Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Decoupage coffee table budget makeover

I've been thinking of updating our little set of nesting tables in the living room for a while now, and yesterday I decided that as the weather was nice I would venture outdoors and begin a bit of a revamp... starting with the little table I use the most first.
As you can see my little table is not in the best of condition.  I'm one of those people who can't help but spill their drink. All the time.  Every time.  I'm terrible.   And so the surface is marked  as the wood effect is just a laminate it  has peeled in places. 
The first stage was to give it a couple of coats of ivory chalk paint, like I used in my shabby chic mirror makeover.  After a couple of coats of paint all over and they had dried thoroughly I added two layer of clear wax to give it a bit of protection. It was all ready looking better.  The last stage was to decoupage the top of the table. I used a vintage print wall paper sample from the DIY store, so this was free! Bargain :-) Two coats of Mod Podge Glossy has sealed the top.

Oooh look, you can just see my toes in the last pic!  

Total cost of this make over £1.19 for a tester pot of paint.

I have two other tables to makeover so I will do step-by-step pics for one of those, and maybe take a few better pics.

L x

Monday, 3 March 2014

A day in the workshop with Lucy

It's been two weeks since I last posted and really it's because the time has just flown by! I've been back at work after a period of illness and to add to the fun I've had the most awful cold that has just dragged on and on for the last two weeks.
Today is about a lovely workshop I attended at the beginning of February with the lovely Lucy from the Attic24 blog.

It was the first workshop Lucy has done, and also the first crochet workshop I have attended. It was a nice small group of 8 ladies, some travelling from as far away as Scotland and Wales. I had a lot shorter journey from Leeds to Skipton! Despite the weather being grey, windy and awfully wet we all had a good time (at least I did, I'm sure all the other's did too!) and were suprisingly quiet as we all concentrated so hard on the pattern. In fact, now I think about it, the drenching I received on the walk back to the train station and the damp cold journey home might have had a hand in my stinking cold!
The project we were working on was the wonderfully cute Bower Bird. I know Lucy is working on a tutorial for the Bower Bird and I'm sure she'll share it on the blog as soon as she can. Here is her Post including her workshop- you can just see my hands on the left of the picture and my crochet hook roll!
We all finished our birds and had a little bag of goodies to take home to finish our bower including a nice little bag of lavender so we could make our next little birdy into a lavender bird. I haven't made another bird yet but that lavender sure smells amazing! Here are our little birdies all lined up.

Mine is the teeny tiny bird! I was the slowest that day because I was concentrating so hard on being perfect and being absolutely 100% perfect on my count and I crocheted so tight Birdy is half the size of everyone elses! Never mind- he is small but perfectly formed!

Here is Lucy taking a pic of our birdies and one of me having a geeky 'look-I'm-with-Lucy-and-she's -faaamous!' moment.
I must say I found Lucy to be lovely, friendly and welcoming (not that I expected otherwise) and the cafe that her workshop is above does the most aaaammmaaaazing Rocky Road. Yum Yum. If you are ever in Skipton check out Cooper's Cafe Bar- you walk past it on the way to the town centre from the train station.
I haven't, as yet, finished my bower. I'm not 100% sure I don't want to make another bird in brighter colours. I'm happy with my purple and green bird, but I'm  not sure if he would look a little lost in a colourful bower. If I do, I'll turn Birdy into a little individual hanging ornament.
Today we had a hint of sunshine so I literally ran out into the garden a took a few pics of Birdy perching on my climbing rose. 
So here he is: 

Hope you all have a lovely week.

L x 

Monday, 10 February 2014

Yarn wrapped tealight holders

Today I thought I would share with you a way I have been upcycling/recycling some glass candle holders wich have run out into nice colourful yarny tealight holders. They are super simple and quick, you may well get your fingers a bit sticky but that's really the extent of the hardship involved!

First find a jar you want to wrap with yarn. This is a Yankee Candle which has burned all the way down to the end leavig only it's waxy residue.


Then you need to clean out your empty jar:

You will need some PVA glue or Mod Podge or similar, a brush and some left over yarn. I used a self striping DK weight yarn and PVA glue.

Paint some glue on your glass jar. You need enough to stick the yarn to the glass and to the yarn above it so it sits tightly together, but not so much that it's all squidgy and oozing out between the yarn and running down the sides. I find it best to paint a bit of glue on at a time, wrap the yarn around and keep 'nudging' the yarn up so it sitting all snug together and not leaving lots of gaps.

Keep wrapping and nudging all the way down to the end. Snip the end of the yarn. Make sure your yarn end is glued down securely and leave to dry. Overnight is best.

And that's it all finished. Isn't that easy? The jars I had have lids so, to give them a little face lift to match their new yarny exteriors, I crocheted little motifs in the same yarn. I used the free patterns for 'Teeny Tiny Flowers' and 'Teeny Tiny Hearts' from Attic24. They were just the right size to fit on the glass lids.

A good blob of glue and voila!

When everything is dry add some tealights and light 'em up! I like the way the candles glow through the colours of the yarn.

As you can see from my pic you don't have to stop at jars for tealights. I used the same yarn to wrap an empty, cleaned out beer bottle and now it can be used for flowers.

