03 September 2015

Brazilian Glitter, Designer Labels & Egyptian Pampering

Computer glitches have kept me out of the cyber-sphere for a while, but it appears I’m back in action.  Technology is a wonderful thing, until it carks it.

Creating a distressed paint effect
With hopefully enough advance notice, I’m letting those in the vicinity know that Collectorama – the big antiques fair at the Nambour Showgrounds on the Sunshine Coast – will be held on this coming Saturday, 5 September.  Come visit us!  I've included some random photos in this post of a few bits and bobs we'll be offering.

Last week I did a course on how to create a distressed paint effect on furniture, which was terrific fun.  Chateau Chic we called it, and that indeed shall probably be the title of the article I’m now going to write about the experience.  Until a sub-Editor minion decides to change my headline, that is.  Have I mentioned how sub-Editors are the bane of my life as a writer?  About a thousand times? 

Uranium Glass Shaker, $40
Anyway, when making furniture look old and distressed it is helpful if the piece you’re working on is already old.  So I have a head-start because the pieces I’m now working on have all been dragged out of the we-really-should-do-something-with-that pile of antique and vintage furniture from our garage. 

Perfectly good English Edwardian and French country pieces, with nice lines but in need of tarting up, or just plain brown and so looking drab, are now being zhoozhed by me.  I have already sold one of my first pieces, so yay for that.  The other pieces I’ve so far worked on shall be presented starting from Saturday.

You can come and critique my efforts at Collectorama.  But only if your critique is OMG this is wonderful!, or Wow, girl, you are so good, or I really must buy every single piece.  I will be offering utter bargains, because this is a test to see if my ability to do this type of painting stands up to public scrutiny.  It’s not as easy as you might think and it takes ages, but it’s quite a lot of fun so I hope it works out.

Meanwhile, we tried out the Aladdins Fair in Brisbane last Sunday.  It’s nowhere near as big as Collectorama, our space is limited to three tables, and the Fair only operates from 10am – 2pm.  But it went well enough, and we sold a number of vintage wooden items and lots of pictures.  We’d want it to be a whole lot better before we commit to becoming regulars, but we’ll try it again in October and see how it goes.

Royal Winton ceramic jug, $32
Somewhere we do attend regularly is the Nights on Ocean market at Maroochydore, and we’re enjoying it.  It’s held on the 2nd Friday night of each month, and runs from 5pm to 9pm.  So we’re packing up and heading home just as all the clubbers and restaurant-goers are starting to get a bit tipsy.  That’s a good time to leave, especially when you’ve got antiques on display.

A great addition at the last Nights on Ocean market were the Brazilian Hari Krishnas.  If Brazilian Hari Krishnas wear little but glitter and feathers and gyrate a lot, that is. 

Apparently they were supposed to be Carnivale Samba girls.  But a friend who knows about these things watched the goings-on with her hands on her hips, a sneer on her lips and a great deal of snorting.  There was No Way, she informed me, that such cavorting was anything like the Samba. 

But I think she might have been the only one to notice that.  Everyone else was noticing a whole lot of wobbling glitter and feathers.  Whatever they were doing, it sure got a lot of attention.  And wherever they went, everything came to a stand-still. 

Large Vintage French Wooden Balls, $15 each
And drums, there were a lot of drums.  For every hip-swivelling glitter and feathers gel there were multiple accompanying drummers.  We reckoned there was probably a wait list to be a drummer, following those wiggling, glitter-dusted bare bottoms down the street. 

So with all that drumming and enthusiastic squirming-that-was-not-the-Samba, I figured they could only be Brazilian Hari Krishnas. 

I am sure you will agree, as usual my logic is impeccable.

The only other news I have for this post is that, yay, I have been accepted as a writer for a glossy magazine called Indulge.  It’s a beautiful magazine, focussed on lifestyle and food in south-east Queensland and northern NSW.  My first article will appear in the Spring issue, out soon, but I’m not sure if it will be the on-line magazine or print magazine.  Either way, I’m happy and will announce when it’s published.

Women's Winner, King of the Mountain
My role writing about the King of the Mountain Festival has now wrapped up, and the Festival was a lot of fun.  A lot of fun for those of us not schlepping up a whacking big mountain and back in 30 degree heat.  It was the hottest July day on record in Queensland, so it was tough going for a lot of the competitors.

I was poised to get a great photo of one young man who had made it safely up and back down the mountain, but just as I was about to get the shot he vomited everywhere. 

