It happens often to me. I find a certain object or material and my mind starts running off. When it boomerangs back to me it shows me a completely new design based on that one little thing I found.
This is exactly what happened in the charity shop the other day. I always rummage through their ‘old metal and tool section’ (a.k.a. that box with rusty shit in it). I am usually on the prowl for old hooks and brackets to use on coat racks and lamps and such. I found something much cooler this time, a series of black, flaky, old handrail brackets.
I was still looking to make something for my hallway. I have so many wintercoats, scarves and bulky knitwear and at the moments I have those metal IKEA hook thingies hanging on every door in my house. I’ve been wanting to make a proper coat rack for ages and these little beauties gave me exactly what I needed: they’re quirky enough to go with my rustic handmade style and long enough to hang more than just one coat on.
I have a lot of beautiful vintage hooks but to be honest, they’re not all big enough to hold my outdoorwear collection.
So here’s what I made with my banister support/ handrail bracket turned coat hooks!
Needless to say, I removed most of my coats because I wanted the picture to look Pinterest Instagram pretty. I know, I’m so fake.
I’m not too happy about the colour of the screws I picked out, I might give them a touch of black paint actually.
How I made it:
I used some good ol’ scaffolding wood leftovers from one of my boyfriend’s projects, I glued and clamped them all together. I left those metal things on, I really like their industrial vibe. I then stole a longer bit of wood, it wasn’t actually left over I think, I glued and screwed it and made it into a shallow shelf. Perfect for hats and scarves and such. I used two visible brackets to attach the rack to the wall, I could have gone for something a bit more subtle but my other brackets were finished and I figured since it’s so high up you won’t ever really see them unless you try.
I’m happy with my result! And it all started with that tiny black flaky bit of inspiration.
That item around the house we really shouldn’t have. Let’s call it a guilty pleasure object.
Because it doesn’t live up to our own uberstylish standards, it doesn’t go with anything, it’s either worn too much, used too often or so out of sync with the rest of our style it might as well be Cameron Diaz trying to sing.
I definitely have one, actually, I have several. I own this gruesomely ugly woollen vest. It doesn’t go with anything and, to be honest, at times it even itches. But…. it was my late grandfather’s vest and so I love snuggling up to it from time to time.
But in this post I am not gonna talk about items of clothing, I want to talk about that one guilty pleasure item in your house that is almost too passe to look at but you can’t possibly get rid of it either.
Here’s my guilty pleasure item: a lamp that screams EARLY NINETIES.
Sporting colours similar to those you see in the toilet the day after eating a bad curry, I have never digged its shades of brown and , erm, gold? But here’s the thing: I need this lamp! It has THE best light, its halogen light bulbs throw a soft veil of golden diffused sunlight all over my living room and its high tech dimmer even makes reading or crafting at night possible. Believe me, I have tried looking for a different lamp, one that would actuallly go with our interior, but I haven’t found an affordable solution that even comes close to the joy this lamp gives us.
This light was a git from my brother in law, who inherited it from his parents and when he gave it to me he said I could do with it whatever I wanted. Those words suddenly started echoing in the back of my head last weekend when I was in a specially productive mood. I absolutely love make overs, so why shouldn’t I give this lamp a go? See if I can pump some scandi modern minimalist vibe into it and scare away those nineties demons?
My plan was to spray paint the brown and golden parts of the light bright white , maybe play with a colour accent and DEFINITELY replace the golden chord with a funky cloth covered wire.
Before doing anything, I had to take the whole thing apart, to check how big of a job this was going to be. I needed to check if all the connections were intact, if the screws and bits were re-screwable and if the inside of the dimmer was very difficult to figure out. Why did I need to check the cables? Well, I have a house rabbit and unfortunately he has his naughty moments, hence the ugly black gaffa tape.
I used clingfilm and aluminum foil to cover the bronzy metal parts (more hassle free than masking tape) , I guess they would go well with the new style anyway.
