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DIY, Featured, Finding things

You won’t BELIEVE what she upcycled this breadbin into

12 January, 2015

Harhahahaha. Everytime I write a blog post I have the sensationalist Upworthy title spring into my head first. I couldn’t resist actually leaving this one in because, for real, how else can you make a post about a bread bin sound read-able?

And, LOOK! It IS pretty cool, c’mon. It is a well easy way to make small storage to niftily fit into the corners of your kitchen/ bathroom/ bedroom. And it is super thrifty too as every single charity shop in the whole world has about 17 billion old bread bins for sale, along with the breadmaking machines and the Mr Bean VHSs. Oracles of the nineties, reminding us of an era of scrunchies and homemade velvet chokers. (In fact, heck, I’m going to link up, for the first time in FOREVER (argghhh so. much. Frozen.) with Magpie Monday.

Upcycled breadbin

We began by screwing them in- we have three with space in between for pretty teapots.

Upcycled breadbin

Anyone else all about the neon at the moment? SO good. With grey? So, So, SO GOOD.

Upcycle your breadbin

I cut a triangle out of a potato to make some stamps for the side… a bit wibblywobbly, but that way it gives rise to the conversation about how perfect potatos are for stamping.

Handy and stylish upcycled breadbin

Done any upcycling lately?


PS – I am on Youtube now! Come and see our Off Grid Yurt Living videos:

DIY, Thrifty

Easy DIY Cloud Shelf (Yurt Life)

2 December, 2014

I haven’t done much DIY for a while – but when I began imagining a shelf that looks like a cloud I couldn’t hold back. (Ah, bladdy Pinterest kinda beat me to it. Remember the pre-Pinterest days, when you believed you’d invented everything?)

Anyway this cloud shelf filled my dreams. It would be like a cloud, floating on my wall. AWESOME.

“Hold me back, man…Where’s the jigsaw? WHERE’S THE JIGSAW HOLD ME BACK.”

You know I love a novelty shelf.

Exhibit A – shelf made out of a vintage suitcase.

Exhibit B – shelf made out of a book.

Shelves are expensive, and so are brackets. Even second hand ones. So why not just DIY something out of stuff you have lying around that is also just a little bit more beauty than a plank of wood, too? Why not, eh?

DIY CLoud Shelf Yurt Life

It was my first time using a jigsaw, and, my word, those things are flipping cool as. I felt like the world was my oyster, with that in my hand. I just pencilled the shape of a cloud onto a bit of MDF and then flipped the switch and buzzed it out. I started nervously and then I could see the bumps and turns forming under the saw. Ten minutes later I was holding a cloud in my hand.

*God complex*

DIY CLoud Shelf Yurt Life

Once I had the cloud shape – drawn so that the open bit fitted perfectly onto an existing box I had (an old wine crate would actually be ideal.) I then glue gunned it on. Because the cloud shape is just a facade it really doesn’t need a sturdier fixing than that. Glue gunning it also meant I avoided having nails on show. A few licks of  white paint made it the perfect canvas for my brightly coloured shelf occupants.

DIY CLoud Shelf Yurt Life

I used wire around the box to hang in on the trellis of the yurt. But you could equally just hang in on a nail.


Then I filled it with my favourite little bits and pieces.

There is no coming back from this. Jigsawing out a shelf for every whim and fancy. A shelf representing every one of my favourite things. I could make a rainbow shelf! A shelf like a fox! A GOSH DARN FRIED EGG SHELF!

And I know I will never have a plank of wood for a shelf again.


How To Make Recycled Flooring

3 February, 2014

Last week I completed a DIY project that I think is my favourite make in my life so far. Not because it is superbly pretty, was fantastically quick or perfectly used my skill set. In fact, there are one or two ugly mistakes on it, it took WAY longer than I thought it would and anyone on the planet could do it! Pfft.

I loved it so much because it feels like a complete and utter DIY HACK. IMG_7488

Everyone needs a floor. But carpet takes skill to lay, good tiling is expensive and vinyl is often ugly. Making a recycled floor out of stuff you’d usually trash is just such a GENIUS way around this. (I’m allowed to say that as I didn’t invent it, yeah?)

We picked up our big bus, Bert, two weeks ago today. One of the first things we did was rip up the carpet. It was the rankest thing I’d ever seen. Thick with grime, an awful brown, and smelly too. We were left with a sticky MDF floor. We searched solidly for an entire week for some retro vinyl in the secondhand shops and went into carpet shops to try and find an inexpensive eco option but had no luck. A bit of late night googling for “recycled floor ideas” turned up a few blogs such as this beaut and as I read my heart began to beat faster and I knew we had to give this a bash.

The blogs I read used brown paper bags and their results are brilliant and classy. We wanted something a bit more fun and a bit brighter – so I began trawling Pinterest for geometric shape inspiration.

We took a trip first thing in the morning to the hardware store for some PVA glue, some eco, waterbased Polyurethane and a few tubes of artists acrylic. One of the local second hand stores had a big roll of old wallpaper -BINGO.

