Dec 30, 2012

So far this year....

I am kind of aware that the date of this post falls at a time when 99% of the population are away on holiday and won't be reading it.
I myself will be roughing it sleeping in a tent, but whatever, here's a recap of 2012.


Don't you agree that New Years resolutions can be daunting? I feel like we spend so much time striving forward like "Next year I'll be like that person" "Next summer I'll wear my bikini on the beach without shorts because next summer I won't have -ahem- 'orange peel' texture on my thighs"...

... sometimes, just sometimes, all that looking forward can distract you from feeling any satisfaction or contentment with what you have already achieved.

Just this once, I want to look back and remind myself what a year on this blog has accomplished. Here are the things I am grateful for in 2012!

1. Marrying my babe. Cue the relief that this Summer will be spent without a wedding spreadsheet in sight! Weeee!


2. My first room redo (and complete installation and paint job) for someone else's house, in a 4-day stretch.

3. Owning our first humble abode: this little place (photo from our letterbox redo).4. Working through our house, sprucing up the inside one room at a time, including this transformation of the entryway area:


5. Various updates on our living room (which is still in progress and will be revealed in the new year):


(I am currently working on our bedroom and office too.)


 6. After finishing architecture studies, having time to get back into painting and other art.





7. Gaining a whooole new perspective and passion for this little blog.

Looking back on 2012 makes me so grateful.
I'm learning that life - as a whole - is largely out of our control. All we can do is hope, plan, and learn to be content in any situation. This entire year was a blessing.

How do you rate 2012? An up? A down? A crazy ride?

What's in the year to come? Well, for me, there are some big plans. I'll be back to share them tomorrow :)




Dec 27, 2012

Your Signature Style: Inspired by Melbourne - colourful, edgy, modern

Have you got your signature style figured out?

A while back I wrote briefly about our week in Melbourne, and the Big Design Market (and I mean super briefly). I found Melbourne to be full of inspiration and colour, and now, a few weeks later, I think it's a good time to finally share some of it, and how it has influenced my design style.

It all began with some light packing...

photo by Amy MacLeod

Just kidding. That wasn't inspiring at all.

But I DID like this homewares display at a shop that I've promptly forgotten the name of. No idea. But I loved all the pink and the patterns...

pink homewares - photo by Amy MacLeod
 Particularly the mix of textures - shiny gloss urn versus rustic old stoneware:

pink homewares - photo by Amy MacLeod

And obviously, the fact that there is an abundance of pink (a post for another day).

 The cushion above is Chintz by Kas Studio, and after eyeing it online for half the year I finally got to see it in person... lovely huh?

I noticed a lot of modern ceramics over there in bright popping colours, and couldn't help making a ceramic purchase (in pink, surprise!) from the stall below at the Big Design Market, Beneath the Sun. It has made its way into our home and will be shared at a later date...



Aside from homewares, there is a colourful street vibe in Melbourne that I haven't seen much of in other cities. I love the edginess and have always secretly loved a bit of grunge, so I'm excited to include some of this in my design aesthetic and see how it plays out. Watch this space.

Melbourne street art - photo by Amy MacLeod

I love being inspired by something new (especially things from real life and not simply on Pinterest... there's a difference, don't you think?)

What's your signature style? Or are you still in the process of figuring it all out, like me?

{photos from my Instagram: Amy_5kindsofhappy}





Dec 24, 2012

Grace, Mercy, and Christmas

'Grace' and 'Mercy' photography by Amy MacLeod

What does Christmas mean to you?
I was trying to think of an appropriately Christmassy post to end with on this blog before I disappear for a few family celebrations, but I've already shown you our Christmas setup at home, and my Christmas baking.

That's when it occured to me that this photo project was possibly even more appropriate.
You see, during the year when I was sitting in my architecture class, I had a picture flash into my mind of 2 wrists with the words 'grace' and 'mercy' on them. I'm always getting pretty pictures popping into my head but this really stuck out to me. I instantly visualised them in white frames, and wondered when I should create them.

The other day I penned the words onto my wrists and took the photos with my phone... it took a matter of seconds but looks exactly how I imagined, blown up into big photos and framed.

'Grace' and 'Mercy' photography by Amy MacLeod

'Grace' and 'Mercy' photography by Amy MacLeod

I don't have a tattoo, but if I did, I believe 'grace' would be it, in this same font.

Mercy = "not getting what you deserve" (i.e. not getting the punishment you deserve)
Grace = "getting what you don't deserve" (i.e. more than you should rightly deserve)

To me, these are the 2 things fundamental to why I even believe in celebrating Christmas. I tend to obsess over gifts at this time of year (soooo excited about Christmas morning) but without trying to be cheesy, God gave us these gifts in his Son, and I'm happy to have this reminder in our home.

Wishing you grace, mercy, and a happy Christmas! How do you celebrate Christmas??

