How to use Liming Wax / Paste

 

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A short while ago, I had a text from a very good friend, saying that she had managed to get her husband to clear out all the old bits of wood he had hoarded for some time.  Knowing how much I love a bit of reclaimed wood, she texted me first and said that they had literally just been put in a big pile on her driveway and they were also going to text “the men with sheds” (whoever they were!) to let them know too and that we could all just come and take what we wanted.

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Well, I literally got in my car and drove straight to her house and she was not kidding when she said it was a big pile.  It was literally up to my waist and the longest piece was probably just under 3 metres long.

After searching through the pile I found some lovely old wide floorboards and then yes, you’ve guessed it, I wanted the longest piece, which I believed to be oak and was ridiculously heavy.  The moment I saw it I knew exactly where I wanted it to go.  My lovely friend was out and there was no one around to help and I knew I would never get it into my car on my own due to the weight, but I had to do something with it before ‘the men with sheds’ came!  I also didn’t want it to get wet and spoil.

As she is a special friend and I know her very well, I knew that her garage was never locked so I thought if  I could somehow drag it over to her garage a couple of metres away, maybe I could summons the strength to stand it up………..Yeah right!

You really have no idea how ridiculously heavy this solid oak, almost 3 metre long, piece of wood weighed and clearly, nor did I.  At a rough guess I would say it took me about 20 minutes to literally drag it bit by laborious bit, to the garage just a couple of metres away. Then, when I opened the garage, it was like all my piles of ‘need to deal with stuff’ and my ‘fit to bursting Summerhouse’ and my ‘everything falls out when you open the door Shed’ were all rolled into one before my eyes.  OMG Ok ok, lets take a deep deep breath, let’s close my eyes and envisage the beautiful shelves I am going to make with this piece of wood and then, let’s picture the ‘shed men’ running towards me with axes and now let’s gather all my strength and move everything……Hmmm.

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Yes, it probably took me another half an hour at least, to get this piece of wood to an upright position and I really did struggle and I kept thinking I can’t do this.  It was like a comedy sketch and would have been hilarious to watch but eventually, due to sheer determination and the fact that I never give up, I did it.  I quickly closed the garage, loaded up my other squirreled bits of wood and texted my friend to let her know.  All I needed now, was to persuade Mr Chandelier to come with me to collect it as in our house, the boot is on the other foot so to speak, as he is always trying to persuade me to get rid of my hoard……Hmmm!

Anyway, Mr Chandelier bless him, did indeed come with me to collect the wood and he agreed that it was perfect for our Kitchen shelves, which was exactly what I had in mind for it when I first saw it.  Although there were couple of imperfections in the wood, it was the exact thickness and look that I wanted for my kitchen shelves and I knew I was either going to paint or use liming wax on them.

Liming wax is very easy to use but you do need an unfinished piece of wood that hasn’t already been painted, varnished or waxed.  You can use wood that has been previously finished, but you do then need to remove all previous product to ensure it is free from any other finishing materials.  The idea behind using liming wax is to give a sort of whitewashed look to highlight the grain and brighten the wood up.

If you look at the image below, I have already done the 2 left hand shelves but the right hand one has not been done.  You can see they are quite different and for me, it gave me exactly the look I was after with the least amount of effort, which frankly in this house, is desperately needed.

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You should start by brushing/rubbing the wood with a wire brush to ‘lift/open’ the grain of the wood.  The liming paste/wax will then work its way deeper into the grain and won’t lift off as soon as you wipe off the excess.  I however, didn’t feel the need to do this as I felt my wood was already very ‘grainy’ and a little rough so I knew it would absorb the wax well enough.  I used Liberian Special Effects Liming Wax but there are many different brands which will work equally as well.

The technically correct way to apply the wax is to use Extra Fine or Fine Steel Wool.  However, you can also literally just brush it on with either a paintbrush which I used, or you can apply it using a soft lint free cloth.  The whole process is exactly like waxing except it has liming paste in it.  You are meant to wait around 3 minutes for it to dry and I did a stretch of about a foot at a time, and then, using a soft lint free cloth  –  an old tea towel or similar  –  you just buff it off to a shine.  You can go over it if you would like it a little brighter but to be honest, it won’t make a great deal of difference as the grain will already be full of liming wax so any excess tends to come away when you buff it.  If you need it to be waterproof you can use a finishing oil and obviously, the more coats of oil you apply, the greater the water resistance.

