Thursday, 25 October 2012

Four Days Away


Last Thursday afternoon a perfectly ordinary car was trundling along a country road in England,It wasn't fancy,sporty or the like but oh how it stood out as it traveled along....You see the shadow it cast on the grass verge as it passed would tell of the furniture being carried on top.......The car and it's cargo were on their way to a little place by the sea called Shingle Cottage and they along with the passengers tucked inside would be staying there until Monday.....
As the car crunched onto the gravel drive and came to a halt the sky above shone a pink feathered dream on the little cottage below.....The sun began to set and drop her shadow across the land as a couple carried furniture up the garden path,Once everything was inside the door on the cottage was closed tightly and  a puff of smoke started to billow from the chimney...... 
Next morning thick mist swirled around Shingle Cottage and as i peered through the window i saw the mist had given up the secret of the spiders who had spun lace all around the gardens.......The scaffolding almost pretty with all it's corners softened......
The arch over the picket gate swagged in jewel droplet lace......
After boiled eggs and toast soldiers it was time for work and Steve was in the boudoir  bedroom about to start the floor when i grabbed my camera.....
First went down the insulation to stop any cold and draughts......
Then new pine floorboards on top....Two lots of floorboards with insulation in between should keep us nice and warm come Winter.....

Meanwhile i was outside armed with a scraper and a sanding block and a sad little cast iron fireplace covered in one too many lairs of paint.......It was to take me most of the day to clean off years and years of every colour gloss paint you can imagine.....
Here she is stripped back to her original cast iron finish...You could now polish her to a nice deep shine with black lead but i wanted her pink and cream!......
But first she would need a coat of metal primer......Cast iron rusts so easily with contact from anything water based,including paint!.........Be warned i have painted cast iron before and thought oh it looks great and then as it starts to dry that dreaded orange starts to bleed through and you are back to sanding back to the cast iron again!.......
You can see all her shapely trim now with all those layers of paint scraped away.......Here she is wet,shiny and very red!.......
I left her and her little chimney damper to dry until morning........
Ahhhhhh time for Laura Ashley Chalk Pink one of my favorite pinks!  It  matches perfectly with my curtains and the glass on my wall lights and chandelier for the bedroom.....
Along with Laura Ashley Ivory below which is my most favorite cream ever!....
I was in the front room with the fire blazing away painting on the first coat of Chalk Pink....Stranger on the shore was blaring out and i thought i'm going to film this so the girls can see a little of what it's like down at Shingle Cottage on a weekend...


Shall we?.....


I also shot a close up below of the Ivory first coat  that i painted on the  inside of the cast iron fireplace  for my readers who have emailed me saying they are too scared to paint furniture etc  and that they are sure theirs would not turn out as well as mine....Well yes your chosen piece will look really streaky and patchy first coat and now you can see so does mine! but it always gets better with the second coat....Get your piece of furniture,choose your paint,prep accordingly and grab a brush is my advice you will never look back.....
 Steve had finished fitting the new floorboards and it was time to cut a hole in the chimney breast he had built in the bedroom for my pink fireplace.....
 Here he is making sure everything is in the middle and with Steve  in this picture you can see how tiny the chimney breast is......Isn't it cute?.....
 Pencil marks around the little feet on the bottom of the fireplace legs.....Steve chiseled out two squares for them to sit in......
 Later that night Steve had fitted most of the new skirting boards,I had painted the ceiling with it's first top coat of antique white and the little pink fireplace sat quietly taking in her new home......
I love the shadow of the door knob on the wall and how the light from the hallway streams across the bedroom floor......
I have our bed ready to paint in Ivory and wall lights are packed along with vintage duvets and frenchy bedside cabinets...... 

Oh the cottage bedroom is really exciting for me although i will miss sleeping by the open fire.....

But then again i have a great guy who i know would fix that for me should i ask as many years ago when we lived two floors up in a draughty but beautiful old Victorian apartment i had told Steve one Christmas how i wish we had  our Christmas tree in the bedroom so i could see it on Christmas Day when we returned home from midnight mass......

