Tuesday, March 30, 2010

White Flag

Image Courtesy Coastal Living

Super tired.....I'm taking the rest of the week off, bloggies, to spend time with my boys and catch up on 'stuff'... .sometimes ya just have to give the blog a rest. If I could 'crash' during the day, I would do it here, in this gorgeous bed. Have a great week and I will be back when I have enough energy to have a personality again. I might put in an appearance HERE..... but .... only... sort of.........
Miss you already.
A-M xx

Friday, March 26, 2010

Yay, School's Out!

 Sun setting, children frolicking, husband sipping wine and wife taking photos of the "happy is now" moments.

Well, my boys have finished Term One and we have 2 delicious weeks of school holidays to look forward to. Where did Term One go?... goodness time flies.We've had a great start to the year. I have a big boy who's favourite subject is now Maths (knock me down with a feather - used to be his least favourite and weakest subject). Isn't it amazing what a Subject Master for a teacher will do. He's very strict but cool and makes Maths fun. Our first A+ in Maths! ... and little one?...he now has a total fascination for insects of all types, following his 'mini beasts' science project. I keep finding insects in plastic lunch containers in various stages of decay all around the place. I usually smell them first before I sight them. A few containers have had to be binned unfortunately.

So no school today - might go to the park just around the corner. I'll take some photos while we're there. I haven't shown you our lovely local park yet have I.
Have a great day!
A-M xx

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Stone Stuff

This post is for Karyn! Karyn writes: 

Hi A-M,
I've been a follower of your blog for a while now. If you dont mind me asking what is the name of the random stone paving you  have out the back ? We are currently renovating & I would like that like in my new courtyard. Have been everywhere on the Gold Coast but cant manage to find anything remotely like yours.
I love the colours in them.

Karyn, my stone is the 'Tuscan Beige' under 'Random Stone', on the 'Slate and Stone' website HERE. You can see the beautiful greys in it, despite it's 'beigy' name. Oh how I love it.... so much so that I used it absolutely everywhere......

We used the 600 x 600 square paver for the front courtyard.

Around the pool, for the coping, we used the 400x400 with 400 x 300 and 300 x 300 to fill in the gaps and even it all out.

This was the test patch my landscaper did up behind the pool house (the area behind which we keep all the pool equipment). As you can see, the grouting is quite chunky... still gorgeous ..  but I was aiming for something a little more like this:


Voila! ... just outside my kitchen French doors.. can't you tell this bit was created by a woman! 'Mel's Masterpiece' we called it when Mel was doing this bit. All hand cut. We had 6 people working on the stone out the back at times.... a beautiful, beautiful job guys... still can't get over it...mwah, mwah.
Here is Mel's creation in progress:

Looking back, one forgets the love put into this place! ... it's such a gradual, emotional process... you forget all the little bits, over time. These pictures are tugging at my heartstrings all over again.

I will use this stone over and over again. The colours pop near greenery and white picket fencing and seem to complement any exterior house colour scheme.

I'm off to watch my little tacker in his Cross Country Carnival this morning. He reckons he going to win. He's the smallest in his class. I think there might be some tears.
Have a great day!
A-M xx

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Bit Rushed

Coastal Living

A bit rushed this morning. I don't want to let you down though so how about this gorgeous image to tide you over until I get back. You're most welcome to sit on that bench and wait for me..I'll bring us back some takeaway coffees... sugar?  Goodness and it's only Wednesday.
Have a great day!
A-M xx

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday Nook

Ok, so THIS is a new little nook in my life....my new blogspot for my new business, 'Cape Cod Designs'. I am in the process of moving everything from my old business blog over to my new spot and I am having a giveaway over there (the new spot) to bribe encourage my old bloggy followers to come over to the 'other side' with me. Feel free to join me and put in your 2 bobs worth. Am I crazy running 2 bloggies? Well one has to try to keep work and home life separate.. sort of.. although they have sort of become 'one' by natural progression from merely 'severe interest' to now 'obsessive passion' for building design ...... . let's see if I can do it. Always up for a challenge.
Have a great Monday. Don't they come around fast!.... Mondays that is!
A-M xx

Thursday, March 18, 2010

....And Then Reality Really Set In

Ok, been here almost a year. Time to clean some 'out of the way' windows, that aren't in the line of sight every day and that are driving me to distraction due to their filth. Remember those seriously disgusting red dust storms we had last year?... well me and that red dust are being reaquainted.... especially on out of reach window sills (precarious balancing required... just don't look). Started with the Great Room windows and sills yesterday... look! .... now I can see my beautiful 'outside' tree in 'high definition'. 

