Friday, 30 March 2012

Bathroom Makeover

Today my friends, we will learn the delights of tile paint. When we arrived here, pretty much everywhere was green. Especially the bathroom. Although it was meticulously clean, the dismally dark green floor and walls had to go, but we could not afford to retile the entire room, so we thought we would brave the wonderful new world of novelty paint. And I'm pleased to say what a success it was! Two coats later and we now have to wear sunglasses whilst weeing, it's that bright and cheery in here.

We were bound by the inherited bathroom suite as we could not afford a refit, so instead we decided to brighten the room up with complimentary colours. We used bog standard (accidental pun - would you believe it?!) tile paint in white for the walls and rollered it on easily after a simple sugar water wash. But for the floor we chose an industrial floor paint that we found online. After buffing the original glazed ceramic tiles with a sander, we used the roller again and within 24 hours (yes, out came the bucket) it becomes pretty hardy and scratch resistant. We opted for three coats on the floor. Just in case.

The decor is made up of a few items we already had such as the rug and the mirrors, pound shop lanterns and thrifted glassware. I resprayed the mirror cabinets, painted the side of the bath and added our dark grey towels to tie in the floor. The funky curtain was salvaged and cut to size. For the finishing touches, I received a very kind thank you gift in the form of Next vouchers, so I decided to spend it on the waterproof canvasses above the bath to add a little colour to the room and on the new candle holders by the sink to match the mirrors. So if you've been toying with the idea, go for it - it's completely worth using the bucket for one day in your life.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Crafty DIY : Revamped Candle Tray

I recently found this little metal tray in a charity shop for £1, so of course, despite the fact the colours were not my thing, it still came home with me, because quite frankly, what a bargain. I thought it might be a little more versatile in white, so I spray painted it all over which took only two coats.

This month alone, it has been used as a nibbles tray, then to hold the port decanter (I know, posh right?) and glasses but as a more permanent use, I put some chunky church candles in the middle to make a new light feature. It looks amazing as the light dances through the holes along the rim, so I'll be looking out for a few more bargain trays to convert and dot around the house.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Recipe : Cheese & Bacon Loaf

Oh my goodness. I became so excited about this bread that I couldn't sleep until the other half arrived home and tasted the bread to concur that it was in fact the stuff legends are made of. This bread is off the scale. Tasty doesn't even cover it. The following morning, I did my morning run in record time just so that I could get to the kitchen to eat another slice for my breakfast. No word of a lie, if you like cheese and if you like bacon, this is too good.

The recipe is a mix of two recipes I found ages ago. It works wonders. If the loaf lasts more than 24 hours, you have achieved more than me. Actually, I chopped a few chunky slices and froze them down with my homemade cabbage, broccoli and blue cheese soup. Mmmmmm. Who says work day lunches have to be dull?

Friday, 23 March 2012

All Things Nautical

We were lucky enough to recently win tickets to Chatham's Historic Dockyard, a true gem of Medway. With a gated entrance and heavy security, this is the only part of Chatham that you can feel comfortable knowing that your wallet should still be with you when you leave. Only joshing. This riverside spot boasts three war ships (including a mean looking Destroyer and a cramped little sub for you to explore) and is set in beautiful historical grounds which are very popular for film sets. If you visit you might be able to recognise a few scenes from the new Sherlock Holmes flicks.

It's well worth stopping by (the pass lasts all year) if you enjoy your history, or your vehicles or simply clambering over things. Word of advice though get there early - we were first in and last out and still missed bits. Oh and the first and last photo... Cylon resurrection ship anyone? It was awesome - most people walk right on by Slip 3 thinking it doesn't look much, but this is definitely worthy of a thermos break to take it all in.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Crafty DIY : Laminated Lamp

I had an old base from a lava lamp that got lost through all the moves and I didn't want to throw it away because the lamp part still worked fine. I finally decided what to do with it. I laminated some fancy paper, rolled it up and popped it in the lamp base. It now gives out a beautiful, subtle light.

