Monday, 26 December 2011

The upstairs trees

I kept the decorating mainly to the living room, dining room and kids tv room but did put a small tree in the bedrooms.  

In our room I bought a skinny tree which I put inside a zinc pot I've had for ages and hung a simple white tin star from the top.  I also taped a small sign to the panelling on the wall.  

For the kid's rooms I bought bigger spindly 'Frech style' trees and I put Lily's inside a large pot I found at an antiques centre a while back (the one with the missing handle).  I helped her choose the decorations for it as she was drawn to huge baubles which were just too big.

Her little Maileg bunnies are sitting under the tree.
I put a picture of her looking 'angelic' in a lovely grey frame I bought in France earlier this year.  On the same trip I also bought her the little ceramic pot with the bird on top (my idea was that she could one day use this for earings however she has no desire to have her ears pierces just yet so it's empty!).

Seth couldn't drag himself away from the Xbox for long enough to decorate his tree so it's not worth photographing.  It's the same kind of tree as Lily's and covered with lights but just one decoration which I bought in Majorca earlier this month.

Dinner is served!
My husband is a great cook and as always our Christmas dinner was stunning!!

Excuse the scruffy garden - it's on our 'to do' list but pretty far down so I try to avoid getting it in photos as much as possible.

Hope you are all having a lovely and relaxing Christmas - I know I am.


Sunday, 25 December 2011







Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Christmas art from vintage flash cards

A few months ago I bought some vintage flash cards from this Etsy seller.

There were loads of words to choose from and I chose snow, sleds and mittens as I planned on using them as part of my Christmas decorating.  These are really big flash cards - bigger than I expected but I actually love the fact that there is a lot of off white card left blank.

I bought a simple black frame from Hobbycraft for £10 and used double sided tape to attach burlap to the back board.  I then used a small amount of the same (removable) tape to the cards and attached them to the burlap.

It's now hanging on the beadboard half wall which divides my kids TV room from my study area.

I love it in their room with mistletoe lights along the wall - I think it has a really vintage child like quality so looks great in this room.


Linking to

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Paper angel wings

I think this is my favourite ever Christmas decoration that I have ever, ever made.

I found some gorgeous angels wings on Pintersest but cannot find the source so if anyone knows let me know and I'll credit the photo.  They are such a simple idea but just beautiful.

 So, with these as my inspiration I decided to make my own.

I drew a basic 'angel wing' shape on one side of A4 then folded the paper in half and traced it onto the other side.  I then cut this folded shape out and traced around it for perfectly symmetrical wings.

If you want to make these just help yourself to my template below.

I then cut this shape out of thick card and glued a sheet of vintage sheet music to the front and then cut it to the same shape.

For Christmas my plan was to add a little German glass glitter to the edges but I didn't order it in time (I have ordered some but it'll have to be used for next years decorations). 

Instead I glued a little irridescent fake snow around the edges just so that it has a little sparkle.

I'm going to make one for the back of each dining chair and have bought little wooden letters for each of us so that we can have our initials hanging with the wings.

I love having the time to craft and create.

Dear Santa, for Christmas please can I have more hours in the day?
(and of course John Cusack in my stocking!)
Samantha Johnson (age 45)


Linking to

A new look for my gold mirror

After I took photos of my Christmas decorations yesterday I decided, completely on impulse, to paint the mirror.  I've had this mirror for years and bought it primarily for it's shape and detail.  I'm not really a gold or gilt person but have always had the intention of painting it one day.  Two coats of Annie Sloane chalk paint and a healthy dollop of wax (clear and dark oak) later and here she is.

I rubbed just a little dark wax here and there to break up the white.

This is how she started the day yesterday...

And this is how she looked at bedtime!

I was a little nervous that I was making a mistake and was going to ruin a perfectly good mirror but I definitely prefer it white.  We are going to paint the hall in the new year and I'm planning on using Farrow and Ball's Off White throughout the whole of the downstairs - we already have it in several rooms and it's kind of a greeny grey neutral so I think the white mirror will look much better with that colour than the gold.

Good night!


Monday, 19 December 2011

Remember me?

