Thursday, 26 December 2013

Merry Christmas and all the rest!

 Merry Christmas from Cattle and Cushions for 2013.

May 2014 be sensational for you all!

We did some family stuff on both sides in the lead up to Christmas, and hung out at my side of the family on the actual day. It was quite nice to not have to travel anywhere, and we have been pretty relaxed since the big family dinners are now over for another year.

Travelling was totally out of the question for us in the thick of these hot, dry times unless everyone came to us. And it was really nice to hang in the pool and lie about in the air-con for a few days. And it was too hot to do anything else anyway. Had a couple of days where it got to 40 degrees and the cold climate relatives could really feel the heat here.

I was lucky enough to score this gorgeous marble cheese board and beautiful bowls to go with it. I found the Brahman placed on there by the little one. He loves his farm set and he is always playing little games with trucks and animals.

Also scored some home grown organic garlic from my Sister-in-law. She has an amazing vegie patch at her house.

And the garlic is amazing!

Love my lights!

Everyone brought the food, and it was so amazing! Turkey, ham and salads were the order of the day. Too hot for a full hot lunch out here!

The younger kids had their own table.

I made half a ham just for us on Christmas Eve. It is a Bourbon glazed ham. Just so I don't have to cook for the next week or so. I predict in two more days everyone will start jacking up on another ham meal, so I am milking it as much as I can!

More ham anyone?

This was our esky after two days of solid Christmassing.  It was chock-a-block when we filled it. I think we bought a bit too much grog, but New Year will soon be upon us anyway. Detox will be on it's way then when the guilt sets in!

Merry Christmas everyone and hope your holidays were full of food, fun and copious amounts of champagne!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Orchid pics

I have been absent from the blog for a while and while I have wanted to post for a while, life gets in the way!

Here's some gratuitous orchid pics.....

I am really into these phalanopsis orchids at the moment. They last for months and look so stunning! They don't mind being dry in their pots so they are easy care too. I have them scattered all over my house. I bought a couple last year. One died, but I think it got too wet. I have not figured out the secret to get them to bloom again for the next year, but they are alive and healthy.

These ones I bought from Big W about a month ago. They don't always have them, so when they do I snap them up quick smart!

Anyone else an Phal orchid lover?

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Christmas is coming

How did it come around so quick?

I am not really organised, and before I knew it, it is here!

The boys put up the Christmas tree and I have been going full Clark Griswold with the lights. I tried last year to do lights on my pergola, but I don't think I thought it through properly, as half of them fell down in the wind and I ended up with black electrical tape everywhere.

So this year I discovered cable ties. I know, how on earth did it take me so long? And I discovered that if they aren't long enough, you can add another one on so you get the right length - revolutionary!

The things you learn in the hardware shop!

I spent all of last night putting them up, I love them - just like my own little fairyland.

I only wish that I could finish painting the pergola, it is too hot now - will have to wait until next autumn. S

LED lights are amazing, and are low on power usage aren't they?

Our tree is one I bought when H was about 2. It has been fairly good, but the plastic needles are starting to fall off everywhere.
I'm not really into chopping down a tree just for Christmas. And our pine trees are a bit ratty with the dry anyway.

I have been making clay tags at my ceramics class lately, I made so many my tree has a lot of weight to hold with those tags. I hand stamped the paisley design on all of them. They are really easy to make, and I have loved doing it. Great for gifts too! I am adding one to my teacher gifts this year.

I made quite a few.

I sprayed a few gold, but the paint was rubbing off them a bit. I prefer them plain anyway - much more rustic, and they feel so nice in your hand. I made a few trees too, but were a bit annoying and fiddly to do. I prefer the circle tags.

The boys have made so many cute ornaments over the years, they love pulling them out and telling me when they made them and which teacher was there at the time. I really love them!

