Decorating mission – transforming blinds

So after an amazing Holiday and being away for a whole month, its time to pick up where we left off with –

Decorating part 3

When we moved into our house, all the front windows had matching wooden slat blinds. We need them as our house opens up straight onto the pavement, and without the blinds people would be able to see straight into our lounge and dining room. We have the same blinds upstairs and downstairs, so across all of the seven front windows the blinds give a neat and matching finish. One of the reasons for decorating downstairs was to try and make the rooms lighter, as with the blinds in place it restricts the amount of natural light we get. I explored a few different options, most of them involved the cost of new blinds in different styles which wasn’t part of our budget. The decision was made to paint them and I set to researching how to do this on the internet. All the sites I came across presented similar steps – take the blinds down, take them apart, clean them up, give them a light sand, paint them and then put them back together.

And so mission paint the blinds commenced and it nearly finished me off!!decoration mission 2015 (8)

Each blind had over 100 slats and both sides of the slats needed painting. We used white wood paint for the job and set up an area in the lounge using a pasting table and any other surface that was free. I painted one side of the slat, along with one edge and left it to dry. I then returned and painted the other side and edge. Each slat needed two coats. I am guessing you can already see what a lengthy process this became!!

painting slats

 

We had four blinds to do, two from the lounge and two from the dining room, which meant nearly 500 slats needed painting on both sides and with two coats. What seemed like such a good idea became a massive mission!! We also needed to replace the cord in the blinds used to raise them and open and close them. I bought cord from Dunelm Mill as they had a fab selection of colours and thicknesses.

decoration mission 2015 (5)

When the slats were all finally painted, we put the blinds back together using the new white cord we had bought and then put the blinds back up in the windows. I am glad to report that we were really happy with the finished look and it definitely helped make the room lighter.   It had been worth all the effort and had cost around £30.00 for the paint and the cord.

Finished blinds from brown to white

Would I recommend this process to anyone?…… yes I would but please be fully aware of the mission you are taking on! Helpful tips if you are venturing into the world of painting blinds.

  1. – When taking the blinds apart ensure you know exactly how they come apart and therefore how they will go back together.
  2. – Set up a good drying area when you have started painting. Ideally you need a large flat surface with a couple of raised platforms to rest the slats on.
  3. – When buying the new cord, buy extra as it can be difficult to tell how much cord you will need.
  4. – When taking the cord out, again remember how it was thread through the blind as you will need to replicate this with the new cord.
  5. – If working with more than one blind, keep the slats for each blind separate.
  6. – Allow plenty of time for this task.

This is an amazing money saving task as new blinds are not cheap, especially if like us you have unusual window sizes so any blind has to be specially made.

 

If I were to do this again I would explore the option of spray paint to see if that would give them a good coat without having to take them apart – you never know!!

Decorating mission – sprucing up a dining table and chairs

Decorating part 2

When we moved into our house we needed a dining room table and chairs. We headed to Ikea and picked up wooden table with black metals legs and four chairs to match. Our dining table is used much more for crafting on than eating on, and over the years it was been scratched, marked and faded in places. The chairs also showed signs of wear and tear. The chair seat design was made up of four pieces of wood, placed to form the seat, with gaps in between each piece. This design had often puzzled me as it was really difficult to clean in between the pieces, which meant the gaps were hoarding all sorts of dirt and crumbs.  I was keen to change this if I could.

Dining room table before photos (1) Dining room table before photos (2)

I cleaned the table top and legs with sugarsoap, rinsed them well and left it to dry. For each of the chairs, I unscrewed the four pieces that made up the seat, gave them a really good clean, rinsed them and then left them to dry. When I put the four pieces of wood back to create the seat I pushed them together and screwed them into new holes. This meant no more silly gaps between each piece and they looked really good like that too. I gave the wooden sections a light sand, and used wood filler on a few of the bigger dints on the chairs and table top. Once the wood filler was dry, I lightly sanded them again. When you have finished sanding always give them a wipe with a slightly damp cloth to remove any dust before painting or staining.

