Monday, 16 April 2018

Spring Energy

All photos above taken at Mottisfont House, a National Trust property.
  
I've been thinking a lot about spring lately, about how it makes me feel. It's such an optimistic season and I have come to recognise, even look forward to, the burst of energy I always get at this time of year. I think it's a combination of the lighter evenings - which, like the sunshine, make a huge difference to my mood and energy levels - and the slow waking up of everything outside the four walls of our house.



I scrutinise everything, cast a critical eye over scuffed paintwork or neglected corners, find that I urgently need to do a job I was able to ignore for months. I have an urge to refresh and rearrange, plan and write lists.


First on the list was a new peg bag when my very old one finally fell to pieces. Years ago  - when I had a lot more time, to blog and to sew - I wrote a tutorial on how to make one. I'm glad I did because it reminded me that it's really easy, and so I dragged my sewing machine out from the dusty cupboard under the stairs and Bella and I spent a very happy rainy afternoon using it. 


A peg bag is an ideal way to use up scraps of fabric and that's what I did. Both of these fabrics were cushions in a previous life. I'm really happy that I was able to get out my sewing machine and make something useful and pretty with it. Simple things. 


Another job I'd been meaning to do for months was repair some of the damage to our furniture caused by Ziggy when he was teething. I knew that "puppies chew" in that abstract way that you know that "babies don't sleep" but I don't think I really grasped just what that would look like until he came along and decided that he quite liked gnawing, well, everything. 

The (delicious, clearly) legs of our beautiful coffee table (the one we think is Ercol although we're not sure) took a battering. 


Over the course of a few days I sanded and filled them with wood filler, sanded again and filled again, until they were not perfect but not bad looking at all. Then I gave the legs a few coats of white eggshell, again sanding between coats.


I could not be happier with the results. I think the legs look a million times better in white, and they really stand out against the rug. Sorry about the terrible grainy photo. What can I say - it was raining. 


 Angus's bookcase was another job which had been bugging me for a while. His cheap IKEA bookcase simply wasn't big enough for his books and so they were piling up on the floor. I do encourage Angus to regularly clear out old books but that child is the biggest bookworm you will ever meet. He devours books, fact and fiction, and reads them over and over again. I never begrudge buying him a book because he really does get so much from them. 


Anyway, my parents mentioned that there was a bookcase still at my Grandad's house and did I want it before it was taken to the charity shop? It was quite water damaged and I thought I might paint it. Well, it just so happened that not only did the bookcase turn out to be a beautiful piece of mid-century teak furniture, it was also a perfect fit.


There was no way I was ever going to paint something so lovely, but I did sand the top and give it a few coats of oil, just to remove the worst of the marks.


I love the way it looks under his big wall map, and it really adds some warmth to his bedroom.


I finally got around to framing a couple more prints and adding them to our family gallery wall too. 


Everything on that wall tells a story of some kind, whether it's something the children painted or drew, or a holiday souvenir, or gift from a friend. It's my favourite wall. Don't tell John but I plan to add to it until the entire wall is filled..


Crafting projects have been moving slowly and pleasurably onwards over the holidays. 


I've made great progress on my sampler and have I think only five or six motifs left to stitch. And my Wool and the Gang Dreaming Jumper is almost finished with the back and front sewn together.


Outside, the garden is slowly emerging from it's muddy winter slumber and I'm full of plans and ideas. 


My big planter is just bursting with daffodils at the moment, and bright pink and red tulips fill the pots on the front door step, lifting my spirits whenever I come home. 


I also have lots happening on the kitchen windowsill, including a tomato plant that I have just moved outside and a tray of baby plants that were a gift from a friend only I've forgotten what they were. Courgettes I think and maybe chillies? Oh dear. And it was all going so well.


Well, the Easter holidays are over and we are straight back into our usual routines. Despite the really awful weather I did enjoy the two week break from school and work; it seemed to both last a long time and go in a flash. Two weeks feels like forever until it's over, then it doesn't feel like long at all. We didn't do anything particularly exciting, just a mixture of days at home and days out, catching up with family and friends, lots of walking and, as you can see, lots of pottering and DIY. It was bliss. I also watched a lot more TV than I usually would (free time, what is this crazy thing?!) and have become completely obsessed with the Channel 4 series Escape to the Chateau. I am late to the party with this one, but am nonetheless charmed by Dick and Angel's life and sweet family, and would quite like them to adopt me so that I can go and live there too. Anyone else a fan? 

20 comments:

  1. It looks like you got a lot accomplished on your break! I love the new bookcase, how nice. And even more special for where it came from. You did a great job on the table, you'd never know that a puppy had teethed on it. I'm glad you're enjoying an energetic spring so far.

