Monday, November 25, 2013

pop up dinner party at home for the festive season

I love the concept of pop up parties, but in reality can be a bit hard to do.  Especially with a toddler in tow.
So I thought how cool would it be to create a pop up space at home -  a little extraordinary in the ordinary, a little bit of fantasy for just one evening.
I wanted to set the table up in the garden surrounded by fairy lights, but some heavy rain storms meant it had to be plan B, our wide hallway.  I threw down a rug and moved our outdoor table and pillows indoors for the evening.  Then I strung the glass doors with fairy lights and lit candles to create a romantic glow of light.
Watermelon and lime agua fresca kicked off the evening, followed by a delicious Mexican inspired menu made by my amazing hubby.  Wraps with lamb, pomegranates and honey coriander yoghurt, or deconstructed chorizo with jalapeno green sauce, chunks of pineapple dusted with salt and chilli powder, and a grapefruit granita with a mojito sauce to finish.   Delicious!
I found gorgeous bunches of natives in yellows and oranges at the flower seller this morning. 
Wax flowers, pin cushions and kangaroo paw form a zesty base that could be Christmas or fiesta.  I made a low arrangement for the table centre with a few candles, finished with white plates and white napkins.  Fresh, fun and simple.
Sitting on cushions on the floor with the glow of candlelight and fairy lights, what fun.

The space was transformed, it didn't look like our house at all.  All the fantasy of a pop up party, with all the comforts of home and a fully equipped kitchen close at hand.  I didn't use anything I didn't already own, I just moved things into unexpected places.
I hope you are inspired!  Go on, string up some lanterns or fairy lights, and throw a pop up party of your own at home too.  Make sure to tell me what you created!

All images by Eva Burgess of Build House Home, except 5th image by Graeme Myburgh.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

10 reasons you should visit beechworth on holiday

Beechworth is my favourite town in Australia!  Beautiful historic town centre, lots to do, great restaurants, fabulous local beer and wine.  So if you are planning a Christmas break makes Beechworth your destination.

  • The information centre is staffed by a magician who did magic tricks and enchanted the children.  Seriously every tourist information centre should be run by magicians.
  • Miles and miles of pristine countryside bike tracks on the rail trail that runs through the village.  Built on the old railway the tracks are not too steep, made for a train remember, and run through the most gorgeous countryside for over 100km.  A must for any cycling enthusiast and suitable for the entire family.  Ride one way and book a shuttle to take you and your bikes home, or stop at a local winery, refresh and recover and then carry on.
  • Stop by the Bridge Road Brewers to enjoy a flight of locally made beers on a Ned Kelly styled tray, and enjoy the best pizza in the district.  Sunday afternoons feature great live music and there is even a small playground for younger kids. 
  • Dine on the degustation menu at Provenance.  The best meal I have had in years, fantastic service and some very interesting matched wines and sake.  If this is the only reason you go to Beechworth its a good one!
  • Visit the court house where Ned Kelly was held after being captured in nearby Glenrowan.  Local story tellers will take you on a tour and tell you all the juicy history.
  • Go panning for gold at Eldorado - we found lots of sand and lovely countryside but sadly no gold.
  • Have your Wanted poster cartoon drawn at Splatoons.  $15 each and it will take 2 very impressive minutes, the kids loved.
  • Visit the ancient Butt Butt tree.  It was fully grown when Ned Kelly and his gang roamed the area and was used as a post tree before the mail service started.  Ask a local to point it out to you.
  • Visit local wineries or do a tasting in the local wine bar.  Award winning Giaconda comes from just around the corner and Pennyweight Winery is a short ride from the town on the rail trail.

Get a map, look it up, and plan your holiday!

All photographs by Eva Burgess

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

playroom in progress

More storage for the playroom has been on my to do list all year, finally with Christmas approaching I have made a start.   The original inspiration was for a long low cabinet that the tv could sit on (see the post here), but I realised this was never going to deliver enough storage.  
The version below has a lot more storage, taller cabinets with a shelf on top creating space for display, books and instruments.   I think it will be far more practical.  We can still add another shelf or narrow cabinet above the shelf if we find we need even more space.
Next step was to remove the old furniture.  The tv was in a lovely but very deep, impractical oriental cabinet (already gone below), and the old Ikea cabinet as you can see below was literally bursting at the seams.  Note to self, taking apart Ikea cabinets seems to take longer than putting them together.  
Then it was off to Ikea for a very bulky shop: three Besta cabinets (128cm high) and a Besta tv cabinet with drawers and space for all the technology and cables.  
An industrious weekend later and we are looking more organised already!
Of course no DIY is ever accomplished without at least one mistake or set back.  This was the first time I have ever had trouble with Ikea, one of the cabinets was faulty and only went together after a LOT of pushing and pulling and many shavings with my Japanese handsaw.
When that hurdle was finally over I attached the right hand cabinet to the wall, forgetting that we have a pocket door behind that wall.  Hmmm, the result the two neatly drilled holes in the door you can see below.  It could have been worse, I could have screwed it permanently open.

So that's how it's looking right now.  Its been a busy week and I haven't managed to do much more.  I will keep you posted on our progress, can't wait to get it all done.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Project 82

In the search for a modular sofa I discovered Project 82, a great little store tucked away in Surry Hills packed full of wonderful things.  Try out the most comfortable sofa to date, the Lennon, browse through the Armadillo rug selection, the wall papers designed by Quercus & Co, interesting light fixtures, really good value wood framed modern mirrors, and tons of other little bits and pieces.  I love the styling and the sofa's are good value, and really really comfortable, see more about my modular sofa hunt here and here.
A glimpse of the showroom with the goodies in store at the moment.  Tapestry wall paper on the back wall, see more examples of this wall paper by Quercus & Co below.