Thursday, November 12, 2020

Full scale fun

 It has been a long time since I have visited these pages and filled you in on what is going on. I won't get into the world situation as we all have different stories and ideas and none of them are relevent here. I will make the exception in saying that I have not seen my mother in a year and it is something that I find really hard to bear on a daily basis. I will go any way I can at the end of the year and bear the two week quarantine locked in a hotel before seeing her, so near yet so far. This is also an extra cost on top of the air ticket which is more than usual. I have never gone so long without seeing her and it is a struggle each day on the phone to keep her moral up. 

In the new house here things are on hold in many ways. I moved in and tried to make space and find essentiel things but then I discovered that half the house didn't have electricity so any idea of painting and decorating until that was fixed was out of the question. I have rooms with no electrics at all and other with faulty sockets. On top of that the second floor of four rooms had to be stripped back to the roof tiles and insulated and plastered then electrics so that was also something on hold until a builder could be booked. Since a few days the second floor has been started and this coming week it will be plastered and a new dormer window fitted. I won't describe the mess and dust, it has to be borne. Today someone came to clean the chimney and we discovered that it is blocked up on the roof level so that has to be fixed soon before xmas fires can be lit. An electricien is due to come to make an estimate of the work but he will not be free until february march next year to do the work. I am also having the side courtyard paved to get rid of the sand and gravel that keeps coming into the house each day and scratches the marble floors. My three bathrooms are all faulty and that will soon be fixed along with the newly painted kitchen ceiling that was damaged when the guest room shower leaked downwards! 

I add that this is a rental and as much as I don't mind doing most of the work and investing in what is my home and surroundings, it is somewhat frustrating. Luckilly the owner is paying for most of what I just detailed.

I paid some men a lot of money to fill three trucks of junk that littered the garden then someone else came to chop down 15 trees that still need to be shredded of taken away. I have been able to obtain another outbuilding that will become the main workshop for furniture restoration and heavy repairs. It needs new electrics and insulation and the doors fixed but it's a good space.

On the upside, my best friends decided to follow me here and leave their life in Paris and I negociated the ground floor appartment that used to be the doctors surgery, built under the upper floor terraces. They help a lot and take me shopping and junking and we cook meals together and anything heavy to be lifted, they are there. My big dog Lady has adopted them and she spends most of her time with them and sleeps with them now. My little Dora never leaves my side especially now that she is slightly deaf.

Until the second floor is finished the house is full of boxes and bin liners of fabrics that will all go live upstairs until the house is painted and decorated. In december I will start the raised vegetable beds and that is a huge job that needs great weather and stamina. Each bed will be 4 x 2 metres and 50cms high so it's a lot to fill and there are 3 of them. My local saw mill is going to prepare all the Douglas Fir needed for longevity.

I sorted out my workroom and set up my work table and even bought a mid century cabinet that I placed on wheels to set up Ramsay House on for when I can get back to my miniature work. I knew that moving into what I consider my final house was going to be hard but I am patient and it will be great one day. 

So I spend my time doing things that I never imagined I would find time for for years to come like covering chairs and painting furniture.

This project was a rather damaged tiled top mid century coffee table that I kept for its legs. I paid ten euros for it. It took me ages to get the top off and the old wax stripped. I then reinforced the top with three cross bars and laid some mdf on top of that before upholstering with severl old pillows and a quilt.

I chose this mid century tapestry that was found framed in the local junk shop. I took it out of the horrid frame and washed it before stretching it to dry then using it here. I think it suits the legs and will make a good splash of colour in the living room. I edged it with some gros grain and bronze nails.

Someone likes it ! It's dog shaped!

This next project is a lovely old chair I have had sitting in an outhouse for over 35 years with no upholstery. I webbed the seat frame and lightly padded it before it will be covered.

I then made a 'galette' our of more old quilts layered and sewn together before covering.

I am still not sure of the final fabric but the hardest part is done. 
It is the chair I will use with my coming desk as it's nice and wide and stable.

