Monday, 31 January 2011


I seem to have a rather persistent problem when it comes to packing a suitcase and that is I completely overpack.  Every single time I just can't help myself and the worst thing of all is that my carry-on luggage could be compared to everything 20 people would need for a 2 week holiday.  It is just ridiculous. 

However, after hauling my usual 10 tonnes of so-called 'I can't live without' luggage on a 20 hour flight from Brisbane to New York a few days I ago it was quite humorous to read an article by Amanda Fortini in the New York Times this morning in which she proclaims her obsession with the overpack too. 

I was comforted by the fact that she too has packing anxiety and as her friend kindly puts it - 'It's like you're traveling by ocean liner.  Will you be accompanied by a porter?'  I WISH I could be accompanied by a porter.  Usually my husband is around and has in the past helped me lug large seashells in my carry-on luggage from Hawaii and cushion covers, mirrors and a painting from LA but this time it is just me and my carry-on and let me tell you it is exhausting running for a connecting flight with 3 heavy bags.  I have vowed and declared that on our return flight next week I will only be bringing 1 bag into the cabin with me and the rest will be checked in.  It will be interesting to see how I go.

It is snowing here in New York which is quite amazing as this time last week I was swimming in our pool with Harry and Max in 30 + degrees.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Happy Weekend

Have a fantastic, colourful and happy weekend!

image source unknown

Thursday, 27 January 2011


I have been a follower and admirer of Katie Armour's blog, The Neo-Traditionalist for quite sometime.  She is always coming up with the most stylish things.  So when I found out she was starting an online mag with fellow editors Jane Lilly Warren & Fallon Hogerty I was very excited.  Yesterday the girls launched Matchbook which no doubt many of you are already aware of.  I was thrilled to be included as above and I loved the interview on Rita Konig.  I think they have succeeded in creating something a little different and I can't wait to finish reading their launch issue tonight. 

Tuesday, 25 January 2011


Today I collected together a little group of mismatched, brightly coloured fabrics for some cushions for a client's sofa.  I never tire of putting different fabric combinations together and I always try to make sure each client has a different combination so as to keep their look unique to them.  Lately I have been so inspired by fashion and the combinations of different fabrics fashion designers have been using in one outfit.  I love the way Easton Pearson mixes fabrics and incorporates beading, frilling and special details in their designs.  The top image is actually a collection of Easton Pearson dresses from 2008.  I like the colour combination used in those 4 dresses and would love to create a room scheme using this image as inspiration.

image 1 - jane roarty stylist

Monday, 24 January 2011

Just a few pictures I love to begin the week...

Friday, 21 January 2011


I have been searching for the perfect blue and white tiles for a wall above a bench in our kitchen and I have found them.  Patchwork blue and white tiles....could there be anything more beautiful than this?! And they have used brass taps which I love.  A huge thank you to  my blogging friend Emily for posting about these.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Today I Love

I thought I would collect together a few little items I absolutely love which were sitting on my desk today.  Obviously fluoro pink is currently a favourite hue.  I must say it is hard to get things in fluoro pink so whenever I see anything in the colour I grab it including the fluoro pink envelopes, the fluoro papermate pens I recently found at our local newsagent and a little snippet of boucle fabric with fluoro pink, fluoro green and fluoro yellow threads running through it.  We also just received a new collection of vintage suzani textiles  in the shop today and this one above is my absolute favourite!

Happy Things

I think this is a wonderful idea along with something my mum told me to do last night when the rain started.  She told me to go out and breathe in the smell of the rain as she said it would make me feel happy so I did and it worked!

image - via pink wallpaper

Wednesday, 19 January 2011


These pretty pictures which I spotted in my picture file on my laptop today inspire me.  The colours, the floral wallpaper, the ruffling tulle...

image 1 - michelle holden photographer, image 2 - tumblr source unknown

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Moving Forward

It's really hard to come back and post about the mundane things I post about here on my blog after our city and surrounding areas have been through the worst natural disaster in over 30 years.  I have been stalling and not really wanting to post about anything. 

