Saturday, 25 July 2015

Yourshelf in the dark

Ahhhhh, night-time, that wonderful time of evening when the kids are in bed, work is over (read-daytime-if-you-work-shifts), and you can be you and relax.

Are you aware of how much lighting helps you to 'just be'? Soft lighting can soothe the mood. My handmade shelves - my Yourshelf range - really comes into it's own in the dark. Magic happens. The colours I have chosen and the crochet I have added start to glow and create patterns.

Have a look.

The shelves suit lights either inside them or even just near to them. They also create patterns from overhead lights. Look at the warm glow above. Tell me a vintage-plaster-Chinese-lady-doesn't-just-scream-relaxation? Or maybe time for a glass of wine and an evening with friends?

Here you can see overhead lighting and a lamp combined to show the change as the shadows fall. Shelving can be stylish and practical too. 

Maybe you spend your evenings alone and love it that way. You could be staring at this beautiful big headed man while wondering what to read? Can you tell how much I love to match colours.

Remember the nightstand or alternative bedside table from the day post below - here it is in the evening. The wood isn't painted yellow but it glows from within and helps you to relax.
You can see how flexible my shelving is and how much you can personalise it.

Even if you just need a place to rest your watch, charge your phone and have a light to read by-apply-face-mask-remove-makeup-meditate it still looks good.

And, just sometimes, we all need a bit of glitter and magic. With wands to make wishes.

Yourshelf - The Daytime Look

So you know how many people talk about how to take your outfit/ make up/ hair work from day to night. Who ever mentions how to do this for your home? It should do the same.

I've styled up some of my handmade shelves in both day and night-time to show you how they change in different light levels and to hopefully give you some ideas on how you could use them in your own home.

Don't be shelf conscious - but make your house and home work well in daylight and night-time. Come with me and see the daytime look.

Yourshelf really lends itself to display - whether of favourite books or sculptures. It also looks best when paired with a light of some kind.
However it is incredibly practical and makes a great space saving night-stand or alternative to a bedside table. You can even use the holes to feed wires through and keep them in place. One thing I hate is the way my phone charger has immense hiding properties - why won't it just stay where it should be. Well, here's a solution...

It can be the ultimate nightstand - a really economical space saving way to give either yourself or guests room for a book, a glass of water, a light, a place to chanrge your phone and somewhere to place your jewellery. As this is the daytime look I want to show you what it could look like in the morning. Still beautiful no?
And it only sticks out 17cm from the wall!
(That is the maximum width. Each yourshelf is different and is designed based on the wood so the sizes do differ, but this is the maximum width.)
If you had a particular space in mind I could make one with get-in-exact-dimensions-bespoke-baby.
As you can make a Yourshelf work in so many different ways I wanted to show two extremes. Maxi and Mini.

They can suit maximalists and you-know-shop-displays-or-people-whose-homes-look-a-bit-like-aladdins-caves-and-yes-that-is-me. I really did just happen to have all the sculptures, lady lamp, action man and pineapples laying around.

Or even those simpler-living-type-folks who just want a place to rest their book, phone, watch and a lamp.
Just an aside  how-can-they-not-want-to-add-sculptures-more-books-feathers-and-stuff.
I'm never going to be a minimalist am I?
I can respect them though.
Hope this gave you some ideas and just drop me an email if you want to know more about ordering a Yourshelf.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

The struggle is real!

I have a layout conundrum. It's related to compromise and that isn't something I'm particularly good at.

Let's start with the beginning. Are you sitting comfortably?

Our living room is a beautiful space with a very large bay window but for some reason I've never managed to lay it out very well.

I showed the original couch in this post ( and mentioned I wanted to replace it.

Well I've been searching for second hand replacements and as usual I have managed to find more options than are suitable and now I need to narrow it down. I do think that shopping is one of my best skills.

Let's start with the requirements;

  1. Enough places for 4 people to sit comfortably and be able to look at each other and the TV (not necessarily at the same time).
  2. Somewhere husband can rest his head and watch the TV.
  3. The whole space needs to feel comfortable.
  4. It needs to be fairly hardwearing.

I think it is fairly obvious which requirement is mine, which is husbands and which are the ones we both agree on and need. It's 1, 2 and then 3&4 if you weren't sure.

