Friday, November 21, 2014

Australian inspired Christmas setting...plate tutorial

This year I wanted to bring a little bit of Australia into our Christmas decor.  It seems to me that Christmas decor is all about Northern Hemisphere flora and fauna: deer, holly, snow, pine trees.  Its pretty, but I live in Australia, in the Southern Hemisphere where its sunny and warm at Christmas time.  So I decided to take inspiration from our animals and weather: golden sunshine, koala's and wombats, eucalyptus.  

The photos of the place setting show just how easy the plate setting is to put together.

  • Start with a gold charger and a white plate.
  • Fold a white napkin and tuck the ends under the plate.
  • Cute a length of polka dot ribbon and tie loosely around the plate and napkin.
  • Repeat with a length of gold sequins.
  • Add golden animal figurine.
  • Finally add leaves, here I have used an olive spring but for my final setting I plan to use eucalyptus.


Spraying the Aussie animals was easy to do.  I made a spraying cube out of an old box and applied several light gold sprays.  Turn the animals between the sprays to make sure the gold covers everywhere.

Watch this space to see the entire Australian Christmas concept, and I hope you are inspired to try something a little different at your house this year too.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Past Christmas post round up

I am very excited to share my Australian inspired Christmas setting with you this year.  I will be sharing the setting and all the how to tips so you can get the look too.  
Last years Christmas posts were fun too though so thought I would share them with you all again.  I was delighted when my gold polka dot and pomegranate Christmas setting was picked up by House Beautiful last year.  

Clockwise from top right:
Pomegranates and polka dot Christmas table
Home made Christmas Ice cream - you don't need an ice cream machine for this one
Pink and lime Christmas flowers
Button and butcher twine Christmas wrapping

This year will be a bit different, can't wait to share it, watch this space!

Friday, November 14, 2014

diy mosquito spray made from essential oils

Miss J and I get plagued by mozzies, we must have the sweet blood in the family.  We never go out in the summer evening, or to bed, without putting on lots and lots of bug spray.  They work but they smell as poisonous as they are, I am always hoping its just the mozzies they are poisoning.  So I was thrilled when the lovely Laura introduced me to a home made version based on essential oils and witchhazel.  It smells delicious and its all natural, and best yet it really seems to work.  See below for just how easy it is to make your own.

You will need:
  • Witchhazel - available from pharmacies
  • Eucalyptus lemon essentail oil - 60 drops
  • Other essential oils to taste - I used 20 drops each of orange, black pepper and lavender
  • Spray bottles - found these pretty ones on ebay

To make:
  • Decant the witchhazel into a large bottle.
  • Add 60 drops of Eucaplyptus lemon oil
  • Add other essential oils.  I added 20 of each and then adjusted until I was happy
  • Shake well to combine
  • Pour into spray bottles

Shake well before each use.  It certainly seems to work in Sydney although I wouldn't trust using 
just this in a malaria zone.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Build House Home on Houzz Australia

Very excited to be featured on Houzz Australia today!  Did you know Houzz has now got an Australian branch?  They are planning to feature Australian and New Zealand designers, architects, and other creatives including bloggers.  All of us who like making the world prettier. 
 It was a good excuse to take some updated photographs of my home to share.  Pop by and see the full interview, and lots more photos!   Plus leave a comment on the Houzz post by Sunday 23 November to be in line to win a $50 voucher from Adairs.  Can you tell that I am a little bit excited?


Friday, November 7, 2014

an ebay bargain gets a makeover with Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan

I loved how my first Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan (TM) turned out (see the laundry basket make over here) and I was very excited to test the paint on a piece of furniture.  I needed clothes storage for the girls room at the cottage, on a budget of course, so I hunted down this lovely ebay bargain.  $57 for a cute dresser with ample drawer storage and a cute mirror as a bonus.  Now it's transformed into a gorgeous dresser which is one of the star's of the room.  With Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan (TM) it was easy.

It didn't start out lovely, it was a tired cream with gold handles and detailing on the mirror.  I was specifically looking for a piece with elaborate detailing to try and get the french provincial furniture look once the piece was finished.  
I chose to mix my own paint colour, equal portions of Old White and Paris Grey.  Paris Grey on its own was a little to dark.  The result is a perfect French grey, cool but not cold, slightly blue but still grey. This is the French grey I have been searching for for years, and wasted countless tester pots on.  I am thrilled with it.  

The paint went on like a dream.  The best thing about Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan (TM) is there is no prep, no sanding back or priming required.  You can get straight onto the fun stuff right away.  Two coats of paint was plenty and the whole piece was fully painted in an afternoon.  I used the Annie Sloan paint brush which is lovely and soft and really gets into the crevices of an old piece like this.  

Getting the distressed look on the drawer handles and mirror detail was also simple to do, see the lovely results below.  After I had painted each drawer I used a soft cloth to gently rub the paint on the handles away.  If I took off to much by mistake I just repainted and did the process again.  Honestly it was easy and the result is very professional.  I love the way the gold glints through the grey.

I finished the dresser with a few coats of clear wax to protect the paint and the furniture.  Don't skip the waxing, it doesn't take long and it definitely is the final step in lifting the project from home painted to professional finish.  I could not be more delighted with my $57 investment.


