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Kintsugi: The Glam Rock of Ceramic Repairs

CraftsAmanda Russell
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With its lush floral bouquet and wreaths, when my large blue and white transferware platter broke it was too special to throw away. A while before I was given a Kintsugi repair kit as a gift and my broken platter was the ideal candidate for a trial run of this technique.

The ancient art of Kintsugi, is the glam rock of ceramic repairs. This elegant method of repair was developed by the Japanese who believe a ceramic piece, once repaired is more beautiful than the formerly undamaged piece.

After repair the china will stand up to gentle use, clean by wiping over with a damp cloth. The platter is perfect for a huddle of plants, or to hold a selection of metze dishes or fresh fruit.

While gluing the pieces together an extra pair of helping hands can be useful to maneuver the china into place, particularly if they are large pieces.

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To get hold of your own Kintsugi Kit visit - https://humade.nl

1. Wash the broken china in warm soapy water to remove dirt and grease from the broken edges of the china, rinse and dry.

1. Wash the broken china in warm soapy water to remove dirt and grease from the broken edges of the china, rinse and dry.

2. Using a lolly stick mix together equal parts of the two part quick dry epoxy adhesive.

2. Using a lolly stick mix together equal parts of the two part quick dry epoxy adhesive.

3. Stir a small amount of the gold dust into the adhesive to colour it.

3. Stir a small amount of the gold dust into the adhesive to colour it.

4. Use the lolly stick to spread an even layer of gold adhesive along both broken edges of the china.  5. Wait a minute for the adhesive to start going off before bringing both halves together and then holding together firmly until the adhesive has set. Before the adhesive completely hardens brush over with gold dust.

4. Use the lolly stick to spread an even layer of gold adhesive along both broken edges of the china.

5. Wait a minute for the adhesive to start going off before bringing both halves together and then holding together firmly until the adhesive has set. Before the adhesive completely hardens brush over with gold dust.

6. When the adhesive is completely dry, bring a warm glow the gold adhesive by burnishing gently with a soft cloth.

6. When the adhesive is completely dry, bring a warm glow the gold adhesive by burnishing gently with a soft cloth.

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If you like this post check out my post on Envelope Notebook

Peter Pan Collar Blouse

CraftsAmanda Russell
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With their crisp coolness I cant resist a mans poplin shirt. Here’s a beauty I transformed into a desirable Peter Pan collar blouse, perfect for long hot summer days. Using embroidery scissors and a stitch ripper I unpicked two shirts ready for remodeling, a striped one for the body and white for the collar. I traced the pattern for the shirt and collar from a favourite old blouse I’d had for several years.

You will need:

  • 2 old cotton shirts I for the body of the shirt another for collar

  • thread

  • pins

  • dress making and embroidery scissors

  • measuring tape

  • pencil

  • ruler

  • greaseproof paper for pattern making

  • stitch ripper

Steps:

1.         Cut three bias strips 3cm wide, 60cm long. Open out one of the sleeves, at the widest section make a 45 degree fold.

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2.         Use a pencil to mark 3cm intervals along the fold line, pencil to draw a straight line joining the marks. To make bias strips, cut along the fold line, then along the drawn lines.

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3.         To make long bias strips join strips together.

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4.         Right sides together place 2 strips at 90 degrees to each other, sew to join

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5.         Trim seam and press open.

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6.         The back of the blouse is made from the front button opening of the old shirt. Pin the paper blouse pattern in position with a button at the top of the opening and allow for seam allowances.

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7.         Cut the out front and back section, then sew together at the shoulder.

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8.         Cut four collar pieces from the second shirt and 2 from bondable fabric stiffener. Iron fabric stiffener on the reverse side of two collar pieces. Pin and sew two collar pieces together, repeat with the remaining pieces. Trim the seam and cut notches on the curved seems, turn right sides out and press.

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9.         Pin and tack the collar pieces in place on the neckline. Take a long strip of bias binding, pin and tack along the neck line over the collar edge, sew in place. Trim along sewing line, cutting notches along the curve.

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10.   Fold the bias binding to tuck in the raw edge, fold again and pin and tack, before sewing down.

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11.   Pin and sew bias binding around the armholes.

