Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Chesterfield love.

Here she is in all her glory. The beautiful new sofa of my dreams. I believe I've spoken on here of my hatred of the cream leather number that came with our rented house so when I bought not one but two new sofas in the space of a week there was the glaring problem of where to put them. Luckily my lovely landlady had another empty house she was able to put the cream fugliness into and now we have a lovely living room filled with our own treasure.

Chesterfields (and burgundy chesterfields to be specific) are the only exception to my hatred of leather sofas and I feel like a real grown up now that I own such a sohisticated piece of furniture. I suppose it really ought to be sitting in a library which smells of rich mahogany and is filled with many leather-bound books but that will have to wait until our next house.

Here's the red one below which is really cosy and looks lovely with my Peruvian blanket over the back. We bought both pieces from charity shops and even though the chesterfield cost five times the price of the red one, it was still a fraction of what it must be worth. Plus this is a forever sofa.

The weird little creature is the worm out of the film 'Labyrinth' (he's freaked out several visitors already) and the cushion came back with us from honeymoon in Santorini. But it's the sofa that I love most. You may have gathered that.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Lamp progress and a new find.

You may have seen the flower lampshade in my recent post but I've now painted the lamp stand pink to match it. I didn't have the sense to take a 'before' picture but it was plain brown wood and from the 70s probably. I put masking tape over the metal bands and left a stripe of wood showing through.
I still need to wax and varnish the paint but I'm far too impatient to wait any longer to use it.

You may also notice a new and rather fabulous piece of furniture that Danny is reclining on in these pictures. A grown-up sofa which I am head over heels about. More pictures to come.

And here's my latest find. I volunteer in a charity shop one morning a week and the other day this gorgeous old bowl came in. Fortunately for me the shop doesn't sell anything that is damaged and this has a monster of a chip in the rim so I wasted no time in dragging it home with me, in return for a donation to the charity of course. 

 I'm no expert but I'd wager that this was once part of a basin and pitcher set from a wash stand and I wouldn't be surprised if it was the best part of a hundred years old. Feel free to enlighten me though!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

A saucy little chair

Introducing the sexiest chair around! About 3 years ago I went to a vintage fair with my Aussie friend Gemma and she bought this fabulous little chair plastered all over with pin-up girls.

Skip forward to a few months ago and Gemma was moving back home (by random fate with her boyfriend who is a childhood friend and neighbour of mine!) and needed rid of some of her belongings so I was lucky enough to be able to buy this off her. the Australian import authorities are notoriously strict so there was no chance she could get a piece of wood into the country. Her loss was my gain.

Can't you just imagine sitting on this chair at your huge dressing table in your impossibly glamorous 1930s dressing gown? I wish people still dressed like that these days - silk underwear and velvet evening dresses and hats with net and long gloves and diamonds at breakfast! I think I was born in the wrong era.

Thanks Gemma!

New Bar!

I bought this little gem in my local charity shop recently and it's sitting in our living room, awaiting a makeover. I must admit I've seen much more fabulous bars for sale before but very rarely and always at a price so I think this was a good find. 

I stole the glass cabinet for my new craft room so this has taken its place. I've thrown all our fancy glasses and cocktail equipment in there for now but plans are afoot to give it a new lease of life. I'm thinking mignight blue or possibly purple on the outside and if it's at all affordable I'd love to put gold leaf in the inside. We shall see.

I'm planning to make it look a bit art deco though I think it might actually be more 30s or 40s. What do you think? And how would you paint it? Feel free to comment with some inspiration.

Chin chin!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

word from the wise

A little nugget of joy from me to you. And Calvin is right, there really is treasure everywhere if you keep your eyes open.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Occupy Belfast

We called down to the Occupy Belfast rally on Saturday outside the old Bank of Ireland building in the city centre. The Occupy protesters managed to get inside the building a week ago and it's fitting that it is an old bank building and significant that it has been allowed to lie derelict for years when so many people are being evicted from their homes.

