Home decorating ideas on a budget
8 ways to add wow factor to a room.
We’re always trying to come up with ideas to liven up our homes, I know I am. But are there any home decorating ideas that we can use that keep to a small budget? I’ve put together a list of things that I think work well, and create a decent living space.
#1 Fabulous feature wall
First things first. You need to decide which wall is going to be your feature wall. Choose the one that your eye is automatically drawn to when you enter the room, the focal point. It could be the one that has the mantelpiece on it, the one with the TV, or the one that provides a backdrop to your comfy sofa. Whatever the way. Make sure it’s right.
Feature walls tend to work best in rooms with not much going on. So avoid using them in rooms that are overcrowded with stuff, you don’t want to overdo it.
So, what do you do with it?
You can’t go wrong with paint (well….). It’s cheap, it’s easy and can be very effective providing you’ve picked the right colour. I took on a feature wall project, and went bright green. This was a mistake. Do not do this.
In hindsight, if I had thought about it a little bit more and dressed the room properly, it would have looked OK. But it doesn’t, and I can’t be bothered re painting. I’ve covered it in photo’s to try and hide it a bit.
So, be as bold as you like (I did) but make sure you have the right furniture to decorate around it with, make sure that whatever colour you choose works. There is no point in being bold for the hell of it. You can do a lot more with less.
How about some wallpaper? How about some textured wallpaper? Personally, I don’t do wall paper. It’s a right faff and once it’s on, it’s on. And it’s a pain in the rear to remove.
I’m aware there are easy fit ranges around nowadays, but yeah.
I’ve seen some amazing wallpaper, a friend of mine purchased some that felt like velvet with floral patterns. That was nice. When I lived with my parents, my room had this awesome pink and silver wallpaper that looked funky! We used textured paint on 3 of the walls, and painted the radiators metallic purple. BOLD is an understatement.
Do what feels right, if wallpaper is your cup of tea, then go for it. If you’re like me and change your mind fairly often, go with paint.
#2 Fancy frames and fool proof fun
Go into any shop with a home décor aisle and they are FILLED with absolutely loads of quirky frames, and unique pieces that are made to make your rooms stand out. LED arrows, vintage posters, traditional frames and all sorts. You can get them for next to nothing and they will definitely make a difference to the overall feel of your room.
I love the idea of taking loads of random mismatched frame styles, and clustering them together on a boldly coloured wall. If you’re into shabby chic styles, you could even re-paint the frames to suit whatever colour you have on your walls.
You can do a lot with very little when it comes to frames. For example, just putting your family photos in plain white or black has a great effect on a room. Especially if you have a brightly coloured feature wall that needs filling.
So frames. It’s a yes from me. Be adventurous, and forget symmetry.
#3 Cushions, clocks and quirky chaos
Probably could have just called this section ‘Accessories’. But I like a good line of alliteration.
So, you’ve sorted your feature wall, and added all your photo frames and what not. Where to next?
How about some decorative cushions? If you’re unsure about colour etc., take a look at our previous post about the science of colour. There’s a section in there about what colours to use and where. Very handy.
The options are endless when it comes to cushions. Go for plain coloured to match the colour of your walls, or opt for some stylish patterns to make a statement. Why not mix and match and have a variety? Or how about a couple of personalised ones to add to the family feel?
Time flies when you’re having fun. Clocks are a great way to fill up empty space. At HNP we have some beautiful slate clocks that would go fabulously in any room with a blue/grey colour scheme. Make them work for you. You know what you like, so you decide.
#4 Luxurious lighting
The options for lighting are endless, but I suppose it depends on the room you’re doing up, and what you’re trying to convey. Are you going modern or vintage? Colour or monochrome? Or are you like me and just want to be able to see what the flippin’ ‘eck you’re doing without stubbing you’re little toe? If you answered yes to all those questions. I’ve got the solutions.
If you want to add just a simple touch of ‘something´ to your room a basic lampshade will do the trick. There are so many places that sell them fairly cheaply and they can do wonders. I recently bought some coloured ones from a well-known retailer, on sale at £3.49 each, they’re brilliant. They match my colour scheme perfectly, literally couldn’t get any closer to the colour.
If you’re a bit fancier, lots of retailers sell ‘faux’ chandelier, or ‘chandelier effect’ lamp shades. They look great, but it’s worth shopping around to find the best quality for the best price.
The other thing that is quite popular at the moment is vintage camera style lamps. They stand on 3 legs and have really lovely vintage effect light bulbs (you can change these). They look fantastic, and you can get them relatively cheaply from a number of high street stores.
#5 Mirror, mirror on the wall maximise the light in my hall
Mirrors are great at reflecting things (shock horror) so use them to your advantage not only to make your room brighter, but they are also useful for making your rooms look bigger.
There are some absolutely beautiful mirrors out there, whether you prefer plain or elaborate designs. Shop around, see what’s out there, and use them to your advantage.
