Friday, 31 October 2008

sneak peek: real living christmas issue

Christmas is all wrapped up!

Santa is coming! And so is our Christmas issue. It's out Monday, so pick it up for pages and pages of gift ideas, wrapping paper, entertaining, decorating, recipes and also for tips on how to survive all of the above. I'll try and post some of my fave pages next week - there is a beautiful house feature I'm in love with. And don't forget to check out the website for a few freebie* downloads - a Chrissy countdown planner and stencil templates to make cards from - and a few other ideas and projects.
* Freebies might be a tad late in going live as poor old designers on constant deadline with a gazillion things to do. I'm sure my harassment for extra work was just what they needed! Sorry guys!

Time to... pick your chrissy cards (can you believe it?)

Chrissy cards in everything from cool retro designs to so-Aussie beach style

What with putting up my Christmas tree at the weekend (and taking it down again. Check out the website Monday for pics and a completely awesome and totally insightful interview I did with myself. ha!) reading this month's Christmas issue of Real Living, writing about tree decorations and uploading yummy turkey recipes to the website, I'm very much in the Christmas mood! I've even kinda started shopping - so far though, for myself. So when the lovely Natalie Sullivan who designed and printed Layla's birth announcements for me emailed to tell me her shop had gone live and she was adding Chrissy cards to her range, I figured now is as good a time as ever for a gentle reminder that now is the time to get cracking on ordering personalised Christmas cards.

Sweet and simple.

For years I've attempted to do the Christmas photo card and every year they go out with a photo stuffed inside, but this year, I just might get my act together and actually get a family pic put on a card. Especially because we still haven't had a decent family-of-four photo! I love this one, above, from Natalie. Sweet and simple. And there's nothing quite like receiving a customised card - you feel oh-so-special when the greeting comes from the sender, not Hallmark. Check out Dizzy Wizzy Design and chat to Natalie if you'd like something different - she loves the challenge of creating something new.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

calendar event: meet Amy Butler!

Amy Butler travelling stylishly to Aus (oh ok, these are clearly not travel bags but gift bags from her new line, see below)

Queen of the textile and design world, everyone's fave domestic goddess, Amy Butler, is coming to Australia! And if you live in Melbourne or Sydney (or are willing to travel to either city), you can pick her creative brain - in the flesh! Living Creatively, Highland Quiltworks and XLN Fabrics have joined forces to organise two inspiring evenings with Amy in November where her latest designs and publications will be revealed and her cleverness deconstructed.
All the important stuff:
Melbourne: Thursday, November 13 2008 in the Carillon Room from 7pm at the Sofitel Melbourne
Sydney: Thursday, November 20 2008 in the Adelaide Room from 7pm at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth

Want to go? You must book now as places are limited. Tickets are $45 and include drinks and canap├ęs. You can find all the info, plus book online, here at Living Creatively. Shame I live so far away. And have a baby. And am too much of a wuss to leave the baby behind and go. Does anyone have plans to go? Would love to hear all about it if you do. And if any of her genius rubbed off onto you!

Gorgeous wrapping just in time for Christmas

And on the subject of Amy, she's recently released and eco-friendly range of gift wrap, bags and tags as well as an eco line of pretty paper partyware. Giftwrap Green is 100% recycled while the party line is printed with 100% soy ink and can also be reused themselves thanks to a water-soluble coating. The range is so pretty you will seriously never be able to use regular paper plates again. And might even consider replacing your plain white dinnerware with them! Check it all out here at her site.

Have you seen prettier paper partyware? All images from Amy's site

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Room with a (fake) view

Image from VT Wonen

Here's a new way to dress up a boring wall. Wallpaper of COURSE features, but I really mean this very cool fake window picture. Cute, huh? I especially love the casualness of it pegged to a floating branch with bulldog clips, although I have no doubt this "casual" look was a rather well-thought out plan and not as easy as it looks to put together. A bit like all the make-up you use to get the "natural look!" A great idea if you'd like more windows or a cheeky window covering!

