Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Food and Flowers

Lately, on the home front there have been....

:: Shepherd's Pies that were equally enjoyed by the children, John and I, and my eighty eight year old Granddad.

:: blackberry and apple pies with pastry that sunk and shrunk but still tasted so good.

:: overflowing jam tarts

:: fresh batches of homemade chocolate granola

:: organised Sunday cooking, in the form of bulgar wheat salad for my work lunches during the week

:: Blondies, made by Bella - soft and chewy and as tasty as you would expect something that contains a full pack of butter and 250g white chocolate to be. 

:: frustrating unravelling of rows of crochet due to missing one stitch (I blame my distracted, rushed crochet while the kids are at their swimming lessons....)

:: the antidote - pleasing, soothing crochet in the form of a border for this blanket

:: grape hyacinths which grow abundantly in the front garden, picked and placed in a vase on my bedside table

:: thoughts that maybe I've had enough of the green wall and perhaps it's time for a change

:: thoughts that really our porch/lobby is a waste of time since all we do is store shoes in there, and wouldn't it be better if we just removed the internal door and window to make the whole hallway so much brighter and bigger.... (Me - yes, John - no)

That's what is going on around here at the moment; a lot of cooking, some flowers, a little crochet and always, always, thoughts and conversations about the house, and the next decorating project, and what we could do improve the space we have and make it work better for us. When I say conversations, I mean I talk a lot and wave pictures from Pinterest on my phone under John's nose, and he says things like "We can't afford it", "Gill, I don't think you realise what a massive job that would be", and "If we do that we'll have to replace the floor..."  Undeterred, I persevere. Is it the same in your home?

Talk of knocking down walls aside, it's not really feeling very spring-like here at the moment. In fact, it's pretty cold. John had to scrape ice off the car this morning and I needed gloves on my morning dog walk. I desperately need to spend some time in our poor garden. I was going to tackle it last weekend, I was, but it was really windy so I sat inside with coffee and a magazine instead.

 Thank you all so, so much for your lovely comments on Angus's bedroom. I'm really glad you like it too. I hope spring arrives soon for everyone.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Room Tour: Angus's Bedroom

I have absolutely loved this decorating project for all sorts of reasons; it's a nice room with loads of storage which makes everything easier, it's bright, I love the colours, and Angus just let me get on with it. As long as I incorporated his favourite things - badgers, books, forests, nature - he was happy for me to do my thing. Questions were met with shrugs, nods or head shakes. 

One of my favourite things about the room is how the painted bed turned out. I love how with a bit of sanding and painting it looks so much better than it did before and only cost me the price of the tin of paint. The hand-stamped bedding was time consuming to make, but worth the effort and washes really well. The yellow cushion is one I've had for some time, moved from it's home in the living room.

My other favourite part is the gallery wall above the bed. I was going for a sort of monochrome nature/forest theme but added two handmade embroidery hoops to stop it all looking too boring. The garland above I made with felt balls strung on white cotton thread.

The new-to-us carpet makes a huge difference to the room. It's warmer and softer than the one we removed and the light brown colour stops the space feeling too chilly. I was also very excited when I remembered that I had my Dad's old vintage anglepoise lamp in the garage and that it still works, and it looks great on Angus's bedside table.

The blind was already there but I decorated it with black fabric paint and a potato stamp. I was unsure about this at first but it's grown on me and I love it now.

The bookcase works much better in this new position and gives Angus more floor space for playing. 

There is a little space at the side, just perfect for beanbag. I've seen a pattern for a crocheted one which I really like.

His desk also works much better in it's new position, in an alcove under a wall light. I've noticed that Angus sits here much more now than he did before.

I made this wall hanging from some wool felt and a thin baton of wood. I'd seen similar things on trendy children's websites and thought it would be pretty easy to make something of my own.

Unfortunately, the original IKEA chest of drawers - already damaged when we moved house - fell to pieces when we tried to move it so we had to buy a new one. It's only a cheap white flat-pack one but I enjoyed personalising it with new handles. And really, I don't think the children necessarily need investment, high quality furniture in their rooms. It takes such a battering, and they change their needs so frequently. I'd rather save up for a good sofa, say, or dining room table. 

The black and white basket used to live in our hallway but I think it works much better in here as toy storage.

I worked really hard to keep the costs as low as possible throughout this project, only buying: the chest of drawers, paint, prints, a couple of frames, a tree rubber stamp, craft supplies and drawer knobs. There was also the cost of fitting the carpet.

I gave the bed, blind and duvet cover a bit of a make-over, and things like the toy basket and bedside lamp I moved from other parts of the house. As much as possible I tried to use something we already had. I have included links at the bottom if anyone wants to know things like paint colours. Thanks so much for all your encouragement and interest in this project. I have promised Bella that we'll do her room over the Easter holidays and something tells me it won't be as easy as Angus's room, partly because it's so small, but mainly because Bella has very clear ideas on what she'd like and very strong opinions, and we don't always see eye to eye...

