DIY Play shop.

A couple of months ago, my list of possible Christmas gifts to the girls in hand, I came across the cutest Play shop for sale, it was basically a small uinit, with a shop sign attached. and they wanted £120 for it. Now don’t get me wrong, if something is quality craftsmanship, by all means you charge your worth. But this, was just so…. So flimsy. And so I did what I always do. I planned to make my own.

I sketched a fairly simple design that looked  a little like this…

 

Measurement wise, it had to fit in a quite small corner of their room, so I just worked with that to decide how big I wanted it. It ended being 120cm High x 70cm wide x 80cm length. So altogether not a massive build.

First up I needed to gather my supplies. For this I used MDF from Savoy timber, 2 cans of Novasol pinty plus chalk paint in broken white and one can in Rose petal. I also got to try a new product, the Blackboard spray (amazingly easy to use by the way!).

 

Once everything had arrived, it was all about getting it put together. I started it out by spray painting the backing and the shop sign. No real reason to start there, I just wanted to see how those colours looked.

 

Then I moved onto the important stuff, the actually build. I’m not going to start rambling on about specifics (although if you would like to know more details, you can always pop me an email.) But I started by putting the main front unit together, then adding the side worktop and giving it all a good paint. I decided on keeping it simple with white.

 

Next up was building that large frame to go round the top – and ultimately to hold the roof fabric. These where obviously all pre-cut but the tricky part came with the painting. I have only had 2 hours childfree each weekday morning to work on this (it is after all a secret Christmas present for the girls.) So I needed paint to be dried fast, so it could all be packed away before Izzy came home from nursery. To avoid having to paint each side, leave it to dry and then turn to do the rest, Sam came up with this. it took me three whole minutes to spray everything, I gave a quick re-coat of Pinty plus (Broken White) after half an hour and it was all good to be packed up in time.

 

So, the next day, when work could start again, the frame went up. Fairly easily actually. I wanted it to be higher at the back, than it was at the front. This was so the fabric could slope down.. it’ll make sense when you see it.

 

Once the main frame was done, it was time to get excited and do all the fun bits. Like adding the fabric roof – I decided on this gorgeous traditional-esque canvas cotton

 

And most fun of all, the writing the shop sign on the chalk board – I used this fail safe method for perfect handwriting.

 

All of a sudden, the project was nearly finished!

 

All, that was left was to add all those little bits I had collected over the past month, wooden food for the shelves, mini baskets, a sweetie shop container and of course a till!

 

The final result, is pretty fab! The girls have just entered that make believe play land, everything is pretend at the minute and I want to encourage that completely. The great thing about this build, is it can become anything they want. A restaurant, a bakery, a sweetie shop. The creative possibilities are endless!

 

So, price wise. I mentioned earlier about the shop I say that inspired this entire build, the one that cost a fortune for next to nothing in .. here’s a breakdown of cost for this project.

MDF – £21

Roof fabric – £22

Chalk paint – £0

Till – £13

wooden food -£19.98

mini baskets – £3.97

Sweetie holder – £3.99

White chalk pen – £2.50

Total cost- 82.47

 

Its not “cheap” but its not £120 for something that won’t last a month. I’m totally in love in the new addition to their room, Now I’ve just got to keep it hidden from them until the big day!!

Handmade really is best! I’ll be sure to put a picture up once they’ve seen it on Christmas Day. How on earth is that only two day away?!

I’m going to try and hop back on to the blog before Christmas, but if I’m too busy with festiveness I hope you all have a happy Christmas, and I’ll definitely be back next week with some New Years posts – one of which is a NYE dessert recipe involving a whole lot of caramel and some edible glitter. YUM.

Merry Christmas!

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

Our handmade Christmas tree.

I am very particular about my christmas tree, i’d love to be one of these mums that turns the dressing of the christmas tree into a family event, but no. Just no. I cant cope with the cluster of baubles, the uneven-ness of decorations. I like it orderly. So, last year I thought i’d let my kids have there very own Handmade christmas tree to do as they please with, this included making up their very own decorations for it too!

 

It worked out great for me, all those little bits they bring home from school and after school clubs have somewhere to go, They get to pick out a couple of their own baubles as well (This year we’ve added a rainbow & a carousel horse) And this year Mischa made up her very own angel to sit at the top. It is all a bit adorable!

