Living

Christmas Craft: Christmas Wreaths

Last modified on 2013-12-13 10:39:57 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I just love a beautiful wreath- I make one every year! There’s something about a lovely wreath hanging on the front door- heralding to all visitors ‘Merry Christmas!’ (or in our case- in an apartment- bringing joy to everyone who wanders by :)

The last time we had Christmas at my mum and dad’s house I made this Australian-themed succulent Christmas wreath and when my husband and I were in New York for Christmas I made this New York winter Christmas wreath.

This year I decided to make a geometric wreath with washed colour I’ve been seeing lots of geometric wood designs (like the beautiful geometric candle votives from The Design Farm) and I’ve been trying to think of a project combining light wood, washes of bright colour and geometric designs- a Christmas wreath was perfect!

I used a recycled bed panel with a divet line- lightly painted them all with a white base and then painted the rest in hand-mixed acrylic paint applied with a wet paintbrush for a washed-out look.

I allowed to dry between coats and used a fine brush to apply gold lines over the divets at the end for a bit of gilding. I marked and drilled holes halfway through both sides of the wood matching the wood dowel pieces I selected and used a mallet to gently drive them in to join together to form a square.

To finish I coated the whole thing in a gloss sealing spray, let it all dry, and then weaved eucalyptus branches through the gaps. Wreath done!

I had so much eucalyptus left that I figured I might as well make an outdoor wreath to adorn our balcony! To make a branch wreath like this- start with a thick, strong end bending in one direction and match with a softer, more pliable branch bending in the other direction. Bind at the top and in bunches at the softer, leaf end.

Find smaller branches bending in opposite directions so that the leaves are always moving in the same directions down towards the base. Secure as you go with twisting wire attempting to overlap so that only the very top bind is visible.

It can be nice to gather the leaves to flow down slightly off-centre mimicking a more natural shape- rather than a precise wreath. But either can be lovely- just don’t take it too seriously :) At the end- go back around and trim off any leaves that are sticking out or sickly looking. You can spray paint the whole thing at this stage- either with a subtle metallic glisten or a fantastic neon bright.

Bind the top, and cover the wire ties at the same time, with twine. Attach to the door or hang up and secure with a neat bow. You can move around the wreath and decorate afterwards if you wish. Either with decorations as I did (white porcelain stars) or with brightly coloured flora such as berries, succulents or flowers.

Have a very Merry Christmas! Try a wreath. Its a lovely welcome home in this hectic season.

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Christmas Craft: Christmas Tree Branch

Last modified on 2013-12-13 10:39:32 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Merry Christmas! I don’t know about you- but everything seems to get just that little bit manic in the lead up to Christmas.

I don’t know if it is just because of the shut-downs that happen over Christmas- but you go to the shops at this time of year and people behave like they are preparing for the apocalypse!

At this mad time of year- I must admit- I do delight in a little bit of Christmas Craft! This year I decided to make a Christmas tree that would suit our little apartment. I also had this concept of it falling from the roof.

I found a lovely big branch, lightly sanded it back, spray painted it white and gilded the ends by brushing on gold metallic paint. I finished it off by winding battery-powered Christmas lights around the top and tying on hole-punched, cardboard Christmas bauble coasters (both from Ikea).

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Looking for more Christmas ideas? You should try out these super-cute Christmas cupcakes! I’ve also got cute Christmas gift-wrapping ideas, Christmas decorating ideas (including and Australian-themed succulent wreath and Christmas star cookies!

I also made a few cute Christmas wreaths that I will be posting about very soon. Happy Christmas crafting!

Halloween Craft

Last modified on 2013-10-29 22:11:36 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Halloween is my absolute favourite celebration. My mother is of Irish heritage and we have always loved Trick or Treating. The first time I went without mum or dad was with my sister- she was in year 6 and I was in kindergarten.

I grew up on a street with an American family- we started doing Halloween properly when they came to settle in Australia- or perhaps the timing just coincided well with the time I started growing up and becoming more interested in cooking and making my own projects? Either way- I’ve made all manner of costumes, decorations and tasty treats since (green iced cupcakes anyone?!)

Over the years my Halloween fun has become a bit more sophisticated- highlights include trekking to the BOC centre in Sydenham to pick up dry ice pellets- to create fog in our kitchen and bathroom sinks of course!

This year I was inspired by a snake wreath concept in Martha Stewart Living Halloween edition. I recreated the look but put an Australian spin on it- deadly brown snakes and spiders and knotted, rough-weaved branches.

I also loved the super simple paper-bag gravestone lanterns- also from Martha Stewart Living Halloween edition. I didn’t have time to print and cut out stencils- so instead I hand wrote epitaphs and created spray-paint stencils out of layered masking tape!

I had so much fun making these decorations- and it only took an afternoon! If you didn’t want to go out and buy snakes and spiders or you wanted more craft for the kids to do- you could make your own creepy crawlies!

Get creative- but to start with you could make snakes out of filled stockings or toilet rolls linked with a string through the middle and spiders could be made from an egg carton cup and twigs or felt pipe cleaners legs! The trick is to put your spray paint to work making a uniform colour before hand painting the finer details.

Have a super spooky and wondrously wicked Halloween!

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I started off with these fantastic branches I found- this could be a great activity with the kids in itself! Get them out hunting for the perfect shapes. A wide-forked branch is a great starting point for a wreath- after that you’re looking for rounded corners and wiry accents.

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Next I laid out all the components to start visualizing the shape. I started with the forked branch and gently weaved from there- hooking in just one end and securing the tension as I went with wire ties. Once I had finished the base I weaved the snakes in and stuck the spiders over the wire joins with blu-tack.

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I also decided I needed to give the wreath a message- so while I was making the spray paint epitaphs for the gravestones (more below) I made a Happy Halloween sign! I simply wrote out the letters with masking tape, spray painted over the whole thing to create a blotchy black pattern and peeled the masking tape back.

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Voila! A Creepy, Crawly, Halloween Wreath!

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I also made these fun and easy gravestones. I used different sized paper bags I had lying around the house. Some of them had brand names and logos on the front, so I deconstructed the bags, turned them inside-out and stuck them back together.

I then wrote out my epitaphs or blocked them out with masking tape before hard-spraying (for the words) or soft-spraying for adding texture to the bag.

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I’ll be lighting these from inside with candles for a party on Saturday! They’ll be lining the walkway up to the front door :)

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Thanks for reading The Nookbook!

Spring Clean

Last modified on 2013-10-29 12:07:40 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

It’s officially spring- hail the gods!!

I am absolutely NOT a winter child. I was made to lie in the summer sun. I would love nothing more than to live somewhere tropical where there is only a wet and dry season- no cold!

In the meantime- I’m celebrating spring. The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming and the most beautiful of all- tiny bright green buds are forming on the perennial trees! So beautiful.

As the weather warms up we find ourselves opening the balcony doors and inviting the outdoors in. Taking a bit of extra care with the plants, firing up the BBQ and just sitting out on the cane setting with a cold G&T in the afternoon. Those beautiful rays of sunshine can also cast a spotlight on all of the dull and dusty items around the home that could do with a good refresh!

In the spirit of the time of year I’ve taken a few little projects around our apartment that are perfect for a spring refresh. Hopefully there is something that will inspire you not to chuck that sad-looking furniture and instead- give it a bit of a scrub, maybe a lick of paint, and have something good as new!

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This beautiful dress-makers model from an antiques store was a birthday present from my husband. It was sold in original condition- meaning it was filthy! I removed the screws, gently pried away the wooden parts from the canvas body and kept note of where every part originally lived!

I then gently sanded back and oiled all of the wooden parts and chucked the canvas body in to the bath to get soaped up and scrubbed down! I used shampoo and a scrubbing brush, rinsed with water and then washed down all over with a light vinegar wash to remove the last of the detergent (did you know that detergent remnants can attract dirt? Just a cup of vinegar in a litre of water will remove any residue).

The dressing table was originally my neighbour’s- covered in green paint and fair stickers, it was a sight! A few years ago I decided to rescue it- sand it all back and paint it with some left over white house paint. It didn’t stand the test of time, and after a few dusting sessions I started to notice marks and discolouration on the top.

So I sanded it back quite vigorously, with various grains to get a smooth finish, removed the handles and re-polished them and recoated the whole thing in interior acrylic shine white paint- just a sample pot was enough to do it!

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Another neighbourhood find was our hard wood dining table. It was discarded and had no sheen. I laboured for days sanding by hand (before my husband gifted me with a orbital sander!) but it was a labour of love. I used about 4 different grits of sandpaper, a stain and lacquer (a few coats- sanding between each) and finished with the same oil I used on the model above.

