Sunday, 25 April 2010

Weekend with friends

This weekend we went to stay with my friend, Else and her family.
Else has been one of my best friends since we were at school and has children the same age as mine.
She lived in France for years and both her children were born there - we are actually going to the same area they lived for our holiday this June.
They now live in Cheltenham in England which is about 2 and a half hours from here but it's a fantastic place to go looking for antiques, painted furniture or junk.

Else and I have really similar taste so she is great to go shopping with.  The first place she took me to was an antique centre in a barn.  Loads of different stall holders sell over a couple of floors in an old barn with a really quaint coffee shop in it.

One of the stalls was selling gorgeous painted French furniture at a really reasonable price.  There were a couple of pieces that could have made it home with me but I restrained myself - this time!

I did buy a couple of things at this barn.  One of the things was an old French crate which I have been on the lookout for as I want my children to plant sunflowers and pumpkins this year so had been looking for old crate to become their gardens (we have a really small garden and a golden retriever - whatever they plant is going to have to be contained!).  I love the bluey gray paint on the crate and the French writing.

The other thing I bought here was a lovely wooden box with a metal handle and the word 'OXO' on the front and back.  I love the patina on this box and it looks great in the corner of my kitchen holding my oils!

Else bought one too which had the word 'SOAP' on it and is now on the back of her toilet holding her loo rolls!


We then went on to Sudely Castle where they were holding a Grand Spring Sale.

They have one here every year and Else has been trying to get me to come for years.  I'm so glad I did this time - loads of gorgeous stalls with beautiful items, the majority of them handmade.

The photos below are of a few of the stalls.  The chicken house makes me want to keep chickens even though I don't want the hard work - would a fake chicken be that wrong?!!

We both bought a couple of these blackboard garden spikes to chalk our children's names on to plant in their 'garden crates'.  I think they are lovely.

I also bought something for myself for once.  I bought a white linen dress which I just love.  It has ruching detail at the top and has pockets on the side seam.  I think it would look great over jeans too as it is about knee length.  I also bought a turquoise bead necklace to wear with it.  It's hanging on my wardrobe door at the moment to remind me to lose weight and get trim so that I can wear it in France - otherwise I'll have to turn it into a pillow!

One final pic of all our children.  You should know mine by now (1 and 3) and the other two, by the process of elimination are Else's (2 and 4)!  Lily always has a hard time saying goodbye to people - look how sad she is having to leave Solene and Henri!  Bless her x

It was lovely to have a weekend away from home, not worrying about the mess and going girly shopping with one of my oldest friends - I am definitely going to do this more often!

Hope you all had a great weekend too!


I am linking this post up to The Lettered Cottages best yard sale finds - Sept 2010

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Turning ugly into pretty

A few years ago I went to the Country Living Christmas Fair in London and picked up a little stool.
It was a really horrible dark green colour but I liked it's shape and thought it would come in handy.
To be honest, I've hated this little stool as the colour and finish were so ugly it didn't fit in anywhere in my house.  I did try painting it a pale sludgey green a while back but again, it didn't seem to improve it much.

A couple of nights ago, completely spur of the moment, I decided to spray paint it with Rustoleum paint in Heirloom white satin.  I sanded it back then sprayed a coat of primer on.  I only did one coat of primer as I didn't want to waste too much paint on something I don't like much!  I then gave it one coat of the main colour and after letting it dry for a couple of hours I sanded the paint off the corners and a few of the edges.

I quite like it now - it looks much prettier and is quite useful now on my hearth.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

A few pillows listed on Etsy

I've been sewing away like mad into the very early hours lately and have made a load of pillows ready for me to list on Etsy.  I've only taken photo's of the three below but have more to list when I can manage to take photos in daylight.

I'll list some more over the next few days - hope you like them but am open to any suggestions on how to improve them or even style them better for photos - thanks for any comments!


Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Very late thankyou's

I've recently been given the Sunshine Award by two lovely bloggers but am hanging my head in shame that it's taken me so long to thank them publicly. 

In my defence it's largely down to being really busy lately (have you noticed my lack of posts) plus having visitors and two bouts of illness within the last 5 weeks (both coinciding with my visits from mother nature so going to have blood tests to see if anaemia could be the reason for me being run down - rather than the fact that I am up until the early hours gazing at all your beautiful homes!)

