Friday, February 26, 2010

Life Is Triangles

My current study set up - this way I can see everything that is going on and 'bark' my motherly orders from the centre of the house.

Yesterday it was a lot cooler than the uncomfortably hot, humid days we have been having for oh so long now (why DO I live in Brisbane again?). I flung open all the doors and windows and sat in my breakfast nook, with my books and copious cups of tea, a cooler breeze blowing past me all day. Oh it was so quiet.... I revelled in the solitude, worked hard .. and I almost felt slightly joyous when all my trigonometry started making sense. Now that I know all my triangle stuff and all that Sin, Cos and Tan blah that I loathed so much at school, I can calculate roof heights, rafter lengths, roof pitch, amount of roofing required to cover a roof area, ra,ra. I NOW see how my builder miscalculated our roof pitch, both at the front and back, having to resize windows at his expense. Well that won't happen next time - see what I have been inspired to do from this challenging/learning experience .. lots of positives.... oh the drive to know all about this stuff . It all makes sense now. All this maths stuff works and now means something ...... I am looking at everything through triangle eyes..... life is triangles!... well it is with a roof! Just finishing up 'Vectors' (more triangles - sort of - moving ones?.... but a bit blehh if you ask me) and then my final assessment is done for this subject. Then on to the next one!

Thanks for being so lovely to my boy this week. He cannot believe how loving you all are. "And they don't even know me Mum".

Having the weekend off from the bloggy blog to finish my 'Vectors' so I will see you Monday. Have a great weekend!
A-M xx

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Nook

Hmmm, Monday Nook, Monday Nook..... how about a 'nook of my life'?

Did I ever tell you about the time we lived in Vanuatu?.... when big son was a mere 18 months old. Hubby was running a private investment fund over there and we relocated when I got sick of being a single Mum back here in Australia!

 Playing the 'Tam-Tam's at Le Lagon resort, in Port Vila (our second home)

These photos are from a trip we took back there, to visit our friends, in 2006... seems like yesterday.

Always working on getting those coconuts open.

When we lived there, I worked with hubby and my son had a babysitter, Lisa, who he called 'Sissy'. We surprised her this last visit.... she had no idea we were on the island until we pulled up in a mini van next to her while she was walking into town. It's not hard to find people, even in the capital Vila... you just ask the girl on the market stall, who's brother works with the cousin of the husband of the sister of the person you are looking for. We stopped the van and jumped out, all screaming "sissyyyyy". She got such a shock to see us, she just dropped to her knees and wailed with joy. She hugged every last breath out of my boys. She had never met the little one and the big one?... well she had him in an affectionate head lock for most of our visit and patted him on the head incessantly, "oh my baby, oh my baby". He was so good. He let her pat him.

 My little one loved the markets and would get very involved with the goings on.

We were honourary members at Sissy's 'church' during our visit... sort of a mix of presbyterian and voodoo! Sissy's brother was the minister. Actually, every one of her 11 brothers and sisters were involved in some way! You can just see my little family up on the left. We were the only 'white skinned' in attendance so we had a thousand pairs of eyes on us at all times. The 3 hour! service was in Bislama, not in English, but every now and then it was peppered with "God bless Sister A-M and Brother Luke". Sissy was a 'celebrity' having us there as her special guests. She was so proud to show us off, her 'Australian Family'.
Yep, that's the church
Sissy actually lived in 'luxury' by Vanuatu standards. Her father was the Chief of Chiefs (Vanuatu has a dual parlimentary system, parlimentary democracy (British) and a council of Tribal Chiefs) so they had a government brick 3 bedroom house.... in which 5 families lived, one family per bedroom and 2 families out in the living areas.... about 18 people in one house. They cooked outside in a dirt pit. Sissy, her husband and 2 little children, lived in one bedroom.
Sissy and her daughter and niece farewelling us at Port Vila airport.... note loosening headlock of older son... she never let him go.
We miss our time in Vanuatu.... beautiful, happy, loving, contented people, no stress, a slower boys often get out the photo albums and have a chuckle. I remember when we first moved there I asked a taxi driver about the crime rate. He was mortified, saying, "crime, there is no crime here. We love each other". Even the 'prison' has an amnesty each year, when they let everyone out and then they just fill it up again the next year (petty crimes... like stealing icecream and shoes). Anyway, there was a hole in the prison fence where they just came and went anyway... as you do.... in Vanuatu! (oh look it rhymes!).

