Monday, February 28, 2011

a higher education

It has been such a grim week. No news is not good news. The television and newspaper has become compulsive viewing, but for all the wrong reasons.
And yet, life, strangely has to go on.
And amongst it all, a little 'Eva mail' to make me smile.
Her love knows no bounds - it's all the way around the university!

Amanda xx

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

what can one say?

No matter what I do at the moment, my attention is on Christchurch.
I'm sure it is the same for the rest of New Zealand.
It is hard to reconcile going about your daily business, life as usual, when you know that only a hop, skip and a jump away, for the people of Christchurch, normal will never be the same again. 
Lives literally turned upside down. 
I wish I could roll my sleeves up and help, & I know many who feel the same way.
New Zealand is a small country, with a very big heart. And we all have friends and family in Christchurch.
And we're all shedding tears...and thinking of them.

Amanda xx

P.S For those of you overseas, take a look at this 'quake map', which shows you the aftershocks Christchurch has endured since the first major quake on September 4th. All 5009 of them (as I write). No, that figure is not an exaggeration.
(image Lisa Jones)
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Monday, February 21, 2011

happy monday

There are many many many reasons to get excited about the new seasons Designers Guild collections, and here's just one of my favourites.
I just love this gorgeous pure wool Coconut Grove floor rug. A stunning monochromatic pattern on a vibrant acacia green background.
With the dizzying prospect of some (hopefully) lovely polished wooden floors ahead, might there be a wee spot for this underfoot luxe here at my place?
(And just wait until you see the accompanying fabrics...)

Amanda xx

(image copyright & with permission Designers Guild)
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

pardon the pun...

I've been getting my ducks in a row because I'm off to Sydney for a few days.
It has been a frantic few days, made all the more hectic because of my long weekend last weekend. Try as I might not to, I always seem to stress myself out. A mixture of everyday stuff, compounded by irrational thoughts about leaving my girls, even though I well know it's only for a few days. And although I'm not remotely scared about flying, suddenly I develop this silly mantra which goes along the lines of 'all my journeys are safe'. Plus, if ever there is a time for Brunnell and I to have an argument, on the way to the airport is probably it! Crazy stuff I know!
Once I'm on the way I'm fine, and I'll probably even have a great time once there. Bill's can expect me for breakfast tomorrow morning, and then it will be off on the trail of some great new things for the store.
I'll return next week, and everything will be hunky dory again. See you then!
In the meantime...all my journeys are safe, all my journeys are safe...

Amanda xx

P.S. Don't you love these lovely old ducks which Eva gave me for Christmas?
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

take a seat - may i please?

Sometimes you come across a chair that is just so lovely!
This upcycled gem is the work of Dutch artist Jane Schouten.
Jane's artwork is an eclectix mix of found treasures, treasured trash and almost forgotten memories all brought together by cutting, pasting, drawing, snipping, sewing and embroidering.
I love this combination of old thrifted articles to create something so special. The patchwork of old blankets and the beautiful embroidered details.
Some people are just so clever! See more of Jane's beautiful work here...
And may I take this seat? Yes please.
If I could, I would be adding it to my collection in a heartbeat!

Amanda xx
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Monday, February 14, 2011

weekend wanders

I've been playing hookie for a few days. Have you noticed?
Brunnel & I have been on a whirlwind tour through the South Island to attend a friends beautiful wedding in picturesque Wanaka.
To get there we drove through Middle Earth territory. Literally through the area where much of Lord of the Rings was filmed.
It is a strange thing playing tourist in your own country.
Why don't we do it more often?
 I'm almost certain that we were the only kiwis around when we stopped to take these photos at Lake Tekapo. And the photos don't remotely do justice to the truly spectacular scenery. And I'm not even being biased! It is spectacular.
There is something quite special about seeing your own country through another's eyes.
It makes you open your own much wider!

