Hi all, sorry I've been M.I.A. for a few days now! I just got back from Australia on Friday night and have been recovering from my jet lag, reading my mountain of mail, paying my bills, and washing my laundry. On top of that it's back to work tomorrow for the start of the school year, so new posts as soon as I have a moment to come up for air. Stay tuned!

A Modern and Elegant Bedroom

Another Nestie recently wrote:

I need help with my bedroom. It is so plain, boring and empty right now.

I love color (not crazy about the red right now) but I also love neutrals. I'd like some ideas for window treatments, bedding, wall color, decor and something in the sitting area (chaise and table, etc). I love the lamps I currently have, so please keep those! According to the Sproost quiz, my style is modern elegance. I totally agree. Thanks!!!!

Color plus neutrals with a twist of modern elegance? Sounds like a recipe for an amazing space! Here's what I came up with:

(Click to make larger)

Update - The homeowner wrote:

WOOOOW! I LOVE IT!!!! The colors are great and it is my style perfectly! The bedding is just like something I was looking at recently! I love the chaise and side table! And the chandelier is soooo nice!

Thank you soooo much! I will be working on my room over the next few months and let you know when its finished.

Bedding - Restoration Hardware
Paint – Behr Mirage White
Drapes - Crate & Barrel
Art - Ballard Designs
Wall Decal - Metropolitan Decor
Candle Sconce (not pictured) - Pottery Barn
Patterned Pillow - Bobby Berk Home
Chocolate Pillow - Crate & Barrel
Green Rectangular Pillow - CB2
Metallic Pillow (not pictured) - Bobby Berk Home
Lighting - Sears
Chaise - IKEA
Side Table - Crate & Barrel
Floor Mirror - Crate & Barrel
Branch D├ęcor (not pictured) - Velocity Art & Design
Branch Decor (not pictured) - Aqua
Black Wood Grain Rug - Garnet Hill

Sea Fans - I'm a Fan

I'm really loving sea fans right now. My mantel really needed something, and I already have flowers and didn't want candles, twigs, or branches. I found these inspiration photos and decided that sea fans would be perfect:

So I bought a couple of sea fans on Ebay and need to find some sort of vase/base for them now. If I can't find anything I'll ask my father-in-law or the hubster to make something. Stay tuned!

Cool Marries Warm

Nestie Kiki recently wrote:

I could definitely use some help. The room I am really struggling with right now is our family room. Pictured is the previous owner's stuff but it shows the layout:

Everything else shown is what we are keeping in the room:

According to the Sproost quiz, I am modern elegance meets classic. I tend to like cool colors: aqua, light blue, light green, cream, white paired with either white wood tones or dark rich mahogany wood tones. But since this isn't completely my house we do have warmer furniture then I would pick personally.

I would love to marry what I like with what we have. Styles I like include This Young House, Pure Design (HGTV), Crate and Barrel, Restoration Hardware. We picked the rug because it has a lot of color in it, but also has warm and cool tones. I hope that helps.
I really need help with paint and window coverings that will keep the palette soft and cool, but will work with our furniture and rug. If you're up for the challenge, I could really use help. Thanks!!!

Marry the cool and warm tones and add a splash of modern elegance? Can do! Here is the plan:

(Click to make larger)

Paint - Restoration Hardware Pale Silver
Drapes - Crate & Barrel
Solid Pillow - Crate & Barrel
Octagon Pillows - Bobby Berk Home
Patterned Pillow - Room & Board
Wall Art - Crate & Barrel
Gold Swirls Print - Ballard Designs
Mirrors - Ballard Designs
Chandelier - Lowes
Chair Option 1 (not pictured) - Overstock
Chair Option 2 - Room & Board
Coffee Table - CB2
Accent Tables - West Elm
Table Lamps - Rooms to Go
Candlestick Holder - IKEA

And the Winner Is...

Amy McMean!