I gave the wooden table top and the wooden seats a coat of Teak Oil, applying it with a varnish brush and then buffing it a little with the lint free cloth. I left it to dry as per the instructions on the Teak Oil tin, then gave it another two coats. The difference it made was amazing. The wood had a lovely shine to it, a much smoother finish and looked like new again. I had used the same Teak Oil on the welsh dresser and on a mirror so they all matched perfectly.

dining table after (2) Dining table chairs after (1) Dining table chairs after (3)

I used Colron refined Teak Oil, for 500ml it is around £9 and one tin did our welsh dresser, table, chairs and mirror with a little left over. You don’t need much oil and you need to spread it out as evenly as you can, which is why it’s good to use a brush to spread the varnish out, then the cloth to ensure there is no excess and to give it a good buff.

I have also made a table protector out of fleece and non-slip mat. When I am crafting at the table I can put my table protector down to make sure I don’t mark our new lovely, shiny table!   I had some cushions in my craft room which matched the colour scheme so they were perfect for the chairs.  It cost us less than £20 and the table and chairs look like new.

Decorating our house – jazzing up a fireplace

Towards the back end of last year we finished decorating our lounge, dining room, stairs and landing and it had been a chore!! It is such a big space with a lot of woodwork that there was no quick way of painting it.   I was keen to do the project on a budget, making and upcycling as much as we could to accessorise. This month I am going to take you through some of the things we made for the lounge and dining room, showing you hints and tips and some fab upcycling techniques you can use to spruce things up on a budget.

Decorating part 1

First up is our fireplace. We had a large, fake stone fire surround which I had officially fallen out of love with, and a small gas fire which we never used. We had the gas people round checking our fire and I chatted with them about the fire surround and that I didn’t like it and I would like to rip it out. They told me that to buy a fire surround like that would be somewhere up to £1000 which shocked me as I had no idea! I then spoke about the idea of removing it and selling it and they advised again that it was very tricky to remove fire surrounds in one piece, depending on how they have been put into place. This left me thinking maybe we needed to keep the fire surround but change the appearance of it.

fireplace before Fireplace before2

Sorry about the pictures, it seems I didn’t take a proper before photo!!

 

The gas people checked our gas supply to the fire and then capped it off as we had decided to remove the gas fire as part of our decorating mission. You need to get a professional in to do this for you, the great thing is they leave the pipe there, so if you change your mind later down the line or if you are selling your house, you can let people know there is a gas pipe to connect to if they want.

Fireplace being cleaned out

I left Kev to clean it out once we had removed the fire!

 

We then cut a piece of plaster board to fit the hole, glued it in place and then sealed the edge with decorators caulk, giving it a little sand down ready for painting

I headed down to The Painted Chair in Liverpool where they sell Annie Sloan paint and had a chat with the lady who runs the shop. I came away with a 1 litre pot of Paris Grey chalk paint and was super excited to get started.

I washed down the fire surround using sugarsoap and a cloth, then rinsed it well with clean water. I then left it to dry overnight. The following day I gave it one coat of paint using the new chalk paint I had bought. The tin of paint has full instructions on the side for getting the best from the paint and it is a pleasure to use. I ended up giving the fire surround three coats of paint over three days.

I was so so happy with the results. It transformed the fire surround and I fell in love with it straight away. I couldn’t get over what a different a coat of paint did to it. I had gone from wanting to rip it out, to being proud to have it as a feature in our living room. It now also fit the colour scheme we were planning for the rooms.

It is advised when using chalk paint to varnish it, as over time the paint may start to peel/fade. Giving it a coat or two of varnish makes it much more durable and it also makes dusting the fire surround easier as the varnish provides a smooth finish. I gave the fire surround two coats of varnish, using a shaped varnish brush. I didn’t use Annie Sloan varnish as I couldn’t get back down to the shop in the time I had. I ended up using DecoArt – Americana Décor Varnish – Soft Touch. I found it easy to use and gave the fire surround a lovely protective coat.

