Thematic: Bookish

This afternoon, I opened the curtain in my room to a dreary, frost-bitten, winter sky and wished I could curl up in a chair with a blanket and a book. I headed to work instead, and spent the whole night imagining the perfect little book corner for my future dream house. It would be a corner with a large window and a peaceful view, for sure. It would have to have somewhere to sit comfortably, perhaps an overstuffed, old armchair, or an extra-comfy beanbag, like one of these:

1. Ambient Lounge® Butterfly Sofa in Hot Chocolate; 2. Furniture Runway’s Gigi Bean Bag in Navy, via Hard to Find; 3. La De Dah Kids’ Knitted Fox Bean Bag, via Hard to Find; 4. Moviesac in Charcoal Gray, from Lovesac.

1. Butterfly Sofa in Hot Chocolate, from Ambient Lounge; 2. Furniture Runway’s Gigi Bean Bag in Navy, via Hard to Find; 3. La De Dah Kids’ Knitted Fox Bean Bag, via Hard to Find; 4. Moviesac in Charcoal Gray, from Lovesac.

No matter the seating, I’m know for sure that a snuggly blanket is essential for the perfect reading corner. I love the soft, woolly kind with a pretty pattern or decoration.

1. Striped Throw Blanket Afghan in White, Grey and Yellow Granny Stripe from Allie Blankets; 2. Cresswick Alpaca Luxury Throw Large Check in Camel, White & Grey; 3. Safron Blue Homewares’ Shalimar Collection Throw in Beige Ikat, via Hard to Find; 4. MARFA 100% Pure Virgin Wool Sarape, from Mexchic; 5. Anthropologie’s Spreading Landscape Throw in Lime.

1. Striped Throw Blanket Afghan in White, Grey and Yellow Granny Stripe from Allie Blankets; 2. Large Check Alpaca Luxury Throw in Camel, White & Grey, from Cresswick; 3. Safron Blue Homewares’ Shalimar Collection Throw in Beige Ikat, via Hard to Find; 4. MARFA 100% Pure Virgin Wool Sarape, from Mexchic; 5. Spreading Landscape Throw in Lime, from Anthropologie.

On a day like today, I’d also probably be after a little more light, so a lovely soft lamp with a touch of style would be a necessity. I’m a big fan of floor lamps, because they take up less space, but an unusual table lamp always wins my heart. These are some of my current faves:

1. Pablo Pardo’s Elise Lamp, via Uncommon Goods; 2. Noah Large Curved Floor Base with 16” Drum Shade, from Laura Ashley; 3. Owl Lit Up Lamp, from Mod Cloth; 4. Curve touch Lamp, via Uncommon Goods; 5. Paloma Floor Glass Base with 16” Drum Shade, from Laura Ashley.

1. Pablo Pardo’s Elise Lamp, via Uncommon Goods; 2. Noah Large Curved Floor Base with 16” Drum Shade, from Laura Ashley; 3. Owl Lit Up Lamp, from Mod Cloth; 4. Curve touch Lamp, via Uncommon Goods; 5. Paloma Floor Glass Base with 16” Drum Shade, from Laura Ashley.

And, of, course, what reading session would be complete without a cup of tea and a small treat? I can imagine a lovely little table next to my chair/beanbag, just the right size for a pot of tea, a cup, and a small plate. I would happily drink tea out of any of these teapots:

But, of course, I’d be happy with any full teapot, especially wrapped in this fantastic cosy:

Are you lucky enough to have your very own reading nook?

Thematic: Love, Love, Love.

Happy Valentine’s Day, lovers! I was lucky enough (and very honoured) to be asked to guest post on One Good Thing yesterday, as part of Wabi’s week-long tribute to love. I talked about love, and felt the love come right back at me. It was awesome.

Truth be told, I’m not a huge fan of V-Day. In or out of a relationship, to me, it feels like a staged display of affection. Working yesterday evening, my feelings were only compounded—a bunch of people getting in early with their V-Day flowers, and all but one claiming, “if I don’t get her/him something, I’ll be in trouble”. Why, because you chose not to follow the trend? Isn’t that a bit sad?

Personally, I’d much rather receive flowers (or chocolates, or jewellery, or shoes), because my man happened to be thinking about me, not because the whole world has dictated that if he’s doesn’t get me something he doesn’t love me.  But hey, that’s just me.

