Our Christmas

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas break. Ours has seen plenty of family, food and festivities (with sadly a minor bout of flu for the boyfriend). Here’s some pictures from Christmas Day, which after a croissant filled breakfast and few presents in our new home, we spent mostly at my parents’ house eating delicious food, enjoying a brisk walk and lazing by the fire. I was lucky enough to get some fabulous presents and am so pleased to report all my handmade gifts seemed to go down well too!

Poor Sammy spent Christmas in a cast with a dislocated toe!


Bedroom feature wall: before & after

Three weeks in and all major decoration work to our bedroom is finished! And while it definitely needs a bit of dressing (eg. curtains and some accents in a contrasting colour) I just couldn't wait to show you our Farrow and Ball* feature wall.

Having worked in several historic houses I've always loved Farrow and Ball paints, the first time I came across them was seeing the gorgeous Ballroom Blue in the Bath Assembly Rooms - quite an introduction. So it's a bit of a dream come true having a drop of Farrow and Ball in my own home! I knew I was after a mint/duck egg colour for a feature wall in our bedroom and found this in Teresa's Green No. 236. Choosing simply from the colour chart and online pictures was a bit of a worry but it's exactly the colour I was hoping for. It was really nice to paint with too, quick drying and has a nice chalky finish (we used estate emulsion).

So here's the before...

and after!

This is the only room in the house where I can picture the 'finished' look - I had it decided after just our first viewing! As you can see we've painted the other walls a brighter off-white (they were cream previously) and painted the woodwork in brilliant white. You can't see it in the pictures but we've also put down new cream carpet, so all in all it is brighter and feels much more like 'our home' now!

Right, I'm off to go and stare at my new wall. And buy some curtains.

*post in collaboration with Farrow and Ball.


Recently I've been... (moving home edition!)

Painting, we painted all day for a whole week and then most evenings for two weeks and we're still one room away from finishing the upstairs! However, it really is worth the effort as the new house already feels more like our own. I can't wait to reveal pictures!

Baking duh na na-na-na-na.... BATMAN for the boyfriend's birthday last week. It was the first time using our new oven, so think I could have done slightly better but am pleased with how the bat symbol turned out. The cake disappeared in just over a day though, so it can't have tasted that bad.

Reading (because our TV doesn't work in the new house yet, dodgy aerial) And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini, a really beautiful book based on the story of a brother and sister separated as children. I've read her A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner too, both great reads.

Buying cute tinsel from ikea - because it just wouldn't be Christmas without gold foxes. Plus it's the only Christmas decoration we have up at the moment!


Taking a quick break... to move home

Things have been a bit quieter than usual around here lately and for that I apologise, but it’s all for a fairly good cause as we should be moving into our first home next weekend!

I say ‘should’ as I will not relax until we have the keys in our hands, but even so there’s a lot to do in preparation and rather than stress myself out by trying to do it all and keep blogging, I figure a quick break will mean I can focus on packing, cleaning, painting and all the admin – changing address, bills etc. (a.k.a. the not-so-fun bit).

In the meantime, I thought I’d leave you with a few of my favourite interior decor blogs -
Apartment Apothecary 
Patchwork Harmony
Beauty Full Homes

And a brilliant idea from Leanne on her new blog - this little space of mine, seriously wish I had been doing this for the last year, but am definitely going to start now!


Recently I’ve been...

Reading Bustle & Sew magazine after winning a copy on twitter. It’s full of cute craft ideas and tutorials as well as recipes, seasonal inspiration and features on makers, fabric and more. Hopefully if I get my Christmas knitting done on schedule (see below!) I’ll have time to make their floral Merry Christmas hoop.

Knitting Christmas presents, I've set myself a target of at least three knitted presents this year and so far I'm one down two to go, which I’m pleased with. I won't be revealing what I've made until after Christmas though - you can never too careful!

Pinning A LOT of home decor inspiration! After a long (stressful) few months we exchanged contracts on our first home last week. I won’t relax until we get the keys but am allowing myself to start planning a little. Fingers crossed we’ll be in before Christmas. Image here.

Enjoying the new lease of life my house plant seems to be having, it was given to me about three years ago but had been looking very sad for the last few months - the boyfriend threatened to get rid of it several times! But all of a sudden it has grown about 10 new leaves. Happy days.


