Tuesday, 5 August 2014

The ugly dresser completed...

Hello stranger! Time has gotten away from me. I've been visiting my dad, working on an epic piece of furniture and focusing on my daughter as it's the school hols.

I'm halfway through the kitchen, so it's a perfect time to wander off and do something else. A kitchen break. I was itching to finish the ugly dresser.

So I did. Ta daa!

Let me remind you how it started out...

It didn't fit the wall, see how it cuts accross the door frame?

The top was not looking good.

I wasn't loving the plywood back or the black shelves.

But I LOVED the paintwork. (What was left of it.) It really was love at first sight with this piece. All the problems with it could be fixed.

I put a new tongue and groove back on the cupboard section. Much better than the plywood. And although it's inside the cupboard and no one sees it, I couldn't leave it looking so new.

I stained the wood with a mixture of tea and thinned down black acrylic paint. Much better.

I scraped and sanded the top, not too much as I didn't want to ruin the beaten up finish. I cut sections off the sides and top cornice so it fit my space perfectly. I sanded and stained the cut edges so it didn't look newly cut.

Halfway through, it was looking better but still needed a tongue and groove back for the top section and I needed to lose that black paint.

There was no simple way to do this. I painted all the paintwork, the black and the cream, very carefully, so that it would all be the same colour. I had to paint around each and every flaked of piece as I didn't want to lose that! This piece really was a labour of love.

I dark waxed it all so the new paint looked original.

wood bleached top

I used wood bleach on the top as I love the super pale look. (Did you know that using wood bleach and tongue and grooving something are two of the most fun things to do on the planet? )

The new tongue and groove back was stained darker and then also bleached to match the top.
Then I put it all together. I really wasn't sure about the wood finish behind the shelves. I thought I might paint over it.
But when the china was all in place, I loved it. I think that the china stands out more against wood than it would do against a painted surface and I'm so thrilled with the way it all matches up.

So here's the before...

And now...

Right then, better get on with that kitchen...

Ivy and ElephantsElizabeth and Co.

Furniture Feature Fridays

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Skip diving, birthdays and wallpaper...

Yes that's a random title but that's what's been going on around here.
First of all, I've managed to skip dive TWICE in a week and get some cool free stuff.

Ooh, a skip diving party! How fun!
The other day I spotted a skip with LOTS of bubble wrap and grabbed the lot. Yay me!
And today, I couldn't find my pollyfilla so I went to buy some more, passing a very exciting looking skip full of windows! Obviously I couldn't pass it up without stopping and investigating.
I knocked on the door of the house and the bemused gentleman said I could take his old windows. So I did.

I took five 1930's wooden windows in all. Look at the lovely old window furniture!

What will I do with them?
Perhaps more of this window art...

I think I'll put one of those catches on here.
Or I may use them to turn my raised beds into cold frames in the spring. This year I used three of our old secondary glazing panels but the frames are coming off and we broke one. These windows will be MUCH prettier.

We've also had a party for the last part of Connies First Holy Communion and  mine and Connies birthdays this week. I turned 44 and she turned 8. I think turning 8 is much more exciting. As you may know she's crazy about 'Littles Pet Shop' figures. We always look for them at boot sales and charity shops. Well on Sunday I found TONS of them and gave them to her on her birthday. She was THRILLED! A very lucky find indeed.

We thought we'd decorate her (shop bought) cake* with an LPS and we lit the candles and brought it into the room and started to sing. Connie started SCREAMING as she thought the LPS was going to burn. So that went well.

*I don't believe in baking. Plus we had my twin brothers birthday, my birthday (different day) First Holy Communion (part 3) cake and Connies birthday all in three days. I would have spent hours in the kitchen. And if I'm going to spend hours in the kitchen, I'd much rather be working on it than in it.

So leading quite neatly back to the kitchen, I have received my latest roll of wallpaper from Your4walls and I'm hoping to get on with that today. Obviously, I've been hindered by dashing out for pollyfilla, skip diving and blog writing.

As this one was too grey with the grey units...

I eventually went with this one...

...after a brief love affair with another one that didn't match the splash back at all. (Still working on that website.) This roll came super fast.

We've got one more party to go this weekend so the house has to stay relatively tidy for that, then all hell will break loose, chaos will rein once again and I can get stuck into some serious DIY. Bring it on.

And the party? We're remaking Pharells 'Happy' video on location locally with 12 little girls. Why not, if your daddy's a film maker? Wish us luck!

P.S. Apologies to anyone who watched The Auction house on my recommendation last week. It wasn't the slightest bit funny. What happened to it?

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Thrifty and not so thrifty telly...

Here's my round up of my favourite interiors/style TV shows at the moment.

