Tuesday, 30 December 2008

out now: jan/feb issue

The Jan/Feb cover: my new fave!

Hope everyone had a lovely Chrissy and that you were all spoilt rotten. Am still on a break but had to pop on to let you know the Jan/Feb issue is out now and show off a few pages. Aren't they lovely?

Decorating with driftwood. I actually starting collecting pieces today down the road to possibly do one of these projects. But they're still sitting on the sand because I forgot about them!

Shopping for your bedroom: 3 looks

Folktastic! For a huge shopping guide for all things folk, go here

How to find your own style - from moodboard to room

And of course this means that the site has also changed so head to http://www.reallivingmag.com.au/ for great links, projects like how to make a giftwrap bedhead, a folk shopping guide, beach beauty, yummy summer recipes and a refreshing fruity margarita and a real reader's nursery makeover. Also, there is a free carpet bag pattern download that Amy Butler herself raved about while in Oz in November and an entry form for the British Paints competition where you could win one of five $1000 paint packs. Phew.

Style my... outdoor chill-out space. This was fun: I love, love the range of outdoor fabrics I found (7) and that beautiful recycled plastic rug (3). I have one of these chairs (2), footstool (6) and chimes(4), so I guess I was a little influenced by my own outdoor chill-out zone! And the tyre tub is on my to-buy list to stash the multitude of bats and balls and outdoor toys Zak keeps accumulating! Go here to find out where to buy all these items.

These last couple of months I've started a "style my..." section where I've had fun putting together little collections for a room. Last month I did style your party table; this month it's style your outdoor chill-out space. Ideally I'd love this space to be budget-friendly so I'm thinking things like "style my living room for less than $2000" just for the challenge. Is there anything you'd love me to try? A particular room? Colourway? Theme? Budget? Let me know!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

have a peaceful christmas

Isn't this adorable? From Brenda Leann's Flickr

Well guys, I'd planned to blog about so much before the break - gift guides, round up of 2008 trends and predictions for next year - but I am only one person with many hats and work, motherhood, chores and life in general seemed to get in the way. So, I'm taking my break now (not really, I'm working up until Dec 29 when the next upload goes live) and will be back early Jan for a new year. Unless of course I get bored or have something to share! I'm determined to find my way around Flickr this holidays, so check me out here - I'll attempt to get that sorted with pics of my place and what I've been up to on my break.

Yay! Blog awards for me!

Before I go... I was awarded two "Love your blog" awards recently - one by Jo Girl and the other from Ish & Chi, so big thanks for those! I'm meant to pass it on to six bloggers I happen to love, but I'm going to do it a little differently. Instead, I thought I'd hand out some virtual Chrissy gifts to my most regular haunts. I've come across a gazillion brilliant blogs this year and check out dozens every week, but there are a handful in my daily rotation - most of which I'm sure you also regularly check out. So here are the women who've inspired me, entertained me, made me laugh, taught me things, become my blogging friends or just kept me in touch with what's happening outside of the design world- and a few things I thought each blogger would like to receive. Of course, it'd be much nicer to receive them for real, but... it's the thought that counts, right?!

Merry Christmas... Holly Becker of Decor8 and Haus Maus
Holly's Decor8 inspired me to blog regularly. She packs it with so many inspiring images, thoughts and information every single day and is so nice and sweet on top of it! Then she went and started up a second blog documenting the decoration of her German apartment and she's put me to shame. In just a few months she's achieved more than I have in five years! But I love her eclectic style and eye from what I've seen in both her homes. It's been fun following her journey, during which I've discovered she has a thing for owls. So here is a lovely Letterpressed owl print from Bespoke Press (whose store has just opened and who has a great blog too, check it out!)