You wouldn’t need to go to this much effort to get similar results- just two grits of sandpaper, using an orbital sander, and a two-in-one stain and lacquer would do the job. But I must say, running my hands over the table and feeling the smooth rewards of my efforts is pretty fantastic!

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Finally, after a few weeks of watching seasons of Mad Men back-to-back I developed a bit of a penchant for a post-work martini! That started the idea of a bar area.

I purchased an Ikea adjustable bookshelf, washed and shined my glassware, and gave my orange Kitchenaid stand mixer and Breville blender pride of place in the in-set kitchen servery.

I re-furbed a council clean-up chair (the comfiest spot to have a drink!) and later added a French-Polynesian floor lamp (made from fabric from our Tahitian honeymoon) and a 1920’s tray drinks stand for making G&T’s.

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The blender and bar area was perfect for creating these ‘Mexican Night’ frozen margaritas- made from fresh tarragon leaves, chopped, coconut rum (instead of triple sec), tequila and lime juice, blended with ice, served in a salted-rimmed cocktail glass (sticking to the glass thanks to a rub of a lime wedge) with hot, crispy tacos- of course!

The perfect drink to cool down now that the weather is heating up! Hopefully you’ve found some inspiration to give a few things around the home a new lease of life- and let the sun shine proudly on your shiny ‘new’ things!

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Thanks for reading The Nookbook!

New (Financial) Year’s Resolutions

Last modified on 2013-07-04 05:19:03 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Now that we have launched in to a new financial year you might be thinking of ways to create the ultimate home office and get in gear for a super productive business year.

Personally, I have dreams of my perfect home office; I envisage a brilliant craft room with a giant stainless steel island bench, floor to ceiling storage, a wall of tool storage, two deep laundry sinks on one side and a beautiful office set-up on the other- complete with big, dual monitors for multi-tasking and a nice client area (always with fresh flowers). My home office would be attached to the house- but with it’s own separate entry for deliveries.

Ah…a gal can dream! A home office can be a delicate affair- you have to maximise productivity but at the same time reflect your personal style. After all- this is a space you are likely to be in most of your day- so it is worthwhile spending some time to get it right.

Wanting to know more- I contacted experts in the field to find out their top tips. Kristina Karlsson- Founder of boutique stationery chain kikki.K, and Shaynna Blaze- Interior Designer, Judge on The Block and Taubmans Brand Ambassador, cast a specialist eye on the unique question of the home office.

Have you set up a home office? How have you made it work for you?

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Kristina Karlsson- Founder of kiiki.K

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The new financial year is the perfect excuse to re-assess your workspace and make any changes to keep it organised in style, so you can be as productive as possible, and love what you do even more!

  • You spend a lot of time in your workspace, so treat it with the same consideration as anywhere else in your home. Make your workspace a reflection of your personality and tastes, just like your wardrobe.
  • An organised workspace should have a place for everything, and everything in its place – it’s a simple way to make sure everything is systemised and looking beautiful. kikki.K storage boxes are perfect for organising everything from files and paperwork to cards and stationery – and your workspace will look great.
  • No matter how big or small your workspace is, the way you set it up will have a direct effect on your productivity. Keep all those things you use regularly within arm’s reach, and things you rarely use can be stored in an organised manner, out of the way.
  • It’s so important to file intelligently because paper flow mayhem can quickly throw your workspace into chaos. When paper comes into your workspace, remove anything unnecessary right away, action things which need to be actioned, and sort other things into logical categories so you know where to find them. Using a Stepfile and gorgeous Manila Folders is such a simple way to help with this.

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  • You should never underestimate the motivational power of colour in your workspace. If your workspace is fashioned in inspiring colour it’s likely to have a very different output to one that is not so pleasing on the eye! Everyone is different, but I just love the simplicity of white – it looks beautiful and brings calm and control to my workspace.
  • Life’s too short for boring stationery! If you’re using notebooks, pens, lists and other bits and pieces every day, why not make them beautiful? I love our new ‘Celebrate Today’ Collection – gorgeous, simple, unique designs that bring a bit of joy to your everyday.

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  • If you’re in your workspace a lot, why not make it really inspiring and motivating? Try incorporating magazine clippings, artwork, photographs, quotes and personal mementos into your space to make the working area as appealing as possible. You can easily create an inspiring collation of all these things with a kikki.K Vision Board, Pins, Twine and Pegs – it will look so, so beautiful!
  • Sometimes, if you’re looking to reorganise your workspace, the hardest part is making a start. It’s such a great idea to seek inspiration – visit websites and blogs, or even attend an Organisational Workshop – something we’re very proud to offer at kikki.K. It could just be that little bit of extra inspiration to get you started.

Even if it takes a while to get your workspace functioning perfectly and looking beautiful, you will never look back once it’s done. You’ll be so amazed by what you can achieve in a functional and stylish workspace, and you’ll have so much more time to enjoy the more important things in life – and isn’t that a wonderful feeling?

Shaynna Blaze- Interior Designer, Judge on The Block and Taubmans Brand Ambassador

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Q: When redecorating or creating a new home office what colours would you recommend utilising?

A: If your office is a multi-functional space, I recommend creating a feature wall, but keeping the bench/table and shelves the same colour as the main colour of the room. Use the wall between bench space and shelves as either an area to paint half as a chalkboard for messages or a padded pin-board so it’s visually fun and functional. Choose either a cool or warm palette, and stick to using contrast colours within the scheme and palette to compliment the rest of the room’s décor.

What colours enhance mood?

Soft greens like Taubmans Fountain Mist and Taubmans Meldlock Way create a sense of serenity, which can be calming for an office space. If you prefer a more formal vibe, strong blues like Taubmans Starry Night Blue and Taubmans Storm Boy paired with crisp white trims can give an official and business-like energy to the space.

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When setting up a home office what are the essential items?

The key essentials for being organised are good shelving and storage boxes, with binders and folders to keep the area tidy and under control visually; ultimately keeping clutter to a minimum. A set of drawers on wheels means you can use the top as extra bench space and tuck away under the desk neatly when you have a tight working space.

Is it good to have decorative or personal items in a home office? Or should you keep it professional?

More often than not, your home office is integrated with the rest of your house so it is important to not make it too corporate or clinical. Artwork, a couple of candles and photos are three good items to add a personal touch and keep the space balanced with the rest of the house.

How can you create a professional and welcoming feeling in a home office if you have clients visiting?

This is where you need to keep the kids toys and paraphernalia away from the entrance door and in the office. Keep the area professional and simple, with touches like fresh flowers and scented oil burners giving a personal yet inviting professional environment.

How can you manage being a work from home mum with the choices you make for your home office?

Setting the ground rules early is important: mum’s office is mum’s private work space, not the dumping ground for washing or school projects. The ‘no-kids’ rule is a good first measure to setting the boundaries, so when mum is in that space she has her ‘working hat on’.

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What furniture choices will help create a beautiful and functional home office?

Have a bench space or table at least 700mm deep, as it helps give room for notebooks and the laptop at the same time. A framed motivational quote to inspire you is a great way to remind you why you are there. Finally, try every chair under the sun and purchase the one that fits you – the more ergonomic and comfy the chair, the more productive you’ll be.

Thanks for reading The Nookbook.

French Polynesian Floor Lamp

Last modified on 2013-06-24 02:57:25 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Earlier this year I had the joy of marrying the most beautiful man in the world…I know…sickeningly sweet…but it’s true! We spent our honeymoon in Tahiti and I picked up some lovely French Polynesian fabric in the Tahitian market.

I held on to it for a while- not quite sure what I wanted to use it for- and then I had a burst of inspiration- a floor lamp for my reading nook!

I picked up an Ikea Knippe hat and coat stand as the base because I already had a corded light bulb I wanted to use- but if you were starting from scratch you could also pick out a floor lamp base and go from there.

My how-to is below- give it a go! I’ve got a bit of fabric leftover and I’m thinking there might be a cushion how-to coming up soon ;)

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I wanted a particular shape for the lampshade- kind of like an upwards facing cone- to project light on to our white roof and refract down. I had an old rice-paper lantern. I tore the paper off and soaked the metal rings in water overnight before scrubbing clean with a metal scourer.

I then ordered the rings in to the shape I was looking for and hung them up from the hooks on the base.

