Monday, October 31, 2011

Long Weekend...

(Yep the real deal "curtsy upon greeting" 
& wave with a gloved hand)
...we had a long weekend

Western Australians were generously given the Friday off & I was most excited to begin celebrations with a carpet picnic in front of the telly.
On the new tea drum.
(If you're wondering what the heck a tea drum is please see this post)

We drooled over Escape to the Country (these sorts of shows help me to to appreciate Hubby's big screen telly) and we grazed on a myriad of nibbles...

...whilst consuming white AND red wine
(how lavish)

Friday we bundled in the car and drove to York
A beautiful old town in the Avon Valley

We dined at a pub (shall remain nameless) where the decor was lovely...

...but the food was average.... sigh.

(I really wanted to steal one these pulleys)

Must say though... the tipple was top notch.
(Am I sounding at all English or just... um ... stupid?)

York is Western Australia's first inland settlement and boasts some rather lovely Victorian 
& Federation buildings. European settlement dates back to 1831. It is also one of the few places in our state to enjoy Historic Town Classification. 
(Please be aware - I Googled these facts.... I'm not really a smarty pants)

I explored the Town Hall and was (pleasantly) reminded of my old school assembly hall.

Bear in mind I grew up in Africa where the History dates back a good century further than that of our dear old land down under...we're still in nappies really.
I do believe we (here in Oz) are getting better at preserving and cherishing our historic buildings.
Usually we are pretty keen to just tear something down and start all over again... Grrr.
(Blame our arrogant teenage perspective... and convict history??)

Personally, it breaks my heart to think of something as lovely as this being neglected.
It was wonderful to see the effort made to preserve this engaging country treasure.
Pressed tin ceilings, wooden floorboards, sash windows... just stunning.

We stopped in at a place called The Mill, a gallery exhibiting (and selling) the art & craft of 
York locals. This table - made from a single piece of Marri wood literally took our breath away.
A bargain at fifteen thousand dollars. I realise that not everyone has that kind of dosh lying around but lets face it - when do any of us get to own an entire tree - in our dining room?
(note the markings on the table - river pebbles that have been preserved within the grain of the wood with resin - this kind of masterpiece truly is one of a kind)

The drive home was equally as relaxing and ambient as the visit itself.

I arrived home to find one of my lillies open - the first for summer.

I also managed to pick up a few vintage books (for bunting) from some of the local
bric a brac stores. My favourite is the one titled: Sly Little Bear.

A tale about a furry fella who refuses to do as Mummy Bear asks
& gets up to all sorts of mischief...

... like pretending to take a bath

Seriously ... how cute is this rapscallion expression?

Then Saturday we spent a couple of hours "loving the home back into order"
Here's my son vacuming - whilst listening to tunes of course
(who says boys don't multi-task)

Cleaning was followed with Hubby and Prince attending a Parkour lesson
(think free running bootcamp) whilst Mum tried (and I mean tried) to sort out Christmas shopping in two hours - a non event.
Luckily we were rewarded with a fabulous meal at 
the Chateau De Crazy Clarkes
(the coolest family in Kalamunda - Thanks Dudes!)

Sunday was spent trying to catch up with ...well... everything.
We are leaving for Christmas vacation in 6 weeks (Eeeek!)
Current status- tentative break in the clouds.
Forecast - positive with just a tiny smidge of panic.

Your weekend peoples?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dinner Party...

What do you do when you throw a dinner party?
I mean apart from the dinner & the party bit?
Even though I'm happy to cook (happier to bake) 
I have a Hubby who's skills & passion far exceed mine.
So when we had dinner guests over recently he insisted on creating this...

Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni - with homemade tomato sauce and extra cheesy topping.
A vegetarians heaven (or early demise, depending on how much of it you eat)

What do I do for our dinner parties?
Well I'm in charge of atmosphere....

I set the table...

... dim the lights inside...

.... & light lots of candles. 

I don't always use a tablecloth
(we have a lovely Jarrah table that can handle all the mess and spills we often create)
However when I spotted this crazy one at Tree Of Life
I thought it would be quite the conversation piece
It depicts the Mexican celebration of the 
Day of The Dead (coming up soon)
It also hides a myriad of food spills and keeps kids entertained.

I must admit I'm more of a neutral colours and tones person but this garish
orange number is just the thing for adding a festive tone to any outdoor meal.
(can't see myself using it on the formal dining table though)

Once I've lit at least 3000 tea lights 
(I'm never happy until I'm sure my home is visible from outer space)
I go about the business of turning on the garden lights....

... and the fairy lights...

Of course it goes without saying that the house needs to be filled with flowers too

I'm blessed to have a garden that always has a little something in bloom most months of the year.
Another favourite of mine is floating pretty flower heads in water.
This can be quite a thrifty and cost effective way of bringing nature into your home.

These are just plain old Nasturtium flower heads - grown from seed, edible and cheap as chips.
Below are Callistemon(also known as Bottle Brushes) which are the flower heads
of one of Australia's most loved native plants.
I've hung them just outside the front door from our metre box.

A lovely way for a house to greet people don't you think?

