Friday, November 30, 2012

If You Wait...

I'm not normally a fan of so called "inspirational words" but this from Stacy Risenmay courtesy of Pink Wallpaper struck a cord.
Not only have I been guilty (in a minor way) of this sort of thing myself, but over the years I've watched as would be clients have divorced whilst waiting to make their dream home everything they dreamt it would be. And their children have grown up and left home before they got their own bedrooms, decorated the way they wanted, simply because they and their parents wanted way too much.
Sometimes the best decorating is achieved when you need to be extra creative by stretching a small budget as far as it will go. This is when you make do with what you have, re arrange, recover, remodel, and/or paint. And then you throw in a few recent purchases to give your space a new lease of life. And the best part? It feels fresh and new and it didn't cost much.
Happy Weekend.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Bedroom Online

Earlier this year, I helped our eldest son Nigel and his wife Mel, decorate their study/guest room. Mel said she liked blue and white with a touch of turquoise. Never one to be fearful of colour, I added some orange!
I am completely addicted to online shopping so decided to source as much as I could this way.
I only just got around to photographing the room over the weekend so here are some pictures and a round up of what I bought and from where.
Nigel had already painted the room white and made the navy padded headboard for the double bed. The bedside tables came from Whiteport. I chose them because I love the funky shape and glossy finish. The white Montauk bedspread and perspex tissue box (on the desk) came from there as well. The orange, navy and magenta throw came from Black & Spiro.

The room, which was once part of the original living room, is quite small but has a large window facing the street. Privacy was essential, as was warmth (they live here in the mountains) so we decided on plain but heavy, off white curtains with a navy trimmed, soft pelmet. I organised the making of the curtains because Nigel and Mel are of a generation who think such things only come in packets!

The little silver birds came from Brown Button Trading.
The lamps, onto which I glued the turquoise ric rac, came from Ikea.

To hang above the bed, I chose 3 simple, but beautiful prints from Kerri Shipp's Driftwood Interiors. Kerri does gorgeous work and is soon to launch a new website.

The old timber desk was an ebay find for $235. It was stained dark brown so I had it painted white and replaced the brass handles with chrome.
Nigel chose the office chair from Matt Blatt.

The print of the Amalfi Coast, just above the desk, as well as the orange and blue ones on the wall came form Anne Harwell's Annechovie. Again, gorgeous stuff and very reasonable postage from the US. Square ginger jar came from Ada and Darcy and orange glass pieces are from my own collection.

The clock and mirrored frame (the latter containing a picture of  Nigel, aged 16, *meeting Nelson Mandela) came from The White Shed
Not surprisingly, the cushions came from My Cushion Covers.
*In 2000, when Nelson Mandela was visiting Sydney for the Olympics, Nigel was chosen as one of a dozen or so students from around NSW, to accompany NM on a private harbour cruise. Much to their delight, the students spent the whole time listening to and talking with the great man. Truly, an unforgettable experience.

My Assistant

Tess insisted on helping me with almost every shot!!!


Friday, November 23, 2012

Flowering Today

On a cold, wet and grey day....

David Austin's L.D. Braithwaite
(awkward to photograph)

Red Pierre

Yellow Knifophias

I am so loving this rose right now. It is healthy, spreading, hardly ever without blooms (unless I cut them all) and has a gorgeous perfume.

First Daylily

First Clematis.
This is one of those long flowering types, which if fed weekly, will flower through to March.
Happy weekend!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

New in My Store

I love these fabrics in reversible cushion covers. Available with
floral suzani pattern on one side and multi coloured chevron on the reverse

 trimmed with orange
or turquoise
Available from My Cushion Covers $32.95 each
Australian postage only.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gotta Love Americans

Like most Australians, I'm rather fond of Americans. I find them extremely polite and generous to the core.  So I was amused this morning when I contacted a US company to say I had received this fabric...

instead of this one.

After we sorted out the mistake with lots of apologising spelt with a "z", I was told that as a courtesy, I could keep the flag fabric for my own use. I'm having a bit of difficulty working out just what I might do with it!

Monday, November 19, 2012

A House I Designed

The link will take you to a video from the Better Homes and Gardens TV show. The segment is about a lovely garden surrounding a house I designed in the NSW Southern Highlands. If you watch the video carefully, you can catch glimpses of the rear of the house.
BTW, the name wasn't my idea, but then neither were a lot of things! Gorgeous garden though.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Confessions of a Cakeaholic

I love eating cake but I also love making cakes. I like it when I know someone is going to visit because it gives me an excuse to bake a cake. I also like to take a cake when I visit, and something still warm from the oven usually goes down a treat.
This recipe is one of my favourites.

Orange and Almond Cake 

This is a real orange cake, not one of those trendy, bitter ones.