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I grabbed some twine and tied three lengths from the top, wrapping around each ring (not tying a knot- so that you can loosen and tighten) and tying at the end- making sure to keep each layer level and well-spaced as I went. Note that I hung the lamp upside-down so that the big end was on the top and that you will need the top and end pieces to loop the cord through at the end for the light.

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Once I had a good base I found the best prints on the fabric and arranged the fabric over the base by pinning at intervals around each ring level. Make sure you have left room at the top and the bottom and at either side for a hem before trimming around the bottom.

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Before finishing up- remove the shade from it’s hanging spot and hold up the right way around to make sure that the fabric is not pulled or slack in any strange spots and you like the look of it.

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(My husband grabbed a sneaky shot of me mid-DIY in my tracksuit- sorry!)

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Finally- switch the hem pins so that they are no longer attached to the rings and remove the remaining pins. Slide off the cover and lay flat on the floor to make final trims and neaten up pins to prepare for hemming.

Lay down inside-out so that you can do blind seams (where you pull together either side of the fabric from the inside and machine sew along the length of the fabric). Sew to make one piece but leave top and bottom unhemmed.

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Hang rings back up and replace twine with nicer twine- ‘finishing’ as you go with tight knots. Slip cover back on to base and take to sewing machine to sew top and base of fabric over top and base rings.

Slip whole lampshade over your chosen base- pop in your light fitting, as well as the final metal piece that chocks the lampshade open, and…turn on the lights!

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Voila! My reading nook- perfected :)

The Block: Obsession!

Last modified on 2013-06-04 09:45:18 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

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Ok- I am ready to admit it- I am absolutely obsessed with this season of The Block!

The rush and drama of renovations, the excitement of challenges and the magic in the room reveals- I just can’t get enough!

Previous series of The Block haven’t really managed to grab me. I’m not sure if it was just because I wasn’t quite at the life stage yet to be intrigued by a renovation show, or if this year’s concept and couples are just truly more engaging, but I simply cannot tear myself away from that screen!

When I was recently sick in bed with the flu for days, the only thing that could rouse me from my sick bed and encourage me to move in to the rest of the house was the promise of an episode of The Block (and perhaps my wonderful husband’s potato and green bean mash!)

It all started when my cousin popped on one of the final episodes of The Block: All Stars while I was visiting her and bub. She’s been knee-deep in renovations for a while now and was much more in to it than me- but being a interiors lover I thought I might like it- well I tell you- now I’m hooked!

I guess I always thought that DIY and interiors were my main love and hard-core renovation seemed just a bit too intense for me. I find now though that I love living vicariously through the contestants and imaging what I could do with the space.

Husband and I are also considering our investment options at the moment. With the first home buyers benefits now only applicable to new homes we are investigating buying off the plan- which in our price range means apartments.

The Block going ‘sky high’ this time around was a very smart move with many people considering terrace-style luxury apartments for the first time over houses. With space and lower living costs becoming harder to come by, and many Baby Boomers looking to downsize without losing their standard of living- I’m really interested in watching the apartment space.

I would also love to live-in renovate and this thought is eating up more and more of my thoughts lately. I guess there’s time for much in life- I just have to plan ahead and pace myself- but more importantly, learn to enjoy the now!

So far Kim and Matt’s style is absolutely my favourite, then Alisa and Lysandra- although there style is a bit too ‘generic’ for me, I think their apartment will sell really well at auction for precisely that reason. I also love Madi and Jarrod- but I absolutely agree with the judges that there style hasn’t really ‘settled in’ just yet- I think these two have some real interior design to contribute. Can’t wait to see how it all pans out!

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Thanks for reading The Nookbook.

Mother’s Day Shell Gift Tag

Last modified on 2013-05-13 07:26:31 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I wanted to add a special touch to my Mother’s Day gift- and knowing that my mother is OBSESSED with shells, I thought a shell gift tag would be perfect!

This is really simple to make and will complement the DIY crochet soap dish that I made for her perfectly.

Have a beautiful Mother’s Day.
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Start with a beautiful shell. It’s best not to take these from the beach, so you can buy them at craft stores or (like I did) save one from a seafood dish! (just make sure you give it a good clean and gloss it up with a little bit of Vaseline)

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Place the shell face down on an old sponge and using a very small drill bit slowly drill through the top of the shell- this will be where you thread the ribbon. If you don’t have a drill at home, don’t try nailing a hole through it- the shell will break! Just attach it using double sided tape or slide it under the ribbon.

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Cut an office label in half and cover the inside of the shell for your message.

Thread the ribbon through the shell to top off a beautiful wrapped gift- and you’re done!

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Thanks for reading The Nookbook.

Council Cleanup Creativity

Last modified on 2012-12-29 00:42:29 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

When the time rolls ’round for Council Cleanup, no matter where or what age I am, I always get excited.

All that opportunity! You know the old adage- one person’s trash is another’s treasure? Well that is me for sure! I have picked up countless discarded items over my lifetime and given them a new lease of life.

The best part about it, is that you can really be as creative as you like. There is no harm in damaging something that was meant to be thrown away anyway- and I find that most of the time the freedom this concept gives me results in the most interesting and unique pieces that are truly my style- because I made them!

This interestingly shaped Ikea chair was sitting right outside my apartment block. It was a bit damaged- sun bleached, varnishing peeling off and the covers were mouldy and ripped- but I saw opportunity.

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The first step was to remove all of the torn fabric and the staples with pliers. Be super careful doing this- wear heavy duty gloves and watch out for rusty nails and hiding spiders! At this stage I left the chair out in the air, undercover, to dry out a bit.

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The next step was to brush the whole thing with a metal brush to remove the dirt and loose varnish. Make sure you wear a dust mask for this bit to not breath in any nasties like mould!

Then give the whole thing a light hand sand. Unless you’re working with hard wood, you’re not trying to get back to a smooth finish, you’re just trying to remove as much of the flaked varnish as you can without damaging the item.

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Once I had removed all of the varnish I put down a drop sheet and gave the whole chair two coats of Rustoleum Universal All-Surface spray paint in Sunset Orange, taking care to do one side, allow to dry, then turn to coat the other side.

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I could have given the chair another two coats for a thicker finish, but I quite like the wood grain showing through the orange.

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Earlier in the year I had picked up an outdoor cafe umbrella from Reverse Garbage in Marrickville to make outdoor cushions. I had lots of the fabric left, and seeing as it is very thick and hard-wearing, I thought it would be perfect for the job!

I measured out the panels I wanted to create (double-sided) and took to the sewing machine to neatly hem them. I mirrored the original panels.

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I used vintage upholstery tacks that I picked up on Etsy and a staple gun. I used the staple gun to secure the fabric and then hammered in the upholstery tacks over the top to secure the seat.

I don’t have a rubber hammer (on the wish list!) so the result wasn’t perfect- but then neither is this chair! It might not be perfect- but it is uniquely mine :)

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Happy creating!

Thanks for reading The Nookbook.

Constantly Creating Vignettes:
New York and what I bought there

Last modified on 2012-03-25 07:22:57 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I can’t believe it has been over two months since I was in New York. My, my, how time flies! I’m just about due for another visit I think ;)

In all seriousness though, it is incredibly difficult to keep up regular blogging with a full-time job – so much respect to all bloggers out there! It’s such a shame too because I absolutely love spending time here on The Nookbook and I have so many fantastic blog posts just sitting in waiting! Oh well, enough of that and on with the good stuf.

As you know, I absolutely love New York – who doesn’t? It is just such a dynamic, vibrant and electric city. There truly is something for everyone – including shopping. Here are just a few of the things I bought and the shops I loved in NYC. Next I’ll be putting up a post on some of the great things to do and places to eat in NYC.

Enjoy!

Tinsel Trading Co. is home to gorgeous notions and haberdashery items. 1 West 18th St. I bought a few little vintage bits and pieces for my sewing room and some fancy buttons for my fiance’s jacket.

Anthropologie in Chelsea always has brilliant, creative displays and products. While the price tag is often hefty, I have chanced upon some absolute bargains on occasion. I managed to pick up some bottles of glass glitter for a steal.

I got these fantastic bathroom products from NYC stores. Ricky’s pharmacy stocked this delicious ginger mint toothpaste in lovely vintage-inspired packaging. I also picked up this great Alice in Wonderland mug from a cafe near Columbia University – the Cheshire cat fades when hot to reveal a solitary grin! I can’t forget the gorgeous rose water from Santa Maria Novella.

And what did I find in the back of Ricky’s pharmacy? A fancy-dress mask and the Revolver Salon, where I got an edgy haircut and bright orange streaks put through my hair, like only available in NYC.

