Wooden chair make over

Thursday, 26 March 2015

 I'm back with another bedroom makeover update for you all today. You may have seen my mighty driftwood shelf  this time its the turn of some really gorgeous chairs I found on Gumtree. Since our furnishing budget for the house was extremely small after all the serious renovations,  I've have had a great time sourcing furniture in weird and wonderful places ( like the tip or peoples carboots - I have no shame). Gumtree has to be one of my favourite places to find new treasures, I like the fact I can be quite specific in what I am looking for and can search within quite a small area from home, I also like the fact that I can still treasure hunt even when I am trapped at work - ha!
I found these chairs back in the autumn and they were just what I had had in mind, I wanted something really pretty for the bedroom, that weren't too matchy- matchy. I got the pair for £50 and knew they needed a make under, I am not a fan of dark wood in the slightest. 

The process for both the chairs was quite simple, sand until you get back to the natural wood. I used a Black and Decker mouse sander as its small tip meant I could get into the hard to reach places. If you are more particular than me you could hand sand all the grooves, I quite like the shading effect on both of the chairs. Once complete give everything a good wipe down with a damp cloth. Each chair took me about 4 hours to complete. 
I'll probably get these both reupholstered at some point. I was in Designers Guild at the weekend and would love to use one of their amazing velvet prints but sadly budget doesn't allow for that at the moment. As they are, they both suit the room really well and I like having a few places to hang and drape things!

I've used Gumtree quite a bit in the past year, I've found some real treasures and also been stung. The most important thing to look for is the base material. Look for solid wood - like these chairs - proper joins in drawers and good quality finishes. It doesn't matter if you upcycle or leave as they come, you'll always have a great end product that you can sell on again. The only time I've been left disappointed, is when I bought a really poor chest of drawers that was falling apart everything from the initial communication was dodgy, sometimes you have to trust your instinct and walk away. 
 My bedroom is still coming together, photographing these chairs made me have a bit of a shuffle round  which I'm liking. Now I've got these sorted they have highlighted how much I'd love to switch my wardrobes for a more rustic wood option - it's never ending! I have done some more changes to the room so I'll be back with another update soon.

Top chair accessorised with - trainers - Superga, scarf - Matthew Williamson, Basket, a gift from my sister

Bottom chair accessorised with - shoes - Charlotte Olympia, jackets - Zara, Table, made by my Dad

This most was written in collaboration with Gumtree, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

To make! - March

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

I've really got back into Pinterest lately - reshuffling my boards, pinning at any spare moment, I love it! I was struck down with a nasty virus last week so slept instead of pinned but now I'm feeling better my 'To make!' board is busier than ever. Here are some projects that have caught my eye...

Tassel necklace - I feel that the humble seed bead is having its moment once again, I love this tassel necklace.

Beaded key rings - I'm forever losing my keys, I think these would make a perfect speedy project.

Pretty painted stones - Summer plans are on the horizon,  if like me your always collecting things from the beach, I like the idea of making a simple stone into something special

Clay bunnies - I love rabbits and really want to make some of these before Easter comes around.

Flower rug - For those of us yet to try our hand at weaving, this shop bought rug mixed with fake flowers is such a fun alternative and can easily be made in an afternoon.

You can follow me Pinterest at Lotts and Lots 

DIY - jewel and brooch statement necklace

Thursday, 12 March 2015

You might have guessed I'm very fond of a statement necklace and for today's jewel and brooch statement necklace tutorial I haven't held back! Finding jewels is one of my main past times, looking for the right colour and setting takes me so many hours. When I was contacted by a wonderful company called The Bead Mixer, it was like my prayers had been answered - they have such an amazing selection of unusual beads, jewels and findings. They kindly offered to send me a selection and I couldn't resist going large and picking some super sized rhinestones. Like all my projects I like to mix old and new, so I decided to use some enamel vintage brooches and chain I picked up in a charity shop a while ago. The rest of the materials are from my basic jewellery making kit and are really easy to pick up from any jewellery shop. Here's how I did it. 
You'll need - 7 soft pink rhinestones, 11 flamingo pink rhinestones,  18 x rhinestone holders, chunky curb chain,  satin cord (this can be picked up in all haberdasheries), 2 x  6mm cord ends, vintage chain, lobster clasp, connector chain, 6.5 mm jump-rings

Step 1. Decide on your design, I wanted the jewels of this necklace to be slightly off centre so split the design into three parts. 

