Soul Food Studio

Must Have Boho Bench

CraftsAmanda Russell

Transform a softwood bench into an on trend luxe padded seat by painting, dying, and a bit of sustainable up-cycling. Currently there are lots of tribal inspired fabrics out there so grab a bit of the action with this gorgeous upholstered bench.

boho-bench.jpg

You will need:

  • Nornas Ikea Bench

  • 2 meters thick wadding

  • Black paint

  • Paint brush

  • Dylon Goldfish Orange machine dye

  • Old velvet curtain

  • Old rug

  • Staple gun

  • Old duvet

  • Sewing machine and thread

  • Scissors

  • Saw

  • Iron and ironing board

  • Invisible marker pen Korbond

Step-by-Step

  1. Following the makers instructions dye the velvet and leave to dry.

  2. Saw off the edges of the bench so that there is no overhang.

  3. Paint the bench black and leave to dry.

  4. Cut a double layer of wadding the size of the bench top plus enough to drape over the edges. Cut away the corners and then staple the wadding to the underside of the bench.

  5. Press the velvet before using. Reverse side up drape the velvet over the bench, leaving enough for a 2cm seam allowance along the bottom edge.

  6. Fold the corners and mark with a pen remove the fabric and sew the corners down, then cut away the excess fabric

  7. Right sides out place the velvet over the wadding covered bench and staple the velvet into position on the underside.

  8. To make the cushion. Cut an old duvet to the size of the bench top.

  9. Cut the rug into two pieces, the size of the bench top plus 1 cm all the way round.

  10. Sew the old duvet round its edge to the wrong side of one piece of rug.

  11. With right sides facing sew the piece of rug with the duvet attached to the other piece of rug. Sew round three and a half sides.

  12. Turn the cover through the correct way and then slip stitch the opening closed.

Tips. To get straight edges when stapling, start from the middle out, staple in the middle of one side and s then staple on the opposite side, then staple from the middle out along one side and repeat with the opposite side, then do the other two sides in the same way.

Here is another piece you might like, go take a look Quick Revamp for Drop-in Seat Chair

Book Review - Making Winter: A Creative Guide for Surviving the Winter Months by Emma Mitchell

Book ReviewsAmanda Russell
Making Winter cover.jpg

Winter can be a tough time for many with the shrinking of daylight hours and the near constant grey weather Making Winter: A Creative Guide for Surviving the Winter Months by Emma Mitchell is a manual of creative projects designed to help keep the winter blues at bay. During winter months because of the lack of sunlight mood elevating serotonin is at lower levels often leading to gloomy moods, crafting is known to raise levels of serotonin which in turn helps boost mood. Drawing inspiration from the natural winter world Mitchell has designed a beautiful survival manual of simple craft projects calling on a variety of skills to help people escape low moods during the winter. With perfect timing, at the darkest time of year, the book arrived on my desk to be reviewed.

Making Winter p27.jpg
Making Winter p51.jpg

It is an attractive book with beautiful images of domestic cosines and creativity inspired by nature. Divided into chapters, each themed around the different phases of winter, there are several projects to fit the theme with clear step by step instructions. In High Days and Celebrations there's a recipe for streusel cake, a berry cocktail and woodland wreaths, it's a varied selection and none are too time consuming. I enjoyed the outdoors chapter Nature as Nurture, here Mitchell gently coaxes us out of the house, subtly persuading us with the promise of crafty joys such as preserving autumn leaves or making silver fossil pendants after a good walk observing nature. As a stylist I'm always trying to bring nature into interiors and there are lots of examples of this, and don't we all love spreading the love with specimen blooms in vintage bottles. There are also very beautiful crochet projects which I lust after, the hawthorn wrist warmers, with a bobbly berried design is very nearly enough to tempt me to pick up a hook and have a go.

Making Winter , with its beautiful images and full of plucky hope is a wonderful happiness manual to inspire, a great gift for a crafty friend, whether or not they find the winter months taxing.   Making Winter: A Creative Guide for Surviving the Winter Months  by Emma Mitchell, out now in hardback, priced £14.99 (LOM Art).    If you liked this book review then why not read my book review of  Making Concrete Pots, bowls, and Platters by Hester van Overbeek

Making Winter, with its beautiful images and full of plucky hope is a wonderful happiness manual to inspire, a great gift for a crafty friend, whether or not they find the winter months taxing.

