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Way back in 2010 I created the Roost banner with a jpg of Cole and Sons Woods wallpaper and then later posted a shot of the bedroom in our old flat with its  new wallpaper blue-tacked up and magnificently in place.

I was so pleased with the pattern back then, but always thought – as tends to be the way with me- that I would tire of it soon enough, and part of me worried that I had gone a little overboard on the spending for decorating a rental flat. I consoled myself with the fact that the paper wasn’t permanently pasted and I could take it with when we moved.

Two years on and a move to a new home, with a NEW blue tacked wall (this time in the lounge) and I STILL love it, which is unusual for me!

Every time I see it’s birch-y perfection I give a little sigh of satisfaction.

Below is a little slide show of images – starting with the new house, the same paper in the old flat , then random images I have collected over the last months.

The third in the first row even shows the paper in a caravan! FAB.

Click on images for the slideshow:

Thinking about it while writing this I have just clued in to why the paper thrills me so much (and only the black and white, though it comes in several colour ways).

The white on black, line-drawn quality reminds me of Pauline Baynes’ illustrations in the original Narnia books! (Such a shame the first movie was so flaccid and ruined the books for so many people. The series was so magical for me as a kid.)

All those black trees on yellowed pages from my grade school books. Weird that it would take me so long to clue in, but there you go.

Guess that is why I always get a somewhat snowy thrill when I look at Woods wallpaper… Nice.


After getting my marvelous Glerup slippers for xmas I am (once again) caught up in a serious love of felt.

I have been on the hunt for new felt placemats for a couple years now, and just realised that I will never find what I am looking for at the price I want…so I had better get on the making of them!

This is the type of thing I have in mind:


Chunky, organic and in natural colours. Likely in my favourite natural wool colours – grey and winter white.

The plan? Look for some cheap, scritchy, scratchy wool sweaters at the Sally and then learn how to crochet circles. How hard could it be?

(she asks, cringing)

It couldn’t be much harder than knitting, can it?

(more on the magnificent slippers to come once I take some photos!!)

Dream kitchen:


As I am working on all these lamps simultaneously I figured I could post them that way as well. I wouldn’t want you to think that I am actually logical and do one thing at a time. !

As I mentioned the other day I immediately stripped my Hadrill Horstmann Simplus (hereafter referred to as ‘simplus’, because I just can’t be arsed) on arrival.

Being my usual impetuous self, I neglected to take ‘before’ shots of the damage, so only have the blurry ebay shot as reference:

If you look really hard and use some imagination (heh) you can see the rusty on the arms and weight. The base was mostly peeled  and only had a few flecks of grey paint left and the shade was in the best shape of the lot.

After many days of coating with crappy ‘eco-stripper’ TX-something (if someone wants the exact brand name so they can AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE, let me know and I will go out to the shed and …pay attention) and then wrapping in cling wrap over night I finally managed to get most of the paint off. Then I had to spend quite a bit of time sanding off the last bits and new rust that formed from leaving the steel covered in wet go for nearly a week.

Trust me – go for the toxic, skin searing Nitromors. It isn’t worth the hassle.

So on a beautifully sunny day it was finally done. Ta dah!

The shade is definitely in the best condition and needs the lest work.

I can’t figure out if these white ‘bloomy’ marks on the aluminium are scratches or some kind of patina, but think they should come out with a minimum of pain.

More traumatising is the condition of the rust-pocked steel bits. Remember, this is after quite a bit of sanding already!

I got really frustrated at one point as I know this weighted bit must screw together, and tried desperately to get it apart to clean between, but my little girl hands just weren’t up to the job, so I gave up. Frustrating! Think it is rusted together and the WD just wasn’t doing it.

The base bit is ok, as it is made out of zinc (I think).

After all my deliberations regarding how to refinish these vintage lamps, I am thinking a ‘sensitive restoration’ is the way to go. So instead of revamping these to look new, I am going to clean them up and make them safe for generations to come.

I am hoping to find a way to treat the 2 metals of the base and weight/arms to have a dark finish like my ideal example below:

It looks like the metal has been patina-ed, which means using 2 different chemicals – one for steel and one for zinc.

You can still see all the scratches and dents in the metal, but it is protected from further rusting and inhances the finish.

Unfortunately metal patinas are not cheap! But look how damn fine it could be?!

Minus the white cord and bulb holder, of course. That kind of ruins it for me! WTF?

I have just added up how much the restoration of my Anglepoise 1227 could cost me and am a little appalled at how my ‘deal’ is racking up a bill!

Here is a breakdown:

This estimate doesn’ t include bolts, the parts I might have to buy to modify for the hinge or the new felt baize for under the lamp. Gulp.

