Thursday, 26 May 2011

Vintage jam pot vase

A few weeks ago I found a vintage jam pot at an Antiques Centre (or a jelly pot if you are not in the UK).
It was plain when I bought it but it was in really good condition and I loved the colour and shape. 

It reminded me of the Digit Spice Jars that Anthropolgie sold a while ago but which sadly weren't available over here in the UK.

 I fancied adding a number to the front to 'spice' it up a little (sorry!).
My first thought was to apply a number using a stencil and ceramic paint but then I decided against this as it would be difficult to remove if I want it to have a different look later.

So I printed out a number 5 in a font I liked and then, with a craft knife, carefully cut around the edges.
I then stuck the number to contact paper (the clear stuff used to cover school books) face up and cut around that leaving a very slight edge which could stick to the jar.

The jar cost £1 - who doesn't love a bargain?!

This was such a simple way to add a little something to a plain piece and can easily be changed if you go off it - I love it!


The Lettered Cottage

Monday, 23 May 2011

Off to France again!

Well, once again my constant spending has had an adverse affect on my ability to save enough to get to the States - maybe next year!

All is not lost though as we've just booked to spend a fortnight at this Gite in the Charente region of France, not far from Bordeaux. 

The area is lovely and quite, right in the countryside with plenty of Flea Markets in the area so I have a list of things I want to look out for.

The best thing is that this old building has been converted into two gites and my family are taking them both over.  My sister and her family in one and us and my brother and his (growing*) family in the other.  That means all the cousins can share a bedroom if they like, plenty of babysitters on hand if any couples want to go out for an evening on their own and hopefully an amazing family holiday our kids can all look back on.

The grounds look lovely and there is a swing set area for the kids and hammocks and barbecue areas.  We are close to an old train track which runs through old villages and is now popular with people walking and cycling so plenty to explore on foot.  We are also quite close to the coast so we can have the odd day at the beach although it's on the Atlantic coast and the waves tend to be quite big so I'm happy to explore the countryside and sleepy French villages more.

And not forgetting the pool.  I don't know what it is about France but the minute I get there I seem to relax (I don't seem to be able to do this anywhere else).  Everything is so slow and the villages are always very sleepy and quiet.  They seem to be able to take life at a reasonable pace which is what I need!  I expect I'll be spending a lot of time in this pool in my armchair inflatable with drink holder which we bought in France last year.  My husband asked why I was bothering to bring it home with me, as he struggled to deflate it so that it would fit in the car.  I obviously knew then that it would get a lot of use!

*after a year of no luck and months of fertility drugs my brother and his partner are expecting a baby later this year.  We are all so delighted for them and for Renzo to become a big brother.  And of course, for me to be an auntie again - almost as much fun as being a Mummy! 


Sunday, 22 May 2011

The kindness of bloggers

I know this is not a new or original name for a blog post but I think the reason it's used so much is that there is no better way to sum up how incredibly thoughtful and generous so many of you are.

A while back I wrote a post after I bought my first Ball Mason Jar. 
As these are American they are impossible to find in the UK so I had to buy one from American ebay and the postage was really expensive.  Since then I've bought a couple more but just three with the cost of shipping set me back not far off £80.

Regan who writes the blog A Day In The Life wrote to me at the time and said that she would keep an eye out for some for me and send them to me.  As we all know life is hectic and looking for jars for a complete stranger was not a priority for her so I was delighted when she contacted me a few days ago to tell me that a box of jars was on the way to me.

 She sent me the three gorgeous and perfectly packed jars shown above, one of which is a quart sized jar.  I LOVE them.  They go perfectly with the three I already have.

And they all look great together on an open shelf in my kitchen with my favourite plate which I bought from TKMaxx a few years ago. 

If you don't already know Regan check out her blog, especially her recent project where she built, from scratch, an amazing play kitchen for her daughter.  She did such a great job it makes me wish Lily was little again so I could try and make her one.  I doubt I could do as good a job as Regan has though.

I am constantly amazed a how lovely and kind so many of you are to total virtual strangers and it's just one of the many things I love about blogging.

Thanks so much, Regan.


Monday, 16 May 2011

My experience at Grand Designs Live 2011

Grand Designs is a hugely popular TV show in the UK and every episode follows one family's journey to build their dream , green home.  The Grand Designs Live Show features the host of that TV show, Kevin McCloud and is a huge event where companies can showcase their new, innovative and green products and ideas.  The show is split into interiors, gardens, kitchen/cooking and build and in each of these areas there is a theatre where seminars are held throughout the day.  There is one show in London and one in Birmingham every year.

