Category Archives: Interior Decorating

Cosy Coffee Corner

So, after years of my verandah being a junk collection of assorted pots with a variety of plants in various stages of life and death (can you tell I’m not very good at gardening?), I decided to tidy up and create a cosy coffee corner for myself. 

The lucky find of a round glass-topped table for just $10 at a thrift store was my incentive to change things around.

First, I cleared the verandah of everything, so I’d have a clean slate to play with. Then, I put the glass-topped round table in one corner and rearranged some potted plants around it and on top of it, til it pleased the eye.

It was good, but it lacked something.

So I went and Manifested some garden chairs to go with it, to create a cosy corner where I could sit and read or relax or play chess with my son Jack.

When I say I Manifested some garden chairs, I mean I simply thought about getting some garden chairs, envisioned a couple of them around the glass-topped round table, and kept thinking about that vision every day, whenever I was out and about driving from one dog visit to another.

Et voila! A few days later, I decided out of the blue to return some library books. As I was driving down the road, what did I see but 3 garden chairs stacked up on someone’s verge for anyone to take. 

The Council designates dates every year for different neighbourhoods to throw out their junk for what they call “verge collection”. Once stuff hits the grassy verges outside homes, if you see it and you want it, you better be quickest to it! Some people drive their cars with trailers behind them, scouring every road in the neighbourhood for salvageable junk, which they’ll clean up, repair or give a fresh lick of paint, and then try and sell on Gumtree (Australia’s version of Craigslist) or at car boot sales.

I made a note to check out the garden chairs on my way back from the library. If they were still there, and they had indeed been thrown out, and if they weren’t too shabby or broken, I’d take them. If they fit in my car, that is.

And Thank You, Universe! Yes, they were still there on my way back! I pulled over and had a quick look at my finds. One of the chairs had really rusted front and back legs, but the other 2 were fine. They were the plastic fake-wicker type of 1960s chairs, almost black in colour. 

Into the car they went, in a jiffy. 

Perfect! The chair with the wonky legs went to the side of our pool area, but the other 2 were exactly perfect for my corner. 

But…now I need some cushions to go with them.

Manifest, manifest, manifest! On my next drive, I told myself that the perfect cushions for my 2 chairs would be at the first thrift store I went to. I visualised a botanical theme to the cushions, maybe flowers or butterflies, some greens and reds. They’d be in the section where cushions were displayed, and they’d be ridiculously cheap.

And there they were. They were even sitting next to each other. 2 fat cushions for the back of the chairs, and 2 flatter ones for the seats. The 2 fat ones had butterflies, a ladybird and the letter “B” on one, and birds, leaves and writing on the other. The 2 flat ones were a plain dark green.

Perfect again! Thank You, Universe!

I’ll need to rinse off the dirt from my verandah again, as I did some more rearranging of my flower pots and troughs to fit the table and chairs in the corner. So, please excuse the dirt on the floor…but I now present to you my new Cosy Coffee Corner.

Total cost: AU $18

Table $10

Chairs FREE

Cushions $8 ($2 each)

Now I just have to Manifest a power pressure washer to wash away the dirt from the verandah ๐Ÿ˜„!

Welcome To My Boudoir

Over the last 3 months, my bedroom has had a total transformation. Not an expensive, interior designer priced transformation, but rather a series of furniture rearrangements, lucky thrift store finds, items that I already owned being repurposed, and objects I “manifested”. 

First, the Queen-sized bed was turned 90 degrees and pushed into a corner. Originally, there were 2 bedside cabinets, one on either side of the bed. I gave one to my son Jack, and put the other one by the bedroom door. 

I had a Queen Anne dressing table in the junk room. It had been given to me by a neighbour in our previous estate, and although I’d given it a new coat of white paint, it had simply languished in the junk room of our present house. But this time, after several coats of gesso and varnish (I couldn’t find the white paint), it’s not taken up residence at the end of my newly positioned bed. And it houses my collection of Affirmation, Positive Thinking and Law of Attraction cards, as well as some books that I keep meaning to read, and some crystals.

I bought a rug to fill up the now empty space between the bed and the door. The dogs like to lie on it. It also makes a great work surface for my sewing projects.

I bought some cushions from thrift stores to place on my bed against the wall. They’re the colours of jewels – purple, teal, orange, and at the foot of my bed is a dog-themed cushion and my dog Shelagh’s 3 favourite toys – Gorilla, Tiger Tiger and Lion Lion. 

