This last week I've been working on creating a romantic Christmas theme for the family room and kitchen. I told my girlfriend that I'd done a pink color scheme and she said, 'Oh so you've been out and bought a whole new lot of Christmas decorations.' I told her I didn't. The catch was I mustn't buy anything new. I had to make do with what I already have from previous years and make new decoration from my craft stash. I found a way to do it even though it was quite a time commitment. She's coming over next week to see it in person.
This is the corner below the TV. I painted the roses on the remote control box about fifteen years ago, but they still look fresh. I added my favorite Father Christmas. The nutcracker used to have a green coat and black boots but he was given a touch of romance and brought into line with this year's pink palette with folk art paint. I also painted the picture frame I found in the garage and put a piece of lace from an old curtain inside. That lace curtain certainly came in handy.
I dug around in my linen press to find some pink pillow covers. I also discovered a pretty rose patterned throw which I put over the back of the couch.
I made the wreath using baubles that I painted using folk art paint. I mixed shades of red and burgundy with a pearl white to get varying shades of pink. I made lace ribbon by cutting strips from the before mentioned, the old lace curtain which I also discovered when exploring the linen press. I used hot glue to stick all the ornaments and lace in place.
The gold scrolls came from a broken Christmas tree that was made up of them. I broke them all apart and wove them in. I like the lux effect they add.
Last year I spent ages hot gluing wooden pegs together to make stars. This year I painted them and made mini lace rosettes from the curtain strips, scrap ribbon and glued faux jewels in the middle. I tied the stars onto a strip of bias binding from my quilting supplies to make a garland for the wall behind the couch.
That curtain came in handy when I looked around for a lace cloth for the coffee table. I folded it into a triangle and then halved it and cut it to size making a round piece of fabric, much like cutting paper for the bottom of a round cake pan.
Santa in his sleigh was given a makeover too. I used the same paint as for the baubles to lighten his coat and make him a pink Santa.
Fiddler Santa was given a pink coat also. I sat him next to framed card from last year and a hunk of pink quartz which is meant to give off love energy. Well, it is romantic Christmas after all. The lace cloth is one of my mother's special handkerchiefs.
The kitchen only has a few decorations as there isn't a huge amount of bench space. I added poinsettia picks to the pots of faux sage that sit next to the stove and hung pink check and pink and red striped tea towels over the oven handle.
On the window sill above the kettle, I placed a reindeer that I dressed up with a bow and painted bauble. On the other side is a sign with some ribbons, lace and a pink holly pick to make it more romantic.
I always have roses next to the sink. For Christmas I used a bunch in shades of pink and added some berries and a Noel sign. I teamed it with a Christmas dome and bowl with a pink candle. The water bottles are mine and Sams. I thought they looked cute standing there so I didn't put them away.
The lights over the island bench got some festive attention this year. I added picks that I found at Savers a couple of years ago. I added white paint to give them a frosted look and painted the deep red berries and fruit a lighter shade of blush pink.
I'm hosting Sam's and my family for lunch this year. I wonder what they'll think of our romantic pink Christmas theme? The good news is the decorating is done for this part of the house and I haven't spent any money. That's right, zero dollars. I'm feeling proud of that. I only need to think about making a plum pudding and buying a huge turkey.
Next week will be the last in the Romantic Christmas series when I show you the master bedroom, en-suite and my study/guest bedroom. Again, without spending any money so there will be more home made decorations being used.
Thanks for dropping by to see what I've been doing to get ready for Christmas.
In past years I've enjoyed a traditional red and gold themed tree but this year I'm newly engaged and so a romantic tree fits my mood.
I sprayed the tree with a can of white primer that I had on hand. It didn't turn the tree white but created that frosting of snow effect which I'm happy with.
The white rosettes are DIY. After watching a YouTube video from Olivia's Romantic Home I made these romantic decorations from old lace and scrim curtains, tulle and blingy bits from my scrap-booking supplies. If you'd like to make them too, here's a link to her YouTube video .
I went through my ornaments collection from years past and selected the pinky reds and every shade of pink I could find. I cobbled together some ornaments from broken things but I don't think you'd know it I didn't tell you.
