Friday, 28 January 2011

Plate rack make-over

Sometimes you need a bit of time to see where you want to go.Put the insolveable aside and let your inner conscious come up with a solution.
The plate-rack which I picked up in this post had been kept in it's unfinished state ( plain pine ) , mostly out of time pressure and out of indecision.
The cups, plates and teapot I kept on the plate-rack were mostly from Susie Watson with pastel coloured decorations like polka dots and small flowers.

But the pine wood, I felt, just stood out too much.It also gave a dated, 1970's-pine-kitchen-with-big-dresser kind of feel to the place.
The Susie Watson shop has lovely displays of their china on painted shelves , in pastel colours, so I decided to take a look which colour they used to make it look artlessly right.
It seemed a pale grey-green blue.Hunting throught the files from Farrow and Ball I found a pretty close match.

When I saw the name I just knew it was right-" Theresa's Green" .
Theresa, the mother of my boyfriend, is a super sweet woman, kindness itself, with a lovely, sweet face- well, it just had to be !

So " Theresa's Green" it is. I suppose you could say I fell in love with the colour, then with the name of the paint, and now my plate-rack is made-over in " Theresa's Green" .

The wood seems to recede a bit and is not so " in your face " when it's in this pastel colour.
I love it that it goes very well with all-white china like here:

and also with the pastel coloured china like here.

Have you fallen in love with a name for paint ? And did it match your expectations ??How do you feel about colours ? What have you done up lately ? I love to hear from you and look foward to your comments.


                                                               Millie and Maud

And if you want to read about the new adventures of Millie and Maud, you can read more here .

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Getting it right- adventures in decorating.

My lovely neighbour who kindly gave me the garden-chairs which I did up in this post has a passion for interior decorating and loves to change things around.
She has amazed me every time with the transformations she has achieved- she is definitely a interior decorator
manquee ! And I ususally say :" But it was so pretty the last time!" Hahahaha.
It's great fun to play around with elements of a room as there is so much you can do differently.

I would like to take you through what a different bit of lighting can do to a room.

I had found some lovely patterened curtains with a pale blue background , so I decided I wanted the bedroom to have blue walls. I am in the middle of changing my mind at the moment as I may stencil the whole room with a " Berkely Sprig " pattern but that is by the by.
It might be too busy and more suitable for fabric.But blue walls it is at the moment.
So here are the curtains- my starting point.
The style I wanted to go for was  classic English country house look with a bit of vitage and bohemian thrown in. Perfetto!
First I had two different bedside lamps while I kept a look out for something I liked.
It really annoyed the heck out of me that there was no symmetry.It's like an itch you can't scratch.
                                                            See what I mean.
There is a lovely interior shop, called Urban Rustics where I always go when I feel the need for happiness and calm.
It's my Tiffany's as in " Breakfast at Tiffany's".
If life gets her down, Holly Golightly in Truman Capote's book, has her breakfast in front of the Tiffany's jewellery store window and sanity is restored.
" Urban Rustics" works the same way for me.But I don't need a croissant.
It's all trendy, rustic, cutting edge, old and new together.I could easily live in that shop and be perfectly happy. Shame they have no beds!

They had some great wall lights that were way out of my budget.
Grey silk shades- square ones- with lime-washed wooden carved wall-sconces.

I must have circled those lamps for months.They never sold. Obviously I wasn't the only one who did not have that sort of budget. I tried to forget them.
A year passed.

Then I saw one of the sconces and shades propped up on the floor in the shop.I zoomed straight in and asked for a discount and got it for the two lights.That was a good day.

Shame I had no idea where to put them.

So the pale grey shades and the pale lime-washed wood went on the blue wall in the bedroom.
I was happy with my Urban Rustic finds.But the blue wall being so overpowering with the grey of the lamps started to annoy me and I thought the wall light better- perfect in fact- for the entrance hall.
I neded a good rectangulat mirror to echo the shape of the shaeds, but I only had an oval antique one.
One step at a time! Eventually I found one but it took me ages to hang it up..
Here is a close-up.
So the lamps moved to the hall and I had nothing in the bedroom.
I dragged two classic column based lamps from the living room and the hall to have some light and to make-do.
The pillows on the bed were made like this in this post by the way.
So all I wanted for Christmas- apart from a dog- which I did get- ( two , in fact-Millie and Maud ),
was a couple of bedside lamps so I could finally have the old lights back in the living room and have some new lights in the bedroom .
So we found this in Laura Asghley in the sale.Not the cat obviously !
The black shade works more or less with the blue wall.
But the light is not very strong and it makes the whole room rather dark- like a sort of smart library.
Whereas the look I was aiming for was classic English country house look with a bit of vintage and bohemian.
So I am not convinced.What do you think ? Do you change things around as often as this ? Or do you just give up? Or would you say to me like I always say to my neighbour :" But it was so pretty the last time!".
I look forward to you comments !!!

