Wednesday 31 August 2011


I will confess when I am not at work I am very much a homebody.  That's not to say I am unadventurous.  It's just that I love being at home.  We don't eat out alot these days and I tend to decline invitations to fancy events.  Some would probably tag me as boring but I just prefer, in my very small amount of spare time, to be at home with my family.  There really is no better place than home in my world.

When I spotted this vintage tear sheet on Full House blog recently it really struck a chord with me because I would love to take a week or two off to spend at home just pottering around the garden and the pool, cooking for my boys and taking some time to really enjoy what it is that we have....time to stop and smell the roses so-to-speak.

I also think that as much as I would like to NOT talk about the slowing economy and as much as I would like to ignore it, it would be remiss of me because the reality is that we are smack bang in the middle of tough times.  Please don't get me wrong, I am not writing this post to try to depress you...quite the opposite.  I am writing this post to try to inspire you.  Tough times shouldn't mean the cancellation of fun but they do make us think a bit differently about how we spend our money.  So here's one way I think we can save on money but not on fun...

With the arrival of Spring here in Australia it's hard not to think about holidays because that's what we all do when the weather gets warmer, we plan holidays.   Instead of thinking about grand plans for an expensive holiday overseas or interstate I think it could be a wonderful idea to think about grand plans for a happy and relaxing holiday at home.  Pretty up the house, add some cushions, get into the garden, read a book, take afternoon naps, cook lovely meals, play scrabble with the family and enjoy what it is that you have because what we all have is really so very much...


Tuesday 30 August 2011

Half Price

Just in case you might be interested I have just put our 4 remaining neon framed embroideries over at the online store on sale.  They are now half the original price which is very exciting!!  Only 4 left though...

CLICK HERE to see...


PS.  Please note, all of these embroideries are hand-made and will vary slightly in design to the one shown.  If you want to see a selection of what is left prior to purchasing just email us and we would love to send you some images.

Monday 29 August 2011

Monday Ramblings

I woke up on Saturday morning to the sound of heavy rain on our old tin roof.  My plans for a mindless day in the garden had to be cancelled.

If only I could have stayed home today because this morning I woke to the most beautiful, warm, sunny Spring day.  Isn't it always the way!  I was rather envious of Merv who arrived at around 8am ready to work in the garden for the morning.  There was just something in the air this morning.  Did you feel it too?

Next on our gardening agenda is planting 2 garden beds full of Dahlias, Zinnias and Daisies.  These should then flower right through Summer...fingers crossed.

Has anyone driven passed Black & Spiro over the last few days?  Did you see the divine, divine, divine pair of vintage concrete Swan pots we have sitting right at the front as you enter our front door?  I am having major problems trying to hold myself back from getting them picked up and delivered to our house.  They came from an old house in South Australia and I will admit that I am in-love!  I really don't think I could stand seeing them go to another home.  I haven't been like this over something in the shop for such a long time!!  I wonder where they will end house or yours?

image 1 - via seboise, image 2 - via pretty stuff, image 3 - via pretty stuff

Friday 26 August 2011

A Day for Daffodils

It seems my Daffodils have flowered right on cue.  Back in Autumn I ambitiously planted 50 Daffodil bulbs in our garden and although not all of them have surfaced, we have quite a few in flower today just in time for Daffodil Day.  To support this very special day click HERE to make a donation or to find out how you can contribute.

On that note I am signing off for this week.  I'm yearning for a weekend in my garden.

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Dishevelled Bathroom

I love this CRAZY bathroom.  Seems I am loving everything a bit dishevelled...


PS.  This fabulous bathroom belongs to Johnelle.

PPS - I have just discovered that this bathroom AND that lovely dishevelled bookcase I posted a couple of days ago BOTH belong to Johnelle!  I didn't realise this at the time of posting.  How serendipitous!

PPPS - Well I seem to have really gotten my wires crossed.  Thanks to a reader I have been advised that this bathroom belongs to Jo Kornstein, a talented set designer in London. My sincere apologies for this mistake.

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Spring Just Around The Corner...


Spring is just around the corner here in Australia.  I am really looking forward to some warmer weather and all the pretty flowers which are starting to pop up in our garden. 

I am also excited to announce that our Spring Vignette over at our online store will be live in just over 2 weeks.  We've almost sold out of our Winter Vignette however, there are still a few things available so make sure you head over there to grab any last minute bits before we close Winter.

I will say that our Spring Vignette is going to have lots of gorgeous vintage items and an array of pretty floral cushions too...something to look forward to.


image 1 - source unknown, image 2 - kate spade, image 3 - via pink lemonade design, image 4 - via mary ruffle

Monday 22 August 2011

Dishevelled Perfection

Last night I did something I haven't done in a very long time.  I got caught on a couple of tumblr sites and I couldn't get off.  I just kept on scrolling.  Back in the early days of this blog I spent a lot of time reading other blogs and tumblrs but I have to be honest, these days I don't read many blogs.  Maybe it's a time thing or maybe it's because there are just so many out there now and I can't keep up.  Not sure.  However, I did find this fabulous image on Matchbook's tumblr last night.  It stopped me in my tracks.  I love how imperfect and dishevelled it is. 

