Thursday, 30 April 2009

Watch the Birdy

I discovered Etsy seller Nuka via the fabulous Knack blog and have fallen head over heels for this gorgeous cushion:

A quick search on Etsy turned up these other fine feathered friends I would like to invite to share my nest:

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

eBay rocks!

Just back from one of our regular excursions to pick up yet another eBay purchase and this one was a corker I must say. We managed to get ourself 22 square metres of really good quality engineered oak flooring for an absolute steal. It was down on the seller's floor for a couple of years but his wife fancied a change of wood so it all came up again. It's in near perfect condition and we can sand the odd scratch down and re-oil if necessary. We've saved around £700 and our kitchen will have a lovely oak floor instead of the awful wood effect vinyl complete with cigarette burn that we inherited from the previous owner - hurrah!

I'm hoping this weekend that we can do a test run on one of our cabinet doors to see how they take to being painted. I am hoping to turn some very dull beech effect doors into something vaguely resembling these with the help of some hardcore primer and Farrow and Ball's "Blackened" Eggshell:

Photo from Farrow and Ball

Possibly a tall order but I'm going to give it my best shot. I'll let you know how I get on...

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Fireplace Envy

I have always been rather proud of our fireplace which currently looks like this:

That is until I saw this picture of Charlotte Seddon's home on Eden Rose's lovely blog:

(Image from

Mine looks awfully bare and impersonal in comparison. When we got our flat three years ago I was loving monochrome (possibly a bit too much in retrospect) and whilst I still love our Habitat wallpaper which we just have on the chimney breast (the walls on either side are white) I would now like to break up the black and white with some more feminine touches and some soft colours. Something to make it a bit less austere at any rate. Some lovely fresh flowers might be a good place to start and my fingers are crossed that there will be a reasonably priced reproduction Eames rocker on eBay round about my birthday so that I can nudge Mr Crafty in its general direction (sadly the originals are always out of our price range). I can just see it sitting in front of the fireplace with a pretty cushion on it a la Charlotte. In the meantime it's definitely time to for a little bit of an accessories makeover...

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Lake District Style

I'm back from a week walking and relaxing in the glorious Lake District. We were lucky enough to have gorgeous weather while we were there which, given that it is famous for being the rainiest place in England, was a miracle! It is also famous for being stunningly beautiful:

...and also for being a fab place for afternoon tea which I can certainly vouch for. We had this lovely tea at the Lakeside Hotel and it was scrummy although we had to admit defeat and took most of the cakes home in a doggy bag:

I was delighted to discover that Grasmere, where we were staying, also has a couple of brilliant interiors boutiques in amongst the tea rooms and gift shops. Elk Home has been featured in Living Etc and has a great collection of Mibo cushions, Cowshed skin products, Eames chairs and, my personal favourite because I haven't come accross them before, Herdy throws:

Herdy was set up to help preserve the Lake District and in particular the Herdwick sheep local to the area. A percentage of profits go to Herwick Breeders and the Tourism and Conservation partnership. They make a range of gift items such as mugs and notebooks all featuring the Herdy logo but the throws are my favourite - so soft. They had one draped over an Eames DSW chair in the shop and it looked fab. I feel another addition to my birthday list coming on!

I also fell in love with The Attic which was a lovely little shop full of the sort of stuff you absolutely don't need but suddenly desperately want like ostrich feather dusters, bakelite telephones and wallpaper bunting. The Attic opens into Baldry's bakery and tea room which as well as serving amazing smoked salmon and cream cheese rolls had been done up so prettily:

I loved the church chairs and Farrow and Ball style colours on the walls.

Also, just in case you were thinking of visting Grasmere any time soon, you have, have, have to go to the Jumble Room. The food is really fantastic and the setting is lovely - really welcoming and cosy. It is owned by Andy and Chrissy Hill who also run B&B called Randy Pike. They have have renovated a Gentlemen's hunting lodge and it looks like they have done an amazing job from the before and after photos on their website. Here are a couple of the finished suites:

I know where I want to stay when we go back!

