Saturday, July 30, 2011

Soccer Mum Essentials

Can you believe I carried all that?

Saturday morning essentials.....comfy chair ....
.....and spare for the bored child not playing his game at the time.

Stylish skin cancer prevention.

Some light reading....for half time only...
.... otherwise.... "Mum did you see me skin the defender and chip it over the keeper into the top corner!!????" ... "ah, err, yep, it was great son")

Club bacon and egg burger....

... with warmed...err fried?... bun.

And most essentially.... champion soccer players! 


We only had one 'on-the-field tantrum/melodramatic injury' today!

Pity he can't redeem the prize due to his peanut allergy :(

House Stalking

Oooh A-Mi did not want her photo taken. She's like me. Must be the name.
Now isn't that a cute photo? I made her laugh. 

I went 'real life house stalking' yesterday. Not just from a hire car with an iphone in my hand... no I actually got inside and took photos. Ok, so it was my friend Anne-Marie's home. We met through this blog.

Anne-Marie (A-Mi, as she spells with an i as opposed to e like me), and her hubby Neil, found this magnificent un-renovated 20 year old home up in the trees and have done a rather spectacular transformation over the past few months (boy they did it fast!... Neil is a 'handyman extraordinaire'. He's always doing something. Large-ish. Like yesterday he was knocking up a desk for the study.... as you do. He would give 'The Renovators' a run for their money let me tell you).

A-Mi removed the work boots so I could take this shot. I love the curves with the gables. It just works.

So, this house, it has lovely curves and corrugated iron exterior walls. Inside it has the most divine ceilings. There is a bulkhead in the front entrance so it feels nice and cosy and cottage-y when you walk in but then on either side of the entrance each room opens up with magnificently high ceilings.

This is in the 'pretty' formal room to the left of the front entrance. It's like the formal wing. The house is high up in the trees so the light that is thrown in each room is beautiful  ....mottled light due to the's just heavenly. Every window reveals greenery.

Check out those ceilings. Sigh. Yep, painting?..... Neil.... every bit.

I would have taken 'room panoramas' but A-Mi and Neil are still unpacking so I will save them for another time..... when I do the before ('1980's student den') and after ('gorgeous cottage in the trees') post.

Aren't they the cutest stools?

I did snap A-Mi's kitchen. Beautiful stone benchtops....white 2 pak wooden floors. Out of the picture is a whopper of a freestanding stove... induction top... I so want one of those before I die. Should have done a close up of the taps... a traditional accent in a modern space. Fabulous.

Another traditional touch..... so lovely! 
There are 3 of these lights in the kitchen/open plan living space. The others are out of shot.

Ok, so A-Mi doesn't know this yet (but she will after she reads this post ....... and changes her IE browser to Safari or Firefox so she can comment back on this post. Have you done as suggested A-Mi?) .... but she is going to look out some 'before' photos and we're going to do a 'Before and After' post on her home.... after we get the bathroom mirror up that we sourced together. It's on backorder so she has a mirror the size of a compact mirror smack bang in the middle of the bathroom. It's hilarious.

Thank you A-Mi. I had a lovely morning yesterday drooling over your little piece of paradise, up in the trees. Look out those 'before shots' for me and we will meet for cake again soon!

Well, thermos is packed. We're off to soccer this morning. No surprises there. They better have those bacon and egg rolls ready when we get there. They ran out last time. I did not know what to do. I dream about those things all week. Gotta love sporting club burgers... they're the best!

Happy Saturday!

A-Me xx

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Eye Of The Beholder

I don't normally watch TV at all.... but lately I find myself hovering in front of it any chance I can get, with all these home renovating shows on at the moment.

I found myself gesticulating my frustration at the judges on one program last night, when one of the judges asked a contestant something along the lines of "do you think your mural takes over the room a little bit?".... ahh, der, she spent 4 out of the 6 hours painting it and it is the focal point of the room. It is meant to 'take over the room'. 

Design is subjective, isn't it. Beauty is subjective. There is no 'right way'. Is there? I mean the room that won the overall 'top design' had a big wooden tree with bicycle wheels hanging from it, yet the other contestants who were crucified for their overall design were asked if their 'cafe' could really function as a cafe'. Well, could the tree room really function as a, errr, a 'tree room'? Where does the principle of 'form follows function' fit in the 'tree room'? Don't get me wrong, it looked awesome.... but what are the rules, judges? 

