RSS

Tag Archives: Project Reorganise

Project Reorganise: Jewellery Rack

Credit: Mango Stream

Credit: Mango Stream

Recently I found a jewellery rack for sale on Amazon. It’s the first one I have ever seen for purchase that doesn’t require you to remove the back from a post earring, push it through a hole, and then reattach the back. Instead, you put it through a larger hole and then let the earring drop down into a much smaller slot, which then holds it.

The rack is available in silver or matte black, and comes in either ‘standard’, or in ‘deluxe’. The latter has an extension add-on that slides into the standard part to increase the total amount of storage space.
I chose the ‘deluxe’ in black but with an idea in mind to improve on it; I have a spray can of Antique Bronze paint and had the idea of spraying the rack a mottled bronze and black.

I got the balance of bronze to black pretty much spot on first time with the lower add-on part, but for the upper ‘standard’ part I completely overdid the bronze. With hindsight, I should have not been painting in fading light!

Too much bronze!

Too much bronze!

Fortunately, I had a spray can of matte black so was able to bring it back again. It took me several iterations to get to a point that I was happy with.

Almost done

Almost done

Once happy, I then gave it two coats of clear lacquer and then mounted it on the side of my tall chest of drawers, which is right next to my dressing table.

The finished item

The finished item

Advertisements
 
3 Comments

Posted by on April 18, 2016 in Arts and Crafts, Diary, Home furnishing, Photos

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Project Reorganise: Shelves and chair

I have been on the lookout for some shelves to go above my dressing table, and finally found something suitable on Amazon from a seller on the Marketplace. They do two versions; both the same height and the same number of shelves, but differing widths. On the photographs, at least on cursory inspection, they looked to be the same so I made the assumption that they would be the same apart from width.
These were ordered at a cost of £87.90 (£75 + £12.90 delivery) for the pair, which I thought was a little steep although they had very good reviews on Amazon.

The shelves arrived sometime in the following week. They turned out to be sturdily made, consisting of 2cm thick shelves and end boards, with the back made from 1cm tongue-and-groove planks. Although sturdy, they felt a little hastily thrown together and slightly wonky (Note: as in, not straight. They weren’t wobbly or anything), but that could well be a Shabby Chic thing I guess. They were painted in a uniform cream eggshell colour, as advertised. For some reason that I can’t quite fathom now, I decided that the supplied colour was not suitable and that they should be white, and so ordered some white chalk-based Shabby Chic paint by Rust Oleum.

Ready to paint

Ready to paint

A few weeks later, when the weather was nice and I fancied tackling the painting, I wondered how best to paint the shelves and looked around the garden for inspiration. Sat in a corner, quietly rusting away, were the steps for a rigid-framed above-ground pool that I had once owned (and which gone to the tip many years ago). They’d been squashed flat, but were good enough for what I wanted. With the addition of two opened-out wire coat hangers I was able to hang the shelving units by their mounting holes using the steps as a frame.

It was whilst painting them that I realised they were not the same. On the wider shelf unit, the bottom shelf was flush with the bottom of the back board, whilst on the narrower unit, it was not and there was some back board below the bottom shelf. This was rather annoying and, of course, since I was in the middle of painting them they could now no longer be returned. However I figured that, given I was going for a Shabby Chic style, this probably didn’t really matter. In fairness to the seller, when I went back and looked on the photos on Amazon it was very obvious that they were not the same and also the seller didn’t even claim that they were. It was just a bad assumption on my part. With hindsight, I should have contacted the seller and asked for a price of a matching pair; one wide and one narrow.

Sanding the chair

Sanding the chair

Also that day I sanded down one of the chairs using an orbital sander. Strictly speaking, this isn’t actually necessary when using chalk-based paint as it doesn’t require preparation or undercoat, but I did it anyway. It came up pretty well. I then painted it with the same chalk-based paint as I had plenty left over from the shelves.

Pew! Pew!

Pew! Pew!

The next day, when the shelves were dry, I drilled holes in the wall above the Dressing Table for them, using my laser spirit level (pew pew!) to ensure they were at the same height and also level. When screwed to the wall I considered it a job well done.

Unfortunately, the next day in daylight, I realised I had made a terrible mistake on the colour. Although there is some white in my bedroom (from the wardrobe doors, the skirting board, the door to the en-suite shower, the ceiling, and the door into the room), all my furniture is cream. The white of the shelving units clashed quite horribly with the Dressing Table and the other furniture. And, worse, with hindsight the colour the shelves had originally been supplied in might well have sufficed. *sighs*

So back onto Amazon, and I ordered ‘Clotted Cream’ chalk-based paint by Rust Oleum, and also some Rust Oleum clear furniture finishing wax.

When those arrived, I took the shelving units down and sanded them and also the chair, and repainted with the cream paint. Then the next day, gave them a light sanding with a fine sand paper to smooth out the paint brush marks a little, and then applied the wax to seal them.

Finished items

Finished items

The result is much better, and I’m happy with it. The shelves are now back up on the wall and populated with some of the trinkets and nick-nacks I have bought during my visits to Antiques and Collectors fairs, although there is room for plenty more.

