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Upcyled Bunting

23 May

Choosing fabrics, whether it be for curtains, table cloths, cushions, clothing or just for sewing is a very personal thing.

It says so much about our tastes and personality and can leave an indelible mark others.

In the last twelve months our family has suffered the loss of three grandmothers. All very different and extraordinary women with their own remarkable and unique stories.

I have been lucky enough to collect some of their old fabrics, which I have kept with the idea of giving new life to these seemingly mundane objects.

So when my mother in law asked me to make some bunting for her little summer-house, I had a rifle through my fabrics and found a piece that had belonged to her mother.

It turned out to be perfect for garden themed bunting, the pattern being a mix of summer flowers and summer fruits.

I got to work cutting the triangles using my trusty Kellogg’s template.



I lined the back with a simple cream cotton and chose a bold cherry red bias binding  to bring the whole thing together.


I was quite pleased with the result and my lovely in-laws sent me photo of it in situ. I think it looks pretty good.

summer house bunting 3

(I’ll skim over the part where I made it slightly too short, simple arithmetic was never my strong point).

I have another couple of upcycling projects coming up using some of my own Grandmothers fabrics. I am still toying with ideas, but I think one may be a cathedral window quilt and the other may involve Suffolk puffs. These two techniques would be great for showcasing many of her fabric choices without needing large quantities of any one pattern. Plus this involves hand stitching which I love 🙂

I’d better get cracking then!



Tie Dye Eggs

19 Mar

This post starts with a Pinterest fail.

I had seen that you can dye eggs using silk ties or scarves. Obviously the results on Pinterest looked fabulous.

Without much planning I decided to give it a go.

And the result was an egg that looks like a black eye.


To be honest I had a further attempt with the same results,  at which point I threw my toys out of the pram and got adolescent over it.

A week or so later I decided to have another go.

Firstly I bought an extraordinarily un-attractive 100% silk tie from my local charity shop for the princely sum of £1.50.

It doesn’t need to be a tie. It could be a scarf or a hanky. Just as long as it is 100% silk and the pattern is bold and colourful. To be honest the more tasteless the better.

At home I picked the tie apart, taking out all the bits and pieces and was left with just the silk fabric.

Next I took my egg and place it on the silk, making sure the right side was in contact with the egg.

Gathering up all the fabric tightly around the egg I secured with a hairband. (I went wrong last time by not having the fabric tight enough).



Using the fabric of an old pillow I then tightly wrapped the egg, securing with another elastic band.


Next thing I did was to pop them in a pan with some cold water covering the top and threw in a glug of vinegar. I bought it to the boil and then boiled it for a good 2o minutes.


When the twenty minutes was up allowed them to cool for as long as possible (which wasn’t long) and unwrapped them.

The results were not bad.


They look like abstract stained glass eggs. The children might enjoy colouring in the shapes with felt tips, or embellishing with stick on jewels

It’s Just an Occasional Thing….

21 Jan

Annie Sloan paint is quite pricey.

I have been a bit nervous of buying it and then messing up, but today I took the plunge and picked up a tester pot.


I thought I would give my occasional table a much-needed makeover and it was a small enough project to test the Sloany stuff.


Having got some advice from the lovely Tamsin at Eddie and Pearl and a man in overalls, I got started as soon as I got home.

A little bit goes a long way.  I watered it down to a single cream consistency and it was very quick drying, particularly when you blast it with the hair dryer.


After I had given it two coats and allowed it to dry I used a clean cloth to rub in some clear wax. I didn’t buy the Sloan brand,  just a generic clear wax at a fraction of the price and it did a beautiful job.

The table need something extra.

I had a dribble of black board paint that had been given to me for a project that I neither started nor finished. I decided that this would be perfect for the central disk in the table.


I can write a little message on the table now.  The question is what should it be??



Tea Cup Candle

16 Dec

I found this rather attractive cup and saucer a few months ago and picked it up for pennies.


My plan was to make a candle with it, but as always it sat gathering dust whilst I mustered the time and the inclination to buy the stuff that I needed.

Mum and Dad had been sorting through the loft recently and this inevitably means that I get dumped with stuff that don’t want and will never use.

In the past I have been presented with in line roller skates from when I was 12, a calligraphy set where the inks had dried out and the nibs were bent and loads of A level art books, paintings and sheafs of paper that send my husband apoplectic and a bit Wicker Man.

