Friday, 24 October 2014

My concrete home accessories....

....Now at An Artful Life


Back in August, when I had the pleasure of meeting Kate Whitfield of An artful Life for the Opening of her pop up shop at the Folly , I had no idea that this meeting would be so fruitful for me...
For now I can proudly announce that my hand casted, gilded concrete bowls and geometric origami candlesticks are officially for sale both in her Online shop and in her associate pop up shops Johnny+Jenny in Saffron Walden and Under Milk Wood in Thaxted, Essex.

So today I'm sharing some of her promotional shots of my products:


My gilded concrete bowls comes in various sizes, from extra small (£15) (above), small (£25), medium (£45) to Large (£60)...
You can choose between  gold or copper flake finish for the insides...


They have a smooth exterior, and a rough interior with a raw concrete edge...


As they are all hand cast, the thickness and finish will vary...


You can also purchase my faceted geometric candle sticks and tea-light votive's through AAL

There are several shapes to choose from, each has been cast out of a hand folded origami paper mould, and each is a one-of-a-kind! They all have a black felt base to prevent damage to your furniture!

The candlesticks and tea-light votives all retail at £15 each


The Diamond paper weights has also been made in this way, and The large size is £15 and the small £8...


I am so happy that I met Kate, and hope these do really well for her (and me...)
Even if concrete is not your thing, please check out her shop, as she has curated some of the best, in my opinion, eclectic home ware ranges out there...

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: If I only had the money!!


Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Living room makeover

reveal!

OK....so, as I am actually blogging from Norway at the moment, where I am having a much needed impromptu break, I have decided to cut a bit back on the planned amount of projects I wanted to do for my living room makeover as I am feeling a little worn out at the moment! So today, I am actually sharing our new and updated living space...a little earlier than planned!

But first, let me remind you all what it used to look like:


About two years ago we painted the previously red walls white, which opened up the space a lot, but because the living room is at the back of the house with only one window, it still felt quite dark....
not helped by the knackered yellowing pine floor boards...
I also absolutely hated the quasi-Victorian 8o's fire surround!

We did have grand plans about installing a wood burner in place of the dated fireplace and to get new laminate flooring installed earlier this year, but it has been a tough year for us, and we had to abandon those plans...



Another thing I really wanted , was a new sofa, but again, this was out of reach for us this year....But determined to make the best of the space we've got, I have worked hard to make some cheap improvements:


The biggest improvement to the look and feel of the room was created when I white washed the wooden floor boards! This has really lightened up the space and made it a lot fresher:



The other big improvement I did, was to give the old fireplace a makeover:



It now suits my interior taste, and has that fresh Scandinavian look that I love with my DIY stencil design (that was inspired by my gran and granddad in Norway's old kitchen tiles...)


If you look at the reflection in the mirror in the picture above, you will also notice that I've added one of my DIY starburst ceiling rose's around the ceiling light (like the one in our bedroom )...


And purging my decorative items, and carefully choosing what got to stay, has also helped creating a fresh look in the room:


My DIY concrete and gold planter has been updated with some cactus'...


And I showed you the other week how easy it is to make the marbled vase and tea light votive ,above...


I also love my new DIY Mid century Modern style coffee table that has replaced my old tufted ottoman. And the old sofa has had a cosy , but simple update in form of a grey sheepskin (Tesco), a new throw and some new "water-colour" DIY cushions (The tutorial on these is coming soon)


Sometimes, just tidying up a bit and maybe, as mentioned above, purging and carefully selecting which items to display can have a huge impact on the look of a room. Which is exactly what happened when I decided to style the bookcase.





It is all in the detail...
...like introducing more plants and greenery into the room (bless them, for I have a black thumb!!) which has added a freshness to the space...







The "I will survive" planter, is a DIY stencil I shared with you all here...
And some old projects, like the concrete lampshade, and concrete stool now has a new lease of life in my fresh new space! You can also learn how I made the Geometric and Ampersand artwork here!


And of course the other old sofa got a new DIY sofa cover, with the addition of some new, matching squishy cushions, making it not only more stylish, but also a whole lot comfier...


And finally having a little side table next to it means no more tripping over drinks on the floor...I love this little bargain buy from Tesco!
I will be sharing the big textured geometric artwork in my next DIY post!
But first I have some exciting news I'd like to share: Post to follow later in the week!!

What do you all think of my new look living room?
I've spent less than £200 to get it from the before to the after: and that includes the floor, the fireplace and all the other little projects + any new items, such as the side table...
Not bad, hey?
I hope that even if it's not to your exact taste, it shows you how you can transform a space...even when working on a very tight budget!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

sofa cover....

