An idea needing to be made

Heide’s ceramics exhibition with this intriguing name opens today in Bulleen and I love a bold idea at the best of times. As I get older, while ideas are great, it’s the realisation of them and their outcomes that interest me more – skill comes in the actual implementation of ideas but without a vision to start with, there can be no real progress.


Speaking of ceramics, local artist Lene Kuhl Jakobsen is a finalist in this year’s Manningham Victorian Ceramic Art Award with her piece ‘What We Know Now’ (images above) addressing the challenge that is climate change. The related exhibition opens on the 14 August at the Manningham Art Gallery in Doncaster. Lene is also exhibiting at the Craft Atrium at Watson Place (off Flinders Lane) as part of the Craft Cubed Festival which starts on 1 August  and I love the image she’s used (below) on her new business cards.


It’s Open House Weekend and lucky you if you’ve already visited some of Melbourne’s most iconic buildings and hidden surprises. I had a private tour by Dr Gillian Shepherd of the Trendall Research Centre (a previous Open House venue) at La Trobe University the other week- the centre was designed by modernist architect Robin Boyd and houses a number of rare books and artwork left as a private library and mid century apartment (time capsule!) of former resident academic – art historian and archaeologist Arthur Dale (A.D.) Trendall to the University. A private person, not much is known about his personal life except that he worked as a cryptographer (Japanese code breaker) during World War II – my colleagues and I were quite enthralled by the story regaled to us by Gillian over a cup of tea while seated at the Fler dining table . It was a little bit Indiana Jones and Gillian’s passion, and vision for the future, was very inspiring. The western sky views over the University from Trendall’s private floating balcony were also awesome to see.

Speaking of Robin Boyd, his namesake exhibition Design Legend starts at Heide Museum of Modern Art on 3 August. While I will always love Art Deco, mid century modern is probably second on my list and Boyd is one of Australia’s design champions of that era. It’s National Tree Day tomorrow and I hope to feature a local artist inspired by local nature shortly on my blog. A couple of other local happenings include the opening of new cafe, bar and grill Tres in Rosanna, which has replaced Jillian’s on Lower Plenty Road and I wish the new owners well. If you are a home based business you may be interested in a Banyule Business networking event being held on Tuesday morning at Hunter Lane cafe, where you’ll get to meet and hear from my local friend and trainer Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training.


Ups and downs

Jobs and housing are on my mind at the moment. It’s been interesting too to talk to my 20 and 30-something friends as it’s on their minds as well. Contrary to opinion, while some are still tasting the freedom of adventure and overseas holidays – many are madly saving to buy property and I applaud them for their discipline. It is a good time to buy property with the retail recession and real estate market downturn and buyers can afford to be choosy particularly in the apartment market.


However well presented properties stand out with fewer houses on the market and I had a look at 29 Mountain View Parade in Rosanna today (all house images via which has been beautifully renovated and styled (I think by the owners who must have an interior design or styling background) and I wasn’t the only one – there were lots of people going through. I love looking at houses for design inspiration and this one didn’t disappoint – the external landscaping is also a real highlight. Mountain View Parade has long been regarded as the pre-eminent street in Rosanna with its exclusive feel and mountain views. I will say however it’s also buyer beware – the property across the road has been sold and given it’s size most likely to become a double storey development or townhouses.


Banyule also means ‘hill’ in the Indigenous world and despite proximity to shops, schools, parkland and train stations when you look online, always consider the steepness of the daily or weekly walk when considering buying property in this area as it will impact your quality of life, especially if you like to walk or run to amenities. Existing rooms too, can rarely be made bigger in general so something to also consider.


Speaking of houses, you may be interested to know that the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre now has a cleaning service if you’re looking for a cleaner and live in Banyule. I’m involved in an Inclusion Forum at La Trobe next month and Banyule Council is one of the employers who will be there to support people looking for work who come from an Indigenous, LGBTIQ, disability or other background. It’s a wider conversation than just those groups who simply wish to join the mainstream, but a great initiative for students and recent graduates. Jobs can be hard to find at the best of times but even harder for those who have more individual needs.


For houses of a different kind, if you are on campus at La Trobe in Bundoora, it’s worth stopping by social enterprise cafe House of Cards Espresso who not only make coffee but freshly cook hot potato gems on the spot! And yes, I’ve been indulging this winter. For every purchase, you’re given a giant playing card and when you receive your order, you have card slots in the wall to select from four different cause categories who will receive a donation. I’ve been very happy to support them and doubly happy eating my potato gems.


