The Top 10 Things You Never Get Around To Doing In Your House

The lists just keep coming!  Here are my Top 10 things I never seem to get properly done in my home…. sinful but true…

  1.  Cobweb Removal

However much I try, these things just keep coming.  I live in a period house with 12ft ceilings, so those little weaving people have a lot of space.  Sometimes I can go weeks without noticing, and then the sun comes out and.. LO!  Once there were so many on one ceiling that I performed an impressive ‘candyfloss’ manoeuvre and swirled a stick that pulled them all in one go.  It was very satisfying.  The downside of the cobwebs is that you then have to hunt for the critter that perpetrated them, and I am not a fan of spiders…

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OK, mine are not as bad as these but you get the idea….

2.  Paperwork

I have many piles all over the house.. some to do, some done, some not even opened.  Even when I have a monthly purge I discover really old and important things that I have managed to miss.  That can include bills, permission for school trips, and the worst one was a Safeguarding document which could have resulted in a school having an emergency Ofsted inspection (luckily I found it 24 hours before the time was up, I was not popular that week).  I do try the in/out box thing that everyone recommends, but it is just not really me…. (note to self: sort it out or hire a secretary).

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An incredibly organised effort by Delightful Order

3.  Christmas Decoration management

Keep all Christmas Decorations/Lights/Stockings and so on together when they are stored away.  Last year I managed to lose all of the fairy lights.  I then had to go out and buy all new ones, (and we use a LOT).  On packing the new ones away after Christmas, I found all the lost ones (in the linen cupboard under some sheets of all places).  It was a pure irritation moment, and one that I need to address.

Our Christmas decoration boxes have themes from the last two decades; cute gingerbread, smart navy, homespun stuff.  They document my children’s ages more than anything, so I am loathe to get rid of them, but they do take up an awful lot of space for things that actually do not get used anymore.  If you change themes a lot, be ruthless and get rid of old ones that make you wince when you remember how stylish you thought they were at the time, oh and keep the lights with the decorations if you can…

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I am not quite as bad as this lady here, but I could be getting there if I do not cull…

4.  Window & MIrror Cleaning

This sits along nicely with the cobwebs moments.  Everything looks great in the house until the sun comes out and shines through the windows.  Except it isn’t shining, but turgidly trying to break through the grime accumulated on the glass.

We have a lot of open fires, so the insides of the windows get as bad as the outside.  Although it is a dull task, the difference is amazing when they are cleaned.  I swear I thought my garden was generally blurred recently until the windows were cleaned, and I realised I was not short-sighted but just peering through filthy glass.

I rest my point...

I rest my case…

Mirrors are a different matter.  They look lovely when sparkling clean, but I also think they are incredibly flattering with a fine mist of dust as they take years off my appearance.  A sort of de-liner of lines if you will.

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Better at diffusing than an Oscar winning cameraman

5. discovering what actually lurks under the stairs, or not.

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Designs on Autumn and Halloween… Part 1

Pumpkins and spice and all things nice….

So now, as we head into Autumn, my thoughts are turning to russet tones, cosying up the house and prepping for Halloween here.  Although it is not a huge deal in the UK compared to the States, my daughters still love it and it is nice to see the tiny ones in our road trick or treating.  Saying that, they never trick, they just get treated to many sweets and goodies and we all have to pretend to be terrified.  I especially like the little girls as they always have pink wellies on under the ghoulish outfits – there ain’t nothing that will separate a four year old from PINK!

I have a stash of decorations that come out in the autumn; pumpkins made from raffia, witches, candle holders and the like.  But they are bit childish now for my elegant girls, so my thoughts are turning onto finding new ideas to make decorations still relevant but also super-stylish.  I always love carving real pumpkins with patterns, but they don’t last that long once they have been carved.

Turning to my bible that is Pinterest, I found some really nice ideas that are Halloween based, but a little more chic than my garish effects.  I am aiming to make some sort of decorations that are both autumnal but can also be pepped up for the Halloween night.  These ones are leaning towards black and white:

But is it very monochrome, and I think Autumn needs that orange in it, so these have a punch of colour going on…

So the plan is to get some pumpkins and gourds as a starter, plus some spray paint and start attacking.  I am trying to find some instant flock velvet type spray, as that could look great (but not sure if it actually exists to date?).

I will post the results soon….

Top 10 Home Accessories That Show You Are A Grown Up

Following on from my Top 10 decorating mistakes to avoid, I started wondering about what objects signify that one is finally being a bit more mature and can be classed as a grown up.  Here is the list… what remains a secret is whether I have all 10.

1.  A proper coffee machine

Not just a percolator or stove top job, but the whole branded Gaggia/Jura/Dualit gizmo with bells and whistles on.  Starting at over £200 and heading into the thousands, these objects of desire channel a mature attitude to coffee, with a hefty helping of ‘I am actually a secret Barista’ thrown in.  You get 1000 extra grown-up points if it is a built in coffee machine by Miele.  Those who have any of these mentioned are obviously smug, and those who don’t are envious.

2.  A present/gift drawer

It’s that awful moment when you remember that someone’s birthday is NOW! and you have forgotten a gift, and need it pronto.  This results in a mad dash to a local shop, mainly for me the local petrol station, to get a not very good choice of wine.  Or cash if it is a child, (not good to waste wine on a child).