...DIY
In my last post I talked about how we needed new sofa's, but unfortunately this is not in my budget at the moment! So in an attempt to still make a visual change with our current sofa's for our new look living room, I have DIY'ed a sofa cover for this old and dated sofa:

So today I am sharing how I did it!
Now, this is not going to be the usual, nostalgiecat DIY step by step tutorial for several reasons:
Firstly, sewing is NOT my forte....in fact sewing, together with hoovering, is one of those things that arises an unrational anger in me, and if you could've heard the stream of profanities coming out of me whilst doing this project, you would've been appalled!
So , as I am not a sewing expert, and this is my first attempt at making a sofa cover,I don't think its fair for me to tell you how to do this: Instead I am going to refer you to This u-tube tutorial, that I found very useful! In this video Paul shows you how to make a slip cover for a sofa using an easy pattern method , and he explains it a lot better than I ever could .
So if you want to make your own sofa cover, I highly recommend that you spend 1/2 n'hour  watching this tutorial, to give yourself a better understanding of how to best go about making one!!
So, using the same method as Paul so expertly explains in this video, I have adapted it a little to make my loose fitting sofa cover...and I will try my best to explain how!!!

Let me tell you: If I could do this, so could you!



So, firstly, You will need: Enough fabric to cover your sofa, pins (lots of pins...), scissors, a sewing machine and thread...
Lets talk about the fabric: If you want to make a sofa cover, I would recommend that you choose a heavy weight fabric, whether that be heavy cotton, linen or, like I used, canvas!
When working out how much fabric you need, measure the dimensions of your sofa, then add a few extra meters, just to make sure you have enough!

You basically need one piece of fabric that will cover the back of the sofa, one large piece that will cover the seating area, and two pieces that will cover the arm rests...
Roughly cut these pieces to size! Then I would recommend that you wash and iron the fabric before making a start!
As instructed by Paul, in the video, start by covering the back of the sofa:
Pin a piece of fabric to cover the back of the sofa, by using what Paul refers to as "anchor pins", pushing them directly into the sofa to hold the fabric in place..
Start at the top edge of the sofa, and pin it in a straight line all along the back, making sure you leave an inch or two of excess fabric hanging down from the point of where the seam will go...
Follow any seams in the original upholstery if there are any...
Next up, you'll want to take your large piece of fabric, that's going to be covering the entire front seating area: Drape it over the sofa, and use anchor pins to pin it in place all along the top, with some excess hanging over the excess from where your back piece is pinned..

Next up, you'll want to pin the two pieces of fabric together...

....all along the back of the sofa! If your sofa, like mine, have curved edges along the top ends, stop where the curve begins for now and just make sure you have enough fabric hanging over this area...
The next step is to anchor this big piece of fabric to the shape of the front of the sofa:
Simply pin the fabric in place, directly into the sofa, following the curves of the sofa...
Then, making sure you leave a couple of extra inches all along the edges, cut away any excess fabric around the armrests...
Next up is the armrests: Drape your pieces of fabric over, making sure it overlaps the seating piece and the back piece...and at the front. Anchor in place with pins.
Then pin the pieces of fabric together, following the shape of the sofa. Leave an inch or two of excess fabric from the point of your pins, but do trim away any excess fabric to make it easier for yourself...
This will be the trickiest part: Pinning the fabric together following the shape of the inside of the armrest: Take your time, and gently pull the pieces together, whilst pushing the fabric into the shape...Again: Paul's video tutorial explains this a lot better than I can!
Trim away any excess...but DO TAKE CARE NOT TO CUT AWAY TOO MUCH!!
Pin the pieces of fabric together...
Next up is the front of your armrests: Chances are you have an off cut that will fit this piece perfectly by now! Anchor in place, then pint the pieces of fabric together!
Repeat on the other armrest!
I had to attach an extra piece all along the front of the sofa, as my big piece for the seating, didn't quite reach the ground (because I miscalculated the measurement a little), but if you have calculated your measurements better, you shouldn't need to, and you have now finished pinning the fabric together...
 
The last step, before removing all your anchor pins, and sewing it all together on your sewing machine, is to mark with a pencil where the two pieces of fabric meets...basically you are marking where the seam will go! Do this all over the sofa at every "seam"... Make sure you mark this on both sides!
When sewing the fabric together use these lines as a guide, but in order to make sure the cover is loose enough to slide on and off your sofa, place your seam on the outside of the line...
I'm not going to talk you through the trauma I experienced when sewing this up on the sewing machine: Que profanities!!
But that's basically it!!
I also made some cushions in the same fabric to finish off my new look sofa!
 


It's not perfect, I will admit....but for someone that has an irrational hatred for sewing, and as a first attempt at both pattern making and making a sofa cover...not bad!!
What do you think??


And it has fulfilled the purpose of the project: Changing the look of the sofa!
And with those squidgy cushions, it has actually turned into a comfy space to curl up on, come those cold autumn nights!

AAAAAnd, so I am ready to show you the full reveal of my new look living room...in my next post!
There are still a couple of DIY's I've done in here I want to share with you...that big , abstract artwork on the wall being one....but as I am actually blogging from Norway at the moment, where I am having an impromptu break, I am taking a little blogging holiday after the reveal....