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Posts Tagged ‘upcycling’

This week it was bitterly cold but bright – perfect for sanding the drawers of my ’60s teak chest of drawers outside.

Starting point: tired, faded, stained.

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Simply sanded as close as I could get to the handles. The handles are amazing. Most furniture has at least one loose handle. Not this one. Every single handle is rock solid, glued, screwed or whatever, but it’s a good job I love the original handles because they were NOT coming off…

20171208_104022_HDR.jpgThen laborious sanding down by hand to get to this:

20171208_105617_HDR.jpgThree more to go before the Danish Oil could work its magic. And what magic! I was prepared for it this time but it still blew me away.

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20171208_144549_HDR.jpgThree coats of Danish Oil and a thorough polishing with beeswax later, it was transformed from this: 20171126_105438_HDRTo this:

20171210_104643_HDR.jpgIt’s now in my bedroom filled with Christmas presents and fabric. I absolutely love it! :o)

I’ve also had a bit of a metalwork session. I loved the effect of the printed silk carrier rod behind the rescued gold tone bib, so I hunted out some of the brass I impressed when I did my silversmithing course several years ago…

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…and started to play.  This is going to be a pendant.

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And this, a brooch.

DSCN7587.JPGI love cutting fiddly shapes with the piercing saw, letting it and the texture of the metal dictate where it goes and making these pieces has been a joy. I have an oval pendant on the way too. More photos to come.

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In my bedroom I have a grotty inherited two drawer chest of IKEA drawers which is only still there because it holds an inordinate amount of fabric. I’ve been looking vaguely for a replacement for some time, preferably one with a few more drawers in it… I imagine I’m not the only person who is always looking for more storage!

I love 60s/70s teak furniture with simple stylish lines and was delighted to find the perfect item in one of our local charity shops. So, for £40 including delivery, I have become the proud owner of nearly double the amount of storage in the form of this lovely teak veneered chest of drawers made by the Somerset based company Avalon.

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I’ve been watching far too many upcycling programmes and although it was clean and serviceable, I couldn’t resist trying to restore it to its original glory. It had obviously been standing in sunlight and the finish was badly faded and the top had the usual quota of water stains, dints etc.

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So, out with the sander and caution as among the information I’d been able to turn up online about Avalon furniture were warnings about the relative thinness of the veneer compared with other bigger names of the day such as Nathan and G-Plan.

The light varnish came away easily and I was easily able to sand out the damage to the top. The sides also came up really well too and I was over the moon at the beauty of the wood.

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Then out with the Danish Oil and…wow. Just wow. I could not believe the depth and beauty of the natural colour of that wood. I haven’t used a stain to get that colour, just clear Danish Oil.

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I am so in love! I also discovered that the solid wood legs unscrew (WIN!) so I was able to unscrew them and give them a proper sand, stain and polish. The carcass has had three coats of oil and been buffed up with a beeswax polish and I just have the drawer fronts to do when I get a nice day which isn’t perishingly cold. Working outside at this end of the year is a bit of a lottery!

As the recent snow and chilly weather has brought a halt to the chest of drawers, I turned my attention to upcycling jewellery which is a much warmer indoor activity. Buoyed up by the successful result I got from upcycling a couple of pairs of odd earrings into a unique necklace, I selected some more oddments and let my imagination loose.

Firstly, two brass earrings.

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I completely deconstructed the bottom one into the chain and the hammered brass leaves and removed the bottom curve and fringe section of the top one to form the bib section of the necklace.

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To finish it, I added some more gold coloured chain and some odd brass and blue glass beads.

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And ended up with this: my Bold as Brass necklace.

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I forgot to take a photo of the original earrings that went to make up this one, but the elements I reused were the laminated abalone teardrops and the central cloisonne teardrop bead.

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With the addition of various lengths of silver tone chain and some toning cats eye beads, I created Sea Greens.

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And finally, the left over beads from this earring, which had provided most of the components for a necklace already…

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…were added to a gorgeous art glass bead to make a tassel pendant.

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The pendant was then hung on a chain made, again, from oddments of reused silvertone chains and the last beads from the earring; each individually threaded onto headpins to make a feature where one chain section changes to another.

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The result looks like this!

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The embroidery, I’m afraid, is all still under wraps until December’s Guild meeting, but if you like the jewellery, it’s all in my Etsy shop here along with dozens of other vintage, original and beachcombed pieces.

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Last year at Embroiderers’ Guild we had an amazing full day workshop with Chris Gray which started off with printing from her mind-blowing collection of printing blocks. I only had a handful of bits of fabric and loved the printing so much that I ended up printing on everything I could find in my bags, including three silk carrier rods I’d ironed flat.

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I love silk carrier rods, but like so many things, they disappear into drawers and boxes knowing that the chance that I might find something to do with them is slim to none.

However… I’ve been upcycling jewellery again and after trialling a few ideas for how to enhance this rather naff goldtone geometric bib section,  I came across the printed carrier rods and that turquoise one was perfect.

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The nature of the carrier rod means that it doesn’t fray and I could simply stick it into the back of the triangle.

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Turquoise is a complete nightmare to match colourwise because of the proportions of green and blue, but the turquoise nugget beads were a perfect match and some gold tone chain finished it all off nicely. It is always such a pleasant surprise when things work out smoothly and I have listed it here.

