Monday, 27 February 2012

maps and geography and quiz questions

This is a bit of a ramble, you may want to come back when you have more time !!!

In school, my favourite subjects were Art, Maths and Geography - in that order. I still do the first, I much prefer suduko to scrabble and I like to look up places in my Atlas (I've still got my school Atlas, but they never account for your fading eyesight when they give you these books, so I use a bigger one now !!).

Some of my blogger friends know this already, but my dear old geezer is the Quizmaster. He loves it - infact, he loves anything where he is out front, entertaining people.
My team are called The Hopefuls - because we always are !

When a Geography question comes up, they always turn to me. Not because I know everything, but because I have travelled a bit, and I do just love it. My worst area is actually UK Geography, which is shameful - but there is a great big world out there and I always wish I could see more of it.

So when I was sorting out all the books recently for the 'Impossibility' challenge, I was so happy to 'find' the maps above. I knew they were somewhere, but I had stashed them behind some books and had forgotten they were there.
There is no better way to live, than being a hoarder - it's like Christmas every time you sort something out !!!

The maps actually came out of National Geographic magazines, that were given to my father, and then to me.  Most of them have gorgeous pictures on the back and historical details.

And the map I really wanted was here too -

My knowledge of US states is pretty rubbish. I know where California is of course (not least because my Uncle lives there), and Washington (Frasier), and New York (been there), and Conneticut (big crush on an American guy when I was 19), and Florida (always wanted to go to the Keys). I have a vague idea about the southern states, and some Eastern States, because of reading Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods, but the rest - well, I feel the need for more knowledge because just about everyone who follows lives in the US.

Quiz Question
If you drove along the US/Canadian border from Washington, through Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota, what State would you come to next ?

Well, I knew the answer, because only a couple of days before, I had looked up where some blogging friends happened to live and my friend Bliss lives in Minnesota, and I had just made a mental note -   'left of the Great lakes and on the border with Canada'.
It was a lucky guess, I hadn't memorised any - but now, NOW I'm going to make a pin board, and pin this map wherever a blogging friend lives.

Don't worry, I'm not a crazy stalker - I won't be knocking on your door !
It's all in the interest of my thirst for Geographical knowledge.

And alongside this map will be the other side of the one below - because I really should know more English Counties.

No doubt in the future, you will see alot of projects here, using some maps. I have found a few inspiring pieces in blogland already. And I would dearly love a map wall, and got really excited when I found these in the pile.

Unfortunately, not a whole set - and ofcourse they are not scaled the same, so they wouldn't join together anyway.

But I might use some of the pictures from the old calendars, because the colours are amazing.

And to my dear European friends - YOU may want to be a little bit concerned, because you are much, much closer, and I don't need a map to pin your whereabouts, so I may be stalking you instead !!!

Friday, 24 February 2012

canvas knock-off

Ok, so I saw this in a local shop. It's not expensive at £9.99, but I didn't lurve it so much that I had to have it, I just like the style. I like the touch of gold on the butterflies, and the blossom. So I thought I would have a go at making one myself.

I have some spare canvas's at home, paint, metal leaf (in a gold colour) and acrylic size (the water based glue that's easy to use) AND something I found when I did my bookshelves in the 'Impossibility Challenge'.

Really, because I hadn't been 'crafting' for a while, I'd forgotten I had this. In fact I have 3 decoupage books, but this is the best because of all the motifs.
My memory tells me that Jocasta Innes was on tv a lot more than Annie Sloan when I was young, but I could be wrong ! 

There are pages and pages inside and I will gladly post them separately (over a period of time of course) if someone would kindly tell me if I should be changing them to a pgf or a abc or a btw sort of a thing - if you know what I mean  (technically challenged and unschooled in the art of all things abbreviated to letters) LOL !!!

And of course - butterflies. The book suggests CUTTING OUT the motifs to use - CRAZY. I won't be doing that. I couldn't bring myself to cut up a book OR waste them by using them only once.

Back to my canvas. I painted two base coats of white, then used the glaze from my stencilling. I  just paint it on and rub it around with a cloth, till I'm happy.

I found a picture of a blossom stencil on the internet and just used it as reference to draw straight onto the canvas. Then I used an old small brush and painted the blossom white. I didn't need it to be accurate, as I just wanted the feel of blossom, not the detail.

I was really happy, it only took 10 minutes and I think that maybe I should have left it like that, because the butterflies didn't go so well.
I copied four from the book, and then traced them onto the canvas and then added some more glaze.

Added some grey.

Then the gold.

I kept playing with them and added a darker grey because I wasn't so happy with them (I have been playing with them for a week or so). Now it's ok.
Straight on like this it works, but I like the way that the butterflies catch the light from certain directions.

It's on the still unfinished 'gallery wall'. And now I look at the shop canvas and I do like it, but mine cost me absolutely nothing and that's the kind of project I like !

