Dec 24, 2012

A Nutcracker Christmas Tree....all the magic of fantasy

With all the wonder and magical promise of adventures yet to come,
our Christmas tree this year is inspired by the classical Nutcracker tale.

There are nutcracker soldiers which are almost 20 years old,
selected by my son when he was a baby from David Jones's gorgeous decorations.
His eyes wide with wonder, he pointed and we bought,
and they have been carefully carried across country and continents ever since with our many moves.
Their wear and tear marks make them ever-more sentimentally loved.

Dec 21, 2012

The Turquoise of December :: birthstone of the month...aquatic blue...

Before December's days bring us to the year's end,
there is one very special colour that we need to celebrate first.
It's the colour of the contrary Turquoise: a stone which is sort of blue and sort of green,
and it is the birthstone for December.

Dec 19, 2012

Moving House, Lifestyle + Possibly Sanity :: change in the air...

After a tumultuous year,
involving much navel-gazing and "what is the meaning of life" stuff,
as a result of the visits in and out of hospital to see my husband and father,
we decided to do the completely unstressful thing and put our house on the market
in the Christmas season.

Madness, really. 
Selling a house with 3 teenagers is an experience best left to the imagination. 
Suffice to say the 13 year old can now mop a kitchen floor like a deckhand on the Titanic,
and the older two have a new-found appreciation of the adjective "tidy" when describing their bedrooms. 

But, just as one chapter of our lives closes,
another adventure is about to begin,
because we are leaving the outskirts of Melbourne and gorgeous Mt Eliza
to move closer to the city.
We have swapped morning walks on the beach,
tennis in the garden, pool parties,
lunch at the local winery and cocktails on the cherry tree terrace
(serenaded by parrots and wattle birds in the gum trees),
for a city lifestyle of cycling to the park for a Sunday picnic of chocolate cake,
champagne + waffle breakfasts on the balcony,
strolling to the cinema + cafes around the corner
and catching the tram to galleries.  
In short: swapping the tree/sea lifestyle for the city one. 

And the delicious part is that the new owners are as excited about moving from the city
to have their own tree/sea lifestyle change. 
So it's all about mixing things up, I think. 
And being in the right place at the right time. 
This is where the children have grown up,
for the last 6 years,
and we have loved living here in such a glorious garden.
But the new chapter is calling, and I am excited to begin it.

And in the process, we are jumping in a time machine,
leaving all the bold glamour of the 1970s post and beam house which I so adore,
and speeding backwards in time to a very different era,
to a charming little Art Nouveau villa built in 1920,
the last years of the Edwardian era and just before Art Deco was to begin.

So I have finally worked out why Boxing Day is called thus. 
It'll be because we will be packing up boxes.
(And possibly boxing each other with the stress of it all...)
For in 3 weeks time, 
we shall no longer live in a 1970s Boldly Glamorous home,
but in a home with all the Refined Glamour of 1920,
and that whole new adventure shall begin...

Dec 16, 2012

How did it get to be Christmas already???

Now they say it is a sign of getting on in years, 
when one feels Christmas comes up faster and faster each time. 
But honestly, this year it feels like somebody has been tinkering with the clocks, 
because everybody seems to be caught in a whirl of wonder as to the speed of the season.

I feel exactly like this maniacal driver,
scuttling on two wheels,
with all the toys hanging on for dear life,
as she dashes off to sort out the Christmas shopping. 
Have bought lots of gorgeous books so far,
always my favourite presents to give and recieve,
and at least The Tree is decorated and twinkling.
But I do so adore this glorious season,
with so many excuses for catching up with friends to share a glass or 2 of bubbles,
that it would be very nice if that naughty clock-tinkerer could just slow down time.
Just a little. Just for December.

Would that be good or bad, do you think?

Dec 13, 2012

Symmetrical Order + A Glorious Garden :: Would you love to live here?

I guess it's pretty obvious that I am obsessed with good architecture, 
uplifting interiors + gorgeous gardens.
My husband says I don't think about anything else.
(I actually dream a lot of the design details for my own projects, but that's another story.)

So I feel extremely lucky to have happened upon a career which gives me the excuse
to hunt for fabulous examples of beautiful homes, 
just to keep an eye on what is happening in projects other than my own. 
And this rather charming home,
currently for sale in Malvern, Melbourne,
is a marvellous case in point.
But see what you think...

Dec 12, 2012

All the glamour of Springtime in Paris :: new work by Kerrie Hess...

Inspired by the pastel perfection of Paris in the spring,
Kerrie Hess has just released a limited edition run of signed A3 prints,
each with her signature flourish style,
with glamour dripping from every brush-stroke in swish black and pink. 

I asked her what she was thinking about when she created them,
because they feel as if they are part of a story to me.
And in her own words...

Dec 7, 2012

Hard to say no to this...Would you Love to Live Here?

