DIY cushions from a duvet set

Following my garden bench makeover, I bought a couple of fantastic navy outdoor chairs from John Lewis for our patio – great value at £50 each, made even more affordable thanks to some gift vouchers we received last Christmas. They look fabulous next to my blue bench and are super comfy, but felt like they could do with little cushions.

During my hunt for inexpensive, easy care, tropical print rectangular cushions (which turned out to be fruitless), I chanced upon this duvet set from Accessorize Home on, on sale at £19 for the single size.

Accessorize Home - Tropical Orchid Duvet Set.png
Tropical Orchid Duvet Set from Accessorize Home

The fun bold pattern is perfect for my colourful garden. So it was another case of “if you can’t find it, make it“. I’m no expert on the sewing machine, but I have taught myself basic sewing skills through online tutorials and I find sewing to be a perfect rainy day activity.

I was able to make 4 cushions (35x50cm) from the duvet set, 2 for the garden chairs and the other 2 for sale.

John Lewis Salsa Garden chairs and DIY cushions

John Lewis Salsa patio chairs with DIY cushions.jpg

Pretty happy with them!🙂

Now to find a weatherproof coffee table.

Patio with blue bench and navy garden chairs
Love how the wisteria trained over the pergola provides shade over the patio in the afternoon


Dining room makeover

If you’ve been following me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ll have seen a few progress photos of the dining room makeover, but I’ve not shared a Before photo, till now. In the interest of a good Before and After, I think you have to see what I had to live with for over a year before I was able to get around to making some changes to this room. This is how the room looked shortly after we moved in, sans the dining table and chairs.

Dining room before
Before: horrendously, life-suckingly beige. Criiiinge!

How many shades of beige can you count? There’s FIVE: carpet, panelling, wall above panelling, cornicing, and even the ceiling (which happens to be covered in textured paper… are you cringing yet??) – all different shades of beige. And those eyesore bookcases… yuck yuck yuck. For me, this sea of beige was hell to live with. I really can’t bear to look at this ugliness anymore, so let’s just get on with the makeover.

The carpet has to stay for now, but I got to work banishing all the other beige as soon as the cause of the damp on the chimney wall was rectified and the wall was dry. It was important to make this a light, bright, inviting space because we spend a lot of time in this room as it is next to the kids’ play area.

I went with Little Greene Fescue 231 (a gorgeous pale warm grey) for the panelling and Loft White 222 (a fantastically bright white) for the wall above. I’m delighted with how much difference these paint choices have made to the feeling of light in this room.

I was so glad to see the back of those bookcases and commission a joiner to create built-in shelves and cupboards in the alcoves. They smartened up the room no end. I love the look of a dark backdrop to shelves so I painted this area in Lamp Black 228.

Built-in alcove shelves and cupboards
Built-in alcove shelves and cupboards, made from MDF, nearly complete.

The alcove cupboards were painted in the same grey as the panelling, and the shelves in the same white as the walls.

Left alcove built in cupboards and shelves.jpg

Right alcove.jpg

The pièce de résistance which I couldn’t wait to hang since I bought it in a sale several months ago was the beautiful octagonal mirror from West Elm.

West Elm Parsons Octagonal Mirror.jpg


Here’s how the room looks now:

Dining room - AFTER.jpg

There are still many more changes I want to make, like sand off the dark Jacobean Oak stain on the dining table and finish it in a different (lighter) stain/wax (yet to be decided), paint the dining chairs (colour to be decided, I’m leaning towards a charcoal grey), and find art for the walls. So lots more work, but this Phase 1 has me satisfied for now. I’m chuffed with how much difference the paint, the alcove joinery and of course, the greenery has made to this room.🙂

If you take away anything from this post, let it be this – beige is never the answer. Never.


Garden bench makeover [and a peek into my garden]

Our iron and wood garden bench had seen better days and the creaky old slats finally gave way last summer. It has been waiting forlornly for some TLC ever since and I am chuffed that we have finally got around to fixing it up and giving it a whole new lease of life.

Bench before
Bench before: totally knackered 

I bought like-for-like sized hardwood slats from Feuillus Fencing Ltd and it once it was re-slatted, it looked much happier:

Bench before painting
Bench with new hardwood slats, before painting

I used Ronseal Garden Paint in ‘Bluebell’ and wow, is it a stunning colour! It can be applied directly onto wood, and there was no exposed metal or rust on the ends thanks to the old layers of paint, so I just went straight onto it with the paint. 3 coats later…

Blue garden bench in dappled shade
At mid day, in the dappled shade of the wisteria
Blue garden bench in evening light
In early evening sunlight

From old and creaky to hip and peppy – I love it!😀

Garden view from patio

Oh look, I found it a cushion. £2 for that tropical palm cushion cover from eBay!

