Tag Archives: Ikea

Lace window treatment with cornflour

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Oh my goodness, this was the quickest, easiest, cheapest project ever but I’m 100 per cent in love with the results. You know those little upgrades that just make your life both better and prettier? This is one of those for our bedroom.

So, privacy. This bedroom has delectable shutters, which I adore, but it makes window treatments kind of hard. You either have to hang curtains in front of the whole alcove (we can tell by the holes in the trim that this is what our predecessors did) or not at all. For the last year and a bit, we’ve opted for the latter option, except for a tension rod light blocking curtain above the shutters.

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The shutters are great at blocking all natural light, which is great for lie-ins. But, this room gets crazy beautiful morning light and it always seemed a shame to be getting dressed in artificial light just for privacy.

Anyway, the other day I was browsing the Manhatten Nest blog (looking for something else entirely), when I stumbled on this post of yore about using liquid starch and fabric for privacy in glass windows. Boom!

Obviously, my mind went straight to lace (because my mind always goes straight to lace) and I thought ooh, I gots to try that out one day!

Serendipitously, we headed to Ikea earlier in the week to scope out tea-light lanterns for the wedding. Even more serendipitously, Ikea has JUST started selling lovely scallop edge lace fabric for a mere £1.50 per metre. Boom boom.

Anyway, I got home from work one day and mixed up the starch jelly. I ended up mixing 2 tablespoons cornflour (that’s cornstarch across the pond) with about an equal amount of cold water, then mixing that in about a cup and a half of boiling water from the kettle. I mixed it in a lunch box and the resulting jelly is both spooky and somewhat non-newtonian.

(Random interlude – my first lady boss once told me that some men – ie. our coworker at the time – are like custard powder mix – the more you stir them the more they resist, so keep a light touch. It’s been remarkably useful advice and obviously applies to lots of women too!)

Unlike Daniel, I didn’t soak my fabric in the mix. It just felt like a messy and icky idea so instead I painted a thick layer of gloop on to the window pane.

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Then I cut out a rectangle of lace using a template I’d made earlier. I didn’t iron it first but the one piece I had where there was a crease was the hardest to apply so do iron your fabric if it’s creased at all.

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Then I applied another thick layer on top, being sure to get it right into all the corners. I tried working top to bottom, centre to corners and a few different ways, but there wasn’t a noticeable difference in ease or result. I did notice that there were sometimes brush marks if I did it too regimented so I ended up going for random patterns of brush strokes.

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The best thing about using lace (with holes in) is that there are automatically not air pockets so you don’t have to both squeegeeing them out, which is good because I’m really bad at that sort of thing. The other good thing about lace is it’s very forgiving. On one pane, I ended up with a gap in one place, I just cut a small strip and starch-glued it over the top. I can’t even tell where it was now!

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Et voilà! Done. This took less than an hour from start to finish.

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Except I’m going to go back and add a row of scallops in the panes just above it. But I figured if I waited to post about it until I’d done that then I’d probably never post about it.

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The best thing about this is that to remove it, you just wash it off with warm water, so it’s perfect for renters. My other favourite thing, that doesn’t really show up in pictures, is that it keep the texture of the lace, so it doesn’t look like fake lace contact paper.

I noticed Dan got a lot of comments wondering if this could be done in a hot, humid room like a shower. To that, I’d say it wouldn’t work somewhere that gets directly wet. As for humidity, it probably depends just how humid, but this is so cheap (£1.50 of fabric, probably less than a penny worth of cornflour) and easy to install and uninstall that you should just give it a go and let the internet know how it works out!

I would say it’s probably not great for a window that would get dirty a lot (like above a sink) because you probably can’t wipe it down. If this window gets dingy, I’d probably remove all the sheets and run them through the machine in a lingerie bag. It’s that easy to apply.

Hopefully I’ll get the scallops up soon and will post back about those!

PS. To see the stunning view this is blocking, click here.

UPDATE! I added a few more details and answers to common questions on a new blog post. Read all about it here

PPS. Click here to see an update for how I removed it after six or so months.

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The bedroom

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When you walk into our flat, the doorway to our bedroom is the view that greets you on the right. It’s also what you see from the sofa if you turn your head to the right down the hall.

Our bedroom is teeny. Our bed has to be pushed up against the wall. There’s a tiny cupboard (seems to me like an average American hall linen cupboard) and no room for a wardrobe. But, it’s filled with light and has a huge lovely window.

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That green curtain at the top is green ikea fabric plus a closet rod.
Mr V had to risk his life to put it up (it’s a 11 foot high and he got
it up by climbing the window frame), but it’s worth it to not get
woken up by the light as soon as it’s up.

