Friday, January 28, 2011

any colour, as long as it is pink, part three

I seem to be obsessively bringing pink things into the house again.  Honestly, you'd think they were going to stop making it!

Pink is my comfort colour.  Like comfort eating, it seems to fill a hole, or satisfy a hunger. I know if somehow feeds my eyes.

Here is a selection of pink things that have made their way into the Nette King home lately:

Alex's new axe - well, Hellooooo Kitty
Glass candlestick from IKEA
Glass bowl from the Vinnie's op shop on Glenferrie Road
Pink roses - always a staple around here
A tea-towel (actually a gift from ex-best next door neighbour ever Candice, who knows me all too well)
LOVE pillowcases - a shoot prop I simply couldn't live without
Tacky bronze Sydney souvenir that I spray painted pink which goes to show that I am completely indiscriminate - I will like anything, no matter how dodgy, if it is pink


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Australia Day backyard special - my sister's garden

In the lead up to Australia Day (it's today, the 26th for any international readers!) there's been some great articles in the newspapers about the tradition of the Great Aussie Backyard.  Australians' love their backyards, so I thought it would be fun to feature some exteriors, rather than interiors for a change.

So first up, here is the incredible backyard of one of my three sisters, Deb.  Looking at these shots it is hard to tell that it's actually a standard quarter acre block in Melbourne's inner north.  She and her husband Graeme are both professional horticultural types who lecture on soil and trees and gardeny things.  They are also massive fans of fungi... and salvias - can't get enough of the stuff.  Yeah, I know... they are serious green types.

The garden is full and lush, with loads natives, as well as heaps of gorgeous 'granny' plants like roses and fuchsias.  There's a lot of mosaic (created by Deb), about 50 water tanks (I jest, but they really are sick for a bit of water storage), and loads of  chooks clucking about.  There are heaps of little nooks and crannies, and some out-there sculptures, like the very Leunig-esque bike that seems to be riding up into the sky from a ladder (second row, at right).  No matter what the season, there is always something interesting happening there.  It's unconventional, spirited and  unique - much like us Aussies.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Stepping up...

I don't know what the collective noun for ladders is... or if there even is one.  Maybe I should make one up - a step? a rise? a reach of ladders?

In any case, here is the collection of ladders I rounded up for the Sunday Age M magazine Savvy Shopper page that appeared yesterday.  Masterly lighting and photography by Mike Baker.  Styling and writing by me.  Copyright owned by Fairfax Ltd.

As it appeared on the page

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hands up if this week was a struggle...

Man I struggled this week.  After three weeks off it was soooo hard to switch my brain back into work mode. And everywhere I went people seemed to feel the same.

I found the best way to cope was to cave on the New Years Resolutions.  A teeny tiny purchase of a little fake bird from lovely Lyn at Empire Vintage in Albert Park was just what I needed.  But when I bought home said purchase I must have subliminally placed it to reflect my mood.  That little birdy must have had a struggle.

Bird ($20) from Empire Vintage, ostrich egg a gift from lovely Aleks Beare and nest, left behind by a long departed visitor to my Albertine rose bush.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

this shoot, I am trying not to buy...

I hit the shopping strips of Melbourne today after a few lovely weeks of (kinda-sorta) rest, and first-up I popped into one of my favourite stores, Design Dispensary in Little Lonsdale Street.  Owned by the completely cool and uber-knowledgeable Samantha, this shop is heaven for design junkies.  With products sourced from out of the way places around the world, it really is the place to go to get unique homewares.

This little red vase is just what I was looking for to pop in a shoot I am doing later this week for the Sunday Age, and as usual, I had to try it out at home.  It has a simple little test-tube vase behind the metal, and will hang by a very small hook or nail.  It certainly doesn't look out of place on my kitchen wall, does it....

All of those New Years Day proclamations about becoming queen of the frugal-istas are being put to the test already!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

gorgeous Melbourne home - Rosie Stanley's terrace of loveliness

A small corner of curiosities in Rosie's living room.

If stuff is your thing (and if you are reading this blog, then I guess stuff will be your thing), then prepare yourself for a big case of stuff envy.

And I am not talking about any old stuff, dodgy stuff.  Rosie's home is full of the best stuff.  It's like a little museum of loveliness.

Firstly let me mention the stuff under the domes, or cloches: there are birds nests, bird spines, bird beaks, eggs.  All so beautifully displayed.

Then the stuff on the shelves - there are a zillion old globes, lights, a wooden telephone!!!, a crazy collection of 'big tools',  every covetable thing in the world.  All displayed with such style.

Then there is the stuff on the walls.  Old photos, frames, flags.  I got neck strain and whip-lash trying to take it all in.

Then of course, there is Rosie.  So clever and knowledgeable. And beautiful.  And so very lovely.

