Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Nook

Dear 'Paradise Building Developments'........ would you mind popping over to Australia to build my house?.... please?

Sarah, from Paradise Building Developments, in Mount Maunganui in New Zealand, sent me some photos of their latest show home.

Isn't this the prettiest kitchen? I love the symmetry, the bevelled subway tiles and the colonial kicks. Oooh, and I even love the 'lab sinks' (I call them lab sinks as they remind me of my uni biochemistry pracs that were held in the most depressing laboratories, with the very same sinks, albeit all splattered in all sorts of waste. They're growing on me... as the years pass. Sarah said they used my ideas in their Butler's pantry. Lovely. Thank you!

Let's not leave it at one nook, let's include the bathroom from this lovely home too.... a 'Monday Double Nook'.

Love the grey. Love it. Love the bath. There are those bevelled subway tiles again. Love them.
Lots of 'love' here this morning.

Even more gorgeous when you can see the ceiling! 
There are those tiles again.
Love a good 'subway'.

Happy Monday!

Oh, I forgot to mention, my house/land settles today!!! How could I forget? All ready to go. It will be mine at 5pm this afternoon, if all goes well. A good day already!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Realestalking

Ok, so if you were to build this in Queensland, on the beach at Broadbeach, the end list price would be about 8 million plus, plus.... house and land. Easy. That's if you could find someone who is capable of building in a style that you just don't see here, someone who gets character and detail. Ask for detail here and you get a raised eyebrow and a "why would you want to do that"???

This is for sale for 1.1 million US in Galveston, Texas in the US... all of it... not just the land... the whole damn house... and land. Ok, even take away the location.... no matter where it is.... to build and finish this house in Brisbane would cost you close to 2 million, build... the house... no land. 

God save Australia, when the mining boom is over and we have killed the goose that laid the golden egg. What is happening with our real estate and our cost of living???? I chatted to a Canadian traveller in the Telstra shop the other day. He reckons everything here is at least double what it costs in Canada.
It wasn't always like this. When I was a new grad, with a pittance to my name, I never consciously thought about how expensive food, rent, everything was. I thought the first house I purchased later in 1991 was totally affordable. Petrol was cheap, rent was cheap,  food was cheap. I liked grocery shopping back then.

I'm sad. I see beautiful, great value homes like this and it reminds me that we're being boiled alive here in Australia and we don't even know it. We are one of the most expensive countries in which to live. Hey, I thought Paris was cheap! My Paris apartment was $125/night tariff in the 7th... lean out the window and touch the Eiffel tower stuff. I was drooling over 2 bed apartments for sale in central Paris that were half the price of 2 bed apartments in West End, Brisbane!!!

What's happened? 

Didn't mean to get all rant-y (is that a word?.... it is now) and political on this beautiful Sunday morning... but sometimes the reality of living in this expensive country just hits me like a tonne of bricks. Does anyone else get hot under the collar about this?

Although, I was very excited when I found a packet of pasta on sale for 80 cents yesterday. The boys and I 'mentally created' a very cheap meal from all the sale items in the grocery store yesterday. Pasta 80 cents, tinned salmon $2, 300g broccoli 80 cents, tomato base $1.50, 100g cheese $1. Family meal for approx $6. Good lesson. It's doable.... as long as you don't need to live anywhere, need electricity, have to put petrol in your car..... rant, rant. Breathe out!

That feels better!
Now, Happy Sunday! 

Images Courtesy HAR

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Top Speed

I finished the week at top speed yesterday, still tapping on my computer, loading up new goodies into my store, at 11pm last night. I was on a roll yesterday... very productive. Do you have days like that?....when you have boundless energy and plough through every task you have set yourself with a spring in your step and a smile on your face? 

My 'yesterday' reminded me of a little passage I read recently, from a book in the pile I keep beside my bed. The book is, 'Damn Good Advice (for people with talent!)'. It's by George Lois, advertising guru, the original 'Mad Man'! He lists his philosophies on achieving success in point form. It's such an entertaining read, complete with quirky advertising campaign illustrations. For his 7th point, he states:

"Creating ideas without a work ethic to follow through is inconceivable to me.
If you don't burn out at the end of each day, you're a bum! People watching me work ask me all the time why I'm not burnt out, how (especially now at my age) I manage to keep going. The fact is, I'm totally burnt out at the end of each day because I have given myself totally to my work - mentally, psychologically, physically. When I head home at night I can't see straight. But I love that feeling of utter depletion. It is an ecstatic sense of having committed myself to the absolute limit. But after recharging at night, I'm ready to go the next morning. Isn't that what life is all about?"