Merry Christmas.... Danielle de Lange of The Style Files
I know I'm going to see something beautiful when I log on to Danielle's blog. She has exquisite taste that I wish would rub off on to me via the internet! She's a stylist, a web store owner, a blogger, a corporate girl and has just added removator to her list of talents - I hope she invites us into her new world of dust and dramas as she makes her gorgeous little farmhouse just outside of Amsterdam a home. I thought she might love this beaded storage box by Attia. White, handmade, glam beads. Perfect! Maybe even something for her to stock in Le Souk!?

Merry Christmas.... Trina McNeilly of La La Lovely Things
I'm a newish reader of Trina's blog but have found myself returning daily. It's warm and friendly and filled with all things pretty. And I love finding out interesting things about people, like that her father is a newspaper man - just like my hubby and me in a previous life (well, I was a newspaperwoman! We met in shorthand class. Everyone say ahhh). Trina represents my all things girlie side - think chandeliers, flowers and pink. I think she'd love this chandelier stationery set from Pink Paris Design.

Merry Christmas... Jennifer Ramos of Made By Girl
I live my bright, bold and colourful side through Jen! I'm not brave enough to do it in my own home so enjoy the oodles of colour she features on her blog and in her work. I now have two of her artworks - the ABC and LOVE poster - and I'm sure there is room for more! I thought I'd found a unique store in Cox & Cox and had copied this cushion into my folder a while back for this very blog post and then Holly goes and blogs about it yesterday and ruins it for me - hmph! Hehe. But here it is anyway, I know how much Jen loves her Union Jacks!

Merry Christmas... Amanda of Swish and Swanky
I found Amanda via my own blog! And she quickly became a regular for me too. Her posts are a mix of personal and inspirational and she had a genius idea these past few weeks to feature a range of different bloggers and how they celebrate Chrissy. I was honoured to be a part and thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone's responses. For Amanda I think this adorable little put-it-together-yourself felt birdhouse from Lola et Moi would be perfect - for her or her daughter's room.

Merry Christmas... Danielle of Danimezza
Danielle was my very first commenter and huge supporter of this blog from the beginning. From her incredibly interesting career choices to her love for her hubby to her battle with that horrid "I" word mums-wanting-to-be shudder at the thought of (and of which I can relate) to her dinner party table settings, she writes about everything and anything in her life - a true blogger I'd say! I know she collects turquoise glass and you just can't beat a Dinosaur Designs turquoise vase, so this one is for her!

Merry Christmas... Viv of Ish & Chi
I haven't known Viv all that long either but her nursery decroration sold me - this girl has style! She's just given birth to adorable baby Robbie but still finds time to blog about all things pretty, her eBay and market scores and her painting. Her red and white nursery is adorable and I thought this beautiful so-soft Luna Ninos blanket might make a lovely addition to it!

Merry Christmas... Mia Freedman of Mamamia
Not design related at all (in fact she's rather anti-homewares and renovations!) but my daily read for celebrity snippets and fashion eye candy which saves me from the painful Perez Hilton-type blogs I can't handle any more. Her life musings and family-life stories are always amusing and relatable and of all the blogs I read, she's the only one I've actually met in person (aside from Deb and Nat of course, but current colleagues don't count) - she was my former boss. Seeing as she's been wondering lately if Nicole Kidman's plastic-like face is really due to sunscreen as the actress claims, I thought this Nic doll by Noel Cruz would be the perfect tongue-in-cheek gift for her to spot the differences. One could argue the doll is more lifelike! Ha! (Oh and you must check out the other celebrity dolls he's created. Spooky how much they resemble the actors.)

And finally, Merry Christmas... every single one of you who's visited me here or at mini meez, commented on a post, emailed me personally, helped me, promoted me and inspired me.
It's been a joy being part of such a nice blogging community (unlike some others I've visited at times) and to thank you all, here are some little gifts for you too, beautifully wrapped by Rebecca Thuss. The gifts inside are whatever you wish them to be! So go on, treat yourself to something nice, you so deserve it! And I invite you all to give virtual gifts this year to your current faves - it's rather fun picking invisible gifts (within a realistic budget!) you think they'd like even when you don't know them that well. And if you do do, come back here and tell me so I can peek at what you've come up with.

