How to make a Bunny Trug – Tutorial

I always try to make presents for the special people in my life whenever I can.  I don’t know about you, but for me, to be given a gift that someone has lovingly made just for me  means so much more than any shop bought present.

This week, I had to make a present for a cute little one year old baby, whose nursery theme is little taupe bunnies. It is a very small room with not much space so I wanted to come up with something that not only looked adorable, but didn’t take up much room and was practical too!  Hmmm………..quite a lot of thought needed for that one.

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After much deliberation, I decided I would buy a sweet little heart trug and add some wooden bunny shapes which I would paint and distress.

You could of course adapt anything, from a box to a tray or any other item you have skulking around just waiting to be loved!

 

First of all, you need to decide what the end purpose of your item will be and what wooden shapes you would like to add.  Think carefully about the size of both your trug (or other item) and the size of your wooden shapes – how much do you want them to dominate and how many –  if you don’t have your wooden shapes yet, you can always cut out rough paper templates and ‘play’.  For me, this is by far the best bit as I absolutely love to play with all my materials.

This is also when my clear and tidy workspace quickly becomes absolute bedlam as I do tend to get a little ‘lost in my world’ and become a tad over excited and start pulling at jars and drawer contents, tipping everything out all over the place and grabbing at stuff wildly like a child in a sweetie shop – although Mr Chandelier might liken it more to a crazy mad woman who really needs a straight jacket – really!

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Ok, now you have, (unlike some), calmly chosen your shapes it’s time to paint them.  I know they are only tiny shapes but I always do the job properly and prime everything first.  You however, could skip this if you are not a perfectionist like me.  I also knew that I was going to paint the bunnies taupe and would also distress them so I wanted the white to show through when I sanded the edges.  You could just use two different colour paints instead.  Don’t forget to paint the edges  –  but not the back!

 

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Once your first coat is dry (which is usually pretty quick), give a good second coat of your chosen colour and then when that’s dry a ‘lick’ over one more time for depth when you sand.  Let the paint cure thoroughly before you lightly sand the edges.

For me, much as the little bunnies look ‘ok’ at this point, I wanted more definition around the edges and I wanted them to stand out a lot more, as I felt the edges were too insipid.  This was easily remedied by pulling out the wax.  I literally dabbed my finger into the wax and rubbed it into the bunny edges and then onto the top of the bunny as well.

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See the vast difference between the two – now the left hand bunny stands out really well and gives a far greater contrast which is exactly what I wanted.

 

 

 

Finally, glue the bunnies on and add some little bunny tails (tiny pom-poms).  I chose grey as the Mummy of the child I’m giving this too adores grey and also the white was far too stark against the cream trug.  Last but not least, add a little dotty ribbon tie and voila, one sweet little Bunny Trug.  I love it so much and hope she adores it too.

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Last of all, I made a little gift tag with some gold beading and wrapped it in gold star tissue paper for the final touch and when I handed it over, my friend was really chuffed and said she really, really loved it!  You just can’t beat that feeling, makes me so happy!

 

Go create something this weekend and show me what you made – I would so love to see.

Happy creating.

Much Love,

Sarah xx

Happy New Year – & a bit more demolition!

Happy New Year (better late than never – you know I come forth eventually!)

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I am more than a bit sad to pack it all away as I do love Christmas, but I am also more than a bit relieved to see the end of a mad, manic and crazy season which included my open house, workshops, a few events, a bad foot injury, 3 important birthdays – husband and 2 of the children – and of course Christmas, a big deal in itself.  So as I am sure you can appreciate, much as I truly adore the magic and sparkle of that time of year, it also leaves me in constant chaos and desperately trying to catch my breath and stop myself from drowning in events, materials, presents, food, really excessive late nights and much more!

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Now I must confess, I don’t really do New Year resolutions as such.  I used to many years ago but like a lot of people I really wasn’t brilliant at following them through.  One thing I do have a habit of doing though, is writing lists and my gosh are they long.  If I am honest, they are completely ridiculous and, particularly at times like my open house, Christmas, Easter or other events they are more than a little outrageous!

