Make a matchbox trinket box

While I love getting my teeth stuck into bigger craft projects – I have a few on the go at the moment – there’s something surprisingly satisfying about quick projects that yield great effect with little effort.

Make a matchbox trinket box

So when Harveys Furniture sent me a few swatches from their sofas range with the challenge to use the fabric to craft a home accessory. I’m a sucker for little boxes so decided to quickly decorate a matchbox fit to hold the odd trinket. They have a fun quiz at the moment to find your “shape” with Sofas by You. I unsurprisingly got “comfort”!

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You’ll need:
A matchbox
A pair of pinking shears
Glue gun with glue stick
Fabric

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Stick the fabric to each side of the matchbox. Do the same on the other side.

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Cut off any excess with pinking shears and repeat on the uncovered side. Le voila! A cute, handy little box for storing pins, jewellery or any other little bits you want to give a sweet home to live.

Matchbox trinket box

Brought to you by Harveys Furniture.


Spring Shelfie: Getting set for Spring

I’ve mentioned before that I’m in the middle of giving the house an overhaul – for my sanity as much as anything else. We switched the girls’ room with the guest room and that’s made a huge difference to the amount of storage they have and freed up some much needed space in our own room.

Now I’m on a mission to massively declutter as I realise owning too much is affecting so many areas of our lives from money we waste to my daily stress levels. We’re literally suffering under a tyranny of “things”. So I’m being ruthless a room at a time and already it’s hugely changing the way I feel about our home.

The next job is to get through the mounting list of items that need to be repaired or upcycled. I’ve organised this in order of whatever is annoying me the most on a daily basis (handles that have fallen off, chipping paint, that kind of thing).

I’m also in the middle of re-organising shelves and walls while having a bit of fun styling them. I’ve been inspired by Oyster & Pearl to have a go at colour co-ordinating books and trying different layouts. I also love the way Owl and Accordion brings nature indoors with effortless style.

So it’s quite fitting to get in on Wayfair‘s Spring Shelfie challenge to crack on with waking up our home from a rather dreary winter. My “shelfie” above features a scatter frame set, this owl lamp and this pale blue ceramic jug from their collection.

I’ve also thrown in washed up coral I’ve collected from beaches and little pieces we’ve collected over the years. The lilies were a just because gift from Laurence, a real treat because we have a long-running joke about him never buying me flowers.

I can’t tell you it’s cheered me to rearrange a few shelves. A few more shelves, a few more things off the spring cleaning list and it just might feel Spring really is on its way.

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Items featured provided by Wayfair for the purpose of this post


Buy things you won’t throw away

I didn’t really go in for New Year’s resolutions this year. With a third baby on the way and continuing our home education journey, survival felt a reasonable enough goal.

However, I do have a few things I vaguely want to give a bit more attention this year. One is to “make” more. My parents gave me a sewing machine for Christmas and I’m looking forward to learning to use it. Picking up crochet again last year was a bit of a revelation.The other is to majorly declutter because the tyranny of stuff in our house (too much we don’t even use!) is doing my head in. And the last is where this post comes in. I want to buy things I won’t end up throwing away.

After trying everything we could last year to rehome a sofa that had become an eyesore, and failing, I finally accepted that we had to get the council to take it and that it would most likely end up in landfill. I was gutted about it but I’d tried dyeing it, it was too expensive and awkward to reupholster, I didn’t feel up to the job myself and no one, absolutely no one wanted it.

We’ve since been given another sofa (a sofa bed in fact) that will see us through the next few years and this time I’m trying to keep it in good enough nick to pass on to someone but eventually (read: when the kids are older), we probably will go looking at new sofas.