In total, including the varnish brush, I spent £28.45 and the results were amazing. The fire surround had been transformed and I loved it.  We decided not to put a fire there at this time as it’s not something we use and it was a cost we didn’t need to spend at the time. Instead I picked up some flowers from Wilkinson’s in shades of black, white and teal and popped them in a vase, which was then placed in the centre of the fire surround.

fireplace Fireplace after 1 Fireplace after 2

Any type of fire surround can be painted, sanded, varnished etc. so before you rip anything out see what you could do to your fire surround to jazz it up, freshen it up or transform it.   If you don’t have a fire surround and are looking for one as part of your decorating, try local free/cheap sites such as Gumtree and Freecycle, or head down to a local reclamation yard or second hand furniture shop and see what they have, as you can often pick up one for a fab price.  Just make sure you measure the minimum/maximum size of the space to ensure it will fit!

Don’t forget to keep any paint you have left over too. It comes in handy for a quick touch up if needed and also can be used on other items to colour match. I used the Annie Sloan paint on a photo frame and plant pot.

 

Hoylake Community Centre Easter Party

Hours of Fun stall headed to the Easter party taking place at the Hoylake Community Centre the other Saturday to set up a table making lanterns from milk bottles.

The party was a first for the centre as they normally do a Halloween party and after receiving lots of enquiries they decided to run an Easter one too and it was a fantastic success with a great turn out.  There was a disco, face painting, tattoos, tuck shop and lots more.  For the adults there was wine, tea, coffee and cake and of course available to the children was the Hours of Fun make and take stall.

As part of the Easter Party the Festival of Firsts was putting on a lantern parade.  Over the last few weeks people have been busy making lanterns at Whizz Kids out of school club, Williamson Art Gallery and St Johns Church Meols.  For those people coming to the party without a lantern they could sit down at the Hours of Fun table and get crafting.

The lanterns are made from empty plastic milk bottles, covered in tissue paper.  We then popped a glow stick inside and hey presto – a lantern was created!

The table did not stop all night and was busy as bees making lots of fantastic lanterns.  Sadly as I was so busy at the table I didn’t managed to get many photos of the lanterns so I have included in the gallery below some photos from the lantern making session at the Whizz Kids out of school club and included some of the photos from the Williamson Art Gallery of the amazing willow lanterns made.  I have also included some photos I took of the view from the centre during the day as it is a beautiful location.

 

Easter fun crafting session at West Kirby Library

As part of the Festival of Firsts the Hours of Fun workshop headed down to West Kirby Library to run an Easter hat making make and take stall.

The hats were made from paper plates and bowls, with recycled cardboard pieces available to use to add to the design and create masterpieces!

The children got busy making the hats, coming up with lots of different designs and decorating them in a variety of ways.  They used shredded tissue paper to create birds nests which they then stuck little fluffy chickens in.  They used tissue paper to cover the plates and bowls creating bright and colourful hats.  They used beads, feathers and gems to add bling, more colour and style, finishing them off with a piece of ribbon they could tie under the chin to keep the hats on their heads.

It was a fantastic venue for the craft session and I really enjoyed being in the library.  The staff were very friendly and even brought me cups of tea which was very much appreciated.  I was lucky to have two volunteers work with me for some of the session too.  Adam and Wayne are both completing their Duke of Edinburg Award and have been spending some time at the library helping out.  They were both fantastic, assisting children with their hats, making sure the table was kept stocked with supplies and chatting with the parents too.

I had a lovely day and look forward to future opportunities to craft there.

 

Lamps and shades – made by Hours of Fun

Homemade, personalised, unique lamp bases and lampshades
Last year I tried my hand at upcycling lights and quickly fell in love with how you can transform a lamp by recovering the shade or by covering the base using the technique decoupage – covering an object with layers of paper and varnish.
For Christmas I got busy making a superhero bedside lamp for one of our friends. It had marvel characters around the base and the shade was covered in a bright superhero red. I also did a minecraft bedside lamp for my nephew – covering the base in squares of different shades of green with a creeper face and the shade covered in green material. I then did a matching down light for his ceiling light.
You can also take an existing lampshade and add ribbon or buttons to it to give it a new lease of life and jazz it up.
This is a perfect way to accessorise your room without going out and spending ages trying to track down the perfect matching shade colour, then finding it only to see the price tag is way above what you wanted to spend.
If you have left over curtain material you can use it to make new lampshades. You can use leftover wallpaper which we did in our bedroom and now our light matches the décor perfectly.
If you don’t fancy trying this yourself then why not contact Hours of Fun and ask us to make it for you. We will work with you to match the right colour and design you want, then hand craft a unique, personalised lamp or shade just for you. They make lovely gifts especially for children with themed bedrooms. I have also made matching bunting for my nephew so he has a fully themed bedroom as his favourite computer game mine craft.