Now let's look at the options I have found.

  1. A salmon pink two-seater Chesterfield which is very comfortable and which was given to me by my brother. I don't want to get rid of this as it's vintage and handmade and one of an exact pair (the other lives in my stable) which I have grand plans to eventually have recovered in some wonderful fabric - when-budget-allows-sadly-so-may-realistically-be-years. This is shown covered in some wonderful bright blue and turquoise blankets which I bought last year in Morocco.
  2. A brown leather chair which is comfortable and high enough for husband, but extra squeaky.
  3. A recovered and restored swivel chair which I have just finished, which is super comfy and looks gorgeous but I'm just not quite sure it works here.
  4. A well worn leather vintage two-seater Laura Ashley sofa which fits perfectly (millimetre-perfectly) into the bay window but which husband doesn't like and unfortunately the bay window is apparently THE best place to hear the surround sound. (Which accounts for the random wires around the room and the fact we need 1200 remotes-or-something).
  5. I have supplemented these with two large footstools - one in purple velvet which isn't squishy and one amazing multi coloured one which I picked up because-it-matches-the-exact-rug-plan-I-have-in-my-head-and-which-I-will-make and because sometimes, if you don't buy now - you cry later. (Vintage shopping motto).

I wasn't actually going to blog about this until I worked it all out but I thought, why not share? The struggle for placement is REAL peeps.

So here are a few quick phone snaps of the current pieces. I've put them all in because I'm a visual person and I thought I would put them in and go AHA! That's how it should look.


Not at all.

It definitely looks too busy but I was expecting that as I haven't yet decided which bits to use. (I will move all the unused to other bits of the house, or maybe sell a piece, I'm not wasteful).

I think in my head that two sofa's (they are both two seater's), one chair and one footstool is kind of ideal but I'm not certain of anything at the moment.

Here is a panoramic so you can see how it all looks together....

It was pretty sunny, but I think that shows what a lovely light filled room it is (it faces East though, not South).

And here they have stayed. I've sat in them and stared at them and just overall thought about them but inspiration has not yet struck.
It will but again, I need to have patience and take my time. Even my phone told me this as I took the panorama. Life lessons from a computer eh?
I'll get there.

Monday, 13 July 2015

A day in the life

Would you like to know exactly how I spent my Saturday? Tbh, I'm going to tell you anyway.

I love weekends where I don't have any plans and can just work out what I feel like doing. This weekend was a particularly good one being:
  • Child free
  • In Summer
  • With very little forecast of rain (which-is-certainly-something-to-celebrate-in-my-neck-of-the-woods!)
I slept late as I'd stayed up late the night before refining my drawing of a horse. Yes really, that's how I roll on a Friday night.

I made coffee around 10.30am and wandered around my garden in my pyjamas to see how all my plants were doing.


I went back to my bedroom and laid in my bed faffing on my phone (complete with newly smashed screen covered in sellotape - safety first!) for around 40 minutes which is pretty good for me.

Then I spent a bit of time dealing with emails and working on some potential freelance projects, fingers crossed.

Around 1pm I wandered down to my stable to see if my newly painted trestle table had dried. It hadn't, which meant I needed to rethink my plans to do some sanding of shelves.

I then spent some time pottering around the garden, pruning the lilac and deadheading the roses, which is such a lovely job. It's the scent. I interspersed these jobs with nipping into the stable regularly to spray paint some of my shelves which I want to be a very bright gold and that seems to take multiple coats. I read somewhere once that the secret to successful spray painting it to recoat within 5 minutes or not for 24 hours, but I actually find, within 5 minutes or not for 1 hour to work just as well if not better. And means you can, you know, use the space!

Husband and I then tackled cutting the hedges. It takes a few hours and is quite intensive and back-achy work, which isn't a real word but should be.

I got three thorns stuck in my skin, but only one drew blood. At least three people stopped as they walked past to say what a great job we were doing too. Lovely town!

Then I jumped in the shower.

I'm pretty obsessed with my fitbit and this was the picture at 5pm. Not bad but I've been better.

Then from 5pm until 6.45pm we took a lovely walk along the Leeds Liverpool canal.

Cows paddling.

Sad results of the storms this year.

