Woo Hoo! We’re a month old

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Yep! Its been 1 month since I started “Reaching for the Magic”.

I’m still stumbling a little bit around WordPress but I’ve somehow managed to load 8 posts and do two e-design consults. In addition to this I’ve kept my children alive, endured flu and redundancy, and managed to keep my marriage intact. Yep – feeling quite chuffed with myself. I’ve also managed to start an instagram account but still really don’t know how to use it properly so that just means I’m not as bright as Kim Kardashian.

According to WordPress lots of you are actually reading my blog. There are even people following me from locations such as Ireland, USA, Mexico and Brazil (not sure about the Brazil one it could just be some G-string wearing supermodel with a thing for “magic” tricks and an inability to use google properly).

When I first started the blog I was apprehensive about what people would think. I’ve been really heartened by everyone’s response and support. In a world of negativity its great to know that so many of you are cheering me on.

Thanks again
Shell

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Kids Rooms

Lets be brutally honest here – we all spend way more time in our kids’ rooms than we would like. Putting away clothes, trying to find that missing library book, or reading “just one more” bedtime story so its important that the space works and is somewhat visually pleasing (at least when its tidy).

Its also important that children feel that they have their own space (even when sharing rooms) and responsibility for looking after that space.

Here are some snaps of my kids’ rooms – and no – they don’t always keep their rooms this tidy but the blog is called “Reaching for the Magic” not “Stumbling through the Mayhem”.

Master Magic’s room is the smallest in the house. He is 7 years old and absolutely soldier and rugby mad. My husband had the vintage Australian Flag framed. The chair, table and comforter are all from Ikea.

The walls are painted Dulux Tranquil Retreat. Its a great colour but I’m not sure anything associated with a 7 year old boy should ever be called “tranquil”.

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My husband stained the bookshelf a deep wood stain and so far it hasn’t chipped or scratched so I’m pretty happy with that. The black storage containers are where the toy soldiers and figurines go to multiply when they are not hiding out in my flower garden! The decor is really set off by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Sewer Lair!

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Miss Magic’s room is a little bit of a work in progress. She has just turned 10 so still a little girl but on the cusp of becoming a “tween”. The room was painted a couple of years ago “marshmallow magic”. Since then we’ve updated the room with some aqua blue accents as she’s moving away from pink. The room could do with a full make-over but she will probably want a lot more say in the design this time around.  No prizes for guessing her name.

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Madeline is quite the artist so her and I painted the Ikea table and letters on the wall together. The table acts as an art station. She’s hacked into my Pinterest account and is developing her own board on what she would like her big girl room to look like. I’m very proud to say she is developing very nice taste.

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So that’s it. As you can see these rooms would not feature in House and Garden magazine but they are definately very personal and loved spaces designed specifically to suit THEM.

Blogs I love – “For the Love of a House”

It’s been almost a week since my last instalment of “Blogs I Love” – no doubt we are all suffering major interior withdrawals :). For our next fix I couldn’t go past “For the Love of a House”.

Joan lives in a 150 year old farmhouse in new Hampshire with her husband and 3 adorable rescue dogs. Joan’s home is filled with really interesting items from her previous life as an antique dealer. I think you will agree that it is absolutely drool worthy! Let’s take a look. . .

For the Love of a House
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Exterior

From the moment you walk through the front door your jaw just drops. I also really love how her house has lots of beautiful verandas around it to capture the breeze and cool the house down.

The Living Room

The Living Room is the first room you see when you walk in. The decor is soft, muted an relaxed.

The Reading Room and the Dining Room

I absolutely love the Reading Room. I fell in love with the antique fishing floats from Joan’s collection.

The corner statue’s name is Mavis  – Joan often dresses her up depending upon what time of year it is.

The Barn Room

Joan and her husband connected an old barn to the main house. Although fully renovated the Barn Room manages to be comfortable and beautiful whilst still retaining the character of its humble beginnings.

The Kitchen

Joan’s kitchen is kind of famous in blog land. She’s used marble on the island bench and soapstone on the counter tops. Soapstone is not really used in Australia but I love the green veining in it.

Her cabinets are filled with ironstone, hotel silver and everyday white plates. Like me, Joan believes in using everything including the gorgeous silver. Joan’s silver collection makes mine seem really povo (for my OS readers that is Aussie for poverty/cheap).

 

Bedrooms

The bedrooms are just all beautifully appointed. I think if I stayed the night I would never leave!

Honestly – I had real trouble picking pictures to show you. Her whole house just flows from one beautiful room to another.

You really must go on to her blog and have a look for yourself.

Cheers
Shell

* all images courtesy of For the Love of a House

Blogs I love – “The Painted Hive”

About three years ago I discovered what a “blog” is (thanks Tash).

It was like discovering “house heroin” and I was quite hooked. I couldn’t believe the creativity that some people had. The great thing was that I could get a decorating fix at any time – I didn’t have to wait until the next House & Garden magazine hit the shelves.

