Tuesday 31 May 2011

Black & Spiro Today

I quickly snapped this photo as I was leaving the shop tonight of our front desk.  Today we replaced the black and white ikat desk skirt, which we've had on the desk since our re-opening last year, with a new gathered navy and white ticking skirt.  This photo gives a very small indication of our new look for the entire shop which will hopefully be in place within the next 3 weeks.  There is going to be lots of red {I am very into red}, navy, pale blue, green, yellow and a softer/warmer pink than the one I am normally known for. 

I wish that all of our lovely new things would arrive sooner as the shop is a little bit empty due to our recent annual sale.  However, as I keep telling myself - beautiful things take time to come to fruition and as my mother always says - good things come to those who wait!!

Monday 30 May 2011

It's Fire Time...

I think we have lit our fire every night over the past few weeks.  We are actually a little bit obsessed with lighting the fireplaces at our house.  Even on nights when it hasn't been very cold, we have lit the fire.  Brad chops the wood and Harry collects the smaller bits and Max and I watch.  It is a big family event every single night!!

We just received some beautiful paper mache pots into the shop last week as pictured below and I think I might need to take one or two home as they would be perfect to hold the pine cones and sticks.  And then when Winter is over, I think they would look wonderful with our Christmas tree placed in one...I love things which have varied uses!!!

Friday 27 May 2011

Fresh as a daisy

You might notice I have a new look.  I think it was well overdue.  This little vignette was one I put together at home last Summer.  I was inspired by it's fresh and happy vibe this morning and I thought what a perfect picture to post for the start of a new era here at ABT....

image - elouise van riet-gray

Wednesday 25 May 2011

Second Choice

The floral patterned fabric above wasn't my first choice colourway for the curtains in our bedroom at home.  My first choice was the lavender colourway.  However, like so many fabrics we have ordered over the past 12-18 months it was out of stock and not available.  Has this been a problem for other decorators out there too?  With only a few weeks to go before Christmas last year I made a very rushed decision and went for the green colourway instead.  I must admit when they first went in I had regrets because I am not usually a huge green lover.  However, they have grown on me and now I absolutely love them.  Has anything like this ever happened to you?  I'd love to hear your stories!!!


image 1 - anna spiro bedroom photographed by elouise van riet-gray

Tuesday 24 May 2011


Our first born child knew the definition of No well before he ever got himself into too much trouble.  A simple No would always result in him moving away from something I didn't want him to touch. 

Over the years I've had many clients ask me how I am able to keep all my books and bits and pieces in place on our coffee table with a little one in the house.  I have always been a firm believer in leaving all my precious objects around the house and teaching  my children to respect my things which will eventually become theirs {whether they like it or not}.  

HOWEVER, I have to say that I have entered into a completely new way of life with our Max.  Ever since Christmas I have had one very tall pile of books perched right in the middle of our coffee table.  Not because this is a new way I am experimenting with arranging my things.  It is the result of a child who seems to have determination which rivals my own.

Late this afternoon I had an appointment at Betty's lovely home and as I was leaving I spotted her big old amazing tree bearing lots of fruit.  She very generously offered me a few which I brought home and placed into one of my vintage blue and white plates.  I bravely placed it on our coffee table amongst my other things.  It took Max about 5 seconds to arrive at the coffee table.  He snatched his very own lemon out of my lemon bowl and then proceeded to put it into his mouth.  I said no and then I said no again and then again...I think I am starting to sound like a broken record!

I caught the moment with my camera and then I moved the lemons to higher ground.  It seems I need to work out a plan of attack as I can't keep this Leaning Tower of Pisa book arrangement thing happening... 

Any tips?xx

Sunday 22 May 2011

Great Cake

Today we celebrated Max's Christening and first Birthday at our home with our family.  My mum did her usual amazing cooking thing and my Aunty Jane cooked lots of wonderful sweets.  My job was the Christening/Birthday cake.  One of my client's told me about this rainbow cake and how easy it was to make.  I was very doubtful!  However, it turns out that it was a very easy cake to make and it is an absolute show stopper!  Thanks Charmaine for sending me the link to this fabulous cake which Meredith over at Count it all Joy featured on her blog.  If I can make it, anyone can make it.  And now Harry wants me to make it for his Birthday later on in the year.  I think it's going to become a family favourite!!

