Thursday, 29 January 2015

Diary, allotment and blocked noses

One of Elf Son's Christmas wishes was to have a diary. I had some lined notebooks with white/ugly covers, so I went to work and covered his with some oil cloth.

The oil cloth adds to it a bit of old fashioned charm and a masculine touch. I bought these notebooks cheaply as a lot of 5 and have since covered them for different uses. I have one for my allotment diary as well, but it is missing a cover. I was fancying a garden themed cotton, but might end with waterproof cover...I'll show you when I have got my act together. I must ask Elf Son, what type of diary he keeps. I know he writes regularly, but knowing him, it could be as easily about his real life as a fantasy diary.

The allotment is in its winter hibernation and only things to harvest are the kales, purple broccoli, lettuces of different types, parsley and coriander. The leafier things live in our polytunnel. Today is a cold day and we even have a smattering of snow on the ground, unusual for our coastal location.

The picture is from autumn, since there are still some flowers there. This bed is now  sowed with garlic.

As an experiment I sowed two beds with winter clover

During the autumn I have been busy building raised beds with paths in between covered with weed suppressing membrane and wood chips. I hope to finish building the rest of them in February.

In other news Elf Son has generously shared his winter bug with Elf Husband, who is now on sofa duty looking miserable. I have felt the virus rummaging, but keep my fingers crossed for my immune system defeating this one. I just cannot be bothered with two colds in one winter.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Birthday project aka painted toilet door

I went slightly mad with my birthday project, but let me start from the beginning.

This is where it all begun...

Our back entrance&toilet is our personal Siberia and this door doesn't help. It needed an insulating strip around and curtain to hang for some extra cosiness. The mark on the wall is from a rack of clothes hooks I had already removed before I took the picture. I bought the fabric over the Christmas holidays, but was not prepared to hang it before this little entrance had been prettified a bit. For the first a curtain and a rack of hooks behind the opening door would have meant that squeezing out would have become difficult. I also hated the said hooks; they were there when we moved in, attached to an untreated piece of wood, aluminium school hooks, yuk.

So as I had my birthday a while ago I decided to use it to start my project. I painted the walls and the toilet door. Initially, I had no notion of painting the outer door's inside, but seeing it there amongst all the freshly painted surfaces, I had to. It was simply too ugly to be left alone.

(The pictures are not great, but I have been hanging on for yonks now, because the light here haven't really cooperated for picture taking, so now you have to do with what I have been able to snap)

So here it is before from all the angles, from outside:

The toilet door:

It is a really small space and it felt very forlorn and dirty and uncared for before.

Now that the outer door is painted and curtain hung it looks like this:

As I mentioned on my Facebook status under the decoration work; a coat of white paint can improve almost anything!
On my trip to IKEA to buy the curtain material I also spotted a perfect rack for all my bags I want to hang here...

I shifted the rack away from the door and it is perfect where it is!

I then proceeded to decorate the toilet door. This is the upper portion:

and this is the lower:

Here is the view from our kitchen:

Makes me smile every time I see it! Have you done anything mad like this at your home?

PS. This post is linked to Homemade Mondays "Linky Party " on Frugal by Choice Cheap by Necessity. Have a look at a lot of frugal/creative people's posts there.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Bags for rags and laundry

I have a slightly bigger project going's a smallish house project and this is going to be part of it. I made some gifts for house before we moved. This is sort of continuation of that. I have a bag for our "kitchen laundry"; dishcloths and napkins. I have used a tote bag for the purpose, but now I wanted to have one, which would go with the others.

I use rags in the kitchen and I wanted to have a bag for them too. I found a really cool tea towel on a boot sale and didn't want to use it as such, as it is one of those lovely vintage linen ones, which are not made any more. It was made to commemorate the coronation of the Queen.

I wanted to embroider "rags" on it, as I know that otherwise the rags and the contents of the laundry bag will get mixed up. When I had done that, I could not stop, but had to add "to riches". The text on the tea towel makes it to "RAGS TO CORONATION RICHES". Not that I think that ER II was exactly poor before her coronation!

The back of the bag mentions the year.

Have you re-purposed vintage textiles you love to something else?

