A little bit of tartan…finally!

Remember my post when I said the Mr didn’t want any print of the sort in the house? Well, it seems that if it is free, even he can’t complain. Thanks to a lovely grandparent, we are now the proud owners of a lovely, wool throw, printed with a great red and grey tartan. Great for curling up under after a day at work, especially given that our front room radiator refuses to warm up completely (we even had to learn to bleed the thing with no success in solving the problem!).

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The fact that this is a sort of inheritance makes this piece even better and goes with my aim of styling the house up for as little money as possible – especially since we decided to move house three months before Christmas (not the smartest move financially!).

I am loving all things tartan in interiors at the moment, and it seems that the trend is set to stay around for a good few months yet, with a refreshing lighter tone style for Spring/Summer 2014.

I really like these items on sale now, but I have a feeling, a tartan throw might be as far as I can push this one…

How to make coasters

Imagine my grief when the Mr put a cup of tea onto the newly painted drawer tables and it left a perfectly formed ring on the surface. After finishing the new side tables for the living room, my next project was to make some coasters to stop exactly this happening. It seems my crafting was a little too late on this occasion, but I still made these lovely set of four coasters to make sure no more marks will find their way onto my beautiful upcycled pieces of furniture.

I’ve seen these made in various magazines, online and on the TV and with a few quick buys and numerous samples of wallpaper, I got to work on a quiet Saturday afternoon. If you would like to stop partners (or guests) marking your items, these are a great idea. I am rather proud of them, and they match the living room scheme perfectly.

You will need:

Cork coasters – I bought my square ones from Hobbycraft. You can get circular ones if you prefer, or you could try making some sturdier versions from small, old tiles.
PVA glue and some strong glue
Paint brush for the glue
Scissors
As many wallpaper samples as you like
A length of felt – to cover the bottoms once you’ve finished. This will give a nice neat look and ensure the base is smooth and soft against the furniture
A little bit of time

Get all your things together ready to start making

Get all your things together ready to start making

Cut a piece of your chosen wallpaper and leave around 2cm around each edge. Stick the cork coaster in the middle and press

Cut a piece of your chosen wallpaper and leave around 2cm around each edge. Stick the cork coaster in the middle and press

Start folding over each edge neatly, pulling tight to make sure the surface on the front of the coaster is smooth

Start folding over each edge neatly, pulling tight to make sure the surface on the front of the coaster is smooth

If the edges start to lift up (despite lots of holding tight) use a little bit of strong glue to keep it in place

If the edges start to lift up (despite lots of holding tight) use a little bit of strong glue to keep it in place

Cover all your cork templates in your chosen design and paint a layer or two of PVA glue over them. Leave to dry completely. This took 24 hours when I did it

Cover all your cork templates in your chosen design and paint a layer or two of PVA glue over them. Leave to dry completely. This took 24 hours when I did it

All dried, cut a square of felt to the size of each coaster and stick to the back. Leave to dry again

All dried, cut a square of felt to the size of each coaster and stick to the back. Leave to dry again

Stack up your lovely display of new, unique coasters and take pride in your project

Stack up your lovely display of new, unique coasters and take pride in your project

Enjoy a cuppa and bask in the happy thoughts that there will be no more marks on your furniture!

Enjoy a cuppa and bask in the happy thoughts that there will be no more marks on your furniture!

What do you think of these DIY coasters? Will you be trying this craft project out for yourself?

Photo Friday #2

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I thought, as a light-hearted new series, I would post a photo each week to gauge opinion, get ideas from some of the other lovely bloggers out there and to also show off some of the great things that I have seen in that week.

We may have had the mother of all storms hit the South coast earlier this week, but I want to share the beauty of the Autumn season through this lovely photo courtesy of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). There is nothing more beautiful than the colours of the trees in Autumn, just before they fall off and the full force of Winter hits. I love going on walks on bright Autumn days, picking blackberries and admiring the warm oranges, reds and browns of the trees.

What do you love about Autumn?

