Thursday, 3 September 2015

household cleaning essentials

Image from An angel at my table
Today's subject for my beautiful utility post series is Household cleaning.
I've lost your interest already, haven't I??
But wait!
Nobody likes cleaning, ok, I get that...and if you are anything like me, your cleaning tools and supplies are not what you want to spend your money on, right?
But in all honesty, doesn't your arsenal of cheap plastic brooms and buckets, ugly, branded bottles of cleaning products and your old, washed out cleaning cloths kind of ruin the aesthetics of your home? 
I've been stuffing all that crap under my kitchen sink for years...outta sight , outta mind, right?
Only, the truth is : Housekeeping and cleaning is an ongoing job...never ending (Uuuurgh!) and inevitably all that stuff will be found laying around the house as it's being used...or not put away, like little eyesores in my otherwise well thought out interior!
Image found on Elements of style
I'd love to have a separate room to house all my cleaning and laundry tools and supplies...a Utility room! But in our tiny Victorian terraced cottage, space is at a premium, and unfortunately such a luxury is in-achievable...And I'm guessing that I'm not alone!
So in terms of storing my cleaning supplies, I have to get creative, as the little space under the sink is quite frankly insufficient...I mean, it may be fine for housing a few bottles of bleach etc., but this does not help me hide away the hoover, buckets and brooms and other large things needed around the house....things that I quite frankly do not want to feast my eyes upon whilst eating at the kitchen table, or trying to relax on the sofa.... Their bright and ugly plastic-ness only serves as a reminder of all things not done in a day!
Image from Kitchen source book
Just a little area, a spare nook in our home would have been great, as keeping all those household essentials i one place would be ideal.

Image from A beautiful mess

I'd love to have a peg-board covered wall to organize my cleaning supply storage and I'd use wall hooks to hang dusters and brooms from....

Even just a few shelves on a wall where I could keep everything handy but out of sight would be great...
Image from BHG
I'd use pretty storage baskets to house unsightly washing paraphernalia and decanter all my cleaning liquids into pretty jars and boxes to make it visually more pleasing...

Image from Ollie and Seb
But unfortunately I have not got any such spare nook in my tiny home . At least not in a suitable space....

The only option I currently have, is to convert the little cupboard under the stairs, which is currently being used as a general dumping ground for stuff, into a designated storage station for all things household...
And quite frankly, it is not a bad option at all, and I count myself lucky to have such a space...
It will be my next project in the house.

If you have not got the luxury of having such a space to your disposal, why not try to convert a free standing cupboard in your home into your household supply station, like below:

Image from Kitchen source book
To convert such a small space to hold things like the hoover, mops and buckets and other necessary cleaning supplies, will take a bit of planning, and a few clever ideas to maximize the storage potential of the space, like using the back of the door, as pictured, below....
And if you'd like to follow along at how I do mine, sign up to my weekly newsletter by entering your e-mail in the bar at the bottom of this page, as I will be posting updates on my cupboard design and makeover over the next few weeks...

Image from Kitchen sourcebook
But, even with a great storage space for all my housekeeping and cleaning equipment, there is still the element of the ongoing nature of keeping a home tidy and fresh to consider, and as mentioned above, this stuff inevitably becomes a part of a home's make-up...

Image from House to home
So my solution to prevent garish eyesores in the form of cheap plastic dusters etc. laying about is to pledge to invest in some well designed, functional but good looking cleaning tools and other household essentials, along with the aforementioned stylish storage solutions...
Here's a few nice examples:

A handy cleaning caddy ,will mean that I can carry what I need for the job around the house in style, and a nice looking bin is top of my wishlist for the kitchen. The idea of having beautiful tools, like a good-looking mop (did I just say that??) and bucket appeals to the glamour-puss in me (I have been known to clean my floors wearing high heels whilst dancing to loud music....I mean: Making the best of a dreary situation, like cleaning, has got to be a good thing , right??) And I've recently replaced my broken plastic duster with a gorgeous ostrich feather one, and quite frankly, I now proudly display that thing in my kitchen. I've also been on the look-out for a nice long-handled dustpan and brush to replace my "get-on-your-hands-and-knees" plastic set for ages, and love the one in my collage above.
When researching for this post, I must say that John Lewis has the most stylish range of cleaning and household products out there, and they are NOT paying me to say that! I adore the packaging on their Brooklyn range of fact their entire Brooklyn home range  is beautifully designed, and I'll be sharing more from it next week when I tackle the subject of Laundry!

Image from Garden trading

In my recent series of posts, labelled Beautiful Utility, I have been investigating my own theory that your home's everyday essentials should be equally stylish as your interiors to become a more integrated part of your home and thus improving the aesthetics and quality of your home-life.