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12.   Sew the side seems together, neatening edges with zigzag stitch. Finish the arm holes by turning the bias binding to cover raw edge, pin, tack and sew in place. Hem the bottom edge of the shirt, folding up by 2cm and press, then to neaten fold raw edge in on itself. 

Here is another piece you might like, go take a look: Star Light Canvas

Book Review: WREATHS: Fresh, Foraged & Dried Florals Arrangements by Katie Smyth & Terri Chandler

Book ReviewsAmanda Russell

Foraging flowers and foliage, is now a thing, we all delight at coming home with a handful of hedgerow discoveries, but how to make the most of our collection?

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I was sent a review copy of the book WREATHS: Fresh, Foraged & Dried Florals Arrangements by Katie Smyth & Terri Chandler. It gives a glimpse into the world of flower arrangers, Worm, packed with insider knowledge into how they achieve their original and contemporary approach to wreaths and flower installations. Exuberant and full of life, the can do flower company aims to bring the delight of natural foraged flowers to your home or venue.

With their characteristic enthusiasm they set out to demystify the art with a wealth of fresh new tips for constructing and building up original floral installations so they look their very best. Even if you are not into creating with flowers the book is a must for the beautiful images alone. Photographer Kristin Perers, creates serene moments of floral calm leaving us all wishing they were part of our lives.

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Liberated from more formal arrangements this book reflects the recent move away from monoculture flower arrangements towards a more seasonal approach, as often as possible, using foraged and farmed British flowers and foliage. People who know me will be aware I am always looking for new ways to bring the outside in and I love the crazy, mad, romantic almost Midsummers Night Dream vibe of Worm designs.

The detailed recipe for Meadow Ball, makes the concept approachable, I’m itching to sling a hook in the ceiling and get on with it. Another design I am keen to try is the Late Summer Chandelier, which uses a gnarled, ropey clematis vine as a base. The smell from the Giant Pine Wreath promises to deliver an intoxicating perfume, so that’s a must when the time comes round. And for sheer vibrancy the Autumnal Wreath would be the star at a Harvest or Thanksgiving celebration.

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Dip into the pages of this beautiful book, Wreaths, with its glorious images and all the tools and know how to develop your own instinctive floral style,  you will be ready to create a wreath to celebrate each seasonal event when it comes along. 

WREATHS: Fresh, Foraged & Dried Florals Arrangements by Katie Smyth & Terri Chandler (Quadrille, £14.99)

Photography: Kristin Perers

Worm London http://www.wormlondon.com

Kristin Perers http://kristinperers.com

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If you liked this book review then why not read my book review of Modern Lettering: A Guide to Modern Calligraphy and Hand Lettering by Rebecca Cahill Roots

Easy, DIY Roman Blind

CraftsAmanda Russell

I couldn’t resist this print fabric and a roman blind is the perfect canvas for showing off the mid century design. Below I show you how to design and make your own really simple roman blind, lets do it right now!

You will need:

  • Pre-corded Roman Blind kit, I used one from John Lewis

  • Pins, needles, thread

  • Dressmaking scissors

  • Fabric, I used Villa Nova fabric

Measure the width and drop of your window for finished blind size. Add 1.5cm to the both sides and 6cm to the length, then cut out the fabric.

Wrong side up turn in the sides, fold the fabric over by 0.5cm and then a further 1cm, pin in place and sew down.

Take the loop tape off the head rail, turn the top of the blind over by 1cm, then pin the loop tape in place 0.5cm below the turn. Sew the loop tape in place along both edges.

To make the pocket for the bar on the lower edge fold the fabric up by 0.5cm then again by 4cm, sew in place.

To find the positions for the rod channels measure the length of the blind then divide into 6. Mark positions for the rod tape on the reverse of the blind, draw a light line from one side to the other.

To calculate the length of the channel tapes add 2cm to the width of the blind measurement then cut the channel tapes. Turn the side of the channel tape in by 1cm then using the lines you drew on the blind sew in position leaving one end of the channel open.

Cut the rods 2cm shorter than the width of the blind, insert into the channel through the opening. Turn in the tape by 1cm then close the opening by sewing onto the side of the blind, repeat for each rod.

