I know it’s late January, but I was so proud of our new home at Christmas I had to share it!
Coming from a little terraced house, I wasn’t sure our decorations would stretch far enough to fill this house – well, it was a nice excuse to go and treat ourselves to a few more! Lots of new baubles and miles of ivy from the garden and I think we succeeded in making it cosy and Christmassy…
We had so much fun decorating the house, and these are a few tips I’m going to remind myself of next year…
You can never use too much ivy – drape it over anything for an instant festive feel.
Put fairy lights everywhere. I wanted a festive window light but couldn’t really afford one (probably after spending a small fortune on baubles!) I used a few different sized jam jars from the cupboard and put a string of fairy lights inside. Hide the cables with more ivy and you’re left with a gorgeous window light.
Put silver bells in jam jars among t.lights. They look so lovely and gleam in the glow of the candles.
Use a vase as a make-shift hurricane lamp and string ivy around your candle inside. This made a gorgeous centerpiece for our Christmas table and was so simple and cheap to do.
Now all my Christ-moose has to do is wait patiently for next Christmas to come around so we can do it all again!
I love family furniture hand-me-downs. We grew up in a house filled with furniture passed on from grandparents, family friends and more, and for me this is what makes a home cosy and familiar. As well as being unique pieces of furniture, they’re also little links to the past, filled with memories of where they came from.
My parents have a beautiful grandfather clock in their dining room which came from our grandma’s house. He seems to have his own personality and is incredibly fussy about where he stands. When my grandma moved from her house into a bungalow, he refused to tell the right time. Eventually (after many months of confusing my gran)my Dad took him apart, moved him to our house and carefully put him back together again. Obviously he likes it there as since then, as long as you keep him wound up, he tells the right time.
Now we have our own house a few pieces of furniture have been passed onto us to start a new chapter. A little set of shelves my Uncle made sit in our living room, a chest of drawers from my grans house looks perfect in our bedroom and now a bureau from my auntie and uncles house has found a home in our hallway.
It was looking a little bit tired and sorry for itself covered in thick black varnish. Out came the paint stripper to try and cheer it up a bit. Our initial plan was to paint it, but as soon as I started to scrape off the tar-like varnish I knew I couldn’t cover it up with paint. The wood was a warm colour and the grain running through it was amazing.
I’m so happy with the end result and I’m sure it will be a long standing member of our family of hand-me-down funiture.
Our second day in York started off a bit damp, so as soon as breakfast had been munched we set off on a little adventure.
In our room was a book about York; where to go and what to do and while perusing the pages the night before we’d seen an advert for the Mouseman. A quick look on google maps told us it was a 30 minute journey to the visitor center where you’re introduced to the life and work of Robert Thompson, the craftsman who became famous for carving a mouse onto all his makes.
After a bit of a random journey (think relying solely on a sat nav that appears to be taking you deep into Yorkshire farmland and away from civilization!) and we had arrived at our destination. The place we had found was Kilburn which is where Robert Thompson’s original workshop is situated.
So where did the mouse come from? Thompson was carving a screen for a local church and one of his craftsmen commented he was ‘as poor as a church mouse’. This little creature was then carved into the screen and onto every one of Thompson’s creations ever since.
If you’re in Yorkshire and want to see some rare traditional skilled craft, go and visit the Mouseman in Kilburn.
A fabulous three day stay in York was the perfect end to our Summer. After all the house moving, a little bit of ‘us time’ was just what we needed.
After arriving, we pottered into the city and went in search of some of our favourite finds from our last visit. Not far from our hotel is Priestleys at No. 36. A gorgeous mix of antiques and design led gifts where we found this present for a porridge loving friend.
Further in is another lovely shop called image which is home to quirky homewares , gorgeous cards and artwork. We passed it every time we walked in which inevitably led me to end up with a sweet vintage jelly mould candle holder.
Yet another amazing find is Wild Hart which sits along a gorgeous cobbled street. No shop front is the same as the next and there’s plenty of character-full pubs nestled inbetween. This was pretty perfect as I was able to keep bribing Ed along the shops with the promise of a drink or two!
Very much in love with this shop, which has a new room since our last visit. It’s full of vintage furniture and Christmas decorations! Can’t wait to visit again a bit closer to the festive season to see what other treats they have….
It’s been a very long while since my last blog post!
My excuse? We’ve just bought our very first house – what a journey of emotions! You try to take it all in your stride and not let anything bother you. You can but try not to get too excited or anxious about every bit of paperwork or survey. Tell yourself this isn’t your dream house, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t get it and there’s probably another better one out there for you anyway.
But who are you trying to kid? Of course you’ll be gutted if your offer gets rejected and probably cry for weeks over it too!
Luckily tissues weren’t required as somehow an early offer of ours was accepted and we’re happily swinging our feet from the first rung of the property ladder.
Our initial plan was to not do anything straight away. To live in the house and do little bits at a time….but there was alot ( I mean alot) of gold flock wallpaper which is very hard to ignore.
As we all know, one thing leads to another and when I realised there were original terracotta tiles hidden under layers and layers of thick paint that was it. I was off with a scraper and a huge pot of paint stripper!
A bit of scraping and peeling is very rewarding! We’ve even treated ourselves to a big pot of Farrow and Ball paint to go on the walls and not a Bumbleblue creation.
