Friday, July 27, 2012

Inspired by: Sibella Court

I'd never heard of Sibella Court before I read about her third book, "Nomad" in a magazine. Luckily we have an awesome library (I will never say it enough) that is very onto it, so I was able to take it out (it was on the shelves! In Wellington the waiting time is a year for the same book!!!). Then I renewed my loan. I always thought interior design books rather boring.

I'd flick through them one, maybe take a few photos of some stuff I like, then take it back. But not this one. This one is on my wish list. Every time I'd flick through it, I'd notice a new detail, an object I hadn't noticed before. It's like walking into a big shop and discovering a new room every time you turn around. And I identify so much with her style and esthetic.

I've always loved incorporation queer and unique object from my travels, little finds that have meaning and value only for me (although a few of my valued treasures got pinched by some un-civilized tenants in my flat in Paris). Most of the time, I like object to have a use too, I disseminate pretty and useful things all around the house. So I made patchwork curtains, pillows for a pallet couch,... it's nice to think that everything that surrounds you has a history, is linked to you somehow.

Gipsy inspiration... *love*

Reading "Nomad", I got inspired with more crafty ideas, and just simply enjoyed traveling through the pictures. Sibella draws from her travels to five different countries to style as many interiors, with an extra interior designed around the theme "gypsy" (my favorite, could you guess?). She uses a ten color palette to guide her choices, the rest just follows. The only downside to this book is that it is very hard to read, the font and color don't stick well enough, and perhaps it should have been bigger, I simply gave up reading the text.

Friday, July 20, 2012

More mosaic

This time, the mosaic man in New York. Good excuse to go back there...

Origami cranes

Have you ever made origami? When I was a kid, I used to spend hours folding squares of paper following instructions on our origami book until I ended up with a little paper figurine. Origami is a traditional japanese paper folding craft.  No glue or cuts, just folds. And yet, the number of paper sculptures you can obtain is pretty much unlimited. We even found a dinosaur origami book at the op shop.

One of the most popular origami is probably the crane (the bird). Recently I re-taught myself to make them. Since you need to start with a square piece of paper and most of our paper is a rectangle, you can also use the left over strip to make paper beads (if you want to find out how click here).
And then with a few origami cranes and some paper beads you can make a mobile, using a rolled up sheet of paper as a rod.

I made this one in Wellington and hung it under a light. The paper is from an old geography book but you can use any picture book you like, heck, you can use up your old yellow pages.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Inspired by: The Giant's House

I was never a huge fan of mosaic. That is, until we visited The Giant's House in Akaroa. The house (and garden) owner, Josie, has spent the past 12 years (yes, years!) creating the most amazingly fabulous original artworks all around her little garden, all covered in mosaic. Now, this is an ode to the craft if there ever was one. It just looks amazing, check for yourself.
One of the many flower seats

View of the garden from the top, house on the left

Tahi sitting in the mirror arch

Adam and Eve
How about an apple honey?

Bees flying over some beautiful (real) red flowers. 

Another flower seat

"Le Cercle des Amis", where it all started...

Some bigger than real life musicians and my mum ready for a boogie

crawly spiders along one of the paths

The Sweet Patooti. It has real music coming out of it too!

revamping the workshop

When we got back, I spent a week (or maybe a couple?) just settling back into the groove of things. It's amazing how long it takes me to feel ready to start creating. This is one of the reasons I never really got round to creating anything when I was working, because it takes so long for my  brain to adjust and switch to hobby mode, by the time I felt ready to go for it I was working on a new contract. Or more likely I was going from one contract to another with little or no days off. After I had Tahi it took me a year to figure out what I wanted to be doing, as a hobby. I love being a mum and caring for my kids, but I need an outlet, something just for me.
After 3 months away, I started seeing my workshop with new eyes. I looked messy and my mood had completely shifted from what I had put up on my wall when I first moved into the room. Yes, it was time for a revamp! (and here's if you're wondering what is used to look like)
New visuals on the wall. Great for artistic inspiration and stimulation
I even made a collage (bottom right) of colors and textures that inspire me at the moment. Yes, green is my color at the moment. Green and red .