Monday, 24 January 2011

Berkeley Sprig revived - a memory board re-vamp

Ever since I saw this pretty chair in Nancy Lancaster's bedroom with this charming simple blue flower on a white background, I have had a hankering for this design by Colefax and Fowler , called "Berkeley Sprig". You can read about this design here and here.
Sadly, as far as I know, this design is discontinued..


It seemed the perfect fabric for the re-vamp of a memory board.
I found one of those boards , rather old and worn, standing against a wall in the rain in an old street in Bath.
This is the before picture. Once upon a time it had been quite smart, but the fabric was faded and the whole thing was pretty dirty .
I took off all the nails, staples, ribbons ( braiding ) and fabric till I was left with the wooden board and the padding ( see below).
If you are not as lucky as I was to find a discarded memory board, you can get a piece of wood cut at your local DIY store and some padding from a fabric shop and you are ready to roll as well.

Next, I drew an approximate Berkely Sprig design, traced this on acetate sheeting, and cut the design out with a craft knife so I had a stencil.
And here is a detail- excuse the lighting !!
I then stencilled the Sprig design using blue fabric paint .You will need to iron it with  piece of cotton on top of
the paint so the paint sets and will not wash out.
Then I took the old brading and used this as a guideline for measurements for the new white braiding .
I pinned it in a lozenge shape to the board, then attached it by stapling the braiding to the back.Here is what I mean by lozenge shape- this is the pinned braiding which has not been stapled yet.
As a final touch I put a round-topped upholstery nail at every crossing of every lozenge.This gives you the option to tuck postcards and photo's in between the short bits of the braiding.
 And here is the finished memory board.You can tuck it full of cards and photographs like this-
or just a few cards like this.
 And you can always change it around so you have a changing display.Either way- I just love it.

Here is a detail of the corner.This is a super simple way to start upholstery- so give it a go! Happy crafting !!


Thursday, 20 January 2011

The power of paint

I just wanted to share a short " before and " after" with you .
I quite often rescue discarded furniture, and this time I found two kitchen chairs which I thought might come in handy.The poor things were ready waiting to be chucked away- Modern Country Lady to the rescue !!
I have no "before" picture of the one I did up- the chairs were both in an equal bad state, but I do have one of the second chair and it is pretty grim.Cats adore chairs like this by the way- so much fun to play with !
Here it is in all its glory..
Yep, not pretty.Note the much scratched leg front left- cat heaven !
Time to give this poor chair another chance- so I gave it two coats of Cooking Apple Green from Farrow and Ball -this is such a gentle colour it goes with practically anything .I then repaired the seating as best I could ( which was adequate but not fabulous) and got a matching gingham cushion to make the seat a bit more pleasing to the eye.
Just a couple of coats of paint alone can make such a difference! The power of paint never ceases to amaze...
And if you have a new pup you can get them to pose too... here's Milly enjoying the chair !!
So have you been planning some makeovers and weren't sure which way to go? Paint is always a quick fix!


                                                                 Maud and Millie

It sure takes extra time to  make some new doglets feel at home. I have felt the time rushing like sand through my fingers, with the extra walks, cuddles required , and the supervised socialising with the cats .
Consequently the amount and frequency of my posts have dwindled a bit of which I am very aware.
Must do better!!I am sure this will improve!!
You can click here for their latest adventures.......

