Friday, 6 December 2013

We have come this far in the Nest

I have had numerous requests from our friends and family about photos of our house. I thought that I would be able to do a lot of "before" and "after" posts, but nothing seems to be ready for the "after". On the other hand, we are now, at this moment, at the point where I feel that I can actually get to clean the house without having to ignore move a lot of stuff on my way. The house is not "done" and I have very little light here at the moment, so when something like a sun ray actually shows itself I have been running around the house with the camera to satisfy all the requests. This means that there is no time for posing aka putting away stuff, which just happens to be there. You won't get nice styled pictures, but a family album.

I might make a series of more oh-lala pictures later, when circumstances allow, but just now, this is the Nest, warts and all in dim winter light, which affects the picture quality:

Let's start upstairs. I have shown my work corner before, but here is a bit  more context to it. Before we started it was an ok room, but with carpet and I just don't like them!

We decided to paint the floorboards upstairs and this is the same place after the painting was done, although the door is now also painted white. Before the furniture went in, it felt as if we might need sun glasses to avoid snow blindness when the sun shone.

And with all the stuff:

On the left side of the bed is the husband's desk:

My old lady corner of the room (very brown in the midst of all white and colours).

There is still a view to show, but that will come later, as seeing anything to that direction is not possible, unless you are interested in piles of bags and stacks of artwork, which has not been hung as yet. I realise that non of the pictures show the magnificent floor space left around the furniture. That will come later.

The Elf Son's bedroom had the least work done; just the floor and the skirting boards. The one blue wall was there and he liked it. I think of the colour as "Cornish Blue on Speed". In real life it is not quite as eye poppingly bright as it looks in this picture taken with a flash. 

His bed is sticking out into the room, which has helped the bed-making efforts. I don't know why I took the picture from this odd angle and not from the door. Maybe to hide the shelves with unidentified stuff...If they were flying, I would have UFOs in my house.

This is his desk in normal state of mess. He would probably say in "mid-work".

The stairs to downstairs and the front entrance. Yes, mad to show, but this happens to be one of my favourite bits of the house. Even when we were just working on the house and everything was covered in dust and there was the ugly curtain and institutional vertical blinds you can see hanging here, this was a lovely spot. I used to sit on the stairs and have my cup of tea dreaming of the day when it would look even nicer.

 It is nicer now, although not finished.

See that weird UFO shape (is there a theme building up here?) behind the glass above the door. It is the most horrible house number plaque on the earth. It will go.

Under the stairs is one of the most crucial bits of the house; place to put our shoes into. The fact that we walk only that far with our shoes on, makes keeping of the house clean easier. And who hasn't had the problem of tumbling shoe mountains in the entrance? The shelf hasn't been painted as yet, but I'll show it to you anyway. I also managed to take a picture having some cable trunking standing in the corner etc.etc.

The living room is rather different looking from what it was. Here it is pre-purchase:


And this is how the same corner looks today:

Art above the sofa is still missing, I am working on it. The chest of drawers, which you can partly see in the picture is here (and all the hi-fi and telly stuff, ugh).

The opposite wall looked like this.

 It is amazing how much a coat of paint and a new handle can improve a cheap pine door. (You get just a peek at it)

This is the window wall/corner towards the hallway:

At the moment and as long as we don't have a mantle shelf, there is  very little place to have any trinkets, so the window sill has to work hard:

The kitchen has had the least work done together with the bathroom. At some point when our finances allow, we will re-do the kitchen, but until then we have opted to make it as functional as possible with what we had. It has led to a merry collection of different styles, but hey-ho, who cares. One thing is sure; I never dreamt of having a kitchen of this size. It is about 3.75mx6m, so reminds me of a farmhouse kitchen.

This is a picture gives you an idea of the kitchen when it was empty:

The wall behind my back had a loooong radiator and this cupboard in the corner. Total waste of space from the orientation point of view.(So we took it down and exchanged the radiator to a vertical one).

Now this wall is my "food wall"

No. I don't have jellyfish on my radiator, but do wash and re-use freezer bags we use for bread.

The window wall looks rather a lot like before. The odd placement of the picture has an explanation. Behind it lives the extractor fan.  When I am using it (the fan, not the picture), I take the picture down. There is something slightly wrong with the fan or it might just be a very old model, but in the winter time with certain wind there is a breeze through it in our kitchen. The picture functions as a wind shield. Aah, and there are the shelves, which form our coffee and tea station. Important in our household!

The last wall, which was essentially just a wall looks most like "us" as we used our old furniture on it.

So that was The Grand Tour of the Nest! With time there will be more, but at the moment we are looking forward to a Christmas break in a few weeks with doing nothing but eating good food, reading a lot, seeing films, meeting friends and being together. My crafting has been on the back burner as well, so I have decided to be merciful with myself allowing this to be a year without any Christmas gift making. I will be back in action though, my fingers itch!

