Thursday, 22 September 2016

Hello Autumn...

Happy 1st day of Autumn! Yes, it's official today...from here on the nights will draw in thick and fast!

The weather is slowly turning after our last blast of warm summer sunshine...Who'd have thought we'd have high summer temperatures in mid September? Truth be told, I am ready for cooler autumnal mornings...crisp days with the warm glow of jewel colours covering a woodland floor...I am somewhat partial to all the lovely joys of autumn...candlelight, fairy lights, hot chocolate, cosy knits and warm socks. I always indulge in a little fall decorating at home too, as it gets me all cosied up for the chill that is coming.  I spent an hour or so re-dressing the mantel in the living room. I do this every year, as the kids love the changing seasons too. My daughter exclaimed excitedly that it is 'marshmallow and movie season' at the sight of the first orange pumpkin.

Some might think: 'What a waste of time?'  But for me it's just a little playtime! I work in an office all day, and I love my job, but at home I can indulge in my favourite pastime which is homemaking. It's a creative outlet for me, and I am fickle...I get bored so easily with my surroundings, and need to change things up a little...and frequently...

Now, I am really just a five year old in the body of a nearly 40 year old...yikes...that's a somewhat sobering thought! I love whimsical things, so this year there are a few old favourite forest creatures on the mantel...some handmade by me, and some collected over the years...I have teamed these up with my favourite autumn flourishes, a bouquet of Physalis and Asters. I love the bright, cheerful tones of these, and together with a few red berries it is the epitomy of fall. A few years ago, I made a wreath and leafy fabric garland. These come out every year to announce autumn's arrival. It's a it of a tradition now. As it's the first day of autumn, I thought I'd share some snaps. Do you indulge in a little seasonal decorating too? I'd love to hear from you! Here's to cosy days and woolly jumpers!


Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Teal tension...

Well hello there! So much has happened over the summer, I almost feel like I've lived through a whole separate existence! Hence there has been very little time to devote to blogging, and I am only just catching my breath. My parents, sister and brother-in-law came over to the UK to visit, and for us it was a very special time spent making memories. Sadly we had two bereavements in the family, as well as that of a very dear friend, so life has dealt us a few blows too....But, it makes you appreciate every single day for the gift that it is, and you can't help but feel challenged to seize every moment of opportunity that comes knocking at your door...

Over the summer I have also been very fortunate to participate in a Christmas feature for Style at Home Magazine which will hit the shelves in November, but more about that later! As the children are back at school and the normal rhythm of life is returning, I thought I'd share a quick bedroom update with you today.

Last summer we re-decorated the master bedroom by injecting a bit of drama with a dark feature wall, and a few pieces of furniture was given a new lease of life with a lick of paint too. I have never felt completely at ease with the whole scheme, as I have always felt that something was lacking. So, after a little planning and tinkering, I have made a few inexpensive and easy changes that somehow makes it all look and feel more cohesive. The first thing I did was to rethink the most important element of any bedroom scheme...the bedding! I wanted something less sugary and pale than the existing pink floral duvet cover we had on the bed. I found a fabulous linen set that looks and feels more in keeping with the darker colour scheme. I think it is adding more depth and texture, thus creating a more grown-up feel.

I visited the Milton Keynes Handmade, Vintage and Retro Fair at the weekend, and came away with the most charming 1960's floral prints. They were an absolute snip of a bargain, but I am very aware that they would have been a considered purchase for someone back in the day, as people gave a lot more thought to any new item for the home in an era of frugal living. These now have pride of place on the wall behind the bed.

By adding a few new touches, such as some freshly cut sprigs from the garden, and a lush green plant, the room is feeling more inviting and 'pulled together'. A favourite tip of mine is to peruse the bathroom accessories isles in shops like Dunelm, where tumblers used for tooth brushing and rinsing come in all shapes and styles, and they won't break the bank. These are perfect little vases for small posies on the bedside table. They also look fabulous grouped together in odd numbers for a quirky display.

I am very pleased with the overall feel of the room now. It certainly is a haven of relaxation now, perfect for reading in and listening to some old records while daydreaming away...

As always this is a work in progress, but homes always are, aren't they?


Tuesday, 28 June 2016

A quick hello!

Hello lovelies! Well, I've not had much time to check in here of late...Too busy decorating and feathering my nest! I will not be casting light on recent political events, but suffice to say that there is an atmosphere of real trepidation and uncertainty in the air! But today, just a quick hello and a few snaps to show face. As soon as our British weather perks up and we have some photo worthy light, I will share our living room update with you too.

We have had so much rain over the last couple of weeks, but have spent some time pottering in the garden as it was completely desolate of plants. I am not green fingered at all, but hope to learn as I go. So far, so good...I've planted my first Lupine flowers. They are so beautiful! Any handy tips on keeping these alive would be much appreciated!

