Category Archives: upcycling

Gafni -The guy who puts the cycling into recycling

Isn’t this nifty?

Appearantly it will hit the marked next year and retail for $60-90.



I made this skirt, after being inspired by the picture from the previous post and seeing ruffles on everything out there in blogland.

I wanted it to be classical and high waisted with a girly twist (i.e. the ruffles on the classical tailored skirt) and I used a remnant of a wool blend. It would probably have been better in a slightly stretchy fabric, but this was what I had lying around.

I know it is nowhere near perfect, but out of the many things I have sewn for myself, I think this is the one that I have already gotten the most wear out of.

The blouse is made of recycled silk and recycled bow ties. The little “rosettes” are the actual ties rolled up and stitched onto the top. I made it for my part of this project.

Star Wars Themed Wardrobe (On a Shoestring as Usual)

I promised to post about how I’d painted the Star Wars image onto my son’s wardrobe. -I should really stop doing that… promising to post about something specific. It leaves me with no desire whatsoever to then post about it:-) In any case, here is how I did it. I’ve since been asked about a million times, by people much smarter than me, whether I projected the image onto the wardrobe and traced it from that… Well I guess that’s what a clever person in possesion of a projector would do… but appearantly I am neither of those things and so instead I did this:

This is the image I used. Now remember those drawing books we had as children, where you had one image with a grid of squares across it and then you had a larger area with larger blank squares and you had to enlarge the image, using the squares as a guide? -Well I used to find them very uninspiring and always skipped those exercises. However, for this is worked well. I used a piece of tracing paper (actually I’d run out and used baking parchment!), that I placed on top of my son’s Star Wars folder. I divided the tracing paper into squares of 1 cm each. I then figured out how much larger I wanted the image on the wardrobe door and as far as I remember, the squares I drew on there were 15 cm (maybe 10…?) The all I had to do was trace the image, one square at a time, being careful for the lines to start, end and slope exactly how they did on the smaller image.

Here’s how it looked when I’d finished: I didn’t bother too much about shading at this stage, it was really only a line drawing.

Next, I painted it, using acrylic paints. The trick here is to start with the background and also, use the lighter colours first, adding the darker shades for shadows and texture later.

Also, remember to prepare the surface to be painted sufficiently first. It would be such a shame, if the paint chips off too soon. So sand it down and paint with a primer first.

Another tip: Let the children help, but withOUT paint…

Some other things we did in my son’s Star Wars themed room included these pictures, which we printed out in size A3 and mounted in the super cheap IKEA frames, which we’d painted silver on the front (all of them) and each a different accent colour on the sides.

My son’s favourite thing about his new room turned out to be this alarm clock, which counts down from ten and lauches the rocket. It turned out to be my favourite too, as he now gets himself up in the morning!

I’d love to see some of your painted furniture or Star Wars themes kids’ rooms too, so please feel free to leave a link!

Deconstruction Hopefully Followed by Construction

This is what our dining table and chairs look(ed) like:

The table is a hand-me-down and the chairs we bought off some friends ten years ago, when we were newly-weds. It doesn’t go with the style of our other furniture at all and needless to say, I’ve been wanting a new set for a while.

My dream wish list would look like this:

  • Oval shaped table or at least rounded corners
  • extendable
  • sinple treste style legs preferably these
  • Gorgeous Eames chairs in a few different colours

The only problem with that is, we only have one income and I don’t plan on selling one of my children or any of my vital organs to acchieve the look I’m after. So as usual, the options are to live with what we’ve got or compromise somewhere. And so this is what I’ve been up to:

I was a bit nearvous about rounding the corners myself, and they are not perfect, but after some serious sanding, I am happy with them (hopefully they will still look ok, after I paint it too…)

I was debating whether to paint it white or shiny black and had actually settled on black, but since our living room is quite small and we already have a couple of dark pieces of furniture, I’ve changed my mind. Unfortunately it means returning the cheap compromise IKEA trestles and getting the white ones, so the project will take a little longer than planned, but it’s ok, we still have the duck egg blue dining table in the kitchen we can squeze around:-)

For the chairs I have a colourful upcycling idea in mind…

Ps. after some encouragement from my dad, I’ve successfully replaced a broken tile in our kitchen floor! I can’t tell you how proud of this I am. I admire it like a work of art, everytime I walk past lol.

