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Downsizing

Decluttering! Where do I start??

January 5, 2020
how to declutter your kitchen home life

On December 31st 2019 at 6pm I sat down with a glass of water and I decided to lose weight, get fit and organise my life in 2020. I had spent the day looking at social media friends galloping around the British countryside, taking fabulous photos of trees and interesting ‘things’ or grinning in country pubs. If I had posted pictures of my day you would have seen me elbow high in jumpers, rolling knickers the Marie Kondo way, sorting long and short leggings and packing away summer clothes.

January 1st: I got to bed at 2 am, got up at 8am, walked the dogs, poured myself a cup of coffee, the phone rang and next thing I knew I was heading over to my mum’s to help her out. No more time or energy for my stuff.

Decluttering! My New Year’s Resolution failing already. Where do I start??

Would you believe it… Instagram. 2nd January 2020: I found out that Ashley Jordan, the one and only @fairygodperson, is going to grant my wish for a tidy home and mind. Ashley is posting a decluttering tip or job a day for 30 days on her Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn feeds. These are bite sized jobs that will build up, so that by the end of January our clutter will be under control and we can all focus on stress free living. Today, I spoke to Ashley and asked about her New Year’s Resolution campaign that’s going to help us all to de-clutter and reclaim our space in 2020.

30 days to declutter your home on Instagram with @fairygodperson

“Time to sort out your fridge!”

@fairygodperson Day 1 – 2nd January

When I read the first tip and did it, I felt a real sense of achievement. A planned declutter of my home, taking it one step at a time, is really going to help me get freed up the stress of thinking ‘I’ve done this and that for others but I haven’t even done my own home’. Doing that one little thing on day one really helped me clear out the dregs of Christmas and helped me to free up my stress levels. Ashley who has devised the 30 day declutter campaign is a professional organiser. I asked her how she came up with this plan that really understands what we are looking for a the start of a new year?

“January is always my busiest time of the year. People’s …New Year’s resolution is to do a clear out …it’s what’s been annoying them. They’re thinking ‘Right, got to tackle it. I’ve got to get my house in order’ “.

“I’m running this across Instagram. LinkedIn and Facebook. I’m reaching out to young professionals…to the children of parents who might be moving, or people who need to organise their own home so they can help their parents better. I can help everyone get organised.”

The biggest thing that people say to me when they want to do a clutter clear – I didn’t know where to start… The essence of these 30 days of tips is helping people know where to start because it breaks it down for them. Where do I begin? At the beginning!

“I do know that people are not going to do everything.. they are going to be at work or doing things on some days so they can’t do everything that I suggest because some of these tips will be a big job that takes a whole day. At least it’s there to do in the future. This will help people to break it down.”

“my specific thing is helping in people’s homes, helping them to de-clutter or to help when people are downsizing or moving home.”

I asked Ashley how she discovered she had the superpower of organising.

She told me that working in offices she found that when she started to look at the systems and ways of working she naturally re-organised and set up systems that made everything easier and saved money, she would tell her employers “…why things weren’t working and how they can work better and I was always able to re-organise everything ”

Ashley set up One Stop Organisers to “organise things for other people and over the years it’s morphed into being specifically for the older generation and people with disabilities…the house move side of things for them and making their space…work better.”

“When I first started I was helping my best friend and her husband …with filing and sorting out their paperwork… and he designed my logo adding a halo because “I thought about how it make me feel when you’ve been in. I feel so much at peace, you have been angelic. It’s as if you have waved your magic wand.”

My ideal client is someone who is downsizing, over 65, downsizing from a large home into something smaller and they don’t know where to start, because they have probably lived in that house for 20, 30, 40, 50 years.

Ashley told me about the stress of de-cluttering, how she helps people get through the stress of deciding what to get rid of when de-cluttering and downsizing and about the moments of satisfaction when a job is done.

You must also find some moments of joy? Finding something you had forgotten about, awakening really good memories.