Making Winter: A Creative Guide for Surviving the Winter Months by Emma Mitchell, out now in hardback, priced £14.99 (LOM Art).

If you liked this book review then why not read my book review of Making Concrete Pots, bowls, and Platters by Hester van Overbeek

Book Review - Millinery, The Art of Hat-Making by Sarah Lomax and Rachel Skinner

Book ReviewsAmanda Russell
9781784943547_hi res.jpg

Now more than ever we all want to learn new crafts and skills and the New Year is as good a time as any to start mastering one. Sadly, hat wearing has been relegated to special occasion wear, the book Millinery, The Art of Hat-Making by Sarah Lomax and Rachel Skinner has a varied collection and wearing one to top off a carefully curated outfit is made a real possibility. With its beautiful timeless illustrations, variety of hat designs and detailed techniques it gives plenty of information to help you get started creating your own unique hats. After a detailed browsing of this book, as an eclectic designer, maker, I felt fired up with ideas for the many possible occasions for sporting a distinctive and elegant hat.

PeakedCapWB.jpg

Have you ever wondered how a hat shape is made from a flat piece of fine woven straw or how to create a distinctive trim that is guaranteed to lift a bought hat from ordinary to extraordinary? With a wide choice of hat shapes and embellishment to create, Millinery is the book for you. A beautifully designed volume it is divided into two sections. The first covers the nitty gritty with equipment, materials and techniques each supported by text and images. The second section has twelve very different hat projects with easy to follow step by step instructions. Choose from soft sewn hats to a gorgeous feather creation to a full on felt trilby. I am drawn in by the detail, and long for a neat feathered tear drop, complete with the swish and flourish of a long plume. 

hats89488.jpg

Emphatically, yes, I would recommend Millinery, as it gives a glimpse into the art form and plenty of information for you to successfully make your own high-end millinery. With its wealth of inspiration and variety of techniques it won't be long before you have created a unique hat collection.

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    Millinery, The Art of Hat-Making by Sarah Lomax and Rachel Skinner  Published by GMC £16.99  Available from  www.thegmcgroup.com   If you like this book review why not read my review of  The Gentleman’s Wardrobe: Vintage Style Projects for the Modern Man by Vanessa Mooncie

Millinery, The Art of Hat-Making by Sarah Lomax and Rachel Skinner

Published by GMC £16.99

Available from www.thegmcgroup.com

If you like this book review why not read my review of The Gentleman’s Wardrobe: Vintage Style Projects for the Modern Man by Vanessa Mooncie

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.

homestyle-makes-5-5.jpg

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
christmas-tree-from-ladder.jpg

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.

homestyle-makes-4-25.jpg

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
homestyle-makes-4-21.jpg
homestyle-makes-4-22.jpg

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.

homestyle-makes-4-23.jpg
homestyle-makes-4-24.jpg

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

Learn to create your own decoupaged hand plates

CraftsAmanda Russell

Who’d of thought charity shop find vintage plates could so easily be transformed into such elegant wall art. A really simple project, you will need an inkjet printer to make the transfer images. I found these gorgeous copyright free eighteenth century wood engraving designs for teaching hand language.

decoupagedhandplates.jpg

You will need

Charity shop plates

Inkjet Water slide decal pack clear

Sponge

Acrylic spray

Copy right free images

Scissors

Instructions –   Select the images you want to use. Print them out in a variety of sizes, cut out using scissors then try them for size on the plates.  2. Follow the manufacturer instructions print the images onto decal paper, then spray with acrylic varnish. Apply a couple of coats covering the printing completely to seal, so it doesn’t break up in the water.  3. When the images are completely dry, cut out with scissors keeping close to the edge of the design. To help the images slide onto the plates sponge on a thin layer of water. Put the paper backed image into a bowl of warm water, leave for about 30 secs. Lift the edge of the image off one corner of the paper. Hold the image over the plate, gently curl the backing paper away and slide the image onto the plate. Use the sponge to pat out any bubbles or wrinkles in the image.  4. Leave til dry then mount in place on the wall using Command strips   Credits   Inkjet Water Slide Decal Pack clear: Specialist crafts LTD  Command Strip http: command.3m.co.uk  If you like this post check out my post on  how to turn and old ladder into a contemporary Christmas tree

Instructions –

Select the images you want to use. Print them out in a variety of sizes, cut out using scissors then try them for size on the plates.

