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Sebel Stak-A-Bye Chairs

When was the last time you saw a Two Tonne Welsh woman advertising outdoor furniture?

Tessie cropped

In 1947 Tessie O’Shea, a Welsh entertainer and actress was at the height of her fame and the spokeswoman for Sebel Stak-A-Bye chairs. These pressed metal chairs with sweeping tubular legs were Sebel’s first chair. Having freshly disposed of their war time ration cards, the British were ready to come out of their bunkers and into their gardens. Their “cheerful colour contrasts” and “almost indestructible plastic finish” made them an instant success.

To this day Sebel still operates from its original site at Bankstown, NSW, Australia. Established in 1947 by Harry Sebel who emigrated to Australia from post WWII Britain, he started Sebel with his father David, a metalworker Russian emigree. The production of these chairs ceased in 1958, however with the recent revival of vintage mid-century furniture, they’ve made a comeback. You can’t pass a cafe strip from Newtown to Newington that doesn’t have a Stak-A-Bye out front!

These are mine. They stack nicely and serve well as extra outdoor chairs. The blue ones are a bit flaky and as am very pregnant it will be a while before they see a fresh lick of paint. However, with a cushion or two they do just lovely.

1 Sebel stak a bye chairs

Pre-pregnancy I did manage to refurbish a set of Sebel Hobnob Junior chairs from the early 70’s. I bought these second hand. They were a sickly looking crayon pocked, toddler sticky set of peach chairs. After a thorough soap scrub and hose down I set to transforming these chairs to accompany the kids outdoor table. Getting the chairs to a shiny new Plastic Fantastic look was no small feat.


Step 1: With paint brush coat down every square inch of plastic chairs with Grip Lock Primer. I used the White Knight brand.

Plastic chairs then add primer

Step 2: Once dry I tried a variety of spray paints however found that Killrust in a can works best. Spray even strokes starting at the top and work your way across left to right on your way down. For more intense colour and better coverage of primer, spray paint evenly one coat at a time. Wear a face mask as this stuff really stinks and can render one devoid of smell for a full day. Despite all this it was worth the effort as gone was putrid peach and in came a combination of bright yellow seats with silver legs, silver seats with canary yellow legs, blue and deep Indian red plastic chairs.

3 plastic coated chairs I

3 Grip lock primer on hobnob

This is what they look like around the kids outdoor table.

4 finished refurbished sebel kids chairs


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Ballerina Bunting

How are Ballet and the Food Pyramid alike? They both have a four level hierarchy and very little fat.      Pink Ballet girls pyramid

In a ballet company there are four levels of dancers. At the bottom is the corps de ballet. These are like the backup dancers, they are the largest group and work as one with synchronized movements. Next are the coryphees who lead the backup dancers, perform in smaller group dances and some solo roles. Ahead of them are the soloists, who dance solo parts. At the top are the principals who dance the starring roles, aka Natalie Portman in Black Swan.


As we’re on a road trip over Christmas am pretty sure we won’t be putting up a Christmas tree. Unwilling to go without decorations I decided instead to make these paper ballerina’s and put them up in the living room for some Christmas cheer.

How to Make a Paper Ballerina Bunting

krokotak Collage w xmas descriptionCollage 1

I threaded the ballerina arms through some balled cotton, however tinsel would also be very Christmassy!



Alice in Wonderland Party

Which little girl can resist everything that is Alice in Wonderland?

You’re lured in by the white rabbit in his waist coat and watch, only to see Alice follow him and fall down the rabbit hole. Things only get better from here. In her quest to find him she takes advice from a blue caterpillar smoking a hookah, attends a mad tea party and plays croquet with the Queen of hearts. All the while she nibbles on biscuits and mushrooms causing her height to fluctuate from three inches to a mile high.

The story is peppered with the most curious riddles, dialogue and personalities.

Goal: From Wire to Wonderland – Making a Paper Mache Queen of Hearts

To make the frame for the Queen of Hearts, I rolled chicken wire into a torso like shape and secured in place with small snipped pieces of wire (children’s band aid size). Head and buxom bits made with wire from a wire roll, also secured in place with small wire pieces.

Wrapped tape all around the frame to secure and to give the paper and glue more surface to stick to. With ripped up pieces of newspaper layered several layers of paper mache, making sure each layer was dry before adding another.

Once the paper mache figure was completely dry, using a thick black marker I traced out the shape of her dress. Painted her head white and the white part of her dress, then gradually added more layers of paint: black for her hair and the outline of her dress, the red of her dress, glued on red paper doilies and crown. Last but not least, her facial expression …slightly shocked!

Husband cleverly engineered an interior tube and a square hole centred at the bottom of her dress. The Queen was versatile: a party prop and the starting point for playing croquet. Kids placed a tennis ball in her mouth which rolled out her side, shooting out onto the grass which they then croqueted along the lawn!

Some of the additional themed party decorations and food I made.