Hey readers, I know it has been a super long time since my last post. I have been adjusting to life in the real world now that I have a job and not as much free time anymore but I feel like I am about to get back into the swing of things. Makers meadow is attending a craft fair this Saturday 21st and I invite you to come join us for a peruse and a shop if you can make it to sheffield. There will be lots of other craft stalls from independent creators throughout sheffield and I am really looking forward to it. Stop off and say hi if your come by.
I really enjoy when I have wanted or needed something for my house for ages (but time, money or more important things get in the way of getting it) and then suddenly pops into my head, ‘OH I can make that’. It normally happens as all great things do when your not thinking about it and you come across an item or an idea and you go ‘Hey I’ve got it!’. Such a think happened this weekend when I needed a nail to hang a picture up and while rummaging through my nail/hardware junk tin I came across some very long nails which my dad had given me in his own tool box clear out. It suddenly clicked they would be the perfect size to fit thread spools on and I since I had wanted/needed a spool holder everything else came together in my head. The result my wonderful DIY thread holder which I made completely for free. yay!
You will need: A long piece of cardboard with a width that will fit the amount of spools you want, masking tape, fabric that will cover the cardboard, long nails (as many as you want spools), a hammer, sewing machine or needle and thread
2. Take the fabric you want to cover it in and cut it to size. You want it to go around the cardboard shape covering back and front with enough space around the sides for a seam. Sew a seam around three sides (or two if you have folded it over) with the right sides of the fabric facing. Turn the right way round and slip the cardboard into the pocket you’ve made, like a pillow into a pillowcase
3. You can finish the open edge by stitching a straight line across the the top with the excess fabric folded either in on it’s self or round to the back. As I had quite slippery material I used masking tape to secure it first (strong enough to hold in place but never damages fabric)
4. Measure out where you want to put your nails and mark them on the side of the cardboard you want to be at the front. You can mark with pen to make it clear as you will be driving the nails through the fabric so you won’t see the marks.
5. Place a nail one at a time on it’s mark and drive it through the fabric and cardboard until it reaches the other side but doesn’t go through the cardboard at the back. You want to drive each nail through at an angle, between 35-45 degrees to vertical so the spools don’t slip off. It’s also a good idea to do the hammering on top of a surface that won’t get damaged like a cutting board or another piece of cardboard.
6. The fabric will be pulled into the cardboard by the nail so to create a neat finish slowly pull it out along the nail so it sits against the cardboard once more
7. You are then ready to use it. You can either lay it flat on a table or store on a shelf, or you can mount it on the wall. I will mount it eventually but I want to get the right positioning before I start nailing anything into my walls. To mount it I would probably use some smaller nails or pins that I could drive into the back of the holder, wrap string around them and make it like a picture frame. I would then use a standard picture hook to hang it.
I love that I will now have easy access to my most used threads and they won’t sit in a box getting tangled up. I like the bright fabric I used, an of cut from a skirt I made a few years ago, which will brighten up my craft room walls when I hang it up. Have you ever had a project you just didn’t know how to do and it revealed itself in a flash of genius? or are you still looking for inspiration?
As part of my January Cure challenge I had to sort out our entry way and create a landing strip. We use the back door that leads into the kitchen as our entry way as the front door leads only to the living room door and the stairs so no place to store coats, shoes etc. We keep coats in a little cupboard in the kitchen which is under our stairs (also houses our meters and surplus dried foods). There isn’t much space elsewhere and we have our kitchen table immediately there as you enter our home but I found a brilliant simple shoe cabinet from IKEA that fits a perfect gap between the doorway and table. It means we can take our shoes off at the door and not drag dirt into the house. The cabinet top makes a great place to keep papers, pens and important info for the house on but it kept on getting very cluttered and turned into a dumping area. So to resolve this I made the notice board I had into a catch all board to take clutter off the surface but keep the info and stationary we need close at hand. It also looks a lot neater and prettier then a plain cork board too.
I collected all of the items that were lingering on and around the board and sorted into keep, chuck or move to another room. I then decided how I wanted to store the items I was keeping on the board. I wanted three pockets, one for stationary, one for important mail and one for coupons/vouchers plus I wanted to add a calendar to it. I measured the noticeboard against my chosen fabric (some off cuts from some old curtains) and measured out my pockets, then marked and pinned where I wanted them to go on the main fabric piece. I sewed the pockets down using a decorative zig zag stitch but you can use a needle and thread if you don’t have a machine. I was lucky in that my fabric for the pockets already has a neatly stitched hem, making the pocket opening very neat. You can do this too by first sewing a hem before you attach the pockets to the main fabric piece.
