Monday, August 31, 2009

interior inspiration

 
 I just love this amazing old draper's cabinet found in the home of Val Garland in the latest issue of Inside Out magazine. Old shop fittings and signage have loads of appeal for me. Imagine it in its hey day when 'Marwood's Drapers & Family Outfitters - The Big Store With Small Prices' was the place to go to buy a frock, a jabot & some curtain fabric. 
Happy Monday!
Amanda xx
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Thursday, August 27, 2009

spilling the beans




You know when you have a really big secret, and you're just desperate to tell? Every time something comes up about that particular subject you nearly blurt it out, and stop yourself just in time?

'Orla Kiely -oh I just love her bags. Have you seen her new bedlinen?'
'Gorgeous isn't it!'

'Did you know Orla Kiely is doing bedlinen now? Her clothes are so cool. I love her bags. Will you be getting the bedlinen?'

'I want that stem-print/car print/pear (insert your favourite design) bedlinen. Do you know if you can get it outside of the UK?'

And so it goes on. It's been a long time in the planning, & months of saying zip but....
now that I know our boxes are packed, and things are literally on the move, I can keep quiet no longer.

So - the secret is officially out - Orla Kiely bedlinen and towels are joining our new season Orla Kiely lineup at Small Acorns. We are sooooooooo excited! New bags, new knitwear, new everyday pieces, and now towels and bedlinen. We love Orla!

(images with permission from Orla Kiely) Pin It

Monday, August 24, 2009

in the lamp light tonight

With the craze for patchwork abundant at the moment, I thought I'd share a project I made for a friend recently.

In a previous life, this standard lamp belonged to AM's mother, and was a fixture in her home for as long as AM can remember. Typical of it's era & age, the base was dark brown, and the shade was a tired textured cream colour with a few stains thrown in for good measure. AM was sentimental about the lamp, and didn't want to part with it, but couldn't have it anywhere but the garage in the state it was in. Wisely, or not, she entrusted me with the makeover. I was a little nervous to say the least. If I got it wrong, AM would be too nice to tell me, but I figured I'd know all the same.

And as you see, here is the result. Tucked in amongst the beautiful Designers Guild fabrics are some photos of AM's mum as a young girl and a young mother. I copied these on to fabric and then incorporated them carefully. You have to look closely to see them, but I thought it would be fun to preserve the history and the memories somehow in the reworked piece.

I think the lamp is rather gorgeous, but then I am biased! When I visited tonight, it didn't look as if AM had just whipped it out of the garage & dusted it off because she knew I was popping around...

Amanda xx

P.S To give credit where credit's due, AM's husband, Davey is the only one who could possibly have done such a spendiferous job on the pristine, beautifully sanded & painted glossy white, lamp base. Pin It

Thursday, August 20, 2009

everyone loves a winner

Congratulations Logan Brown - Cuisine Magazine's 2009 Restaurant of the Year Supreme Winner. No-one could be more deserving of this recognition than Steve Logan and Al Brown! Any occasion at this fabulous Wellington restaurant is just that, a fabulous occasion! Pin It

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

my house my castle

OK I exaggerate (but only a little) - this is not actually what my house looks like. But at times it sure feels like it.

We moved to our current home just on three years ago. Just after we had invested much time, love and of course significant investment into our previous home in order to turn it into a family home we all absolutely loved. On a whim Brunnel thought it might be a good idea to move, you know mix it up a bit, uproot to a spot around the corner, a bit of a challenge for us all.
We exchanged our lovely character-filled-but-made-modern 1860's cottage for a circa 1900-but-made-over-in-the-80's (complete with stencils, swags & grecian columns) dump - with a view, and potential, as the estate agents would say. A beautiful view as I am reminded every day as I gaze at it. It allows you to forget about the house.

