Friday, September 30, 2011

A material girl no longer...

Madonna image via Luxe Rose blog
Well I know there's a big game on tomorrow but for me it's all about the parties.  I'm currently baking Will's birthday cake (my first Women's Weekly kids cake no less!) and come tomorrow night I will be channelling Madonna circa 1985.

No local profile today as I'm waiting on a number of slackers to get back to me!  If you live or work in the north east and would like to be interviewed (or know someone who does) - then please feel free to get in touch with me - I am sure there are lots more interesting people out there to discover.
Image via The Clothing Exchange
It's the first day of October tomorrow and the start of Buy Nothing New month - an interesting concept but I'm not sure whether I'll be able to stick with it given I've started to run out of toiletries and have a number of birthdays next month.  Have a great weekend and remember that daylight savings starts tomorrow night - here's to lighter days and nights!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Frocking up

I forgot to mention yesterday that there is a new cafe called Ora in Kew which also does serious coffee.  I've not yet been but was talking to the owner of Miss Marie who'd gone to check it out.  It's located in Pakington St where Ocha used to be before it moved to Church St.  Speaking of which, my in-laws go to Ocha (modern Japanese) once a year for a special occasion dinner - last year's was very memorable as they were flooded out - literally.  Right next to Ocha is Barkers Wine Bar & Bistro where I've also dined a number of times - it's great gastro-pub fare.
I've got a number of parties on between now and the end of the year and love an excuse to dress up.  Above is a pic of me and my friend Anne at her 70s disco party last year - I found my vintage silver lurex jumpsuit (channelling Halston the American designer from the 1970s) on ebay for $20 while I picked up my silver leather belt a couple of years ago at Heidelberg Road's Vintage Bazaar.  My 80s party at my friend Fizz's is this Grand Final weekend so looking forward to a big night out!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bread and chocolate

Aaah...the staples of life!  Bread and chocolate (well...perhaps going a bit far with chocolate but I definitely wouldn't be happy to give it up).
Image via Dench Bakers
Was out on the road today and came home via the inner north, drove past Birdie Num Nums (a child-friendly cafe) on Nicholson St and then went on to have lunch at Dench Bakers on Scotchmer St in North Fitzroy.  I hadn't been in there since before it expanded to two shop fronts.  The place was buzzing and my friend Mary and I demolished a sensational Wagyu beef burger and veggie stack - the coffee's also very good.  On my way out, I picked up a freshly made Ciabatta loaf for my in-laws who were kind enough to babysit the boys today.

The other thing I did was drop into Darriwill Farm on Upper Heidelberg Road in Ivanhoe.  They've got an amazing dessert product called Unforgettable (made by a local lady in Warrandyte) - lemon curd, passion fruit curd or chocolate fillings which can then be put into homemade pastry cups as well as some cute ready made meringues in large and small sizes.  Food heaven!  They'd all make a good cheat's dessert at your next dinner party.
Image via Conscious Chocolate
I also picked up some gorgeous dark chocolate called Conscious Chocolate made right here in Melbourne from all natural ingredients - their tag line is '' and you can also buy it online. Yum!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Second hand rose

I have become something of a bower bird as I've got older or maybe I've always been a hoarder but just never realised it!  In any case, I'm not great at throwing things out especially if I have a sentimental attachment to it.  Call it the romantic in me.
Erin Lightfoot bangle image via Etsy
Anyway, it now manifests itself in my love of vintage and antique furniture, eco and vintage fashion and handmade things from the local area wherever possible.  I've fallen in love with these porcelain bangles by Erin Lightfoot which are a little art deco-inspired.

I also wanted to mention that Eaglemont Antiques has moved out of Eaglemont Village and is now located in Plenty - still in the northeast but a bit further out.  I've also recently come across the Second Hand Shop in Montmorency which I think has always been a vintage store in some guise or another.  If you're into retro, vintage, industrial and collectables, then it's a great local find.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A new recruit

Image via The Art of Manliness
I've joined the army.  The Coffee Army that is. Shhhh!  Just between you and me, I'll be anonymously reviewing coffees from local cafes in the north east for the next little while.  It's all part of a voluntary fun project for The Age Melbourne Magazine - scores will be compiled and at the end of the project, winners in various categories will be announced in the Melbourne Magazine, on the blog and at the awards night.  I didn't really need any more excuses to drink more coffee, but now I have one.
Image via Museum Victoria
Speaking of which, La Trobe University Museum of Art (LUMA) has re-created an art exhibition which celebrates cafe art by Leonard French which was shown at Melbourne's very first European-style cafe - The Legend cafe.  Leonard created a series of panels based on The Legend of Sinbad the Sailor which were donated to the museum in 1999.  LUMA's exhibition is currently on show in their newly renovated library which fittingly, also has its own cafe.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Local profile - Seydou Sow

Mr Rosanna's cousin Tamsen took up African drumming and dancing a while ago and her passion has been so great, she's also gone to visit West Africa.  We've been lucky to see her perform in the Fairfield Amphitheatre and one of her very talented teachers is Seydou who lives in the north east and teaches in the inner north.  I love those drums and amazing outfits!

