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love our deck

At the beginning of the week there was nothing but dirt and weeds leading to our front door and now... we have a deck!  YAY! I've lost count of the amount of times my husband and I have opened the front door just to be able to look at it and walk on the timber barefoot.   I am going to buy a brand-spanking-new door mat for our front door this weekend.  Ah, the things us homeowners get excited about!  All we need to do now is give the deck a few coats of lacquer and it will be finished.

Our back deck starts mid next week, but it may be a month or so before it is finished.  We are only getting the deck builders to build the frame and my husband is going to put down the decking boards.  So it could take awhile...  Our aim is to be finished by early December so that we can enjoy the silly season on our deck.  I can't believe it is finally happening though, it is all very exciting.

Hope you have a good weekend, if you are in Brisbane do make sure you get yourself over to the Finders Keepers markets this weekend (see yesterday's post for details).  Bye, I'm off the admire the deck.  Again.

finders keepers

If you are in Brisbane this weekend, you are in luck!  The finders keepers markets are on this Saturday and Sunday at The Old Museum at Herston, where lots of creative people will be exhibiting their wares for purchase.  What a great opportunity to do some early Christmas shopping!  I'm hoping to find some unique gifts for family and friends (maybe something for me too!).   More details on the hours of trade and addresses above or visit the finders keepers website here.  It's only on once a year in Brisbane so don't miss it. 

oxfam shop

I really love this porcelain bowl I picked up at the Oxfam shop earlier this week. Yes, Oxfam!  - lovely isn't it.  It has a really matte texture and beautiful pattern. I am have someone in mind to give it to as a Christmas present but I like it so much I may not be able to part with it.  It's nice when you enter a store not expecting to find anything and leave with a lovely surprise. 

little bit of our place: front deck

I'm a wee little bit excited at the moment, because yesterday our front deck started.  This is a big transformation for us, our friends and family can walk to our front door without walking through the dirt.  YAY - no more dirt!  The regulars at our house know to walk around on the concrete down the side of the house and knock on the rear garage door instead, affectionately known in our household as the "trademan's entrance".

In a few days the front deck should be finished and then next Monday the back deck should start.  I cannot wait for the back deck to be built.  It will be a HUGE lifestyle change for us.  I love a good bbq and it has been such a long time since we have cooked one.  Last weekend we had family over for dinner and wanting to keep it casual (a la bbq)  we made homemade gourmet pizzas instead.  They were the yummiest pizzas, but I still yearned to be sitting out on a deck in the beautiful breeze and lovely spring weather.  I'll keep updates on the deck progress so you can share in our excitement if you like!

The other thing that I am excited about today was looking outside my bathroom window this morning at the exact same time a big kangaroo was bouncing past across the road!  I squealed in excitement and scared my husband who was still sleeping. There are quite a few kangaroos in the area because we are bordered by a few golf courses (and they love the beautiful green grass of the golf courses).  I treasure that it was one of the first things I saw this morning.  I love Australia.

my dream store

The other day I was saying how I always dream about owning my own store and what it will be like. I imagine it would have street frontage, with big windows, and lots of natural light. This is a store I found not far from where we live, and I absolutely adore it.  It is currently a hair/beauty salon, I've been looking for a new hairdresser since we moved so I just may have to make an appointment.  How fantastic would it be for my dream store?  But the real clincher is the view across the road!

WOW!  Now to bring myself back down to earth, this is all just a dream because the store isn't for sale or for lease, but maybe one day...   The location is absolutely beautiful but impractical in the sense that it is in a residential area with no other retail businesses.  It also is a little tricky to get to with only local traffic passing by.  But I still love it, all the same, I'm sure I could make it work!  Whenever I find gorgeous fabrics, or products that all these lovely, creative people are making, I wish I had my own store in which I could sell them.

When I was taking photos, I caught the attention of the locals, one of whom struck up a conversation with me.  A lovely old chap who owns the house to the right of the shop.  I really should have taken a photo, he had just finished painting his home lemon yellow and was standing back and admiring his handiwork.  He has lived there for 17 years and told me how the shop was once a bait/tackle shop, fish and chips store, and now hair salon.  He has seen the area change a lot over the last few decades.  I love this little seaside village, it has so much character - and friendly locals!

pixel impress

There have been a lot of calendars round-up's on blogs lately, which I have found lots of fun.  The desktop calendar above by pixel impress is one of my favourites which I discovered, and with the Aussie dollar so well I'm thinking of having a little Etsy shopping spree!