 

We did try last week to make up another batch of handmade decorations for it, but I ended up having a bit of a Pinterest fail… What was supposed to turn out like this….

 

Ended up turning out like this…..

 

Not really sure where we wrong to be honest. Ha ha. Anyway, some decorations that I can actually do are the Salt dough baubles. Thats what we started with last year, and seen as I didn’t post anything about them, i’d thought I’d share a quick ‘how to’ here…

You’ll need:

  • 125g Plain flour – You cant substitute self raising here, your decorations will actually rise!
  • 1/3 cup of salt
  • 1/3 cup of water – maybe a tiny bit more.

 

Simply pour all your ingredients into a bowl and mix, I used an electric mixer, its just easier, but if you dont have one dont worry.

You want your dough to be completely combined into one large ball, slightly sticky and soft.

Now flour a surface, place your dough down and roll out, you want it to be about 1/2 an inch thick.

Using cookie cutters you can make your salt dough decorations in any shape you want. Mischa & izzy choose a few star shapes, christmas trees and a gingerbread man shape. Using a kebab skewer or something similar pop a hole through the top of your cut out. This will be the hole that you’ll thread string or wire through.

Place your dough cut outs on a baking sheet lined tray and pop them in the oven for at least 2 hours. It is a while, but you need to bake out all that moisture, any moisture and your decorations will just crack & crumble apart.

You’ll know they’re done when they are rock solid and almost white in colour.

Leave to completely cool before decorating.

 

Easy as that!

 

There are loads of possible handmade trinkets to adorn your tree, I’ve popped a few of the best tutorials I could find below.

 

Paper baubles – Stephanie Lynne

 

Twig Christmas tree – Michelle made me. 

 

Dried fruit baubles – Simply Notable

Wool wrapped stars – Live Laugh Rowe.

Lots of ideas for you there if you want to get a little bit crafty in the run up to Christmas. I’m interested to know how many others have a handmade tree?

 

 

 

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

Decking our halls.

Its official. Its Christmas!!! December 1st (or maybe a few days before – it takes me that long now!) is the day our house is trimmed up with all that glitters. Every year, round about the second week of November i’m having to fight an ongoing battle not become one of *those* people that puts their decorations up so early. Some years, i’ve given in and had the up earlier, but It ruins the Christmas spirit and I’m usually in a rush to get them all down a couple of days after Christmas. No, I like my Christmas spirit condensed.

The twinkling of the fairy lights on a cold winter night, gives me that tickle of contentment in my stomach. That is what Christmas is all about, and why its one of my favourite times of the year. This year, i’ve gone a bit mad on new decorations, in my absolute defence this year we also built the giant new TV unit – that needed decorations, we also overhauled the kitchen – so that obviously needed a boost of Christmas spirit too! Here’s how its all lookin….

 

 

So thats it. The festive season is finally upon us. Its now all about christmas crafts, a glass of wine and present wrapping, christmas songs and so much excitement as the big day nears. Happy 1st December!!!

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

Christmas decoration Inspo.

ONE MONTH TODAY UNTIL CHRISTMAS. I REPEAT, ONE MONTH TODAY!

I’ve been fighting an ongoing battle with myself for the last fortnight. Its still too early to put up the Christmas decorations, but I WANT TOO! It started with the christmas adverts, then the present buying, the films are slowly starting to filter onto the TV & now the christmas songs. There’s so much temptation to get those decorations out. I won’t do it though, I will remain strong until the 1st December.

Having said that, I can still plan and shop for christmas decorations. This year we have done a whole lot of house updates, from the giant new TV unit, to the full kitchen makeover, theres lots of new spots to be decorated this year, which means of course I need to get planning.

I figured a lot of you would be in the same position, wanting to out-do last years decorations, wanting to create the perfectly decorated backdrop to your family Christmas? well, I’ve put together a little collection of mood boards especially for you, hopefully it’ll help give you some ideas on how you want to decorate this year.

 

Naturals:

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The natural look is always a firm favourite of mine, bringing the beauty of wintery nature indoors. Beautiful.