Friday, 24 October 2008

a pretty pic for friday

I want the chair! Pic from Holly's Flickr

I've been following Holly from Decor8's adventures in Germany from the start on her other blog Haus Maus and love all she's achieved there. But I'm now dying to peek inside her New Hampshire, US, home after seeing this snapshot of her living room. Lovely, isn't it? I'll just let you admire the prettiness and hopefully I'll be back blogging properly next week. I have a fun-filled weekend ahead: am putting up my Christmas tree - yes, two months early - but it's all work-related, not because I'm a Christmas nut. Am photographing it for the Christmas special on the Real Living website from next month. Enjoy your own weekend! x

Thursday, 23 October 2008

thursday eye candy

I love that their precious daughter is on the wall instead of precious art! Pics from What We Do

This house is heaven. Who knew I could love brights so much? See the grand tour here

I like the idea of shelves just off the floor - makes the room seem more spacious

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Inspired Wednesday: wallpapered buffet

The wire bowl of wool is a cute decor idea for the crafty kids. Image from Elle Interior

My name is Belinda and I'm a wallpaper addict (which is rather odd considering the only wallpaper in my house is on a chest of drawers, in a picture frame and covering a canvas - not actually on a wall). It's been five days since my last post on the subject, but this was too pretty to not share. If you couldn't handle Cole & Son's Cow Parsley on a whole wall, why not do it on the cupboard doors of a buffet? Great idea for a less-than-glamourous second-hand one. Right, back to work for me. x

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

tiny blog hiatus

No, I won't be relaxing in a tub on my blog hiatus, I'll still be glued to the computer, only for work only. Apologies, I'm not sure where I found this pic, but I absolutely love it. I especially love the Moroccan wedding blanket - it's on the top of my "things to buy from overseas if our dollar ever recovers" list!

Just a quick note to say my posts will be minimal for the next week or so. I've just started back at work after four months of maternity leave and am quickly running out of time to get the Real Living website all set to go live on November 3 (it's a special Christmas issue). And just in case it was way too easy adjusting to working life from home with two small babies, I also took on a rather large freelance job due at the same time (I like a challenge!!). I do work best under pressure, but I've got a lot going on here so I'll just be posting pretty pics on both blogs for a while, starting with this beautiful bathroom pic. And trying really, really hard to not search google, etsy or all your fabulous blogs and websites for anything other than work-related! But keep tuning in, please, and I'll be back properly soon. xxx

i'm a winner!

Proof I'm a winner. And lovely! hehe. Hmm, never noticed how horribly off-centre the middle of my banner is! Oops.

Whoo hoo! After stumbling upon a lovely little competition at the La La Lovely Things blog, I gave my two-cents worth of advice and was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the top three AND drawn out as the winner! My prize? Aside from the satisfaction in helping someone, talking decor and meeting a nice new blogger - Trina McNeilly - I also scored a Made By Girl poster. Yippee! I think I'll go with the LOVE for my lovely Layla. Then my kids will have his "n" her Made By Girl posters in their room (Zak has the personlised ABC). Sweet!

Thanks a bunch to Trina for the competition - she was after ideas for revamping her family room. Here were a few of my suggestions and picture inspiration. To see what she ends up doing to her space, keep checking her blog. She's also promised more giveaways so keep your interior decorator hat nearby!

Trina's fireplace

Inspiration & suggestions: paint the whole wall the same colour as the brick - mantle top included. Balance out the imbalanced placing of the fireplace with a rustic bucket of chopped firewood on the right in that little corner with a few pics propped up against the brick behind it - you don’t need to buy anything; get your kids to draw something and frame that (and they’ll get a kick out of it too!) On top of the mantle, group a whole heap of samey objects - again like in the picture - on the left-hand side. I love these white things and it could easily be achieved by grabbing a heap of cool-shaped cups, vases, objects from a thrift store (or around your house) and spray painting them the same colour. I’m going to do this in white in my own place for my new recessed shelves. One day… I’d prop something large - a canvas or big frame just off centre to the right with a few framed pictures in front and to the end. Mix up your frames with your “Ms” and add to the collection like in the pic below or grab some cheapie plywood ones and customise them yourself. On the left-hand side a few pics just stuck on the wall casually - maybe a group of three (odd always looks better than even) different sized pictures; they don’t even have to be framed. Picture from Domino (this was one of my fave houses from Domino!)