I’ve stayed with the original cover on the seat of the chair for now, but I plan to source some suitable material (possibly from an old pair of curtains) at some time and re-cover the seat.

I also need to find a lamp or wall light too, as that corner is a little dingy and needs some additional lighting.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Project Reorganise: Parental house rummage

As you’ll know from previous posts about Project Reorganise, I have been on the look-out (amongst other things) for a chair for the Dressing Table.

I visited my parents one weekend a few months back, and they let me have a good rummage through their sheds and garage. These have become the repository for stuff that they have collected over the years, and also for the remaining possessions of both my sets of grandparents, all now deceased, since neither of my parents have any living brothers or sisters.

Chairs

Chairs

I told my mum I was particularly on the lookout for a chair for my dressing table and she showed me two chairs that she had out in a shed which might be suitable that I could have, which I happily took. There were several others in differing styles, but those were the only ones I felt would work.

Singer sewing machine

Singer sewing machine

In the garage there were a pair of vintage hand-powered Singer sewing machines which were in a pretty poor state and very rusty. I asked if I could have one of them as a conversation piece, and my parents were more than happy for me to have one. Whether or not I will actually put the effort into refurbishing it is perhaps open to debate.

1930's lamp shades

1930’s lamp shades

There were also two 1930’s lamp shades in a sort-of Art Deco style which my mum was very keen for me to take away.
I hope to sell those on, as I really don’t have a use for them.

Candelabra

Candelabra

She also pretty much forced a candelabra on me which I don’t really like (and she *really* doesn’t like) and I definitely plan to sell that on.

Chinese picture

Chinese picture

Another thing that caught my eye and caused me to go “Oh WOW!” was what appeared to be a Chinese painting on white porcelain, framed in fretwork, which had documentation on the back which appeared to be dated 1988, and rubber-stamped with text that seemed to say it was an antique of over 100 years of age. It had been bought by my maternal grandmother on one of her many foreign trips and, knowing her, was probably quite expensive. My mum said she was happy for me to have it as I have a love of the orient and several items of oriental furniture, and also she isn’t really that keen on it. So that seemed ideal for everyone.

Bead curtain

Bead curtain

There was also a wooden bead curtain that my mum was keen for me to take. I can’t decide if it is delightfully kitsch or hideously awful. 🙂

Beware of Trains

Beware of Trains

I’d been telling my dad about the cast iron railway sign that I have over my gate, and he told me that he also had several cast iron railway signs, which he had acquired decades previously and were original to the best of his knowledge.

Larger railway sign

Larger railway sign

It turned out there was a small “Beware of Trains” sign, and a pair (duplicates) of a much larger sign. He suggested that I had the small sign, and one of the pair and he’d keep the other. And, further, since one of the pair was in fairly good condition and the other was in pretty poor condition, I should have the better of the two. The smaller is of indeterminate age but the larger is dated 1893 and could well actually be that old.

I’d like to mount them on the outside wall of my house next to the gate, although I do worry about the rust on the larger sign and wonder if I should restore it before doing that in order to protect it from further deterioration.

Finally, my mum gave me a vintage 1940’s belt and headscarf that had belonged to my paternal grandmother, and also a cute lipstick holder with integral mirror by Stratton, which probably dates from the 1960’s or 1970’s.

Strattron Lipview

Strattron Lipview

There were a few other things that might have been of interest, but we were running out of time so that was all that I came away with on that visit.

When I got home, I sent a photograph of the Chinese picture, and also the documentation on the back, to a friend who speaks Cantonese. After consulting with someone else for a second opinion, she came back to me with the news that it appears to be somewhat, shall we say, “misleading”, and that the inscription on the picture itself says (roughly) “Falling Stream”, then who it was painted for (a “Mr Shanzon”) and by whom, and that it is dated 1986. The documentation on the back looks like it is an export license, under the column headed “Dynasty” it says “Recent”, and the rubber stamp certifying it as an antique may have been applied in error (or dishonestly), or perhaps it is certifying the age of the wood of the frame, or something. Who knows? But this doesn’t bother me in the least – I wanted the picture because I like it and not because it is valuable.

In the next instalment. I’ll tell you how I restored the chair and made it ‘Shabby Chic’ with chalk-based paint, and also how I got some shelves for above the dressing table.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Project Reorganise: Dressing Table

Project Reorganise has slowed down a little of late, but I have managed to get to a milestone on the Dressing Table.

I’ve been holding off posting about it until I had found the right mirror for it, which I found at a Big Surrey Fair at the Tolworth Recreation Centre on the A3 a few weeks ago. It’s in a lovely Art Nouveau style and complements the picture frame that I bought last month (which you can see in the picture).

Dressing table

Dressing table

When I saw the mirror, the seller was busy in conversation so I spent time having a really good look at it and then moved on, returning when I saw that she was free again. She said she’d seen me looking at it and would I like a price on it, to which I said I would. She said that she could come down from the sticker price of £38 to £32. I asked if she’d accept £30 and she said she would. She also remarked that she’d told herself that if it didn’t sell today then she’d probably have kept it.

