A great travel tip

July 31, 2014

I realised yesterday morning that I had a great travel trip I hadn’t shared, which is this…

When you travel buy a perfume that you’ve never worn before. When you come home every time you wear your perfume it will remind you of your trip. In Japan I bought a bottle of Guerlain Vetiver from a huge department store in Osaka. I tried it on and wandered around the store to give it some time to settle in before deciding it was right for me.

Now every morning when it’s cold and dark and I smell like Vetiver I return to Japan.

Just like Brownies, but better

June 19, 2014

A friend recently called me from a vintage sale to say she’d found some blankets and did I want her to buy them. This isn’t unusual – yesterday one of the librarians at work did the same.

The first blankets included a grey one with a handful of Brownie badges on them, which was instant nostalgia of the highest order.

The brooch below is kind of like a Brownie badge but you need no special skills to earn it.

The Friends of the Dowse (which I recently joined) have commissioned artist Lynn Kelly to create a limited run of 100 brooches that are only for sale to friends.

You can see a larger version of the brooch and read details here. It’s $100 for the brooch and if you’re not already a Friend then an extra $30 to join. I love that you can only buy this by being in the club – I kind of feel I might be one more step closer to Freemasonary without the hassle of finding an apron.

Join the Friends of The Dowse.

Read more about artist Lynn Kelly.


Wellington’s newest destination boutique

May 8, 2014

One of the things I most loved about Tokyo was finding tiny independent stores in out of the way places. Now Wellington has another such place in Indie Design.

If you’ve ever been to a craft market with owner Nini Mulyani you’ll know how popular her jewellery range is by the three-deep crowd that’s usually around her stall.

That craftsmanship and eye for olde-world aesthetic has been brought over into her store too with a huge range of one-off pieces arranged on wooden furniture, vintage suitcases and other great pieces.


Magpies like me will be instantly drawn to Nini’s printers drawers filled with glass and ceramic beads and metal findings – both vintage and new.

You can rummage the drawers then have Nini create a bespoke piece for you. Nini’s jewellery is all handmade and wired and soldered, which means no cheap, tacky glue.



She seems to be open a lot but the best idea would be to follow her Facebook page to keep up to date with her hours.

Oh, and she stocks a small range of Emma Makes notebooks and pencils too (hooray!)


The gift wrapping is right on theme too. (I appropriated this image from the Indie Design Facebook page).

Getting there
Indie Design is in the Lychgate Centre, 100 Riddiford Street, Newtown.
>>Follow their Facebook page for opening hours and beautiful images.

On learning French

March 20, 2014

This week I’ve downloaded the free app Duolingo and have started learning French. Tom is learning French and Spanish.

The app is cute – it uses gamification (in a not dorky way) to spur you on and asks you to translate, write, listen and speak from the get-go. It’s hard but worthwhile and much better than the humiliation of not knowing your French verbs the day the sadistic reliever teacher took our class.

So far I have learnt:

* I am great at working out the sentence if there’s a choice of words to put in the correct order, and

* I have NO idea what French people are saying most of the time even if I listen to the track five times in a row.

Still, this week I saw someone’s five year old’s writing and it was rubbish, which reminded me that learning takes time and it’s OK to be completely useless at the start.

Au revoir!

P.S. I wanted to learn Japanese but it wasn’t an option.

A handy tip for Converse sneakers

January 7, 2014

I really love Converse sneakers but find that sometimes their soles are just too flat for me so after a while my feet start to hurt.

Recently someone at work told me that she gets an old pair of walking or running shoes (big white sneaker styles), takes out the fitted insole and puts it into her Converse.

Genius idea. I did just that this morning and can report that my shoes now have the comfort of big ugly sneakers with the good looks of Converse.

Great holiday reading ideas

December 18, 2013

A pile of good books for holiday reading is a must for me. During the year when I’m not at work (at my ‘real job’) I’m working on Emma Makes so I don’t have a lot of time to relax.

Christmas holidays are when I really do nothing – I lay about, read a lot of books and nap.

One book I’d recommend adding to your reading list is The Last Days of the National Costume by Anne Kennedy. I’ve only just begun reading this but it’s so great – the main character’s voice is really strong and it’s witty and smart and greatly interesting if you’re a sewer. Here’s a review by the NZ Herald.

When I was at Art School I read Kennedy’s A Boy and his Uncle and it’s stayed with me as a great read. Here’s a few more recommendations of books I’ve actually read this year and rated four or five stars.

Making our new illustration wall

December 3, 2013

While Tom was away one of the things I most wanted to do was create our illustration wall. I’ve been saving up prints (reproductions) for a while – some were from birthdays, some were bought at craft fairs – and I wanted to hang them all together in white frames.

I bought the frames online at Factory Frames and got great service – the frames are tight and well made and they arrived quickly and were packaged between wood, which meant they arrived in excellent condition.


My original plan was all white frames but the day I put the wall together I went to Typo and saw that deer head with gold glitter antlers and really thought it should be on the wall. And then once I got home I thought the Frida Kahlo pictures Mum brought back from Mexico and my op-shopped paint by numbers ship should be there too.


In an amazing feat I actually planned out the wall first on the floor, which was a great idea because I had to move things around a good few times before I could get it looking right. And then in a second amazing occurrence I used a spirit level and followed the instructions on the 3M picture framing hooks.

Usually at our house Tom does the planning and I bolt right in. As you can see, this was new territory.


About two frames in I was sick of it – up and down on the bench, measuring, sticking, levelling… but I’m glad I was patient and took my time and did things properly because now I think the wall looks great. And heaps cooler than what was there before – but of course I didn’t take a before photo because I just bolted right in.


Sources for these illustrations:

Lisa Congdon on Etsy

Sweet William on Etsy

Oyprints on Felt

Petite_kiwi on Felt