I then stretched the fabric around the notice board on one side, rolled the edge over to make a neat finish then stapled the fabric in place. I then stretched the fabric to the other side and repeated the process. Do this on all four sides to complete. Always stretch and staple the opposite corners to the staple before and you should get a nice smooth finish. I then just propped it back on the shoe cabinet and added the essentials I needed. I also drove a pin nail through the cork for somewhere to hang my calendar.
It definitely makes the place look neater and keeps things in order. I also added the word art our friend James gave us as a house warming present, great inspiration for when you leave and come home.
If you saw my cardboard Christmas tree tutorial you would have seen I had to prop the tree up and keep it stable by using some books. It looks kinda cool but I wanted it to look more like a traditional tree so I made a skirt to cover the base up. The design is super simple and you can jazz it up however you like to fit in with your colour scheme. You will need a square of fabric or felt and scissors. If you are doing a slightly fancier one you might need a needle and thread or your sewing machine to decorate and finish the fabric.
1. If you want a quick no sew skirt use a piece of felt as it wont fray. I used a piece of cotton so you can see the extra steps. You want the fabric big enough to cover the bucket your tree is in or the base of books if you’ve gone for a cardboard creation
2. Fold the square into quarters, cut the bottom edge into a curve and cut a smaller curve into the top edge to allow space for the trunk. If you’ve ever made a circle skirt its exactly the same pattern
3. Unfold the fabric and you should have a circle with a hole in the centre. Use one of your fold lines to cut from the bottom to the centre hole so you can wrap it around your tree trunk.
4. If you have made it in felt you can simply leave it as it is. For most other fabrics you’ll need to hem the bottom, top and cut edge of the skirt. You can do this by hand with a needle and thread or sewing machine
Its up to you how you decorate it, I have kept mine plain with a decorative stich for the bottom and added a little bit of lace at the top. You could create a whole scene using embroidery or applique and you could even making from lots of different fabrics for a unique look. I’ve stuck to a plain red as I wanted to keep it simple and blend in with the surroundings as I already have an unusual tree.
This weekend felt like the first time our new home started looking like a home but there is still quite a lot needed to do when it comes to prettifying the place but the bare bones are there. I finally have a set up craft room now, I have storage and desk to work my magic on. I am planning on painting the room, changing the ugly curtains that have been left behind and as it is our spare room a sofa bed will be moved in as well. I’m looking forward to getting back on with making more items for the shop and will need to make lots more as I will be attending my first fair in early December and want to make sure I am well stocked just in case. Here are a few photos of my crafty/studio room in a bit of a mess but It means I now have some where to work. I will show it off properly when its just right, whenever that will be.
Btw Ikea furniture is good and pretty easy to put together but it takes FOREVER to make!
It’s the 1st of November! and while most are nursing a Halloween hangover I am thinking of Christmas** I normally start planning Christmas a lot earlier then November but having a lot on my plate recently it has fallen by the wayside. I am expecting Christmas to be a very, very lean one this year so it is even more important that I save money for presents and partying by been thrifty and frugal in things that I can make and do myself. I would love to have a decorated living room for me and Harry to enjoy the holidays in but since this is our first year in our own house we don’t have any decorations! So….. I am of course going to make them all. Last year I did a series of Christmas Crafts you can easily make at home called Simple Christmas and this year I shall continue it with all the homemade decorations I create myself. So to kick things off here are the DIYs from last year for you to make. Just click the picture and it will take you to the tutorial!
Happy Crafting and I will be back soon with some new DIY crafts for Christmas
This week I am flipping 15 uses on its head and finding different bits of rubbish that could all be used to make one thing. I’m starting off with upcycled fashion and to begin with I’ve chosen dresses. So instead of thinking what do I do with all this (insert rubbish you have copious amounts of) be thinking I want (insert hearts desire) so what can I make it from. I’ve found a brilliant collection of dresses made from other fabrics, papers and some more unusual finds.
The most suitable way of making an attractive but comfortable dress is to delve into old and tired fabrics to create new life
1. I love the skirt on this made entirely from old ties. There are plenty of these languishing in charity shops and your dads wardrobe, make use of them.
2. There are plenty of army surplus or fake camouflage to get you hands on, just depends if you want to sport the army look or not. *note probably not good for running in.