I mentioned this briefly before but Channel 4's The Auction House really is unmissable. Anyone who's ever won things on eBay or anyone with a passion for secondhand will love this. Okay, the items in question are worth hundreds or thousands rather than the few quid that you and I like to pay in charity shops, but the auction house in question is in the heart of Chelsea, and the regulars at Lots Rd are the super rich of London.

The buyers can get hooked on bidding and sometimes make expensive mistakes. Whereas we might stuff up and lose a few quid on a duff buy, these people can lose thousands, buying and re selling their items. You'll get to see inside some amazing houses as the programme makers follow buyers home.

The auction rooms are run by an eccentric bunch. As Roger the owner says, ''When I think of the characters that work for me here, I would say that they're bunch of odd balls and we're like a dysfunctional family.'' God, I'd love to work there!
Everyone who works at Lots Rd seems to have a problem with Roger. ''He's the most stubborn and demanding boss in Chelsea.'' His workers don't mind sharing this on camera! I wonder if heads have rolled because of this show.
I do hope the gamble has paid off and that people are heading to the auction rooms in their droves. If I still lived in London, I'd be there!

Oh, and I did google the whale scrotum stools. I won't spoil the surprise! Catch up on 4od.

Next up, a welcome return to our screens for Linda Barker. She's made a new series for Channel 5 called Brand New House for 5K.

The featured families hand over 5K and get their homes tarted up, learning some nifty DIY tricks along the way. 
Linda is looking incredibly hot these days. And things haven't changed since her days on Changing Rooms, you might not love everything she does but it's certainly not magnolia.

Last of all, did you see This Old Thing: The Vintage Clothes Show ?

Presented by the stunning Dawn O'Porter, who's on a mission to introduce the nation to vintage, it's certainly worth a watch. It seams there are people out there that think vintage clothing smells like dead people! Dawn attempts to convert them with her workshop and team of expert tailors.
But instead of hiring a seamstress to alter our ill fitting vintage, I think we're all rather more likely to have a bash ourselves. On a second hand sewing machine, naturally. But she's probably preaching to the converted here, right?

Enjoy a rainy day indoors checking out these shows if you missed them. Speaking of rain, Vix has been in my thoughts all weekend as she's at Glastonbury and it hasn't been a great year for the weather. I wouldn't have minded seeing Metallica there but I don't think it'd top seeing them play at the Marquee in London many years ago and being right at the front. (James Hetfield gave me a can of beer after the show! He said it was shit. Obviously I fell madly in love with him.)
I've not seen any of the TV footage of Glastonbury yet, so perhaps I'll spend my afternoon watching that as I work through a pile of ironing. Rock n roll...

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Out of order...

I've had a bit of a freak accident. It could happen to anyone really. Connie decided she needed an obstacle course in the garden so I quickly rustled one up for her. You know the kind of thing, canes balanced on watering cans as jumps and wooden site pegs laid down as chicanes to zig zag through. Well, I was just demonstrating the order in which it was to be completed, and I jumped the first jump, in my heels, landing on our very uneven lawn and went over on my ankle. Oh my God, the pain!

I spent a good deal of yesterday in A&E and it's not broken. But I can only walk on my heel and I can't drive. Such a drag. I think we can all learn a valuable lesson from this episode about hurdling in heels. Please send your healing vibes my way so I don't miss the flea market on Friday!

Explaining how it happened to the hospital staff was slightly embarrassing. I get the feeling they don't see too many 43 year old women who show jump around their gardens of a weekend.

Fortunately, I didn't cripple myself until Sunday evening, meaning I didn't miss the boot sale in the morning. It was a stonker.

Look who came home with me!

Isn't she fab? Look at those lashes!

Obviously she will make a very useful necklace holder. Or a hat stand. I may start wearing hats. Or a wig display unit. Just in case.

I was walking around holding her proudly and one of the regulars admired her but asked why she had a sticker on the front saying, 'PENIS'.
It actually said 'PENIS PENIS PENIS PENIS'.
And there was me thinking I was getting funny looks just because I was walking around with a mannequin.

I also found this BEAUTIFUL quilted table runner for £1.50. It's immaculate. I love whole cloth quilting so this is right up my street and will be perfect for when I re build my dining table with a scaffold board top.

Fridays flea was also a good 'un. I collect these plates and found a few more from the £2 man. I don't see them very often and never that cheap. My Grandad had these plates. They're very large and deep and great for roast dinners when your plate is piled high with vegetables.

Obviously I can't keep buying stuff without things leaving the house. I'm like an antiques dealer in that the new old stuff comes in and the old old stuff goes out. We're hoping to have a car boot sale at the weekend to get rid of a lot of the old old stuff. Actually I think we need to have one a week all summer long!

I'm still waiting on wallpaper samples from your4walls a staggering two weeks after I placed my order. I got an email the next day to say it had been dispatched and now they're saying it hasn't even been printed as the wallpaper printer is broken! Very frustrating. It's not just me who's out of order. I want at least half the kitchen finished before our parties happen in a few weeks!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

A new look...