#6 Clever clip-board art
I saw this idea on theordinarylovely.com and absolutely loved it. Using clipboards, as a decoration. Rachel (Author of theordinarylovely.com) suggests it for a kid’s bedroom. But why not use it somewhere else too? Find some of your favourite comics, patterned wallpaper, paint even, and make it work. Hang 2 or 3 vertically and line up 2 or 3 of these alongside each other for great feature wall decorations.
Or as my colleague said ‘why not just hang the poster up?’ *Pfft* Well, that would be too easy wouldn’t it? We’re all about quirkiness and adventure ‘ere.
#7 Repaint, recycle, rejuvenate
A lot of us have pieces of furniture which have sentimental value, but unfortunately look awful because of their age, or because of how they’ve been used over the years.
But still, you want to keep it, because well, its part of the family isn’t it?
I’ve a solution, well it’s not mine, but everybody is doing it.
Shabby Chic. Sand down the wood and get the paint out! Give it that lease of life it so desperately needs. Or go one further, paint every drawer a different colour, and the shell a different colour again. Ooooooh Yes! Go wild with the paint brush.
Or, just be sensible and ignore every word I just said.
Seriously though, get your creative hat on. I would recommend planning before doing anything too drastic. Do a bit of research too, see what everyone else is doing.
#8 I didn’t choose the rug life, the rug life chose me
I love rugs! I have an absolutely huge rug in my living room which is still too small. You can make a huge statement, especially if you pick one that completely contrasts everything in that room.
If you shop around, you’ll find a bargain, guaranteed. There are places out there, including charity shops that will have some second hand ones in really decent condition.
Choosing colours for your home – The science and psychology of colours
Here at HNP, each of us has our favourite type of house sign, so it would be natural to feel a little bit fussy when choosing colours for your home. Our customer service team as a collective prefer the pastel coloured aluminium house signs. Our marketing team prefer the brightly coloured acrylics, and management tend towards the glossy, black, brass house signs.
We are intrigued as to why colour preference differs from person to person so as a result, we want to conduct some research.
The science of colour dates back to around 460bc and possibly before. This article will examine where it started and how one philosophers’ theory paved a way for research which is still undertaken today.
We will look at Hippocrates, Carl Jung and Sir Isaac Newton and their contributions to the science of colour.
For a broader understanding of colour, we will look at colour systems and where they are used. What colour combinations work best referring to the colour wheel, and different colour codes used in today’s technology. Also of course, how colour applies to us here at The House Nameplate Company.
The psychology of colour.
We often associate colour with feelings. For example, if I say ‘red’ you might think of love, danger, passion or blood. If I say ‘yellow’ you might think of sunshine, flowers, happiness or energy.
But why is this?
What is it that sparks these associations inside our minds?
Ancient Greece – The theory of temperament
To understand this concept, first of all we must travel back to 460 BC and shake hands with the father of Western medicine, Hippocrates.
Hippocrates developed the theory of temperament.
Hippocrates believed that the behaviour of humans was determined by the volume of each of four fluids that exist within the human body.
Yellow bile – Choleric (bad tempered and irritable)
Black bile – Melancholic (sad and depressed)
Red blood – Sanguine (optimistic and positive)
Green Phlegm – Phlegmatic (calm and unemotional)
Each of these represented a number of personality traits as highlighted above.
Hippocrates believed that a perfect balance of all four fluids meant a person was healthy. The predominance of one of these fluids meant a person was diseased. He believed that determined the temperament of a person. I.e. The predominance of yellow bile meant a person was likely bad tempered and irritable (choleric). Subsequently Hippocrates theory was deemed incorrect but it paved a way for new research.
Carl Jung, a 20th century psychologist built on Hippocrates theory of temperament and further developed the idea using four colours. Each colour, like Hippocrates fluids, has a set of characteristics.
Cool blue – analytical, objective, detached, unbiased
Two very different forces that oppose and complement each other respectively.
Quite often they are represented by the yin and yang symbol. Each half sits comfortably in the other, but their colours (black and white) are direct opposites.
Jung writes that people with these attitude types often react differently to situations based on their most developed function, which leads on to the four functions.
Each of these four functions are very different. The thinker will use intellect and rationality to make their way through life.
The feeler, would use their heart rather than their head to evaluate. On the basis of whether it feels right or wrong, pleasant or unpleasant.
A person with a developed sensation function would make decisions based on the senses (touch, taste, sight, sound, smell)
A person with a developed intuition function would act on their gut, subconsciously telling them what is required of them.
The science of colour
To understand the science behind colour, we must first ask the question ‘What is colour?’
In the early 1600’s Sir Isaac Newton conducted a number of experiments which used sunlight and prisms. The results of these experiments proved that clear white light was made up of seven colours.
Newton’s discovery created a path for others to follow in an attempt to find out the answer to the question ‘what is colour?’
The seven colours:
These colours exist on what we call the colour spectrum which consists of colours visible to the human eye.
There are however, colours beyond the spectrum which are invisible to the human eye. You may have heard of infrared and ultra violet.