My absolute favourite pair of jeans EVER that I picked up at a vintage store in Camden in the UK finally died last year. I was devastated. While I could have bought a pair in Aus, I decided to start a tradition and this time buy them in NYC – at Earnest Sewn no less!

From the chosen pair to the cheerful packaging, this store has captured my heart.

Just a bit off the beaten track and you will find such vintage flea market and design delights as Chelsea antiques garage and Hell’s Kitchen flea market on the mainland, and Junk and The Future Perfect in Williamsburg.

I was SO lucky to get these great vintage copies of Alice in Wonderland from my Aunty for Christmas – they go so well with my other flea market finds.

I got this yummy Pumpkin Spice handmade soap and travel candle/massage oil from Dr. Sofskins and the gold can jar from The Future Perfect.

And one final footnote – this pop of colour in gift-wrapping from the Gap. Inexpensive, joyful and fun. Can’t wait to try this one out.

See you soon!

Download and print my
NYC winter ideas map guide
with location lists.

Thanks for reading The Nookbook.

 

 

New York – the little details

Last modified on 2012-03-25 07:22:12 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Whenever I visit New York, I try to notice the small things. There is so much going on in New York, sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees.

I’ve put together a little collection of things noticed and things found – an aspect of New York that, for me, only came third time around. My first two trips, I think I was just so caught up in the atmosphere…this time I almost felt that little bit closer to what it must feel like to be a local.

Check back in next week because I will be writing up reviews of the great bars and restaurants I went to, as well as giving you the download on the funky shops I managed to get to AND the awesome things that I bought!

In New York at Christmas time everyone decks out their doorway in all sorts of festive display. I just loved the big gift idea below!

I’m not entirely sure why, but these bunches of street-side cabbages adorn the footpaths of New York at Christmas time. I noticed when I was visting for the first time, in February when it was snowing, that the cabbages survived all manner of weather conditions. Perhaps they are used because of their vivid colour in such harsh conditions?

Either way, some thrifty New Yorker has decided that the middle cabbage should be scrumped for their dinner!

After a long day of shpping, Ash and I decided to take a stroll through Central Park. At this time of the afternoon, with the cold, crisp air on your face, the sunset throughthe trees is just magical.

We stumbled upon an amazing string duo busking under cover in Central Park. They were of concert quality, honestly!

I noticed a Tiffany’s ad in a recent bridal magazine with a couple trotting up the stairs in the background, snow falling down, engagement ring box hidden secretly behind the man’s back.

It’s a shame that we didn’t get that magical snow on this trip, but that ad just so perfectly sums up our experience in New York – from Central Park to getting engaged.

Whilst in Central Park we found this heart-wrenching puppy memorial Christmas tree. What a sweet and organic idea to honour those little fella’s that bring so much joy to our lives.

To this day it devastates me to think of my childhood puppy Paddy. One day soon I’ll have a puppy all of my own to nurture and love.

I’m afraid I’m not really sure what these NYC subway critters are doing here, but these darling sculptures are just the unexpected pop of art that New York is famous for. I thought these guys were particularly cute – and maybe it’s just me and engagement-brain, but they look like they are very much in love :)

See you soon!

Download and print my
NYC winter ideas map guide
with location lists.

Thanks for reading The Nookbook.

Ring in the New Year in New York

Last modified on 2012-01-27 06:31:40 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

As you may remember, I went on a fabulous trip to New York over my Christmas and New Year’s break.

As anticipated, it was absolutely magical. There was no snow unfortunately, but the mild weather was a lot more welcoming to the wandering traveller than my first trip to New York in freezing February was. I was lucky enough to be staying in a gorgeous brownstone with Ashley’s family thanks to his parents. His mother Kate has a blog, Glenquarry Goddess where you can see a short video of the house we stayed in at 151 West 120th street up in Harlem.

We had a delightful Christmas that was realy pretty similar to a Sydney affair– lots of food, present opening, a bit of quiet TV watching and an afternoon nap! New Year’s Eve was a riot. We went to a gallery/bar in the Lower Eastside with Ashley’s sisters Verity and Amy. Ashley’s eldest sister Meaghan and her husband Damian live in New York, so we skipped across the road after the New Year’s Eve countdown to a rooftop apartment party they were at.

Up on the rooftop, cuddling for warmth and looking out over the city lights of the Upper Eastside, it was just so incredibly romantic and beautiful that my boyfriend of 6 years decided to propose! Of course I said yes and so I am pleased to announce that we are engaged! The last few days in New York flew by at a rapid pace and I find myself now missing him terribly as he is still holidaying in the US and Canada, due back in just under a week– let the wedding planning begin!

So now that I have the big, exciting announcement out of the way, I’ll start from the beginning and show you all of the wonderful wanderings I had in NYC this time around.

I may have to do this in installments, so be sure to check back in for lots of great tips and shopping porn over the next few weeks.

I flew in to New York and went straight to dinner with my friend Yas, who worked at Super Food Ideas in Sydney but now lives in NYC, and her partner, as well as Trina who also used to work at SFI, and her partner. Unfortunately Ash hadn’t arrived yet so wasn’t able to come.

We went to Momofuku Ssam Bar to chow down on some delightfully bizarre combinations of Japanese-inspired modern American food. Please excuse the quality of the following shot, the brooding ambience of the bar does no favours for food photography!

Kingfish sashimi that I believe was cured in gin and garnished with coriander and rice puffs?

Apple and bacon dish, and a new take on pork buns.

I can’t remember exactly what the front dish was, but the back was a ‘chicken sausage’ of sorts, but done more or less like a sushi roll!

We ordered all the desserts on the menu! The first is a crunchy salted caramel brownie, the middle is a giant take on the s’more and the back is a sweet potato ice-cream… delish!

There were five of us, capping out at around $60 a head, so although that is a bit exxy, the food is amazing and definitely Momofuku is somewhere a little bit special to dine, but without the pretentious attitude!

Moving on from Momofuku (and perhaps after a quick hot toddy at a neighbouring bar) I swung by a jazz club called the Village Underground where the Blake’s were chilling. In true New York style, even on my first night I was not in bed until after midnight!

With the days counting down until Christmas I decided to stop by US Evergreens for a custom, fresh Christmas wreath. The concept of a fresh and fragrant wreath is something that simply delights me. They were super busy so I didn’t really have time to have a wreath made up for me, but seeing as I love DIY so much anyway, I figured I may as well grab my favourite flora myself and pull it together at home! At just $5, this is something that is so cheap and so special– perfect for short-term holiday stayers like myself.

The store was absolutely full to the brim of stuf! You kind of have to elbow your way through the aisle.

Overgrown US Evergreens!

Silver lining.

The parts I chose for my wreath.

Grass, blossoms and moss, Oh My!

My finished wreath sitting pretty on the mantlepiece. These fresh wreaths grace the front doors of buildings all over New York and hold up surprisingly well due to the cold climate.

That’s all for now! There is SO much more so please do check back in to see all of my beautiful discoveries.

Thanks for reading The Nookbook.

Download and print my
NYC winter ideas map guide
with location lists.

Christmas wrapped up

Last modified on 2011-12-18 07:47:00 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

As I may have mentioned, I will be in New York for Christmas this year. I will be there with my wonderful boyfriend and his family, but sadly, not my family.

So my family decided to have a Christmas dinner before we go. I wanted to get them unique gifts from the USA, but I thought it’d be nice to have something small to give them for our faux Christmas.

I love really pared back, simple wrapping. My mother is very traditional – shiny red, white and green. So I was first exposed to simple brown paper and raffia only a few years ago during one of my very best summer jobs, gift-wrapping at The Rocks, and I’ve loved this style since.

This year, I was inspired by my impending journey to New York. I wanted to play on the old-fashioned whimsy of a message in a bottle. I tried to find little glass bead bottles. These are surprisingly hard to come by these days – everything is plastic! However, I was lucky enough to stumble upon these enchanting 1800’s poison bottles at Junktique in Glebe.

The bottles cost me $5 each and were caked in thick clay and dirt when I got them. But their hand-blown quirkiness and art-deco reminiscent style was just perfect for my little project. I soaked them in water for a few days, then in Bicarb soda and white vinegar and finally I scrubbed them clean with a coarse paint brush that JUST fit inside… and they’ve come up simply sparkling!

I love the thought of re-imagining the words ‘NOT TO BE TAKEN‘ from poison, to a warning for gift peekers!