I shopped my home for romantic elements to use as tree ornaments. I found stems of pink silk roses that once belonged to my mother, I also found the peony roses from Kmart used in a previous post. From my jewelry box I chose long strands of pearls (which are my go to necklaces) and around the house I selected picture frames with Sam and one of my kids when they were little. In the craft cupboard I found a length of lace which I draped like a streamer down the sides of the tree.
Lastly I added an old pink blanket as a tree skirt and put some pink gift boxes on it with a pink Santa and rose gold reindeer. The green box in the middle I painted and decoupaged years ago, to be used as a Christmas card box. I love the romantic Victorian feel this tree, created with timeless elements of roses, lace and pearls.
I didn't spend any money to get this look. Well not much, beside the candy canes which need to be fresh, I just used what I had. I have to say it makes me happy to have this girly, pink and ruffly tree where I spend so much time. I can see it whether I'm cooking dinner or relaxing later on with a Netflix Christmas movie.
Next week the Romantic Christmas series will continue with decorating the kitchen and family room.
A couple of months ago, Sam asked me out for breakfast. When we'd finished eating he suggested we visit the jewelry shops so I could show him what sort of rings I like. We'd talked about getting married one day, but that morning it suddenly got very real.
We strolled along the mall stopping at jewelry shops and trying on some rings. I was happy with all of them. Then we tried on the one. He loved it too and surprised me by purchasing it on lay-buy. When the sales woman asked it we were engaged yet he said a firm no.
I walked on air to the car but had to steady my nerves because the waiting had begun. I didn't know when or where the proposal would take place. My inner, insecure bitch whispered, he can still change his mind. No matter how often I told her to shut it, the thought would creep in late at night.
I figured that he wouldn't propose until just after or before Christmas, having totted up how many payments over how long. That way I could stop thinking about it until then.
Sun streamed through the bedroom window the morning of what was to become the big day. Sunlight always uplifts me and boosts my sense of optimism. Sam who is always up hours before me came into the room and asked if I’d like to go to Pelican’s Landing restaurant for lunch that day.
I assumed it must be because he has Thursday’s off work and it’s such a lovely day. Of course I was delighted because Pelican’s Landing in Williamstown is where he took me on our first proper dinner date, so it's a romantic spot for us.
We arrived at the restaurant and were shown to a table next to the water overlooking the pier. As usual he asked me what I’d like to drink. I wanted something bubbly to go with the sunshine and the view and the treat of being taken out for lunch. He ordered two glasses of Prosecco. That surprised me. He always gets a glass of Shiraz.
When the glasses came we clinked glasses as usual and he said ‘To us’. Again a surprise. Normally he’ll say ‘Tanti aguri’, or ‘Saluti’.
A moment after I sipped the crisp Prosecco he said, ‘There you go,’ as he put a mauve ring box tied with a satin ribbon on the table.
I gasped and looked to him to see his expression. He looked purposeful. He was doing it. I'm totally caught off guard. After nearly five years of being together, two of those living together while buying a house and doing it up, he was making the ultimate romantic commitment.
‘Will you marry me.’
An explosion of happiness hit me. Tears welled and I struggled to speak. I thought I said yes. I kissed and hugged him and then turned my attention to the box.
I undid the packaging, stopping occasionally to wipe away tears and put the ring on. It sparkled in the sunlight and threw rainbows of light across the white linen table cloth. It was stunning. I was bewitched.
‘Are you going to say Yes?’ Sam asked.
Wait, what? Didn’t I say Yes?
I think I did, but he was having a moment too and it didn’t register so I had to make sure the message was clear and not lost in the moment.
‘YES! Of course I’ll marry you. (pause) I will marry you.’
We kissed and hugged some more. Those sweet heartfelt kisses in front of a restaurant full of people, were emotionally very intimate. I forgot about the other diners and where I was. It was just like I'd read about, my world shrank to just him, me and our moment.
I looked at my ring about about ten times a minute as we ate our lunch and desert. After we walked hand in hand along the pier, recreating our first date. Later that day we had great fun ringing our family to share our happy news.
Yesterday I shared the news on Facebook and Instagram, the response has blown me away. Thank you so much to everyone who expressed their congratulations and wished us well. It's very touching and means so much.
But it you didn't see the ring yet. Here's a picture for you.
Thanks for stopping by to read our proposal story.
