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Anzac Day races, Wondai

I think of my grandfather who served in WW1 – I remember him as a child and as a woman through his memoirs which my Uncle published a few years back – he passed on when I was only young – leaving me a small inheritance which helped me through my University studies – I honour him and the legacy of freedom that he left me…. anzac

Today we celebrated Anzac Day in our new community of the South Burnett.

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Then onto the races at Wondai!

602 606 615 “At the going down of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them.”

Ten days in Tasmania

I’m going to let the photos do most of the talking in this post (and you can find more here on my facebook page)….we recently had the magical opportunity to spend ten days in Tasmania…..hiking in the reserves, national parks and the wild wilderness of the west, snuggling into the arms of huge ancient trees in the Tarkine, the rich scent of leatherwood forests, breathtaking ravines and gorges, drinking water so fresh and clean, breathing air as crisp as apples, standing on the rugged remote shores of Arthur river, stretching our gaze to Argentina, it was so wonderful…..

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Good Friday

Hot cross buns, children scurrying about the garden hunting for brightly coloured chocolate treasures, family camping trips, luncheons and more…..yes it is Easter!

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For many today marks the start of one of our favourite national holidays, the long awaited four day long weekend. With the heat of summer passed, it is the perfect opportunity for camping in the great outdoors and taking a well-earned break to spend time reconnecting with family and loved ones. For many it is also an opportunity for personal reflection and a beautiful time of spiritual refreshing.

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It seems inherent in our humanity, the tendency to get disconnected, not only from others, but from ourselves and the values and truths we hold to that can sometimes be buried under the onslaught of life. How often is it though that the concerns we think so important are often no more than a clever marketing gimmick to draw our energy and focus away from the those things that really matter – love, kindness, peace, joy patience, loyalty  respect for self and others, quality time with loved ones, contribution & service, freedom from fear and through love and forgiveness, freedom from the heavy burden of broken relationship. These are elements of our humanity that connect us all. For those of us who are weary we can find restoration in the message of Easter, in the opportunity to give our burdens to one who is stronger than us, to a friend who is always waiting for our invitation to place his footprints next to ours on our journey through the sands of time.

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À bientôt Cara Luncheon

The invitation read:

Please join me for luncheon, @ UrbanPantry from noon
Send me off in style, wear something to make me swoon

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Maree looking fresh as a daisy in her 1940’s floral ensemble (check the hair do in the group photo below) – she looked sensational. Maree and met only recently at the Chamber Philharmonic Cologne @ St Paul’s. I spied this amazing looking woman emerging from Mehfil’s just before the concert with friends. She wearing a fabulous outfit and we struck up a conversation during the interval.

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Megan channelling Jackie O here – I just love this outfit and those little accessories really make it! Megan and I met on a few occasions before becoming friends last year. It was however a moment as we crossed paths at the lights on the high street (corner of Ellenborough and Brisbane) when she really caught my eye. I thought to myself she looks sensational! Then she came into Cultiver a little later, we struck up a conversation and the rest, as they say is history! Ok you may be starting to think I am a style stalker….

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This is my dear friend and colleague Figen who is setting the trend for girls in scarves and will no doubt soon launch an online fashion store to address this growing demand!

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Natalie what was Figen saying?

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Monica sporting a fabulous new dress from Cue – the colour and style suit her so, so well! Mon has been a fabulous colleague to work with and has helped me on many occasions with her compassionate and professional insight.

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Everyone together – from left Maree (check the hair), Karen, Jan, Helene, Monica, Kerri , moi, Agnes (then back row) Figen, Natalie, Megan and Donna). Well nearly everyone, there were friend who wanted to join us that couldn’t make it and I know they’re thoughts were with us. We’re also missing Cassie who had just popped next door to Mortgage Choice to take care of some very exciting business. Not even out of their honeymoon year, Cassie still in law school and this young couple are already purchasing their first home. Cassie has been doing work experience with me and has been my right arm on Thursdays! An exceptional young woman always immaculately presented, she will do so well in all she puts her hand too.  It has been a true pleasure to mentor her.

Beautiful mother daughter team Wendy and Lisa, the wonderful proprietors of Urban Pantry in the high street, hosted our luncheon today. Since they set up camp in the the Top of Town, Urban Pantry has become my favourite spot for café with friends. Their personalised and heartfelt service is simply wonderful. If you haven’t dropped in, give yourself a treat and stop by for a piccolo!

