Finding work for idle hands: making, baking and more.

Getting your house in order April 26, 2009

Filed under: Interiors — lauravw @ 12:19 pm

I’ve been learning all sorts of easy and useful things from the This Young House blog. If you’ve not visited the site before, it’s a blog by a young couple in Virginia who have been doing up a house they bought three years ago. Be warned that their enthusiasm, energy and talent is likely to make you feel a little inadequate – but many of the things they suggest on their blog are simple to follow and can be achieved quickly.

Recently they’ve published a couple of posts that are chock-full of ideas to borrow: they wrote about the ways they’ve organised their house to make it work for them. Obviously we’re all different so what suits one person might be inconvenient for another, but already we have bought a fancy box to leave by our front door, where we now put our shoes as soon as we come into the house (as suggested in this post). (We’ve recently had new carpets and so a strict no shoes policy is in operation at our place – you can see the new shoe box being put to good use by our cat Daisy.)

Even the feeding area for their pet dog is stylish and neat – and very practical (I’m hoping to make something like this for Daisy, but I think it’ll have to wait until I’m next near an Ikea – I had a look in Habitat and learned from that that there is a limit to how much I will spend on china bowls for a cat…). I read plenty of interiors and design blogs, and so many of them have beautiful rooms on, but the posts on This Young House seem to manage to be incredibly practical at the same time, which is important to me. Havaing said that, UK readers like me who live in small homes will be aware that being practical and organised looks a lot easier when you have a large and spacious home – be sure to go on the house tour to see what I mean.



Filed under: Flowers and plants — lauravw @ 11:54 am

I hope that Spring where you are has been as lovely as the Spring we’ve been enjoying here in Nottingham. For a good few weeks now we’ve had sunny days, and the trees all round us have been covered in thick, fragrant blossoms. It was such a cold winter this year that we really needed the sunshine and the lighter evenings.

Here are a couple of pictures from our garden and from around town – the blossoms all seem to have peaked now so I’m trying to enjoy them while I still can.

blossom1 blossom2 blossom3


Kirstie’s Homemade Home April 18, 2009

Filed under: Radio and TV — lauravw @ 9:19 pm

Did anyone else watch Kirstie’s Homemade Home this week? If I’m honest, it was something I looked forward to for several days before it was broadcast. However, I ended up being out that evening and so it wasn’t until today that I managed to sit and watch it.

I enjoyed the show, but was left feeling a little disappointed by the way there was only enough time to skim the surface of each of the featured crafts… And I would have loved to know more about the planning of the kitchen space. I also want to know more about the house itself: did Kirstie buy it, or did the production company buy it? Will she live in it, or are we simply being led to believe she will live there? I found answers to some of these questions on the Channel 4 website: it is a holiday home, which Kirstie and her family will use (will they really?) and which you can rent out. (There’s also an article in The Telegraph about her buying the house.)

I was amazed by the exterior of her parents’ house – having seen clips of this earlier in the week, I thought it was a National Trust property rather than someone’s family home. I was also interested to see Cath Kidston’s kitchen – I would have expected Agas and Welsh dressers and antique pine, but it was all white glossiness. (I was particularly keen on the apple green splashback that took the place of tiles above her worktops.)

But there was one clip in the show that grated on me: when she was driving round in her enormous gas-guzzling car, looking for skips outside people’s houses so that she could find some free treasure that people were throwing out, she explained that the reason she liked to pick up old and unwanted items (like the mirror she found in one skip) was so that no more of the world’s resources would have to be used to make new objects. She seemed completely unaware that a statement like that sounds ridiculous when the person making it is behind the wheel of a shiny, fuel-inefficient car.

Having said all that, I will keep watching though…


Happy Easter April 7, 2009

Filed under: Crafts — lauravw @ 8:31 am

Origami eggsLast night I finally put out a few Easter decorations – the origami Easter eggs I made a few years ago. They still look great – it’s one of the things I’ve made that I’m most pleased with.

The instructions came from Martha Stewart Living – there is a new slideshow on her website that shows magazine staff making the eggs. They don’t take too long to make, so there’s till time to make some for this year.

We have a busy week ahead so I don’t think I’ll have time to do much else for Easter this year (though I will of course take time on Sunday to eat as much chocolate as I can lay my hands on).

In Easters past we’ve had fun making Easter nests – a chocolatey concoction featuring rice crispies, mars bars and mini eggs, and we’ve held a couple of Easter egg hunts. I hope you enjoy the long weekend, whatever you’re up to.


Twitter April 5, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — lauravw @ 1:21 pm

I should mention I’m now Twittering – I’ve added a thingy in the sidebar with the latest tweet in it. It was suggested to me that this means I’m a twit – a little unkind but probably based in fact.


Life imitating art

Filed under: Uncategorized — lauravw @ 1:12 pm

Over the past week I’ve seen perhaps half a dozen big posters up around here encouraging you talk to your local police about what matters to you crime prevention-wise.

There are plenty of government-run ad campaigns doing the rounds at any one time, but this one caught my eye because they are using the artwork of the ‘keep calm and carry on’ posters – together with a certain tone of voice that sounds like it comes from times past.

You can see an animated version that scrolls through some of the variations on this page.