I have another wonderful story to add to this one, some other time.... the time we brought Sissy out to Australia for a holiday. It was like Crocodile Dundee in New York. She had never been in a lift, on an escalator, seen a traffic light, rode in a train. We disembarked at the airport and I took her to the ladies toilet.... she was in awe.....(of the toilets!)...."oh I love Brisbane, I love your country, it is so beautiful". "Sissy, these are just the toilets. Wait until you get outside the airport"!
Happy Monday!
A-M xx

Friday, February 19, 2010

Laundry Ideas

Image Courtesy Ballard Designs

Oh I have to have one of these pretty drying racks in my 'next time' laundry.... even if I have to ship it in from the northern hemisphere or heaven forbid....learn how to make it myself! Why can't we find something pretty like this on the shelves of Bunnings? Maybe that could be my next project?!... importing drying racks... I've already considered cupolas, decent gable vents and other architectural home accents, that haven't made it down here to the 'colonies' yet.

Well, I'm spent. This week has been ever so busy so I think I will take the weekend off from posting and catch up on the books. Thank you for all your lovely comments here this week. Your visits here just make my day. I will endeavour to visit you all over the weekend (when I am supposed to be studying... always looking for an excuse!).

I got a coffee machine brewing thingy for my birthday... can you hear it bubbling in the background? I am sitting in 'my spot' in the Great Room, waiting for it to brew as I keep forgetting to put the timer on so that it has brewed when I rise in the morning. Poor hubby, chief coffee maker is now redundant!

Oh and my little boy's award yesterday was "for always being courteous and setting an example for his classmates". He got to shake hands with the 'Big School' principal and also the Prep School principal, who also announced over the microphone that he is a "fine young man". Our boy was beaming and looked up at us (sitting in the mezzanine level of the assembly hall) about a hundred times. Hubby and I looked at each other with tears in our eyes every time he looked at us...we were a mess... pathetic but that's just us!.... does being a parent get any better?!

Have a great weekend and I will see you bright and early on Monday morning.
A-M xx

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cubby Fun

Spying the pretty little cubby house post, over at Ada and Darcy's, brought back memories of my boy's treasured cubby houses, at the bottom of our garden in our first home. The wooden cubby house above, was my big boy's first cubby and the little one was rather fond of his colourful 'play cube' and spent every waking moment on it.

I took a trip down memory lane and found some special photos that I thought I would share with you (yes I was supposed to be studying!... of course). I may as well call this 'Boys' Week' on my blog as, while attempting to divert posts away from my house as the subject (following the magazine shoot), I have been focusing on the true love of my life... my boys.... all three of them... yes, you too husband.

We had to be creative in protecting little one from himself on the steep steps up into his big brother's cubby. Play pens have a myriad of uses!

Big brother was always by his side to stop him falling from the cubby verandah.

I don't know how many times we did the rounds of the garden. My back still hurts.

Inside big brother's cubby! Most likely barricaded in for safety!

Nothing like a good 'dress up' session.....let's start with everything in the dress up box.... all at once. 

Never let the play cube out of sight. One body part had to be touching it at all times.

Venue for many a wild party. 

Your birthday wishes yesterday, my friends, were treasured. Thank you for just making my day. One comment from a friend can change someones day significantly. Isn't it wonderful to know that your comment creates 'happy hormones' in someone all the way over the other side of the world. I love this bloggy thing. 

My little one is getting an 'award card' today at assembly but he doesn't know it.... so we're going to surprise him by being there. It will be for something like "doing good writing" or "helping in class' but we're going to make a big fuss of him.... and then head out for a coffee.... any excuse! 
Have a great day!
A-M xx

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Good Day

Well it was my 43rd birthday yesterday. I had such a special day. I received these beautiful cards from my darling boys, more crooners music for presents (go the 'Buble') and had a spectacular lunch with my hubby at Gambaros seafood restaurant in town, made ever the more special by James, the Restaurant Manager, who showered me in gifts and surprise desserts..... complete with sparklers. James, at my age, any fuss is really really special! I so recommend Gambaros for it's outstanding food and service... it's a Brisbane institution... 57 years and still going strong!

Anyone would think that I spent my days down in the school yard, the way my boys rave about how I stick up for them.... watch out bullies! Had to blot out a certain troublesome boy's name in my big boy's card... or we could find ourselves in trouble!! My little one is still coming to terms with his recent Peanut Allergy diagnosis, complete with EpiPen for anaphylaxis, (hence the mention in the card) and is ever so grateful that I was there to hold his hand through all the tests and to rush out and find substitutes for all his favourite foods (that were making him so sick :(..... we're still mourning the vitawheats... oh how he loved vitawheats!). Oh and their names?... Brynley and Kristian... but I call them some permutation/variation of their name every day... it's an endearment thing. There, another bloggy question answered!

So there it birthday recorded on my bloggy blog for posterity. At least if the house goes up in smoke, I will always be able to find some of my life treasures here... photos, special moments.... unless Google goes up in smoke one day too!
Have a great day.
A-M xx

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Visit From 'Rosie'

Just had to share some photos of a visit from our very excited, sweet angel cousin, 'Miranda Rose', my youngest brother's daughter. She loves her big boy cousins.
 We had an action packed day..... not sure about the wet stuff to start off with....

