Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Getting my House in Order # 1 - Bedside Tables (Part 1)

I spent yesterday afternoon prepping some bedside tables for a revamp. We're "revamping" our decor on a seriously tight budget so these were an ebay bargain at £8 each.!

This is the first in a long line of projects we have planned over the next few weeks as we  finally get around to adding some design and flourish to our home. When we moved here almost 3 years ago we were too busy with a baby and J's recovery from surgery and illness to do anything other than whitewash the walls and put down some flooring. So our home is a blank canvas right now.
These are quite a basic set of draws in terms of quality and construction; but hopefully by the time I've finished with them they'll look a bit more special. (Fingers crossed!) I managed to get them all sanded and cleaned up and a coat of primer done and dried before the rain set in last night. If it stays dry today then they'll be getting their top coat of colour to tie in with our room scheme; and then my special "Miss P" finish. Rain, rain, stay AWAY!!




PS: Anyone interested in a step by step for this technique? There is a bit more to it than slapping some paint on, lol!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Another "first" goes by in the blink of an eye...

Sometimes I just like to use this blog to mark those special moments in life. So that if our house, or worse still, our computer (shudders!) blows up and all of our photos are lost, then at least those images are safe here in the blogosphere. Today held one of those moments. Elliott's first bike....

Today was beautiful. Warm, sunny, not a cloud in the sky, and one very excited Little Tornado impatient to try out his new bike. Our home town is on an estuary and the pedestrian area that stretches the length of the sea wall was a perfect spot for a stroll and for Elliott to try out his cycling legs. He was away quicker than I could shout after him "mind that lady with the dog!!" Pedalling furiously and grinning from ear to ear. Not a fear or a care in this world. I love moments like these. I try to be alert to them as they can pass us by without us even noticing. In the blink of an eye.  I'm mindful to stop for a moment and let the camera shutter in my brain click off a few mental snapshots and hope very hard that they'll lodge there forever. Because one day in the not too distant future, that will be a car he's driving away from me in. And when he finally does leave and I don't see him every day, I don't ever want to sit there and wonder why I hadn't paused to soak up as many of these precious moments as possible while I had the chance....




Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Thrifty Finds # 35

It's been a while since I posted some thrifted treasures so the other day I rounded up some of my recent purchases. Alot of my thrifting of late has been centred around stuff for our home. Jason has some slightly enforced time out from work right now (yet another victim of the current economic climate,grr!). But, not being the sorts to wallow in the negative stuff, we decided to make the most of this time we have at home together. So our focus has shifted onto what we can get done in our home, that we never seem to have the time or energy for when J is at work. Consequently you may see a few more interior related DIY's and thrifting cropping up here, with dressmaking temporarily on hold for a few weeks.....
Left to Right from top: Chunky 70's Glass Vase £2, Milk Glass/White ceramics 50p-£2 each, 60's Fibreglass "Flower Power" Serving Tray £1.50, 50's Wooden Mantel Clock £4, Set of Vintage Green Stem Glasses (Alsace?) £2.50, Set of Handmade Glazed/striped Pottery Tumblers £2, Set of retro drinking glasses £1.50, Navy 60's "Crown" Vanity Case £2.50, Red Vintage Vanity Case £2, Smoky Green Glass Tumblers £1.50

I have plans for the glazed pottery tumblers. I have some miniature succulent/cacti plants that I picked up for a steal in the Isle of Wight, that should sit in them rather nicely. The vanity cases are already put to work helping me to organise craft supplies and belts/scarves. The green stemmed glasses are waiting for the right occasion for drinking some of my elderflower champers (I'm also playing with an idea I have for using them as part of little centrepieces on the tables at our wedding reception. Hmm. Watch this space for that one). The little smoky glass tumblers have been in near constant use since I bought them, so they've more than earnt their £1.50 price tag already! As I said there's alot I want to share about what we're doing to our home. Particularly concerning the fact that we live in a small bungalow and have had to find ways of organising and utilising very limited storage space as efficiently as possible. So look out for more "getting our house in order" posts in the near future. (They'll even have their very own graphic. OK, I was having a faff on the computer instead of clearing my cupboards one day, and that's what I came up with. Hey, at least I was THINKING about clearing my cupboards...;)

How about you? Been bagging any bargains lately? Doing any spring cleaning or organising your home?


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Maldon Riverboat - The other side of Essex!

Just to prove that Essex isn't all fake tan and high heels (!), it actually has some stunning rural and waterside locations too! Today we spent some time on a river boat cruise. Departing from Maldon's Promenade Park, (only 20mins drive from our home) it takes in some spectacular views along the Estuary. And for once the sun was shining too!