Where my bed had been before, I’d had a large romantic canvas print on the wall, flanked by 2 bird-themed canvasses. I’d found a modern abstract canvas for $20 at a thrift store. It now has pride of place on the wall.

On the smaller wall above my bedhead now (in the photo above) I have put up 2 canvasses which are actually cheats. 

The abstract on the left, with the line drawing of a woman’s face, is actually a T2 wrapping paper, from when I bought my “She Loves” limited edition teacup and saucer 2 years ago. It’s simply been Blu-Tacked and duct-taped (shock, horror! ๐Ÿ˜†) to a homemade wooden box frame. 

The canvas on the right, featuring peacocks, is actually a wallpaper sample stapled to an IKEA wooden frame. I’d bought it as such from a thrift store, for $3.25. 

For some reason I dislike hammering nails into walls, so to attach these 2 canvasses to the wall I used Command Hanging Strips (by 3M). Basically, Command Hanging Strips are a simple combination of flexible sticky tape and velcro. You can remove them from walls without leaving a trace. No need to fill in nail holes and then have to repaint the whole wall afterwards.

Here’s the rest of my “boudoir”:

The chair is a dining room chair in mock leather, picked up from a thrift store for $10. I’ve covered it simply with one of my Kantha-Boro quilted pieces. The 2 Totoro plush characters are actually sitting on top of a radiator heater, that I use in winter. The bookcase hidden under the blue cloth houses my collection of Tarot and Oracle cards. The blue canvas with the deer silhouette came from KMart, $15. And the “N O W” letters on the wall were made by me using Gelli-printed paper glued to wooden letters, then varnished.

The large romantic canvas atop this Queen Anne hall table is the one that used to grace the space above my bed. It was moved to make way for the modern abstract you now see on the main wall of my bedroom, flanked by the bird canvasses.

The Queen Anne hall table was a lucky find at a secondhand furniture store. I just love its sexy, curvy shape. Below it is my old piano stool, simply draped with another of my Kantha-Boro pieces. 

The striking turquoise artwork on the wall in the photo above, is one of my own creations. I created it on my Samsung Galaxy S4 mobile phone, then uploaded it to my computer, ran it through a Print-on-Demand service, chose the format (print on wooden/MDF panel) et voila! 

The black cloth with white circles and broken lines is a remnant I picked up from IKEA, over an IKEA tall chest of drawers. I like to call this spot my “Altar”. 

Bohemian Flags

I came across these recently on Pinterest. Putting aside any patriotism or nationalism, for me these flags demonstrate the essence of a bohemian outlook on life. They embody the philosophy of recycling and reusing materials, and I love their spirit of insouciance and their hint of rebellion. 

Plus, of course, they are just so darn pretty. 

Bohemian, crafty, artisan, shabby chic, patriotic, prayer flags, banners, Ibizan flags, country, homespun, handsewn, ribbons, lace, pom poms, feathers, sequins, embroidery, beads, tassels.   

Carol and Daryl in Barrels ๐Ÿ˜„

After blogging about Fiddle Leaf Figs in my previous post, I decided that I just Had to get one for my living room. They’re trending right now, appearing in many homes & interiors magazines and on television, so how hard can it be to get one, right?

Whoa…look at the way-out prices some of these babies are commanding online! $300 for a potted houseplant? Are you kidding me? 

I also found out that there are actually 2 variations of the same plant. One’s bushy and smaller, resembling a kale plant gone mad. The other type has a trunk with its leaves gathered towards the top. The former only grows up to 3 feet high. The latter can reach 7-8 feet high and is sometimes referred to as the Fiddle Leaf Fig “Tree”, as opposed to the smaller “Bush”. It’s the Tree that I’m after.

I rang 2 Bunnings Warehouse DIY & Garden Stores near me, and just as I was about to give up hanging on the line, a very nice lady named Patsy came on and said she had 2 Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees, happy days!! So I asked Patsy to place them on hold for me, and said I’d pick them up within the next 2 hours.

And they were only $14.10 each, as they’re still babies with a lot of growing up to do. Yay for affordable houseplants!

I bought 2 plastic barrel flower pots and trays for my 2 newest babies. And back home, as I repotted them, the crazy thought came to me that as they were in barrels and there were 2 of them, why not name them after 2 of my favourite characters from The Walking Dead i.e Carol and Daryl ?