Luckily, the dimmer was easy enough to understand, so in with the coloured cloth covered wires..
I started with a white primer spray paint, the cheapest one I could find because I’m on a budget, as always. I was a bit disappointed with my spraying skills, I needed so many coats to get an even result, but being a very cheap spray paint, it might be the bottle’s fault.
I decided to cover the horrible orangy wooden bit on the base as well.
And a part of my garden pavement as you can see.
For the other part of the lamp, the part with the spotlight, I decided to sand the wooden element to get rid of the orange varnish and discolouration. I think wood and white and lights are a good combination, if one of them isn’t orange that is.
So here we go… end result. White and light, a bronze touch and a light shade of wood. I am still considering if I want to spray the metal part in a different shade of bronze or copper, just to get the style a bit more current.
I had to keep one of the golden chords unfortunately because it was too difficult to replace it, it goes all the way up in the high tube. But hey, you can’t have it all.
What do you guys think? Have you ever given any of your guilty pleasure interior objects a make over?
I have a weakness for all things personalised. Adjust any item or present to fit the occasion, recipient, mood and the simplest of gestures is multiplied by awesome and a trillion. Oh well, I’ll just admit it, I still make hand drawn cards, drawings and poems for my mum’s birthday!! And yes she loves them.
I have been drooling over custom made (family) illustrated portraits on Etsy and Fiverr for a while now. I think I was first introduced to them in an article in Flow magazine a few years back. Last x-mas I decided to put and end to the wait; it was the perfect time to order my first commissioned illustration. After a few sessions of websurfing I ended up in a little Etsy shop named Strangeteeth run by a lovely illustrator Claudia. Click here for her main website which is very beautifully designed! In one of her listings Claudia offers a mini portrait, drawn by hand with prisma markers (you learn something new every day!) ‘giving them a sweet and dainty watercolor look’ (I quoted Claudia there, hence the missing u in colour:-).
I bought the listing and sent Claudia a digital scrapbook collage with pictures of my guy, my bun and myself. The communication with Claudia was really easy, she asked for certain extra info and she even sent me a little ‘in progress update’.
The drawing arrived digitally in time for christmas (Claudia includes sending the real thing by post in her listing), I added a little title to it and gave it as a christmas present to James. He absolutely loved it, it cracked him up. I don’t think he had ever seen a custom drawn portrait before. I showed it to one of my friends the other day and she’d never heard of it either. I think I found a bit of a new calling in ‘pushing’ custom drawn portraits to everyone I know.. It just makes such a considerate gift! Now that I think of it, it might well be the easiest most original gift you never even have to think about anymore. It could be your signature gift for a lifetime! Think of all the possibilities: a friend with a baby on the way, a new house, a new pet. It’s like a gift that keeps on giving,; each update, hairstyle change, family addition means a new gift. Ha!
Anyway, I wanted to show you something else I did with my portrait, besides framing it. I’ve recently been really into resin pouring, mainly because I have to test lots and lots of different types for our new series of coffee tables. So as I was pouring away I thought it would be nice to use some of the leftover resin to cast a mini mini version of the drawing into a silver pendant. So it can go on a necklace for me or a keychain for him. Here’s the result, look how tiny…
I think it turned out great, very chuffed with it.
In my never-ending quest for finding different, fun and creative ways to integrate photography in my interior, I’d like to share a recent project with you.
I’m a sucker for reclaimed wood, you literally find it everywhere in my house (even in my toilet!). I love combining a rough reclaimed wooden surface with something unexpected; shiny, slick or new.
For this family photo display project I was preparing for a friend who has four kids I did just that: I combined the old and the new… the rastic and the plustic (my word joke didn’t come across, did it?). I wanted to make sort of a window frame, very three dimensional and chunky. But nothing too difficult, I didn’t want to have to router or chisel into the wood or slot the forex into anything. So I decided to just simply glue and screw a frame ON TOP of a big print.
