Friday, 20 October 2017

A Tight Squeeze

Last weekend I was painting...the parents' hallway that is, with Mum's favourite colour: magnolia. I've tried to entice her over to the brighter side, but she's not having any of it. I was surprised when she let me paint my bedroom in ox-blood red when I was in my teens (I was going through a big Victoriana phase), but she gleefully painted it magnolia as soon as I moved out (it took more than two coats to cover the red up though -hee!).

On my way back home I thought I'd make my last ever stop-off at one of Stroud's best antique/collectors shops: The Malthouse Emporium. It was a last visit as the Malt House has been forced to close trading for good from its current premises in Stroud, which has disappointed/angered a lot of The Malt House's traders and customers (read more here: here). However, all's not lost as it still has its Tewkesbury branch.

Little did I expect that I'd be coming home with this...

At home
 ...yes it was a true impulse buy! Heart ruled over head.

In The Malt House
I did check that the dresser's measurements would fit into the alcove, which was the only place where it could live in the kitchen. Yes, it all looked fine on paper, but back home it was a different matter.

We had to take the skirting board off, hack an inch or so from the chimney breast...and then I realised that when I was measuring I didn't take into account the width of the architrave at the top of the dresser (sigh). So, we had to take off the architrave side strips and cut off a bit at the front to fit it in! Not what I wanted, but I've kept them and can easily fit them back on if needed at a later date.

I've been having fun filling it up with stuff. My cookery books conveniently fit into the two big drawers...

...and I've been adding to the shelves... minimalism in our gaff!

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Cypriot Delight: McCalls 9697 Pattern Review

This post is a bit late by a few months, but better late than never!

Back in July with an impending holiday in Cyprus, I decided that I needed a kaftan cover-up for the beach and picked up this 1969 McCalls 9697 pattern from the stash. Although I love the maxi versions, I thought that 'C' looked more practical with its mini-length.

Luckily I had the perfect light-weight cotton fabric to suit the pattern, that I had brought from Abakhan in Preston a few years ago. 

With only six pattern pieces to cut out and sew, this project was an absolute doddle from start to finish and was ready to be packed away in the suitcase a few weeks later.

Being lightweight and with daily temperatures around 34°C (bliss!) meant that it dried quickly after its daily wash.

If you're looking for a quick n' easy holiday pattern, I'd recommend searching this McCalls one out. Its so timeless and cost a lot less to make than buying its equivalent in a high street shop.

It's been quite few years since we last visited Paphos, but it was great to be back and revive my rusty (very) basic Greek.

We had a very relaxed holiday and towards the end found a very friendly 'locals' cafe tucked away in Kato Paphos where I could practise my Greek and enjoy a strong black coffee - Cypriot style!

Thursday, 20 July 2017

The Garden of Crafty Delights

I'm back - just about! This year isn't going to my most prolific for blogging...or for knitting! I think I'm just about managing a post per month, but at least its something.

So - what have I been doing apart from work stuff? 

Well, a lot of gardening and hacking back the undergrowth, which I do enjoy especially with all the good weather we've had. This effort has been reaping rewards as the garden looks very tidy for a change and even our lawn, which is usually a crisp, brown fringe at this time of year, is in vivid green health.

Although I've been a bit more circumspect in my charity shop purchases and old tat in general, I just had to have this Victorian doll's head and knew instantly where I would put her... the garden! 

She must have been a beautiful doll once; being made in Germany by Armand Marseille. However, the poor thing has endured a degree of blunt force trauma at some point, leaving her with a rather damaged bonce. Hence the reason why she was so cheap at under a fiver.

Being outside has given me the chance to catch up on some upcycling of old things that we found in the neighbours' shed last year and had stashed away until inspiration (and good weather) struck! 

First to have a makeover was an old shelf, which I covered with a few coats of chalk paint. This was the first time that I had used chalk paint and I really like the way it covered the wood and its texture. The shelf still looks like its old and knocked about, which is how I like it. 

The shed also housed a lot of boxes that had been roughly hammered together from various scraps of wood and also some old metal stencils that had been previously used to number egg boxes before the war. So with some leftover fence paint, I painted the front of one box and stencilled our house number onto it too.

I also got creative with an old roof slate and chalk pen, making made a sign for the vestibule...

I originally wrote "Please walk round to the back gate" underneath the "Welcome" as Monkeychild was having a glamping sleepover birthday party (she's discovered Pinterest for party ideas!) and I wanted all her friends to go straight through into the garden. 

After the party I though it would be shame to not use the sign any more, so I just added our house number instead. A handy tip that I thought of was to use hairspray as a fixative and it seems to have worked; though I doubt it would stand up to a heavy downpour.

 As part of the glamping theme, I also upcycled some charity shop lampshades into outdoor lighting. Luckily I had brought some fabric dye in a closing down sale years ago and added them to the crafting hoard. I hand-dyed the shades in a bowl and then left them to drip-dry on the washing line.

Once fitted up with solar-powered bulbs threaded onto some i-cord that I knitted over a couple of evenings, they added a bit of boho-glam to the girls' chill-out area...

I've got a few more ideas that I want to get stuck into over the summer, including my wind-chime made out of beer bottle-tops!

So on that crafty note, have a great and hopefully hot summer and I'll see you sometime in August.

Happy hols everyone xxx

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