Sunday, 31 March 2013

Boot sale bounty

I did the unthinkable this morning. My alarm went off at 6 and I went back to sleep. We had a disturbed night thanks to the teenagers next door and I just could not function.
I eventually got to the boot sale at 10.30 which is VERY late for me. The sun shone a bit but it was freezing.

Want to see what I found?
A very old childrens book with beautiful colour illustrations...

I'm tempted to cut it that dreadful?

Yet another vintage chopping board. I cannot resist...

I love all the cuts in the wood...

This curiously shaped wicker basket? It will be given a paint treatment and possibly wall mounted somewhere.

And last of all this ugly table...

Not old, but very sturdy...

I'm seeing it with a padded top and painted legs as a bedroom bench...

rather like this? Obviously it will make the master bedroom every bit as glamourous as this one. I feel a trip to Dunelm Mill coming on, in a quest for foam...

And who has nicked the dolls bed today?

Fat Freddy. And he wants you all to know he's got plenty of room and he does not appreciate my rude comments about his weight!

Enjoy the bank holiday!

Linking with Blackbird has Spoken: Op shop Show Off

 Me and My Shadow: Magpie Monday

and From my Front Porch to Yours: Treasure Hunt Thursday

Friday, 29 March 2013

Bad Bobbys new bed...

Not much to report this week. I did a bit of caulking on the staircase but realised my best power sander is at my dads in York. I'm not doing anything else without that. The first thing I need to do is use the sander on the step with the glue. If I can't get that off, it'll have to be carpet! So I'm not wasting my time on the other steps until that step is tackled. If the sander doesn't remove it, I thought I might try paint stripper. Anyone got any better ideas?

It's been an odd sort of week. Other things have gotten in the way so I've not been up to much creating. I have made a start on the last bedroom door with the moulding and painting, but even that's been a slow process as I ran out of trim.

I was very keen to get down to the flea market this week having missed so much second hand shopping whilst I was ill.
It did not disappoint.
I've been after a vintage dolls cot to use as a cat bed(!) for a while and I finally found one. It's big, has a drop side so the boys can get in easily and Bad Bobby has really taken to it.

Big yawn. He's very happy in it.

 He particularly likes the bunny and the bluebirds.

 Fat Freddy does not want to know. He's happy browsing the Internet and lounging on the sofa.

Which is just as well as the dollies cot would be a tighter squeeze for him!

Bad Bobby has a sore toe and is limping a little. Well, of course he does; it's a four day weekend so the vets is closed! We're hoping it might just get better on its own before the vets opens on Tuesday. If anyone's going to get into a scrape it's Bobby.

Happy Easter to you all. I know Easter is the start of the car boot sale season for many of you. Happy hunting!

 Linking to: Funky Junks Party Junk

Monday, 25 March 2013

The stairs...

 It's been a rubbish few days. I came down with my daughters lurgy. I didn't leave the house for four days and I've been too sick to deal with the mess that piles up when you spend a few days in bed. We've had snow all weekend so I should be grateful that I've not been able to go out.

Thank goodness for the Internet. My waking moments were filled with my important research (otherwise known as pinterest.)

I've been thinking about tackling the stairs.
All we've done since moving in, is rip up the green carpet and underlay.

Here's what we have.

 With gaps...


On every step
and glue...

Was this much glue really necessary?

Do I just carpet it?

Or what about painted stairs?

Or wallpapered stairs?


I've been thinking about this for a very long time.
Then last week I opened a magazine and fell in love.

The stairs not the dog!

So it's all white for me. Got my work cut out for me though!

(This is Mollie Makes. The Splash of colour refers to a scarf on the other page. They're not being sarcastic.)

Friday, 22 March 2013

Lace lampshade makeover...

When I showed you how far the living room had come in my recent post, I said that the lampshade was under construction...

This is something I've been dying to tackle for ages. I was tempted by the patchwork lampshades of Vix and Dee Dee but as much as I admire the look in other peoples homes, I can't embrace colour in my own. Just can't. It scares me. I've said this before, but I want to live in a White Company catalogue.

Anyway, earlier this week I was trapped in the house with a sick child, no biscuits whatsoever and Scooby Doo on telly ALL DAY so I decided to get cracking with my lampshade to help take my mind off things. I'm such a great mum...

Here's my plain shade with all the trim ripped off. I also pulled out the lining as I wanted the light to show through the lace.

