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How to make knitted cushions from old jumpers

Chunky knitted cusions create a cosy atmosphere in any home, but can cost a small fortune in high street stores… Follow these simple instructions to turn an old jumper (or inexpensive charity shop purchase) into a cushion cover, for next to nothing!

  • Cut along the side seams of the jumper, up through the arms and shoulder seams to separate the front and back.
  • Mark out the cushion front on one piece, adding a seam allowance of approximately 1.5cms.
  • Before cutting, run a line of machine stitching just inside of the cutting line to stop the jumper knit unraveling when it is cut.
  • Using the other piece of the jumper, mark out two cushion back pieces (including a seam allowance) which are big enough to overlap each other to form an envelope edge. Use the bottom ribbed hem of the jumper for the outer flap as this will create a neatly finished envelope edge.
  • Cut out the three pieces and pin together, right sides facing. Machine through all the layers around all four edges of the cushion.
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    Use a very shallow zigzag stitch instead of a straight line as it allows the knit to stretch a little.

  • Turn right side out.
  • Use jumper off cuts to make a loop which attaches to the inside centre edge of the envelope back and meets with a decorative button hand-sewn to the outer side to close the cushion back – The image above shows the back of the cushion.
  • Alternatively, if you use a cardigan, the buttoned front can make the opening of your cushion with ready-made buttons and buttonholes.
  • Insert a cushion pad.

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How to Stencil a Stool

A paper doily makes an ideal stencil for upcycling Firstpharmacyuk.com a piece of furniture.

You will need:

  • Stool
  • Sandpaper
  • Water based eggshell paints
  • Paintbrush
  • Paper doily
  • Stencil brush or sponge
  1. First, lightly sand the stool to remove any lacquer or varnish
  2. Paint the stool legs, side and underneath the seat with two coats of blue water based eggshell paint (leaving to dry in between coats).
  3. Once dry, then paint the top of the seat with two coats and leave to dry.
  4. Place a paper doily in the centre of the stool (you may wish to secure with non-tacky tape to hold it in place and make this part of the process easier).
  5. Dab contrasting colour paint (I used white) over the doily using a flat end stencil brush or a sponge.
  6. Carefully peel away the doily to reveal the pattern beneath.
  7. Leave to dry. You may wish to add a coat of clear matt varnish to seal and protect for a durable finish.

TOP TIP – Stencil a Cushion or a Tote Bag

Stencil onto material using the same method with fabric paint, to create tote bags or cushion covers…

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How to Make Fabric Covered Notebooks

How to Make your Own Faric Notebook

Beautiful, fabric-covered notebooks are perfect gifts because they can be used as address books, diaries, scrapbooks, or places to write down favourite poems or quotations. Covered notebooks are expensive to buy but you can make them for next to nothing using plain notebooks and scraps of fabric. Old wallpaper could also be used instead of fabric. However, if the original notebook cover is dark or heavily patterned, make sure your fabric is thick enough that the original cover won’t show through. Envelopes glued inside will hold receipts or mementos, while ribbons, tape, or leather strings can be used to tie the notebooks closed.

What You Will Need

  • Iron and spray starch
  • Fabric such as linen
  • Notebook
  • Pencil and ruler
  • Scissors
  • 1in- (2.5cm-) wide double-sided tape
  • Needle and sewing thread
  • Button, ribbon, and large round sticker (all optional)
  • Twill tape or leather string (optional)
  • Craft glue (optional)
  • Fabric scraps, ribbons, or other decoration
  • Envelopes no larger than notebook
  • Paper (optional)
  1. Iron the fabric with spray starch to stiffen it. Place the fabric wrong side up on your work surface and lay the notebook open on top. With a pencil and a ruler, mark out a rectangle on the fabric at least 1 1/4in (3cm) larger than the notebook all around. Using scissors, cut out the fabric.
  2. Stick double-sided tape to the outside edges of the notebook, but not to the spine area as this needs to be free to move. Remove the backing paper from the tape. With the notebook closed, stick the fabric to the outside, leaving an equal amount of fabric projecting all around.
  3. At each side of the spine at the top and bottom, snip into the fabric that projects beyond the notebook. Stick double-sided tape to the edge of the projecting fabric, but only as far as the snips—leave the fabric above and below the spine free of tape.
  4. Remove the backing paper from the tape. Fold the taped fabric onto the inside of the book and stick down. Snip off the excess fabric at the top and bottom of the spine. Miter the corners
  5. If you are using a button and ribbon, sew the button to the front, sewing through only the fabric by inserting the needle at an angle.
  6. Cut the ribbon so it is long enough to be wrapped around the notebook at least once and then around the button (if used). If you have sewn on a button, stick the ribbon in place on the inside, just under the button, using a large round sticker. If you are not using a button, the ribbon doesn’t need to be stuck on. If you are using a leather string or twill tape instead of ribbon, cut them so they are long enough to be wrapped around the notebook and tied. (If desired, you could make a tying loop at the end of the leather string, gluing the end in place.)

