Saturday, 21 March 2015

Bookcase Makeover

Recently my husband and I bought a new bookcase.  It was to replace one we inherited when we moved into our last house.  We didn't really like it, but we are both hoarders, and we needed storage.  Especially for books.  We still do.  I have a problem when it comes to buying books.  So even though we had replaced an old, unloved bookcase with something a lot prettier we didn't feel we could just chuck out the old one.  I really must remember to take "before" pictures, but I'm too impatient to get on with a crafty project to stop and take pictures.  So instead here is the "after" picture to start with!

Actually I didn't manage to take any of the pictures for this post, they were all taken by my husband. He was pretty keen on this project, in fact the whole thing was his idea.  Although up close this isn't the prettiest project in the world, it is functional and from across the room it is very pretty indeed.

I mentioned we were hoarders, but I think this project illustrates it perfectly.  Not only did we use an old bookcase we didn't really want, but couldn't throw out, we also found a 2000 UK road map whilst we were de-cluttering.  It didn't have any special memory attached to it, we didn't go on a lovely trip around the country in 2000 that we never wanted to forget.  We were keeping it, just in case.  Just in case the roads magically reverted to how they were 15 years ago overnight and no one else had a map perhaps?!

The bookcase we had inherited when we moved into the house, and was a black ash like this one you can buy from Asda (Walmart). Obviously, we forget to take a proper 'Before' photo, opting instead for 'Midway Thru' and 'After' photos only.

As a family we like maps (obviously we are hoarding them from 15 years ago), so it seemed logical to try and create something from the map and the bookcase.  When my husband suggested this I wasn't sure whether he was hoping it would go horribly wrong and that we could throw the whole thing out, or whether he was hoping it would work and would be able to house my ever increasing collection of cookery books.

We set to work, I did help, but mainly it was my husband deciding which parts of the part should go where.  We have London on the top shelf and a pretty coastal area along the bottom.

We used a glue and varnish in one (like modge podge) and just covered the whole thing.  We worked in sections, waiting for bits to dry before moving on to the next section.

Finally using the very last of a pot of glue, and the last couple of pages of the map we were done.

It is now proudly up in the kitchen with my cookery books and some board games on there.

And so finally, here's the after photo again.  We're really pleased with it.  It's a lot brighter than the black ash, and is certainly a unique piece of furniture.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

A Quick Little Project

I wasn't sure whether to share this, as it is something that I'm considering to create for presents, but it was such a lovely project to complete, and so quick I thought I should.

Some crochet covered coat hangers.  Yarn bombing on a small scale!

I organised a little craft evening, where everyone was bringing a project to work on and shortly before my guests were going to arrive I had a sudden panic - I didn't have a project to work on!  Oops.

I grabbed some sweetie style colours (at least that is what the remind me of) and a coat hanger that had been hanging around (pun intended) for ages waiting a restyle.  I had read a couple of tutorials and they all seem to go about this in the same way - create a rectangle of fabric and then sew together once you've made one big enough to go round the hanger.

I dislike sewing lots of stripes together, I've done it before it takes me ages and ages and ages and ages.  You get the picture.  So after one row I decided this would be a project best worked in the round, and it didn't really matter if it didn't work because I was just experimenting.

Obviously this technique is much easier before you get to the hook part, you can work it up off the hanger.  Once I got to the hook I simply kept the cover on the hanger and crocheted around and around.  It did take significantly longer to do the second half (twice as long maybe), and the hook seemed to get in the way a lot for the first few rounds, but soon I got into the rhythm and then it was finished.  My daughter loved it straight away and my son requested one for him too.  

I bought these hangers pre-padded, but I'm trying to work out whether I could fancy up some less pretty ones.  A project for another day.

Monday, 2 March 2015

New Sewing Machine

I was very lucky this Christmas and I got such lovely presents, particularly exciting was my very own sewing machine.   This is a very new craft for me, I've never been a seamstress before.  I have tried, but never really got on with sewing machines, or anything that has needed sewing.  Since having children, I've had to learn how to hand sew a bit - sewing on buttons and badges.  I've even managed a couple more complicated sewing projects, you can read about them here and here.  My poor Mum did try and teach me, but it never seemed to click, my siblings could manage fine and then I would mess up whatever it was that Mum was trying to get us to do.  But now, finally I'm going to crack it, well at least that is the plan.  I tried learning knitting as my New Year's  Resolution three years running and never mastered it, but I have my fingers crossed for sewing.

I got the same machine that my daughter has, and it is fab.  I love that they come in different colours, mine is yellow (my favourite colour).  It also helps that when I get stuck she can help me and it made threading it for the first time a breeze. It is a little embarrassing to have to ask your 9 year old for help, but she has been very good.

So far I have made a toddler dress out of an old shirt, it was meant to be big enough for my daughter, but doesn't quite(!) fit. The idea came from here, and I loosely followed the instructions on the tutorial.  

My daughter did try to squeeze into it, but I would guess it would fit a 2 or 3 year old.  You can see the quality of my work in these pictures.  It is going to take a while before I can produce something really beautiful.  Now it is hanging up in a cupboard and I'm not sure what to do with it, it isn't good enough to give to someone, but it is the first thing I did on my machine so I don't want to chuck it either!  

I also turned an old t-shirt into a shopping bag.  The top had a stain on it so I used the parts I had cut out to create some fabric flowers which I attempted to sew onto the bag, and then promptly broke the needle on my sewing machine.  

Doh.  In the end I reverted to a glue gun - this is probably an improvement on some of the materials I've been known to fix clothes with - sticky tape, staples  and paper clips...

Anyway, despite breaking the needle on my machine I'm really pleased with this, it is actually usable, and it gave me a chance to try sewing something stretchy.  It was easier that I thought - no doubt some false confidence for when I next try making something!

I'm planning on something a little more adventurous next time - outfits for World Book Day dress up for the kids for school.  I need a princess cloak and some wizard robes.  Could be interesting!