I have been seeing chevron prints all week, I swear they are following me around.  How about these calling/business cards with the chevron print and typewriter font.  I can see me ordering  them in the yellow like the April page on the calendar above.  Or they would make lovely hanging price tags for a store (maybe a little large but who cares they are seriously cute) or gift cards for christmas, birthdays etc.  I really, really, really love these.  They come in lots of other colours and patterns and you choose the wording - so they can be whatever you would like them to be! 

Images: pixel impress

in bloom

Love this time of year with the Jacaranda and Flame Trees in bloom, bursting with vibrant colour.  Drawing your eye to the places in the distance, places you wouldn't normally see.  Compelling you to stop your car in front of random houses and take photos.  People driving by looking at the strange woman taking photos, wondering why...ha!

little bit of our place: bedroom

I wanted to capture this rare moment when our bedroom is looking tidy with the bed made and no clothes strewn across our bed end.  I like our bedroom, but to be honest I'm a little bored with it. 
Here is what I like about our bedroom...
The shutters - oooh I LOVE our shutters.  Cost a fortune but so worth it even though this photo angle doesn't do them justice. 

The bedside tables - the drawers have a lovely woven leather detail, which ties in nicely with the leather bed.  I am not so fond of the bed itself, I think it looks a little heavy, however it is extremely comfortable (the best!!) and my husband loves it, so that is good enough for me.

The lamp bases - I love the curvy black ceramic lamp bases - thinking about changing the shades to maybe a white, so that I can play with lots of different patterns/colours in the future. 

The recessed section in the wall behind the bed - perfect for wallpaper!

The upholstered bench - I have a few other covers for the (Ikea!) upholstered bench at the end of the bed, a deep grey and a duck egg blue which I would love to make use of. 

The major items are working but I really want to change the feel of the room with some new bedlinen and artwork, cushions etc.  We also need a console table for the other side of the room and to hang some photos. 

I'd like to have a bit more fun with the room, nothing crazy, but it feels a little bit uptight at the moment.  I want it to be more lighthearted and warm, perhaps a little colour will do the trick.  I don't mind having a little bit of a masculine feel to the room, because it is my husband's bedroom as much as mine.  You certainly won't find any girly, girly florals in here (note: I did slip in some florals but in gold/copper/black). 

If we had timber floors I feel like I would be able to be more adventurous with colour and style. I love the feel of our carpet, we chose the best underlay we could find so it has that "oh' comfy factor.  But I really feel limited by how I can decorate because of the carpet.  By the way, it isn't a purple carpet (it looks mauve in the photo) - it is more of a donkey brown (grey/brown).  Throughout the rest of our home you will find a lot of white/black/teak/wenge/olive green/and touches of yellow - a little bit modern, a little bit retro.  I would love to add even more colour to our living areas and I am working on it! I would love to bring that young fresh feel into our bedroom. 

Growing up I was a Sheridan bedlinen devotee, however of late Aura would have to be one of my faves for bedlinen.  They do a great job styling the shots for their catalogues.  Here are a few pic's I like - note: all with timber floors, I knew I was onto something there.

Love this coverlet below, I have been thinking of using silver/greys - is it still a bit 'safe' though?

I could play up the monochrome, lots of black and white - graphic prints. 

This is never going to happen, a little too bold with our black bed, but I do love it so.  Especially the zigzag embroidery on the coverlet - love, love.

Images:  Julie Palmer;  Aura

burleigh beautiful

Don't you just love this surfboard sculpture which I snapped down at Burleigh Beach yesterday?  I always feel compelled to stroll over and look at it.  Perhaps I'm drawn to the pattern, or maybe because it reminds me of those retro concrete blocks I'm so fond of.  If you don't know what I'm talking about take a look here.  I really miss Burleigh since we moved further north a few months ago.  We lived about a 10 minute drive from Burleigh, further up in the hinterland.

