Any monkey can make curtains!

Ferne started school this year and luckily she loves it. Otherwise I might have sat around moping after the school run instead of using this valuable time for some freelance graphic design and the odd craft project for myself before the new baby arrives… VERY SOON!

My to do list has been fairly ambitious (for me anyway). So that brings me to lounge room curtains which have been quite overdue. I had some ulgy cheap rail and curtains up there for about a year after we moved in.

I can’t seem to find the type of curtains I want in the shops and am too tight to pay someone else to make them. I also find most curtain poles I have seen rather garish so it took me alot of time to decide what I wanted for the lounge.

I’d seen something online where someone had use a copper piping for a curtain pole. Love copper, off to homebase I go where I found them along with rail holders and copper spray paint so they match.

Pulling out the sewing machine again was exciting. Until I realised I had forgotten how to use it completely. It took me 20 minutes with the instruction manual to thread the machine and wind the bobbin. BUT! The next time I needed to do it, only about a minute. So it’s a quick learning curve.

Heres rough instructions, there might be better ways and are countless tutorials online how to make them. Am really a self-taught-work-it-out-along-the-way-curtain-maker.

The material I used is Heavy 100% Cotton Drill for about £5 a metre. After washing and drying the material (to allow for shrinkage) I ironed all 5 metres (recommend doing this in front of TV to ease the ironing boredom!).

Then measure up, allow for seams and cut to size needed.

I started sewing in the side seams, folded over twice so you don’t see fraying. Instead of pinning, I ironed seams down before sewing.

Then I cut the curtain tape off the back off the old cheap curtains to use on my new ones. (No one will see if it looks a bit rough!). Fold over another hem at top and pin onto the top of your curtains, then sew away.

I found perfect copper rings online to use that just clip on so you don’t have to worry about those annoying white connectors things. If you are using the clip on rings, make sure you sew the top line of the curtain tape low enough so the ring actually has room to clip onto it.

Then I hung them up and worked out where I wanted the hem and again, folded the hem twice using the iron and sewed my straight(ish) lines.

Repeat steps for other curtain!

I had them hanging up for a few days and although I was fairly happy with them, I felt the need for some pom pom tape going down the sides. Pom pom tape is always a good idea. Although someone stop me if it is somehow incorporated into my next 5 craft projects. Have cushions coming up so watch this space…. I doubt I will get sick of it anytime soon.

I love the natural material I used. It was cheap and has a heavy curtain look. I didn’t feel the need to put backing on it. You could also dye it any colour using a washing machine dye. You have to wash it anyway so its not really an extra step. I decided to keep it natural as it might be fighting with all the other colour in the lounge room.

Must say I am quite proud of these curtains. My husband says they look expensive too!




Stale baguette tote bag stamping.

Its been a while between craft projects. This is an easy one but I felt so inspired today making these bags, I got completely ahead of myself whilst doing it and thought of at least 4 other craft projects I could be doing next.

One. Thing. At. A. Time. Rochelle.

For this one, you will need

  • roughly 92cm x 72cm piece of cloth. I used unbleached calico, its cheap and I like the natural texture to it.
  • fabric paint
  • thread, I bought mine the same colour as the fabric paint to match it
  • A3 thick paper or card
  • Baking paper
  • 2 x 62cm x 2.5cm leather handles. You don’t have to use leather, could be anything you like the look of really.
  • Pom pom tassels, enough to go round the top of your bag. (optional)
  • scissors
  • an iron and ironing board
  • sewing machine
  1. Fold your piece of cloth in half so the fold makes the bottom of the bag and iron.
  2. Sew the sides together, turn inside out and iron the sides again.
  3. The the stamping, I would recommend using a potato to cut your shape. But really its whatever you can get your hands on! Hence the use of the stale baguette…. but hey it worked a treat when I cut it into the shape of a triangle with a bread knife.
  4. Put some fabric paint into a tray and test out your stamp onto a spare piece of cloth.
  5. Put a piece of thick paper or card inside your bag to stop it going on the back piece. I found an A3 size worked well.
  6. If you are happy with the result, get stamping! I liked it how some triangles were darker and some were more faded.
  7. Leave your bag dry to touch.
  8. Put your bag on the ironing board with the design face up and the baking paper over top. Give it a good iron to set the paint.
  9. Fold down the top of your bag for the top hem inside of your bag and iron in place then pin it as well.
  10. I choose a criss cross sewing pattern on the machine to do this hem. Try and sew in the straightest line possible across the top. Don’t forget to remove your pins before you get to them!
  11. Pin your handles into place, then sew a square box ape shape with a cross in the middle for added support.
  12. If you are using the pom pom tassels, pin these into place at the top of your bag and then sew round, I used a cream/white cotton for this.

