Home sweet home

We’re back in London! Although the animal life is less exotic, it’s still plenty cute.  Here’s how Otto greets us when he comes home from daycare:

Otto’s home! from Grimbil on Vimeo.

Now that the Africa adventure is over, we’ll be switching gears to focus on our upcoming renovations. So, if you want to hear about scaffolding and paint colors, stay tuned!

Testing 123

Is this thing on?

Can you hear me now?

Guess what world, we’re baaaaaack.  This time we’re renovating the loft and Binky is heading off to volunteer in South Africa for a month. So, we’ve added an Africa blog component.

See ya soon!

Finally some garden success

The cold weather has been playing havoc with my attempt at spring bulbs, the chocolate vine died of black spot, and the honeysuckle has leaf blight. Gardening isn’t as easy as I originally thought.

But then there a lovely little vignettes like this:

It’s the glory of the snow bulbs finally making their appearance (a month or two late), with some columbine I bought recently in the background.

Ah, spring.

Our tash-tastic foyer

Those of you who know Grimbil know that he loves his facial hair. He regularly participates in various moustache and beard contests. His latest was a pro-longed Movember, in which he grew a very respectable handlebar tash.


So, when searching for a way to add some personality to our foyer, moustaches seemed an obvious theme.  We started with what we are calling the Tash-mat

Then, in my quest for the perfect curtains for to hide our messy shelves, I found this geometric-moustache- trellis pattern.

The drycleaners stitched it up into curtains

And voila, our tash-tacular foyer!


My not-so-green thumb

Disaster has struck the Old Glory garden: our chocolate vine has an advanced case of black spot.

Our poor sad chocolate vine

When I say advanced, I mean practically every leaf shows signs of it. Given that one of the things you’re supposed to do with a black spotted plant is to remove any infected leaves, I think the chocolate vine is a goner. I’ll have to rip it out and plant something else  to cover the trellis.

Black spot living up to its name

I’m bummed because I never got to see it flower; last year it bloomed while we were staying elsewhere during our renovations. Actually, I really wanted to smell the flowers, since it gets its name from the dark chocolatey scent of its blossoms.

In other gardening news, I’m having mixed results from the bulbs I planted last fall.   I had carefully selected a variety of plants that would work with our levels of sun exposure, wouldn’t kill Otto, and would flower between March and June. I had visions of this:

Evidently I planted them a bit too soon and our Nov/Dec were a bit too warm, so several of the bulbs sprouted leaves starting in, oh, December. On the bright side it gave us year-round greenery at least.

The Mr. Fokker anemones have looked like this since Christmas:

And here are what the wood anemones sprouted months ago:

In a complete reversal, it’s been unusually cold for the past month or so, which means all of the things which should be getting ready to flower in March are just barely beginning to show signs of life.

But, the dog’s tooth violets are coming along right on time, thankfully, looking like this:

And I’m not sure what these are, probably some sort of allium

At least the japanese apricot tree is still going strong

And the lime tree that lives in the living room looks like it might actually produce some limes!

A baby lime?

Halloween 2012 at Old Gory

Halloween is one of our favorite holidays. In fact, we have more boxes dedicated Halloween stuff than Christmas stuff. For 2012  Grimbil went as Captain Kirk and I went as token alien chick. Mostly I just wanted to wear my friend’s awesome pink wig. I’m pretty proud of my costume and makeup, especially since I did them all myself:



For our party we served our traditional flayed skin cheesehead

Puking pumpkin guacamole

and way-too-strong vodka zombie brain

I also tried making some witches fingers. I think they look pretty good, but didn’t taste awesome:

One of my favorite new additions to our decorations was these bloody handprints that I found at the pound shop:

We also fixed up the living room to look like a spider infested abandoned house:

We had bats and candles along the staircase

And a bit of a surprise lurking in the loo

Last year we set up our graveyard in the front of the house and unfortunately some of our gravestones were stolen, so this year we set it up in the backyard for the party. Note the not-too-subtle message Grimbil has incorporated:

For actual Halloween day, we took the afternoon off work so we could set up for the trick or treaters. We set up our classic graveyard scene, but with a twist. Cuz it wouldn’t be Halloween without a twist, right?

See, last year Grimbil dressed up as the Grim Reaper and stood next to the path to our door, scaring the kids en route to and from their candy. So this year we used our coat rack to create a decoy and set it up in the same spot.

Some kids remembered our ploy last year and so gave the Grim Reaper a wide berth (or were too scared to set foot in our yard). But the joke was on them: Grimbil was laying in wait behind the bench, dressed as a werewolf. Cue screaming and laughing and some crying.

Not sure how we’re going to top that next year, but we have some time to figure it out.


And you thought we were done with curtains….

Ha! Here at Old Glory we (I mean yours truly) are never done obsessing about random house details. Be glad I didn’t regale you with how perfectly our new bath mat matches the color scheme in the loo.

So, a while ago Grimbil fitted some shelves above the washer and dryer in our foyer. These shelves go through varying degrees of organization, usually more on the horribly messy end of the spectrum. For a while we’ve been talking about putting up some curtains to hide the shelves.

20130217-232353.jpgThe foyer shelves on a good day

So, this weekend’s obsession was finding the exactly perfect fabric for the foyer shelves. How obsessed can we be? Oh honey.

Hours spent trying to find **anywhere** online in the UK that sells good quatrefoil fabric. By good I mean something like this:

Not something like this:

But clearly I don’t know the right websites. Or search terms. So, cue the last resort: actually going in person and physically looking for some good fabric. It didn’t even have to be quatrefoil, just something clean and modern and graphic.

But no joy.

So, I turned to Spoonflower, a website that has been taunting me. It’s basically Etsy specifically for fabrics and wallpaper. The bummer is that it’s based in the US, so hello extra shipping charges. But oh the awesome fabrics. Hello quatrefoil-ish mustaches!


After: the curtains

A year ago or so,  I posted our dilemma of what to do about curtains for the living room.  Then we got sidetracked with the upstairs renovations.  Then in August I mentioned that we were trying to figure out the curtains in the guest bedroom.  Well, I’m happy to report that our curtain cliffhangers are both now resolved.

We finally went for some cream curtains in the living room. I like that they have a very subtle stripe for a bit of texture.

The room feels softer, warmer, and more finished, but the curtains don’t compete for attention versus the art and antiques in the room.  We’re really pleased with how well they turned out.


In the bedroom we ended up going with the Meander pattern for the roman blind. The brighter green colors pick up the green in the artwork, and the brown picks up the brown stripe in the bedspread.

This also means the guest bedroom is almost finished — hopefully I’ll be able to post an After for that room in the next month or so!


Decisions decisions: dining room chairs

As posted previously, we’re pondering a new dining room table which of course means we will also need new chairs. The chairs are proving even harder to choose than the table.

We don’t want anything too formal. A lot of the modern but informal chairs either look too much like something from Beetlejuice for me, or too much like the plastic chairs you see in schools for Grimbil.  I’d really love to find some upholstered chairs with a cool pattern, but that is proving surprisingly difficult.

We could go for simple white leather and chrome, to go with the white and chrome theme in the kitchen. Something like this:


Or we could go for walnut from the same manufacturer as whichever table we pick. Perhaps something simple like this: