Thursday, June 28, 2012

Oxford St

It's been a bit of a quiet week for me, as I've had my head down doing some work. But yesterday I ended up doing some running around to clients and suppliers in the pouring rain.

I stopped at Oxford St Bulimba and had to pass the beautiful Mary Ryan's bookshop.

My pace always slows as I pass this store as there are so many things to look at, flowers, prints, gifts and inside the books and coffee shop.

The main reason for stopping at Oxford St though, was to look at something that a few of my clients have been discussing with me recently.
A touch screen incorporated into the shopfront. The Ray White real estate office have one in their window. It's a great interactive tool and especially for the real estate industry which works even when the office is closed. Oxford St, full of its many restaurants is the perfect location. When people finish dinner they go window shopping at night past the many lovely stores. I've witnessed this touch screen in action and I would imagine in the mornings the glass needs a good clean from finger marks.

You can even save your preferences for properties and speak directly to the sales staff about those saved selections. A great idea and in addition to websites, blogs and all the other social media avenues, a fantastic way to keep your business working without you needing to be there all the time.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dramanti Coffee

We're all getting pretty used to the hole in the wall coffee shops that seem to be popping everywhere nowadays, but this one was one of those serendipitous discoveries in my local area.
The point of difference is that they also roast on the premises.

Dramanti is tucked down the back of the Blockbuster car park on Tingal Rd, Wynnum right near the train line. It's only been open 3 wks and already getting favourable comments.

When you get thru the door you realise it's not a hole in the wall, but a very large space. The owner Dragan, has decked it out in dark colours which give it a pretty unique "grotto" feel.

Dragan has been in the coffee industry for 11 years and also has another Dramanti outlet at 160 Ann St in the city. He's originally from Bosnia, but here since 1998 and lives down this way also and therefore wanted a 2nd location that was in between his home and the city store.

Dramanti are part of a small group of roasters who are buying their beans directly from the Santa Ines farm in Brazil. As well as selling retail packs they are also run a wholesale business to cafes.

The fitout is simple but just nicely different. There are heaps of seating options for everyone.

The owner made the counter himself from old boards off his house. It looks fantastic and is a lovely focal point.
They have just won 3 awards at the Sydney Royal show, which they are rightly excited about.
If you're a local or down this way, head thru the car park to taste for yourself this new coffee. Perhaps they may be able to convince the landlord to even shroud off the industrial bins near by.
All the best for success Dramanti Artisan Roasters!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cultured Stone

This is something I Looove! It's a product that Boral are distributing called Cultured Stone and as real as it may look- it's not. It's actually a man made stone facade product.

As you can see from this display wall it comes in a heap of different selections of stone.
It's made in the US and the stones are finished off by hand with some having the moss effect painted on.

The stone is about 50mm thick and in this example you see it stuck directly onto the besser block wall. This photo also shows the stone with the mortar joints, but the first photo shows an example of the stone without mortar- as a tight fit application. It's still stuck on at the back, but has tight gaps and therefore didn't need the mortar.

This is also a tight fit example. The way the stone is "glued" on depends upon what substrate it's going on. Besser block walls are pretty straight forward, but fibro board needs a few more layers to help the adhesion such as wire mesh.

The stone comes as individual pieces in a crate. Then the trick is to lay it out on the ground first to get a layout you're happy with where all the stones seem to fit together, and then transfer that bit by bit onto the wall. It works out to supply cost of roughly $150 sq meter. You can also get corner stones, which have the stone appearance on 2 sides and are priced by the lineal meter. Boral can recommend installers, which is obviously the best way to go.

This selection of stone is my favourite look. It's a blend of 80% Dressed Fieldstone and 20% Southern Ledgestone. It's tight fitted without the visible mortar joints.
Boral have stone walls on display at their yards at Darra and Wacol. They don't yet have all the stone ranges up, as there are so many.
I think that depending upon the experience level of the installer you'll end up with different looks every time. It's one of those things that you get better at and a more developed eye the more you do it.
However in a few months time my builders and I are going to have a go ourselves and clad my fire place in my new extension in the stone. I'll post pics then. I'm always up for a bit of fun and we think that between the 3 of us we should be able to get it looking good.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Tangled Yarns

Well, it was a wet weekend in Brisbane. While it was tempting to rug up in front of the fireplace with a drink, I ventured out. On Friday night I attended the opening of The World Press Photo exhibition at the Powerhouse, New Farm.

Myself with Dan Smareglia who does their media bookings.

Drinks and nibblies always go over well with the crowds at these openings. The exhibition features some well known images and some very confronting ones from photo journalists over the years.

The exhibition is on  for a couple more weeks.

On Saturday morning my cousin and I headed into Tangled Yarns on Chester St, Newstead. My cousin is an avid crafter and far more skilled than me with knitting and crochet etc. I'd seen this store a couple of weeks earlier and driven past and wanted to get back and check it out.

The store is owned by Kelly Kingston and stocked with beautiful yarns of all types- woollens, cotton and more. Kelly has many gorgeous knitted jumpers, cardigans etc on display. These are hers and swap around often depending upon what she wants to wear. She is a very skillful knitter. There are also lots of children's knits, which were things she'd made for her daughters who have since grown out of them.

There's lot of cute knitted items all around the store.

Every day there are social knitting groups in the lounge area- hence the morning tea provisions. As we browsed a group of ladies were settling into the lounges and Kelly said some days it really is a tricky job to get her social groups to leave as they'd be happy to stay all day.

As well as yarns Kelly stocks a beautiful selection of buttons, which she happily admits stems from her own button fetish.

If you're a crafter and your fingers are starting to twitch this winter Tangled Yarns is definitely worth a visit. My cousin could not leave empty handed and bought some wool for knitted socks, but she's like most of us and has put it into her craft box to wait till she's got through a few other projects yet.