My craft shed – part 1

old-shed

This had been my little garden shed for a few years. At 4′ x 5′ it was the perfect size to fit the existing foundations of the previous shed and big enough/cheap enough to hold all the usual gardening/decorating stuff.

However, due to me regularly taking over the kitchen table to do my craft work (and damaging the table slightly – eek!) plus taking over the limited storage space in our flat with my crafting tools and other paraphernalia, we decided it was time to get a new, slightly larger shed that I could use as a crafting space and for storage. Yay!

old-shed2

We set to work on dismantling the old shed, only to discover that the shed had been holding up the neighbour’s fence!  We removed the collapsing fence panels and thankfully the neighbour’s landlord did eventually repair the fence.

As the new shed was going to be bigger (approx 5′ x 11′) we needed to extend the base. After reviewing our options it seemed that the simplest solution was to use an interlocking plastic shed base system. We calculated how many we needed, ordered a few extra, and they arrived a couple of days later.

old-shed-base

The first job was to level the ground using a rake. Its worth taking time over this and walking over the ground to make sure it is compact. Then once this was done we laid weed control fabric on to the soil. We measured and marked out exactly where we wanted the shed to be positioned and then lay down the grid squares before interlocking them together. Using some of the ballast we had removed at the levelling stage we filled the grids to create a solid base. This method was so much easier and quicker to lay than concrete and it does mean it can be easily removed at any time in the future, plus the results were great.

The next step was to order the shed. Having researched many, many shed companies, during the previous weeks, we finally opted for a local business that would build you a bespoke shed exactly as needed. Perfect! We met with the company, discussed our requirements and placed our order. The only downside is the 6-8 week wait…noooooo. I guess that is the price you sometimes pay for using a small family business with a strong reputation. Oh well, for the next couple of months I will just need to be very patient. At least the cats can enjoy the short-cut into next door’s garden lol.

Shabby chic catalogue drawers

As my collection of crafting bits and bobs increases I keep looking for ways to store them. On one of my many trips to the local antique centre at Battlesbridge I came across this multi-drawer piece of furniture. The drawers are quite long and deep, so they can store plenty of buttons, beads and other paraphernalia. Perfect!

drawers-before

The unit is made from mdf in the style of these vintage catalogue drawers and although I love these original pieces, they often command a very high price, that is well over my budget. This piece was well within budget and also gave me a blank canvas that I could put my own stamp on.

I painted over the main unit using a home-made chalk paint recipe (a mixture of paint, water and plaster of paris), and dabbed over the wet paint with scrunched up kitchen roll to give it some texture.

chalk-paint-texture

I then bought a book of scrapbook papers that had some lovely weathered textures and pattern prints that I thought would look great on the drawers.

scrapbook-papers

I decided the shape of the front of the drawer would be too tricky to cut out of the paper, so I turned the drawers around and used the back as it was a simple rectangle. I then chose five of the paper prints from my scrapbook that were complimentary but provided a contrast.

five-samples

I measured the drawer fronts and cut out 4 or 5 rectangles from each pattern (I had a total of 24 drawers). I then used a small amount of PVA glue to stick them down and brushed over each one with a mix of PVA and water to give them a protective seal.

Having turned the drawers around meant that I no longer had the little cut outs to open the drawers (obvious once I’d closed some of the drawers!) and I would need to add some handles. I’d bought a set of six drawer knobs from a market (many moons ago) that I’d never used, so they got me started. I’d also seen a selection of ceramic drawer knobs in a local shop that I really liked, and bought some of these. Finally, to keep the cost down, I bought some small and medium-sized wooden handles from a local ironmongers that were very cheap, which I decorated and I completed the set by making a few drawer knobs from polymer clay.

drawer-knobs

I drilled small holes into the centre of each drawer and attached the handles.

This is the finished piece (before and after)!

shabby-chic-drawers

Edwardian tiled floor restoration

We live in an Edwardian home and when I pulled up the carpet in the hallway I was really excited to find the original black and white tiles there. I was relieved to find the majority of the floor was in good condition with only a few small patches that had been filled in with concrete.

edwardian floor restoration

The first job was to clean off all the carpet glue and paint splashed. We used patio brick cleaner and a lot of elbow grease.

edwardian floor restoration

The floor came up really well. The next step was to dig out the patches of concrete. This proved to be more challenging and required brute force and unfortunately this loosened considerably more tiles than we expected. The troubled patch doubled in size!

The first job was to clean off all the carpet glue and paint splashed. We used patio brick cleaner and a lot of elbow grease.

The loose tiles were easy to put back in place but I really didn’t want to use reproduction tiles to replace the missing tiles. After a bit of searching online I was fortunate to find someone on Ebay who had just replaced their outdoor Edwardian path and had literally thousands of the tiles for sale. These tiles were extremely dirty, with 100 years of London pollution ground in to them, but they did eventually clean up.

edwardian floor restoration

Once all the tiles had been stuck in place and grouted, I gave them a coat of sealer to finish them off. We’re really pleased with the finished product (and probably saved £100’s by undertaking this ourselves).

edwardian floor restoration

Chaise longue restoration

chaise longue before

I was kindly given this chaise longue by my mother-in-law as she no longer had the room for it. I’ve always wanted one and thought it would be a good challenge for my next upholstery project. The fabric and foam were in a poor state (and had lovingly been used as a scratching post by the resident cats!).

I found the most challenging part was removing the old fabric and foam. It’s a repro piece of furniture and had literally been stapled within an inch of its life. It took me weeks to get it back to the basic shell. Luckily for me the piece of furniture was bolted together, so came apart easily leaving me with a base, back rest and arm rest – and thankfully no springs or buttons to deal with (I’ll be happy to tackle these skills later on but not for my second project).

I bought some lovely turquoise velour fabric from ebay and used the old fabric as a template. I bought some new thick foam (6″ for the base and 2″ for the back and arm rest) and rebuilt the chaise in a couple of days. Here’s the finished result.

chaise longue after

This is now being lovingly used by our resident cats!

Fudge on chaise longueDaisy on chaise longue