The next project is a very roughly made chest of drawers bought for 40 euros and showing signs of being cobbled together from other old furniture at one point. 
I sanded it down and primed it with mat white paint. 
I then painted it off white and began painting it in a chinoiserie style before changing my mind and repainting it 'Bone' from F&B. 
After sleeping on it ( not figuratively! ) I decided it needed colour so on finding some yellow patina paint I once more layered it on before sanding it down in areas of wear and then dark waxing it up. I then painted the legs and top black before 'fake marbling' and again, wearing the whole thing down to look like some old tired antique from an attic. I will put my Foo Dog lamp and collection of Foo Dogs on it, blue against the yellow.

In this photo you can see the underside of a drawer where some inlaid wood was used as a bottom.

Almost done, legs need aging.

A detail of the patina, the fun part.

The tired and worn marble top.

I found this mid century heavy lamp at Emmaus for 8 euros and made the shade from an old scarf. I bought a second lamp for the fittings, a cheap way of doing this. 

This chest is identical in shape and design so maybe someone copied this one day in my one. It was my intention of copying this but was a big overwhelmed and underlit to pull it off. Next time.

I bought this next stool at Emmaus for 10 euros. It is what we call Louis XIII ' Sheeps Bone' style. The wood was ok and not dark as it usually is but the fake tapestry was a no go for me.

Stripped back to the hessian, it was in good order.

I chose another mid century embroidery in lovely green tones.

Done! I love the result with the old strawberry coloured gros grain and bronze nails.

The next 1940's oak piano stool was in my barn for as long as the first chair, over 30 years. It had a sad dark print on it and opened with hinges to store music.
I decided the take the top off and web it to give it some comfort.

Once more padded with old pillows and quilts.

Here I used another bought and washed tapestry from Emmaus but in an 18th century style.

I think it is pretty and is now in my bedroom.

I bought this octagonal table in the Marocain style at the local 'vide grenier' this summer. I paid 3 euros for it and could see it painted up in my living room in front of the fire. It needed a good brush and some candle wax picked off then a base coat of white. I will paint it deep coral or shanghai red, undecided but lockdown is in the way of paint purchasing!

I am still out on the living room wall colour, looking for an old dirty turquoise green.

I do love mid century decor mixed in with older things. I bought this 'printed' tapestry years ago, it is by Robert Debieve who was a contempory of Jean Lurcat. No idea where it will go yet. I also have two huge woven tapestries in the same veine that will have to be found homes for but wall space is not lacking here.

I will end this long post with another chair that is next on the list of things to do. It is an English 'Parker Knoll' chair bought for 60 euros in Paris. The fabric was much cat damaged and in too poor condition to keep as is. I stripped off the back and sides and now have to build up the seat that used to have elastic ropes in place much like the back in the last picture.
I just received the webbing and and await the padding and more staples before finishing it. I will use plain old linen to cover it then make a loose cover in some gorgeous couture linen print I have been hoarding. I am so looking forward to making a sewing room on the second floor with shelves to hold all my fabrics and trims.

Well dear followers this is not the usual mini post, it is so frustrating to be kept from my Ramsay House project but the main thing is to keep busy and make the best of any bad situation but being creative in any way possible.

I hope that you are all doing the best you can and using this time to get things done that usually you wouldn't be able to. 

Sending you all love, hugs and positive thoughts.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Tempus Fugit

It has been over two months since my last post and that one was some time since the one before. I am finding myself doing what I used to secretly accuse bloggers of and that is no longer posting or simply stopping altogether. 
As you will have read, I have moved and it has been so traumatic and ongoing that I have no time for  myself and what used to make me tick. 
My relationship with the last house degraded and in the end it was a nightmare with me packing and sorting in the middle of legalities, doing everything alone, seeing my craft room and refuge being boxed up for goodness knows how long. I felt that my emotional backup had gone and I felt disraught and sad, something I am not victim of, being a really happy person most of the time.