Once you’ve made your Roman blind install it following your kit instructions, I used a pre-corded kit from John Lewis.

If you like this post check out my post on Quick Revamp for Drop-in Seat Chair

Star Light Canvas

CraftsAmanda Russell

As if you need to be reminded of the star you are, who could resist making a bright starry statement like this? A really simple project, with just a couple of halogen lighting chains, a canvas and emulsion paint my glittery star project will brighten up any room.

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You will need-

Emulsion paint

2x Halogen Lighting chain

Paint brush

Paper

Masking tape

Electrical screw driver

Bradawl

1.Paint the canvas with pink matt emulsion paint

2. Draw a large star on a piece of paper then cut out, stick to the reverse of the canvas with a line of masking tape along each straight edge.

3. Work out where you want to have the lights, I had about three along each straight edge and one on each point end.

4. Start making the holes to push the lights through. With one hand supporting the front of the canvas press the bradawl through the masking tape on the reverse and make a pilot hole, next enlarge the hole with the screwdriver, don’t make it too large the light is held in by it. Press the light from the back through the hole to lodge just around the collar of the fitting. Continue round the star with the lights.

5. Hang the canvas up using Command hooks. Do not leave lights on when unattended.

Tip

Before putting the lights into the canvas decide where you want the cables to come out, mine was at the lower edge. I worked out the middle of the total number of light positions on the canvas, this was where I inserted the light at the end of the light chain.

If you like this post check out my post on making your own Christmas decorations 

Turn an old ladder into a contemporary Christmas tree

CraftsAmanda Russell
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I made this picture perfect tree out of an old ladder with near-on zero prep, using a coat of chalk paint to cover ancient paint drips and to create a matte finish.

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You will need-

  • Planed timber
  • Saw
  • Spirit level
  • Pencil
  • Drill
  • Screws
  • Crown Cloudburst matt emulsion paint, £11.99 for 2.5l, Maxwells DIY
  • Polyvine Chalk Paint Maker,  £11.36, Amazon
  • Paintbrush
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1. Put up the ladder and decide how steep you want the sides of the tree to be; you might have to remove the retaining cord. Mine was quite broad as I wanted to max out on the display area.

2. To make the back leg shelf supports, cut batten from 2.5cm x 5cm planed timber. With the spirit level balanced on the front step, extend the level line and mark where to locate the support batten on the back legs with pencil. Screw the battens in place.

3. These shelves projected 25cm beyond the edge of the step to give extra display space, but you could make yours shorter if you’d like. Decide on the length, then cut each shelf from planed wood. Screw in place on the front steps and back batten.


4. To make the chalk paint, mix 400ml Crown Cloudburst Matt Emulsion with 200ml Polyvine Chalk Paint Maker. Then, with a crosshatch strokes, paint the ladder Christmas tree and let dry before decorating.

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If you like this post check out my funky feather wreath post

Create your own handmade Christmas decorations

CraftsAmanda Russell

This nifty little project making Christmas decorations, is one for people who have pets using old pet food containers. We are talking about those lightweight aluminium ones with a lip round them.

You will need:  Clean pet food containers  Patterned paper  Ribbon  Wooden picnic spoons  PVA glue  Paintbrush  Acrylic paint  Thin card  Clear sticky tape  Double sided tape  Acrylic paint  Felt tip pens pencil  Scissors   

You will need:

Clean pet food containers

Patterned paper

Ribbon

Wooden picnic spoons

PVA glue

Paintbrush

Acrylic paint

Thin card

Clear sticky tape

Double sided tape

Acrylic paint

Felt tip pens pencil

Scissors

 

