Category: Photography

Smallest Room Part 2

The wallpaper we made over the holidays? 

Despite just using the basics: Lining paper, leftover emulsion paint and cut up sponges – has worked a treat.

(Even though it meant embracing chaos)

This was the before state of the downstairs toilet. A mini dumping ground of DIY and general clutter.

First step was a deep clean of the tiles.  Vinegar, though powerful on the nostrils did the job.  A little bit of re-grouting was needed – and then I was going to dye the grout a dark grey, but I was concerned the new grout was of a different consistency –  less chalky, more rubbery so would they dye the same colour? It was an easier decision to not risk it. Besides the new pristine white of the tiles was impressive. Finally, paint – white on the ceiling and the Little Greene Paint Company’s French Grey Dark on the woodwork which is a soft, pinky grey that seems to blend with any thing.  A continual stream of Radio 4 plays on the ipad helped the process along..

The wallpaper went up easily: The lining paper was one of the thickest available and was aided by both pasting the wall and paper, and leaving the paper for a few minutes to fully soak up the wallpaper paste.

The randomness of the print meant there was no problem on the join – second piece went up where it went up.  Bliss.

The finished job.

Except there’s always one thing left to do…a fitted mirror over the sink. Sigh.

Better get ordering.

Laters, Kate x

Cornwall x

We’ve blown away the winter cobwebs with a week with family in beautiful Cornwall.

We were incredibly lucky with the weather.  Each day the sky was kingfisher blue, though it was a matter of how hot your blood was whether you braved the cold of the spring sea..

The surf gang preparing to face the waves. Note Grandpa Jack behind in three coats, hat..and eventually gloves!

And in!

Cousin love.

This was the natural rock pool close to where we were staying on Treyarnon Bay, large enough to swim in…

(There was this framed postcard of the very spot at the cottage. Shows it even better.)

Watergate Bay and meeting with friends.

The perfect natural slate plate for the perfect hot dog: Barbie on Constantine Bay.

And then a cheeky seagull actually stole a hot sausage off the barbie!

Impromptu wine chiller.

Bruce heading to the surf.

Sophie-bond-girl-extraordinaire following suit.

Charlie and Lexie.

Finding sea diamonds.

At a diamond place.

Laters, Kate x

The Smallest Room x

We’ve been printing.

Very simply with Sainsbury’s basic sponges bought for 20p a packet, onto lining paper and using left over paint from the kitchen renovations. Cheap as chips.

This is all part of the great downstairs toilet upgrade project, which after 10 years of abuse is sorely needed.

The idea is to paint the woodwork a mid-grey, homemade wallpaper above the dado (why not?!) and dye the grout (more on that in another post) between the metro tiles a charcoal grey.

(A bit like this)

The marbling was part of the experimenting plan for diy wallpaper for the toilet..except the problem was we could only make it in small sizes which gave a patchwork effect.  With printing we can make the runs as long as we need.  Brucie bonus to control within the chaos.

The inspiration for the print came from the above picture…

And the general sense of informal uniformity from pictures like these.

Embracing the idea that symmetry can just be too damn predictable.

What is working so well is the straight lines versus the diagonal against the curves of fingertips pushing the sponge into the paper.  I think I’m in love.

 Shame the next few days will be spent doing all the boring bits like filling and sanding.

But watch this space.

Laters, Kate x

First Craft x

Monday madness, first day of the hols and the sun was shining…we spent it in the garden with lovely friends marbling everything we could find.

We used these marbling inks from Brian Clegg for £9.50, ordered from Ebay..

(Plus the metallic set of 10 for the same price…they added a certain sparkle)

They couldn’t have been easier to use – drop on to water, mix with a skewer if you fancy, lay paper on top then peel off and dry..

The results were impressive.

This could be the wallpaper for the downstairs toilet..

So easy, so joyful!

Laters, Kate x

Snow Babies..

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I’ve read that personalities can be divided into two camps – cowboys and farmers. The cowboys are the restless ones, always roaming and seeking new pastures whilst the farmers solidly plough the same field over and over again. Our ski holiday embraced everything cowboy: Constantly on the go, incredible scenery, crisp air, the smell of wood smoke, peace (piste…and pissed as well) as well as a true sense of wonder.

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A fusion of manmade and natural – an icicle chandelier.

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We were in La Rosiere on the French side of the Aosta valley, ski-able into Italy. And by all accounts, were lucky to have snow.

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They were using snow cannons when we first arrived, but as the runs were in full sun it still made for great conditions.  And then it snowed.

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I’ve never seen this before – three rainbows, one on top of the other, made by the sun refracting through ice crystals in the air.

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It always amazes me how slopes look flat in pictures!

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We decided Charlie is really a secret snowboarder!

