The Great Greys – It’s Time To Choose A New Paint

Why is it that when the sun comes out, I get a desire to paint? It’s possibly because all of the beautiful light shows up colours for what they really are, and if you saw my Instagram post yesterday, you will have noticed that I had got to the point where the magnolia in the guest room was just too painful for me to withstand a moment longer. So it’s time to wave bye-bye to a colour that inspires me the least.

So what to choose? Probably one of the colours that I find the most inspirational. Those colours that create such an incredible backdrop for your rooms that you can accessorise in any way that you like. It’s like the perfect base.

Before we delve into these beautiful colours, I would like you to know that I am in no way promoting these colours for any other reason other than that they are my favourites at the moment. I have tried other paint brands, but currently these colours react to light in a way in which I haven’t found in other paint brands.

FB skimming stone

… Farrow and Ball’s Skimming Stone – No. 241 …

I currently have Skimming Stone in the office and it looks AMAZING against white. It’s a warm, pebble grey that works so well with taupes and neutrals. Such a calm colour and in no way a risky ‘Will I like it?’ kind of shade. I’ve had this colour up for about a year and a half now and I still notice and love it every day.

 FB ammonite

… Farrow and Ball’s Ammonite – No. 274 …

Ammonite is a cool, blue grey. Still very much a grey neutral but it has a colder feel. I currently have this colour in the kitchen and it works brilliantly alongside deeper greys, whites and mustards. It reflects light extremely well and gives a sense of spaciousness – especially perfect if you want a bit of a colour but are worried that it might make your room feel smaller; this won’t.

FB Elephants Breath

FB Elephants Breath 2

… Farrow and Ball’s Elephants Breath – No. 229 …

Elephants Breath is a deeper version of Skimming Stone. A rich, grey with a very slight pink undertone. It can look very grey towards the evening but a bit more blush in brighter light. It is a majorly delicious colour.

We chose this for our bedroom because I wanted a deeper, cosier colour that would still work wonderfully with the white sloped ceilings that we have. I apologise for the quality of these photos but I didn’t want to edit them away from the true colour. I felt that that wouldn’t be particularly helpful if you were using these to help you to choose too.

So, by talking this through with you, I think I have made a choice! Which one would you choose?


Farrow and Ball’s Skimming Stone

Farrow and Ball’s Ammonite

Farrow and Ball’s Elephants Breath


My Make Updates

Hello to you! I hope you are having a lovely Easter weekend and are looking forward to a leisurely Bank Holiday.

I was determined to use this time to get my bag finished (I talked about beginning this project in this post) and as I’m am still learning to sew properly, I was prepared that each stage was going to take much longer than anticipated – which it did, oh yes.

The first priority, was to clear a space on my table so that I wasn’t going to knock pots of pins, scissors or anything else off the edge. I learnt this lesson from a little accident that I had earlier on in the week. Picking up pins? Not fun!

Dorset Finca workspace

I was quite impressed that the hound didn’t pay any attention whatsoever to the sewing machine. He usually wants to seek out and attack anything that makes a mechanical metal whirring noise. We’ve managed to get past the ironing board issue (massive sigh of relief) – creeping upstairs to do some secret ironing when he was having a sleep seemed a little ridiculous! The hoover, let’s not even talk about that and the rotary washing line is now living in the shed as Young Sir thought that it was only there to upset him. Obvs.

Sorry, I digress. Anyway – good boy for loving the sewing machine. I spent a few days pinning, pressing, tacking and sewing, which finally resulted in:

Dorset Finca Bag

A finished bag, complete with pocket.

Yay! I’m so pleased with it! The pattern and instructions are from Lauren Guthrie’s book, which you can find here. The main fabric I bought from Hansons Fabrics and the fabric I used for the bias binding, I had in my stash. It has cute little flowers on it, which I felt really worked with the feel of the large pattern of the main bag.

I chose to leave out the button fastening on the front pocket. Yes, I was a bit scared of attempting my first buttonhole but the main reason was that the fabric was quite thick at this point with all of the hemming and binding. I was sure that I was going to make a complete mess trying to get through all of those layers.

I’m hoping that I’ll find lots of good uses for this bag, especially as I am planning to make another one (possibly without a pocket), but enough bags for now… my next project will be cushions. Gulp.

What is currently on your making table? x



Making Way For A New Creative Obsession

Hello my lovely friends! How are you? I hope you’ve been able to spend time outside in the recent beautiful sunshine.

I had a wonderful plan of getting some crochet and crafty bits done outside with a pot of tea, but unfortunately there was a bit of a wind and my yarn, needles and everything else kept being swept up – which spoilt my romantic vision slightly!

As you know, the Finca has been a hive of creative, crochet activities for a few months and I have been loving getting stuck into commissions and designing new bits for the Etsy shop.  Alongside this, my need to explore other creative avenues has been fired up again… I think it got to a point where I realised I had been doing nothing but feverishly crocheting for weeks and weeks, without any sort of balance.

