a good watch

OS6_Ep7_Day5_0614mary beard

I’m a bit lost without my tv fix each week.  Especially when there is SO little on to watch let alone inspire.  Home renovation programs keep me going mostly -with gorgeous George or my good friend Kevin!

But lately I’ve become engrossed in an aussie series ‘Offspring’.  About a mad, badly behaved, hopelessly unadjusted family.  So – just like the rest of us really -but with better clothes & hair. It has me laughing at the tv often.  Its a gentle portrayal of how we struggle through our everyday lives & find something in the midst of it to make it all worthwhile.  And as a counterpoint to that I’ve discovered Mary Beard.  She’s a Cambridge professor who has been presenting a tv series on ancient Rome.  She pretty fab.  In her 60′s & she absolutley doesn’t have better clothes & hair -but she’s not your Nana that’s for sure. She enjoys herself hugely -& fits into that classic role of the great british eccentic.  So for my next ultimate dinner party -Nina Proudman & Mary Beard will be top of the guest list.

talking to strangers

This is interesting for me -I’ve always thought the best thing about the shop is my interactions with people. I love those random conversations with random people. On a good day the conversation goes on all day with different people coming & going through it. I love that there is no ‘commitment’ to the conversation -we talk about anything & everything or nothing, we laugh & we cry -sometimes we even hug -with strangers.
Of course often the strangers become friends.

books, books

IMG_20160826_113504IMG_20160826_113526IMG_20160826_112958Its late winter -early spring really because the bulbs are all up & starting to flower, but there is no spring warmth out there yet.  So I seem to be spending more time reading (apart from making curtains & updating stuff around the house).  I found Natalie Chanin’s book at the library.  So wonderful.  She’s a very clever girl.  And so generous in her attitude of sharing all of that.  I love the idea of being able to make stuff without hauling the machine out.  I have grand intentions of starting with a wee hat.  My problem is -I use dark fabric & dark thread & at night cant see a damn thing…


IMG_20160812_160508IMG_20160317_084648IMG_20160406_073534I’ve always scapbooked.  LOVE magazines -admit to being a magazine hoarder -just one of the things…  Anyway I dont have the time or focus these days.  But god bless phones.  Like everyone in the modern world I suppose -I use my phone camera to snap pics of things to remind myself.  Its a version of my old scrapbooks.  Some things just take my eye -somethings should go into my ‘project in progress’ file.  Really they all just sit in the phone.  The top pic is an idea for me to merchandise & sell some bulbs & pots in the shop -very simple & effective. I think the middle pic just caught my eye -the styling is so nice & those lovely still life paintings.  The bottom one is Sibella Court’s shop in Melbourne.  I love the typography/signwriting on the old saw -its an idea in progress.

And this way I dont have to cut it out, sort it out, stick it in & file it.  Yay.

small things

IMG_20160804_112914IMG_20160804_094225IMG_20160804_094152I‘m focussing on ‘little treasures’ around the house this week.  Small things that give me so much pleasure in the midst of chaos.

A very untidy but beautiful birdsnest dropped in front of the house after one of the many gales that have blown through in the last few weeks.

My vintage wheelbarrow full of Helen’s donated bulb pots -all coming up.  I’m ignoring the weedy pavers.

A little group of my vintage Crown Lynn pots with the gorgeous enameled brass pot.  I think its handmade arts & crafts -maybe australian?


winter days

IMG_20160725_141741IMG_20160726_172627IMG_20160729_170548Just one post this month.  Work keeps piling up & somehow -although I’m crazy busy, I dont seem to make any progress.  I’m beginning to think I just DO have too many jobs.  But that’s small self-employed business people -right?!!

Its also the downside of winter.  And although its not been very cold -its been very wet & dark. We are weather obsessed here.  If its westerly blowing rain, the shop roof leaks -lets throw that into the mix too.

Friends & family coming & going.  The garden has to look after itself.  We’re supposed to be doing some forward planning for the shop for xmas.  When is that ever going to happen…

I keep thinking that if I dropped most of my ‘design & craft’ projects for the shop -I would probably cope fine.  BUT that’s what makes the shop interesting & different & adds to the soul of it.  That’s a big BUT.

Running away for the day should help -a lovely day at ‘the Mount’.  And a bit of mindfulness would be good -a lovely winters evening with winter trees as I wait in the parking-lot for Martin at the end of the day.  The garden in winter is always special -the spent heads of the hydrangeas.  Its enough.

remember the shop

P1030495P1030497P1030499 As this blog is supposed to be all about the shop -I need to remember to include it.  It is  lovely space -a fantastic wide window flooding the area with light.

The constant battle is to keep it perfectly merchandised & not cluttered.  Always tempting to just squeeze a few more bits in…  The photos are a good way of looking at it from a critical perspective -at an emotional distance.

I have been thinking a lot lately about what makes a house -a home.  And in terms of great space to spend time in.  Obviously -rugs, throws, cushions.  Ambient lighting -table lamps.  Books!  Artwork -and that can be very hand/home-made.  Texture & colour.  Window trims -curtains or blinds.  Both Tammy & I have a passionate aversion to short curtains.  They mostly ALWAYS need to be floor length people!

the gap month

IMG_20160515_102552IMG_20160527_152022IMG_20160606_112317So the gap month is finally over -life hopefully goes back to normal.  Just the usual drama’s like the washing machine packing up, emergency trips to the dentist…  Life!

It was a kind of progressive holiday -:

So we had almost a week at the beach.  Lovely warm weather, major tree pruning.  For some reason every man & his dog has decided that this strip of coast is a main highway.  Most days people driving up & down it, because they cant be arsed to walk -I suppose?  And for some reason they think the rest of us want to spend our recreational time in an area that looks like a racetrack/carpark -staggering over the huge ruts they make in the sand.  To say nothing of the damage to the native plants & birds.  Go figure?!  And for some reason no one with any authority seems to want to do anything about it… although it is illegal…

And then a few days with one of my besties -Janine, who has just moved to Mangawai. I love northland -the heady smell of the manuka & the sea air.

And then somewhere new -Kakahi.  Gorgeous king-country.  Alpine river bush.  A spot of trout fishing, a spot of bush walking.

Back to work…

winter or spring…



Its mad weather -winter temperatures finally arrived -but the spring bulbs are well up & some of the fruit trees have thrown a few more flowers.  They’re in for a shock.

Heres the latest pic of the vegie garden.  My bloke is between jobs at the moment -I think thats a ‘gap-month’.  So he’s been furiously building the rock walls.  HUGE job -bless him. But looking very cool.  Its amazing how a bit of hard landscaping tidies up all the messy-ness.