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Today was the Hawkesbury Swap Meet, which is held at Clarendon to the west of Sydney. It seems that every year the number of guys selling Commodore bits seems to grow, and the number of guys selling 60s and earlier parts shrinks. Still, the guys I was with and I all managed to find a few bits and pieces for good prices.

Anyway, here’s some pics of stuff that caught my eye.

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What better way to celebrate the Australia Day long weekend, then getting away with a bunch of mates and cars and taking it easy? That’s exactly what we did this weekend with the Pariahs Car Club.

Now in its third year, we go to a different destination each time. The emphasis is on spending quality time with each other and our families. This year was also the shake down run for our barbeque/esky trailer which we’ve thrown together from spare parts and the cost of a slab of beer.

We met up in Sydney’s West. Most of us had spent the nights of the week making final preparations for the run, and it was great to catch up and talk some shit before we headed off.

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First stop was the pub at Wisemans Ferry for lunch, then onto the Ferry itself.

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Our ride for the weekend was this 1970 Jeep, which was generously loaned to us by one of our mates. It drove great and made easy work of towing the trailer, even with it full of ice, beer and meat.

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A quick breather on the side of the road. It was damn hot and it was great to get out of the cars after hours of driving in the hot weather.

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Almost at our destination, we stopped in at the Wolombi Pub for a quick drink. The locals had a good look at the cars.

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Here’s the barbeque/esky trailer in action. The main components were a trailer we got off gumtree for a song, an old fridge that was lying in a club member’s garage, and a barbeque we managed to scrounge up. The fridge section has been converted to an esky, and the lower freezer section has been converted into the barbeque. It works a treat and gets more than its share of attention. And check out that slab of pork belly that’s cooking, so damn good.

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One of the days we cruised over to Norah Head for a swim. The beach was packed, but the water was great after spending a couple of hours getting there sweating our asses off on the vinyl seats.

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No, this isn’t us, but when I saw the guys heading out with the longboards it was too neat a moment not to capture.12

Before too soon it was time to head back to home and reality. The weather was cooler which was awesome, but it was also wet which made the twisty country roads tricky.

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Although it was funny seeing people take photos of our trailer.

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All in all it was a great weekend, and I can’t wait for next year. A big thanks to Frank for lending us the keys to the Jeep for the weekend!

It’s hard to beat rods, customs, a beautiful main street with old buildings, and rockabilly music. And that’s exactly what the Lady Luck Festival dishes up every year. Held in Katoomba and based at The Carrington Hotel, it’s become a must do for many each year.

It’s a great event with the Hotel hosting burlesque acts, dancing and gigs. A highlight for many though is the show and shine which takes place on the Katoomba main street. As you can the street still has a number buildings dating back to the art deco era, which makes an awesome backdrop.

All in all it’s an awesome little event, and well worth checking out if you get a chance.

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When it comes to pushing the envelope in urban design, Melbourne is leading the country. But it’s great to see some decent efforts in other areas too. This pedestrian bridge was recently completed in Hazelbrook in the Blue Mountains. Not only does it have a great industrial style to it which is far more interesting than a standard pedestrian bridge, it also includes a lookout section with views for miles. Let’s hope we see more of this kind of thinking in the future.

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Christmas is coming up, so I thought it was a good time to share this project I made last year. I love vintage neon signs, vintage sign writing and typography. I wanted to combine that with my love of upcycling and create some of my own Christmas décor. Follow along as I take you through the process step by step.

The first stage was collecting the pallets for the timber. Most industrial areas will have a few places with a stack of them out on the nature strip. Having a wagon certainly helps!

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I cut the planks from the pallets using a jigsaw because that’s the best saw I had to hand. You can try and remove the planks manually, but honestly it’s a pain in the ass and they tend to split and splinter. Cutting them out was quick and simple!

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Here I’ve mocked out all of the boards to see how I was going.

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I made two frames out of treated pine, to attach the boards too. The centre strip I turned sideways so the boards could meet and attach over it. The two pine frames then bolted together to form the full sign. This also meant that after Christmas I could disassemble it and stash it in the shed much easier.

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Here’s one of the two frames completed. Front.

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And back.

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While the timber had a great weathered patina to it, I wasn’t convinced the lettering was going to pop off. So I decided to give it a lick of white paint to give a cleaner background. Here the two halves are together, and I’m using corks to mock up the placement of the lights globes.

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The image I used was off a free vintage clipart website. The cool thing is because the images are so old, they’re out of copyright so you’re free to use however you see fit. A good old overhead projector allowed me to get the image to the size I wanted, and had the image printed onto a transparency at Officeworks.

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And here’s the finished product all lit up. The lights I used are festoon light strings from Bunnings, but we replaced the techni-colour globes with clear incandescent 25W globes for a nicer warmer light. Unfortunately the photo is just from my phone, and just makes it look like a fleuro.

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I didn’t bother sanding the timber, and I loved how the texture was highlighted in the lettering.

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And the finished piece on display in the front window of our old house.

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Living in Sydney, so much of our cool old architecture is bulldozed in the name of ‘development’. One of the things I love about getting out into the country is that the variety of cool old buildings that have survived long enough to become valued.

Often, the coolest buildings are theatres from the art deco era. When you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. The ’20s and ’30s saw movies transition from silent film to ‘talkies’. This was a significant leap forward for entertainment, before this it would have been radio and maybe some live plays, particularly in country areas. Cinema as we now know it would have been a game changer, in the same way the internet has been for our era. Theatres popped up across the country, resulting in a great assortment of art deco buildings. Like this pair in Mudgee. While both have seen better days, they’re in pretty good condition and will be around for a while yet. The detailing like the tiles and the glasswork is fantastic. If only those walls could talk, I bet they’ve seen some interesting sights.

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The Lonestar Body Shop is located on a sleepy apple orchard just south of Sydney. It’s a gorgeous location, with national park on one side and a nature reserve on the other. It’s the kind of shop where metal fabrication becomes an art form, and sculptured panels are rolled from flat sheet metal. The great news is once a year Stuart opens up the doors, and gives everyone a sneak peak into their metallurgical wizardry. A highlight of the Open Day each year are the talks about the shop projects and the demos of different tools and techniques. Of course I didn’t get any pics of these as the shop was too packed, but as always they were well received. It’s not the biggest event, but it’s worth making the time to check out. Here’s some pics of the day, starting with cruising there in my brother’s XY Fairmont.

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