Archive for September, 2013

Kitchen Renovation – Day 1

Friday, September 27th, 2013

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Day 1

The demolition

I am so pleased with my efforts. I have 15 containers of home made baby puree in the freezer and quite a few servings of dinner for us to0.

There was no last minute, night before, mad rush. I working consistently emptying out the kitchen and it was all clear by lunch time yesterday.

BEFORE SHOTS

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These aren’t air conditioning vents! Nah uh, these are our lights.  .  .  . and they hum!

They drive me batty.

And not 1 but 4 different floor coverings in the 1 room!

AFTER DEMOLITION

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The rip out took only 3 hours!

Then bub and I escaped the aftermath by visiting a friend for lunch and working on her wedding invitation.

Beautiful day.

2 years in the making and it is finally underway. I am beyond excited.

Juliska

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

I am just OBSESSED with dinnerware at the moment.

My Maxwell and Williams is not cutting it evidently!

I have priced out some dinner settings for 8 places and it is looking like big bucks! More then I am willing at the moment.

Family is asking what I want for chrissy, so they could assist but it is all order from the US with a shipping forwarder. That is too much to ask.

Back burner it is.

However. . .

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I did manage to pick up these Juliska shakers from Saks Fifth Avenue for the dining table.

Wow! Amazing service from Saks. $10 shipping and was delivered in a few days by DHL which send you updates and I was able to change the delivery date online because it was due on Monday and I was working, so I made it Tuesday.

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Fits in nicely with my Astier De Villatte.

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Who likes my glass spheres? I got them from Coco Republic. Can’t wait to ‘style’ with them. I’m rubbish at that, but practice makes perfect, right?

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I dislike the colour red, but for Christmas I make an exception and embrace it. I can’t afford to buy one new dinner setting, let alone two, but let’s just imagine I had a never ending bank account and a holiday house.

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This is my Christmas tablescape inspiration. Minus the sulky kid.

It is by Juliska. That table cloth would be replaced by my black toile table cloth and the black table runner would be my red ticking stripe.

But back to reality. . . again.

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4 Christmas stockings!

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2 are good! 1 is okay but the toile on the cuff is upside down (More unpicking, I guess, but I don’t think I care enough) and the other is a hack job one. I just cut out the batting from the first one. . . (lazy) Sits a bit funny. Probably should make a new one.

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I just adore this fabric. I use to LOATHE toile. Now I love it.

I am ITCHING to start on my black toile table cloth, but I have packed up all my sewing items. It is time for the KITCHEN!!! There is only a few things left to pack up of our kitchen!! Yippeeee.

Another thing I am lusting after is:

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These L’Objet mugs. If only Saks would ship these internationally. (I understand why they don’t for this brand) but there was so many restrictions as to what they would ship. Annoying.

How special would a mundane Monday (Or any moment) be drinking out of this gorgeous vessel?

GIMME!

And just to round out this blog post.

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Audrey!!!

In little pink jeans!! They nearly fit her and the weather decides to warm right up! Look at her just sitting there like a little adult.

My they grow quick.

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I got her ears pierced a week ago. All looks good.

I’ll leave you with the start of a discussion:

Chargers. Are they just a glorified place mat? I want some though, only because I love that layered look. They don’t really serve any other purpose do they?

Do you want some too?

I need to write a post about keeping a nice functional household. Need ideas, tips and tricks, help and guidance.

Laterssssss

Anniversaries of the not so important kind

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Tomorrow marks 2 years since we won our current home at Auction.

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I was at work nervously listening to the auction via the phone. I could hear and understand what was going on. In fact, it seemed I was the only one paying attention. It left me to scream in distress (in a quiet office too) BID!! BID!!!!!!! You are not the highest bidder SO BID!!! But no one was listening, Just before the hammer came down, my husband clarified if he was the highest bidder, which the answer was no!!!

To cut a long story short, we did end up winning. (Note to self, be the person to bid at future auctions)

We didn’t move in though until March the following year. But I have dreamed about renovating that kitchen from my first inspection. AND finally work will hopefully start on Friday. I am perplexed as to why I am not excited. I am nervous about the unforeseeable stress and displacement. We have moved so many things around, like furniture and appliances already it is confusing and I need time for re-adjusting.

