Tagged: DIY

Progress x

It’s all happening at Chez Bentley.

The bathroom suite is still in our bedroom!

But the carpet in the study is gone!

But I’ve managed to eek out a workspace…

For now.

 

Laters, Kate x

Project concrete x

There was a project this half term – to make fairy light stands for the garden, just like these ones.

The aim was to have pure concrete at the bottom rather than a container of any sort.  I found these 7 litre tubs in the pound shop and hoped the flex on the sides would mean the hardened concrete would pull out easily.  The easiest way to mix the concrete was separately, in each tub.  Tip of the day: mix it in layers rather than all at once – put a bit in, add water, mix…add a bit more, otherwise it hard work..and there’s always a bit you’ve missed..otherwise, I didn’t know how easy concrete playing was. Like play doh for grown ups..

The concrete was nothing posh.  Bog standard from DIY store.

I had six foot metal poles from homebase (£4.75 each) to go in the middle, held in place with duct tape till they were hardened.

It was surprisingly easy to pull the finished bases out. Ta-dah!

I bought s-hooks from Amazon.  The shape of this particular hook was appealing with it’s straight side to fit in the pole and the curvy end to hold the lights.

In position..pic taken today as the rain streams down…the hooks are held in position with window putty. Simple.

The final thing will be to paint them all black – when the weather improves.  And then photograph them with their lights. Maybe then I’ll do a post on finished projects because the mirror has finally gone up in the downstairs toilet too….

 

Laters, Kate x

Synchronise Watches..

Charlie has a joint eighth ‘survival’ birthday on the Common tomorrow (I’ll be doing my sun dance once I’ve written this) (and stocking up on paracetamol/large flagons of alcohol).  I saw these army characters in Poundland and thought candle holders!

It could all go horribly wrong – I couldn’t find my glue gun this morning so have resorted to carpet glue which promises to glue plastic if you leave it to cure long enough….

We’ll see…..

Laters, Kate x

Smallest Room Part 2

The wallpaper we made over the holidays? 

Despite just using the basics: Lining paper, leftover emulsion paint and cut up sponges – has worked a treat.

(Even though it meant embracing chaos)

This was the before state of the downstairs toilet. A mini dumping ground of DIY and general clutter.

First step was a deep clean of the tiles.  Vinegar, though powerful on the nostrils did the job.  A little bit of re-grouting was needed – and then I was going to dye the grout a dark grey, but I was concerned the new grout was of a different consistency –  less chalky, more rubbery so would they dye the same colour? It was an easier decision to not risk it. Besides the new pristine white of the tiles was impressive. Finally, paint – white on the ceiling and the Little Greene Paint Company’s French Grey Dark on the woodwork which is a soft, pinky grey that seems to blend with any thing.  A continual stream of Radio 4 plays on the ipad helped the process along..

The wallpaper went up easily: The lining paper was one of the thickest available and was aided by both pasting the wall and paper, and leaving the paper for a few minutes to fully soak up the wallpaper paste.

The randomness of the print meant there was no problem on the join – second piece went up where it went up.  Bliss.

The finished job.

Except there’s always one thing left to do…a fitted mirror over the sink. Sigh.

Better get ordering.

Laters, Kate x

Shibori..

IMG_8865

Yesterday was spent teaching a group of friends (I’m a rep for Charlie’s class) how to shibori tie-dye. It’s something I love to do with its heady mixture of deep indigo, spontaneity, freedom and promise.

IMG_8854

IMG_8858

I’ve posted about it before (here) but this year was a little bit different/lessons learnt – the scarfs are longer (2m – possibly the perfect length) and the dye is a new one: If you’re making a large dye bath with the more commonly used Dylon, it’s hard to keep the solution warm so I went for a procion dye that works with cold water (it’s the dye they use for batik dying) and it produced excellent results.  If you want more info on dyes and techniques, check out this website  (makes me wish I lived in Bognor)..this is a brilliant craft for kids in the summer..and imagine on duvet covers, sheets..or even larger pieces of furniture! Bella spent her evening after school dying..socks!

IMG_8860IMG_8866IMG_8867IMG_8863

Gloves are always useful..

IMG_8871

This may be old school..but it’s still the best.

Laters, Kate x

Small steps..