Friday, 1 November 2013

Washbag and papercutting

...not that they have anything to do with each other. I made a washbag (again) for one of our nieces. She is 18 today and had at some point wished one of these. I decided to take a gamble and make one without asking whether she still needed one. Luckily she liked the bag and I guess at her age with sleepovers and festivals and all sorts of travelling there is always use for one of these.

All the fabrics apart the green one are from IKEA. The lining is waterproof and the outside thick cotton. I had them in my stash, I don't think that the outer fabric is in production any more. I admit that it became either too long or too low, the proportions are not quite as I wanted them to be.  I was working to a tight deadline and had not time to adjust by starting all over again.

Here are some inside details:

I have made two papercuts lately. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the first and the better one. I sent this little card to our niece.

Again I wish I had started earlier to have had more time to get it right. I am at the moment very fascinated by the possibilities of papercutting, I would like  to try to make some pictures with it. Watch this space!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Pretty Everyday Items or Gifts for the Nest

I made some "house warming" presents for ourselves when we were in the process of buying this house. I needed to have these items anyway, as the old plastic bag tube was worn out and the arrangement for my clothes pegs wasn't suitable for this house.

I love old textiles and linen tea towels are no exception. This was a tea towel, which already had a hole in it, but there was enough good fabric to make a bag for my pegs. I made the strap and the channel for closing strings of a fabric from my stash, in this case shirting from Elf Husband's old shirt.

I left the original embroidered initials on the bag, of course.

The plastic bag tube was made from IKEA fabric left over from another project. I gave our kitchen door key a "ticking" string to match the other items. I like my everyday objects being pretty and homemade, bringing me joy while doing my mundane housekeeping chores.
 Have you given yourself gifts lately?

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

New Crafting Space

Tadaaah! Isn't it LOVELY, loverly, LoverlY (cue Eliza Doolittle)??? I like it SO much and my heart slightly skips every time I see it.

Soooo....we have moved in, hence the long silence. The last two weeks before the move were manic, trying to get the new home ready(ish) and pack up all our stuff. In the end I was exhausted. I also managed to hurt my knee, possibly quite badly during the summer. That might need a doctor to have a look at. It was quite horribly achy during the last push and I was sedating it heavily with painkillers. Not a course of action I would recommend for anyone.

There is presently only one box left to unpack and that is matter of getting shelves up over Elf Husband's work station. I have primed the shelves and the brackets today, so I assume, that they will be ready to put up latest in the beginning of the next week. We try to avoid drilling and making racket in the weekends to be nice to our neighbours.

We are still lacking a shed, so tools and such are piled in a mountain under the stairs, not in the most stylish arrangement.

Our chosen route was to get the living room and the bedrooms ready, so we had place to work, sleep and relax in. The jobs were also relatively cheap, mainly sorting the walls and the floors.

You will get a bit by bit report in coming months and years...

I have managed to use my new work space already. While I was setting up I sorted the magazine holders by gluing some of my polka dot paper on the ends and then labelling them. These holders are rescue ones and had some old labels glued with an industrial strength glue. Even when the labels came off, the glue still left marks behind. I think it had melted the plastic. This course of action meant that I didn't have to remove the labels at all.

I wanted to make a new picture to hang with Mandy Pattullo's bird. Before I had my embroidered Mama Elf's hut, but wanted a change now. I went for a deer and used a little table runner. It was a factory made one from a charity shop, but very soft and hence not so easy to work with. I don't often use the hoops while I embroider, just prefer to hold the fabric in my hands.

Elf Husband named the deer Rudolph the Rednose and of course I cannot get that out of my head! I made a mistake by not photographing it before putting it in the frame, so there is the glare from the glass  (and me taking the picture, ehm).  Hope the picture gives you some idea though.

I love my new work space. There is really great floor space to do cutting in and all my fabrics and many other bulkier items are held in the walk-in wardrobe. (Which holds only few items of clothing and lots of other unsightly stuff.) I will show you the whole room when we get the shelves up and when the light is better for picture taking. I had lots more today, but light was too rubbish to publish them.

Hopefully I have time enough now to come more often to report on my progress!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Covered in dust, stain and paint

Hello! Three weeks have gone without a word from me. We have literally been covered in dust, stain and paint. There have been days when I left our new house and was very careful NOT to touch my hair. I was having a full Marie-Antoinette do with powdered wig (minus the wig, of course). Now my nails are rimmed with floor stain, very attractive look, I say!

When I look at the pictures they totally belittle the amount of work we have done. I think though that we have managed to do a lot in three weeks in addition to a bit of holidaying. Our main achievement has been the floors. The carpets were ripped up and all the century old dirt removed from between the floor boards. That was an amazing amount of gunk; tools we used were the hoover and an old butter knife and then the same knife wrapped in a wet rag. Imagine doing this all over the house!

We continued by caulking the boards with wooden wedges downstairs. It was not difficult, but very time consuming. We had to fit, glue and chisel the wedges. The amount of nails and carpet tags was incredible. I believe that most of them are now removed.

As we decided to stain the downstairs floors, we needed to sand them pretty carefully. A hire machine was needed and used for two days. The upstairs rooms had sanding as well, but not to the same degree, because we decided to paint the floors there as well as the stairs. 

