Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My Vintage Life

Today I'm coming to you from vintage heaven, also known as my mum's house!!!!!!!  Over the years, this home has been fondly referred to as a museum, a time warp and a place where 'it all works'.  Lately my mum has been flinging open her cupboards and getting rid of some stuff.  I have been helping her and it has been lots of fun.

Just today I got an email from my childhood school friend who now lives in New Zealand.  Nicola is bringing her mum back to our old suburb to check it out and she wrote me the following:

Hi Caz
 on tuesday 13th,  I'm going to take mum to T to look at the old house etc
do you see your mum on a tuesday usually?
if so, want to meet up somewhere there with mum (as in, with your mum)
and with my mum?
tuesday we will probably be out and about and wed we leave at 5pm for singapore for 3 nights.

When I wrote back and said I'd love to, Nicola replied

cool! will keep you posted and call you sunday night when I am in sydney to confirm etc
yes, lets do morning tea at mums in the posh lounge. Ill bring some cake.
that would be so fun!
So this room seems to have made an impression on one of  my little childhood friends
This is the 'posh lounge' that Nicola so sweetly  refers to.  Full of lots of 60's Nordic inspired Parker furniture, with the odd family heirloom thrown in.  It's been the hub of my family home.  I recall playing monopoly in there on play dates.  I remember sitting in this lounge room after attending my first day of high school, at a very exclusive Sydney girls' school, that I so didn't want to go to, looking up through the massive  floor to ceiling windows at a gum tree branch and feeling very alone in the world.  I remember entertaining boyfriends as a teenager in here, in a fruitless attempt to gain some privacy, as my parents hunkered down in the family room keeping an eye on things through the not so sound proof wooden louvre doors.  I also remember returning from the hospital after my father died, to a bottle of wine and two glasses left on the coffee table, that he had drunk out of for the last time, whilst entertaining a mate.   But what I remember most about it, is the good times, namely the wonderful  parties.

My parents were fabulous entertainers.  Although mum always cooked for guests, my parents were both great cooks and my father was a fabulous recounter of stories and jokes, so they were a wonderful double act.  A dinner invitation from them was a highly coveted prize amongst their friends......I know 'cause people used to say so.  Things like, 'I didn't eat lunch today cause I was coming to your place for dinner' or 'I just thought yippee, we're going to Marlie and Brian's for dinner tonight'  Later as my parents' choice of entertaining  become the long lunch, it was not unusual for guests to be still at the lunch table well into the evening laughing and carrying on.

 As an only child, I was usually invited to dinner as I got a little older, I sometimes assisted  mum in the kitchen, but not with the cooking, as she didn't need any help there.  I certainly learned how to work a room as a result of my attendance, a skill which was perfected during a brief encounter with a political career that was never seriously perused.

I also believe this may be why I married an older man.  I really enjoyed the company of my parent's friends.

So this is how the table often looked.  Many courses, the table set elegantly, with every detail just so.  As I was mucking around with this setting, mum was saying things like, 'Oh you've got the fish knives out, so you'll need to put out the knife rests for those'.  Or 'The table looks bare, put out the silver wine caddies'

After I shot it, I didn't want to put it away, it was so lovely in the moment.  Mum and I made up a guest list of people we would love to sit down with for just one more meal.  Impossible I'm afraid.  But I didn't want it to end.  'That's OK' said mum,  'Leave it 'til the next time you're here and you can do it then'.

After this little play, we went through some of the other stuff.  This is mum's mink stole from the 1950's, which I just loved.  It fitted me like a glove.  My new 10 kg lighter body that is.

And would you believe my c.1960's baby pram.  It's a little rusted and chippy but the bassinet was as new after I scrubbed it clean.

Another dinner set, this time Wedgewood 70's retro.  I kinda like it!!!!

and one of my pieces that I have recently put into an auction. A saucer chairs and table setting.  These are highly collectible and I grabbed this before it went into the skip at a house clearance near the Beach House. It was getting ruined in the salt air, so I thought I might as well sell before it is totally trashed.

And that's it from me today.  I hope you have enjoyed my little walk down memory lane with you!!!!!!

I've had a great response to my weight loss tips post. It seems to have touched alot  of you.  It's been the most clicked on post at several parties this week.  I so don't want to sound glib, but it hasn't been that hard and I've lost another kilo since I posted it.  It's funny cause up until now, I have always found it very hard.  I almost wasn't going to get on the scales at mum's this time cause I had only done it 2 weeks before.  But I broke my own rules and nearly fell off the scales when I had dropped another kilo. Not sure if cause I haven't been able to exercise properly because of the school holidays and muscle weighs more than fat.  Anyway,  next up I will share with you a typical meal that has helped me loose the weight.  Lucky I love salad.....Yum !!!!

Today I am Partying here
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Sunday, January 29, 2012

10 Simple Ideas to Add Coastal Style To Your Home

There are many ways to introduce a coastal feel to your home, other than just using shells and starfish.  While they certainly have their place in any coastal abode, here are some of the other devices my friends and I use, to Style a Beach Cottage.

