Monday 21 December 2009

Time Flies

It seems that time really has run away from me. It's been 2 weeks since I have posted and what a hectic time it's been.

In all of the craziness, I have hardly had a moment to think about Christmas. Harry and Brad can't believe how uninteresting our Christmas tree is this year!! They think that I have turned from being a Christmas obsessed maniac to a Christmas Grinch! Not so, I keep on telling them...just lots of other great things I am trying to work through...

As from this Wednesday I will be taking one month away from the blog. I need some time to recharge and refresh...however, I am very much looking forward to continue to share my experiences, inspirations, travels etc. with you all in 2010 here on ABT!!!

Image - John Dolan photographer

Monday 7 December 2009

Christmas Wish List

These heart design breakfast cups and saucers by Nina Campbell are definitely something to add to the Christmas wish list. In fact Nina has an entire range of heart printed china on her website.

PS. Sorry I haven't been here much this week...things are pretty hectic around here at the moment.

Monday 30 November 2009

New Bits at Black & Spiro

We've finally received our delivery of Megan Park cushions in at Black & Spiro along with some of our other lovely cushions {top image}. I thought I would take a couple of photos of some other bits which we just received in last week. The little Antique brass mirror is one of my favourite things in the shop at the moment and the colourful ginger jar lamp bases are divine!!

For all enquiries, please email us

Friday 27 November 2009

Ashgrove House

Images above and below you may be able to spot the floor in the sun room to the left which we had painted in a green and white stripe. We will be doing some beautiful white cane pieces upholstered in lovely bright fabrics in this area in the New Year.

Here are some photos of a job I finished off this morning for a lovely, lovely client at Ashgrove. The brief was to create an area which was fresh, bright, colourful and family friendly. This is what I created.

Thursday 26 November 2009

Black & Spiro Today

I love the new painting we have just received into the shop by Diana Favell...thought you would love to see a photo of it. It's so big and gorgeous!!

Wednesday 25 November 2009

How much is that doggie in the window?

I brought Ned into work today in an attempt to cheer myself up. His favourite spot in the entire store was sitting in the front window next to our beautiful new curtains watching the traffic and passers-by. I couldn't resist snapping this photo above.

Country Road Christmas Catalogue

It was lovely to receive the Country Road Christmas catalogue in the mail last night. It's filled with lots of great gift ideas. I absolutely loved the cover which I have posted above.

Tuesday 24 November 2009


It seems I am a little overloaded this week along with suffering an awful summer flu...may have to take a couple of days away from here. I promise I'll be back soon!


illustration by samantha hahn

Friday 20 November 2009

Friday Flowers

Here are some beautiful fresh pink peonies which I just arranged and placed on our entrance table at Black & Spiro along with a collection of other lovely things. Have a great weekend!


Thursday 19 November 2009

Christmas Card Idea

I love Anne Harwell's Christmas cards this year. They are available in a set of 8 at Anne's etsy store...

Wednesday 18 November 2009

Black & Spiro Christmas Window

I've been meaning to post these photos of our Christmas windows at Black & Spiro which we installed last week. I feel like I am always one of the last stores in Brisbane to install Christmas! Anyway, I went for a very bright pink and yellow combination this year. I wanted to end 2009 on a lovely bright note!

PS. The wreath is made out of beautiful dried out Australian native bush {very hard to see from these pictures} which a lovely lady in Melbourne made for me. I then decorated the wreath with silver baubles tied on with torn strips of fabric and ribbon.

Christmas Gift Idea

This gift idea is one for the husbands even though I am sure there wouldn't be any husbands reading this blog!!

Last Christmas one of my client's husbands emailed me very last minute {as husbands do} asking for my help with a present for his wife. I found this beautiful Antique chair for him and had it quickly recovered in a pretty piece of fabric we had in stock. I think I turned the whole thing around in about 14 days which was a huge feat considering the chair came up from one of my dealers in Melbourne and also considering it was 2 weeks before Christmas which is our busiest time of year! His wife absolutely loved the chair and was so surprised by it's presence on Christmas morning. I think I would be in shock too if my husband thought about organising something like this for me.

Let me know if I can help any of your husbands with a gift this Christmas!!

Tuesday 17 November 2009

In It's Home

You might remember this old Puerto Rican cabinet we had painted in a soft mint green which was in our Black & Spiro front window for a little while. I thought I would show you it in it's new home. My clients have placed it in their new kitchen which was still having the finishing touches done to it when I was there snapping away these photos this morning. The pink Smeg fridge is definitely something I covet along with the lovely set of old scales!!

