Im delighted to bring you news on a hidden gem and sweet spots for salvaging in NI.. one day im going to create a little salvage tour map!
The Old Hen House salvage yard is my new muse.. you might have to make a few u turns until you find the lane off killoughey road just out of Donaghadee, but trust me, it’s a worthwhile treasure trail, and you have to meet it’s wonderful owner!
It’s run by Pete, a salvage enthusiast, who will go to any length to root out what you are looking for.
A lot of his wares are in the architectural salvage line, so if you are looking for that rustic door, or fabulous authentic fire place, he is your man. There’s also lots of bits and bobs to pick up for the corners of your home.
Pete’s creative abilities are unending, so if you’d prefer something you see converted into a table, a pew, or a reclaimed wooden floor.. you’re in the right place. He can create custom furniture made to measure, out of well anything really!
When we moved in to ‘the manse’ or ‘the mansh’ as I’ve rephrased it, no. 1 on my wishlist was a big kitchen table. I think life really happens around a kitchen table. It’s the most central place in a house for any interaction, from secrets and giggles shared whilst hiding underneath it, to the candlelit supper with good friends.. note to self need more of those.
After quite a trawl through Ross’s and Bangor auctions, Pete came up trumps with this table complete with winder…
Obviously my mismatched chair collection were all lined up as the perfect accompaniment.
But after a while chairs get in the way, so I went on the hunt for a pew.. the perfect way to seat any number of guests, little people in a flash for play dough, outstretched papers and refilled coffee pots. Of course pete had the answer, this pew came from a family estate, called the Deloights and the name is inscribed on the end. It was then used in Donaghadee court for a number of years. You’d think I would have enough of sitting in pews but I love it.
My timescale on projects is rather slower than Salvage sis Lucy who has already mentioned the 1829 range of paint, as I donated my pot of moonstone grey to her after I did this ‘chair lift’ months ago. I started it over 2 years ago as you can see from how young my little sanding helper is!
So here is my version before and after.
The blue chair I wrote about here, and the ‘Philippe Starck Ghost Chair’ was a little house warming present to myself. Apparently you only know the desirability of these chairs if you stare at blogs in your free time, as most people look at it with a raised eyebrow and check its weight bearing credentials before sitting on the ‘plastic chair’.
It makes me smile to think of the stories shared around this table before we owned it, and how the Steen family story will be shared here, and hopefully for generations.
And here’s what was brewing in the background to share around the table while I hopped around and tried to ‘manicure’ the photos for this post.. with special thanks to Aunty Lucy for the apron!
Well hello Blogosphere. It’s been too long. But thats ok. My new years resolution is to be thankful for the things that distract us. Because they are probably worthwhile. Getting frustrated over not having time to read ‘The Week’ or ‘Style’ magazine is even less productive!
You need to share in the revolution of paper snowflakes. It started with a little festive gathering of friends and turned into Crafty craic. There were doubters. There were those who feared the shame and denied their inner crafter. But all were overcome when the admiration came rolling in, as these free and floaty paper creations hung in their festive foray.
When Jamie Oliver presented his Christmas show beneath a swathe of paper snowflakes i vowed i would find a way to cook my christmas dinner in similar snow capped surroundings..
I managed to kick things off by finding some large paper snowflakes online, and stumbling across this spectacular online shop in the process called ‘RE’. Says it all really. Probably one of the best virtual shopping experiences you’ll have. Beautifully laid out, user friendly, experiential website. The snowflakes are in ‘gREetings’, and I think I’ll carry on the paper fad all year with the star light shades in ‘REcycle’.
So armed with mull and gossip, we used this tutorial http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-3D-Paper-Snowflake. The only point you can go wrong is when you make the cuts. Always follow the diagonal line. You’ll only do it wrong once!
Plenty of snacks..
I personally really like this version hanging in a window..
Just how I imagined it. Other people making my Christmas lunch in the snow studio.
And a happy new year to you all!
We have learned the Salvage sisters like to collect in themes, it’s a way of justifying our aquisitions, as they come together in some kind of library of usefulness! I have realised that Lucy is much more professional both in her aquiring, her knowledge and research, and her diligent repurposing of items to justify their existence in her home! I would go as far as to label myself as minimal in comparison, right sis?!
However here is one of my collection fettishes, ‘Coupe’ champagne and cocktail glasses..
They are highly practical in their making of any moment worth celebrating!
Featured here, are some Mojito cupcakes I recently made for a friends birthday breakfast, and I reckon this was the perfect vessel for serving them up!
