Thursday, September 30, 2010

paint effects

I love the simplicity of this holiday home owned by designer Paola Navone on the Greek Island of Serifos. It looks so idyllic. And I love that amongst some high end design are these little upcycled details, like the upturned painted rubbish bins as legs for a rustic table in the entrance hall.
But my favourite favourite thing has to be this painted rug on the concrete floor. Genius inspired. 
Now I wonder what I could manage on the floor at the beach this weekend?!! Shall I pack a little brush and give it a go? I could always hide it away under a real rug if disaster strikes!

Amanda xx
(image Elle Deco)
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Monday, September 27, 2010

for the record

For my birthday my sister gave me this amazing old leather bound notebook. Although I don't know much about these things, it is some kind of notebook as used by a valuer to record and list property and chattels.
Each entry is headed up with the name of the property, the name of the owner or the deceased owner, and the name of the purchaser or those set to inherit the estate.The first entry is dated 1st October 1945.
The lists are fascinating to say the least. Several of the properties seem to be restaurants or hotels. I note with some amazement that the Casino Dance Hall & Restaurant  had 4 large brooms, 1000 patty pastry tins, 550 cups, but only 29 teaspoons, & 341 bentwood chairs. (How lucky!) And this just a small part of the kitchen listing.
Others don't fair so well - I thought for a moment they were describing my house when I finally deciphered this spidery handwriting...
"We attended the above house today & did what we could ie make the very best of an extremely bad job. It's a shocking lot of rubbish, & very fit for burning & we think the new tenant should be paid to take it over. There is very little, if any - that a self-respecting man would have in his house & we confess to being unable to make anything like an accurate valuation of the goods. The electric cable has all rotted & the fuses are corroded. The curtains are rotten & moth is in everything it could get into, added to which the whole place is in a deplorable state & it will cost a large sum to clear out the rubbish."
Yes, definitely my house!
Anyway, it is a fascinating detailed snapshot of household accoutrements at this time. My sister found it at an Anthropologie store in Washington. The records are all for properties in England. And now this little ledger is in New Zealand with me, preserved for a little longer.It's come a long way!

Amanda xx
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

good enough to eat (almost)

Is this not styling at its inspired best?
36 lusciously paint-dipped old spoons to show off 36 delicious new paint colours for Fired Earth.
This is the sort of idea I always wish I could come up with myself. And why I'm addicted to Elle Deco UK each month, because this is the sort of idea they always come up with. 
It would make such a beautiful card. I shall just have to content myself with printing it off for my inspiration board. After all, I can't bring myself to chop up the magazine just yet!

Amanda xx
(image Elle Deco)

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

a colour story - spring flings

It's this season's hottest hue.
Yellow has never looked so fresh. And no, we're definitely not talking the yellow-bellied, lemon-lipped shades of old. 
This season we're calling it lemongrass - the perfect description for a colour that is all sunny-side up with a hint of zesty personality.
Mix with a little florabundance, and you have the perfect spring fling.

Amanda xx

(images Designers Guild, Deborah Bowness, Polly Wreford, Elle Deco)
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Monday, September 20, 2010

a new week already?

One of my little princesses has been sick. With a penchant for drama, she plays it well. Really well.
"I'm feeling flat Mummy. I'm as flat as the ground."
"Actually I'm a bit under the weather as well as flat. I think about 100 centimetres under." 
"Everything hurts. It hurts to sniff."
Extra cough & snort for effect.
Only my Eva! 
Although I'd have to say that when I realised on Thursday that there was no way I could send her to school on Friday it did throw me into a bit of a panic. With Brunnell away overseas, our girls only week had been busy, but otherwise going quite swimmingly until then. Coro and other things we wanted to watch on TV, eating what we wanted to eat, little treats in the lunchboxes, girls talk, oh, and no rugby.
We're short-staffed at the store at the moment for one reason or another, and although I had a new team member starting on Friday, I didn't think it would be the perfect introduction to Small Acorns if I greeted her at the door, and then left her on her own. Hi, and bye!
There are some days when feeling like a one-armed paper hanger really hits home. And all that E-Myth stuff about working 'on' your business so that you don't have to work 'in' your business is all well and good, except when you need to work 'in' your business, or it won't be open.
Then of course, there is the guilt about having to find someone to look after your sick child because her callous Mummy has to put work first. That particular guilt trip could go on and on. As all working parents know. How I wished I could have called in to work for sick leave to look after my wee girl.
Anyway, I'm forever grateful that another of my team, and my sister stepped in to the caregiver breach, and we got through the day.

