Archive for Styling

The art of hanging pictures.

We are finally coming to that point in our house renovation when I can start to hang pictures and photos on the walls. Now, I love orderliness. I like things lined up. I like all the frames to be the same size and the colours of the photos to be similar, and best of all arranged on a grid (I can’t tell you how it makes me feel calm and in control). But, (this is a bit BUT) I have been looking on Pinterest and admiring picture arrangements where all the frames are different and the pictures are different sizes and the pictures them selves are of mixed media. They look fresh and spontaneous. So I took a deep breath, and decided to step outside my comfort zone, and try my hand at this style of picture hanging.

We finally cleared out our storage container (shockingly we have had it for FIVE YEARS!!! – I know!!!) and there were things in there that I couldn’t remember having. Anyway, it was nice to get all our pictures back in the house. So for this little project I picked the loose theme of boats/water/seaside and found all the pictures and paintings that we owned that fitted into this category. I played around with the layout of them on the floor.


It took me some time I can tell you, as I kept trying to put them in a grid. (doh) But eventually I was happy with the way they looked. Next I cut paper to the size of each frame so that I could put it on the wall.


I had to fight the urge to line up the bottoms of the pictures, but I did try to keep the spaces as even as I could. So the balance seemed to work. Time to start putting nails in the pristine plaster. It was relatively easy to get the nail in the right place. Simply fold the paper in half (side to side) and measure where the string is and bang the nail in.


Just keep going till you are done!


The painting in the middle in the dark frame was actually painted by my dad in 1963!

finishedhanging2 paintingshung1

After that (slightly stressful) picture hanging exercise, I decided to revert to my comfort zone. We have the perfect wall at the bottom of the staircase just waiting to be filled.


As you can see I’ve already marked out with washi tape the area I would like to hang in. Of course it is an exact square. I used the same technique as I did before with the paper, it seems to be the easiest way. Here is the result.


stairpictures2 stairsphotos3

Lovely and ordered! Of course there are no hard and fast rules about how to hang pictures and like the pictures themselves it is all an expression of your own taste. Hope you have a good weekend.

Emma x

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Before and After (finally!)

I know I haven’t been writing much recently, but we have been just so super busy that some things had to go, and sadly blogging was one of them. But things have, relatively, calmed down I am back. We moved into our new house (it’s not quite a home – we haven’t made enough memories in it yet) a couple of weeks ago and the dust is starting to settle.

I thought I would show you what we have achieved with some before (top photos) and after photos (bottom photos).



and here are some of the outside of the house as it is now. The new utility room door, my potting shed and veg garden and the back of the house.


Now for inside. As you can see from the before and after of the front of the house (above), we moved the front door from next to the tower to the middle window. The front door used to come straight into the living room, so we took away the dining room (below) and moved the front door and the staircase and made a new entrance hall. We think it worked quite well.


Then we knocked the living room and the old master bedroom into one room and made this our kitchen, dining, and living room. This is just such a social space, and we love the fact that we can all be in the room at the same time doing our own thing but being together.




and some more photos of the kitchen…


We turned the downstairs spare room into our snug. We like to get together as a family on a friday night and watch a movie with popcorn.


This room has turned out even better than I expected. Despite strong opposition to painting it such a dark colour (Farrow and Ball – Downpipe) it has been much admired.

We turned what was the kitchen into our office. We both work from home, so having a dedicated room to work in and then shut the door on is an absolute necessary. As you can see we haven’t really done much more than paint and put down some temporary carpet, but already the light in here is amazing.


Upstairs we extended the roof and added in an ensuite, family bathroom, and three bedrooms.



Of course we are still a long way from being finished, and I thought I would show you what the rest looks like…! Ha Ha!


Have a good weekend

Emma x

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Trend: Pink Flamingos everywhere!


I just love how these pink birds are now popping up everywhere… lights, cushions and accessories. I may have to sneak a few of these feathered beauties into the new house. (The Handy Husband is slightly allergic to pink – hmmm will have to be very sneaky!)

  1. Classic pink flamingos for the garden from here
  2. Cole and Son flamingo wallpaper from here
  3. A flamingo wash bag to keep that pink lipstick in! from here
  4. Abigail Ahern flamingo cushion from here
  5. The cutest flamingo lights to string around your home from here
  6. A striking flamingo lampshade by katie and the wolf from here

Have a good weekend

Emma x

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Lets begin at the beginning (or front door designs)

Well, we have been so busy the past few months, publishing three magazines on the trot, one brand new one, one yearly edition and our regular bi-monthly, phew! Then we went on a much needed break to Florida, and had a great time. We came back fired up to get going on the new house. Lots of ideas are coming together, we are interviewing builders, the planning application is in for all the changes we need to do and the tree application is also underway. Fingers crossed they will both go through without too many conditions and we can start getting the trees and the house back under control.

