Wednesday, January 26, 2011

honouring nanna's treasures - part one...

Before my Nanna passed away (which was a little over 2 years ago now) she passed onto me some of her most treasured homewares and told me the stories that went along with them.  Among them are her dinner set, silverware, a gorgeous set of pretty flower tea cups (which I have loved since I was just a little girl - occasionally I used to persuade Nanna to let me drink from them!  Lol), and her one and only 'true' antique (her words) - a tiny delftware plate.
Since we moved into this house, I have been looking for a place to put them that will honour what they meant to Nanna, and what they mean to me.  The obvious place to me is this cabinet which currently sits in our dining room:

Looks like the ideal spot doesn't it?  Shame about it being packed to the rafters with books and other crap though!  So what's a girl to do?  Well, if you're anything like me, you will procrastinate for a year and mentally berate yourself for doing your Grandmother's treasures such a disservice, while doing nothing to actually physically rectify the situation!  Then, after a year or so, you'll start a blog which will get you motivated to actually do all those projects that have been hanging around for ages so you can post about them.... hooray for blogging!! :)

So that brings me back to the situation above - a cupboard full of books which I need to empty, and nowhere to put them.  Obviously we needed another bookshelf to move the books to, and the obvious place was a big vacant patch of wall near the back door, which sits between the guest bedroom and Alex's bedroom.  It has a couple of cupboards on one wall at the moment (which are desperate for both a good clean out and some lining on those translucent doors so you can't see the mess within, but that is a project for another day!) and one big free wall, to the left in the photo below.  (Don't mind that you can see where Boofy is currently up to with painting the living area! Lol... the aqua isn't staying!)

I had a brilliant plan to put in a low bookshelf and then do a big family tree on the wall above it similar to the one below - this one is in chef Guy Grossi's house and the image was from a feature Better Homes and Gardens did on his home - isn't it awesome??  I love it so much!!

(Image of Guy Grossi's house from Better Homes & Gardens TV show, Channel 7)

With that in mind, I went searching and it seems that these were my options.  The first (my preferred option) was from Super Amart - the Madang bookcase.  I liked it because it was the perfect height, and it was made of wood.  Everything from the kitchen back is white furniture, and our dining suite and cupboards up the other end are wood, so I thought the wood down that end as well would balance things out a bit.  It retails for $249.95, but when we enquired, the new delivery was apparently sold before it arrived, so it was going to be at least a month before we could get it home, and I'm just too impatient.  Truth be told, it was also more than we wanted to spend.  Nice though, isn't it....

(Image from Super Amart website)

So next was my second home, aka Ikea.  The Expedit shelving is always a good option (Super Amart also have a slightly more expensive but lesser quality version called Vault which we have in Alex's toyroom) so we definitely considered that also.  This is what I'm talking about, but imagine it tipped sideways, so its long and low:

(Image from Ikea website)

But even though this one is only $119, it still just wasn't really doing it for me... I realised it might hold all my books, but it wouldn't hold any magazines or anything decorative, there just wasn't room.  Back to square one.

So on a recent trip to Ikea with my friend Julie, we were checking out the shelving options and I was dismissing everything in sight, when we happened upon the Lerberg.  At $29.95 each I could buy two of them and still bring the whole thing in at under $60!  Amazing!  However, at 148cm tall, I couldn't have these bookshelves and my Guy Grossi inspired family tree... so I dismissed this option and kept going, leaving empty handed and commenting to Julie that I'd probably regret not buying them.

Sure enough, a week or so on, I'd looked in earnest and found nothing that was such good value and fitted so well.  So what did I do?  I gave up the dream of the family tree above the bookshelf, got in my car and hightailed it back to Ikea.  I bought two sets of white shelves (in flatpack of course) for my books - and what the hey, I bought two in charcoal as well for our outdoor area (more on that another time).  I came home and put those flatpacks together in record time, moved them into position and..... they didn't cover enough wall space, and wouldn't fit all that I wanted to add to them - d'oh!  So the very next day I hopped back in the car and went back for more sultanas another shelf.  Again I put it together and it joined its buddies - sooooo much better :)

Then came the fun task of transferring the contents of the glass cupboard onto my new shelves, and prettying them up a bit.  So after a whole afternoon of shifting books, here is the end result:

What do you think?  Even though it looks a little more cluttered than I'd probably like, I have to say I'm actually quite pleased with it.  And the whole thing still came in under $100 - woo hoo!!  And just as an aside - you see the little owl on the middle shelves?  Isn't she cute?  My stepmum, Heather, recently bought her for me and sent her up from Melbourne....  she's sitting with my Harry Potter books, I call her Hedwig - I'm nerdy like that!!! :)

And that brings me back to the glass cabinet which now sits empty, begging for some treasures to adorn its shelves....  I'd love to say I found a spare 6 hours to go through the boxes, wash all the contents and pack them lovingly into their new home, but it just didn't happen.  Plus I need to find some racks that will accommodate the various plates and platters of the dinner set - so that will have to be part two, I'm afraid.

I know I say this every post, but the photos really don't do it justice (still saving pennies for that new camera - will be for a while yet I think!)  One day someone with my dream camera will come to stay with us and I'll re-photograph everything... then you'll see our house's true colours!

Bye for now :)


  1. I like the green containers throughout the shelves - kind of brings it all together.
    Wanted to say hi and thanks for stopping by my blog - and have been having fun reading a few of your back posts. And those mailboxes you asked about? Just keep your eyes open - they seem to be everywhere right now with Valentines coming up. I got mine at Target, but I assume that a US store. But check your local crafts stores or online at
    PS - your little boy is a cutie!

  2. I've been doing a little bit of research for you online about the mailboxes and the sticking point truly is the international shipping. I have seen them at least 3 different places this year. At Target, as I already mentioned. A paper mache one at Hobby Lobby ( and yes it looks to me like you can call a specific number and they will arrange international shipping). If I were you I would find the biggest chain craft store in Australia (online or not) and look there first. I also found one on and I'm pretty sure Amazon does international shipping as well.
    One last place I found it on a quick google search was but I didn't find the details on their shipping policies.
    Good luck in your search!