Monday, September 17, 2012

(Not quite 50) shades of grey: exterior house colours

I am living vicariously through several friends who are embarking on medium to large scale
renovations. One of my friends is about to have the exterior of her Queenslander painted, and 
we have been talking about colour shemes. I wrote here about choosing the 
colour scheme for the old girl, and it's much nicer thinking about this when the pressure is off .....
I think I am enjoying the process a lot more than my friend is!
We both love all the shades of grey that are popular right now. She has decided on
a medium grey, with the verandah railings and the window sills a glossy black.
It's funny how once you start looking at certain colours, you see them everywhere. These
are just a few from the streets around the old girl:

 This is really white but the contrast with the darker trims is 
stunning. There are some black and white striped exterior blinds
along one side of this house and it looks fabulous. 

 in real life this is a greenish grey 

 another beauty just around the corner. I was mortified when 
the owner came from behind the fence with the lawn mower
 while I was surreptitiously taking a photo. He was actually very 
flattered and wrote down the paint colours for me - the main 
colour is Flint Smoke and the trim is Western Myall. 

 same house - I love the dark front door

 another lovely grey 

this is one of my favourite local houses - it's a 
beautiful soft grey with crisp white trims

I know that colours schemes come in and out of fashion, but somehow I think all 
these shades of grey will stand the test of time. I guess we will have to wait
and see.

And an update on the chicken front - still no eggs. 

Two blog posts in three days - I need to have a lie down!


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Anniversaries and Instagram

September always makes me reminisce - especially this year.
I arrived in Australia in September 1992 - twenty years ago.
Typing that sentence, it seems incredible to me that it has been two decades.
I still remember the days leading up to leaving Scotland, packing up my flat and alternating
between excitement about the adventure ahead, and tears and anxiety about 
leaving friends and family behind. My parting words to my darling Mum in Glasgow
were "don't worry, I'm only going for a year". And yet here I am, 20 years later.
That guilt still stays with me, and I wonder if it's just me, or if anyone who has
 made a new life for themselves in a different country, leaving behind loved ones, 
 ever feels completely at home in their "new"home . 
Even when the new home has been home for 20 years.

It was however a great time of year to arrive: not too humid, gorgeous sunny days
 and a city coming alive in spring. For the first month in Brisbane I lived in accommodation 
at the hospital where I was employed in South Brisbane. This was close to everything, 
especially South Bank, which seemed idyllic to me at the time. It's Jacaranda season
soon and I remember that year seeing them for the first time and falling in love
with their beautiful colour, and the carpet of violet petals they would leave 
on the ground.

On another note, it's the one year anniversary of me starting this blog.
I don't post as frequently as I'd like, and I've mentioned before that I have been
enjoying Instagram which is like a condensed but more immediate form of blogging. 
Turns out I have Instagram to thank for my most recent furniture purchase too!

I had been keeping an eye out for a table to fit a long space in our living room upstairs.
I hadn't seen anything at all that would fit the space.
Lo and behold the lovely Katherine posted a photo on Instagram and my 
eagle eye spotted it. A flurry of measurements later and I became the proud
owner of this table:

I love the fact that this table has been pre-loved, and that it's my turn to give 
it a home. Many of you know Katherine, she is such a helpful, kind and warm 
person. She often puts photos of her lovely items destined for either the WAC or the 
shop at the Cottage Garden Nursery on her Instagram feed.
You can follow her there: @katherinetheoldboathouse

And in the latest chicken news:
escape attempts : five
eggs laid: NONE

Those statistics better start turning around soon........

Have a good weekend

Monday, September 3, 2012

Taj Mahal for chickens

Well, we have taken the plunge and have added 3 feathered girls to 
our family. Meet Sophie, Matilda and Gracie.
We have taken an area at the back of our garden that is very shaded - nothing 
has ever grown there - and have turned it into a chicken run.
They have plenty of room to roam and peck and whatever else they like
to do - and when they need a bit of down time they have some
nesting boxes and a lovely bespoke timber ladder to roost on.

 boy wonder is of course beside himself and has been 
spending almost every waking moment with them

 there was a lot of indignant barking from the spotty dog
when they arrived in what she felt was HER garden

 I think she's worried about where she is now in the 
pecking order

Our three girls are Isa Browns. They are supposedly very hardy, don't mind all the
man-handling that is inevitable with children, and are profuse layers of eggs.
I say supposedly as so far we haven't seen any eggs. 
We got them from here - they were extremely helpful.