1- Hello Nancy.                              4- Dear lillie blog.                                      7- Star ornament £4 (Matalan)

2- indeed decor.                            5- Pine cone garland £12 (Ebay)

3- decoration love.                       6- Natural lantern £27.99 (Wayfair)

 

 

Bright & Quirky. 

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Fancy something a little more quirky? Bright, colourful, a little bit different. This is the perfect style to add a little fun to your Christmas.

1- Disfunctional designs.                     4- Pinapple bauble £9 (Lisa angel.)

2- Red online.                                        5- Fenton & fenton. 

3- Selina lake.                                        6- Festoon lights £34.95 (internet gardener.)

Scandi modern.

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Simple and oh so sophisticated. Monochrome with a little metallic is the perfect way to channel your inner Scandi-modern Christmas.

1- Faux antler wreath £25 (cox and cox)      4- Planate deco

2- Forever love.                                                 5- Pinterest. 

3- Copper baubles (NOTHS)                          6-  Monica wants it. 

Dark & Moody

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One of my favourite styles this year. This style is also the perfect way to pay homage to the original start of Christmas decorations in the UK, the victorians started off our love for festive decor, they where also known for there love of moody interiors. – Little history lesson for you there – Go classic this Christmas.

1- Homify                                        4- Tesco.

2- Style Juicer.                               5- Dust jacket – attic. 

3- House to home.                        6- Brown dress with white dots.

Traditional.

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Nothing really beats a traditional Christmas look, its one that will fill us all with warm memories and excitement, bring out your inner child with these old classics.

1- Perpetually Christmas.                           4- One kind design

2- Eat well 101.                                             5-  Nutcracker £20 (Christmas time uk)

3- Decoration love.                                      6- John lewis. 

This post has just pushed my excitement through the roof, so much so I might have to ditch my decor date and start putting up some little bits this weekend. is it Christmas yet?!

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

£30 Rustic farmhouse table upcycle.

As many of you know, i’ve spent the past couple of months updating the kitchen/dining area. As of last month it was “finished” But a recent trip to Ikea this weekend forced me to realise it wasnt. Nope, not at all. Whilst strolling through the kitchen section of our local ikea, I fell in love with almost every dining table there. This of course made me realise just how shabby ours looked in the newly decorated dining side of the kitchen. Re-cap below.

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After spending at least ten minutes stroking a very beautiful “Farmhouse” rustic wood topped one, longing to have the space to fit it, I realised… I could just do what I always do, and make my own. We headed over to the table leg section (yes, this is a real section of ikea, its for those who want to mix and match their table tops with the bases.) but at £40+ for a very basic (kind of ugly) one, I planned to just up-cycle what I already had.

So, this is how it went.

First, I took a trip to Savoy, purchasing 4 of their 9″ wide, 1″ thick redwood boards (135cm long) I chose redwood, because I knew the finished table top would be being stained, I wanted the very best grain. Link for that is here.

£25 lighter, I headed home and got started. First things first, dismantle the old table top from the table base.

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Ready for step two. Painting. I popped the old table top underneath the table legs to prevent messiness, easier than laying plastic sheeting. I decided on black. Bold, dark, beautiful black. As you can tell, there is already SO much white in this room, I just knew the drama of this table would add some welcome personality. I used Matt black emulsion (Yes, just a normal wall paint. And other than giving it all a quick wipe down I didn’t do any prep either. Naughty, naughty.) I just couldn’t be bothered having to go back out to buy table leg specific paint.

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Now that the painting had finished -and was being left to dry, all that was left to do, was to make up the table top. But before any actual construction could be done, I needed to prep my planks. Giving all edges and corners a whip over with the sander. This not only made the edges less likely to dig in you, but it also gave a smooth finish & a lovely groove in between planks.

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Prep done, now it was time to fix those planks together. To do this, I laid each piece of wood topside down on the floor, then screwed three blocks of wood (leftovers from these planks, chopped up) in three rows down the tabletop. I’m not really sure if that’ll make sense?! but there’s a picture here to help you understand.

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One thing I had to do with this, is make sure the rows of planks stayed inside the circumference of the table frame. (I did remember and the end result was that the top slotted perfectly into the frame. I popped a couple of screws back through from the frame to the top to secure, and viola!

