Monday, August 31, 2009

Stop Selling!

Last year at work was tough. In fact it was the toughest in the 20 years I've been at this. It wasn't helped by some sales targets which could only be described as 'humorous'. My BF's advice was to keep my head down, my appointment diary full & all will be well. He was right.

Today is the last day of the month. I have just recorded the highest monthly sales ever in my Territory. In fact this whole year has been a blinder compared to the previous challenging 12 months. So when I received a text from my Boss late Friday arvo saying 'Stop Selling!' it was sweet!

So today I'm going to allow myself a moment to celebrate a much-needed win! Long may it continue.

Image: Madwine

Sunday, August 30, 2009

An Answer for Karen

Hi Millie
How hard was it to paint the bricks Did you prime first? I've been reluctant to paint ours but seeing your photos I'm more convinced the room looks beautiful.
Kind Regards Karen

Karen - this was our secret weapon! We were lucky in that the mortar sat flush with our horrible brown, exposed bricks. MOTH says thats if the mortar dips in a well between the bricks it makes for a much more difficult job - lots of dab, dab dab with a paint brush! We used long lambswool rollers to apply 2 coats of acrylic Primer. The nap of the roller really worked wonders in getting the paint into all the imperfections & hairline cracks of the bricks. We then rolled on 2 coats of acrylic Top Coat. Be prepared to use a lot more paint this way, as the lambswool really soaks up the paint, but the result has been worth it.

An Answer for Denise

This pic was taken a couple of Christmas's ago. The Before shot is next.

Sorry, but I don't know where else to ask this question - we have exposed beams in the living/dining room, painted, you guessed it, Mission Brown. Am seriously thinking of painting them white (walls are white, lamps white, furniture dk brown, accents black and increasingly blue) What do you think? BTW - marvellous blog.
Cheers, Denise.

Denise - hope these pics help. The Before pics were taken from the Real Estate Agent's brochure the first day we saw the house. The Afters as we are renovating. A huge caveat is that this house is still a huge Work-in-Progress, so the floors are still a hideous honey shade which we want to sand & restain a very dark colour. But as you know MOTH's got much more pressing tasks at hand! And I haven't put any artwork up as yet, want to do the floors first. Oh & that's still the old, original kitchen in the pics too - big yuk! One of the first things we did when we moved in was to paint the brown timber beams white. We don't have white walls, I've used a Parchment colour on all the bricks, just for a little contrast. Anyway I reckon go for it - paint those beams, it made a MONSTROUS difference to our rooms. Good luck & do let me know what you decide.

This is the best BEFORE shot of the first pic. It was not good!

I think the white beams lend a feeling of spaciousness to the area.

Looking back into the current Kitchen.

With the first beam painted - YAY!

BEFORE - as we saw it at the first Open Inspection.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Come On In!

I love a walled garden, but most times they are attached to a cute English style cottage or larger Manor house. So I'm quite taken with this variation on a theme designed by the fabulous Jorge L. Hernandez. If you don't know Jorge's work, I'd encourage you to wander on over, his design work is breathtaking. More rain is forecast for the weekend here - hooray! That means MOTH can't work on anyone else's house except OURS! Hope your weekend is happy, happy.
Image: Jorge Hernandez

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dressed in Black

Apologies for the quick post today, but as you can see I'm in mourning. Mourning for the 2 years worth of Superannuation contributions that have disappeared from my Account. I received the statement yesterday & just couldn't bring myself to open it. I tossed it in my handbag & during a break between cases today, I opened it. So that's it confirmed, I'll be officially working until I'm 95. No rest at Shady Acres for me.

There is also another painful issue to deal with - MOTH. I've always liked to live on the edge with my Super, so I've had the lot in a moderately high-risk portfolio & it's paid off. MOTH had a premonition about the GFC before it actually happened & moved his Super to a Cash Fund & hasn't lost a cent. He suggested I do the same, but I just never got around to it. So tonight I'll get the big smug 'I told you so' lecture from the old boy. Pass the brandy bottle please.

Image: Flickr (Chrissy Piper)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Label Love

Contrary to popular belief, I'm not a complicated person. In fact if you want to make me really, really happy you only need to drop me off outside 2 stores - a book shop or a wine store. Give me unlimited time & a few dollars & I'll emerge in a euphoric state, my little purchases tucked under my arm & a grin from ear to ear.

