I’ve been awaiting the coming of spring with anticipation. Yes, to escape the Siberian trade-winds, and plant flowers, and drink tea outside, but mainly so I can re-paint my front door. It was black gloss originally and whilst this might look good at 10 Downing Street, I felt it wasn’t giving a warm enough welcome. Yesterday it was beautifully sunny on my route home from work and so by 6.45 i had the first layer of undercoat on the door. I was half tempted to re-consider my colour choice having seen how good the slate grey undercoat looked….
But I had my heart set on Country Green, and wasn’t disappointed when it came to the moment of truth the following day (ie the moment you first discover whether the paint therein looks remotely like the front label).
Ok, so we don’t live in the country, but that’s just semantics. A very delightful afternoon was thus spent painting the door and reminiscing about all the painting Gemma and I (and Ryan) used to do when we were kids. I was thinking how we have whitewashed the entire farmyard at least 3 times over the years. It was great fun (initially) as there’s no careful brushstrokes involved, you just get a big massive horsehair brick of a brush and slap the lime paint on, or near the stonework walls. Very messy and fulfilling. Then there was the time right before my wedding when we branched out and painted all the green tin roofs. I recall sitting on top of the green roof with Ryan drinking tea and talking about the best way to get efficient coverage with a paint gun. As an aside, writing about this has just made me go in search of the photos. Please indulge me…
Here we are in 2005, doing what people do just before a family wedding…
Not even visitors could escape.
Nor 96 year olds! Nanny wasn’t to be outdone by all the hard work going on in the yard.
When i was 15 i repainted my bedroom, choosing yellow for the floorboards, orange for the walls and purple for the skirting and woodwork. Let us return to the present and see if i have managed to garner any more taste since then….
Having finished the first coat on the front door, i felt so pleased with the whole affair that i got all paintbrush-happy and impulsively decided to neaten up all the surrounding paintwork. I found an ancient old tin of red doorstep paint (as one does); applying this glue-like substance didn’t even threaten to dampen my mood. I then undercoated all the door and fan-light frames, the first step on the journey to ridding the entire house of yellowing gloss-work, which sadly is everywhere.
My little helper Ruby make a cool sign for the postman.
Not satisfied with all that, i proceeded on to the next project, these little bedside cabinets for the guest room. I figured it would be good to see what all the fuss is about this Annie Sloan chalk paint, so I did them in ‘French Grey’. On reflection, i wish i had bought some slightly classier hardwood pieces than these chipboard items. Its probably true, in this case, that you can’t polish a turd.
I reckon its almost a rite of passage in furniture painting, having a towel rail in distressed grey. Walk into any vintage/gift/shabby chic shop and there you will see one, i guarantee it. Not to be left out in the cold, i did one for the guest room, again in Annie Sloan French Grey.
I’ll go down to Anthropologie tomorrow to get some fancy knobs, and at some point distress the cabinets. In the meantime, i’ve had a new distraction! See subsequent post for details…
Every thursday there’s a secret place one can go in Edinburgh to buy wonderful things. This place is not well publicised and for good reason. I once wrote about it here on the blog and was berated for ‘spreading the word’ with abandon. Suffice it to say that you need cash, time, and a good strong pair of elbows.
The following finds are the best of the bunch, and the stories behind them.
I’m always on the look-out for vintage Tala. They have re-released some of their classic baking products, but its the originals that really are the icing on the cake (he he). So when i saw this quite unusual cake tin, i was not going to let it slip through my fingers. It came to me for £10.
The real beauty is in the restoration job i achieved on it. Here is an instagram of it before i attacked it with bleach (no surprises there). Looks like someone was using it as a tool box (the cheek!). I had to sacrifice the lettering a bit to get the grime off, and then paint them on again afterwards. But it was worth it to bring up that beautiful duck-egg blue colour.
I’ve written about clocks before in this series, but am not intentionally building a collection. However that does appear to be the case… I bid (small clue as to whereabouts) on a box of rubbish and won it for £1. Within it were these fabulous clocks. The first one i absolutely love – looks to be around 1950s in origin, and ties in nicely with my current birdie phase.
These little retro travel clocks were lurking in the bottom of my box of surprises. Aren’t they funky?!
