Tag Archives: Craft

Dressing Table Makeover

A while ago I showed you my old pine dressing table that was due for a re-vamp. Here’s a photo to jog your memory:

If you remember I decided to go with a lace pattern idea that I had seen on Kara Paslay Designs via Pinterest (seriously, this website is both inspiring and addictive!). So I gathered together my lace, my paint and my varnish and set about breathing life back into my dressing table.

First things first, one of the runners had broken on it so I got The Boy to give me a hand and fix a new one.

It couldn’t have been easier, you literally find a piece of pine the measurements you want in the store. They sell these pieces with the smaller dimensions in small quantities (I think it cost be about £1.50). Then measure it the length you want, cut it and then attach it in the place of the old one with a couple of small nails…voila! New runner:

Shiny new runner (down at the bottom) easy peasy!

So that the drawers would run on these smoothly, I waxed the runners using candle wax (I literally took a tea light out of it’s metal case and rubbed it on the runners, worked like a charm!)

The next job was to sand down the surface of the table. This is essential to provide a ‘key’ for the paint, to give it something to stick to. I used p80 grade of paper which is a medium grade and ideal for preparing wood for painting.

Above are the drawer fronts with two different types of sanding methods. The red one on the left is a piece of ordinary sand paper wrapped around a cork block. This is probably the cheapest way of using sand paper. The cork block is essential for sanding flat surfaces to make sure that they remain flat. The one on the right is a sanding sponge, these are easier to use and have a contoured edge for getting into the chamfered edges of wood. I find that, because they are sponge and have a bit of give to them, the sponges are a bit softer on your hands, but really they do exactly the same job.

After I had sanded it down I cleaned it to make sure it was free from the dust of the sanding (as this will stick in the paint and make the finish look lumpy). Now for the fun bit!

I decided to spray paint through the lace on both the drawer fronts and the top of the dressing table.

I just used the weight of the lace to keep it on the wood as it was quite a large piece with a good amount of weight to it. However the liquid from the spray paint caused the lace to ripple up. The effect of this rippling was that in some places the pattern was sharp and crisp and in other places it was slightly blurred, as if it were slightly out of focus. I didn’t foresee this happening and I didn’t really mind it, it softened the effect slightly. It is a personal taste thing though, The Boy suggested that it would be better sharper but I didn’t mind, so it’s up to you! What you could do would be to blue tack it down to the sides of the piece you were doing or use drawing pins to hold it in place. I don’t think that it would take much to hold it in place, so don’t pull it out too hard and risk distorting the pattern of your lace.

All dressed up!

So I sprayed through the lace on to the drawer fronts and the top of the table. I waited for about ten minutes until the paint was dry-ish (remember I have no patience!) and swiftly removed the lace in an upwards motion so’s not to disturb it if it was still wet. And this was the result:

It looks quite pale here in the daylight but the effect of the white against the pine is both delicate and striking. Once I had finished this I had to paint the rest of it white. I decided to use a primer on the piece because of the amount of yellowing that occurred the first time. Also, there are quite a few knots in the piece and these can ooze sap out into the paint and stain it. My father gave me a brilliant primer that would not only cover the yellowing and knots but also prevent either of them effecting the paintwork.

After allowing the primer to dry I applied two coats of a chalk white acrylic paint. I had originally wanted to use an actual chalk paint like those beautiful Annie Sloan ones that everyone uses on furniture for that ‘shabby chic’ look but finances and logistics being what they are, it didn’t work out. I’m really happy with the white I used though, it looks fresh but not clinical. And finally, I applied a clear varnish all over.

I used a spray because I had visions of applying the varnish with a brush and it smudging the lace pattern completely. I don’t know that this would happen but after all that hard work I decided to err on the side of caution!

And, I think you will agree, that it was worth it in the end:

From Plain Jane to Pretty Pretty…I can’t wait to do my hair and make-up sat at this! It will feel so glamorous!! What do you think? Have you tried spray painting through lace before? What have you done it on? I would love to see what other uses it could have!



