Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Just "freshening things up"

My husband gets a little frustrated with what he thinks are "frequent" urges from me to move things around a little. You know - freshen things up, make some changes. My urges aren't that frequent at all, it's just that he believes you put a couch there, a TV there and that's where they stay. Forever. And why do I need a new cushion cover anyway? God forbid I should go for a coffee table, it just takes up floor space (which apparently he needs for something, but unless he has a secret aerobics hobby I don't know what he needs the floor space for).

5 months into our current abode (above the shop), I am very much over the lounge room. It just doesn't feel "grown up". My husband bought one of those ridiculously large plasmas a few years ago that restricts lounge placement to, well, as far away as possible. So we have a 2 seater lounge at one end, a TV at the other, and under protest I managed to get in a side table and an armchair (hello, family of four require seating options!). But the room just looks bland and unwelcoming.

Conveniently, one of my Makers, Jeremy from karrottopdesigns, dropped in some lovely furniture yesterday and one piece, the vintage dresser, just had to go in the shop window. This required some rearranging. It started with the window display. Then I moved the pedestal that was in the window to the kids section. Which meant I had to move the vintage drawers from the kids section to...oh dear where can that go....oh I know - our lounge room. Stroke of genius.

karrottopdesigns vintage dresser $495

So I went up and moved the lounge, rug, armchair and side table to accommodate the vintage drawers. Then I had to track down the vacuum cleaner and while husband did battle with the monster dust bunnies the kids delighted in the discovery of forgotten toys neatly stashed under the lounge. Husband was then sent back and forth to his gallery downstairs to find appropriate pieces to put on the wall. Oh yay. With just a couple of knick knacks the lounge room will have so much more character! And it has a clean floor!

When I went back down to the shop I remembered another Maker, Quentin from Q. Design & Construction, had also dropped in some rustic wooden display cubes in while I was out. (As a side note, this guy can design and sew you an enviro conscious bag, and build an extension on your house.) I love a bit of initiative, and they are very cool, so best use them. Don't look good on the centre table. So I cleared the centre table and called husband to cart it away. It was too dark for the shop anyway. Back to the white pedestals.

Quentin's display cubes with and.O, Ivy & Jean, and Cosse ceramics 

Quentin's cycling bag (with waist strap) - $150

Rearranged shelf, oh dear that doesn't fit, must rearrange side table. Whoops, some things don't fit, have to rearrange counter. OK, getting tears! What on earth was I thinking!! This is why people have retail fittings - they are fitted. There's no moving around on a whim. No opportunity to spend five straight hours of your life arranging and re-arranging. Yes, the shop always looks fresh but it's starting to cost me my sanity. In frustration call husband for advice on product placement, which I immediately dismiss.

OK. Turn around, deep breath, turn back around. Oh - that actually looks quite good. Oh yes, that's much better! Bless husband for humouring me. Time to reward myself with a hot milk and tim tam. The Osteopath can sort the rest out.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

nature AND nurture

It's a lovely day in the store today. I've put some gorgeous Mondocherry butterflies in the window and am just sitting here watching them dance in the breeze coming through the open door. (At $15 a packet and with a free branch from a local park, they make for a brilliant mobile.)

Unfortunately, the gentle breeze isn't the only bit of nature coming through the door.....I'm distracted by a cricket casually strolling in. A visitor from the current "plague".  I prefer my insects in paper form, thanks very much. The butterflies are going to have to dance to the breeze from the air conditioner instead!

Aside from setting up the new window display, today I happily took delivery of more Cosse body products. It feels a little bare in the store when I run low on Cosse. Annie dropped in today and topped everything up and brought in a couple of new items as well, including more of her mum's pottery and some gorgeous silk covered lavender eye pillows.

Almost as soon as Annie walked out the door there were customers caressing and smelling those soaps, with my favourite being a gorgeous 3 year old on her way to kinder. She just happens to collect soaps, she tells me because they make her room smell nice! She managed to overcome her 3yo shyness to come and ask me the price of the lovely pink clay soap. Her mum told me that when Dad goes on business trips, she's happy to get the hotel soap as her gift.

My son was more into the tacky, overpriced airport gift with limited life span. And he wouldn't settle for anything else. My husband and I used to do quite a lot of (separate) interstate business travel so he has a bucketful of broken toy airplanes.

Now, while I'm not into the whole "made to order baby" thing where you can choose gender, eye colour etc etc....if I was going down that path again I would close my eyes very tightly and wish for a child with a predisposition to beautiful, handmade things. Or maybe just free smelly things, that would be OK too.

Is it nature or nurture? Before my son was born I bought him a handmade woollen scotty dog softie, he has never liked it. He does however, quite like the blue bunny that looks like it came off the consolation rack of the duck shooting game at the royal easter show. And gee, hasn't that thing lasted longer than anyone could have hoped for.

Yesterday, I handed out Max's party invitations with a big Pokemon on the front. And there'll be a Pokemon transfer on his cake. He is now of the age where he has an opinion on his party so there goes that whimsical vintage circus, or retro cowboys & indians themed party that I keep seeing pics of in those glossy mags.

And my daughter, no pretty handmade dresses or hair clips for her. She favours the blue scrunchie dad bought home (from the airport) or the supermarket bulk pack of hair ties, and my son's hand me down jeans (complete with holes in knees).

How do you get a child who loves the good stuff?? I've gently encouraged and provided the right environment but no reward so far.

Now, where are those scissors....I have to cut that plastic tie on the bulk pack of black hair ties....oh and get pocket money out, Max will be wanting a $2 pack of pokemon cards on the way home from school...

Friday, February 11, 2011

waste not, want not

I can't stand waste. I have a hard time throwing things out and it's only my adverse reaction to intense clutter in my living space and love of storage solutions that saves me from having a guest appearance on that oddly fascinating TV show "hoarders".

If it has a purpose, it can't be discarded. Which has caused me some torment just recently, balancing the desire to upgrade to an iphone 4 (I love gadgets) but not allowing myself to because my 2.5 year old iphone 3 works perfectly well. Loud cheers from me when my husband lost his phone and I could upgrade and give him mine!!

Back to the story, I do love that sense of achievement I get when I can re-use something and get rid of it at the same time! So, when my grocery delivery arrived right in the middle of creating my window display I was inspired to use this bit of second hand twine wrapped around a paper bag of fresh herbs.

Fresh veges from The Convenient Kitchen - highly recommended!

On the shorter side of a metre, it was still very useful to suspend the little cut out hearts in my Valentines window display....

Thursday, February 3, 2011

beach treasures

Inspired by Wendy Tuohy's column a couple of weeks ago on holidaying at home (Herald Sun Weekend lift out), I took the troupes off to the beach. Nothing like a bit of sand and salt water to make you feel like you're on holiday.

The thing is, we live exactly 2kms from the beach / one suburb away / a 3 min drive / a 25 min get the picture....and I'm ashamed to say we get there about once every couple of months (as opposed to when living 200 metres from the beach we visited every day after dinner during summer, and I walked every other day during winter). Out of sight out of mind.

It really was a wonderful time. We took muttley along for some socialising as well, the kids found some sea shell treasure and I found my new jewellery display!

Shell treasures from our friend

One very happy muttley (it's a dog beach)

my treasure. From this...... this...