Tuesday, 3 March 2015

I've had a smashing time

When I showed you my hall that I wanted to makeover, I mentioned disliking the grille on this radiator cover.

It was sandwiched inside the mdf frame, so the easiest way to get it out was to smash it out.

Truly, smashing things up is very therapeutic, as long as you don't get carried away and destroy the thing you want to save.........which I did...........almost.

I wanted to use chicken wire as I have some left over from this project. I tried to push it into the gap where the grille had been but it was a bit of a nightmare, so in the end I filled the gap with caulk, painted the radiator cover white and then stapled the chicken wire on the back.
I tried two fabrics behind the chicken wire, but the darker hessian (burlap) with the more open weave definitely looked better, and it's half the price at £2.99 a metre (you'll probably see some burlap cushions here sometime as I have some left over).

So here is my newly made over radiator cover........and I love it.

And I do love the old paint splattered floorboards as they are, but I had to paint them white so that the hall would look wider.........or was it because even I can't cope with that much shabbiness.

The hall ? it's nearly...........nearly all done.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

spot the difference

I love those competitions in magazines and newspapers where they put two (almost identical) photos side by side and then ask you to identify a number of differences to win a prize, I love the challenge and I love looking at details.

Here are some small changes I made in the kitchen, can you spot the differences ?

First I just swapped something round because I was always unhappy with the position of one thing.

You might notice it a bit better in the picture below.

Then I decided something needed painting because although I love all the wooden touches, one of the items is practical but not very pretty.

You can see it better here, where you can also see my new black kettle. Chronologically this all happened before I painted blackboard walls in my hall and loo. The desire to paint things black had been growing in me for quite sometime, so I started small and it grew and I think it's still growing.

Something very large also took place, can you see it ?

Now I'm sorry but there aren't any prizes for noticing the changes.
I really disliked the vintage black scales on the windowsill, somehow they looked out of place, moving them onto the microwave seemed to work much better.
The knife block was old and tatty, so I painted it black and that's when I decided to get a new black kettle................the old one always spilled when it poured so it was time for a new one anyway.

The biggest change was a new window........yes ok, there is more frame with the new upvc window than there was with the wooden one, but I hated all the tattiness of the old wooden frame, you can't really see it but trust me it was very untidy. The new white frame looks much nicer and cleaner.

Luckily I dissuaded the salesman and the surveyor from trying to persuade me to have a central bar down the middle of the window (giving me two large windows whose handles I could reach). No, I can't reach the top windows without jumping up on the side, but when I'm old I'll get a pair of steps out coz nothing is going to spoil the view of my garden...............

and I'll still be here when I'm old because I'll be paying for the window for the rest of my life anyway !!!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

the Barrista, the Palaeontologist and the Hobbit

Someone I used to work with years ago, would often say 'change is not a good thing'.
I would always disagree........vehemently. Change is good, change means that life is moving forward, we all need to adapt to change because the world is ever evolving, ever changing.

The only changes I don't like are those where people move on, when they move out of my life.

Last September my favourite barrista Harvey moved on, moved to London to study music, left his Saturday shift at the café and left me bereft of the one person that could always put a smile on my face (and on the faces of many a young lady that visited the café !).
Harvey is caring, polite, clever, a complete one-off, gorgeous inside and out and a credit to his parents, and I miss him.

I encouraged his departure, I told him he should move away to study, even though there was a very good music course in our own town. I encouraged him, because I wanted him to broaden his horizons. I encouraged him because if you care about someone you want what's best for them (I'm not under the delusion that I had any sway in his decision), and so he left.

Parting was very sad for me, slightly amusing for him.
Saturdays just aren't the same.

David also left..........in November.

The prolific, grumpy old artist who worked next to the café had long talked of giving up his studio and moving away, moving somewhere quieter where there would hopefully be less chattering females, noisy children and yapping dogs.

He gave me a parting gift, a painting I had admired, he called it The Palaeontologist.

I love it, it reminds me of him. You can see the similarity between the man pulling the giant skull and the self portrait he drew on the front of the envelope of the Christmas card he sent us. Also he's moved from the South Coast to the quieter and more rugged north Norfolk Coast, and I could never imagine him away from a beach.

It's a miniature.

He gave me another gift.

We had been to see the first two Hobbit movies together but he knew he was moving away before the third film came out, so he made me a little version of himself that I could take to the cinema with me. I call him my David Hobbit.

He's also miniature, a miniature Hobbit with a white beard and an artists jacket covered in paint.

I miss David too, he was a friend and ally that I had known long before I started working at the café. He said I wouldn't miss him, but I told him I'd miss his grumpy face every morning, he laughed and kissed me goodbye (I think I could have been his 5th wife, should I have so desired !!!)

Whether I will ever see the palaeontologist again, I don't know. We've joked about getting a coach load of people together and going to visit him (officially he's given no-one his address, but he did draw it for us !) something I think he would hate and love in equal measure, but either way I'm sure the change is doing him good.

As for the barrista, he came back at Christmas and did a few shifts at the café.......... it was great, like old times. It also made me wonder why I had had such an adverse reaction to his departure; after all London isn't very far away and though his life will change and move on I'm sure he'll often be back to visit.

And my David Hobbit............well although my life may change, at least he'll never move on..............anyway, he's got to stick around for a bit, we haven't seen the movie yet !

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

updating the gallery wall and milk paint

Sorry if this post is very similar to a post I posted recently, you might have a slight case of deja vu !

