Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Experimenting With Chalkola Chalk Markers - Chalk Markers

painted glass bowl ChalkOla Markers
Miseltoe chalk painted bauble
It’s weird, a couple of weeks, before I had even thought about returning to blogging, I got an e-mail from Chalkola asking if I would like to try their Chalk Markers. Well, what’s a girl to do, especially as this girl used to trail similar markers to add a certain je ne sais pas to school displays boards years ago when I went to work and I was curious to see what was new, and keen to experiment.
ChalkOla Chalk pensI was sent 2 packs of bullet tip pens one with 5.5mm nibs in 8 Earthy Colours and the other a pack of 10 – 3mm nibs in Party Colours
The instructions for using the  chalk markers for the very first time are clear and very easy to follow.
It would have been easy to just get out some black card and make a few simple tags for the first trail, but I decided to think outside the box and took the blue and purple markers from the Party Colour pack to fiddle fart on a pressed glass bon bon dish I found in an Evesham charity shop for £1.50.
IMG_9265All I did was simply follow the pattern on the reverse side of the dish and on the bottom of the stand.
IMG_9268I was really pleased with the result, I know it’s no great shakes on the creative front, but because the ink/chalk is not permanent, and washes off easily, I can chop and change the colours and add my own twiddly bits to match a room, theme etc. as the mood takes me, but always knowing that in the end I can revert back to the plain dish. Also, because I don’t have a great deal of storage I can just have a few versatile bowls or vases that I can paint over and over again for various occasions throughout the year Halloween, Christmas, Easter, etc. 
chalkOla painted christmas baubleI then thought I would try the sage green marker,  also from the Earthy Colours to “paint” some mistletoe. on a clear glass bauble, and what I really love is that if you make a mistake you simply wipe it off and start again.
The chalk ink in the pens flows beautifully and despite my shaky hands, for a first experiment, it turned out pretty well. When the ink was dry, I added a few tiny weeny flat backed pearls for the berries. 
I’ll be honest, I am not sure how durable the ink will be, it is definitely liable to scratch, but with gentle care and careful storage, I see no reason why the bauble couldn’t be used for a few years to come.
I think there is still much to explore and try with these pens, one, I want to see how Iris get’s on with them, I want to try them on wood and see what would happen if I used chalk paint finishing wax over the ink on wooden projects, so for these reasons, I will be keeping the pens on my desk for inspiration, so it’s a case of watch this space over the coming weeks and months as I find different materials and projects to work with them on.
To read find out more:- Chalk Markers
If you would like to try these pens for yourself there is a  20% flat discount on all Chalkola Products on Amazon.
Coupon Code - 20OFFSTR
And now for a bit more blurb….. what you can and can’t use the Chalkola markers on……. The markers can be used on non porous surfaces only, so it’s best to test a small area first before using them - they work best on chalkboards, whiteboards, glass, plastic and windows.
They do not work so well on porous surfaces because these surfaces tend to have small holes that can absorb the liquid chalk ink, which in turn means that it may be difficult to completely remove them when used.
The markers can be used on also be used chalkboard paint, however a lot of people have found it it is difficult to remove the chalk as the paint tends to make the surface porous and thus absorbs chalk ink.
Chalk markers as a medium, use high density chalk ink, so when using new pen for the first time it takes about 2 to 3 minutes to prime before using – once used the ink flows smoothly.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

My Lounge Area

I think I have managed to divide the main room, which runs across the whole length of the back of my flat, into four areas which all work pretty successfully; the lounge, dining area and kitchen plus the work/crafty area at the side of the kitchen that I shared with you the other day. It’s weird, when I am in each part it’s as if the other areas aren’t there, if that makes any sense and I achieved it without using any furniture as dividers, it just came together, leaving the room to feel open and light. 
Lounge Area So, this is the lounge area as it was when I had just moved in, with just an airbed, and stool!  I bought the white TV bench from the seller, as it was from the Ikea Hemnes range which I liked, but if I found it didn’t work it wouldn’t really matter, it was a sort of starting point. I had only seen the flat twice before I moved and that was only for about 15 minutes each time when it was piled high with so much stuff.  When the big day came I could barely remember what was where and just spent the first few hours  wandering from room to room, without a clue what I was going to do it it! 
Once I had gathered my nerve, the first thing I did was get the room painted in calico and white gloss, which was followed through to the rest of the rooms and quickly freshened the whole place up.
The Range Rose ChandalierI then decided to start at the top with the light fittings, choosing two cream coloured, rose chandeliers from The Range to go at each end of the room, my first “executive” d├ęcor decision, and from there, worked my way down and around, spending more hours measuring than I ever dreamed possible.
The cream carpet had to go and was quickly replaced throughout the flat by a lovely wooden oak floor, quickly followed by cream, linen effect blinds, fitted to the inside of the window to add depth and maximise light.
whole roomA humungous order was then duly placed with Ikea, enough to furnish the whole flat, plus a three seat corner sofa and footstool from DFS, something I had set my heart on years ago, but despite my long felt want, I had a couple of very restless nights worrying whether it would fit or not,  despite all my aforementioned hours of measuring.
lounge area DFS Shout Corner Sette and pouffeWhen it arrived all my worries were unfounded, it all fit, with plenty of room room to spare!
DFS Shout patchwork 3 seater corner unitTwo Hemnes sets of drawers were then put on either side of the sofa, up went two floating shelves and a mirror that originally came from the bathroom of The Castle, plus a standard lamp and a coupe of table lamps.
DFS Shout 3 seat corner unit PatchworkHowever, after about six weeks later I decided that I still had a bit of space to spare, without it looking too overcrowded.
DFS shout armchair patchworkDFS Shout Corner Unit
So, I ordered the Shout armchair to go with the sofa and footstool, which arrived last week and brings everything together.  I never dreamed it would all turn out so well.
I also had another floating shelf fitted over the TV, at first I wasn’t too sure about it, but now it’s like it has always been there.
original Ikea drawer knobcrystal knobs
There is one small touch I added to all the doors and drawers on all of the furniture, it had to be done! All the boring brown Ikea knobs had to go and were replaced by beautiful, sparkly glass knobs from Home Bargains, costing just £3.99 for four. The price is ridiculous, in the past I have spent triple that for just one knob (if you’ll pardon the expression), lets just say I bought copiously, when faced with all things glittery what’s this girl going to do?
DFS Shout Patchwork armchair and pouffe DFS shout armchair and pouffe
I have never put anything together like this before, to be honest The Duke always used to take the lead, as I never really had a clue, but I have to admit to feeling rather chuffed with myself!

