Monday, 28 February 2011

Bathroom - the makeover

I thought it was about time I showed you some of the changes we have made in this house before we finish it and hopefully sell up and move to another. 
I'm starting off with our bathroom. Now when we started work on the bathroom I didn't keep a blog, and it never occured to me to take good BEFORE shots, so I apologise for the few pictures that I have, but I think you'll get the general idea. It was horrible!
The ceiling was swirly artex, and because we ripped out some units and a big block wall that contained the shower unit, it was patchy and nasty.
Also there was a long striplight inset into the ceiling and it had been framed with dark stained pine and fitted with a patterned plastic. This photo was after we'd ripped off the dark frame and plastic.
The shower was disgusting and dark and dingy and seemed to overpower the room. This was after we'd taken away a panel that went from the top of the door to the ceiling. Yeugh!
We'd just ripped out the large corner avocado coloured bath in this picture. It was on a raised area of flooring all covered with cork tiles and I was forever stubbing my toe on it when I went past to the toilet.  The walls had been stripped of the charming brown and beige tile effect vinyl wallpaper. Are you getting the idea? Not really what one would call an attractive bathroom.
Sorry I don't have more before photos to show you just how yucky it was. this is what we've done....
Important change no. 1. Put in a white suite. We also put in a new window. There is nothing but forest behind us so no need for typical bathroom window glass. It gives a much more open feel. 
I used MDF beadboard and painted it in a lovely blue shade. In retrospect, I might have painted it in pale gray or white had I known we'd be moving so soon, but the paint was in the reduced section for £1 a tin, and I bought about 8 tins, so blue it shall stay!

 Now that the block wall is down, the room feels twice as big. There is space for this lovely old chest of drawers which I got from my friends garage. We keep all our toiletries and towels in there. The mirror on the top came from the auction for £15. 

The lovely balloon back chair was another auction bargain for only £5. One day I'll recover the seat, but I don't really mind the shabby old velvet. I've grown kind of fond of it.

The table was £1 at auction and the corner cupboard £3. The shabby painted shelf was made by my dad for a previous kitchen but I don't have anywhere to put it in my present kitchen, so it ended up in here. As you can see we had the ceiling plastered and installed downlighters. 
If I had a wide angle lens perhaps you'd get a better idea. Hope you can spot the improvement! 
I might show you the kitchen next.  

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Thrifty Thursday- In the Picture

We've recently finished decorating our hall. In fact the carpet has just been laid - yippeee!  It's a very long hallway and now needs some artwork. But my budget for it is pretty much zero, so I have been busy with the paintbrush recolouring some frames I already had so that they would fit in better. This horse picture was £1 a long time agon in a charity shop. The frame is really nasty cheap pine, and it has acrylic instead of glass, but with the black paint it suddenly looks quite classy.
I usually use artists acrylic black paint on my frames as I like the matt black finish and adhesion is good with this paint. Two coats is usually enough although I sometimes do three. Give the frame a light sand first and then clean it with a cleaning wipe, or some sugar soap and a lint free cloth before painting to make sure there is no grease on the frame. 
This frame came from Lidls in a sale bin and was only £3. But it was a silver colour. I thought I'd be smart and use some blackboard paint that I had bought a long while ago, BIG mistake. The paint was oil based and had separated really badly, I did my best to mix it and afer three coats with a days drying time in between, it still looked bad and some bits just weren't going to dry properly, and so I had to wipe off what I could with some White Spirit and then used my usual artists acrylic paint. I'll know next time! The three chairs came from the wonderful graphics fairy. I printed them out the right size onto some lovely pearlised paper and stuck them in the frame. I think the finished effect looks much more expensive than £3 don't you?
I didn't have the heart to paint the frame for this one. It is a beautifully embroidered picture I bought at my local auction for £8. I really love it just as it is so the frame will have to not quite go!

Friday, 18 February 2011

A Quick Lid Tip

Yet again it has been too crazy busy a week to do a Thrifty Thursday. I am just dropping by to say hi, it's going to be a busy weekend. I have two house guests as well as my son coming home for the weekend, and my daughter Naomi gets Baptised on Sunday. Should be a good time!
I have finally finished painting the panelling in my little girl's room. It took a while. I'll show you the finished room next week.