I mentioned to her that I hadn’t wanted to interrupt her conversation earlier and she said that she wished I had as the guy was a bit of a bore. Oops. 😀

Small picture frame

Small picture frame

A week or so later I was at another fair, this time in Hartley Wintney, which is nice and local to me. I happened to come across a little double picture frame that had almost exactly the same design as the mirror (or, certainly, incredibly similar), which I managed to buy for £5. I haven’t yet decided what pictures to put in it or where to put it – whether to have it right next to the mirror or to have it elsewhere so that someone looking at it might go “oh! Isn’t that the same design as…?”

I’m not yet sure if this will be the final configuration of my Dressing Table, as when I have put on my make-up at it I have felt that the mirror is a little small and also that there is not enough light in that corner of the room, so I may have to revisit this. But it will do for now and it certainly looks nice.

 

 
4 Comments

Posted by on April 26, 2015 in Diary, Home furnishing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Art Deco ceiling light

As I mentioned in a post about lighting for Project Reorganise, I have what has turned into a bit of a project over an Art Deco ceiling light.

Art Deco light as it was when I bought it.

Art Deco light as it was when I bought it.

To recap, I was in a charity shop in Camberley and I saw an absolutely lovely Art Deco style brass chandelier. It wasn’t in the best of condition, as it was missing its shades, lacked any kind of mounting bracket, had no electrical connector (the wire had just been cut off), the top of the hub was missing, and also the cups for the missing shades were full of dead flies. However, it was only £7.25 and I saw a lot of potential in it.

Also in the shop were a pair of rather boring 3-bulb brass pendants which, crucially, had what looked like suitable shades and also had fixings that I thought might transfer over. At £12 for the pair I thought it was worth a punt so bought those too.

When I got it all home I was delighted to find that the shades did in fact fit the Art Deco light, although only just. I also found that, as I had hoped, the fixings shared a common thread size so I was able to transfer the D-ring from the top of one of them onto the Art Deco light and also use the rose from one of them, with a link of chain to join them. I also used the existing top cover of the Art Deco light, turned upside down, to cover the top of the hub. I then used standard 5-amp chocolate block to terminate the wires. The wires proved to be only *just* long enough, even with only 1 link of chain in.

First attempt (with donor lights behind)

First attempt (with donor lights behind)

Houston, we have a problem

Houston, we have a problem

The place I chose to fit the light was in my front hallway, immediately as you enter the house. Currently there was a recessed spotlight there, and when I pulled that out it was immediately clear that there would be a big problem – the hole left behind was going to be pretty hard to cover. I came up with an elegant solution pretty quickly though – cover the hole over with a ceiling rose. A plaster rose would be unlikely to take the weight of a light fitting, so I quickly settled upon the idea of a wooden one and found a seller on eBay who makes them. I chose one that would be wide enough to completely cover the hole, and then some, with the idea being to securely attach that to the ceiling, and then attach the light fitting to it. At £12 including postage, it was duly ordered.

Whilst I was waiting for that to arrive, I offered up the light to where it was going to go and immediately found my next problem – it was going to be way too long and any guests much taller than me were going to hit their head on it. And this is where it became “a bit of a project”.

Clearly the central hollow tube would have to be shortened or replaced. Since it was threaded at both ends, I couldn’t simply cut it down unless I was to buy a tap and die to re-cut a new thread. And replacement, shorter rods, are not immediately available unless imported from the USA as I measured the thread and found it to be Imperial – 3/8″ to be precise.

By stripping the donor light down further, I was able to get a short threaded rod which was just long enough to attach the D-ring directly to the hub, although not long enough to retain the inverted cover I had covered it with so that had to go. I then was able to use chain to choose pretty much any length I needed.

Light switch

Light switch

Then I discovered the third problem – the metal rose and mounting bracket from the donor light that I was planning on using was missing its screws and these were also Imperial which meant I had nothing that would fit. After some head-scratching and looking on eBay and Amazon, I decided that I would have to abandon using that mounting and buy a new one. Fortunately these are readily available and I was able to order one for a quite reasonable £9.99 incl postage.

I also ordered a nice brass effect light switch to complement the light.

A rose by any other name

A rose by any other name

The wooden rose then arrived, and I pulled the recessed spotlight out again and offered the rose up to the hole. It was quickly evident that I would have to drill the mounting holes as close to the stepped edge as possible and that, to be on the safe side, it would probably need 4 holes. I drilled and countersunk those, and then marked and drilled through the ceiling plaster. At least one of the holes was worryingly close to the edge of the hole and looked like it could fail so I reinforced everything with Ronseal Big Hole filler and allowed it to set until the following evening. Then I fitted decent winged Rawl plugs designed for hollow plaster walls. Perhaps I over-engineered slightly, but better to over-engineer than under-engineer. Especially as this light had become a bit of a labour of love by now!

The wooden rose then attached securely to the ceiling.

