Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ah Home

around ours, at the mome(nt)

I hate those timber blinds. Anthony loves them, and although I've tried my very hardest to convince him to let me ditch them, he will not budge, so I'm stuck with the bloody (dusty) things!

(extra points if you've noticed our cowhide is looking a bit flasher than usual. It's a 'new' one, op-shopped for thirty bucks a couple of weeks ago. Its predecessor (the one I found on the side of the road not long after we bought this house) has been moved to our bedroom)

We are repainting the walls in this room (only two are papered. DON'T ask why! It'll stir up a hornets nest!) As I type, the first coat's drying. It's a tricky job because we have taken a leaf from Abigail Ahern* (she likes her colours dark), and chosen this:

which looks completely different on the walls. Much richer and darker.

Cutting in without getting paint on the wallpaper and trims has required the patience of a saint and the skill of an Old Master. Of which, I have neither! So far, so good though...touch wood.

pssst we are going shopping for something special for this room tomorrow, of the Danish/teak variety...To be continued.

Ficas Lyrata (Fiddle Leaf Fig) in West German planter
(those binds may be ugly, but they do make nice shadows)

Another Ficas and more detail of our plywood steps. I love those steps. We built them with the left-over bits of ply from my desk. They are wearing six coats of Tung Oil. Applied with a brush and sanded in between! Beautiful to walk on in bare feet. We are tempted to lay ply floors in the rest of this part of the house, but I think (hope!) we'll end up going with polished concrete which is a pretty good alternative (some things are worth splurging on, aren't they Anth?)

Here's a before pic
(from the real estate listing - it was not love at first sight!)

It looks much 'nicer' (and cleaner) than it did in real life too!
(there was an identical (and equally useless!) space on the other side of that wall before we pulled it down)
Btw, those curtains have gold cupids all over them!
And none of the windows opened or were made of proper window glass. Some of the panes, and I use that term poetically, were even broken.

Here's what it looked like sans carpet and wall, coat of white paint (no more custard Mel!), and the gap between steps patched up.

You can see where that wall used to be. We're stuck with the beams though, because it would cost a fortune to remove them. At first I hated them, but they've grown on me and I kind-of like them now.

We like to kid ourselves that we've got a bit of a warehouse thing going on is this part of the house (ha!). What we're trying to do is make the best of a series of bad cobbled-on extensions without going into debt in the process. 
Now, want to see something really ugly???


is our bathroom door. We have to stick a screw driver in a hole where the knob used to be (before it fell off!) to open it.

(it has a matching window! It doesn't open either)

But don't worry, it's going.

I've told Anth, it's goodbye door (and window), or goodbye me!
I'll show you what's behind the door another day, when I'm feeling's pretty bad. Disgusting is a word that gets bandied around here, revolting, and (my fave) repulsive, are others.

On a happier note, here's what my Ficus are going to look like when they're all grown-up

nice eh?

pic from Decorating with Indoor Plants, A Sunset Book, published 1980.

(if you ever see old Sunset Books on your travels, grab them. The pics are great and they're full of handy info - especially if you like a bit of retro in your house and garden)


* Gosh I like the way she writes, and her design philosophy - basically she throws all the 'rules' out the window - I like that too (but I'm still not keeping that door!)
p.s. and on plywood ?


Monday, February 25, 2013

Succulent Succulents.

We love our succulents around here.


Panda Plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa) in West German pot.

and out

Agave attenuata

(all freebies, found on the side of the road years ago, and still going strong!)

I like to think of them as living sculptures. Plants that look like works of art. I pinched that line from my 1965 copy of Better Homes, House Plants, but I couldn't put it any better myself, so it's staying!

Succulents are just as fashionable now as they were forty years ago when my Mum planted them in her rockery.

all images from Succulents and Cactus. A Sunset Book, published in 1974.

images Better Homes, House Plants, published in 1965.

All the cool kids have them!


what about a succulent you can sit on???

Check these


incredibly beautiful


intriguing cushions (pillows).

If you had one of these, you'd be really, really cool!

Handmade by Sabine Herrmann, and for sale in her shop Plantillo.

I just want to touch them, don't you?

Sabine also makes "wooden pillows" too, and her leaf pillow?! Have a look, you'll see...


p.s. all pics courtesy Sabine (thanks Sabine x)

p.p.s. thanks for all your ego boosting comments on me and my skirt...thank God it's a skirt and not a head's so big now, I wouldn't be able to get it on!!! 
Edit: read this funny article on "how to steal and propagate succulents". It's a good one. While you're at it, why don't you pop over to Patsy's she writes a good blog, I think you'd like it. I do.   

And if you want even more succulenty goodness(!), how about this? (thanks Tam x)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sew, I Made a Skirt...

wanna see it?

okay, but first a little preface before the big reveal:

It takes a lot for me to put my mug on this blog, I HATE having my photo taken, ask anyone and they'll tell you how much. If I can avoid it I will. Honestly, point a camera in my face and if I'm quick enough, I'll turn the other way (or try to hide behind the person I'm standing next to!)

Posting pics of chubby two year old me sitting on Father C's knee, not a problem! Photos taken two days ago - that's huge. I don't know how those fashiony bloggers do it!

me, my skirt and my desk

(I feel like such a dill!)

So (bearing the above in mind) I'm posting these pics purely in the spirit of sewing sisterhood. My lovely (and much more photogenic) friend Curtise made one too. We blew the cobwebs off our sewing machines, followed this tutorial to the letter (me with my tongue poked out in concentration), and made something we could actually wear. We are (inordinately) proud of our stichin... 

Haute couture it's not

but then I'm no Kate Moss either!

(check my desk, it needs some zhooshing, and I know it looks a bit high, but it will be just right when we install new flooring)




Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Real Thing

Yesterday was just a bit of fun, this is what it's all about

don't you think?

(telegram sent to Lucy Violet from her husband Tom. Check the date, now that's love)

Never mind grandiose gestures (like Frozen Valentine's Round), "tea" with the one you love, is all you need.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Frozen Valentine Rounds...

a retro recipe, 1960's style.

This is what you'd serve to your one true love on Valentine's Day fifty years ago...


it must be


There's not a man (or woman) alive who could resist your charms after eating this! Cream cheese, tinned fruit cocktail, gelatine, mayonnaise, marshmallows - as far as retro recipes go, this one's got it all!

If preparing this (I felt the urge to vomit long after these photos were taken!) is not a sign of the lengths you're prepared to go to for love, then I don't know what is!

(and you know it's gotta be love don't you, if your valentine actually man's-up and EATS this! It might just be a good way of checking, "sorting the wheat from the chaff" so to speak...)

Here it is in all its technicolour 60's glory

image, Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Cook Book (my copy 1969)


here's the recipe

because you've still got time...

Let me know if you get lucky.

p.s. this doesn't taste as bad as you'd think it would. Honestly.
p.p.s. the jury's out on its success as an aphrodisiac, hungry Anth?