Monday, October 6, 2014

Building a Palace-takes a team!

Well maybe not quite a real palace, more like a two bedrooms in the forest. They also happen to be the best buildings at Lofty Meadows, hence the affectionate term- "The Palace". It was always our plan to build a real house one day but for many reason we have decided that simply building bedrooms is the bester option. Finally after much planning, designing and redesigning this little humble abode is nearing completion. Once again we could not have done so much with all of helpers. Right back to three years ago with Yann from Quiberon, Fr. who cleared the site of trees and scrub for us, Jakob, Pippa and Derek who helped us dig the holes, Pramesh, Jakob and Michael who carried many barrows full of concrete up the hill, Steph, Luke, CyCy, Tom and Baptiste who helped me fetch over 700 lineal metres of timber and Luke even built much of the structure....and the list goes on! We are happy and grateful to have so many amazing people come to Lofty Meadows and work with us. There is still much to do with the tricky part being the finishing touches. Making it comfortable and most importantly rat and pest proof. As with any house in this area once rats and marsupial mice get in-they never leave. We will make sure that they can not get in at all so we do not have to battle with them nesting in the walls and ceiling.

Sourcing second hand and affordable timber has been absolutely essential. We mostly use our local demolition yard Caylamax for windows, doors, roofing and much more. I love Saturdays at Caylamax, wandering around discovering all the latest materials- they have whole kitchens, bathrooms, timber of all shapes and sizes but all sorted, de-nailed and measured, fencing, and anything really that has been pulled out of domestic and industrial buildings that they think they can sell.  The price difference is huge and the quality is often very good. If we built the same building using al new materials it would have cost three times the price.

I also like to keep a look out for cheap or free timber on ebay or Gumtree. I recently won over 700 lineal metres of good quality hard wood decking for $200. I was so ecstatic even though it did involve hiring a trailer and 5 people to move it all, it is incredibly good value for a fine product. The work load was shared by quite a few helpers and now we have built the new deck and the rest is de-nailed and stacked neatly waiting for the pool decking project. Which reminds me -time to order the sand for the new(second hand) pool pad we are going to build this afternoon!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Building Giant Puppets at Lofty Meadows

It doesn't happen everyday but we do occasionally build giant puppets here at Lofty Meadows. Unfortunately that can mean our deck and shed is overtaken by machines, material, paint, and giant pieces of puppets. A little bit of chaos for a lot of creativity! This is all part of living creatively-you have the joy of making exceptional pieces but the blood, sweat and tears of trying to make it all work. Keeping the space organised is absolutely essential but also really hard- "where are the scissors?", "has anyone seen the tape measure" are common questions. We are always on a quest to find the best way to organise equipment and materials and love it when we find a system that works.
Our most recent giant puppet project was building 5 metre Giant Medieval Court Jester and Greenman for the Medieval Festival at The Abbey Museum. Bonnie, Henry, Dave, myself and the full gang of Lofty Meadows Helpers worked hard for weeks. We could not have done this without Max, JoKo, Victor, Mathieu, Coco, and Emmanuel. So much work in building, painting, screen printing, sewing, construction, testing and finally performing. In the end Bonnie, Dave, Henry and I were away for the final performance and we were very lucky that our gang of helpers were able to help. They travelled up to Bribie Island for us, made the final adjustments and performed with the two giant puppets over the two day festival. This meant they had free tickets to an absolutely unique festival to run around with Giant Puppets-fun times!