Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Reasons to be cheerful ....

I've been busy Instagramming this week ... hope I'm not boring you with it, but I love it!  I'd just like to share a few images with you, of things that have been making me smile this last week ...

Dresser full of jam, awaiting labelling for the upcoming fairs

Slow cooking ... this particular one is shoulder of lamb with rosemary and garlic.  Mmmmmmm ...

The last roses of summer ... are they meant to still be flowering, when it's almost November?

Corner of my living room ... don't you just love the 'sunshine' tin sign? £7.99 from The Range! ... amazing value!

Ooh! I can't wait ...

Five minutes from hen to eggcup ...

and my girls enjoying their porridge before bedtime ...

Has anyone else discovered the vintage Colgate toothpaste in Home Bargains? Two for £1 and looks lovely on the bathroom shelf!

Cyclamens in a cracked Emma Bridgewater mug ...

and in a Lyle's Golden Syrup tin ... lots of treacle tins around at this time of year ... please don't throw them out! Use them to plant mini daffodils and muscaris in, or as pencil tins, utensil holders, etc ... the possibilities are endless!

Lovely colourful heather, welcoming by the front door ...

and a little before ...

and after ... my first attempt at upholstery! My Mam was a brilliant upholstress, and I used to go with her on the bus, often to the countryside, to measure and later to return and fit the lovely loose covers she'd made for the ladies cottage suites.  Unfortunately, I didn't inherit her immense talent, and sadly she died when I was young, so she wasn't able to pass her skills along to me. At the time I wasn't interested in sewing at all, my Mam always had the Singer out, working away, but I just took it for granted. I really wish I'd shown an interest then ...

and lastly, my autumn garden; the first cup of tea of the day (and the best!); Ruby; and the glorious russet cherry tree over the hedge.

I did have some more pictures to share with you, but my technophobia seems to be setting in and I can't download them for you ... will share them with you next time.

A big hello to all my lovely new followers ... there's always a big welcome at Thriftwood!

What's making you smile this week?

Enjoy your day ....

Love, Claire xxx

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Mama, don't take my Kodachrome away ...

This week, there's been lots going on at Thriftwood, and feel that I've neglected blogland a bit, so just to get you up to scratch, Jacob and his girlfriend, Jules, are home at the moment, but going back to Leeds tomorrow after their travels around Europe.  They were on the way home (to us) on Wednesday evening, and in between the bus station and train station at Preston, poor Jules fell and broke her wrist.  Badly..  She needed an operation and was in hospital for three days, but is recovering now.  It's lovely to have them here, and for longer than they were originally staying, just wish it was under different circumstances.

Every cloud has a silver lining though, and Jacob has spent some time teaching me about Instagram.  I am a complete technophobe, but have enjoyed fiddling around with images and creating different moods for each one.  Please bear with me, and humour me, all you computer whizzes out there! I've just managed, without help, to download my Instagram images from my ipad to the main pc ... a big achievement for me, but seem to have done something weird to my desktop, so this post may not even happen!

Anyway, let's get on! On Saturday when I got back from the hospital in Preston, two parcels were waiting for me.  I opened the big one first, and was delighted to find my Giveaway prize from the lovely mumofalltrades ... her lovely, handmade, Autumn bunting.  I've hung it on the wall above my fireplace in the back room, and Instagrammed it for you to see ...

The next parcel contained these two lovely, handmade, poppy brooches for Remembrance Day, which I ordered from vintage vicki.  They are really lovely, and all proceeds are going to the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.  Me and Millie will certainly be wearing our poppies with pride this year!  Thank you, lovely ladies, your parcels made my day!

Just thought I'd share a few more of my Instagrammed pics with you ...

Ruby, in younger days and before we got our French windows!

Love the colours and textures of the wood in the one above ...

Ruby, looking angelic ...

And my favourite corner!

I'd just like to thank everyone for their lovely comments on my past two posts, where I shared tips on housework and other random things, and have even been surprised to see my name pop up on other blogs, where people have mentioned that they are using my 2 hour timer tip to sort their housework out!

This post doesn't feel as though it's flowed as well as others, feel a bit of bloggers block coming on, so I'll leave you there, but not before I've given a huge welcome to all my lovely new followers!

Have a lovely week!