DIY-Homemade-Dryer-Sheets-horiz

This weekend marks the start of moving towards a less wasteful life as inspired by this post.  For me, it’s not about wearing a horsehair shirt but finding simple solutions that work and moving away from the total belief in mass produced, mass marketed products we pick up without thinking.  The first experiment neatly fits in with my own eco philosophy – it involves dryer sheets – which to many would be an environmental oxymoron, but as a dryer works for us as a family it stays – and the spotlight goes onto what goes into the dryer..

cdbc4c73e3044403885a2f9df9f56d8f

From my research, there seem to be two basic methods – the first involves using ready made (you could make your own..there are recipes..(I’m not there yet)) fabric conditioner. Strips of old towels or sponges are soaked in the solution and then are used either wet, straight from the pot or can be dried before hand.

181c4facafc25aef_5302e02821281ea3_P1120758.preview.xxlarge 841bac8d96818cf7_P1120755.preview

(All pics Pinterest and View from the Fridge)

The next method requires a larger leap of faith…the cloths are stored and left soaking in a mixture of vinegar and essential oils (any combination you fancy).  They say, when the clothes come out, any smell of fish and chips has evaporated away…

 

The kids could be grateful it’s half term next week…

Laters, Kate x

 

Le Weekend..

IMG_8022

The plan was to get out of the urban bubble and see the sea..so we leapt on a train and headed for a grey, blustery Brighton.

IMG_8019

Charlie and his gloves: Is this style, laziness..or a deep understanding of recycling??

IMG_8029

Not that the kids cared about the weather..the sea is the sea after all..

IMG_8053

It was bracing enough to freeze cheeks and brighten eyes.

IMG_8054 IMG_8055 IMG_8061 IMG_8077 IMG_0776

Then the boys went to see Arsenal play..Charlie’s first proper match..seventh heaven for him.

IMG_8087

So the girls got out the power tools…and played..

IMG_8097

The table is our reproduction mahogany dining table that has got damaged over the years.  Rather than replace it, I wanted to know if we could sand off the varnish and paint the pedestal leg to transform it into a classic but more rustic/practical piece of furniture.  Can mahogany be more like a farmhouse table, happy to take dings and knocks? Not be so ‘precious’ and permanently hidden under a tablecloth? The only way to know was to experiment…

IMG_8091

I had my helper with me for a while..but then she got bored and went to clean out her hamsters.

IMG_8100

Oh joy! Lesson for mummy: Never assume you’re child’s intelligence.  Lesson for Bella…we all have to make mistakes..but please don’t repeat this one again!

IMG_8101

(Particularly when due to the building works, this sink represents our kitchen sink. Arggghhhh!)

IMG_8104

By the end we looked like 2 orange oompa lumpa’s, but thankfully the table looked fab – I already prefer it…though I have no idea what to do as the next stage….oil? Wax? I know I don’t want the shiny red again..I want to knock back the red if at all possible, but not entirely sure what to do?….any suggestions very gratefully received…

Laters, Kate x

An Update: House etc..

IMG_7990

Yesterdays fascinator experiment went well..I was thinking of you Julie (hattitude) as we marshalled in the sinamay into shape! Could’ve done with your skill!!

IMG_7991

No real finished ones to reveal yet..(the first official creative coffee is on Wednesday) but I think we’re a bit more prepared..

IMG_7992

(It’s great stuff just to let loose and play with..I recommend it.)

IMG_7997

On the house front, there’s no longer a broken neck risk checking out the cellar…we now have stairs!..

IMG_7993

Upstairs…could that actually be a sink in the kitchen??!

IMG_7994

To the unknowing eye, this all just looks like mismatched piles of wood..

IMG_7995 IMG_8002

To me, it’s the light at the end of the tunnel..(even knowing, once it’s made it’s coming out (sob!) to be painted (and so the floor can go down))..but this is pure progress. We may even have a working bin soon – the excitement, the luxury!

Laters, Kate x

Best Christmas Craft EVER!

IMG_7715

Bella and I had a festive Saturday afternoon covered in glue ‘n’ glitter, making our own Christmas cloche dioramas…they were so simple…yet so satisfying!

IMG_7674

In amongst our renovation/building chaos we gathered all our bits together: A glue gun, uhu glue, foam plates, plastic wine glasses, glitter and all the little Christmas ornaments we could find.

IMG_7677

We carefully, using a sharp knife, cut the end of the plastic wine glasses off, and cut out oversized circles from the foam plates.

IMG_7679 IMG_7682

Then we arranged and glued on our festive scenes.

IMG_7683 IMG_7687

The upturned glasses were glued down and had glitter added through the still open stems.

IMG_7688

Finally they were topped and glued with the hanging part of an unwanted bauble and the bottoms trimmed off.

IMG_7716

So effective.

IMG_7713

Such fun!

IMG_7714 IMG_7717 IMG_7720

Making them together and seeing them all…just made us smile.. and want to make more and more!

If you can..just do it!

Laters, Kate x