Saturday, 31 December 2016

A Little More Stickybeaking - My En-Suite Shower Room

When Tom, Laura and I went to view my flat for the first time I think we were all taken aback when we found that the master bedroom (mine), also had a en-suite shower room! 
Shower Room 1So, no more trudging across the hall for a wee in the middle of the night.  It’s certainly plenty big enough and there wasn’t really a lot that needed doing, however, I have to admit to finding it a bit bland, though on the other hand scope is limited physically.
Shower Room 3The original light fitting was quickly changed to a right old silver and clear jewelled confection from The Range, which does caste a lovely shadow, but I think, perhaps, I might eventually change it for a bathroom chandelier, if I see one I like ……. I don’t know, there’s something a little too brash about it, I think I would prefer something a little more delicate and dangly, we shall see!
Range Light ShadeThe room was repainted from white to calico and the fitted cream carpet (?) taken up and a cream, nondescript vinyl floor laid down.Shower Room 2The extra twiddly bits included putting a large corner caddy in the shower, as I can’t bear having bottles etc., all round the edges.  All I have allowed, of an ornamental nature are an Elvis and Princess Duck in the corner, presents from Marc, I think they are supposed to be us!!!
A set of three glass shelves (packs of 2 from Argos) were also put up, along with a rack for towels.  Perhaps I would swop the hooks for something a little bit more erm …… glamorous, but that’s being extremely, extremely picky!
jewelled mirror in bathroomAs you can see my first ever jewelled mirror followed me too, how could I leave it behind?
It’s all perfectly lovely, but, I’ve only been here for six months and there’s always room to twiddle a bit more.  I think it’s a bit cold and not half girly enough, however, as I said, there isn’t a lot I can physically change. I know the picture over the radiator will eventually be replaced by something I think I might make, at the moment I am thinking a large mermaid and shell mirror.
And …… if I go down the slightly mermaidy theme, I think that I can certainly find a few “choice” pieces in Evesham’s charity shops and antiques centres over time to make the shelves look a little less functional.
I think the towels and bathmat (brought from the Castle and which could easily be used in the main bathroom), will also eventually be changed  to something brighter, more colourful and warmer, Next have some lovely ones, but that can wait a little longer until I see exactly what I want……….
Or perhaps, I just have too much time on my hands at the moment, believe me, that will all change in March when I resume my “Nanny Duties” and then, I will probably be too knackered for such whimsical and fanciful ideas!!!!

Friday, 30 December 2016

My China Cabinet and Royal Doulton Minden.

You can tell it’s that period between Christmas and New Year, I have no crafts to show you, so I am desperately trying to fill a few posts to cover it!
Over the past few weeks I have told you the story of how my flat has come together over the past six months, now I thought I would bore you even more with the minutiae of what I have actually put in my cupboards!
Royal Doulton Minden 1Royal Doulton Minden 2
Once The Castle was sold I made the decision that I wouldn’t take any of my day to day Ikea tableware with me, instead I offered it all to Lu, as she was moving at the same time with virtually nothing and it was gratefully accepted,  however there was a rhyme and reason to my madness.
Royal Doulton 4About ten or so years ago my Mother In Law gave me what was left of her “old” tableware.  It’s Royal Doulton, Minden design, Art Deco and dates back to the 1930’s. I had always loved it as the pattern reminded me of Mabel Lucie Attwell for some reason, but Shelia hated it!  She had inherited it from her family when she was a young housewife and dreamed of having a modern 50’s/60s design, but found herself stuck with old fashioned Royal Doulton, and so did her level best to break it, in the hope of one day eventually “needing” that new set!!!
Royal Doulton Minden 5That day came, and what was left was put in the back of the cupboard, not to see the light of day again until I came along.  When she asked if I would like it, there was no way I was going to say no, but though I loved it, I was frightened to use it, so it only came out for Christmas Day!!!!
royal doulton minden 3But, when I moved I decided that it was stupid to have something I never used, especially as storage was of a premium, so I was now going to use it on a daily basis, come what may.  At the time I had a quite a few dinner plates of varying sizes,  three oval platters, two cups and saucers and three vegetable tureens.  Then I got two Ikea cabinets that needed filling …… and that, was my downfall!!!!
Royal Doulton Minden 6I started looking on e-bay to see if there were any pieces for sale, and I started collecting!  An awful lot of pieces were right out of my price range, but slowly and surely a few things started to appear that I felt I could bid on and so my collection grew.  I have tried to collect eight each of the basics, cups, saucers, plates and bowls, and then added serving bowls, tea plates, teapots, jugs and soup bowls. 
13872808_10207740105275542_8246021016634423568_nThe teapots and cups and saucers are (were) the hardest items to find, in particular, the teapots proved to be the most expensive to buy, in fact I had to go to Etsy for the largest teapot. I have been very careful with my bidding, setting a limit, only getting carried away with one small teapot, and as a result had a few real bargains. I don’t think I need anything else, but as the original range was huge, I still look, but have found that the rarer, more unusual pieces are usually well out of my price range.
Evesham Cream Tea .I can now to set a table for all occasions and with friends coming over from Wolverhampton I am also slowly perfecting my Evesham cream tea.
It’s lovely to have beautiful things, but what’s the point if they are never used?