With a front door quite as fabulous as this,
you just know the rest of the house is going to be interesting. 
The doors are Indian, several centuries old,
and that amazing surround was cast from concrete in one piece.
So if you fancy the idea of dashing off to the Turks & Caicos islands,
soaking up some sunshine,
this home could be for you.

Designed by architect Antonia Barassi,
the imaginative home is currently for sale,
so let's take a closer look. 

Let's just look a little closer at that kitchen benchtop.
It's Brazilian granite, but what a specimen. 

Dec 4, 2012

Simply Beautiful : Beautiful Simplicity :: perfect lines in Sweden...

Sometimes, the most beautiful architectural solutions are the so-called simple ones. 
Simplicity of line, that is. Not simplicity of design.
And this house, recently sold, in Sweden, is a perfect example of leaving well enough alone. 
Just beautiful materials, arranged with an eye for balance,
allowing the textures to speak for themselves.

Christmas Inspiration :: 12 Themes for Glamorous Decorating...

For those readers who are new to Glamour Drops this year, 
and to my older friends who have been reading for a while,
just in case you haven't sorted out your Christmas decorating,
and are in need of some serious inspiration,
I thought it may be quite wonderful to look back at these 12 decorating themes 
prepared last year. 

Each was inspired by the old 12 Days of Christmas ditty,
and I had a lot of fun compiling them. 
They have suggestions for decorating the tree, wrapping presents,
and setting a glamorous table,
each in a very fun manner.

2nd Day : 2 Turtle Doves
3rd Day : 3 French Hens
4th Day : 4 Colly Birds
5th Day : 5 Gold Rings
6th Day : 6 Geese a Laying
7th Day : 7 Swans a Swimming 
9th Day : 9 Ladies Dancing
10th Day : 10 Lords a Leaping
11th Day : 11 Pipers Piping
12th Day : 12 Drummers Drumming 

As for my own theme this year, I am busily putting the final touches on our tree,
much later than I usually do,
but having a lot of merriment in the process. 
It's a tree roughly along the lines of the 12th Day inspiration,
so there's just a little more fairytale magic to go...

Dec 3, 2012

Fabulous Front Entrance :: Hedges of Scented Lavender...

Even though it only flowers in summer time,
I rather fancy this idea of a lavender hedge as a gesture of greeting by the front door.
It's a beautifully scented plant during the year anyway, with or without the charming flowers,
and how delightful it would be to brush against those aromatic leaves on entering 
this sunlight-dappled porch.

Of course, with a set up this welcoming, 
in this Victorian villa at Kew in Melbourne,
the visitors might not even make it as far as the front door.
They may, instead, be tempted to settle into those cane chairs and sip on lavender lemonade instead,
simply watching the bees on the flowers and the world go by on the street beyond. 
Come to think of it, I may do just the same. 
Another glass thanks Jeeves.....

property recently for sale at Kew, Melbourne

Dec 1, 2012

Weekend Thoughts :: Time for Sparkles and Magic...

As the glittering month of December beckons,
bringing with it the promise of festivities, sparkles, soirĂ©es and laughter, 
there's an air of enchantment in these early-summer nights
and things just seem to be getting a bit more magical...

Wishing you a very sparkling and magical weekend,
full of glamour and enchantment. 

images :: 1/5/10 : underwater love //  sweets in crystal bowl: blue fruit // clover hill sparkling // gold shoes // butterfly lights // nomiki jewelery //

Nov 30, 2012

Calling all Francophiles...a gorgeous gift idea for Christmas.

For all those Francophiles amongst us, 
Natalie from the delicious Jewel Yet to Find blog
has worked some of her beautiful photographs of Paris
 into some fabulous calendars for 2013.

A delightful idea for an elegant Christmas present. 
You can purchase the calendars from her Etsy shop here.
And if you haven't come across her blog yet,
do check it out because her photography and observations are always thoughtful.

Nov 29, 2012

Black Steel Framed Windows : just simple.

Have always had a soft spot for steel frame windows,
especially when painted in matt black,
as used in houses built around the 1930s to 1950s.
Their judicious use,
especially when contrasted with paler elements like these limestone walls,
creates an effect of beautiful simplicity.
It's a rather lovely space in which to catch a little sunshine don't you think?

image :: toorak house

Nov 28, 2012

Elements of Glamour :: Stylish Dressing : The Cufflink

Now I don't know your thoughts on the matter,
but to me there is only one choice in cuffs for men's shirts as far as glamour is concerned.
French cuffs or forget it. Clasped with a stylish cufflink.
None of these button arrangements. 
Nope, it has to be the real deal. 
And these boys illustrate exactly why the French cuff, 
with an elegant cufflink, adds so much style to a beautifully cut suit.

Nov 27, 2012

The first kiss as husband and wife....a wedding in a vineyard: that's romantic!

Is there anything as romantic as that first magical kiss after wedding vows 
have been emotionally and shyly said?
And is there ever a dry eye amongst the women
(and often, it has to be confessed, amongst the men too)
at such a tender moment?