Instructions:  First cover the inside of the container with the paper face down. Draw around the edge with a pencil. Take a pencil and extend the sideline of the square.  2. Cut out the paper cross shape. Fold the side arms in to crease the paper. Paint the reverse of the paper with a layer of PVA glue, put the paper into the tray, press the two shorter sides onto the tray, then press out the long sides onto the sides. Along the top edge of the tray cut deep nicks in the paper and wrap the paper over the edge to stick in place.  3. To cover the outside of the tray, take a contrast printed paper. Paper face down draw around the base of the tray, cut out square shape. Measure around the outside of the tray, add 1cm for overlap. Cut a strip of paper the measured length and 3cm wide. Paint with PVA glue then wrap around the tray cutting long nicks in the paper to ease around the curved corners, press the loose strips into place on the base, then glue the square of paper over to cover. Poor glitter onto a plate, paint the front edge of the tray with PVA and dip in glitter.  4. To make the portraits, if you like use scissors to trim the top of the spoon into a hairstyle, then paint the spoons with a base coat of white acrylic paint. While they are drying make the shoulders for the portraits. Cut a strip of thin card slightly narrower than the opening of the tray and about 2cm high, fold in half along the length then glue on printed paper.  5. Use acrylic paint to mix a variety of skin tone colours, paint the spoons. Leave to dry then use felt pens to draw on details. Use sticky tape to attach the portrait onto the shoulders. To keep the portrait in position cut a narrow support strut from thin card about 4cm long, fold in both ends by 1cm, then tape one to the reverse of a portrait. Stick the shoulders to the bottom edge of the tray with double sided tape and tape the end of the support strut to the back of the tray. With the point of the scissors make a hole through the top edge of the tray. Cut a length of ribbon and pass one end through the hole and tape in place.  If you like this check out my post on  making a star light canvas

Instructions:

First cover the inside of the container with the paper face down. Draw around the edge with a pencil. Take a pencil and extend the sideline of the square.

2. Cut out the paper cross shape. Fold the side arms in to crease the paper. Paint the reverse of the paper with a layer of PVA glue, put the paper into the tray, press the two shorter sides onto the tray, then press out the long sides onto the sides. Along the top edge of the tray cut deep nicks in the paper and wrap the paper over the edge to stick in place.

3. To cover the outside of the tray, take a contrast printed paper. Paper face down draw around the base of the tray, cut out square shape. Measure around the outside of the tray, add 1cm for overlap. Cut a strip of paper the measured length and 3cm wide. Paint with PVA glue then wrap around the tray cutting long nicks in the paper to ease around the curved corners, press the loose strips into place on the base, then glue the square of paper over to cover. Poor glitter onto a plate, paint the front edge of the tray with PVA and dip in glitter.

4. To make the portraits, if you like use scissors to trim the top of the spoon into a hairstyle, then paint the spoons with a base coat of white acrylic paint. While they are drying make the shoulders for the portraits. Cut a strip of thin card slightly narrower than the opening of the tray and about 2cm high, fold in half along the length then glue on printed paper.

5. Use acrylic paint to mix a variety of skin tone colours, paint the spoons. Leave to dry then use felt pens to draw on details. Use sticky tape to attach the portrait onto the shoulders. To keep the portrait in position cut a narrow support strut from thin card about 4cm long, fold in both ends by 1cm, then tape one to the reverse of a portrait. Stick the shoulders to the bottom edge of the tray with double sided tape and tape the end of the support strut to the back of the tray. With the point of the scissors make a hole through the top edge of the tray. Cut a length of ribbon and pass one end through the hole and tape in place.

If you like this check out my post on making a star light canvas

How to make Mattisse inspired wall art

CraftsAmanda Russell

Create a bold Matisse inspired fabric wall art. Use simple motifs to make an impactful piece of wall art.

You Will Need

  • Canvas, £8, Hobbycraft
  • Tracing paper
  • Bondaweb £3.90 Akaban
  • Fabric scraps
  • Stapler
  • Pencil, paper and tracing paper
  • Command Strips from £2.70 B&Q

Step-by-step

  1. Place the canvas on a large piece of paper and draw around the edge of the canvas, add 10cm to each side.
  2. Draw your design on the paper and mark each colour. Using the tracing paper trace the shape for each colour.
  3. Iron paper backed Bondaweb to the reverse of fabric scraps. Cut out the shapes, then remove backing paper and iron to bond in position. Use a sewing machine to sew around the edge of the fabric shapes.
  4. Place the fabric image on the canvas and stretch the fabric over the edge, use the stapler to secure the fabric at the back.
  5. Hang on the wall using Command Strips

Tips

  • When stapling the fabric on start from the middle and work towards the outer edge so there are no creases in the fabric
If you liked this post why not read my post on making your own   Bang on Trend Super Easy Picture Shelf

If you liked this post why not read my post on making your own  Bang on Trend Super Easy Picture Shelf

Get Yourself an Asymetric Coffee Table

CraftsAmanda Russell

Have yourself an enviable conversation piece coffee table by transforming a very ordinary coffee table with a new asymmetrical top and a lick of paint.