 

 

The next step was to print out some gorgeous old-style New York maps to A5 size and paint them with a tea bag (steeping in a splash of boiling water). This ages the paper and once dry will give it a rougher texture.

I bought a packet of varied coloured twine for $5, a roll of brown paper for $4 and a packet of simple deco cow bells for $2. I wrapped each gift box in brown paper and secured them with twine, finishing by tying on the bottles, threading the bells on to the twine and rolling up a scroll from the map to pop in as my message in a bottle.

The best bit? Your loved ones then have a gorgeous, antique glassware item to use as a bud vase if they wish!

Happiest of holidays to you and yours and best of luck with your wrapping. May it be inspired!

Thanks for reading The Nookbook.

 

NYC baby!!

Last modified on 2011-12-06 10:53:00 GMT. 2 comments. Top.

Download and print my
NYC winter ideas map guide
with location lists.

In exactly one month I will be back in New York City, looking to the sky for a White Christmas and looking to the streets for inspiration.

For my birthday I received a book by super-star stylist Sibella Court- The Stylist’s Guide to NYC. This gorgeous book lists several of Sibella’s ‘loops of interest’- siting shops, restaurants, markets and other attractions.

I have literally read this book cover to cover 3 times, the pages dog-eared and marked with various post-it notes— hints and tips jotted down hastily.

I’ve also been compiling recommendations on my iPhone for months- restaurant reviews, bar guides, rooftop hit lists and must-see attractions for the holiday season.

I’ve mentioned that a few years ago I was in NYC in the height of winter, so I know what to expect. Unlike my recent Spring trip, when the snow is falling and the ocean-chilled wind is harsh, you can’t really afford to wander.

So I have devised an ingenious plan! I have sorted my many lists into 6 broad areas- Chelsea, Soho, Lower eastside, Midtown, Uptown and Outer boroughs.

I’ve discovered a great function on Google maps- My Places. At first the custom maps function may seem limited- you can drop a pin? Great!
Now what?

With the help of sites like mapicons you can easily customise the style and even colour of the pins you use.

I chose a different colour per area and numbered them according to distance so that the list will show what’s in close proximity.

My plan is to be able to just go with the flow of the day and know where to find exactly what I’m looking for — a quirky shop, delicious lunch or rewarding cocktail — no matter what area. What a way to travel like a local!

I’ve attached my maps and lists below, just in case you’re also looking for some great NYC ideas. I’ll be checking back in with pics and detailed info on everywhere I managed to get to.

There’s just a few things missing- the recommendations of fellow NYC lovers— travelers and locals alike. So PLEASE leave your comments and suggestions (particularly if you know of a ‘mouth-watering at the mere sight of it’ bagel house).

Thanks for reading The Nookbook.

Main map:

Navigate through this map as you would on Google maps.


View NYC winter ideas in a larger map

Download and print my
NYC winter ideas map guide
with location lists.

*Copyright Ingrid Lamb. If you wish to use this map please contact me. Maps sourced from Google, stock images from www.fuzzimo.com, information sourced from Sibella Court’s
The Stylist’s Guide to NYC‘ where indicated.

How to create a successful online business

Last modified on 2011-08-07 12:59:32 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

So last Thursday was the 3rd in a series of workshops by the Daily Imprint‘s Natalie Walton on how to Live a Creative Life. The last in the series was about how to create a successful online business.

I will be giving you a run-down on what was said, and some interesting thoughts going forward. I’ll also reflect on the series as a whole — it can certainly be said that it has made me think!

Check back in in the next couple of days :)

Thanks for reading The Nookbook.

#Whimsim: Day 2 and Night 3

Last modified on 2011-05-16 01:31:20 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Can you believe it?

I had actually convinced myself that nothing much happened in our last 24 hours in Melbourne for our girly weekend away.

So it’s ok for me to have not posted about it…right?

Wrong. How quickly the mind forgets!

In a moment of long sighted nostalgia, I began flipping through my pictures of Melbourne and realised just how many gems I hadn’t shared with you!

So here we are! Starting bright and early Sunday morning :)

We made our way in to town to see a Melbourne International Comedy Festival show There’s a ghost in my cupcake (which just happens to feature some of our talented uni friends, @shamonlee).

 
 
 
 
 
 

We took a stroll around town to find some delicious back-street breakfast in Degraves Street— then possibly more shopping… :/ (and I wonder where my money goes?!)

Just to give some context to this apparent shopping splurge, I have literally been searching for boots like this for over a year, since I was living in the UK. No really! My mum will attest to that!

So you see I really did have to get these wedge ankle boots. They’re my third pair of Tony Bianco shoes (I’m in love).

This stationery store, Il Papiro, on Degraves, has some beautiful items, including hand decorated paper prints done using traditional Tuscan techniques.

Il Papiro was founded in 1976 in Firenze and this store is the only one in the Southern Hemisphere. That’s pretty special ;)

Being yet another strange and beautiful yet sun showering day in Melbourne, we decided to make hay while the sun shone and jump on a train to St Kilda.

At the end of another big day in Melbourne, five very sleepy girls shlep back to their hostel, eyes glazing over in anticipation of a rejuvenating cat nap before one last night on the town.

We head to The Toff in Townfor our last hurrah. A night of ethereal, soul-reaching music by the likes of Emma Davis, WIM and Grace Woodroofe.

Ok! So that was Melbourne. Yes I spent about a month’s worth of spending money, but who couldn’t in a place like Melbourne?

I absolutely love Sydney, but it definitely has a very different style; born from architectural and city planning difference.

Sydney is clean, neat, grass and trees, sparkling and upbeat. Melbourne is grungy, grass roots, back-lane, beat down, mystery and madness.

I can’t wait until I can go again! If you have any tips for cool places I should’ve visited (something tells me there is no shortage!) then let me know.

Hopefully next time I’ll see even more and if you’re reading this and planning a trip to Melbourne, I will have done some of the legwork for you :)

Thanks for reading The Nookbook.

#Whimsim: Night 2

Last modified on 2011-04-23 00:40:35 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Part two comes a fair bit later than part one (sorry!).

Also I must apologise for the length of my last post. I may have gotten a bit carried away with all of the Melbourne frivolities and seem to have lost my editing skills!

So here are a few choice shots of our fantastically fun second night in Melbourne. A Saturday night made for drinking, dumplings and dark alleys ;)
View Larger Map

Trying to get some yummy dumplings we found this strange but wonderful Chinese restaurant, with wall to wall dedications to Chairman Mao.

We had a toast to Maobourne, but that’s about it. The food was interesting, the service left a bit to be desired, and with my belly swelling up to that of a 6 months pregnant woman after only a bowl of chicken soup, I’m pretty sure our food was laden with tonnes of MSG :/

It was worth it for the hilarious pictures, wide swipes of red and interesting incarnations of Mao.

Luckily just down the road was The Croft Institute at 21 Croft Alley in Chinatown. We get there by negotiating a rabbit warren of dark and dingy alleys in true Melbourne style. The location description on their website is enough to explain how uneasy you feel by the time you actually make it.

A funky place with amazing cocktails and tunes, yes, but also a bar after my own heart. Styled to the hilt, this place is dark and creepy. With glass scientific instruments lining the wall cabinets, suspended wheelchairs, shots served as, well, shots, and a hospital bed in the bathroom, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d been shipped off to the mental institute!

Kicking it on the 2nd floor gymnasium, open on Saturday nights and complete with real turf on the bar!

Next we trotted down to 59-63 Bourke Street and hopped in an elevator. The mystery and madness continues as we hop out at level 3 to the garden party that is Madame Brussels. A funky bar with ‘special’ ice tea pitchers ;) and garden table settings on the balcony, we huddled up with the rugs put out for patrons and purchased our birthday girl a cupcake from behind the bar for midnight birthday wishes.

I will be putting together a third and final post about our second day and third night in Melbourne very soon, but first a post on my favourite DIY Easter treats!

Thanks for reading The Nookbook.

#Whimsim: Night and Day 1

Last modified on 2011-04-15 10:47:15 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

So as you may have read in my earlier blog post, last weekend I went down to Melbourne for a girly weekend away with four of my university girlfriends at the request of the birthday girl.

It was AH-MAZING! There was shopping, eating, comedy shows, music gigs, more shopping, drinking and more than a few lovely Melbourne finds.

You shall be warned that one of said girlfriends introduced me to an iPhone App called istagram. It is not only the funnest way to play with filters on your iPhone pics, it also conveniently re-sizes my pictures to be wordpress ready! I think I will be using this feature a lot more in the future ;)

There was so much activity packed into our weekend, and so many gorgeous and fun photos taken, that I have decided that it will be easier to split up the weekend. So this is #Whimsim: Night and Day 1.

