Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Take a Peek into the Crafty Space of OrchidsHeart...

I spend a lot of time looking on pinterest for inspiration or fantasizing about moving into my own place. Though I strongly believe that dreaming and fantasizing IS healthy, it can become unhealthy when you don't appreciate what you have. So rather than spending ALL my time thinking about the place I don't have, today I am enjoying what I do have (whilst I have it, soon I have to move into a darker and smaller room next door, a minor set-back...).

I am a major thrifter, upcycler and always looking out for things. Whether I find them on the street, my friend digs them up or I find it in a market-- and sometimes just mysteriously acquire. There are not many things I believe in spending money on, maybe my boots, but even then I think I am going to convert to buying vintage second hand DMs on ebay as my shoes were such as success (and massively cheaper).

So here I am going to share with you some ideas of how to decorate a space with virtually no money, a huge dose of creative love and bohemian spirit. 

As well as being a little bit of an oddity hoarder, I also obsessively take pictures on instagram (find me here) which can be printed using a variety of companies to produce faux Polaroids (I used Origrami). I have tons of these dotted all over my room as little tokens of memorable moments from living here in Paris. And yes the Eiffel Tower is not really present... Instead I have a pic of la petite ceinture and a dead bird. 

I also have a few things that I have found along the way, a picture of a boy, a bird skull I made into a mini terrarium from an old ratatouille jar and some old tins. I like old things...

Yes, I also collect glass jars. I have a stash under my bed. They are very handy for candles, flowers, jewelry... etc. Some of them I modge podged with patterned tissue paper as above so that they glow pretty colours when the candles are lit inside. So pretty! You can also spy in the middle one of my glass bottles that art for sale over on my Etsy, a piece of pottery I found on a dig with a dear friend (yes its broken... this is one of my quirks. I love broken pottery), a book full of more "Polaroids" and a pouch I made to store bits n bobs- made from fabric scraps. 

My little birds... And my memory mobile. The bark was from a special tree growing out of the grave of a witch in Pere Lachaise, a gentleman that specializes in vampire folklore gave it to me. The bones I found on a beach whilst I was at uni in England on the beaches of Whistable, the rose I found on a street in Lyon, the key in the French countryside, and the shells were from a fairy grotto in Canterbury. From Pere Lachaise to Lyon to the British Coast...

Crate storage units. I started running out of space a while back and needed some kind of shelves so I found these lying around and brought them home. They are not as good as my friend's brewery crates in England but hey, they work. More than I can say for DAB radios in France!

Absinthe spoon, homemade clay bowls (tutorial here), old French book found abandoned in the street, a glass vase I dug up in Wales. Oh and some camera batteries.

Jam jar storage for tea, another handmade pouch and another DIY tea light.

All of this was found. Both the suitcases I found in the street and upcycled, for the small one see here, and for the larger one see here. The top cushion was an old paisley scarf that was no longer worn and the bottom one was a piece of vintage bunting that I embroidered. Oh and there are some beautiful old bills there too. 

My latest project, my chair. I found him in the trash with a hole in it and totally re-did it for the price of two tester pots of paint, a piece of fabric and the trim. Have a look here if you are curious.

Find an ugly white crochet blanket? Dye it. I got this blanket for a euro, it had ugly stains all over it so I soaked it then dyed it a pale blue. Sorted.

Dream catcher from an embroidery hoop? Here is something else I made using scraps. I found it to be a good way to use odds and ends, whether it be paper based or yarny. 

Now I have a weird confession to make; I sleep upside down. This is the headboard but I don't use it as such. I just realized one night it was easier to sleep the wrong way up and it became a habit- and also quite useful for storing my headscarves.

And yes ALL my mirrors are surrounded by tidbits. Flowers, birthday crown, photos, postcards, tickets etc. I like to surround myself with these things, I find it inspiring.

My bed after a lazy morning. Piles of cushions, handmade and bought, my kantha quilt, my crochet quilt just poking out in the corner (both second hand) and of course the faithful ikea bedding.

I always find fairy lights brighten any room up. The last place I lived in apparently looked like the cross between a cell and a squat, until the lights went up! This door has been painted shut a long time ago...

My jewelry rack: a branch with nails in it. How cheap can you get?

Another mirror. My landlady loves mirrors. Too be honest there are too many for my taste. This is prob why they are all half covered up. Here is my friend too, his name changes depending on my mood. Right now its Timothy. 

