Moving house is huge and moving countries just adds to that

After nearly 2 years in India we have moved back to Melbourne, Australia. The kids finished school in mid-June, we had a great holiday with friends in Switzerland and Sweden and a relax on the beach before heading back to Bangalore to do the big pack and farewell.

Now back in familiar territory that feels unfamiliar – after tenants in our home and kids that grow!  We’ve only been in our house for a week, and boxes continue to arrive.  I would do anything for a fairy to fix my home, but surprisingly I’m not wishing for a maid!

The good news is I was busy working on projects right up until the day we left, and spent many hours on the beach in Italy planning small projects for our house when we got back.

My first weeks while staying in a serviced apartment were spent at an empty house painting (repairing walls – thanks tenant) and cleaning.  I’ve made some pretty significant changes to our dear casa and will share them with you soon – internet connection permitting.  I can’t believe I’m saying the internet service was better in India – but I am!

so, apologies for my absence, and see you soon



display case


Sometimes function clearly outweighs form in the design stakes

and never is that more so than in India, where you could dust twice a day if you were that fanatical

So a china cabinet, or the idea of keeping items under glass makes perfect sense


display case 4


This cabinet started it’s new life with me in the back of a delivery 3 wheeler, along with my good friend Gail’s amazing bench seats (wish I’d grabbed one of those too!)


display case 2


At home it looked like this, dirty, damaged and broken glass and doors that didn’t open or close very well


display case 3

I’m assuming it was once a spinning unit, as each shelf has a patched hole in the middle

Remembering my house in Melbourne with it’s heavy timber look, I decided to paint.  I won’t bore you with my efforts to buy authentic chalk paint, submission of material safety data sheets to DHL and customs…. only to make a fabulous version of home made chalk paint with my 20 rupee (less than $0.40) per bag chalk




I chose a slightly chartreuse shade of yellow for the interior and mixed my own colour for the exterior.  It started as a dark blue with leanings towards grey.  As I added the chalk it became lighter and a purple shade, so first my paint shop attempted to deepen the colour, then I added black, from a small bottle of tint provided to me free of charge from the paint shop.

I’ve always enjoyed a gin and tonic, and now after being introduced to Hendricks I’m never going back.  If you haven’t tried it I most strongly urge you to – but not with lemon.  Peel and slice some cucumber as tall as your serving glass, approx. 2cm thick.  Remove the seeds.  Start with ice, then cucumber, gin and then tonic.  The cucumber makes a great stirrer and tastes amazing to eat at the end of your drink.  It’s an incredibly fresh drink.




Now I have a great spot for my peacock





my Elsa

Amelia turned 9 back in March and had a Frozen party in April


She asked for an Elsa dress.  Fortunately during one single trip to my favourite fabric market I picked up silk, organza and stretch fabrics in a range of acceptable colours.  Living in a country where perception is that everything is available becomes a crushing defeat when that reality exists at minimums of 1000m or so.  I have learnt over the years to find fabric first and work around it.  Hunting for a specific fabric can be very demoralising, not to mention time consuming.


I started making the bodice from a basic t-shirt pattern using a lightweight white stretch fabric.  I lengthened the sleeves and then cut the neckline to be off the shoulder and added wide elastic.

With the top on Amelia, I pinned the bodice into place.  The fabric I bought was already pin tucked in this beautiful diamond design.  I then added a basic skirt.  Although Elsa’s was fitted we both agreed it would be more functional as a dress-up to be a bigger skirt.  Miss A did insist on the front split though!

Then we needed the ice cape.  Elsa’s starts under the arm, and after watching the movie a few times, I think there are pieces at the side front and then a larger cape at the back.  Running with that idea I attached 2 gathered ivory organza panels at the side front (same length as skirt) and a long train cape across the back.  This was also made in 2 pieces for ease of putting on and taking off – the dress opens down the back and does up with one button and one ribbon bow.




We braided her hair as unfortunately her Elsa wig did not arrive in time.  I’ll update with another photo soon!

Elsa has a number of costume changes during the movie, so there are many dresses when you search.

I started party planning on Pinterest and found some great ideas.

We printed activities at our local print store to make crowns, door hangers and Elsa and Anna dolls – link here





We had bowls of white marshmallows, chocolate cup cakes drenched in icing sugar, star and snowman cookies and white chocolate fudge

and a Frozen Ice Castle cake


This was a bought cake with white chocolate shards poked all over.  I used blue food colouring and sprinkles, and a mini Elsa doll (standing on a small blue ikea plastic bowl) at the centre



Happy Birthday Amelia!





indoor garden – mini makeover

We have a spot in our house that I don’t quite understand.  Personally I would’ve preferred it was all outdoor space, but with a few small changes I’m starting to like it more and more


When we first moved in the plants were really overgrown and dusty but even after fixing this it was still a nothing space

indoor garden before

Now I’ve pruned the plants again, added white pebbles, hanging plants and a light

plants 1


The light is cut brass with a turquoise paint inside


The flow between the family room, outside deck and this area now feels connected




and I love the light at night


decorating while renting

air india2

It’s hard to make a house your own when it and most of the furniture in it are not yours.

I feel anything in a range from comfortable through to long term hotel stay and then so completely frustrated by the layout that I want to scream.

So many little things had been bothering me and it was time to do something about them

tv area

This was the view from our dining table.  With the painted feature wall, it was a shrine to the television and all things audio visual.  Not really my style.

It was made worse by power outlets at random places on the wall, and the ones up high are not centred

sept 13 066

See one of the power points above Lach’s head in this Anakin Skywalker impersonation?


I guess you would call this an ‘installation’.  It’s made from coir mats and a sequin saree border.



I sliced this mat to fit around the speaker and cover the power point


I’m happy that now when I look in the direction of the tv there is something other than that big black screen to catch my eye


beads and lace

Fine beading and lace work are hallmarks of the Indian cottage industry

I bought a sample dress from a fabric market that had been cut, pinned and hacked.  It reminded me of Collette Dinnigan with a beautiful lace skirt featuring panels, sheers and gathers

For a while I thought I’d try to repair and line it as a dress, but when stains and holes halted this project for at least the third time I took to the dress with my scissors to make a top

lace top

It ties at the back in a criss-cross corset fashion and under the beading the fabric has a fine elastic to hold it under the bust

I wore it to a fancy dress party (as Carrie Bradshaw) but can imagine wearing it with a singlet underneath and jeans or over an evening dress

As Carrie it also has a beaded caplet jacket over the top


Then in a second project I got to using the skirt

lace tee 2

I cut one of the panels that was previously horizontal in the dress to sit in the centre front of this top.  Not all of the edges were clean, but that adds to it’s vintage charm.  I used fusable webbing strips to hold the lace down before sewing.  The pattern I used for the t-shirt was this without the sleeve or hem

The gathered lace hem of the dress has become sleeves.  I bound the armholes and inserted cap sleeves.

The Elsa dress is in full swing and will hopefully be finished today

Happy Monday