 

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I will put say, 20 things to do on my list for Monday and just item 1 could take all day and item 2, well, half the week if I’m lucky.  We won’t even mention the other 18 items – let’s just move swiftly on!  So, even though I don’t actually do New Year resolutions, I do however, ‘carry forward’ all the items that were on last years lists.  I did recently read an article on list making which was particularly pertinent to me.  It basically said that you should only ever have 5 items on your ‘to do’ list and the idea is that when you have finished 1 item you replace it with a new one – this is meant to stop you from feeling overwhelmed or stressed……….Right, but what actually happens to the rest of your list – I would probably end up sub categorising on a huge scale as I tend to do that anyway.  Ok ok let’s be calm about it and maybe not even do a list at all……Hmmm, bit scary, lets sleep on that one.

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I rather foolishly thought that I would have quite a bit of calm now and don’t get me wrong, in comparison to last season, of course it is.  However, we – in true Chandelier style – started on more work in another room – (as we do) over the holiday period and have just a smidgen more mess to deal with BUT….. it’s all good, yes really.  Every friend or visitor to our house walks in and says ‘Oh, goodness’ and looks about in disbelief (as well as sometimes looking at me very strangely!) as things change daily here, they really do!  Even the children come in and roll their eyes whilst enquiring why we can’t finish the other rooms we have started first.  I just roll my eyes right back and say “Well……Daddy had to do this now because we desperately need storage and………” then they are gone and I start to ponder that question myself but you know how it is, if you are struggling with things like storage, particularly after Christmas, and the rest of the house is semi-ok then certain jobs just seem to queue jump in a big way.  STOP thinking like that – No, it is not because Mr Chandelier is a builder and likes demolition – how could you even think that…………Hmmm.

We (well, when I say ‘we’ I have helped a lot) have also done lots of ‘little jobs’, well little by our standards, such as starting the tongue and groove boarding in the bathroom, moving baby Chandeliers hanging tent, blocking up a doorway – you know the sort of annoying and ‘faffy’ job that never gets done because you know it will take ages and not really seem to make much of an impact. Ok, maybe blocking up a doorway does, I take that one back but not moving a tent not so much, but, it does actually mean I can finish Ruby’s room as the ‘structure’ is now in place.  It only took me 3 days to decide where to put her furniture and tent!!!  More on that very soon.

Anyway, my ruthless streak persists and I am de-cluttering as I go and moving rooms around, still shuffling furniture and generally getting order – so there are many, many posts to follow from hereon in, with all the current projects and updates on the existing ones – Ooh how exciting – it’s a good job I get bored easily and like a change isn’t it!  I am on such a mission right now but with so very much needing to be done, I’m not quite sure which way to turn first.  But, as my dear friend used to say, ‘It doesn’t matter where you start, just start somewhere!” so I do tend to say that to myself repeatedly as I spin around like a weeble looking where to begin (just remember “weebles wobble but they don’t fall down”!!!)

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Oh, and I have also started setting up my Etsy shop and it really won’t be long before it has lots of items for sale – even more excitement – how will I contain myself.  I will of course link it to this blog.

As if that isn’t enough I joined Slimming World today.  I have done it before but stopped suddenly due to Mr Chandelier’s rather unfortunate Brain Haemorrhage, thank goodness he made a full recovery – we are very blessed.

What about you, are you calm or not…….tell me about your chaos, it will make me feel much better!

Much Love

Sarah xxx

 

Shopping for Pastel Kitchen Accessories

Anyone that knows me will agree that I have a lot of soft ‘vintagey’ (yes, I made that word up) colours and pastels in my home.  My kitchen is a particularly strong example of this as it is predominantly shades of duck egg, soft pinks and blues alongside whites and creams.

It would be fair to say then, that I do love a pastel coloured kitchen accessory, particularly a pink one, and when I see anything in pink or duck egg, my heart beats just a touch faster and I hurriedly snap it up!

Now I don’t know about you, but I strongly feel that anything assisting you with household chores such as cleaning should bring a smile to your face whenever possible.  You can imagine my delight then, when I saw these gorgeous pastel coloured dishcloths from Asda.

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Seriously, how yummy are they!  It gets better – they are only £1.00 for 4 – yes really – and they wash, and wash, and wash at 60 degrees and still remain as good as new!

I also spotted this adorable vintage style tea cup and saucer set from TK Maxx which was a ‘snip’ at just £6.99 – Mr Chandelier always laughs at that word, as I use it a lot when telling him about, or showing him, my shopping purchases –  I’m not sure he agrees  –  his ‘snip’ doesn’t quite match my ‘snip’!

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Just gorgeous and look how beautifully it goes with my other teacups and saucers which are genuine vintage pieces.

