Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Tale of Three Fireplaces

About 18 months ago I blogged about the lovely Art Nouveau fireplaces that came with my house.  They were pretty but in a sorry state of disrepair with no hearths, missing fronts and totally unusable as fires.

Earlier this year I got the bit between my teeth and decided to tackle them.

I cut carpet back to reveal the original concrete hearths, filling in the cracks with fire cement.

I borrowed a mitre block and made wooden 'fenders' to edge them (and only sawed my finger once, on the very last one!).

I cut a vermiculite firebrick to size and fitted it where there was once only a hole in the dining room one.

I ordered 2 replacement fire fronts, once for the dining room and one for the study, and last week had the chimney swept for the dining room fireplace. Lots of debris and one dead pigeon were removed before finally the brush could come out.

And this is what the once sad fireplaces look like now - in my bedroom just the hearth was needed.

The study got a new fire front and hearth. I am really pleased with this one as it looks so pretty now.

And the dining room got a new fire front, hearth and back.

All the rooms look complete now and the fireplaces are loved again.  I will really enjoy being able to light the dining room one in the winter - although on such a hot day as this it's hard to imagine needing to!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A 24p Bag

I needed a new bag. Not just any old new bag but a bag that both fullfilled the size requirements for the '2nd small hand luggage bag' of a certain low cost airline and one that I could fit my ipad in.  I have loads of bags but would you believe it, not a single one that met both of these criteria.  So I decided to make one.

I rooted around and found some lovely striped fabric lurking on a shelf, some shot silk taffeta that would do for lining and a strap that was from my broken laptop bag. 

Not having a pattern I based it on an existing bag, used some wadding left over from something else to pad it and basically made it up as I went along.

It was finished but slightly boring so I had another rummage ('helped' by a feline assistant!) and

the old silk curtain from the lounge and a red resin rose became a flower brooch,

which when fastened onto the front flap livened it up nicely.

And the 24p?  That's what it cost me to buy the 2 D rings to attach the handle to the bag. 

It'll do the job nicely :-)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

One Thing Leads To Another

It started in November last year with this multiyork chair (the one I got free from twitter).

Sitting on it made me realise how much I missed my old multi-york sofa so I decided to treat myself to a new sofa in their sale.
Whilst measuring for the new sofa I realised that the carpet had faded badly and unless I was going to have exactly the same size sofa I'd need to re-do the floor.
Having chosen and ordered the floor and the sofa I decided to do a quick 'freshen' up of the paintwork.  This is where things started to go slightly 'off plan'.

Whilst painting the ceiling all the old paint decided to detach itself from the lime plaster that was underneath.  By the end of day one this is what my ceiling looked like.

I had to phone a decorator, who decided a plasterer was what what I needed so he called his mate.

Cue new ceiling.

I lived in chaos for several more weeks as the ceiling had to dry before the decorator could come back to paint it and all the furniture from the lounge had to move into the dining room.
Fortunately I have some lovely friends who between them kept inviting me round for meals so I could actually sit at a table to eat :-)

In amongst this I got stung by a wasp whilst leaving a key for the decorator and had a nasty allergic reaction, and they delivered the wrong floor once.

Eventually the wooden floor was laid and I made new sheer curtains to hang at the window and door.
Unfortunately this was when D cat decided to eat the needle and have to have emergency treatment at the vets to remove it (thank goodness for pet insurance!).

In May the new sofa and new cover for the chair (that started all of this) arrived - the chair has a total new look,

the curtains look light and airy at the window and door,

and the cats thoroughly approve of the new sofa and floor!

I plan to have the same floor put down in the dining room next year, but I'm going to get the decorator in from the start this time!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Basking In The Sunshine

It's been a glorious weekend here in Suffolk, the sun has shone, the birds have sung and the bees have buzzed and today, in just 2 minutes in the front garden, I spied these:

small tortoiseshell butterflies enjoying the lavender.

And then I turned round and saw this male common blue damselfly on the hydrangea. 

If you look carefully in this photo you can see him feeding on the nectar.

And then Lady Emma Hamilton rose wanted her photo taken too, as she was looking so stunning against the clear blue sky!

Apologies for not visiting many of your blogs this week - blogger is playing up and will only show me 1 person's last post instead of the entire list it always used to give me. I'm hoping normal service will be resumed soon otherwise I'll have to import you all into bloglovin!

Friday, June 6, 2014

A 150 year Skirt

When I went to London in April I bought this fabric from John Lewis to make a reversible skirt as I'd been inspired by Gina's.

I bought it not realising it was part of their 150 year celebration prints.  The yellow fabric is in the Cummersdale print which dates back to their founding year in 1864 and was originally a furnishing fabric, whereas the Bricks print on the right was originally a 1950s dress fabric.

I used the Viola skirt pattern from Sew Me Something, and despite a few problems with the fit (it seemed to grow and be much bigger than me!), I'm pleased with the finished result.

It can be worn either with the yellow skirt on top,

or with some clever turning, with just the longer skirt showing.

I reversed the buttons too, yellow on bricks, 

and bricks on yellow

I won't tell you how long it took me to get the pattern on the yellow buttons all centred the same but it was a long time even for my perfectionist nature!

I was going to wear it to work this week, but I had scabby knees from gardening so I'm hoping to wear it next week instead!

I've also just bought another of their 150 year prints, daisy chain, to make a blouse from,

but not just yet as the sun is shining and the garden needs my attention :-)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Springing into Summer

It's that time of year where, if one isn't careful, the garden goes from cottage garden prettiness to exuberant overgrown chaos almost overnight.

Old, unknown variety, Iris Siberica nestles in with Clematis Montana Broughton Star,

Rosa Charles De Mills hangs over from the back of the bed, wafting its delightful scent into the path.

Red Valarium grows amongst self seeded aquilegia and through the blue potato vine (solanum crispum)

and Oriental poppy Patty's Plum has opened in all her glory.

The Cornus Sousa is spectacular this year (even if it is about 6 feet above my head!)

and the frogs are often found having a group sun bathe on the rocks around the pond.

This robin has been following me around as I weed

and the Generous Gardener Rose has almost covered the arch by the back door.

I really love this time of year in the garden, even if though the flipping slugs do keep eating my plants!

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Bank Holiday Bog!

On Saturday my new (ish) boots and I set off for North Norfolk to see Mum and Dad for lunch and a walk.

After some legendary directions from mum along the lines of:
Mum "Go along the road you came in on"
Me  "I came on the Swaffham Road"
Mum "No, not that one.  Then turn right!" - at this point I had no idea which direction she meant at all, but somehow we ended up at the carpark in Wolferton by the sign that said 'Dersingham Bog'.

When we were kids we used to access the bog from the track along the side of the tip and use it as a short cut to the Station Museum at Wolferton where we played (without permission) on the handcar  (as in 'The Great St Trinian's Train Robbery".

Now the area is managed by Natural England  and contains many rare mosses etc.  It's a bog, not a fen, because it's on acidic soil whereas Fens are on alkaline soil.

We had a lovely walk on the board walk, as walked on by Tony Robinson in his recent programme 'Walking Through History', where the cotton grass was everywhere.

Then we walked around to the Wolferton Cliffs from where we could just see across the wash to Boston and Skegness in Lincolnshire.  Although Wolferton is now several miles inland the cliffs are evidence of its past shoreline location.

There was a beautiful low lying glade, that I couldn't resist scrambling down into

and of course the rhododendrons were stunning as they always are this time of year.

The rest of my weekend has mainly been spent in the garden dodging the showers and repairing a hearth with fire cement (but more about that another time).

I hope you've all enjoyed the long weekend too.