Tiny house

My friends Nicole and Joel are currently converting an old potter’s studio, unused for 20 years. It’s in a giant lush backyard, with stonewalls, daffodils and ancient trees. It’s like a secret garden! Visiting it made me want a little nook of my own… I currently live in the city, in a big old creaking villa filled with lovely people but sometimes I dream of escaping the hustle. Wanting my own patch of land in the country, with simply a little tiny house in which to sleep, write and read. This resulted in me day dreaming around the Internet collecting images of tiny bliss.

This is a summerhouse at the end of a very long garden, similar to what I imagine my friends one will eventually look like.

This minimal ply space is by Dorte Mandrup. Built in bookcases and a fold down bed make it just right for penning your magnum opus.

The Scandinavians have it right with 21st century huts in breathtaking locations. Hang out all summer long drinking vodka overlooking a Norwegian fjord? Yes please!

This pad is functional, aesthetically pleasing and easy to make yourself. The plans are available from Ready Made, so if you’ve got the space, the time and a nearby hardware store you can do it! Most of the time you don’t need permission to build a structure so small. I don’t have the inclination to build myself something but I am lucky to have a wee shed that I am planning on turning into a silk-screening studio. If you need more inspiration check out this wonderful site materialicious, which only focuses on these tiny amazing abodes!

CFS Loves 01

These links show where my head has been at the last little while, namely dreaming of summer. Anticipation is high!

  • The Rodarte fairytale. The NYTimes has a slideshow of whimsical images from one of my favourite (fantasy) labels.
  • Pretty-pretty Sea foam wool on Etsy, along with this beautiful frothy ceramic vase. I love searching by colour! On the note of colour, Colourjack is my new favourite tool for creating summer palettes.
  • Francesca Woodman. Young, tragic, talented… I haven’t revisited Woodman’s photos for several years but her work still feels like gossamer spun with light to me; even though I am no longer a morbid 15 year old.
  • The Beach by the Baby Giant, a folksy psychedelic band from Auckland. I like the video… okay well I made the video – that’s my foot! But it fits with this dreamy summer feeling I’m trying to conjure in this wee list of links.
  • Fashion For Writers. Meggy lives in a completely different universe from me but I love the way she plays with colour… along with her words and food photographs! One good thing about reading blogs  from another continent is that you are always readily inspired for the forthcoming season.


Cameras I Have Known & Loved

“No place is boring, if you’ve had a good night’s sleep and have a pocket full of unexposed film”

Robert Adams, Darkroom & Creative Camera Techniques, May 1995

How true is this? Two of my favourite things in life (gosh, I have so many favourites though!) are photography and travel. Combined they bring some of the greatest delight known to man & lady kinds. In aid of more interestingness and an insatiable desire to document, I have finally ponied up the cash for a DSLR. Also, I have a ticket booked for China early next year and I imagine it will be a visually wild trip!

Tomorrow I will welcome to the family a snazzy wee Canon 400D. While it is a relatively old/amateur sized model, my research has shown that investment in good glass (look at me dropping the lingo) will see me through.

I have always loved photography, to the extent my code for online activity has been ‘teststrip’ for several years. So, while I wait, oh so eagerly, for the courier to show up with my new toy, here’s a look at cameras I have known and loved (often to pieces):

ACTION SAMPLER: I got my grubby little mitts on an action sampler by winning it! Yes, Lomosent me one, hurrah. It must have been circa 1999 or so because I remember taking it on grand adventures with my friend Katy (who has been back in the States for many a moon now). Arty compositions were achieved by clicking the button for a 1 second capture and throwing the camera in the air. Repeatedly. Sadly I have none of these scanned but they were relatively fun. The Action Sampler, like all good plastic cameras, leaked light like a mofo.

THE SEAGULL: Also sold by Lomo, but I am unsure as to where I acquired mine. The Seagull is a twin lens reflex, medium format camera and viewing occurs from the top down. While lacking in the focus department, it takes beautiful, luminous images.

CANON AE-1: Admittedly, I bought this camera as it was voted to have one of the sexiest levers or buttons in the world! It is true though – it is a great lever to wind back and forth, and the whole camera is pleasing in appearance. Using it makes me feel like a war photojournalist. It was actually bought for my first overseas trip by myself, to Thailand, which adds to the ‘girl, alone with camera’ feeling I get. It’s good to have a film camera that you know well and can trust to not die from battery failure or other technological maladies.

