Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Just when you think you are finished!

I promise, I have nearly finished, but this decorating has turned into a full-blown marathon.  It started with me removing some fake beams on the walls and ceilings, to fitting double doors in the lounge, making blinds for all the rooms, recovering the headboard.  I then covered the seat pads to the chairs in my kitchen and sort of decided to paint the kitchen cupboards Friday evening, which are looking good but would benefit from another couple of coats of paint, and now I need to repaint my table and chairs (which I painted white about 3 years ago and now look dull compared to the new paint on the cupboards) - oh dear.

The trouble is, when you start it shows up anything that looks a little worn but its amazing with a bit of hard graft what you can achieve if you put your mind to it.

Here are some pic's
 Here is my poor son (a carpenter builder by trade) who was doing all the building work for me - you can just see the shape where the old beams were previously located.
and here is the finished result after the plasters had been in and I had painted the walls and ceilings. 

I am delighted with the results - the whole lounge looks light and airy now as do the other rooms, it is lovely to sit in the lounge and watch the little birds land on the bird feeder.

I am desperate to get on with some sewing because I have seen so many lovely patterns, but I really want to have a good clear out of my sewing room first - I am also guilty of prioritising sewing over clearing up (like many of my sewing buddies) but I am sure, in the long-run, I will achieve more if I can have a good tidy up, sort out my patterns and stash etc so I can lay my hands on everything rather than wasting time looking for things.

I have been doing all these projects for around 6.5 weeks now - but you know it is sort of cathartic, and makes me think perhaps the old-fashioned concept of spring cleaning really is something we should try and achieve each year (its about 3-4 years since I last decorated).

At the ripe old age of 52, I have managed to accumulate a lot of possessions around me - some of which never see the light of day especially as this cottage used to belong to my parents and I inherited lots of their possessions, which while they wouldn't be something I would buy for myself, I find it difficult to dispose of.  I bet some of my readers also have cupboards with stuff in that has not been moved for years.

I have spent  little time surfing all the differnt blogs I follow and I was particularly impressed with one of the girls who posts lots of thing on The Stitcher's Guild who showed pictures of some hand-knitted jackets.  I can knit, and have made a few bits over the years and feel very tempted to buy a nice pattern and some wool and start again to add to my home-made wardrobe.

Last but not least I think I must be in a complete renovation phase of my life because my next project will be a big time weight loss.  I have promised myself to start tomorrow (1st June) and want to try and loose at least 20lb, but preferably 28lbs.  My current work involves lots of flying around the world, meals out etc etc and not enough exercise (despite the non-stop decorating).

I have a wedding in September and my lovely Chanel fabric that is waiting to be made up into something wonderful.  I just know that I will not be happy with anything I make while in my current mind set of feeling so overweight, so I intend to do a weekly announcement of my progress. 

Wish me luck.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

I have to finish this weekend.

I have been quite busy today because my D Mike and I had our beautiful granddaughter for the day - that is one big excuse to waste time - we picked her up at 9:30am - then went shopping for bathroom tiles before bringing her home for a nice 2 hour sleep.

She is really becoming quite a character now and brings a smile to all our faces.

Once Alana was safely back home with mum at around 4pm, and I had the house to myself, I started on blind No.2 for my bedroom.  I am not entirely happy with the spacing between the folds on the first blind and will probably take it down and unpick the blind tape, press the fabric and space them further apart.  My blue fabric has quite a bit of give (not the ideal for curtains or blinds really) so for blind No.2 I have spaced out the tape a little further apart and it does look better - I just have to take down the first blind, remove the tape and re-sew!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last night I sewed two strips of satin to a rectangle and used this to cover my headboard which now matches the blinds.

I started sewing at 7pm tonight and its now 12:30am and I have just finished my daughter's blind.  For her's I used some old black-out curtains so I didn't have to line them.  The result is a much better blind.  I have trimmed the edges with the satin fabric and it looks great, leaving me with one more blind for her room.

I have bought the kit to make a blind for my French doors - but I need to give that some more thought.

So I leave this post with a note of tomorrows essential jobs:-

  1. Make 2nd blind for daughter's bedroom
  2. paint woodwork in my bedroom
  3. paint black beam in kitchen
  4. re-cover the kitchen chairs in the black fabric
  5. Cook Sunday Roast for the whole family of 7
Not so essential, but nice to do, will be some scatter cushions for the lounge and my bedroom, and a runner for my bed, but these can be done during the evenings.

Of course I still have to clear up my sewing room which is acting as a temporary storage room, and rehome all the fabrics I removed from the set of draws I brought down for my bedroom - but I am getting there.