Considering design as well as functionality when purchasing tools for housekeeping, will make your home feel more pulled together and maybe even make the jobs around the house seem a little less of a chore (Optimistic, I know)...At the very least, if your duster is as gorgeous as mine, you wont mind taking it for a spin every now and then!

Pop back next week to see me trying to bring some style into doing the Laundry!

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The Amara interior blog awards

Hi !

OK, so due to me not feeling great this past week, I've struggled preparing the planned blogpost for you instead of beating myself up about it, I've decided to be gentle on myself and have put together this replacement post instead...I hope you'll all forgive me!

So for those of you who doesn't already know, Nostalgiecat has been nominated for the second year running for best DIY and craft blog in the prestigious Amara Interior blog awards.

Last year, to my surprise, I made the final 5 shortlisted blogs in my category, and got to go to the amazingly decadent award ceremony, and I would love to make it again this year.
So, I thought I'd take this opportunity to tell you all how it changed my life to make the shortlist last year, and how much it would mean to me to make the final 5 again this year.

When I found out that I'd been nominated last year, I was not in a very good place personally....actually, I was considering quitting the blog all together as I felt lacking in energy to keep it up.
 But finding out that someone, somewhere out the real world, thought enough of my little blog to take the time to nominate me, blew my tiny mind!
I figured, what the heck....just a little bit longer!
I must admit, I was, and still am, a bit uncomfortable toting for votes on social media, but I thought "I owe it to the person that has made the effort to nominate me", so I pushed on....
....and your response was amazing!
Seeing that people from all over the world would take the time to vote for Nostalgiecat, made me myself, in what I was doing, in the blog and in the future!
So thank you all so much for your support last year....every single vote you gave me helped build me up, grow in confidence and put a smile on my face!

As I mentioned above, I had never expected to make last years shortlist, but thanks to all of you, and you support, I did...and it has changed my life!!

I may not have come home with a trophy at the end of last years award night, but I still felt like a winner!
I got to meet (Read: observe cautiously from afar LOL) some of my blogging and interior idols, as well as getting to know some of my blogging peers, whom I now call friends (Love you all, you know who you are)!
It made me feel like I was part of something, something worthwhile and important...that I had something to contribute to, in this mad online world us bloggers work in!
 It made me proud to call myself a blogger!
It helped me redefine myself, at a time when I , truthfully, felt lost and needed it the most!
It also brought a lot of opportunities I didn't even realize that blogging could bring: Collaborations and working relationships with both brands and people that I admired. 
Last but not least, making it to the awards night last year, meant that I could take myself and my little blog seriously and actually pursue blogging as a career....and it gave me the direction my life needed!

So, this year I would love to do it all again....but this time I'm not so green, not so lost and not distrusting in my own potential...
I've found my calling, my strength and my vocation: I know who I am and what Nostalgiecat stands for and the direction it is going....
My personal life still feels like a battle sometimes, and if you pay close attention to my social media posts, I sometimes touch on those issues, because I feel like they are also an important part of my creative life....but here on the blog I tend to keep it professional: Creative interior design is my thing, and it defines me and Nostalgiecat.
I see the blog as an online resource anybody that want to improve their homes, both functionally and aesthetically can refer to for tips and tutorials....Learn how to best drill a hole through a tile or how to paint your wooden floorboards....or how to make a simple, but stylish coffee table or some art for your walls...In the past year I've posted loads of DIY tutorials that will help give you some creative ideas and help you add some personality to your well as tips on how to set about redesigning a room and budget guides to stylish and creative home life enhancing solutions...

I truly believe that Interior design is for everybody, and that it can help everyone make their home their favorite place to be!

I have a lot of very exciting projects in the pipeline at the moment, that I cant wait to share with you do sign up for my weekly newsletter by entering your email in the bar below if you think you'd like to follow along...

And if you have a minute to spare, I'd love it if you would give me your vote for Best DIY and craft blog at the Amara interior blog awards....It really means THAT much to me, and this year, maybe I could even win it??

But I can't do it without your support, so please vote for my little blog by clicking on the logo, below:
Please vote for me for best DIY blog

Thank you!

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Hexagonal wooden bead trivet....


So, here's a little useful and pretty DIY for your kitchen:
A wooden bead trivet.
Perfect for protecting your work surfaces from hot pots and pans when cooking...I use mine to rest my chemex coffee maker on, and I love the simple hexagonal design and the color and texture of the wooden beads!

This is a very simple make, and besides from the wooden beads, all you'll need is a needle and some string.

I made mine in less than 1/2 hour.
Here's how you can make your own:

Create a loop at the end of your string, then thread on 6 beads...

Use the loop to tighten the beads together into a circle, then pass the needle through the last bead to secure the shape. Let's call this the first row.

