Friday, 28 March 2014

Guest Post: How to make your house a home

Your home is your haven, or at least it should be. If your house doesn’t quite feel like a home, there are a few things you can do to make it feel a little more inviting.

The key is to inject a little of your personality into each room. We are all unique individuals and our homes should really reflect this.

The good news is the changes you make don’t have to be huge. Even if you only have a small budget, there are still things you can do to make your house a little more homely.

Creating personal space

We all need a little “me” time every now and again. This is especially true if you aren’t living by yourself. Do you have a room where you can go to just to spend time on your own? It is easy to create your room to make it as relaxing as possible. Plants, photos and things that make you feel good should all be included in the room. You don’t have to spend hours in there. Even just 15 minutes in your own personal space can rejuvenate the spirit and relax the mind.

Eliminate clutter

One tip that everyone should follow is to eliminate clutter from your life. Take a look around the house and see whether there’s anything you don’t really need. Throw away all of the stuff that is simply taking up space, then you can organise the rest of the clutter. You can invest in various storage solutions for the home such as shelves or units that will help to keep it looking tidier. A tidy home encourages a happy mind.

Pay attention to the little things

The little details in a home do tend to make the biggest difference. Even just updating your windows can help to make it feel more homely.

Upgrading your sash window parts for example, could really help to make the home feel cosier. Adding small ornaments and photos around a room can also encourage a positive, healthy emotional response.

The goal of turning a house into a home is to make sure it reflects your personality. Take a look around and see whether there’s anything you don’t really like and get rid of anything that attracts negative energy.  Adding your favourite colours, a few plants and even homemade crafts can really help to make a big difference.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Stockpiling Sock Yarn and other stories

Saturday, and what a lovely one it is too.  It's dry and bright here in South Northants.  I was awake super early for a weekend (5am to be precise) and had done a food shop and made bacon sandwiches by 7am.

I love getting up early at the weekend.  I have a mega busy job, which I enjoy, and work full-time.  It doesn't leave much free time in the week to do the things I really love, like stitching, sewing, knitting, crocheting, baking, cooking and tidying.  Not to mention just hanging out with Andrew, watching TV and smooching on the sofa.

Ceramic decorative heart by Greengate
I had a horrible looonnnng dental treatment on Wednesday.  I keep going on about it, but it was traumatic!  I was sedated (as per) and having replacement fillings and a gum deep-clean (yuck).  It was supposed to be a 90 minute appointment but as I was practically knocked out, the dentist decided to do 80% of the job in one fell swoop.  4 hours (yes 4 HOURS!) and £800 later I was still very dopey with an entirely numb mouth, dribbling all over the place and unable to speak.  It was like fast forwarding my life 30 years and seeing myself as a batty old lady. (I am convinced I will be as mad as a box of frogs in my old age.  I've suffered too much with mental illness over the years to escape it in my twilight years.)  Don't get me wrong, my dentist is fantastic.  It's just that I am perhaps a bit of a hypochondriac and have a tendency to 'go on a bit' (husband's words) when I'm under the weather.  Thanks for listening, friends! :)

So anyway, after the unpleasant day I had on Wednesday and the subsequent 48 hours of feeling rough as a badger's bum, I started to feel a whole lot better yesterday afternoon and planned an epic weekend.  I have made ZERO plans.  I'm in various offices next week so a weekend at home is just what the doctor ordered.  My main objective is to start knitting a pair of socks.

In anticipation, I have quizzed various cyber buddies (Ali and Ally I'm looking at YOU), watched endless youtube videos and bought myself a book.  I also appear to be stockpiling sock yarn.

Madeleine Tosh Sock Yarn (Toshsock)
Ali should be blamed entirely for my sock yarn obsession.  Well, Ms Pork Chop is also culpable.  The pair of them post gorgeous photos of hand-knitted socks on instagram (here and here) on a regular basis and I've caught the bug. Trouble is, I can't quite get my head around knitting in the round.  (How do you remember which bit's the front and which is the back?)

Trailing Clouds self-striping sock yarn.  Yes, oooooh.

I tend to summon confidence by (optimistically) telling myself 'if 'she' can do it, I can do it' based on the fact that I, too, have a brain and two hands. The fact that these things also involve a huge dose of natural talent that I do not possess doesn't seem to occur to me until I have a giant basket full of expensive yarn.  All the gear and no idea; that's me.

I'm tenacious if nothing else so I will spend the weekend with a furrowed brow, scrapping with a ball of yarn.  I'm also going to squeeze in some stitching, pretty patchwork and a few episodes of Breaking Bad (newly found favourite programme to knit to with husband).

I have also bought a few supplies from overseas lately and they are starting to arrive at the house in dribs and drabs.   I'm so excited to start stitching these Rosalie Quinlan kits, with gorgeous Cosmo embroidery floss.

Stichery Pokery
The Cottage Garden Threads, are simply beautiful.  I've joined a little club where I pay about £12 a month for a stitchery pattern and four CGT threads with which to stitch it.  Such fun!  I'd love to join a sock yarn club if anyone knows of one.  Preferably a cool US brand which ships to the UK.  Suggestions most welcome.

Have a lovely weekend.