Tag: the hovel

Now is the Season

I think I’m starting to develop that slightly rictus grin of a person who has realised that they’re carrying one too many plates after insisting that ‘No, I’m fine, honestly!’

I’ve managed to schedule the first craft fair of the season on the same weekend as having folk over for Thanksgiving, so it’s been a little frantic around here.

I’ve got a stand at Dragon’s school Winter Festival, so it will be a relatively relaxed affair (I hope). He’s desperate to help (I think he really wants a name-tag), so we’ll see if I can maintain a calm and happy craft-fair-face while he assists.

Out of interest (and not in the least apropos of my parenting challenges), how often do you ‘water’ your Christmas cake? I think I might have overdone it last year, is once a week enough?



Clearing the Decks

I am not a naturally tidy person.

My personality allows me a great deal of initial enthusiasm for projects, but frequently by the time I get to the end, there isn’t quite enough left to get me through the removal of the detritus from the project in hand.

However, the first of the ark project deadlines has been met and my poor Hovel was less of a haven and more of a disaster zone.

drawer labels

So today (at least) I’m embracing the quieter virtues and putting things to rights…at least until I stir them all up again for the next round.

Even if my inspiration has to come buttered.

A Lick of Paint

Just a quick update on my plan chest project.

I know I said I wasn’t going to mess about with it, but the more I got to tightening joints and replacing drawer pulls the more it became obvious that the whole thing needed a bit of work.

chest refurb 1

In fact, there are sections of woodwork that are almost entirely made of wood putty, but you can’t quite tell (unless you’ve a good eye for fingerprints).

I painted it Bone China Blue (because we had heaps of it left and  it makes me ineffably happy).

chest refurb 2

I have a few shelves still to put up and possibly a bookcase to find but I’m really starting to feel at home in my wee Hovel.

New Furniture

LYM and I have a bit of a furniture habit. While our compatriots were out buying drinks, going to gigs or updating their wardrobes, we would stray towards the antique shops and charity shops in search of interesting furniture.

Now that I’m trying to get The Hovel back into shape, I was thinking about ways to make a work table. I knew I wanted to stand up to work, and I’ve always quite fancied a plan chest, but I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to find one I could afford.

As luck would have it, when our defenses were down after paying for our kitchen, we decided to soothe our souls with a quick swing by an antiques barn.

chest 1

Amongst the things I want but don’t yet have a demonstrable need for we found this!

chest 4

It’s a bit beat up, but it’s solid wood and it has about 17 shades of institutional paint in different places which makes me very happy.

chest 5

Unfortunately, my favourite shade is going to end up hidden against the wall, but here is photographic proof of its existance.

chest 2

I think I’m going to change the handles and label holders to something a little more interesting and some of the moulding needs replacing or repairing, but I’m really happy with it!

chest 3

I’ll show you it again when it’s all repaired. At the moment it’s living dead in the middle of our bay window as a way to encourage its speedy refurbishment and relocation.


A Little Cooler

A little education is a funny thing…once you learn something it can be very hard to un-learn it.

Once you’ve been shown that there is a colour difference between daylight, incandescent and fluorescent lights, not only does it allow you to take better photos, it also starts to play on your mind in other situations.

My wee Hovel is a box room and I have to rely on artificial light in there. For most of the time it’s not a problem, it’s a standing-room only kind of a place and I do all my stitching in other places about the house, but sometimes it’s really good to be able to stand back and look at a work in progress.

I made myself a little display area but I was noticing that the light was working against me. So I thought I’d try a daylight bulb and see how it worked.


I really like it, but it’s taken a bit of getting used to. Especially if the front room light is on, the colour contrast is pretty marked. But it definitely makes it easier to see colours accurately. (I can’t show you what I’m working on just yet, sorry!)

Tools: Scissors

Here’s a test; if I show you my latest tool acquisition, what do you say?


If the answer is ‘Ooooh!’ or even ‘Squeee!’ than you may be a scissor junkie.

These are going to be my Extra Special, Hands-off-if-you-know-what’s-good-for-you, Don’t-even-think-about-it scissors. I think I’ve trained everyone in the house to beware of my fabric scissors, but just in case, I’ve made myself a little display/storage area for them well out of the reach of wee fingers. (Don’t worry, both Dragon and LYM have their own scissors, I’m not a despot!)

scissors on the wall

I’ve had my eye on these since I saw a photofilm by The Department of Small Works (Nick Hand spoke at the Folksy Summer School) of the cutlers at Ernest Wright & Son. Partly I loved it because it reminded me of the summer when I worked in a sporran factory (yes, I know) and partly it just made me want gorgeous scissors!

The only problem is that they’re so lovely, I’m almost loath to cut with them…

Welcome to my Hovel

Inspired by Emma at The Gift Shed, I thought I’d show you around my new workroom.

hovel 1

It’s a box room off the living room which we started to call The Hovel* when we were students. It was my sewing room for a while, but it was always a little chaotic.

hovel 2

I had a ruthless clear out of sewing supplies before we moved back up, knowing full well that moving from almost a whole floor (attic and cellar in consecutive terraced houses) to a space about 5 foot by 6 foot (with a 10 foot ceiling) was going to be a challenge.

hovel 3

I’m currently planning a waist-height cutting table (you may notice that I do all my work standing up, once a Pilates teacher, always a Pilates teacher) and there will definitely be shelves in my future! In the meantime there is a gently ebbing tideline of flotsam and jetsam that I haven’t found a home for.

hovel 4

One of the joys of this flat is trying to determine the original uses for various rooms. Perhaps this was a cloakroom or wardrobe?

hovel 5

All links to inspiration workspaces and cut price, reclaimed or aspirational furnishings are more than welcome! I keep track of them on a Pinterest board called Workroom Delights, so please help me fill it. After taking these photos (at half past two in the afternoon) I’m starting to seriously consider a daylight bulb!

hovel 6

*I think it was called this because other, less enlightened landlords than the Lovely Young Man would offer box rooms as bedrooms.

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