Monday, May 31, 2010

easy breezy - quick fix no. 1





















What do you do with all your old, but can't bear to be parted from, magazines? 
A pile in the living room. The newest on the table. A stack beside the bed. Another pile on the other side of the bed. Some more in an old wooden basket-thingy. Two shelves, each stacked with six piles in the family room. Another stash hidden in the back of the cupboard.... Sound familiar? I can't be the only one with such a fetish! Every now and then I go through them all, vowing to cull them somewhat. Instead I can be guaranteed to find one that I swear I've not even read, and what a thrill that is. I get lost in the pages, forget what I was meant to be doing, and certainly can't contemplate recycling any at this moment. Thanks anyway. And, now that I have a blog, well, can't my magazine collection be reasonably classified as research material? The piles pile up - again.
Here's one idea that I like. An instant art installation, using pages torn from your favourite magazines. Make your own collage using images you find inspirational or beautiful. A harmonious and rather fun way to spend an afternoon.
You just have to get your head around ripping up your precious collection!

Amanda xx
(image Elle Deco)
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Sunday, May 30, 2010

seeking shelter


































One could be forgiven for wanting to hide away this weekend. Not exactly tropical weather. Wet, wild and pretty darn cold. A beautiful bedroom, a pile of interiors and fashion mags, now that would be my kind of sanctuary.

Amanda xx
(image Designers Guild)
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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

plans and renovations






















As some of you know, we have been talking about renovating our house for some time now. Talking about planning, and planning about planning, and talking a bit more. Much talk. Very little action. 
Brunnel blames me. And I blame Brunnel. Our poor architect, GC, is the meat in the sandwich. Brunnel says I keep changing my mind. (A woman's perogative surely?) I tell him that it's hard to work within his constantly magically shrinking miserly budget. 
Meanwhile, another chunk of the guttering rusts away, another cupboard falls off the wall, and I have a lovely crop of green moss amongst the carpet in the ever so posh ensuite. (And I promise, this has nothing to do with my housekeeping skills, or lack there of.)
Tonight I show Brunnel the latest set of drawings and visuals. I'm quite excited. Believe me, GC and I have worked hard to keep Brunnel and his budget happy. And I think we're almost there. We've chopped the scale of the job in half. The kitchen is looking great. I haven't changed my mind*. We've figured a new, less invasive way of opening up the front of the house, and GC and I are ready to progress to construction drawings. Brunnel however, the least visual man on the planet, after realising that the fridge is not sitting on top of a cupboard - it is just two elevations on the one page - hones in on a detail where he thinks we are being extravagant and over the top.
An electric winder on a very very high window in the kitchen. The only window. 3 metres plus high.
There are obvious savings to be made here. It is far more practical to get out a ladder every time one wants to open the window, especially to let out the moths which have just escaped from his wallet.

Amanda xx

*Well, not changed my mind exactly. Just a few minor updates for GC to incorporate - like this old industrial steel locker, which I plan to use as my crockery cupboard. Now I'm really opening myself up for criticism!



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Monday, May 24, 2010

tender loving care

A very dear friend of ours needed emergency surgery in the weekend. A gaping chest cavity hole plus numerous other lacerations all required sensitive and specialist attention. A skin graft would have been the ideal treatment, but alas, his skin has become so thin and delicate that this option had to be ruled out. This is not the first time that he has needed such major surgery. And despite the operation ahead, he is always smiling. Never complaining. The sweetest patient.
 We simply couldn't bear to be without him. There are a few rules he must abide by in order to help us help him. Simple things really - like never ever ever leaving the house. The last time he did this, he took himself off, without telling us, for an adventure in a friends camper van. Over hill and down dale he went, while the whole neighbourhood (literally) was out looking for him. It was a very very worrying time. Once it was realised that he really should have told someone where he was going, his friend arranged a drop-off, and we drove across country to pick him up. It was a very emotional reunion.
Our friend suffers from a serious condition called 'overlovedness'. And we have to manage this ongoing condition as best as we possibly can.

































Meet our dear friend, Eva's beloved Barritt - a rabbit whose name got a bit skew-whiffed back in his younger days. And so 'rabbit' became 'barritt' with a capital B.
Eva asked on Sunday morning if I could mend his throat. Lordy, he was almost decapitated. He certainly had a major tracheotomy hangover. I have almost nowhere left to sew, he is so threadbare. After his surgery this weekend, he is wearing a knitted vest. Sort of a 'Nancy Ganz' to hold what is left of his innards in. Could work for me I think. (Except I still have a lot of innards to hold in!)

Happy Monday.
Amanda xx

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Friday, May 21, 2010






















Friday already. Has your week been as busy as mine? And yet I'm still not sure that I achieved much. Did I achieve anything? No comment. But I did have a lovely visit with my old friend Sally. We studied pharmacy together eons ago, and did a bit of our OE together too. It seems incredible that we hadn't seen each other in ten years, life and distance intervening. However, isn't the lovely thing about a true old friend, that you quickly forget about all the inbetween, and pretty soon it is as if you've never been apart.
Thanks for your lovely comments this week, and hi to my new followers. I'm still stunned when I see a new follower. And even more so when I receive your comments. Welcome aboard! 
I hope you all have a lovely weekend planned.