Anyway I would just like to give Sarah of Molly's Maison (who has the most gorgeous dog I have ever seen, besides my very handsome Woody) and Sandy of Sandy's Place for both passing this award on to me.  I am really grateful to you both and as a relatively new blogger these acknowledgments do mean a lot to me.

All the blogs I follow are very inspirational so it's hard to pick 7 to pass this award on to plus some of the people I would have passed this on to have already received it so I've chosen some new bloggers I'm following as I know I haven't passed any awards on to them before.  If you haven't checked them out already please do as you won't be disappointed!


Friday, 9 April 2010

I went into M and S for a potato and came out with this

On my way home from work yesterday I stopped at Marks and Spencer to pick up a potato for my tea (don't worry - times aren't that hard and I'm not down to just having one potato for tea - I wanted a jacket spud and didn't have one).

Anyway I saw this on the way in and had to have it.

Zinc pot ~ black lettering ~ gorgeous smelling lavender

What more could a girl want?

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Grain sack pillow imposter

I really love the simple look of cushions made from grain sacks, however I don't like the price especially as I would need a few.

We have been walking like mad over the last few days as my brother's girlfriend and her son, Renzo are staying with us for Easter (my brother is currently on a yacht just off Ethiopia having been accompanied by armed guards to get him through Oman as boats and even ships in this area are frequently taken over by Somali pirates.  So scary and sounds unbelievable but the ship in front of him was taken over last week so my brother and his crew took no chances and turned around until armed guards were flown in.  Talk about another world!). Anyway we spent five hours in a country park on Monday, all afternoon in another in the pouring rain yesterday and today have been to the National Showcaves of Wales which also has an amazing dinosaur park for my nephew, Ned and Renzo (my two are a bit big for the dinosaurs but still really enjoyed the caves).  This is more fresh air than I am used to (given that I spend so much time sitting in front of the computer looking at all your gorgeous homes) so we have been collapsing in the evenings.  

Anyway, I have had an idea milling around in my head for a while so really late last night I got to it.  I often have a second wind last thing at night and finished this cushion around 2am. 

The stripes in grain sacks come in so many varieties but I decided on a thick stripe in the middle with a thinner one on each side.  I bought some plain off white linen which I washed to shrink before I started.  I then marked the centre of my fabric and put a thin, straight line of freezer paper either side of the centre - this gave me a gap of about 15mm for my thick centre stripe.  I then left a small gap either side of the freezer paper and ironed on another length each side to create the space for the thin stripes.  I used a stencil brush (as dabbing gives the paint the uneven pigmented look which I like) and dry dabbed fabric paint in oriental red in the three open areas to create my stripes.  

I plan on making a seat pad for my bench in my kitchen using the same fabric and the same method and I am also going to make a few more cushions but plan on varying the stripes so they look like they came from different styles of grain sacks.

My sister also has a long dining table and has had trouble finding a table runner for it so I plan on making her one now!

I am linking this to:
I'm Lovin it Fridays at Tidy Mom
 Furniture Feature Friday at Miss Mustard Seed
I made it without my hubby at Shanty 2 Chic
Saturday Night Special at Funky Junk Interiors
and My House of Giggles's First Ever Tuesday Talent Show

Thursday, 1 April 2010

My best ever April Fool's joke

I've been really busy lately and have several projects on the go, none of them finished (that is so typically me - I start something then if it takes too long I lose momentum and leave it hanging around for days) so have nothing exciting to post about.

We are however, expecting visitors from Spain tomorrow so am trying to get my guest bedroom all nice and welcoming.  

I've been hearing a lot of practial jokes today so thought I would share with you my funniest April Fool's trick ever.   My mother is quite gullible so a few years ago I got a male colleague to phone her telling her he was from the phone company and asking her if she ever had crackling on the line when she made a phonecall (I already knew that she did). He was really good and kept a straight face the whole time telling her that this was because of leaves and debris getting into the tubes carrying the phone cables to her house. He asked her to get a refuse sack/garbage bag to go over the phone's handset so that from his end they could use machinery to blow the leaves and debris out through her phone and he wanted to minimise the mess in her house. By now my mother was on loudspeaker and everyone in work was hysterical as my mother put the phone down then came back to tell him she had a bag. At this point he cracked up and my mother caught on! She thumped him (good naturedly) next time she saw him!