And don't get me started on the judging of 'The Block'. I cannot understand how a vase of flowers on a stool can be a negative mark against the 'execution' of a room. It is all in the eye of the beholder as they say. 

There doesn't seem to be any consistency in the judging approach in these shows. It appears that even their subjective opinions and personal preferences often appear to override what they have just stipulated as a 'design principle'. I just knew, as soon as the architect contestant mentioned the sun and positioning of his temporary structure in the first challenge, the architect judge would pick him as the winner. A smart way to appeal to a judge's natural bias I reckon!

I am doing the Coco Republic Design School thingy next month..... after watching these shows and seeing the conflict between design opinion and could get very interesting! 


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday Night

Does anyone else out there rely on their 'Mother's Chicken Soup Casserole recipe' as a weekly staple like I do? .... browned floured chicken thigh fillets, browned onion, Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup, dash of wine, tin of champignons, breadcrumbs and 'random' herbs. My boys think I am a kitchen goddess when I serve it up (weekly... without fail).

Big son was home sick today. I smothered him with love and he kept thanking me. "You don't have to thank me my love, I'm ya Mum!"

My current shipment of lights is very late. I am biting my fingernails.... so are my customers. They are floating in a container somewhere out to sea. My lights that is, not my customers. Sigh. What can I do? Keep biting my nails I suppose.... and continue to apologise.

'Brian' says hello.

I'm off early in the 'Happy Wednesday'!

Your True Voice

Via Pinterest

I received a great article from Zen Habits in my inbox over the weekend. It's all about finding your 'Creative Voice'. It is written for writers, but his ideas can be applied to anyone who creates anything.
It really made me stop and think as I have been struggling with my 'bloggy voice' lately. I know that I have tempered it due to inbox comments.

Leo writes: "Creators of any kind must find their voice. We are writers, musicians, designers, programmers, parents, builders of anything. But we are not truly expressing ourselves, and speaking the truth, until we’ve found our voice: the tone, style, tenor, pitch, personality we use to express ourselves. Our voice is our essence, writ plain for the world to see."

He talks about learning to hear yourself and how his writing voice is really the voice in his head. I'd agree with that for my blog voice. It's me, how I talk to myself and really, it's how I talk out loud too! I can really relate to how he describes the creative writing process as "a rewiring of the synapses, so that your head-thoughts shoot down into your fingertips and come out as typing motions, as bits and pixels". It's an amazing process when you stop and think about it. And here I sit at 5.47am, having my thoughts "shoot down into my fingertips" and out to you in the vastness that is the internet!
I agree that it all boils down to clear thinking. As Leo says, "if your thinking is muddled, your writing will be". He suggests that for good writing you need to remove the noise and that is "a process of subtraction more than addition. Most people end up with too many words, because they never subtract.  After you write, edit and remove the noise". He writes: 
"Most people also have too much noise in their lives to hear their own thinking. Too much is going on around them, and online, and they have no time for solitude. You can’t hear your thoughts, your voice, without solitude. Remove the noise in your life as well."

I think that's what I am up to at the moment...removing the noise, simplifying my life and my thoughts... and through that process, finding my bloggy voice again. As Leo says, "it's not a quest but a constant retuning, as the essence of who you are never changes".

Do you feel that you have a strong bloggy/writing voice or do you, like me at times, struggle to find your voice or temper it at times?

Full article HERE.


Monday, July 25, 2011

A Visit To The Block

Had to get a photo of 'The Cushion'. 
"Throw yourself on the bed 'Treens'.... that'll be the room reveal photo tomorrow on my blog!"
 And so it is.

Well I didn't receive any photos of the room reveal from Channel 9 last night so I guess I will just have to use my own! The lovely Julie-Ann (from the Decorating Forum, who I excitedly met for the first time yesterday) and I popped around to catch up with Katrina yesterday on The Block. She was busy working away, tidying up for the first open house that is scheduled soon.

Katrina and Amie's main bedroom is spectacular in real life. The wallpaper just 'pops'. It's all very striking with the black and white theme. Since the show was filmed they have installed some groovy louvres on the windows which create a sense of privacy and filter the light beautifully in the room.

