Page of Randomness…

Is that even a word? If not it should be, especially in my house.

The problem is, although I am quietly plodding along, I tell myself not to post until the room in question is fully finished. Unfortunately, as my children will testify, I am very bad at ever entirely completing a task.

So here is a mishmash of all the little things that have appeared recently (well over the past 6 months anyway 🙂 )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The printers tray I picked up on Ebay, probably around 2 years ago, has finally been cleaned up of all the old remnants of ink covered paper in all the tiny sections. I placed it on the mantelpiece in my bedroom but it didn’t look quite right. Grabbing one of the many tester pots in the shed, thanks to my indecisiveness,  I slapped a fuzzy rectangle a few inches larger than the tray onto the wall before mounting the tray on the chimney breast. Eventually all the tiny spaces in the tray will contain items of interest but for now it includes a small dog, elephant and turtle, a chirping bird and printing blocks of my children’s and my own initials (and two wind-up racing snails on top, because why not!).

 

We picked up a lovely secretary bureau from a local charity shop to fill the alcove in my youngest child’s bedroom. Another thing to become a container of interesting objects. It already houses a skull, antique books and a selection of tiny bones all categorised and labeled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even though all our “new” purchases still tend to be old with a bit of history to them, introducing new furniture can make my existing items look a little shabby, and not in a good way! So that is when I pop to the local DIY shop (in which I am sure I should have shares) and have a quick wander around until inspiration strikes. In this case the set of drawers I had from my grandfathers house ten years ago needed a bit of a makeover.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d read good reviews online of Farrow and Ball’s paint for revamping furniture so I decided to try their Estate Eggshell in Down Pipe. True to their other satisfied customers words, the paint went on really well, no odour and a lovely colour. I gave it a quick spray with clear varnish as things tend to get bashed and bumped quite a bit in our house.

 

 

After adding some new handles I’m pretty pleased with the results and have moved both sets of drawers to the living room. Unfortunately this made the rest of the furniture in there look a little worse for wear but more about the consequences of that another time…

 

Another furniture revamp. This time for a desk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Painted white with all surface paint so no need to prime, wallpaper on the sides and cupboard front, and marble effect sticky back plastic on the top. One desk to go into the summer house and hopefully provide me a peaceful place to do some uni work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not one to waste anything, the left over sticky back plastic along with three bargain fake succulent plants from the charity shop,, also inspired a quick mini makeover of the kitchen window sill 🙂 (Ignore the grouting, that will be freshened up another day!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally, I’ve even managed a couple of creations for the children I work with. Turning a cable reel into a toadstool and a wooden pallet into a car track.

 

From this..
…into this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t have a before photo of a pallet but use your imagination, add a sheet of marine ply, some black gloss paint and a metre of artificial grass and there you go – one car track. Must admit I’m a little bit in love with this one and it was simple to make too.

 

 

I think that will do for now as I really must write some more of my dissertation and stop being sidetracked. My reward if I write enough over the next week is to start wallpapering the living room 😀

Future projects already in the making (but of course not yet finished):

  • Revamp of living room – wallpaper and paint, and dyeing a sofa (mammoth job!)
  • Dining room into music room – cupboard building and fireplace restoration, and more!
  • Decking extension – currently just a few scattered pallets in the garden…

 

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My two favourite things – pallets and wallpaper

Still never enough hours in the day and still more unfinished projects than completed ones but at least a few more ticked off the To Do list.

I did try to focus on the garden but only really managed to get one area looking a little bit better. Having moved youngest daughter into older sibling’s room after she moved out, and buying daughter a new bed frame, meant her “industrial chic” pallet bed could now be dismantled and saved for future schemes. Thanks to one of my oldest friends repaying a loan I had completely forgotten lending to her I was also able to buy several packs of decking board. Combining the two, plus a jigsaw, an electric screwdriver and an afternoon in the sunshine and I now have some rather good decking alongside the Summer House…

 

A quick lick of paint to both the decking and the Summer House and it looks rather funky!

Next plan is to extend it in front of the Summer House to make a step up into it, and maybe even wrap around the other side (depending on how many more pallets I can get my hands on!)

 

Looking out of my kitchen window and seeing all the fresh paint in the garden got me twitchy and bored with inside the house again.  So for no reason, other than seeing a trend for using frog tape to create paint patterns on walls on a Facebook DIY on a Budget page, I set about drawings lines all over my kitchen walls.

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My child abandoned me for a week to go on holiday with her friend so after evening dog walking duties the hound collapsed on the floor watching me whilst I picked a colour for the night and began filling in the gaps.

 

At this point I hated it and felt I had made a huge mistake. Even adding sections of marbled wallpaper didn’t stop my doubts. Then came the finishing touch and all was fine – Slug tape! Honestly, copper slug tape from Ebay. Thirty self adhesive metres on a roll, easy to measure, cut and stick, making it shiny and beautiful (ok so it’s still not the best decorating I’ve ever done but it was a quick fix and quite theraputic).