Wow, he really shouldn’t have had quite so much lunch before the race.  It was impressive.  It was almost Exorcist-esque in its special effects.  It took projectile vomiting to a whole new level. 

And that, my friends, is why I shall never be an award-winning photojournalist.  Did I get the shot, or did I screw up my nose and say erh-yuck?  

So I didn’t get an award winning techno-spew photo, but last week I did have my final article on the King of the Mountain Festival published in the local newspaper.  The Editor gave me a good run – six full page articles, including the front page on one occasion, and I can’t ask for more than that.  The Sunshine Coast Daily newspaper gave me the cover of their Sunday Supplement one week, and in 10 months they’ve published another 14 of my articles, so that’s going well.

French Art Deco Perfume Bottle, $82
Isn’t it strange, though, that after working so hard to get the attention of various Editors, and having succeeded with many that I have sent pitches to, I have now decided I’m really glad I didn’t choose freelance journalism as a career. 

I spent a good amount of time in my former life being a rooster rather than a feather-duster, and it’s easy to get used to everyone always and immediately returning your calls, and doing as you bid, and seeking your opinion and approval. 

But as a freelance writer I’m very much a feather-duster who has to work hard to get the attention of Editors from the sea of my fellow feather-dusters.  Yes, I clearly have a healthy ego, but there you go.  Being a freelance writer means constantly facing the prospect of rejection and constantly being last priority in any Editor’s day, and that’s not great for anyone’s ego.  But maybe it’s good for me.  Like disgusting medicine is good for me.

But enough musing.  I’m glad I have come only lately to professional writing, and I shall keep doing it while the fun bit outweighs the frustration bit.  And I think I shall focus more on magazine articles than newspapers.  I’m surprised to find that I prefer to write longer features for glossy magazines than shorter pieces for newspapers, which is exactly the opposite of where I thought I’d head when I first started writing for publication.

Armani coat, $140
Is it because I’m getting into the glossy magazine mind-set that I’ve also decided to start offering some designer label clothes among our stock?  The opportunity to get my hands on some very nice labels (Armani, Valentino, Perri Cutten, etc) landed in my lap, so I thought what the heck. 

I sought advice from a friend who specialises in vintage designer labels, and it was very kind of her to help because there are traps for the unwary. 

Did you know, for example, that some big name designers declare their clothes to be a certain size, say Australian size 12, when according to all internationally accepted sizing tables their sizes are actually an Australian size 8?  Talk about fostering insecurity in your customers!  Why would they do that? 

And how many size 8s do you know?  Not many is the answer.  So I shall have to be sure to buy clothes that Mr Armani and his colleagues would consider HUGH but are actually normal person sizes.  And seeing how most people are not stick insects, sizes 12 and beyond are always the most sought-after and therefore the most expensive.

Green Depression Glass Jug, $32
Anyway, it’s an opportunity to try something on the vintage front I haven’t done before, so I’ll give it a go and see what happens.  I’m not sure how I’m going to sell these clothes, but at the moment I’m supplying them to Collective Haus, the nearby shop in Yandina where I sell a bunch of my jewellery and French vintage images. 

And if it doesn’t work out, I shall say Oh Well and move on to something else.  I’m far more sanguine about having my commercial decisions proven wrong when it comes to antiques than I am about having my work as a writer rejected.  Isn’t that strange?  Writing is more personal, but making a mistake in the antiques and vintage trade is far more costly. 

Finally, on a different topic entirely, did you know I was an Egyptian Princess in a former life?  Neither did I until this week.

I finally got around to collecting a mass of rocks that were lying on the terraces below our house, and then precariously balancing wheel-barrow loads of them on the tractor to transport them to a garden-bed-in-the-making behind our house. 

And boy do I hurt now.  My knees are shot, my back is killing me, and even though I wore thick gloves I broke every single finger nail.

Art Deco ceramic vase, $42
So it is clear that in a former life I was not a peasant farmer or some quarry worker, nosiree.  I did not lug about rocks, I was not made of hardy stuff. 

I was clearly a pampered Princess who had slaves create nice little breezes with ostrich feather fans to cool me in the heat of the day.  And they fed me grapes – with no seeds in them, thank you!  And they made sure my nice linen outfits were properly washed – not in the river, thank you! – so I was suitably attired for lying about watching pyramids being built.

It has become clear this week that I was not made for heavy lifting, not in this life or any other life.  I was made for pampering, and nice food, and expensive, high-care garments.  Ergo, I must have been an Egyptian Princess. 

I am sure you will agree, as usual my logic is impeccable.