Well, I can't believe it's been three months since I last posted anything.

Working full-time and running an Etsy shop leave you with little no spare time especially in the busy run up to Christmas.  My house has been neglected so I've had no nice clean rooms or finished projects to photograph.  We also had a little trip to Spain a few weeks ago to visit my new baby niece, my {extremely proud} brother's beautiful little baby girl.  We went plus my sister and her kids and had a lovely time - it was nice to see some sun.  This is rare for us Welsh and I'm not lying when I say it was warmer in Majorca in December than it was in Wales this summer.

We were late buying our tree as we went away so we only bought it this week.  The tree sits in our dining room which has double doors into our living room where we have a smaller (fake, but a lovely fake) tree on top of a unit.

The Santa decoration above I bought in Boston when I was 30.  He's a dried gourd, hand painted and I have an angel by the same artist too.  These are two of my favourite decorations.

I made the garland below years ago and although it's really simple I hang it every year.

My mantel - lots of birch, silver and zinc.

Some box leaves from my garden and a cute glittery deer I had on sale.

My mini tree in the living room.

Some angel wings I made after being inspired by some I found on Pinterest.

Since I took this photo this morning I've brought out the chalk paint and painted this mirror frame.  It's something I've wanted to do for ages but have never found the time.  I'll post some photos of the new look mirror soon.

And the best for last - my new vintage bottle dryer I bought yesterday.  When we were in France earlier this year I was hoping to find one of these - I went to loads of flea markets and never saw one.  Then yesterday I found this one at an antiques centre just an hour from where I live.  I knew the second I saw it it was coming home with me.  I've just hung a few mercury glass ornaments on it for now - it looks just perfect to me.

I'm more or less on top of things right now and of course, Etsy sales are slowing down this week, so I've had a pretty productive weekend around the house and have a few more decorations I'd like to share so here's to a relaxing week before the big day!

I have a lot of blog reading to catch up on too!


Friday, 23 September 2011

Camping in style

Wd didn't get to go camping this year.  It's been too wet!
I'm a fair weather camper, NOT a real, hardened camper.

This tent, though, makes me long for a sunny weekend so we can pop off somewhere for a weekend under canvas.

It's a replica VW camper van tent which sleeps 4.

How amazing is this!

My husband has always wanted a camper van.  Now perhaps we can afford one!

Have a happy weekend.


Sunday, 11 September 2011


10 years ago I was pregnant with Lily when I got a call at work from my husband telling me he would be late home from work as a plane had crashed into the World Trade Centre (my husband works is an operations manager in news and magazine distribution).  I was completely shocked (we had been there ourselves before we had had children) but I had no idea how much more shocking the day was going to become.  Work stopped, everyone was taking calls from family members who were at home watching the news as the most horrible day in my memory progressed.  I spent the rest of the day watching the TV with my hands over my mouth time and time again and my three year old son asking me why I was crying.  This was the day I learned just how much evil there is in the world.  But more importanly, I learned about strength, patriotism and love.
Even though I am in the UK I believe that we are one world - what happened on 9/11 was the most awful thing I could ever have imagined.  It affected everyone.  I still can't watch footage of the day without crying all over again. 
♥ For the husband who told his wife I love you one last time before his plane went down in a field ♥ For the wife who stopped in the stairs to call her husband to say I will love you forever ♥ For the mothers and fathers who kissed their kids goodbye the morning they died ♥ For the policemen who rushed in with the firemen to help get others out only to die themselves ♥ For the soldiers who fought back and lost their lives. ♥ today and every day we remember you!!! ♥

Monday, 5 September 2011

Twice in one day

Two of my items have made it to the Front Page of Etsy today - once this morning and just now!

A big thank you to those who have the patience and dedication to keep creating treasuries.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Imitation is not the greatest form of flattery

For a long time now I've been selling my deer, moose and bear stuffed pillows on Etsy.

Over the last few weeks I've been designing a range of pillow covers to complement these pillows and this is what I've come up with. 

I wanted them to have the vintage look of old t-shirts, lodge signs etc. 

