Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Coconut-Laden Palm Trees

This sight can only mean we're about to be right in the depths of another phase of renovating:

Planning the next stage

Dan spent the weekend hard at work on drafting the next part of our work here - building in and onto the front of the house.

Planning the next stage5

This is our house from the street now:

Planning the next stage3

As you can see, it's not very glamorous. That's useful, because we live in a not-so-flashy area, or up-and-coming local real estate agents refer to it, and we've not been burgled yet.

I mean, it's only been five years, so maybe that's not so impressive. How often do people get burgled anyway?

Anyway, Dan is putting in a raised carport, with a raised walkway which will lead to the new entrance on the top floor, instead of downstairs.

Those windows at the bottom front will be filled in, with bigger ones put in at the side of the house.

Then, we'll build a privacy fence along the road - so the house behind will become a sheltered sanctuary from the road we live on.

Some of these palm trees growing down the border of our property will be moved to the front behind the fence, to sort of overhang it and look pretty.

Planning the next stage6

Dan may be good at drafting and building and other stuff, but I am the master of Photoshop illustrating, as you can see from this cleverly-executed illustration.

Planning the next stageAfter

I may have gone overboard with the coconut-laden palm trees, but they're much easier to draw in Photoshop than the straight lines of a carport and fence.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Maisie and Mum

My Mother came to stay for a week or so recently. She's back in Hobart now, which is very VERY disappointing for her number one fan...

Maisie and Mum

Friday, June 25, 2010


It's possible my current love of the Weekend Island - AKA Karragarra - comes from the fact that I grew up on an island - a much bigger one, but an island nonetheless.

My hometown is Hobart, Tasmania. The island of Tasmania is Australia's smallest state and Australia is the world's biggest island country, incidentally.

Technically, I grew up on an island off an island.

I left home at 17 to live in my mother's homeland of Scotland, then moved back to Tassie for a year when I was 22 - six years ago.

That was when I also bought my first-ever house, in the now-gentrified Hobart suburb of New Town. It cost me $210,000. It had three bedrooms, a bunch of ramshackle outhouses and no heating. It was more than 100 years old and had seen very little improvement in that time.

Basically, it needed a lot of work.

I was earning a pittance in my first job out of university. Needless to say, I lived in the worst of the three bedrooms and rented out the better two.

These are the photos I have of the house. It's definitely cute, but I'm glad I sold it a few years later to buy into the house that Dan and I now share (aka House Number 1).

Forster St 1
From the street.

Forster St 2
That's me! I look so young and cranky and thin...

Forster St 3
That bar heater was the only heat in the house, until I eventually installed a tiny wood heater.

Forster St 4
The kitchen, my favourite room.

Forster St 5

After a year living in this desperately cold cottage, my flatmate Briohny - who answered an ad in the paper, moved in to that house and remains one of my dearest friends - and I decided we really couldn't call Tasmania home after all. It was too small, too cold, too stifling.

I found tenants for the house, we packed up Briohny's little hatchback with our possessions and then we drove north. We took a ferry to the mainland of Australia, drove for four days up the East Coast and ended up in the hippy-haven of Byron Bay.

Eventually, Briohny headed back to her home-state of South Australia and I wound up heading further north to Queensland, where I live to this day with the man I met just afterwards.

I have never lived in Tasmania since, probably never will again. I seldom even visit it, even though my family still call it home.

These days, I'm happy to be here among the palm trees of Queensland, although Dan and I will be going back to Tassie for a week over Summer. Bizarrely, my Mother bought land on Bruny Island - off Tasmania's coast - about five years ago.

We'll be spending Christmas on an island off an island off an island.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Royal We

So, we've been pretty busy here at house number 1 (as in, not Karra'd Away) getting the deck painted up.

By we, I mean Dan as usual. It's like the Royal 'We', which I think you'll find makes me like the Queen or at least Princess Mary of Denmark.

And there's no way Princess Mary is getting up a ladder to cut in the VJs anytime soon.

I posted 'before' shots here, but it occurred to me after that I wasn't giving a fair picture of the actual before.

Those photos were taken after we pulled down the original deck and built a new one, but before we embarked on the recent painting project.

These are the ACTUAL before photos, the photos of the deck we lived with for four years before it increasingly became dangerous, not least because there was no sun protection at all and have you seen my complexion?

If you learn one thing in this blog post, let it be that redheads living in Queensland need roofs on their decks.

Ask the dog, she knows.

Deck Before2

Deck Before1

As you can see, it was a pretty crappy home-job done by the people who owned this place before us. But it served us well for a period of our lives when we lived with no kitchen, no curtains, no blinds - not much of anything, to be honest.

That period lasted for three years. Three years with paper up on the windows; first newspaper, then tissue paper when we could afford to buy tissue paper.

Yes, for a couple of years, we were literally those people in the neighbourhood with newspaper up on their windows and a rusting car wreck in their front yard.

Princess Mary would have hurriedly asked her driver to lock the doors when she passed our suburban shanty.

So here, now, are the after photos of the painting job on the deck of the Dawson House.



Dan and Mais (2 of 1)

I think we've done pretty well.