When we do, the principles I plan to apply relate to just about any big purchase you want to ensure won’t end up in landfill. Obviously they may not reasonably apply to everything.  However, there are a lot of things that we probably could spare throwing away with a little more thought from the outset. Before clicking through to PayPal or whacking out my debit card, here’s what I’ll be thinking about:

  • Is it built to last? What is it made of and how well is it made? How well are the materials and structure likely to last – bearing in mind we have kids and cats in the house?
  • Is it timeless? Am I likely to change my mind about it in years to come? How well will it accommodate changing needs?
  • How well does it clean? Is cleaning straightforward or will I need specialist products or services to do it?
  • Can I fix or upcycle it? Is it structured in such a way that it can be repaired if not by me then by a local craftsperson?
  • Does it come with a guarantee?
  • Can I pass it on? What would I need to do to make sure I can sell, donate or give it away? Is this realistic?

Over to you. What do you think about when making a big purchase? Do you have any other ideas for keeping big items out of landfill?

This is a collaborative post. See my disclosure for more details.
Photo from StockSnap.io


Building a pantry

This is an old project but one I’ve been wanting to share for a while.

One of the things I got excited about when we were buying our house was that there was a downstairs loo. I’ve lost track of how many people have assumed that that was because of toilet training.

Actually, I often feel a bit lazy about going all the way upstairs to the loo, if I’m honest! And when we have people staying with us for an extended period of time, a second toilet would be handy. Time to think about building that compost loo in the garden maybe?!

Anyhoo, said downstairs loo made a funny noise whenever we flushed it. Scary for any toddlers present (and maybe for me…). It progressively got worse.

Finally, we had a friend who’s a plumber around and found out that it actually wasn’t plumbed normally into the system but was a macerator toilet. Take a look at this Mumsnet thread if you want to know why that was a big deal (and read some stuff than cannot be unread).

The space sans loo

The space sans loo

Bye bye, loo. Our friend removed it for us and it henceforth became the place where we threw all the stuff. As in, you’d open it and risk an avalanche as well as lose sanity and years trying to find the simplest of things “stored” in there. After much frustration, a brilliant idea was born: we should turn the space into a pantry.

I was all for getting someone else to do it, eventually, but Laurence fancied the challenge. So he got pinning and purchasing. The girls and I went to his parents’ house for a day to leave him to it without distraction. And we came back to be so impressed by it all. A little paint on the floor but other than that, it’s pretty pro.

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I guess that gives us something in common with 70 per cent of UK homeowners who responded to the Wren Kitchens Home Wrenovation Survey saying that they or their partners would get involved in DIY. Although, perhaps I’m aging ahead of Laurence because, apparently, the older you get the more likely you are to hire someone to do the job! It’s a genuinely interesting read, by the way, especially if you own a house or are considering buying.

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We’ve a way to go in terms of actually organising the shelves of this pantry, but we’re already enjoying being able to find things again. It’s making baking and cooking that bit less stressful and more pleasurable. It’s especially satisfying for storing any bulk purchases now that we’ve set up an organic food buying group.

In collaboration with Wren Kitchens


A look around our playroom

Our house has a large reception room. It’s a living room that’s with an extension, essentially. The previous owners used the extension as their TV/sitting room and the rest of the space didn’t seem to have much of a focus. We decided to turn the extension into a playroom for the children. Over time, it’s taken a life of its own. I’m sure we’ll do much more with it yet but this is where I’ve done with it so far.

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A look around our playroom-5

The IKEA Kallax is a brilliant storage solution, particularly because of the brightly coloured Drona boxes that fit it. I’ve found that I really have to separate and categorise toys or Talitha just doesn’t play with them. Perhaps she feels as overwhelmed as I do, glancing a box full of goodness-knows-what.

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Witty Doodle sent us this Octopus canvas print to review and it’s so lovely. The shapes and colours are specifically meant to inspire babies, encouraging brain and vision development but both children seem quite taken with it.

It’s 40x40cm and clearly of high quality – a cheerful addition to this room. I may move it up to the girls’ bedroom at some point but, at the moment, we’re enjoying it here.

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A look around our playroom-8

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I’ve had an ongoing question of how to arrange the books so Talitha and Ophelia would be inspired to look at them independently. Not that Talitha needs much encouragement but lots of books were being ignored just stacked on a shelf.

Using a couple of the Drona boxes on the floor turned out to be a much more accessible solution, particularly with the floor cushions next to them. It feels like a little library.