It was lovely to go back to the old neighbourhood, we had our favourite Mexican for lunch and went for a stroll to look at some of the shops in James Street at Burleigh.  I didn't realise that they close at 2pm, so we had a rather quick look!  Next time I'll go earlier and take some pictures.  I love street shopping so much more than big shopping centres. 

I always imagined that I would have my own shop one day.  It would be on a street (maybe even a corner store) with big front windows to display my wares.  I would have a long table with big rolls of wrapping paper for complimentary gift wrapping.  I would sell things that I loved and maybe even some things that I had made.  I have found a wonderful shop not far from where we live, which is currently a hair/beauty salon.  It is completely impractical and not even for sale or lease, but maybe if I am patient it will be one day.  I'll take some photos later this week so show you.  Maybe you will love it too!


Mmmm my mouth is watering at the thought of a refreshing, fruity cocktail.  Might just close my eyes for a moment and imagine I am back in the Cook Islands.  I hope you have the chance for a little time out moment this weekend.  I am spending all of tomorrow with my 18 month old niece Ruby, just us two girls - which I am very excited about.  Although by the end of the day I imagine I may be craving the beautiful silence I have right now! 

Have a lovely weekend!

my little blue bird

Isn't he pretty?  This little blue bird visits us frequently at work and brightens my day.  Sorry it isn't the best picture and yes I do need to clean that window sill but he is quite the camera shy birdy, so I was very excited to capture him today.  He and his less striking little brown feathered friends flutter about and sing us songs.

We have been visited by these little blue wrens for the last few years, they come and go throughout the year. There is usually just the one little blue bird although one year we did have two.  His colouring is gorgeous and has a lovely sheen to the feathers.  They live amongst the reeds and trees around the dam behind our work.  We are quite lucky I think to work in such close proximity to this little slice of rural life.

My job is not very exciting or glamorous but when this little blue bird visits me I really do appreciate that I do not work in the city - I cannot imagine him visiting me there.  He reminds me of the little lacquered bluebird necklace I had as a girl - do you know the one I mean, did you have one?  I find this little fellow very inspirational, my little blue bird.

sew many ideas, sew little skill

I keep buying little offcuts of beautiful fabrics, collecting them over the years, hoping one day to learn to sew so that I can make use of them.  Well I think the time has come that I learn.  I feel very frustrated that I do not have the skills to whip up a cushion, table runner or even a simple little pencil case.  It would be so lovely to be able to make something on a whim.  My mum recently bought a little sewing machine because my sister and I both expressed an interest in learning, so now we just need to find the time to get together to learn.

When my mum was young I guess sewing was a necessary life skill - women made everything from clothes to homewares - because it was a lot more affordable and there just wasn't a lot of variety available.  I remember my mother making my sister and I bubble skirts in the 80's - so cool!  It is a shame that modern conveniences has meant that many women such as myself have let the skill pass them by.  I don't plan on sewing anything complicated, and I am a relatively quick learner so I imagine I will pick it up quickly once I get myself in front of a machine. 

Some of the fabrics above I already have ideas for - mainly for cushions.  The background fabric is my latest purchase, a current Warwick Fabric design - it was a steal on Ebay.  I'm thinking of using it on a retro Fler armchair, another Ebay purchase, however I don't have quite enough fabric so I would have to order more at full price $70/metre, ouch.  I'm certainly not going to attempt to upholster the armchair by myself though - leave that one for the professionals.  I love that the fabric it is mainly white, or off-white with the touch of black pattern to it.  The lounges we have ordered for the same room are a black/grey colour, so this fabric would lighten up the look of the room, tying in with all our other white furniture.

I have so many ideas for the other fabrics but rather than bore you to death with the details I just might try to put some plans into action instead.  Hopefully I can show off some of my future sewing skills in weeks to come.  I am writing this to challenge myself to do it! 

numbers, numbers, numbers

It is appropriate that I have numbers on my mind today, seeing as I have been busy at work with numbers!  Makes my brain hurt to look at them for too long so I'm taking a break and looking at numbers of a different kind - house numbers.

