So Close But Yet So Far…

Slowly but surely I am making progress on my ongoing upholstery project. I am so close to the end that I can taste it, but at the same time I also realise that I still have a way to go. In fact it has taken so long to get to this point that I am considering roping of the chair to ensure people view it from a distance only. I mean, if its ok for the National Trust… in just the same way as the National Trust does in all of it’s historical buildings. My biggest problem is that I am only at college once a week and this just isn’t enough time to get it completed at any great speed. I have brought it home a couple of times to get extra done but unfortunately I get so far and then have to wait, take it back to college and get advice on where I should go next.

My chair so far

My chair so far

Looking at the front view it looks pretty much completed and I cannot wait to see it completely finished. I know it is going to look amazing once it is finished…I mean it has to because I can’t believe that you can spend this much time on a project and it not turn out great (I am a glass half full type of person). Unfortunately, when you look at the back it doesn’t look anywhere near complete.

My Not So Finished Chair Back And Outer Arm

My Not So Finished Chair Back And Outer Arm

As you can see both the back and the outer arm need to have top fabric putting on it and also the bottom (although I don’t have a photograph of that) needs platform cloth putting on to tidy it all up and hide all of the chairs insides.

Having only 9 weeks of college left, which incidentally is a total of 27 hours, it is safe to say that I am rather worried about whether I am going to get it finished. The only solution is to make sure I do much of the work needed outside college time. This worries me slightly as I cant help but think that I am going to get something key and very important wrong. Although, this worry has aided me in certain situations as it has driven me to check all measurements prior to cutting my top fabric over and over and over again…and sometimes just one or two more time to make even more certain.

Irritatingly, college is closed for the next two weeks as it’s the Easter holidays so in order to continue working on it I have brought it home in a hope that I will be able to get the arms covered in my plain blue top fabric (the same as the seat). Just bringing it home is an effort in itself. Especially if you consider the fact that I am no longer able to carry it by myself and the fact that it is wider than most door ways. This means that not only am I required to find some poor unsuspecting soul to help me move it every time I want to work on it  but every time it needs to be taken through a doorway it has to be flipped and turned in order to squeeze it though the frame. Bringing my chair home turns into an epic game of Tetris as we negotiate around various bends in the corridors, doorways and finally face the challenge of trying to fit said chair into the boot of my Vauxhall Corsa. Thankfully transport to and from the car is made much easier thanks to the fact that a very innovative and brave college tutor of the past stole an Asda shopping trolley purposely for moving such items of furniture. So I have a big THANK YOU to this person as they have saved me on many an occasion.

 

 

Just Call Me The Drilling Queen!

I HAVE USED THE DRILL! I managed to tick number three off of my To Do List and hang up both mirrors over the two fireplaces…YAY! The first one was pretty simple because of it being able to rest most of it’s weight on the fireplace and it not really needing any special fixings.

Mirror Number 1

The second one was a little bit trickier because of it being a really heavy mirror. Having never hung anything heavier than the typical picture (the mirror weighs between 10-15kg) I asked for the help and guidance of my dad. I did have an idea of what I needed but sometimes it just helps having someone there that knows what they are doing. So off we set for B&Q and picked up some heavy duty picture wire and heavy duty Picture Fixings designed for heavy pictures/mirrors. Then it was just a matter of using the drill to drill holes into the brickwork. It turns out that the hammer function on the drill makes it so much easier.

Mirror Number 2

I felt really empowered using the drill. I cannot wait to have to use it again! In the meantime I thought I would share a couple of pictures of me using it. Just to prove that it was me doing it.

Me drilling

Ignore the holes below, one of them was my practice hole where I worked out whether I had the right drill bit, screw and wall plug and the other one is what the previous owners left behind. When it comes to redecoating these will get filled in.

Me appreciating my handiwork

 

 

 

The Great Reveal: My Dream Dresser

Here is the before photo:

BEFORE

It looked drab, dreary and very old fashioned. It didn’t go with anything else in the house but for a while I was just too scared to even attempt to paint it…what if it went wrong? Well, it took well over a year but I eventually found my backbone and just went for it and I am so glad I did! I LOVE THE RESULT!

