Thursday, 29 August 2013

Baby Bellingham

One of my purchases in America was this doll's head. She is bald and has no body, but other than that is perfect! I felt that she needed a hat so I crocheted one from lovely orange yarn I bought ages ago at the Unravel show. I wanted to do some needle felting to decorate it. I was inspired by all the fresh and delicious food we had in America and so the idea for Baby Bellingham came about. I now want to do her an Autumn, Winter and Spring hat. Linda Sue has given me a couple of ideas in her latest post for red apples, crunchy leaves, weird caterpillars and fallen feathers. She also sent me a link to a sunflower pattern and the picture inspired my own sunflower. It is made from variegated yellow yarn I bought in Bellingham.

Sketch ideas.

 She has strawberries, blueberries, cherries, an apple, a fish and a sunflower.

She lives in the back room on the almost usable blue picnic table with the plastic head girls.
These are two other doll projects awaiting. The red haired doll has been waiting for a long time for a dress. The wool haired doll has only been waiting since Friday when I brought her home from Battlesbridge. All she needs is one side of her hair re-plaiting and re-attaching to her head which is easier than making a dress so may happen sooner!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Can't Stop!

Over the last week and a half I have had a mad period of making stuff, doing jobs, decorating things, stripping things, rearranging furniture and buying/finding things to use in different ways. There are two main reasons for this. The first was the door falling off. That made me clean the door area which was a mess of plastic boxes and tins stored badly in a stupid wire thing, a jumbled and untidy sink area with numerous dead plants, and lots of dust under the areas that are never cleaned. This cleaning and rearranging made me then think about the other awful area in this room (our flat is one big room with a hall, bathroom, and two bedrooms, neither of which are big and one of which is tiny), the fireplace. The person before had the idea of sticking slate roof tiles onto the hearth to tart it up. They were and always have been horrible. Sharp, increasingly chipped and cracked, and not a flat surface to stand anything on. I decided I would sort them out. In my frenzy to sort this out I bought a 'granite' slab on eBay to put on top of the piece of concrete I was sure was underneath the tiles. I chipped them off and where the chisel had made a mark it looked dark in colour. I suddenly thought there might be a more exciting thing under there than concrete. I had to use nasty paint stripper to find out. It is a beautiful marble slab! I could have done that ten years ago but instead I put up with the slate tiles. We drove to Harrow on Monday (which was a nice drive, but took up four hours of the bank holiday) to collect the granite slab, which turns out to be a piece of work top which may or may not be granite clad. I was burned! I will try and sell it again but not for the price I paid for it as it is not what I thought it was. The second thing that spurred me on was the visit to Battlesbridge where I made rather too many purchases which I then felt the need to justify by making them useful-which I have! Anyway, the result was the following list of jobs:
Removed slate tiles and stripped hearth.
Painted wall above fireplace. It had got very dirty and looks great now.
Reorganised and cleaned the back door area.
Cleared the kitchen sink and windowsill area, cleaned windows and re-potted some dying plants. Threw away dead plants.
Bought a £5 corner shelf. Sanded, painted and distressed it (Boo! You horrible shelf!!) and used for cookbooks. Re-organised parts of bookshelf to get out cookbooks and put on small shelf and shelf nearer the kitchen.
Cleaned out and re-organised the bathroom cupboard.
And the under-sink cupboard!
The hoover also broke this week. It is a Dyson and they are supposed to be the best hoovers. So they say. I have a hand-held Dyson which is very good. However, the big one never properly picked up cat hair like it said it should, was very heavy to manoeuvre and also very noisy. I bought the cheapest hoover on offer in Argos and it is fine so far. It picks up cat hair! It is really pathetically tiny but I think if I look after it by cleaning its little filters it should last a while.
Today I found a small shelf unit minus its shelves-it was on the street next to the person's bin. People leave stuff out for other people to take-I hope! I will paint it the same colour as the other shelves. Not sure where it will go but it will be useful.
Anyway, this is all very long-winded isn't it? I have also been making lots of things recently but will talk about those another day as I have gone on long enough!
 £5 shelves. They are actually quite good quality and were easy to paint as they unscrew.
 You can see the colour a bit better with the flash.
 After-with loads of cookbooks on!

Fireplace before. I liked the green, but I couldn't find another similar one. I chose a colour called 'Hemp Beige' instead which sounds very dull. It is a similar colour to the kitchen units so seems to bring the room together.
The tiles have gone. Ready to strip!
 I didn't want to put everything back the same but I did want the Grannies to be up. I had this piece of chain in a little dish for a long time, knowing that one day it would come in handy. It did a good job of hanging both the Granny pictures from an old central heating fitting!
 The newly arranged hearth! The little table has less under it now-just a box I bought in Battlesbridge-a great metal box for 'Spare Valves'-looks like it is from World War II. It is holding matches and tealights.
 The marble has lots of colours and patterns. The fact it is a bit chipped and paint encrusted makes it all the better I think! The pebbles are from various places. One I have had since I was about 16 because I remember doing a piece of screen printing based on it in art.
I even stuck the tail back onto Andy's plaster poodle!

Daytrip to Battlesbridge

My friend and I visited a new place the other day. I think I found it when I was googling something about doll sellers in Kent. It is called Battlesbridge and is in Essex, not too far the other side of the Dartford tunnel. There are loads of roadworks on that section of road at the moment but without those it would only take 45 minutes to get there. It is a great place! Full of interesting old buildings which are full of antiques and crafts. More antiques than crafts I would say, but a whole range of stuff and prices so something for everyone. I can't believe I have never heard of it!
 In addition to the exciting shopping possibilities, it is a beautiful and peaceful place. Lots of old barges which are very run down. I immediately wanted to live there.
 Then we saw a Little Egret. I have only seen one of these once, though they are becoming more common I think. It is not a very good photo as I only had my phone.

 Lots of little interesting buildings.

 Great signs.

 Dragons and Devils.


 A mystery...
 which I solved.
 I loved the colours in this pile of boxes.
 These drawers are just what I need! I don't think they were for sale and they would not fit in my flat anyway, but I still need them.
 A fairy garden in development. (For Stella!)

 Two views from the top of the Granary building. The last photo looks as if I have photo-shopped a filter onto it, but it is just a dirty window!

Tuesday, 27 August 2013


The signs are all from our holiday, apart from the first which is the back of a lorry I was behind the other day. The lorry is carrying scaffolding, which is, I suppose, an access solution.

Isn't this model lovely? It is the miniature version of a shop, shown below. I especially like the way the trees are made. You can just see the mini shop to the right of the big one.

 Is the party over? Does someone not want the party? The term 'Block Party' is so American!
Linda Sue stopped so that I could take this photo. I wonder what the 'Things' are?
 In fact, Linda Sue stopped for me to take the next two pictures too. She knows I like signs!

 This is the notice board in Lynden, where we went to the best charity shop. Full of church ladies gossiping about local matters, and where I bought a small table football for $3! We had lunch at the marvellously named 'Dutch Mothers' restaurant.
 I think this shop is...OPEN! 
 Nothing more dangerous than an active driveway.