Friday, 28 September 2012

Ugly tray to cute chalkboard

I have very little time to go around the shops these days but on my way home from work a couple of nights ago decided to stop at Home Sense.  I drive past it pretty much every day but it's huge and I know if I stop I'll be in there at least an hour.

I don't know if other people are the same but when I go to Home Sense or TKMaxx I'm not always looking for something I can just use straight away but I'm always on the lookout for something I can alter, play with, mess around with or paint...

I almost walked past a pile of absolutely hideous trays.  They are MDF but have been painted to resemble some cheap looking orangey wood.  Hideous as trays but the shape was great and I knew they could make great chalkboards.  There were two rectangles and three smaller oval ones - I bought the two rectangular ones - one is smaller than the other.

I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Louis Blue around the edge of the frame and rubbed it back a little.  That revealed a 'lovely' shade of bright yellow which had been hiding under the fake wood finish so I touched up the yellow bits with another coat.

I then gave the sides a good rub with clear wax and painted a couple of coats of Rustin's chalkboard paint in the middle and hung it in my kids little TV room (or the Xbox room as it should be called).  I don't think I've shared my kids new TV unit that I bought a few months ago.  I chose to have it made unpainted as it saved about £45 (I'm really tight like that!).  I then painted it white to go with the panelled wall behind it.  Back to the chalkboard....I added a little note to my kids (but mainly my teenage son who may need a gentle reminding from time to time!)

If I'm honest I'm not that keen on the shade of blue - it's a bit too purple.  I would have preferred a lighter, sky blue so may change it when I get the right shade.

Story of my life - nothing is ever done!!

The bigger one will be painted white and will replace the existing chalkboard in my craft room which my sister has already claimed!  I may go back and get the oval ones as they would probably make great Halloween decorations - I'm thinking of writing BOO on them or maybe drawing so spooky images on them like a skull on one etc....


Linking up to Jennifer Rizzo: Fabulously Creative Friday linky party

Monday, 24 September 2012

The Nest UK on facebook

I am a real technophobe and haven't really got a clue when it comes to computers.
Until now I haven't bothered setting up a facebook page for my Etsy shop but took the plunge today.

I recently added a few new things to the shop like this mini clay and German glass glitter banner and this paisley print pillow cover.

See the link on my sidebar and checkout my new facebook page.
Hope you 'like' it :)

Any purchases made in the next week will have a 10% discount applied if you add the code FACEBOOK at checkout.


Sunday, 23 September 2012

Wall project in Lily's room

Between the door into Lily's bedroom and her closet door there's a wall just under a metre and a half long.  I had a bookcase made to fit the space quite a few years ago and she used to have her artwork on the wall above it then .. along came a TV!  I hate how TV's spoil the overall look of a kids room but on rainy days (we get a lot of those!) or days when you just feel like loafing around but your Dad is watching rugby in the living room and your brother is on the x-box in the other living room a TV in a bedroom can be great.

Since I redecorated her room I haven't put anything back on this wall as I hate how it would have to surround the TV.  I couldn't figure out how to put artwork up without it either filling the wall making the TV part of it or putting it just above the TV leaving a blank piece of wall to the right of it.

And then I saw this picture (from here)

We have panelling in almost every room in the house.  The only reason I haven't used it in Lily's room is because her room is long and thin and I didn't want to make the room feel like the walls were closing in on her.

I had the idea to just put panelling behind her bookcase to just above the height of her TV.  That way the wall above  was the only place available for art and the space to the side will then just become part of her bookcase wall.  I also like the way the panelling will act as a kind of bridge between the two doors.

I'm not taking the panelling behind the bookcase as it will always stay here (I think!!) and I didn't want to push the bookcase out.  The bottom piece of panelling will sit directly above the bookcase.  My husband's not happy with it just so so he is going to add a very small piece of trim to the bottom above the skirting.

Here is where I'm at today.  One coat of primer and one coat of oil based eggshell - probably two more coats to go.  I'll give her bookcase a lick of paint too and then we'll start sifting through those big picture books we are both still holding on to!  I love the books and I love remembering how I used to read them all first to Seth and then to Lily when they were little.  Right now she is reading The Hunger Games so I think it's time to say goodbye to 'How do dinosaurs say goodnight!'.


