Saturday, 26 January 2013

A 'Pretty' Filter

I've decided that during 2013 I will go through each of the rooms in our home and take a look at as many items in them as possible - and if they're not pretty or useful - to donate, bin or sell them!

I prioritised our lounge / dining room as after the Christmas decorations were taken down and bits of furniture moved to give it a good clean, it was evident that it needed a 'freshen up'.  Well, if I'm honest... the skirting boards were marked and dog-eared, marks remained where pictures had once hung on the wall and clutter was encroaching on every surface!

My dining chairs had been on my 'To Do' list for over a year and I'd kept putting them on a new list every time I started something else.  So, 2013 is the year for me.  I will be doing this on a frugal basis - there is no budget for wall to wall wardrobes to house our clutter - even if I did want them!!  Paint will be my old friend and much loved items will be re-found and placed with purpose around our home.  I will endeavour to cut out lots of clutter.  I'm not particularly good at this - I'll never be minimalist but even I feel like a change needs to happen.  If it's not pretty or practical - or I can't make it pretty - it will go!  Hopefully I won't feel overwhelmed and give up - but I've blogged about it so I can share my progress and to help ensure I stay motivated!!

To start, we repainted the non-papered walls with the same Dulux Morning Light from the Light and Space Range and the skirting boards were re-done in white rather than cream (because I had that in the shed and which actually made a good change).  I'd love to replace the wall paper but it's in good condition so a general tidy up was all that is needed at this stage.

My main projects in this room other than decorating have been my dining table and chairs and my display shelving unit - which often turn into a nightmare dumping ground - cringe - I'll show you a small portion before:


 Here are my newly rationalised shelves...

There will always be kiddie stuff in the lounge.  I don't mind that - it just needs to be more organised or put away more effectively!

The chairs and dining table in the lounge were bought from my Mum's neighbour and I think are Ercol 1940's items.  I'm not a fan of dark wood but love the painted look of furniture so the chairs have been painted a couple of times already.  They were in desperate need but they are tricky to paint so I've procrastinated.  Until now:

So here is the shabby (and so NOT chic) look before:

During the makeover.... left one has been painted!

To After....  All lined up in a row!

I painted them with two coats of Eggshell in Duck Egg 99 by Fired Earth, gave them a bit of a rub down in places and finished off with a layer of Wax to seal them.  The seat pads were from Dunelm Mill and they were in the sale - an added bonus as they were only £4 each for quirky seat pads.

A new oilcloth for the table finished off the look!

So over the past three weeks I have cleared it all out, deep cleaned and from Wednesday have been doing the fun bit - putting together my mantel,

...rearranging family photos

and just enjoying the room in it's 'new' state.

Apologies for the quality of the photos - the dark days here don't make for good lighting conditions!    I also repainted the unit the TV sits on and waxed it.  It was painted in Dulux Jasmine White and then I dry brushed the carved elements to bring them out a bit.  I'll try and remember to take a picture another time.  I recovered the footstool in the summer before I was blogging properly so will look for those photo's too.

The next project to tackle is 'R's room.  It needs a re-paint and repositioning of furniture and a general clear out so next week and February will be the time for that project!

Thanks for all your wonderful comments on my last blog post.  It's so wonderful that so many in blogland are so generous with your time to leave me a comment!  My heart skippy skips to read them - so thank you all and have a good weekend!

J9 x

Today I'm joining the party with:

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Yippee!! We have SNOW!

Yes, the inner child in me is doing somersaults!  Having grown up in Cornwall I can only recall two experiences of a decent amount of snow fall in my childhood.  Now we live a bit further up the SW 'leg' of England - close to Wales, we are sometimes 'lucky' enough to have a scattering.

Yesterday, warnings of hazardous conditions ( I do smile when England grinds to a hault with a bit of snow!) meant that no-one was able to leave our home for work or school. 

YIPPEE!  I had a bonus day of my family being at home and a good splattering of at least 20cm depth of snow!