Until 2009, have a fab, fun, safe and happy silly season.
Belinda x

corners of my home: zak + layla's room

Boy + girl = pastels, apparently!

So I've finally figured out what I'm going to do in this room, I'll be working on it during the holidays, but here is a little peek at one corner. They're not both in there just yet. Zak has partially graduated to a big boy's bed (he's fine in it during the day, but ends up in cot at night at the moment) and Layla started sleeping in there in his cot during the day yesterday, which was interesting. So I'm slowly starting to merge their things. Here is where the Made By Girl LOVE poster I won ended up (thanks Trina!). It's going to be a bit of a challenge and a lot of fun (hopefully!) creating a combined space for a boy and a girl. Wish me luck!

Zakky's side features a Dazey Chic print, painted MDF dinosaur and (much-loved and therefore filthy dirty) knitted teddy my Nana made him.

Layla's half: ballet shoes, Belle & Boo print, an "L" I customised and paper butterflies.

The deer head is from Hart & Heim, the cow money box from Fragile and the wooden truck was $8 from Vinnies!

loving... lovestamp!

Always with me - my babies!

Much love and big thanks goes out to Jo Petrie who's just opened two web stores selling gorgeous handmade stamped jewellery. I came home from Canberra last week to a mailbox full of bills (and a few fines, too. grr). But there was one lovely package in amongst all that: this gorgeous necklace she made and sent to me as a gift featuring my adorable children's names. I was very touched at the gesture and have worn it every day since. She said she'd sent some out to women who've inspired her, which is a gift in itself to think I've managed to do that to anyone at all amongst my ramblings!
So, Jo, I'm sending you hugs through the web and hopefully some visitors and customers too. Check her store out - Made it for Australia and New Zealand customers and Etsy for the rest of the world - she has various designs, all customisable, all sterling silver, all lovely. Great as gifts or just to treat yourself to a little reminder of those you love and those who love you back. Sweet. Jo also has a great blog Jo Girl's Journey so swing by and say hi.

Friday, 12 December 2008

dream chrissy decor

I'm ba-ack! Turns out my mini break ended up being a sick-children-and-therefore-no-sleep-break so I didn't get too much work done. But it was good fun spending some time with my parents and being spoilt as only parents can do!

Lovely Amanda at Swish and Swanky invited me to be a part of her "My Christmas" segment of blog posts this week where she gets other bloggers to share how they spend their Christmas, their shopping spots and decor ideas. One of her questions was "your decorating wish". My answer was to live in the Northern Hempisphere for a year so I'd get to decorate to in that earthy, white and wintery way that the Scandinavian's do so well. I sent off some pics I loved of how my dream decoration would be - here is the rest of one of the sets. In reality? Nothing like it! Maybe next year... You can read all about my Chrissy here and see an incredibly dodgy pic of my tree as it was last night, complete with bare patch where a paper dove must have flown away without my knowing!

Aren't they sweet? All images are from Inside Photo. Thanks Amanda for the invite - it's a great idea and so nice to see how others spend their chrissy.

So what do you have planned this year??

Monday, 8 December 2008

mini break!

hello lovelies,
Just a quick note to say I'm heading off to our nation's capital for the week to spend some time with my parents... translation: I have a HEAP of stuff to do and need a live-in nanny! hehe. So I'm taking a break from blogging but will be back next week. So have a lovely few days - I'm guessing what with all the Christmas shopping, meal planning, parties and end-of-work-year-stuff to sort out, you won't miss me anyway! Back soon.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Get a gripp(iks) of this!

No messy wallpaper paste! Dress up the back of a bookshelf and sides of magazine files...