 Hello Ness's cushion on the left. Hello Pamela's cushion on the right.
That 35 year old violin case is looking sooo shabby now but it is of great sentimental value and will stay that way until it is chucked in the grave with me.

 With clean windows and my glasses on, I feel like I am in a 3D movie... everything looks so crisp and clear! So joyous that I had clean windows, I had a little play of the old violin (no-one was home so I cranked out some Vivaldi).... lovely distraction...but back to the serious stuff.... my next question to my bloggy fraternity is, of course,...."what is the best way to clean seriously disgusting windows?" .... there has to be a better way than my laborious attempts.... or are you going to tell me that it IS laborious and just suffer it? Your help would be much appreciated. You helped me build the place, I think it is only fair that you help me clean it! I think I'm going to need a ladder today  ... off to find one. Have a great day. Another 'window day' for me!
A-M xx

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Little Bit Kindred


Wow, not only do we drool over the same interior/design posts but we parent the same! Of all the little bloggy niches out there in bloggy blog land, I feel so privileged to be part of this one.... ours... yours. Reading your wonderful comments, opinions, advice, I feel like I have 'come home'. Thank you.

I sat my 12 year old down in front of all your comments last night. He read every one and then turned to me and said, "I agree Mum, you're doing the right thing". Doesn't get any better than that. Yes, yes, I hear you muttering, "wait 'til the teens". But you'll help me right?
A-M xx

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Kids On Facebook

My 12 year old son informs me that the biggest thing at his school at present is 'being on Facebook' (oh and of course texting your friends on your mobile phone). Will it happen in this house?... my 'just turned 12 year old' on facebook? with a mobile phone?.... over my dead body. But that's just me...

Some concerns of mine. I went into some of his friend's facebook pages to see what the attraction was.... mortification!.... there as plain as day... evidence already of bullying, exclusion from peer groups... and attitude! My son was in raptures last weekend, having finished his 'Memoir Assignment' for English... so excited to have discovered another composition genre and having enjoyed creating it so much.... but there, on his school peer's facebook pages... "memoirs suck", "memoirs are so gay". I don't want my son seeing that!!!, being influenced in that way by boys with such attitude...who have no respect or boundaries. What would their parents think of their facebook entries?... do their parents know?... or even care?

I also believe that home should be your haven, free from the troubles of the world. Constant text messages from friends or foes, facebook posts, directed at teasing or excluding peers, don't allow young ones freedom from their daily social pressures. I believe my son needs to form a solid sense of self  before he is exposed to more of these pressures.... there are enough of these pressures in daily school life.

Goodness, I even get bullied through MY blog..... apparently I am a "Rodeo Clown" for choosing to chase my dreams ..... oh and my house looks like a 'furniture catalogue'...ha..... (quick sidetrack - great discussion on 'blog jealously' over at The Skirted Round Table HERE). “The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves.” -William Penn, Some Fruits of Solitude, 1693. HERE.

Sorry I digress...... where was I?..... oh yes... so....  no mobile phone and no facebook for 'just turned 12 year olds' in this house...oh the teen years are going to be fun!
My thoughts. Yours?
A-M xx

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday Nook

I'm cheating. It's someone else's 'nook'. Take a look at Rachael's gorgeous new laundry, over at her blog: A Room For Everyone. Rachael has been renovating since June last year and has managed to live through the complete destruction/disassembling and rebuilding of her home (her before/during destruction photos are not for the faint hearted!).  Oh Rachael you are so brave! Say hi from me! HERE.
Happy Monday!
A-M xx

Thursday, March 11, 2010

This Is What I Absolutely Love About Blogging...

.... the advice, help, comments that pour in when you put your 'issue' out there in the universe. Thank you for this one Kathy! Help for all HERE. Just fabulous! Ha! I just love it! Thanks for your emails. I will endeavour to get back to you all.... before Christmas?! Thank you.
Have a great day!
A-M xx

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Extreme Parenting

I picked up my boys from school yesterday and 'youngest' looked like he had had a tub of yoghurt (Aussie spelling for you US folks) thrown at him. There were yoghurt stains on his hat, shirt, shorts... even his little socks. "How did this happen? Why is your whole uniform absolutely filthy? I asked. Standard boy answer.... "I don't know" (actually it was quite an emphatic "I have absolutely no idea Mum"). Hmmm, I knew he was lying.

