Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Paint it Black

I don't know if it's from watching the Block too much or if I just really need to see some change in the house but I've started seeing in Black & White. It may also have something to do with the fantastic interior decoration book by Celerie Kemble (yes, her real name!) - Black & White (and a Bit in Between) that I keep going back to.

I don't mean that literally of course but I keep visualising my living areas being predominantly in shades of black, white and grey with some colour and wood tones thrown in here and there.
I think it appeals so much because it is really easy to make it work and so much simpler than trying to work out if certain colours will work together. Of course being a crafty artsy kinda gal I still need my pops of colour to brighten things up!

I scored some great thrift store/op shop gems that I have been busily painting black, all the while humming that great Stones song to myself.

First to noir was an old ornate picture frame that had an incredibly daggy airbrushed gold finish that made me think of awful orange/yellow/brown combo 1970's office decor - scored at Salvo's for $10)
I hand sanded it back lightly and used a student quality acrylic paint to get a nice matt charcoal black finish. When it had dried I used fine sandpaper to take the paint off just on surface edges at the ornate corners and in places along the lengths between (best done by wrapping sandpaper around a pencil and dragging it down edge).



Now I just need to order a bevelled edge mirror and hang it!

Next item for refurb treatment: a fantastic old telescope tripod (minus the scope)
I have loved those tripod style lamps for years and even those these days they seem to be everywhere, they are still pretty pricey. I came across this wooden painted tripod at my local recycle centre for $2!
This time I need to remove some black paint to show up the woodgrain.
I initially tried using an orbital sander on it (lazy choice) and almost ripped chunks out of the wood so ended up hand sanding.

Half way through sanding black paint from an old telescope tripod

ahhhh, pretty woodgrain! 

I'll use a furniture wax over the wood to seal it and bring out the warmth of the wood and strangely enough I actually already have a light (scavenged for free!) that can fit in the top of the tripod.
All I need is a piece of dowel to attach it and Bingo Bango... $2 tripod lamp :)

Damn I love a bargain.

Now I'm off to see what else I can paint black. Will post update photos asap.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Home Sweet Home!

We are all back home after a campervan holiday in New Zealand, and surprisingly we managed not to drive each other mad in a confined space for 10 days!
This is our approximate route through the north and south islands:

First Impressions of New Zealand: vegetation everywhere, kind people, amazingly clean water!

My first impressions held up throughout our journey, the people in New Zealand are so genuine and kind. Any time we needed assistance with something people were more than happy to help out and the courteous behaviour of drivers was refreshing.
Perhaps it's because I'm accustomed to this wide brown land of ours but everything in NZ seems to be so green and fertile!

So here is a breakdown of my favourite things in the places we visited.

Auckland city
A huge amount of heritage buildings throughout the city providing architectural interest, including a great number of old theatres.

Hamilton area
Waitomo glow worm caves was magical! We all walked through a very accessible pathway through the caverns and were given some great info by our guide. The end of the tour saw us step down into a boat where we were silently punted around a water filled cavern below constellations of glowing larvae!!

Deep in this picturesque rural landscape lies the Hobbiton film set as used in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Hobbit films. The sheep farming family who own the land the set was built on have negotiated with the film company to run guided tours through the property. Anyone who has seen the films or read the books must visit this location. There has been an incredible amount of work put into the village to make it look inhabited by Hobbits, and you can just about imagine that you've stumbled upon the hobbit homes just after the owner has gone for a bite to eat at the Green Dragon Inn. The tour includes a free on tap beer or ginger beer at the Inn which is an enchanting place to be.

Geology in action! One of the first things you notice is of course the smell, the sulphury stink gets easier to bear as you become accustomed but my sinuses were suffering by the end of a day here.
It was almost like living in a Flintstones cartoon, minus the stone cars and dinosaurs of course. Steam poured out from cracks in the earth, bubbling mud pools dotted the landscape and combined with the tropical vegetation it felt as though we had stepped back in time to the prehistoric era.

Bathed in outdoor Thermal pools that looked like giant Midori cocktails.

home to some seriously cool cafes and shops, loads of antique shops too.
Best shop in town was Gathered, a shop on Tennyson Street owned and operated by Nikki Gabriel a talented textile artist and designer. I purchased a pair of wonderful chunky reclaimed Rimu knitting needles and knitting pattern here. Find Nikki online here.

The botanic gardens were beautiful and the cable car to/from the city a great way to get an overview of this fantastic little city. I like to think of it as a mini Melbourne.

Moromangi Bay
A quiet little place of great beauty on the edge of Queen Charlotte sound recommended to us by new friends we met on the ferry over. I can't think of a better place to wake up in :)

Best camp site for travellers with kids EVER! We parked under a 100+ year old chestnut tree and had dinner made for us in a mobile wood fired pizza oven.

Westprt Seal colony
We watched a colony of fur seals (New Z(S)ealand's namesake) with mamas feeding their babies on the rocks.

A trip to the Monteith's brewery included free tastings of their wonderful brews.
The food here was outstanding and quite inexpensive to boot.

Arthur's Pass
EPIC. was like driving into a scene from Lord of the Rings.

So utterly devasted. The city that is not me. I had no idea of the extent of the damage caused by the earthquake in 2011. The biggest shock for me was that so little appears to have been rebuilt.
Seeing all the empty businesses and apartments I wonder where all of those people went. Very sad.

So that's my quick roundup. We didn't get anywhere near the glaciers this trip but are determined to come back and see more. I LOVE New Zealand and will never make silly sheep jokes again, as far as I'm concerned they are some lucky sheep.