3. A classic item that is always getting chucked out is denim, so keep its life cycle going with a cute summer dress
4. Patch work is the original of upcycled fabric crafts, using spare bits of fabric or cuttings off old items to create a whole new one. Normally reserved for bed spreads I think I dress would look equally cool
5. Men shirts are another charity shop staple and should be used more often to create new things
Plenty of it so use it though I see these all for statement pieces rather then general ware, though depends on your fashion
1. Books are a joy but there are endless amounts piling up in our homes, create your own masterpiece with a show stopping dress.
2. Maps are beautiful and would make a brilliant design for a dress
3. Fashion magazines display the best of designers skills but they themselves could be transformed into brilliant dress designs
4. The easiest paper to get hold of and the most flexible but watch out for tears
5. Strips of cardboard packaging, in this case cereal boxes, could make a fun dress and it appears to have more structure to the other paper ideas making it probably the most viable design. I like the belt to make it look more natural
Bizarre ideas but ones that could definitely work as a statement piece. I would advice a fabric lining for all of these to maintain modest and comfort
1. Plastic rather then paper this time. Fused grocery bags in different colours could make a simple dress. Once the plastic bags are fused together they can be worked just like fabric
2. A collection of bottle caps, metal wire and tin plating creates this strange piece though can’t imagine it being a very comfortable experience. How would you sit down?!
3. I like this one made from lids and tops. Its like a colourful flapper dress but once again I can’t imagine its comfy to sit down in and a light slip would be needed underneath unless your super racey.
4. This police line dress looks amazing but where would you get such materials, I’m sure the bobby’s wouldn’t be too pleased if you started snaffaling their tape
5. Using packaging of any kind looks fun and quirky but make sure they are all washed out thoroughly or you’ll start to smell like a rubbish tip
So would you dare to go for the outrageous dresses or stick to the plain and simple fabric ones?
As you can imagine upcycling and recycling comes second nature to me especially snce m shops products are remade from unloved materials. Its the idea of working with what youve got because its great for the environment and our pocket. Since moving we’ve realised we have lots of things but no where to keep them, having previously rented fully furnished houses. Instead of buying brand new or even popping to our local second handstore for items, we though lets use what we’ve got right now. This included a shabby old pine bookcase that was in what has become to be known as the junk room. It was hidden beneath piles of catering ware and i spotted an opportunity to create a place for all our books, DVDs and trinkets as well as making a sideboad for our living room.
First things first, i flipped in on its side to make a long side platform which fits perfectly inbetween the doors to our kitchen and my craft room. Next i did the most important thing. Deciding on what i wanted to display and where i wanted to put it. This involved a big sort and a lot of donate or keep decisions.
I then measured the gaps between the main slates and measured and marked where my additional shelves would be placed. I then recycled some more and used two very long pieces of ply wood which i also found in the junkroom, to use for the new shelves. I measured and lined where to cut on the pieces and then used our trusty mitre saw (circular chop saw) to perfectly slice the pieces. Its my new favourite toy.
I used m electric drill to drill holes through the points i’d marked on main slates and through into the edge of the slates. I drilled 2 holes per side of a shelf so 4 altogether which makes very secure. I then tightened screws into the holes and further upcycled as i used old screws which i had to take out of furnishing, walls and shelves when first decorating. I propped each shelf at the right level using books and wood so it wasn’t wonky when drilling and constructed it from bottom to top so i could build a platform on each level up for the net placement.
It took me about an hour to drill and screw in all the pieces but the real pre was making sure to measure properly and get the individual slats the right size. in all honesty, if your using an old piece of furniture it is not always perfectly formed as was the case with our bookcase. Upcycling is about working with what you’ve got which might not be perfect yet i think mine still looks pretty good. Once you’ve finished you get to do the fun part and fill it up again.
After a brief spell away 15 uses is back this week and i hope you all enjoy this upcycling bananza. Since we will be moving in to our new home soon we have been thinking about furniture and what we need to make our little flat comfortable. The previous owner left lots of mismatched furniture and it would be really nice to turn some of them into useful pieces for ourselves. Not only is it good for the environment its easy on the pocket especially when it comes to moving which is such an expensive time. Although we don’t have children and i can’t get away with ‘playing’ imaginary games any more, the first lot of upcycled furniture pieces are play areas for kids. I had to include them because they are so dam cute!
5 ideas for imaginary play.
