The big build – Phase 1.

Every year at the start of spring I go through the same phase. With summer looming I am itching to redecorate, or in most cases completely renovate various areas of my house. This year is no different and what started as a conversation with sam over replacing our tv has spurned the biggest build we’ve done yet. A new TV unit.

We wanted something big, a built in and so I turned to trusty Pinterest for inspiration.

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And over the course of an evening I had our new unit sketched out – measurements and all. (Unfortunately, I only took a photo at the end of the project… it was much neater prior to the mid-project scribblings.) Throughout, things changed. Like deciding to ditch drawers in favour of cupboards, and getting rid of the top shelf on the sides to give more height to the other shelves.

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Our lounge isnt massive, but its a good clean rectangle, we decided we wanted floor to ceiling, wall to wall unit. Choosing this wall as the spot.

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Next up, was buying the materials. With our plan in hand, we decided to head to Savoy. Sam bought the MDF (3/4″) for my craft unit from there, its good quality, good prices AND they’ll even cut it for you, which is a massive time saver on such a big project.

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Once home the prep could begin, which involved, all photos down, de-nailing the wall & taking off the old skirting boards, so the new unit would fit flush against the walls.

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From there the build could begin. Only… it couldnt because I had written down the wrong meaurements for the new tv. In my defence I did ask sam to double check my measurements and instead of writing the width as 116cm I had written it as 106cm. So, begrudgingly,  we had to go buy a whole new set of MDF for the centre part of the unit, and get the side units trimmed. That pushed us back an extra £40 and half a day that could have been spent building.

Once we had all the pieces we needed (in the right size) we could try again. And over one day and two evenings we got the whole thing completed. Starting with the side shelves, and then the section that would hold the TV, finally adding the back panels. We also have cupboard doors to hang and a top cover that will build the gap from the top of the stand to the ceiling, but both of those can only go on once the whole unit has been pushed back.

 

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Cost breakdown of phase 1:

MDF- £130 + £40 extra after my measuring mistake. (This includes backing pieces which are floor to ceiling  1/4″ thick pieces)

Brackets- £8.40 (12p each x70)

Screws- £3.98 (400)

Total cost – £182.38

 

I’m absolutely ecstatic that we’ve managed to pull this off, that we’ve managed to build something so big and so solid for so little. And the fact that its only 30cm deep means we have made great use of the space we have.

So thats how the first half of last week panned out, on Wednesday I’ll be back, shring phase two – my favourite part. Painting and finishing touches.

 

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

Easy clock up-cycle.

Last week I was browsing through Aldi, picking up some shopping as you do, when I found a pile of reduced clocks. There wasn’t much choice in pattern but for 99p I grabbed one anyway and flung it straight into my trolley with a little up cycle in mind.

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A few weeks ago, whilst browsing Pinterest, I saw this beautiful clock, which inspired me to think up a DIY clock tutorial. The plan was to make one from something I already had… but as I said, 99p! It has all the parts, just needs a little up cycle.

Image via Tesco.

Image via Tesco.

 

 

I was going to imitate this style, until I found an old gift bag I had bought and saved. I bought it because it’s  SO beautiful, I saved it because I knew I would find a use for it and I have, I love this look far more than the plain black.

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So here’s what I used.

  • Clock (99p from Aldi, any old clock will do as long as the hands work.)
  • Gift bag. (£2.99 – came as a pair from Homesense.)
  • Glue. (£2 from Hobbycraft. I wanted something stronger than PVA but nothing too strong that it would destroy the bag – Its not fabric, but its not paper… Its a weird in-between.)
  • Scissors.

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And here’s what I did.

First I dismantled the hands from the front, being very careful not to break anything. No hands means no clock.

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Then I gave the clock a quick wipe down, its fresh out of the package so i don’t really need to worry about grease. If your using an old one you need to make sure its completely clean and dry before you stick anything on it.

 

I cut out one side of the bag – as luck has it, its the perfect size for this clock.

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Traced round the clock onto the inside of the bag. – I used a dressmakers chalk, a pencil will do just fine.

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And cut around the clock template by about 3/4 of an inch. I need this extra paper so I can fold it neatly around the sides and overlapping onto the back of the clock.

