Crochet: Round 2

I’ve picked up my crochet hooks again recently. I tried a year or so back but quickly lost interest when I realised that my capabilities didn’t seem to be able to expand beyond coasters. But I’ve stuck at it this time, and thanks to many What’s App messages with my crochet queen friend Mrs Paynter to get her to translate a stitch in a way I could I understand, I’ve been able to progress. I’ve gone a bit pin happy on Pinterest, you can see some of my favourite patterns here. There are so many fab free patterns on the site. I’ve just finished a pretty little jam jar cover to make a tea light holder (pattern here thanks to Ólöf Lilja Eyþórsdóttir).

I’m now having a go at making a scarf for myself. I struggled to find just a simple scarf pattern – there are lots for infinity scarfs or cowls but in the end I decided I’d start this one. Typically there are now rumours that the weather is going to warm up, so I’m desperatly trying to finish it so I can get some wear out of it. There’s a great tutorial linked to the pattern about how to do a foundation crochet, which I’d never done before, but it’s really easy when you know how. The pattern is in US but it’s really easy to convert. I’ll post a photo when it’s done!


My top tips for planning a lounge

Now I’m sure they are just being nice but my friends often say how relaxing our lounge is. It’s a lovely compliment as we did put a lot of work into it. We wanted an elegant, yet cosy living space and that’s quite a tough balance to pull off. I’m by no means an expert but I’m often asked for advice on colours or furnishings and how we planned our room so this got me thinking recently about my five top tips I could share for designing a new living space…

1. Live in it first.

There’s always that temptation when you first move into a new home to make changes or go crazy with the paint brush but I really think it’s important to just live with it as it is for a while, especially for a lounge or main living space. See how the house flows, how you want to use the space and also how the light can change in a room throughout the day. If you’re just redecorating a room in a house you’ve lived in for a while you’ll already know all this – and that’s possibly why you’re wanting to redecorate.

2. Focal point.

You might have a feature that’s already part of the space that will be key to your new room scheme. For us this was our fireplace, which was why we choose to have cupboards and shelving designed and built to work alongside it. It’s worth sitting down and thinking about how you want the room to work around a focal point that already exists. If you don’t have something, or perhaps have a more contemporary home – think about what you want the eye to be drawn to when you walk in. I’ve a bit of a pet hate about TV’s being the focal point of the room, but that’s just a personal preference. I’d much rather have a sociable living room which will work for a number of uses.

3. Furniture

Very obvious I know, but always think about what furniture you want to incorporate. For a lounge – seating will clearly be key, have you got enough of it? If you don’t have a lot of room, think about soft furnishings (big cushions you can pull out for extra seats when there are extra bums) or furniture that has a dual purpose. We bought a gorgeous Laura Ashley footstool, which we can also use as a coffee table (with a tray on) or for extra seating when there are lots of us. Think about your storage options too – do you want to hide stuff away for a more minimalist look or display your finds for all to see (you all know I go with the latter!).

4. Colours

It’s tempting to reach straight for the paint charts – but I think if you spend a bit of time thinking through the design of the room first it pays off. Colour is very much down to personal choice – and your choices will no doubt reflect your personality. Colour can really affect the mood of the room – so think about what type of atmosphere you want to create. When I’m testing colours for a room I always put a bit on every wall as you’d be amazed how different they can sometimes look depending on light. Check test patches too in the morning and evening light as again at different times of the day colours can look different. Remember that different paint finishes can also change the way a colour scheme looks. I always use eggshell on our woodwork for example as I’m not keen on a gloss finish.

5. Enjoy it.

Lastly, there’s nothing like that feeling when a room is finally finished, the paint is dry, everything is in its place and you can sit down (in my case ideally with a glass of wine) and enjoy all your hard work. Be proud of it and show it off.

Autumn’s arrival

imageI think it’s fair to say that Autumn has arrived, the leaves are starting to turn and there’s the beautiful sight of leaves turning shades of gold, brown and red – a gorgeous palette of colours. I secretly love this time of year, even though you can still have those gloriously sunny days the nights are getting a bit chilly and I just want to light the fire and snuggle up under a blanket. Which reminds me, I really do need to source something cosy for our new lounge. I have to say I am quite a fan of the range that the National Trust stock, I’ve one of their recycled woollen throws which at £14 are an absolute bargain, they come in all sorts of colours and are British made, well worth a look.

The walnut tree

I’m often asked why I picked the name Walnut Tree Home. As I’m sure anyone who has gone through the same process knows, it’s a lot harder than you think to come up with a name that will become your brand.

When we first viewed our house, we had no idea about the size of garden it had. The estate agent’s pictures didn’t show much of the garden and it wasn’t until we walked out the back door and started to wander that we discovered all 250ft of it. Right at the very end of the garden, through a little gate and past a few fruit trees stood a huge great walnut tree, complete with rustic swing, it was at that point I fell in love and knew this was where we were going to live. So really, it made sense for me to incorporate such an important element into the name.

Gardening has taken a bit of a back seat whilst we’ve concentrated on the inside of the house, which led to a very overgrown end of the garden. We spent a whole day clearing it last week and finally uncovered the swing again…

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