Thursday, July 29, 2010

the tea party

When we were little my Dad used to follow us everywhere with a Super 8 movie camera. After the stage where we would show off for the camera, and as a few years pass, you can see that we are quite keen for the camera to go away. My Mum especially, hated it. And knowing now myself, how much I too loath to be photographed, I well and truly get Mum's movie sign language. Of course my Dad took no notice of us, and kept on filming. We used to have home movie nights, during which invariably, the reel would get stuck in the projector and burn. Eventually the films languished somewhere in a box as the world became digital. However, over the last few years, Dad has been bringing our old home movies up to speed. He has been putting them all on to DVD, and only now am I grateful that he didn't listen when we waved the camera away. His "Geriatric Productions", as he calls them, are truly precious. Not to mention hilarious - from first steps to first boyfriends. Everything for posterity. It makes me want to capture so much more of what my girls are up to.
Anyway, today he emailed me this little still shot. My friends and I are having tea. He thinks it shows off some early styling ability. I certainly always was a busy body. Some things, apparently, never change!

Amanda xx
(image Geriatric Productions)

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Monday, July 26, 2010

easy breezy - quick fix no. 6

Need some instant storage and shelving options? Enter the humble beer crate, which has cleverly upcycled itself into the perfect storage solution. A quirky yet practical idea for books, kids toys and playthings. 
Or as seen here, for shoes, and in the home office of this Auckland home, featured in the latest issue of Urbis magazine.
And for those of you who think some of the graphics in the graffitti artwork look familiar, but you're not sure where you've seen them - have a closer look at some of your favourite Federation tees, or your kids favourite minti tees (from Small Acorns of course). This home just oozes the personality of these popular street wear labels, so it comes as no surprise to learn that this is where co-directors and owners Nick & Jenny live. Diamonds in the sky on the wall. and a minti lightening cloud applied to an old picture. I love the vibrancy of colour together with a little urban grunge & eccentricity. It's a very cool space.
For some more crate ideas in my home click here...

Amanda xx
(images by Larnie Nicolson for urbis magazine)

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

take a seat - the bentwood chair

Now that I think about it, my magpie tendencies started when I was quite young. Particularly my collections of all things interior, both old and new. I remember, back in the medieval times (as Milly would say), when I finished my pharmacy exams my friends and I went shopping to celebrate. They bought clothes. I put a dinner set on layby. OK, I probably bought clothes too, but what I was going to do with a dinner set I still don't recollect.
Anyway, my chair fetish started way before that - pre-medieval. And the first chair I ever bought, while still at high school, was one of these - a Thonet Bentwood. It cost me $8. I'm not sure why I remember this detail, but for some reason I do. It was half of my weeks wages earned as an office cleaner after school. High finance! Not as fancy as this chair. It was more your classic bentwood cafe chair, no curly arms, a little bit rickety, a few creaks as I sat on it doing my homework. But lovely all the same, and not bad considering how old it possibly was.
The Thonet Bentwood chair was first created in 1859. It became the first mass-produced chair in the world. The original flat-pack. Since then it has been in continuous production with over 50 million chairs produced to date. These iconic chairs have been featured in everything from Renoir paintings to Madonna videos.  
I'm not sure what happened to my chair. It possibly surreptitiously joined my mother's collection of 60 chairs. I have other lovely bentwoods now, but not my original. I think I'm getting nostalgic for a chair!

Amanda xx
(image elle deco)
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

a few hangups

What do you hang on your walls? There is much to love about this little arrangement of 'objets trouve' and treasured artwork. I'm also loving the fabulous dark charcoal grey wall which seems to set everything off just so. There are several approaches to achieving a wall as pleasing as this. The experts would tell you to lay everything out on the floor first in order to work out your layout. I do this to a point, but often if I have worked out my 'centrepiece' or the piece that my eye is most drawn to, then I will hang that, and then work out and around from there. I'm happy to bang a nail in anywhere. If however, you are more like my father, who has to find a wall stud before nailing anything, then I'm afraid this type of hangup may not work for you! Although if the pieces are small, then those fabulous 3M picture hangers are brilliant.