Ok, Dan has.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Once There Was A Kookaburra

Once upon a time on Karragarra Island, there was a young kookaburra who lived alone in a tree. He may have laughed a lot, but you could still tell he was a little lonely.

Kookaburra Karragarra1

Whenever humans came to the house he lived near, he would pop down onto the deck to say hello.

Kookaburra Karragarra4

He didn't mind people... but he still yearned for a feathered friend.

Kookaburra Karragarra

Until one day, when what should drop out of the sky but a second kookaburra! They hit it off immediately...

Kookaburra Karragarra3

...and lived happily ever after - together, in the tree.

Two Kookaburras FINAL

Monday, June 7, 2010

Lazy and Cool

It was a lazy and cool weekend here in Brisbane. For the second weekend in a row, we had guests in at Karra, which ruled out a trip to the island. Instead, Dan and I spent it at home in Brisbane.

There was plenty to do here. Plenty of really fun stuff like cleaning and painting and cooking and shopping.

Yeah, fun stuff indeed.

Dan and his mate Dave concentrated on painting the deck.

Dan painting the deck resized

Dave painting the deck resized

Dave on deck resized

I concentrated on the more mundane tasks.

You know, a few years ago, I never would have thought that whole weekends could disappear in a haze of scrubbing and dusting and polishing and cleansing.

No one ever tells you that you can spend years and years studying to get qualifications and a good full-time job with a decent salary, only to spend most of your free-time frantically trying to catch-up on the chores you don't have time to do all week.

'First world problem', I know. I also know that people out there do working full-time thing WITH KIDS - I have no idea how.

Frankly, I take my hat off to them all.

Don't you think it seems strange how little we factor in the time and money it takes to care for our homes and possessions when we think of buying them?

I just never knew that buying nice things just meant you had to work that much harder to look after them.

It never occurred to me that the more I acquired and accumulated and coveted, the more time and money I had to spend on maintenance.

I never knew that just deciding that you want a long-haired dog who comes inside in the evening would mean whole hours could disappear every week just in cleaning up dust and hair and scrubbing muddy foot prints from the floorboards.

Not that it would have prevented me from getting said dog, of course.

The more I have, the more frustrated I get when it breaks or the software needs upgrading or the bulb breaks or I need more batteries and it's 10:30 at night and I have an 8am meeting and I REALLY JUST NEED SOME TRIPLE A BATTERIES RIGHT NOW, DAN.

Basically, I never thought that buying two houses to renovate simultaneously (although slowly) would mean so much work, expense and frustration.

I probably should have guessed.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


You know that expression 'an assault on the senses' ?

Yeah, of course you do. I knew you would. That expression could only have been coined for one place as far as I'm concerned - a place that so completely hyper-stimulates every one of your senses that you either get completely high on it or just want to drop to your knees and beg for mercy. And stomach medicine.

Nearly two years ago, Dan and I went to India. It was Dan's first trip out of Australia and, honestly, who knows why I thought India would be a good introduction to overseas travel for him.

He was only allowed 14 days off work, so it was a whirlwind trip. A trip we simultaneously loved and loathed almost in equal measures, depending on the day.

India is such a joy for anyone even vaguely interested in photography. I shot nearly 1,000 frames in two weeks and this was after realising I had to show a bit of restraint or I'd run out of memory cards.

The photo opportunities were why I wanted to go, actually. Well, that and I read Shantaram. I'm guessing Gregory David Roberts caused a fairly serious spike in travel to India after publishing that book. (Incidentally, if you haven't read it you really, REALLY should.)

Today I was sorting through my photos and decided to post a few of my favourites. They were mostly taken around Kerala. A couple were in Mumbai and Delhi.

Tilt Shift_ Indian LanscapeREsized

Sunset Resized

Tea Maker Resized

Dhobi Ghat Resized

Shopkeeper Low REs Resized


Sitar Maker in Delhi Resized

Cochin House Resized

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Deck Renovation - The Before Shots

About a week ago, Dan and I started working on the back deck again. We packed up everything that was on it and Dan spent a good day or so sanding it down. Now, he's priming it before we start painting this weekend.

I thought I'd post a few before photos, which I took last Saturday morning.

Deck Before Renovation 3

We plan to paint the back wall - the long one - white. The two ends, where the VJs are, will be a really light grey, much lighter than the colour sampled there at the moment.

Deck Before Renovation 2

I also want to paint the base of the outdoor couch white. It's faded quite dramatically after copping a full summer worth of morning sun.

Deck Before Renovation 1

So there you have it, the big BEFORE. Coming soon, the AFTER photos.

And yes, I will absolutely be shooting them in much better conditions when the sky is blue and the deck is immaculate to make it look more impressive.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

ModCloth Bathers

Every weekend islander needs a good pair of bathers, even on the first day of winter.

I just got these ModCloth Bathing Beauty Bathers in Emerald and felt the need to show them off.

I guess I'll just have to wear them around the house for a few months. Perhaps with heels and a headpiece.

Mod Cloth Bathers

I'm pretty sure the dog is actually rolling her eyes here. She wanted to be the star of tonight's shoot.

Maisie and me-2 copy

WHAT a Diva.

Maisie Headpiece