Monday, 28 November 2016

Revisited/Revised Tiny Let It Snow Bottle Christmas Tree Decoration.

I was asked a month or so ago if I would be making any of my tiny bottle tree decorations, I wasn’t, but then thought why not?
I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas tiny bottle Christmas tree decoration 3The original version was made in 2014
tiny I'm dreaming of a white Christmas bottleBecause I had used up or let go of so much stuff, I had to change the original smaller metal snowflake for a large plastic version, the styrofoam balls for iridescent flakes (The Range) and the beads.
I'm dreaming of a white Christmas tiny bottle Christmas tree decorationI had also lost the original sheet of labels, so redid it, using a fancier, more flouncy font.  But the basic idea was still there only revised.
Tiny Christmas Bottle 3Tiny Christmas Bottle I'm Dreaming of a white christmas
The ornamental hanger is made using a silver, metal spacer bead with a tiny eye pin screwed into the cork.
Tiny Christmas Bottle
The bottles came from The Works - a pack of 6 costs £1, but I bought in bulk online which saved a considerable amount of money.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Retro 60’s 70s Genie Bottle Charity Shop Finds

retro 60's 70s genie bottlesI seem to have started a bit of a collection of 60s/70s genie bottles. It started when I was looking for bits and pieces for my bathroom (before I finally decided to go with decanters). I found the amber one first for £1.99 and then the other three followed in very quick succession, at equally wonderful prices.
genie bottle collectionAt the moment the shelf looks a little sparse, but perhaps one day it could look like the one above, however, that would mean an awful lot of very fortuitous finds, so far I have paid no more than £3 for any of them, but I have seen the prices they go for on e-bay, and I certainly can’t afford to pay that sort of money.
60s 70s Genie Bottle.60s 70s genie bottle
Finding a bottle with the top intact is also a bit of a find.
60s 70s Retro Genie BottleIMG_9065
Green and amber seem to be the most common colours, it’s the blue, red and purple ones that seem to command the highest, and so, out of reach prices. For me though, it’s the fun of the find, so I just need to be patient and keep my eyes peeled and when I have a bit more time I intend to do some more research to find out more about them, shapes, patterns etc.
Next Genie BottleThe funny thing is that almost as soon as my interest started I noticed this modern version on sale in Next, perhaps genie bottles are the next decor trend, I must ask Marc!

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Another Jewelled Mirror

This was the first crafty project I started about a month after I moved and will be a Christmas present for my stepmother Marcia.
Jewelled Mirror Old JewelleryI found the mirror base in one of my favourite Evesham charity shops, The Vale Wildlife Rescue Charity Shop, ( I must pop in there at least two/three times a week, there is always a quick turnover of stuff which is always interesting and the prices are always very reasonable, which is why I have been able to find and furnish my flat with so many bits and pieces, which I hope to show you in following posts.
jewelled mirror 2The mirror, which measures approximately 18ins x 14ins cost me just £1.50 and because of the finish I found that I didn’t have to spray paint it as I have done on some mirrors in the past.
Jewelled Mirror 1A lot of the old, broken jewellery used came from Marc a while ago, along with bits and pieces that I had before.  The pink, plastic roses came from elasticated Poundland bracelets, and whenever I see them I always buy 5 or 6 at a time.
jewelled mirror 3As per usual, I used E900 glue to stick on the broken jewellery and gems to the mirror frame.  It is a little on the expensive side, but it doesn’t help that I am so very heavy handed with it, however it sticks even the heaviest piece of jewellery with rock solid firmness.
IMG_9056jewelled embellished mirror 1
I estimate that the mirror took me about 6 to 7 hours to complete, it’s filling the little gaps that always seems to take the most time.
jewelled embellished mirrorjewelled mirror upcycle old jewellery
I need to start collecting jewels again with renewed vigour as I now want to make a couple more mirrors, one for my spare bedroom and another long, narrow one for over the bed in my bedroom, so several trips to various Primarks, Poundlands and charity shops are firmly on the cards.

