Dec 24

Happy Christmas 2012

To my readers of this blog and to my clients of 2012, thank you for your support this year. I’m so thankful for the wonderful people who have chosen me to help them with their homes and who have supported my business. Most of all, I’m thankful for my family and their health and happiness, which is the greatest blessing I can ask for. To my readers, your emails and comments mean so much to me and I look forward to a New Year full of new challenges, new projects and, I hope, a new house to decorate and share with you all!

 

I’ll be taking some time off but will be back in January sometime…

 

I wish you a very Merry Christmas and New Year full of joy and happiness.

 

Naomi xxx

 

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Dec 6

Our new Christmas tree

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big fan of real trees at Christmas, mainly because I grew up with real trees and so that Christmas tree smell has always been an intrinsic part of the anticipation and magic for me. I guess I’m also a bit of a traditionalist and a romantic in most things and like to pretend at Christmas that my real tree was cut in the woods and carried through the snow to my home (haha! – in reality we swelter every Christmas).

 

My husband, on the other hand, is not a romantic and for years has tried to convince me to switch to the more convenient plastic tree. Because of course, real trees are prickly to deal with and messy. Our pine trees in Australia shed a lot of needles and if you put your tree up in early December, chances are it won’t be as green and perky by the time Christmas Day rolls around. So when UK company Balsam Hill contacted me to let me know they are expanding into Australia and offered to send me a tree to try, I decided it was a good time to go artificial, at least for this year.

I had actually visited the Balsam Hill website a few years ago, when we were thinking about buying an artificial tree but I was disappointed in the tinsel-armed choices available at Myer and DJ’s. The Balsam Hill trees have been used on Ellen and Oprah and are said to be so real-looking that it is hard to tell the difference between them and a real tree! The tree they sent me is the ‘BH Fraser Fir’. I have to say, setting up the tree was A LOT faster and less scratchy than setting up a real tree. Here it is right out of the box and plugged in (the lights are attached to the tree, though you can buy the trees without lights):

We’d already wrapped our presents in gold paper so I decided to stick to decorations in white, gold and silver this year. One of things I usually hate about plastic trees is the big empty gaps between branches – this is only beautiful in real trees – but big gaps are not an issue with this little guy. The branches are actually quite full and soft, and very easy to hang ornaments on compared with our usual long-needled real tree.

Here’s a look at the branches up close without the lights on:

And with the lights:

My verdict? I would most definitely use this tree again, though if I were purchasing I’d buy a much taller size (mine is the 137cm). I do miss the smell of a real tree but I’m told that I can buy it in a bottle (Ralph Lauren’s ‘Holiday’ room scent is supposed to be good). I have to admit that given how busy the past few weeks have been, it has been a relief this year to have this very easy option. And I think it looks great! Balsam Hill have now launched the Australian version of their website, which includes sizes and pricing in Australian dollars.

How is your Holiday decorating going? I love seeing other people’s trees!

Naomi xx

Jan 9

Hello 2012!

And welcome to a brand new year! I really didn’t intend on taking such a prolonged break from blogging, but towards the end of last year things were so busy that for one reason or another I did end up taking an unannounced little holiday from my computer. And, I have to say, it has been great not feeling tied to technology every day (except for checking ebay and properties on the ipad of course!). In fact I haven’t even set foot in my office for weeks, which means today is all about catching on emails!

So, what have I been up to since I last posted? We had a lovely Christmas day at my parents’ house with my side of the family, and then Christmas dinner at my in-laws (I love having them all to our place but our house is too small for everyone to be comfortable, and actually it worked out great to come home to a clean house with no cleaning to do on Christmas). On Christmas night we walked around the city and saw the beautiful light display on the facade of St Paul’s Cathedral:

In the lead up to Christmas I really enjoyed visiting new blogs (new to me) and seeing other people’s Christmas decorations and preparations for celebrations:

It’s classic voyeurism I know, but I do love glimpses into other people’s homes! This (above) is from a blog I enjoyed reading called 3 peanuts. Considering the subject matter here I should clarify my comment a few weeks ago about not being a big fan of modern bauble wreaths – I do really dislike the gaudy new ones in the shops but the wreaths made from vintage or antique glass baubles (as here) can be lovely.

A couple of days ago we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary, and were able to have a few days away alone in country Victoria (see terrible attempt at a shot of a country town view above). In some ways the last ten years seems to have flown by, but when I think about how much we have changed and done in those ten years – degrees finished, three cities, five homes, not to mention three children – it does feel as though we deserve to celebrate a little milestone! It was lovely to be without the kids just for a little while, and do some antique shopping:

And being in the country inevitably led to my continued daydreaming about having a little place there for ourselves, though my dreams are not so little:

Haha! I’d love a miniature version of this. I’ve been busy looking at country properties (little humble cottages), as well as houses in Melbourne – I’m desperate for more space at home! I’d love something with some interesting character but rundown enough that I can really put my stamp on it:

I’m starting this year feeling truly grateful for our family and for all the wonderful possibilities that the future holds for us. Our second child starts Prep this year and so I think it will be a year of new beginnings and positive change. 2011 was my first full year of writing this blog and also of running my own business, and while it came with its challenging moments, I was at times a little overwhelmed by the positive support I received from readers, from strangers out there in the aether that is the blog world whose emails really are wonderful motivation, and most of all from clients who allowed me to help them in their homes. Thank you! Decorating-wise, I came home this week from our time away feeling so inspired and full of ideas, which my husband listened to me describe with good humour on the way home in the car. More on those ideas tomorrow!

Naomi xx

 

Dec 16

Wonderful Christmas House

I’ve mentioned before that one of my favourite magazines for Christmas decorating inspiration is Traditional Home. I’m not really one for modern Christmas decorations (wreaths of coloured baubles and the like), and prefer a more traditional approach; really I have always been seduced by that luxury of lots of foliage, beautifully wrapped gifts, deep colours, twinkling lights in a dark room, crystal and silver..

but it doesn’t have to be red and gold, I saw some gorgeous white ornaments and decorations in Bed Bath and Table yesterday (all on sale too). I’d just like the white-laden tree to sit by a beautiful traditional rug in warm colours! Anyway, this home to me is perfect for this sort of nest-like Christmas decorating.

I’m drawn to the warmth of all that unpainted beautiful timber in the floors, doors and architraves, the stone and brickwork and the traditional furnishings. I love that all the natural materials are celebrated and not covered up – my mum would say it has integrity (we had a heated discussion on this topic when I wanted to use stone to cover dark brickwork on the outside of my parents’ house- mum argued forcefully that to cover her ‘good, honest brickwork’ would be to rob her home of integrity – yes, house talk is serious business! I’m still not sure whether ugly integrity is worth displaying..)

What a fabulous upstairs bedroom (above) – I’d love to sleep in a bedroom with a fireplace and a pitched ceiling line like this!

I do think when I look at this office how fabulous the bookcases would look painted grey! But don’t the timber shelves, traditional rug, brick walls and Christmas greenery go well together?

Have a wonderful weekend!

Naomi x

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