Where's Jo?

Hello. I'm still here. Things have just been a little bumpy on the home front and well, I've been feeling the need to be quiet, to be still, to hunker down and sometimes roll into a ball. Nothing that can't be fixed. Nothing that will end the world. So I thought I better get back to it here on my page.

You know those times in your life when you have nothing "amazing" to share. When life is grinding on and at the end of each day you say thank god that one's finished. It's been a bit like that around here. Don't get me wrong. It isn't that plans aren't hatching and schemes to conquer the world aren't being mulled over. No that's not it. It is that quiet time after the storm. That time after a marathon effort paddling to keep up that you stop and float.

Nothing new to report on the new old home front. Work has ground to a halt due to lack of funds. That's OK because it gives us more time to get to know this old beauty even better before we try to change her even more. I have an idea about wallpapering the entry hall and using the space as a library. Work hopefully will start in a week or so. A friend is delivering ladders and trestles. Our ceilings are almost 4 meters high so our dinky little 2 meter ladder is just a little bit useless for reaching the very top. I promise not to fall off this one. Promise. On a different note these photos were taken in a small country village when my friend Kerrie and I were cruising around pretending to be Thelma and Louise just after New Year.

I will spill the beans on one more project ... almost. A new online business. Faded Empire. That's it. That's all I'm revealing for now. Let's just say I've learnt a lot about online stores in the past few weeks. And it's not shabby definitely not shabby ;)

Mickey says hi! He's feeling the heat. We all are. Never really liked those tiles but my oh my they are lovely and cool to lie on.


My lovely friends played Santa

We don't do Christmas presents in my family. There are too many of us and we are all over 30. No kids ...yet ... my niece is soon to have her first. We did buy for the baby but that doesn't count ;) An antique high chair and a vinatge Santa sack (all my nieces have a santa pillowcase from the 70s and I managed to thrift one exactly the same). Boxing Day lunch with friends was another matter though. Here's some of the loot.

Glen and Grant, our dear friends from The Vintage Advantage, gave me this beautiful scrimshaw mother of pearl shell and a lovely set of velvet 1940s floor cushions.

Kerrie my new best bud (as opposed to Kim my forever best bud) found me a Mao statue. I know some people won't understand why I would want such a thing but I have a thing for communist propaganda kitsch and I squealed when she offered me the choice from four she had ordered in for her shop ES Traders.

Kelvin picked up a pair of Roe antlers from the boys as well as an old wood plane (he collects old tools) and some Mexican religious candles and old phonographs from Kerrie. We love our presents so much. It's great that our friends seem to "get" us really well. A bit of old shell, some secondhand cushions, a tacky figurine in questionable taste, dead animal bones, smelly kerosene candles, scratched records and a battered lump of wood. Each one is perfect!


Christmas at Jo's

I said I wasn't doing much for Christmas. I said I'd keep it simple. I said I wasn't going to decorate. And I stuck to my word. I didn't do too much until Christmas Eve. Then I panicked and did a little bit. After all I had 14 family members coming for Christmas lunch and even though they said not to go to too much trouble visions of my sisters' beautiful homes stuffed full of Christmas decorations danced before my eyes. The extent of my decorating was to dress the tables with brass candlesticks, green baubles, gold stars and stolen pine branches. Curse those branches! I sliced the tip off one of my fingers with a pair of secateurs stealing those from a neighbour's Norfolk pine. I had no Christmas tree ... remember I wasn't going to go to any fuss ... so I put up an old ladder and wrapped it in fairy lights. It worked well in my very dark dining room.

The food was served buffet style from the dining room table and a rag tag of tables was set up in the sun room/breeze way to accommodate the tribe. Funny how we all gathered in one of the few rooms not newly painted but it was the longest space to cram in the guests and besides it has a lovely outlook into the garden. Maybe next Christmas it will be painted. Yes next Christmas. Seems it may be at my house again. That's what happens when you successfully avoid hosting Christmas for ten years. Better keep the decorations then ;)


Art and stuffed animals

I'm doing the boring stuff around the house at the moment. I just repainted my kitchen cabinet doors (as in an hour ago ... this is my break). Gloss black because matt black is a bastard to keep clean. Tomorrow I hope to put the counter tops on. Yes I still haven't glued and nailed them on. There are some shelves going up in the living room either side of the fireplace on Wednesday if all goes according to plan. We planted out more of the garden yesterday. A wall of bottlebrush trees (if four makes a wall), some calatheas, a strelitzia, a tibouchina tree, rhoeos and a white mulberry tree. Not all in the same spot though! Why this hive of activity? I'm hosting the family christmas this year. I've successfully avoided it for 10 years :) Not anymore. On a cheerier note I bought a few more small paintings. Local artists at a local exhibition. The first three mixed media pieces are by Krystal Ingle and the cut acrylic piece is by Dough Nemeth. I pick them up on Dec 23 just in time to hammer in a nail or two and hang them for the big day.


I need some help from overseas readers. Are these squirrels or chipmunks? No the question was not whether they are ugly or not. Just want to know what sort of animal they are. Stuffed and dead do not qualify either. My husband found them for me. Bless his little heart. He knows how much I love taxidermy. I do not love the green flocked base or the lights (they used to be green and red) and I'd rather a vintage wooden case not a glass, mirror and metal "shrine" but hey they're cute in a brain sucking, bite you to death, zombie squirrel/chipmunk sort of way. I just need to tone their "cage" down a bit. It looks so much better after I removed the plastic flowers that were nailed all over the branches. Hope this isn't my christmas present. I had my eye on a life size stuffed horse.

I need name suggestions too. Bill and Bob. Cecil and Derrick. Posh and Becks. What do you think?


Jo pays homage to the Leningrad Cowboys ... or vice versa

A few days ago Kim showed a magazine tear out of a hair style she wanted and the resultant DIY hair do at home. Just goes to show everything old is new again! I had an undercut and massive styled "flop top" in the early 80s. And here are the pictures to prove it. Well they don't actually because they are such bad quality :P These are from my 4th year Medical School yearbook. Dark grainy photos taken at dark grainy functions that usually involved bed sheet togas and kegs of beer. As I look back through the haze of my life I tell the people who bother to ask what I looked like back then that I was channelling the Leningrad Cowboys. The who? An obscure Finnish rock band that did cover versions and toured with the Red Army Choir in the late 80s early 90s. Did anyone else see their movie Leningrad Cowboys Go America? That's how I remember my hair. This massive quiff walking 2 paces before the rest of me. But no mullet. Definitely no mullet like the boys. I had an undercut. Come to think of it I was sporting this look in 1984 and the boys were formed from a Finnish punk band in 1986. Ha! They were copying me!

I had to censor that last photo. I was doing my best Nosferatu impersonation that night. Dark red lips, black pencilled eyes, leather and merino wool sheath dress that left nothing to the imagination and killer chandelier earrings. It was a med ball. I think he went on to be an eminent surgeon. Typical 1984 female medical student behind me. Pageboy cut, taffeta and pearls. Note too that med students not only drank too much in those days but they also smoked. Enough of the reminiscing. It's obvious why I never finished my medical studies. Didn't quite fit in. But if I had then I'd never be writing this blog. I'd be too busy making good money ... ooopps sorry ... saving lives.