2014-10-06 16.28.33

Revamped TV unit

20141006_163215How on earth can a TV unit look anything other than functional? The reality is that whatever you do a TV has to sit on top of it. Short of constructing another box on top to hide the TV this will have to do. I got the unit from the charity shop for £45. It is very solid pine. I liked it because it has a swivel top which can be pulled out or swiveled to put the TV at the right angle. Then there is always the fact that I like SOLID wood, anything which comes in a flat pack is always temporary if I try to put it together.

I changed the bun feet for Queen Anne legs ( I assume they are called that because of the fashion of the furniture at that time, rather than the actual shape of Queen Anne’s legs, 2014-10-06 16.28.33poor woman ( I must look that up)! The body of the unit was painted in ASCP in Old White and Old Linen. I transferred the rabbits using Modge Podge. I have never done that before and it took me several attempts to get it right, although I should find it easier in future.

The rabbits came from The Graphics Fairy http://thegraphicsfairy.com/vintage-stock-image-amazing-brown-rabbit/

This is an amazing site, in my opinion the best on the Net. although the poor woman has to put up with regular emails from me correcting any inaccuracies. I am afraid I am a stickler for accuracy…today it was the fact that a bird she described as a Blackbird is actually a Magpie. Do they get Magpies in America? I suppose their birds are different, I don’t know. Incidentally the Collective Noun for Magpies is a Parliament, because when they are lined up they look like Puritans from the time of the Commonwealth…I found a site which said something else but they are wrong..probably because they were foreigners so thought they would invent something new as they didn’t understand the Parliament connection….however the Smithsonian Institute agrees it is a Parliament and we have been calling them that before any Anglo Saxon settlements in other countries – so there!   You can also call them a Tidings, God knows where that came from.. (Fortunately Karen at The  Graphics Fairy is not the only person subject to my imperious corrections, Fave quilts were emailed the other day to point out the their header ‘Downton Abbey Decor-18 Victorian Quilts’ was wrong. Downton Abbey was mainly set in the Edwardian era onwards…could they please get the correct reign as it is most irritating!)

Rant over and back to the TV  unit- I waxed it with AS clear wax, and the handles came from Silvermoon on Ebay, who have a great range of cupboard handles. The total cost came to about £80. It weighed a ton when I transported into the lounge from the anti room I had been painting it in. It took two of us about half an hour with rests in the middle!

2014-09-11 09.02.38

Thrifty Froufrou table lamp revamp ( I am not made of money you know!)

I dont know whether its me getting meaner or prices going up but my latest moan is about the cost of lamps. I did manage to find some in Homebase for £8 which is pretty reasonable but some of them seem very expensive. ( I suspect I am getting meaner)..It could just be that I have got into the habit of thinking carefully about value for money.

Anyway, I mainly live on my pension. If I can save money in one area it gives me more to spend on things like travel

Here’s a lamp I picked up for £1 50 at a car boot. I was mildly surprised to find that it worked just fine.2014-08-19 15.58.06 As you can see the shade was broken, and the base was a bit boring. I just don’t like bog standard things that have no individuality. Here’s is the same lamp after I had set my hands on it. Again, its quite difficult to pick up detail when the light is on, but it projects patterns onto the walls. Now some people may prefer the original but if I had to stare at that regularly I would die of boredom. Now I am starting to think of it, I have very few things in my home which are off the peg. I just don’t like the fact that there are thousands of the same item in homes up and down the country, and I hate the way we just throw things away. I must be because I grew up during post War rationing.2014-09-11 09.02.38 I painted the base in Annie Sloane’s Chalk paint, Old White, and crackled it with a hair dryer. The lamp shade base was cannibalised and covered in strips of sequined voile left over when I had to cut my curtains down, and I added some remnants of ribbon to give it a bit more colour.  20140911_090617Everything was left over from previous projects. The total cost less than £2 50.


2014-09-06 17.05.14

Revamped mosaiced side table….( Ugh, this was hard work!)

You may have seen a post I put up earlier where I did up an old needlework box. I think I mentioned that it was covered in the ubiquitous 1940s varnish and that it was a nightmare to prepare. Here’s my second attempt at doing up an old piece of furniture which was covered in the ‘ubiquitous 1940s varnish’ and I have to say it was only slightly easier. However I have learned a lot doing it so will share the trauma with you.

