Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Horsing Around

I discovered Skinny Laminx's fabulous fabrics on Design Sponge a while back now. I am particularly in love with her "Colts" print:
I love it most of all in the Goldenrod colourway:

I have two very battered old Parker Knoll wing backs that I bought off eBay for a tenner. How gorgeous would they look reupholstered in this fabric? The only slight drawback is that I have never upholstered anything more complicated than a seat pad before.

I have found this step by step guide which makes it look relatively within the realms of achievability and I also have a beginners upholstery book which makes it look a bit more complicated! I would love to know if anyone has given an upholstery project like this a go and how they found it. I am inclined to attempt it but it would be a shame to ruin such beautiful fabric if it turns out to be a whole lot harder than I think it's going to be.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Birthday Cookies

It was my cousin's 60th birthday this weekend so I spent Saturday making him cookies. I took a series of snaps of the process.

I made a simple vanilla cookie dough and cut the shapes out. I chose birthday presents, birthday cakes and comets (the latter because he is an astrophysicist!) The key is to stick the dough back in the fridge after you cut the shapes out to reduce the chance they will spread in the oven:

I baked the cookies for 10-12 min:

When the cookies were cool I piped an outline in Royal icing:

I then filled the cookie in with more royal icing let down with some egg whites. Once this was dry I piped details onto the cookies. The comets were dusted with edible glitter:

If I did them again I would make the design less fussy on the presents as the ribbon doesn't quite work for me but I was really happy with the rest and they went down a treat at the party!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009


We have been doing a bit more work on our kitchen cabinets and I am really excited about the progress. About a third of our cabinets are now painted and resplendent with new handles. It makes such a difference already. I can't wait to get on and finish them (and do the tiling, wallpaper the chimney breast, install the new worktop and flooring, ho hum...)

This is what all our cabinets used to look like (beech effect melamine):

This is what they look like painted with melamine primer and two coats of Farrow and Ball's Blackened Estate Eggshell and fitted with new shaker style handles bought v cheaply on eBay:

The photo's not great (still working out how to get the most out of my Blackberry camera) but I hope you can get a sense of the difference. Can't wait until it's finally time to post before and afters of the whole room.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Game of Tag

The lovely Zoë from Conversation Pieces tagged me a week ago and I have been very slow to respond with my answers but here they are - finally! The rules are:

1. respond and rework; answer the questions on your blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your invention, add more one question of your own.
2. tag eight other people

And my answers are as follows:

What is your current obsession? Vintage camping gear - Mr Crafty and I are planning to jump on the staycation bandwagon and go camping in the UK for our Summer hols but, not being one to do things by halves, I want to go the whole kitsch 70s hog with a canvas frame tent (preferably orange), floral deckchairs and all the paraphernalia. I have plans to take everything but the kitchen sink and deck the tent out in solar powered fairy lights and bunting. Although if it wasn't slightly out of our budget I would be very tempted by JollyDays Luxury Camping where they provide all the above for you:

Photos from Jolly Days

Coffee or tea? I could say coffee, which to me is resonant of continental sophistication, but it's definitely tea all the way. My all time favourite thing is afternoon tea at a posh hotel and which just wouldn't be the same without a pretty china pot of the amber liquid.

What’s for dinner? I am a total foodie, read cook books like they were novels and love creating new dishes but I am sorry to say I am currently on a health kick so dinner will most probably be steamed salmon fillets with brown rice and swiss chard. Boring but true.

What would you eat for your last meal?
I hope that I will never that know that I am eating my last meal! But if the question is what is my all time favourite meal then I would be very stuck for an answer. I have to say that whilst I love complicated restaurant cuisine and all sorts of exotic dishes you can't go wrong with a rare steak, bernaise sauce, skinny fries, grilled portabella mushrooms and dressed salad washed down with a decent red. In fact I definitely wish that was my answer to the previous question!

What was the last thing you bought? This embroidered tunic dress from Dorothy Perkins:

I have a soft spot for DP. A lot of the stuff in there is not really my style at all but every now and then they will design something really lovely and everything in there is reasonably priced which, given the fact that any tiny bit of spare cash we have is being sucked into the flat, is very handy. I have already got a lot of wear out of this dress, teaming it with black leggings, flats and gold jewellery. Let's hope the sun stays with us this summer so I get even more wear out of it!

