Tag Archive | diy

a whiter shade of pale

Over the bank holiday last month Jon took a coupe of days either side, & we used the time to sort out a diy job that has been bugging us for ever such a long time.

One of the things Jon brought to the relationship when we moved in together 13 years ago eek such a long time) was a rectangular pine table that had been the kitchen table when he was a little boy. Over the years its been several things in our various residences, a kitchen table, my sewing table, a desk in the study, & finally it became our computer desk in our bedroom.

Now basically our bedroom sharing a room with the study has never been an ideal solution, Over the years since we moved here we’ve gradually replaced a load of plastic drawers containing clothes with nice Ikea ones, however we were still left with a load round the computer. Our dream computer desk would have shelves above it and drawers beneath, but we were completely unable to find anything that practical, except recently in Ikea & that was made of completely shitty looking laminate & therefore not worth spending £350 on as only a medium term solution. (I do seem to think ikea has got crapper the last few times we’ve been there, the prices have gone down at the higher end, but the quality has as well, & virtually nothing they sell is made of real wood anymore.)

So we thought, how about we spend as little as we can get away with on a short term solution? And went to the British Heart Foundation Furniture Shop in Lewisham and bought a cheap, small welsh dresser instead.

In terms of storage, this has worked out ideal, it fits all our excess computer crap and stationary, with room for a few decorative items too. In terms of aesthetics, not so good.

All our bedroom furniture is either natural wood antique (0r natural wood that we’ve jazzed up a bit to look antique) that we’ve inherited from various parents over the years, or  white ikea units, & now plonked in the middle were these 80’s style orange varnish cheap looking desk & dresser.

I forgot to get a picture of the desk before we painted it, but here is the dresser in its original state….


In real life its a lot more orange and looked horribly cluttered with all our stuff on it.

So yeah, over the bank holiday, Jon painted it all! 🙂

This was a  bit of a mammoth task as we had to do it in the living room & it took over all the space & the kitchen for 5 days.(so we ate out a lot, which was awesome then, but has somewhat come back to haunt us now its the end of the month) Also we were idiots and bought the cheapest primer and undercoat all in one we could find in B&Q which meant it was quite drippy, so the finish isn’t perfect, & it took about 2 coats more than we were planning,

However, given it is our first real try at painting furniture, I am really pleased with the results…


Here they are back in situ without anything on them. Already they go so much better with our  bedroom.


and this is what we changed the doorknobs for. While I was immensely tempted by the gorgeous expensive mineral ones in Anthrapologie, we found these randomly in the clearance section of TKMaxx, six for a fiver, & I think they do fine.


& here they are with everything back on them. Obviously we need to work on that chair cushion, but it makes the room look so much more coherent and brighter! (due to a whopping great wardrobe in the middle of the room & the bed taking up much of the rest of the space, our bedroom is pretty impossible to photograph.)

So because of the painting i had to put my sewing machine away & kept it away for a couple of weeks, but its back now, & in the meantime I’ve finished my hat, which I have yet to photograph properly (mainly cuz it won’t stop raining 😦 ) This means I get a fun trip to Loop in Islington for wool for my next project (rubs hands together).

blackberries and diy

Haven’t posted in a couple of weeks as Jon has just had the week off work so have been horrendously busy.

Behind our block of flats is an overgrown patch of wasteland that used to be the carpark for the block before the council stopped maintaining it. We have lived here for 3 years and it has never been remotely useful for anything like that, and for most of the year I ignore it, except looking out the kitchen windows occasionally it is a lot prettier than a carpark would be.

However towards the end of august each year we go on an expedition into it because the entire patch of land is utterly covered in brambles, which means blackberries, lots of blackberries as no one else ever uses it.


Out of these we made blackberry gin and a blackberry and apple pie! 🙂


We got just over a litre of gin in total and the pie was yummy, although its a bit rustic looking as the sink blocked half way through what was meant to be our cooking evening, so after two hours of dismantling the u-bend I was too tired to make it pretty looking.

A couple of days later we were passing the station on our way for a walk and spotted there were a load of blackberry bushes hanging down from the viaduct, finishing just above head height, covered in blackberries and no one had had them yet!

So we popped home (its really not far from our house) and came back with a step ladder…..


This is Jon up the ladder picking the blackberries. I added a black border to the photo, but the light and the general graininess are genuine, I used no effects on this photo at all! 🙂

We used this second lot of blackberries to make sorbet, but it took a couple of days to freeze and then got half eaten pretty much immediately, so there was no chance to take photos!

This week whilst Jon has been off we have been doing a load of long term tidying and sorting jobs, and going to the paralympics.

Probably the most impressive job we managed was making over this chest of drawers….


It was Jons when he was a little boy, I have no idea how old it is, I suspect only 30 years or so, but it is reasonably solid construction pine. The problem was it had these really ugly wooden knobs, half of which had fallen off, making two of the drawers virtually unusable. The knobs were attached to big metal spikes that didn’t look to be coming out very easily, so we couldn’t just put some pretty crystal knobs from John Lewis in their place.

So about a year ago I found these antique/vintage square handles on ebay, bought them and have been waiting for the opportune moment to swap them over ever since.

It took us half an afternoon and all the next morning. Some of the metal spikes came out relatively easily, but 3 of them just wouldn’t and Jon ended up having to saw them off and file them bak flush with the wood so we could get the new handles over the top.

We gave it 3 coats of wax and putting the new handles on was really straight forward.


This is it afterwards, looking much better! 🙂


And this is the drawers back in situ in our bedroom, I think they look a lot nicer, and now we can actually access the bottom two drawers we’ve been able to have a good clothes tidy out.

Talking of clothes, I got two of the 3 garments I was intending to do last month finished, but have stalled completely on the third garment.

I am attempting to unpick, turn into a pattern and remake and old h&m cutsew I bought about 7 years ago that has been worn so much it is no longer black but grey and dropping to bits.it is taking a lot longer than I had anticipated, unpicking overlocked stitching is murder, and I am having to take notice of the construction as i am going along. But it is my first time trying to draft a pattern this way, so I am learning a lot from it, and if I get it right   I will have the most amazing pretty t-shirt blouses ever. However it is driving me up the wall and I really need a load of long sleeved tops for winter, so hopefully I will crack it soon!