Eleven years ago, I sat on a bridge the quaint little village of Shere, Sussex, England. I'm happy and relaxed two weeks into my first overseas trip. But I didn't begin that way. I was determined to go but very nervous. You see, if I wanted to do it, I had to go alone.
I'm so glad I was brave and made the leap. I saw so many wonderful things and had the best holiday ever. I later found out that Shere had been used as the setting for a couple of romantic comedy movies at least. What fun it was to see the pub, where I had eaten lunch, in the movie The Holiday. I relived memories eating a delicious meat pie with crisp pastry in that charming Old English pub.
If I'd been too scared to leave home I wouldn't have the memories. I was scared before going, it was nerve raking at times but it was absolutely worth every minute. I have some tips to help you make up your mind to just do it.
Decide where you want to go.
There's no point going somewhere for the sake of it. You'll never press the next button on that flight you're looking at. It has to be your heart's desire. When I went to England it was because I'd wanted to go for twenty years. I got married instead of travelling and the bug never left me. In the mean time I became a huge Jane Austen fan and I wanted to visit Chawton, where she lived, and see Bath where my favorite of her books, 'Persuasion' is set.
Take a solo holiday in your home country first.
I didn't start of my solo travels with an overseas trip. I worked up to it by accident. Most people don't know this about me but I get anxious just leaving the house. It took an invitation to a wedding across the country, that I really had to be at, to travel alone. I boarded the plane from my home city of Melbourne, Australia to Perth, collected my luggage, hired a car and navigated a strange city to my accommodation all on my own.
I wasn't calm but on high alert most of the time, however I think that is a good thing. You need to be more aware when travelling alone. There isn't a second set of eyes to help locate the things and places you're looking for. I found my own way to the wedding and enjoyed a brilliant evening with family. So glad I did it. The next day I drove through Perth on my way South to have a couple of nights in Fremantle. The hire car was great because I had everything with me on the back seat within easy reach, snacks, drinks, maps and information about where I was booked in for that night.
I learned that I could have a wonderful time alone in a country where I understood the language and it was still using a currency I was familiar with. I learned to deal with the mechanics of managing my suitcase drop-offs and pickups and filling out hire car contracts and gained confidence in making decisions on my own.
Plan your trip.
For each holiday I've taken alone, I always have everything booked before I leave home. I spend a lot of time researching on line to see where I want to go and what the attractions are. I book my hire car if I'll need one, train tickets and or airport transfers, and all the accommodation. I also download maps of where I'm staying and what I will be doing.
Make sure you have your phone sorted for travel. Check with your company to see what the costs will be to keep using your own phone for google maps, texts and calls. It may be cheaper to buy a new sim card on arrival and use your sim just until you get it.
Be alert and know where your things are.
Money is important when you're alone, you have to have back up so I keep most of my money in a money belt under my clothes.
I take my wallet and passport in a smaller bag that I take to the loo with me when I'm on the plane. When walking around looking at the sights, be it Fremantle, Australia or Milan, I wear an across the body bag and have it always in front of me. I never have it at the side or worse still on my back. Backpacks maybe easy to carry but never have valuables in them, like your camera or phone, because they're too easy to slit open by thieves. When having a cup of coffee or lunch in a cafe keep that bag on your lap. Don't take it off and put it over the back of a chair. Far to easy for it to get swiped.
Take a bus tour when you first go to a foreign country.
England isn't really that foreign to an Aussie but, it has different money, there's the British Accent to get used to. It also has really busy roads and is much more densely populated. The benefit of joining a tour on arrival included being met at the airport by the tour company, so no trying to find a cab or navigate public transport. Secondly I got to see a lot of London as we drove. I became familiar with the roads getting ready for my self drive holiday when the tour finished.
A tour guide is a valuable resource. They can answer any questions you have and will help you find anything you need. You don't even know what you'll be asking until you're there. Your curiosity will be ignited and it's great to have someone who knows all about where you are and what you're looking at.
The Tour took me to some really amazing places that I wouldn't have thought to go, like Stonehenge. It was more amazing than the photos on line show. Also we went to Sir Walter Scott's house, Abbotsford, so totally charming. I absolutely loved the bus tour that over delivered on expectations. I chummed up with a couple of other women travelling alone on the tour, in the evening we'd all talk about what we'd been doing that day. Excellent and I highly recommend this.
