No sew rag curtain

Well it’s not really a rag, it’s an old cut up curtain repurposed!

Having a 1930’s house means a lot of big windows, including in the bathroom. I wanted to get some privacy from the neighbours without blocking out all of the light. Cafe curtains seem a bit old school but they let in the light from the top of the window whilst screening off the bottom of the window when you need to; unlike blinds that block out all of the light when they’re closed.

No sew cafe curtain
No sew curtain

To hang the cafe curtains I bought a tension rod; I found a white one in a sale for around £3. I didn’t fancy white, so I spray painted the tension rod with a copper craft enamel and let it dry. I also found packs of curtain rings with clips for about £2 for 10- like these ones 10 x BLACK METAL CURTAIN RINGS POLE ROD VOILE NET RINGS WITH CLIPS HANGING 30MM Fusion (TM)

Rather than buy new curtains to hang I had an old pair of cream cotton curtains with no lining and cut them to size with pinking shears to stop the edges from fraying. Because they were already curtains I cut them keeping the hem at the bottom and one side, hanging them with the top cut edge folded over and clipped into the hooks. Pretty simple and effective way of providing privacy in the bathroom whilst still letting in the light.

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Upcycled table update…. now painted and fresh

My kitchen table upcycle project was a whole lot more work than I had planned, I had some problems getting rid of an old stench from the table. In my earlier post I was trying all sorts to get rid of the smell Table tales…. The stinky one. After all of the scrubbing and scraping I left the table and chairs alone for a while and the smell seemed to disappear. The table was left next to a window that gets a lot of light so I think that the table just dried out a bit; and the smell has gone.

I’ve chalk painted the base with Rustoleum chalk paint in antique white and reupholstered the chairs with polka dot fabric… I also made new matching cushion covers for my benches. (I now have too many tables and chairs, so 2 chairs are with a French trolley that I painted too) I’m pleased that the table didn’t end up in the bonfire… it was a close call.

I was trying to strip the table top with the sander but it just wasn’t sanding very well. I tried some coarse sandpaper, I even tried some Nitromors paint and varnish remover but the existing finish just wouldn’t budge. I decided that the table top was pretty much winning so my finished table is much more rustic than intended, but at the end of the day it gives it some character and I’m not so worried about bumps and dints to the top as it seems pretty durable to withstand the sanding and scrubbing so far. I did give it a little brush with some bench oil to give it s new seal. I’m secretly pleased at the way it’s turned out!

I haven’t yet waxed the paint… New Years resolution is to finish what I’ve started!!

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Painted furniture

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The stairs that have made the house feel like a home!

img_7641Over the last 12 months renovations and destruction have taken up different parts of the house, from the rewiring and plaster mess to the bricked up walls and moving of doors. Each process having its own special stresses and strains, from cooking on a travel hob to washing in a porcelain mixing bowl; all along turning up to work each day as if I didn’t just walk through a pile of muck before I left the front door. It’s been a stressful year for sure at times but the light at the end of the tunnel came in the form of my stair carpet. The carpet that was being left until the majority of the mucky work had been done…. and I love it!

We decided to opt for a stair runner as when the old carpet had been taken up it was clear from the painted steps that there had once been a runner and stair rods. We have a half landing and a wonderful arch window that we had a replica stain glass window made for- in the pattern that some of the neighbours still have in original form. We’ve painted in the Crown period range colours and I’ve even plonked my restored singer sewing machine on the half landing. The best part of it all is that I can now walk bare foot on the stairs a simple pleasure that I hadn’t realised how much I had missed.

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Rewiring mess
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Wondering how to get the wallpaper off
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The old arch window
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Bare stairs
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The new window and runner

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Bathroom chaos

We’re part way through having the bathroom fitted… Just at the stage of wondering why in the world did we start it! As usual with my luck with tradesmen, nothing is as straightforward as it seems it should be!

The first ‘oohs and ahhhs’ from the bathroom fitter were a result of discovering that the last set of tiles had been tiled over old tiles. So my walls had a layer of tiles, plasterboard and another layer of tiles on top. After removing both sets of tiles, the walls underneath were old wooden lats…. so new plaster board walls had to be put in.  All at my expense obviously; the joys of having an old house.

I’m having a high wall cistern on the loo but it’s going on a stud wall… so the wall gas had to be reinforced with wood to take the weight of the cistern.