So here they are, Carol and Daryl, in barrels. Daryl’s the bigger of the two.

Out on the verandah, right after repotting and getting a good drink of water:

Inside the house:

Now Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

Yesterday I got sidetracked from my original intention of sharing with you Pinterest curated images of a houseplant I’d love to get – the Fiddle Leaf Fig tree. But instead I got to talking about an App Game called “Design Home“. 

So here I am today, with those promised images of said tree. I just love the large leaves and how the tree has such a pleasing shape and can be grown indoors in a pot. Its green is also very beautiful. I simply Must find space in my house for one!

Isn’t it gorgeous?

Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree, But Before That – Design Home

I’m the last person you’ll want to ask for advice on keeping plants. I don’t have green thumbs or green fingers, in fact I have a knack for accidentally killing my house plants with my “loving ministrations”. 

I don’t mean to be a plant killer. I just never learnt much about keeping plants while growing up. Plus, I grew up in a tropical country (Malaysia) where there are no hot or cold seasons, and where it’s always either sunny and humid, or raining and humid. So, my idea of gardening is to just stick the seed/sapling/plant/tree in a pot or straight into the ground, whenever, water it now and then and leave the rest to Mother Nature.

So, I’m still learning slowly how to take care of my plants. Succulents I can do, as they more or less fall in with my gardening philosophy above ๐Ÿ˜„. 

But lately I feel drawn to certain houseplants. Quite possibly because for a couple of months now I’ve been diligently playing an App Game on my mobile phone called “Design Home“. To say I love the game would be an understatement. Basically, in this game you’re the interior designer and you’re given a brief, and then you have to “buy” furniture, accessories and plants to furnish your look. In return you get “paid” for each completed assignment, and then your work is voted on by other players. If you get above 4 out of 5 stars, you win prizes by way of furniture, which goes into your inventory. If you get 5 out of 5 stars, you win the furniture prize as well as Diamonds.

Diamonds can be converted into Cash, and Cash is then used to purchase more furniture. Here’s where real money comes into play – you can buy Diamonds if you haven’t got enough Cash, but Diamonds cost real $$$. 

Anyway, check out Design Home here for yourself. Here are some screenshots, taken from the App’s listing on Google Play:

Did you notice the Fiddle Leaf Fig tree in the last 2 images above? Yup, that’s where my hankering after one of my own comes from! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Musical Chairs

…Well, Musical Furniture, actually.

As in, having a good old clear out of my son Jack’s bedroom. All in one fell swoop.

I’d been meaning to get the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying” by Marie Kondo, hoping it would grant me an insight as to how to tidy up my house once and for all. The book was $20 at Big W, but before purchasing it, I checked ISSUU on my mobile phone, to make sure it wasn’t already available there for free.

Well, surprise, surprise, it WAS available to download on ISSUU. Not just preview pages either, but the book in its entirety. Completely FREE. Hurrah! I just saved $20. Yay, happy dance!

One of the main principles taught by the KonMari technique (a play on words invented by Mari herself, based on her name), is to NOT and I repeat, NOT, tidy things up a little at a time. No, one should rather go whole hog and tackle everything at once. Be brutal as well as swift. 

So today I tested out that theory with Jack’s room. His is a double sized bedroom, but over the years he’s somehow accumulated so much stuff aka junk, that it resembles a cave. A very messy, cluttered and dare I say it, smelly cave.

So this afternoon after school, we basically moved most of Jack’s things out of his room, and then played the furniture version of Musical Chairs.

The results are most encouraging. But man, am I knackered! ๐Ÿ˜„

The state of Jack’s room…and this is its “natural” state! 

So much junk on every surface! 

Jack’s bed used to be a single, then when he outgrew it (he’s 6′ 4″ now at just 14 years old and still growing at a phenomenal rate!) I swapped his single for the sofabed that was languishing unused in the spare room (aka the “Junk Room” where everything gets chucked). When my finances allow for it, I’ll get him a proper Queen sized bed.

Mid-way through Musical Furniture. The metal shelves have been moved from one side of the room to the other. The white chest of drawers needs to move across to the opposite side of the room.

Nearly there. There’s still a lot of junk to throw out or donate to charity, and Jack knows he only has til Saturday morning before I get the removals people to come pick up what we no longer want to keep. The posters have to come off the wall, and all the Blu-Tack removed. So much more cleaning up to do!!