Be adventurous, well what is adventurous for you.
I'm not suggesting bungy jumping, I mean doing what is scary but not unreasonable. Like driving in London. This was more challenging that I like to admit. But I want to keep it real. After the tour was finished I picked up the car a short walk from the hotel I stayed in. I felt like it was the first time I'd driven a car. I got used to it fairly well but it never felt like driving around Melbourne. It was also better though because it was exciting. I had to do it so that I could visit Jane Austen's house and walk around bath for as long as I like. Later I got to sit in the Jane Austen Center tea rooms without having to rush and catch the tour bus.
First night of driving around Jane Austen country on my own I parked my hired Fiat and took a photo. We'd survived. It was the days before selfie sticks so I don't have a lot of me in my photos but I have glorious memories.
I went from Melbourne to Perth then I went to England and after that I took a huge leap and went to Thailand. It wasn't really a huge leap but it certainly felt that way.
Thailand was an adventure. I saw an elephant during the drive from the airport to the hotel. Oh my word, I was way out of my comfort zone. But the things I had learned about being a solo traveler really helped. I knew that fear was really a friend. It gave me adrenaline to be alert and excitement to experience something completely new. I came home feeling so grateful for the opportunity to visit a land where the people are so nice and helpful.
To sum up, do your research and take every precaution. I didn't go out at night alone and was always alert and careful when traveling but oh the wonders I've seen. For me it was absolutely worth the effort, to feel the fear and do it anyway.
The Scottish Billionaire's Secret Lover was inspired during my solo travels in England. So who knows, you might even get inspired to write a book.
As a craft lover I'm promiscuous. I really need to spend time doing lots of different crafts. In past posts I've talked about this but, I mention it now because even though I've been quilting since high school, I don't have much to show for it. I do, however, have a lovely stash of fabrics. It gives me great pleasure to get them all out. I view each fat quarter as a work of art. I think of my fabric stash as a gallery of fabric.
Besides this wonderful pile of pinks, greens and the odd blue is a few project patterns picked up at the numerous craft fairs I've been to over the years. I never got round to making these ones up. I have started others not shown here. One currently on the go is a very pretty quilt called Noontime. Using printed foundation paper, fabric is sewn together along the printed lines on the paper for an accurate placement of all the points. I enjoyed sewing the tiny blocks by hand in front of the TV. I still have to sew together the last block and then put it all together using the sewing machine.
I tend to sew smaller quilts because they are able to be machine quilted at home. It quite expesive to have them done professionally and I don't have the skill to hand quilt. The two I machine quilted myself are almost complete. They just need binding. The first one I made has buttons sewn on one of the blocks to cover the fact that I didn't line up my points very well. But I think I'll take them off and live with imperfection. The second one was done as a study in creating contrast and using all my absolute favorite fabrics.
I did start a large quilt, when I took a class in machine quilting. But as you're starting to notice, I've done a lot of starting and not much finishing of quilts. However, it was a revelation to learn how to draw with my sewing machine. I particularly like the lilies. It might make a nice center for a quilt hanging or a large quilt.
The block was sewn with the fabric layered on batting. My lines are very squiggly but I still love the effect and my quilts only have to please one person, me. I don't know if I'll ever get around to making it up into something. That doesn't matter to me because it's having something that I can get out and look at whenever the mood takes me and gives me joy.
I think of my boxes of fabric as boxes of possibility. They inspire me every time I sort through them. As a writer, they give me creative energy. The pretty colors and patterns jump-start my imagination.
So while I have justified my casual approach to sewing projects the situation is, I don't have any out where I can enjoy them everyday. Now I need to focus on completing quilts. My plan is to finish the binding on the unfinished quilts this month. When they're done, I'll post pictures on Instagram (which is also linked to my Facebook page) of them displayed in my shabby chic guest bedroom/study.
I always like to made something special for dinner on Saturday nights. So I made my favorite foods for dinner last Saturday. With the addition of a glass of your favorite beverage, for me and Sam that's red wine, some flowers and a candle you have a tasty, romantic dinner for two.
Not just a romantic meal, it's healthy, easy to cook and beats going out in the cold to pick up takeaway. A budget friendly meal but more importantly, I can guarantee that I won't be glutened if I make it myself.