I can really relate to this passage.. that delicious feeling of 'good exhaustion' after a very productive day.
I do think though, yeah, alright George, you can bounce out of bed recharged because I bet you don't have to do two loads of washing, iron school uniforms, do the school lunches and be at school by 7am for Guitar Ensemble, after picking up car pooling child 2 streets away by 6.20am. But I get his point.

There is also the subject of balance. Productivity sometimes might come at a price.

They come first. End of story.... said the Mum.

Anyway, the results of my busy day yesterday, after playing in the filth that is my shed, are being loaded up into my Cape Cod Designs store this weekend. They started selling as soon as I started loading them up last night (it was comforting to know someone else was up late with me) so I think I can confidently say today that 'stock is limited'. I have always wanted to say that.. "while stocks last".. ha! 

Well it's pouring rain here... pouring... if they make my little boy play soccer in such rain today I will be a 'Not Happy Jan'.

At this very moment, I have my feet up and the Nespresso machine is purring. It's going to be a slower day today! ...although my dining room table is covered in receipts, as the BAS is due on Monday? Is it? Does anyone know? I can't find the form under all the paperwork. Maybe not such a slow day. Sigh! 

Happy Saturday! I seriously love Saturdays.. and I bet I am not alone in saying that!

Images Via Pinterest

Thursday, April 26, 2012

This And That

After the Anzac Day Memorial Service at school, I spent most of yesterday here.... scratching away. Scratching, scratching, scratching. The 'my ears are bleeding' quips from the boys have stopped... and they're now saying, "it's sounding better Mum". Ha, I only practise the really hard bits when they're not around! It's all very technically hard. I have the soundtracks playing on my computer next to me so at least I am keeping up now with the pace of the music. Serious challenge. I'm leaving my violin permanently there, out of it's case, so I am encouraged to pick it up and practise it whenever I have a spare moment. Sitting in that chair does make me play better. It does. The chair. I love it. We've been through exciting times that chair and I.

If we're lucky, we might get to the end of the year with that shrinking blazer!

Had to put up a photo of my boys. So proud of them. They enjoyed the format of the Anzac service. We looked through the roll call of past school students who never made it back from war. It was so long!!! ... so, so sad... beautiful young men who had the world at their feet. My big son is learning about the holocaust at school and has been very emotional of late. In class, they watched the documentary, 'Hitler's Holocaust', featuring real footage of the camps. Son said that every boy in the class was sobbing. He said Anzac Day really hit him this year. I thought of my 'Pa-Pa' all day and what he, and millions, sacrificed so we could live a wonderful, free life.

Andy Griffiths - essential restaurant reading material

It was a family day. We headed off to the local 'Pig and Whistle' for dinner and had our weekly 'family meeting', between mouthfuls. My boys have embraced the format of our meetings with gusto. It's a chance for them to share their deep feelings in a safe environment. We share 'levels': "Mum, when you yell at me when I am running late, what I make up about myself is that I am not important, not worthy... and for that I feel... pain, anger and loneliness". It's a technique I learnt about, through the tough times last year....a way to share your personal reality in a respectful, clear and honest way. You name the behaviour: "what/when I saw, what/when I heard, what/when I noticed". You state your thoughts about you, when the behaviour occurs: "what I believed about me was, what it triggers from my past, what I made up about myself "..... then you share the feelings you experience as a result of the meaning you attach to the behaviour: "and what I felt was, and what I feel is..... love, fear, pain, anger, loneliness, guilt, joy, shame" (the 8 core feelings). It's such a powerful technique which brings about such great communication and openness. Gotta keep those boys talking!

We also share affirmations.... "when you do this, I feel joy, love," etc... and amends... apologies for certain behaviours, arguments etc. It's full on... but my boys talk, and talk and share and it makes them more aware of our family dynamic and how moods, attitudes and behaviours affect each of us on a daily basis.

