Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Pretty Things

Thanks for the comments on my clothes sewing - you are all so kind!  I'm still researching and thinking about what to make.  I do a lot of thinking and not a lot of doing!!  I should just get on with it - if it looks rubbish and I don't wear it, it's not the end of the world - at least it'll be some sewing experience.

In the meantime, I've been attempting to snap some pretty pictures...

The table laid (well, partly - where is the cutlery?!) on Sunday for some tea and homemade scones with clotted cream and rhubarb and ginger jam.


Flowers in the garden...

I love tulips!

Aren't bulbs amazing?  They just spring up, year after year, without any effort or care.  (My kind of plant!)  These were all sewn by the old couple who used to own our house.  There are so many grape hyacinths - huge patches of purple all over the garden!  Beautiful.

These tulips are shown off nicely by the backdrop of a lovely new fence the Lumberjack put up with our neighbour on Saturday morning.

There used to be a lot of tall bushes between our gardens at this side (the house end) of the garden.  They were on our neighbour's side, and they got rid of them all to create more space their side - which left things completely open.  Before you knew it the men had got together, bought some timber and put the fence up!  Above are pictures of just the frame, then the finished fence - I was very impressed.  (I didn't get a photo before the frame went up, but I don't think it takes much of a stretch of imagination to picture it!)

And as if fence building wasn't enough (and as if my scones weren't enough!) the Lumberjack decided to make a bread and butter pudding on Sunday evening...

Hard to get a decent picture, as it was dark by then - but I thought his pudding deserved some glory!

I am planning to get my backside in gear and continue with this...

It hasn't progressed much since the sneak peak I gave you here.  I've got no excuse - it's not exactly a big slow make!

But I am currently using it in it's unfinished state, for a little posy of spring flowers I picked from the garden...

I still can't get over the fact I've got a garden and I can just stroll out and pick some flowers from it.  Seems to good to be true!

Here ends this post of randomness... until next time...!

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Sewing Clothes

Thanks for the lovely comments on my last post!

One of my goals for this year was to make an item of clothing, and watching The Great British Sewing Bee has definitely inspired me further.  I'm sure a lot of you agree!

When I think about it, I have actually made the odd couple of items of clothing in the past...

I made the asymmetric top above about 9 years ago, when I was 25.  I did wear it out two or three times, but I haven't worn it in many years - not so sure about having a sheer fabric over my belly these days!  I didn't have a pattern, I just made up the design (which is probably why it's a bit of a strange one!) - I can't even really remember how I did it now!

There's even a fairly neat zip and hook-and-eye fastening on the back:

In fact, the more I look at it the more I think that it wasn't that bad really, especially as I made up how to do it as I went along!  I'm sure that lots of things weren't done in the way they are supposed to be done, but it looks alright.  Not that I'd wear it now.

Then a few years back, I attempted to replicate a simple top I had and loved wearing.

This picture was taken in 2010 when I made this top.  (I think I'd recently been on holiday as I'm sporting a lovely tan.  Tan?!  Yep, that's me tanned - I'm a pale creature!)  It's a long top to be worn with leggings, in a stretchy knit material with a wide band along the bottom.  (I clearly hadn't heard of pattern matching when I made the band - it didn't even occur to me!  Although, I actually like it like this - it shows that it's a separate band, and I like the [unplanned] flower placement.)  This top got more wear than the other one I think, but again not something I wear these days.

I now want to try making something "proper" - something using a pattern!  Something that I want to wear now, and will get a lot of use out of.  This is where I'm struggling.  I've seen Bunny Mummy's lovely skirt here and thought that it seemed a simple pattern to start off with, which I like the sound of.  BUT, I'm trying to get a balance between making something simple and making something I'll actually wear.  The problem I have with skirts is finding a top to go with them.  Even though I really like the skirt and want to make it in some lovely colourful fabric, I know I won't wear it.

I'm currently going through my decluttering process, and my wardrobe needs a lot of attention and clearing out.  The last thing I need is to start filling it with homemade items I'm not going to wear.

So my current quest is to find a pattern for an item of clothing that isn't too tricky to make, but will look great on me and will be regularly used!  I wouldn't hold your breath...

As I typed the above, I couldn't resist trying that first top on again - looks like I just about squeezed into it!  I got the Lumberjack to take some pictures... don't judge too harshly - remember this was made for 25 year old me to wear, not 34 year old me!!

