Monday, 29 September 2014

Console Table Styling

Yep, we found a console table to go with the grandfather clock!  (Actually the Lumberjack says it might be a grandmother clock - it's short for a tall clock - if that makes any sense!)

Firstly, I want to say thanks so much for the really helpful responses I got on my last post.  I was so undecided about what to do, and your responses were so full of great ideas and encouragement - I was lapping them up!

So Kimberly, Amy, Kiwijo, Chrissie, Anna, Alex, Court B - THANK YOU!!  You don't know how much better your comments made me feel - a happy solution seemed possible.  (Ok, I'm sounding a bit dramatic, but I've been rather obsessed about the whole thing lately (poor Lumberjack!)...)

So, step one: find a console table.  Dark wood was the plan - I'd been leaning that way, and your comments sealed the deal.  We were both open to the option of painting something if we couldn't find the right colour (we liked your idea Chrissie - painting a table grey).  We had a bit of a search on various websites, without much luck, then a week of work started and other things took over.  Until on Thursday I got an email telling me that Gumtree had a new look, come check it out.  I thought, 'hmm might as well do a search for a console table'.  One quick search on my phone, revealed something which seemed to be the right colour, had dimensions that would fit into the space we had, and was 15 miles away!  To cut to the chase, we went to see and buy it that night - £40 later and we had a console table - bargain!  We figured if it didn't match when we got it home, we'd just paint it grey - for £40, it was worth a go!

But look...

It goes perfectly!!  I can't believe how lucky we were to find something so quickly that goes so well, and for a bargain price.  It does have a couple of nicks, so we're going to get a touch-up pen to sort that out.

Ok... now, what about that picture???  Well, I was all ready to follow Kimberly's suggestion of propping the picture on the table, layering in front of it etc - very excited about the whole thing I was too.  However, the picture is (in its current frame) 85 cm wide.  The table is 79cm wide.  The table needs to be no smaller than the picture or else it looks wrong and disproportionate.  When we found the console table we knew this, but the Lumberjack said we should focus on the right table for the space and deal with the picture afterwards.  We're glad we went for this one, as we feel anything bigger would be in the way of getting onto and off of the stairs.

I don't know why, but it looks like the table is tiny and the stairs are huge in the picture above.  Maybe it's the picture, or just my eyes - it looks normal in real life!

Once we got home with the console table, I tried propping the picture on it - I put pics on instagram - but it wasn't working - it all looked very old fashioned.  Obviously, the picture still needed reframing (or painting - genius (and yet so simple!) idea, Court B) and I knew it was too big for the console, but I just wanted to get a general idea.

The photos above are the quick snaps I took on my phone.  I did think that if we didn't bother with a mount and got a slim black frame for the picture, then maybe it wouldn't overhang the table.

I just found the whole look a bit drab, though.  But of course, it didn't help that I put old books on the table too (which I actually think are pretty cool on their own) and it was late and dark!  If I'd layered with bright colourful things, and had some sunshine around, maybe it would have worked - maybe it still will.

But in the meantime, I started playing with other things I had...

Like this vase that we bought on our trip to Swanage last year, that I love, but was kind of lost where it was.  The picture is one that the Lumberjack bought from Rome when he was in the Navy (yep, he gets about that one).  It only recently emerged from one of his boxes of who-knows-what, and I think it's lovely.  Just look at how well the colours in the street match the colours in the vase - it's incredible!

Then I took a picture from the living room.  We had bought the print last year for about £2 in John Lewis because we both really liked it, then framed it with a cheap Wilkinson's frame.  For a while I've felt that it doesn't really go with the rest of the living room, but it works so much better here!

After becoming obsessed with Kimberly's blog, Swoon Worthy, and seeing her love of maidenhair ferns, I'd started to think a plant would add some nice softness to the place.  While I was reading her blog, the Lumberjack glanced over and spotted one on my screen (naturally got interested, as it involved a plant!) stated "maidenhair fern", then got on with his business.  Well, that was enough for me, I took that as my go-ahead!  (He had been saying recently that we should get some house plants.)  I bought a bright orange pot for it to add some cheery colour and pull in the oranges from both pictures.