Name: Seydou Sow
Occupation: Artist
Lives/works: Greensborough/Brunswick
How long have you lived/worked here?  About 2 ½ years, before that I lived in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa

Describe yourself/what you do:
I am a dancer and I play traditional West African drums, including Sabar drum, djembe and dundun.  Senegalese dancing often involves telling stories through dance.  Some dances are about parts of everyday life in West Africa, things like collecting food and water, and feeding people.  From 10 years of age, I learnt dance from my uncle, with my good friends Lamine Sonko and Ousmane Sonko.  Lamine  and Ousmane also live in Melbourne now.  We are all from a family of 'Griots', or 'culture keepers'.  Our role in our culture is to pass dances, songs and music to the next generation.  My passion is to teach children and I do a lot of work in schools sharing our culture, including our language, stories, music and dance. 
I'm also performing in One Africa and teaching adult African dance classes in Brunswick.  These classes are open to everyone, from beginners to people with experience in dance.   They are held at Broken Mirror Studios, 2C Staley Street, Brunswick, 6:30pm on Wednesday nights ($20 per class).  I am also running a tour to Senegal in January 2012, so that people can experience the amazing drumming and dancing there for themselves.     

Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne's north-east:
It is quiet and peaceful, which allows me to relax my brain and think creatively. I like walking along the creek. I like being away from the city but not too far out. It is good to make a life here. 

For more information:
Mobile: 0432 147 662
For details of the tour:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Truly Scrumptious

Not Tuesday necklace
Will is obsessed with the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang so Mr Rosanna and I have been on the hunt for a toy vintage car as a birthday present.  I did want to mention Hearn's Hobbies in Flinders St as well as Hobbyco which I found online - both look like heaven for little (and big!) boys who are into all things transport related. 

Thomas meanwhile is going through a superhero and snakes phase which involved dress ups.  Man, do you think I can find a snake costume anywhere?  I've gone to Blokker in Rosanna and bought a black Grim Reaper outfit and then onwards to Arts on Burgundy in Heidelberg to pick up cardboard so Mr Rosanna can design a cobra mask of some kind - not easy.

As for me, I've got an 80s party with the girls coming up next month so have already spent half a day at Greensborough Savers sourcing my outfit - all will be revealed in a couple of weeks. 

Lastly, I've mentioned my ongoing love affair with colour and discovered an Australian designer Rachel Wightman whose business is called Not Tuesday - like Emily Green she also sells her gorgeous hand made necklaces on Etsy.  Dangerous stuff indeed...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The world of print

There's a lot going on in the print world this month.  Locally, there are two exhibitions which celebrate print making and prints in general.
The Baldessin Studio 10th Anniversary Exhibition starts at the Light Factory Gallery today and runs until 9 October.  George Baldessin was a leading Australian artist in the 1970s who died tragically in a car accident in 1978.  The Baldessin Press (a not for profit organisation) was established by his widow Tess Edwards at their St Andrews studio in 2001.  Tess and other founding members Robert Hails, Lloyd Godman and Silvi Glattauer (all practising artists) will feature their work as well as their star pupils from the studio as part of this exhibition.  The Light Factory Gallery is located at 21 Brougham St Eltham and is open Wednesday to Sunday 11 am - 4.30 pm.
Image: Judy Holding, My Landscape (2008), linocut, watercolour 6/18. Banyule Art Collection
Also opening on Thursday is Unravelled - an exhibition of artists' books and typographical prints from the Banyule Art Collection.  The exhibition runs until 12 October at the Banyule Arts Space, 14 Ivanhoe Parade, Ivanhoe and is open Wednesday to Saturday 11 am - 5 pm.

Entry to both exhibitions is free.

NB. Miss Rosanna is The Light Factory Gallery's freelance PR consultant

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Laughing Waters

Image via Creative Spaces
I've mentioned my clever friend and fellow blogger Jeannette Davison before who has the beautiful Isiiad blog.  She is also a talented artist in her own right (as well as writing about other artists) and this year's Laughing Waters Artist in Residence in Eltham.  Her life drawing class scheduled for this Sunday is already booked out!

