Dining room before (during) and after

Thursday, 20 April 2017

I was looking at my dining room a few weeks ago thinking, when its perfectly tidy I'll take some photos. Then I realised that its never going to be perfectly anything, so I cleared all the toys off the floor and letters from the table, grabbed my camera and in the spare 15 minutes I had before collecting Stanley I took these pictures. 

If there is any room in the house that's changed the way we live as a family its this one. We renovated this room in two stages, the first was really a simple knock through and paint, the second was extending the room by a metre (we filled in the gap under the balcony) and added floor to ceiling windows. I'm so glad we let this room evolve as we have, when we first moved in we hardly spent time in the kitchen or dining room but now its the heart of our home and where we can cook, eat and play all together. 
The first part of the renovations reads like a Christmas nightmare, the back of the house was flanked by a huge steel fire escape from first to ground floor. It was the Eve of Christmas Eve, the wind was howling and rain pouring and two (slightly dodge) rag and bone men came with no safety gear (or even rope) and dismantled the beast. Their Christmas came early as they trotted off with two tonnes of steel, our Christmas came early as there were no fatal injuries and the fire escape was gone! I can make jokes about it now but it was a scary day. As you can see the previous owners really enjoyed light sapping decor, as soon as we knocked through from the kitchen the room lightened up and as the winter turned into summer the room started to show its true colours (which surprisingly weren't baize green).  
After knocking through from the kitchen (we added a steel support to make sure all above was safe), we then painted and my dad (above) added shelving to one side of the fireplace.  You can see how the room first looked here
With the arrival of Stanley our lives naturally changed, we were at home so much more and spending time together as a family became a priority. The previous set up meant if someone was cooking then the other was in the living room with him which meant our time was segregated. We had always hoped to make use of the dead space outside, as we were having work done to the upstairs rooms we decided to use the time of disruption and get this room done too. 

In builder time it was really relatively quick to get completed. It took a week to take off the outside render and level the floor, then the odd day to get another support added, level the ceilings and have electrics installed and then plastered. The major delay was waiting just over ten weeks for the windows to be made which we knew was going to happen as they were being made to order. Of course the style we were after were a lovely industrial french steel type (but they are so expensive and I think only exist on Pinterest and in Elle Decoration), PVC windows were out the question because they're vile so these aluminium framed windows were a great choice. We ordered them through our builder from a local company called Duration Windows, who were great from start to finish. 
Once the windows were in and floors laid, I wasted no time in getting the walls painted (I used Farrow and Ball, Pavilion Blue), added this Stocksund sofa from Ikea (which I really recommend), put in a colourful rug from Wayfair to soften the floor and installed this toy cupboard from La Redoute. I have more photos for another post going through all the details in more detail, which i'll get written up asap.

The amount light in this room has been the biggest transformation and I love how connected we are to the garden. With all of us having different needs from this room it might not be stylistically perfect but for our family it's pretty close. If you have any questions just ask and there are links in this post to all my previous room renovations. 

DIY - Fabric bunny easter eggs

Monday, 10 April 2017

I'm so excited about this DIY it combines nearly all my favourite things; rabbits, chocolate and gift wrapping. I'm been a huge fan of furoshiki (or the Japanese art wrapping gifts with fabric) for a long time however, it can feel just a little too serious. For this DIY I wanted to create a fun Easter craft that can be put together really quickly and still look sweet. I think they make a great alternative to easter eggs (which waste so much packaging) and would look fab on an Easter table with spring blooms scattered all around. Here's how to make...
You'll need - fillable plastic eggs, plain cotton fabric cut into 25x25cm squares (depending on the size of your eggs this measurement could change so do a tester first), mini flower pots, straw or crepe paper, grey and pink marker pens and chocolate treats.
Step 1. Fill your eggs with treats (try not to eat them all - this was the most challenging part of the whole project for me!) 

Step 2. Place the filled egg into the centre of the fabric, taking the opposite diagonal corners tie a double knot fairly tightly at the top of the egg. I found it best to put the egg into a flower pot whilst I did this. 
Step 3. Take the remaining corners and tie in a single knot, forming bunny ears and covering the first knot. You might need to fiddle about to get the right shape and to get the ears to stick up. 

Step 4. Draw on two oval eyes using a dark grey marker and then draw a little 'v' shape with a pink marker for the mouth. 

Step 5. Depending on the size of your pots and eggs you might want to skip this step. As my eggs were a little small for the pots I added a scrap of spare fabric to the base of the pot to raise them up then created a small crepe paper boarder. To make the boarder take a length of crepe paper about 3cm wide and 30 long snip into it to make 'straw' and add around the pot. If I had, some I would have used gift wrapping straw instead, it just saves a little bit of time. 

I made six of these for the tutorial and found it best to do each stage in batches, I just love how sweet they look poking out from the tops of the flower pots.