“Absolutely. I find people stories of their lives. Because you are going around their home decluttering …every part of their house has a story. I find it a privilege to be able to find out what those stories are as we go round, and people have that space to talk about their life and all the things that they have done.”

But right now I’m on Day 2 and loving Ashley’s advice, it’s really simple and has left me feeling really positive that, with her help, I can make this New Year’s resolution a reality: “As with your fridge, make sure that like things are stored like with like and use baskets and storage trays so things are easier to find and get out. Storage jars are great if you have a lot of room but if you don’t then they will take up more room than they save. Instead keep packets in them and then you can have 2 or 3 half packets in one.”

It’s never too late to start on the One Stop Organiser’s 30 day Clutter Campaign, you can catch up by clicking on one of these links: Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook. Once you have completed a declutter job, share your comments and post photos of your achievements. See you on the @fairygodperson sites!

An amazing spa bathroom for any age

December 2, 2019
Jola Piesakowska Buildmumahouse bathroom sink ageproof bathroom

I was at a location house a few weeks ago, owned by interiors stylist Catherine Woram and architectural designer Michael Bains. I was captivated how beautiful the entire house was. Every room. But it was the bathrooms that did it for me – I need one of these! Each bathroom was full of beautiful, clever details all in perfect harmony. A perfect retreat from the stresses and strains of the world, your own private spa.

small moroccan bathroom

The flat whiteness of the walls and painted floor are fresh and uplifting. The huge over mantel mirror bounces light all around and by painting the ornate frame white it looks perfect over the basins. The sense of light in this room is perfect for anyone with weakened eyesight: details are crisp and defined.

Catherine Woram has used an shabby and ornate console table as a basin stand. Its fun and its chic. Complementing the shabby paintwork and wooden top is a rustic copper basin.. and a very modern chrome u bend. It looks fantastic and this basin stand is in fact ideal for anyone who needs to pull up a stool when using the sink. Wouldn’t it be perfect if an ornate basin stand like this was wheelchair friendly too!

The basin and tap styling is Moroccan French rustic chateau meets modern, sleek chrome. These levered taps are easy to use for anyone with reduced mobility, the narrow console table/basin stand also means that you wouldn’t need to stretch forward to reach them. This is exactly what Build Mum a House is all about. You shouldn’t need to compromise the look of your home for ease of use.

TAPS AND MIXER

White floor boards, pale flat greys shades, chandeliers, copper basins. I took some photos on my phone to try and capture the magic… and then as I turned to leave the room I noticed the bathroom door lock. Absolutely beautiful, inspired, on theme AND completely up my street.

In 1970 I was 8. I got stuck in a Hayling Island beach car park toilet. As I had gone to leave, the catch on the big brass mechanism was so fiddly, the old penny dropped down inside the brass mechanism.  I was left behind in the locked cubicle. I wailed. Finally, a very kind lady heard me and put another penny in the lock. Released, I ungraciously ran out, humiliated, in tears, to join my sister who had already got back into our parents’ car!

That’s why I like a nice and easy privacy lock on a bathroom door.

It’s not about lack of mobility and everything with being a bit clumsy. I am not alone on this one. I know I’m not.

And do you know what this bathroom features as a door lock? It’s light and easy to use, large handle that is good for a weak grip and very pretty. The lock on the door is a Moroccan Aldrop and latch. No, I didn’t know they were called that either. This is a very nice decorated version of a metal sliding bolt, that you can see when you wander round the souks and admire the ancient Moorish buildings and their intricate front doors.

bathroom lock

Buildmumahouse is all about finding chic interiors that are perfect for age proof living, for aging at home, for anyone with mobility issues, young or old. This beautiful bathroom is perfect, it’s a visual feast and it addresses many practical issues. Proof that a beautiful interior can be ageproof.