The new metal rose had also arrived by now, so it was time to complete the job. Attaching the light to the rose by a bungie cord allowed me to wire up the electrical connections (fully earthed, with a separate earth wire to the metal rose of course), and then it was a case of dropping out the bungie and taking the entire weight of the light in my left hand whilst trying to screw through the rose and into the wood. This was one time I really could have done with an assistant or else devised a better way of supporting it whilst fixing. It was really touch and go at one point and I dropped both screws which left me in the comical situation of being up a ladder with a light in one hand, a drill driver in the other hand, and no way to get down to the screws again. Fortunately there was so much electrical cable that I was able to come down enough to reach the dropped bungie cord and hook it back up again. I then retrieved the screws and tried again, this time with more success.

Unfortunately I accidentally over-tightened one of the screws, and the metal rose deformed very slightly which is a real shame. It annoys me a lot and rather spoils the effect a little but it doesn’t annoy me enough to make me re-do it. Besides, it had been such a job to get to that stage that I don’t think I want to do it again! I think that I can live with it.

So, here finally, in all its glory, is the finished light.

The finished item

The finished item

Just as with the jewellery, this has been a really interesting learning experience and I would have a lot more confidence if I was to attempt a similar project again. It’s also been quite fulfilling making something that is fairly unique and has had time and love poured into it. It gives me pleasure every time I look at it.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Project Reorganise: Necklace rack

I buy too many necklaces and am starting to have trouble storing them. I have a table-standing necklace rack but it’s getting pretty full and also I find it looks a little messy.

I’ve seen a product for sale that is a full length mirror that is actually a shallow jewellery cabinet, but the quality is very poor and I didn’t much care for it. So I came up with my own idea.

12mm cup hooks

12mm cup hooks

First off was a purchase of 50 small (12mm) square shouldered cup hooks from eBay for the grand total of £3.50 inc P&P.

The plan was to attach these to the inner side of the two doors of one of my fitted wardrobes. The wardrobes are built in and are just made from white Conti board / furniture board, so I didn’t feel too bad about doing this.

I laid down some masking tape so that I could mark it all out without marking the wood (I wish whoever made it had done the same!), and then used a metal Combination Square to ensure a straight & level line and then marked out two rows of regular 2cm spacing on one of the doors. Then I used a spring-loaded centre punch to mark out where each hook was to go, and removed the masking tape. Then I used a small 2mm drill bit to pre-drill a hole into each mark made by the centre punch so that each hook would easily go in without damaging the wood. The hooks then screwed in easily.

The end result didn’t look too bad at all.

2cm spacing

2cm spacing

After hanging some necklaces on it, I realised that I needed much wider spacing for some of my necklaces. So, since I still had 12 hooks left, on the other door I did a much wider spacing of 8cm and then, for the last 2 hooks, a really wide one specifically for my large butterfly necklace. If I need even more space, then more hooks are a cheap purchase and I have 4 more doors in my fitted wardrobe set. And I can always add additional rows to these two doors as well. It’ll be a long time before I run out of space.

Wider spacing

Wider spacing

 

All in all, I think that came out pretty well. I’ll be putting my table-standing necklace rack up for sale on eBay I think – I have no further need for it.

(Note: These aren’t all my necklaces. Whilst I was doing this project I took the opportunity to have a sort out and ditch about 6 or 7 necklaces that were some of my earliest and cheapest, and I know that I will never wear again.)

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Project Reorganise: Initial progress

Just a quick update on how things are shaping up with Project Reorganise.

Earlier in the week I finally moved my memory foam mattress from the spare room and onto my new bed, thus officially moving into my “new” bedroom. I’d also that day taken delivery of a lovely rose garland that I bought on Amazon, which I wrapped around the bedstead.

New bed, in situ

New bed, in situ

Although I am concentrating on my bedroom, I’m also accessorising the downstairs cloakroom. The room already has a vague nautical theme, with a nautical mirror and nautical towel hook, but that’s about it. So I have decided to take it to another level.

I purchased a lighthouse from The Range, and boat-shaped wall shelf from White Lion Antiques.

Nautical

Nautical

I bought a similarly themed toilet roll holder from Amazon, and also whilst having a clearout I discovered a pack of 3 ceramic fishes that had been bought years ago by my partner and left, unopened, in a drawer somewhere. I used the fishes to cover up some unsightly holes.

The toilet roll holder was supplied fitted with two small triangular D-rings on the rear for mounting it, but these looked wholly unsuitable and flimsy to me. So, instead, I removed them and drilled & countersunk two holes all the way through the wood so that I could securely screw it to the wall. I’m far happier with this.

Roll call

Roll call

I also bid on a driftwood shelf on eBay, putting in a Best Offer of £45 inc postage when the seller wanted £44.99 plus £5.50 postage, which they accepted. It’s a really lovely bit of unique artwork which I totally adore. My only criticism is that I wish it were a little larger.

I haven’t yet decided on which wall I will mount this yet, nor how I will accessorise it, so for now here are the eBay product pics for it.

Driftwood Shelf - eBay pics

Driftwood Shelf – eBay pics

Finally, I bought a nice little “WC” sign from Amazon, which was ridiculously cheap but took ages to arrive – no doubt coming direct from China. This is how it looked in the advert.

