Archive for May, 2010

Art from the soul

May 31, 2010

Not long ago I blogged about those sweet free bookplates. At the time I wanted to share a free art site I’ve used but I couldn’t find it at the time.

Never fear, all good things come to those who wait. Aptly, its called Feed Your Soul. It’s a site showcasing artists and it has monthly free downloads by them. Just for you!!!

I’ve been loving Tanya Newbery for a while now, especially for Nursery prints.

Stealing a Star

You can buy more of her prints from Etsy to go with your free print from Feed Your Soul.

I’ve actually downloaded this free delightful print from Majorie Ann Velez

Apple Picking Fairies

There are so many other great prints

Sweet Birdies

Pretty Blossoms

the love tree

Don’t download from here. Go to the Feed Your Soul site and download their larger PDF files. Happy browsing.

Restoring Perth

May 23, 2010

I often complain about the lack of products and variety in Perth. However I think part of this ‘problem’ is actually a lack of information or access to what is actually available. Listen up shop owners of Perth….make your store, product or service accessible. No longer is  word of mouth, or ‘my mother told me about it’ going to cut it. Get a good website, put the word out there do what you can to let us know you exist and have something to offer.

We’ve spent the better part of 4years (or is it 5?) restoring our federation home. I’ve looked and looked for period products and recycled antique fittings or even reproduction or ‘in keeping’ products. Very difficult to find in Perth. I could launch into a whole tirade about how close minded the people of Perth are and complain about their love of cookie cutter ‘New’ which is often poor quality at sky high prices. I could stand up and state we shouldn’t just accept what’s given to us and we should, as consumers, demand variety and quality. I wont. Instead I want to show you Perth’s best kept secret for renovators of period homes.

Subiaco Restoration

Subiaco Restoration

If you’re thinking, federation, old fashioned, wooden, classic, timeless, shaker style, craftsmanship, quality, period, styling then this is the place for you. Subiaco Restoration. Its the best place to find reproduction fixtures and finishing. Fireplaces, period style bathroom cabinets,tiles, mirrors, lights, wooden doors and window frames, awnings.

Shaker Style Bathroom Mirror (Check out whats in the reflection, period style bathroom fixtures)

Its also a renovators DIY heaven.

warehouse full of decorative molded wood

warehouse full of decorative molded wood

It’s full of moulded wood, decking, cladding, paneling, posts and rails. Latches, handels, door knobs. It’s a period style bunnings.

retro handles

a tiny selection of the hundreds of handles and pulls they have

I snapped a few photos on my I-phone to give you an idea because frankly their website is just rubbish. It doesn’t work well or give you a proper impression of the place, the navigation is tiny and easy to miss. I think its probably a little dated too. I wish it was better because I might have discovered this place a long time ago. I’m not sure my photos are much better but trust me it’s worth going there.

Period Hardware Perth

Period Latches, Handles, Signs, Awnings and MORE!

All’s well that ends well, we’re now restoring our ‘new-old’ 40’s/50’s war home. It’s going to be a great go to place. Now if only I could find a great reclamation yard I’d be set.

Woven Wire Handles

Loving these handles, surely I can find a use for them somewhere

Free Downloadable Paper Goodness

May 16, 2010

A little while ago I stumbled across a site called Image Zoo its a site dedicated to Art, Design and Illustration.

The best thing about the site is some great Free downloads. Like these bookplates.

Beautiful Bookplates

If you want some thing pretty and fun, check out their site and their free downloads.

Times New Roman, is lame.

May 15, 2010

Now I know this isn’t something you all think about but you should. Never underestimate the power of a font. Its something we are all conditioned to subconsciously read, purely by being exposed to media. What you see is there to make you think or feel a certain way or notice something in a particular order. It’s all done on purpose. So whether you are making a poster in word or writing a job application think about the font you are using. Times New Roman, is lame. It’s like picking Hog Bristle for your walls. Or I think if you lived in the UK it’s equivalent would be Magnolia. Okayyyy….I actually have Hog Bristle on my bedroom wall in the new house, its classic, it has its place. So yes, Times is a classic and it certainly has its place, but it should no means be used all the time.

Just don’t stop at Times is all I’m saying. Take some time to look at fonts. The way certain letters take on their shape, my favorites are ‘a’ ‘g’ and ‘l’ they will give you a good look at the difference between the font.

