Friday 17 July 2020

Upcycled Sideboard

Hello there!

This is my recently upcycled sideboard. It started out its life with me as a freebie. It was dark brown, and had a top section, too, which I thought was overbearing and (being brutally honest) a little bit ugly. So I chopped it down and chucked some paint on the bottom half. It was in my living room for a good few years and served several purposes including a toy and craft cupboard for visiting grandchildren...

It was looking a bit battered, so I upcycled it again, this time painting the inside as well...

and adding blue on the drawers...

I think this will fit nicely into our new home... if we ever get to move in! This must be the most delayed house move ever! We agreed the sale in October 2019 🙄

Ironically, I've made it look a bit battered again with the sanding back, but I do love the slightly worn feel!

Hope I have some house moving news for you very soon!  Take care! 

Monday 13 July 2020

My tiny beach hut

Hello!  Hope you are safe, happy and well.  We are still waiting for news on our house move.  The sellers have had a new valuation back, so we are hopefully now just waiting for paperwork to be updated to reflect this. In the meantime...

I love beach huts. This one is made from some air drying clay I found while clearing out the garage in readiness for our upcoming house move. It was in a sealed pack, several years old, and felt like it might be still usable!  It was!

I made this alongside two of my grandchildren while we were still in lockdown. Nine-year-old Emily ambitiously made a Vaporion (a Pokémon character!), seen below resting its head on a rolling pin for support!

Three-year-old Jack just appreciated playing with the clay!  We used my old art studio (a garage extension) to play in - their mum and dad are buying our house so all my stuff had been cleared out.  Both parents are key workers (mum is a nurse, dad is a heating engineer) and while both children qualified for a school place in lockdown, Jack's pre-school was closed.  We figured I could provide a little (mainly outdoor) childcare once Dad went back to work at the end of June.  I am furloughed until the end of July.

My little beach hut kept me occupied while the kids were busy with their own creations.

And once I had a bit of spare time to myself, I started to paint it...

The blue and white (with a little red) theme was an obvious one, given everything else I have been painting!  

I had been looking for a name for this, and decided not to go with the obvious Covid/lockdown/furlough theme, like I may do with the little cottage I made .

Dave suggested Irie...

… a Jamaican Patois word (meaning good) which we heard a lot on our holiday there two years ago.  

We loved it there, so this little hut might conjure up a few happy memories for us!  And our hotel room was a self-contained kind of hut (a bit bigger than this one!), so it all feels irie!!

Monday 6 July 2020

Vintage Map Wall Art

Hello.  Hope you are doing well.

You may have noticed I have a thing for maps as decoration. I love vintage maps (although pretty soon, won't all paper maps be vintage?) like this one...

This map was sold as wrapping paper, but it's far too nice to just wrap gifts in!

I thought about sticking it to canvas, or even framing it, but I thought a metal map would be great on the wall - it could act as a memo board with magnets, and we could always stick some of our fridge magnets on it. We make a point of buying a fridge magnet from everywhere we visit - a tiny, inexpensive memento but once we can start travelling again, we will soon run out of fridge space!

I bought the sheet metal from Etsy - I was a little disappointed as it arrived scratched and very dirty, as well as rust stained.  On the positive side, at least it was the right size, and I figured everything else was fixable!  I made a hole in each corner - it is quite heavy so I will screw this to the wall.  I measured then marked the holes, and created a dint - ready for drilling.

I cleaned it thoroughly and even sanded it.  Not the best of ideas to sand it on the grass.  A single blade of grass can make a real mess under a sander!!

Then it was really just a matter of gluing the map to the metal. I made sure it was straight, and used fridge magnets to help me line up the first edge.

It wasn't quite perfect but it was ok - I did work hard to eliminate air bubbles, but a few persistent small ones remained.  And I managed to create a tiny tear in the north Pacific (below), taking off a fridge magnet 🙄 but I think I can probably cover that up with a magnet!

I cut holes through the paper to match the holes in the metal

Finally, I painted some more PVA on the front of the map to protect it. I'm really happy with it! I love that it has time zones on too!

The final PVA coating brought out what must be rust spots from the metal (I thought I had got rid of them!!) but I am OK with that - I think they fit in well with the vintage theme. An oil-based sealant on the metal would have avoided this! I am looking forward to putting this up in our new home!