We have another bank holiday here in the UK next week for the 2nd May day holiday - I am hoping to take the Friday off too so I can perhaps indulge in some nice "me" sewing because I am getting withdrawl sysmptons.  Kathryn aka fzxdoc from the Stitcher's Guild site said that she has been needing to make some blinds for her house for a couple of years now but give her a dart any day ---- Kathryn if you are reading this, I know exactly what you mean now. 

Hopefully I will find the time to find my camera (last photos taken on the phone), but it all looks lovely and I am shattered and need to go to bed.

more later....................

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

2 blinds down 5 to go.

 This is my first attempt at Roman Blinds - so on the whole I am quite pleased.  I divided the blind into 3 and inserted the black panel in the middle.  The problem with using two different curtains was the difference in fabric - the black was much thinner than the cream fabric and as previously mentioned when I removed the ruffle tape from the black curtains, I managed to rip the fabric.

You will see a cream tube running across the top of the black panel - this disguises the ripped fabric and sort of ties the whole lot together phew.

You can see me experimenting with my cushions.  I had a few cushions made out of the original cream curtain fabric so I wanted to incorporate the black into the cushions. 

You can see here some black fabric folded and placed on the cushion as a sort of centre panel and then I gathered the fabric into the middle with a piece of cream fabric again.  I quite like this look so will probably try to adapt the cushion so may hand sew the black fabric onto the front of the cushion.  I am trying to bring a slightly more contempory look to the house but still keep it stylish so thought I would use thethe black, cream and white colour scheme, but make each cushion a little different. 

If I find the time maybe I will embroider one cushion (I have an idea in my head but will keep you in suspense until I do it) ha ha.

For my blind I required the cream fabric either side of the black panel to measure 19" and the black to measure 20".  I then added 5/8" for the seam allowance.

I took one of the ready-made curtains (cream), folded it in half and measured 19 5/8" from the hemmed side and cut the two side panels in one go.  For the black panel I did the same thing, but this time I measure 10 5/8" (half of the required width) from the folded edge and cut.  This gave me the 20" required plus 5/8" on each side for the seams.

To make up the blinds:-
  • Right side together, sew each cream side panel to the black panel
  • Right sides together, now sew each lining piece (cream) to lining of the black panel you will now have one curtain lined.
  • Black-out lining fabric.  I had sewed black-out lining to each of my curtains by hand - so unpicked this to re-use on my blinds.  I measured the width of the new curtain, cut a piece of black-out lining to fit and attached it to the top edge of the new lining fabric sandwiched between the two fabrics.
  • Turn blind right side out - press
  • Turn top edge over making a 2" hem and sew the velcro or loop tape to the hem covering the raw edge of the fabric with the tape.  Stitch top and bottom of the tape.
  • My folds were 10 1/2" apart so I sewed 4 Roman blind tape running horizontally across the blind.
  • Last but not least I just sewed the lining to the curtain leaving a gap large enough to slip the bottom weighted pole into.
  • Trim the rods to size and slip into the Roman blind tape (I had 4)
My 2nd blind came out better than the first so hopefully by the time I get to my 7th blind I will have got the hang of it.


  • getting a large amount of fabric through the machine arm.
  • excess fabric hanging over the edge of the table
  • keeping all the fabric layers flat when sewing on the tapes.
For my 2nd blind I marked the back of the curtains with pencil lines for the positioning of the tape and pinned it into place before sewing. 

I am sure if I had just used some bought fabric and made these from start to finish it would probably taken less time than me trying to recyling my old curtains - but I have manage to produce a completely new look for the cost of one pair of black curtains (bought in the sale) and some purchased Roman blind kits.  The curtains were still in excellent condition and it would have been a waste to throw them out.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

not as far as I hoped for

I didn't quite get as far as I wanted, but had a full day nonetheless.

My first job was to finish clearing the decorating tools left over from last night - at 11pm last night, I was just too tired to do anything more.  That took a little while.  Next was to work out how to make the Roman Blind.  I am recycling my old curtains and adding a black stripe down the middle of the blind so first step was to calculate the amount for the middle section and those on each side.

Because I am using curtains rather than fabric, and because I am being thrifty with my time, I was trying to save the hemmed edges and bottom.  I removed the ruffle tape from the black curtains by snipping the first few stitches and then just ripping the tape off (like I did with the cream curtains), sadly the black fabric was rather flimsy and the fabric ripped.  I couldn't cut the ripped part off because I wouldn't have enough fabric so had figure out a way of dealing with the ripped fabric (yes I know it was my fault). for the ripped area I stitched a cream tube and stitched across the ripped area.

first I attached the cream fabric to the black central piece and then did the same with the lining - so far so good.  I had added some black out fabric to my old curtains by hand, so wanted the sandwich the black-out fabric between the fashion fabric and the lining (this was a little fiddly).