We're considering hiring a historical Thames barge as part of our nuptuals. So we thought we'd check out the kind of views our guests could expect. Elliott was definately sold on the idea after today!
Hope you're having a lovely weekend and thankyou for all you kind wishes on our engagement :)



Friday, July 20, 2012

Say farewell to "Miss" P.....

No I'm not quitting blogging(!)....I'm just not going to be "Miss" P for much longer! Seven years and one Little Tornado later, (not bad going!)  J took me by complete surprise and popped the question just before we went on holiday. Things have been so manic that it's taken me this long to get around to posting about it....

I say "complete surprise because when I first met J he was recently divorced and already a father. He was adamant from the outset that he didn't ever want to get married again and didn't want any more children; and look at us now, lol! Just goes to say you can never say never!

Now onto the ring....ah the ring! It's an early Victorian 18k ring set with Ceylon sapphires and diamonds in a snowflake design. J picked it himself and I couldn't love it more.

There's a slight twist though. The eagle eyed amongst you may have spotted me wearing this ring before. That's because it was a surprise gift from J last Christmas. Now J is not being a cheap skate and neither am I. We had intended to buy a ring we had seen at auction, but got outbid. The ensuing search for another piece that would fit the bill as "the" ring weirdly started to stress me out. I felt like already I was being caught up in the whole paraphernalia that seems to surround getting married, and I'd only just got engaged! I hate the whole convention that the ring has to be some expensive solitaire and a show of status of some kind, because it's so far removed from how I am. If I love something I love it, whether it's 50p or £50k. So, I decided, I already had a ring that I loved; the odds on me finding another that fit the bill more perfectly than this were slim AND it's the finger you wear the ring on that's significant and not the ring itself, right? So I did the rather obvious thing, to me anyway, of switching the ring I already loved, to the other hand. Simple. It sits perfectly and I know I'll be happy with it there for the rest of my days.

J didn't feel quite right about it. I think he was worried people would think he was tight. So to make him feel better, I told him I'd let him buy me some antique diamond studs to go with it, next time we were at the auction. I'm selfless like that you know.......;)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Paloma Faith at Somerset House

Last night I had the privilege of going to see the phenomenal Paloma Faith in concert at Somerset House in London. I was a massive fan before last night but seeing her perform live has further concreted my complete adoration! As if it weren't enough that she has the kind of voice that you'd recognise after just one note, it turns out she is completely adorable too. Witty, self deprecating and refreshingly honest and unpretentious.  Her East London accent belies the grace of movement she displays on stage. I googled her bio when I got back last night and it was no surprise to find that she has trained in ballet and contemporary dance. The phenomenal staging probably a nod to her later studies in theatre directing at Central Saint Martins College. This lady really is the whole package...

The venue was a new one to me. Somerset House is a beautiful and historical building smack bang in the heart of London . As a concert venue it's central courtyard makes for a stunningly intimate audience experience, and it's neo classical architecture is achingly gorgeous when lit against the night sky. The heavens were smiling on us last night and after what seems like weeks of continuous rain (including downpours yesterday afternoon just before we set off!) the skies cleared and stayed that way for the rest of the night. This really was the most civilised "gig" I've ever been to. What turned out to be a lovely summer evening spent watching an undeniable talent. I'm still on a high (as you can probably tell from my gushing!) 24 hrs later and it has to go down as one of my all time favourite music events...

So in summary, I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you're not already a Paloma fan, go check out her album(s) now! "Fall to Grace" is her brilliant latest release and her 2009 album "Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?" is one of those albums that...well it's just delicious; AND, if you haven't been to Somerset House before, it's a fabulous venue that plays host to all manner of arts and cultural events. You can check out their summer schedule here.

Right, I'll stop gushing now. Sorry about that!







image sources 1 and 2

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Upcycled Coat Rack & Box Seat (with a story attached!)

No sooner had I got back from our holiday and bottled my Elderflower, than an email popped into my inbox that sent me scurrying around for the rest of the week; mostly tidying our house and garden, but also conceiving and gathering supplies for this upcycling project. The purpose of this project was to give an example of what's possible (a simple hallway/mud room treatment) with a bit of old junk and some imagination, in an afternoon....while my usual self criticism is kicking in here (the box needs another coat of paint and the corners of the seat cushion need sorting out) I'm actually pretty happy with the whole concept and more or less happy with how it turned out. Given more time I would have given that extra coat of paint and restapled the fabric seat.  But the gist of what I was attempting has been satisfactorily expressed I feel...

The coat rack is made from timber salvaged from a pallet, repurposed drawer handles for coat hooks (salvaged from another project)  and cheap ikea brackets. The blanket box has had a foam cushion added to the lid and is covered in thrifted curtain fabric (about £1-2 worth as I have loads left...). 

