February 26, 2011

A bad week for my little corner of the world

On September 4th, 2010, Canterbury,South Island, New Zealand was hit by a massive earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter Scale.  Many people were left homeless as a result, but we were all hugely lucky that no lives were lost, largely due to the time it struck - 4.35am.

For the 5 months since, we have endured several thousand aftershocks, each an earthquake in their own right.  Alot of these have been large enough to cause further damage to properties all over the region, particularly the one that hit on Boxing Day 2010.

We have comforted our children, many of whom have had all sorts of troubles stemming from the earthquake (mine included) by assuring them that we had got through it and an earthquake like that was something that only happens every few hundred years, and we had had our turn...it would never happen again.

Except life isn't fair sometimes, and this week, it did happen again.

On Tuesday 22nd February 2011, at lunchtime, Christchurch and Canterbury got hit by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake that absolutely and totally devastated our city centre.

I immediately thought about the amount of times we counted ourselves lucky that the September one hit when we were all safely in our beds, and how this one was going to show us how unlucky we could be when it hit at a busy lunchtime, when families were spread about the city going about their day...kids at school...parents at work...at appointments...driving somewhere...shopping...having lunch...

I felt sick.

I was at home with my son and we were fine, albeit totally shocked at the speed and violence of this one.  My husband ran to school and checked on our daughter and she was fine too...not even upset by the quake which amazed me, given how affected she was by the Sept one.  She even wanted to stay at school for the rest of the day, so as much as I desperately wanted my family all close, I let her stay at school, not wanting to overdramatise the situation for her.

The news started filtering through pretty quickly, thanks (?) to this digital age we live in.  It wasn't long before we got an idea of how bad it was.  (Whilst the magnitude was much lower, the epicentre was closer to Christchurch, and shallower).

Buildings collapsed.  The Cathedral collapsed.  Shops collasped.  
Many, many more houses became uninhabitable.

The hotel my husband and I had planned to spend the night at tonight, while the kids had a night with the grandparents, has been condemned and is in danger of falling over.  
A week ago I was looking forward to getting rid of my kids for a rare break from them.  Now I cannot let them out of my sight.

More houses were destroyed.  Cars sunk into massive holes in the road that came out of nowhere.

Worst of all, people died. 
Lots of them, so many that on Day 5, we still don't know the final toll.  
It is in the hundreds already :(

There are an amazing bunch of men and women from all over New Zealand and around the world working tirelessly to rescue and recover people caught up in this nightmare.  It is humbling to see how much the whole world cares about this tiny little country of ours that has made big news this week.

We ordinary people are told to stay home, so that is what we have done, but it is hard not to feel useless and wish you could do something, anything to help.

Top of my list would be a magic wand, to make it all go away.
What we did do today, was welcome some young ladies into our home for a shower and to do some washing.  No hassle to me at all, their company was lovely.  To them, a shower when they have no electricity or water at their house made a big difference. 

The other thing we did was buy some razors and the kids gave some toys and games away to a local centre set up for people whose homes have been damaged.  
(The razors might seem random but that is what they needed - we asked first).  
There were some tears from my kids at giving away some of their stuff, but they dried up quickly...alot quicker than the tears of kids who no longer have homes...
Or the kids who are now missing a parent :(

Sorry this post is very wordy and lacking in pretty pictures.

I love blogs for the pretty pictures, and the escape they give from 'real' life, but behind each blog with the pretty pictures, there is a real person with a real life, and this week, life for Cantabrians wasn't pretty.

It will be again.  It has to be.

xx Karen

February 18, 2011

Repeat Business

...is a fantastic thing!  

It means my customers love what they have purchased off me, and they want more :)

A few months back, I did this duchess

which started out like this...

This was one of those pieces that seemed to take so long that I was sick of the sight of it in the end, although I was thrilled with how it turned out, it really was very pretty.  I listed it on Trademe and it sold very quickly, to a lady named Gen.

Gen loved it, and said she was keen to have a matching bedside cabinet and stool if I could look for these for her.  It took a while but just before Christmas I had some items I thought may have been of interest to her - 

Thankfully Gen had some vision and said the pieces were just what she was looking for, so I spent last week turning them into these...
The stool top is still to be upholstered.

The duchess was the first (and only) piece that I have finished just like this so it was fun (and a little nerve-wracking!) to do another two pieces that needed to match it.  I haven't seen the three pieces all together but I think I did a pretty good job...
Bedside Cabinet

Bedside Cabinet
Obviously I used the same products for all the pieces but the heaviness of the glaze and the amount of distressing had to be similar to achieve a 'matching' look.  Not that they want to match completely, they are meant to be distressed and 'time-worn' after all!

