Saturday, 21 March 2015

The Potting Shed Fantastic: Spring!!!

Bluebells appearing for Spring
Happy first day of Spring! Winter felt way too long this year and at last the days are starting to lengthen and I can feel the promise of spring in the air. At this time of year the occasional warmer, brighter day keep us hooked with baited breath for summer. And naturally, this starts me thinking about just one thing....gardening!! (Okay, as well as holidays, flip-flops, bbqs, beaches, sailing etc.!)

Anemone shoots braving it to appear above ground
This will be our first year with a proper decent garden! And I am beside myself with excitement! We've said goodbye to our teeny square of concrete totally encircled by brick walls and moved up a rung to a slightly larger rectangular garden, circled by four fences!! Haha, but there is definitely much less concrete so a clear step in the right direction! 

Today I wanted to share our priorities for Spring time in the garden this year. I have grand plans for the garden eventually, but given it take time to develop and mature I know this is a multi-year project, so starting small...


The cutest sweetpea shoots

I've already got a whole bunch of bulbs and seeds planters indoors and they are starting to show their sleepy heads! This is my favourite part of gardening - when the tiny shoots are in the safety and confinement of the controlled conditions of our house and you can see the little steps of progress made each day!! And before they are let out into the wilderness of our garden and become prey to all sorts of urban wildlife! :s

In fact, our dining room has pretty much been repurposed to an indoor greenhouse at the moment:

Ranunculus thriving in our indoor greenhouse!


On the outside, we need to cover the box of fences, and quick! I have already stated bulk buying all possible climber I can get my hands on!!

Honeysuckle starters
We have planted climbing roses (at least 4, I'm losing count!!) and my latest additions have been two honeysuckles on the shaded side. Plus we have added two thornless blackberry plants, a Japanese Wineberry and a Loganberry plant all at the bottom of the garden. Which may just have to become our soft fruit patch, yum!! :) 

Beautiful red stems of the Japanese wineberry
Ben's Valentine's Day pressie was a vine sapling - Pinot Noir no less! It's shooting already and we just need to find the perfect spot for it to get started in. And finally, to round off this collection of climbers I just want to add some summer flowering clematis to get some bright big flowers! 


Finally, on a slightly less glamorous note, composing. We have a giant composting bin that we've been adding to all winger long. The walk out tot the end of the garden in the dark and cold winter evenings is NO FUN! Particularly when you lift the compost lid and just KNOW it's full of slugs, worms and flies, but you just can't see them in the dark! Eeeek! But thankfully they are all working their magic in there to make usthe yummiest more nutritious humus ready for spring! 

We're actually close to maxing out on the compost bin so may wen have to strut a second! We're gonna have the best fed garden in the whole of London come Summer !!! :D 

More bluebells
As soon as this plethora of bluebells open up their blooms I'll be sure to get my camera out there once again. I plan to share a few snippets of our garden progress here over the next 6 months as we go from novice plant killers to pro green-fingered Bob Flowerdews!! :)

So, this is our starting point, what are you focussed on this Spring? Be it in the garden or indoors?!

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

DIY Fantastic: Gallery Wall

Gallery walls are EVERYWHERE! (My Pinterest account is the PROOF! It's littered with them!) Who doesn't have one?! ME! That is until now...

There are hundreds of great gallery wall DIYs out there, including this one from the magical Emily Henderson and this from the gorgeous Homey Oh My. So I am not going to repeat all their words of wisdom! But, since moving into our new pad, I have been hankering to start getting things up on the wall. Going from bare white walls to fun filled colourful walls makes a MASSIVE difference. I've worked out THE most cost effective, fun way to get stuff on the walls. This is find the frames FIRST and then fill them SECOND. May sound the wrong way round to most people, but this way I don't have to pay through the nose to get custom frames for my photos, instead I just print out my photos to fit the frames I've picked up. Let me tell you more...

I've spend months hoarding up photo frames from car boot sales, charity shops, fact ANYWHERE I could find them at reasonable prices. This is part of my hoard:

I don't think I've spend more than £8 on a single frame, and that particular one was HUUUUGE and already had a great useable mount inside, so it was basically a two-in-one. Bonza! Most of the frames I've picked up have been in the range of £3-5 each. I'm looking for style, size, character, sturdiness and anything with an acceptable mount included is a great bonus. Anything in oak or a lovely wooden finish is also high up my list, but I'm also open to pale or dark frames that just need a little lift to get them looking pristine again.

First up we took all our frames apart, decided on which needed a facelift and set to it with some high-gloss spray paint. We started with a satin finish, but unless they are going straight from floor to wall (and I mean STRAIGHT, with no loitering on the floor or kitchen table as you pick out photos etc!) then it's a high risk strategy. Our satin finishes didn't make the original cut and had to be re-sprayed with gloss.

Some went white.

Some went black.

And the rest stayed wood, gold, distressed etc.

To fill these we had been collecting photos, greetings cards, post cards, posters, prints...aka anything we actually like LOOKING at. Once they're up on your wall we'll be doing a lot of that! :) the Pinterest worthy gallery walls are mostly highbrow art and prints, but I love a mix of family photos and fun graphics. It keeps it interesting and meaningful to us and our visitors. I love to have pictures of friends and family up on the wall, they are the people you've made all your memories with and it's a lovely gesture to be able to show them how important they are to you. 

Here we started playing withe layout on the floor of the livingroom to pull together a suitable arrangement. It took a few goes until we were entirely happy with it. I scoured the house for a few extras to break it up a bit - the mirror and ampersand I found worked a treat! :)

We kept the boldest colours and biggest frames central (i.e. the blue mount and the black frame). We mirrored the gold frames and yellow prints evenly around the gallery. The non-frames we kept to the periphery to soften the edges. Did I just make that sounds like there was some method in the madness?! ;)

First one up, the 'anchor' at the bottom centre of the whole gallery. Then we simply worked outwards from there adding in all directions. We didn't measure, use templates or a spirit level, we just went for it. Crazy maybe, but we got it UP. BIG WIN! 

So there we have it, Granted it's not perfect, to make it more dynamic I'd like to add a few larger frames into the mix and a few more prints/graphics. But it is a great start and our first gallery wall, so I for one am celebrating! :) You can also see it in real life action here.

What's going up on your walls next?