What are you listening to right now? Spotify i.e. anything and everything! For anyone who hasn't discovered it, Spotify lets you listen to pretty much any track ever for free. What's the catch? You have to listen to a 30 second advert every 5 songs or so but in return for that you can listen to anything from new releases to forgotten classics. I have mostly been listening to the new Bat for Lashes album (brilliant in my opinion), Animal Collective (also brilliant) and a selection of rediscovered 80s tracks for old time's sake.

What's the best gift you have ever been given? Mr Crafty gave me the most amazing gold butterfly necklace for our wedding day. He gave it to one of my bridesmaids to give to me:

What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Really good quality Pistachio or rum and raisin or preferably both in a nice old fashioned sugar cone whilst walking along the beachfront in Brighton.

What do you think of the person(s) who tagged you? Zoë writes a really fabulous blog (which she is much better at regularly updating than I am mine) and is a kindred spirit on pretty much everything - we even own the same pillow cases!

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go? Ikies Traditional Houses in Santorini. We stayed there on our honeymoon an it is as close to perfection as you can get. Oh to be back on that balcony:

Which language do you want to learn? French. I learnt Latin and German at school so managed to miss out on the obligatory French lessons. My brother now lives in Paris and I have a five year old Anglo-French bilingual niece who at some point soon is going to question my inability to speak her mother tongue. I need to catch up with her!

What’s your favorite quote (for now)? "Dwell in possibility" Emily Dickinson

What is your favorite colour? This changes periodically. At the moment I love grey. I think it's an underrated colour that has so many different tones and shades. We have a lovely charcoal grey on our bedroom walls and it is a really warm yet soothing colour to live with.

What is your favorite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe? My wedding shoes which I bought from Emmy as a huge treat to myself. I sold my wedding dress so these are my reminder of my wonderful wedding day:

What is your dream job? I used to be an actress but got fed up with the instability of the profession. I still think it's what I am best at though and I do miss the acting itself very much indeed. If I could work as an actress but have weekends off, annual leave and get to see my husband in the evening then that would be my dream job but unfortunately I didn't have the single-minded ambition to cut-it in the real acting industry. Otherwise I quite fancy cake designer.

What is your worst habit? I am a neat freak trapped inside a very messy person's body! I would love everything to be extraordinarily ordered and neat and yet I seem to be fundamentally incapable of keeping my space tidy. This means I am constantly at war with myself as I can't stand the little piles of paper that litter the carpet of our sitting room whilst they wait to be dealt with and yet generally I am the one who puts them there.

If you had £100 now, what would you spend it on? It would go towards a new kitchen worktop. We are in the process of giving our kitchen a face lift on a very tight budget but the one thing I do want to splash out on is a reclaimed oak worktop to replace the pink-ish marble effect laminate left to us by the flat's previous owners.

Do you admire any one’s style? Helena Bonham-Carter. I wouldn't copy her style but I love her English Eccentricity and total disregard for what other people might think of her outfits. It's also nice to see a celeb who isn't fussed about looking perfect in public.

Describe your personal style? I pay attention to current trends to a degree but not us much as I did when I was younger. As I get older I am more aware of what suits me and that may not be the latest fashion (it definitely isn't peg trousers or harem pants for example) My heart is with vintage, boho, girly clothes. I think I was probably born out of my time as I love clothes from the 20s - 50s and if I had the figure would wear pretty much nothing but vintage. Unfortunately the clothes that have survived always seem to be in wee sizes and I am too curvy for most of them.

What are you going to do after this? I am off to my parents to dig out their old 70s tent and see if it might do for our camping trip or if it has rotten away due to years of sitting in the garage not being used.

What are your favourite movies? Don't Look Now and Orlando are probably my favourite movies of all time. The Slipper and the Rose is my guilty pleasure. I spent my childhood watching it on repeat but could still happily watch it again and again.
What is your favorite fruit? English strawberries in season that taste like essence of pure strawberry.