A cute collection of "E"s. Image from Urban Grace Interiors

Trina's shelves

Inspiration & suggestions: go nuts mixing books with fave objects. I’d personally paint them white too because that way the objects would take centre stage, but as they've just been painted, maybe incorporate that greeny colour in the room with some cushions on the couch to lighten it up and a nice white throw. Pic from renovate + decorate

Trina's couch

Inspiration & suggestions: place the mirror over the couch or do the wall collage there instead with a mix of letters and picture frames. Pic from VT Wonen

My prize! LOVE poster by Made By Girl

By the way, I'm not for a moment suggesting I'm an expert on this, but if you ever want some advice or ideas for any aspect of decorating or renovation, I'm more than happy to help. It's good fun!

Monday, 20 October 2008

one more post on clever template people

Free paper flower tutorial (looks sooo simple and how beautiful is this pic?) from Dozi

Yes, I've become a little obsessed with the people behind Little Brown Pen. But it's their own fault - they've got so many great blogs between them and I've spent way too much time browsing through them and getting so many great ideas. Little Brown Pen has sooo many pretty things and Amala is perfect for my new love for all things natural, green and organic. Both have also led me to many more brilliant Etsy sellers which you'll prob hear more of soon enough. And - the reason you'll love them too - Templettes is all about the best of the best templates available on the web. Want a greeting card, business-card envelope, cheap art or apron pattern? They'll show you where to get them for next to nothing and for nothing. This is the best category: freebies! Here are a few things you can download for free, or next to it, that Templettes have discovered for you. Enjoy!

Love this "Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy" eye-chart print. From Poppytalk

Beautiful tree card from How About Orange

Cool chore chart by Little Brown Pen

and another top idea: fog and thistle's papercut templates

Made him myself. Well, not this one, but I hope mine will look this good! DIY Papercut bunny, $US2

I really need to stop with all the Etsyness or I'll go broke. Slowly though - like a few dollars at a time - as everything is priced so well, but still broke!
You've probably seen the beautiful papercut artworks by Fog and Thistle's Rachel Weber (ooh, Weber was my maiden name!) around the blogs, but did you know she's generously offering mini papercut templates for sale on her blog so you can DIY? After considering whether to buy for a whole 100th of a second, I pressed buy now for this little cutie (above) who promptly arrived in my inbox seemingly moments later. It might stay there for a little while as I'm hideously busy attempting too many other things, but I hope to get him all cut out and sitting prettily on a wall or shelf somewhere soon - stay tuned!

Not a DIY one, but one of Rachel's beautiful works, US110

I love the fact Rachel has combined her passion for papercutting with other people's passion for DIY - it's a lovely way to share what you do and is a brilliant combination. Plus, for $2, even if you're completely useless at the cutting out part, you could always print it out again and colour it in instead to create a cute little artwork, couldn't you?

Another cute DIY kit, $US2

Thanks Rachel for allowing a little of your cleverness to rub off on us less creative folk! Check out the template range plus more intricate papercut art for sale by Rachel at her Etsy shop, more printable stationery by her at her other store, Along the Dotted Line and her blog.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

wish it was my idea... little brown pen's printable stationery

The simple and stylish 2009 calendar ($US5!) everyone I know will probably get this year! From Little Brown Pen

Have decided Etsy is probably going to be THE place for Christmas presents for me this year - to give and receive! I was looking for a nice calendar (it's hard to fine good ones in shops) and this was the first one that popped up - sold! Not just because it's simply stylish, but because for $5 I can print it out myself over and over and over again and give to everyone!

