Friday, January 29, 2010

Simple Cushion Cover

I’ve got a little stash of fabric I’ve bought off Etsy that’s been sitting in our study for months now, just waiting to be turned into something. The other day, I finally dragged out my sewing machine and whipped up a simple little cushion to make Grace’s high chair a bit comfier. The cute Russian doll fabric I used was from The Heyday Shop and I added a strip of vintage lace purchase from here on the back of the cover. Nothing fancy, but considering I’ve basically taught myself to use my Nanna’s sewing machine she gave me (apart from a term of sewing classes back in high school Home Economics class and a few things I’ve picked up from watching my mum sew), anything I manage to make without having to unpick it several times is an accomplishment for me!! I also made a basic cushion cover for our lounge room while I was at it. Next up, are a few things for Grace’s nursery including some pretty bunting…

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Nest Home Design Handbook

Hi everyone! Hope all you fellow Aussies had an enjoyable Australia Day yesterday. After an early morning walk, ours was spent mostly pottering around the house and ended with a quiet barbecue for tea.

Today I thought I'd share with you the book in the photo above which I am reading at the moment. This one is another loan from my local library and it is packed with gorgeous images of interiors along with decorating principles and ideas to help you in creating stylish and comfortable living spaces in your own home. Carly Roney, the author of this book, is also the editor in chief of the website which you can check out here. Below is a lovely office space from the book...

Visit Vic's blog here to see what other people have been reading lately.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lovely Sunday Morning

This morning the three of us enjoyed a nice Sunday morning together. First we hit the road bright and early and headed to Zepher Cafe in East Fremantle where we had breakfast (the photo above was taken from where we were sitting). This cafe is literally right on the water and we enjoyed the lovely view and all that was happening on the river from our table. Then we headed to a fishing store Paul has recently discovered in Nedlands where he bought a new rod. Grace had fallen asleep by this stage so I was more than happy to stay with her in the comfort of the air-conditioned car with my Ideal Home magazine. Finally, we drove into the city to the State Library where there is currently an exhibition called 'Thanks Dad'. A cute photo of Paul and Grace that I submitted has been included in the collection so we went to see the display. It was titled 'Morning Cuddle'. Go here to see some of the beautiful photos from the 2009 entries.

Now I am catching up on all my favourite blogs while Grace naps and Paul watches the cricket. Then I'm hoping to tackle a bit more of the sewing projects I started during the week. Hope you have all had wonderful weekends too.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sydney Holidays

Hope you are all having a lovely week. Last night, while watching the Australian Open, Paul and I were discussing how apart from last January when I was pregnant, for the past few years, we have been in Sydney, watching the tennis from our lovely hotel room. We were thinking about doing another visit there again this year but have decided to hold off until Grace is a little bit older.

Aside from the usual touristy things and wonderful markets, whenever we visit Sydney, we are sure to set aside some time to simply wander around the streets in our favourite suburb of Paddington and its surrounding areas. It's lovely to admire the gorgeous terrace houses, trying to picture what the interiors are like and to browse in the quaint little shops I drag Paul into. When we next go to Sydney, I have a new list of shops I hope to visit including Donna Hay's General Store in Woollhara. What's your 'must see' Sydney shop that you love to browse around or are yet to visit?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Weekend Heatwave

Hope you have all had lovely, productive (and relaxing) weekends. Here we did our best to stay cool in the 40 degree heat and therefore aside from a few splashes in Grace's paddle pool, spent most of our time under the airconditioning doing 'inside tasks'. I managed to make a start on some cushion covers that have been on my 'to-do list' for some time now and made a Raspberry and Coconut Loaf cake to enjoy whilst sewing. I also gave a coat of paint to a cheap Ikea tray I had bought, although I discovered that weather as hot as we were experiencing was not the best for this task as the paint was drying faster than I could brush it on!

However, this weekend's biggest project I accomplished whilst watching a movie with Paul on Saturday night. I have a huge pile of recipes that I have either torn from magazines or that have been written out for me by friends and whenever I hunt through this pile, it is an almost impossible task. So, during ad breaks, I sorted all these recipes into folders such as 'Cakes', 'Meat', 'Salad' and so on to make it easier the next time I am searching for something. What did you all get up to on the weekend? Was it as hot where you were as it was here?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Last Week's New Recipe

Each week I try and choose a recipe we haven't used before in ourweekly meals. I have a huge pile of recipes that have been torn out of magazines and this is a good way of making a dent in that pile. Last week's new recipe was a Donna Hay recipe - Lemon Thyme and Feta Chicken Patties. Served with a fresh salad, it made a nice light summer meal. Here is the recipe...

