La Chatte Gitane (or The Gypsy Cat) was the name we chose for our cottage in France. We chose it while on the road, moving home, from Ireland to France with 2 dogs and 7 cats in the car.
This blog began its insignificant life as a recipe book for friends and family who would ask me repeatedly for a recipe of this, that and the other.
Since then it has taken many different directions, like gypsies tend to do. Sometimes making a U-turn and revisiting familiar roads and taking a break when necessary.
You'll find recipes here, but also musings about the places we've called home, the gardens that we've established, not always successfully, the homes we've improved and the environments we've lived in. Currently, that is back in Ireland.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Bedroom Makeover - Part 3

Wallpaper gone and carpet removed. Yeah ! 

Talking with my friend, Sophie yesterday, about a new use for the carpet she came up with a great idea and she deserves to have a good chunk of it. I was going to reuse it in the garden to suppress weeds in the raised veggie beds (when there is nothing of value in there) and on top of the compost.
But Sophie said smaller pieces (like a square foot, or more) would be ideal to suppress weeds around trees, fruit trees more specifically. There ! Sorted !

Never mind the linen cabinet. It will go temporarily on the landing upstairs, but not before the bath tub has been removed, which will happen today.

The wall which was adorned with the wallpaper will need a slight sanding too.

We can probably start with a first coat of paint later in the day.  I chose a Brilliant White (matt) for ceiling and most walls.  You can't see it properly in the photos, but the white that was there had a very beige look to it.
Some walls, like behind the bed and in the bathroom will get this colour . 

That's all for now. 
Hasta luego,
Patricia xxx...x

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Bedroom Makeover - Part 2 Point 75 - One Last Look... the room as it was. 
The bed has been dismantled, ready for taking it downstairs today. 
We'll be getting some assistance from a friend to move a few furniture pieces still.

Say goodbye to the ghastly wallpaper...

...and the carpet, which I've given one last Dyson treatment.
Looks good as new.
Maybe not ! 
Can you see the socket  in the sloping ceiling ? That is where the original good-for-nothing-except-for-hanging-a-TV-off wall was.
Take one last look at the wallpaper.

This has been a thorn in my eye since day one.

Made the bathroom sparkle, before the bath goes. Can't let the plumber take the bath out of a dirty bathroom, can I ?

Thursday week,  is when this will be covered up with vinyl flooring, and it isn't a day too soon.

What I'll be doing today :
  • give orders to Bert & friend to remove last of the furniture from room
  • give orders to Bert to phone plumber to get the tub out
  • rip up the carpet with said friend
  • scrape wallpaper off
  • fill holes and cracks in plaster
  • poke Bert to phone the plumber again
That's all folks. 
Patricia xxx...x

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Bedroom Makeover - Part 2 and a Half - New and Permanent Place for Coats

The coats were taking up too much room in the dressing area and there was unused space under the stairs.

As you can see in the photo above, half of the clothing rack at the top was taken up by long coats, short coats, wintery ones,  rainy daysy ones and fat knitted cardigan ones.

And now they are in the hallway downstairs, behind this door.

Like this.

They do have to share the space with Christmas decorations, a pop-up tent, that no one dares to pop up and a window blind.

The rest of Monday was a case of emptying the main bedroom some more, which will continue today. It's not a lot anymore. The bed needs to be dismantled, and put where exactly ?  Before I rip up the carpet I'll give it a good vacuum. Aye ! I don't want it to leave more dust than absolutely necessary on its way down.

We've slept in the guestroom for three nights now. It is snug, to say the least, what with the addition of furniture from our bedroom, but everything is tidy and clothing has been put away.
The first night it felt like we were on holidays at a hotel. A hotel where many previous guests had left their belongings behind. 
Laying on top of all three mattresses (yes, but one is only 6 cm thick and is actually a cover mattress) on the bed made for a strange sensation. The bottom one being a sprung and ours a memory foam one. Our own bed is 10 cm wider than the guest bed, which meant we were both clinging on to the center of the bed, in fear of falling off or out of the bed if we ventured too close to the edge.
The next two nights I slept much better. Only being woken by storm Imogen every now and again when she was  trying to lift the roof off the house.

Next (short) update can be expected tomorrow.
See you then !
Patricia xxx...x

Monday, February 08, 2016

Bedroom Makeover - Part 2 - Moving Out Stage

Following on from this post , I can tell you that the wallpaper poster of my photo arrived more than a week ago. I haven't had the guts to look at it yet, you know, once I unwrap it, I might have some difficulty to safely put it back into the cardboard cylinder.
I made a start at clearing our bedroom. It almost feels like moving house and I am suffering from 'déjà-vu'.
Luckily, this time the move is just across the landing, to the guestroom. Or Irma's Room, as I like to call it. Irma, my mum, has stayed in that room more often and longer than anyone else.