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And the day after tomorrow marks 3 months until Christmas. Cue freak out! On Friday my husband had the day off so we could attend an appointment together and then I took advantage of this unique opportunity to visit my favourite fabric shop. I tried to visit  two weeks ago when Audrey was at Daycare, but it was a Monday and they were closed. Opps

I picked out fabric for this year’s Christmas crafts. I am aiming to make a table cloth, table runner (possibly the napkins too with the leftovers, but won’t be pushing myself) and 4 Christmas stocking to hang off our mantle/fireplace. (1 for husband, 1 for Audrey, 1 for me and 1 for future baby) We only plan on having 2 kids and I don’t want to make 3 now and then lose the material and the 2nd bub has something different, so thought best to just make it now)

The mantle is STILL not completed. To say I am annoyed and agitated by this fact is an understatement. Work was completed on Friday the 6th of APRIL! Close to 6 months ago. All my husband had to do was paint the mantle and skirting boards. They are still not painted. Now it is impossible to do so as the dining table is now positioned in front of the fireplace, blocking access. I told him in stern words that it MUST be completed by the end of November AT THE LATEST.

Each year I want to aim to make something for Christmas. So that is the goal for this year.

The black toile is for the table cloth. I am contemplating adding a black tassel fringe trim to the edges just for festivity sake. Or is too much? I am very much a more is less person, so keep adding MORE. I just add and add until I realise that it is now tacking and not the understated look I was going for.

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(sorry, the pic is a bit blurry)

I don’t have a photo as this fabric as it is on order, but it is like this:

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Red ticking stripe to make a simple table runner. The lady at the shop told me to make napkins out of the left overs. Great idea!!! But I don’t understand how you can have napkins that aren’t white. They aren’t bleachable. I fail at removing the least stubborn of stains let alone tough ones, even with bleach. I wish I was good in the laundry.

I have made 2 stockings so far.

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(Needs an iron, but had to unplug iron to cook dinner. Save the excuses. This will be a thing of the past soon)

I used this tutorial (LINK) Great tutorial and nice shape of the boot. For the cuff I have used French linen with a red toile pattern.

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For the body I have used a thick cream hemp. I was going to use something that was similar in colour, a linen, but I am so glad the shop assistant recommended this one instead. Thicker and more stable.

Despite the very clear tutorial, I still made MANY mistakes. It is by no way a reflection of the tutorial. I was prepared and I read the tutorial several times and understood each step, but like always, with sewing for me. Many things went awry.

This tutorial uses thin cotton with batting, but I changed the fabric and used slightly thicker batting and my first stocking ended up more like a pillow that was so filled out that you could barely put any pressies in there. Plus I didn’t catch the liner when sewing the cuff because of all the bulk.

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So I ditched the batting, I knew it didn’t need it for me and my fabric!! (LISTEN TO YOUR INSTINCTTTSSSSSSS LAURA) So much unpicking was involved.   .   .   . naturally, but that is one of the benefits of sewing. Mistakes can be undone. I have unpicked the first one too so I can re-use the fabric (tight arse over here!!) and in the pursuit of efficiency.

I also bought this black toile fabric.

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Because it had little cherubs on it!! Too cute. I will use this to make some stuffed tree decorations if I complete everything else or just add it to the fabric stash. With the kitchen being ripped out and living in disarray for the next month, I am being realistic and sewing in the evenings while I can. But I need to make some freezer meals and purees for preparation and also finish my friends wedding invitations. As well as cleaning out all the other clutter. I am so tempted to just bin all the stuff I don’t know what to do with and starting afresh. If I needed it, I’ll buy it again, but NICER!

What is your week shaping up to look like?

Kitchen and dining mood board

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Kitchen_Mood_Board

Clockwise from top left

White shaker style cabinets – Chinese black slate floor tiles – Top Knobs Chareau polished nickel knob – Carrara Marble subway tiles – Top Knobs Chareau polished nickel handle – French door entrance – SCP Josiah medium pendant light – Planet Furniture Slab spotted gum dining table – Charcoal dining table chair – Visual Comfort large vendome chandelier in antique silver – Ilve cooker – Brodware tap.

