New Home Festivities

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…

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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!

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Uncle Bill’s Shed

Anything you could ever want or need was in my Uncle Bill’s shed.

A collection of flower pots to cater for any size of plant and all the various fuses you could need in a lifetime filed into old tobacco tins. Ladders of all sizes hung onto specially made racks on the walls and any tool you could ever need all organised into a system only Bill could fathom.

A lifetime of collecting and storing and it’s amazing how much you can accumulate! A few weeks ago, we went over to the house to try and sort through some of the bits and bobs there.

Dad was the only one brave enough to go in the shed for risk of spiders while I waited outside – as long as said spiders weren’t clinging to anything he passed me. We discovered Bill had at least 3 of everything, including a separate shed full to the brim with pots and planters. In between these, were some very plain wooden boxes which caught my eye. They looked like they had once been containers for seeds and small garden tools. More little boxes were filled with dusty electrical bits and ties.

Hiding among all these was a lone red vintage OXO tin, and in the corner, an undisturbed pile of papers was sitting on another lovely find. A very old suitcase with the letters WHL on each end. This made it even more special, as these were Bills initials, William Hanby Lowe.

These things probably wouldn’t mean much to anyone else, but most of them would have been made and used before I was even born! This fascinates me and they will be looked after from now on.

A Little Cupboard Dreaming…

…of Farrow and Ball.

A few months back on a sunny Sunday I went along to a car boot. As I’ve mentioned before, I love to find those hidden treasures often over-looked by others but that jump out to you.

Ed’s face was a picture when I pulled some tatty candlesticks, a huge piece of un-inspiring piece of artwork in a tired frame and a wooden cupboard from my KA (it was a bit of a squeeze but determination got them in!)

With a bit of love and a lot of sandpaper, the candlesticks were transformed into a pair of little gems.

And soon to follow, minus the hideous picture was the huge wooden frame. Now it’s a bit of shabby chic finery and is perfect in our kitchen as a chalkboard…

 

The cupboard has been a bit more of a challenge. It was gorgeous, but hidden under a thick layer of tar-like varnish (and bright red paint inside!) It was going to need some serious elbow grease.

Too big for the Bumbleblue desk, I had to wait for some decent weather to tackle it outside. It took a whole afternoon to get down to the wood, but it was definitely worth it.

Many, many sheets of sandpaper later and it was bald! Not an inch of gloop was left and after a quick wipe down I could finally get the paint out.

Farrow and Ball no. 229 Elephants Breath was perfect. Delicate and chic, perfect for a little cupboard that had been hidden under caked-on varnish. Only a few coats in and already it looks like a new piece of furniture!

 

 

 

Hopefully with all this gorgeous weather, I will get this little beauty finished in no time. Watch this space…

Lovely Lavender

It was a gorgeously sunny day on Sunday and as these seem quite rare at the moment, I spent nearly all of it in the garden. Apart from popping in for cups of tea, I enjoyed cracking on with a bit of maintenance.

I honestly didn’t know you had to put so much time into a garden. Being a city garden, ours is quite small – but thank goodness! By the time you have planted a few bits here and cut back a few bits there, a whole day has flown by! Although Ed is more interested in growing things you can eat, I’ve managed to sneak other plants and flowers in to make it look like a garden, and not an allotment. It’s a bit random, but I like that it doesn’t look too planned and organised.

When we moved into the house, the only plant in the garden was an overgrown and un-loved lavender. We cut it back and nurtured it, but after a really cold winter last year, I was very suprised to see it bounce into life in the spring. On my cutting mission, I kept all the little lavender buds (the smelly bits) and over a cup of tea, I had a think about what I could do with them.

As I’ve explained before, I have a tendancy to buy something, keep it for months and then think of something to do or make with it. In my ‘cupboard of things waiting to be used’ were some plain organza bags – you see, it all comes together in the end! So little lavender bags were in the making, however next to the bags were some reels of wire. Feeling tempted to use this as well, but not really sure how, it was back into the sun to look at my components for a while.

It’s by no means perfect, but this is what I ended up with…

And the little lavender bags…

Quite a productive pruning session I feel.

Pull up a Chair

I love grubbing through antique shops and car boots for little treasures to give a new lease of life to, but my search for a simple wooden chair seemed to be getting very tricky.

I started on Ebay. Perfect chair found. Collection only from Sussex. Moving on…

Cattle Market car boot and a lovely old man that appears at the Derby car boot every weekend caught my eye. He had some gorgeous chairs. Only problem this time was that he wanted a gorgeous price for said gorgeous chairs.

Antique shops seemed to be a similar problem, and alot had already been restored. It would be daft to pay double for a restored chair so I could take it home … to restore.

I decided to look a little newer to see if this would help with the budget, and I found a simple but very lovely unfinished wooden chair. It spent a week untouched while I excitedly picked over my collection of tester pots.

No. 25 Pigeon is a greeny shade of grey from Farrow and Ball and looks subtle and chic on the chair.

After letting two coats completely dry – which was lovely and quick thanks to Mr Sunshine making an appearance – I painted on a thin layer of No.59 New White.

As is always the way, I then went on to finish last weeks ironing pile and deciding what wonderful invention I could muster up for tea.

So as I left my chair drying in the sun, our cat Buddy came to inspect my handywork…

Obviously it had been a hard day at the office.

Hopefully it wont be too long before I can get back into the garden to finish my chair – I’ll keep you posted!

Butterflies Welcome

The sun has actually tried peeping out in the last two days, and to encourage it a bit more I bought a flower plant for the garden. Not being green fingered, I can’t tell you what it’s called, but it’s purple, pretty and looks fab in my pot at the bottom of the garden!

My new blooms got me feeling creative and I went in search of something new….and found these;

Perfect! They’re huge, heavy bits of slate, and to be honest, when I first saw them it was a case of

“…I want them but I don’t know what for…”

I’m constantly doing this. I’ve got a cupboard in the room where I paint and it’s full of random bits of this, and mixed bags of that, just in case…

Luckily my dad gave me a lifetime supply of vintage tabacco tins so my collection of buttons, beads, ribbons etc. are kept tidy (and even labelled)

After studying my new purchases for a few days, instead of being religated to the ‘cupboard of all things waiting to be used’ my new slate labels made it to my desk and the paint came out!

I’ve never painted on slate before, and it’s not the easiest! The surface isn’t flat so all the letters are slightly wobbly round the edges – something that over the last few years I have never allowed. Being a perfectionist, if it wasn’t right, it was sanded down and started again. (My mum would chuckle reading that!)

Pretty chuffed with these…

and of course, with my new little flower that inspired the whole thing.

New goodies for a windy day

I get so excited about adding new bits to my website – almost as much as I love to find things like these….

When I see things like this I can’t resist buying them and painting them up with a new lease of life! They looked so sorry for themselves being bare and plain. So after a few hours on the Bumbleblue desk, they looked a little better;

I took them to a craft fair I was doing and sold them to my first customer! She was a really nice lady as well – told me to carry on making my things becasue my products were gorgeous. I told her she could definately come back!

My boyfriend Ed has become really good at planting his own herbs and veg etc. so I’ve promised to make him his own personal set to label all the bits he’s growing. Trouble is, with all the craft fairs, my Folksy shop, and a new trade customer to paint for, he’s been put on a back burner – His vegetables will be grown, cooked and eaten before I’ve finished them!