Category: Creative

Interior x

 

The interior of the garden studio will be a new building with an old soul.  Nature, natural, re-claimed, loved and lovable will be the theme pulling it together.  Soft edges, patina and unprecious the by-lines.

 

 

The space will not be big, but that does not exclude character.

 

 

The walls will be exposed wood, the floor wood, covered by a jute rug.

 

 

Down the left side of the sitting room, on the adjoining wall to the office, I will finally have the perfect place for the remains of my Cado storage system I originally bought for the sitting room for TV and has remained under a bed ever since – we only needed one section, but I bought…three! It’ll provide much needed storage, a place for a record player and an extra desk space – always useful.

 

 

The pod will divided into two – a small office room with storage on the left side, a larger sitting room on the right.  Both will have stoves as heaters; this has been a moot point – I would love proper, wood burning stoves – but we live in London, and I don’t think it’s fair on neighbours or the environment, so they will be electric, but cunningly disguised to look the business.

 

 

The office room will be a vintage homage, simple desk, anglepoise wall lamp, pictures and storage.

 

 

At the far end will be a door leading to floor to ceiling storage for things like our tent and paddle boards.

 

 

Still to be finalised is the ceiling – I would like to do something to suggest a bit of drama – nothing on the scale of these – but possibly some narrow cross beams, to add shadow and interest, a miniature of these above.

 

 

Further indecisions are whether there will be space for a small mezzanine level – a place for children to hide. Or will it eat too much into the space?

 

 

And whether to go for build in bench sofas with storage – or something else.

 I suspect budget will be the dictator.

 

 

Laters, Kate x

 

Designed x

 

It’s taken longer than I ever anticipated, but I’ve finally finished the design for the pod; there’s such a freedom to be able to design something for yourself, but when, barring council restrictions and budget, the sky is the limit, choices can be overwhelming.  But bit by bit, by concentrating on what is allowed and what would benefit the space available, I think I’ve got there.  The main inspiration is this garden studio above – I love the simple shape, but there’s also beautiful and subtle detailing that suitably elevates and adds vital character.

 

 

I would love to have the more elongated, pagoda style roof, but the width of our garden won’t allow it.  But there will be a hint.  Unlike the inspiration, we will have a green roof and I hope to encourage plants both to grow up and hang down.  The driving consideration behind the design is because we don’t have a panoramic view to frame, why not go with private, enclosed, quiet and chapel like?  A secret, hidden space for gently moving light and contemplation. So the doors will be Georgian panels, the overhang shaded and the design understated.

 

 

The plan is for planting to cover and encroach, from the sides, from above, from below and even inside the overhang, to create a blur between garden and building.

 

 

The overhang will also protect from the sun and act as a privacy screen.  In ours will be fitted the salvaged stained glass panels, to cast colours and patterns and draw people out.

 

 

The whole building will be painted a bronzey brown as a foil to the plants and to visually push it back into it’s environment.

 

 

The overhang will be wide enough to contain a swing chair positioned to catch the last of the evening light. And if space allows, I would love a dramatic porch light.

 

Now for the inside….

Laters, Kate x

Windows x

 

Ebay is not a safe place for me at the best of times, but now with an official project – let me write that again with capital, authoritative letters – Official Project – as my cover, it is very dangerous; our kitchen is beginning to look like a reclamation yard.  But oh, the pleasure! These are the stained glass panels I have snaffled – genuine Victorian, everything between £50 – £60 (which I think is good value, though they do  need work). I have visions of them over the doors, at the back of the pod, even in the apex space between the roof. Who knows where their final resting place/places  will be, but I am loving the colours – the pale pinks, the greens and then the contrast of the strong blues and reds. I can imagine sitting on something comfy with a cup of tea, looking at the garden, with the late afternoon light sliding through making patterns on the floor. The real bonus was finding painted centres as well – look! A duck!!


