Transform Old Blinds With Art

Have you ever wished you could transform old blinds at little cost?
When I moved into my home the previous owner had very kindly left her old blinds. These were a Godsend at first, enabling us to have privacy and in tTransform your blinds with arthe coming months warmth due to their thickness.
The colour and design of the fabric was not however one I would ever have chosen. It was dark and heavy.
In a conservatory your blinds are your wallpaper, and this wallpaper was one which I would love to change.

My solution was to order a roll of light cream fabric, a pale background for the art I wanted to add. Inspired by some amazing watercolour artists
I decided to have a go myself.

Cutting the fabric to the size of one blind, I used my granddaughters watercolour paints and began. The watercolour effect was soft but for some of the areas, I was looking for a bolder mark; for this I added acrylic paints. The fabric reacted to the paints well and adding washes in small sections blended the colours effectively.

Once the paint was dry I pinned the fabric to the existing blind. Using this as the lining would maintaTransform your blind stage 2in the warmth in the colder months.

The fabric needed sewing to the existing blind around the edges and also along the fold lines. Once this was done the existing string mechanisms pulled both the old and new fabric up and  down.

The final touch to the painting was the addition of silver leaf, applied with pva glue. This gave the painting additional interest and in lamp light glistened.

The statement was bold and due to this I didn’t choose to have every blind as art. For some I used the light fabric with an overlay of lace that I purchased online. Vintage fabric could add a bold statement, but  I selected a soft new Chinese lace pattern  By working my way around the room in this way I can spend when I have the money and slowly transform the appearance of the room. Using different fabrics such as silk would be an interesting addition.

For now this is phase one of transform old blinds…why not have a go yourself?

Transform your own binds


Creating a Children’s Vegetable Plot

If you are considering creating a children’s vegetable plot this post is for you…
The transformation had begun with the creation of a raised table – somewhere the slugs might not find too easy to reach and somewhere a small vegetable patch could be created quickly and easily.

The raised table was to become a children’s vegetable plot created from two piles of bricks and an two old kitchen cabinet doors. The bricks were piled to form two pillars raising the top from the ground. The first door was then placed across these to form the table top. The second door was used as decoration at the front. My granddaughter selected collage as her method of personalisation, Decorating the door with a wide variety of shells that she had lovingly collected on pervious beach combing days. PVA glue was used in great abundance and the pattern was entirely her own. Her aim was to create a space that everyone would know was her garden.

Once the raised area was complete a trip to the garden centre took place to buy two large bags of compost and a variety of seed packets.
Once back at home the two bags of compost were placed side by side on the table top and little fingers, sprinkled, covered and watered the seeds.

When my granddaughter returned this weekend and the first thing she did was to visit ‘her garden’. To squeals of delight she rushed back in to tell us that it was growing!
Her pride and satisfaction at watching these first seedlings shoot was fantastic to see and we are hopeful for a bumper crop!

So creating a children’s vegetable plot with your grandchild really is something I would recommend for all those with big imaginations and little green fingers.

Storytelling weekend for Grandparents

For those who enjoy escaping into a good book, you can enjoy a great story at anytime with your Grandchildren, and pass on your passion for the written word.

If you enjoy the pleasure of reading to your children or grandchildren then  weeks like National Storytelling week or National Book week (which will be celebrating 100 years on 7th March 2019) give opportunities to think about some of the authors and illustrators too.  But they only take place once a year so why not create your own book weekend to celebrate the stories you love; it would be a good excuse to add in another story related event to your usual weekend routine.

Here are some ideas we are going to try:

  • For this weekend we have agreed to add an extra story to the number of books we share at bedtime. Normally we read three books of my granddaughters choice. She loves to pick not only the books but the order they are read in. She chooses the first one for the illustrations, the second one is always one she loves to read with me (this part is the bit I love the most) and she reads in different voices parts of the story she has learnt from memory. The final book she chooses a sound book where she interacts pressing different sounds when an image appears in the text. This routine has become established and I think we both enjoy it as much as each other! This weekend, as it is a special storytelling weekend, we are adding a fourth book to our bedtime story routine. This will be a popular addition as it will mean staying up a little later – but its not a school night!
  • We are also going to take a trip to my local library where my granddaughter is getting her very own library card. This is something that she is really looking forward to; she has already chosen her preferred library a card with a squirrel illustration. The extra fourth book for bedtime this weekend will be one of her library choices. We will read this with some other favourites

As my granddaughter is just five years old, she is really looking forward to this. She has chosen the little handbag where she is going to keep her card and is feeling very grown up indeed.

