Sunday, 22 July 2012

my best friend

This is a little tribute to my bff.
It's her birthday today and the last year or so hasn't been easy for her, and yet she keeps thinking of me, and helping me out and visiting and really, I could never thank Pandy enough for all the things her, and her family have done for me over the years.

We met at nursey school when we were 5.

We then both went to St. Hilary's School, Sevenoaks. And even though we were in different classes, we would see a lot of each other at weekends.

When my mother was very ill (I was 11 or 12), I went to live with her family for a few months.
One day, when her mother was dropping us off at school, she handed us our bags from the boot of the car and said - here you go Andy Pandy (for Amanda) and Oni Poni (for Fiona).

I have called Amanda Pandy ever since (some of you will have heard this name often around here), and what I love is that only I call her Pandy.

I think it's quite fortunate that I don't get called Poni ! - to Amanda and her family I am Fee Fee.

We have lived very different lives. After school, I went to Art College and Amanda went to Finishing School, to learn manners and etiquette, though from the stories she told me, it sounded like one big party !
She got finished off good and proper, as she knows what knife and fork to use and has a great appreciation of alcoholic beverages, especially dry white wine !

We sometimes haven't seen each other for a year at a time, and when I went travelling it was Pandy's parents who told me that if I wanted to come home, at any time, they would pay for the flight.
I went for a year and a half, and never made the call, but it was Pandy who I saw first, when I got home.

Pandy's style is so different to mine - you won't find any shabby shit (her phrase, not mine) in her house, but our common interest has always been interiors.

This is Pandy's dining room.

This is mine.....................

Hmmmm,  It's a work in progress, as is the living-room -

Whereas, this is where Pandy and her family entertain !

Yup, our lives have been very different, but we have always been the best of friends. Pandy thinks we'll end up living together in our twilight years. She thinks we'll be like the Ladies in Lavender - a British film about two sisters who live by the sea in Cornwall. The Maggie Smith character is rather domineering and bossy and the Judi Dench character is rather daft and dreamy. 
We haven't quite decided who will be who, as we both tend to drift between both of these descriptions. However, I am rather bossy, and I'm convinced that Pandy's favourite tipple will take it's toll eventually !!

Pandy and her mother are especially generous with gifts as well, and I was going to show you the amazing presents I've had (not just on birthdays), but I've run out of time, and I want to post this.
If I need something, they do their best to find me it, and if I like something - they find me that too.

I was recently given six amazing dining-room chairs, a printer's block tray (I've wanted one for years), a gorgeous glass jar for my kitchen.
Over the years I've had furniture, a dryer, curtain fabrics, a chandelier, a bathroom suite - the list is endless.

My life is better for having a best friend like Pandy - not because I've received amazing things, but because she knows me better than I know myself sometimes. She understands me, she listens and she doesn't judge. She would do anything for me and she is the most loyal person I know. 

Thank you honey, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

The last time we made an effort, on her sons 18th birthday in April this year - not quite yet over the hill !

Friday, 13 July 2012

summertime fun !

A good blogger friend and some of her buddies are having a 'hot fun in the summertime' every Friday in July party.
Well, there's a bit of sun, a lot of rain and loads of strong winds here on the South Coast of England this summer - it doesn't really feel like one could have some 'hot fun' !
I AM having a different sort of fun however, in my mini guest room and on the windy beach !

Two weeks ago I was walking my dog past Coast Cafe and started chatting to a friend who works from one of the artists studios nearby. I told him I really needed a job and he said I should ask next door.

I told him I really didn't want to work in a cafe again, having run our own for four years and knowing how hard the work is (btw, this pic was taken in April when we had some sun!).

About 5 hours later the same day, the cafe owner phoned - the sous chef had quit that day and they needed someone immediately.
Well, I needed a job, so I said yes ! I went and learnt part of the menu the next day, a Friday, then cooked on the Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday on my own because the head chef had four days off and the owner had to take his daughter to France !
Obviously I survived (so did the customers, luckily), the weekend was really busy and on the Monday and Tuesday I started cooking the whole menu.
I've been there two weeks and really enjoy it - the owner is so laid back he's almost horizontal. When I'm there it feels like it's my cafe, I cook, serve, clear up, clean, chat and at the end of the day I have none of the worries about staff, wages, accounts etc.

I like being busy and have a (small) weekly wage. I don't miss working on other peoples homes, driving miles every day and not knowing when the next job is going to come !

I love having three days a week to do my own stuff. Like this chair, (my summer fun)

which turned out like this after some AS Off White, some distressing with a wet cloth and my largest fabric remnant.

I'm so lucky that I had a large enough piece so that I could centralise the pattern.

I bought two chairs in a charity shop before Christmas, and thought I would keep the other one because it had barley twist legs, but actually I prefer this one, I love the wavy spindles.

Then I played with a cushion I had. I added eyelets to the sides ( I have eyelet love, since doing this) and some ribbon, and then I can't decide about the extra piece of applique. I printed it using a design I got here, some special paper I got here and our inkjet printer, and added some stain from a tea bag.
The eyelets have actually pulled out, so I need to work on that, but I like the idea - so is it yay or nay to the extra piece ?

I do hope you're all having fun too, whatever the weather, that's what summer is all about. 