When we bought the table, the Lumberjack came up with the idea of putting a doily on it - a white lacy doily!  In case you're thinking my boyfriend is actually an old lady, here he is in the garden with a chainsaw...

Grrrr manly!  He's not a little old woman!  (Phew, hopefully cleared that one up.)

Anyway, because he'd said that, I thought I'd put my crochet mandala on there...

It was more as a joke, I didn't expect it to go, but I like it.  The red pulls colours from the picture behind, the aqua colour kind of matches the vase, and the grey goes with the floor.  So, it's staying!

The three tea-light holders were added because I realised that I had even numbers on the table.  Two pictures, a vase and a plant - odd numbers always looks better on the eyes.  So, I added the cluster of tea-light holders.  I've had them a while, but they were currently in the cupboard as they didn't really go with anything - now they've found their home!  The colours work with the other bits.  It's all rather autumnal I've noticed too, very seasonal!

I've always been rubbish at styling.  This is the first time I feel I've given it a good go, and am happy with the results.  I am so pleased with how it all looks - very cheerful!

These are my tips:

  1. Use a plant to soften things
  2. Use odd numbers of items
  3. Overlap pictures (at first I had the two pictures side-by-side, it looked so much better when I overlapped them)
  4. Try to repeat colours throughout the vignette

But what do I know?!  What I'd recommend is to check out Swoon Worthy - I got so much inspiration and so many tips from the way Kimberly styles her home - it gave me the confidence to try this out.  (She hasn't sponsored me to say this, I'm just a psycho stalker fan.)

Of course, maybe you think it looks rubbish!  I am aware that it is a lot of stuff for such a little table, but I like it, it makes me happy - I keep going out there to gaze lovingly at it, and move things a millimetre here, a millimetre there.  The best thing is that the table was such a bargain, and the only other new things I bought were the plant and plant pot - both cheap from Homebase!

Regarding the big picture - we are going to take it to a framers in town, just to get some advice and then we'll take it from there.  I will be sure to update you on it's fate!  Maybe it'll end up on or above the console, and the whole thing will change... who can say.  I will make sure it finds a home, though.

Sorry for the extremely long post but this has been consuming me lately!  What do you all think?  Does it work?

Saturday, 20 September 2014

The Old with the New

Adding the furniture, pictures and general finishing touches to our hall, stairs and landing is proving to be a very slow business.

But, we have one item!

This grandfather clock was given to the Lumberjack's Great Great Grandfather when he retired on Christmas Eve 1937!

(We need to give the plaque a polish)

Cool eh?  I'm not sure anyone gets the chance to work for a company for 37 years any more.

I was a bit concerned about where we were going to put this in our home, and whether it would go with the style of our d├ęcor.  I just figured that we were going to have to make it work somehow!

As it happens, I think it looks great in that spot in the hallway!  It gives a bit of depth, interest and character to the space.  Despite being 77 years old, it doesn't seem to look out of place in it's modern surroundings.  What do you think?

Now, what I have really wanted since we moved into the house 16 months ago, is a little console table against the opposite wall.  Something quite slim so it doesn't get in the way when you get to the bottom of the stairs.

I'd been thinking oak, but now we've got the dark wood grandfather clock, do you think we should go with dark wood?  I've grabbed an oak side table from the living room, just to see how the colour of the wood looks.  What are your thoughts?  Looking at this, I think dark would be best, and the oak doesn't look right.  But then I look again, and think maybe it is ok... nah, definitely leaning towards going dark.  Very interested to hear your thoughts, as I find I can over-think these things to the point where I really don't know what my opinion is any more!

On the subject of the old... the Lumberjack has also inherited this picture:

Now this I really am struggling to assimilate into our home.  I do think it's a nice picture, but it's not really my style - it's not something I would ever have bought.  It brings the Lumberjack lots of happy memories of visiting his grandparents, though, and I want to find a way to make it work.  I actually like the moody sky and trees - it's the horses ploughing I'm not keen on.

