Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Rowantree Designs 'Meet Audrey' It's all about Navy

I love navy blue children's clothing. It's strong, charismatic and ever so stylish.  Navy is nautical (just thought I'd throw that in) and I can't imagine a wardrobe without basic navy blue staples.  It makes perfect sense to me that when Mr Levi decided to make denim it had to be navy blue.......... it simply goes with everything, can be dressed up and dressed down.  If you've been following my blog for a while you'll notice that Rowan wears navy or a shade of blue most days, okay it matches his blue eyes, but whatever a child's colouring, they look positively smashing in navy blue.

Here is Audrey, she isn't quite finished yet, but I already know that you are going to love her.  The fabric had been in my Grand Mere's camphor chest for years, ever since the days when I lived in the big Queenslander.  There were two large pieces in this print, this, which is by far my favourite and a mauve  piece which I think will be perfect for a summer smock.  The fabric is amazing, it actually has texture and a beautiful sheen.  You just can't buy fabric like it these days.  Back to Audrey, I will trim the yoke with this navy ric rac, and today I was busy dyeing vintage buttons deep blue for the button up back.  The camera was a birthday present from my mum for our trip to Melbourne on the Greyhound bus, I remember taking pictures out of the bus window..........just twelve blurry pictures, that my mum lovingly sticky taped them to the lounge room wall. (I did wonder why)

Here is a close up of the gorgeous vintage floral, the cotton weave is lovely and dense, which gives the fabric so much character.  I'll post Audrey's picture when she is ready for my online shop.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Fibro Beach Shack 'Capiz Chandeliers'.

I hear my mother (Liz) spooking me daily......"Roberta, where are you going to put the Capiz Chandelier?"  Oh, how she loved the translucent colour and the melodic clinking they made when the cool breeze lifted up from the river in the late afternoon.  I grew up in a magnificent stark white Queenslander overlooking the Brisbane river.  A large ornate verandah wrapped around three sides of the house, furnished with exquisite settings of painted cane outdoor furniture.  Large potted palms with over hanging capiz chandeliers created cool and peaceful nooks for the adults to sit and sip on tall, exotic cocktails, whilst listening to jazz music grooving from the record player.  I can say there was nothing conventional about my family, being of French decent, they were well known for being rather eccentric.  My father a famous jazz musician  tragically died when I was three weeks old, he never actually left the house, because everybody continued to talked to him as if he never left!  (How very confusing for a five year old) My Grand Mere and Papa lived with us, my Great Aunt, Aunts and cousins we all lived crazily, happy together in the big white Queenslander.  

That's it, a capiz chandelier will hang at the fibro shack, and every time it clinks I will smile and think of my out of this world, extremely talented and creative, way ahead of her time, mother, Liz.

Love the blue duck egg walls, bright bed linen and the surfboard.

Very coastal, much too clean for me.  The chandelier is very lush indeed.

I have seen this done before, adding string of cut out colour to the chandelier.

In the children's room, how very sweet indeed. Loving the little floral fold up table.  

I spy an anchor and a fish..but who is that man!

Romantic.  Spy the vintage wallpaper.

Love these on trend colour blocking shades of peach, pink and cream.

What do you think?  Where should I hang the Capiz Chandy?  Bedroom, hallway, lounge??????

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Fibro Beach Shack Renovation 'Two Fabulous Chairs, The Inspiration'

Ask me about the lounge room, it all started here!

Long before the bach was officially mine, I had a vision of two chairs retro/vintage/bamboo, they had to be striking. they had to make a statement and they had to sit proudly, and invitingly comfy in the lounge room looking out to the deck and back garden.  I knew it would be a task, I'd have to visit all my favourite haunts, regularly, watch ebay and gum tree and perhaps do the rounds of the garage sales.
Then early one morning reading my favourite blogs, I could not believe my eyes, it was like abracadabra.......
here they were, proudly sitting in the gorgeous space staring back at me, I let out a little 'yahoo' and excitedly showed the sailor, and together we were so surprised.  Fingers crossed these chairs could be ours.  I emailed Lisa immediately telling her these were my chairs and pleeeeease don't sell them to anyone else.  