Amongst other things, the residency provides the opportunity for contemporary artists to develop their practice in an inspiring natural and cultural environment and contribute to cultural development within Nillumbik by providing the local community with access to high quality arts activity and local artists with professional development opportunities.

Applications for 2012 are now open and close on Friday 7 October so get in quickly if you are interested.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Party time

Image via
We spent Saturday running around doing chores as per usual but noticed for the first time the Heidelberg RSL Club in Mount Street, Heidelberg tucked away just opposite the train station.  It's housed in a lovely old building which could do with a bit of sprucing up but I think it would make a great venue for a Christmas party or otherwise.  Apparently if numbers don't increase, this venue may sadly be shut down.

I also wanted to mention some of the other venues around here besides the Old England Hotel which are worth considering for parties and events.  I grew up in Bulleen and ever since I can remember, the Veneto Club has been there.  You don't have to be Italian to go to the restaurant (which has a children's playground) or book events there.  A bit further up Bulleen Road is the Yarra Valley Country Club which looks a bit posh - my hairdresser Mel has actually had her family Christmas there one year.

I've been to the Heidelberg Golf Club in Lower Plenty for lunch and also considered it as a wedding venue given the beautiful heritage golf club house and modern dining rooms which have a fantastic outlook onto the golf course and surrounding gardens.

Finally, I have had a number of Kris Kringle celebrations with my besties in the gardens at Heide Museum in Bulleen.  You can actually book venue spaces and event hire including catering at Heide.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Local profile - Leanne Cole

One of the things Mr Rosanna and I have been meaning to do is create a gallery of our favourite photos on one of our walls.  Sadly, while we've got some great pics - they're still sitting somewhere in a cupboard waiting to be framed and hung.  As a writer, I'm always impressed by those who have a great visual eye and natural gift for taking photographs and it's fantastic that we have talented local people like Leanne in our patch of the world.
Name: Leanne Cole
Occupation: Photographer/Artist
Lives/works: Viewbank
How long have you lived/worked here? Almost 18 years

Describe yourself/what you do: 
I have been doing photography for around 19 years, studied at NMIT and have a Bachelor of Fine Art from the VCA.  I have been photographing cycling events for the last couple of years and now would like to expand into portraiture and running weekends away for people who want to learn about photography or just want an opportunity to go away and take photos.
I have been doing portraits on and off for many years, my two girls have been driven nuts with their mother always pointing the camera at them.  The weekends away are a new idea that is still being worked on, but have been taking away a couple of friends who want to learn to take better travel photographs.  We went to Aireys Inlet and they enjoyed what they did and what they learned. Hoping to be ready to take other people out soon.
Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne's north-east:
Wow, what a question.  Best thing, the fresh air, the parks, the people, the schools, too many things. One of the things we have always enjoyed is that we are close to many things.  The city isn't that far away, you want to travel, we are close to many freeways that lead the way out.  I have always found the area to be very inspirational and love spending time in the local parks.

For more information: 
Mobile: 0409 405 314

Thursday, September 15, 2011

All that jazz

Gong Li in Shanghai Triad
If I'd celebrated my birthday in Melbourne this year, I was going to have a 1930s jazz-inspired do at the Banyule Arts Space complete with jazz band (you can actually book bands through Monash University's Musician Agency) or at least go and visit Bennett's Lane or Paris Cat in the city.
Image via Wikipedia
Given I did neither, it's great to know that the Montsalvat Jazz Festival is being held this Sunday from 12pm - 8 pm - that's a lot of jazz!  Mr Rosanna and I often put on a bit of Ella Fitzgerald or Miles Davis on the record player when we read in our lounge at night instead of watching the TV.  Enjoy all you scat cats out there!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fine style

I've mentioned before that Mr Rosanna and I actually celebrated our wedding in the old Northcote Theatre now known as The Regal Ballroom in Northcote.  I think there's something quite magical and romantic about old theatres - probably a lot to do with their history and grandeur.