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And what did I wear?? John’s old two-piece from the eighties! Maybe not quite pure vintage swagger, but on a ski slope..the joy is no-one cares!

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And now I suppose it’s time to return to farming…and wrestling with the Einstein quote that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

The silver lining is our holiday proved that perfectly decent wheels can aways be reinvented..

Laters, Kate x

Christmas x

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The chandelier is decorated. Tick.

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New mirror inserted. Tick.

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Large star in kitchen? Tick.

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Christmas tree? Done. Finally got the damn lights to work.

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Elves? Here. Every day. When we remember..normally in bed at midnight..

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Christmas to do list? Still long – buy presents, wrap presents, hunt holly, find mistletoe, find stockings, clean chimneys, make gingerbread houses, ice cake, plant carrots.  It’s still reading like something the sorcerer would leave for his apprentice except without the hope of any magic.  So what am I going to do today?  I’m going to add a bright pink trim to the side of our kilim stair carpet.

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Just because I can.

Laters, Kate x

Hastings..2016

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It was pure fluke we arranged a  holiday in Hastings at the exact time of their 1066 celebrations to mark 950 years since the famous battle which changed English history.

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The enactment put on by English Heritage was epic, both in terms of scale and quality:  The sheer attention to detail was a joy to behold with every costume cared for down to the last buttonhole.

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Running up to the battlefield was a row of shops to supply us and any soldiers with their daily needs: boar hides, leather satchels, knives, jewellery, bone needles, hand loomed blankets, buckles and beer all hewn and authentically made so that seeing enactors interacting genuinely felt like a step back in time.

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On either side of the battlefield were the camps of the Normans and Saxons, true living and breathing hives of activity.

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From cooking food and tending livestock to weaving and making music.

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The day was packed with individual events, including a falconry show.  This is the closest I’ve ever got to a real golden eagle.

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And so the battle began..

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(The irony of the jester watching on..)

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It was fabulous!

Laters, Kate x

Bella Bella x

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So this post was originally written two years ago, to celebrate Bella’s eighth birthday.  On the day of her tenth birthday, I don’t think I can improve on the sentiment contained, except to say the words grow more concentrated with each passing day x

We’ve been in the garden county of Kent for the first week of half-term (it’s a two week break for us)  – and I thought I was prepared for the black hole of social media that this part of the UK has historically proved to be by taking a dongle with us, but even that was no match for the rich eiderdown of life that seems to squash the very lifeblood of the internet to nothing in these parts. On the plus side, life without the internet is a lot simpler..more old fashioned..and in the end, there was really nothing for it but to embrace the holiday spirit and go with the flow..it’s been a great break!

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We also celebrated Bella’s eighth birthday..it’s hard to believe, it seems only yesterday I was holding that tiny baby, watching the face of Big Ben tick round that first night we spent together in St Thomas’ hospital.  I look at her now and have the most enormous chest restricting rush – she is my open-heart production – vibrant, living, learning..I never used to worry so much about life, now there’s more grey..I’ve become an observer, teacher and pupil too. it’s weird – you think your helpless child will be totally reliant on you and you have your experience and the need to guide and help, but it’s just not true.  Instead it’s a constant balancing act that I don’t think anyone can get totally right: You want to lead, but you don’t want to helicopter. You want to love and cuddle, but you don’t want to smother.  There’s an undeniable pleasure in growing together in habits, tastes and socks…but the easiest thing as a parent is to see your child as a mini-you where you now have the ability to correct all the imperfections..or to see the person they are now as the character they will always be and deny them the space to grow..thoughts like that just end up passing the negativity down the food-chain, or so it seems to me..but then who am I to say?

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I know I don’t want her to be the child that has everything – but even deciding that is choosing a course of action, adding an intrinsic quality, another detail.  I don’t believe that love is materialistic, instead I believe adversity supports initiative – one of the greatest gifts a parent can bestow.  To that I add manners, self-respect and confidence  – far more important in real life than examination certificates.  I want her to have the space to find out who she is away from any expectations of mine and to be able to express that in any situation.  I want her to have the confidence to stand up and say her opinion whether it’s right or wrong.  I want her to make mistakes, whether it’s in her maths homework or something bigger, to learn there are always solutions if you look hard enough and mistakes are part of the stepping stones of life and shouldn’t be avoided…sometimes they lead you forward.IMG_0474

Life is as delicate as a falling feather but should always be a glorious caper..I hope she has a wonderfully misspent youth with sunshine smiles and audacious bursts of laughter, she is my joy, my love, my heart…and I hope that when the time comes, I have the sense to set my treasure free..

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Does mother know best? You dream about it..but ultimately kids appear from nowhere and have wills of their own and you’re just ordinary people trying to get through life the very best way you can, showing them life and hopefully a way of looking at things that opens the door to where the magic lies….

 

Laters, Kate x