I have been out to some of the worst affected areas and I have helped in my own small way.  It is really awful and probably worse than you can imagine.  I feel guilty because we weren't flooded.  I feel sad and absolutely scared for the people who have lost everything.  The elderly couple I met on the weekend have lost everything and it is just so hard to imagine how they will get over this.  I think it is the elderly I feel most sadness for as the young ones have time and the ability to recover but the elderly don't. 

Everyone I know has in some way given to those affected.  I am proud to be a Queeslander and I am proud to be part of such a caring, giving and generous community of people.  This week I will be posting about some of the wonderful ways we can help via donating to certain charities as I have been asked by so many of you living interstate and overseas.

It is time to move on, help rebuild our city and our neighbour's lives.  It will be very hard but with the response we've seen in the last few days, I think we have it in us to do great things.  I for one will do everything I can to help this week, next week and the coming months which lie ahead.

image - leanne shapton artist

Thursday, 13 January 2011

The Aftermath

There are so many people here whose homes and businesses are completely wrecked.  People have lost loved-ones and some people have absolutely nothing left. 

My family and I are so lucky and so thankful.  Our homes and businesses have been unaffected.  However, a lot of our friends and clients have been directly affected.

The concept of the cleanup is just so hard to even contemplate.  There is going to be mud everywhere tomorrow and apparently the smell is horrible. 

I am concerned about a few of the businesses we deal with like our upholsterer and our furniture painter.  Their workshops are in the worst effected areas.  I have been trying to contact them to offer our services in the clean-up but I have been unsuccessful so far.

I have decided to re-open Black & Spiro tomorrow as I think we have to try to move on and try to resume life as normal.  People like our upholsterer and furniture painter are going to need us to send them lots of business so that they can get back on their feet therefore, we need to re-open as soon as possible. 

I was so glad to read that most of my favourite Brisbane bloggers are okay too.  We are the lucky ones and we need to reach out and help everyone else try to reccover from this unbelievable disaster.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Fleeing the Floods

Brisbane residents have been fleeing their homes today and the levels are supposed to rise even is incomprehensible.  Look there's the popular keep calm poster in the canoe.  It couldn't be more appropriate.  My brother has been helping sandbag properties all day.   We ave friends whose houses and businesses are underwater.  My cousin's fiance just emailed me a picture of Black & Spiro and it is absolutely fine {we are on a hill thank goodness} and there was even a lady windowshopping!  Crazy!!!

Stay safe.


Tuesday, 11 January 2011

It's Scary

This morning I went into the city and met my Aunty and Grandmother at Alla Moda.  My very fashion-forward grandmother has been having beautiful clothes tailor-made at Alla Moda for years.   I am heading away to a very cold climate in the coming weeks so I decided I would get a couple of things made as everything in store here right now is for Summer and certainly won't be appropriate.

Whilst I was selecting fabrics, a lady walked into the store and advised us that we needed to evacuate due to the flood.   I must say, it sent me into a bit of a panic.  We hurried into the car and left immediately.  As we drove through the Valley and New Farm, businesses were closing, people were sand bagging their properties and it was scary. 

 We are safe where we live, thank goodness {and thank you for your emails asking if we are okay}although I am a little worried about the shop.  I just hope everyone is going to be alright as this catastrophe is unfolding as I write this.  The waters of our river have broken the banks and now it is a waiting game.  On the way home I dropped into Woolworths to get a few things as my mother-in-law advised me to and I was not ready for what I saw.  I have never seen so many people in the grocery store before.  It was bedlam and there was no bread left.  I hope all of my fellow Brisbane bloggers, clients, readers and friends stay safe over the next few days as this drama unfolds.


images taken today in brisbane via the age

Monday, 10 January 2011

Getting Sorted

Today I wish I did this...

Instead I started this...

