Saturday, August 6, 2011

beautiful home

I've been working on little areas around my home. Beautifying it as such. We are squeezed into a small three bedroom home. That's me (artist and collector), our three sons (2, 8 and 14), and an incredibly talented musical, technical husband. Which means a lot of stuff belonging to a diverse group of people with different needs in a tiny space. We also have one income so upsizing remains a dream for now, much to my dismay some days.

However I am a solution-focused woman. So in the spirit of 'make something from nothing' I've set about making this a home we love to be in, especially me, because as a full time parent, I spend a lot of time in our house.
I purchased these kale for $2 each. Decorative cabbages with beautiful heads that rival (in my humble opinion) any rose (in appearance at least). I dislike cut flowers which seem an expensive waste. These have lasted several weeks already and for the small price I paid, they were well worth the joy they've brought as I've stood at the sink washing the dishes. Seen here alongside an old bottle and a Japanese pottery vase on my kitchen windowsill. The biggest threat has been my husband enquiring from time to time if they are cabbages and if so, are they edible. Ha!

If your going to spend time doing chores, create a space you can enjoy while working.

I purchased three little cacti to go along the main windowsill in what is now the second living room. I brought out of storage some of my painted and crocheted stones, found some small Agee preserving jars (yes, I have a stash of them, all sizes and eras) and placed tea lights there as well.

I've made quite a few little changes, editing and adding as I go.
I love cacti for their sculptural value. I needed plants that would survive my sons and these provide the 'dare' and challenge that my boys enjoy. We all get to enjoy them. And they add a splash of life and colour which interestingly, is making a strong appearance after my home has been predominantly black and earthy colours.

I've replaced the dining table with a couch which now always has someone sitting on it playing guitar, knitting (yes, that would be me), playing tea parties (myself again and my youngest boy) or reading.

This retro lounge suite (seen here through the window of the op shop) comprises a 4 seater couch and 2 armchairs with wooden legs and was only $140 dollars at the Salvation Army shop. I am so in love and have hankered after a yellow couch for the longest time. That its worn makes me love it more and also makes it incredibly family friendly.

Knuckles and I working hard. He's watching video's on his little dvd player and I'm doing research via Pinterest and Trade Me. You can follow me on Pinterest too now if you like. Simply click the link here Ahipara Girl Pinterest and then click 'follow'. That simple.
I find my cushions in op shops as well and made the red one sewing a vintage doiley to a red repurposed cushion. Note our coats, scarves, hats and his gumboots. There was snow on the hills the day we made a second lounge. You had to dress warm to be INSIDE. Crazy.
This is me feeling rather pleased with our efforts. I've banned tv from this room and finally have a space to listen to my radio (National Radio NZ). This little space achieves its purpose. I provides me with a peaceful place for me to sit in this testosterone loaded home and potter with my crafts, or talk with members of my family. My eldest son and my husband will sit here in the evenings too playing guitar and singing.

I will post more at a later date about my creative and beautiful spaces adventures in other areas of my home. I'm so glad I found a way through my dilemna and at very little cost to myself. I've made enough money lately from recent sales of other second hand goods to do this out of the funds I'm creating. Its exciting that I'm literally shopping for nothing and that we're not out of pocket as a result.

I hope you feel inspired too, especially if like me, you're feeling stuck about some areas in your home. Leave me a comment and a link back to your website, if you have done something similar. I love solutions and ideas.
Posted by Picasa

Tiny Happy

I was really fortunate this year to attend New Zealand's first Handmade 2011 at Te Papa in Wellington. It was pricey and a friend loaned me some money to pay for me upfront. I'm a mama with a family so I had to budget it all in. My husband urged me out the door knowing how happy I get when I'm making. I had an agenda. I wanted to meet this woman. (Apology in advance, this was snapped on my bat phone and at the end of a long day. You're a good sport Melissa. x).

Tiny Happy & Ahipara Girl
I've loved and followed Melissa's blog for the longest time. She's a fellow kiwi who recently returned with her family from Norway where her husband was working. She stitches, journals, makes, and writes while raising children full time as well. Her blog is one of my favourites. I was determined to meet Melissa and spend a precious few hours learning a few things from her.
There's no hype. Just a simple, uncomplicated person who selflessly shared her self-styled makings and skills with our small class. As a rather boisterous kind of person myself, I felt a bit clumsy around her because she's softly spoken and rather gracious. She kept thanking me each time I complimented her. I was a bit star struck. She competently guided us along on our wee projects with a quiet authority.

Go check out her blog Tiny Happy or her images gallery on Flickr . She makes me want to draw, stitch and make. She also has two adorable children that I feel I know in part. She sews, repurposes and knits their clothes, bags and things around her home. That is a good thing. I drooled over her embroidery gallery today. And I will direct you to her Tiny Happy etsy shop but warn you that her things sell as fast as she makes them. She is a success story as a blogger/crafter and earns enough to supplement their income. She's definitely in the same arena I'd like to be a part of also.

Melissa appears in the latest issue (August 2011) of Your Home and Garden. Here's some snaps of my copy I purchased.
We both have yellow couches.

A covetable stash of vintage fabrics in her sewing room.

Books, handmade toys and prints: LOVE

Melissa's signature baby shoes made from vintage embroideries.

Pared back Scandinavian influence is evident. Uncluttered, clean lines, raw materials.

She has a yellow couch too!
That floor to ceiling window, the light that streams in, the vintage couch, the wooden floors, the Crown Lynn above the fire place and the prints on the wall ... I love it all. As different as our tastes are in some ways, I appreciate her aesthetics and relate to her love of natural resources like linen, wool, wood; her love for New Zealand which like me is reflected in her craft and she loves handmade and op shopping also just like me.

I know I'm gushing somewhat but its always nice to meet someone else, a fellow kindred spirit, who actually gets things in some of the same ways I do.

Anyway, I was pleased for Melissa who appeared in the latest August Issue of Your Home & Garden. Her home is lovely and really is an extension of all her makings. I'm a huge fan still and now we're friends of the making kind as well.

As an aside, I met lots of wonderful people @ Handmade 2011, especially in the stitch lounge and the makers event. I will definitely be back next year. New Zealand has its own vibe and although we've been influenced by overseas makers, we still retain our own sense of style and integrity when it comes to crafting and making. I spotted in the crowd lots of famous faces from the arts and crafts movement in New Zealand.
I do think its expensive and although I understand the need for people to be valued and the cost of venues etc (Te Papa is a wonderful venue being an incredible museum/gallery as well), I was aware I was a minority as a Pacific woman. I'm sure other women who have families have trouble raising that kind of moolah as well. Which is why I'm keen to run smaller, inexpensive courses in my community.
I've forwarded a rough proposal, and I'm hoping they might consider me for a teaching spot as well next year. I chickened out this year when asked but having attended, I feel a lot more confident about my own capacity and abilities. I think. ;)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

One man's trash is anothers treasure ...

Here are a few things I've come by and sold lately. Its been fun knowing that what I value is also desired by others. Trusting my instincts and making sure it doesn't cost us except my time and effort has been an interesting challenge.
industrial vintage metal trolley
Two Bentwood Chairs and my roses, not really. They're kale aka decorative cabbages.

I still have these two. I love that carved seat and back rest. The back is damaged so this one either needs to be restored or used as a stand rather than a seat.

I see a tree.

Those koru's are beautiful.

This one can be sat in. Its my favourite. Lots of wonderful distressed wood.

Bent Wood.

I see a star.

Vintage faux tortoiseshell knitting needles

so pretty

our old dining chairs
our old retro dining chairs, my doiley embellised cushion.

Posted by Picasa