Image via The Thornbury Theatre
Speaking of old theatres, The Thornbury Theatre is now a music venue (The Thornbury Lounge) as well as being able to be hired out for events.  There's a gig on this Saturday featuring Katie Noonan and her trio Elixir - I think she has the most amazing voice given her classical training background in music.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Travelling words

Image via LUMA
Parole Viaggianti: Angela Cavalieri's Travelling Words exhibition starts tomorrow at the La Trobe University Museum of Art (LUMA) and runs until 28 October.  Angela's work draws on her Italian heritage and explores the art of writing and storytelling.  As a writer, I love her use of words as images and the meanings that we symbolically attach to them.
Image via HTC
Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps also opens on Thursday at the Heidelberg Theatre Company and runs until 1 October.  The 1935 thriller romance tells the story of Richard Hannay - falsely accused of murder after learning of an evil plot - who struggles to elude the law while tracking down the real killers to save the free world from the forces of darkness.  Sounds a lot like The Fugitive which stars one of my favourite actors of all time Harrison Ford.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Colours of the rainbow

Had a fairly quiet weekend with sick children and cold weather back upon us.  Despite what they've been saying about the state of retail in Australia, I have still been buying new (and old) things for myself.  After the darkness of winter where I mostly wear black (like most Melburnians) - once the sun comes out I feel the urge to start wearing colour again and as I've got older, I've really started to enjoy wearing colours over black.  It helps that colour blocking is in this season but even so, I have been converted!
Image via Emily Green
What have I bought lately?  A handmade necklace from Melbourne designer Emily Green which I bought on Etsy and absolutely love - I've got my eye on at least one other necklace in a different colour scheme.  The polymer beads look a lot like fruit loops and scream 'fun' to me!  And we could all do with more fun in our lives.

Funkis image via
And I've also succumbed to the clog obsession and bought my first pair of Funkis in purple (one of my three favourite colours along with turquoise blue and magenta pink).  Welcome to Spring!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Local profile - Fiona Greuter

Aah...the joys of having children...One thing you really need to do is look after your body both before you give birth and, even more importantly, once your baby is out.  One of the first things I did after having Thomas was a pilates course to strengthen pelvic floor muscles and core stability.  I found out about Fiona Greuter in my obstetrician's office at The Mercy Hospital after I'd moved here and was pregnant with Will.  Read on for more about Fiona.
Name: Fiona Greuter
Occupation: Womens Health Physiotherapist
Works: Heidelberg Heights/Watsonia and Bundoora
How long have you worked here? On and off for 11 years

Describe yourself/what you do:
After my third child was born 5 years ago I had the opportunity to start up my own small physiotherapy practice for women which now allows me flexibility around my children and other interests.  I started off in Greensborough and am now in Heidelberg Heights although next year the practice is moving to Watsonia.  I also work up at Northpark Private Hospital.  Previously I had worked at The Mercy Hospital for Women at the  Ivanhoe clinic so I know the broad area pretty well now. I enjoy working only with women and my areas of interest and further education are exercise for women, particularly pre and postnatal exercise as well as  pelvic floor rehabilitation.
Apart from work, I love my garden, reading, watching movies with my husband, crafts such as knitting and folk art, baking, and outdoor activities such as bush walking and camping.

Best thing(s)about working in Melbourne's north-east:
I love the people here, there are no pretensions and people seem to care about each other and the community.

For more information:
Mobile: 0414625096

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Country love

Image via Yarra Valley Open Studios
Lots on this weekend!  The Yarra Valley Open Studios is being held this weekend and next with 45 artists at work and on display at their studios.  A group exhibition is also on at Sticks Winery until 18 September.  This annual event is organised by six savvy local artists who have also published their own book and iphone app.

Image via NTA Tourism
The Diamond Creek Town Fair is also being held on Saturday.  This year's theme is 'a little bit country' with a free Air Force hot air balloon ride on offer.  Sounds like a great event for families with carnival rides, free entertainment, craft and food stalls as well as a fireworks finale.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Galleries galore

The Association of Sculptors of Victoria (ASV) Annual Awards Exhibition starts today at The Light Factory Gallery in Eltham.  For two short weeks, you can see the best our sculptors have to offer on show both inside and outside the gallery in the sculpture garden.  Don't forget the tea house behind the gallery which does great light lunches and high tea if you're needing sustenance.  I love Rudi Jass's work (below) in particular - it's absolutely beautiful.
Speaking of galleries, the Dragonfly Gallery has moved from Hurstbridge to Diamond Creek with the owners joining forces with Hurstbridge Heritage Shed Antiques to sell both fine art and antiques.  It sounds like a very dangerous combination!
Image via NTA Tourism
NB. Miss Rosanna is The Light Factory Gallery's freelance PR consultant.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Eat Pray Love

Have you seen that scene in Eat Pray Love where Julia Roberts orders the entire meal for the table in Italian?  I did things in reverse when I went to Italy many years ago and did an Italian course at the Centre of Italian Studies (CIS) in Carlton when I got back from Italy rather than before I went.
Image via Umberto Espresso Bar
If you're contemplating a European adventure (or just love Italian food and culture like me), then you might be interested in Scuola Umberto.  This Italian for Beginners 6 week short course led by Italian teacher and translator Stefania Zen is held in an intimate yet fun environment behind closed doors at Umberto Espresso Bar  in Thornbury.  Each class is held on Tuesday nights from 6.30 - 8.30 pm and includes course materials, a delicious traditional Italian meal, glass of wine and coffee every week.  Sounds pretty fab to me!

