Saturday, March 7, 2015

a bit on the side ~ bedside tables

Oh my goodness, it is pouring with rain here today. It seems so long since we've had rain I've almost forgotten what it is like. The gardens everywhere will be lapping it up that's for sure, and it's a good excuse to stay inside and catch up with the blog world while trying to ignore the sounds of Eva creating havoc in the kitchen in the pursuit of a chocolate sponge roll.

It seems that if ever there is one piece of furniture that my clients are often searching for, it is a bedside table. Where can you find a nice one? It can be something of a quest. There certainly are a number of awfully chunky, predictably ordinary (and ugly) ones around. Personally, I cannot bring myself to spend money on something that, even though it may fulfill a purpose, is at best, cheaply made and nasty.  I'd rather look at furniture or items that may never have been intended for use as a bedside table, but just happen to look great and fulfill a new role beside the bed admirably at the same time. Give me an old wooden crate any day over an ugly, dime a dozen bedside table - at least aesthetically, it's usually more pleasing! When you are open to using atypical pieces in unexpected ways, suddenly there are hundreds of potential bedside ideas, and they don't have to break the bank either.

alternative bedside table ideas via small acorns blog

alternative bedside table ideas via small acorns blog
So long as it's steady and the right height, old chairs and stools make great bedside companions.
Bentwood chairs, old wooden school chairs, tolix stools - all work well. And you can usually find single, orphaned chairs and stools quite easily. This chippy yellow chair is Indian, and, to be honest, could be a little on the fragile side if subjected to too much weight, so it is ideal repurposed beside the bed!
alternative bedside table ideas via small acorns blog

alternative bedside table ideas via small acorns blog

These chippy old army stools are currently available at Small Acorns. Yes, I'd suggest that they've had several past lives, and to me that is part of the charm of a vintage piece, but they are also strong and steady, and the actual seat is the perfect size for use beside the bed. Plenty of room for flowers, books, and a reading light - the bedside essentials.

Sometimes you come across special old pieces that you just have to have, even if at the time, you have no idea where it will go, or what it will hold. This was definitely the case for me when I stumbled upon these amazing old drawers, complete with their old labels. At the beach, the girls use them to store all their not-so-secret secret stuff. Definitely not designed as a bedside table, but absolutely perfect in the role.

alternative bedside table ideas via small acorns blog

alternative bedside table ideas via small acorns blog

Folding metal cafe tables - both the round shape and the height make them great as bedside tables. I love the change of shape which contrasts beautifully with the rectangular bed and the lines of the room. Cluster a little bedside vignette of lamp, treasures and flowers on top, and the result is both pretty and practical.

Personally I love mismatched bedside tables in a bedroom. I think by mixing rather than matching, the result is a more eclectic, unique look and a little bit of whimsy will keep everything from looking too uptight and prescriptive. Decorating that is just a little unpredictable, and therefore so much more visually exciting. Nothing matches, and yet it all goes together in a perfectly imperfect mismatched kind of way.

Amanda xx

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

it has been a while...

Blogging has been in the back seat. I know that 'slow blogging' is supposedly a bit of a trend at the moment, but I don't think that one post in 6 weeks is quite what the experts mean by that term. I think it's meant to be about quality over quantity, not nothing at all.

And even now, this isn't a proper blog post. I'm literally popping in because even my mother is telling me that the lack of a blog post is embarassing (for her, not me), and because she is coming to visit tomorrow, at least this way I can honestly say that I've posted something!