I decided to cover this with Annie Sloane’s Chalk Paint, choosing Old White and Louis Blue. The choice of blue was forced on me when I realised that I couldn’t fit the tesserae  on the side without cutting them. By the time I reached that stage I had already lost the will to live, so painted it instead.

I will summarise. ….

1. I washed it down and didn’t sand it this time. Instead contacted Annie Sloane’s shop and asked about bleed through. They recommended I used a knotting solution.  I went out and got it to find this……just take a look at the size of the brush! Undeterred  I plodded on putting it over the surface.    20140727_173522 2. I decided to start painting. It was very hot and the paint was very thick and hard to paint. This was mistake Number 1. I hadn’t used Chalk Paint before so it took me a while to twig that I should water it down. Up until that point is was FAR to thick – causing me difficulty getting a flat surface. I had to sand down and even then it wasn’t really as flat as it should be.  3. I decided to use up some mosaics I had upstairs and of course chose to line them up by eye, as I didn’t want it too mechanical looking and I needed to adjust the tesserae to the size of the top.  This was mistake Number 2. This took AGES. The problem was getting the spaces even, if I adjusted one spot then another would look wrongly placed. I can’t tell you how many times I had to keep redoing it. Even when I thought I had finished and started to grout I realised that it was not sufficiently balanced and had to remove some tiles and move them slightly. While I was doing this I consoled myself that Roman mosaics often seem quite irregular when you look at them, and anyone looking at the Colosseum will tell you that their brickwork often left a lot to be desired. ( We are not talking Egypt here in terms of precision. Of course they covered it in concrete I suppose)

Just look at how wobbly the lines were! Shocking!

Just look at how wobbly the lines are! Shocking!

Anyway, eventually it was done, which was when I realised I couldn’t do the side panels without cutting the tiles………………2014-09-06 17.05.14

What I have learnt ( the hard way)…………….

NEVER use Chalk Paint outside on a boiling hot day without watering it down.

In future use a ruler when doing the mosaics! I usually do things freeform, the discipline of regularity is much harder than I thought! In the end I gave up!

Now, I have since spoken to a woman who runs a shop selling Annie Sloane’s paint. Her secret, when facing the ‘ubiquitous brown varnish’ is to prepare the surface with car paint primer! Bearing in mind it could be sprayed on I am going to give it a try! At the moment I never want to see another piece of brown varnished furniture ever again! However I have got several large pieces I really need to do! I console myself that old furniture is almost always very well built…………….

Yes, I KNOW they are not very regular!

Yes, I KNOW they are not very regular!


Napkin Decoupaged IKEA Autumn lamp

After the success of my last old Ikea lamp I thought I would try another. I chose this Autumn themed one because I liked the colours. The strange strobbing effect is caused by the lightbulb and doesn’t show up in real life. In real life fewer imperfections show, thankfully. I still need to tidy up the edges.  Now you realise what this means don’t you? As I have a winter scene and now an Autumn one, I need a Spring and Summer to make a set! But I 2014-08-29 23.40.4820140829_234451don’t have any more lamps, and find the price of them shocking. (Rather like pots!) So, the hunt is on to find another lamp at a car boot or Jumble sale. My experience is when you are looking for something you never find it………….

The ridiculous price of pots!

As I have some leftover paint in Annie Sloanes tester pots I thought I would have a bash at painting some outdoor pots. I also thought it would be a good chance to try making my own chalk paint as well for comparison, to see how it stands up. I went to B and Q and they wanted ridiculous amounts for the most basic pots, including over £20 for a larger plastic one! Ceramic ones were often £30 or £40 each, or even more! Can you imagine, if you have a reasonable sized garden you could end up with several hundred pounds worth of pots sitting outside!  It wasnt even a fancy plastic one either! I am not paying that!  I stomped off to the recycling dump to drop off some stuff and bought this lot of old pots for £3. Now thats a little more like it! I phoned up the shop I get Annie Sloanes paint from to cross check that it was true you didn’t have to seal them for outside. This goes totally against the grain bearing in mind our climate. I have got to know the woman who owns the shop and she told me that she had cross checked this with Annie herself, because it does seem unbelievable. Apparently you shoul2014-08-21 13.36.18d NOT seal it after painting but buff it up and it should be fine against the elements. I thought about this afterwards. If the basic ingredient is Plaster of Paris that does seem correct, after all, they dont varnish your arm after putting a plaster cast on do they! I need to get my skates on planting these pots with Spring bulbs and will give you an update  on how they come out.