Thursday, June 28, 2012

2 down...

Esme's bedroom has been finished on the DIY front for a few weeks now (just need a chair for her desk), so I am ready to begin Connie's room.  However before I roll up my sleeves again I thought I would post some pictures.

The walls are painted in Alabaster by Benjamin Moore; it is a chalky chamomile lotion pink/white which you can't really see from my bad photo.  The curtains are from her old bedroom with grommets punched in so they can fit the pole and the ceiling fan you can just see is Minke Aire (expensive but well worth the pennies). 

The bookshelves are Ribba picture ledges from Ikea.  The best comment was from my youngest when she saw all the books out on the shelves "Mummy it makes me want to read books & books!" Box ticked me thinks. 

These adorable little pictures were from the Rose Bowl Flea Market, the best part of the room in my opinion.

The 'washing line' is picture wire & I covered regular wooden pegs in wrapping paper.  A place to display pictures, favourite drawings & key words.

The desk is an old sewing machine table which I spruced up with a fewseveral coats of paint.  You can see the transformation on this earlier post.

And of course her quilt, which she is now happily sleeping under.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Children's desk from sewing table

I wanted my daughter to have a desk in her bedroom as she is starting Kindergarten this year and will have homework to do. I bit of P&Q in her own room might be just the place to do it!
I would have liked this one from the Land of Nod but $599 for a kids desk is really way to much money for me.

Land of Nod Desk & hutch

I took to Craigslist and found a few possibilities.  I nearly parted with 100 bucks for a desk a similar style to the one above, but then found this ugly duckling, and secured the deal for a mere $40. 

It was an old sewing machine table which had been 'done up' - black spray paint & a brown faux fur plastic cover top put on. Nice job, NOT!
Mr Maker kindly took the nasty brown top off, and the original top of the table (with the hole for the sewing machine in it) and topped it with a piece of MDF which I'd got cut to size at Home Depot. 2 coats of primer & 2 or 3 coats of paint later Esme had her desk.

Please excuse the Verizon box in the pictures, very bad feng shui for you or I, it goes with out saying Esme doesn't notice it.  We have yet to find the right seat, she currently uses a stool that doesn't quite fit the colour scheme so didn't include in the photos! 

Saturday, June 23, 2012


I have made my first quilt.  It really was easier than I thought, although saying that lovely Nancy did the actually quilting part for me. Hope that is OK for quilt purists?!

The fun starts with choosing your fabrics.  I had accumulated mine for nearly a  year.  The bunnies were my bedroom curtains as a little girl (which my Mum made), she says the fabric was from Conran, although they do not do fabric's any more.  The ditsy pink flowers are a gorgeous Liberty tana lawn print (True Up gives a great list of stockists) which I got last summer when I was in the UK.  Several are Innocent Crush by Ann Marie Horner and the last fabric is the third curtain from her old bedroom which was no longer needed.

First job is to cut out the squares. I did 8" squares as recommended by my friend's Mum (thanks Colleen!) with 5 across & 10 long.  Then lay out the squares in your desired pattern, which takes a bit of jigging around to get the look right.  
Sew the rows of blocks together first with 1/4" seams. It was easier just to lay the fabric together rather than pin, it sat flatter.  
Press the seams to one side then join each row together to make the finished quilt. I did pin the rows together as you need to be as exact as possible.  I understand that other quilters unpick if their joins are off, the bodger in my didn't bother!

Nearly all the corners are like this...

The odd one is like this...
I decided to give the quilt a border which I squared off at the corners. I would have liked to mitre the corners but I didn't have enough fabric.  This was 6" wide as that was all the fabric I had.
The front, batting & back fabric was magically quilted together by Nancy whilst I made up the bias binding.  At her recommendation I made it 2 3/4" wide which I pressed in half (good sides out).  Machined sewed it to the front then pressed.  I used hair clips to hold it in place (it sits flatter) while I hand stitched the other edge to the back of the quilt.

 Yay! Finished!  It was used for the first time last night, hopefully the first night of many more. Sweet dreams Esme!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Camping Heaven

We are a family of happy campers and even happier since we've been camping in California. The whole process is easier than in the UK; from the packing up (crates in the garage straight into the boot of the car vs. grovelling through the loft space down 2 flights, walk down the street to the parked car then into the boot) to the packing up at the end of the trip. No wet tent draped over the banisters.

If you are not a camper I urge you to try it, you'll like it!  My friend Nicola at A Pip & Peach has a good list of camping essentials.  Here are some pictures of our latest trip to El Capitan State Beach.  A fantastic spot next to a lovely long sandy beach with rocks for rock pooling.  We even had a swim by of at least 20 dolphins frolicking in the waves. Amazing. As you can see from the map its snuggled up to the freeway; enough beers and you don't notice the trucks any more...
Girls like to climb trees too!

Supper time

Beach action
Camp swing

Compulsory camp food in the USA is s'mores (a biscuit sandwich of chocolate & toasted marshmallow) but we decided to break the mould one night and make chocolate cake baked in oranges. It was worth it!  It was really easy as it uses a packet cake mix (not something I would do at home but very convenient for camping)

First up scoop out the inside of the orange and give to passing child to munch on.

Fill hollowed out orange with cake mix. We filled ours about two thirds full (we had 6 oranges for one box of cake mix) of chocolate mixture.  Put the 'hat' back on the orange and wrap in tin foil.

Put orange parcels directly in the fire & wait! I can't remember how long they took, best to check by opening up one.  
Some exploded out and made light fluffy cake, others were deliciously gooey and uncooked.  Next time we'll rotate their placement in the fire...

Happy Camping!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Why buy new?

I love a great thrift find, as you may have gathered by now. Seriously why bother buying new flat pack for three times the price when you can get something previously loved? To me its a no brainer.  What is more enjoyable; rummaging around a thrift store finding a bargain, thinking how you can make it your own when you get it home or fighting your way round Ikea?  As someone who fought their way round Ikea on Sunday (BTW got a lovely new bathroom sink!) I know which I prefer.
So this chest of drawers is now part of our family.  It was 50 bucks from our local thrift store.  All she required was a new draw knob from Home Depot, a wash down and buff up with beeswax and orange oil.  Isn't she pretty? 
It is beautifully made with so many great features.
Gentle bowed front

Warm patina

dovetailed joints

Simple claw feet
I can't decide what the wood veneer is (it has been stained and is a beautiful dark walnut colour on the inside) or the age. Any suggestions?