Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Home Tour: Captains Cottage

I am so fortunate to be on a little family holiday this week in beautiful Batemans Bay. Its such a picturesque location on the New South Wales coast and I thought whilst I'm here, I would share the love and show you an amazing property located at Long Beach, which is an unspoilt hamlet just north of Batemans Bay's.

Owned by Lynne Kimmings and her family,  the Captain's Cottage was purchased in 2002 and has been lovingly transformed into an amazing five bedroom property, complete with authentic lighthouse.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Babushka Dolls Paper Art - In 5 Simple Steps

If you don't have much of an artistic streak, but desperately need some budget friendly artwork for a little girl's room or nursery, I think I can help. If you follow the free template I've provided the only crafty expertise you will need is the ability to cut and paste!

I can't claim the design of this artwork as my own, I saw this print on the Wallfry website when I was researching Miss M's nursery design and thought that, using it as inspiration, I could create my own arwork using scrapbooking paper. Wallfry have a fantastic selection of nursery prints that can be personalised too!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Retrospective DIY: Painting Perfect Wall Stripes

I've got a couple of projects that I completed around our home before this little blog was up and running, that I feel are worthy of sharing. So I've decided to do a Retrospective DIY series to get you up to speed - don't want you missing out on any of the juicy details!

The first project on the list is the striped wall I painted in Miss M's nursery before her arrival some months ago. If you've visited Coventry Lane Design before you will have seen the wall in the Cheat's DIY Cot Skirt and Swinging Bird Mobile posts. But what I wanted to do was pass on the little tricks I learnt after researching the heck out of the different methods to paint super straight, non-bleedy lines. This was one of those projects that I didn't really know was going to work until the tape was being peeled off the walls and I must say, in person these lines are super crisp. It's a technique I will definitely use for all my straight line painting in the future.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Sunny Dipped Chair

Happy Valentine's Day! Ive got a project to share with you that has nothing to do with Valentine's Day, except for the fact that I love, love, luurrrvvee the end result.
I picked up this chair from my local thrift store a little while back for $3 (yes, only $3) and it's been sitting in our garage patiently waiting for me to give it some attention. After deciding to give into my current yellow obsession, I got to work.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Happy Healthy Valentines

My hubby and I don't really celebrate Valentines Day in a big way,  it generally consists of a heartfelt card and a yummy home cooked dinner. This year I thought I'd been thrown a bit of a curve ball because my man and I are on a health kick and I thought there was no way to deliver on my dinner surprise without compromising our new diet.  But a little bit of google-ing later and I've come up with a menu that is not only low in calories, but will keep hubby happy too. I've gone with an Italian inspired menu and even with the dessert it comes in at just 16.3g of fat (710 Cal) - which is almost half the fat found in one McDonald's Big Mac - plus in my opinion my menu tastes a whole lot better!

Monday, 3 February 2014

Music to my Ears

I WISH I could play a musical instrument, but unfortunately the recorder in Primary School and the clarinet in Year 7 doesn't really qualify, especially because I wouldn't have the foggiest how to play either of them now! I'm from a very musical family, my mum is a beautiful singer, along with my Aunty, cousins and grandparents and while visiting my grandparents on the weekend Miss M had her first attempt at playing the piano. My grandparent's piano has held pride of place in their formal sitting room ever since I can remember and I have many fond memories of family sing-alongs at Christmas time and happy birthdays sung in two part harmony around that piano. It's not only a source of joy in the music it provides, but the piano is also a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. So I was wondering if the musicians out there have considered showing their instruments a little more love and bringing them out of the cupboard. I've found some beautiful examples of how instruments can be incorporated into home styling. Who knows, it may even prompt you to practice more often!

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Cheat's DIY Cot Skirt - With Pom-Poms!

One of the things on my 2014 To Do List was sew a cot skirt for Miss M's nursery. Under her cot is the perfect space to hide the baby bath she no longer fits into, as well as some of her larger toys. The problem is that it drives me CRAZY every time I walk into her room and see the disorder living under there - my solution... hide it. There are a million and one cot skirt tutorials around, so I've decided to be super lazy and create what I've called a cot 'apron'. It's basically a cot skirt with only the front panel.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Hanging Around

When I think of wall hangings, over-sized tapestry scenes, castles and grandma's cross-stitch are all images that come to mind, but it seems the old fashioned wall hanging has been given a new lease on life with some fabulous contemporary designs emerging.