And here they are making a Birthday Bubbly moment for my good friend Vicki, complete with retro tray I’m quite attached to! There is a family famed champagne cocktail recipe I must share with you that has made many an occasion.. anyone who has ever tried it always gets back to me for the recipe at some stage!
You will need: 1 sugar cube, Angostura Bitters, Brandy of any type – I use Cointreau for a little orange twist, Champagne/ Cava
Place sugar cube in bottom of glass. Place a drop or two of bitters on cube.. add a shot of Brandy, top with Champagne for the ultimate Classic Champagne Cocktail!
I haven’t found a reason to indulge in an I-pad yet.. for now I’m happy with my tablet as per our grandparents at their wooden desks in front of a coal fire at school..
The chalk board.
The blackboard/chalkboard wall is nothing new and can be seen in any nook, corner or vast space as seen below. Chalkboard paint is pretty readily available too, a couple of coats and you’ve got your feature and very functional wall.
In my house I painted the wall beneath the staircase, and we use it as a calendar, message board, picture wall, guest wall.
An old Bangor Blue Slate from an outhouse on our family farm makes for a great kitchen shopping list and menu plan so my husband knows what to cook! ahem.
The same slates make a very nice table runner and heat mats, and I personalise them for the occasion, our lovely friends were round the other night, for no particular occasion..
Other novel ideas with chalkboard paint..
Take a ‘sate’ as they say round here.
My guests have been doing just that, some with curiousity, some with glee, some with a frown!
Following my post ‘Pallet Hi’, I was tickled to see this pallet waiting for me round the corner from home where a builder had just finished with it. A nice new one.
Following a serruptitious tug at it and realising it was fimly stuck, I decided to take the legitimate path and ask the owner of the cast off if I could have it. This resulted in a good old chuckle for the two builders who offered to deliver it to my door!
The chuckle became a hearty laugh when my dubious other half informed them what it was for!
Here is the conversion so far.
Im toying with putting Caster wheels on for more height, however at the minute its perfect for just flopping onto and for the resident two year old to headstand onto at speed!
I looked into getting a piece of foam cut to size for the top, but an unsuspecting single mattress was saved from eviction, and was reduced to size by removing a few springs. A much comfier seat pad I’d say. Wish i’d seen your christmas decor idea with bedsprings before then Salvage Sister!
And the pallet wasn’t as new as i thought, bit faded.
Check out my new Penguin books postcard collection on the wall, a little birthday present from the Sis. They make a great colour block. Thanks!
And finally, in case you doubt me.. there’s a market for this! Check out this pallet table for sale here.
I’m not sure if its a good thing or not that i have recently been introduced to Pinterest, given the amount of time i have been spending on it. ‘A virtual pinboard’, it says. Time warp, i say. Its packed with ideas in all sorts of categories, and i find myself going down various internet rabbit holes via the DIY, home decor and photography sections. Because its just pictures, its easy to spend ages just browsing through and gathering ideas as you go. Here are a few of my highlights (with a significant storage theme).
If there’s one thing we salvage sisters love, its a good old chair. There has been no shortage of recent posts on chairs (lucy, gemma), but why stop there…especially when i have another chair project up my sleeve, together with a need for some joinery advice for those so inclined. I bought this for a few quid from Drum Farm Antiques, fast becoming one of my favourite edinburgh salvage venues. It obviously needs the dowel replaced, and a lick of paint, but the basic structure is sturdy enough.
My vision is for a fine and varied collection of cunningly sourced (ie cutting out the middle-design-man) mid-century, personally restored chairs for our kitchen table. In a perfect world, that would include a selection of these beauties.
1. Wishbone chair by Hans Wegner2. Bentwood bistro chair
4. Vintage Ercol
There are a few different approaches to mismatching dining table chairs.
The best thing about mix and match chairs is that you can constantly replace and re-arrange as you gradually build up your collection.
Hope you enjoy this guest post from Ali T on the story of his amazing revamped diary collection….
I am a sucker for nostalgia. For years I have kept shoe boxes full of old letters and photographs, and bizarre trinkets that include airline sick bags, branded bar napkins and cinema ticket stubs, hoping that they will spark fond memories whenever I come to rifle through them again. For almost ten years I have been keeping daily diaries to chronologue my day to day activity, in the hope that one day I will look back on them and remember all the amazing things that I was doing with my life; the fun I was having, the places I was going and the people that were shaping me.
