Monday, 31 December 2012

Book storage

When we finally moved into our first flat as owners, we wanted to make the space as open and bright as possible, so we promptly removed several walls from around the house. This suits us much better, as Theo (an avid cook) can be in the kitchen while I'm in the living room and we can chit chat easily. Our last flat had a tiny little galley kitchen which closed you off from the rest of the flat, so we wanted to avoid that happening again! 

One thing that we didn't think through though was that with far fewer walls comes less potential storage spaces. There wasn't anywhere to put cupboards / tables / anything really! We thought long and hard about the best way to combat this and came up with the idea of floor to ceiling book cases along the hallway. I love the way these look anyway, and it would also give us loads of storage for books and other stuff. However, we also knew that hiring a carpenter to help us would cost far too much for our budget! So as usual we decided to tackle the job ourselves (well, Theo definitely took the lead...I think I probably got in the way...)

We measured the space and then spent hours poring over the Ikea website to try and work out a configuration of shelving that would fit into the space and that wouldn't end up costing too much. We ended up using about 5 of their Billy bookcases (you can also buy extender shelves to get them right up to the ceiling) as well as a couple of their CD towers and a couple of other types as well. After many hours of assembling them (yes it got a bit tedious!), Theo then set to work fitting them all. We screwed them all to the wall and to each other using an intricate system of clamps and swearing... 

We wanted to try and avoid them looking too much like they came from Ikea, so I bought some thin strips of wood from B&Q and tacked them to the shelf fronts, as well as adding some skirting board on to the bottoms. I think this makes them look a bit more built in. I've given the fronts an undercoat of emulsion and I think we will paint them in a gloss white when we find the time. What do you think?

You can also see one of my cats by the chair in the bottom one. He's a bit hard to photograph as he fidgets so much! Happy new year to all of you :) 

DIY kitchen

Those of you who have been reading this blog from the start will know that we bought an ex display kitchen from ebay (who would have thought it possible?) and that Theo installed it all himself. It has been an emotional journey! We started with this:

and then went through this rather frightening stage:

and finally ended up with this lovely space (theo is amazing) I did the tiling myself and although it's not perfect, it's quite satisfying to know that I did it!

I have just bought the bright blue Kitchenaid mixer after many months of saving. It makes me happy just looking at it! Can you recommend any good baking projects that I could try? 

You can also see some floor to ceiling bookcases in the background which was another DIY project (I'll do a full post about those soon). 

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Handmade Christmas

This year we were invited to my brother's house for Christmas, and I was asked to arrange the table so that it looked festive. This got me very excited! I went for a purple theme but in the end it was pretty non-traditional. I bought some purple checked fabric for a table cloth, and then scattered silver stars across the table to make sure that it was still festive. 

I also made place names by filling little jars with purple sweets and adding a name tag to each one. I made Christmas crackers using some beautiful paper from paperchase, and some cracker snaps from ebay. 

I also stencilled some purple fabric using white fabric paint, and made napkins to match. This process took a very long time, especially given the interest of my two cats...

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Wedding dress

Wow, well it has been a really long time since I posted on this blog! But a lot has happened since then. One of the major projects I undertook this year was making my sister in law's wedding dress. It took almost a year to design from scratch and make. 

I made the bodice using steel corsetry bones - my first time deviating from the horrible plastic boning you usually get in haberdasheries. It was absolutely lovely to use, and as it moves in all directions, you get a much more natural shape with it that really follows the curves of the body. We bought all the fabric on Goldhawk Road in London, including the lace. I cut out all the lace motifs individually and sewed them onto the dress, along with some white bridal sequins that gave the dress a gorgeous shimmer in the light. She also wanted the traditional little white buttons down the back, so I added those over the top of a zip for added security. It was my first time making a bridal gown, so we had to go to some wedding dress shops so that I could sneak a look at the construction. In the end, this dress had about 7 layers to it to get the shape we wanted, including two layers of gathered tulle to puff out the fishtail. She looked really lovely in it, and most importantly, really happy!