Tuesday, November 30, 2010

secrets & (tiny) white lies

Do you tell the odd tiny white lie?
You know the sort...usually for my husband's benefit...
"Oh this old thing? I've had it for ages!!! Practically vintage now!"
And my favourite comeback...
"Well obviously it didn't look great when I wore it last week/month/year if you haven't noticed it before"
My latest cover up involves shredding every possible piece of potential evidence as to the actual price paid for a pair of shoes at my newest, nearest & dearest neighbour, Scotties.
The problem is my daughters need a little more tuition in the art of wardrobe white lies.

"Wow Mummy, look at the box your new shoes came in! Daddy, have you seen Mummy's new shoebox?" 
"Well you know Mummy has been working really hard lately, and she deserves a beautiful shoebox like that."

I've recently discovered that one of my favourite clients tells the best white lies. 
Some time ago we put together a lovely room for her which included, amongst other things, a sofa, two chairs, curtains and some gorgeous cushions. It looked stunning and she was thrilled. 
A few months later she rang me in a bit of a panic.
It seemed her husband was coming to Wellington, and wanted to come and visit us to express his gratitude and thanks to the store that she had won all her furniture from.
Apparently, she had purchased a cushion, and won everything else.
I had to play along. After all, I'm on her team! And after all, I'm such a practised actress.
Recently, she bought another chair from us. This time apparently, she has done some work for me, and I've paid her in chairs.

I'm only thankful that here at home, the girls haven't yet noticed the skirt hanging above the shoebox!
"Oh that old thing..."

Amanda xx
(image Designers Guild)
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Friday, November 26, 2010

friday flowers

A friend brought me in these amazingly beautiful roses from her garden.
They are voluptuous and blousey, and smell beautiful.
In a week of sadness, I'm sure she won't mind that I've used the trickery of photography to dull their beauty.
It seems somehow appropriate.
My thoughts are with the Coasters.
Their reputation for resilience and toughness must be marshmallow fragile right now. 
And my flowers are for the incredible CEO of Pike River Mining, Peter Whittal.
His leadership and humanity amongst so much pain and sadness have made this tragedy all the more palpable for the rest of us.

Amanda xx
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

are you ready to count down?

I think I've been so very focused on our store move that all my lists and timetables and calendars were geared to that date and not much further. Suddenly this week I've woken up to the fact that it is December next week. How did that happen?
My little girls are certainly well aware of things. Eva has written her letter to Santa, and it's all ready for me to post. And our advent pixy has made a sudden and determined appearance, and is hanging in the hallway.
I do love Christmas traditions, and this pixy is our family favourite, and I know will be an heirloom in years to come. 
Some of you noticed these boys and girls amongst the new store photos. What may not have been apparent is that they are child-sized advent pixies, with 24 little pockets or hooks to count down the days until Christmas.
In our household the girls take it in turns to find a tiny treasure each day. It's as much fun for me gathering or making the treats, as it is for them to discover them.
I'm sure if I didn't have my pixy friend to help me count the days I would lose total track!

Amanda xx

P.S I can't help but think of the family and friends of the missing Pike River coal miners, who don't want to count any more minutes, let alone days, without their loved ones. Stay strong. 
(image maileg)
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Sunday, November 21, 2010

show & tell

Here (at last) are a few images of the new store. 
I have to admit to being a little nervous about what you will all think.
Am I allowed to be a little biased? I think the space looks amazing, and I don't think these snaps do it justice. I am so excited about how it has all come together, even if right now I still feel so exhausted I'm sure I could sleep for days.
No window shots yet. They need tweaking! But what do you think of our wallpapered exterior? It's been a big talking point.
Anyway, I'll share more with you over the coming days if you'll allow.
And in the meantime, I'm so looking forward to browsing your beautiful blogs for a long overdue catchup on everything I've been missing.

Amanda xx
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I know how absent I've been from this blog. I hope you'll appreciate that we're counting down to the opening of our new store, and one look at this image will tell you that there is still much much much, so much, to be done - and all before our opening party tomorrow night.
So chaotic that even the as-things-unravel-photos, which I took to use on the blog tonight, are buried on the camera somewhere under a pile of boxes.
I snapped this image on my phone as the electricians were hanging our wonderful red industrial shades. The poor guys had to put up with us and our instructions - a little to the left, no back a bit, lower, still lower, more droopage on the flex, now centre the other one, no - too far across, forget the other counter, both over here, yes, that's good, just down a little....
They are very patient boys!!
Anyway - it is all coming together. Everyone is working so hard, and every now and then I get a glimpse of how great it's going to look (in my humble opinion of course).
So another early start, as tomorrow is D-day. Wish us luck.
We're truly hoping that the caterpillar is going to emerge as a beautiful butterfly!