So here they are.  Don't they look grand.  The next piece of furniture I purchased was the tripod floor lamp (oops it has still got it's price tag on) with the amazing shade.  I loved it so much, I had to make it work.  I decided on getting a custom made lounge to work with the lamp shade and armchairs.  The fabric is from Warwick Upholstery and Design, (Annais Tangelo). I love the tropical feel. and the shapes of the leaves complement the leaves in the shade.   I covered the chair cushions with the same orange fabric I used for the base of the couch, the fabric is a good all round durable weave and will wear well.  The couch is 1.9 metres long and extra width in the seat....very comfy to throw your legs onto and have a bit of a read.

The Danish design retro coffee table I purchased off ebay, after many a tough bidding war I finally won this piece.  Ebay is not my preferred buying style, man those bidding wars are way to stressful for me, instead I opt to shops around the auction houses and second hand furntiure stores.  If you are after a piece of retro danish style furniture, Regent Street in Redfern, Sydney is a great start for you to get a feel for the style and quality.  So far the room is looking just about how I imagined it, the floors complement the furniture and all the pieces create a funky but homely space to relax.  

Over the weekend..............

Here are a few bits and pieces I purchased during the week, a West German ceramic, love the colours and design, a gold soda bottle a $10 bargain, a caramel coloured brandy balloon and this lamp (Ikea) which hasn't found a home as yet.....

 This totally fabulous crochet rug.  Don't you just love those colours.....I gave it a big cuddle then started to sneeze violently, my eyes got very itchy and turned into red golf hair, the rug has been furrked (a word I discovered meaning something that has cat hair all over it).  Can anybody give me a solution for removing the hair, it's kinda in the stuck to the wool.  In the meantime, it's off the the dry cleaners.

Here are the bit's and pieces, and the rug which will find a suitable place to live once unfurrked.

I did have a bit of a sleep in on Saturday morning, reading this book and thinking about this colour for the bathroom door.  Hmm if Jane Maas thinks she has the inside scoop of working in advertising in the 60's, perhaps I should write about the 80's before Mr Keating put a stop to free lunches or should I say liasons?..........

 Here is my boy, wearing his shorts from his resort collection....trains are his latest thing.

Rowan loves sitting and climbing onto the Jamie Drury Adirondack chair.  One word of advice if you buy these, they are advertised as white but they are an oyster white which is very grey.....more painting.

I have loved doing this makeover, we have put in many a weekend, working away, listening to music and having a few laughs and a few bevvies.  I love it all so far and can't wait to show you the bedrooms when I get a little more decor in them.  I was thinking I'd love to throw open the doors and invite you all over, turn up the music, have a tropical cocktails and a bit of a dance......Don't laugh when I;m finished I'm putting it out there.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

In My Life 'Sometimes the Bubble Bursts'

I love this little man beyond what I ever could imagine.

I am one of the happiest Gals around, you all know that.  I have a great man, heaps of gorgeous girls to love, a solid guy you'd want to marry your daughter, son in law and of course this little man above.  This is my family, these are the people that in my mantra I have to protect, look out for, fix things up for, and most of all love unconditionally.  
 I give life a punch every day, with a smile on my face, a song on my lips and with an open heart.  But just lately a shadow is following me in my footsteps, a quite, after dark monster that is lurking around this beautiful city that I proudly call home.
Now, I promised myself when I began this blog that I would only post happy stories about the passions in my life, Rowantree Designs, my gorgeous grandson, Rowan and of course of late, keeping you posted on the makeover of the fibro beach house.  Today my heart is heavy, my happiness bubble has burst, I am finding it hard to swallow, I'm looking after Rowan today and every time I look at him, my eyes fill with tears. 
Last night I worked until the wee hours of this morning, listening to the smokey voiced, late night jocks on the radio,  falling into a rather melodic trance, then all of a sudden being hurled back into reality by the regular news broadcasts of more drive by shootings in Sydney.  Every week it's the same news.  Bad news. What is happening to our community?  Who are these people?  We all know why!  Who is going to stop this?   How dare these people run amuck and create havoc in our neighbourhoods.  We deserve to feel safe.  Our children have a right to innocence!  I have lived in a time of safety and freedom, I have played in the streets, walked home from school with not a care in the world.  It saddens me to think about the cruel obstacles that will fall in the path of our community in time to come,  and it breaks my heart to think about the challenge we all have ahead of us to keep our family's safe in our community.  I can't fix this alone, I can't spend each day worrying about good guys and bad guys, I must go to work, shop, cook and go about my life's business, which leads me to ponder if I am weak and gutless?   For my family's sack I have to pop back into my happiness bubble so when they all come home from work, and look to me for a smile, a hug and a kiss I am right there, the rock, the mum, the lover of life. The silent protector. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

In my life "Happy Anniversary'

Today, four years ago, on the Rocky Point, at Balmoral Beach, the sailor and I tied the knot.  