Not done yet, as you see. The downstairs needs two more coats of hard wax oil. We will use the clear, shinier one for the top coats. As our walls will be matt, we felt that the floor would benefit from a bit of lustre.

This is how the Elf Son's room looks sanded. I didn't get more pictures of the sanded floors, just forgot. I didn't want to bring my camera during the sanding as the fine dust might have ended inside the camera.

Our bedroom floor needs one more coat of paint and you can see how I have tried two different shades of white on the walls.

In a previous post I  talked about the smell of one's home. Another  observation that bot Husband and I made was that we felt immediately more at home when we could walk the floors without shoes on. Grounding at home is important for us. We never walk inside our house with shoes on, so doing so felt very alien.  Needs must though, before all the staples and nails were pulled out, it was too dangerous without.

We had also a plumber to remove the ugly gas heater from the living room, change the kitchen radiator and fit a gas connector for our cooker.

I am so excited to start to see some results and will show when there is a bit more to see! Have you done any renovations recently? Leave a link, would love to see.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Homemade Ice Cream without a Machine

This is a recipe I got from my Swedish Aunt M. I think she had seen it on the telly. It is really easy and you don't need t agitate the ice cream while it is freezing. The result is even better, if you bother doing some mixing once, just when it has solidified. (I have bothered, ehm...once). I have adjusted the recipe a bit, the original had 3dl cream to 1dl condensed milk, too sweet in my opinion.

The basic recipe is:

100gr condensed milk (1/4 of the tin)
3dl whipping cream

Add the vanilla seeds to the cream and beat the cream really stiff, without turning it to butter. Fold the condensed milk in and freeze. DONE!

I have experimented with different flavours. I tried to make a fresh strawberry ice cream, but the water contents were too high and I ended up with ice particles in the ice cream.  I think it would have been better to use my jam in it.

I made a very good mint-chocolate chip one by dropping the vanilla, but adding a few drops of peppermint oil and a good amount of chopped milk chocolate. I am now in Elf Son's good books!

I also made absolutely gorgeous PISTACHIO ice cream. I was not aiming at the taste you get in most places, which is almond/marzipan taste. I wanted pistachio like we get in our local ice cream parlour Spurreli's. I dropped the vanilla, but chopped a good lot of nuts and put them in. I saw that some of the nuts were chopped to very fine powder to make an even distribution of the taste. I used roasted, but unsalted nuts. Oooh, so good!

Third flavour this time was vanilla-chocolate chip ice cream made by simply adding some chopped dark chocolate in the basic recipe. Very good as well.

I can recommend this recipe, especially if you find the commercial ice cream too sweet and cannot be bothered with whipping your homemade ice cream every hour and/or don't own a machine. The only sweetness comes from the condensed milk and the bits you might add.

HINT: As the condensed milk tin has nearly 400gr of milk, I tend to buy 1.2l of whipping cream and make a lot. Last time I made three different ones, about 3-3,5l of ice cream.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Progress Report

I have been absent this week. I don't know what I thought to report to you, as there aren't and won't be any before and after pictures for a good while. On the other hand I am all for seeing other people's work in progress, so I thought I might bore you with that.

I have been covered with wallpaper paste to my elbows. Although there was thankfully only one layer and the lining, it was painted, so had practically a plastic coating. I had forgot how much the old paste smells like cigarettes. It is not a strong smell, but there is definitely a resemblance. First I thought that someone had walked past the window smoking, but as the smell persisted, I figured out what it was.

The pictures show you how far we have come with ripping. We have started in the upstairs as well. We don't need to remove wallpaper there, just to do some painting and the floors. The floors will be the big job both down-and upstairs.

What you cannot see is all the work we have done pulling the carpet tacking strips off the floors. Elf Husband have been doing this, but there are billions of staples and nails left behind from earlier carpets as well. I have been on my fours on this floor today and pulling out these nasty things

They are SO tricky to see. The new shiny ones are easy to spot, but these rusty ones hiding in that Victorian floor staining and old wax are a challenge. In the end I was running my hands over the boards trying to detect them by feeling. I had a few punctures in my hands as a result and left some interesting patterns made with my blood on the boards.

I hope to show you more exciting things next time, but the progress is slow, as predicted and take s a lot of my time, so there is very little sewing and such. I hope you have a relaxing and maybe productive weekend!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Linen Shirt


Last summer I was shown a beautiful linen fabric by my sister. I did resist the temptation to buy, until I was given a sewing magazine with a perfect shirt/tunic pattern. I had to go back to the shop for the fabric. I managed to sew the shirt in July this year.

I changed the pattern only by replacing lace, which was on the front and around the middle by making strips of pintuck pleats. The idea was to cut the fabric off under the lace. I don't think that would have looked that good: My tummy is normally not tanned and also it is not slim like the model's.

These pictures are grazy, I don't like taking piccies of myself, but bear with me!

The shirt has been used a lot and I try to limit my usage a little bit, so it is not worn out this summer.