Monday, August 31, 2009


I have a lot of stuff. Probably more than one person would ever need in their lifetime, but hey, I like my stuff and I look after it because, my philosophy is, if you take the time to look for a particular item, then spend your hard-earned on it, you should look after it so it lasts.

So, that's what I do.

Which brings me to the Kitchen..... where, let's face it, a lot of stuff can accumulate.

This is where the original laundry used to be. There was an old electric hot water service sitting on a concrete slab in there as well as an old sink and a small cupboard.

I removed a wall and made it part of the kitchen.

When I started renovating the house I decided everything had to have a home. That's the other thing about stuff, it can be really sad if there's nowhere to put it all.

Originally I thought it would be good to have a European style laundry, with the washing machine and dryer in a cupboard in the kitchen, but that idea went out the door.

Now I have a wall of cupboards surrounding the fridge...and the side cupboards have roll out drawers, to make getting to the items at the back, a whole lot easier.

I don't subscribe to the mindset that, it doesn't matter if something gets broken or lost because you can just replace it with another one. That's not always possible. It may have been a gift from someone you care about. It may have been the last one available... whatever.

Look after your things and they'll serve you well.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are - Part 2

"The other Girls"

This is the rest of our animal kingdom

She looks pretty happy with herself. She loves this orange blanket in her basket, in fact if the other dog's in there and then happens to move out, she'll sneak in just to get back to it.
She was a "give away" by a couple who'd had her to produce puppies. Disgusting I know, but when she was past her use by date, they wanted her out. So we took her and boy, are we glad we did! She was about 7, or so they thought, when she came to live with us, and has been with us now for 6 years. She's feeling her age now though so we just make sure she gets whatever she needs and always keep her nice and warm.

This one loves the feel of wind blowing in her face. She's part Tibetan Spaniel and they were used by the monks, not only to warm their beds, but to keep watch and warn of impending attack. They're great watch dogs, not fighters... apparently that was left to other dogs who would then attack. Or so I've read.

I got her from the Lost Dog's home 3 years ago and while she's had some "issues", she's also a wonderful, loving and loyal girl. While she loves us both and is always ready for a cuddle from either of us, she absolutely adores my husband. As far as she's concerned, he belongs to her and she belongs to him and that's the end of it.

Quite often, we find her sitting in the front garden, facing the street, just sitting, observing. Making sure nothing gets past her

Then there's this girl, the oldest in the group. She's going on 19 now and still going strong!

I found her while driving to work early one morning. She can be cantankerous at times, but as she's got older she's also become more affectionate. Funny that. Until a few years back she'd had me all to herself, apart from another cat I had...but then I introduced her to the dogs and a new partner, and amazingly she's coped quite well. I think she thought if she didn't she'd get left behind.

It's been a bit like a retirement home here these past couple of years and we know the next couple of years are going to bring with them much sadness, but, we'll just have to focus on how wonderful they've all been and how lucky we were to have them.

Friday, August 28, 2009

This Is BIG !

This little flower may not look like much, but believe me. IT'S HUGE ! !

It's on my Michelia Yunnanensis bush and it's been a long time coming. The Michelia is from Tibet and is supposed to do well in cooler climates, but maybe it just hasn't liked Melbourne all that much

I brought this bush back to Melbourne with me when I was relocated from Brisbane....that's ten years ago....I had it in a large pot for a little while, then we planted it in the garden, but it's always struggled. This is the first time the bush has budded up and then bloomed to this degree.

I've had the odd flower here and there and there have been buds before, but they never really amounted to much...but this year. WOW! It must be all the water I kept bucketing to it through the summer. I must have carted hundreds of buckets of water from our tanks to the bush just to make sure the roots stayed moist...and alive least it felt like hundreds!

It still has a long way to go though, because this bush below is what it should look like....

...and this is mine. A big difference huh? Mine looks like a stick insect compared to the lushness of the one above, but hey, I'm wrapt with this years flowers show.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Loveliness From Canada

She arrived!

Isn't she gorgeous?

"Beauty Sleeps"

I can't wait to get her framed up along with the other two Janet Hill prints I purchased from her recently.