And there you have your lovely handmade bag! I’m giving this one to my friend Daisy, so have stencilled her name on the back of it for an added personal touch.







Furniture painting, harder than it looks.

I’ve never painted any sort of furniture or even helped with a wall, shameful I know at my age, but somewhere in the back of my mind (or maybe it was in my blood!), I quite fancied being one of those people who spruces up tired furniture and makes it look all quirky, perhaps one day even selling pieces and making some cash for it!

I knew I needed to start with something fairly easy. My parents, who are quite handy creatively, had read about Annie Sloan chalk paint. It sounded amazing – no sanding, no primer, no vanish. Adheres to any surface and it doesn’t have toxins or even paint oder.

I then watched youtube clips of woman (yes it is marketed as a ‘womans paint’, because its easy I guess) painting away saying how magical this paint was. Hand me a paint brush woman!

Wondering what to paint, I stumbled across this toddlers chair in a second hand shop for £20. Just what Ferne needed!

I chose ‘English yellow’ in the Annie Sloan range. Online it looks like murky English mustard, (I guess it might depend on your computer screen) but when I checked it out in the shop I found it was pretty much what I wanted as I was after something bold and bright to go in our kitchen. The helpful shop lady assured me the paint goes a long way and said a tester pot for £5.95 would be more than enough for a toddler chair. I also got the Annie Sloan soft wax for £7.95 that is the consistency of margarine and could be applied after painting with a dry cloth. I didn’t buy the expensive Annie Sloan brushes and just went to a hardware shop and bought a few for a couple of pounds. The helpful shop lady also informed me of courses they run for Annie Sloan painting. In my head I scoffed, thinking who needs a course, I know exactly what I’m doing, I have youtube for gods sake. But I politely told her I was just keen to get started right away. Which was the true also, just without scoffing.

Yes, I could not wait to get started. In the shed we go. I slapped my first coat on while Ferne happily played on her bike nearby. After a while she came up and wanted to ‘help’. I was prepared, I had bought her kids yellow paint and set up a big cardboard nearby for her to paint. That lasted all of 30 seconds before she wanted to paint the chair with me. Hmmm, not wanting to deter her from anything creative, I reluctantly gave her a brush and let her dip it in my little tester pot.

I have to say my painting wasn’t much better than hers. Painting is hard! 3 coats laters, at the end of my tester pot, I was hoping it would be this bold smooth yellow but was so patchy! I’m sure thats why so many people go for that shabby chic rustic kinda look, because I seem to have got that without even trying. I like smooth smooth smooth bold bold bold!

So ok, am I missing something? Did I have the wrong brushes? Are walls this hard too? Am I just too impatient to do a proper job? I was wondering if I had of given this challenge to my perfectionist husband whether it might have been a different result.

I’m still going to put this in my kitchen (and pretend its supposed to be like that) and I will not give up on furniture painting just yet, perhaps I could attempt a mirror frame next. But I am by no means anywhere close to setting up shop for revamped furniture. Maybe I will check out that course after all… [blush].