31 January 2012

The Victorians knew how to tile a hall.

I went round to my friend's house today - she lives in one of the large Victorian terraced houses in the Victoria Park area of Cardiff. It was the first time I'd been to her house and before I got there I'd wondered if I'd be able to get the buggy in easily. I needn't have worried, because as I went through the front door, I could see that she had a wonderfully big entrance hall which was completed by a beautiful original Victorian tiled floor similar to this one:

Image from here.

Jealous or what - I would love to have original tiles in our hallway!

We decided to go for these plain tiles when we changed the ones in our entrance hall - mainly because they were really reasonably priced. I also generally think that if you can't find (or afford!) original features to go in a period home, then going quite modern works pretty well.

I love this hallway too:

Image from here.

And this one!

Image from here.

What do you have in your entrance hall? Are you lucky enough to have original flooring - I'd love to see a picture!

26 January 2012

Make do and mend: personalised baby card.

Heard today that my really good friend and her baby have finally been allowed to come home, after a week in hospital - baby Jasmine was four weeks early! 

We'll hopefully see them before the weekend is over, so I made her a personalised card to welcome her into the world (her full name is Jasmine Ann Bartlett).

Do you like it?

It was really simple to make - I used:
  • plain cream card stock
  • various different patterned papers
  • a craft knife
  • a butterfly hole punch
  • glue pen
  • glue stick

I started by choosing a font that I liked the look of on the computer. I then copied the initials onto the front of the card freehand.

Using a craft knife, I cut out the letters, making sure I kept the inside of the A and B to stick back on afterwards.

I then used the butterfly hole punch to stamp out the butterfly shape in the bottom right hand corner and stuck some pink shiny card behind it using a glue pen.

Next, I chose three different patterned papers and stuck these behind the letters so each one had a different pattern behind it.

Lastly (and I apologise for not showing a picture of this), I cut out a square of paper and stuck it on the inside of the card to cover up the individual pieces of paper that were stuck on behind the letters. This made sure the inside of the card looked neat.

Can't wait to meet little Jasmine, although she's going to make Astrid look huge - Jasmine was only 3lb 12oz when she was born and Astrid weighed 11lb 6oz last week!

25 January 2012

Beautiful square feet of the month!

I've decided that as my own square footage is still some way from being beautiful, I'm going to share with you more pictures of inspiring homes in a feature I'm calling "Beautiful square feet of the month!"

So, in the first post of this kind, here are some lovely pictures of a retro 60s family home. The house is spread over five floors and has four bedrooms and four bathrooms.

I really like the mix of old (the Ercol tables) and older (the armchair) in this picture. The pop of colour provided by the footstool and the cushion really stand out against the neutral background, but also highlights the tone of the wood in the room.

Another fairly neutral room - I guess in here the view from the window does the talking. I really like the interesting pieces in this space though - the mixture of old chairs and then the brilliant pendant and old mirror work fantastically well.

Give me wooden worktops and glossy cupboards any day! I really like the fact that the owners have gone to town with the lovely warm olive colour behind the shelves - it shows off their vintage crockery really well.

Although there is a slightly different style in this bedroom, I love the homely feel of the vintage mirrors and the mismatched floral prints on the bed - pretty!

All images from here.

24 January 2012

Our black hole.

When I say that we need to tidy up the back room before Torin can move into it, this is what I'm talking about:


We made some more progress this weekend - I threw away two bags of recycling and one bag of general rubbish. We've got tonnes of stuff to go to charity too, so I need to find a little time to take that to a shop soon!

We're still ploughing through our piles of books - managing to give some away to friends and colleagues, and selling the rest on Ebay (which is time-consuming in itself!).

I guess we'll get there eventually - now Astrid's here I really want her to have her own space in our house, even though she'll be in our room for a while longer. Mind you, David and I noticed last night that she's only got a little bit of room left in the crib - she seems to be quite long!

Hopefully before too long I'll have a lovely "after" picture to accompany this "before" one, but we've got a lot of work to do as you can see!

20 January 2012

Can't stop looking at . . .

Each week, I'll be sharing with you something that has caught my eye. It may be a picture, blog, product or website.

Our good friends Andy and Anna had their baby this morning, so it's a happy day in the Mellor household!

Inspired by the birth of Baby Bartlett (no name yet as she was 4 weeks early!) I'd like to share this picture of this dark and brooding nursery. Love those lightshades!

Image from here.

19 January 2012

Fly away CDs . . .

Inspired by Laura of Bugs and Fishes and her quest to give things away in her Less 365 challenge, I've begun looking around my house to see what I can get rid of. A while ago I looked through our CD collection and realised that we hardly listen to any of them anymore. Most of our music is now, I'm sure like the majority of you, is stored electronically, and we only listen to CDs when we are in the car. So, I sorted through our collection and ended up with a big "to go" pile and a smaller "to keep" pile. I'll share what I've done with the "to keep" pile soon . . .

