This homemade home stuff - lovingly crafting things to pimp your house with out of metal and fabric and rustic twigs: it's all very well, but you kind of need a nice house to start with to make it work.
This is where Kirstie and I differ. We may both be my husband's type. We may both have young children. We may both appreciate beautiful properties and home crafts, but I cannot escape the fact that she lives somewhere expensive and beautiful whereas I live crammed into a crumbling 1950s ex council semi with Destructochild and DIY Dickie (foe to the electric drill).
Kirstie probably has mice in her charming country cottage. I have flying ants on a scale that suggests one of the ten deadly plagues of Egypt and a particularly stubborn wasps nest. Mice are fine. Jill Barklem made a fortune writing and illustrating books about the Mice Of Brambly Hedge. Nobody - nobody has ever made an ornamental plate depicting wasps. And I am willing to bet that Kirstie has never had a load of flying ants stuck in her hair whilst trying to fend off an infestation with a spray bottle of Raid and prepare cheese on toast for her 2 year old son at the same time.
I try though. Oh how I try. Contrary to my slummy image, I can actually make things and my house is full of Kirstie-like homemade treasures. But....well, let's take a look:
First there's my kitchen. I sanded down these drawers, painted them white and bashed them about a bit to make them look old. Vintage scales on top...old fashioned bread bin...so far, so Kirstie.
We shall now move into the living room. I'm going to gloss over the works of art on the walls by my son ('Study In Biro' is my particular favourite) and show you my nice fireplace complete with lovingly made bunting and something rustic made out of twigs on it:
I don't usually pose in front of it and pretend to look in a box. It was taken for a shoot for an article, OK?
Now lets have a look at what's displayed on the mantelpiece at the moment shall we?
Never bother making a snow globe with your child. I had visions of an old mason jar filled with fine, twinkling glitter and a charmingly kitsch snow covered cottage inside. What we ended up with was a hastily washed madras sauce jar with a plastic Mr Tumble figurine trapped inside it along with blue glitter and a blob of curry sauce that didn't quite get washed off properly. I'm wondering how long I have to keep it on display without causing severe emotional pain to my child and crushing his artistic soul forever. I'm giving it another 3 days, tops.
As well as Mr-Tumble-in-a-Jam-Jar, we also have a plastic Bat Cave, a Fisher Price tool bench and various occupants of Happyland decorating our living space. Kirstie doesn't. She has a play room. *Bitter*
On to the garden. Here's the patio that my husband insisted on laying himself 18 months ago. AND NEVER FINISHED. We are not allowed to walk on it for fear of cracking the slabs or causing grievous injury to ourselves until he cements them down properly. Which will be never.
And here is that gate which we started painting last summer but ran out of paint and money half way through.
Here is what happened when Richard did some DIY in the bathroom:
And here is a fetching pile of sticks lovingly displayed on an Ikea bag that he brought home from a trip out hunting and gathering a few years ago, deposited in our (unfinished) conservatory and will not allow me to move or throw out.
It's bad isn't it?
I have always turned my nose up at new build houses. I hate them and their, bright orange brick exteriors and faux marble fireplaces, but at the moment, the temptation is to abandon all attempts at DIY and hand crafted house items and run screaming into one, locking its PVC door behind me and never coming out again. Failing that, fancy a house swap, Kirstie?