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Last on my list for this project was to stain. I knew i wanted a lovely warm rich colour, but not as dark as the old one. Which brought me to ‘Golden Oak’ by littlefair’s,  also from Savoy.  I have used this stain before, so I knew it had a lovely finish, it also goes on so smoothly (I used a paintbrush.)

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Layering on two light coats, until I had the exact colour I wanted.

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It was everything I wanted it to be!

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I had a little root around the internet, once i’d finished. Just to see how much a ‘ready made’ table like this would set me back, here’s what I found.

£295 - Etsy.

£295 – Etsy.

 

£449 - Home & Furniture

£449 – Home & Furniture

 

And mine in comparison, cost:

£25 – planks

£7.95 – wood stain

£0 – Black paint (I already had that in.)

Total cost: £32.95

 

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I finally managed to find one of those 3-in-1 light fixtures as well… after months of searching, I finally picked on up from Ikea for £4!! Quite the bargain, I’m sure you’d agree. Though they need some more faffing around with, i’m not completely happy with those shades, nor about how they are actually hanging. But i’ll get there.

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Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

DIY storage cabinet.

Last week you may have seen my first post showing the big kitchen makeover part two?  Link here if you haven’t or just fancy a re-cap. Well, I showed you all the new corner next the fridge, more specifically, i mentioned I would be showing you how we build the DIY storage cabinet thats now there. So here’s that post.

This was the area that needed something building,

 

I know most people think it would just be easier to buy something to sit down there, but they would be wrong. Armed with MDF and a nail gun. it took the whole of thirty minutes to build from start to finish – maybe a bit extra because we got fancy hinges. Anyway, the process was so basic. I measured the space, decided on my unit measurement. Height: 115cm – Width: 100cm – Depth : 50cm )And figured out what needed to be what. You don’t have to be a maths whizz for this. There are just two things to remember A) which joints will sit were and B) To add or takeaway cm’s to account for this decision. So, for exmple, in the simplest way I can explain it.

You’ve decided on your sizes. We’ll use mine as an example. I decided that the top and bottom panel would sit above and below the side pieces, instead of the side pieces sitting on the outside of the top and bottom panel – I hope this is making sense?!

This means that I need to take the thickness of the top and bottom panel of MDF OFF the size of the side panels. If your easy about sizes, have a bit of extra space to fill, this isn’t really needed – just wing it. But, if like me you have a very specific sized space to fill, you need those measurements right, especially the width.

Anyway, maths lesson over. Here’s how the build went.

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Next up, was making the doors. Originally I just bought 2 plain pieces of MDF to attach with hinges. Until I realised it would look so plain. And so off I went, back to Savoy (I’m actually not being paid to promote them, Its just near, they have good prices and the guys there are really helpful.) to pick up some of the thinnest (6mm) MDF in 4 panels, to frame the doors.

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I used the Miter saw (again.I’m getting brave with it.) for the corner joints and used a simple builders caulk to attach them to the doors an fill in the seams.

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Once the caulk was dried, The doors were attatched to the cupboard and the caulked seams sanded down smooth.

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Finally, I could get on with the fun part. The colour. Now, usually this is the great part, usually before the project has already started, I have the exact colour I want either already bought, or at least picked out. With this, the cupboard sat unfinished for three days whilst I panic bought testers. None of which fitted the seemingly non-existent colour I had pictured in my head. I’ll describe what I said to sam whilst we trawled yet another paint aisle.

“I want it like emerald green, deep and luxurious, but without the ‘pop-py’ green tone. More of an olive green shade to it, but not so much that it looks muddy.”

I’m serious about my colour choices. ha ha.

Anyway, I ended up just mixed my own using Homebase ‘village green’ and Wilkos ‘rebel’ black.

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I wasn’t even sure it was the colour I wanted whilst I was painting it, but once finished and once the gorgeous handmade handles I bought last week had been attatched. Oh I was in love. It was exactly what I wanted.

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There is no theme in my kitchen – I’m not a lover of themed rooms anyway, I have eclectic yet simple tastes, things that both completely contradict each other, yet sometimes I can make work, simple design in bold colours was the plan for this piece. This cabinet reminds me of something you’d find in an old shop, or a country kitchen that hasn’t been updated since the seventies. I love that about it. You’d never really guess it was built only last week from MDF.

