Tag Archives: DIY

Neon DIY projects

14 Jun

Being a child of the 80s, I have always had a not-so-secret love for all things neon. I think it stems from the the first outfit I owned which I loved with a fiery passion – it was a hot pink top with flouro yellow stars on it and a matching skirt with lots of frills and layers which was flouro yellow with hot pink stars on it. Amazing. It made my 7 year old self very happy.

So I’m really happy to see so many neon related DIY projects on my favourite blogs and popping up on Pinterest. If you fancy getting stuck in to a very bright crafty project, here are a few of my favourites:

DIY Colourblock Bag from Say Yes to Hoboken

Wood and Neon Lanyard Necklaces from Martha

Neon and gold notebooks from Eat Sleep Cuddle

DIY neon toe shoes from Green Wedding Shoes

Have you seen or worked on any good neon projects lately? Share them in the comments!


Bank holiday crafts

5 May

If you are looking for a few ideas for the bank holiday, why not try making one of these projects?

Upcycle a plain bottle or vase with a photo transfer (via Babble)

Create a cake (or donut!) stand using old records – I love this idea! Via Bubby and Bean.

Experiment with Papier Mache! I haven’t done this since I was a kid, but My Little Fabric has a very grown up project on their site…

Create a really cool looking heart shopping bag (via hrrrthrr) OR…

A cool look ombred heart bag! Via Four Flights of Fancy.

Are you making anything this weekend? Send us your photos or links in the comments!

IKEA hack: bottom up blinds

12 Apr

The windows in the front room of our flat are huge. They let in loads of light and were one of the biggest selling points about the flat when we bought it. BUT there are two problems with having such big windows. 1) The room is south facing, meaning that when the sun is out it looks glorious but the heat soon becomes unbearable – like living in a giant greenhouse. 2) We live on the first floor and without blinds, everyone from the street can see straight in to the room.

The other problem is that only one window currently opens, and that opens from the top down, meaning that having curtains or regular blinds would prevent us from being able to open the window. We needed a solution that would allow us to open the window, let light in, protect us from heat and stop people from being able to look in at us from the street.

Our first solution was this:

Effective, but not particularly attractive, I think you'll agree!

I have to admit, I had no part in the clever solution we now have in place. P can take 100% credit for the idea and execution. When I say ‘we’, I really mean ‘he’. But I was there watching and drinking my cup of tea, so that counts, right?

First of all,we secured large picture D rings to the top corner of each window. Then, we screwed in bronze cleats (think a very small version of the thing you use to secure a boat to a jetty using ropes) to either side of each window, approximately in the middle vertically. These two together were the basis for the pulley system we created.

P securing the cleats

We bought some cheap, very simple blinds from Ikea for £45 and spent another £3.50 on some basic, quite hideous, curtain rods.

We cut the rods so that they were the length of the blind, completely covered by the fabric. Then we created small holes just underneath the rod on each side of the blind. A piece of 3.5m long nylon cord was fed through the hole and secured with a tight knot.

Next, the cord was strung up through the picture rings and pulled down to the cleats. We can now pull the nylon cord to raise the blind, or give it slack to lower it. When it reaches the height we want to set it at, the cord gets wound around the cleat to secure it in place. The length of the blind can then be adjusted at the bottom, by rolling it up or down, making sure that the window is covered no matter what height you set it at.

Hoorah! Adjustable blinds mean people on the street can't peep into our windows anymore!

In total, we probably spent just under £80 on the blinds, curtain rods, cord and fixings. Once the materials were bought this project took about two hours from start to finish. Considering that the quote we had had for bottom up blinds was almost £600 for these three windows, I would call that a massive win.

Wedding invitations: the design process

3 Apr

I haven’t written about my wedding planning in a while. There was a brief lull where P and I moved house and then had to concentrate on DIY and then I started a new job (yes, it has been a stressful year so far!), but now I feel back on track again and am trying to crack through the to-do list. First thing on the list? Invitations.

Getting a beautiful wedding invitation is easy these days. There are all sorts of Etsy people these days who you can give your details to, and they design them up to look spiffy and send you the pdfs to print. By looking over even just the first couple of pages of the search results for ‘wedding invitation’, I found loads that I liked. Some of my favourites were:

These green and grey text invites from the Fine and Dandy Paperie;

These mason jar invitations from Jen Simpson design;

And this gorgeous illustrated wedding invitation from Ello There.

And yet, I am making them myself. As someone who always prefers to hand make cards where I can, it seems strange to hand over the design process for the wedding invitations to someone else. The invites above are all gorgeous, but they aren’t personal to P and I. I wanted to make something different and something that meant something.

Having said that, it has been as massive struggle. The things that mean something to us – each other, our home, our family – don’t really make for amazing invitation images. I tried all sorts of different things – different fonts and frames, photographs, background images, colours, layouts… I started back in February and after getting VERY frustrated, I only now feel that I have something I am reasonably happy with.

I’m not going to share the pictures until they have been sent out in the post (and received by the guests!), but I will say that I have a brilliant night recently with the paints that Hannah got me for my birthday.  We’re having some dummy invites printed this week and all being well should be ready to post them out next week! Very exciting stuff.

And if you’re just starting out in this process and are wondering whether you should make them yourself? I wouldn’t have changed what I did, but I would say that having a clear idea of what you want the invites to look like is a pretty important starting point, and one which I took over a month to get to. Wedding invitation designers – I salute you!

