Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Turning inwards

After what's been a very mild Autumn, the weather is slowly starting to cool and I think Winter is a time of both industriousness and reflection.  For those of you who like staying busy, there are currently sculptural lantern making workshops on (until June 15) run by master puppet maker Lachlan Plain (who is partner to Meredith Plain from Bulleen Art & Garden - I love a creative couple!) at Living and Learning Nillumbik. Book via email: with communal food/wine by $5 donation.  The Sunday workshops are presented by Sanctum Theatre, a visual performing ensemble, in the lead up to Montsalvat's winter solstice bonfire and celebration on Saturday 21 June - places for which are limited and children must be accompanied by an adult.
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There are also weekly evening meditation classes being held at Rosanna Uniting Church in Arden Street on Thursday nights from 7.30 - 8.30pm being run by the Rosanna Traditional Chinese Medicine Centre.  You can pay $15 per casual visit or $50 monthly although I think you would benefit most by committing to weekly classes and making it part of your regular lifestyle and I think meditation is also a great thing to do with partners, friends and family.
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Finally, and just because I am missing the warmer weather, I have just discovered this little Australian online store called Little Tienda selling gorgeous fair trade Mexican clothing - there are some lovely pieces if you are lucky enough to be heading north or further afield over the winter.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Happily ever after

Mr Rosanna and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary this week.  And while it wasn't quite Paris, we did end up celebrating our milestone at Bistro Vue in the city, which at least made me feel like we were there!  It's housed in the Normanby Chambers in Little Collins Street (where the original Vue de Monde was and where I did eat when it first opened before it moved to the Rialto) behind the original Cafe Vue in the city and does feel very French with its vintage posters, French music, real fresh flowers, wine displays and French-style tables, crockery and cutlery.  Shannon Bennett has branched into his own line of crockery (which I experienced at a French-style patisserie in Hawthorn for Mother's Day with my mum) so is very much the global entrepreneur these days.
I think much is made of getting married in most societies including ours and while a wedding celebration is definitely the biggest party you'll ever hold in your life, as with birth, the focus seems to be on reaching the event itself and not what comes afterwards.  Getting married and having children, if that's what you want or are lucky enough to have, are journeys in life that go through many ups and downs and I think where the hard yards really come into play and where your character as an individual and as a couple is greatly tested.  My own parents' marriage did not make it due to a number of different reasons so I think the fact that our relationship has survived, and thrived (even with kids!), after 10 years is something to be celebrated.
Mr R and I stopped in for a coffee at Pellegrini's cafe before lunch where we did indeed first meet many years ago and where we had some of our wedding photos taken when we got married.  We then walked down Bourke Street to Bistro Vue and had a fantastic meal (being served by a number of French waiting staff which made it feel all the more Parisienne) - a dozen mixed oysters along with two entrees (the crab and the duck egg with kale) plus mains of poached salmon and beef cheek.  Given we don't usually eat that much for lunch, we could have dropped one of the entrees as when it came to dessert, we could only manage some petit fours with coffee and tea!  We also loved the special little touches like the personalised message on a plate at the end.  It was a day to remember and 2014 is also shaping up as a year to be remembered.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Estelle and me

I finally got to drop into The Estelle Store today run by its lovely namesake Estelle Michaelides.  I've been meaning to go there after reading about her on the Lady Melbourne blog a while ago but luckily Estelle was at my children's Mother's Day Pamper Night at school the other week with a stall and mini fashion showing adding some glamour and sparkle to the evening.
Inside The Estelle Store
The Estelle Store, which has been open 7 months, is at 244 Upper Heidelberg Road in Ivanhoe just opposite the Ivanhoe library and it is a a beautifully merchandised treasure trove for fashion and accessories lovers.  Estelle has an amazing sense of style and a real eye for gorgeous, independent design and has her own label Micky In The Van sold at the store - she is an RMIT fashion design graduate and has previously worked as a milliner.  Her store was also buzzing with visitors - her website guy as well as a stylist friend were also in to see her along with other customers.  She does limited edition, short runs of her designs on a monthly basis rather than seasonal collections and my prediction is that she will garner quite a following - I am a fan!
Me and the lovely Estelle
Speaking of independent design, I did also want to quickly mention that Markit@FedSquare is on this  Sunday 25 May and you can actually win a hamper worth over $500 if you enter at - details of which you can also find on one of my lovely client Avant Card's free postcards.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Faded into Light

