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Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Time to say goodbye

Whatever you think you know, you don't know and whatever you guess, is wrong or exactly right.

 But unless you are a complete idiot, you will always know when the genuine friendship you once had is gone to be replaced with a barely concealed tolerance.

 Then you know to extract yourself and be swift, be thorough and be final.

Goodbye you say, cheerio, see ya.

Make no drama, take a pledge, and closed the door, lock it and throw the key with great force into the sea.


Monday, 12 December 2011

Deck the halls....

The time has come to get out the Christmas decorations and make the house and garden look festive. This year in the spirit of austerity I have been a little less over the top and have been inspired by the current make and mend ethos.

 Here are a few inspirational photos:

Jazz up candles

Decorate with ribbon

make your own tree decorations

home made hearts 

twiggy tree for christmas cards

rusty birds

trays of candles add sparkle to the coffee table

In Santa and the spirit of Christmas

Branches from garden: add baubles

Add lights to trees outdoors

Finally a wreath on the front door

Photos from Pinterest.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!


Thursday, 1 September 2011

Elderberry Jelly

Jelly is a preserve of fruit and sugar which is clear and colourful and consists of the fruit without the attendant pulp, skins, seeds and pips. I made my jelly from the recipe in the following book:

The Right Way to Make Jams (Right Way S.): Cyril Grange: Books

I love free stuff especially food.

I was given a large free bag of elderberries and decided to make some jelly.

  After a wash and de-stalking ( which if I had read the recipe first I could have avoided  as de-stalking is not necessary when making jelly).

I placed the elderberries and 2 lbs of cooking apples (cut up and washed) from the garden into the preserving pan and add water and lemon juice.

Quite a good haul!

Simmer to cook and extract the juice.

Strain, allow the fruit pulp to drip through the double layer of butter muslin overnight to extract all the juice.

The next morning measure out the juice and add 1 lb of sugar for each pint of juice to the pan.

Bring the juice and sugar to the boil, and allow it to boil rapidly, stirring so sugar dissolves. Setting point should be reached within 20 - 30 minutes, the thermometer should be 104 - 105 C (200 - 221 F).

Clear the scum off the top, fill sterilized jars right to the top; pour slowly so that no bubbles are formed. Cover with waxed disc and screw lids on tight.  Label etc.

A tip for pretty jam jar covers like mine: cupcake cases, they come in lots of  pretty designs and are very cheap.

Jellies can be time consuming but for great for people who prefer jams without 'bits'. A good jelly should wobbly, be clear and have the concentrated flavour of the fruit.

Until next time,

Beardog xx

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Sitting Room Reveal

Well the sofa was returned and I felt all at once a bit disappointed, it didn't look how I imagined in my head. I have a terrific fantasy life which doesn't always match up to reality. It was a fleeting disappointment thank goodness.

So the Sitting Room is now complete, I spent a few hours putting up pictures, re-arranging cushions and placing lamps here and there. So here it is, let me know what you think:

View from the door to room

 I am very happy at the results, the walls are dark burnt chocolate and the sofa contrasts fantastically.

Orchids add a french flavour perhaps. There is a really nice feel to the room, it feels fresh and bright, yet is dark and moody at night, so very cosy.
 Managed to get fairy lights inside the cupboard and it looks lovely. The chicken wire doors adds a country charm. It is painted in Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint : Old White  (inside) and Paris Grey.

It contrasts well with the dark walls doesn't it?

 There are lots of windows in this room so it can handle a dark colour on the walls without looking gloomy.
TV flanked by two urns

Close up of patina on urns

Fire place all lit up

Hope you like the results as much as I do. Hubby hasn't seen it yet as he is in California still but he is in for a surprise. Its amazing what a girl can do in five days with a paint brush and a little imagination!!

see you soon


Thursday, 25 August 2011

First the prep...

I love transforming a room with the magic alchemy of paint. It is always a wonder to me that a room can go from dull, cold and uninspiring to warm, cosy and spectacular with the simple application of paint!! However as much as I love the transforming thrill of painting, I do not enjoy the associated mess and that is where the tedious bit of decorating comes in: the prep!!

It can be avoided, but really you shouldn't as failing to prep properly leads to more work further along the road. Who hasn't spend hours scrubbing paint splashes from floors or trying delicately to remove a smudge of paint from a cushion?? Just me?? Well I've learnt my lesson and now I make sure the first job when painting a room is the prep.

It is worthwhile removing as much furniture as possible from a room before decorating, I appreciate that this isn't always feasible. Luckily painting the sitting room this time was facilitated by Mr Upholstery Man, Robert removing the huge sofa to recover it for me; so the biggest obstacle to a good paint job was removed. ( It also gave me the opportunity to refinish the floors too).

fireplace all masked taped off and covered.

The skirting boards, light switches, sockets, door trims and floors were all masked taped off and covered with dust sheets. This admittedly took me about 2 hours but then the painting was relatively plain sailing after that.

I went from a darkish grey to a deep luxuriant burnt brown which is the new black. Here's a sneaky peek:

The paint goes on chocolate brown but dries a dark almost black burnt colour.

The full reveal of my sitting room will come soon, just need Robert, Mr Upholstery Man to return my sofa. But I am so excited with how it looks so far. Will also blog the new look furniture too.

Have a great weekend.


Wednesday, 24 August 2011


How exhausting is decorating. Been at it all day. But soon I will be able to show you the results of my labours.  It is funny however that one small design decision can lead to so many more small and huge changes. The decision to re-upholster the sofa has led to a change of wall colour and a re-painting of furniture. Here are some of the photos that have inspired my design choices:

Painting furniture in a pale grey means that they will make a big impact against the very dark walls.

God, as always is in the detail and will add the extra wow  factor.

Distressed furniture ironically is calming and peaceful.

Dark walls are just too chic, just on vibe and makes any room elegant and declares its individuality. 

More drama on the wall with the use of a strong dark colour!

Dark on dark for extra POW!

I am getting excited about the final look of my sitting room, my choice of a very dark  paint for the walls in contrast to the cream/beige linen sofa will add a zing to our this space for the final reveal!!! 

Monday, 22 August 2011

a little more grey, a little less aubergine

It all started with the sofa springs popping. Our big old sofa was 11 years old and had suffered under the weight of quite a few bottoms. It was no surprise then that it was getting tired. Our sofa is big and very comfy and was extremely expensive when we bought it. To replace it like for like would set us back £3,000!!!!

So we decided to re-upholster it: I chose a very heavy weight textured linen which Hubby immediately found fault with, "Its cream!" he said, stating the obvious when I showed him the fabric sample, "It won't last five minutes with the dog and red wine and tea!" His final nail in the coffin was "And you're so clumsy."

Discussions began...formal in their nature and then not so formal. Finally, we settled on a very heavy weight textured linen because it is the best. So the dog will have to lie on the floor and FYI Hubby: I am really not that clumsy.

With the sofa fabric settled on, the next obvious step in our sitting room was a change in the furniture, or should I say a change in the colour of our furniture. Currently both  the armoire and large dresser are painted in  a rich dark aubergine. I fancy Paris Grey and a little gentle distressing.

Hubby can't bear the thought of the whole upheaval, luckily his work takes him off to sunny California for a week. I am armed (with Annie Sloan Paint, a paint brush) and could be considered dangerous... this space!!!

Saturday, 13 August 2011


I absolutely love sparkly things, they cheer me right up and make even dull days good. I have wasted  spent a few hours just lusting over all the beautiful photos of sparkly loveliness. I thought I'd share as I'm sure you'll love them as much as me: Feast  your eyes:

Thank you Pinterest and all those great people who contribute their fabulous images.