New furniture projects!

At the weekend we acquired not one but two new pieces of furniture. I say new but neither is actually what you might call “box fresh” but they’re new to us!

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The first is a pine dresser which was kindly given to us by friends who no longer need it. I had originally planned to renovate this for sale but I’m now thinking I might keep it to store my craft supplies in the spare room.

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The second is a vintage tall boy. This is going to be my OH’s new (rather large) bedside cabinet. He doesn’t have enough storage at the moment and so I get frustrated that his side of the room is always messy and I can’t clean it properly! We bought the tall boy from a local charity shop called Pass It On Vintage. I could’ve gone a bit mad in there and bought so much! It was great and I’m sure I’ll be going back at some point.

For the dresser I plan to keep it simple as my craft supplies will provide lots of colour and interest. The plan is to clean it up, sand it only where necessary and then paint with Annie Sloan’s Old White followed by clear wax. At this stage I haven’t decided what to do about the handles. I think I might get some new ones but actually quite like the chunky pine originals.

For the tall boy I plan a complete colour change to go with our bedroom decor. I’m also going to have a go at making my own chalk paint for this one! We’ve had a tester pot of our chosen colour made up (on offer for £1 in B&Q!) and some plaster of paris to mix it with. You could only get it in 2.5kg boxes so it might take me a lifetime to use up! I will also need to sand the tall boy. I’m after a smooth look for this and there are some areas where the current finish Is damaged so it might take some elbow grease!

I have no idea when I’ll manage to find the time to work on these projects with everything else I’ve got on but watch this space! 

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Chalk paint and wax makeover of a bedside table

Our home contains a variety of furniture we have collected over the last 5 years from various places. Some is new, some are hand-me-downs and some are eBay purchases. Currently in our spare bedroom the furniture is either hand painted or from a matching set of Ikea pieces. All except an old bedside table that used belong in my parents’ home. For a long time I ignored this fact but recently it started to annoy me and I decided it was time to do something about it.

As a lover of chalk paint I had bought an Annie Sloan book some time ago but never done more than flick through it. I finally had a proper look and found some inspiration for my prospective project.

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On a bit of a whim (always best to strike whilst the iron’s hot with these things I find) we set off to an Annie Sloan stockist in nearby Holmfirth. This well – known Yorkshire town is full of lovely shops, pubs and cafés and is always a joy to visit. Hidden at the end of a quintesentially Yorkshire cobbled street is Lost and Found Interiors. This was the first time I’d visited the shop but I’ll definitely be back. I could happily furnish my entire house from their lovely vintage and upcycled stock! I had a chat with the owner about my idea. He runs Annie Sloan workshops so was full of useful suggestions though I’m not sure he was completely on board with my planned technique! As well as the paints and wax I needed I also picked up a funky print.

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The next day I dug out my dust sheets, cloths and brushes and set to work. After cleaning the cabinet I started with a coat of Old White and let it dry (which doesn’t take long). In my haste to get going I’m afraid I forgot to take a before picture!

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Here you can see that this white coat is applied unevenly and all in different directions to get the required effect. This goes against how I’d normally prefer to do things but I found it quite liberating! Next, on to the coat of Provence applied in the same way but without letting the white show through too much. Let it dry.

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The door handle isn’t painted. I covered it in aluminium foil to protect it. Originally I had planned to distress the finish next so you could see the white paint through it. I tried this on a small section and didn’t like it so didn’t do any more.

Next comes the fun bit – waxing! This is where the project really comes to life. First you coat the whole thing in a layer of clear wax to protect it. Then you start to apply the dark wax. It seems a bit scary at first. Your item is looking lovely. Not yet how you imagined the finished product but ok. Then you start slapping on the brown wax and think “what have I done!”  You have to keep the faith that you can do it and it’ll turn out just right!

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This photo shows the side of the cabinet as I was working my way down to the bottom. Apply the dark wax with a brush, making sure you work it into the contours made by the way you’ve applied the paint. Then use a cloth to get most of it off again. It dries quickly so you have to work in small sections and it takes a bit of elbow grease! If there are bits with too much dark wax and you don’t like it you can use more clear wax to help remove the excess. When you’re happy with the finish leave it to dry.

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It took me several hours to get to this point. It’s quite handy though as in the drying time after each coat of paint you can go and get a few jobs done around the house (or sit and chill out with a cup of tea and a biscuit or two!). After 24 hours use a clean cloth to buff the cabinet to a nice finish which removes any stickiness from the wax. Ta-da! You’re done!

Position, style, admire!

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Thank you for reading. Leave me a comment if you’d like. Why don’t you have a go yourself? I’d love to hear how you get on!

Re-covered footstool

Well it’s been a very busy week this week and there’s been little time for crafting. I’ve done some work on my crochet skirt (from Love Crochet Autumn 2013, pictures to follow) and last weekend I finished my patchwork blanket that is now my header picture! Now that was a long project – its taken a whole year to do and may not even be completely finished now – I’m still thinking of putting a border on it at some point!

