What I want my desk to look like (and what it does look like)

After writing earlier this year about a place to call my work despite being a stay-at-home mum, I have finally got round to trying to make a workspace at home.

This is what I said I wanted it to look like:

Work space with old desk, lamp, windows and comfortable chair//Photograph by Hus & Hem

And this is what it does look like:

Work space chair cushions

Hmmm… Perhaps it has a little way to go…

From the list I put together last time, I think I still need somewhere to see my ideas in progress. And it’s looking increasingly likely that I’m going to be needing more of a workshop space in the future. I’ll keep you posted.

Easy contemporary art to do with children (that you might even want to display)

Having spent an afternoon with my daughter soaking and painting tissues, my mum drew upon her creative reservoir to produce this fun activity for us (including my two preschoolers) to do. They look so good I have just put them up on my wall!

Easy contemporary art brusho

A word of warning before you try to do this at home; it is incredibly, finger-stainingly messy and all the more fun because of it.

1. Soak some watercolour paper in water
2. Gently blot them
3. Sprinkle pure powdered pigment (we used Brusho) over the wet paper
4. Watch the colours spread
5. Leave to dry
6. Frame, hang and enjoy!

powdered paint art framed with g plan chair


Inking up

Today I finished my first attempts at silk screen printing at a great local studio, Bodenpress. The very knowledgeable and patient Helen Boden talked me through all the processes and it definitely got parts of my brain working that I haven’t used in a while!

Here’s a quick snap of the finished result.

Silk screen print of girl climbing a fir cone by Joanne Mass

So will I be following in my mum’s footsteps and inking up on a more regular basis? I could definitely be persuaded. After all, there are so many different types of printing to try!

A big bed for my little boy

My two-and-a-half-year-old and I hang out a lot and I love his crazy hair, boundless confidence and big heart. But it turns out he is not so little any more. His ‘new big bed’ campaign has been running for at least a month now and, as he is able to easily touch both ends of his current cot-bed and he has said goodbye to nappies, I have given in to his demands. This now means I actually have to do something about his room instead of just writing about it (here and here).

Having braved Ikea with both children yesterday, we now have a brand new bed that we need to assemble (although I think I accidentally bought the wrong one!) and he has chosen some new bed linen. Is it ironic that after all my reservations about pink for my daughter’s room, my son’s new duvet cover has pink in it?

Ikea dvala stripey duvet cover and pillow case//Photograph via Ikea

I need to take some inspiration from these colours to give the room some curtains that actually fit and give it some of his strong-minded and bold personality. I need to get making…

My new front door

Avid readers of this blog (you glorious handful, you) will be aware that I have been plotting a new front door for a while. I have ummed and ahhhed and asked for your help over designs and details and here, finally and in all its turquoise beauty, it is!

What do you think? I can not claim any credit for it as, uncharacteristically, Mr Paint chart joy and I dug deep into our pockets and got someone else to do it. But I am so glad we did! I have forgotten the draughts and traffic noise of the old door already. The style and shade make reference to our 1950s house and – more importantly – make me smile when I come home. And the solidness of it just feels ‘right’ to shut behind.

What I love even more is opening it to my daughter’s birthday party friends and our neighbours who have grown more veggies than they need in their garden and my friend who is just passing and saw I’d left my car window open. Why not pop in for a cup of tea and a chat?!

All quiet on the home front

It appears I have taken a mini-sabbatical from blogging during which I have holidayed in the sun, potty-trained a two-year-old, started to grow and dig and prune, learned phonics, tried my hand at screen printing and rediscovered the pleasure of a glass of wine. But I am now officially back.

I also have a new front door so watch this space for before and after photos (or you could just come round) and a hunt for suitably mid-century house numbers! Plus I’ll be decorating an entrance hallway, buying a ‘big bed’, asking if front gardens are all about front and hanging statement wallpaper in a tiny cloakroom. It would be my pleasure if you would join me.

Anaglypta’s back; the return of the textured wallpaper

Anaglypta wallcovering - Deco paradiso//Photograph via Anaglypta

As soon as I saw this black, painted, textured wall in a wallpaper magazine I ripped it out as I knew I had to blog about it. There’s something about the pattern and the way the light reflects off the dark hue that is beautiful without being pretentious.

Until then I had assumed that patterned wallpaper was akin to woodchip and was rightly the preserve of an era past, only useful for bored children to slowly pick at. But look how good it looks!

Anaglypta - alexander//Photograph via Anaglypta

These Anaglypta wallcoverings are from their heritage collection from the 1930s. I think I’d paint them a moody blue, an apple green or a neon yellow to mix in some more of the contemporary.

Could you be tempted? I find the aesthetic slightly absorbing and strangely comforting; a combination that has got me trying to work out where I could put it in my house. Just think what you could save on re-plastering…

Paint chart choices

Last week I was working on painting the first of my two cupboards. It used to look like this (not sure why it has no drawers in the picture!):

1930s cupboard before
And now it looks like this:

Painted 1930s cupboard in progress
As you can see, I haven’t painted the drawers yet as I am planning to paint them a different colour to make the cupboard a bit more visually interesting. I used a pale grey paint I had left over from painting my daughter’s bed and now need to decide what will complement it most.

The easiest (and cheapest) idea is to use paint I already have, which make the choices a subdued green blue or a chartreuse yellow. Or I could splash out on a tester pot of something completely different, like a mid-tone grey, a mid-century orange or a moody blue. Decisions, decisions.

In other choices, I’m trying to decide whether to pluck up the courage and apply to study something more closely linked to this blog than my previous jobs. I’m probably at a similar stage in my decision as this cupboard is; just waiting for the last, crucial effort that will make the impact. I really hope this cupboard looks good.