Monday, May 30, 2011

happy (pretty) monday

Happy Monday everyone!
I hope you all had a lovely weekend.
I was lucky enough to receive some absolutely beautiful flowers from Brunnel for our wedding anniversary.
And because he was in cahoots with Sarah, instead of a bunch of flowers which I would, as she well knows, have de-constructed immediately so that they could be spread throughout the house, a whole box of blooms arrived.
Ready for me to play with.
The only 'problem' being that there isn't much of a house to spread them through at the moment.
The 'playing' is pretty much confined to one room. And that one room is my oasis of calm amongst the bombsite that is everywhere else. 
And so long as I have that oasis, I can overlook the chaos everywhere else.
So, I commissioned one of my old jars as a vase, and played to my hearts content for a while.
A little prettiness is so good for the soul don't you think.
And I just know the builders are going to appreciate the slipper orchid in what is left of the bathroom!!

Amanda xx
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Friday, May 27, 2011

oh happy day

After my last post, my Dad has sent me an email.
He thinks the communal dormitory living may be getting to me.
According to Dad, yesterday's post followed on from 'some fairly dreary ones lately.'
'Grey wallpaper, drab quilt and bloody awful light fitting' to be specific.
Hmmm. Just wait until you see the house then Dad! Can't wait to see your face.
However, obviously I need a happy post today.
So, it is a co-incidence is it not, that 22 years ago today, Dad happily dragged me down the aisle, and married me off to Brunnel. For a handsome dowry. (Just joking!)
Of course I was a child bride. I'd have to have been if I'm still only 39.
22 years. That's quite a long time!
Being the romantics that we are, Brunnel is cooking dinner tonight.
I am thankful for the electric barbeque.
It means I am spared a recreation of one of his woo-ing recipes - to this day I'm not sure what he was attempting to cook, but something akin to porridge fish is what was on the plate.
And let us not remember the apricot a la mode chicken-with-a-dash-of-rolled-oats thingy either. 
Both 'recipes' memorable for all the wrong reasons.
So, I didn't marry him for his cooking then. Tonight a 'Brunnel's curry' will be just fine.
And it is a happy day! Happy anniversary darling!

Amanda xx

P.S Thanks everyone for your comments and emails yesterday. They were truly lovely.

(image maileg)
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

holding hands

I'm worried about my Eva.
She is not herself.
A heart on her sleeve kind of girl, Eva always tells it like it is. 
And usually at the top of her voice.
Especially where her parents and sister are concerned.
Quite dramatic - "sob sob 'my life is just so horrible' sob sob", to (five minutes later) "you have always been so warm hearted inside and out Mummy".
A romantic - she made the card in the photo for my brother's birthday.
The words on the back said 'we all stick together holdings hands in a line of people and love.'
Even the most staunch in our family (and there are a few) thought that was pretty special.
Her current aspirations to be a singer involve much time at the piano, writing, composing and playing her songs. This is great - except that it is all consuming.
I ask her to get in the shower.
I hear the piano.
She has forgotten her homework book.
I hear the piano.
Breakfast is uneaten, she's not ready for school, she's meant to be putting on her shoes.
She is at the piano - in her undies. Singing.
I spend my time yelling. Eva is still singing.
Her teacher thinks the alterations could be unsettling her. Maybe.
She has the focus of a newt. (My words, not his - I think he used the words 'bit of a diz' instead.)
She forgot her diary/homework/cross-country gear/you-name-it-she-forgets-it. Often.
She turned up to cross-country looking like a waif. The only one kitted out in whatever happened to be in her bag. Everyone else looking the part in athletic gear. The only one without a parent on the sideline, because she forgot to give us the notice. I know she looked like a waif because a friend kindly took a photo for me. 
I cried when I saw it.
Of course, I blame myself. I am a bad parent.
I am obviously not spending enough time with her. That's what my own mum will say.
The dilemma of the working mother. Do all working mothers blame themselves?
I know when I go home each night the first thing I do is hug my girls tight.
Whatever I'm doing, it obviously isn't enough. 
So sorry to vent! I'm not sure I'm even making sense.
Any advice?