I was fortunate enough to also visit Katrina and Amie on The Block during filming just after the main bedroom and ensuite had been completed. I took some shots of their white ensuite bathroom tiles when I was there. I was so enamoured with them.

I was seriously in love with Katrina and Amie's front door. 
I wonder if they got to keep it for a souvenir? 
I forgot to ask.

So yesterday I got to swan around the study when it wasn't full of building junk like it was on my first visit. I love all their vignettes. It's a fabulous room..... and I also stand by their decision to do a study and not a bedroom. The ceilings are gobsmackingly high but the room is much narrower than it appears on TV. It was crying out to be a study. A bed would have looked stupid. A bedroom would not have worked. The cabinetry actually gives it all a feeling of space and height. Yep, they repainted the silver doors white. Looks good (even though I liked the silver). It's a beautiful room. If it was my place, it would be the room I lived in permanently.

We had a chuckle over the judges comments about the books being turned around the 'wrong way'.
Since Katrina's last visit, someone had turned them around again so she set about turning them back the 'right way' with the spines in. Thank you very much mystery stylists.

I took a great photo of 'Mr Chambo' on his hands and knees, cleaning paint splashes off the floor but I can't publish it as I just realised it would have been a 'spoiler' photo as you can see the hall, the front and the floors in it. I will embarrass him when the show is finished. It's a deal.

Look there's The Decorating Forum's Julie-Ann. Yes she's real, she does exist! 
And Katrina has mastered the most fabulous TV smile. She's getting lots of practice!

So we wandered down to a groovy little Melbourne-ish coffee shop for some brunch and nattered about important things like.... our boys, the best deodorant for teenage boys, blogging and bloggy friends... and life after The Block. Thanks for a lovely time girls. The planets aligned and we were all in the same city at the same time! Perth + Brisbane + Wagga = Melbourne. Who'd have thought!

Back to the school week. Rumour has it that my boys spent the whole weekend in a tree and only came down briefly to eat. .... and they have the scratches and insect bites to prove it!

Happy Monday!
PS. Katrina has just put up some great photos of the main bed and ensuite HERE

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I Ate Melbourne

In the tradition of my brief sojourn in Paris, I am endeavouring to eat my way through Melbourne too. I took your advice my readers and found my way to 'Laurent' where I enjoyed this delight. I made sure I spent the rest of the day walking fast.

I couldn't get a front on shot of the beautiful front gate as I was scared I might side-swipe the Maserati parked out front.

I suppose I also stalked Melbourne too. Yesterday, I hired a little car and staked out the peaceful precincts of Toorak and Kew, drooling over gables, French doors, chimneys and gardens. I did stop to explain to some puzzled residents what the lady with the iphone in the little red car was up to. Met some lovely people! Is it wrong to desperately want live in Toorak and Kew?

So this morning I am meeting up with Julie-Ann from the Decorating Forum for breakfast. Very excited as we have been cyber friends for ages and have never met. I tell you, this is the year of 'putting faces to names' for all my blog friends and colleagues. It is wonderful to meet in person. And it always feels like we have known each other for ever.

I am rescuing my Mother from my 'tree-climbing' boys tonight. I have missed them. And they me (from the secret, 'way after bedtime', 9.30pm, "Nighty night-Mum, I love you more than anything in the world" text messages I have been receiving!!!).

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Total sidetrack I know ..... but look at these beautiful stairs. I had to share them with you. I found them in a shop in Melbourne. I felt a bit rude wandering in and practically saying, "look, sorry, not the slightest bit interested in your wares.... but I love your stairs". They were fine...actually delighted that I loved their stairs. So here they are. 

I wonder what's up there? Love the wallpaper!... and the balusters stop my heart.

Ooh, and I found another 'lumiere', an industrial number, over HERE.
Ahh lights, the jewellery of the home. Sigh.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lighting Heaven

Am tripping the light fantastique down here at the Design Fair in Melbourne. Well I am not really dancing but I am almost skipping.  Found some gorgeous, gorgeous glass lights. Available over HERE. Meeting lots of lovely new suppliers too.

Check out this fabulous modular bar. Made in the style of a turn-of-the century-travel trunk. 

