31 January 2013

It's Orla neat and tidy in the kitchen.

As I begin to write this, I can hear the sentence forming in my father-in-law's mind - "Oh goody, another one of Bec and David's corners!" And, yes, that is what I'm going to show you. However, with the addition of some lovely new Orla Kiely canisters, they are now very pretty corners.

I've never had a proper biscuit tin. I've always made do with other tins that we've had, or plastic tupperwaresque boxes. However, that just leads to soggy contents, and I was beginning to feel mean feeding them to the children, assuming that they wouldn't be able to tell the difference. So, for Christmas, I asked for a biscuit tin and hinted that I liked the new set of three Orla Kiely air-tight canisters that I had seen in Lakeland.

We've recently realised that we're not making the most of the space in our kitchen - when we moved in over five years ago, we just plonked everything in the cupboards without much thought to how easily things could be accessed, or indeed, what we were actually putting in there.

So, with the help of my new trusty tins, I've re-arranged a few areas of the kitchen and I'm enjoying the new little space I've created.

Originally, the bread bin was underneath the cups on the other wall and I didn't really realise just how much worktop it occupied that way round. In it's new position, it leaves room for the new tin (containing rice), and it also means that there is room on top for four tall storage jars. I'm also pretty pleased with my addition of an IKEA VARIERA shelf insert, which means there's room for the pestle and mortar, salt pig, butter dish AND a small jar of I think, ground coriander. You can also see in this picture, my smart new spoon rest (my Christmas list was so exciting this year!).

I've shown you the rest of this shelf before (it's the one from which our pots and pans hang), so I decided to focus solely on the new tin which does actually contain biscuits (malted milk for the children, scrummy shortbread for me - mmm). I really like the design of all three tins, but I think this one just has the edge on the others and is perhaps, my favourite. I love the way the dusky blue flowers are set off by the tomato red of the lid.

Lastly, here is the third and smallest of the three new tins. This one is currently empty (any suggestions?) but it looks great on this shelf, so it's going to stay there until I can think of something worthy to put in it. 

Hope you're all having a good week!

22 January 2013

New bedroom blinds.

I'm very excited as, after many months of procrastinating, dithering and sample-ordering, I've just ordered new blinds for our bedroom!

As you can see,  we've got two large windows in our bedroom and we live on a terraced street, so we definitely need a window treatment that gives us privacy. The patterned voile blinds covering the bottom part of the windows are excellent, as they allow light in, while preventing anyone from peeking in. These are staying.

We're going to swap the curtains for blinds. There are two main reasons for this - firstly, one of these pairs of curtains is now hanging in Astrid's bedroom and I've (very) temporarily put up the old blue ones that were in her room (that used to be Torin's), in our room. So, we currently have one cream pair and one blue pair - it's certainly not pleasing on the eye!

The other reason is that I think the curtains look a little messy - I know they're plain and pretty inoffensive really, but I'm hankering after something with cleaner lines - perhaps something a little smarter and dare I say it, masculine?

I've really taken a long time over this decision and, after rejecting many samples, and looking at the prices of made to measure Roman blinds (!), I've decided to go with a very safe option. I've ordered the same blinds that I chose for Torin's bedroom (the one you can just about make out in the terrible picture below).

The new blinds will be cream, blackout, spring-loaded roller blinds. Although I would have preferred Roman blinds, as I think more fabric would help to create a slightly softer look, the new blinds will be smart, unfussy and streamlined. Hopefully, this will help the rest of the bedroom to follow suit - there is a reason the top picture is an old one - it's to do with the clothes currently drying in our room, the additional bookcase we've squeezed in between the chest of drawers and the windows, and the large amount of general rubbish that seems to congregate in our room so it is either out of the reach of the children, or doesn't seem to have a place elsewhere.

Hopefully the new blinds will be delivered within a week, so I'll be sure to post some pictures soon!

15 January 2013

Make do and mend: personalised cushion.

Now, what I should be showing you tonight is the pictures of Astrid's party - I want to show you what I did with a whole lot of paper and a small branch. But, I've just realised that would involve searching through and editing all the pictures that were taken at the party and I haven't done that yet (and don't have time tonight, sorry). I'll aim to get them ready to show you before the week is out!