The area, now home to its new custom built unit, was still not quite finished, and so after a very stressful attempt of finding shelving brackets that were a bit different, I actually settled for some rather basic brackets from B&Q, painted up some spare thick MDF and stuck it all up there on the wall. The perfect home for my cake stands.

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Finally. After a month. The kitchen makeover part two is finished! Well, until I realise there’s something else I want to get done in there.

 

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Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

 

Big kitchen makeover- part two.

Earlier on in the Autumn (or late summer to be exact.) I finally pulled up my socks and started to transform one of my most hated rooms in the house. the kitchen. Little recap of the before and afters below (and you can find the full post link here.)

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Well, that side went well, but it made the other side, the dining table side look twice as bad as it did before, which.. was pretty bloody horrific to be honest. So over the past two weeks, I’ve been hard at work trying to transform that side too.

Very stupidly, I deleted the file of photographs from before any work had been done in there. Which means I only have one before photograph. So, this is how it started.

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Dark, plain, just completely un-inspiring and not at all cosy. So, I got planning. I knew exactly what I wanted to do in here (mostly) and it came in the form of board & battern. For anyone who doesn’t know, it looks a little something like this… (which was also my inspo board for when I was planning how I was going to tackle this room.)

screenshot-2016-10-19-15-59-54

 

I knew, I was using MDF (Of course heading to my favourite project suppliers Savoy timber.) But before that I needed to figure out my measurements. To do this I measure from the floor, to the height I wanted it, marking it off with pencil all the way round (135cm high if anyones interested.) Then I needed to fill in those gaps. I marked 6″ from the floor – up. This was how high the new skirting boards went.  I then decided on 15cm high for the bottom board. and 13cm for the top board. Which left me with 90cm. this would be the height of each vertical board. All these measurements won’t make much sense now, but they will once you see the photos.

So, first things first, was ripping off those old disgusting, yellowed- gloss skirting boards. It was a horrible job, but armed with a crow bar, a hammer and a screw driver. I ripped them right off.

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I then gave a spritz of mould and mildew spray to kill any potential growths and awaited a delivery of the new skirting boards and My new toy. A nail gun. Once I had all of my supplies I got on with it.

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The nail gun was my best friend through this project, at first I was a little scared, there’s so many warnings and precautions to take with any power tool. But, it was all actually really easy. I bought this one from screw fix. It comes with 100 nails and 200 staples, and is fitted with a lock, so unless you put pressure on the front part of the gun against something, it won’t shoot nails into anything, this prevents any nasty accidents.

Once the skirting boards had been attached I could start on the main event. building up my board and pattern. I am not lying when I say attaching the entire thing to the wall took me an hour. Thats it. One hour. This was down to two things. Having my wood pre-cut and having the nail gun. So here’s how that went.

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When it came to deciding on the space between each vertical board, it was very simple. I just used the lines from the lining paper and centred each board on those. Then went on the top panel. By this stage, I was SO excited at seeing it all come together.

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Even though I loved it quite a lot at this point, it still needed some finishing touches before the painting could begin. I lined each rectangle with a decorative beading, and added a picture rail to the top of the entire thing.

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Then I filled in every single gap with some builders calk – not a particularly fun job, but its vital for a lovely smooth finish.

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Finally, I could paint it. I went for a light and clean white – using my favourite, and easy to clean Homebase Eggshell in brilliant white. It took 4 coats altogether, the last two applied with a small sponge roller. And after a while, I could still see patches, turns out I’d been staring at it for way too long. Once fully dry, it had no patches on it at all.

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That was the biggest part of the Kitchen makeover pt 2 finished. But there was still a lot more to do. Including freshening the top half of the wall up with a re-paint, and one of my favourite bits, building another custom radiator for in there. (this one cost £19 and took less than 30 minutes to put together.)

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And because, of course we hadn’t built enough, I also drew up plans for a custom cupboard to take up that place next to the fridge. The cleaning stuff has now been relocated to the cupboard in the living room (i’ll have a full re-organised/re-decoration post up for in there at some point over the next few months) so that freed up room, but i still wanted something a little more snug than the old cupboards turned on their side.

I’ll have a full post up about this build next week, its mid way through construction.

And finally there was some little projects to finish, like spray painting the large mirror over the radiator.