Sunday, 16 January 2011

A super simple gorgeous chicken liver pate

Liver - love it or hate it ! If you are a liver-hater- look away now ...if not - here is the most delicious recipe!! This is a super simple pate , which is so delicious you could easily get this in a very expensive restaurant.    The ingredients cost practically nothing at all.
Home-made pate is the best, honestly!!
Here is how you make it :

400 gr chicken livers
some milk
160 gr butter
90 ml cream
2 table spoons of brandy or whiskey

How to make the pate:
Cut the dark or green bits of the chicken livers, then soak the livers in milk for about 30 minutes.
Take the livers out of the milk, and melt about 90 or 100 gr of butter in a pan, then put the livers in the heated butter one by one and fry them all over till they are lightly browned. ( Make  sure the insides of the livers stay pink!) Melt -soften the rest of the butter in another pan.
Put the livers ( and the butter they were fried in ) the softened butter from the other pan , the cream , the 2 table spoons of brandy or whiskey and a decent amount of sea-salt and freshly ground black pepper in a food processor and mix till it's become a puree.
The mass should be the colour of pinkish-brown.
Take the whole lot out of the food processor and push through a fine meshed sieve.
Put the creamy mass into a pate terrine, and chill in the frige for 30 minutes.In the meantime, melt the remaining 50 gr or so of butter ,and when melted, spoon off the white bits that rise to the top so you have a clear golden liquid butter.Let this cool till no longer hot but still not so cold that it sets- it should be runny still.
Take you pate out of the fridge and  pour your melted butter on top - then put back in the fridge and let it set completely.The melted butter will sit like a lid on top of the pate and will give it that super professional proper pate look.
This will take a couple of hours.
This pate is lovely with some sourdough bread , and some gherkins.Enjoy your cooking .
I can promise you this pate, once you have made it for the first time, you will want to make again and again ...!!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

From locker room to Gustavian cupboard- a project in progress part 1

Unfinished as it is, - as it has taken much longer than I thought- I would like to share a bit of a project I am working on at the moment.
I had hoped to finish it this evening but a game of catch with Millie and Maud, with the help of Tilda and Thomasina intervened- and that is also very important right now !
I will show you the before of this - here below.
It was a small , square , squat locker room style cupboard which I  rescued from being burned on a bonfire.
I thought it would be perfect for a small bathroom cabinet.
I quite like the Gustavian/ Scandinavian style, and thought that would be fun, so look up some books for inspiration, especially decorative wall pintings of that time- so pretty !!.
I gave the cupboard a new handle, filled the holes , gave it an undercoat, then used some old Farrow and Ball paint I had left as the first coat.
The cupboard was rather squat so I decided to depict a fake smaller panel within the square of the cupboard door, to break up the squareness of it all, and keep the whole thing in shades of grey, green and cream like a grisaille.Within the fake panel, I planned to do a copy of a prety corner of some Gustavian wallpaper- asymmetrical.

Here below you can see what I did-  

and here are some more details.
It's precise work so it has taken longer than I thought but there is no point rushing for the sake getting it done.
I will post some more pictures and will stage it properly once it's fully done and all finished !!!
So there will be a second post about this in the near future, keep your eyes peeled and see you soon !!

I am linking this to Judy's first linky-party.Go and check out her blog!!

                                                        Maud and Millie.
If you want to keep up with the adventures of Maud and Millie, the latest post on their blog is here


Sunday, 9 January 2011

Sunday baking- a super easy cake

I just love  the smell of home- baking  and there is nothing like pottering about on a Sunday and making yourself a simple cake so you have something nice to eat and look foward to for the cold, wet days when you come home during the week.Here is how you can have you cake and eat it- hahaha- sorry for the lame joke!

250 gr butter
250 gr caster sugar
1 lemon
100 gr ground almonds
100 gr flour
4 eggs

How to make the cake :
Beat the butter and sugar till white and fluffy.Mix the ground almonds and flour.
Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture one at the time, and beat this well while doing so.
Grate the lemon for lemon zets then juice it so you have the lemon juice as well.Add the lemon zest to the egg and butter/ sugar mixture, then add about a third of the almonds+ flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture.
Mix , then add the second  bit of almonds + flour.Mix.Then add the third bit of almonds + flour .
Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees Centigrade. Line and butter a 23 cm cake tin with removable base.
Add to your cake batter the lemon juice- then mix well.
Put the cake batter in your cake tin , then bake for about half an hour.Check if done by putting in a knitting needle- it should come out clean.
Enjoy your baking and your cake!

I am linking this to
Full plate Thursday

                                                                Maud and Millie.

And if you would like to follow the adventures of Maud and Millie, the latest additions to the MCL team,
here is the post about the walk on the wasteland .

Here to go to the latest about their wintry walk.
And here about who gets to sit in the dogbed first.

 I guess that was a forgone conclusion anyway.