After a severe session of 'motherly threats', turns out that he has been eating his yoghurt at lunch WITH HIS FINGERS (NO SPOON)... HE DIDN'T EVEN DO THAT AS A BABY!!!!. Being of scientific persuasion, knowing the actual bugs that inhabit his fingers (personally... on a first name basis), I was beyond mortified, and as no horrific 'E.Coli death stories' seemed to fluster him........ I made him eat his dinner with his fingers..... all of it....... no cutlery. Roast Chicken. Veges. Gravy.

Oh he was stoic! Still non flustered, the only thing that struck fear and panic in his little heart was a 'straight to the blog' threat... so here it is... our dirty family secret. My sweet, little angel-faced boy is not so sweet and angelic. Where is this in the 'How To Bring Up Little Gentlemen Manual'?
Beyond mortified I am... still.
A-M xx

P.S. See Katrina you are not alone in your boy challenges!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I Love.....

... the sweet house across the road from my place. Isn't it pretty! I love looking down my hall, over the porch balustrade, at the little house and the trees on the hill. I love the view from my front porch. 
On the top of that hill (near that big pine tree on the horizon) is the most beautiful historical property on the most enormous block of land. It was built in the late 1800's and from the 1960s until the 90's it was a historical village showcasing some authentic early settler buildings. The main house was used for functions, weddings and parties. That main house is where my bushband played at a great wedding about 10-12? years ago. Everyone looked so familiar to me, especially the bride. Yes, she should have. We had played at her previous wedding 2 years! prior to the one we were playing at that night. Her previous wedding had been out of town. I'll never forget it. I played her down the aisle to 'Can You Feel The Love Tonight', from the Lion King,... just me on violin (her request)... even I wanted to retch! After the 'Lion King', the whole bridal party went to the pub across the road for 2 hours before the reception... I have never seen such a drunk bride..... and so here she was again 2 years later... different groom... same bushband.....another wild wedding. So I look out my front door to a lovely little cottage and up to the hill and some fun memories of my youth! 

Having lunch today with 'Australia's Leading Dietitian' (www.katediprima.blogspot.com). I am only saying that ....here... now...as I know she will die when she reads it on my bloggy blog. I introduce her to everyone as "Kate Di Prima - Australia's Leading Dietitian". Well that's what's written on the cover of her books. She just wants to crawl under a rock when I say it.... but it's true.... she is ..... I am so proud of her! See you at noon Miss Potate!
Have a great day everyone!
A-M xx

Monday, March 8, 2010

Not Really A Monday Nook

France? No. New England? No. Dural. West of Sydney. Ahhhh, 'realestalking'... don't you love it!

Same place, different elevation... not too sure about the cubby house... trust an Aussie to 'Aussie it up' a bit!

Not a skillion roof line in sight! Skillions - arrrgh - they're popping up everywhere around me - we're surrounded by "lets build a really cheap ugly house, that will be a blight on the landscape forever, so we can make a quick buck". Sigh!

Happy Monday!
A-M xx

Images courtesy www.realestate.com.au

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Straight To The Bloggy Blog

Just cleaning out some files yesterday when I came across these little stories my youngest composed in his first year at prep school, when he was learning to read and write. There are hundreds of them! .... all these little files on every topic imaginable. He would sit at the computer for hours, slowly typing out each little story... one finger at a time (we have TV and computer game bans during the school week so with no set homework, at 5 years of age, he had to do something!... this was his 'homework'!). He never asked us for help, never asked us how to spell anything.... he is so fiercely independent.... ..and even now, he knows so much more than both his parent's Science Degrees put together. We can't tell/advise/correct him on anything! You'll be pleased to know that he can spell 'medical surgery' now that he is in Grade 2!

I have selected a few of my favourites, just cut and pasted as they are. Keep in mind this was all one finger stuff. Enjoy!

Crocodiles   have   68    teeth.  They  Chomp    their    teeth    allot.    They have    sharp  kloose   .    they swim    in water   they  crep  up   to  you  and       eat    bats.   Never  go neyu    a   crocodile     .    