Monday 16 November 2009

Christmas Gift Idea

For the friend or relative who has everything, I think these personalised paperweights from Iomoi make for a fantastic gift. A couple of Christmas' ago I gave all my girlfriends one of these and they loved them. I think they look great on a coffee table or bedside table clustered in a group. Maybe this could be the start of a collection of paper weights for your friend/relative! My only problem is choosing which one to go for as there are SO many gorgeous designs to select from!!

Wednesday 11 November 2009

Stuart Membery

Although this post isn't really Christmas related, I had a feeling you would love to know about a new friend of mine, Stuart Membery. My Australian readers may remember Stuart from the fashion industry in Australia in the 1980's and also as the man behind bringing Esprit to Australia many moons ago.

This week I've had a few email conversations with Stuart and then yesterday he picked up the phone and called me from his divine home in Bali. Stuart's home has been featured in this month's House & Garden magazine and I must say I feel like I could move straight in and not change a thing. It actually reminds me of something my mother would create. His mismatch of cane furniture, collected things like shells, baskets, books and magazines is very much a look I love and have grown up with myself. The whole thing feels like I have seen it before. I absolutely adore his aesthetic and as for his life in Bali, well it sounds amazing.

Apparently, US decorator and journalist, Annie Kelly has just been over to visit Stuart and has photographed the house and it seems that international interest for his homewares and furniture is mounting daily....including my own keen interest in his products for our Black & Spiro store which we are renovating and extending in 2010.

I will be sure to keep you updated with our purchase of his pieces for Black & Spiro. In the meantime, you must race out and grab a copy of this month's House & Garden and see for yourself how beautiful his home is and how wonderful his life sounds!!

Gift Ideas at Simon Johnson

If you are looking for a gift for someone who enjoys cooking {or eating} this Christmas I would highly recommend you check out the Simon Johnson online store. They have some wonderful things and ship all over Australia. I loved the styling of their gift collection catalogue as above and I know a little 6 year old who will love the giant midi Durade chocolate fish {105 grams} which I will be ordering in for his Christmas stocking!

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Christmas Wreaths Australian Style

A flowering gum wreath from Grandiflora hangs on Beth from Boatshed Chic's front door above. Beth's amazing boat shed was featured in the Christmas issue of Country Style magazine last year {2008}.

Here in Saskia Haveke's own entryway hangs one of her amazing creations; a flannel flower-and-pieris-laden lichen branch wreath as featured in Inside Out Christmas Issue 2007.

Here in Australia it is a little harder to keep live Christmas wreaths looking wonderful and fresh due to our extremely hot Summer weather. However, that doesn't stop celebrated florists like Saskia Havekes of Grandiflora creating amazing wreaths for her clients and her own home at Christmas. Saskia tends to use Australian natives in her wreaths which can be hardier and more inclined to last. If you opt for a fresh wreath this Christmas I would suggest filling a spray bottle with water and spraying the wreath at least twice a day to keep it looking fresh and beautiful.

Another wonderful and hardy option for warmer climates would be to decorate a branch wreath with succulents like April Hiler has done above.

Monday 9 November 2009

T'is The Season

It's usually around early to mid November each year that I start to get my thinking cap on with regards to my plans and ideas for Christmas. All the inspiring Christmas ideas are out in the Magazines by this time each year and most stores have their Christmas decorations up and the season is in full swing.

My planning for this year's Christmas started over the weekend with my purchase of the December issue of Inside Out magazine whose Christmas spread each year is one of my absolute favourites. Not only did I scour through this year's issue, I pulled out issues from previous years which were so beautiful and thought provoking!!

One thing I read in the December 2008 issue which I absolutely loved was a quote by Stylist Lynsey Fryers;

"Don't be put off by thinking you must do things in a certain way, because Christmas is so personal."

I for one am a person who does do Christmas a little more on the abstract side when it comes to the colours/patterns/papers/decorations I use. I tend to love a touch of pink, yellow, lime green, aqua and orange. I find that even though these colours aren't really traditional Christmas colours, to me they are festive and bright and happy.

Over the weekend I went back through the photos of what I created last year to get myself motivated. Harry and I also cooked up a batch of star shaped short bread as a practice run for the 14 batches we will be cooking the week of Christmas to give to our family & friends.

So, in the coming weeks I thought I would talk and post all things Christmas. From entertaining ideas, gift wrapping ideas, decorations and gifts. I hope in some way I can inspire you to create something wonderful of your own this Christmas. Let's join together and celebrate the spirit of this wonderful season!!


