Monday 28 September 2009

Haighs Chocolate Frogs

For years I worked in Melbourne’s CBD – everyday I’d make the journey into the city by train, walking from the station to work and back again. One of the hazards of this journey was passing the Haighs Chocolate shop on Collins Street and if I went up to Chinatown for one of my favourite lunches - Dumpling noodle soup – I’d journey past the Haighs shop on Swanston Street.

From my first ever taste - those chocolate frogs became almost an obsession. I would buy a bag to share with work colleagues during afternoon tea or a meeting….supposedly to keep the morale of the team up, but all it did was made me crave them even more.

Friends and colleagues would buy me a bag for my desk drawer so that I could have a little pick me up if I was feeling low….the problem with that though is you get into the habit of having a little ‘pick me up’ nibble everyday and before you know it….well we know what happens to ‘pears’ if they indulge too much…..they become ‘oranges’.

Now that I work from home – I don’t have the opportunity or it seems the time to even think about eating chocolate frogs – so they have been put in the ‘treat’ category. It seems the only time I really get to eat them is if some kind, lovely, generous person buys me a bag as a gift….hint, hint…oh and I LOVE the super-duper giant green foil wrapped ones too……..

Monday 21 September 2009

Grass Roots Magazine

I was about 15 when I discovered Grass Roots Magazine. It really appealed to my burgeoning inner hippie and over the last 20 years of reading it – I have learnt all matter of things pertaining to living a self sufficient lifestyle. Everything from keeping chooks and growing veggies to composting, cooking and building using alternative materials like straw bales. I am torn you see – between the life I live in the city and the romantic life I dream of in the country.

When I was 19 I took myself off with my dreadlocked surfer dude boyfriend to live down near Warnambool for a year. Thirty km from the nearest shop – we lived very simply in a small house on 5 acres of bush land with no electricity or running water. I spent most of my time tending my large veggie garden, restoring antique furniture for myself and others and making beaded jewellery which I sold at a couple of shops in town. We ate eggs from the chooks and veggies from the garden and made all our own bread.

I have such fond memories of this year – I was young, idealistic and full to the brim with enthusiasm. My few years of reading Grass Roots had given me the basics of living a simple wholesome life and here was my opportunity to have a good go. As it turns out the year went quickly and the reality of my life journey ahead meant that I had to return to the city to begin my studies in Interior Design and well my story just goes on from there really.

I have lived in the city ever since and have often thought of a move back to a lovely country town. I don’t think I would choose to live without running water and electricity again (especially not with children) but I have thought that a move to the country would bring about a simpler and somewhat less stressful lifestyle. Having said that though – I totally love living in the city and the opportunities that come with that. Perhaps as they say ‘the grass is always greener’ and I should just try to be happy with where I am right now.

Wednesday 16 September 2009

Grant Featherston Furniture

Back in the late 90’s I completed a Diploma of Arts in Furniture Design, predominately a hands on course of study – my time was mainly spent in the workshop mastering the use of various tools and honing my design skills. I had done woodwork in High School and had always been attracted to making and restoring furniture….my previous studies and working life in Interior Design meant that this was a natural progression for me.

Whilst studying the History of Furniture Design, I learnt of many amazing 20th century designers that I loved but in terms of admiring our local talent – Featherston completely won me over.

Around the same time – I paid a visit to Coral’s house - one of my Mother’s friends. In her Living room she has an original R160 Armchair and Ottoman and a R152 armchair all upholstered in the original beige vinyl. From the moment I laid eyes on them - I was smitten and have desired them ever since. It is no wonder that they have become an icon of Australian furniture design.

Every time my Mother visits Coral or in fact even mentions her name to me – I can’t help but say….can you ask her if she will sell me those chairs! And then one day not too long ago - Coral sent me an email telling me that “One day our Lord may bless you with them…..” I can only hope…….”Pretty please God….can I have those chairs?”.

Thursday 10 September 2009

Golden Books

I have loved Golden Books since I was a little girl. At one stage in my youth I had quite a good stack of them – but my Mother in one of her cleaning up and sorting out phases got rid of them. I don’t think I ever quite got over it. It’s the Bower Bird in me. So of course when I discovered op shops and old golden books……well there was no stopping me!

Now I think I have almost 200! My daughter Kitty of course loves them too – but not all of them. The other day she went though the two giant stacks and sorted them into the ones that she wanted to keep and the ones that I could get rid of or use for craft. Kind of her I thought…and pretty funny. Reminded me of my Mother.

Somehow when Mum gave away all my Golden Books I managed to save one very favourite – ‘The night Before Christmas’. Each year on the night before Christmas (I confess – even as a grown up) I have read this book just before going to sleep. I just love the illustrations and my inner child gets terribly excited about the prospect of Santa coming and filling my stocking. Now of course I get to share this tradition with my own children - which makes it even more special.

Thankfully I have come up with a lovely way to ‘recycle’ some of these treasured Golden Books and now turn them into – Golden Book-marks. This year too – some of my treasured books will become Christmas cards. I can’t believe I am already talking about Christmas!