Monday, 7 November 2016

Last Christmas I gave you my heart....and 'How to create your own plain -ish English -ish kitchen - the cheaper method'. Plus more vintage embroideries, old fabrics, bags, buckles and bows.

OU AL: JM - please stop hounding me - you are beginning to feel threatening.

Anyway, as I was saying..............

Ha ha - I haven't been away that long - just another Christmas and a whole year have gone by that's all....


I am now always officially one year behind - so these photographs are all from 'Last Christmas, I gave you my heart........'

The children made these gingerbread houses - THEY WERE NOT STRAIGHTFORWARD TO MAKE

I bought these little wooden figures (complete with their church/monastry ?) from a charity shop
I cannot find the other photos I took at the time but they are a pleasant grouping

Of course once I started I then created a whole gingerbread village type scene

Decided to got for the glass bell option on the chandelier

An old (? 1930s) cake sign - very handy this time of year


I was rather taken with this wooden goat and Bronte showed me how to make a lino cut of it. Which we then printed onto some plain calico bags - will add a picture when I find them

This is yet another old Christmas tree which I bought from a Charity shop - the base is a bit wobbly so it was only 4.99. I have one or two old baubles for decoration purposes................

This is my old 50p Christmas sign I have mentioned previously - dates from the 1930s I think (pre-war anyway)

The usual jumble of old Christmas stuff which I like

USING the old candles

A lovely old hessian tablecloth with delicious appliqued skaters - Scandinavian

The table runner was 20p from a car boot and has a lovely stencilled type design

Ahhh - Stockhokm

I bought this off Etsy a couple of years ago and love its design

Anway soon be time to get all that Christmas stuff out again.

This is how I we made our plain -ish English -ish kitchen.

 Oh - this is not the kitchen - these are some early Spring bulbs from last Spring (remember that this blog is now officially one year behind..........

I bought several of these delicious Edwardian scalloped edged pots from the car boot - a few weeks later there were some larger ones there too - which then I also bought - oh dear.

I b

This is the kitchen - well the final piece of the kitchen jigsaw which was put in place earlier this year (2016) - keep up.

I love how it has all turned out - bit by bit, little by little and adding the bits up over a few years.

This is what we did and how we did it:

First you have to start planning several years in advance (and start saving accordingly) - I saved up for each stage and then saved up for the next bit.  Doing this meant that costs were spread according to our income (not income spread according to cost - if that makes sense).  I have always loved (and I mean loved) sorting out our finances.  I am ruthless in changing suppliers for gas, electricity etc.  Bits of extra money always went into paying off the mortgage. Over the years we have saved small fortunes by frugality and by never, ever being wasteful (from food to water, from clothes to paper.  Maille proudly informed me how she too now cuts open all tubes of cream in order to extract the last morsel. That's my girl!).

Back to the kitchen: work your thinking backwards from how you would like the finished kitchen to look and think  about what  order does 'stuff' need to be done in (this was tricky as we needed a new boiler and to do that the kitchen floor had to come up - new pipes-  and to do can see that it took a while and a bit of working out).

I will skip the boring bits of new boiler, removing old radiator, new floor and folding doors.  That all happened over the space of a couple of years (I would save up and then had another stage of development completed).

Mr Nichols, the local joiner who built our folding doors, also built my Great Wall of China cupboard. From then on it has been steady progression: from the Great Tiled Wall (aka toilet block circa 1910) : Dom found the tiles on ebay and they were on sale.  The shelves are from scaffold boards and Mr Clutterbuck the local blacksmith made our lovely brackets based on a drawing Dom sketched out.  The bottom cupboards were a little while in the planning stage as we I changed our  my mind a few times : Dom tracked down the manufacturer of those self closing/soft closing cupboards and Mr Nichols built the fronts and oak drawers accordingly. The inner bits of the two smaller cupboards came from Ikea.  The cup handles were off ebay. Dom got the wood for the counter from a timber merchants and Mr Nichols cut it to size.  Dom put three layers of sealant on the counter and it has been super ever since.

The glazed back door came from a local Edwardian house and was being thrown out.......

 I bought an old copper door handle (very heavy!) off ebay a few years ago waiting for it to be used - it is now our tea towel holder -  I think it is delicious.