I am missing my bench seat and window treatments from this mood board, but is there any other items that should be included in the mood board?

Do you think the SCP white pendant would work with the room and the other chandelier or it is just too modern? I don’t want to pick 2 pendants that compete against the dining table chandelier.

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I think it will work.

ALSO!! We have a date! Kitchen to be demolished on Friday 27th of September. Yep. That is NEXT Friday!

I am so excited, yet so nervous. I hope it all goes to plan! Then Kitchen to be installed on Thursday 10th of October.

I would love to hear your feedback so I can start ordering things!! I have not purchased dining table chairs either, but I am after something like that.

Return to work and kitchen updates.

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Post maternity leave return to work was a success! It was as if I had never left. I rolled up early on Saturday to put in a good effort.

I picked up the handset of the phone and instantly all the extensions, phone & fax numbers returned to my poor old head and I was back in business!

I went to another Court House on Friday to ring the service desk to make sure that my account was active and that I would have computer access over the weekend as there is no technical support on the weekend. I went out of my way to make this happen and I was sorely let down come Saturday morning to get a big fat exclamation mark and bold writing stating my account was disabled.

But I carried on and did what I could. I was welcomed back into the workforce by the community of Sydney committing a rape, a murder and a stabbing!

I’ve spent 5 months of loved up heaven with my gorgeous blessing of a daughter, cuddling and kissing her and living in utter bliss to have this snap me back into reality and the grim world we live in. Having this job makes me sad but grateful for what I do have.

On the Monday was able to rectify the login access, after only 6 calls to service desk. I was rostered into a customer service roll. All the long winded processes were back with me too. I completed a variety of applications and inquiries.

Monday morning sees me send out an email to the whole department part of my job requirements and I received quite a few responses with “welcome back” That was sweet.

Audrey had her second day at daycare and it appears to be going well.

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A smiley photo!!

In house news.

I’ve found the mirror to go above my mantle.

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Coco Mirror by Made Goods (Can be purchased at Coco Republic)

2 problems:

1) It is $2,500. 2) it is too big by only 10 – 20cms in each direction!

It was love at first sight when I stumbled across it on the internet a week ago and then again in person at the Coco Republic showroom in Crows Nest.

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So, with all that said and shown, I am still on a mirror hunt for the living room.

In regards to the kitchen.

I have started spring cleaning and preparation to completely rid any item in the kitchen for the impending kitchen demolition.

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This is my pantry.

All we are doing is replacing the doors, so that they look like this:

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But hopefully you can see in the picture that the interior goes into a triangle. It is the perfect environment for losing items into the back corner where they are un-reachable. Does anyone have any good ideas on how I can still utilize this space successfully? It is actually quite a lot of storage space.

I have been holding off buying another cake stand (I only have 2 pink glass ones) or Le Crueset iron cookware because I was under the impression that I didn’t have room for them, but there is LOADS of space in this cabinet. I just need to be smart about it. We have never put anything in the top part of the cabinet, but I can easily whip out that step ladder (from the laundry) to reach things up top. Perfect place for a new cake stand!

Look at our poor old fridge.

Can’t wait till that fits in it’s new space nicely and we can actually open the new pantry doors properly.

All the cabinet doors have been ordered. We are in business.

Hopefully things should kick off in 2 weeks time.

I had a brainwave about the marble tile splash back. I always felt that they were too big for a splash back at 300mm x 150mm but I thought I could easily have them cut down to 150mm x 75mm (so one quarter of the original size) but on closer inspection, there is a very slight bevel on the edge and it would be a costly and timely operation so it was more efficient to just buy new tiles.

ARGHH SPLASH BACK. I now I am saying it wrong and my husband keeps snickering at me, but it is just what comes out.

BACK SPLASH!!!

Wait. I am confused now. I don’t know which one is right. AHAHHAHAH

So I went out on the hunt for 75mm x 150mm tiles.

