Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ruby the Red Nose Reindeer Dog

Well, folks, it's that time we call the silly season and what better way to end the year than with a silly-looking dog!

Ruby did this all by herself a couple of months ago and of course I snapped away knowing just when it might come in handy.

I hope you all have a super Christmas, merry New Year and relaxing, fun holidays. I'm taking some time off now from the blogging world and will be going away too, so you won't hear from me again until mid-January.

Take care
Jane xx

Monday, December 20, 2010

All Dressed Up!

How cute are these?

Korean cuteness by design studio Kam-kam. These are part of their Dressed-Up Furniture series.

The designers say: The theme of “Dressed-up furniture series” is to combine clothes and furniture. It will make you feel fresh by mixing the familiar elements of normal actions like fastening a button and daily furniture like stool, storage and bench.

It's like opening a Christmas parcel!

{Images via The Contemporist}

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Privacy Screens

I'm very pleased to have to say that the debacle with the kerosene in the pool has ended peacefully and no-one was hurt!

The kerosene eventually evaporated and we were able to drain away the water without incurring any extra expenses or damage (apart from mental stress!).

Our next neighbourly hurdle, however, is getting the same neighbour to agree to the details of the privacy screening we're putting on the eastern side of the deck (a condition he requested when we applied for the DA). Our builder has made and erected a mock screen so we can all see what it will look like and what we will be able to see - or more importantly not see - through it. It will be a silver metal louvre screen a little like this timber one ...

The slats will be fixed horizontally so that we cannot look down through them and will only be able to close up (giving us total privacy and protection from any wind) and if we fix the bottom three at the angle they are shown here, there is no way we'll be able to look down.

But we still get a wonderful view of the bush.
Cross fingers everyone will be happy with it!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Miniature Christmas Trees

I've solved the Christmas tree problem.

Our local gourmet deli and fruiterers has these on show on the footpath. Couldn't resist.

It can be decorated with mini baubles and placed as the centrepiece on a table or planted in a pot to grow larger or even in the garden. Which means we'll always have a Christmas tree up at the bach.

 All I gotta do is remember to water it!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Ruby-proof Christmas


I'm just watching Ruby our dog eating my daughter's toothbrush. Mmm ... yum. And wondering how we are going to get through Christmas without something special - or even not so special ie socks - getting hijacked and destroyed. (Please note Mum and Dad, when visiting, all items must be stored in the overhead locker ... I mean, anywhere out of Ruby's reach).

I've had to make the executive decision (love that phrase - makes me feel all suit-ish!) to not have a Christmas tree this year. I know, shock, horror - since we always get a large, real, fir Christmas tree and decorate it like mad, inhaling its gorgeous smell. But no, this year we will sadly have to make do with a fake table-top tree.

This is, I might add, partly because we will be up at the bach which is so cosy that a full-size tree would take up most of the living space and require the removal of furniture. But it's also because Ruby would have a field day with the decorations, the presents, the water keeping the tree alive and the tree itself.

Cue: every possible decoration we have that can be hung, placed up high or strung somewhere out of reach. You'd think I had a toddler roaming around! So, I've retrieved the large box of decorations that has been stored in the garage since we moved house and I'll get the girls to work when we go up the coast on the 18th!

What are you doing for Christmas decos this year? Has anyone got some original, nifty, unique takes on decorating for the festive season?

P.S Check out the blog where I sourced the image above - it may be a year old but it has some great ideas for original Christmas tree ideas ie magazine-style and post-it note-style!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Keep Calm and Get Even!

Since my last post on Knucklehead Neighbour's wrongdoings I 've spent a good deal of time breathing in and out slowly and deeply in order to stay calm. You know how it goes. Breathe in. Breathe out. Pretend you are full of lightness and serenity. But then go grrrr really loudly.

