Tag Archive for decorating

Shape Up & Ship Out

Last year I spent a lot of time decluttering and getting rid of junk that had accumulated in the house. It’s made a huge difference, allowing us to focus done creativity on changing the house for the better and actually spend some time going nice things. Inevitably, it needs redoing and with this year looming up and already looking like it’s going to be full of the brim of pressures, getting some space freed up seems like a plan. Then there are things like trying to persuade Bene to sleep in his room, making sure Fran has a quiet study space as gcse’s loom and trying to find enough time and headspace in life to work, play, nurture, create and relax. Gawd.

First things first. Last weeks £50 of paint has transformed the living room and my parents have gifted curtain money to me as presents so next week I can get on with those. But before I can sort out the girls rooms I need to get rid of more junk; actually THEY need to do that but they are hopeless at it. So I’ve started clearing done space to mentally prepare myself for doing theirs. Again. :roll:

Today I sorted and exported a lot of Bene’s baby toys plus all the clothes I am now too thin for. I don’t want to risk growing back into them. I also weeded out all clothes for him and the girls that are too small or won’t be used again. One huge bag us waiting to be dropped off tomorrow, plus some old curtains, a deadly duvet and some bedding. We’ve trimmed back megablocks mixed in with our Lego and stored it and culled cuddlies, emptied bins and reorganised storage. It all feels lots better.

I can dream ;)

Once upon a time.

She was only doing it for her brother. Honest.

He’s very proud of his new shoes :)

It was a good weekend; Maddy and Amelie both spent Saturday with friends, Fran found out she got a distinction in her first ever pro dancing exam, we got lots done including a small start on something new and exciting for the business. Fran worked hard on revision timetables and even some revision, Bene played happily, my mum visited, Max and I got a birthday meal out, Josie and Amelie played schools a weekend while making PowerPoint presentations.

I even managed a bit of crochet while they went to rugby.


It’s amazing what fifteen years of parenting can do to your perspective; it was really quite a relaxing weekend :lol:

New living room phase one.

I learned how to do a very speedy room decorate this week. It was fun, fast, furious and the effect is fantastic :) Being our living room it couldn’t be allowed to drag on, plus I had just a day and a half with daylight hours where Bene could be absent (paint and toddlers mix in all the wrong ways!) and we were going to have various combinations of guests too. It needed precision planning.

First the girls and I went paint picking; I had a rough plan and we brought home several tester pots and got samples up on the wall, finding different places to catch different lights where we could. I picked the greenish one (Crown Carnaby) and then saw their Period Classic Duck Egg when I went back to buy it, so got a tester of that too. Eventually I settled on the duck egg and biscotti, but I was REALLY not sure about with of them. It was scary!


I really only got more confident when I hung a red sheet up to simulate the curtains I want; it seemed to work.

Next up we emptied the room of everything possible. We cleared the room opposite to receive boxes and made sure the living room was already decluttered. With big boxes on standby, we loaded stuff up fast and shipped it out. Curtain pled cane form and at my dad’s insistence, we made sure everything we needed, brushes, pots and rulers for the edges, was all on hand.


Next morning, willing troops got started in the walls. The apparent yellow of the biscotti got much less scary as the ivory was covered up. I relaxed.


I’d taken all the sofa covers off to avoid dramas and also brought huge plastic bags home from work for the floor. We managed to avoid disasters. I took the opportunity to wash the grime out of the covers. As they are supposed to be dry clean only, this then involved painful amounts of ironing.


Having started at 11am, the room was back to a temporary living room with 3 walls painted by 4pm. Not bad!


We did 2 coats for luck but one was nearly enough. I was even more nervous about this colour (now renamed Ventolin Blue ;) ) but I already feel like it’s been there forever :)

After that, a mad rush to put sofa covers back on, refill cupboards, dress it up a bit and apply some zen and it was ready to receive my brother and brand new sister in law!


I need to sort curtains and I have grand plans for a couple of the walls but I just love it. Big thanks to my dad, again, my mum for funding the curtain poles that will arrive soon and the girls for willing painting arms :)


Time to start finishing this blanket.

Last night I finished the 180th square of this blanket.


If I even mention another blanket any time soon, shoot me. I love this one but two plain granny square blankets in a year is too much. This one has half the squares already in rolls, so hopefully a few evenings will see it finished.


I have my meagre Rowan Renew supplies left (it’s discontinued, wail….) and I’m hoarding it for a while now.

Meanwhile, the living room is getting a make over. Once you do this to the main room wall, there is no going back.


I’m a very unsure decorator, there just isn’t enough time to really research. I’m grumpy because I wanted to buy posh paint but it doesn’t look right. And I can’t fathom a look in my head and it’s an expensive waste of paint and time if it’s awful.

However, I’ve hung a red sheet up and now I think my chosen patches may yet work.


One thing is for sure, it won’t be brown any more!

Ps, Sherlock? What did you think???

