Where the Pretty Things Come From... | October 09, 2014

I make a lousy house-wife.

I have a very limited repertoire of dishes that I can cook and invest very little time in improving my culinary skills.

Also, I think I'm allergic to manual labour. Whenever I clean the house I fly into a tiny rage that elicits a stream of unladylike cursing and a tendency to snap at unfortunate bystanders.

We have no children (bar a fur-child). In fact, having a child seems like the scariest thing in the world to me and I often wonder what all the fuss is about.

Instead, I spend my days obsessively nurturing a slightly unorthodox lifestyle- one where I provide a kind of nourishment through art and design rather than homemade lasagne. I litter our home with colourful and, oftentimes, childish knick knacks and plan the aesthetics of dinner parties with infinitesimal detail.

I struggle daily with trying to eke a living from a creative existence. And in the process, I've converted our living/dining room into, what appears to be, a messy snapshot of my brain. Piles of colourful props and remnants of paper, twine, glitter and sequins are constantly scattered across our dining table. Bright pink IKEA boxes line the walls in my attempt to curb the ever-expanding chaos.

And yet, despite lacklustre domestic skills, the ostensibly frivolous nature of my interests and a creative anarchy that threatens to consume us whole, my husband still loves me (!) and seems genuinely in awe of what I do. He says I make this house a home, albeit, in my own peculiar way.

For me, collecting, composing and making pretty things is the only truly successful way I've learned how to communicate myself to the world. Where others are articulate, social creatures who use themselves as a canvas to express their art, I prefer to hide behind these things that I make. It's just who I am, and with all the faults and limitations it presents in the real world, I am slowly learning to accept and even embrace it. 

I seem to be creating this home, and this blog, in an effort to communicate only the beautiful parts within me and, perhaps, with a belief that somehow this will banish the wealth of darker, messier and far less glamorous traits; to show others that although I may verbally stumble through a sentence or carry myself hesitantly, averting my gaze and swerving from the reach of friendly strangers, that there is something in this world I am capable of contributing... however tiny and frivolous it may seem.

Thanks for listening :)

P.S. I am attempting to spend a bit more time over at Instagram lately.... Please follow me if you're interested in keeping up with the visual frivolity!

XO
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posted under: Bits of Happy, Blog Stuff, Our Home, storytelling, Sukie

Cheeky Monkey | July 17, 2013

Our oddball rescue, Sukie, is a wee bit of an anxious pup (You may recall the Magic Carpet Ride incident).  Because of this fact, life is never boring with Sukie around. There's always a new quirk to challenge us and keep us endlessly entertained. 

So, here's the latest one...

Sukie is primarily an inside dog. When Mark and I go out, Sukie stays inside. Initially we tried leaving her in the backyard but she disliked it so much that she began associating the backyard with 'bad things' and refused to go out there at all, even just for a play. So, we relented. Sukie got her way and stays inside. For a long time, she seemed quite content with this arrangement. 

Recently, however, she's become a lot more comfortable around us and has started to push her boundaries. Even though she's happier inside, she doesn't like the fact that we leave at all. So, she developed a cheeky little scheme to keep us home. As soon as she spots our usual 'going out' habits like putting on our shoes or coats, she will ask to be let outside. She will then mysteriously disappear from view and despite our calls, will not come back into the house. We will then discover her hiding, guiltily, amongst the bushes; unwilling to move an inch. She knows that we won't leave until we get her inside!

It would be easy to get frustrated at this behaviour, but it's just so gosh-darn cute! 

The first, most obvious, tactic was to pretend there was a visitor and ring the doorbell so that she would come bounding inside to greet them. This worked a treat for awhile but now she's cottoned on to our plan and won't budge for ANYTHING!

A couple of Sundays ago, in a last ditch effort, Mark decided to grab our adorable 36kg 'scaredy-cat' from under the bushes and carry her in!

I was thrilled that I was able to grab a happy snap of this ridiculous sight! Mark, however, was not so impressed...

Ahh... the things we do for our dogs.