Then, there are these self-seeding weed-like poppies...Something I can't kill at least! This popped up in the middle of some building rubble at the bottom of the garden. Such a lovely surprise!

With all the rain, the lawn has looked a little on the wild side. But I keep telling myself that we're going for the quintessential English meadow look! Besides, the bees love the clover! Anything to keep the bees happy...

Rainy days do mean that a little sewing might get done...This little project by Sarah Moore has been on my 'to-do list' for quite some time! A little pea-pod pin cushion. A bit fiddly, and far from perfect, but it sits on the shelf rather happily and imperfectly!

When the sun has poked it's nose out between the clouds, we have seized the opportunity to dine Al Fresco! Nothing quite like lazy summer evenings in the garden, G&T in hand, and good company to while away the time. 

I am hoping there will be plentiful sunshine still to enjoy. Our daughter's birthday coincides with summer solstice, and this always is a reminder that from here on the nights start drawing in again...Rather disheartening if you haven't experienced a proper summer as yet! But we hold out hope for a late Indian summer!

I'll leave you with this last snap...My girlie and I spent Saturday perusing the streets of Cambridge. It was a beautiful day, no rain, and a buzz of excitement perfumed the air as many students were graduating. Pockets of families and friends could be seen huddling together on every corner, celebrating achievements with fresh faced youngsters who are eagerly looking to the future. It was a lovely reminder that despite all the negativity in the press this past week, life still goes on, and we need to stay positive and look upwards. I loved every minute spent with my now fourteen year old little lady, and I don't know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future...This last snap to me, is full of the beauty of years gone by...nostalgia of decades lived, memories made...Let's make our memories good ones! A shelf in a little shop on a cobbled Cambridge street, brimming with old tins...What's not to love?

Here's to love, light, and all things bright!

Thursday, 9 June 2016

A little careful sifting...

Oh my...please, if I go missing, don't stick my picture on a lamp post and go looking for me... Chances are I am trapped underneath a pile of stuff in my living room! It has been a busy time of clearing out and sorting through all the things we've accumulated over the years, and I am just scratching the surface. This is all a very necessary exercise, as we are going to re-decorate the living room. It hasn't been done by us since we moved into our home ten years ago! Yikes! In the process, I am sifting through things, carefully deciding what to keep. It is rather painful, as I am a keen collector. Yes, I said collector, not hoarder. And I am saying this whilst sticking out my tongue, and winking at all of you! There is a very distinct difference...  Being a rather sentimental person too isn't helping at all, but I am doing the Marie Kondo test. Every time I look at something, I ask myself: 'Does this spark joy?' If my heart doesn't gallop, it needs to go. I will let you know how I get on. So today, a few snaps of some collected loveliness that does spark joy, and won't get the boot...

Wishing you all days filled with joy where you are!


Sunday, 5 June 2016

Kitchen reveal: Pastels and pink

Oh is just the most glorious day! After a week of moody grey clouds, it is so lovely to finally see blue skies! I have been waiting for a bright day to take some pictures of our newly decorated kitchen to share on here, and I have finally managed to capture it in lovely, warm daylight.

The walls in the kitchen have been looking a little tired, a faded blue that made me feel a little blue too! I have been threatening to paint it pink for months, and well, all I can say is...PINK!!! It is very pink now, but I absolutely love it! The table and chairs are finished too, in various shades of pastels. It feels very cheery in here now!

Along with a new wall colour, the change has prompted the addition of a few new pretties to tie in all the different shades used. A very dear friend of mine gave me a beautifully sewn embroidery hoop for my birthday. You'll notice it's my name 'growing' into pretty little button blooms. Isn't it beautiful? It sits above another appliqued canvas that she gave me a few years ago.

I did a bit of sewing myself, and made a new door curtain to hide the recycling bin. Goodness, those pleats took forever!

Another project was to add a new tablecloth, and I opted for oilcloth as I always do. With three messy children, and the kitchen table doubling up as a food prepping area, it is both beautiful and practical. I cut the tablecloth to size, and then painstakingly cut a scalloped edge all the way around the hem. It is rather laborious, but well worth the effort. It hangs so much better this way. I used the leftover scraps to make a little counter topper too.

Finally, my favourite Clarice Cliff plate has a proper home too! I love the combination of pink and green, and this cheers up one corner of the kitchen. The curtains are looking even lovelier next to a pink wall too. These were a fabulous find from a charity shop a few years ago. I still love them as much as the first day I hung them.

A little more green...two thrifted vintage glass dishes that I acquired some time ago. The colour is absolutely yummy! Perfect for serving little snacks to visitors!

And so, the kitchen is at last just the way I want it...pretty in pink! Not entirely sure the hubby agrees, but thankful that he lets me express myself in this way. I think he's secretly hoping there will be more time spent cooking and baking!

