Most Hit Posts of 2016

Today I have been looking back at last years blogging, sometimes done a bit intermittently I must admit, and noticed that the most popular posts always seem to be the DIY ones, so here is a round up of the ones that still get the most hits, and I only hope that as a result there are many Ikea hacks, Plaster Flowers and No-sew curtain pelmets floating out there now!  More DIY ideas coming soon as I tackle a spare bedroom in the coming  months.

Click on the photos to take you to the posts and tutorials…

DIY Plaster of Paris Flowers

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No-Sew Curtain pelmets

finished wide

Ikea Hack Bookcase

 

 

Slate Effect Painted Fireplace

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Moppe Drawer Makeovers

 

 

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Decorating for Christmas

Fa la la la la, la la la la….

I LOVE Christmas decorating!  I had a photo shoot last month in the house for a Christmas decorating feature to go out next year in a magazine, and as it was not quite December it didn’t feel ‘christmassy,’ (although the photos I saw looked beautiful). Plus everything came down again at the end of the shoot.  It was quite mind-blowing how fast the stylist and photographer worked.  So it was like a Christmas-for-8-hours in a mind altering day!

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A lovely fresh berry and evergreen wreath sets the scene on the front door

But come the 1st December I get everything out of the attic and from stashes all over the house. Boxes of baubles, lights, garlands and more.  This is just some of the stash I have, it has grown over the years and I can see lots of things my children liked when they were small like little gingerbread men garlands… actually I have FAR TOO MUCH STUFF!

DINING ROOM

This year my children are 18 and 15, and I decided that for the first time we would not be doing the usual fir tree which always stands in the Dining Room, but an alternative version instead on a tabletop.  I asked the girls if this was all right, as they are the ones that the tree is usually aimed at with decorations collected over the years that they remember and coo over.  This idea went down OK-ish!  I found this really cute 3D  wooden tree at Hobbycraft, and it was a snip at £10.

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Given that dining room had a recent overhaul, we did not use a lot of the existing tree decorations and stuck to gold and silver ones with accents of oranges (literally) around the room:

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A brief note about IKEA

Just a quick note today about the Swedish giant emporium that is IKEA.  I am preparing the house for an interior shoot this week, and thought I would pop by IKEA to pick up some spare tapered candles.  Just candles, don’t need anything else….


Am I the type of person in the world who enters the shop with such a simple intention, and leaves with what I came for? I am not.  By the time I had reached the checkout I had a trolley groaning with the following items, rationale had left me.  But I did that thing that all TRUE AND GREAT SHOPPERS DO… I made up some excellent reasons as to why I needed them:

  • Candles – what I came for.  A box of white tapered ones
  • Candles – nice big huge chunky ones, 4 of them, might be good at Christmas
  • Hallway sisal runner – mine is looking a bit jaded so a smart replacement
  • 3m long velvet orange curtains – great for the recently overhauled dining room
  • Plastic food bags – 2 boxes, useful for crafts, kids lunches and so on
  • Plastic food bag clips – to tie up the above
  • Tea towels- linen, very pretty and no doubt a bugger to iron so they will end up in a drawer and only be used once
  • King size bed sheet, they finally do UK sized fitted sheets, and in dark aubergine…
  • Two wool throws in charcoal, just snuggly and useful, but excess on top of the other 5/6 throws I already have…
  • Copper tray to put all the candles on, on trend as they say
  • Cream tin canister set for the kitchen- to hide things like cat medicine
  • Two small artificial Christmas trees – most lifelike and useful for Christmas
  • Boxes of Christmas decorations made from 3D brown paper – no time to make my own this year
  • Boxes of black Christmas tree baubles – great for the new dining room scheme
  • Black storage boxes to put things in, not sure what yet but I am sure they will be very practical
  • Table runners x 2 to sew together to make one long one for the Christmas table, but I forgot that my sewing machine is broken so they will no doubt end up in a drawer with the tea towels
  • A wad of paper napkins, to go with all the other ones I forgot I already had
  • Christmas wrapping paper – I don’t begrudge this as their lines are really nice and come with lots of different papers, ribbons and bags at a very good price.  Mind you I probably just blew the present budget for several people buying all the above.

IKEA is just one of those places where you grab things as you walk through it as they seem by cheap.  It is only at the till that you realise that you have spent a fortune on lots of things that will ultimately and probably end up in a drawer.

Does anyone else out there do this too, or am I just a retailers delight?!

Ta-ta for now…..

Ikea Hack – Bookcase Unit – Part 2

How to hack a Kallax or two….

So it seems ages ago that I started on the Ikea Hack, which you can read my plans on here.  I spent 3 afternoons at my sisters building away, and it took ages to get around to photographing it due to flu, distance and time!  However, here it is finally.  Apologies in advance for the photos not being totally crisp, but the room has very little natural daylight so my flash was needed a lot…

Ingredients

We went down to Ikea and spent ages looking at the bookcases they had available. On reflection, we decided to forego the breakfront effect and go for a freestanding simple piece that could take all of her LP’s, books and more.  LP’s are deep, so they fit best in this type of storage system.  Kallax units seemed the best as they are extra deep.