We are looking into ordering a house number plaque from a company called Numbers1.  We purchased a plaque from them for our previous house and we loved it.  Last house we had a slumped glass-look sign with just numbers, which looked great but I thought it would be nice to mix it up a bit this time.

We are still trying to decide which type of sign we want, just numbers, numbers as words, numbers and the street name.  Then also which material, the slumped glass look, cut-in aluminium or a combination of both.  Oh the choices!  Sometimes it is so much easier when you have less choice.

I rang Numbers1 and they were kind enough to do up these little mock-ups of what it would look like for the different options we were considering.  I'm leaning towards the one above (2nd image) with the numbers and letters cut into aluminium.  I like how the 29 is right-aligned,  I think it looks more modern.  So what do you think, which one do you like?

Images:  Numbers1

beautiful blogs

Here are three beautiful blogs I started reading this week, and all Australian to boot!  

Rain and Shine

Rain and Shine is the blog of Amy Prior, one of the talented girls behind Umbrella Prints   Beautiful hand-printed fabrics and an equally lovely blog. 
 Inside Out

I've subscribed to Inside Out ever since it started many moons ago so their blog will certainly fill the void in between issues with beautiful images and ideas.  Wouldn't it be nice if they went back to monthly issues!  I also found the next blog 52 suburbs through the Inside Out blog....

52 Suburbs

52 Suburbs is described as "a search for beauty in the Sydney 'burbs".   Every week we are introduced to a different suburb of Sydney through the beautiful photos and perspective of Louise Hawson.  Must see!

Images:  Rain and Shine;  Inside Out;  52 Suburbs.

two ruffians

two ruffians design and screenprint by hand a quirky range of clothing, homewares,  jewellery and more from their base in Melbourne.  I find the sense of humour they imbue into their designs refreshing and fun and I hope you do too!   Today I'd like you to meet head ruffian, Nicholas Young to find a little more about two ruffians

Who are 'two ruffians'?      
'two ruffians' is my imagination - I use it as a tool to express myself and make my ideas come to life. I lived in the shadow of many creative friends in London while pursuing a career in sales and marketing. I knew in my heart that one day I would switch sides. My friends often joked that I was 'a creative person trapped in a salesman's body.' Well now those same friends ask how I do what I do, which is hugely rewarding. I no longer feel like I'm looking in on another world - now I'm a part of it.
I'm a self taught designer and screen printer with a 'can do' attitude. Using a basic macbook, some design software, screen printing books plus pencils and paper, I've managed to teach myself to design, expose silk screens, print and sew. I also designed the 'two ruffians' website - which involved quite a sharp learning curve, considering I didn't even have a computer 2 years ago, let alone the skills to unravel the mysteries of web design.
What is your favourite item you have designed thus far?
I like all of them, because I've had to work hard to take a raw idea through to a finished design for each of them.  If I had to chose one though it would have to be the ' two ruffians' design. It means the most to me as this particular print screams 'two ruffians'! Two 'out of control' kids, with mischief in there eyes, having fun. They were taken from photos of me and my brother as little boys, so it's very personal and reminds me of the fun we had as kids.

What do you find most fulfilling about being a designer?
What I imagine, can become a design. It's brilliant!!
Who inspires you professionally?
Good question.  I don't really have one individual, but more of lots of visual snap shots in time.   Music is probably the one thing that helps to focus my mind. The Acid Jazz scene of the late 90's London set me on a path of discovery. It introduced me to a lot of people that I still consider good friends. They, in turn, introduced me to art, music and fashion, all of which has had a profound effect on what I do now.
Tell us something we might be surprised to know about you?
I'm lucky to be alive - being 3 months pre-mature, with the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck. Back in February 1973 the doctors rushed to save me....I've always been quite laid back - I joke that it's because I was lifted out - without much effort on my part!

Imagine a few extra zero's were added to your bank balance what would you buy?
A massive studio where all my friends can come and work. We'd build an international stable of design, pay off our debts and live happily ever after. I'd like to give back and help people in general...... oh and buy Clair a horse.
How would you describe your interior style?
Urban minimal. Lots of concrete, wood, and eye popping colour - 'street art meets Stockholm'.
What five things would you save in a fire?
In equal first Clair and my dog Jack, my hard drive, my records, my wallet.