Saturday, 22 September 2012

My favourite season

Autumn has always been my favourite season.  

We've been having some beautiful Autumn weather lately.  

I was driving past one of my favourite beaches today and it looked so beautiful I stopped and took some photos with my phone.  

Wales has a beautiful coastline.  It's particularly beautiful in the Autumn when the beaches are less crowded and the sun is shining.

I hope this weather continues - it's nice not to have rain all the time like we had all through summer.

Have a great weekend


Thursday, 13 September 2012

Lucky me!!

I can't believe my luck today.

I've won a place on Creatively Made Home e-course.

I am delighted, thrilled, excited ...

I have a few rooms in my house where I've hit a wall - lack of time, money and inspiration are holding me back.  I'm sure I'm going to set so much from this course and cannot wait.  I'm not going to let the time difference be a problem for me - that's what annual leave is for!  I can see me taking a morning or two off to join in with the live sessions.

Thank you ladies - in case you hadn't guessed I'm super excited!!


Saturday, 8 September 2012

My craft room today

My craft room is constantly evolving depending on what I'm working on and how busy I am.  I shown it before here and here .  This is what it looks like today - nice and tidy for once (I paid Lily to hoover the room before I took the photos!).  The shelf above is an antique French game shelf - the hooks were used to hang dead birds from ready for plucking - nice!  My little old vintage suitcase holds tape strips I bought in bulk as they were on sale.

Just after the closets my husband worked on earlier this year (see here) is the long cubby hole unit.  A linen curtain hides the multitude of stuff.  I use the door from Lily's old playhouse to display things I want to photograph (I posted about her old door here).  This lady is wearing an Etsy purchase from Faded Plains - a vintage carpenters apron - it looks much better on her than me!

A new addition to this room is an Ikea kitchen cart that my sister was throwing out.  It's the perfect height for me to paint at and I covered the top with a great oil cloth I found which resembles old French grain sacks.

This is my little painting corner.  The carry all holds all my paint which is organised by colour and the table holds my brushes, little French tart tins I used to hold paint and other bits'n'pieces I need.

This is the wall you see when you walk into the room.  I try to keep this wall relatively simple as I don't want to look into the room and see a mess.  This table is where I cut stencils, package parcels etc.

Opposite this wall is my 'messy wall'.  You can't see this wall from the hall.  
The little cubby hole unit is a new purchase and really handy.  All my little jars used to be in a plastic lidded box which I had to pull out from a shelf of other boxes when I needed something.  Now all my buttons, little nails, ribbons etc are close at hand.  This is where I do my sewing.  The tables on each side of the room are matching.
(I know that the picture of Lily has dropped and the picture of Seth has disappeared - he took it to the hairdresser to show how he wanted his hair cut!  Correcting this is on my to-do list!)

A close up of my lovely cubbies!!

This is my view from my sewing table.  
I love working in this room.

No doubt this room will continue to evolve as I'm sure everyone's craft room does!  Watch this space!

The kids are back in school and typically the sun has now come out - we need to change school holidays in the UK to May and September as they tend to have the most sun!

Hope the sun is shining for everyone else too!


Linking up to Funky Junk Interior's SNS 151

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Creatively Made Home giveaway

Enter herehere or here for a chance to win a place on the Creatively Made Home course run by 5 amazing bloggers with the most beautiful and inspiring homes. 

Good luck 


Saturday, 1 September 2012

A new bed for Lily

Months ago, when Lily was away with school for a week I repainted her bedroom.  

It used to look like this.

In these pictures the walls look lilac or grey but they are a really nice shade of pale blue.  For a long time we kept her original fabrics and bedlinen until we found the right thing.  We also kept her bedstead although I wanted to change it for a number of reasons: I didn't like the fact that you looked into her room and saw right under her bed, the way the frame was arranged you couldn't use a bed skirt, making the bed was a pain as you had to tuck in all around and I was always paranoid Lily would bang her head on the side rails.  

