Gold Pinch Pots

Sometimes I get an overwhelming urge to make something. Something satisfyingly quick and easy. I recently bought my daughter some Fimo, and spotted that they also do a modelling clay. I'm really lucky to have a large, well stocked, craft and haberdashery shop a five minute walk away, so when my 'I need to make something' mood struck, I went and bought some.

I decided to make some little pinch pots for the succulents I've been attempting to propagate. I had about fifteen  leaves that had sprouted roots and the beginnings of new plants that needed to be potted, so these are a great size whilst they're still tiny. If they're successful, I'll have to re-pot them eventually, but for now these are perfect.  These little pots would also be great for rings, and any other tiny bits and pieces, and they're so easy.

I made meat-ball sized balls with the clay once I'd softened it up a bit, and pinched them into various shaped, rough little vessels. Perfectly imperfect. They took about 48 hours to dry (not the 24 that it promises on the pack and which was the selling point for Miss Impatient over here), and once completely dry I sprayed them gold.  I lined them with a double layer of foil and filled them with succulent potting mix before adding my new little plant-babies.  I apologise for the cringe-inducing term plant-babies - I started saying it to annoy my husband and amuse myself, and it's kind of stuck. Besides, I do love them.

Succulents love our bathroom, and the tiny pots are the perfect size to sit on the marble ledge behind the basin, where they will hopefully thrive.  We'll see over the coming weeks, how many of them make it. Fingers crossed!

Its hard to tell from the photograph, but this pot is only about 6 centimetres in diameter. Pretty cute huh?

Golden Numbers

Until a few years ago, I hadn't given a thought to what our house number looked like, or any house number for that matter - they were purely practical things that just existed.

However, I came down with a serious case of Front Of House Envy, when I spotted a house a few streets away, and besides it's gorgeous charcoal exterior, pale teal front door, and perfect hedge, the house number was gilded on the window above the front door, and I LOVED it.

It was the house number that really sealed the deal, and I became ever so slightly obsessed, often going out of my way to walk past that house, just to admire the house number. Again.

Kristen Cutlip is an artist and sign-writer who learned the art of glass gilding under the eye of Sandra Spannan, who is responsible for the gilded sign writing that graces Balthazar in New York, amongst many other Manhattan establishments and homes. Together they worked on the London branch of Balthazar, and Kristen continues to work on both commercial and domestic projects in and around London.

Kristen happens to be a friend of ours, and when she heard that I wanted our house number done, she offered to do it. Ummmm, OKAY!!!!

After six years or so, I was a bit concerned that the old window film I'd put on may have stuck permanently to the window, or be a total nightmare to get off, but it came off cleanly to make way for our very own golden numbers (yes, thanks Mr Hall).

'Transom' is the American term for the window above a door, however, there doesn't really seem to be a specific name for them here in the UK. They're sometimes referred to as a 'Fanlight' (if it's a fan shape), but I think I'll stick with 'the-window-above-the-front-door'. Stop me if I'm getting too technical.

We had previously agreed on the typeface, size and colours - classic engravers font in real gold leaf, with a black outline, so the first step after making sure the window was squeaky clean, was to transfer the outline onto the inside of the window by hand, using black sign-writers enamel.  There's quite a bit of drying time involved after each step, so I plied her with Matcha and croissants (of course).

Next, the inside of the number is prepped with a gelatine mixture, before the gold leaf is applied. Once dry, the edges are cleaned up, and a gold enamel backing is layered on top of the gold-leaf to protect it and make sure no hairline cracks show up.  This is then followed by a black coat (or it can be left as is, or matched to whatever outline colour you've chosen).

Et Voila! A beautiful work of art, hand-painted, Front Of House Envy inducing, house number!

Our beautiful new house number has inspired me to get my act together and sort out the bay window that is in desperate need of some TLC, and finish painting the door surround. When that's done I'll show you a proper before and after of the front of the house, but I wouldn't do the gilding justice revealing it in it's current state. Trust me.

Meantime, you can contact Kristen if you want your 'window-above-the-front-door' number gilded, or any other gilding or sign-writing for that matter.  The cost varies depending on the number and size (obviously a small number 1 won't take as long or as much gold-leaf as a large number 92), so it's best to phone for a quotation. Quick before one of your neighbours beats you to it!

Cutlip Signs / 07816 577 963
You can also see some of Kristens work by searching #cutlipsigns on Instagram