Monday, February 28, 2011

Gotta love buttons

I love vintage buttons.  They come in more interesting shapes and textures than modern buttons.
I pick them up at markets and fairs and at an antique store in Berrima, an historic village not far from where I live.
My button collection sorted by colour so I can find the perfect button for any project, like these:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mosaic splashback

I got brave this week and created a tile mosaic splashback above my bathroom pedestal sink. It was a slightly scary experience putting a mosaic on to the house but I'm happy with the result. What do you think?

The blank canvas.
 The tiling finished, waiting grouting.
The grout curing.
The finished wall.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Butterflies enjoying my garden

I shot these pics today on a shiny summer day.

This butterfly is a Cressida cressida. The female has transparent wings. I have never seen them before but there were huge numbers darting around in my herb garden so I was lucky enough to take some passable photographs of them.

Female laying eggs.
I hope you enjoy these photos.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Salvaged furniture and mosaics

Further on the topic of revitalising salvaged furniture are mosaic tables.
After doing a course with a wonderful lady named Sonia I created what I consider my masterpiece.
My mother had bought the table for me, sans top (it previously had glass), my husband had a metal top welded in place. All that was left was for me to mosaic the top. I procrastinated until I heard Sonia was offering a class at her house.  I must have talked about my plans for the table a lot until a friend gave me the four hand painted tiles that were to become the centrepiece. I was going to simply border them with terracotta until Sonia inspired me to be bold. I let my hair down and ended up with a result that still surprises me.

One day on my way to a cheese making course I spied an old outdoor table on the footpath waiting for the Council cleanup. New to scavenging and not entirely comfortable with it, I knocked on the door and asked the lady of the house if she minded if I took the table. She kindly said I was most welcome to.  The old timber slats were rotten and it needed a coat of paint but was otherwise in great shape.
A coat of rust kill paint later and a new plywood top made it the perfect canvas for a mosaic.  Uninspired by a design my husband suggested a map of Venice. A little bit of research later I found an antiquarian map that was perfect. On our next visit to the divine Venice my husband bought a gorgeous terracotta head of St Mark's lion which is now the centrepiece and a little plate of a key landmark.
I am very happy with my rendering of Venice and the outer isles in its lagoon. The table looks like new.

My last example is a little occasional table that would once have belonged to a nesting set such as my grandmother had.  Again scavenged off the footpath, I tired to sneak it into the boot of the car while my husband wasn't looking. Failed there but anyhow.  It was coming apart a little:
and couldn't stand upright. 
Some glue and clamps later it was easily fixed.

I made a cheerful blue and white sun pattern on top with lots of mirror to catch the light.

The Venice table and little coffee table completed.  And my salvaged rocking chair with covers made from an op shop tablecloth.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Learning to sew box cushions

My latest project is sewing box cushion covers. My husband's Mum did a MG tapestry for him and he asked me to turn it into a cushion. I couldn't buy a ready made cushion infill to fit so needed to buy a foam pad cut to size. The only problem was that I didn't know how to effectively sew a box cushion.

Secondhand bookshop to the rescue! I found a daggy but excellent "how to sew" book that gives very, very clear instructions. If you are going for a retro look it also can give you great fashion advice.
Personally I prefer to stick to using the instructions.

To test out the pattern I successfully made cushions for my restored rocking chair.

Today I made the cushion for my husband's study chair from a tapestry his Mum stitched for him.
Firstly I lined the back of the tapestry to protect the stitching.
Then I sewed the gusset and inserted the zip.
Then the fiddly job of sewing the top and bottom to the gusset. The key is pivoting the corners.
Here's the finished cushion with the book that made it possible.
And the cushion taking pride of place with my husband's MG collection in our study.


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