I was born in Brisbane, Australia and I came from a highly-creative family who all love homes, gardens and property. Whilst my mother sewed, cooked and decorated, my father resorted vintage motorcycles and cars. This was as much a part of our daily life as their work and I guess we naturally took on their creative genes.
Making, building, designing and working creatively was encouraged and thinking outside the box a normal way of life. For generations of women in our family, making the absolute best of our homes with the resources we had was what came naturally and I grew up watching and believing that to be the only way.
Here’s my Great Grandmother in the day. She was the kindest and most gentle woman I had the pleasure of spending time with. She was the matriarch and head of five generations. In my final year of school, I had to interview a woman who was a special person. I chose to hear her story and I was amazed and what she and her family had been through and yet here she was so sweet and kind.
My grandmother was forever sewing, making beautiful handmade porcelain dolls, whipping up a batch of beer or wandering through the garden snipping off her latest floral growth. It all rubs off doesn’t it and as a child, you are so unaware of the impact of your surroundings. You can read more about my grandmother and her creative endeavours in this article.
We presently have five generations alive in our family. My 94-year-old grandmother is an inspiration as she lives with the excitement of wanting to create beautiful things when her time and her body are willing. I feel so fortunate to have this background which gave me a sense of beauty and creativity.
I feel passionate about taking what I know from these wonderful people who have influenced my life and pass that knowledge onto others who may need a hand to create their own beautiful homes.
My parents were quite the couple in the day. My dad Col, endearingly called “Col Baby” by us children was a motorbike enthusiast. He rode bikes, sold bikes and restored vintage bikes. You can read more about our bike adventures here. Our friends were amazed when they would visit our home as there were bikes everywhere. We would zoom around our property in The Gap on the outskirts of the Brisbane CBD having guava fights from our bike. We’d make jumps in the bush and generally just be having the times of our life. It was the ultimate freedom and fun to have as a child.
Mum was a terrific cook in the day and a superb entertainer. She would pull out vintage posters from around the world and display them to give the house a party vibe. Oh, how I loved helping her put up those posters and dip the rims of the shallow champagne glasses in sugar. We’d place them delicately on the silver drinks tray for our lively guests to enjoy a little champagne.
Big family gatherings were commonplace and there was always an occasion to gather with our relatives from Moree, Port Macquarie and the Gold Coast. Mum went to great lengths to make sure we looked well dressed and co-ordinated. Even our socks and bags match which I find so special.
There were soon to be five children in our family, with our younger brother Damian coming a little later in the scene. Mum and Dad really had their hands full. I am number four and not on the scene yet by the looks.
Mum was amazing when it came to helping us become more creative. We were always cooking, sewing, building and making. It was just a part of our lives and we knew no different. I owe so much to her for the way she gently nurtured this creativity in all five of us.
One roll of fabric in five ways. Mum would go to lengths to make us all matching clothes and I never know if it was out of the desire to have us match or if she found a roll of nice fabric at a good price. My gut instinct tells me it was the later.
From the left: Lisa, Me, Gavin and Janine. All our children look quite a lot like us when I look closely at this image.
My brother Damian on the scene here and it was clearly the seventies. My outfit makes me smile.
This would have been Dad in the fifties I am guessing. I think he could step right out onto the red carpet now and nobody would know the difference. Good fashion has no age.
Until next time and more memories,
Love your home and those within it,