Step 2. Cut a piece of chunky curb chain 14cm long. Prep your jewels, the prongs are really easy to fold over. Place your jewel in the setting and fold each prong over onto the jewel to hold in place. I found it was best to prep the jewels before I started to assemble my necklace. 

Step 3. Leave one link 'free' then using a jump ring add a jewel to each link. For a more random look make sure you don't alternate each colour. Continue along the chain, leaving the final link free. 

Step 4. Prep your cord. For a statement necklace I work on a finished length of 45cm, I went for a length of 20cm. Add a small piece of tape either end of your tape and cut the tape so there is approx. 0.5cm (no more!) at either end. Add a small dab of silicon glue inside the cord end and insert the cord, repeat on both ends. Leave to dry

Step 5. To determine the length of the chain add your cord length and chain length together and minus from 45. My chain length was 11cm. If you're using vintage chain make sure when you take the chain apart that you leave a link free at either end you'll need this to join the necklace together. 

Step 6. Using jump rings ( I recommend using strong/thick jump rings if you can find them) join your chain and cord together. If links allow then use two jump rings per link, these necklaces get heavy so any additional support is always handy! 

Step 7. Add a lobster clasp to the right side of the necklace using a jump ring and a connector chain to the to the left hand side. You can use a pre-made connector chain which is totally fine but as I have colour OCD I like to add beads that match my necklace onto a headpin. 

Step 8. Add your brooches, I didn't want to cut the backs off these brooches as I think they're really special, instead I fastened them onto the cord and chain. 
I'm so happy with how this beauty turned out - it looks far more complicated than it really is you are using basic jewellery making techniques. I have tried to keep the materials accessible, flea markets and second hand shops across the world sell brooches but if you don't want to move from your sofa then try job lots on Ebay, a friend of mine has found some real treasures. I matched the pink in the stones with the pink brooch to create harmony, so make sure you think about the colours you are putting together, if in doubt keep it tonal. I really hope you give this tutorial a try, its a perfect pick-me-up for spring. Happy making! x 

A huge thanks to The Bead Mixer for supplying these wonderful jewels. 

Inspiration - spring shopping

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

I have spent far too much time in the past week on Net-a-Porter, dreaming of filling my wardrobe with pretty spring things. Whilst its not looking very likely that i'll be spending over a months salary on this amazing feather top I have fallen for a new spring palette of blush, coral and a pop of red. Here are a few things on my wish list

Feather top / Jewel Sandals / Bag / Hair band / Floral Skirt / Trainers / Floral Dress

Styling The Seasons - March

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Welcome to March! For this months Styling The Seasons I was a bit stumped, I thought I would arrive home from India to a garden full of spring flowers which would be the basis for this months post. I did a tour of the garden this there are a few optimistic shoots but sadly nothing blooming. 

Since arriving home I feel my thoughts have been all over the place - ideas feel tangled and out of reach and I've been telling myself off for not being good enough. I really need to shake this feeling so have decided to have a word to focus on. I have chosen the word nurture - as reminder to be kinder and look after myself, let ideas and creativity have space to breathe. 
For this month's surface I decided on my dining room table - the sun arrives in the afternoon and I love looking out onto all the greens in the garden (and spotting the cat on next doors shed!). I find the space and light in the room really peaceful and love having a large table to spread all my stuff on. I can't resist having a few bunches of colourful flowers around and loved these soft mauve hyacinths against the yellow of this Suzie Cooper teapot and green of the tulip leaves - in fact this is my favourite colour combination at the moment.

I also piled the table high with some of my favorite creative activities, calligraphy (so addictive), embroidery and of course some jewellery making. The trouble is I want to do it all, all at the same time hence the head muddle!

