likes, loves and lusts

ring ring!

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Blackberry, iPhone, HTC, Android - the battle of the smartphones is on! But what if you're not interested in mailing your clients in Japan while you're lying on the beach? Or creating a map that will lead you back to where you parked your car? Or letting the world know what you're doing, minute-by-minute in 140 characters?

What if you just want a phone? That takes calls and makes calls. And that's IT! Then John Doe Amsterdam's phone is just for you! A risky bet in the age of smartphones to be sure, it has no camera, no fancy ringtones, no GPS. What it does have, though, is pen and paper built in for you take manually write down someone's number. Yes, pen and paper.

For anyone who's ever felt the itches of technophobia setting in, this one's for you...

Written for Don't Look Down's Hit Refresh blog.

cute overload

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The Captains of Cute, Tado, who are widely known for their characters and designs dripping in cute with their big bright eyes have now done a collab with UK brand Gola. There are gorgeous shoes for men and women, a clothing range and bags that are screaming to be turned in to a collection. Think my wardrobe is in trouble...

pedal power!

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This one's for all the cyclists out there - or for those who know cyclists. I never dreamed I'd be amongst that group, but there you have it. My hubby is a cyclist, and apparently I'm a cycling widow :)

Apple has once again filed one of those patents that get everyone all excited and hot under the collar with expectation. We've seen music in your pants, music in your shoes, now they're bringing music to your bike! And so, so much more.

The Apple smart bike promises to integrate not only your bike and your tunes - but all the metrics riders are so keen on measuring on each ride - how far did I go, how high did I climb, what was my heart rate? All the things that right now they measure with crappy little Garmin devices.

There's even a patent mention of, ahem, a holographic or 3D display. Curious. But then Apple always are.


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A popular design blog, NOTCOT, recently put together an inspired competition for New York Design week - the first time I've seen twitter used so well, while staying in touch with the brand/ethos running the project. Welcome to #OBJECTHUNT.

Using silhouettes of recognisable objects in design (think the Aarnio puppy, Gehry's wiggle chair, Swiss army knife) NOTCOT created stickers which they posted around New York City for the week that New York Design Week was running. The idea was to track down the stickers and tweet an image of it along with the hashtag #OBJECTHUNT - every new object you tweeted was an entry in to the competition for some great prizes - weekends away, hotel stays and one of the design objects featured.

What's really incredible about this competition is that they've managed to tie a social platform in to real life in a creative way. It'll stick in people's minds, and they'll associate the brands involved with cool, fun and edgy. The key is to reinvent a platform everyone thinks they know so well.

Check out the #OBJECTHUNT stickers in the wild...

Written for Don't Look Down and Hit Refresh.

family tree

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Over the last couple of years, I've become very curious about my family history, as told through photographs. My maternal grandparents emigrated to South Africa just after World War II, there being nothing left for them in Europe, with my uncle - still quite young - in tow on the three-month-long boat journey.

Along with grainy, faded images of their life in Europe before they came across, I've also found fascinating images of South Africa in the 1940s - Durban harbour, the airport before security became an issue, a public swimming pool, a worker gang in town central. They're a slice of history that I'm not finding in some history book, but within my family's own collective. I love it.

Gathering what I could from my uncles and mom, I've begun the long process of scanning all the photographs. My first mission is simply to preserve the images, some of them badly faded and crumbling. Next I'm hoping to find a simple and effective way to upload them so that my family around the world can also see them, help identify them, and hopefully share some of their own.

They started off in a Wordpress blog, but that really doesn't serve my purposes for photographs very well. I've now moved them on to Flickr, as it's a two-click process from within iPhoto to get them there, but this still isn't quite right.
Hopefully I'll stumble on something soon, but until then you'll see regular updates on the right of this blog as I slowly complete mission one - preserve a piece of my history -->

sleep mobility

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taken from Hit Refresh blog:

"Ok, this has nothing to do with technology, tv or new media but sometimes a guy just wants to have some fun and what better way than hitting the great outdoors in a suit you can run around and sleep in! I personally hate sleeping bags – they’re restrictive and uncomfortable and once you’re finally snug and in, turning around feels like you’re in a cotton coffin. The fact that you can get into this padded bodysuit without having to tuck in, means a lot more time for tequila around the fire – heck, you can even pass out on the spot…

And yes Ulindi, they come in different colours."

written by Robin

rock on

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Save electricity! Make your own!