#Whimsim being of course the hashtag we used to plan our getaway on Twitter (What Happens In Melbourne Stays In Melbourne…or on The Nookbook at least ;)

Three of the girls arrived early to make the most of the weekend. My friend and I got the same Tiger Airways flight down Friday night. My work being located so close to the airport, I had time for a quick swim, before catching the train one stop to the airport. Having checked-in online, I sauntered straight to the departure gate where I met up with my friend.

From the airport we managed to navigate ourselves through Tiger Airways ‘Terminal 3′ (aka converted bus terminal :p) to the departure area of the city Sky Bus which took us to Southern Cross Station in Melbourne CBD within 20 minutes. From there we got the free hotel shuttle further into town and closer to
The Nunnery, where we were staying.

The Nunnery is an old convent located at 116 Nicholson Street Fitzroy, just opposite Carlton Gardens, Melbourne Museum and the Exhibition Centre.

Nicholson Street, and the whole Fitzroy area, really appealed to my architectural design sensibilities. There is a wide range of old to modern houses, with every shade of grey in between. Below is Crantown House, a delightfully gothic style house located at number 82.

When my friend and I arrived at the hostel, our three other girlfriends were tucked up in bed! What?! This is meant to be our big weekend away!

We dragged the birthday girl out of bed, had a quick squiz around the hostel, and skuttled down to the closest bar to kick-start the weekend. The other two ‘sickies’ were busy being pikers staying in bed ;)

As you may or may not have noted I have a bit of a fetish for maps. These were some beautiful items framed and mounted on the staircase wall.

After a drink and a bit of a gossip, we tucked ourselves into bed quite early for the anticipated big Saturday.

So here starts the real Day 1. We had a brief sleep-in and tottered off to Campos Coffee at 144 Elgin Street
Carlton. Coooooffffeeee sweet cooooofffffeeee :D

I loved the idea of this plant box in the Campos bathrooms. It was absolutely packed with beautiful glistening greenery and I would love one in the bathroom of my future dream home.

After our coffee break we were ready to hit Brunswick Street for some serious shopping. Luckily it was a gorgeous day in Melbourne and the rainclouds did not so much as rear their ugly heads for the whole day.

In a strange and wonderful 50s and 60s themed store we saw these strange and wonderful fragrances. Gin & Tonic? Dirt? Surprisingly these scents were not only delightful, they were spot-on!

I spied this whimsical light in a high-end fashion store. The sort of store that has such a lack of affordable clothes that you start looking up to avoid spying price-tags at eye-level. Does anyone know who the designer is?

It reminds me of the amazing sky-dive formations I saw when I did the big jump with my boyfriend in Queenstown New Zealand.

This shop was eclectic without being messy. I LOVED their stuf! Unfortunately, after taking this ‘window’ shot and the shot below of my friend, I was asked to ‘Please stop taking photos of the store’. I’m not really sure what this was about, but it’s certainly not a reception I’ve ever seen in Sydney. Perhaps the shop keeper thought I was going to ‘steal’ the stores ideas? Calm down missy. It’s cute, but not really that original.

Shopping on your own is quite a feat, but shopping with four girls? It feels like you’ve done a marathon and it’s not even lunch yet! I had to stop for a quick sugar pick-me-up.

So glad I did too with delicious flavours and a fun artwork (that might look a bit scarily like me?) at Trampoline Gelato 381 Brunswick Street.

Just across the road I stumbled across Fitzroy Nursery. I guess the thing that caught my eye about this place, was that in such an urban, busy area of town, there was still space for a bit of greenery to nudge its way in-between the clothing stores and trendy cafes.

I had an idea a while ago to create a similar space in Sydney. I had just moved into Newtown and was looking for some urban courtyard varieties of plants for my garden and planter boxes. There was nowhere around! So I thought: “Wouldn’t it be great to have a nursery that specialised in simple urban varieties and had a nice place in the shade to sip on a coffee or two?”.

There is now a similar nursery down the south end of King Street, but still no nice place in the shade to rest your weary gardener’s knees.

This little guy reminded me that Easter is just around the corner! This week I will be posting a blog about cute DIY Easter gift ideas, so check back in in a couple of days. I know you will love my idea, it’s so cute!

One of my friends had continued wandering while I was busy eating gelato ;) She found the best second-hand shop we stepped into by far, Sheila Vintage at 382.

I found this amazing pencil skirt for work on the $25 rack! It’s a write-off purchase because I’ll wear it at work…right?

All of my friends from uni are in the media industry. We organised our whole weekend via Twitter, a little over Facebook for those ideas that just cannot be expressed in 140 characters or less. Does it show? :p

I wizzed into T2 to grab some sample tea. My desk at work is covered in T2 varieties to suit my mood; Early Grey to wake me up, English Brekafast (with a dash of milk) for a rainy afternoon, China Jasmine for the mornings or White Rose to make me feel clear-headed.

I love their range of tea accessories almost as much as I love their tea. How decadent to place this tea-light fueled glass teapot on the table at the end of a wonderful dinner party. I’m thinking a Turkish-inspired blend?

We stopped into this gorgeous store Harem at 248 Brunswick Street.

Another reminder of Easter came from these fluffy little guys! Wouldn’t they look just gorgeous out on the grass for an easter-egg hunt?

Trotting along from Harem some of the girls disappeared into a designer outlet store to try on jeans. It wasn’t really doing it for me, so when I spotted super classic furniture and styling store Wilkins and Kent, Brunswick Street lost me to
number 230.

This was a cute, but slightly over-priced clothing and accessories store Kinki Gerlinki, at 209 Sydney Road Brunswick. I absolutely adored their modern vs Chanel plastic bow elastic belts and thermal carriers.

When my paternal grandmother passed away my father discovered rolls of beautiful old Masonic and Army certificates of recognition belonging to the men of my family.

My father had them in a cardboard slip under his bed in an attempt to protect them, so my sister and I decided to look into more beautiful, and chemically appropriate, archiving options. I tell you, apart from framing each individual one, there were not many options! This is where the amazing Zetta Florence stepped in.

Zetta Florence is a beautiful archival and signature stationery store based in Melbourne, but they post far and wide. I will post photos one day of the gorgeous teal coloured archival box that they put together for us, but there is a photo of a similar one below.

Their flagship store is located at 197 Brunswick Street, and I had to have a quick browse while my friends were grabbing us a table at the Little Creatures Dining Hall, just across the road at 222.

Luckily for me, there was a seat, ordered tapas, a pot (or perhaps a pint…) of Little Creatures Pipsqueak cider and four gorgeous friends waiting for me when I had finished my shopping spree.

Julia bought this gorgeous little bird hairpiece from Harem.

Alongside maps I have a love of all things Alice. I don’t know why, but I love everything to do with Alice in Wonderland. I think I identified with the confused and magical little girl in the book, and loved to dream of crazy, far-away places where unexplainable things are the norm.

At 159 Brunswick Street, Alice & Co. is a store devoted to orginal and near-perfect reproductions of unique Alice in Wonderland prints. When I was living in the UK I bought a gorgeous 1920s print of Alice, the mock turtle and the griffin at Portobello markets, and from the looks of this display window, I knew I wouldn’t be leaving this shop empty-handed.

Finally we made it down to Blackbird market, located in The Worker’s Club on the corner of Brunswick and Gertrude Streets.

I saw these quirky jewelry designs by Grandma’s Florals and decided to get a scrabble ring; ‘A’ after my boyfriend :)

After all that walking, we shuffled into a Mexican-themed furniture and decoration store that was closing down. The birthday girl spied these surprisingly comfortable rubber-tubing chairs. They were just what we needed for a quick break.

When we started to drift-off we decided that a whole day of shopping was enough to warrant a focused bee-line back to the hostel quick nap before dinner. But at over $400 per chair I don’t think any of us could afford to be taking one away with us :/

This is one for my boyfriend. I can see this taking pride of place on the mantelpiece of our future dream home :D

Tune back in: #Whimsim: Night 2 and #Whimsim: Day 2 and Night 3 COMING SOON!

Thanks for reading The Nookbook.

#Whimsim

Last modified on 2011-04-08 07:36:50 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

#Whimsim. What Happens In Melbourne Stays In Melbourne.

So I am a mad tweeter. I may have been late to join the tweet-sphere, but I am now tweeting it off the roof-tops– I love the constant stream of tailor-made-interest information popping up on my desktop!