What inspires you? London. I have a love-hate relationship with the city I was born in and there are times I want to run away and live in a little cottage surrounded by green fields. But there is so much that I love about London. I love the way that living here gives you the opportunity to experience so many different cultures. I love that even though Londoners aren't the friendliest bunch ostensibly we actually do a pretty good job of rubbing along together given the number of people per square mile. I love that London is artistically so alive with exhibitions, street art and happenings all over. I love the view from Waterloo Bridge and the South Bank at night. And even though I may end up in that cottage some day it will always be London that made me who I am.

Your favorite book? So difficult to narrow it down to just one! Probably 'Wuthering Heights' if I absolutely had to pick one but I am also a huge Haruki Murakami fan and 'Kafka on the Shore' is up there.

Do you collect something? Clutter! Not intentionally but I find it very hard to throw things away so I have loads of old rubbish squirreled away in the attic which we are trying to slowly get rid of at car boot sales and via eBay.

What is your favorite smell? English garden roses - just the most beautiful scent ever! It's such a shame that most roses that are grown commercially aren't scented.

What are you most proud of? My family. They are a very lovely, intelligent and talented bunch of people and I count myself extremely lucky to have them around me.

How many times do you press the snooze button before you get up? Before I met Mr Crafty it was three snoozes per morning for me if not more but he's been weaning me off the addiction and I am down to one a day.

Cats or dogs? Cats all the way! I have nothing against dogs per se but I love that you have to work a bit harder to work your way into a cat's affections.

What’s your biggest fashion mistake? There have been so many! I did have a particularly appalling fluorescent yellow swimsuit with a black satin bow on the back when I was 14. It was very trendy at the time, honest!

Complete the following: Love is… When you honestly and truly value your partner's happiness ahead of your own.

And I am going to tag the following Eden Rose, Seeds and Stitches, Slices of Beauty, From the Right Bank to the Left Coast, Her Little Place, Moments of Pleasure, Poppy's Pretty Place, My Crooked House

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Drawers Before and After

We bought these drawers from Argos when we moved in to our first rented flat together:

They were unfinished pine when we bought them and we stained them dark to go with the other furniture we had at the time. I have been wanting to give them a makeover for ages and I have now finally got round to it. A coat of Farrow&Ball's Pavillion Grey, new Minton knobs and hand painted white and pink swallows later they now look like this:

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Talented Lady

I have sang the praises of our wedding photographer, Lucy Hackett, before on here but she has just revamped her website so I hope you don't mind me posting the link again. She only recently started her business and we were her second clients (we were lucky enough to be recommended her by another photographer who wasn't available for our date) but she was truly amazing and we were both very chuffed with the photos of our big day. If you are planning a wedding or, like me, just can't get enough of wedding porn then her site is well worth a gander. The full set of our photos is on there.

Ahhh - takes me back!

Monday, 1 June 2009

Car booty

What a glorious weekend of summer sunshine we had here in London! Mr Crafty and I spent Sunday at Battersea Carboot Sale getting rid of some of the vast quantity of junk that, as a right pair of hoarders, we have managed to accumulate over the years. After the usual mad rush of house clearance vultures asking for mobile phones and gold jewellery we settled down to a steady trickle of buyers and had a rather nice day of it sitting in the sun:

I was a little concerned that I might bring home as much as I went with but I managed to stay strong and made only one purchase. After my previous post this fella just had to come home with me:

Ok - you got me! There are clearly dayglo yellow plastic cups and plates in this rather butch tartan lined hamper rather than the pretty vintage crockery that I was eulogising about previously but it makes smile and, thanks to a bit of nifty haggling by Mr Crafty, was a mere £8 so just slightly less than the very beautiful Life's a Picnic hampers.

It also fits in with our new plan to do a bit of retro style camping in Sussex for our forthcoming first wedding anniversary. We are hoping to track down a second hand, old-school frame tent and kit ourselves out with a camping stove and some 70s style floral deckchairs. I want to tart the tent up with some bunting and solar powered fairy lights and the plan is to see our anniversary in with fish'n'chips and a glass of champers!