To start forming the second row, thread on one bead to sit between two of the beads on the first row.
Secure by passing the needle through the next bead on the first row...repeat all the way around...

Next up, you want to fill the gaps on the second row...

Do this by passing the needle through the beads you've just attached, then add the beads to fill in..

Start the third row in the same way as you did the second, but this time add two beads, before securing by passing the needle through the corresponding bead on the previous row...

Continue all the way around...

... then fill in the gaps as you did before.

I stopped there, but if you want a bigger trivet, just repeat the processes above until you get your desired size.

Tie off the loose end.
Simple, easy and good looking: A useful addition to your kitchen...

I love the way it compliments my Chemex and fits in with my kitchen interiors:

I hope you all have a great weekend, and that you will pop back next week for my next installment in my Beautiful Utility blog post series, as next week I am looking at how to get your laundry and household cleaning essentials to become more integrated element of your interiors, by choosing functional, yet beautifully designed tools for the job.

Please vote for me for best DIY blog

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Beautiful kitchens....

....beautiful essentials
Image from my kitchen makeover reveal
Continuing on my quest to make everyday household essentials a more integrated part of my interior and home style, I am this week looking at, maybe THE most important room in any house, the heart of any home: The Kitchen!

I don't know about you, but this is the one room of our home that get's the most traffic:
Cleaning, laundry and rubbish....dumping ground for stuff like letters, coats and pocket contents...the kitchen is where it all ends up in our house! But of course, the main purpose of this room is food preparation, storage and cooking and eating!

Setting aside all the other incarnations this room has to take on in our home (because maybe YOU are lucky enough to have a separate laundry room and a big hallway for coats ;)), in today's post I am focusing on finding beauty in design meant for a working, cooking kitchen!

Firstly, I want to share some images of some lovely kitchens I've found on the www. that I feel have been kitted out in a beautiful, yet functional way,to serve this purpose. Then, a bit further down the post, I have curated some nicely designed kitchen essentials, and I'll be talking a bit about the balance between functionality and beauty in kitchen design...

But first, some kitchen eye candy inspiration for you all:

Image from Lovely Life
Image from Per Jansson
Image from Stadshem
Image via Dekolehti
Image via digsdigs
Image from Scandinavian love song

Image via Hus&hem

In a busy room like the kitchen, having all your everyday essentials at the ready and at hand when you need them, will often mean that things does not get put away everyday...
This means that the kitchen work surfaces can often end up cluttered with "stuff".
So my theory is, that by investing in well designed "stuff", that not only serves it's purpose, but also looks good, the clutter will at the very least be stylish!
When I say investing, I don't mean that it has to be expensive, designer stuff: but invest some time in researching items that you need, or would like to replace in order to improve the look of your kitchen...use google or pinterest to find items that YOU like the look of and that will serve the purpose.
From kitchen utensils that match you kitchen wall colour to a nice set of pots and doesn't have to cost the earth, and it doesn't have to all be around for bargains...I often find useful things in shops like Tiger and IKEA, and mix them up with bargains from E-bay or similar places, curating an eclectic collection of working kitchen essentials that works for the look I like.

Kitting your kitchen out with essentials that compliment each other, as well as your interior style and decor will help the kitchen look more put together, even if the work surfaces are filled to the brim.
Another way to make your kitchen cooking essentials less likely to clutter up the interior, is by choosing functional and purpose made storage: From storing cooking oils and condiments on a handy shelf  next to the cooker.... to rails with hooks for storing pots and pans....functionality and design is key! 

Obviously, I've got a penchant for Scandinavian design, and my curated kitchen wish list below, reflects this look, but even if this look is not your "bag", my advice to you when kitting out your kitchen, is to choose things YOU like, but always keep in mind the overall look you want to achieve in the interior, as well as the functionality of the design.

1/House doctor Apron 2/ copper pots and pans 3/Normann Copenhagen friends salt and pepper shakers 4/House doctor Knife block 5/House doctor measuring jug 6/ House Doctor Set of 3 scale storage tins7/Montobello oven mitt  8/set of 4 chopping boards 9/Bodum bistro black bread box 10/House Doctor Kitchen rack 11/Orla Kiely set of 3 herb pots with tray 12/Morphy Richards two slice copper toaster 13/Concoctions olive oil decanter 14/saladbowl 15/whisk

So instead of just buying things for the kitchen that you need, purely with functionality in mind, spend some time searching for items that not only serves it's purpose, but also looks good and will add the the overall look of the room....that fits in with your interior style:
It will help keep your kitchen looking stylish, even when it's a mess and nothing has been put away!

In my next post I've got a little DIY that serves this purpose well...
so pop back later this week to learn how to make a pretty and useful trivet for resting your hot saucepans on, that you won't mind having laying about.

Please vote for me for best DIY blog