Bed: a mini project (stage two)

Stage one of overhauling our bed was hacking the top off, opening up the lines of our bedroom again and giving me less things to bang my head on in the middle of the night.

Stage two involved sanding as long as I could be bothered (not long), inhaling yellow dust (I know because when I sneezed, it came out of my nose), wiping the sanding dust with a teatowel which really shouldn’t have been used for that purpose, all to get it ready for the paint (which I got on the carpet).  There’s a reason I usually let Barry do all this.

IMG_8040After carrying out quite a bit of research (Googling, checking out other blogs, asking friends) I went to B&Q with the intention of buying some white Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish paint and Finishing Wax for the bed.  I bought a teeny tiny pot of chalk white for the nursing chair I’ve been meaning to paint for two years, and then for absolutely no reason bought a huge pot of “Belgrave” after dithering at the Rust-Oleum display.

IMG_8047It’s a kind of vintage-meets-peacock-meets-Airforce-blue.  I think I was scared the white would bore me, but blue in this shade has never been a part of any of our plans.  Barry was equally surprised.

The first coat went on quite well, covered most (but not all) of the original yellow of the bed and Barry came up to glare.  Paint on the carpet didn’t help, to be honest.

It dried even better, with a chalky finish.  I can see why this kind of finish isn’t for everyone, as it dries so that you can see individual brushstrokes, giving a bit of a shabby effect.  This was fine by me and the coverage versus the little prep needed was a winner for me.

I left the first coat to dry as long as the tin said (four hours), then sanded any places with a buildup of paint.  Barry warned me to be careful and quick with the second coat because it might strip some of the first coat off – he was right (so wise!).  You have to be a painting ninja to get that bad boy on the second time.

After the second coat had dried, I rubbed the Finishing Wax onto the whole frame – this dries in no time.  I painted two coats and waxed it all in one day – we woke in our yellow bed and slept in our blue bed that night.  Barry’s begrudgingly admitted it’s ok, but thinks it doesn’t sit well with our other bedroom furniture, which is true.  We’ll just have to get new bedroom furniture!  That’s at the end of a very long list, though!  Next stop: Ashley Thomas bedding: I’ve fallen in love!

The only issue left with the bed is the large holes in each of the four posts.  I’m looking around online for bedknobs to cover them, but I’m not having much joy so far.  Another option would be to fill and paint them, but the ends are quite raw and I’d rather cover the whole of it to be honest, so the search goes on.  What do you think?

End of stage one



Drying after one coat


Second coat


Waxed and finished

Bed: a mini project (stage one)

I mentioned a couple of months ago that I wanted to attack our big yellow Ikea four poster because it was ruining the lines in our room.  For once, we didn’t just talk about it for months and then throw it onto the pile of other discarded ideas,  Although our time and money is stretched at the moment, this was a fairly straightforward project, which Barry really kicked off when I came home to see that he’d already gone ahead and sawed the top off our bed.

This is how it looked before and after.  My original plan was to buy some white paint to cover the yellow but something happened when I got to B&Q.  It’s a bit of a cliffhanger if you were to care at all what colour I happened to select; this is a two-parter.

Before the handsaw massacreYellow bed 2


IMG_8053 IMG_8054


Scarlett’s birth

My daughter, Scarlett, will be two in a few months, and I haven’t felt the urge to publish her birth story until now, although a slightly edited version did appear in our local NCT magazine shortly after the birth.  It might have something to do with my best friend’s baby being due any day, and making me reminisce. This is the unedited, gory version, be warned.

While I know I started this as a home decorating blog, it’s expanded to be more home and family related, so read on if you want, don’t if you don’t, but here’s Scarlett’s birth story…

My daughter, Scarlett, was born at Airedale Hospital, after I was induced on my due date for medical reasons. I was told to call the labour ward at 8am on the morning of my induction and they told me to come in at 10am. I’d been having twinges on and off for a couple of weeks before my due date, but nothing followed them, despite me wishing very hard.

The midwives started me off with a pessary of prostaglandin that morning, which I described as being a cross between a tampon and a teabag! I had a few tightenings throughout the day and was feeling sick, which the midwives took as a good sign, but nothing more happened. After examination 24 hours later, the lovely midwife declared me to be 1cm dilated, which Barry said was what they tell women who haven’t dilated at all, just to give them hope.

At 12pm, the day after my due date, the midwife decided to give me the prostaglandin gel, which is left in for 6 hours to work its magic. I had to stay lying down for a good half hour, then my husband and I were allowed to go to the café in the hospital for something to eat. We didn’t linger too long because I kept making little involuntary noises, which looking back was of course the start of labour.

After we got back to the induction suite, the pains started building extremely quickly, until they were almost unbearable. All I had for pain relief was my TENS machine, which I remembered that I had at about 3pm! At 4pm I felt really sick and Barry just got a bowl in time. The midwife asked if I wanted to be examined then, or wait until 6pm, but I said to do it then because I was in so much pain. All I could do was hum during the contractions and boost the TENS machine up!

