Not a huge blog today, more of a Happy Easter sweep through.
The Picket Fence Household swelled in ranks for the Easter period with my two brothers, their wives and respective broods landing in town for a bang up Easter weekend. To celebrate the occasion, my fridge died. Well it didn't really die, the hinge holding the doors snapped (too much fridge art) and the result you can imagine was distressing. Mr Picket Fence and I stood holding disconnected fridge doors, and in gay abandon, butter, sauce,  jam jars and forgotten once tasted trendy chilli spreads from places called " Disaster Bay" (irony) lay strewn around our feet.

 To fix it, we tried the old "stand there and yell at each other with children watching open mouthed method" surprisingly, that didn't work ;) and a sign saying "do not open"....also,  didn't work (one has to eat and opening a fridge is habit, one doesn't read signs when one fancies a little midnight snack .... more "fridge yelling method"...still didn't work....can't blame us for trying ) Mr Picket Fence suggested electrical tape, which did work, and, to please me / pacify me, dragged up the verandah / beer fridge and plonked it in the middle of the kitchen next to the table, "So people can just reach over and grab what they need" Good thinking he thought. We again tried the "yell at each other" fridge fixing method, but only half heartedly and with that Mr Picket Fence left for work.
 I stood there taking photos of my lovely "designer" kitchen fridge and thought about how many hours I had to fix things before the family arrived. Basically nowhere near enough time to salvage any sense of country style chic for my house....the Picket Fence Kids were very quiet...they're not silly me thinks ;)

 Anyway, what was a girl to do, we went out for the morning and enjoyed a local once a year small town festival and for a few hours forgot about fridges,electrical tape and storm clouds.

 We caught a bus ( a big deal for my girls who never get to catch one ) our town is small, most journeys are made by foot or car.This journey alone would have made their weekend.

  The day was full of vibrant colour .Clowns ( from whom we spent a great deal of time racing away, pram wheels nearly smoking, because, it seems Baby Picket Fence is terrified of clowns) There were screams.

 The usually sleepy little town becomes hustle and bustle for one day a year.
 Market stalls were everywhere, lovely local talent, art, craft and food. Heaven.
 This treasure is by " Gail Bellette Mozaic" mammak@bigpond.net.au I want want want one of her house name signs... very gorgeous , a million hints were dropped to Mr
Picket Fence, but as mentioned,  he was busy running away from clowns ;) ....hmmm convenient, maybe next time?

 Here's a big secret, this is my all time favourite antique shop, it's amazing how much of the Picket fence income has been channeled in this direction.. I'm not about to give you a figure because Mr Picket Fence is my biggest blog fan and we can't have him knowing nuts and bolts can we ?? I've found beautiful antique jewellery, Czech Amphora to die for, Australian advertising, must have kauri pine bits and bots and English china ...need I go on. I have my eye on a beautiful kitchen dresser. Don't buy it .... its mine.... I just need to work on Mr Picket Fence a little longer and the fridge thing is working in my favour  ;)
  Arriving home, the weekend flowed surprisingly well. The Picket Fence children flowed with their cousins in a current of chocolate fuelled enthusiasm, nobody mentioned the fridge in the middle of the room ( which mind you, morphed into my mothers spare fridge after the verandah/ beer fridge  suffered performance anxiety, flew a white flag, and has been wheeled out the back ready for council clean up ) Yes...that's two dead fridges in two days . Not kidding !!

 A game of cricket (or 6) occurred, seafood and perhaps a little (or a little bit more than a little) alcohol was consumed at a local beach, the sun shone and the birds sang. It was good... actually very good, a weekend  worth remembering.

 We took in the local Anzac Day march. It was a lovely service and pleasingly, the crowds turned out in large numbers ( for a small town ). We thought about our Picket Fence Grandpa who is flying his spit-fire in heaven. The Picket Fence children behaved beautifully. He would have approved :)

 On a final note ,we attempted to photograph the collective children. Truth in art ;) Enough said, We had a (chaotic) Picket Fence ball.
 I hope you all had a beautiful Easter, be it with family or friends or just your nearest and dearest, Life here will roll on, my new fridge hinge should arrive tomorrow,  great timing huh :)  Will let you know!
Thanks for stopping by

  xx Ava

A morning at the beach !

  Well hello all :) Its school holiday time around here and for this Picket Fence family ,that generally means long lazy days in the garden, afternoons with good books, good food and or good company, kid friendly crafty activities and mornings at the beach .

 I was going to blog about something quite different today  ( a cupboard I'm painting up to look quite old and worn) but Ive been a little too relaxed and its not quite done yet ( no-where near it in fact ) too many of the above good things have meant a delayed project end. So instead , I thought Id take you to the beach . Yes that's right , grab your towel, slap on a hat and join me. The weathers been fabulous.

