Thursday, 28 February 2013

Finished Render!

The renderers finished in only 1 day!
They arrived early and 4 of them went at it and finished mid afternoon.  Sadly, although it was the same guy who made such a great job of the back of the house, he couldn't do the window sills like we wanted.  Probably because this is such a thin layer of render and it is on a painted wall so it is hard to adhere to it.  If it were thick layers it might all fall off I guess.
This is a picture during.
 And after! It is so smooth you can hardly see anything, right?
It is a gable end so quite high which is why we are not bothering to try to do it ourselves and we won't be painting it.  I just worry one of us will fall off a ladder - the most common diy accident there is!
We are pretty pleased with the quality.  Cannot wait to get it painted now as we will really enjoy it being done.  Maybe people who don't like home improvements won't get this but I take a lot of joy in small things.  My husband built a picket fence lately - we stood back and admired it and congratulated him and gave him a pat on the back and said wow.  And then he did the gate and we did that all over again and said 'what a great job, well done'.  We all need a little bit of praise and also if you can't feel good about the little things and the renovations you are doing, then there isn't much point, right?  Even though we didn't do the render ourselves we enjoy it - because we sorted it out.
So that is the philosophizing for today. 

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The Renderers are Here Today!

We have some renderers here today to do the side of our house.  We have pebble dash on the front which we had to keep as it is a heritage street.  Then on the side we had this horrendous patterned render which we always hated. Then the new part of the house which we had built in 2011 is all smooth and lovely.
 This is how the side of the house looks.  This part of the house is all new.  We want the other window sills done like this as we love them.
 This is the original part of the house which is over 100 years old.  I guess it was once peddle dash.  I have no idea when or how there did the terrible render.  The windows need a good overhaul.  They are beautiful original sash windows but have broken ropes.
 A close up of the terrible render.  Good shot of gas pipe.
More render - how did they get this pattern? and it is so even!
More later with after shots!!!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Coffee (table) Tea or Me

Here is my finished coffee table!
Well, it is almost finished...
We needed a coffee table.  We didn't have one for years and years and this was because our house was a tiny one bedroomed house and all our stuff was piled up everywhere and we had no room for a coffee table.  Once we had renovated our house and it was large I thought I wanted one but obviously I didn't buy one.  I was just looking out for one to make its appearance.
And this was it.
I knew I wanted one this style with turned legs - thick turned legs.  I have a kitchen table in the same style and so I was on the look out for a coffee table to match.  The kitchen table was from ebay and was all wooden and I painted the legs white.  I love it.   It is big which is so nice.  It is also really sturdy because it was made with the legs attached.
So when I saw this by the side of the road I recognised the potential. 
I tried to get it in the car.  It is heavy!  Sadly I couldn't get it in because I had my two children in the car in their carseats.  So after trying for 5 minutes or so I had to admit defeat and go away. I went back that evening to collect it.  It wasn't that local, so I knew I was a hardcore street collector.  I just cannot help myself.
The top was quite marked and the legs were a weird colour but I knew I could fix that.  I gave it a good sand and primed the legs and painted with waterbased colour I mixed from my favourite paint colour, dulux green buoy with white semi gloss.  I wanted something different to the kitchen table which has white legs.
 I managed to sand all the marks out of the top except for one.  I think someone left a plant on this table for a very long time.  I even asked my husband to sand it and he sanded away but we could not get the stain out.  So as you can see on the top we do have a stain.  I have got an idea for how to cover that up and I am going to do it soon.  At the moment we are using the table and the stain is there but it isn't really noticeable.  I am going to paint a big circle over the mark in the same colour as the legs.  then no one will know.  I just haven't done it yet.
So there it is.  I think it is pretty special.  And it was free and was minimal effort to fix up.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Headboard ideas

I love this bed
from pinterest
I think it is just the most gorgeous bed for a little girls room I have ever seen.  Only problem is it is about £1200.  Yes, that is in £.
So there must be another way to come close to this.  And here it is!
I have had this a few years and it was attached to a bed until recently.  I have got rid of the bed and I am going to make over this beautiful piece of furniture and attach it to a new bed.  Watch this space....