Autumn wanderings - a visit to Lancing College Chapel

Despite the return of summer over the last few days (!) last weekend was a wonderfully autumnal one, and extra special as I got to see inside the amazing Lancing College Chapel.

The Chapel sits on top of a hill overlooking Shoreham River and can be seen from quite a distance, so I've spent years driving past it and wanting to see inside (no surprise given my love for historic buildings). We finally made the journey up the hill to coincide with Lancing College's annual craft fair; sadly my Mum and I really didn't think much of the fair. But the Chapel on the other hand was amazing.

It's full of ornate stone and wood carvings, stained glass, chandelier lighting and huge ceilings. I'm so happy we finally got to see inside. Surprisingly it's only about 100 years old too and was built just before the war, it’s newer than Lancing College School whose students use it regularly. Seeing their choir books shelved in the crypt, added a really lovely atmosphere - trying not to make the typical Hogwarts reference here but I can certainly see a similarity...


Finished project - a knitted teacup

Time for tea?

Or perhaps a better question would be, why have I knitted a teacup?

Not a clue, it's certainly not my most practical knit, but I think that's okay sometimes. Now that it's finished I'm not too keen on the fact it's neon green. It seemed like a good idea at the time to use up the leftovers, but I think a slightly daintier colour would have worked better.

The pattern is from the fab craftseller magazine. The 'tea' is just a needle felt circle, which isn't included in the craftseller pattern, but you can't have a teacup without tea - it didn't look finished without it!

So, milk and sugar?


Bracelet holder – a DIY

I love a bit of recycling, and when hearing news of the upcycling competition hosted by Claire from claireabellemakes happened to coincide with another morning of knocking my bracelets off my dressing table, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to make some sort of bracelet storage. Because I refuse to have to fish bracelets out from down the back of my chest of draws every few days.

The challenge is to re-use leftover building materials for your upcycle, my local source of leftover building material is my parent's garage - luckily they're in the middle of doing up the kitchen and I quickly found some plastic tubing perfect for a bracelet holder (I did ask before upcycling it!). I also found an old map to jazz up the tube and some string to hang it with. Meaning my upcycle was completely free too – the best kind.

Find out more about the competition here and check trade and construction training provider AbleSkills who are kindly providing the prizes!





florals and feathers: the October edit

A collection florals and feathers to be admired this month.


Floral rug / Urban Outfitters
I really struggle to find rugs I like, but being both floral and my favourite colour – this one’s a winner!

Crochet feather pattern / Messyla
Having only discovered La’s amazing blog earlier this week, pretty much all of her crochet patterns are now on my ‘to make’ list. Seeing as I’m still new to crochet and this one has simple in the name, it looks like a good one to start with.


Feather stamp / Extase / Etsy
Perfect for adding the finishing touch to cards and gift tags, I really want to start building up a stamp collection, and of course there’s room for a feather one.

Lace feather pen / DIY / Crafty Endeavor
Another possible use for my constant feather collecting, these would be great fun to write with too!


Finished project - a knitted dinosaur!

Remember a few weeks ago when I shared the progress of my knitted dinosaur, well here's Dino in all his finished glory! Seriously, this might just be my favourite knit so far.

The pattern was really easy to follow, and free, find it on ravelry here.

I was almost sad to give him away, but I'm sure my friend's new baby will have lots more fun with him. Although probably in a few months time, as currently both baby and dinosaur are the same size!

Knitted on 4mm round needles / Wool is stylecraft DK, leftover from my crochet cushion.


The forgotten garden – a book review

Yet another book involving historical houses and mysteries spanning several generations, I seem to have a bit of a theme going on at the moment... anyway...

Title: The forgotten garden

By: Kate Morton

What happens?: Cassandra’s grandmother, Nell, dies leaving Cassandra a mystery cottage in Cornwall. It soon becomes clear that the cottage, once home to a mysterious Authoress, is the key to a long lost family secret.

The story moves through the Victorian era to the 1970s and finally the present day, while the characters cross Australia, London and Cornwall to unravel their family secret. An unusual feature was the extracts from the Authoress’ fairytales scattered throughout the book, each fairytale was clearly inspired by her own life and acted as little clues to help the reader to unravel more. But, just when I thought I’d got it figured out there was a brilliant, unexpected twist.

Now that the evenings are getting darker (and colder) I'd definitely recommend it as one to curl up with in the candle or firelight!


