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Displaying My Wares…

I have butterflies in my tummy this week because I am taking the plunge and finally offering some organised crafting evenings to paying customers (gulp!)

I order to do that I wanted to show off a display of the kind of things they could make if they came along.  I needed a display of some sort and it had to meet quite a few criteria:

  • Portable
  • Robust
  • Quick and easy to set up.
  • Attractive (of course), but not take attention away from the product.
  • Flexible
  • Cheap or free!

A couple of months ago I rescued a wooden wine crate from the bin of the wine warehouse next door to where I work (I know, lucky girl on both counts!) and I have been saving it until inspiration hit me.

After a quick trawl of Pinterest (Any excuse ;-)) inspiration struck in combining a number of the things I had seen in my travels.

I waxed the crate using Annie Sloan clear wax and drilled holes at appropriate intervals to hold dowel rod and…

Wine Crate Display Collage

I cut a back board from left over mount board (used during making my “Typographic Kitchen Wall Art”) so the colour of that can be changed whenever I like and voilà!  Total cost £3.65 (for the dowel rod)!

Linking this up to The Turquoise Home’s “Work it Wednesday”.

The Anti-Tutorial – Washi Tape Storage

Firstly thanks to everyone who voted for the colour of my candle sconces.  The result is (drum roll optional!)…Silver Grey to match the galvanised sign and baskets.

Now I just have to find the right paint for the job (as if I need an excuse to spend hours staring at paint charts, be honest you don’t either!).

Secondly, be warned, this is the antithesis of a tutorial.  Seriously this one nearly killed me! Such a simple idea but sooo much hassle.  Of course it didn’t help that I have been fighting a really bad spate of migraines for the last week and a half but even so you’d think I might get a break?


So this is the opposite of a tutorial, it is an anti-tutorial.  As in “don’t go near this project if you value your sanity!”

It all started innocently when I saw this fabulous idea on Pinterest for storing Washi tape in a simple yet (I think) still stylish way, courtesy of “Silly Old Suitcase”.

Washi Hooks-2

We are in the throes of trying to make our shared office/craft room a workable space (as anyone who follows me on Facebook or Instagram will know it’s quite a task!) and I thought that having my Washi tape and rolls of ribbon on display might be quite a cheerful thing to lift the space (which I intend to eventually paint white).  But what to hang it from?

When we made the Up-cycled door trellis I was left with the old wooden door knobs, what do you know funky hangers for my hangers!

I tried to use the same technique that I used (successfully) for my “French-Style Door Finger Plates” (Spraying a base colour, using stickers to mask an area and then spraying a top coat).

It was a series of disasters that saw me:

  • Sanding back the paint three times.
  • Having to spray paint in a dark garage because the weather closed in suddenly.
  • The stickers inexplicably peeling the paint off (same brand, same details).
  • When I put the rawl plugs in to hang the “hooks” they wouldn’t go in despite the drill being the correct depth.
  • Desperately trying to get photos before daylight faded.
  • And finally whilst putting up the hangers one of them slipped out of my hands, bounced across the room and buried itself somewhere and could I find it? No I could not, it was really cute too, with yellow writing that said “Washi”.

So basically you have one hot, bothered and very hacked off Magpie!

I still like the idea and I think it could work but am I glutton for punishment enough to go back to it? Time with tell 😉

Washi Hooks-1

What Colour Should My Candle Sconces Be? – Help Please!

Wall Sconces-Header

It’s been a tough week so far.  I suffer with migraine and have been trying to deal with a pretty bad attack fro the last three days so I hope you’ll forgive me if this post is brief but I really wanted to post because I really need some input on this one…

As you know from my Brazier Ash Catcher post whilst we were on holiday we raided a flea market. I picked up these wall sconces with the idea to strip out the electrics and use them as candle sconces in the garden.  The only problem is that I can’t make up my mind what colour to spray paint them.

I would really love your opinion and here is a closer shot to help you get more of an idea of the item.

Wall Sconces-2

[polldaddy poll=8230387]

Thanks for your help, hopefully the results will be posted on here soon!

Catching Bright Sparks – An Ash Catcher For A Brazier

We have a brazier that provides some nice warmth on chilly evenings but that gives us one problem

Brazier Ash Catcher-9

I call it “scorched earth”.  Basically the hot ash falls out of the bottom and kills the grass.

Whilst browsing in TK Maxx the other day I spotted this large metal drinks tray,

Brazier Ash Catcher-1

On an unrelated note; I LOVE that shop it has some of the best, quirky stuff.  You have to look (and try on if it’s clothing) but you can get some really original stuff.

Anyway having paid the grand sum of £2.00 for the tray I set about it with some heat proof spray paint (so it matched the brazier).

Brazier Ash Catcher-2

I started with the base and then did the top, making sure that each side was thoroughly dry before adding the next coat.

Brazier Ash Catcher-3

(You may remember my impromptu “spray booth” from my DIY French Style Fingerplates).

And voilà, no more bald patches;

Brazier Ash Catcher-7

Brazier Ash Catcher-4

On a completely different note you may see on my table there my current pride and joy.  We were lucky enough to find a flea market in France and these are one of my purchases.

Brazier Ash Catcher-6

It is the most fantastic set of eight glasses and a jug in their own wire carrier that we think dates form around the 1950’s.  Each glass has a map of France in a colour and a saying printed on it such as “A home without a woman is a home without love”.  They just make me all happy and warm on the inside and one of my greatest pleasures at the moment is to use them in the garden.  Remind me again which country I’m living in because it doesn’t feel like Britain at the moment!

Brazier Ash Catcher-5

What are your tricks for a happy summer evening in the garden?