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On a roll, I came across two odd earrings. This…

20171112_122216_HDR.jpg …plus this… 20171112_122229_HDR.jpg

…now equal this:

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I have been embroidering as well, but it’s unfortunately under wraps until December.

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I’ve been restocking and updating my Etsy shop with that December thing coming up fast on the horizon and although a lot of my pieces have involved sea glass, sea washed china and found objects, I did get inspired by another vintage brooch without a central stone.

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So I gathered some supplies and started to stitch a ribbon rose on some scraps of hand dyed silk.

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With a woven rose in the middle, split stitch curling stems either side and some french knot buds, it stitched up quite quickly.

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Then I layered three pieces of pelmet vilene, each slightly smaller than the other to create a domed shape, gathered the silk around the dome and pulled it up tight. A piece of the rust coloured background silk covered the gathering at the back and then I set it in the brooch.

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You can find it here.

I also created this flotsam assemblage pendant

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…from a piece of wave worn aluminium…

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…which I beachcombed ages ago and just love; a piece of tactile driftwood and a long nugget of sea glass which sat in the groove of that grain perfectly.

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A treasured oval piece of multicoloured Seaham sea glass went into a vintage pendant.

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And rich green oval nugget of sea glass went into another vintage pendant.

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In fact I managed to find and nearly match so many lovely green pieces that I was able to add a pair of upcycled vintage clip on earrings

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..and a bracelet.

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It’s lovely to be able to reuse some of these gorgeous pieces and bring broken jewellery back to life again.

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The holiday journal is finished and just waiting for me to add some extra papers, pockets etc. to the inside.

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Doing blanket stitch so close together took longer than I bargained but I like the effect.

Then I moved onto another one of my samples for my upcoming Embroiderers’ Guild workshop later in the year. Grey on grey felt embroidered in pale blues.

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Fly stitched edge, straight stitches in a radiating pattern and french knots:

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Feather stitch edging with a chain stitch spiral:

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And I’ve turned what I think might have been a vintage money clip into an upcycled sea glass pendant. First of all I sawed off the long bit of the clip following the lines of the design at the bottom.

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Then I pierced and cut out the middle section with a very fine saw, again following the edges of the design, and leaving three tabs to attach the sea glass to.

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A lot of fiddly filing happened next, to really shape the central section and tidy up the tabs before I could set it with a lovely piece of deep turquoise sea glass.

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I love using the piercing saw and the fiddlier the design, the better. I really need to get back to making some more of my original jewellery…

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When I went to visit my parents at Easter I spent some time with my dad in his workshop. He turned me a couple of pairs of knitting needles from yew last year…

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…and I used one pair to knit him a hat but the knobs on the end were a bit too small and they were a little on the short side so he turned me a version 2:

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in lilac wood

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with laburnum collars over the ends to make the knobs a better size.

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Laburnum is a fabulous wood. Who could have guessed that the small slender trees which rain down their clusters of golden flowers in suburban gardens at this time of the year have such rich dark wood. I’m not sure where my dad has managed to get so much laburnum from, but you can really see the deep colour of the wood and the dark, spiralling grain in a mouse and egg he made years ago.

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Anyway, whilst in the workshop, to my dad’s bemusement,  I managed to score an assortment of scraps and offcuts of various woods. This is apple, which he has used to make some gorgeous chopping blocks.

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I added some kantha style rusty doodling. (That rusted sheet came from the workshop too, as I remember…)

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With some pieces of watch mechanism added…

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I think this will probably become a brooch.

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Also time I was thinking about upcycling a random notebook – the sort of thing that comes full of gorgeous pictures and inspiring ideas inside glossy lifestyle magazines – into a holiday journal. Usually I just fuse fabric to the inside, but there was more writing on the front than I wanted, so I made a cover sandwich, with fabric inside…

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…and outside.

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I’ve just started to blanket stitch the edge for decoration, to keep the edges of the fused fabric from flapping up and also for adding strength to the cover.

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I’m using a slightly lighter weight perle that I have done before with these journals and so have put the stitches closer together which means I need to concentrate on keeping the spacing neat!

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I’m on a roll!

An upcycled bracelet,

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Pisces necklace,

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Branch necklace,

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Green daisy necklace,

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Broken vintage brooch turned into a pendant

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…and another upcycled broken brooch. This one does actually have embroidery in it!

The main piece was a ring brooch in lovely condition with all the original stones intact, but no pin, so I got rid of the remains of the pin mountings and decided to fill the middle with a back stitched spider’s web, rather like a Dorset button.

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I’d got about a third of the way through the stitching when I looked on the back and decided I preferred that effect. So out it all came and I started again!

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Much better.

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Filling up the space nicely…

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…and completed.

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The thread is quite a thickish cotton and the web is really firm and sturdy. The back is neat too, but I’m pleased I chose to restitch it.

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I added a vintage bar tie-pin as the brooch back and it covers the scars of the old closure quite nicely.

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Very pleased with this!

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The only other sewing I’ve been doing is a major repair job on one of our Scunthorpe Little Theatre Club costumes – a wartime woollen coat that somebody has turned into a pirate captain type coat. Various seams have given way and the gold braid is coming adrift everywhere.

Not creative in quite the same way, but extremely satisfying.

 

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