Amanda xx

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Monday, November 8, 2010

easy breezy - quick fix no. 10

The props list for the new store has been something of a mission. At first, inspired by many a blog image, we drew up a wish list. There were many wishes on it, not all of them entirely realistic.
Plan B, and ultimately much more fun, a wish list which forced us to be more creative.
One of my 'wishes' was for an old door, which I could use as a table, with some of our beautiful wallpapers tucked into the panels, as in this lovely image.
I have always been a fan of old doors used as tables. The chippier (to use a Melissa-ism which I love) the better. I have a lovely, particularly chippy version at the beach house, and I thought I still had another gorgeous old door which I had used in Small Acorns version 2. (This new store will be Small Acorns version 5!) Both came from the dump, had lived a long and character-inducing life, and found the perfect retirement post, as tables on trestle legs in their new homes.
However, despite insisting that I would never have parted with my red chippy door, it appears that at some stage, like an idiot, I must have. 
So, the hunt was on for another perfectly imperfect door. 
Leading contenders were here at home. The bathroom door was a strong possibility. If only I didn't need it for another six months. The shed door was another that showed the right amount of character. Dealing with the spiders that call it home was a little off-putting however. The kitchen cupboard door that fell off voluntarily last week was obviously keen, but a little small and has no character whatsoever.
I tried the obvious - a building recycling depot. None were quite the same, but several were in the running.
Until I dropped Brunnel off at work last week, and there around the corner, awaiting the rubbish collection, was a perfectly imperfect door, discarded and unloved by someone else, and just waiting for me to come along. Brunnel was obviously thrilled when I insisted that he help me carry it inside. The two of us staggered down the road with our prize. (It is quite a heavy door!) And we were kind of hoping no-one would see us!
But I just know it's going to look perfect after a little clean, beautiful wallpaper in the panels, and a glass top.

Amanda xx
(image Designers Guild)

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

nigella, annabel & me

It's true. I am behaving like a woman possessed. Probably because I am a woman possessed.
As I write, I am waiting for Ann's version of Nigella's brownie to come out of the oven. 
I have already wrapped up not one, but two of Annabel's famous bacon and egg pie, and put them in the fridge. (Yes Mum, they were completely cool before they went into the fridge.)
Why the baking frenzy? 
Because I do not know what possessed me to think that it was a good idea to offer Milly an 'eleven and a third' birthday party. It seemed like a brilliant idea at the time. Her birthday falls on the 5th July, which is always in the school holidays. No-one is available for a birthday party. So, Guy Fawkes, 4 months exactly later (hence the '11 and a third'), seemed like a good alternative. I also thought she might forget about it. I thought wrong. I also had no idea back then, that I would be fully immersed in moving Small Acorns at the same time. Wrong again. So, yes, we've invited 8 of her friends, and, to make it more fun for Brunnell and I, we've invited their families too. I think the tally is about 35 so far. For a barbeque. And the capital of cool is promising to be just that - cool....and rainy.
I told you - a woman possessed.
On the less frenetic side of life, the computer crash was total and deadly, with nothing salvageable or recoverable at all. I've been trying to come to grips with a new point of sale programme, trying to reload inventory, trying to pack, trying hard to delegate, getting ready for a moving sale which starts on Monday, thinking of the new store a lot, and generally going nowhere fast. 
Today our billboard went up on the front of our new store, proclaiming to the world where our new location is going to be. I was so excited when I saw it. This was the result of our photoshoot efforts, and our overstuffed suitcases look amazing (if I do say so myself)!
So now I may take Mise's advice, and retreat back to the bathroom to yell instructions through the door.
And cook a few sausages on the barbie...

Amanda xx
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Monday, November 1, 2010

I live in the coolest little capital...

I'm sure I wasn't the only Wellingtonian feeling justifiably proud of our little city this morning upon hearing that Lonely Planet has named Wellington the fourth best city in the world in which to travel.
We're up there with New York, Tangier & Tel Aviv, so in pretty cool company. Wow, it's amazing!
Of Wellington, Lonely Planet said "With it's quaint wooden houses tumbling down a ring of hills to the city centre, clustered on reclaimed land around the glittering harbour, in "100% Pure New Zealand", the country's most innovative and inspiring city might just be the 'Best Little Capital in the World'."
And so what if we're renowned for being the windy city? Lonely Planet puts the best spin on it - "Despite (or maybe because of) its impetuous weather, Wellington is Cool-with-a-capital-C, crammed with more bars, cafes & restaurants per capita than New York, and a slew of gourmet producers including some 10 independent coffee roasteries." 
Oh yes, we're very fussy when it comes to coffee for good reason!
And while some others in New Zealand may scoff, we Wellingtonians know that up until now, we've been living in the world's best kept secret. 
Except that we love to share our secrets, big & small. Find out what little things the locals think make Wellington the "coolest little capital in the world" or share your own little thing here.
What do I think makes Wellington extra special? Well it could be a long list, but for starters -
the city to sea bridge
the writers walk along the harbour
the amazing public art dotted throughout the city
the coffee (of course)
floriditas scones
the salt & pepper squid at capital
the town belt, the sea & oriental bay, and the fact that within five minutes I can walk from one to the other...

So, when are you coming to visit!
Amanda xx
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