Sweet tweeties stationery set, $US4

The seller is Little Brown Pen and they sell printable stationery which is such a genius idea - you hand over a few dollars and they email you a PDF with card templates, all-in-one-notepaper-and-envelope, calendar or colouring-in cards. You can then do whatever you like - print out the templates and use as the stationery, cut up and frame, use in craft or other artsy projects whenever you like, as many times as you like. The prices are minimal because you do the printing yourself and there's no shipping so it's the closest you can get to instant shopping gratification online!

Printable colouring cards, $US3

I of course couldn't just stop at the calendar and also grabbed this cute little blue-bird stationery set (am going to use the gift tags for Chrissy presents) and the colouring in card set for Zak's birthday: can use them for invites, games, gift bags etc... They also have a few Christmassy styles which you must check out!

Holiday birds stationery set - get all your Chrissy cards and tags sorted for a whole $US4 (plus the paper to print it on obviously!)

What's more is, if I ever need a birthday card, thank you card, how-you-going-card or gift tag, they'll be on my computer ready for me to print send. Am so impressed with this idea!

Friday, 17 October 2008

i could happily call any of these places home...

This is EXACTLY how I want my kitchen and dining area to look. Only it won't. Cause I have dark floors. And dark furniture... But I will hopefully have a similar kitchen - anyone have any idea what they've done with their benchtops? Are they limewashed or just birch? husband? Not so much. I get in trouble when I talk about "white this, white that". So I have to get my white fix elsewhere. Thankfully, I finally found some time recently to delve into Skona Hem's lovely site and check out their house tours. Skona Hem is a Swedish magazine and of course the interiors it features are what the Swedes do best: white, bright and airy with pale wood and oodles of style. So, here's what I copied into my moodboard folder for future-house inspiration. Enjoy and happy weekend.

Any colour pops against a white backdrop, like this yummy turquoise...

...and cool red chandelier...

...and cheery yellow pieces

There is something about an Eames chair that turns any space into a stylish one. Must be why they're a classic!

Wicked wicker

My hubby is a huge spiral-staircase fan. I love white and pretty things. This could be the perfect combination!

How awful to have this view!

Warm wood stops the white from becoming sterile

Black chairs + white table = super style

Perfect for growing girls

Oh to have these windows; this kitchen; this light!

theatrical wallpaper

Nope, it's not a professionally styled pic from the website, it's the Circus Silhouette in a real room! Check out more here

In case you hadn't heard, set and costume designer Catherine Martin (the woman behind the glamour of Moulin Rouge!) has partnered with Porter's Paints to release a range of bold and beautiful wallpapers. Stripes, flowers, birds and my fave - little circus silhouettes - could be adorning your walls sometime soon. It's sometimes hard to imagine a style in a room setting as usually the examples are shot up close with minimal styling to let the wallpaper shine. But I just posted a beautiful nursery tour at Mini Meez which shows the red circus silhouettes in a real room (part of which is pictured, above) and I must say I'm impressed! Here is a looky at some of the other prints in her collection. What do you think?

The blue version. The stripes are also part of the collection

Catherine Martin Eucalyptus in blue

Catherine Martin Lace Medallion in Aniseed

Catherine Martin Lyrebird in Grey Green

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

loving... anna whitford cushions

Such prettiness! It's hard to pick a fave...

Blast the Aussie dollar and the whole-world financial collapse, it makes international purchases a bit more of a bugger with us having to mortgage our homes to be able to buy pretty things... But if your wallet is healthier than mine or you live in the UK where the pound is not such a shock, you must check out these beautiful cushions by Anna Whitford.

...but I think this one wins! White side daisy, 54 pounds

A beautiful pressie from bridesmaids to the bride: gerbera ring cushion, FREE! No, not really, but there is no price on the site!

Classic black and white: white waterlilly on black, 66 pounds. All pretty pics from Anna Whitford

Sooo pretty! I especially love her wedding ring cushions. If my youngest sister ever gets married (they're taking it slow - only been together for TWELVE years) then I'll be getting her the gerbera one - after the rings are handed over so stylishy, it'll be a lovely addition to their home and constant reminder of their big day. Sweet!