So after two long ongoing projects, today I felt inspired to do a project that I could start and finish on a day. An afternoon in fact!

I’ve had the materials for this project for a while now but haven’t gotten around to actually doing it. My mum gave me a footstool she no longer uses that used to belong to her uncle Jack, my great uncle Jack, so it’s pretty old. I remember mum re-covering it once when I was a child. It was now in a pretty poor state – stained, tatty, and the foam had pretty much perished. If you’ve read my blog before you may remember me mentioning some fabric I bought with foxes on (Scion’s Mr Fox). My family name is Fox as you may have guessed from the name of my blog! So I’m always drawn to foxy things, and there’s so much of it around at the moment – it’s great! I had a couple of things in mind for the fabric – the footstool and a cushion. It is a bit awkward as the print on the fabric is so big but I’m pretty pleased with how my footstool had turned out…
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I’ve never done anything like this before and had to admit I pretty much made it up as I went along and not at all perfect but I’m still really happy with it! No step by step pictures this time I’m afraid as I was so determined to get it done quite quickly. It’s a simple process I suppose although it was a little tricky in parts and my staple gun broke half way through so it was a good job I had plenty of upholstery tacks!

Getting all the old covering and foam off it was a bit tricky as it was very old. I’d bought a big piece of foam which I cut to size with a hack saw – definitely not the best tool to use but all I had to hand. Then I covered this with some wadding and stapled it in place. Then I had to cut out my fabric with the design in the centre which was a bit scary as I didn’t want to get it wrong – I only have a metre of fabric. Then I machine stitched around the edge to prevent fraying. I put the fabric over the stool, wrong side facing, and pinned the corners. I straight-stiched these to make the shape of the cushion and cut off the excess fabric from the corners, oversewing the edges again.

Then I just had to tack it in place and add my edging. Thinking I was nearly finished I was a bit gutted to realise that because my pom pom edging was so narrow it didn’t cover up all the staples and tacks and the edge of the fabric as I’d wanted. Luckily I found some black grossgrain ribbon in my stash and attached that first then tacked on the pom pom edging on top. As I said before it really isn’t perfect but it’s just for me and in really proud of it so it doesn’t matter! I’d love to hear what you think of it though, and if it’s inspired you to have a go, or even any tips for me in case I ever end up doing something similar again!

Next week is due to be a busy one as it’s my birthday on Wednesday but hopefully I’ll get chance to do some crafting, or maybe even some baking…

Thanks for reading!

Crochet t-shirt rug

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year and that 2014 has got off to a good start for you. I’ve only worked two days so far and the weather’s been pretty rubbish so it’s been a good time to work on some of my works in progress! I’ve finally managed to finish my crocheted t-shirt rug that I’ve been working on sporadically for quite a few months now.

Ta Da - The finished rug
Ta Da – The finished rug

So I started with a post I found on Pintrest here and a pile of my boyfriend’s only t-shirts that he didn’t wear anymore. It’s a pretty easy thing to do once you get the hang of it although it is a bit time consuming. I used this free pattern as a starting point. Here’s my quick guide how it works…

My boyfriend's old t-shirts
My boyfriend’s old t-shirts
Cut the hems off, fold twice but leave 1 inch margin at far side
Cut the hems off, fold twice but leave 1 inch margin at far side
Cut the fabric into strips, stopping at the margin. Cut all the way across only when you reach the sleeves.
Cut the fabric into strips, stopping at the margin. Cut all the way across only when you reach the sleeves.
Open out the fabric and join into one long string by cutting across the margin from one strip to the next.
Open out the fabric and join into one long string by cutting across the margin from one strip to the next.
Pull the fabric into one long string
Pull the fabric into one long string
A big pile of t-shirt spaghetti!
A big pile of t-shirt spaghetti!
Make into a ball
Make into a ball
My different colours of t-shirt yarn ready to crochet
My different colours of t-shirt yarn ready to crochet

The rug is worked in double crochet (UK) throughout in a continuous spiral, increasing where necessary to keep the oval shape and to keep the work flat. I did have to find some extra t-shirts when I realised it was going to end up smaller than I’d wanted. I put the call out to my friends at work and I was offered 3 white t-shirts that had belonged to of one of their husbands and were in the bag to go to the charity shop! I started off using a plastic 12mm hook that I bought on ebay but then for Christmas I was given a set of bamboo hooks and I found it much easier for some reason with the bamboo hook of the same size – it didn’t make my hand hurt so much.