Well while i was at work wishing everyone a Merry Christmas Steve was at home carrying the mattress and bedding down the hallway and setting it all back up underneath the Christmas tree and that early Christmas morning i fell asleep gazing at twinkling fairy lights just as i had wished for.....

Don't you just wish you could go back and visit those times all over again?....We were talking at the weekend and Steve had said  that we have had hard times and struggled like everyone else but we have always loved each other and have made our own good times and it is true,those good times just like the bed under the Christmas tree don't have to cost money.....
I am blessed to have Steve who doesn't mind me daydreaming or carrying pink picnic baskets,wearing lace and straw hats with flowers,carrying ruffled parasols,i could pretend i were living any time between now and the eighteen hundreds and he wouldn't bat an eyelid....

At one end of our short Avenue is the sea and at the other is a farmers field,One night after clearing up i popped out into the cold to put some rubbish in the dustbin when i looked up and saw the sky ablaze with neon pink! i ran to get my camera and hurried up to the field as the sun was beginning to drop......As i took this picture there was a grey swirling mist hovering above the freshly ploughed fields and a dark grey thicker fog rolling in on the horizon,it really was a beautiful sight and i felt as if i should be wrapped in a floor length velvet cape with a hood carrying a lantern and calling out for i'm not sure who or what?.....

Well my dear readers it is time for me to go,I have some stitching to attend to and a few fripperies to finish off but i will be back over the next few days and would love for you to join me for a pine writing box i have made over that i would like to share with you,some more from Shingle Cottage and a giveaway just for you!

I hope your day was beautiful.....

XxX







Monday, 15 October 2012

Seascape Antiqued Annie Sloan Style

After showing you my first seascape makeover the other day and seeing it finished on my screen it  made me want to finish off the remaining two seascapes i have for Shingle Cottage......So here is the second and a little tutorial on how i achieved  it.....

If you missed the first seascape makeover you can read all about it here

Thank you all for your kind comments on my first seascape makeover and a big Hello to all my new followers,Welcome aboard!............

I have been wanting to try my Annie Sloan Craqueleur ever since it arrived about three weeks ago and today it was perfect and did exactly what i wanted it to.....
I picked up the oil seascape below  for pounds and it is was new and very shiny......I loved the sea and gull theme but wasn't crazy about how fresh it looked but i brought it home anyway thinking to myself that i would come up with a plan to Antique it some how......
While out rummaging around an old dusty shop some where in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales i came across the most beautiful Antique  frame with baby below and as much as the baby is beautiful i knew i was buying it only for the frame but i will save the baby for a future project.....
Out came baby giggles and all and the glass was given a really good soapy wash.....
I then roughly cut the oil seascape from its frame and placed the glass on top.....i scored a line around the glass with the edge of the scissors.... 
And cut it to the exact size.......I liked it better already for just being oval and how it made the gull on the left look like he was now swooping it to view...... 
I then painted the whole of the seascape with Craqueleur step one and left it to dry.......The tub off Decoupage you see below i am using on a project today that i will be sharing with you very soon...... 
After Craqueleur step one had dried i applied Craqueleur step two over the top and i brushed some on thick here and there and some thinly...............I heated it all over with a hairdryer as this is how you get it to crack and make your project look old and vintage.....
I had my Annie Sloan Dark & Light Wax waiting ready to go......i applied the clear wax all over the seascape and buffed it in a little.....
You can see here how the Craqueleur had worked its magic.......I loaded a cloth with dark wax.... 
And worked it in all over the seascape until it was all dark and dull looking ....If you have never used the dark wax before this will be the part where you think OH NO!!!!!!  but just keep going working  your dark wax it to all the cracks.......The dark wax is the look a lot of us want but are too scared to use and it is such a beautiful effect when all finished....
Next i loaded a cloth with clear wax and began rubbing the seascape where i wanted it to look lighter.....As long as you put clear wax under the dark wax you can always remove the dark wax after...
.
 So clear wax everywhere,then dark wax over the top,then clear wax to remove dark where desired....
The picture below shows the true colours in the seascape.....Around the bottom you can see the crackled effect which is achieved just brushing on step two....See the part above that looks like frost on a window? that is achieved by very thick step two applied in lines with the side of your paint brush.....just dash here and there over your piece....
  The two seascapes together.......To think how they looked when i first found them.........
I hope this inspires you to try the Annie Sloan Craqueleur & Dark Wax if you have not so far as they are both fabulous products and you can see the results for yourself....

