Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pink Ribbon Morning Tea Fundraiser

On Saturday morning, I held my Pink Ribbon morning tea to raise money for breast cancer research. I organized as much as I could on Friday and was so exhausted by the time evening came around that I ended up falling asleep in the middle of watching my usual favourite Friday night lifestyle shows. However, this meant I was not stressed yesterday morning and was cutting the last sandwich just as my first guests arrived.

I couldn’t really avoid using pink to decorate since it is the colour associated with this fundraiser. However seeing as the last three parties I have organized have incorporated pink somewhere in the colour scheme, I tried to create a pretty spring inspired table instead which was mainly white with the addition of a few bright colours. This year I decided to keep the numbers smaller to have a more intimate party and so while I did add a few special touches to the table, I didn’t go overboard. I managed to take some photos to share with you all using our new DSLR (which I am loving) so here are a few details…

I made the invites myself on Microsoft Publisher. I used a photo I had previously taken and manipulated it in a photo program to give it more of a ‘painted effect’.

Instead of selling Pink Ribbon merchandise, this year I decided to hold a raffle to raise money. I bought a pretty white hydrangea plant as the prize and sold tickets to enter.

The only decorations I used as such were three accordion paper flowers which I stuck to the wall in the corner for a burst of ‘pink’. They were easy to make using decorative paper (thin paper worked best) and you can make these yourself using the tutorial by Disney of Ruffles and Stuff featured at City Cradle Design.

When I woke yesterday morning, there was quite a strong breeze outside, so I made the call to hold my morning tea indoors rather than out on the patio (luckily our windows had been cleaned earlier in the week for the first time in months so we could still enjoy the view of our garden). I covered the dining table with a white linen tablecloth and placed a table runner which is embroidered with bright spring-like blooms down the middle. I used white crockery and white platters for all the food.

To brighten the table, I bought a bunch of ranunculus which I divided between two jars I had covered in textured white paper. I was initially searching for a pink bunch which I couldn’t find when I went to buy them. However, I am actually glad I came home with the bunch I ended up with as the mix of colours really added to the spring colour palette I was aiming for.

As a gift to guests to thank them for coming to my party, I made some pretty little boxes which each had a Cath Kidston soap inside. The boxes I used were ‘no-glue’ boxes which I had discovered on the Internet a while back and saved in my ‘to make’ folder. I used the pattern on the Lil Magoolie blog as a template and simply traced around them on white card (I used quite sturdy Bazzill card). I glued a decorative Cath Kidston print onto the boxes and tied them with pink embroidery thread using a very small punch to make the holes.

For the food, I made sausage rolls, finger sandwiches (chicken and chives with aioli and curried egg and lettuce), chocolate brownies, powder puffs and jelly cheesecake. I will share the recipe for these powder puffs later in the week for those who are interested.

I really enjoyed putting together this year’s fundraiser and liked having a smaller, cosier gathering. It was a great excuse to plan and put together a little party for such a worthwhile cause and I hope I may have inspired some of you out there to host something similar yourself next year.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Vanishing Tastebuds Saga Over!

I cannot contain my excitement today because I finally have my taste back!! It has been six and a half weeks since it first vanished and slowly over the last week or so, I’ve noticed certain tastes returning. On the weekend, I thought I had about 85% of my taste back but last night we had a barbecue for tea and I could actually taste the coconut in the ‘mild green curry and coconut chicken’ flavoured sausages Paul bought. Hooray!

After lots of blood tests and scans and specialist appointments, it is thought that I had a bout of glandular fever which damaged my olfactory nerves and caused my loss of taste, although apparently the common flu virus can also cause this to happen. I have been taking liquid zinc (nasty stuff!!) so I don’t know if that has made a difference, or whether it’s just been time and patience. Either way, I’m happy that I can actually enjoy food again and look forward to getting back into cooking and sharing some recipes again with you soon.

