Friday, September 30, 2011

don't fight with me screw

Brunnel is a man of many talents.
Being a home handyman is not one of them.
Primarily he blames Mr Howarth for this.
Brunnel used to work for Mr Howarth as a high school boy. Mowing lawns, odd jobs, I'm not sure what else. But Mr Howarth must have been a hard taskmaster, because he has left an indelible impact.
I think Brunnel must have unresolved 'issues' with Mr Howarth, and to this day, whenever something on the home handyman front goes wrong, Mr Howarth's name is uttered in vain, along with other unmentionable words.
Sadly for Brunnel, he has a wife, definitely a father-in-law, and what is looking quite likely to be, two daughters, who quite like the old home-handy stuff.
Last night, Brunnel was planning to watch yet another rugby world cup game on television.
I had other plans.
Earlier this week, I had an old steel office shelving unit delivered back home. With its fresh new grey powdercoat, it was moving up in the world, from warehouse to home office.
However, upon delivery, there was one dreadful realisation.
There was no way we were going to be able to get it into the room where I wanted it to go.
It was too tall for the doorway, too wide to turn and dip in the hall.
The delivery man scarpered, and the shelf unit was left languishing in the hall.
I was determined there had to be a way.
Brunnel paused his rugby game long enough to tell me I was being ridiculous.
I figured we could take off the top, maybe one side, and then it would fit.
The powdercoater had managed to powdercoat the screws firmly in place.
Brunnel paused the rugby game again to help.
I might know it all, but I needed a little brute strength to break that powdercoat seal.
Mr Howarth's name was invoked one or two times, and I was apparently weak.
The top and side off, we attempted my strategic manoeuvre.
It still wouldn't go into the study.
And apparently I also put a hole in the new wall.
Time to take the bottom of the unit off too I thought. An hour later and finally, only one screw remained. More swearing. More wifely complements(!)
And then, in a very loud voice.
"Don't fight with me screw!!!!!#%@!%&#!!!!"
The little screw fought valiantly. It would not budge.
Brunnel was defeated. Slumped against the wall.
I was rolling around the floor in hysterics, tears of laughter.
Brunnel was not happy.
He'd missed the rugby by now, it was 11.30 at night, his new 'old' shelf was now a kitset, he had a wife who was clearly delusional, and now was not the time to ask him if he'd enjoyed meccano when he was little.
Apparently he did not.
But, we had done enough to get our kitset pieces into the study, albeit with a little 'folding' because that little screw was still stuck fast.
Shall I tell you about the reassembly dramas too?
Let's just say that I'm treading on very thin ice!!
And it was a late night, but I'm very happy with my shelving now.

RIP Mr Howarth.

Amanda xx

(image Atelier Abigail Ahern of Deborah Bowness Genuine Fake Bookshelf wallpaper)
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Monday, September 26, 2011

flowers in the house

Oh my poor neglected blog.
A week since my last post. A pathetic effort.
And I promised Jane I'd join in with her 'Flowers in the House' post today.
Silly me. Jane is a florist. I expected I could do better.
Instead I'm disguising my flowers with the trickery-pokery of Hipstamatic, and hoping you'll all overlook yet another photo of a mason jar with a few camellias plonked in it.
You'll be yawning & thinking that's all I have in my bag of styling tricks, and guess what?
That's all I have in my bag of styling tricks!
Good thing I like mason jars!
I'd love to be able to tell you that the reason for my neglect is that I've been busily unpacking and playing house.
Only a little. The newly recovered furniture is sadly, still under (plastic) wrap.
My Dad came to stay for a night or two.
He had a sandwich thrown at him for dinner & a (hearty) scotch in a mug.
(No Mum, he didn't go to sleep at the school concert. That would have been Brunnel.)
I gave Dad a few 'jobs' to do while he was here.
I think he thinks I have a few unresolved issues with clutter & junk & hoarding.
But despite raising his not insignificant eyebrows and giving me 'that' look, he did as he was told.
The girls are so happy to have their old crates back up on the wall.
And there was definitely a look exchanged between Dad and the builders when I had to rush to rescue the just-staggered-up-the-path-with-pallet from the ever-so-efficient-and-helpful-lets-get-this-on-the-rubbish-truck-for-her-builders because I had plans for it, and they involved Dad and his drill!
But since then, the kitchen is nearly done, and I'm attempting to master the induction hob.
And I love it! The kitchen that is, not the hob - although I'm told that given a little time, I will come to love it.

Jane, I am sorry about the flowers! Despite the chaos in your house, your flowers look gorgeous.
I will try harder next time!
Amanda xx

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Monday, September 19, 2011

light at the end of the tunnel

I feel as though there is light at the end of the tunnel, on the home front, at long, long last.
Suddenly, after all the turmoil and chaos of the last few months, 
our house is again beginning to resemble a home. 
And although, there isn't yet a room finished, it is within shouting distance.
(And believe me, I often wish to shout - for reasons both good and not so good!)

