Wednesday, 15 April 2015

garden tales # 1

Once upon a time I lived in my house with a man called Alan and our back garden looked like this. I did the planting and Alan did the weeding and kept the lawn neat and tidy, it was a great place to spend a sunny day.

Needless to say, my tenants didn't look after the garden quite so well, and when I moved back here, the garden looked like this (you might spy my brother behind a bush), with a rockery, large flower bed, lawn and raised patio at the back.

On the right, just in front of the kitchen window is a gravel area and then a small pond.
The white wrought iron furniture got moved (one chair sits in the front garden) because it's not quite my cup of tea, but it was free.

This was the view then, back to the house.

And after a lot of weeding.

I had to stake the Arum Lily last year as it grew so big (due to no frost the winter before that), at one point I counted 38 flowers. What's wonderful is that it flowers for months and months, unlike the Australian Bottlebrush that unfortunately doesn't flower for very long.

I tidied up the area round the pond too and half buried a terracotta pot amongst the rocks with another smaller one inside it. There's a sort of potting bench area to the right, but I'll save that for another day as it needs a lot of work.

Unfortunately the Saxifrage to the left of the terracotta pot didn't survive, and it's one of my favourite plants along with Armeria.

My absolute favourite though is Agapanthus, and I have quite a few in the garden. The large clump on the left has been there for years; I'm trying to fill up the rest of the flower bed so you can't see any earth, so far there are a few Lavender plants, a Hellebore and a Ceanothus, and of course the Bluebells that are starting to flower now but die back before summer.

The Agapanthus are a little shaded by the Acer tree here, hence them straining to find the sun.

I divided the plant in the pot below early last year and now have Agapanthus in about six different places, though they didn't flower last summer so fingers crossed for this year.
This is the raised back patio with the strange zig zag edging which I'm not very fond of - I have an idea to disguise it, it's on the never ending list.
This picture is also for Maureen, who asked to see my Bay tree. It self seeded in a tiny spot behind a pine tree that we cut down and when I moved back here it had grown............somewhat.
There is so much I want to do in the garden, but I think it'll take a few years, especially as my house takes priority, but I just found out that I can have some reclaimed wood to change the path and make it wider and then I want to have some more paved areas......................
I really should get my brother onto it, as he used to lay paving for a living !

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Ta da !!

Here it is, my hall, stairs and landing all finished.

I painted all the wood work white, including the floor. Then there's the blackboard wall on the left that I showed you after Christmas. The rest of the walls are painted in a grey I mixed myself (from some white and about ten old tins in the shed) and once again based on Farrow and Ball's Lamp Room Grey (I did a lighter version in my bathroom). On the right is the radiator cover that got a new grille and beyond the mirror, the wall display that I showed you in the last post.

Then there are the stairs, whoever thought of dressing up stair risers first, thank you, thank you, thank you.

I nearly went with the words from a poem or song, and have you seen the ones painted to look like books, there are so many fun ways to decorate stair risers; but after finding the Chinese dogs (on the radiator cover) in TKMaxx, I knew I wanted some bright turquoise blue's, so I chose maps showing a lot of sea.

I've had the maps for years and years, in fact I wrote about them here. I'm so happy that I'm a hoarder and that after over 30 years of holding onto them, I was able to put them to good use.

I decided the chalkboard wall needed a map too and did one of the world and wrote a couple of paragraphs from Moby Dick around it, which was once again inspired by something I'd pinned.

Apologies if you live on an island or a peninsula somewhere, I couldn't get in every detail of every continent !

The mirror got a makeover too, some turquoise paint, then black paint washed back a little to allow the original gold to show through.

Between the Chinese dogs, there are two pots filled with driftwood and moss, then a basket with book boxes, to hold the items one needs to take a dog for a walk (sorry if I've just lowered the tone of this post haha).

Rufie's leads are back on the end of the newly made over rad cover (he's hanging around because it's his dinner time).

I like the fact they're hardly visible from the other end of the room and no-one notices them when they come in the door.

I kept the doormat that's fitted to the front of the hall, but I'm looking for an old Persian runner rug in deep reds to pick out the red in the stained glass, because although my brother and I can take our shoes off, my little't, and that white floor won't be white for much longer.

The landing looks refreshed with the new grey walls and white woodwork but I've got a few projects to do up here, to make it more interesting.

The large mirror is going to get a makeover and then I have a few ideas for the wall between the guest room and my room. Also as you can see, there is one step up to the landing that runs to my bedroom so I'm still contemplating adding a map to it as well.

This area looks very dark but normally I don't shut my bedroom door, it's just that it's not photo worthy. The white thing sticking out on the left is the loft hatch which is permanently down because my brother has the whole of the loft as his bedroom.

Ok, I guess you can have a proper look, it's all quite plain for me isn't it.

And now, I guess I really should go and give Rufie his dinner, he's been patient enough, but I'll leave you with some before and after shots.


Yes, my hall is definitely darker, but personally I love the drama, it's just so much more interesting than before.

linking up with
Inspire Me Monday @ Sand and Sisal
Show and Share @ Coastal Charm
Inspire Me Tuesday @ A Stroll Thru Life
Before and After Wednesday @ The Dedicated House
Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage

Saturday, 21 March 2015

more dust collectors (and a peak at my hall)

My bf gave me a couple of cutlery trays last year and I immediately knew how I wanted to use them.
I had seen an idea somewhere on Pinterest that used cutlery trays as shelving, and you know me, I love to display stuff and I love to dust...............not !
I looked out two other pieces that she had given me before (more dust collectors), an old drawer turned into a box frame for dried flowers, and a piece originally used as a tea caddy.

I used Rustoleum chalk paint in Graphite on all four pieces and papers from the collection below.

I painted the tea caddy inside and out and waxed it and added various pictures.

The old drawer needed a bit more work, I couldn't get the didn't have the patience to get the inside completely clean so I painted it and left the outside as it was.

You might recognise a very familiar graphic.

The cutlery trays also got a lick of paint on the inside only. I love the graphite when it's waxed but didn't want to lose all of the wood look.

I used different papers on each piece, but as they're going to be full of beach finds I tried to use naturalistic pictures that included birds, bugs and butterflies.

Then I hung them all outside the dining room door, a wall that had been crying out for something for a long time.

On their own, the four dust collectors shelving units didn't fill the space enough, so I added a piece of flat driftwood.

I didn't want to do the same thing to the driftwood that I'd done before but remembered a piece of rusty wire and fixings from the back of an old frame that I'd stashed away.

Both the wood and the wire were the perfect size to make a sort of pin board for postcards and photos, using miniature pegs.

So far I've styled the shelves with items from my ever burgeoning stash of beach junk, but there's room for lots more.

So, you've had a sneak peak at my hall, with the grey walls, and white panelling and next time I'll post the big reveal, and I might even do a little bit of dusting before then !