Just two more pieces to finish and then I can show you my new gallery wall.

linking up with
Debbiedoos Newbie Party @ Debbiedoos
Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch
Terrific under ten Tuesdays @ At Home With K
Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays @ Coastal Charm
Show me what ya got @ Not Just a Housewife
Wow Us Wednesdays @ Savvy Southern Style
Primp Your Stuff Wednesdays @ {Primp}
Open House Party @ No Minimalist Here
Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage
Inspiration Friday @ At the Picket Fence
Fridays Unfolded @ Stuff and Nonsense
Pot Pourri Friday @ 2805
Weekend wrapup Party @ Tatertots & Jello
Saturday Showoff @ Nutmeg Place
Spotlight Saturday @ Classy Clutter
Sunday's Best @ My 1929 Charmer

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

union jack love

This is the second item to come out of the lean to/workspace/studio. Furniture painted with Union Jacks is a big trend here too - I guess it started because of the recent royal wedding, but it's great to see it being used everywhere in blogland.
Pandy gave me this little table and said it was crying out for a makeover.

I actually decided NOT to paint it white !!! But I did decide to paint a Union Jack on the top and do it slightly 'in' from the edge because there was a natural line, created by the way the table was made.

I didn't take many photos (thank goodness, you're all thinking because your photos are rubbish !), but basically I sanded, put on two coats of primer, then painted the white, red and blue - taping as I went.
I found a great link that told me how to draw out the flag - this was actually a suggestion from the lovely Danielle at Silver Pennies who painted up a great chest of drawers with the Union Jack (she is married to a very cute Brit).

Yes, I distressed it A LOT - I love the old, vintage, distressed, shabby, scruffy, slightly soft round the edges (no, I'm not describing the old geezer !). I added a dark wax, you can see it at the top, before I covered the whole thing. I buffed it, then added a couple of coats of clear wax.

I love it, but maybe not so much, because I am actually going to try and sell it. If I manage to sell a few things then I can actually stay in the 'lean to' a lot more ! And it didn't cost me anything as I had ALL the paint, although I will be giving Pandy a percentage !!!

Linking up with -
Knick of Time Tuesdays @ Knick of Time
Cowgirl Up @ The Farmhouse Porch
Wow Us Wednesdays @ Savvy Southern Style
Primp Your Stuff Wednesdays @ {Primp}
Transformation Thursdays @ The Shabby Creek Cottage
Under $100 Linky Party @ Beyond The Picket Fence
Inspiration Friday @ At the Picket Fence
Pot Pourri Friday @ 2805
Saturday Nite Special @ Funky Junk Interiors
Sunday's Best @ My 1929 Charmer

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

tv cabinet

I've been busy in my new work space/ studio. I am on my third bit of furniture and I'm still working on things for my gallery wall.
The first piece, a tv cabinet has been sitting in our living-room since before Christmas !

I actually missed the one I really wanted, which was pine, chunkier, lower, and had the back corners chopped off, so it would fit into the corner of my room better.
Anyway, this is still a nice shape, and I love the castors and the handles.

Very old fashioned ring-pulls, but I really love them. So I decided to paint it grey and cream, which would tone with my room.

I haven't put it in the right place because the dear old geezer wasn't home when I took the photos. And I can't actually lift our big old beast of a TV. Nor do I have any clue about unplugging all the gadgets etc. so I'll leave all that up to him. For the moment I have just put a computer screen on the top and added the baskets, one of which I will probably keep in there, to hold the remotes.

I think the colour really goes well in here. In fact the little beach junk piece I did a while ago has become the colour inspiration for this room. The warm golds are the colours of my stencilling, and now I'm adding more shades of grey - found in the fabric and the shells.

One last look -

The tv cabinet cost me £30.00 and I had the paint and wax already. I have a 5ltr tin of cream, and I made the grey mixing a charcoal matchpot with the same cream. I love the colour, so I'll be using it some more - it's in a jam jar so that it doesn't dry out !

Linking up with -
Cowgirl Up @ The Farmhouse Porch
Transformation Thursdays @ The Shabby Creek Cottage
Under $100 Linky Party @ Beyond The Picket Fence
Inspiration Friday @ At the Picket Fence
Fridays Unfolded @ Stuff and Nonsense
Pot Pourri Friday @ 2805
Spotlight Saturday @ Classy Clutter
Sunday's Best @ My 1929 Charmer
Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays @ Coastal Charm
Show me what ya got @ Not Just a Housewife

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

my new studio

When I was working on my 'impossible' challenge here and here,  I mentioned that the dear old geezer was doing something else. There was complete method in my madness because he was outside in the cold doing up the 'lean to', while I was inside, and now I have this -

The 'lean to' was leaning to so much that we nearly knocked it down. I think we just decided to give it a go, so he got out there and replaced the window sill and some of the glass that had broken and as soon as my challenge was finished I got out there and caulked and painted everything.

