30 August 2012

30 Things I Love: 3

Picasso print.

The third thing from my home that I'd like to share with you is our print of Picasso's Retrato de Paulo con gorro blanco (1923) that sits on the shelf above our television.

Several years ago, David, my family and I went on holiday to Salobreña in Spain - close to Malaga, Picasso's birthplace. We decided to visit the pretty, old part of the town and while we were there, we took in the Pablo Picasso Museum, and toured around Casa Natal - the actual house in which Picasso was born.

We bought this print as a reminder of our stay in Spain, and because we liked the colours in the picture.   Once home, I put it into an IKEA frame and displayed it on this shelf. 

What's funny, is that the boy in the picture has more than a passing resemblance to David when he was little. And, as a result, the boy also looks similar to Torin. So much so in fact, that someone (I forget who now though), actually asked us if the picture was of Torin!

How amazing would it be if someone did a sketch of your child and the artist turned out to be Picasso - you'd never have to work again!

What's your favourite holiday souvenir?

28 August 2012

Confetti Garden

Are any of you familiar with Nicole Hill's Confetti Garden? I stumbled upon it a while ago - I think I was flicking through blogs that had been nominated on Apartment Therapy's Homies list. You may have noticed it features on my Blogroll - well, that's because it's beautiful.

Described by Nicole as, "A sprinkling of daily gratitudes, sounds and visuals", it certainly holds my attention! Mainly a photo blog, Confetti Garden brings together some of the prettiest pictures I've seen since I started blogging.

Here are a few of my favourite images:

I really like the contrast of the raspberry against the dark grey.

 Zingy colours against an all-white background = impact!

Muted tones, vintage items and nature brought indoors make for a cosy bedroom here.

How many weeks until Christmas again? Seriously though, I really like the different types of light in this image.

All images found here (original references can be found there too).

While there's a notably consistent French theme to this blog, the featured pictures include a variety of subject matter: food, fashion, landmarks, wonderful rooms, musical clips and inspiring quotes.

Careful if you decide to browse through the archive - you may be gone for a while!

22 August 2012

30 Things I Love: 2

A while ago I started a new feature called 30 Things I Love. The idea was that before I turned 30, I was going to share thirty objects in my home that either mean a lot to me or that have an interesting history.

Well . . . I had my birthday last month and realised this week that I have been immensely slack in sharing any of my possessions with you! So, in the second of its kind, I'd like to share with you the new(ish) feature of 30 Things I Love:

30 Things I Love: 2

The red box.

I know this little red box crops up in pictures from time to time, so you may have already seen it, but I wanted to tell you a little bit about how it came to live in our house. David and I bought this red box from The Pumping Station, an antiques place in Cardiff, as a present to each other on our first wedding anniversary. It wasn't a planned gift, but we were there browsing, saw it, liked it and bought it as it was fairly inexpensive. We then decided to always buy ourselves a small antique every year on our wedding anniversary. 

We've no idea how old it is, what it's made of or what used to be kept in it. However, it's the perfect size for housing a box of tissues, so that's what we keep in it. It's moved around our house over the last four years but is now usually found sitting on this radiator cover in our living room.

20 August 2012

Style at IKEA

Is it just me, or does anyone else think that IKEA are using some wonderful props in their catalogue shoots these days? Last night I stayed up way past my bedtime, flicking through the new 2013 catalogue online and noticed that on many of the pages, my eye was drawn not to the IKEA products, but to the objects in the background. Some of my favourite items are included in the images below.

I really like the simple vintage feel of the luggage tag place settings in this tablescape:

I love the great mix of old and new among the items in these cabinets:

I can almost feel the softness of the brown leather bag on top of this shelving unit. Oh, and I think the wallpaper is pretty too.

Lastly, I have to mention the vintage-looking lamp that features on several pages of the catalogue. 

I found myself wondering what kind of Mad Men style office they'd swiped it from but then saw (and kudos to IKEA here) that there was a reason that the lamp appears on more than one page - it's their ARÖD work lamp. I really like its smart bluey grey colour - it would help to make for a soothing office environment. 

I do find IKEA handy for standard items like floating shelves and magazine files; though we have tried to keep the amount of IKEA in our house to a minimum, so as not to risk it looking like a page from their catalogue. Having said that, the 2013 collection really does show that it is possible to make their furniture and products sit alongside (and sometimes underneath!) older and cherished objects that you may have collected over the years.

16 August 2012

'Tis the Season . . .