You Will Need

  • Lisabo Tabe Ikea
  • 20mm MDF 
  • Black and Decker electric jig saw and drill
  • Paint 
  • Varnish
  • Wood filler 
  • Screws
  1. Using the jig saw cut the table top over hang off the table. Draw the shape of the new table top on the MDF. Cut out with the jigsaw. Sand the edges of the table and MDF.
  2. Paint the MDF table top blush and the legs graphite.
  3. Place the MDF table top on the table, drill through the new top into the old top then screw down.
  4. Fill screw holes with two part filler when dry sand and retouch paint.
  5. When dry paint the whole table with quick dry

Tip

  • This table gives lots of space for styling a table scape, I love the zingy saffron I chose. For a new look, change your styling accessories with the season.

If you like this post why not check out my post on Stamping your own Floral Lampshade

Stamp your own floral lampshade

CraftsAmanda Russell

I love simple bold classic 60s florals and designed a print in a bright vibrant green for a large lampshade. This is a very simple way to create your own bespoke piece of designer homeware.

You will already have many of the things you need for this low-tech hand printing project and there are only a couple of specialize products you will need.

You will need:

  • Plain drum lampshade 
  • Dylon fabric paints in Green and Yellow from
  • Acrylic block
  • Tracing paper
  • Pencil
  • Rubber
  • Masking tape
  • Glue stick
  • Hobby foam sheet
  • Car wash sponge
  • Scissors
  • OHP pen (overhead projector pen)
  • Masking tape

Step by Step

  1. Measure the lampshade and draw a design to fit, then trace onto tracing paper. Use a permanent OHP pen to mark the center back of the acrylic block. Place the design under the acrylic block and trace onto the reverse side of the block with the OHP pen.
  2. To transfer the image onto the foam sheet, place the tracing paper design face down on foam, and then scribble over the back with a soft pencil.
  3. Cut out your design from the foam sheet using scissors and a craft knife. Stick the cut out pieces in position on the acrylic block using a glue stick.
  4. Place a line of masking tape around the top and bottom edges of the lampshade.
  5. Mix up your fabric-printing colour, I made a lime green by mixing the yellow with the green about half a pot for this design. For the fabric paint applicator cut a piece 3cm cubed from the car wash sponge. Dab one side of the foam in the fabric paint until it is evenly coated. Then dab the fabric paint onto the design block and print on paper to check colour.
  6. Start printing onto the lampshade, beginning at the seam, reloading the block with paint after each impression.

Tip

  • Transparent acrylic blocks take the headache out of positioning the block especially when printing repeat designs.

If you like this blog post why not read my post on Creating a Retro Tiled Coffee Table

Bang on Trend Super Easy Picture Shelf

CraftsAmanda Russell

Have you ever marvelled at curated collections of pictures and wondered how you can move them about without damaging your walls? This great little picture shelf is the answer, use it to display your own curated collection of pictures, it’s easy to move them around again and again whenever you want to change the look.

You Will Need

  • Wood strip and beading
  • Brass picture hooks
  • White matt emulsion paint
  • Electric Drill Black and Decker
  • Rawl plugless screws
  • Panel pins
  1. Measure the wood strip and beading and use a saw to cut both pieces of wood to the same length.
  2. Place the beading strip in the centre of the wood strip.
  3. Hammer in position using panel pins.
  4. Paint with white emulsion.
  5. Screw the brass picture hooks on the back edge.
  6. Mark and drill holes for screws on the wall, then screw the shelf in place.

Tip

  • Paint the shelf with the same colour as the walls so it blends into the room

If you like this post why not take a look at How to create your own vintage letter

Turn a wine box into a great shelf

CraftsAmanda Russell

Turn an old wooden wine box into a shelf by painting, wallpapering and adding screw holders at the side to attach it to the wall. I chose a lovely blue paint and wallpaper from Mini moderns, one roll will go along way and that means that you can cover files, books and other shelves too.

