29 March 2012

to sew successfully

When you sew, make yourself as attractive as possible. Go through a beauty ritual of orderliness. Have on a clean dress. Be sure your hands are clean, finger nails smooth - a nail file and pumice will help. Always avoid hangnails. Keep a little bag of French chalk near your sewing machine where you can pick it up at intervals. This not only absorbs the moisture on your fingers, but helps to keep your work clean. Have your hair in order, powder and lipstick put on with care. Looking attractive is a very important part of sewing, because if you are making something for yourself, you will try it on at intervals in front of your mirror, and you can hope for better results when you look your best.

Again, sewing must be approached with the idea that you are going to enjoy it, and if you are constantly fearful that a visitor will drop in or your husband come home and you will not look neatly put together, you will not enjoy your sewing as you should. Therefore "spruce up" at the beginning so that you are free to enjoy every part of any sewing you do.

- Excerpt from Singer Sewing Book, 1949

With a little irony I confess I typed this out wearing my pyjamas.

27 March 2012

pets on furniture

Since finding out about this weekly series over at Desire to Inspire, I can't resist checking each Monday morning (which is Tuesday here in NZ). Serial cuteness on furniture.

24 March 2012

stuffed toy chair

I'm speechless! This is a chair, believe it or not. Not at all what I went looking for (something much more sedate, to be frank). Though how much would a young'n fall for it?

Campana Brothers Studio

20 March 2012


With a few hours to myself last weekend I took a drive around Auckland. On arrival at one of my destinations I heard live music playing in a nearby park, and to my most excellent fortune Andrew Fagan was singing this kiwi classic. Mid 80's in New Zealand, the best of times!

taupe grey kitchen

This is where we're at now. I think I could really live with our kitchen in gray/taupe tones. It looks refined and classic and restful, but a decor you could change substantially with textiles.

All images via pinterest

14 March 2012

fairytale closet

Dorothee's house in Germany is amazing, complete with chooks (do they cluck in German?) and other farmyard animals. Amazing to think there are homes like this (and more) all round the world.

12 March 2012

a perfect gray

I'm not sure what the acceptable time is for one to declare they are 'over it' but we reached that tonight with regards our renovation. And we're not even living on site! But because of that we need to schlep all the wallpaper books (one of today's was around 10kg, I swear) and tile samples around to the house and wade through a chasm of timber and work benches and general muckery. And two little children too, who find the time, energy and fervid inclination to scrap when we least need it. And when I think I've found a great wallpaper, he disses it. I swear I've done a crash course in wallcoverings - I now know of a world of wallpaper much larger than I ever imagined. I've waded through retail stores, trade showrooms and websites, and looked through untold wallpaper books. I am exhausted.

So it was pretty timely to see photos of Brooke Shield's apartment at Architectural Digest - isn't it the most perfect mid-toned gray? The entire apartment is stunning. Between Benjamin Moore's Chelsea Gray, which is what is featured in Shield's apartment, and a soft pale grey I am seriously considering abandoning my search for wallpaper.

Could this be a sign?

P.S. Donna, author of A Perfect Gray, gives her top picks on gray paint colours. A very handy reference.

6 March 2012

the stylish 60s

Oh how I've fallen for Betty Draper and Joan Holloway! I know, I'm about four or five years late getting started. I rented the first season of Mad Men for the first time only a couple of months ago and already I'm now halfway through season four. I don't know how I didn't get into this when it first aired as I'm finding it positively addictive.

Men in sharp suits, curvy women in fitted dresses - as someone who has usually favoured tomboy-attire, I have never felt such a strong pull to dress more womanly.

I read somewhere that seeing Jon Hamm out of character should be banned. I admit, I have to agree.

1 March 2012

tres tintas

So magical, the Carousel of Dreams mural by Tres Tintas.

The past few weeks I have been completely immersed in the world of wallpapers. Not having done this before, I am rather amazed at the papers available today. Cole and Sons do some fantastic papers, collaborating with designers such as Vivienne Westwood and Fornasetti (our current favourite, though not their expected prints), and Christian Lacroix for Designers Guild. In the beginning the task of choosing wallpapers became overwhelming to the point of giving up, but after becoming re-enthused and doing a lot more research my efforts have produced some nice results. I really can't imagine painting our lounge now, which was our original plan.