I was then examined again and had reached 4-5cm dilated in 4 hours, which meant I was in active labour and could move to a labour room. By this time, nobody could move, say or do anything during my contractions. In the brief moments between them, I remember telling Barry and the midwife that I was crazy, actually out of my mind with pain, and I wasn’t controlling it. It was at this point that I realised my labour wasn’t going to be like my sister-in-law’s, or those I’d seen on TV, as my body was completely taking over.

There was less than a minute between contractions when they managed to get me into a wheelchair in the induction suite. I felt awful, because there was another woman in there – she must have been terrified by the noises I was making! They asked if I wanted a water birth, as stipulated in my birth plan. I politely declined and requested an epidural.

I managed to get out of the wheelchair and sat up on the side of the bed in the labour room, with the help of Barry and a student midwife. All of a sudden, I started making an animalistic grunting sound and bending over my stomach. Next to delirious, I had no idea what was going on, but I could hear the midwife saying that they needed to get my legs up onto the bed, now!

The anaesthetist popped his head in just as they were dragging my legs up onto the bed (in between contractions) and the midwife told him it was too late – the baby was coming now. My contractions were literally seconds apart now, so I gave Barry the TENS machine to control. Not sure it was still helping by this stage, but I’d got into a rhythm with it. The student midwife tried to give me the mouthpiece for gas and air during a contraction and I couldn’t break off my focus to take it and learn how to use it, I just had to wait for those few seconds between contractions to take it, but only took one puff.

The midwife examined me when my legs were on the bed and was surprised to find I’d reached 9cm dilated just in the trip between the induction and labour rooms! She said she could see a lock of hair and broke my waters with the next contraction. In the contraction after that, the baby popped out all in one go!

They put Scarlett on my chest for skin-to-skin immediately. I couldn’t see her properly, but I remember seeing dark hair and wide, bright blue eyes.

I was then jabbed in the leg with syntocinon to deliver the placenta quickly.
I lost around 1.2 litres of blood and they were struggling to find where the blood was coming from, and all of a sudden the room filled with people. A midwife made a move to take Scarlett off me and I said to give her to her dad. I remember Barry being backed into a corner of the room, holding the baby. I was taken to theatre for two hours (where I got my belated epidural) and had stitches for two awful tears. Plus then half an hour in recovery, which was the longest half hour of my life – I just wanted to get back to my husband and new baby!

When I was wheeled back into the labour room, they snatched Scarlett off Barry and put her on my chest and shoved my boob in her mouth. Poor thing hadn’t eaten in the two and a half hours since she was born. They then wheeled me in the bed to the postnatal ward, where I was in a bay with three other beds.

I’d had an epidural, so couldn’t properly move my legs – I could just twitch my toes – when they sent Barry home an hour or two later. I was hooked up to a drip with a painful cannula with a short tube and a machine with an alarm that mysteriously went off every five minutes; I had a catheter in, and was shaky from losing so much blood. I was therefore very upset when they sent Barry home and I told the midwife I didn’t think I could cope. “What, with being a mother?”, came the question. I clearly meant I couldn’t cope that evening, as I couldn’t even pick my baby up if she started to cry. I barely slept, and ended up holding Scarlett on my chest all night as it was easier than buzzing for the midwife to pass her to me. When the epidural started to wear off, I could feel my stitches, which was worse! The midwife had to change Scarlett’s first nappy, as I couldn’t move, which upset me. Sending my husband home that night was the worst part of my whole birth experience.

I ended up staying in another night, and couldn’t wait to go home, my husband and I were sat waiting in our coats by the time they released me!

The memory is fading, but I’m glad I’ve written it all down so I don’t completely forget; after all, it’s what brought Scarlett to us, so it can’t be all that bad!

Plans for bed

Yellow bed 2I have an idea for our bed.  Put those thoughts to one side, this is a house and home blog.

The reason we fell in love with our house was the master bedroom.  And the reason we fell in love with our bedroom is the light that comes from both sides of the house; it fills the space and makes it feel twice as big.

We used to have a standard double bed in there (now swapped to our spare room), but I had my eye on a huge yellow four poster Hemnes bed from Ikea for a while, when one day it was on offer in store and we bought it, just like that.  That was a few years ago now.

Yellow bedAt first, I loved it.  We moved the beds round when I was pregnant and there was so much more space for us plus my huge bump that it seemed really luxurious.  Still does.  Then when Scarlett was born, I could feed her in the bed without feeling like I would squash or smother her when she fell asleep beside us.  I had pictures in my head of voile curtains covering the four corners and gently falling down to the floor.

But now I’m missing the light!  It’s not like it’s an antique, hulking, dark wood four poster, but the lines break up the room, the voiles would have made it worse, and I’ve had enough. These photos aren’t the best example of the light, but you can (dimly) see the bed.