 I fell in love with these lovely little hens - they are 
Silver Spangled Hamburgs. I thought they would look good
with the spotty dog, and had to be *patiently* reminded
by the man of the house muttering under his breath
 that we were looking for chickens that would give us lots
of eggs rather than designer chickens....

Spring is well and truly here. It's been glorious these past few days.
I just wish we'd get a bit of rain as the garden needs it.
It has felt good though to open up the house and use the verandah fully again.

 Sunday was the first day since winter that we have 
fully opened up the bi-fold doors from the kitchen to
the verandah. The spotty dog looks so well behaved
in this photo - maybe she thinks she's been put on 
notice now that the chickens are here.

I had almost finished this post and then boy wonder called me out to the
garden as the chickens were squawking a lot. We ventured out to their coop
and found not three but only one chicken. Disaster! I had visions of a monster
snake having eaten them, or a cat having carried them off. We then found the
escapees - one of them had ended up on the fence between us and our
neighbours, and the other one was up the macadamia tree. The chicken run has
a fence that is 6 feet high - not sure how that happened. We need to add a roof asap.

 escapee one

escapee two

After all this late night drama and chicken rescue, I need a glass of red.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Roman Blinds and Christmas in ....... August

Some of you may remember me posting a while ago about my dilemma
over blinds or window coverings in our main bedroom.
I love the look of the Plantation blinds, but had some issues around the door handle 
of the French door getting in the way.

Turns out I had some husband issues too - when broaching this topic the man
of the house decided that "We don't live in a beach house. Or the Hamptons. So I don't like 
those Plantation blinds". Ok, I may have made up that Hamptons bit, 
I'm pretty sure the man of the house doesn't know about the whole Hamptons vibe, but
if he did, he wouldn't like it.

So I turned my mind to Roman Blinds.
After much discussion, and patience on the part of the lovely people
here, we now have some beautiful Roman blinds.
It's hard to photograph them as the light is very bright in the bedroom, but
we love them. They are a white linen (look creamy in the photos but 
they are white) with a grey linen trim at the sides 
and along the bottom. 

And I can safely say this as the man of the house never reads the blog - 
I think these blinds are a softer look than the Plantation blinds would 
have been, and I like them more. 

Where did the weekend go? I love this time of year so much, everything 
is coming alive again but it's not too hot and humid yet. I was in David Jones at Carindale
 on Friday and was shocked to see their Christmas displays and store were up and running.
In August! I took a photo as evidence and very quickly someone scurried up to me telling
me I needed management approval to take photos in the store. I deleted the photo as I
didn't want to argue with this poor person who was no doubt only acting on orders from
above - but this must be some sort of record surely? Christmas in August ?!?

I've been reluctant to have any personal photos here on the blog - but
we went to our babysitter's 21st party this weekend and I thought I'd share this
one. The dress code was "Masquerade". We had a great time and it was lovely
seeing our babysitter - who we have known since she was 12 - as a beautiful young woman
celebrating with her friends and family. I had a tear in my eye at the speeches.  

so here we are, the man of the house and I
in all our masked finery. I will say that the 
man of the house was a bit too keen on the sparkly 
 spiderman mask for my liking......

Sunday, August 19, 2012

white picket fence

It's been a beautiful weekend here in Brisbane. It really
feels as if spring is here - and I feel much more energised and motivated
to get things done in and around the old girl. 

I've been channeling Brismod this afternoon and have started painting our fence. 
It last had some attention in the late 90's when the palings were undercoated.....
Somehow I never got round to painting the fence properly. We've just had our front gate 
fixed (it closes properly for the first time in about 12 years), and with the now mismatched 
palings, it was high time to tackle the job. We are using a Resene colour,
White Pointer, in quarter strength. 

 there's a lot of fence to cover

 functioning front gate at long last

 man of the house putting in some hours with the paintbrush.
I noticed he didn't quite look the part the way Brismod's Jason does - 
but thought it prudent not to mention this given this paintbrush outing was 
the first in a long time...