Here's how in started out. A simple (if slightly battered) blanket box that I got from Freecycle and a pallet that I got from a kind man on our local industrial estate. Neither of these items cost me a penny and the aim was to show what it was possible to do on a very tight budget and in a very short space of time. So a bit of sanding, painting and drilling later I ended up with what you see above...

Now for the story part....

A few months ago I received an email from someone asking my views on thrifting, refashioning and upcycling. That person turned out to represent an indie TV production company. They liked my blog and what I had had to say, and would I be interested in meeting to discuss the possibility of fronting (yes you read that right!) a new show that they were putting together that has thrifting and refashioning at it's core!! Whaaaaaaaat!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now I HATE having my picture taken let alone have myself filmed for telly. But all of that pales into insignificance when presented with the opportunity to be involved in such a project. I've never been confident in how I look but I do have confidence in what I say and do, so in this instance I can work around my camera hatred!

So to cut a long story short, we spent Friday filming a trailer for the show,  which will now be re-pitched to a major UK TV Channel. The channel have previously been very positive about the format but vito'd the original presenter that was proposed to them. Which is why they came looking for me....so now the proposal has to go back to them but this time with me at the helm!

This is probably the most ridiculously exciting thing that has ever happened to me. The whole idea still feels vaguely surreal. But it really could happen. If they like the trailer and decide to commission the show, I really could be appearing on a TV screen in your living room! How bizarre would that be peops!!! I keep laughing when I think about it because the whole thing seems vaguely insane!

Now the filming is done all I can do is wait. I'm not good at waiting...especially with something this exciting....

Monday, July 16, 2012

Thrifty Finds # 34 - Especially for my Elderflower Fizz...

The very first thing I did on our return from the Isle of Wight was to bottle my Elderflower champagne. There was ALOT more than I thought too! 6 x 1litre bottles and 5 x 750 ml bottles to be precise. Should keep us going!

... and this set of little vintage glasses (thrifted for £2.50) will be just the thing to serve it in should we EVER have anything resembling a summer... are they cute or what?!

Did anyone else manage to get a batch of this made up?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Rain Soaked Isle of Wight...

Whew! It may have been all quiet on the blogging front here, but it certainly hasn't been all quiet on every other front. I have got so much to share with you guys that I'm going to have to do it on a post by post basis. Suffice to say, I have alot of exciting stuff going on right now, both at home, and potentially on the work front to. Lets just say that on Friday I took one step closer to potentially achieving my goal of using my creative skills on a daily basis. You will seriously squeal when you hear this. I just need to check how much I'm allowed to tell you before I go into any more detail!

In the meantime, we got back last week from a family holiday on the Isle of Wight. As you can imagine it chucked it down ALOT. But we made the best of it and had a lovely time on what (especially I'd imagine in the sun), is an absolutely beautiful place...

Jason was intent on playing captain of his very own 10ft dinghy with the able assistance of his teenage son...

On our second day there was a fabulous 1940's Experience at the Southern Railway in Havenstreet. Loads to see and do, complete with Dad's Army lookalikes, GI Joes and old school spivs flogging dodgy watches. Elliott especially loved the ride on the old steam train and I picked up some seriously cute vintage buttons from one of the stalls....

Then the weather began declining dramatically, but like typical Brits we were determined to enjoy the beautiful seaside locations...

The next day we braved "The Needles" park in Alum Bay. It was misty and wet but we pushed on and enjoyed a stroll around the park and enjoyed it's many attractions. Including a nice and warm and cosy (!) glass blowing demonstraion and the obligatory making of sand ornaments, with Elliott insisting that he only wanted one colour of sand in his, he he!

The next day was pretty darn miserable weather wise. But we amused ourselves with a drive around the island and a trip across the floating bridge between East Cowes and Cowes itself. We found a fabulous venue at Quay Arts. It houses a gallery and exhibition areas, pleasant light and airy cafe, and a brilliant craft shop selling ceramics, prints, art glass and all manner of other handicrafts. Elliott amused himself with some wind up toys from the gift shop. I bagged a few art books and a kitsch but cute plastic brooch. We rounded of the day with takeaway cod and chips back at the holiday house...


Yay a day of sunshine at last! Like typical Brits we all managed to get a little burnt, but there was no way we were budging off that beach after the near constant rain we'd been experiencing. We collected shells, made sandcastles, skimmed stones and just chilled really. I messed about with making faces out of our beach finds and then tried my hand at a bit of sand sculpture too.....a 4 ft dolphin in case you can't tell what it is lol!

All in all, I adored the Isle of Wght. Easy to get to. Loads to do and see. We'll be back for sure but hopefully next time, a bit more sun please Mother Nature!!!!



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