Saturday, 23 June 2018

Antique Sewing Case Refurbishment


Picked this small case up cheaply, I have a thing about small "suitcases" but this one isn't exactly a suitcase.  Got a nice surprise when I opened it.

Its got a Moire silk lining and the outside is real leather so its been a fairly posh thing in its day.

Its very similar in style to the other antique sewing kit I got from my elderly Aunt they have the same silk lining.

Tidied it up a bit and filled it with sewing treasure.

The outside got a mini makeover but its very worn on the edges so not much I can do with it.

Made a fabric handle with mother of pearl buckle for decoration.


Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Buzz the Rescue Dog


Buzz is our lovely red and white Border Collie who is now an old chappie.  The last year has been worrying, he looks OK but he has been slowly going off his back legs. There is nothing the vet can do, the signals from the nerves are not getting to his feet so he sometimes falls over.  This all sounds horrid and sad but Buzz is such a contented happy boy, if he falls over he doesn't dwell on it like humans do.  He gets up and carries on as though nothing happened.

We got Buzz 12 years ago from a family that we didn't know, a friends daughter knew them. She begged me to take him as he was going to be put down for biting the family's 2 year old on the face.  We did not have any children in our lives so I agreed to take him as long as he was house trained and good with other dogs.  Yes, the family said.  That was the first fibs they told us.  He was very aggressive with boy dogs and tried to have his wicked way with the girls including my white deaf Border Collie Ellie.  He also peed in the house!

Ellie was not impressed with him, she also hated having her photo taken so her wary look below just might be the camera or it might be cos I made her sit next to Buzz.

The family told me that he was an working border collie but when I got him, he tried bite anything that moved quickly, including Ellie.  He was terrified of cows and if the sheep came to the fence he tried to bite them as well.  He did drop like a stone when you took him into a field of sheep (on a lead) so I did think that he was in training at some point.  No farmer in their right minds would give a working collie away to a family, he would have been too valuable as a working dog so I had my suspicions that they were telling me porkies.  Last year, his original owner came into our pub and recognised Buzz, he told me that Buzz was a failed working collie who had been tied up in a yard for 2 years before he got him.  His daughter still had the "scars" on her face where he had got her, they had told me he had just nipped their daughter and not broken the skin.  The chap then told me that he had picked Buzz up and "chucked" him out of the door after the attack.  So no wonder Buzz was a very stressed little boy when I got him, if I had known the truth, it would have been easier for me to work him out.  Needless to say that Buzz didn't greet his long lost owner, he just looked at him and kept his distance.

Buzz wanted to eat the rabbit when they first met but they soon became good friends.  He would go in the cage when I opened the door and say hello to his bunny buddy.

After a lot of hard work and training, Buzz became a social dog who liked to hang out with his doggy friends. Rufus (sitting up) and Rosie came every year while their owners were on their jollie hols.  These dogs helped Buzz to learn that other dogs are kind and fun.  They are all around the same age, we lost Rufus last year and Rosie is an old girl now.

Another great thing that help him not be aggressive was to give him a job to do, we taught him to carry toys wherever we went.  If he had a toy in his mouth, he couldn't bite any dog that came up to him as his mouth was "busy".

Like all collies, they can become very toy focused.

This is Buzz with the lovely old Jodie, she was my elderly customers old dog who had an accident and badly hurt her front leg so she came to live with us for the last 5 mths of her life as her garden was terraced and she couldn't get to the lawn.  We had known Jodie for years so it was a pleasure to make sure her last months were happy ones.

Here she is joining in the fun with Rosie and Buzz.

This was Buzz last year on holiday, we weren't sure if he would manage while we were away but the change of scenery gave him a new lease of life.

He went really wobbly on us about a month ago, we thought it was time so I made an appoint with the vet, within half an hour of me ringing, he cantered in from the garden jumped over the step and cantered down to the kitchen.  We did take him to the vet for her to check him over, she doesn't think he is in too much pain, he is on medication.  She said we might be back in 2 days or 6 months.

So we are enjoying our time with our friend while we can, he is such a joy.  He had another wobble on Monday after a fall in the night but again he has rallied.  Eating well, still wanting to play with his toys, still goes on little walks in the village.

So a roller-coaster of a time.


Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Upcycling a Sofa, sundial and cupboard


I have been a busy bee recently.  My sofa in the conservatory is fairly old, my sister and I covered the foam cushions years ago but the fabric has faded.  The cushions themselves are in fairly good condition as they are not sat on that much (not very good at sitting around doing nothing!)

The question was, do I get an new sofa or tidy up the one I have.

A makeover was on the cards using some Sanderson Rose print fabric which was in the Lloyd Loom blanket box I did up, its owner didn't want to keep the fabric.

There wasn't enough to reupholster the whole sofa but there was enough to make a fairly large quilt to cover the seats.  Used the fabric whole with crosshatched quilting lines.

Bound the edge with a dull lilac fabric and used Liberty Lawn on the back of the quilt.

My next project was a little pine tray I bought at a Salvage Show.  I sanded it down and waxed it, then using pretty papers spruced up the back of the sections.  Tipped on its side it makes a sweet display filled with treasure.

My dear friends Julie and Randal gave me an usual cupboard.  Its really a organ stool out of their converted church from the 1870s.  Julie had it chemically stripped years ago but never got it finished off.  She kindly gave it to me.  It needed washing off to get rid of the white residue, luckily did on a lovely sunny day and it dried out in no time.  I used a mixture of boiled linseed oil and turps to feed the wood which brought out the colour.  Added a lovely green glass handle.

Finally a cast iron sundial.  This has been kicking around my garden for yonks and was looking tatty.  I painted it black.

Last time I did this up I used gold paint, this time got out my gold Sharpie pen to colour in the roman numerials, then got carried away and coloured  in the frog for good measure.  Found a plinth for it to sit on.


Monday, 21 May 2018

Garden Tour


My garden is at it's best in May, a riot of colour and lovely perfume.  I fill the borders so that you can't see the soil, it helps to keep the weeds at bay.

Healthy hosta's I've been lucky this year as a Thrush had moved in, feeding its young on juicy snails.  Yeah.

Gave all the topiary a good haircut.

Rhododendrons are doing well this year, they sometimes struggle as they are in neutral soil and they much prefer acid soil so I have fed them well.

A robin has moved into the bird box, you can see it's moss nest tumbling out of the front.

This Himalayan Lilac is compact enough to live a pot and its smells wonderful.

I love this combination of plants and shrubs, the pink & dark plum colour runs through them all. Repeating a colour in a garden is called The Rhythm of the Garden, when I was training I couldn't get my head around this terminology, all I could think about was a drum kit!  Now that I am actually putting the theory into practice it makes more sense.

Forget me knots flower all over the garden, en mass they smell divine.  They make a good edging plant for a border.

Here is the tamerisk tree (the pink fluffy one)  a week later in full bloom.

The Clematis is getting big, its called 'Broughton Star', its a member of the 'Montana' family but it bit better behaved than its cousin 'Elizabeth'.

Again, in full bloom.

A quiet shady corner to sit.

The apple tree had its crown lifted (removing lower branches) this last winter which has improved the overall shape of it.  Buzz was looking for me.

A clematis in a pot.

My niece gave me this trough as a lovely pressy, thank you Zoe and Violet, perfect choice of plants.

Allium 'Purple Sensation' lives up to its name.

They are seeding themselves nicely, started out with just 3.

This garden has been 'work in progress' for nearly 30 years and very much on a budget, most of the plants have been grown from cuttings or put in as small cheap plants.

This lovely little shrub was a cutting from the one in the back garden that had "layered" itself so a shrub for free

 I find it difficult to actually sit and relax in the garden, its hard to see the beauty when I am looking at it as I am so used to looking for things that need sorting, I spend my time looking at weeds and jobs to do!  Perhaps when I don't garden for a living, this will change and I will enjoy my garden more.


Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Lloyd Loom Ottoman Refurbishment


My lovely gardening customer Don had an original 1930s Lloyd Loom Ottoman, the pink Lusty one which had never been touched. The fabric on the top had rotted away so he asked me if I could reupholster the top.  I sorted out a tartan piece which was the right size from my secret fabric store in the summerhouse!  Its amazing what you can hide away in there!

But when I put the new fresh looking fabric next to the ottoman, the wickerwork looked awful so a complete makeover was needed.  As usual, totally forgot to take the before photo.  Here's the after.

I painted the base with eggshell paint.  When taking the fabric top off I saved the tiny upholstery tacks and reused them.

Don was thrilled with it.  Phew.

Its the largest upholstery project that I have done, the other 4 have just been chair seats.