And I leave you with another one of the uses for bottle lids. I use them to prop up small items for painting to keep them from sticking to the newspaper underneath. Very handy! I'm on a bit of a picture frame painting frenzy at the moment. I'm trying to reuse what I have already to save me from spending anything.  

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

A New Blog for you...

Just a little note to tell you about the other blog I have started. I shall be using it to post my collection of vintage images. It will make it easier for you to find, and easier for me to catalogue. I hope you will enjoy using the images. 
It is only a baby blog at the moment, but I hope it will grow and be of use to all you crafters out there. Please enjoy...

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Thrifty Thursday

This week I wanted to tell you about my thrifty grandparents. It also gives me an excuse to share some lovely old photographs with you. I enjoy looking over old family photos and imagining what life was like for my mother and her two sisters as young girls. I hope you enjoy looking at them too!

I was over at Funky Junks blog today. Her use of crates for storage around the house got me to thinking of a special crate that I own. It must be about 65 years old and belonged to my grandmother. My mother can remember her using  Darkoline Woodstain on it.

The box came from the local greengrocers and originally contained Jaffa Oranges. My mother used it as a bedside cabinet as a young girl and can remember a little lace doily and a bedside lamp sitting on it . I have used it for various things over the years but for a while it has been  hidden in my wardrobe where it has been serving as a little storage shelf. I thought it was time to bring it out and let it see daylight again. 

How clever of my grandmother to see the beauty in this little bit of wood. I'm sure she never imagined it would become a treasured possession of mine. 
My grandparents lived in a charming house in Morningside in Edinburgh, Scotland after moving up from Birmingham, England in the 1940s. I was wondering why my grandmother would have used an orange crate as furniture, but I guess she was just into upcycling long before it became trendy. My mum thought perhaps there was a shortage of goods in wartime and so she was just being inventive. The photo above shows my mum to the right and her two sisters middle and left. Behind them are a couple of neighbours and my grandmother
My grandfather was as an industrial chemist, I love this photo of him in a lab.

My grandfather was very good with his recycling too. He used to methodically go through the mail every day and  fold and  cut all the envelopes that arrived into neat little bits of paper with his paper knife so that they could be used as scrap paper. A little pad of this paper held together with a bulldog clip used to sit in the kitchen ready for making shopping lists or jotting down notes.  I still have some of his recycled envelopes in our Scrabble box where they were used for writing down scores. I couldn't part them. Precious memories.  ( He always beat me at Scrabble!) 
Here are some more lovely pictures...
Check out those baggy trousers!!! :-)
and check out the swimming cossie!! Trendy huh? The little girl in the picture is my aunt - my mother's older sister .
Here is my grandmother with the same aunt. 

and my grandfather as a young man. 

On top of the crate are photos of my great grandparents on my maternal grandmothers side. They were named Abraham and Sarah,and they came from Austria and Poland. The little chair belonged to my  my mother's older sister who is now in her 80s and the Cheeky Teddy bear belonged to her younger sister who sadly died of a brain tumour a few years ago. The cushions I made a long time ago. I hand painted the butterflies with fabric paint onto some nice thick cotton, and the floral cushion I embroidered before I had any children so about 20 years ago. 
I hope you have enjoyed reading a little of my family history. 

PS.  I'm joining Funky Junks Copy Me Challenge here

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Love is...

OK, you're gonna think I'm a real party pooper here, but I have to be honest with you, we don't   do Valentines Day in our house. Don't get me wrong,  I have nothing against telling your loved ones how special they are to you. I think every day is good for telling someone how precious they are and how much they mean to you.  Life on this earth is short, we shouldn't waste time waiting for that one day a year to tell them! I nearly lost my husband last year to a heart attack, I was so glad that just a few short hours before I had told him I loved him. We should treasure every moment with our loved ones. Every second is a gift.

I was researching the origins of Valentines Day. There seem to be various explanations  - some of them a little dubious sounding, but apparently it wasn't until about 1382 in Chaucer's poem Parlement of Foules that Valentines day became associated with romantic love. That's a pretty old tradition!  If you want to learn more about Valentines Day, you can check it out on Wikepedia

OK, despite not partaking in Valentines Day, I do have a sweet little craft for you that you can use as a valentines gift, or you could just enjoy as a quirky little decorative item in your home.

