Friday, 26 November 2010

Bottle caps are tops!

Hello from the snowy Highlands!

Today I am sharing with you my love for bottle caps. I like to save the lids from our plastic milk bottles because they have so many uses. Today I used one for mixing a little paint to touch up some scratches on our mahogony bath panel. These lids are just the right size for small amounts of paint and I don't need to wash up afterwards. Very handy!

I have many other uses for these little lids. Next post I will share another handy tip for using these lids. So DON'T throw them away, hang on to them and lets see how many uses we can come up with.

(This was last night, just after it had started snowing. My little girl was so excited she went out without putting her coat on - there is much more snow today)

Wednesday, 24 November 2010


We don't celebrate thanksgiving in the UK, so I am sharing a very Scottish Highland and totally un-thanksgivingy image and sending greetings to all my American bloggy friends. I pray you have a very lovely time with your families counting all the blessings you have.

Happy Thanksgiving !

Thursday, 11 November 2010


In 2000 we moved to Belize in Central America for 2 years. The best part of it for me was all the wonderful people I met while there. My husband worked as the Principal of a small Christian school and through that we came in to contact with some amazing people. I have many fond memories. However, life there was not as comfortable as we have grown used to in the UK. We frequently were without water, did not have AC, had no hot water for washing dishes, and the only hot water tap was in the bathroom- not attached to a shower, so we used to fill a bucket with warm water and then wash ourselves with the aid of a plastic jug. It would have cost too much to fill a bath, but I do have some hilarious pictures somewhere of my daughter having a bath squashed into a blue plastic tub - I wouldn't dare embarass her by sharing those!

Food was expensive and we often had to trail round several shops to get the things we needed at a price we could afford. Sounds like I am grumbling about it, but no, it taught us to be more appreciative.
Yes, food is getting expensive here too, but the food on offer in the supermarkets is incredible. The first time I visited Tescos after we returned I felt overwhelmed by the choice.
When we moved back to this country, I said I was going to paint a lizard or a gekko somewhere on the wall of each room in our house to remind us to be thankful for all the blessings we have in this country that I used to take for granted.

OK, so where are all the gekkos in my house? Well, I've told you how long it has taken me to get around to doing all the rooms, and now we are finishing it all off with a view to selling, so the number of lizards now totals one! Yes, that's all I am afraid. He's in the master bedroom. I wonder what the people who purchase this house will make of him?

So...the next house we get...Lord willing...lots of gekkos!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

How to make a desk pad

I made the desk pad yesterday- (not that I haven't got another million jobs I should have been doing,) but it was very satisfying all the same!
Please excuse all the junk in the background. I have boxes of stuff sitting all over the place waiting to go out to various places. We've been doing some clearing out.


I happened to have a piece of hardboard just the right size although I have made these before out of stiff cardboard, so if you want to make one, then cardboard would be fine.
I had a scrap of fabric left over from a past project. Just a little bigger than the board size. Do you remember my peg bag ?
It is a Laura Ashley fabric scrap I was given by my sister in-law who is a wonderful interior designer. How I love her scraps!
I cut it allowing around an inch and a half overlap all the way around.

I watered down some pva glue - just a little bit, then spread it evenly over the front of my board and smoothed down my freshly ironed fabric over it.
Then I flipped the board over and stuck down the edges with the help of some masking tape to hold the fabric in place while the glue dried. I have made one of these before using iron on bondaweb. It was much less messy and far speedier, so if you are wanting an instant fix, then go ahead and use bondaweb.
Once the glue was dry, I used some scraps of vintage leather to make some nice neat corners on the my desk pad. The size I used for the leather strips was 1 1/2" by 4". I made a paper template first to get the right size. I used my hot glue gun for a strong stick and only glued the leather onto the back of the board, leaving the triangles open on the front for tucking in paper or little notes.
The scraps of vintage leather came from a chair that was fairly broken up but I didn't want to waste the leather. I had bought two of these chairs - yes two, for £1 a few years ago at my local auction. Here is the other chair which was fine but didn't have a seat cushion. I had a bit of foam so I cut it to size and made a cover for it. It's my favourite chair.
To neaten up the back of the desk pad I used a bit of lurid green felt I had leftover from a puppet project. But you could use whatever you like. If you use bondaweb, then you could use ordinary fabric because the bondaweb will prevent any frayed edges. If you are using glue, then be patient and let it dry properly before turning your pad over otherwise it will stick to your desk -not that this has ever happened to me ;-)

These deskpads are very handy for protecting a desktop or table, and perfect for when you are using your sewing machine and don't want to mark your furniture. They look pretty smart too.

I wonder if you'll make one...

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The Desk - a long story!

I finally finished painting my husband's desk! This desk has been with us since we were first married around 21 years ago. It was our first trash rescue as a couple. It was being thrown out and was across the street on the kerbside looking sad and lonely. We waited until it was dark, and tiptoed with it it across the road to our first apartment.

It had been painted in thick white gloss - badly painted - so I stripped it down and painted it with an acrylic satin paint in ivory. I painted a decorative teal line on the side drawers and the top - like a rectangle with a curved indented corner. It was very Laura Ashley. I wish I could find a photo of the Laura Ashley furniture that I was trying to emulate. We used it in our large dining room as a sideboard/buffet table, and it was very useful.

The next house we moved to, we sadly didn't have room for it, so I gave it to a friend who did. After a number of years we had both moved house again, and this time, she didn't have the room for it and I did, so I asked for it back - I'm cheeky that way! This time it became Naomi's desk. After a number of years it started to look a bit worse for wear. The acrylic paint is never quite as hard wearing as oil based paint, so I stripped it back down again and sanded it ready for a repaint. The desk then came with us when we went off to Belize in Central America for a couple of years. It never did get it's re-paint. I used it as a sewing desk and Naomi still used it as a desk too. It had quite a bit of glue stuck to it, and a number of scribbles in fibre tip pen where she missed the paper. When we came back to the UK, it became my husband's desk, and he has never complained about the unfinished scribbly state it was in. It remained in this sorry state and only now have I finally finished it! I used an oil based paint this time. A Crown satin paint in an off white. I'm not planning on re-painting it again - like ever!

I have changed the handles from drop ones, which were quite pretty, to these drawer pulls. ..I have a bit of a thing for these kind of drawer pulls, plus I love how they echo the shape of the shell on the middle drawer
I bought them about 11 years ago. I think if I could do it again, I would have bought silver handles, but otherwise, I am very pleased. Now the hard part. Getting the desktop to remain tidy

I have a cunning plan. The in-tray has been done away with - it had became a dumping ground for any bits of paper lying around. I have tidied out the drawers and now the top right hand drawer has become the in-tray. I also need to make some kind of desk pad to protect the top surface. As you can probably see we are still carpetless, but this is the last room on my list, so I better get on with all my jobs! Hmm, now for a desk pad.
Thanks for dropping by!