Thursday, 25 August 2016

UP-CYCLE PROJECT: French Style Welsh Dresser Makeover

French Style Welsh Dresser Makeover


Earlier this month I was invited to do a Homebase DIY Challenge, trying some of their products for a makeover project of my choosing. I had a look around my little home and there was one piece of furniture that was crying out for some TLC - my little welsh dresser. Now I do like some pieces of furniture left dark but when you live in a little house as I do, you find you need to invite in as much light as possible. So my little welsh dresser visited the AHC beauty parlour! I'm thrilled with her transformation, and I have to say I highly recommend the Rustoleum furniture paint - because not only is it far cheaper than many other brands of chalk paint, it also has a lovely finish and you can apply it straight away, so no need for sanding or undercoat! (it's not that I'm lazy ... well OK actually yes I am.) So here is a step-by-step guide to up-cycling furniture using chalk paint, using distressing techniques and decoupaging for an antique faded floral finish.
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Thursday, 18 August 2016

Guest Post - Artisan eco-gifts handmade in Ukraine


I recently stumbled upon a quirky little website called myfancycraft which sells a variety of unusual gifts and handmade crafts, made by craftsmen (and women) from all over Ukraine. Each product is made by hand using eco – friendly materials.




I had a little browse, and came upon this lovely nature-inspired collection on their website which is made from slavic clay. (The wording on the website doesn't translate very well into english but don't let that put you off, their products are lovely and their customer service is great.) I treated myself to a mug and jug (as I do have a bit of a 'Jug' obsession) they also make a teapot in the same range (see below). They arrived slightly more 'glazed' than it shows to the pictures but they are lovely all the same. Would make a lovely christmas gift for a nature-lover don't you think?



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Thursday, 11 August 2016

Canal folk art with Duncan Burrett

This week I had a wonderful afternoon chatting with Canal folk artist Duncan Burrett, who is owner and captain of a delightful narrowboat called 'Zendu' that is moored on the River Stort. Duncan has lived on the boat for 22 years with wife Zena. Ralphy and I often stop to admire Zendu, because not only is she the prettiest boat along the canal, but Duncan also sells a wonderful selection of old antiques and wares on the top of his boat which he paints in the famous 'Canal folk art' style. I have always loved the colourful vibrant style of Canal folk art but I didn't know anything about it until meeting Duncan. So when he invited us aboard to show us his work and give us a demonstration, I jumped at the chance. 




Duncan is a self-taught artist and used to specialised in oil paints and animal portraits. But it wasn't until 20 years ago he turned his hand to creating and selling canal folk art. "It started 20 years ago when I was sat on the boat painting a teapot, a lady stopped by and asked if it was for sale, so I told her to come back in 10 minutes and it would be!" Now he even demonstrates in schools, and is often commissioned by other boat owners. Duncan decorates all sorts with this style, especially old fashioned wares such as old watering cans, tea pots, urns, and even old boots ... and he also encourages people to bring their own objects along for him to paint. I had a lovely afternoon with Duncan, we chatted about his life, about the realities of boat-living, the interesting history behind folk art and how to paint in the folk-art style. He also makes a cracking cuppa tea! Read on to hear all about it ...



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Friday, 29 July 2016

A month in pictures - A hot, hot, hot July



Happy July you lovely lot! 

Well, what a July it has been. After moaning about the the weather in last months post it appears the weather-fairies heard me, because the UK has been blazing hot this month! who knew old blighty was still capable of having more than just a few days of summery weather? the girlies have been donning their hats and flip flops, and the men have been sporting their sunburned heads and naked beer bellies (always a treat of course :-)) and over at AHC HQ we've been up to all sorts, though mostly furniture makeovers. Here's our month in pictures ...



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Thursday, 21 July 2016

Water Cottage in Kersey - Suffolk's prettiest village


AHC rustic holiday cottages


Water Cottage is a beautiful 15th Century weaver's cottage in Kersey; Suffolk's prettiest little chocolate box village. Arriving here was like stepping back in time into the wonderful world of Lark rise to Candleford ... if you haven’t seen that TV series or read the book it I highly recommend it, in fact you could watch it while supping hot choccie in front of the fire while you're in your holiday cottage! Water Cottage is a timber framed 'Hall House’ that has been carefully restored to its former glory. The beautiful beamed rooms, antiques and furnishing, along with the cosy wood burner ensure a super cosy atmosphere in a well furnished, well equipped, luxurious cottage. There are wonderful walks straight from the door, quaint old rustic pubs in jumping distance and there’s lots to see and do in the area ... it's also ideal for kiddies and doggies!

Where is it: Quaint village of Kersey, Suffolk
How much: £508 for the week
Pets: 2 large dogs excepted
Sleeps: 5/6


Kersey in Suffolk


What is it like?

The cottage itself is lovely, and I'll tell you more about that in a moment. The big draw here is the stunning location. I usually prefer secluded cottages but the sleepy old street, lined with beautiful old houses, the thatched pub, the little stream (or wash) close by to the cottage, and the old church that overlooks the village from the top of the hill are the reason Kersey is Suffolk's prettiest little village. In fact the village hasn't changed much at all in the last 100 years, the only difference being the cars and telephone wires. 


Photo courtesy of www.grove-cottages.co.uk

Suffolk holiday cottage
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Thursday, 14 July 2016

Floral & faded wood tutorial - using napkins! (plus how to make a fire-pit table)




I absolutely love the old worn and faded ‘floral-pattern-on-wood' look, and I've been meaning to have a go at achieving it for some time. I finally got around to it this week and I'm so happy with the outcome. It's incredibly effective and so easy to do. You can achieve this lovely faded worn look on any wood surface, and it looks especially good on tables, drawers, chairs, welsh dressers and wooden trays. I'm going to try this on my welsh dresser next but first I wanted to give my copper fire pit a makeover. Since I have a small garden I decided to make use of space by giving the fire pit a dual purpose - so I had a piece of wood cut for the top of it, so when it's not being a fire pit it can be used as a table! this provided the ideal surface for my experiment!


decoupaging wood with floral napkins

A floral wood tabletop tutorial

How to make a fire pit table top


My cosy little seating area looks so pretty now, and if you're admiring my new Peru wooden deckchair loungers you'll find these at Homebase, and they cost £99 for a pair. I absolutely love them, they look so natural and blend into the garden perfectly, they're also incredibly comfy and come with a head rests! I also headed to Homebase for my varnish and hand-held sander (links are below.) You could use simple sandpaper sheets for this, wrapped around a wooden block but I love the smooth finish of a sander, and I’ve used it on a range of projects time and time again.  

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