 

 

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So, we can make and drink tea from pretty cups, then we can wash them up with matching pretty dishcloths but frankly, we are missing the cake.

However, don’t be thinking about baking cakes with any old brown or black sieve – NO – get down to Poundstretcher where the lovely Jane Asher has produced a range of gorgeous baking products in soft pink, duck egg, soft blue and lilac.

I bought these yummy little pieces – I had to – my kitchen ‘needs‘ them and frankly, it would be rude not to at £1.00 per item – yes really – bit shocking I know!  Just don’t blame me when you find you’ve wasted an hour choosing which pieces to buy……Hmmm…….

 

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I also saw these cute little jars in B & M – not sure what the B & M stands for but their stores are popping up everywhere – another ‘snip’ at £1.00 each – not sure what I will use them for but they are very adorable.

Have you bought any pastel bargains lately, I need to see them if you have.

Happy shopping.

Much Love

Sarah xx

 

Craft Storage and Organisation – How to store Fabric.

I have been buying fabric since I was 6 years old and it would be fair to say that I have a very large collection of most types of fabric, in vastly different sized pieces and in many different patterns and colourways.

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Over the years I have tried numerous different methods of storing it, usually with limited space.  My first ever solution – when it was tiny – was a basket.  Obviously, I very quickly outgrew ‘the basket’ and from thereon in, I always stored the majority of it on shelving of one kind or another.  The exception being my ‘scraps’ which, as they are so frequently used, have their own baskets which are broken down into colours.

As at a few weeks ago, I had fabric rammed into what seemed like every corner of my studio.  It was mostly on various different shelves, although I had quite a bit in a large drawer, some in storage tubs, some in my ‘fabric filing tray’ quite a bit on the floor – actually quite a lot on the floor – and even some new fabric in bags both inside and outside my studio (naughty!)

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With all this ‘fabric chaos’, a considerable amount of ‘tripping over’ and a constant ‘fabric avalanche’ each time I tried to make something, I had a bit of a ‘fabric meltdown‘.

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Although It was all (mostly) colour coded and all fabric such as felt, tulle, organza, ‘shimmeries’, etc. had their own departments, there was certainly order, but I couldn’t really see properly what I had, let alone access it in a hurry.  The reason for this was simple.  The problem with shelves is that whilst they are fine for large pieces of fabric, e.g. 4 or 5 metre pieces, when it is sorted by colour – which is how I work – you do tend to have lots of different sized pieces and this generates pyramid-shaped piles.  When space is an issue, one tends to slot more fabric into the gaps.  Fabric is heavy, particularly large pieces and with the best will in the world, it’s just not feasible to put it back exactly how it came out, especially if it is at the bottom of the pile.  I had also run out of space.

Something had to change.  I had been mulling over this problem for some time and had come to the conclusion that my ideal would be to put all the fabric into drawers as it is a lot easier to access, you can see exactly what you have and drawers can cope more readily with varying sizes.  I have also so outgrown my little ‘Narnia’ studio and would ideally like to store the fabric somewhere else – but where?  The house was already bursting at the seams and I really, really had nowhere else for it to go other than my bedroom.  So it was with great reluctance, that I finally accepted that I would have to give up a bit of bedroom space and add another single wardrobe to my run of units, which I could then dedicate to my ‘stash’.

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I so did not want to lose this sweet little corner, even though the chair is normally covered in clothes!

We bought the original units from Ikea as they are fantastic for internal storage within their wardrobes and have drawers and pull out jewellery trays and loads of other fab add-ons you can buy.  Originally, we had the intention of making our own wooden doors for them however, 5 years ago, after 2 years of living here and realising that the majority of the house was considerably higher priority and I would probably wait another 5 years at least for my doors, I decided that I would buy some rather nice high gloss ones from Ikea and add my own crystal handles as I really do love and look after my clothes and I didn’t want to wait any longer.

Unfortunately, they no longer do the internal colour units that we have already so good old Ebay came to the rescue.  I also needed at least 7 drawers to match so bided my time until exactly what I wanted came up. The door was wrong but it didn’t matter as they were still available to buy.  After a small amount of haggling Mr Chandelier went and collected the unit and drawers from the most delightful lady called Michelle, who even sent me a text the next day thanking me for my purchase and a message stating she hoped I enjoyed my wardrobe – how sweet is that!