We went bed shopping recently and she chose one with a memory foam mattress.  I have to say, it is unbelievably comfortable.  It has drawers underneath which I'll use for out of season clothes (in vacuum bags) and spare bedlinen.

For the bedding we found the most gorgeous linen sets at H&M.  We bought a mixture of white and grey.  The duvet cover, bedskirt and curtains are white and the ruffle pillow cover is grey.  We also found a lovely grey and white flower print pillow case with linen covered buttons at the same place we got the bed.

I found two of these chandeliers a few months ago and thought they would be perfect for her room.  They have crystals and droplets hanging inside the metal ball with birds and leaves all around.  It looks cream in the photo but is off white (similar to her headboard).

The headboard may be temporary or may stay.  It's the top end of her original bedstead which we've attached to the wall.  The rest of the bed frame is in the attic.

I am terrible at finishing projects as I run out of steam quickly plus I have to find exactly the right accessories or it bugs me and I end up hating it.  I still have a few things to put on the walls, I need to recover her chair and make new curtains for inside her armoire ...

For now though, I'm happy with how the room is progressing (slowly) and I'm sure in a year or two I'll be ready for a full room reveal!

To see how her room used to look go here

I can't believe I had nothing to say for the whole of August.  I had most of that month off work with the kids but we've had the wettest summer since records began (over 100 years ago) which meant I've had kids indoors all the time so have just been going round in circles cleaning and tidying (and having the odd meltdown!).

Back to school on Tuesday.  Lily's last year in primary school and the start of Seth's first GCSE year so a big year for both of them!

Happy 1st of September xoxox

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

A moment of my day

At least there's one good thing about rain, rain and more rain.
My kids stop arguing and play with each other!
Here they are playing on the Wii.

The hurricane lamp was on the dining table but the dining table has a TV unit on it which I'm in the middle of painting (for the kids TV room).  
My house is usually in a state of chaos so this mess is not unusual.
I long for the day when I walk through the front door and my house is decorated, clean and there are no diy projects looming..
Anyone at this stage yet? If so, please tell me your secret!


Sunday, 29 July 2012


Today started out like any normal day.
We've had a skip (dumpster) for the last couple of weeks and are clearing out our house and garden of years worth of accumulated rubbish.
My husband is in the groove so decided it was time to get rid of the kids jungle gym which has seen better days.  Lily was not into this idea at all but the jungle gym really is an eye sore and is across the middle of the back lawn so my husband pushed it, telling her she could choose to have anything else in place of it....

Big mistake!


Both she and Seth have wanted another dog for ages and Woody loves company so we have been toying with the idea but have just been put off by all the work.  The timing is great as the school holidays have just started so there will always be someone at home.

We checked online for another Golden Retriever in our area but came across puppies which are Golden Retriever / Border Collie cross.  We currently have a Golden Retriever and the dog we had for over 14 years before him was a Border Collie (my husband also grew up with 2 Border Collies) so both breeds are well known to us and we love them both.  They were only half an hour away and we went for a look but ended up coming home with BEAR.

Woody and he got along great straight away and we're beginning to think we should have called him Shadow as he is constantly following Woody around.

Both the children are old enough to help care for them both and I'm sure I must be made with the extra work as I already don't have enough hours in the day but I think a happy house is more important than a clean house (which is just as well as I certainly don't have a clean house these days!).

If anyone had told me this morning that by tonight I'd have another dog I would have thought they were nuts!!!  


Saturday, 21 July 2012

The Lettered Cottage guest bedroom/office

When I first discovered blogging The Lettered Cottage was one of my first finds and has long been one of my absolute favourites.  What I love about Layla and Kevin is that they are totally original in everything they do and have so much vision and talent it's unreal.  

They've been sharing this room's progress for a while and the room is now finished and looks amazing.  You can instantly recognise it as being done by them - their style and taste is so definitely them.  I've been dying to see the finished room and was delighted to see one of my pillow covers on their bed.  You can just see my swallow pillow cover on their bed.  I'm over the moon that they included it in their room - it's certainly made my day week month...

Check out the entire reveal over at The Lettered Cottage.  I guarantee you will be blown away with the before and after pics and how incredibly gorgeous this room turned out.

