Wednesday, 30 October 2013


Give me a themed event any day and I am in my element. My favourites are Easter and Halloween. Now Australia is not known for its Halloween celebrations but over the years we have slowly been warming to it. You only have to into shopping centres to see we are inundated with spooky themed tableware, ghastly treats and fancy dress attire.

I love it.

So over the weekend the kids and I decorated our little dining and living rooms and set about placing Halloween placards up the driveway. Not to mention the 'caution do not enter' tape we draped across the front fence.

Now I'm not expecting trick or treaters tomorrow night given we are on acreage and it's a fair distance between houses for little legs but I might just leave a bowl of lollies out the front on the gate for any drivers by with sweet toothed littlies.

We are having our family over tonight for a pre-Halloween dinner consisting of green worms (basil pesto pasta) and blood red velvet cupcakes. Yum.

Next year I have plans to make these little ghostly forms and put them in the front paddock. Can imagine how eery they will look at night.

Happy Halloween.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Boys Bedroom

I am having fun creating the concepts for my kids' bedrooms in the new house and have been gathering inspiration from a number of sources including Pinterest and my favourite mags.

I can clearly see the rooms in my head but in order to share my vision I have found mood boards helpful. At the moment I am putting together my son’s. He adores all things orange and has done so since I can remember. A year or so ago I came across a vintage replica print of TinTin orange in a magazine, so I copied it and put it in a folder. Yes...I still gather images old school and love my Kikki K My Dream Home folder of clippings and images. I thought the print would be a great focal point for his room.
Now as luck or fate would have it I was walking along the Left Bank in Paris earlier this year (heading towards Shakespeare & Company – but that’s another story ) and there it was. Hanging in a green vendor’s trolley. I had to buy it even if it was just for the story on how it came to be.
So I have the print. Yet to be framed but still wanting to use it as the focal point in his room.

Existing Tall Boy                                             For the desk, three powder coated stools in red, green and blue

Creating an above desk lighting system from painted plumbers pipe and multi bulb hanging pendants 

Using timber panelling for the desktop and a blue/grey colour scheme

I am yet to consider a rug and he has a number of other prints and toys which will take pride and place but a good start I think.

Happy planning.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Planning the new kitchen

For me the kitchen is one of the most important areas in our home. It’s our hub. Where we meet, hang out, create and share. So when designing our new home, careful thought needs to be given to the kitchen.

What inspires me...

don't you just love the grey cupboard! 

 Love the contrasting cupboard colours

And what can I say, I just adore linens

Have a lovely Friday!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

2011 Brisbane Floods... a new creek

We were so very lucky during the January 2011 Brisbane floods with so many people affected, losing homes and precious belongings. The impact was long lasting and so very destructive.

Now our good fortune, in most part, was due to the high elevation of our plateau where our shed sits alongside our future home site. But the amount of water which made its way along the lower regions was incredible. The result of such volume and force of water making its way though the land was the re-design of our ‘seasonal creek’ from a low lying creek bed to a fairly deep raven. Not helped by the 15 years of drought experienced beforehand. And because of the erosion it has resulted in the inability for us to access the rear quarter of our property by car or mower. 

There were a few positives which came about after the water subsided:-
  • large deposits of river stone along the creek.
  • stone that had been brought down from the mountains the exposure of previously hidden large boulders along the banks creating lovely watering holes.
  • the blue/red claw and turtle residents are still to be found.
  • an understanding of the water flow during heavy rain seasons. A sort of what to look for or consider when planning future work
In the past we had a small dam towards the back end of the property and alongside this we had vehicle access to the rear quarter. Now we have a 2 metre drop to the creek bed.  No vehicles including the mower is getting in through here.

So we are looking to have excavation work done along the creek. We would like to allow for a gradual slope towards the banks and prevent any further erosion. We also have plans to create a couple of paddocks up the back so access is critical.

The idea is to have a few days of large scale excavation. This will be closely followed by a few weekends of planting. What we are also looking to add are several large additional (bought) boulders which will aid in the slowing down of water in the future.

It’s a big project and one which will have the biggest impact on the property to date.

Do you have any large projects you are currently working on or planning for in the future?

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Quick update on the ottoman covers

Just a quick update on the ottomans.  For anyone watching Grow Simple Lovely on Facebook you may have already seen the first images on Sunday and know that I am extremely proud that the ottomans covers are now complete.

I am so happy with them.

It was my first solo attempt at sewing.

With the little left over fabric I am looking to make a couple of small envelope style throw cushions to go on my daughter's bed.

Have you recently finished a project you were proud of or perhaps was a first for you?

Monday, 21 October 2013

Project...Outdoor setting

You may remember the little outdoor setting I picked up at the Vintage Fair (Vintage Finds). It needed a little work. You can really notice the rust on the top of the table. So my daughter and I set about a conducting a little restoration project.


Using a steel brush, medium grade sandpaper and a steel pad we were able to remove the build-up of flaky paint from the chairs and table.

We applied a couple of coats of primer to address the rust before finishing off with an enamel (semi-gloss) final coat in white.

I was really happy with the end result. I still wanted the piece to look a little rough loved and would have left it in its original condition had it not been for the rust.