If you would like to see more of my photos fof inspirational interiors then follow me and go to my Buildmumahouse Instagram account, click here  And for more well designed and easy to use bathroom locks go to my bathroom Pinterest boards at Buildmumahouse.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Easy Steps to Make Your Garden Accessible and Enjoyable

September 18, 2019
Sunny garden living #london #tooting #balham #palm #interior #inspirationoftheday #Blissful #exterior #exteriordesign #textile #pattern #foliage #leag #green buildmumahouse Jola Piesakowska garden design

“I love my garden but I don’t have time for it.” “I miss my garden but I’m too old and too ill to go out there and do any gardening.”  At Buildmumahouse I’ve found that there are 5 easy steps that you can take to make your garden, patio or balcony more accessible.

It’s really important for anyone old, weakened by illness, depressed or less able …and their carers alike… to take a break, open up their horizons and enjoy all of the benefits of focusing on the wonder of nature. Doing a bit of gardening, helping plants thrive and picking the fruits of one’s patch is so good for all of us.

Plant bulbs in Autumn to cheer you up in Spring bulbs-buildmumahouse-jola-piesakowska

Plant bulbs in Autumn to cheer you up in Spring

These are 5 simple steps to make you garden more accessible and enjoyable…

Continue Reading…

The right LED can change your life!

August 14, 2019
jola piesakowska pot luck restaurant cape town led lighting buildmumahouse Build Mum A House

Do you find that you can’t see as well at home in the evening? Do you need to ask for help to change light bulbs? Would you like to make savings on your electricity bills? Would you like create mood lighting in your home?

Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 23.11.03

LED bulbs may be the answer! I think that the right LED can change your life. There’s been a lot of change in light bulb technology and loads more choice in the shops since ordinary light bulbs started to be phased out. That’s why it can be tough getting a clear idea of what LED bulb to buy.

Long Life

For me LED bulbs were a no brainer. My mum can’t reach her ceiling light bulbs and the thought of her being stuck in the dark while I raced over to change a light bulb meant that I was delighted to buy bulbs that can have 25,000 even 50,000 hours of life. These new LED bulbs have a long life but always check the pack for life span – look at the amount of hours not days, after all you don’t know how many hours consitutes a day for some manufacturers! It seems that there isn’t an official standard for LED bulbs and reliability does vary between manufacturers

Energy Saving

Elderly people living on a budget could be tempted to skimp on how many lights they have on at home to make savings on the electricity bills. A combination of low light and poor eyesight means that tripping can become a real hazard. The good news is that LED bulbs use 90% less energy than a traditional light bulb (incadescent)… so you can make a saving on your bills as well as lighting your home well. Look out for bulbs that have gills on them – LED lights are cool to the touch and need to be kept cool. That’s exactly what those gills are doing: allowing the heat to dissipate.

Choosing the right bulb power can be confusing – I made up a chart that helps me decide which bulb to buy:

buildmumahouse jola piesakowska led lights lumens

This applies to UK power supplies

Next question… I’ve seen it on the pack. What on earth is Lumens? I found the chart below on a fact sheet produced by the Electrical Contractor’s Association website and it explains that lumens measures the amount of light radiated by the bulb. There is a further measurement and that is lux – but it’s not often a bit of information that is printed on a bulb box.

Build Mum A House Buildmumahouse

Quality of Light

When I was building my mum’s house she only had a few ‘must’ s and having a bright kitchen was vital for her. She was adamant that only a florescent tube would deliver enough light. However the plans had an open plan kitchen / living area. Florescent tubes are are white and bright and light up all the area around it, not so good if you want to create mood areas. LED lights have been fantastic, they give a directional light. I found that I was able to choose not only the angle of the beam but also the colour of light that is given off

  • daylight bulbs for the kitchen area
  • warm light for the sitting and relaxing area.

source: www.eca.co.uk

source: www.eca.co.uk

and finally there is the question of CRI I found this chart on the Philips website and it explains it quite simply that you should look for a CRI of 80-90:

Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 22.55.50

Yes, its confusing and you need to shop carefully… but these are expensive bulbs, they should last a long time and they can make a difference to your quality of light in your home.