Couldn't you see this in a gentleman's study?

From one extreme to the other, from feeding the birds with Bill to swanning around all these beautiful things. Life is surreal sometimes. Do you know what I noticed here yesterday, at the fair? No one smiles. Everyone is so serious. C'mon people, you are surrounded by BEAUTIFUL things and happy exhibitors... smile, enjoy yourselves. I know retail is tough at the moment.... but...

I am off again today and meeting my 'Melbourne solicitor cousin' for lunch. She's crazy busy but she is dropping everything for one whole hour so we can gasbag and catch up. My brother is down here for business too.... so hopefully I might see his smiling face today before he heads home to his babies tonight.

My boys are ensconced down at their Grans for a few days. Besides school, they're finishing off their tree house, bouncing on trampolines and looking for fauna... please, no snakes boys. Guaranteed, I'll need the Napisan when they get home!

Thank you for all your wonderful, generous offers of art supplies for Bill. I am working through my emails so I will reply as soon as I can. Just want to make sure we don't double up. I took him some new graphite sticks last time I saw him. He couldn't get the packet open fast enough. He is going to faint when I bring him all your goodies.

I also want to make mention of the fact that I am so grateful for all your emails to me about your lives, your beautiful homes. I am sorry if I do not answer them immediately. I work on my emails whenever I get a spare moment. Slowly making my way through them so if you are waiting to hear from me, I'll be in touch very soon.

I'm off to scavenge for more pretty lights.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Found Bill, busily drawing away the other day. I chatted to him about selling a few of his treasures.
I told him about you, my readers, and your generosity and how you love to help and give. He agreed that giving is good and that people love to help and be needed. Ah, can't you tell I used to be in sales... leading up to getting him to agree to your kind offers! He agreed to a price of $50US per drawing. They are his life so I could see some hesitation. Here's another:

Isn't it gorgeous!

I tried to glean what he would like from those who have offered. It's a fine line between treading gently and beating it out of him. 

In the end, I beat it out of materials. He would love some new art materials. He is pretty right for food... has a 'breakfast arrangement' with a local business.... but I swear he is more worried about the birds and ends up sharing his cereal with them. Blankets, he has two.  

So art materials... Bill does mixed media. His textas have dried up, he could do with a new set of beautiful coloured pencils, some graphite sticks, coloured graphite sticks? .....a decent set of crayons and A4 sized drawing pads. This is just from what I could see. He didn't want to ask for too much. So the list is mine.... for him.

Let me know if you would like to send Bill a gift of art materials. You can send them to my PO Box and I will pass them on.

Oh, he loved his poetry books. I looked back after I had said a thousand farewells and this is what I saw.

A smile.
He particularly liked the waterproof packet I had put them in. He said I was innovative!
Thanks for your help. It's nice to make people's lives just a little bit better.
Bill is a nice person.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Bathroom

Images Courtesy Channel 9

Oh boy, 'the girls' have had a week on 'The Block', haven't they? 

What was with the 'builder' and his pure delight at seeing Katrina and Amie so distressed and falling behind schedule??? 

I couldn't watch.....well I watched through my fingers..... with my mouth open in shock! A little bit too close to home for me.... memories of my builder telling me I'll "get what I'm $%#* given", when I questioned why we weren't following the 'council certified plan'? At least I didn't have a one week deadline and the whole of Australia watching my despair. Even my boys said, "you shouldn't be watching this Mum", with alarm in their eyes! Oh girls.... we felt your pain, we really did....the whole of Australia did.

But yay, they rose from the ashes and produced this beauty... with a gorgeous basin, stunning tiles... and a real sense of space. Remember who their target market is.. DINKS..and remember this doubles as a downstairs powder-room too. No need for a bath. There was a bit of stress around not being able to fit a bath in. Girls, the bath was not an issue at judging was it! Yay!

I like the black wall... it's bold and brave.

I'm sorry but those wall tiles.... stop. my. heart.

Great use of space with the overhead cupboards. Grey glass spash-back...beautiful contrast and very innovative. And I'm totally the floor tiles.... same colour as mine. Fabulous taste girls!

Head over to Katrina's blog HERE. I'm sure she will load up some 'Block goss' today.

Happy Monday!

PS. I found Bill. Tell you all about it tomorrow.