There is something really romantic and nostalgic about seascapes....Almost as if you can look into one and see that perfect day at the beach from yesteryear....You can daydream a while thinking were the skies really that  blue? you can almost hear the sea and gulls calling overhead and trying to think how sand feels in between your toes..................

I never dreamed Shingle Cottage would inspire me so much...My creativity at the moment is full on and i intend to go use it on that third seascape....

Join me next time for Seascapes,Decoupage and more tales from Shingle Cottage......

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Seascape,Seashell China and Daisies

I'm at home this weekend,no Shingle Cottage..no picnic,no fire,no building or painting....Only me here today,Steve is working ....So i thought i would show you a finished project i have been working on........

~Victorian flower encrusted china shell holding daisies from the garden~
I have had this old wrinkled vintage oil painting on canvas forever and a day,it has sat waiting for me to come up with some way of framing it so it can take pride of place with some other seascape pictures that i have collected for Shingle Cottage...
While out rummaging through old books in a junk shop i looked down and spotted a pile of old picture frames and one in particular came home with me......It had a woodland scene oil painting pinned in the back which was not my cup of tea but the frame was lovely...
I carefully removed all the drawing pins and large staples that were holding the woodland painting in the frame....
I then held my seascape up to the frame back to see if it would fit inside but it didn't.......
So i removed the woodland scene from its inner frame and stapled the seascape on to the wood inner mount  so it would be a perfect fit in the frame...i lost about two inches of the seascape on one side....
I have many pieces that i have gathered over time that are starting to come together....It has been lovely having two years to work on Shingle Cottage....We have got to know her every corner and have had time to see where the sun comes up and where it falls...To think and dream....to step back and say to each other 'you know what i think?'......Now that we know where we will live our dream...where we will grow old.....where the story will one day end i can see the small things that i have here and i can see in my mind where they will  fit in this big picture of us...of Shingle Cottage........  
 I Brushed the frame with a nice thick coat of Chalk Paint in Old White and left it to dry and crack a little in the sun....No wax,no distressing,just thick matt chalky white paint.... 
When it was all dry i popped the seascape in the back.....
I held the two frames together with a few staples on all sides........
Another piece  ready to become a part of Shingle Cottage....................

The sun room at Shingle Cottage has a small room leading up from it and you need climb only one step and you are there...these two rooms will become the dining room and french doors will lead you out onto the garden,they will lead you onto Summer nights and twinkling lights strung from trees,where you will hear the waves crash on the shore below and the laughter of friends...The decor will be romantic beach with sparkling chandeliers and silverware,a dining table painted in soft chippy grey,a white washed dresser or two,candles and old  vintage seascapes will adorn the walls and a girl will sit typing to her friends,friends from all over the world,they have never met but they have shared her journey,her dreams....
She will tell them tales from her beloved  cottage and her new life at the beach.....

'The best is yet to come'.....Soon dear Shingle Cottage...soon.....

Join me next time for more dreams and makeovers from Shingle Cottage...
XxX



Monday, 1 October 2012

Cottage Crafts 'Pomander'


I am always creating and making over bits and bobs for Shingle Cottage as my regular readers will know and it always makes me happy whether it be sewing..painting or some other crafty delight...well  after a chat over a nice cup of tea with my Mum we thought it would be nice to share some of these ideas and tutorials with you so you can have a go yourself if you would like to..For your personnel use...

 The first in the series is going to be Lavender Pomander that will fill your wardrobe with that heady scent of Summer....
Some of you may have already tried this but some of you may not have really thought about those pretty little bits of rosey china you see here and there at charity shops and jumble sales with tired ribbons and tired scents.....

