Sunday, May 30, 2010

blue and white vases...

I have really enjoyed exploring all the different thrift stores in Melbourne since our move here 7 weeks ago. Although my main purpose has been to look for damaged vintage books for our mondocherry artworks and cards, I must admit that I have been getting a little sidetracked. Here are a few of my latest op shop finds that have found themselves a home in my guest room (soon to be occupied by Mum for a week...hooray!) I adore blue and white so I fell for these vases straight away and since the large one cost $8 and the smaller one $4, they didn't break the bank. I purchased the jar with the lid from The Works and I think it looks lovely grouped with the others with a bit of pink thrown in.

See the curtains in the photo? They have caused me some trouble! I was after a plain linen curtain for this room, and found a reasonable pair at Ikea. However, with the high ceilings I have in this house they were too short, so I thought I would add a deep border in a blue linen with a very similar texture. I measured the blue strip carefully and sewed it along the bottom of each of the two Ikea panels, but when I hung them up, one curtain brushed the floor and the other had quite a gap. I had assumed, quite reasonably I think, that the curtains would be the same length....I was wrong! Ikea aren't in my good books at the moment.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

now that is a sale...

I popped into a shopping centre this morning and noticed that a lot of the shops had sales on... 30% off, buy 1 get second one half price... It would have been nice if they were more like the promotion this shop in Dubai had on. I had to read the sign a few times after Mum (Sue) emailed me the photo to check that it actually said what I thought it did. Hope the bargains are as good wherever you live!

Monday, May 24, 2010

chalkboard table...

As the painted paper that I had put down on my children's train table was looking a little worse for wear, I sent my husband off to his favourite shop, Bunnings, for a can of chalkboard paint. He returned a few hours later (why does a man need to spend so long in a hardware store?) with something even better - a thin piece of chipboard that was pre-painted and could be cut to size. With no messy paint to deal with, we just slotted it in to the table top so it can easily be removed if needed.

Having a chalkboard as a horizontal surface gives lots of scope scope for games and activities. When the kids are playing with cars or trains, we can draw roads, tracks, houses, lakes and trees wherever we want them, and when we get the animals out we can draw fences and farm buildings. With kids older than mine it would be fun to draw a chess board and use lego figures or something similar for the pieces. Much more fun than having a blackboard easel!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

we should have been twins...

Joy and I should have been twins! I can't tell you the number of times we have come up with exactly the same idea at the same time, bought the same cushion or vase, and turned up somewhere wearing practically the identical outfit right down to the same pair of shoes.

We were obviously having one of these 'twin-y moments' earlier this week when we both bought this pretty lacy tape by Christina Rae. I purchased mine to pretty up the lids of some plain storage boxes that hold all my bits and pieces in my craft room - white around the recycled brown boxes and black around the white ones. Joy was more creative with her tape, sticking it around some plain drinking glasses to make stylish vases.

This tape would, of course, make any wrapped present look very smart but we think it is almost too nice to use on something that is just going to get thrown in the bin. What would you do with it?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

revamped mondocherry website...

We are very excited to have launched our new-look website, designed by us and built by my wonderful husband, who spent many late nights putting up with our requests and changes of mind!. We have given just about everything a total overhaul, and our new look groups our artwork by colour which hopefully makes it easier to find a piece you love. We have loaded most of our products on now, but as we are continually creating new work, there should always be something new to see. We would love your feedback!

It continues to amaze us just how much we are learning by having a small business - who would have thought a few years ago that I would have spent my evening pondering the ins and outs of various 'shopping carts', debating the pros and cons of the difference in the colours as seen on a imac or pc, and fiddling around in a graphics programme creating a new logo. Certainly makes a change from the cooking and cleaning!

Monday, May 17, 2010

our tea party...

We had such a lovely time celebrating my eldest daughter's birthday yesterday with a special tea party for 8 delightful girls. The birthday girl loves decorating and pretty things almost as much as her mother (me), so we had a great time dreaming up the details together.

We decorated with colourful parasols that I purchased from Sunrise Imports (the most amazing warehouse to have a rummage in if you are in Brisbane!), pretty flowers and vintage linens. After visiting what felt like every charity shop in Brisbane, I tracked down enough vintage tea cups and plates for each of the girls, all with floral patterns in shades of pink and mauve. After they had used them for the afternoon tea, they become the 'take-home bags' with a few extra goodies thrown in.

