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I heart “Simply Natural” by Catherine. I love her blog and am a regular reader! Most interior design blogs are very consumerist in nature. But on Simply Natural you will find a love for antiques, a love for natural products and a love for people! She’s anti-consumerist in nature and her photos of how she celebrated Christmas  are amazing for their simplicity and style.

Catherine says: “When I was 14 I swapped to a smaller bedroom because I fell in love with a magazine article about small bedroom style….and so begun a lifelong passion for interior decorating. I live in Adelaide, Australia with my young son and I pour my creative energy into my home. I have a love for all things pure and simple, natural and textured…think white, wood, seashells and cane. I want to share the things I love with fellow lovers of pure and simple decor style”

(Below a handmade Christmas ornament by Catherine)

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I love how her bedroom looks. Definetly has a “Zen” like quality to it. Its also so clutter free and amazingly soothing.  I love colour – lots and lots of it, but her blog is now converting me to her love of nuetrals. When I was first browsing through her blog, I was just looking at the pictures (Hadn’t caught on that she was a great writer as well) and thought this picture of her bedroom was a shot of a five-star hotel. Looks picture perfect, doesn’t it?

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Check out the antique Chinese screen above the bed – so bold and dramatic. Her love of all things Asian is something I can relate to. I love bamboo, wood and brass antiques and furniture. There something so ethnic, earthy and fairy-tale like about antique items – legacies from the past. Her collection of antiques makes me want more for more.

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And like her I love plantation shutters. I studied in Madras Christian College, built by Scottish missionaries more than 150 years ago. Most of the doors are plantation doors, huge in height and girth. I remember that some of the plantation shutter doors in the Chemistry lab were over 10 feet tall. The lab attendants had to use stools to reach up and close the bolts on those doors. Some of the windows also had plantation shutters. We had cathedral-like huge ceilings; our voices used to echo during classes and professors didn’t really have to strain to make themselves heard. And since my mother works for the government, everytime she got transferred we got to stay in those huge, lovely bungalows typical of Indo-sarcanic architecture. I love large houses with large, airy windows, tiled roofs, sprawling lawns, long verandahs – the picture would be complete with a few dogs, cats and some birds (not caged). Seeing Catherine’s pictures brings all those memories back, as economy has now dictated that I live in a cramped apartment in busy Nungambakkam. (Below a picture from her lovely blog. Doesn’t it remind you of the ambience created in Hey Ram?)

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This is another (below) great picture from her blog. Look closely into the mirror – see that elegant, scroll-type wall hanging? Well that is another architectural piece that Catherine managed to salvage and use in her home.

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I was also pleasantly suprised to read  a movie review of Practical Magic on her blog. And like most people obsessed with decor, it was the gorgeous  interiors she was reviewing! I have also found myself distracted by the interiors in movies – like in the case of Mozhi I found the movie a dead bore, but the interiors were great. While the heroine’s red and purple bedroom was too colorful and jared my senses, the hero’s black n’ white colour coordinated apartment was both classic and sophisticated at the same time. Isn’t there something so chic about plain black & white? My recent discovery of Black & White bliss fulfills my need for eye-candy in that direction.

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And then the love for metallic objects. Catherine says: “can’t even explain why I love it so. I guess I just like the contrast of hard and soft, and metal objects often have quite strong, simple, architectural lines which appeal to my eye. Even the colours of metals – browns, greys, silvers, blacks – steal my heart. And there’s a utilitarian honesty about metal – it’s as much as home in a workshop or garage as it is in the living room.”

I love silver! I love all things metallic and my athai has gifted me a few silver tumblers and some brass lamps to satisfy that earning.  So going through Catherine’s blog is quite therpautic in nature.

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(Love roses as you can see from my blog header and numerous posts)

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But most of all her blog is so human. Having been a bit of a problem child myself, I can empathise with what her son is going through at school. Blogs somehow make things so personal. Even though I have never corresponded with her personally, I found myself daily checking her blog to read about her son’s progress. And also I love her approach to life! so fun! so full of zest!