... so we immersed ourselves in soft toys... in some serious one finger piano practice......
(left pointy finger poised to take over when right pointy finger exhausted)

... and a few emergency cuddles..

... and soo didn't want it all to end. 

We love you 'Rosie'.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday Nook

Tara, from over at Landscape Design, says, "on axis with your favorite view, from inside your home, plant a fabulous tree". Well, I didn't plant the tree outside my Great Room window but the one conveniently growing there (hence the existence of the window) gives me such pleasure from where I sit blogging early in the mornings.

.....look that's where I sit, right in the middle, feet can still see the depression in the sofa, even when I'm not plonked there. That is sooo my spot. Comfort, peace and quiet and a 'green view'...pure bliss. Stay asleep children, stay asleep.... just for a little bit longer.
And that's the best I could do this morning for a 'Monday Nook'... oh dear!
Happy Monday!
A-M xx

Sunday, February 14, 2010

And Here We Will Sit......

.... for the next 16 days.

OMG... the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony...oh I shed some tears!... the' Rhythm Of The Fall' bit.. the tribute to the fiddling traditions of Canada, (being a violinist myself) was fabulous! ... tattooed, tap dancing, tartan and leather clad violinists fiddling away..... who would think violinists could be sooooo groovy.

So here we will sit in front of our TV, for the next 16 or so days... maybe getting up every now and then to feed the children and take them to school.... Go Canada!!!.... oh and any Aussie that happens to be in the competition!

Happy Valentines! We're starting off with the Ladies' Moguls!
A-M xx

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Love these...

 An oldy but a goody and still my favourite, from Traditional Home for creating a room you love... HERE. Light, music, minimal clutter, cosy seating, little treasures. Easy!
A-M xx

What Now?

How about a recent photo of the south elevation of the house, oh and my neighbours driveway and fence! I haven't taken a photo of this elevation since the build! Hubby and I sat in the gutter across the road, after the magazine shoot, champagne in hand, taking snapshots. The kids would come out from time to time to visit us... until it got dark! Poor neighbours, they really must wonder!

Well, 'house picture posts' are going to be a bit tricky for me for a while, as I wait to see what little nooks the magazine will publish first. The shoot day was wonderful and I woke up the morning after with such a happy heart and thoughts of "wow, did that really happen?" (sort of like the high after one's wedding day!). I was so humbled, grateful, honoured, that they found my 'stuff' photo worthy and I must admit, I had a few emotional moments during the day but I quickly pulled myself together.  The magazine people were very patient with my 'hovering', my blaring crooners music (I bet their ears were bleeding when they left!) and my setting off of the photographer's flash every time I took a photo with my dinky little handbag, 'building site', camera! Ooops sorry guys.... again :)

You can just see, way up the right side, how I repeated the front balustrade, outside the laundry on the side deck. You'd think in this day and age, being 3km from the city, we'd have underground power and gas but no......we do it the old fashioned way here in groovin', movin' Brisbane.

Now I promise I will be letting you know when and where soon. I'm very good at keeping other people's secrets, but not those about me (hence the reason my honest 'diary of my build' blog got me into trouble at times!... never mind those posts are stored away for posterity)...  I'm going to have to try with this one.

The questions I can answer:  sushi platter and rice paper rolls from 'Riverbend Teahouse' in Bulimba, Brisbane - the best and freshest you could ever imagine; gorgeous little passionfruit and raspberry, melt in your mouth, mini cupcakes from 'Bulimba Bakery', Oxford St, Bulimba - the best bakery, the sweetest people - there were almost fights over those little cakes.... oh the wait for them to be photographed so we could eat them; kitchen pendant lights - all sold out 'for like ever', my supplier has sold out and is not reordering them again :(...... but I am on the hunt for some similar (reasonably priced - prices can get a bit nasty!) ones for my new store - stay tuned; blue birdy pictures in corner of dining room from 'Peter Baker Finch', Brisbane - a gorgeous interiors shop that stocks almost every genre of 'stuff'... great for men's presents too!

Everything else...out of courtesy to the magazine, blabbing will now cease. Goodness, what to blog about now?...I'll think of something!
Happy Saturday!
A-M xx

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Two Words

Magazine Shoot.

Be Still Heart.
A Perfect Day:)
A-M xx

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Kitchen Thoughts

Country Living Via Willow Decor
While we're on the subject of kitchens (well, we were a few days ago).... Willow Decor, my other most favouritest blog in the world, has a very interesting post HERE on the emerging kitchen trend of "no upper cabinets". The absence of upper cabinets, in my kitchen design, was almost a subconscious directive I think... I just didn't know I was on to something at the time! I was actually talked into the only 2 upper cabinets I do have .... "to fill up some space". I also loved the idea of incorporating a free standing piece of furniture into my kitchen, for extra storage, creating more of a sense of it being a 'room' rather than just a kitchen. As I didn't have the upper cabinets, I also focussed on creating shallow open shelving in the pantry for the display of pretty items, that would normally be displayed in upper cabinets. 