It is looking like I haven’t really saved much money by buying a lamp that needed work! I suppose it does give me a satisfying project, but it is a little disappointing.

Now as mentioned in the last post, the high ticket item – the springs- are something I can likely get around. Also, I don’t need to replace the bulb holder, as the bakelite one is in good nick.

Unfortunately I really love how a nice shiney chrome one looks at the top of the lamp like below.

So may have to get all the gear to do this anyway. But I suppose this could wait.

Slowly but surely…

I might also be able to scavenge a plug if I keep my eyes open…we’ll see.


I have been meaning to post this for months – an update on the progress in the house – but have gotten sidetracked with my many projects and forgotten. So here, after much delay is ‘the story of the lounge’.

When we initially moved in everything had been painted white.

This was great, except for the fact that they had done such a crappy job of painting and you could see the previous peach colour peeking through on the chipboard paper. Yum. Not.

As a result, we ended up painting 2 of the rooms before even moving in. As it was a last minute thing, the landlord said we could paint any colour (colour??? really?) and I was in a tizzy of packing, etc, I picked the wrong grey.

Wrong grey, you say? What do you mean?

Well dear friends, what happened was that instead of doing my usual maniacal research and agonizing over the hues, I went to Homebase and recklessly picked a grey that looked neutral under the store’s fluorescent lighting. I didn’t take the paint card back and test it in the room and I didn’t get a sample. (are you feeling my pain here?)

2 hard days spent painting the lounge while packing for the move only to find that the room looked blue, way too dark, and very dreary.

I tried to accept it…live on the dark side…like it, even…but eventually had to admit that while I admire Abigail Ahern‘s committment to dark rooms – I personally find living in them depressing. Maybe this harkens back to Canadian winters. Who knows.

The colour lasted 3 months then HAD to go.

Luckily the Bubs and I clocked into something that is both environmentally friendly and that thrills the pikey in me – recycled paint centres. We found one quite near to where we live called RePaint that not only sells regular emulsion for £1 a litre, but had brand new tins of Farrow and Ball which normally go for £75 for …£10. I danced a jig of joy and got the lovely Cornforth White, which is more of a griege-y, french grey.

After opening the tin I discovered why they had been discontinued as the VOCs were atrocious (Farrow and Ball have now switched to making water based paints which are low in VOCs). I am sure I have grown a tumour since using this for 2 days straight, but have to say the finish was immaculate. It covered everything completely, even the crappy hardware, and has stuck tenaciously. However we did have to live with the fumes for about 2 weeks, so be forwarned…cheap is not necessarily HEALTHY.

Anyhow, here is the B&A.

Darkest side of the room (you’ll note we took the door to the kitchen off to make room for the sofa. The room is tiny.) I am still trying to get a feel for where the art will go, but am taking my time with it.

Brighter side with window:

My advice to you all if you are at all sensitive to colour….test the paint hue in the room before committing!! It is a crapload of work and worth the few quid for a tester pot. Or even just put the sample card on the wall to get a feel. You have to live with it for ages afterwards, it is worth doing right the first time (haranguing myself here in the hopes I will remember this the next time around!).

Though this room will always be a bit dark due to it’s sandwiched location in the middle of the house, it now feels much warmer and cozier. Though Bubby hardly noticed the difference, as a painter hyper-sensitive to colour the room now just feels better to me. Finally. Phew.

Bubby and I went a little crazy on Monday and decided to do a quickie chalk board feature wall in the scary rental bathroom we have been shackled with in the new house. The walls are atrocious, so I thought this would help camouflage the worst wall and add some personality!

The decision was spurred on by this cheeky Elle Decoration cover, which I just loved:

…especially the unedited dirty bits – click on the image to read (details posted by Popbitch):

 Here are a few more images I have saved on this trend…

A natural history line drawing:


I particularly like the look of the next 2 ‘messy’ ones below.

These feel more natural, fun …and this is going to sound horrifically snobby (yes, I DO hear how much of an insufferable snot I must sound sometimes! Heh!), but the lighter grey of the wiped out chalk will lighten up the black a bit and make it more textural. Like the panel below, it becomes more like an expressionist painting and brings it all together somehow.

I can’t wait to get the chalk out when I get home from work. I will post the wall when we have the initial drawings done. Bubs has some nautical themed ideas and I am thinking maybe something akin to Tacita Dean’s yummy blackboard drawings, like the series The Roaring Forties: Seven Boards in Seven Days.