I then had to decide how I was going to get the "to go" pile out of our house, and decided on my brother's recommendation, to use Music Magpie. It was really easy to use - you just enter the barcodes of the CDs that you no longer want, put the CDs in a box and then send them to Music Magpie. They then send you a cheque in the post.

Making the decision to cull our CD collection has freed up so much space for us! Before, they were stored in a cupboard in the spare room, but that cupboard is hopefully going to be taken out soon, when the bedroom becomes Torin's room, so we definitely had to do something!

I've arranged for them to be collected by a Music Magpie courier, and here's the box that'll be winging its way out of our house soon - there are 78 CDs in there!

Those empty nappy boxes definitely come in handy!

13 January 2012

Can't stop looking at . . .

Each week, I'll be sharing with you something that has caught my eye. It may be a picture, blog, product or website.

I can't believe it's Friday again! At the moment it seems days are going slowly, whereas weeks are romping by!

Have you by any chance seen Bookshelf Porn before? Don't worry, it's not at all riské. It's a blog for people who like bookshelves. David pointed me in it's direction as he knows about my preference for colour-coding!

The blog describes itself as, "A photo blog collection from around the world for people who "heart" bookshelves." Here are some of my favourite pictures from the site:

What a great use of space - incorporating your bookshelves into your staircase!

Such a good idea - make your books into art!

Love these bookcases - so pretty! Although, it would be difficult to find your books if they were all turned around like these! Pretty, but not at all practical!

All images from here.

Happy weekend, people! x

12 January 2012

In a grey mood.

I finally got too annoyed with the paint swatches that I put on our bathroom wall ages ago. I had chosen three Dulux paints in various shades of grey, and only one of them actually seemed to look like the colour on the card. Therefore, the decision of which paint I actually wanted has still not been made. Anyway, yesterday I picked up a paintbrush and painted over them in the existing colour of the bathroom, just to get rid of them.

Just to remind you, this is the current colour of our bathroom - it's Mineral Haze 4 by Dulux:

I remember when I was having it mixed, the guy in the shop asked if I was sure I wanted this colour as it just looked white to him. At the time I just wanted a tiny hint of colour in there, as I was going for a very neutral look in the whole house. 

Now I'm a bit braver, I want something a little stronger, but as we will have to work with the existing tiles and suite in there, it'll have to be a colour that goes well. I still think a grey would be the best colour to go with, and recently a lot of pictures that have caught my eye have turned out to be walls painted in Farrow and Ball's Pavilion Gray.

However, when I looked at the colour on their website, it seemed quite brown to me - what do you think? Have any of you used this colour?

Image from here.

I think I might just go back to the Dulux website and order a few more grey testers. I think my first choice will be to see what the darker shades of Mineral Haze look like, as I do like the colour I have, but you can only really see that it isn't white when you look at the space where the walls meet the white ceiling.

In this picture, the left wall is painted in Mineral Haze 3, and the right wall is Mineral Haze 2.

Image from here.

Any other suggestions? Do you have any greys that you have used and liked?

11 January 2012

Out and about.

Yesterday I was very brave and ventured out of the house with Torin and Astrid by myself! I know it sounds a bit ridiculous, but I'd been building it up as something that was going to be both difficult and scary. In reality of course, it was neither. Sure, it look a while for us to leave the house - first I had to get Astrid into her snowsuit and then into the buggy, then get my coat and shoes on, then I had to catch Torin, but, once we were out of the house and on our way, we were fine.

We walked to our friends' house for a post-Christmas catch-up - David's mum bought us a buggy board, which Torin really enjoys using, so zipping around with the two of them is actually quite easy and fun for Torin (as long as he remembers to hold on!).

When we arrived at the house, I was reminded of a scene from Absolutely Fabulous - I tried to find a clip of it, but wasn't able to, sorry. I don't know if you're familiar with it, but it's the bit where Eddie has invited her "minimalist" friends over and when they arrive at her house, she runs around shouting, "It's Bettina and Max! Clear, clear, clear!" The pay off is that when Bettina and Max arrive, they bring their baby, and they arrive armed with equipment that then splays out all over the kitchen surfaces in an explosion of bottles and nappies. 

My friend has a 17 week old herself, so her beautifully decorated living room had baby equipment in it too, but when the three of us arrived - me red-faced from the cold and the walk, struggling to get the buggy and buggy board through her front door and then covering her living room floor with all of our stuff including Torin's potty, I felt like my friend probably thought to herself, "Why on earth did I invite this chaos into my house?" Not that she would ever actually think that, she's lovely.

Anyway, we had a lovely afternoon chatting, drinking tea and playing with the babies, and then I managed to get all three of us and all of our equipment home again!

Changing nappies out and about these days is made more enjoyable by the fact that my mother-in-law, brother-in-law and sister-in-law clubbed together when Astrid was born and treated me to this lovely Cath Kidston nappy bag. 

Image from here.