The ingredients are staples in my fridge and food cupboard except one. I only need to remember to add a cabbage to my shopping list.
Chop Suey (as my family always called it) is a favorite of mine since childhood. Mum used to make it with a packet of chicken noodle soup but I've needed to alter the recipe a little bit because I have Coeliac disease. I use gluten free, chicken stock power made up into a cup of stock. I have used rice successfully in the past and also gluten free pasta, broken into short lengths but I think this recipe which uses quinoa is my favorite. It's so good I think it's nicer than the original made with the soup mix.
The list of ingredients are:
2 tblspns oil (I use olive oil)
Half a red onion sliced into small strips
Two carrots halved lengthways and sliced
A small stick of celery, sliced
Small floret of broccoli chopped
250gms beef mince
2 tspns of curry powder
1 cup of frozen beans
1/4 of a smallish cabbage
1/4 cup quinoa
1 cup chicken stock
Heat a deep saucepan like the one shown in my picture. Add the oil and stir fry the onion, carrot and celery, when the onion is transparent add the mince and continue to stir fry until the meat is browned.
Make a clear space in the bottom of the pan and fry the curry powder for a few seconds then stir through. Add the beans, broccoli, cabbage, quinoa, chicken stock and stir to combine.
Bring to a boil and cover. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it sit on the stove without removing the lid for another 10 minutes and it will be ready.
All the liquid will be absorbed by the quinoa which is how I like it. Give it a stir to fluff it up and serve. I like to drizzle some soy sauce over it before eating. It's lovely on it's own or you can serve it like I did with some crumbed chicken tenderloins.
There's enough chop suey left for a third serve or leftovers. Yum for lunch the next day. If you wanted to make this meal stretch to four people add an extra 1/4 of a cabbage and an extra carrot to the recipe.
I have a blog on my regular shopping haul if you're interested. It makes going to the supermarket easy. This recipe and and many other meals can be put together in less than half an hour from my weekly staples. I also have been posting other recipes on my blog you can find them under the cooking series category.
When I sold my house at auction, I was thrilled when the hammer fell on a price at the top end of my hoped for range.
In the first year after buying the house, I did some updates.
I painted throughout and put down new carpet. I had a kitchen face-lift and laid laminate wood look floor boards over the pink and white kitchen tiles. I also cleaned out the garden beds of dead and overgrown shrubs but kept some things that might come back with a good prune.
I had a massive tree in the front yard that was undermining the footings, so that had to go also. Two years later and it was time for me to move on. Sam and I were buying a house together so my dear little house went on the market. But first, I needed to make sure it would appeal to buyers. As much as I loved how it worked for me, I needed to look at it through other peoples eyes.
The first thing I did was get moving on making the garden look nice. A cottage needs a cottage garden and that doesn't happen in two weeks. I started planning the sale in autumn so that when spring arrived the garden would be looking it's best. I planted standard roses and a Silverbirch tree in the front lawn to give a timeless appeal. A garden arch leading to the side way is planted with a yellow climbing rose. Not in full flower yet but some blooms had opened. I planted lavender when I moved in so they'd had a couple of years to get established. in the four weeks leading up to auction, I only needed to add a few plants to fill bare spots.
I put an iron bench on the front porch, flanked with identical standard Lillypillys in black urns, to give a welcoming but traditional, formal feeling.
You walk directly into the lounge room from the front door, so I needed it to act as a reception room. The furniture is placed away from the walkway but again creates an inviting space. I took down the framed family photos and kept styling on the crystal cabinet and piano similar. Note the lamps are of similar style. I removed one side of the sectional sofa and borrowed a wing back chair to give the room some character. I'd decided on using the French Provincial Style as inspiration for the theme of my home, a combination of old and new.
The coffee table is also simple, following the rule of three. A candle adds ambiance and being scented it created a lovely smell when people walked in the door. You'll notice I had every light turned on. I carried this out in all the rooms. It makes a huge difference. Most importantly, I followed advice from the real estate agent, to make sure there was enough open floor space for a small crowd of potential buyers to walk around during the scheduled open for inspections.