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Anyway, after mumbling something about me “taking over yet another room in the house” Mr Chandelier very kindly put up my new wardrobe very quickly and adapted the bottom 2 drawers for me which had to be drilled and ‘faffed’ with, as the hinge brackets were in the way.  He then handed me the drill and screwdriver and said he would come back in 10 minutes as I should be finished by then – yeah right!  I put them all in and then realised that I had to do it all again because, although the bottom hinges could be worked round, the higher ones couldn’t.  So I took them all out again, re drilled new holes and reconfigured it to try to use every inch of space but those pesky hinges were causing me grief.  The problem was that Ikea has changed the hinge positioning on the new doors but I did of course have the old wardrobe shell.  By this time Sunday was well and truly over and I had come to the most annoying conclusion that if I swapped my new door with one of the old ones – where the drawer positioning isn’t so crucial – then I could literally use every single inch of space – which I so needed as I was never going to fit it all in anyway – Mr C really loved that idea – NOT!

I managed to persuade him to change them over and I did of course, much to Mr Chandeliers total and utter disbelief, take the whole lot out the next day and re-drill and reconfigure the lot – finally I was winning – or so I thought – Hmmm.

It then took me a good week or two to actually sort out and transfer all that fabric and I decided to try to be as ruthless with my fabric as I am being with the rest of the house, not an easy task.  I don’t think Mr Chandelier could actually believe a) the chaos and b) the time it took.  I think he thought he might be hallucinating!

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Whilst this was going on, Baby Chandelier set up the ‘Maileg Team’ to keep a watchful eye on progress whilst having a picnic on my bed.

However, I have just about managed to shoehorn in – and I really do mean shoehorn in – all the beautiful fabrics I want to keep and frankly they just make me want to randomly snatch them and run into my studio to create something – I just love it.  Having lived in such chaos for so many years, the feeling I have is indescribable to finally have such beautiful order.  It really will revolutionise my creative life.

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I can really see all my fabric stock (well most of it anyway) and it will make my life a lot easier, particularly when I am in a hurry or am wanting a particular print that I know I have.  Perhaps best not tell Mr C about the fur department, oilcloth dept, vintage linens dept, tulle and netting dept, organza dept, felt dept, denim dept (I know!), shimmery dept and a sneaky little Peony and Sage, Kate Forman, Susie Watson faded, vintagey kind of style dept which I still need to house within Narnia!  What he can’t fail to miss though, as it is as tall as me – honestly it really is – is that massive pile of fabric that I am getting rid of – it should only take me a couple of years to put on eBay, nooooo.

The moral of this story – Patience with a capital P – although I expect Mr C thinks a straight jacket would be somewhat more appropriate!

Now go sort your fabric out and ‘show and tell’ me how you’ve stored yours.

Happy sorting.

Much Love,

Sarah xx

Fairies – Make whatever you like!

I received an order yesterday from one of my loveliest customers who really loves anything that I create.

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The best part about the order, was the fact that she gave me a budget and said “Make me something for my 3-year-old God-daughter”.  I cannot begin to tell you what an absolutely special and lovely feeling that provokes – to be trusted completely and to know that whatever you make she will love – beautiful and exciting to know that I can stop whatever I am doing and make something special for someone who really appreciates it and even more wonderful to be paid for it!  I put so much love into anything I create and this lovely lady both knows and appreciates that – she totally steps into my world and feels the magic as much as I do.

I had a very tight deadline – 2 days – but I couldn’t wait to escape into my little world of magic and sparkle for just a while to see what I came up with.

I decided upon some fairies to hang from her bedroom ceiling as firstly, they are quite magical when you hang them from invisible thread and movement within the room makes them spin around – what child wouldn’t love that.  Secondly, they were perfect for her budget and thirdly, after checking the child’s room colours, I could do them to match her room.

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I make them from vintage style clothes pegs, netting and tulle, wire, beads and wool and each one is different.  I actually did a Fairy Workshop last November where some lovely ladies came and made these.  They had a really lovely time and were quite rightly proud of the fairies they made which were truly adorable.  I love seeing the choices of materials my students make and the end results – every one is so different.

For my lady, I chose to do one in pink and the other two in predominantly white with lilac and pink sashes.  They each have beaded wings, little wire arms and sweet little faces.  Sometimes, when I do an event I put them on a 5′ tree and hang all ‘my girls’ from the branches and I get lots of lovely comments as they do look a bit cute swinging about in the breeze, with all their different coloured sashes on!

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I wrote this little card and attached a little bag with several metres of invisible thread inside it and wrapped them all together in white tissue paper.

