Category: Creative

Oh the joys of packing…

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This an old post, but so apt for today when once again I’m knee deep in suitcases: The children may have changed, but the problems haven’t!

 

When the kids were babies I soon realised that to avoid the crying of souls (mine) I needed to be excruciatingly anal about packing, particularly as it’s not and never will be an art form that comes naturally to my psyche. The truth be told:

1. I hate it.

2. Even the impending thought of it gives me brain-swell.

3. I am a self-proclaimed light-packer. Until I pack.

4. I could just take cut off shorts, a white t-shirt and flip-flops..but why suffer clothes envy if you can avoid it?

5. How DO you take the minimum clothes for the maximum occasions?

6. I’m continually haunted by the idea it’s all wrong anyway.

7. There’s a profound anguish that the weather is undoubtably going to go through an unprecedented solar flux and be the opposite of what I’m reasonably expecting. Even though it never happens.

8. Will it really be hot/cold at the equator/in the mountains because it’s not hot/cold here (delete as appropriate).

9. How can I pack the stuff I’m wearing now?

10. What do people mean when they ‘throw a few things in’?

11. How do I know I won’t be invited to tea with the Queen or Beyonce or Karl Lagerfeld?

12. Why do I always have the most cases? I packed light..

13. And why do they never shut?

Burnt too many times, I learnt to make furtive lists on the computer in the hope that nothing vital in my then sleep-deprived-likely-to-find-hairbrush-in-fridge-state like nappies, nappy sacks, first aid kit, tranquillisers..would be disastrously and time/happiness sappingnly forgotten and there could be hope yet for my marriage.

Those days are (almost) gone, but the discipline has proved invaluable and certain rules still stand:

1. Start packing 5 days in advance and wear tea towels if necessary.

2. For a week or more pack 5 sets of underwear plus 3 of each for the rest (t-shirts, shorts etc)

3. Summer holiday for me…just dresses, the ultimate capsule wardrobe…beach dresses..other dresses..end of.

 

Now I just have to learn to take my own advice…

Laters, Kate xxx

Switched on x

We still have no starting date for the construction of the garden office pod.  But that hasn’t stopped the dreaming.  I’ve found this company – Loomlight Design– based in Leicester, that specialise in creating unusual reclaimed and salvaged lighting plus a little bit more…

Like industrial cast aluminium light switches made from recycled alloy wheels.

(Which can even be personalised with dimmers and text of your choice.)

And check these out..no-nonsense door handles.

(All info LoomlightDesign)

Roll on start date..

 

Laters, Kate x

Twinkle, twinkle x

T

Somethings are meant to go together –  bread and butter, Kate and John, gloves..earrings. So what do you do if one goes missing?

If you’re artists Lauren Sagar and Sharon Campbell you turn them into a work of art – The Chandelier of Lost Earrings.

It’s a concept of multiple layers – the power of many, making something out of nothing, the transformative power of change.  More than 3,000 earrings were donated by people who wanted to be part of the project originally linked to St Mary’s maternity hospital in Manchester.

Along with earrings, letters and stories were attached from each donation.

(Links here)

Collectively it’s a jewel of a piece.

I’m just glad they never considered socks.

Laters, Kate x

Hard style x

It’s hot here in London. Silly hot – sun fat dying insects hot where the air is a physical wall of heat rising up from the baking pavements and stumbling off buildings and glass.

So why am I thinking a bit of hard landscaping is in order? Mad.  But it’s not something for today but to be chewed over, slowly.

We have a pinch point in the garden just where the table is.  If the flowerbed there was taken back a couple of feet it would make much spatial sense.

Besides, who does’t love a bit of cobbling? Chosen carefully it can transform the mundane and put heaven in a backyard.

 

Laters, Kate x

Trayed x

If less is more than the more has to speak volumes.  Which doesn’t apply to our current tea tray.  It’s the only one we have – round, crudely painted with white undercoat that literally laughs at me with it’s many stains and unclassable imperfections, too gritty to even rank as boho.

It was bought from Ikea many years ago as a DIY project. But I think I’ve always known that there were better painted trays available than I could ever produce.

(All pics Pinterest)

And so it has languished, used but unloved.  The butterfly moment is never going to happen. Time to love a replacement and move on..

 

Laters, Kate x

Project concrete x

There was a project this half term – to make fairy light stands for the garden, just like these ones.

The aim was to have pure concrete at the bottom rather than a container of any sort.  I found these 7 litre tubs in the pound shop and hoped the flex on the sides would mean the hardened concrete would pull out easily.  The easiest way to mix the concrete was separately, in each tub.  Tip of the day: mix it in layers rather than all at once – put a bit in, add water, mix…add a bit more, otherwise it hard work..and there’s always a bit you’ve missed..otherwise, I didn’t know how easy concrete playing was. Like play doh for grown ups..

The concrete was nothing posh.  Bog standard from DIY store.

I had six foot metal poles from homebase (£4.75 each) to go in the middle, held in place with duct tape till they were hardened.

It was surprisingly easy to pull the finished bases out. Ta-dah!

I bought s-hooks from Amazon.  The shape of this particular hook was appealing with it’s straight side to fit in the pole and the curvy end to hold the lights.

In position..pic taken today as the rain streams down…the hooks are held in position with window putty. Simple.

The final thing will be to paint them all black – when the weather improves.  And then photograph them with their lights. Maybe then I’ll do a post on finished projects because the mirror has finally gone up in the downstairs toilet too….

 

Laters, Kate x

Lighten the mood x

The plan for the garden light poles is well under way.  The pound shop proved to be a rich source of materials, as did our local DIY store.  So far I have £1 trugs for the bases, £4 two metre black poles, 2 bags of cement and some ‘s’ hooks ordered online (I’m hoping they’ll be the perfect shape for one end to sit in the pole, the other to hold the lights.  We’ll see).  The powers that be have promised summer will return this week, so hopefully it will be a gentle evenings activity putting it all together. Until then, enjoy these interior nods to summer where light and natural wood evoke thoughts of sunbeams and curled cats.

 

(All pics Pinterest)

Laters, Kate x

For this weekend..

We have two large garden parties in the diary to cater for – one in June, one in September. Just enough time to put the thinking cap on.

 

After weather, lighting has to be the key ingredient.

So I’ve ordered 2 metre fence poles from Ebay (cheap as chips) to concrete into tubs.

A few hooks and just imagine what we could create..

Laters, Kate x

Synchronise Watches..

Charlie has a joint eighth ‘survival’ birthday on the Common tomorrow (I’ll be doing my sun dance once I’ve written this) (and stocking up on paracetamol/large flagons of alcohol).  I saw these army characters in Poundland and thought candle holders!

It could all go horribly wrong – I couldn’t find my glue gun this morning so have resorted to carpet glue which promises to glue plastic if you leave it to cure long enough….

We’ll see…..

Laters, Kate x

The Garden x

This was the dream:  Box hedging filled in with lavender, off set with a white climbing rose.  Simple.  Effective.  And then the Box Moth caterpillar arrived en masse and started to do it’s worst.

I tried – I went round each plant, taking off the beasts and cutting back all the plants, then hosed them down with the pressure hose, all to no avail.  The buggers came back.  So drastic action was needed..all the box plants have gone.  My flowerbeds are a wasteland with nothing more than a couple of brave shoots. I’m desperate to re-plant and nows the time to do it, but as you can see, the fence needs replacing (the neighbours have been building an extension) it will happen, and quite soon..but nothing can go back till it does or risk builders-boot-annihilation.  I hope there will still be enough time to get some summer colour…

This is the plan..when the green light does shine I’m going for blousey minimalist (I think this could be a new ‘thing’)..filling the entire bed with lavender plants and one white climbing rose.

I keep telling myself dreaming is good.

Laters, Kate x