And where have I been? Well, definitely not 'pottering along at the beach' as that last ancient blog post implies. And no, I haven't been anywhere else either. I've really just had my head well and truly down for the last few weeks. Truth be told I'm planning a new blog - switching this one to a new platform, with a new name, and some quality slow blogging. I'm really excited about it, and just a little frustrated that, despite my good intentions, and the good intentions of those helping me with it, it is taking a little longer than expected to pull together. As I tell my clients when I unfortunately, can't produce their curtains overnight, good things take time. I'll keep telling myself that, and in the meantime, get back to posting as usual before I have absolutely no readers whatsoever left, except, hopefully, my mother! And she will say it's the only way she knows I'm still alive!

dahlias, sweet peas and pansies via small acorns blog

And, I've been doing some study - getting to grips with a new camera and an online photography course or two. My first DSLR camera, so I've been nervously and excitedly playing with this. I've decided that the camera takes truly beautiful pictures. But that perhaps the photographer has a long way to go! But look at this beautiful colour... I'm quite besotted with a little green at the moment.

green vintage book vignette via small acorns blog

If I tell you I've also been studying the world of digital marketing you have every right to laugh at me and the bad blogging example I'm setting. But I'll counter your argument, and just say, that I'm learning a lot, but there is a lot to learn!

Beautiful garden snippings, including just one little dahlia to whet your appetite.

More on those treasures next week.

Amanda xx

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

collection or clutter?

Life potters along quite nicely here at the beach. I quite like this half holiday, half work mode. A few virtuous hours in the 'office' followed by a little bit of a swim and a lot of thinking about nothing in particular is quite good for me. As any of my family will tell you, I'm not very good at down time. So after a couple of days back in Wellington I went all out and had a whole day off, just to prove to them that I could really! Plenty of phaffing around is always inspirational time to me, and if that constitutes a day off then bring on more. Plus, I have the joy and frustrations of teaching myself and learning a new camera, so the phaffing is all good subject matter for the online photography course I'm attempting. That's my excuse anyway!

vintage medicine cabinet via small acorns blog

As anyone who has been reading my blog for a while will know, I am definitely not a minimalist. I am a collector of beautiful things. Things I love, that inspire and intrigue me, that have a memory of where I was when I bought or found or was given it, that have emotional significance, that are a timeline of my life and loves. And I believe that you can collect without clutter. So with this in mind, I was really interested when I came across a little article written by Gretchen Rubin, best-selling author of The Happiness Project & Happier At Home.

In the article Gretchen talks about the significance of clutter to happiness and how to feel more in control of stuff and possessions. Her Happiness Project experiments led Gretchen to realise that cultivating her possessions wasn’t a simple matter of organisation, elimination, or accumulation; it was a matter of engagement. When she felt engaged with her possessions, she felt enlivened by them, and when she felt disengaged from them, she felt burdened.
The goal, then, was to rid the home of things that didn’t matter. First: identify, arrange, and spotlight meaningful possessions; second, to get rid of meaningless stuff.

collections via small acorns blog

Gretchen resolved to “Go shelf by shelf,” then drawer by drawer, then closet by closet, to consider each of her family's possessions, asking these questions -
Did one of us use it or love it?
Would we replace it if it were broken or lost?
If so, was it in the right place?
If not why keep it?

vintage collections via small acorns blog

And the quote that really resonated with me - "In the span of a happy life, having a messy desk or an overflowing closet is clearly trivial, and yet creating order gives a disproportionate boost of energy and cheer." Gosh, I think this was clearly directed at me - she who is always attempting to create order amidst the chaos of family and cannot start work at her desk until it is tidy and the flowers freshly arranged (or at least not dead)!

When you believe, as I do, that no matter what you collect, you must love it wholeheartedly, this approach to clearing clutter makes complete sense. It is all about engagement. Funnily enough, almost the first thing I do when I get here to the bach at the start of a new summer season is have an almighty clear out. Year on year you realise the things outgrown, or inherited that you have never used, or 'retired' to the bach because they were too good to throw away. The bach is too small to hide or accumulate too much stuff. No engagement and out it goes. The Salvation Army benefits. Hopefully we both win.

Plenty of room then for my totally engaged bach collection of old kitchen accoutrements and enamelware, as photographed with my new camera (still a lot to learn). The collection is not only loved, but used on a daily basis. The visit to the Salvation Army is two-fold as I'm often able to add to my collection!

Amanda x

PS Read the whole Gretchen Rubin article here...

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