Once I realised this, I began hunting around for other projects that I could have a go at. Yesterday, I put the finishing touches on an old family ottoman seat that I now have in the bedroom and loved every minute of the renovation.

My other new obsession, which I have been dabbling in is…

First StepsIntoSewing

… sewing!

I know that I have made things before, but to be perfectly honest, there was never any finesse to my end results. It was more of a trial and error kind of thing.  There are so many possibilities for homewares and dressmaking that I just can’t achieve with crochet. I was getting down about not being able to make certain things until I gave myself a shake and told myself that I could learn!

My dreams are now currently filled with stunning fabrics, bags, cushions, quilts, A-line skirts and broderie tops and I am being very tough on myself and ensuring that I learn all of the skills step-by-step, practising them until I have got them just right.

learn to sew by Lauren Guthrie

One of the things that I have realised is that I learn best when I have time to mull things over at my own pace and after a lot of research I decided to buy Lauren’s book above. Apart from a selection of progressive projects that all looked appealing, I liked the way Lauren set out the skills sections. There are clear images and every step has been clearly explained. Her approach is much more welcoming than daunting – which I really appreciated!

Today, I’m hoping to finish making the pocket of a bag (which is one of her first suggested beginner’s projects) and I hope to have the whole thing finished in a day or two. I already have my eye on a few Sew Over It patterns… but I better not get too carried away!

I’d be very grateful if you have any great sewing suggestions: patterns, books, fabric shops – I’d love to hear!

Have a great rest of the weekend. x


Hang It Up :: Autumn Hanging Baskets

I’ve always been one to shy away from the concept of hanging baskets.  I’m not sure whether it was the fact that I hadn’t stumbled across many that I loved or that the thought of something heavy, dangled above your head seemed a little dangerous.  Whatever my earlier views were, I can now say that I am seriously digging them!

These aerial gardens are perfect for spaces where lower pots or flower beds would otherwise be obscured and not enjoyed;  by having the plants lifted to head height allows you to create 360 degree designs that flow and trail.

autumn hanging basket close up

… autumn flowering pansies with a heather backdrop …

{As it was a typical September morning, the sun was streaming through slightly misty air, creating a very romantic light for the photos! I would have re-shot them later on, without the sunburst bits, but I came to really love the feel of them}.

I had to run a few of my potential designs past quality control (Mr D-F) before I was allowed to run free in the garden centre (picture here, slightly gangly woman running through the rows of potted plants, slalom-ing around the other eye-rolling customers, pushing an enormous trolley in search for the right plants, while muttering to herself).

We finally decided on a purple and silver theme for our first basket.


… I was careful to choose different textures and heights …

The basket frame that I chose came with a coconut husk liner and as I had already blown my budget, I decided that it would be best to leave the sphagnum moss (my preferred liner) for when I re-do my basket in the spring.

After a bit of a jiggle on the trolley, placing plants next to each other, changing my mind a few times and then sitting back to look at them, I ended up choosing:

  • Pink heather
  • Autumn flowering pansies
  • Autumn flowering violas
  • Silver variegated ivy
  • Cineria silverdust

I also bought some hanging basket compost and the mechanics of my basket itself which was about 12 inches in diameter.

After covering the bottom of the basket with the compost, I began by underplanting with violas, ivy and the cineria (I had to cut holes in the liner for this) before filling up with a bit more compost. By using the heather as the height for the centre, I was able to fill up the top of the basket with a variety of pansies, ivy and cineria. Checking all the time that it wasn’t too symmetrical but had more of a natural feel.


… ta dah …

Although it looks very new and ‘gappy’, I’m hoping that the ivy will start to spread and the plants will begin to dangle over the sides to create an all-round design.

Have you seen any wonderful hanging baskets recently? Please let me know as I’ve already spotted a little place on the Finca that’s perfect for another one!


Party Drinks That Pack A Punch | Free Printable

So that was an unexpected surprise.

Suddenly, without warning, the internet and phone decided to stop working on Saturday.

‘But I have blog posts to go out,’ I shrieked. ‘Not back on until the end of the week?!’ I exclaimed before having to go and lie down with a bag of frozen peas on my forehead.

Luckily, the phone and broadband Gods were looking kindly upon me and a very, very amazing engineer got us back up and running yesterday. What a wonderful man.

So anyway, now we’re back on track, I can share these super cool, classic Batman-inspired cocktail stirrers. Aren’t they fab?!

bam and whack cocktail stirrers

I thought it might be fun to use these when you are serving up a range of cocktails for a party.  Your guests could choose one based on their Batman sound effect.  Sort of like a drinks lucky-dip.  Your party conversation could go like this:

‘Would you like a Zwapp, or are you feeling more like a Kapow?’


‘Ooh, you went for the Plop – very courageous!’

