Friday, October 29, 2010

mirror mirror...

I know this gorgeous bathroom image in Liza Gile's home has been around the blogworld before. But it has particular resonance for me at the moment as we plan the new store, and also as I try to finalise plans for our long-awaited home renovation.
The perfect mix of vintage and new. The gorgeous contemporary bath that literally beckons one in. The sleekness of marble up against painted wooden floors. And the lovely mix of old bevelled glass mirrors on the wall, which add instant character to the space.
Actually, I'd like to venture in there right now with my bubble bath, fill the tub, and close the door.
Can I just apologise beforehand for my lack of blog posts, lack of blog visits, and general lack of bloginess this week? General chaos and disorganisation and computer spanners in the works brings out the worst of the Virgo in me. I don't cope well! Instead of moving into high gear I want to hide in the bathroom.
How my poor team and family are coping with me is also a very good question!
Don't answer that one...
Happy Friday!
Amanda xx
(image Inside Out)
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Monday, October 25, 2010

long lazy weekends

Don't you find that a long weekend is such a tonic?
That extra day feels like a holiday. There is that feeling that work should be being done, a slightly guilty conscience. And then you remember that yes, it is Monday, but you can treat it like a Sunday.
No guilt required.
So even though I did get my computer out this morning, and contemplated my long list of to-dos, absolutely nothing was crossed off. It was too overwhelming. A family day was an altogether much more enticing prospect.
I downed tools, and Milly and I went and showed our support at the rally for keeping 'The Hobbit' in New Zealand. That felt like a positive thing to do.
And, after a less than positive day learning to ride her bike yesterday, Eva was up and away today.
Whew! Pedestrians on Oriental Bay are safe again. 
The little girl in the pink helmet that was screaming & yelling at her father yesterday that she was only seven, and he was fifty three, and how could he possibly understand about learning to ride a bike, and she was going to fall off, and her helmet wasn't going to help when she broke her neck because it was only going to save her head, and all this before we even got to the end of our street, was indeed our Eva.
And to the poor family who scrambled incredibly quickly up on to the grass verge when yelled at (and I mean YELLED at) to 'MOVE OUT OF THE WAY' by the same little girl in the pink helmet, I hope the bruises aren't too bad today. You see, they got such a fright, and moved so quickly, and then turned to see who was yelling at them, and promptly all walked one after another straight into a tree. Trying to keep a straight face was an impossibility and everyone was falling about laughing - except Eva, who couldn't see the funny side in anything much yesterday.
Oh, the joys of learning to ride a bike. I remember my parents running madly up and down the road with me too. It must be a parent's rite of passage!
So, I hope you all had a lovely weekend also.

Amanda xx

P.S Peony season is here! These beautiful blousey blooms can help banish all thoughts of computer woes from my head, or at least that's what I tell myself. Back to reality tomorrow.
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

blurred vision

This week has rushed by in something of a blur. Reality has set in as we contemplate the logistics of moving the store in a tight timeframe, without too much disruption, and with high expectations of the end result. Nothing seems to add up!
Throw in a curveball in the form of a total computer meltdown and I'm wondering if someone is trying to tell me something. Oh yes, and I mean total meltdown, as in TOTAL - goodbye store inventory, goodbye contacts list, quotes, invoices, reports, every last little thing. Fabulous. I can't even begin to think about how this can be rectified.
And is now a good time to remind me of the importance of more regular external backups?
No, it is not.
So our photoshoot today was a very welcome distraction.
The masterpiece main event put together by Jo to proclaim our move was indeed a masterpiece. She's such a clever girl! A few tweaks, and it will reveal all about our new location.
I just fiddled around with flowers and wallpaper for a very minor masterpiece, and fetched scones and coffee.
An army never marchs on an empty stomach or something like that!

Amanda xx
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Monday, October 18, 2010

a certain style

I'm sure you know by now how besotted I am with Designers Guild.
So, when I learnt some four or five months ago that Tricia had a new book coming out, I could hardly wait.
The publishers gave it a very big rap - 'her most beautiful book yet' they said. Well considering that I have most of them, and they are all pretty gorgeous, this was going to be subjective I thought.
So, finally, finally, last week I got to bring my very own copy of 'A Certain Style' home.
And do you know - the publishers may not have been exaggerating.
This is a very beautiful book. Between the beautiful front and back covers, with the very tactile black and white stripe fabric binding, and ribbon bookmark, there are 250 plus orange-tipped pages of pure inspiration.

Beautifully photographed by James Merrell, 'A Certain Style' showcases 14 interior design projects in houses that could not be more different. Amongst them is a city penthouse with a muted pink, grey and monochrome palette, a stunning contemporary coastal retreat, a lakeside pavilion with greens, yellows and pinks linked by an oversized graphic print repeated around the house, a retro modern weekender in upstate New York, and a Norman manor house complete with flagstone floors and stone arches that manages to both look and feel fresh and modern while remaining sensitive to the history & fabric of the home - the ultimate proof that the age and appearance of a building does not necessarily dictate an interior of the same era.
So, I am enjoying this book to the utmost.
There is just one problem with all this sensory overload - especially when one is about to embark upon a major house renovation of one's own. Each page brings a barrage of new ideas. I'm not so sure that GC, our architect will welcome the introduction of too many new ideas at this, almost final 'lets just tick the box and go to tender' stage of planning.
But I am sure I can slip in one or two!
Brunnell of course thinks I should not rush this last stage because after all, I have a new store to fast track.
But I know him too well - just another one of his delaying tactics! We've been 'rushing' this proposed renovation for over 2 years now. I rest my case.

And I'm overwhelmed by all your support and encouragement for the new store.
I think of all your lovely comments each time I contemplate the giant to-do list, and get that accompanying slightly sick feeling in my stomach.
Thank you so much!
Amanda xx
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Thursday, October 14, 2010

rumour? what rumour...