In the array of ways to display large images without breaking the bank, these are my two favourites:
1: I combine multiple images in one big file in photoshop (think A1 or A2). I leave it on my computer and whenever I come across a good offer or discount code for an online photo printing service I send the file off to be printed on the biggest size poster available. Once I receive them, I cut all the individual images out with my stanley knife and cutting mat and then I mount them onto a nice sturdy sheet of mdf. I find this is an amazing way to create huge artworks / photographs that look like gallery pieces, but at a fraction of the price you’d expect. When I get round to my next print-and-mount-session I’ll share a tutorial with you, promise!
2: The magic word is….forex print. What is forex, you might ask? Well, let me briefly explain. Forex is a relatively low cost type of hard foam plate, it usually consists of three layers: two hard outside backings and a foamy interior, sort of like a sandwich. Forex is ultra light weight and strong, it’s a material which is used a lot in the advertising/display/signs industry. It’s perfect to print high quality photographs on, it’s durable and scratch proof enough to use outdoors, but so light you can hang it on virtually any surface. And that is a big advantage, especially if you like BIG art on the wall. If you use my earlier mentioned photo mounting option, anything larger than 80cm by 80cm can turn into a seriously heavy display! If you have the right tools and wall plugs, then, by all means, go for it. But if you don’t, stick with the forex! Considering this particular photo display was going to be 100cm by 100cm AND I was using chunky wood to make a frame window; I went with the forex!
So here is my forex print as it arrived to my house. Even though forex is sturdy, my studio is always dirty and messy, so I used some fabric to protect it anyway.
INGREDIENTS FOR A WOODEN WINDOW FRAME DISPLAY:
-a big photo printed onto forex
-7 bits of wood: four for the outer frame, one long bit in the middle, vertically, and two shorter bits to go across horizontally.
-wood glue / pva glue
-bunch of screws with a mushroom head
-drill/ screwdriver bit
-very thin drill bit
In case you want to hang the piece on the wall:
-a bit of string or metalwire
STEP 1: decide your type of wooden frame and make it easy on yourself by drawing the frame on top of your photo before ordering your print.
Before combining my four photos in a photoshop file, I decided on the type of wood I wanted to use to ‘window frame’ this foursome with. I went for reclaimed scaffold wood, nice and weathered and, grey, yet straight enough for me to easily cut four pieces to size. Why do you need to decide this in advance? Because to make it easier on myself I added the lines where I was going to add the wood on the photo, and I made them slightly smaller because I didn’t want them to peep out from underneath the wood. The width of the wood strips was 3cm, so I made 2.5 cm lines. It’s all in the preparation, people!
STEP 2: cut the pieces for your wooden frame to size.
I cut the pieces so they only had one cut side, which I was obviously going to hide/ glue onto the forex surface. I also cut the end s into 45 degree angles. Honestly, cutting angles in wood is NOT as difficult as you might think, just give it a good practice before you start on the real thing. It’s always nice to feel confident in what you do and practice always makes me more confident.
Right, next step.
STEP 3: Paint the edges of the forex board.
Since I was going to make a frame to go ON TOP of the forex board, the edges of the forex would remain visible. I didn’t like the thought of that and so I decided to simply paint the edges. With some acrylic colour I mixed up a shade that resembled the colour of the wood. At first, I was insecure whether the forex would be too ‘plasticy’ to paint on to, but I didn’t have any trouble.
Comparing the painted edge colour to the colour of the wood… emmm ..close enough for me.
STEP 4: A bit of puzzling to see which bit goes where. To be honest.. I left the three inside pieces a bit longer, just in case I messed up any of my measurements. You can always cut OFF, and never cut ON.
Step 5: scratch/scour/assault the cut/ NON SHOWING side of the wood.
Use a knife, use a screw, use your nail, as long as you make sure the surface is prepped for the glue. I am a firm believer that scratching before glueing really helps the two components to bond properly.
STEP 6: Glue the four outer pieces onto the board.
