Spring and new routines

Spring is a season that brings with it hope, new life, renewed energy and lots of colour and there's no mistaking the Spring cleaning that many people get the urge for at this time of year. It sort of makes sense doesn't it?  There's been elements of Spring cleaning here - and more to come, no doubt - but I'm not the expert cleaner in this household, so I often contain myself with a bit of Spring rearranging. And there's a fair bit of that going on right now. 

Our eat the freezer challenge

We've currently got two fridge-freezers. When I say currently it was supposed to be a temporary thing, as the fridge-freezer I brought from my old house surely wouldn't last very long. For many years it was on our top floor and we used it for the cats' food, as they ate in their room and it saved having their "stinky" food (as MOH rightly called it) in the main fridge. It was also good for for cans of drink and as an overflow fridge space, and we've just got used to having it.

Well, that fridge-freezer is still going strong. We've lived here fifteen years this year! It's now in the conservatory, and well, it's not the look we're after, so we're restarting our eat the freezer challenge to get down to just one, because that's more normal right? 

Already I've rearranged some of the contents between the two as it makes sense to find space for the things we use regularly - such as bread rolls and bagels mainly - in the fridge-freezer in the kitchen. Now we're aiming for as many meals as possible to involve something from the freezer. I'm sure at some point it won't work, or we'll end up with some very odd combinations.

I'm also trying to use less of the fridge space and that's meant sorting through many of the opened bottles that were on the top shelf. It was amazing what I found, but probably best not to go there!

Getting my spray paint out

The lighter evenings are also a good incentive to get crafting again, especially for those crafts, like paint spraying, that need to be done outside. During the winter months I find that hard as I only have the weekends to complete that in, so if I've plans for the weekend that knocks that out too. I've a project in mind for the garden involving a pallet, some spray paint and Sugru, the mouldable glue, and now all I need to do is work out what colour using the new PintyPlus paint chart.

This is only one of the pages of the paint chart, and I'll freely admit I was way more excited than I should have been when I received this. I've loved using the chalk paint spray, but I'm really looking forward to using some of the bolder colours.  Definitely a case of watch this space!

A refreshing and decadent feeling cuppa

Another of my new routines takes place when I remember to leave work on time and arrive home before MOH on bright and warm days. It feels super decadent to get out my posh tea and my new Charles Viancin Tea Magnet and Infuser Set, to give it its proper name. I was sent this to review a while back and it's only now that I'm using it regularly. For me there's something about the brighter Spring days and proper tea and the ritual of brewing loose leaf tea.

charles viancin silicone camellia magnetic tea infuser

The tea goes into the metal drum, and when your tea has brewed enough you use the magnetic camellia stem to remove the drum and place it onto the camellia leaf, to avoid mess. It's dishwasher safe and the accompanying information says they'll never tarnish or lose their colour.

I'm a big fan of silicone in the kitchen and you'll most likely remember the daisy lids, the poppy trivet and the cute vegetable bottle stoppers from the same company. This works equally as well and while I like using it home for my early evening treat, I can see it being equally useful at work and am quite tempted to have one on my desk too.  I think drinking loose leaf tea, whether it's white, black or floral gives me the feeling of being more healthy than I actually am, which brings me onto...

Time to get into shape?

Over the winter months it's much easier to disguise an extra pound or two, but I know that deep down I'd like to tone up a bit. That'll partly come down to eating more healthily, and getting out on the bike again, but I think there probably needs to be more than that and a sustained effort. I'm toying with the idea of daily routine of press-ups and sit-ups and now I've typed it here maybe it'll happen. It probably should, but as you can see I'm still talking myself into it. I know that I'll want to see instant results, but I also know that it's going to take more than a day or two of healthy eating and a fitness routine.  

I've started with the willpower thing during Lent, by giving up cakes from the cafe at work. That may not sound much, but the cakes are huge (and lovely) and very tempting. It's a start, but it won't be enough on its own, so I need to convince myself - and to actually do something about it - while there's time to actually make a difference.  

I know it makes sense, I'm just still getting my head around it. How do you convince yourself a new routine is a good thing, let me know your tips, I think I could do with the extra motivation!

And pottering in the greenhouse

I've not done much pottering yet, but I'm hoping too. I need to get some seeds sown both for the allotment and some flowers for the garden too. We're having a bit of a do in the garden in June and of course I want the garden (and the house) to look its best. No doubt it won't be long before the greenhouse is full of seedlings and I'll be running out of space, but what a problem to have!

What's on your list of Spring jobs?



* This is a collaborative post but all views are my own.


My letter S

Inspiration finally struck for how to decorate this S a while back, in fact almost a month ago as I was writing about the wallpaper I fell for at the London Design Fair back in September. It was the wallpaper that drew me to their stand, and the one I left clutching. I said in my previous post that it wasn't right for our house, but it kept on at me. 

The inspiration for my S

And so I hit on the idea of decorating the S that the lovely people at Pinty Plus sent me with my first spray cans of paint, remember when I gave my sewing box a new lease of life?  You'll know that I think the spray chalk paint is a fab thing, and the pastel colours I've used have fitted in well with our decor, but for this S I wanted something bolder.

I plan to have it in the craft-room-cum-study, so while I wanted it to be bold, it also needed to fit with the pigeon shelves in there. And so I set about spraying the S in the Light Turquoise as the shelves are close to the London Grey colour I used before. I remembered having some decoupage paper with a newspaper print on, but could I find it?  I found some tiny scraps, so in the end I realised that's all there was to find, and so I had to have a rethink.