Now that Christmas is done and dusted, i can write about some of the creations that have found new homes via the packages in the previous post. The easiest of these was the cake stands, a joint effort with my pal Ali T. To swiftly summarise, pick up some old second hand cast off plates, drill a few holes, and bring together with fittings ordered from ebay.
Drill a hole in the centre using a diamond tipped drill bit. You will also need a water sprayer as it gets red hot and can blister the glaze. Put a few layers of sellotape over the guide hole as this helps give some grip to the drill.
Once you have all the plates drilled, match them up in funky combinations and screw together the fittings. You can get either a 2 or 3 tier stand. I think 3 tier is a bit more decadent, and you get to put more inventive plate combinations together. Here are the finished products….
Gardening can be an expensive business. Having grown up on a farm where there were always lots of random containers, bits of wood or off-cast utensils lurking in dark corners, its hard to go to corporate garden-land and pay £15 for a piece of plastic to put your spuds in. I have tried to use some initiative this year when it comes to the practicalities, both from an ethical and a principle standpoint. I haven’t quite made it to the lofty heights of seed-saving, or careful vegetable preservation, or rotation of crops to ensure no loss of produce (just about able to describe my efforts as ‘produce’), but i have enjoyed trying to think creatively whilst also considering the aesthetics. Here are a few ideas….
1. 3-tier shelving for window box salads; old floor-boards from a skip.
2. Apple boxes for more salad!
9. And finally, our completed decking, made by Colin and Malkie from 100% salvaged wood.
Having been inspired by Ali Thomson to complete a long-overdue task, i finally got round to making these little recycled candles. I’ve been collecting up wax odds and ends over the past year, and with a vast and ever-expanding collection of cups and saucers, it was time for action. The wax is initially melted down in a bain-marie. Meanwhile, cut wicks from ordinary white string, tie one end to a long stick, coat them in wax and straighten before they harden.
I found that once the wax was molten, it became quite grey in colour with all the burnt wicks etc. I threw in some red wax, but am told a coloured wax crayon can also do the trick. With care, pour the wax into desired receptacle, balancing the prepared wicks and ensuring they remain straight.
I have since learned that you need to top up the candle centre once dry, as they tend to sink with the weight of the wick. Otherwise, some pretty, recycled table decorations!
I’ve been loving this post from Re-nest, on all things up-cycled, repurposed and reused. It’s packed full of ideas for transforming just about anything into a useful, stylish piece for your home. Some of my absolute favs include this ladder-come-shelving unit (bottom right), or even a pot rack, and some new ideas for an old door. So i got thinking about my own re-purposed items and ideas around the home. A common theme you will note here is of one of storage, storage, storage….
1. Toast rack for books
2. Vintage picnic baskets for garden storage
3. Old box for magazine rack (with ikea insert)
4. Sputnik magazine rack to keep trays tidy
5. lid-less pretty tea pot for pens etc
6. Mug rack for scissors
7. Driftwood earring display
8 Handmade vintage lace pocket storage for bracelets et al
Here are my recent ‘practical’ purchases from an amazing church based project that I love,East Belfast mission.
The first for a fiver, the second fifteen. I love anything to do with round/ oval mirrors or frames.
I can see this little bland guy as my new bathroom book stand and cabinet.. mags in a bathroom, essential!
Really fancy this painted up as a funky retro vanity unit.. My jewellery definately needs an inspiring shop fit, where I’ll be inspired to pluck each piece up anew!
I’ve since evolved this little cabinet with some birdy decals.. I recieved a beautiful little note with this design, and just knew it had to be saved from the bin or a dusty shelf!
I am a grateful recipient of the amazing ‘Organisation stations’ of the previous post by Lucy. Here it is in action.. along with a peak at my nursery which with a little fighting some old furniture into a metrically challenged space, and a tin of paint with a lot of masking tape, I was able to transform for under 25 pounds! A proud 1/1000 of the prices I was amazed to find being pedalled at me with emotional attachments when I briefly snooped around a few stockists of such things, surely over indulging a need for such transitional items! A little wire line with pegs makes a great showcase of the cutest tiniest things and favourite cards.. enjoy.