As you can see they are very modern and graphic.  But they baskets are nice made from rattan and palm leaves, and give a future option for storage.

So we bough one 16 x cube Kallax and one 4 x cube horizontal Kallax.  We then headed home and I put them all together (top tip, electric screwdriver…)

Putting the Units together and joining them

The larger Kallax went underneath and the horizontal one was put on top.  This made the unit a good height.  Obviously it needed to be secured into one safe piece, so on the rear I used fixing plates at regular intervals to keep it secure.

Once that was done, we also added  simple 2 x 4 wood batons to the base at each end and in the middle so we had extra height for the base board we wanted to be attached.  I also added felt pads so that the piece can be easily slid on the wooden floors without catching and causing damage.

Now this was done we measured the sections we would need cornice for; top and bottom would be the same piece but inverted.  On the front of the piece is a double width horizontal section of front shelf where the two Kallax units meet, and so we measured this to make sure we got decorative moulding to cover it. You can see this wide section below. Continue reading

Ikea Hack – Bookshelf Unit, Part 1

PLANNING:

Yesterday I was over at my sisters house.  She has been working really hard recently on decorating, de-cluttering and generally removing the ravages of children over the years.  She has a sitting room with a newly installed woodburner, (she enlarged the fireplace and taught herself how to lime plaster to help install this, bravo!), and her style is very boho.  Lots of indian/ethnic furniture, kilims, fabulous battered leather armchairs and artefacts.  The room is skinny with a low ceiling, and not much natural light, so it ends up like a tunnel with dead space at either end.

There are two very long alcoves either side of the fireplace, and one is very underused – in fact it is crying out for something more.  So I suggested some sort of storage combination so she can get all of her stuff like LP’s, DVD’s, books etc into one dedicated place.  Budget is an issue, and we always like to get creative and avoid shelling out a fortune where possible. So I came up with an idea for an IKEA hack that we will be making this week.  Here are some very fuzzy images of the room and alcove, apologies for the quality!

Using an extended KALLAX as a central piece and two Billy bookcases either side, plus wood mouldings to revamp the front areas and to create some grandeur, we should be able to come up with a lovely break-front bookcase that will store a huge amount of things, fingers crossed!  As the room has generally dark furniture we are going to use white Ikea units, but paint the backs of the shelves in a dark grey to highlight whatever ends up on the shelves.  We will also paint everything else in white once the mouldings are attached.

The KALLAX units comes with great square baskets available made in rattan and palm leaves, so in some shelves clutter can be hidden in these.

SHOPPING LIST:

So here are the basics we will be buying:

Mouldings will be detailed with vertical rises like this:

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And the top pediment moulding like this:

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The base will also have a small skirting added to finish off the piece:

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The humble Moppe drawers

a universal product

I had a family member visiting us once from Australia, and their small daughter pointed at some IKEA Moppe drawers in our house and she chirped ‘We’ve got those at home’…  We also had the same plastic kids mugs and flower plates, so I am sure she felt comforted by those worldwide IKEA staples! I love the fact that all over the world, the Moppe boxes are uniformly used in homes to tidy away bits and bobs.  Those cunning swedes have also given a creative outlet to many upcyclers and hackers witih this humble product.

I was needing to tidy up my overspilling art supplies and grabbed a couple of Moppe boxes at IKEA last week.  On their own they are pretty basic, but with a bit of imagination they can be transformed with minimal cost and fuss.

DECOUPAGED MOPPE

So I looked around at the Moppe situation in my home.  In the house I already had these Moppe drawers which I had customised for my daughter last Christmas and each drawer had a gift in it… (note: bit of a pain as I found out as only little things fit inside, even a make up tube was a challenge).

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Upcycled wall lights

I wanted to have wall lights in my bedroom, but without the expense and mess of an electrician coming in and hard-wiring the walls.  In Ikea I spotted some very reasonably priced wall lamps called  ÅRSTID with plug attached, but when I got them home they looked too modern, bright and shiny for my room. arstid-wall-lamp-white__0103651_PE249969_S4 Rather than drive all the way back to Ikea, I got busy. Now they look very rustic and suit the room, plus I can move them if I want a change. First I made a bowl of 5 tea bags & hot water and dunked the shades in for a couple of minutes, this knocked back the whiteness of the shades.  When dry I attached ribbon around the base of the lampshade with glue.

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Then I painted the chrome bases with two coats of chalk paint.  I used Annie Sloan paint.  When dry I waxed them to withstand scratches and knocks.

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When they were ready to hang, I attached them to the wall as per instructions, however the white wires looked awful against the dark walls in my bedroom, so I painted them in leftover paint from the walls so they were far less obtrusive.

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