The border tiles I’ve ordered have also taken longer than the rest of the tiles so, we’re at s big of a standstill until they arrive.

Currently the bathroom has no bath, no loo, no sink. I work full time so having no bathroom at all is no fun, luckily my parents live near by and I’ve had to spend a couple of nights with them!

I have my fingers crossed that the next few days are going to bring some improvements.

What I have found out in my bathroom debacle is that shopping about can save you a few quid. I picked a bathroom from the bath store- they had a 10% sale on and the guys in the store were very keen for me to buy the same day to make sure I didn’t miss out! I didn’t buy that day, missed the sale and got a price on a similar suite elsewhere- about £500 cheaper. The following weekend, the bath store had another sale on so I went in with my comparison quote and miraculously they could do the whole suite for about the same price as the competitor quote! So in the end I got the suite I wanted  for the price I wanted to pay.

I’ve also managed to get £100 refunded from my floor tiles, I ordered them from Toppstiles but found them cheaper somewhere else so they price matched- I hadn’t collected them from the store yet and I pretty much said I’d return them and buy them from the other shop before they offered to refund the difference.

Im just hoping that the rest of my tiles turn up!

 

Table tales…. The stinky one

I’ve bought a new table to upcycle and it’s exactly the table I wanted to find, there’s one little (huge) promblem… It stinks. It’s not just an old smell, it’s a greasy old, maybe, fishy smell and so far I’m struggling to get the smell out 😕. The table and legs not only smell but feel like there’s a whole layer of something sticky. I’m not sure if it’s  built up beeswax, linseed oil, polish or just plain old lard.

I hadn’t been planning on replacing my kitchen table but I also wasn’t very keen on the cheap one that came with my corner nook seat. I was just out for lunch in a local restaurant and a table caught my eye (see I can’t even eat out without a furniture intervention). The table had been restored with a lovely sanded top, was narrow so looked lovely and petite but with two sliding out ends at each side to extend the table. It had character and I could just picture it as my Christmas table. I asked the manager where the table had come from, she’d had it since the 90’s but said that she’d seen a few of them in charity shops.

I found a similar table with 4 chairs nearby on eBay and paid for it online. A friend of mine with a van collected it and the first thing she said was ‘it stinks’. She was right and now my kitchen stinks. Tonight is bonfire night and the table might end up in a fire!

I was planning on painting the legs and chairs with chalk paint and stripping the top down to a more natural finish… I don’t want to paint over the smelly parts because I’ll forever know that it stinks underneath! So far I have tried

  • washing up liquid and a dish brush- this got out some of the grease and muck but the table still smells
  • sugar soap and a cloth – this didn’t seem to do much, the table still smells
  • diluted bleach and a metal pan scrubber- I was getting impatient at this point… I wouldn’t usually have tried such a harsh cleaning method on old furniture but the table is still smelly and greasy!!

I have also also had my hand sander on the top but whatever is on the table just kept clogging up the sand paper so I didn’t even get very far with this. Today I’m going to try hand sanding… So far I’m not making progress and it’s a lot of work. Christmas dinner had better be worth it…

Decisions, decisions… should the loo be in the bathroom or should the loo just be the loo?

When a room is transformed into a nice, clean, cosy space that you can use and enjoy it’s very easy to forget the frustration of trying to decide what to do with the space in the first place, the how’s and where’s and which way round does every thing get done?! Some of the house decisions have been made by time or money limitations, and some have been made out of sheer frustration of living in a tip; the kitchen for example was all rush decisions after living without a kitchen with an oven in for several months whilst the rest of the house was re-wired, plastered and decorated…. it gets tiring living surrounded by muck and unease.

At the minute, the staircase has no carpet, it has no carpet because the bathroom needs to be renewed, which means making a mess on the landing and getting under floorboards for the plumbing….. The loo and bathroom are currently separate and I wanted to take the wall out between the loo and the bathroom but this might make it an awkward L-shape with a very narrow access to the loo area! The bathroom designer in the shop has suggested I should leave it as it is. I’ve never lived in a house with a separate toilet and bathroom but the small area at the top of the stairs might mean that I’m stuck with it; or I could get a small bathroom suite and try and fit everything into the existing bathroom and turn the existing loo into a cupboard. BUT I want a big cosy bath to relax in. Hmmmmm.