AFTER – ignore the random Chappie. Sometimes it is crazy difficult to get a photo without him in it!

AFTER

AFTER

I started by taking off all of the hardware and took the doors and drawers out. It just isn’t a good look to have paint splattered hinges and door handles.

Next I completely sanded down the top to the original wood. This was hard work and I have definitely discovered arm muscles that I never knew I had. After this I then lightly sanded down all sides of the dresser, the drawers and doors. This helps  the paint to stick. After this I then had to use a clean cloth and white spirits to clean off every speck of sawdust.

Thanks to my amazing husband to be’s Christmas present last year I have a brilliant paint gun, which allows me to paint (using any type of paint) at a quicker speed that with a paint brush and with a much better finish. Originally the aim was to get the flawless finish with the paint but as I started to sand down one of the coats of paint I fell in love with the the distressed look, so I decided to not put another coat on and leave it be. I completed the look of my dresser by coating the sanded down top with bees wax. I didn’t want varnish as this would give it a shiny finish which would be quickly scratched by keys. As it is sitting next to the front door it is highly likely that it will have keys on it at some point.

I know need to work out what and how to store things on it. It definitely needs some dressing up.

It also takes point number 1 off of my house related to do list, WAHOO! Onto the next project…

 

Top Ten Project List

This is a blog post I have been meaning to write for a while. I figured that I needed to be a little bit more organised so I have decided to write up a Top Ten Project List detailing the furniture projects currently on my to do list. It is something I should be able to strategically work my way through. Instead of what I am doing right now which is more bumbling my way through. So here they are:

One

My Dresser

This is the project I am currently doing. The aim is to turn this into a beautiful cream and varnished pine dresser to go into my hallway (near the kitchen) to store all of my baking ingredients. This will then give me more storage in the kitchen.

Two

The Cupboard Under The Stairs

When this house was built in the 1930’s I think this would have been a walk in pantry. At the minute it has hooks that hold coats and wonky shelves (installed by the previous owner) that can hold nothing plus I have a habit of chucking anything I dont want seen into it (e.g. the hoover, mop and bucket etc). I would love for it to be returned to being a pantry. It would allow me to buy certain kitchen items that I always use in bulk.

Three

One of the mirrors next to one of the fireplaces

I just need to get these hung up on the wall and then the fireplaces can be ‘dressed’ properly to make them into a feature rather than a ‘place to put things’. The picture only shows one of the mirrors but I also have a starburst mirror that needs putting up.

Four

My Lloyd Loom Ottoman

This is a Lloyd Loom Ottoman and it was also the first thing I ever tried to upholster (pre college course). I can’t believe I ever did anything as bad as this but alas it is true. Now I know a little bit more about upholstery I know I can upholster this to a much higher standard and turn it into something beautiful and unique. It is really handy for storing fabric in as well as becoming a seat as when the need arises.

Five

Upstairs Hallway Window

Unfortunately at the moment we can’t re-decorate that hallway due to time and money. Having spent an absolute fortune buying and moving into the house at the same time as planning and paying for a wedding we are having to take step by step and one room at a time and currently the home office/craft room is the priority. So instead I am wanting to make small changes to smarten it up a little bit. One of them being dressing the window. I want to make a nice curtain to frame it a little plus adding a vase of some sort.

Front Door

I also want to put a matching curtain downstairs in the hallway to block some of the draft from the front door. It will also add a little bit of ‘softness’ to the front door.

Six

I love the idea of having a picture display going up the stairs. I just need to get more family photos to put into frames.

Seven

Front of Side-table

Top of the Side-table

I want to clean up this oak side table and get rid of all the marks and water rings that are on the top. I am torn between painting it or stripping it down to revarnish it…decisions decisions.

Eight

Undecorated Craft Room

My home office/craft room is in need to serious re-decorating. As of yet it has not yet even been starting but if plans come together that should soon change. The aim is to make this room into a creative space that is a joy to spend time in. It will have a good sized work space with amazing storage to ensure nothing is in the way ever. I want to install shelving into the alcove and then (hopefully) fit doors to the bottam of it to ensure we have a space to hide things away in.

