How to create a bespoke mosaic mirror

How to create a bespoke mosaic mirror

So, you’re feeling creative?

…and you just so happen to have some mini mosaic tiles left over from a recent bathroom makeover project.

And, no matter how much you search, you just cannot find a mirror to match your stunning new spa-like bathroom.

So, you go rogue. I mean – go handmade. By your very own hands.

Before you begin, remember:

It doesn’t matter if you make a mistake.

That’s the beauty of handmade.

(at least that’s what I kept telling myself!)

You will need:

Tile backing board

Cutting board and knife

Mirror (eBay just may be your friend..!)

Tile adhesive and holder*

* mostly to make pew-pew sounds with, and run around chasing your husband who is looking less than amused… Ahem.

And, of course, you need your tiles.

Beautiful little tiles.

Cut them up from the mesh, and put them all to one side.

  1. Draw a circle in your tile backing board

I recommend using a piece of string, a drawing pin and a pencil for this:

  • Stick the drawing pin in the centre of the tile backing board after carefully measuring exactly where the centre is (measure three times, cut once)
  • With the string equal to the radius of the circle (e.g. half the distance across the circle), attach a pencil to it
  • Carefully holding the pencil, send it round and round the drawing pin!

Voila! You’ve got a perfectly drawn circle!

2. Get cutting!

Use a cutting board and a cutting knife. Make sure you cut carefully, sharp knives and all that!

3. Lay out the mirror and the tiles surrounding it 

And get a good idea of the placements.

I suggest trying to avoid laying the tiles in any particular pattern, as it’s a lot more effective. If you have different prints on the tiles try to scatter them around so the eyes struggle to create a pattern too. Means the time you’re spending brushing your teeth can be spent trying to come up with pretty patterns – see what you can spell with the tiles!

4. When you’re 100% certain of the locations, stick those babies down!

One by one.

Oh, and here’s the thing:

If you make a mistake at this point, make sure you remove the tile or mirror quickly before the tile adhesive has dried.

5. Get glooping!

My personal favourite.

The manufacturer advised using gloves for the tile grout.
I didn’t read this til after I was finished glooping.

Splat!

Work the grout in inbetween the tiles, not just on top of them unlike this picture.

6. Work your way systematically around the mirror

I used a counter-clockwise motion. Cos I’m a rebel, like that.

7. Once finished, gently wipe off any excess grout on the tiles with a wet sponge 

before the grout fully dries on.

Normally that takes around 24 hours for it to set fully, so you’ve got time. But try to get it done early, so you’re not spending ages picking tiling grout away from the patterns on the tiles. Not speaking from experience at all. Oh no…

8. Remove the protective film across the mirror

That hopefully it came with, to reveal a beyootiful shiny new mirror!

9. Stand back, and admire your handiwork!

Whew! 

What an emotional rollercoaster, eh?

Now, I made this look pretty simple. And, to me, it was. 

But not everyone enjoys doing projects like these, that are as messy as they are. Like the couple who commissioned me to create this wonderful piece of art in the first place. 

Are you interested in a one-of-a-kind bespoke custom-made mosaic mirror, or some other craft design? Don’t quite fancy the challenge?

Get in touch today and let’s talk! I’d be happy to help you create something unique just for you!

Sx

The chest of drawers upcycling project

The chest of drawers upcycling project

Morning my lovelies,

Hope you’ve all had marvellous weekends so far?

Yesterday our little area got put on the map on a global scale – for the second time since we moved here (first time was back in 2009-10 when it was proven our area had a higher birth rate than Pakistan and India. Take THAT! You must try harder!) and it was because a couple got married in our supermarket. Cos, that’s how we roll..? I mean, clearly, had Husband and I not married in an idyllic location close to where I grew up outside Stockholm, that would have been my go-to place. I think I would’ve walked down the aisle around the water-vapour-mist machines around the fresh fruit and veg.

A la Phantom of the Opera.
Maybe even get Husband to wear the Phantom mask! <notes down idea for wedding vows renewal>

I digress!