Rather deep for this time of the morning.... but as I am a 'fly by the seat of my pants blogger'... that's it for today!  I wanted to share with you what works for me, us. I always feel so light after our little family meetings... like we've reset the clock and all is right with the world. Do you do something similar with your family? Do you have a sharing method? Chats at dinner? Family meetings?

It feels like Monday today as we had the day off yesterday... but it's Thursday!.... #mylifeinthecar day.... piano lessons straight after school and then straight to soccer til 8pm. Deep breaths!

Happy Thursday!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Anzac Day 2012

Remembering my 'Pa-Pa' today, on Anzac Day.

Hugh Gordon Routley
2/2nd Machine Gun Battalion
Palestine, 1941
Aged 37, in photo.
Also fought in New Guinea. 

He was a very quiet man. He seemed to be always lost in his thoughts. I think the Machine Gun Battalion might have had something to do with it. I am so sad that he, like many, had to participate in the horror of war. I was only getting to really know him as an adult when he passed away. I was at Uni and 19 years old at the time..... a lifetime ago, it seems.

We're off to the Anzac Day Memorial Service at school this morning. We're tying our ties (researching Windsor knots on the internet.... you'd think they'd know by now!) and polishing our shoes.... to avoid the dreaded detention. Goodness, my big one has grown! When did that happen?  His blazer is sort of a midriff arrangement now!  I have been avoiding the expensive new purchase for long enough I think! 

Have a good day, my friends. 
Lest we forget.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesdays Are A Killer

Pop on over to 'A Welsh Girl In Australia' blog, HERE, to see a beautiful 'before and after' transformation. It features this gorgeous island bench..... which has now gone into my kitchen file!

Thank goodness for Beth's post this morning. Tuesday mornings are a killer for me..... with my late night orchestra rehearsal on Monday night and an early start for the boys on Tuesday mornings with guitar ensemble. Being an early to bed girl, and an early riser, my late night on Monday takes me a week to get over! Is anyone else out there feeling their age, like me? Hardest thing for me at the moment is reading music. My glasses prescription is for computer distance, not music stand distance. The music is hard enough without not being able to see it. A fellow violinist and I spent the time between takes last night, discussing contact lenses and those cheap pharmacy glasses. She had 3 pairs with her so I alternated between 2.5 and 3 all night! Felt quite motion sick at the end of it all... and added to that, who can get to sleep at midnight after scratching through Vaughan Williams' 'Sea Symphony' all night? Listen to it... it's a killer. HERE (skip the ad!)

There's a succinct little commentary about it HERE too. He's quite passionate about it all. It's catching!

So, I'm off to start my day, with the Sea Symphony swirling through my head. That's my soundtrack for today! Might have to do something fitting and grand!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday Nooks And Stuff

I delight in finding little nooks in homes. I am so keen to create a few of mine in the next place.... but they would have to be totally practical. As much as I adore the one above, I couldn't ever see myself sitting there. Would that nook be used? It's a beautiful solution for the dead space at the top of the stairs though!

Just quickly, here's another nook that is truly swaying me towards a 'kitchen nook':

Sigh. Gorgeous. 
Ok, so I'm sure that I am going to incorporate a kitchen nook in this house. You can hold me to it.
And look... a black island bench... that too!

We had the most wonderfully busy weekend. Big son went to a school dance at the girls' school. Oh, how little one cried after the drop off, mourning the fact that he and his brother are "growing apart". "I can feel it Mum, I'm an only child now". "Time is going so fast, I can feel my childhood slipping away". No joke, that's what he was waffling on about (since when do kids say that time flies? Time didn't fly by when I was a kid. I spent ages waiting for good things to happen, wiling away the hours doing handstands on the front lawn). 

Added to his torment, over his big brother doing fun things, 'little one' sort of fell apart at the A League Grand Final last night, when Perth were up 1 goal just after half time. "I give up, I am not cheering for Brisbane anymore" (not too different to the the way he plays his matches on the weekends... we're working on it!). He put his hands by his side and stopped the hand waving chants that we were delighting in. I promised him that we would score a goal and at least draw. The lady in front was chuckling to herself at my son's melodramatics. It was a good lesson in never giving up as we won 2:1. 
Boy, I have two entirely different sons. Optimist. Pessimist. How did that happen?

