Monday, November 30, 2009

it's not exactly crystal clear

Don't you love these gorgeous candlesticks? All individual works of art, and made entirely from cut glass pieces rescued from junk shops, op shops and the hidden depths of the cupboard. Nothing of any great value. From bon bon dishes to sherry glasses, with the odd parfait dish for good measure, each piece is carefully stacked into the puzzle. My friend Angela says her obsession with finding the glass has got a little out of control, but I can understand how compulsive this glass collecting could become. After seeing these I am desperate to sift through some unloved, still wrapped & stored boxes which I know contain some exceptionally candlestick-suitable glass bits & bobs. Desperate to get down to the Salvation Army & desperate to see if I can construct anything remotely this clever and beautiful. Surely this is upcycling at its best!

How beautiful these would look twinkling on your Christmas table or sideboard!
I rather like that wee dancer leaping in the background too!

Amanda xx
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Friday, November 27, 2009

magpie tendencies

I have been browsing Sibella Court's beautiful new book etcetera etc and I am particularly fascinated by all her amazing collections. In her words 'I call myself a keeper of collections or a bowerbird. For me, a home is like a museum without all the signs saying 'Please don't touch'. 
The list of just some of Sibella's collections is wonderfully eclectic, from bird skulls & nests, to mini perfume bottles, shells & small hammers.
Her book has me thinking about some of my own collections. I have also had bowerbird or as we would say, magpie tendencies since a young age. Some of my earlier collected loves included elephants and lucky boots. This phase has thankfully passed. But amongst my enduring collections are old toys such as the skittles & theatre dolls above. The dolls have travelled everywhere with me since high school. Amongst many other things, these are what I look out for on my junk shop excursions...

old linen
New Zealand Railway cups & saucers
old kitchen paraphenalia & utensils
bone-handled cutlery & wooden-handled bread knives
old medicine bottles
old signs
old enamelware

For me, it all tells a story, and I love the thrill of finding a new piece to add to my obsessions! How about you? What do you collect? I'd love to know.
Or do you just see this as clutter? Dusting isn't my thing either! My view is that it doesn't all have to be 'out' at the same time. Don't limit yourself, be clever with your displays. Use things in unexpected places and ways.
I love to mix it up.
As Sibella would say 'become the curator of your own style, and your own personal museum.' I love the way she puts this. Just don't want my museum to be fusty!
Amanda xx

(images 1,3,5 Amanda, additional images Appley Hoare, Torie Jayne)

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

alphabet soup - LMNOP magazine

I know that you are not meant to print out online magazines. I'm reminded by some of my team that this defeats the purpose of an online magazine and does not save the trees. But I can't help myself. It's a combination of reading onscreen and wanting to pour over the delicious images. Somehow it's just not the same as having that magazine in your hand, and for someone with a magazine fetish like me, when a delicious issue of LMNOP hits the screen, I'm sorry - I hit the print button. And then I savour it!
However, you choose to read this great magazine, hop to it! Issue 9 of LMNOP is out now, and it's free and fabulous as always.
Amanda xx
(images lmnop)
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Monday, November 23, 2009

those monday blues

Those Monday blues. But I mean this in the nicest possible way. These are uplifting blues - blues that shimmer with possibility. Blues that will banish any hint of negative thought. Blues that will have you leaping into your week.


Generally considered a peaceful, tranquil colour, and with a sometimes undeserved reputation for coolness, these images show that imbued with the freshness of white, & with accents of lime, charcoal & damson, turquoise is fresh, joyful & invigorating. Mood and colour for modern living.
These are blues that I am happy to surround myself with. What do you think? Do you have a colour that infuses your wellbeing? A colour that has the power to transform your mood? I'd love to hear about it.

Have a sparkling week! 
Amanda xx

(main images Designers Guild, additional images living etc, atlanta bartlett, appley hoare, petite details)
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Friday, November 20, 2009

happy weekend!

 Thank you for being so supportive this week, especially about my Orla Kiely posts. It has been an eventful  week! What are your plans for the weekend? I'm off to Hawkes Bay today - I've persuaded my Mum to help me on a market stall tomorrow at Mary's Market in Havelock North. If you're in the area, please pop by and say hello! And, I'm hoping that it will be sunny and warm. A mini summer break would be nice.

