/ 11.9.16

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The Shady Fig where I was obsessed over these hanging lights by Lightly.
^ The Goldfish Toy Shop - truly the best toy shop I have ever seen in Australia!

^^^ Gorgeous clothes at Mimi and The Bear
^ Roots & Wings Design
^^ Little Rae General Store and Cafe
^^ Nortje by Geraldine
^ Portugese pots I bought from Geraldine!
^ The Old Creamery Lane, home of The Treat Factory
^ My favourite piece at the Berry Museum
^^ Macadamia picking and cracking at Mountain Ridge Wines
^ Giant knitting supplies from Sew & Tell
^^ The Famous Berry Donut Van
^ Wollongong Beach
^ Two hungry monkeys at The Hungry Monkey Cafe, Kiama.
Mural by Luke Okay
^ Sometimes we need a break from our holiday.
^ On the beach at Vincentia
We spent about a week in Berry, NSW recently just relaxing, shopping, eating and taking day trips to other towns in the area.

Berry is really taking off. While we were there a property that was up for rent ended up selling to a a very forward house hunter! Locals tell me it has a lot to do with tourism and the good returns on short-stay accommodation.

Berry is not just a little country town. Apart from being the perfect mix of dairy farm charm combined with beach cool, it has established itself as a shopping and eating destination. 

In Nortje you can chat to South African born designer and maker Geraldine who makes the most beautiful clothes and sources some really stunning accessories and homewares from overseas. I bought the best Portugese pots from Geraldine and was very tempted by the beautiful colourful clutches.

Roots & Wings Design is a gorgeous store inside and out. Vines cover the heritage exterior and inside you can find all the best designers including Camilla & Marc, Josh Goot and Hansel & Gretel.

Sew & Tell is a huge craft supply store where I bought some giant knitted needles and Italian yarn for my mum for her birthday - the woman who has everything!

I loved eating at Little Rae and was really lusting over their furniture, a lot of which appeared to me made out of recycled Oregon. You can see and order pieces via Hardwood by Hand.

The Shady Fig is a florist and giftware store that had the best hanging lights by Lightly. I loved their tangled black and white table cords. They tied in the the flowers and foliage really well and provided a sculptural interest. So great. 

The Goldfish Toy Shop really is the best toy shop I have ever seen. It is like a big luxe barn with high ceilings and only the best quality toys. Take an hour to marvel in this shop.

Mimi and The Bear is a kids clothing and accessories shop with an excellent selection of Tutu Du Monde dresses. They had the cutest kids cowboy boots and I was really tempted!

More about food...
- We had a great meal the Berry Hotel in their cosy family dining room with open fireplace. I loved gazing at the exposed brick walls with its hand-made 1800s bricks.
The Treat Factory is located in Old Creamery Lane and comes complete with a vista of gorgeous dairy cows. 
- And you really can't go past the Famous Berry Donut Van because hot donuts.

And everyone in Berry is SO FRIENDLY. 

Some of the places we visited and enjoyed around Berry:
- The Hungry Monkey Cafe in Kiama
- Lunch, wine and macadamia picking and cracking at Mountain Ridge Wines - the best fries I have ever had!
- Vincentia Beach with ice creams
- Lunch on Wollongong beach 
- Eating and shopping in Bowral

Keep an eye out for my next post all about the famous Berry Markets!



/ 9.9.16

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I post my cake toppers and craft supplies all over the world. Every once in a while I get a big surprise to see where they end up!

Check out this gorgeous modern dinosaur themed birthday party created by Jacquelyn of Beijos Events for her son Court.

I loved seeing the beautiful photos on her blog and in particular how wonderful my big green brontosaurus and navy blue number 2 cake toppers looked on the cake on that beautiful sunny day.

Jacquelyn has let me share some photos here on my blog from the day. Her styling is second-to-none and you can see more details from the party on her blog.

All photos by Kelsey Albright.


/ 7.9.16

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This year I joined the Parents Association for my daughter's preschool in a fundraising role. We decided to try something different this year and we are holding a Market Day on 6 November 2016 from 10am - 2pm.

We are selling lots of crafts, including christmas crafts, handmade homewares, gelato, sausage sizzle,  bric-a-brac and preloved toys and books plus a Devonshire tea!

Some of my favourite items will be the cushions made from fabrics hand painted by the preschoolers and the cute little bird seed treats!

You can following along on all the updates on the dedicated Facebook page.



/ 1.5.16

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I love autumn, pumpkins and country towns. Put those things together and you get the Collector Pumpkin Festival. This was my second year attending and it is just such a lovely day out.

I have to eat the pumpkin scones and I have to eat the pumpkin soup. This year we lined up for the soup a little late in the day and only got one cup, but it was the last one. Lucky, lucky last!

There is lots to do at the festival apart from eating including craft and food stalls, music, races and for the kids cool activities like building a scarecrow and the hay bale maze. Good old fashioned fresh air and fun.

We came home with a bag of pumpkin scones, clothes covered in hay, tomato saucy faces and hair blown sideways. 

Gardening with half wine barrels and transplanting trees

/ 25.4.16

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As we continue to work on the drawings for our house renovation and get quotes from builders, I've started thinking about timeframes. Our front yard has a very established garden with some lovely little trees in it. Some of them will end up getting demolished when a builder clears the space for the extensions to the front of the house. Add to this that we are aiming to end up with a u-shaped house with a courtyard inside it and I decided I could save money by gradually transplanting some of the smaller trees to use after the renovation in the new courtyard. At least, I've got nothing to lose.

As the soil is still warm and weather is finally cooling off, this is my gardening plan for the remainder of autumn:

1. Transplant any photinias that would otherwise get demolished to fill the gaps in the photinia hedge at the very front of the block.
2. Transplant agapanthus that would otherwise get demolished to underplant the photinia hedge from the front, like a collar. Consider planting a long row of olive trees to contrast against the photinia hedge.
3. Transplant the dwarf orange tree, kaffir lime tree and a baby olive tree into half wine barrels. I'll be digging down 1/4 of the way around each of these little trees each week. So that after 4 weeks I should be able to move them without them going into massive shock. Doing it gradually means that even though I am cutting their big roots, they are getting time to send out little roots before I move them. I am also removing any fruit from them and pruning them back so that they do not have too many other challenges.

We bought 4 half wine barrels from Stonehenge Beltana at Pialligo and I love them so much. Apart from the fact that they are all purple inside and smell like wine, they are also made from beautiful American oak. 

They've got me thinking also about Japanese bath tubs, like Bette Midler's, and how beautiful they are too. It has been so warm here that we briefly thought to put water in the barrels we bought and plop the kids in, but they have big gaps (not sure how they held wine) and the water would be all wine coloured so probably very pleasant for an adult but not for a kid!

I've seen a lot of people gardening with wine barrels and I think the approach to planting in them has to be something similar to choosing a lampshade for a lamp base: the diameter of the plant canopy and the wine barrel needs to echo each other. 

I'll be preparing the wine barrels by drilling 5 largish drainage holes in the bases then spraying them with apple cider vinegar to kill off any fungal things that might distress the plants we put in them.

So fingers crossed that all these plants that I planted over the years - some heavily pregnant in the winter - survive the transplant!

the creative muster. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.