We did short bursts of snow fun,

Throwing snow balls - ducking and dodging round the garden

...only then to come in and warm by the fire with hot chocolate.

Snowmen were designed and fashioned from the powdery stuff.  Billy struggles that bit more than his big sis in the snow.  He feels cold and wet more quickly and gets frustrated when the snow doesn't form his snowman face how he wants it to.  Bless him. 

With a little help Mr Snowman took shape...

Ruby had to have a quick trouser change as she just couldn't bend down easily enough in her first pair to sculpt her snowman exactly how she wanted to!! 

Then we went stomping through the snow on the newly purchased sled.  Major brownie points for Me who got it on Wednesday when we were warned the snow may come.  Essential milk, bread and chocolate were purchased and then the trek back up hill... to home.


So at present the snow is an exiting novelty in our little lives.  We will enjoy it, play in it.... and in a couple of days wish it to go! 

Hope you are all managing to keep warm and having some childish fun this weekend!
J9 x

Today I'm partying with

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Forgive me... For I Have -

Been a very naughty girl at the charity shop ;0)

With seratonin levels at a low due to the hideous lack of sunshine in these parts, I was completely forced to seek a boost somewhere else...  It's not too hard to pick an activity that works for me; endorphins through exercise aren't an option due to my disability, soaking up the sun is just not possible due to the aforementioned lack of it - so retail therapy it was (although of a fairly frugal nature in the charity shop).  Personally, I find it's all the more satisfying as you never know what treasures you may find!

So today I'm going to double my retail pleasure by sharing my purchases with you! 

I adore these simple but pretty vintage candle stick holders.  They are perfect for the spring mantel I have in my mind's eye and were a bargain at £2:

Next were these floral 'door pusher thingy's' and a lovely rose bud coffee pot.  Sorry - not a very technical term but I don't know the proper name for the door things.  They're porcelain and were only £1 each.  I LoVE them but I know that my husband will not.  I may just have to put them in my craft room and stroke them occasionally ;0)

This beautiful glass vase?  Not sure of it's purpose but it is the most gorgeous opaque, pastel blue colour. 

The colours shift down the stem and base.  This one was a more costly purchase at a cool £10.  I have to say I did linger, look, pause, move on, only to return to it in the knowledge that it had to be mine.

I also got this rather lovely blue tit...

Plus two beautiful brooches and a rainbow necklace:

I especially love the green one - it's only about 1.5cm in diameter - so cute and so pretty!

So there we have it.  Enough to make my heart skippy skip skip in a truly ridiculous fashion.  It's quite funny how we're drawn to certain things isn't it?  The blues, greens and florals are emerging as my Kryptonite.

I hope you are managing to get a boost during these grey January days!
Thanks for reading,
J9 x

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Who... Me?

I just had to share this...

I had washed and dried the quilt that cosies up our bed in the winter months and it was folded in a basket at the bottom of the stairs to be carried up on the next trip.

I then continued pottering and emerged from the kitchen to this:

It's the look in his eyes that makes me chuckle.  Hmmm....  Yes, I can see you Milo.  And that has literally just been washed and smells oh so lovely.  Is that really the most comfortable place in the house to have a sleep?

That dog is like a prince in every way!!  He's so gorgeous you can't scold him.

J9 x

Friday, 11 January 2013

A Homemade C (Can't bring myself to write it in full now)

Firstly, I must apologise for the lack of response I've given you lovely people that commented on my last blog post - until now!!  It seems I finally succumbed to the winter sick bug that has been doing the rounds.  I'm thankfully fully recovered and back with the spirit willing to spend time in my bit of blogland.

Secondly, due to the above I have not read ANY recent blog posts on any blogs that I follow.  We're visiting my mum in Cornwall this weekend but I plan to spend a couple of relaxing mornings next week catching up!!