Have a great Monday! 


Friday 19 August 2011

The Perfect Spot

Could this be the most perfect spot to sit and enjoy a warm Spring Saturday morning?  So beautiful!! 

image via - cote de texas

Thursday 18 August 2011

Simply Divine

I have a thing for white houses.  Our first house was white our second house was white, our beach cottage is white and our current house, which will be the house we stay in forever, will also eventually be white.  I don't ever stray to another colour and even when clients ask me what colour they should paint their house I always reply white.  The fact is that white houses never date.  I especially love white houses when they are surrounded by lots of gardens or big green luscious trees and lots of green neatly trimmed grass.  There is nothing prettier in my opinion.  I was completely awestruck when I spotted this beautiful old white house over at Coco + Kelley blog earlier this week.  How simply divine!!

Wednesday 17 August 2011

The Cushion Thing

One of the most important elements in the rooms I put together for people is the array of beautiful, unique cushions I compile and have custom made for their sofas, armchairs, beds etc.  Usually these cushions are made in the most exquisite fabrics which are either imported, hand embroidered or made out of vintage materials or trimmed with fabulous braid or rouche.

The downside of these beautiful cushions is that they tend to be quite expensive.  Sometimes I prepare my clients for the cushion price prior to sending them their quote but sometimes I forget and there has certainly been times when I get the call in which I am asked - 'What's with the cushions?  Did you make a typing error when you wrote the price...?'

During the week we had a lovely young woman into the shop and I was thrilled to hear that she was back to purchase some of our beautiful cushions to add to her collection.  Apparently a few years ago we had made a set of our cushions for her which she absolutely adores.  She was telling one of the girls in the shop that most of her friends have been through 3-4 rounds of inexpensive, ready-made cushions since she purchased her set from us and yet her unique collection still sits proudly on her sofa loved and cherished. 

So, even if you can't afford to purchase them all up-front I suggest starting with a couple and then adding to them over time.  That way you will end up with the most gorgeous, unique collection of cushions which you will love and adore for many years to come...

Or you could be like one of my clients who comes into the shop every week and pretty much takes home a cushion a week!!  With Spring almost on our doorstep it is the perfect time to add some beautiful cushions to your sofa.  They will be like a breath of fresh air!!


image - polly wreford

Tuesday 16 August 2011

A Basket of Fresh Garden Flowers

Early this morning I headed out into our garden which is currently in full bloom.  I spent about 20 minutes in pure heaven collecting this basket of fresh flowers for Black & Spiro.  It has been so great having lots of vases of fresh garden flowers in the shop over these past few weeks.  As you have probably guessed I am a little bit obsessed with fresh flowers.  Maybe if I decide to give up decorating I could just grow and sell pretty bunches of fresh garden flowers...I'd really love that. 

Monday 15 August 2011

Pretty Chair

This pretty vintage armchair just came back from the upholsterer last week.  I particularly love the box pleated trim we added to the base of the chair.  We decided to keep the legs in their vintage state so as to show the age of the chair.  With Spring just around the corner this little floral chair is such a fresh addition to the shop...


Sunday 14 August 2011

Alfoil Packages

We have this thing in our family of packaging up food parcels in silver alfoil after big family events for everyone to take home.  My grandmother's soirees always end with a divvy up of the amazing left overs which she has often spent days preparing.  This similarly happens at my mother's house too.  But it really hasn't been a thing which happens at my house as I don't love to cook.  It's just not my thing.  I mean I can cook but I really don't get the enjoyment out of it like my mother and my grandmothers do. 

I think I am starting to become known in our family for a different type of silver alfoil package....

Whenever anyone has visited our house lately they have left with a big bundle of fresh flowers from our garden which are wrapped at the base with wet tissues and silver alfoil for the trip home.  Here's the little bundle of fresh lavender, calendulars, basil, bougainvillea etc. I collected out of our garden today for a special family member.  I hope she gets lots of enjoyment out of them this week.

I am yet to tell the family that our huge trellis of sweet peas will be in flower next week...I'm sure they'll all be dropping in for a visit once they know this!!