Luckily, I have a few fabulous and similarly addicted friends in the twitter-sphere who keep me occupied. Being employed in the media industry, many of us are also tweeting for work which has led to further complications.

One of my friends was recently musing about twitter productivity on facebook when this slipped out of her subconscious: “Download a client. Like Tweetdesk. For your desktop. It boosts productivity. No really.”

This was my reply: “Speaks volumes… that you’re now thinking of it as your ‘tweetdesk’ and justifying it with the good old ‘productivity’ tag too. I agree whole-heartedly of course ;)”

This weekend I am popping down to Melbourne with four of my uni girlfriends for one of their birthdays. There will be markets, shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, Melbourne International Comedy Festival shows, music gigs, sleeping (presumably), picnics in gardens and lots of adventure.

Twitter has been an indispensable tool for planning our trip and the ensuing banter. A new-found joy in creating hashtags has led us from #crownjulesofmelbournia (the birthday girl’s name being Julia), to the shortened, but not as fun #cjom, to our final and easily gold-medal-winner hashtag #whimsim (What Happens In Melbourne Stays In Melbourne).

I will (of course) be putting up a post about my Melbourne discoveries and adventures, but in the meantime I suggest you check out The Nookbook on twitter (left panel for link) and tune in to #whimsim for the inevitable fun and frivolity to come.

Have an awesome weekend!

Thanks for reading The Nookbook.

Au revoir!

Last modified on 2011-04-08 07:12:17 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Our amazingly talented, bubbly and professional advertorial designer at work (and one of my good friends :) is leaving us to crew luxury super yachts on the French riviera. Sea change much?!

I couldn’t be happier for her, but I will miss her terribly. I had to at least see her go in style. Our whole team went out for a delicious farewell lunch, and a few of us juniors went out for drinks that night, but we also all went in for a gift.

I bought a whole lot of travel and Aussie things to make up a ‘survival kit’. A travel towel, Vegemite, eucalyptus lollies, Caramello Koalas, an eye mask…I could go on. I wish I had taken a picture!

I also saw this really cute french themed album cover in a thrift store. I had the idea of somehow making it into a card for our artistic advertorial designer.

Luckily for me we had all of the necessary tools at work: scalpel, black card, white paper, ruler, pencil and double sided tape.

If you want to know how I did it read on.

Thanks for reading The Nookbook.

I started off by opening up the album with a scalpel and measuring it out in the black cardboard backing.

Opening the album cover

Measuring the open cover on the black card

Cutting the black card

I lined the black cardboard with double-sided tape and carefully placed the album over the top. I should note that at this point I accidentally put the cover of the album back to front (quirky and unique…right?).

The cover of your card should sit on the right-hand side. Afterward I went around the border with a ruler and scalpel to make sure the lines were neat on both sides.

Laying out cover on double-sided tape

Trimming the edges

I measured out the white paper on the black cardboard. I went around the paper and measured 2cm around the edges with a ruler so that it would sit on the black cardboard with a border.

Cutting out the white paper

Drawing out the borders for the paper

Marking the placement of the paper on the black card

I carefully mounted the white paper on the black cardboard with double-sided tape.

Carefully putting the double-sided tape on the paper

The paper on the black card with border

I ran a ruler edge in the crease of the black cardboard to fold it neatly so that it sits like a card.

And voilà! A very original farewell card (mine in particular, considering it is backwards in Hebrew style :p).

using the ruler to make sharper card corners

The finished product (all be it...backwards!)

Holt is where the Hart is

Last modified on 2011-03-28 00:39:20 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Foyer.jpg

Originally a rough and tumble warehouse building, designers were commissioned to breathe fresh life into the space now known as Holt and Hart.

Architects and Urban Planners Billard Leece Partnership and SJB immediately identified the need to break up the original singular floor plate into separate office spaces.

stairs.jpg

Natural light opens up the building with the clever use of voids and timber bridges. The conscious maximisation of light and air is accented by a contrasted colour palette of a bright, cool-white base, dark timber accents and sleek silver fittings.

Close to Central station and the very important News Ltd building ;) the location could not be more enviable. Their unique design even flows through to their online presence, with a beautifully designed and grungy web space.

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Custom publishers The Messenger Group recently moved into the refurbished Holt and Hart building.

Their web presence is also well suited to their style.

Project Manager Theodora Chan has been kind enough to share her thoughts on the interior re-design that resulted in the beautiful pictures we have below.

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Theo: It’s The Messenger Group’s 10th birthday and we decided it was time for a change. We did look at getting an interior designer in but it was far too time and money consuming, so we decided to do it ourselves!

We were going for raw, earthy, natural fibres and tones, with an organic, homey and fun inspiration and feel. Basically, when our clients enter our office, we want them to feel like they’re stepping into our home.

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This chalking was done by yours truly :D You can buy chalkboard paint from Bunnings or paint stores. It allows you to draw all over your walls and rub it off if you don’t like it!

Also a large mirror adds depth to our space. You can get great furniture from antique shops and rummage sales. We got ours from Antikt. The candles and candlestands were lucky finds in vintage shops.

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We moved from bigger offices so we had a problem of fitting way too much stuff  into a smaller space. We put up shelves and created a little corridor. Since the back of the bookshelves were facing the main office, we decided to paint a mural on the back of them. It’s a great way to let loose with your creativity and you can use it as a mural, moodboard, whatever!

Some eastern philosophy keeps us calm, like this Buddha. The table is from Alfresco Emporium. The mural at the back is done by me. All you need is black paint and some inspiration.

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This cute bird is one part of our mural.


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Since our company is called The Messenger Group, we like to play with the idea of messenger birds. It’s very easy to do this sort of this yourself. We just painted the bird and glued on some old string for the wire.

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As you can see, we like to keep it casual and fun. We also have lots of plants in our office because plants are good for you :D

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Hanging pod chairs are a great way to relax and kick back. We got our pod chairs from Urban Balcony.

We love peeking out of our pods! :p The table comes from Dare Gallery and the couch is from IKEA.

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You can make driftwood hangings like this yourself. Find dried bark/wood, some string and you’re set!

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You can buy these block letters anywhere! We like having things that we can move around and change.

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We love Ici et la, La Maison, Parterre, Mitchell Road Auction House and The Collector Store.

We also do a lot of rummaging, going through antique shops and make many of our decorations ourselves!

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Thanks for reading The Nookbook

For more information go to:

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Natural light opens up the building with the clever use of voids and timber bridges. The conscious maximisation of light and air is accented by a contrasted colour palette of a bright, cool white base, sleek silver fittings and dark timber accents.

Close to Central station and the very important News Ltd building ;) the location could not be more enviable. Their unique design even flows through to their online presence, with a beautifully designed and grungy web space.

Sexy dinner ;)

Last modified on 2011-03-21 12:53:20 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Last week I went to dinner party at my friend’s new house.

Her and her partner have just moved into a place with another couple near Newtown. The week beforehand we had met up for a life drawing class at the Arthouse Hotel. $4 entry with two models and a bit of a cheeky drink with friends, it was the perfect outing for a group of creative Sydney-siders.

Some of us there had only just met that night, but in very non-Sydney fashion we decided that we might like to catch up again. So a week later, we find ourselves trotting down to my girlfriends new pad to have a very civilised dinner. The dinner may have happened to have been ‘sexy’ themed. Every dish having some sort of sexy story ;)

I made spaghetti alla puttanesca. I started with Nigella Lawson’s Slut’s spaghetti as a base but then instead of the anchovies I used canned tuna and I also used squished fresh tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes. That’s just my style ;)

They say the translation from Italian is ‘whore’s spaghetti’. So called because good women get their ingredients fresh from the food market, and this recipes uses all canned and preserved food. Suits me just fine, but I guess I can’t be all bad because I just had to throw a little bit of fresh produce in there!

We had all sorts of exotic and delicious dishes, due to the background of the guests. South African Boboti, made with kangaroo meat for an Aussie twist, cous-cous stuffed capsicums, Eton mess, chocolate coated strawberries, the list goes on. They all had a sexual reference, of which I will refrain from here :)

The food was enticing, but the house itself was a major rental market win. The other tenants obviously have an eye for style true to my heart, and I found the design and floor-plan of the house very fitting too. Here’s some pics of the details I liked. Apologies for the photographic quality. The iPhone 4 leaves a little to be desired and I may have had a glass or two of wine ;)

Thanks for reading The Nookbook

House hunting

Last modified on 2011-03-03 05:05:24 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

I would just love love love to have a place of my own. My partner and I have been pie-in-the-sky dreaming of wonderful places we would love to buy.