Great double arched bridge.

Then this horse let me stroke him. So lovely.
It makes rural life sound pretty amazing too. It is. I got caught in a traffic jam on Friday night as a farmer was moving his cows. Really.
We ended our walk in a newly refurbished pub where I had deep fried Potato Skins with a Blue Cheese dip, followed by Tomato and Artichoke Linguine and washed down with some rather lovely Sauvignon Blanc.
My legs were aching, cos I'm so unfit, but it was very nice to eat and drink at the end.
Then, we took a taxi home, again cos I'm so unfit, and played a game called '100 Questions; A toolkit for families'. Which was quite good, but we only managed to answer around 4 questions.
Husband wanted to switch off with some TV then and I'm not a big TV person so I left him too it and went and listened to Stephanie Hirst's new radio show, 'Nothing but the 90's'. I love Hirsty to bits and it's wonderful to have her back on the radio.
I'm not good at just doing nothing with my hands, so while I listened to that I sewed some tarpaulin together (which really hurts your hands) as I need a wet weather cover for my home made craft stall.
The show ended at midnight and so did I as then I went to bed.
It was a good day for me, with the right mix of doing useful things and fun things. Does everyone think like that or is it just me?

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Everything will be ok in the end

Sometimes it can be hard to keep going. To pick yourself up from the mistakes. To find the energy to do something.

I'm not that brilliant at always doing things. I often have days when I really need to push myself to not just sit around and stare at my phone and be bored. I have high expectations of myself and that can be part of the problem. I am one of those people who will start the day thinking about what I want to achieve, reflect on what I have done at the end of the day and occasionally feel disappointed in myself that I haven't done enough. I know that is crazy and that I should just be. You know, in-the-moment. Mindful.

I have a busy internal monologue and love talking to myself. Maybe that's one of the reasons I need alone time but can also be fairly sociable.

I'm trying out different sayings I can use to help myself, mantra's if you like.

One of my current favourites is 'Get Shit Done'. I love it, just start. Like writing this post. I didn't feel particularly inspired today, I didn't feel like I had much of value to say but once I started it tends to flow. And then, I get it done.

That, by the way is why I am writing this blog. While I pour out my thoughts on here, I switch off somehow and go to a different place. It's magical.

Here is one motto that has helped me tremendously over the last few years. I first heard it on the film, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by the way and it's "Everything will be ok in the end, if it's not ok, it's not the end'.

Which is such a lovely way to describe fate or karma or just life, however you prefer to call it.
I've been thinking a lot about resilience lately, for a few reasons. One I went on some resilience training at work (and wrote a blog about it here if you are interested). And Two as there has been some family stuff going on recently that has really got to me. Nothing dreadful, just part of the normal ups and downs in life.
That's part of what I want to show on this blog. That I'm real, and don't live a gilded life. I'm just like you. It's hard to always be upbeat and full of energy and hope and enthusiasm, and it simply is not true. We are all beautifully flawed and perfectly imperfect after all.
I do strive to think positively as much as possible and consciously make myself do this, as it works. Life with a positive attitude is, I reckon, 1000% happier than without.
When I find it harder to do this, positive sayings help remind me. I wonder if that is why they are so popular on the web, and in particular on Pinterest. If you're struggling, just search some out, say them aloud to yourself and watch life improve.

And, remember, everything really will be ok in the end.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Nancy and Nina

I've been working hard on finishing my Yourshelves at the moment. I mentioned in my last post that I have a deadline of my first craft fair and I'm getting there.

I also said a number of times that I wasn't going to put too much pressure on myself with this project and this blog, but the deadline has been really helpful.

I'm normally pretty organised at work (in terms of workload, not desk!) but am a bit all over the place at home. However I've been making to do lists for my evenings and sticking to them.

Yay me!

Here is a video I made about my Yourshelves. I will update this with some pictures of the finished product as soon as they are ready.

Spoiler alert - they are looking great! I'm super proud right now.

So enjoy Nancy and Nina.

Oh and super-proud-part-two I've managed (I say I but I had a lot of help on this one) to add facebook comments to this blog. So you can chat away to me and about me as easily as you could on facebook.
Talk to me. Please.
Not that I'm begging.
I am.