Thursday 11 August 2011

Butcher's Block

I love this image I found over at Nibs blog of John Derian's old butcher's block in his house in Provincetown, Massachusetts.  We have been very lucky this year to come across 2 of these wonderful old butcher's blocks.  One came from an old butchery in Toowoomba.  Each one sold within the first few days of them being in the shop which obviously shows how rare these wonderful pieces are.  I wish I could find another one for our kitchen at home.  I also love the idea of using them as a side table placed between 2 sofas with a big gorgeous lamp placed on top.

image John Derian's home by eric boman for american vogue living

Wednesday 10 August 2011

More Photos

I thought I would share a few more photos of our back bedroom display at Black & Spiro.  I love, love, love the embroidered cushion we just added to the bed today which arrived this morning along with a few more.  They are all one-off cushions. 

And here's a photo of the curtains in the room which we made in a blue and white lattice design fabric.

Hope everyone is having a fabulous day!!


Tuesday 9 August 2011

Random Snippets

I arrived home last night to this arrangement of flowers from our garden on our fireplace mantel.  A little fairy had been to visit.  Gosh they were a lovely surprise.  As I've said many times before, there's nothing like flowers to bring a smile to my face...

I thought you might like to see some photos of our new bedroom display at Black & Spiro which we have just finished decorating.  It's so nice having our back rooms looking beautiful again.

We've also had an influx this week of some beautiful new cushions and a few vintage treasures which is always very exciting but they don't seem to last long!!

This vintage blue and white lamp is one of my favourite pieces at Black & Spiro at the moment.  I found it covered in dirt at an auction a few months ago.  You couldn't even see that it was blue and white.  We wiped it back to reveal this beautiful vintage lamp base...divine!

Thursday 4 August 2011

Summer Is That You?

I am usually more of a Winter girl but I must admit I haven't really enjoyed Winter this year.  I have no idea why.  I am so excited about this coming Summer.  Maybe it's because I've been working really hard or maybe it's because our weather here in Brisbane this past week has been a bit warmer.  Whatever it is, I just keep dreaming about long Summer days at the beach.

With all of my thoughts turning towards Summer I couldn't help posting this image today.  It's very Summery.  It is a room I have loved for such a long time.  I love how layered and thrown together it is.  It is a great example of blue and white done well, in my opinion...not too fussy and not too contrived. 

Actually Jennifer over at Peak of Chic wrote a very interesting post this week about decorating with blue and white.  I am in complete agreement with her.  As she says 'I feel as though there is blue and white...and then there is blue and white!'  

I'm taking a few days off from the blog.  Hope to be back mid-next week!

image via vacation homes book

Wednesday 3 August 2011

Things on Tables

You may wonder why I seem to have an obsession with lovely things placed on tables and chests and mantels.  I think it stems back to watching my mother arranging flowers and shells and paintings and books and bits on tables around our house and our beach house growing up.  I remember thoughts going through my head whilst she was playing around arranging things like - 'What on earth is she doing that for?  What's the point?  She is weird.'

But it seems that for some very strange reason I too now love moving things around on tables.  There is something so therapeutic about it.  I love it.  I love seeing a table in a house against a wall or behind a sofa which has so much stuff on it.  It is so interesting and really shows personality and a love of beautiful things. 

I recently came across this painting above on Pinterest by Elizabeth Cummings via Brabourne Farm blog.  It is so beautiful.  That's how I want my tablescapes at home to look.  Filled with interest and imperfection and love.


Talking about tablescapes I thought I would post this one above which sits in our front window at Black & Spiro at the moment.  With all that has been going on with the online store I feel like Black & Spiro has been a bit neglected of late.  Gosh it's hard juggling everything!

Oh well, all you can do is try I suppose! 

For a Good Cause

Getting the word out seems to be one of the biggest things I can do with this blog.  Today I would really like to help Cate Farrar from Multicap.  Multicap is a disability services provider supporting people with multiple disabilities, complex behaviour problems and their families in Queensland.  She needs to get the word out about this charity luncheon being held next week.  You see they haven't filled enough tables for the event and they really need some bookings so please, please, please if you aren't doing anything next Thursday 11th August why don't you book a table, take a group of friends and enjoy what I believe will be a very interesting debate!!

Tickets can be purchased online HERE...


Monday 1 August 2011

Winter Hues

I loved seeing the pics Heather from Habitually Chic shared last week of her new apartment.  I particularly loved these 2 {above and below} as the colours reminded me of our Winter Vignette.

The beautiful photo below has been saved in my inspiration files since it appeared in Trad Home a while back.  Again the colours remind me of the colours I chose for our Winter Vignette.

Talking about our Winter Vignette, I was so excited that Loni mentioned our new store in her latest issue of Adore magazine.  Thank you Loni for your tremendous support!! Oh and what a fantastic issue it is!!  If you haven't already read it then click HERE now...xx

PS.  I had a reader ask me what's hapenning with our Black & Spiro website.  I am working on that too.  It will be the website where we feature our portfolio of design work.  Fingers crossed it will be up again before Christmas.  We are just finishing off getting some of the houses photographed which we have worked on over the last year or so and as other designers would know it is so time consuming getting jobs photographed!!! xx