Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Fibro Beach Shack 'Landscaping'

The Landscaping for the Fibro Beach Shack was finally started on the weekend.  The removal of the big tree that was close to the front steps was a major hurdle, it's gnarly big branches twisted high above the overhead power lines and  it's diseased and rotted trunk made the job a tricky one.  Firstly consulting and finding the right Arborist, then the task of planning with Ausgrid and the local community to have the power cut whilst we bought this old girl down.

Thinking about the plan for the landscape design was really fun.  I made lots of sketches from my memory of  Gold Coast beach houses we owned and holidayed in when I was a child.  When I collated the drawings they had a strong link, each drawing had a playful and whimsical element, a winding path, statues, bird baths, brightly painted garden seats and yes, I admit we had a pair of flaming pink flamingoes and a white tyre swan with red hot lips.  With a playful garden design in mind, next I had come up with a solution for the driveway which has to be functional as well as attractive. With playful in mind, I decided on using  river pebbles for the driveway and the curvy path.  The path will meander from the drivewat across the front garden and around the existing camellia tree.  The river pebbles are perfect for creating a retro look and make such a delicious crunchy sound when you walk on them.  Rowan will love this!

Brilliant sunny skies over the weekend (Woe!  The sun really reflects off the yellow)  and we were able to complete all the hard landscaping.  If you are doing the DIY, you will need to buy a spray can of paint to draw your plan onto the ground.

I am so happy with the outcome.  Perfect retro garden styling.  I have a colourful retro inspired plant list and hopefully they will arrive for a big planting day next weekend.

To continue the retro vibe on the front porch I have sourced an eclectic collection of retro cement pots.  A quick coat of any left over white paint and they are ready to be potted with a selection of succulents including lots of  my favourite, strappy plant, the 'Mother In Laws Tongue'.  

What did Rowan do?  He loved playing in the pebble pit.......and eating baskets of strawberries.

A change of clothes and a walk to the beach..."POOL", he squeels!

A play in the park and he always tricks me he is going to come down the slide.
He thinks about it, considers it and then yell's..."NAAAN..NAAAA"

Soccer or Rugby?  

And back to the river pebbles........I knew Rowan would love the delcious crunchy sound the pebbles make under his feet under his little feet!

And time for bed.

Remember this?

  If you are new to my blog you might like to see the before pics here and when I started the renovation here.  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Vintage Inspiration and the Best Wedding Proposal Ever

All my favourite vintage today....stacks of bracelets, sunglasses, necklaces and hippy belts. A rack of boho clothes and shoes to match.  The beach, some waves and some famous old chairs.

And if you want to see one of the best wedding proposals ever, my sailing buddy Dan sailed all the way around the world just to pop the question.  Cheers Mel!  Your one lucky lady!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

In The Wee Smalll Hours......

In the wee small hours of the mornings when I creep downstairs I will often see a dim light under the hall door,  as I tip toe along the creaky floorboards,  I can hear the muffled tones of two boys at play, one deep voice whispering and one high pitched voice excitedly squeaking.  I quietly open the door,  just a little peek, the sailor with his big strong hands guiding Rowan's small hands lining up the engines.........
Rowan and the sailor are quietly playing with 'Ti Tou' 
'Ti Tou' is Rowan's name for all the characters that belong to Thomas The Tank Engine.  

Rowan loves to line them up, Ti Tou, Ti Tou, Ti Tou and Ti Tou, he concentrates very hard.

He moves them around as he speaks in Thomas tongue....

I love these hands, the morning sun reflecting off the fines hairs on his chubby little fists.   I love it when he gently places his hand in mine.   Rowan I will hold your hand as long as you let me, but your heart I will hold forever.......

Monday, July 23, 2012

Finally, A Vintage Patchwork Quilt

 My vintage inspired, patchwork quilt looks gorgeous sitting in my favourite cane chair, the perfect companion for a sit in the sun, a read, and a delicious cup of tea.  