Plop cocktail stirrer

These could even be adapted for children’s parties – obviously with totally, child-safe non-alcoholic drinks of course. As long as you have a printer, some sellotape and some straws then they can be made in minutes.

After downloading the free printable: pow straw decorations

…cut them out carefully and stick 3/4 of the way up a straw. I used little cocktail straws, but striped paper straws would look brilliant too.  I attached them by folding over little bits of tape to make double sided sellotape and then used them to press the star shapes onto the straws.

Batman cocktail stirrers

I would love to see these cropping up at very serious parties over the summer.  

I hope you enjoy! Have a great day x

Summer Inspiration | Pen Pals

Summer is the time when I tend to be at my most whimsical. Sudden fads take hold of me and I focus lots of time, energy and excitement on my latest project. Sometimes a whim can last for the summer and some can be a real surprise and stay with me forever.

This year, it’s the summer of the Pen Pal.

I know that you are well aware of my giddiness over stationery.  I also love the timelessness of a well-written letter. It’s almost meditative to sit down at a desk, with the sunlight streaming in through the window, with a cup of mint tea or freshly brewed coffee and communicate with pen on paper. The letter and envelope become their own work of art.

addressed letter pen pals

… this is obviously not the name/address of my Pen Pal – I made this one up …

After doing quite a lot of research, there seem to be a few easy routes to setting yourself up with a Pen Pal:

  • Re-kindle a friendship with someone who moved away
  • Begin writing to a relative in a different country
  • Be brave and start corresponding with a total stranger

I went for the last one.

Isn’t the phrase go big or go home? Is that appropriate for here? It seems to fit, so I’m running with it.

I decided to put up my details (only your email address, birthday and country of residence is needed) onto an online service which matches you with potential Pen Pals from around the world.  There are lots of these websites out there, but I chose to go with PenPalWorld – mainly because they are free and they received good reviews.

decorated envelope

I’m really excited about who I may get to write to and what stories they might have to share. I’m slightly worried about personal information, because in this digital age, we are schooled to be cautious.  I think I will just have fun with it and go with my instincts.

I’m even more excited about the potential for exploring a whole world of letter-writing stationery. Stamps. Pens. Paper. *Breathe

I think I may need a sit down.

lettering pens

In readiness, I have been practising different lettering techniques and trying to figure out the styles that I like (this is a whole project/fad/whim of its own).

At the moment, these are my two current, favourite pens for lettering:

I can’t wait to update you on who I write to. Do you think this is a fun project or do you have reservations? Are letters still cool or am I stuck in the dark ages?!

Have a great day x

DIY 'SMILE' Doormat

On Sunday, I was perusing Pinterest over a cup of tea and some marmite on toast when I saw a beautiful picture of the word ‘smile’ that had been painted onto a concrete pavement.

Yes it was probably graffiti… but what a way to lift someone’s day?! If I had stumbled upon this little message while walking through town, I would have felt instantly better, as if a total stranger had given me a no holding back smile. With teeth showing and everything.

‘I completely love this idea!’ I said to Mr D-F. ‘Can I paint this on the concrete front step of the finca?’

He gave me a mixed look that took into account my love of whimsical home DIY, while at the same time portraying a sense of how painting it directly onto the concrete might be a little extreme. And permanent.

With his sensible advice in mind, I decided to give our doormat a facelift instead. The DIY SMILE doormat was born!

Smile painted doormat

My first thought was to create a stencil using this great, free, online stencil maker.  You can change fonts and lettering to match your mood before printing it out. Unfortunately, we currently have no printer. Hmmm…

So I drew one instead on paper and carefully cut out the lettering with a stanley knife (a craft knife would be so much easier, and safer, but again, as I didn’t have one to hand, I raided the tool box)!

smile stencil

I messaged Mr D-F at work to ask whether he would like gold sprayed lettering (I still think that this would be super cool) or a Farrow and Ball colour that would look a little more sophisticated.  He went for the F&B option.

After debating between Brassica and Stiffkey Blue I went for the blue.  After being denied my gold shiny doormat, I was going to opt for the brightest colour I had in my paint store!

I made sure that I taped the stencil down firmly and put some double sided bits under the vulnerable cut-out sections of the E and M. The mat was put onto the kitchen table and the cat was encouraged to go and enjoy the garden. Knowing my luck, he would have sat on it and ended up with a blue bottom.

Using a stencil technique (I call fierce dabbing – but I’m sure that there is a proper name), I covered all of the areas showing through the stencil.  After 3 coats and a careful peel of the stencil it was finished.

smile doormat in situ

Now I get the warm fuzzy feeling whenever I go in and out of the door.  Hopefully our visitors will feel it too.

Are there any other tips for making guests feel instantly welcome – other than a big pot of tea and a huge slice of homemade cake? Do you have something lovely in your doorway that cheers you? 

Have a great day x