Tuesday, 23 September 2014

It worked...

So where we we? Ah yes, the ongoing saga of the kitchen window. Would you like to see how it's turning out so far?

Rather cunningly styled, I think you'll agree, with some washing up sponges and a pile of freshly washed dishes. It just goes to illustrate how much enjoyment I can now get from washing up whilst gazing out of my pretend cottage window.

I'll remind you of the before...

The frame I made outside the recess was painted and looks a lot better, although it would show up more if I had a colour on the wall.

I made a window frame type thing with thin wooden moulding for the inside of the recess. I found this tutorial on youtube very helpful. I had it bookmarked as I planned to make new garage windows with it but it came in really handy for this project aswell. I didn't use one of those nail guns. They scare me. And my timber was much thinner than his.

 If you do want to try this at home kids, here's what you DON'T want to do. My first attempt that ended in failure prototype was constructed with mitred corners.

Don't even think about it.

The frame had no rigidity and a butt joint is a far better option (as per the video)

I printed out a photo of my window and drew all over it to make sure my spacing looked right.

Once the frame was built and painted I set to work on the curtain. I'll remind you of my inspiration...


I set about chopping up a holey vintage lace tablecloth, made a channel at the top and held it up with one of those extending springy poles.

I like the way the lace curtain hides the ugly opener.
Now in this picture the frame is just propped against the window so I still need to secure it somehow in a way that makes it easily removable for cleaning. I'm thinking velcro. And I still need to tile under the sink. I have a vast array of tiles to choose from as I'm always picking boxes up at the boot sale for a few quid in hopes that they might actually fit somewhere.

But so far, so good I think. I can't wait to finish the job and stage it all properly for a big reveal.

Back soon!
Yes, I have no shame...
I am shameless.

Elizabeth and Co.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Kitchen window treatments...

Okay, so my kitchen window is all nice and white, has a proper sill and is looking much better. So what about window treatments?

I don't need a closing curtain or blind as this window overlooks the back garden. But I would like something to perhaps soften the look and add some architectural detail if I can.

Initially, what I was thinking was to add moulding around the outside of the window recess. Like they would have in old Edwardian houses and like they seem to do a lot in American homes. Even modern ones. I really like the unfussy look and I think that framing the window is such a nice idea.


Isn't it lovely?
I got some pine moulding from Wickes and had a bash at that...

This is why I left the ends of the windowsill sticking out so far. It all needs priming and painting so it'll eventually be a lot more subtle.

I mitred the corners...

and used a coping saw to cut around the kitchen cupboard cornice...

Yeah, it's a mess but decorators caulk will fix that. It's the best friend of the amateur carpenter.

I decided not to add too much of a pediment at the top because I have the coving up there. I might add more height later as having looked at the photos, I think it would elongate the window.

But my window is not a beauty and I'm not sure that framing it will be enough to turn it into one.

So then I thought, how about disguising that whole ugly top section with a sheer-ish lace curtain? The problem here is that, the middle part of the kitchen can be quite dark and I can't afford to lose any more natural light.

But I love this...

I could do that with a bit of old tablecloth...

Thank you to Vibeke for letting me use these photos.

Then I got all wistful about having cottage windows with little panes of glass...
These are very expensive to have made. We have replaced a few windows here but cottage windows were out of our price range.

Okay, these are UPVC but you get the idea...

But wouldn't it be lovely? I could wash the dishes, gazing out of my cottage window into the garden.

So I started to think. Could you fake that cottage window look? Hmm...

I did a little Internet search to see if anyone had pulled this kind of thing off. With varying degrees of success, it seems people have used white electrical sticky tape or balsa wood batons glued directly onto the glass.
I thought I might want my faux window to be slightly less faux.

What about creating a wooden window frame that sits inside the window. Surely it's more honest if it's timber?

I know what you're thinking. It's going to look awful/insane/ridiculous.
Yes it could. But it just might work. So let's have a go.

I got some wooden moulding for about £8. See, already I'm making a saving of about £592. My first attempt was a failure. I prefer to use the word PROTOTYPE. I was feeling quite positive now. I knew what hadn't worked and how to fix it.

So, back for more wood. (Still £584 better off.)

And I'm knocking up another little window frame...

Time will tell if it's a stroke of genius or an act of lunacy...

Thanks to those who have voted for me so far. The rest of you? Come on now!
I don't even know what the prize is or if there is one. Hopefully a great big satin sash with DIY BLOGGER OF THE YEAR on it that you get to wear for whole year. Daily. And a crown would be good.
Truth be told, I've got no chance as there's some really stiff competition but it's really nice to be nominated and supported by my readers.


 Off to crack on with that window frame... and get some tiles on.

Treasure Hunt Thursday

Friday, 12 September 2014

Windowsills don't get more exciting than this...

As promised, here is my windowsill post. I know, I bet you've hardly slept, it's just so exciting.

Truth is, it really WAS exciting as I've never done it before. It was so easy it was in place by 10.30 am. And I was so thrilled I did another by 11.30. Yeah. All whilst wearing heels. That really is showing off.

So, here's the before...