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  2. Gorgeous eastertime makes... I finally got out the sewing machine to finish sewing a pile of project bags. Maybe I will now get around to some garment sewing. Or making some much needed cushions for the kitchen chairs...

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  3. Hi, lovely post as usual. I love the bookcase and what you did with your table. We have a teething puppy at moment - I'm hoping it's a stage that doesn't last too long!

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  4. Great post. I love the painted table legs, and Angus' new bookcase is gorgeous. Great peg bag too - mine is looking a bit past its best, so I might look up your tutorial and make a new one. Enjoy the new term. xx

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  5. That bookcase could have been made for that room, what a lovely find. I too love Dick and Angel, I cant believe how far they have come in their restoration, and how big the children have become. They seem like a lovely family, and embrace life with both hands!

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  6. Beautiful photos and inspiring words - I could do with some of your spring energy today, its so cold and grey again! Totally with you on Escape to the Chateau, my favourite TV show by far...although not so keen on Escape to the Chateau DIY!

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  7. It's uplifting and invigorating to see everything coming back to life again after the greyness of the Winter months. You've been very productive. The planter looks gorgeous and I love what you've done with your table.
    The book case looks great and how wonderful to have something which not only serves a purpose but comes with fond memories of your Grandfather too. X

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  8. Love,love Escape to the Chateau too although I have to endure dp's " it could have been us,damn Brexit" moans during each and every episode( it really couldn't). I want a moat,tower for all my books and an attic filled with old French stuff. Angel seems lovely and Arthur seems to get more like Dick in every episode.😂

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  9. I first came across your blog by searching for a good peg bag tutorial... I've used yours lots of times! I just wanted to say how much I enjoy and look forward to your posts, even though I haven't commented for ages.

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  10. Gorgeous photos, and it sounds as if you had a blissful Easter break. You've made a beautiful job of the coffee table. Let's hope the legs stay like that! Bert is still quite a menace at times. His bed is very sad and de-stuffed now, but he won't get the smart new one until he shows me he deserves it. I love Angus's new bookshelf. My youngest really needs some new shelves in his room, he doesn't have enough at the moment. It's on my list... CJ xx

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  11. You have been busy! Glad you enjoyed your break, it sounds like a happy and productive two weeks. Bank holiday season coming up soon :-)

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  12. Love the Chateau. Just know if I tried things like Angel it would just look a mess - so jealous of her skills. The children are lovely. Like the peg bag = may try that after I rescue my pegs from next door - its been windy again and the washing is horizontal and pinging pegs everywhere!

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  13. For a minute there Gillian I thought you had done some kind of Victorian bedroom maker over and thought that is a bit austeer for Gillian! Anyways the bookcase is a triumph. My girls treasure their books too. You have chillies there my love not courgettes so keep them inside or they will die outside. I got a tad miserable over the holidays because of the weather but a few days at work has put me right. have a good week. Jo xxx

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  14. Lovely chatty post with some gorgeous photos. Spring is certainly on its way in your part of the world. Angus has the right idea about books & I also find it hard to part with mine. It is a beautiful looking bookcase. Take care.

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  15. There is something about this time of year that makes you want to get things sorted out, isn't there? I've got a few things on my list for this week that I've ignored over the winter but it feels like just the right time to tackle them now. I'm so impressed with how you restored your table leg - you'd never know! xx

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  16. Hey Gillian,
    That bookcase was just meant to be there, I think. It sounds as if you've all had a nice holiday filled with the best sorts of things. I have the urge to start projects too, but have to hang fire until I know whether The Wink is ours or not. If not, then our kitchen is being made over. It will be my consolation prize.
    Leanne xx

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  17. Lovely photos as always, Gillian, and like you, I've been looking around at how we might spruce up a few areas. I've started by giving the study a good clean, all the bookshelves and books. A task not to be entered into lightly as I have not hundreds but thousands of books.
    Oh, I love Return to the Chateau DIY! Another fan here, but this week I forgot about it and so have watched today's episode this evening and I might sneak in a viewing of Monday's and Tuesday's episodes sometime tomorrow.
    I think you have done an excellent repair to the chewed table leg! And that bookcase for Angus is lovely.
    Margaret P
    www.margaretpowling.com

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  18. Of course, I meant Escape to the Chateau ... silly me.
    Margaret P

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  19. These pictures are really very lovely. I just love them. Thanks for sharing the post.

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  20. The bookcase looks fabulous! And it such a special piece since it once belonged to your grandfather. I also love your gallery wall and I love the idea of adding even more to it. I want to do a gallery wall in our house someday. Your spring flowers are looking lovely! I love having plants and things on my kitchen windowsill. I actually just posted a photo over on my blog of our kitchen windowsill. I have a basil plant, a succulent and a framed photo of Charlotte on mine now. I want to add more herbs and maybe a geranium.

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