Hello Monday, one day closer to feeling better, fingers crossed it is soon.  It felt like the longest weekend, house bound, with little enthusiasm for anything.  I  can honestly say I don't know myself, this person who hasn't a spark, just a quarter of a smile when I can be bothered to lift the side of my mouth, and that hurts!  This wasn't our weekend, we didn't go to the shack, no mention of sailing, no outfits, no farmers markets with intentions of slow cooked anything........just me trying to get back to normal!

Early Sunday morning I crept out of bed and went into my sewing room, I pulled out the vintage quilt, that has been eluding me for some time.  Perhaps it was the enormity of the hand sewing that kept her folded in the bottom drawer, perhaps I had given her up for a task more exciting?  This morning I will stitch the border and by the time the sun comes out I will be sitting in the sun enjoying her warmth and lovely colours............

Sometimes you just need determination!

This weekend I enjoyed looking through the cheerful pages of the  Playful Home, so many inspiring ideas for children's rooms.  
Meet Tara from 'Shabby In Suburbia'  who just happens to be hosting a fabulous giveaway a prize that will look perfect in your child's playroom.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Vintage Lovlieness and Matilda's Vintage Cot

Hello, I'm house bound today, getting over myself, I'm am such a bad patient, I am listless and dreary, and I can't even muster a tinge of motivation.  I tried crocheting, I tried watching 'Mad Men', I even tried to look at a recipe book...............so I wandered into my studio and took at picture of Matilda's Blue Cot...........this is how Rowan left it on Tuesday afternoon, he likes to style things.  Personally I think it's all a bit blue and cluttered, but this is the way Rowan wanted it!

This is the vintage cot I rescued from the side of the road some months back, popped it in the back of my car and bought it home.  I was really excited as I had been searching my brain thinking of what could be special enough give Matilda for her second birthday.  After a really good scrub and a little woodwork, the cot looked ready for the new owner.  I bought a piece of foam from Clark Rubber and covered it with a piece of vintage fabric, then I set to make a little patchwork quilt and a crochet throw.  How cute is the original sticker, all beautifully in tact.  Now the cot is already for Matilda's playroom.  I must admit that I will miss having it in my studio, and I am not the only one, Rowan has grown fond of putting his collection of softies and dolls to bed every day......

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rowantree Designs 'Vintage Inspired Summer Playsuit'

A delicate floral, vintage inspired play suit.  Meet 'Eloise', a play suit that has all the elegant features that you'd expect from a Rowantree piece of children's clothing.

Here I am sitting here at my table in my studio, I'm looking around admiring my collection of statues and pictures, all the quirky bits and pieces hanging on the walls and perched on shelves, the neatly folded stacks of fabrics and trims, a rack of my beautiful Rowantree pieces and of course my two mannequins, all dressed up with no where to go.
Hello!   It's feels good to be back, and lovely to be chatting to you from my table, over looking the rooftops and trees of my street.    My suitcases are unzipped and exploding all over my bedroom floor, I'm not to fussed to unpack in the proper sense yet, I prefer to just dig around and pulls things out when I want them, unpacking is one of those jobs I like to put off.  Do you do this?
I have much preferred hanging out with Rowan,  he is saying a new word YEAH!  He YEAH'S to everything.  He is kind off putting up with all my nanna kisses and cuddles,  I know it's a boy thing!

Last night I finished this beautiful play suit,  I bought this fabric in Japan last year, it's a cotton seersucker.  The mauve and blue floral sits crisply on the navy background.  I have made the legs longer and added a navy blue cross grain ribbon to tie loosely below the waist.   I always love to add a touch of nostalgia to all my pieces, whether they are vintage inspired or have a retro flavour.  Over the next week I will be putting together the bones of my Rowantree Designs summer collection, I have some gorgeous floral fabrics and for the boys, yes it's nautical, shirts, rompers and my famous Clayton shorts in denim.
I'm going to be laid up for the next couple of days in a hospital bed, so no Rowantree work there, instead I am looking forward to your blogs keeping me company.  See you soon!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

New York City Restaurants 'Hungry in New York City'

I'd like by saying.  You don't have to read this.  It's a tad long and I really get carried away with pretending I'm a food writer! this is just for some friends of mine who wanted me to thumb them up on a few places to eat in the hood! 