Infrared is a measure of, or can be a measure of heat from an object. We can’t see infrared, but can use a special camera which detects heat, and converts that heat into an electronic signal. That signal is transferred and processed into a thermal image. This allows us to make temperature calculations, like you may have seen during a weather forecast.
Police helicopters also use infrared cameras to detect heat when eyes on the ground can no longer see the subject they are pursuing.
We can only see the effects of ultraviolet light (UV). Things that contain phosphorus are stimulated by UV.
UV light produces invisible photons, and when these photons hit the phosphorous particles they give off visible light.
Ultraviolet light is a conversion. Invisible light hits objects containing phosphorous and they become fluorescent when hit by UV and as a result, we see the light that is reflected from an object.
Additive versus Subtractive
When you take pigments of the three primary colours (red, green and blue) and mix them together, you get a black coloured solution. This is because pigments mix in a colour subtractive way. Because of absorption (light has been absorbed rather than reflected) colour is subtracted out of the overall effect.
An artist physically mixing paint in a studio is an example of subtractive colour, as is printing (we’ll come to this later). Whereas additive colour occurs in electronic devices.
If I were to project red, green and blue light on to a surface, it would appear white. By changing the intensity of these three colours we could create any colour in existence. Potentially.
Red, green and blue are called additive primaries. These three colours are the only colours the human eye can see. Everything else is an illusion.
If we were to add together two pure additive primaries, for example, red and blue, we would get a subtractive primary of magenta.
Equally if we were to add together two subtractive primaries, we would get one additive primary colour.
Televisions, phones, tablets and computers all use the additive colour system. Starting with darkness, adding red, green and blue light to create the whole spectrum.
Electronic devices replicate the eyes’ response to additive primaries to create an illusion of colour.
For example, a computer blends intensities of red, green and blue light in every pixel. Pixels are so small that the eye thinks it’s seeing all these different colours.
Printers work using the subtractive colour system. Printers work with reflected light because they transfer colour on to a surface. For this to happen they use the opposing subtractive primaries. Cyan, magenta and yellow.
Cyan directly opposes red
Magenta directly opposes green
Yellow directly opposes blue
When the subtractive primary colours are put on white paper (a reflective surface) each colour either completely absorbs or subtracts it’s opposite from the white light. This controls the amount of red, green and blue light that is reflected from the white.
Subtractive colour printing uses one extra colour; ‘K’ or black. Black is added to create four colour printing (CMYK).
Cyan + magenta + yellow = brown
Cyan + magenta + yellow + black = black
Black is neutralising and adds density to shadows. There is a problem with the transition from monitor to printer though. A monitor will show us true colour (16million of them) but a printer isn’t capable of producing such a high volume of colours, so as a result the colour quality differs between paper and screen.
Therefore, additive colour systems use light, and exist in the digital world. They take a black surface and gradually add white.
Subtractive colour systems involve pigments, and exist when you are physically mixing colours, starting with white and gradually adding black.
The RGB colour system is a system that represents the colours from a computer screen. Red, green and blue can be mixed to create any colour in the spectrum by altering the intensities. The intensities of red, green and blue range from 0 to 100%.
Each colour has 256 levels and each level is defined by the decimal numbers between 0 – 255. Multiplying 256 by 3 gives you the number of available colours which is 16,777,216.
C = cyan
M = magenta
Y = yellow
K = black
The CMYK system works by combining primary pigments and is used for printed colour displays. Colour and pigments are different in that colour is energy radiated by a luminous object. Pigment represents energy which is not absorbed.
When you see cyan on paper, it appears this colour because it absorbs most of the energy except in that colour section of the spectrum. It appears cyan because that light is reflected.
Hexadecimal colour codes
Hexadecimal codes represent red, green and blue. A computer screen creates colour by combining red, green and blue light. 100% of each makes white and 0% of each creates black.
A hexadecimal code is represented using 6 digits, which make up 3, 2-digit codes. Each 2-digit code represents a shade of red, green or blue.
#000100 = Zero red, creating the darkest possible shade of green
#010101 = Zero blue, all are equal creating the darkest possible grey
#000000 = black
#FFFFFF = white. Why?
Hexadecimal codes make it possible to represent 256 colours using only 2 digits. Instead of counting 1 through 10 the hexadecimal system counts 1 through 9 and then A through F then 10.
21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 30 and so on.
This system makes FF the highest possible ‘number’. Which is why white is represented by #FFFFFF.
#FF0000 = Pure red
#00FF00 = Pure green
#0000FF = Pure blue
The Pantone matching system
The pantone colour system allows you to use colours that can’t be achieved by using CMYK, and is understood by most printers. Pantone colours are determined by a number and a suffix (letter).
Number = Colour
Letter = Type of surface
The system is a standardised colour system which allows collaborating companies to match colour without the need to have direct contact with one another. Pantone offer books that show you what colours will look like printed on different surfaces, which also makes it easier for collaborating companies to colour match.