 

Unfortunately from the kitchen I can see the hallway …. I’m beginning to think I have a decorating addiction.

Now a dangerous website for someone with an addiction is wallpaperdirect.com 

A quick browse online, a few days wait for delivery and the hall is now filled with one of my favourite creatures.

 

Now if only the dog hadn’t ripped up the flooring I would actually have a finished room, oh well, almost there.

 

I am self aware enough to know that my decorating can spawn from irrational thoughts. For example “why do I have a blue bathroom? Everyone has blue bathrooms. It’s such a predictable colour”. Thoughts like this mean that every time I go into the bathroom I hate it a little bit more. Eventually something has to be done!

The bathroom I really do plan on properly replacing eventually as the shower has to be turned on with a pair of pliers, the overall layout is wrong, and I really want a free standing bath. So this “temporary” really did need to be on a budget.

So the white tiles have a border of blue mosaic smaller tiles. Tiling is not in my skill set but a quick online search again and Clever Tile stickers were purchased. From blues to greys in one easy step.

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Not sure how long they will last but they look good for now.

Blue walls were painted with an pale green, once we had found one my child and I agreed upon (I was informed the first one I liked resembled baby sick!), and radiator and woodwork a dark grey. Then came a nightmare evening – vast quantities of wallpaper paste, a dog, pattern matching, poor measuring skills and running out of paper with one strip to go! But eventually we got there.

Still need to finish off the flooring and get the light shade to stay up (a few technical issues there!) but the space is definitely far more relaxing – and a lot less blue 🙂

 

A little bit distracted…

Working full time and trying to do a Masters degree apparently doesn’t leave much time for diy. So for now I think I’m going to focus on the garden this summer.


This weekend managed to re-pot my tomato seedlings, peas and a mystery batch of plants that could possibly be rainbow chard  (must label things properly!). 

Also a kind, lovely friend has been donating items from her garden so I re-edged the flower bed and put all the flower seedlings she gave me into my greenhouses – I really want a proper greenhouse one day 🙂


Frequent visits by my gardener (mother) means everything else is growing quite well. Even got a few gooseberries coming and flowers on my potatoes.


So next garden projects apart from the never ending weeding and grass cutting:

  • Finally build the retaining wall for the patio area, ideally out of wood.
  • Then I can lay a patio!
  • Dig up the grass around the veggie plots and lay brick paths.
  • Put decking around the summer house.
  • Begin to plan the wild end of the garden. 

One final photo of the biggest distraction in my life, our beautiful husky puppy – who prefers to dig up the garden rather than help with the planting! But he is adorable 🐶

One step forwards…

Finally stopped procrastinating and bravely began to cut up my rather expensive wallpaper for my stairs! Have sanded, oiled and varnished all of them up to the half landing at the top (still got that, one more step and the main landing to do 😞).

When I actually made the decision to get on with it they only took me about an hour and it’s fair to say they look pretty much how I hoped they would. 


Hopefully the wrinkles will go as it dries!

Also got round to adding the sweet bee handles to the daughter’s dressing table. The table was made by my great uncle and used to be a chest of drawers but suffered due to being shoved in the old shed and forgotten about. A sand and varnish later, with rotten drawers removed, it’s now a vintage dressing table that should last a few more generations yet.


All in all a pretty productive day 😊 

Summer so far…

Not that the weather is behaving much like summer as I watch the rain pouring down outside but I have been chipping away at the never ending list of projects on the go.

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The shed is looking more finished thanks to the addition of some solar lights and lizards.

 

The garden chairs have had a mini spruce up from rusting grey to shiny black metal work and I actually got out the sewing machine to recover the parasol in this gorgeous fabric.

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I promise I’ll take a photo of it up in the garden when the sun decides to shine!

I also got a bit carried away in what was the eldest child’s bedroom (but now she’s moved out the youngest has decided she is having two rooms!)

There used to be a cupboard that housed the old boiler.  I say cupboard it was really a full sized interior door fitted into the alcove with a frame of very solid wooden beams.

Removing this took an entire afternoon, a hammer, jigsaw, chisel and an axe! Each piece of wood was attached to the next piece by 5 inch long, 80 year old, rusty nails. Using full body weight trying to rock them apart led to my sudden discovery that two of the horizontal parts were imbedded in the fireplace wall and exterior wall, hence the rather large hole in one of the photos.

 

 

Now I need a plumber to hopefully remove the pipes going up the left hand wall and then time to practice my plastering skills again…

 

Not a person to only have one project on the go on the spur of the moment I ripped up the carpet on my stairs. The old lady who sold us the house seven years ago was proud of it and enthusiastically told us what great condition it was in – it wasn’t, already threadbare and tatty, even worse now several cats down the line.

So up it came (the axe may have been involved again as carpet rods proved stubborn). An afternoon of removing staples and nails ensued after peeling away crumbling underlay. To reveal traditional stairs with thick white paint up the sides.

