Friday, 12 September 2014

Windowsills don't get more exciting than this...

As promised, here is my windowsill post. I know, I bet you've hardly slept, it's just so exciting.

Truth is, it really WAS exciting as I've never done it before. It was so easy it was in place by 10.30 am. And I was so thrilled I did another by 11.30. Yeah. All whilst wearing heels. That really is showing off.

So, here's the before...

Now, when you try to order what you and I call windowsills, it's a little muddling as timber merchants call them window boards. Apparently windowsills are the shaped pieces on the exterior of a window. I ordered a water resistant MDF board that was long enough to do two rooms. We were windowsill-less in the kitchen and the office. 
It took about 3 minutes to get those tiles off and I sealed the bare plaster with pva and water.

 I decided I wanted a 6 cm overhang at each side in case I attempt to frame the window with timber later on. It couldn't have been easier.

I cut it with my jigsaw, dry fit it with a spirit level and glued it in with a bit of no nails. You squirt your no nails into balls all the way along your recess. I used a couple of frame packers to help level out the window board.

Unlike cutting fringes and dressmaking patterns, it's better to cut your window boards shorter rather than slightly too long. It's really hard to cut off an extra one or two millimetres with a jigsaw! ( Er, hence power sander in above picture.) You caulk all the gaps anyway so you don't need to stress too much, so long as it fits in the gap.

And with the edges caulked and one coat of paint?

Still needs some finishing off but beginning to look like it should.
I got some paint on it as soon as I could as it's right next to the sink and I didn't want to test its water resistance claims.

The office window before...

and after...

This one still needs more caulking and painting. And no, that wasn't me who painted all over the window frame!

All done by lunchtime. I really recommend anyone to have a go at this as it's so easy.

I've been nominated for the Amara Interior Blog Awards in the DIY category. Woop woop. Did you see the button thingy at the top of the page? Or shall I make it bigger? Well, if you click on that dear readers, it'll take you straight to a page where you can vote for me! Yeah. You needn't even look at the competition. Straight to me. And I can see who has and who hasn't voted you know*. Just sayin.'

 I'll be back soon to share my ambitious plans to prettify this window further. So ambitious they verge on lunacy.
Happy weekend.

* not 100% true.(Surely stating the obvious!)

Furniture Feature Fridays

Monday, 8 September 2014

Summer chazzing and freebies...

Sorry for another long absence. I dropped and killed the camera and I can't function without it. My dear husband bought a new one which I'm forbidden from dropping. I'll do my best.

I promised you some of my secondhand finds from the summer so here we go.

Whilst we were in York at the beginning of the summer hols we passed a shop that was being stripped out. The builders had put a pile of junk on the footpath with a sign saying, 'Please take.'  It was a used and grubby washing up bowl and some mismatched mugs. Nothing worth having at all.

But then I spotted these...

They were the letters for the shop sign. I took C for Connie and E for Emma. I wish I'd taken the lot. Wouldn't it be just lovely having 'Cheque Cashers' on your wall? Haha. Perhaps I could have made an anagram out of that.
Anyway they're made from aluminium and have deadly sharp edges so we'll have to decoupage them or something. Anyone got any better ideas? They're hollow on the back.

The best chazzing destination all summer was Topsham in Devon. They have two Devon Air Ambulance shops and one is devoted to vintage. I found the prices very reasonable. Want to see what I found?

First of all this gold lurex 'English Lady' dress. It's a perfect fit and the third English Lady item of clothing I own. I'm a size 14 in this brand in vintage sizes but a modern day size 12.

I'm going to make it above knee length...

I'm not normally a gold lurex kinda gal but I tried it on and it was sooo flattering.

Here's my other English Lady dress. I've had it about 10 years and it's my favourite dress. Again,  it fits perfectly and is really flattering.

This perfect fit is why my heart skips a beat when I find this label in a 14...

I also picked up this frantic 60's maxi dress in the same shop...

The label in this one is 'Leygil' of London. It has a wildly voluminous skirt and I plan to chop it off above the knee and take it in so it's a lot more slinky. 

It gives me an actual bust! 

 So my almost empty sewing basket overfloweth once more...

 One more from Devon...

It has a button up belt at the back I need to adjust. 

I love this print!

And one more handmade vintage dress I found at the local car boot sale...

Again, it's too wide so needs some tweakage.

I also found china...

a little french gravy separator.

Would you believe I found the missing numbers for my Church hymn board? And they fit! 

 Yay! I plan on using this in the kitchen to hang things on.

               Over a hundred pounds worth of new pure cotton bedding for £20 at the boot sale?

                  Yes please, thank you very much. It's been years since I got new bedding!

                                               An R Whites crate for a fiver? That'll do nicely.

                                                         And last of all, my new love...