TOP TIPS to help you choose the right LED bulb

  • Check for lifespan for estimated in hours not years/days.
  • Look for a well built bulb case with gills on it to keep the bulb cool and last longer.
  • Check out the angle of the light bulb – LEDs are directional so pick a wide angle for a good spread and narrow angle for highlighting.
  • Daylight colour bulbs are good for hobby areas or food prep areas. Warm lights are great for a relaxing area and are closer to the look of traditional bulbs.
  • For hobby areas where accurate colour can help the definition of what you are working on, look for a bulb that has a CRI of 80 to 90

I’m looking at mood lighting on my Instagram account Buildmumahouse and would love to hear from you if you who have any experiences or advice to share of setting up mood and task areas in your home

Craft books review: Fat Quarter Home & Fat Quarter Quick makes

May 31, 2017
fat quarter, home, fat quarter, quick makes buildmumahouse, jola piesakowska, downsizing, crafts, sewing, home, downsizing, decorating ideas, crafts, new home, recycling

If like me, you have helped your parent downsize, moved a child to their first home and have uncovered some beautiful fabrics that have been squirreled away over the years …you need these two books!

Fat Quarter Quick Makes and Fat Quarter Home are two books that are

part of a fantastic new series of stash-busting sewing books aimed at beginner to intermediate crafters.

Every project in Fat Quarter Quick Makes and Fat Quarter Home can be made from a fat quarter. What’s a fat quarter? I didn’t know either. It’s a short length of fabric that’s about a half a yard. There are two books in the series that I’m reviewing today and both are full of really good ideas. Across the two books there’s 50 good ideas.

In Fat Quarter Quick Makes there’s a really good range of decorative projects such as fabric flowers or an owl brooch.

Fat Quarter Home also has 25 projects, making great new things for your home such as cushion covers or giving those vintage Ercol 70’s chairs a spruce up. There are instructions how to re – cover a drop in chair as well as customise and freshen up bathroom towels. All of these projects are good for all 3 generations in my family.

The photography, interesting projects, the lovely styling and really easy to follow instructions have renewed my passion for sewing and making things. Love it!

Here are a few projects that got me fired up for each of my family’s generations:

Fat Quarter Home: Living Room

Fat Quarter, Home Amanda Russell, Juliet Bawden, living room, projects, buildmumahouse, Jola Piesakowska, cushions, downsizing, craft, crafting

Fat Quarter Home Amanda Russell & Juliet Bawden living room projects

 

Cushion Covers.

No zips, no hassle.

An instant refresh for downsizers, feature your treasured fabric from the 50s, 60s or 70s and make your new place look like home. I have, of course, found some 80s fabric. I think this cushion project is great for my garden cushions that are looking a bit faded this year. It’s also a really fast and easy project for young home makers who are happy to raid mum’s or babcia’s stash… or as the pattern is so economical, happy to buy some fabulous modern fabric, without breaking the bank.

 

Fat Quarter, Home Amanda Russell, Juliet Bawden, living room, projects, buildmumahouse, Jola Piesakowska, downsizing, craft, crafting

Fat Quarter Quick Makes Juliet Bawden & Amanda Russell Workroom projects: patterns weights project.

Fat Quarter Quick Makes: Workroom

So many of these projects are fantastic if you have a little one to sew for, this book has the cutest dress, bibs, shorts or flags and tent tidies for festival going teens.

But don’t despair if you don’t. I don’t. However, the workroom projects are right up my street, I’m an empty nester and now I have more space to establish my own space.

Pattern Weights

Now, why did I never have any of these? Up until now I have missed out on having something to hold down paper patterns while I’m pinning or cutting a pattern.  When I make these I’m going to use an assortment of fabrics so that they will look really cute and I can store them on display so they will decorate my workspace.

