Plant markers

So, the weather has been seriously vile. Snowing in late March? Really?! This time last year I was sunbathing next to an outdoor pool in Devon (I know that isn’t particularly glamorous, but I’m just trying to make the point that it was hot enough to do so).

London roof terrace

Our roof terrace as it looked at the weekend. Lovely!

Anyhoo…the reason I’m discussing the weather is that the seeds I planted a few weeks ago during my sowing seeds tutorial will be ready to plant outside soon, when the weather improves. I need to make some plant markers so I can keep track of what I plant and where, so I have decided to make my own, as I promised, to help save money. You can buy really pretty plant markers but is that really what you want to spend your money on? Much better to recycle and re-use, especially as they will be outside and barely noticeable.

Have a look at my different ideas:

Blackboard plant pot for basil

1. This would work particularly well if you have pots of herbs indoors. Spray the pots with chalkboard spray paint, write the names of the herbs on the pots, which can be changed whenever you like. This way you will never have that embarrassing moment, when asked to fetch a handful of herbs, of not knowing which one is which!

Cork plant marker

2. Slice the side off a cork so you have a flat writing surface. Stick the cork on a BBQ stick, done! Recycle, recycle, recycle!

Twig plant marker

3. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the bark off the end of a twig and add the name of the plant.

Blackboard wooden spoon plant marker

4. Blackboard paint again, this time on an old wooden spoon for bigger plants or a crop of vegetables etc. Easily re-useable as you just rub off the chalk and add the name of a new plant.

Blackboard wooden spoon plant marker

I’ve used this spoon to mark the wild flowers we have planted on our roof terrace. We have planted them in planting bags, rather then the beds, because they can get out of control, especially poppies. They will attract butterflies and bees to our roof to help pollenate the other plants.

Covered jar plant marker for wild flowers

5. If you need to keep the information on your seed packets or plant label then pop it into a jar. Make a slit in the packet at the bottom and then hang it on a stake.

Covered jar plant marker for wild flowers

This protects your seed packet so you can refer back to instructions or care tips.

 

I will show you how my seedlings are getting on in the next couple of weeks, hopefully they will be ready to plant out soon.  In the meantime, I will do a post next week about different containers you can recycle and use instead of buying plant pots.

Happy gardening! x

Follower updates:

One of my lovely followers, Evelyn, sent in pics of her beautiful children trying the chalkboard plant pot idea. Kept them busy for hours apparently!

Here’s William making his pot.

Tamara doing a great job using multi-coloured chalk. Love it!

 

High shelves

 

I recently did a post about shallow shelves that showed shelves don’t have to be merely practical but can be a design statement in themselves. However, the reality is we often surround ourselves with ‘stuff’ and have nowhere to put it so design has to come second. Ceiling height shelves offer the practical storage we need but can also look really good.  Another advantage is that the foot of space that traditional shelves use, which is often too much of a sacrifice, is not needed for high shelves;  they are positioned in space that will never be used, and don’t leave you feeling hemmed in.

We have recently put a high shelf above our bed for books (recognise the book ends from my previous post?); not only does this give us extra storage space but it also softens the room as only books can (when I say we, I mean Jules, although I painted). We also put a shelf above the door of our work-room. By positioning it above the door, when you enter the room, you can not even see the shelf and therefore do not feel the loss of space. We painted the shelves white and used white brackets because we didn’t want to draw attention to the shelf itself but you could make it a real feature if you wanted to.

High shelves

I love this shelf above the door in our work-room. You can not see it when you enter the room and uses totally wasted space.

Have a look at other ways people have used high shelves to interesting effect…

This high shelf is used for storing crockery that is not often used, which one rarely has enough space in kitchen cupboards for. It is painted in the same colour as the walls so it is barely noticeable but its underside is cleverly used for hooks to add yet more storage.

High shelves in bedroom

Even though this shelf is covered in objects it doesn’t feel cluttered because of its height.

High shelves on stair well

This high shelf is used to display art work.

High shelves

An ‘above the door shelf’ is used here to display treasures and a plant.

High shelves

This shelf is not quite as high as the others but still high enough so that it does not use too much space or in danger of clumsy kinders. A lovely place to show off plants and kitchen wares.

High shelves

Love this so much. All I want is a ‘garden room’ with a shelf of cloches!!

High shelves

Another ‘above the door’ shelf used here to display porcelain and pottery.

Ceiling height high book shelves

This ceiling height shelf wraps around the whole room and becomes a feature of this bathroom.

High shelves

What about a shelf above the bathroom door to store extra towels? You are very lucky if you have a bathroom big enough not to need to do this.

High shelves

If this bank of shelves were lower, they would eat into precious living space and make this room seem much smaller. As they are, they provide a huge amount of storage, freeing up lots of wall and floor space.

In the mean time my aim is to learn how to put up shelves myself instead of always relying on my dad or my boyfriend.  I don’t have much confidence of this happening…just being honest. It’s so much more  fun filling the shelves, rather than putting them up!

 

 

Book ends

So, this crafting thing is getting quite addictive now; the satisfaction of making something myself is amazing. Book ends is my next project…

We need book ends for the new shelf above our bed (definitely don’t want stray books falling down in the middle of the night). I had a look online and couldn’t find anything that I liked so I decided to make my own. They turned out really well so I wanted to share the idea with you. If you want to make a personalised gift, these would work well too:  use printed photos, book pages, magazine pictures, mementos, like theatre tickets etc.