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Fitting new lights in both the kitchen and the dining side of the room – These Fleuron lights btw are AMAZING! They come with a remote, you can dim, brighten and change the tone, cooler, warmer. All for £30 I’ll pop the link for those here if anyone else wants to know where to buy them.

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And finally, all that was left to do, was to dress the room, pull out all those home accessories, fancy up those new areas.

 

Little before and after?!

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Its all so much more cosier, so much more clean and homely. Of course I haven’t completely finished – I’ll have the DIY cabinet up next week. And I still need to replace the artwork to something a little more natural and in keeping with the rest of the room. I also have to get the coving up, but seen as thats my least favourite job, i’ll leave that ’till last. All, in all though, i’m so happy with how its turned out, and its all now ready for our annual halloween bash!

 

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

 

DIY Radiator cover.

Happy first day of Autumn! I know I’ve been banging on about it over my past few posts, but I really am so excited for these chilly days and cosy nights. Not to mention the holidays (Yep, I have spent a pretty penny on halloween decorations already!) Anyway, The beginning of Autumn means the heating will start going back on. Thinking of this reminded me about the awful radiator taking up an entire wall in our living room. Its the first thing you see when you come in the room and I wanted to cover it. One (of the many) stupid things around our house is the heights of our radiators, for some reason they’re fitted about 3″ higher than standard radiators, meaning that the ready made covers just don’t fit.

I mentioned back in one of my earlier Living room post, how we was either going to have a bespoke one made up, or try it ourself. Well… of course we had a go at making up one ourself!

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First, was drafting up my plan. I knew what I wanted (kind of) and I knew how to do it (kind of) so off we popped to my favourite project supply shop Savoy Timber. Once there Sam (I leave him to do the ordering whilst I stroll around finding more DIY supplies that I don’t really need. I’d very  kindly given him a list of every piece & size we needed, meaning we’d end up with everything pre-cut. Its way easier and since we got the chickens I don’t feel right taking out the mitre saw. They look terrified at the sight of it. Ha ha. Altogether it came to around £20 – give or take a couple of quid. For both the MDF & mini screws.

So, once home. It was time to begin jigsawing those pieces together. Which was actually way easier than you’d think. We used brackets to secure everything together, wood glue didn’t seem the right choice considering it will spend 6+ months boiling hot every year. And securing them with pegs would be way more work than necessary.

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Once the main frame had been put together, it was time to fit the screens. I had decided long before drawing anything up that I wanted slats, not one of those patterned screens. The plan was to basically just screw in some slats, lengthways across each half of the radiator cover. In theory it worked wonderfully, in reality not so well, the gaps between each slat was far too big, it barely covered the radiator, making the whole project kind of useless. Not wanting to go back to Savoy, we decided to layer up those slats, decreasing the size in-between each one and giving a shutter style. It worked perfectly and we didnt need to buy anymore mdf.

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Once the shutter type screens had been fitted, the whole thing could be lifted and fixed to the wall.

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Next came the risky bit. The part I wasn’t sure was going to look stupid, the part that sam insisted was stupid. Adding the drawers. Which are actually fake. completely. I wasn’t going to faff around making up four drawers for 20cm worth of drawer space. But, I wanted it to look cabinet like, rather than a standard radiator cover. So I rounded of the corners (With a sander) of four 1/4″ mdf rectangles & stuck them on.

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Finally, the time had come to try out my lovely paint. Rustoleoum in Ink blue. Dark & moody, a beautiful alternative to the bright white tv unit.

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I really didnt think this part of the project through, and within minutes had made quite the mess of the radiator behind. I tried to stuff paper behind the slats to limit the mess until I finally gave in and un-fastened the cover from the wall and took it outside where it was MUCH easier to paint up.

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Finally, it was time to add the finishing touch, the handles. I actually bought these about three months ago, convinced they had a place in my living room some how. turns out this is how.

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And that was that. ready to bring back inside, fix back to the wall and stick the top back on.

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Finally, I could fancy it up a little with some lovely new bits, and sit back to admire another successful project. Cosy Autumn here we come.

