trial Christmas setting... need to find some water glasses that work

It's pre Christmas craziness here. I've been flat out working to get things I need done before the final Christmas shutdown of the construction industry, plus the school end of year activities have already begun with Sports Days and music concerts ticked off, and carols/ nativity plays/ speech days looming in the next few weeks.

Emmanuel Phillips Fox painting (an Australian Impressionist) of Sandy Bay, Hobart 

 photos from the Adelaide Antique fair a few weeks ago. I liked this pair of wingback chairs a lot.

Weather wise, it's been crazy too. Just after we'd all cleared away the mess caused by the recent floods/ cyclones I wrote about in my last post, and declared Spring finally on, we were hit by a massive Thunderstorm with golf ball sized hailstones that seemingly came out of nowhere. The AV cars received a couple of minor knocks, the storm hit at about 5pm on a Friday afternoon, but I have friends whose cars have been written off by their insurers, solar heating and electricity panels damaged, and skylights smashed. The weather is either freezing, or 38C, there has been no happy medium.


Sadly, the Echium Giant, which was standing nearly 3 meters high was knocked over in the winds... Mr AV made some rude comments about how it was looking, as did a couple of his friends... so last weekend I had a heavy duty garden session, and pulled it out. It had finished flowering anyway, so they usually die after that, but still...


droopy echium

I was also cursing myself when after a hot night a few weekends ago I decided to switch the Doona over to the summer weight one, then had to wear socks and flannel pjs to bed as the weather swung back down to freezing. This week it finally feels like proper Spring/ Summer, so I have started washing all the woollens and putting them away, hoping I'm not jinxing myself...and I've also continued on my big cupboard cleanup, taking more loads of outgrown kids clothes and toys to the Charity store, cleaning out cupboards in the kitchen and laundry and trying to organise the work samples in the Sitting room while we wait for the Studio/ garage to be built.... which has been delayed and will now start in mid January. Sigh. It's the neverending garage design/build.

woollen washing

I spent last Monday in the city knocking off a lot of the Christmas Shopping, and am now feeling more mentally organised. Mostly I give books to family for presents, or theme around consumables. There's a bottle of Tasmanian Whisky for my Father in Law, some Science based books for my Father, my sisters are getting Kink vinegar/oil bottles from The Jam Factory (I use mine for dishwashing soap and leave it permanently by the sink... it's pictured below with neon green dishwashing liquid in it... unfortunately I had thought I was buying colourless, this is not the colour pop I was looking for), the teachers at school and the music teachers are getting Project Ten bags (also one of my favourite gifts to give for hostess gifts and friends birthdays as well). There are currently so many good books around though - the latest Paul Bangay "County Garden"s book is fabulous and would definitely make a good gif for the keen gardener. I've successfully avoided all the Black Friday sales over this weekend - sadly the clothes I liked were only a measly 40% off, instead of the 90% off I'd prefer, because 40% off something $4000, is not exactly cheap.

kink bottle for dishwashing liquid

I am enjoying my roses, which have been fairly spectacular this year, even if they are late. If I've had a hard day, there is no greater pleasure than wandering around the garden far from fractious children snipping a few in the evening to put in little vases. In June I planted around 25 new bushes, all David Austins and I included a lot of dark reds. They're starting to put out their flowers, although I do think you get the best flowers after they've had a few years to settle in. If you want an endless stream of rose photos, then hop on over to Instagram where I am trying to restrain myself from constantly posting pictures of them.






As you can see from the very first image in this post, I'm hosting my family Christmas dinner for the first time this year. It will be a more casual affair, due to our lack of formal dining room, however I decided that using my Cabbage ware would be a suitably festive and garden-ish theme for the main event in the more casual setting of our open plan living area. I realise that cabbage ware will probably look a little odd for Christmas to those in the Northern Hemisphere, however we could easily have a very very hot day, and it's highly likely that the children will all be swimming post Christmas lunch. So, festively themed green cabbage ware, the antique silver cutlery, the Waterford Crystal glasses (which long term blog readers will remembered I purchased at estate auction for $20/ glass a few years ago and so will happily put in the dishwasher) and silver Christmas crackers and giant baubles as centrepieces will be the order of the day I think. We will have 12 adults, 5 children and 2 babies in attendance. The wreath will go up on the 1st December on the front door, and the fresh tree will be purchased and decorated next weekend. Today I baked sponge cakes that I've wrapped in foil and put in the freezer in preparation for trifle bases - my Dad visited during the week and dropped off 3 dozen eggs from his chickens, so I needed to use some up.

