Design for Life

Grant and Mary Featherston’s aptly titled exhibition will open on 30 June at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen and it will be great to have some local inspiration in the depths of Winter to go and visit.  If you’re a fan of Australian modernist furniture design, this one will be good to see over the coldest months of the year – if you ever find a vintage piece yourself – they look fabulous in many of the 50s, 60s and 70s houses in Melbourne’s north-east as well as many of the Alistair Knox mudbrick homes commonly found in Eltham and its environs.

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Image via Heide

It’s quite the cultural month in that artist-in-residence John Brooks’ exhibition has opened at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre this week (with entries also being open for the upcoming A1 Darebin Art Salon) as well as the 2018 Banyule Arts and Culture Program launch and Telling Stories exhibition opening (with works from the Banyule art collection) at Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in Ivanhoe.

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Image via The Fitzroy Naturopath

As for me, I subsequently got sicker this week after dragging myself to work last week and have succumbed to a chest infection and now on antibiotics which has been no fun at all.  Needless to say, I will be taking myself back to regular classes at Cinch Training in Macleod next term in an effort to develop some strength and stamina, which has been missing from my life these past few months, and has culminated in me being the most ill I’ve been in the past five years.

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Image via Bestow Beauty

On a brighter note, I have been indulging in different cups of specialty tea the past few months instead of having coffee in the afternoon.  Two lovely brands if you can find them around which have turmeric in them include The Fitzroy Naturopath and Bestow.  If you like chai which I find particularly nice with Bonsoy milk and honey, there’s a great local brand made in Templestowe called Chai Walli, that is available from Leo’s in Heidelberg.  Stay warm and stay well my friends…I think I need a holiday!

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Image via Chai Walli
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Revelling in it

Welcome to Winter – it’s been a beautiful sunny day, albeit a bit chilly this morning, but I can deal with it if the sun is out – it’s the overcast, grey windy and rainy days that are more challenging.  I’ve started taking vitamin D on top of vitamin C and also had a flu shot a couple of months ago as a number of people I know have started coming down with the dreaded lurgy!  It’s the first year I’ve also had my kids immunised – apparently suffering from hay fever makes you more predisposed to the flu so I’m not taking any risks this year.  Besides gastro, I reckon the flu is a close second in terms of worst communicable illnesses.

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Image via Darebin Arts

On to nicer things – the Darebin Home Made Food & Wine Festival is currently on and if, as you’ve grown older like me, your preference is for simple food, then you may be interested in some of the events that have been taking place this past week.  Melbourne has become such a multicultural city and food is a unifying force – there’s nothing better than trying a new cuisine for the first time.

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Image via Revel Knitwear

Speaking of Darebin, you may be interested in Writing This Place project – ten local writers who’ve written works inspired by ten places in Darebin.  It’s lovely to see that Sian Prior has chosen the Bundoora Homestead and Art Centre.

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Image via I love Mr Mittens

My next Bold Thinking Series lecture on Cyber Security is taking place on 21 June at one of our partner venues – the National Gallery of Victoria and it’s exciting to see that pieces from New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) are coming to Melbourne over the Winter, for MoMA at NGV while MoMA gets a refurbishment.  There’s nothing like a blockbuster exhibition to visit during the colder months of the year.

If you’re a fan of Pop and Scott, their warehouse sample sale in Northcote is taking place this weekend – retailers seem to have gone on sale early this year probably due to the unseasonally warm Autumn we’ve had.  I’ve been eyeing off some chunky winter knits (above) – some more modern versions are being done by Revel Knitwear and I love Mr Mittens.  It’s times like these I wish I could knit!

Fit for a Princess

Or a Duchess in this case.  I thought Meghan Markle looked beautiful in her Givenchy wedding gown on Saturday night.  She’s got a dazzling smile that reminds me of Julia Roberts and definitely knows how to dress.  Some people have star quality whether they are on the stage or not.  I’ve long loved Givenchy, who dressed Audrey Hepburn and it was interesting to see the 1960s influence not just in Meghan’s gown but also a number of wedding attendees.  My outfit of the night was actually Amal Clooney in Stella McCartney – she has the same exotic beauty and class that reminds me a little of Bianca Jagger but less bohemian/rock and more pure Hollywood glamour and sophistication plus I love even more that she has brains as an international human rights lawyer.