Sometimes easier said than done, but Rochus Jacob’s Murakami Chair helps you do just that. As well as being a comfortable, rocking, reading chair, the chair generates its own energy from the reader’s rocking, lighting its own reading light. So simple. So obvious. So ingenious.

Says Jacob:”I was looking for opportunities to generate energy through activities we naturally do. The final result is a rocking chair that enables the user to experience production and consumption of electricity in a gentle and rewarding way.”

Rock on!

one small step for design...

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So on Saturday, Simon tweeted that he'd come across some pretty obvious design rip-offs in a well-known SA store. Not on the side of the street or in a dodgy flea market, but in YDE of all places. Young Designers Emporium. 

"Out shopping & came acros this BLATANT RIPOFF of the @ brand @ YDE Canal Walk! pic#1 pic#2"

Those of us who follow and enjoy Simone Legno's work (Tokidoki) were pissed off and seriously disappointed that a large store who claim to be centred on original design would carry something like that. A tweeting crusade ensued. Well, I say crusade, but mostly Simon tweeted @YDEtweets and @Tokidoki a lot, and we re-tweeted everything he posted. The more eyeballs the better.
Today, he got his response... 

“@YDEtweets: @ @ After further discussions, the designer has made a decision to recall the bags.”
How fabulous is that? It shows the power of twitter and the power of our opinions. If three of us had walked in to a YDE store and complained about the bag to a store manager, I doubt much would have happened. But using a tool like twitter that has the potential to spread far and wide puts the brand in your hands. You now have a say in a brand's PR.

[as an aside, let's protect our designers and their hard work! tweet fakes whenever you find them!]

grow, garden, grow!

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After our failed attempt at a veggie patch, and the garden not surviving as beautifully as we'd hoped after our wedding, we decided to get someone in to help. We have a beautifully spaced garden, but a tricky one with complicated soil thanks to the biggest tree in the neighbourhood standing in the corner leaking alkaline onto everyone around him. But he's gorgeous, so you work around him.

Anamaria arrived, took one look around and told us our garden didn't suit us, and it was too old fashioned for a young couple. All in broken Spanish. She's great :)
It's been a lot of fun watching it all go out, then all go in, and seeing things through someone else's eyes - someone who can explain to you what's really going on. 

My favourite piece so far, and the section I was weeding this weekend, is the cactus garden (though if Anamaria heard me calling her succulents cacti...). There are loads of pics to come from this project, but here's the start...

dunny doppelganger

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My new dunny arrived in the mail this weekend - woo-hoo! And it's quite a curious one. It's from David Horvath's 2 Faced dunny series, which does two things I've not seen before - a) the artist has included himself and partner (Sun-Min Kim) in the series as dunnies, and b) there's a story to the series. This is David as he sees himself dunniefied:

@samthepenguin (a fellow dunny collector) has his very own custom dunny of himself, created by @lunarseablythe and it's too cute! Would love to see a series where the designers put themselves in to dunny form.

my top ipad apps

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I figured it was only fitting to draft my post about my favourite iPad apps from within a blogging app. First time using it, so this should be interesting.

The iTunes store is filled with thousands of apps for iPhone and iPad, some extraordinary, some useful, some entertaining and some downright useless. It can be quite time consuming browsing through this vast library and I think people mostly rely on the "featured" pages to guided them on what's worthwhile. But a little peer suggestion also goes a long way, so this is my list of my current favourite/must have apps on the iPad for those of you out there lucky enough to be playing with one:

Blogshelf: follow your favorite blogs in a neat, bookshelf styled rss feed with images. It is $5 but I've found it well worth it. $5
iBook: this is an obvious one, and to me as given as the iPod app is on an iPod. Kindle competitor allowing you to read digital books from the iBooks store, much like iTunes. Slick, organized, user friendly, and people I've asked have said much better than Kindle app. Only waiting for the store to be stocked up now. Free
Converter: simple, well designed units converter, including currency. $1
Jumbo Calculator: free calculator based on the apple calculator on iPhones and dashboards. Free
Marvel/DC Comics: reading comics on the iPad is awe inspiring. Suffers from the same issue as iBooks (not enough material has been digitally converted yet), but an iPad without a comic book reader is nekkid I tell you. Free, with in-app comic purchases, $2 an issue
xkcd: everyone needs a good daily giggle. Free
Google analytics: keep track of your blog and site stats. Free
All subway HD: I have an unusual love of subway systems and riding trains. I love this one - every subway map in the world,  from Adelaide to Zurich. $1
eBay: with my recent vinyl toy hunting, this has served to heighten my addiction - beautiful layout of your watched items, clean easy communication with your sellers and lovely browsable search. Still missing some key features (saved sellers, saved searches), but there's little I go to for now. Free
Flipboard: presents your personal Twitter and Facebook accounts in a magazine layout - like reading a mag of your favourite people - beautiful, if a little unreliable at this stage. Free
Twitter: the free, official app for twitter - best app I've used for managing multiple accounts. Free

So what are your favourite apps?