So, I'll try to keep up the blogging during the next month, but the end of the year feels like it's in light speed at the moment. All the posts in my head on all sorts of design things are not unfortunately jumping out on the page, so I hope your Christmas prep is going well, and for those in the US I hope you had a very happy Thanksgiving.

image via Nicola Lawrence Textils and Papers. Chelsea Textiles cushions.

And finally, if you were are an Australian based graduate of The Inchbald School of Design in London in either Landscape or Interiors, and you'd be interested in getting in touch with others here, then please email nicola(at)nicolalawrence.com.au, or me on anadelaidevilla (at) bigpond.com  as we're trying to get together a group.



 images via Nicola Lawrence Textiles and Papers

Nicola recently set up an internet based business from her property on a Merino sheep farm in country New South Wales, and she retails absolutely stunning fabrics, wallpapers, lampshades and cushions, not easily available in Australia. Her business, Nicola Lawrence Textiles and Papers is quite unique, and it is making accessible some of the more boutique brands of fabric companies from the US and the UK. Long term blog readers will know that I am of the opinion that lack of retailing of good quality interiors fabrics and wallpapers is detrimental to the design environment as a whole here, so I think it is fabulous that Nicola is making these brands available in a way they'd usually not be (as they're to the trade only). If you're looking for beautiful hand blocked fabrics or wallpapers, and you're not necessarily looking to employ a designer, this might be a good option for you.

Via Nicola Lawrence Textiles and Papers
Have a happy weekend

35 comments:

  1. Love your setting! Doesn't look odd to me at all as Christmas often turns out to be a warm kind of misty day here and I always find myself thinking how much more appropriate an English garden leaning table would be. Wish (good) pink glasses weren't so hard to find as if love them with your setting. Hope your cycle of weather whiplash is really over! The roses are absolutely stunning! Would so love to have access to garden flowers during the holidays.

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    1. I had not thought of pink, but that would be genius! I've been stuck on green, but green is apparently hard to come by too. I'm hoping the crazy weather is over too, it's been such a weird, and damaging Spring. But there really is nothing better than getting flowers from your own garden, particularly as there's no gift cards/ brambles/ stealth involved! x

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    2. Been searching for red green and pink stem ware it's v hard to find x

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    3. Enjoyed your post. Your Christmas table will be lovely! Look into Heisey. They made beautiful stemware here in Ohio that is sometimes available on the secondary market. They made it in crystal, lavender, gold and a delicate pink, which I have and really like.

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    4. Thanks for the tip Marie! I have not heard of it, so am off to google - the colours sound beautiful

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    5. Green is easier to find here as it was the most popular color of colored depression glass. How many people are you hosting? I'm always shopping so can lend an eye. Of course the shipping would be insane but never hurts to look! I've been meaning to do a post on Ohio's glass making history!

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  2. Love your Christmas table setting and I think it's perfect for your warm climate. It sounds as though you are well organized for Christmas, no small tasks with your work, family, delayed garage-studio and hosting the Christmas feast. Also with that crazy weather you're having my gosh.
    I'm feeling very excited for Christmas this year after a 2016 that I'll be happy to see the end of. It's our first Christmas without my mother-in-law and we have Poppa coming to stay with us so we're all looking forward to that. I have my gifts nearly all purchased and the Christmas tree up, we have a beautiful fir tree this year which is making the house smell wonderful. I just have to keep it from drying out over the next month but I have some tricks from the nursery for that.
    Lovely to have an update from you xx

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    1. I'm sort of half organised I think. Most of the stuff is done, but if I take my eye off things I'll likely find it will be the week of Christmas and I'll be panicking over the things not yet organised. I suppose you have the problem with the dry air from the heating to contend with with your tree - we have the problem of heat waves and the temps inside going up. Plus air conditioning is very drying too. I'm sure your house is a picture of wintery christmassy goodness Dani. I hope you have a lovely family celebration, despite missing a key member of the family which will be bittersweet. xx

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  3. Well I luff this post esp the table settings! I should do a white table but I think it will be red all the way but is crazy because of the heat!! Roses are wonderful pity the wind knocked the sails out of your echium! I bought a missoni Tunic from gilt and a top in the sales and some cushions. Free postage! Good for you for being strong!