Well, it's not . . . not yet . . . but with this rubbish weather it jolly may as well be! I'm really beginning to think that if it can't just be glorious wall to wall sunshine in August, then summer may as well give up and let winter take its place - at least we'd all know what to wear then! 

One of my Facebook friends noted earlier that it's only 19 weeks until Christmas! She runs a small business making things she sews and knits, so I suppose making time for Christmas orders must be on her mind, as I'm sure it's on the mind of several of you who are in the same boat.

19 weeks still feels quite a long way away - it is after all, four months away. My goodness actually - that means it's only three months until Astrid is one! Where has that time gone?

So, 19 weeks. That got me thinking about making Christmas presents. I think I'll try and go for it again this year. Last year, as Astrid had only just been born, I bought most of the gifts we gave to people. However, the year before I made all of our presents and really enjoyed the process, so I think I'll try to do the same this year.

Unfortunately, it was just before I began writing this blog, so I didn't take any pictures of the finished articles, but things I made included a Scrabble inspired cushion similar to these:

Image from here.

I also made a plectrum pouch for my Dad using an old tie. I used a guitar plectrum for the button on the front rather than this maritime motif.

Image from here.

I spent hours in our kitchen making various types of homemade curd, and vanilla and cinnamon sugar, which were actually pretty easy but just took a while and lots (!) of stirring to make.

For other people I took inspiration from artists like these below and filled frames of homemade artwork.

Image from here.

Image from here.

Image from here.

It gave me such a sense of achievement to make things for people, and they seemed to be very well received. I managed to work on making these gifts while Torin was napping or in bed at night. I think I was even finishing the cushion I made for my brother on Christmas Eve! I guess now I've got two little ones, if I'm going to make presents this year I'd better try and be organised and get started now. It's probably lucky that we've got 19 weeks to go!

What about you - do you make your own gifts? From where do you get your inspiration?

15 August 2012

Essential bathroom maintenance.

Sometimes essential DIY is so boring, don't you think? Give me a good feature wall to paint any day - making big, obvious changes is my kind of work. That's why today has been great for me - David has been sorting things out in our bathroom. Being a downstairs bathroom, it's not the warmest room in the house, and can therefore get a little damp. Even though I try to keep things spick and span in there, evil little mould spores still find their way in from time to time. The worst place is around the bath, and that's what David began to tackle today. 

We've tried to use sealant to form a watertight seal around the bath several times, but due to the monumental botch job left to us by the previous owner, the walls are so wonky that water still gets through. So, we had to come up with a (cheap) plan. We decided that a good solution, and one that would sit well with the history of our house, was to use edging tiles around the top of the bath. These would sit on top of sealant and then hopefully the grout and subsequent sealant would keep the water out, and we'd be left with a neat looking bath.

Here's how he got on today . . .

The little tiles help to make the bath look more solid, and as though it's always been there, rather than plonked in by a man who was trying to sell his retirement home bound mother's house quickly. We didn't have to look too far for somewhere that stocked tiles of these sort either - our first trip, which was to B&Q was fruitless, but we found this really useful kit in Topps Tiles.

Image from here.

This set is great for inexperienced DIYers as it contains enough tiles to do one long and two short sides of a bath, there are two end tiles that taper off at the edge to help the finished job look neat, and there are four tiles with mitred edges for the corners - hardly any cutting involved, perfect!

The only problem now is that the shiny new grout and sealant is showing up our previous efforts on the other tiles. Now, where did I put that white grout pen . . .?

8 August 2012

Going dotty?

I've realised lately that dots are popping up all over the place in my house. You may remember there's the taupe coloured  Kidstonesque tablecloth from Dunelm Mill that covers the high-chair cushions and the dining-room table:

We have some pretty and useful red and white polka dot tins in the kitchen that usually contain cookie cutters and Torin's treats. Do you also like the tiffin box my friends gave me for my birthday - lovely bright colours don't you think?

I also have this dotty baby changing bag that usually sits over the buggy handles in our living room (sigh) and I've also bought a length of this fabric to make a curtain to change a bookcase into a wardrobe in Astrid's bedroom.

My latest acquisition however, is this red spotty cover for my iPad. It was a birthday present from my grandmother and I love it. It's really well padded and as it's red, it sits really well in our living room when I'm not using it.

Other dotty things that have caught my eye lately are these cute pegs - a good way to make a mundane task more interesting!

Image from here.

And these amazing floor tiles - these would look so so good in our bathroom. At that price though, never gonna happen!

Image from here.
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