Sunday, 30 October 2011

Under pressure

Now this title was meant for the post I was going to write about my sister in law who has asked for some help with her bedroom redecoration. However Aimee has awarded me a Versatile Blogger Award.

Now first thing is I'm embarrased as her blog, and the blogs she follows, are far more sophisticated than mine, with witty repartee and gorgeous photography. The second thing is that I'm about to be outed as a blog stalker - the people who write the blogs I follow may not know that I stalk them and am intimate with the details of their lives.
Now this wouldn't matter if the list didn't mean that I've awarded them a Versatile Blogger Award, and they have to provide their list and blogs they follow. So I'm tentatively hiding behind a wall waving at them in a sheepish fashion :-) Hello web-friends.

So here's my list:
  1.  I live by lists, it's the only way I can motivate my way through daily tasks and love the feeling when everything's been ticked off.
  2. I'm useless at remembering faces & names but I could tell you what you wore when I did meet you. Even from way back.
  3. My husband & I spent three years living on a boat in the US & the Caribbean. We still can't work out why we came back.
  4. In my youth I danced ballroom & Latin American competitively. And yes I sewed an awful lot of sequins.
  5. As a complete & utter Francophile I will, one day, own a house in France.
  6. If I want to de-stress I cook. And eat. And eat a bit more.
  7. I was convinced that I was a cat person through & through until this. 
Now to all those blogs that I follow regularly - they're an ecletic mix but I hope that you'll pop in & say hello.

Sara in Le Petit Village
Conjugating Irregular Verbs
OK this is a corporate blog but I love the photography & recipes
If only I could quilt like Kirsty
So wish my husband liked white
Loft & Cottage
This is my dream

OK. Enough. I can't do this anymore, I feel like a stalker and have go and have a lie down.

Normal service will return next time :-)


Sunday, 23 October 2011

Sitting room floor

The last major project before we moved into the sitting room was the floor. I had always planned a wooden floor, preferably oak, but this was proving expensive. So we looked at carpets but I just couldn't do it. We've a large dog, a wood burner and I don't like housework very much.

After trooping round some local suppliers we found some really good quality t & g pine floorboards at a reasonable price. Getting them in the house proved quite farcical -particularly as we ended up doing it twice. The only way in was through the window. Now as the boards were 5.7 metres long and bound together we both went outside and lifted them onto the window frame, Andrew rushed back inside and take one end and I gently fed them through until the last few inches balanced on the frame. Then I dashed inside and we stacked them on the floor. Here they sat acclimatising until Andrew was ready to lay them. He then realised that they were the wrong way round - something to do with the t & g - and there was no way to swing them around inside. So the whole 'get them into the house procedure' was reversed. Once outside I had to perform a natty pirouette manouevre to turn them and then back in they went. My right shoulder has still not recovered.

First down were the battens which had to be screwed into the concrete floor and form a level platform. By the end Andrew's right shoulder matched mine.
The floorboards themselves didn't put up too much of a fight (particularly for me as I wasn't involved:)) but they did take a lot of planning to avoid small slivers in obvious places. And we got through 5 kilos of brads.
New floor
Once down each brad had to be slightly recessed to allow us to sand the floor. Next on the list was staining. Now we're not big fans of ready mixed wood stains as they tend to be very unnatural colours - either too orange or too yellow. On previous floors we'd succesfully used Van Dyke crystals. These are completely natural as they are made from ground walnut husks. You soak some overnight in equal quantities of water and then they are ready to use. The lighter the colour, the more water you add. We wanted a rich walnut colour so diluted our mix with 50% water.
Next was one coat of varnish, then a gentle de-nib followed by another two coats. And voila - a new floor.
Dog proof floor
Lastly we put the new skirting boards in and a final coat of gloss paint and at last the furniture can go in.

Until next time


Sunday, 16 October 2011

Lost in translation

Sometimes I think that Google Translate has a lot to answer for.  A property from Py Immobilier was sent through to me yesterday,I prefer to have the description in French but sometimes it appear in English..........

Until next time


Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Retro - a step too far?

One day I will have a house in France......until then I trawl the French estate agents websites, dreaming. Being on a low budget many of the properties are designer nightmares but this one.....
Maybe I just don't have that vision.
If you want to see more

Until next time


Sunday, 2 October 2011

Guest room part two

So, back to the guest room. Like the master bedroom this is a temporary decoration as we will need to get better insulation installed but with guests arriving........
I wanted something bold and loved the inspirational photograph so picked out a strong pink from the Dulux range - Rock Candy 2. Combined with white matte this gives a bright & fresh look and by painting either side of the chimney breast it balances the statement headboard. The existing grey carpet got a clean and the worst of the stains were covered with rugs.
Wanting a vintage, but uncluttered, feel I was able to pull some items out of storage which was great. My intent with this house is to use items that we've collected for years and if, once we've finished the house, there are still things left in packing cases they'll have to go:)
One thing I needed was some shelving for my growing collection of 'The Observer's Book of.......'
No.19 published in 1954

Coloured plates
Now I love these books, the first of which was published in 1937. Partly it's the thrill of the chase, tracking down ones missing from my collection (there are 600 versions in total), but mainly it's a romantic vision I have. I imagine Enid Blyton type children, book at the ready, staring into streams identifying sticklebacks and minnows.
On adventures
Anyway, I needed some shelving for the collection and a few other pieces. The previous owner had left an assortment of small pine units in the workshop and I salvaged this.
Crudely made but great for that vintage look. I washed, sanded then gave it a couple of coats of white silk emulsion for a distressed look and painted the tongue and groove in an olive green. Perfect.

My first teddy bear is top right, bizarrely I named him 'Koala' and Andrew's is bottom left, apparently nameless. The Heidi book was my first ever school prize, gained in primary school for a project on Canada.
One of my collection of Lloyd Loom chairs was pefect for the corner. I added a cushion that I had made years ago, an old crochet tablecloth plus a woollen shawl. On the wall is an embroidery I did a while back.
Quiet corner
On the other side of the chimney breast is an old pine trunk made by Andrew's grandfather and a petit point picture made by his grandmother.
Linen trunk

Finally we needed a bedside table. I couldn't find anything I liked but remembered a stool that I had recaned some years ago. Andrew made a natty little cover for it from some spare MDF and with a 1950's embroidered tablecloth over the top it worked perfectly.
Bedside table
A rummage in my linen box revealed some pretty lace pillowcases and finally the room was complete.
Now I did have some problems photographing the room - it looked a little disjointed and so Andrew took some shots and stiched them together for me. The perspective is a little skewed but I think it gives a better overall feel to the room.
So if anyone wants to visit - just let us know:)

Until next time