Hearts and Flowers part 2. (For part 1. See this post

You will need a flower punch and a heart punch. I'm using my Tonic Studio's punches again.  
Some florists wire, I don't know what gauge I was using, some was thin for adding the leaves and the other for the stems was thicker. Sorry I am not more helpful there! 
And you will need some small buttons or jewels for the centre of the flowers. 

I used some vintage encyclopedia pages that contained just text, and my assistant (age 4) used watercolour paint to make a couple of green pages and a few brown tinged pages.
I then used the green paper to punch out some flowers and a few hearts for leaves, and the brown paper for the hearts. You'll need 2 flowers and 12 hearts per flower, and 2 hearts per leaf.

I stuck a heart onto each of the flower petals. I then layered two completed flowers together and hot glued them onto the thicker wire. To make this easier, using needlenose pliers, I formed a flat spiral at the top of the wire so that the glue had something to stick to. To finish the flowers I stuck on some lovely little mother of pearl buttons. You can then curl and adjust the petals on the flowers to give them a more realistic look - realistic? ...out of old printed paper? ...well, you know what I mean!

For the leaves I  used two green hearts and one piece of thinner wire folded in half and twisted together for just over the length of the heart. I sandwiched the wire between the two hearts and glued with PVA glue. I used the remaining length of the wire to wind around the stem of the flower. You can add as few or many leaves as you like. 

Now arrange your flowers in a little vase - or even better, in a vintage bottle. You could add a little sentiment tag if they are for a gift. I  punched a heart out of my tag, but you could always add a sweet message.
My bottle was from some Indian Tonic Water. I liked the simple shape.  

To vary this idea, you could change the paper you use. Try using some pretty scrapbooking paper, or vintage maps. For more bling some glittery jewels in the centre would be lovely. If you have a small plant pot, you could fill it with oasis, cover the top with moss and arrange the flowers in a little pot. If you make a looser wire spiral with the thicker wire and add it to the arrangement it could serve as a pretty note holder. I wonder if this will inspire you to come up with your own version?

Now...coming back to Valentines day...
Do you remember that cute Love is...couple? 

I like this little snippet from the Bible that talks about what Love is... 

Love is patient, 
Love is kind, and is not jealous; 
Love does not brag and is not arrogant, 
does not act unbecomingly; 
it does not seek its own, 
is not provoked, 
does not take into account a wrong suffered,  
does not rejoice in unrighteousness, 
but rejoices with the truth;  
bears all things, 
believes all things, 
hopes all things, 
endures all things.  

1Corinthians 13:4-7 

My friend Leo suggests replacing the word love with our own name to see how we measure up.
I know I fall short !

So... I hope you have a wonderful Valentines day, and that yours is filled with love!

P.S. I'm joining Modern Country Style's 
Garden Party today

P.P.S. The flower photos were taken by Naomi. Why not drop by here Picture a Day Blog and say hello.  

P.P.P.S. also joining a blog hop here... 

P.P.P.P.S. you can also find this post and a bit more where I am guest posting at my wonderful friend Leslies blog at Goodbye House, Hello Home. Thanks Leslie. xxx 

P.P.P.P.P.S. Also linking to the fabulous Blue Cricket Design Show and Tell Wednesdays

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Just a quick note

Just popping by to let you know that  fellow UK etsy seller is having a one day free postage offer to buyers from the UK. You can visit her blog at The Crafty Fish.

her Etsy sites are...

Friday, 4 February 2011

hello !

Hi there, there was no Thrifty Thursday this week and my activities have come to a standstill because my  little girl has come down with the tummy bug that is making the rounds. She is feeling rather sorry for herself, poor thing. I do hope she feels better soon - and keeps it to herself!

I am actually in the middle of decorating her room. It has dark wood panelling and I am painting it all white to lighten the room. It is taking quite a few coats of paint though. I'll be really glad when it is done! Hopefully I'll be back with a more interesting post soon.