Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Kitch n' Sync: My Yellow Kitchen Make-Over

Its been a month since my last post, but I've been keeping busy and my kitchen make-over has taken up a lot of my time.

The room was decorated was about seven years ago and the chartreuse coloured paint that I had used (and once loved) was starting to show its age; faded and looking grubby. This and the fact that we found someone to skim over our grim artex ceiling, which turned out to be a messy job, made me think that it was time to spruce up the kitchen - on a budget. This turned out to be an intensive top to bottom affair! Filling in the cracks, sanding walls and then the painting: ceiling, walls, woodwork and floorboards. I even updated some furniture too and by the time I had completely finished on Monday, I'd had enough of it all!

Just prior to decorating the kitchen, I had brought another enamel sign and decided to fix this onto the chimney breast and plan my colour scheme around it. I chose a Dulux Trade Paint in bright yellow ('Lemon Chiffon 1' if you're interested), which matched the sign perfectly. Luckily as the previous colour was light, it only took two coats to fully cover the walls. I love this colour - its so 1970s! 

I also decided to use magnetic chalkboard paint on one wall and repainted the floorboards black, as the paint had faded and had started to chip. Monkeychild loves the chalkboard wall and although the usual magnets are too heavy, those lightweight strip ones work well. After all that painting my wrist was starting to ache and my fingers felt numb (not a good sign!), but the end effort is totally worth it:

Whilst I had the sander and paint out, I decided to revamp Husband's gran's old kitchen table; sanding off the flaking, dark varnish to reveal the lovely light oak grain. I just gave it a few layers of clear varnish and voilà...

I also repainted my wartime Utility 'CC41' kitchen cupboard; adding some spotty turquoise stickyback plastic to line the shelves with and freshen it up. 

Redecorating also made me sort out my kitchen stuff and try to find room for all this paraphenalia. My cookery books found a new home in the cupboard along with some of my Pyrex...

Mim: can you spy your dish? 
...which in turn freed up more shelf space to re-arrange my tins, crockery and other bits n' bobs.

That is the last bit of decorating that I'm planing this year, as so far I've redecorated our hall and landing, Monkeychild's bedroom, the front door and my parents' downstairs loo - I even tiled that! 

I think I'd like to search out my oil paints and canvases in the meantime and get back to some painting of the artistic kind - I miss that.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Fly on the Wall

This is a catch-up post as its a month since I last blogged and I thought I'd write a bit about what I've been buying, getting up to and the like.

First off, I treated myself to a whopper of a sign for the kitchen to celebrate my first year of being self-employed. 

We've had an empty wall above the kitchen worktop and for the past couple of years I've set my sights on finding an appropriate enamel sign, but within budget - some of those advertising signs can go for hundreds of pounds!

A few weeks ago we visited a reclamation yard as Husband wanted to source some iron guttering down-pipes for the summerhouse project (that's another future blog post!). This sign caught my eye immediately and though not enamel, I thought it was a great sign-writing example and loved how worn it was. It was a perfect fit for the empty wall space too. After a bit of friendly haggling it was mine and it cost far less than a vintage enamel sign of the equivalent size.

I thought it looked as if it dated from the 1950s and a bit of online research confirmed this, as Campden Dairies Ltd. was established in 1954, but is no longer trading. 

An earlier online buy was a far smaller enamel sign, but one that I thought was quite apt as a Morris Minor owner...

...but things are not as they seem - its actually an advertisement for DeReszke 'Minor' cigarettes! This one has joined the rest of the collection on the back wall.

Work's been keeping me occupied too. I've been out and about in some lovely locations...

...and had some grunty though gorgeous company whilst surveying for bats (pig poo + flies = happy bat feeding):

I love pigs.

Last week I started on this year's first batch of jam - blackberry with berries picked from the orchard. Once the apples are ready I plan to make some chutney as I've only one one jar left from last year.

We've been out and about too and visited the South Cerney Steam Rally with fellow conspirator in knitting and heavy metal: Gilly B and her kids. One of the things I love about the rally is the rides, especially the dodgems. Monkeychild thoroughly enjoyed being 'driven' by Gilly's son H and crashing (on purpose!) into the other kids' dodgem cars.

One event that Monkeychild didn't accompany us to was to see The Damned at Gloucester Guildhall. Husband and I had a brilliant time and the band were on top form both musically and with the banter. I just love those gigs where you can laugh with the band and dance to some bloody amazing tunes.

I'll finish with a classic that gave the Guildhall's floor a good pounding:

Monday, 8 August 2016

Sew Easy: New Look 6389

I recently asked Monkeychild to pick out a sewing pattern for a summer outfit. My only conditions was that it had to be age appropriate and easy to sew. Luckily she choose a playsuit with an elasticated waist from the New Look 6389 pattern.

I was pleased that she choose this as its a versatile pattern, which looks appropriate for a tween and not too grown up. Its also a practical cover-up and easy to change into after swimming, which is what Monkeychild had in mind.

For the fabric, we visited Fabric Land in Bristol as it stocks a wide range of fabrics at really great prices; its one of my favourite shops. Monkeychild chose an Aztec print jersey at £3.99 a metre and I only had to buy a metre and half, so I was happy with that.

As the pattern pieces for View D are for ages 8 to 16, I didn't want to cut them up too much as I'll probably re-use them as Monkeychild grows. Instead, I folded the pattern pieces to follow the cutting line for age 10, leaving it intact for the larger sizes. I only had to make a few strategic cuts here and there, but these can be easily taped up later. 

I'd never sewn with jersey before, so was a bit hesitant about its stretch and how it would sew up. Luckily Husband had just treated me to a new Janome sewing machine and I first put it to good use by using its knit stitch to finish the edge of the cut out pieces before seaming. 

I pattern matched the front okay, but matching the back pieces was a bit iffy, which I put down to me pulling at the fabric too much when sewing up.

The pattern was really straightforward and was just what I needed to cleanse my sewing palate after the #VintagePledge 'Disaster Dress'

The outfit had its first outing on Charnmouth beach on our recent holiday in Dorset and it stood up to its rigorous sand and seawater test!

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