I had a list of 3 places to go to. It was a hot day and traffic was a bit of a nightmare in the inner city so when I walked into the first place and they had cheaper tiles then the third place I was going to visit, I just called it quits right then.

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My original tile at the top. It still has a honed finish but it is smoother then the others and the white in the marble is whiter then the carrara tiles I purchased.

I love my original tiles, but I will use them one day in a bathroom where I can use them at their original size.

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Pastel blue and red is a match made in heaven. What a stunning choice in finishes. Bravo.

Can’t WAIT to see that red go!!! RED. Oh I dislike red.

I also can’t wait to see power cables running from here, there and everywhere go too!

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I bought them from Bisanna tiles in Surry Hills. They had them on a display board with medium grey grout which is exactly what I was thinking of doing. I like that little bit of contrast.

I still have no idea what dining table light fitting I want and what 2 kitchen island pendants I want.

Cannot decide.

I know what light fitting I want for my bedroom though and beside table lamps.

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Ruhlman pendant from Circa Lighting

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Lamp from Coco Republic.

And while we are at it. I would love this for either side of my couch in the living room because they are really tall!! (900mm)

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Enough day dreaming. Best to stick to the current schedule which is the KITCHENNNNNNN!!!!!!

Hope everyone had a good weekend and a good week ahead!

Recipe – Something new from me.

Friday, September 13th, 2013

I really do enjoy cooking! Baking. . . err not so much, but cooking, yes, LOVE!

In an effort to clean up my diet, broaden my horizons (and my meat freak husband’s) and try new things.

I made this the other day.

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It is the second time in fact that I have made it. (First time I swapped the pumpkin for avocado)

Raw Brussels Sprout Salad

  • Brussel Sprouts – sliced finely
  • Butternut Pumpkin – cubed and roasted
  • Shallots – sliced
  • Slivered Almonds – lightly toasted
  • Craisins – small handful
  • Parmesan Cheese – finely grated

Dressing

  • Honey – tablespoon
  • Olive oil – depends on how much salad you make
  • Lemon – juiced
  • Masterfoods Dijonnaise – Found in my fridge. Works epic. Do try it!!! (Every time I say “Do try it” I say it exactly like the man in the Dilma commercials)
  • Salt & pepper – to taste

Served with home made hummus on Bourke Street Bakery Sourdough.

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Totally yummers!

Happy Birthday hubby

Monday, September 9th, 2013

I have just been all over the shop, doing dumb things, being indecisive and forgetful.

On Friday was my husband’s birthday. I cleaned the house and set the table and spent ALL DAY IN THE BLOODY KITCHEN!!!

His family came over as well.

I made him a banana and strawberry cake with cream cheese icing.

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(I designed and cut out my own “32” template, but stupid Woolworths and coles have steroided up there cachous/dragees! They are not as small as they use to be, so the result isn’t as good as I envisaged!)

And I roasted a leg of lamb. His parents live on a farm and they grow lots of food and it makes me SOO HAPPPY!!! Organic food, for FREEE!!!!!

Last time I was there I asked if I could take some beetroot. I wanted to try making a roast beetroot salad. It contained: roast beetroot, roast sweet potato and parsnip with honey walnuts, fetta cheese and salad leaves. DELISH!

His mother was most impressed, she only knows to boiling it and pickle it in vinegar, she said she would give that a go.

I scrubbed a bowl of kipfler potatoes but I ran out of room in my little oven to roast them and I don’t like mash (plus you can’t really do kipfler mash) so I gave up on those and in lieu I sliced up my whole loaf of Bourke St Bakery sourdough.

Everyone had had sufficient but I did feel inadequate because I didn’t put on the usual extreme over caterers that Europeans do (Particularly my in laws)

On the Saturday night I took the birthday boy to Chiswick Restaurant.

I didn’t do any reading about Chiswick. I just simply made a reservation and then showed up. I thought it would be like Aria, but it was its poor cousin.

Beautiful location but the service and atmosphere was VERY relaxed. No chair pull out, no napkin placed on lap, no bread and no table cloths.

