Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas makeover day

I woke up motivated today so have made the most of the fleeting mood and worked on the house for Christmas. A little Harry Connick and Michael Buble helped to inspire some Christmas spirit. I've done three trees now. I'm not sure if that's my limit this season... I love my snow tree so that might be the weekend project. If you are around, feel free to call in as I'm not opening to the public this year.

This is the progress:

 You can imagine how the introduction of the lolly jars had some small people very excited. I really should have held off a few more weeks but somehow even I couldn't resist...

And thanks to my friend Lowri and her awesome blog Papervine I finally did her paper covered lid project with Echo Park Seasons Greetings Plaid paper. Tim (9) said it looks just like Craigs Jam.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Home for Christmas

Yesterday I made myself proud as I became a truly independent woman with the purchase of an 18v cordless drill. The reason was to mount this gorgeous piece of furniture to the wall. I have coveted the Pottery Barn cubby organiser for months and when I saw it in Houston I knew how perfect it would be on the limited wall space left in my living room. Unfortunately my luggage, and strength for carrying it, was at capacity and I sadly left it in the store.

When I got home last week I looked it up again and the shipping was half price (thank you!). I ordered it on Thursday afternoon and on Monday morning it was here at my doorstep in Timaru, New Zealand!

I've put some decorations in it and it looks even more fabulous than I imagined it would :)

Milly in an awkward position sleeping while I decorated.

I just loved Pottery Barn. Here a few photos of their very styley store displays:

I bought several PB ornaments, cranberries for filling a hurricane lamp and this old fashioned sled which did come back in a suitcase ( a few shoes thrown out as sacrifice). The rat and the hare were New York purchases from the coolest toy store ever, Dinosaur Hill in East Village. It was a really old school store which sold kazoos, tin whistles, finger and hand puppets, unique games etc. The soft toys are handmade by a lady in the Netherlands. Just divine.

Ribbon was exceptionally cheap compared to NZ prices and I bought a number of rolls for Christmas decorating. Here I've put bows at the end of the garlands above the living room windows. I am a big advocate of using greenery in your decorating (does that excuse me for having nine full sized trees?) And ribbons can really add to the finished look. For more ideas, head back to my blogs from last Christmas and of course, keep checking my blog as I will be adding more updates over the next month.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 1 - 5 USA

We were on a fairly tight schedule from Day 3 for rehearsing our performance packages for long hours in the hotel ballroom. However on the second day, Thursday, we had free time as the third flight of members had yet to arrive.

Now anyone who knows me well will know
1. I'm a great researcher
2. I love to shop, especially if it involves a bargain and
3. If you need something organised, I'm your girl.
From home I'd already devised a plan - Houston Premier Outlets! Yes, it was thirty miles from downtown Houston and I had no idea how I would actually get there, but it sounded like the sort of plan I'd be happy to work those challenging issues through.

The biggest problem was soon sorted - a private shuttle with 10 seats to fill. We were off by 10am and we were so excited to see how many well known names of outlet stores there were - Calvin Klein, Coach, DKNY, Ed Hardy, Fossil, Ralph Lauren...145 stores. Heaven!

The following morning a group of us visited Houston Galleria, the fourth largest mall in the USA. You probably couldn't do the place justice in only a few hours it was so big. There was even an iceskating rink in the centre.

 I wondered why the Apple store was so busy - day of the iPhone 4 release. There were more staff than customers and it was crazy trying to buy something in the madness. It took about 10 minutes to get someone's attention! The purchase was done through an iPhone, both barcode and credit card readings.

What is this you might ask? It was in the middle of the store - alive and unidentifiable...

This guy's name is Shakespeare and he is a MAC artist with the most amazing 'tool' belt. Can you see my friend Deb in hysterics in the mirror as I take his photo?

Finally, every small boy's dream - a shop dedicated to LEGO. I collected a bucket of the blocks from the bubbles. I think I had as much fun doing that as the receiver of the present had back home :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

All around the USA

I've just come back from five weeks in the USA and now I'm finding it hard to keep my feet on the ground and my mind in the mundane routines of daily life. I travelled right around the circumference of the great country - plenty of amazing experiences and people - and time just flew right by.

I won't even attempt to try and put the last month in one post so I will write several.

The main reason for travelling to the States was to compete in the International Sweet Adelines Convention with Christchurch City Chorus. I was travelling with over 100 of my chorus members which in itself was an experience as we were a force to be reckoned with in our CHRISTCHURCH ROCKS tees en mass on the flight from Auckland.

First port of call (en route from LAX) was Houston, Texas. I think I would also call it "City of Plenty". Everything was so big, wow! First impressions were the vehicles - Dodges, Fords, Chevs...there were pickups all over and they were massive. The hotel room had two huge king sized beds in it...the meals...the buildings...and I have to say, there was plenty of evidence that the city is one of the highest ranked in the country for obesity.

We arrived at night and it was really hot - 32 degrees and humid. Because our body clocks were so out of whack we didn't feel ready for sleep so a group of us went for a late night walk to the supermarket. Don't you love visiting supermarkets from different countries? I couldn't get over the ice cream. It was beautifully presented in upright freezers, a whole aisle of flavours and brands.

Check out the novelty birthday cakes!