Finding a good restaurant in New York City can be a challenge, some might say, like bars in Ireland, they are all sensational, but when I visit the big apple, I am on a mission to seek out new wave food trends.  I am looking for restaurants that are taking on the farm to table approach, restaurants that serve fresh food, that is made with love and care.  Ambiance is a big plus for me as I want the restaurant to be a destination, where I can sit sip a cocktail  and enjoy every delicious morsel that is put in front of me.  I am no food writer but with years and years of eating experience I like to believe I can recommend a good one!  These are just a few of my favourites in the Soho, down town area.

Roberta's Pizza. I blog about this restaurant every year I visit , it's the best pizza I have ever eaten and the restaurant just keeps getting better.  With a green house growing organic greens, herbs and tomatoes, a bakery that pumps out mouth watering breads all day, and most of all a great beer garden serving beers from their own brewery.  What else could you ask for?  Great staff?  They are all here too  
Try to go early afternoon, it's much easier to get a cab over the Brooklyn Bridge.  Stay and play and kids are welcome!  Don't forget to take your camera you will have fun taking pics in the beer garden!

Miss Lily's.  Straight up I love this crib.  The front door staff are gorgeous, and dressed in Jamaican, Caribbean uber posh swagger.  Walk on in and the reggae music has the crowd pumped, I loving this restaurant  with or without food.  The service is quick, sit down and the staff are attentive and friendly, if you can't decide, they'll decide for you, so just sit back and let the food do the talking.  My picks, for starters, jerk corn, cod fish fritters and fish tacos, wrap up these tasty morsels with the goat curry or jerk chicken, so gooooood and while you are making one with the food the in house DJ and radio station spins some great vinyls.  Book here!

Ed's Lobster Bar. Just passing by and you won't be able stop yourself from wanting to enter this narrow white space.  This widow displays of fresh oysters, clams and lobsters are not the only draw cards, the restaurant is a vibe of happiness (must be the oysters), the white panelled walls and nautical decor are refreshing, take a seat at the white marble bar and start chatting to the friendly staff whilst they pour you a long cold beer! Ahh an oasis in this hot city!  The seafood is so fresh you'd think they had the trawler parked outside, and the pasta is handmade....The signature dish is the lobster roll accompanied by fries which are about the best you can get in NYC.  My favourite, the oysters and the staff shuck them right there in front of you.    The lobster ravioli is to die for, you may need to share this dish, don't leave out the chowder, it's all delicious. A great selection of wine here including a NZ Savvy...Perfect!  No bookings, so go early.

Aurora's Italian Restaurant You'll find Aurora's perched up an industrial staircase in busy Broome Street.  A rustic space, bare brick walls adorned with pieces of old farm equipment.  I like the vibe, noisy and happening.  Early evening you might find Soho hipsters dining with their Woodstock styled parents but later in the evening the crowds shifts and the music gets pumping.  The pasta is all made on the premises, fresh crisp salad leaves are served with tart citrus and edgy cheeses.  I  guarantee you'll come back here before you leave.  Everything on the menu is my favourite here. If you can fit in dessert, try the panna cotta.

La Esquina If anybody is old enough to remember Studio 54 well La Esquina is like this with tacos subbing for cocaine.  ONce you get past the steel door, down the winding staircase then walk throught the kitchen, this is one cool place to hang out with a margarita and share a few plates of awesome Mexican food.  Built in a basement, it the walls are weathered, and the rest of the structure is rusted steel.  You won't worry too much after a couple of margarita's, you'll be grooving with the best of them. Make sure you book, you'll feel pretty awesome passing the velvet rope knowing you are in!