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(See what I mean? This is a margarita. . .  served in a tumbler. Call me old fashioned, but I was miffed. . . It was still delicious though)

I felt like we were having dinner with the people next to us. Our table was spaced apart by a hands span. The waiters couldn’t get past them to place our food down, so it was kind of passed over their heads to our waiting hands.

It was fast and the food delicious, but for the cost, I would have expected fine dining and not bistro.

I’ve been to Aria without my husband on a girls night out and my husband has been keen to try it. I thought I was going one better by giving him a different Matt Moran restaurant, unfortunately he wasn’t as impressed as I wanted him to be.

You really can’t compete with the harbour location of Aria. So it looks like I will still have to take him to Aria one day. . . . what a damn shame!!!

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Then yesterday we had a first birthday party to attend.

Here is the wrapped gift, I do enjoy wrapping.

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But in full disclosure.

I dropped the ball on my husband’s present. I designed his Father’s day card and his birthday card at the same time, I printed his Father’s day one and then I broke the printer and I didn’t get around to printing his birthday one. Come the night before his birthday and no presents wrapped and no card!! Yet I manage to wrap this one way in advance of the party.

So it came down to a panic rush while he was having a super fast man shower.

I grabbed a box and shoved all the gifts in there and then just wrapped the box. There was 2 items that didn’t fit into the box and they got shoved into a gift bag. Et voila

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But before I did that, I HAVE A BIG BLOOOOODDDDYYY MOUTH and had to tell him that I hadn’t wrapped them! D’OH!!!

Oh well, come the morning of his birthday. I made him a tea and pancakes with berry compote and he opened wrapped presents and was grateful.

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I got him a selection of things that I have been putting away for a few months deciding what would be Father’s day and what would be his birthday and he amassed a few items and it just got too much of a task to wrap and I over thought and it then, like I said, he was home from work the night before and they weren’t done.

On Thursday I went on a fabulous window shopping trip to Surry Hills. I went to visit the new Palm Beach Home shop that is where Chee Soon and Fitzgerald use to be where I worked for all of 2 days. (Ohh good memories)

The owner rung me a few days prior to tell him that he had more Astier De Villatte. He is my new best friend!!!

I went there and there was a handful of items that I wanted, but being the day before husbands birthday, I just couldn’t bring myself to swipe the ol’ cc.

The willpower I possessed that day was monstrous!

I visited Planet Furniture too. They have such a great range of ceramics there from Aussies. I love my Eva Solo oil carafe. I use it all the time.

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It has a lip and catches the drips, but sometimes things get hectic and I get a little Jamie Oliver and shit gets messy, hence my husband rests a folded up piece of paper towel underneath this. Ceramicist Kris Coad made this

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And oil coaster to sit under your oil bottle! Form and function married perfectly. It is a beautiful glossy white hand made piece. I picked that up for my husband. I knew he would appreciate it.

Then I went to another favourite haunt to buy pinking shears. Bloody shop was closed for Jewish New Year!! ARHH

That is the second time I have gone to visit a shop to find it closed (And today was the third! I drove all the way to North Seaforth. It never even occurred to me to check, as it is Monday!!) So no pinking sheers and no red and black toile linen to get started on my Christmas crafts for this year!!)

I’ve also did another dumb thing.

I bought a copy of a magazine I have subscription for and I ended up with 2 copies!

That is the second time I have bought a magazine I already had. Took my forever to twig that I already had that copy.

I am a bit FOMO when it comes to magazines. I need to rein that in. I don’t buy real living or inside out though. DO NOT LIKE their aesthetics. No I don’t want neon, macrame, chevron or industrial!

I also went to Hub Furniture it check out Reichenbach’s taste range of ceramics. LOVE!! Ohh LOVE.

But my god, you can’t just buy what they have out on display. You have to order it. I wanted to buy a plate so I could put the cake on, but oh well. SO I need to decide on what I would like and put my order it.

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How does one choose??? I have financial shortcomings that don’t allow the purchase of the entire range people!