Today, lovely readers, I wanted to talk to you about my wonderful chest of drawers I upcycled for my boys’ room.

When I was expecting TBT of course my mind went into overdrive while the little monkey was draining me of all my energy and somehow making me constantly hungry so I had no choice but to eat continuously. At one point I considered renaming myself Gretel. I. was. huge!

Having invested in cheap-and-cheerful flatpack furniture it didn’t take long for me to realise the units weren’t up to scratch. I think they lasted about 9 months before they got booted out of the door. The only reason it took me that long to get rid of them was because I was not at work, and therefore couldn’t make financial decisions.

Once I was back to work, I spent hours on eBay bidding on countless chests that would fit. I even made counter-offers that the sellers would just reply with a “LOL!” to. True story.

In the end, I came across these:

eBay bargains

eBay bargains

They looked clean! They were two! Lots of drawers! The guy sent me measurements, they seemed good!
Only issue? They were from the deepest darkest Norfolk. Don’t get me wrong, I love countryside, and I revel in it when we’re away, but this… this was something else.

Stepdaughter was bored at home with her two brothers and embarrassing Daddy, so I suggested we go on a road trip! Yay! Girly time! Just the two of us.

No phone connectivity.

SatNav isn’t entirely sure where we’re heading to, either.

For those that don’t know me, I drive an old man’s car (Saab) and I must admit I felt very out of place there. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not in pristine condition but it’s not a pickup truck. Or a modded car. Or a pickup truck. Or a trailer. Pulled along by a pickup truck. You get the picture.

We drive for what seems like hours (only 2 or so!) and come to the approximate destination. After having driven around the area a couple of times, I call the seller and ask for some more directions.

“I’ve seen you drive, you’ve gone past my house five times!”.

Oh. Goodie.

<cue horror movie>

At this point I was glad I didn’t call Husband as I more than likely would have made the mistake of saying I’d be “Right back” and therefore fulfil the inevitable prophesy (FYI – you mustn’t EVER say that line. Ever. Cos you won’t be back! You’ll be chopped up and stuffed in the freezer. Like Little Women was stuffed in Joey’s freezer in Friends! And then fed to piranhas by a man with an eyepatch rubbing his hands together with glee… You get my drift.)

Sooooo, I drove back to the location the seller described.

A big gate – check.
Barking scary HUGE dog at said gate (…who, if hungry, probably would’ve eaten me alive there and then. And any leftovers would have been stuffed into the freezer…) – check.
A mobile home with a guy sitting on the porch outside it smiling over at me – check.

He seemed nice enough, offered to let me see the units as they were in the house – I gracefully declined and made excuses about muddy shoes. The shoes I’d worn while driving. In my car that had recently been cleaned. Shoes that now stood on his sand-covered porch. Of his mobile home.

After an odd look, he shrugged, went inside and brought out the units, one after the next.

They were in impeccable condition, heavy as anything as there was no veneer in them at all, just the Real Deal.

The next part involved fitting them into the car. A saloon, not made for furniture.

Thankfully, my stubborn Swedish/efficient German heritage with a long history of Tetris growing up, I was not defeated.

Stepdaughter probably could have done with a chiropractor to help unroll her spine from the return journey having sat pretty uncomfortably, but I must admit I was happy once we got back home!

The next hurdle was getting them into the house – on our return I was greeted by Husband who looked at me with raised eyebrows and asked the question everyone dreads – “where are these going, then?” Secretly, I wished the house could have magically increased in size while we were gone. The next few weeks involved scrubbing

chest of drawers

before…

 

and repainting

chest of drawers

during the repainting process

 

the units.

Was it worth it?

You be the judge.

Even Winnie the Pooh approves!

Even Winnie the Pooh approves!

1231089_684643678232334_1258313741_nNow, the boys have units that have been fully personalised and are completely unique. Two of a kind. And, they also have their (step) mum alive and in one piece to this day, to tell this somewhat unique tale!