Dogs  are big  animal. They  do dog  patl  .     they also   jump all over   you .     they are playful   here  comes    the   dogs   lets   pat   them  we did  how  many   did you catch     0  well  cache sum  I    carnt     why  they are  to  fast   I   cot   one    how   meny  I  don’t   no  lets    count      them   1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16  17 18 19 20.     We got   20 we     did                ,it

Frogs    are     delercat  crechers    there    are   all   kinds    of    frogs    like    the    green     tree    frog     we    should    all   care     for   frogs.    All    frogs     leap    not    hop    you     find        frogs     around     water     not     in      water      you      fed     frogs     crickets    and     ants.      Yes,  yes     all   the    chooljrern      shout           here     comes     the     frogs    lets        go       cache     them    yes       they    said.      And     put      them      in   the     frog     tank     go     and    look     go     and     look     go    and      look      we      found     100    frogs        yes     yes     yes           yes         yes        we      did                 it

Snakes are deadly crechers. They kill if you get bitten by a snake  you have  to receive medikl serjryey.  Snakes   live   under leaves.   Snakes   eat frogs   and toads  and   rats  and birds.  Yes   yes     yes    all   the snakes  are  coming out. We  want  the pythons.  lets  get them we got  them snakes  live  all around the  world  lets go all around the world and get them all right this  instance  we got them all we got 100 pythons. Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes . 

Blood is a very specel   part  of the  body.   It travels  thro  your hart  and
Out your hart.
There are some  pipes in your body there names  are vanes and
Arderese  and copileres  
There are some things in  your body there names are blood sels.

They make me tear up. Oh how I love him.
Happy Sunday!
A-M xx

Friday, March 5, 2010

Advice From My Dear Readers Please

Image Courtesy Chalon

I have posted these kitchen images before, in various posts over the past 2 years, but I have come back to them again as I realise that when it comes to skylights and roof windows my tastes really haven't changed at all. I am rather obsessed with windows, gables, dormers and well just roofs in general... oh you can add joinery and mouldings to that list as well. I'm creating a wish list for my next project and some sort of kitchen roof window is on the list. Don't ask me why... but it has to be the kitchen......

Image Courtesy Martin Moore

Do any of you currently live/work with kitchen roof windows? Positives? Negatives? Is there something scary (in addition to the price) that I should know about them before I become any more attached to them?

Image Courtesy Period Homes

Image Courtesy The English Home

Would love to hear of your experiences/feedback/advice.

..... and on that note I bid you a happy weekend. More rain is forecast for us this weekend. Our combined dams are now at 85%. ... and to think that a year ago our bumbling, useless State Premier was gearing us up to drink recycled sewerage, when our dams hit 10%. Now before you defend recycled water... keep in mind I live in a town where they didn't realise they were seriously overdosing us on fluoride until 6 months after the fact. Keep in mind also we were the last state in Australia to actually receive fluoridated water.... after all our teeth fell out. So here in sunny 'keystone cop headquarters' Queensland, if we were drinking recycled sewerage, there would be almost a 100% chance that there would be some sewerage in there somewhere. Oh look... I digress... I'm getting all political and I don't even have a glass of wine in my hand. Enough of the politics... we will be drinking rain water for ages now ... and hopefully bumbling Premier will be out at the next election. 

Happy weekend all. Thank you for visiting me this week and for your lovely comments. I will endeavour to visit you all back this weekend... with wine in hand. I promise I won't get all political.
A-M xx

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hot Off The Press

I mean sizzling hot.... just in. Had to share it with you first, before the rest of the world. My new logo. A very different identity to the one I have had in the past. Yes, my little Armchair Trader lady on her chaise lounge has been laid to rest... a 'very pink, frilly, shiny, feminine' chapter in my life ...over. A new one begins... with hard hats and steel capped boots and a few pretty pieces of furniture thrown in for good measure. I have found my passion. I am following making/creating my dream. Stay tuned... website is next.
A-M xx
Cape Cod Designs Pty Ltd

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Coffee Break

Image Courtesy Kitchen Bath Ideas

I'm not one for too many overhead kitchen cupboards but, as a separate coffee prep nook, I think this is as pretty as a picture and works perfectly. Straight to the 'Next Kitchen Inspiration Folder'. I love how they have tied the stools in with the wall colour too.... oh and all the joinery and moulding (deep, deep sigh).... and the dark counter tops....... and floors.....and handles. Yep, all good.

