Wednesday, July 27, 2011

the much-maligned carnation

Why is the carnation so maligned? So out-of-favour?
Associated with sad 'I forgot, I'm sorry' flowers picked up from the garage or dairy, & an unfortunate relationship with gypsophila.
Quite desperate really.

Personally I rather like them. 
The colours are usually lovely, the smell is soft, & reminds me of soap, they last really well, they look great, and a bunch of spray carnations goes a long way amongst all my bottles and little indiscriminate vessels. (You know me - if it holds water, I consider it a vase!)

Especially when they are as beautiful as these.
And the vibrant fresh green of viburnum is a much better pairing than the gypsophila don't you agree?
I think I could start a crusade to bring the carnation back in to vogue!
Sign up here...

Amanda xx
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Monday, July 25, 2011

pink & platners - take a seat

I know this is a very pink image. It is a very deliberate choice.
With the bitterly cold weather we have had today (apparently it is Wellington's coldest day on record ever, so that must be cold) I am hoping that some of the pinkness will translate into warmth, and perhaps radiate from the screen somehow.

And, not only do I love the gorgeously tactile, flocked Designers Guild Fioravanti wallpaper, but I've also had a bit of a crush on these iconic wire chairs designed by Warren Platner, for some time.

Platner's modernist wire pieces for Knoll have been in continuous production since 1966.
As he once said, 'a classic is something that you look at often and always accept as it is. You can see no way of improving it'.
So true, no matter what you're talking about when it comes to design.

And now I have a date to keep with my electric blanket! Keep warm!
Amanda xx
(image copyright & with permission Designers Guild)
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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

living on the block

My little family and I have become addicted to 'The Block' - the Australian reality show about 4 couples competing to renovate 4 derelict houses, which started here on Prime last week.
More than anything else, we can relate to the state of those houses and the living conditions each couple must endure!
But, how do they do it in only eight weeks?
We are now four months in to our renovation, and I'm losing sleep as reality sinks in.
Our neighbourly vacation ends next week, and here is the current state of affairs, as of this morning...

The 'facilities'. Fullstop.
Quite open air. No actual running water.
Does that matter? 

The kitchen.
Not a lot of cooking going on here.

Let there be light.
This is it.
In the entire house.
At least it is portable.

Very cosy.
Might have to rummage my way to the the beloved 'temple bar', buried under here somewhere, for sanity.

I'm sure there is room in here for a few mattresses and the dog's bed.

Should I be worried do you think?
Living conditions on The Block seem to be better than this!
We move back in to this at the end of next week.
No wonder sleeping is fitful.

Amanda xx
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Monday, July 18, 2011

quick fix no. 15 - eva's lampshade

I've had several meetings over the last couple of weeks in an effort to sort out our lighting.
Once the plan was finalised I thought everything looked pretty good. 
All appeared to be within the budget, which would please Brunnel.
And then I looked at the number of fittings that were coded to 'AJH'.
AJH was all over the house.
Every room had something coded to... me. 
That would be payback for coming up with ideas that involve Agee jars then.
So, slightly panicked, I thought I'd make a start with something for Eva's room.

Note, this is the 'before' shot.
It is always a worry when your child is wildly excited about the 'before', especially when it looked as manky and tired as this little gem from the op-shop, complete with bug and spiders web.
After some bribery, and with the promise that if she didn't like my attempts to improve it, that she wouldn't have to have it in her room, I was allowed to set to.

Off came the layers. The girls have their own (worrying) d.i.y plans for the crochet cover so that was whisked quickly away. Then I sanded the frame, and sprayed it with some white paint.

While the frame was drying, I readied my ribbons and fabric remnants. I had a mix of linen, silk & nice grosgrain ribbon, all within my chosen colour palette. Once the shade is up in Eva's bedroom, it will be seen from the underside as well, so all my materials were chosen to work from both sides. Cut the fabric into strips about the same width as the ribbons. I'm more than happy with some fraying edges on my fabrics, but if this will bother you, then stick to ribbons!
Starting at the top, I simply worked my way around the frame, wrapping each ribbon tightly, and knotting it to the next one when I wanted a colour change. I like things a bit random, so deliberately chose when and where to change the fabric. As always, my favourite black & white is in the mix to add some definition, and to prevent the whole thing becoming too much.

And the final result - so within budget, it hardly counts!
I have some frilly trim which I may, or may not, yet add to the bottom. 
I'll decide once I see Eva's room as it comes together.
In the meantime, I am pleased to report that Eva is very happy, and approves of her new lampshade.
It is apparently, good enough. Whew! That's a hard test to pass.
Happy Monday!

