Saturday, 21 May 2011

Corridor Dressing

Ever since we moved into our flat a full five years ago, the corridor has been a sad and empty place. We painted it white  which was a definite improvement on the lemon and jade walls/metallic silver woodwork combo that was there before but having done that we left it. Each time I walked down it I made a mental note to find some lovely colourful finery to adorn the blank walls and then other rooms stepped in, shouted louder and assumed priority.

But it was such a perfect blank canvas eventually I just couldn't ignore it and decided it was time to dress it up.

By happy accident I had over time acquired a few prints and pictures with a red theme running through them and they have formed a cheerful little collection on one of the walls:

My mother bought me the Ballet Russes poster at the V&A exhibition of the same name. The Leyland Buses postcard (in the smallest frame) was sent to me from the North by my lovely friend Helen - Leyland is her home town. The bigger London bus screen print is actually the poster for a Flight of the Conchords gig we went to - it is very rare that I buy show merchandise but this one appealed to me and reminds me of a night involving much, much laughter. The Rob Ryan limited edition laser cut for the V&A was a Christmas present from my parents. The gorgeous fox painting is from Mir Dinara on Etsy, found via The Seventy Tree and was the final piece of the puzzle. I thought this area was finished but then spotted the gorgeous Papermash banners on Tea For Joy and the Joie De Vivre one is now winging its way to me to act as the crowning glory.

I had also wanted to do something with the wall space above our bedroom door. Books are everywhere in our flat - Mr Crafty devours them and usually has about three on the go and both of us feel strongly about buying solid paper books and holding onto them. Our dream house of the future has a library but we have no such luxury in our two bedroom flat. As the two bookcases in our sitting room were bursting at their metaphorical seams we decided to use the space for a bookcase to hold Mr Crafty's collection of classics:

He loves the display of reading matter, I love the fact they make a rainbow!

I have a funny relationship with books in that I love reading, almost more than anything, but if my head is very full of day to day stuff I sometimes find it hard to pick up a book. It's as if I forget how much I enjoy it. When I do make a start on a good book then it is all that I think about but I can go for months without reading anything. So I made this banner from scraps of Liberty fabrics to remind me to pick up a book! I adapted the design from the Nice banner in Applique Your Way by Kayte Terry.

Finally, back in 2009 we bought a pine dresser from EBay. It looked like this when we bought it:

Since then it has been standing in the corridor looking very out of place but providing useful storage for all my cake making equipment. It was always my intention to paint it and I finally got round to it. It now looks like this:

I added the slate grey painted numbers on the drawers and doors which I hope you can just about see in the picture for a bit of interest. It blends in a lot better now although it is going to need retouching soon as it has become one of Milly and Jeff's favourite scratching posts.

I now sometimes find myself pausing in the corridor. It has it's own cheery identity instead of being a blank space to simply pass through. We haven't done a huge amount but what we have done makes me smile. Hope it makes you smile too.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Happy to make your aquaintance Mollie Makes

I know - I am way behind the times as ever but just wanted to remark on how lovely Mollie Makes is.

I have been musing for sometime to myself as to why we didn't have a modern crafty magazine in the UK. Whenever I have looked for something in Smiths there has been plenty for a different generation of knitter/cross-stitcher etc. but nothing for those with a slightly edgier aesthetic who still like to spend their time making and doing. Then along came Mollie Makes. I have been hotly anticipating the first issue and rushed down to by it on its release date. I wasn't disappointed. It is a visual treat and has the right balance, for me, between projects and inspiration. Really excited about seeing what they have in store for issue two!!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

A happy accident on the scenic route

I have been learning to drive. For various reasons I didn't learn the moment I turned 17 as most of my friends did. I had a brief stab at university but had better things to do like extended pub crawls and spending nights sleeping in the drama department ostensibly working on avant garde pieces of theatre so I didn't really put the effort in and never took my test. Then the years rolled by and living in London I never felt the need to learn. Plus being a non driver sort of became part of my identity.