For an artist, an illustrator, a graphic designer or anyone using colour to create effect, it’s important to know what colour combinations work well together and which ones won’t.
There are 6 main colour combinations.
Monochromatic – Monochromatic colouring uses only one colour and is best used for single subjects. The effect it usually creates is atmospheric and striking.
Analogous – The colours are usually adjacent on the colour wheel. Displays using this effect are usually easy on the eyes, are peaceful and comfortable and are usually seen in nature.
Triadic – The colours used for this effect are usually distanced equally from each other on the colour wheel. They are usually used for cartoons and un-real scenes, and can be bright and punchy to look at.
Complementary – These colours oppose each other on the colour wheel. This combination is very popular. It is usually visually pleasing and involves using the weaker colour more than the stronger colour.
Split complementary – This combination is similar to the complementary colour effect, except it takes one of the opposing colours and moves over one step on the colour wheel, ‘splitting’ the opposing colour.
Tetratic – Sometimes called double complementary. This combination takes the complementary effect using 2 colours and splits to create 4. When lined up, you could draw a rectangle on the colour wheel, connecting each colour.
This is a basic understanding of colour combinations, but as an artist you will be inclined to experiment with colour and create masterpieces based on your perception of what looks good.
Going back to the original point of why different people prefer different colours and styles, the psychology behind colour has proven to be the most helpful in trying to find that out. It would seem that people are drawn to colours that match their personalities with regards to association. I.e. purple is my favourite colour, which is associated with independence, calm, creativity and ambition.
Without going into too much depth, those traits associated with purple do in fact correspond to some aspects of my life. If you were to look into your favourite colour, and the traits associated with that colour, you may find that your personality matches too.
It would seem that there was some truth in what Hippocrates was trying to convey through his theory of temperament. Despite the fact that the theory was disproved, as a result of his research, he did help towards further development for psychologists such as Jung.
Jung’s theory of temperament relies on finding out whether a person is an introvert or an extravert and which of the four functions is most developed within a person.
Jung was able to take the basis of the theory and adapt it by helping us realise that people don’t fall into one colour category, but the traits that exist in one of the colour categories will stand out in each person.
Newton discovered the colour spectrum and led the way to research which questioned colour and how it worked. We found out that colours either side of red and violet on the spectrum are invisible to the human eye but can be detected using special technology.
The additive colour system goes hand in hand with the RGB colour system which exists in digital technology, mixing light at different intensities to create the whole spectrum of colour (over 16 million different colours).
The subtractive colour system is used in printing on reflective surfaces, and uses the theory about energy absorption, reflection and CMYK. CMYK is a combination of primary pigments which create colours based on absorption and reflection.
Hexadecimal codes are fairly simple to use once you understand that each code represents a different shade of red, green or blue.
Pantone colour matching system makes it easy for businesses collaborating to achieve the same colours across the board.
And what colour combination you use for a display is based on what you are trying to achieve through that display.
Colour at HNP
Finally, at the House Nameplate company we offer personalisation on all of our house signs and numbers. You can become the designer and create exactly what you want using our personalisation tool.
Take the acrylic house signs for example. We offer a wide range of colours for background and text and you can choose what looks best. Personally I like the complementary effect, i.e. Yellow and purple or orange and blue because they stand out and make a statement.
You might prefer monochromatic colouring, whereby you have a clear background with just your house name or number. You could go even further and make every letter or number a different colour and adopt Newton’s rainbow effect. The options are there to be creative, all you have to do is click personalise.
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When you’re out and about in Wales, especially in the far North, you may find that you need to use a few key Welsh words and phrases to help you out a bit. You don’t want to be walking around with a dictionary in your pocket either, so learning a few helpful phrases will be beneficial to you before you head out into the wild wild Welsh.
Even if you’ve decided you just want to learn Welsh, perhaps because you’ve moved over here to live and think it might be useful, our handy guide will be perfect for you.
For your convenience, we’ve added the Welsh word and its proper spelling (yes I know), the English translation and of course the phonetic pronunciation to help get your head around it.
Some are more simple than others, give it a go it’s not as bad as it looks.
Hello – Helo – Hello
Goodbye – Hwyl fawr – who ill fower
Good morning – Bore da – Boh reh dah
Good evening – Noswaith da – Noss why th dah
How are you? – S’mae? – S’my
Great thank you – Iawn diolch – Yown dee olck
What’s your name? – beth ydy dy enw di? – beth uh dee duh enoo dee
Please – Os gwelwch yn dda – oss goo el wck un th ah
Thank you – Diolch – dee olck
You’re welcome – Croeso – Croy so
Excuse me – Esgusodwch fi – Es gis odd ooch fee
I’m sorry – Mae’n ddrwg gen i – Mine ddroog gen ee
I don’t understand – Dwi ddim yn deall – Do ee thim un day athl
I can’t speak Welsh – Alla i ddim siarad Cymraeg – Athla ee thim see are add Cymraeg
Do you Speak English? – Ydych chi’n siarad Cymraeg? – Udd ick keen see are add Say sneg?