Next stage was to put a 1.5" hem on the top and sew on the Velcro (loop tape) followed by the Roman blind tape with a 10.5" space between each one.  This proved difficult with the bulk of the fabric getting it through the arm of the machine.  I have heard that the use of bulldog clips helps (but of course I didn't have any). 

I sewed a 2"hem to slip the bottom pole through and then I was ready to hang the blind.

It looks OK, but I think I need a pelmet so will cover some thin wood with the cream or black (haven't made up my mind yet) and then I will be happy.

More later (haven't found the camera yet).

my weekend job update

Well yesterday was pretty "full-on" - firstly I must have the most annoying birds in the UK who seem to think that they should wake me up around 5-30am singing their little hearts out.  Now don't get me wrong - I love my birds and have a bird feeder sitting outside my newly installed french doors so I can watch them feeding, but at 5:30am in the morning my enthusiasm diminishes in preference to sleep especially as the alarm goes off at 6am every day and there is bearly an time to get back to sleep.

Anyhow, now I have vented about the birds (who on this lovely Sunday) repeated their morning alarm for me, over my tea and coffee I was reviewing my list.

I managed to get loads completed yesterday assisted by Mike and Lewis who I directed better than those Toyota car factory workers:-

  • putting the glass shelves up in the lounge - DONE
  • putting the floating shelves up in the kitchen- DONE
  • removing the large shelves in my bedroom- DONE
  • remove smaller shelf from my bedroom and give to DD- DONE
  • putting up my cabinet for my china ornaments- DONE
  • Hang the large mirror in the lounge - DONE
  • fill the holes in the bedroom where we removed the old shelves- DONE
  • put 2nd coat of paint on the ceiling my bedroom- DONE
  • paint the walls my bedroom- DONE
  • put up the wallpaper in my bedroom (thankfully only one wall to create a "feature" wall)- DONE finished at 8:30pm last night
  • buy a new light for the bedroom and another chrome light switch & 2 sockets- DONE

So all in all I was very pleased and even managed a couple of things not on my list - venetian blind for front door and the new French doors.

Now I had to make a bit of a sacrifice last night - my TV in my bedroom was previously on a very very large shelf (installed for my mother when she was alive) which was so difficult to get down I had always left it when I decorated before.  Well in my complete house revamp (nope I don't do anything by half - if it is like a marathon up hill then I will be doing it) I decided it was time to take all the old shelves down, fill in the holes and paint.  Still I digress - my sacrifice - I EMPTIED ONE OF MY IKEA DRAW SETS (the holder of my fabric stash) TO PUT IN THE BEDROOM FOR THE TV TO SIT ON AND TO STORE MY D MIKE'S CLOTHES.

Now I can hear my fellow sewing enthusiasts gasping in horror at the thought of this, but rest assured, on my way home from work on Wednesday night when I more or less pass the IKEA shop, I will purchase a new set so my precious stash can feel safe again.

So as soon as I post this blog, I am going to get out the Roman blind instructions and get on with some sewing.  My DS (Lewis) is coming over this afternoon to finish some of the jobs he had left to do, namely the boiler door, the fuse box cover and get him to put up my Roman blind tracks --- the rest then is sadly down to me. 

Sunday's jobs.

  • Lewis to make a fuse box
  • re-install the door over my boiler
  • paint the black beam in the kitchen (may have to wait until next weekend)
  • Make 2 x Roman Blinds for lounge
  • recover the footstools in leftover curtain fabric (may have to wait until next weekend)
  • putting up the Roman blind tracks
  • cook Sunday roast for all the family - its my D Mike's birthday on Wednesday so this will be my family's special day for him. 
 I bet some of you are thinking why hasn't she put any photo's on this blog ----- well if I could lay my hand on the camera I would - but it is hiding somewhere upstairs and will probably not come to light until I have finished tidying up all the mess and finding homes for all the things I no long want on display in my bedroom, lounge or kitchen.
MD Mike went to his other un-lived in home last night, predominately to see his son but because the sailing season has started in full swing now so he had an early start to get to the sailing club - he should have stayed here - my dawn chorus would have woken him up in time.
Best make a start - If I find my camera I will take some photos of my Roman Blind sewing experience.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Nearly there now on to some sewing - 7 x Roman Blinds

Well I have finished painting my last window in the lounge last night and I have to say living in a twee cottage is great, but those Georgian windows are a killer - 24 panes for each window.  Have painted the two windows in the lounge and the door (also Georgian style), and the two windows in my DD's bedroom so that now just leaves my bedroom.  I am close to losing the will to live now.