Although it apparently still hurts to sniff, judging by the Glee/Lady Gaga dance-off held in the living room yesterday, my princess is well enough to return to school, and hold court once again. 
Hope you had a great weekend. Happy Monday!

Amanda xx
(image - my absolute favourite maileg card)
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

easy breezy - quick fix no. 9

Remember the pegdolls?
Although there could be only one overall prize winner, they were all winners in my mind. I loved them all. Once the competition was over, most of them were reunited with their creative parents. 
Some were abandoned.
Don't worry - this story has a happy ending.
Together with some pegdolls made by my girls, they now have a lovely new home...
A home where they are happily paraded for all to see.
These are the 'chosen ones'. 
They now live in a frame in Trelise Cooper's office.
Perhaps they are inspiring a new collection!
And these friends have joined the Small Acorns team. They'll help to inspire next years' competition.
And in the meantime, they are much admired, and much loved.
Trelise says the same about hers.

And don't they look brilliant framed. The point being that art is what you make of it sometimes.

Amanda xx

(my apologies for the poor images. I blame Brunnell's camera. It's just not the same as mine!)
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Monday, September 13, 2010

happy monday...and a winner

I hope you all had a lovely weekend.
Don't you love this beautiful spring bouquet image by Polly Wreford? When I was growing up, every year on my birthday, my Nana, who had an amazing garden, would bring me a huge bunch of the most beautifully fragrant spring flowers. I only have to catch the merest scent of a freesia, and I am reminded of this. Although I am certain that freesias these days don't smell as beautiful as Nana's did. 
I'm not sure if 'celebrate' is the right word when you're turning 39 again, but I did have a lovely birthday yesterday.
The girls bought me breakfast in bed, together with their carefully chosen presents. They had both found a lovely old treasure each for me, Milly - an old printers block, and Eva - a lovely old key. Their father must have been listening when I suggested a shopping destination or two!
Brunnell himself paid off one of my laybys - always a good and safe present option. He knows I will like it if I've chosen it somehow. Of course, I think he'd have been happier if I'd paid a little more off this particular layby myself first, but I think my masterplan was brilliant! And I have my painting home at last. 
Turning 39 each year was always a breeze until the girls cottoned on to the fact that my younger sister and brother couldn't, in fact, be younger than me if they had both turned 40, and I was still 39.  
Why did I have to have such smart children?

And, I am so pleased to announce the winner of the fabulous Annabel Langbein 'The Free Range Cook' book. Drum roll please....
Kerry of A Tranquil Townhouse.
Yes, she of the knitted dishclothes, the fabulous weekly top ten, and the often funny, & always kind words.
I hope this may bring back a smile Kerry.

Amanda xx
(image Polly Wreford via tumblr)

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Friday, September 10, 2010

tripping the light fantastic

I'm starting to think that my fetish for old industrial light shades is getting out of hand. 
When we first started planning our renovations I knew that I wanted one or two of this type of shade for the kitchen. I started looking, and found three quite quickly that were perfect in a brilliantly imperfect way. I bought them, and they've been stored in the garage now for over a year. 
I should have ticked that item off the list and stopped looking. But oh no, I can't help myself. Along came another fabulous dombed example. Too big for the kitchen, but I must be able to fit it in somewhere. I bought that too. 
Brunnell got another fine one for his birthday. He was thrilled as you can imagine. 
And then this week, this little red friend has joined the clan. Well actually, he is not alone. He has a twin. So, two quite big 'little red friends' have joined the clan.
That makes, at last count, at least seven industrial shades for a space that will, at best, require three. 
A space that is no further along than it was a year ago, except that my metal locker has also now joined it.
As Brunnell, witty man that he is said, that's the kitchen done then. And my brother of course said, as he tried to wrench it open, that the locker was brilliant. Just don't put anything in it. Can't wait for my father's comments. They'll be hilarious too no doubt.
But I'm sure you understand why I just had to have these shades too!
Happy Friday!
Amanda xx
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

