Thursday, September 30, 2010

aaah... the Show

We did it. We took the boys to the (Royal Agricultural) Show last week, and someone please tell me why is it never as good as you remember??? Must be the gloss wearing off the shite you get in the showbags, and the fact I am not a teenager going on endless roundybouty make-me-sicky rides just to meet a few (bogan) boys... aaahhh the memories!

Lucas meets a duckling
The round up of the day is that I probably wouldn't take younger kiddies to the Show, it is a little much for them I reckon. The lure for us were the animals and the fact that the kiddies could get up close and personal with baby lambs/piglets/calves etc but they were not overly interested, much more into the people watching and general mayhem going on around them. One year old was content to hang in the pram and observe, 3 year old did not know if he was coming or going most of the day.

Calf No 68
Baby animals are amusing for so long before they are boring. The kiddie rides were still a little too daunting for him (although we probably could have convinced him the kid's (very slow) roller coaster would have been OK), so we ended up going on a clackety crap train ride (with extortionate fares). Twice. (Well, they had painted them up to look like Gordon and Henry the Express Engines, hence the insistence that these were THE only trains we were to go on. Not entirely sure they had approval from Thomas and Friends but there you go).

Look, it's "Gordon" and "Henry"
It was amusing at one point when Lucas had control over where we were headed to, he literally ran one way, then the other, then back again while yelling incoherent statements to anyone in earshot (lots of people). It was at this point I surmised we might be waiting a few years before venturing to the show again, the poor kid did not know what to do. Still he loved the ferris wheel, was stoked with his showbag (I have to say I was less than impressed with the loot) and we all got out relatively unscathed and with (some) money left in the bank.

Robbie takes in the view
From a design perspective, this was the first year I ventured through the Arts & Crafts pavillion to have a looksee. Saw some great stuff! Awesome cake decorators, quilters, amateur artists and fashion designers exhibiting their works. I'll have to allocate more time on our next visit as I was enamoured with it all, but hubs was entirely non-plussed. Next time I go in there on my own.

Highlight of the day for me? Spotting a drink holder on the back of a pram with baby's milk bottle and some snacks nestled beside a can of Southern Comfort - Class with a capital C.

But, as I walked away looking around at the general chaos, a can of Southern Comfort could just give a day at the Show that special edge, that certain something.

Next time, I go prepared.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

i heart ikea

It is no secret to people that know me that I absolutely looove Ikea. Being in the interior industry, you either have a love or hate relationship with this place, and mine is definitely LOVE! This may sound a little unhinged, but I could spend hours there, wandering about getting lost, finding cool new textiles and fantasising about all the amazing things I could make if only I had a sewing machine (and could actually sew), thinking up new and amazing ways to use their clever storage in my non-existent hallway, checking out their kitchen ranges (have you seen them? - they are really something) and just generally wishing I owned my own house so I could fill it up with Ikea goodness.

A disclaimer here. I used to shop here alot for my work, so I know the place back-to-front, plus all the shortcuts through the showroom and marketplace, and I ONLY ever go on a weekday. It is not much fun on the weekend at all.

Smaland image from Ikea
That being said, I did brave Ikea during the school holidays and low and behold, now that Lucas is 3 he is able to go to Smaland.... I now love Ikea even more if that is even possible! Smaland is a play area and care facility at the entrance to Ikea (in Victoria anyway), it has the obligatory ball pit but also has a chillout space, drawing table and indoor swinging tree things that looked like fun. Lucas was in heaven and did not want to leave. They take your kids for an hour and let you shop in peace - bliss! Although an hour in Ikea is never enough, it gave me long enough to get the bits I needed that day, and the good thing is there is a pick up point inside the store so you don't need to go outside to pick them up - handy!

Their design ethos is sound and super practical, they have the needs of a family and it's practicalities in place while everything is stylishly designed and oh-so Swedish. Their new parents range also covers everything you could need or want, without going OTT like some baby specialists do with the equipment you may 'need' for your new baby. And to top it all off, it's priced at wallet friendly rates which not only means you can fill your house with it all, you won't stress too much about having a garage sale when your kid decides they hate red and insist on their room having GREEN drawers ONLY!

So anyway, enough of my gushing about our Swedish designer friends, you know how much I love them, I am just happy they have made shopping there even better for me! Oh, that and the fact I can't go past their (very kid friendly) restaurant without getting my hands on a plate of their swedish meatballs. yum.
Swedish Meatballs from Ikea

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Playcentre plays...

A and I took the boys to Kidzzone the other week so I thought I'd add to the community service parent rooms reviews and do one for playcentres too (some of them can be a bit dodgy, and yes I am willing to let my children into dodgy looking ballpits but only cause I love you).

Aaah the bacteria den that is the ballpit
The Kidzzone at Coburg has the usual setup, with a toddler friendly cordoned off area for kids under 4 (not sure if the fence is to keep the little kids in or the big ones out), larger climbing maze for bigger kids, a jumping castle and a couple of trampolines, with a few pay as you go rides and skilltesters thrown in for good measure. There are also private party booths you can hire as well as a large seating area with tables and chairs for parents - could also be good for mum's groups or family gatherings too.

Slide and ballpit in toddler play area at Kidzzone
The toddler space is roomy and has a mini climbing castle maze, ballpit and slide and soft, cushiony obstacle type shapes for littlies to climb about on. The only downside is the adult height gate, which I spent half the time opening and closing for a 3 year old, but small things. The big plus side is there is a sofa for mums who are over coaxing their kid out of the ballpit and are happy to sit and watch (or gaze into the middle distance as you zone out).