The modern wall hanging is fast becoming the artwork of choice for many, adding texture and warmth to a room. This style of artwork can work well with a vast array of different styles from bohemian, to country as well as thoroughly modern spaces.

These calming tones and textures would look at home in any beach house

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Australia Day Table & DIY Flower Arrangement

Happy Australia Day to you! Australia Day just so happens to be one of my favourite holidays, and it reminds me of why I love living in Australia - summer sun, barbecues, relaxing by the water and catching up with friends.

I really like to keep things simple when it comes to entertaining at our house on Australia Day, so unlike other holiday celebrations there are no formal invitations, no specially prepared menus or even a great deal of themed decoration. There is, however, one thing that I always love to have in my house when I'm expecting company, and that's fresh flowers. I'm by no means a florist, but I do have a few tricks that I thought I'd share with you to turn a bunch of flowers into a pretty arrangement.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

DIY Swinging Bird Mobile

I'm proud to say that I have officially ticked off one of the things on my 2014 To Do List and I must admit I'm pretty chuffed with the results.

Up until now poor Miss M has been mobile-less, as a result of her arriving two weeks early and rudely cutting into my nesting / crafting / setting up the nursery time. She is as impatient as her mother it seems. You will be pleased to know that she has given her new mobile the seal of approval with a very large grin and some baby babble that I'm sure translates to - "I'm so impressed!". So without further ado, please find below my swinging bird mobile tutorial for you to try yourself.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Our Mind's Made Up

Before Christmas I wrote about our dilemma in relation to what flooring we should use for the covered patio area at the rear of our house. This area was designed specifically as an outdoor room to be an extension of our living zone. We were careful to have the area covered under the same roof line as the house, so that it doesn't feel like an afterthought. The only problem is that its had no flooring since we moved in and as such, is a completely unusable dust bowl.

So, after much debate over the last few weeks, my man and I have finally reached our decision on the best flooring solution for our patio and the winner is (drum roll please) - tiles laid on a concrete slab. We have changed our minds so many times since moving into our home, and the reason we finally decided on tile went a little like this:

Timber Deck

While I love, love, luuurrrve a timber deck, we did have one at our previous home and know from personal back breaking experience that the up-keep is never ending. Our block also backs onto a nature reserve, so under current bush fire laws, that would have meant applying for special planning permission through our local Council, adding to the costs.

My other concern was in relation to our existing bamboo flooring in the room directly adjacent to the patio and how two competing timbers would "flow". You see we have strand woven bamboo floors inside in a coffee colour that look like this, but the decking that we both like (and is within our budget) is merbau which is much redder by comparison - as you can see here. This would mean a somewhat confused collection of timber flooring.



Paving would have solved the timber clash, but would have involved lots of excavation works, leading to a somewhat sunken patio. Pavers also come with their own up-keep challenges ie. grass/weeds growing in joints, uneven pavers over time and they are typically more porous than tile meaning they will hold water for longer and also absorb more stains - probably not a good idea in an area where we will be eating and drinking!

So tiles it is! The first step in the process is concreting the slab on which the tiles will (eventually) be laid. But until I get around to organising said concreter, here are some tiled patios that are definitely worth a look.

via Pinterest Source Unknown

via Pinterest Source Unknown

It's hard to imagine that our dirt covered patio will ever eventuate into something even remotely as beautiful as these examples, but I guess you have to start somewhere! Stay tuned for the next installment of our patio progress.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Yummy Anzac Biscuit Recipe

As you know my mum has been visiting for the week and one of the super lovely things she does to spoil our little family while she is here, is bake up a storm. She indulges us in everything from biscuits and cakes to lasagne and hearty minestrone. I know when my husband and I lived with mum and dad for a couple of months we stacked on the kilos as a result of all her wonderful cooking. But I'm certainly not complaining - a house filled with the smell of freshly baked biscuits is such a treat. I thought I'd share the love and fill you in on one of mum's yummy recipes, that not only taste so good, but smell fantastic too!

My mum gave me this recipe book when I moved out of home many years ago and it contains some of her most loved recipes. It must have been quite difficult for mum to transcribe most of the recipes in the book because she generally bakes from memory. She's not a fan of measuring cups or precision when it comes to her cooking, its all done by feel and years of practice - I'm so jealous!

Anzac Biscuit Recipe


  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup dessicated coconut
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 2 teaspoons bi-carb of soda
  • 125g butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon, ginger and mixed spice


  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees (160 fan forced).
  • Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl (except the bi-carb of soda).
  • Melt butter, golden syrup and water together in the microwave. When mixture is bubbling, add the bi-carb of soda.
  • Add wet mixture to dry and mix to combine.
  • Spoon balls onto two trays lined with baking paper.
  • Cook for 20 minutes, until biscuits have browned.

