Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in Photos: Part One

As 2010 draws to a close and I reflect on the past year, I can't help but feel so blessed. It has been a wonderful year and I have so much to be thankful for. I have managed to snap
a few precious moments over the past year and thought that sharing some of them would be a fitting way to end the year. :)
2010 was filled with: Dancing shows...

Birthday parties...

and cakes...

and fairies...

New beds and stories at bedtime...

Baking with Mum...

Dressing up at preschool...

Touching snow for the first time...

Trips to the animal park...

Feeding the ducks...

Digging in the sand...


Spiderman fixations...

Writing letters and drawing...

Hanging out with cousins...

Attending birthday parties...

and swimming lessons!
Part Two coming tomorrow. :)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Our New Favourite Park

We recently spent the day visiting Matakana and while exploring the area, we found the most fantastic hidden treasure...Scandrett Regional Park.
Welcome to Scandrett
We had spent a few hours on the beach at Martins Bay and were heading out when we spied a cattle stop and a small sign. We decided to make a quick detour and discovered the most fantastic park.
Beach fun
It was originally a farm with an old homestead, which you able to go into and explore. From bedrooms with candlewick bedspreads to old cow sheds and hen houses, there was so much for us to look at and discuss, it really felt like stepping back in time.
Exploring the original homestead
There was also a quiet beach with water so clear that you could see the rocks sparkling underneath the surface. Rosie and Harry had a ball exploring the gardens and beach. :)
Loved seeing the old wash house
The best thing about this park was how quiet it was. It was not as busy as any of the other beaches and parks, and it was so peaceful and relaxing to be there. We couldn't help but think how grateful we are to live so close to such beautiful places.
Playing on the beach
Only in New Zealand could you go to a beach in peak season and find only a handful of swimmers and picnic goers. We really are very blessed.
Two of the three baches available for rent
The most exciting thing is that there are three baches which you can rent for the weekend, right on the beach. They are very reasonably priced and are true Kiwi baches. We are hoping to head there for a family break at some stage so that we can soak up more of this idyllic spot. Definitely a must see if you are in the Matakana area.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Project Life Kit Arrived!

I recently mentioned that I was considering starting Project Life in 2011.
Well guess what?
My kit arrived! Taff bought it for me for Christmas and I am super excited about starting on January 1st.
We were very lucky here in New Zealand as we were the first country to receive the kits as there was a hold up in the USA and Amazon was only able to ship them right before Christmas. Mine was safely tucked up under our tree for several days before the 25th and this has given me the chance to have a good think about the way I am going to complete the project this year.
I am so looking forward to capturing the snapshots of our daily life and journalling them next year. It has been quite a long time since I kept a regular journal so this will be a good challenge for me!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Sofa Saga

A couple of months ago I mentioned that we had purchased a new sofa for our living room. Choosing a sofa is without a doubt one of your most important decorating decisions as it is one of the main features in your living room and can make or break the whole look that you are trying to achieve. I know a little about this as we have had several (nine at my last count) sofas since moving into our current house. I know this sounds indulgent but I can explain! I thought it was time to share some of the lessons I have learned and laugh at some of the mistakes I have made. Everyone knows that I love a good bargain so my first place to look was on Trademe. In fact, all the sofas we have had at this house have come from Trademe, apart from the one we have now...more on that later.
Our cream macrosuede sofa which showed marks easily

The tricky part about choosing a new sofa has been our oddly shaped living room. If I had my way I would have a modular sofa in a L shape but sadly, this room is not cut out for that. Funnily enough, this knowledge did not stop me from trying out two different Freedom modular sofas in the room, just to confirm that they indeed did not work. :)
Macrosuede also requires a lot of  'brushing' to get the nap of the fabric looking decent
This then took me to sofa suites. I wanted something good quality and durable so I chose high end pieces (from places like Living Edge and The Design Store), often coming from the holiday homes of the affluent who were upgrading. What I failed to recognise was that these homes usually featured no children and were not suited to life with two littlies! It was back to the drawing board again.
In a brave moment I went for teal macrosuede, obviously I hadn't learnt my lesson...

