their house. (I mean, how many people would that feed or house in Haiti?) I still want to look at their display. I think I have must have some perverted gawker's sort of Clarke Griswold fascination.

We have found some doozies over the years. One of our favourites is the Sandgate Uniting Church at Deagon. It is so miraculously over the top, you can't help but be impressed. Even a seasoned comparative religion hobbyist like me slowly succumbs to the joy of Christmas as I wander & wonder through the church grounds, shaking the hands of the occasional happy clapper, before venturing inside to admire the room of Christmas trees, each decorated to celebrate a particular psalm. There is lots of live music, maybe a sermon going on, a big stall of crocheted coat hooks etc & another stall of jams & marmalades. When you go through to the courtyard there is a sausage sizzle, a Christmas cake/hot doughnut/coffee or tea stand, a raffle, some other thing.....

It's fricken massive.

I love it.











Have a look at that cat in the centre of the picture, do you see what he is doing? The Gentleman was scandalised, he does love Jeebers so. OK, a closer look but it is a bit grainy....


Yep, he is taking a crap. Right in Jesus's front yard, with a crowd watching.
Everyone's a critic.


xx
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