out of the blue

Is this not the most beautiful little piece of confectionery?
How lucky am I that it was delivered to me on Monday morning?
A complete surprise, one of those random acts of kindness that leaves you feeling really humbled, and amazed that someone would go to so much trouble.
'Oh I was reading your blog' said Tanya, 'and it seemed to me that you were in need of some sweetness.
So I made you this.'
Like you would whip up one of these little spring flings in your sleep!
Look at it. All chocolate decadence, and those perfect handmade spring flowers. Daffodils and pansies.
Too beautiful to cut (at first anyway), we marveled at it on the counter for some time. So did many customers who gave it a wee poke, thinking it couldn't possibly be real.  
I first came across the lovely Tanya when she sent me some of her lovely biscuits. You can read about that here. Since then, she makes the most beautiful biscuit creations for Small Acorns - little dresses, gorgeous cupcakes, & teapots, all with spots and patterns, all edible works of art, as most definitely is the cake.
Yes, I am pleased to report, I did finally cut all three layers of it - delicious!
Amanda xx

P.S Don't forget, it's the last day to enter my giveaway.
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Monday, September 6, 2010

cool comfort

I love the timelessness of these beautiful rooms. The amazing natural light, and beautiful high ceilings, not to mention the floor tiles. Everything slightly battered and worn, comfortable and inviting. Just like my favourite sloppy, very worn cardigan which begs me to wear it, these rooms want you to stay a while.

A surreal weekend for many kiwis. Brunnell, my husband, was in Christchurch, and after listening to his and many other tales, I just can't imagine how frightening that earthquake must have been. And now there is the aftermath of the destruction & cleanup. My thoughts are with everyone in Christchurch.
Amanda xx
(image Elle Deco)
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Friday, September 3, 2010

oh, friday

Can I just say that I am awfully glad that it is Friday? In need of some serious love and loveliness, this gorgeous image from the new Designers Guild Zephirine collection is my happy place tonight. Can there be a more beautiful wallpaper?
For various reasons, I have been thinking a lot this week about having faith. 
I love this quote by Martin Luther King,Jr...

'Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.' 

Those around me will understand why it has particular resonance right now. We need to have a little more faith... and a lot more patience. And maybe we'll take that staircase together.
I hope you all have a fabulous weekend. Thanks for all your lovely visits and comments this week.

Amanda xx

(image Designers Guild, with permission)
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

secretly collectable

I am quite obsessed with all-things-paper-cut at the moment. I've been attempting some bits and pieces with my scalpel and cutting board and some old 1950's childrens books. And while I definitely won't be giving Rob Ryan a run for his money any time soon, I've been having some fun. The first cut was definitely the hardest. It seemed sacrilegious to be cutting into a book, even if it was tatty and old and unloved. However, once I persuaded myself that it was all OK within the realm of art and recycling, I moved on from any guilty thoughts quite quickly.
And now I've spied this beautiful limited edition, about to be published, version of The Secret Garden, with a special paper cut cover by Lauren Child. Isn't it gorgeous? The idea is that you can peel back the layers one by one until the secret garden and Mary are revealed.
This is one of six titles in the Puffin Designer Classics collection which have all had a designer makeover to mark Puffin's 70th birthday. Six of today's greatest design and style icons have re-imagined and illustrated a brand new anniversary edition of their favourite Puffin book.
Orla Kiely's version of Little Women would look very nice on my bookshelf I think!

Amanda xx

P.S Don't forget to enter my giveaway...
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