So there you go! Christmas is coming, tree and lights are up. Now to deep clean the house and get ready to have our Christmas lunch here. This is my first go at Christmas lunch for 17 of us - wish me luck, because I will need every bit of it.

Also, if you have any favourite recipes that feed a crowd, I'd love to see them.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Melbourne Cup Day

Melbourne Cup Day, where the race that stops a nation is happening right on school pick up time.

Hence why I don't watch the race until the 6.00pm news. I am recording it for my husband as he is mustering cattle and I will be at swimming lessons for little N.

I remember when I was working in town (before children) it was a fun day where we bought the paper and studied the form and I would go down to the TAB to place bets for everyone in the office.

We would shut the office and go around to one of our co-workers homes to drink champagne and watch it on TV.

One year we all went to the pub to see the big race. It was always fun and when we had to return to the office, we would giggle until 5pm from the champers. and head back to the pub for a bit more weeknight fun. Those were the days!

Nowadays, I don't really do anything for cup day except watch fashions on the field if I am home and watch a replay. That's it!

Once the boys are older I probably will make it the the cup one day, but until then I will be content with watching it on telly.

I'm not really into the horses, but I do love the fashions! Here is a great timeline of past winners of the fashions on the field. Check it out!

60's style


70's style

80's flair for fashion


Last year's winner.

It's all too fabulous!

Are you doing anything exciting for Melbourne Cup Day?

Sunday, 6 October 2013

French Essence giveaway!

Would you like to go in a giveaway?

It's a pretty amazing one at that too!

To celebrate 5 years of French Essence blog, Vicky Archer is giving the chance to win a week’s stay at Le Petit Bijou.

Pretty spectacular prize hey!

Enter here. It is quite easy, you just have to follow on various outlets and subscribe to French Essence. Leave a comment and see how you go!

Vicky's blog was one of the very first blogs I discovered and it has always been a gorgeous read.

And if you don't win, the blog is still a spectacular read!

Good Luck!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Simple Ideas are often the best

I have been playing around on Pinterest lately and found this little bit of inspiration.

I love that the simplest of ideas can just work so well and are functional whilst looking cute too.

Bistro Union, Clapham

Sure beats a blackboard with chalk dust flying about! And I imagine it would be fairly easy to keep replacing the roll when you want to.

Imagine using it to write messages to your (older) kids, like a chore list they can do while you are out or at work. Handy for lots of mums! Or you could use it to write messages to your family outlining where everyone is, at what times, to keep track of it all. Perfect for busy homes with lots of sporting commitments!

Or you could just using it as a shopping list that everyone could add to as the kitchen runs out of things.

Although this is from a Cafe/Bar, and I imagine it would be used to write up the daily specials. I think it looks great for a rustic/industrial look kitchen.

Would you use this in your kitchen? Or do you think it could be a bit too rustic and over sized?

Catch up post

I have been rather slack on the blog front, I feel rather guilty for neglecting it so much. But life goes on, and we get busy with other things. And before I knew it it turned into October and the blog is the last job on the list of things to do.

I took some pics in the garden as the crab apple came into bloom. I love this blossom sprouting from the trunk.

I love spring and all the flowers it brings forth. But not the weeds.....

Black and green, I never get sick of that colour combo!

The archway was looking particularly green and fluffy. White Jasmine on this one.

We put a new fence up. And this is the top of the gorgeous old gate we are using as the entrance to the orchard.

The poddy calves won't be able to graze in my garden now with my new fence.

The avenue of Chinese Elms were looking pretty good after mowing under them, and a good prune...

I said goodbye to my pram. I loved this pram to bits! Bought it for my first baby H (who is now 11)  and it has seen two more babies arrive after him, and it was time to go. Now that little N is 4 and a half - it was way past time.

I gave it to a friends who needed it for their first baby. I think they will love it just as much as I did. The suspension it has is amazingly smooth, and they are pretty expensive these days. Doubled in price since I bought this one.