Blackberry and apple loaf cake – a recipe

After our fruitful (pardon the pun!) adventure picking blackberries a few weekends ago, I’ve been carefully considering what to bake with them – the pressure to pick a good recipe feels much higher when you’ve put the time in picking the ingredients. Plus I’m obviously obsessed with the Great British Bake Off at the moment so any bake has to pass an imaginary Paul and Mary test. I think this blackberry and apple loaf cake with a cinnamon crumble top was pretty successful – if a minute or two over baked, no star baker for me.

250g self-raising flour
175g butter
175g light muscovado sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 small eating apple
2 large eggs, beaten
Zest of 1 orange
1 tsp baking powder
150g blackberries
2 tbsp rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Butter the sides and line the bottom of a loaf tin.

Mix together the flour, butter and sugar in a large bowl. Set aside.

Grate the apple and mix in to the beaten eggs and orange zest.

Stir the baking powder into the flour mixture, then gently stir in the egg mixture being careful not to over mix.

Fold in the blackberries.

Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin.

In a small bowl mix together the rolled oats and cinnamon, sprinkle this on top of the mixture.

Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes, check it after 40 minutes and cover the top with foil if it’s browning too early.

It’s definitely worth using the skewer test (and the foil) as the top cooked way before the middle.

Leave it to cool for around 30 minutes then remove from tin and cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy. It tastes great with cream or crème fresh!

I've still go a bag of blackberries left in the freezer - what other blackberry recipes do you love?


Three ways to re-use a Cath Kidston blackberry case

In my opinion it’s never okay to throw away Cath Kidston (except that time I broke my favourite mug *sobs*) and when I came across my old blackberry phone case during a clear out, I just couldn't bring myself to send it to the charity shop with everything else. It’s just such a pretty floral and it’s blue. So it sat on my bedside table for a week or two while I decided what to do with it, my Samsung phone just doesn't fit, but I was determined to find a way to re-use or DIY it.

Well, I didn't just find one, I found three!

Clutch bag card holder
When my, ahem Cath Kidston, purse won’t fit, I don’t like to just leave cards loose in my handbag so the blackberry case is the perfect size to hold a couple of cards together in a clutch. Disclaimer – I don’t really take my Boots card on nights out, but you get the idea.

Knitting needle organiser
I have a lot of knitting needles and it takes ages to find the matching pair, so I’ve sorted out a couple of my most used for my knitting bag. Don’t they look nice and organised, plus the case protects my current works in progress from the ends of the needles.

Pencil case
You can never find a pen or pencil in our flat and more often than not it’s because they’ve rolled off and underneath the coffee table or sofa. But now they can be stacked neatly on top of our magazines and notepad.

Which is your favourite? I’m currently going for the third at the moment, and wondering what else in my charity shop bag could be re-purposed...


Is it too early to start thinking about Christmas?

Considering that it’s only the second week in September, Christmas seems to have come up a few too many times this week. From the unforgivable act of our local Tesco putting out the Christmas chocolate (ignoring back to school, Halloween, bonfire night and hell, even just autumn in general) to certain family members trying to organise who is having Christmas/Boxing Day parties. We don’t even know where we are going to be living come December!

But it did get me thinking about my promises last year of a ‘handmade Christmas’ which resulted in one handmade scarf and a couple of Christmas decorations, so while I maintain that it is far too early for shops to be putting out the Christmas stuff, for those of you like myself who are hoping to knit/crochet/sew a significant portion of your gifts starting to think about this now is no bad thing.

You don’t have to start making just yet, but having a plan and starting to source materials and patterns is a great start. I don’t doubt that craft sellers will have started making their Christmas stock months ago.

So, I've spent my morning browsing pinterest, ravelry and many of my favourite blogs for some inspiration. And you know what; it feels pretty good to be prepared.


Blackberry picking

What better way to spend a Sunday?

I'd sussed out this spot last year after missing most of the blackberry crop and being determined not to let that happen again this year. Happily it didn't and we picked until we had purple fingers and a full bag (well, enough for pudding and a few for baking with).

We also came home with two feathers and a couple of conkers, not a bad day’s foraging really!


Fresh flowers – a close up

With some time to spare last weekend I jumped at the chance to have another play with my bargain macro lens (blogged about here), this time using the flowers currently brightening up our living room. I still love the extreme close up you can achieve and the dreamy quality of the blurred edges.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...