Jul 26, 2011

Presents and Visits.

Lately I have been given several little presents from people.
 Some vintage fabrics from my lovely friend N. and some small presents came to me via my Dad who returned from a holiday in Thailand and The Netherlands.
 He thought they were a little sily, but I don't. As a matter of fact they are exactly the kind of things that I like: little vintage pictures and 3-d paper flowers, wooden ladybugs and a red bead necklace that used to be my Oma's. Thank you Tante Alie.  I will use the pictures in my collages. And have already worn the beads.
But I don't know from whom the gorgeous little diary came. Tante Joukje, Adrie?
 It is published by Pipstudio.com ,and is full of delicious collages of ribbons, old photographs, birds, threads and teacups. Their homepage is gorgeous and interactive, and I want the blue teacup with the bird on it... And their wallpaper is most unusual! The diary has some postcards included, and those are going on the wall of my workroom.
Thank you!

In the first week of my holiday I picked up N. and we drove to our friend J.'s place. She lives way in the "wopwops" : a good 40 minute drive from Hastings. This is the sight that greeted us on the outskirts of town, fresh snow on the Ruahines.

BBrrrrr...!! And that's why the wind is so chilly!
Pretty though.
J. and her husband built this house and another for her parents on a large property which has native bush and some grazing land for their horses and donkey. They even have a small spring down in the bush. And it's so quiet there...
One of the horses  looking relaxed.

Daughter E. and her friendly bunny.
Fresh eggs from 4 hens, and a good vege garden as well.
Faithful dogs by the porch, where we sat in the winter-sun and ate home made pizza for lunch, and talked and talked.  It was a lovely day with good friends and it gave me a real lift.
On the way home we came by a field full of new lambs. I just had to stop and take a wee picture.
So cute all prancing about and pestering their mothers for more milk. I hope they don't get too cold at night! It isn't spring yet...

Jul 20, 2011

A Walk in the Park.

On the first day of my holidays I took a walk in my new neighbourhood. The view at the end of my street is rather marvelous ; blue sea and white cliffs. You can see we are quite high up here. 
The red-hot-pokers are giving us a second display by the entrance of our walkway. Just like a firework.

Some of the posher houses on the other side of the street; old historical, colonial buildings with their gorgeous balustrades around their balconies. Very lovely and very New Zealand.

I walk to the old cemetery started in the 1850's. That's when there were wars between the Colonials and the Maori, fought with muskets and clubs.  And outbreaks of disease.
The cemetery is somewhat looked after, but a lot of the graves are in disrepair, tree roots have lifted and cracked the stones. It makes for a wonderful eerie atmosphere though. I have a quick look around and then make sure I wash my hands at the gate: burial places are "tapu" and you don't want to take that with you. Or so it is said.

On to the park, the Napier Botanical Gardens, which are right next door to the cemetery. Some very tall palms catching the late afternoon winter sun.

Large blue-green yucca plants, Napier grows these very well. They get big and old and sometimes grow a huge flower stalk several meters tall.

The light of these photos is a bit on the blue side because of the low sun in the sky.
This park is nicely set out and quite old. The trees are mature and tall, most with a name plaque.
I love the gnarly root system on the ficus tree.

Walking back home I get another lovely view of Napier and Hawke's Bay.
 I think we could really start to like it here by the sea.

Jul 10, 2011

Interior at night.

 It is the middle of winter and it is dark around 5 o'clock in the evening.
But we keep the place cosy and warm, especially since we have had the floors and ceilings insulated. We got a little help from a government scheme for older houses. Don't understand why the former owners never had the rooms downstairs done . We had the walls against the hill side done as well. There was just 1 layer of gib board. Then a walking space and then the hill!
The rooms felt different straight away; so worth the money!

 Looking into the workroom/ dining room from the living room. It all looks a little beige, and it isn't just the lighting, it's the oatmeal coloured wallpaper and the hideous brown carpet. Those beige "neutral" curtains don't help, but one day...... One day I intend to have white and a light ocean/ aqua-green wall. We are pretty sure that the floor is matai hardwood underneath that 70's worn carpet. I would love  to see a bare wooden floor, the wood lightened or bleached. At least we now have new lamp shades, and it feels a bit more like us.

Taken from a different angle, my bookcase is up and chok-a-block. And I culled and culled.... It won't stop me from buying new books either!  Through that door is the kitchen.

 Photo taken from next to the dining table. The double folding door leads into the livingroom, where you can see the woodburner aglow with a cat in front of it. This warms up this whole level including the kitchen ( on the right) and our bedroom ( ahead, to the left) . As you can see, this is my workroom and I have created several stations for the different things I like to do; sewing and collage painting.

 And this is the kitchen. I hate the fake wood 1970's cupboards which reach all the way to the ceiling. Which I can't reach without standing on the 3d step of the kitchen steps.
I also hate the white plastic laminated wet-walls, it feels like a camping ground kitchen.
Horrid scuffed linoleum on the floor.
Horrid avocado green countertops, which is wearing off in many places.
And horrid little tiles which are a smudged brown, making them look as if they have mould growing on them.
Underneath that sticking-out bench is a wall of horrid dark brown bricks.
An ancient dishwasher( at least 20 years old I'm sure), which still goes. This is a novelty for us; we have always been the wash-by-hand-kind-of-family. But I could get used to this machine.

Ugh! Those little curtains are going to have to go! These coming holidays I will make something cute.
That door is our front and back door at the same time.
And I can see the sea from that window!!

Luckily the old horrid brown 1970's stove broke down: it actually shorted the wires on 1 of the elements, we could have had a fire! Then another element faulted on its thermostat.
We didn't trust it after that, especially not when it tried to electrocute my handy Man,  after he had unplugged it at the wall and taken the fuse out of the fusebox. Nasty! Out with it!
My clever brother managed to get us a near new one at auction and saved us lots of money!
And it looks so much better...

This kitchen has lots of horrid details. However they are all cosmetic and can be changed, with a bunch of money. The best thing about the kitchen is it's lovely big size, the sun streaming in through he windows, the views, the space and check out the size of my pantry!!
It is sheer bliss when I open the doors and can walk into it. I have had 2 low cupboard shelves for 15 years, in front of which I had to kneel on the floor and dig deep into the back to find ingredients. Something which my sore and creaky knees protested about.
The door on the left goes to the dining-room.
The door on the right goes to the little hall with the toilet, bathroom and stairs to the lower level.

This is the little hallway with dad and daughter-in-England on the phone together.
She is going to visit Paris this week, the lucky little thing!! sigh...
More horrid carpet and oatmeal coloured walls.
One day everything will be just as we want it. We've certainly lived in much worse!!