To a certain extent this will be true, because I want to have interesting things to remember, and will always be sure to write significant places and events down. But because I don’t keep the kind of diary where I log my innermost thoughts and by which I can chart the development of my character, and instead keep a books full of schedules and to-do lists, most of my ‘memories’ will be of appointments, shopping lists and train booking reference numbers.
Even without the wealth of interesting anecdotes to look back on and remember the days gone by, I still keep these diaries because I am helpless without them. I have a memory like a sieve so if I want to get anything done I have to write it down. But perhaps even more than the necessity of keeping these diaries for the sake of productivity, I keep these diaries because I love making the covers. I choose not to buy the trendy moleskin books that boast an air of literary accomplishment, but instead opt for cheap primary school jotters that allow maximum creative scope. Now you might think that covering a child’s jotter would be the easiest thing in the world, but what I have learned throughout my extensive jotter-covering experience, is that if you want to create a diary of utmost quality, there are rules that must be followed and phases of completion that must each be concluded in order to provide structural and aesthetic integrity to the finished article. I have made 35 to 40 of these books in my ‘career’ and have always striven towards each outdoing the last.
The actual imagery used to cover the diary is of marginal concern in comparison to the quality of the assembly of the structure. Over the years I have honed the art of diary making. I have gradually incorporated ideas that were initially tagged on as an afterthought, hidden structural devices in the very fabric of the book, and have finished the product with an ever keener eye for quality, parallel lines and perfect right angles.
But let me not detract from how important it is for me to continually out-do myself on aesthetics, as well as on structure. Where my first diary featured a cover made from a purple striped paper bag adorned with a postcard of Donegal, my most recent diary involved the gluing of 210 individual 2nd class stamps to the front cover in nice neat rows. In the past it was easy; I just had to find a single sheet of paper to use as a cover that was slightly more bizarre than the last.
Diary covers of old have included music manuscripts, pages from the Oxford English dictionary, movie posters, my Italian lecture notes, property listings from an Edinburgh newspaper dated 1952, and the piece of crepe paper that my Dunlop Green Flash shoes came wrapped in.
But now, with the introduction of over 200 individual covering elements coming together in unison, the bar has certainly been raised! Some might say that I am a little bit OCD when it comes to my diary making. I can’t really argue with that, in fact I would probably agree. I love trying to make a more interesting and accomplished finished article. This most recent idea using stamps will be hard to trump, but I look forward to the challenge of trying.
This week we hosted our 2nd stitch night, following on from the positive feedback from our fledgling venture a few months back. The idea stemmed from our desire to see skill-rich and time-short people find some space to be creative, and share ideas and inspiration. In the process, we drink tea, eat cake, and chat. I am pleased to say the latter often flows into swapping tips, knowledge and local resources. Top purse-maker lora-twinkle was spreading the word about her stall at the up-coming Morningside Makers Market this weekend.
A few snaps of our make-do-and-mend heaven….
Summer is a bountiful time of year, when gardeners, especially first time ones like me, get to relish their hard earned produce as it arrives wonderfully fresh and personal on their kitchen table. However, autumn’s fecundity is arguably a much more pleasurable reality, as nature quietly conjures up all manner of freely available, edible delights for anyone who might be interested. I have been reclaiming my origins as hunter-gatherer this month (even forgoing tesco for most of it) by foraging for a variety of chutney, pie and jam ingredients. One would expect this to be impossible in the city, but Edinburgh is full of hidden treasures, should you know where to find them. Anything that can’t be found, i have tried to source through work colleagues in the Borders. Thus i am to be found most Saturdays this month tending an enormous bubbling pot of jam or chutney whilst counting my good fortune that my genetic hard wiring appears to include a strong coding for creating food for free.
Number one on the list is blackberries. Widely available on Blackford Hill, i have gathered up around 3 kilos, with a little bit of help from those with a vested interest in the proceeds! These include blackberry wine, apple and berry crumble, and hedgerow jam. Elderberries can be found everywhere, and make a rich wine (that is, if you like tannin, and are prepared to wait at least 3 years).
This is the first year i have tried making rose-hip syrup, which reputedly is good on pancakes and in cocktails. After my first attempt, i am wondering if it is an acquired taste….
Bramley apples can be transformed into a vast array of hearty fodder. This lot ended up in a few apple pies, the aforementioned hedgerow jam, and sage and apple jelly – verdict on the latter awaited whilst it still contemplates setting.
Still to be sourced this season are sloes, crab apples and plums. Any tips, Edinburgh readers?