I know you could say, just hang the damn picture and stop being so selfish!  But I just feel strongly that your home should be full of things that make you happy - not that annoy you every time you look at them.  If you can't have things you like in your own home, where can you?!  (But of course, it's the Lumberjack's home too, I know...)

Well, I'd been reading the Swoon Worthy blog (which really does make you swoon - Kimberly's home is incredible) and she did a post on custom framing with  The thing that really caught me is that you could upload an image of your picture in order to see how it looks in the frame.  I'd been thinking that re-framing the picture might make it look less old-fashioned, and this meant I could actually see how it looked before committing to anything!  Here's how it would look with a black frame, and black second mount:

(Picture above has been removed and replaced, as I'd accidentally done something to the cropped image I uploaded to the framing website that make it look greeny - no idea how! - thanks for the comment Kiwijo!)

Does it look better?  Worse?  Just as old-fashioned as ever?  I'm not sure it helps really.

Well, I'll end here - as I've bombarded you with questions... heaven forbid I solve my own problems!!

All opinions welcomed, I need help!

EDITED TO ADD: I should say, it's a big picture.  In the current frame, it's 60cm tall and 85cm wide.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Hall, Stairs and Landing Redecoration

Thanks for the lovely comments recently, on my magnets and fudge - I loved reading them!

Well, I have alluded recently to the works going on around here... so it's now time to show some before and after shots - yay!

(Yes, I've been trying to be fancy in PicMonkey!)

We started with this...

Here is a closer shot of the wallpaper:

Actually pretty inoffensive and neutral really - could have been a lot worse.  Not what we would have chosen of course.  Well, the walls got striped, plastered and painted.  We had a new front door put in, new skirting, and new banisters... then we pulled the carpet up...

Those tiles were quite a job to remove!  We were having ply put down and Karndean flooring on top of that.  We couldn't ply on top of the tiles as we had to make the floor level with the kitchen.  So the tiles had to come up.

This is the original wooden flooring with the remainder of the tile adhesive and who knows what else stuck to it!  (I kind of like it in a weird way - but anyway, it's gone!)

Then the new flooring went down, the finishing touch...

Here's a side-by-side before and after view:

You can see how the flooring flows through into the kitchen...

As well as the front door, the internal doors were replaced too.  We also had the stairs and landing re-carpeted, and removed the handrail.  Here is another before and after view:

Upstairs it looks like this...

Ahh, all those fresh new doors!  (Not easy to photograph this small space really.)

Excuse the mess lying around in the before shot - things were in disarray!  We're glad to be rid of the delightful old floral curtains - not to mention the peeling wallpaper in the window!  At the moment we still have the old nets up, as we are yet to sort out a blind.  But, I actually think they're quite pretty.  (I know, what am I saying?!  We're meant to be de-grannifying the house!)

I will show you more pictures when we've got the blinds up and have personalised it all a bit.  At the moment it's just the bare bones, without furniture, pictures, hooks etc.  We hope to inject a bit of colour into the space.

The walls were painted in Dulux Just Walnut:

It's a kind of greyish/beigeish neutral.  It looks different as it gets caught in different lights, which is nice.

There you have it - sorry for the picture-heavy post!  

Tuesday, 9 September 2014


My Folksy Shop hadn't been stocked for nearly two years - you can see that I haven't updated and personalised it since Folksy made some format changes.  (When it was stocked, I only made two sales - and one was to a friend!)

But the other day I had an unexpected enquiry about some fabric-covered button magnets which I used to sell (which still showed on Folksy as 'unavailable').

Well, I excitedly relisted them and received an order for two sets!  I got to work and made the 12 magnets shown above.

6 are the set 'Brights' and 6 are the set 'Pinks & Blues 2':

It was really fun to make these again!  These are more of the sets I had previously created and listed...

I enjoyed packaging them up prettily to be sent too - it made me think I might consider restocking the shop and seeing about selling a few crafty items!

