Some tips on beautifying your office space… the DIY way!

As it’s Spring I’ve been busy organising my home and, in particular, my work space. I don’t know about you but I can find office supplies quite drab and so I’ve put together a few tutorials showing how you can jazz things up a little. The best part is these are budget friendly… always a winner with me! Before I share these tutorials I just wanted to show you what I discovered when planning my diary the other day…

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Feeling highly bemused, I contacted Paperchase just to let them know. They were incredibly apologetic and sent me a gift voucher in order to replace the diary! I actually find the diary to be quirky and a good ice breaker during meetings so I had no intention of replacing it. Instead I bought an insulated coffee cup as I never get round to finishing hot drinks before they turn cold… one of the perils of life with a small child! I also bought a matching pen because, well, why not? They do make sitting at my desk a lot more fun. Here’s a pic:

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Aren’t they pretty? Hats off to Paperchase for top customer service. It just goes to show it’s worth taking the time to feedback to businesses.

Now on to the tutorials. My work space was in dire need of memo boards as my ideas are written all over the place or cut outs from magazine tacked onto the wall. It was a bit of  a shambles, to be honest. My work area is in the dining room, which, funnily enough, also functions as a dining room and a play room for my daughter. There is the potential for utter chaos in this room so good organisation is imperative. That said, there is no need to be dull.

Tutorial 1: From drab cork board to painted frame and fabric memo area

Materials:

  • Framed cork board
  • Masking tape
  • Paint and small brush
  • Fabric
  • Pencil or tailor’s chalk
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Upholstery pins

 

This is my memo area before... not pretty!

This is my memo area before… not pretty!

Take your memo board (also wanted to re-vamp my chalk board so it's included in this step) prepare it for painting by  placing masking tape on the edge of where you would like to paint. Then paint!

Take your memo board (also wanted to re-vamp my chalk board so it’s included in this step) prepare it for painting by placing masking tape on the edge of where you would like to paint. Then paint!

Place your fabric over the board and mark the area you would like to cover. Cut out your fabric placing your scissors about 1 or 2cms outside of the line. You will use this excess fabric to created smooth lines.

Place your fabric over the board and mark the area you would like to cover. Cut out your fabric placing your scissors about 1 or 2cms outside of the line. You will use this excess fabric to created smooth lines.

Iron your fabric, folding the edges where you marked them.

Iron your fabric, folding the edges where you marked them.

Secure the fabric with upholstery pins. Hang your boards on the wall. Lovely!

Secure the fabric with upholstery pins. Hang your boards on the wall. Lovely!

 

 

Tutorial 2: Clipboard re-vamp

Materials:

  • Clip board
  • Decorative paper
  • Craft knife
  • Cutting board
  • PVA glue
Take your plain clipboard

Take your plain clipboard

Place it on top of your decorative paper. Using your craft knife and cutting board, cut around the outline of the board.

Place it on top of your decorative paper. Using your craft knife and cutting board, cut around the outline of the board.

Cover the clipboard in pva glue.

Cover the clipboard in pva glue.

Carefully place your paper over the board then press firmly, from the bottom up. Once you reach the top, use your craft knife to cut around the the clip. Firmly press the top of your paper to the board.

Carefully place your paper over the board then press firmly, from the bottom up. Once you reach the top, use your craft knife to cut around the the clip. Firmly press the top of your paper to the board.

 

 

 

Tutoral 3: Chevron memo board

Materials:

  • Cork board
  • Acrylic paint
  • Foam paint brush
  • Masking tape (to create stencil)
  • Measuring tape/ruler (optional)
Take a plain cork board and create a stencil using masking tape. Once I had created the top chevron I measured the distance between the points in order to make the next row. Paint the areas in between the masking tape.

Take a plain cork board and create a stencil using masking tape. Once I had created the top chevron I measured the distance between the points in order to make the next row. Paint the areas in between the masking tape.

Leave to dry then remove the masking tape... I was a little impatient here and it shows.

Leave to dry then remove the masking tape… I was a little impatient here and it shows.

Hang on the wall.

Hang on the wall.

 

 

 

Tutorial 4: fabric covered cork board

As I mentioned earlier, my work area is in a multi-functional room. I wanted to tie in the decor to keep it looking as uniform as possible so I decided to create a lovely area for my daughter to hang her art work on.

Materials:

  • Cork board
  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Upholstery pins
  • Tape measure (optional)
This is what you will need before you begin.

