Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Summer projects at Nelson House

With our Sicilian break and the few days of warm weather a distant memory we've turned our thoughts to the next project, the restoration of the summer room. When we first viewed the house we knew we wanted to turn this space into a casual dining area as well as upgrading the cloakroom and utility area.



Although there were more pressing projects (a kitchen for one thing) this room was always in our minds.

From the garden

After finishing the guestroom we started serious planning. I spent hours measuring, drawing a plan, scaling our furniture. Measuring. Drawing. Measuring. It seemed to go on forever. There were always compromises to be made but eventually on a cold Sunday afternoon in front of the fire I came up with a plan that satisfied both of us and that worked.


Andrew started to get frustrated with the weather  eventually declaring "enough's enough" and started tearing down ceilings. And so it has begun.

Well it does let more light in!

It will be quite a long project and at times weather dependent so I thought I'd better have a back up plan for when outside work was impossible. Do you remember that game that used to appear in Christmas crackers, there were small tiles with one missing and you had to manoeuvre them about? Well that's how our bed must feel. It started off in bedroom front right, then moved to front left while I temporarily decorated back right, to where it moved. This room has fallen more and more into un-decoration as Andrew ripped wallpaper off, removed the carpet and took up floorboards. So after the guest room was finished we moved back into the old guest room (which at least has paint, carpet and furniture) leaving guest room two ready for work.

My first job was to come up with a scheme and as the room overlooks the apple orchard I decided upon 'A summer's morning' and tried to incorporate some existing items that we have.

A summer's morning
Sample board

This room will take second place to the orangery but at least I can start by getting all the plaster of the wall for the insulation. Such fun!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

The button box

As a child I was fascinated by my grandmother's button box. It was full of interesting shapes and colours, military style in brass and silver, delicate mother of pearl and jazzy plastic ones form the 1940's and 50's. She was a great knitter and if I was lucky she would take me to the haberdashery section of the local department store and let me choose my own for her latest creation. Once I started sewing it seemed only natural to start my own button box.

I've never consciously collected buttons, if clothing gets too old and scruffy I'll take the buttons off and add them to my collection. I inherited my grandmother's box, and that of Andrew's mother (which I suspect had belonged to her mother). But they don't just sit in the box, they get used as well.

My button box

Take a recent purchase. I needed a summer cardigan and found this one, a lovely mix of silk & cotton but with rather naff plastic buttons.

Cheap plastic buttons

So I headed to the button box, had a good rummage and found this vintage dozen.

Vintage buttons

I gave them a wash and then 20 minutes with a needle and thread and voilá!

Designer cardigan

What do you do with your button box?

Sunday, 5 May 2013


Maybe, just maybe, Spring has finally arrived. The sun is shining through the maple leaves.

Blue sky & warm sun
Bramley apple blossom
Asparagus risotto
The farm shop had the first bunches of locally grown asparagus.

And Pig was enjoying the warmth.

"Pig" the Kune kune pig
I hope you're enjoying some Spring weather.