Kitchens sell homes, is what I've heard, so a face lift for my tired pink melamine kitchen was something I'd done knowing if I ever sold the investment would be worth it. While it was done at the time for me and not resale, I think it's worth sharing what I did because it did help me realize a good profit on the house.
The cupboards were in great shape and didn't need replacing, also I loved the splash back and wanted to keep those tiles. All I replaced was the bench tops and cabinet doors. I had new appliances installed and had laminated wood flooring laid straight over the old cracked pink and white tiles. I added a couple of black stools for a hint of farmhouse.
When sale time came, the agent suggested fresh lilies on the bench top. It was a little expensive to replace them each week but they added a touch of elegance and made the house smell beautiful. In the month leading up to auction, I enjoyed those flowers so much .
The clock on the wall in the dining area came from good ol' Kmart. It could have been bigger but I had a focal point on the table.
I kept the colors neutral and restful, in the master bedroom, creating interest with texture instead. The tufted bed head, embroidered pillows, fluffy rug and center pillow contrasted with a basket in the corner.
The shades on the ceiling light fixtures were broken in all the bedrooms, so I replaced them cheaply with batten fix light shades from Bunnings, hardware. I just threw away the fittings and kept the shade, at $9 each it was by far the cheapest option.
The second and third bedrooms were decorated simply with a picture of Paris above the bed in the double room and a birdcage filled with flowers and a battery powered candle sit's on the desk in the single room/study. The real estate agent suggested white doona covers and I think he got it right.
The bathroom needed a little spruce up. I replaced the taps and put in a clear shower screen door. The wire unit on the wall holds decor to add interest to a plain wall. An orchid next to the vanity gives a touch of class and a fluffy white towel hanging behind the door invites.
The last area to get a makeover for sale was the courtyard. It also was the most effort. I had to paint the fences, it was quite a job but, I got there by painting a section or two each day.
The garden beds were a bit bare but I had potted up ferns that had grown under the fence from my neighbors, so I sat those in the garden beds. I planted the birds nest fern on the right and put up some hanging baskets. I also added the succulent tower to the bed which gave it some architectural interest. The tree ferns were existing as was the Mondo grass. The back corner was empty and I planted several shrubs to fill it in. The statue was there also.
I put two outdoor chairs and small table in the back corner to invite people out into the space.
Some time ago my girlfriend gave me some fairy lights which we strung up under the eaves. I left them in place for sale so that they'd provide a nice ambiance to this area during the evening viewings. They made this space looked magical with the lights on. So nice that I couldn't bear to take them down and disappoint the new owner , so I left them behind as a gift.
Aside from opening up spaces and clearing out clutter, I made the most of what was existing. I did any maintenance jobs that were required, cleaned and updated worn out things. I created space for the buyers to imagine where they might put their furniture and personal items while keeping the charm of the cottage.
I saved money where ever I could which meant I had funds to spend where I knew I'd get a good return on my investment, like making over the kitchen. I didn't go for stone bench tops because I felt it wouldn't be money I got back. I chose instead a stone look laminate which worked really well.
Keeping the color scheme neutral helps buyers to visualize the colors they like layered in. I tried to keep similar color and style in each room of the house so that it felt cohesive and made the home feel more spacious. I also added interest with pretty decor items that didn't take over the room, more like earrings rather than a crown. Understated decorating again enabled buyers to visualize their own things.
It sold at auction after a couple of keen buyers drove the price up. Most of all I feel really happy that I've passed on a home to someone that is ready for them to just move in and enjoy. In getting it ready for the next owners, I feel I was also able to begin the process of letting it go.
Since selling my house, Sam and I have bought a house together and renovated it. It's a little more modern than the cottage but I have decorated it in a similar style. My furniture looks very nice in our new home. I've already posted pictures on my blog (in the decorating category) and on Instagram and or Facebook if you're interested to look at those.
As a romance author, I love all things romantic in my home and lifestyle. You can also discover more about my love of romance through my writing. Find my contemporary romance novels and short stories on my amazon author page or visit my Books page on this website.
Thanks for stopping by, until next week,
Our romantic formal lounge and entrance give me pleasure every day. Even though it's not quite finished, I decided to do a reveal post on this room because we've been living here for over 12 months now.