This is what you will need before you begin.

Cut out your fabric so that it is slightly larger than the area. You want to have enough so that it covers the edges of the board with enough fabric to tuck under itself.

Cut out your fabric so that it is slightly larger than the area. You want to have enough so that it covers the edges of the board with enough fabric to tuck under itself.

Pinning as you go, tuck the fabric under itself. You may wish to use a tape measure so that the pins are evenly spaced.

Pinning as you go, tuck the fabric under itself. You may wish to use a tape measure so that the pins are evenly spaced.

This is how it should look at the end.

This is how it should look at the end.

I had some coordinating fabric so I decided to cover three boards in total.

I had some coordinating fabric so I decided to cover three boards in total.

I think they look much smarter than regular cork boards.

I think they look much smarter than regular cork boards.

What a lovely gallery!

What a lovely gallery!

 

That’s all for today! If you follow any of the tutorials, please do share photos of the end results.

DIY Glitter Stag Head Christmas Decorations

This is a tutorial for how to recreate your own Christmas stag head wall hangings.

This is a tutorial for how to recreate your own Christmas stag head wall hangings.

Firstly, prepare your workspace. You will need stretched canvas (or plain card if you don't have canvas), paint, glitter, glue, a stencil - I googled 'deer template' to find mine. You will also need a pencil, ruler or tape measure, string, nails, picture hooks, hammer and newspaper.

Firstly, prepare your workspace. You will need stretched canvas (or plain card if you don’t have canvas), paint, glitter, pva glue, a stencil – I googled ‘deer template’ to find mine. You will also need a pencil, ruler or tape measure, string, nails, picture hooks, hammer and newspaper.

BEFORE you begin, attach your string to the back of your canvas so that you can hang it on your wall (if that's how you choose to display your stag head)

BEFORE you begin, attach your string to the back of your canvas so that you can hang it on your wall (if that’s how you choose to display your stag head)

Paint your back ground colour onto your canvases. Leave to dry before continuing to the next step.

Paint your back ground colour onto your canvases. Leave to dry before continuing to the next step.

Cut out your stencil and place it onto your canvas. Trace around the stencil with a pencil.

Cut out your stencil and place it onto your canvas. Trace around the stencil with a pencil.

You are now ready to apply your glue within the lines of your template.

You are now ready to apply your glue within the lines of your template.

Once you have applied your glue, liberally sprinkle glitter over your canvas.

Once you have applied your glue, liberally sprinkle glitter over your canvas.

Ensure the whole of your picture has been covered in glitter.

Ensure the whole of your picture has been covered in glitter.

Take some paper, fold it in half and open it up again. Pop your paper under the canvas and tap the canvas onto the paper so that the excess glitter is collected onto it. Pour the glitter back into the glitter pot.

Take some paper, fold it in half and open it up again. Pop your paper under the canvas and tap the canvas onto the paper so that the excess glitter is collected onto it. Pour the glitter back into the glitter pot.

Touch up any areas that need it with glue and repeat the last step.

Touch up any areas that need it with glue and repeat the last step.

Repeat the process so far until you have your desired number of stag heads.

Repeat the process so far until you have your desired number of stag heads.

Apply glue to the edges of your canvas and cover with glitter.

Apply glue to the edges of your canvas and cover with glitter.

Stand back and admire your handiwork!

Stand back and admire your handiwork!

Hang on the wall using a picture hook.

Hang on the wall using a picture hook.

DIY Christmas Star Decoration

Make a shabby chic Christmas wall decoration in under two hours!

Make a shabby chic Christmas wall decoration in under two hours!

The gold glitter ensures that your sparkly star will twinkle during day light hours as well as at night!

The gold glitter ensures that your sparkly star will twinkle during day light hours as well as at night!

You will need: 15 dry sticks, newspaper, string, scissors, gold spray paint, gold glitter, string of 100 fairy lights

You will need: 15 dry sticks, newspaper, string, scissors, gold spray paint, gold glitter, string of 100 fairy lights

Trim your sticks to your desired length. I just used my hands but you could use secateurs if you wish.

Trim your sticks to your desired length. I just used my hands but you could use secateurs if you wish.

Group the sticks into five sets of three.

Group the sticks into five sets of three.

Tie the ends of the stick bundles together with string. I used white so that it would show up in the photos but you may wish to use brown. Don't worry too much about the colour though as it will be covered in paint.