In the meantime, here are some gorgeous dishes by my favourite foodie Donna Hay that I am now able to drool over…

Also, don’t forget to enter my little giveaway if you haven’t yet – only two days until I draw the winner…

Photography by Chris Court via Donna Hay

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Upcoming Pink Ribbon Fundraiser

Image credit: Elena (via The Sweetest Occasion)

Around this time last year when I first began blogging, I was in the middle of organizing a Pink Ribbon morning tea to raise money for breast cancer research. This coming Saturday, I am once again having a little fundraiser and so this week I am focusing on preparing things for the day.

While last year I had over 25 guests, this year I’ve decided to hold a smaller more intimate family gathering with my eight guests seated around the one table. I will have a ‘drinks station’ where tea and coffee can be made, however I want to be able to place all the food in the middle of the table.

As per my recent Party Planning Tips post, I have a little timeline I am working with this week to ensure things are organised and to minimise the number of things I have to do on Saturday morning. Another thing I like to do when planning a table for a party is to do a ‘mock run’. Saturday’s morning tea will be held outside (weather permitting) but I have set up our dining room table at the moment with the dishes I will be using and a few place settings to get an idea of space and how I will arrange things on the day.

I will be sure to share some photos once my little event is over. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with some pretty images that have caught my eye on The Sweetest Occasion (a recent favourite blog find) as I've been searching for inspiration for my event…

Image credit: Ruffles and Stuff (via The Sweetest Occasion)

Image credit: Slim Paley (via The Sweetest Occasion)

Also, just a reminder that if you haven't already, don't forget to enter my giveaway which I will be drawing on Saturday evening...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Giveaway Time!

Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend. This morning we enjoyed a delicious breakfast at a local café and then let Grace go for a little ‘swim’ in the shallows at the river.

Today, I’ve finally gotten around to sorting out a little giveaway in celebration of my first year of blogging and all the support my wonderful readers have given me during that time. I have put together a package of cute things that I love and use myself which I would like one of my lovely followers to also be able to enjoy. Included are two Cath Kidston guest soaps, a cute little hanging bird (I have a yellow one in Grace’s room), a lingerie wash bag, some Kikki-K adhesive notes (I love using these when flicking through magazines) and two pretty thank you cards from Xing-Design.

To enter, you must be a follower of Homely One and all you have to do is leave a comment below on this post. This giveaway will be open until 5pm (Australian Western Standard Time) on Saturday 30th October and I will announce the winner shortly after that.

Good luck!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Four Things

I always find it so hard thinking of anything interesting to share when it comes to blogging games but a few weeks ago, Bec from Memory Garden kindly tagged me in one. So today, I thought I’d share a little bit more about myself by playing along. I have to share the following lists with you…

4 Things That… are usually in my handbag

• A snack for Grace (a box of sultanas can keep her happy for ages!!)
• Lucas’ paw paw ointment
• Face and hand wipes
• My diary

4 Things That… are in my bedroom

• The two little Ikea stools I painted which are our ‘dumping spots’
• My pile of library books I am working my way through
• A notepad and pen for late night jottings
• Two wooden swans from my Nanna's old house

4 Things That… I would like to do but never did

• Swim with the whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef
• Visit London
• Live in the country
• Learn ballet (a childhood wish)

4 Things That… you don’t know about me

• My wardrobe is mostly white, grey or black with a few random colours thrown in.
• I like vintage Corningware dishes (the blue cornflower pattern)
• Growing up I wanted to be an architect, a journalist or a graphic designer – I ended up becoming a primary school teacher.
• I am extremely indecisive when it comes to decorating – I can pick up several items in a store, deliberate over them for some time and end up walking out empty handed!

I’d like to tag the following four ladies to play along if they’d like to…

• Kaho of Chuzai Living
• Simone at Honey and Fizz
• Jane at Life on Planet Baby
• Sonia at Raine and Sage

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ten Minute Tidy Up

What do you do when someone unexpectedly phones and says they’re in the area and asks would it be alright for them to pop in? In my case, I usually run around like mad trying to do a little tidy up to make the house look a bit more presentable. It is for this reason I aim to have certain parts of my home in an 'acceptable state' with dishes hidden away in the dishwasher, the toilet and bathroom fresh and clean and the floor swept.

