Category Archives: Homeware & Craft

All our latest homeware and craft projects

Vintage Mirror

It’s amazing what yarn someone will spin to try and sell something for a higher price. There we were at a local car boot sale, being slowly convinced that the picture frame we were looking at was actually a door. A door you say, but it has a big hole in the middle? Yep it’s a door for a bedroom and you can have it for £60….more like a hobbit’s door I thought. Finally we got him down to £20 and off we went to convert it into a rustic mirror.

At first glance we could see the condition of the frame wasn’t at it’s best. They had beveled one of edges and installed hinges so it could swing like a door. Unfortunately by beveling one of the edges they’d revealed the lighter colour of the wood. Our best option was to bevel the whole frame with a small hand plain and go for a rustic painted finish.

I was a little worried about the frame falling apart once we fitted a big heavy mirror in the middle of it and seeing as it had been used as a door, I had no idea how many times it had been slammed in a hobbit huff. So I used some corner brackets to make it a little more stable and solid. Finally the old hinges were removed, holes filled in with wood filler and all the prep work was done in less than an hour. Time for a cup of tea.

Painting proved to be the more tricky and time consuming part of the process. With so many nooks and crannies to paint on the carved frame it took ages – dab, dab, dab I went with the paint brush for what seemed like an eternity. We had some leftover chalk pain from the Toybox project, so I used that and went with two coats to ensure a clean finish. Once dried I took some wire wool and gently rubbed down the edges and across the details to give it that worn look. Be careful if you’re doing this yourself as the paint can rub away fairly quickly. To finish I used a simple wax to seal the paint.

The final part of the process was getting the mirror into the frame. I went to get the mirror from the glazier which was a nerve wracking experience. I’m a little clumsy, some might say very clumsy, so being in a warehouse filled with nothing but mirror and glass makes me slightly uncomfortable. Here I met Mike who I imagined to be the unluckiest person in the world – surely he’s broken the odd mirror? Nope not one. Amazing.

 

To finish I tacked the mirror into place with some pins and we were done. It was a little on the heavy side with the mirror in place so we used a fairly robust set of screw plugs to get it onto the wall. It looks great and cost less than £50 to make. So if you ever spot a frame, pretending to be a door, at your local carboot sale buy it and make a mirror.

It’s been a while…

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Well I think the past 8-9 months have definitely proved this to be the case.

Back in April when Chris and I moved into our dream ‘fixer upper’ home, I fanatically wondered over the many projects that we would undertake to build what would be our perfect house…both inside and out. Lists upon lists were written of what we needed to finish each and every room, magazines were thoroughly leafed through and pages torn out for creative reference, conversations over the differences of 50 shades of light grey were had and also what seemed like personal financial investment was given in places like B&Q, Wickes, Farrow&Ball and the local reclaimed Wood Store. However, it was what we always wanted. A project, something we could mould to reflect who were are and something we would fall completely in love with.

So, here we are 9 months down the line and I can safely say that we are on our way to achieving just that. With the main rooms of the house done (apart from the bathroom…we are still deciding between the wet room option or the traditional bath/shower combo…oh how our lives have changed), I am finding myself missing my smaller, more personal creative projects. Decorating a house is a challenging project in so many ways, that I have found myself craving my sketch book, staple gun and sewing machine.

I decided a step change was needed, therefore I took to our basic wooden chest with an idea to give it a bit of a make over. 

Wooden Chest

Inspired by a recent trip to a Flea Market in New York, I wanted to see if I could give this tired looking piece of furniture a trans-Atlantic makeover. The overall look for the chest was to be a more worn out, shabby chic look with a bit of an urban twist.