Other projects I am almost finished working on are also repeat business...the 6th and 7th pieces of Restyled Vintage furniture this family will have in their home!

There is no better compliment than that, really.

xx Karen

February 15, 2011

Update - my first market stall

Further to my last post, I thought I had better update you on how my first stall went...

It was fantastic, and I had a ball!

I was worried about how it would all look and how it would be received, and I had the odd 'OMG what am I doing, what have I got myself into' moment over the days leading up to it, but I knew I just had to get out there and do it...I am staring down the barrel of a BIG birthday later this year which I am not so thrilled about,  but as I get older I am finding the confidence to do things I would never have done 5 or 10 years ago, even 2 years ago, and for that I am very pleased :)  I guess it takes a while for some of us to figure out if you don't do it now, you may never get to do it.

I jumped way outside of my comfort zone and I lived to tell the tale, a little bit wiser to boot. I am very happy with that :)
Anyway, here are some photos of the day...
Me and my helper girl...she was very excited that Mummy and her were running a 'shop'!
The kids loved it, but to be fair they loved the face painting, the donkey rides, the lucky dips and the bouncy castle the best ;)

I sold 4 items - the 'Paris' cushion, which I absolutely loved and plan on making more very soon; the small round white side table; the little grey twig basket and a mirror.

I got one confirmed upholstery job and numerous other enquiries which I will follow up on over the next couple of weeks.  

I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to doing it again in a few weeks.  Next time I won't be nervous, just very very excited!

xx Karen

February 10, 2011

Well, here goes...

Things have been a bit quiet round here lately on the 'Items for Sale' front, and now I am ready to share the reason why...
chalkboard image from here
text added by me :)
I am really excited and a bit nervous all at the same time, as I have never done anything like this before!

Fingers crossed for fine (and not too windy or hot!) weather, but whatever the day brings, we will be there as the fair is on wet or fine.

I will have a good selection of upcycled and handmade treasures for sale, but first and foremost I am treating it as an opportunity to advertise what I do, to my local community.  If you are local and a follower of my blog, and feel like a Sunday drive, come on up and say Gidday!

xx Karen

February 5, 2011

Union Jack-inspired Glory Box

A couple of weeks ago, I saw Miss Mustard Seed's Union Jack Dresser and loved it, and knew I had to have a go at my own Union Jack project.  And I had just the victim...
Except it hasn't looked like that for about 9 months or so, since I had upcycled it already, into this...
I thought it turned out ok, but it turns out no-one else did - it never sold, despite me almost giving it away!  I have to admit though, it was cuter before I did the wax job on it - the paint really soaked up the wax** the instant they met and for the life of me I couldn't get it to blend it any better.  So it sat and it sat.  The thing was, I knew if I redid it, I'd have to sand all that wax off...not fun.
**(edited to add, after that disaster, I learnt to use clear wax first!)

But Miss Mustard Seed and her Union Jack dresser got me inspired, so yesterday I sanded and sanded and sanded, then primed it with Zinsser BIN which would stick to the surface even if some wax residue remained.

Today I got to work, painting it with two coats of a blue that I already had on hand.  Once that was barely dry I pinched my son's white coloured pencil and a ruler...
I found the centre along the width and length of the top, and made myself a cross shape, then did the diagonals and went from there.
Here is my little mate putting the finishing touches on her Princess Mirror project.  You can see in the background that the top of the glory box is now painted.  The camera battery went flat on me for the main painting part!
So, here it is.  Yes, it is wonky, lol.  The smaller stripes on the top left and bottom right are correct (ish!) but the other two don't have the right end part on them near the centre of the flag...despite all my great looking pencil lines, I couldn't get them to fit right with the correct angle on the end.  That is why I called it a Union Jack-inspired Glory Box and not a Union Jack Glory Box.  So there.  LOL.
Here it is after I distressed it, once again when the paint was barely dry.  I was impatient today :)
I knew that the grey I had originally painted this would work in my favour my nicely peeping through and complimenting the red white and blue of the 'flag'.
Here it is, all finished, with some glaze to add some grunge to it, and then finished with an all over application of neutral wax which has given it a beautiful sheen.
I left the inside of the box grey from when I painted it the first time.
I love how the hinges turned out...super grungy!  (That must be my new favourite word today)
I wonder if anyone will like it enough to buy it this time?

Showing it off at Miss Mustard Seed's party
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