Perhaps one day I'll be a yummy mummy, but for now, having a posh bag will have to do!

9 January 2012

Where Astrid sleeps.

Several people have asked me where Astrid sleeps . . .

She sleeps in a crib in our bedroom at the moment. Torin was in with us for about 5 months, so I guess we'll do the same with Astrid, unless she gets too big for the crib sooner than that. The crib was made by my late grandfather and I slept in it when I was a baby. It's so special to have a piece of furniture that means so much to my family - my brother and sister also slept in it when they were tiny, as did several of my cousins. My grandfather drove a crane as his day job, but was always tinkering around in his shed, making things out of wood. You may remember he also made the highchair we used for Torin, and that he drew these pictures.

The quilt in the crib was made for me by my mum and again, I slept under it when I was a baby. She made it using fabric remnants that were in her "bits" box. I'm not sure where the broderie anglaise fabric was from, or the blue and yellow material, but the brown floral pieces came from material that was left over when she made her own bridesmaids dresses.

Babies Astrid's age are so simple to look after compared to children of Torin's aren't they - you just put them down and they stay in the same place, and even fall asleep if you're lucky - can you spot Astrid in this picture? Yep, sleeping in her bouncer on our bed while I was getting ready (I actually had time to put on some make-up today as David took Torin out). She's 7 weeks old tomorrow - it's really beginning to feel like she's always been around, and I think I'm even beginning to get my head around having two of them now!

Here's a close-up of my sleeping beauty (really must read the guide for our camera and learn how to get the right bit in focus - sorry!):

6 January 2012

Can't stop looking at . . .

Each week, I'll be sharing with you something that has caught my eye. It may be a picture, blog, product or website.

My grandmother bought a really sweet vest for Astrid this Christmas; it's a little too big for her at the moment, or I would have put a picture of her wearing it on here. She bought it from a shop called The Oak Room, which can be found in the grounds of Hatfield House, Herfordshire. The vest came in a wonderful bag that was made from old newspaper, and had a promotional postcard for the shop inside. I was so impressed with the bag, and the pictures on the postcard that I took a look at their website.

What I found at The Oak Room, was a collection of lovely products for the home, as well as seasonal and celebration gifts, and a lot of stationery. I naturally went to the Home and Garden section first and found some unusual objects such as this Garden Rake Hook:

and this Russian Doll Ceramic Money Box (I'd love to get one of these for Astrid!):

One area of the shop I especially liked was the Haberdashery and Craft section, where I found this Live, Laugh, Love Paper Tape:

and these super cute little Chick Buttons, that can also be used as beads:

All images from here.

The website is described as "an edited version of our beautiful shop", and certainly, there are products that feature on the promotional postcard that I couldn't find on the website, but it's well worth a look at their website, and I'll definitely be paying a visit to their shop if I ever go to Hatfield House.

5 January 2012

Hearts and apples.

Do you like my new oven gloves?

They were a Christmas present from my grandmother - she clearly has good taste!

I really like the Orla-like retro pattern and the colours obviously match the ground floor of my house perfectly (red and green seem to be rapidly seeping from our living room and dining room into our kitchen at the moment)!

They're made by Typhoon too, so should last for a good while!

This year, my Christmas list seemed to consist of almost entirely very practical things that we absolutely needed (tea-towels, socks etc.) so it is great that these oven gloves are practical but very stylish!

Do you have something that's very practical, but also pretty?

4 January 2012

Beautiful Square Feet is 1!

I realised late last night that I began writing this little blog a whole year ago! 

Over the past year, I've really enjoyed putting posts together for you, documenting the decoration of my house, finding beautiful objects to share with you, and being inspired by the things you have to say.

A huge thank you to every one of you who has left a comment this year - I really appreciate your input and kind words. A massive thank you to those of you who are following me - it's really lovely to see who is reading!

3 January 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you all! 

Image from here.

Yesterday, we got back from a lovely time in Kent - we stayed with my parents over Christmas and New Year, and had a brilliant time seeing them and visiting friends and other family members. We had such a relaxing time; now we're back in Cardiff and I've really got to get my head around how to look after two children! While we're talking about them, you'll be pleased to know that Astrid's still doing really well - she's put on 2 pounds since she was born, and is even pretty much sleeping through the night! Torin's making a lovely older brother - he calls Astrid "sweetheart" and "darling" and wants to hold her all the time.

This year is a biggie for us - Torin will start going to nursery school when he turns 3 in May, I turn 30 in July, and Astrid will change so so much over the coming months. We're going to be busy!

Projects for this year include finally finishing the big clear up of the spare room and turning it into Torin's room. We'll also be turning what is currently Torin's room, into Astrid's room. After that, I'm going to finally get around to painting the bathroom; then in the summer, there are a few projects to tackle in the front and back gardens. I'm feeling positive about it all, I just need to as usual, find a few more hours in the day to get it all done!

I hope you had a good holiday and that 2012 brings you happiness!
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