Anyone who knows me is completely aware of the fact that I can be quite disorganised and very forgetful.  I blame it on too much to do and not enough hours to get everything done when really there is no excuse.  So, I have made a promise to myself over the holidays and that is...I AM GOING TO GET MYSELF ORGANISED!  I headed out today and found this great book {at Kikki-K} and a few other essentials which are going to help me.  After watching the news tonight, I think I am safest here at home getting myself sorted and away from all the horrible things this relentless rain is doing to our State.

image 1 - fulvia farolfi's hamptons home photographed by the selby

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Homeward Bound

Today we are leaving the beach and heading home.  Despite the rain we've done so many wonderful things together as a family.  We've played scrabble and chess, we've been to a seaside carnival, we've cooked, we've read, we've talked, we've slept, we've walked, we've fished and made sandcastles but most of all we've shared happy times together.  I am looking forward to heading home and preparing myself for the exciting year ahead.

PS.  It would be remiss of me not to mention our Queensland neighbours who are experiencing the most horrendous floods and turmoil.  We can help them by giving a donation to the Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal online HERE

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Some Inspiration

These days I've been a little uninspired by houses I've seen in magazines and online.  I'm not sure why.  However, I have found myself completely captivated by this house in New York which was featured in this month's Belle magazine.  The owner decorated the entire house on her own.  I love the mix of styles, the pops of colour and of course the all-white interior and exterior.  I am also completely enamoured with the kitchen.  I love the stainless steel cabinetry....a look I think I am going to incorporate in my own kitchen when it's time to renovate that part of the house.  Isn't the wall of tribal masks fabulous and Belle's fresh and colourful cover really did it for me this month too.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

A Family Tradtion #1

Collecting shells on the beach is a tradition children remember forever.

25 years ago Topsy, my cousin’s grandmother, would walk along the beach in front of their family beach house at South Golden Beach with my cousins and they would collect shells. Topsy has since passed away however, when the family sold the beach house, my cousin Ben kept some of the shells they had collected over the years. They now sit in a bowl on his coffee table in his beach house which he recently built 2 streets away from his grandparents old beach house.  I am sure everytime he and his brothers look at those shells, they are reminded of those special times with their grandmother on South Golden Beach.  Ben will no doubt continue this shell collecting tradition with his own children one day. 

I have photographed the shells as above.

A Family Tradition

I believe in Tradition. I believe in following the thoughts and actions passed down to me from the older generations in my family. I live my life based on the things my family has taught me and I hope my boys will inherit this same way of life.

Over the holidays I've had so much spare time to think about what is most important in my life and every time it comes back to my family and the way we live and have lived since I was a little girl.

So, this year I am going to talk more about tradition here on ABT. I am going to post a series called A Family Tradition. I hope it inspires you to think about the traditions and beliefs your family has instilled in you and maybe, if those traditions have been forgotten about, you might be encouraged to re-instate them.  Or maybe you might be inspired to establish some new tradtions for your family to embrace.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

From Seaside to Countryside

Earlier this week the boys and I moved from my parent's seaside house at Stradbroke Island to my cousin's seaside house at South Golden Beach.  I feel like we are holiday house hopping.  We are having such a lovely time.  Today, whilst Harry and my Uncle Robbie went fishing, my Aunty Jane, Max and I went inland and visited a few of the gorgeous country towns.  We stopped in at some amazing antique and old wares stores.  Everywhere you drive around here there are lovely little fruit and vegetable stalls in front of houses on the roadside.  I couldn't stop taking photos of them.  Look at the price of the vegetables...$1 a bag!  This area is such a beautiful place as it is where the countryside meets the seaside making it possible to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Sunday, 2 January 2011


For me January is all about being on holidays at the beach with my family.  We spend long days playing in the sand and swimming in the ocean.  We read, we cook, we talk, we laugh and I'll admit we fight too.  We sleep the afternoons away and prepare ourselves for the year which is forthcoming.  January is my favourite month.