I have also informed the council of Knucklehead Neighbour's activity, as they are currently looking over a Section 96 Application we had to submit regarding privacy screenings (which was all because of Knucklehead Neighbour I might add). And I've asked our lawyer what to do next - which is basically to find out in detail from the builder if the kerosene will fully evaporate, whether it could damage the concrete in the pool and then affect the tiling process. If there are going to be extra expenses, then we can send Knucklehead Neighbour a nice wee letter from our lawyer saying that if he trespasses again we'll call the police and that he must bear the full cost of any costs to do with removing the kerosene.

Our lawyer even suggested I blog about it and let everyone know how Knucklehead solicitor behaves after hours and I said, already on to it!
Now I'd like to end on a nicer note: pictures from the living space on the second level. This eastern view of the bush and trees above the rooftops from the deck, was exactly the vista we were hoping to get from the kitchen/living area.

Then if you step back into the middle of the living area and swivel to your left, this is the view you get. Most of what you see here is the deck - didn't realise quite how big it would be but I'm not complaining!

If you do another swivel to your left, you then face what will be the kitchen. You can faintly see a painted green line which is where the splashback will be in glass with a vista of bamboo that will be planted below in front of the fence.

Turn left again and at the end of this timber yard-looking space is where the TV room will be.

And last shot: on the side deck from the living looking back at the master bedroom and lots of lovely foliage!

Before I go I have to thank Trish from A Dream House for Trish for two things:

1) Knucklehead Neighbour's nickname - nice, and
2) For giving my novel a plug - thanks heaps!

And I suggest you pop on over to her blog to check out her inspirations for her dream house.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Neighbourly Love

When I decided to create a blog on the designing, creating, building and decorating of our new house, I wanted to keep it an upbeat interesting insight into the process. Apart from a little whingeing about the weather, I didn't want to dwell on the negatives - like difficult neighbours, annoying tradesmen, building errors or architectural problems. And to be fair, we've had a pretty good run so far with most things apart from the sewer pipe issue at the start and a bit of a door-height problem with the brickies' job.

However, we have one particular neighbour who has been difficult at every stage of the process - objecting to everything and being impossible to reason with. And up until now I wasn't going to mention him at all. Neighbourly problems are not uncommon (in fact, I think they're positively rife) and they always seem to become  heightened when one neighbour decides to build or renovate. We've all heard the horror stories. But right now, I am livid. I am speechless. And I thought I'd share with you what our delightful neighbour did last week.

As you know we've built a pool. It's not yet complete - just formed in concrete and with all the rain we've been having it's filled up with muddy water. Last week, when the rain had eased the foreman decided it was time to drain it - which he could easily do through the sewer/water pipes. But when he got to the pool area he noticed a strong smell of petrol!

Turns out our charming neighbour took it upon himself to hop into our property after-hours (which is technically trespassing) and pour kerosene into the pool because he was worried about mosquito larvae growing in the water and then having an outbreak of mosquitos! (Am I allowed more exclamation marks here ..?).

Not once did he think to either discuss this with the builders over the fence, or email or call either ourselves or our architect about his concerns. Oh yes, and did I mention this guy is a 60-something (at a guess) lawyer? (I would like to use multiple exclamation marks here but will refrain).

So, naturally, now the foreman cannot drain the water away into the sewer/water pipes and the cost of hiring a special machine to do so is around $1000. Said neighbour is apparently apologetic (not that he's said so to us, mind you) and it's been decided (as said neighbour doesn't want to pay $1000 for the machine hire) that the kerosene will evaporate eventually ... but I don't know how long that will be as we've now had more rain.

So you can see why I'm livid, speechless, agog at this man's actions. I mean, it's meant to be the season of good will. Where's the good will in that?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Zhushed Cane Chairs & Cushions

Finally, I've got round to finishing and photographing my newly revamped cane chairs!

Thanks to Nicole from Yardage Design and a friend who has a sewing machine, the old cushions are no longer and, thanks to a couple of cans of white spray paint, the old brown cane chairs that needed some lovin' are now white.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view!) I was so keen to get spraying that I forgot to take 'before' shots but if you can imagine faded dirty brown cane and red and white striped cushions beginning to mould then you get the picture.