This is the name of my friend Melanie Scaife's exhibition which opens tomorrow at the Eltham Library Community Gallery and features paintings and landscapes inspired by the landscape in and around Eltham where she spent four months as artist-in-residence last year at Laughing Waters.  I was lucky enough to visit Mel while she was at Laughing Waters (which is a bit of a not so hidden secret for nature lovers as the waterhole located off the dirt road is blissful in summer).  The very 1970s (not sure if it's an Alistair Knox building) studio is complete with groovy wallpaper in the bathroom and the main living area has spectacular views over the river where you can see and hear all the birds calling - it's a very inspirational setting.
Melanie Scaife, Landscape study 2013, oil on board, 15cm x 20cm
Also on tomorrow is the Ivanhoe Makers Market in Livingtone Street if you're looking for some locally hand made art and craft.  From the home of Mirka Mora also starts tomorrow at Heide Museum of Modern Art.  Mirka is my favourite naughty older lady who has led a very colourful life and the exhibition celebrates her sixty-year association with Heide and her close ties with Heide founders John and Sunday Reed.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Revisit & Rewrite

This is the name of Montmorency-based artist Dr. Michael Mark's exhibition which opens tomorrow and runs until 8 June.  His show will run in tandem with Still Life 2014 by celebrated Australian artist Hilary Jackman who paints the most beautiful still-lifes.  The shows may be the second last for my client The Light Factory Gallery in Eltham which is currently for sale by tender closing next week.  Fingers crossed a new art-loving owner/buyer is found.
Dr. Michael Mark, Untitled, oil on board, 2012, 30 x 40 cm
Born and raised in New York and based in Melbourne the last ten years, Michael is showing both new and old works in Revisit & Rewrite.  He has exhibited in Australia, New Zealand and New York since the mid 1990s along with teaching at the Ian Potter Conservation Centre, University of Melbourne, VCA, Deakin University and LaTrobe College of Art and Design in Australia.  Hilary has been involved in solo and group exhibitions since 1978 with her work being represented in public, municipal and corporate collections.  She was also the 2013 winner of the Darebin Art Show at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre.
Hilary Jackman, Last Class
Speaking of which, Continuum by Warren Lane's official opening is tonight at the Bundoora Homestead Art Centre and I do love his painting The Running of the Trams 1964 which is quintessentially Melbourne.  Continuum is the ongoing story of Warren Lane, his world and how he sees it.
Warren Lane, The Running of the Trams 1964, oil on canvas on board 2014, 80.0 x 110.0cm
I'll be back later this week with more local art and craft happenings.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Handmade and Homemade

For the mothers out there, I hope you had a great Mother's Day weekend.  I spent mine catching up with both Mr Rosanna's mum and mine as well as receiving some lovely handmade cards and pressies from my boys (plus lots of hugs - the best presents of all!).  We had a yum cha of sorts at Tann's Restaurant in Ivanhoe - it's a relatively new place and you can choose Chinese dumplings and other yum cha items from an a la carte menu.  Given it was Mother's Day, they were very busy but the food was nice (it's had mixed reviews) and we had a good table up the back - the space is quite lovely and intimate.  Mr R had also made a quick dash into Jaclyn Roma Floral Design across the road to get his mum a beautiful bouquet of flowers - they have a real sense of style and are my favourite florist out this way but are more expensive than your average florist.
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Speaking of food, I just wanted to mention the Darebin Homemade Food & Wine Festival by Darebin Arts starts today and runs for three weeks at various locations in Northcote and Preston.  If like me, you've started cooking comfort foods like roasts, casseroles and other baked dishes, then this one should be a goodie for winter menu ideas and more.  A number of events are already booked out and the highlight event is a Meet the Makers Showcase on this Saturday from 1 - 4 pm at Preston City Hall.