The Mermaid Inn  New England style seafood's with hip charm.

Mexican Radio  Just perfect unfussy Mexican food with loads of the things we love, cheese chilly and fresh ingredients.  Funky environment and those margaritas just keep coming.

The Delicatessen Bringing international comfort food to the cross roads of Soho and Nolita.  Familiar favourites with a twist!  Cheese burger spring rolls, and the best cheese macs in the history of the universe!  Try the organic cucumber martini!

Cafe Citane. If you are into checking out drop dead gorgeosu models, celebs hanging out in their day clothes and other New York Hipsters and eat the best morrocan food this side of Casablanca, this is definately it!!!!.   Most days you'll want to sit down an sip a glass of french wine and watch the passing parade.  The food is great!

Pegu Club  The gate keeper of classic cocktail culture.  Be careful don't make arrangements for after this stop!

Ladies, and gents file this one away, just in case, you never know when you might find yourself hungry in NYC.

Friday, July 13, 2012

'Vintage Inspired Fashion In New York City'

Vintage inspired Rowantree pieces, featured in the independent designer fashion week
 in Brooklyn, New York City.

Sadly to say that tomorrow is my last day here in this wonderful, arty, bustling, edgy, imposing and energising city and the sailor and I have a date in Central Park, fingers crossed he packs a picnic lunch and takes me rowing.   I have had such a busy time, how quickly ten days fly past you when you are having one of the times of your life.  I have so much I want to tell you, so many great restaurants to recommend, so many shops for you to put on your list...........and of course some cheeky, little late night bars we found along the way.  But I always know when it's time to go home, I start to cuddle other people's children and dogs, stand around too long in children's fashion shops, tell the cafe staff what's wrong with their coffee and the major tell tale is when I walk past a Lucky Brand and not go in!

Meet Norybah, one of my blogger friends, can you believe we were at my favourite pizza  restaurant in Brooklyn one day apart, imagine the fun we would have had if we had met!  I really want to you to pop on over here and fall in love with these beauties.

Ladies the postcards are on the way.  Thank you so much for your comments and encouragement on my New York blog posts.  I get it that some of you love nautical as much as I, so watch this space as I will be looking out for things we both love.  See you soon!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Online Retail 'Inspiring Day in New York City'

Hello, here I am in the big apple in a big chair, I posted a pic of this chair a little while ago, here but I like this picture the best, I think I look so much more stylish, posing in my Johnny Was dress.  I have been super busy doing my thing  here, meeting exciting and talented people, learning some very valuable insights into merchandising for online retailing.  I hope you enjoy some random pics of what I got up to yesterday....

Walking up Broadway...fast!

 I can't resist a good anchor.  I'd love this one at home.

 Bought some new vinyls, I can't believe how cheap they are.

Awesome converse display.....

Popped in and bought the boys a pair....

Next stop a meeting at Union Square.  On the run snap of the Flat Iron building, amazing.

Whilst waiting for my friend in Union Square this is what I saw.

The Subway entrance, a hive of activity, though some of it very interesting indeed!

Hare Khrisna's. 

 Intense concentration.....

 Why not?  Lunch time yoga classes...

 What started out as a random solo drum act......

ended up being some bizarre random object exorcism.......

Our meeting took us to Fishs Eddy.  Wow a visual treat and more merchandising talk, after the store visit I was taken to The New York Pubic Library's new exhibition 'New York Lunches'.  The connection being that Fishs Eddy has created a limited edition of merchadise based on artwork and menus from the collection...

 A barrel full of tea pot lids...

Heading back down town we walked through the Union Square food market and filled a basket with fresh organic fruit and some yummy cheeses....

