You’ve Been Framed! (Frame Wall Part 2)

So it’s official!… I have 14 frames sitting on the wall above my sofa and looking absolutely gorgeous.

After having talked about it a long time (and having thought about it even longer), I finally got time this weekend – after J’s parents came and visited the flat on the Saturday afternoon – to get up the courage to knock some (small!) holes in the wall for the frames.  To make it easier for myself, I laid out the frames on the floor first to arrange them in the pattern I thought would be best, and then cut templates of each of the frames out of scrap paper (a tip that I picked up from Young House Love on their post about frame walls here).

For those who didn’t read Part 1 of the Frame Wall adventure, this picture below is kind of my inspiration – a nice jumble of different frames which match in colour, but are a mismatched style of new and old (I got three of the frames on the wall for a total of £5 in a charity shop in Monmouth all those months ago on my day trip… Others I picked up cheaply from eBay and IKEA).

The wall above the sofa has always looked incredibly bare, as it’s a very long wall, not broken up by any tall furniture, and stretches from the kitchen area to the window.  The frame was was designed to split the spaces up a little more and make the living room section of the large room feel more cosy (which the curtains – more about that later – have certainly helped with as well).

One reason why I’d been putting it off was the worry that I’d need to drill so many holes in one wall in my rented flat… However, when J’s dad looked at the wall, he pointed out we could use these nifty little picture hanging hooks (below), as they can hold quite a lot of weight, but don’t damage the wall quite so much as a big screw:

And so J and I thought we might as well give it a bash and see whether they worked… So far, so good…

The templates took a while to cut out, but the time spent on them definitely paid off when putting the picture hooks in the wall and  hanging the frames.  To make it easier when hanging the frames, I labelled the templates with the corresponding pictures in the frames, to make it a lot less confusing when hanging them all on the wall…

Once we attached the picture hooks on the wall, we replaced the paper on the hook, and until all the hooks were put into the wall (due to a liiiittle mishap that happened early on when we had hung one frame on the wall, which promptly fell off when we began hammering another picture hook in above it.. oops!).  Here’s the finished frames on the wall after all the hooks were in place.

(and yes, you can flip between the two pictures above and see a couple of different positions of frames between the two (specifically the bottom right where i switched the violin frame and the 4-square frame around, and bottom left corner where I flipped the A4 frame from portrait to landscape).  The chalkboard has a charming (!) picture of a cat on it, drawn by J, and the bottom left A4 frame is actually wrapping paper that J’s mum wrapped a housewarming present in.  The central frame is a pencil drawing that I bought in Venice… and the ‘Home Sweet Home’ picture is actually an advertising flyer that I was going to throw away in work, but thought it may look nice in a frame at home.. (how right I was!)

And so before the big reveal of the new improved wall, here’s a reminder of what the wall above the sofa used to look like:

Here’s what the wall looks like now…

What do you all think?…. Is this something that you’ve seen in magazines and want to replicate yourself?…

Let me know in the comments below!


Welcome To The Family

Say hello to my newest additions of spray paint…! (The matt red, matt black and matt white spray paints).  They join my big silver spray paint in a big old happy family that will sit in my craft supplies and appear from time to time probably quite often.

 One friend joked half-seriously that come January, they’d have to pry the spray paint out of my clutching hands, but I’m sure I’m not that far gone with it yet (note to that particular friend – You.. Just… Try…it!). Me and spray paint = match made in craft heaven. Easy to use, relatively no mess (if you prepare and put protective bags over surfaces etc first), and a nice clean, professional-looking finish. What more could a girl / craft-obsessive nutcase want?!

Here’s a sneak peek at what I used the sprays for:

Also, the red and white spray paints will be being used in an upcoming Christmas project – keep an eye out for it!

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Christmas Part 3: Christmas Tree and Heart Banner

The Christmas decoration preparation is well under way, and everything has been coming together nicely.  I’m planning on baking my Christmas cake later this week (recipe to follow), and mince pies the week following.