The food was lovely and simple - mini quiches, tiny sandwiches, cup cakes, flower-shaped brownies, meringue kisses and peppermint creams. The birthday girl requested an old-fashioned sponge cake with jam, cream and strawberries which was very appropriate for the vintage tea party theme, and ever so much easier for me than spending the morning fiddling around with icing and a complicated design!

The main game involved a race between two teams to set up a tea table complete with vase of flowers and guests. They had to follow clues and do tea-related challenges such as building sugar cube towers, filling a tea cup up with water using teaspoons, and singing "I'm a little teapot", complete with actions, to Sue in Dubai via Skype. I had found some great wooden fans with cutout details and the girls used pretty coloured pens to decorate these for a craft which kept them occupied for a good half and hour.

9 year old girl's parties are just so easy and civilised - next weekend we are having a party for my 12 year old son... might not be so quiet! And I must say a huge thank you to my wonderful Mother-in-law and two super sister-in-laws who came and held babies, washed dishes and kept everything flowing smoothly.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Joy's house part 1...

I have to admit that I was dubious about renting again after owning our own house. Before we made the move down here to Melbourne, my husband and I flew down for the day for a whirlwind inspection of 8 or 9 rental properties. Many of them had peeling paint, stained carpet and very ordinary kitchens, so when we walked into this place it was such a welcome relief. Freshly painted white walls and floorboards throughout - I knew this was the one!

While there are several things I would change if I owned this house, I feel very at home here. I am especially loving all the character features (our Brisbane house was brand new), in particular the stained glass in the doors and windows and the fireplaces and mantles - an extra shelf for my ever-changing displays.

Here are some cute little egg cups that I found at an op shop which have found a home on the mantlepiece for now. Isn't the glass insert an interesting addition?

I love opening the front door and being greeted by this long hallway. The ceilings are very high, but the detailed arch, chandeliers and panelled doors stop it feeling like a tunnel.

Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

an invitation to a tea party...

We decided a few years ago that we would alternate between parties and family activities for our kids' birthdays and 2010 is a party year. May is our busiest month, with 3 birthdays, the first being my eldest daughter, Hannah, who turns 9 on Mother's Day. She and I decided on a tea party theme and the photos show the invitations we designed together. The cup is made of two pieces of felt, left open at the top, the tea bag is a real one that I emptied out and then slotted in a little card with all the party details on, and the flowery detail was a breeze with my wonderful new-ish sewing machine (although the corners were pretty tight!)

We are having the party a week late as we didn't think it would be quite right to compete with Mother's Day. The plan is to have a vintage feel with lots of mismatched cups and plates, pretty doilies, plenty of flowers and some other girly decorations which are yet to be decided ... nothing like leaving things to the last minute! And then, of course, there will be lots of tea, iced tea, pink lemonade and yummy things to eat. Lots to do, but it should be lots of fun.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

back to Fiji...

Abby from the gorgeous blog two little dicky birds tagged us (ages ago, but better late than never!) to re-post our sixth ever blog image. I have to admit I was a little bit scared of going back all the way to October 2007 - it felt sort of like reading through old diaries and cringing at what you had written. However, our sixth post turned out to be a perfect antidote for the dull, rainy day we have had here in Brisbane as it was about a family holiday we had in Fiji. The photos of a beautiful sunset and a bunch of frangipani were enough to make me feel more relaxed and even a bit warmer.

Fiji was a fantastic place to visit, especially with kids. We went for just over a week and we stayed in the Radisson resort on Denaru Island, which was brand new at the time. One of my favourite memories from the holiday was the friendliness of the Fijian people and their genuine love for children. We hardly saw my then 6th month old when we ate at the restaurant as she was passed around the staff for cuddles! As you can see from the photo below, she was pretty relaxed about it all.

If the following lovely bloggers are game enough to go back through their archives, we would love to see what you were up to when you posted for the sixth time...

Leigh from Brabourne Farm
Jan from fancy that

Sunday, May 2, 2010

tea canister vase...

After I finished up the loose leaf tea in this red canister this morning, I thought it was too pretty to just put back in the cupboard. I had bought myself a bunch of these sunny yellow miniature roses a couple of days ago, and they look ever so vibrant displayed in the canister. (I stuck a drinking glass inside for the water so that the next tea I put in doesn't have a stem-y aroma!) Hope you are having a great weekend. We have a public holiday here in Queensland tomorrow - hooray!