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

Our house: all done May 25, 2009

Filed under: Interiors — lauravw @ 2:42 pm

Three years and five months ago, we moved into our house. It was not pleasant: people had advised us over and over to look past the paint colours and dodgy decor when looking at houses, and as a result we were a little too open minded about the whole process. The house we bought is a 1930s semi-detached home – not one of those lovely 1930s houses with all the pretty period features though (since that would have put it out of our budget).

sittingroomIt has a decent garden, three bedrooms (one’s too small to hold a bed though), a bathroom, a sitting room, and a kitchen/dining room. And as of about two weeks ago, we have finished working on it. Our house is FINISHED. We have no other projects planned for it.

We realise a house is never truly finished – that things will always need repainting or fixing up in one way or another – but we’ve reached a point where we’ve done everything. I feel I can take a year off to sit and put my feet up now.

Since we moved in, we’ve been through the following: a new kitchen; new ceilings in three rooms (where there were polystyrene ceiling tiles before); the horror and mess that is called damp proofing (walls downstairs were stripped right back to the brickwork, injected with some chemicals, and then replastered a week or so later); a new airing cupboard; a burglar alarm; a new driveway; landscaping in the garden; two new kitchen floors (the first one having been fitted by someone who botched the work); a new bathroom; a new fireplace; a couple of new carpets; and of course all kinds of painting. There have been things to demolish (with all the dust and mess that entails). There were nights when we stayed up until midnight trying to get wallpaper off walls; and times when I hid upstairs while unpleasant (sub-contracted) workmen worked downstairs.

We have no DIY skills to speak of, and so every bit of work was a huge effort. Even the bits where you get someone skilled to come in and do it for you – paying someone to do work on your house is not as straightforward as it sounds.

The best part of all this is that the house is now home: everything is how we wanted it to be (budget constraints permitting of course!).


In the garden May 24, 2009

Filed under: Flowers and plants — lauravw @ 2:29 pm

alliumSo many things are coming into flower in our garden at the moment. I went out with my camera this afternoon to take pictures of what’s happening.

This allium has just started to open up – and we have a few more in a raised flowerbed near the house. There’s also a peony about to bloom – I can’t wait to see it.


Tea towel cushion cover

Filed under: Sewing — lauravw @ 2:10 pm

cushionMy mum went to Stratford on Avon the other day to see A Winter’s Tale, and came home with a gift for me: a very fancy tea towel with the names of Shakespeare’s plays on. I find typography fascinating (I know, I’m a geek) and the letters were really beautifully designed. It was clearly far too good to ever be used for drying dishes. I could also tell that mum was very taken with it, and so soon hatched a plan to sew it into a cushion cover and give it back to her.

I already had some plain brown fabric to use for the back, and so it was a nice quick project, She was thrilled with it! She had bought a second tea towel for herself, and has asked me to make her another cushion cover with that one so that she’ll have a pair. My parents have quite bright-coloured furniture at their house, so these will look really good in their living room.


Send him some daffodils May 22, 2009

Filed under: Music — lauravw @ 10:10 am

We’re all getting older, but Morrissey turns 50 today. Wow.

When I was little, I used to love the song ‘Every day is like Sunday’ – not because all my days were like Sundays, but because the Sundays of that era of my childhood were dull and the song captured that atmosphere perfectly. That was in the days when nothing was open on Sundays – all the shops and anything that might have helped pass the time were closed for the day. (That may make me sound very old, but it was only 1988.) We often travelled to Coventry to visit my grandmother, and her house and street are what I think of when I hear that song. Possibly accompanied by the sound of people mowing lawns, and the smell of all the industrial strength hair products she kept in her spare room (she was a hairdresser).

Simon Lewin has posted a link to a video of a German Morrissey tribute act, singing Dieser Charmante Mann.

Update: there’s an article in the Manchester Evening News about Morrissey today, describing him as the ‘greatest living Mancunian’.


Things to sew and knit May 17, 2009

Filed under: Knitting,Sewing — lauravw @ 12:11 pm

People seem to be making lots of lovely things at the moment:

Excellent detailed instructions (with plenty of photos) on how to make a little zippered make-up bag at Flossie Teacakes. I really like the way she’s done the zip, with each end covered in fabric.

Craftzine.com points the way to this bag made from a tea towel – I even have this very same Orla Kiely tea towel, and have been saving it to sew something from rather than risk it getting grubby in the kitchen.

The Nottingham Craft Mafia have found a Paul Smith knitting pattern for free online. It could do with a few more pictures of the finished cardigan though.

Knitted Doctor Who dishcloths, in lovely colours. Though if they were mine, I couldn’t bear to let them get anywhere near the kitchen sink.

And, going back to Craftzine, a simple pillowcase pattern.

As for me, I have been sewing a little doorstop. We had some carpets fitted recently, and the carpet fitters had to cut a little off the bottom of one of our doors – which means it now swings open and hits a chair. So I set to work on sewing a doorstop and now it’s all done, but I don’t have anything to fill it with just yet – the local vegetable shop people have been very nice and are ordering me some beans, so when they arrive I’ll finish the project and take pictures.


New stuff from Amy Butler May 14, 2009

Filed under: Interiors,Shopping — lauravw @ 9:00 pm

I noticed on the Amy Butler site there is mention of the new bedding line she is doing with a company called Welspun. There were no additional details listed, but a quick Google search brought up some articles, and, more importantly, photos of the collection.

Google also brought up this page on the Amy Butler site itself, which has lots of photos. And the what’s new page on Amy’s site also mentions a collection of rugs she’s working on. From that I was able to find this article on RugNews.com (RugNews.com?! Seriously?).


And another thing… May 10, 2009

Filed under: Cosmetics — lauravw @ 11:07 am

The Sunday Times Beauty Awards list makes for useful reading – lots of recommendations for products to try out, many of which are at the more affordable end of the beauty counter.



Filed under: Books,Shopping — lauravw @ 11:00 am

I was very pleased to spot people working away on turning an empty shop in Nottingham into a branch of Kew. From the website, it looks like it’s now open…

It’s all been quiet here of late because I’ve either been up a ladder painting, or sitting with my head in a book. More on both of those things soon.