I know that putting your work out there on the internet is opening yourself up to the likelihood of having your work copied.  As long as this is for private use I have no problem with it.  We are all inspired by others and by things we come across online.  One thing I love about blogging is the fact that so many of you give detailed tutorials on how you made something thereby giving others your permission to have a go themselves.  I have been inspired to 'copy' something myself many times.

The problem comes when something you spend many hours designing and perfecting is copied exactly by someone else who then offers it for sale on the same site you sell on.  A few months ago I came across a new Etsy seller who had made exact copies of a couple of my pillows.  I contacted her and politely pointed out that Etsy etiquette is that designs are not copied and asked her to remove her items or redesign them.  She did not respond to my message however did remove the items and has not relisted them, which is clearly an admission of guilt.  Sadly today I have noticed that she is selling these two pillows and another of my designs on two UK based websites plus designs which she has copied from another Etsy seller (which she has not listed on her Etsy site as she clearly realises that she shouldn't be doing this!).  My items are sold in shops throughout the UK and it's so annoying to be copied so blatantly.  I've now had to e-mail her again to ask her to remove them from this site or I'll take the matter further.  I hate being horrible to people and am really conscious that I must seem like a bitch but what else can I do?  I feel like I'm the bad guy here but basically I don't want my work copied exactly by someone else and the upshot is that I don't think it's fair for people to do this.

Whenever I think of something new that I want to print onto a pillow the first thing I do is carry out a search on Etsy to make sure no-one else has come up with it first.  There are a number of Etsy sellers who sell burlap pillows and we all have very distinctive and different items and styles.  So much so that I could now tell at a glance if a pillow has been made by My Adobe Cottage, Ramona Owen or Jolie Marche, all of whose designs I love.  We all use the same products for our pillows but we all have very different styles and very different items for sale.  It's really horrible seeing your own designs for sale in someone else's shop. 

Anyone else had any experience of this and have any advice to give?

It would be much appreciated.



Wednesday, 24 August 2011

May I be the first to wish you ...

..... a very

Things are hectic for me a little at the moment - ill children, wholesale orders, husband away with work...

My house is completely neglected and I feel completely uninspired and not really in the mood to get on with things around the house.  This will pass - I always lack motivation when I feel overwhelmed!

I was finishing up a large order for a shop in England a couple of days ago and while I was 'in the zone' came up with a few new pillows such as this one.  I made it with black lettering too. 

Hope you are all having better weather than we are right now - I got caught in a downpour today that was one of the worst I have ever seen.  I was soaked literally to my underwear, just running to my car.  Just another typical August in Wales :)


Sunday, 21 August 2011

Lily's home grown onions

I can't seem to get any projects or decorating finished at the moment.

I've been working and carting the children back and forth to my sister and then am shattered in the evenings.  I've been off since Thursday so took my kids and my sister's kids on the train to Cardiff for the three youngest to make a bear at 'build a bear' - Seth is now sadly too old for this :(

We had a great day, however, from about 8pm onwards Lily and Kitty (my two year old niece) started throwing up and this carried on all night.  On Friday I was too tired to speak and although I stripped the beds and soaked the yucky clothes I haven't got round to any other cleaning and my house is a tip! 

I'm of all next week so hopefully I can get on with more.

Before we went away Lily had planted a few vegetables and strawberries in the garden. We had loads of strawberries but Woody, our golden retriever, ate them as quick as they would grow! Is this normal! Does anyone else's dog eat their strawberries. 

Today Lily came to find me and was really excited to show me that she had picked and washed some onions she had been growing (we thought they had died).  She was so excited and is already planning a bigger vegetable patch for next year.  This kid is such an outdoors kids it's wonderful!

Here is my 'green fingered' baby girl with her proud 'crop'!

I just had to give them pride of place in my favourite salad bowl.

I'm not sure what we're having for lunch tomorrow but I know there are onions in it!

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend!


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

French yogurt pot votives

In French supermarkets they sell yogurt and fromage frais in little glass jars. 
For some reason we only have plastic in the UK.

I love the various shapes you can get so always try and bring a few back to use as tea light holders.