You will need –

  • Wooden Wine box
  • Minimoderns Emulsion paint lido £5.00
  • Paint brush
  • Minimoderns wallpaper Darjeeling £50
  • PVA glue
  • Scissors
  • Picture frame brackets Homebase
  • Screw Driver
  • Electric drill black and decker
  • Masonary screws
  1. Paint the exterior of the box with emulsion paint.
  2. Mix pva with a little water to the consistency of double cream and paint the inside of the box to seal.
  3. When dry measure and cut wall paper to size. Paint the reverse of the paper pieces and insides of the box with let down pva.
  4. Press the paper in place rubbing down any stubborn bubbles.
  5. When dry screw picture frame brackets to the side, then screw to the wall.

Tip

  • Wood can be very absorbent and suck up paint, to get an even coat first paint the box with emulsion which has been let down with a little water.

If you like this blog post make sure you read my list on creating your own Designer Work Station 

Upcycled Pallet Coffee Table

CraftsAmanda Russell

I'm in love with this pallet coffee table. Not the the best at being tidy and I do like space to style up, this helps with both! Loads of storage space under the top to slide in shallow boxes and lots more on top for books and plants. 

You will need:

  • -Two wood pallets
  • Surform
  • Emulsion paint
  • Scumble glaze
  • Bucket
  • Screws
  • Drill
  • Four castor wheels
  • Basket trays
  1. Carefully remove the long slats from one of your pallets, then screw them onto the base of the other to make support for the drawers to sit on..
  2. Using a surform (a tool similar to a cheese grater) remove any loose bits of wood from the pallet surface, edges and underside.
  3. In a bucket, mix 100ml of scumble glaze with 400ml of emulsion paint, add a little water to thin the glaze. Brush onto the wood. I chose white to give a white-washed look.
  4. Turn your coffee table upside-down and screw a wheel to each corner. Finally slide storage boxes into the gaps under the top.

If you like this post make sure you check out my post on Printing your own Labels

Create Your Own Gorgeous Vintage Letter

CraftsAmanda Russell

How often have you longed for a trendy battered statement vintage letter? I show you how to create your own for a fraction of the cost.

You will need:

  • White foam board
  • Pencil
  • Steel ruler
  • Glue gun
  • Paintbrush
  • Metallic emulsion
  • Cellulose sponge
  • Dulux Matt Emulsion Caribbean Coral
  • Craft knife
  1. This letter is 30cm high and 7cm deep, for an easy job be sure to choose a letter without curves! Draw up the letter on white foam board then cut out using the steel ruler and craft knife.
  2. To make the walls of the letter cut strips to the length of each side and 7 cm high. Glue in place with the glue gun.
  3. Paint all surfaces with emulsion, then leave to dry. Pour a couple of tablespoons of the metallic emulsion paint into a shallow dish. Stir in a few drops of water to thin paint to the thickness of pouring cream.
  4. Tear off a section of sponge, 8cm square and immerse in the paint, remove and wring out excess paint. Dab the sponge on all the surfaces of the letter, making sure you get into the corners. Leave it to dry, then even up the finish by going over with a second coat of paint.

Tip

  • Make this a really thrifty project and use paint left over from another project or buy a match pot of your chosen colour.

If you like this post make sure you check out my post on how to make your own cushion cove

Unique Space Saving Ladder Plant Stand

CraftsAmanda Russell

Have you noticed the great plant invasion in every interior recently? They can take over all your surfaces so here's a project for a handy ladder plant stand that makes a gorgeous tired indoor garden. Use it to grow plants on as well as herbs for the kitchen. With bags of handy storage you can't help but make space for it in your life.