Here are some of my favourite finds from around the web this week...

a very cute online children's magazine

hilarious Christmas hijinx - have some fun!

a lovely bluebird giveaway

my favourite store in one of my favourite cities

the ultimate getaway retreat - wouldn't this be nice!

Don't you just love this happy wee image? It's from a lovely card instore. It would be cute framed I think. I can never resist beautiful cards and stationery. Have a lovely weekend!
Amanda xx
(image maileg)
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

postscript: orla kiely double takes

'Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive' - the designers of Republic Revolution at The Warehouse may wish they had given the tangled worldwide web a little more thought before launching their Orla Kiely look alike bedlinen design last week. You may remember I posted about it here.
Well, in an amazing turn of events, the blog was posted, the post was twittered, and the tweet was noticed by one of our followers, who just happened to be both a journalist and an Orla Kiely fan.  Soon after she began asking questions, we had an instore visit from someone in her 'Warehouse' uniform who purchased a set of Orla Kiely Scribble Stem bedlinen. (Rest assured, the name on her credit card confirmed this was no coincidence). And today, this appeared in the NZ Herald ...

So, the product has been pulled from The Warehouse's shelves, and website. How amazing!!
And all your comments verified my thoughts exactly - it is not OK to copy the work of another designer and pass it off as your own.

The Acorns team doubly celebrated when we unwrapped a shipment of gorgeous new Orla Kiely bags!
I feel like the little guy took on the big guy, and just maybe had a win!
Amanda xx
(images small acorns, orla kiely, living etc)

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

doodads and doodahs

 'Lower Life Forms' is an exhibition of new marine-inspired ceramic forms by Philip Jarvis & Madeleine Child on now at my favourite Mary Newton Gallery, until November 28th. Using masses & masses of tied and twisted rubber bands, paint-saturated sponge and ceramic polyps, pottery and it’s packing materials, & other household 'detritus', doodads & doodahs are 'oversized nic-nacs in a tradition of ornament and embedded decoration.' Madeleine and Philip embody these colour-saturated works with much detail and a sense of humour. It's an undersea experience without the need for a snorkel.

While visiting, see if you can  persuade Paula or Mary-Jane to let you into their 'back room'!

You have to carefully make your way past these cute scary guys by Jim Cooper, and it is a squeeze - but much buried art treasure awaits! Be warned - you will probably find something that just has to go home with you .....

Amanda xx

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Monday, November 16, 2009

letters to santa

It was the santa parade here yesterday. Eva thought that this seemed very early since Christmas still seems like an improbably long time away. However, it got her thinking about her 'wish list', and being a 'no time like the present' kind of girl, she thought she could write her letter to Santa. It would be good to be near the top of Santa's mail box so that she won't miss out on the nintendo DS like last year. (!#!*@!!) And we both figured there was still time to practice being good. Just don't tell her I've shown you the letter before posting it to the north pole! Ho Ho Ho!

Happy Monday all!
Amanda xx
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

double takes

Scribble Stem bedlinen. Unmistakably Orla Kiely, it has her signature stem print written all over it. Orla has a unique, immediately recognisable design language. Every article or interview with the designer makes reference to her iconic stem print. It forms an indelible & beloved link with her brand. A fashion, homewares & accessories brand which enjoys almost cult status, and appeals to all ages & genders with its classic quirky designs. As a recent interview in The Scotsman says, "There's a cheery optimism about Kiely's prints, an honesty that has a broad appeal. They're warm, homely, nostalgic, but simultaneously slick and design-conscious. She believes firmly in good design that's accessible."

And then there is this...something which has little honesty about it.

This is not Orla Kiely. This is an 'original' design by Republic Revolution for The Warehouse - the place where everyone gets a bargain. I wonder where they got their inspiration? Who is their muse? How did they come up with this unique design? Is New Zealand so far away that they thought no one would notice an obvious likeness between their 'Glendhu Bay' & Orla's 'Scribble Stem'?

Such obvious plagiarism makes me squirm. It is like red rag to a bull. A designer, any designer, who puts her heart and soul into her work should not have to see her originality so blatantly passed off by someone else.

But what do you think? How would you feel if this were your design? Please tell me you wouldn't buy it!

