Being kind to yourself and others…

beads on a vintage mannequin.jpg

My stupid, unpredictable, incurable and chronic illness has flared again completely out of the blue. So today I am trying really, really hard to be kind to myself. I’m going to take it easy and hope that the fire that’s been ignited will burn out by itself. Fingers crossed!! While I rest and hopefully recuperate, I thought I’d share a little idea I had about being kind and generous to others.
I found a lovely old mannequin in the antique shop down the road from the guesthouse in Millthorpe. I’d been keeping an eye out for one because I needed a nice display for a collection of beads I’d been gathering for the house.

eb&ive beads elk.jpg
My bead collection includes Elk (my fav), eb&ive plus others in various styles and colours. I’ve been on a few girls’ weekends away and have been keeping a note of things I’ve appreciated in other guesthouses and things that have made me feel completely welcome. Making guests feel welcome is something I’ve had in the back of my mind right from the beginning. It’s so important. With this in mind I welcome guests to borrow a necklace (especially if they’ve forgotten to pack one) to wear out to dinner, the markets or just around the town.

faux deer head.jpg I have been warned about breakages and theft, but I’m prepared for that and I strongly believe in Karma. I hope guests appreciate the gesture and are happy to borrow and return.
Finally, I’m looking at doing to plate display in one of the rooms. Here’s my collection so far. My favourites are the bird, rabbit and yellow dinner plate by Mozi. LOVE!!

plate collection vintage.jpg

mozi melanine plates.jpg

20130318-103205.jpg

No Vacancy

20130129-124438.jpg

There are probably a thousand things I should be doing right now! I’ve got sheets and towels to wash, grocery shopping to do, three kids to get organised for school and a house to clean. But I’m far too busy basking in the afterglow of a weekend that saw Winterfell at full capacity….plus visitors.

20130129-124451.jpg
There was not a bed spare on Australia Day weekend when my husband’s family came to visit. I’ve been curious as to how Winterfell would cope when fully occupied and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was still roomy and comfortable. Of course, the caliber of visitors most certainly made things easier.

There were 22 people in total with groups staying at the Millthorpe Motel and The Old Chemist. We filled the time with barefoot bowls at the local bowling club, dinner at the Commercial, breakfast at Tonic, a trip to historic Carcoar and games of blackjack.

20130129-124642.jpg

20130129-124634.jpg
The sign was hung before everyone arrived. I’m so happy with how it looks!! And with a weekend of rain the grass and plants are looking greener and healthier. Soooooo……I guess it’s time to get my butt into gear and list my house for rent. :)
Oh, and here’s a pic of the happy group just before breakfast at Tonic. And thanks to those who left beautiful messages in my guest book. It means a lot to me that you enjoyed your time at Winterfell.

20130129-221003.jpg

Frame Arrangement – The Gold Room Complete

IMG_3279

Happy New Year! I know we are barely two days in, but this year has been brilliant so far!!  😉 I am starting 2013 with fresh eyes and a positive attitude. Last year was challenging, but there were also amazing times and both have changed me for the better I hope. Here are just some of the lowlights and highlights of 2012.

We saw the New Year in at Times Square NYC. I made the cover of a regional magazine thanks to flattering lighting and Photoshop!  I started studying again and discovered my brain still works. Yay! My chronic illness flared badly this year. Internal bleeding throughout your large intestine is never good, but it reached a new level last year. I really do not want to see 56kgs again.

My husband and I had the BEST ever weekend in Millthorpe and bought a beautiful house that has kept our family close. Johno tattooed a poem I’d written on his back. It’s impressively large and lovely. My Mum was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. She has endured surgery, radiation and multiple rounds of chemotherapy and has managed to keep a positive attitude. Amazing!

We had to put our dog Bob to sleep. He was a silly, fat beagle and we loved him. We got a friend for Ruby who was missing Bob and we are so very glad we did because Pepsi is gorgeous. She has slotted into our family with ease and we love her. My daughter Eilish duxed her primary school. I am so very, very proud of her. My husband merged his business with two others and hopefully this will decrease his work hours.