Lots of blankets always add to coziness.

Another mirror on my wardrobe... More photos...

A random ticket I pulled out my pocket late the other night.

Creative clutter? A WIP mannequin body, my vintage DM shoes on my H and M rug (good for cheap faux vintage stuff), some ornate table legs I found and painted, my lace petticoat, my handbag with headphones and the contents just left on the floor (bad habit of mine). The notebook is one of my own from my Etsy store, I hand make them, custom order... hint hint. Anything you want! Just sayin'.

My dressing table. Here is a real ton of odds and ends. Books (Lolita is my favorite of all time), thrift store scarf (1E!!), jar lid magnet things, more tins and boxes. 

Covering tins with decoupage paper make great storage. 

Found things, china pigeon, feathers, pine cone, old tile...

And I will finish with this one. See the mayhem!

The "shelf" is just a piece of wood I found balanced on books and tins and edged with washi tape. 

I find that you really do not have to spend lots of money to make your space beautiful if you seek out thrift stores, ebay, gum tree, leboncoin (if in France) etc. |Or just look in skips. Or outside student properties on moving day. A bit of paint and love can fix all sorts. 

And remember, perfection is overrated. I know about the spelling mistake. 
This is going to be nailed up in my future studio, I am keeping it to remind me of my dream.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Upcycling a Chair: Trash into Treasure

So I am ALWAYS seeing furniture in the street that has been thrown out or left on the road to be trashed and the possibilities of such things makes me a little excited as well as a bit sad. Excited with all the potential things that can be done and sad because I can't take back EVERYTHING I find or my landlady would go nuts. This chair was actually in the reject zone of my building for about a week and I could not decide- to take or leave? After encountering it about five times I decided it had to come back upstairs with me, where it lived in my room for about a fortnight before I started work on it. In the meantime I visited England for a week and helped decorate a room, and the DIY bug was well rooted in me by the time I returned.

I started out by experimenting with the paints I had lying about seeing how they looked on the wood. As my new room is the bright blue colour I decided that this chair would be a bit boho crazy and opted for using the pink and purple. Once I decided I then gave it a good sanding and wipe over and left to dry.

After I painted the main body in the purple and the wicker back in pink. The wicker was a bit fiddly and took a while, going back and forth etc.

And more painting... I didn't actually do it all in one go as I did bits in between other jobs.

Once I had painted all of what I need to cover on the chair, I neatened the edges of the wicker back using a fine brush.

At this point it looked like this. As you can see I did not paint the seat. This is because I knew it would be covered with fabric and realized that I would be wasting time and paint.

Then the seat got removed....! Just with a craft knife, I hacked it out. And started cutting the tape to size. This "tape" is actually tape use for making curtains because I found it for 2 euro a pack at Ikea and it seemed very strong so I thought why not. And it worked so clearly it was ok. The tape I simply cut to size and stapled in place with a heavy duty staple gun on top of the chair to start with and then on the sides.

And the next one.

Once I had done all the horizontal ones, I started weaving vertical strips across. This is to make it stronger. And deff make sure you pull taunt on it every time you place a staple. This is very important.

Keep going until you have gone all the way around.

Then neaten and strengthen further by stapling on the sides and underneath, to the inside of the seat. By this point you will have a recognizable chair! I wanted padding on my seat so I did this next bit. But its optional.

I had some leftover stuffing from making a cushion and the outer shell of another cushion which I had used the stuffing from and used this to pad my chair. You could use foam or just sandwich the stuffing between two pieces of fabric, I just used what I had. 

I stapled this in place and trimmed the excess, also pushing the fuzz into the right places as I went (evenly).

I then placed the fabric on the chair to figure out pattern placement and cut it out. Then placed a few staples in the middle of each edge, pulling on it as I went to keep it tight.

The corners were fiddly. I stapled them as you can see, top left then cut the excess off.

Underneath it looked like this. I folded the fabric under and around the leg and went staple crazy. This was just for the front two legs.

For the back two legs I folded the fabric back, and cut the triangle off as you can see below.

I then folded the fabric around the leg and stapled in place. I did this for all the legs, always pulling on the fabric to keep it taut. 

And this is how it looked! But the staples were visible. I was careful to keep them in a straight line near the edge but its still ugly. So I bought 2m of some funky trim and used my glue gun to put it in place. 

Going all the way around, bit by bit.

Et voila!