Sunday, November 18, 2012

Burnett Lane & Brew

Much to many people's surprise Brisbane has started to get some awesome spots with good cafes and atmosphere. Today I spent the day out in the city for my aunt's birthday and we found ourselves in several of these awesome spots.

One of those was a stroll down Burnett Lane, which until only recently was a loading zone for the shops in Queen St mall. It was one of those grungy alley's that you walked past quickly and would never walk down unless you were accompanied by some burly men or ninjas and even then you might reconsider it.

Now there's a growing collection of restaurants and cafes. One of which is Brew which we ended up at today for a cider. This atmospheric cafe and wine bar is at the very end of Burnett Lane and on a drizzly Brisbane day it looked incredibly inviting. 

This lane way has a bit of a shady history, so it's great to see businesses such as Brew moving in to reclaim this part of Brisbane. My aunt and I enjoyed our cider at the back of the cafe which used to be a store room for the buildings above. There were many hipsters, a very uncomfortable looking family and two little girls that looked like they were having a play date (it was very cute, and way more sophisticated than anything I would have done at 6 years old).

I'm also looking forward to watching the street art scene progress in Brisbane. I work in West End, so see a lot of it come and go and I can see Burnett Lane becoming a primo spot for new street art.

Cheers from Brew. I heartily recommend it!

Visit Brew here

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sewing Day

I feel like I have been very neglectful of my sewing this year. Uni has completely taken over my life, but now that exams have finished it's time to get cracking on a brand new batch of hot water bottle monsters.

It does always feel odd making something for warm cuddles when it is so hot outside, but I find myself preparing for the northern hemisphere's winter as well.

Today I started with some new ideas of what I was going to make so new it was going to be a fun day (sewing days are always fun, but today was going to be more fun)

I knew I wanted to tackle a line of 'woodland' animals with a twist so was starting with some basic shapes then introduced the felt...

I love working with felt. It's like drawing with fabric, and why I always hand sew. This lets me get the details just right and continue to play around with placement so I can let my characters come to life while I make them.

A sneak peak at the 3 new hot water bottle monsters that will be hitting the store tomorrow.

There are more to come... and all are new designs, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I made an orchid!

It seems a cruel twist of fate that my mother who has the greenest thumbs in all the land has created an offspring who just has to look at foliage and watch it wilt.

My garden is as dead as dead could be. I am in the process of trying to bring it back to life, but at the moment it's in the stage where I get depressed going outside. 

But apparently I am learning! Or orchids just like to be left to their own devices (I suspect its the later). 

Years ago my mum gave me an orchid she had found deposited in a tree on her footpath by a friendly neighbour. I diligently bought some orchid mix, planted it up and duly forgot about it. It was quite happy to sit in its pot staying not-dead and not-flowering and I was happy to accept this arrangement.

Then a couple of weeks ago two big green sprouts came out of it and I didn't dare to hope they were flower spikes but it turned out they were! And now I have two amazing sprays of flowers in my brown backyard.

Don't ask me what species it is - it's flowering and that's all that I care about :)

Let me know if you have any miraculous gardening stories

edit - had to look it up. I think it's Oncidium altissimum. Let me know if that's wrong

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pizza Oven Weekend

Last Christmas my dad received this book from my Aunt - which I think was a not so subtle hint that she was expecting many fresh pizzas during future visits.

But my dad and I have been steadily progressing this year with building a pizza oven in their backyard. This has required a lot of heavy lifting and has taught me that I can actually lay bricks and that my dad and I work pretty well together.

We were hoping to have the main dome finished this weekend but rain set in and put a stop to our work. So we've got about 2 rows of  bricks left before we can use it as an actual pizza oven.

Saturday morning did not start off well. It had rained all night and didn't look like it was clearing up any time soon. Still - at least the view was nice.

The pizza oven was where we left it last time we worked on it. The arch had been completed and we had done three rows of the dome. But with a giant hole in the top our oven was still more of a fire pit. Dad and I crossed our fingers that the rain would clear and had a cup of coffee in the meantime.


Mum's garden was enjoying the rain more than we were.


When the rain cleared up we managed to get another row of bricks on the oven. The next stage is a bit more fiddly. Now that the bricks are hanging over the gap, there is too much gravity working against them so the mortar won't hold it up.

We placed a slat of mdf on some buckets and used a weak mortar to make a false dome that would hold up the rest of the dome.

This would usually take about an hour to dry, but with the weather it didn't look promising.

We prepared for more rain over night and crossed our fingers again for sunny weather on Sunday.


Hooray! A promising sight for a days work.

The top of the dome is probably the most fiddly of all the work we've done. Each brick now needs to be cut to size in order to fit in the gap left by the last brick.

Dad working on cutting each brick to size. This process took a while and slowed us down considerably.

So this is about as far as we got by Sunday lunchtime when it started to rain again.

There is only a little hole left to fill up at the top and we will have the inside dome ready for firing. Stay tuned for the next update.

Mum's nosy chickens.