A horrible horrible week. It felt like I was walking through Bedlam. But walk I did. I just kept on picking myself up, dusting myself off and returning to my creativity. I’ve been painting and organising the garden workshop and so I’m sharing these pictures of the work so far. I washed the pine walls with Country Cream from Cuprinol’s Shades collection of garden wood paints. I painted the floor using Lavender and I’ll be stamping botanicals onto the walls with Wild Thyme.
I’ve painted the inside of the doors with Wild Thyme as this is the colour I painted the exterior of the workshop last year (with Country Cream round the windows).
I bought the little pine table with the lovely barley twist legs especially for this corner. I got it for £10 from the local Oxfam charity shop. I washed it down and polished it with liquid beeswax. I also beeswaxed the floor after painting – you can glide across it now, or go barefoot.
I will be writing words of heartbreaking genius at this table, while sitting on the little foldy-uppy chair you can see next to it in the first picture.The table is a perfect height for my laptop and for the chair. I bought 5 of these chairs at a boot fair in Northumberland over 20 years ago – there was a chapelful of them for sale (they came from a Methodist church). The little rug on the table is from the local Oxfam shop too. The banner on the wall (it’s really a table runner) is from France and cost next to nothing. The pot with the citronella candle (to discourage mosquitos) is from another local charity shop – Mind Matters – and cost £1. The ceramic place mat beneath was a present from a friend from my university days. I bought the little book at a local secondhand book shop called Baggins – it’s an old book about alpine flowers and is beautifully illustrated. The long things in front of the candle holder are ceramic tiles, one decorated with a stylised Madonna and Child and the other, a male saint. I bought those from a church jumble sale many years ago, in Brighton, for about 10 pence. The cushions on the chair are 2 of 3 I bought from a local shop called Capture the Castle. The prices are reasonable and the proprietors friendly and jokey. You can get lovely coffee and cakes there too. The vase on the table is from a British Heart Foundation charity shop in Canterbury. It’s hand-thrown designer studio pottery and was originally made in a pottery with a shop in Canterbury. It would normally cost 5 times what I paid for it. Underneath the vase is a metal stand which has a cut metal ‘lid’. It’s a candle holder and it’s probably Moroccan. I have two of these which I bought in a shop in France, in a town near where we used to live.
The net curtains came from a charity shop. They’re embroidered with tulips. The green curtains at the window with the big yellow daisy flowers are from the Oxfam shop too. There were three matching sets – all brand-new, still in their wrappers. I bought all three one by one over a period of weeks. I chopped one set in half and made 4 shorter curtains to fit to run along the front of the two work benches that sit side by side along the back wall of the workshop. The benches have red metal frames. I painted their MDF tops and backs with Country Cream. Another set hides all the pots and stuff under the potting bench in the greenhouse. I shall of course be creating artworks of staggering genius using those work benches.
The flowers in the vase and the herbs hanging over the table are from the garden. And here is a picture of an Oriental Poppy. A friend gave me a trayful of tiny seedlings earlier in the year and this is one of about 10 that flourished. Isn’t it amazing? And yes, there’s a fly on it. I like that. It means that I’m succeeding in setting up a new eco-system in what was a very neglected and impoverished garden.
So I’ve not spent a lot of money on setting up this space. It’s right at the bottom of the garden and I can be in there without anybody disturbing me, unless they break open the garden gate first! The money I did spend largely went to charities and some of the objects I already possessed remind me of the kindness of absent and present friends and pleasant places and happy times from my past.
I feel better now, having written all this, after my horrible horrible week. Restored. The moral of this tale? I guess it’s to keep walking towards your creativity, no matter the madness that’s thrown in your path!
- Hurrah for the humble charity shop (deshocks.com)
- Why Charity Shops Are Brilliant (athriftystudent.wordpress.com)
- Rare indeed (identitycrutches.wordpress.com)
- How to Rejuvenate Your Home on a Tight Budget (athomesense.com)
- Austerity Street: middle-class town Orpington makes do with 12 charity shops (telegraph.co.uk)
- Charity shop treasures. (fallinginchocolat.wordpress.com)
- Stylish, thrifted interiors: interview with Emily Knight (thrift-pop.com)
- Oxfam income sinks £18m in one year (independent.co.uk)
- Charity Shop Vintage Fashion (thomasbenjamincooper.wordpress.com)