If you fancy ordering a set for yourselves, pop on over here.  Of course, I could make any combination of the colours/patterns you can see...

Regardless of whether I continue with the selling, it was exciting to have a sale out of the blue like this!

Friday, 5 September 2014

Sweet Sweet Fudge

Thanks for the lovely comments on my pinwheel pot holder - although, I feel a fraud accepting them, as all I did was copy someone else's genius creativity!

Last Sunday I felt the uncontrollable urge to make some fudge... so I did.  This was amidst the Lumberjack and I trying to prise up old lino tiles from our hall way...

That wasn't a fun job - those tiles have been down a hell of a long time, and a lot of them didn't want to come up!  Sometimes you've just got to stop everything and make fudge.

The Lumberjack just looked at that photo and said that they look like lumps of lard!!!  Nasty boy!  I used this simple recipe.  To be honest, I don't really know what I'm doing when it comes to fudge - looking back at the picture on the recipe it seems they should be darker in colour.  Maybe I didn't heat it for long enough.  I don't have a thermometer, and didn't quite know what I was doing with the 'soft-ball test'.

They were a bit too sweet for the Lumberjack, but that concept doesn't exist in my world!  They are very sweet, and I think they'd be the sort of thing that most people would say that they couldn't eat too much off.  However, I couldn't stop eating it once I'd had a bite, it was shameful.

I'll hopefully be back soon to show you some pictures of the home decoration work that's been going on!

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Pinwheel Pot Holder

If you read crochet blogs, then you will read Sandra's Cherry Heart.  And if you don't, you will once you check it out!

Last week she posted the most gorgeous pot holder.  I could say that it influenced my pot holder above, but it didn't just influence it.  I completely and blatantly copied it as closely as possible!  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I'd seen these online here and there before, but it was only seeing Sandra's in those beautiful colours that made me need to make one.

I'd not done any crocheting for a while - the Lumberjack said he was worried about me the other day!  (The hall, stairs, landing and spare-room decoration is underway, so things are all chaotic and I've not been in the right frame of mind for crafting.)  This was the push I needed, though, and I dug out my cotton and bamboo cotton stash (and an acrylic yellow) and got crocheting!

I used the pattern that Sandra linked to, but made alterations so that it matched Sandra's pot holder.  These are the changes I made:

  • To change the pinwheel to 6 points/petals (rather than the 7 in the pattern), I did 11 dc into the initial ring, rather than 13.  That gives you 12 dc (if you count the ch 3 as the first dc).  Then follow the directions but create 6 petals, which will happen naturally as you've got 12 rather than 14 stitches into the ring.
  • The pattern then says to do 4 rows, but I continued on in the same way until I'd done 6 rows.
  • Then I did the round of sc around the whole shape.  The pattern says to crochet two petals together at the tip of the fold.  I didn't actually crochet the stitches together, though, I sc them individually as I went round.  (I think if they'd been crocheted together the gaps between petals would have closed up more, so it depends on what look you're after.)  For an idea of how far down I crocheted on each petal, I went up to and including the 9th stitch on each side of the stitch at the tip of the point.
  • I then did a second round of sc around the whole shape, not in the pattern.  I started at one petal point, where I chained 10 to create a loop.  I then sc around the shape until I got back to the initial point, then sc 10 around my ch 10 loop to finish off.  In hindsight, the loop could have been a bit bigger.
Now I've just got to find somewhere to hang it.  (Rest assured, no dirty old pot is coming anywhere near it!)

Thanks to Sandra for her blog full of beautiful inspiration.  I hope you don't mind me copying you so completely!

Thanks to all who read and comment here - I always enjoy reading your comments.  It was interesting to hear your views on my last post, and I think I might try to introduce a little touch of gold here and there in my home!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Influences: Gold

I was looking for a birthday card for the Lumberjack's Mum the other day, and fell in love with this beautiful card.  It got me thinking about how much I've been loving gold accents lately.