This was me moving stuff onto/into the island CLEARLY WHEN IT WAS NOT YET FINISHED...

Oh - old towel rail again....

Step back in time:

This was me being daft and pretending I was in Upstairs Downstairs

Room with a view!

Ah my taps - love my taps (shallow am I....)

This is the 'other side' of the island (the less densely populated side of the island I think)

We  quite frequently  use several bowls at a time when cooking. One is not enough

A bit more cramming has gone on in the china cupboard.......

Towel rail again - ha ha

 A reminder of shelves - these have worked out just super.  As pretty much all of it is used once a day (plates/glasses/bowls) then there is no 'dirt' build up, which is just as well as we have yet....

..... to finalise extractor

To celebrate old copper tea towel holder  Bronte showed me how to make lino prints : I particularly like this old Scandivian design (I have an old wooden one of these which I drew round to get the shape and scaled it down to make a lino print of it) - so now this old Scandinavian goat  is immortalised on our very own hand made vintage linen tea towels.

That is what I love about making your own things - it will be just how you want it to be (if you're lucky and with a tail wind - some things I make are not so great.......)

The final stages: The island bit had proved to be the most tricky for us to decide upon.  Dom drew out many different styles and sketches and I realised that it would never happen if I just didn't make a decision.  Mr Nichols made it from tulip wood and oak - the taps are some lovely old Edwardian ones bought off Ebay.  We have an old Belfast sink in the garden but decided to buy a new one (I have had a stainless steel one for years but really don't like it).

Put it together and what have you got....

Love my taps (I am still shallow)

I know that this photo is a bit dark (and kitchen still unfinished) but this is the 'hidden' bit - the bit you cannot see unless you walk round this side of the island. Up until that point it looks 'relatively' uncluttered (for me at least!).

We have some old enamel lights to fit in the middle of the kitchen and a recessed ceiling extractor but then it will be finished.  A fraction of the cost of some kitchens and worth the wait.

I fully, entirely, utterly and  completely appreciate that I am lucky to have a kitchen at all.

and then I can open the doors and step out to sniff the flowers

 Mr Nichols put up with some more mind-changing (whilst he was making it.....) but eventually (nearly) all done.

To celebrate I then painted the downstairs loo in order to co-ordinate (kitchen and loo ????????). In the loo mirror you can see reflected some more jugs across the way...oh dear.

This is the new to me old back door which will eventually replace the other one. Cost £26 which I thought was pretty good.  There are now three doors of the same design but with different colour glass all linking to each other.

Made rec currant jelly with my neighbour's red currants (he doesn't like them)

I made many large jars full but these are the small ones

I haven't lost my love of embroideries - I still have one or two (COUGH, COUGH)

The detail is lovely I think

To my shame I found this one at the back of my wardrobe - I have now hung it on a wall

I still am a magpie when it comes to old fabric and 'stuff'

I bought one or two bits and bobs but nothing too exciting -

A set of lovely cups and saucers - trembleuse I think

I have done  a bit of sewing - not as much as I used to sadly but enough to 'keep my hand in as 'twere

I bought a scrap of fabric from a charity shop and after much unpicking and ironing have enough for quite a few different things

Bronte has developed a liking for Edwardian clothes and this was a poor looking item when I bought it from a charity shop - it was brown but  an overnight soaking transformed it

I did not make these meringues (I can no longer bring myself to talk of the GBBO sadly........) but I liked the display on one of my old tablecloths

I dressed Mary in a new/old dress

Bought another basket (£4)

Tried yet again to sort out my drawers but gave up ...........again

Made and sold some purses and bags

And the garden - where would I have been without my garden during the intervening year.

These are roughly in order of the season - from early Spring until the other week

The rhubarb forcers were reasonably effective...but initially rather a weedy display and not quite the feast I had hoped for!

As we live in an Edwardian house I have been deliberately been cultivating (no pun intended) an Edwardian 'look' in the garden. Over the years I have bought many, many old pots - usually for around 20 pence or so. Some are extraordinary and have their thumb prints from the people who made them all those years ago.  I love my old pots

These photos must have been early Spring as there isn't much growing

The robin which built its next under our porch last Spring.

Nice and Edwardiany

Remember these two forcers, which I bought from a car boot some years ago - £12 for the two I think and somehow I cycled home with them on my bike!