(While I used Blogpress to write the bulk of this post, I did find it a bit cumbersome. Look forward to the day Google/Blogger develop an actual blogger app. Better suggestions welcome.)

scavenger hunt

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Since I discovered Kathie Olivas in Paris (yay for Artoyz!) I've been determined to find more of her figures. But they've been quite a rare species, bordering on extinct, with all online stores sold out of everything she's ever made.
In my recent eBay obsession though (which I'll elaborate on another time), I've managed to pick up some gems! (and at excellent prices, for those who suffer from shopping locally too)
These are the two latest additions to my collection: a rare (200 pieces worldwide) pink Masao (i like pink!) and Daisey from series 2.  

I'm also waiting on a limited edition blue Beaumont, and an orange Cosmic Penny.  *excited*

optimash prime

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Yes, that is my new Transformer's Potato Head, otherwise known as OPTIMASH PRIME! dun-dun-dun

All the other hubbies on the cycling trip brought back chocolates and floral tops for their wives. I love mine much better ^_^

funny facebook

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I got this from nadja, and it really made me giggle...

From Cool Material.


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kitty will sleep anywhere new and vaguely comfortable

even some places that aren't that comfortable

and some places that are downright strange

poor little fishy

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Years ago I read a factoid that said every time you flush the loo, you're using 22 litres of water. 22 litres. Exactly. The number stuck with me, and I'm very aware every time I use the bathroom now of just how much water I'm flushing away. If hubby flushes a piece of tissue paper, it freaks me out. It's such a waste of water for something that could go in the bin. Little things stick and they help.

And thats the idea behind Poor Little Fish, a washing basin that makes you quite aware of how much water you're using every time you turn on the tap. Above the basin is a fish bowl with a little goldfish swimming in it. As you let the water run, some very clever piping makes fishy's water level go down in sync with your water use. Use too much, and fishy drowns! (if he can drown in air that is? suffocates?)

The water you're washing your hands with isn't the same as the water in the bowl, but its quantities are perfectly tied, so you cannot get away from the affect you're having on little fishy. Check out how it works here. It's very smart, and actually quite pretty. I'd put this in my restaurant bathroom...

rainy day dunny

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A quick post on a dunny I never knew I wanted... This is Jon Burgerman's Rainy Day Dunny, released as a special item by Kid Robot, and only availble in stores on rainy days. How cool is that!?! Burgerman had already designed a rain-themed dunny for his contribution to the Ye Olde English series in 2009, and just introduced a deviation in colour, with some stylistic changes.

I so would have kept my galoshes by the door in the hopes of rain so that I could run out and get one. There are only 1000 of him out there, so if you stumble on one, you know where to send him :)  He's lovely.

what, me worry?

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Those of you old enough to be familiar with the freckles and cross-eyed gaze of Alfred E. Neuman will be thrilled to know that there's a MAD cartoon starting! Underwire reports that a MAD Magazine cartoon starts on Adult Swim this week in the States, bringing to life all those crazy movie spoofs they're so well known for, as well as your favourite MAD characters and artists - Spy vs Spy, Don Martin and Sergio Aragones. I think this is a great addition to the Adult Swim line up, and with Robot Chicken's Kevin Shinick involved, it's bound to be wicked.

Click here to watch their Transformers short.

365 days to go!

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Today it is exactly 365 days until the 2011 Rugby World Cup - colour me excited! I think the Soccer World Cup has gotten us in to World Cup fever, and anything will do. Not that I'm not a rugby fan, but honestly the Ryder Cup has me excited right now.

So our teams will travel to the furtherest corner of the globe and do battle - for that really is a battle field no footballer will ever understand. How I wish I could be there on the sidelines!