" She Liked The Pink Ones"

"Clara's Feathered Hat"

Janet Hill is a Canadian artist who does some amazingly beautiful work. You can see some of her work on her blog here... and also at her Etsy store. She also sells some of her selected originals on eBay

My sewing room has very pale green walls with white trim. These three beauty's are going to look sensational with that colour as a backdrop. I may get them framed in a pewter colour. We'll see.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

To sleep, perchance to dream...

This is not my bed, nor is it my bedroom.

Nor is this Mine is a little less rustic and a little less lacy.

Nope... not this one either...

But they are all gorgeous in their own way.... The green accents in the first photo are a lovely shade, but I know I could never live with it for longer than say...maybe a few weeks, then I'd want to change it.

I don't do colour well.

The pink bedspread with the lacy detail is to die for and I could live with it for a little longer, but I think I'd end up feeling like I was living like Miss Havisham from Dickens' Great Expectations. It sort of has that feel about it in that setting...

...and as for the last one, well, it is a little more my style. It's quite beautiful in all it's pale blue and green loveliness, but still not quite "me".

Image 1. Inspired Room from Southern Living
Image 2 and 3 Verhext
All via Dwellings & Decor

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It was a dark and stormy night...

Melbourne is on "storm alert"

It usually gets pretty windy and stormy this time of year as we start heading into Spring, but OH MY GOODNESS ! ! It's blowing a gale out there !

I know the SES volunters are going to be kept busy tonight, because it's only going to get worse.

It's going to be interesting driving to work in the morning. I wonder how many trees will be down?

Before and After

OK, so earlier this month I posted some photos of our renovation.....and here are some more to give you an idea of how it all turned out

When I bought this house it consisted of 2 bedrooms, a lounge/living room, kitchen and bathroom, with a small laundry in a lean-to out the back. It was dark and very colourful: yellow walls, stained timber trim and doors, black, yellow and white kitchen.

In other words, it was AWFUL!

lounge before

This looks from the lounge through to the kitchen, to the left is the dining room, which didn't exist when I bought the house. I had that built on. The opening there, where my little brown dog is standing, well that used to be a wall with a window looking out into the back garden

dining room/kitchen after

This is the dining room looking through to the kitchen. We've made some major changes to the house just to try and get more light in. It's been a challenge, but oh so worth it. The opening there with the timber ledge, well that used to be a window as well. Behind that shelf is the sink and you could look out the window while washing the dishes.

lounge after

kitchen before

kitchen after

lounge before

lounge after

There's probably a little bit too much furniture in here at the moment and it's looking a little crowded, but it's very cosy and it's just the way we like it.
So there you have it. This part of the renovation is onto the next stage.
Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy ride...(apologies to Margo Channing)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Everyone's Different.

Amen to that sister!!

Skin care products are such a personal thing. What works for one, doesn't necessarily work for another

At the moment, this works for me and I love it.

I have a friend who uses plain old soap and water to wash her face and then Vitamin E cream as a moisturiser, another uses L'Oreal products, while another uses the Dove Cleansing bar and then moisturises with watered down sorbolene cream.

Personally I'm not a huge fan of sorbolene, not even as a moisturiser on my legs. I just don't like the way it feels, but hey. Each to their own right?

Whatever works for you is my motto

Up until a few years ago I used just two products on my face....apart from the odd occasion when I wore make-up. But this is what I used each and every day for over 20 years.

But relying on any particular product for that length of time can be a BIG mistake. It can lead to tears. It can make you complacent. I know. I've been there.

Unfortunately, Blackmores decided to stop making it's Marshmallow Cleansing Bar, which in fact, did make me cry. I rang them. I pleaded with them. It made no difference.

What to do? I enlisted the help of my friends, that's what I did, and got them started on the great Marshmallow Cleansing Bar Hunt where they scoured every Pharmacy and supermarket that once stocked the stuff. Unfortunately, their search was fruitless.

After realising I was going to have to find something else as my daily cleansing ritual, I tried other cleansing bars and cream cleansers, but they didn't cut it. I also tried these, just in case Clinique decided to stop making the most popular moisturiser on the planet. Just in case.