Climbing maze in toddler play area at Kidzzone
Lucas was super impressed with the larger climbing frame and jumping castle. Actually he and M were all over the shop, basically because they had the run of the place on a weekday so they were chuffed. You could lose kids in the climbing maze, it is so large (thank eff he didn't get stuck up there so no search and rescue operation was required, unlike our trip to Bunnings, but that's another story entirely).

Climbing Maze at Kidzzone
Awesome actual jumping Castle at Kidzzone
And I was impressed that the jumping castle is actually a castle and not some lame take on an underwater themed land or some such thing. The whole place has a medieval castley dragony theme to it, with the booths painted up with either a Knight, Dragon, Princess or Fairy theme, kinda tacky but kids love it (hubs would recoil at the artwork, but he is an illustrator so there you go).

Themed party booths at Kidzzone
The food is pretty good, sadly the kids menu is a little all party pies and hot chips, most kids love that stuff, but I may just have the fussiest of fussy eaters who does not even go for a hot chip, good in some ways, really annoying in others. Coffees are good and that's all you really need, self cater for your kiddies and all is OK - as long as they run themselves ragged and pass out when you get home - it's all good!

Going for it on the tramps!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

try not to

Hubs sent me this site yesterday, and I like it. It got me thinking, and I like things that get me thinking.

Basically, Elliott Scott and Christopher Doyle, a couple of designers from Sydney, have put together a publication with some Don'ts in current design called "This year I will try not to", which are trends that are being repeated by a lot of designers out there, illustrating the point that designers should innovate and come up with something new.

Page from 'This year I will try not to' by Elliott Scott and Christopher Doyle
I have to say I do agree with the amount of appropriation out there, and do we really need to see your funky loft apartment interior with the stylish vintage furnishings? I am sometimes tempted to post an image of my space - Gosh! an interior designer whose living 'space' is complete with 70s brown velour sofa and a corner overflowing with toys - tres chic. Tempted, but no.

But you know what? The thing is there are plenty (pl-en-ty) of people who DO want to see your funky apartment (albeit after it has been styled thanks), they WANT to know what you carry around in your uber-trendy brown leather satchel, and they WILL buy the tote bag with the logo on it. They want to see your apartment because it is probably cooler, neater and cleaner than theirs, and you carry cool gizmos in your bag, not receipts and bits of old gum wrapped in the paper it came in... or do you???

Page from 'This year I will try not to' by Elliott Scott and Christopher Doyle
It's all part of the fantasy is it not? The same realm that mags and ads occupy - 'you too can look like me!' (which reminds me, this chick is hilarious). It's a bit of a fine line I think, mags like Frankie are great because there is no pretense, it's not about celebrity but accessibility, they have real stories with real people and yet they still have a fashion spread with designer clothes...

It's a wierd paradox, to be a designer. To give something to society that has not been done before, but to keep the avenues open. I hate the exclusivity that design can bring about, cause with that come stupid elitist games and other forms of bullshit. The problem being that to be paid properly, there needs to be a certain elitist quality about it, for if it is mass-produced, you won't get enough cash to keep designing, not alot of people can afford the starving artist gig with a family to feed.

Design is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as "the art or action of conceiving of and producing a plan or drawing of something before it is made". This, I guess, is the point of "This year I will try not to", the fact that design involves conceiving the plan as well, not appropriating someone else's. 

But is anything new?? What is old is new again etc... that's a whole other blogpost/rant...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

To market, to market...

Been awhile since my last posting - apologies but I got a private design job - yay! - with a tight deadline - boo! - all done and dusted so back to the meaty stuff...

Can you tell I like markets yet? My mate A clued me on on another goodie, the North Melbourne Market a couple of weeks ago and had to share some cool finds with you (thanks A!). The wonderful Thread Den peeps put it on and there is plenty of crafty goodness and vintage treasures to be discovered at the Lithuanian Club on Errol Street (quirky venue too). There are a couple more dates this year - check it out!

love rosie clarke

Sweet tea cosy - Love Rosie Clarke
I fell in love with Rosie's cute creations and have ordered some custom-coloured crochet bangles to be picked up at the October event (I will be there Rosie!). How sweet is the pineapple? Such a shame my blurry pic does it no justice. Rosie's website is in the works but in the meantime she will be at the next North Melbourne Market day!

Cool Pineapple! Crap photography!


These porcelain creations are just stunning, could not walk away without my own pretty porcelain bangle with the stunning red design you can just make out on the pendant in the pic- love! (I seem to be getting rather girly in my older years...)

Lavallier Pendant
All these items are handmade in Melbourne and can be purchased on their website, they are also developing some lovely homewares and candle holders which I'll be checking out at the next market fosho...

ena designs

I was bummed I did not have enough cash on me (was nearing the end of my sojourn) to get one of these sweater tops for the boys, how cool are they? It's OK though cause the fab thing is that ena designs are available at The Olive Grove, a shop that just happens to be at the end of my street ;)

ens designs funky clothes for kiddies
Not only they are the designs uber-cool, they are very feel-good products - sweat shop free, low impact, envro friendly and locally produced - what more could you ask for? You can grab ena design's wares at The Olive Grove or at the next market - yay!

Too cool for school
two layers of cells

These are some groovy lamps (yes lamps again, I know but I can't help it ;)

Lamps by two layers of cells

two layers of cells are a Melbourne company doing some fun stuff with lamps, I love the falling man design below...

The best thing about these lamps is you can get a 'Draw your Own' kit, great for kid's who are into decorating their rooms their way (and let's face it, I don't know a kid who wouldn't want to) great pressie for the budding artist and they are available online - score!