Friday, 17 April 2009

Short Break

I am going to be taking a short break and will be back in a week's time.

In the meantime I shall leave you with a before pic of my next project. I have all sorts of plans for this lovely dresser which was yet another eBay find:

See you in a week!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009


Our little hall has been really taking shape recently but the with the white walls and white floor it was looking a little bare. We didn't have any budget for pictures and so I decided to get a bit creative. I got some old ikea frames we had lying around and painted them white. I then got a selection of different coloured pieces of pastel paper from Paperchase and used some as backgrounds overlaid with bird shapes cut from contrasting colours. Given that this was a quick fix I am rather pleased with the results.

I wish I could show a proper view of the whole hall but as I said before it is very wee and as a result it is almost impossible to take a photo on our basic digital camera that takes in all the elements. These are my best efforts:

Sunday, 12 April 2009


I mentioned a while back that the projects were stacking up. Well, this weekend finally saw the completion of one. There was a time when, if I needed a new piece of furniture, I would have thought nothing about popping down to Ikea. The problem is you end up with something mass produced, non environmentally friendly and of questionable quality and longevity. As a result I am much more likely these days to try and find a pre-loved item on eBay and then revamp it to suit my taste. If you pick your projects right you end up with solid good quality pieces that you can give your own personal twist.

I bought this bookcase a while ago on eBay for more or less the price of an Ikea unit with a view to giving it a makeover (photo from eBay):

It now looks like this:

You can tell I have been overdosing on Living Etc by the fact I have arranged the books by colour rather than something sensible such as genre or author. Mr Crafty finds this very illogical as he is an avid reader and collector of books and now it's harder to find the book you want but it gives me a little glow every time I look at it.

I also got these lovely handles from John Lewis because I wanted a splash of colour against the Farrow and Ball All White Eggshell:

Kitchen Mood Board

I am just in the process of teaching myself photoshop and decided to practice on a mood board for the kitchen facelift we are planning for the end of the summer. I am very excited by the potential of photoshop but frustrated by my less than basic knowledge. Here is my first attempt but I can't wait to be a pro.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Keeping it in the family

I mentioned in an earlier post that my grandfather was a pottery designer in the 1930s. I always keep a beady eye on eBay for any of his pieces so I was delighted when this came up:
It seemed serendipitous as I had just decided that I needed a tea set in my life. I also love the simplicity and intense colour of this particular design. I think it was one of his favourites as well because he chose a service in this pattern to give to my Aunt on her wedding day. I had quite a battle to win it as there were two other very eager bidders and it went up to more than I had hoped to pay but suffice it to say that I am now the proud owner of this piece of family history. It turned out afterwards that one of those eager bidders was none other than my cousin who also collects Jack's work off eBay! The teaset was delivered to my parents and they will be bringing it round on Easter Sunday so we can all sit down to a slice of homemade simnel cake on the family china.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Our Wedding

Rather excitingly our wedding, which took place in West Sussex last summer, has been featured in this month's You and Your Wedding Magazine. Looking at the pictures has brought the day flooding back in all its glory and I thought I would take the opportunity to post some of our beautiful photos taken by the very talented Lucy Hackett. We had our reception in a village hall and anything that we could make ourselves we did. I made the stationary, the cake, yards of bunting, the adult bridesmaids dresses, decorated the hall with the help of a crack team comprised of friends and family and I also did all the bouquets and flower arrangements. I am only a basic sewer and have a very rudimentary knowledge of floristry but we weren't too worried about things looking slightly rough around the edges - we just wanted the day to be very personal and in the end I was so proud of what we achieved.

Our full album is available to view online.

The pictures are also available on the Grant Riley Weddings website. Tiffany from Grant Riley was our on the day co-ordinator and did and absolutely amazing job making sure that the day ran wonderfully smoothly. She also writes a very addictive wedding blog!