It is hoped that the gorgeous art deco space will be used for emergency housing for those who need it as well as a space for teachings and sharing of ideas. People are currently going about cleaning up the building and are hoping to get the running water. Tellingly the only damage so far has been caused by police who broke windows and doors despite having no legal right to evict the protesters.

Check out this video filmed on day two of the occpation. And why not 'like' Occupy Belfast on facebook; they're looking for equipment to set up a working kitchen so if you have anything lying around that might be of use then why not bring it down to the protesters camping out at Writer's Square.

Workers of the world, unite!

Craftiness: bird lampshade

Here is what I've been pottering about with for the past few days. I was inspired initially by this AMAZING lampshade below which is from Graham and Green but I didn't find its £400 price tag quite so inspiring so I decided to use a lampshade I got in charity shop to do something along similar lines. I'd still love to get a cage-like structure and make a more modern version like the Graham and Green one though.

I started with an old lampshade (look for ones with interesting wire work inside) and stripped the material and trim off. I've found that the material tends to be glued to the wire at the top and bottom and it's practically impossible to get it all off, but it shouldn't be too visable once it's all painted and decorated.

I then painted the frame with a couple of coats of emulsion paint (spray paint would probably be easiest) and then it was a fairly simple matter of wiring on artificial flowers and birds that I ordered from an online floristry shop. I covered some of the wires with coloured pipe cleaners. This is just my first version of the lampshade and I'm planning to make the flowers and birds from scratch next time. The floor lamp stand will be getting a re-vamp in the near future as well.

This is also the first project I've done in my new craft room at the top of the house. The light in it could be better but I got so sick of having half-finished craft projects lying around the living room (and I'm sure Dan was too though he was good enough not to complain) so everything is now in one place out of the way. I'll post some pictures once I have everything completely organised and pretty.

So what do you think? Does it need more flowers and things on it? Should the bulb be covered somehow? I'm hoping one day be able to sell a version of this so any advice would be appreciated!

Friday, 20 January 2012

Going deeper underground

This is Danny descending the wooden staircase down 54 floors into the Wieliczka Salt Mines near Krakow last week. Luckily there was a lift to take us back above ground, although that was quite an experience in itself because they insisted on squeezing 9 of us into a space that appeared made for no more than two. Below, Dan and Mary wait in the cold for the bus to the mine.

The mine is like nothing I've ever seen before - we went 135 metres underground but only saw one percent of the mine. But what a percent! There were sculptures, underground lakes, huge chapels and amazing salt chandeliers, all made by the miners in their spare time over the last few hundred years, and the mine has been in continuous use since the 13th Century.

This is the mind-boggling St Kinga's Chapel which is carved entirely out of salt including the floor tiles and crystals in the chandeliers. Like most visitors I licked the wall, just to check. And yes, it tasted of salt funnily enough. Most amazing of all is that this chapel and all of its sculptures were carved by three men, working one after the other. That's dedication.

The salt looks almost like granite most of the time but the light behind the statue below shows how clear it actually is. This was one of the most interesting places I've ever been and it helped that our guide Sebastian had us in fits of laughter the whole time.

Now if only I could have fit one of those chandeliers in my hand luggage.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

A birthday walk.

Monday was husband Danny's birthday but as we got back from Poland just the day before I didn't manage to organise much of a birthday extravaganza this year, whoopsie! We made do with a lovely walk in the forest in Crawfordsburn country park, not far from Belfast, followed by a nice Italian lunch and lots of charity shop shopping (that bit wasn't so much part of Dan's birthday treat as a concession to my obsession).

I'd never been to Crawforsburn before so it was a nice discovery, especially as we only walked the path that goes to the waterfall so we have an excuse to go back again to do the part that leads down to the beach at Helen's Bay.

After our walk and lunch we stopped at Grey's Point Fort which I was hoping was going to be an ancient fort but in fact was of the military variety. Two huge guns still pointed out across Belfast Lough on a particularly lovely hazy and wintery (birth)day.