Starting chain
Starting chain
Colour change
Colour change
Finished article!
Finished article!
Up-close
Up-close

I used each ball of yarn until it was nearly finished then tied on the new ball with a figure of eight knot. As I continued on with the new colour I’d catch the knotted ends in the next stitch so they don’t show too much. For the last coloured section at the outside I ended up going back to the bits of left-over t-shirt – the neck and sleeves. To get the most out of these I cut them into short strips, pulled them into string and tied them together as before. This results in a yarn with lots of knots but they can be hidden in the work in the same way as before. When I’d finally almost run out of yarn I finished off and darned the end in the reverse side of the rug. I also made sure that any tails from the knots that were still sticking out were pulled through the stitches on the back to neaten it up. I’m pretty pleased with my finished product which is a great way of up cycling old t-shirts otherwise destined for the charity shop or the bin, into something new and useful for the home! I’m sure you could make other things with this t-shirt yarn, like maybe a pouffe for your sitting room. I’d love to hear your comments and if anyone else has had a go at this sort of method?

Dining table and chairs – 9 days on!

We started the table and chairs project a little over a week ago when we had a few days off work. By the end of the weekend we’d got the base finished with two coats of primer and THREE of topcoat to get a nice finish. Painstaking but worth it as it looks lovely. I still think I might wax over the top to help protect it but this will have to wait for now. I got the first chair primed and the first coat of colour on. And finally R got a coat of varnish on the table top.

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I’m proud of bits like this where I’ve managed to sand and fill the damaged areas and make them look much nicer…Image

Like this…

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The base is painted in Lamp Room Grey by Farrow and Ball which is just a beautiful colour. I still have over half a tin left so I’m sure it won’t be long until I find something else to use it on. Perhaps the new desk I picked up yesterday?

Anyway since going back to work I have to report that progress has been agonisingly slow unfortunately! The first couple of days met with traffic disasters and so it was dark when I got home so not the best time to paint. Combine this with a little socialising, other things that needed doing, working this weekend and just life in general I’ve not got much done. And now the clocks have gone back, which is not going to help either! The second coat of blue’s gone on the chair though and it looks so much better. I think it still needs another coat though!

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The colour looks darker in the daylight without the flash (and much more sophisticated I like to think!). It was meant to be Drawing Roon Blue by Farrow and Ball but we couldn’t get hold of any without ordering it and just wanted to get on with it so we had the best match possible made up in Dulux eggshell instead. We got more paint for less money and the colour is a pretty good match to be fair!

In the end I’ve come to the conclusion that this project is going to take a long time to complete! I know it’s going to be worth it though in the end and I’m enjoying the process. Most of the time! The chairs are hard work though – I’m definitely going to do them one at a time! When it’s finished I’ll have to make some new covers for the chair cushions. Any ideas what colour I should choose?

If you’re enjoying reading about my furniture transformation you could follow my blog so you won’t miss my next update!

If you’re working on any upcycling projects, I’d love to hear about it, and I hope you’re enjoying it!

Dining table and chairs upcycle – day 2

Haven’t got so much done today as each step takes ages. Also there’s drying time to consider. Firstly I used wood filler around the new feet to tidy them up a little, which has to dry before you can sand it. I then added a second coat of primer to the first chair and have managed to do two coats on the table base. Not bad progress I guess!

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Can’t wait to get it finished but it’s going to take a while!

In other news, my order arrived for some wool to make a baby blanket for a friend – very exciting! My favourite yarn supplier at the moment is Love Knitting for their great range of yarn and very quick delivery!

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We have a birthday celebration to attend tonight so won’t get anything else done today but I hope we can get some more done tomorrow.

Dining table and chairs upcycle – day 1!

So my boyfriend and I have a few days off work and have decided to start working on our dining table and chairs. To set the scene, when we moved house we were looking for a farmhouse style dining table and chairs on ebay and were getting ready to spend a fair bit on it, which we shouldn’t really be doing as we need to save a deposit for a place of our own. It turns out my dad had one that we could have for nothing but the cost of getting it couriered to ours. There were two matching chairs and I knew I could find more on ebay to make a set of 6. “What’s the catch” I hear you cry?

Well, dad had been given it by a neighbour who was going to throw it in a skip. That was 10 years ago and dad has been using it for potting plants on in his greenhouse ever since! To make matters worse, the family’s dog had been rather fond of chewing on the table and chairs! As you can imagine it was in a bit of a state, but not irreparable and ultimately almost free. We gave it a good clean and transported it to our house. I bought 4 matching chairs cheaply and I got a pink spotty pvc cloth to cover the table with. It has been serving us very well for a few months now.

These pictures show how it looked when we “rediscovered” the table…

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And this is an example of the dog damage on one of the chairs.

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We’ve now decided it’s time to tackle the makeover! A very lovely friend of mine has lent us her two electric sanders and we’ve collected together lots of sand paper, wood filler, primer and our paint colours – more about those on a future instalment!

Today has been seriously hard work. This project is going to be a real labour of love! Still, I think we’ve made great progress. The base is fully sanded and the holes are filled. My long-suffering other half chipped off the old rotten feet and fashioned some new ones and now it’s ready for the primer. We also managed to get two chairs sanded and one primed (what a job that was) and we’ve started sanding the table top – more on that another time.

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A very exhausting but satisfying day. Now for a massive bowl of prawn and courgette pasta to celebrate!

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