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I had a quick test run placing the paper over the clock.

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Once I knew I could get my cover fitted over nice and neatly. I gave the whole face (leaving the sides for now) a good coat of glue.

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And started to very slowly  – from the middle- to place the paper over the clock face, making sure to press out any potential wrinkles or bubbles.

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Once the face is covered, I glued the sides and a little of the back (just the top bits), before securing the overhanging paper.

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I left it to dry, before reattaching the hands and sticking in some batteries.

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And then I hung it.

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A clock that cost only a couple of quid, that looks far more expensive. Just what I like in a DIY project.

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Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

Simple Curtain cover up tutorial.

On Wednesday I posted my craft room update, part of the update was having the prettiest and most practical craft cupboard built. As lovely as it is though, I have SO much crafting stuff the shelves are packed and it looks a little bit cluttered. I toyed with the idea of having cupboard doors fitted on it, but instead decided on making up a curtain to hide away all my junk and keep my sewing area looking seamlessly pretty.

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So, if you have a particularly unsightly area you want to cover up cheaply, I’ve written up this tutorial for you.

Here’s what you’ll need.

-Fabric. I’ve got a 1mt piece of Black cotton, cheap and cheerful. its 59″ wide so just over the length I need to cover my shelves. I’ve also decided I want a bit of colour popped in there, following on from the floral theme thats settled around my sewing area, I’ve gone for a lovely floral jeresy material.

– Curtain wire. (I got a 1 metre long piece with hooks for £1.55 of ebay.)

-Dressmakers pins.

– Tape measure.

-Sewing machine

-Overlocker *Optional* If you’ve no overlocker then you can just use pinking shears. If you have neither, you can use my folded hem method (Here.)

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And heres what you’ll need to do.

First measure out the space you want covering. I only want to open area of the shelves covering so mine is (52″) drop and because These curtains will be closed most of the time I want them to hang with a pleat, so even though the width is only 23 1/2″ I’m using it at a 38″ wide.

Next you need to mark out your measurements on your fabric, using pins. Add 1 & 1/2″ to the top,  1″ to the bottom and 1/2″ either side.

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Now you can cut.

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If you’re adding another piece of fabric, nows the time to measure out how much you need. My additional pice of floral fabric is 8″ by 38″. (Both including 1/2″ either side for the hem.”

Once you’ve cut out you’re additional fabric, overlock the top (or use crimping shears).

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Once you’ve done that, pin your additional fabric where you want it. (Mines going at the bottom of the curtain.) So I’ve pinned both pieces of fabric at the bottom and either side. leaving the top (overlocked fabric loose.)

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Now, going back to the overlocked edge of your additional fabric, turn it in – hiding the edge inside and pin to the curtain fabric.

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Continue all the way to the other side.

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Now top stitch down your recently pinned area.

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*Now, the reason I’ve attached my contrasting fabric this way, is because of the different fabric types. I’m using a medium weight cotton for my curtain and the fabric I wanted to pair it with is a Jersey fabric. I can’t just attach my flower fabric straight to the bottom of my black because it just wouldn’t hang right. If you’re making one of these and using two fabrics that are the same weight you can just cut your main curtain fabric shorter and add your contrasting fabric straight on at the bottom. Its so much easier, but this is how to fix it if your fabrics are different weights.

 

Anyway, this is the easy bit. And if you’re only using one fabric, just pick up from where we left of before fiddling with additional fabric.  Use your overlocker (or pinking shears) and go around all four edges of your curtain. This will attatch the other three sides of the additional fabric to the curtain.

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Next, we need to fold other either side of the curtain (The longest sides) Pin at 1/2″ and topstitch. Its important to do the sides first, because it gives a better finish overall to your curtain.

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Next, fold the top over 1 & 1/2″, Pin and topstitch again. Make sure you don’t sew the sides up, you need the little gap so you can thread your curtain wire through at the end.

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Now move down to the bottom, fold over 1″, pin and topstitch.

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Now your curtain is finished, well nearly. Last thing to do is give it a good going over with the iron, before hanging it up.

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Such a quick and easy project that really does make all the difference.

If you have a go at making some, be sure to tag me in your photos, I love seeing all your crafty makes.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

 

 

The craft room makeover: Another update.