Quick tip: hanging multiple items on a wall

24 Feb

For an easy way to arrange artwork on a wall, simply lay the bits out on a bit of newspaper, and arrange them how you want them to appear on the wall. Then, put dots where the nails need to go to hang the artwork that way.

Tape the newspaper to the wall, and hammer or drill away!


Mexican tin hearts bought from the wonderful Milagros on Columbia Road.

Ideas for craft projects

21 Feb

A few ideas I have spotted recently…

I love this vintage suitcase stand on Shabby, Chic and Charming. I have been really struggling to get hold of the legs I want for the suitcase project I still haven’t finished (as soon as I get the legs I’ll be done, so hopefully I will post it soon!). This is a neat alternative – using a luggage stand to put the suitcase on. The only problem is that I think it might be too high for what I want it for, but if I don’t find legs in the next week, I will definitely be giving this a go!

Another great idea for old luggage – turn it into a charging station! Seen on Design*Sponge.

I love this simple but beautiful leather case for the Kindle Fire. Seen on Momtastic.

Transform a board game into a jewellery box! Via ReadyMade

What have you been making lately?

Getting organised: Quick wins in the kitchen

20 Feb

Over the weekend I began to tackle my project to get our flat organised. Thankfully P is very handy with a drill – each of the three things we did took under 10 minutes to do and has already started to make our tiny kitchen feel calmer and more easy to use.

Our main problem in the kitchen is storage – we have none of it! Our one drawer was overwhelmed with things and the tiny cutlery organiser that we had just wasn’t cutting it. All the knives being all over the place was actually starting to feel a bit dangerous and things like the herb chopper were taking up way too much space.

Quick win? A bigger organiser. We took anything that can be hung up out of the drawer (see then next win to see where they went) and arranged everything that was left behind into a new divider.

Easy peasy!

The next project to tackle was the number of pot lids we have. Where do you store your pot lids? We had been storing them with the pots, but it felt like every time I picked up a pot, all the lids would crash down. It was driving me pretty nuts.

Quick win? Installing a rack above the hob to store the lids on. Plus we have some hooks we can use to hang bits and bobs that we want to keep near the stove.

Our final project was to make a piece of furniture a bit more functional. We bought a great kitchen trolley from IKEA not so long ago, which is brilliant. Our kitchen is really very small, so this gives us another work surface and somewhere to store big items.  But it doesn’t have any drawers, so our issue of storage for things like serving spoons, tongs, sieves, etc, didn’t really get resolved when we bought it.

Quick win? Installing another rack – this time with loads of hooks on it.

In total we spent around £30 on two racks and the cutlery divider.  It didn’t cost too much and although all three of these things are small projects, they have already made the kitchen feel hugely more organised and made me feel more relaxed! I know where everything is, things no longer fall over when I try to get pans out, and it looks nicer as well.

Now if only I can find solutions for our tupperware, none of which seems to stack properly or nest within other pieces. Any ideas?

Upcycling inspiration

6 Feb

I am currently working on a little bit of an upcycling project, taking a wooden suitcase I bought back in August in Newcastle and turning it into a coffee table. It’s proving a little trickier than expected, which I will tell you all about when I finally finish doing the work (working on the house seems to take precedence at the minute), but I thought I would share some of my inspiration as there are so many great examples of re-purposing furniture out there at the minute.

I have a couple of these library card holders, which I currently use for holding my spices, but this is a great alternative for them. Via Style by Emily Henderson

And here’s another great use of an old drawer cabinet being used as a coffee table. Those little legs make it just the right height. Via Richmond Thrifter.

Repurpose an old dresser by painting it and adding some hooks and a paper towel holder. Via Small Place Style.

This suitcase storage solution on Etsy is a great idea and so different!

It could even be as simple as putting a crate on its side and using it as a storage solution / coffee table – what a great idea! Via Pinterest.

Quick refresh: Kitchen Cupboards

12 Jan

After the success of my fireplace upcycling, I decided to have a go at painting our kitchen cupboards.

Why would anyone choose grey kitchen cabinets? Of all the colours!? Grey!?

Eventually, the plan is to buy a new kitchen, but it might take us some time to save up the money to do this (especially as the windows need to be repaired, which is slightly more urgent). So I took one of the handles to IKEA, so that I could get some slightly less naff looking replacements, and gave it a quick paint job.

Because the units aren’t wood (they were MDF with a laminate face), I was worried that the paint wouldn’t stick to it. I used the same primer and white paint colour I had for the fireplace, but it did require one additional coat of paint to make the surface appear even.  But the units are small and the paint dries quickly, so I was able to completely transform the kitchen using primer, 3 coats of paint and a few hours of work (in total the painting took me two days to allow for drying time).

The handles were around £3 for two, and we spent around £15 in total. The paint we already had from some other work we are doing, and despite the 3 coats, we used quite a small amount. Bargain!

Upcycling a fireplace surround

10 Jan

There is a lot of work to do in our new flat, some of which we are doing ourselves (painting, laying new flooring, replacing the skirting boards) and some of which we need a builder’s skills to do (taking down walls, fixing the creaky stairs, evening out the flooring in the very wonky bedroom).

One thing we did almost straight away, which instantly lifts the room, is to paint the fireplace surround.

The existing fireplace surround is fine, but with wooden flooring throughout this room, it could quickly start to feel a bit heavy. We talked about replacing it, and buying a white one with a bit more detailing, but in the end we realised that we could easily just paint it white.

A quick lick of primer and two coats later, it looks transformed!  A very different look at a minimal cost.

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