So like all terrible addicts, I thought I would try and get you all hooked too. Kind of like smoking behind the toilets in high school – its better in a group.

The Painted Hive

http://thepaintedhive.net/

To be honest I don’t know how I stumbled upon Kristine’s beautiful blog, but once there I never wanted to leave.

Kristine is not a professionally trained interior decorator -she is a Mum from Melbourne with extraordinary style and creativity. Absolute proof that when it comes to taste in decorating you’ve either got it or you don’t.

Kristine designs warm and welcoming rooms which don’t cost the earth. When I emailed her asking if I could feature her blog she not only said yes but was just so lovely (even said I could contact her if I ever needed advice on blogging). I think her house is a real reflection of this giving, warm spirit. I’m pretty sure that is why I was so drawn to her blog in the first place – maybe I felt the warmth behind the designs. Lets take a tour.

The entry hall. I love, love the wallpaper which sets the tone of the individuality in style which you see throughout the house.

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This is her gorgeous sitting room.

Living-Room-Collage

I admit it, I have desk envy. I wonder if I could carve out a little space like this for me at my house rather than sharing the dining room table with the kids and their homework.

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This is the Master Bedroom. Just beautiful.

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This is one of her latest painted furniture projects. I love the grey paint colour.

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There are lots of pictures I could show you but I won’t. You absolutely must check it out yourself.

Careful though – you will get hooked.

* all images courtesy of The Painted Hive

What makes a house a home?

Beautiful homes don’t happen overnight. They take time, love, thought, compromise and patience. Anyone can design a room that is pretty – creating a beautiful home is a completely different story.

Think about it. Beautiful homes tell the story of those that live there. They are “collected” rather than decorated. Homes evolve with the people that live there. They should give you a glimpse of the personality of owners. Where have they been? Who lives there? What do they value?

Sure a little part of me will always yearn for schmick and uncluttered surroundings. The feeling rears its head when I’m stepping over the kids toys or dusting my husband’s militaria collectables.

The feeling always subsides and I realise that these are the things that tell our story. That like people, something doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. I’ve come to love the chaos. I’ve even started to become a little bit of a “collector” myself .

I love the beauty of antique fishing floats. I love them even more when the light hits them and you can see the imperfections in the hand-blown glass.

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I love antique silver. When I polish my mind wanders to the story each piece could tell. I like to use all my pieces. No sitting in the cupboard and gathering dust for me. When people come to my home for dinner I want to use my silver and enjoy it. If it breaks so be it! At least it had a great send off. I don’t even care if it looks like it needs a polish!

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I love the patina of antique furniture. The solidness of their construction makes them ideal for family living (a knock from a toy car just adds character).

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I think art work should be picked because you like it – not because it matches your scatter cushions. I have a passion for antique maps and botanicals. Not only are they interesting their colours are soft and subdued.

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Yes – I have a very clear picture of what I want my house to be. The good thing is that frequently I will walk into my bedroom and find that my son has created a charming “vignette” for me on my bedside table.

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And we all know that had the Virgin Mary had access to her own corvette she could have high-tailed it out of that barn to the nearest hospital!

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But mostly all us mums know that we have a large supply of photos just like this one waiting to be shared at our kids’ 21st birthday parties.

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Reaching for the Magic

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Finding beauty in the everyday

Welcome to my little corner of the digital world – Reaching for the Magic.

For many years I have been toying with the idea of creating a blog about all the passions that make my life a little bit “magic”. If ever there was a statement that summed up my outlook on life “Reaching for the Magic” is it.

I am a true believer that a life is best led when you put aside your fears of failure and reach for something better. That you may land flat on your face many times, but that sometimes you might just surprise yourself. If I am honest with myself I have been waiting too long for all the stars to align before jumping in. I’ve been making excuses – I don’t really have any spare time at all; I’m really just an ordinary kind of gal living an ordinary life; what do I know; what happens if everyone thinks my blog really sucks and isn’t worth reading? I’ve decided to put those voices to rest and finally practice what I preach and “reach” for it!

So who am I? I’m an Inner West Mum from Australia who works part-time. I have been married to “Mr imperfect but perfect for me” for 15 years. Together we have two beautiful, but sometimes trying, children. We have a crazy but great family and friends that we treasure. I love my life and I have much to be thankful for. Like all women my life is busy and hectic but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This blog is about keeping real. Some things work – some things don’t. Sometimes the dinner party meal is restaurant quality – sometimes its not. Sometimes that DIY project comes up a treat – sometimes it doesn’t. The garden that I love and nurture sometimes looks amazing – sometimes it looks like it belongs to the Adams Family. Sometimes the kids make me burst with pride – sometimes I find myself retrieving the Ninja Turtle from the toilet s-bend. The magic is in the journey and loving life no matter how imperfect it is.