One thing you should know is that this acquiring and culling process did not cost any money. When I purchase things from Trademe and find they are not suitable, I am sure to sell them for at least the amount I bought them for and more often than not, for more. This was a danger in itself as it made it far too easy to keep searching for the elusive "perfect sofa"! After yet another failed experiment (the teal one to be exact) I had finally had enough and decided to get the sofa I wanted, rather than search for a second hand sofa that did not tick all the boxes.
I loved this sofa but it was a little to modern for me and the low back was not comfortable...
One Saturday I pulled out all the back issues of my favourite interiors magazines and searched for a sofa colour, shape and style that I really wanted. It soon became apparent to me that I was after a very simple square armed sofa with a comfortable high back and in a textured light coloured weave. I popped into a local furniture store (not an expensive one) and found what I wanted, chose the fabric and in a few short weeks, it was ready! As soon as the delivery guys brought it in the house, we knew we had found what we had been looking for. It is a plain, simple, comfortable and versatile. We love it!
Finally, the "right one"!
Anyway, some tips I have learnt along the way regarding sofa shopping:
I know, it looks similar to the cream one at the top but it is the fabric that makes all the difference in this one. :)
  1. Just because it is cheap, it doesn't mean you should get it.
  2. Just because it is a designer brand, it doesn't mean you should get it.
  3. Despite what experts might say, macrosuede marks easily and has a nap to the fabric that you will forever be 'brushing' to try and get it looking good.
  4. Low back sofas look great but are incredibly uncomfortable.
  5. When buying from Trademe, what constitutes "no marks and new condition" varies greatly between sellers.
  6. Hiring a trailer and picking up sofas from people's homes WILL require a loving and patient husband. :)
  7. Sometimes it is a false economy to buy second hand, especially when the item doesn't meet your needs.
  8. Leather is always the best option with kids (though I haven't followed this advice in our latest purchase!).
  9. Shop around for the best deal on what you want.
  10. It is worth paying a little extra to choose the fabric and colour you want and have it custom made. It is money well spent it in the end.
Hope some of you can learn from my mistakes! :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Master Bedroom is Finally Finished!

I am thrilled to finally be sharing some photos of our finished master bedroom. This room was painted a year ago in Resene Double Alabaster but it was left unfinished as we knew immediately that the colour was not right for the room.
There was all the cutting in to complete, all well as completely repainting the wardrobe, frames and skirting. A couple of months ago Taff decided to tackle this room and he worked extremely hard for a few days to get it all done.
After a lot of test pots and paint swatches we finally decided on Resene Soapstone, which is a warm neutral. After some initial doubts we are now happy with the colour and think it suits our 1960's house a lot better than a stark grey white.
In fact, we like it so much that we have decided to paint the rest of the house in this colour. We also chose to paint all the frames and skirting in white high gloss enamel, to provide a nice contrast to the Soapstone
As you can see, there is always a certain amount of upheaval when you redecorate but it is worth it in the end. Taff is a perfectionist in his painting and he did a fantastic job. :)
We have now finished three of the bedrooms and are continuing work on the other areas upstairs. It is a slow process as we have to fit it all around work and family time but we will get there! :)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Teepee Fun

I just thought I would share some photos of a very special gift which Santa brought for Rosie and Harry this year.
It is this fantastic Citta Teepee, which had proved to be a real hit! Already Rosie and Harry have spent a lot of time in there making up games, colouring, hiding and playing with their toys. They have even used it as a sun shelter on our deck!
They love making 'huts' in the lounge and in their bedroom, often resulting in multiple blankets strewn from one end of the room to the other. Now that we have the teepee, we have an instant hut which is very easy to put up and take down again.
It has amazed me how some fabric and wooden poles can bring so much joy to both of them. It is a great tool for imaginative play and I look forward to seeing them use it in their own creative ways. I love 'toys' like this! :)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Some snippets of our relaxing Kiwi Christmas day...

Hope yours was equally as enjoyable! :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Reindeer Food

Twas the night before Christmas and it has been busy!
Rosie and Harry received some special reindeer food at church last Sunday so we made up these little packets of treats for them to sprinkle on the lawn.
We printed out some labels with a cute poem, you can find them here. It is a nice little tradition to add to the usual cookies and milk for Santa. :)
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas day and that you take the time to enjoy your family and this special day together. :)