Like a good quarter or so of the world's population, you have an Ikea Expedit cubed storage system, a Lack coffee table, a Billy bookcase or a Malm chest of drawers. Right? Now, while Ikea Hacker blog has some fabulous customisable ideas, you just don't have the time, energy or creative ability to personalise your own. Correct? But you'd like to give it a teeny tiny bit of pattern or colour or both. Yes? Well then, if you can peel and stick, you can give your Ikea pieces a new look. Independent Australian company Grippiks Surface Accents (not related to the Ikea group, by the way, just huge fans!) sell patterned films pre-cut to fit a range of Ikea's most popular pieces (such as the above). Unlike decals, these stick to a surface through suction, not glue, so there are no bubbles, but they can still be repositioned and removed easily. And if you likey, they're available to buy online only and ship worldwide. Here are some more ideas...

...or the front of a dresser...

...or your bedside table drawers...

...or the storage boxes in your Expedit...

...or the tops of your tables. All images from Grippiks

Thursday, 4 December 2008

paula's "made it myself" advent calendar

Paula's version of Lisa Tilse's advent calendar

After posting about Lisa Tilse's clever advent calendar tutorial, I was all set to do it myself. Until a thing called time was robbed from me by work, renovations, babies and life in general. But I was happy to see someone had given it a go - a reader, Paula, emailed me a pic of her completed calendar and she's done such a great job, I had to share. And guess what? It even fits with my Ikea theme - she used Ikea paper! She says the cones are filled with little packets of sultanas which are a hit with her son. Snaps for Paula - it looks great!

Maybe I'll have more time to try it next year. This year, though, we used a rather large Santa Claus face my mother bought for Zak's first Christmas with little pockets in his beard. Considering he was a month old for his first one, and just one at his second, it hadn't got much real use. This year, though, Zak searches for the right number and is delighted with his "yummy yummy snaaake". So not quite as stylish as Lisa and Paula's, but super-excitment for him (and us, of course!). Except I've had to pop all the treats in the fridge and place in the appropriate numbered pocket minutes before he does it because ALL day he pulls on the beard and repeatedly yells out the next number, hoping I'll let him do it because he knows what to expect now. Little bugger!

The latest crafty project from The Red Thread's Lisa Tilse

Oh, and on the subject of Lisa: she's also created this beautiful Chrissy wreath too! You can check out the tutorial right here

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

save or splurge: cool coffee table

Verve coffee table in light oak, $795, Globe West. Image by Tim James/Real Living magazine

So the thing I spotted while on my hurried path to the kitchen department at Ikea on Friday was the new Vejmon coffee table. It reminded me so much of the Globe West one we've used several times in real living but for a quarter of the price. And with a bonus handy shelf. It comes in dark brown/black in a coffee table and side table. I hope they add a dining table (without the shelf, obviously) because then it'd be just like the one in the first kitchen in the below post. And I LOVE that table. So, to compare: you can get the very lovely and original (I think?) Globe West version for $795 OR you can get this very similar one from good old Ikea for $199. The side table is only $129. I personally prefer the Globe West one, but it's nice to know there is a cheaper way to get the look.

Vejmon coffee table, $199, Ikea

Vejmon side table, $129, Ikea

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

my kitchen: update

I wish I could say this is it, but nope, mine is still how it was a month ago only with less cupboard doors and more ants (does anyone else have this problem? What is going on with the ant invasion?) This, however, is a rather lovely looking kitchen from our October issue. Image by Dan Magree/Real Living magazine

Before I start, you just might think this week's lot of posts is sponsored by Ikea, but for the record, they're not! There just happens to be a whole lot of Ikea-related things to write about, so I thought I'd cram them all into one week.

On Friday I convinced my parents to come all the way up from Canberra to meet me at Ikea and help me get my head around the whole kitchen design thing. Well, they were coming up to Sydney anyway, but I used the babies as bait so they'd make a detour to Ikea. So mum babysat Zak and Layla and I put my blinkers on again and bypassed all the cool stuff and headed straight to the kitchen department (I did spot one thing - tomorrow - but that's because it was right in front of me. I swear I didn't look to the side once.)