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    1. I just can't imagine you doing neutrals for a table setting, but if you did I can visualise feathers, tinsel, glitter and all in silver/ white. You did well in the sales!! I really found all the emails so overwhelming I looked at a few things, couldn't see anything I liked below $2000 so left it!! xx

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    2. I think you will love my missoni xx

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  4. Heidi, pink sounds good ... or your lovely blue set which you showed many moons ago on a blog post. My family have decided on a restaurant lunch on Christmas Day. I am not looking forward to it. It will be a buffet at a large Canberra hotel. I am imagining soggy prawns floating in melted ice etc. But I am the 'hanger-on' auntie so I just go along with whatever the group decides. I really hate Christmas Day. Always glad when it is over. Wish I was going to be a guest at your beautiful table. Have a good one! J

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    1. Oh Judith. My condolences on the unwanted hotel lunch. It's not quite the same, although I know for a lot of families it's a good alternative as it cuts off fights, hostilities and quibbles over doing dishes etc. But still... not quite the same. I love Christmas, but I know lots who don't, it's a day that comes with loaded expectations. xx

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  5. Surprised to hear lack of fabric/wallpaper selections down under. They don't seem freight sensitive products at least on the higher end. Do they tariff heavily?
    Love that faucet in powder room!

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    1. Not so much tariffs, it's more we're at the mercy of what the agents here will bring in. We have most of what you can get overseas, however some agents price them reasonably, and others gouge because they have a monopoly. But the problem is more about accessibility to the average person, as all of it is to the trade only, with no retailing, so it's good some of the more boutique and unusual brands are being retailed so that someone wanting to have a couple of cushions run up or who has picked out their own wallpaper can buy it from a retailer without having to go through a designer who has done nothing for the sale.

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  6. Wow. you and FF are both forces of nature. Her force hot pink, yours silver.

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    1. I'm a very tired force of nature at the moment!! Limping to the finish line this year I feel. xx

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  7. The cabbage ware looks fantastic Heidi... do you have Zara home in Australia? Sometimes they have good options for water glasses. Roses look terrific!
    This time of year is so busy... I can't imagine fitting in sports days as well!
    Charlotte x

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    1. I'm not sure if Zara home is interstate yet, but it's not here in Adelaide yet (just the clothes). I have heard it's quite good, so maybe it will make its way here...
      At least we don't have parent teacher interviews at the moment, but Sports Days have been a bit of an unnecessary add on... honestly I feel I'm constantly at something school related at the moment, both during the day and in the evenings. Roll on holidays! xx

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    2. Hi Heidi,
      Zara Home is online and available in SA, they actually had 20 percent off and free shipping on friday, I think when they are on sale - mid / end of year you can get some interesting things at a good price. Not high end but great looking. I think a soft pink would be beautiful with this, ( like the vintage lemonade sets that often are on auction sites?) great post!

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    3. Oh drat... missed the 20% sale then!! Thanks for the tip off and I'll check it out online, I hadn't realised that Zara even did web ordering in Australia, which given my high skills in internet shopping shows I'm lacking in some areas!!

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  8. Lovely to see a post again - it's such a busy time of the year. Loving your quintessentially Australian Christmas day plan. The cabbage ware is perfect.
    Am so envious of all those new roses - our house throws a lot of shade over my bigger garden beds so I have limited rose planting options. Keep posting those insta snaps - I never tire of them !
    I also love Nicola's textiles - as you say, such a gap here for designer fabrics - without the designer to buy them. Best of luck with the end of school madness... x

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    1. I was thinking your roses look pretty good though Ann! I fear some of the beds will be a bit shaded in a few years time as things grow, but I"ll just move them all again (some of them have been moved 3 xs already!!)
      Nicola really has a good eye and is showcasing some lovely things. Hope you have a good run up in the end of year chaos xx

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  9. i wouldn't mind a bit of hot flashes here. When roses are in season - I say go for it - i miss my roses that are now hibernating. I love that sandy bay painting a lot. I miss my xmas times in australia! I am sure it will all be lovely H x

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    1. The temps are swinging wildly though - 38 feels awful when it's essentially 18 the day before!!
      That painting was divine in person. I was drawn to it from across the booth, then when I got closer and saw the signature I knew why. Sadly it was $88k, so didn't come home with me! I wish! x

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  10. Hi Heidi, there is a table setting on instagram which has a pink and green combination. They have gone with gold accents with the green and pink. Look on Verandahhouse.

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  11. Hello Heidi,

    Your Christmas table will look beautiful and I admire your pre-planning. I've not started anything Christmas yet (although I did catch a live performance of Handel's Messiah yesterday to put me in the mood).

    You certainly have green fingers judging by the voluptuousness of your beautiful roses. Oh, and what a lovely vase they sit in.

    Best of luck with the garage/studio remodel. It may be a blessing in disguise to start a project mid-January when all the Christmas madness has faded.

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    1. I am off to Handel's Messiah this Friday and I can't wait! I agree, it's a good way to put you in the Christmas mood. I'm preparing for the breakup of school though, which curtails any present purchasing/ organising from that point on.
      Agree with the garage, I'm hopeful that when we do start it will be a fairly quick and painless process (Ha! famous last words...)