On another note, apologies if I have been a bit scarce in your neck of the blogging woods lately. I seem to have so much to do, and so little time to do it in. Not helped much by my lemon of a computer crashing and losing this post. (!#@#!!!#@#!!***!#) I've even resorted to the last of Mise's delicious chocolate in an effort to perk myself up enough to get on with things. It is true - there is no rest for the wicked!

Amanda xx
(image domino)
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Monday, July 19, 2010

all that glitters is not gold

All that glitters is not gold. I doubt that Shakespeare had interior decor on his mind when he wrote these words. But a little mellow yellow, non-glistening gold certainly enriches this beautiful boudoir. Gorgeous natural textures of silk, cotton and linen. A mix of antique, modernist and contemporary furniture. 
Ethereal white on white on gold on white. Not one hint of bling.
It's all very nouveau riche! 
Happy Monday. Hope you all had a fabulous weekend.

Amanda xx

(images Designers Guild)
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Friday, July 16, 2010

easy breezy - quick fix no. 5

The girls have created some new 'masterpieces' over these holidays. I love giving them a canvas and seeing what they come up with.
"That's the great thing about arting Mummy" says Eva. "It doesn't have to be perfect". 
Wise words from a 7 year old, as she puts her signature to another imperfectly perfect piece.
If you're anywhere in the vicinity of children, then you'll know how proud they are of their creations, right from the very first muddy fingerpaints. Other than covering the fridge, and using them as giftwrap, incorporate them into your decorating. I have some cheap basic frames through which I can rotate a succession of works. The ones I can't bear to part with get a prominent spot somewhere, and with some careful editing of other homegrown masterpieces, your prolific young artists will add much exuberance to your art collection.

Have a fabulous weekend! (Go All Blacks!)
Amanda xx

('Stamp on a Book on a Table' by Eva, image 1. 'Heart & blue flower' by Milly, image 2)

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

a colour story - midweek blues

The blues. How or why did this beautiful colour become synonymous with a feeling of depression or deep unhappiness? It seems so unfair.
If anything, I think it's a great little mixer. Gets on well with all the other colours in the spectrum. 
Definitely enlightening with black.

Adding the zest to orange.

Who was it that said blue and green should never be seen? 
That was a bs* (blue sky) theory.

And putting the meaning into 'in the pink'.

I love all shades of blue - aqua, azure, turquoise, midnight, duck egg, indigo, ocean, hyacinth. 
And on a 'blue' day find it to be anything but unhappy.

Amanda xx
(images Designers Guild, vintage, Deborah Bowness & myself)

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Monday, July 12, 2010

secret sydney

Brunnel and I surprised our girls on Friday with a weekend away. How I love the joy of airpoints! 
Friday morning, and the girls were at the last session of a netball holiday programme. I picked them up at lunchtime, and said I thought we might go out for lunch as a wee treat, but that it was a surprise as to where we were going. However, they needed to get changed and out of their netball gear. For once they didn't argue, and as I had brought the change of clothes, my two fashionistas had no say as to what they put on! I also persuaded them that it might be nice to brush their hair. I had allowed myself enough time to take a roundabout route to the airport. The first guess for our lunch date was McDonalds. No disrespect, but they knew that would be unlikely. I drove on past. Maranui Cafe was a much better guess, and in the right direction. Chatting away, it took the girls a moment or two before they realised I'd driven past that turnoff too. "Why are we going to the airport?"
"To pick up Daddy."
"But his plane doesn't get in until midnight."
"He's on an earlier flight. I thought we'd have lunch at Mojo while we wait."
After parking the car, the girls sheltered from the blizzard while I locked up. This also gave me time to get the hidden suitcase from the boot. Now they knew something was up! Milly guessed we were flying to Napier to see Granny Nanny & Papa, and that was why they had to brush their hair. Granny Nanny is a bit of a stickler about hair brushing. I left it at that until we got to check-in. They were wildly excited.
I thought Milly would wise up to the fact that I marched them past the self check-in, but it was only when we got to the counter and I produced our passports that she cottoned on that this was a bit more exciting than Napier. "Sydney or Melbourne?" asked the Air New Zealand staffer. And so Sydney it was!
You see Brunnel had been working in Sydney since Wednesday, and on a whim we decided that if we could get the flights using airpoints, and a 'wotif' hotel, then before we thought too hard about our silly, fanciful idea we should just do it.
And the look on the girls' faces made all the white lies, mad secret packing and panic, so worthwhile.
We had such a great time.