Amanda xx
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

tattered treasure

Brunnel thinks this is a load of old rags.
And (as usual) he is right.
However, whereas I look at this amazing and very old Japanese boro and wonder about its story, Brunnel still really thinks it is a load of old rags.
Boro is a Japanese word meaning tattered rags, and it is the term used to describe Japan's mended and patched textiles. Each futon cover or quilt was patched and repaired over and over again by the rural housewife, from re-used and re-cycled indigo cotton rags. The diversity of patches on any given piece is a veritable storybook of hand pieced indigo cotton from old Japan. In most cases, the beautiful and haphazard arrangement of patches and mending stitches is the result of wear and tear, and necessity, and not of planning. Each quilt was patched and passed through the generations. Layers of life and living.
A piece with a utilitarian past, never intended as an object of beauty, I think I am unbelievably lucky to have found such a tattered treasure.
So now I just need to convince Brunnel that my new treasure really is as beautiful as I think it is.

Amanda xx
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Saturday, May 21, 2011

happy weekend

The week feels as though it has escaped on me - again!
Busy, but good busy, so I'm not complaining.
My girls both had netball today, as the new season got underway.
Chaotic madness as a thousand kids and two thousand screaming parents all negotiated the courts together.
Or so it seemed anyway.
It was Eva's first game ever. Hilarious to say the least.
She and her team all seemed so little, whereas suddenly Milly and her team all seemed so grownup.
Where does time go?
Anyway, we're off out for a cheap and cheerful tonight.
I am in desperate need of a break from the electric barbecue.

Hope you all have a happy & fun-filled weekend.
Amanda xx

P.S Oh yes, the amazing Deborah Bowness wallpapers above. I'm casually slipping them in, just as I'm trying really hard to casually slip them in to the house!! Do you think Brunnel will notice? They're available in NZ from paper room.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

bright ideas

This is my latest obsession.
I have developed a bit of a 'thing' for old preserving jars upcycled into lights.
Add several metres of twisty flex for full effect, and I'm even happier.
I'm not the only one thinking along these lines, as this image from the latest issue of Inside Out goes to show.
A cluster of different old jars looks even better don't you agree?
So for several weeks now, I've been on a bit of a jar mission.
Stalking Trade Me, and sending my mother and godmother on op-shop missions.
On the weekend I casually mentioned to Brunnel that we needed to take a little drive together to collect one of my successful auction purchases.
Being blissfully unaware of my motives, he couldn't believe it when after an hours drive, I swapped $22.50 from his wallet for five old jars.
'Good luck with your preserving' said the lovely man who appeared at the car to hand over my big purchase.
'Oh, I'm not going to be preserving. I'm going to be making some lights', I said.
His face said it all really.
I was very happy with my jars. 
Brunnel, who still faced another hours drive to get home, is, funnily enough, still unconvinced by my lightbulb moments.
But I'll show him. Wait and see.

Amanda xx

(first image  Debi Treloar from Recycled Home © Ryland Peters & Small Ltd/Recycled Home, second image Inside Out
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Monday, May 16, 2011

a dahlia retrospective

No, don't panic!
I'm not about to subject you to hundreds of skitey photos of dahlias.
Just this one. A small retrospective then.
But I am feeling a little glum now that my dahlia season seems to have come to a sudden and abrupt end.
One day there were blooms and buds galore, and then this morning there were none.
Just like that. Not even one.
And no, I can't blame the builders and their big boots.
Threatened with their lives, and after a quick dahlia recognition lesson, they were sensible boys, and stayed well away.
Considering we are well into autumn, and I've had six months of beautiful blooms, I really can't complain.
I shall just have to live vicariously through old photos, and look forward to the arrival of my already-ordered multitude of tubers ready for next season!