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And like always with any home project, here’s my list of whats left to do in this room:

  • Fit magnet catch -ers to the TV unit doors. (2/3 so far, I’m expecting to have it finished by Christmas.)
  • Replace the skirting board. (Fit, calk and paint them)
  • Replace the door frames. (Same as above.)
  • Repaint both doors.
  • Fit new plate over high plug socket near the sofa.
  • Make/Buy radiator cover. – We haven’t decided yet, our radiators are ridiculously high, so ‘standard’ covers don’t fit.
  • Make/buy cushions for the sofa – It already holds 11, but it just isn’t enough! I NEED MORE!
  • Find something to go on both the bottom shelves of the TV unit.
  • Replace back door. (This is a way way down the line project for when we actually own the house *still in deposit saving phase*)
  • Find new light for the ceiling.

 

Thats another three ticked of the list. Not bad.

Happy first day of Autumn.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

 

#acosyhome

It was a month or so ago now I first decided to start my own hashtag. Anyone that knows me, reads my blog, follows my Insta or Facebook, knows i’m all about creating a comfortable, well presented, well fed household. I’m a homemaker through and through with the main goal being to create #acosyhome So it all kind of made sense really. I haven’t been overly active with it, but we are now in September, as of next week its officially Autumn, which everyone knows is all about the cosiness.

#acosyhome is for anything and everything that gives you that little buzz off contentment. Your favourite smelly candle, a pretty little corner of your house, your kids being bundled up under a blanket on a rainy Saturday afternoon and of course those delicious comfort foods.

Joining in with this hashtag is really simple, its all hosted on Instagram, you can follow me over on here to keep updated on my examples. #acosyhome revolves around three main subjects: Interiors, Food & Family life. I’ve popped some of my favourite examples so far below.

 

Interiors:

Photo 06-09-2016, 09 55 20Photo 03-09-2016, 19 46 24 Photo 06-09-2016, 09 55 10 Photo 06-09-2016, 09 17 26 Photo 06-09-2016, 09 56 47

 

Food:

Photo 06-09-2016, 09 56 16 Photo 06-09-2016, 09 56 23 Photo 06-09-2016, 09 56 59 Photo 06-09-2016, 09 57 11

 

Family life:Photo 06-09-2016, 09 57 07 Photo 06-09-2016, 09 58 48 Photo 06-09-2016, 09 59 27

And thats really it. Its as simple as that. And following on from from the hoards of beautiful insta hashtags around, I’ll be creating a cosy photo grid and tagging my favourites fortnightly.

So get tagging, #acosyhome

Let the cosiness of Autumn commence.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

 

The big kitchen makeover- Part 1.

When me moved in to our house 3 years ago, we had a month to decorate as many rooms as possible, before we moved in. Needless to say, the kitchen got a lick of paint and left. From there, once we where a little more settled other rooms started getting more work doe but the Kitchen just stayed as it was. I’ve always known once we buy the entire kitchen will be ripped out and started over. So I haven’t wanted to spend too much on it. Until two weeks ago, I just couldn’t cope with it any longer. I needed something quick, cheap and effective.

So here it was a few weeks ago.

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Clean, functional – not so pretty.

 

First up, was sorting out those cupboard doors. I originally painted them in Anne sloane  Antique white, which was lovely, the varnish however yellowed over the past year making them look little manky. So, rather than going out and spending £20 + on a tub of paint specifically for kitchen cabinets, I used what I already had in. Remember my front of house makeover a few weeks ago? well, during that I punched a small tub of exterior paint in a beautiful slate grey colour for the step and gas mains cupboard. It comes with a six year guarantee to protect from the elements, it was just the colour I wanted and I only used a little bit, so I had near a full tin left. There was really no harm in trying.

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It took two light coats and dried the most beautiful colour!

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Whilst I was in-between coats waiting for them to dry, I gave those handles a good spray with gold.

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And once everything was completely dry (not just to touch, but really dry.) I popped those handles back on & voialla!

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Next, I needed to tackle the end of side annoyance, I’ve always hated how the dryer is just stuck on the end of the kitchen. To sort this we bought a giant piece of 3/4″ thick MDF as a side panel and a piece of worktop the same thickness as the existing ones from Savoy timber. Sam used brackets to fix the worktop to the existing sides, the wall and the MDF. the entire thing was as sturdy as it could be.

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I then filled the seam in-between the two sides with filler, left it over night to dry and gave it a good sand to smooth out.