Congratulations - out of a total of 216 entries, chose your number - 16:

Enjoy your one-of-a-kind Michael Lynn Wherley purse:

Thanks to all who entered, and stay tuned for more FikleChik giveaways in the future! A special thanks to Mike for offering up one of his fabulous purses - if you lost out on the freebie, console yourself with a bag from his Etsy shop.

Make a Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit

I thought I'd share this great find from Lifehacker - how to make a non-toxic cleaning kit so that when mom cleans, kids don't have to don one of these:

And it's soooo easy! Definitely worth checking out!

A Lazy Day at the Lagoon

On our second day down unda, we visited a lagoon about five minutes from the H-House:

There were beautiful paths all through the lagoon - perfect for viewing the foliage and wildlife:

(Click to make larger)

The birds and flowers were beautiful and exotic to us 'Seppos' as they call Americans here - something to do with the saying, 'Yank, Yank, septic tank'? LOL - not a good thing to be called that's for sure! It's all in good fun though.

A little drained from the sun, the walk, and jet lag, we went back to the house for some R&R:

As you can see, my sister created another painting for her pool room - a giant Roy Lichtenstein with a favorite phrase of her and her Aussie friends - 'Epic Fail!' (Perfect for the pool table when you screw up royally.)

And while the rest played, my mom and aunt were hard at work teaching my sister how to make a favorite home recipe - Pennsylvania Dutch chicken pot pie. She missed some of our home dishes:

It's not actually a pie, but you do make it in a pot! I was too hungry to think to take a photo of the actual dish, so here's is one from the blog of a friend of mine - Kelly from Kelly Cooks (and Other Amazing Feats):

Thanks Kelly - it looks delicious! And we finished the meal with Cape Breton Oat Cakes and tea:

They are kind of like shortbread cookies but infinitely more delicious. We made ours from scratch, but if you're not that ambitious you can order something similar here. And with our tummies full and jet lag tugging at our eyelids, we turned in for our second night at the H-House.

And here are our recipes for those curious and hungry people out there:

Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Pot Pie

  • 4 bone-in chicken split breasts
  • Chicken Boullion
  • Potatoes
  • 2C Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • Salt
  • Pepper

  • In a large pot, cover chicken with water and cook until tender
  • Cut potatoes into large chunks
Begin making pot pie dough:
  • Mix flour, eggs, and salt & pepper (to taste)
  • Add water and stir with a fork until proper consistency (a little sticky)
  • Spread flour on work surface and roll out dough
  • Cut dough into squares
  • Add chicken boullion to chicken broth
  • Remove chicken from bone
  • Add potatoes and chicken to the pot and bring to a boil
  • Slowly add dough squares to the pot
  • Cook all until potatoes are tender

Cape Breton Oat Cakes

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cups white sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1.5 cups shortening
  • 3/4 cup cold water

  • Combine rolled oats, flour, sugar, salt, and soda.
  • Work in shortening as if for pastry
  • Moisten with water and knead to combine
  • Roll dough out thing using rolled oats and flour on the board
  • Cut into squares using a sharp knife
  • Score each square in the center
  • Bake on ungreased sheet in 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes
  • Enjoy!

Weardrobe for my Wardrobe

A few of my favs that I've found while perusing Weardrobe:

I love all the girly dresses and skirts - I need to beef up that portion of my wardrobe for sure!

Harbour Lunch

My sister and her hubby live about 20-30 minutes from the Harbour Beach in Mackay, so we all drove out for lunch seaside. The ocean here is beautiful, but deadly. It currently is not stinger season, but you can still definitely get stung in the water. They have antidote along with a warning sign as you enter the beach in case of a sting:

We will be snorkeling and scubaing in a few days and will all be wearing stinger suits, but it is still a little scary! Here was the beautiful beach entrance:

After checking out the beach we stopped at a seaside cafe for a bit of lunch. I had a mince burger (hamburger) Aussie style with beet root and egg. (Although I ended up giving my beet root to my sister). My sister's father-in-law is very knowledgable about the area and was like our tour guide for the day. (He also gave us some great advice on how to eat a paw-paw from the tropical fruit trees in his backyard - more on that to come!)