This week though, I’ve been doing some more crafting with the left over felt from my christmas tree tree decorations (there seems to be too many ‘trees’ in that sentence, but it does make sense…).  I thought I’d use that alcove space above the television in the living room to display more festive decorations than the normal paper bunting that adorns that particular corner of the room.  Whilst the paper bunting is pretty, I thought it would be nice to make the most of all the felt and christmas fabric that I had to hand, and produce something more festive for the flat.

This project was a little more time consuming due to the amount of sewing I did (I had to do all of it by hand as I do not own a sewing machine!).  I spent around three evenings in front of the TV cutting out the shapes and sewing them all together, but it would be a lot quicker if you used a sewing machine (and perhaps a little tidier too).

First of all, I drew a template for a heart onto paper and cut it out.  I then drew around that template and cut out a smaller heart from the new (second) template.  Basically you end up with two templates, one about 1cm smaller around the edges than the other.

Once these templates were cut out, I used the larger template to draw around on the red piece of felt, to create the felt heart backing.

I then cut the hearts out carefully, and placed them to one side.

I then used the smaller heart template to trace around onto the back of the christmas fabric (I chose to use a red gingham material for the hearts, and a holly fabric for the christmas trees).  The reason why I traced onto the back of the fabric was so that no pen would show through once I cut out the shapes.

Once I’d traced enough smaller heart shapes, I cut them out, and put them aside with the felt hearts.

Next, I pinned one small fabric heart to the middle of a felt heart (there should be about 1cm-ish space between the edges of the small and large heart shapes).  I then sewed carefully around the edge of the fabric, to secure it onto the felt.  I chose not to hem the fabric first, as I quite like the effect of frayed fabric, which will probably occur quite slowly due to me packaging them carefully and not really stressing the fabric in any way.

From here on, it was a bit like a factory line, pionning small heart on big heart, sewing up, placing to one side, and repeat with new fabric shapes….

I then repeated the process with a christmas tree template to create the christmas trees.

Once I had all my shapes completed and sewn up, I measured the lengths of ribbon needed for the alcove, chopped and tied loops in each end to hang over the hooks in the wall.

I then got my packet of mini pegs out, and carefully pegged the shaped to the ribbon, making sure that the first shape was pegged first, and put in the middle of ribbon (and so then worked outwards on each side from the central shape).

I liked the effect of alternating the shapes, but this could have been arranged differently.  You could have all trees on one ribbon, and all hearts on the other.  The beauty of this garland is that it is easily interchangeable due to the pegs.  I’ll probably get the garland out again in February, but just use the hearts, for a Valentine’s Day decoration… Next year I may make stars or snowflake shapes, which can easily be added to the garland, or could replace the existing shapes.

Cost of Christmas Tree and Heart Garland:

Red and green felt: free (already owned, and used for christmas tree decorations)

Ribbon: free (already owned)

Christmas fabric (holly): 32p (for 1/8 of a ‘fat quarter’ that was used)

Christmas fabric (gingham):  23p (for 1/8 of a ‘fat quarter’ that was used)

mini pegs: free (already owned)

Total = 55p

Swingin’ on the Curtains

So… before posting some more Christmas preparations next week, I thought I’d blog about something else housey for a bit…So here we go!

I’ve finally bought curtains (hurray!).  It took me much longer than I initially thought it would, due to me being ridiculously indecisive as to whether to go for ready-made curtains or whether it would be cheaper to buy fabric and make them myself (or rather, ask a favour of a friend who owns a sewing machine to make them for me!).

The first place I looked at was John Lewis, just because their haberdashery is rather extensive, and they have a great choice of fabric and curtains online as well.  However, the downside of this is that John Lewis is a rather expensive department store, and their price of curtains reflects this, which was disappointing, as I rather liked these ones *sigh*.  It really doesn’t help that I need the largest curtain size – 90in wide x 90in high.

I then continued to search for fabric (which would have been pretty pricey considering I needed about 3m x 3m of fabric for each window), which meant that at £10 – £24 per metre, and around 9m worth of fabric, came to a ridiculous £90 – £216 per pair of curtains.  Even the lower price was more than I was prepared to pay for fabric, as I knew I still needed to buy blackout thermal material to sew on the back of the fabric in order to keep the drafts out… The whole point of the curtains in the first place – apart from the absolute dire need to replace the hideous office blinds in the living room with something more pretty and homely – was to hinder the drafts that will be inevitably be coming sneakily through the single-glazed windows (ah the joys and tribulations of living in a listed building!).