Up-cycled Door Garden Trellis


We up-cycled an old interior door into a really lovely  trellis for a climbing Clematis in our back garden.  The entire project cost around £10 and I think that is it sturdier and looks better than most of the flimsy trellises you can buy at garden centres.

The cost was minimal as we already had a lot of the materials from other projects.  If you had to buy the paint etc. from scratch it would still be under £20 with plenty of materials left over for other projects at the end.

As I mentioned in my “DIY French Style Door Finger Plates” post we are gradually replacing all the interior doors in our home with nicer ones and the next to be replaced is the one in our living room.

Up-cycled Trellis-5

We have an ugly compost bin in our back garden I have been desperate to hide for a while and I bought a gorgeous Clematis a few weeks ago and had been meaning to get round to putting some trellis up to block the compost bin and allow it to grow along.

Up-cycled Trellis-4

Inspiration struck and thanks to some wonderful hard graft by my wonderful “Boffin” it became a reality.  Here’s how:

What Kit Do You Need:
  • Old interior door. (I think the panelled kind would work best but feel free to experiment).
  • Screwdriver
  • A gorgeous assistant ( to hold and help move the door).
  • Outdoor wood paint (I used Cuprinol Garden Shades in Pale Jasmine).
  • A paint brush.
  • Galvanised outdoor wood screws (I needed at ones that were 60mm long).
  • An electric drill.
  • A 6mm drill bit suitable for use on wood.
  • A pilot drill for the screws you are using.
  • A jigsaw with a blade suitable for wood.
  • Clamps
  • A work surface you can clamp your work to (a work-mate or similar).
  • Chicken wire (approximately 2m in length, the roll we bought was 75cm wide).
  • Tin snips or wire cutters.
  • Padded gloves.
  • A staple gun and staples.
Step One:

Take the door off of it’s hinges and remove all the other furniture ( I left a couple of bit on because I like the interest they added but you may want to remove absolutely everything).


Using the 6mm drill bit and drill make holes in all four corners of every panel you wish to remove. (Boffin did this so quickly I didn’t get to take a photo but you can see remnants of the holes in this shot!).

Up-cycled Trellis-2

Step Three:

Use the jigsaw to cut out the panels (please wear goggles and remember to clamp your work securely so it doesn’t move whilst you are using the saw).

The holes should make turning the corners simple.

Up-cycled Trellis-1

Step Four:

Paint the bottom edge of the door with the exterior wood paint (to stop the damp from the ground below rotting the wood).  Allow to dry thoroughly.

Up-cycled Trellis-9

Step Five:

Spread the roll of wire along the back of the door an use tin snips to trim it to length (you might want to wear gloves for this as chicken wire can be quite nasty).  You can fold the ends over to make sure that they don’t stick out and catch on anything.

Up-cycled Trellis-3

Step Six:

Using the staple gun staple down the solid middle of the door.

Up-cycled Trellis-6

Step Seven:

Again, using the staple gun staple around the edges of the piece of wire.

Up-cycled Trellis-7

Step Eight:

Work out where you want to put your screws to secure the trellis to your post or wall.  Pilot drill holes and use enough screws to hold your trellis securely in place.

Up-cycled Trellis-10

Use a spirit level to make sure that the trellis is level.

Up-cycled Trellis-13

Step Nine:

Paint the rest of the door with the exterior paint and allow to dry.

Up-cycled Trellis-16

Step Ten:

Plant up your plants as you wish and secure them to the wire with soft string or ties made specially for the job!

Enjoy your new improved view!

Up-cycled Trellis-19

I hope you enjoy your trellis as much as I am going to enjoy mine, happy summer days x

I’m linking up this week to “The Scoop”, “Link It or Lump It”, “Work It Wednesday” and “Share your Creativity”  come over and see what else there is.

Five Lessons Learnt About Up-cycling Pallets

Inspired by Pinterest (how many well intentioned crafting misadventures start with those words I wonder?) I have decided to build a garden bench for our garden using as a base two old kitchen chairs I bought at our local rubbish tip for £10.00 the pair.

I assembled the rest of the materials I thought I would need thus.

Two Chair Pallet Garden Bench-1a

Loads of people seem to be using old pallets for wood for their project and we had one that our bathroom tiles were delivered on so I decided to use this.  Boffin and I took it apart last weekend.  This is where I learned my first lesson.

Lesson #1 –

Taking pallets apart whilst keeping the timber in one piece is both HARD work and tricky.  I used a crow-bar, claw hammer and my trusty (and much loved) Bosch PMF 190E to take it apart. Which leads me onto lesson 2.

 Lesson #2 –

Unless you’re a much better woman than me (which you may well be!) you only save around 80% of the timber.  The rest splits and splinters no matter how hard you try to avoid it.

 Lesson #3 –

You are probably going to need more pallets than you think.  I went and asked politely at the wine warehouse opposite my office (I know, there are a million jokes there 😉 ) for another pallet.

 Lesson #4 –

The materials may be cheap or free but it will probably cost you a couple of replacement blades for your power saw of choice. I ended up sawing through some of the nails in order to get as much of the wood off in one piece as possible and it is hell on the blades.

Lesson #5 –

Time.  I spent the first 90 minutes of Saturday putting together the frame of the bench with the wood that we had got from the pallet the previous week

Two Chair Palet Garden Bench-2

I spent the next four hours (and a trip to the local DIY shop for more blades) getting the second pallet apart in more or less one piece!  I was so shattered by the time I finished I had to take a break!

I finished the day feeling shattered and a bit discouraged.  A good nights sleep has taken care of the discouragement but now I’m hunting for the time to finish this before we go on holiday in two weeks time!

Any advice about working with pallets gratefully received and if anyone has a way to slot a few more workable hours into the day I’d be grateful too!

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