Other things I want to make that I think will cross all 3 generations of my family:

 Fat Quarter Quick Home: Bathroom

downsizing, storage, bathroom, craft, buildmumahouse, jola piesakowska, Fat Quarter Home Amanda Russell and Juliet Bawden, craft, sewing, home,

Fat Quarter Home Amanda Russell & Juliet Bawden

Storage Bucket

Love this, so happy to get the instructions and pattern to make storage buckets. This is a brilliant project for all 3 generations of my family. The key to downsizing is creating a space for everything. The key to moving into a small first home is having lots of cheap storage solutions and playing with your look. The key to claiming your workspace are work buckets for anything from usb cables to crafting odds and ends. Make some of these, use up your cherished old fabrics and make lovely things  for your home, buy some new fabric and colour co-ordinate your bathroom. Be happy you’ve got the keys right here.

These books are the keys to unlocking the Alladin’s Cave of your fabric stashes its written and styled by Amanda Russell and Juliet Bawden.

Juliet is the author of over 60 different craft books so she really knows what she’s talking about. If you would like get inspired to see how recycling and salvaging crafts can be exciting, follow this link Juliet Bawden Creative Colour or follow Juliet Bawden on Twitter ‪@julietbawden to get and keep up to date on the latest colour and pattern trends. When you mix these skills together you can feel confident to dig into your fabric stash, follow the projects in Fat Quarter Home or Fat Quarter Quick Makes and make your house your home.

Fat Quarter Home and Fat Quarter Quick Makes are coming soon, they will be priced at £12.99 each. Amanda Russell and Juliet Bawden are R&B Designs. You will find more information here https://randbdesigns.co.uk/books/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buildmumahouse Guide: How to make Roman blinds?

April 19, 2017

I’m taking you through a step-by-step guide to making Roman blinds with or without a kit. Roman blinds transform your windows, are surprisingly quick to make and use very little fabric compared to curtains so you can really splurge on the quality or the fabric design or work to a tight budget. They can be used on the own or with curtains for a decadent layered effect. Roman blinds can be lined or sheer, thermal or blackout. Either way they are energy efficient even with double glazing and give you instant privacy.

A pleated or Roman blind folds into soft accordion pleats when it is drawn up and hangs straight when down. Roman blinds give your window a simple classic elegance and also make the most of subtle fabric designs.

There are two ways of making a Roman blind: with or without a kit.

Without a kit the blind is held in an up position by securing the cord to a cleat. Using a kit the blind pulls up using a chain loop, which is good for heavy and wide blinds. A kit can also be safer with children as there is not a long cord hanging down when the blind is pulled up. With a kit the blind will sit in any position you pull it to and the metal headrail will only need cutting to size and adjusting.

Making a Roman Blind without a Kit.

This is the most diy and the cheapest option. Making your Roman blind the old fashioned way.

Materials for a Roman Blind without a kit:

  1. Wooden batten depth 25mm and width 50mm measured to the width of your window recess (A)
  2. Velcro tape 25mm wide the same length as the batten
  3. A staple gun
  4. 4 screw-in eyelet hooks or pulleys
  5. Cord. Calculate 3 x 4 times the drop of the blind, at least
  6. A cleat
  7. A breakaway cord connector
  8. One length of narrow a flat bottom bar: a batten about 0.5 x 1.27cm for the bottom of the blind or a flat aluminium or plastic bar 2.5cm wide from Merrick Day
  9. Narrow tape with pockets for rods – Roman blind tape
  10. Roman blind rods or dowelling to fit into Roman blind tape
  11. 12mm split brass or plastic rings for cording available from www.merrick-day.com
  12. Matching sewing thread
  13. Tailor’s chalk
  14. Sewing kit including big sharp scissors and long pins
  15. Steam iron and ironing board
  16. Sewing machine

Measuring up Roman Blinds

  1. Attach the wooden baton to the top of the window recess and measure up the inside of the window. Staple the furry half of the 25mm Velcro tape to the front face of the batten.

roman blind, how to make a roman blind, measure a roamn blind, buildmumahouse

Measure the inside of the window

2. Measure the inside of the window for the width and the drop.

Use this measurement for the lining, if you plan on using one.