WC sign - product photo

WC sign – product photo

When it arrived, some of the whimsy had fallen off and the shell had broken, but these were easily reaffixed with superglue. I then decided that it would make a lot of sense to spray it with acrylic crystal clear spray lacquer (as I had a can of it), as the acrylic would hold in the shells, gravel, pebble, and other bits of ephemera far better than glue would, because otherwise every time the door was closed then more bits might fall off.

The valve stem of the can appeared to be broken, but pressing the spray nozzle button down kind of worked. Increasingly, though, it started to leak and hiss, so I put it down and leant a little too close to it whilst I wondered what to do with it, and with that the valve seal failed and the entire can discharged upwards into my face and, more scarily, into my eyes. I immediately rushed to the cloakroom and within a matter of seconds was splashing my eyes with water from the tap. When I felt I’d done that sufficiently I grabbed a bottle of water and then leant my head back over the sink and properly irrigated my eyes. It was too late at night to see a doctor, and I didn’t fancy a 5 hour wait in A&E, so I drove to my nearest pharmacy but they were closed. Then to the next nearest, but they were closed. Eventually I ended up at one in a supermarket who were closing in 5 mins, whose pharmacy was closed but whose medicine aisle was open. So I grabbed a bottle of Optrex multi-action eyewash and then flushed my eyes with that in the car park and then several times throughout the evening. Fortunately I suffered no damage to my eyes due, I am sure, to my clear-headed quick thinking on flushing my eyes the moment it happened. But I am going to be way more diligent on eye protection in the future.

WC sign - as fitted

WC sign – as fitted

After that, I grabbed a bottle of automotive spray lacquer that I had left over from a previous project, and used that to finish off the sign with a few more coats. Whilst, of course, wearing goggles. Lesson learned. It was gloss, rather that matte, which meant that I ended up with a gloss finish, but sometimes you just have to use what you have.

This is how the plaque ended up. The quality of the item is pretty low, with really awful glue overspill (which you can just about see if you click the photo to enlarge), but I think that the spray lacquer really helps to hide it. And, for £4 including postage, you can’t really argue with the price.

And, of course, retaining my eyesight was a total bonus too.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 22, 2015 in Arts and Crafts, Diary, Home furnishing, Photos

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Project Reorganise: The delivery

As I mentioned previously, the bed and the furniture were due to arrive last weekend and I was going all out to get my bedroom cleared in time. Fortunately I achieved that goal and by Wednesday evening the room was cleared, hoovered, and ready. With the room clear I could see that the carpet was rather worn and could really do with being replaced but it was entirely too late by then.

On Friday late afternoon just after I got home from work, the bed arrived as scheduled and was assembled without any fuss or bother.

The furniture was due the next day and since I had ordered it in girl mode, I thought I might as well receive it in girl mode. Not that the delivery guys would have given two hoots either way, of course, but I thought it would be appropriate and fun.

I didn’t know what time they would be arriving, and decided I wouldn’t bust a gut to get up early – I would get up when I did, and if it meant that I was awoken by them arriving then I’d just pull on a t-shirt and joggers and open the door in guy mode.

Au naturel

Au naturel

As it happened, I awoke before they arrived. I decided I would just go for minimal make up – just foundation, a little eyebrow pencil, some mascara, and some lippy. Just as well really, because I had just got that done and my wig on, and was just brushing it, when the doorbell rang! If they had arrived when I was in the middle of things that would have been the worst possible scenario, and one I had not thought of.

It's going to be tight

It’s going to be tight

There were two guys, and they chose to do the hardest item first – the 7-drawer low wide chest of drawers. The route involved coming in the front door, turning right along the hallway, then a 180° turn to get up the stairs. It was very, very tight. They had to tip the whole unit vertically, and it only just cleared the ceiling on the mini-landing at the foot of the stairs (pictured). Then they had to tip it forward parallel to the stairs and there were literally millimetres of clearance on the ceiling. I’m not sure what we would have done had it not fit.

The rest of the furniture went up without any problems and in no time at all it was all done and the guys left me to it.

I did a little organising, and then decided to go out for a while. I added a little eye shadow and some eye liner to my make up, and then left the house. Whilst I was out I was a victim of rather an unpleasant road rage incident where the other driver was trying to force me to stop by trying to cut me up and block me to a halt so that he could remonstrate with me, but I don’t really want to go into that on a public forum. Sufficient to say that I eluded him each time and eventually lost him. But I learned an important lesson that it is even more important not to rile other drivers when you are a woman than it is when you’re a man. Until that incident I would have predicted that the reverse was true – that a man would be more aggressive towards another man, but it would seem not. Very scary.

Shorter, comfier

Shorter, comfier

When I got back home, my longer hair was really annoying me but I wanted to stay in girl mode, so I swapped to my older, shorter, wig which you’ll have seen many times in my photos in the past. I haven’t worn it since buying my new wigs, so it was nice to go back to it.

I spent the rest of the evening doing this & that, and then had an early night. For once I didn’t take all my make up off – I removed my foundation and lippy but left my eyes, with a view to getting back into girl mode the next day.