Now in the meantime i.e. before house is built (or as I am calling it BHB) and it is moved onto the verandah, I see a temporary home in the shade by the vegie garden.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Finds ... Tea Urn

All my life I have been a dedicated coffee drinker. To me the sound of beans being ground in the morning followed by that first whiff of freshly brewed liquid gold is the best way to start the day.

However, in recent years I have ventured into the world of tea. I think for me it’s the art or ritual of making a cuppa that I enjoy the most. Placing the tea pot , cup and saucer and cold milk jug on a tray with nice linen, taking up a spot outside with a book or magazine and just taking a moment to enjoy. Heavenly!
Now my first encounter with a silver tea urn was at an interior design workshop I attended a couple of years back. The table had been laid with vintage cups and saucers, small finger sandwiches and an old family heirloom – a silver tea urn.

It was love at first sight.

After much investigation online I discovered the styles were endless but had difficulty locating the ideal one in Australia.

After searching around (like I need an excuse to explore vintage shops) I came across an antique store west of Brisbane and found this gorgeous little tea kettle/urn. It had a dent in the side but was assured it could be restored quite simply by a silversmith.

Edwardian Silver Plated Tea Kettle with Spirit Warmer

So the next task I have is to find a silversmith and have this little baby restored back to its original condition.
I am hoping it will take pride and place alongside my ever growing collection of vintage tea cups.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Coming to fruition ... the vegie garden

I mentioned in my previous post that our vegie garden had been a long time in the making. Well in recent weeks it has been coming together in leaps and bounds. Thanks in most part to my husband and his determination to get our first crops planted.

Our property sees a multitude of visitors, from little bandicoots, native quails, wild hares and livestock from neighbouring farms who clearly see our paddock as being the greener pastures. A couple of weeks’ back I arrived home to find 4 steers munching happily on our grass. It was an amusing sight until one snapped off the branch of a soon to be fruiting mango. They were quickly herded back through the fence. Mind you I took the organic matter they left behind as a form of compensation and promptly shovelled it into the compost.  
So fencing around the vegie patch had to be a priority. To limit some of the back breaking work required to dig the 10 post holes needed to fence our large vegie area, we decided to hire a post hole digger. It took a few hours to dig the holes which included a few extras (a few meaning 25) around the property where we are planning to create wind breaks and a small water tank stand (more on that to come).

I wanted an old style ‘post’ fence to surround the garden and we had been looking at our options. A neighbouring farm had split posts for sale for $10 each. But I had my mind on something a little more well- worn. We checked with our local recycle centre and managed to uncover very old hardwood posts that were approximately 5.2m long. The guys at the centre cut them up for us into 1.5m lengths. In the end we had 12 posts plus 4 smaller offcuts which would make the basis for the water tank stand. In total the posts cost us $70 which was a saving of at least $50 if we had gone with the first option. I love a bargain.


We had already created a timber gate using old fence palings which we used to separate an area behind the shed. It was always left open so we decided to repurpose it and I think it fits in beautifully.

I had to chuckle though when my son kept taking the time to open and close the gate as he was coming and going. Despite the fact that we hadn’t put up the chicken wire towards the right of the gate and he could freely walk in when he chose. I took it as a quality assurance measure - him testing the gate’s durability.

So with the fencing near complete and housing a sturdy gate, the next step will be to:

·         build up the garden beds with organic matter;

·         plant out the first crops; and

·         lay the saw dust paths around the garden beds.

What are your gardening plans this weekend?

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Vegie garden with a chicken dome

After longer planning than I care to admit we have started on a permaculture vegie garden. Inspired by Linda Woodrow author of the book The Permaculture Home Garden we have identified a suitable plot of land which seems to have good drainage, a north-easterly facing aspect and will be in close proximity to the new house when built. So we set about plotting and planning our 7 circle garden. We had decided on a single mandala system.

The theory behind the circle style garden is having the opportunity to place the moveable ‘chicken dome’ over the garden beds. Initially the chickens will scratch and clear the beds of any grass and weeds and also supply a thick layer of organic matter to fertilise the plants. Later, once the beds have been established the chickens can eat the remaining glut and those plants gone to seed, devour any chicken fodder planted and start the process again.
Wanting to re-use and recycle as much as we could, we fashioned the base of the chicken dome out of an old trampoline base. We had quickly learnt after moving the trampoline onto the property, to secure objects firmly to the ground during the windy season. This happened after arriving one weekend to find the old trampoline a twisted mess of its former self lodged squarely in the creek some 100 metres away. Using electrical conduit, shade cloth, a tarp, chicken wire and timber batons we were able to create a sturdy and extremely functional dome. One which could be moved around by one person.
The roost was secured from the roof. This design provides the chickens a level of safety from predators as does the double layering of chicken wire around the base. Linda Woodrow recommends using an old grass catcher from a lawn-mower as the laying box and to date it has worked a treat.


At the moment the girls (chickens) are rotated around the property in the chicken dome and free range during the afternoons and weekends. Their food sources are kitchen scraps, layer mash and whatever they can scratch out. I am looking forward to reducing the layer mash with our own vegie glut and purposely grown chicken fodder.

I can hardly contain my excitement about the prospect of selecting and picking our own produce.