Before we moved in, my Dad spent two weeks painting almost everything white throughout. We kept a few subtle reminders of the ode-to-the-80's - the burgundy altar bathroom, and the temple bar (don't ask). I thought these might spur Brunnel on in my quest to renovate. I should have known better. Since then nothing. Except every now and then another piece of the house falls off. The kitchen has gradually become more, shall we say, open plan, as the cupboards fall off. We fall through the rotten deck quite regularly - well Brunnel does, which is a relief. The other night it was the roof flapping around. The guttering fell off some time ago. Brunnel pretended he couldn't hear anything, but did call for help the next morning when he couldn't ignore the flapping roofing iron. (DIY is not my husband's thing - except he has learn't how to replace rotten decking).

In store I am surrounded by amazing design. My customers frequently wonder 'how gorgeous must your home be'. Mmmm I say - quietly - if only you could see.

Anyway, that's all about to change. We have a meeting today with our architect. He says he has a 'few ideas'... That's good I said. I thought that was what we were paying you for. No pressure GC, but I hope they're good! And you know we have to work within Brunnel's budget... It will be a work in progress for a long time yet, but at least I feel we are on the way!

Amanda xx



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Monday, August 17, 2009

take a seat - bertoia side chair

I have a chair fetish. I can't seem to help myself. I blame my mother - as a child I seem to remember an endless round of junk shop scouting, and her buying up every old bentwood chair that we came across. The extent of her 'problem' was revealed last year when my parents moved house. Mum had something like 60 chairs to try and fit into her new home. Mind you, at the same time, all the chairs that I had stored under their house also came to light, and Mum & I had to think fast before Dad had them loaded up on the trailer for the dump. (Don't worry - it would never have happened!)

The chairs I love don't all have to be design icons. Sometimes it is just all about the chair itself, and the past life it may or may not have had. However, I do have a particular love for this 1952 designed Harry Bertoia side chair from Knoll. I think it is the perfect chair to start my little 'take a seat' column with.

Some years ago Brunnel & I were having lunch across the road from a recycle store. My heart nearly did a double take when I spied not one, but four of these beauties sitting amongst the detritus inside the door. All Brunnel's romantic chatter aside (!), I was out the door, sprinting across the road to confirm my instincts. They were in brilliant condition, and complete with their original chair pads. I felt as if I'd won lotto I was that excited. For some years we had no space to utilise these gorgeous chairs - we loaned them out or they sat in the garage (sacrilege), however now they take pride of place in our office, where we can enjoy them almost every day.

Amanda xx

(image courtesy living etc) Pin It

is that an iceberg i see?


I know, I know - the fact that there is an iceberg in Wellington's harbour has been all over the twittersphere & blogosphere for the last few days, but just in case my 1 or 2 readers haven't seen it, I felt I should post about it. It is quite close to the shore as you can see, and in the usual calmness of the harbour, looks quite surreal.

Oh, that's right - it is surreal - made by Weta Workshop on behalf of an anonymous group the polystyrene artwork is a stand made against global warming -

"We're just people who care, people who have children. This is an appeal to every New Zealander who sees this artwork to stand up and take action. It's time to really do something about climate change, before it's too late."


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Thursday, August 13, 2009

the same but different - john parker


My day didn't start all that well this morning - rushing to get out of the house, attempting to get the girls to school early for Milly's choir practice, Brunnel to a meeting, the usual hurly burly, and when we got to school Eva decided to put on her 'I'm distraught at my mother leaving me' act. Something she does periodically and very well (lots of yelling, real tears, distraught sobbing, clinging) and all in the middle of the school driveway-hallway-classroom. Fabulous! After literally peeling her off, and feeling like a bad neglectful working mother I needed the walk to the store to recover. A phone call to school to check she was OK, & a restorative brioche from Floriditas later, and I found myself outside Avid Gallery. The new John Parker ceramic exhibition opened earlier this week. It is 'the same but different' - some new shapes, and creeping in amongst the remarkable signature whiteware, a little black & a single red piece.