1. Invest in a beautiful piece of coastal style art

Both these gorgeous wrought iron pieces, call my friend Cath's  place home.  Like me, Cath loves the beach cottage feel and is trying to achieve it on a budget.  She splurged on the piece above and I believe it was worth it.  I've never seen it again, as it was a one off, and to me that is an absolute coup in decorating. It's so important to be different. 

Sometimes an inexpensive set of original photographs do the trick.  Work that camera baby and take your best shots down to your local photo shop.  Have them put on canvas as a series. I purchased these in Noosa a while back here.  If you're living by the coast you have a great opportunity to take really interesting shots  yourself.  Get down in the sand and it's amazing what you'll find.   If you live inland and don't get to the coast regularly there are many bloggers such as Beachcomber who sell beautiful coastal shots already mounted.

Now this is something I am no longer able to indulge in, but Mr Beach House and I were lucky enough to get one of these as an engagement present from a group of friends who banded together.  Nada Herman is a local artist and has a gorgeous studio which is often open to the public.  It is so worth the trip to Clareville, if you are a Sydneysider.

If you are unable to afford any of the above, why not make some art.  This one was made using some islander post cards and pegs with a thrifted frame.

And then there's driftwood.  No matter if you are land locked.  Just find some beautiful wood.  Peel off the bark and leave it in the weather for a while.  If you want it real smooth and light, just sand and spray it with bleach over several sessions.  And there you have it...... simulated blonde driftwood.

You can also white wash it to achieve the 'bleached blonde' look

2)  Style with pineapples for a tropical look

I adore pineapples.  They are such an inexpensive stylish beachy icon

They look fabulous grouped together here

I love them like this too

3) Add an interesting basket into the mix

Fill it with interesting coastal pieces and go big, even in a small space....the effect can be dramatic.

Use the basket as a coffee table. 

Or layer it with colour co ordinated books

4) Use Vintage Nautical pieces. 

But be wary of using too much reproduction nautical

I bought this faux oar when I couldn't find a real one and you can spot the difference.  Reproduction pieces can often give an air of trying too hard.  I still like this piece, but I always mix it up with some true vintage.

A little set of thrifted binoculars evokes coastal style

This piece of ship's tackle fosters an industrial coastal feel too.  Grouped together with the red cargo ship, it begins to tell a story.
A strategically placed vintage oar in the wall studs looks fabulous

5)  Pick Up a Palm Frond on Your next Coastal Walk.

This is a very cost effective way to add beachy style.  It's so affordable, it's free

6)  Invest in a Lobster Pot.

I am still to do this, but I would absolutely love one for my deck re do
Hello Mr Beach House!!!!

The Boat House at Palm Beach uses a lobster pot to great effect as a light fitting.  It casts an interesting shadow.  I love the way it hangs on the slant.  I think you already know, I am not into perfection, in decorating or much else for that matter.

7) Use Blue Glass Bottles 

This was a mood board I created for a boudoir style coastal bedroom for a client

These little Ikea bottles have had a real work out here at the Beach House

This blue bottle on the top of the meat safe, was $1 at the RC shop.

 Demi Johns are more expensive, but look fabulous in a coastal home.  I got this in a closing down sale for $40 and I know Spotlight had some relatively inexpensive ones last time I was there, that I would be proud to call my own.

Or hunt around for this type of thing.  I found this ship in a bottle for a few bucks at the Red Cross Shop.  It looked like junk the way it was just thrown on the shelf in the store, but once you get it home, it becomes a little master piece.

8) Place beachy style towels strategically

In your bathroom

on your outdoor furniture

9)  Seek out iconic coastal vintage in your treasure hunting

I found this wooden pineapple in a little vintage surf shop in Newport.  It's down an alley way and is an absolute treasure trove of gorgeous vintage surf memorabilia.

This surfboard was my dad's from the 1950s.  People are wising up to the value of this kind of stuff lately, but stay on the hunt.  Mr Beach House put all his old surf boards out on a council clean up when we moved house 7 years ago.  And I stupidly went along with him.  They lasted all of about 5 minutes out on the curb, so you can be lucky.

10)  Use squashy couches and chairs and a nautical stripe cushion thrown in doesn't hurt one bit either 

The Ektorp range at Ikea is a very cost effect way to get this squishy squashy Hamptons look. 

I got this 3 seater lounge suite and 2 lounge chairs for $1998 from Recollections at a sale.  It looks crumpled and squashy, which creates the relaxed beachy feel.  The Beach House Brats are banned from eating on it as I want it to last. So far so good!!!!

  So that's it from the Beach House today.  Thanks for all your wonderful messages.  I adore them all and you are so kind. 

I hope to be back to you all soon.

Next up a story about entertaining in the 1970's........ I think.  My parents were very good at it and I've been at my mum's this weekend recounting some of the fun times we had then!!!!!!
We even wrote an imaginary guest list of people who we would love to sit down for dinner with now.  Not possible I'm afraid, but gee it would be nice.

Today I am partying at

Meet Me Monday
Creative Bloggers Hop
Sunday Showcase Party
Weekend Warrior
Market Yourself Monday
Show Off Your Cottage Monday
Metamorphosis Monday
Table top Tuesday
Knick of Time Tuesday
Trash To Treasure Tuesday
First Project of the Year Party
Talent Show Tuesday
Take a Look Tuesday
The Inspiration Board
Too Cute Tuesday

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