Then I met Mr Crafty and we got married and I began to feel very guilty that he was not only my husband but also my chauffeur. So I bit the bullet and started to learn.

With the test looming some practice was in order. We were in Stratford upon Avon for the weekend and so I suggested we took the A roads back home to London and I would do the driving. We found ourselves going through the most picturesque villages imaginable and eventually stumbled upon the market town of Wilmslow which is like something off a chocolate box. And wouldn't you know they were having a Handmade and Vintage fair!! What a very happy stumble!

Please excuse my terrible pictures - I am no pro photographer at the best of times but having done my first stint at 70mph I was a little shaky!

The market square was packed with lovely stalls selling all manner of delightful items

Gorgeous sweet shop - I was sorely tempted by their cake pops!

Coffee from a camper van - genius!

Vintage ice cream van serving the most delicious rum and raisin ice cream!

And the end of the story? I passed my driving test at my first attempt two days ago so taking the scenic route delivered in more ways than one!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Let the sun shine

Being absent for so long has meant I didn't get a chance to join in on the general smugness emanating from the UK on the surprisingly glorious weather we have been having lately. Haven't we had some wonderful sunny days?

Mr Crafty and I had a lovely picnic in Dulwich park which meant this year's first outing for the picnic hamper.

And we feasted on leftovers from our family Easter meal - yum.

When the sun comes out in London everyone's spirits soar. Suddenly our city which can seem a little grey and claustrophobic at times seems like the most wonderful place on earth full of green spaces in which to stretch out and take in the blue skies. I am trying to bottle the feeling while the sunny days are with us as there is one thing you can be sure of in the UK and that is that it won't last!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

A very Regal affair

As the daughter of a staunch Republican, raised to question the role of the Royals in our lives, I guess I should have kept all the shenanigans associated with the Royal Wedding at arm's length. But hey, any excuse for a party and if that party involves cupcakes and afternoon tea then I am sorry Dad, I am there!

Mr Crafty and I headed down to Bognor Regis (suitably Royal in title even if the most famous (apocryphal) Royal comment about this British seaside resort was not particularly complimentary) for a Royal Wedding celebration/house warming. Our valiant friends had literally moved in the day before but the bunting was up and everyone made a massive effort to assemble a fabulous spread.

I contributed cupcakes, homemade heart-shaped jammie dodgers and freshly baked scones. Mr Crafty made some very more-ish mini quiches.

Flags made using the template on Patchwork Harmony

I loved the fact that all over the UK people were following suit and hanging out the bunting. We spent the day in the company of close friends but others were at street parties finally getting to know their neighbours (including I might add my Republican father albeit slightly reluctantly). Either way, at a time of domestic recession and terrible natural disasters and unrest internationally I think everyone really valued the opportunity for some bonding time and a good old fashioned knees-up. The dress was lovely, the couple in question looked very happy and I for one whole-heartedly enjoyed toasting their future happiness with umpteen glasses of Pimms. Sorry Dad!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Our Parker Knoll wingback in its new clothes

We bought two Parker Knoll wingbacks for £10 from eBay - bargain. My intention was to reupholster them immediately. 4.5 years later and one is finally done!

Stupidly I didn't take a before shot and the other one is currently in progress and stripped back to its bones but I am sure you can imagine a dated and shabby wingback with no problems.

It now looks like this:

The upholstery job isn't perfect but as a first attempt with no prior knowledge or experience I am pretty pleased with it. I basically removed the staples (no small task) and took all the pieces of fabric off, labelled them so I knew what order they went in, used them as patterns to cut pieces from the new fabric and then stapled it all back on in reverse order - simple no? Actually it was relatively simple but very time consuming and no small task. I also used metal back tacking rather than trying to sew the back on which saved a bit of effort but is quite hard to use if you want it to look perfectly smooth (mine doesn't). I also made all the piping using an online tutorial which I now can't find but there are quite a few versions on google. Oh and I painted the feet white to match the white piping.

I now need to assemble the energy to finish number two! I have another lovely Graham and Green Gypsy Caravan cushion waiting to take up residence on it once it is finished.