Simply said, I was swooned off my feet…

Another chapter comes to a close….

This week was my final week at work and brings the second chapter of my time here in Ipswich to a close. What better way to spend your last week than hanging out with friends.

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True friends help you enjoi the ride, they make you feel at home and at ease. They are the ones who support and care for you and you for them. They are the treasures in jars of living clay that bring life, the oil of joy, fun and laughter.

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The generosity and love I have felt this week has been simply overwhelming.  Thank you with all my heart to each and every friend for being such beautiful and amazing person and to everyone who has blessed my socks off this week.

This is not goodbye, it is simply …. À bientôt (until later)

Country Interlude….

My news this week as many of you now know is that I will be spending the remainder of the year in the country area of South Burnett. It is a lovely Alpine region up on the highlands west of the Sunshine Coast with rich red soil, tall pine trees and vibrant green fields. The area is also a growing wine region.

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We have found a lovely new place to call home with lots of room to welcome friends and family for weekend retreats in the country.

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We look forward to weekends exploring the region, hiking in the nearby forests of Blackbutt and the Bunya Mountains, sampling the local produce, getting involved in the local community (Shaun has already joined the AFL team!) and meeting many new friends.

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From Autumn with love

Mornings are an absolute delight at this time of year in south-east Queensland. March draws to a close and whilst the warmth of summer lingers, the coolness of Autumn slowly settles at the ends of the day. I am dreaming of country escapes, long walks in woods carpeted with fallen leaves, the aroma of freshly baked apple pie, the comfort of a beautiful cashmere scarf and the warmth of a good dry red.

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Daring in denim

Denim is a great fabric to begin incorporating as the weather cools off  and I decided to dive right in to hues of blue today. I wanted to build an outfit around this lovely denim waistcoat that I recently re-loved and I can imagine it also with a long flowing peasant skirt and beads, (stay tuned).  The skirt was sourced on a vintage trail hunt at Sandgate with a friend and fellow lover of all things vintage. Denim has an earthy flavour to it so I added a necklace with an ethnic vibe that was  gift, some bangles, my signature Catterina Lucci hat and today’s basics fit perfectly in this petite LV clutch.

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The Arts and more….

I’ve been reconnecting with my love of Russian classics and fashion of late in the arms of Anna Karenina. I read nothing but Russian literature for two months whilst travelling in Kazahkstan and Ukraine some years ago. With the re-release of the Tolstoy classic on film (featuring Keira Knightley) we are also seeing Russian inspired fashion on the runways.

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Inspired by ‘Anna’ I’m dreaming up something sumptuous for this year’s outfit for Opera in the Vineyards. I’m seeing my rabbit fur hat, long gloves and my sumptuous Kazahk pashmina as definates for the ensemble….

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If you haven’t yet been to Opera in the Vineyards at Ballandean Estate, be sure to treat yourself at least once (and do let me know if you will be there this year so we can say hello!) It’s a sumptuous black tie affair run by the Rotary community of Stanthorpe to help country folk with accommodation when they need to travel to Brisbane for medical treatment. Nestled in the raw beauty of the granite belt, music, high fashion, food and good wine erupt together  in a decadent crescendo at sunset to enrapture the senses.

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We’re staying at our family’s converted vintage boulangerie in Amiens for the weekend. I love spending time out there and always come home feeling so refreshed. I’m especially looking forward to this year as we will have the company of my dear, school friend and her man whom we’ve not yet had the pleasure of meeting. They relocated from the Blue Mountains to the Sunshine Coast about a year ago and now that they are settled in and acclimatized we have a few moments to catch up. I’m sure they will feel right at home in the crisp mountain air and with our beautiful parents who are the warmest of hosts I know.

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How to rock a garage sale!

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Some of my most treasured vintage pieces have been gems mined from yards and garages of a Saturday morning. Not only does it add to one’s personal style aesthetic but it also gives a good boosts to the savings account so that funds can be spent on more exciting things like trips to Tasmania (stay tuned!).

We decided to throw a garage sale this weekend just past. It was a raging success so I thought I would share a little insight for those of you who might have pondered the notion of turning your own humble abode into a commercial pop up!

Whilst Spring is one of the most favourable times to hold a garage sale, a well advertised event will draw crowds and then it’s up to you as to the success of your event. A well run garage sale will see you enjoy many benefits including:

  • A home clear of unnecessary clutter
  • Bargains finds for people who will use and love them well
  • An opportunity to meet people in your local community
  • Surplus cash, it would not be unusual to turn $500 – $1000 in a morning

So why not give it a go or perhaps co-ordinate with neighbours or friends.