I'm going to make sure I do the lottery tonight so I can pay for them to come over and decorate my entire house.

Have a great weekend.


Sunday, 15 July 2012

Christmas in July

Believe it or not I've been having a few people buying Christmas items from my Etsy shop already.

I've also had Etsy UK and Etsy France request Christmas items to be used in their Christmas look books and events.

So .. today, while we've had a rare sunny day in Wales, I've been making and listing a few new things for Christmas.

I've also started my Christmas shopping!   Just stocking fillers so far but it's a start.
It feels really weird to be thinking about Christmas in July.
Perhaps if we have a little more sun it'll clear my head!


Friday, 29 June 2012

Worse than copying

I'm seething right now.

I recently found out that a new Etsy seller, whose shop now appears to have closed down, has copied on of my designs (the Whale pillow) and made it into a digital download claiming it as her own design, all rights reserved (!), and stating customers are free to use it as they wish but asking them not to reproduce, copy or sell her design!!!!!

Here is my pillow.  This is a very big seller for me both on Etsy and wholesale.  It's been featured on many blogs and has been pinned on Pinterest many times.  

I took a long time to come up with this design.  

I love whales and dolphins and wanted to create a summery pillow but with a difference.

One day I noticed the wording on a salt packet next to our cooker which we had bought in France about 6 months before.

I love typography and particularly love cushions made from old feed sacks so had the idea of incorporating wording onto my pillow and came up with the Whale pillow above.  Obviously nothing like the salt packet which was purely my inspiration.

Now this Etsy seller is passing my work off as her own stating:
 "These images can be used for Tea Towels, Pillows, T-shit, Tote Bags, Lamp Shades, Cards, Stationary, Scrapbooking, Feedsacks, Coasters, Notebooks; the possibilities are endless."

She then goes on to state:
 "TERMS OF USE: You are free to use these images for use in commercial, craft, and personal use. Purchase of digital collage sheets does not transfer copyright. All rights reserved to Whit & Whimsy Studio. Please do not re-distribute, sell or give away the images in whole or part, either printed or digitally."

I can't believe the bloody nerve of this woman to blatantly copy someone else's design and pass it off as her own.  I am also outraged that she feels that she thinks she has the right to give permission to all and sundry to feel free to use my design as they like, in particular for commercial use.

This is where the issue of copyright comes in.
Under US and UK Law designs do not have to be registered to be copyright protected.
Copyright exists from the moment a design is created and lasts for 70 years after the death of it's creator.
The owner of a copyright has the exclusive right to authorise others to reproduce or prepare derivatives based on their work and to distribute copies of their work.

Although designs don't have to be registered this design actually is registered with the UKCS (the United Kingdom Copyright Service) and the copyright protection covers pretty much every country.

I have e-mailed the seller, to ask her politely to stop passing this design off as her own, but haven't had a response.  Her shop, Curious Crowe appears to have closed down however, she refers to another Etsy shop in her 'terms of use' above so have e-mailed her via that shop too but no response there either.

I've now written to her again to state that I simply want her to assure me that she will stop selling this design and any derivative of it and will contact anyone who bought it to advise them that they cannot  use this image commercially.  Sadly, if she doesn't respond then it's in the hands of my solicitor.

I've contacted Etsy's legal team and they need me to send a notice of infringement and will then deal with the matter.  I have my inspiration salt packet, my original drawings (including the abandoned ones), proof of the date of my first sale of this item and my UKCS registration so if I go down this route it's going to cost this 'thief' a lot more than an assurance that she will stop selling my design!

It's such a shame that things like this go on that turn an otherwise happy and easy going person into an infuriated bitch!  Rest assured, she won't get away with it.

Going back through her sales I can see that she has copied a few of my other pillow designs and probably those of many other people which may well be why her shop has closed/been closed down.


I bought this design from Silhouette Studio but there was a border and some detail which I removed to make it more of my style.




She's even used a similar font to mine.

Also in this design I believe that it is grammatically incorrect to use the word poulet without le in front of it however, when designing this range of animal pillows I decided to make them all as single words as I felt they looked better by keeping the design simple.  I wonder what inspired this seller to do the same thing?!  MOI?