Do you have your own design story to tell? Any eBay bargains you want to share?

Furniture repurpose

 

The Chairs – voila!

The Chairs – voila!

Oh. my. Good.ness.

I am elated. Ecstatic. Overjoyed. Overwhelmed.

Just – wow.

The chairs have finally been finished!

IMG_0266

Upcycled chair

I’ll admit, I got them Christmas 2013, attended Wet Paint workshop in February 2014 and then only put the last coats of Annie Sloan Chalkpaint on before waxing and sealing them in January 2015.

I can’t even tell you why I’ve not been able to finish them sooner – I’ll just admit that I’ve let life get in the way, and I’ve been focusing on other things. Which happens! Should I beat myself up about it? Nah.

Look at how beautiful they are! How splendid and amazing – and comfy, too!

Yay yay yay.

Have you had any projects you’ve been trying to work on for ages? Why don’t you share below, or post a pic on my twitter, Facebook or tag me on Instagram?

Furniture repurpose

Decorating a staircase on a budget

Decorating a staircase on a budget

Hello my lovely readers, how are you all doing?

I’m still full of my chest infection – boo. Chocolate seems to do the opposite of help, frustratingly!

Today, however, I had one of those days where I just had to do something. Just Anything. Being the extrovert that I am and being locked up in the house for a few days doesn’t do me a lot of good.

So today for some reason Husband wielded a hammer (those who know him will know this is NOT natural behaviour for Husband!) and it inspired me to sort out our staircase!

As our budget is currently very tight, I have plenty of ideas of how to re-design our staircase with new carpets and beautiful paintwork and new bannisters and suchlike, but no money to action it with. Especially before Christmas every single penny seems to be going towards getting presents or cards or food preparations, am I right?

I’m really pleased with my result, it didn’t take long at all!

1. Print a load of 6×4 photos

This can often be done cheaply. I got an amazing deal for photos on Snapfish last year, with a massive amount of free prints (huzzah!) as long as I paid the postage. The photo quality is fab, too.

2. Buy a load of clip frames

Last year I managed to get an insane discount on the ones from Dunelm during their Christmas sale – I think they were only 50p each or something like that, so definitely keep your eyes peeled.

Dunelm clip frames

Dunelm clip frames

3. Decide on a location on the staircase wall for your pictures

I chose the wall climbing the staircase as it was such a massive blank canvas and already had a picture of Husband and I. It’s one of my most favourite photos of us, taken at my sister’s wedding where I was a bridesmaid (this is taken shortly before my hair pops out of the beautiful style the hairdresser had made – damn hair!) and I don’t even think either Husband or I can remember it being taken. I just love how happy and relaxed we both look – it’s us, well and truly. Our wedding photos are beautiful too, of course, but I feel they’re a little more staged. And, more to the point, I don’t look like me at all in them. Sometimes a good thing 😉

Us

Us

4. Grab a pencil, ruler and a spirit level and come up with a strategic pattern placement on the staircase wall for the pictures

Word of warning – I did attempt putting them in a block so nicely next to each other. But with only a pencil and no spirit level or ruler I did it by sight alone. Not ideal for beginners but it worked out fine for me.

5. Put the pictures up, admire your handiwork and go “aaahhh…”

What I love about this pattern is:

  • It shows off Husband, myself, The Blue Thing and the Stepkids. As much as we do try to make them feel included when they come to stay, they are in their teenage years now so may be anxious about their place in our family. I hope that this wall will help reassure them that they are very much loved and part of us.
  • It’s grown around Husband and I. We are still centre stage, but the kids are a wonderful addition to that.
  • It’s organic. What I mean by that is – any additions are easily made in the future. Should we have another photoshoot like we did for TBT’s first Christmas (where the majority of the photos come from) we can easily add them in new frames and just keep building the wall. I’d love to have the whole staircase covered in photos one day!
Finished product

Finished product

Dont we all look amazing?

Don’t we all look amazing?