I'm on tiptoes (for some reason) so was using the door to keep my balance!

I ummed and ahhed over putting these photos on, but thought "what the hell!".  I know when I see other people's handmade garments, I always like to see them on the person - gives a much better idea.

Now to find a pattern for something more appropriate!

Monday, 31 March 2014


Time is passing in a blur, and I'm not really getting that much done.  Certainly no crafty makes to show off!

We've put up a print in the tea-station in the new kitchen.

Since taking this photo I have been fiddling about with the teapot position and adding things to the top shelf - still trying to get it just right!

Just over a week ago I had a massive surge of decluttering and got well ahead of myself in my "Less 365" Calendar.  Although, I've nearly caught myself up again now - d'oh!

And slowly but surely a few stitches here and there have been added to my stripy blanket:

Although I've got a sudden desire to make something with these pretty colours:

We shall see...

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Bits and Pieces

Thanks for the lovely positive comments on my new kitchen - I really appreciate them!  It's great to hear such nice feedback.

There has been a serious lack of craftiness on this blog lately, so I am glad to say I've picked up my hook again, and got back to work on my cotton stripy blanket:

It's coming along nicely!  I've also been pretty good at sewing my ends in as I go (apart from those few you can see that I need to get onto before they build up too much).

I've been doing a bit of baking too (in my fancy new kitchen!  Let me tell you, that oven works so much better than the ancient one we had!).

Banana bread using this recipe - I heartily recommend it!  (Can you see the steam coming out of the mug of tea?  Love that!)

While unpacking some bits into the new kitchen (did I mention I have a new kitchen?!) I came across these colourful silicone cake cases and thought I'd take a cheery picture of them:

I find myself a bit confused by silicone cases - are you meant to bake and serve the cakes in them?  Are they instead of paper cases, or do you use both?  It's a mystery to me really - but they are pretty!

We also had a visit to the garden centre on Sunday, and picked up some seeds for our garden:

We need to get on with the garden this year, as we didn't touch it last summer when we moved in.  To be honest, I'm not green-fingered, so the Lumberjack will be running the garden project!  (I'm more interested in laying in the sun admiring the new flowers, so fingers crossed that will be possible this summer!)

Talking of our garden, there are loads of daffodils flowering which is so cheery.  Enough that we could pick a few for the house!  I'm looking forward the the tulips flowering next!

A bit of a random post of bits and pieces... until next time...

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Kitchen Transformation! (Part 2)

Thanks for the lovely comments on Part 1 of the 'Kitchen Transformation'!  I've managed to get some more photos to show you around the room a bit more!

You've seen this main shot...

The kitchen has now been filled with a few bits and bobs - trying not to clutter it too much!

This is a (blurry) picture of how the window side used to look:

You can see on the right that the oven used to be there in the corner, at the end.  Strange cooking right in the corner of the room like that.

This was it ripped out with the gas for the oven moved, and the electrics wired up:

And now...!

(We still need to get a blind.)  Where the oven used to be on the right, we now have open shelves to fit under the slope of the roof (where the stairs go above).  This is a little tea/coffee station!

The empty kilner jar is for demerara sugar, but I'd run out!

The old view looking towards the door out to the hallway:

How it looks now (slightly different angle):

I want to replace that door for a panelled one, but will do that when we decorate the hall.

The old view looking towards the door to the lounge/diner:



On the left is a integrated fridge freezer, then next to it a tall larder cupboard - so much storage in there, it's great!  The door used to open into the kitchen which was so annoying, encroaching on the space.  It now opens into the dining half of the lounge/diner, but is a bi-fold so it tucks into the corner out of the way.  (As I have been typing this fancy knobs have been added to the door by the lumberjack - but the light isn't good to take a pic now!  They are the same knobs we used on the dresser makeover, which you can see here.  There were two left over, so very handy.  This means that on the dining side, the door knob matches the dresser, and on the kitchen side it matches the colour of the walls - perfect!)

One last shot of the oven alcove:

Maybe I should have shined up the hood!!

So, there you have it!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Kitchen Transformation! (Part 1)

Thanks for all the positive comments on my bedroom - I was so chuffed to read them!  It's nice to see the room through fresh eyes, and hear (read) good things!  The consensus definitely seems to be that the brights work with the room.  I think that's why I've not got round to changing those items - because in my heart of hearts I knew I'd probably change them and actually prefer how it was before!  I do like a bit of cheery colour.  The Lumberjack likes it too.