Cost is $490 ($80 per week) and the next course starts on 18 October - 29 November (no classes on Melbourne Cup weekend).  Enrolments need to be done in person at Umberto Espresso Bar, 822 High Street, Thornbury (closed Mondays and Tuesdays) with a 50% cash deposit by Sunday 9 October.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Daddy dearest

The weekends seem to fly by with young children.  Besides the usual swimming, grocery and household chores - we celebrated Father's Day at the Old England Hotel in Heidelberg with the extended family on Saturday followed by more celebrations with Mr R and his family on Sunday.  I love the Old England Hotel - it is a real institution in this area.  I've dined in the lovely dining room restaurant area out the back and there's now a new area catering to a younger crowd out the front as well as a gallery and roof top terrace for private functions.
Image via ADMS
What did I get Mr Rosanna for Father's Day?  I got him a signed copy of the Melbourne Art Deco book (above) by Robyn Grow (President of the Art Deco and Modernism Society) with photographs by David Thompson - a fellow blogger with the fantastic Art Deco Buildings blog who has just returned from the international Art Deco World Congress in Rio (jealous!).  That's one of the nicest things about blogging - making online friends and supporting fellow bloggers.  Hope you all had a great day celebrating the fathers in your life!

Also just a reminder that the Young Republic Melbourne Spring Fashion Week Parade and Party is on tomorrow night.  You can pre-purchase tickets to this event on their website.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Local profile - Teresa Bennett

I first came across Teresa and her beautiful textiles at the Ivanhoe Makers Market a couple of years ago.  More recently, I bumped into her and her weekly knitting group at my local cafe.  It may be Spring but there's still a chill in the air so you may find yourself like me seeking out one of her fabulous pieces to wear.  And once again, it is inspiring to hear someone doing a career change into something more creative.
Name: Teresa Bennett
Occupation: Textile Artist
Lives/Works: Rosanna
How long have you lived/worked here? Over 20 years.

Describe yourself/what you do:  After a career in IT and coinciding with the birth of my children, I decided to study studio textiles at RMIT.  After graduating, and then winning the Old England Outdoor sculpture award, I'm adding studies in fine art, majoring in sculpture to my textiles practice.
Currently, as well as studying, I attend the Ivanhoe Makers Market and Rose St Artists market and sell my handmade, unique textiles.  I weave, knit, crochet, dye, spin and design a variety of mittens, scarves, hats, neck warmers and other bits and pieces. I love markets and I love talking about making.
Best thing about living/working in Melbourne's north-east: The environment here is beautiful with wonderful walks minutes from my doorstep.  The community, with local shops and activities. The people, of course.  Many have been here for years, grow up and come back.  I've made so many friends through playgroups, school, toy library, kindergarten, snb group, sewing group and everything else.

For more information:
and I'm on facebook!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A pinch and a punch

It's the first day of Spring - yay!  I'm excited even if the weather is still cool.  Looking forward to lighter days and nights.  I actually made it to a yoga class yesterday and am determined to get back into it as we head towards summer.
Image via Darebin Music Feast
What else is on this weekend besides Father's Day?  The Darebin Music Feast officially starts this weekend and runs until 18 September.  There's over 150 events with major bands involved like Eagle and the Worm and Skipping Girl Vinegar.  The High Noon event on the last weekend also replaces the High Vibes Festival.
Kimbra image courtesy of Guy Franklin
Speaking of music, I just caught the latest 40s style Kimbra music video clip 'Good Intent' directed by local Guy Franklin at none other than The Centre Ivanhoe.  Will definitely be buying her album 'Vows' on iTunes.  Her current no 1 hit 'Somebody that I used to know' with fellow Australian artist Gotye (who incidentally is also a local boy from Montmorency) is also receiving massive air play at the moment.  More tomorrow peeps!
Guy Franklin
Nb. Miss Rosanna and Guy Franklin are relatives by marriage.