Te Wiki o te Reo Māori – Maori language week

This week is Te Wiki o te Reo Māori – Maori language week. Like a lot of people my age, I learned the basics of maori language at school. Some of what I learned has stuck with me, including what I consider to be the most important part, how to pronounce the vowels. This means when I come across an unfamiliar word I can have a go at pronouncing it correctly. It also means I can make an effort at pronouncing common words correctly.

Sometimes it can feel awkward pronouncing words you've always said one way a different way. If we all make an effort at pronouncing maori words correctly, then it will eventually become the norm. The theme this year is 'Kia Kaha te Reo Māori' or 'let's make the maori language strong'.

If you'd like to extend your vocabulary, or learn the meaning of words you're not quite sure about, then check out this list of 100 Māori words every New Zealander should know. Visit here for more ideas.

If you'd like to add some te reo to your space, whether it be your home, workspace or somewhere else, take a look at our range of maori word decals.

8 ways to arrange circle wall decals

If you're looking for inspiration on how to style your circle wall decal dots, you've come to the right place! I've collated a collection of all the different ways I've arranged the dots to give you some ideas. I'd love to see what you do with yours.

1. Hearts

Use the circle wall decals to make just the outline of a heart shape, or fill it in for some solid colour. This works well with our dusky pink dots.

2. Stars

Start with the larger wall decal dots on the outside or the inside, depending on your preference. If you're wanting the easiest option, start with the dots on the inside, then fill in the gaps with the smaller dots. Keep it monotone with the jungle green dots, or mix it up with turkish delight dots.

3. Bubbles

Circle wall decals lend themselves well to bubble patterns. Keep them uniform with individual bubble patterns or group them together for a large bubble pattern. Seen here in dusky pink medium dots.

4. Circles

Another option is to keep the circle theme going and use your circle wall decals to make a larger circle, or even a spiral pattern.

5. Arrow or triangle

Is it an arrow, or is it a triangle? You decide! Mix up your geometric shapes and make a directional arrow or a triangle with your circle wall decal dots. Create this look with our mustard yellow wall mural dots.

6. Abstract

Let you imagination take over and go for an abstract design. Here we've got a wavy line and a tree, which works well with the jungle green wall mural dots.

7. Create a scene

Use something you've already got, like this cute wooden train from Woodn't they love it, and add a feature to complete the scene like this smoke billowing out.

8. Random spots

Last, but by no means least is the random placement of your circle wall decals. This is probably the easiest option, but I have found it's a lot harder to make them look random than I would have expected! Create this look with our mustard yellow medium dots.

Celebrating diversity

After the mosque attacks in March, it became painfully clear how important it is to be inclusive. It made me think about how most of my acquaintances look similar to me. This is not on purpose, I must add! I have some great friends from completely different backgrounds to me. Which makes me think I should get out and meet more people from different walks of life, because there is a good chance there are some more great friends out there, just waiting to be met.

In the immediate aftermath I made a concerted effort to smile at people from minority groups, as I wanted them to feel welcome here in their own country. I also keep reminding myself that this extends to everyone. Someone might be from a different socioeconomic group to you, or dress or express themselves in a different way. Just because this isn't something you would do is not a reason to judge people. It's so easy to create a snap judgement in your mind, so I try to replace anything that sneaks in with 'Isn't it great that they are...' to reframe that judgement into something positive.

Unfortunately these kinds of attacks keep occurring, as there is a group of people who think everyone should be just like them, and doesn't want to celebrate diversity at all. I find it really sad how narrow-minded these people are. In order to counter that, and capture the sentiment that sprung up after the March attacks, I created a series of decals designed to promote inclusion and diversity. I also wanted to help out the Muslim community who were so devastatingly affected by the attack, so I am donating 50% of proceeds of the sales to the The Christchurch Foundation's 'Our People, Our City' fund. I included each of the phrases in arabic, maori and english to show unity.

It's a bit like global warming. One person's actions are gong to change the world by themselves, but collectively we can make big changes. We just need lots of people doing lots of little things. I'd love to hear what you do to be more inclusive of others!

My favourite piece of equipment

It's hard to pick a favourite piece of equipment. In the past I have featured my computer, as it's fairly integral to getting things done. But today I would like to feature my camera. Without it, I would just have products. You would need to be in store or at a market to see the decals. Even then you would have to imagine what they might look like on the wall. This would be easier for some than others – the dots are fairly self-explanatory – but what about the castle girls by Katherine Quinn? It is much easier to envisage what it will look like in your space if you can see a photograph of it assembled, than just by looking at the sheet with all the pieces.

Once you combine the camera and the power of the internet, then the real magic happens. You don't need to be in a shop or at a market to see our wall decals, you can view then anywhere in the world. Through our website you can view all our products, and through social media you can get a glimpse of what I've been up to behind the scenes, and you can check out what I'm up to at a local market.