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When my customer arrived to collect them, she loved them immediately and when she saw the card her exact words were “Ohh, Ohh I can’t believe it, you should be on the TV!”  I’m not entirely sure what she meant, but I know for sure it was a compliment  – just magical.  She so wanted to keep them for her own daughters birthday which is in a week’s time!  However, she had to deliver them tomorrow morning so she asked me to make her another one – to add to the additional order she placed which was, you’ve guessed it, “make me something for my daughter’s birthday next week”!  Hmmm….

Have a creative weekend and show me what you make.

Much Love

Sarah xx

Decluttering & Sorting and ‘Hoarder next door!’

Well now, what have you been doing lately?  I have been sorting and decluttering on a huge scale.

I am not quite ready to let go of Summer – it’s hanging on in there, teasing us with a sunny day here and there, still letting us eat outside now and again.  I still haven’t finished planting and have loads to do, but the decking is no further forward so I can’t get on with it.

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Baby Chandelier is still having picnics on the lawn and wearing summer dresses and all my roses are still producing loads of beautiful blooms and buds.  There are lots of other flowers still looking pretty and washing is still very much being hung out – it doesn’t dry fully anymore though and my aga now seems to be permanently draped in washing.

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I keep looking at my hydrangeas daily and promising myself that in the next few days I will make an end of Summer wreath for the door – Hmmm, they are turning brown a lot quicker than I thought so don’t hold me to it!

I’ve pulled out the entire contents of my Summerhouse – no mean feat – and totally decluttered, sorted and reorganised it ready to start painting and creating for my Autumn and Christmas events and although I desperately need to get my workshop dates emailed to everyone, and I need to confirm all my other dates, I just can’t seem to bring myself to do it until I have a bit more order.

So no-one was more shocked than me when I found myself lighting the first fire of the season today!

As you know I have been doing an enormous amount of sorting and decluttering absolutely everywhere in the house.  For those serial renovators and refurbishers like myself, you will understand what I mean when I say that you ‘keep everything until the house is finished’ – particularly furniture.  It somehow seems to turn into your mantra and actually makes life so much harder to work around all your ‘stuff’.  However, as is often the case, you need to knock walls down and finish rooms before some decisions can be made and, as I have learnt from experience, sometimes you totally plan a room to the last detail and something beyond your control will happen.  For example wires that can’t be moved for serious reasons or drains discovered or numerous other problems that mean your plans have to change and with that, possibly your designs and your furniture!  Although most problems can be resolved, there is usually a cost involved – often lots of money – so it is always a weigh up between hassle, cost and your ‘vision’!

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This does of course mean that the ‘hoarder next door’ within you, tends to surface and as I said above, cause you a lot more work.  How many of you have moved constant piles of stuff from room to room to room.  All I can say is, if you can afford it, rent some storage.  You will definitely finish the build quicker – saving you money – your stuff will be as clean and lovely as the day you stored it and your soul with thank you for it – have you ever had to clean every piece of an entire electric train set covered in 500 years of thick black dust, or sat and cried when the sandblasters have been in and despite your valiant attempts to pack up your house, it totally looks like a beach with dust and sand absolutely everywhere?  I could go on and on with building horror stories, having had far more than my fair share but I do however appreciate, more than most, that spare money and renovating definitely do not go hand in hand!!!

Anyway, as we are in the final phase 3 of this refurbishment – in terms of furniture decisions etc., – I am now on a bit of a mission to  get rid of anything that clutters up the lovely spaces we are creating.  So this week it has been papers – papers beyond belief and books and toys as baby Chandelier is no longer a baby (just the baby of the family) and having lived in what very much looked and felt like a storage facility for such a long time, it is very liberating and I am finally feeling like “I can breathe”.  I am very much a tidy house, tidy mind kind of girl – I know, I know, I should never have married a builder and carpenter – but I did, and I am an extremely patient person and I do so love the end result when we finish a job (yes actually, it does happen eventually!)

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So, furniture is coming and going like there is no tomorrow and my head is spinning just a little and my brain is spinning a lot but it is exciting.  I am painting furniture every day and it is all starting to look a little bit cosy and clear and bare!  Yes, bare but I must embrace that bare is good – no more storage clutter.  It probably does not look even remotely bare to anyone else!  So with cosy very much in my mind, a very dark and rainy day and a lot of paper sorting going on, that is why I lit my first fire of the season today and sat on my fluffy rug feeling warm cosy and just a teensy bit Autumnal – we’ll just ignore the fact that the woodburning stove doors are hanging off and have no glass in them because it just needs a ‘little refurbishment’…..Hmmm, now we need to do the same upstairs……….