Well... without further ado - the kitchen!

This is how it looked when we viewed the house (estate agent picture):

We actually ruined it a bit by getting the combi-boiler put in (which apparently had to go there rather than further in the corner, I forget why), when we had central heating installed when we first moved in...

A bit more cluttered and messy than when the old lady had it - and we got rid of her curtains!  (We put our washing machine on the other side of the door and window shown there, in a little utility nook - I've got plans for that, so I'm sure it'll feature here at some point!)

The main problem with the kitchen was that there was hardly any continuous worktop to use - tiny sections of worktop here and there, so annoying.

This was mid-ripping out:

After the builder had got to work - door and window blocked in:

After the plasterer did his thing (something went a bit funny with this pic, but you get the idea):

I'd stepped in with some basecoat:

Then....... after more painting, fitting and what not....

........wait for it.............


..........here it comes.......


Our lovely new kitchen!!!!  We're so pleased with it.  I keep going in there just to stand looking around!

I will post more before and after pictures of different views around the kitchen - these have all been of the same view.  I just need to finish painting the woodwork, and I was too impatient to wait before sharing this on here!  So, watch this space for more.  (This is the "main" view of the kitchen, though - the best bit!)

Hope you like it!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Master Bedroom Transformation

What?!  Bedroom...?  Aren't you doing up the kitchen??  Well, yes - but I never did show off the bedroom decoration we did last Summer.

Firstly, I loved all the comments on my post with my kitchen colour inspiration ideas, they were great reading!  Thanks guys.  You can see from my last post that we didn't go quite as bold - we decided to tone it down just a touch.  It's a bit of a lighter version of the inspiration colour - although it looks different in different lights.  Sometimes it looks more blue, and sometimes more turquoise.  Nevertheless, no matter what colour it is looking, it works really well with the kitchen and we love it!

(And Sam - I loved what you said about the number of days I could cross of my calendar when we got rid of the old kitchen - I hadn't even thought of that!!  Although, when I mentioned it to the Lumberjack he didn't think I could count it, as we were replacing it with a new kitchen, so it's not decluttering... hmmm maybe he's right!)

A few finishing touches to be done, then I will hopefully be able to do a full reveal!

In the meantime, this is how the master bedroom looked when we came to view the house (estate agent picture):

An old lady's bedroom!  Although, that retro furniture style is very popular at the moment - maybe we should have tried to get our hands on it!

Well, we had the old electric heaters removed and central heating installed.  We stripped the wallpaper...

I was a bit rubbish at the wallpaper-stripping, so the Lumberjack did most of it.  I stepped in for the painting (and to pose for photos!).

We painted, had new carpet put down, white wooden venetian blinds fitted... and this is how it looks now:

I had a massive tidy-up the other day, so thought I'd take some pictures while it was tidy!  It was in the morning, before I went to work - so the light probably isn't ideal.  The walls are painted in 'duck egg' by Wickes - which isn't actually what I would call duck egg, it's more of a light aqua which is what we wanted.  (Although it looks blueish in these pics - why are some colours so hard to photograph?!)

The main reason I hadn't shown pictures yet was that things like the cushions and lampshades are from my bedroom in my old flat, where I had bright colours.  We just used them temporarily, but haven't decided what to replace them with.  But I just figured I might as well show the room as it is, as it'll probably never be completely finished!

Ikea Hemnes chest of drawers.  (The bedding is very creased - I can't be bothered to iron bedding!)

Crochet heart garland on the mirror - see here

That little shelf is an Ikea picture ledge.  I had what I (modestly) think of as the genius idea of using it as a little perfume shelf!

Genius, I tell you!

The dressing table is Ikea Malm, with an Ikea Ingolf Stool.

Ikea Hemnes bedside tables and a longer version of the Ikea picture ledge above the bed.  (Yes, we've spent a lot of time in Ikea since buying this house!!)

I still need to sort out what's going on the picture ledge - they are just a random selection of items - more work to be done on that...

To the right of the picture above, is the door do the wardrobe (was airing cupboard) which has the hair station on it.  And next to that, not pictured (because it had some of the Lumberjack's junk on it!) is the chest of drawers he painted.

Anyway, that's the bedroom!  It still needs a bit of work - I think it needs manning up a bit really.  Although the Lumberjack doesn't seem to mind the pink!