Love, Claire xxx

PS: I don't know why there is a link to the words 'cloud' and 'prize' ... I certainly didn't link them to anything! Does anyone know how to stop this happening? xxx

Monday, 15 October 2012

Listen ... do you want to know a secret?

Hello everyone! After the torrent of wonderful comments on my previous post, the one where I told you how I set my timer to do my housework, I thought I'd share a few other little tips with you ...

Instead of throwing away old wellies (large or small) use them as plant pots! These look lovely and welcoming at the front door ... make a few holes with a darning needle to allow water to drain through, and put a few pebbles in the foot too, otherwise the stagnant water will get a bit whiffy! If you don't have any yourself they can usually be picked up very cheaply at car boot sales or charity shops.  These little darlings were 50p ... bootiful!

Whenever you use a lemon, don't just throw it away, instead put the shells into your dishwasher. The lemons will help to cut through grease, make your dishwasher smell citrus fresh, and sparkle your glassware!

When you return from your holidays, nothing brings you back to earth more quickly than emptying 4 or 5 large suitcases on to the kitchen floor and sorting and separating the washing.  To save yourself this heartache, take a few bin bags or large carriers with you and sort the washing on a daily basis.  It doesn't really take any longer than just slinging it in the suitcase! Have a bag for whites, one for coloureds and a dark one.  When you return it's much less daunting to just select and deal with one bag at a time than to sift through a mountain of dirty, smelly washing.

If you're of a sensitive disposition, or eating your breakfast, you might want to skip this one! If your daft dog, or indeed, your child, has an accident on your precious vintage rug, remove the excess whilst gagging and wearing a protective mask wipe with a wrung out, barely damp, cloth without rubbing too hard, and then sprinkle the area with good old bicarbonate of soda and leave for a few hours.  Then simply hoover the area,  and the stain will have disappeared, along with the smell.

Courtesy of Google
To avoid the torture of finding a matching set of bedding, simply fold the duvet cover, bed sheets, and pillowcases (saving one) and place into the saved one and fold ... your airing/linen cupboard will be transformed by the neat stacks of sweet-smelling, orderly bedding! All you need to do is select the set you want and remove from the pile, instead of all that flinging everything around to find a matching pillowcase! I've done this all my life and am amazed when I pass on this tip to others, as I just thought everyone knew about this one ... By the way, I really, really, have bedroom envy for the picture above!

Now I really must apologise for the next image ... not that it isn't beautiful ... but the 'C' word in October isn't always acceptable!

Courtesy of Google

In my defence, I can't do a post sharing my top tips without adding my 2 favourite Christmas ones!  If you have more than one child, I know what a nightmare it can be to wrap and label all their presents.  I pick a different roll of paper for each child, writing in a notebook which is which, as between one marathon wrapping session and the next I'm bound to you may forget.  This dispenses with any need for labelling as each present is colour-coded and on Christmas Eve (when the elves bring pyjamas, miraculously wrapped in the right paper), Father Christmas puts the wooden heart with the name of the child on the relevant pile so there is no mix-up on The Big Day.

Courtesy of Google

Just before (about 45 minutes) serving up the most important meal of the year, put all your plates and serving dishes into the dishwasher and put on a quick, hot wash.  When they are dry, but still very hot, put the food in the serving dishes and immediately wrap in tinfoil.  Leave the plates in the hot dishwasher until required.  This frees up valuable space in an already overloaded oven.

And remember, if all else fails, flowers will ALWAYS make it better!

Hope you all have a fabulous week!

Love, Claire xxx

Monday, 8 October 2012

I am doing my housework ... Got no time to fool 'round

A few years ago, a friend of mine was a cleaner, and now and again I'd go with her to help.  I was always amazed at the work covered in just 2 hours! When my house is getting me down and the job just seems so overwhelming, I set my oven timer for 2 hours and don't stop until the timer pings!