Place in the world you would most like to travel to?
Cornwall. Beautiful fishing villages, nice beaches, surf, 3 hours from London and not far from Europe.  Could be a good spot to run two ruffians from in a year or so.
Where to now for 'two ruffians'?
We (me, Clair, Jack the dog ) are going to drive around Australia visiting potential stockists in the New Year - rather than stand around at a trade fair, waiting for people to come to us - it'll be like a 'two ruffians' Australia tour. We get to see Australia, meet store owners, sell our designs - all for the price of exhibiting at a 5 day trade fair. It might be a bit different too - always good to try and stand out from the crowd.
Then, once we've exhausted all the wonderful opportunities that Australia has to offer I'll move 'two ruffians' back to Europe, then Asia, then America, then South America. By which time I'll be ready for a lie down!

I will introduce you to the other half of 'two ruffians', Nick's partner Clair Wayman in a few weeks.  Clair has been designing a new range of jewellery for 'two ruffians' along with her many other creative endeavours.

Images:  two ruffians

yellow goat design

Feel like looking at some pretty lights?  Come on, I know you do.  I've been getting an email newsletter from Yellow Goat Design for some time now and the products they produce never fail to inspire me so I thought you may like them too.  Their range is incredible, they do a lot of custom and commercial lighting - from a basic drum shade in the fabric of your choice to some amazing pendants. 

Images:  Yellow Goat Design

letterpress illustrations

Bespoke Letterpress Boutique here in Brisbane has collaborated with ten young illustrators to print a limited run of their illustrations using Bespoke's vintage printing presses.  The result is a gorgeous set of prints brought to life by the textures and colours produced by this age-old printing process.  You can take a look at the website to view all ten prints, which are all available to purchase.  Also visit Bespoke's blog to comment on your fave and you have the opportunity to win all ten prints!

I'm finding it difficult to pick just one fave, so I have two!  I love the image of the little girl and unicorn "Her Love's A Pony" by Kristal Melson (at top), my sister has always has a fascination with unicorns so I can see this print looking right at home in her baby Ruby's room.  For myself,  I love the vintage feel of the bottom print, "Alliance" by Bec Winnel.  

happy haus = happy me

My husband and I have a wee bit of a problem, we seem to have an addiction to building homes.  We have been in our current home (our third we have built in seven years) just four months and still have lots to do - decks to build, gardens and grass to plant, wardrobes to buy, pictures to hang - you get the picture.  But...I am already thinking of the next home.  Crazy, yes I know - this time I am looking at different options for building because building this home was a nightmare, one which I am not keen to experience again, and part of the reason I am eager to move on.

So with this in mind, I was Googling Kit homes and Prefabricated homes and came across many different companies which are building prefab homes.  One which stood out in particular was Happy Haus, who design and build architect-designed prefabricated homes.  The homes look great, consisting of modules which you can add together and alter to suit your particular needs.

But the thing that really got me excited was the timeframe it takes to build and install these homes.  Once you have designed your particular home from their range of options and all the council approvals etc have been sought, it only takes 4-6 weeks for Happy Haus to fully complete your home in their factory.  Then the modules are trucked onto site where it takes a matter of days to install.  Days - not weeks/months/years of onsite building! 

The architects who design the Happy Haus homes - Donovan Hill and Owen & Vokes - have put a lot of thought into their respective designs, ensuring they are sustainable, efficient and versatile.  I've always imagined having a separate studio/entertaining building at the rear of our 'ultimate home' - and I can visualise one of these modular buildings being perfect for that purpose, or maybe for our holiday shack on an affordable bit of land we just happen to snap up in the hinterland somewhere (One can only dream!).

Most of all I really like the thought of a simple, efficient, building process. No more dealing with tradies or builders who could care less, Yay!  The fact that the buildings are well-designed and beautiful is a bonus.  Imagine an empty block one day and a fully completed house residing on it the next day.  That sounds like a dream of an idea to me, I'm definitely going to keep Happy Haus in mind for our next home.   


Images courtesy of Happy Haus