17 May 2010

Reaching a Milestone

My Dad and my Aunt both turned 80 this year. Dad on May 21 and Aunt M on June 23.

Dad still rides his motorbike. In fact he still rides it to Sydney on his visits to the family. Not something I'm too happy about when he does, but he'll be the one to decide when to stop, not me.

A big part of his motorcycling is his membership in the Ulysses club. 'Grow old disgracefully' is their motto. Nothing disgraceful about enjoying what you love.

The club holds their Annual General Meeting in a different place each year, and for Dad's 75th year, it was held in Tasmania. So off he went on his ride down to Melbourne, hopped on the Spirit of Tasmania to spend 2 weeks touring around the beautiful Tasmanian countryside and stopping off for a few days at the meeting, which is actually a big campout for a week.

He's been to a couple more in recent years, but this year's was in WA, so a bit far to go on the bike! No matter what he does, he's definitely not growing old disgracefully.

Because he lives in Brisbane, and he's getting older, I don't see him very often. He's visiting at the moment as we had Aunt M's party last week, so he was down for that. We celebrated his birthday on Wednesday night, dinner at Aunt M's with a yummy cake. He also now has a new little Kambrook Oven (one of those bench models that bakes, grills, reheats etc etc). Luckily he didn't ride the bike this time to Sydney or he'd be waiting until I get to Brisbane in September.

I'm also subjecting him to the Berry Markets tomorrow. We are taking the 2 hour drive south of Sydney to beautiful Berry. I'll take him somewhere nice for lunch, have a look at the markets, then head home for a hearty dinner of Braised Lamb Shanks that will have been slow cooking the whole time we are away.

You can get a really quick and easy recipe for this from
Exclusively Food.

Aunt M's birthday party was here at home. For someone who didn't want any fuss, I'm pretty sure she really enjoyed the day.

Imagine fitting 14 people in a small 3 bedroom villa that usually only houses 2. Very tight and cosy. It was supposed to be held outside in the courtyard. I had it all planned. Weather closed in, it rained, so the plans went out the window.

I was able to salvage some of the styling I'd planned for the courtyard, and everyone was impressed with what I had done. More on that in a bit.

It started with the invitations. I helped her select a design and papers from the
Cristina Re website. Everyone in her group reads voraciously, so she chose the bookmark invitation. I was hoping she would, I sort of steered her towards it.

She loved the paper it was in so I made them pretty much as it was on the website, only with a pearl finish for the backing card and tassle instead of the black used on the website, picture right.

You can see from the photo how everything matched just perfectly. The Bookmark Invitation is centre, showing front and back. The envelopes matched the pearl finish. The paper was green and aqua with peacocks as the main image. It's called 'Peacock Palace'. It's also reversable, so the wording was on the blue and the reverse side of the Bookmark had the printed paper.

You might also see some ribbon and boxes in the picture. These were for the cake.

I found the little boxes at a craft store. In the same pearl finish!!! How perfect. You just had to fold them on the marks, really easy. They were finished off with a strip of the paper around the bottom trimmed with the ribbon. I made 14, one for each guest, and filled them with handmade chocolates from
Nina's Chocolates at Gymea. These made up the top 3 teirs of the decoration for the cake.

The cake was vanilla sponge, filled with tangy lemon curd and cream cheese frosting...so YUM. The cream cheese frosting also covered the whole cake then I finished it off with oven toasted slivered almonds.

Absolutely DELICIOUS if I do say so myself.

Picture this...Invitations as above - check - Cake crying out to be eaten, covered in beautiful golden almonds - check -, topped with a stand covered in the Peacock paper- check -, sitting pretty on top of that, one row of 9 choccie boxes, then another 4 boxes, and the pinnacle of the last choccie box. All tied together with the ribbon trim and a white bow - check, check and check.

The choccie boxes were a hit. A very adult 'lolly bag' to take home from the party.

Haven't finished yet....this is the 'More about that in a bit...' I mentioned at the start.

Each place setting had a matching table tent, thanking everyone for coming to celebrate. There was 4 aqua glasses as vases filled with rose posies and ribbon, then in the middle of the table, a large vase of white crysanthinums and a big '8' '0' made from the peacock paper and pearl card.

All this on to a long table covered in a white table cloth, white Italian wedding chairs, and white crockery. Nearly everything was hired, we didn't want a big clean up, just had to rinse all the plates and cutlery and pack it all up. We also hired the tea cups, but didn't worry about glassware, as we had plenty (although not enough room on the table for them, so the bar was in the garage). I wanted the courtyard to be a 'white room' with the colour highlight from the decorations, so we also hired a white fabric curtain that was supposed to cover the brick wall in the courtyard. This was the only thing we couldn't do...Nevermind, the day ended up going off without a hitch (well, maybe just a couple of little things).

09 May 2010

Shorpy - Historic Photo Archive

Shorpy.com...are you a history and photography buff?

Brendon, my photographer son (and aspiring scriptwriter/film maker) put me on to this fabulous site.

Check out shorpy.com. The site's namesake 'Shorpy' Higginbotham lived in in the early 1900's as a mine worker. It was said that this photo is of him at about 14 years of age.

The detail in these photos has to be seen to be believed.

The images are from all over America in the time when dry plate glass negatives were used. They are so detailed, when you zoom in you can read headlines on newspapers, see people doing ordinary things, tile grout lines...amazing stuff.