Anyway, I have totally digressed off 'nooks', haven't I? The joys of making it up on the spot at dawn. Spontaneous posts are frowned upon in blogging circles, you know. The rule is, you should compose... and then leave it 24 hours ... as guaranteed you'll want to change something! That's why I never look back! Post and be gone! Don't tell anyone!

Happy Monday. A lovely new week!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hello Saturday

I know I have posted this before (I'm losing track... after 4 years of blogging pretty houses) but I just LOVE it. I have porches on my mind at the moment. Such a lovely thing to be daydreaming about. It's so nice to be in such a creative space. I have a lot of hurdles to jump over, behind the scenes, .... to get this thing off the ground... but there will be no stopping me. I am so grateful to be doing it all again. Those lessons I learnt last time were too big to not learn from! I am sure there will be different ones this time around.

We're off to soccer, soccer and then soccer this weekend. Two matches today and then we're going to the Roar Grand Final tomorrow at Suncorp Stadium. My brothers are going too, but they are scattered around the stadium with their respective groups, one is going with friends and one is going corporate. Hopefully I'll run into them. We've got the best seats. We're hunting out our orange attire today. It's going to be great fun.

Thanks for dropping by this week. You are a great help, even with my preliminary house waffle/musings/questions.... and thank you for all the inspirational images that you are sending through. I will endeavour to reply to all your emails. Big statement. But true.

We've had a lovely lazy morning, starting with the neighbours kids screaming in their backyard at about 5am. I think the parents sent them out there so they could get some sleep. One weekend, I will sleep in, I will. Time to get moving... the first match starts at 10.30am. 

I wasn't going to post this morning... but I thought you might need a pretty porch to start off your day!

Have a lovely weekend.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Now Here's A Beauty

Look what arrived in my PO Box this week! The March issue of 'SA Life', sent to me by Letitia, from 'The White Shed'. It had the above page marked.... because it features my lights, in her beautiful home! Much excitement!

Look!... her dining room made the cover! Excitement!

Letitia is a woman after my own heart, with her love of neutrals..... and she says, 
"I'm a great believer in the importance of the formal lounge and dining room".

Hear, hear! 

It's interesting, digressing, my boy asked me about , 'here, here' vs 'hear, hear'.
The correct term is, 'hear, hear'. It is an abbreviation for "hear, all ye good people, hear what this brilliant and eloquent speaker has to say!"As of March 2010, a NY Times article cites a web statistic where 'here here' outpolls the correct 'hear hear' 2,720,000 to 1,420,000. I'm sure it is still outpolling with current stats. (Source: IT Knowledge Exchange)

So I exclaim it loud and grammatically correctly..... 'hear, hear'!!!!

Oh, would I sit here and daydream!
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.
Look at the pew! 

Isn't Letitia's home just beautiful?
Letitia has the most stylish blog HERE too... as well as her online store HERE.

Happy Friday!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

And A Building Designer Comes On Board

Bit blurry because I was talking.

I for one can't really have a meeting of any sorts, with anyone, without food and beverage..... so my initial consultation with my Building Designer yesterday involved Justine's 'Haloumi Special'... and we made it a double.

We're on the same page, Mr BD (Building Designer) and me. He understands my obsession with eave returns and double hung windows. We finished each others sentences.... and said, "I agree, I agree, me too, me too", a lot. That's a good sign, I reckon.

Got side tracked off the elevations and floor plan and went into kitchens a bit.  Couldn't help it. I could see the kitchen appearing before me on the floor plan and things had to be said.

As my kitchen ceilings will be 3m high, I was thinking I need cabinets, floor to ceiling, like this:

What do you think? I would almost forgo a pantry for those huge cupboards. I'm also thinking.... white cabinetry.... but a black island bench... with marble bench-tops? this beauty that I pictured the other day:

Award winning Melissa, from Verandah Interiors, loves her marble bench-tops and spills things all over hers and still loves them to bits. Hmmm. Tell me. Yes? No?

My beautiful blog friend, Col, sent me this image (of unknown origin, sorry) as she knows how much I adore a good kitchen nook. I would love a little desk, and a nook for my cookbooks, thrown into the mix. We've already noted a need for the nook in the rough floor plan... sort of. There was lots of scribbling being done... the nook is in there somewhere.

Digressing a little bit more....."Mr BD, this is more of what I was envisioning the pool house to be.... simple, open, casual." He had pool house grand plans.... and I have a budget! 