You know you are grown up when the above scenario does not happen, but you can stroll to an allocated drawer and pull out one of a variety of choice presents.  It will be niche, stylish and perfect.  Inside that drawer will be scented designer candles, leather goods, beautiful stationary and so on.  There is probably also a selection of droll New Yorker cards, and some rather nice assortments of wrapping paper to choose from.  Continue reading

Grrr…. online scammers…… beware…

I have had my first near-miss experience of a totally revolting con via internet selling this week.  I am sharing with you, as a) cannot believe I was targeted and am loudly indignant, and b) apparently this is a well-used scam and a lot of people fall for it.  So beware if anyone does the same to you….

I needed to make room in my hallway as the Armoire that I did for a makeover is getting in the way.  I need to shift it, preferably with someone else having to move the thing…  So rather than ebay which is the usual mode of selling, I joined Gumtree as I can fix the price and it seems to work well for items.  I have bought before from it with no problems.  Here is the Armoire in question, which I put on for a very reasonable price as I need it out asap.

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Top 10 decorating mistakes to avoid

Sometimes, however hard you try, certain mistakes come up again and again.  These are my top 10 peeves in interiors which I have been mulling over this week.  Feel free to add more in comments.

The paint colour that looked so good on the tin but in fact is actually hideous.

This is the one colour that ends up looking like someone has been sick on the wall, looks really bad against all of your other furniture and fabrics, and which has one of two outcomes.

a)  You pretend you like it to avoid admitting it was a dreadful mistake and then shudder whenever you look at it for the rest of your life, or..

b)   You paint over it all again before anyone notices the initial pukey colour.

Buying a rug that is too small.

It looked great in the shop or online, but when you get it home and site it under the coffee table/dining table/bed, you realize it is in fact a rug from Lilliput and only the edges are visible.

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YES! I got to go to Dismaland!

Visit to Dismaland

After a nail biting queue online, I managed to procure tickets to visit the Art sensation that is Dismaland, put on by Banksy in Weston-Super-Mare.  This exhibition was not only his own work, but he curated many other global contemporary artists for the show.

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I love Banksy; he is irreverant, political and a perfect commentator on society today using what I see as bleak humour and wit to get his point across.  Plus he is also a local boy and keeps his main exhibitions in this area of the UK, so it was not a long way to go, (thanks v. much Banksy, as there were people there today that I spotted from European countries who had come all the way just to see the exhibition).

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The humble Moppe drawers

a universal product

I had a family member visiting us once from Australia, and their small daughter pointed at some IKEA Moppe drawers in our house and she chirped ‘We’ve got those at home’…  We also had the same plastic kids mugs and flower plates, so I am sure she felt comforted by those worldwide IKEA staples! I love the fact that all over the world, the Moppe boxes are uniformly used in homes to tidy away bits and bobs.  Those cunning swedes have also given a creative outlet to many upcyclers and hackers witih this humble product.

I was needing to tidy up my overspilling art supplies and grabbed a couple of Moppe boxes at IKEA last week.  On their own they are pretty basic, but with a bit of imagination they can be transformed with minimal cost and fuss.

DECOUPAGED MOPPE

So I looked around at the Moppe situation in my home.  In the house I already had these Moppe drawers which I had customised for my daughter last Christmas and each drawer had a gift in it… (note: bit of a pain as I found out as only little things fit inside, even a make up tube was a challenge).

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Guest room overhaul part 1

I have a small second spare guest room that is languishing at the top of the house, and one that tended to get used as a dumping ground for all the things I mean to sort out one day, but never get around to doing.  I needed to make it dual purpose as both a room with a piano for my daughter to practice in, (thanks to my godaughter who has lent us one…) and also as a workable spare room.

The room is in the eaves of the house, so it has an angled ceiling and walls, and a dormer window.  It has always been a cream and pale blue scheme, with patterned sisal carpet.  There is a cunning daybed which opens out either into 2 x singles or into a double, (and this is only used at Christmas and Easter when relatives overflow, as we have another larger guest room for visitors to use throughout the year).

The shelves made it really cluttered to add a piano into the mix, so I had a serious purge and cleared them all out and removed the shelves.  I then worked around the existing carpet, bed, artwork and chest of drawers to come up with a new scheme that was fresher and more spacious.  I wanted to keep the paintings which are by family members, they already have a blue theme in their colours, plus beautiful maple and gilded frames.

The mission:

To spend as little as possible on raw materials, and to refresh the room using whatever I had lying around the house.  I did a rough moodboard to keep my mind focused.

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Decorating:

I found a great wallpaper called ‘Charlotte‘ to use on the back wall where the shelves once stood.  It is a light blue paisley on white and cost only £18 a roll from B&Q, plus it is paste the wall paper which is amazing, (first time I have used paste the wall paper and it is SO easy). It took less than an hour to whack it up and I only needed one roll.  I then repainted the remaining walls in First Dawn by Dulux, which is pretty much an exact match for the pale blue used in the wallpaper.  The woodwork was all repainted in Farrow and Ball’s Wimborne White, which is quite a bright white for them.  The room instantly looked fresher, brighter and bigger.

Total cost: £56.41 Continue reading

Building a Fine Art Website

dabbling in the html word

I have in the past built CMS websites for people, schools and businesses but purely as a hobby/sideline and via word of mouth, and last week I was commissioned to come up with a design for a very simple and clean website by a private Art Dealer that I encountered in Bristol.

His speciality is Modern & Contemporary Art, with an emphasis on street art.  He has some very impressive and works by contemporary artists that he collects and sells; Damien Hirst, Banksy, Antony Micallef, Peter Blake, Chris Ofili, Laure Prouvost and many more.  It is an eclectic mixture of original artwork, prints, sculptures and ceramics.  It was a really nice project to get my teeth into as he has some amazing artwork that I could study for both the website and my art workshops with children.

site 1

Home landing page

site 4

About Page

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