From Shorpy.com:
Shorpy is history in HD, a vintage photography blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850's to the 1950's. The site is named after Henry Sharpe 'Shorpy' Higginbotham, a teenage coalminer who lived 100 years ago.

Whiteport featured in Real Living magazine April 2010

I featured a bit about Jennifer McCabe's Whiteport, the online homewares shop earlier this month with my White on White post.

Real Living magazine has done a spread on their beautiful home, in the April 2010 issue - Country Charm (pages 78 - 85).

Jennifer suggests it isn't too tricky to keep a white house clean, with removable sofa covers, wash and wear paint so marks can be easily wiped off, and Porter's Paints Wood Wash for the floors added a rustic finish and is more resistant to stains.

The Hamptons butlers tray I'm after is pictured in a lovely guest bedroom setting.

Jennifer's online store is a haven for anyone who loves French country styling and decorating.

My home is a bit eclectic, with the basis being modern styling, but it's still plausible to include specific pieces from her range to suit my decor. Some things are just timeless and will fit anywhere....especially if it's white.

Jennifer's style works so well in this circa 1900's property in one of Sydney's northern beach suburb.

PS Jennifer, I love the 'Vertigo' framed print in the living area. Another fave of mine I've been coveting for a while from art.com.

I could spend just as many hours going through the vintage posters on this website, as I do on Booktopia. Hate to tell you how much my wishlist is up to in $ value on these websites!

That's why they have wishlists I suppose!

06 May 2010

I'm on Blog This

White on White

I must say I love whites....

White would have to be my favourite base colour for decorating - actually it's also my favourite for clothing. Especially white linen.

Now whites just aren't any old 'whites', there are yellow base, red base, brown base whites etc etc. Take a look at the large colour samples of the Dulux whites you can pick up at any Hardware store or Dulux colour shop these days.

{Courtesy digsdigs.com}

Next time you are at the hardware store, pick up a few, take them home and look at them side by side. See if you can tell what base colour they are. This will help you in determining which white best suits where you want it to go and if it fits in with a current colour scheme.

I used white as the main colour throughout the holiday house, initially because I wasn't sure what colour would suit. It's taken me 4 years to see and realise that the white used is a blue base white, and I don't like it (for those Queenslanders, does the phrase ring any bells). In my defence, I'm only at the house every couple of weeks, sometimes it's a month before I make it there.

And....no!...the picture above is not of my house...I wish.

My current loves are the palettes from Bauwerk and Resene. So I'm on the hunt now for a better white...and possibly even a dark colour for the 5 mtr ceilings in the living area...it could take it.

White Accessories

Check out this online store Whiteport for white on white - bed linen, gifts, bathroom accessories etc. Really nice. I came across it while I was looking for something like the butlers table below.

'Cloth Fabric' new Wallpaper range/Porter's paints

Cloth Fabric in collaboration with Porter's Paints have a beautiful range of new wallpapers.

See this style, 'Looking for Water' , in the June issue of Home beautiful, page 36. My subscription just arrived this week, and it was great to see this in the Style Files.

Cloth was one of my picks from Designex 2010. They've been around for quite a while and I've loved reading about what Julie Paterson and her team are currently doing.

Porter's Paints sponsors quite a few categories in the icsd (International School of Colour & Design) Industry Awards each year. Towards the end of 2009, my Colour Design diploma year, Porters put forward a task to come up with a new colour palette for their French Wash range.

Congratulations to Sarah Wood for her winning palette.

My palette was selected as one of the 10 finalists. It was titled 'Tuscany' and I used a play on words - 'A House in Tuscany' and 'A Garden in Tuscany'.

03 May 2010

Megan Morton - Home Love

An opportunity to see and listen to the fabulously talented and lovely Megan Morton - stylist extraordinare - at one of Coco Republic's Lifestyle Seminar Series was an event I couldn't pass up.

Megan is so passionate about what she does and is happy to part with some styling jems. My little design notebook is filling up fast and has the latest addition of Megan's list of 7 blogs and 7 places to find that perfect piece.

Waiting, waiting, waiting....for my copy of Home Love to arrrive on my doorstep from Booktopia. Luckily for me, also, their warehouse is in the area I work. So I suppose I could've gone and collected my coveted possession. Unfortunately, I just haven't had time. So door to door delivery it had to be.

I know it's been out for a while now...no excuse for ordering it earlier.

I, like, Megan, love Booktopia. In general I love books !!! Their packaging is great, so you can be assured of your book/s arriving with minimal or no damage to them.

02 May 2010

Maeve Magazine Launch 1st May 12 noon

Maeve Magazine launched yesterday at midday with a fantastic self portrait of Elle Moss on the cover.

The magazine will be featuring a new self portrait on the cover each quarter. You can submit yours for consideration to submission@maevemagazine.com

Some cool stuff in there but haven't had a chance to read it all. Looking forward to some me time to trawl through the stories.

From the Maeve blog.....
Who is MAEVE ?

MAEVE Magazine is a quarterly online publication aimed at the conscious consumer. MAEVE targets 30- 40 something’s… women… grown ups… parents… people who want more from their media. MAEVE is an observatory on human kind, incorporating a plethora of ideas and inspiration to bring life to your life and your family.

Read on at.... 'About Maeve' Maeve Magazine
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