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We’ve been doing a themed corner for a few weeks now. First we had Chinese New Year, then dinosaurs and now Easter. Talitha wants to replace it with fish next.


A room for two sisters

Ophelia is going to be one-year-old in a week and a half. I know. I can scarcely believe it either. Talitha has been desperate for her to move into her room like we said she would. Well, their room. Maybe she just wanted to put up the sweet name plaques my mother got them for their door.

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Ophelia has spent most of her evenings in arms but we recently started putting her in a travel cot in our room for some of that portion of the night before we all get into our bed. She’s easily disturbed now and a bit of a lump so it’s felt like time to get her to bed rather than just asleep at bedtime.

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We converted Talitha’s bed into a half bunk and moved her mattress onto the floor for Ophelia. Talitha has a new mattress Dormeo sent us to review, which she’s been thrilled with. It’s Memory Fresh single – memory foam and unbelievably comfortable.

Our bedtime routine often involves getting into bed with her, which used to be a real pain because the mattress she had before really wasn’t up to supporting an adult’s weight. Now we have even more of a problem than we already did of falling asleep while putting her to bed!

The only downside is that the single runs a bit smaller than expected. It doesn’t fit the bed perfectly, which isn’t a problem for us but it’s worth double-checking the measurements before you order, just in case. We’re happy with it otherwise.

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So far it’s working really well having Ophelia in a floor bed. It means that I can feed her to sleep and slip away without worrying she’ll crawl off the bed. When she wakes up she usually just stays sitting there, crying until I come to get her (Talitha’s a heavy and motivated sleeper now so this isn’t a problem).

If she does have a wander, it’s straight to the stair gate to make her complaint known. But we have an ear out so it’s not a problem anyway.

Sisters bedroom

At first I thought we’d have to put another set of drawers in this room to store both girls’ clothes but then I realised they just had too many clothes so we had a major cull. The cloth nappies live in the study, though.

This room is far from finished. We still haven’t worked out the perfect book storage solution and two of the walls are waiting for ideas. We’re having fun with it. Talitha loves taking her friends up there even though there aren’t really any toys here other than teddies!


Child’s chest of drawers makeover

I am so proud of having done this project by myself as I have been ridiculously practicality-challenged in the past. But this is my year for having a go at new things and I don’t think this is a poor start, if I do say so myself!

We got this chest of drawers from Freecycle four years ago when I was pregnant with Talitha and it’s been her chest of drawers ever since. But my, it’s bugged me. It’s in OK nick but the paint was chipping, the colour dull, the handles broken or falling off and it just did nothing for bringing her room together.

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I’m getting ready to make this a room for two (Ophelia still sleeps with us but she’ll start her night in there and we’re putting her stuff in there) so it seemed as good a time as any to give this chest of drawers some TLC.

I also took part in a blogger challenge over on the Laura Ashley blog (you can see what some of the other bloggers came up with here), where they sent me a pot of decorative furniture paint to re-love something with. It’s a chalk paint, pretty much. I’m so flipping happy with the outcome that I thought I’d share it here too.

First, I gave it a good clean and removed the old handles. Then I smacked on a couple of coats of Laura Ashley’s Decorative Furniture Paint in “Pail Amethyst”. The colour is so pretty and the paint was a breeze to work with.

I did the first coat with the kids awake and nearly lost my mind as Ophelia didn’t want to stay in the sling and Talitha hasn’t quite honed her furniture painting technique yet. Crazy mama.

I then cut out sweets and treats from Laura Ashley’s Ice Lollies PVC Coated Cotton Fabric and stuck them to the drawers with decoupage glue.

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I also added new wooden knobs and lined the insides of the drawers with Laura Ashley wallpaper. I used glue dots to secure the paper. I did consider painting the knobs but, actually, I like them as they are.

The only thing left to do is varnish. I considered not bothering but I think I’ll be too nervous about chips and so on if I don’t. All in all, it’s giving me the smiles and Talitha loves it too.
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