Rock steady

As seen above (that’s my foot!), I am also partial to the plain old disposable camera. Making cheap, organic results that will surprise you. Right now my flat mate is traveling around Europe with a disposable camera, with the aim of taking a photograph every day at 12pm, no matter where she may be in the world! You should also check out check out Sarah/seventhirty’s 2008 photo project – she takes two photos a day, for a year. I really love how disposable cameras make thematic shooting easy.

While I’m not the best photographer, as you can see, my cameras are quite dear to me. Whether for aesthetics or function they’re all really cool (and there’s 10 or so more still sitting unseen on my shelf). What about you, what are your favourite cameras? Your favoured formats? Are you a once in a year snapper, or do you take daily flicks?

Fleet Foxes

Ah, Fleet Foxes. I have been cranking this self-titled album all weekend. My picks of the bunch are the ‘Tiger Mountain Peasant Song’ and the beautiful ‘White Winter Hymnal’, which haunts my brain for hours at a time. I have to completely agree with the random commenter on YouTube that stated “If you don’t like Fleet Foxes, you don’t like music”. Hear, hear. I suggest you go buy it now!

Also, on the note of foxes (and the wonderful aesthetics of them), here’s a few of my favourite takes on the icon:

A handmade leather mask from Merimask at Etsy, perfect for wearing with frothy frocks at a dress up party, twirling to Fleet Foxes. And a sly wee necklace from Rare Device, available in rose gold or silver. Wear either of these and one will look very fetching!

Mine The Depths | 10 Heartening Winter Ideas

Winter light, originally uploaded by Amber P*.
Winter usually is a sign of colds, miserable long nights and darkness. Often with a matching dark mood because you’re all snuffly and bedridden (or wishing you were!). Partly to make myself feel better about the colder months and partly to inspire you, I’ve made a list of 10 tips to making winter better.
  1. Make a big batch of comfort food! The more carbohydrates the better I think. One very successful recipe I’ve made is: orzo pasta + roasted vegetables (red onion, carrot, kumara, potatoes, garlic etc. – all chopped up into small pieces) + crumbled feta. Yum! It works well served both warm and cold, so make a bit of it and save it for the next day when you can’t be bothered cooking! Or invite a friend over for a wee dinner party. Wine, hearty food and friends – it’s a wonderful combination that has popular since we all lived in caves.
  2. Wrap up with a big stylish scarf. Here’s a few of my top picks for the girls. For the boys, may I suggest this killer yellow men’s scarf by Paul Smith.
  3. Hold a movie night! Some of my recent favourites have been the Indiana Jones series (which leads in well to an expedition out of the house to see the next installment. Another idea is a themed marathon – my flatmate and I are looking to do a young Tom Cruise evening soon (Risky Business, Top Gun, Cocktail) and a NYC overload (movies that star the beautiful city as a main character).
  4. Add to the movie night with a big bowl of popcorn. My favourite topping (ooh not healthy at all) is 2 tablespoons of butter, a cup of icing sugar and enough boiling water to mix it all together. Slather your popcorn with the entire mixture, until it is drippingly delicious.
  5. Pull on your shoes and go for a body heating power walk around your neighbourhood! All you need is shoes and some sort of head covering. I only just realised why my ears get sore every time I go for a walk – it’s that whistling wind, so cover them up. For bonus points, measure your distances on Google maps.
  6. Set some goals… things that make you want to get up in the cold mornings! My goals include taking wardrobe_remix pictures, which means I have to get up with enough time to consider outfits and take a photo. Another goal is around increasing my writing productivity, so every morning I leap out of bed and savour my writing time before work (hello Code for Something)!
  7. Go skiing! Whether outside carving it up or indulging in my favourite bit, après-ski, a bit of snow business never fails to make me happy.
  8. Make the most of the gorgeous light winter gives us – go photo mad. The shot above was taken in my candy coloured bedroom on a Sunday afternoon. Experiment with Lomos, digital camera, different lenses, new formats, expired film, Vaseline or stockings over your camera! A photo a day or a photo every hour for a day? Colour or shape themed photo missions?
  9. Go see a band on a cheap night. Tuesdays are good nights to go out… quieter, earlier in the evening, usually no cover charge, beer specials and it will make you feel better to get out of the house.
  10. Most importantly, keep up your health! I’m taking flax seed oil, 5-htp supplements (it aids my sleep as well), drinking more than 8 glasses of water a day and trying to exercise more! Don’t let the winter take you out… keep up the vitamin C and try some sort of olive leaf extract if your immune system is weaker than usual.

Yep…winter can be fantastic! It takes a little bit more effort to make the most of, but it’s a season definitely worth trying to exploit. Now only if I can listen to most of my own advice…