Autumn Knitting; Craft Projects

As the temperature begins to cool, and we start to consider jackets, or even coats the opportunity to select a whole new Autumn wardrobe presents itself  and to accompany these why not embark upon Autumn knitting craft projects?

Wool in Autumn coloursAs Autumn hues and warmer fabric textures give designers a new palette to work from. I have decided to embrace the beginnings of the seasonal change, by embarking upon two new craft projects:

  • The first project involves knitting an extremely long and vibrant orange scarf. My new challenge to myself was to begin to use cable within this and the result should be not only unique but warm.
  • The second craft project (which is a little more adventurous) I have also decided to use vintage kimono fabric, which I have sourced from a variety of vintage fairs and online fabric and clothing outlets. As kimono off cuts are beautiful but small in size, my plan is to recreate larger usable pieces of bespoke fabric by piecing the sections of  kimono offcuts together. These larger sections I am them going to style into an Autumn jacket – lots of fun not only creating the jacket, but the fabric as well.

These projects will I hope will be a true mix of craft and vintage and however they turn out you can be sure of one thing – no one will be wearing the same thing!


Do Vintage Brides Still Inspire Us?

For those of you who are hunting for Wedding dresses this bank holiday day weekend, there is no end of inspiration to draw upon from vintage brides. Whatever your personal style, I have pulled together some beautiful gowns from the past. A dazzling array of bridal gowns to consider, from vintage to the modern day.



Sites such as   The Vintage Wedding Fair or  The Vintage Wedding Fayre   enable brides to seek gowns and accessories with a seamless blend of the vintage and modern.

If you are seeking a vintage wedding dress online there are many sites to choose from and decades of dresses. I explored some online opportunities taking inspiration from style icons of the decades as they took their vows.

Princess Grace of Monaco’s dress inspired this 1950’s search.  Within minutes I located eBay item number:302052862651 a  1950’s candlelight twirl garden party wedding dress.

Mia Farrow’s dress and jacket wedding suit is simple and elegant. Within minutes I located ebay item number 151902857090 a 1960’s satin cream white brocade damask dress and jacket.

So whichever vintage brides inspire you, enjoy shopping at vintage fairs or online for your own unique style.

For more vintage style and inspiration visit Walking in Style

Making Sandcastles By The Sea

When you are age three and visiting Grandma by the sea, the beach is a very exciting place to spend time. Whether its early morning walks along the sand, counting jelly fish that have been unfortunate enough to be marooned on the shore until the next tide, or mid day visits to explore; sand and water are of high interest and making sandcastles is great fun.

Shells are great for collecting and sorting, and we always take a bucket along to fill with these. Being able to show you something they have discovered independently is great fun for younger children – and grown ups!


Activities and toys that enable fun and discovery on the beach are always of interest. This morning when looking for new toys / ideas for the coming weekend I discovered Alto @toyella.

This advanced form of bucket appears to allow your little one not only to have the excitement of filling the bucket full of wet sand, but also then the success of the sandcastle turning out looking like a sandcastle.

The three tiered design appears to have a system to let your child build independently without the disappointment that often follows digging and filling. Avoiding the feeling of failure when, as the excitement peaks, they tip over the bucket and tap, lift the bucket slowly … and the sand flops to the ground or stays in the bucket in a messy mound.

The image below from the Alto site seems to demonstrate what appears to be towers of sand which would allow any three year old to become a sand architect!

Alto bucket for the beach

If any of you have tried and tested this product I would love to hear from you.

Why Dont You Just Ask Google

Sometimes small moments capture a child’s perception of the adult world that surrounds them. This weekend I was lucky enough to overhear a conversation my son was having with his very young daughter:

My son was patiently talking to his daughter about the next days activities, when she suddenly interjected with:

Daddy can I ask Google something on your phone?

Just ask googleThe availability of expert advice had been shared with her the previous week and she was  keen to use it whenever a suitable question occurred. As she had been far too busy so far that day at the park followed by cutting, sticking and painting, this was perhaps her first potential moment.

Without prompting she sat quietly for a second and then lean’t forward and said:

Google what’s the weather going to be like tomorrow?

Google promptly answered her question with:

The weather in … is going to be 18° with showers

She thought for a split second and then said:

Actually Google Id like sunshine.