Little by little that poor, neglected bathroom is being redeemed out of the ghetto madness it is currently in (you will understand what I mean when I post the befores – dirty green/yellow, orangey wood, blue patterned tiles…brrrr! I was getting a rash even walking into the room.)

I can’t wait!

Another fantastic upcycling idea – rake hooks.

Hive has taken the idea one step further by painting them bright colours:

Though I think I like the rusty, worn ones best.

Break out that old, rusty rake we got the other day, Bubby… Winston has a brand new project for the list – a key rack!

Happy weekend, all.

This post is for a little friend of mine…

Ok, so it is not that I don’t like people (those who know me can insert laugh here), but if there is anything that ruins the mood of a bedroom it is the thought that neighbours are watching you wander around in your underwear!

Also, this is the view across the street –

Pretty ‘meh’ – so for obvious reasons I didn’t really want it to be the  main focal point in the small room with 2 big windows!

(Pardon the dark photos, but it was tricky getting my dinky camera to account for both inside and outside light in these shots)

After doing a bit of research into films and not really feeling it on the cost, I saw this great post on Manhattan Nest and gave the idea a try for myself.

The whole thing ended up being super simple, and even better – FREE.

Just get some fabric – however opaque you want it to be – sheerer stuff than mine if you want to be able to see out at all (i used off cuts from an ikea curtain i had cut down a while ago). I suppose you could use patterned/lacy or coloured fabric you wanted to get crazy with this.

Then you mix up corn starch and water….um, not sure on exact quantity, as I just trial and errored it. Doesn’t really matter as long as it makes a paste. Say a tablespoon to a cup of water, maybe? Microwave it for about a minute until it is a thick, gloopy paste – like custard. If you go too thick, just add water until it thins to right consistency.

Then cut your fabric so that it is slightly wider than the glass  – again a trial and error discovery – the end product looks much cleaner going right over the frame, so you don’t see light around the edges.

Also, if you do it this way, the fabric doesn’t have to be exactly straight or even all that tidy, as it doesn’t show against white frame once glued down. Perfect for those of us with straight-edge phobias!

Tip – Don’t bother ironing the fabric as it is a waste of energy…the water in the starch flattens creases out.

Grab a paint brush and smear a strip of paste on the window at the top, as in the photo below:

Smooth the fabric into paste so it sticks, then just paint the rest of the fabric on, pushing the paste through the weave with the brush and saturating the fabric evenly it so it sticks without leaving too much gloop on top.

You can remove excess by going over it with the brush. Don’t bother fussing with cards or squeegees or anything, the brush does the job.

Do this all the way down to the bottom of the pane of glass you are covering. I m the length at the end, when the rest of the fabric is all glooped down, then smoothed the bottom edge to finish. That is pretty much it.

The whole process is pretty forgiving and you can reposition the fabric as long as the paste is wet. It took me about 40 mins to do the 4 panes in my room, and that is mostly because I didn’t know what I was doing so it took a bit longer.

To remove, wet with a sponge and unpeel. Then clean up the starch residue. Perfect for rentals as it will come off easily and not lose you your deposit.

This is the dry, finished product. I have since removed the sheers that are just visible at the top of the frame.

The windows look much cleaner and less fussy, and the focus in the room isn’t distracted by the red and green outside. Now, while I still get a bright sunshiney glow in the room, all I can see is the sky (unless I open the window).

This also means I can leave the curtains open through twilight and watch the indigo fade to black…perfect…

I am unveiling my newest completed project today! I had planned a DIY post for my new tripod lamp but all of my in progress shots were lost by a camera glitch, so the grotty condition of the tripod pre-project are now gone. Grr.

You will just have to take my word for it….dusty, dirty and grimy, this poor baby needed a good brass-brushing, lubing and teak oiling to bring it to its present splendour (if I do say so myself. ahem!). The legs were so gummed up not even the mighty Bubs could get them to extend fully!

I was a bit surprised to find the maroon iron bit at the top, as it was a filthy grey and I assumed it would be brass or straight iron before it started coming clean. It adds a nice bit of warmth.

This project was remarkably quick and easy in the end. After cleaning the tripod I took the camera attachment off the top and added the items below – a 4cm ‘nipple’ (yes, that is the actual technical term!)and bolt to attach the bulb holder securely and then about 3 meters of beautiful black and white chevron flex cord.

I left the cord super long so it would pool nicely under the lamp and added the plug.

Still need to find a foot switch for it, but here is the reveal:

Ta dah! I do plan to change the crazy shade to something a bit wider and narrower in a plain fabric…I just have to find the right thing. Anyway, this shade fits for now!

Now I just have to get to the point where I start actually selling these projects instead of hoarding! Eesh.


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