{See you after the holiday with our office reveal, and some other bits and pieces that I've been working on around here! :) }





Dec 20, 2012

Christmas Pepparkakor cookies with vanilla and cinnamon buttercream filling


Usually I make a conscious effort to focus on Interior Design on this little blog - but at this time of year I seriously can't resist baking. Specifically pepperkakor (Swedish gingerbread) cookies that I first experienced while living in Sweden for a university programme a few years back.
Normally I just make the pepparkakor cookies then ice the top with a white pattern or silver cachous (like last year) but this time I took it a step further: sandwich cookies. (Such an American term.)
Pepparkakor Christmas cookies with vanilla and cinnamon buttercream, and candycane topping
When I bake, I tend to let my fingers do the talking. Or more accurately, my tastesbuds. And this year, they led me to whip up a buttercream icing flavoured with vanilla bean paste and cinnamon sugar. So easy but so Christmassy. I honestly don't measure anything when I make icing, but I have shared a similar recipe below. :)
Pepparkakor Christmas cookies with vanilla and cinnamon buttercream, and candycane topping
Most years I cut a bunch of different shapes - butterflies, flowers, stars and hearts. For some reason this time, I started with the Star of David and the more cookies I cut, the more I wanted to keep them all the same. Which worked out nicely as it meant I could then make cookie sandwiches from them and they would all match.

Pepparkakor Christmas cookies with vanilla and cinnamon buttercream, and candycane topping

Then once they were filled, I felt they lacked a little panache.... so I made a simple glaze icing, dopped it on the top of each sandwich and put crushed candy-cane onto each dob.

Pepparkakor Christmas cookies with vanilla and cinnamon buttercream, and candycane topping

It came out kind of awesome.
(And if you're curious, this is how I wrapped most of my presents this year. Simple, with a cardboard tag that I cut out, and some string).

Pepparkakor Christmas cookies with vanilla and cinnamon buttercream, and candycane topping
While I was at it, being all over-the-top Christmassy that I am, I decided to whip out a cinnamon spice cappucino.
I felt that this would really be the final Christmassy touch... but I can tell you that,
with it being Summer down here,
milk hot creamy coffee was a bad choice.
Next time I'm thinking an iced coffee with icecream would be more appropriate.

Pepparkakor Christmas cookies with vanilla and cinnamon buttercream, and candycane topping

That's it!
Are you obsessed with Christmas baking?
If you live in the Northern hemisphere, I envy you, purely because no-one is going to be eyeing up your bikini body the day after Christmas. Gorge yourselves, my friends, and be grateful.

Recipe
I tend to invent/modify recipes as I go, by tasting everything (can't resist) but follow these if you want the same result:
  • CookiesPepparkakor recipe here
  • Vanilla and Cinnamon buttercream: Use this Buttercream recipe then add a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste, and a spinkle of cinnamon sugar to taste.
  • Topping: Use this glaze recipe and sprinkle with crushed candy cane before it sets.

A lovely modification would be to sprinkle the topping with silver cachous (balls) or colour the frosting pink, or pipe the glaze into patterns.


Shared at 36th Avenue





Dec 19, 2012

Getting what you want from your blog: Dreams and plans, Part 1

What do you want to do in 5 years time?
Better yet: what do you want to be?

Interior by Amy MacLeod (www.fivekindsofhappy.com)

This is a question that has been on my mind constantly lately.

Where do you start?

Interior by Amy MacLeod (www.fivekindsofhappy.com)

 How do you launch yourself into a place where your work will be noticed?

Interior by Amy MacLeod (www.fivekindsofhappy.com)


Perhaps more daunting: how will you know if your work is good enough?
What if no-one tells you that you are going in the wrong direction?
What if no-one tells you that you are going in the right one?


Interior by Amy MacLeod (www.fivekindsofhappy.com)


How do you turn your dreams......

Interior design - 3D virtual - by Amy MacLeod (www.fivekindsofhappy.com)

...into a reality?

Interior by Amy MacLeod (www.fivekindsofhappy.com)

 I have been looking at all my work and wondering what comes next, and what I actually want to pursue.
It's a constant game of choosing not to compare myself, actively avoiding websites that damage my creativity, and reminding myself that all I really want is for God's will to be done in my life.
And by game I mean, battle.

Interior by Amy MacLeod (www.fivekindsofhappy.com)

What comes next?

I am currently unemployed, recently qualified in Architectural drafting, and commerce (majoring in commercial law and international business), passionate about interior design and residential architecture (since I was teeny), and more-or-less swimming in the endless possibilities that the future could hold.
It's at times overwhelming!

I have had jobs before, working for other people's dreams, and that was fine; but the idea of doing that forever just doesn't sit right with me. Call me a tortured artist, but I want to be the creative force behind my own original ideas. 
Are you the same?

Why I'm telling you this is, well, mostly in the interests of sharing. But also in the hope that someone out there can relate. 
Did you pursue your dream?
Did you start your own business?
Did it begin with working for someone else?
Are you plotting your dream on the side of a day-job?
HOW did you get where you are?
Did you launch your career off the back of your blog?

A zillion questions, I know, but I am more than interested to hear about it.

Sometimes I read success stories of people rocketed to fame through their blogs, living the dream and doing what they love. I never quite catch the part about HOW they got their blogs to be so popular, however.
They seem to gain bunches of new followers overnight after the first month or so. Is there a magic button?
Or at least a website full of tips??

Just some things I have been thinking about! I'm leaning towards offering interior design services through this blog - with the entire process done online via email, photos, and virtual 3D mock-ups of your space. 
But first I need to think really hard (I mean, even harder) about the best way to do that. Because it's a big call, and I want to do it right.

Share your thoughts in the comments, please?!

Anyway, how un-Christmassy of me to write a post about business. 
Hope you are all loving the build-up to Christmas as much as I am. #Christmasaddict #santaself