Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday Ponderings


If I was to pick a colour that says, 'happy', it would be this. 
Just lovely.

I love the idea of a black board at the front door! Hellooooooo!


We had a magical day at the Koala Park yesterday... apart from the heartbroken tears over the caged Kookaburra trying to be friends with a free Kookaburra. They couldn't get to each other, even though they tried and tried. Little one was so distressed about it all and wanted to speak to a ranger about getting the free one in, to keep the caged one company. Then there were mutterings of staging a jail break. He's like that. So different to his older brother. He's me.

I took a few photos of snake and koala hugging. They're over at instagram @thehouseofam. Katrina had to take my instagram widget off this here blog as it was evil and scheming and had serious bugs in it. So if your blog is playing up, check your instagram widget. Thank goodness for blog designers who know something about something! So hopefully you won't be redirected to spam sites anymore when you visit here. I'm moving to WordPress in a few weeks so there will be crickets here very soon. Hopefully everyone will follow me over there.

We heard from 'Japan boy' last night. His host family has checked them all in to a 'fancy' hotel, for the weekend. My boys love that word 'fancy'. They use it for everything.... "he drives a 'fancy' car, she was wearing 'fancy' clothes". Little one wrote back to say, "so glad everything is so 'fancy'". I laughed. He also wrote back, "I love you for all my tomorrows".... so poetic. My heart sort of skipped. He's missed him so much. So big son is in a 'fancy' hotel. He says he is chatting to the host children all the time, fluently Japanese. He says the father doesn't say much. He played Japanese soccer and took part in a traditional tea drinking ceremony and reckons he's going to start drinking tea when he gets home. Love it.

Love him. I am so grateful to have been able to give him this opportunity. I am so grateful. I think he is too. Experiences, education, manners, compassion, empathy, social conscience are what it's all about.... not things. 'The most important things in life are not things'. I think my boys get that. I hope they travel the world.

I'm waffling. Feeling pensive. Missing my boy. Psyching myself up for a run.

Have a great day!
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Saturday, September 29, 2012

It's So Quiet


It's been so quiet with big son away in Japan. Food is going off too! You don't realise how much a 15 year old puts away until they are not around..... I am baking with all my browning bananas... and our grocery bills are almost non existent!

We celebrated little one's birthday last weekend with a Pikachu birthday cake, made lovingly by his old nanny..... who has made him a cake every year since he was one. 


He was over the moon when he first laid eyes on it. Pokemon is BIG in this household ("but not during the school week", they chorus, on cue!)

Little son headed off to a computer game/animation course this week, at his request. Quote/unquote, "it's so much better than being at home". I think the shed work was getting to him! Not the most exciting way to spend the school holidays, especially with best friend/brother notably absent.

I was left to my own devices and busied myself with work and my little Masters makeover project. 



The hardest job was ripping the paper off. So well wrapped. You could tell they'd come from Germany.... the craftsmanship even extended to the wrapping.


Voila! ...the coveted outdoor chairs I have been stalking the Masters site for.... ever since they appeared as a promise of 'New Season Stock' a few months back. Love them to bits. They are so solid and so beautifully made.


Whipped up my little courtyard makeover and have been enjoying it all week.
The stinky soccer boots have been relegated to the far corner of the garage.
This spot is now all mine, mine, mine! 


Will reveal all later next week when I will also announce the winner of the $500 Masters Voucher. Beyond exciting.

In Japan news, contact has been brief and rushed. Skype hasn't really worked for us for some reason, only IM through Skype has given us snippets of our son's travels. An email arrived last night which was received with great excitement! He is currently with his host family in Mie. He was a bit nervous before he met up with them as he is staying with them on his own but from the tone of his email he has settled in with them nicely. There is a boy, and a girl, in his host family, who both attend his school. He had his first day at school yesterday. I sent him good thoughts all day. He says he LOVES school and that the girls sit in the corner and giggle and point. Knew he'd be a 'rockstar'!  He is very confident with his Japanese now and says he can understand and say everything. Nothing like a week's immersion. 7 years of lessons... but one week in the country was all that was needed for it all to sink in!

He loves the girls. I am so glad I packed plenty of female host/friend gifts... I knew he'd be needing them!