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Whilst it may not seem too involved, I can share from experience both as a vendor and buyer that the best and most successful sales are those well planned.

A month in advance:

Decide on a date

  • If you can only do one day on the weekend, choose Saturday over Sunday as that is the biggest day for them. Ideally, a two day sale is best (Saturday and Sunday). We once had a garage sale that went all week and as the week went by the discounts got bigger until we eventually gave away what was left – the result no trips to the thrift store or dump!
  • Begin collecting and organizing items that will be placed in the yard sale.
  • Allocate space to store pieces for the “sale”.
  • Notify friends and family so that they can be include items as well, we advertised our recent sale on facebook which attracted buyers.
  • If you are are not familiar with the typical price of items at garage sales, it might be an idea to visit some each week leading up to yours to get a feel for the general asking prices.

One week in advance

  • Advertise – we used the Courier Mail ($12) & posted a Facebook event (free)
  • Think about who you really want to attract and list the big ticket items (furniture, home appliances, etc) as well as general terms – glassware, bedding, clothing, etc
  • If selling only a certain size of clothing and a large amount, list the sizes if you are comfortable (for example: shoes 9-10, sizes 8-12) as it will attract a target audience that knows they will find something and is wanting to bargain shop.

A Few Days Before

  • Make sure you have enough tables and clothing racks to display all of items in an organized manner.
  • If you don’t have access to clothing racks, get creative – a long wooden pole can hang between two trees/ladders/etc – just make sure it is straight.
  • Fix or clean any items that you are going to sell (furniture, clothing, etc)
  • You could label everything… (we never do) – if you don’t want to label every item of clothing, at least in your head or with  your partner in commerce – check with each other if there are any minimum price points so if the other person is busy dealing with a customer you can negotiate on the item
  • You can create signs (neat & printed) that inform the bargain hunters of the price of items in this group.
  • Remember you want to clear your clutter – be reasonable – we often go to sales and the prices are ridiculous, they will never sell the stuff at those prices.
  • Go to the bank and organise a change kitty.
  • Optional – make signs that will be placed around your area to help direct drivers to your yard sale.
  • Stick to a color theme or phrase that helps the drivers know when they see your sign, they are going in the right directions.
  • Include large, visible arrows.
  • Include the address, time, dates

The Day/Night Before

  • Place the signs up – we put up signs at the end of our street – do a test run to make sure the signs are visible and easy to understand from both angles.
  • Set up your sale – make sure everything is well spaced, organised and items are easy to see.
  • Make sure items are easy to browse and not all piled on top of each other or hangers sliding down or racks falling over under the weight of clothes – very unchic!
  • You want your space to be like a boutique or vintage shop!
  • Organize and group together all of the items that will be in the sale.
  • We create different spaces – eg bigger pieces in the yard, man land in the garage, bicycle lane on the driveway, ladies lounge up on the verandah etc.
  • If you won’t be placing the tables out until the morning, organize everything into groups so they are easy to grab and situate when the time comes.
  • Create a cashier’s box and place in a secure location

The Day of the Sale

  • Wake up early – we get up at 4am
  • Wear sunscreen and drink lots of water
  • Plan on having everything set up at least an hour before you are to be open
  • Place a large sign on your street to let people know you are open with a sale not to be missed!
  • Welcome early birds – they want to buy from you!
  • Treat every person who attends your sale with the utmost respect – they have made a special effort to come to your ‘shop’
  • Negotiate in a friendly manner – if you can strike a deal great but if they can’t meet your price – no worries! Never get upset or take it personally – just let them know that their price won’t work for you.
  • Create an inviting atmosphere – play nice music – have the aroma of freshly brewed coffee lingering

Reassess Prices & Reorganize

  • At the end of the day (if you are having a two day sale) or by mid-morning (if the sale will only be one day), go through your prices and see what is working and which prices to change.
  • Move items around for the best display.
  • Eliminate tables to allow for better navigation as more items are sold.

Immediately After the Sale is Over

  • Take down all of your signs.
  • Take the remaining items to Goodwill or a local donation entity.
  • Return the tables and clothing racks if they were borrowed.
  • Deposit your proceeds.

The only thing left is to sit back, relax, maybe take a nap like I did in the afternoon then enjoy the new space and spoils of your labours!

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[Photography by VintagebyLouLou]