I will not get into the number of trips, driving over 500 kms each time and sometimes there and back in one day. Our first trip to actually see the house, sign the lease and deposit stuff took us over 10 hours in the truck then six hours back. Each time it took me over a day to recover then we had to start over with only me packing the truck and trailer with what I could fit in. I am lucky in having some great friends who helped but in the end I had to lose quite a few things I loved and all my garden has stayed put or ended up in other gardens after years of caring for my plants.

I am posting some photos of the house before the mess came in to give you an idea of what I am dealing with. The house is in the Dordogne region which is very mild and even quite hot in summer, I hadn't actually realised just how much! I had never been to this region before if you can believe that. People ask how I ended up here and I reply ' well it seemed like a good place to be'. I have said the same thing in the past when I moved to Brazil, then China, when I got married in India, when I moved to the south of France, I just went for it each time, why not!

The first photos are off the garden, something that was very important to me and the dogs. The garden was bigger before but had been shortened four years ago when the owners died. The children tell me that their used to be a herd of gazelles in the upper garden and a wild pig in the middle. At the upper end there is a huge caged in section that held other exotic animals at one point.

The fountain that used to work, under the metal plate there is a twenty foot water well! 

The mysterious statue, very similar to a miniature one I had for Ramsay house.

There are a few small building here and there, all overgrown. This one would make a great little summer house as it has windows and french doors on the side.

This is where the wild pigs used to live and then became a play area until nature took over and the low shrubs became huge trees and ivy crept all over it. I am going to cut down all the surrounding cypress trees and turn the end part into a green house with raised vegetable plots beyond it. I think that once cleared and painted and lights hanging from the roof it can be a lovely spot.

This was a gorgeous old bench, it is now falling apart but with some care it can be lovely again.

 Above is the corridor leading to my bedroom lined in shelves which I am going to paint this summer. Below is the library with more shelves but sadly still not enough for all my books.

The next three photos are of the living room with built in cupboards and a huge fireplace although the photo doesn't show the scale of it all. 
The floors in most of the house are of stone.

A neighbour lent the garden furniture the first day so we could sit and sign all the papers.

This is one of the bedrooms, there are 6 in all although I have made the main one my workspace and another into a dressing room.
All the fireplaces in the house are gorgeous.

This wing of the house was added in the 70's and they found a huge cabinet to set into the wall. You can get an idea of scale by looking at the height of the door.

The kitchen has a large country style sink in the same marble/stone as the floors and bathrooms. The windows give onto an inner courtyard that I have filled with plants.

There are gorgeous sturdy stairs going up three floors. I don't count the top floor which has a bedroom and two other large rooms as it has to be modernised in the autumn.

On my list of things I couldn't live without was a fireplace, a garden, a good kitchen and a bath! The bathroom is great but the bath is quite intimidating to get into.

This was the main bedroom which had a repaint and is now my workroom. The light is great and it overlooks the garden. There are acutally 3 bathrooms, a shower room and 3 washrooms.

A fairly large washroom is off to one side with amazing 1930's washbasin and bidet and lots of cupboards to put all my paints and products for crafting.

This wonderul ancient chateau is nearby down a long alley of trees, it also has a 4 km2 botanical park which can be accessed for free and has lovely picnic area, dogs are allowed.

The house is now disturbingly full of boxes and bags and furniture and is not quite ready to be photographed but as soon as I get things sorted out I will let you in and show you around. Today I cannot move as I have thrown out my back and can only walk bent over and of course it's Bastille Day and doctors are not on duty! 

I'm not sure that this is a very interesting post but I felt bad about leaving you all with no news. I do hope that this is the last time I will move house until I go into the pine box but in life you never know. I have lived in over 30 homes in 30 years. Today I feel that I have found peace despite being sad about my miniature world taking back stage over real life. 

Wishing you all as much joy as the present situation allows.

Hugs xoxoxo