I've been sprucing up other areas of the old girl too. Boy wonder's bedroom 
has been in need of a de-clutter and I started doing that with him this weekend. 
I found a great bookcase at the WAC, and went to Freedom to buy a bedside table
for him. They didn't have it in stock which was fine, it can wait, but the relief of
the staff was palpable when I said I didn't mind waiting for 10 days. I asked them
surely people understand that you can't keep everything in stock? 
They said that most of the time customers get very rude and impatient
if the furniture they want is not in stock and available 
there and then. Made me wonder what the world is coming to.

 wonder if boy wonder will keep it this tidy.....

Boy wonder had a friend for a sleepover this weekend and we all went for a bike ride
via ferry over to New Farm Park. Too early for the Jacarandas but it won't 
be long.

 boardwalk at Tenerife

 Most Brisbanites will recognise this "flood" sign

12 months ago we had moved out of the old girl and were about 6 weeks into our
renovation. There's still lots to be done, but in some ways it feels like we've been in
the house forever. I guess that means it feels like home. 

 back of the house taking shape

Have a good week everyone

Monday, August 13, 2012


It's been ages since I have written a blog post. We have been really busy with 
day to day life, and I've been just a little bit obsessed with really enjoying
Instagram in lieu of blogging - much more instantly gratifying. 

We have been doing some work around the house and in the garden - (actually I use "we" loosely 
for the garden work - both the man of the house and I have two left thumbs when 
it comes to anything vaguely handy) - we now have a small vege patch and 
a Taj Mahal style chicken coop and run - I'll have some visuals soon.

Boy wonder and I have just returned from a week in Perth visiting my brother and his 
family. We had such a great time catching up with 
them all, and the boy of the house had lots of quality time with his cousins.
 Perth turned on the nicest weather for us - lots of dry, sunny days.
There is something about the light and the space over there that is very special.
Not to mention all the older cottages of weatherboard and brick. I loved it, along with 
the plants and flowers that you see in their more Mediterranean climate: roses,
camellias, lavender, rhododendrons, all fabulous.

My brother lives near the beach - how fantastic would that be?
I wonder if you tire of that if you see it every day..... they still love
it after almost three years there.

We left the man of the house to his own devices in the old girl for a week.
I was a little bit apprehensive about what I would find on our return - he is great in the kitchen
but the more mundane domestic tasks tend to fall to me.

this was our bed before we left - I have to admit I am just a
bit particular about making the bed in the morning......

some poppies I bought just before I left for Perth not
really thinking I wouldn't be around to enjoy them

the bed when we got back - looks hastily made
methinks just before we arrived home! And the cushions
on the floor of course......

my poor poppies after a week

Monday, July 9, 2012

holiday bits and pieces

I'm watching the tennis and trying not to think about the fact that school is back tomorrow
and I'll have to face the morning routine of cajoling and lunch making with only a few hours sleep.
By rights, being Scottish I should be supporting Andy Murray, but I've been a Roger fan for a long time. 
It's still only the first set and it's a nail biter so far. 

I had a big list of house related stuff I wanted to get done over this past week.
Needless to say most of my little jobs didn't get done, but none of those jobs are going 

 I did find time to visit the lovely Black and Spiro where I 
bought this bedspread - blue, white, red, and polka dots -
what's not to love?

 holidays are always a good time for some 

 crafty stuff at GoMA

 the rules get relaxed when the man of the house
isn't home....

We went camping for a few days in the second week of the holidays. Friends were 
generally incredulous when they heard of our planned adventure.
The comments I heard the most were all along the lines of  
 "mmm, never quite saw you as a camper".
One friend said to me (in mock seriousness, but of course there's
always a grain of truth in these comments): "but how will you manage
without your GHD?" What can I say, my friends know me well.

Anyway, I am pleased to report we had a great time. Thanks
B for including us in your trip  xx

 perfect weather

 how blue is that sky?

 tolerant guinea pigs at the camp site.
they were on the receiving end of a lot of 
love from all the kids - whether they 
wanted it or not

 beautiful weather for a bush walk

 nothing beats a fire, red wine and conversation

I even managed to make it to the finders keepers
markets today and picked up some 
lovely ceramics.

I'm not back at work until Tuesday so am aiming to tackle some of those 
jobs tomorrow. First on the list is trying to finally sort out the window coverings 
in the bedroom. 

As I finish this, Murray has just won the first set. I hope I have 
the stamina to stay up and watch this match as it's going to be a cracker.
Caffeine will be my friend tomorrow.

Night all x