Thursday, 29 December 2016

A Bit Of Stickybeaking For Di …………

When I showed you my lounge area a few weeks back, Di wondered if the rest of the lounge/kitchen/dining area would also be up for a bit of stickybeaking too, well, Di this is for you!KItchen area 1This is how it all started out, with cream carpet, with vinyl flooring in the kitchen area, poles over the windows. a very curious bit of shelving to the side of the sink (where the microwave went, I think),  an integral washer dryer hidden behind a cupboard door and a spotlight fitting on the ceiling.
Kitchen Area 2 without carpetThe first thing I had done was to get the whole area painted from white to calico with white glossing. The carpet and vinyl were ripped out and oak flooring laid along the whole length of the room. A rose chandelier, the same as in the lounge area was fitted, as were two cream linen effect blinds on inside of the window to add depth to the wall. I also bought a tall fridge freezer for the kitchen.
dining area 1The very first pieces of furniture I decided to buy were two white Ikea Hemnes glass door cabinets with drawers. I thought if two could fit between the two windows in the room, I could then work the rest of the room round them, they would be the focal part of the dining area, drawing the eye away from the less glamorous kitchen area. If I measured the space once, I measured it a hundred times, by my calculations I would just have a touch over 5cms from the edge of the window sills on either side, it was close, but they fit, perfectly, I was sooooooooo chuffed.
original Ikea drawer knobHome Bargains Crystal Drawer Knobscrystal knobs
And it goes without saying that the plain, dull brown knobs were quickly replaced with shiny, sparkly ones from Home Bargains at £3.99 for a box of four.
Dining AreaNext followed an Ikea Bjursta/Borge table and chair set in oak finish.  I chose that design because the table extends to accommodate eight people. It originally came with four chairs but after a week or so I quickly realised I could really do with another two for entertaining, fortunately, when not in use all the chairs still fit neatly under the unextended table, with no floor lost. The chairs have removable, washable, pale cream covers, but I also bought a spare set of sand coloured ones, just to be on the safe side, what with having baby fingers around!!!!!
Ikea Bjursta Borge Table and ChairsIkea Hemnes Glass Cabinet
The empty space above the sink was filled by fitting three kitchen cupboard units (without the doors) onto the wall, to provide much needed storage and a little display space.  And last, but not least, a smaller, more modern mixer tap was fitted over the sink. 
Ikea BjurstaKitchen part of flat
As I showed in my previous post, the drop leg table that I use for working at fits beautifully under the window, between the glass cabinet and the end kitchen cupboard, without any lose to floor space when down.
IMG_9458kitchen area of flat
It’s all but finished, but not quite satisfied, after Christmas I have decided to have the space between the work surfaces and cupboards tiled, in the plainest, as near to calico coloured tiles as I can find, rather than leaving it just painted. 
cooking areaI also think I might like to exchange the gas hob for an electric one and the integral electric oven may also go as it makes a terrible racket when it’s on and I really wouldn’t trust it to anything like a delicate cake!
There’s also a space under the boiler which seems a bit of a waste,  however I think that would take a lot of imagination and then some ingenuity to work out  what could be done there, so I might have to live with it for a while yet until inspiration strikes. 
Allen Designs Bird fly ClockI had an idea that I would like a quirky sort of cuckoo clock in the kitchen, sadly the clock doesn’t cuck, but the design is exactly what I had in my head.  It’s an Allen Designs Fly Bird Clock and was a sort of present …..  I never buy anything online now without checking TopCashBack or Quidco to see if I can get any cashback on an order, and as it happened I had just received £20 cashback on my house contents insurance, well, it was a no brainer what I would put it towards. I had to shop around as the prices of the clock varied greatly from £33, which is what I paid, up to £53, so it also pays to shop around as well as “do” cash back, because in the end it only cost me £13.
Allen-Designs-Red-Vintage-Kitchen-Mixer-Wall-Clockcat and mouse clock allen designallen design house clock
I had never heard of Allen Designs before looking, but now I am a fan, there is a clock for anyone who likes quirky, but a clock in every room might look a bit on the obsessive side, so I will have to stop at just one!