A word of warning, painting the drawers can make them stick as they pull in and out, it makes them just that little bit thicker than they were before.  To prevent this I sanded the drawer edges back a little before painting, it made them slide better anyway and was worth doing, won't take long with the electric sander.

I highly recommend you give these paints a try.  If you have a piece of furniture around the house that could use being reloved, pick up some Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan (TM) and give it a go.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

#country cottage...bathroom inspiration

Our little country cottage has a really ugly bathroom, and I mean really ugly.  I am talking aqua blue bathroom suite dating to the 1950's, and not the fashionably 1950's, huge old geyser in the room, and a nasty nasty old vanity.  So I am dreaming of redoing it, a really small budget renovation of course, and frankly I don't know if we have the budget, but I can dream right.  So if I find the budget this is what I want to do, take out the bath and replace it with a shower and make a small, bright, white, fresh and clean wet room.  Something along the lines of the rooms below.



Above: Bright, white and light via The Design Chaser, pinterest (can't find the original credit), House & Leisure.  That shouldn't cost to much should it?  

Below: Love the clean lines and herringbone floor in this grey bathroom.  The lining board walls are very achievable, and budget friendly too.
I love subway tiles, I have them in the bathrooms in my home already, but would love to use them in a herringbone pattern on the walls.  

It may be a dream, but its a pretty one.

Friday, October 31, 2014

vintage blinds...inspiration from The Block

One of the things I love about The Block is discovering unusual retailers and designers in the Australian markets.  This season I have loved the graphics that Steve and Chantalle used in their apartment.  The vintage Melbourne blinds in the spare room and kitchen were amazing, particularly the Orange Juice blind below. I also loved the map wall paper they used in their stairwell.  The crazy pave fireplace and ski chalet wood in the bathroom and bedroom, not so much.  So I popped over the Printed Blinds Australia to see what other images they have.

I really love the vintage prints below, but then I do have a thing for vintage travel posters.

Thought these animals would be gorgeous in a kids room, mod safari style for tots and tweens. 

Lots to choose from but I think the vintage travel are my favourites.   Will be keeping this company in my little black book for when I need a blind.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

miss e's bedroom gets a tween make over

I can't believe one of my babies is heading for her teens.  In celebration of her recent birthday I surprised her with a mini makeover of her bedroom with the help of Trudy from HOME etcetera.  Its becoming an important place for her to listen to music and chat with friends, and it was time for more grown up doona covers and cushions.  

You can see in the before picture (below) we had already updated the old cast iron bed, chopping of the footer and making a soft and cuddly padded headboard.  There are lots of headboard diy's out there, its easy to do and inexpensive.  The cost of board, foam, padding and fabric for this bed was under $100, far cheaper than buying a new bed.

I wanted to keep the curtain, which Miss E chose when we first moved in, she still loves the fresh colours, but it did limit my options with doona covers and cushions.  The painting is by my mum.  In the end I chose the lovely soft grey Derwent flannelette set with small white cross detail, the grey is a soft contrast to the bright curtains and cushions.  Miss E would never hold with something to girly and this is look is pretty without being either to sweet or to grown up.

With the doona I chose several velvet cushions in shades of blue, a silver ikat style pillow, and the Cisco European pillow case with black crosses on white cotton.  The cushions toned in with a modern geometric pillow we already had.  I know there are to many cushions, the interior designers of this world would disapprove, but I knew Miss E would want tons to snuggle into, and plenty to share with her friends.

I also added a lot of extra storage with a new piece from Ikea, from the nordli range, its really sturdy and has lots of drawers for all the important things that my little collector likes to keep.  And it created a lovely place to make a small display and for her bedside lamp.

Miss E is delighted with it, she has been keeping her new room neat as a pin she is so pleased with it, an unexpected bonus for me.  And yes designers she really did need all of those pillows.

If you are thinking of an update pop into Trudy's lovely online store, with its lovely linen and gorgeous cushions you are sure to find those finishing touches for your own space.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

credenza styling

Spotted this gorgeous credenza styling on Pinterest the other day, a glimpse of a truly gorgeous apartment featured on Domaine which is well worth a look.  Simply gorgeous photos by Bethany Nauert.  Love the brass lamps, the art, succulents, sculpture.  It reminded me strongly of my credenza, with art, brass lamp and even a succulent, but mine needs a bit of finishing off (see second photo down).  So I found a few little details that might just do the trick.
I love my lamp and the painting (by my very talented mom), it just needs a few bits and pieces to really look special.  And yes the photo could be better, but its all I could manage with my iphone, my real camera was unavailable and I sure do miss it!

Bronze horse sculptures from Pottery Barn - I know Pottery Barn!  Good value too, I really want them!


Brass lamps - I like them chunky and a bit over the top - ugly good if you know what I mean.  My one came from West Elm a few years ago but not in stock in more unfortunately, would love another one.  

Lamps below are: skyscraper lamps by Maison Jansen, & below left pair both by from 1st Dibs.  They are going to be original period and they are going to be pricey.   Below right - brass tripod by Empire Studio, very nice and far more affordable.


Succulents - think I need something with a bit more oomph, you can barely even see mine in the photo.  Love this brass plant pot diy from A Beautiful Mess.

So watch this space, there may be a little reshuffle coming this way.