There are some beautiful traditional fonts out there. There are also lots of fun new fonts. Think about how your document reads. Doesn’t a headline on a poster look punchier in a nice thick clean font?

thick and clean, quick to read

Aren’t script style fonts romantic and personal? Then don’t use them when writing a resume.

leave the script fonts where they belong - and look beautiful

If you want to appear modern, don’t use a dud techno-mock computer font, use something crisp and clean.

Modern Clean Olympic Goodness

Don’t be restricted by the fonts that came with your computer. There are tons of websites out there offering free fonts for your downloading delight. Once you get excited you can even buy some!

So what started this long tirade about the importance of font, well today I stumbled across this. Its no where near as serious as I made out choosing a font to be but how fun to at least get you thinking. Or if you’re a font lover like me, have a good ‘in-house, shop-talk’ giggle, although it does make some good choices!

Choosing a Font by Julian Hansen

Oh my graphic design teacher would be so proud.

Nursery Wallpaper Inspiration

May 14, 2010

I’m working on refinishing a cupboard for my eldest’s new room. I’ve been searching out wallpaper to line the back of it.

stripes might be nice

I’ll do a post on all this later but I couldn’t help share some adorable wallpaper I found for a nursery.

elephant nusery wall paper border

elephant nursery wall paper border

Can you imagine this adorable elephant parade around your child’s nursery and how much the bright red elephant march would delight them?

sweet duck wall paper

Or this nursery wallpaper called ‘tweet dreams’ perfect for a neutral nursery!

When my eldest was born I really wanted to put up some wall paper in her room but it was so hard to find nice kids wallpaper in Perth. I finally found this beautiful red and white circus wallpaper, looking super cheerful here next to these bold red stripes,

Red Circus Wallpaper

I think it looks like a modern take on Toile Wall Paper, perfect for a nursery. They’re all from Porters Paint, so is it any wonder I’m back there browsing wallpapers for the wardrobe?! It makes me happy to find such lovely wallpaper in Perth.

That’s the bitter-sweetness of this city. If I’m frustrated trying to find something, someone else usually is too its this that leads to possibilities. Perth is a great place for anyone with enough ‘gumption’ (I think thats how my grandma would have put it) to see a need and make a successful business. Its the smallness of the city that leads to a lack of choice but its also its smallness that allows people to make their creative mark. If you have a good idea, quality product you’re bound to get a hearing here. People are hungry for ideas and great products.

Happy Mother’s Day

May 9, 2010

Even though we spent the weekend preparing our house for sale I still got flowers and breakfast in the garden! I’m currently watching Sunday night TV curled up on the couch eating chocolate out of pretty paper. It’s the simple things in life …

Scrumptious Breakfast

May 8, 2010

Here’s an impressive breakfast (or brunch) I whip up on occasion. Seeing as mothers day is tomorrow I thought I’d share this delicious but easy recipe – you know in case you wanted to whip up something for the Mum in your life. They are so simple but so tasty.

Smoked Salmon Omelet

Smoked Salmon Omelet

Smoked Salmon Omelet

(makes 2)


4 Eggs

1/2 cup of milk


100g Smoked Salmon

Spreadable Cream Cheese at room temp (for easy spreading)

Dill or Chives (optional)

Lightly whisk eggs and milk together in a bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat a medium sized heavy based pan and pour in half of the omelet mixture. The trick to a good omelet is to heat the pan quite hot then quickly and lightly stir the mixture around the pan for a few seconds to get the heat through. Just before the egg begins to set turn the heat down and let it cook through. (This is more of a crepe style omelet than the light and fluffy kind you can get.) Once the surface of the omelet is set but still glossy slide out onto a board or plate and let cool slightly. Spread one half carefully with cream cheese sprinkle with chives and top with folds of salmon, fold over the other half of the omelet. If you really want decadence serve topped with a little more cream cheese and salmon.

I hope all you lovely Mums have a wonderful day, and let someone else make you these.

Quick Dessert

May 7, 2010

Ok ever feel like something sweet after dinner but you’ve got nothing? Had a surprise dinner guest the day Before the weekly shop and After the shops are closed? Here’s something you can make at the drop of a hat, it will take you less than one minute I promise, and it will still be elegant and impressive.

Its home made chocolate sauce. I don’t like chocolate sauce, that sticky syrupy gross stuff, off the shelf, from the shops. My husband is the same, he almost wouldn’t give it a try the first time I made it, but he knows my cooking is often worth the risk. We both love this. This is chocolate sauce for grown-ups (although your kids will devour it too).

You should have all the ingredients in your pantry/fridge. Well I always do. The only thing that sometimes is missing is the cream but a quick trip to the corner deli or servo will fix that in seconds.