I also love great design, design that's clever, a little quirky, tells a story & sells a product. I recently read a fab article from Wine Business describing the process behind the design of a wine label. If you're interested in knowing what drives design in wine labelling, this article is well worth the read.

I do however, abhor wine snobbery, there's no place for it ever, ever, ever. There are a number of great Antipodean winemakers who can be described without fear or favour as larrikins. They add wonderful dimesion & balance to the world of wine, god bless them. They will not hesitate to call someone a Wine Wanker if they deserve it & nor will I.

These days I tend toward the quirky on the Wine Shop shelves to grab my initial attention. Not that I'll be swayed to trade good content for a creative label, but often it will influence me more than a boring, staid label that's done it's time. So here are a few of my current faves, interestingly mainly South Australian wines because we have one of the best Graphic Agencies in the whole wide world, Mash Design here in Adelaide. If you've found something wonderfully quirky & clever in your wine store lurkings, please tell me.

These 3 are from Shinas Estate . The Guilty is a Shiraz, The Innocent a Viognier & The Verdict a Cab. Sav. The Owner/Winemaker is a Magistrate Judge.

The next 3 come from the outstanding Killibinbin Winery in McLaren Vale. The main US distributor of Killibinbin was always referring to these as being 'Killer' wines, so this 'Killer' comment became the impetus for the packaging of this series of wines. The theme was enlarged using graphics from old horror flicks and their gruesome killing scenes. There is the 'Stranglehold' Cab. Sav., 'Bloodcurdling Scream' Shiraz & 'Killer Hand' Red Blend.

Then there's the fabulous 'Return of the Living Red' from Redhead Wine Studio in McLaren Vale. This label was designed for the top end of their fine wine range. As this Red is non-vintage it has no age (the 2 grape varieties coming from different vintages).This was a complex fine wine, a mysterious and intriguing wine. To compliment this, Mash Design developed a concept to create a small packet envelope containing missing and/or suppressed crime files implying the existence of the living dead in and around the vineyards. With use of disturbing illustrations and fascinating old photos on a toothy uncoated paper the concept was bought to life. A slip knot with old twine and a deep red wax dipped bottle went with the old crime file folder.

A barrel monkey is the Australian equivalent of California’s cellar rat - ' one who drags hoses or pushes barrels in winery'.... the distinguishing features include a purple tongue & stained red hands. This Shiraz was produced by a group of moonlighting barrel monkeys using the equipment at Redhead Studios in McLaren Vale.

The highly-acclaimed Lazy Ballerina Shiraz Viognier from McLaren Vale is named after the viticultural term. It refers to the common trellising effect that a wine grapevine is grown on in Australia.

I love the 'Bins' range! According to Dieline 'It started out as a cheeky concept based on many Australian wines (Penfolds in particular) who use the specific 'bin' number to identify their wines. The Design Agency used the fact that in the U.K bins are usually associated with refuse or garbage & then twisted the concept by taking photos of regular garbage bins outside houses in the U.K. As is quite common, householders paint their respective house number on their bin to identify it as theirs. Bin 15a is obviously a flat.'

Image 1: Madwine Images 2,3,4: Shinas Estate Images 5,6,7,8,9,10: Mash Designs Image 11: Sam's Wines Image 12: Lazy Ballerina Image 13: The Dieline

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

On Your Bike

or in this case......your trike! I reckon the guys @ Greer Gardens deserve a Millie Medal for Services to Landscaping. The garden of this property was designed so the Owner's kids would have tricycle access around the entire house. Remembering all our boys & their love as toddlers for scooting around the backyard on their trikes, I think this is sensational. I can almost hear the squeals of delight as these kids lap the house racing each other for hours on end!

I love these pics of our 3 younger boys, who decided one hot day that all their trikes needed a visit to the 'Trike Wash'! Yes, they are 26, 27 & 29 now, but I can still remember the very loud protests to Mum from the 2 older boys once their baby brother took command of the hose!

Images: Greer Gardens & Millie

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Beautiful Day

I'm thrilled to report that the Meet The Parents lunch yesterday was just lovely! It turned out to be quite a big table of sweet A's family - her parents, brother & sister-in-law, sister, little nephew & new baby niece. Despite the very windy day, we ate outside in the winter sunshine, which of course pleased puppy Tazzi no end, as there was always someone available to toss the ball for her to run & play with. She is growing so quickly & at 20 weeks is just a mini-tornado, but still soooo gorgeous. Son #5 is so good with her, but knows that her intelligence & energy need to be channelled into a structured environment. So they are starting advanced obedience & training classes next week. He was very proud when Miss Cuteness topped her class at puppy Pre-School & won everyone's hearts.