This time though she actually found something I needed.

My old candle making kit. Every child should have one 😉


Not only was it full of wax beads and wick but it was full of old candles that I had obviously planned to recycle in the future (though I probably was not thinking 20 years in the future).

Because I am too lazy to bother with instructions and clearly arrogant  enough to think that I can do it without help, I just made it up as I went along. And it shows.

I took a cheese grater to the old candle of choice (blood-red of course) and grated the wax into a bowl. Having done this I made put the bowl over a pan of hot water and let it melt town to molten lava.


This is where it all started to go a bit pear-shaped. I decided that sticking a blob of melted wax would be enough to hold town the end the end of the wick to the bottom of the cup.

I hadn’t really thought this through. As soon as I poured hot wax into the cup it melted (obviously) the wax blob and I lost my wick, quite literally. Cue me poking around with then end of a spoon to try to re-stick it.

I eventually botched it back into position and tied the loose end around a spoon to keep the wick straight.


Once again impatience and an inability to stop fiddling got the better of me and I released the wick too soon, resulting in a sunken middle.


And because I hadn’t practised first, my poor sister in-law got a truly sub-standard birthday present.

Sorry Sis, hope the pretty lunch bag made up for it x

Lula Bops Tea Room

21 Nov

My town is not a looker.

She’s not massively into her appearance. But she has something about her. She’s got grit!

Wolverton is like the scrappy younger sister to the older, prettier Stony Stratford.

Built to house the railway workers 175 years ago, Wolverton in many ways has always been quite a utilitarian town. With rows upon rows of Victorian terrace houses, it can look quite grey.

The Costa in Tesco was the most exciting thing to happen in recent years.

But…..A new tearoom has appeared. It is in walking distance and it is not at then end of the tills in a busy Supermarket.

Lula Bops Tearoom could not fail to lift the spirits, even on the coldest and greyest of days.


Laura and her team are as bright and bubbly as the decor, which is kitsch and mis-matched and pastel coloured. And many of the items you see are for sale.



There is a tea trolley full of odd cups and saucers just waiting to be filled with the tea of your choice and there is a wide selection of cakes.


I chose to have a pot of Earl Grey tea and a slice of coffee and walnut cake which came to the grand total of £3.40.


They also do afternoon tea which includes a slice of cake, scones with clotted cream and finger sandwiches. There is a lunch menu too!

Children are welcome and there is a box of toys for them to tinker with while you sip on Assam and catch up with friends.

Laura has injected some much-needed prettiness and sunshine into this little old town. It’s fab.

It’s just a shame this wasn’t here a year ago. My Grandma would have loved it.


Guest Post- Wall Decoration

4 Nov

I was at Lu’s house the other day and she was proudly showing off her latest completed project.

I think it is fab and so I asked her to write a guest post for me.

She can consider this idea well and truly nicked.

Mrs H here. As Mrs B’s lovely readers you may remember a post about a lovely little piece of cross stitch. I am the fortunate recipient off said piece and love it! When she gave it to me I instantly knew where it would hang and suspect that it was up on the kitchen wall before she got home that evening.

As lovely as it is,  it did draw my attention the neighbouring wall which has sat butt naked since the eviction of two shelves.

Lu wall #1

They were evicted because they became like a man-drawer, dedicated to the homing of plasters, batteries and other such tat and in my already confined kitchen this looked unkempt. So in a frantic Anna Ryder-Richardson moment I took them down, filled, sanded and painted the wall all before the man got home from work. That is how the wall has sat for some time but the reminder of my bare wall by the gorgeous gesture of a handmade treasure kick started me thinking….

My default response in times like these is to boil the kettle and hit Pinterest. I scoured the pages and found empty frames on walls and plates on walls.Those ideas made sweet love and resulted in this baby!

The frame (far too big! So cut down to size) from a carboot for £5 and painted with a garden stain tester pot from homebase (I add this because its the only place I’ve found them).

lu wall #2

In the middle we have one very patterned plate to complement the crossstitch and a couple of plain coloured plates from everybody’s favourite blue and yellow shop to complement.

Lu wall #3 Lu wall #4

The result… One happy lady!

Crafty Swish Party

9 Oct

I think I might have started something.