It was rather helpful having Dad along - I can't imagine doing this with someone who hasn't done it before. He had clever inside knowledge such as how the wall microwave cabinets they have aren't deep enough for a lot of microwaves so I should just get a normal base cabinet and smaller door. And how the Gripp handles will avoid a repetition of my wardrobe handle debacle because unlike most handles you just screw them into the side of the door instead of drilling through it. And how I can use any size wall cabinet for the fan cause he'll adapt it. And that yes, I can use two small wall cabinet frames (because they're not as deep as the base ones) on the end of one bench side as open shelves into the dining room. Excellent.

I also - finally - put to good use a commenter's suggestion from way back and took a stick of wood in my wall paint colour to match the colour. On my last Ikea trip I was horrified to discover that the Applad white is actually not that white at all, rather a cream. However, it seems my Whisper White paint is also not that white and so the two together should come up a rather good match after all. So it's back to Applad! With Gripp handles. And birch wood benchtops. And a stainless steel sink with mixer tap. And if Domayne can't beat a price on the appliances, it'll be their ceramic cooktop, silver oven and rangehood too.

This almost made me want to reverse my materials, but I have a feeling - as lovely as it is - the wood bottoms will date quicker than white. Image by Dan Magree/Real Living magazine

So, if my estimations are correct (oh please let them be!) I'll be forking out around $2350 for cabinets, $2018 for benchtops, plinths, legs, handles, sink, cover panels, taps, and $1310 for the appliances. A total of $5678. My carpenter quoted me $3650 for all the other stuff (ripping it out, putting in a new window, resheeting the walls, the plasterer, the plumber and electrician) so that brings it all to a grand total of: $9328 which is UNDER the $10,000 budget we set out to do. Oh, hang on I forgot to add the dishwasher, but still, close enough. We can afford more, but why go crazy when I'm happy with this? Plus, we won't be here forever, so I can design and do my dream kitchen in the next place if it doesn't have it already.

My only drama was that when I checked the stock availability at Ikea I noticed some base cupboards and oven cabinet weren't in stock. I was all ready to call them to ask when they can expect more in when I discovered this nifty little tool: Ikea Webchat. It's like instant messenger - you ask a question, they answer rather quickly, and I found out the actual frames are in, it's the doors that aren't in stock, but they'll be in in a week and a half. Everything now rests on when I can get my electricty box upgraded because it's not going to be able to handle anything else and I'm not keen on finding out what will happen if it gets overloaded.

Soo, it finally looks to be happening. In fact in needs to be happening because my little '50s kitchen is literally falling apart: the cold water tap came off a while back and we didn't bother fixing it because "we were doing the kitchen soon". And then the other day the door under the sink fell off. We discovered that one tiny nail (not even a screw!) had been holding it on for the past five years. I think it was tired of holding up the fort and just gave up. Damn good job though. So, yes, it's time!

In celebration of my near kitchen renovation, I thought I'd share these pictures of two pretty kitchens from recent issues of Real Living I'm adding to our website's brand spakin' new image gallery (from next month, fingers crossed!) Aren't they lovely?

Monday, 1 December 2008

happy tree putting up day!

Today is December 1 and usually the day to get decorating, twinkling and counting down the sleeps until the big jolly fat man eats all your cookies (oh, and leaves a few pressies under said decorated tree). I thought this little video by Little Brown Pen was a cute way to get you into the Christmas spirit - cheery song, flying objects and great inspiration for gifts and wrapping for a bunch of people for just $10. Can't beat that! That said, I still have a few more days before I put my tree up. My dad is German so we've always done it on the 6th (St Nick's birthday) so will continue the tradition with my own kids. And if you're like me and haven't popped it up yet, here are a few pretty things you might want to grab to decorate it with...

Set of six bone china finials, $120, Have You Met Miss Jones

Plywood snowflakes, $11 set for two, Venucci

Set of three laser-cut felt deers, $11.95, Mozi

Handmade ceramic Christmas baubles, $12.95 each, Paper Boat Press at Biome