My masterplan is basically to attack it with a saw.  Chop the whole of the top off.  I haven’t decided where to stop yet – I’ve been Googling bedknobs (which automatically brings up broomsticks), because you could make a whole feature of them. And the other part of the plan would be to paint it white. I’m hoping that the yellow can be covered! The yellow’s good fun, but seemed a bit more appropriate when it was in the spare room.  We’re grown ups now, don’t you know?

I initially had my heart set on Annie Sloan chalk paint, mostly based on this blog post from welliguessthisisgrowingup where Karen transformed a dresser (and sign up to Karen’s blog by the way, it’s amazing!).  However, due to the very strict stockist list they keep and the high prices for a lowly peasant like me, I was struggling to think when this could become a priority enough to actually bite the bullet and do it.  One of my online mum buddies, Phoebe, mentioned that she’d tried Annie Sloan and B&Q’s chalk paint and really recommended the “cheap” stuff as it provided similar coverage.

So now I have a plan!  In the meantime, I’ll keep searching for bedknobs (not broomsticks) and I’ll keep you updated!

I got sunshine

Sunflower 1…on a cloudy day.

That’s what I think when I look at the sunflowers in our flower bed, anyway.  Scarlett was sent home with a tiny green shoot in a flowerpot for Mothers’ Day, back in March.  And yes, I did cry.  A couple of my friends (you know who you are) think it’s hilarious that I cry whenever nursery give me anything Scarlett’s made, painted or planted, but it makes me so happy!  I digress.

So, we left it in its little pot and set it on the kitchen table near the window, where it started to grow.  I’ve never been very good with plants, but I tried my very best with this one.  You know, because my then 12 month old daughter planted it with her own fair hands (with help, granted) and such.

Sunflower 2It turns out it was actually three sunflowers in one plant, and so, taking advice from our far more knowledgeable neighbour, Barry tentatively (and with a dubious look on his face) ripped the little plant into three and planted them across the flowerbed. It’s scary stuff, leaving them to the elements!


Sunflower 3But they grew!  We tied them up to keep them straight, and the middle one turned out to be a whopper (in our eyes, but my Grandad may disagree!).  These photos were taken last month, when they were in their prime!

Sadly, all three beautiful sunflowers have now died, but Barry has the heads from which he will pluck seeds so that we can plant some more.  Not that we know what we’re doing.  But we try.

Sunflower 4


Craft fair: the aftermath

Craft fair 1OK, so don’t get excited.  The craft fair was a total bust.  I was a bit sad about it because I’d been so excited, but these things happen.

I was very proud of the way my stall looked.  I went into this with my friend Lenka, who bakes beautiful cakes, and we were supposed to be sharing a stall, but when we arrived they’d given us an extra long pair of tables as someone had called in sick.

They gave us the option of having a shared stall, as planned, or splitting the tables up.  We decided to split them so that customers would have less of a mixed message (cakes?  dresses?), and it worked really well and we still got to sit together and have a chat.

Craft fair 2 Which turned out to be most of the day.  I single-handedly brought half of the footfall through the door, and my friends know about my handmade stuff already.  However, I have to stress how lovely it was to have the support of my friends coming.  My mum cried because she was so proud, softie that she is.

Craft fair 3

The excitement when we were first setting up was fabulous!  Lenka hadn’t gone to bed until 4am (and to be fair, she did a bit better than me at the fair), so we were both on the coffees from early on!  Even though many people didn’t buy, I handed out quite a few leaflets which had vouchers on, so I’m hoping that the effects may continue after the fair.

On my other side was a lovely lady selling beautiful silver jewellery (see her facebook page here), who gave me some good tips for next time and further ideas about selling on Etsy.

So, not all was lost!  Bit of promotion, sold a couple of bits and some fab ideas for moving Baby Brain forward.

Craft fair: the preparation

My friend Lenka (who makes the yummy cakes) and I have decided to go to a craft fair together at the end of this month.  Well, not just go together.  Exhibit together.  Sell together!

They don’t usually allow you to share a table, but I begged very nicely as it was Baby Brain‘s first one, and they’ve let us do it if we mix up our stock, which is jolly nice of them (can you tell I’ve been reading Enid Blyton to Scarlett recently?).

I’ve got a bit of an advantage on Lenka in that my stock doesn’t spoil or go off, nor do I have to wait until the days before to start preparing, but I’m still struggling to find the time to add to my little stock collection.  I’m also attempting to make some Baby Brain bunting (in the style of my logo!) to go on the front of our tablecloth!  Barry’s going to Germany with work next week, which might be the opportunity I need to catch up on my sewing.

Dresses, bags and bibs is what I’ll be selling on the day, and I’m also taking along my baby birth details prints and an example of a button monogram for the table (but those are obviously made to bespoke requirements); Lenka has a list as long as your arm of delicious delights, including something I haven’t tried before: cake in a jar.  Pinterest it.  It’s going to be amazing!

I’ve already made Scarlett a little Baby Brain dress and nappy cover so she can run round like a mini advertising board!  She models so well!

Come and say hello if you’re in the area, full event details are here.  We’d love to see you!