The chandelier in the lounge room is the draw card. It gets the most comments from visitors, over the way it complements the beautiful cathedral ceiling. It's not a large room but that ceiling gives an uplifting sense of space. When we bought the house the wood clad ceiling was stained brown giving the room had a dark cave atmosphere. Painting it white transformed it completely. The walls are painted a light grey called Windswept Beach. It throws pink tones which blends in with Sam's signature color of burgundy red.
The rug has some subtle grey but is mainly cream and burgundy so I needed to find a way of linking those colors into the rest of the room.
We didn't buy new furniture when we moved in together but combined what we had. Sam already had the sofas in this room, but they didn't pop against the wall color. The rug he chose looked great, so I went looking for cushions to tie the room together. I already had the round one which I bought from Cottage Industry in Fitzroy. The cranberry velvet came from Freedom Furniture and the striped cushion came from Spotlight. The lumbar cushion was purchased some years ago from Target. The two floral cushions I recovered from my patchwork fat quarter stash. None of the cushions are still being sold, but I wanted to show how they were collected from various places.
I used the principals of varying size, patterns, shape and texture to create visual interest . I mixed velvet with linen and embroidered fabrics. I arranged the cushions to have balance on each side in respect to these qualities.
This is a view of the other sofa in the room. Again I used cushions and throws to bring in the cream colours and used fabric from my fat quarter stash to recover some cushions.
This close up of the center piece on the coffee table shows my love of mixing traditional with modern. I love this mix of ceramic formed to look like cut glass. It was a house warming gift from a friend who obviously knows me very well.
Finally I'm including a before and after shot so you can see the how much the room has transformed. We took up the carpet and polished the floors and replaced the curtains. The furniture in the before photos belongs to the previous occupants. This is what it looked like when we viewed the house prior to purchasing it.
The lounge has evolved to have a boho meets shabby chic, romantic style with enough depth of color to make it a comfortable masculine space.
This room was always nice, but now I find it a more restful place that's pleasing to our eyes. That's really what it's all about. Sam chose the rug and color scheme for this room to go with his furniture, because it's the lounge he uses most to watch his sport. He was with me when we shopped for cushions and choosing the fabric from my fat quarter stash. We decided to bring in the floral patterns to tie in with the rug. As luck would have it the medallion pattern on the lumbar cushions that I already had, by sheer accident ties in with the border pattern on the rug.
There is still some decorating to do on that bare back wall. I have been looking but still haven't found that perfect print. Perhaps it's because we are now thinking that we might take inspiration from the previous occupiers and put a cabinet behind the couch. Sam has an impressive toy cowboy and Indian figurine collection that could be housed there. I'm thinking a glass door set of dark red Billy bookcases from IKEA might do the trick. Let me know what you think. Picture or cabinets?
I hope you've enjoyed my lounge room reveal and room tour. Leave any questions you have in the comments below and I'll do my best to answer them. Have a great week.
Contemporary Romance Author. See Dora's books here.
Healing Love, Passionate Romance.
Romance is deeply connected with nature. Country drives, walks in parks and picnics are great ways to connect. But for every day sense of romance, faux greenery that looks good all year round, provides the ambiance I want.
If you follow me on Instagram, you'll have seen a faux Fiddle Leaf fig that I purchased recently. It's about 1.2 meters high and makes an empty corner come alive. After I photographed it, I walked around my house and took photos of all the faux plants flowers and foliage that I use and was surprised at how much it was. So I thought a blog on this might be interesting to some of you.
You don't need to have a green thumb to have a home filled with lovely looking plants. The faux kind do need some maintenance but they don't die if you leave it for a while. Like regular house plants they need dusting but that's it. There's no watering and risking floor or furniture damage, and you don't have to fertilize or repot them. You don't have to worry about plant's light requirements, finding a window with the correct aspect means you might have a plant where it's not convenient or even looks nice with the furniture plan. Faux plants are happy in any situation.
My tour starts with the entry way. On the console table, sits two arrangements of magnolia stems and a posy of mixed greens. A delight every time I come home. I like using the three different textured vases that are linked though their grey/silver color.
The formal lounge doesn't have a lot as it opens directly off the entryway. On a side table I've placed a a small flowering plant, sorry don't know what it's supposed to be, but I liked the white flowers and a cute little box in a basket.