I firstly painted the wooden panels of the box with my trusty Annie Sloane chalk paint in three different colours – Grey, Off White and an Olive Green shade. After which I decided to add a numerical detail to the front of the chest using a stencil I made myself (the numbers turned out to be a bit wonky, which I kind of liked).

annie sloan paint

painting panels

sanding chest

painting numbers

After the paint was dry, I cut some upholsterers foam to size to fit on the top of the chest and softened it around the edges with some wadding. This was then covered with additional wadding and a large piece of cotton to ensure a comfy finish for the seat. I managed to buy some old sacks from the Saturday Market in Brighton and used these as my upholstery fabric layering an additional printed sack over the top as a design feature.

with seat foam

seating covered

I then used some thicker thread to hand sew the patterned sack into place and stapled all layers to the reverse of the chest lid, finishing by covering the messy edges with a neatly cut and sewn square of sacking.

finished product

The chest itself has already found pride of place in our study/creative space where I hope to use it as a perch to sit a doodle away in my sketch book, dreaming of more creative projects to undertake.

Top of the Table

Sometimes things don’t look quite as good as they once did. You might think that I’m referring to that lady from TopGun, but no I’m in fact talking about the TV stand I built a while ago. Epic it was, made out of old school floorboards and proudly holding up our TV like a trophy in the living room.

Then we moved home and it looked kind of awkward and out of place. We pretended it was a sideboard table for a bit, but who were we kidding, this was destined for the skip. Then we discovered these amazing hairpin legs and decided that perhaps we could save this little DIY project. The worktop was still awesome and would make a perfect coffee table, which we certainly still needed. So we decided to erm, remake it into something else. See what I did there.

Hairpin Table Legs

We ordered our hairpin legs from some dude on eBay who makes them to order. A week later a little note from the post man popped in the letterbox to say they were ready to collect.  So off I trotted to our Post Office to pick them up and marvel at what a great job I’d done finding them. Only I was presented with a very small envelope instead of our four table legs…erm, shit, I’ve ordered very small legs, but then thankfully I saw the error. “Excuse me Mrs Post Office lady, but I pretty sure we live at number 78 and this letter says number 76, unless of course it’s filled with money and in that case I’ll keep this letter” I smirked. I thought this was hilarious and brilliant, but Mrs Post office lady didn’t think so at all. I should point out I didn’t know if this person was actually a Mrs, or by the look of her a lady for that matter, but hey I needed these table legs so I kept it friendly.

Reclaimed Tabletop

Hairpin Table Flowers

Finally armed with the correct four table legs and can of Hammerite spray paint I was ready to go. It took four very light coats to get it just right. I’ve spent a fair amount of badly used spare time watching MTV ‘Pimp my Ride’ and I noticed they baked the cars after spraying to harden the paint. To replicate this I used our airing cupboard to bake the legs for 24 hours and it worked a treat. Next up I ripped off the old table top from the TV stand and re-painted the edges. To assemble I used a few 25mm screws to fix the legs in place and hey presto we had a new coffee table.

The story so far

…….and we’re back! It’s been ages since we blogged anything and that’s because, erm, we were enjoying cocktails in the Summer sunshine working on our house project. You may remember we undertook a bit of a fixer upper earlier in the year and I’ll be honest it has been challenging. We may have fallen out a couple of times over paint colour and I might have hammered some nails into the wrong place, but hey we’re finally starting to get there.  In fact, we’re finally starting to unpack some of those long forgotten boxes with mumblings of ‘oh yes, I forgot we had a lamp’.

So here’s a little photo blog on what we’ve been up to over the summer…

The first day
This is when Anna threw up in her mouth and I got weak legged and slumped to the floor. I don’t think we quite knew what we’d let ourselves in for. I won’t lie. It was a dark time.

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Floorboards
Underneath the carpet should be floorboards right? Wrong. We had chipboard and underneath that some very large holes. There’s a whole floorboards post on dealing with that issue.

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Stripping paint and getting dusty
If there’s one thing I loathe it’s stripping paint. Not just any old paint though, there must have been 60 years of the stuff there. It took ages and our reward? The chance to repaint it all over again.

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Starting to see the light
So after fixing the floorboards, replacing the windows, re-plastering the walls, re-painting everything and all the bits in between we’re finally starting to see the light. Almost there with just a kitchen and all of upstairs to finish.

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