Fit for my prince!

Fit for my prince!


We were given a great bed for our little man when we were moving him to a big boys room from a nursery. But it didn’t have a headboard, which didn’t seem a problem at first, but he kept hitting his head on the wall, which was the joining wall between houses so it was very hard!
Know I love making things, and I hate throwing away, do instead of rushing to the shops and buying a Childs headboard, I decided to make one, as you do!
I had an old pram mattress that someone had given me when I had him, but it wasn’t the right size for my pram, so I used it as a cot bumper (it was new at this time) and it was still hanging around. So the next time I went to the fabric shop, I looked around for some soft durable fabric, and was lucky to find this pale blue soft corduroy in the reduced section, so a metre only cost me just £1.
I decided to make it like a cushion cover, so if he was sick or anything like that, it could be taken off and washed. I also asked him what he would like, and, due to his obsession with all types of emergency services, he asked for fire engines etc to decorate it.
I started by laying out the fabric and placing the mattress on it, cutting off some of the excess from the sides. Folding the material over, I wanted it to overlap by around three inches on each side, so I cut it to this. The sides that joined around the mattress, lets call them top and bottom, needed a hem, so I folded them over around an inch and a half, and sewed them in place. They should meet over the mattress and overlap by the hems. I placed them back over the mattress to mark where the buttons would go. I used five buttons, but use as many as you need, and marker their position and size on the top of the material with tailors’ chalk. I then sewed button holes and slit them open. I do them on the machine, but I know other people who prefer to sew them by hand, do them the way you want. Placing the material back around the mattress, for the penultimate time I promise, inside out with the button holed sides nearest the mattress, I then tacked along the sides. Sewing down these lines, I then turned the case the right way round and put the mattress back in, it can stay there now, for a while anyway!

fabric and mattress

fabric and mattress

hems!

hems!

href=”https://odntboutique.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/2013-07-23-22-05-50.jpg”>button holes button holes[/caption]
loops

loops

loops and buttons

loops and buttons


Now I was on to hand sewing, so the machine got packed away. I sewed the buttons under each button hole and then fastened them up. Out of the spare fabric I cut three strips about five inches long and about an inch wide. I sewed these into tubes and added them at regular intervals along the back of the headboard as loops. These are to fix them to the wall once complete. We are now on to decoration, and this is how I decorated mine, but there are so many ideas. For example, with a large needle and some big buttons you could sew through the mattress adding the buttons so it looks like an adult headboard, but then it won’t be removable, or flowers would also be easy to do!
I used my son’s stencils of vehicles and drew them onto various colours of felt. cutting them all out, I used the glue gun to stick them onto the fabric. The next part is the most labour intensive part, but, it gives a great finish and means I can wash the headboard if needed. It also stops little fingers from picking and pulling at he felt and pulling it off and ruining it! I sat and used a thick embroidery needle and two strands of embroidery thread and sewed a small neat blanket stitch around every piece. I did this in matching colours, but to create a different look you could use contrasting colours and even thicker thread to make it stand out.
Stencils

Stencils


Neat small blanket stitch

Neat small blanket stitch

Finished!

Finished!


Once this was stitched, I was done and just had to fix it to the wall. To do this, I matched up the loops to the wall, and added three picture hooks in the right place, and then just simply hung the headboard. I had a very happy boy when he saw it!!

Advertisements

Wellie Good!

Wellie Good!


Summer has really come to Yorkshire this year! I’ve been out in my “garden” in the last three weeks than in the last three years! My burn marks prove it, buy also the vast amount of work we have done to make it nicer.
I really wish we had taken before pictures, but I only started recording what we had done about half way through. I think you can get the general picture. If you can imagine an almost carpet of weeds and the back wall was papered with ivy, a problem we still haven’t got under control, but it does add a rustic look. And a lot more rubbish. A lot.
So, nine bags to the garden waste recycling, an old but living rotten half bald fir tree followed the same fate and there were a good few trips to the tip with bags of sweepings, rubbish and old broken garden furniture. We were starting to make progress.
Just some of the debris we cleared