After trying desperately to find pretty, functional, plus affordable fabrics, I resigned myself to having to find ready-made curtains again… So over a month after I first began looking for curtains, I finally came across Terry’s Fabrics (site here), which had a sale on several of their ready-made curtains.

I had decided by this point that I wanted to find a curtain fabric for the living room that would be able to fit with any future scheme that I may choose (currently it’s apple green and grey), so I wanted a light curtain with a neutral pattern on it which would stand out but would fit with anything…  And then I came across these beauties:

And at only £54.90 for the living room curtains (less than half the amount I’d found elsewhere AND on sale, down from £64.99), it was very easy to say yes.  YES!!!

I also managed to find the curtains for the bedroom here too.  I wanted a darker colour for that room, which would both help with keeping the room dark in the daytime if I needed it to be (a light bedroom is a nightmare when a migraine rears it’s ugly painful head), but would warm the room and make it feel cozy and comforting too.  I ended up going with one of my favourite colours… purple.

They’re a little darker in real life, which suits me very well, as I was afraid they’d be too bright, but they’ll fit perfectly with my purple / turquoise bedroom.  Especially at a fabulously cheap £35.50 (down from £39.99 – not as big a price drop as the others, but still enough to make me happy).

Cost of curtains:

Living room curtains:  £54.90

Blackout lining:  £25.50

Total for curtain material =   £80.40

Bedroom curtains:  £35.50

Blackout linings for curtains x 2 = £21.50

Total for curtain material = £57.00

Although it may still look a bit pricey, the thermal blackout material is well worth the cost, as it’s going to stop drafts and means – hopefully – that I will have to switch the heating on less through the winter (which means less freezing toes and a less grumpy cold Sarah!).

I’ll be posting again in a week or so about the finished look – once I’ve managed to climb up a ladder and work out how to attached curtain tracks to the windows… That’s this weekend’s job… Let’s hope I don’t have any accidents with drills and hammers and ladders, eh?!

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Oh, and for those link-happy people, the John Lewis ‘Mayflower Leaves’ curtains can be found here, and the final curtains (‘Oriana Silver’) I bought from Terry’s Fabrics can be found here.  The ‘Java’ curtains that I chose for the bedroom can also be found here (also bought from Terry’s Fabrics).

Christmas Part 2: Cute Christmas Trees

So… Onto the second preparation post for Christmas… I have bought basic green and silver baubles for my non-existant christmas tree (I have yet to buy one… I’m putting it off for now), but wanted to create some handmade ornaments that I could keep for years and re-use, and remember my first Christmas time in my own flat.

Felt Christmas Tree Decoration

Unfortunately I only took one picture of the finished decoration (I completely forgot to take pictures along the way… Oops!).

What you’ll need to make these cute decorations:

small buttons x 3 (for each tree)

dark green felt

red ribbon

contrasting colour of wool / thick thread


Step 1:  Cut out two identical christmas tree shapes out of the felt (I used a template that I’d made to ensure that each tree cutout was absolutely identical).

Step 2:  Take one tree cutout and sew the loop of red ribbon securely on to the top of the tree, so that we can hang the decoration up (the ends of the ribbon will be completely hidden once the tree is all sewn up!).

Step 3:  Take the other tree cutout and sew the buttons on the front of it carefully, to give the effect of baubles.

Step 4:  Carefully line up the two cutouts (the one with the ribbon on the bottom, with the side with the ribbon sewn on faceing upwards, and then the other with the buttons also facing upwards).  Pin the two pieces of material together – this helps keep it all aligned once we start sewing it all up.

Step 5:  Start sewing along the edges of the tree, making sure to leave a couple of milimetres of felt between the edge and the sewing line (this allows for the felt to tear / fray slightly).  Sew up the edges, but leave one edge free for now (I left the top edge open).

Step 6:  Stuff the wadding through the small opening left in the felt pouch, until you are happy with the paddedness of the tree  (don’t ask me… I couldn’t think of a better word at the time.. blame it on my lack of energy, yeah?) .