My son Daniel blossomed this year at school and has grown in confidence, which is so very important. And Rose, my gorgeous spectrum girl, not just survived but thrived in her second year of high school. We celebrated Christmas with my parents, all of my siblings, partners and children. And finally, Johno and I saw the new year in on our red seat on the porch of Winterfell.

Oh, and another room at Winterfell is complete!

IMG_3280

My collection of gold frames finally made it onto the wall. I’m hoping to add to this wall as i find more frames.

IMG_3281

I used some vintage wallpaper i discovered at a secondhand shop to fill this ornate gold frame.

IMG_3293

My grandmother’s buffet features in this room. It looks beautiful here. Also, my other grandmother’s bowls sit on the buffet. I’m going to fill them with chocolates for my guests.

IMG_3294

IMG_3289

White timber ceilings feature throughout the house.

IMG_3295

I’m a little obsessed with collecting books about collecting and decorating. They will all remain at Winterfell for my guests to enjoy.

IMG_3297

Local artist Leanne Watt created this golden image, which reminded my husband of our daughter so much that he had to have it! It hangs on the wall in the hall before the gold room.

IMG_3282 IMG_3290I have only two more rooms to finish (eek!) before we get to the serious business of creating a website, information booklets, professional photography (yes, i recognise my photographs aren’t ideal) and then finally opening the doors of Winterfell to guests. How very exciting!

The Parlour – Finally Finished

If i had a dollar for every time i walked into the parlour and said, “I hate this room”, i’d probably have enough money to buy another house! It seems crazy that this room has caused me so much trouble. I have rearranged the furniture a 100 times, hung pictures on the walls and then taken them down, added more stuff, taken stuff out, bought new items, moved things around again….nothing seemed to satisfy me. I found this room so very frustrating, but in the end the solution was simple. Stop trying too hard!! I emptied the room and started a fresh. I put back only the basics, a lounge, some cushions, a mat, a coffee table, a mirror, a tiny hall table, some lovely books, a couple of carvers and some interesting items. Then i stopped. I banned myself from adding anything else. And now i am satisfied.

IMG_2980 IMG_2981 IMG_2982 IMG_2983 IMG_2984 IMG_2985 IMG_2986 IMG_2987 IMG_2988 IMG_2989 IMG_2990

Decoupage and Spray Paint

20121111-153930.jpg
I didn’t pay much for this old dresser. It was an ugly, old off white colour and the mirror was dangerously unstable. It had a couple of little scrapes on the top, but was otherwise pretty solid.

20121111-153953.jpg
The mirror came off easily and spray painting it was a cinch! I was already spray painting my little cane table, so I did them both together. Have I mentioned I love spray paint? It’s so easy to use!! It’s much quicker than a brush and the result is much smoother. Plus, there’s less mess to clean up!
I did a few good coats and it was already looking much fresher, but the scrapes on the top were still pretty obvious.
Recently, I’d been going through some of mum and dad’s old stuff in storage and had found some seriously outdated atlases. These were perfect for decoupaging the top of this dresser. So, about a dozen coats of mod podge later and this is the result. I paired the dresser with my grandmother’s old mirror. They look so cute together. Pretty!!!

20121111-154010.jpg

20121111-154024.jpg

20121111-154033.jpg

20121111-154105.jpg

20121111-154044.jpg

Spray paint side table makeover

20121111-153401.jpg
It’s amazing what a difference some spray paint makes! I picked up this pretty cane table for $20 at a secondhand store. It’s in great shape and I knew it would be simple to freshen up.

20121111-153430.jpg
After brushing off the cob webs I applied two good coats of lovely shiny white paint, allowing drying time in between. It was a little tricky to get in all the nooks and crannies but the end result speaks for itself. It looks like new!
Here it is at Winterfell in one of the bedrooms. Oh, and here’s a sneak peek at another room that is VERY close to being finished.

20121111-153443.jpg

20121111-153511.jpg

20121111-153457.jpg

Pretty Pastels

20121107-112103.jpg

Here are some pretty pastels for one of the bedrooms. The Astor radio I loved instantly! It doesn’t work but that didn’t deter me. It was the lovely buttery yellow that caught my attention, so therefore its main purpose is to be pretty. I don’t know anything about old radios or their value. I did try to source some information, but I couldn’t find another radio that matched mine. I don’t really care about the value….I was just curious.