 

Personalised unique photo frames – upcycling fun

Here at Hours of Fun we love to upcycle things and make new, gorgeous items from old, shabby things. Or transform a plain item into a patterned piece or design to match a rooms décor or a person’s passion.
One of my favourite crafts is decopatch or decoupage depending on what paper and technique you are using. They are both crafts involving paper layers, using glue and varnish. Decopatch is a brand of paper designed especially for ripping, gluing and layering. It is stronger than tissue paper but not as thick as printer paper. It rips well and doesn’t tear when applying glue. You can buy specialist glue with varnish in it, or use PVA glue watered down slightly then craft varnish as the final coat.
Decoupage is the original craft involving layering up any type of paper, adding glue and varnish, sanding down each layer, then building it up in the same way, sometimes up to 30 or 40 layers. The aim is to have a finish that looks like a smooth coating rather than individual pieces of paper. You can also distress it using sandpaper or distressed ink to give it an aged, weathered look.
We have been making a lot of photo frames using both of these techniques recently. The decopatch paper comes in a range of gorgeous patterns and designs and is perfect to use if you want a frame to colour co-ordinate with a room or match a favourite colour. We have also started making personalised photo frames using photographs printed onto paper, then glued onto the frame in a mosaic style pattern.

The photographs have been of families through the years, full of memories and they create a gorgeous keepsake. We use photo frames that have a border around the inside of the frame, in between the frame and the space for the picture. This breaks up the design, allowing the frame and the picture to stand out clearly from each other.
We can produce your own personalised photo frame. All we need from you are the pictures you want us to use and we will create a gorgeous keepsake you can keep or give as a gift.

 

Accessorising your home, matching colour schemes

If you like to colour co-ordinate everything in a room but struggle to find matching colours, you can always use the paint you have put on the walls or the wallpaper to accessorise.

I recently needed two photo frames and wanted them to match the colour scheme, but this was going to be a near impossible task. We had quite a lot of paint left that had been used to paint the feature wall so I decided to use this as it would be the perfect match!

I bought two photo frames from Matalan – they were multi frames in wood colour. They also did them in white plastic but the wood ones are much easier to work with when painting them.

I took all the glass and photo backs out, laid them out on some newspaper and gave them a light sand using a fine sand paper – just enough to get rid of any lumps and bumps and give the paint something to work with, I then wiped them with a slightly damp cloth and left them to dry for an hour.

I then painted them with the matt emulsion wall paint, letting them dry overnight then giving them a second coat. To give them a nice finish, make them last longer and deter dust and dirt settling they were given a coat of varnish using clear craft varnish. Left to dry again overnight, then pictures were popped in and the frames were hung on the wall. They look fantastic on display and match the colour scheme perfectly.

We also used the wall paint to paint the blank canvasses so the background matched the room colour scheme. A design was then adding to the canvass using colours in the wallpaper and butterflies which featured on the paper. They looked gorgeous and again matched the colour scheme.

You can use spare wallpaper to decopatch items, cut out pictures from the design and use them in pictures and art. When accessorising your room always take time to think if you can use any of the decorating supplies that are left over to create the look you want.

Covering dining room chairs

Covering chairs can be a cheap and simple way of brightening up your room, matching your chairs to your colour scheme or to just give them a spruce up.

I have recently covered 4 dining room chairs following a room being decorated. The colour scheme changed to purple and the room had new curtains of which some material was left over. This was used to cover the chairs.