Each pot has something nice growing in it and I do not mind one bit watering them.

They are the most versatile of garden objects.

I buy my bulbs from Wilkos and get excellent value for my money (even better if you wait for them to be reduced)

By juggling my pots around I had a nice display from late February to July !

I bought some little aquilegia from the car boot and they flowered and flowered for weeks. That is my old faithful tree peony on the right

The rhubarb finally came good after its slow start

Car boot hydrangea has been great

I think that this must be early'ish Spring as more  things have started to come into flower

Washing on the line below


Keep an eye on this view of the garden below and, just like that scene in 'The Time Machine' we shall watch it change over the Spring and Summer months

I have waited several YEARS to get a photo of my blackbird taking a bath in my blackbird bath.

Usual jumble

These perennial foxgloves were excellent - all bought from one of my favourite car boot plant sellers

Rhubarb started to come good at last

These next few photos must be 'proper' Spring as great tits nested in our bird box - yay - it was joyous

Always time for tea

See how things have changed again here - the foxgloves (very pleased with these one which I grew from seed the previous year and had masses of flowers all over the garden) are now out.

Starting to fill up nicely

I have bought a 'new' old back door as this one is on its last legs sadly.  New old back door will be in place soon I hope

It is a great unfurling of both the garden and of the year

Went to Chelsea again

And returned home thinking - why isn't my garden like some of those...........

Come the summer and I was able to have the door open which was lovely

Planted up one of our old wall fountains which we never got round to using (bought 30 years ago)

A bit more colour with each week

On top of the shed Dom made he also made a tiny roof garden which has proved to be wonderful. Our garden is teeny tiny so every bit of space is used

Here I am carrying the 'Edwardiany look' a bit too far perhaps....

As Dom replaced all the guttering this Spring I thought that it was a good time to ask him to re-jig the system so that we could fit an old Dolly tub as our water butt. He was soooo pleased that I asked him as he had nothing else planned that day......

  It works a treat and I can scoop out rain water to water all those ruddy pots!!

At last I was able to pick roses from the garden (front and back)

And my foxgloves too - they were wonderful this year

This might be Pattie's Plum

I grew some heritage broad beans from seeds I bought at Chelsea

More foxgloves continued to flower for weeks in this corner

At the local salvage yard there was a wonderful old wooden shelf for a fiver - all weather worn so ideal for my old pots

Lavender plants were those cheap ones from Lidl - I have taken cuttings of lots of plants this year to see it all through to the next

All my roses come from the car boot seller - not sure of the name of this one but it smells wonderful

Old fountain filling up

Dom dug up a little bit more of the grass and used some old bricks to make a bit more path for pots

GREW DELPHINIUMS FOR THE FIRST EVER NOT EATEN BY SLUGS - we achieved this only by going out EVERY night slug hunting

Old shelf close up - lovely honeysuckle also from car boot



Painted the shed window (Ebay 99p) a different colour which I prefer

This must be early to mid summer I think as it is all looking rather full

Fountain now full

This campanula did not stop flowers for weeks and weeks.

Sitting in the morning sun.......

I bought this old bath from a local junk shop about 15 years ago

Pegging out some old bits

This is Mary's dress in close (and being worn by Maille)

And still it did not stop flowers........

From hereonin the photos are a bit muddled as these ones are only from the other day when I started potting up my pots with bulbs all over again.  ~Sorry for any confusion

Before you know it the year is drawing to a close and it is time to start all that bulb planting all over again

Other bags I made and bits and bobs

I think that these two photos must have been at the height of summer as I had got the stripes out!

I lined an old straw basket with some old fabric

I got rid of some of my old books (still plenty left)

Ditto old brooches

Back to the summer again (sorry) and managed to grow two Texensis clematis (first attempt got eaten overnight so then put in a pot)


Bought an old scrap album from car boot

Taken lots of cuttings and planted lots of seeds in preparation for next year

Still flowering.............


Grew this rose from a cutting from a bunch of roses from Lidle - has taken a year!

My old pots and books

Some of Bronte's lovely simple art work

My lovely flower kinder - bought a box full from the car boot and now pride of place on the mantlepiece

They remind me of suffragettes

Another make

Tatty bye everybody, tatty bye and I hope that you all have a lovely Christmas