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Meghan’s gown was simple and stunning (not plain and boring!) and I love that she chose a lace train.  I had a lace train when I got married (above) at 333 Collins Street, although nothing as spectacular as hers.  I also chose not to wear a veil or carry flowers (but a floral wrist corsage instead) as I walked down the aisle holding both my parents’ hands (not just my Dad’s) however I did love Meghan’s stunning tiara and Cartier jewellery.

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L: Lindy de Wijn, The Lace project (detail) 2017 cotton rope.  R: Members of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Lace Guild and community participants, coordinated by Lindy de Wijn. Leaves of Lace 2017 threads

Speaking of lace, the Victorian Branch of the Australian Lace Guild is actually making individual gum leaves at the Bundoora Homestead Art Centre cafe on Thursday 24 May from 1 – 4 pm.  Local artist Lindy De Wijn will continue the lace theme transforming the exterior of the Homestead with large-scale rope creations that combine traditional and contemporary lace-making techniques ‘beyond the doily’ with Connection.  It’s lovely to see lace used in a modern context and I think it was beautifully used for the very modern royal wedding where a half African-American once divorced actress, and commoner, married her prince.

A May Day

It’s suddenly got cold with the start of May and while I’ve loved the lengthy warm Autumn days, it’s nice to have had some rain.  There are a number of interesting local profiles I’m hoping to put up soon and it’s great that new businesses in the local area are enjoying very busy times.  It’s a sign that our local economy is in good shape and there is latent demand for products and services for local people, by local people.  Speaking of which, former local fashion maven Estelle Michaelides closed her bricks and mortar shop, Micky in the Van, in Ivanhoe a while ago but her bespoke and very ladylike womenswear is now online, with small runs made to order.  I’m currently in love with her Jack Jack Sweater in Kyoto Night.

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Image via Micky in the Van

Another sign of a good community is the amount of volunteering that takes place and there are many opportunities to give back by way of children’s sports, kinder and school parents associations, local council committees and local not-for-profit organisations and op shops.  I’ve seen a call out for volunteers at the Diamond Valley Community Support Op-Shop in Diamond Creek and have family and friends who have worked for the CPS Op Shop Rosanna (which has a new manager) and St George’s Anglican Church Op Shop in Ivanhoe East.

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Image via CPS Op Shop Rosanna

As for me, in the past 10 years I’ve volunteered for the Winston Hills Pre-School committee, Banyule Arts & Cultural Advisory Committee, in Visitor Services at Heide Museum of Modern Art and will step down later this month when my two-year Board membership ends at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre,  All in all, it’s been a really rewarding experience that has given me opportunities to develop myself personally and professionally, as well as put me in touch with lots of different people in the area and been a good thing to do both in between jobs and in conjunction with paid employment.

It’s perhaps a weekend to head indoors but the Nillumbik Artists Open Studios is on both Saturday and Sunday if you feel like a car trip.  Melbourne Farmers Markets on this weekend include Alphington, Carlton and Coburg.

A most excellent lecture…

…and indeed it will be.  Details for my food lecture – Diet and Identity: the rise of Veganism – are now online if you’re interested in booking a ticket to this event on Wednesday 18 April at the Sofitel.  I have a number of friends and family who are vegan, and while I’ve always considered it at the more extreme end of the diet spectrum, as someone who tries to eat more vegetarian food these days, I can definitely understand why people choose vegan for ethical reasons.

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Image via Bold Thinking Series website

On the panel will be two of La Trobe’s academics, high profile food presenter Dr Joanna McMillan and psychologist and vegan Dr Matt Ruby.  Joining them will be Mo Wyse from inner north vegan bar and eatery Smith & Daughters as well as food writer Richard Cornish who has written a book called, My Year Without Meat.  Timely too in that the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival has just opened and on the flip side if you are a carnivore, I believe Sideshow Burgers in Rosanna will shortly be opening.

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Dr Joanna McMillan image via Bold Thinking Series website

Lots on this weekend including the award-winning Banyule Festival – Twilight Sounds live music concert tomorrow night at Sills Bend in the Warringal Parklands and the Kids Arty Farty Fest and Grand Parade on Sunday morning.  The Ivanhoe Makers Market at the Livingstone Centre is on tomorrow while the Wild About Melbourne pop up makers market is on Sunday at the Thornbury Bowl Club.  Bundoora Homestead Art Centre also has not one but two contemporary art exhibition openings for We and Accession on tomorrow afternoon.  I’ll be back next week with more including a new local profile, as it’s been a while!