We hurried back and began the work.  HOW TO MAKE A(6)

Let me give you more detail…

1- Mix PVA glue to water- half glue and half water. Mix really well. I imagine you can use any paper but we used wallpaper, with the back facing up. This was because my practice stencils didn’t stick to the shiny side of the wall paper. So check how your paint fixes, if you are going to decorate it.

You can use any size strips of paper but we prefered the look of the larger bits. Ours were approximately one square foot. The finished result of this is almost like tiles. The more you scrunch the more texture your “tiles” will have. I preferred less scrunch, aesthetically. But  scrunch to break the straightness of the sheet of paper.

You have got three layers to nail this bit, so don’t worry too much about the first/ second!

Dunk it in your glue mix, swipe off the excess and smooth over your floor.

Move on to the next bit.

Leave each layer overnight to dry. Do make sure it is really dry inbetween layers. We did this on a hot day so ours dried really well.

We were happy with three layers.

2- Once it is completely dry you can start decorating it. I used simple artist’s acrylic and mixed my own colours.

I just freestyled triangles with masking tape. I want to encourage you to practice. I spent about a day simply perfecting my paint consistency and shapes! I tried making a stamp first but couldn’t get the clean effect I wanted.

I chose grey, mustard and yellow because it is the actual best colour combo in the world.

I did three layers so the triangles were very deeply coloured.

3- Once dry do your first layer of waterbased polyurethane – we used an eco brand. Waterbased takes much less time to dry and is much less toxic. Work quickly, don’t re-go over bits. Pick any fluff off as you go. Most of the bubbles and streaks will fade as it dries but do try and avoid it! We did three layers of polyurethane but we are going to do a couple more as we want this floor to be super robust seeing as it is the only floor in our house!


Give yourselves at least 3 days from start to finish. You aren’t working this whole time (only actually about 4 hours of work for my tiny space and most of that was the shapes!) but it all involves a lot of drying.recycled flooring DIY
Do make your floor as even as possible before you begin. Shave down bumps, clean it well. We didn’t and it is, um, quite textured!

Sweep well before every stage.

Do a little practice patch.

If doing in a bathroom/ kitchen do add silicon around the edges to make it totally sealed.

Don’t skimp on the PVA. I did because I found it was sticking well with less PVA but when we added the second layer of polyurethane these little patches went dark and our lovely floor ended up slightly blotchy.  See picture below, on the left? Learn from me, friends. This floor is cheap enough already- don’t be a cheapskate!geometric floor pattern DIY

I have already swept, washed it down, spilt crap on it, walked tar onto it and it is holding up perfectly. And the other blogs tell me it has many years life in it yet!

You can probably tell, but I am completely stoked with our lovely floor. It cost about £20. We will almost certainly be doing this if we end up living in a proper house one day.

*skips about singing* My floor, my recycled floor, how I do adore!

(Ramona has begun singing everything. “Oh the cloud is sad in the sky while I eat my carrot” What a crack up. I do not know WHERE she gets it from.)

If you consider doing this I really recommend checking out some of the original bloggers as their posts are EXHAUSTIVE…
An Oregon Cottage (the Original Genius)
Ooh, I could totally do that! (Most excellent blog name!)
Lovely crafty home (Comp.Re.Hen.Sive)
Domestic Imperfection(Hilarious)

I am off to sit in the bus and rub my feet all over my shiny new creation.

(Thanks, lovely sheepskin for £5 from a car boot sale, for hiding the bits I messed up.)

Craftiness, DIY, Thrifty

Thrifty Gifts: a jar of crayon shapes

28 October, 2012

I found a few manky crayons in a gutter the other day, on the way to the park. I picked them up (by no means the nastiest thing I have fished out of a gutter) to try that Melty Thing. It is a genius idea; crayons get so quickly get broken/ pick up a layer of muck that every family house probably has a stash in disfavour. Just give them a new lease of life with a bit of melting into shapes action.

I have a few cool shaped ice trays, I always pick them up in charity shops and car boots and I use them for resin craft,  (Well, I did try, um, baking in the elephant shape one and melted half of it. Really, they look just like the silicon muffin numbers.)

In an act of Completely Obvious Craft Blogging here is how I did it – not the baking melt fiasco, the crayon shapes, yeah?


  • I oiled the shapes first, to help them pop out easier.
  • They take about 40 sec to melt, I kept them moving all the time.
  • I worked from light/ similar colours to dark so that I didn’t have to clean the pan much inbetween.
  • They take about 30 minutes to dry solid in a cold place (my kitchen table)
  • The ones that I filled less than 1 centimetre broke as I popped them out – so don’t be stingy with the liquid!
  • You will need White Spirit to clean out your ice trays and pans, so do use ones you don’t use for consumption anymore!

This is going to make a fine gift for a little tot I know- toddlers are actually quite hard to make for, beyond sewing cuddly things. I am hoarding jars for my Christmas gifts-  it must be THE thriftiest way of giving nice gifts. Start doing it and in a couple of weeks they’ll be a thrifty, gifty ideas for jars post… *raises eyebrows up and down in a conspirational- watch-this-space- kind of a way*

Craftiness, DIY, Thrifty

Homemade Rosehip Oil – a bit of thrifty foraging

16 October, 2012

*sings* Tis the season to pick rosehips, tralalalalaaaalalalala!