I’ve been having a little blog break (incase you’ve been wondering where I’ve been), its been lovely to have my free time unscheduled. Last week though, I started feeling a bit bored. Normal life’s all well and good – But I need time for crafts! And what better way to get back stuck into things than by updating the room where I do all of my crafty projects?

Last year I transformed Izzy’s old nursery into my very own space (you can find that post here.) I’ve had a ton of improvement ideas since, but only now have I managed to get them done.

Here’s what the room looked like last year when it was still decorated from Izzy’s nursery…. Very, Pink.

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And here’s what it looked like after the first bit of work. Much nicer, but still needing some real personality.

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The main thing I wanted to add in here was some drama. Using photographs off Pinterest like this for inspiration…

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I thought it through for the whole of five seconds and because i’m both impulsive and impatient I went off and bought a big ol’ tub of black paint, it doesn’t really get more dramatic that black does it?

I decided to only paint one wall in this black, my sewing area. Stupidly, I didn’t check the tin of paint and I ended up buying Silk.. I noticed after I’d just finished the first coat, it dried horribly! Black is a tricky colour to make work, it HAD to be matt and so off I went to homebase to get another tin.

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Now the best part of this update is the gorgeous custom cupboard my lovely husband built me. I was so excited about getting it painted and slotted in I didn’t take one single photograph! – And I call myself a blogger!! But here’s how the whole area finished up looking. I absolutely and completely LOVE it!

* Desk styling is completely for blog photograph purposes, it will actually hold my Sewing machine and Overlocker – but they aren’t nearly as pretty as random books and fake potted plants.*

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As well as the beautiful black wall & custom cupboard, I updated the old white light switch for a  black/nickel one  (£5.99 at Wickes). I printed off some new art for the gold frames, painted a big white strip down a different wall for the perfect photography backdrop & had a big old clear out. Here’s the rest of the room. FYI: I love the rest of it too!

 

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Phase one of the update is complete, at the end of the week i’ll have a  tutorial up (one that’ll involve covering up the stuffed craft supply cupboard). And next week I’ll be starting phase two which is to fit some shelves down the clear wall next to the window.

Also left to do in the room is to find a laminate floor for in there (How expensive is laminate flooring now?! i’ve been quoted around £100 from five or six places for this tiny box room!!). And then I need to find an old battered Queen Anne wingback armchair that I can re-upholster. Maybe then I’ll consider this room done – Although probably not, Interior lovers are very rarely finished with any room.

Anyway, its good to be back!

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

DIY Arrow wall art.

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Last weekend I gave the gallery wall going up the stairs a bit of an overhaul – blog post here, if you missed it- There are still a few little gaps that need filling, and with so many frames already up there I wanted to fill them with something different. I’ve been scouring the internet, keeping an eye out when I go shopping, but nothing has really jumped out at me yet. Until I saw a placard printed with arrows, I liked it, it goes with one of the smaller prints up there. But I thought of one better, one that would fit the slope of the stairs perfectly. An actual wooden arrow. There are quite a few ready made tutorials up on Pinterest, but I kind of already had an idea of what I wanted, I also wanted to use anything I already had around the house… so its made from two old bed pallets.

 

Here’s what else I used. 

2x leftover bed pallets planks.

glue gun

string

wood stain

copper spray paint

*obviously the last three are completely optional, you decorate it up however you want.*

 

And here’s what I did. 

First, I sketched out some triangles (for the head of the arrow) on some paper, I cut them out and had a little play around, until they fitted together nicely. I did this around three times to get the right size head, I wanted my arrow to be 70cm in length, the length of the middle had to keep in proportion with the head and the wings. It was a little fiddly, but the hardest bit.

Once I had my paper triangles, I traced round them straight onto the wooden planks. My whole plan for the arrow was to have a little rustic, so perfectly drawn lines wasn’t necessary. If you want to go for a more geometric, clean cut version, you’ll have to put a little more effort into keeping everything perfectly straight. As well as the triangles I needed a long strip which would be the body and two wings.

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Next it was time to pass over my planks to Sam. I can’t use a saw, certainly not a high powered one that could cut my fingers of in a millisecond. We did have my first lesson in building up the confidence to use it on my own though, I pressed the button to turn it on. Thats as far as I can go right now! ha.