 So here's my BLAND version. It involves cutting up lacey doilies and vintage lace tablecloths. No doubt we all have a secret stash of these. Doilies aren't cool. But if they're hand made lace and under a quid, I cannot resist their allure.

This is a cool project if you have ripped or stained lace and doilies or tablecloths. You feel less guilt cutting them up if they're damaged. I also gave the cotton lace a bath of tea to dirty them up a bit.

I covered one side at a time of the shade with white glue, positioned on my lace and trimmed the excess, leaving enough to turn over at the top and bottom. I like to use Aleenes Tacky Glue which is a habedashery glue. It holds your work in place whilst wet and dries completely clear unlike Mod Podge.

With the next side I overlapped it slightly using the pretty edge. Once I'd gone all the way round I glued velvet ribbon at the top and bottom.

And when the light is on?  It's at it's best.

And my husband came home with snacks! What a guy...

I'm inordinately excited about this! The ONLY thing worth watching on telly...

Even if it is total nonsense...
Who is your favourite? 

Linking with Jennifer Rizzo; Fabulously Creative Friday
 The Shabby Nest: Frugal Friday
 The Rosegarden In Malevik
 Funky Junk Interiors: Saturday Night Special
 Three Mango Seeds: It's Party time
and It's So Very Cheri

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Changing the colour of leather...

Several people asked me how we changed the colour of our leather wing chair.

This chair:

...started out a dusky pink colour. It also had a cut in the seat cushion that someone had mended but it could still be seen. Sorry, I can't find a photo of it in it's previous state.

This is a big chair and our bedrooms aren't spacious so it has to go in the living room. The pink just wasn't doing it for me, especially with our green suite!

We used a guy called Mike Browne from the Furniture Clinic who worked wonders. The cut in the leather is now invisible and the neutral colour of the chair works much better. I think it was between 2 and 3 hundred to do the work. He also tarted up the wooden legs.

My only regret is that he also painted over all the studs. I wasn't expecting this to happen. Perhaps if I'd asked him not to, the studs could have been masked off. It's not sooo bad, as I can go over them with metallic wax to bring their colour back.

At the time that we did this, these chairs were about £500  to buy new so we decided it was a worthwhile investment as the chair had only cost £30 from a junk shop.

We would  love to do the same with our green suite as it's the most comfortable sofa bed in existence and top quality. (Via ebay of course!) It would be more sensible to change the colour than buy an inferior one. This is our only spare bed. It has kept it's shape beautifully even though we bought it 7 years ago and it was second hand then. We paid a tenth of the cost of a new Ligne Roset suite. I would love it so much more in a dark chocolate brown.

At Furniture Clinic they can get rid of cuts, cracks and scratches. It looks like they also sell the products so that you can have a go at doing this yourself too?
(You might want to practise on a pair of shoes or a handbag before you tackle your 3 piece suite!)

Here's another link to a lady in the States who recently refurbished her sofa so you can see the miracles that can be worked. Lilacs and Longhorns: Repairing and Restoring Leather Furniture

Another idea for changing the look of furniture is to slip cover it. All over American blogs people are using drop cloths (purpose made painters cloths) which are sturdy canvas, huge and cheap, for upholstery purposes. I've had a look here in the UK and all I've seen are very poor quality mesh like dust sheets that you wouldn't even want to use to protect your floors let alone make a sturdy sofa cover with. If anyone has found a good supplier of canvas dust sheets here, please let me know!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Living room before and after...

We bought our house 4 1/2 years ago and it was in a state. Apart from an eighties extension it hadn't been touched for 40 years. The thing that we liked about the house was the floor plan, location and the garden (although the garden was knee high like a meadow!)
EVERYTHING on the inside needed changing!

Sadly, whilst researching images of red hair whilst I was summoning the courage to take the plunge with my blond locks a few years ago, my computer got a virus and had to be wiped. I'm pretty sure we've lost all the pictures of how bad it was when we moved in here, unless my husband has them backed up somewhere and he's too busy to look.

I did find the brochure from when we bought the house though, and I found this charming reminder of the living room...

Imagine if you will, aluminium double glazing, oh yes, the kind that creates condensation on the frame when it's cold. Then secondary glazing too so there are no window sills left. All panes of glass were orange with tobacco.
Burgundy brushed nylon curtains on aluminium tracks. The rather dated green carpet I've shared before
The walls and ceiling were peach. Well, they were white with tobacco staining. It was funny, but it never smelt smokey in here, despite all the evidence of heavy smoking. Perhaps because the house had been empty for a year? 
The door, like all the others, was green with tobacco staining too.