You can see from these photos that each piece of wood will absorb the wax differently as it is a product of nature and every piece of wood will of course, be very different.  I love that, as it shows you have real wood and highlights all that beautiful texture and character.

So there you have it, really easy but effective.  I have quite a few pieces of wood that are calling out to me to ‘come and lime me’!  I think my little one’s Vintage school desk would definitely benefit from it but that is a whole other day!

How about you, do you have anything that would benefit from liming or do prefer a darker look?

Happy Liming!

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

 

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

House Renovations and Living in chaos!

Whilst you may, or may not, have been enjoying the spring and summer so far, I have been just a little bit busy.

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Firstly, disaster struck –  this is a photo of me taken by my children whilst I had flu some weeks ago – I know it is a little scary but I was really quite ill.  That is a cold flannel on my head as I had a temperature of over 100% and the sunglasses are because the daylight was really hurting my eyes!  Not a good look! It took about 3 weeks to feel normal again and I can’t believe it went on so long, but I did look up which foods would help and they were raw onion, raw garlic and berries, amongst other things, so I kept trying to eat them in whichever way I could – hmmm, what do you mean what about my breath, it was fine – Really!!!

Ok, so once I recovered I made up for lost time and Mr Chandelier and I went into ‘Demolition Mode’!

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We started by taking down this wall in the main bathroom – you can see the new wall we have built on the right of the photo.  This corner is where our new shower will go.

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Then we knocked down this wall  –  (I know what you’re thinking but Mr Chandelier wanted to do all the remaining demolition whilst we had a very large skip outside and frankly, I am so not complaining as things are moving on at a rapid pace and I’m loving it – although not the dust obvs!  It was a very long and very dusty day – that is dust in the photo – and just a tiny little bit of cursing was heard that day!

This is actually the wall between our kitchen and our little snug, which I am really sad to lose, but we just do not use it and we don’t have a large enough house to have wasted space.

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This has of course, had a knock on effect in the hallway because the doorway you see in the above photo goes through to the hall and we are going to block this up and turn the other side, in the hall, into a large cupboard for coats, shoes, beach bags, garden cushions and anything else I can shoehorn into it, which you need with a family of 5 – especially when one of them has rather too many of all of the above – not mentioning who that is of course!

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Then, having cleared up for eveeer, we did some demolition in our en-suite, ripping out the bath – which remained in my bedroom for at least a week, (not really sure why!) – and tore down all the wall tiles and other rubbish and temporarily moved the sink until we do this room properly.

Now I do understand that at this point, with so much chaos everywhere, most people would, having firstly seen their doctor for some tranquillisers, have stopped right there.  BUT NO.  We are not most people, I obviously have some sort of psychological disorder because I just moved straight on in to the garden as I had to demolish flower beds and move trees and plants and it has rained on and off for days and now, I literally have trees on their backs and plants and soil and chaos everywhere!  

                          WHAT WAS I THINKING!

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But,   –  it’s ok  –  because things are happening.  Every single day something changes or moves forward and I have spent the entire day today spring cleaning my  kitchen / diner / snug / building site, which will of course be fabulous when it is finished.  Don’t ask when that will be as I’m not allowed to ask that question – you will get the same answer as me – “It will get done when it’s done’!   We have ordered the flooring, due August, and some oak french doors which arrived today, but the glass was smashed by the courier, unbelievable, especially as we went to a lot of trouble making sure Mr Chandelier was here as he mostly works away all week.  Just keep smiling, especially when your toddler has trashed the hall, lounge and your bedroom whilst you have been spring cleaning your kitchen and try really hard to just LAUGH LOUDLY when Mr C tells you he will be using some big fat dusty power tool in the next couple of weeks to carve the kitchen wall into a nice tidy flush brick line….Grrrrrrr!!! Gin anyone?

Much Love,

Sarah xxx