Whoah! Someone turned the lights on in here!
I'm going for bright simplicity from now on rather than gloom. Another change is the blog name. I always hated it. It didn't make sense. So after two years I'm having a makeover. I may add things later. Hope you like...

I've just twigged that I've not been getting ANY blog emails at all for, um, a few months...
Told you I'm not very technical. Apologies if I haven't replied to people during this time. I have a massive backlog to work through, so if it's important, you might want to email me again.

 So, here's what's been going on. Connies First Holy Communion was lovely and she looked so sweet in the dress. I don't have a blogworthy pic but we get to do it all over again in a few weeks so I'll try harder then.

The sewing machine is put away and the kitchen cabinet doors are back in their rightful place on the dining table. I hung three yesterday...

 I'm getting there!

And created a bottom for the bottomless cupboard under the sink...

There was a drip that caused the bottom of the cupboard to perish before we bought the house...

I had some contiboard cut to size, and Bob's your uncle...

Turns out that the drip is still dripping which is a drag. Hence the jam jar.

I also removed a totally MINGING semi circular carousel from the corner cupboard and had a piece of contiboard cut to fit as a shelf in there which will make far greater use of the space.

Just waiting for the shelf supports to arrive!

The wallpaper decision making is still no further on. Just need one more sample to arrive.

Let me just leave you with a bit of prettiness...

I found this sampler at the flea market.

I got it for £18. Sometimes they sell for hundreds. I know nothing about what makes one valuable and one not so valuable but we love this one.

I love that Sarah Ann Jordan was seven when she worked this, same age as my daughter. I wonder who she was...

The frame was dark wood and I took it all apart, painted it with gesso and waxed it...

It's hanging above Connies bed. We had Bad Bobby stuffed as you can see. He's a lot less trouble now.

Kidding! He's alive and well but he's been out partying til 2am and won't smile for the camera this morning or get out of his bed. I know that feeling...

P.S. Did anyone else have the pleasure of watching 'The Auction House' on Channel 4 the other day? It's my new favourite show. I think 'Alpine Surgical' will be the new 'Shabby Chic!' Bahaha!

Treasure Hunt Thursday

Thursday, 12 June 2014

I've got the sewing bug...

Work on the kitchen has ground to a halt, the kitchen doors have been pushed aside on the dining table and I've got the sewing bug. I used to dressmake a lot before I had homes to fix.

Connies First Holy Communion is happening and as she didn't like any of the dresses readily available, I made her one...

It's very plain and straight which is just what we struggled to find.

It still needs hemming... I'll probably save that 'til the last minute. She might have a growth spurt between now and Sunday.

The dress is made from raw silk and despite ordering the pattern from America, it's worked out cheaper than buying a polyester dress from BHS. We'll accessorise it with a little rose covered head band and lace gloves. Her Grandad bought her some ivory satin shoes when we were up at his for half term. No veil. I'm not so keen on that idea.

Chatting with some of the mums, it dawned on me that I had to dress up too. I tried on all my clothes and hated them all apart from a collection of little black dresses I seem to have amassed. 

Then I realised I had some really lovely things that were living in the sewing basket. So while the sewing machine was out I finished a vintage dress I'd found a the flea market in it's half finished state...

It had a strangulatingly high neck which I lowered, I took the sleeves off to use more of the seam allowance as they were snug and I hemmed it. It's cotton and has a metal zipper. Would you say that's 60's?

Then I took in another vintage dress...

I look like I've slept funny on my neck!

I think this one is 70's as it's polyester with a nylon zip.
And I didn't stop there, oh no! I mended a pair of J's trousers and 2 pairs of my jeans...

A bit of car booted floral linen. I hope it doesn't look like a scabby white knee.

I think the flowers on this fabric might be too big and it might just look like a cellulitey arse falling out but hey, I tried.
My sewing basket is almost empty and I'm chuffed with my 'new' wardrobe.

And that background?

Is a vintage handmade rug I found at the Sue Ryder shop in York. (The one with the vintage section upstairs.)

I wanted a paler rug for Connies room as the blue one was so dark. I almost bought one from Dunelm. NEW! Heaven forbid. Well, as luck would have it I found this one. It's like an Aubusson rug but worked in fat cross stitch rather than needlepoint. And a quarter of the price of the Dunelm one!

She loves it! I washed it carefully in the bath with Woolite and cold water, rinsed it with the shower head and laid it on beach towels on the lawn on a hot day to dry flat.

I've also swapped her furniture around because we bought her a vintage dressing table but I'll have to share that another time as that side of the room is a terrible mess.

This week Connie and I received a parcel from a lovely lady called Kathleen who reads this blog and lives in America.

Thank you so much Kathleen! (St Theresa has been squirreled away somewhere and Connie's at school so I can't ask her where!)