I know of some people who apparently don't like stuff.  Can't for the life of me figure out why.  Is it a long-held hangover from the minimalist 80's?  Or some crazy anti-consumerist sentiment?  Whatever.  Houses without stuff make me nervous.  And like I said, Rosie's home is full of the best kind.  Found stuff, rare stuff, inherited stuff, kooky stuff.  The kind of stuff people walk past every day until they see it collected, curated and displayed as beautifully as it is done in this home.

If you want to get yourself some Rosie style, look no further than her place of employ, the heavenly Tarlo & Graham in Chapel Street, Windsor.

This page appeared in the Sunday Age / Sun Herald Sunday Life magazine today.  Photos by Mike Baker.  Interview and styling by me.  Copyright owned by Fairfax Ltd.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

my new favourite blog...

Mich Schoeps with Mima, Wilco and Frank

One of the best things to come out of our four years living in Sydney (and there were heaps of great things), was the friendships we made.

One of the first people I met was Michelle Schoeps.  We were both loitering outside the prep room, waiting to collect our five year olds after school.  I'm not sure how it came up but we decided to start walking laps of Centennial Park every morning after school drop-off.  I walked solo and she had baby Frankie in the stroller and Mazzi Starr the dog in tow.  I can't imagine how many laps we clocked up over the years, or how many topics we discussed, but one thing always came up in conversation - food!

Mich is a passionate cook, and always inspired me to go one better in the kitchen (at the time my Alex would only eat white things *%#$@!)  I like to cook but DESPISE thinking of what to cook, so each morning I would say "what am I going to cook for dinner tonight?"  She told me. I dutifully made it. It was bliss.

I have had some amazing dishes cooked by Mich - standouts being the 12-hour roasted pork one Sunday lunch. She had been up all night, basting it on the hour, and she was knackered.  Also the crumbed fish she and Corinne, another school mum cooked for every kid in the school one day.  And once, when I was sooo sick with a chesty flu but needed to get on an international flight four days later, she arrived on my doorstep with her incredible chicken soup, fresh ginger juice and a mighty slab of organic ginger that I had to brew with Manuka honey.  What can I say - I was better in an insanely quick time.  I still have the honey ginger tea every single night and rarely get a cold.

She is also a master match-maker, but that is a whole other story...

The good news for everyone is that Mich has finally started a blog, so now we can all share in her infectious passion for food and eating wonderfully nourishing meals.  You can also get a lovely glimpse into her crazy-cool life, with three beautiful kids and a creative powerhouse boyfriend, Max.  All I can say is look out Nigella and Miss Dahl, this Aussie is hot on your tail.  Check it out at 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Splendide indeed...

the book I picked up at the op shop this morning

my version of Sophie Dahl's roast peaches

So, this is where you will find me for the next week or so...

Either flat out by the pool, reading and eating leftover Christmas treats. Or cooking something utterly delicious from my best new book, Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights.  Here is my attempt at her cinnamon roast peaches, a little crispy around the edges, but delicious all the same.

I hope you are equally relaxed and sated.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

Here we go again, hey!

I have kicked off the new year with a brazillion resolutions (some naughtily broken hours after making them...), but others I plan to be steadfast in my resolve to keep.  Lets see.

We are just back from a wonderful week in Sydney, catching up with old friends and also catching some rays at our beloved North Bondi and Neilson Park.

My first home decorating project for the year is to style up our exciting addition to the loungeroom, the Pianola.  I mentioned my dad's old pianola in a blog before Christmas, not knowing that my sister Deb was eager to move it on.  I mustn't have been in the room when she asked if anyone was willing to take it, and to my horror it was sold on ebay - for 99 cents!!!!  Luckily the purchaser reneged, which is when I discovered it was up for grabs.  Two days later the removalists lugged it into our loungeroom and I have been dying get a spare moment to pop some things on it (gotta love a new blank surface in the house).

Last year I styled two shoots in which the clever owners had worked some magic on top of their pianos.  First up was Pippa Mitchell, who had loads of Dinosaur Designs resin pieces on hers, see below.  Then the lovely Jane Hall had topped hers with a kaleidoscope of vintage Murano glass pieces.  Both looked stunning.

Pippa Mitchell's piano

Jane Hall's piano

My pianola isn't as pretty as their pianos - it has quite rigid lines, so I have opted for a soft palette of white and pale pink (no surprises there).  It is still a work in progress, and it will all have to be moved when we get it tuned in a few weeks before Alexandra starts to have lessons on it.

And every time I look at it I feel such a sense of relief that it didn't leave our family, and great excitement that my daughter will be able to learn to play on her Poppa Jack's pianola, just like her aunt Debbie and her cousin Will.


Pippa Mitchell's home was photographed by Mike Baker, copyright Fairfax Ltd.