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Belinda Graham: Favorite Things

August 11, 2009

A few of my favorite things: Belinda Graham

Hey guys! I’m Belinda Graham from The Happy Home blog based in Australia and I’m here to share a few snippets of my home with you while Holly is settling back into life in Germany. I’m a freelance writing, mother of two, would-be decorator and constant redecorator. Several years ago, my husband and I bought the worst house in one of the best streets metres from a beautiful waterfront reserve on the central coast of NSW – an hour and a half north of Sydney, Australia. We’ve been renovating on and off since (we like to take our time) and seeing as Holly’s request for a guest post coincided with another major work, here are a few corners of my home not covered in dust or the contents of the junk room, and that just happen to contain a few of my favourite things…

Belinda Graham: Favorite Things

My hallstand – I call this the “love spot” as it’s filled with items that we love or that represent love! It’s essentially our hallstand as we don’t have a foyer (our front door opens into the living room) but I didn’t want the usual coat hook and shoe rack as it’s part of the living room so I made the practical (my handbags fit inside my market bag and a tray holds my keys and sunnies) blend with the pretty and the meaningful as much as I could. The table is a sewing machine table that belonged to my husband’s grandmother, the lantern was a gift from my hubby, the Welsh wooden love spoon was a wedding gift and of course the LOVE letters say it loud and clear. All together, it creates a feel-good space for me and one that I’m constantly changing – the recessed shelves call out for latest purchases to be displayed, so it does get revamped quite often!

Belinda Graham: Favorite Things

My kids room – The day I started painting the outline for this silhouette was the day we decided to create two bedrooms out of one so my son Zak, two and a half, and daughter Layla, 13 months, could have a room each. But, determined to put my original plan for this room into action, I finished decorating it – just in time for them to move out (which they will next week!) The neighbourhood skyline was inspired by a picture from VT Wonen – I used chalkboard paint though because it’s the best black colour and I like how the yellow chair pops against it. I love this room because we have so much fun in it and because both bubs contributed to the decorating. I painted stars on their ceiling while Zak “held” the ladder, he helped me glue the bunting papers together and the leaves on the tree and Layla helped me paint the wall by smudging the black paint with the arm of her sleeve. They also have their own art displayed on the other side – they drew all over little wooden birdhouses. So it was a joint effort. And I love hearing Zak tell me stories about who lives in each house and which one is his “favourite”, which changes every time!

Belinda Graham: Favorite Things

My deck – This is possibly my favourite place to be. Our deck runs the length of our L-shaped house and is essentially a playroom for the kids. It gets the sun all day and because our front yard is contained and all useable (we live on a battleaxe block), it’s private, peaceful and the perfect chill-out zone. And I live in that chair – soo comfy. Combine that with the tinkling of the shell chimes, the kookaburras singing in the tree and a good magazine and I’m in heaven.

Belinda Graham: Favorite Things

My bookshelf – This is a recent addition – I’m still deciding whether or not to paint it white. But I love bookshelves – stashes of books give a house a real homey feel and give a little insight to the personality of the owners and their interests and passions. It’s also so easy to make them look good – a few knick knacks here and there creates a little interest. What I love most about this is I now have a place for Steve’s old encyclopedias. Our son Zak is such a bookworm and is much more interested in these books than he is his own. He knows so much about the world already just by having these within his reach and is often found sitting here thumbing through one, waiting for someone to walk past so he can demand they read him a page or two! Layla is also a big book fan so I dedicated the bottom shelf to kids reading material.

Belinda Graham: Favorite Things

My bedroom dresser –  I’ve got a big passion for craft and sewing at the moment and this space reflects that, especially seeing as my grandmother’s dressmaker mannequin sits to the left of it covered in my jewellery. This space started with my pinning a loose button that fell of my husband’s shirt onto the pinboard as a reminder to sew it back on. Then I liked the look, so my little jar of loose buttons was raided for similar colours and I built it from there (and, um, still haven’t sewn the button on his shirt!). I’m not great with colour in my home – I’m a brown, white and black kind of girl – but I decided to indulge my favourite colour combo I’ve loved since a kid: purple and yellow. It’s also a safe home to one of my most prized possessions: the little green book is a lyric birthday book passed down from my great, great grandmother. It’s got a song lyric for every birthday and I love seeing the old calligraphy from my ancestors. It’s so old and is falling apart and I need it away from tiny little hands that want to read it…