Then came making over the kitchen worktops. I’ve debated this part of the project for a long time. and before starting I knew the risks – being I was about to spend a whole lot of time on something that could look like rubbish at the end, or get damaged so easily – so quickly and have to be ripped up anyway. But. If I didnt try, I’d never know. So, coating the sides with vinyl sheets.

First I had to take off those side metal case things. Then give it a real thorough scrub, there can’t  be one single speck of dirt or grease on those sides or the vinyl won’t stick.

 

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Then it was time for the hard bit. Laying the vinyl, I bought the DC-Fix vinyl in white marble from Wilkos (£5 per 2mt roll). To do this well, you’ll need two things to hand. A card of some sort – this is for smoothing out those bubbles. And a craft knife. You can try scissors to trim off the excess vinyl, but I wouldn’t recommend it for a super neat finish, you can pick up craft knives from hobby craft.

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Laying it, isn’t actually difficult, laying it without getting it crinkled and bubbly, well thats a whole other ball game. The only thing I can advise is start from a corner, peeling back the paper and sticking to the surface. peel back a little more backing paper, smooth out on your surface, with your card, peel back and so on. working slowly and making sure its laying crinkle free. I would recommend leaving a couple of inches excess on every side. You can always trim if its too big, you can’t add on if its too small.

The hardest bit are those really long sides. After adding on the extra piece of worktop, the longest piece was over 2mt long. its tough trying to get a whole piece of vinyl stuck down in one piece, without it crinkling and sticking together. It took me two go’s until i was really happy with it.

So, once it was laid, then came finishing up those sides, first I trimmed any excess off, and then caulked down the wall/side joint. You don’t have to do this part, but I wanted to really secure those edges, especially around the sink area which would obviously be getting wet a lot.

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Finally, I used a hair dryer, to quickly blast the bottom edges of the vinyl, smoothing it under with my card. The slight blast of heat made the vinyl mould perfectly around the curve of the workshop. giving a lovely finish.

Once finished with that, I could pop the metal plates back on and admire all that hard work.

A couple of thing that you need to know which this stuff – DONT place any hot pan/plate on the sides. They will melt the vinyl. – DONT cut food on your sides, you’ll slice the vinyl. You can counteract both of these by making sure you have a chopping board. I love my ikea one. Its huge and makes it no effort not to damage my sides.

Other than that, they are fine to use and scrub as normal. I absolutely wouldn’t use this as a long term kitchen solution, but over the next 2 years, our plans to buy this house should be finalised and the first thing that will be ripped out and re-done is the kitchen. For now, its the perfect solution.

Next up on the kitchen transformation, is the walls. Now if you follow me on insta you’ll know I’ve been popping tester pots up on the walls over the past few weeks, I’d narrowed it down to a couple of light and airy colours, but found actually after doing the worktops, I loved the colour that was already up. It was a little grubby in spots, so It definitely needed a touch up. The colour is Cosy grey – walks durable.

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Then on my list, was replacing those blinds. I did actually love them, they where of course handmade out of old palettes. But they just didnt do much for the room. I replaced them with Dunelm mill linen roman blind in Natural.

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Next, I bought a wall bracket for the microwave, giving us much more worktop room. I didnt want wires hanging directly across the wall, so I moved it to right next to the fridge, there’s a plug socket just behind. making it perfect. I also swapped the pan hanger to the other side of the room.

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And finally, it was time to fancy up the room, make it a little more personalised and homely.

I chalked up a simple design on the chalk board using this method,

Screenshot 2016-08-30 19.45.59

 

I created a print out for by the kettle (you can have the printable too, its FREE & its here.), I was bought this beautiful radio off Sam as a late birthday present.

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I popped up some fairy light on the giant thing over the cooker. (I think its art, i’m not really sure. ha ha) And, I decided to have another go of growing herbs on the window ledge. (its only the 5000th time, i’ve tried not to kill them within a week.)

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ALL of these little projects have made up my (semi) finished room.

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And here’s he obligatory before & afters.

PicMonkey Collage

The different is amazing! It’s no longer the room I hate most in the house. Although it isn’t actually all finished,  I’ll be starting phase two of the kitchen update next month. This part of the project will be sorting the Dining area side of it.

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Robyn,

The little woman pretends.