The dining room opens from the lounge and here I have an arrangement of flowers on the buffet. I did a little trick with the orchid in the vase, and put lights inside so that it looks like it has glowing roots. A vase of eucalyptus leaves, look like the real thing, and a posy of something with tiny white flowers creates visual interest because of the contrast in the size of the flowers. On the dining table is a faux box and an arrangement of roses and foliage.
In the kitchen, there's little pots of faux Sage either side of the stove. Next to the sink is a watering can full of faux stems and roses. I really love having flowers next to where I'm working. It makes it feel for like a restaurant or something like that. I like the farmhouse style for the informal areas and the watering can brings it.
Family room, and my sitting room has the faux Fiddle Leaf fig in the corner. Next to the TV is a vase of faux tulips and on the coffee table another orchid. Above the TV is a Magnolia wreath from Joanna Gainse's shop Magnolia. On the crystal cabinet I have stacked two plants into a white pot.
You'll notice by now that nearly all the flowers in the living areas are white. I find they make the overall effect in the house restful and cohesive. In the bedroom and bathrooms I have smaller plants but they make a big impact on the way each room feels.
If you like to live in a place that has houseplants but like me want them to look good all the time without any fuss, keep your eyes open for bargains and end of season sales. I paid a lot for one of mine and got a real bargain on the biggest plant in my collection. I didn't get them all at once but over time have collected a surprising ( to me ) amount. It wasn't until I did this photo journal that I noticed how many.
I hope you've enjoyed this faux plant tour and that you've picked up a couple of ideas along the way to fire you're imagination. Thanks for dropping by.
Collecting tea sets has given me so much pleasure. For years I have always ventured into antique shops while traveling through country towns in search of a bargain or a vintage set that I find so beautiful, it can’t be left behind. I enjoy the energy of antique shops which are laden with history and beauty. It lets me time-travel to an era where beauty married with function to create gorgeous furniture, fabrics, and china.
This photo contains my entire collection. You’d think I have more for my twenty years of collecting, but I really have been careful, budget wise, to not buy every pretty little set that draws my eye. It must be around $30 or less so that rules out a lot. Also I restrict myself to one matched set per holiday. That means there's a lot more looking than buying, but that is where much of the enjoyment lies.
I have also found lots of pretty teacups and saucers in thrift shops, but they aren’t always matching. What I do, is pair them up with a complimentary plate. I will even buy mismatched cups and saucers too. If the pattern is pretty and it’s only a couple of dollars, then why not. You’ll notice that I have set up quite a few mismatched china sets among the few that do match.
I don't care very much about brand names. Of course it's lovely having a Royal Doulton set in my collection but what is most important to me is the pattern and shape of the cups. It's the visual pleasure they give that I value most highly.
I’m inspired to blog about my love of pretty old china because I recently bought a dinner set that I found at the Salvation Army thrift shop. The country scene etching in brown and blue called to be taken home with me. It’s not a full set, only plates, and cups without saucers, so I got it very cheaply. The scene is as pretty as can be. It’s called Castle On A Lake Brown Multicolor and is made by Johnson Co in England. I ask you, can a romance writer pass that up?
I have at times got the cups out and used them. This resulted in a few casualties, so I’ve put the best ones away for safe keeping. I will get them out for occasions though. A ladies afternoon tea is a perfect occasion. A lace tablecloth and strawberry sponge. Can you see it? But for every day I love using some beautiful new cups and saucers given to me by friends and family for birthday and Christmas. I love drinking my afternoon tea out of those.
At the moment, I have my collection tucked away in a kitchen cupboard, but I’d like to display them somewhere. I have a crystal cabinet that I have a lot of crystal and glass in at the moment, perhaps I’ll designate a shelf for the collection. I think some shelves in that corner could be very nice also. I’ll give it some thought.
This post has links for your information only. It’s not sponsored or partnered commercially. However, I am a romance writer and do have links to my books for sale at Amazon. While I write contemporary romance I do love a heroine who treasures family heirlooms and antiques. The elegance of yesteryear is so easily brought into modern day with tea served in an antique cup and saucer set.
Romance author and lifestyle blogger
My whole life is inspired by romance. I write romance novels of course but also love creating DIY's and decorating in a romantic style. I'm rejuvenating an old garden, recusing roses and planting new ones.