I found this white and gold crackle effect decoupage paper - I bought it at the same time as the newspaper print paper, but didn't use it. And no doubt that's why there was very little of that left. But I thought it would work.

Taking a closer look at how I decorated my S
decoupage paper, diamante and wallpaper combine with pinty plus paint spray

And actually I think it really does work, I like how it gives depth to the shape, and it's probably a better match than my original plan anyway. I added some small diamante flowers, while the glue was wet, because these do have a habit of attaching themselves to whatever they want, rather than what I want them to. Infact I arrived at work one day last week to find a purple diamante flower attached to my coat, I've no idea how it got there, or how it managed to stay stuck for so long.

My next challenge was how to decorate the S with the wallpaper. I could cover the front of the S with the wallpaper, but then there would have been little point spray painting would there. So I took my paper knife and cut out some of the distinctive wallpaper shapes, still managing to keep most of the sample untouched, and placed these on my S.

My finished S with pinty plus chalk paint spray decorated with decoupage paper and wallpaper

I'm rather pleased with how it turned out, especially as I had no clear plan when I started out, and the bit that I did have - the news print decoupage paper, I had to change anyway. A thoroughly enjoyable project, even though it took a while to complete. And one that reminded me (again) that crafting is good for the soul. Plus it'll also fit right into my craft room (or the study if MOH asks you!)

Do you find yourself changing your mind as you go in some craft projects? 


* With thanks to Novasol Spray UK who sent me the S at the start of the summer

A tray transformed!

As soon as I'd finished my first Pinty Plus project I was on the look out for what to spray next. I racked my brains, looked around the house and in fact anything that stood still for long enough was a contender, then bing! my next project emerged. 

A 1990s tray with two cats looking over the fence quickly became my second Pinty Plus project

Yes, the time was up for this perfectly functional but slightly dated metal tray. It's something I'd had from new and it used to get a lot of use, but rarely does these days. The cat on the right looks very much like my Dylan did and while I didn't think he'd appreciate being covered up, I knew it was time for something new.  He's been gone over ten years, so I think I'm allowed.

So I set to work. The tray was given a thorough clean before I started. I decided against straightening the bashed up corner (bottom left) as while I've no idea how it happened now, it seemed part of the tray's history.

I also knew that I wanted to try something different for this project and planned to add a flower shape to the design.  My silicone lids proved to be the perfect template.

Planning the final look of my upcycled tray

With my plan established I started to spray. 

Pinty Plus Chalk Paint Spray Light Turquoise

I wanted a blue flower on a yellow tray and started spraying the front of the tray in the same light turquoise that I used on the inside of my sewing box.  I did feel a bit guilty spraying the cats and I'm sure they were giving me a stern look as I did.

Spraying the metal tray with Pinty Plus Chalk Paint Spray
First coat of Pinty Plus Chalk Paint Spray done

With the blue base layer completed and drying I started to make my template. I'd considered using a stencil approach but decided against it as I wanted the centre of the flower yellow too, without any connecting lines. 

Taking the silicone lid I placed it on a thick piece of card - an insert I'd saved from some bedding I'd bought, which I knew would come in handy one day. Today was its day!

Making a flower shaped template from card
Making a flower shaped template from card and using a roll of washi tape for the centre

I drew around the shape and discovered that a roll of washi tape was a similar size as the centre so used that to make my middle.

Using a craft knife I carefully cut it out, without cutting myself at all (phew) - and as it was a nice day the garden table became my workspace.

Using a craft knife to cut out my flower shaped template
A completed flower shaped template

Before I could use my template though I wanted to spray the back of the tray. It was a bit scratched and well tatty, and it gave me the chance to see the colour of the new spray Mostaza.

The reverse of the tray when I started
The reverse of the tray covered with Pinty Plus Chalk Paint Spray in Mostardo

I'd been hoping for a mustard yellow - and while I like the colour it is - it's paler than I thought it would be.  I've been on a quest since we bought our mustard dining chairs (just two - I will show them to you soon) to add more yellow to our house, and this yellow works equally as well.

So having tried the yellow, I was keen to spray my design.  Another reason for choosing to block out the blue in this way was that I thought it would leave a cleaner line.

Adding the design to the font of the tray, spraying in mostardo Pinty Plus Chalk Paint Spray
Removing the template to reveal the blue flower shape

And it turned out well.  But I thought it needed more.  Don't you agree?

So out came my fine line black pen and I drew freehand around the petals, and added some texture to the middle.  The lines aren't perfect - and that's ok - but don't they make a difference?

Adding depth and definition to my blue daisy with a black pen

Now pleased with the depth and detail added with a simple black pen I wanted to seal the tray. For this I used the Pinty Plus Matt Varnish, which was equally easy to use. And I think it has deepened the colours a little.  

As my tray is likely to be in use much more often now I think it was important to varnish it. I didn't use this on the sewing stool because when I'd completed it I didn't think it needed it.  

Pinty Plus Matt Varnish Spray

So there you have it, a tray transformed! 

Close-up of the completed daisy

What do you think?

The Pinty Plus Chalk Spray Paint is available from the Novasol Spray website, each 400ml can of Chalk Paint Spray and Matt Varnish costs £11.50.


This is a collaborative post with Novasol Spray who provided me with the materials for this project, but all words and opinions are my own.

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