I am now going to show you the before - I hope you don't fall off your seat, as it's bad folks, VERY bad. I apologise if this attacks your delicate sensibilities !!

The corner post had rotted away, so needed to be replaced, and then the back panel put back on. Luckily we really get on with our neighbours, that's their playhouse that you can see at the end, and when it's warmer I will paint their side of the lean to, to !
As you can see, it just became a dumping ground - a sink, a fridge for the old geezer's beer, a filling cabinet (filled with paint), a telescope - used once, and lots of rubbish.

The view into the kitchen now looks a lot better.

We haven't bought any paint at all, just used stuff that we already had. We bought a piece of windowsill £35 and some glass £50 and lots and lots of caulk £12 (I love caulking - it's messy but so fun, and effective for keeping out draughts and spiders !). And I bought some metal brackets at 50p each and just put some tongue and groove boards across them, which were left over from our kitchen.

In time everything will find a proper home, and I will make spaces for all the old geezer's tools (he enjoys leaving them all over the place to make finding them easier - lol).
At the end here, there are the two butchers blocks that we used to have in the kitchen, and next to that is an amazing 6ft by 3ft workbench that Pandy's husband has just given me. It's fantastic - I haven't had a bench this large to work on, since I left college in 1985 !

That's not a 'I love Pandy's husband' mug - it's a 'I love my dog' mug - of course !!!

I've put loads of stuff underneath, that needs painting. It was all over the house, so now the house is a bit tidier too.

The other end of the lean to has the cupboard which houses the washing machine and dryer, and the little window is actually the boiler and coat cupboard.

There's not a great deal of room, but as you can see I've already started on a bit of furniture and in the warmer months I can do larger pieces outside. (No, you definately can't see a bag of mini chocolate eggs next to my mug of tea).
The floor is lino so there is no point in changing that but at some point we will replace the plastic roof as it is a bit dirty and we've cleaned it as best as we can (that's the royal 'we' as the old geezer did it really).

So just another quick look, the before -

and the after -

It's so fantastic just to have a place to leave stuff out - I can just leave it and not have to move it to make way for something else. 
We have also decided to turn my little office upstairs into a very small guest room. We have a great Ikea day bed in the loft, and there will still be space for a little desk, so I can keep paperwork in there.

So, what do you think - I haven't made a pretty craft room, but I have a great space for painting, and hopefully I might be able to refurbish a few pieces and sell them. And we only spent about £100 to do all of this (it would have been less, had the poor old geezer not broken THREE pieces of glass - but don't tell him I told you ).

Sunday's Best @ My 1929 Charmer
Debbiedoos Newbie Party @ Debbiedoos
Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch
Cowgirl Up @ The Farmhouse Porch

Sunday, 12 February 2012

a couple of thank you's

A couple of weeks ago I received two e-mails to say that I was being given the Liebster Blog Award.
It is a charming thing for someone to think of you in this way, but as I had already received the award, I asked if I could just link back to my original post.

So, a belated thank you to the lovely Natalie at Northshore Days who is a very busy crafter and mother of two and who lives in New Zealand and also Kaitlin at the Not So Simple Housewife who's blog I hadn't actually visited before she kindly gave me the award.
The link back is here and here. (I did it across two posts because I was so rubbish at blogging back then).


I also want to say a little thank you to my oldest friend Pandy. She sent me a little valentine present (we have been friends for over 40 years) and of course I opened it straight away (much to her disgust).

It's so cute - she bought it for herself for her own craft room but then realised that she doesn't really do string, but Fee does. Also she's not really into the shabby distressed look - or shabby shit ! as she calls it - hahaha !!! (why she bought it in the first place, I really don't know, although she does collect hearts). She did the cross stitch, even in my colours, not the pink that came with it and I have found the perfect place for it in my kitchen.

The chocolate heart was eaten about two seconds after I took the photo - lol !!!

Thanks Pandy xxx

Saturday, 11 February 2012

love is

when you're walking your dog near the seafront with your dear old geezer
and you stop to talk to another dog owner
on the grass
then you turn and see your dear old geezer stumbling across
the large pebbles on the beach
even though this really hurts his severely arthritic knees
and you call out to him
'hey, what are you doing over there'
and he calls back and says
'looking for driftwood for you' !!!

that's gotta be love hasn't it ?


linking upwith
Inspiration Friday @ At the Picket Fence
Fridays Unfolded @ Stuff and Nonsense
Pot Pourri Friday @ 2805
Home Sweet Home @ The Charm of Home
Saturday Nite Special @ funky junk interiors
Spotlight Saturday @ Classy Clutter
Sunday's Best @ My 1929 Charmer
Rock 'N Share @ The Shady Porch
Debbiedoos Newbie Party @ Debbiedoos
What's It Wednesdays @ Ivy and Elephants