Bananas are no, paint is go

Back again. Thank you for all the lovely birthday wishes last week!
Thank you to those concerned folks who emailed regarding our safety in terms of the cyclone Larry. We are far, far south of Innisfail so we are completely ok. We will be affected by the ensuing banana crisis though. Some members of this household could live on bananas if given a chance – but as the federal minister for agriculture put it “People will have to understand that their unsatisfied yearnings for bananas are infinitesimal compared to the suffering and hardship of the banana growers of north Queensland.” Fair enough. So, while it wasn’t the cyclone that prevented me from blogging as some have feared, school holidays combined with not sleeping and feeling glum has meant no room for blogging this last little while. This week is looking up.

So what’s been happening? Not a whole lot. I have had almost no motivation so everything is suffering.

The baby’s room is slowly moving forward. Having decided on a light, peaceful blue for the walls (and leave the orange for accents – all for the sake of encouraging sleep), it is also important to us to find a paint that isn’t too toxic – both when applying and in terms of the amount of nasties that keep on being produced months after application. We took a trip into the Northern suburbs (“Look Amelia, Mummy and Daddy used to live in that house! And that house! And that one too! And that’s where daddy shared a house with 8 other people!” etc) to Porter’s Paints which Linda was kind enough to inform me from her research sold paints with a 0 level of VOCs. I have been a great admirer of Porter’s Paints for the longest time, always noting the beautiful colours they produce in interior magazines so I was quite excited in a design-nerd kind of way to finally be going in to check out their products.

Unfortunately, we discovered that the paints with a zero level are the limewash paints, which are not particularly child-friendly in that they don’t stand up to a lot of toddler love and are hard to patch when marked. Also, from an aesthetic point of view the splotchiness of the finish wasn’t quite what I imagined in the small baby’s room, but it was (I promise) the toddler-proof issue that sealed the no-deal. Fortunately even their acrylic paints rate far lower that the Australian Standard so what ever we choose, it will be better than what we have used in the other rooms so far. We came away with a handful of little sample pots and a couple of sample cards ready for testing on the walls.

(** ooh look – over at a new favourite of mine, The Worsted Witch, there are two entries (1 and 2) about toxins in paints, and better alternatives with many links and products to check out **)

While we were over in the North, which still brings back bitter-sweet nostalgic memories, we had lunch at our favourite hang-out from the olden-days, the Tin Pot (where we seriously bored Amelia with painful reminiscing) and we also stopped at Douglas & Hope on Brunswick Street which is my ever-favourite shop. Heavenly cushions, bags, clothes and accessories. I can’t find a single useful link for D & H apart from this incredibly dated article.

And I never made that cake. We ended up having an electrician in the kitchen making huge amounts of mess and noise so the cake will have to wait.

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21 Responses

  1. says:

    oooh i love porters paint too! have you gotten my package yet??? i’m busting for you to open it!!! :Doh by the way i love douglas and hope too… also my fave shop ever! i want to take those quilts home but i dont have $1000! poop! xo

  2. What wonderful mommy you are to be worried about VOC’s!! Sometimes I feel alone in my toxic/chemical worries! Thanks for the great links!!

  3. We would be in a lot of trouble if we had to wean the kids off of bananas. Glad to hear you were not in the path of the cyclone. Just came across you site and I love it, tons of inspiration and hopefully one of these days I will actually get some of my stuff up on my own site.

  4. Nice to hear how far you (and my home) are away from the cyclone. Funny how people think Aust and forget how big the place is. I cn’t wait to see how the baby room works out. I will be heading home from Japan quite soon and I am excited to organise my own life and house!

  5. No bananas for nine months. Oh No!And we are definately starting to feel it already. I went to Feeling Fruity on saturday and bought a banana smoothy. 50 cent surcharge. You are kidding aren’t you! Already! I should have said don’t worry about it but I wanted it so badly and it might be my last for a while 🙁

  6. Tin Pot is also favourite in our household too. Hope you had a nice birthday!

  7. Your mention of the Tin Pot brought a big smile to my face. Richard and I met one another at the Tin Pot and the rest, they say, is… errrr well… history?
    I remember the delicious toasted bagels with poached eggs, grilled tomato and steamed spinach. Yum! Those were the days. Am terribly impressed that you can actually take Amelia to cafes. We have no chance – as soon as Ella senses that I am desperately hoping that she behaves she goes completely feral and starts sliding along the floor on her back, yapping like a dog.

    And then there’s Arky. He’s not feral, he’s just happy to be alive and he reckons his sister is the funniest being on earth. He laughs at her antics and the chaos continues.


  8. PS. For once, maybe the fruit in Japan will be cheaper than at home. Banana’s are the most inexpesive choice by far. I will eat up lots in the next 4 months because they will be my last for a while.

  9. says:

    I love the banana thing. I keep finding myself buying double the bananas I need. Hence a batch of banana muffins on the weekend. And when we went over to my parents, what did we have? Banana cake. For the same reason. Why do people panic about not having bananas? Is it because they are such a great standby for the kids? And whenever I am in town I always make a point of stopping at Douglas and Hope in the Royal Arcade. Gorgeous.

  10. Hi there Claire,I used to work at Porters Paints and have had an interest in Environmentally Friendly paints for some time (BTW, Porters Tints are still nasty chemically).
    I will get some names to you tomorrow of other brands that are available – though you will ALWAYS lose something in washability/maintenance if you are going environmental paint direction.

  11. Thanks for posting Worsted Witch, I’m adding her to my blog links as well as you.

  12. well, i obviously can’t send bananas from the states (hellooo, customs! and, um, rotten bananas!), but i’ll happily send banana goodies (banana bread, some sort of banana cookie). just say the word.

  13. says:

    I bookmarked this list of low VOC paints a while ago in anticipation of my next decorating spree (which is yet to happen.)It’s a list of paint retailers in the US but some of them have Australian stockists too.)

  14. Thanks for the Worsted Witch link – what a great site and for the paint info! Hope you don’t have to wait too much longer for your birthday cake!

  15. I came across a brochure for ‘the natural paint place’ which is in Sydney, when I visited the CERES Sustainabilty Centre at Mt Annan. They have a website and might be able to give you a contact in Melbourne. Goodluck with it.

  16. Glad you are all well and safe, if somewhat lacking in bananas. Can’t wait to see the progress on wee one’s room! Sorry we couldn’t make the cake for you.

  17. Hehehe, I love your map! And that’s where I am too 😉 Also concerned about the banana shortage though, our dog loves them! But of course he can find other treaties, whereas the poor people in Queensland might have to find new homes! 🙁

  18. The banana thing will be an issue in our house too, however I am sure I can offset the lunchbox anomaly with an LCM Bar.

  19. says:

    Here is a link to an australian paint site. Have fun with the baby’s room

  20. I’m afraid we used good old Taubman’s for our nursery. But it was finished four months before Romily arrived, so all okay.
    I grew up in a house always smelling of paint (my dad’s a painter and decorator) and I don’t seem to have suffered!! 🙂