How beautiful! Image: RHS

How beautiful!
Image: RHS

Ladder shelf loving

I have always loved how a room full of well-stocked bookshelves looks. There is something really cosy about a living room or study filled to the brim with books about all sorts of topics – travel, cook books, crafts, novels and true-life stories – and that have been bought from all sorts of different places, near and far. A lot of my books have been given as gifts, and a lot of them are either cook books or those full of ideas on thrifty home updates. These people don’t know me at all, clearly…

I love the use of the space here - and look how comfy it looks! (Image: Pinterest)

I love the use of the space here – and look how comfy it looks! (Image: Pinterest)

Stylish and functional (Image: Pinterest)

Stylish and functional (Image: Pinterest)

As well as functional, book shelves have got to look good too. There are so many different styles now available – high shelves, low units, thick, thin, geometric, cube shaped and even pyramid styles that make a real design statement, but all I really wanted was a set of lovely ladders. I have seen many blogs and Pinterest posts about reclaimed materials being used to create this look – which all work really well, but my choice came in the form of some gorgeous second-hand Marks & Spencer ones that I bagged for £40 on eBay. Given that these still retail at £129 in store, I am rather pleased with myself. We got the beech-veneer ones, which go well in the living room, but they also come in white, which would be nice in the bathroom.

Once positioned, they have become a home for my favourite books (ones that I flick through often when looking for recipes, upcycling ideas and general inspiration), as well as a host of graphic design books that belong to the Mr. The smaller top shelves have been adorned with lots of candles, photos and a few random knick knacks, including a piece of rock the Mr brought back after a recent cycling trip to the Lake District.

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Now, we still have a huge box of books in the spare room, which are yet to have a home. But seeing the ladders has inspired the Mr to build a larger set of his own for the dining room come office at the back of the house. I think I may be rubbing off on him after all…

Photo Friday: #1

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I thought, as a light-hearted new series, I would post a photo each week to gauge opinion, get ideas from some of the other lovely bloggers out there and to also show off some of the great things that I have seen in that week.

The first comes from the Mr’s Nan, who offered us this set of tables. I am still thinking about whether we should take them or not, as we are becoming a bit short on space. However, I think they would look great with a lick of paint in a lovely range of pastel colours, inspired by a country cottage. What do you think? To take or not to take – that is the question.

Should we take this set of tables? I think they would be great for an upcycling project

Should we take this set of tables? I think they would be great for an upcycling project

Drawer tables are a thing, right?

Now, I am quite fond of the saying: waste not, want not, so when faced with a couple of redundant drawers, I was eager to come up with a new use for them. Left over from my now made-over sideboard, these two drawers were in line to become wooden planters for the garden, hanging box/shelves things, or – quite brilliantly – side tables. It was actually the Mr who accidentally came up with this idea when we first moved into the house and had nowhere to put a cup of tea when relaxing on an evening, and he turned one of the drawers on its side and rested his hot cuppa on the top. Because the drawers are narrow, they fit perfectly either side of the sofa, something I think we would struggle to achieve with shop-bought side tables.

I quickly came round to the new table idea – so, one rainy Saturday afternoon turned into another upcycling/makeover project and voila, these little gems were born.

A few people have suggested this idea is a bit mad, but I for one am quite proud of this reuse, and they match the rest of the living room (bar the horrible red carpet) beautifully. Who’d want to waste them anyway?

Take two old drawers like this one

Take two old drawers like this one

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Paint grey – this is Warm Pewter matt emulsion by Dulux, which I used for the sideboard

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Mask off stripes and paint two coats of colour. I went for Banana matt emulsion by Habitat and gloss white by Johnstones Paints to bring contrast and to tie the colours to the sideboard further

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Once completely dry, carefully peel away masking tape to reveal the finished design

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This one fits snugly between the sofa and some shelves

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A great place for our side lamp (need a new lampshade – ideas please?!)

What do you think? Is this mad or savvy upcycling? The only thing I would change is to fill the holes left by the drawer pulls.

The 80’s Called…

I came across Been There, DIY’d That a little while ago and found some really great ideas for upcycling furniture. Now that my sideboard is done, I am longing for another project to get my teeth into so, watch this space, I may try this great table idea out. Give me a geometric print and an old piece of furniture and I am a happy lady.

Been There, DIY'D That

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And they want you to give their table another chance.
I know, it’s hard, it’s not my thing either. But it was two dollars at a garage sale and it was crying out for me to save it. Besides, the 80’s are making a comeback whether we like it or not. Clothes, hair, music and even creeping into home decor. I live in a college town and I see flash dance everywhere! That being said, a lot of college girls shop at our local antique mall where I share a little room/booth with my super crafty and super creative momma. So why not try my hand at reviving this sad little table. If I could change my mind about midcentury furniture then why not this?

20130922-193049.jpg I was inspired by a fellow blogger’s table. You really should check out her blog. She is a pretty neat chick. She did hers a…

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