The water is actually quite warm. Even though it is their winter here, it is really more like May back home. And considering it never really gets cold, the water tends to retain the warmth well.

Can you tell we're excited to be here?

We ended the day with tea at the in-laws' and some curried sausage for dinner. It was my first time trying curry and it was actually quite good! Not nearly as spicy as I had expected. Here is another recipe for you from down unda (sorry some is in metric):

Curried Sausages
  • 800g thick beef sausages
  • 20g butter
  • 1 medium brown onion, chopped coarsely
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons plain flour
  • 2 large carrots, chopped coarsely
  • 2 trimmed celery stalks, chopped coarsely
  • 500g new potatoes, halved
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

  • Cook sausages, in batches, in heated deep large frying pan until cooked through. Cut each sausage into thirds.
  • Melt butter in same cleaned pan; cook onion, stirring, until soft. Add curry powder and flour; cook, stirring, 2 minutes.
  • Add vegetables and stock; bring to the boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add sausages; simmer, uncovered, until sauce thickens slightly. Stir in parsley.

FikleChik Freebie!

Michael Lynn Wherley - Handmade Originals

I love how technology allows you to reconnect with old friends. I came across the Etsy shop of one of my high school classmates on Facebook the other day and fell in love with his handmade bags!
Even in high school he was incredibly creative. He had a love of fashion design and would actually sew his own designs (with his mom's help) for classmates to wear to homecoming and prom. He even had a fashion show during our school's Arts Festival our senior year.

After being voted Prom King and winning a scholarship for art, it was no surprise that he went on to earn a degree in fashion design from the Art Institute of Philadelphia. He now designs for Puma. I am always so impressed when people have a true love of something and go after it. Congrats Mike on all of your success!

So onto the contest - one lucky reader will get to choose their prize from my favorite MLW bags. Here are a few of my fav's from his shop:

Fun & Funky -

Natural and Neutral:

Contest rules:

What you win - Your choice of one MLW Bag featured above

3 Ways to Enter -
  • Leave a comment telling us which featured bag is your fav = 1 entry
  • Become a FikleChik follower and leave a comment telling us which featured bag is your fav (leave a note in your comment that you became a follower. Current FikleChik followers will automatically be entered this way if you comment) = 5 entries
  • Blog about the giveaway and leave a comment telling us which featured bag is your fav (don't forget to include a link to your blog post in your comment and each blog entry MUST link back to this article and should be no-followed since this isn’t about SEO tricks) = 10 entries
How is the Winner Chosen?
How Long Do I Have to Enter?
  • Entries will be accepted until 11:59 PM EDT on Thursday, August 13th. The winner will be chosen and announced on Friday, August 14th.
The Fine Print
  • Only residents of the U.S. and Canada are eligible. One entry per person. Spam entries will not be counted. Spam entries are determined at the sole discretion of FikleChik. For blog-based entries, the blog must be a legitimate blog and not a “spam” blog, or a blog set up purely for the purpose of entering contests. All rules are subject to change without notice.

Orange + Storage + Tweed = Love

I think this ottoman from Urban Outfitters would look fabulous in my living room and feel fabulous on my feet and store my cozy blankets...fabulously!

My birthday is in...oh...a little less than 8 months! Some people shop early for these things, right? Or maybe Santa can fit it in his sleigh...if not maybe these smaller storage cubes:


Shopping in Oz

With my sister and brother-in-law's Australian reception coming up, the girls decided to go shopping in downtown Mackay for shoes.

We ended up in a store that not only sold fabulous shoes, but also amazing hats. I've always loved hats, although I never have anywhere to wear them, but I think I definitely tried on every hat, headband, and hair pin in the store (and loved them all):

Feathers, ribbons, bows, and sparkly sequins - every girl's dream! I think I'll need to find an event to go to so that I can wear a hat in the near future. Horse races anyone?

P.S. Stay tuned for the first FikleChik giveaway starting on Monday!!!

© A Lovely Lark All rights reserved . Layout by Blog Milk Powered by Blogger

Pin It button on image hover