They now match my S.H.E revamped retro chairs and have joined them at the bach.

This is the Agapanthus fabric from Yardage Design and you can check out Nicole's other fabric here.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm a Published Author!

I hope you all don't mind me doing a little self-promotion but it's not everyday you get a book published!

I recently won the Kinglake Unpublished Author Competition for the women's fiction genre for my novel Moral's Inc which meant publication - whoopee!

A brief blurb to give you an insight: Samantha Connors may look like a woman of the world: ex-model, magazine columnist, author and mother of one. But she is not, it seems, a woman in control of her life. One evening she turns on the televsion and comes face to face with an old fling and the father of her 19-year-old daughter, Millie, whom she's not seen for 19 years. When Vince Bradley - once a model, then a pig farmer and now Governor of Indianapolis running for the U.S Presidency - flaunts his capped dentures on the late night news, Sam knows her life is about to change forever.

If you want to read more about it you can go to my website or to the UK Kinglake Publishing website.

And if you're feeling so inclined you can also buy it online at Amazon, Amazon UK, WHSmith's, Waterstones, Blackwell's and

Well, enough about me! I'll back on to the house build and design inspirations later in the week ...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Queen Ruby and Chesterfield Sofas!

Who could resist this?

Our big one-year-old puppy decided to make herself at home on a newly purchased Chesterfield sofa. (Hey, just because I was sitting there doesn't mean ... you know ... that you can push me off!)

But no guesses who was keen on this wee Union Jack number to reside in our new rumpus room ... yes the Pommie man of the house! But I'm thinking it's going to look quite good with a backdrop of the original exposed brick, my grandfather's old trunk and a pool table.

And, just for the record, Ruby isn't allowed on the furniture!

Enjoy the weekend folks!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Up, Up and Away: Study

As promised, here are some more pictures of the second floor - primarily, the study which is off the entrance way and next to the master bedroom and ensuite.

This is one of those ones where you really have to have a good imagination!

Basically, a built-in desk will run under the window to the left (which will be my work space) and then all the way along the far wall where there will be another two work stations. The long window is a lot higher than I thought it would be so we'll need to carefully consider the window treatment for privacy and blocking out the afternoon sun. The room will also be narrower than it looks in the picture ie around about where the wheelbarrow is will be the ensuite.

Image: Desire to Inspire via Apartment Therapy


This is kind of how I envisage my 'space' to be: wooden floorboards, thick white desk top, shelving up the wall and a large window with a leafy view to look out of. There will also be a pendant shade but centred in the room and probably in a fabric by Cloth to match the retro S.H.E armchairs we already have that will both hopefully fit in the space as well. Have no idea what sort of desk chair I have. At the moment I'm using a dining chair - white, leather swivel from Freedom which is actually quite comfy and would probably suit the space.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Up, Up and Away!

Yes, we're going up! What a great day it was on Friday when we could, not only walk up some properly formed stairs (and not a ladder as I thought we might), but stand on the second level of the bedroom wing of the house.

The beautiful (!) stairs that lead down to the girl's bedrooms and laundry ...

... and lead upstairs to the master bedroom and study. It's a little hard to see but this shows the small deck at the end of the master bedroom that overlooks the pool below, gets a glimpse of the sea ahead and the national park to the right (out of sight) above the rooftops.

The bedroom window with a tree-filled view. The reason the bricks are different colours is because the supplier delivered the wrong ones (!). But we didn't need to change them as the colour is the only difference and they won't be seen once it's all clad.

Entrance to the master bedroom.

View from the outside with the study window above Amy's bedroom and the laundry door to the right.

More pictures to come ...!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I'm Dreamin' Of ... well, definitely not a white Christmas!