Before receiving guests, I like to pay particular attention to my bathroom.
I usually fill one of these little apothecary vials with something pretty and 
light a scented candle

Then it's just a matter of sorting out some tunes...

.. and pouring Hubby a well earned glass of wine
Did I mention he made this 
Orchard Fruit Pudding for desert?

So now that you've seen how it's done at Casa Del JAm
won't you join us for an evening of fine food and fun?

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's not a coffee table...

I know it sounds silly but I'm not fond of the words
"coffee table"
Don't ask me why, no particular reason - I mean I like the words on their own.
However juxtapose the two and it no longer appeals to me... weird I know.
I suppose it suits then, that I am now the owner of a pretty funky 
"coffee drum"

Hand beaten aluminium from Freedom Furniture.
A bit wonky with fantastic rustic imperfections, just like our family :-)

I love that it's round and hollow - so I can store my winter rugs underneath. 
Previously we had two boxes and I was pretty chuffed when Hubby agreed
that it was time for an "upgrade" 
(we'd used the boxes for 5 years!)
It's just occurred to me that I've never owned a coffee table - I wonder if that's because I'm 
a mad tea drinker? Could it be a bizarre subconscious malady?

Anyway... here it is in our sitting room.
You'll notice a branch extending out from behind the BIG screen television.
Well that's just my way of distracting myself from the unattractive black plastic designer mishap that is 
a ... cringe... here comes another word I don't like... flat screen tv. Yuk.
Apologies Hubby (marriage has it's compromises) but I'll never love the look of this electronic
monolith... but I do love my period dramas in high definition so I suppose I should not complain.

In my bid to "soften" the plastic presence of Mr Samsung I have placed this 
gorgeous nest in the branch - and invited Mr & Mrs Tweet to stay.

Next to the TV cabinet I've placed a large mirror on one side 
and on the other I have a hand made leather ottoman from Morocco...

... and a printers tray on the wall...

I've got Scrabble letters & white pebbles on it at the moment.
I love the contrast of the wood and the stone.
Looking around the room I can see that I'm drawn to natural materials like wood, 
sisal, stone, iron & cotton.

Hubby bought me this dome basket to hide the many remotes he uses for his
"entertainment devices" - there that sounds better does it not?
My coffee table tea drum matches so many different textures & materials and 
I've already delighted in placing a couple of stunning dusty pink roses (in a bud vase) next to my ceramic
lotus votive holder.... most serene.

Thank you for indulging me peoples. 
I see so many STUNNING images on your blogs and your homes are so inspiring. I devour all the glimpses into abodes that are unique and filled with the authenticity of peoples lives. I love seeing how people compose their belongings and how they express themselves with a variety of materials - decorative and/or practical. Even better your stories about where you found, how you made or why you chose specific items... please keep it coming!


PS - I've noticed I use brackets, parenthesis  & quotation marks A LOT in my blog.
Hope it reads & flows well? Truth is it's actually how I think... 
Lots of asides, pauses, distracted fleeting thoughts... ramblings...musings....
ideas.... observations... um... sorry... where was ?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bubs and Pups and Chicks...

This post is ALL over the place...
(But so was the weekend)

My girls are EXCELLENT mothers and the chicks are all doing so well...

... getting brave and venturing away from the flock...

...foraging and pecking...

 & looking for grubs (moths are a definite favourite)

I love that every time the Mums hear a Wattle bird or a Crow the heads go up, the chicks get called
and they all scurry into the laying box for protection. So precious.

Then Saturday evening was set aside (happily) for babysitting.
Here are my brother and his beautiful family.

There's nothing like little children to bring you into the present moment and 
give you a great big slap from the gratitude fairy.

They can make you laugh, make you cry and make you mad
(all in one night)

Then you look into those eyes and well...

.... you melt.

Oh & by the way... it helps when people pay you for your baby minding 
skills with Baci chocolates.
(Just a tip for all you parents out there)

Then Sunday starts with homemade Cheesymite Scrolls
A combo of Cheddar & Vegemite/Promite/Marmite...doesn't really matter as it's the deadly
combination of cheese and warm bread that sends the taste buds into a drooling frenzy.

Made a wee piggy of myself and ate three - on the same day.

Then again - I needed my energy.
We manned a stall for dear brother in law and his new 
business venture. Pet beds with an added bonus.

Personally, for me the bonus is hanging out 
with handsome furry fellas all day.

So I'm tired (very tired) but I'm full.
Full of Gratitude, Smiles
 (I get a smiling headache when it comes to dogs)
Joy and sumptuous, oozy, head spinning Love.
Gosh... this blog really helps me put the rose coloured glasses on and see the world 
as a fun filled, miraculous and friendly place.
For those of you who read these words and feel them resonate...
I send you light and love tonight.
My blog has been a sort of "gratitude journal" and to be able to 
share it with the world (literally) is so life affirming.

Thank you peoples
Our worlds matter so much more than we realise sometimes (agree?)
They say money makes the world go round and true, its' "practicality" is evident everywhere.
However for me (at least for this weekend) 'twas 
Pups and Chicks and Bubs that made my world spin.
(and food... let's not forget the food)