February 23, 2013

Dirt, dirt everywhere

What a week! Apart from non stop work for some files due, this week was spent having my parents down, introducing my little sister to the wide world of University and O-Week and working on the house.

Although the house needs a lot of work (come at me pluming, drainage and electrical problems) we decided to start small and tackle the garden. Start small indeed, only half has really been touched. We ended up discovering that our fence lies about 2 metres from where we originally thought because the garden had become so overgrown. Essentially it all just came out - ferns, small trees, bushes - and replaced with mock orange bushes, agapanthus and petunias. There will be a sea of flowers sometime soon (hopefully!). What I really wanted was some beautiful hydrangeas, but after discovering that they're not in season for at least another six months I realised just how much I have to learn about this gardening business.

All in all, we ended up getting rid of half a tonne of green waste, which sounds like a lot but really was only two ute loads.  But there is so much more to come out. Has anyone done a compete overhaul of a garden before? Any hints for a complete newbie?

It's a jungle in there!

The progression. 

My Mum also brought down for me this amazing antique Post Office cupboard that came from a small town out in western Queensland. It's going to be done up in the future, but for now it's perfect for storing all my fabrics/canisters/everything.

1/10th of the canister collection to be relocated.

Finishing touches of a colourful doorknob. 

I've taken the front room of the house to become my study/studio space, so this is where the cupboard is going to stay. The walls are in need of a good clean and a paint to brighten it up, but what's needed right now is a rug. Bare wooden floors are beautiful but I can't wait to feel a bit of something beneath my feet. 

Perhaps something like this? If anyone knows of some great (and cheapish) rug stores around Brisbane, please let me know.

I hope your week was filled with many wonderful happenings as well, and your weekend is being spent lazing around in the heat.

February 15, 2013

Valentine's Day

Ahh Valentine's Day. A day either loathed or loved. Or you can be completely impartial to it, like I am. Either way I hope you had a wonderful day with a full heart. 

A vintage wallpapered heart, that is. 

Still, I was home and avoiding doing the growing pile of work to be completed (edit - by next Friday! Argh!! Where has the time gone?) and so I decided to make red velvet cupcakes. After rescuing Ruby my beautiful red Kitchenaid from her hiding spot, it dawned on me that I don't actually have a recipe for these delightful treats. After trawling through countless Australian Women's Weekly cookbooks I came up empty-handed - I love those books but I couldn't believe I didn't have one! One phone call later, and the middle sister provided foolproof instructions.

Hey girl.

My sous chef and the prettiest cupcake cases. 

The next issue facing this undomestic goddess was the icing. Thinking 'these are Valentine's cupcakes, I couldn't just use buttercream!' was probably the winner for worst thought of the day. I should have just stuck to what I know.

My attempt to make 'Silky Smooth Frosting' failed abysmally, and quite a bit of abuse was hurled at the poor egg whites. Never mind - onto 'Fluffy Frosting'. First the syrup - check, no failure there. Then the egg whites - this time they cooperated. Then ... The piping bag. Oh hello, old friend. Or should I say, enemy.

Even more abuse was thrown at the piping bag before the bag itself was thrown (with quite a bit of vigour) into the sink. Fine. Spreading it on with a knife would do.

Finished product. 

And finally, 15 gorgeous cupcakes emerged - admired and then devoured. And I was left vowing to learn how to ice properly. Just a small hurdle to jump.

Did anyone do something very special for Valentine's? Any other baking difficulties?

The sweetest Rifle card. 

PS. I've now entered the real world and got an iPhone. Follow @mynanasjoy on Instagram!

February 13, 2013

The best of times

This Sunday saw me head to an afternoon tea with three of the most beautiful creative and collective people out there. Hosted by Laura from Kit and Nancy, I (finally) met the amazing Sophie from Her Library Adventures and Kim from Kijaro, the collector queen.

That's right - it was an afternoon tea that dreams are made of and one that lasted 5 hours. Johnson jugs, a bit of Staffordshire and some of the sweetest treats you could ever imagine. Hours flew by discussing crazy op shopping stories, the love of Naughty Shorts dresses, our collections, design and style, and what's next for the future. It was just so lovely to be around people who truly understand the need to fossick around and collect, create and generally be a bit different.

Under strict instructions from Tom not to bring back anything (because that's usually the case when I visit Laura's) I naturally wandered through the front door clutching an armful of treats. I will miss this girl when she up and leaves us all for Europe and the bright lights and love filled hearts of Rotterdam.

Wallpaper and daisy delights.

I had Tom home with me yesterday, which is so rare and so lovely. Usually he's out the door by 7am and not back until 7 at night. Out all day in Cardiology, and moving to Anaesthetics next. People sometimes say to me 'what a power couple - a doctor and a lawyer, you must both be smart'. To which I think, this is the boy who has his boxers on back to front and plays in boxes with our cats; he's just a big kid at heart. And I love him to pieces.

So we ventured into the city despite the threatening rain and I wandered around the Cultural Centre, filling myself with fascination and inspiration.

Rain clouds coming in over the cold stone. 

Such a contrast to my (very) early morning yoga sessions. Every weekday for the month of February and I'm proud to say I've been going strong!

Tom had been thinking about buying a Mini Cooper for a while now, sort of a congratulatory present and something to make us feel good after a pretty horrible year, and so we made a impulse trip to a car yard.

And there it was. All hot chocolate and toffee coloured - with seats that look so delicious you could just take a bite out of them. One test drive later and we both had the biggest grins on our faces.

What have we done?!?

February 1, 2013

Hello Sunshine!

After a crazy week of weather, it's nice to finally see the sun out and shining. I hope that nobody was affected by the wind, floods and rain and that the water has gone and power is back on for you all. Thankfully we were fine as we're on a hill, but my poor black car had turned brown from all the mud blown into her. Least of my worries though.

So now that it's passed and sunny again, it was time to discover some unknown areas around Brisbane. Which naturally led me to some op shops, whereupon I discovered this beauty - an amazing retro sheet set in perfect condition!

I love when I discover pieces that have a little bit of history in them. This suitcase was owned by a Maxwell and by the looks of it, he had modified the inside to fit his old video camera. Tres cute, and it's going to be a wonderful place for the vintage cameras I got for Christmas.

Labels on the case and German instructions for the camera.

Last week I picked up the mixing bowls of this floral Pyrex pattern and I recently found the matching dish. Isn't it crazy that you can find matching items at totally different areas, days, weeks or months apart? I'd love to here what matching items you've found that have come about in different ways.

And the cutest Disney Word Book that a small child had a taken a love of drawing to. I'm going to save some of the pictures and put them into frames for around the house - there's sections for the kitchen, garden, toys, animals and the drawings are just too adorable to let go.

Cuteness overload.

Boat and bunting!