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Our recycled home

Craftiness, Our recycled home

DIY Rainbow Chalkboard Wall

24 January, 2013

Ramona has just learnt the joy of drawing on things other than paper. If things go deathly quiet you will be sure to find her tucked away in our lounge behind the curtain, scrawling all over the back of it. Last week I was at a friend’s place and our two poppets went missing for a good 15 minutes. We found them upstairs, a thick marker pen in each hand, COVERING each other’s faces in scribbles. (I even found some on Ramona’s bottom later on, as if they were looking for the softest, most receptive surface!) And just yesterday I walked past one of the only swanky plastered and painted walls in our whole home and spotted a fresh installation of orange crayon artwork. You have to admit, the graffiti lifestyle is pretty cool.

But, to keep us all happy we have dedicated a whole wall to her gangster ways.

Enter the DIY rainbow chalkboard wall.homemade chalkboard paint wall

I LOVE making my own chalkboard paint, it is SO easy and thrifty and means the whole world is your oyster in terms of colours.

You need:

A Wall
Different coloured acrylic paint
Cheap as chips tile grout
Paint brushes
A rapscallion tot with a piece of chalk in each fist

Add a table spoon of grout to half a cup of paint and mix well. Use masking tape to mask off the bits you don’t want the paint to go. You will need two layers of each colour. The genius of this homemade chalkboard paint is that it is super adhesive and sticks to anything, no sanding or priming needed.DIY homemade coloured chalk paint wall

Voila!

I am so pleased with our little chalk wall, it really keeps Ramona and her pals occupied, and covers up what was an exceptionally manky, pine cladded hallway.
Homemade Chalk Board paint wall

*dramatic sigh* “Walls, faces, curtains, bottoms… there are no limits to my artistic expression, Mum… I’ve just got to let it out… ” 

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Our recycled home

1950’s cabinet makeover – my new craft station

11 January, 2013

We are getting a reputation. For junk loving. (The good kind of junk… I mean, rubbish kind of junk… the kind of junk that ISN’T in your trunk… well, it may be from someone’s trunk, but not THAT kind of trunk… GAH)

Our friend’s landlord called us up a wee while ago and offered us an old 1950’s kitchen cabinet her had uncovered in one of his grottier houses. We were all “HECK YES!” and then he bought it over and it was covered in cat poo and vintage grease and smelt like it had been residing in hell itself.So it went straight out to the notorious alley in our backyard and has languished there for most of the winter.

old 1950's kitchen cabinet

Then, in the haze of fresh starts that is New Year’s Day we bought it in and attacked it* with cleaner and paint and now it is my new craft station.

*Tim mostly attacked and I instagrammed about it.

1950's cabinet

Can you forgive the grainy picture? I’m REALLY sorry, it is just so gloomy these day’s, eh.

It makes a perfect craft station- I did really love my old one, but it genuinely took up 1/3 of the room so it had to go.

There is plenty of storage space, shelves inside and a sturdy one that pulls out at the perfect height for my sewing machine.

I mixed the colour myself, aiming for a pale minty green with a hint of steel grey (!) I just used acrylic so that I had a wealth of colours to mix with, but I added a hint of tile grout. This turns the paint into the perfect texture, and it adheres to anything, no sanding needed, kind of like the Annie Sloane chalk paint that is taking the decorating world by storm but for a fraction of the price.

Hooray for a junky reputation!

Found anything cool lately? Have a look at all the other secondhand treasures bloggers have found over at Liz and Magpie Monday!
PS I’d hate for you to miss a post… enter your email to get them pinged into your inbox. I won’t be spamalot, promise!


Our recycled home

Be brave and be kind- my 2013 motto

31 December, 2012

Oh crumbs, I have about 12 hours left to fulfill my ONE New Years Resolution of 2012- to charge my electric toothbrush. I know! I’ll do it now instead of writing this! *contemplates getting off sofa to look for toothbrush and charger*  *carries on blogging*

Sometimes when I resolve to do things I am like a stubborn ox, immovable, determined. I have been vegetarian since I was ten and haven’t wavered for one second. I gave up buying new clothes 6 years ago and haven’t been tempted since. And then, in other ways, I am as flighty and undedicated as a sparrow with seven fiances and a helium balloon in its mouth.

If I am not inspired, I just don’t care. When it comes to sticking with normal resolutions (like cleaning my teeth properly and everyday) I just can’t be arsed. (Teeth scmeeth.)

So I am not doing a list of aims this year. Instead I cross stitched this reminder to myself. Something I can see everyday and be prompted to do the kind of things I think are important.Be brave and be kind cross stitch

It’s a line originally from The National’s Baby We’ll Be Fine, and is so simple, but for me sums up a lot of what I think.