2. Follow the manufacturer instructions print the images onto decal paper, then spray with acrylic varnish. Apply a couple of coats covering the printing completely to seal, so it doesn’t break up in the water.

3. When the images are completely dry, cut out with scissors keeping close to the edge of the design. To help the images slide onto the plates sponge on a thin layer of water. Put the paper backed image into a bowl of warm water, leave for about 30 secs. Lift the edge of the image off one corner of the paper. Hold the image over the plate, gently curl the backing paper away and slide the image onto the plate. Use the sponge to pat out any bubbles or wrinkles in the image.

4. Leave til dry then mount in place on the wall using Command strips

Credits

Inkjet Water Slide Decal Pack clear: Specialist crafts LTD

Command Strip http: command.3m.co.uk

If you like this post check out my post on how to turn and old ladder into a contemporary Christmas tree

Make your own Funky Feather Christmas Wreath

CraftsAmanda Russell

Who wouldn’t want this incredibly chic colourful feather wreath to bring bright carnival colour to your room? I show you how to make this unique wreath with the minimum of effort.

homestyle-makes-4-12.jpg

You will need:

Turkey Quills in assorted colours

Polystyrene wreath form

Glue gun

Fishing line

Command Hook

Satay stick

homestyle-makes-4-13.jpg

The secret to the wreath is to put the feathers in at an angle so they completely cover the white polystyrene form. Starting pressing in feathers on the outside edge, first, make a pilot hole in the edge of the wreath with a satay stick, press the feather into the hole, then squeeze on a blob of glue to hold. Add the feathers in staggered layers, about 3cm from the next one. Work from the outside to the inside edge moving, around the wreath with each new layer.

When finished decide which is the top of the wreath and tie around a loop of fishing nylon to invisible suspend the wreath from a removable Command hook.

I used:

Specialist Crafts: 3 packs Turkey Quills in assorted colours £6.17

Specialist Crafts: Polystyrene ring approx £1

If you like this check out my post on how to decoupage you own hand plates

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

Styling your Dartmouth Flower Urns

Interior, StylingAmanda Russell
   
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    Pedestal vases were inspired by the 30s to the 50s ceramics designs of the international household name, high society florist, Constance Spry. The most popular designs were copied and reproduced in the 50s for the thousands of housewives who read her books. To style an interior treat as a stand alone gorgeous sculptural statement piece, or fill with grasses, flowers, trails and twiggery.

Pedestal vases were inspired by the 30s to the 50s ceramics designs of the international household name, high society florist, Constance Spry. The most popular designs were copied and reproduced in the 50s for the thousands of housewives who read her books. To style an interior treat as a stand alone gorgeous sculptural statement piece, or fill with grasses, flowers, trails and twiggery.

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If you enjoyed reading this blog post, why not read my post on How to style your home using Sylvac Urns

The Gentleman’s Wardrobe: Vintage Style Projects for the Modern Man by Vanessa Mooncie

Book ReviewsAmanda Russell
GentsWardrobe_Cvr.jpg

I was really excited when The Gentleman's Wardrobe by Vanessa Mooncie arrived on my desk. I'm a designer maker and creating a capsule wardrobe that sums up your own unique style, seems like a very fine thing. There are lots of sources out there for women but what about the men? The book does just what it says on the cover with all the know how to make an entire gentleman's wardrobe. The garment collection was inspired by old black and white family photos showing beautifully dressed relatives taking great care over their immaculate appearance.

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This is a beautiful book packed with a wealth of contemporary lifestyle fashion plate images to give you all the inspiration you need to get cracking. The 14 projects cover a wide range of skills, there's an elegant garment or accessory for everyone to make following the easy step by step instructions and sewing patterns. All levels of sewing are covered from simple beginners projects like a cravat and for makers with a higher level of expertise there are more complex garments such as shirts and jackets. With a wide range of projects all styles are catered for, choose a different fabric and change the style of garment to create a unique expression of yourself.