Where is the toilet? – Ble mae’r toiled? – Bleh myre toilet
These are just a few simple phrases that will be useful when you’re out and about in Wales. There will be more, keep an eye out for our future posts full of Welsh phrases that will be helpful to you.
Apparently they’re called complementary colours not clashing. So I’ve been wrong since, forever. I had always thought that colours opposite each other on the colour wheel were clashing. Turns out they look awesome with each other. Like they do in these funky acrylic house numbers and signs that are unique and contemporary, perfect for those of you who want to make an impact on your home.
Orange and Grey
The orange and grey works brilliantly, the cooling effect of the grey decreases the intensity of the orange giving the perfect balance.
Cream and Maroon
Makes me think of rhubarb and custard sweets. These two colours are brill together! And I especially love the number inside the circle.
Blue is a great colour, it’s on the cooling side of the colour wheel. This would look great on a home near the seaside where relaxation is the end goal.
Red and Green
Now, I would never put red and green together, except maybe at Christmas. But this REALLY works. It’s quirky, it’s bright, and it’s visually appealing. Why wouldn’t you want this house number for your home?
Personalised Acrylic House Signs
Our acrylic house signs can all be personalised to your hearts content. So If you want to unleash the designer inside of you. You can do just that. See below for a brief example of what you can do, I’ve used clashing colours – I mean complimentary colours for these because I just love them! You can do almost anything and If you can’t find what you’re looking for on the website, just give us a shout and we will do our best to help you create your perfect house sign.
A little bit of science…
Colour, is a wonderful thing. And the science behind colour is pretty interesting.
I’m not going into the deepest darkest depths of space and time on this,(that will come in a later post). But it is really interesting to know a bit about these things isn’t it?
I mentioned before about complementary colours, and after a bit of research I found out a little bit more.
Colours opposite each other, we already know are called complementary. They get this name because when they are shined together on the same spot they look white.
The colour appears white but unlike sunlight it does not contain all the colours of the spectrum, only the two colours shined together in the same spot i.e Blue and Yellow or red and green.
So there’s a bit about complementary colours. Look out for the follow up post about ‘The science of colour.’
Here at HNP we predominantly design and create beautiful house signs. But on occasion we get requests that we just can’t refuse.
Take a look at our latest bespoke project, brought into us by a lovely gentleman who goes by the name of ‘Big Al.’
He brought us this beautifully cut, heavy, steel dragon that he tells us he found in his garage.
We were delighted to be asked to sand blast, powder coat and paint such a beautiful piece, because we were taken aback by the detail.
We could see that someone had gone to great lengths to create an absolute gem of a piece.
The team couldn’t wait to get started.
First of all, Darren got the dragon into the fire breathing sand blaster (It doesn’t really blast fire, I just wanted to get fire breathing in here somewhere).
The sand blaster was used to clean down the dragon to bare metal, this makes it easier to work with when it comes to powder coating.
How the Sand blaster works
Sand blasting works by firing very fine sand particles through an air powered pressure gun at a surface (usually metal) that needs cleaning down to bare material. It is also used to engrave.
At HNP we have 2 sand blasters.
Neil and Mustafa (2 of our skilled craftsmen) were calling one of them the ‘red’ sand blaster. I was laughed at when I asked why it was called the ‘red’ sand blaster. To which they replied “because that’s what colour it is”
Forgive me lads, for thinking that maybe, just maybe, there might have been some fancy, magic red sand or something.
The red sand blaster is used for extremely delicate material such as glass, it is much finer and I’m told is more like a powder. This makes it more difficult to break the glass with the pressure of the sand blaster.
We also have a blue sand blaster. Because that’s what colour it is. The sand is thicker and can cut through stronger materials i.e granite and slate for a beautiful engraved effect.
Simon with his ‘metal’ skills (I tried to make a joke, I failed miserably) was awesome with the powder coating.
How powder coating works
The powder coating process is brilliant and very science-y. It’s put through a process called Electrostatic Spray Deposition (ESD).
First the product is heated to 200 degrees C in a huge oven.
Once this is done it gets taken out and hung on a metal bar that has an earth cable running through it.
When he’s ready, Simon arms himself with the powder coating gun, like a powder coating jedi, which is used to spray the product with the powder coating solution.
The powder coater finishes the circuit and the product acts as a magnet, the solution is drawn to the surface and sticks, forming a smooth black surface.
The product gets a couple of even coats, back and front to ensure maximum coverage.
Once all this is done, the product is put back in the oven and baked at 220 degrees C for around 10 minutes. Once it has cooled it is ready for the next step.
For all of our metal products here at HNP, we use enamel paint to get a solid, glossy finish.
So, finally the paint is sprayed on to give it a perfectly smooth, even finish with a stunning shine.
The paint takes a week to dry because it is so thick and hard wearing, it’s placed on a frame of shelves where it can dry naturally and cannot get damaged.