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Chest of Drawers Makeover

I was lucky enough to get this little oak chest of drawers on freecycle.  This means it is totally free.  I just had to collect it.
It was rather tired, grubby, a little bit mouldy smelling and had mismatched handles.  All the handles were pretty ropey and needed replacing.  However, the problem with that was that they were two hole handles so if I wanted to just strip and wax and keep the wood drawer fronts, I would need to find handles the same size which I thought would be problematic.
To get rid of the mouldy smell, I left the drawers out in the sunshine for a few days.  This was during and after painting the fronts.  I found this remedy online.  It worked ok.
I decided to fill in the handle holes and paint the drawer fronts and strip and wax the rest of the chest to show the beautiful oak wood.
Here are the drawers, all filled and sanded back.
I then painted them all and used 4 different colours.  Paint here in Australia is really really expensive.  I bought a 2 litre pot of my favourite colour, dulux green buoy in water based gloss and it was over $50!!  This shocked me, so I use that colour for pretty much everything.  Here I mixed it with white and did the largest drawer in it.  The two little ones are water based white gloss with a mixer pot which is blue mixed in and the other two are paler versions of the green buoy.  This meant I didn't buy any new paint for this project.
Then I sanded and waxed the rest of the chest and it came up beautifully!  I love the wood grain.
from pinterest 
I thought about what knobs to use.  For a while I was planning on using knotted ropes as I didn't want to spend money on knobs.  But I would have had to have buy the rope.  I thought it would be hard to open the drawers.  Then I bought some porcelain door handles on gumtree.  For $20 I got 12 porcelain gainsborough door handles with 2 privacy sets and 7 cupboard door handles to match - exactly what I needed for this chest!  So I used these.
And here it is!  I am so pleased with it because it is a beautiful oak piece of furniture and it was free and unloved before.  Now we will keep and use this for many years to come.  That makes me feel good!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

A Boys Quilt

I started making this quilt a little while ago.  The fabric is Children at Play by Sarah Jane and I made this quilt top from about 12 fat quarters.  A fat quarter is when you take a yard of fabric and cut it into four pieces.  So each fat quarter is 18x22 inches.  It is in inches because it was first sold in America.  Everything to do with quilting is pretty much measured in inches.
Anyway, this quilt is for my little boy and I hope to have it ready for winter (this year).
The squares are 6" and I did raw edge applique for the stars.  To do this I take a 6" square and cut a star out.  I cut it out neatly so I had a star and also a square with a star shaped hole in it.  I made the star template from printing one off from the internet that I found.  Then I cut a star out from fusible web and ironed the star onto a 6" white square with the fusible in between.  The fusible web sticks the two fabric pieces together.   Then I sewed around the star using my sewing machine.  I went around a couple of times, just because it looks nice.  I also made some using the fabric with a star shaped hole and sewed this onto a white square in the same way with fusible web left from cutting the fusible web stars.  I made 8 stars in total.
I used this book to teach me to do raw edge applique.
Free and Easy Stitch Style by Poppy Treffry - great book.
It explains how to do it and also has nice pictures and ideas for making stuff!
So once I had my 8 appliqued stars, I cut out a lot of 6" squares from the fat quarters.  There are 117 in total.  I laid them all out and had a look to see if they were random and if I liked the position of the stars.  Once I was happy I photographed it.
Then I left them piled up for a while before I finally sewed them all together.  You have to like ironing, or at least tolerate it, because you have to do a lot of ironing whilst doing this.  I don't like ironing.
Then I folded it up until I got it out again today and sometime I will get a big piece of batting and backing fabric and sew it all together into a sandwich and then bind it around the edge.  And hey presto! It will then be a finished quilt.  But until then, it looks like the above.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Tutorial - Paint Chips Art