Just some of the debris we cleared


More rubbish

More rubbish


We then jet washed the whole yard, we were filthy, all three of us! Gallons if dirty water poured down the drain, with the help of my trusty, new best friend, yard brush. That is where we have got to with the cobbles at the moment, but they are beautiful Yorkshire stone, so we plan a lot more cleaning to get them to their original glory.
Where we have got to so far, beautiful Yorkshire stone

Where we have got to so far, beautiful Yorkshire stone


On the raised bed front, the work wasn’t any less manual or time eating, but at least we had a bit of child labour involved in this part! We removed all the weeds and random plants that were in there, spending hours cutting off the ivy then weed killered the walls. I like the look of ivy, but I’m very conscious that it is a dry stone wall and we have children playing here and I don’t want it to be unstable. Then we removed the to half foot or so of soil as it was full of roots, stones and cat pooh (least I hope it was cat pooh) dug the soil over and it was done. Now by this point it was late July, so really we had missed the planting season, but my lad and his mate next door really wanted to plant now it was done so we just planted everything, straight out. Its unlikely that anything will grow very well, but there is a small chance and the boys loved planting and getting dirty. My motto is a dirty child is a happy child! We also moved a rhubarb head we had in a pot to give it more room and sun so they will hopefully get something to eat out if it!
The boys manual labour paid off

The boys manual labour paid off


Soooo, on to the main part, upcycling some old wellies into planters for the herbs that will otherwise take over the whole garden, mint and coriander.  I took the old wellies and using a Stanley knife I made around five holes around the bottom of the boot, just for drainage. I filled the foot with old broken stones. If you have no little stones, a hammer to bigger will work very well and also gets rid of all that frustration! Then fill the boot with soil and add the plant. I just placed mine in the back corner for a but of colour and a conversation starter! My neighbours really looked at me strange when I started this, but when it was finished they thought they looked great.
Wellie Good!

Wellie Good!


So now I’m going to a museum with my son for the day as a rest. We still have a lot of cleaning to do and I have done great ideas for upcycled planters to add colour and character, but I need a rest, somehow I have runners knee from doing all this, so much as I hate doing nothing, I need to rest it! But keep your eyes peeled fir updates, this is a huge project of bringing a Victorian courtyard to its full potential.

I'll bite you!

I’ll bite you!

Never Smile at a crocodile

Never Smile at a crocodile

I have been so busy over the last few weeks that I just haven’t had time to write anything recently! I will say I am working on huge upcycling projects, well one is huge and one just large. They will be coming in the next few weeks, if I ever finish the BIG one!
So, worried that I would not remember to write anything ever again, I thought about what I had been doing, and was there a bit I could write about this week. Well the answer was no, none of what I was doing really broke down into smaller sections, or at least not ones that would be interesting!
So, I thought I’d tell you about a bit of scrap modelling I did as a rainy day activity with my toddler this weekend. Not that we have had many rainy days recently, it has been amazing few weeks of playing outside every day, building sand castles, playing in water, but the heavens opened at the weekend and I suddenly had a bored little boy. We obviously could build a train track or have a pretend emergency that all (and there are a lot) his fire engines could attend, but I had itchy fingers to make something and he was a little boy who wanted to be dirty again!
So, I scoured the kitchen for scrap we could use and came up with a large egg box and a plastic ball. I offered him the choice of caterpillar or crocodile, and surprise surprise, he chose the crocodile.
We broke the egg box into its two halves, and removed the lip that would usually join them and put this to one side. The lumpy half (this is really technical) where the eggs sit, I gave to my son with a pot of green paint and told him to cover it the best he could. I folded the top half of the box in two to create the head. I then took the lip off the box and cut it into teeth shapes! These were too passed over to the boy with a pot of white paint this time. I then cut the plastic ball in half, this really does have to be done by an adult, my little one cannot be trusted with scissors at all yet, but even an older child would struggle with this and it is best to be careful. He was then given the two half balls and asked to paint a black dot on each. It wasn’t really a dot he did but you do get the message!
Now at this point I took over, i didn’t have to, you can use gloopy PVA glue, but it will take longer to dry, overnight and this little one was not for waiting, he wanted to play with his crocodile NOW!!! So out came the glue gun. I don’t have to tell anyone that you do not let a child use a glue gun unsupervised, and a three year old, never at all!! I quickly glued the teeth to the inside of the top of the box and added the two half balls to the bottom and then stuck the head onto the body! And there you go…Crocodile!!