I’ve decided it’s time to love it exactly as it is. We’re nearly-newlyweds, living in a teeny flat is par for the course! My future-mother-in-law was telling me that their newlywed flat had huge gaps between the floorboards that let in freezing cold air and they’d get ice on the inside of the windows. It’s okay! We’re still just starting out our lives together.

The whole flat looks nicer with the bedroom door open (because then light is coming in from both directions), so our bedroom is a lot more “public” than it would be in some other flats. This makes me pleased that we’ve been able to sort out the hot mess that the bedroom used to be.

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Before > After (I’d hope that was obvious!)

Ah, that’s better! I’ve written before about adding the rast dresser, but the garnityr hanging clothes cover has really helped hide even more clothing clutter from view.

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But the real reason I wanted it was that our clothes were getting crazy dusty. I don’t know if it’s the high ceilings or the fact we’re living in the city centre (beside a pretty busy road) but this flat has more dust than anywhere I’ve ever lived. You can dust, turn your back and it’s covered in thick dust again.

bedroom 3Drats, everything moved slightly in a recent shuffle and I forgot to recentre this poster!

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That bluey thing you can see down the side is an Ikea hanging storage thing that I can’t find on their website,  where I keep my tights, belts and slips. Mr V’s work shirts don’t get dust protection because they get worn and washed weekly, which is just enough to keep them clean out in the open!nook

 

Oh weird nook, you are weird. I would love to make a feature of you but I need you for storing underwear, art we don’t have room for anywhere else, Mr V’s grandma’s handbag, a knitted rat muskateer and the homemade chewbacca I sewed for Mr V. Those hooks I added under the overhang are handy for worn-but-not-dirty clothes and the lint roller. I painted that mini chest of drawers in those two colours as swatches for something else, but ended up liking the way it looked just like that!

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Favourite map and curtain bought for €1 a few years ago are both from French brocantes (long before we moved to this flat). Globe lamp shade from a local toy shop! Badly made bed courtesy of the fact it’s up against a wall and our duvet has lost all its poofiness.

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See? No poof. Sad duvet. This picture also shows our incredibly handy tall and narrow tables (one is tucked under the other). I bought both of these for £4 when we were first moving in together and they’ve been endlessly useful as we live in these tiny flats. I may give them a lick of paint one day (the tops are all kinds of cruddy) but they do an okay job of hiding their flaws (and I like that they’re already ruined so it doesn’t matter if I spill water or coffee on them). bedside tbaleIkea lamp, bunny night light (the best for late night toilet trips), five year diary, pens, Anthopologie catch-all bowl. This picture illustrates how tight a fit our bed is in this room! Also, check out that lovely molding. I still need to show you the original (1745!) molding in the front room, it is ridonkulous (about three times the size of this!).

And that brings us to the end of this little room tour. I hope you liked it. The room is too small and has been too cold all winter, but I do love it. The light is incredible and those silly-high ceilings keeps it from feeling pokey or claustrophobic. Plus, we’re only young. There’s plenty of time for bigger bedrooms!

For now we love where we live enough to deal with the compromises. (Enormous living room means all the other rooms are tiny. Location makes us so, so happy. The rent is really, really affordable.) I’ve been idly looking for our next place (one where we could get a dog) and none of them have anywhere near as good a balance of size, location and cost that our flat has, despite the many downsides of this place.

I guess it’s like anything else, it doesn’t have to perfect to be perfect for you in the here and now.

Christmas bunting with lace trim

If you follow me on instagram, you’ll know that last week I started making bunting for our wedding (I’ll post about this at some point). Seven months (eeep!) is a long time to make the amount of bunting I need to make, but I knew that I’d get side tracked into other projects so I should give myself plenty of time.

Sure enough, I’d only sewn wedding bunting for two evenings when I got distracted by making some Christmas bunting as a present  for my mum’s birthday on Wednesday.

Without further ado… here it is!

She has a lovely mantelpiece to display this on, we don’t, so I had to stick it to the wall with masking tape.

I love it.

The birds are cut out from this Ikea fabric (£3 a metre!), and appliqued using my sewing machine. I outlined some of them in straight stitching or a zig zag stitch for emphasis. I was surprised at how many different birds were hiding in the fabric!

I used the same fabric on the back of the flags (because I have about a million metres of it. (I also used it here. )

I bought the two different fabrics for the front of the flags from the remnant bin at my local quilting shop. I picked them up a long long time ago but I think they were around £3-4 each for just under half a metre.

The red tape at the top is a red woven ribbon from the same quilting shop and the lace is from there too.

I attached a tiny bell (5p each) by hand to the bottom of each flag.

Even though it was only stuck up with masking tape, I loved how jolly it made our living room, so maybe for my next project I’ll get side tracked into making some Christmas bunting for us!