Image 1 - wreath by Saskia Havekes of Grandiflora, Image 2 - Lynsey Fryers home & quote via Inside Out magazine December 2008, Image 3 - Cover of Inside Out December 2009 Christmas issue, Image 4 - My 2008 Christmas Tree creation.

Friday 6 November 2009

I Love Her Dress Too!!

And look at her fabulous dress!! Thanks for emailing me this one Kelly!!

PS. Kelly said that she saved this photo a couple of years ago from an advertisement for a fabric house! Could it be Clarence House? They always do the best advertisements along with Osborne & Little!!

Wednesday 4 November 2009

I Love Her Dress

I have had this image saved in my picture file for a long time and as I was flipping through my images today I spotted it again. I absolutely LOVE her dress. I think she looks so groovy and stylish!

Image - Hugh Stewart

Tuesday 3 November 2009

Imperial Trellis Wallpaper ON SALE!!

I have a very special offer I would like to extend to you all. I have 3 triple rolls and 1 single roll of Kelly Wearstler Imperial Trellis wallpaper in the citrine colourway available and one triple roll of the pink colourway available which I am offering for sale at the crazy price of Australian $295.00 per roll for the triple rolls and Australian $98.00 per roll for the single roll. If you have ever priced this wallpaper here in Australia you will know that the triple rolls sell for well over $1000 per roll! If you want to purchase these rolls please be quick as they will be sold to the first person to call or email us.

1 Triple roll equates to 12.3 meters long
1 Single roll equates to 4.1 meters long


Nb. The total amount of the citrine colourway we have available would be enough to do a large feature wall or possibily a small powder room.


Monday 2 November 2009

Bright & Colourful

It seems I am loving lots of orange lately as noticeable in the shop at the moment. I took this photo this afternoon of our front room at Black & Spiro. There is so much colour in there right now which I love...colour makes me so happy!! Unfortunately this photo isn't the best so make sure you drop into the shop to have a look as it really is looking lovely. Oh, and next week we will be receiving 32 beautiful Black & Spiro cushions in for the shop from our cushion maker in lots of gorgeous mismatched fabrics {including a few vintage fabrics}...perfect for a special Christmas gift!!

PS. Click on image to enlarge.

Friday 30 October 2009

Friday Flowers

Apparently these beautiful peonies, which our florist delivered to the shop this morning, are the first for the season. They look so pretty with our colourful cushions and our new orange ottoman!! Hope you have a great weekend.


Thursday 29 October 2009

Black & Spiro Today

Our new left side window display was supposed to go in today however, we had a few dramas with it and it won't go in until tomorrow so the girls put this temporary display into the window for today. I had to share it with you as one of my most favourite things in the entire world is blue and white ginger jars filled with fresh flowers...definitely an obsession my mother has passed onto me!!

Wednesday 28 October 2009

Clayfield House

Here are a couple of photos of a job I have been working on over at Clayfield. I thoroughly enjoyed working for this lovely couple and their 2 young children. The floral armchairs we made are my favourite thing in this house and work beautifully with the colourful Chinese drum stool which we placed next to the slip covered sofa.

Tuesday 27 October 2009


I have had a long association with Brisbane Antique dealer, Nick Wallrock in that my parents collected most of their Antique pieces from Nick over the years. I was thrilled to recently hear that Nick's daughter Jessica has joined the family business. I think it will be lovely to see some of the pieces selected by Jessica for sale at Wallrocks. I am sure she will add a new perspective to the long running and well regarded Wallrocks.

Not only have Wallrocks had a new addition, they have also moved from their old location over at Woolloongabba to Clayfield. Nick's old store was housed in the lovely old building which Crosstown Eatery now operates in. I remember often going there on a Saturday with my mother to inspect the latest shipment Nick had on offer. He always told the best stories about the pieces he was selling and still does I must admit!! One piece I am admiring in their latest shipment is this beautiful 19th Century Eastern European lidded Antique bench seat with it's original paint which can be viewed on their wonderful new website...certainly one of Jessica's suggestions I am sure!

Monday 26 October 2009

Black & Spiro Today

Here are a couple of photos of our current window display at Black & Spiro. The poodle lamps are very wild yet so much fun. I adore the fabric drop in the background and our new little woven shell boxes which you can see on the table are a current obsession of mine. They come in 5 different sizes and I was thinking it would be a fun idea to bake some beautiful shortbread stars for Christmas and use these lovely shell boxes to put the shortbread in as gifts for my friends. We have a few in stock if anyone else would like to do the same!! For all enquiries email us