This place would be a dream buy. Exposed beams, heritage listed, wharf-side studio with loft. I can just imagine drinks downstairs with friends, the walk in wardrobe and bath upstairs and a beautiful little Cocker Spaniel pup running about. perhaps a kitten too…

Dream on Ingi…

This place has beautiful colouring. This is just the sort of colour palette I would have. Not to mention the lovely bathroom!

This place is by far the most achievable for my partner and I, or even just myself. It would be great if we could strip the carpet, put down lovely weathered floorboards and build a little loft area for sleeping.

I seem to have made quite a habit of searching for my new home online. I really should stop taunting myself! Maybe one day

Thanks for reading The Nookbook

Berrima Escapades

Last modified on 2011-03-03 05:08:44 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

My boyfriend Ash has family down in the Southern Highlands (or SoHi as I like to call it). We find ourselves heading down there for one thing or another every couple of weeks. It is about two hours away from Sydney, but it feels like it’s a world away.

In SoHi the pace is slower, the temperature is cooler, and the shops are boutique, friendly and unique. Every time we go down I try to discover a new area of SoHi and I am yet to be disappointed by what’s on offer.

The main town of SoHi is Bowral. Bowral holds the grocery store, cinema, Target…all of the boring stuf! To either side of Bowral are smaller towns with very distinct personalities and histories. One of my recent adventure day trips was spent discovering Berrima.

I may have studied a history major at uni but, lets be honest, I am not as interested in the mundane facts of history as I am of its spoils…specifically home antiques! If you ever get the chance to visit Berrima on a beautiful day like I did, you will enjoy a gentle stroll through the main drag to check out the many great shops, cafes and buildings.

I went with Ash and his willing sidekick (he will hate that I wrote that!) Alex. Being with two boys and not having much money majorly reduced my shopping time, but it was probably for the best with so many shops to get through!

We stopped for a burger at the local cafe/general store. By FAR best value for money on the whole strip and very friendly service. PLUS you get to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine whilst watching beautiful day trippers saunter past with their pooches.

BE WARNED! Berrima is not a cheap town! I would recommend staying nearby and driving in for the day. But it is very relaxing and absolutely beautiful. Not only are the wares interesting, but the actual buildings are all sandstone, wood and iron, a style that really appeals to my aesthetic.

Definitely visit Heritage listed Harper’s Mansion. Not only is there a beautiful old house, complete with period furniture and interior fittings, there is also a fun hedge maze and large garden that will be gorgeous in this spring’s full bloom.

I will definitely be heading in again when I have a bit more money! But until then…I’ll be checking out other towns in SoHi!

Any recommendations let me know.

Photos of Harper’s Mansion…

Photos of Berrima town…

Thanks for reading The Nookbook

Sydney Home Show Extravaganza!!

Last modified on 2011-03-03 05:10:24 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

On Friday 14th May I went to the HIA Home Ideas Expo at Darling Harbour Exhibition Centre.

Sorry that I have written this up a bit late, there is no excuse, I have just been super busy! I was hoping to have this post up just after the event, but as it only comes around once a year, I thought you would still be interested to hear about it. The  extravaganza spanned over 4 of the giant expo halls and ran for four days to allow all Nook creators to find a time to head in.

I have never been to something like this and I don’t think I have ever been so enthralled! I spent at least 6 hours wandering around the exhibition stands, listening to guests speakers and taking part in workshops; soaking up as much as I could. There were a few standard exhibitors, solar heating companies and electricity providers that didn’t really get my pulse racing, but a few exhibitors really went above and beyond to impress.

I walked into that entrance not knowing what to expect and quickly became completely overwhelmed with options. After arming myself with an exhibitors guide I marked out the highlights of the expo and planned out a route to ensure I didn’t miss anything.

Stylist’s displays

The most amazing thing about the expo was that there were rows of stylist’s display rooms next to the main stage, showcasing how all of the exhibitors wares could be brought together to make a truly unique space.

Of course, not all of the rooms appealed to my taste. Some seemed very cold, others too messy…two things that I have learnt do not appeal to me in the slightest! So I’ve only got pictures of the ones I liked :D

The first room that I loved had a very bohemian feel to it, juxtaposing just beautifully with a classic base. I love it when two such seemingly different styles come together with such harmony, one highlighting the others unique qualities.

Some of the displays were absolutely crazy!

Workshop

Just as I was feeling the need for a pit stop an announcement came over the PA that a few spots were still available in a Personal Style Discovery workshop that guests had registered for online. So I headed upstairs as quickly as I could to ensure I didn’t miss this great opportunity. I’m going to go through the workshop in a different post because there is just too much to cover here!

Workshop info here (coming soon).

My mother is obsessed with sea related decorating. Our house is covered in sea shells. Generally I tend to revolt against anything sea related; I find it gaudy and dated. However, wandering past Alfresco Emporium‘s beautifully displayed stall I found myself feeling relaxed.


Their style seems beachy but relaxed. Not the forced kind of relaxed that beach style usually projects. I am discovering that I am very much attracted to things that look a bit ‘loved’ and the mix of relaxed beach chic with shabby chic made Alfresco Emporium‘s items very appealing to me. This just shows me that design is not so clean cut that I could completely dismiss a particular theme.

Besides, I am from Cronulla. I am pretty sure that there is sea water in my blood :p

My (not so) secret Achilles heel is glassware. I’m not sure why, but I lose all sense of place and purpose when I spy a beautifully hand blown piece of glassware. My absolute affordable favourite is Kosta Boda. I already have plans for one of the larger orange toned speckled vases to be at the top of my wedding registry list ;) So when I spied this lovely work by Ssali Glassware I just had to get a closer look.

Best of all I picked up some great ideas for the home. Puzzle pieces that, in hind-sight, seem to fit together to create a style sense that is uniquely ‘classic vs shabby chic’. So I guess that’s my style!

The HIA Home Ideas Expo is definitely going down as the best Home and Lifestyle event I have attended this year. By all means, I hope something will outshine the expo, but really, I doubt another event could! I will definitely be going next year. It’s on the calendar.

Ps. I promise to be much more diligent with my posts from now on! I have HEAPS of material to put up, so stay tuned!

Thanks for reading The Nookbook

At Home with Domayne

Last modified on 2011-03-03 05:10:49 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

This post is a bit late I am afraid…figuring out CSS code for this website was a lot harder than I ever anticipated!

On 19th May my friend and I trotted off to the Domayne furniture centre in North Ryde. I really do love Domayne furniture because it is sleek design that I can actually aspire to save towards! Obviously, living at home with my parents, I am not about to be going out and buying lounges to store in the basement! But I just love browsing the isles and thinking about the things I would love to have.

But this time we weren’t there just to do our standard walk-through; Domayne was launching their latest Look Book and had some fantastic experts on hand to bring the store to life. Domayne really knows how to put on a good show. Upon waltzing through the double glass doors we were handed welcome drinks, canapés and an information card with storewide discount offers. Little clusters of violinists dotted the walkways as we made our way through the sections to hear speakers.

Janet James, Style Director at Australian House & Garden had a few different bedroom looks set up and went through the ways that you can change an entire look with just a few items. My style sense really didn’t resonate with Janet’s, but it was very interesting to notice that everyone watching had so many different preferences…there really is no right or wrong!

Meanwhile, Drinks Specialist from Gourmet Traveller, Alexx Stuart was showing us how to whip up some truly breath-taking cocktails and Chef Paul Jurd was demonstrating the latest in cooking appliances, including induction. We have recently had an induction cooktop installed in my kitchen so we decided to sit ourselves down to watch the pros at work…sampling just a few of their delights of course!

To round off the evening, Consulting Editor of The Australian Women’s Weekly, Deborah Thomas, sat down to have a chat with the crowd about her design tips. It was great to hear Deborah share so many details about her own home and the changes it has gone through at her hands. We had the opportunity to ask for advice on plans for our own homes, and whilst I don’t have anything to ask at this point, it was great to hear from some of the other guests.

All in all I have to say it was a spectacular evening. I think Domayne will be a great place to find my staple items when I finally do have a home of my own. My style really does lend itself to vintage and worn items. I just love to imagine the stories of those items with so much character. But nothing makes a better frame for those amazing treasures, than super sleek and timeless designs. Domayne has some classic sofas, lighting features and bed side tables. For me I think it’s all about layering, and one day I will own a great piece from this beautiful store.

Thanks for reading The Nookbook