“Be brave” because I want to:

  • Parent intuitively and instinctively, instead of by norms
  • Speak the truth and not worry about criticism
  • Face challenging times head on
  • Choose (with my husband) the right paths for our family
  • Give things a bash and not be scared of failure
  • Stand up, and battle, for what I think is right
  • Let go of fear, because it drives out love

    Be brave and be kind crossstich

“Be kind” because:

  • Kindness is love in action
  • A kind gesture is good for everyone’s soul
  • A kind word is eternal
  • Kindness can be small – like connecting with neighbours
  • Kindness can be big- like whole crowds choosing to bank ethically
  • Truth needs to be spoken from a loving motivation
  • Kindness is a value I see each day in my husband and want to copy
  • Kindness is something I want Ramona to treasure
  • Kindness can be a talisman for my parenting – an “Is this kind?” filter

    be brave frame

I stitched it onto one of my beautiful Nana’s doilies and framed it in a charity shop frame painted white, and here it sits atop of some of my favourite thrifted odds and ends.

Have you made any resolutions? Do you have a motto for the year?

Finding things, Our recycled home

Our recycled kitchen – a makeover from new to old

9 August, 2012

Around this time last year I posted that my dearly beloved had ripped out the kitchen due to us finding a retro cooker that we wanted to install. It just felt rude to bung such a nice nostalgic beast in our existing Nineties kitchen so we decided to let our love of all things old reign supreme.

Another year later and it is about time I did the final update, our makeover from new to old.

The before pictures aren’t terribly good. They never are, eh?  I think this is because there is often nowt to shine, but also because of some deep reluctance to spend too much time peering at it all. Let’s just say there was ALOT of pine cladding.

Left hand side BEFORE

A low hanging ceiling with weird fake beams. Laminate flooring covering up stunning Victorian boards.

A huge pantry – it was an original, ancient cooling sytem but it just took up so much space. A boring tin sink with an ill fitting cabinet.

It was all so very dark and dreary.

*extreme makeover  voice* It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears but here is our new bright and cheery family kitchen….

We ripped out the cupboards. We were lucky to find some exactly matching vintage tiles in the basement of a derelict house round the corner, we popped those up to cover the spaces we’d exposed.

Tim runs a youth club in the place I used to go to Seacadets as a kid- they were chucking out the old benches so we made shelves out of them. The very benches I would have been resting my sorry, freckly young ten year old self.

The enamel tins are our new pantry- we found them in France when we drove 12 hours to a car boot.

Somebody close by had hired a skip for a house renovation so we pulled the excellent bench tops straight out (with permission, of course!)

These are old lights from a butchers- we found them on Ebay, £17 for the pair. To find them we didn’t type “vintage” or even “traditional” but “trditional.” Is it terribly wrong to benefit from other people’s mistakes?

Tim found this whole sink for £25 on Gumtree, and got to grips with plumbing to install it. Using some old table tops and doors from an old cabinet he carpentered a unit for it. (Cor, Kiwis are bloody ace. Do marry one, if you can.) The tiles, we  swapped with a local cafe, in exchange for building them some veg beds.

The retro blind is really a sneaky table cloth, and some of our Midwinter crockery sits upon a shelf we found in a bin and painted blue, and you can also spy the hooks I made from vintage spoons.

And here is the star of the show, our beguiling old oven. He was casted off, into the streets, along with these cupboards either side. A good clean, and a lick of paint on the cupboard doors, and they add a cheer from yesteryear to our kitchen.

When our fridge broke we took the opportunity to get one that fitted in with our theme. We had to hire a van to bring it home from the furtherest corner of Essex but we are so glad we did. It isn’t that old so is still efficient (although its huuummmm would tell you otherwise) but hails from the States which is why it looks so different. It has an ice maker much to my husband’s utter joy.

And this little corner adds a little pop of colour – we found it in someone’s garden and snazzied it up with some paint.

We had help with plastering the ceiling, and Tim picked up enough to some other walls, but other places we just exposed the brick. I love the texture of all the rubbly walls, recycled wood and shiny, colourful kitchen paraphernalia.


We spend such a lot of time in the kitchen, cooking, drinking coffee and eating so we are pleased we did this, despite saying we initially wouldn’t bother. I know it isn’t your usual makeover, and loads of you are possibly looking at the BEFORE pictures thinking it looks miles better HAARHA. But we love it’s quirky little self, it gets my heart all a flutter.

What do you reckon on this cornicopia of found objects?

PS The small and superior photos were taken by Jenny Harding during the Pretty Nostalgic shoot. She does a lot of gorgeous vintage style shoots.

PPS I’d love you to enter my giveaway – retro and Cath Kidston fabric, a 1982 Twinkle, a Midwinter tea cup and a glue gun! (An obvious mix!) Come over and say hi!