Both kids had gone to such trouble to prepare & cook a delicious lunch & my heart was full of pride as I looked at my beautiful baby boy supporting his lovely girl in everything. His 4 older brothers would do well to look to him for guidance in these matters! They are both the youngest child in their respective family's & while not as 'flamboyant' as all their older siblings, their individual strengths & quiet, caring manner compliments the other perfectly. I missed MOTH's presence, but I really enjoyed a solo Millie weekend. MY music, MY food, MY movie, done in MY time!

Image: Lolivier

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Trip to the Tribunal for MOTH!

As I was stacking the dishwasher early this morning I felt a presence standing behind me.

'Um, Millie darling.'

'Yes MOTH'.

'Um Millie darling.'

'YES MOTH!!!!'

'Um I need to tell you something, other that you're looking particularly ravishing this morning in your trackpants & hoodie & Port Power wooly socks. Oh & I just love the way your hair looks when you've just rolled out of bed & of course, with no make-up, you are even more scrumptious than ever, my sweet.'

'OK, you'd better spit it out MOTH.'

'Well my beautiful one, it's sort of like this. The 'boys' in Melbourne really, really need me this weekend so I'm heading over tonight.'

'You mean our 3 eldest sons? Funny, none of them have mentioned this to me, but what a loving & caring thing to do.'

'Um, well not quite. The other 'boys', you know, Buckie, Andy & Johnno, my old diving mates down on the Pennisula.'

'So you're going to tell me you're spending the weekend diving instead of working on the Bathroom From Hell as you promised?'

'Um, well er yeah diving, & my beloved Dees just happen to be playing the Blue Boys at Docklands on Saturday & the 'boy's can get me into the Members.'

'OK that's it buddy, here's the Yellow Card you're on report. See you at the Tribunal next Monday night!'

'Um, so my sweet little honeybunch that means there's probably not much chance of you giving me some of your Frequent Flier miles to book my flight?'

'About as much chance as The Hedge receiving Blog of the Year from The Washington Post!'

So it will be a MOTH-free zone this weekend, me going to the Meet The Parents lunch solo & making a million excuses for MOTH's absence. Hope yours will be much better! Any suggestions as to how many games he should get on Monday night? Or do I just pull the pin on the rest of his season?

Image 1: Melbourne Football Club Image 2: Etihad Image 3: AFL

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Fabulous Fifties

Click on the pics to enlarge for a trip back to the 50's!

I had absolutely no issues about turning 50 three years ago - just another decade of fun & good times I figured. And for the most part it's been exactly that. I was almost 4 when 1960 arrived with all the associated razzle-dazzle, & I still remember moving into a brand new house that January with my parents. We'd been living in an old Edwardian cottage up to then, very cold, damp & tiny & complete with outside loo & laundry, not Mum's style at all. The new house had been completed a month earlier in December 1959. It was ranch-style, long & skinny, with open plan living areas & the biggest bathroom I'd ever seen. My darling Mum cried tears of joy the day we moved in.

She slowly, but systematically gave away all our old furniture & went on to furnish the new house with contemporary pieces, many of them Danish, which complimented the sparse lines of the house well. We'd come down to Adelaide twice a year & Mum would spend hours in furniture stores like Watermans @ Kilkenny, Jaffers of Port Adelaide & Zak & Rog stalking their Scandinavian catalogues. I still pass that house very occasionally when we're up in the Clare Valley & let me tell you, sadly age has not been kind to it.

But how about this beauty straight out of the early fifties & still looking sublimely gorgeous! The copper fireplace is original & those high ceilings & glass walls, oh la la! According to the blurb, most of the original features are still intact, & I reckon the architect responsible was a whizz. I do believe that between me & this stunner we're doing OK for a couple of gals in our fabulous fifties.

Images: R.T. Edgar

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Job Lot?

I really like this house in Armadale a lovely suburb of Melbourne, but I'm really wondering what the deal is with those light shades. Could it have been a Job Lot, maybe buy 6 get 6 free? I think they're a Villa Maison (Riviera Maison) product, so maybe they were all bought on Sale. I think if I was the new Owner, I'm not sure how long I could hang out before calling for reinforcements from the Light Brigade to do a bit of a purge!