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Oh My Goodness …….

It seems that I have robins nesting in my kitchen …….
Nesting Robins…… and spring has already sprung amongst my festive baubled branches
spring has sprung on my festive branches

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

A Blast Front The Past

When I saw this original Sizzix Machine, still in almost perfect box for just £4.99, I was almost tempted to buy it!
original sizzix machineIt bought back so many memories of Alan and Barry on Create and Craft when I first to take crafting seriously, and this was beyond my wildest dreams and budget!  Those were the days of Mendala stamps, peels offs and Pink Pig heat guns, oh my goodness me how times have changed!  I wonder if it’s regarded as an antique now?

Monday, 26 December 2016

Stickybeaking In My Festive Boudoir

When I first moved in, my boudoir had a huge mirrored wardrobe on the wall where the bed is now.  It was bloody ugly, and despite agreeing to buy it as a fixture/fitting, it just had to go! 
festive bedroomAgain, the walls of the room were changed from white to calico, and the cream carpet ripped out in favour of a wooden oak floor.  I put a sheer blind on the inside of the window and a cream linen effect one over that on the outside of the window  frame. Both bedrooms are at the front of the flat so having sheer blinds fitted were a necessity for privacy. 
bedroomThe chandelier was the only light fitting I bought with me.  I did bring my beloved, vintage bedframe, but again, as soon as it was put together it was obvious that it had seen better days and just wasn’t right, so it too, like so many other things, bit the dust! I then had a long wall to fill, I could have gone to Ikea, but my brain must have started to get ‘addled and it was too complicated for me to work out, so I called a local carpenter and he designed and built me my beautiful wardrobes and drawer unit. 
Shaker style fitted wardrobescarpenter built fitted wardrobes
I knew I wanted shaker style, in matt white, and Pete Vale came up with exactly what I wanted.  I was so pleased he is now doing some compartment shelving in my spare/guest room in the New Year.  I have had to wait for both jobs but he is worth it!  The large mirror over the drawers was originally on the chimney breast in my lounge in Wolverhampton, it survived the cull, although I didn’t have a clue where it would go, but  when I saw how it “mirrored” the lines of the wardrobes perfectly, it was a keeper.
IMG_9522Ikea Billy Bookcase
The bed is from the Ikea Hemnes range, as is bedside drawer unit.  Unfortunately there wasn’t enough room to have a set of drawers on both sides of the bed which is what I originally wanted, so I bided my time for a while, before deciding that an Ikea Billy bookcase would make an excellent substitute. I liked it because it was deep and taller than average, offering me even more storage, I don’t think you can ever have enough.
 Billy Bookcase Ikea.NOrdic Style Christams Bedding
The room is cool, calming and very relaxing, nothing shouts at you, but I can then go OTT with a variety of  brightly coloured bedding and cushions that change the look and mood of the room completely. I think the festive Nordic style bedding has made it look another degree cooler.
Christmas reindeer and snowfalke dimensional frameI have changed the look of the open photo frame on the wall, usually it has photo’s and souvenirs of my visit to the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, but for Christmas I have swopped them for glittery wooden snowflakes and reindeer heads.
festive bedheadTYger ceramic christmas trees
I’ve also added a couple of reindeer and wooden tags to the bedhead, ceramic Christmas trees from Tiger on the window sill, red tealight glasses on the drawers, some little Santa’s on the bookcase shelves and some holly here and there, I love a theme!  And then, after Christmas it will look completely different again!
Homage to MarcOn the drawers I have some mirrored drawers and glass boxes, presents from Marc, and a charity shop find in the form of an Eiffel Tower, for, I think, hanging jewellry, found in the Salvation Army Shop for £1.99.
Eiffel Tower Jewellry TidyMarc's Decorative Pins
At the moment  it’s adorned with some of Marc’s decorative pins and a few mini picture frames I’ve made.  I not sure it will be a permanent fixture, it might find it’s way into the spare room yet, but for now I love it where it is.