Goodbye Old Kitchen

rustic chimney hood

‘Decorative’ rustic chimney hood

Ever since we moved into our house, 3 years ago next month, we have been keen to replace the kitchen.  We knew when we viewed the house that we would not be happy with the kitchen for long.  It’s not our style, it’s too fussy and dark, plus it had seen better days.  There are plinths missing and there are lots of dust traps on the decorative carving.  It’s a nightmare to keep clean.  So after 3 years we finally have the money to realise our dream.

old kitchen

Dark and Dingy

Living with the kitchen for a few years has helped us crystallise what we really want from our space.  We have the advantage of having already refitted a kitchen at our last house. From that experience we’ve learnt a lot.  We know what sort of cupboards and cabinets we liked, what worked well, what didn’t and what we’d like more of.  Our larder cupboard was a big hit at the old place and we wished we’d had two as not all our food fitted into the one larder.  So this time we are having two.  Ditto to wide drawers.  We loved these before and now we are going to have two sets.

coatrack in utility

Utility room including coatrack

For a long time we couldn’t decide whether we wanted to knock the kitchen and utility into one.  As we have to walk through our utility room to get to the conservatory, it’s never been the sort of space where you could just hide things away behind a closed door.  Opening up the room means more space as we lose a closed up chimney breast from the old range and more light as there’s a big window in the utility.  The kitchen tends to be a bit dark as it is west-facing, but the sun is often hidden by the side of the neighbouring house.  The utility room window doesn’t suffer as badly with this and gets quite a lot of light.

As we are keeping the fireplace in the room above, we are having some steels put in to support the chimney and so it’s a major building job.  Work starts on Friday in earnest and I’m both dreading it and looking forward to it.  I’m not keen on the idea of camping out in our dining room while we have no kitchen.  That said I am longing to say goodbye to the hideous rustic chimney hood above our cooker.  I’m keen to have a hob on which all the burners work.  I’d like to have plinths on the bottom of my units, so that dropped items don’t roll underneath them.  Good riddance to the nasty handles that are quite easy to painfully catch yourself on.  Goodbye to cupboard doors that keep falling off.  Farewell old kitchen – I’m glad to see the back of you.


My Grandmother’s Singer Sewing Machine

Singer Sewing Machine hand operatedIn a world full of the latest gadgets, it’s nice to have some older pieces to add their character to your home and bring back memories.  This is my grandmother’s Singer sewing machine.  She was born in 1906.  I’m not sure how long my grandmother owned it.  A little online research suggests that this model was made from 1912 to the 1960s, so as she was alive all that time, it could have been bought at any point during that time.

It’s a hand cranked machine, which means that it is operated and powered by turning a handle on the right hand side.  I find this means it’s easy to control the speed, but I miss having two hands to control the fabric.  As I’m not a great needlewoman, the Singer doesn’t get to see much action these days and only gets used every few years.  It’s simple to use and easy to understand, although it helps to have my treasured instruction manual (hers too).  Using the machine does give me the feeling of a very real connection to my grandmother and to a time gone by when things were a little less fast paced.  When it’s not in use, my Singer sewing machine sits in the corner of my bedroom to add its period charm.

Learning About Photography With Goodman

Goodman Blogger MeetupThe other weekend I was offered a great opportunity to improve my photography skills, with the help of an expert professional photographer, thanks to Goodman Business Parks.  The aim of the workshop was to focus on the modern and historic architecture, around Birmingham City Centre, using the photography opportunities they present to help us improve and refine our photography skills.  Birmingham has a lot of fine buildings, both old and new, so there was plenty of material to capture on camera.  There was plenty to catch the eye and we were all soon snapping away.

photography workshopWe started out exploring the mix of old and new that is Victoria Square in Birmingham, where the Victorian Council House meets the Floozie in the Jacussi.  Then onto one of Birmingham’s newest landmark buildings, the new library,which has become a tourist attraction.  Lunch saw us head in the direction of the Bullring Shopping Centre.  After a lovely Italian lunch, we felt ready to tackle one of the city’s most famous buildings: Selfridges.  Now lots of photographers have taken pictures of this distinctive architecture, so it was a bit daunting to try to find a new angle or a distinctive shot.

learning about photographyI experimented with a few different shots and varying distances, but found my groove when we got up close and personal with the decorative disks, that adorn the building.  Exploring the reflective qualities of the disks was something that I concentrated on and I loved the way the clouds in the sky were echoed in reflection.  Most of pictures were taken on my husband’s new point and shoot camera, but learning more about photography through the day, made me wish I’d taken the plunge to get a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex camera).    I think it brought home to me what I could potentially achieve with better equipment.  That said, I didn’t desert my usual camera of choice: my iPhone (used so often because it’s always there).  This last picture was the best of the day from the iPhone and it seemed to go down well on Instagram.

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