So, those that know me will tell you my annual camping trip to West Wales really is one of the highlights of my year! However, every year I am met with some sceptics, people who would rather stay in a hotel and do not understand why I would voluntarily live under canvas for a week! Well I say to them, you have never camped the shabby chic way!
As expert campers, my family do not go without any creature comfort! The most experienced of all; my mother arrives with several cookers and a portable kitchen many professional chefs would be envious of (well not quite but it is good!) leaving me totally free to fill my car with pretty but totally unnecessary items to make my tent the night of shabby chic beauty!
A few must haves include, bunting, and lots of it! This is very simple stuff I ran up using iron-on glue as I wanted long lengths but it did not have to be the neatest and I couldn’t be bothered to get my sewing machine out!
Another must have is candles! I’m not talking manky citronella things, I nearly always pack a few lovely big candlesticks as well as a selection of hurricane lanterns and glass jars for the more windy evenings, one year I actually brought 2 candelabras!
One of my favourite things is my inflatable sofa! The first year my in-laws came they brought it as a gentle dig at the ridiculous nature of my packing list but it is actually awesome. Cover it up with one of the many blankets I bring (this year I brought 7) and there you have it, fully furnished living room!
Add to that some wicker hearts, twinkle lights, some net curtains and a few floral table cloths and you will find yourself in the heart of shabby chic luxury, a far cry I am sure from many people’s idea of camping! I’d pick my way over a hotel any day!
Hope you are having a lovely summer so far! My life has been super busy since my last post hence the fairly sparse uploading but I’ve got a few things in the pipe line so will get my blogging act together!
If you read my last post you will have seen that I embarked on a major mission to overhaul a lovely but slightly impractical dining table we had been given. Having started with gusto summer started and progress halted! Well Tim and I recently got a Puppy (yes PUPPY!) and I took a few days off work to settle her in. Turns out a job really gets in the bloody way of artistic creativity and on these days off I have actually made some progress so enough waffling, here are some pictures!
I built a vague ‘diamond’ shape of roses using an angled brush and 3 shades of pink (painting messy roses is not that hard but takes a little practice and the right kind of brush) and then bulked it out with some rough leaf type shapes. After letting that dry over night I used a clean sponge and some of the lightest paint heavily watered down to wash over lightly which just softened the edges and dulled down the white of the rest of the table a little (you can see it’s still a little wet and shiny in the pictures but the overall finish will be matte). It still needs some fine touches and in all honesty there is a bit of me that wants to paint over and start again completely but I am one of those people who may never be happy with it and just have to get a grip!
Now I need to decide how to seal it, considering a crackle glaze for an aged look but have yet to really research my options, if you have any suggestions let me know!
So it has been ages and ages since my last post, busy lives and some fab holidays have kept me from my computer but there has been one fairly large and ongoing project worth a mention.
A family friend very kindly gave us a lovely large oval dining table and chairs. As lovely as it was, with a highly polished surface in our madhouse as you can see it soon began looking a little bit worse for wear!
It ended up pretty much permanently having a cloth on it, so much to my long-suffering husbands despair I decided to give it the shabby chic treatment!
After a light sanding I started with a coat of primer.
Not too pretty just yet!! But after 2 coats of off white satin wood paint it began to look better! Then it was time to add the pretty bits- roses! Easy I thought, but actually a bit trickier than expected. YouTube to the rescue and after watching a couple of videos on the art of painting roses and a bit of practice I poured a glass of wine and bit the bullet!
So far so good but still a lot to do. I have got a bit further than these pictures show and I haven’t even started on the chairs but I think it will look good in the end.
I have painted some other bits of furniture in the past but this is the first time I have gone floral so a bit of trial and error here. Will keep you posted when I finally get it done!
So, as my wedding is where this all began it seems to make sense to write a post on the choices I made in terms of style and decor (some might say theme but I’m not a fan of that word it makes me think of fancy dress weddings!)
As I think I have mentioned about a billion times, I knew I wanted shabby chic and I knew I wanted vintage. Beyond that the only thing I really knew was that I did not want everything to look too matching- I am far too chaotic for that sort of thing and everything being the exact shade just is not me. I settled on a vague palate of pink through to a plummy purple but also ended up with splashes of blue on the table flowers due to the beautiful hydrangeas a lovely old lady down my road allowed us to pinch!
Now I know everyone will say this but my idea for mismatched vintage Crockery came long before the craze fully took hold sparked initially when I watched the film Mama Mia believe it or not! I had wanted dinner plates but they turned out harder to get hold of (and end up covered in food!) so side plates it was! I went a bit against popular choice these days and opted for straight tables, my reason being that I think you get more overall impact for less in terms flowers and candles if you can have several dotted along a table rather than one thing in the middle of a round one.
I mentioned in a previous post that champagne corks were enlisted as place name holders (champagne is honestly my favourite thing in the world!) and another thing that I think really added something was embossing powder! Random I know but hand written names were made a bit more special by using silver embossing powder and it is really quick and easy to do yourself. I also used this to edge the order of service covers and various other bits and bobs which in my opinion helped to take the things I made from ‘home made’ to ‘hand made’ if that makes any sense!?
So this is getting rambly and probably very boring so I will leave it there (of course I could talk for weeks on this stuff!) but I may revisit my wedding to talk about specific projects in detail in later posts.
Ohhhh! One other thing I must mention was our wedding cake! Neither my husband or I have a particularly sweet tooth so the thought of spending several hundreds of pounds on cake did not appeal but we wanted something to cut and something that looked good.. So a cheese cake!! Not the desert, a cake made up off rounds of cheese. In my mind much better value, it looked great and we served it up as a cheese course! Yum!
So first blog post ..eek! I thought I would start with a post about one of my more recent creations.
If your anything like me and tend to buy random items with the intention of ‘doing them up’ only to forget all about it, you will understand how I came to have a large gold frame with no picture wedged down the back of my sofa for a year.
I also happened to have a vast amount of wine corks that I amassed on the run up to my wedding – not from stress drinking although there was a fair bit of that, but we used them as place card holders and my family showed great enthusiasm in helping me collect them!
One random day I decided to combine both items in a way that would still have them hanging around my house but in a slightly more aesthetically pleasing way, and this is the result!
The corks and frame have been united in a way that makes me really quite happy! At the moment its just got a few of my wedding pics on as you can see below, but it could easily be used to display a seating plan or happy couple messages. At my wedding we had lots of photos of friends and family that these would have been perfect for this (isn’t hind sight a wonderful thing!)
The best thing is you do not have to be at all artistically skilled to do this. Just take the glass out of the frame and replace the back board, cut the corks to the right depth (I found just less than thirds but it depends on your frame) and use hot glue to fix in shape.
I tried to mix texture and colour, the red wine ones take on a lovely well..wine colour!
So if you have an old frame and a Rioja habit why not give it a go!