a way of life...

Month: February 2017

Blue Sky Thinking

Walled garden at the Medicine Garden Cobham

I think I have Spring fever! This recent spell of unseasonably warm weather coupled with being outside in the garden led me to believe that spring, and possibly summer, were on the way. Inspired by the blue skies I wanted to spread the good vibes by sharing some of my favourite “blues”.

Spring bulbs

These lovely vintage flour pots planted with narcissi and muscari remind me of my mother’s garden where the grape hyacinths overflowed onto the pathways as the weather became warmer. I didn’t know then that they were called Muscari, but always remember being fascinated by these little blue flowers that resembled miniature bunches of blue grapes.

Curtains and blind

This pair of bedroom curtains and coordinating hand-tied rolled blind made from Laura Ashley cotton mix fabrics are perfect for bringing the colours of spring flowers indoors. Sadly, I no longer have them as they were sold with the house but I kept the matching Regatta cushions which are now in my guest bedroom.

Blue gingham

This blue gingham tablecloth, blue Ikea bowls, and delphiniums fresh from the garden, provide a casual country setting for an early summer al fresco lunch.

I love this collection of vintage milk jugs which were on display at an Arthur Swallow antique fair at Loseley Park.

Blue and white jugs

And last, but not least, are these wonderful photographs taken at Su Gologone in Sardinia. During our stay, in the latter half of May, we enjoyed the laid back atmosphere of this wonderful experience hotel. Whether we were relaxing by the spring-water pool , sipping cocktails in the Magico Tablao bar, or star gazing from the Terrace of Dreams, it was truly captivating and the perfect venue for an early summer escape.

Bar Tablao


Shabby chic entrance

Shrove Tuesday

I was reminded by a timely Facebook post that next Tuesday, February 28, is pancake day. Make a date in your diary and enjoy any number of ways of enjoying this traditional treat.

Espresso heart shaped pancakes

Joules Inspired Cabinet

Inspired by the colours on a Joules carrier bag I decided to revamp a rather sad bathroom cabinet to something a little more jaunty. With the Annie Sloan chalk paint™ sample pots that I had in stock I decided to mix the colours myself. The pink was a combination of Emperor’s Silk, Antoinette, and Old White, whilst the turquoise blue was a mixture of Florence, Provence, and again, Old White.

At the outset I painted the whole cabinet Old White to cover the original paint colour. Having decided on a design I painted the drawer fronts pink. The next step was to mask the parts of the cabinet that I wanted to remain white before applying the turquoise.My pièce de résistance was to be the door front which I thought might look rather appealing in a beach hut type stripe. Once again I applied masking tape to the areas that I wished to keep white and then applied the blue mixture to the remaining areas.Allowing an overnight drying time I was very excited about peeling off the tape the following morning. I shouldn’t have worried as the end result was as I had hoped.I rubbed some of the edges with a fine sandpaper to reveal the colour beneath before applying a coat of clear wax to protect the finished  paintwork. The addition of a pink ribbon tied to the key brought the whole scheme together. Lastly, as a nod to the pattern that inspired this design in the first instance I lined each of the drawers with a flower cut out from the Joules bag. I love taking inspiration from the simple things around me and often the High Street leads the way.

Picture Perfect – part 3

There are many ways of framing and hanging pictures and one method that I particularly like is grouping together similar works and displaying them as a collection. In the photograph below is a group of five watercolours which arrived with me from a number of sources. The common thread is the soft purple/blue colour palette of each painting.

The top two paintings were found in a loft in filthy dirty frames but once removed from their longterm storage these two original watercolours of the Falkland Islands were as good as new, and warranted being mounted and reframed. The painting on the bottom left is a watercolour of a mews. It was gifted to one of the residents after a complete refurbishments in the mid-nineties. It was later given to me as a present. The small print in the middle is a greetings card which is a reproduced watercolour of a viola and was sent to me by a friend. Lastly, the painting on the bottom right is a very old water colour of Shepperton which arrived unframed.

To bring these five paintings together as a cohesive group I chose similar colour mounts for each one prior to framing. The frames vary somewhat but are all fairly plain and therefore sit together quite happily.

To gauge how best to hang them on the wall I firstly laid them out on the floor in an arrangement that I was happy with.  Next step was to measure the overall area that would be needed to hang the pictures, and work out how this would be positioned on the wall, taking into account the heights and widths, as well as the wall lamp and radiator.

Layout decided I measured each picture and worked out its relationship with each of the others and positioned the picture hooks accordingly. I was immensely pleased with the end result and felt that grouping the pictures together as a whole was a success.

The current trend of staging pictures on shelves and mantlepieces rather than permanently hanging them on walls is much more relaxed. This appeals to me as it enables collections to be changed and rearranged much more easily and causes a lot less damage to walls. This may well be my next project!

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