Posted on November 25, 2014 | 0 comments

Stitched and beaded to perfection Caroline Mitchell’s iconic hanging decorations are the easiest gift to post – small in size and lightweight they are just right for posting overseas and nationwide.  It’s easy to be charmed by the handmade decorations depicting birds and trees or iconic New Zealand designs - an ideal and appealing gift to send a little piece of home to family and friends overseas.

Designed with attention to detail and embellished with beads, sequins, silk or metallic threads Caroline Mitchell decorations are individually hand-stitched under fair trade conditions in India, having first been carefully designed by a New Zealand family-run business.

Every Christmas I delight in adding one new Caroline Mitchell hanging decoration to our tree – it’s a lovely way to assemble a special collection.

Start a tradition if you haven’t already – every year give a Christmas decoration to your children – when they leave home they’ll have a meaningful start to their own Christmas trees.  I love to give my daughters decorations and these are just right (it’s a good idea to keep a private list so you don’t double up down the years).

And while they are pleasing on your Christmas tree they are far too fabulous to limit to once a year. Why not hang from a door knob, place on a pin board, hang on a bottle or decanter or use to decorate a gift – let your imagination go wild!

Continue reading →


Posted on January 17, 2014 | 0 comments

Like me I’m sure you received some wonderful gifts for Christmas – one of my presents was a stunning book on colour that is far too beautiful to hide in a bookcase. Of course I could have it out doing coffee table duty but I’m rather charmed by the idea of an eclectic mix of items anchored together by a tray. Perfect for popping on a dining table, coffee table, sofa table or as I'm doing on an entry table.

These little ‘tableaus’ are easy to effect from any number of things you might own – books, frames, candles, assorted decorative pieces like keys, old fabric stamps, ceramic flowers, printers blocks, bottles etc – I’m sure you get the gist.

Here’s the basics and as mentioned it’s simple to ring the changes according to your tastes, what you have available or your whim on any one day.

1. Source a tray – it doesn’t have to be new, in fact old second hand or ‘weathered’ trays can add a bit of character. Mine is painted French grey lightly spattered with umber coloured paint and a little bit dinged creating an aged effect. 


2. I placed that gorgeous book to one side on an angle.

3. Liking the play with colour I unearthed a box that had contained cards and placed it on top of the book. The bold black and white floral design on the top of the box also appealed and clarified my next choice of accessory.

4. Not only did I like the relationship of the colour on the magnifying glass with the box lid I also appreciated the connection of the magnifying glass with the book.

5. Some height was needed and what could be better than fresh flowers in a vase to echo the flowers on the box.

6. The silvery mercury glass finish on the vase (see a previous blog to get this effect on plain glass) led me to choose a little tealight glass with the same finish for a bit of consistency. Lighting the tealight candle inside instantly brings the tableau to life.

7. I could have stopped there or changed the tealight glass for a bigger candle like the Ecoya ones we sell, but I thought it needed just one more thing and I concluded the random small silver metal ball was just right. Totally unconnected to any of the other items and more desirable for being so miscellaneous to the other items.

And there it is – simple and effective and it can be changed up whenever you desire.


Continue reading →


Posted on December 14, 2013 | 0 comments

Clever and inspiring ideas for wrapping Christmas gifts beautifully.

The lights on the tree are twinkling, the house is decorated with festive trappings to within an inch of its life, and the only thing missing to set the scene are presents under the tree.  There is a special charm attached to the giving, and an extra delight in the receiving, of a gift that has been thoughtfully wrapped.  It doesn't need to be expensive, it may just take a little time and effort but it is so worth it!

We appreciate the creativity and flair behind the fabulous Christmas gift wrapping ideas we found on Pinterest.  We feel inspired to take our gift wrapping to new heights - maybe you will be too.


from amazinginteriordesign.com



via Mrs Joseph Wood A Moment with Mom



from splashofsomething.com



from hearthandmade.co.uk



from hearthandmade.co.uk



from thewhitecompany.com



via Ann Kenyeres



from unnouveaugard-blog.blogspot.fr






from lilsugar.com



from houseno43.blogspot.de



from justimagine-ddoc.com



from the-white-bench-blogspot.com


from ellaclaireinspired.com

And there you have it - lots of inspiration so there's no excuses.  Go wrap something beautifully!









Continue reading →


Posted on December 06, 2013 | 2 comments

It’s time – the Christmas music is turned up loud (first choice is always Mantovani Christmas), I’ve lugged the decorations out of storage and today’s the day; the tree(s) are going up.  I just love Christmas and while I don’t have masses of outdoor decorations inside our house at Christmas time it looks like a Christmas ‘bomb’ has hit.  

I get a thrill each year unpacking decorations that I’ve collected carefully over the years - and I have some beautiful ones, including the gorgeous Caroline Mitchell ones that we sell, but the decorations I love the most are the ones family have made  –  I have salt dough angels and Santas that my sisters created years ago ( I carefully pack them away with lots of silica gel sachets every year).  


One of those sisters also made two rather voluptuous ladies in their Christmas fancies which make me smile every time I unpack them because they’re over the top poor taste. Cherished by me is a salt dough angel my nephew made a long time ago for his mother - she wouldn't put it on her tree so I gave it a home - every year it get a favoured spot on the tree.  Another treasure is a ‘singing’ angel made by one of my girls when she was little and a gold glittered cross made from bread tags, also made by one of our kids quite a while ago.  How cute (and old) is the little gold pine cone on its fraying bias hanger.

