Friday 31 May 2013

Room For Improvement Challenge: The Hallway

I just love a home makeover challenge, so when I was challenged to do a little mini makeover with a budget of £50, well I couldn't resist saying yes! I would loved to have done a room, but I think even with my thrifty ways, I'd be pushing it to get an entire room done with a budget of £50. So, after much thought I decided to transform a 'space' into a special little retreat. Somewhere pretty, girly, that we all can sit and relax, take time to have a cup of tea, read a book etc. A space I thought perfect was the area under our stairs in the hallway, and normally somewhat of a dumping ground. An old computer sits on a well past its sell by date desk, an old Ikea bookcase takes up quite a big area, and it generally just looks a very unappealing area to sit and relax in. You just want to walk straight past, getting from a to b without stopping to stay a while.

What this challenge has inspired me to do, along with the £50 budget, is utilize what I already have, to source new and second hand and to create a special area, that I DID want to stop a while and relax in. I do hope I've achieved that. So, here is the 'before' space, yes a little uninspiring huh?

Did I mention the walls are still unpainted, plaster pink has become a very fashionable colour in our home sweet home ;) It is a forever work in progress home, I love how it evolves but don't think the time shall come that it'll be completely 'finished'. Mind you, what would I do with my time in a 'finished' house ;) I love that its 'work in progress' state brings with it new challenges for me every day.

Knowing me, there had to be an element of pink in the new transformed space, and all things HOME related was definitely my inspiration. My starting point was that I knew I wanted some wall art for the back wall, and I really liked the idea of a pretty candy floss pink for the paint. I have always wanted to try out these vinyl wall art 'quotes' but had wondered if they were that easy to apply to the wall and whether, well, that it might look a bit naff. With my £9.99 in hand from my budget, I decided to bite the bullet and give it a go, searching on ebay I found the perfect words! I just love the feature wall, and the inspiring words mean so much to us as a family. Regarding the application, it all went well, but my advice is, read the instructions carefully, then read them again and go slowly, very, very slowly when applying to the wall. So, that was my first inspired purchase and then the space evolved from there into a new, pretty, relaxing area that I just love!

Oh I did have fun! Miss Poppins took a hand in styling the area and I have to say we feel we can now stop for a little sit down in an area I can be proud of. So, what did I do and how much did I spend? Well, here's a little break down...

After I had purchased the wall art, I had a little mooch on freecycle and on offer was a well used but practical chest of drawers. Although a little shabby looking, I knew I could pretty them up. I enquired and was very kindly given them. Here they are awaiting a little TLC.

And here's what they looked like after a little paint job using some Annie Sloan 'Antoinette' pink and 'Old white'.

Ah, much better! I wanted to really go for it with the girly-ness and found a stash of unused floral stickers, which I think looked rather sweet.

Lining the drawers in some lovely vintage style floral wallpaper creates just a little more girly love!

So, that's the drawers done all for £0.00!! I already had many tins paint and rolls of unused wallpaper lying in wait for a pretty project like this. Next it was on to the chair. I kept the chapel chair from the 'before' photograph and decided to shabby it up, in keeping with my girly/pretty/shabby chic theme. Loving the distressed look, after painting it, I gave it a little sand here and there and popped one of my handmade cushions on it too.

And a little space for my pretty books.

As for the back wall I mixed a candy floss colour using mostly white with a little bubble gum pink, and a spoonful or two of the Annie Sloan 'Antoinette' pink. Perfick!

I was not brave enough to apply the wall art quote myself, so all the family got involved on that one! I spent a while making sure it was level, before doing the peeling back.

It got a little nerve wracking as the peeling back commenced.

Phew we got there! I loved the look of it straight away :)

The little canvas you can see was a purchase from Wilkinson, and at £3.00 didn't eat too much into my budget.

Another Wilkinson purchase was the pot pourri at £4.00, it has a really lovely, delicate spring scent.

Whilst in HomeSense I couldn't resist some purchases as I thought would sit beautifully in my our little sanctuary. First up is this floral suitcase at £7.99, I love it!

Next, I fell in love with this beautiful artificial posy that again cost £7.99. Just looking at it makes me smile so very, very much.

And what a bargain! The original Sia label reveals its rrp. Thank you HomeSense for providing me with such a bargantastic item there.

Whilst in the queue waiting to pay for the two items, I saw these.

Well, it would be rude not too at £2.29 and they look very pretty! With my girly-ness kicking in again, I decorated the lovely bon bon sweet jar with some sticky fabric tape and a little ribbon.