Lemon Thyme and Feta Chicken Patties

500g chicken mince
2 tbsp chopped lemon thyme leaves
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 egg white, lightly beaten
100g feta, roughly chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
4 vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced
2 lebanese cucumbers, sliced
1 cup basil leaves
red wine vinegar and olive oil, extra, for drizzling
cracked black pepper and lemon wedges, to serve

Place the chicken, lemon thyme, garlic, egg white and feta in a bowl and mix to combine. Using damp hands, divide the mixture into 12 patties. Heat oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook the patties for 3-4 minutes each side or until cooked through and golden. Place the tomato, cucumber and basil in a bowl, drizzle with vinegar and extra oil and toss to combine. Top salad with patties, sprinkle with pepper and serve with lemon. Serves 4.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Heavenly Holiday Houses

A while back in an old issue of Notebook magazine, I was awe-struck by a beautiful property featured. It was one of the retreats on the Black Barn Vineyard in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. After some browsing, I found that all of the properties listed on the Black Barn site have been beautifully decorated, taking advantage of a neutral colour palette without compromising on character. Here is a collection of my favourite Black Barn images...

All images from here

Monday, January 11, 2010

Menu Planning Monday

One of my tasks on Mondays is to sit down with some recipe books and my recipe folders and plan our meals for the week. I realise menu-planning is not for everyone but personally, it has helped me avoid the 'what are we having for dinner dilema' and has helped reduce the amount of food we seemed to waste. It also makes grocery shopping on a Tuesday so much easier, especially with the help of my little notepad from Etsy shop Jot It Down. This notepad has room to list your meals for the week on one side and the grocery items needed on the other and is perforated down the middle so you can take your shopping list with you and put your meals list on the fridge.

Each week I try and include a variety of dishes and one new recipe. I also sometimes make double of a dish so that we have enough for two nights. This week our meals include:

Tuesday – Pastizio (a type of pasta bake)
Wednesday – Paprika beef skewers and creamy potato salad
Thursday – Pastizio (a type of pasta bake)
Friday – Out for dinner
Saturday – Prosicutto wrapped sage chicken and green salad
Sunday – Mushroom and steak sandwiches
Monday – Potato and aspagargus tart with tomato and bocconcini salad

What’s your family’s favourite weeknight meal?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Weekend Reads

This pile of books on my little sidetable (most of them library loans) is what I'm going to be reading/flicking my way through over the weekend (in addition to vacuuming, dusting, mopping, potting some plants and baking!!)...

The Longest Trip Home - John Grogan
Top 100 Baby Purees - Annabel Karmel
The Creative Family - Amanda Blake Soule
Children's Parties - Rose Hammick & Charlotte Packer
Blogging For Bliss - Tara Frey
ebay Photos That Sell - Dan Gookin & Robert Birnbach
Real Living Magazine (January/February issue)

If you're looking for a new blog read, then head over to Rubies Place and Le Bonheur, two lovely blogs I discovered this week. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Night Owl Or Early Bird?

Before Grace was born, especially when I was pregnant, I used to be a real night owl. I loved working away into the late hours or curling up with a book, promising myself ‘just one more chapter’ before lights out. Since Grace has arrived, my daily routine has switched somewhat and now I love nothing more than getting out of bed early, just as the sun is beginning to cast it’s glow over our garden.

For me, this time of the day is my chance to sit at the computer, cup of tea in hand and do some blog browsing before Grace wakes. Following her morning feed, we sit out on the patio and have breakfast together and then Grace is more than happy to sit in her high chair watching me water the pot plants or hang out washing before we head out for the morning. It really is such a lovely time to be outside before the summer heat sets in for the day. How about you – are you a night owl or an early bird?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Elk Accessories Jewellery

Images from here

I’ve been admiring the jewellery by Melbourne based Elk Accessories for some time now and am thinking of buying one of their lovely pieces with the Christmas money my Nanna gave me. Now to decide which one is my favourite... at the moment the adjustable drop necklace is the front runner. Does anyone else have any jewellery by Elk Accessories?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Weekend Wedding Blog Inspiration

How are you all enjoying the weekend? I’ve been enjoying catching up on all the blog posts I’d missed over the busy Christmas period.

Of all the blogs I follow, a few are wedding blogs. I have always enjoyed looking at these as I like browsing through the colour combinations, mood boards and styling ideas but I felt like I was wasting my precious blog browsing time considering my own wedding was back in 2005. However, a post I read on decor8 a while back reconfirmed my initial thought, that wedding blogs can provide decorating inspiration for homes too.

Two of my favourites are Wedding Style Guide and Style Me Pretty. Wedding Style Guide is a great Australian blog. I especially like their free downloads page here for bits and pieces that can be adapted to other entertaining events and parties. I also like Style Me Pretty for ideas on different colour palettes and floral arrangements. I've included some of my favourite images from each on this post.

Images 1 & 2 from here
Images 3 & 4 from here

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Image by John Paul Urizar via here

Happy New Year to all my lovely blogging friends! Thanks for giving me so much inspiration via your blogs, for the great posts you all share and for the kind comments you leave me. Looking forward to more blogging fun with you all in 2010!