We discovered that the original floors under the wall to wall carpet is a really nice slim, long, plank wood, we think it could be ash? (Need to ask my dad about that one – the guru of all that is wood). So the Handy Husband is carefully pulling it up, so we can re-lay it once the sub structure is sorted out. OMG what a mess… there are rotten beams, damp and wet rot to name a few horrors, but better the devil you now. And now that HH has lifted the floors, he is even more depressed not so spooked by what is there.


So, onto the beginning. We have been having some discussions amongst ourselves as to what the new front porch should look like. We are moving it from it’s current position as it enters directly into the living room. The dining room (next to the sitting room) is being re-purposed into the new entrance hall with new staircase (currently at the back of the house). So the new front porch is being built there.


So this is what it looks like now in the existing dining room which is going to look something like this…. (please excuse the appalling photoshop work!)


And hopefully something like this on the outside!

We like the simplicity of this one, and the way the steps rise at the outside edge of the porch and enter the house on a large level step (stoop?) I like the high underside of the porch so you can hang a lantern above without banging your head on the light. But this one is curved, and I’m not sure how this would work with the look of the house.

The next issue is what materials it should be. Our architect feels that an oak frame would be good, but I’m not sure, I think to introduce another material into the scheme would be a mistake, and I feel that simple rendered pillars would be the solution, to tie in with the render on the rest of the house.

So there are already a million things to think about and this is just the front porch!

More soon

Emma x

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(Mother’s) Day trip to the NEC

Firstly I would just like to wish all those special ladies who are mothers – happy Mother’s Day! My girlie made me the most amazing pop up card with a beautifully drawn cat on the front. Definitely one to keep.
Today we are on a road trip to Birmingham’s NEC for the home building and renovating show. We are hoping to get some good ideas for our new house project. Maybe even find some bargains! It’s always fun to see what is trending and what regulars are standing the test of time.


Border Oak homes are here. I can remember watching Merry and her husband building their first home with her dad on Grand Designs many years ago. She built a successful business from this small beginning. I love the feel of their oak frames and the quality of the build looks first class. All the colours are very Farrow and Ball, with the shabby chic furniture it sells a certain lifestyle. Maybe one day…?

This amazing garden room from Extrarooms, was just the best space. It had a sky light that funnelled the light into the interior. I could just see myself crafting in there no problem.
We were also looking for a double sided wood burning stove, but there weren’t any at the show. However the vert nice man on the Robeys stand pointed us in the right direction with Rais. Incidentally we have a Rais q-t at the moment and it is great.


Now I’m not a bath girl, but with a beauty like one of these I could b persuaded to have the occasional soak!

Of course the Handy Husband found the power tools without too much effort. He is hankering after a nail gun (insert manly grunt similar to Tim the Toolman Taylor). I’m sure he will buy one eventually.

Then we found lots of really dull interesting things like cornice and skirting, which in itself isn’t that exciting but it does make the difference it the whole feel of the house in the end.


I also got quite excited (no really!) about The English Panelling Company’s products. They have pre-cut MDF panels that give some great effects and I am certain I will be wanting to panel a couple of rooms, maybe the new entrance hall and office?
Well we did have a good time and did find a few products that we could use in our new home, but would I go back next year … Maybe not.
Hope y’all had a great Mother’s Day.
Emma x

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We have the keys to our ‘new’ home

Today is a big day for us, we got the keys to our next big adventure. Having “done everything” (in the Handy Husbands words) in our present house he was bored and needed something else to do. So we bought a challenge.

As you can see it has a turret which made Amy very excited. She had lots of plans to turn it into her very own princess tower, until the Handy Husband explained that she wouldn’t have room to fit in it.
Inside we are going to be changing a lot of the rooms, more about our ideas and plans in future posts. Below are a couple of shots of the interior as it is now, and again I will update y’all without ideas and plans.

The kitchen currently. This space is going to become our office and a back boot room/ utility room.

This is the view down the corridor away from the kitchen. And finally a view from the other end.

So you can see we have our work cut out for us! But we are looking forward to the challenge.
Have a great weekend.
Emma x

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Happy New Year

happy new year 2014

This was the sunrise this morning and it was just SO beautiful! I promise I haven’t edited it in photoshop at all!