Now, when you try to order what you and I call windowsills, it's a little muddling as timber merchants call them window boards. Apparently windowsills are the shaped pieces on the exterior of a window. I ordered a water resistant MDF board that was long enough to do two rooms. We were windowsill-less in the kitchen and the office. 
It took about 3 minutes to get those tiles off and I sealed the bare plaster with pva and water.

 I decided I wanted a 6 cm overhang at each side in case I attempt to frame the window with timber later on. It couldn't have been easier.

I cut it with my jigsaw, dry fit it with a spirit level and glued it in with a bit of no nails. You squirt your no nails into balls all the way along your recess. I used a couple of frame packers to help level out the window board.

Unlike cutting fringes and dressmaking patterns, it's better to cut your window boards shorter rather than slightly too long. It's really hard to cut off an extra one or two millimetres with a jigsaw! ( Er, hence power sander in above picture.) You caulk all the gaps anyway so you don't need to stress too much, so long as it fits in the gap.

And with the edges caulked and one coat of paint?

Still needs some finishing off but beginning to look like it should.
I got some paint on it as soon as I could as it's right next to the sink and I didn't want to test its water resistance claims.

The office window before...

and after...

This one still needs more caulking and painting. And no, that wasn't me who painted all over the window frame!

All done by lunchtime. I really recommend anyone to have a go at this as it's so easy.

I've been nominated for the Amara Interior Blog Awards in the DIY category. Woop woop. Did you see the button thingy at the top of the page? Or shall I make it bigger? Well, if you click on that dear readers, it'll take you straight to a page where you can vote for me! Yeah. You needn't even look at the competition. Straight to me. And I can see who has and who hasn't voted you know*. Just sayin.'


 I'll be back soon to share my ambitious plans to prettify this window further. So ambitious they verge on lunacy.
Happy weekend.

* not 100% true.(Surely stating the obvious!)

Furniture Feature Fridays

Monday, 8 September 2014

Summer chazzing and freebies...

Sorry for another long absence. I dropped and killed the camera and I can't function without it. My dear husband bought a new one which I'm forbidden from dropping. I'll do my best.

I promised you some of my secondhand finds from the summer so here we go.

Whilst we were in York at the beginning of the summer hols we passed a shop that was being stripped out. The builders had put a pile of junk on the footpath with a sign saying, 'Please take.'  It was a used and grubby washing up bowl and some mismatched mugs. Nothing worth having at all.

But then I spotted these...

They were the letters for the shop sign. I took C for Connie and E for Emma. I wish I'd taken the lot. Wouldn't it be just lovely having 'Cheque Cashers' on your wall? Haha. Perhaps I could have made an anagram out of that.
Anyway they're made from aluminium and have deadly sharp edges so we'll have to decoupage them or something. Anyone got any better ideas? They're hollow on the back.

The best chazzing destination all summer was Topsham in Devon. They have two Devon Air Ambulance shops and one is devoted to vintage. I found the prices very reasonable. Want to see what I found?

First of all this gold lurex 'English Lady' dress. It's a perfect fit and the third English Lady item of clothing I own. I'm a size 14 in this brand in vintage sizes but a modern day size 12.

I'm going to make it above knee length...

I'm not normally a gold lurex kinda gal but I tried it on and it was sooo flattering.

Here's my other English Lady dress. I've had it about 10 years and it's my favourite dress. Again,  it fits perfectly and is really flattering.

This perfect fit is why my heart skips a beat when I find this label in a 14...

I also picked up this frantic 60's maxi dress in the same shop...

The label in this one is 'Leygil' of London. It has a wildly voluminous skirt and I plan to chop it off above the knee and take it in so it's a lot more slinky. 

It gives me an actual bust! 

 So my almost empty sewing basket overfloweth once more...

 One more from Devon...

It has a button up belt at the back I need to adjust. 

I love this print!

And one more handmade vintage dress I found at the local car boot sale...

Again, it's too wide so needs some tweakage.

I also found china...

a little french gravy separator.

Would you believe I found the missing numbers for my Church hymn board? And they fit! 

 Yay! I plan on using this in the kitchen to hang things on.

               Over a hundred pounds worth of new pure cotton bedding for £20 at the boot sale?

                  Yes please, thank you very much. It's been years since I got new bedding!

                                               An R Whites crate for a fiver? That'll do nicely.

                                                         And last of all, my new love...

This was my birthday pressie. He's called bespectacled bloke and hangs on the living room wall. A boot sale buy found by me to give to my husband so he could give it to me. He's got it pretty easy hasn't he?

So, didn't she do well? 

Next time I'll be getting down and dirty, attempting to sort out our ugly kitchen window by fitting a proper sill and framing it out. Or perhaps not. I've never done it before. But I did watch someone do it once so I'm sure I'll be fine.

The timber comes tomorrow and I'm very excited. It's been a long wait to get stuck into some DIY again.

Wish me luck!

Oh one last thing before I go, if you have £50,000 to £500,000 to spend on an extension and want to be on telly, take a look at this...

Not for me sadly. I'll just plod on with my brand new kitchen for £300.