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Dressing Table Ideas…

When I was at Uni my Mum helped me earn a few extra quid selling my old tat at a Car Boot Sale. It worked, we earned quite a bit but I came back with a car full of other people’s tat too!! The only thing that has survived that haul some six years ago was a dressing table. I spent a whole day stripping the orangey varnish off and another applying a limewash finish and Rennie Mackintosh handles to the drawers. Since then it has gathered dust and gradually turned orange again in my old bedroom at my parents house.

She could do with a bit of TLC

Pine ages in the sunlight to what is fetchingly referred to as a ‘cigarette yellow’ tone, as you can see mine is looking pretty orangey which I think is a little bit of the overhang from the old varnish as well as the sunlight. So, seeing as she has made the transit from the Shropshire countryside and finally been summoned to my house in London after all these years I think she is in need of a make over. What do you think?

I have got a few ideas. I’m definitely going for a white legs, wood top like this:

But I’m not sure that I want to go dark on the top. I like the light wood. We have light wood throughout the house on the kitchen sideboards, on the floors in the hallway and lounge, so I am thinking of keeping the top quite light.  But I don’t think I want to leave it just plain either.  I love these ideas using old French typography:

French Typography Side Table via Curbside Collector

But then I thought that what with all of the crap that I am going to be keeping on it, it might look a bit cluttered. Also, half of the words would be covered up and half revealed so that you wouldn’t get full impact of the text. What to do? I wanted a pattern, I thought about using Rennie Mackintosh as an inspiration as the handles are Mackintosh and I have a Mackintosh jewellery case. But again, I thought that this might be too much. Then I came across this beautiful idea…

Kara Paslay came up with the idea of spray painting through lace. This is genius, it is so feminine and delicate looking-perfect for a dressing table. I had no idea that it would look so pretty!!

So what I want to do is find a piece of lace with a pattern on as large as this one above. I have been scouting around on the net but not come up with anything so large so far. What I would like to do is spray the top white so that the pattern that comes through will be the wood (hopefully!). What do you think? What would you do? Have you had any experience doing anything like this? Any tips?

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Engagement picnic…

Whilst I get on with my more…ahem, nitty gritty DIY jobs, I will distract you with pictures of my friends beautiful hand crafted Engagement picnic. Even if it hadn’t been a beautiful, sunny day the atmosphere would still have been as magical.

Yummy food, beautiful bunting and home made decorations made the day extra special and stylish.

I can’t wait for next year when the bride-to-be will turn her crafty hand to create her very own wedding day that will be personal and as special as the couple themselves.

I thought that they deserved a crafty present to celebrate their impending crafty nuptials…first the card…bunting was essential!

It’s a unique way to make a bland engagement card (and I was surprised by how bland these cards are) something a little more special.

Then, as a nod to the groom-to-be, the present…

I bought this awesome 1950’s illustrated map from frontispiece which is a great vintage maps and prints shop that sits incongruously in the mega slick shopping mall at Canary Wharf. The Groom-to-be is a map fan (a cartographile??) and a Londoner so this was the perfect present for their love nest. I was just going to frame it on white paper when The Boy pointed out that it would look great on a map (ooo, he is a secret crafting genius…he just needs to give in to it!). Passing Stanfords in town he came across a sheet of wrapping paper printed with an old Stanford’s map on it and bought it home to frame the map with. Little did he know that the map itself was originally from Stanford’s back in the day, what a perfect coincidence! So the end result was…

We loved it so much that I wanted to keep it! But we managed to pass it on from one crafty couple to another!

We have been ploughing on with the work at the house, it’s just all a bit boring. Maybe that might explain how The Boy and I have each managed to injure ourselves over the weekend, out of sheer boredom! Stay tuned for the less boring stuff, coming soon!

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My Design Inspiration…

When I am looking for ideas for around the house, when I am bored at work (shhh…) and when I am procrastinating at home these are the sites I turn to for relief, distraction and inspiration…

Dream Book Design

This blog immediately got my attention with the post entitled: Turning Old Junk to Beauty. I love a bit of junk!