 O.k, you need to know I have a thing for bridges, I love the timber, the bolts, the worn  paint. Call me restless but I love the thought that a bridge is always going somewhere :) This is one of my favourites xx

 The water around about now is a balmy 20 degrees, just about right for this little black duck and the waves are...exhilarating . I'm learning how to photograph them, It's such unpleasant  and difficult work ;) 
 Watching waves crash and tumble, sparkling as they draw back is a reminder of renewing spirit.  A wave is a lesson in  determination. A lesson to which its worth paying attention.
 Wonder what this chappies thinking ? About his fishing, about the weather, about mermaids ?.....the girls want to swim out and ask ....another day , perhaps  ;)

 While Miss Teen Picket Fence is still in bed, dreaming her secrets into her ipod, my two middle Picket Fencers believe, that,  you can tell your secrets to the sea and it will never ever tell a soul, I like that a lot ,wisdom in youth xx

Baby Picket Fence believes seagulls were born to be chased and does so with gusto. After all a seagull once stole his sandwich. However he forgets to stop, and  usually this ends with boy chasing gull and mummy chasing boy, loads of fun ;)

The coast is ours for now, sand castles arise from the ground, shells are collected and placed by small hands just so. Dreams are dreamed and stories about dragons and princesses are told. Magic. (I think I had the most fun here)

 So ,if you do take a stroll by the sea, look carefully, you may see two little girls whispering to the ocean and a small boy chasing gulls with a mummy flying not so elegantly  behind,  (snapping photo's) having the time of their lives ! ( the cupboard can wait until next week )

            Hope to see you then with some before and after painted furniture photographs  !
                                                                              Love Ava                              

Pull up a Pew.

Welcome all :) It's a beautiful sunny day here on the far South Coast of N.S.W. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and it's school holidays in the Picket Fence household.
I had quite an exciting week, it all started with a little ad in the local paper. A garage sale ad with all the usual trimmings, household effects,white goods, antiques and collectibles . Now I love a garage sale :) it's no secret, but this ad had something heart stopping. Jammed in there in black and white newsprint were the words "antique church pew"  Oh be still my beating heart.

I have a major soft spot  for religious collectibles, Catholic, Protestant, Hindu ,Amish ...you name it , I want it ; and how good would a church pew look languishing next my oak rectory table ;)
 I clipped out the ad from the paper, whacked it on the fridge and, with a grand flourish, ceremoniously announced that this was our collective goal for the week. The younger Picket Fencers rolled their eyes, Mr Picket Fence stared with the glazed face that  could only be translated as "Here we go, my wife wants money" Baby Picket Fence clapped his hands, something big was happening :)

 Well as you can expect the week dragged on , 3 days and nights of visualising the said pew, converting every single conversation with others into the pros and cons of collecting religious antiques, worrying if I had the funds to support such a special buy, and, thoroughly planning my week to ensure I got to the sale on time. I admit I even took a pre-sale drive to locate the address of the said garage sale and plot out the best parking spot. Without a doubt, I was a complete and obsessive bore.

The morning of the sale arrived, sunny, bright and sparkling with promise, a fine day to buy a church pew, yes indeedy ;)
 I pulled up and parked in my pre planned spot, leaped out of my car and smiled. I was early, really early and I was the first one there. Adrenaline and sunshine fuelled my optimism, I text-ed my beloved Mr Picket Fence "game on"
 The sale was listed as starting at 8 am, and it was a recently sold house, the owner obviously didn't live there and the roller doors sat locked, silent waiting for the key holder to arrive and reveal the loot behind.
 Stealthily cars rolled up and parked up and down the street, and like animals of prey, people in faded jeans and sweatshirts that had seen better days, sat slouched down behind their steering wheels, hats pulled low, surreptitiously looking for signs of an owner, listening for the creak of a roller door lifting, limbs twitching they waited to attack.

  A few seasoned dealers and hard nose collectors congregated at the foot of the drive, making small talk, pleasant conversation, laughing, smiling, but, all the while looking past each other waiting for the opportunity to side step the crowds and swoop, seizing the treasure and paying before your average man even knew it was there. Make no mistake, collecting antiques is not a game for the faint hearted. It's a wholehearted blood sport. You would be naive if you thought otherwise.