Tiny Changes to the Living Room

I’ve probably moaned a lot that my living room doesn’t please me. It has the nicest furniture in the house and is the biggest, lightest room. But somehow it gets covered in rubbish too often. Now the girls aren’t HE it is a little better and now Bene’s room is decorated there are less toys, but it collects crud, feels too brown and never manages to be either a restful space or something that feels like it describes us.

Last weekend I managed to make a start on reclaiming it, just before I had to take Amelie back to a&e with the ongoing tummy issues.
After. #tidyuptime

What that pretty bit really meant was that I turned the desk, the main disaster area from this:

Before. #tidyuptime

to this.

Bigger after #tidyuptime

My plans have been forming pretty slowly, I don’t quite have a vision of what I want for the room even now – but bolder colour, removing the remnants of developer rubbish, hasty curtain poles and repainting in a a warmer tone are all on the list. I think we can get this done straight after Xmas, when “decorator dad” will be in the right continent :) and Max and I will be off work to make it happen.

Naturally, I’ve done a Pinterest board to get started.

My sofas are cream, beige, red and duck egg blue and my furniture very dark brown (like the desk on the pin board). Frankly I’m not sure how to finance everything I’d like to do but I think that I can make a start on it anyway. I know that desk has got to go (I think it will be wending it’s way to the teen bedroom, so all this could be a fairly mammoth task to achieve) and we need to get a smaller corner one so a chair can tuck behind the door. We are too big a family now for 2 sofas only!

My next most important thing is to call Auntie Kate over to help as no decoration plans will work without her casting an eye over them! She is the decorator god and will tell me if I’ve gone horribly wrong. But I do know that I like my living room most at Xmas when it is full of softer lights and greens, reds and nature, with more personality – so that’s what I’m aiming for.

Bene’s Bedroom (includes Photowall review)

Seven years ago, we moved into our house with me stinging badly from the knowledge that the fourth bedroom was not, in fact, going to become a bedroom. It’s been many things since, the proper birthplace of BeadMerrily and all the associated businesses and nearly, so nearly, Freddie’s bedroom, even though I never prepared for it to become that for him. And I didn’t dare make it into a bedroom for Bene before his arrival – everything felt far too precarious for that.

So it has been an office and a room where I wept and a room I envisioned filled with medical paraphernalia and shuddered with fear at the thought and a junk room (very much a junk room) and then latterly a place where Max slept while I wrestled with getting Bene though jaundiced feeding woes and colds, bronchiolitis, asthma and more. But mostly junk, the middle floor room that stayed undecorated and not quite used and staring at me from the lounge as full of might-have-beens and never-was.

But it was time. Bene might think the king sized is his and no boy should sleep alone and he may well think the oh so smart cot is purely for teddy bears (I weep for those few months when he slept long and happy nights in it!) but all little boys should have a bedroom and he needs somewhere for his cars for a start! I’m a hopeless decorator (I don’t like the preparation… and I’m not too good at completing either) but since my Dad was coming over from Egypt (yes, he lives in Cairo, no I’m not entirely cool with that right now) I thought I would nab him for a bit of decorating!

His room is pretty much done. It's gorgeous. #photowall #stokke #veryoldvertbaudet #muchlovedcuddlies #boyroom

The end result… is this.

Dad did a big load of painting, mostly an ordinary cream with one green wall that matches the grass on the picture wall and then we held our breath and prepared to erect the Photowall. This was a review product and I was very, very nervous about putting it up, so I was relying on my dad remembering tricks form the olden days when he used to hang a fair bit of wallpaper. I had, however, forgotten that he used to swear a bit while doing that… so when presented with a picture wall to hang, he looked a bit scared too!


The wall arrived in 6 pieces, having been sized on their website by the lovely Maria (but I’ve just tried to do it myself and it is very easy… put the cm dimensions in and you get a price and you can adjust the image so you don’t cut off parts of it you like if your wall is smaller than the full design). The very top of each piece needs to be cut off (top tip… it has the number order on… don’t do what I did and cut them off all at once!) and you also need to trim your last piece vertically if your wall isn’t exactly a full number of strip drops wide.

It’s not difficult.

Next up came hanging it. You don’t paste the paper, you paste the wall (with paste which comes in the box) so you can just have the paper on the floor. It’s very strong, can be repositioned, don’t seem to stretch or bubble and looks great.

It didn’t fall down overnight (lucky as my Dad was sleeping on the floor in there!) and looks breathtakingly fabulous. Our wall would be just over £150 in all and it is absolutely, utterly and totally worth that. I was really impressed. We put it up in much less than 3 hours (with significant flapping and faffing due to endless help from visiting small children) and it didn’t cause any swearing at all.

Bargain. Thank you Photowall. I adore the one we chose but seriously wish I had had reason to put a Moomin one up in my own room. I want a Moomin wall. *stamps*

Putting up Bene's #photowall #review #loveit
See? Not stressful.