I had this idea ages ago to make some dottie art with paint chips and I had everything ready for a few months. So yesterday I decided to start it, and... it took longer than I thought!
I call it Dottie!  I haven't finished the fireplace yet but just keeping it real. I couldn't afford Damien Hurst's painting so decided to make my own.
Here is what you need:
A canvas of whatever size you like, or you could use wood, board - whatever!
A LOT of those paint chips from DIY stores
A circle cutter. 
Decoupage adhesive
Paint brush/es
optional: spray mount adhesive
I got my canvas at riot art and it was half price, but places like the reject shop and $2 shops are generally cheaper.
Cut out loads and loads of circles and arrange them as you like.  I did random, but it would be really great to have a face in it or something.... If you work out how to do that, let me know.
Then I stuck them down with decoupage adhesive using a brush and I applied the adhesive to the circle.  Biggest problem you will encounter is that they curl up once they are on the canvas.  The less adhesive you put on the circle the less curl you will get due to the amount of water in the adhesive going into the paper.  Stick them on anyway and once you have them all on, or any number, first line them up straight, then lie the canvas on a table the other way up and allow to dry.  This will flatten them down.   If you are worried it will stick to the table put cling film/cling wrap/glad wrap over the circles surface first to stop this.  The trick is to not put too much adhesive on so it doesn't come out of the sides.  With decoupage you usually do have it all squeezing out of the sides but you might use thinner paper and layer it up which means you don't get the lift.  So remember, with the adhesive, less is more!
Another option is use spray mount to put all the circles on, which gives high tack with no water.  They stick them all down using this.  You get less lift that way.
Once they were glued on before drying I moved them around a little to get them in straight lines.  I didn't want to mark the canvas as I thought it would be hard to get marks off later so I did it by eye and also used a large ruler to line them up.  The image above shows them wonky before I lined them up!
See above picture where the sides are lifting up.  Don't worry you are going to fix this.
Then I added a few coatings of decoupage adhesive.  Water based varnish is also good.  I would use semigloss or even matte.  After a few coats and drying in between it is finished!
I think I am seeing spots before my eyes.  Must go and lie down.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Hexagon Quilt

I made this quilt a while ago for my little girl.
It is hand pieced and hand quilted.  The fabric is Love u by Deb Strain for moda.  It was made from a jelly roll.  It was the first jelly roll I ever bought so I didn't know much about machine piecing then.  So I cut it all up and made hexagons.
I made up the design.  The pale pink dot fabric is from spotlight and I used two fat quarters of it. That was all I had and I just managed to get enough hexagons out.  I don't know where the white is from but it was in the stash.  It is ribbed and a bit too thick really as it was rather hard to sew.
The backing is ikea fabric and the binding is from delilah by tanya whelan. For the hexagons I do not have a plastic template to work from.  I used word and I drew hexagons and printed out the pages and cut them out.  I tack the fabric to them and do not use adhesive.
I also made a cushion with the same love u jelly roll.  I just did it random patchwork and quilted it by machine using a swirly freehand pattern.
I did round corners on the quilt and I love them.  It means you have to use bias binding which is a pain, but looks so cute rounded.
The chair is painted my favourite colour.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Some Sewing

I have a few outstanding projects of the fabric variety.  This cushion I am working on.  I am a big fan of pinwheels.  I am hand quilting this one.
I love the softness of hand quilting and that it makes a really special gift.  I think I will give this one to my sister when it is finished. 
See that wavy edge on the top?  That is where the border is too long because I didn't measure through the centre.  Instead I just sewed a border on to whatever length it wanted to be and the distortion from the triangles has caused it to be wavy. Always measure through the centre or you will get this phenomenon.
Am I the last person in the world to be starting a granny squares quilt? Everyone fell in love with the one on blue elephant stitches blog last year. Maybe the last to start but maybe I will finish mine quickly.
I will show more pictures as these projects progress.