20121107-112055.jpg
The following three glasses were also purchased for their loveliness and because they look like half open flowers. They are purely for decoration and look so pretty with radio. WARNING! Super Girly room in progress! 😉 It will have soft greens, yellows, pinks and charcoal. I’ll also be attempting my own DIY headboard. Wish me luck!

20121107-112033.jpg

20121107-112048.jpg

Garage sale side table makeover.

Side table makeover.

I picked up this little side table for $30 at a garage sale a few weeks ago. Although it was structurally sound the top was worn and a bit flakey. I’ll be honest, the idea of sanding it back and revarnishing it did not appeal to me. So i decided a little decoupage might dress it up a enough. I still wanted it to be quaint and country style, so i searched through my craft cupboard for something suitable.

I made the invitations for my brother’s wedding last year and had some of the pretty floral paper left over. I really wanted to use it for this table as a little reminder of the wedding. The wedding was fab! and my brother managed to snag himself a high quality girl, so i have fond memories of that day. Also, my daughter Rose played the piano for the brides entry which was really special. Anyway, back to the topic. The paper i used for the wedding invites was perfect. So after some light sanding, sticking on paper and applying many layers of modpodge, i was happy with the result. Here’s how it looks in the room….also, note the new wrought iron bedhead and base (thanks Mum and Dad).

The Guest Book

20121026-115917.jpg

I purchased a little guest book a while ago. I loved the layout, but the cover was boring! A friend suggested covering it with fabric and said it was simple to do. I was skeptical. I mean, I’ve worked with contact before and I probably don’t have to explain why I hate the sticky stuff and the air bubbles that haunt me. *sigh* Anyway, I thought it was worthwhile trialling the technique on some cheap notebooks.

Here is how I did it : 1. Cut fabric to size leaving a couple of cms around the edges 2. Cut off corners leaving enough fabric to fold over. I also cut a couple of wedges at the spine 3. Using fabric adhesive spray I covered the book and the fabric and carefully laid book onto the fabric. NO BUBBLES! Yay!! 4. Using mod podge I secured the corners and inserted the flap at spine. 5. Add ribbon using mod podge 6. Finally, i cut a sheet of paper to fit across the inside cover and first page to cover up the mess and then the same step for the back inside cover…sorry I didn’t take a pic of this step. All done!!20121026-115836.jpg20121026-115853.jpg20121026-120122.jpg20121026-120142.jpg

I chose classic black and white for the guest book….with a little red, of course! 😉 I’m really pleased with the result and much nicer than the old boring cover.

The spare room might be my favourite…

The house is an eclectic mix of old and new, of neutral and brights, of gold and silver and of practical and just pretty. Each room is different from the next. The loft, the main bedroom, is my husbands and mine. The kids have all decided on a bedroom and are helping me with decorating ideas. This leaves one ‘spare’ room. A room to decorate however i wish….This is the first room that i have finished!

Shopping for bedlinen, doonas, blankets and pillows has been an expensive exercise! Unfortunately, it is an area where i need to buy NEW and thankfully I’ve been able to save a little money due to end of winter sales. And thank goodness really, because it has cost enough without paying full price. I guess it’s all in the timing.

Target lamp shades, my son Daniel lying amongst some of the linen and the ‘before’ shot of the room.

The barrels, before they were a side table.

The bedside table was created using a little experimenting. I picked up a couple of barrel planters, lacquered them, glued and strapped them together and finally attached a tray on the top. In total it only set me back $50, which i was pretty pleased with. :) The lamp shades were a Target buy and were ridiculously priced at $3 each! gotta love clearance sales! I whipped up the cushions with Amy Butler fabric. And the frames above the bed, well you’ve seen those before…..vintage prints $15 in total.

I really like this room. It’s not typical of what i usually like, but maybe that’s the reason it appeals to me…..a change is as good as a holiday right?  Alright, a couple of the other rooms are very closed to being finished. I’ll post when they are done!! Excitement!!