Thanks also for the advice and sympathy regarding the dog hair situation. It's really cold today so Molly might regret shedding all that fur quite so soon. Enjoy your weekends everyone. 


Useful links:

The walls were painted in plain white emulsion and the bed in slate grey eggshell paint. 
Felt balls and felt for the wall hanging were all bought from Cloud Craft.
Bear print - Seventy Tree
Cabin in the forest print - Little Tea Wagon at Etsy
Phases of the moon print - Etsy 
The rubber tree stamp is from Etsy.
Picture frames and drawer knobs were from Wilko.

Monday, 13 March 2017

I Know It's Spring

I know that Spring has arrived. 

Shall I tell you how I know? Is it the blossom on the trees outside perhaps, or the tulips and hyacinths in my garden? Perhaps it's the jug of daffodils on the kitchen table, or the steadily increasing hours of daylight each day? Or is it the warmth of the sun and the washing drying outside on the line? No, it's none of those things. It's the dog hair. Molly knows it's spring and she is moulting and oh my goodness, it's everywhere. On the floors, sticking to any damp surface in the bathroom, on the carpets. I had smugly - and stupidly - assumed we had the brilliant luck of choosing a dog that didn't really shed a lot of hair. No, not in the spring it would appear. I sincerely hope this is just a phase as I am sweeping and vacuuming daily and wiping everything in sight down with a damp cloth and going slightly mad. Please tell me it will end! 

Dog hair aside, it's all feeling rather lovely and springish out there at the moment. The weather today was glorious and I thoroughly enjoyed my morning walk in the woods with Molly. I came home and hung the washing on the line and sat and drank my coffee with the kitchen door open. I've been buying primulas for the pots on the front door step and have kept a few for the house. They are so pretty. No matter that the rest of the garden is a muddy, disgraceful mess, my front step looks good and so I feel like I'm winning at gardening. 

Our weekend was nice. We took it easy and pottered around at home a lot, cooked nice food, watched films in the evening when the kids were in bed. I finally finished Angus's room and took some photos of it yesterday, when it was looking particularly tidy. Thank you all so much for your comments and enthusiasm for this decorating project - I've really enjoyed it and it's been lovely sharing it with you.

I'll leave you with some photos of Molly joyfully tearing around our back garden with her favourite toy hedgehog. It's wonderful to see the playful side of her personality emerge, to see her behaving more like a family pet and less like a confused wild animal. 

Also - the state of our grass. I know, I know. Between the greyhound and the football it can no longer be called a lawn, just a patch of savaged earth. But I've got a happy dog and kids that love to be outside in the garden whatever the weather so I don't really care. 

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Black and White and Trees

Oh dear, I had a feeling this would happen. Depsite the head of steam I built up with decorating over half term, now that I am back at work it's all slowed down. I keep wanting to get Angus's room finished so that I can share a "ta da!" post with you, but that's a way off yet. 

All the furniture is in place and books and toys back in their homes, but there are pictures to hang and things to make. Details, really, but I won't think of the room as finished until they are done. And I don't know about you, but it's the details I love the most, the tinkering and arranging that happens when the hard work is done.

So, here's a quick update with where I am:

The bed is painted and looking smart. I am very happy with how this turned out. 

The hand-stamped bedding is finished. It took a lot longer than I thought it would but saved me about £60. Also, it really does wash well.

I removed the small metal handles on Angus's chest of drawers and swapped them for some of my own.

They are plain wooden drawer pulls, bought from Wilko, and painted with leftover paint from our dining room wall.

I am gathering together pictures to frame. I did buy two new prints but I'm trying to make do with other things we already have and just refresh them with a new border or frame, most of which have been bought very cheaply from Wilko and IKEA. The temptation to just go and buy brand new everything is there, but I am resisting. Also, I have realised that  - especially with a black and white print - it's so much cheaper to buy a downloadable PDF than order a print! I only just realised this. But for lots of prints on Etsy, say, you can buy a gorgeous image for around £5 and just print it off on your home printer onto some card. Brilliant.

A friend of mine spent half term skiing in Lake Tahoe and took loads of photos on her phone of the incredible, snow covered scenery. 

I've been playing around with the idea of using some of these photos to create some more images for Angus's wall. I cropped this one of the skiiers coming down the hill, changed it to black and white then increased the contrast. I printed it as a 5 x 7 inch picture onto a piece of white card then popped it in a 8 x 10 inch frame. 

Felt balls are waiting for a needle and thread so that they can be strung together into a garland.

And I plan to make a wall hanging using all these gorgeous monochrome felts on a large white background, hung from a wooden pole.

There's definitely a forest-y vibe going on here.