Happy sorting!

Much Love

Sarah xxx

I Love my new Laura Ashley chair!

I have just taken delivery of this lovely ‘Lancaster’ Laura Ashley chair which is actually a very special Birthday present for a very special person, Mr Chandelier.

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This time last year he was in hospital, having suffered a brain haemorrhage.  We have been lucky beyond belief as he was fortunate enough to make a full recovery, even though it has taken some time for him to be back to his usual strong self.  It was a very traumatic time and my heart goes out to anyone that has a loved one who is unwell or in hospital – hang on in there and make sure you look after yourself too xx.

It is a little early for his birthday, but as Laura Ashley rang and said it was ready, I decided to take it to be safe.  I think it looks rather gorgeous sitting between my curtains which are made from Laura Ashley roses fabric – when I think of Laura Ashley, I always think of roses and country houses.

I don’t know about you, but the last few weeks have been unbelievably busy.  This is supposed to be the ‘calm before the storm’ as September until Christmas is my manic time of year but this year there is so much going on with the house that it is more like the ‘storm before the hurricane’!

We have, (of course – why wouldn’t we!), got even more chaos going on outside.   We have started digging out our patio to lay some decking and build a pergola over and are frantically going from job to job, trying to finish before the weather turns.

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This is the chaos outside the doors at one end of the kitchen………

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And this is the chaos at the other end, where we are installing new oak french doors………..

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And this is the beautiful view we will have from our kitchen table when the new french doors are in, and the reason why we knocked through from our sweet little snug.

We are in total and utter chaos in every single room in the house and in the gardens right now and I desperately need order not just for my sanity, but for business too.  But, as always when renovating or refurbishing a house, you just have to hang on in there and look at what you have done, rather than what you haven’t. I know, having renovated houses since I was 17 years old, that this is easier said than done.  The problem is that nothing is in its ‘home’ and most of your possessions are piled up here, there and everywhere.  Our house is like a giant jigsaw puzzle in that’ this needs to be done’ before ‘that can be done’, then ‘this can be moved’ so ‘that can be done’ – does that sound familiar!  Everything and everybody has to form a giant queue, generally those that ‘aggravate’ the most tend to get done first.  It really and truly is just a case of putting in the hours, sometimes forcing yourself to carry on when you really can’t see the wood for the trees and finally, bit by bit, you will see results.

I used to take the approach that unless I had time to do the whole job I won’t do it at all but Mr Chandelier has always said “Just keep plugging away, an hour here, an hour there and now I do take that approach and it really does work – trust me!

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This is me, genuinely cementing in preparation for the decking timbers.  I had done all the digging out, with a kango first.  It is not staged – I really did do that job – under the watchful eye of Mr Chandelier of course.  He gave me 7/10 which I know is good as I hadn’t done it before but I really wanted an 8 or more!  I did achieve this mark from Mr C when I did the next strip but I think he was only saying it as he knew I was disappointed with a 7 the day before!!!  We also have a bit of an issue as Mr C sees me as his labourer and I am sooo not.

It was really hard work, but the way I see it is, I want my house finished.  If I help, and I mean really help like above, it literally brings each job forward by weeks.  With Mr Chandelier working away all week most weeks, there are only 2 days in which to move forward and he does need to rest as well.  I then jump onto internal jobs like decorating, easy demolition, simple tiling or ‘hoarder next door’ decluttering whilst he is away.

Friends always ask me how I get this or that done, run a business and look after the children and the answer is always the same – “when most people are asleep or watching TV I am working!”  It is the only way as there is never enough hours in the day – even if I am exhausted I will still often sit in bed with the TV on in the background and I will work on something. This reiterates what I said above, just keep putting in the hours, even when you feel despair and eventually, loveliness will appear!

Soon, very very soon, loveliness will appear, I know it will because I am so absolutely on a mission and I will not stop until it does and I keep getting little flutters of excitement when I look at different aspects of the house and my imagination totally takes over – and I will share that loveliness with you – I can’t wait.

Keep chipping away.

Much Love

Sarah xx

Painting and Distressing Furniture – Ruby’s bed.

Baby Chandelier’s move from a cot to a bed was long overdue.