Unfortunately this week when my aunty and cousin paid an impromptu visit, I hadn’t yet tackled the housecleaning and these ‘essentials’ weren’t done. I could have sunk through the floorboards when my cousin asked to use the bathroom. If only it had been as clean and tidy as the one above. Sadly, I don’t think my guests noticed that I’d spent a whole day the previous week (in between keeping a toddler busy and attempting toilet training) cleaning out our fridge, or that they would have known the pantry and linen cupboard were looking immaculate after I'd finally made a start on my spring cleaning.

In Shannon Lush’s book Speed Cleaning, her suggestion for a quick ten minute clean includes a quick tidy up (she recommends hiding items in a spare room), stacking dishes neatly in the sink or in the dishwasher, putting papers in a neat pile, throwing a tablecloth on the table, wiping door frames with a lavender oil impregnated cloth (to give a fresh smell), scrubbing the toilet and sweeping outside the front door.

What would be on your ‘last minute’ list?

Image above from Sang An Photography

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sunny Sunday

Happy Monday! I hope you have all had a lovely weekend. Ours was warm and sunny which gave us the chance to get lots of things done. Yesterday my sister and I paid an early morning visit to the flea markets – she came away with several bargains, I only ended up buying a plant and some pretty fabric.

Mid-morning, Paul, Grace and I went for a wander through the antique shops in North Fremantle. One again, no purchases were made but it was fun to browse. There was a cute little café there I’d like to go back and try one day called Harvest – they even had a vegie patch (complete with a scarecrow), rainwater tanks and a compost heap next door so I assume most of their food is also organic.

After a quick visit to see my Mum and a stop at Bunnings to get some bits and pieces, we spent the rest of our day pottering around at home and then enjoyed a lovely barbecue for tea, the first time we’ve turned it on since before winter.

How did you all spend your Sunday?

Thank you all for your unbelievably kind and sweet comments on Friday's post - I appreciated every single one of them and it makes me so happy to know that you enjoy my blog and the friendships we have come to form.

Friday, October 15, 2010

One Year Of Blogging

After years of reading blogs and gaining so much inspiration from them, one year ago today I finally pushed the ‘post’ button and started my little blog Homely One. Blogging for me started out as an outlet to be a bit creative, to give myself some ‘me’ time and to put my energy into something non-baby related. Over the past year, it has provided me with so much more. I have 'met' some of the loveliest, kind-hearted, like-minded individuals whose friendship and support I have come to appreciate so very much.

It has been so encouraging to see the numbers of those who follow my blog slowly increase and even today, seeing that one of my blogging friends has left me a comment and taken the time to read and share their thoughts on something I’ve posted, really makes my day. Thank you to all of you who follow my blog and to those of you who are more recent to Homely One, I’m really happy to see your new faces. If you are a reader who is yet to say, I'd love for you to introduce yourself.

Next week, I’ll be holding a little giveaway to celebrate my first year of blogging, so stay tuned for more details. Today though, I’d love for you to let me know what you’d like to see more of on Homely One. Which posts of mine do you enjoy the most? Do you have any suggestions on ways I could improve things? I’d really appreciate your thoughts as I’d like to freshen up my blog a bit over the coming weeks.

The pretty roses are above are the first blooms I've cut and brought indoors from our Double Delight roses and they smell SO lovely! Our rosebushes are covered in buds at the moment (thanks to my mother-in-law's pruning assistance!!)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Elk Accessories New Collection

I just adore the stylish jewellery designs of Elk Accessories and today I wanted to share with you some of their new 'Away We Go' collection as well as some older favourites I have my eye on. I have bought several pieces of theirs in the past and my favourite necklace (which you can see in Tuesday's post) is one of their designs.

Elk Accessories have just launched their new website which is full of some amazing pieces. With Christmas coming up, one of their gorgeous necklaces would make a wonderful gift. If you aren't familar with Elk Accessories, head on over to their new website for a browse...