For in that one exquisite gesture,
all the hopes and all the wishes for a beautiful adventure are gently entwined.
I often wonder whether, if I stumbled upon the wrong wedding by accident,
and therefore did not know the bride and groom,
would I still feel as soppily romantic?
Is it the gesture itself which brings out our softest side?
But that is a test for another day,
because this is the wedding of my darling nephew 
and his truly beautiful, right through to the heart, bride,
who married a couple of weekends ago in a tiny rambling vineyard in the Adelaide Hills.

Nov 26, 2012

Central Axis :: Fabulous Front Entrances...

There's a sense of procession in this Fabulous Front Entrance,
don't you think?
It makes the pathway to the front door incredibly clear.
Everything symmetrical. 
Every element duplicated perfectly, except of course, for the central gable and front door.
Two of those would simply be confusing...

And even when we switch viewing angles,
that delicious symmetry still leads the eye back to the target: the front door. 
And how cute is is the concept of a gatehouse?
As a mini-me of the main house,
 it looks like it may have been the perfect place for stolen midnight kisses in the early 20th century,
when this house was built in an Arts & Crafts style.

Such a romantic thought for a Monday Morning - now it's back to work for me! 

Nov 25, 2012

A Pool overlooking the Ocean in Mexico :: would you love to live here?

Fresh white sea foam crashing against rocks in teasing sea-kisses,
the soul-refreshing salty air of the wild, wild ocean below.
Can you imagine how energising a day would be if this were your morning vista?

Nov 23, 2012

A Christmas Tree with Pink Flamingoes? Summer style...

As Christmas approaches, and the days are getting warmer,
with the sky a little bluer and the evenings a little longer,
my thoughts always turn to wonder as Christmas trees appear in Australian shops and homes
with fake snow, fur-wrapped Father Christmas figures, 
icicles and assorted winter wonderland delights. 

All very nice, 
but what on earth has that got to do with summer Christmas?
(And yes, a White Christmas is charming too, having experienced a few
while on the other side of the world.)
But I reckon that wherever one is, 
one should thoroughly enjoy the moment of the present,
(no gift-like pun intended...)
rather than forever wishing to be somewhere else. 
Grass is never as green in the other paddock,
because when one gets there, "there" is now "here" and "here" is now "there."
In an Alice in Wonderland kind of epiphany of wisdom, that is. 

At any rate, I was super duper delighted to happen upon this fabulous Christmas tree,
laden with summer's tropical bounty,
in one of the most fabulous little boutiques in my local village of Mt Eliza. 
It's an upscale recycle boutique,
where gorgeous gowns sit alongside classic skinny jeans in darkest indigo,
and dotted amongst them are colourful wares of giant silver spoons,
striped hammocks and woven basketware. 
I always love walking past Sissy's on my way to the post office,
because I just never know what on earth will turn up in the shop window next.

With nary a reindeer in sight, 
the Christmas decorations are an explosion of imagination, 
summer style. 
Impossibly huge flowers, 
as befits a tropical garden,
wildly-coloured birds from the Amazon jungle and the Australian rainforest,
all gently ordered by the bright lime green frog princes,
resplendent in their royal crowns,
just waiting for that magical kiss.

And looking at all the bright colour,
on a golden day when the cicadas are chirruping away
and the water on the Bay is a turquoise shade of blue,
suddenly it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...
summer style.

images :: snapped on my iPhone,
so while dodgy, the colours still dance

Nov 21, 2012

A Tangelo Topaz Top Hat Cocktail? Um, yes please!

When Janelle McCulloch from the Library of Design
suggested I create a cocktail to mark each month's birthstones,
my mind started whirling with delicious potions.
Now, it never take much of an excuse to start throwing around delectable liquids
in my "is it cocktail hour yet?" mind.

So in honour of November's twin birthstones of Citrine & Topaz,
this is a seriously good cocktail with the same golden amber hue as the stones,
and a flavour to match the gem's reputation for fire.

Why St Germain? Well, the base of elderflowers makes it rather perfect,
because in flower language elderflowers represent fire,
just as the Topaz does.

The Drambuie brings in the sweet honey notes of warmth
and Grand Marnier adds a rich depth.

Of course, if you don't want you guests to fall about,
(because this is a heady mixture)
just tactfully place the soda bottle next to them with a gentle disclaimer.
We added varying amounts, and liked it with quite a lot of soda.
But then this is spring, 
and in the simply perfect balmy weather,
these delicious cocktails refreshinglly epitomised the warmth of a twilight evening in the garden. 


fred astaire in top hat via 

Nov 20, 2012

The Topaz + Citrine of November :: Quietly, warmly glamorous in burnished amber...

Honey, mustard, amber and gold.
These are the colours of the November birthstones, 
the warm golden Topaz + the clear golden Citrine.

Actually, the Topaz can come in quite a few different colours,
(including blue, yellow, pink and pale green)
but it is this amber version, known as Precious Topaz, which is the traditional birthstone.
Precious Topaz also answers to the name of Orange Topaz,
and it's easy to see why.

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