This is what I do (at high speed!) - if you do each job as it is laid out you will get through it all - don't be tempted away from the task in hand by starting on something else!
  • First of all I go all round the house with a bin bag emptying bins and picking up any rubbish I can find
  • Collect all old newspapers, magazines and paperwork for recycling
  • Pick up dirty clothes, sort and put a wash on
  • Next I throw away dead flowers and put the vases/jugs/jamjars in the dishwasher/sink ready for washing
  • Then I collect any mould encrusted  dirty crockery from various offsprings rooms and put in dishwasher/sink
  • Collect soap dishes, tooth mugs, etc, from bathroom and put in dishwasher/sink
  • Spray the sink, bath and toilet with a spray made from white vinegar, drop of washing up liquid and water - leave to do its magic! This isn't my bathroom spray, but you get the drift!)
  • Do the same in the kitchen, spray the hob, sink and worktops using the same spray
  • Tidy the most important rooms, ie, the ones you spend time in ... other people in the house can tidy and clean their own rooms (haha, as if that'll happen) - straighten curtains, tidy magazines, plump cushions, and put things back where they belong
  • Straighten bedding/make beds
  • In living rooms, move items from surfaces and wipe them down, then replace items (obviously 2 hours isn't long enough to do a big spring clean ... this is just to make you feel better about your home!). 
  • Spray and wipe mirrors.
  • Wipe down the bathroom and kitchen - they should be sparkling by now!
  • Hoover right through the house
Timer should be pinging by now, but depending on the size of your house and how thoroughly you do everything it may take a longer or shorter period of time

Sit down in your lovely, clean, tidy house and make a cup of tea, served with a cupcake and your favourite magazine!

If you still feel energetic, set it for another hour and spray and wipe windows.

Go out and treat yourself to some lovely flowers, as a reward to yourself for all your hard work!

I'm not for a minute telling anyone how to clean their homes, yours always look so lovely and welcoming on your blogs, just sharing with you what works for me when I feel overwhelmed!

If you have visitors arriving at short notice and your house is a pigsty  untidy, with no time for the above, get everyone to pick up and shove behind the sofa move from view anything that shouldn't be there, if you have hard floors, sweep round rather than getting the hoover out, plump cushions and put the coffee machine on!

Must go now ... the lovely Maria's coming tomorrow so I really need to practise what I preach! Can't let her see my house like this, haha!

Have a lovely day

Love, Claire xxx

Monday, 1 October 2012

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness ...

Courtesy of Google
Hello everyone, as I said in my previous burbled post, I've had a busy weekend what with one thing and another. Jacob has come home for a few days after his travels around Europe and is very tired, so haven't seen a lot of him really, as I was at a new Vintage Fair all day yesterday.

I can't believe we're now into October ... where has this year gone? Summer's definitely over ... not that it ever really happened in the frozen north anyway! The trees in my garden are losing their leaves, the flowers are all dying back and when I get a dry, fine day I need 'to put the garden to bed' for the winter.

Just thought I'd give you a few before and afters of some Annie Sloan makeovers I've done recently ...

This dated, grubby cupboard became this little beauty ...

A lick of Annie Sloan Antoinette, new wooden knob, a touch of dotty paper tape and a basket  filled with Cath Kidston goodies, a cyclamen planted in a pretty cup and saucer and a bath melt cupcake complete with candle, this was my little sisters birthday surprise! That's Lottie in the background ...

This tangoed cupboard became this ...

Annie Sloan Old Ochre, distressed with dark wax, new ceramic knob, lined with dotty sticky-backed-plastic, a basket and wooden heart ...

Orange pine side table ...

Again painted with Antoinette (my favourite colour this week!), a new ceramic knob and basket ...

Cupboard with drawer, chipped and unloved ...

Painted with AS Paloma, a basket added and the drawer interior painted in AS Primer Red (not really keen on this one, might have to get the Antoinette out again)

And on to the Vintage Fair! This is a brand new fair located near to the Coast Road where I took you several posts ago.  I didn't really know what to expect, but loaded the car with a heavy heart, as it was teeming it down and not a nice day to go out on a jaunt really.  The sort of day that customers would rather stay indoors, curled up by the fire with a good book, rather than trudge along to a village hall and get wet in the process.  But it was fabulous! Hordes of people came including some old friends and the other stallholders were a lovely lot too!

My stall filled fit to burst ...

I sold lots and my poor little Micra went home a lot lighter!

Squirrel Nutkin greeting visitors at the door ... strange, but true! The fair was a huge success and is hopefully going to become a monthly event which is great news as it's not too far away to take my poor overloaded little car.  There was a lovely tea room serving home-made soups, bread, cakes and scones ... a pefect day!

I drove into my front garden and found this little lot being where they shouldn't be! Rumbled ...

Realising they've been caught in the act of destroying my garden and legging it back to their own patch!

Hope you've all had a lovely weekend, and can't wait to hear about it!

Love, Claire xxx