Tutorial: How to Reupholster a wing back chair

I was incredibly lucky, and after watching various wingback chairs in states of disrepair go for over $100 on ebay, the house almost opposite put two out onto their drive for the council to collect.  I asked if I could have them and they were pleased that they were going to be made useful again.  I said I was going to upholster them *myself*.

There were two like this which was great as I wanted a pair.  I didn't hate the material but it was all stained due to some cleaning chemical that has been used and it had gone yellow over most of it, but not evenly.  So it needed changing.  I am not sure how old they are but they seem to have been reupholstered once before.
I looked for blogs on how to do it.  I found very few, but one or two were really good.  I set to work removing the covers. 
First I took off the skirt and legs.  I didn't get photos of this but it isn't hard.  The skirt was stapled on.  I kept everything as I went along to use as templates for the new covers. 
Then I looked at what was the last piece to go on and it was the back.  It was held on with a kind of metal grip so I sort of unbent it all the way round. I removed the fabric and labelled it with '1' as it was the first piece off, and 'back' so I knew what it was.  I labelled all pieces as they came off with numbers and names.  There was a thin layer of foam underneath which I removed the kept.  It was yellowed but I later decided to reuse it rather than have to try to find more.
This shows the metal stuff reupholsterers use.  I kept all mine and reused it.  I mainly used a flat screw driver to get all the staples out and bend the metal parts.
Then I removed the outside of the wings.  Here was the only hand sewing I found on the whole thing.  The top outside edge of the wing was hand sewn on.  There was piping and I left it on the outer wing pieces. 
Here is the outer side.  See that it has a peice of cardboard stapled on?  This is so that the edge stays flat and neat and doesn't show the staples pulling, and redistributes the tension from the staples all along the edge.  When I redid this I used cereal packet card which I folded in half. This was also used on the outer wings to keep the shape.
Removing the inside of the wings was easy as it was just stapled down.  There was foam formed around the wings so I left that on as I thought I would never be able to redo it.
Then I removed the back rest and bottom which was sewn onto a thick piece of white material.  I decided to leave the white material where it was and hand sew the new bottom piece in place rather than removing the thick white fabric.  Then only the inside arms were left.....
I removed the arm ends (to use the technical term) and found some sort of thin hard board pieces.  These were nailed on.  I expect this is different for different chairs and you will have to just play it by ear here.  I removed the nails but broke the hard board.  P daddy had to recut these from hardboard later.
Underneath that it was just all stapled down, so I removed it all and labelled it like all the other pieces.  It wrapped around and it would have been really hard to work out how to cut the fabric without keeping the templates.  See how brown the fabric was in places - yuk!
I then laid all the pieces out and estimated how much fabric I needed.  I ended up buying about 14m I think for both chairs. I think I will have lots left.  I got it from a great upholstery fabric shop in Seaforth.
Putting it all back on actually turned out to be easier than taking it off.  I had to invest in a pneumatic staple gun first of all.  The little hand held one just wasn't strong enough.  Luckily we already had an air compressor.  Compressors are not that expensive but they can be large and are a serious piece of kit for the diy enthusiast!
I did the back rest and bottom parts and also the arms which I mostly did but left the arm ends until later as these were the tricky bits.
I was really pleased with the outsides of the wings and the piping!  I had never done piping before.  I used the plastic piping inner from all the old piping which also helped to show me the lengths.  I hand sewed the top part of this as that is how it came off when I took it apart.
So later on I did the arm ends.  I had a good think about it and I think they turned out ok.  Luckily I can make the second chair even better.
Here is the finished article!  The skirt was quite easy to make but needed the sewing machine and I didn't take the old one apart, just measured it and it came out ok.  Legs back on and hey presto!
I know what you are thinking - I have children and I reupholstered an almost white chair.  Yes, I know, but I am going to make a new seat cover which I just haven't got round to yet and arm covers which probably won't be white, and I can do more than one set and these will make it a little more practical.
I found that anyone can do upholstery if they try and give it a go.  What can go wrong????