1. Kitchens seem to be a popular pieces on pinterest and in toy shops. I remember having a plastic kingfisher kitchen as a child with two sides to it and a little roof supported on both sides so you can see from one side to the next. Fun to remember my sister and i use to crawl through the gap as part of our made up obstacle course, until the day she got stuck in it :D
2. An old book case can make a easy shop front, you can let kids play with actual groceries or there are many plastic /textile play items that you can buy,
3. Another Kitchen one because it’s so cute. Any old piece of furniture can be transformed into a kitchen unit. Use a little imagination and you can really help your child imagine all sorts of things.
4. Not as exciting as a kitchen but a laundry set might encourage children to clean up after themselves and start learning important life skills.
5. Get crafty and encourage your child’s own artistic skills by making a work bench, whether their interested in woodwork, sewing or painting you could make an area with their favourite job in mind.
5 ideas with suitcases
1. Add legs off an old table and pad the insides and you have got the coolest seat ever. You would have to reinforce the back some how so you can lay back in the chair and not rip the case off its hinges.
2. Same idea as number one but have it close to the floor to make a pet bed. I’m sure the pooch would appreciate it and it would look so much nicer then a standard plastic one
3. Once again, simply add some legs and you’ve got a cool table
4. Stand a case on its end, cut out a rectangle from the side and add in some shelving to make a unqiue book case or as in the example above a cocktail bar! Scweet!
5. Use a collection of suitcases to make cool storage . You could cut the lids off and slid each case into a deep book case to make an instant set of drawers wit a vintage feel
5 random but fun ideas
1. You could use a whole collection of furniture, book shelves and spare wood to make a display unit for a whole wall. Paint in the same colour for a cohesive look or go wild and paint it a rainbow.
2. Make an old TV into a cat bed. Wearing gloves and goggles you can take the inside components and screen out, pad with a cushion and spray paint it a wacky colour.
3. An old chair with no legs can make a lovely garden swing with firm ropes and a strong branch
4. Got chickens? a dresser with a hole cut out the side with added ramp makes a safe chicken roost, off the ground and secure
5. Updating your bathroom, use your old bath suite to make a funky sofa. Cut a piece out of the side, sand down and add a comfortable custom cut foam piece. Paint to suite your style.
Check out the pinterest board for all links
One of my first ever posts and one of my first 15 uses posts was about glass bottles and this has proved to be most popular post throughout the blog. I guess people have a lot of bottles lying around. So i thought i would show more ideas to upcycle glass bottles for you to feast your eyes on. For any links check out the pinterest board which has all the glass ideas and while your there don’t forget to follow us.
5 ideas for the home
1. Though this is maybe one for the professionals you could always collect the glass yourself. There are designers and manufactures using recycled glass to make interesting and unique counters for kitchens. Some of the colours are amazing!
2. Simple painted glass both jars and bottles can brighten up a dull corner and are good for storing little bits and bobs
3. Use an interesting glass bottle with it’s top cut off to make a cool candle holder. You could make your own or put a ready made candle in.
4. Make sugar/salt shakers from a cut bottle top with a cork stopper in the bottom. You could re-attach bottle tops with holes punched into them to make it a proper salt shaker
5 creative ideas
1. Use little bits of broken glass to make a mini stain glass ornament. You can take the pieces to a professional craftsman, go on a course or can do it yourself with a few specialist tools
2. Melted bottle bottoms make unusual tea light holders. I’d look to find lots of different coloured ones.
3. Paint a bottle and glue lots of paper cut pieces on to it to make a really stunning vase. Just pick your fav shape and colour. I love the crabs, great for a bathroom.
4. I love these bottle fishes. Think about the shape of the bottle and see if you can add little bits and bobs to make interesting animals or even people
1. Use a coil of wire to rest a tea light in the centre of a hanging bottle with its bottom cut off.
2. Use a whole bottle teamed with bottle caps to make an interesting sounding chime, plus another way to recycle all those caps
3. Use cut up pieces of glass to make a classic mobile look with a tingly sound
4. This is my favourite. Using rings of cut glass in different sizes to make a very unique wind chime. It is really professional looking.
5. Use three or more top ends of cut bottles to make an interesting ornament chime which has each one threaded and secured through the one above. Decorate with glass paint or etching.
Remember to always use safety gloves and goggles when cutting or splitting glass and make sure you know what your doing. Sand down all edges too to prevent cuts later on and go make some beautiful things.