Finding things, Our recycled home, Thrifty

I see red: a few snaps of home

19 April, 2012

We have a magazine coming to our house to take pictures in a few weeks time, Pretty Nostalgic, the prettiest, newest wee vintagey mag on the shelf. Jim’ll TOTALLY fixed it for me as the night before it got arranged I was lying in bed thinking how much I would like some photos of some of the corners of our home that we have poured a bit of ourselves into, the spaces where we have taken someone’s nasty old scraps and given them new life. I am SO excited!

We have started tidying up in preparation, and, blimey, getting tidy is a bit addictive isn’t it? I did that toy shelf, moved onto the mantel piece, started in the kitchen, gosh, soon I’ll have OCD and will be hoovering once a week!!! (Oh, most people do that? For real? Once a DAY, you say? Ah. *awkward smile*)

The mantelpiece is one of those areas that is kind of a centrepiece of the room but still manages to be The Primary Magnet of Remnants. Keys, wallets, loo roll, it all ends up on there. Since sorting it out, whenever Tim tries to put anything down on there, like his cup of coffee,  I am like “Er, is it red? No? Oh, well, bummer, it doesn’t fit the theme. Move on, please, move right along.”

One of the easiest ways to make odd collections of things look nice is by grouping them in vague colour themes.

I love nothing more than having fresh flowers around the house. I have searched high and low for some reasonably priced red tulips to go in this enamel jug but my inner cheapskate  got the better of me and blossom from our backyard bush had to do.

Tim found this beautiful old red chair yesterday, just dumped on the street.

We have about 63 too many chairs in this house, it is one thing we can’t turn down when we walk past them, lonely and neglected on street corners. We should really start a chair hospital.

Given a discarded item a home lately? Got any posts of corners you are proud of?

 
Ooooh looookkkkkk: The Blue Eyed Owl! You are GONNA LOVE HER!!!

Finding things, Our recycled home, Thrifty

Vintage Toys and a mother’s second hand strategy

15 April, 2012

As soon as Ramona and I enter a charity shop or a jumble sale I zoom straight to the kids section and pick out the nicest (by nicest I mean oldest/ most wooden/ cheapest) toy or coolest kids book and place it into her hands with an excited exclamation of “LOOK- this is just the ticket!!”  I then move straight away from the kids section, out of danger territory. It may seem a bit mean, or a bit against my “child-as-unique-independant-person” philosophy but I simply CAN’T take home another giant, ugly, fluffy toy circa 1998- and this IS the thing she will choose if left to her own devices.

It is something we have to face, as parents. Kids toys ain’t often pretty – or perhaps often too pretty; pink, beribboned, cuddly. They can take up a lot of space and ruin the aesthetics of a room. I’m sure many of you don’t care, and I wish I didn’t.

But I do. I just dooooo.

Fortunately, the world of second hand provides a mountain of eyeball pleasing kids options. I am always on the look out for retro looking, vintage play things and have found some gorgeous numbers that Ramona loves too.

We have one area where the ugly (by ugly, I really only mean new. Why are new things so damn ugly?) things live, in an ancient deep drawer hidden to the side of the sofa.  And I have just recently launched an Exhibition of Old Children’s Things, on quite a prominent shelf, that all three of us enjoy looking at.

Apart from the Ukeleles, which were gifts,  all of these are second hand. I picked the abacus and clock up from a charity shop in Blackheath a couple of weeks ago for One Squid and found these little playmobil bike riders on that Legendary Farham visit. Eeek, I just love ’em.

I always keep my eyes peeled for little music instruments so that when Ramona’s chums come over we can all have a bash and a sing. We have an immense Salvation Army heritage- all my 3 generations on both sides, my parents, Aunties and Uncles are all ministers in the Barmy Army and Ramona does them proud as she tinkers with this “timbrel” (tambourine) I got for 50p last week at a Bootie.

She is singing “Wind the bobbin up” -which mostly just involves her saying “Pull, Pull” over and over and over. It is her favourite song, she bursts out in it approximately six times an hour but it also sounds a lot like her sound for “Poo” which results is us spending lots of time each day on unnecessary but tuneful potty visits.

And finally, just a couple of weeks ago at my local car boot in East Dulwich I found this pretty ancient skipping rope with a couple of scary mushroom guys for handles.

PS little while ago I posted about some other vintage toys and included some secondhand toy pillaging tips – have a broose. (That’s Scottish for browse.)

PPS Have you found any thing retro for your kids recently?

PPPS I am linking up with the magical Magpie Monday over on Liz’s blog – if you get a chance do go and have a squizz at all their wonderous second hand goodies.

PPPPS Have you noticed my new header? Can you tell me why it is blurry, the blithering, bladdy, blurry &a*t%r&!

PPPPPS If you enjoy reading this old blogaglog of mine, have you had a moment to put me up for a MAD blog award? There are loads of catergories but you could especially vote for me in the “Most Over-Vintaged Up Photo Editing ever” or “Most amount of Made Up Words In a Post In The World”.  No, seriously, I reckon Home/ Thrift/ Craft catergories are possible themes of mine? Muchos Gracias.