Some time ago CJ at Juniper & Roses sent me some samples of MMS milk paint. She has become a salesperson over here and uses the paints with great skill (just take a look at her header, I wish I owned the plan chest).

I had always wanted the two large dark frames on the gallery wall to be painted a light colour, perfect for trying out the Ironstone sample. I also realised that I could probably squeeze a few extra things in on the right because the gallery wall wasn't quite central to the sofa (and I don't need much of an excuse to put more things on the wall).

I bought the frames years ago in a flea market in Brighton and got glass cut for them and put Klimt pictures in them.

They have no varnish, so were perfect for milk paint.

The milk paint didn't mix very easily and I got a few lumps but the lumps painted out. It also did exactly what it said it would, it stuck, because the frame wasn't sealed at all, so I used a scraper to get a more distressed look.

I didn't use the rest of the paint on the other frame, I used it on something very non-porous and shiny, a plastic coated basket, just to see the difference. It flaked off really well, in fact it was hard to get the paint to stick but I did it a couple of times and varnished it once I was happy with it.
The basket became a shelf in my bathroom, with a bit of wood pushed through the bottom, and although I originally put the toothbrushes here, my brother found it all a bit precarious, so I had to find another solution.
Anyway, I digress.
I used a matchpot on the other frame and distressed it, then stuck a map of Worcestershire to the back of the glass and discarded the back of the frame because I really like the 'floating' look.

Also, I love the look of hand-tinted prints, as this is.

So, the additions.
I got a No. 9 (I felt at the time that I chose it randomly but actually my birthday is on the 9th - doh !) covered it in a map of the Middle East, but didn't like the clean look, so I touched the edges with an ink pad, then sanded the whole thing gently, and it looked much better.
I put up my little green head, the one I wrote about here, that Cheryl in Wisconsin had inspired me to fix.
Then found a frame that was the right width and left it like that for a considerable amount of time.

It needed something else but I didn't want another small thing on the wall under the gold frame, so I moved everything down a bit, added white coral to the opening in the top of the green head to fill one gap and used the top of the gold frame like a shelf and put a favourite card on it.

While looking for Christmas presents, I found a little piece to put in the frame, a little glass 'thing' with the quote 'Fashion fades, only style remains the same' Coco Chanel.

Finally, it's finished and I really need to leave this part of the room alone and go do something else.

I definitely prefer the gallery wall without the dark frames, everything seems more mellow.
I managed to paint a whole chair for work with the MMS Tricycle sample, though I had to thin it down to make it cover, but yes, if you're wondering, I would use MMS milk paint again, I'd just buy one of those mini whisks for mixing.
THANKS for my samples CJ, I told you I'd do a post one day xx

Monday, 19 January 2015

the WC before and after

Recently I had ten days off work and without the where withal (or perhaps the inclination) to go away anywhere, I chose to spend my time in the water closet, the WC, the loo, the lav, the littlest room !

Regulars here will know that I decided to decorate the hall, stairs and landing just before Christmas.
Well it's almost done, apart from the floor. In fact it was all almost done before Christmas.................apart from the floor.
I'm procrastinating.
Bending down, sitting cross-legged on the floor, kneeling.....it all hurts, so I diverted my attention to the WC.

I'll show you part of the hall first, the chalkboard wall. The hall is so narrow that I couldn't stand back and get a better shot.

I've had blackboard envy for a considerable amount of time, and when I did this (and my friends wrote over it and the neighbours children drew all over it) I loved it so much, that I decided to paint the loo walls (and ceiling) black too.

I also took up the carpet and painted the panelling and door frame in brilliant white.
I seasoned the blackboard paint with chalk.
I've always loved this picture that I put on my Pinterest board Wall Displays, where a collection of cameras is highlighted by putting them against blackboard walls and I realised that if I had some blackboard walls of my own, I could try and replicate it a little.
I have loads of framed photos of friends and family, but they were in the ex old geezers loft, so I got them back and painted and distressed most of the frames with black and graphite, leaving a few gold ones in their original state.
I went through a massive trunk full of photos (an afternoon that was spent reminiscing) and found some more and painted yet more frames.

And now I have a blackboard photo gallery in the WC, with names of friends and dates of days gone by, memories of travels in far off places, and memories of family also gone but not forgotten.

The ceiling worked out way better than I imagined, when I found the perfect quote to wind round the light.

From quiet homes and small beginning
out to the undiscovered end
There's nothing worth the wear of winning
but laughter and the love of friends
- Hilaire Belloc
At face value it seems to fit because I wanted the words to spiral out to the ends, and I've been to the 'ends' of the earth, and also the water closet is all about friends, but I think it's a great quote with a great meaning.

As you can see I painted the floor white, but this is the only section I've done, so that it would be photo worthy.

I had no plans for putting up the pictures, I didn't lay them on the floor, I just put my favourite photos on either side at eye level and just let the gallery grow randomly.

I don't really like pictures of myself but this one I can cope with. It was 25 years ago exactly that I went on an amazing overland trip from London to Kathmandu and the best thing about visiting the Taj Mahal was that we were the first people there at 6am and we had it to ourselves at first and you have to take your shoes off, so walking on the cool white marble made it even more special.

I've been spending a lot of time in the water closet, and now you know why.
linking up with
Make it pretty Monday @ The Dedicated House
Show and Share @ Coastal Charm
Inspire Me Tuesday @ A Stroll Thru Life
Wow Us Wednesdays @ Savvy Southern Style
Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage
Silver Pennies Sundays Link Party @ Silver Pennies