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With its indepth knowledge and lots of attractive fashion images it's an easy and approachable way to start building a stylish gentleman's wardrobe. Flicking through the pages a young man with beginners sewing skills was blown away by the idea of making his own silk dressing gown and I was taken with the images for making a tweed flat cap. Whether you are a maker yourself or want to give this book as a gift it's the perfect book to turn to for both reference and a source of projects. With ideas for a quick project or something that will take longer this book would win long term space on my book shelf and remain there long after today’s love of vintage fashion has been superceded.

The Gentleman’s Wardrobe by Vanessa Mooncie

Published by GMC £16.99

Available from www.thegmcgroup.com

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If you liked this post why not read my book review of Quintessential Baking by Frances Quinn

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

Book Review: House of Cards By Sarah Hamilton

Book ReviewsAmanda Russell
Have you ever wanted to find out about the ins and outs of selling your own handmade cards? We are a nation of card givers, greetings cards punctuate and chronicle our lives, House of Cards by artist Sarah Hamilton is a book that celebrates the greeting card industry as well as showing you how to become part of it using your own designs.  It is an attractive book full of fresh bright visuals and shows you how to make money from your art. Full of sassy know how, packed with expert tips and advice from practising artists, it's a designers must have manual. A practical as well as informative book it helps short circuit some of the hard work of starting out selling your own cards.

Have you ever wanted to find out about the ins and outs of selling your own handmade cards? We are a nation of card givers, greetings cards punctuate and chronicle our lives, House of Cards by artist Sarah Hamilton is a book that celebrates the greeting card industry as well as showing you how to become part of it using your own designs.

It is an attractive book full of fresh bright visuals and shows you how to make money from your art. Full of sassy know how, packed with expert tips and advice from practising artists, it's a designers must have manual. A practical as well as informative book it helps short circuit some of the hard work of starting out selling your own cards.

Card by Sarah Hamilton image by James Bolston  The book is divided into two sections, the first contains an informative account of the history of greetings card giving, along with all the nitty gritty and practical detail to help get you started with card creation and sales. There is also an invaluable chapter by artist agent Jehane Boden Spiers giving inside advice on liscencing art work as well as insight into the deals available to designers to increase their portfolio of earning potential as well as providing a nest egg.

Card by Sarah Hamilton image by James Bolston

The book is divided into two sections, the first contains an informative account of the history of greetings card giving, along with all the nitty gritty and practical detail to help get you started with card creation and sales. There is also an invaluable chapter by artist agent Jehane Boden Spiers giving inside advice on liscencing art work as well as insight into the deals available to designers to increase their portfolio of earning potential as well as providing a nest egg.

Artwork by Lynn Guinta mage by Kevin Cozad  To get you started on your own creative journey the second section has 10 exciting practical easy to follow step by step projects introducing many techniques such as lino, screen printing and decoupage. Show casing ten artists it gives us the unique opportunity of having a private glimpse into the artist working studio. The book is generous and each case study starts with a short piece about the artist as well as hints on tools and techniques and inspiration to help you create your own personal artwork.

Artwork by Lynn Guinta mage by Kevin Cozad

To get you started on your own creative journey the second section has 10 exciting practical easy to follow step by step projects introducing many techniques such as lino, screen printing and decoupage. Show casing ten artists it gives us the unique opportunity of having a private glimpse into the artist working studio. The book is generous and each case study starts with a short piece about the artist as well as hints on tools and techniques and inspiration to help you create your own personal artwork.

Card by Lynn Guinta image by Kevin Cozad  The book supports the inspiring Just a Card campaign. The premise is that card sales are an important part of independent artists and shops income generation and if we all buy cards when we visit them we help keep them going.  An attractive book full of energy and packed with invaluable advice, it's an indispensible bookshelf addition for anyone in the visual design industry wanting generate an income in the world of greeting cards.

Card by Lynn Guinta image by Kevin Cozad

The book supports the inspiring Just a Card campaign. The premise is that card sales are an important part of independent artists and shops income generation and if we all buy cards when we visit them we help keep them going.