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  12. Am so in awe of your beautiful Christmas prep (even down to your already making sponge bases and freezing for Christmas trifle!). Also FF's! Will be spending Christmas with family in Sydney so will be v casual with seafood and barbecued fish along with lots of salads. Only time we've had Christmas at a hotel was years ago in Hong Kong. Had been discharged from hospital day before after an almost deadly dose of dengue. So was rather lovely to have a very beautiful silver service dinner with all the works and beautifully decorated. A relief too as they almost kept me in and only reluctantly released me on Christmas Eve after my temp had been normal for 24 hours. Still the hospital was wonderful - carol singers, decorations everywhere and presents for patients. Amazing place. My room was enormous with three piece lounge suite, business desk and chair, balcony with patio seating and view over the water. Bathroom was huge too, as big as many hotel rooms in Paris. And all amazingly cheap.
    Have always loved cabbage plates - also there are beautiful antique French majolica asparagus serving platters that would look fab with them. Have been tempted many times -but the ones I've liked have always been large and heavy - and very fragile. Also quite expensive. Haven't been lucky with buying platters and packing myself. Usually broken. The only things I've been lucky with are the real cheapies. Found a fabulous old blue and white covered butter dish in a Depot Vent outside Eygalieres that cost 5 euros, so wrapped it in some clothes and it survived. We're still using it.
    Haven't the roses been wonderful this year despite hail and all! Understand planting lots of reds. I find David Austin pinks, beautiful though they are, tend to fade in Oz sun - so they're almost never true to colour on labels and in books. Wonderful to have reds as contrast - as in small vase in your powder room. Reminded me of lovely powder rooms and tablescapes in Ralph Lauren restaurant in Paris. I adore style of that place, particularly courtyard dining area in summer.
    Sad about droopy echium. But the tree pansy is glorious. Pammie xx
    PS FF's Missoni sounds wonderful doesn't it! Bought nothing either in the sales as prefer to wait for Paris each year and buy in person. Such fab bargains! eg Stella Mcartney knuckleduster ring I bought this year was originally 199 euros. In sale 35!

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    1. THat hospital sounds better than a lot of hotels P!
      Isn't it always the way that the cheap things are the ones that survive a trip and the precious items somehow have a target painted on them and are always smashed to smithereens. I find that the DA's all have a different colour and size to the labels. The Lady of Shallot rose is described as a burnt orange, and it is in the shade, but the ones growing in full sun are an apricot. Pinks can be almost white... the reds so far are lovely. I think New William Shakespeare is my favourite so far - very ruffley.
      I may regret not purchasing anything int he sales, but I think I had fatigue over hte whole thing and all the millions of emails bombarding me to buy. I just deleted them all and was too busy to think it through... xx

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  13. Oh No. Did a skylight of yours smash. That is very scary. Your garden is looking lovely despite the beating. Love the christmas setting! Very chic.

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    1. No, no skylights of ours thankfully! Other peoples did though. We are very unused to hail damage like this. Small hail occasionally (literally once a year or two) maybe, but not golfball sized out of the blue (it wasn't even raining!).

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  14. I am very impressed with your Christmas organizations Heidi. They say that if you want something done well and quickly, give the task to a busy person and you are a great example of this!. This year, we are travelling not too far from home to spend Christmas Day and Boxing Day with friends, so we only need to tidy up the house before we go. All our family live oversees so for years, we've been used to sending present out very early even to our friends within Oz. The Christmas tree is up as are the few other decorations, and now, I'm sort of twiddling my thumbs looking for Christmassy things to do! I'm missing out on all the busyness and rushing around - ha! I never thought I would say that! Your table setting looks superb - silver and that shade of green (my monitor shows a sage green) look very good together don't they? I do feel for you with the horrendous weather you've been having. We've been spared much of that here in Canberra this year with hardly any downpours to speak of. Touch wood. Whishing you a lovely Christmas with your family.xx

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    1. I've always had a mild sense of panic set in if it's anywhere near to mid November and nothing organised! Pre kids, and when I worked in the city full time, I used to start my shopping in early October, and I remember my work colleagues thinking I was very odd! But also like you, we used to be away for Christmas, so I would have no decorations at home, and all presents selected and wrapped and packed a few weeks out.
      You're very fortunate that you've had mild weather in Canberra. It's been the strangest year for weather here. Fingers crossed we're over the wind and storms now. Hope you have a lovely Christmas too x

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Architect & Interior Designer. Mother of three. A sometimes Cook, Baker, Reader, Gardener, Fashion Lover, Renovator, Writer of random things in South Australia email me on anadelaidevilla@bigpond.com
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