I drafted this post pre Christmas and didn't get round to dotting the 'i's and crossing the 't's before I took time out for the holidays with my family.  A few people around blogland were talking about homemade Christmas gifts before the big day so here are a few of the homemade goodies I gave this year:

I've blogged about a couple of my chutney making episodes earlier this year - there are four different varieties this year and once decorated a bit and presented in the baskets (from the Charity Shop) they looked quite nice.  I bought a packet of crackers and a small Somerset block of cheese and I think these made a tasty present for the men in the family.

I crafted these baubles - I became quite proficient at the crochet rounds (from Lucy's pattern here.  I did a couple in pale greens and blues for our home and then tried a jewel coloured one (which is actually my favourite).  Then, when proficient I moved on to more traditional Christmassy colours.  I was really lucky to pick the green and red wool from the thrift shop so have no information about them but as they're only to be hung I don't think that matters!  I stuffed them with the contents of an old cushion so they were a very thrifty make!  Some were decorated with a few buttons and I backed them with felt and embroidered 2012 on them.  I have 4 friends that I knew would like these - I know they're not everyone's cup of tea but I really enjoyed making them.  Each friend had a little bundle of 4 or so each and that amount only took 3 evenings (from kids bedtime to my bedtime!) so gave me a real sense of achievement as they're such a quick make to complete!

For grandparents we went down the school photo and photo calendar route.  Earlier in November there were some fantastic offers on for these calendars from well known websites.  I'm really happy with them and they worked out less than a cup of coffee each so a thoughtful yet thrifty present.

I also made a few of the roses from Lucy's patterns here .  I actually didn't get to sewing them together - just managed the crochet bits so these will come for birthday presents at some stage!!  I can tell already that I like them so when I've finished them I'll show you...

Ruby and I made these quickly one weekend before Christmas to give to teachers and Granny - I did trim up the wicks but haven't got a more complete picture!!  They had a dip in the centre around the wick which wasn't supposed to be there - but it was fun to do and Ruby really enjoyed it.

Homemade pressies are always a tricky thing.  I love to receive homemade gifts but some people don't.  I figured with the Chutneys the men (who all love cheese) would be able to eat and enjoy them - rather than some trinket that would sit on a shelf.  They have since informed me they've tried each flavour so I think that's a sign of success.

So that's it! I'm didn't share Christmas photos this year - I've taken many but just haven't managed the time to blog!!  Christmas already seems a long time ago.  I have some decluttering of the body, mind and home to achieve in the coming weeks - but more on that next time!

Thanks for reading,
J9 x

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Blowing the Cobwebs Away!

The New Year brought the first dry day in North Somerset for what seems like an Age!!  We seized the moment and ventured out to Brean Down.  It was such a welcome break from a period of time indoors.  Whilst I am a homebird and we had some treasured memory making family time over the Christmas period - a dry day outdoors was just what the doctor ordered.

We let Milo off the lead and he ran and ran. 

Sometimes he had company of the kiddie kind, sometimes he ran after a ball and sometimes he ran to make new friends... 

Needless to say he needed a shower when he got home and promptly slept til tea time!

Billy tested out his new bat and ball set his cousins gave him for Christmas.

And we launched the kites for the first time in a few months. 

There is something so joyful about flying a kite.  It seemed to dance in the wind and the looks of delight on the kiddies faces were wonderful to see.

I felt really alive when we returned home.  Invigorated even.  The fresh air and burst of sunshine blew new life and energy into my soul - and, I sensed into us all. 

I don't mind the wet days - as long as we have the intermittent dry, bright and beautiful days to blow those cobwebs away.  To clear our minds and help refocus on the natural world around us.  To laugh and sit while my family runs, climbs, plays - and as Mary Poppins would say;

' To go fly a kite and send it soaring!'

I look forward to more of these days in 2013 with grey clouds clearing and the sun shining through.

Thank you for reading and I wish you health and happiness this year,
J9 x

Today I'm linking up with these fantastic parties!