Friday, 28 November 2014

Tears and trantrums or the Billy bookcase debacle

A word of advice.  Never.  Ever.  Paint an IKEA Billy bookcase.

For non Ikea aficionados, a Billy bookcase is made of wood veneer and the one I wanted to paint was the birch veneer like so:

I decided I wanted it white.

There's a load of nonsense  info on the internet about how to paint laminated furniture and how easy it is.  Don't be fooled.

It was a complete nightmare.

I used a primer as advised (Crown cupboard primer).  The blurb said it was "ideal for melamine, MDF, wood, wood veneers and acrylic bath panels".  They lied to me.  It was completely useless and I stopped counting after 6 coats of white satinwood.  It was streaky, drippy (technical term) and horrid and the paint just rubbed off.  It really nearly pushed me over the edge....

Eventually, after days and days of tedious painting it looked OK.   From a distance.   I popped the shelves back in but what I failed to anticipate was that the layers of paint made the shelves too thick and as I struggled to manoeuvre them in, this is what happened:

Readers, I was desperate.  I raided a DIY store for a wallpaper sample and just had enough to stick on the insides like so:

I was so glad when at the end of this sad and sorry saga it looked halfway decent.  What a relief!

If only Emma Kate had posted her wise words on how to paint melamine and suchlike before I embarked on this ridiculous caper.  See here for how to do it properly.

What is it with me and diy/crafting disasters?  See here and here and here for more foolishness.  Mr J and P says that at least I'm trying...  Mmmmmm what can he mean?


Friday, 14 November 2014

Mr J and P's household tips

Do your pans suffer from stubborn burnt-on stains that won't go away?

Heavy duty scourers just not cutting it?

Vinegar and baking soda:  more effort than they're worth?

Well, it's time to wave goodbye to endless scrubbing. 

Say adios to the vinegar and bah to the baking soda.

Instead, say hello to Mr J and P's good old fashioned method of cleaning those burnt-on stains after jam making.

The chisel.

He has the hands of a surgeon......

Yes!  Just pick up the chisel and gouge away to your heart's content. ......

Works a treat according to Mr J and P who says and I quote " Well, to be fair, I got most of the black stuff off, there's just the odd little scratch here and there."

Marvellous!  Who knew!


Friday, 7 November 2014

Better late than never.....

Well, I've finally dragged myself away from the TV screen and Netflix (blimey, there's soooo much to watch!) and I'm here to bore you to death with a small selection of Canada photos.  Hoorah! 

Afterall, our trip was over a whole two months ago now......

We stayed near the shores of Lake Ontario.  Doesn't it look idyllic?

And we stayed here:

Fortunately, we didn't see this bear or any bears.

We also stayed here:

I know! 

This was their laundry room.  Blimey, we only wanted to wash our smalls......

Mr and Little Miss were not happy bunnies at this campsite.  Not surprising as 2 months of torrential rain fell in two days while we camped here (Awenda Provincial Park Ontario in case you want to know).  It had actually stopped raining in this photo.....for about a minute.

Here's Mr J and P looking a lot happier at the Montreal Gay Pride Parade.  And the sun came out.  Yahoo!

Such fun, dear readers.

Ermmmmm nice:

And we actually saw someone we recognised:
Peter Tatchell

Squeeeeeeeal!  We saw a moose:

The distances on these signs are mind boggling aren't they?

And we just liked the sentiments of this Equestrian Therapeutic Centre that we drove past:

I'll just prance off now, dear readers.  Have a great weekend. xx

Friday, 1 August 2014

In which I make a skirt and three bags

Here at J and P towers, I've been sewing like ermmm.... a mad sewing thing.   

I've made a skirt.

Did you notice the nonchalant way I said that?   As if making a skirt is no big deal for me.  Well, let me tell you, dear readers, that it IS a very BIG deal indeed.


I wanted to make a skirt without a zip (I'm a bit scared of zips) and my colleague, who makes clothes, recommended the Miette wraparound skirt from the  Tilly and the Buttons blog.  Yes, Tilly from the first series of the Great British Sewing Bee.  My colleague said that the pattern was so easy that even a fool could do it.  Well, I have to say that she was damn right.


I used a vintage sheet.  Not my favourite vintage sheet.  I was going to go for yellow but I was worried that I might cock-up on my first foray into skirt making and ruin a perfectly acceptable yellow sheet.  So I went for the green so I wouldn't have been too disappointed if I'd made a mess of it.

Mad twirling action

It took me a while to do but only because I lost pieces half way through (clearing up before and after builders *heavy sigh*).
Close up

It's two sizes too big (don't ask.....) but fortunately, because it's a wraparound, it hides that fact quite well. 

And I'm wearing it back to front (I know, what am I like?) but I prefer it that way.

Buoyed up by my skirt success, I've also made three drawstring bags.

And they double-up as perfect pillowcases for camping purposes.

Yes, you read that correctly.  A bag- come-pillowcase.  Who knew there was such a thing?  Well, there isn't.  Until now that is.  I've actually just invented it.

Take an ugly blow up camping pillow.  A quid from the pound shop.  Too small for a normal pillowcase.

Take one drawstring bag and place the ugly pillow inside:

See what I mean?  Perfect for when we go to Canada for our hols.

Note the casual way I said that.

Canada.  For.  Our.  Hols.

Toronto.  Followed by camping out in the wilds of Ontario.  We're taking our three-man tent, sleeping bags, camping mats and our ugly blow-up pillows encased in their beautiful pillow slips come drawstring bags of course.

Here's hoping we don't meet any black bears *gulp* (grizzlies are further north I think). 


See you on the other side...xx

Monday, 14 July 2014


It's great having an allotment.  Not that I spend much time down there.  That's Mr J and P's domain.

I do, however, help water occasionally and pick the odd produce.  

I also like to prance about taking photos and marvelling at how creative and inventive our fellow allotmenteers are.

Take a look at the lion heads that adorn this frame for a hanging basket:

What I especially like is the clever re-use of stuff found in skips like these old shower screens as a cold frame:

This rusty old cooking oil can has been re- used as a herb planter:

Ingenious use of discarded wire drawers to protect lettuces and the like:

Roof tiles or some such thing used to make a path:

Blimey, some clever sod has fashioned these tree trunks into stools:

I always like a bit of scarecrow action:

 Poor ickle teddy looks a bit worse for wear doesn't he?

See how this swing doubles up as a frame for runners:

And there's always the odd aluminium watering can to drool over:

I love how this allotmenteer has painted their shed and bench:

Cute planter:

 These sweet peas look divine growing on this painted wooden ladder:

OK, that's enough prancing about, taking photos.  I've got serious work to do.  We're awash, at the moment, with Mr J and P's rather perfect plums (er hem) and I need to get harvesting.

Adios amigos.  xx