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Separate toilet and bathroom
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Bathroom (well shower room)
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WC

 

 

The easy (lazy) way to make bench cushion covers

So, I had to make some bench cushions for my part assembled DIY project corner bench. I quickly discovered that sitting on a bench without a cushion isn’t really comfy… and also had some comments from guests like ‘shall we go sit somewhere else’… erm no, that bench was put up with such skill and fits precisely so we will sit in the kitchen, thank you very much. So I decided that the seating needed some foam cushions.

I got some 2.5″ thick foam, I discovered that it was cheaper to buy a big piece and cut it myself using a Stanley knife than to buy a ‘cut to measure’ foam. If you’re going to try and cut foam up yourself find a large area to lay it flat (I didn’t do this, I tried cutting it half on the table, half floating in the air so ended up with wobbly cuts, but it’s in the cover so who knows?).

I then picked some fabric, I got quite a thick tapestry fabric with a lot of pattern to it, I kinda wish I had opted for a more floral pattern now, but too late (oops). The  fabric I got has lines of pattern, it was easy to cut in straight lines using the pattern as a guide. I decided to opt for an envelope style cushion, it has an opening the length of the cushion underneath and sewn up on each side. Pretty easy to make.

To measure the amount of fabric I needed I lay the foam on the fabric and simply wrapped it round the foam, to make sure there’s enough fabric to stay closed the fabric needs to overlap where the opening is going to be.

I hemmed each length of the fabric, I could probably have just used a zigzag stitch to stop the material from fraying. I folded the fabric over, overlapping the opening, with the right sides of the fabric on the inside. To make sure the cover was going to fit I lay the foam on top, double checking that there was room at each side for the width of the foam. When I was sure it would fit I stitched closed each side (on the wrong side of the fabric) so I ended up with an inside out cushion cover that just needed turning the right way out.

The foam was inserted through the opening and that’s it, a new foam cushion for my bench. Since it was so easy to make I might get shopping for a more floral pretty fabric and make another cover!

Corner nook cushion cover

 

Does Himalayan salt stop condensation?

Does anyone know if Himalayan salt can help reduce condensation on windows?! I think that the condensation in my shower room has improved since I put a salt candle holder and open jar of bath salts on the window. The bottom of the salt candle holder is often wet but the rest of the window seems fine. I’m assuming in my non scientific assumption that the salt is absorbing the condensation? Har?

I’m wondering if putting some pretty bottles full of salt on my bedroom window will stop the condensation on the windows as the weather starts to get colder. Obviously I realise that opening the windows is the best way to get air in and improve ventilation… But when it’s too cold for open windows will salt help? The candle holder is like the one below:

Built in window seat for the box bay window

Window seat in a square bay

Having a huge window is lovely for the light and airy feel it gives the living room, but using the space of a square box bay window is just awkward! Dressing a huge bay window has also proved to be awkward. The upvc windows go right up to the ceiling and the window sill is quite deep so curtains have to sit on the sill. I’m a big fan of floor length curtains but they wouldn’t hang right from a track on the bay. I did get a quote for shutters for my bay window but for £1500 I’m going to save myself a fortune and moan constantly about how I dislike the curtain arrangement.

I’ve lived in a couple of houses with bay windows and they both had a built in window seat, making extra seating in the room. I also have a fluffy white dog who’s fond of curling up on a cosy window seat ready to bark at any cat who dares to wander by so having a window seat built in seemed like a good idea in my living room.

After mooching on pinterest I decided that having wooden panels on the front of the window seat would be a good idea but when the plasterer was plastering the living room he suggested to have a plastered front with the existing skirting boards to make the window seat look like it had always been there……. genius.

Some pictures below of how the window seat was built in with storage. I bought a piece of upholstery foam (like this CLASSIC BLUE SOFT UPHOLSTERY CUSHION SEATING SOFA CRAFTS PANELS CARFOAM 6FT X 2FT ( 72″ X 24″ ) SHEET 3 INCH THICK) to make a cushion for the top with a straight forward cover. I found that I had to get some wadding (like this Fire Retardent Premium Polyester Wadding – Quilting & Upholstery Padding) to wrap around the foam to stop the cushion looking so square. The window seat has been a great hit with the dog and it’s a lovely spot to relax.

Window seat in a square bay
Window seat in a square bay