New Kitchen

If you know me in the real/offline world – you will know that I spent a LOT of time last year renovating our kitchen!

I’m rubbish at remembering to take ‘before’ photos when I’m decorating… but I thought you might be interested in seeing some ‘mid-decor & after’ photos!

We decided to get the experts in to do a few jobs. They fitted new worktops to replace the old green speckly laminate, plumbed in a new stainless steel sink, hung a new door, replaced the old tiles and tiled the back of the chimney breast arch.

The arch is my favourite bit! It looks lovely and it’s really practical having tiles there because it’s where we do all our chopping and food prep.

I added some shelves so that I can keep my cook-books in the kitchen and free up space elsewhere. I love these brackets from B&Q which double up as bookends and the shelves are made of wood from old palettes which I sanded down and waxed.

I painted the walls, ceiling, woodwork and radiator in Farrow & Ball Ammonite. It’s a warm off white, which looks almost grey in some lights and beige in others. It’s really brightened up the room and made it feel bigger.

We kept the same cupboards, and the doors look fabulous in their new shade of Farrow & Ball Inchyra Blue. I also painted the shiny silver door knobs black using Hammerite metal paint (which worked out cheaper than replacing them all).

I still don’t quite feel like it’s our kitchen! It was well worth the many hours of sanding and re-coating the cupboard doors. It feels like a proper kitchen!

Splodge & Noodle

If you follow me on Instagram then I’m sure you’re familiar with my cats Splodge and Noodle – but I realised that I’ve never written a blog to properly introduce them! I’m going to begin with my favourite kitten pic of Splodge…

She’s so fluffly!

I can’t introduce Splodge without mentioning her sister Sausage. I adopted them from a neighbour (in the image below) when they were tiny! They were about seven weeks old and their mum had started lashing out at them so I took them a bit earlier than planned.

They were in a litter of four (three girls and one boy). The owner wanted to keep one of the girls and I didn’t think it would be a good idea to take a girl and boy so that left me with these two bundles of fluff… I would’ve chosen them anyway!

As a kitten, Splodge was playful, mischievous and somewhat crazy! Sausage was a bit quieter and often just sat and watched while Splodge raced around.

As soon as I sat down Splodge would be on my lap, whereas Sausage would stare intensely at me for ages to make sure I was staying put before coming to join us for some aggressive kneading and drooling!

They had such different personalities but they were both gorgeous cats. They loved being together and would always sleep in the same basket and groom each other. When they got bigger and I put them in separate baskets for a vet trip, they both yowled until I put them into one basket and then they stopped. They seemed to comfort each other.

When they started to go outside, Splodge was rarely far enough away from the house that I couldn’t see her from the window. She’s still like that today and I’m sure she would happily be a house cat. Sausage however would wander off for ages and only really came in for food and a bit of evening lap-time.

So when they were two and Sausage went missing it was nearly 24 hours before I really started to worry as it was normal for her to miss a meal, but very rare for her to miss two.

I’ll never know where she went for sure, but I guess she ran into the road. We’re not on a main road and when the council said they had a record of a black cat found about a mile away I thought it was too far to be Sausage. But they don’t make a record of collars (which she may have lost anyway) or check micro-chips, so I’ll never know. If she’d found her way over the main road she would have been stuck there and lost – so it’s possible.

Splodge was hugely stressed when Sausage disappeared. They are creatures of habit and she had never been alone before. She became very clingy – yowling whenever I left the room, not going out as much and over-grooming to the point where her belly and legs were virtually bald. I felt guilty leaving her to go to work… but someone’s got to pay for the cat biscuits!

After a couple of months I decided to get another cat – hoping that the company would calm Splodge (or at least distract her!). And that’s when Noodle became part of our family!

Noodle had been taken to the rescue centre because he had been ‘beating up’ his siblings and other cats in the neighbourhood. He was approximately 9 months old and when he arrived he hadn’t been neutered. The rescue centre had him neutered and he immediately calmed down a bit and was living happily in a pen with a brindle cat that looked very similar to Splodge. I fell in love!

I wouldn’t say that Splodge and Noodle got on immediately, but after a lot of hissing and growling from Splodge and a couple of accidents from Noodle (he was too scared to walk past Splodge to get to the litter tray!), things calmed down and Splodge stopped pulling her fur out.

Noodle still has a slightly aggressive side with other cats, but he rarely takes it out on Splodge. Just before meal-times when he’s hungry he will sometimes pounce on her and they occasionally bat each other round the head! They generally seem content in each others company and often sit in the garden together or even curl up in a basket together when they think no-ones looking!

Noodle is like a permanent angsty teenager who lollops around in a slightly clumsy manner – so we weren’t hugely surprised when he broke his foot a couple of years ago! It didn’t heal properly so he has a weakness there but (touch wood) he’s not aggravated for a long time.

He meows ALL the time! He’s the chattiest cat in the world! He has a slight look of a Bengal cat and chattiness is one of their characteristics so we think he might be part posh cat.  He’s very affectionate, likes a lot of attention and he knows he’s beautiful!

Now nine and a half – Splodge has filled out a bit and is like a gorgeous cuddly ewok. She was fat-shamed on her last trip to the vets so she’s on a diet at the moment – but apart from that she is healthy and happy.

She’s still quite a skittish cat and has grudgingly accepted that Noodle is top-cat. She will groom him and stay out of his way when he’s hangry… but if he’s sitting on my lap and she wants to be there – she’s not afraid to sit on him until he moves!

Patchwork Cushion

 When I sorted out my work room, I discovered that I have a ridiculous amount of lovely fabric scraps!

My friend Steph recently completed a beautiful paper-pieced quilt and I felt inspired to have a go. I want to do a double bed sized hexi quilt – which will probably take decades! So I thought starting off with some patchwork cushions would be a good way to give paper-piecing a try.

wpid-img_20150111_184353.jpgI really enjoyed making the cushion. The main reason I like knitting more than sewing is the fact that sewing often needs more equipment or requires digging my machine out from under a pile of fabric. But hand stitching is rather relaxing! I used a Prym fabric glue pen to stick the fabric to the paper pieces so I didn’t have to fiddle about with tacking – it did the job and rinsed out easily after removing the paper.

My list of to-do’s for the living room is gradually shrinking. I’m mostly keen to finish the rag rug because it’s amazing how much colder the room is now I’ve taken up the carpet! I could just buy a rug but that would be too easy wouldn’t it?

I’m happy with the results for my first try and I’m planning to make another with the same fabric but with hexagons rather than triangles.

Then I can start planning the long term quilt project!