Then I saw some ads for SKII and thought I'd give it a try...I mean, hey, Cate Blanchet wouldn't lie to me would she?

No, she wouldn't.

It's been great! I bought my first lot, a travel pack, during a stopover in Singapore a few years back and it gave me the chance to trial a few of their products to make sure it was the right fit for me.

It was and I've been using it ever since ! !

What products have you relied on that have disappeared?...and what makes you feel and look good?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Happy Weekend

The sun is shining in Melbourne today. It's mild with pure blue skies and just a scattering of fluffy white clouds, although knowing Melbourne, that could all change in a matter of moments. The neighbours are out mowing lawns, weeding gardens and getting ready to renovate homes.

It's just the way I like my Saturday's to be.

Image - Country Living

It's quite windy today, so I've taken the opportunity to get the washing done. Watching the white sheets blowing dry on the line makes me feel good...not sure why. It's sort of comforting.

Image - Notebook

I hope you have a wonderful weekend too.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Nearly Spring

It's almost Spring in Melbourne, but it's been such a dry and mild Winter that everything is a bit confused...and has started budding up early

The dark pink Magnolia tree in front of our bedroom window is always beautiful, but has suffered this season, because of the drought.

It's usually looking much more lush at this time of year. Unfortunately, it's still feeling the affects of the stress it went through last Summer, where the temperature got to over 46 degrees at our place. For my friends in the USA, that translates to around 115 degrees.

It's still extremely beautiful though

I'd love a dress in this colour

This is a viburnum that's planted on a front corner of the house, right next to the Magnolia. I'm not sure which Viburnum it is, there are so many. But it has a gorgeous scent.

It's also looking a little sparse because of the drought, but it also needs a good "haircut", so that will be done once it's stopped flowering

In fact this is the best show of flowers we've ever had from this bush, so maybe it didn't mind the heat last Summer.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Peace and Serenity

A few years back, a group of us bought a property at a place called Bonnie Doon, which was made famous by an Aussie movie by Working Dog called "The Castle".
This is the view from our front door.

The main character, Darryl Kerrigan, had a holiday shack at Bonnie Doon, which in the film, showed him roaring across a very healthy looking lake in his small boat. Unfortunately, after many years of drought, that lake is now looking more like a paddock and farmers have had their livestock grazing on it.

This is the view we're greeted with when sitting on the deck on the back of the house

Anyway, there was a shed on the block originally. That was it. No water, no power. Just a wood heater to keep us warm. The group has been working hard though, to make it a little more comfortable, so a couple of bedrooms have been added and there is now a generator and running water from a small tank.

The low cloud covering the gully makes the landscape look quite magic and as if it's covered in snow

As the morning got older, the fog moved up the hill and enveloped the house. It passed pretty quickly and cleared to a magnificent sunny, clear day

Bonnie Doon was in the news more recently when it was revealed that convicted drug trafficker and underworld figure, Tony Mokbel had hid out there before he escaped to Greece. He's now back in jail in Australia.

One of the locals saw a business opportunity and had T-Shirts made up.

The slogans read: "Bonnie Doon - The Perfect Hideaway" ...and "There is no Purana in Bonnie Doon". The police task force that was investigating the underworld activities in Victoria is called "Purana"......and their investigations continue... and yes, they do get their men and women

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are - Part 1


It's no secret around these parts that this is an animal friendly household. Doesn't really matter what sort: hairy, smooth, feathered, four legged, two legged, no legs....makes no difference to us. Even "the girls" as we call them get treated like they're part of the family. They don't come inside and curl up in front of the fire, but they're still a part of our family, our home life.

This one is VAL.

She was given to us by a couple who were moving overseas for a while and they wanted somewhere she and her sister in crime, RED could live out their days.

The one in the middle here....the black one, well that's DIONNE

She's about as old as the hills. In fact she's so old now that her old feet are all gnarled and scaly looking. She's a cantankerous old bird...and she needs her beak trimmed, but she's our cantankerous old bird and she's been a terrific layer.

They're what I call productive pets...we look after them and they look after us with eggs and entertainment. My husband says every back yard should have some chooks pecking around the gardens because they're always busy and they always give you something to watch...and they do.

