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), or me on anadelaidevilla (at)  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
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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
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