And before you ask about the fabulous old 'children crossing' sign, no, I'm not at liberty to say where it came from. Let's just say, its an awfully long time since any children have actually 'crossed' there, and I don't think it will be missed. And, it would still be there if my partner in crime (Dad) and I, hadn't had permission to remove it and preserve it for generations to come!

Happy Monday!
Amanda xx

P.S Thanks for the faith in my office chair upholstery skills. I could not possibly take credit, other than for the idea. Every girl needs a good upholsterer in her armoury! Especially one that though he might think she is crazy, still does as he is told.
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Thursday, May 12, 2011

before and after

How about a little before and after today?

Well actually we're doing the 'after' before the 'before', & I'm hoping
that you've already gathered this, or I'm truly doing something wrong!
Here is the 'before'.
You know me. I had to have the pretty picture first!

And another 'after'.
With a little extra padding & some lovely new upholstery, courtesy of the Designers Guild Miami and Deltona collections, I think these rather tired old office chairs scrubbed up rather well.
Very Mad Men office typing pool.

Amanda xx
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Monday, May 9, 2011

easy breezy - quick fix no. 14

How I wish there was a quick fix to this house of ours.

There isn't.
And lets just say that part of the reason there isn't, is because a few too many 'quick fixes' have been made in its past.
'Quick fixes' that were quickly hidden within walls, above the ceiling, and under tiles and lino.
'Quick fixes' that are definitely not so quick to fix now.
But I'm grateful that things are being done more carefully and thoroughly this time around.
I'd like to think that this house will last another hundred years, even if it is hard to tell exactly what has survived the first hundred, or, closer to the truth, how it has survived its first hundred given some of the hurried renovating decisions made on its behalf.
We found this old window under the house, and another truly beautiful, but broken one, up in the roof.
Once upon a time, our house must have had a lot of character.
I'm hoping to put a little back in, albeit of a different generation and time.
The builders and I are plotting ways to use the beautiful window. 
Meanwhile, I've put this one to use as a pegboard for all my decorating ideas and inspirations.
It is a genuine easy breezy quick fix to keep track of magazine tear outs, pictures of taps and shower heads, paint colours, wallpapers & wild ideas.
If old windows aren't hanging around at your place, you could use a picture frame instead.
Washi tape, hemp twine and mini clothes pegs are the only tools you need.
However you construct it, the visual references are what I find most helpful.
All those images that you've ripped out, saved and dreamed about, are right there where you can see them and imagine them.
And hopefully, some of those ideas just might take flight.

Amanda xx
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Thursday, May 5, 2011

singing the blues

(image - designers guild)
 (images clockwise from top left - polly wretham, designers guild)
(images clockwise from top left - via pia jane bijkerk, designers guild, amanda, designers guild)
 (images all designers guild)
(images clockwise from top left - designers guild, living etc, designers guild, anthropologie)
(images clockwise from top left - designers guild, rob ryan, designers guild, petite details)

After being out in the cold for a little while, it seems that blue is back with a vengeance when it comes to the interior scene.
True blue - cobalt, sky, azure, hyacinth.
Mixed with plenty of white, these blues have a fresh and modern look.
And why does blue have the reputation for being cold?
As these images proclaim, while it can be cool, blue needn't be cold.
Mix these blues with any interior style, and they'll be in perfect harmony.
Call me old-fashioned, but I've always sung the blues.
Probably always will. Do you have a favourite colour?

Amanda xx

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Monday, May 2, 2011

mod cons

I am a happy homemaker...

... and who wouldn't be.
Bosch, Miele, Gaggenau, eat your hearts out.

My kitchen has a bespoke cooktop. 
It sure is one of a kind.

The electric barbeque, made just for me by my lovely builders.
I knew you'd all be jealous!
I bet you're all just dying to know what the rest of the kitchen is like.

Even more fabulous, believe me.

Amanda xx
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