Friday, June 27

Succulent Love

Ebay table painted in 'Slipper' acrylic eggshell by Little Greene, and the 'Frankie' rug is from The Plantation Rug Company
Okay, so we all know that succulents are a 'thing'. Some of us are better at keeping them alive and kicking than others. A few weeks ago, I put two of my succulent babies outside on our south facing window ledge where the sun hits all day. I thought I was doing the right thing, especially as one of them was 'stretching' and clearly wasn't happy with the amount of sunlight it had been getting. However, after a few days, I noticed to my horror, that one of them (my favourite, but don't tell the others), was not at all happy - it was singed quite badly, and clearly wasn't enjoying all that full-on sun. I am yet to do the research on which ones like which conditions, but be warned: all succulents are not the same.  Oh the pressure!

Gold glass votives above are from West Elm, re-purposed as succulent pots!
Good job then, that before I half killed it (it's actually recovering really well now that I've put it back in a less sunny spot), that I photographed it. When I was putting an order in for my new Penny Doll brooches, I decided to add a few succulents too - just for me really, and as gifts for my hard to buy for friends. However, I've had so many complements and requests, that I have now added them to the shop, and I've made a necklace version, and ├╝ber cute stickers too! These ones are much easier to keep alive, and everyone will know that you're in the excluuuuuusive succulent club.

I'm celebrating this new product line, my new blog AND re-branded website, so I'll be including a free mini-sticker sheet with every Succulent Brooch or Necklace order, from now until the end of July. Yay!


Popsicle Pots

I recently saw what I'm pretty sure was a planter made from popsicle sticks in an image on the amazing Emily Hendersons blog.  If you don't know it yet, you must go and have a look - that woman is pretty amazing.  WAIT, NOT YET!  Read this first, okay?

I think it's pretty safe to say that we've all made one of these at some point in our childhood.   If not, then I'm sorry you missed out, and let me assure you, it's not rocket science.  Making one of these is akin to a therapy session.  Not that I'd know.

Anyway, I thought it looked cool (I think that a LOT when looking at her blog), then forgot about it until I randomly saw some popsicle sticks on Amazon whilst looking for something totally unrelated.  It was clearly fate, so I ordered some, deciding to make some pots for my growing collection of succulents, which I've been struggling to find a nice selection of pots for.

They arrived and sat unopened on the dining table, slowly getting buried under a pile of paperwork. Then a few weeks ago, I was at home with my two small people, and it was really awful stormy weather, and I'll be honest - we were driving each other a bit mad.  Then I remembered the sticks. The sticks!!

So out they came, along with some wood glue, and we got to work.  Well, Edie and I got to work, and Baxter did his utmost to sabotage our efforts.  We all had fun though (except the bit when I realised that Baxter was running riot with a highlighter pen all over the living room, and the other bit when I got cross that he was trying to smash my creation).

This is my rather anal neat effort.  I wanted it to be sculptural and simple.  Not too seventies, but maybe just a little bit, which was kind of inevitable.

Some black spray paint was definitely in order to take it from an average crafty thing, to something I actually want to display.  I love it, and I'm pretty sure it will end up on my new kitchen table when it arrives.  I'm also pretty sure I'll be ordering some more sticks for another rainy afternoon, to make a hexagonal one to spray gold.  Yep.  And white, and mint, and pink...

If you're going to use yours as a planter, you'll need to add an inner receptacle like a jar to put your plant into, because obviously these pots aren't going to hold soil or water.

Okay, NOW you can go and visit Style By Emily Henderson, and then you might want to order some popsicle sticks and get gluing.


Unto This Last

As you may know, we're in the midst of a kitchen make-over. Nothing too major, but it's causing it's fair share of chaos, and in typical fashion, in my excitement, I sold the table before buying a new one. Oops.