Friday, 9 January 2015

Mushrooming and the satisfaction of hanging pictures

I changed the picture in the heading, just for the fun of it. There is much less chance to go mushrooming here than in Finland, I decided to make some of my own. The mushrooms were modelled in Dass modelling clay and I stuck them in a scouring pad (happened to be out of florist's oasis) inside a little wooden box. I covered the pads with lichen, which I had gathered in Finland. 

I have been thinking about how to hang our pictures downstairs. The process took over a year. Admittedly some of the walls were not painted before the autumn gone and it made it more difficult to visualise. We have been debating what to hang above the sofa; I have wanted the Tingatinga paintings up again, but Elf husband had other ideas, which did not really come to fruitition. I had an idea of maybe hanging a group of smaller pictures there and was going to buy picture ledges from IKEA, when I suddenly had the INSPIRATION I had been waiting for so long. I needed to hang that group of pictures, but not in the living room. We have the perfect spot just in the foot of the stairs. There is a big white space, which I now call my gallery.

The livingroom got two of the Tingatingas and a pot plant called Triffy Trafalgar (she is greeted every morning and we stroke her gently from time to time).

We also had an extra little reading light installed for the little sofa.

I also wanted to show our new stone sculpture; we found it on the beach with the ancient forest. and it is decorated with fossilised marine creatures. It sits like a huge dragon egg on the window sill. 

 Have you found any decorative pieces from the nature lately?

Saturday, 3 January 2015

The young one is me!

We went for a walk on a nearby beach and see what we found. The storm had revealed an ancient forest beneath the sand. It was "growing" from a layer of soft coal and it was obvious that the trees had fallen in a storm very, very long time ago. There were both stumps, trunks and roots on show.

We know that a tsunami hit this part of the shore line in the iron age and destroyed the human habitat on the shore, so we wondered whether these trees fell then.  It is clear that they weren't cut.

We even found a place, which looked like an end of a wooden log shed/storage building, but it is hard to tell. Maybe it was  trunks fallen just so.

So in the picture on the top I am the YOUNG one by a good margin. This one is though younger.

The pictures are courtesy of the Elf Husband. He writes more about our walk on his photo blog here

Friday, 2 January 2015

Victorian Sunday School Teacher Attire


Firstly, Happy New Year 2015! I hope it brings you joy and peace.

This is yet another dress made with the shirt dress pattern I wrote about here and here. This time I made it in a fabric not recommended at all in the pattern script. I also altered the pattern further, making it narrower over the shoulders and a bit roomier under the arms. The fabric is a wool mix with a pattern couched on it. It is very warm and nice to have on.

When I was about to wear this for the first time I realised that I didn't really find anything to wear under it in my wardrobe. The reason? I made a BIG MISTAKE buying this fabric. I think I need to give you a bit of background to this. I have been very good indeed making my wardrobe smaller and smaller, yet more functional and pleasing. I generally like everything in my wardrobe. I have a very manageable amount of clothes, which I can put together with each other, so that the sum of combinations is actually quite large. I think that most of the time my wardrobe would pass the project 333 rules. (Read more, if you are interested in getting a small, but functional wardrobe). Mostly I buy/sew new things, when the old ones die. And I really mean die. I love my rags so much that I use them until they have holes and start to be oddly discoloured, because the fabric has lost the dye.

Back to my mistake...I was taken in by the loveliness of this fabric and let the fact that it has a clear brown tint pass. I have nothing of brown in my wardrobe. It is based on hues of grey, white and occasional black. I have t-shirts, tights and even cardigans in splashes of colour to enliven the works, but nothing to go with brown. So I sewed a white peasant type of shirt to go under it.

I wanted the front very flat, so it is simple with no smocking, just a pleat to room the buttoning strip. It is a very lovely shirt to wear and I plan to make a smocked version of it as well.

I am rather proud of it as I managed to draft this pattern AND make the shirt in 7 hours!

 I have resolved to take this as a lesson. Luckily I don't hate or even dislike the dress. It simply doesn't have quite as many "wardrobe friends" as it should. When I was moaning about my daftness to elf Husband, he said that I could buy/sew things to go with it.  That is exactly what I don't want to do. Every piece of my wardrobe needs to work hard without increasing the need of buying new. Full stop.  Bas. Piste.

I do look a bit like a Victorian Sunday school teacher in this ensemble, but I don't mind, it is comfortable and I seem to get a lot of compliments for some odd reason. Maybe Victoriana is getting fashionable again?