I'm not sure how this happened as I've always been very much a "silver person".  I wear silver jewellery and throughout my life I've always preferred silver to gold; I've never been that keen on gold at all.  However, over the last few months/years (I forget how long, time passes so quickly!) I've found myself loving the warm lively effect that gold accents can give.  I've seen it used so beautifully in homes on so many blogs.  It makes me question how influenced I am by the current trends.  It seems that as gold became popular and on trend, I've gradually started to like it.  Does continued exposure to something cause it to seep into our brains and our tastes until we end up liking it despite ourselves?!

I've never been a person to like something just because it's fashionable or trendy - it seems crazy to dress or decorate your home in a certain way just because it's on trend, when it may not even be to your personal taste.  But I have noticed that sometimes my opinions change and I start to like these things I keep seeing around me.  Am I that suggestible?!  Do you find your tastes changing along with the current trends?  (Not all of them of course - there are some that I'll never come around to!)

Well, I guess that if I like, I like it, and it doesn't really matter why!  Just go with the flow, eh?  (Although, I am fighting it - it feels like I'd be cheating on silver!!!)

Maybe I should give gold a go and see whether I can bring some gold accents into my home.  I'm not quite sure how, though!  (You can see I've been playing around with the few goldy items I have!)  I wouldn't want to get rid of all my silver coloured bits and they feature quite a lot - handles on things, lamp stands, etc.  What do you think, can you have gold and silver together or would it look wrong?  (I don't know why I'm so cautious about it - I guess it's because it's something I've not tried before!)

If anyone has any pearls of wisdom, I would be grateful to hear them!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Crochet Coasters

Crochet coasters are one thing I've not yet made... I'm not sure why.  They're a good way to try out a few new ideas and must be pretty speedy to whip up... and we all like a quick crochet fix!

I had a subscription to Simply Crochet for a few months.  (I'm not usually a magazine person, but there was a bargainous offer on, so I thought I'd give it a go)  I'm not subscribing any more, as I felt a lot of the items I wouldn't ever make, but there were a few tempting projects.  One such being these lovely summery fruit coasters in issue nineteen:

What do you think?  Very cheery and fun!  I'm definitely tempted to give them a go - I've been checking out my yarn stash for the right colours.  If you're interested yourself and haven't got the magazine, I've also found free patterns for some similar ones over at Repeat Crafter Me - including a cute pear!

It got me thinking, though... these are very summery, but what about when summer is over?  (Sorry, I'm not wishing the summer away just yet!)  I was struck with the idea of seasonal coasters!  So how about some pumpkin coasters - I found a free pattern by Habitual Homebody for these great ones...

Picture via Habitual Homebody

And I love these beautiful autumnal leaf coasters...

Picture via Crochet Spot

The pattern for these can be purchased here.

I think I'll start with the fruity ones first, as I'm still in summer mode - despite the funny weather we've had the last few days.  (Although I do love a good storm every once in a while!)

Of course, there are so many gorgeous patterns for pretty everyday coasters - the possibilities are endless, how do you pick?!  I've been pinning some lovely inspiration to my Crochet Pinterest Board, so take a look if you're feeling the coaster obsession!

Have you made any crochet coasters?  Do you have any pattern ideas for me?  Let's share the coaster love!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Organisation: Clothes Drawers

Hello!  I have been busy this weekend, having a big clear-out of my bedroom chest of drawers.  I'd had enough of having to squeeze my clothes into any tiny available space in the crumpled jumbled mess within these drawers.  That was when I could be bothered with the struggle, and didn't just dump them on the floor!

There are three drawers in my Ikea Hemnes chest - the top one is for underwear and I organised that a while back using Ikea Skubb Boxes:

I won't traumatise you with pictures of my unmentionables (is that a communal sigh of relief I hear?!) so let's get onto the other two drawers...

I'm afraid I didn't take a picture of the drawers before - I was too impassioned by my quest for less chaos to hang around taking photos!  But here are the clothes emptied out onto the bed (they didn't look much different in the drawers, just a bit more squueeezed):

That was a quick mobile phone snap for Instagram - yes, I'm on Instagram... come find and follow me here!  (Oh, and that isn't my bedding - I'd taken it off to wash and hadn't put a new set on yet.)