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Now I had all of the pieces needed, It was tine to stick them together. Because i’m using such a lightweight wood, my trusty hot glue gun is fine. If it was a heavier wood something stronger would be needed.

I played around with the triangles until they fitted together nicely.

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I glued down the edges that would be joined together, quickly slotting them together before the glue had chance to dry.

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Next, I glued one end of the body to the bottom of the triangle.

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And set my half finished arrow to the side, taking out the two pieces that would make my wings. I used a chisel to chip of some of the wood down the sides, giving a  more rustic look and scored some lines at a horizontal angle down the wings.

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Then I glued them either side of the bottom of the arrow body.

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And thats the arrow made. Now its time to decorate. My arrow is going up on the gallery wall in the hallway, so I decided on a dark wood stain, paired with some touches of copper.

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Next, I added some string around the bottom of the body, I love this little bit of texture. It adds to the rustic vibe.

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I added string to the back of the arrow, so I could hang it. And my arrow is done!

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Hanging nicely in its place. Not bad considering it was a couple of pieces of scrap wood, a little effort, really can transform anything.

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Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The gallery wall update.

There’s been lots of work going on in the hall over the past few weeks, and whilst my work has come to a standstill – i’m waiting for Sam to make a start on fitting the new stair rails-  I thought I’d get started on another project in there. Updating the gallery wall going up the stairs.

I first started gathering my collection of frames back when we lived in Germany and although there has been a few minor updates, it was five years ago and some of the frames/photo’s have become tatty and outdated.

 

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I’ve been collecting a few little bits over the past few months, mainly bookmarking specific websites that offer gorgeous free printables. Little gold pixie, Mrs Fancee, Short stop designs , Hymns and verses and my absolute favourite Oh so lovely.  just to name a few.

All I needed to do then was choose between the many designs available, download and print on some good quality photograph paper. Easy!

A couple of my favourites are this sketched letter S from Shanty 2 chic and this lovely monthly moon print from Free people. 

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Another thing to think about was frame sizes, order and theme. I decided straight away to boycott any theme – although there are some lovely pre matched printables-  I’m a person with many tastes, I know what I like and I stuck with it. I decided on what would go in which frame based on the prints ability to be shrunk down or enlarged without distortion and got to work re-filling the frames.

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When it came to which order they went in, I only re-shuffled a few frames, keeping most exactly where they were. I wanted to stretch down towards the bottom of the stairs a bit more (it was looking a little bare). Once I had decided and eleven printouts later, I hammered in those nails, gave everything a good polish and stood back to admire my quick and easy Saturday morning upgrade.

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There are lots of little spaces that still need filling, I’m going to keep an eye out for little treasures to fill those. The difference isn’t massive, but reorganising that area has been one of those little things bugging me every time I go up and down those stairs, now its another thing ticked off my house ‘to do’ list.

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To find print offs, simply search ‘free wall printables’ or something similar into Google or Pinterest. So many will come up, but i’ve linked up some of my favourite websites further up. If you decide to share a photo of your new wall art up on Facebook or instagram, don’t forget to tag the site you got it from, just ‘cos its nice to be nice, these are after all free and so much effort goes into each one.

 

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

*I’ve been asked where a few of the prints come from already, so i’m just going to add links here.*

Arrow print

Gold paint dash. 

 

 

Blog-aversary.

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Happy Blog-Birthday to me! Its been an entire year since I published my first post! During the past twelve months I’ve published 82 posts. 14 Sewing tutorials, 22 delicious recipes, 11 interior projects, 8 peeks into our family life and from that tally that leaves 27 random rambles . I’m quite impressed,  I spend most of my life rambling- to myself mainly- I expected SO much more.

I can’t believe I’ve hit the year point and I’m still so buzzed by it all. Anyone who knows me, knows how quickly I fizzle out, but blogging is so much fun! Of course it helps that I’ve not pocketed myself into one certain subject. I like prettiness, making things pretty, looking at things that already pretty. When you love what you do, its not hard to just keep on going.