Originally, Jack had 1 Dreamcatcher each on opposite walls. I simply used a stick I’d picked up from a park, balanced both Dreamcatchers on it, and used a purple chain Jack had to hang it on the wall above the bed. Hey, it works! 

Ahhh! So much roomier now! ๐Ÿ˜„ Jack’ll sleep well tonight, I reckon!

Patchwork Sofasย 

I’m in love with the idea of having a patchwork sofa in my home. Problem is, I’m not sure where I’ll find the space for it in the living room. There IS a battered armchair  recliner that my dog Shelagh uses as one of her daybeds (yes, she’s very spoilt ๐Ÿ˜„), I could try my hand at re-upholstering it, or maybe I could donate it to a charity shop instead, and buy another armchair that I Could do up myself. 

The armchair that I have is not vintage or even beautiful, but it serves its purpose. It IS bulky and creaky, though, and the reclining part has barked my shins several times OUCH! So, I’m going to go for Option Number 2 – change it for a better one.

I’ve been researching upholstery techniques online, and I’ve browsed through a library book on upholstery. But, to be entirely honest, it looks very time consuming and labour and parts intensive. 

So, I might just have to save up and try to get a readymade patchwork sofa. Or ottoman, or bench, or stool. Or, maybe just do a simpler project with easier, straight lines. I DO have a piano stool that needs recovering, hmmm maybe I could start with that?

Meanwhile, in the land of the rich, here are some patchwork beauties from Pinterest, to whet your appetite.

Room by Room…

I have yet to move into my new rental, but I’ve already started daydreaming about how I’ll furnish it, room by room. 

It’s going to be fantabulous, I know it! My Pinterest boards are burgeoning with pinned interior decoration ideas. Oooh, the possibilities! And, the best thing is, if you’re cash-strapped like me, it doesn’t have to cost the earth to create these looks. All you need is your Imagination…and a sprinkle of Fairy Dust.

I have this gorgeous turquoise colour on a wall in my current home, and I’d love if the owner of my rental gave permission for me to paint the walls any colour I like. Right now, everything in that house is white, except for the jarrah floorboards, which are a deep reddish brown.

Again, with the turquoise wall…and now add a dash of blue velvet. I’d love to have this chaise longue, but I’ve never seen its type here in Australia.

Of course, one must have a cosy corner to curl up in and read a book, or watch the world go by. Not sure about curious passersby looking in, though…the front garden is open to traffic.

Still, the idea has a certain cottagey charm about it. I love the fairy lights idea.

And during the day, with crystals like these hanging where the sunlight streams in, there’ll be rainbows dancing on my walls. What’s not to like?

I think I might even decorate the trees in the backyard like this!

The backyard is fully enclosed, and dark as there’s no lamp post on the street outside. Hanging some solar-powered fairy light strings will give the garden a magical feel at night. A bit like fireflies.

Get a shallow circular planter like the one in the foreground. Fill it with pebbles at the bottom, compost, sand and fine gravel, then plant succulents in it. Makes a spectacular, easy to care for display. Succulents are about the only plants I’ve ever been successful with.

The kitchen is ultra-modern and ultra-white. So I’ll inject some colour using green houseplants. And maybe a dash of colour by way of vibrant Mediterranean/Moroccan-inspired crockery.

This verandah is very similar to the one at my new home. It even has the grapevines growing in the same corner! Some potted plants with lush green leaves, and a splash of galvanised metal ought to do it.

My bedroom will be simple, with a riot of jewel colours by way of Kantha bedlinen and cushions. 

I’d love to have these iridescent rainbow aura mosaic tiles in my shower, SIGH…maybe in my next home? 

(Update: Well, I might NOT be moving into the rental after all…due to unforeseen circumstances and the extremely fickle nature of Australian mining employers. The Ex had a 3 week shutdown job up north, which would’ve paid for the rental bond and deposit. But he was back after only 4 days, because the employer decided to cut numbers by 10. SIGH…it always seems to be 2 steps forward, 3 steps back in this country. So, we are going to do our darndest to hang on to our current home instead. It’ll be a real struggle to get on top of the mortgage arrears and to keep the wolves at bay, but I know if we work together, it Can be done. Maybe THIS was the lesson, after all).