Note, as egg boxes are made up of layers of card, the glue does keep giving up with a lot of rough toddler play, but I have re done this a few times so far and it’s still holding up, won’t be a long term toy though!

Cute little bear to carry around

Cute little bear to carry around


This one is a way to use up old tins, and out a smile on a little person’s face! Kids love to have a little friend to carry around in their pockets, and this gives you one, and uses up an old tin and scraps of fabric, in this case felt but you could use any fabric you have left over or lying around.

I drew around the bottom of the tin and used that for a base for my fabric cuttings. I cut two the same size as the bottom of the tin, the sheet and the duvet. I then used embroidery thread, I have lots hanging around but wool would work too. I then ran a blanket stitch around them both, folding about 3/4 inch down at the top and going around that there. I then decorated the fold down with beads. I then madea pillow out if a different colour felt, of the width of the tin by an inch. I blanket stitched this together too and stuffed it with a bit of child friendly stuffing, not a lot though, I needed room for the bear.
Using the outline of the tin as a guide, I drew a template of a bear and cut two out if felt. On one of them I stitched a little face and used seed beads for the eyes. The child I was making this for was three so I trusted her not to eat then, but if you are making it for a child who still puts everything in their mouth, I would use a French knot instead. I blanket stitched these together too, are you seeing a trend here? I again stuffed it, but a bit more full. Then I drew a dress shape around the bear and cut two out of more felt. I sewed these on to the best. I couldn’t make them to come on and off this small out of felt so I gave up! I finished it with a small “hand made with love” charm on the back. I just like to finish stuff I make for people like this!
My son loved it so much, I’m keeping my eye out for another tin to make another one, but this time a monster!

Back of bear

Back of bear

Under the blanket

Under the blanket

Cute little bear to carry around

Cute little bear to carry around

A great way to show off that early talent

A great way to show off that early talent

As the mother of a toddler, hardly a day goes by where he doesn’t bring home a new piece of art. I, of course, love every piece, but some are certainly better than others and I really like to show them off. What mum doesn’t want to show of her budding Picasso’s talent?
So, apart from the box I have of scribblings and paint blotches, I decided to build his own art gallery. Now obviously we are not taking the Tate or anything as grand, but I did have a large blank wall in my kitchen that would do the trick. Then I just had to think of how I was going to display it. There’s a lot of ideas around three internet. From lots of corkboard frames, bull dog clips on frames or huge magnetic paint boards, my options were endless. Then a spotted a huge wooden frame on a local Facebook seeking site. These are great for second hand bargains. Especially for your little ones. Kids rarely use a toy until it is unfit for use, do, especially for those big purchases like bikes, trikes etc keep an eye on local second hand stuff, with a bit of spit and polish can look brilliant and saves you pounds and keeps stuff it of the land fill.
Anyhoo! With this big frame, I gave it a good clean up, just a bit of spit and polish, I liked the wood, though my orginal idea had been to paint it.
I then took the back off, the picture out and removed the glass. This I, of course,kept, though I put it in the cellar away from toddler fingers. Just using the back board of the frame, I layered cork sheeting till all the back was covered and it was a few layers thick. This was because the cosk sheet I got was a bit thin and useless. Shop around more and get a decent thickness!

layer corkboard

layer corkboard

remove glass

remove glass

Take frame apart

Take frame apart


I put the frame back on and then put some of the best of little one’s art where I wanted it. Then pinned on the art and put it on my wall. The look on his little face was magic the next day when he saw it, and it has been admired by many, though I think mainly to humour the proud mum in me!