I also wanted to mention Chillin’ in Banyule if you’re a fan of live music, which starts next week. It’s not easy finding venues which stay open a bit later in Banyule but it’s great to see there are now more on offer where you can get food and drink, but also live entertainment over the colder months still left to come. Although I do need to rein in the carbs…


New Hope

Millennials and Centennials have been on my mind since starting my new job in late January and I will reveal my cunning plan to a number of very senior people at La Trobe University in the coming weeks and months. Technology has been a game changer for Gen Y and Z and their way to connect not only with each other, but the world at large.


Speaking of youth, I did want to mention the New Hope exhibition which opened last Wednesday night at Hatch in Ivanhoe – a mash up show if you like of audio and visual artists all coming together in the name of hip hop. You’ll see work from beat makers, rappers and performers developed at arts youth facility Jets Studio backdropped by street artists’ original works. Music and artwork will be available for sale with a percentage of profits donated to Berry Street Youth Housing. I was lucky enough to work with Tom Civil a number of years ago promoting his mural on the external wall of Crisalida Family Therapy Centre in Thornbury and missed the recent pop up show Empire by Rone – Burnham Beeches out in the Dandenongs but find street art fascinating.


It’s been chilly and I’ve been eating my way through winter to keep my mind off the gloom (as well as running when I can). Mr Rosanna took me out for a belated birthday dinner (above) to Melbourne institution Ezard at the Adelphi Hotel in Flinders Lane last weekend which was a special night. I found it very ‘Melbourne’ in that it’s understated and sophisticated (white tablecloths) at the same time. The focus is very much on the outstanding food and service, your company and conversation rather than a more showy type of dining experience and environment. There is an eight course sharing menu but Mr R and I opted for the three course a la carte option. Highly recommended.


I’ve complemented that this week with a more casual dinner with friends at vegetarian pub Green Man’s Arms in Carlton (note to self: remember to book a table next time!) where we sat at a bar table perched on stools. It’s got a great atmosphere and I loved the interior with my observant friends noting the cotton plants instead of flowers (apparently a current trend) in the vases.

I’m also on an internal ‘cultural’ committee at work and we organised a Christmas in July lunch at Cafe Heide in Bulleen this week for our entire department, which was a lot of fun. The team that plays together stays together! It was the first Christmas in July that I’ve ever attended and we will make this an ongoing event. We chose mains from the existing menu but I noted the chilli hot chocolate and mulled wine available and the cafe were good enough to create a special Christmas pudding dessert for us. It was busy at Heide and I parked at Banksia Park but it was lovely to walk up through the gardens including past the big holly bush, which got me into the spirit! If you are feeling it like me, there is also a German Christmas Market at Macleod College from 5 – 8pm on Friday 26 July.

Finally, if you are a craft fan or want to get ahead with early Christmas shopping, the Finders Keepers Market is on this weekend at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton and a good indoors activity given how cold it’s going to be.


Turkish Delight

What a difference a year makes. Last July I was sunning myself under the Grecian skies of Paros having the time of my life while this July’s been somewhat colder! I spent my birthday this week with a day off work, being cooked homemade waffles for breakfast by my boys, followed by lunch out with the family at the Turkish Teahouse in Balwyn where I met the owner Oz who runs his restaurant with his mum and sister – he reminded me of a Turkish version of Shane Delia with just as much charisma and charm. It wasn’t quite Greece, but his Turkish food was equally good in terms of taste, flavour and authenticity – the gozlemes filled with cheese are a real highlight as well as the Turkish dumplings (with loads of garlic!).


Look out too for the gift shop upstairs as well as the amazing stacked Turkish delight with pistachio made in buckets – very different from the paler pink sugar dusted versions you see in most other shops. I didn’t walk away empty-handed either – Mr Rosanna let me buy the beautiful embossed Turkish teapot on the right (below) which is now complementing my Moroccan teapot on the left. I have a growing number of elephants, Buddha heads and teapots so sometimes joke I need a bigger house to put them all in! Gotta love a collection.

Mr R and I also recently bought a pressure cooker (a fast cooker for us instead of a slow cooker) at Kitchen Warehouse in Bell Street, Preston which is worth a visit if you are a foodie and quite dangerous as there’s lots on offer at great prices. We’ve been giving the cooker a good work out and have already made a couple of beef rendangs while my Italian girlfriends have also said it’s great for making stock and other dishes.


Speaking of fast, I managed to speed read over the holiday break buying a copy of City of Girls by Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert which I loved for its pure escapism. It’s set in the Art Deco era from the 1920s onwards and is a real romp while Mr R opted for an Australian book Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton, which I will now have to read as he found it gripping. Stay warm this weekend – another week and we’ll then be into the second half of Winter and hopefully some warmer days ahead.