I have tried to do something each evening after work to make the most of this weekend because remember I started all this the weekend before Easter.

Thursday night I was removing the ruffle tape from my original curtains ready to give them a new image as a Roman Blind.  I have found quite a good You Tube clip from Terrell Sundermann.

Terrell shows you how to make the complete blind, however when I paid my local hardware shop a visit it worked out more expensive to purchase all the individual components than it did for me to buy a ready made Kit - so I used my friend Google to search for some kits and ordered them.  

The kits arrived on Thursday, however didn't include Roman blind tape (which I had to dash out and buy yesterday) and I am now deciding how best  to make them up.  I purchased one pair of black curtains (in the sale of course) and I am going use them to put a black stripe down the centre of the blinds - so black in the middle and cream either side.  I googled a few images and this gave a really nice look.

So jobs for this weekend include:
  • putting the glass shelves up in the lounge
  • putting up the Roman blind tracks
  • putting the floating shelves up in the kitchen
  • removing the large shelves in my bedroom
  • remove smaller shelf from my bedroom and give to DD
  • putting up my cabinet for my china ornaments
  • Hang the large mirror in the lounge
  • Lewis to make a fuse box
  • re-install the door over my boiler
  • fill the holes in the bedroom where we removed the old shelves
  • put 2nd coat of paint on the ceiling
  • paint the walls
  • put up the wallpaper in my bedroom (thankfully only one wall to create a "feature" wall)
  • buy a new light for the bedroom and another chrome light switch & 2 sockets
  • paint the black beam in the kitchen
  • Make 2 x Roman Blinds for lounge
  • recover the footstools in leftover curtain fabric.
Now in an ideal world, I would have all of this done by the close of day on Sunday but I doubt that will happen.  I need to find some fabric for my bedroom because the colour scheme will be mink and blue --- I think I have some mink fabric in my stash, but not sure about the blue.  Also my DD's bedroom will also need the blinds made - Think I can get away with using the cream curtains, but not sure if I should use the black trim on her's.  Will see how the lounge ones turn out and then decide.

Wish me luck - hopefully in a couple of weeks I can restore some calm and order to the house and get back to some nice sewing projects.


Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Painting a House is like having a baby, once you start you can't stop.

I think painting a house is like having a baby, once you start you can't stop!!! Having plastered the walls and put on the "miss coat" (think that's the term) the diluted first coat of emulsion paint, I was ready to put the colour coat on the walls.

My D Mike managed to put two coats on the ceiling (lounge only - another 3 rooms to do) and said he can still see white spots on his eyes - I managed to get 90% of the walls in the lounge with the 1st coat of colour.  I was painting until around 8pm last night (I just wanted to get as far as possible - and once I had a shower my whole body said enough is enough and reminded me of every stroke I had painted with muscle ache.

I take my hat off to all plasterers and painters and decorators because its hard work.

Painting will have to come to a halt as I am back at work today and will not be able to do any more until Thursday night/Friday night and the weekend now.

Once the painting has been done - I have to sort through everything before putting stuff back - that is a frightening thought - this is definitely THE BIG SPRING CLEAN.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Painting today.

Today was a productive day - lots and lots of paint has been bought to paint the ceilings and walls, and we started with painting the ceilings - some of the walls are still wet so will have to wait until tomorrow - and those not dry tomorrow will have to wait until next weekned as work resumes again on Tuesday. 

My D Mike and I are now able to sit int he lounge, but there are no radiators on the wall so are snuggled under a blanket watching TV both suffering with "painter's arm".

I think we both need to get back to work for a rest now.

Royal Wedding

I thought I should really put something on about the Royal Wedding .

We had to camp out on my bed to watch it because my lounge was empty of furniture and TV because it was being plastered so there were 3 of us sitting on the bed eagerly awaiting to see what Kate would look like and spot the outfits we loved or hated.

Personally I think Kate looked beautiful and as everyone stated the dress was definitely Grace Kelly inspired

Kate's mother also looked great in her beautiful outfit sadly the photo in the link doesn't show the amazing detail that went into the outfit.

Lots of my work colleagues and friends around the world pinged me to say they had seen the photos - for those of you reading this blog - here are some for you too.