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Mo Wyse image via Bold Thinking Series

 

A blaze of glory

The lady in red, aka Shaynna Blaze didn’t disappoint at today’s sold out Banyule Women in Business Lunch at The Centre Ivanhoe.  I missed last year’s lunch with keynote speaker Mia Freedman due to La Trobe University celebrating its 50th Anniversary that same day but was glad to make it to today’s event.  It was different in style to previous events I’ve been to in that it was a more casual conversation on the couch with a host instead of a more formal solo address from a lectern.

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L-R: Jane Lindsay-Waschl, Renae Barrass, Shaynna Blaze and me

After some minor technical hitches which Shaynna handled with aplomb, the discussion was a good one giving us insights into her professional journey from having run successful businesses with her then husband in her twenties along with raising two children, becoming a single parent and working as a jazz singer (and band booking agent/PR) to supplement her interior design income to being tapped on the shoulder and asked to audition for Selling Houses Australia, before having Channel 9 approach her to be a judge on The Block.  Selling Houses Australia is Foxtel’s number one show and has run for 11 years, which is a huge amount of time in media land.  It’s nice to see someone so down to earth and likeable enjoy such success.

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L-R: Nikki Ellis, me and Dani Ahimastos

I’d assembled a table including my two blog sponsors, Dani Ahimastos from Hunter Lane Cafe and Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training and other friends including interior designer Renae Barrass, Jane Lindsay-Waschl from Admonter Floors and ceramic artist Lene Kuhl-Jakobsen.  Banyule Business run some great events if you are a small business owner and I was asked to do a filmed vox pop after the event which will appear sometime soon on their Facebook page.  It’s already been a long week for me so I hope I managed to cobble something half way decent to say!

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Shaynna on stage – The Centre Ivanhoe

I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the local area over the past week including grabbing takeaway coffee from SixtyFive Espresso (who sell Brunetti pastries and cakes) at Greensborough Plaza to a bowling party at Oz Tenpin in nearby Bundoora.  There’s also a bit happening locally with Andrew Potocnik’s #urbansalvage #zero waste exhibition opening at Bulleen Art & Garden’s Bolin Bolin gallery tonight and the Heide Makers Market in Bulleen on Saturday.

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Oz Tenpin Bowling – Bundoora

I also picked up a brochure for the Holi Festival of Colours which is taking place at Bundoora Park this Saturday if you are staying in Melbourne for the Labour Day weekend.  I don’t know about you but I’ve had my foot to the floor since returning to work in early January and am definitely looking forward to a break this weekend.  Enjoy.img_7012.jpg

Over the rainbow

Given we had a staycation this Christmas, it’s been good to do a bit more exploring locally.  There are a couple of cafes I’ve only recently discovered and am yet to visit but they include Silas Coffee in Watsonia and The Chairman Cafe & Foodstore in Heidelberg Heights.  We’ve also been looking more at local coffee roasters including DC Coffee (formerly Ducale Coffee) in Preston and Dimattina’s in Reservoir now that we’ve got a Rancilio coffee machine.

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Image via DC Coffee

If you’re after some pretty summer fashion then you may be interested in ili (I love it) in Station Street Fairfield which stocks a number of different Australian labels including Elk Accessories, Viktoria and Woods, Skin and Threads and Cable Melbourne.  As for me, I’ve got my eye on a tan handbag by Status Anxiety and a leather jacket by Luxe Fashion Studio so may be saving my bickies for a while this year.

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Didier biker jacket image via Luxe Fashion Studio

Bundoora Homestead Art Centre currently has a couple of jobs on offer if you have an arts marketing, hospitality, retail or curatorial background and are interested in working for Darebin Council.  And if it’s arts you love, Puesta del Sol is being held poolside at Montsalvat in Eltham tomorrow night with Art by Twilight at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen on 27 January.

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Image via Monty Village Facebook page

Summer Vibes on QWere Street in Montmorency is being held on Saturday 3 February and there’s a fantastic lineup of acts while if romance is on your mind, Date Night at Heide is being held on Sunday 4 February and a Valentine’s Day/Rainbow High Tea at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre overlooking the heritage gardens on Saturday 17 February.