Of course I wouldn’t have lasted this long if it wasn’t for you lovelies that come and read, every Instagram like, Facebook comment, every hit on my blog views. Its that, which stops me from giving it up when i’m lacking in inspiration.

I’m not completely mental in thinking that its a big deal, in the entire world of internetting. My little corner is just that, little. So little it almost doesn’t exist. But that doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I could have one view a day and It would be enough to keep me going.

The thing about this blog is, its not here for me to pretend I’m this super organised, perfectly crafty person that just exists to gloat about how together my life is. My life isn’t together, I spent last week having twice daily meetings with Mischa’s teacher to discuss her disruptive behaviour. I use microwave rice, because I JUST. CANT. COOK. RICE! I haven’t worn make-up in nearly a fortnight and my anxiety has been so bad these past few months I had pretty much stopped leaving my house.

For me, the blog is here as a distraction almost. Amongst the crappiness that just has to come with life, I still always have this place, and these projects. Sewing, baking, projects for around the house, these are all things i’ve always done when I need a break. Blogging about them, just gives me a little extra something to focus on and hopefully some ideas on ways to give yourself a break should you need it too.

 

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Here’s to another DIY packed year.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

Pantry update.

 

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Now the madness of Christmas and new year is out of the way, decorating can resume. Before Christmas we started replacing door frames, skirting boards and adding coving around the rooms on the ground floor of our house. This week we picked up tools to resume. Starting with the Pantry door in the kitchen. I LOVE my pantry, two years ago, I spent three weeks hand painting it (yes really!) I knew what I wanted but just couldn’t find it anywhere, obviously because i’m completely impatient and y’know on board for anything DIY, I just decided to stencil it. I managed to find some photographs of the process tucked away on my computer. – Sorry about the shocking photo’s.. It was a while ago. I don’t even think I owned  an actual camera then!

 

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Anyway, back to what I did this week. As you can tell it was still looking a little shabby. The door frame had to come off, a new one put on and it all needed a fresh lick of paint.

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No matter how much I scrubbed and scraped, the glass up at the top just wouldn’t come clean. It is 40 odd years old to be fair but I wanted it to look fresh and clean. So I bought some of that sticky back plastic stuff in a frosted glass effect and got to work.

I pre-cut the size needed to cover the window first, then printed out and placed the letters I needed on the back side of the frosted plastic. I traced around them lightly with a pencil before cutting them out… Remembering to keep the middles of the P, A & R.

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Once that was all done, I simply peeled the back from the plastic & starting from the corner, slowly attached the plastic to the glass, smoothing as I go. And that was it. Really easy!

 

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All together this little upgrade cost me £6. And took me around an hour, only because the extremely careful cutting out slows you down. I used a card to push out the bubbles and If you plan on doing something similar, dont forget to place your letters back to front when stencilling. – Its not really noticeable, but my ‘N’ was accidentally drawn upside down.

Next up for the pantry will be customised shelving/drawers. As you can see everything’s just THERE & I’d like it a little more organised. I’ve loads of other stuff to do around the house before though. Including the kitchen doorway frame, skirting boards, coving and a full re-paint. 2016 is the year my kitchen gets shown some love.

 

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY Star wall hanging.

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If you’re as active on Instagram as I am –  by active I mean completely obsessed!- then you would have no doubt seen lots of those lovely star decorations up on the swoon worthy interior-insta accounts. Well after a little research I discovered the most AMAZING tutorial , i’d love to be able to take full credit for this, but that goes solely to Grey luster girl and her fabulous DIY version.

I’ve tweaked it a little, just because I wanted wall mounted stars as opposed to mantle piece ones, but I did make one of those before Christmas. I’m going to pop my version up now, although you can find the original 3-D one if you click the GLG link above.

Anyway, lets get started.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cereal box, the bigger the box, the bigger you can make your star.
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil & eraser.
  • Glue gun or blue tack. (preferably a glue gun though)
  • Paint.
  • Star template, I have a free one I’ve made up Here.  There’s instructions below on how to re-size it.

