Thursday, 27 January 2011

Some Crafty stuff

I've been feeling very crafty lately. I got my old sewing machine up and running and so I've been trying to learn how to sew. My machine is 106 years old and is a Jones Treadle model.

I found an online 'how to' illustrating how to make quilted coasters and here is the result. I used sponge cleaning cloths for inners.
Yes - I know that they're a bit wonky but it is my first proper attempt at sewing. And anyway - I'm determined that I'm going to publish all of my homemaking escapades - good and bad. I'm going to do some more for the kitchen along with some place mats and a trivet/heat pad. Hopefully by then I'll be able to make some for friends as little presents... I'm going to make myself some bunting for both kitchen and living room and probably anywhere else I can get away with it. I've got a vision in my minds eye of what I want and I'll post the results at some point in the not too distant future....

I've also been doing a lot of baking in recent months. Alex (my baby boy) loves to help out. We spent about 20 mins stirring some cake mix yesterday as he was so taken with the whisk. Needless to say - the fairy cakes we made were lighter than air. In fact we made about 30 and they've all floated away now! I took this pic first thing this morning whilst there were still some cakes to take a picture of!
As you can see there had already been a considerable number of casualties at this point.. I'm not complaining though - its so rare for my teenage son to actually consume the things that I cook - I wasn't about to stop him! He cant be held solely responsible.. My husband is famed for his hearty appetite.

Whilst in baking mode I've been experimenting with baking my own bread - from bread mix that is. I'll get down with the bread mix first before I start freestyling. Anyway the following was another glorious thing that Alex and I created yesterday. I had to take a picture because I thought it was hilarious... It was a beautiful little horseshoe when I put it into the oven... but when it came out................
Buttbread. Pimply, wrinkly Buttbread. You may be surprised to hear that Buttbread has also been completely consumed - it actually tasted really nice. Probably my best attempt so far (taste wise)

Before and afters of Kitchen and Living room

Here are some before and after pics of the living room and kitchen...

I was determined that we would have an exposed stone chimney. The corner house in our little configuration of Manor Houses was on the market at the same time as ours was and I'd seen from their sales brochure that they had exposed stone so, by jingo!! I wanted it too!
So one saturday morning after breakfast we decided to knock seven bells out of our living room fireplace.. previously it had looked like this
When we'd finished hacking away at it - it looked like this. At this point my husband was not convinced about my 'rustic' idea but I was still determined.. Even though the built in shelving now had a big gap where it was supposed to meet up with the chimney breast .. and it was blowing ten sorts of a bastard through said gap and making the whole living room feel positively arctic. I was on a mission, we would clean up the stone and it would look wonderful!! Right??
The brown stuff around the fire opening is varnish! And it was not for budging! We called in a stonemason who helped me to see sense.. he suggested a compromise.. new exposed stone around the whole of the opening and nice, clean plaster everywhere else. I bowed down to experience and it now looks like this:
Its not what I had in mind exactly.. but I must admit - I do like it! Obviously the above pic was taken after we had painted it.. I was planning on doing everything in muted colours: sunbleached blues, greys etc.even very, very, very (did I mention 'very') pale pink... so off I went to the DIY place and came back with this little beauty.... erm.. well .. I had been checking out all of these cottagey type american blogs and the golden rule was ALWAYS PAINT EVERYTHING WHITE (or muted almost whitey type versions of colours) so I was determined, despite my inner voice saying "but it will look just like all the other cottages in the blogs...."
Problem was that I went into the paint section and I just couldn't help it.. Never would have worked with everything white in here anyway.. this is me we're talking about and white and me just dont mix favourably - I do try but it just never works out.

And so.. on to the kitchen.....

This was how it looked when we moved in.. We had money to spend and there I was saying "I do not want a new kitchen! I want to renovate the one we've got." We put in a new worktop, oven and hob and I painted all the cabinets and wall units and cupboards above the hob. The display wall cabinet just didn't seem to need a lick of paint and I quite liked the idea of having mix and match cabinets as if we'd collected them gradually over time.
again I was originally going to paint the units white, but at the last minute in the paint shop I had another ''dont want it to look like everyone elses'' moment and opted for a pale grey which in practice does actually look like the pale wedgewood blue in the picture. I also swapped the handles on the display cabinet for white ceramic ones. I'm really pleased with it. No one can believe that its not a new kitchen.

Anyway, I have to dash off and walk the dog.. My teenage son is offering to watch my littlest and its one of those limited time only deals..
Bye for now....

Thursday, 13 January 2011

The story so far...

Well we've been in for three months now, nearly four and a few changes have taken place..

We've had to drop and replace quite a few of the ceilings as there was a whole ream of polystyrene tiles above pretty much all the ceilings upstairs. It must have seemed like a good idea at the time for whoever had the house but I'm struggling to see how building a false ceiling to hide the tiles would be easier than just removing them?? Anyhoo its all sorted now along with electrics and gas and all the boring potentially life threatening things that you have to spend tons of money on but dont really manifest any kind of obvious aesthetic progress.

More interestingly... (if thats a word) both the kitchen and living room are starting to take shape.. The pictures above are more or less how they are looking now.. Its getting late so I'll sign off for now but I'll upload before during and after pics for both rooms in my next couple of posts