Monday, November 16, 2015

A New Lampshade

When I gave my dining room a new look in the summer I didn't get round to doing anything with this lampshade.

It used to be ok with the cream walls but it really didn't go with the new white or with the new chair covers.

When I was at the Knitting and Stitching show in October I saw lots of stalls selling kits to make your own lampshades but none were the right size so I did some online research and decided to reuse the original frame.  I bought some fabric locally and ordered the laminated backing and sticky tape.

The parcel that arrived was slightly larger than I was envisaging!

This weekend I set about making it.  I pulled the old cover off the frame and used it to make a template.

I cut out the laminated backing and fabric and joined them together (much more easily than I'd imagined).

Then I wound the sticky tape around the edges of the frame.

Winding the frames onto the laminated fabric was quite tricky (now I know why most of the kits sold were drum shades and not angled coolies!) but I got there eventually.  Then I had to fold the fabric over and tuck it under.  If I did it again I'd leave more fabric to turn over as some of mine is slightly short in places.

And there you have it - one new lampshade!

And I have rather a lot of laminated backing left over so if you want a new lampshade you know where to come!

Friday, October 30, 2015

A Day Trip to London

On Wednesday I left Suffolk in torrential rain and headed to London.  When I got out of the tube at Tower Hill I was mightily relieved that, whilst still grey and overcast, the rain had stayed in Suffolk.

After a short walk I was at the Fashion and Textile Museum to see the Liberty in Fashion exhibition. 

The exhibition worked through time and I particularly liked the dresses from there 1910s, 20s and 30s  (very Downton Abbey).

This child's dress from the 1930s with beautiful smocking is so similar to those still worn by little girls today. 

It then moved though the 1940s and 50s.

I remember wearing dresses similar to these of the 1970s, especially the one on the seated mannequin at the front!

Although I never had anything as bright as this 1960s number!

It's a lovely exhibition although I was sad I couldn't be there for the guided talk as they are always excellent and add an extra dimension.  But I couldn't stay.

By the time I had walked back up to the Thames the sun was coming out so I decided to take a river bus from Tower Hill up to the Embankment.

After a quick lunch in the crypt of St Martin's, I walked up to Cambridge Circus to the theatre to see Matilda.

Mum had bought me the ticket back in April and I really enjoyed it - the cast of children were amazingly talented, the set was stunning and to see a child launched into space by her pigtails was very clever (no children were injured!).

I can highly recommend both the Liberty exhibition and Matilda - all in all a very good day, and I didn't get wet!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Take One ...

Take one pack of co-ordinating tea towels, wash and unpick the edges,

one piece of foam,

one cheap chest (full of bird food, cat food, gardening gloves etc)

instigate some late night sewing,

and voila - one covered seat in the still relatively tidy conservatory.

With the sweet little bird cushion (a £10 purchase from Dunelm) it looks, and feels, rather a pleasant place to have breakfast or a cuppa.
Remember mum's loft? It looked like this at the end of July

well now it looks like this

it's not totally finished but it's getting there.  
Amongst yesterday's discoveries was this handle and wires in a lovely wooden box.  

After asking on twitter I now know the wires are ties for sacks the handle twists them together.  I'm guessing it was something to do with my fenland family but I have no idea why there are so many, but you know who to ask now should you ever need to tie a sack up!

Sunday, October 4, 2015


I was poorly most of last week so have had to have a very quiet weekend.  However I'm not good at sitting around, especially when all I can see around me is mess.  So I tidied.  Lots.

I tidied the conservatory,

I tidied my bedroom, 

although this still needs some work as I can't get rid of the carrier bags for another couple of weeks, (I'm waiting to collect my Granny's 1930's dresser from my parents' shed) and I tidied my study,

now I can sit down to work tomorrow in a nice clear space!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

My Unconventional Dad

If I were to tell you that my Dad:
  • took us camping on Clapham Common when we were kids, because his friend owned a circus that was pitched there for the week,
  • took us to Longleat, where another friend was the estate manager, and we bottle fed lion and tiger cubs in his house,
  • took me, aged 5, to the London Palladium where another friend was the stage manager, so we got in for free and I sat on the steps in the stalls and watched Cinderella with Ronnie Corbett as Buttons,
  • made a lion out of artex and hung it on the wall in the dining room (I think it's still there),
then you might not be surprised when I tell you that in his shed, amongst quite a lot of other stuff, he has a full size set of swing boats.

He used to take the swing boats to fetes but has decided that now, as he's nearly 83, that he wants to sell them.

Slight problem; he needed a photo of them in order to sell them and they couldn't find one.  'Never mind' said I, 'I'll help you put them up and we'll take another photo'.

This wasn't quite as easy as it sounded as
a:  Dad couldn't remember exactly how they went together and 
b:  on our first attempt we discovered that several of the nuts were missing.

Dad was dispatched to buy more nuts and this weekend we had a 2nd attempt at putting them up.

Not easy, but I love a bit of problem solving, and we got there.

I'm immensely proud of my unconventional Dad, and the slightly wacky childhood that him and my mum gave us.  Love you both.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Bits and Bobs

This is a bitty, rather random blog post - a bit like my brain at the moment!

First of all I had a really lovely 'staycation' this summer.  I had hoped to get to Ireland to see friends but unfortunately by the time I was able to book flights they'd gone up to silly prices.  So I stayed at home.

I spent one day at Castle Acre Priory.  I'd called in there a few months ago and walked around the edge but this time I was able to go in and took the audio tour which was fascinating.

On another day I walked with a friend from Dedham to Flatford Mill along the Suffolk/Essex border to visit the RSPB Wildlife Garden which is almost next to the National Trust tearooms at Flatford.

 It's a really lovely garden, free entry and had lots of information and activities for children.

After we'd left there we did the obligatory walk up to Willy Lott's House as made famous by John Constable's The Haywain.

I also spent a day in London with Celia, when we visited Dulwich Art Gallery and the Ravilious Exhibition.  It was wonderful.  Such detail and such light in his pictures.  It's finished now but there are still some images of his work on the gallery website here.

The next week I drove down to Bexleyheath to visit The Red House - a house commissioned by William Morris and designed by his friend Philip Webb.

We took the tour, which was really interesting and then wandered around a bit more after lunch.

Isn't this ceiling stunning!

If you're interested, like I am, in the Arts and Crafts movement it's a wonderful day out.  (Celia went a few months ago and has more photos and information about it on her blog which I can recommend reading)

And finally (for now) my new chair covers came this week, 2 weeks earlier than they'd originally said, so the 2nd hand very traditional chair now looks rather different and has already been given the feline seal of approval!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

After the Storm Came the Calm

Today has been a day of almost constant rain and storms.  Then suddenly it cleared and left a beautiful evening so I went for a walk along the river Stour to the Sudbury.  No more words are required, just enjoy the pictures of my stunningly beautiful Suffolk. (click on any image to enlarge it)

Beautiful isn't it.