So, to this post - making a personalised cushion.

I managed to grab some time to make some gifts just before Christmas and I even remembered to take some snaps of some of them so I could share them with you.

Up first, is a personalised cushion that I made for our niece, Harriet. Her bedroom is neutral but with tasteful, brightly coloured accessories and so I wanted to give her a cushion that mirrored that. As I don't possess a sewing machine, I chose to use a shop-bought cushion cover and then embellished it myself.

Like most of my crafts, it was really easy to make - I think it took me three evenings to make it (well, the time left after re-settling two children!). I used:

  • chartreuse cushion cover from Dunelm Mill
  • pink toile de jouy fabric from Laura Ashley
  • empty cereal packet
  • pencil
  • ruler
  • decent scissors (I have to confess I used our kitchen scissors, as I don't have any fabric scissors)
  • pins
  • white cotton thread

What I should have also used:
  • thimble (ouch!)

I began by drawing an H on the empty cereal packet using the pencil and ruler. When I was happy with the dimensions, I cut it out and used it as a template to draw an H onto the toile de jouy fabric.

Next, I removed the cushion pad, positioned the fabric and then pinned the H to the green cushion cover. I then sewed around the edge of the H using a very simple straight edging stitch. Please excuse the total amateur nature of the following stitching, but if you're not a perfectionist, here is a close up showing how I finished the edges of the H.

All in all, this was a inexpensive, easy craft to do and hopefully Harriet will like it (she's only seven months old) when she's older.

What do you think? Did you get around to making any gifts this year?

10 January 2013

Make do and mend: Astrid's winter-themed birthday invitation.

As you know, Astrid turned one in November and we had a winter-themed party for her. I realised that I got all carried away saying that I'd got my craft on, and then Christmas took over and I didn't get around to showing you what I had made.

First up is the invitations I made for her party. Do you like?

To make this I used:

  • cream cardstock
  • a snowflake punch
  • an old, unwanted book
  • silver card
  • white card
  • silver pen
  • glue pen

It was super easy to make - I just simply punched out several snowflakes from the silver and white card, and old book; experimented in laying them out until I was happy with how they looked; and then stuck them on to the card using the glue pen. I finished by using the silver pen to write "Astrid is One" on the bottom right hand corner.

A very simple idea, but one that I was quite happy with.

9 January 2013

150 years of the London Underground

According to Google this morning, today is the 150th anniversary of the London underground. Over those 150 years, the iconic transport system has featured significantly in our culture - it has inspired art, films, novels; been used to stage music videos, and most recently has set trends in interior decoration.

Inspired by the images in their poster archive, the London Transport Museum has launched a celebratory range of gifts and souvenirs. I had a look at the rest of the shop  to see what they had to offer and below are some of my favourite pieces.

This colourful poster would be great for a child's room.

I really like the colours in this old print.

I know we've seen these before, but these vintage luggage rack shelves are achingly cool (if a tad expensive!).

And finally, these bright tea towel designs by Michelle Mason would liven up any kitchen. The "Big Leaf" pattern is her take on the classic 1930s "Colindale" print used on tube upholstery material.

All images from here.

Also, speaking of anniversaries - I'd like to say a big thank you to you all for reading my little blog - Beautiful Square Feet was 2 on the 3rd!

7 January 2013

Happy New Year

Things went back to normal this morning - Torin went to nursery, David went to work, and I went to the supermarket with Astrid. It already feels like Christmas was ages ago, although you only have to take a look at our living room to see that there has been a recent toy delivery!

One of my resolutions this January is to be better at keeping in touch with people - birthday cards on time, replying to texts and messages on facebook straight away - all things that I really try to be organised with but never seem to manage very well. Anyway, that resolution goes for here too, which is why I really wanted to come on here today and say hi, and that I really will try and squeeze in time in the evenings to write more (I know, I know, you've heard it before . . .).

So, Happy New Year everyone and hopefully see you around here more frequently . . . promise.

Image from here.
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