A stunning Welsh Dragon
When we presented this gorgeous dragon to its owner. He responded with one word.
And that is a response we love! Because we know that we’ve done a good job as a result.
I can see why. Just look at it! I personally was made up with this, I think it is absolutely wonderful.
He then proceeded to say…
“Can I stroke it?”
Of course, it’s yours sir.
But you can see what I’m getting at. He loved it, he was impressed, he was bewildered by that stunning red, glossy finish, as were we.
What else can we do?
So, as you have seen here, we are able to sand blast and powder coat a Welsh Dragon in the space of a week.
What else can we do?
Having had a chat with Simon, Neil and Mustafa they came to the conclusion that the biggest item we could sand blast would probably be a bike frame.
So if you need sand blasting and powder coating in Wrexham, give us a call or send us a message and tell us what you need, if we can help, we will.
I hate to admit it, but I fancy myself a bit of a locomotive enthusiast. Not by choice though, well I suppose it was a choice. Kind of a forced choice to be fair.
I tried for years to get my other half dis-interested in trains but to no avail. We have a bit of a saying, we train wives.
‘You can take the boy out of the train, but you can’t take trains out of the boy’
It truly is a sad story, of endless railway visits and ‘I’ve fired that’ (put coal on it) and blocking the aisle in Smiths because someone is trying to find photos of himself.
I mean, once upon a time a train was a train, now I know their numbers, where they were built, the number of the shed where they’re kept, what stock they pulled ‘back in the day’.
We have another saying which is pretty apt for this situation.
‘If you can’t beat them, join them.’
Wahey, so here I am. Writing to you, about trains. *Sigh*
I sound really negative, but it’s actually really exciting. Getting to ride on the footplate (the bit where the whistle is) whenever I want. Managing to pull the whistle, and I have even ridden with Jools Holland up to the shed in Llangollen. My hero.
And then there’s the nitty gritty crap, like cleaning the things. If you’ve seen the size of these majestic beasts you’ll understand why I tend to disappear when it happens. Although, a couple of years ago I had a great time with the hose pipe. Safe to say we were all drenched, had a great time.
I’d much prefer to ride the footplate though.
Trains at the House Nameplate Company?
Where do steam trains come into the House Nameplate Company then? I hear you ask.
This blog post though, is to give you a bit of an education about the UK’s most famous locomotives. You will have heard of at least 2 of these. If you haven’t then you’ve probably got a half decent social life.
It really is exciting. How many of you can say you’ve pulled the whistle of a 100 tonne steam locomotive?
Because I can!
Right, lets get to it.
#1 Flying Scotsman
Probably the most famous British Steam Locomotive in the UK at the moment. It’s recently had a huge overhaul, and has been running on the main-line, so people were really excited about it.
Built in Doncaster for the LNER (London and North Eastern Railway) 1923
Designed by Sir Nigel Gresley
Top speed of 100mph
Weighs 97 tonnes
Carries 9 tonnes of coal in the tender
Carries 5000 gallons of water
Cool right? Big numbers for a big loco.
Mallard broke the land speed record of 126mph in 1938. A very beautiful steam engine painted in Blue, part of the A4 class where 6 are currently in restored condition. I had the privilege of seeing the 6 A4 class locomotives during their reunion at Shildon. It was a magnificent sight to see, and it was absolutely jam packed with people.
Set the speed record for a steam locomotive of 126mph in 1938
Built in Doncaster for LNER 1938
Designed by Sir Nigel Gresley
Weighs 165 tonnes
Carried 9 tonnes of coal
Carries 5000 gallons of water
#3 The Stephenson Rocket
A very early Steam Locomotive which brought together a number of revolutionary innovations to be the most advanced steam locomotive of its day. Probably the most famous example of a developing design of steam locomotive by Stephenson.
Top speed of 28mph
Designed by George Stephenson
Built in 1829 in Newcastle upon Tyne for the Liverpool and Manchester Railway
Weighs 4 tonnes
#4 Thomas the Tank engine
He had to be in here, I couldn’t possibly write a post about trains and NOT include Thomas the Tank engine could I? The little Blue B….. as he is known by enthusiasts far and wide. But he brings in a lot of tourism to a lot of railways, but some would say that the popularity is dwindling.
A fictional Steam Locomotive from the Railway Series by the Reverend Wilbert Awdry
Origins of the E2 class designed by Lawson Billington
Narrated by Ringo Star
Blue engine with No 1 on the side
Scary face that gives me nightmares
#5 Last but definitely not least Hogwarts Express.
What would I be if I didn’t include this absolute gem? Hogwarts Express as most people know it, but we train buffs know it as ‘Olton Hall’. I got to stand on the footplate of this beautiful piece of machinery at the National Railway Museum in York. And as a HUGE H.P fan, I got a massive buzz from it.
Hogwarts Express; Also knows as ‘Olton Hall’
Designed by Charles Collett
Built in Swindon in 1937
Weighs 75 tonnes
Carries 4000 gallons of water
So there you have it, some absolutely pointless trivia about the most famous steam trains in the UK. You never know when it might come up in a pub quiz.