I was peering through the glass at this beautiful work when the door opened & I was invited in. The lights were flicked on for me, and I had my own private exhibition viewing. Dorothy introduced herself to me, and I discovered that she is the owner of this lovely gallery. Although I visit Avid periodically, I had not met her until this morning. How lovely then that she invited me in, gave me a tour, let me take these images, and more than anything, imparted her obvious enthusiasm for the artists she represents. Some galleries are full of their own self-importance. Not Avid thankfully! The John Parker exhibition is on until 24th August. There are already many red stickers, but visit to enjoy!
Amanda

P.S Eva has forgiven me. All is well in her world again! Pin It

Monday, August 10, 2009

graffiti knitting

Yesterday Milly & I joined the Outdoor Knit brigade for a spot of graffiti knitting. Some fence-ational craftivism as they would put it. What the !#!&*!? I hear you say. In short we helped decorate/tag a very ugly fence which borders an inner city wasteland with a little fence art in the shape of many woven hearts. The purpose is two-fold - both a social commentary on the divide between craft and art and the bleakness of some of the industrial world, and to let everyone know that knitting is cool. And it looks pretty! I have long been intrigued by the words 'It Will All Be Ok' woven into the motorway bordering Buckle St fence, and now I know who put them there.



Milly was somewhat perturbed by some spray can wielding taggers doing their thing over the back of the derelict section, and thought we should tell the police. I was hard-pressed to explain to her that what we were doing could also be considered tagging by some. It just goes to prove that sometimes disobedience can be beautiful. And not necessarily vandalism. And our afternoon was surprisingly therapeutic!

Amanda xx

Outdoor Knit are part of a combined exhibition entitled 'Nanageddon' showing at Roar Gallery from 20 August. To see a slideshow of images from the Dominion Post click here. Pin It

Saturday, August 8, 2009

the bountiful garden


Only at this time of year can I imagine what it must be like to have a garden prolific enough to satisfy my flower obsession. And only because the thoughtful gardener who lived here before us planted some beautiful camellias which practically bend in half, so heavy & plentiful are their blooms. I love being able to whip outside & snip off some gorgeous flowers to bring inside. OK - that makes it sound too romantic - the reality is trying not to slip on our half rotten deck, and avoiding the dog poo, while negotiating the elements on the way to the camellias. BUT - the end result is so worth it! Aren't they perfect! Best get them into some vases now...
Happy weekend everyone. Amanda xx Pin It

Thursday, August 6, 2009

the lovely bones


The release of the trailer for Peter Jackson's new movie 'The Lovely Bones' was all over Twitter today. I first read this book long before the movie was mooted, and now that I am the mother of two wee girls I find it even more disturbing. Based on the critically acclaimed best-selling novel by Alice Sebold, and directed by our own Peter Jackson from a screenplay by Jackson & Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens, 'The Lovely Bones' centers on Susie Salmon, a young 14 year old girl who has been murdered and watches over her family – and her killer – from heaven. The trailer looks amazing! I always wondered how this book would look on the screen, and I get the feeling it won't disappoint. The colours and art direction look to be stunning. Click the image to view the trailer or see it on the official website here. Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz and Susan Sarandon star along with Stanley Tucci, Michael Imperioli and Saoirse Ronan as Susie. Honestly, it gives me goosebumps! Pin It

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

all the fun of the fair

I have just got back from a busy weekend in Melbourne. It's hard to believe, but in the retail world, Christmas is nigh!! The venue for this trade show, at Melbourne's Royal Exhibition Building, is pretty hard to beat. You can take a break from the busy-ness of the show floor whilst gazing at the loveliness of this beautiful old building.
It wasn't all work and no play - I combined the gift fair with a lovely family weekend. To celebrate my parents 50th wedding anniversary, my brother, sister & I, plus partners, decided that a family excursion to Australia would be nice, and so off we all went. A great excuse for some fab Melbourne dining, shopping, and we didn't even have any major tiffs!


Without giving too many secrets away, I think I may have found a few treats that would be very nice in your Christmas stockings this year... Ho Ho Ho

Amanda xx Pin It
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