A busy day and my mind was crazy excited.   New York City never fails to amaze and inspire!  Today I am doing a little shopping research hahahaha!  Tomorrow I am attending a Conference on merchandising for online retail, it goes something like this.  Think outside the box, big or small your online shop is global so get smart, get savvy, as online shopping grows to gigantic heights you will have to fight for your customers. No more Mum and Pop shops allowed!  What?  I kinda get the last part!

Monday, July 9, 2012

In My Life 'Saturday in Brooklyn and Peeing in Public Toilets'

Top, Johnny Was. Jeans Lucky Brand vintage. Shoes, Michael Kors

The mercury reached over the 100's today and the streets of NYC were on fire.  You may ask why I am wearing my jeans out on a day when temperatures are set to soar, the answer is, after dressing in my new yellow shorts you saw me trying on over here , I realised the security tag was not removed, dang!  I contemplated wearing them with the tag but the tag was far to uncomfortable.

Street fair on Broadway  Each week a different location in the city hosts a street fair. 
We lost count after 452 stalls, selling arts and crafts, clothing and jewellery mostly cheap stuff from China. A few talented local artist selling prints etc but  I wouldn't put these street fairs on my list of things to do in NYC.  If you happen to be in the area, the fresh food and home made lemonade stands are delicious.

This is the Brooklyn flea held in Fort Green each Saturday.  It was soo hot, trying desperately to stay out of the sun and sipping lemonades in between trying to meet and chat to as many people as possible made for quite a long day. 

And here are a few of my totally Brooklyn friends I met yesterday, talented, fun and quirky

Claudia Pearson  I love the simplicity to her illustrations, bringing fruit and vegetable to a quirky life on paper and textiles.  I purchased the one to Claudia's right 
'The Brown Stones'  Typical Brooklyn architecture.  See Claudia's Blog here

This is Constant, born in Haite and raised in the US.  Constants' passion lies in working in building bridges between people of the US and the children of Haiti.  So in his spare time to relax and meet people on a Saturday Constant packs up his vintage lovliness and brings it to the Flea.  His collection of vintage sunglasses and handbags and shoes had my jaw on the ground.  Can't wait to show you what I bought here and the good news is, I am going to give one of my lovely readers one in my next giveaway.  Constant thought that this idea was very cute!

This is Dan and Dan basically packs up his parent's house each Saturday and brings it on down to the flea, well not quite like that, but read about him here.  Dan store is filled to the brim with retro toys and figurines.  You can imagine how much fun the sailor and I had choosing cool stuff for Rowan.  

After a long morning at the flea and unfortuntley too hot to walk around the eclectic Brooklyn we came to our favourite spot in Williamsburg , with the best beer garden in the hood.  Roberta's Pizza and Tiki Bar.  This is one place you have to put on your list when you visit New York, We were here last year and the place is as still hip happening as ever, in fact it's just gotten better.  We were given a tour of the bakery, rooftop greenhouse and new tastings restaurant, I can't believe how this once small pizza restaurant and has grown into a green and sustainable restaurant village, lucky us, we have been invited to our very own tastings evening, dining with the owners and chefs later this week...so excited!  Roberta's has just got to be the coolest green reastaurant in NYC.

Over the last couple of days ,walking the walk and talking the talk in NYC I have learnt some pretty useless things, one of them is peeing in public toilets. I have a standard operating mode for peeing in public toilets (especially the ones at the sailing club)  I like to put lots of toilet paper in the bowl so it doesn't make a big splashing noise going into the bowl, then I kind of let it out slowly so I don't sound like I have a cow's bladder.  If I can, I try to wait until the cubicles are empty, standing outside monitoring who goes in and out, so I can find a slot when nobody else is in the toilets.  You might think this is weird but at least you can put this on the list of things you know about Roberta.

Well in New York City,  ladies just let it all out with a big splash and I have even heard one let out a sigh of relief.........HORROR, I gringed in disbelief and ran out the door as fast as I could, not even stopping to wash my hands, fumbling through my bag for my hand sanitiser.

Do you pee loud in public toilets!  Do you have a standard operating mode for peeing in pubic?

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