So if you are decorating a bedroom for a child that likes trains, get yourself onto our website and purchase a stunning brass nameplate. ‘Hogwarts Express’ I can see it now!
Or if you are a Steam Engine enthusiast who wants a replica name plate, give us a call, we can do that too.
The Welsh are known for having weird words for everything, so we thought we’d put together a collection of 35 funny welsh words and what they mean along with how they are pronounced and the English translation.
Spigoglys – spee gog liss – Spinach
2. Gwdihw – goo dee who – Owl
3. Mwclis – moo clees – Beads/Necklace
4. Cwningen – coo ning en – Rabbit
5. Bochdew – borc dew – Hamster
6. Pili Pala – pilly palla – Butterfly
7. Jack Codi Baw – jack cod ee bah oo – JCB
8. Twmffat – tomb fat – Idiot
9. Man a man a mwnci – man ah man ah moon key – Might as well
10. Bwci bo – boo key bore – Ghost
11. Sponcen – spon ken – Squash
12. Wiwer – we wear – Squirrel
13. Smwddio – smooth yo – To iron
14. Wilber – will bear – Wheel barrow
15. Chyrligwgan – coo early goo gan – Merry go round
16. Moron – moh ron – Carrot
17. Paffio – pah fee oh – Fighting
18. Broga – broh gah – Frog
19. Ceiliog – kay lee og – Rooster
20. Crwban – crue ban – Tortoise
21. Technoleg – tech knoll egg – technology
22. Cyfrifiadur – cyf riv yard uhr – Computer
23. Creision – cray shon – Crisps
24. Digidol – dig eed oll – digital
25. Cwpan – coop an – cup
26. Stondin – ston din – stand
27. Blodyn – blod in – flower
28. Bysedd – bus eth – fingers
29. Gwalltgof – gwall t goh v – wild
30. Porffor – pour for – purple
31. Spectol – spec toll – glasses
32. Cwtch – coo ch – hug
33. Cynffon – cun ffon – tail
34. Mwsogl – moos ogle – moss
35. Igam ogam – ee gam oh gam – zigzag
So that’s that.
The welsh language is funny, for some words, for example Butterfly, we have 3 completely different words.
Iar fach yr haf (Little summer chicken)
Why? I couldn’t tell you, but that’s the beauty of it. It just depends on which part of Wales you come from.
There are probably millions more of these awesome words! But for me, these are the best and they are ones we use on a regular basis here in Wales.
5 of the best lifestyle blogs in the UK, according to HNP
I’ve been particularly excited about 5 of the best lifestyle blogs in the UK this week.
One of the best blogs I’ve ever read. She is completely brilliant in every single way. I’ve been following her wedding prep from day 1 (almost) and I can’t wait to borrow some of her ideas myself.
I shed a few happy tears reading through the latest post about the wedding, you know, those tears you get half smiling because something is super cute! Everything was perfect, the dress, the location, the wigwams, I can’t imagine anything better. I love the outdoors.
I love her honesty about everything, a rare quality in many people these days. Her writing style is fun, and I can’t wait for the next post! Read all about it here.
A beautifully vintage blog, very sweet and easy to read. I had to include this in this post. She’s all about vintage design, and I kid you not, some of the stuff on here is stunning. Including the brilliant logo that you see when you open the home page.
Susie writes reviews and updates her readers with all the quirky, home made life hacks she uses in her own home! It really is a great blog to read. Highly recommend it. View it here.
#3 The Ana Mum Diary
Amanda. A mum, a wife and a writer is how she describes herself. This blog has sparked my interest in interior design. Since reading this blog I have been enthralled in what goes on behind the scenes in the world of design in general. The one thing I love about Amanda, is her family focus. The majority of the blog is based on interior design but a large part is based on what her family get up to. I especially love the post about Harry Potter themed Games. (Bit of a fan over here)
An award winning blog by Rachel a Mum to two boys, with a love for family friendly interior design.
I absolutely love this blog. I love things that appeal to everyone, and this really does. She writes about quirky wallpaper glued to clipboards for an AWESOME feature wall effect and other brilliant life hacks. I particularly love the way Rachel can take a product meant for toy storage and make it into the perfect breakfast in bed tray. I don’t get breakfast in bed though, but I reckon I could pull some strings.
She writes a lot about her boys and their every changing tastes. The perfect excuse to try out new design trends right? what could be better?
I love the family feel this blog gives, and the blog is so easy to read and really fun too.
I think you can guess what this blog is about. I drink LOTS of tea. When I came across this I was made up. A whole (almost) blog about tea, afternoon tea, guest posts about tea and a bit of interior design along the way.
The blog by Candace is fun, pretty and easy to read. A lady from our neck of the woods here in North Wales too, it’s only natural that she’d be a tea drinker.
White, no sugar, milk in first, teapot. How do you have yours?