They are here.....
.....and here

.....and here

.....and here

.....and here

.....but not here

.....or here!

Images: Bennison Mackinnon

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Best Behaviour

Sunday is Meet the Parents Day. A, the sweet girlfriend of Son # 5 has asked us to lunch with her parents. As all the boys have eluded serious capture up to now, this is the first time MOTH & I have been faced with this. So I thought I'd better do some research on Meet the Parents etiquette. This is all I could find when I did a Google search & I'm very worried!

"The first time our two mothers met, they had a lot in common. They both showed up wearing similar print blouses from Target & leopard-print sandals. The sandals definitely broke the ice!"
Anonymous, Toronto, Canada

Not too sure about breaking the ice, I reckon the only thing those sandals would be breaking is my ankle!

Belly Button Bump

Love this pic of Heidi Klum & her son out walking. This is her 4th pregnancy & I think she's looking a little tired, but still most gorgeous. I'm sure the divine Mr. Seal is taking good care of her back at the mansion. Just seeing her Belly Button Bump brought back lots of memories. I think mine popped out at about week 8 of each of my pregnancies due to to the mini Sumo Wrestlers that I was acting as a temporary Holding Bay for! So to Clare & Tanya, both lovely long-time Hedgies who are 'patiently' awaiting the arrival of their precious new bambinos, this post is for you!

Monday, August 17, 2009

One Pery Square

Spending the past 2 working weeks checking in & out of hotel rooms in Sydney got me thinking. OK they were adequate, & I didn't see much of them them except to sleep & shower (which was probably a blessing), but in essence they were sterile, boring & uninspiring. Unlike the splendid One Pery Square in the delightful city of Limerick in Ireland. The lovely people there openly state 'We have aimed to create a hotel with soul, real people to look after you, proper food, all housed in a glorious Georgian townhouse. No. 1 has been sensitively restored with the guest in mind and we hope that you can come and experience it for yourself.'

One Pery Square is one of a terrace of six Georgian houses built in 1830 by the Pery Square Tontine Company. It is widely regarded as being the best example of late Georgian Architecture in Limerick and probably in Ireland. Overlooking a tree-lined park, this 20-room hotel was created from two of the townhouses (one largely rebuilt) & brings luxury country-house living to the city. It was a five-year labour of love for owners Patricia and George Roberts, who have mixed period & contemporary pieces to create a stunning world-class establishment. Now this is the sort of hotel I could grow to love instantly!

Wonderful original architectural features expertly reinstated.

The drawing room is the heart of the house with a grand old original marble surround and open fire. Afternoon Tea is served from 3 to 6pm.

Then a comfortable chair & a bit of shut eye.

And just before dinner a Champers please.

Dinner in The Brasserie in the evening which has great views of the Georgian streetscape and some of Ireland's most fantastic food and wine. I'll take the degustation tasting menu with a wine flight please!

I love One Pery's intimacy & this is my favourite suite. Spacious and with great big sash windows overlooking the terrace garden or the People's Park, each bedroom is furnished with a unique bed like this beauty.

The gorgeous bathrooms are equipped with powerful hairdryers (GHD straighteners are available on request - BE STILL MY BEATING HEART!!) & L’Occitane bath products.

Fabulous roll top baths with dressing screens complete the bathroom.

This is my Plan B room - with it's stylish colours, huge floor space, lots of natural daylight & garden views.

Each bathroom has a bath butler menu for some in room pampering.

Then there's The Spa @ No. 1 which is located in the vaulted basement of the Hotel. It's been transformed into a unique Irish Spa experience offering guests a calm spa journey with a difference.

Relax and enjoy the thermal Spa, unique sound wave therapy, organic products and tailor made programmes. The thermal area includes a herbal cocoon, aroma steam, coal bunker sauna, soul pool, Irish mist showers and a Zen garden for spiritual replenishment.

Then there's The Wine Room @ No. 1 which is a retail store selling a wide selection of wines from small boutique winemakers around the world.

You can sit & enjoy some tasting time before buying & I noticed they have one of my faves, the Felton Road 2007 Block 5 Pinot Noir from N.Z. in stock. How very civilized!

So all in all, One Pery Square is my type of Hotel - a chic boutique hotel overflowing with charm & style, just wish I could transport it to the centre of Sydney.

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