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And here’s what you need to do:

First up you need to grab your star template,  I’ve left all the markings on the ones I made up, I’m hoping this will show you how I enlarged it – or it’ll just confuse you. Any way, what I did was print, then trace around this star on another piece of paper. I then added 3cm to the lines centring on the 5 points, I also added 2cm to the lines running diagonally from the centre of the inner points. Then I used a ruler and pencil to join them all up. Simple. Hopefully. Theres a quick diagram below. – Also if you really want enlarge your star, double it to 6cm (4cm on the inner points) and so on. Baring in mind the size of your cereal box card.

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Right, thats the difficult stuff out of the way. After cutting out your new star template, trace round on your cardboard and cut out. Very carefully, symmetry is key with these.

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Now copying the lines drawn throughout the star on my version, you want five points all centred, all drawn lightly – so they can be rubbed out if needs be. If you’re painting with a dark colour, you don’t really need to worry about this.

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Now we need to start folding. First fold from the centre outwards to the tip of your first point. You want the plain side (your outer star) on the outside, cereal box side touching on the inside. If you like you can score down all of the lines on the plain side with a pair of scissors. Be really careful not to slice through, this will make for a cleaner fold.

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Now, turning to the inner points, fold them up, so the plain card side is touching.

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Repeat this until you’ve done your whole star.

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Now you can paint. Mine are for my craft room, i’ve gone for black. Once painted, leave to dry.

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To finish, pop some of your hot glue, or blue tack (again hot glue is preferable) in the inside of the five points, give a little squeeze of the tips, this will keep those points nice & tight.

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Leave the glue to dry, before hanging your star.

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I’ve made a few more in multiple sizes, also throwing in a copper & silver version (Plastikote spray paint in matt copper & chrome) just to tie in with the rest of my room.

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You could also make up some smaller ones, and attach to string for a super original & completely gorgeous garland. (Definitely  on my to do list!) Or instead of painting, glue some pretty paper down before you start the folding step.

I really REALLY love these, i’m trying hard not to make a ton of them to scatter around the house, don’t want overkill. But if you want an easy peasy way to fancy up any wall, these are the thing to make.

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Happy Crafting.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

Goodbye 2015.

 

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I know everyone says this, but I really can’t believe how quick 2015 has gone! So much has happened, some good, some bad. But through it all i’ve learnt a lot. And thats really what life is about isn’t it? I’ve had so much fun with the blog, this is my place. My space to just spread creativity. So I thought for my last post of the year I’d just show some of my favourite blogging moments of 2015.

  • My very first post. When I re-started TLWP as a blog, I honestly thought it would burn out in a couple of months – full of faith! ha- But its just been so addictive. I look back at my first post and I can sense the nerves in my writing, I was SO scared of hitting that publish button. The support I’ve had since is just insane. So thank you for coming here to read.

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  •  Support Small Saturdays. I’ve completely slacked at these, I WILL re-start in 2016, but I’m just so happy I had so many amazing small business that wanted to be involved! I love the interview parts and getting to share some truly inspirational ladies with readers is what its all about.

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  • North west bloggers event. This is when I felt like a blogger, sat in that room full of wonderful people, all in there for the same reason as myself. It was a lovely day and I left with the biggest boost in confidence as well as a bunch of fab ladies I still talk to now. The blogging world is a strange one, its so much easier when you have a group of people that just get it.

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  • The one where I painted my bathroom floor. – This was such a fun/cheap project to do, not only that but It also ended up with me being contacted by Wayfair! My post ended up being part of an bloggers bathroom inspo post! As you can imagine I was so excited to be featured on quite a massive brands website. You can find the Wayfair post here.

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  • World prematurity day – my story. This was a completely last minute post. I had written it, re-written it and gone back to delete it so many times. My blog isn’t really super personal, but I felt this was a story to be shared. I did not at all expect the response I got. Its still the post with the most views this year! It was lovely to know that readers, so used to to recipes, tutorials ect. Weren’t turned off by a little bit of my real life.

mischa

 

And as far as blogging goes in 2016, I’ve planned a couple of posts, but really, my plan is to just work freely, writing up posts as and when inspiration strikes. One of my main goals though is to step up my photography game, I’m lucky enough to have been gifted a half decent camera, I’m better than I was last year, but I’ve still a long way to go and as a blog that really is very visual, its so important for me to try a little harder to get those crisp, bright, clear photographs.

Goodbye 2015, hello 2016.

Happy New year readers!

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.