Sadly, the entire competition will take place over six weeks, which is an almost impossibly long time to be away. Who has that kind of time? And money? So I guess the Rugby World Cup will mirror the Soccer one in that it's only the world's elite who will be attending. And some Aussies. Meh.

cool hunter local

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Recently I read a post on The Cool Hunter site that featured none other than our very own Mother City! Well, specifically, it featured a masterpiece of architecture designed and built for a "prestigious African client". I hate them already and I don't even know them :)

This is a sneak peek of one of the interiors I loved (on the left), but be sure to check out the almost-airport-like house itself on The Cool Hunter - it's somethng else.

dunny delight!

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They've arrived! My new dunnies from Vinyl Destination (thanks Simon) are here. From left to right we have:
Clutter from the Ye Olde English series, Lady Aiko from the Femme Fatale series, and Tado also from the Ye Olde English collection.

happy hobos

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Fast Co Design has run a story on a designer item you’re not likely to see on the streets of South Africa any time soon – a compact mobile home designed specially for the homeless…

Looking like a small food delivery truck, the Bufalino has a mini cooker, drawers for organising your stuff and a small moped-like engine to get around with. Designer, Cornelius Comanns, has even given it a fabulous interior and exterior motif. Granted, the assumption is that you have food to cook, stuff to organise and money to buy petrol, so maybe it’s a little more for elite camping or playing vagabond in the countryside.

With a facility to plug in a laptop, it’s probably not for your average homeless…

Written for Hit Refresh, images from Fast Co Design.

ghostb by yeung

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thesinisterpenguin tweeted about this little guy yesterday and he really caught my eye. Designed by Bubi Au Yeung (you'll remember her Treeson figures  too cute!), there are only 50 GhostBs around, and as of this morning, only 11 left for pre order. He comes in a few colour variants with a little base that lights up, giving him a night-light sort of glow. But I think he's pretty cool just on his own.

You can order him now from the Crazy Label shop, and see more of Bubi Au Yeung's work here.


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Recently, hubby surprised me with the gift of the year (ask any digital blogger). An iPad! What every girl wants, right? Ignoring all the hype, the fact that I *love* apple, and that it's a first generation product many nay sayers said would need improving - it's awesome!

In the short time I've had it, we've become joined at the hip. And through the usual barrage of useful/fun/amazing apps, I'm able to turn it more and more in to my must-have daily companion. I watch TV on it, read books, shop on eBay (but more about that later), keep up with facebook and twitter, play games, store presentations, display photos, check mail, and get tailor-made news from all my favourite blogs and websites. Tailor-made being the key. It personalizes everything I need and actually becomes a completely customized tool through the apps that I choose to load. My iPad is a very different creature from hubby's iPad.

I'll blog my list of favourite apps soon for those who don't want to browse the store for days on end *hoping* for something useful. But for now, I have to go check what the exchange rate is so I can do some more shopping on eBay ;)

*sent from my iPad

i am bare!

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Some time back I posted about Am I Collective's Bare auction. And believe it or not, I actually did manage to win a Bare! I managed to win this not-so-little guy customized by Linsey Levendall...

I chose him in the end, because the design was quite Conrad Botha-esque, and he was a gift for hubby, who's a big Botha fan.
It made such a difference seeing the Bares on display when we were in Cape Town - the site really didn't do some of them justice, and man were they bigger than I thought!

dunny 2010

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If you're even vaguely in to vinyl toys, you'll know by now that today is the release date for the Dunny 2010 series. It's probably the most hyped series I've ever seen, with pre-release "leaks", an advent calendar of designs and pre-sales live on eBay for months. Craziness!

But it's more a reflection of the growing industry of vinyl toys I think, than of a series that is a fabulous feat in design. Don't get me wrong - there are some awesome critters in this series, but no more awesome than the critters that have come before them.

Despite knowing that, I've bought in to the hype, and I wait with anticipation. I'm also jealous as hell of those lucky enough to be in Cape Town right now for the launch party. Bastards. But never you mind... the eBay trawling has begun... *evil laugh*

outfit shopping

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It's been ages since I blogged and *plenty* has been keeping me distracted/busy/otherwise occupied. So I have loads of posts rattling inside my brain that are wanting to get out, and I'll get to them all.
But I think first and foremost what's bugging me is it's time for a blog design update. I've enjoyed this layout and keeping all its bits and pieces up-to-date, but I'm keen for a simpler, cleaner look and feel for a while.

So know that I'm back, but I'm noodling around for a new outfit for my wee blog.

mwah x

today is...