Decorate Your Notebook

Stick on your chosen decoration. I used strips of colored polka dots and squares from a piece of fabric for one notebook, sticking them to the spine and front with double-sided tape. Ribbon looks pretty, too.

Stick envelopes to one or more of the pages with double-sided tape, leaving the flaps open to create pockets. To cover the fabric edges on the inside of the covers, stick on either an envelope that is the exact size of the cover or a rectangle of paper or fabric cut to size. If you wish, make a bookmark from a strip of patterned fabric and place it inside.

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Tie the ribbon, leather string, or twill tape around the book.

 

 

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House Feeling Bare After Christmas?… Decorate for Winter!

Un-Deck the Halls in Style

You’ve just finished taking down the tree and folded away the Christmas stockings. Most of us will spend the weekend packing away all the beautiful baubles and gorgeous garlands that have dressed our homes since December, feeling sad to see all our little Christmas treasures being tucked away for another year… I sat and wondered today, what kind of decorations could be used in our homes for winter? Nothing that screams Christmas, but something but cozy enough to fill the house with warmth to get you through the chill of the winter. Here are a few ideas to try…

Decorate a Mantlepiece

The mantlepiece is often the focal point of our living room, and I love decorating mine for Christmas, but once we take down the stockings and the garlands, it can look completely bare and just a little bit depressing. Here, antique style books in neutral tones add warmth, while the iron birdcages (which can be found at shops such as the Range or Dunhelm) can be filled with candles. Fill ceramic jugs of different sizes with greenery from the garden to freshen your room and bring the outside in. The addition of a mirror captures the extra light on winter days. Proving wreaths are for life and just for Christmas, this one inn natural tones works beautifully positioned in the centre of the mirror.

 

Alternative Christmas Tree

Who says we can’t enjoy a tree after Christmas? Cut smaller branches from the garden, pop them into a pretty glass vase and dress your twig tree with items that say “winter” – instead of “Christmas”. Pretty jewelled glass Christmas tree trinkets can be re-purposed rather beautifully. A gold mirror adds a touch of metallic magic, as do the little silver voties, also left over from Christmas.

Twig branch decorated with jewelled decorations

Christmas Lights

The twinkle of Christmas tree lights and their soft glow on a cold winter night is one of the things I hate saying goodbye to most… I love this lovely, large heart made from reclaimed pallet wood which adds texture. String it with fairly lights to prolong that festive twinkle during the winter months…

Fairy Lights should fill our homes all year round…

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Add a different type of Greenery

We are all familiar with Christmas pointsettas, pine cones and garlands to liven up pur homes during the festive season… After the greenery of Christmas is removed, try adding other living plants. A personal favorite of mine at this time of year are bulbs. Beautiful, vibrant, and a different shade of green! Here, tulip bulbs are planted in a rustic, wooden bowl filled with moss, providing a stunning centre piece for a winter dining table

And, if you can’t bear to say goodbye to your pine branches and pine cones, use greenery in an alternative way, in an entrance hall, to echo a festive welcome. Here reindeer ornaments used at Christmas time, create the perfect console display…

Candlelight

There is something about candles that can change the mood of a room. They are such an inexpensive way to transform the feel of any part of your home and can help you go from Christmas lights to winter twilight in no time at all. Here, a silver drinks tray and a variety of glasses filled with tea lights creates a magical winter display…

Candlelight Cocktail anyone?