XO
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posted under: storytelling, Sukie, Sundayland

Lately... | July 04, 2013

...we've had our fair share of cold and foggy winter mornings.

Inside our home, however, I've been attempting to ramp up the colour!

My current decorating project- our living room- is progressing slowly at the moment. Not too long ago we incorporated an Indian sideboard, with which I am completely smitten!

I would love to create an artwork for above, but I'm struggling to decide what to do. I'd like to keep it simple, as the room is already flush with colour and detail. I think I might buy a huge blank canvas, stick it on top of the sideboard and just stare at it until an idea comes to me! Another option is maybe a large, simple black and white photo.

Among other bits and pieces, I would also love to find a beautiful pendant light to hang above the room.

It seems like every surface in my workspace is covered in craft punches, twine, glitter, washi tape, paper goods, stripey straws, jars, bottles, my printables.... you name it. Occupational hazard, I guess. 

Breakfast and snack remnants also add to the colourful mix... 

At least it's pretty clutter!

This morning, I caught a very cute moment between Mark and Sukie. It must be love.

As you already know, I'm a self-confessed bowl addict. This beauty, shown above, is my recent indiscretion (from Mozi). It was just too pretty to pass up!

Last week I showed off a good chunk of my collection. But, admittedly, it was a little tame in comparison to the pic above- a far more accurate portrayal of the size of the collection (and extent of my 'problem')!

I've been feeling a tad overwhelmed when it comes to my work, at the moment so, at the start of this week, I set out to get organised. I recently discovered that I was a 'pinball procrastinator'.

Symptons include:

  • Going off on tangents mid-task
  • Avoiding the hard stuff and tackling smaller, easier items to feel a sense of achievement.

Yep, that's me.

I decided I needed to learn to focus again so I downloaded the Simple Pomodoro Timer app to help me through. Basically, I write down a list of things I want to get done in order of importance. I then start the timer. While it counts down from 25 minutes, I work through my list without distraction. At the end of the 25 minutes, there's a 'ding' and I take a 5 minute break. During this time I can explore those 'tangents' that were attempting to entice me during the 25 minutes- things like Pinterest, sorting emails, reading blogs, a new project idea etc. At the end of the 5 minutes, another 'ding' and I start up the 25 minute timer again and continue through my task list. 

I've found this method really effective! The huge timer numbers, constantly flickering in the corner of my eye, creates a false sense of urgency. It feels like it's a race to the finish line- almost like a game! And the promise of the 5 minute break means that I still have the time to explore those things that are far more appealing than the task at hand. I'm ploughing through the big, evil 'To Do' list but also managing to explore new ideas and gather new information and inspiration for future projects. 

And that's all the news...

Happy Friday everyone ;-)

XO
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posted under: Happy Workspace, Home Décor, Our Home, storytelling, Sukie, Tableware

Random Lovelies.. | June 21, 2013

I haven't tackled one of these posts in awhile.... you know, the random mish-mash of details from our home. So I figured it was probably time :)

Firstly, my obsession with bowls has gone a tad out of control. What you see above, is not the complete collection, mind you. They're just so dang pretty. I can't resist.

I just need to find a creative way to display them all.

My latest weakness, however, is for pot plants. A growing collection currently inhabits the top of our bar.

Ok, let's face it, this is merely an excuse to collect interesting planters and feed my insatiable hunger for pretty ceramics. Shh... don't tell anyone.

I went to The Collectors Corner at Gardenworld earlier this week with the intention of buying an airplant. I was completely overwhelmed by the sheer variety. Who knew? I waded through hundreds of succulents, cacti and airplants and eventually (whilst on the brink of a head explosion) settled on the succulent below and the prettiest airplant I could find (far right on the bar).

Gardenworld is a plant-lovers paradise. For a mere dabbler, such as myself, it can be a tad overwhelming but still very much worth the visit!

And in other random lovelies...

Saturday lunch. Boiled eggs, spring onion, Simon Johnson mayo, spelt toast. Yum.

Oh, and my gift tag obsession continues... This time I'm using images from an old Ted Baker catalogue.

And it just wouldn't be right to not include a little 'Sukie' in here...

It's funny, the unique vernacular that starts to develop within a household. For example, Sukie takes meds each morning. To make these more palatable, we thickly envelop them in peanut butter. Mark has nicknamed her meds "Scooby Snacks". The mere mention of those words and Sukie becomes a frantic mess. Probably because he also lets her lick the spoon when she's finished!

Sukie, like most dogs, understands the word 'Walk'. So, to avoid any premature paw stamping, circular jumping, and tail wag action,  Mark has started to get creative when discussing the activity. Each time, he uses different code words. It started with "Are you ready to monkey the monkey?" but, in recent times, I'm pretty sure I caught him saying "You ready to hand-crochet the alabaster?". Go figure.

Do you remember when I bought this lovely print by Mia Oatley? I forgot to mention that I got it framed. Wowsers. How is it that the framing is about a zillion times more expensive than the artwork itself? Looks pretty though. I have yet to decide where to hang it...

And that's all the news! If you like this kinda jazz, visit Sundayland.

Happy Friday everybody! :)

XO
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posted under: Home Décor, Our Home, storytelling, Sukie, Sundayland

Bits from my week... | May 21, 2013

The planter collection is growing...

Pretty new top from Swan Emporium...

This is what my brain looks like...

Having some fun designing gift tags and wrap and embellishing with my Motex label maker. Collect your freebies inside this post!

What are you doing on that darn computer again? Gimme attention!

Received a bunch of red roses with the sweetest note...

Read on to collect your freebies!

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posted under: Do It Yourself, Fashion, Free Stuff, Gift Ideas, Home Décor, Our Home, Stationery, storytelling, Sukie

The Pretty Things | May 14, 2013

I'm at a loss for words today.

In my flu-ridden downtime, over the last couple of weeks, there was an abundance of words. And so I wrote- A lot. And now I'm fresh out.

I hope to share those words with you someday... but I'm not quite ready yet. Best to stick with the pretty things...

I designed these gift tags quite awhile ago. Not sure why I've taken so long to share them with you! If you like them, you can download them inside this post.

Oh, and the pretty raindrop giftwrap (shown above) is a free printable from Mini Eco.

Speaking of pretty things, I have an obsession with quirky and unique planters at the moment. Would love to cover the top of our bar with a huge cluster of them! I found the one shown above at Mr. Kitly. Such a lovely store. I never leave empty-handed.

Also, I recently chopped up an old Gorman brochure for the gorgeous patterns. What do you think- frame them? Make gift tags... or envelope liners?

I have to say, I am actually enjoying Autumn and the return of the cooler weather. It's nice to watch the daily, yellow foliage showers in our backyard. Although, perhaps not quite as nice to have to sweep them up...

Thanks to those who sent well wishes! I'm feeling a lot better now. No more 'fuzzyhead' and I'm feeling all inspired again! :)

Oh, and don't forget to read on if you want to grab your freebies!

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posted under: Do It Yourself, Free Stuff, Home Décor, Our Home, Stationery, storytelling, Sukie

Lately... | April 25, 2013

The cold weather is well and truly settling in and I'm getting very 'nesty' again.

In the evenings, I've found myself adopting all those Wintertime clichés - reading a good book (or flicking through mags) curled up on the sofa under a blanket... candlelight softly flickering in my peripheral vision... dog curled up at my feet. Well, there's nothing like the classics, right?

As a result, I've become increasingly obsessed with scented candles. Yes, I'm one of 'those' people now. I used to think they were over-priced nonsense but I've converted. (Ok, I still think they're over-priced nonsense, but it's become a tiny bit of a guilty pleasure). 

For those interested, I'm currently loving the 'Quince' scent from the Palm Beach Collection. And, yes, I'm aware that sounds posh.

I'm also making use of the 'dimmer' switch on our ceiling lights and stringing fairy lights around the place. I think I've upped the 'cosy' factor quite significantly. 

"Wow, it smells... girly... in here." is my hubby's reaction to my newfound fancy.

In the creative department, I've made these cloud magnets. You like? It was actually really easy. Kaisercraft actually sell wooden cloud embellishments which I simply decorated with paint and glitter, then stuck magnets to the back.

My lunches these days have become 'bitsy'- I'm a huge fan of variety. I also make no secret of the fact that I'm no cook so we've been stocking up on pre-prepared goodies from Leo's. We try to make sure the majority of what we buy is made from natural ingredients and preservative free, sometimes even organic. I really enjoy Darikay pumpkin soup. It contains no onion which is good for my irritable tummy. It's kind of sweet so I add some paprika to spice it up. I also like overloading my soup with parsley and Solomon's Sippets and occasionally the green parts of a spring onion. If I could handle onion better, the asian in me would also appreciate adding crunchy fried shallots to the mix. Yum.

And now to my next obsession- colourful, patterned socks. Yes, I'm not entirely sure where this one came from as I don't even wear socks. Clearly, I've been missing out and must start immediately. (Socks from Happy Socks, Hansel from Basel and Gorman)

And finally, I've started to print out some photos of us, our wedding and of Sukie. We don't have any photos up around our house yet so I think it's well and truly time. It makes the place more of a 'home'.

Bring on the Winter...

XO
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posted under: Do It Yourself, Food, Our Home, storytelling, Sukie

Sunday | April 14, 2013

Mark, Sukie and I spent a quiet sunday at Emerald Lake Park. It's been awhile since we've had a little family day trip and we thought we'd take advantage of the good weather before it disappears. The forest walk is a nice little hiding spot to get lost for awhile...

Oh, and If you're ever in the area, you should try The General Food Store for lunch. Yum.

XO
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posted under: storytelling, Sukie

Sukie and Springtime | October 04, 2012

The spring weather has finally hit in full force! And although I try REALLY hard not to completely inundate this blog with happy snaps of Sukie, I simply can't help myself! I'm a hopelessly smitten doggy parent.

Sukie is largely an inside dog. However, with all the glorious weather we've been having lately, she's spending more and more time outdoors- basking in the sunshine, playing with her beloved new soccer ball and shamelessly scamming the occasional belly rub from suckers passers by. 

Her idea of heaven is when all three activities are performed simultaneously in one epic Sukie-appreciation-fest.

The only thing that could top the experience is the inclusion of chicken.

Happy Friday all! xo

{ all photos by Amy Moss }

XO
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posted under: Our Home, storytelling, Sukie

Weekend Projects | September 21, 2012

The weekend is almost upon us and the first project for me to tackle is catching up on some much-needed sleep! I've recently found myself trapped in a ridiculous little ritual. Each morning at some dark, god-forsaken hour, I wake to an onslaught of thoughts and project ideas for this blog and for our home.... It then takes me hours to get back to sleep.

Speaking of ideas, I recently came up with this cute and simple little DIY project... 

Believe me, nobody hates the idea of hacking up magazines more than I do but there is so much seriously beautiful photography going on in cooking mags these days (the rustic textures, the vibrant colours, the scrummy styling...) that I thought it would be great to turn fragments of these images into gift tags. Or, perhaps more fittingly, tags to attach to cutlery for table-setting decorations. 

Cut out some visually interesting segments from your magazine (in a uniform size), then stick them onto thick kraft card and cut to size. Punch a hole at the top and attach some twine. Voila.

I find the best mags are the ones that use thick, rough-textured, matte stock. Jamie Magazine is a great example.

Of course, If you're super lazy like me and don't mind spending a little extra money on the project, you can cheat and get these awesome heavy-weight kraft tags and just stick the magazine cuttings directly onto them.

Oh, and if you really hate the idea of hacking up your mag, just buy a second copy to keep!

There's a weekend project for ya.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the weekend. Apart from catching up on sleep and tackling some decorating projects I'm also intent on spending some quality time with Sukie in our (newly tidied up) backyard. She has a new toy that has actually survived an entire week. It's still fully intact and functioning. We're so proud. 

Happy Friday! xo

{ photos by Amy Moss }

XO
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posted under: Do It Yourself, Entertaining, Home Décor, Our Home, Stationery, storytelling, Sukie

Magic Carpet Ride | August 08, 2012

We love our dog Sukie, but she is a bona fide nutball.

The latest is that she's developed a phobia of the doorway to Mark's office. Yes, you heard right. The doorway.

She's perfectly fine if she's either side of it, but it's the experience of going through the doorway itself that is inexplicably traumatic. Even dog treats will not tempt her.

On the odd occasion, however, her determination will outweigh her fears and she will attempt to make a sudden, mad dash through to the other side. In a spectacle that soon becomes akin to a scene from a Looney Tunes cartoon, Sukie's claws, scurrying frantically, fail to get a grip on the polished floorboards and she is unable to propel herself forward. She finds herself suspended in some kind of comical, roadrunner-esque motion loop in the doorway for what seems like an eternity. Her efforts to expedite the traumatic experience, backfiring drastically.

This predicament has made Sukie a little glum. She usually enjoys lying by Mark's side while he works but now all she can do is poke her head around the door and stare at him longingly.

Mark also misses her company and so, in a stroke of genius, was able to come up with this clever solution: He lays down her dog bed in front of her and coaxes her onto it. He then slides the dog bed through the evil doorway until she and her bed have safely reached the other side. 

We call this the Magic Carpet ride. And it works a treat.

We know, however, this is not an ideal fix. It will take time and a whole lot of positive reinforcement to get her traversing that doorway confidently again.

Mark's been a bit down because of the situation but has, unfortunately for me, managed to retain his sense of humour.

Mark: "I hate it when I can't fix things... I don't know why but I just need to fix what's broken"
Me (jokingly):"Is that why you're with me?"
Mark:"Nah, you're not broken. You're just a little... bent"

{ photo by Amy Moss }

XO
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posted under: Our Home, storytelling, Sukie

Hello "Face" | February 28, 2012

I have recently added to our list of nicknames for Sukie.

Meet "Face".

I will be stretched out on the couch, wholly immersed in whatever time-wasting frivolity happens to be gracing our television when suddenly, there it is in front of me... "Face"; looming over me with wide, inquisitive eyes.
Watcha doing?
Where are my pats?

Or I'll be working intently on my computer contemplating world domination through printable jam labels or some such. I turn around and there it is looking up at me... "Face".
Hey, remember me?
I have four legs... I drink water out of a bowl...
I'm ADORABLE.
Give me pats!

9pm. Lo and Behold... "Face".
A large head. An unrelenting stare. A tail wag.
Where's my supper?

When I see "Face" I turn to mush. I must immediately grab it with both hands and move in for a mutually relished head snuggle.

What do you know? Here it is again right now...

Hello 'Face'. What can I do for you today?

{ photos by Amy Moss }

XO
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posted under: storytelling, Sukie

Pillows from Cloud7 | December 12, 2011

I'm a huge sucker for both dogs and cute pillows and I think this pillow collection from cloud7 is super adorable.

.

Sukie agrees.

{ via design*sponge }

XO
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posted under: Gift Ideas, Home Décor, storytelling, Sukie

This is not a 'doggy' mommy blog... | September 16, 2011

... but I couldn't resist posting these cutie-patootie shots of Sukie with my husband Mark.

It's been over 3 months since we welcomed our Bull-Mastiff cross rescue, Sukie, into our home.

She's a bit of an odd cookie, our Suke. She boasts monster-like proportions but treads ever-so-lightly through life...as if the slightest misstep would elicit her doom.

Watching her negotiate stepping over a hurdle placed a mere 2 inches off the ground is both hysterical and frustrating. She has a set of legs that leave Cameron Diaz for dead, yet she approaches this task with a trepidation most reserve for jumping out of a plane at 30,000 feet.

Continue to read more and see more pics!

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posted under: storytelling, Sukie

Meet 'Sukie' | June 02, 2011

Meet Sukie- the new member of our family!  She's an 18 month old Mastiff cross that we adopted from an animal shelter about a week ago.

Continue to see more pics and read more about her!!

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63
posted under: storytelling, Sukie