It's not until I read a well thought out post that I go back and really examine my own thought processes in the design of certain aspects of my house. Wonderful blogs do that to you. They make you stop, think, reason, examine the detail. After seeing all the cabinet free pictures over at Willow Decor, I am now a complete convert and have made a promise to myself that I will never be talked into (even 2) overhead cabinets again. Honestly, I need go no further than that post for inspiration for my next cabinet free kitchen. I mean.... look at this!

 Jill Brinson Via Willow Decor

Bench windows, lots of light, sans cabinets... totally heart stopping.

Anyway, back to the real lunches beckon.... Happy Wednesday!
A-M xx

And mine!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Study Week

Thought I'd share a few photos of our office/study this week, seeing I am going to be spending most of the week here, in my little corner..... studying.  Lets start with hubby's end of the room.

He likes to have his appointments here whenever he can. The office does have a separate entrance, off the front porch, but he always likes to bring his clients through the front door! Before the appointments start, I totter in with a silver tray of tea, coffee and biscuits... they love it! It's a lovely big room. It can be closed off from the rest of the house with French doors so if appointments are at 'after school time', you can't hear a peep from inside the room. We have the sound system wired into this room so often I can hear hubby humming away to a bit of 'Buble' while he works.

What a rush it was this morning. This Monday/Tuesday transition is going to be a challenge for my boys. 2 separate sessions of soccer practice on a Monday night, 2 hours of homework for year 7 boy, a 7am Tuesday morning start for Guitar Ensemble and we're over it! Big one has to take 2 co-curricular activities in addition to his studies. Soccer and guitar were the obvious choices as they are his great loves.... but the volume of  homework as well!.... it brings me to tears.... and big boy on occasion too. Every subject gives homework every night.... when will he have time to still be a little boy? Is anyone else wringing their hands over homework this early in the year?! I've only just recovered from my high school years (well 27 years ago....seems like yesterday!) and here we go again!
Happy Tuesday!
A-M xx

And no, it's not always that tidy!

Monday, February 8, 2010



Isn't this a glorious bedroom! I am now convinced that windows, on either side of the master bed, are a must next time around, after reading this wonderful post over at 'Things That Inspire'. Oh how I savour every single post on that gorgeous blog.
A-M xx

Monday Nook

Oh I am scrabbling around for a Monday Nook, this morning! How about my kitchen from another angle?

If this kitchen could talk and tell you all about the scheming involved in getting it to this! A few things I desperately love about living with this kitchen:  the bench space!... particularly to the left of the sink - my prep area - one wide right hand sweep and all prep mess is swept into the sink, caught in the strainer and dumped in the bin in the drawer to the right of the sink;  the pantry - everything is at my fingertips - food, crockery, coffee station on the bench and out of sight; the breakfast bar, complete with stools covered in old cloth nappies (remember cloth nappies?) for spaghetti bolognaise protection - my boys would eat every meal there if I let them.

We had 'beam issues' when the beam went in above the hutch. At frame stage, I was sweating that the hutch wouldn't eventually fit once the gyprock was placed over the framing. I had the dimensions right but the hutch was in storage in 2 pieces so I had to wait until moving day! to allay my fears.

My plans for this kitchen were pretty simple. Freestanding stove, with double hung windows either side. A free standing piece of furniture - kitchen hutch. Limited over-head cupboards (the ones next to the windows were thrown in to fill up the space). Large single sink. 40mm stone bench tops. Butlers pantry with NO sink (it's not that far to the big one and I hate cleaning sinks) and large enough to accomodate a fridge. Kitchen in satin 2 pak, shaker profile, colonial kick and butlers in contrasting laminate (to save money).... laminate colour inspired by Martha's kitchen. White semi gloss subway tiles - splashback behind stove and all through pantry. Soft close drawers, including pantry (kids the consideration here!).
Left side of pantry, the kids side... all their cups and plates are at their level and arms length from the fridge water dispenser. Coffee station further to the left on the bench. I have also hidden the phone point and phone in that corner.

Right side of pantry. Plates, glasses and more dry goods further around to the right.
Oh and microwave just to the right.

Oh, I can hear the Monday tears starting upstairs. My little one doesn't cope too well with the shock of Monday mornings. "The weekend isn't long enough and goes too fast", he sobs. He's perfectly happy when he gets to school, it's just the transition from 'fun to work'.... get used to it son!
Happy Monday!
A-M xx
This is for Kelly, to show her that it is not always neat and tidy. My favourite scheming place, when the kids are at school!  Close to the coffee!