Cosy Throws

And finally, if the post-Christmas decor blues become too much – cosy up by the fire with a snug throw, a glass of wine and a good book. Remember, spring is just around the corner…

The weather outside is frightful,but snuggling on the sofa with a soft throw is truly delightful…

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How to Make Your Rented Home Stylish…

Stepping onto the property ladder can seem like an impossible dream to most of us. As a result, renting has become routine, with millions of us are living in someone else’s property, with all the limitations that imposes.Tenants have to cope with decorative choices that aren’t theirs, as well as the landlord’s rules on what they can and cannot do to rooms. But, not being in your “forever home” needn’t be a nightmare – all that’s needed is a little creative thinking. Here, I show you how you can you transform your temporary dwelling into your home, without breaking the bank or your tenancy agreement:

“Our home should be a place where we can truly feel ourselves and show off out style and taste. “If you don’t love the space you come home to, life can feel miserable.”

2 in 1 – Display Artwork and Change the Lighting

Most landlords don’t allow you to hang pictures on the wall, but there is an easy solution. 3mm Command Strips from Staples can be used. These simple self adhesive strips don’t leave marks on the wall. However, although artwork and family photos on the wall can look great, why not do something more stylish? I love the large picture of Mick Jagger propped up in the corner or this bedroom. It’s a cover from Time Magazine which has been blown up on to canvas. Genius!

Old, tired and worn lampshades can also date a space and make it look drab. If you can’t upgrade overhead light fittings due to budget or technical issues (some may require an electrician), focus instead on growing your collection of stylish floor and table lamps. – The red, retro lampshade overhead provides a fabulous focal point in this room.

Add Wallpaper Panels

Not able to wallpaper your home? Get around the problem. Add wallpaper to plywood panels and lean them against walls. Not only is it a cheap way of adding colour and pattern to a room, but you can also change your colour scheme as often as you want, or use it to create zones – within a bedroom for rest, or in a study.

Storage Solutions

Clever storage solutions are a must in a rented space. Don’t invest in permanent storage. Instead use freestanding cupboards which can be used to hide-away all the day-to-day clutter. Modular storage is also great for rented properties, not only will it fit any size or shape room, it’s also easy to remove at the end of a tenancy. An open design will allow you to display all your prized possessions, giving your home even more personality. Modular storage such as cubes which can be also stacked or configured in different ways – as a TV bench, a workstation etc etc.

LEFT -An old crate that you can perch on a worktop or on top of your fridge creates lots of extra, useful storage. You can organise the space with extra cup hooks inside.

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Right: In this room a leather suitcase creates a a temporary DJ station, with space to store records inside. You making do with what you can get your hands on is all part of the fun.

Cover UP Old-Fashioned Tiles

Updating a rented kitchen or bathroom can be one of the trickiest jobs, but they can still be re-vamped. Unattractive bathroom and kitchen tiles can be covered up with gorgeous waterproof stickers, which can be removed when you leave. In an instant, you’ve added colour, pattern and style! Try these Tile Tattoos available from www.mibo.co.uk for £12.50

Work those Windows

This is another area where rented homes always seem to be sorely lacking. Whether it’s dirty old curtains or depressing vertical blinds, lacklustre window treatments just scream “temporary home”. Sort it out by hanging fresh curtains (even cheap no-hem IKEA ones can look great) or simple roller blinds. Ugly windows with an ugly view? Cover them up with window film. Simply sponge off with warm water when you’re ready to leave.

Buy Rugs & Add Cushions

Whether it’s cold laminate flooring or seen-better-days carpet you’re trying to cover up, a good area rug will cover a multitude of sins. Rugs bring color and texture into a space and they’re yours forever, so find some you really like. The colourful cushions also add interest to a leather sofa here.

Layered rugs and pops of vibrant colour create a stunning rented space…

A rented space, may not be forever, but in the meantime, it can be fabulous! 🙂