Still pouring with rain here. A good day for some serious paper work and some serious coffee.
Have a great day!
A-M xx

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Rainy days

Well, all this rain we are having is positively 'delicious', despite being unseasonal. I'm a sucker for stats and a stalker of weather sites (love this one... my screen saver... pathetic really... get a life A-M ) and apparently this has been the wettest, hottest and most humid February (ok, well now it is March) in ages.

 We have 'growth'

Our plants are loving the rain and are thriving (unheard of in my gardening history... never one for keeping plants alive). Our tanks are full (albeit with rather yellow water....... given up on 'white whites' with tank water in this house) and so are our dams, so we will head into Autumn in a good 'aqueous state'! If you could call our Autumn, 'Autumn'. I would love to experience real seasons.... after being glued to the Olympics over these past few weeks.... I rather fancy Canada... one can dream. Living in a colder climate is one of our long term family plans. Well we have one deciduous tree in our garden that just can't work out what to do.... "it's stinkin' hot but theoretically Autumn... do I drop my leaves? or do I just look dead for a few more months and then it will be hot again and I won't have to drop a thing"? Roll on colder weather. I might even get to use my fireplace for more than 2 days this year! I'm rambling... just made this all up on the spot just now..... a bit distracted.....

........I have been sitting here this morning, with my little one, blogging, rambling, sipping coffee, watching the rain and listening to him read Andy Griffith's 'Just Disgusting', out loud to me.... it's disgusting.... boy heaven!
Now it's time for school. Have a happy day!
A-M xx

Monday, March 1, 2010

Congratulations Canada

Hubby and I could not start work this morning until we had watched every second of the men's ice hockey final. Woah, what a nail biting finish... in extra time. I had my hands over my face the whole time... peeking through my fingers! I have never heard my hubby scream so much during a sports match.... and he is a soccer fanatic. Congratulations Canada!
A-M xx

Monday Nook

Scraping the barrel for the 'Monday Nooks' these days. No I jest.. this is a little nook in one of the bookcases in my Great Room. I had to post it as it was our 13th wedding anniversary last week. Our anniversary always gets lost amongst the February birthday celebrations in this house. I marvel at this photo as my hubby looks no different to the man I married 13 years ago... except for millions of grey hairs! "Look what she did to him", his parents would say..... if they had any contact with us... but they don't.... but that's another longgggg story... religion... don't you love it! Anyway we had a fantastic wedding... we were poorer than poor and managed to scrape up $5000.... that was it. I can break it down for you: $1100 marquee, for beside the dam at my Mum's place, (a beautiful setting, just after the rain, drowned out by the sound of croaking frogs!) $1800 catering, $500 suits, $1100 frock and bridal stuff, $180 iron candelabras for tables, the rest  - hotel room hire at the Stamford Plaza for girlie prep, invites free (done by my brother on the computer).

It was back in the days of Riverdance so our Bridal Dance was ... you guessed it!.... complete with hubby doing an 'arm by sides Michael Flatley dance' all through the reception. It is a legendary video amongst our friends now and always good for a laugh. We had no entertainment so we made our own... tablegrams... each table of guests had to go away and prepare a presentation/show based on the bride and groom. I had no idea this was the case. Guests even secretly brought along their musical instruments! We had limericks, a fantastic rendition of 'Master of the House' from Les Miserables, taking the mickey out of my new Master of the House, and this wonderful poem set to the rhythms of 'The Man From Snowy River', from my Aunts and Uncles:

There was movement among the 'Rellies'
Word had got around
A good reason for the gathering
A-M and Luke were alter bound.

The cathedral was the setting
The day was hot and fine
Escorted by both brothers
A-M arrived on time

In a service of great beauty
They sincerely pledged their troth
Then we all travelled down the highway
To wine and dine them both

So we ate and drank and drank and ate
To while away the hours
While the bride and groom were posing
We relaxed amongst the flowers

So we wish you both God's blessing
And this we truly say
From Sam and David, Jim and Pat, Kath and Jill, Don and Ellen
On this your wedding day.

Such happy memories and they continue to be made 13 years later. Happy belated anniversary my love. I'll force you to read my bloggy blog this morning.... for this trip down memory lane with me!
A-M xx