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Allsorts is one of my favourite blogs to read! Though Jenny B Harris –  children’s illustrator and blogger supreme – doesn’t update her blog much, she’s got quality stuff down there.
Do also check out her site – JennyBHarris! I first came across Allsorts because I was rummaging around the Pink Chalk Studio, which is another great crafts n’ sewing blog.

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Even glimpses of home are divine! Her house and little studio abound with her creativeness, sense of colour and fun. I love eye-candy and her studio is a treat to the eyes! Most of my friends can attest to my untidiness – as they see my house in various stages of chaos with every visit.  I console myself that someday I’ll get organised. Meanwhile, I just keep hopping from blog to blog for more visions of loveliness.

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In her blog, Jenny has lots of posts giving step-by-step instructions on how to make Christmas ornaments and other cute crafty stuff. Every Christmas I was in charge of decorations at three places – my parents’, my paternal grandparents’ and my maternal grandmother’s. Since both sets of  grandparents didn’t want too much stuff put up as they would have the bother of taking it down, I couldn’t do much there. It was only at my parents place that I could give full rein to my creativity. And every Christmas the decorations was different.. Hearing Jim Reeves’s rendition of “White Christmas” and a large glossy picture of a white Christmas tree in a magazine, we once had an all white & gold Christmas. I hung up huge paper chains everywhere, pretty gold paper lanterns and gold stars made from thermocoal. While hanging decorations I learnt from bitter experience that one does not decorate doorways or hallways…many a time ornaments come crashing down on the heads of people passing by or the paper chains get entangled with their necks – tempers fly high and the paper becomes worse for the wear and tear.. After our fake holly wreath fell on Toto (our dog) and Toto also fell upon the wreath tearing it to bits – when someone slammed the door too hard, I was forbidden to tamper with doorways.

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The next Christmas was better, I pasted all the Christmas cards we had received (including my grandparents’) over the walls. Since my mother is a diligent correspondent and has been sending Christmas cards out to everyone since the time she knew to spell….we have a huge collection. The house resembled a card shop more than anything. My mother said that though it was a bit overpowering;  after one got used to the effect – it was quite nice…So many memories, so many people and so many warm wishes! I also used to make fake gifts to put under the Christmas tree – cover empty cardboard boxes with tinsel and wrapping paper. One of my little cousins, who was more curious than a cat was quite disappointed to open one and find nothing …we then had to give him something off our tree to cheer him up.

I loved the Christmas ornaments on the tree. Most of them were handmade by me or my mom…And some were really old. My mother had preserved ornaments from the Christmas tree I had on my very first birthday. Our Christmas tree was also quite small by modern standards. It had thick glossy green branches and looked lovely when it twinkled in the candlelight with pretty, shiny ornaments. Even though I loved glass, I could never persuade my mother to buy glass ornaments or electric Christmas lights – she said I could have those after my 18th birthday if I stopped behaving like a bull in a china shop (an exaggeration I can assure u 😉

Anyway, seeing Jenny’s tree brought all the old memories ago. I felt sad, that neither my parents nor grandparents decorated the house for Christmas after I turned atheist.

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Jenny also makes and sells embroidery patterns on her Etsy shop. One wishes one could step back into childhood – when there were two whole months in summer to be spent in lovely activities like embroidery, knitting and paper crafts. Her patterns have clean lines and are well-drawn.

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I also love how Jenny has turned a plate rack into a storage and show piece. One of my grandaunts had also turned her metal plate rack into a show piece with pretty illustrations and ethnic artwork she collected from the different places her husband was transferred to. My grandaunt put up the metal plate rack on a wall out of reach of chubby little hands bent on destruction; “accidental” or otherwise. She always held that artwork should be displayed above 5 feet in any room for longetivity.

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Isn’t this a cute idea of displaying a doll’s dress?

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Her collection of dollypops which she sold online on Etsy were simply superb! I still can’t get enough of them. I have downloaded most of the pictures onto my computer and have made a slideshow of them…the dollypops and her little dollhouse are too chweet for words!

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She’s also got lots and lots of lovely posts on crafts, cooking and gardening with great pictures. As far as dollhouses go, Smehreen’s are the best, but Jenny’s is a lot of fun too!

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Do check out Allsorts for great images and great creativity!

Happy August!

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