I love the simplicity of using white cotton but you could always use a rainbow of pastel colours or a little Liberty print never goes wrong at this time of year. Happy making! x 

Inspired, April

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

If ever I needed a simple month it's this one, I always seem to revert back to whites when I feel the need to start again. This year has been a funny one and I feel my time being 100% sucked into family life (which is no bad thing) but I do believe that as a mum you need to keep some time back for yourself even if it is just an hour a week. For me I like to spend a little time in my craft room planning and hopefully creating, my ideas are starting to come back and I have plans for furniture revamps for the garden and hopefully getting the last room in the house decorated. 

With baby number two due (all being well) in September my focus once again falls back to the inside of the house and want to get the remaining bits of renovations wrapped up whilst I still have the energy. This is the colour palette I'm planning  - soft off white shell colours to create a calm and gentle space. I hope to get it all done by the end of May so I can enjoy the summer with Stanley and get excited for our new addition to the family.

Have a great month everyone. xx 


Sunday, 2 April 2017

Happy Sunday! I've been meaning to get this post up all week but let's say last week wasn't one I want to remember. Anyway, the highlight was finding a huge bush of camellia's a few doors down with a massive overspill onto a driveway - it seemed rude not to go and snip off a few branches! I added them to a bunch of garden flowers that I picked at my mum's and they looked perfect on my mantle. It's so exciting that garden flowers are back in bloom, I've been busy sorting cut flower beds (you can follow my garden instagram account here) and picking a few colourful chaps for the house, but can't wait to add more. 

DIY - Aqua and Blue stone necklaces

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Here is another really pretty spring tutorial for you to try. These beautiful semi-precious stone necklaces are my latest project for Lisa Comfort. I'm so in love with the colours, they make me think of summer days and are perfect for layering up. The beauty of making your own jewellery is being able to add a personal touch, I decided to add simple cotton tassels to the backs for a little twist. 

You can find the full tutorial here. Happy making. x

Mollie Makes - Beaded Diamond Earrings

Friday, 17 March 2017

I realised that I did quite a few projects for Mollie Makes magazine at the end of last year but never shared them here (which is a bit silly). My first project of the year are these really sweet beaded earrings. Seed beads are the first beads I remember buying, I used to buy them by the scoop in my local haberdashery and still have them all in their tobacco tin. They are quite often over looked for  fancier counterparts but it's always fun to get back to using them. They come in so many different hues I quite often buy them just because the colours make me happy. If you're in the UK I think the best place to buy them is The Bead Shop in Covent Garden, they have all the colours I usually manage to add a few more tubes to my collection every time I go in. 

The inspiration for these earrings came from a peyote design however, as I'm unable to follow sensible beading techniques I came up with a simpler version which I think anyone can do. For me its really important to create projects that as many of you can enjoy. Jewellery making is such a great hobby (I promise), I always want to encourage anyone to give it a try without being intimidated by a complicated method. For the full tutorial find yourself a copy of Mollie Makes Issue 77 or download here

What to do when you're not inspired

Friday, 10 March 2017

I've written a few posts over the last year about how to stay creative when you're busy and/or have a baby. Today I want to talk about what to do when you feel your creativity and inspiration has left the building. I personally find this time of year really hard on my creativity - lack of light, frequent colds and a general sense of 'meh' does nothing to inspire me to start any new projects. I've been taking a new approach this year,  being kinder to myself and not trying to push ideas out for the sake of it. Here are a few tips that I'm finding really helpful...

Firstly, don't panic - you've had ideas before and you'll have them again, so don't worry. A lack of ideas often means you need a rest, listen to your body and take it easy. A garden isn't always blooming. 

Have a sort out - I know when there are piles of stuff and personal admin to attend to I can't think of anything great to create. I've been slowing working through my piles of accumulated things and feeling much more inspired when each one disappears. I'm always so much more inspired when my craft room is clear and I often find tidy up makes old materials resurface which generates an idea or two. 

Get outside - I've made it a rule to get outside any day the sunshines. Now I'm at home with Stanley we go to the beach or into the garden. When I was office bound I'd invent an errand and get outside for a while. A dose of sun does so much for the winter blues and you never know what you're going to see. 

Do something completely different - I have a pending item on my to do list of "blog post ideas" instead of forcing myself to sit down and try and come up with some half hearted DIY's i'm ignoring it and tending to my seedlings. By doing something completely unrelated my mind can wander to new ideas, sometimes you need some space from what you want to do (if you're not as seedling obsessed as I seem to be you could bake, run, nap instead!). 

Don't get caught up in other peoples goals - The internet seems to be awash with goals and positive/aggressive memes about pursuing your dreams. Personally I find these totally counter productive and am left feeling a bit empty - "what if I'm not pursing my dream today and just doing the washing - am I failing?" I keep re-reading this article, it makes me feel much better.  

Take a class - I taught a jewellery making class on Saturday and although I didn't feel like if I'm honest (there are some personal things going on and I had a cold) it was the best thing I could have done. Talking to new people , sharing ideas and getting out the house sparked loads of new ideas (beware new jewellery posts could be coming...). You might not be in a position to teach but you could organise a crafternoon or take a workshop just for fun doing something different and meeting people is always a good idea.  I'm teaching beautiful bracelets on Thursday if you're free. 
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