Instead of artfully styling a surface I decided to add all my current inspiration to the mix - confusing it maybe - when I see everything in front of me I can start to unravel my thoughts and come up with a plan and direction to take new ideas in. I have filled the table with favourite books and prints - the flamingo print was a birthday present from my sister and I won the Matthew Williamson scarf on Instagram (gaaahh!). The mirrored fabric is an embroidered top I picked up in India, not to be worn but marvelled at. I love the mix of colours and textures of everything on the table, as March feels like a spring board for the months ahead I'm really looking forward to seeing where these ideas and inspirations take me, some will be for projects and DIY's others will be added to around the house. Even though my thoughts and ideas might be in their incubation stage I feel really ready to shake off the dark glow winter and embrace the change in season and the beginnings that come with a new season. 

I'm really looking forward to seeing your March inspirations. If you want to join Katy and I in Styling The Seasons then make sure you link your posts and photos with the hashtag #stylingtheseasons.

You can see what Styling The Seasons is all about in this post and previous posts here (February January, December, November, October, September

Styling The Seasons - February Review

Monday, 2 March 2015

 Sorry, sorry, sorry - my Styling The Seasons review for February is finally here (it took me longer to catch up after my holiday than expected!). What a month February was, Katy and I joined forces with Laura Ashley to team up with some of our regular bloggers for some truly inspired posts (did you see my five genius ways with wallpaper round up?). My mind was blown from so many original ideas, I love how every post is different and really reflects how much joy we all get from our homes.

This month I have really been inspired by mauve hues, these billowy daliha's from Neitherleigh, make me long for summer - they look so pretty in their little vases. 
On instagram this simple vase from @c_colli is just perfect and this pretty posy from @live_and_bloom is adorable.  
I absolutely love the colour of Lucy's sideboard and how she has styled it with ombre candles, rustic pots and that lovely brass lantern. Another goody from instagram, I couldn't let February pass without one heart themed picture I loved the vintage feel of this one from @gatheringspriggs. 

Here are all this months wonderful posts
A Quiet Style / Bradshaw & Sons /Claireabellemakes / Re-made by Sam / Sprunting / Capture by Lucy / Tea with Ruby /Beak up Crafts / Celebrate Creation / Afkes / Sew Simone / The Ordinary Lovely / Made by Molu / The Villa on Mount Pleasant / Something I Made / Geoffrey and Grace / Daisy Fay / The Vintage Good Life / Growing Spaces / Alltomkerstin / Really Pretty Useful /Lapin Blu / Cate St. Hill / Camellia Rose / The Vintage House that Could / Little Green Shed/ Sew a Little Love / The Cabinet Maker’s Love Tale / The Lovely Drawer / We Made This Home / Lotts and Lots / Apartment Apothecary

If these have inspired you then make sure you join in for the month of March. All you need to do is is style any surface in your home to reflect what the month means to you, make sure you use the hashtag  #stylingtheseasons so we can see all your gorgeous pictures.

DIY - Star Stud Earrings

Thursday, 26 February 2015

A few weeks ago I shared a slow statement necklace project, this time I am sharing a really quick and simple earring project. I made these star stud earrings for Cut Out and Keep, they use fancy findings which is such a good/cheats way of adding detail to a project without having to do any additional work - fabulous! I bought these star earrings from Bijoux Beads in Bath and the dyed jade from Beadies in Amsterdam. I love to collect treasures on my travels, being an experienced bead buyer I'm always on the look out for the unusual and unique, like these stars. If your are a beginner I recommend buying tear drop beads with the hole running the length of the bead, so you don't have to do fancy wire wrapping at the top. 

Step 1. Thread your beads onto the head-pins and cut the wire approx. 1.2cm from the top of the bead. 

Step 2. Create a loop in the wire - you can see a more detailed tutorial here 

Step 3. Gently open the wire loop and fix to the earring stand. Close the loop.  

I really love how these chaps came together, they are a perfect beginners project and ideal when you don't want too much razzle dazzle. Happy making! x 
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