Friday 20 May 2011

Thank Goodness it's Friday!!!

I've seen a few TGIF posts around Blogland this afternoon and I have to agree....THANK GOODNESS IT'S FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!!  But, I have Max's First Birthday Party and Christening this Sunday so I'll be at it again running around like crazy.  Thank goodness it's just the family coming.  I am attempting to cook a cake one of my client's recommended to me tomorrow for Sunday so if it works out I'll be sure to post it.  I also think I need to do something with these lemons I've had sitting in this basket on our dining table for a couple of weeks... 

Have a great weekend! 

Thursday 19 May 2011

Max Turns 1

Max woke up this morning to red, blue, yellow and green balloons tied all around his cot.  This is sort of a little tradition in our household.  Lots of balloons on Birthdays that is.  He absolutely loved them.  However, I think he loved his new car even more.  And I think Harry loved it even more than Max!  It's been a perfect First Birthday. 

Wednesday 18 May 2011

Happy Birthday Max

It's hard to believe that our little Max turns 1 tomorrow.  To celebrate his first year, Harry and I recently created this little chair for him for his bedroom.  Being quite small, it is actually the perfect size for him to climb up onto. I bought the vintage chair for a very small sum and then had it recovered in a plain white canvas.  Harry then drew all over it with fabric felt pens.  On the back I have written a special little note to him.  We also wrote his date of birth and a few of his favourite sounds on the chair too.  I hope it is something he cherishes and keeps forever.

PS.  If anyone is going to try this I would advise ironing the chair after you have drawn on it so as to seal the ink onto the fabric.

Tuesday 17 May 2011

I Love Kate Lewis

I am totally smitten with the artwork of Kate Lewis.  I love everything she does.  Her paintings have a soft, smudgy look which I think is very beautiful.

Monday 16 May 2011

What's Next

For me, creating a home with soul is the most important thing I hope to achieve for my clients and myself. 

No matter what colour or style preference you have, it's about selecting furniture, fabrics and pieces which strike a chord with you.  It's also about having your children's artwork on your walls and your grandmother's vase on your fireplace mantel.  It's about personal preference and the use of items which have personal meaning.

I have found that it's the most unusual pieces which stay within the walls of our family home.  For example the Antique Dining table we purchased just before we got married will never be replaced or sent to the shop to be sold.  Collecting Antique furniture does take time and money but I think it's worth waiting for the perfect piece and collecting pieces over time certainly helps when it comes to funding such items. 

Over the coming weeks we will be taking delivery of lots of wonderful new things at Black & Spiro including numerous Antique pieces which I have been collecting over the last few months from far afield.  There will be new fabrics and a wonderful new colour palette which I think will be fresh and exciting. 

I continue to put all my effort into sourcing and creating inimitable things for Black & Spiro and I am sure you will all be very inspired and excited by our new offerings...

I look forward to sharing photos in the coming weeks.

Saturday 14 May 2011

Black & Spiro Sale 2011

Mum snapped this photo as the beautiful pair of Antique chairs were loaded into the back of this truck.  They were headed to their new home in Byron Bay.  I was sad to see these chairs go as they were my favourite things in the entire shop.  These ladies drove all the way up this morning from Byron Bay...unbelievable!!

What a beautiful, sunny day it was today.  Perfect weather for a sale.  I arrived at the store at 7.15am to find the first two ladies lined up at our front door.  They had apparently been there since 6.45am.  To say I was surprised is an understatement.  By 7.30am my friend Faux Fuchsia had arrived and by 8am there was an army of happy, excited women at our front door lined up in an orderly queue around the corner into Browne Street ready and prepared for our 9am open. 

I have to say that every year I become more and more anxious about our one day only sale.  My thoughts drift from what if nobody comes to what if more people come than last year.

However, it seems that the latter is true - to my complete astonishment more and more people come every year.  Last year I don't think I was really prepared for the numbers we had on the day but this year we set in place some new procedures for our sale which I think made it so much better.  

I would like to thank everyone who supported us today.  I was absolutely delighted by the kindness, politeness and civility of everyone and it seems that everyone left the store not only with something they love but also with a smiling, happy face which makes me very happy and relieved!!