Candy Coloured Furniture

As I’ve mentioned before, most of our furniture is recycled and painted. Our kitchen units too are the original units with a coat (okay about ten coats, as they were really dark and are now white!) of paint and new knobs. I wanted to have a small dinig table and a couple of chairs in the kitchen as there wasn’t the space for a large one, but I like the kids to be able to do their homework out there while I cook dinner. so I bought this set second hand and painted them with some leftover wood paint and they turned out like this. I can’t wait to accessorise my kitchen now:-) I’be been thinking bunting ever since I saw those colours together.

Star Wars Themed Boy’s Bedroom

I knew posting would be sparse over the Summer, but happily, I’ve been finishing some projects (and I was beginning to think I only ever started them…). Nothing beats the feeling of finishing something, right?

I finished my son’s wardrobe doors the other day. He needed a wardrobe and we had a really old one we’d pulled out of my daughter’s room when we moved in. We’d stored it in the garage ever since and the door was discoloured and not very nice. He wanted a Star Wars themed bedroom, so I thought I’d paint a Star Wars motif on the doors. This is how they turned out (sorry, iphone pics again…) Once we hang the doors, I’ll post a better picture and also a tutorial in case someone else wants to paint a really big picture in a kids’ bedroom or just some tips on painting furniture.

This is the main door:

-and this is the top box. I over-lapped the image, to tie the two together.  I finished off by giving both a coat of clear varnish as they are in the room of a six yeal old and are likely to take a beating…

Accessorising Our Walls

We are finally getting to grips with furnishing our living room. Let me tell you, it hasn’t exactly been an instant make-over(!)

Firstly we divided the living room into two rooms as we needed an extra bedroom, so my husband learned how to put up a studwall (I told you he’s wonderful!) After that, we obviously had to repaper the walls etc. Also, I knew exactly what kind of sofa I wanted and it wasn’t the cheapest kind around, but as you may have realised by now, we’re kind of cheepscates… So after much searching I found an old secondhand sofa the shape I wanted, very cheaply and reupholstered it in a neutral fabric (it used to be baby blue and very dirty). Long before we had the sofa sorted, I’d bought these Habitat cushions, that basically are dictating the colour scheme of the living room.

We have the artwork and pictures up everywhere, apart from over the sofa. I am thinking we’ll have a collection of prints in black frames and I’ve been looking on Etsy for things to fill them with. The thing I like about Etsy, is that you can get original art at very reasonable prices -my kind of thing exactly:-)

Here are some of my favourites: 

These first ones are from the shop The Big Harumph and are all letterpress prints, block prints and linoleum prints. I love the graphic quality and boldness of the prints as well as the quotes.PRINT - Antler bird man w/ thermos

PRINT - Today is the day BRIGHT YELLOW BLOCK PRINT linocut 8x10

PRINT - Hello.  Also I love you MEDIUM GREY linocut 8X10

PRINT - Jellyfish BLACK LINOCUT silhouette marine animal

This one is a limited edition print of a watercolour by Tim Sebright called “Sometimes I Act Like Myself”.Sometimes I Act Like Myself - 11 x 14 - limited edition print

Ooh ooh, but let me show you another mouthwatering favourite of mine:

These are by Tracy Melton of Focuslineart, a full time artist based in Knoxville, TN. I think the wooden discs would look great grouped over our sofa. Unfortunately, they might be a bit out of our budget. But aren’t they fantastic? They’re hollowed out on the back, so they’ll hang nice and flat on the wall.

Large Grouping of Mid Century Modern Tree Ring Paintings by Tracy Melton