I think all of that is pretty magic. Cameras have came a very long way in the (almost) 30 years since I was given my very first camera!

Winter in Christchurch

I'm not a huge fan of winter. I feel the cold easily and like to be warm and cosy inside, so it's probably a good thing I have an indoor job! There is no doubt that winter has arrived here in Christchurch. It started with a bang right on the 1st June and we've had plenty of frosty mornings since then. This morning was one of those days, but the frost appears to have melted by the time I got into town to take some photos. It was still very chilly though. Fortunately I have amassed a growing collection of winter coats, so at least it's a good excuse to give them an outing.

One thing you can count on to brighten up a cold Christchurch winter is Encraftment. If you're looking for something to do to take your mind off the cold – or perhaps to stock up on some nice cosy winter gear, then you're in luck! Winter Encraftment is just over a week away. They have made a couple of changes this year, they've moved back in to town, and it's over two days. One thing that hasn't changed is the high calibre and variety of stalls – you will not be disappointed.

I'll be there with my new watercolour kereru decals and I'm hoping to finish another new design to bring too. Hope to see you there!

Falling out of love

This week I'm going to tell you about falling out of love. Yes, that's right, there is something I don't love like I used to. When I started designing decals for StickyTiki I made some geometric designs. Dots, triangles, rectangle chalkboards. They were fun at the time, but they are just flat shapes of solid colour. There is no subtle variation of tone like in watercolour, no waiting for the unexpected to happen, and I knew pretty much exactly how the finished designs would look like when I started.

Drawing vector shapes in illustrator and then choosing colours from swatch books just doesn't have the same appeal anymore. Instead I can get out my paints, choose the colours and then mix them together to get just the right one. Then I can experiment which different brush strokes to get the right look. The process is just not the same when creating geometric vector shapes, and so we must part and go our separate ways.

In the meantime, we do still have some of the geometric shapes of dots and triangles left, and some black chalkboards. These have been reduced to clear, so I can make more room for handpainted wall decals!

How I fell in love with creating

The headline is actually a trick question – I have always loved creating! I don't remember a time before that, because I was too young to remember anything. As a child I enjoyed making things. Empty weet-bix boxes were an endless source of inspiration, I made many creations of that cardboard, it was the perfect weight to create with. As time went by they started to print on the inside of the box which I wasn't too impressed with.

My mother is very crafty, and when I was a child I learned how to knit, sew, spin and weave. She also taught me how to crochet, but I didn't pick that up so easily. As an adult I had to ask her to teach me again! My school's annual field day was the highlight of the year. When the schedule came out, I would go through it seeing what categories there were, and deciding what to make for each one. My classmates' enthusiasm for handcrafts didn't quite match mine, so it wasn't uncommon for me to be the sole entrant in a category! I also had a (very) little side hustle going on while I was at school, which you can read about here.

My prize haul from one year's field day. The two embroideries were made at school.
As I got older I focussed more on art, and studied it throughout high school. Due to attending a small country school I had to do 6th and 7th form art by correspondence which I wasn't well suited to. A month after finishing a painting you would get the feedback from your teacher in Wellington. You can't replace having a teacher behind you as you're working, giving you feedback you can implement straight away.

Half of my fifth form art folio – the year I did have an onsite teacher to guide me.
Upon leaving school I studied graphic design and spent a few years working in the art department of a screen printing company. Around that time I decided to start making candles again, a hobby I'd started in high school. I made quite a few and wondered what I was going to do with them, so set up a  stall at Craft World. This was cut short when I left to go to London for a year.

Mt first efforts at putting my candles out in the world.
After my return from London, I wanted to get in touch with my creative side again, so joined a local painting class. I learned lots of watercolour techniques during this time, and participated in several group exhibitions. I was also quite keen to get back into some craft again, so rekindled my candle business, took up knitting again and properly learned to crochet. Conveniently there was a resurgence in craft, it was a lot cooler than it had been in my youth. I went to some local markets, joined Felt and made some new friends!

'Mists of Maruia'
The painting on the left of Lyttelton Harbour is mine
Five years ago when my son was a baby I wasn't sure what direction to go in next, and then along came StickyTiki! The first job I'd had at the screen printing company had some digital printing machines which I used to operate. One of them could print and cut, and was an earlier (and much lower quality) model of the one we use to print StickyTiki decals. I'd always quite fancied it, so couldn't turn down the chance to own a much better one! I was also thinking it would be a good chance use and grow my art skills.


I had to dig quite deep into the archives for some of the photos to illustrate this post. My aunt gave me a camera when I was 8, which means I have a good photographic record of my childhood. It was a film camera with a little cartridge you put in that had the film in it. It was pretty foolproof!

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