cute way to display those little posies in your kitchen

cute way to display those little posies in your kitchen


Another really easy one to get your juices flowing. It is so simple, yet so effective, I know I keep saying that, but you wouldn’t believe the amount of people that come round my house and say wow how do you do that?? Or, did you really do that yourself? The answer is yes, with just a little time and not that much effort.
This one is great for those of you with children, you know, when they bring home a bunch of “flowers” and want them displaying for all to see. Or, again like me, who like some of the flowers on weeds and plants that are a little too short for normal vases, and don’t last that long anyway. Plus, it’s so nice to have a little burst of bright colour and beauty, plus a nice smell, in the kitchen when you are stuck with washing up suds up to your elbows, slaving over the hot stove or cleaning! That is why I have placed this floating vase in my kitchen, next to the sink and the back door, a perfect place for water and for the garden.
So, to making it! What you will need:
• An old cleaned jam jar
• Garden Wire
• Something to cut the wire with – I used pliers
• A picture hook and tack
First make sure the jam jar is really clean and remove the lid. You can throw the lid away, or, if you are anything like me, pop it in a box, just in case you think of something you can use it for later!
Make sure the end of your wire is not sharp, cut a little off if it is, and wrap the wire around the neck of the jar a few times, leaving a few inches at the end. Once the wire is around the neck a few times and back to the point where you have a few inches free, cut the wire again leaving a few inches free.
Make a loop out of one of the loose ends and use the other loose end to wrap around the bottom of the loop near the neck of the jar, wrap it tight to secure the loop. You can add glue to this wrap if you are worried that it won’t hold, but I found it worked well on its own. Make sure the loop is bent up and away from the jar, at around a 45° angle, manipulate it with your hands until it is a smooth and tidy as possible.
Next you need to affix the picture hook to the wall, so, hold your jar in the position you would like it on the wall, and mark with a pencil where the top of the loop is. This is where you will want to put the hook part of the picture hook, so place this there on the wall and then tap in the tack through the holes. Make sure the picture hook is secure to the wall, and then hang your vase.
It looks just like it is floating invisibly on your wall, then just add your flowers, weeds or whatever you like! It’s great for sweet pea flowers, which smell lovely but won’t fit in the normal vases!
I’ve left my vase plain, just as I didn’t have anything I wanted to decorate it with, but you can decorate it with Sharpie pens however you like, glue lace or paper on to it (though you have to be careful washing it later) or even glue flowers gut from tissue paper on it. Have you got any ideas for decorating these?

On the wall

On the wall

Ever looked at those pictures in home decor shops, or hung in people’s houses and thought “I can do that!”?  so did I for ages, but never tried.  Now I’m not being down on modern art or anything, as I’m sure to think of the actual idea really takes skill, but the copies you see in the shops can be done by anyone with a bit of time and fun!
Since 2011, yes 12 years (!), I have had on my wall two pictures I really disliked, but I loved the frames. I got them as a leaving present on the last night a pub I worked in was closing for a major refurb and rebranding, and I just put them up and left them there. When we moved three years ago, these gorgeous frames matched perfectly the rest of the antique pine in the front room, so I just put them up again untill I decided what I would fill them with.
Inspiration for the first one came just a few months later, when I got a cross stitch book for Christmas, and the picture on the front cover was perfect for the smaller frame. This book was “Stitch Graffiti” By Heather Holland-Daly, and its great, with lots of trendy projects and ideas. I didn’t follow the colour pallette from the book, but out of left over threads from kits and other projects and matched it to my room. Here it is…

Cross stitch grafitti heart

Cross stitch grafitti heart


Any way! I digress!
The bigger frame was harder, I didn’t want another cross stitch, I’d not seen a pattern that I liked. So I left it, and left it, and left it, with this horrid picture on my wall, which didn’t even match! Then inspiration struck when I was browsing through Pinterest and I saw some crayon pictures. Have a look, there are some really great ideas, where whole rainbows of crayons have been melted down the canvas, and it looks great. However, I didn’t want to use new crayons and I wanted it to match both my room and the other picture. Now I volunteer with kids and have my own so I have a steady supply of old crayons that are too used to be held by little hands anymore, so I used these.
I also used:
The cream card (from behind the old picture)
Old crayons
A toilet roll tube
Hairdryer
Watered down PVA glue
Paintbrush
Oven
Grater

what you need

what you need

First I grated the crayons. I used a small pile of each colour, but you can keep grating as you go along if you run out. Then I cut a circle of toilet roll and shaped it into a heart. Just sort of squash it one way then, push one of the ends in, when you let go it’ll sort of be a heart, then just shape it!