In saying that, I do love love. So today’s thematic is ultimately dedicated to all things love. Like these kitties, who prove that it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white:

See what I did there?

There’s always so many lovely Valentine’s Day recipes out there, I can’t possibly share all of them. Here’s a collage of cute sweets instead. Check out the description below for recipe links, and get cooking!

1. Conversation Heart Cookies, from Bell’alimento; 2. Dark Chocolate Mousse Hearts, from Lulu’s Sweeet Secrets; 3. Valentine’s Day Cake Balls, via Cake Central; 4. Mini Conversation Heart Cheesecakes, from Hungry Happenings; 5 & 6. Valentines Cookies, courtesy of Hello Naomi.

1. Conversation Heart Cookies, from Bell’alimento; 2. Dark Chocolate Mousse Hearts, from Lulu’s Sweet Secrets; 3. Valentine’s Day Cake Balls, via Cake Central; 4. Mini Conversation Heart Cheesecakes, from Hungry Happenings; 5 & 6. Valentines Cookies, courtesy of Hello Naomi.

Not a baker? How about a pretty card for your love? Or even just for a pal who you think is wonderful.

1. Madison Design Studio’s free printable gift tags, via Delightful Deets; 2. Sweet Grad School gift cards, from A Field Journal.

1. Madison Design Studio’s free printable gift tags, via Delightful Deets; 2. Sweet Grad School gift cards, from A Field Journal.

And for all you kids out there who are as suspect of V–Day as I am, this is the card for you:

Anti-Valentine’s Day Card, from Row House 14.

Buut, if I ever was to get something this cute from a Valentine, I’d probably change my opinion:

Sage the puppy, courtesy of The Daily Puppy.

Wouldn’t you?

Thematic: Tennis Anyone

Being a bit of a tennis nerd, I’ve spent most of January glued to the television late into the night. I even spent money I didn’t have, just to see a couple of live games during the Brisbane International. It was totally worth it.

I love everything about tennis. The scoring system, the politeness the crowd shows the players during each point, and the genteel nature of the game that seems to have carried through since it was first played, way back in the mid-1800s. In fact, I love it so much I reckon a tennis-themed wedding could just be the perfect affair, especially if you happen to be getting married right in the middle of tennis season. For all you tennis fans nodding your head excitedly, here’s a few ideas for the perfect Tennis Wedding:

First up, you’re going to need something to wear. Now, while I’m not going to suggest you don a tennis dress from any of the 2013 ranges, there’s no reason yours, and your bridesmaids dresses can’t garner a little inspiration from the sport of old. With a bit of vintage inspiration (1 & 3) and a beautiful fabric, you can create or find something Ace (pun intended) for both the bride (2) and her maids (4).

-1. Edward Steichen image, published in Vogue, 1927; 2. Acne ‘Barika’ Maxi Dress in Lily White, from My wardrobe; 3. Simplicity 7092 pattern, via Old Patterns; 4. ASOS PETITE Mini Dress with Drop Waist in Pink.

1. Edward Steichen image, published in Vogue, 1927; 2. Acne ‘Barika’ Maxi Dress in Lily White, from My wardrobe; 3. Simplicity 7092 pattern, via Old Patterns; 4. ASOS PETITE Mini Dress with Drop Waist in Pink, from ASOS.

For the boys, why not fantastic, vintage belts buckle (5) to complete their outfits? Or a set of tennis-themed cuff links (6).

-5. Brass Tennis Belt Buckle from Manfred Schotten Antiques; 6. Tennis Cufflinks in wood from Cabin and Cub.

5. Brass Tennis Belt Buckle from Manfred Schotten Antiques; 6. Tennis Cufflinks in wood from Cabin+ Cub Design .

What about venue? Well, the obvious choice would be a tennis court (7), no? With a bit of searching, you’re bound to find a pretty grass court somewhere close by, possibly in a friend’s backyard. The surrounding gardens will add a touch of Jane Ayre to the event, and make for an easy cleaning job at the end of the night.

7. Grass Tennis Court, bia Carrie Dalefield’s Pinterest.

7. Grass Tennis Court, via Carrie Dalefield’s Pinterest.

Or day. Garden weddings are so nice in the day time. And the tennis theme just screams for a small net to be set up with some old racquets (8), which guests can play with while you’re off having photos taken. Hunt through an op-shop or two and you’re bound to come across a few old racquets. Remove the strings on a couple of them and replace with mirrors or chalkboards (9) to create unique signage so people know where to go. They can be used later to decorate the walls in your new house.