The next day, I got into girl mode again and headed over to Woking for a Take Five Flea & Collectables fair. Amita Vetta of Love That Jewellery was there again and she instantly recognised me, and we had a nice little chat. And the guy who does the Swing style singing was there too, only I have only ever talked to him in guy mode, which made me realise that I should really make an effort to always go to these things in girl mode even if I don’t feel like it because it is good to build up relationships with people.

Necklace

Necklace

This was especially true when I got chatting to another seller who I have previously bought a necklace from, because she remembered me buying it and also remarked how lovely the necklace I was wearing was (it was the same as on Saturday, pictured). I saw she was selling a necklace I liked the look of, and I thought the price of £15 she was asking was reasonable so bought it. I really should stop buying necklaces or I will have to declare myself a collector of those too! I told her as much and she laughed and said that was how she started as well and if I wasn’t careful I would be opening a stall like her. 🙂

I spent a lot longer at this fair than I usually do – normally I whistle round in around 45 mins – but I took far more time this time and was there for double that if not longer. Possibly because I have more I want to buy now that I am accessorising a room. I bought a couple of Art Deco / Art Nouveau style postcards. I’m not planning to start collecting, but if I get enough similar cards together I will collage them into a picture frame to hang on the wall. It doesn’t matter if it takes a while until I have enough – they can sit in a drawer until I do.

Art nouveau picture frame

Art nouveau picture frame

Another thing I managed to get was a gorgeous Art Nouveau picture frame for £5. I didn’t have the nerve to haggle on that price – generally £5 and under I don’t, although my mum definitely would. I don’t know how she has the cheek to do so, to be honest.

Fairy earrings

Fairy earrings

I also saw a really lovely pair of silver fairy drop earrings. The seller wanted £12 for them and I offered £10, which he accepted.
I particularly liked them because they are mirror images of each other – I really hate it when single-sided asymmetric earrings are identical to each other because it results in them facing in different directions when you wear them. I’m strange like that – things like this matter to me.

Eventually I was done, and I moved on to the small fair in the Village Hall at Ripley, since that’s not far from Woking. I’ve been to one of these before, although didn’t blog about it. In fact, now that I come to think of it I have been to quite a few of these fairs since I last blogged about one. I think perhaps I’ve been going to so many that I thought readers of this blog might be rather bored to hear about yet another one!

Although Ripley Village Hall is a small venue, last time I was there I got some reasonable stuff so I was hoping for the same again.

Away with the faeries

Away with the faeries

I spotted a pair of what seemed to be lead or pewter faeries for £3 each. I wasn’t too sure on them, but the seller said I could have both for £5 so I decided to take a punt. The wings are definitely lead or some other soft metal as the tips had bent and needed to be teased back into shape. The crescent moons, however, are clearly resin as the silver paint has worn off them showing the translucent resin underneath. I may touch them up with silver paint or I might just bin them. I haven’t decided yet.

Slim cabinet

Slim cabinet

I then came across a rather beat-up slim wall cabinet in a shabby chic style, whose knobs match the ones I have fitted to my wardrobes. The label price was £35, and I asked the seller what her best price was and she said she could come down to £25, which I thought was fair. However, it turned out I literally only had exactly £24 left by now, so I asked if she would accept that and she did. It’s nice enough, although it has an absolutely horrid modern white plastic magnetic catch (not visible in the pic) holding it closed. I think I might have to replace that with something more in keeping.

I looked around the rest of the hall, even though I was out of cash, but there was nothing else of interest, so left with just those items.

When I got home, I made myself a nice lunch and settled down to watch the Australian F1 GP. However, a combination of the lunch, the active morning, and a less than thrilling race, meant that I fell asleep on the sofa and missed much of the race. However, it appears that I didn’t miss much, sadly.

There’s nothing much more to report for now. I am still pondering on the Art Deco light. I have two options for making it shorter but I will leave that to another day to blog about.

Likewise I will leave it to another day to report on how the bedroom has come along this week.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Project Reorganise: Lighting

As mentioned in my previous post, I am in the process of reorganising my main bedroom and my spare bedroom.

In this post I want to tell you about lighting, mainly because it’s been a bit of a journey and also because of a brilliant find I made in a charity shop which I’m really pleased with.

In keeping with my “Shabby-ish Chic” look, I initially looked for an ornate chandelier-type fitting. It was quite difficult to get an accurate idea of the drop on the ones with chains as online listings would invariably only show the maximum length and not the minimum length (that could be achieved by removing all but one link of the chain), and often sellers were unwilling to provide the information.

Lighting candidates

Lighting candidates

The Orion lamp (top right) was a bit of a wild-card and not really in keeping with the style, but I liked the fact that it looks like an atom. Perhaps I will buy it for elsewhere in the house – perhaps for my dining room – although it is quite expensive at £99.

I initially bought a fixed length pendant from B&Q (top left in the photo) for £35, but when I got it home it was immediately apparent that it wasn’t really what I was looking for, as I realised that I needed something much darker to offset the bed. Also it looked rather cheap and naff, and also was rather plain being a single colour. Had I kept it, I would have had to have painted the leaves gold or something. But it just wasn’t special enough to be worth the effort of doing so.