The Storey..........

Scene One.
International yacht regatta in the Whitsunday Islands north Queensland.  Skippers dinner at the Yacht Club.    Kiwi Sailor eyes Aussie lady sailor, but she is with another man (not in a relationship).  Kiwi Sailor infiltrates Aussie camp to find out who the lady sailor is and if she is with the other man (he finds out she's not).  Aussie Lady sailor doesn't notice Kiwi sailor, but chats to his crew (she didn't know it was a set up, to interrogate her).

Scene Two (The first race)
First race and Kiwi skipper clashes with Aussie lady skipper on the start line, their eyes lock. Kiwi skipper has stars in his eyes, Aussie lady skipper sees red and pulls the protest flag.   Harsh words are exchanged.  It is evident that this Kiwi team and Aussie team will battle it out for the trophy.

Scene Three (The meeting)
The kiwi stalks the Aussie Lady skipper at the race after events.  She is far too focused on the regatta to notice him........but her crew does!  The night before the lay day, Aussie skipper, decides to hit the town and dresses up all girly.  The Kiwi spots her waiting for a cab, retraces his steps and just as she is getting into the cab the Kiwi sailor jumps in.........

Scene Four (The walk of shame) 
..................Well it didn't get off to a great start, but the Kiwi was very persistent, even when the Lady skipper sat down at the table with her friends, he sat opposite her and kept smiling at her.......he finally joined the party and as they say in the classics 'It was love at first sight' enough love going on there for the Lady Skip to wander down to the Kiwi boat and drink until dawn with his crew.  Big mistake as we were fiercely in battle for the first place and bigger than that Aussie Lady had to walk all the way down the dock in the clear light of morning not dressed in her crew uniform.

Scene Five (the truth is revealed)
Aussie Lady skipper takes out the first place, she is secretly more happy that she has met the Kiwi.  Kiwi is sulking happily, he is quite content to give up the trophy for the love of his life?  (his crew are really peeved).  All is well in love land.  Well all not that well as the sailor lives over the ditch and he has a few things he has to go back and sort before the real romance can begin.

Months pass

Scene Six
The lady Skipper has just finished her very smart renovation of an inner city semi.  She receives an email, just a short one telling her, he's pretty much sorted and will be arriving on Friday evening, just like that with only two days notice (he really didn't want to give her time to change her mind)  she rushes around and puts the final touches to the semi.  Friday evening with the hall gently lit with tea candles, a bottle of the french in the wine bucket, she nervously awaits his arrival.

I can't really tell you what happened that night because they locked the door and turned down the lights....but I can tell you that they lived happily ever after.

Sometimes I have to pinch myself, to make sure I'm not off in dream land.  I love to tell people that I am the happiest gal around town.  In the middle of my life, so expectantly the love of my love barged right on in and since then, wow!  we just have not stopped.
I wanted to share this with you today, and I know that all of our seven daughters will be waiting for this post.  So here you go girls, just a few picks of sailor (he won't see them), that describe the wonderful Kiwi bloke he is.

 Hamming it up.

 He loves a cool bandana.

 He always wanted to be a cowboy.

 He can be silly too.

 Getting stalked by Sherlock Holmes

 Loving his poodle

 Fantastic sailor

 Door scraper


 Old fart sufie

 Happy on the water

 Never gets bored at airports.

 Patient when shopping

 Finder of great restaurants whilst in Paris

 Loving Pappa

 Ace fisherman


 Will move heaven and earth

 Discerning shopper whilst drinking

 great travel companion
 Fantastic at waiting for babies to be born

 Picking wind shifts

Gracious winner!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Fibro Beach Shack 'My Dilemna, Topless or Not'

When I arrived home last week, I asked the sailor to help me with the topless girl in the car,  Man, did he go fast, faster than if I asked him to help with the groceries.  Once inside, I stared with admiration at my prize, this gorgeous, bare breasted, island girl was mine to behold.  I found her, neglected and alone, dusty and abused sitting unashamedly behind a heap of rubbish at a garage sale.
 "Take her" they said"  The frame is in tatters and she's gone real mouldy" I laid her carefully in the back of  my car and I did feel a little sad that I had nothing to cover her with in case of her modesty.  