Quick call to a lovely friend later and I acquired a heat gun. Another afternoon of melting then scraping paint – more satisfying and fun than I thought it would be 🙂

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Even the power of the gun wouldn’t touch the antique varnish hiding beneath the paint though.  A quick go at sanding also failed to even begin to shift it so down to the d.i.y store to invest in some chemical warfare.

The pictures make it look easy but in reality I had to spread the toxic gloop onto each step balancing on the middle strip, catch and bath the stupid cat who ran up the stairs to see what I was doing, carry the cat back downstairs getting scratched for my troubles, wait four hours and gingerly test scraping it off before deciding the time was right.  The time was actually just after midnight when I finally finished! I had to use a plastic bag to gather all the sticky mess into, a bowl of hot soapy water to wash each step after trying to scrape the varnish off, then wire wool in turpentine to remove the reside.

*Word of warning don’t be a fool like me and think you can get away with not wearing gloves – you can’t, skin on right hand is now very dry and peeling and my fingerprints no longer work on the biometric door system at work…

Now begins the long process of sanding before I stain and oil them to match the bedroom floors. It will be worth it! I can see how it is going to look in my head, and hopefully in a couple of weeks I can share it here.  Watch this space….

 

 

 

 

Busy Bank Holiday

Determined to finish off a few incomplete projects today so with that in mind up early to the DIY store before teenagers had even begun to stir.

Job No. 1 – finish the coat hooks in the hallway.

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We were down to just two, barely attached hooks on a very firmly attached piece of wood.  When I repainted the hall I did paint the wood the same Almond White as the woodwork but it just looked dull.  I spotted a lovely bright pink coat stand in a magazine and thought about taking inspiration from that (as lovely as it was it would only look that good with no coats on and that is hardly practical!).  Youngest child vetoed the idea of painting the wood hot pink so we went through every other colour in the rainbow until we landed on one we both agreed might work – bright orange 🙂

So I bought a small tin of enamel paint designed for craft projects but a shade I thought would be intense enough and some bargain hooks in three styles.  Now painting the strip of wood used very little paint. It did however take about 10 coats!!  Worth it in the end though I think…

 

Also hung a mirror I bought on a girlie weekend to Marrakesh many years ago.

 

Job No.2 – continue to try and improve the kitchen.  Even though I still plan to knock down walls I need it to look nice for now.  Joined a Facebook group DIY on a Budget on recommendation of my lovely friend.  This has proved slightly dangerous seeing everybody else’s projects and thinking “I could do that”.  So the current trend is to cover things in Fablon (sticky backed plastic) from bath panels, cupboards, furniture, even kitchen worktops 🙂

Fablon purchased in walnut and with assistance from youngest child work tops went from rather old and tatty black to lovely wood effect.  Now I’m not going to say it was easy, and the results aren’t perfect with the odd air bubble here and there, and round the sink was a complete pain, but as a temporary fix it will do – and for under £15…

 

Job No.3 – technically this was yesterday but all still part of my productive Bank Holiday Weekend.  Finally finished my mural at the top of the stairs!  Based on Klimt’s Tree of Life picture this project has taken over two months but I am very pleased with the results 🙂

I already had the original painting in a clear glass frame so I simply gridded up the image by drawing straight onto the glass then gridded up the wall.  I am only mildly artistic but can copy an image well enough.

 

It is about 8 foot tall at it’s highest point and was quite precarious balancing on a ladder at the top of the stairs! The biggest expense for this project was £7.95 on a tub of gold acrylic paint from our local craft shop but I still have half the tub left!  And it shines beautifully in the sunlight 🙂

Now I just need to decide what to do with the stairs themselves….

Demolition and Decoration

There has been a wonky, old shed in my garden since we bought the house originally.  Ex propped it up with a piece of wood when it started leaning too much and that is how it stayed until a couple of weeks when I decided it was finally D-day!

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So the shed was cleared and with advice from the step-father we started to “attack” it. And attack was necessary! Hope was that removing the supporting post would lead to collapse but no such luck.  So we kept on removing more and more sections but still the shed would not die…

 

 

By the end we were hitting it with hammers and pick axes, chopping through supporting struts with jigsaws and all pushing on it from every angle possible until finally 5 hours later…

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We had no idea how old the shed was but holding back the soil at the rear of the shed we found an old metal advertising sign.

 

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As the sign dates from the 1930’s I think it’s safe to presume that the shed was built at the same time as the house.  It did well to last that long!

 

Unfortunately I had to go to work the next day but again the very handy step-father came to the rescue beginning to build the new shed  🙂

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Then all I had to do was add the windows and begin to pretty it up a bit…

 

 

Have also painted some old shelves to go inside but it needs to have a few more finishing touches and I just can’t decide whether to do the door purple, or willow green like the inside, leave it wood, or stripes?!

So for now it is still a work in progress but at least it doesn’t lean at an alarming angle or let water in all over my tools…to be continued….