Friday, 27 March 2009

I'm a Queen (of Vintage (on the new Queens of Vintage website))!

Have been a little absent of late (did you miss me?) as I've been kept very busy with the dayjob (style assisting on a catalogue shoot this time) plus working on....

Make Do and Mend a Vintage Scarf, by Joanna Thornhill, at

This! This dramatic build-up is due to the fact that not only have I crafted this cushion cover from a vintage scarf with my own fair hands, but it also forms my editorial debut on the fabulous Queens of Vintage website, on which I am now going to be a contributing writer on all things interior and make-do-and-mend related. Tres excitement!

Click here to see my first post, detailing how I turned this 25p charity shop headscarf into a gloriously kitsch cushion cover, complete with decorative Oxford trim. I would re-post it here, but apparently Google gets cross if you do that - luckily the website is full of lots of other exciting posts too so it's well worth the visit. Enjoy!

Monday, 9 March 2009

Jamie Ward Upcycled Fly-tip Furniture

Nothing like a bit of fly-tipped furniture hacking to get a girl a bit hot under the collar on a chilly Winter's eve (shouldn't it be spring by now?!) Thanks to today's Daily Candy email alert, I am now fully versed and oh-so-slightly jealous of the creative furniture genius that is Jamie Ward. Not even out of uni yet, this pioneering Manchester-based chap forages for discarded furniture and furniture bits to upcycle into brand-new character-filled pieces. Not content with merely sprucing up an existing find with a bit of paint, he actually splices: a chair seat teamed with stool legs, chair backs combined to form a seat pad and so on. His ideas combine skilled craftsmanship with simpler hacker formats such as decoupage and upholstery. Here's my favourite five:

1. Upcycled window pane table - I love any project that involved recycling original window panes, and personally think anyone who rips out original wooden frames to replace them with UPVC should be locked up for crimes to humanity. A great re-use of a vintage classic.
2. Decoupage 'This Is Manchester' stool - not sure the origins of this piece, though it looks like newspaper photocopies decoupaged over a re-hacked stool, finished in a high gloss varnish. Keeping the colour palette monochrome enhances the classy finish.
3. Red-top stool - great juxtaposition of wooden vintage legs with what looks like a slick formica top - would be a practical choice for a kitchen table hack, too.
4. Stripy Collection - fantastic way to use up leftover paint. A good have-a-go hack - choose a selection of colours to match your interior scheme, and keep the lines handpaintedly jaunty.
5. Wooden chair with customised back: by removing the edge back spindles, a standard design somehow looks somewhere between cutting edge and Art Deco.

Upcycled original pieces diverted from landfill to become functional eye candy - Jamie, Craft Hacker salutes you.

Images and information all courtesy of

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Tin Can Pendant Light

I keep getting told off by the boyf for my inability to throw away empty jars/tins/milk bottles and other items usually befitting the recycling bag "in case they come in useful for something". It seems, however, I'm not the only one, judging by my recent scouring of the design blogs. Dutch blogger Danielle de Lange over at Style-Files highlighted a very craft hack-ey use of tin cans as light fittings (see picture below). Taken originally from (also Dutch) magazine website 101 Woonideeen, the feature includes make-your-own instructions in, yes, you've guessed it, Dutch. Helpfully, Danielle notes the following in English: "To make the lights you need clean empty tins with a printed label (so no paper label) and a fitting with cable and a plug. Create (with a drill) an opening for the fitting through the top of the tin and pull the fitting through this opening. Then you only need to put a bulb into the fitting and your lamp is ready to shine!"
These would look adorable strung several in a row as low pendants over a kitchen breakfast bar (and would also be very appropriate for the setting) as well as gathered like this. I'd be tempted to have a go at spraypainting tin cans in some cheery pastels and even punching some decorative holes in them for an alternative to a printed can.

Thanks to for flagging this up!

Sunday, 1 March 2009

The AA

A little birdy told me that the website for Atelier Abigail Ahern, interior stylist-turned designer, shopkeeper, soon-to-be author and all-round interiors guru, has just been relaunched - so naturally it'd be rude not to take a peek. Abigail's bijou store resides in Islington's Upper Street and, thanks to the dramatically dark colour scheme that fully wraps around its petite proportions, provides a welcome contrast to the bright white showrooms of norm. Showcasing furniture, art, textiles and accessories all curated with a gallery-level eye, this deeply, darkly whimsical space is oh-so-stylishly full of the macabre and the unexpected. Take a look for yourself to get the full picture, or for my Craft Hacker-inspired favourite bits, read on (sadly I can't grab any images off the site so you'll have to link over for these too, but anyhoo...:)

Figurine Collection: These little beauties, cast out of concrete, manage to combine dainty and dangerous in one fell swoop. Love the way a simple colour change gives these usually gilt-laden kitsch ladies a completely different vibe. How about conjuring up your own version by giving a charity-shop figurine a new lease of life courtesy of a can of black spraypaint?

Bus Scroll Wingback Chair: You may have seen vintage wonderland Pedlar's re-use of old bus signs turned into light boxes, art prints and even deckchairs (see below) - now witness the same technique applied to the classic wingback. The sort of hack that requires degree-level upholstery skills so not for the faint-hearted, but inspirational nonetheless.

(picture from

Rejste Side Table: Celebrating our British love of doily/tabletop action, this table cleverly nods to doily heritage in a 21st-Century, laser-cut metal type way. For more doily action, check out my earlier post on Ghost Furniture. I've recently become obsessed with the idea of setting some old doileys into a recessed tabletop with resin. Has anybody seen/tried this? Project being mentally added to the 'to-hack' list now...

Cruelty Free Rugs: Combining witty with pretty, these ingenious rugs by Mancunian designer Jon Male involve craft hacking traditional ruggage into a cowhide outline - subversive and cheeky. Do take a peek at Jon's own website for other inspired hacking, such as these 'A Soupcon of Light' lamps:

(pictures both taken from

Bernard Pye Paintings: If Warhol had cast his eye back a further 200 years, we might now be able to go to Snappy Snaps and have our face recreated in print like this rather than the much-imitated Marilyn Monroe style pop art we all know and love. Yet another fab example of a familiar style we all know and love being reworked to look truly fresh and 'now'. Why not raid the history books yourself and go crazy in photoshop - or keep it old-skool and go to town with a photocopier and some florescent markers?

I for one am rather excited at the prospect of a whole entire book on such matters, and eagerly await the launch of A Girl's Guide to Decorating, out in May.