I’m inspired by…
Many things and many people, which makes it hard to narrow it down. I think at this stage of my life, I’m inspired by the past. I’m exhausted by the pace of the world and want to slow it down a little and live a simpler life. But it’s hard – especially with hourly distractions like blogs and twitter! I blogged about this a while back … Recently, I had a mini freak out about what skills I’d pass down to my children. Aside from crash courses in the basics every now and then, I wasn’t taught how to sew, knit or crochet, to garden or make bread. We’re just not taught the same things our grandparents and parents were – we have to want to learn them now. I want my kids to dip their selves into two eras – be of today’s technological world but with sound knowledge of the old one where people were self-sufficient. This means spending as much time with them as possible teaching them our skills and learning new ones together, creating and reading and exploring and discovering in our yard and around the world. Having less toys and TV and more library trips and loungeroom danceathons. I think that’s why I’m drawn to the women behind Inchmark and Katie Did – they seem like the coolest, funnest (is that a word) women and mums who have managed to bring aspects of the past into the now in a modern, cool way. I aspire to be like them in my crafting, my sewing and my home life.

My best advice…
Trust your heart, your gut, yourself. In every way, from work choices to parenting to decorating, I try and abide by this. I’ve tried following the so-called “rule books” for all these things, but in the end, if I know what I like, what I want and what I think is best, why shouldn’t I go with that? I’m not saying ignore other signals or advice, but we get these feelings for a reason and I think we need to trust and believe in ourselves more.

Many thanks for having me as a guest Holly – enjoy the fun and games that come with moving house and most of all, enjoy a little break! And thank you decor8 readers for, well, reading! –Belinda x

(images: belinda graham)

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26 Comments

  • Reply Jamie Watson August 11, 2009 at 9:11 am

    I really loved this post and was inspired by it! Thank you.
    .-= Jamie Watson´s last blog ..Hello =-.

  • Reply Martha August 11, 2009 at 9:12 am

    If you don’t already own a copy of the Jolly Postman, fellow commenters, you should probably order one right now (see bottom shelf in 2nd-to-last picture).
    .-= Martha´s last blog ..Fish Tacos =-.

  • Reply Sarah August 11, 2009 at 9:18 am

    What a beautiful home! I love the little sewing display you’ve created with your buttons, thread and books. I know exactly what you mean about wanting to recapture and pass on the skills from earlier, simpler times. Thanks so much for sharing!
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..Daily Blossom =-.

  • Reply Melissa de la Fuente August 11, 2009 at 9:52 am

    SO incredibly sweet and lovely….your home is so lovely, cheerful and comfy! Thank you so much for sharing it with us!
    xo
    Melis
    .-= Melissa de la Fuente´s last blog ..Wow… =-.

  • Reply Kim August 11, 2009 at 10:24 am

    I love the letter figures in the first photo and the clock on your porch! Your home is lovely!
    .-= Kim´s last blog ..Country Air =-.

  • Reply Lisa August 11, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    I love the vignette on your bedroom dresser and the mural you painted for the kid’s room. I also like your idea for stashing your purse in your “entry”, I may have to steal that, as I don’t have a proper foyer either. Very lovely home!
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..Beautiful House =-.

  • Reply marissa August 11, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Where can I find that door mat on the porch? This is the second time I’ve seen it somewhere and love it. Any one have a clue?

    • Reply decor8 August 11, 2009 at 1:12 pm

      Marissa – me too! I wonder the same thing…

  • Reply Winter August 11, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Love it! And the thought of a Kookaburra singing makes that chair sound especially lovely- even though Ihave not a clue what that sounds like:)

  • Reply Winter August 11, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Oh and on the mat- that “style” of knot tying is called the “lover’s knot” and I saw lots of them on line to buy when I googled- you can make them fairly easily also…assuming you have a good book on knots. A little variation can be a tribet as well. Lately I have seen several of the “monkey’s fist” knots sold as door stops- for way more than you need to pay- it just takes a rock, some rope and little sea chanty…with a little fanigleing these are both fairly easy to make.