Bronze & Gold Ashford Chandeliers by Dunelm

Bronze & Gold Ashford Chandeliers by Dunelm

In the end, I decided to go with the 3-bulb Ashford by Dunelm at £59.99, which involved a drive over to Basingstoke. However, when I got there and looked at the display items I decided to go for the 5-bulb version at £79.99 instead as it just seemed a little more balanced. Perhaps that was a bit of an extravagance at that price, but I thought it was simply the better one, aesthetically. When I got it home, it was simple enough to remove all but one link of the chain, and I had it fitted in no time.

Flicker bulbs

Flicker bulbs

Initially I have put LED candle bulbs in it, but I have ordered some really cool flickering-effect bulbs from a seller on Amazon Marketplace. I suspect they’re coming all the way from China because the delivery estimate is 10-23 days.

Folden by Dar

Folden by Dar

During my time looking for candidates, I found a 3-light fixed pendant (Folden by Dar) in a more modern brushed brass effect which I thought would be ideal for my front hall. Currently there is a recessed spot there and I very quickly realised that the hole left by it would be too large for the rose of the pendant to cover. I had a little think on this and realised that what I needed was a ceiling rose wider than the hole, which could be attached to the ceiling using holes drilled either side of the large central hole left by the spot, and then attach the pendant to the rose. However, a plaster or plastic rose would not be strong enough. A quick search online for wooden roses led me to an eBay seller who makes them and one was duly purchased.

The pendant was for sale for £78.50 from several retailers, but I managed to find an online retailer selling a factory return unit with opened packaging for £45. When it arrived there was a tiny bit of damage (one of the wire embellishments had become detached from one of the arms) but this was trivial to fix with some metal glue. Other than that it was absolutely fine and complete.

Art Deco light as it was when I bought it.

Art Deco light as it was when I bought it.

Whilst I was waiting for the wooden rose to arrive, I was in a charity shop in Camberley and I saw an absolutely lovely Art Deco style brass chandelier. It wasn’t in the best of condition, as it was missing its shades, lacked any kind of mounting bracket, had no electrical connector (the wire had just been cut off), the top of the hub was missing, and also the cups for the missing shades were full of dead flies. However, it was only £7.25 and I saw a lot of potential in it.

Also in the shop were a pair of rather boring 3-bulb brass pendants which, crucially, had suitable shades and also had fixings that I thought might transfer over. At £12 for the pair I thought it was worth a punt so bought those too.

Art Deco light with the shades and fittings from the other light (in the background)

Art Deco light with the shades and fittings from the other light (in the background)

When I got it all home I was delighted to find that the shades worked well on my Art Deco fitting. I also found that, as I had hoped, the fixings shared a common thread size so I was able to transfer the D-ring from the top of one of them onto the Art Deco light and also use the rose from one of them, with a link of chain to join them. I also used the existing top cover of the Art Deco lamp, turned upside down, to cover the top of the hub. I then used standard 5-amp chocolate block to terminate the wires. The wires proved to be only *just* long enough, even with only 1 link of chain in. If the wires had been even a centimetre shorter then I would probably have had to rewire the light.

Unfortunately, when I went to fit the light, I realised that it is simply too tall, so I am currently investigating alternatives. Since the central tube of the light is threaded at both ends, I can’t simply cut it down. One option is to replace the tube with chain, but this will involve fabricating some kind of fitting. I think I will have to go down to B&Q with the various bits and see if I can buy a threaded rod of the correct diameter and thread, and see what I can come up with.

The Folden brass chandelier that I had bought with the intention of fitting in the front hall, which I mentioned earlier, I instead fitted in the spare room where the heavy pine furniture now is, and it fits in there quite well. So all in all a success I think.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 11, 2015 in Arts and Crafts, Diary, Home furnishing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Project Reorganise

It’s been well over a month (6 weeks, in fact) since I last posted, and a few people have asked me what I have been up to and said that I should post it on a blog post. I confess that I have been wary of turning this blog into a “Dear Diary” one which is why I have held off a little.

So, what have I been up to since my last post?

For quite a while now, I’ve been rather ‘treading water’ in my house. I’ve bought the odd picture here and there, the odd houseplant here and there, have moved various items of furniture around, but haven’t made any really major changes since my divorce.

Over the past few years, as I have embraced all facets of myself, I’ve come to realise how much I love Art Nouveau and the whole vintage aesthetic. I also have come to appreciate Shabby Chic, whimsy, and quite a feminine vibe. It started with a few little trinkets and accessories around the house here and there, and then recently has coalesced into a grand plan for my bedroom.

The plan, which is already well-progressed, is to move the heavy antique pine furniture in my bedroom into the back bedroom, where the wardrobes from the same set already are, to end up with all pieces from the set in the same room. It should make for a really nice themed guest room. Who knows, maybe I might even have some guests over to enjoy it.

That leaves my own bedroom, and the plan is to go for a rustic sort-of Shabby Chic look but without going all the way to half-broken mismatched furniture. So a sort of “Shabbyish Chic”. 😀

I’ve been keeping my eyes open for suitable furniture and finally found what I think to be ideal in a branch of What Not Antiques. It’s a bedroom furniture set called Claremont that is made from solid reclaimed timber in a rustic style. Unlike true Shabby Chic, everything matches, but this is what I want.