I’m not really sure how it happened, it was kind of organic really.

I was talking to Lu in Dunhelm (That’s where all good ideas derive from). High on tea and scones, we thought about having a crafty swish party.

Essentially people could pop by for tea and cake and swap fabrics, buttons, wools and other crafty bits that were no longer of any use. It seemed like a nice idea, a good way to socialize, make new acquaintances and pick up some treasure without spending any money.

I said I would host it and sent out the invitation (FB of course!). Then I closed my eyes, sucked in my breath and hoped that I wouldn’t be left hanging.

To my amazement people were genuinely excited. One lady demanded that she bring cakes  (Well I couldn’t say no to that).

I’m not one of those natural hostess’. My social skills can sometimes leave a lot to be desired, so I did have a bit of a worry this morning, particularly after the nightmare that I had last night. I won’t bore you with the details, but let’s just say it was awkward.

10am came and my first guest arrived and she had cakes! I could have just locked the door there and then, but that would be rude.


Miranda has just started a cake business and so this was the perfect opportunity to show her wares. Her cakes were just gorgeous, in fact they were so pretty that I knocked the top off of two of them (Bad hostess!). You can find her page here!/pages/Mirandas-cake-house/432847943503087?fref=ts

Gradually other people arrived and the house was suddenly filled with chatter and treasures and tea and cake.

There was felt and fabric, buttons and beads, wool and threads, paints and picture frames.

048 052 059049

I think most people went away with something new in their little paws.

It went well. In fact it went so well that people were keen to do it again, maybe next time learn a new craft.

Miranda suggested a cake decorating workshop and Mrs M is now looking into showing us how to make our own Christmas baubles.

Somehow we seem to have created a little craft group.

Upcycled Desk

26 Sep

Sometimes your next project is right there on your doorstep.

Or in my case the neighbours doorstep.

On Sunday we came back from the scarecrow festival to see the our neighbour was having a clear out. She had put a few bits of furniture in the front garden, with a note saying Free, Please take.

Well I don’t need to be asked twice!

I have been thinking about getting a desk for The Bo’s room, and there right before my eyes was a tired looking but perfect pine desk.


Into the house it went.

I asked the Bo what colour he would like me to paint it and predictably he said fire engine red. So there wasn’t going to be too much faffing in B&Q over colour swatches.

The weather has been amazing so I took the opportunity to get on my overalls old maternity dungarees and get cracking.

A quick sand and a coat of primer later I was ready to break out the red paint. Only this time I thought I would give a can of spray paint a go.

Resisting the urge to go to my nearest abandoned train depot and scrawl I Luv Charity shops  🙂 everywhere, I went in search of a face  mask.

Being sure we had one somewhere,  I picked up what looked like the right thing, only to realise it was my husbands cricket box.

I decided to take my chances without a mask (or a box).

Pretty much doing a jig as I shook the aerosol can and spraying with fairly wild abandon I thoroughly enjoyed this upcycle project.



All in all it cost me £10.96 for the sandpaper and the spray paint. Bargain desk for The Bo!

The only downside to spraying is that it is all over far too quickly 😉

Now what can I spray next? Off to the railway it is then.

Queen of The Cambrian Coast

17 Aug

We took the children to visit the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre Fab day out. Apart from being engulfed by at least twenty wasps at picnic time!

Having taken the children into the gift shop with a pound coin in their sweaty little palms, I thought I might have a look at the vintage postcards.

I found this kitsch one for Barmouth and I just had to pick it up.


We spent many hours on the beaches of Barmouth as kids, so I thought I might make this into a pretty little Birthday gift for Mum. (She looks a bit like Mum actually)

Digging through my cupboards I found a battered old picture frame that I had bought from a charity shop years ago.


I upcycled the frame by giving a coat of white wood paint I had knocking around, and it was completely transformed.

I popped in the postcard and the Queen of The Cambrian Coast has been made over.


I think that for 48p this is the most thrifty gift I have made.

Don’t say I never treat you mum!

Thrifty Gift Wrapping

16 Aug



It’s not big and it’s not clever, but it is a cheap and effective way of making pressies look pretty.

I love brown parcel paper and I have plenty of the stuff. I was given a bag full of paper doilies and a roll of pink ribbon.

Put the three together and there it is.


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