Amanda xx

P.S The long drive gave us the chance to 'discuss' our house renovations some more. Lets just say the tender was a little 'over budget'. Over both budgets unfortunately. But with a little debate, a little chopping here and there & everywhere, I'm still confident that things will go ahead. Thanks for all your comments. I'll keep you posted!
Oh, and Happy Valentines Day!
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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

my house my castle update

Remember this little treasure? My (only slightly exaggerated) house depiction.
Well things have progressed since then. 
No, don't get too excited - I am not about to suddenly 'reveal' something wonderful.
Truth be told, the house has continued to barely stand up.
Ah, but I think today, what just might be revealed, is the results of the tenders on our proposed renovation.
I still say proposed, because lets face it - if the tender comes in at $XXXX instead of $XXX, there will be no renovation. Quite possibly there would be a divorce instead.
I have been trying to get Brunnel's head around the cost of this renovation all summer. Don't get me wrong - we have always had a budget that we're working to. But then there is the question of what happens when you put all your ideas in to the ring, and the cost of those ideas. And there is the reality of working with a house that is much tireder (is there such a word?) than appearances would suggest. So no, you can't see that we have two-tooth borer (yes, there is apparently such a variety!), and need to replace all the piles. You can hear that the roof is barely hanging on, it flaps around so much in the wind. You can see that not much guttering is left. You may not realise that one whole side of the exterior is rotten. Unless you pull up the mould-ridden carpet in the bathroom (oh yes, we have that much style!) you may not see the mould-ridden floor underneath. But the reality is that we are almost building a new house, and there is much to be done that won't even be noticable, but adds to the cost. 
So I chopped a few things off the plan to make savings. I still can't understand why Brunnel was so upset at losing his barbecue shed!
Anyway, today is hopefully the day. Cross fingers for both of us - especially as it's Brunnel's birthday too.
He has a figure in his head. I have a different one in mine. 
And the two somehow have to meet...

Amanda xx

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Monday, February 7, 2011

crockery of distinction

There would be few kiwis who haven't grown up eating off Crown Lynn crockery. And now, this iconic New Zealand brand, which commenced production in 1929 and ceased operation in 1989, is being celebrated in a fabulous exhibition - Crown Lynn: Crockery of Distinction at the City Gallery here in Wellington.  
I loved the exhibition - it is a potted collection of the company's history and output, as seen through the eyes of some special collections and those who have collected them.
Everything seems 'strangely familiar', and as you listen to other exhibition goers in the gallery, you hear constant cries of  'Nana had that pattern', 'Aunty So-and-so had that'.
My own love affair with Crown Lynn revolves around the monogrammed ware produced for numerous New Zealand institutions. In particular I collect New Zealand Railways china, which was first produced by Crown Lynn in the early 1940's. Crown Lynn produced almost 300,000 pieces of this china each year, but as it was apparently a ritual to throw it gleefully from the train carriage windows whenever a bridge or viaduct was in sight, very little of it survives intact today, and the NZR monogram is increasingly hard to find.  
If nothing else, this exhibition acknowledges that there are many different Crown Lynns to different people, and some of the individual collections are quite amazing.
The exhibition is on until April 25th. If you have the chance to go and see it, you must.

Amanda xx

P.S I was also quite pleased to confirm that my favourite white vase, rescued from obscurity in my Mother's laundry, is an Ernest Shufflebotham hand-potted. As Mum said, she only kept it because it was her mothers.
Fashions change.
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Thursday, February 3, 2011

stairway to ...

I had my first play with the new season Designers Guild collections yesterday. Such difficult decisions to make around instore displays, especially with the new kids collection which is just adorable. 
I made the mistake of bringing the brochure home and excitedly showed my girls. 
You see, we are hoping that our house renovations will commence shortly, and there is much bribery and corruption going on around their new bedrooms. Milly took one look at the gorgeous room pictured here, and proceeded to write down every little detail in her notebook, including the names of the fabrics. Plus, come hell or high water, she will be adding a swinging chair in to the mix. Obviously there is still much discussion to be held on this little element.
Eva couldn't decide whether she wanted this wallpaper in pink or green, and up until now, her imaginary room has included a pink spiral staircase. I have been continually pointing out to her that we have no upstairs, and that, as beautiful as this would be, it wouldn't lead anywhere. Finally, it seems that the message has got through, because she announced that she has been thinking. 
And instead, she wants to press a button, and her bed will just pop up out of the floor on a hydraulic lift....

Back to the spiral staircase idea??
Amanda xx

P.S The gorgeous new Designers Guild 'Around the World' kids collection will be instore in the next month.

(Image copyright & used with the permission of Designers Guild)

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