You will need:

  • Saw
  • Screws
  • Black and Decker drill and jig saw
  • Paintbrush
  • Dulux Matt Emulsion paint
  • Spirit level
  • Scrap wood selection for shelves and battens
  1. I used all my scrap wood for this project, a couple of old boards for the shelves and stripwood in a variety of dimensions for the supports. It was a very mixed bag of scraps so to start with I painted the ladder and all the wood with emulsion for a uniform colour.
  2. To make the ladder lean against the wall you need to adjust the back legs. Put up the ladder, then lean the back legs against a wall so they are perpendicular to the floor. Hold in position, this will raise the front legs off the floor. Measure the distance between the floor and the front legs. Measure and cut this amount off the back legs, now the ladder will hold its position against the wall.
  3. Next add battens on the back legs for shelf supports. Place the spirit level on the bottom step, then use a pencil to mark the position on the back legs. Measure the distance between the back legs, cut a batten from strip wood and screw in place. Repeat for the remaining steps.
  4. Measure for shelves then cut  wood to length. Screw each shelf in place on the step and batten. Touch up the ladder shelves with emulsion.

Cheats:

Emulsion paint is quick and easy to use, surfaces need minimal preparation, it gives great cover and the brushes are easy to wash clean.

If you liked this post check out my blog post on how to make a retro tiled coffee table 

Must Have Retro Tiled Coffee Table

CraftsAmanda Russell

Customise your own retro tiled coffee table, take a cheap as chips high street coffee table and give it enviable style and originality with this easy project. I used ceramic pens to add designs to budget white glazed tiles, easily sourced from any of the diy sheds.

You will need:

  • Coffee table
  • Tiles
  • Ceramic pen
  • Tile adhesive
  • Grout
  • Edging strip
  • Black paint
  • Paint brush
  • Beading for edging strip
  • Panel pins
  • Hammer
  • Saw
  1. Choose two designs for the pattern on the tiles and then draw on with the ceramic pen. Leave tiles to dry.
  2. Paint the table with black paint.
  3. Arrange the tiles on the tabletop, keeping the design random, combine patterned and plain tiles. When you’re happy with the design take a photo to use as your guide as you stick the tiles in place with tile adhesive. I stuck these tiles snuggly against each other. Leave to dry.
  4. To neaten the table edge cut a retaining strip from beading then secure in place with panel pins.
  5. Grout the table, leave to dry. Paint the retaining strip to match the table.

If you like this make check out my Upholstered Footstool post

Designer Work Station

CraftsAmanda Russell

I'm always designing and making at Soulfood Studio and I wanted a worktable I could stand at for designing and cutting out projects. I love this faux bois budget station, it gives me everything I wanted, loads of style, a big worktable packed with extra storage. It was super easy to make combining readily accessible Billy bookcases and a flush door, the project is pulled together using an easy bang on trend faux bois paint finish.

You will need:

  • 4x Billy bookcase
  • Flush door
  • Emulsion paint
  • Varnish
  • Universal primer
  • Roller and tray
  • Masking tape
  • Kitchen roll
  • Paint brush
  • Paint kettle
  • Bucket
  • Measuring jug
  • Spoon for mixing
  • Graining Rocker and Combination comb available online
  1. Follow the instructions that come with the Billy bookcases to assemble the four worktable supports. To make the bookcases boxier, we cut the lower skirting section off at the base with a saw, making the bottom shelf flush with the floor.
  2. Paint the bookcases, shelves and door with primer suitable for melamine, and then use a roller to apply two coats of the white emulsion.
  3. Paint lining paper with white emulsion so you can practice the faux bois graining technique. For the graining glaze mix together 1lt orange emulsion with 1lt acrylic scumble glaze. Paint a generous coat of glaze onto the lining paper. Take the graining rocker and pull through the glaze using a rocking motion to create the wood grain design. When you are happy with your paper practices start graining the furniture surfaces.
  4. To get varied woody effects, try using different rocking speeds and for simple graining use the combination comb dragged through the glaze. For best results be generous when applying the glaze and work quickly. To work the glaze while it stays open paint and grain in small sections, brush the glaze on in stripes the width of the graining rocker. After each pass clean off graining tools with kitchen roll. Don’t forget to paint the edges of the shelves and table top, glaze and run the comb over it.
  5. When all the furniture surfaces are faux bois grained, leave to dry thoroughly for a couple of days, to protect the surfaces apply varnish before assembling the furniture. To make the structure more secure use a very strong wood adhesive product, cutting out the need for nails and screws,