When we started this renovation, Brunnel, the girls, and I each picked a completion date, 
and wrote it up on the wall. Some of our neighbours joined in too.
Brunnel, ever the optimist, allowed the builders a weeks grace over their estimated time, 
and wrote July 25th.
Milly chose September 22nd, which, back at the beginning of March, seemed way beyond the realms of possibility.
And a nightmarish thought.
Surely it wouldn't take that long.
I think she'll be the closest, if still a little optimistic.

The kitchen started going in this week, and this is the last major hurdle.
This time next week, I may even be able to cook a meal again.
(Thank goodness - my one-pot-gas-ring-and-rice-cooker repertoire is wearing very thin.
I may never want to eat rice again.)
Above all, I'm starting to get excited as each little piece comes together.

Amanda xx

P.S Note the mason jars in these photos. I had a wee accident with one of the jars in my light fitting.
Since then I've been trying, unsuccessfully, to find a replacement jar that fits.
These are too big and too small - but they do make a lovely vase!
AND - I got my way with that wallpaper!
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

china blue

I love my wee stash of old japanese blue and white china. 
A mish mash mix of tea cups, bowls and little dishes, all of which were picked up for a song.
Humble in origin, and each piece beautiful to my way of thinking.
I use them for whatever takes my fancy - flowers, tealights, jewellery, trinkets as well as the more predictable foodie things.
And I love to think of where they have come from and how long ago they might have been used originally.
Not remotely rarefied or expensive, and precious only to me.
And coming across a new 'old' piece to add to my collection is still exciting.

The thrill of an on-going treasure hunt! Who's with me?
Amanda xx
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Thursday, September 8, 2011


I can't help but feel just a tad excited when I look at our very own candle range which has just arrived instore.
And, like any mother hen, just a tad protective too.
Usually I am notoriously bad at promoting my own ranges or creations.
Obviously I can't handle rejection well, and if I pick up any mutterings 
or even a hint of a mutter, it's taken personally and I'm a major failure!
No wonder Brunnel despairs - he is the sort of person  who thrives on a room full of strangers, and makes friends with them all within half an hour. I would like to run a mile. It must be the Virgo in me.
But these candles really are gorgeous - and they're a joint collaboration in creativity, so my mindset says it's OK to talk just a little about them. 
They look really good, they burn beautifully, and they smell great.
And I hope I don't have to take them all home, but if I do, then frankly, that will be OK too.

Amanda xx
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

when bright ideas light up

I can't resist a sneak peek to start the week.
Only because I was so excited when I finally finished assembling my old mason jar lights in the bathroom yesterday. 
You might remember my little obsession from this post a few months ago.
Well from bright idea to finally switching it on has been an exercise in persistance believe me.
Things might have been easier if I had stayed with the original plan, and used the Agee Special jars I had been collecting. However, after I found my first aqua-coloured Ball jar, complete with galvanised lid, I knew the mission had changed. Finding the jars is easy enough. Finding the jars, complete with lids - not so easy.
Jars finally collected, I had to convince the electrician that I wanted them in the bathroom.
The problem was that if I really tried hard, and stood on a stool, with one foot in the bath, and accidentally at the same time, swung on the jar, then I might electrocute myself.
No, I would have to have a transformer and other electrical goobledygook jargon if they were to hang in the bathroom.
Undeterred, I found myself a 'lighting man' who could turn my little preserving jars into a safe bathroom pendant.
"No problem" he said. "I can do that, and at the same time, I can get that old paint off the jar lids, clean them up for you."
"Thanks, that's fabulous, but don't worry about getting the paint off" I said.
"Oh, but it's easy for me to get it off for you."
"No, I want the paint left on. I like the paint."
"Yes - and also, I want 3 metres of flex on each jar please."
"But, they'll hang on the floor."
"No, I'm going to hook them up, with a few knots in the flex."
"But I could just make them the right length, and you won't have to do that..."
....and around in circles the conversation went for some time.
However, as you can see, in the end, I got my way, flex, knots, paint and all.
And I'm very happy!

Amanda xx
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Saturday, September 3, 2011

from small acorns... mighty oaks grow.
On a visit to the old Napier cemetery last weekend, (I'll save that story for another day), 
I came across these little treasures. And of course, being a 'small acorn' myself, couldn't resist the symbolism. Is there a more sure sign of spring than a wee oak sprouting in this way.
I gathered up as many acorns as I could before the gardeners swept them away.

It has been a busy week. The girls are excited because they can finally move into their new bedrooms this weekend. They're not finished but close enough, and just to give them each their own space again will be fantastic. The bickering, constant squabbling and cabin fever generated from nearly seven months in close confinement is understandable, but enough to drive me crazy!

And our week at the store was capped off by being crowned second place for our World of Wearable Art window, so we have some celebrating to do!
Happy weekend!
Amanda xx

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