30 Second Home Made Chocolate Sauce

Dark Homemade Chocolate Sauce - Easy

Homemade Chocolate Sauce - Easy


50g Dark chocolate broken into pieces (from fridge is preferable)

3 Tblspns Thickened Cream

2 Tblspns Castor Sugar

Place all ingredients in a ceramic bowl (never use wood or plastic when dealing with chocolate). Heat for 20-30seconds on high, or as long as you need to in your microwave. Cream should be runny and hot but your chocolate wont be completely melted. Stir well until sugar and chocolate is dissolved and all ingredients are combined into chocolate sauce.

Serve on its own with fruit to dip in. Or serve it with icecream, throw in some strawberries or banana or frozen berries. No-one will turn their nose up at this. This is a really flexible recipe, you can adjust it to your taste or thickness of sauce, I never measure the ingredients I just eyeball it. If 20-30seconds does not suit your microwave you just need to be careful to not over cook it. Increase your cooking time by 10second intervals. Allow the hot cream to melt the chocolate for you as you stir. I usually end up stirring for a minute or two.

How about serving it with a hot brownie (you know from my fantastic Brownie Recipe?)

Homemade Chocolate Sauce with Brownies

Homemade Chocolate Sauce with Brownies

The best thing about this is that you can pop any left overs in the fridge and it becomes a fudge! mmm.

My Favourite Canadian Mum

May 6, 2010

My best-friends leave me. They do. Become my best-friend and you’ll up-sticks and leave this city. I try not to take it personally but I do wonder….  I tell myself I’m just attracted to fun, vibrant, adventuresome people. People who are willing to take the scary plunge of moving cities and even countries.

That’s what my best friend Sherri did. She used to live here. We had such a great time. We’ve worked together. We lived in the same neighborhood. We had our first babies together. She was part of my wedding (pregnant and all!). She was my morning coffee buddy. (even after we stopped work we’d meet at the local coffee shop every other day, prams in tow). She shares my love of good food and wine. She also shares my love of craft, art and good design. She is one chic girl. Her style is inspirational. In fact I don’t think she even realises how clever she is, or how much she inspires me. Clearly her new home city of Vancouver has realised. She’s been nominated as one of the top Mum (or as they say ‘mom’) blogs in Vancouver.

I can see why. She’s so good at spotting that special piece. Whether it be home wares or clothes or a general good idea. She can pull it all together in a classic yet individual way. Her blog is her exploration of all these things:

Inspirational home design

Sarah's House - a great designer

Fun, original fashion

Toms Shoes - Fashionable and Functional

Toms Shoes - Fashionable and Functional

Plus some of her own clever decorating

So Much To Love - Stylin' Nursery

So this post is to ask you to not only check out her fabulous blog, So Much To Love. But to VOTE for her. Go HERE, scroll down and click on Sherri Birt – So Much to Love. The voting ends Friday and you can only vote once a day, she is really close to winning but she’s vying with another great blogger for the title. She is really my favourite Vancouver Mum. Lets help her win!

Well its here

May 5, 2010

Today in my mail box I saw this poking out.

mail from Japan

package from Japan

How cute is that wrapping? Its like plastic lace. I love people who pay attention to detail.

Inside was this

Handmade For Children Japanese Pattern Book

Handmade For Children Japanese Pattern Book

So exciting.

I’ve even cut out the fabric (after making just one mistake) for that little puffed sleeve shirt on the cover. I will admit this book is harder to follow than the last one. But the designs are so cool. Just simple and sweet. I think I want to make all of them. I’m hoping once I’ve done one, I’ll get the hang of it and it will be easier to follow the other patterns. Part of the confusion is that many of the styles are based on the one basic pattern, its the instructions on the many adjustments that make it a little confusing. Well, that, and its all in Japanese!

However I am putting my sewing machine in a box at the end of this week and moving house. I’m sad that this will be my last sewing project for a while. I’m also a little bit excited that next time I sew something it will be from my new house and I will be looking out over our new backyard from my tiny 2meter x 2meter sewing room (come shared office). I may not have a dining room but I do have a sewing room! Priorities!

Whilst we’re on house hiatus I’ll still have things to share! So keep visiting! I’ve got a series of ‘quick meals’ planned that I’ll share.

baked risotto...coming soon

Things that will be great while we are selling our house but will also be great for those of you who work and want a quick mess free meals, hang on don’t we all want that? Stay tuned!