Melissa Young via Dream Book Design

Dream Book Design is written by the sweetest girl, “your new blog friend Adrianne” about her and her husband’s extremely adept and frequent forays into DIY. Actually I think that they may have some sort of DIY addiction! The writing, the design ideas and the funny dog pictures sold it to me a while ago now, it is such an earnest and satisfying blog to read, check it out!

Design Sponge

This is the Grande Dame of design blogs for me.

Studio EMP Photography via Design Sponge

It is a veritable gold mine of information with sections such DIY (containing projects that, yes you really can do yourself), Entertaining (with heaps of recipes for food and drink as well as design theme ideas for your party) and then there’s the Biz Ladies who advise on everything from Finding your niche and Starting a business to Understanding CSS and Web Design.  But my favourite, FAVOURITE part of the blog has to be the Before and After pics.

Design Sponge

Design Sponge

This regular feature shows projects from the large like this Trolley Depot Renovation to the not so large (but possibly more achievable) like this Sideboard Re-Do;

Design Sponge

Design Sponge

And all of this with NONE of the nay-saying Kevin McCloud.  Where are all the Brit sites featuring this amount of inspiration, this amount of encouragement and more importantly, this design edge? The only place we can find UK based home interiors advice is in one of the many home magazines that I know my girlfriends are too embarrassed to buy! (I know this because after excitedly showing one of my girlfriends my AMERICAN copy of Martha Stewart’s Living Magazine she said, “These are the kind of magazines that I really want to buy but I get too embarrassed and end up buying Vogue instead.”) It’s not cool to walk up to the counter with magazines that make you look like you are hell bent on becoming a stay-at-home mother, in the country-side, with a Labrador and jam making equipment ( I’m a member of the jam-making WI and I care little about looking cool but I know that other people do, other people that own homes).  So, come on British Magazine industry, make some design/DIY magazines for us home owners who are old enough to own a fireplace but not necessary the pipe and slippers to go with them as well! What are your favourite design sites? Who do you look to for inspiration?

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The Big Three-Oh!

The Boy and I spent the weekend celebrating my big sister’s 30th in the countryside. It was wonderful when we eventually got there at 1am (a long drive accentuated by missing our turning off the M25!!). We had a garden party in the garden that my father had spent the winter toiling over and the weather gave us a gem of an afternoon to enjoy it in!

My sister found a design she liked in a book and my father proceeded to create it for her. It looked stunning, unfortunately my camera was jealous and didn’t capture it’s full beauty. (Ed. Note: There is a photo to follow, I’m just waiting for Big Sister to email me a good one!)


Gorgeous Garden!

We laid on a huge spread, I provided some salads…

But it was Mum who, as usual, impressed with her excellent baking skills as she recreated mini version of the Italian wedding cake (it was not so small but smaller than the huge one we had in Italy!)

After we had stuffed ourselves silly and sung Karaoke on the X-box at the top of our lungs (you have to, that’s how you get the points!) we warmed ourselves up around the fire pit

It was a magical evening, we had so much fun! I want to show you my crafty idea for giving my sister her present too. She wanted to buy herself a Pandora ring so we were all giving her money. I had seen some ideas from America where you could make a note into a box to put the money in to gift it but that’s in America where you get a one dollar note and somehow I didn’t think it would look as good with a fiver! So I came up with a message in a bottle idea

I wrapped the money up with a little poem I had written and tied it with string. I then placed it in a old glass juice bottle (from a Firefly) with some sand. I thought it was a cute idea, what do you say? It looks pretty so, if you were so inclined, you could keep it as a nautical keepsake but, it was so thrifty that, if nautical’s not your thing, then you could toss it in the recycling, no problems!

Anyway, things are pretty hectic here at the moment as we bought my Dad back down with to fit the kitchen!! It is very exciting ! I can’t wait to be able to show it to you sometime soon…

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