So yay, it's Saturday! We don't have to be anywhere. That said, we might take little one to the local Koala Sanctuary.... and look for stick insects in the gardens. It's just down the road and it's a beautiful day.

What are you up to?

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PS. Would love you to email me if you are noticing any strange things happening with my blog as you read it. A few of my bloggy colleagues have been experiencing 'strange-ness' too..... redirection to spam sites, etc. I am moving over to my wordpress blog over the next couple of weeks. Couldn't come at a better time. This old rattler has had it's day!

PPS Katrina is on to it. May I just say, she doesn't just design blogs... when done, she monitors and fixes and tweaks and responds to 'IT gumby distress calls' 24/7. Great customer service. #justsayin #loveherguts


Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Simple Rhythm



I find the more complicated the world gets, the more I seek out simplicity in all that I do. I was reading something somewhere last night about how smartphones have killed the creativity of boredom. Do you think that is the case? Are we at a stage now where we can't be still without being stimulated/occupied 24/7? Remember the days of staring at the walls in a waiting room, your mind wandering, creating?

I don't know whether it is just because I am getting older and more comfortable in my own skin, but I seek out simpler routines, simpler methodologies to all that I do in my day these days. The busier the world gets, the more effort I put into making mine less busy and more productive. I feel that it gives me the opportunity to live in the moment/task more and experience more gratitude for the little things, for each and every moment. The days are short. I feel the need to slow them down and savour them more.



My day starts simply when I get up with the sun, detach from the world, even my thoughts for a while, and run into the day. I work in a business that is uncomplicated, with limited overheads, a manageable product range with simple operational procedures. I can work pretty much from anywhere and I get to connect with happy, creative people.


My home is now simple, uncluttered, pared down, tidy, easy to clean and manage.
My wardrobe is manageable and consists of only what fits and what I love to wear. Our meals are fresh, uncomplicated, unprocessed. The TV is off most nights so we connect as a family.. and when it's not, we watch our favourite box sets of shows we are working our way through together. Our daily routine is simple.....and we all know our jobs, what needs to be done. Sometimes I shout from the kitchen at the end of the day, "aren't we a great team?!" I stop to savour and be grateful more these days.

Maybe because my life has been so complicated in the past, I am just revelling in normality! in peace! in contentment? in gratitude? Maybe things will change when I start building my next house? Maybe I am older and wiser and will be able to be 'in the world but not of it' when I'm standing on my next building site. Maybe busy New York put 'it' all in to perspective?

Maybe Einstein was on to something?  "I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best both for the body and the mind". Albert Einstein ...

"Let your mind wander in simplicity" ~Chuang-tzu

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment." ~Buddha

Do you seek out simplicity in your life? Have you been looking for ways to un-complicate your life and savour each moment more? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Office Before And After


Look at this beautiful office makeover that I found over at Emily A. Clark Interiors.


Before...


... during...



Isn't it gorgeous?!

A coat of paint, fabulously styled bookcases, a stunning pendant light, a beautiful lamp, a mix of old and new furniture, a rug .... and of course great bones, with decent crown moldings. 
I seriously love this room.


Sigh!
Check out the rest of Emily's gorgeous home over at her blog, HERE.

School holidays are in full swing here, but my little one is engrossed in a 3 day computer animation workshop, with Day 2 just about to start. That means I get another 2 days in which to get all my work done this week. I spent yesterday unpacking newly arrived pallets of my Custom Hamptons Pendant light #theglamour. I have heaps in stock now....well stocked for the next few months anyway!

Have a great day!

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Remember That Kitchen? ....


... that I have been coveting... for my next house?


.. well I stumbled upon the whole house over at House Beautiful.


It's in San Francisco.



Check out the gold leaf accents.


They sort of got everything perfect....

...with Ralph Lauren furniture... and Mr Adler's cushions.


A black and white base with neutral textured accents.


Give. me. that. sofa.


A beautiful mix of old and modern.


How's that for a bathroom pendant light? ... a crystal ship chandelier!
Tiles are of course Ann Sacks, as are the splashback tiles in the kitchen.

Does it get any better than this? 
Oh Northern Hemisphere, I do love thee and all you have to offer architecturally.  

