Sunday, 19 October 2014

Craft Room: Sneak Peek!

Thanks for the lovely comments on the Mini Christmas Sacks in my last post.  I planned to make some more and try out a little something with them, but I've not had chance yet.  (This is why I have to strike while the iron is hot with some ideas, or else I lose momentum or interest!)

And... I've been meaning to say thanks for all the comments on my console table post.  There were such lovely kind messages, not to mention the ones about the Lumberjack which really made me laugh!  I had to keep scampering over to him to read out the latest comment - I think he enjoyed them... ;o)

Ok... so the craft room has been a work in progress for ages.  I've been wanting to get it sorted and show you around, but it's an absolute tip - I am an animal.


One thing that finally happened recently, though, is the addition of the above shelf.  I had bought a cheap unfinished pine shelf from Homebase that cost £5.99.


As you can see from the picture, I bought it a few months ago, when the sun was shining and the flowers blooming!  The day of the picture I primed it.  Then it sat for ages, abandoned and unloved, wondering what it had done wrong... before I eventually got round to spray painting it a couple of weeks ago.

For some reason I was nervous of spray painting, but it turned out to be easy.  I used Montana Gold in Malachite Light.  I've had this for 1.5 to 2 years, but this is the first time I've used it!  I don't have much experience of other spray paints, but I'd say that this went on well and gave good coverage and what seems to be a tough finish.


Once I got started, I was on a roll and sprayed a few other things while I was at it.  A couple of jar lids for buttons...


And a cream butterfly hook that had been hanging around (pardon the pun!) for a while...


It was good to get the shelf up and some bits in place.  My Greengate clock goes perfectly with the colour.  It was originally bought for the bedroom, but as the ticking drove us mad it got kicked out into the craftroom!  I love the birdhouse, which was a present from my brother and sister-in-law last year.  (I'm afraid the birds can't use it - it's all for me!)


You can see above that the shelf had a knot in it.  I could have spent time filling and sanding so that it wasn't noticeable, but I thought it added character (ahem, or could it be I was too lazy???)  The shelf was unfinished, so a bit rough and ready, but that's what you get for less than £6.  I wasn't sure how my spray-painting adventure was going to go, so didn't want to waste too much money!


Overall, I'm very pleased with it!  I love the colour, and it adds a good bit of pretty storage.


Here it is in situ... a strangely angled picture, almost as if someone were trying to avoid capturing copious piles of crap and clutter in the shot, whilst showing off the few pretty bits and bobs!  (Excuse the poor light too, it's tricky snapping straight into the light from the window.)

Now... I really must tidy up that room so I can show you more!


Friday, 10 October 2014

Crochet Christmas Sacks

I know it's only October, but when inspiration strikes, you've got to go with it!

I've become addicted to making these cute little crochet Christmas sacks.



It all started with Sandra's egg cosies.  (Yes, more inspiration from her lovely blog!)  As soon as I saw them, I thought they would make great little Christmas sacks, so I tweaked the pattern to give them a base.



Very simple...

I've used DK yarn and a size 4 hook.  (To convert to UK terms each dc is a treble.)

ROUND 1:  ch 2 then 8 dc into the 2nd chain from the hook, sl st to join [8 st]
ROUND 2:  ch 3, then 1 dc into same st, 2 dc into next 7 stitches, sl st to join [16 st]
ROUND 3:  ch 3, then 1 dc into same st, 2 dc into next 15 stitches, sl st to join [32 st]

You then have 32 stitches to work into, so can revert back to Sandra's pattern, which starts with a 32 stitch chain.

They are so quick and easy to make.  They must be as I've made more than one of them - nearly unheard of!



The colours I've used are:

Stylecraft Special DK: Lipstick
Stylecraft Special DK: Spring Green
A random white DK I had

I like the fresher look the light green gives, rather than using a traditional dark green.  My favourite is the one with stripes in all three colours - but of course that was the slowest one to make... the more colours, the more ends to sew in!

So... you may ask (as the Lumberjack did), what are they for??  Well, I think they'll make great little Christmas favours, filled with a few sweets.  They could go on the Christmas table, or make a loop and hang them on the tree.  I've got another idea, but I need to see if it works - if so, I'll be sure to show you!

Go on, give them a go - quick, easy and fun!


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 eframe.co.uk.  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

Magnets!

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!


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