Last November I was contacted by the media company which organises the Grand Designs Live Show and they asked me to be a guest speaker at the Grand Interior's Theatre at their London Show in May.

I was convinced this was a joke and dialled the number then hung up when they answered. 

Initially I said no as I've never spoken in public before and am a really anxious person but after speaking to the organiser she convinced me that I spoke with such passion and could do it.

I've been a bag of nerves the last few weeks and have had trouble sleeping.

On top of that my computer died and I didn't have my new one delivered until Tuesday 3rd May and I was speaking on Friday 6th May!  They asked me to speak about revamping furniture and furnishings but I wanted to include the amount of free inspiration there is out there in the world of blogging.  Blogging is not as big in the UK as it seems to be all over the rest of the world and I was really keen to highlight the number of amazingly talented people and beautiful and inspiring blogs there are out there.  My introductory speech was written in a night and my 130 photo slideshow was done in a day.  I didn't write a speech for my slide show as I decided to talk as I go along as I carefully selected all photos I was going to speak about and I included just a few of my own little projects I had done for the show.  I showed several pictures from some on my favourite blogs such as The Lettered Cottage and Dreamy Whites to name just a couple.  I also gave everyone a printout with the web addresses of all the blogs I mentioned so they could go home and check them out become addicted themselves.

My sister came with me as my assistant (more my moral support) and when we got there we were allowed past security into the restricted area which was such a buzz.  When I saw the stage it hit me that I was going to be speaking there and started to giggle with nerves!

There was a huge sign next to the stage which listed all the speakers at each of the five seminars held over nine days.  Several people spoke a few times - I had chosen to speak twice as I thought that if I messed up the first time I could have another go before walking away in shame!  Some people spoke over a couple of days.  So, there were a total of 45 seminars with around 20 - 25 people talking and I became overwhelmed with excitement that I had been asked to be one of them.

Here I am listed at 12pm and 2pm on Friday.

And I even had to take a photo of my name on the TV screens!
It does make me laugh that they called me an 'expert'!!

Apparently the seminars are often quiet in the mornings and the person before me only had a small crowd so when I started speaking there was my sister and some staff only in the audience.  This turned out to be a really good thing as it really settled and calmed me especially when I thanked them all for coming!  By the time people sat down and more and more joined I was completely relaxed and loving every minute of it.  I was amazed that my voice didn't even shake which I was really worried about - where this side of me has been hiding all these years I've no idea!

My second seminar was packed before I even started talking and I had a round of applause at the end which made my day year!

I even had some people come up for a chat at the end.

I loved it so much I'm going to speak at the Grand Designs Live Show in Birmingham in October.

I never in a million years thought I would ever get a chance to do something like this and more so never thought I could do something like this.

Without you I wouldn't have had anything to write about so I would like to thank all of you for writing such amazing blogs, for sharing so many wonderful ideas and for just inspiring me (and hopefully a few more Britons) daily!

Thank you


~I do have photo's of me on stage and of my audience but I've deliberatly not shown them as they all clearly show that I either am in desperate need of a breast reduction or had two people hiding up my top - I now plan on losing weight before the next show!~

Monday, 2 May 2011

Turning a filthy old games table into a kitchen cart

The same day I bought the little round table I bought a filthy games table which had also been abandoned and left outside in the yard at the Antiques Centre.  The people there thought I was nuts to want to buy this piece but I liked it and thought it could be turned into a useful piece of furniture especially for entertaining. 

This piece wasn't destined for the scrap heap - it was the scrap heap.
It was actually a home for wood lice - I had to flick dozens of them off before I put it in my car!
I liked the shape and thought that if it was tarted up it would make a handy drinks/nibbles trolley.

Here are some photos of the state it was in when I found it.

And here it is after the top was taken off and the whole thing was sanded.  I like the little manufacturer's label that was underneath the games table so took that off when I painted it.

And here it is after several coats of Rustoleum primer and Heirloom white paint and a bit of distressing.

I'm only going to bring it into the kitchen if we have friends over.
For now I'm going to put it to use in the craft room.
It's such a handy little piece of furniture - it could be used anywhere - it would look great in a bathroom with spare towels and a bowl of gorgeous soaps - there's even room for a glass of wine!

Not bad for a fiver!


Linking to Jennifer Rizzo