They have tons of uses and one of the best is to use them for wine glasses for picnics at the beach!
Throw in a couple with tea lights in too and what a lovely way to spend a summer evening.

This time I brought three different styles back and the other night had some clay left from a wholesale order so made little discs which I flattened and then printed a single letter in each.  I did the words FAMILLE and NOEL.

I used some linen twine I also bought in France (I can't get this string anywhere else so this time brought back about 15 rolls to make sure I don't run out) and looped the twine through the disc, wrapped it round the jar three times and tied it at the back.

With the NOEL letters I tend to use a lot of mercury glass at Christmas so decided to paint the discs silver but it was a little flat so I rubbed a little metallic black craft paint over the silver and just rubbed it in with my fingers so it simply 'stained' the silver.

They would look even better with a little sand or some foliage in the bottom.

Cute and cheap - just like me ;)


Sunday, 7 August 2011

Some of the items I found at flea markets in France

I was a little disappointed with the flea markets I went to while we were in France but did manage to find some lovely things although they took a good bit of digging to find.

Lots of the same vendors were at each flea market and many of the things were too big to bring home.  Also I think they've cottoned on to us Brits going over and buying their stuff to sell on as some of the prices were really high.

Anyway, here are some of my lovely finds.

An alarm clock by French clockmaker's Jaz - I was really pleased with this find as it's such a great piece and the paint on the outside is all worn and chippy - just the way I like!

A vintage glass baby bottle which makes a lovely vase

Plenty of old linen

And some cute souvenir photo packs and old used postcards.

I am slowly ploughing through all the linen which is taking ages to do as I'm washing them one piece at a time on a hot wash to give it a thorough cleaning.  It's been a typical Welsh August here so we haven't had the weather to dry them outside so they've been hanging over my bannisters to dry!  My hall smells lovely though!

I've noticed little holes in a couple of sheets so they will be cut up to make other things out of.  The fabric on these old sheets is just gorgeous and modern fabrics just really can't compare to the quality of these old linens.  I'm delighted I found so many although there were some stalls at the flea markets that had sheets just piled up but the prices tended to be quite high too.  I was lucky with a lot of the ones I found and didn't end up paying 'silly money' for them.

I haven't had a chance to go through everything as I went back to work on Monday and haven't even caught up with washing all our clothes or giving the house a good clean yet so I'm adding my finds bit by bit to my etsy shop.

I came back relaxed and now find I'm running around all the time!
I wish I could learn how to slow down - anyone got any tips?

Hope you've all had a lovely weekend.
We've had a lovely thunderstorm here (I do love the sun but I love thunderstorms more!)


Sunday, 31 July 2011

Back from France

I'm back!  After 17 days in France without (with ridiculously limited) access to the internet I can't wait to catch up on my favourite blogs - I know I'm addicted when the first thing I did when I got in was turn my computer on!

For the first week and a half the weather wasn't very good which I used to my advantage as it enabled me to pop off to flea markets.  They weren't particularly good ones and as they were all in roughly the same area I kept seeing the same sellers but I did manage to find some great things some of which I'll be keeping and some I'll be listing on Etsy.

I'll share some photos of my finds over the next couple of days as right now I'm zonked!  We spent 13 hours in the car yesterday driving up through France and after we left France this morning we spent another 5 hours driving home through England and Wales. 

For now here is a little peak at my best find. 

Three huge piles of vintage linen sheets three of which have large detailed monogrammes stitched on others which have red initials stitched in the corners.  The feel and weight is just lovely and I can't wait to get them all freshly laundered and decide what to do with them - either sell them as is or turn them into cushion/pillow covers.

What would you do?


Saturday, 9 July 2011

Christmas In July Sale in my Etsy shop

I was a new seller on Etsy this time last year so didn't know about the Christmas in July Sale.

For the next four days everything in my shop is 20% off including these original vintage Hungarian grain sack pillows.

My shop will be closed from 13th July until 1st August as next Friday we are off to France for 16 nights. 

France is one of the few places I've been where I can completely switch off and relax so I can't wait to get there.

Hoping I come back completely refreshed (and tanned!).