What's your favourite room? Mine's still the kitchen. I am so having a black island bench next time.

Happy Tuesday!

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Late Night News

Tokyo report from teenage son: "The little Japanese speaking kids are so cute, you could eat their cheeks. We chatted to this little 7 year old boy for an hour on the train. He was the cutest thing you have ever seen". "My Japanese is getting so good and we've only been here 3 days. We haven't spoken any English out there". "The girls are so unbelievably pretty, they are 11/10, I can't wait to start school next week". "Everyone is so respectful, even the older generation, they are not nearly as 'sour' as our old people". "You can get ANYTHING from a vending machine". "I am so grateful to be here, so grateful". This is the best, most exciting, unbelievable city in the world". "We personally met the Japanese Prime Minister, at the Sumo". "The people are so friendly!!! ..... the people are sooooo friendly!....and the food is so freakin' unbelievable" ...quote, unquote.

What more does a mother need? My heart is bursting.

Sweet dreams!

A-M xx

 

Monday Nook


Look at this gorgeous laundry! Oh the blue! How do I find a blue like that? I love the tapware... kitchen-ish. I am going to do that next time... kitchen taps in my laundry.

School holidays here. I'm putting him to work in the shed. #motheroftheyear

Happy Monday!

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Applause

From My New York Collection

Something really beautiful from 'Zen Habits' this morning, HERE.

What a great concept ... taking time to applaud! 

Happy Sunday!


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Saturday, September 22, 2012

It's Been A Rather Amazing Week


We've had an action packed week here. Talk about life changes! Our big son is now in Japan. Haven't heard anything from him yet, since he got to Tokyo, except a quick email from Changi airport saying that he got to Singapore.... and that he 'loves us more than anything in the world'. Good start.


We have skyped and emailed .... and are sort of dying to get in contact with him as it's been a week of good news for our hard working boy.

As well as getting Honours for his piano exam, we found out yesterday (after he had left the country) that he had been accepted into the selective Senior School he has been sitting exams and doing interviews for over the past term. He will be beside himself! A school with an OP 1 equivalent track record of 50%..... he now stands a good chance of achieving his goal of a career in Medicine. So happy for him.

There has been a lot of 'proud tears' shed in this household this week. After the airport drop off, the 3 of us sat on the couch at home and just cried... that he'd gone, that he'd done so well, that we loved him, that we loved each other, that little one was feeling so bereft. Tear, tears, tears!

Put him to work in the shed this week. A bit of real life 'home schooling'!

Little one is also changing schools. He has not enjoyed his last year of school and the Prep school was not living up to our expectations, after 8 years and a swag of hard earned school fees... so I quit the Prep School 5 seconds after my meeting with the Prep School Principal last week. "Son, this will be the last day you ever wear this uniform". Nothing like standing up for what you believe in.

Little one will be starting a new school next term. We have already had the tour with the most personable principal and have met every class and every teacher. They are so excited to have him and have already planned for him to coach the little Prep kids in soccer and they have already found a place for him in the school musical next term. He's delighted. It's a little school so we hope to find much happiness and get right back on track.


So we will be moving again to be close to the boys' new schools!  Hopefully we'll be close enough to be able to walk to at least one of them! Very exciting. Love me a new neighbourhood. I might even be able to unload some of my stored pretties from the shed.


I've had a rather lovely week too. One of my customers sent me this beauty. I had eyed it off in an East Hampton bookstore but decided that my luggage was already straining ...and I'd only been in the country a few days! Thank you C.... it is bringing me such joy!


Of course there had to be a bloggy lunch thrown in there ... with glamorous sandwiches....


... and evil desserts.... and lots of talk of 'interesting developments' as FF would say.


I've tried to even it all out.. with more of this....


.. and this.


Even Brian and Nigella have been enjoying gastronomical delights! Shudder.

It's school holidays now, so there's going to be a bit of this.....


.. sorry son. Character building. I spent most of my school holidays in a piano practice room, while my Mum lectured at the Uni. Pity I didn't actually practise the piano while I was in there. I could have been quite good.

Have a great weekend!
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Oh, and don't forget to enter my '$500 Masters Room Makeover Competition' HERE. It closes next Friday!