Category: DIY

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

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

Roses are pink..

 

I think today is meant to be a day of celebration – we are officially out of strict lockdown in London, except nobody knows quite what that means.  I read today that you can have a conversation with one person you know outside, but not meet my mother. Five year olds in a class will have to maintain a 2 metre distance when they go back in June – if they go back, and the one I love – I can drive a car with another stranger, if the windows are down!  My delight is the garden centres re-opening; I have plans for window boxes and filler plants I need.  This week my roses started to bloom! And with the air so clear at the moment, if the back door is open, even when walking down the staircase to the kitchen, I can smell them.

 

 

 

 

Blasting the roses with water has worked a treat re the aphids – thank you! A very eco friendly solution.  And it has the added bonus of rainbows when the sun is out.

 

 

One of my favourite combinations – this pink rose against the dark leaves of the smoke bush.

 

 

There were some casualties from the gale like winds of the past few days; the trachelospermem jasminoides (hark me!), the full grown version of the comb-over tree, has been pulled off it’s wall, and the wind did it’s best to destroy my seedlings, sending the ones in the egg box flying. I thought they were goners.


 

But I found the survivors, replanted, and they’re now in my study, by the window, being regularly watered from an re-used wine bottle, and are quite frankly  thriving.  The only problem is I had two varieties of plant, one in the lid, one in the main section..and now they’re all muddled.  But I’m sure time will tell…as it always does.

 

 

Laters, Kate x

 

Le weekend x

 

With the lockdown starting to fray, we wanted the kids to experience the stillness of London before it’s officially bubbling again, so we biked through the virtually empty roads all the way to Trafalgar Square, a 20 km round route (I have saddle arse to prove it).  The only thing to interrupt our peace were the all the gear, no fear mamil brigade, the blinkers of self-interest firmly down.  I saw three almost accidents, their speed seemingly taking precedent over a slower decision maker ahead.  Given the freedom of the roads, the nature of the situation, it felt greedy and uncalled for.

 

 

Trafalgar Square felt like a movie set from a post apocalyptical film.  It wasn’t just that there were no people there, the pigeons had left as well.

 


 

The weather wasn’t great, so I painted inside.  Since completing Carla Sonheim’s online class on flower portraits, I’ve become obsessed with painting all things plant.

 

 

 

I think I want to do a proper painting, a large one:  The dark filtered light down below, the open sky above.

 

Can’t for the life of me think what it represents…

 

Laters, Kate x

Layabout 2!

 

So Monday’s post was about soft, squishy, adaptable garden chairs and this photo made the prime slot.  But there’s no pattern.  But I don’t think it would be too hard to deconstruct: Two box cushions for the seat, make first.  Two side cushions, once done will give measurements for back cushion. Finish with leather buckles at side and back. I’m sure those with more skill than me can even pipe the edges…I may give that a go!

 

 

This looks like a piece of foam cut to size, versus bean bag beads for stuffing or foam bits. In many ways it’s is a simpler design, but possibly harder on the sewing? Again, I would replace the velcro with the leather straps.

 

 

 

And then there are variations on a theme!


 

As and When I make, I will post again!

 

Laters, Kate x

Layabout x

 

I’ve been exploring garden living, the sort that is lush, soft and forgiving, but then also thinking beyond just summer use to multi-functional, multi-family use…

 

 

What’s interesting is the prices – we’re talking generally from £500 upwards..the same price as armchairs with the wooden structure inside.

 

The set above? £1499 from Maison Du Mode.  I’ve seen the Sewing Bee…this is not hard sewing.

 


 

So I’m thinking maybe I’ll make my own.  And combine the best of what I see.

 

 

I love this design, lay it out and it’s a large, lounging cushion, close the leather straps and it’s a chair.

 

 

Imagine in ticking…

 

(All pics Pinterest)

Or a striking Peruvian weave….

And repurposed in the Children’s rooms during the winter months….

Food for thought.

 

Laters, Kate x

Carrying on x

 

As this week comes to an end we have potentially the biggest change so far – I have Bella at home for the first time today and Charlie’s school will close at 3.50 pm.  Things to be grateful for:

 

  1. My children are older.
  2. We have a garden.
  3. I like my children.

 

I think it also helps that I am used to working from home and already have systems in place that I know work. My rules are pretty simple: Run a planner to prioritise what needs to be done, turn off all distractions apart from appropriate music, set a timer – 30 minutes max, focus till timer goes off, re-set with 10 minute timer, start a podcast, do a cleaning or admin job to tick off planner.  Repeat. There’s something about this system that means you’re always willing to re-start the 30 minutes because you stopped it just before you lost concentration. And you always look forward to the 10 minutes because you left the podcast at a critical stage…

I am hoping we’ll all be able to work in the mornings, and create in the afternoons.

 

Through Carla Sonheim’s amazing website, I have joined the sketchbook revival for daily drawing sessions.  What appeals  about this is the unleashing of creative freedom that is the opposite to perfection.  I received the first pre-event taster in my email box straight away – (so far all of this has been free) – a tutorial with Calylee Grey on making a junk art journal from an old vintage book.  Utterly delicious and a must to do: You don’t actually need anything to start, other than a willingness to experiment and a drive to do a little bit every day.

 

This is my heaven.

Every cloud.

Laters, Kate x

Blooming Marvellous x

I never like this time of year; the glitter and sparkle of Christmas has been packed away, the weather is cold, grey, rain, the garden is sleeping, the shops are full of unwanted crap, and Netflix has been over eaten to the point of explosion.  But there is a little silver lining, a sliver of what’s to come, the turning of the tide: Indoor bulbs. Now is the time to raid charity shops, find big bowls and fill with your hearts delight.

 

(All pics Pinterest)

 

The second wave of wonder is, once they’re over, they can be planted in the garden. And the bowls are ready for giant summer salads…

 

Laters, Kate x