There's nothing funnier than watching them run around the yard trying to catch a moth or insect...they look ungainly when they run, sort of like their arms are being held tightly by their sides...but when was the last time you saw a chook with arms?

Actually, we did have a chook a while back that liked to curl up in one of the dog's basket's, in fact I caught Dixie Chick snuggled next to one of the dogs in there one day. Looked a little strange, but hey, we're all friends here right?

Monday, August 17, 2009

House hunting

I had a really nice experience at the weekend....I met a fellow blogger who was on a house hunt in our area.

Kirstie was on her way to check out a house not far from us, and decided to use a few spare minutes to have a look at houses in the she drove up our street and saw the magnolia trees in our front yard... In fact she liked them so much she's included a photo of it on her blog, here

It was lovely meeting you Kirstie, I hope the house hunting is successful!

I love looking at houses...especially old ones that need some TLC...I especially love weatherboard fact, each house I've owned has been weatherboard and each has needed "work".

Some of them "major" work!

But that's the fun. The transformation from comfy home. While it can be a lot of hard work, it's always extremely satisfying seeing what you've been able to achieve.

This photo is not the best quality as I took it on my mobile phone when my camera was out of action. It's our loungeroom and it's just been re-plastered. It looks through to the kitchen and dining room and still needs the final sand by the plasterer and of course, painting, which I have now finished.

It's been painted in Antique White USA, in fact all of the house is painted in that tone of white with white ceilings and white trim...very fresh and very clean.

This is still the lounge, prior to the final sand and the painting...and of course the floors being cleaned yet again...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Bedroom Heaven

Unfortunately, this is not my bedroom. No. But it certainly looks like one I could live with quite happily.

Image Ideal Home

I have to admit I have a "thing" about grey and silver. I'm not sure where it came from but as soon as I see a dress, or linen, or shoes...or anything in grey, I have to stop and take a second and sometimes third look...and sometimes, no that should read, usually, it comes home with me.

The other thing I love is white. I've never been all that good in putting a whole lot of colours together so they look as though they "belong". I can look through magazines and admire the way stylists and interior designers are able to co-ordinate their settings with a veritable rainbow of colours. But not me. That's why I stick to white, or ivory or milky colours.

The other day a neighbour, who's getting some work done at their place soon, asked what colour "white" our house was. I said, what shade of white? White. It has no tint added. It's just white. The interior is also white, although it does have a tint. It's Antique White USA....which I am told, is the most popular shade of white sold in the country... I stand to be corrected on that though...

So there you have it...white...and grey or silver... Can two tones go together more beautifully?

I think not

Friday, August 14, 2009

Not the Biggest Loser, but a loser nonetheless

Well, it's my Friday weigh in and I'm not necessarily happy about the result, but then I'm not sad either...

Oh OK, I am happy. Kind of.

I recorded a loss of 500 grams. Half a kilogram.

I know the weekly examples of weight loss on shows like the Biggest Loser are not realistic, nor are the reactions of the contestants, who appear to be unhappy and driven to tears if they don't lose upwards of 3, 4 or 5 kilograms.
I mean, really.... What's not to be happy with a loss?

But in everyday life, where you're not devoting every waking hour focusing on your body and how much of it you're going to lose that week, then 500 grams is pretty darn good. It's two kilograms a month if it continues at this level, and that would mean I'd be well on my way to achieving my goal weight next year. Yes, 2010.

A loss is a loss...that's all that matters.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The birds and the bees

....and the flowers and the trees......

It's been a while since I've been able to get time to blog....seems like ages actually...never mind, I'm here now

We have two beautiful magnolia trees in the front yard at our place....and I have to say I always look forward to this time of year when they start to bloom

This little bee was busily working away the other day...flitting from flower to flower. It was just as well, because the tree is looking a little bare now because of the strong winds we had through the week. The grass looks like there are little mounds of snow, where all the petals have fallen

Magnolia heaven. The other tree, which is right outside our bedroom window, is a darker, deeper pink. Almost a purple really....beautiful nonetheless.

It should be in full glorious bloom in the next week or so. I'll post some pictures when it is