These biscuits are chewy and moist and I love the way mum gives them a free-form, rustic sort of shape. You can make them as big or as small as you like.

I know that Anzac Day is still a few months away, but there's no reason why we can't enjoy these yummy biscuits at any time of the year.

Friday, 10 January 2014

The Deal with Teal

My beautiful mum is here visiting us for the long weekend and mentioned that she would like to re-do one of the bedrooms at her house as a guest bedroom. Coming up with a colour scheme is the first point of business for her and something I jumped at the chance to discuss and help out with. My mum is far more adventurous in the colour department than I am and already has one of the walls painted a dark teal colour. The room she is transforming is quite large by modern Australian house standards so is more than capable of pulling off the dark colour on one wall. However, in order to make the room feel like it belongs to the rest of the house the remaining walls will be kept in a much lighter shade and Ive suggested adding a pop of contrast colour to the mix for some fun.

Trying to find a suitable accent with a colour as strong as dark teal can be difficult. Too much additional colour and the place will look like a circus, to little and it will just look like a big dominant teal wall.

So, Ive put together some inspiration to see what colours can happily co-exist with a dark teal wall.

via Marie Claire Maison

Teal and fuschia - not for the faint hearted. This pic actually draws on the jewel tone trend grouping colours that resemble well known gemstones. With a high level of colour saturation, this look is very dynamic and distinctive.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

I Promise I've Been Busy

Well it may not seem like I've been very busy over these last couple of days, what with the lack of posts and all, but for those of you have visited me previously you will see that I now have a new blog template - and isn't it pretty. I reasoned that if I was going to be talking about style and decorating, I had to get my own spaces looking fantastic first.

I kept with the same colour scheme which happens to be my favourite colour combo of Duck Egg Blue, Gold, Grey and lots and lots of White. When I start showing you bits and pieces of my home you will see that I don't stray too far from these colours when it comes to styling my own home. But what I have done for this blog is modernise and de-clutter the look a bit so that what you're reading is the focus, rather than all the background noise.

So what attracts us to certain colours? I know when choosing a colour palette for something as personal as your own home, the decision can be somewhat emotional. Because lets face it, your stuck staring at those wall colours or those floor tiles on a daily basis.

On a subconscious level colours can have an effect on our mood. They can calm, invigorate or even insight passion! Lets have a quick look at some of the different attributes of colours.

Reliable, balanced, organised and practical. They work by evoking a sense of stability.

Passionate, strong, energetic, exciting, powerful and even aggressive.

Young, vigorous, relaxing, safe, hopeful and "apparently" makes you inclined to eat less - hence the green colour scheme at Sizzler. This one could just be an old wives tale!

Reassuring, uplifting, tranquil, intelligent and loyal, but sometimes cold and sad.

Joyful, optimistic, attention-grabbing, radiant and uplifting, but overdone can be somewhat overwhelming.

Elegant, sensual, spiritual, mysterious, magical as well as a little decadent (evidenced by all the chocolate companies choosing this colour for their wrappers!

I find colour psychology fascinating and its definitely something to consider when deciding on your colour scheme. Do you have a particular colour you're drawn to?

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Snap Happy

I'm an avid photography lover, but have never been particularly good at it and with the arrival of my little girl I have decided I need to pick up my photography game. Photos can often say so much than more words, so I'm hoping improved photos will also help with my tutorials and general story-telling for Coventry Lane Design.

At the moment I tend to use my smartphone for all of my pics, simply because of the fact that the camera we bought last year is TERRIBLE! I'm definitely in the 'point and shoot' category and the camera we have takes the most washed out photos, even when I'm using the right scene setting. We previously had a Panasonic Lumix (no idea of what model, but it was some years ago) until it died. We took this camera overseas with us and it took a great photo with no knowledge of the settings or photography required. These are a couple I took while in Italy...

I think they came up a treat for someone who is the complete novice category.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to you all and welcome to 2014 with Coventry Lane Design. I haven't been blogging long enough to be able to do a "best of 2013", so I thought I might do a New Years resolution list of things I'd like to achieve around the house for the coming year. It will be so interesting to look back at the beginning of 2015 to see just how much I've managed to tick off!

I thought it might also be a nice sneak peak into what types of projects you can expect from me. A little bit of furniture restoration, a little bit of sewing and craft and of course some general home styling.