Step 7:  Sew up the final edge and finish off by tying the ends of wool together carefully behind the ribbon, and cutting off the excess wool / thread close to the knot.

Ta-da, now you have a cute little christmas tree decoration!

I had a little production line going (I cut out all the tree shapes first, then sewed on all the buttons, then sewed up all the trees, and then stuffed the wadding inside…).  I think each tree probably took me about 15 – 20 mins to make, and I was able to watch TV whilst I was making them, so it’s a nice winter evening craft to do whilst all cosied up on the sofa!

Christmas Part 1: Candles and Cones

I’ve been super excited about Christmas since the beginning of November, mostly due to the fact that now I’ve got my own place, I can design my own type of Christmas this year (though I’ll be going back to my family for the actual Christmas eve – Boxing day festivities).  I’ve always loved Christmas… Growing up living with both my parents and my grandparents together meant that I got to experience different styles of Christmas; I love the mis-matchedness and the comfy collection of my grandparents’ decorations, which have been collected of the years and are so colourful and beautiful.  My parents on the other hand have a colour-scheme for Christmas, which is classic and timeless.  I like both styles, and wanted this year to bring some elements of both those Christmases and meld it with some homemade rustic-style ideas of my own that I wanted to do.

So, I’ve bought a few basic christmas decorations – one Christmas-themed bowl, some fairy lights (x 2), and some silver baubles.  I’ll be adding to these by creating my own decorations, on the cheap, to create a mismatched, pretty Christmas of my own.

I’ve been busy crafting away the last few days, and have a few Christmassy crafty treats in store for you readers!  This is the first of them… (and one which is easy enough for anyone to do, and only take about 10 minutes).

Christmas Pillar Candle

To make this project, I used the following:

pillar candle (free – already owned)

green felt (free – leftovers from another Christmas project – I’ll share this with you soon!)

red ribbon (free – already owned)

silver spray paint (free – already owned…  and I’ll be using this again in other Christmas projects!)

pine cones (free – picked up on my trip to the park, seen here)

silver tray (free – already owned)

superglue (free – already owned)

First of all, I measured the width of felt I wanted to go around the candle, and then measured again to make sure that there would be a small overlap between the two ends to be able to glue it down.  I dabbed a little superglue to one end of the felt to secure it to the candle, then wrapped the felt around the candle, carefully making sure that it was straight, then glued the other end of the felt to the first end.

I repeated this process with the red gingham fabric, only the fabric was 2cm narrower in width (to allow for 1cm of the felt to show either side of the fabric once on the candle).

To finish off the candle and to keep everything place that little bit more, I tied a red ribbon around the material.

To make the pine cones, I simply laid them out on a bin liner in my kitchen, opened the window (got to make sure you spray paint in a well-ventilated area guys!  The fumes are pretty stinky!), then one side of the cones, rolled them over carefully, and sprayed all the others until each pine cone was covered completely in the silver spray paint.

Once these were dry, I placed the candle on the silver tray, and placed the pine cones around it.  Ta-da! Super easy and super cheap (well… make that FREE!).

I’m looking forward to placing this on my bookcase and changing up the display on there once December hits! (only three more weeks… I’ve tried so hard not to sing too many Christmas songs yet… middle of November is still a tad early, but I can’t help but be very much in a holiday mood from making all these decorations!)

Twigs and Trees

This weekend I went for a walk in the park to find some old dead and discarded branches that I can use for my Christmas twigs (I’m planning on spray painting them silver and wrapping fairy lights around them = much cheaper than buying the pre-sprayed branched in shops, hurray!).  It was a fantastic Autumn day, cold enough to feel like Winter was looming now, especially with the chilly wind and the fact that it gets dark so quickly nowadays.

I’m hoping to spray paint the branches this coming weekend (I’ve yet to decide on whether to tape down bin liners to the floor in my flat and do it indoors, or to chance it and try and do it in the car-parky area behind my flat…  Thoughts anyone??)

Before I spray the twigs however, I’ve got some major chopping of branches to do (it sounds worse than it is.. I just need to snap some of the smaller twigs off the main branches so that the finished twig-tree doesn’t look too cluttered!).