The old one was ordered on impulse just before we moved in to this house six(ish) years ago. It was lovely and oval and white - perfect for a bay window, or with lots of space around it. We have neither an abundance of space or a bay window in the kitchen, and therefore it has never really worked if I'm truly honest, so it got it's marching orders. The new table will go on the opposite wall - again against a wall due to the fact that the kitchen is long and narrow, and it needs to be quite a specific (dinky) size.

I jumped the gun (can you see a pattern forming here?) and bought one from Ikea as it was only £79. I was convinced I'd never be able to find something the right size if I went the vintage route, and I never thought I'd be able to find something for under £200 new, but before I even got it home, I knew that despite it fitting in the space perfectly, I didn't like it enough for a table I would sit at every morning. So it's gone back. Yeah, everyone was pretty pleased about that.

In a bit of a panic (yes, I know), I asked a friend where her dining table was from, as I'd often admired it, but was worried that it would have cost thousands, and was so surprised when she told me it cost around £300 (it's BIG), and was from Unto This Last - a local (to us) company, based in Brick Lane in London, where they have a show room and workshop. Not mass produced, local craftspeople, making really lovely furniture. Amazing. So I went and had a look the other week, and found a table that just happens to be exactly the right size. And it's beautiful. Here 'tis...

Angle Table in Walnut £190 Unto This Last

I will of course be posting pics of ours in-situ when it arrived in a couple of weeks time. Hopefully by then we'll have gotten a little further with the many other jobs to do in the kitchen.

So do remember these guys when you're next in the market for a table (they do other products including chairs and shelving too), as they're so beautifully made, and there are some lovely designs to choose from. Not to mention the fact that you'd be supporting independent craftspeople which is so important. How often these days can you actually see your furniture being made? Nope, didn't think so.


Kitchen Moodboard

The kitchen makeover has become a little bit more major, which pleases me immensely.  When I sold the old kitchen table, and relocated the huge ikea unit to my studio, I inadvertently exposed the kitchen for what it was - a rather uninspiring, difficult space.  It's essentially a galley kitchen, with french doors at one end, an annoyingly low window, and though it's big enough for a table, it's really only wide enough for said table to go against a wall.  It has quite a low ceiling, and has been feeling really cluttered and neglected for some time.  Storage was not abundant, and removing the Expedit unit has, umm, highlighted that fact, but it had to go as it had become a magnet for junk and looked so big and cumbersome.

So, what to do?  A lick of lovely pale grey paint has started to bring it back to life a bit, and whilst that's been happening, I've been plotting, scheming and planning and dreaming.  And changing my mind.  A lot.

I've bought some ikea kitchen wall units which we're building an MDF frame around to strengthen. These four cupboards will not only help on the storage front, but double as a bench seat under the low window.  I'll share details of that when it's all finished, but I'm super excited about this.

The other major thing is that instead of just replacing the splashbacks, on one side we're going to tile the entire wall, which will bring the two ends of the room together.  Moving the fridge to a corner has also helped as it felt almost like a room divider where it was before.  It's not ideal to be honest, as it's now next to a radiator, but it just doesn't work anywhere else. Believe me, over the last six years, I've tried.

There are one or two fantasy entries in this here, but a girls' gotta dream...

1. Cat paintings by Faye Moorhouse.  I'm a bit in love with Faye's work since stumbling upon it recently on Instagram, and bought all four of these cat paintings, for ten pounds each from her Etsy shop.  Yes, that's right, original paintings, for just ten pounds a pop.  I can't wait to get my cats framed and up.  My husband even likes them, and he hates cats.

2. Told you my Popsicle Pot would end up on the new kitchen table, didn't I?

3.  Fantasy entry number one... My only hesitation with tiling the whole wall, is making the room feel cold.  I think a brass sconce would look amazing hung on that wall above the table, and would totally solve that problem. I LOVE this beauty from onefortythree, however they're US based, so with having to change the socket, import duties and shipping, it'll start to add up, so I'm holding off for now, but it's very much on the wish-list.  I'll see if they'll make it with an exposed cable and switch so that it wouldn't have to be hard-wired, because having to rip off tiles to hard-wire it at a later date is not an option.  Duh, that would just be silly.

4.  Ah, the tiles.  I have to admit, I've changed my mind several times whilst writing this post.  The ones I really really wanted are obscenely expensive.  Then I found some that I loved on screen (yes, I'm a big online shopping fan), but the black just wasn't black enough in the flesh, so I quickly fell out of love with them.  I went back to the drawing board for the umpteenth time, and came back to an old favourite - the hexagon.  These ones are quite big - 17.5 x 20 cms per tile, so I think they'll look rather striking on the wall.  We'll use black for the main wall, and possibly white on the other side.  They're actually cheaper than any of the other options, at only £20 a metre, which I think is a bit of a bargain, and they won't compete with the fabric that will be used to cover the bench seat cushion.

5.  Rubine Ashes is a new(ish) soft pale grey by Little Greene.  It's slightly warmer than the grey I'm doing the top cupboards in (Urbane Grey, and the lower cupboards are Lamp Black - both also by Little Greene), and I like the way they sit next to each other.

6. Our new kitchen table is by a company called Unto This Last, in Brick Lane, close to where we live in London.  I love that it's handmade by local craftsmen.

7. A bit of a treat is this lovely brass hexagon pot by Ferm Living.  No doubt it will be a planter for one of my growing succulent collection, or perhaps a little fern.

8. I know it happens a LOT, but I am totally in love with this Tommy Bahama Swaying Palms fabric which is for our bench seat cushion.  It can be used out doors too, so I'm hoping that will mean it will stand up to use in the kitchen, and life with a small boy and young lady.  I'm going to have to try my hardest not to use it in every room of the house.

9.  I'm trying to cram in as much storage as possible without it looking that way.  This Grundtal shelf will go above the fridge to house large vases and appliances that we don't need to access every day.  It won't look heavy and I can also hang a plant or two from it.  Yay for hanging plants!

10. Annoyingly, several Ikea products that I'm desperate to get my hands on, aren't stocked at my local store, and aren't available online, so I'll be making a pilgrimage to another store soon, to buy a few of their great planters and baskets, like this Riskorn one.  What's with that Ikea? Do you think that your Edmonton customers don't like green baskets?  We do, we really do!!!

11.  I really like the new Metod Ikea kitchen.  These are the cupboards for the bench seat hack.  I just want them to blend in as much as possible because it's all about that fabric!

12.  You've gotta love a Boston Fern, huh?

13.  Fantasy entry number two... The lovely Kate over at Mad About The House, knows all about my cupboard knob woes.  I desperately want these divine brass hexagon ones from Schoolhouse Electric, but shipping and customs charges, might not allow.

14.  Ikea baskets again.  I bought a couple of these Magga ones the other week and they're great.  I'm tempted to buy a few more...

15. I'm aware that there are several Ikea products here, but they're in extra good form at the moment.  This plant stand is only £15 pounds and will fit nicely next to the fridge to hold, um, a plant and maybe some pots.  The ones that fall out on my feet when I open the cupboard.

16.  I've been eyeing off this beautiful wire bowl by Pols Potten at Heals for months.  It would look so lovely on the new table.  Sadly it hasn't gone into their sale.  Yet.

17.  This is a very sneaky peak at one of the patterns from my upcoming cushion collection.  It's called Coconut Palm, and a few of these will look just right against that gorgeous green fabric.

We're several weeks off finishing this room, but I'm so excited. I spend lots of time in there, and this new design might just take it from being my least favourite room, to my absolute favourite. I can't wait to sit on the new bench seat in the sun, sipping an Iced Matcha Latte.

Obviously I'll show you when it's all finished and looking pretty, so watch this space!
© Bianca Hall. All rights reserved.