Amanda xx
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Thursday, July 8, 2010

what's your lucky number?

We're about to start playing a little game instore. Reminiscent of game shows of old, it's called 'What's Your Lucky Number', and we have $5000 worth of goodies to give away. I'm not sure what has me more excited - the game itself, or the stunning 'lucky number wall' we've created instore to play the game with. I say we, but other than the overall idea, I have to give creative credit to Courtney and Jo for almost all these amazing little lucky number canvases. My contribution has been laughed at, so I will leave you guessing as to which are my lucky numbers!

For Small Acorns friends, if you spend $49 or more you get to pick your lucky number, and you win the prize behind it. Everyone will win - we have treats from all our favourite brands for you to take home - Orla Kiely, Designers Guild, Glasshouse, Mae and many many more. And we'll be replenishing the prizes all week, so if you all think No.13 is your lucky number, that's OK!
And I'm going to enjoy our little art installation. Isn't it gorgeous! So much fun with 20 canvases.

Amanda xx
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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

spring bulbs

Have you planted your spring bulbs? I know that with all of the 'forced' bulbs and flowers available 'spring' comes a whole lot earlier these days. I have some goregous daffodils on my desk today. But when you see those little bulbs, outside in the freezing cold, bravely pushing their way through to the surface, you really do get a much greater appreciation for nature, the seasons as a whole, and the genuine promise of warmer days ahead.  Keep thinking those warm thoughts.

Amanda xx

P.S You know how much I love to receive your comments. Is it just me, but blogger seems to be doing a good job of losing them at the moment? They're there one moment, gone the next!
(beautiful image via vintage)
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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

take a seat - the s chair

The S Chair by Tom Dixon. Introduced by Cappellini in 1989, the S Chair became an almost instant classic and catapulted the then almost unknown designer to fame, and emergence as one of England's most influential designers. Tom Dixon fell into design by accident when he found himself with “time on his hands” while recovering from a motorcycle accident. As an art school drop-out with no technical training, he taught himself how to become a designer-maker in 1983 after discovering welding when trying to repair his motorbike. He describes himself as "a self-educated maverick whose only qualification is a one-day course in plastic bumper repair".Thanks to a strong creative drive and and entrepreneurial instinct the self-taught designer became head of design, and then creative director, at Habitat before launching his own lighting and furniture design company in 2002. 
The S Chair remains one of my all-time chair 'loves'. Ever since spotting it in photos of Tricia Guild's home, 15 or so years ago, I was besotted, and I hold it partially responsible for introducing this then fairly naive kiwi girl to the world of contemporary design. I am lucky indeed to have one of these unique chairs which Brunnel, in a weak moment, bought me for a 'significant' birthday. It's quirky, absurdly shaped and yet perfectly balanced and surprisingly comfortable. It fits me perfectly! 
(Now of course I'm coveting some Tom Dixon pressed glass lights for my new kitchen)

Amanda xx
(image Gilles de Chabaneix)
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Saturday, July 3, 2010

easy breezy - quick fix no. 4

I have a bit of a fetish for bottles. Their simplicity is so often overlooked, and they make the best little vases. For some reason Italian soft drinks come in the very best bottles. I've clinked my way back home with many an empty one as a souvenir. Doing the flowers for a wedding once, I needed no fewer than 12 little bottles per table, and there were at least ten tables. Sourcing the bottles wasn't a problem. Unfortunately the rather exotic juice concentrate in each bottle was something of an acquired taste. I did my best to drink it, give it away, freeze little blocks of it, smoothie it, but the reality was that I really only wanted the bottle. All 120 plus of them. I tried hard not to think of the sacrilege as most of the concentrate got tipped out.
This little idea from The Homemade Home by Sania Pell is a cute bottle idea. Sania has used a little bit of double-sided tape to hold the paper in place and then twisted thin wire around it. Here origami paper has been used, but you could use photos, giftwrap, wallpaper, small cards, or the kids artwork, and brightly coloured cotton would be lovely tied around it too. And, one of the best things about using bottles as vases is that you don't need many flowers to fill them. No grand arrangements. The simpler the better, and even I can find a snippet in my garden to 'bottle'.

Amanda xx

(Image © CICO Books Ltd/Homemade Home via Elle Deco
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