Next it was back to ebay to purchase a couple of pretties. First was this brand new Home Sweet Home wooden heart at £2.85 (with free P&P).

Next up on ebay I found a real bargain with this lovely lantern at £3.70, normally a candle would be housed inside, but I went for some pretty floral lights.

It looks lovely at night, providing a atmospheric glow over my little space under the stairs.

The pretty vintage bowl and Cath Kidston playing cards were a charity shop find at £1.00 for the little bowl and £2.00 for the sealed cards.

We ate the original sweets, hard work this makeover challenge stuff ya know ;) They were our own so replaced them with some more out of budget at £1.00. Yes more pink! My final purchase was this gorgeous Prima spring time craft magazine. I think it has been out a while, but I hadn't seen it and I thought it a perfect buy to help me relax in my our special corner. Possibly the best £3.99 I have ever spent on any craft magazine, and so up my street the the girly look inside.. I urge you to have a nosy if you see it in a shop.

The pretty handmade Daisy crochet blanket has been kindly borrowed from Miss. Poppins, it was a special gift for her from mummy and daddy, made by The Patchwork Heart. She loves it and not sure she'll let me borrow it for that long ;) The round wicker stool was another eBay purchase from a little while ago, that again I utilised for the space. Of course there has to be comfy slippers close by, and only my poshest ones would do for this special area ;)

One of my handmade hearts hopefully makes for a personal touch.

I doubt I'll ever get bored here, though if I do, I have a selection of pretty books and magazines to occupy me. I painted the wooden magazine rack and I think looks loverly jubberly in the far corner.

So all in all, here is my list of costs, that helped me to improve this area...

Floral Suitcase (HomeSense) : £7.99
Flower Posy (HomeSense) : £7.99
Pink Bons Bons (Home Sense) : £2.29
Wall Art 'Home' Quote (ebay) : £9.99
Home Sweet Home Heart (ebay) : £2.85
Lantern (ebay) : £3.70
Canvas (Wilkinson) : £3.00
Pot Pourri (Wilkinson) : £4.00
Craft Magazine (M&S) : £3.99
Sweeties (newsagent) : £1.00
Vintage Bowl (Charity Shop) £1.00
CK Playing Cards (Charity Shop) : £2.00  

Total spend: £49.80!

So with a relatively small budget, you really can get inspired to turn an unused and not very pretty area into that perfect little space to relax and unwind in. Re purposing old furniture, sourcing places like freecycle and mooching on ebay means you really don't have to spend a small fortune to transform a space.
Right, I'm off to put my feet up, I hope you liked my finished look.


Saturday 25 May 2013

My French Connection Bargain!

What a beautiful day! Oh I just love sunny days where I can delve into that pretty (mostly pink) area of my wardrobe and can get the dresses and the skirts out. I am a believer that yes, of course, its what's inside that counts, but wearing clothes that cheer you up really can make you feel very happy indeedy. And what made me very happy today was seeing the prettiest little spring time outfit in a charity shop. Oh I just loved it! The two piece set is French Connection (a brand a love). It looked in perfect condition and as I don't think is current season, loved it even more, as is kind of almost 'vintage'. I was drawn to it straight away.

I thought at first it was just the jacket for sale, so was delighted when I realised it was a two piece. And the flowers, oh I just loved the flowers!

Those of you that 'get' me, would know that I would be hopping for joy seeing this little number, so pretty, so floraly, so very, very lovely. I just had to try it on.

Well the jacket seemed to fit, yay!! Now to try on the skirt. Please fit, please fit!!
It did :) My little 6 year old Master Poppins was with me and he said it looked lovely and pretty on me, with him being somewhat of a fashion guru, I value his opinion very much. I popped the outfit back on the hanger and made my way to the till to double check the price, as the ticket had a little scribble on it and looked like was £14 for the two pieces.

Even though I would have found it very hard to put back. Being the thrifty sort I did a little hmmm whilst I had a little think about it. Then the very kind and generous Red Cross lady on the till made me smile even more by saying If I really liked it I could have it for £10, what a lovely bargain! I thanked her very much indeed, agreed the sale and promptly handed over my £10. I couldn't wait to try it on all over again. I just love the pleated style of the skirt which I think has a pretty vintage look to it. I may wear the outfit for my 40th garden party and perhaps to a wedding coming up. I know I'll certainly get my £10's worth.

Oh I could pose all day in it!