Amanda xx
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Thursday, July 14, 2011


Don't you love jasmine? 
I do, despite it's reputation as a terrible rampant vine. The fragrance is so beautiful. 
I always think of it as a spring fragrance, but currently the market here is selling 
huge bunches of it, which I find hard to resist.
We've had some wild winter weather this week.
But as we've been glamping it up next door at our neighbours, I've had no complaints whatsoever.
Let that tarpaulin next door rattle away. 
Who cares that there are no lights, no walls, no water. 
Things have fallen into total disarray since we vacated Camp David. 
Even the electric barbecue is no longer working.
I don't mind at all.
I'm quite relaxed even.
I'll just pretend I live here instead of there.
Just for a week or two.
With my jasmine in a vase, and my neighbours fantastic pile of magazines.
It will indeed be, a happy weekend!

Amanda xx
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011


You may remember that I had plans to subtlely slip some Deborah Bowness wallpaper into my home somehow?  Well, here is my plan...
I am ever so lucky (and so excited) to announce that these gorgeous digital/handprinted wallpapers are now available instore at Small Acorns. Today my 'samples' (yeah right) arrived.
I've hung the lamps in the window, where they look amazing.
I can't find anywhere to hang the frocks.
I've tried hard.
(No, really Brunnel - I did try!)
Shall I look after them carefully at home for a while...?

Amanda xx
(image Deborah Bowness via Paper Room) Pin It

Saturday, July 9, 2011

crystal constructions

Some time ago now, I posted about these candlesticks. Milly and I finally had enough collected cut glass bits and pieces to have a go ourselves recently. 
We made the tallest one, which is about 80cm tall, with my Mum's birthday in mind.
She and her friends used to be quite partial to a glass or two of sherry back in the day, but the old sherry glasses haven't been so popular lately. Far too small! Perfect for a candle instead.
Milly and I had lots of fun working out the best order to pile up all our glasses and dishes.
Kind of like a 'stack one hundred times and glue only once' scenario.
When we delivered the birthday present I'm not sure what Mum thought. She certainly wasn't expecting a 'crystal construction' as she has called it ever since, but because Milly had 'made it' she was very polite!
And having received many a compliment about it since, I think Mum has decided that it is certainly a good talking point!
Hope you're having a fabulous weekend. 

Amanda xx
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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

love thy neighbour

"Guess where we're going for the school holidays?" I asked the girls a couple of weeks ago.
"Fiji!" said Eva excitedly.
"Sydney" said Milly hopefully.
"No" I said, "we're going to 'number 23'!"
"Huh??" Puzzlement & confused shrugs.
And then the penny dropped.
'Number 23' is our neighbours house. 
Heading away for a couple of weeks, they wondered if we'd like to house sit.
Do you think they had to ask twice?
Truth be told, we had moved in, and were sitting around their table eating dinner when I realised they would still be sitting at Wellington airport, waiting for their flight.
That felt, perhaps just a little eager on our part. And strange.
I'd hate them to have any regrets!
I have threatened the girls (and Brunnel) with the riot act, if they are not the most perfect houseguests.
(I'm already perfect - and paranoid!)
No casually wondering around the house with a hot blackcurrant drink (Eva), no slurping your noodles so that they land on a painting (Milly), no unmentionable habits (Brunnel).
After the joys of Camp David, we feel as if we are staying at the Hilton.
Milly thinks she is in the masterchef kitchen. Brunnel has multi channel TV in the bedroom.
Eva  has discovered three drawers of DVD's.
And I have.... heating!!!
As far as I'm concerned Fiji pales in comparison right now.
This is the best holiday!

Amanda xx

And I'm linking up with Sarah's Good Life Wednesday over at A Beach Cottage,
because life is obviously good!

(image copyright & with permission Designers Guild.)
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Monday, July 4, 2011

something to make you smile

Aren't they gorgeous? Of course 'Moo' & 'Kingston' have only become acquainted 
since meeting in our wee peg doll village, but they're getting on really well.

 Scarlett is a little shy. And she'd like to get to know her neighbour Lola, 
who can never keep her halo on straight.

Clockwise from top left - Tallulah Fallulah, Miss D.Licious, Thandi & the twins Laura & Lucy.

Even Wills & Kate have dropped in.
She may not have won Wimbledon, but Miss Maria Sharipova is a winner in the fashion stakes. 
Keeping her company are Holly & Rosabelle.
Mr Pirate & Jake the Guitarist have lots of parties in their apartment.

Miss Stella, with the African Princess in the background.
Just a few of the many many amazing peg personalities who have arrived to take up
residence in our window for our peg doll competition. (I believe I have another 100 or so to photograph today, and then they too, will join the other pegs in the top peg village.)
My team are a little worried because I talk to them...a lot.
It's almost impossible not to!

Youngest entrant so far - 3 years.
Oldest - 69 ... & three quarters!
Entries close today, & then the judging will begin. 
Oh my, that is NOT going to be easy.
They all make me smile.
And I thought it might be a nice way to start your week also.
Amanda xx
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