Our new puppy Pete the Border Collie. He has fit in quickly after Ted. He is insanely keen to work. He will round up butterflies, birds, and kids. He hasn't been trained to work cattle of sheep yet, but he is showing lots of promise and enthusiasm.

Border Collies are so intelligent and active. I can't imagine anyone owning one in the city, they would go insane. Pete would anyway!

Finishing off with a purple sky the other night. Love this beautiful weather, it's perfect!

Monday, 19 August 2013



I have been waiting for years and years for O'verlays to make their way to our shores in Australia.

It truly is worth the wait though. If you are a DIY'er who loves Ikea, this is the product for you!

If you have never heard of O'verlays before, let me explain.

They are thin pieces of decorative PVC that can be glued onto furniture or mirrors. They can be painted, and they are used in so many different ways to make a simple piece look much more "high-end". It truly is an inexpensive way to transform furniture taking it to the next level.

Ikea furniture can be transformed into designer look pieces using O'verlays. You can buy O'verlays to suit the particular styles of Ikea furniture, because it is already premade and measured to fit.

If you have an old piece of furniture lying around that you are bored with, you can order custom fitted O'verlays to suit your project. They really are so versatile!

Let me demonstrate.........

They give a bit more "depth" to plain furniture.

Love this one layered over the top of a mirrored chest of drawers.

Just look at the transformation of this basic "Malm" chest of drawers. Makes such a huge difference to this basic Ikea piece! I love the Greek Key style, but there are so many different patterns that I would find it hard to pick one.



With the O'verlays glued on and painted a lovely blue, this chest is anything but boring or basic.

With the help of some mirrors, a bit of DIY skill and lots of different O'verlays,. This Ikea wardrobe is transformed into something you would expect to be an expensive custom piece.

If you want a modern look, you can paint them a different colour and stick them on. This nursery looks fabulous with a pop of colour on the O'verlays!

And how could we forget the $20 Lack table? Doesn't look like a cheap table now with the Greek Key style fretwork!

The possibilities are endless, only limited by your imagination...

They stick on with Liquid Nails, so there is no carpentry skills required. Some people use heavy duty double sided tape so the O'verlay can be removed if you like to change the look for something different.

The O'verlay Blog has lots of great ideas, advice and tutorials, you can find it here.

To order or buy O'verlays you can go here

I can't wait to try some out!

On another note, I have been having problems with my blog. I am trying to reply to all my comments, but the text box has my blog page on it (my blog within my blog) so I can't reply to you until I figure out how to get rid of it. So I am very sorry if it looks like I am ignoring my lovely commenters! 

Anyone else having this problem?

Friday, 16 August 2013

Once in a lifetime.....

Any Rugby Union fans out there?

As a mum to three boys I have watched many football games in the past, and I see plenty more in my immediate future too. There really is no escaping it!

In our small town sport is what brings us all together as a community, and it gives all the kids something to do on the weekends to keep them occupied. It gets parents out and about socially when events are few and far between. And a welcome break from the daily grind on the farm.

In short, sport is pretty important and a life essential out here.

Our Rugby club is a little parent run organisation. The coaches are all volunteers, and we just do Rugby carnivals. We aren't in a points competition as there isn't any clubs around close enough to play with. So we travel a fair distance to play, and have three games each time we play to make it more worthwhile. It's nice when you can catch up with people you havn't seen in ages from other towns you don't get to go to very often. We have met other people through Rugby and it is great for our kids to mix with other kids.

Oh and the other bonus is that they learn how to play Rugby and grow their confidence before they hit high school and want to play with their mates.

Anyway, to cut to the chase......

Our club was nominated to be included as the guard of honour for the Wallabies at the Bledisloe Cup tonight! It is pretty exciting, and one of those once in a lifetime opportunities that never come along. Especially when Australia is looking to break the long drought of having the Bledisloe Cup back from the All Blacks (New Zealand) hands. If you are overseas and wondering what the hell I am going on about it is basically the biggest game in Australian Rugby for the year.  