When I was pregnant the last time I was sent a tiny, expensive vial of rosehip oil. Oof, it was LUSH.  It is apparently amazing for stretch marks and scars and also adds a pre-emptive resilience to your skin. However, not one to waste such an ingredient on my vast, mostly unseen belly I used it on my face and it ended up softer and smoother than my newborn’s bum.

The oil is all gone now, and I’ve been kind of pining for it lately, knowing I’d never get my mitts on such a fine Frankincense-like substance again. And THEN I googled “rosehips” (oh man, I am such an urbanite) and turns out I like, er, pass them everyday of my life! My front garden is bursting with them, because, of course, they are just the seed pods of old roses! Heavy laden branches of them hang over my head as we walk to the park, their red skin squishes beneath my feet as we trundle to the bus stop. Glory be.

I wanted to make the most of them before all the gardeners cut their roses back, as October is the season for that. And homemade rosehip oil, with it’s skin restoring, vitamin A packed goodness, is about as easy as it gets.  Whilst this method isn’t pure seed oil, this does achieve a huge amount of the goodness and is commonly used extraction method in The Industry.

You Need:


Oil (any oil will do- almond oil is lovely and light for your skin but I went with normal nut oil as it is cheaper and is incredible for your skin all by itself)

Something to warm it in – I used my yoghurt maker, but a slow cooker on lowest setting will do, or keeping the jars in a warm airing cupboard/ on a radiator

A siv with a piece of cloth in/ muslin to strain it through

How to:

I filled one third of my jars with clean, dry rosehips. I topped up with nut oil. I placed in my yoghurt maker for 12 hours then strained into another squeaky clean jar.

The jars need to either be dark (snazzied up Marmite jars?) or kept in a dark place as Rosehip Oil is a little sensitive to light.

A whole jar of thrifty beauty, just like that. I reckon a jar of this – particularly if you made the jar look nice– would be a gorgeous Christmas gift, no?

(Argh, not only have I gawn and got a Christmas tune in your head, I’ve actually gawn and said the word! That’s it folks, you know what that means. It’s festive frivolity from here on in. WOO!)

(Meanwhile, my foraging neighbour Lakota has also posted about rosehips- with some delicious syrup. HELLO! Linking up with her rosehip sweetness and Ta Da Tuesday.)

Craftiness, DIY, Finding things, Thrifty

Punk Lamp: Upcycling with old zips

28 May, 2012

A few months ago a derelict, half burnt down house around the corner threw open it’s doors. The new owners needed to clear out the junk that had sat there untouched for 30 years. You can only IMAGINE what kind of state I was in when I arrived. Breathless with eagerness. Sweating with hope.

I sprinted into the darkened corners, fear of rats melting in the face of frozen scenes of the Seventies. I was on the hunt and returned successful. A set of drawers, several singular drawers without the set, a few rusty door knobs (you can’t BELIEVE my luck so far, can you?) and a bag full of ancient zips.

I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them until I was sitting next to a lamp I had kind of upcycled (okay, yeah, just tied ribbon onto) and knew it had to go through it’s third re-invention.

Forgive this shockingly poor picture, it is the Before shot and you KNOW these have to be badly lit, blurry, involve scummy crockery. Also, I had already begun picking off the ribbon before remembering to snap it – I realise it looks a little like a half plucked chicken-lamp.

I had a funny comment on a post the other day, where we were discussing the rich, quirky history some secondhand items must have.  I said “If only the furniture could talk, eh?” and Inkomplete said “I sometimes make up stories for mine.”


Meet Deakin, the punk-chic lamp from Peckham.

This lamp is a wealthy lamp, heralding from a plush and exquisite mansion in St James Park orphaned but rescued by us in his teen years in 2009. Deakin quickly shed his stuffy heritage, embraced his feminine side and went through a kitch be-ribboned look in his early twenties, as many do. Deakin has reached what some would call a mid life crisis, but what he calls an “awakening.” Deaki is now an anarchist; squatting with some ancient Peckham rockers,  only a hat-tip to his old, more elegant life in a small rosette.

I just hand sewed the zips on. And pushed a bit of my homemade chalk board paint (you haven’t seen that Homemade Chalkboard How To? But you must. It will blow your minds)  in a navy colour around the base. I thought using chalkboard paint would add another dimension but also didn’t want to cough up for expensive tile paint.

The beautiful thing about adding tile grout to your acrylic is that it adds an abrasiveness which means it will stick to ANYTHING, where as normal paint would peel right off a shiny ceramic surface.

So, what d’ya reckon about Deakin eh?


*sings to the tune of Three in the Bed* Doooo remember to take a look at Magpie Monday!

and also *sings to the tune of The Happy Wanderer* Vote for Meeee, Vote for Meeeee, Vote for Meeee, Vote for Lu-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-stic (Yeah, that one didn’t quite work, anyway:  I got through to the finals of these amazing blog awards, in the Craft and Thrift section and I’d lurve you to vote, thanks so much!)