  • 1 Cup (220g) caster Sugar
  • 250g marzipan, cut into small chunks
  • 5 large (70g) eggs
  • 280g butter, chopped into small pieces and softened
  • finely grated zest of 2 large oranges
  • 1 tsp of orange essence
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond essence
  • 190g plain flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 4 tbsp marmalade + 2 tbsp water

  • Method

    Preheat oven to 170C. Butter or spray a 23cm round spring form pan and line with 2 layers of baking paper.
    1. Put caster sugar and marzipan chunks into food processor and whiz them together until thoroughly pulverised. Add the eggs to the processor and whiz again for 1 min. Scatter butter chunks on top and whizz for another 40 seconds or so until the mixture is light and creamy. Don't worry if the mixture looks a little curdled. Add the orange zest, essences and vanilla extract and whiz briefly to combine.
    2. Sift in flour, baking powder and salt and pulse to just combine. Do not over mix at this stage.
    3. Pour mixture into prepared tin and smooth out top. Bake for one hour or until a fine skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool cake in tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out.
    4. Place marmalade and water into small saucepan and heat until syrupy then pour over warm cake.
    5. The cake is best served warm but keeps well for a couple of days.  

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

    Climbing Roses

    New Dawn
    I love climbing roses and find them easy to grow. I can't think of a prettier way to decorate the outside of a house, garage or shed than with a gorgeous, repeat flowering, perfumed, climbing rose.  
     William Baffin
    Climbing roses resist fungal diseases better than shrub roses because they are up away from the worst of the humidity where the air can circulate freely. 
    This is 'Pinky' and 'Minata' growing both sides of the trellis in the garden next door to us. I can smell their lovely perfume through my kitchen windows.

    And this is 'Lamarque' growing over our house. Since taking this photo we have pruned it severely so we can paint, but it will only take a year or two to reach this size again.
    Lamarque is a big rose with a fresh citrus scent and blooms the colour of clotted cream.
    Also growing in my garden are 'Crepuscule' (on the left) with 'Red Pierre' on the right. There's a light blue clematis growing with Red Pierre and a dark purple one with Crep. Both are in bud and should flower soon. As I said, I love climbing roses!

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

    Companion Chair


    On the weekend Mr Gingham and I took this chair up to Russell and Nelly's at Orange. It's an Australian Jarvi chair from the 1950s which Russell bought a few months ago and I had re-covered. I forgot to take a 'before' picture but suffice to say it was covered in peach velvet!
    Forgive me for not moving the old blanket box, which is currently doing duty as a coffee table, out of the way before taking the picture.

    The table had been kicking around our loft for at least the last 10 years so I gave it to them on the condition that Russell paint it black. I was surprised to see he'd found time between work and uni to do so but was pleased he had. I love to see old furniture given a new lease of life.
    Russell and Nelly have rather conservative taste and weren't sure about the little bit of green and turquoise (which I find somewhat tame) in the cushions, but as is so often the case, they liked it when they saw it.
    Russell bought the cow hide during his jackarooing days but had never used it. I was delighted when he dragged it out (boy is it big) because it really brings the room together.
    The other side of the room still needs some attention but all in good time. They were only married a few months ago so I think they're doing pretty well.

    Friday, November 9, 2012

    Flowers for my Friend

    Yesterday morning I was out in the garden deciding which flowers I would pick to take to Colleen, my friend and hairdresser of 15 years. Four weeks ago, Colleen was admitted to palliative care and I planned on visiting her again today.
    When I came inside, there was a message from Colleen's daughter to say that my dear friend had passed away.
    Colleen was diagnosed with cancer in August 2011. Before she had finished her first round of chemo the cancer had spread and early this year she was told she had about 2 years. In July came the devastating news that her time had been revised to just a few months.
    I felt so cheated for her and can only imagine how she and her family felt. With one daughter getting married in April and another expecting a baby in January, she really needed and wanted that extra year. But it wasn't to be.

    I decided to still pick the flowers (she loved apricot and yellow roses) for Colleen and think of her everytime I look at them. I will miss her so much.

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

    Favouring Fuschia

     I don't particularly like fuchsia plants but I adore the colour.  I've always loved pink and any pink heading towards the shade of fuchsia is fine by me, especially when it's in...

    these gorgeous Coniston towels which are available here 

    and this cute print of a pink mini from Annechovie

    or this lamp from Furbish
    (I know its not practical to buy a lamp from the US but Furbish has heaps of other stuff so go have a browse) 

    and Peonies which come in many shades of pink as well as white. They are flowering now, so if you want to buy some for a reasonable price, head to your local flower markets.
    and fuchsia pink Ikat print cushion covers from my store

    plus Sedum 'Autumn Joy' pictured in my garden last Summer.