There are also a few new art exhibitions opening this week and I'll be back tomorrow with details on these.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Art and Antiques

Aaah...these have become two of my grand passions in life. The Melbourne Antiques Fair opens tonight and runs until Sunday at the Royal Exhibition Gardens in Carlton.  It's held by the Australian Antique & Art Dealers Association and the three day exhibition brings together more than 50 AAADA member antique dealers and associated organisations from around the country showcasing the very best in antiques and fine art.  This year's Melbourne Fair is dedicated to the memory of renowned interior decorator, the late Stuart Rattle.  Tickets cost $20 for adults and $15 concession with children under 16 free (but you'll need to watch them!). Book online at or buy at the door.  Opening hours are Friday and Saturday 11 am - 6 pm, Sunday 11 am - 5 pm.
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Also on this weekend is the Nillumbik Artists' Open Studios and if the weather is anything like today, then it will be a much nicer weekend to spend outdoors and on the road.  Studios open from 11 am - 5 pm with over 35 artists in their studios providing an intimate and privileged insight into their arts practice.  Open Studios is open to the public only four weekends a year and the program takes you through the leafy towns and villages of Warrandyte, Eltham, Research, Bend of Islands, Christmas Hills, Diamond Creek, Hurstbridge, Panton Hill, Cottles Bridge and St Andrews.  Named by the Wurundjeri-Bulluk and Wurundjeri-Willam people, Nillumbik is also home to artist colonies Montsalvat and Dunmoochin.
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Whatever you do this weekend, for all the mothers out there, I hope you have a wonderful day on Sunday!

Monday, May 5, 2014

A Mother's Day

It's that time of year again and we've made no plans for this Sunday so it will interesting to see how and where we end up celebrating Mother's Day.

Depending on the weather given it's been so miserable the past few days, you may want to stay warm indoors - I always think yum cha is a great idea or brunch out at somewhere nice.  Around here I'd choose to go somewhere like Golden Dragon Palace in Templestowe or Cafe Vue at Heide.  Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen is actually holding a Mother's Day family event where you can picnic in the gardens and then set the kids loose to play art detective in 'Far Rainbow' to win a lucky dip to make a stained glass-type wall hanging - I think the weather would need to get a lot warmer and drier to partake in that one for me!
Image via Angus & Celeste
I actually need to stock up on some winter woollies and flat boots but on my homewares wish list for Mother's Day is this Luster Deco Large Vase (above) from Angus and Celeste.  I've also long liked Bonnie and Neil's botanical-inspired wooden shadow boxes (below) which are currently on sale at online retailer Temple & Webster.  Have you got anything you'd particularly like for Mother's Day?
Image via Bonnie & Neil

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Run and Become

I pay more attention these days to people's actions rather than their words and I am guilty of being all talk at the moment when it comes to running.  While it's still a goal of mine to do a fun run of some kind this year, I've not been doing any training and really, you need to be running at least three times a week to get yourself in the mode.  I've got some ridiculously fit friends who regularly run and many of them get up early and go before work.  Unfortunately the night owl writer in me thinks this will never be the case with me!

Speaking of exercise,  I did get my postural results from Nikki Ellis a little while ago.  While my front on pic was normal, my side on pic revealed some curvature and the fact that I would benefit from personal training to correct.  It is eye opening getting older and realising you need to incorporate some kind of strength training into your lifestyle.
Image via Westerfolds Parkrun Facebook page
I did want to mention a couple of runs and races that some of my more motivated, dedicated and disciplined friends do.  If you're a recreational runner like me, then the Westerfolds Parkrun in Templestowe is held at 8am every Saturday - it's a weekly, free 5km timed run staffed by volunteers and if you can get yourself there on a weekend, it sounds like a great community event.  Runners meet up afterwards for a post-run coffee in the Manor House cafe.  I'd love to get to one, one day this year!
Image via Sri Chinmoy Races Australia website
My hairdresser Vicky Woodman has also told me about the Sri Chinmoy races which are a lot cheaper than many of the larger races held in Melbourne, and even better still, you get fed pancakes afterwards as breakfast is included!  And you don't have to be a Hindu to compete in these - Sri Chinmoy was a very interesting person if you don't know anything about him.  One of the things he did as an athlete was founding the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team in 1977 as a service to the running community to promote self-transcendence through sports.

There is a meditative aspect to running, where you lose yourself in the rhythm of it, where all you are aware of is placing one foot in front of the other and stilling the mind.  I do love his quote about running which elevates it to a more spiritual plane.
"Run and Become.
Become and Run.
Run to Succeed in the Outer World,
Become to Proceed in the Inner World."