All images by Elk Accessories

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Grace's Party Dress

On Sunday afternoon, Grace finally had a chance to wear her 'party dress' at my cousin's engagement party. It was given to Grace for Christmas last year and I was beginning to think she would outgrow it before she would be able to wear it.

Last week Paul bought a digital SLR camera (which I am itching use when I have a spare moment). He bought it mainly for taking photos at motor sport events with the zoom lens where as I am looking forward to using it for shots to use on my blog and for being able to put into practice some of what I learnt in the Blogging Your Way course I have participated in. After the engagement party, we let Grace have a run around in the backyard to try and get some cute shots while she was still in her pretty dress. Here are a few photos...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Stylizimo Blog

Today I wanted to share with you all one of my new favourite blogs to visit, Stylizimo. Stylizimo is written by Nina, a Norwegian girl who is blogging from Los Angeles about interior decorating. It is a blog that I discovered a few months ago, one whose posts I immediately felt inspired by.

Nina’s blog offers lots of ideas for creating a stylish home as well as plenty of gorgeous photos. If you aren’t yet familiar with it, do yourself a favour and pop over for a visit and be sure to also check out the home decorating ‘community’ she has established at as well as the giveaway she is holding here until the end of the month.

Images by Nina of Stylizimo

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Night In

I've read on a few others' blogs before about their Friday night family traditions. Some have a night where they make homemade pizzas together, for others it's a movie and popcorn. I'd love to start some sort of tradition like this when Grace gets older.

For now, our Friday nights are quiet nights in, enjoying a simple meal and looking forward to the weekend ahead. After tea, we relax in front of the television (I usually flick through a magazine at the same time) and we channel hop through the various home decorating and lifestyle shows. Tonight we're having Steak Sandwiches (using this recipe) and then I'll be reading the latest issue of Donna Hay and admiring all the quaint homes on Escape To The Country.

How do you spend your Friday night? Do you like a quiet night in to wind down after the week or do you prefer to go out and start enjoying the weekend ahead?

Image above from Miller Hull

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Starting Our Vegetable Patch

Now that Spring has arrived, Paul and I have started working on our plans for a neglected corner of our garden. I already have some potted herbs growing here which are slowly starting to come along. I've chosen herbs which I use frequently and I was happy to see in a magazine article written by Jamie Oliver which I was recently reading, all of the herbs he suggested as 'essentials' were ones I have chosen. Currently I have parsley, mint, chives, thyme, basil, oregano, rosemary, coriander and sage. I also planted some marigolds nearby as these are meant to repel insect pests.

As far as a vegetable garden is concerned, I have long wanted to get one established in our backyard. After seeing a sustainable living exhibition at the Perth Royal Show recently, we have finally been inspired to put our plans into action. On Saturday, we went and bought a corrugated iron raised planter which is now in position and filled with nice rich soil. After I dig some manure into it this afternoon, I'm all set to start planting my vegetables this coming weekend.

Do any of you have a vegetable patch at your place or have any suggestions for some good seedlings to start off with?

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Splash of Colour

Happy Monday! I hope you have all had as lovely a weekend as we did. On Saturday we bought our new vegetable planter and got that filled and into position and then in the afternoon, I spent most of my time in the kitchen baking and cooking. Yesterday we celebrated my lovely mother-in-law's birthday by taking all the grandkids for a ride on the Castledare Miniature Railway and then we pottered around the house for the rest of the day.

I am really happy at the moment that after all the recent renovations we've had going on (which have meant we've had endless boxes lying around), I finally have our living areas nice and tidy (just don't step foot in our study!!) The biggest challenge for me in these areas is keeping our huge bench clear as it tends to become a dumping ground throughout the day. I've felt happier this week seeing it free from clutter apart from the little basket I keep at the end of it and now I just need to work on sorting through that more frequently to stop it overflowing.

Also making me happy over the weekend were these pretty blooms I bought. I've never been a huge fan of pink but lately I've been liking it more and more. These flowers really seem to complement the little hints of pink in the artwork on our kitchen walls.

What lovely things did you all get up to over the weekend?