I know it’s been a REALLY long time since I last blogged, but what with Christmas and all the entertaining we have done in the last month and all the lovely friends we have seen, and then the New Year… I didn’t really have time. Then I felt as though I didn’t have anything much to tell and I questioned the necessity to babble on about nothing just for the sake of blogging. I also felt quite boring and uninteresting…. until a friend on New Year’s eve was so positive about my creativity and was so encouraging about my style that it gave me the boost to get back to blogging.

I do find that the new year is a great time to asses your plans for the future. I’m not one for making resolutions – they always feel too negative and “giving up” stuff is always far too hard – so I prefer goals.

One of my goals is to take more photos. Now that sounds easy, but I started to use the handy husband’s Canon 40D seriously for the first time last year, and not just on the automatic setting. So I would like to continue with that, learning more about shutter speed, focal range, white balance and all those technical things that scared me before. My other photography goal is to start using Instagram more. I’ve had an account for a while now and never really used it, but now that I have an all singing all dancing iPhone 5 there is no stopping me now! You can follow me on Emma60a.

My other goal (I think I will stop at two!) is to blog once a week at least. I am going to create some regular features, so do keep looking out for those. We have also exchanged contracts on a house – yes we are moving – and it is going to be a bit of a project, so I will of course be sharing my design ideas about this big project in the future.

christmas 2013

Well here is snapshot of what our house looked like over Christmas – I do love decorating the house, getting all the memories out of the box and having fun creating new decs. I made the wreath for the front door inspired from Yvestown. Don’t you just love a glue gun =).

So it just leaves me to say I hope you all have a great start to the new year, let me know what your goals are I would love to hear them.

Emma x


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Halloween… Continued

It’s Halloween today! Yay!!! Of course we just had to some pumpkin carving yesterday. We bought our pumpkins from our local farm shop, Pickwells, and they had some beauties. As well as the large carving ones they had yellow ones, white ones, grey ones, Turks heads (I think that’s what they are called) and all manor of sizes. It was very hard to choose, but we came away with a couple of large ones with some character and various littlies.

20131031-074252.jpgSo we set about carving our pumpkins. We did have a look on Pinterest to get some ideas for scary faces, and boy there are some very talented pumpkin carvers out there!! We aren’t quite in that league just yet so we kind of adapted some ideas and came up with these handsome chaps. (I just hope the deer don’t like to eat pumpkin!?)

I would love to see some of your scary friends… Send me a pic!
We hope you have fun tonight trick or treating.
Emma x

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Amsterdam – inspiration

Well I had a great time at the Meet the Blogger conference in Amsterdam. I met some really wonderful ladies who blog from all over Europe and the UK. It is amazing how small the world really is! There were some really inspiring talks at the conference. Victoria from sfgirlbybay had very interesting ideas on style and content which I will hopefully put into practice in the not too distant future.

Also at the conference was Tina Fussell from Flying House. Tina spoke from the heart about staying motivated in blogging and if it doesn’t feel right don’t do it! Sound advice. Tina is a great photographer and has some really beautiful images from Amsterdam on her blog. Do check them out.

I thought I would add in some of my own images from the trip. I think Amsterdam is one of my top 5 cities, and it certainly helped that the sun shone and we had clear blue skies the whole time we were there.


Of course there are a lot of bicycles in Amsterdam, I couldn’t resist this one.


I happened to be on the canal at the right time to snap this one of the train and the lifting bridge. I just love the yellow against the blues and the rhythm of the bridge.


Great typography



And of course flowers… the perfect doorstep arrangement!

Emma x

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Birthday Party

I have been really busy over the past few weeks trying to bring together a party for the Handy Husband. My girlie and I had some quality crafting time making decorations and I will post about what we made a little later. Well we erected a marquee over our deck and I got stuck in with the decorating. Now I am quite a hoarder and keep anything sparkly. The red lametta wall came from a high school musical party I gave my girlie when she was 4!! That was a few years and a few house moves ago, but I just knew they would come in handy one day.

Birthday Party

The evening was such fun. We had some lovely friends round and we enjoyed a magical evening outside on our deck.

On another note, I’m off to Amsterdam to go to the Meet the Blogger conference. I am just SO excited about this. Key note speaker Tricia Guild from Designers Guild and Victoria Smith from sfgirlbybay are going to be a couple of highlights for me. I will let you know how it was when I get back. I hope I learn lots!

Emma x

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