This was my birthday pressie. He's called bespectacled bloke and hangs on the living room wall. A boot sale buy found by me to give to my husband so he could give it to me. He's got it pretty easy hasn't he?

So, didn't she do well? 

Next time I'll be getting down and dirty, attempting to sort out our ugly kitchen window by fitting a proper sill and framing it out. Or perhaps not. I've never done it before. But I did watch someone do it once so I'm sure I'll be fine.

The timber comes tomorrow and I'm very excited. It's been a long wait to get stuck into some DIY again.

Wish me luck!

Oh one last thing before I go, if you have £50,000 to £500,000 to spend on an extension and want to be on telly, take a look at this...

Not for me sadly. I'll just plod on with my brand new kitchen for £300.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Grandads vintage wallpaper...

I'm back from trips to the Isle of Wight and Devon and no DIY has taken place. Perhaps when Connie goes back to school this week but I've hurt my back so perhaps not.

I have a whole summers worth of second hand scores to share but I want to start with a post about my late Grandads house in Devon. My Grandad passed away 13 years ago but his second wife, my step grandmother still lives in the large Edwardian house.

I stayed there earlier this month and asked her if I could share the fabulous wallpaper with you. I think there's something for everyone here. So come on in.

In the huge hallway is a pretty pink toile de jouy above the dado rail and a soft pink below. Elegant and classical.

In the sitting room things get a little bolder...

I love this design and I think it works as the room is so large so it doesn't suck all the light out of the room. This is on just one wall.

The kitchen was decorated in the 1971. I think it shows...

Again, just one wall is papered. To give you an idea of scale, that fireplace is above shoulder height.

In the drawing room you can see the oldest wallpaper in the house.

This was the best room for receiving guests. It's very elegant in here, if somewhat shabby chic. 

Here's the ceiling moulding at the top of the room above the door.

Fabulous high ceilings

On the staircase, below the dado is anaglypta with so many layers of paint on it. Very English.

See the bakelite light switches? Grandad painted everything. Perhaps I get that from him. 

In one of the bedrooms is this greek themed wallpaper. 

Here's the door to give you an idea of the scale...

A piece of wallpaper was used under the glass finger plate on the door too. The other walls are a soft grey.

On to the bathroom with this mustard yellow...

 another bold choice with the orange woodwork.

In the back bedroom, is this fabulous paisley design.

Some strong colour on the fireplace too.

The next landing up has this doll wallpaper. My grandmother loved dolls...

Isn't it amazing? Those dolls are huge!

Last of all, what was my dads attic room and what would have been the servants room originally.

I'm guessing another 1960's paper. Hopefully decorated after dad left. 

Around the same time, all the furniture in here was painted in gloss hot pink. 

So you see, the feature wallpapered wall is not a new thing. My family invented it long ago! And the desire to paint everything is clearly in my genes, even if the colours I choose are less bold. 

I hope you enjoyed a wander around this beautiful house.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

The ugly dresser completed...

Hello stranger! Time has gotten away from me. I've been visiting my dad, working on an epic piece of furniture and focusing on my daughter as it's the school hols.

I'm halfway through the kitchen, so it's a perfect time to wander off and do something else. A kitchen break. I was itching to finish the ugly dresser.

So I did. Ta daa!

Let me remind you how it started out...

It didn't fit the wall, see how it cuts accross the door frame?

The top was not looking good.

I wasn't loving the plywood back or the black shelves.

But I LOVED the paintwork. (What was left of it.) It really was love at first sight with this piece. All the problems with it could be fixed.

I put a new tongue and groove back on the cupboard section. Much better than the plywood. And although it's inside the cupboard and no one sees it, I couldn't leave it looking so new.

I stained the wood with a mixture of tea and thinned down black acrylic paint. Much better.

I scraped and sanded the top, not too much as I didn't want to ruin the beaten up finish. I cut sections off the sides and top cornice so it fit my space perfectly. I sanded and stained the cut edges so it didn't look newly cut.

Halfway through, it was looking better but still needed a tongue and groove back for the top section and I needed to lose that black paint.

There was no simple way to do this. I painted all the paintwork, the black and the cream, very carefully, so that it would all be the same colour. I had to paint around each and every flaked of piece as I didn't want to lose that! This piece really was a labour of love.

I dark waxed it all so the new paint looked original.

wood bleached top

I used wood bleach on the top as I love the super pale look. (Did you know that using wood bleach and tongue and grooving something are two of the most fun things to do on the planet? )

The new tongue and groove back was stained darker and then also bleached to match the top.
Then I put it all together. I really wasn't sure about the wood finish behind the shelves. I thought I might paint over it.
But when the china was all in place, I loved it. I think that the china stands out more against wood than it would do against a painted surface and I'm so thrilled with the way it all matches up.

So here's the before...

And now...

Right then, better get on with that kitchen...

Ivy and ElephantsElizabeth and Co.

Furniture Feature Fridays