We’ve been working away on different areas of our garden this year (I’ll talk about the other areas in a future post), and seeing as we’re in the patio today…

Pergola over patio
Don’t you just love a perfect blue sky?🙂 (Ignore the neighbour’s outbuilding)

… in this area, we’ve replaced the old rotten pergola timbers with pressure-treated timber, and planted the little flower bed by the fence (the vine and clematis were the only plants there previously). I’m so looking forward to seeing the new plants grow and bush up. Perhaps in a couple of years we’ll get around to staining the new pergola timbers to match the support beams.

For now, the next change, or additions rather, will be a couple of chairs in front of the flower bed and a coffee table. I’ve just ordered the chairs and can’t wait to see them in situ!


DIY covered magazine folders

Ever bought something from a store, not quite knowing what you’ll do with it, but you know you NEED to have it? Yeah, that happens to me regularly at Søstrene Grene. Such a great store filled with beautiful things at bargainous prices.

One of my recent purchases from there was a roll of adhesive foil (aka sticky back plastic aka contact paper) in a marble pattern – just £2. I decided to cover a couple of cheap, boring, black magazine folders.

Magazine folders - before
Ubiquitous black magazine folders, ready for covering

This was my first time with sticky back plastic and I admit it wasn’t as easy as I had imagined to cover a funny shape like a magazine folder (I used one piece to wrap the whole folder). I didn’t take any photos of the process because the whole thing was more of a faff that I was expecting if I’m honest, but here’s a short video for you from Søstrene Grene showing how to use the sticky back plastic. To avoid (or at least minimise) air bubbles, it is reeeally important to pull the backing slowly, all the while smoothing it down, as shown in the video:

I was careful but still got a few air bubbles with mine. This wasn’t much of a problem though, as I just popped them with a pin and smoothed down the foil – it looks fine. The marble pattern helps to hide these little errors anyway! The final result: 2 satisfyingly smart and expensive-looking magazine folders –

DIY covered magazine folders

I found this strangely addictive and have now bought myself a roll of the gorgeous floral adhesive foil seen in the video. What to cover now… hmm.


Kid’s room makeover – full reveal!

Last autumn, I decorated my son’s bedroom and shared a few snippets of the progress. If you missed it, have a look at the Before post to see what a mess of a room we had to deal with (it’s entertaining, I promise). And if you’d like, you can catch up on these progress posts: Painted IKEA Wardrobe, Watercolour Safari Animal Art GalleryStripes in Reading Nook and Tips for Creating a Fun & Cosy Reading Nook (post links to an e-magazine).

The room was completed months ago, but now I’m fiiiiiiinally getting around to showing you the full reveal. (Sorry for taking so long! Life, you know?)

I’ve included all the product sources I can think of, but if you have any questions, please let me know!

Without further ado, let’s start with the bed corner:

Kid's Room - Before
Want to know if that’s a secret door to Wonderland? Go and read the BEFORE post, seriously.

And after:

Arty Home - Kid's Room - Bedside and Art
The walls were painted in Little Greene’s Deep Space Blue (Intelligent Matt). This blue is incredible – deep yet vibrant and rich so you feel goooood when you’re in the room and everything looks so gorgeous against it. The bedding is from Designers Guild (this set is no longer sold). The crate was purchased from Apple Crates and the yellow Newgate Dome II Alarm Clock from Red Candy.


Arty Home - Kid's Room - Bedside Art close up
The RIBBA picture ledge, black frames and HEKTAR clamp lamp are from IKEA. The Dr Seuss art is a limited edition screen print by Barry D Bulsara. The Legoman and Airplane patent prints are from Bomedo while the Animal World Map is from ArtPause.


The rest of the room:

And after:

Arty Home - Kid's Room - Full Reveal.png
The chair on the left is vintage and the forest cushion on it was purchased from Tikamoon.


Arty Home - Kid's Shelfie.png
This kid’s collections are cooler than mine! He’s 3. Hmm. The little shelves were ordered to size from Mersey MPP and we already had the brackets.


Arty Home - Kid's Room - Watercolour Gallery
The storage bench is from GLTC. I created the safari animal art gallery. The PAX wardrobe is from IKEA, painted and given extra long handles.


Arty Home - Kid's Reading Nook.png
The bookshelves are thick clear acrylic display racks from 3ddisplays. I love them, they’re sturdy, keep the books in place and allow the gorgeous picture book covers to take the stage while humbly disappearing from view. They are very similar to the highly fussed over Ubabub Booksee Shelf, but without the extortionate price tag.


Arty Home - Kid's Reading Nook 2.png
The poster was something I quickly cobbled together on my computer. The painted stripes are explained here. Cushions from left to right are from: Happy Friday (purchased from Achica), Malini (purchased from Achica), I made it from Harlequin Lulu fabric, West Elm, August Place UK and Happy Friday (purchased from Achica). The sheepskin is from IKEA.


So there you have it, folks. Whaddya think?  :-)

It’s not a big room, but it certainly packs a punch! We are all still completely in love with how it turned out and I wouldn’t change a thing! Well, except maybe add another cushion to the reading area.😉