I appreciate with trends and fashions we're all jumping on the same bandwagon by making things from burlap, sheet music or old dictionary pages.  That over the next year or two Ombre will be creeping into all our houses and all our tastes will overlap.  We will all be inspired by others and will want homes like they have.  

Many people share tutorials on things they've made (myself included) and I have no problem with people copying something I've made for personal use.  

I think though, to blatantly steal someone elses work, pass it off as your own, and to profit from it is unscrupulous and desipicable.  Not to mention lazy.  This woman is nothing but a freeloader.
Plain and simple.
Rant over!

.. and breathe..


Saturday, 23 June 2012

Paint chip birthday card

I adore banners and garlands and Emily from Jones Design Company recently showed us how she made some great banners using the paint chip cards you get from DIY stores.

I particularly loved this one with the little ribbon snipped bottom and my favourite shades of sea green.

I was totally inspired by this so went off to my local DIY superstore and became a criminal as I crept out, whistling nonchalantly with a pile of paint colour chip cards.

I began thinking about making a version of this but didn't really know where to put it and then I had a lightbulb moment!  Lily is going to a birthday party tomorrow so I thought I could make a birthday card with a paint chip banner on it.

I started out with a paint colour chip card and chose the three colour shades I liked the most.
I cut strips 1.5cm across and three paint colours long and then snipped a little triangle at the bottom.  I used re-positionable tape to hold them in place and stitched across the top.  The centre seam across the top of the card was in the perfect position for me to use it as a guide for the stitching. 

 I then used one of my rubber stamp sets and stamped Happy Birthday Abi and 11 across the card. 

 It is so cute and really personal.  

Lily's best friend in the whole world has a birthday party next weekend so I think she's going to be getting a card with Best Friends Forever on it!

For more inspiration on using paint colour card chips as banners check out this post on 


and French Country Cottages Feathered Nest Friday

Friday, 22 June 2012

My kind of herb

I like to have herbs on my kitchen windowsill in the 'summer'.
I use the word summer loosely as you can see how wet it is here.
I usually have rosemary in the house as that's my favourite herb - we use it a lot with roast chicken or saute potatoes and the smell is just gorgeous.

When I went shopping on the weekend I came across 'chocolate mint'.  
I never use mint as it's typically used with lamb I don't like lamb.
I never thought of chopping up mint to use in cream with chocolate desserts (as the label suggested).
What a great idea!

I put it in a lovely zinc bucket I recently bought with has a blackboard section already on it.
I know it's pretentious but 'menthe chocolat' looks so much more appealing than 'chocolate mint'.
I haven't used it yet but am looking forward to.

On the opposite side of the window sill is one of my purchases from my trip to New York in February.
A gorgeous Pure and Good soap bottle from Anthropologie.

Have a lovely weekend.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Summer Mantle

I have a couple of white hydrangea bushes in my garden and these have started flowering so for the next couple of months I will save a ton of money by not having to buy flowers for the house.

White hydrangeas are so summery and I put a few in one of my vintage French Ideale canning jars and love how they look against the greeny shade of the jar.  This ended up dictating the colour scheme for my mantle piece this summer. 

I added a gorgeous vintage fan I bought from Etsy last summer - I bought this mainly for it's gorgeous aqua shade but also for it's size as it's quite small.

This fan shows just the right amout of aging - a little rust on the cage and a few areas where the paint is rusted on the base - gorgeous!

For the rest of the mantle I 'shopped my bathroom'.
Everything else normally lives there including a few glass jars with sand we have collected from beaches since my children were really small.  We rarely have beach holidays but when we do we always grab a handful of sand and write down where and when it came from.

A water bottle which I love and holds part of my sea glass collection.

A wooden bird and starfish (also from my bathroom) and a large hurricane lamp with sand and a big candle finish the look.

Hopefully this mantle will posess some magic powers and bring us some sun as right now the patio in my back garden actually looks like a swimming pool.

I' sharing my summer mantle over at the Lettered Cottage's Summer Fun Link Party.

Hope the sun is shining where you are