Friday, 25 November 2016

The Grand Tour - My New Bathroom And It’s Charity Shop Finds

Moroccan Bathroom LightshadeThe biggest surprise for me when I viewed my flat for the first time was the fact that it had two bathrooms, well, a slight exaggeration, it has a main bathroom off the hall and a shower room to my bedroom.  I’ll be honest, as there is only me living here, in the perfect architect world, I might have sacrificed the shower room and half of the very roomy bathroom for a small box (craft) room, but that’s just being picky.
 morrocan bathroom tilesmeknes-tiles
Originally, I wanted to go mad (and to be honest, still do) and replace the ordinary, cream marble affect tiles with a whole array of Moroccan design tiles round the bath/shower area and above the sink.  But then, Lu the voice of reason (and an accountant) made me see sense, for the time being, at least, in pointing out that as there was nothing wrong with the tiles, the flat only being 6 years old, it would be spending money after good, especially when compared to the bathroom in her new house, (now thankfully replaced), which was quite frankly, a ***t hole!
Moroccan Light Shade The RangeSo, for now, I am restraining myself, and “making do” instead with just a Moroccan style lampshade from The Range, which was the very first thing I put in the room, after repainting the walls calico from the original white and replacing the cream carpet with a more sensible vinyl floor covering. Discovering that the shade cast beautiful colours and shapes on the ceiling and walls was just an accidental extra bonus.
Folding Shower ScreenThe shower rail and its curtain were then replaced by a folding shower screen, with having the babies staying over and having a bath, I thought it might be a bit safer than an ordinary flat glass screen.
Copper Bathroom MirrorWith that, I could start all the frou frou starting with purple towels and bathmat to pick out the purple in the aforementioned light shade (but, with all the new patterned towels now available, I am thinking NEXT, perhaps in a weak moment, if the colours were right, I might just have a re-jig)  and then lots and lots of glass shelves (from Argos It then became obvious that I needed a mirror but what? Next followed a wonderful Ulrika moment, the old, copper arts and crafts mirror belonged to my gran, I can still remember it in her house from when I was a child and always loved it. It was also one of the very few decorative items I bought from The Castle, as I wasn’t ready to give it up, however, I didn’t have a clue where it could possibly go.  But after trying it fitted and it went!!!  I was thrilled.  A theme was coming together all be it in a very haphazard way.
Aldi Copper Bathroom AccessoriesThen, very spookily Aldi, up the road, had a promotion of copper bathroom accessories, which I naturally I decided to go for, especially after comparing prices elsewhere online. They had a matching mini pedal bin which was also duly purchased. My only regret is not getting the loo roll holder too when I saw it, so at the moment I am still looking for a free standing one, should anyone see one.
Bathroom Decanter DisplayCharity Shop Decanters
But, what to put on all those shelves?  Well, Evesham has a wealth of charity shops and over the weeks I managed to collect all these, paying no more than £1.99 of any, which I then filled with a range of different coloured bubble baths.  If I see any more decanters that are more ornate or I like more, they can easily be replaced.
The tea-light holders are also The Range and give out a very romantic light when I choose to have a candlelit bath!
Ikea Ingolf StoolThe final touch was an Ingolf stool from Ikea, which can not only be used as place to sit or put your clothes on, but also as a table at the side of the bath, laden with treats when friends come to stay.
Bathroom TreatsSo, that’s my bathroom as it is for now …. but I am still not ruling out that this time next year, it might, just might, be retiled!  I always used to say “less is more”, but in this case perhaps “more could be even better”!

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Wooden Gift Parcel Tags.

I found these wooden parcel tags in Poundland in Wolverhampton (sadly, Evesham does not have a Poundshop of any description, so I have to get my fix as and when I can!)IMG_8983There are six tags in a pack, in two designs, three of each. They are of a really good, substantial quality and I would have been happy to pay double, if not more for them.  They are perfectly fine to use as they are, but you know me, if there is an opportunity to add a little extra fiddle fart I will.
Wooden Wrapped By Elves Tag with Jingle BellsThe tags measure approximately 3.5 ins x 2ins
wooden merry christmas tag I removed the original string from each tag and replaced it with a longer length of red and white bakers twine, to which I then added three jingle bells (The Works - £1 per pack).  On some I added small silver bells and on others a mix of larger red, gold and green.  Threading bakers twine is a bit fiddly as the colours sometimes untwine, but it’s worth it in the end. 
Top Tip - I used a darning needle to push the twine through the metal loop on the bell, trying to thread it through on it’s own was a nightmare!!!Crafts wooden Merry Christmas Tag with Jingle BellsTo add even more bling I glued a liberal smattering of gold coloured flat backed gems in between and around the stars already printed on the tags.  Just a couple of simple things that turned a plain and simple tag into something a little more special.