  • Reply Adrian August 11, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    I’m in love with the kids bedroom. So different and creative! And your advice is wonderful and so true.

  • Reply jen August 11, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    Beautiful Belinda! Your blog entries always make me smile. You are a ray of sunshine! Thank you. xxx

    *Love the redecorating bit – thats me :)
    .-= jen´s last blog ..Madmen yourself … =-.

  • Reply belinda August 11, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    hi guys! many thanks for all your comments!
    martha – you’re right. Jolly Postman is a great book. also for big kids (that’d be parents. I bought it for me!)
    marissa and holly, i’d been eyeing off the mat for a while and kept forgetting to buy it and then i walked into the worst looking cheapie store ever and found it for $15. but you can get online here: http://alfrescoemporium.com.au/index.asp?p=store&r=63 i think they ship internationally.
    winter – a kookaburra actually “laughs”. i realised afterwards they don’t sing.. and hard to describe – any other aussies want to take a crack? – but kind of like a cross between a monkey’s sound and a witch’s cackle. which might not sound like a great combo, but it really is lovely!
    .-= belinda´s last blog ..little things… =-.

  • Reply marissa August 11, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Thank you Winter! Having a name for that type of mat helps me so much. : )

  • Reply alex*strawberry lemonade August 11, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    This was so lovely….but I especially loved your childrens’ room! That silhouette mural is amazing! How cute that your son likes to talk about all the different people who live in each house!!
    .-= alex*strawberry lemonade´s last blog ..It’s time to retro LIMBO! =-.

  • Reply miss mellie August 11, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    i love that blacck chalkboard wall!! did you create the sihouette yourself?

  • Reply Alison Gibbs August 11, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    Belinda thanks for sharing your beautiful home with us. Love the kids room
    Alison
    .-= Alison Gibbs´s last blog ..LOVE THE MAIL MAN =-.

  • Reply Hilary August 12, 2009 at 3:30 am

    Oh my..your home is just gorgeous. Thank you for sharing it.
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Foxford Woollen Mills =-.

  • Reply Viv August 12, 2009 at 5:23 am

    As always Belinda, beautiful photos and a gorgeous house. It looks so warm and comfortable. I want to move in there. I can handle dust, hehe.
    .-= Viv´s last blog ..Craving: Have You Met Miss Jones =-.

  • Reply Penny Patten August 12, 2009 at 9:19 am

    How perfect to have a LOVE corner, really like the little niches, and your childrens room is darling.
    .-= Penny Patten´s last blog ..So our Chicken Coop is complete! =-.

  • Reply Richa August 12, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Belinda,

    This is a lovely post. Love your home – very soothing color palette. I am afraid of going too simple, I feel there should be more color…but your house looks so warm and inviting even with the white and brown.

    I loved the letterings in the first picture (lovely to break it up) and also in the bookcase. You are a natural.

    Richa
    (ps: have I used the words ‘love’ and ‘lovely’ too often? Couldn’t help it. :)
    .-= Richa´s last blog ..Aug 12, My Wensday Toy Bin – Magical Rooms from Room Magic =-.

    • Reply decor8 August 12, 2009 at 12:03 pm

      Richa – I think I’m rubbing off on you – I say lovely and love ALL THE TIME. :) :) :)

  • Reply sarah August 12, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    super gorgeousness, i would love to have such a calm collected home!
    .-= sarah´s last blog ..little pocket mermaid =-.

  • Reply belinda August 12, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    miss mellie – I did the silhouette myself by hand. i copied some of the house styles/tree from the VT wonen pic but made up the others myself. I just drew it on the wall with pencil, outlined it in paint and coloured it in. i don’t recommend painting something that detailed with chalkboard paint though. incredibly painful!! up close it’s rather bumpy!
    .-= belinda´s last blog ..a few of my favourite things =-.

  • Reply Johanna August 17, 2009 at 7:29 am

    I love this blog! It’s filled with amazing ideas and gives me tons of inspiration.

    Greatings from Sweden!

  • Reply RobbieLee August 26, 2009 at 10:57 am

    I love your Silhouette Nursery so much, I’m going to do a Blog posting on it with a link back here to share with my readers! Very creative and clever!
    http://www.chickiedee.com/blog
    .-= RobbieLee´s last undefined ..If you register your site for free at =-.

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