Another week has gone by already! I don't know where the time is going at the moment. I have a few things going on in the background which are taking up some of my spare time (and spare energy!) so I haven't had time to do a Book of the Week. What time I have had I opted to spend working on Belle Pierre.
This week I tackled the curtains in the living room. I have never worked with fabric like this before hence the delay in getting on with them. Up until now the living room has looked slightly cold and down-at-heel because of the tall windows either end of the room. Now, whilst I love them they do pose a problem in that they take up a lot of space and draw the eye away from things I would rather focus on. So with this in mind I chose to cover most of the window space. Thus showing more of the pretty fabric and adding a much needed injection of pattern and warmth. I looked at buying a Pretty Pleater but felt quite dizzy at the cost - upwards of £25! That would be a healthy contribution to my John Hodgson commode I am saving up for!! So I got to thinking about alternatives to the PP and my mind wandered to corrugated cardboard. I know!! It took a while but once I peeled off once side of the paper I was left with a ridged board. Then I cut two pieces to fit the window and two pieces of fabric.
Then I brushed on some fabric glue called Elmer's Washable, No Run School Glue Gel (made for use by kids it doesn't stain fabric or dry a darker colour) and stuck the fabric to the board, pushing it down into the narrow ridges using two metal rulers. I saw Elizabeth use this in her fabulous posts on Studio E to amazing effect.
Once this dried I carefully pealed the fabric off the board and arranged them to look more like they were hanging. The cardboard didn't give me the deep ridges you get with a Pretty Pleater but it did force the fabric into smaller ridges that made it easier to mould and arrange. I used my trusty pair of engineering blocks to weight down the ends in place till they dried completely. Incidentally, these blocks are amazing and I would thoroughly recommend you get a pair if you can. They are perfectly machined rectangle metal blocks and quite heavy, ideal for building kit furniture or mini kitchen cabinets with perfect angles. Mine are the smaller ones of about 6cm x 8cm and are a great help when you need an exact right angle.
The next thing to tackle was more wiring!! I'm not a big fan and I always leave it too late in a project but managed to get most of it done without too much trouble. A lot of the wires have been hidden behind the fireplace and skirting boards and all soldered to copper tape on the top floor, then wired into dimmer switches. I went for a lighter cream colour for these and the window trim in a bid to lighten the look of the room and I think it's starting to come along nicely now and I feel like it is finding it's own direction. I need to sort out some tie backs for the curtains and paint the sockets the same cream colour as the boards.
I also found a use for a pair of electric wall sconces I had but that no longer worked. I sprayed them with gold paint to take off the "blingy" shine of the cold metal finish and then set about making some candles. I remembered a tutorial that the wonderful Mr Ray Whitledge did on some amazing candelabra that he made (I want me a pair of those ;-) ) where he used cocktail sticks to make those lovely tall candles you can get. I cut them in half and mixed up a kind of ivory colour and painted them.
Thanks for the top tip, Ray!
The little cream cabinet on the right is just there to fill space, it will eventually live upstairs in the tiny sitting room. I knew it was smaller than 1:12 scale when I bought it on eBay but figured if I added wood to the back to increase the depth and raised it on higher legs it would pass as the real thing!
The only other thing I did was to paint over the darker green and gold cornice with a wash of French Grey. Before it dried I rubbed it away to reveal some of the gold underneath. I really like the aged look it has, not to mention that it now pushes the moulding away rather than lower the height of the room.
Well guys, thanks for sticking it to this long! I hope you all have a great weekend and I look forward to seeing what you are all getting up to.