Claremont tall chest, wide chest, bedside cabinet, and table

Claremont tall chest, wide chest, bedside cabinet, and table

Funnily enough, just after I bought the Claremont items I was in House of Fraser and saw a very similarly styled chest of drawers to the 7-drawer low & wide one. However, unlike the one I had just bought, this was all smooth melamine-faced board with smooth drawer runners and shiny handles, and completely lacked any character. And, ironically, it wasn’t a huge amount cheaper either. So although what I have bought is fairly expensive, I’m really pleased with it. It also comes with an extremely comprehensive insurance-based 5-year warranty which even covers it for having a glass of red wine spilled down it – if they can’t remove the stain they’ll replace the item.

Bed

Bed

I don’t want everything to be matching, though – I felt that would be just too much. I envisaged the bed being a metal-framed one, possibly in a Victorian wrought iron style – perhaps black with brass detailing. Benson’s for Beds had something sort-of suitable and, better yet, it was in their sale for £199 rather than the usual price of twice that. For the price, it was ok. However, I really had my heart set on something antique with some character and on Saturday I found just that at Victorian Dreams, which is a company based in Hampshire who specialise in sourcing and restoring antique beds. Although the prices were way outside what I was planning on spending, I found the most awesome bed with the help of the owner of the shop, and she gave me a good discount to help me afford it too. The bed dates from the early 1900’s and is apparently Portuguese in origin, and I’m so excited about how it’s going to fit in with the style that I have chosen.

The plan is to have the low, wide, chest of drawers across the foot of the bed, which is why a high foot was quite important to me. By my measurements the top of the chest should come to exactly the base of the vase on the bed, which is ideal.

Butterfly Lamp

Butterfly Lamp

Whilst this has been going on, I’ve been visiting various Antiques and Collectables fairs around the Hampshire, Berkshire and Surrey area, ranging from small village halls to large Sports Halls, looking for things to complement the look I’m going for. There are probably too many to mention here but notable purchases include a gorgeous Tiffany-style butterfly lamp and a mirror featuring artwork by Alphonse Mucha. I also bought a cheap table lamp also in a Tiffany style to use as a bedside lamp.

Mucha Mirror

Mucha Mirror

At one show I bumped into Amita Vetta of Love That Jewellery again, who was the person selling the Charles Horner necklace that I mentioned in a previous post. I bought a lovely earring and bracelet set off her, and was chatting to her about the Charles Horner necklace but it was quite clear she didn’t remember me. It was only when I got home that I realised that I was in guy mode this time and that I had chatted to her in girl mode originally. No wonder she didn’t recognise me!
A few weeks later I was at another fair and she was at that one too, and I was in guy mode again, so I went up to her and she instantly recognised me. I explained the situation and it was like a light bulb came on over her head and there was a look of relief on her face. She said she did remember the conversation and that I had been wearing a really lovely necklace when we’d been talking about the Charles Horner one, which indeed I had.
The thing that I found the most nice is that she totally took it in her stride and didn’t so much as bat an eyelid over the concept. How wonderful! I think it is yet more evidence that Society as a whole (the decent members thereof, at least) are much more tolerant to transgenderism these days.

Rose mirror

Rose mirror

Another purchase was a gorgeous mirror, although with the design of the room starting to mutate out of Shabby Chic and towards a more vintage bronze look (what with the Tiffany-style lamps, the bed, the handles on the furniture, and one of the candidates for the chandelier light fittings I’m considering), I’m starting to be concerned that it still fits. But I really like it so I think it will stay.

The furniture and the bed both arrive next weekend, and once installed there will be a little more still to do, but I will be sure to post pics when it’s all done. I’m not planning to re-decorate or re-carpet, but I do want to fit some coving to soften the feel of the room and make it less boxy.

Not only have I been pretty remiss on this blog, but I’ve also been remiss on going out in girl mode and taking pics for my Flickr. I think I’ve only done it once or twice since my last blog post. I’m at the stage right now where it is no big deal whether I do or don’t. Much as I love the clothes and jewellery of girl mode, it is a complete palaver and if I’m absolutely honest, after a long week at work I can’t really be bothered on a weekend. Especially in the cold weather we’ve been having, I just like to dress up warm and comfortable, and I can do that much more easily in guy mode than girl mode. There may also be some confidence issues too, but I think it is more down to the fact that warm clothing doesn’t really flatter any woman, although I do think I look particularly chunky in my more recent pics even though I’ve put no more than 5lbs back on. That’s well on the way to coming off again though, so perhaps by the time Spring comes I will be in a place where I want to resume.

I recently got to a stage where I considered stopping buying any more dangling earrings because I think I probably buy them more often than I wear them! So I told myself that I had two options – either stop buying them and start wearing what I have, or else say that I am collecting them. So, a Collector of Nice Earrings I now am. 🙂

I will have to photograph them all and make a static gallery-style page on this blog, I think. Something to do one day.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 6, 2015 in Diary, Home furnishing, Transgender

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: