Wednesday, 21 December 2011

signing off..

I intended to fit in a couple of posts this week, but it's been a little crazy..

We're almost there though. The presents are wrapped and the car is packed (to the gunnels) and I'm checking off my final 'to do' list...
Then we're off for a couple of weeks of fun, sun and lots of yums with all the family, yippee!!

As I'll be far from my computer for a while, I want to wish everyone a truly wonderful Christmas and say a big thanks for all your contributions to my first year of blogging!!

It's been so lovely getting to know my new blogger friends, both near and far and I can't wait to see what inspiring stuff you all come up with next year!

See you in 2012!!
Lots of love El xx

Thursday, 15 December 2011

it's beginning to look a lot like...

Only ten sleeps until Santa, I tell Thom. To which he responds with a confused and slightly anxious look, probably thinking of his recent and terrifying run in with the man in red in a city department store... I'm certainly excited though, especially by the prospect of getting away for a while.
And in the meantime it's about making the house feel festive to bring on that holiday feeling...

The tree, a piece of bamboo is on a smaller scale than previous years. It's sits at end of the kitchen bench (up high where a certain someone can look and not touch). The decs are quite pared back too. Tomato red baubles, paper doves & mini led lights from Ikea. A beautiful garland crafted out of recycled storybooks bought at the Reverse Garbage store. Painted ceramic stars and disks from the clay play day and mini disco balls from our decoration box.

A few splashes of red, including some bunting I made from natural and pearlized cardboard off cut from Reverse Garbage and stripy Ikea wrapping paper.

My half attempt at a wreath.. I used a vintage letter 'O' and a few pieces from my ribbon stash.

Now for a few cheesy Christmas tunes. 'Last Christmas' anyone..?

Monday, 12 December 2011

stained glass window cake...

This year I put my hand up to tackle one of the family Christmas cakes, previously the sole responsibility of my Mother and as Sunday was grey and drizzly here, it was perfect for a little festive baking...

We traditionally have two cakes at Christmas.., a lusciously rich fruit cake with lots of brandy and a marzipan/royal icing and the 'Stained Glass Window Cake' laden with nuggets of glace fruit and nuts, which is the one I decided to attempt (the easier of  the two).


3/4 cup of plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt.
3/4 cup of caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs   
1 cup of chopped dried figs
1  & 1/2 cups of whole brazil nuts
1 & 1/2 cups of whole walnuts or pecans
1/2 a cup of glacé ginger
1 cup of maraschino cherries
1 cup of dried Turkish apricots

  • Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (150 for fan forced).
  • Triple sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
  • Add the sugar, fruit and nuts and combine.
  • Whisk the eggs well and add to the bowl, along with the vanilla.
  • Stir all ingredients until really well combined (it's a Christmas tradition in our family to all have a  good stir and make a wish).
  • Press firmly into a greased and paper lined bar tin (approx 200 x 125mm) and level out on top.
  • Bake on the centre rack for 1 & 3/4 - 2 hours or until firm.
  • Allow to cool for half an hour before turning out of pan and then cool completely before removing paper.
  • Once cool, wrap cake tightly in foil and cling wrap and then refrigerate.
  • Slice very thinly with a sharp knife to serve and enjoy!!

I love this cake because beside from being really yummy (especially if you're  a nut fan like me), when sliced it really does remind you of stained glass. Making this cake turned out to be pretty easy too...

Now it will sit in the fridge (untouched) until Christmas. I will be strong...

Friday, 9 December 2011

Friday five - upcycled wreaths

Two and a bit weeks to go and I'm already in a pretty festive mood. The Christmas shopping is 99 percent done, the tree's up and Thom has had his first encounter with the man in red (which was um memorable). Now for a little sewing (Thom's Christmas stocking and the little bags I haven't tackled yet), lots of baking and adding a few extra festive touches around the place..

A handmade wreaths would be a lovely addition.. These five inspired beauties caught my eye, when I was searching for decoration ideas. Aren't they beautiful?!




Where The Grass Is Greener

Boris Bally

Happy Friday! xx

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Summer treats..

One of my fondest memories of this time of year, as a child, would have to be Mum coming back from the markets laden with Summer stone fruit.., mangoes, nectarines, plums, apricots and the most exciting, a whole box of glossy black cherries. Yum!!