I have others decorations the kids have made when they were young and they’re super precious as are decorations made for them by important people in their life (the little felt mice for example) – all have become an part of the fabric that makes up Christmas for our family.

And we are always keen to make new memories.  Last year my youngest daughter and I found a recipe on Pinterest for ‘Porcelain Dough’.  Into the kitchen - we made the dough (not as plain sailing as made out in the recipe), cut out heart and star shapes, stamped names and decorative bits on them for all the family and baked them – they are kind of cool.


Just this year one of my creative sisters made me a decorative tree and because it’s so gorgeous and relatively easy to put together I’m going to tell you how she made it, though it is probably self evident from the photograph 
For my tree she used left over decking timber that was approximately 9 cm wide and 3 cm deep.  Following is what she did.

  • Cut 11 lengths of timber in graduating sizes.  The largest is 36 cm long, the next 3 cm shorter, the one following that 3 cm shorter again and so on until all 11 pieces are cut – the 11th piece measures 6cm wide.
  • Cut another scrap of wood for the trunk of the tree – the one on mine measures 13 cm long  x 5 cm high x 7 cm deep.
  • Nail the tree together using long galvanised nails in areas where the ascending layer will cover the nail heads.
  • Paint a wash of colour over  the wood with whatever colour you want for the overall look.  Mine is washed with white.  Others she made for my two other sisters are washed red and green respectively.  Let the paint dry.
  • Smudge and rub black on edges and wash a bit along the length of each piece of timber.  While the black paint is out paint a wash of black over the ‘trunk’ of the tree.  Let dry.
  • Using a packet of coordinating scrap-booking paper in your chosen colour cut out 11 strips of paper to paste along the front of each piece joining the paper if necessary.  Make the paper strips the same depth of each piece of wood but 1 cm shorter each end lengthwise.  Glue to wood using PVA  glue.
  • Find  a generous length of beautiful Christmas ribbon that has wired edges so you can shape it.
  • Tie around the tree making a double bow at the top and leaving long ends trailing.  Pull the bows into a nice shape and curls the ends.
  • And you’re done – place somewhere you can appreciate it and where it won’t damage anything if it topples because mine is heavy.

For some more creative inspiration from that clever sister she also embellishes letters like ‘Noel’ etc  - this one below ‘Xmas’ is on her mantlepiece.  So get out the paint and the glitter and the ribbon and start making some lovely Christmas pieces to charm you in the years to come.

Continue reading →


Posted on November 27, 2013 | 1 comment
Welcome – it’s here you’ll find weekly ramblings about things that interest us, and hopefully interest you!  Make a cup of tea or coffee and spend a few minutes with us. We look forward to your comments and shared ideas.   

There is a famous quote by William Morris, a renown 19th Century English textile designer.  It reads “Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”  It’s no secret I live by this rule – there is a lot of ‘stuff’ in our home that I believe to be beautiful and some of it I’m proud to say I’ve made myself (it might be nearer the truth to say ‘enhanced myself’).

Previously we lived in a large old villa built in 1901.  When we purchased it the house was in quite a state of disrepair with sacking internal walls, an ancient lethal electric oven that ended up in a museum (we discovered it was live and life-threatening) and there was original lead paint everywhere.  We found a crusty old name plate for the house lying in the overgrown garden and I set to removing the lead paint coating (with all due care).  Further sanding exposed a lovely piece of native timber.
I knew just what I wanted to do with it.  I went on a hunt for some printers’ blocks and found most of the letters I needed to make the word WELCOME.  I applied poetic license using an upside-down W for the M.  After gluing the letters onto the nameplate I waxed and  polished them and now the finished product hangs just inside our front door, above the key box, ready to greet anyone who comes to visit.
Last year I discovered Pinterest and embraced it wholeheartedly.  I adore Mercury Glass and fortuitously on Pinterest there are links to tutorials showing how to achieve the effect.  Mirror glass spray is elusive in New Zealand – undeterred I experimented with silver spray (White Knight metal tones Super Chrome sourced from Bunnings).  With enthusiastic help from a daughter home on holiday we sprayed and dabbed until we loved what we saw – no glass item was safe from our administrations.
My favourites were some old frosted glass shades that transformed from pearly ugliness into soft gossamer silvered delights – even more gorgeous lit up at night when the mottled effect shows up beautifully.  And I transformed a gold glass vase destined for the op shop into silvered loveliness – I especially like how it looks viewed from above.

Briefly here’s what we did:

  1.  Put on tight fitting throwaway gloves.

  2. Take a clean glass object and spray it lightly with water.  We did this on the outside of the object in most cases.

  3. Almost immediately spray it using the silver paint, following instructions on how to use the paint from on the can (we did it in the garage with the doors open for good ventilation).

  4. Leave about 30 seconds depending on how hot the day is and then dab at the bubbles made by the water spray with a paper towel until you obtain the look you want.

  5. Leave to dry and voila, you’ve transformed ordinary glass into something a bit more special.

Check out our Mercury Glass Board on Pinterest to find more Mercury Glass instructions.  And let us know what you’ve made that you love - you can post a comment or send us a pin maybe.


Continue reading →

Scroll to top