8. Michael Kors ‘Celebrate With’ campaign, via Emily Messina’s Pinterst; 9. Tennis Racquet Mirrors, from Snug Interiors; 10. Tennis Ball Votives, via Le petite Yaka Modern; 11. Sugarpova ‘Sporty’ from Sugarpova; 12. Tennis Ball Gifft Buckets, from Harry Barker.

8. Michael Kors ‘Celebrate With’ campaign, via Emily Messina’s Pinterst; 9. Tennis Racquet Mirrors, from Snug Interiors; 10. Tennis Ball Votives, via Le petite Yaka Moderne; 11. Sugarpova ‘Sporty’ from Sugarpova; 12. Tennis Ball Gifft Buckets, from Harry Barker.

While you’re DIYing, chop the tops off a couple of tennis balls and glue the base to a square of wood (10) or a candelabra, fill with cute Sports tennis ball candies (11) from Maria Sharapova’s Sweets range, Sugarpova, and you have yourself cute candies in even cuter bowls! BTW, don’t go out and buy those ugly basic tennis balls, get some pretty coloured ones (12)! Post-wedding, your furry friends will totally dispose of them for you.

Now, food. Have whatever you want for entrée and main, but you can’t really have a tennis-themed wedding without strawberries and cream showing up at some point. You could go old-school and simply serve beautifully fresh strawberries with dollops of thick cream (13), or jazz it up with strawberry and cream cheesecake pots (14). For a super elegant affair, Martha Stewart’s Strawberries and Cream Mini Éclairs (15) are trés chic. Or go for broke and have a gorgeous strawberries and cream wedding cake (16)—YUM!

Bonbonnieres? Tennis cookies (17) of course! You could even get crafty with the cylinders your tennis balls come in, and create little containers for them to really complete the look.

13. Strawberry and Cream Pots via Babble Food; 14. Strawberry and Cream Cheesecakes in Jars, from Bubble and Sweet; 15. Mini Éclairs with Strawberries and Cream, from Martha stewart; 16. Strawberry Wedding Cake, via Stop Traffic Clothing’s Pinterest; 17. The Howard’s Tennis Shortbread, via Glam.

13. Strawberry and Cream Pots via Babble Food; 14. Strawberry and Cream Cheesecakes in Jars, from Bubble and Sweet; 15. Mini Éclairs with Strawberries and Cream, from Martha stewart; 16. Strawberry Wedding Cake, via Stop Traffic Clothing’s Pinterest; 17. The Howard’s Tennis Shortbread, via Glam.

Oh, and if you’re feeling really extravagant, check out this gorgeous tennis-themed tea set from Manfred Schotten Antiques. The perfect match, I’d say.

George Jones & Sons tea set, c. 1800, from Manfred Schotten Antiques.

Thematic: Blooming Linens

Ok people, what’s the deal? Why the boring white table linens at every wedding and party? Sure, they’re usually the cheapest standard option, because most venues have ample supplies, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best…or that you can’t find a better option yourself.

Here’s the deal: your average tablecloth costs about fifteen dollars to hire, which means for a wedding of eighty people you’re spending $150 just on tablecloths. Then you’ve got runners, napkins, and chair sashes and/or covers—most of which you can hire in run-of-the-mill shades to match your (yawn) white tablecloths. Rough estimate, you’re looking at close to $500 for a standard package.

OR…you could take that $500 to a nearby fabric store, find some pretty fabric that goes nicely with your theme, and get a seamstress—possibly a craft friend who would work for free—to whip you up ten tablecloths and matching runners and sashes. Unless you’re shelling out for silk (in which case you can probably afford the crazily-priced rentals), you’re probably unlikely to spend more than a couple hundred on materials, and you’ll immediately add some zing to the tables. Add the fact that you can garner some cash back post-wedding by selling your pretties on to another party-thrower, via eBay, and there’s really no reason not to, is there?

Oh, and don’t worry, just because you now have pretty table linens doesn’t mean you can’t accessorise them with lots of pretty things. Here are a couple of my absolute favourite non-white linen settings:

Bold, plain colour in a luxe fabric looks fantastic with extravagant centrepieces, and some gorgeous mix-matched crockery create a beautiful exotic tablescape. The feathered chair skirts add a lovely touch of fancy. This one, via Zsa Zsa Bellagio, was designed by Stephanie from Pretty Lovely Events.