What will you be wrapping?

L x

Friday, 7 February 2014

My happy crafty day

Hi again. I thought today I'd share with you the lovely day I had yesterday pottering around the house and getting a couple of crafty projects done. It was very satisfying all in all.

I'm very pleased to have finished some crochet fingerless gloves. This is only the second pair of gloves I've made and my first were really basic so I was really happy with these which use two different stitches (back loop double stitch and extended double uk terms) to create a ribbed band and a different pattern on the main body to create interest and I added a couple of little buttons on the cuff.


The pattern for these can be found here at CROCHETDREAMS or on Ravelry. There is also a pattern that matches for boot cuffs which I'm sure I'll make up at some point. The pattern is simple and relatively quick to make up (the pattern says two hours for the gloves but it took me about 4 hours for both gloves. Maybe I'm a fairly slow crotcheter, or maybe it's because I watch TV at the same time ;-) )

The second thing I got done yesterday around finishing the gloves was giving a couple of frames a shabby chic makeover. Inspired by the progress on my mirror at the weekend I pulled out a pair of cheap black plastic photo frames I bought from the Pound Shop recently in order to give them a makeover (for anyone from the US reading this the Pound Shop is sort of equivelent to your Dollar Store) Here they are:

Not too attractive I think you'll agree. I liked the vintage style detailing around the edge but black plastic? Yuk. There is nowhere these would go anywhere in my house. First I gave them a coat of the ivory chalk paint I had left over from the weekend. It had been in an airtight container but had got a little drier and thicker. This may be a problem for some projects but I liked the texture that it gave, like old plaster. Here they are after one coat of paint:

Not bad but some of the black was still showing through so I let it dry a while and then added a second coat.

Much better. I didn't want to 'distress' the frame by scuffing away any of the ivory paint as I didn't want any of the black to show through so to pick out some the detail I very lightly sponged on a pale lilac colour. I mixed together my own colour by mixing up some 'powder purple' coloured chalk paint (which was a little too bright to look vintage in my opinion) and then added in some of the ivory.

 I hope that you can see the purple on your monitor.. it's not showing up so well on mine and I have tried my hardest to get a picture in good light. It is very soft and subtle though.

And here is a nice picture of the finished frames. Quite a change from the nasty black plastic. I am so pleased with them and can't wait to find the right pictures to put into them. They will eventually go into our bedroom as I am working towards a Shabby Chic makeover of the whole bedroom in the summer time. :-)

Thank you for reading. If you have liked this post please leave me a little comment to say hi!

L x 

Monday, 3 February 2014

Shabby chic mirror progress

So, today I'm going to share the progress I've made with shabby chic-ing the 'brass' dressing table mirror (notice the ''? That's important later) I hope you will excuse the not great photo quality. I'm continuing to battle with poor light quality and, I'll be honest, I've mislaid the charger for my camera battery so I'm using the camera on my phone. The charger is somewhere in the cupboard under the stairs but if you could see the cupboard under my stairs you would know why I can't find it!

Anyways, here's a couple of the before pics. As you can see, it's old, it's dirty and the mirror is not doing what it should be. That is: it's not staying in it's frame and mirroring.

Step one was giving it a good clean. As it was purchased as a 'brass' mirror from Ebay I got out the Brasso and started cleaning. This is where I hit a snag. It wasn't brass after all. It's a cheap metal covered in a brass coloured layer. I should have known, really, as it is quite light and my husband commented when he saw it that although it is definitely quite old it is poor quality. So I invented a little story in my head about my mirror. This mirror belonged to servant in a big house 'Downton Abbey style' and was the best she could afford but she wanted something pretty. I'm sure brand new and shiny it looked lovely. Here's a couple of pics of the frame after it was cleaned.

As you can see it cleaned up a bit but not all shiny like proper brass would clean up. Never mind- on to stage two. Next was two coats of a creamy colour chalk paint. Branded chalk paints are available such as Annie Sloan and Autentico to name a couple. I mixed up my own with a matt emulsion in Pale Ivory and a chalk paint base purchased from Ebay.


I quite liked it at this stage before I distressed it and I did debate a little while with myself whether to distress it or leave it in the ivory colour but as this is a practice project I went ahead and distressed it. First I applied one layer of clear wax and buffed it off and then I sandpapered off a little of the chalk paint on any raised bits and edges. Anywhere it would rub. The idea I had originally was that the gold of the brass would come through but instead what I ended up with was little bits of the gold brass like layer and silvery colour of the base metal in places.  After rubbing off the paint I did another layer of the clear wax to seal everything. Here's a couple of close up pics of the detail.
And here is a nice extra large picture of the frame all finished.
The last thing I want to do is decoupage the back board that holds the mirror in before securing. I have five vintage patterned papers and I can't decide between them. I'm not sure that the colours have come out great on the computer but they are all cream and green variations. I think the top two are my favourites but I'm still debating. I also need to get a matte varnish/glue as I think it will work better with the matt chalk paint.


So, that's where I am with my mirror project. When it is finally all finished I'll do you a nice picture, hopefully in daylight and with some nice staging. I hope you like it so far and will pop back to see the completed project.

L x