IMPORTANT: glue a THIN line towards the OUTSIDE of the wooden strips. You don’t want glue to seep through on top of your photograph. If it does, it’s not the end of the world as a wet finger/ cloth can get rid of the glue when it’s still wet. But better to avoid it. The good thing about reclaimed wood is that things don’t have to be too precise and clean, you can wiggle a bit to see which bits connect nicely. And if at this stage you discover you haven’t measured properly, don’t worry about it, make the frame stick out over the edge a little bit. hey, that might even save you from having to paint the forex edge all together!
STEP 7: place something heavy on top of the wooden strips, let glue dry for 15 mins and them turn the piece over.
STEP 8: Pre-drill holes for screws.
Obviously measure the width of your wooden bits, and the distance you want your screws to go from the edge of the frame. I’m quite the lazy maker usually, but I really recommend pre drilling for the screws. Forex has a porous and soft base and you don’t want to risk anything going wrong in the process of screwing it onto wood. Pre-drilling eliminates that risk. STEP 9: screw two screws into each of the four outer corners, securing the forex board to the wood.
IMPORTANT: use mushroom headed screws. They’re the kind of screws that have a head that’s round and domed but a bottom that’s FLAT. Why, you might wonder? Well, since the forex is soft on the inside, a standard type screwhead would pull the forex with it and will try to force it to go into the wood. We don’t want that.
Tadaah.. Two screws securing the forex board into the reclaimed wood.
Make sure to keep checking if the wooden bits are aligned and close to the edge during screwing, the easiest way to do this is to place one finger along the edge.
STEP 10: Now screw one screw in the middle of each side.
STEP 11: Turn over and cut the last three bits of wood to size. STEP 11: repeat the scouring, glueing, waiting and then turn the piece over.
So Now we’re almost finished. Pre drill and screw another four screws to the inside wooden bits the same way as you have done earlier with the outer bits.
STEP 12: Attach the D hooks to the back of the frame. PRE DRILL and SCREW. Attach string or metal wire.
I usually attach my hanging hooks something like 10 cm from the top of an artwork, just so you have a bit of space to play with. You never know in advance how much a certain type of string is going to give, or how heavy the piece is. It saves you having to cut the string, knot the string and then recut the string every time.
So here we go.. that’s it.
And this is how it looks in its new home! I haven’t seen it up on the wall yet, I took this photo when I went by to drop it off. I absolutely love the way the piece looks in its new surroundings, what a gorgeous wall colour!!! Combination with the black and white photo, old wood… stunning!
What better way to lighten up these grey, drabby and dark days, than by receiving a (de)lightful package in the post….?
Today I received a package containing something beautiful, something handmade, an object skillfully made by someone living aaaaall the way on the other side of the world… Even just that thought alone puts a smile upon on my face…
Starting an Etsy shop so far has actually costed me more money than it has given me! It’s not my fault though; I keep finding these amazing things made by equally amazing and passionate people! Today’s purchase is a beautiful handmade wooden light that travelled all the way from the workshop of Ken Read from Mequon, WI, America, to my living room here in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
The product was very carefully packed and accompanied by a little handwritten note on top, isn’t that cute? Actually, Ken’s handwriting reminds me of the handwriting of my nan, she used to write me lovely notes when she was still alive. So without even having unwrapped the contents, Ken’s package has already had an instant melt effect on me. I’m such a fondue kit..
Very carefully wrapped up in a box with popcorn foams, the package contained a handmade wooden light with dimmer, a chord with american plug and an Edison lightbulb.
Beautifully plashed and varnished red toned cedar wood. And look.. as a true artist Ken even signed his handmade lamp. What a dude!
my chord and electrical bits collection…
I knew the plug was going to be an American one because I asked the seller about that in advance, but luckily I love making lights too, so I have the supplies to easily replace the plug with a European one.
I love that handmade wooden dimmer. I find retro filament bulbs don’t really make sense if you use them on full power, I always add a dimmer to them myself.