I'm going to talk to Mr BD through my blog as he lives over the other side of town... although I think I can lead him to my side with promises of haloumi and hot chocolate. It's my shout next time.

Anyway, back to the plans. We schemed each elevation (gables and porches and stuff) and the basic living spaces downstairs. We tossed around the idea of having a low L- shaped porch out the back (as well as the front), flowing off all the living areas, with a few wide steps down onto lawn this time... and positioning the pool and pool house, further out from the house. We agreed on everything, Mr BD and me. Thank goodness, because I can get a bit bossy, as I know what I want.... and I didn't want to scare him away on our first meeting.

We got excited about creating a free standing, gabled garage, on the long elevation with a beautiful windowed corridor/hall from the garage to the with lots of lights.... maybe some 16 light feature windows on both sides of the corridor. It was all sounding so good. We are going to create something really beautiful. I think we are going to work really well together. It's going to be great to have someone to collaborate with this time! Two heads are so better than one. 

I've started. It's good. And the house hasn't even settled yet.

Anyway, it's coffee time! The mornings are so delicious, now that it has cooled down a bit. I am sitting under a blanket on my back patio, enjoying the crisp, early morning air.

Happy Thursday!
PS. Hi Kelly! (blog fan, from the coffee shop)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wednesday Snippet

I'm featuring a lovely kitchen today, over on my Cape Cod blog HERE.

There's also a bit of excitement going on over HERE.... now that the photos are up!

I am seriously rushing out the door this morning, as I have shed 'pickups' (#theglamour) and I am meeting with an architect to discuss 'The House' project. Will tell you all about it tomorrow.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Thank You For The Music

The old Queensland Museum - on a Monday night!

Hands up those who can still get away with a really late night and not be wrecked for a week?

Not me anymore. Oh my goodness, Tuesdays are a challenge these days! This orchestra thing on a Monday night doesn't finish until 10.30pm, so by the time I get home and into bed.... and unwind through another half an hour of 'ta, ti, ta, ti, ti, ti - ta, ti, ta, ti, ti, ti's'... it's after midnight .....and then I slumber through more mental rehearsals until dawn.

Oh yeah and there's my foot.

It's been 20 years since I have been in an orchestra. I have glasses now. It's hard. I have to sit so close to the music and I have NO peripheral vision. I can't see the conductor unless I wiggle my glasses down to the middle of my nose... conductor above glasses, music below.... and I can't see my fellow violinist's bows.. so it's guaranteed that my bow is going in the opposite direction to theirs.... AND I can't quickly sneak a peek at my fellow musician's music to steal a bow marking without practically sitting in their lap to see their music.

I'm feeling it. Tuesday mornings, I can't move my arms or my neck. I sit there, in rehearsals, so tense, for almost 4 hours, amongst violin teachers (really good virtuoso players!!!), trying to get every note, every entry perfect. Oh my neck.

But here's the good bit. I look around, I savour every moment. Savour, savour, savour. It's so not a bore like it used to be when I was a busy teenager, wanting to be everywhere else but orchestra rehearsal. I don't care if I miss the notes and everyone looks at me as a result. It's so beautiful, even with my mistakes. It's just so beautiful. I hum the music when we're not playing it... I hum the music during the week. My life now has a beautiful soundtrack. I carry the music in my heart. I am a different person because of orchestra on Monday nights..... and I am so grateful... even with the aches and pains, I am so grateful.

Do you have something in your life that exhausts you?....extends you?.....thrills you?
I can highly recommend it... once you get over the shakes and the nausea!

Happy Tuesday!
PS. What would life be? Without a song.. or dance... what are we?
Thank you for the music, for giving it to me. HERE

Monday, April 16, 2012

Good Morning

Good morning! 

What an exciting night it was last night. Our lovely Katrina won a Logie for her antics in 'The Block 2011'. There were high fives and fist pumps all round here. So happy for her. Check out her blog today, when she recovers from the after parties..... I am sure she'll have some great photos to share with us all.

School starts back today so the slow pace of life is over for now. Both boys are looking forward to heading back so we're all motivated for another term.

I'm heading off to see an architect this week for preliminary talks about things.... bit exciting.

Sorry for the rushed post this morning. I have lunches to make, whilst the snoring continues upstairs, ...and a run to do... if I have time!

Happy Monday!