Probably will be as close to the Wallabies as H will ever get too!

They basically stand there looking proud and clapping or waving flags and high-fiving as the Wallabies run onto the field. They stay on the field for the national anthems and The Haka. And then they get to go back to their seats to watch the game. It is really quite exciting and fabulous for these boys from their tiny club in the sticks!

So H and my husband went down to Sydney yesterday. They flew down so they would have more time to play in Sydney without the long drive making them tired. It's H's early birthday present going on the plane and having a Dad/Son weekend too. So that worked in quite well!

They have already been shopping (for football gear), went out for dinner at Darling Harbour, eaten lots of seafood and caught up with some friends too. Today they caught up with some of the boys who are in the team, and they did laser skirmish and ten pin bowling to wear them out. And one of those metre long pizzas went down a treat! As it will be a late night, my husband was hoping to wear H out so he would have a really big afternoon nap before the excitement.

One of my husband's friends is in the television hosting business, and he said he is mates with the guy who does all the camera work at the Rugby. He is going to try to put as much camera time on our little bush team as much as he can. So I will be at home watching with little F and little N waiting to see their brother's smiling face tonight!

So exciting!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The dining table

Thank you all for your nice comments yesterday about Ted, I thought I had better put a post up that I meant to before he died. So moving on........

I found a dining setting on Gumtree a few weeks ago. Not many antiques come up in my area very often, and none that are as nice or in as good condition as this. It was a real find!

Anyway, I saw it and made a mental note to show my husband, as he is into nice antiques. And of course with hectic life stuff happening I forgot about mentioning it again.

We were in Sydney and I mentioned my find as we were talking about going for a look at some antique shops while we were down there. We never found enough time (like always) and I really don't relish dragging the boys around shops that have precious items in them (good as the boys are usually).

Anyway, I mentioned that I found this huuuuge mahogany table with matching chairs on Gumtree. He had a look and I called the number. Turns out it was from friends of ours locally and they couldn't fit it in their new home. So I went out and had a look.

We thought it was stunning. And worth every cent.

We collected it ourselves and because it was so heavy, it takes about 4 men to lift the table, even without the leaves in.

Here she is in extended glory!

It's a 10 seater solid mahogany table with 10 balloon back upholstered chairs. I love it a lot!

The upholstery is in mint condition. Floral grandma fabric isn't really my style, but it isn't offensive to me so I will keep it until I (save up) to reupholster. I think re upholstery/flash fabric would probably cost more than an arm and a leg, so at the moment it will stay.

I should have moved the ironing board before taking a pic.

I love the detail on all the legs.

fits in the room quite well.

The carvers are divine.

The whole setting is in amazing condition and it looks like someone had it in their "good" dining room and probably never used it. Not many people have the room for such a big piece, So I am glad it fits really well in my dining room.

I kept my old Harvey Norman table we bought when we first married for everyday use in the kitchen. The boys will be able to sit here when I get some sort of protective tablecloth for it.

I just can't stop looking at the shine and feeling the silky smooth top.

I know dark antique furniture is pretty outdated at the moment for most people, but I am not like most people. Beach style and Hampton's style, as much as I like it doesn't really suit my house in the country. Even this table feels slightly out of place, like it should be in some stately home in Melbourne. But it fits, I love it and we will use it all the time.

The buffet in the background is matching to my old table, I am figuring out what to do as they don't really gel together. If you want to know what the paint colours are they are Dulux Grand Piano (full strength) on the walls. Taubmans Iron Gate on the bank of built ins. The trim and door is Taubmans white. The floors are original floorboards of the house and they have been sanded, but not sure what stain was used. They are a matte finish.

I am pleased that I found a full set, often with old furniture the chairs are missing.

Whichever child of mine gets my house in the future, the table will  have to come with it. No one will be able to move it without a hassle.