Head over to her blog now, a tea drinkers delight.
What the colour of your front door says about you.
Have you Ever wondered what the colour of your front door says about you? I’ve put together a list of door colours and what they mean, perhaps you’ll find yourself in one of the descriptions. Maybe you’ll decide to change your colour because you feel yours is giving off the wrong vibe.
Grey is traditionally a colour associated with sorrow, but in recent years has become popular with interior designers. Using Grey can be good for reducing the intensity of bright colours without affecting the look. A grey front door shows you appreciate the finer things in life. You are subtle, sincere and confident.
You like to stand out from the crowd, but interestingly you’re a bit of a people pleaser. You like things that reflect your personality. Traditionally, yellow is a colour that uplifts, provides clarity and displays a positive charge. You won’t be easily missed with your yellow door, it’s bright and sunny just like your personality.
Hepburn and Schiarapelli are your inspiration. You’re inspired by the past and you love to take risks. Equally, you can’t stand people who don’t. The grey door individual is your perfect match.
You should live in London. Or anywhere in the UK. Red is an intense colour and represents power and passion. As a person you enjoy history and have a polished-nostalgic connection with décor. Your garden is where you want to be, with your favourite china mug brimmed with tea. You’re a royalist and believe that all children should be dressed like Prince George.
Screams modern doesn’t it? Your orange door reflects your need for clean lines and colour. You’re a neat freak and you hate clutter. Orange shows you are thoughtful, sincere and you welcome your guests with open arms.
Rarely found in nature, but when it is, it’s truly incredible. You’re a natural born leader and you don’t care what people think. Your purple door shows you were probably an artist in a past life. You’re a collector of everything and you’re a natural born creative.
The colour of authority and sophistication, I guess that’s why they painted the door of number 10 in this colour… Moving on.
If you’ve painted your door black, chances are you have a busy life and you meet new people, see new places on a regular basis. You always know when to say, do, wear the right things.
Your door is green, you love autumn and your favourite accessory is your pair of hunter wellies. You probably have expensive taste too. You have a lot of self-respect and a lot of time to pursue new ideas and see them through. A real creative.
So your door is blue. You’re a person of tradition. Your house is filled with oak furniture, and family photos can be seen everywhere. You’re passionate about freedom and dreams but you are also very sensitive, you’re whole life is like a novel. You like to broaden your mind and learn new things, but you also appreciate the need for peace and quiet.
Too much white can make your home feel surgical. But a white front door won’t do any harm. White is fuss free and pure. Symbolises perfection and innocence. You’ve probably got the cleanest house in the world too.
Or how about something really different?
If you’re like me and fit into a few of these, you’d be best off with a door this colour. Have fun!
I’m fairly new here at the House Nameplate Company. But I’ve been here long enough to appreciate the absolutely brilliant sense of humour that encompasses the place.
So anyway. I’d seen a couple of funny hanging signs and after giving into temptation I delved a bit deeper and found a load that have me in stitches as I write this blog post.
For you, the reader, I’ve collected my favourites, and listed them here. I’d love to know what you think of them and whether you have any hilarious phrases that YOU think should make it onto the Hanging Sign Hall of Fame. Keep it clean though.
‘I’m not anti-social I’m anti-stupid” If you’ve ever laughed out loud in a room full of people, then you know exactly how I feel around about now. It’s little things like this that will be remembered for years to come. One of those stories you tell your kids.
‘Oh, Did I tell you about that time when…’
For me, it’ll be next week, just randomly in a conversation about something COMPLETELY irrelevant.
I have a tendency to blurt things out when people least expect it.
#2. Number 2 in the rankings…
Slightly more crude than the last one. But oh my days did it make me laugh.
Currently having to hold back the laugh out loud. I don’t think I really need to say anything about this, pretty self-explanatory.
…between this and number 4 as to which came next. I can just picture a scene in the office, someone runs screaming through, stops still, and whispering this into the ear of a poor colleague without a clue.
This represents every cat, dog, rabbit, horse, really every animal person in the world doesn’t it? The pet culture, in the UK especially is just beyond me, I love animals *Tangent alert* BUT I disagree with putting little tutu’s and coats, and wellies on them. But I have to admit, some of them look so cute!
I mean…. NO don’t do it people.
#7. Drumroll please……
Does anyone really like mornings? If there is a person in the world that says they do. They lie. I for one, used to be alright with mornings, probably because I used to get to sleep at a decent hour. These days I’m raiding the fridge at 3am and finally dropping off 5 minutes before my alarm is due to go off.
There are just not enough hours in the night *sigh*
Moving swiftly on.
#8. This is great.
Story. Of. My. Life.
I’m joking, I like these quirky little sayings. The sort of Joke that you’d expect from a Tommy Cooper sketch.
Slept like a log last night, woke up in the fire place…..
This is literally the most honest saying of the 21st century. I am totally guilty of leaving the house work build up, and then once my phone battery dies, or I run out of lives on the current game, I will eventually get up and do some work.