(image 1: Orla Kiely; image 2: The Warehouse)

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

take a seat - emeco navy chair

Last time I did a chair post, one of my lovely commenters remarked that chairs are to home decoration what shoes are to personal decoration. I couldn't agree more. My shoe fetish is only slightly more in control than my chair fetish!
These Emeco Navy chairs have graced our dining table for nearly 10 years now. They are the stuff of legend. Initially developed in 1944 in collaboration with ALCOA for US military use, (hence the 'navy' title), the 1006 chair was designed to be used on submarines & was required to be lightweight, incredibly strong & torpedo proof. And they had to be comfortable for those required to sit for very long periods of time. The seat itself is rumoured to be modelled on Betty Grable's derriere. Each chair is made by hand, in the same original US based Emeco factory, using a 77 step process from 80% recycled aluminium, and is designed to last 150 years.

Today the original Emeco chair has spawned new Emeco designs by the likes of Philippe Starck and Frank Gehry. Philippe Starck calls them industrial pieces of art.
Some complain that they are cold to sit on in the morning. They soon warm up! And if they're good enough for Betty's bottom, they're good enough for mine!
Amanda xx

P.S Thanks for your words of wisdom & encouragement yesterday. I've taken it all on board very gratefully.
(Image 1-Emeco, very grainy Image 2- my previous home, Next magazine)

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Monday, November 9, 2009

happy monday

I think summer came to Wellington this weekend! Albeit for a brief visit. But it was the most beautiful day yesterday. And even though it pales me to congratulate Canterbury for their rugby win over our Wellington Lions on Saturday night, at least the whole of New Zealand is smiling after an All Black win on Sunday morning. Yes, it has been a weekend of family and rugby in our household. Am I the only one to welcome visitors at 6.15 in the morning as the boys gather to watch their beloved game? I'm never looking my best at that time of day!
I know I have been a little slack with my blog posting! A combination of too little to say, too little time & too little sleep.  How does one get through these patches? I'd love some words of advice from my experienced blogging friends...
Happy Monday everyone!
Amanda xx
(image Designers Guild)

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

turning japanese - paumes books

I am hooked on these gorgeous & inspirational interiors books, or mooks as some call them, by Paumes. The fact that all text is written in Japanese, of which I understand not a jot, is neither here nor there. These books are all about the pretty pictures and the amazingly creative homes & interiors they explore.

Edition Paumes is a small & dynamic family-run Japanese publisher. As their blurb goes "With a poetic and original approach, Edition PAUMES explores the environments of those who stimulate the creative industries, and in so doing has produced a set of 'creative bibles' that overflow with inspiration." This set of creative bibles includes, amongst others, a 'childrens rooms' series from Paris, London, Stockholm & Copenhagen, a 'kitchen' series, the wonderful Paris Brocante, and new London Vintage. The list goes on!

They are all lust-haves. The sort of books that you pick up several times over, and each time see something new. Beautifully detailed. I am seriously considering pilfering much of Small Acorns stock in the interests of market research and am worried that  I am just a little too obvious. Can I pull rank on my customers, some of whom share my Paumes fetish, and who have been waiting patiently for new stock to arrive? Perhaps if I add to my collection just one at a time and savour each one!

Hope you're having a great week, wherever you are, and whatever you're up to!
Amanda xx
(all individual images by Paumes) 

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Monday, November 2, 2009

(interior) style file - it's in the detail

I know these images of senior Designers Guild stylist Liza Gile's beautiful bedroom have seen the blogisphere before, but they are amongst my most favourite, and the issue of Inside Out in which they appeared is well thumbed & in my 'save permanently' pile.
The stunning Designers Guild fabrics, together with an amazing collection of loved artwork and treasured finds, and all hung & placed so beautifully. Taken in isolation, all the elements of this room seem so disparate, and yet together they work seamlessly together in eclectic harmony! (Is there such a thing?)

So, one of the first rules of styling your space is to use the pieces that speak to you, the ones you really love. And don't be afraid to move things around until you get it right. Put things away for a while, and challenge yourself to use pieces out of context. Great rooms are always changing, and one of my favourite Designers Guild maxims - it's in the mix, not the match. (I could never be an out-of-a-catalogue girl!)
To me, whether or not the contemporary vintage look is your style, this room sums up everything that any interior space should be - personal, playful, inspiring, and doesn't take itself too seriously!

Amanda xx
(All photography by James Merrell, courtesy Inside Out & decor8)

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