PS. I’m so sorry to bring Christmas to your blog reader so early! I just made this and love it so much I had to share!

Happy birthday apron – McCalls M5825

 

A long, long time ago, I bought an apron pattern because I figured it would be a good intro to sewing with patterns for a beginner like me, without having to worry about fit. But then, I never actually sewed it – I got on with quilt making and eventually made a few tops and dresses from patterns and discovered it wasn’t all that bad!

So the pattern sat there unused until Karen started her apronalong, which gave me just the kick I needed to dig out this pattern in order to make a present for my friend’s birthday. I’m so happy with the end result that I have to admit it will be a pang to give it away…

I used an Ikea checked fabric as my main fabric. It’s nice and tough for proper cooking, which my friend who will get this apron does a lot. I took the fabric shopping with me so I could hold it up against other fabrics to use with it, and eventually settled on one fat quarter of this lovely Kokka Wooded Forest fabric, which was pricey for a fat quarter at £4.50 but I think it really made this apron feel really special!

The pattern itself didn’t have a waistband, but I felt the two fabrics really benefited from a hit of red in the middle so I added one. This added quite a few headaches as to how to construct the whole thing, but I got there in the end! I think the instructions and construction of this dress would be nice and simple if I’d stuck to the waistband-less version.

The pockets and the bodice are both backed with denim (still left over from this skirt and this dress!), which I didn’t really take a picture of but you can see it peeking out here:

(Isn’t it weird how taking pictures on your dress form from certain angles can seem a little pervy?? – This one definitely did)

Best picture ever, though, right?

For the waist ties, the pattern calls for the normal “sew a tube, turn it inside out style”, but I totally messed mine up (cheap polyester plus badly applied interfacing plus hurried trying to turn it inside out). I was fed up of trying to turn stupid tubes inside out and I wanted to finish it up without going out for nice ribbon (plus the shops were shut), so I made my own ribbon out of some polka dot bias tape and the feather stitch on my machine. I love how this turned out! Talk about a happy accident.

I used the same feather stitch to finish my hem, which came out really bulky because of this fabric being decor weight. I also messed up and put the skirt on the apron wrong side out (so the less attractive side of the hem is on the outside). Oh well!

Thanks Karen for the kick I needed to finally make an apron!

How I made a button up pillow cover

My thoughts are with any readers currently hunkering down for a night with Sandy. I hope she’s kind and you and yours are all ok.

Although I’ve sewn all sorts of things this year, one thing that I’ve been delaying is sewing cushion covers. I don’t know why! I decided to take the Autumn Pinterest Challenge as the kick I needed to finally make an old pillow fit our new space a bit better.

So, inspired by this pin from Make It Love It…..

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and this one from Sew Much Ado….

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I made this!

The first pinspiration doesn’t actually have an opening behind the buttons (it’s a fake placket), so I read the second tutorial for a general idea of how to go about it and then winged it.

Here’s what I did:

(I apologise, this tutorial is a bit rubbish… as I was making everything up as I went along it’s a bit confusing to people who don’t live inside my brain… Maybe I’ll make another one with better pictures if I ever find another cushion I want to cover!)

1) First I ironed the old pillow cover so it was as straight as possible, then I held it up against the new fabric and drew directly around it with a fabric marker to create a template the for back of my pillow. I then added two squares extra all around for a seam allowance and cut it out.

2) I drew around the old pillow again for the front of the cover and again added the same seam allowance. Before I cut it out, I added some extra width to make button plackets with. To figure out how much extra I needed, I held my button up against the fabric to decide how wide I wanted the placket to be (five squares) so I added that, then an extra two squares seam allowance so I could turn it under the placket to enclose my raw edges (like a hem). I wanted a placket on both sides of the button opening to avoid puckering, so I doubled this figure (7 squares x 2 = 14 squares) and then added that extra width to the original cover size. (Still following?)

3) I cut out some iron on interfacing the total width of both my plackets (14 squares) and then ironed it onto the fabric, slightly off-centre on the pillow front. Then I cut down the middle of the interfacing and folded (and ironed) my two plackets into being.

See how this is five squares? The two squares seam allowance are tucked in the middle.

4) I top stitched down the edge of both sides of both plackets, then added button holes to the outer placket and hand sewed buttons in the same places on the inner placket.

4) Then I did my buttons up so the front cover was all in one piece and sewed the two sides of my cover together (right sides facing), then clipped the corners, turned it inside out and popped it on the pillow form.

This isn’t really clipped enough but I didn’t want really sharp corners.