That pile of clothes is deeper than it looks.  After some intense ruthlessness, I weeded out this pretty big stack to donate to charity:

I actually feel exhilarated looking at that!  All that space being sucked away by items that weren't being used or enjoyed, yet were making my everyday life more annoying every time I tried to find something in those drawers.  (Maybe 3 or 4 bits in that pile are from my wardrobe, but the rest are from the drawers)

Questions I asked myself during the clear out:

  1. Does it fit?  There were a curious number of clothes which appeared to be shrinking all of a sudden.  There seems to be a correlation between my cake-eating and clothes-shrinkage - what a strange coincidence!!  Life's a funny old thing.
  2. Is it comfortable?  Some clothes are so annoying or uncomfortable that they're just not worth it - who needs to willingly spend the day feeling uncomfortable?  Get rid!
  3. Do I feel good when I wear it?  There are items here which fit me fine.  I've clung onto them because they fit and there's nothing really wrong with them, but I've never felt good wearing them.  When I do wear them, it's just because they're there and I can't find anything else to wear.  No more!
  4. Does it look old and worn (and/or dated)?  Some clothes, which were great once, have been worn to death.  I have a habit of keeping and wearing clothes for many many years.  We're not even talking expensive classic pieces here (I don't own such things!) but cheap cheerful clothes that I've been wearing for sometimes up to 12 years and are well past their best!  It's time to say good-bye.
(All that being said... I think that yellow floral top perched on the stack is coming back into my wardrobe!  Maybe I'm not quiet ready to let go of that one yet.  I don't feel quite comfortable in it, but the fabric is so cheery and pretty!  That is not the attitude.)

This is what I was left with:

I used more Skubb boxes and organised as above.  Maybe the boxes with jumpers in should have been next to each other, but I liked the symmetry of having them on each side.  Can you spot my Christmas jumper?!  Ho ho ho!  I stacked them vertically so that I can see easily what I've got, and (hopefully) avoid messing everything up every time I take an item out.

My basic tops are tight stretchy long and short sleeved tops that I'd normally wear under things.

I'm rather lacking in t-shirts since the purge - and, to be honest, not all of those left are that great.  But I had to make some allowances, or I'd be wandering around naked.  And I know, they're not folded very well - they weren't cooperating and I lost patience!

You can see that there is quite a bit of room at the back.  The drawers only open this far, though, so it's difficult to get to when using the boxes, so maybe that is a downside of them.  But I'm sure I'll end up using the space for something.  Although, in my underwear drawer, I've used more boxes and filled the whole drawer space - they work very well to separate/group socks, tights, knickers, bras etc.  I just put the least used items in the boxes at the back.

And the other drawer:

Pretty self-explanatory.  I stacked these on top of each other because I'd run out of boxes and because I didn't think it mattered so much for these clothes - but whether it will stay tidy remains to be seen.

The Lumberjack laughed when I pointed out my 'sports wear' section.  I'm not really the sporty type!  I've been "going to Zumba" with my sister-in-law for nearly 11 months - and I've been... 11 times!  The clothes I wear are ancient - really they should have been purged, but I should get some replacements first!  (Although, that might be a good excuse not to go...??  I'm kidding, ahem!)  That pink hoody isn't even sports wear - I wear it any old time.

And my fleecy monkey pyjamas - ahhh, cosy!  The Lumberjack wasn't too enthralled to see the fleece had survived the clear out... I mean, you trying to tell me fleece isn't sexy??

The clothes in my drawers are quite boring, but my nicer more interesting clothes (what little I have) are hung in the wardrobe - I guess the next step is to get ruthless in there!

Well, I'm exhausted from writing this long waffley post - perhaps I've included far too much information and no-one is really interested?!  But hey, it's done now!

Oh, and I don't think I mentioned before, but I have a button in my side-bar to follow me via Bloglovin' - or you can click on the link... Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Until next time...

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