Bright flowers spread along the tables add lovely pops of colour to this brilliantly bold black and white stripe tablecloth for an elegant look that’s far from boring. But of course, could you expect anything less for an affair featured in Martha Stewart Weddings?

I kept my favourite for last. The chair swathes have a slight can-can girl feel about them, while the feathered cloth creates an almost sea spray effect across the table. Finished with a clutter of simple flower-filled vases, this look—courtesy of Gypsy Purple Home—is perfect for a bohemian themed affair.

 

 

Thematic: Christmas the Other Way

So, it has to be said that this whole summer Christmas thing in Australia is pretty awesome. Christmas day I’m bound to be waking up to summer dress weather, sitting down to a long lunch of fresh seafood and zingy cocktails, and spending the afternoon engaged in a (slightly drunken) water fight. I can’t wait!

But there is a large part of me that longs for the ice and snow of the northern hemisphere—building snowmen, drinking eggnog, and cuddling up by the fire! I’m sure it’s not all as romantic and whimsical as that but, for a gal who has never even seen snow, it always seems a bit magical.

I’m sure there’s plenty of others out there who are wondering what the other side of the equator get up to over the Holiday season, and dream about celebrating it opposite-style—it’s why Christmas in July exists, right? So, for this week’s thematic, I figured I do a little bit of compare/contrast for us all. I think I’ve got a pretty good idea of the average Southern hemisphere Holiday shindig. The other half is a bit of guess-work, and a bit of dreaming on my part.

Thematic - Christmas the Other Way

  1. Aqua Brill Printed Asymmetric Cape Side Maxi Dress from Asos
  2. iPANEMA  Sandalia
  3. Christopher Fischer Owl Intarsia Cashmere Sweater from Nordstrom
  4. Keds Rain It In Boot from Mod Cloth
  5. Curtis Stone’s Mango Bellini
  6. Cargan’s Perry from The Cidery
  7. Brian Samuels’ Eggnog Recipe from The Boy’s Club
  8. Kitchen Confidante’s Mulled Wine
  9. Prawn Cocktails from Donna Hay
  10. Cake or Death’s Tropical Pavlova
  11. Roast turkey with burghul, preserved lemon and pine nut Stuffing from Gourmet Traveller
  12. Blackberry Cherry Cobbler Recipe from Confessions of a Foodie Bride
  13. Santorini Dreamer Bikini Set from Sunburn
  14. SPF 30+ Mineral Zinc Sunscreen from WOTNOT
  15. DIY Old Sweater Mittens from Heart 2 Home
  16. So How’s it Taste’s Gingerbreat marshmallows

Thematic: Neutral and Tartan Tablescape

I’m absolutely knackered tonight, so instead of coming up with a gargantuan list of theming ideas, I thought I’d share this gorgeous neutral and tartan tablescape by Michelle of  Sweet Something Designs. I love tartan, and I love Hessian (or burlap, which sounds much prettier), so this combo makes me swoon. If I ever get to live somewhere where Christmas is in wintertime, this is guaranteed to be my choice of Christmas theme.

Check out the rest of Michelle’s beautiful table here.

Christmas Tablescape courtesy of Sweet Something Designs

Thematic: Nautical & Nice

This post has been coming for about a month now. Every week it was delayed, I managed to find more cool things to add to it. So be prepared: this one’s going to be epic.

I’ve always had a thing for anything nautical. Maybe it’s my obsession with the sea, maybe my love of stripes, or maybe just the fact that navy and white are so classically cool. Whatever the reason, I’ve got a crush on Nautical. Not everyone is so keen on such a classical style though, and I have to admit shipboard chic has been done to death a bit lately. But Nautical doesn’t have to naff or boring.

Here’s a few ideas to keep a Nautical wedding nice and fresh…

First off, your invites can be kept classy without being dullsville—it’s all about the layering and extra touches. Add a gold border and a couple of pockets to your invite, so it becomes a bounty of surprises. Or line your invitation envelopes with nautical paper, and use envelopes instead of the standard white ones to give your invites a bit of extra class. Try using nautical stripes as a background, rather than the main feature of the invite, or create a round invite—it’ll look like a ships porthole window, and stand out against all the clutter and other invites on your guests fridges or noticeboards.