Have you done something similar? Share your views/ideas in the comments below, I’d love to hear your feedback!

Sx

Chalk paint with Annie Sloan range

Chalk paint with Annie Sloan range

Morning! Hope you’re all having splendiferous weekends? I’ve been all run down with a stinking cold that’s now spread to my chest. Joy.

So I’ll try keeping this relatively short and sweet today!

I do have lots of exciting posts coming up in the future, featuring Great Interior Design Challenge content.. If you haven’t subscribed to my blog yet, definitely do so, otherwise you might miss out on some seriously exciting Christmas treats :)

When I went to see a darling friend of mine yesterday, she confessed (like many in her position) that since she’d moved into her house with her little family in the summer, they hadn’t done much to the house except getting key pieces of furniture, and depended on hand-me-downs as much as possible.

That – I congratulate.

In my opinion, there is absolutely no point in getting yourself on the property ladder having finally saved up all the insane amount of money required for a deposit in this day and age (even just 5% of a 6-digit number is still a small fortune!) and then putting yourself in debt through the mortgage which is a 25 year + commitment to pay off, and then ending up spending another small fortune on furniture. Especially since the furniture may not even be the Perfect Piece, but just something to fill the space..

My darling friend P has collected a load of pine furniture and hand-me-downs for the time being, and they’re ideal for what’s needed. But, of course, P and her family love colour. They are definitely people that you’d expect to have a slightly psychadelic feel to their home with celebration of colour everywhere. So how can this be achieved?

Let me remind you all of the wonders of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

Chalk Paint

Chalk Paint

There’s a massive range of colours for anyone to go CRAZY with!

But – how do I use it?

It’s simple:

1. Get your delightful tin and give it a good shake

This ensures that all the dyes mix wonderfully within the tin so you don’t have to stir it forever. Seeing as the pots are “only” 1 litre each, too, it’s not too heavy.

Annie Sloan paint tins

My weapons of choice – Annie Sloan paint tins in Country Grey and Paris Grey

2. Open the tin and pour an amount over to a bucket or cup

Personally I use a cup. But when I went to Wet Paint’s workshop in February Laura and Jax had provided little buckets. Use whatever you like – the paint is water-soluble so afterwards you can just give whatever you’re using a good clean. Probably wouldn’t use my finest china for this, but you get the jist.

Paint brushes in a cup

Paint brushes in a cup

3. Pour in a little water and stir well

This is a great trick – diluting the paint in your cup/bucket helps it last longer and makes it easier to apply onto the furniture. Keep about 80/20 ratio of paint/water – any further watering-down can make the paint change effect so it’s more of a lime-wash rather than a full covering.

4. Ensure your furniture you’re about to paint is clean and dry

If needs be, give it a wash with sugar soap to get rid of any dirt, and brush it down with a spare paintbrush or something just to get rid of the dust.

3 chairs

The Chairs – BEFORE

See how dark the chairs are in the photo above? And they’re shiny with polish, too.

5. Paint away!

Enjoy the process – remember to use about 2-3 coats of the paint (or until there seems to be an even cover!) Through furniture painting you can make any room look really nicely coordinated even if you may have mismatched furniture.

Here’s two of the same chairs featured before – the paint sticks like glue to any surface, so you don’t have to sand it – as long as it’s been given a good clean it’s ready to be painted and it’ll stick!

Annie Sloan paint

Two chairs – AFTER painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

It’s such a forgiving paint – washes away with just water, and you can paint on top of it again and again if you’re not happy with the first colour.

6. Seal it

Seal it with Annie Sloan wax, either in original or dark wax for that slightly aged finish.

So go on, enjoy! What have you got to lose?

Some other examples of what I’ve painted in the past:

Dresser before

Dresser before

Mirror after being painted with Annie Sloan Country Grey

Mirror after being painted with Annie Sloan Country Grey

Stool after being painted with Annie Sloan Country Grey

Stool after being painted with Annie Sloan Country Grey