While I was there I did see the $3,500 marble bowls that I once lusted after. They are really quite substantial and I can kinda sort of see why they command such a price. I also saw these lights

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They are made of bone china in the UK. I love them for over my island bench, but for the life of me I can’t pick a coordinating light or the dining table. Or I can pick a dining table light but then not one for the dining table.

I GIVE UP!

Oh yeah and in other kitchen news. WHERE THE EXPLETIVE IS OUR KITCHEN???? We paid the deposit over a month ago and cannot get the guy out to do the check measure before committing to paying half as per their terms and conditions. Thinking of starting all over again with a new company. If things don’t get rolling it will be bloody Christmas. I wanted this stupid thing in before Little A starts solids (too late) and before I go back to work (too late)

Audrey at 5 months

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

Well today signals the last weekend off before I commence work again next Saturday and a photo shoot for my little girl.

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I think you can judge by the pics that it went well!  😉

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These head bands last five seconds on her head.

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She wants you all to know that she has a foot.

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A FOOT! She said.

There wasn’t a good one in it.

Oh well, there is always next month.

Father’s Day 2013

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Happy first father’s day to my husband!

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Audrey dragged me out shopping weeks ago but asked me to help wrap it.

I made a clay tag and bundled it up with twine and Japanese washi paper that I lovingly brought home on my lap this time 2 years ago.

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We went easy on the gifts as it my husband’s birthday this Friday.

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I’m teaching Audrey from a young age, ‘The art of buying a gift for yourself but passing it off for another” I am so guilty of this.

I’m already plotting whether I can buy some more Astier de Villatte and gift it to my husband on Friday under the guise of “Ohh I thought you would just love it!!! It is soooo you!”

The budgies do have meaning to us. It is not just a cute top from Seed. I once illustrated a budgie my husband’s family owned and made it into a valentines day card, when I saw it, it reminded me of that.

Plus my husband loves birds!

There were other presents in addition to these two tops.

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Next up was the obligatory big breakfast.

This is just what I usually make for him on the weekend. Sadly this will end very shortly with my return to work. I think husband will be begging me to stay home a little longer so he can eat this more.

The only special addition was home made basil pesto on the bread.

(We do have place mats, they aren’t attractive, so I removed it for the shot. I am on the hunt for new ones. Oh and new flat ware, would love that!! OHH and new plates as well.)

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It was a beautiful sunshine filled day and we went to a park by the water to relax.

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She smiles often and to anyone, yet capturing it on camera is mission impossible!

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Do you like our cup holders? Isn’t my husband industrious?

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I made a picnic spread.

Antipasto cob sandwich with hummus and carrots.

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I’ve been wanting to make one of these for a while and this picnic was the perfect occasion.

It had home made basil pesto, artichokes, salami, char grilled capsicum, rocket and baby spinach.

That is also home made hummus too. I can never bring myself to buy pesto, hummus, baba ganoush or pasta sauce! NEVER.

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Then we snacked on cookies. I made 80 cookies in stealth on Friday. It took me half a day. Then my friend came over and helped me taste test a few before we packed it all up and hid them.

I added white and milk choc chips, pecans, slivered almonds, macadamia nuts and hazelnuts.

My husband is patiently waiting for me to make him muffins, but without a muffin tray that fits in our little oven, this was the next best thing. Filled with lots of nuts as they are is fav. I cleaned out so many opened packets in the pantry baking these.

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And lastly, he still has these cupcakes to go!

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After the picnic we went and visited his parents and then mine, then BED!

We had a wedding on Saturday so we were a little tired from the get go. My husband was a groomsmen. Audrey’s first wedding and I was doing the gig solo basically! I did have help from some of his work buddies. Two ladies were fighting over who would give her a bottle! So cute. Friends also took turns of walking her in the pram outside so I could enjoy a boogie with my handsome hubby. Was such a beautiful wedding and lovely to have such nice friends.

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Ha Ha. Bye bye husband’s face.

These days, it is not a wedding without a photo booth! Love it.

Hoping all the dads out there had a beautiful day yesterday!

Now to wrap it all up and start on preparations for husband’s Birthday. So excited.