As for the rest of the room, it’s mostly reclaimed old Vertbaudet jungle furniture from the younger girls room with a heap of cuddlies that we have had forever. Looks fab though. And I do love his sleepi. Damn boy needs to go to bed in it again. It’s a south facing room so my love friend Graham from Leary’s Blinds has made him a sun proof blind and I just need to make some curtains, put a lock on the craft cupboard door and make him some pictures for the plain walls. Piece of cake. Might even do it before he’s 7.

Thank you Photowall for the free review wall mural and thank you to my lovely dad for giving up a significant portion of his revolution free holiday in blighty to make his grandson a bedroom.

Home improvements.

A while ago I wrote about wanting to improve how the house looks a bit. A lot of this comes down to tidiness and decluttering and all that (I do try, it isn’t terrible!) but it needs some homely touches too. And most of that needs to come from things which can be pretty as well as functional and a few well chosen accessories.

Max is always complaining about the lack of mirrors in the house (we have 1, in my bathroom, so high up I have to stand on tip toes to see in it) and that the girls really need some. They really do, they all check how they look in the door handles :lol: :blush: So I’ve done a bit of saving up and collected some ideas on my Pinterest account, having had my juices squeezed by the lovely bathmat from Next on there (no, this isn’t sponsored!) I’ve actually bought it, and the Homebase soap dish, but I’m rather struggling with the big things. The bathroom currently has nasty racking (with a hamster in residence) and a load of clutter. I want to replace it with this vanity unit, or a similar one from Argos, but so far the only two things I like are out of stock. So I’m wondering about being funkier, with something like the cubes in that image, but I’m not really finding anything I like. It only needs to hold cleaning stuff, shampoo, fresh (ha!) towels, spare toilet rolls etc.

Somehow it isn’t going well; my idea to encase the radiator in a cabinet to produce a shelf with a mirror above it is being thwarted by the bath-radiator-door space being slightly too small to take a ready made one without compromise (butchering it or a door which doesn’t open totally) and I’m getting so frustrated with not being able to pull it all together. So if anyone can find me the perfect cupboards, since I’m failing to Google in a way that produces affordable and desirable, I’d love you forever.

I’m in such a hurry to do the pretty crafty accessory bits, stick up tile stickers and Fimo wall decorations and goodness knows what. I’m never a completer finisher at the best of times, but this time I’m struggling to even start and I WANT to finish!

It’s not much but it’s home.

One of the things I had intended to do this year was make our home more… well… homely. When we first moved here we were all of a dither with big stuff that had been going on. The move was a rush job anyway, one that certainly took the then 18 month old Josie by surprise. She and I were here when the first of our furniture arrived; we’d been in the house an umber of times as it’s a new build and so you can roam about before purchasing. She liked it empty. The a big burly man appeared carrying HER sofa and added it to all the beige carpet and magnolia and she went MENTAL. Josie is certainly one of the people in the Puddle family who rather resents change and bringing furniture into the previously neutral and uncluttered place with lots of stairs was not on her make-me-happy list.

There is a picture somewhere of her screaming hysterically into my lap. Yes, I’m that sort of mother. I take photographic evidence before I comfort. There is a similar one of toddler Fran upside down in a toy box. She was howling admittedly, but it was still worth the photo-opportunity :lol: I should probably have done some work on reducing the stress levels this move would give Josie; I didn’t learn though as a few years later we went to a holiday park for a break and half way through the week she rather pathetically told us she liked our new house but wished we had brought a few of our things to it. We’d forgotten to mention it was only a holiday and she thought we had moved!

The house suffered next from the fact that not only was I in post trauma apathy, something I have since discovered I do with considerable aplomb, but I was a bit busy. Our shops got busier, the child were a lot of work and we had really very little money. The beige carpets (not our choice, got lumbered with them) and the creepily bland walls gained nothing more than the marks of considerable wear. Compared to many of the houses in our street, this one has probably lived 26 years for the 6 it has been built for. Maybe there is such a thing as the human:dog years thing for wear on a house with 4 home educated children in it. I damn well hope so to be honest, otherwise I just have to own up to being a rubbish housewife!
Things improved when we had a brief spell with some actual money; a lick of paint went up and Max and I managed to go furniture shopping somewhere that wasn’t Swedish. After looking about for an interesting coffee table for a while, we ended up being seduced by a rather lovely dark wood one due to it being half price in a clearance sale, which in turn led to some more lounge furniture and some very grown up looking sofas. In fact, our living room is probably still considerably more grown up that we are, but hopefully we’ll get to age into it! :lol: But I’m permanently disappointed with myself. I’m messy – and so are my children to the power of 10 – and I’ve lost the knack of making a house feel like a home. I keep meaning to somehow add homely touches, decorate corners with nice things and hang curtains I made from fabric I chose, like I did in the olden days. Somehow I still feel like I camp in this house and we might be here for a while, so I really would rather not feel like that.

So if you have hints and tips for making a house feel more like a home without spending too much, please feel free to suggest them. Somehow I need to get cosy and inviting back into the atmosphere here; if nothing else it might encourage me and the reprobates children, to take a bit more care of the place.