In normal circumstances the guestroom looks something like this :

Then the room got hit by a bomb :

I tried to squeeze as much furniture as possible from the master into the guestroom. Where else would I put it ? Don't fancy bringing everything downstairs, only to bring it back up again in a few weeks time (ok, probably a month).

We brought the two mattresses (yes, 2) from our bed and dumped them on top of the resident mattress.
I wonder how many more I will need not to feel 'The Pea'. There is always at least one cat wanting to know what we're up to.

Meanwhile in the main bedroom, the removal of (too much) stuff is still going on.

I'm ever so slightly embarrassed about the state of the carpet. But not enough to withhold  the photo from you. Haha ! Mum ! Look away, now.

As the week progresses, I will update the blog with more of this, if you don't mind.

Till next time.
Patricia xxx...x

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Visiting Wildlife

The other day I noticed Fergus staring out of the patio door windows. Not absent mindedly staring into the distance, hoping for great weather, but in a fixated manner.
I know my pets and their behaviours - most of the time, I hasten to add - so I knew there must have been something interesting to see outside. Often it is a bird coming near the window. This time it was a frog.
Excuse the filthy windows. We have a lot of salty rain which makes them greasy.

If the weather hadn't been so rank, Fergus surely would have gone outside for a closer inspection of Mr or Mrs Frog.

Not so much of a visitor, but our  pheasant in residence. We see him most days, strutting about and pecking some delicacies from the soil. He's a lovely looking chap and I hope he's here to stay.

When he is 'alarmed' he scutters in between the bushes and I believe that is where his home is, if they have a home, that is. I don't want to go and look as I could disturb his peace and then he might find another home.

It's such a great feeling to be able to live in a place like this, where you have wildlife visitors and residents so close to home. Amazing !

Patricia xxx...x

PS  A rainbow and...

...two cats napping

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

The Ruination of the Dogs' Mattresses

 Dogs in general, ours definitely, like to create a hollow den to sleep in. If you're not looking for 5 seconds they will have dug a hole in the garden, larger than themselves and they'll be cosely making their bed by the time you think "something's up, they are just too quiet".

Blackie often does the same with his cushion/mattress. He'll be scratching away, trying to create that perfect den. Unfortunately the covers are not tough enough to withstand the strong paws and nails. And then you get this ! Both of their cushions had a large tear with some of the stuffing spilling out over the floor.
Repairing them or making new covers wasn't on my to-do-list, but what can you do ?

 You stuff the stuffing into old pillowcases, tie them tight and start the washing machine tout de suite and keep going till all is clean. Of course the tumble drier was very been busy too.

While the laundromat is in full swing, you get your act together, also old cotton sheets, 2 old throws.

Make a slipcover from the cotton sheets to size, leaving an opening to stuff the stuffing into.

When filled to your satisfaction, close the opening.

Using old throws to make a removable pillowcase is the way to go. This is all about recycling and reusing what you have. Plus, these throws are strong enough (I hope) to withstand some wear and tear. One part is kept longer and folded over to keep the pillow in place.

And here they are. But that's not all. I laid an old fake fur throw on top. Ideal for scratching and making dens.

I think I've finally gotten over the cold/flu/whatever.  The motivation was there yesterday to get these cushions redone. I cleaned the floor in their room (garage) too. Everything fresh, even me.

Patricia xxx...x

Friday, January 29, 2016

Collection of Artwork

Over the years we have acquired quite a collection of original works.
Some we bought, some were gifts from people who have touched our lives at one time or another. I cherish them. I even put most of them in mounting board ages ago. Wrapped them well for them to be framed in the future.
Picture framing was a part of my art supply business way back when. Now, after all these years, I have no idea where to get framing materials in or to the area where I live.
Obviously nothing will fit into standard size frames.
While rummaging in my craft room I unearthed them and looked through. Some are still okay. But unfortunately the etching prints show some foxing and in some cases severe foxing.

It breaks my heart and I am very disappointed in myself for not taking better care of them.

I'm afraid the severely affected ones will need professional help. But who ? where ? How to find someone ?
One of the downsides of living in the sticks, I guess.
Anyone out there who can point me in the right direction ?

Patricia xxx...x
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