 

(little cough..I have three of these…all slightly different. All insanely gorgeous)

 

 

This is possibly my favourite – a caterpillar! Such a great metaphor for life, the universe and everything…

 

 

Little glowing bits of handmade, re-cycled, re-loved heaven.

Now for the lights…..hehe

 

Laters, Kate x

Decision x

 

The Pod will be a 5m x 3m structure at the bottom of a South London garden.  But that doesn’t stop the dreaming. And whilst the pull to modern is strong, stronger is the call of the old, timeless, batty and slightly battered, which is possibly best encapsulated  in these pictures, a cedar cabin in Wyong Creek, Australia, from The design files.net, the home of Natalie Watson, because pictures always speak.

 

(All pics The Designfiles.net and Pinterest)

Strength and gentleness.  Gentleness and strength. Age and ageing. Peace and quiet.

Simple and honest.

 

Laters, Kate x

It’s Happening..

 

Mindfulness or madness, it’s happening…the builder has been booked to start on an office-slash-living room in the garden in approx. six weeks time: There’s no time to dodge, designs have to be finalised, visions pulled into reality and decisions made.

 

 

The bubble of thoughts has been brewing for a long time, probably now spurred on by lockdown and the possible threat of more – but the main catching point has been the big, overall concept – whether to go modern…or to look to the past and embrace traditional.

 

(All pics Pinterest)

Which one is it??

Laters, Kate x

Light my way x

 

I’m not here. I’m in a car, driving to Bristol, genuinely quite excited about experiencing a motorway again and moving wider than a 2 mile circle from the house.  We’re emptying The Husband’s work flat as he’s going to be in London till at least Christmas; Every cloud. The plan is to make a round trip in a day – normally a ticket to hell, but all of that has been subtly reframed by the thought of travelling at speed, the prospect of a horizon and the promise of new vistas.  Aren’t I the lucky one? These pictures were taken today – Sunday afternoon has become a potter time for me – projects to plan, things to do.  And this represents the first time I’ve tried to re-make candles.

 

 

The first thing was to get rid of the bits of wax left at the end of all the finished candles.  I found the best way was to pour in boiling water, which melted the wax, making it rise to the surface to create a wax plug that was then easy to remove.

 

 

My eclectic collection of containers, from tins to pots to old candle jars.

 

 

The wicks I ordered very cheaply from Ebay.

 

 

And stuck down with a dab of glue from a handy glue gun.

 

 

This was the super candle that inspired the re-make – a winter candle from the White Company with it’s gorgeous smell that died leaving lots of wax.  I melted down in a pyrex bowl over a saucepan of boiling water.  Once the lump of it became soft, I cut it up into smaller bits to speed up the melt.  I also added all the remnants of the other candles, because why not? Once everythings melted it’s possible to add various essential oils.  As the kitchen already smelt like a tart’s boudoir, I refrained.

 

 

Pouring in the liquid wax is not the easiest thing. I recommend a funnel.  Then I improvised with tin foil to keep the wicks upright and central.

 

 

Highly satisfying and highly recommended.

Laters, Kate x

Breakfast x

 

The title is breakfast, but the truth is I am not a breakfast person – a cup of tea to wet the whistle and I’m good to go.  Breakfast for me comes at 11 o’clock, but whilst I know the time I want it, it’s taken me a long time to discover what I want…

 

 

These things have made all the difference: Chia seeds. I remember having my first helping in a hyped up cafe where the portions were small, the prices were high and the vintage was new – in this country we like to charge extra for concepts, ideas and ambience, even when the ideas are copied.

 

 

It didn’t take long to find the recipe.  Welcome to my fridge coconut milk.

 

 

To make one kilner jar – or any other storage vessel –  fill a quarter with chia seeds, top to the top with coconut milk and give a good shake. Some recipes then add honey or other sweetness – personally, I don’t need this.

 

 

Which ends up something like this: Mum’s frogspawn. The benefit of which is nobody else touches it.

 

 

Twenty four hours in the fridge and it’s thick, gooey and swollen.