Oh Wellington is such a village! 
The gossip. The secrets. The rumours. The subterfuge. The (tiny white) bare-faced lies.
Frankly, I never knew I was such a great actress. 
It's like chinese whispers. The story grows and changes with each telling.
So, shall I put everyone out of their misery?  Forget the 'neither confirm or deny' routine?
OK then - yes, it's true... Small Acorns is moving.
Where to?
Well you'll just have to wait a little bit longer to find out where. 
Let's just say that brilliant, beautiful, character-filled spaces like this don't come up very often.
And we are soooooo excited as we plan our new space.
And are we crazy to be taking this on at this time of year, just before Christmas?
Quite likely I would say, but then I've always been a big fan of crazy!
And ever since I mooted this brilliantly crazy idea to my (stunned) husband, some months ago now, and hoped and prayed that this space could be ours, I've been looking at, and reading this little card on my desk.
It says...
"Faith is believing that one of two things will happen. 
That there will be something solid for you to stand on -
Or, that you will be taught to fly."

As always, I'm aiming to fly!
Amanda xx

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Monday, October 11, 2010

take a seat - auction fever

I've been on a mission of late looking for some treasures that I can use in an upcoming store display. 
Although I've tried to remain focused, it has been a little too easy to stray from the brief. My team well know what I mean. It is totally a case of do what I ask, not what I do.
So, I'm down at Dunbar Sloane's auction, and what do I bid on? Or, to be specific, what do I keep bidding on?
Not the amazing french mannequin, or the very very lovely hoop button-back chair, ripe for re-upholstering, as per the plan.
No, I am seduced by the dollshouse. 
A Tri-ang dollshouse, around 60 years old (I guess), complete with miniscule lights in each of the 6 rooms, a central staircase, and two tin fireplaces. I decide this is the 'new plan'. Something of a tangent, I surprise even myself!
The adrenalin is flowing each time I raise my hand. Oh yes, nothing so subtle as a sidecast nod, or point at the floor as per some of the obviously more experienced auction attendees. (Auction etiquette is another chapter altogether! )
And, at last, this little piece of real estate is mine.

Not beautiful (and a hurried photo on my phone), but such a gem! I think the peg dolls might like their new abode, after a little do-up of course. 
As for the chair in the first image - a mottley wee box of mixed-era chattels and 3 orphaned babies came with my purchase. 
I'll keep you posted on progress, together with some better photos soon!

Amanda xx

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

I should be so lucky...

...lucky, lucky, lucky (in the immortal words of Kylie Minogue!)
Don't you just love a giveaway win! I should know - I've certainly had my fair share of them.
And I arrived home from the beach to find not one, but two lovely packages in my letterbox.
The first was from Jane of My Pear Tree House in Melbourne. Jane had the terrible misfortune to discover that her especially online-ordered-all-the-way-from-the-UK Cath Kidston iPhone cover did not fit her new model iPhone. Happily, I won her giveaway, and my older version iPhone is now proudly displaying its beautiful new cover. 
(And Jane, I have to apologise now for the photo!)
You can only just see a corner of the cover in the image above - and that was as good as the photo got. Obviously in my hasty giveaway excitement, my photography skills went to pot. But see that distinctive Cath Kidston floral? Believe me, it's getting many an admiring glance!

And my second parcel came from the lovely Miss Sew & So herself, Melissa, in the UK.
So many treats, all wrapped up with ribbon and string and delicious fabric bits. I took an age just taking in all the special details like the wee stamped tag before I could stand it no longer and opened them to find gorgeous fragrant lavender soap and eau de toilette from Melissa's recent French sojourn.
And here I must apologise to Melissa for the same lack of photography skills. Especially because she takes such beautiful images herself. And especially because the piece de resistance of Melissa's parcel was the gorgeous Miss Sew & So reversible shoulder bag, which I just know will be a faithful friend this summer, no matter what I'm doing or where I'm going. And I'm afraid you see so little of it in the images that you cannot appreciate the care and attention to detail that went in to this lovely made by hand treasure. Sorry Melissa! I obviously am not a stylist's big toe (as my Mother would say!)

And if you haven't yet 'met' either of these lovely blogging friends, then I urge you to spend some time perusing their blogs. Both are on my favourites list for very good reasons.

So I am back from the beach. I've left Brunnel there with the girls for a few more days. He is pretending it's hard work, but my spys (and Eva's frequent phone calls) tell me that he is spending much time with his new best friend 'Jack Reacher' while the girls are running amok with their friends.
Hope your week is treating you well!
Amanda xx
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Monday, October 4, 2010

a weekend at the beach

Apologies for the sudden halt in blogging last week, or blog visiting for that matter.
I decided at fairly short notice that I would join my family for a long weekend at the bach & beach.
Blogging at the beach is not easy. 
It requires the wind to be blowing in a certain direction, & some cloud cover always helps. (There was no wind, and no cloud cover. After all, this is Hawkes Bay.) One has to find the 'vodafone' or 'telecom' spot somewhere out along the steep cliff face on a narrow track used mostly by goats and the odd sheep (I had to put that in for my Aussie friends), and it is never in the same place twice. Standing on one leg while not breathing is sometimes effective but not often. Then when those magic bars show up, patience is always a virtue, because they disappear as magically as they appear. and then the whole process must begin over.
Swearing does not help, but does make you feel much better. And it's OK if only the dog was there to hear it. Even if he did look surprised.
So, I think it best if the pre-prepared pictures just tell the story... above, I'm at the bach.

's definitely spring in the Bay.

...I found time for a little second-hand treasure hunting.

And, normal coverage will be resumed shortly! Happy Monday.
Amanda xx
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