And if I don't stop by your place for a couple of days, I apologise.
If I arrive late at the party, I apologise for that too.
I'm never going to be a big blogger (though you could call me a big something else !)
I love to get inspirations, but I don't have aspirations for my blog, sometimes I just wanna sit
and watch the telly, and after working in the cafe all day, that's gonna happen more than usual !

sharing my not-so-hot-summer-fun with

Saturday, 7 July 2012

the pelmet for my guest room

There are no curtains in this house except in the old geezer's daughter's room.
Why ?
I'm not sure, it just doesn't seem right somehow. The rooms are small, and we have a lot of stuff, curtains would just clutter up the space even more.
We have venetian blinds at all of the windows and in my mind they are gorgeous white shutters (I dream good) !!

In my mini guest room I felt like I needed a pelmet, and I had these remnants, that match the bed cover.

The piece on the right is enough to cover a chair seat, so I worked with the three pieces on the left, and created this.

I wanted a very simple swag, nothing too grand. 
As I only had a little bit of the printed fabric, I used it as part of the lining, combining it with some Laura Ashley fabric, which has a woven leaf design.

I sewed the three pieces together, then attached a piece of the leaf fabric, along the longest edge to make the lining.

I cut a piece the same size (in the leaf fabric) for the front. I think it was about 56" (the width of the fabric), by 15" in total.

Then I sewed them right sides together, sandwiching the bobble fringe in the middle. This one comes with the bobbles attached to a braid that I like to hide apart from the tiny scalloped edge. You can just see it in the picture below.

The bobbles are perfect for a pelmet or curtain.
If I'm doing a cushion, I use a string of bobbles with no braid. You just sew them on by hand between each bobble, as below. Both of these trims were bought from an amazing shop in London V V Rouleaux.

Back to the pelmet - we had a baton on the wall, so I put sticky velcro on it, and attached the other side to the top of the pelmet. I just used a hot glue gun, as I didn't have any of the sew on type. The velcro is strong enough to hold the pelmet up.
Then I cut up two old tie backs. I stapled one side of the cord under the pelmet, made sure the tassel hung straight, then tied the two ends at the top, stapled and cut off the excess.

I pulled it up enough to be able to see the lining and tucked the ends in and voila !

I'm so happy with it, but as usual, it looks better in real life that in my photos. Perhaps it'll look better when I can show you the whole room.
What's really great though is that I had everything already, so there was zero cost !

Thanks for stopping by - Fiona x  

linking up with -

Tuesdays Treasures @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays @ Coastal Charm
Cowgirl Up @ The Farmhouse Porch
Knick of Time Tuesdays @ Knick of Time
What's It Wednesday @ Ivy and Elephants
Wow Us Wednesdays @ Savvy Southern Style
Primp Your Stuff Wednesdays @ {Primp}
All Star Block Party @ Full Circle Creations
Open House Party @ No Minimalist Here
Link Party Thursday @ Somewhat Simple
Inspiration Friday @ At the Picket Fence
Frugal Friday @ The Shabby Nest
Air Your Laundry (Friday Textile Party) @ Freckled Laundry
Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage
Vintage Inspiration Friday @ Common Ground

Sunday's Best @ My 1929 Charmer
Sunday Showcase Party @ Under The Table and Dreaming

Monday, 2 July 2012

empty frame love (mini guest room post #2)

Before blogging, I wasn't really aware of the possibilities of empty frames.

More often than not I was looking for pictures and prints to go in the frames I had, rather than thinking of alternative ways to use them.

The most inspirational picture I found is this one from my dear friend Olga's (originally from Houzz ).

I love the frames pushed up against each other. It's so effective, it looks like a single piece of artwork.

I was also inspired by other things being framed, especially plates, and so I came up with this !

The frames were all given to me except the one on the bottom left, which I found for £1. The middle one is really good quality. The top two are pretty good, whereas the bottom frames are really cheap, but I like the different golds and finishes. 

I've had everything else for years. The corbels are from TKMaxx. The little mirror is from Spain and the black scraperboard I did when I was young. You can still see the grid which I drew to help me mark it out.
It was just a test piece - I never scraped a board again.

My grandmother is sitting in the middle of the front row in a photo from her schooldays.

The sauce boat is Spode's Fleur-de-Lys.

The prints are just stuck on canvases which I painted and aged. 

The piece at the top was also from TKMaxx, and I recently gilded it. Sorry, no tutorial, I was impatient. When I first did it, the gold was a bit garish. I painted grey all over it to give it that antique, dusty finish and now I'm pretty pleased with it.

The whole cost of this open framed gallery piece - £2 ! 
Not bad huh !!

I've just finished a pelmet for the window, and I'm currently doing up a chair, so more mini guest room posts to follow.

Linking up with
Tuesdays Treasures @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays @ Coastal Charm
Cowgirl Up @ The Farmhouse Porch
Knick of Time Tuesdays @ Knick of Time
What's It Wednesday @ Ivy and Elephants
Wow Us Wednesdays @ Savvy Southern Style
Primp Your Stuff Wednesdays @ {Primp}
All Star Block Party @ Full Circle Creations
Open House Party @ No Minimalist Here
Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage
Vintage Inspiration Friday @ Common Ground
Frugal Friday @ The Shabby Nest

Sunday's Best @ My 1929 Charmer
Sunday Showcase Party @ Under The Table and Dreaming