We also had a gas fire with a back boiler that was condemned shortly after we moved in. As we needed to redesign the whole central heating layout and get several quotes this meant our first* winter without heat. And it just happened to be the coldest winter since time began. Or something.

It was very similar to this one. Without the glamourous surroundings...

It was removed when the central heating was put in leaving a hole in the wall.
One Sunday morning I went on ebay and spotted our now fireplace which was here in town. The seller described it as stone and it was a 'buy it now' for £30.
I quickly emailed him in a frenzy of excitement to try to clarify it it was 'real stone' or 'stone coloured'. When he hadn't got back to me four minutes later, the suspense was killing me and I bought it, just in case someone else did.
And it was stone! The man had taken it out of a newish house as they wanted a log burner and he just wanted rid of it.He even brought it round for us for free.
I am very jammy. (You can hate me a little!)

Firplace: ebay, crates: flea market and boot sale, mirror: charity shop, wall colour: Dulux York White

We did have to get a new granite hearth as the one that came with it was too long for our chimney breast, but I sold the original one. Probably for £30! Haha!
We also had to get a gas insert and get it all installed which was seven or eight hundred, but that £30 fireplace has to be the best ebay bargain EVER.

We put in new windows after a wooden frame fell out. My husband phoned me  in such a flap as he thought I'd be devastated but I wasn't surprised at all. The windows were rotten and we had penetrating damp upstairs. We actually still do thanks to the astonishingly bad work that was done by our window installers. (I'm talking about you Safestyle UK.) But I'll save that for another post.

New windows meant real windowsills for the first time. Oh the joy!

So here's the before and after, pretty much the same angle.


Er, forgive the Xmas tree. There is currently a 'spare' dining table in the way...Dresser: ebay (was pine)

Leather chair: junk shop (it was pink!) Sewing table: facebook local selling page, Cushion: home made

Laura Ashley Stowe curtains: ebay,  Radiators: B&Q, rug: ebay, suite: ebay.Tv stand charity: shop (needs painting...) wicker fishing creel (toys): fleamarket.

Cupboard: ebay, Moppe drawers: boot sale, Lampshade: under construction!

Sofa bed: Ligne Roset, ebay. Not loving the green but we can't change it yet...anyway the cats wreck it. Hence patchwork throw! This is where I blog!
There's also another armchair and a desk behind the door that I've not pictured...

So there we have it. I sill have to paint all the skirting in here and fill some cabling holes. The light is falling off the ceiling and I started building a unit next to the fire and er, stopped again. But this is the most finished room in the house and I'm mighty proud of it and how far we've come.

(* We had two further winters without heat but only when temperatures dipped below freezing and the pipe which comes out of the loft got frozen. (Often!) This has now been fixed and we've had our first winter without the heating cutting out at all! Thank you British Gas for your pipe heating element installation! )

Linking with Ta daa Tuesday at Faith, Hope and Charity Shopping
and Whimsical Perspective: Your style in Pictures

Friday, 15 March 2013

Norah Wellings sailor doll...

I found something really cool today. This little doll:

I got it for 15p in a charity shop in town. I could tell it was old but I didn't know much about Norah Wellings. A short while on the interweb told me that these sailor dolls were made to be sold on the cruise liners before World War 2 and they bore the ships names on their hats.

RMS Carinthia made her maiden voyage in 1925 from Liverpool to New York. She was part of the Cunard White Star Line. She stopped being a cruise liner in 1939 when she was converted into an armed merchant cruiser and was torpedoed and sank the following year with a loss of 4 lives. The fact that the ship took 36 hours to sink probably is the reason only four died I would imagine.

A huge amount of these sailor dolls were made by Norah Wellings who started her working life with Chad Valley before starting her own company with her brother. Some are more valuable than others. I don't know if they score more points if the boat came to a sticky end.

 This one has it's original label and is in very good condition. I would imagine it's worth rather more than 15p. When I find out and sell it, the charity shop will recieve a decent donation. It is a childrens charity after all.

Don't you just love charity shops? You never know what you're going to find and what you can learn. And where else can you get anything for 15p?!!

Linking with Me and My Shadow: Magpie Monday
and Blackbird has Spoken: Op shop show off