A little highlight for me is also having my very own space in the loft to really spread Bumbleblue out a bit.
We’re a long way from finished but we’re in and settled and loving this journey or turning an empty building into our own cosy home.
I think it’s fair to say I’ve fallen head first into 2013!
Following a fantastically busy Christmas, I’ve been trying to keep on top of things and make Bumbleblue organised. As soon as the festivities were packed up in their boxes and back in the loft, I was designing possible new Spring products.
There are few things that really relax me, but one is curling up in my chair, cup of tea in hand, film on in the background, perhaps some left over Christmas chocs while sketching and scribbling away. I don’t always know what I want to end up with, sometimes just sitting and scribbling anything can bring ideas together – not always concluding in a Eureka moment but I can think of worst ways to spend an afternoon!
Last year I started to develop a few garden products, but I think I missed the season and came in a bit late. This year I’ve started earlier and I hope to have some cracking new bits and pieces for when (and if) we see some sunshine.
Ironic really that I’ve been painting herb labels and visualising Spring while looking out over a garden covered with about 10 inches of snow!
One of my new creations was actually something my sister and I used to make when we were younger, Dolly peg dolls.
Our mum had a peg basket full of dolly pegs. Unfortunately she kept them within easy reach of us and our paints….It still makes me smile when I think of her washing being held onto the line by a handful of colourful characters. From this little trip down memory lane I grabbed a few pegs and started to paint them.
A short time later looking at me from the desk were Dolly and Peggy, and I can’t think of a sweeter way of keeping your string/ twine tidy!
Here at Bumbleblue, everything is in full festive swing. It’s the last day of November and I already feel like I’ve painted a truck load of Christmas decorations!
As well as painting orders for my fabulous customers, I’ve been trying to carry on with experimenting and keeping my creative juices flowing. It was actually a Christmas song that inspired my newest little creation – This is a good twist of fate as now I can argue that festive Michael Buble is educational!
So, I had Jingle Bells in my head and fueled by a fresh cup of tea I opened my cupboard that holds a bit of everything and had a root around. At the bottom was a big bag full of my wrapping bits and bobs; rolls of pretty paper, bags of beautiful ribbons and tonnes of gorgeous tags.
Hmm, gift tags…
No present you wrap is complete without a tag. It identifies the sender, offers sentiment to the recipient and also makes the whole wrapping process complete. The more I thought about it, the more I started to feel sorry for the humble gift tag. We put so much thought into choosing which paper to buy, matching it up to ribbons and tags and when all’s said and done, we tear the package open and throw it all away.
A few more cups of tea and a few sketches and the ideas started flowing, I just needed one little thing to bring it all together…..
Sat at the Bumbleblue desk, I was hard at work painting some fabric Christmas puddings. In my cupboard that houses a bit of everything, I found some jute fabric and thought it would make a fabulous base for a Christmas pud.
I started to think about puddings in general and in particular, cake. By the time I got round to sticking the little red button berries on, I couldn’t stop thinking about cake so a little impromptu baking session was necessary!
I’ve still not mastered the art of baking the perfect cake but I’m keeping it simple and thinking that with a bit of practice, one day I will be whisking up sponges and fruit cakes a-plenty!
A little peek through the old cook books and I found what looked like a straight forward, no frills recipe to follow for a madeira cake. Feeling very adventurous and brave, I decided to add a few (a whole pot of) yummy cherries.
The fact that it came out of the oven looking like a cake was amazing – but even more incredible was it looked like a cake on the inside too! Granted all the cherries I put in had sunk to the bottom, but I had made a cake that looked, smelt and tasted like a cake so this wasn’t going to get me down.
As well as being decorative and delicious treats, gingerbread men also make cheerful Christmas decorations. They have a cosy and rustic charm that is perfect for your home at Christmas.
The Bumbleblue gingerbread man has become a bit of a favourite of mine both to make and to hang up around the festive period. To be honest, there’s one that sits in my kitchen all through the year – just couldn’t wrap him up when we took the decs down last year!
They start their days as simple wooden shapes, but with a little love and care, and of course a splash of Farrow and Ball paint, they soon turn into little men. Each one is smartly dressed with the finest mother of pearl buttons and a little red bow.
These little chaps are all waiting for their own homes to go to to share Christmas with someone.
Now we’re officially into October, I feel a bit less premature talking about the festive season. After all it will soon be here, twinkling and jingling all around us – and you will be left wondering where November went!
I’m still on a bit of a mission to create a card range for Bumbleblue. I’ve moved onto brainstorming festive ideas, which I’ve absolutely loved! Being the fairy that I am, I love Christmas. As soon as I see those first decorations in the shops and hear those familiar tunes, my inner child takes over and I have a constant buzz of excitement right through until New Year.
Earlier in the year I found these fabulous tiny birds, perfect for cards. It wasn’t until I was painting some ‘Bobbin’ Robins’ that I thought about making some teeny tiny robins too.
As is usually the case, one idea spurs on another and before I knew it, the Bumbleblue desk was swamped with ideas, sketches, paint and material.
It’s taken a few weeks, but I’m really chuffed with some of my new additions and I hope you will pop over to my website and have a look!