Thursday, July 31, 2008


"All who joy would win, must share it

Happiness was born a twin" Lord Byron


Each year at this time I am reminded of the beautiful branch of Magnolia that my parents brought to me on the wonderfully exciting morning of Lucy and Emma's birth.

The lovely old Magnolia tree at our family home was the only thing flowering in the middle of winter and dear Mum knew how I would rather have something from her garden than a bought bunch from a florist.

Apologies to all florists!

We have had Magnolias for their August birthdays ever since.

So for my far away girls,

your very own birthday Magnolias.....

with all my love xx

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Clocks and other treasure

Time for some more UK destination shopping!
Swedish Gustavian furniture - from the 18th century.
If you can't be in Sweden because you're busy tonight then let's try London. For anyone currently in the UK (now who could that possibly be.... Lucy?) here is your mission and here is the map....

A visit to this wonderful little shop will reveal seeing at least one or two of the original, precious and beautiful Mora Clocks. As my very astute readers will know many of these original Mora clocks were made over 200 years ago by local farmers from the town of Mora, who for 3 or 4 long dark, winter months of every year - while deprived of the joy of tending their fields (?) instead turned their very clever hands to making these full length painted case, wonderful clocks. They would cart then them off to the local market where considered of little value, they were exchanged for farm supplies. I ask you? Now, the original clocks are huge collectors' items worth many thousands of gilders and reproductions are rife - so much so that copywright prevents me from displaying any images of from Gustavian Shop on this space.... but here are some examples from elsewhere:

picture courtesy of Lee (swedish interior design), Von Sternberg, Von Eisendahler,Darby,Mcpherson)

I so love clocks of all descriptions but I especially love the naievity of these clocks and the fact that each one is individual in reflecting the character and creativity of it's maker. Beautiful don't you agree?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Winter Barossa Style






This week was my Patchwork Day. Let me tell you the story.

Seven years ago The Koonunga Schoolhouse Quilters began in the Barossa region of Koonunga Hill - at that time, my home. Our first meeting was in the original Koonunga Schoolhouse from the 1920's -a whitwashed oregon pine traditional schoolhouse, still on our property. The membership was quite informal - a vague interest in patchwork and basic sewing ability. We decided to spend a full day together each month, meeting at each other's homes in turn throughout the year. Each meeting we would work on the quilt being made by the host quilter. ...

Seven years on ...we are still meeting every month. We laugh, cry, eat, drink, share and oh yes of course, we do sew quilts. Together we share the lives of our families, recipes, our gardens, our homes, our troubles and joys. We have all learnt amazing things about quilting and enjoy the reward of having beautiful quilts to keep or to give to others, that have been made with love by friends. We have become a family.

Most of the members of our group live in the country - not too far away. These pictures are from my drive last week on my way to the Barossa for one such meeting.

So for my darling, L in the UK summer, my treasure, E in the Wild West and my little poppet, G in ACT - here are some familiar sights. And for any other readers venturing on to my "Coming Home Collection" - enjoy!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Conservatory, my dear?

Ahh back to not so secret obsession.
Now I ask you, what house is not improved by the stylish addition of a suitably enormous conservatory?

Here below lies an enticing collection from the wonderful Tanglewood Conservatories in th US.

All pictures courtesy of

Interested in the history of conservatories? Just want a fabulous coffee table book - for the conservaoty coffee table of course...then see if you can find this absolutley stunning book with over 700 vintage plans, structural details and images by Georg Kohlmaier & Barna von Sartory.

"Houses Of Glass - A 19th Century Building Type"
"........the glass buildings of the nineteenth century represent a remarkable confluence of opposites in architecture and technology. They were designed with the utopian intention of creating an artificial climate in which people could return to paradise - a realized, exotic dream under glass. And yet the technical means employed, including ironworking and prefabrication, were also basic to the century's "dark Satanic mills," the factories on the other side of paradise."

Before I close - some more modern day conservatories from across the Atlantic ......this time built by the talented Bishop & Company:

All pictures courtesy

Beaches I have known...

Somerton Beach

A sure sign that life has been a little hectic is when I seek solace from the beach of my childhood.....Somerton Beach. I've never been a great swimmer and it isn't one of the world's most scenic spots but somehow this beach has featured in so many of my special memories and significant life events....I thought I would share it with you.
As a child I remember long summer evening walks with my treasured old Mum with the huge evening sun setting on the far side of the Gulf; collecting shells, paddling in the shallows and climbing the dunes with my brothers during our summer holidays; then later decisions on my career; on travelling & working abroad; on marrying my darling Pete....moments of joy and saddness, my beach has been in the scene.
Knowing how much I loved this beach, Dad gave me a glass jar to take away with me when I left home to live in Scotland for a year - it was full of the sea air from my beach. He said to take the lid off when I got homesick and all would be well. And it was.
Years later after my children were born the first day of every trip home, no matter what time of year, no matter if it was rain, hail or shine, a walk on the beach was mandatory. I remember such treasured memories with him, his old worn hands holding my tiny childrens' hands as they learnt to walk on our beach. No words needed. Perfect understanding.
My beach has been my refuge on more than one occasion, none moreso than on the day my mother died some years ago now...when I swear the beach called me to walk on the same sand, listen to the same sound of the waves, breath deeply the same sea air.... and remember....and be calm ...and eventually to smile. My beach is my sacred site. How could I not love it!
The scene above is one during summer....but actually it is at it's most beautiful in winter, which it is now. I'm heading down there right now for a coffee and a stroll...for no reason at all!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Friday's Child

Hello my treasures.
Here is a little Friday treat for you if you promise that you will not spend all day drooling over it. Here are just three of my long list of favourites. Have a wonderful day and save some for looking at over the weekend as I don't promise to post anymore for a few days!

Here is the website :

Travel treasures

Now this has to be the most heavenly place on terra firma- Bellagio on Lake Como, Northern Italy.

We stayed at La Limonera - the Lemon Tree - a beautifully restored home now divided into lovely apartments with an ancient walled garden and gates leading out onto a cobbled stoned street only a few minutes from the Lake's edge. At the front gate is your very own 'alimentari generali' - grocer ie - for those essentials of life; olivi, formagio, provolone et panini!

For your next booking follow this link! James Bond may be staying there too.......