Wednesday 1 July 2020

Vintage Linen Basket - Upcycled

Hello and welcome to my latest upcycling project.

This linen basket (laundry basket) was a constant in our bathroom when I was growing up in the sixties and seventies.  I remember Mum proudly mentioning that it was a Lloyd Loom, a wedding present in 1953.  Fast forward several decades, and this linen basket made its way into my garage after Mum had to move into a nursing home, three years ago.  She is 93 now.

My sister was ready to throw it away because the inside always smelled of dirty laundry (think sweaty socks... ugh!).  It still smelled, even after a few years in my garage!  I don't think the inside had been painted since it was made!

However, a jolly good wash, followed by a few coats of paint has helped matters immensely!

I don't want to use it for dirty laundry, as I suspect it just hasn't got enough ventilation (hence the constant unpleasant odour) but I figured it could be useful for storage, and I really love that it has such strong memories for me.

I researched vintage Lloyd Loom, and I think it is more likely that it was made by a company called Sirrom, who copied the Lloyd Loom style.  

Like Lloyd Loom furniture, it's definitely made from woven twisted brown paper (you may be able to see this in the picture below where the paint had flaked off). But Lloyd Loom furniture included a steel rod as well as twisted paper, and this linen basket is definitely not attractive to magnets!  Despite being made of woven paper, it is surprisingly hard wearing - this has been in a bathroom since 1954 (apart from the three years in my garage) and I remember Dad standing on it to change a lightbulb!

In the picture below, you can see the remnants of a stay chain on the upper left.  This had broken and subsequently been painted in, many decades ago, and I did eventually manage to prise it off with pliers.

The wood underneath the hinges had split, so I filled that in ready for new ones - the old ones had seen better days.

I decided some foam and fabric would make this into a nice occasional seat. I had some of both left over from my ottoman project.  I cut the foam to size, and measured up some fabric to go over the top and under the edges.

I'm no upholsterer, but this was a fairly simple project.  I eased the fabric in places, and folded it in others before stapling it into place.  Like I was always taught in dressmaking classes at school, I also cut away some of the bulk of the fabric at the corners.

I also used scissors to push into the corners and create a neater edge.

 I glued the raw edges in place with PVA, before gluing a contrasting piece of fabric in place (also using PVA) … 

… then completed it with some ribbon edging.

I love this vintage ads fabric - I bought it in about 1978, not having any clue what I was going to do with it.  I've used some on various projects over the years (including this sewing kit).  The fabric possibly says a lot about the 1970s as well as previous years - it's mainly a mixture of old adverts for smoking accoutrements and alcohol, paired with baby's prams.  Maybe it's now a statement on social history! I hadn't thought about it that way before now!

I put the new shiny brass hinges on to fix the lid in place (disappointed B&Q didn't have silver/chrome ones in stock - what is going on? A pandemic?).

I also needed a new stay hinge, to make sure the lid didn't flop back when it was opened.  I decided to go for a fabric hinge, because the previous chain hinge had damaged the wooden frame by getting caught in it. Plus, fabric was the cheapest and most environmentally-friendly option. 

So, the fabric was measured, cut, folded, ironed, daubed in PVA glue ...

… and hung out to dry on a typically Great British Summer's grey day (a tiny tip if you are going to do this too: cut an inch longer than needed and don't glue the top inch - that way you won't glue the pegs or washing line up too!).

And there it is, complete with stay hinge stapled in place - this method makes for a surprisingly strong stay hinge and is so easy to do.

I could have left it here, but I thought one more small detail would complete this project: a little piece of fabric at the front to act as both a focal point and a kind of handle to lift the lid.  Once again, I decided to go for the option of use-only-what-I-have-already-got.

A scrap of fabric - measured, cut, folded, lined and ironed ...

… with a little wooden heart - painted red, with a vintage button sewn in place …

… plus a scrap of embroidery thread, a little time, and easily stapled to the lid. The heart and button match the ones on my ottoman.

I figure we can store blankets, cushions or throws in here - maybe even by the back door for the garden.  I love bringing new life to something that's old, unwanted or unloved!  

This linen basket was possibly all three but , although it's still old, I feel it will be loved and wanted for quite some time now!