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...muesli and yogurt inna chicken day.

powerless - why i'm hating city power right now

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Right now, I'm feeling incredibly frustrated and powerless. Which is also my intended pun for the moment.
We've struggled endlessly with City Power in the 3 years we've lived in our house, being cut off on numerous occasions for a) previous occupier not paying a bill b) account being in incorrect name/address c) lack of communication between people who get your money, and people who take your power. None of which City Power care about, or are willing to investigate until after you've paid your astronomical bill, then sat in their queue for five hours with ten years of paperwork to try convince them they may have made a clerical error.

Our bill is bizarre at best, being higher than most of our friends' and colleagues. We live in a two-person home, have no under floor heating, no electric fence, we work all day, we seldom cook, we don't leave unnecessary lights burning and we have piped gas from Egoli Gas. Yes, we're perfect candidates for a LOW bill. Yet every month we pay double what the family next door pay who are a family of four, with two youngsters needing constant heated water, underfloor heating, they have an electric fence, and husband runs his own gym out of his home, so they use power all day long. The mind boggles.

In an endeavor to figure our why our bill is so high, and to try and rectify it before we get cut off in the middle of winter again, I've a list of things to try:
a) fix all leaks that may be wasting water on the property
b) understand and submit own meter readings
c) switch to a pre-paid meter

I've started with point A, and to my horror it seems there is a hidden leak on the property somewhere, so at least I have something I can tackle on the water front. Cue leak detector.

On to point B, we've registered on the City Power website, learned how to read my meter, and submitted my own readings. Success! Imagine that feeling of accomplishment, understanding, and finally being in control of something that's been a hazy fog to you until then. The day after submitting my reading though, I get home to a friendly note from City Power... They've come - unannounced - to read my meter themselves, as the reading I submitted was less than the average they have on record for me. Less than the "average". Isn't that what an "average" is? It's not a constant - it's a collection of numbers, up and down, that are AVERAGED out. No matter. You want to read my meter you're welcome to read my meter. The meter reader's note, though, says that I am to be available to let him in on 1 May to read the meter again, failing which, I go on to 14 day notice of having my power cut off. WTF!?! So many large font expletives I could put here, but nevertheless, you have to play the game with a city administration, so I make arrangements for someone to be at the house - we take it in shifts - all day on 1 May in eager anticipation of the meter reader. Who never arrives.

So you arrive at my house unannounced and unscheduled, you tell me I need to wait for you all day Saturday, because your managers don't have the foresight to provide a specific time - or even a time bracket - that would make this an easy thing to do. And after we wait for you, AND YOU DON'T PITCH, I am being punished? For helping you out and being proactive? Bloody hell.

And to top it all, an attempt to call you, dear City Power, to try and find out where your man was, when he might "pop in" again, and to rectify the situation so that I don't get cut off, merely leaves me hanging on my phone for a straight hour on four separate phone calls, none of which get to a single one of your consultants, because... you guessed it... you cut me off.

On to point C I guess...

tokidoki lurve

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shamelessly ripping off tokidoki to brighten up the library...

yikes! flesh tone dried *orange*! will have to redo that bit

will be sure to include heart and crossbones so everyone know's whose work it really is :)

a tale of two kitties

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The neighbour's cat has started to come and visit, and for a while there, we thought it might be a friend of Vegas'. But now we know better - it's there for one thing, and one thing only...

*nom nom nom*



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I got two new Dunnys while in Cape Town - Tara McPherson and Mizuno Junko's creations for the new "Fatale" Dunny series - all done by female designers. Other notable femme fatales in the series include Kathie Olivas, Aiko, Anna Chambers and Amy Ruppel. Superb!

today is...

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...bumblebee nails day!

no rings allowed

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nadja sent me these lovely coasters - they're ideal for marking which drink is yours, while not leaving ghastly rings anywhere. Perfect!


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So yesterday I noticed something amazing - my car sound system can now tell me what track I'm listening to - from the RADIO!
And not all the radio stations either, Highveld seems to have beaten 5fm to the punch this time around - well done.
I love the idea of innovation happening in an environment we assume is stale and had its heyday.

happy princessday!

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my breakfast in bed

vegas wants to be involved too

vegas appropriates my wrapping

kitty in a paul smith tent

all my glorious prezzies!

thanks wubby xoxo

today is...

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...toadstool nails day!

library complete!

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It's taken a while to update this, but the library project is complete! With books, toys, chess set, carpet, chairs, table and everything!