I carefully cleaned the glass and frame and hung her in the family room.  How beautifully retro does she look, her eyes and her hint of a smile, her raven black hair and slender arms. I wonder if she is a South Sea Princess, virgin goddess?  What I am not to sure about is her right nipple.  Is it too pointy?  Is it veering off to the right?  Do these nipples offend? All that aside the more I look at her, the more I love her, my find, my prize.  I know that she will live a lovely life at the bach.


The sailor has a dilemma.  Should we hang her in a beach house rental?  Is this pornographic?  Is this too uncouth?  Will she offend small children.   I'd love to hear your thoughts.  How would you feel if you rented a holiday house with a half naked lady proudly hanging on the lounge room wall.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rowantree Designs "Meet Claire"

Meet Claire, of the Rowantree Autumn/Winter collection.  A new dress style for Rowantree.  When I was designing this little poppet I wanted to design a dress that still had the classic Rowantree trademark of  style and simplicity, the aline silhouette always works well for every toddler body shape and here I have gathered an empire line bodice without making the dress too full. A slightly full sleeve, perfect for cooler days and elastic cuffs.  The fabric is a thirties inspired floral, sweet little white and pink toned flowers.  I adore this autumn terracotta colour.  

This is the new old wardrobe, it is sitting on my verandah waiting to be transformed...Can't wait to share this project with you?

My garden hedges have grown so lush this wet summer

Waiting for Rowan to wake up from his morning sleep I had some fun with the camera........This is my collection of old suitcases and one of my painted frames.  The Cyclops pram is original made in the late fifties and early sixties, I have loved her forever in her bright orange and yellow floral.  Yesterday I rescued her from the attic and gave her a wipe over.  I am going to enjoy having her around the house.  Do you like to move things around in your house, style up your decor and take pictures.

Claire will be available on the Rowantree online store this week in size one and two.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Fibro Beach Shack 'The dining Table, The Pineapples and The Bold Stripe'

Ta...da....!  this is the dining room, exactly as I had pictured it the very first time I inspected the house.  Very white and very fresh, I love the yellow it's such a happy colour.  It's a fun look , I purposely mixed up the furniture styles to give it that beach house feel. I can't believe it ever looked like this

I'm really thrilled with the pineapple prints I purchased at Chelsea Flee when I was in New York last year.  Five dollars for both.  I chose to frame them in a box style frame which rally gave them the retro feel I wanted.

Hibiscus from the back garden, just looking at these tropical flowers makes me feel like I'm on holiday.

My Saturday job was to paint a large one metre stripe and a 15 cm stripe on the wall that faces the front door.  I don't know what it is about men, the sailor was a nervous Nellie.  Firing questions at me.  How will you get the lines straight, will the pain bleed, etc etc.  Then when he saw the colour of the paint, he went very red and jokingly told me "This might just get you eliminated" Ha, ha!  I had a job to do and I just had to focus, cross my fingers and get on with it!

Now for the paint!
Resene Chilean Fire for the big stripe and Resene Knock Out for the small stripe.  These colours match the colours of the vintage poster I will hang here.  If you are planning to paint a feature you just can't be afraid of colour, get it on and and live with it for a few days if you really hate it, paint over it.

It was so hard to get it perfectly straight as the walls are bowed but as far as the eye can see it's pretty good.  There is a little bit of colour bleeding but nothing that a bottle of white out won't fix.
My old university rowing oars look fantastic, I'm so happy that I have kept them all these years.  The buffet is looking a little lonely over there against the large white wall.  The lounge room is still a work in progress.

An old cane mirror I purchased from a garage sale years ago has finally found a home at the beach.  This is the front entrance.  Native Kiwi fauna ceramic plaques.  

I am so happy with what we achieved in the house this weekend, not to mention that we filled a six cubic dump bin with all the overgrown weeds,  bamboo and building debris cleared from the the back garden.  We had some stupid arguments about really dumb things, we rolled around the floor laughing at ourselves, we listened to old music, drank some beers and made plans.  When I left the house yesterday, leaving the sailor behind to start the carport today, I left with a this awesome feeling, I got half way up the hill and turned around and drove back, I raced around the back deck where I had left him  gave him the hugest hug, I looked into his eyes and told him how much I loved  him, we held hands for a bit not saying a word, just looking at what we had achieved together this weekend.
 Enough of that ladeda...So what do you think so far.   Your comments mean so much to me, can;t wait to read them.

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