To cover chairs you will need
Material
Scissors
Staple gun
Hammer
Staple remover

First step is to remove any existing material, staples and anything else that has been added to the chair. The aim here is to get back to the original cushion as this will reduce lumps and bumps when covering them with the new material. You can also check that the cushions are in good condition as you want the chair to be comfortable to sit on and any old, mouldy inserts may need replacing. The other factor is you never know what you may find if you were not the one to previously cover the chairs, you may uncover a beautiful seat that you wish to keep.

recovering kellys chairs (4)

You then need a flat surface to lay your material out on and place your seat cushion, top down on the material. The material needs to be wider than the cushion so it can reach round the edges and cover the bottom of the seat with a seam of approximately 4cm. Once you have checked the size cut the material – make sure you have the pattern/grain going the right way for your design or material.

recovering kellys chairs (5)

It is advisable to start from the front of the seat as this will allow you to ensure you start off with a smooth, straight edge and always start stapling from the centre – working out to each edge. This avoids you ended up with extra material in the centre of your cushion with nowhere to smooth it out to.

Pull your material tight and staple the middle, then place a few more staples in approximately 3cm apart. Then do the back of your cushion, pulling the material tight.

recovering kellys chairs (1)

Turn the cushion over and check you have a smooth finish on top. Any folds, bags or creases will need to be removed by stretching the material out and stapling it tight in place.

Staple each side into place, again pulling the material tight. You now have the material stapled in place. You will return at the end and put more staples in all the way along the material, however you need to do the corners first.

The corners can be the tricky part. Again, working from the front first fold the corners over and try to get the smoothest finish you can. Cut off any excess material making the corner fold extra bulky, fold the front piece first so if you do end up with any small creases they are on the side of the cushion. Use the staple gun to start fixing the corner in place, and once you are happy with it, add a few more staples to secure the fold. Repeat this on each corner.

Once all corners are done go around the seam adding staples to ensure a tight and secure finish. The last job is to take a hammer and knock the staples in slightly which will ensure a smooth finish.  This is best done with the seat placed on the floor.

Place the seat back on to the frame of the chair and secure in place.
Repeat on all chairs, then invite your friends round for tea so they can sit on them and admire your handy work!!

recovering kellys chairs (8)

We also treated the wooden chairs with a mixture of 50% teak oil and 50% white spirit.  Whilst wearing gloves use a cloth or brush to apply the mixture, then wipe off with a cloth to remove any excess and get rid of any drips.  Leave to dry.  This is best done outside or in a well ventilated room.

recovering kellys chairs (7) recovering kellys chairs (6)

Making cushions and inserting zips

I have made a few cushion covers over the last couple of years, mostly out of felt and fleece, using quilting techniques and button fastenings. This time I was making a simple zip cushion using chenille material to match the curtains and dining chair seat covers.

I started the cushions in my soft furnishings class, I didn’t have the zips with me at the time however I followed instructions and cut out the cushion shapes adding 2.5cm for the seam allowance and 4cm for the zip side.

I then machine stitched the cushions together on 3 sides and only stitched approximately 10cm in on each side of the zip edge. I then used the over-locker machine to go over all edges to tidy them up. Following class my mission was to buy zips for the cushions and we could finish them off in next week’s class.

However, I was unable to attend the next class and I needed the cushion covers to be finished before the following week, so I had to take on this challenge myself.

When doing something a new it is always worth having a search on the internet to see if you can come across any videos or instructions you can follow. When I searched for adding a zip to a cushion they all showed the zip being adding before you sew the cushion pieces together – well I had already done this and didn’t really want to have to unpick four cushions. I therefore decided to be brave and attempt to add the zips using my own initiative and gut instinct!

I managed to sew all four zips into the cushions and at first glance they look ok, however I used slightly different techniques for each one and by cushion three I was happier with the result. I definitely need practice at this and will be taking the other two cushions I have to make for a different project to class this week – one already has the two pieces sewn together and the second is only cut out. I am going to leave them like this and ask the teacher to go through two methods – one for adding a zip before you sew the pieces together and how to add the zip afterwards.

By the time it comes to making cushions with a zip for our own lounge I will be a master at it!

 

 

 

Kellys curtains (1)sewing kellys curtains