 

 

Perfect with muesli, a dash of coconut milk and fresh raspberries.

I would like to say this is on my desk now.  But it’s not 11 o’clock.

Think of me then.

 

Laters, Kate x

The dress x

 

According to one blog post, the voluminous dress is the new quarantine.  And who am I to disagree? So far, my basic wardrobe has consisted of cropped trousers and long buttoned shirts, double layered when the temperature dipped, as loose coats over t-shirts when the sun shined.  But temperatures due to hit 27 degrees this week, I think it’s time to transition to dresses.  My favourite summer dress is a dark green, cotton vintage dress made with a deep v in a batik print.  I love it.  I love the colour, the ease and the print.  In fact, I would like more of the same, but I can’t find and….so I’ve been trawling patterns on the web to come up with something similar.

 

 

And I’ve found three, and two of them, including the one above, need no pattern at all…and this one even comes with pockets!

 

 

This pattern comes This Little Miggy, a fab website with great ideas and a wonderful vibe, I would recommend a virtual tour.  The instructions are brilliant; clear, precise and everything you could need.

 

 

 

If you feel comfortable sewing, you may want to move onto this pattern from So Sew Easy – or rather, instructions, because again, this is simple, only measurements,  no-pattern sewing.

 

(All pics Pinterest, This Little Miggy, so sew easy, oliverands)

 

A finally, if you want to tackle a simple pattern to add sleeves, there’s this beauty from OliverandS

High summer dressing sorted.

 

Laters, Kate x

Feathered Friends x

 

I’m not sure if we’re in lockdown in London any more, maybe it’s a strange transition period, like wondering what to wear between seasons?  Because, despite the rhetoric, nothing has really changed for us; we’re still spending the majority of time in the house or garden.

 

 

But it gives me the time to salute some of my heroes of the past couple of months: The birds…their activity – the magpies that make me laugh, their song – we have a particularly vocal blackbird, their curiosity – yes, I’m speaking to you, unafraid Robin who watches me just a foot away when I’m gardening, the stories they tell – I’m gazing at nearly arrived swallows from my desk heralding the start of summer, and just their continual zest for life: nothing fazes them.

 

 

This post celebrates the inventive, simple but attractive ways we can introduce more of their joy into our lives.


(All pics Pinterest)

 

Which will hopefully lay down strong foundations to repay their gift and help them through the colder winter months.

 

A circle of life I value.

 

 

Laters, Kate x

This works x

 

I’m assuming it’s a reaction to the lockdown and the run on food at the start, over laid with a frisson of guilt that this whole thing is Mother Nature’s way of saying the greed has to stop, but my cooking habits are getting more frugal, but in the same way more inventive? A lunchtime staple is chicken marinated in garlic and lemon, cooked on a skillet.  Except now I keep the lemon rinds and follow the advice above here, except I put them in the oven straight away on a moderate heat, wait 20 mins keeping an eye on them – you don’t want them to burn and turn bitter, then satisfyingly crush them to dust in my mortar and pestle.  The resulting lemon dust is a citrus dream and I’ve used it in rice, on cakes, even on the chicken, anywhere for a burst of summer freshness.

 

 

(All pics Pinterest)

 

To wrap the grilled chicken,  I make Chapatti’s, so simple: one cup of wholewheat flour, one cup of self raising, one teaspoon of salt, two tablespoons of oil, enough warm water to turn into a dough. Mix. Knead for 10 minutes – get the days frustrations out – divide into 8. Leave for minimum of 10 minutes.  (I make at 11 when I do the family coffee/hot chocolate round, use at 12.30) Roll out as thin as you can. Place in bottom of skillet, no oil needed. Wait till it bubbles, turn, then on with the next one.

Fill with grilled chicken or halloumi or falafels or all three. Top with fresh salad and roasted vegetables. Drizzle with humus, tzatziki and red pepper tapenade.

 

Eat with joy.

 

Laters, Kate x