Clockwise, from top left: Souash’s wedding invites via Wedding Bee; Nautical Collection Wedding Invitation from Orachard and Brown; Nautical Wedding Correspondence from Dawn correspondence; Navy and White Circle Invite via One Wed.

Next port of call (like my pun?) has to be what to wear. I gotta say, so many times as a wedding the groom and his boys get overlooked—stuck with your average suit and tie or bowtie. BORING! Why not style it up a bit with a brighter coloured tie—maybe even something with little anchors or boats on it—and give his men something similar, even the same just in a different shade. A cute cufflink is also a great way to jazz up the old suit—keep it nautical with silver sailor’s knots, or navy and gold anchors. And, for real, boutonnieres are the shiz! But why not add some plain rope to the good old flower for a bit of seaward charm.

1. Boy’s Bowtie in Nautical Orange Anchors from Little Vy; 2. Nautical Cufflinks via One Wed; 3. Sailor’s Knot Boutonniere via Vici Tanners’ Pinterest; 4. Navy Preppy bowtie via Erica Morse’s Pinterst; 5. Sailor’s Knot Solid Silver Cufflinks from Grovesnor.

Speaking of charm, the little number below would make the most charming bridesmaid dresses for a nautical wedding, and your girls can wear them again, and again, and…you get the picture. Team them with some cute white heels and a pair of nautical earings, and your ladies are ship-shape. For the bride, I can’t go past a pair or pretty striped heels—they’ll look great with your dress, and aren’t going to sit in the back of your wardrobe forever like the typical bridal heel would. And don’t forget jewellery! A thin bangle with an little anchor on it gives a nod to the theme, while remaining classy and refined.

1. A Wear Cut out Detail Dress from Asos; 2. Gold Anchor Bracelet from Frosted Willow; 3. Anchor Stud Earings from Cynical Redhead; 4. Evie Stripe Peep-Toe Pumps from J.Crew.

Flowers. I love flowers, but they don’t always have to be fresh? Throw tradition to the wind and go with navy silk flowers to really make a statement and ensure your bouquet last more than a day. If you’re set on the real deal, scale down your bouquets and tie with a pretty nautical ribbon for a traditional affair. For something a little more memorable, why not go a ‘flower ball’? Tied with a pretty ribbon, a flower ball is much easier to hold—and think of how much further can be tossed than a bouquet!

Weddings are so often centred around daytime ceremonies, but why not tie the knot in the evening? Seat your guests as it’s getting dark and your bridesmaids can walk down the aisle carrying lamps before hanging the around the alter, creating a soft spotlight as you say your vows. Beautiful, no?

1. Nautical Bouquet via Melanie Bloomer’s florals; 2. Navy blue Silk Rose Toss Bouquet from The Bride’s Bouquet; 3.‘Flower Ball’ made from miniature mums, via Bella Botanicals; 4. Antique Brass Chief’s Oil Lamp – 15” from Handcrafted Nautical Décor.

Speaking of beautiful, this chandelier! Wow! For a super glamorous affair, this would be absolutely amazing as a centrepiece. And for anyone, a pair of pretty nautical armchairs would make delightful Bride/Groom seating, and a great living room piece afterwards. Don’t forget, it’s the little touches that count. So, how about a ship’s wheel as the centrepiece for each table setting—entwined with flowers, or shrouded in candles, something as simple as this can look incredible. Create individual tables with anchored dinner bells, large rope sailor’s knots, or even round mirrors trimmed in heavy rope.

Clockwise, from top left: Hans Van Bentem Chandelier Ship via Take Sunset; Sessel Corsair from Masons Du Monde; Solid Teak Ship’s Wheel – 13” from Robin’s Dockside Shop; Brass Dinner Bell from Portuguese Vintage.

And don’t forget the cake! Add a nautical touch with navy and white striped ribbon trim for a simple and elegant cake. White on white motifs can tie in your theme without making a cake look too busy. Or top a plain white three-tier with flowers matching the bouquets for a simple and stylish number.

Left to Right: Nautical-themed cake via Tanya Foreman’s Pinterest; Elegant Miller + Miller Wedding Cake from Miller + Miller.

Lastly, find a pretty nautical quote that resonates with both of you and hand it somewhere special on the day. Afterwards, you can move it to your favourite room—perhaps the bedroom—as a reminder of your wedding and all the wonderful moments of the day.