A little close up of the 3/4 sleeve jacket.

Well, however much I wanted to, I can't play dress up all day, so one final curtsey....

I popped the little two piece safely away and can't wait to play dress up again :) It also reminded me, when walking onto a charity shop you just never know what little delight you may find! Next time you find yourself strolling past one ~ pop in and see!


Monday 20 May 2013

Annie Sloan & A Little Bit Of Everything Else

Oh my ~ what a blogging break I've had! It can however be very therapeutic in my opinion to recharge the blogging batteries at times, and real life of course can often get in the way of this blogging lark. Also, I am a real fan of Instagram and have been spending lots of my spare time over there. So, what have I been up to. Well, mostly painting actually. I am really enjoying broadening my love of refurbishing old and pre-loved furniture. I seem to have developed a deep love affair with Annie Sloan paints and although it is certainly not a 'budget' paint, I just can't seem to get enough of it!

I've been quite safe up to now, having only used subtle colours from her range, blues, whites, creams, greys...I am however slowly venturing onto the more dramatic hue's and having found my own method of applying it (I mix it with the tiniest bit of water) it really has been a dream to use. I have even sold some pieces which has been great for confidence and my little piggy (to buy more paint) bank ;)

Here's a very small selection of pieces I've painted, all beforehand very much needing some TLC and a shiny new coat.

These pretty wooden magazine racks in pink and blue, are lined with summery wallpaper.

I really like the way this old telephone table has turned out.

 Cute 'distressed' kitchen stool, painted in my new love 'Provence.

I really like how a simple frame can be brought to life with a new coat of paint.

Having enjoyed painting with 'Provence', I decided to paint this intricate iron work garden set, I really love it!

I liked this Lloyd Loom set very much and knew I had to have it, even in its pre-loved state.

Both pieces were a little tatty around the edges so I have made a start painting the chair, choosing a subtle pink and have delved into my fabric stash to choose a fabric I am going to cover the original sprung seat with. I think it shall look very pretty when its all finished.

Here's a modern chair I have given the shabby chic look to, and with a new fabric covered seat.

I am nearly finished on the art deco dressing table that was a little shabby looking to begin with.

Quick snapshot whilst the paint is drying.

There's now always a piece ready to be given a new lease of life in the Poppins household, these are in the queue ready and waiting.

Urmmmm, I have four of these oak topped farmhouse tables to do!.

 I have am always wanting to be aware of new and various painting techniques and styles, so I went on an Annie Sloan painting workshop that was great fun.

We were all given a little wooden heart to paint in our own choice of colour, which was a nice touch and made for a lovely keepsake. I decided to go for it and practice using a more dramatic colour than I would normally do. I painted it white first and then sanded back in certain areas for a distressed look.

We were also given wooden boards to practice techniques and various ways to use the Annie Sloan paints and waxes.

I can't wait to try out some of new techniques at home on real life pieces of furniture, and am looking forward to finding out more about the advanced course. 

One day, during my blogging break I decided to sort through my vintage glasswear in readiness to sell, oh boy, I didn't realise how much I had collected over the years. It all looked very pretty displayed prettily on the table.

I'm still keeping crafty with my sewing, and have really enjoyed making little pretties for people. 

I've also become a big fan of making these little daisy brooches too, in various pretty fabrics, I think perfect to decorate spring and summer outfits.

A while ago I was set a crafty challenge courtesy of Abakhan I made a little skirt for Miss. Poppins with this adorable camper van fabric.

I couldn't resist personalising a little t-shirt for her too.

And here she is at the beach with Master Poppins wearing the said outfit, she loves it!

I try and do something crafty, even if only a teeny tiny something everyday, good for soul in my opinion, and whilst I was supposed to be spring cleaning I got a little distracted with a candle, some vintage sheet music and a little doily. Cute I thought.

I still have a big passion for second hand shops, even with their big price increases that make me grrrr a little bit, especially when a second hand item is priced at a figure more than it would have cost new. Anyway I have to pop in when walking past any. This vintage wedding dress caught my eye, Oh how I loved it!!

What else caught my eye, and the little Poppins whilst we were on a little walk was witnessing a beautiful and very magnificent starling dance. We were literally awestruck, if you've ever seen the starlings in action, you'll understand the magic we felt.

So, that's about it for now, a little round up of what we've been up to. Its a 'big' birthday for me in the summer, am trying not to think about it too much, although going for a vintage theme to my little garden party I'm organising, I think it may just be a fun old young day :))