I ate them by the kilo with red stained fingers, wore them as earrings and (if we lived in a cooler climate) would be responsible for an orchard of cherry trees in the back yard from all the discarded pips...

Since then, the first bite of a new season cherry and I instantly think of Summer Holidays and Christmas... Thom tasted his very first cherries when we shared this bowl yesterday and is definitely a fan!

I wonder if they will evoke similar memories for him when he's all grown up..?

Sunday, 4 December 2011

recommended viewing...

Tonight I intend to be firmly planted on the sofa in front of the telly... The 2010 series of Upstairs Downstairs is here at last!!

Although I never saw the original 70's version (I was a tad too young), I'm a sucker for anything period made by the BBC and adored the similarly themed film Gosford Park and the ITV series Downton Abbey.

Following the intertwining lives of a aristrocratic family (upstairs) and their house staff (below stairs) and set in Belgravia, London in the elegant 30's, Upstairs Downstairs promises to be quite the visual treat!

Just add ice cream and pj's and I think I might have my perfect Sunday night in...

Friday, 2 December 2011

painting clay

Twice a year my friend Jan hosts a 'clay play' day at her lovely home.
An all round creative and a part-time potter, she whips up (throws actually) a kiln load of bowls, beakers, plates and cookie cutter shapes and then invites friends and family around to paint them.

We all set up at long tables under her house with a cuppa and stacks of books and magazines for inspiration and then get creating...

In between painting up a storm and gossiping with old friends (there's plenty of regulars at these events), there's the feast of a lunch to be shared on Jan's beautiful verandah. It really is a delightful day allround...

Bowls and shapes ready for decoration.

The gorgeous palette of glazes to paint with.

The finished product, freshly fired.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

colour or neutral?

Yesterday I picked up a couple of bedside tables I won on Ebay...

We were in desperate need of new bedsides (not my husbands opinion exactly) and these two fitted the bill. The price was right; they're in great condition; have drawers to stash things away from little fingers and (non dust collecting) space underneath for all those books I never get around to reading.

But before they take pride of place in our bedroom, the one thing they do need is a colour make over. Currently a wishy washy grey (very 80's Gold Coast apartment), they need a little drama to bring them up to date.

There's so many great examples of vintage cane refinished in bold colour right now and so I was thinking maybe a beautiful peacock or teal blue...

Or do I go neutral?? I don't think white is right for these, the cane is too fussy and our walls are a blah cream colour.. A soft charcoal could be kind of cool, what do you think??

Thursday, 24 November 2011

sneak peek...

Yep more beading... I thought I'd share a few pics of the necklaces I've been working on for my nieces and a few little friends for Christmas.

Next on the list, I'm hoping to sew little matching drawstring bags to keep them in. That's the plan anyway...

Only 31 sleeps..!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

pool envy...

David Hockney's 'A Bigger Splash'
Summer has well and truly arrived here and the evening air is full of the delicious aroma of sizzling BBQs and the sound of neighbours splashing about in their backyard pools...

There's nothing like diving into the cool depths after a stinker of a day, or so I imagine... Aah, if only we had one of these beauties to cool off in at the bottom of our garden.
Fab or what?! The iconic Kauffman House, Palm Springs

Post splash... Novogratz residence, Great Barrington

poolside beauty courtesy of Elle DECOR

'Pink Pool Innertube' by Californian Artist Danny Heller
Stone clad beauty captured by The Selby

'Peach Sky Empty Pool' by Sydney Artist Paul Davies

One day... In the meantime, we really should become better friends with our neighbours..

Friday, 18 November 2011

love it!

I'm not usually one for gimmicks, especially in the lead up to Christmas... But how cute is this??!! Typography you can eat!! You can snap them up here.

Have a great weekend!! xx

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

flowering fireworks...

This evening, as the sun was going down on another scorcher of a day, the last rays hit the top of a tree in our garden.

The tree is in full bloom and the effect was not unlike a burst of golden fireworks... Beautiful!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Christmas has come early..

with the latest Inside Out!

Although I rarely buy magazines these days (a. I never have the time to read them and b. there's so much inspiration out there in blogland and in online mags), I couldn't go past this issue.
It's chock full of really beautiful and contemporary ideas for a southern hemisphere Christmas; beach side homes that made me yearn for Summer hols and pages and pages of all round gorgeousness in between!

This along with Anna Spiro's divine Summer Vignette has definitely got me in a festive mood.. Bring on Christmas, I can't wait!!