Please take note that you will need to use a VERY low wattage bulb for this project, your best option is an LED bulb (like the ones sold in Ikea) which gives out very little heat. I found this out the hard way after the room became distinctly smoky - 40 watt bulbs are a definate no no.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Crafty DIY : Hidden Office Under the Stairs

The space under the stairs is pretty special because it is usually one of those areas that you have no idea what to do with it. The classic cupboard is the obvious choice - useful yet awkward. The teeny tiny bathroom - handy but teeny tiny. The Wendy House - awesome! But without kids you can't really warrant it. Seeing as our hollow stairwell was in the games room, we chose the next best thing - a hidden office (office sounds quite dull though really - play station sounds better, entertainment hub maybe, secret stair centre, anyway...), hidden from sight with a curtain handmade by the other half's very talented mum.

The other half triumphantly cut a piece of leftover kitchen worktop to size and mounted it on the wall with a wooden baton on each side. Populate with all your worldly wonders such as home built pc (too geeky?), Ebay rescue monitors and home-made light feature (LED fairy lights stuffed into a tall jug). Even customise your desktop by taking a photo of colour coordinated wallpaper or fabric and set the image as your desktop background. Cute cat hiding underneath completely optional.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Crafty DIY : Fairy Lights Hoop

I know, I know. Another fairy lights DIY. I literally cannot get enough! You may remember my heart light feature here, made from chicken wire and fairy lights. I love it so much (although it is temporarily out of action after the rabbit escaped upstairs and mistook the delicate wires for hay - pesky rabbit) that I wanted to create another shape - this time a circle for our hallway (please try to ignore the textured wallpaper, facing the steamer again is just too much for us right now).

On a recent trip to the supermarket, whilst making my usual stop in the 'outdoor living' aisle, that trusty light bulb made an appearance as I tried out my skills with a child's hula hoop. The hula hooping didn't last quite as long as I had hoped, shattering my flexibility self-delusions, but the hoop came home with me anyway as it was perfect for this project.

The hoop cost £1.99, the fairy lights were from a pound store several Christmas' back (a few bulbs need replacing though!) and the white spray paint was already hanging out at home. First you will need to remove the plug so that the lights are in one long string, instead of a loop. Next wrap the lights around the hula hoop, taping the wire securely as you go. Then simply spray paint the whole thing whatever colour you fancy (remember to put little tabs of sticky tape over the bulbs before you do and remove them afterwards). Rewire your plug and secure to the wall. I taped and covered the dangling wires in ribbon to throw the rabbit off the scent. So far, so good.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Crafty DIY : Slate Tile Platter

Natural slate is such a beautiful material, a real stunner and a little bit posh too. But slate platters and place mats are usually quite expensive, so my solution? Nip down to your local DIY store (in this case Wickes) and purchase a single floor tile from the natural slate selection, which you can buy for samples. And within a few moments you can have yourself a rather fancy plate for your nibbles.

This tile cost me a mere £2, simply add stick on felt tabs to the bottom to stop it scratching your surfaces and weather it with a coat of olive oil to hide your oily food residues say from that scrummy slice of smelly cheese or that pesky little olive that keeps getting away. 

The glass bowls used here are recycled pud ramekins donated to me by an old friend - which incidentally are so useful, think individual ginger cheesecakes (I will be posting that tasty recipe one day), mini loaves of bread and of course homemade chocolate mousse (Leila - if you're reading this, I think it's safe to say that the world definately needs to know that recipe). Enjoy your fancy serving plate, nobody need know it's a floor tile, tell them it's designer!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Crafty DIY : Decorated Cake Cover

Happy Monday all! My mind this week turns to all things birthday with the other half's big day due sometime this week, which may or may not be accompanied by a very exciting parcel. So what better craft to kick off the Birthday Week than a cake cover? This was super-duper easy. I bought a cheap mesh cake cover from Ikea and spray painted it dark silver to start with. Then I found a cheap sprig of fake mini roses from a craft shop and removed each bloom and leaf, do this carefully so as to keep about 3-5mm of the stem intact.

Next I used a glue gun to attach the flowers and leaves. One by one, add a little drop of glue in equally spaced spots on the cover and poke through the blooms and the leaves. If the stem is too big for the holes, simply cut it down with a pair of scissors. Remember to do this project with newspaper underneath to catch any pesky glue drips. Use your cover for condiments outside in the summer, or cake at your next tea party or even a cheerful way to cover food whilst it defrosts.