  As the clock moved on I stood, talking with the professional kerb dwellers, smiling, laughing, outwardly care free but on the inside, feeling sick to the core, palms sweaty and eyes flicking over the shoulders of the people I was talking to.
 And then, in a heartbeat came the footsteps of a man with purpose, like a starting gun the jingling keys in his hand signalled a mass chorus of opening car doors. A surge of people, no longer talking pleasantries, rolled up to the opening doors.
 Dealer's moved panther like, gliding effortlessly through, grabbing silver, clocks, antique tools, china  while all the time looking ahead to the next row, planning their assault. Women shouldered each other out of the way and mothers shoved doughnuts in their children's mouths, ignoring their requests for grown out of bikes and twisted piles of PlayStation cords. This was front line stuff. This, my friends, was serious.
 I stood confused, I'd instantly noted the absent pew, but had done a run around anyway in case it was hidden beneath a pile of clothes or was perhaps supporting a box of 70's Lps. Alas none to be seen, "Ahhh" I thought, it must be inside, too precious to be with the other junk. I approached the owner, eyes hopeful, knees like jelly, and asked about the said item....it was the climax of the hunt, and I was ready.
 He turned briefly, grunted and said " I'm Sorry, it's gone, I sold it to a neighbour days ago" My face must have betrayed my broken heart, and shattered I could only utter a winded "oh". He countered  "Love...she made me an offer I couldn't refuse" and then without further ado, off he walked.
I was mortified, I sent a sad face text to my husband and friends (who had spent a week listening about my plans for the said pew) and shuffled back to the car.
 There were two other sales on that morning, I attended both, but it was tokenistic, I was wounded, I'd lost and I felt like the embodiment of sour grapes. I spent the day at home doing "housewifey" things, the Picket
Fence kids went out to play and Mr Picket Fence took himself to work, safely away from my thunderclouds.

The day passed and I felt better, I'd find another church pew, I'd moved on. I was making dinner, the Picket Fence children were bathed and quietly playing when Mr Picket Fence came in, he was holding an old pint cream bottle and kissing me on the cheek he said, "You can't have been looking properly because you missed this one"
 With that the day ended, I didn't have my dreamt about church pew and the children ate dinner on normal chairs, I still had a little cash in my garage sale fund for the next "must have - to die for" garage sale  item and in the middle of the table sat a faded chrysanthemum in a old cream bottle. Life was, as it should be, just so and lovely, and for now that is the way it's stayed.
 Friends, thanks for stopping by again it's  always lovely to see you :)  And time will tell, Wednesdays paper will have some more garage sale ads, and  who knows there may be a church pew, I'll let you know ;)  Be seeing you !
                                                                 With bells on    
                                                 ( Please feel free to post a comment )
                                                                     xx Ava

Tick Tock

I woke up this morning not knowing what time it was. The clock on my wall said one time but here in Eastern Australia , today, it's actually another. That's right it's the end of  day light savings. For those of you not in the loop , we run around like chooks with our heads cut off, winding our clocks forwards an hour in Spring and backwards an hour in Autumn, so we can fit more things into the daylight hours of our  day to day lives, more work for some, more festivities for others ..really just more things :) Confuses the daylights (excuse the pun) out of me without fail....I'm the one who always has to ask someone else which way we're turning ;)

For a girl like me who likes the silence and workspace of 3am, day light savings means not much more than a whole lot of clock changing , however at this time I can never remember whether we're going back an hour , or forward an hour, I usually wait for the man on the news to tell me, and then I can be sure.
This year, however,I woke and had a plan. For the first time I knew how to establish what time it was ! Sigh ,I love my iPhone , these clever little things change themselves! God love apple ;) I woke up with a confident bounce because it was official , my iPhone said  I could eat my cornflakes  today knowing it was 7 am  and not a minute later or  earlier .

This made me look honestly at my other clocks, clutter, maintenance thieves, dust collectors , time consuming trifles that need oiling and winding and sometimes more than  a little positive reinforcement to keep them ticking. Many are a little fast, some a little slow, too many a little hesitant, and some tick away way far too loud , most will never ever tell you the true time.  I could go completely minimalist and know with absolute certainty its 7 am and cornflake time. I could rely on my very clever iPhone to tell me the time from this day forward. I would never have to dust, wind, oil , or pull a weighted chain again.

But then, I confess, I love the tick of an old clock , the striking gong of a German oak wall clock....Westminster chimes make my heart lift, always , and then there's cuckoo clocks ( a girl can never have too many, I admit I own 3) Mad as it may seem, I like my life to, well, tick. It feels comfortable, makes my house feel like a home, its another layer, and I do love layers .

  Anyway friends, enjoy your day, and what ever your doing, do it with passion. Drop me a line , I'd love to hear what you're up to ! I know what I'm getting up to today,  some winding, oiling, pendulum swinging good times ahead for this Picket Fence mum. Time flies xx Better get started !
                                                                           Lovely to see you again .
                                                                                      xx Ava