She then sat back, smiled and said to her Dad:

There I’ve sorted it, its going to be sunny now!

My son and I looked at each other and both realised that to our lovely three year old little girl, Google had taken on the role of God.

So Google, you have a lot to live up to!

Save the day for Grandparent’s Day

For those of you like me who have reached the stage where you are Grandparents – you will know that it crept up on you and that you feel absolutely no different age wise as a grandparent than you did before.

What you do feel in my case is incredibly lucky. I have so much fun being a Grandma! Weekends are full of crazy golf, beach walks and frog hunts. Glue, paints and shells are regular activities, and time flies.

Being a grandparent for me, means so much fun! Letting the parents have time to just be themselves is important. Time to breathe in busy weeks of work and parenting; so going to grandma’s holiday house by the sea is for my Granddaughter regular a weekend event.

parenting concept

I have just discovered that there is a special day for Grandparents, in the UK it falls on 2nd October 2016: Grandparents Day. This is something this year I’ve decided to celebrate! So on 2nd October,which is a Sunday, I am going to arrange a family get together.

Gathering the generations, because for us we aren’t the only grandparents – there are great grandparents too (we are the mere youngsters!)

Grandparents Day will give us a great excuse to gather, talk, laugh and eat!! I think I will gather gifts for all grandparents and my granddaughter is going to help me choose them.

I have decided to take advantage of the sales going on and gather a few sneaky surprises over the coming weeks

If you feel like doing the same take a look at Chums menswear for Grandads’ – great savings

For ladies you might want to explore the Marks and Spencer sale or Chums again- I found these two presents that won’t break the bank and will definitely bring a smile (I saved them to Pinterest as I gathered my list!)

If you are celebrating Grandparents day – I hope your preparations are underway, whether its a hug and a kiss and a home made card,  a present or flowers – this is another day that you can choose if you wish to celebrate your family.

For this occasion I am not going vintage, but it might be fun next time to consider vintage gifts or even vintage clothes as gifts, as I have mentioned before vintage fabric always starts discussion as associated memories flow!

Science can be fun for kids

Keeping the little ones busy and entertained can be a challenge with the changeable UK weather. So I was delighted to discover a whole world of fun at the bottom of our garden this year. The small pond had been blessed with a family of frogs and was filling up fast with frogspawn.

Well aware that this was not something to be moved from its natural habitat, we introduced the granddaughter to garden safaris, obviously wearing the obligatory wellington boots and goggles!

It is great to see the world afresh through their goggle enhanced eyes! Her enthusiasm and instant love of the tiny jelly like creatures has not diminished over recent weeks as they have grown and emerged from their frogspawn state into tiny and very active tadpoles. The proud parents look on silently from the rocks at the edge of the pond, as the little tadpoles pop up for air, and then shelter under the floating pond iris plant.

frog and frogspawn

As the tadpoles continue to grow, my three year old granddaughter has surprised me in her scientific assessments of what is happening and her patience in the transformation of the tadpoles into frogs. As she noticed the first tiny legs appearing, she was instantly maternal and impressed. She then told me that it would take weeks and weeks for the legs to grow, even though they were so tiny, as she had been growing hers for years!

Another conversation was also quite revealing; she explained to me that the tadpoles couldn’t live in the sea as they would get lost and frightened by the big waves – it was too big, and that is why the mummy frog chose our pond and not the nearby ocean.


So there is no rush, but endless opportunities of accompanied exploration and observation. As they grow I will keep you updated.


Who says science isn’t fun for kids!

science fun for kids

Check out our other seaside children’s adventures and activities here


Lets go fly a kite

Occasionally something happens that seems timeless. Watching my Granddaughter flying a kite, gazing up in awe and concentrating as it looped and hovered happily in the air, was one such moment.

The design of the kite was simple, and hadn’t changed greatly since the time many decades ago I flew a kite with my Dad, on the same windy beach. My own children had carried on the tradition and now I was watching the first flight of my granddaughters kite.

Flying the kite was something that once shown how, she could do independently and safely and she loved it!

If you haven’t tried this with your little one, I strongly recommend that you do.

So inspired was she that when we arrived home, she immediately captured the day in paint. An amazingly detailed picture for a three year old, capturing the sea and sand, the family present and taking pride of place in the air … her kite.

flying a kite at the beachbeach kite flying drawing


For further days out and fun activities to keep you busy see our other outdoor posts