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This was due to several reasons, the main one being her new little bed needed to be stripped, re-painted and a new unusual size mattress sourced.

The other reason, was that both Ruby Blue and I, adored her cot and were in no hurry, Ruby being my last child (dab eyes quickly), to pack the cot away for good – very sad face.

I originally purchased this bed for Master Chandelier, my son Benjamin, now a teenager and I originally hand painted it blue and stencilled little stars on it as his room, at that time, was done out in a gorgeous Laura Ashley fabric which had little boy’s in rockets flying to the moon, cute little aliens, moons and stars.

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I made him this canvas wallhanging, now obviously looking a little worse for wear, to match one of the rockets in his bedding and the little boy was him and the BL1 stood for Ben and Lottie 1.  He adored this, but having long outgrown it, I am sadly about to dismantle it and recycle it into something else.

Although I subsequently re-painted the bed white for Lottie, for Ruby’s room I wanted it to be distressed to match the other furniture I have painted for her so unfortunately, this meant having it stripped, as I couldn’t have the blue showing through when I distressed it.

Fortunately, I had painted it in oil based paints as knowing myself very well (obvs!), I knew I would probably repaint it in the future and having painted lots of furniture, knew very well that usually, oil based primer could be stripped, unlike a lot of acrylics.

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There was quite a lot of preparation involved and the whole job was very laborious from start to finish.

The pine stripper did a great job, and after letting it dry in my summerhouse for a week or so, I painted it with white vinegar and then let that dry.  This takes away the acid crystals that can appear after stripping furniture and is relatively quick to do.

I then gave it a light sand, catching a few small areas the stripping had missed and then finally painted two coats of white knotting compound onto the knots as, even though they are old, they could still ‘bleed through’.

Finally, it was ready to be painted – I was receiving comments from all the family at this point, wondering how much longer it was going to be in the kitchen!  Little did they – or me – know it would take me many more weeks to complete, he he!

As I was painting the bed white – Farrow and Ball’s All White – I knew if it were ever to be repainted, there would be no problem over white, so I did it in F & B’s Acrylics.  Also, nowadays, I very rarely use oils as they are no longer readily available and they are very bad for the environment. It took quite a lot to cover the knotting compound – even though it was ‘white’ – I think 2 coats of primer and then a really thin and light brush just over the knots.

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I then painted two topcoats and let the paint cure before I started the messy job of distressing.  I always tell my students that come on my paint and furniture distressing workshops, that this is where you have to be brave as, at this point in time, the piece you have just finished looks absolutely perfect.  However, I am always so on a mission, and once I have made up my mind which way I am going with a piece, I just get on with it (although I’m not sure that Mr Chandelier would agree with this statement!).

Finally, a dust off, a sad farewell to the cot bedding – our much loved, gorgeous Susie Watson quilt and bumper – will have to re-use this somehow – then up to Ruby’s bedroom to dress her bed with her new bedding, just a bit exciting!

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I chose the White Company’s ‘Fairies’ hand embroidered bed linen as her wallpaper is a strong pink and pink bedding would have been too much and Ruby and I both adored it.  It also has a 200 thread count and is amazing quality and so very soft.  I have always bought all my children nightwear from the White Company and although it can be expensive, (check out their sales) it just washes and washes beautifully every time and as I recycle a lot of my children’s clothing, this is even more important. It was also reduced a little, as it is now discontinued and it was literally the very last one in the whole company, which does of course make it even lovelier!  We all love her new bed so very much, particularly Ruby, and I am delighted with how it turned out.  As always, it is eventually worth the all the many hours of painting, sanding and hard work that was put into it and it will be several years before she will be ready for the next size up!

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There is just one small, teensy problem – nothing too serious – because the bed is slightly larger than the cot was, it has thrown all the other furniture into slight disarray so I now need to re-arrange the whole room, possibly replace the odd chest of drawers or table? It also looks a tad bare over her bed and Ruby misses her cot canopy as I had lovely things hanging on it for her to see – I sense at least a little shelf creeping in and my imagination is seeing some sort of tree branches above her bed with hanging, twirling fairies and maybe a woodland garland… Hmmm – definitely a strong case for some magic and sparkle!  I also need a bedside cabinet and I know just the perfect piece, loitering in my summerhouse – Hmmm, job for another long day, (or many long days!) I think.

Much Love,

Sarah xxx

N.B. No ‘Lambie’s’ were hurt during the laundry process and he is definitely not being packed away – just so you know!