PS.  A huge thank you to my oldest and dearest friend in the entire world Sophie and also to Diana and Mum for stepping in and helping us.  I don't know how we would have done it without you!!!!  Oh and also the biggest thanks to my beautiful Black & Spiro girls - Kel, Liv & Eve.  You girls all worked tirelessly over the last week getting us ready for today.  You are THE BEST!!!

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Mid-Week Tulips

These fresh tulips arrived at Black & Spiro today.  They were such a surprise.  I took them home and arranged them in the vintage bird vase I picked up a few weeks ago.  They have brightened my week. Thank you Janet!!

Tuesday 10 May 2011

The Preparations Have Begun...

Yesterday we started preparing for our annual sale at Black & Spiro which starts at 9am this Saturday.  This is what our fabric remnant room looked like after I had stripped it of piles and piles of fabric which we are putting into our sale on Saturday. It's so nice to have some order in our remnant room as it usually looks like a cyclone has swept through it!!

Sunday 8 May 2011

Patchwork Tiles & Mothers Day

Whilst having a flick through one of my old decorating books today I stumbled across this image which reminded me how much I really like the idea of these blue and white patchwork tiles for our new kitchen.  Oh and look at those big fabulous blue and white bowls...definitely something else to covet!!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day.  Mine was lovely.  The boys cooked me lunch.  I set the table with succulents and our mismatched old blue and white plates.  It was relaxing and happy and I loved every minute of it....xx

Thursday 5 May 2011

Black & Spiro Annual Sale

I am delighted to announce the date of our highly anticipated annual Black & Spiro one day only sale.  There will be lots of wonderful things as always and very generous discounts.  We look forward to seeing you next Saturday 14th May.

Monday 2 May 2011

My Very Own Artist

A very funny and lovely thing happened to me today.  As it was a public holiday here, most of our day was spent pottering around the house enjoying some time with our boys.  I cooked a chocolate cake with Harry and Roast Chicken this afternoon for dinner.  I picked some flowers and herbs out of our garden and I tidied up the house.  Brad and I finally sat down in the lounge room tonight after we had fed the boys and bathed them and I looked over my shoulder and spotted Harry on the floor drawing.  I went over to see what he was drawing and I was so surprised and excited to see him drawing the vignette on our entry chest of drawers as pictured above.  You might think that I am making this up after my post yesterday in which I discussed my mother's entry vignette and Cressida's Campbell's artwork but I am not.

At one point he asked me to pass him down the orange vase so that he could examine it's details up-close.  I was even asked to sharpen pencils.  Of course I didn't argue as I was so excited to see him drawing the things I had arranged on our entry table.

This is the end result.  After looking over it and discussing it, he said he made a mistake with the placement of the pink chair and he said he might add the picture frames which hang on the wall behind the vignette but that's for another night.  On the back he has written a special note to me...I think my Mother's Day happened one week early!

PS...Did you notice Harry's fluoro pencils?!  They are the BEST pencils as the colour is just so vivid and bright.  They can be purchased from Toyworld if anyone is interested.

PPS...I must thank my beautiful friend and client Jules for the Phoebe Stephens yellow roses as pictured above which she delivered to me on Friday afternoon along with the big tub of potent Vitamin C which has done me the world of good...my awful flu has pretty much gone!!xx

Sunday 1 May 2011

Simple Pleasures & Lovely Things

My father has never been the best gift organiser/giver.  However, he recently returned from an overseas surfing trip with a bag full of amazing shells for my mum.  Some he found on the beach and some he bought from local men in dug-out boats.  My mother absolutely loves them and has placed them on a table in their entry with other lovely things she has collected over the years and some fresh flowers she picked from her garden.  These shells will certainly be the gift that keeps on giving as my mum will enjoy and cherish them forever.  Isn't it wonderful how the simplest things have made the most special and heartfelt gift.

Whilst browsing through Cressida Campbell's book today I couldn't help thinking how similar some of her vignette wood-block prints are to this vignette of mum's above.  As I have said before, there is something so familiar to me about Cressida Campbell's work.

I feel like I have lived in the rooms and spaces she depicts in her wood-block prints.  Maybe that's the charm.  Maybe her paintings make me feel at home.  She paints bowls filled with fruit, vases filled with flowers and it all looks so effortless and comfortable.  That's exactly how I want to live. 

image 1 & 2 - anna spiro, image 3 - photo taken by anna spiro of painting in cressida campbell's book