 

 

 

 

 

Seam allowances

Add 2.5cm on each side of width for side hems. Add 1cm for top hem and 5cm at the bottom hem. Cut your fabric to size on the straight grain. Lay the lining on to the back of the curtain fabric covering the window area using this photo as a placement guide. Pin in place.

 

 

 

3. Cut your fabric looking out for pattern repeats, its nice to get a shape to be centred. Press the side seams in to place. The side seams are double so turn in on each side 0.5cm, press in place, then turn in 2.5cm. Press, pin in place then stitch. Now turn down the top edge and press.

Turn in side seams and top seams.

4. Press the side seams in to place. The side seams are double so turn in on each side 0.5cm, press in place then turn in 2cm. Press then stitch. Now turn down the top edge 1cm and press.

5. Sew the Velcro tape to the back of the blind, 0.5cm from the top edge covering the raw edge. Sew both edges of the Velcro tape. This is going to attach to the Velcro stapled onto the batten.

For lined blinds make sure the lining is flat and all edges are all covered into these seams and attached behind the Velcro.

Turn in side seams and top seams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Make the bottom hem, turn over 1cm and press, turn it up again to make a 4cm pocket to fit your dowelling or batten.

For lined blinds make sure that your lining is lying flat, tucked in neatly and covered by this seam.

roman blinds marking out folds

 

 

 

7. Work out the width of your pleats so that they are even across the blind, 10cm is an average width or divide by 6. Mark each pleat with tailors chalk. Sew Roman Blind tape across the back of each pleat, one by one. Insert the rod or dowelling in each tape pocket.

This tape has a guide for the split rings, push a split brass curtain between the tape and the guide. Line up the rings  to the top of the blind.

 

8. Trim the rods 2cm shorter than the width of the blind. Insert the rods and the bottom batten, slip stitch by hand the ends of these “pockets”.

9. On each rod pocket mark the centre point of the blind and slip a brass ring in place through the guide in the tape. Repeat 5cm in from each side edge of the blind on each pocket.

10. Line up three of the the screw-in eyelets or pulleys on the top batten with the rings attached to the blind.
Fix the fourth eyelet or pulley to the right of the blind on the window recess. Lower down attach a cleat and an acorn near the bottom of the cord.
11. Hang the blind: Attach firmly the Velcro strip on the top of the blind to the matching Velcro strip on the batten.

12. For the cording stage I found this drawing – it explains it all really well.

c) Michael A Hill www.idealhome.com

Starting at the bottom ring with a knot, thread the cord up vertically to match the corresponding eyelet on the batten and over to the eyelet on the side of the frame, down to the cleat. Repeat this with each row.

 

 

The cleat should be positioned as high as possible so its well out of the way of children. Consider attaching a breakaway cord connector at the end of the cords and for safety don’t knot all three cords together to form a loop.

If you buy a Roman Blind Kit choose one that is fully child safe and that the control chains are adjustable length, not a continuous loop. Breakaway string controls and Parts can be purchased from www.merrick-day.com

buildmumahouse, interiors, lifestyle, windows

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Now?

It’s important that you do visit my Youtube channel to watch the safety film about Roman Blinds, especially if you have children or if kids visit your home.

Roman Blind supplies can be found at www.merrick-day.com

Roman Blind Kits can be bought at Merrick Day

murtra_deluxe_roman_kit_instructions

Or from Terry’s Fabric’s https://www.terrysfabrics.co.uk/

Terrys_Cassette-Roman-Blind-Kit_Fitting

So now you have been introduced to Roman blinds and how to make them, go over to Buildmumahouse Pinterest for lots of inspirational fabrics and looks. If you would like to consider other window decor ideas visit Buildmumahouse guides to making curtains or my blog post about automated roller blinds.

If you have any tips, questions and would like to share your Roman blind projects leave me a message on my comments board. Love to hear from you.