Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Happy times, and making plans

Things have been quiet in Comfy Marmalade Land for the last week or so, as we've been embroiled in all things half term.  We spent the half term week visiting the Husband's folks and friends in his home town of Belfast, and a lovely time we had too.  Belfast really is a fantastic city - lots of culture and history and a lot of money being spent on growth and new building too; the docks area especially has changed massively since I started visiting the city regularly. Amongst other things, we spent time in the beautiful, autumnal Ormeau Park

Ormeau Park in all its autumnal glory.  The Boy especially was on top form that day -
here he is doing a little dance behind his dad and sister. And can you see him peaking out from
behind the oak leaves?  Cheeky monkey...
…we visited the C. S. Lewis Square, a public space commemorating the Belfast-born Chronicles of Narnia creator and wowed at the Lion, Witch and Wardrobe sculptures…

The sculptures were amazing and terrifying at the same time!

… spent ages in the amazing W5 centre, an award-winning interactive discovery centre for kids…

Yes, this photo is the correct way around.  It's a rare self-portrait, a reflection
in one of the many, many weird and wonderful interactive displays in W5

…and browsed (as best you can with kids running round your feet) the truly spectacular Ulster Museum.

The Ulster Museum, one of my favourite places to visit in Belfast.

Best of all, we got to spend some quality time with the Husband's family and friends.  I am so lucky with my in-laws!  The weather was chilly but very kind, and we had a relaxed but packed and fun-filled week.  The journey isn't much fun, especially with two kids, but we tend to travel by ferry so that we can pack the car up and take everything we might need with us.  And in fact the journey is incredibly beautiful in parts, especially once you leave the motorway and travel the (very long) length of Dumfries and Galloway, such a stunning part of the world.

Anyway we're back now, much refreshed and looking forward to the second half of the school term.  Inevitably, thoughts are already turning to Christmas and, with my crafty head on, I'm especially keen to get wobbling on a couple of ideas I have.  It seems far too early in many ways, but given that it's less than a month until December I think I really need to get cracking!  I'll update you on my progress next time…

For now, though, I've been busying myself finishing off a couple of projects, re-arranging the house a bit and implementing a cost-effective idea I had a couple of weeks ago to make our new (well, new to us anyway) dining chairs a bit more comfy and user-friendly.

I finally got round to completing a project I'd had sitting in my crochet bag for many months.  It's a crocheted basket and was bought as a pack from the ever amazing Sharon at www.cottonpod.co.uk.

www.cottonpod.co.uk - project crocheted basket...complete

It was great value for money and in the end, although it looks quite complicated, was actually very easy and straightforward and only took me a couple of hours.  It's way bigger than I expected it to be - which is a good thing! - and the colours are just perfect for our house.  I just need to work out where to put it and what to do with it now… I'm feeling very pleased with myself, as I'd never tackled a pattern within a crochet project whereby you have to alternate colours on the same row.  But it really is quite simple, as long as you don't get your balls of wool in a tangle!

What amazed me was that the inside of the basket is so uniform and neat -
I expected to see threads and offcuts everywhere!

I've also been re-arranging a display on top of our bookcase.  I had a brainwave (whilst away in Belfast, of all places) that my growing collection of casserole dishes might look good in this space, rather than the somewhat mish-mash collection of items which were previously there.  And I was right!

Our bookcase is stuffed to the rafters and I think we might need to
invest in another fairly soon.  I just can't throw away books... the casserole dishes
look fabulous in their new home, don't know why I didn't think of it before.

The dishes look fantastic in this space - they give a uniformity to it and also (although it's hard to tell in this photo) the bright white of the pottery really stands out against the pale grey of the walls.  It reinforces the Scandi feel I've been trying to curate in the house and I'm very pleased with it.  I just need to find / buy a third now, to complete the collection.  The Husband will be pleased…

I've relocated my Orla Kiely storage tin to the shelf underneath our hallway table, and I think it works really well here - the proportions of the tin are great and the colours clash beautifully with the blue of the table and the various other colours on display.

My Orla Kiely tin looks great in its new home and really makes good use of what was,
in essence, a dead space

I've yet to decide what to do with this Emma Bridgewater biscuit tin. I confess that I've fallen out of love with it a bit (sorry Emma!) - the colours are a bit wishy washy for my taste and it tends to get lost in the riot of colour on display in our home.  I'm sure I can find somewhere for it; if not I'll find someone else who will love it more than I do.

Ah bless, I'm just not feeling the love for this tin anymore.
Might have to find a taker for it, but I might give it one more chance...

And I've managed to find a cracking solution to a problem we were having with our dining chairs.  If you remember, the chairs (and table) came from my lovely Dad's house, and I love their style and their sentiment.  However the chairs were proving to be a little uncomfortable for the smaller members of our household.

Dad's dining chairs - beautiful and sturdy but darned uncomfortable for small bums and legs

The weaved seats are not the best when you have bare legs, and the Boy in particular was getting frustrated.  And then I had a brainwave!  I took myself off to our local(ish) Ikea store and bought two Tejn rugs for £10 each - these are faux sheepskin, lovely and super soft and also washable.  I cut them across the middle and placed each half on the chairs.  Voila!

Ta-dah! How flipping fantastic do they look?!

The seats are now fluffy and comfy and easily washable when the inevitable spillages occur.  They look amazing next to the oilcloth and fit perfectly with the feel and theme of the dining room. And they only cost £5 per chair. I'm really, really delighted with them - yay me!

November seems to be flashing by and I know that Christmas is only round the corner crafty-wise.  I really need to get cracking on my projects and plans for the festive season now - wish me luck!

Bye for now xx

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