Nine

I think I would like to install something like this on the wall at the bottom of the stairs so that as you come into the house you can hang your coats up.

Ten

The Problem

And finally a shoe rack that makes shoes look tidier and again this is for the bottom of the stairs. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of a future shoe rack because I don’t yet know which one I want.

My Soon To Be Dream Dresser

As promised I did start renovating the dresser, however, I am no where near finished. The weekend just isn’t long enough!

Dresser Renovation

This is how far I got. It took me absolutely ages to take out all of the hard wear because whoever had put them in had cleverly bent some of the screw heads. But after a lot of pulling, tugging and fiddling I managed to take out every screw, hinge and door handle. I even managed to remember to put them safely in a small bag to keep them safely together. After that I set to work sanding down the top of the dresser. This is the bit that I want to leave unpainted and coat it in a clear varnish to keep it as natural as possible.

Dresser surface after first sanding

I used a medium grit sandpaper on my  Bosch Palm Sander that I was lucky enough to inherit off of my parents after they had finished sanding down their live aboard narrow boat. But even with the help of this nifty devise it still took a lot of work and a lot of arm ache. As you can see from the photo there are patched on the top that are slightly darker than the rest of it due to some of the stain still being on. THIS NEEDS TO COME OFF! I also need to do all the edges of the top. This bit I am a little nervous about doing because if I use the palm sander I could easily sand too much off and make it uneven and unrounded, but if I hand sand the edges it is a lot of hard work…hmmmmm.

In terms of finished product I would love to line the drawers (see below) with lovely bright wallpaper. It would provide a spot of colour and cheerfulness each time I opened the drawer. I would love for the inside to be just as beautiful as the outside.

In terms of the outside finished product I want it to be decorated like the picture below. The off white colour combined with the pine varnished top gives it a warm clean feel while the blue of the back makes it quite a quirky piece of furniture. I love the blue but I am unsure as to whether I will paint the inside blue. I am a little bit worried that when we do eventually get around to decorating the hallway that it won’t co-ordinate. It’s something that I need to think about. I guess I can always change it if need be.

This is the biggest project I have undertook but hopefully it will look good once it has been done. Fingers crossed.

 

I’m Back!

Well, I have been running around like a headless chicken recently trying to keep up with college, work, wedding and general housey jobs and that has left very little time for blogging. But as of today I have decided that enough it enough and that I AM going to make more time for blogging and house related crafting/d-i-y-ing because I have missed it immensely!  So here I am!

First up I have a little recap. Can you remember me writing about my bargain lamp find in Debenhams? Well, if you need a little reminder hereis my blog post about it. Today I took a little detour to Dunelm Mill to look at their fabrics, ribbons and other craft related items and I came across a red lampshade on sale for the bargain price of £2.50! Well, my little bargain alarm in my head is beeping at me ten to the dozen and before I know what is happening it has jumped into my basket and I am speeding towards the checkout before I have a change of mind.

My Bargain Lampshade

Well, I don’t think it looks all that bad and when you consider that the base was just £4, making the total cost of the lamp only £6.50 I think it marvellous. Just ignore the side table that it is sitting on. It is a Freecycle find and is one of the many things on my never decreasing to do list. One day it will be a cute little varnished and unmarked table. Hmmmm, maybe that is something I can do at the weekend…

At the weekend I have decided to give myself a little project…well…rather large project really. Having had a really good think about what to do with dresser I have decided to not only move it into the hallway downstairs, but to also do it up somehow.

My dresser

I got it about a year and a half ago from a British Heart Foundation charity shop and it cost me £65 (and that includes the £15 to deliver it to me), which I do not think is half bad. At the time of buying I did like the dark colour but since then I have gone off it. It is just too dark and rather beaten up.

A Rather Deep Scratch

Random cup marks and more scratches

Wood stain has been worn away but the latches

Structurally it is in perfect condition and it completely stable. It just doesn’t look as nice as it could. So I am considering sanding and painting it, however, I am considering leaving the top of it so that it is natural wood. Just like the one below.