If you like this post check out my post on Styling with plants

The Flower Farmers Year : How to Grow and cut flowers for pleasure and profit by Georgie Newbery

Book ReviewsAmanda Russell

Everyone loves to give and be given flowers, and if they are British grown even better. Georgie Newbery runs Common Farm Flowers and she’s used her flower farming knowledge to create the beautiful book The Flower Farmer’s Year, jam packed with sumptuous photos of British home grown flowers. It’s certainly not just a coffee table book, it’s an extensive how to guide, giving the secrets from start to finish to help you successfully grow your own cut flowers. And if you get bitten by the bug  the know how to create a thriving artisanal floristry business.

Over the past 30 years British flower growing has all but evaporated, to be replaced by supermarket flowers flown in from all over the world, arriving with their huge environmental impact. Flower farmer, Georgie asks the question why import flowers when we are perfectly capable of growing our own British flowers without damage to the environment? Georgie is generous with her knowledge and with step-by-step instructions she shows us how we can have a year round cut flower patch outside the back door. Georgie makes cut flower growing doable for both amateurs and professionals while still paying their tithe to nature .

A visual treat the pictures are of generous and exuberant confections of British seasonal flowers and foliage, rare as hens’ teeth in the high street florist. The variety of British flowers is stunning, there are fragrant sweet peas and romantic Love in the Mist, delicate roses mixed with feverfew, grasses marigolds and cow parsley.

Readable and inspirational, the book’s packed with information including tips from top gardeners and specialist growers. The chapters are handily divided to cover different kinds of plants and unusually there’s even one on shrubs for cutting. To help make the dream a reality there’s a useful resources section with advice on where to get seeds and plants. But don’t think growing all these flowers will turn you into a basket toting Marie Antoinette. The chapter on cutting and conditioning flowers finds Georgie advising, to keep flowers at their very best, cut them straight into a deep bucket of water. 

This book would make wonderful gift for any gardener or flower lover. Whether you’re an amateur gardener or aspiring artisanal florist the book wont be read just once, with it’s wealth of invaluable information and beautiful pictures you’ll find yourself returning to Georgies blooming corner of Somerset again and again.

The Flower Farmer’s Year: How to grow cut flowers for pleasure and profit

By Georgie Newbery

Published by

If you like this book review check out my review of 'My Tiny Indoor Garden' 

Quinntessential Baking by Francis Quinn

Book ReviewsAmanda Russell

You might find it strange, a designer writing a review about a baking book, but with her serious design credentials, Frances Quinn the winner of the Great British Bake Off in 2013 has shown she’s one to watch. Since she wowed the nation with her amazing baking skills and fabulous creations the designer baker has been writing her unique baking book Quintessential Baking, while creating commissions for huge brands like Nike and Cadburys as well as celebrities and tastemakers Jo Whiley, Paul Smith and Jo Munroe.

This is a book for everyone, novice or experienced baker. With her unique imagination, designer Quinn conjures up witty bakes that could sit happily on the pages of the books of writer Roald Dahl and illustrator Quentin Blake. The book is divided into sections, a different one for each different cake type. Proportions for these ‘master bakes’ are shown in easily readable pie charts of ingredients, giving the essential know how, leaving you to concentrate on creating your own imaginative bakes.

 

Packed with puns her gentle humour shines through in her playful bakes. We love her witty Sandwich Toast Cakes, look again to see it’s not beans on toast but peanuts in caramel on cake. In her Cheese Biscuits she cleverly manipulates your response with her attention to detail with holey ‘cheese biscuits’ and an entire paper wrapped Brie made from white chocolate.

The images play with scale, we are spell bound by a Lilliputian vintage ice cream van, monster cornetto strapped to the roof, driving across a beech of crushed biscuit sand. The creations look doable though many will take a large investment of time, one of the simplest was a very beautiful cup cake, decorated with flower confetti scattered over the buttercream topping and when you bite into it there’s a lovely surprise.

 

Extracts taken from Quinntessential Baking by Frances Quinn (Bloomsbury £25.00)

Photography © Georgia Glynn Smith

If you like this post check out my post on Millinery, the Art of Hat Making