Amanda xx

P.S The very clever Sarah has a beautiful giveaway over at Molly's Maison. You could win one of her lovely vintage lace pendant necklaces. 
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

a colour story - black & white
































































































































































Do you see in black and white? Or do you literally, see so much more? I see charcoal, slate, concrete, pebble, licorice, ebony, raven, and midnight, alongside pumice, stone, vanilla, porcelain, alabaster, snow, shell, stone, ecru and natural. Rarely is anything black and white.In life too I find.

Amanda xx

P.S I know I've been scarce around the blog world this week. A hectic work week, alongside a lovely visit from one of my oldest friends, whom I haven't seen for 10 years! We've had much to catch up on. Hope you'll forgive me. I promise to catch up with you all this weekend. 

(images via Designers Guild, vintage, door sixteen, pipsqueak chapeau, appley hoare, petite details, living etc, dave coote and myself.)

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Monday, May 17, 2010

take a seat - the 111 navy chair






















'When you recycle a plastic bottle, you're doing something good. When you recycle 111 of them, you're doing something great.'
See this fabulous chair! Made from 111 recycled plastic Coke bottles, the 111 Navy Chair®, is a special collaboration between Emeco and Coca-Cola. It took four years of research, design and materials testing to create this chair, which is a plastic version of the iconic (and my favourite) aluminium 1006 Navy® Chair. The chair debuted last month at the 2010 Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, and was launched yesterday in New York, exclusively at Design Within Reach.

































Each 111 Navy Chair contains a mix of 60% recycled PET plastic, and a special combination of other materials including pigment and glass fibre for strength. The original 1006 Navy chair was designed for the US Navy in 1944, and other than its stylish good looks, was designed for strength, comfort and durability, with a life expectancy of around 150 years. Wonderfully ironic then, that the production of this chair is expected to keep around three million plastic Coke bottles (each with a landfill breakdown of around the same time frame) out of landfills each year. Coca-Cola, I salute your initiative!
The 111 Navy chair is available in six colours - Coca Cola Red, Snow, Flint, Grass, Charcoal and Persimmon. And each chair has that 'good to great' statement moulded underneath the seat, to remind us that we can all help to turn our bottles into something quite extraordinary.
How cool is that!

Amanda xx

(P.S Thonet, the New Zealand stockists of Emeco, will have this fabulous chair available here mid to late June. I can't wait!)

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Is Poi E number one yet?




If you haven't seen it yet, Taika Waititi's video remix of the 1984 kiwi classic Poi E will make you smile. The revamped video of the 26 year old song which features in Waititi's latest film Boy was completed this week, in response to a popular campaign aiming to see the song reach No.1 in the New Zealand music charts again. The campaign, via Facebook and Twitter, started after the song recaptured the imagination of the public after it featured in the smash hit, coming of age movie. On the back of the film's popularity Poi E is currently at 19.
A brilliant way to see in the weekend.
Amanda xx

P.S For my ex-pat friends - see more about the movie which screened at the Sundance & Berlin film festivals here

(video courtesy Whenua Films)

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

a wardrobe fix - thanks mae!





















































































I'm struggling a bit with my wardrobe at the moment. (I'll save that story for another day.)
No worrying about what to wear for these little friends however.
Don't you love them! These whimsical, sweet dress-up dolls are self-adhesive fabric stickers. Absolutely delightful graphics with a vintage aesthetic, but made modern because they are completely removable and reuseable. Which means you can peel and stick them to your wall as many times as you like. Change your outfit as many times a day as your mood dictates. We've 'pegged' our extensive wardrobe to the wall using tiny clothes pegs and twine. And we play with our little wardrobe installation all the time. 
Made by the ever-so-lovely girls at mae, the dress up dolls are but one of their fabulous mae sticker collection. Coming across such lovely creative spirits is truly the best part of my day job, and I love that we are able to stock their collection at Small Acorns.
 I used to love paper dolls back in the 'olden days' - as my girls would say.
Well I guess I've just never grown up!

Amanda xx

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Monday, May 10, 2010

a colour perspective



































I thought I'd start the week with a 'quieter' image for you all. Firstly because too much colour and pattern, and I might scare you all away, and secondly, because it might surprise you to learn that my love of colour most certainly includes white, in all its many and varied shades. I just can't get my head around what I call, a 'porridge' interior - bland, dull, and uninteresting.There is nothing bland about this room. Hints of turquoise and pink. Black, the ultimate foil for white. Vibrant green foliage. The beautiful old lace at the window. A mix of contemporary, mid-century and antique pieces. This room has soul. And it also still has colour and pattern.
But, I did so enjoy your comments on my last post, which was certainly at the more extreme edge of colour and pattern. And I want to thank you all because you have given me a greater understanding of how I think many people, my clients included, feel around this touchy interior subject. Nervous, and a little afraid. And given that I am so used to working with elements of pattern, colour, and texture, layering them up with confidence, I can really learn from your differing perspectives.
So, I have a little colour challenge for you. Start by introducing little splashes of colour into your space. Accessories such as cushions, flowers, art, textiles - things that can be easily added, and just as easily taken away if you have a change of heart. Develop your colour sense, and discover how certain colours affect your mood. Do they make you feel happy, calm, or energised? Try it, and then report back. I really want to know what you think.
After all porridge is porridge, but porridge with brown sugar and cream is something else entirely!