 You will need....
 A china pomander
 A small piece of cotton fabric
 Scissors
 A needle
Thread
Ribbons
 Dried Lavender
 Beads and buttons to embelish

First carefully  cut the old ribbon loop off..

Then remove the paper bottom and old filling....i always remove these as they can smell a little odd after they have lost their scent..

Then fill a bowl with warm water and add some dish soap..

Pop in your pomanders and add a baby sterilizing tablet as this will remove the old perfume from the china as well as giving the china its sparkle back..
Leave them to soak for about an hour..
Then  gently rub the bottoms with a scouring foam pad to remove old paper and glue and then dry with a clean towel and pop on one side..
Hold a bunch of dried Lavender over a bowl
I always have some growing in the garden ready for drying and for using in my  projects come Autumn it is easy to grow and perfect to scent many a sewn fancy..
Strip the flower buds off with your finger tips..you can wear gloves for this if you wish as your finger tips can get a little tired and sore if you are stripping a large amount..
Soon you will have a beautifully scented bowl full..
Cut a square of fabric..mine here was six inch by six inch but you may need to alter your size depending on the size of the hole in your pomander..
I use pinking shears as it stops the fabric fraying and it looks a little prettier on the edge of the fabric...finer cotton fabrics are  best as it is less bulky and lets the perfume through..
Add a good handful of Lavender in the middle...you can add dried rose petals or herbs too if you wish..
Pull all four corners up to the center and carefully hold together with a pin and cut a small length of ribbon long enough to fit around your Lavender parcel..
Then loosely tie it around your Lavender parcel.......remove your pin and pop it back in your pin cushion..
Then pull tightly and tie a bow...your Lavender is now wrapped and secure....give the parcel a gentle squeeze to release the fragrance..
Taking a now fresh and sparkling pomander and  ribbon of your choice..
Cut a length of ribbon long enough to hang your pomander and to tie a knot inside.......thread the two loose ends through the hole in the top of your pomander and pull to create a loop...i used a knitting needle to gently coax the ribbons through...with the two loose ends sticking out of the bottom..
Tie in a double knot to secure and then pull the loop on the top side until your knot below disappears up inside..Pull the loop on top checking it is nice and secure and ready for hanging..
Now push your little Lavender parcel up inside..
Turn it around with your fingers until the bottom of the parcel sits neatly inside......Leaving it this way without a paper cover is much better as you will be able to give your Lavender parcel a little squeeze now and again to release perfume and you can always add a few drops of natural oil to it too if you want to at a later date..
Back on top sew a knot on the inside of the ribbon at the base and secure
Push the needle through on to the right side of the ribbon...watch your fingers!
Then add a bead or decoration of your choice....look out in charity shops for broken necklaces as you can use pretty parts for trimming....my bead here is from a broken pearl necklace
Take the needle back through on the underneath of your bead so the the thread does not show and then secure at the back
Have fun with different treasures you may have to hand such as buttons,beads,ribbons and lace

Below Mother of pearl buttons and beads
Then add to your hanger and perfume your wardrobe with the heady smell of Summer

Below creamy yellow ribbon and an old piece of lace tied in a bow gives a  soft romantic look
Below pale sea foam ribbon with matching side ties

All finished looking and smelling pretty so nice to open your wardrobe and see these pretty perfumed pomanders hanging on your favorite coat or dress and wouldn't they be wonderful hanging in a guest room or to gift to a friend or loved one?
I think i am going to wrap one up for my Mum...just because..
I really enjoy shopping for treasures that i can re work in some way to use in our cottage and these Lavender pomanders will make me smile every morning when i choose something to wear at the start of my day..

Hand making pretty things for your home will give you your own unique look as not all treasure found while out hunting will be the same and especially if you buy from Antique shops,charity shops,jumble sales or car boot sales the treasure you find will most likely be a one off....
So go looking up in the attic..ask Mum or pop on your coat and hit the shops and see what you can find and spend a little time playing your favorite music or movie while you craft your way to happiness....



Will you join me next time for Cottage Crafts?

XxX