Friday, 27 December 2013

A look back at 2013...

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas. I'd show you my gifts but I doubt you'd be impressed by my Poundland mug from my seven year old or the tyre pressure gauge from my dad.  My husband and I don't really bother with gifts for each other but he did pay for me to have a real proper haircut by a real proper hairdresser so that was very nice. Actually I hate going because making small talk over loud music, running water and hairdryers stresses me out. I can't hear anything. But my hair is much better for having a skilled snipper let loose on it rather than my usual untrained girl who thinks she can do anything because she has the proper scissors. (That would be me.)

The family lunch at the weekend went really well. The food all turned out fine and everyone really enjoyed squeezing past the half painted wardrobe that still inhabits the kitchen.

We had a stormy trip into Londons West End to see Stickman the day after. It was fabulous, really cleverly done. The book is one of my favourites, written by the Gruffalo lady, Julia Donaldson.

                  And our Christmas and Boxing day were calm,quiet and chilled. Perfect.

I've been looking back at the years posts and I'm really surprised how much I have done. I always feel slightly idle if there's not some massive chaos creating project going on and I guess I focus on the mountain of jobs that need to be started rather than the ones I've completed.

Halfway through the year I decided to focus much more on painting our own furniture and working on home improvements rather than furniture for other people. What brought this about was the realisation that we were coming up to the five year anniversary of living here and I felt a sense of panic at how much there was still to do.
Also, what's the point of being a painter and never finding the time to tackle our own shoddy furniture?

So the first project was this Edwardian Dressing Table table that belonged to a friend...

With new drawer bottoms, a refinished top and a bit of milk paint it became this...

Next a teensy little old Sewing Table got the milk paint treatment and a new upholstery job for the interior...


I added some much needed curb appeal with a french enamel house number inspired planter.

I altered a small wooden wine table, trying to achieve the look of a Swedish Gustavian antique.

The Painted Stairs! 
A monster of a job!
I thought I did this last year! No wonder you all thought I was bonkers when I repainted the walls before Christmas! I have dreadful memory problems. 

I turned a coffee table into a bedroom bench...

And I FINALLY painted the double Chest of Drawers in my bedroom... it waited four years.

Next it was a return to my love affair with milk paint on this Dressing table...

And luckily it fit into the living room and with the removal of the mirror, it's now my desk!

Sadly, it's not ever this tidy.

Then onto the dining room. EVERYTHING in here was overhauled.

The Pine dresser...

I learned how to paint on an old window frame...

and even the chandelier was painted...

I painted a marble topped table

My favourite makeover has to be the cupboard doors in my daughters room! By a long shot. The thrill I get from them still hasn't worn off.

I shudder to think that we were going to get them custom built!

I sincerely thank you for reading and commenting over the last year. The positivity that comes from blogging is incredibly uplifting and it's wonderful to share with like minded people. I've reached 100,000 page hits in a year which is wonderful.

I hope that 2014 will mean more completed projects and home improvements. I have a VERY long list! I'm hoping we can tackle our original 1960 bathroom which is GRIM! I'd like to attempt to improve our eighties kitchen on the cheap. I've got furniture galore to get cracking with, a TV stand, an armoire, two bedside tables, two chests of drawers, a headboard to make from a door, curtains to alter and customise, a vintage wallpaper wall to start and a walk in wardrobe and garage window frames to build. Now I've got my lovely electric saw there'll be no stopping me!

I wish all my lovely readers a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2014.

My daughter and I are heading up to York in the morning to stay with my dad for the rest of the school holidays. I  cannot wait. I'm hoping to catch up with some friends and do very little else. 

Funky Junk

Knick of Time

Elizabeth and Co.

Furniture Feature Fridays

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Cool Christmas flea market find...

Once upon a time I saw in a charity shop, a lovely wooden (Erzebirge?) German Christmas carousel. The kind that's propelled by candles to make it spin. It was only about £3 but for some reason I can't remember, I left it there. I've always regretted that. I didn't expect to ever find another at such a low price. They can sell on eBay for silly money.

Well it turns out that Friday was my lucky day when I spied this box at the flea market...

A quick glance inside and it appeared to be what was on the box. I paid my £4 and hoped that all the parts were present.

After my stint at the shop I assembled the carousel...

The only thing missing is the wing of one angel.

The top deck has angels blowing horns...

Below that, an angel appearing before the shepherds...

Followed by more shepherds...

At the bottom deck has Mary, Joseph and Jesus in the centre with the three kings and a camel surrounding them...

Isn't it lovely?

The candle heat powers the blades into spinning the whole carousel.

I'm very happy. Hopefully this will become part of our Christmas traditions for years to come.

Tomorrow I have nine extra in laws  for our Christmas feast. The dining room looks insane with two dining tables (one brought in from the garden - my sawing table!) and as many chairs as we can fit. And still, the three children have to eat in the kitchen, as is customary on these occasions. I was freaking out as I'd left the tablecloth buying til the last minute and I felt sure that the man on the fabric stall on the market would have sold out. But again, I was in luck. The PVC cloths tie it together and hide the grossness of the garden table.

There's just room to shimmy round and find a seat.

It's nice to be able to use the best china.

I sent my husband out for 12 red crackers. He came home with 6 gold crackers for no apparent reason. They really do speak a different language to us don't they?

I wish you all a lovely Christmas and a happy and healthy 2014! xxx

Saturday, 14 December 2013

T'was the week before Christmas...

                                   T'was the week before Christmas, when all through the house,

                                           Stress levels were building, in especially one spouse.

                                                    The tree was adorned with collected old balls,

                                               By a child who was frightened of dropping them all.

                                           And a control freaky mum who likes things just so,

                                                 Tried to make it fun, but failed at it though.

                                               The stocking was hung by the gas flue with care,

                                                  In hopes that the stocking fillers fit into there,

                                               The boys were nestled all snug in their beds,

                                           While visions of tuna cans danced in their heads.

                                               The gift wrap and tape were all over the floor,

                                                     While list after list and another list more,

                                                 Were hastily written, just as soon to be lost,

                                                   In piles of crap that should be in the loft.

                                                    Internet shopping will save us some time.

                                             On occasions like this, almost wish I drank wine,

                                             But hear me exclaim as I crash for the night,

                                      ''Merry Christmas to all who are reading this sh*te!''

Elizabeth and Co.