Josh had lots of leftover wallpaper from his job (the advantages of being a production designer, you get first pick!), and I've used some here and there to liven up our old cheap (often free) furniture. I pasted some cool dark red wallpaper on this table, then put a few coats of varnish to make it look a bit like the tables they used to have in libraries, the ones with a leather covered table top... Now I'd like to sand the legs and other parts of it and either leave them with the vintage sanded look or repaint them another color.

Monday, July 9, 2012

South island - part 3

I'd never been through Arthur's pass before. It's a pretty amazing drive! Getting to the highest point involves driving over a very high bridge, the bridge having been built over what's left of the road that used to be in use and that has now land-slided away. We stopped at the view point, it was even more impressive. Some very friendly and inquisitive Kaka (an indigenous type of parrot) were hanging out and picking up food scraps. These birds are known to be worse than magpies! I've heard stories of people whose boots left outside overnight ended up destroyed by their powerful beaks (when you're hungry you're hungry).

We then stopped at lake Pearson for the night. It's pretty quiet (and cold) at this time of the year, but what a sight. We woke up to a frosty orange day, the sun shone on the lake and the ducks swam around, the kids had a walk and played with frosty bits of grass. This lake is supposed to be a good bird watching place, but at this time of the year most birds have migrated.
Lake Pearson at sunrise

frosty grass and snowy mountain top!
We stopped at another awesome place on our way, called Castle Hill. Seen from a distance, it looks like a giant lost the marbles he was carrying in his pockets. A whole lot of dark grey round boulders scattered over the landscape, some as high as a child while others reached several stories high. It's a place of great significance for maori as well as the most famous bouldering spot in New Zealand. Unfortunately I wasn't so trigger happy there so I can't find any good pics...
Once we reached Christchurch we decided to keep going until we reached Akaroa, a little town situated at the end of Bank's Peninsula, famous for being the only french settlement in New Zealand. It is very cute and reminded me of some little seaside village in France. We stayed a couple of nights and relaxed during the day. This was our last stop before heading back to Wellington and the kids definitely deserved a break from driving!
We spent a great afternoon at a place called "the Giant's Garden". The owner is a local artist (and horticulturist) whose past 11 years have been spent creating amazingly stunning mosaics in her garden. We couldn't stop marveling at every step and I took so many photos this garden alone will have to be the subject of the next post...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

South Island - part 2

Now, if you've never been to New Zealand, you should know that the most recommended and toured part of it is the west coast of the South Island. Well at least I would think so. And if you ever come this way, I warmly recommend you do the same. It's a beautiful piece of coastline with some amazing scenery. The south island is the least populated of the two islands, and a lot of it retains its untouched wilderness aspect (although don't look too close or you might stumble on a mine... yes, New Zealand is opening up national parks for mining, what a shame).
 Since my mum hand't seen much of the west coast we decided to go through at least part of it. We took the road inland that goes through Reefton, and old mining town and the first to have street lights in the whole Southern hemisphere. That's what mining will do for you. Now they still have street lighting but the town seems to have come to a halt... I guess it was good while it lasted.
Gold no more
Reefton's one and only motor camp. 
We then hit the west past and headed for Punakaiki. I'd forgotten how stunning this part of the South Island was. What a drive. We stayed at a nice campground right by the beach, played in the waves and watched the sunset. Magic.
The next day we headed south, through Greymouth, visited Shanty town (another ex-mining town that has turned into a make believe tourist attraction. I had hoped we could make it all the way down to Queenstown, but that would have way too much driving, the kids would have gone mad.
So we ended up heading back to Christchurch through Arthur's Pass. and that will be in the third and last post about this trip...