Once painted up like this it will not only match the hallway much better but will match pretty much any room in the house should we wish to move it. It will also be perfect for storing my baking equipment, giving me much more space in the kitchen.

 

 

 

Bargain Photo Frame Renovation

Renovated photo frames

This is just a quick post to show off my renovated photo frames (sorry about the terrible photo). I primed them, painted them and then sanded them down to create that ‘shabby chic’ look. I look forward to seeing how they look combined with my table numbers. What do you think?

My Transformed HOME sign

It seems that the universe has decided that since we have had a week of sunshine back in May and a week last week that summer is over for us in England. We are back to rain again. Usually this doesn’t really bother me to be honest but yesterday I had penciled in finishing of my outside chairs to go with my table and unfortunately it has had to be postponed. It did however give me a push to finish off some of the other projects that I needed to get done. Such as the HOME sign I brought last week.

Home Sign Close-up

I love it and it cost me a fraction of what I have seen them for sale at in various shops, especially as I already had the sandpaper, primer and paint. I was contemplating getting a sample pot of paint to paint the letters various colours but that would have meant spending more more, which defeats the object of it being a cheap project. I love it regardless though. What do you think?

‘What?? I Can Make That For A Fraction Of The Price!!!’

A couple of days ago myself and my hubby-to-be were on our way to a family wedding reception in Derby when we happened across a few small boutique type shops mingled with random charity shops. To be honest it was a good job it was an evening reception otherwise I would have been tempted to have a good nosy around and in all of our wedding finery…well…lets just say it’s better they were closed. But it did mean that I was desperate to find out just what type of shops they were and whether they had any interesting bits and bobs in them.

So on Saturday we decided to take a trip back to these little shops. Unfortunately most of them were too expensive, however, it was a great source of inspiration for future projects.

We went into a lovely little cafe for some lunch. It was decorated in a very shabby chic style and I just couldn’t help but take a few inspirational photos.

Up-cycled Bucket and Syrup Jar

I took a photo of the table number container as I not only like the idea of re-using something that would ordinarily go into the bin but also as possible way of putting table numbers on my wedding tables. Maybe with a plant inside??? Just yet another thought going around my head.

The bucket was particularly lovely as all the flowers were 3d and you could see all the brushstrokes in the paint. I am not completely sure what I would use the bucket for (desk tidy maybe??) but I do love the idea.

Painted and Distressed Wall Unit

I just love the ruggedness of this shelving unit. I like the idea of first painting it an unusual colour, such as blue, before painting it white to give it an added aspect to interest once it has been sanded back.

Quirky Blackboard

I think it would be nice to have something written on a whiteboard to make people smile as they enter the kitchen.

These are just a small selection of the things they had. I would have loved to take pictures of all of it, unfortunately I thought people wouldn’t appreciate me moving and climbing over them to get to the things I want to photograph.

We also went into one of those little shops that sell the painted furniture and accessories that have already had a ‘shabby chic’ makeover and then sell them on for an absolute fortune. I always look at them and wonder who buys this stuff? Surely they can see how easy it is to create? I can’t help but go around the shop telling my partner ‘I can do that myself for a fraction of the price’ over and over again to which he always nods his head to show he’s listening all the while probably thinking ‘You have said this all before’. I still like a good look around these shops as it’s a good way of getting inspiration. Here are just a small selection of the things I liked.

Driftwood Mirror

Just seeing this makes me want to go straight to the seaside to start collecting driftwood together.

Outdoor Tealight Holders

I think I could make this by putting glass paint into jars to colour the glass and decorating wire with beads and shaped around the jar to create the handle. I do think they are really pretty and add a lovely touch to any garden party or bbq.

Multiple Photo Frames on a Wooden Stand

I think this is a brilliant idea to add an interesting detail to any shelf or window sill. It will definitely be something I will be trying once I have scoured charity shops looking for some chunky wooden photo frames.

Chopping Board

I think this is awesome and I wonder whether I would be able to make one if I found a slice of wood (if that is even possible) and sanded and varnished it up.

It would be good to hear you thoughts. How would you go about re-creating some of these things? Where do you get your inspiration from? What have you created recently?