I'm actually dreaming of a sunny one! Well, at least the rain hasn't dampened the start of my Christmas shopping. Am feeling quite good about having ventured to both actual shops and those online - although I can't post any of my good finds as I don't want to give the game away to the intended recipients! Needless to say, I'm feeling in more of a festive mood and am looking forward to spending time with the family in the sun (hint, hint oh sun up there!) at Christmas time. What about you? Have you started Christmas shopping?

In a bid to organise my computer files, I've also been going through my 'sources of inspiration' images I've collected over time. Here are some rooms that I love for being fun, eclectic and colourful and, I think, have a hint of Christmas spirit about them despite there being no green or red in sight!

 Image via Belle Maison

Am loving the coffee table and the sofa, even though I have to say, I probably wouldn't buy a teal-coloured sofa. Yet it really works here.

If you haven't heard about the UK's Bryonie Porter and her wallpapered furniture, you've got to check out her site - here - what cool stuff and she even commissions. Too bad we're not in London!

Well, okay, so I said there wasn't any red but it really helps bring alive this neutral room and it's unusual mix of styles.

Now, if this doesn't scream summer time, Christmas time, relax-outside-for-a-bbq-by-the-pool-time I don't know what does. You could entertain a crowd here!

Image via Belle Maison

Okay, so maybe this isn't so colourful but after all that entertaining you might want somewhere serene and peaceful to retire to and this bedroom corner looks like just the spot. I've always wanted a mannequin to drape my jewels (!) over and a girly spot in which to powder my nose but hubby isn't so keen on too much girly stuff! I guess when he lives with a house full of girls (even the dog) he's allowed some respite.

Happy Christmas shopping everyone!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Building Progress: Second Level Slabs Get Poured

Finally we have half of a second floor slab! I thought the rain would never stop, but it did (although it's started again, I might add) and at the end of last week and on Saturday the guys were able to do this ...

They formed the slab and poured the concrete over the girls' bedrooms, above which will be our bedroom and the study. To the left is the guest bedroom and you can see the frangipani at the front of the property start to bloom. And although you can't see it yet, in the middle will be the stairway linking the two 'wings' (for want of a better word) and the front entrance, which will be set halfway between the two levels.

Hugh has been busy moving mounds of muck but the mound of rubble in front of Amy's bedroom has made the boundary fence start collapsing! Oops! But at least we were going to replace it anyway.

In the far distance, if you squint really hard, you can see the sea!

The next stage now is to do the same on the upper level wing and then the brickies can start building the second storey walls so the whole thing can start to look more like a house!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Joy of Gardening on Paper

You may remember from previous posts that I'm not much of a gardener (and neither is hubby, I might add!). Although we do appreciate lovely, well-kept gardens. So, the thing is, we are now looking more closely at the landscaping plans and deciding which plants to plant where. And I must say, I quite like this gardening-on-paper lark!

Our three main priorities are plants that are low maintenance, have low-water requirements and, for me, are allergy friendly (asthma, hayfever and sinus problems now being my new unwanted friends since moving to Sydney). The focus is on native and tropical plants with a cream and red flower theme. So, here are some of our choices.

As we already have a pink, orange flowering frangipani at the entrance to the property, we're going to add another couple of frangipanis around the garden to keep with the theme and they're my favourite flower.

Then we've got dwarf New Zealand Christmas bushes (or Pohutukawa as we call them). They come out in gorgeous red flowers at summer time.

Cream Clivias which I just love en masse and will be great in the more shady areas of the garden.

Star jasmine to climb the fence at the back of the garden.

A couple of Cycads

White Mondo grass

Slender Rush grass

There will also be Lilly Pillys running along the neighbouring boundaries to provide privacy, slender tall bamboo along the concrete/stone wall side - to not only hide the concrete/stone wall but provide a screening of greenery to the guest bedroom, rumpus room and the glass splashback in the kitchen above. And hopefully our rather sad-looking tree ferns will survive and be able to be replanted.


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