An attractive book full of energy and packed with invaluable advice, it's an indispensible bookshelf addition for anyone in the visual design industry wanting generate an income in the world of greeting cards.

Cards by Gabriela Szulman image by Kristy Noble   House of Cards  by Sarah Hamilton is published by Pavilion.  Find them on Instagram at -  @pavilionbooks @hoc.cardbook @justacard @sarahhamiltonprints @jehanebodenspiers_

Cards by Gabriela Szulman image by Kristy Noble

House of Cards by Sarah Hamilton is published by Pavilion.

Find them on Instagram at -

@pavilionbooks @hoc.cardbook @justacard @sarahhamiltonprints @jehanebodenspiers_

If you liked this book review, why not read my review of 'Home For Now' by Joanna Thornhill

How to Style Your Interior With Plants

Styling, InteriorAmanda Russell
1 Mark Diacono from Lia Leendertz My Tiny Inddor Garden .jpg

We all want our home to look wonderful and project our personality without making any costly mistakes. As an interior stylist working on magazines and in interior design, I believe everyone has their own unique style, but pin pointing it can be a tricky one with so many visual influences and different avenues to tempt you. Just now plants are having a moment, we all love a bit of greenery in our home. Firm up your style identity with a few simple styling tricks to set you on the right track when you are working with plants. 

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House plants are slow growing and are in danger of making a room appear static and repetitious. Ring the changes, breath new life into a space by using plants as props and showing off your chosen hero object at its best. The styling hero can be anything that takes your fancy, I dip into my shop where I stock vintage ceramics, vases, vessels and figures.

If you like this post why not check out my post about Styling your Dartmouth Flower Urns 

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

Upmarket Luxurious Upholstered Footstool

Amanda Russell

Yawn, yawn, a coffee table's a coffee table's a coffee table. I wanted something a little different and an upmarket luxury upholstered stool fitted the bill perfectly. It just took an Ikea coffee table and lots of imagination to make it into a fab statement footstool. 

You will need:

  • Nornas coffee table, Ikea
  • Fabric
  • Cot mattress
  • Wadding
  • Saw
  • Tape measure
  • Staple gun
  1. Before assembling your table, measure halfway down each of the legs and saw them in half.
  2. Paint the legs and the underside of the coffee table with black paint. Once the paint is dry follow the instructions to put the table together.
  3. Cut your mattress to fit the top of your coffee table. Piece the off cuts together to make a shape that fits the table top.
  4. Place the trimmed mattress and off cuts on top of the table and cover with wadding. Staple the wadding to the underside of the table to hold everything together.
  5. Lay the printed fabric on top of the wadding and staple underneath. For neat corners fold and sew the fabric in place.

If you like this blog post why not read my post on creating an up cycled pallet coffee table

Book Review - Urban Pioneer: Interiors Inspired by Industrial Design by Sara Emslie

Book ReviewsAmanda Russell
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    Architecture Design by Manifold Architecture studio, Brooklyn, NY

Architecture Design by Manifold Architecture studio, Brooklyn, NY

How can I resist the new book by interior stylist that just arrived on my desk, Urban Pioneer: Interiors Inspired by Industrial Design. The pioneers, mostly designers and artisans have colonised and renovated exindustrial and non residential buildings where they combine work with living, to create a new urban lifestyle. They have thrown out the rules of traditional interiors and the newly emerged style reflects the remnants of the industrial past, generous windows letting in lots of light, metal finishes, exposed pipes and brick work. 

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    The canalside home and gallery of creative director, art dealer and location owner Mark Chalmers in Amsterdam  www.thegarageamsterdam.com  

The canalside home and gallery of creative director, art dealer and location owner Mark Chalmers in Amsterdam www.thegarageamsterdam.com 

The urban pioneer is a style that's in demand, we are all familiar with the open plan look of these large industrial spaces, flexible, less permanent and more mobile. The pioneers have licence to break the mould, be bold and take the opportunity to experiment, take risks while rethinking scale. The book examines twelve case histories, all individual, illustrating a variety of ways to design post industrial interiors.

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  The London home of Peter Wim