Tie the ends of the stick bundles together with string. I used white so that it would show up in the photos but you may wish to use brown. Don’t worry too much about the colour though as it will be covered in paint.

Arrange your stick bundles into a star shape and secure with string.

Arrange your stick bundles into a star shape and secure with string.

Spray your star (I used a whole can of paint) and sprinkle glitter all over it.

Spray your star (I used a whole can of paint) and sprinkle glitter all over it.

Pretty! Leave to dry in a well ventilated area.

Pretty! Leave to dry in a well ventilated area.

Secure some string to the back in order to hang to the wall. I used a standard picture hook to hang.

Secure some string to the back in order to hang to the wall. I used a standard picture hook to hang.

Draped your fairy lights around the star, my fairy lights reached around the star twice. I did try winding the fairy lights around the star but it looked too bulky. Hang on your wall, stand back and admire your handiwork!

Drape your fairy lights around the sticks, my fairy lights reached around the star twice. I did try winding the fairy lights around the star but it looked too bulky. Hang on your wall, stand back and admire your handiwork!

If you wish you could trim the ends of the branches to tidy it up but I prefer the rugged, shabby chic look. I may leave it up all year!

If you wish you could trim the ends of the branches to tidy it up but I prefer the rugged, shabby chic look. I may leave it up all year!

What I have learnt from my venture into craft fairs.

So last month I took the plunge and signed up for a stall at a local craft fair. I had very little stock and even less of a clue as to what to expect. It was great to set myself a challenge; I had little over a week to prepare. This really helped me to focus on what to sell. I also had to decide on my branding and packaging, needless to say I had little sleep leading up to that event!

As I am on a tight budget I couldn’t justify the expense of a banner so I decorated the front of my stall with bunting. This works well as I sell mini bunting sewing kits and mix and match bunting, plus, it looks pretty! I printed out a copy of my logo to fit a sheet of A4 paper and framed it in a bold black frame, to match my packaging. Rather than creating a price list, which I think can be too much for customers to take in, I used place cards to write my prices on. My business cards weren’t ready so I had a clip board and with paper with my logo printed onto it and invited people to provide their email address. This actually worked but wasn’t for everyone so I made sure that my business cards were ready for craft fair number two! Here is a photo of my stall:

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As you can see my products are laid down flat. This isn’t ideal as I was making my customers work to see what I had on offer in comparison to other stalls who had their products displayed at different levels. I don’t drive so it is important that I can fit my stall into a suitcase. (Of course, driving lesson are accounted for on my business plan but that phase is months away!) For my next craft fair I borrowed a card stand and it really did help, you can see the difference in the photo below:

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Can you see me? I’m not intentionally hiding in this photo! I think the card stand really makes a difference so I will now get my thinking cap on for easy to transport solutions to making my stall much more interesting to look at – if you have a suggestion then please feel free to leave a comment!

During the second craft fair I received a lot of feedback on my products, which was most welcomed! I’m a far way off having the perfect stall but I really do think that craft fairs are a great way to get your product out there and to pick up tips from the more experienced stall holders.

The thing that really struck me as being quite remarkable from the two craft fairs I have sold at was the sense of community amongst the stall holders. Everyone is happy to share their wisdom and offer support to one another. I am looking forward to craft fair number three this Saturday just so that I can catch up with my new friends!

If anyone is interested, here is the poster:

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Hope to see you there!

Simple Coat Customisation

A really simple but effective way of updating a coat is to change the buttons. You could make a statement with contrasting colours or make a nod to current trends without the expense of replacing perfectly wearable items in your wardrobe. A wee while back, I transformed a drab purple mac into something that was much more stylish and more importantly, fun to wear with the injection of a Liberty print. The photo’s aren’t terribly clear but here’s how…

Before:

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I then used a Liberty print to cover buttons:

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They turned out like this:

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The end result:

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If you find the task of covering buttons with fabric laborious, you could either use plastic ones or buy ready covered buttons. Fabric covered buttons are available from my Folksy shop folksy.com/sewathome. This is such a fun project that once you start you may find yourself changing all of your buttons!

 

What’s on my sewing table this morning…

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I’ve been very busy this past week thinking up ideas, now it is time for me to change my focus from planning to doing! That’s always the hard part, isn’t it? Of course, once I had got started I became so absorbed in my work that new ideas came flooding in. The fabric in the photo is being used for kits for some gorgeous shabby chic hanging hearts.