Toilet roll heart

Toilet roll heart

Small piles!

Small piles!

Grating

Grating


I then gave the the card a quick paint with watered down glue, just so nothing moved. Then placed the toilet roll heart on the card and sprinkled the grated crayon over it and mainly in it. This I repeated till the page was how I liked it, then sprinkled a little of each colour all ove r the card. The I popped it under the grill!! yeah you read that right. I just put it under a light grill for about 5 minutes.

Going in the oven

Going in the oven

Then I just used the hairdryer to melt some of the stubborn bits, let it cool and popped in the frame! Done!

I’d love to know if you have any similar ideas!

Both of them

Both of them

On the wall

On the wall

Easy. Lets start there! I only did this the other week, after months of fiddling with my keys on the way into the house, with identical keys for the front and the back. But I have done this before…in my previous life as a bar manager, and you can imagine how many keys I had then.
It uses only one addition to your keys, and its one thing most of us ladies have in abundance! Nail vanish. You can colour code your keys however you like. And it takes less time than going into town, buying a clip on key colour and fitting it on. Plus, a heck of a lot cheaper too! Who doesn’t have bottles of old nail varnish lying around?
Just take the key you want to colour, place it on an old surface or a piece of grease proof paper. I used an old chopping board i use for crafts and gluing and stuff.  Then just paint one side, allow to dry, turn over and and repeat. Don’t forget to do the edges! Easy! Simple! Quick! Just keep applying until you are happy with the colour.
Some of you may be asking yourself why is this upcycling?! Well, it is a little stretch here, its more of a simple diy craft idea, BUT, I did use a nail varnish I had bought for a fancy dress outfit so I would have ended up throwing away! I’m sure you have some of these hanging around.
Enjoy if you do it! Brighten up your day with a bright pocket!

By the way, I am writing this in the Polish lakes, drinking wine and watching thunder storms! No internet so will be a late post!

image

image

image

What is upcycling? Or repurposing?  What do you think of when you hear those words?

I personally like upcycling better than repurposing, it just sounds more “green” and with it.  Repurposing sounds more like what you would do with a building, or making someone do a different job because you no longer want that one.

It is, in a nutshell, taking the old and pre-loved, destined for the bin etc and adding your own creative flair, a bit of hard work and some new bits and pieces and creating something new and unique.  I love it!  And I want to encourage more people to love it too!

Just think of what you can achieve:

  • New nice things for your house
  • A new craft or technique learnt
  • Less landfill
  • A talking point in your room
  • Pride in what you have acheived
  • Sometimes spending less money (!)
  • Having fun creating

So as you follow this blog, you will follow my journey through upcycling, learning the techniques I use and learn, seeing what I make for my house, to sell and how I use pre used bits and pieces to entertain my toddler!

Inspiration

Is the most important part of this game.  Search the internet, look at blogs, look at Pinterest, stroll round the charity shops (thrift stores if you are from the other side of the Atlantic!) and get inspitaration.  You do not have to copy what I or anyone else does to the letter, but see what we do and change it to make it you.  I don’t want my house, my clothes, my children to look the same as everyone elses, so why would you?

One good thing about upcycling is the range of things you can make. You don’t have to be a carpenter to make a unique set of drawers for your bedroom, just get some from a charity shop and “up-do” it yourself! Or a trained artist to make something nice for your wall. Most of the skills are quite easy too, with just a little patience, a little skill and imagination you can do anything!
Here are a few examples of what I’ve made. I don’t expect you to like it all, or copy it exactly, but I hope it will give you inspiration to try something yourself.
Keep reading for how I made these and more.

Simple, effective and pretty!

Simple, effective and pretty!

Looks expensive but really easy!

Looks expensive but really easy!

>>
Hands on, child friendly artwork

Hands on, child friendly artwork

A greeat way to show off that early talent

A great way to show off that early talent