I hope you are also enjoying a bright day where you are! Thanks for stopping by.


Monday, 9 May 2016

Kitchen makeover

So it's been a little quiet on here again...Truth be told, I'm not entirely sure where this blog is staggering to... Life and responsibilities seem to trip it up, and every so often I manage to dust off it's bruised little knees, bandage it up with a few words and a few snaps, and send it into the big wide world that's the web. Let's hope this time it takes more than a few tentative steps, and manages to take big, confident strides towards the next post!

I have been contemplating a few changes to our little kitchen for some time now. It is probably the busiest room in our home, as I spend most of my time here preparing meals for the family...boy, do they eat a lot...and often! I have teased that perhaps it's time to invest in a cement mixer which I can just shovel heaps of food into, so the little gannets can have a constant supply of calories churning! Apart from meal times, we spend quite a bit of time at the kitchen table too, doing homework, drinking cups of tea, chatting and Skyping family back home in South Africa. I get bored very easily with the same interior after a while, so needless to say a change is what's needed in here. That, and also the fact that the walls are looking a little tired. Now, I'm not talking major makeovers. The budget and space does not allow for this at present. Just a little investment in colour is what's needed!

Our kitchen table was one of the first pieces of furniture that we purchased for our home, about sixteen years ago. We bought it from the Greenwich Antiques market, so it has certainly clocked up some mileage! It started life as a dark oak table, and since has had the legs painted. For the last seven years it paraded in a very respectable satinwood cream, but I decided once again that it was time for a change. Along with the chairs, the table has been given a new lease of life with a tin of Annie Sloan.

I have never shied away from bright colours, so I opted for a very vibrant Antibes green for the table legs. Yesterday I was asked why I only painted the legs, and not the whole table. I suppose it is to keep a little piece of it's original existence alive, and I do like the contrast of the bare wooden top with the brightly coloured legs. From a practical point of view, I am also frightfully aware of the fact that the table top takes quite a beating in a house of five, what with all the food preparation, eating and crafting that goes on...And who knows, dancing on the table might be on the cards too!

As for the chairs, well, a rainbow of pastels are in the making. I have chosen more yummy colours from Annie Sloan...Antoinette, Henrietta and Louis Blue...As for the fourth chair, I am still undecided. Perhaps a lovely sunny yellow? The best part is that I managed to get away with sample pots instead of large tins. A sample pot was more than enough to give a chair the two required coats for a good finish. Hooray shouts my thrifty soul! You will notice that the furniture has been distressed after painting. I don't like things too perfect...I prefer the lived in look. As it stands, the furniture will get knocked about quite a bit, and if it's already distressed, the odd scrape will blend in just fine!

This is a work in progress...I will undoubtedly be sharing more snaps with you as we progress with the kitchen's mini-makeover. There are still two chairs to paint, the walls to do and a lot of sorting and faffing. Watch this space! I would love your thoughts on picking a colour for the fourth chair!


Friday, 8 April 2016

Sewing corner revisited...

Well hello! It is Friday, the weekend is knocking, and I am looking forward to some crafty time...hopefully! That is once the laundry pile has been conquered! I have had a good tidy of my sewing corner recently, and a few new additions too, so while it's in an orderly state I thought I'd share some pictures with you. I don't have a separate room for sewing and crafting, but a desk that hubby built a few years ago in the corner of our living room. As you can imagine the challenge here is to keep it relatively organized, as to not turn our main living space into a messy work room! One day, I would love a space of my own where I can create to my heart's content, without having to worry about the inevitable mess it creates. One day...But equally, it is good to be able to sit in the same room as the rest of the family, to still feel a sense of togetherness whilst taking the time to sew. So today, a few pictures of my ever evolving crafty space...

Stripped bare, ready to re-organize...

A recent project...A gift for a friend...

Hmmm...what's next?

Here's to a weekend of creative pursuits!


Monday, 4 April 2016

Baby love...

Well, it has been a whirlwind of a weekend! Saturday was spent with some dear friends hosting a baby shower for two lovely ladies who are expecting. I thought I'd share some pictures with you, as it was such a wonderful occasion...

Mummy rosettes for the special ladies...

Some hand-dyed baby onesies turned into bunting...I decided to give balloons a miss,opting for fabric scrap bunting and paper pom-poms as decorations instead...

A very rustic looking naked cake...'Two peas in a pod!' Okay, cake decorating is not my strong point, but it tasted good enough to eat! I made the sponge using Mary Berry's Victoria Sponge recipe, and for once my cake turned out edible! Thank you Mary!

A vintage inspired table setting...

Rose posies for the table...

Our guest of honor, cutting the cake...

It was a truly lovely, very girly afternoon, spent with some wonderful women! I am looking forward to meeting the little ones soon!