Amanda xx


(image Living etc, Lisa Giles) Pin It

Thursday, May 6, 2010

spot the difference














































Go on. Humour me. Let's play spot the difference. Today I've been playing around with wallpaper images for my store's website. After so many years working ( and playing - because it is such an amazing range to surround oneself with) with Designers Guild, I love to see how their styling team, headed up by the very creative Lisa Giles, transforms a room. It's the ultimate makeover - and in this case, you can see how this same fabulous space in Skywood House (one of Jane's favourites I believe) goes from peony to flocked gold to chartreuse. All in the blink of an eye, and over a few Designers Guild collections. It is a brilliant example of how colour and pattern transform a room.











And here it is empty again!
Amanda xx
(Images Designers Guild, Skywood House)

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

lets catch some zees
















The little girls and I are secret America's Next Top Model fans. Come Friday night, we dispatch Brunnel to the back room where he can watch rugby, and then New Zealand's Next Child Models and I line up together on the sofa in front of the big TV to watch ANTM together.
The final episodes of Cycle 14, the series currently screening in the States were filmed in New Zealand. And last week the first of these episodes went to air in the US. This would be the one where Tyra announces the upcoming trip to the top 6 models. (We won't see this series here until early next year.)
Cue the sheep above. It seems that Tyra and fellow judges, 'noted fashion photographer' Nigel Barker, Vogue's Andre Leon Talley, and guest judge Whitney Port, are very very tired. Exhausted in fact. They need a little sleep, and well, you just have to watch this trailer to see what happens next...


I have little to say really -  
Obviously, if you count shoypp, then you're going to catch some zuds. Brown shoypp. A pseudo New Zilland all-round kiwi bloke with an amazing accent. Do we have shepherds? A New Zilland banner that defys description -  a distinctly devilish 'maori' icon and the sky tower. Oh yes, this captures us perfectly. We're so exciting you won't need to count shoypp.
Oh I know what you Aussies will say! I can handle it. Bring on the sheep jokes then.

Amanda xx
(with thanks Isaac Likes)
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Monday, May 3, 2010

a paper jacket






















Yesterday the Small Acorns team and I were at Te Papa for the first of the Talking Fashion series. This series of conversations with some of New Zealand's leading contemporary designers is inspired by the fabulous new book New Zealand Fashion Design. Yesterday author Angela Lassig was in conversation with Trelise Cooper about the evolution of her brand, her personal inspirations, career highlights and insights. 
An image of this gorgeous little brown paper jacket flashed up on the big screen. It also appears in the book. And I was reminded how lucky I am to have one of them. This little paper jacket was an invitation to a Trelise Cooper runway show at fashion week a few years ago. It is one of my most favourite things, and sits on my inspiration board on my desk. Perfectly proportioned, perfectly made, complete with darts and shaping, front and back, buttons and button holes. It is perfect, in all its brown-paper simplicity. It is a reminder that life really is in the details.





















Trelise talked about constantly living and treasuring your dreams. About writing seemingly impossible things in her journal, and making them happen. As she is quoted as saying in the fashion book - 
People talk about a brand, a label, a business, but for me this is actually my life. This is what I get up and enjoy every day. I have huge challenges, but I’m still getting up every day looking forward to coming to work. It’s how I express myself in the world. It truly is everything I love.
Her passion and enthusiasm is truly infectious. If, like me, you run your own business, there are many days when the dream seems more like a nightmare.  To be reminded of the dream that began it all is timely. 

And of course, earlier in the afternoon, before her talk at Te Papa, Trelise came straight from the airport to gaze in wonderment at the peg dolls in Small Acorns.  She could not believe how amazing all the entries were. We could not believe how amazing she was. (That's another whole story.)
 Much wonderment, much exclaiming, much discussion, the impossibility of narrowing it down to choose the winner. We had warned her it was not going to be easy. But in the end, just as Heidi Klum would say, 'we have reached our decision...'*

*But of course, I'm not going to tell you who the winner is just yet, because there is still time to vote in the people's choice award online. You have until midnight Tuesday to vote, and then both winners will be announced on Wednesday. 

Happy Monday everyone!
Amanda xx

P.S Trelise has autographed all our copies of the wondrous New Zealand Fashion Design - a must have for anyone interested in our fashion industry. Each inscription urges us to treasure our dreams!

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