5) Then, I fell in head over heels in love with it and spent the rest of the evening telling Mr V how much I liked our new pillow. He humoured me for about the first ten times I said this… But luckily my mum came over on Sunday and she always says things like “I can’t believe I gave birth to her! I’m so proud!” when I show her things I’ve made.

6) Then my mum went home and Mr V got really bored of me petting the pillow, so I spammed my blog with pictures of my new cushion:

(Hmm, should have plumped the sofa cushions before that last one)

(BUT, do you see how the cushion matches the cabinet curtain? Love.)

Budget breakdown – My fabric was an Ikea remnant leftover from the cabinet curtain so I’m calling that F-R-E-E (£7 per metre if we’re counting), the insert was from a cushion that we already owned, so also free (and looking at it, I suspect the person that made the original cushion made it for approximately 65p using this cheapie method as one side of the stitching is red), and even though I purchased the buttons ages ago for a different project, I never opened them so they get their full price of 99p for three. (If you suspect you’re local to me, email and I’ll tell you best source for lovely, cheap, wooden buttons).

So there we have it. What did you make for the Pinterest challenge?

With big thanks to Sherry from Young House Love, Katie from Bower Power, Carmel from Our Fifth House and Sarah from Ugly Duckling House for hosting the Pinterest Challenge!

Here are my other Pinterest Challenge posts, in case you missed them:

Summer 2011: I made a postcard hanger from an old frame

Fall 2011: Vintage printables in your shower

Spring 2012: Tiny house paper night light (free printable!)

Summer 2012: My first wearable garment – a halterneck denim dress

Instant French bistro

Hello blog friends! Here’s a quick and silly post for a Monday morning. I hope you had a lovely weekend.

My mum and step dad came over for Sunday lunch yesterday (Mr V roasted a chicken, yum). I wanted to lay the table with a table cloth, but we didn’t have one that fit our table, as in our old flat we had a smaller, square one.

But! I did have three metres of Ikea’s Berta Ruta fabric in my stash. So… I draped it over the table, cut it off (neatly along the line of checks….

et voilà! Instant French bistro dining for four. All it needed was a jug of red flowers to complete the scene.

I liked it so much that I intend to sew it up properly for future use. (I think I’ll round the corners and edge it with bias binding, but more of that when it’s done).

Rast saves the day

We’ve lived in our flat for over six months now, but I still haven’t properly shown you our bedroom! Sure, it’s popped up here and there, but never really properly. That’s partially because it looks like a slobby teenager’s room most of the time.

Man, I wish I’d staged that photo to look extra messy, but no. That’s an honest to goodness before picture.

Anyway, space in this room is pretty tight thanks to our extra long king size bed. There’s no closet and no room for a wardrobe. so we keep our clothes in the small built-in cupboard and on the clothes rail.

When that wasn’t enough, we moved in those metal Ikea shelves that we already owned, but it never really worked or looked good. Those shelves are great for some things (we used them in our last kitchen) but they really didn’t work here – they’re just not meant for storing clothes.

I wanted concealed clothing storage like a chest of drawers, but, as I said, the space is really tight. I was pondering this late one night (thanks, insomnia) when I remembered Ikea’s Rast chest of drawers. It’s super shallow, which we need for this space, and the fact that its only £20 and real wood sealed the deal. (But first I emailed the only person I ‘know’ who as this bit of furniture to ask if they’d work for storing clothes – thanks Ainhoa!)

Luckily my friend was going to Ikea just a few days after making this decision, so she picked me up a set of drawers and I assembled them yesterday.

Anyway, enough talking, let’s get to some pictures.

 

So… I like it but I don’t love it. That’s ok, I knew this would be the case – it’s a solution to a problem and it’s much better than it was. I feel like the room now looks like a college apartment bedroom, which is a step up from a slobby teenager’s! Even so, I’m wondering whether a lick of paint would help.

I figure I could either paint it white or a pale grey in the hopes of helping it visually disappear as much as possible. I could paint it duck egg blur, or Mizzle like the living room cabinet, because it’s a nice colour, it could work in here, and it would help tie the two rooms together a little. Or, I could paint it a bold emerald colour to go with a few other green things in the room. For emerald, I really like arsenic by Farrow and Ball (I also considered Green Parrot No 2 by Dulux, but, uh, you’ll see why I ditched that idea). I used Pixlr, picmonkey and a colour picker to knock up some extremely rough mock ups.

What do you think? Mizzle came up looking grey and nothing like it looks in real life. It’s such an odd colour… It’s more similar to the pale duck egg in the bottom row, but with a hint of green. I love it in the living room, so I might just give it a go… Arsenic looks great but I don’t know if it would draw too much attention to a pretty dull bit of furniture. White is the safe bet – but could I get it to match the white on the walls enough? So maybe grey? Or just leave it as it is?

Help! What do you think?