You will need:

Cardboard letters from Laines World for £2.99

PVA glue, water and pot

Paint brush

Wrapping paper or printed photos or book pages – I used Liberty print and Cavallini Vintage Ticket wrapping paper

Scissors

Varnish (optional)

Dried beans, peas, lentils or rice (for weighting the hollow letters) although sand would be ideal.

Book ends

You will need: Cardboard letters, paper, scissors, PVA glue, brush, water, pot, dried food, varnish (optional).

Tutorial:

Book ends

1. The letters are hollow so you will need to make a hole in the top and pour in something to weight it. I used dried peas, but sand would be ideal. When you begin to cover the letter with paper, you need to make sure you cover over the hole.

Book ends

2. I decided to draw round the letter so I could keep the print in tact. However, you can use the decoupage method.

Book ends

3. Mix together PVA and water (in equal parts). Brush it onto one of the sides of your letter.

Book ends

4. Stick the paper onto the letter and then paint over it with the glue/water mixture.

Book ends

5. Once you have covered the whole letter you will need to paint over it all again with the glue/water mixture and let it dry. If you have varnish, you can do a couple of layers of this too, alternatively do a couple more coats of the glue/water mix.

Book ends

Done!

Decoupage book ends

And done!

Book ends

This took me no more than an hour (with a bit more drying time on top of that). It is so nice to have something to use in my home that I made and looks just as good as something I could have bought, but for far less money. Get crafting people! x

 

 

The other half of Double Merrick

I have always struggled to find interesting, yet affordable, art work. When people ask me for help decorating their homes, one of the things they always say is that they don’t know what to put on their walls.  If you get this right it can totally transform a room. In my last post we visited illustrator and designer Merrick in his beautiful, family home in rural France.  Now, I would like to introduce you to his unique and thoughtful work; his prints are both interesting and affordable and inspired by old classroom wall charts, films, children’s building blocks, even a Magic 8 ball! When shops are filled with so many generic products, it is a breath of fresh air to come across very good value limited edition prints. Perhaps one of these prints might suit your walls…

How did Double Merrick come about?

“In 2009 I was working as a freelance illustrator mainly working in magazine editorials. I had a number of ideas that didn’t sit well with my freelance work, but they just wouldn’t go away. Eventually they morphed into prints and the response was phenomenal! Thus Double Merrick was born. We currently sell through the site www.doublemerrick.com and are stocked by the likes of Pedlars, Liberty of London, and Selfridges. The business is great as it allows me to get involved in all sorts of fun stuff from designing plates and mugs, to madcap adventures rediscovering childhood friends, or swapping prints for a swanky holiday house.”

Double Merrick Magic 8 ball print

Double Merrick morse code print

Double Merrick chat print

Double Merrick La Lune print

Where do you get inspiration from for your prints?

“All over really. Where we live in France is particularly interesting as not much changes, and there is a feeling that the past is just below the surface. As a consequence there is a lot of old tat around to sift through, books, posters, ephemera, etc. I spend a good deal of time going round trocs and brocantes. Some things just strike a chord with you, most of the time you don’t know why, and the print is often the by product of trying to work out ‘why?’.”

Double Merrick France print

Double Merrick La Mer print

Double Merrick solar system print

Double Merrick La Terre print

Do you have any advice on where or how to hang art?

1) Go with your gut – The stuff you hang on your walls should either be fascinating to you or hold sentimental meaning. Don’t bend to fashion, or it will just look really dated in twelve months time. Building up a collection should be a gradual, organic process and not about achieving this season’s look, it’s about personal history and your story.
2) Don’t balk at spending money on framing – Good framing can completely make an image, it can make a really cheap print look expensive.
3) It isn’t welded to the wall – Not sure if that print works in that place, move it around until you can find it a better home. Things should evolve.
4) Taste is about confidence. It’s just having the belief that one thing will look good with another, that a print would look great on a pink wall, or that fruit crate label looks amazing and is important enough to be framed.

Double Merrick numbers print

Double Merrick Pomme print

Double Merrick cerises print

Double Merrick do re mi print

Thank you Double Merrick! x

 

Duck Egg Designs

One of the things I love most about interior decoration is sourcing the perfect piece of furniture, print, fabric or vintage find. However, it does take a long time and you do need to be totally committed to the cause.  I think this is what stops a lot of people from bringing their vision of  what they want their home to look like to life.

I have found a family run business that  aims to add a vintage touch to your home by sourcing furniture, home accessories and designing fabric for you. They will basically do the hard work so you don’t have to trawl through eBay, car boot sales and haberdasheries.

Duck Egg is run by Ellie and Nick Harrington. Their own home featured on Kirstie’s Vintage Home Channel 4 and their kitchen, which you can see above and below, was turned into vintage heaven! The products that they design and sell through their online shop will help you create the same cottage-like look.

Kirstie's vintage home

 My favourite Duck Egg picks:

I did a post last week about what to do with vintage findsI suggested putting your plant pots into vintage crates as this protects decking and it looks great. Duck Egg have sourced them for you.

Vintage crates

I’m doing a post next week about recycled planters. What about planting in this lovely enamel strainer? This is just one of Duck Egg’s vintage kitchen finds.

Vintage enamel colander strainer

Follow my tutorial on how to add castors to a steamer trunk, like the one below, to turn it into a fully functional coffee table with lots of storage.

Vintage Steamer Trunk

A 1930’s enamel jug, like this one, will lift your interior from generic to unique.

Enamel Jug

Duck Egg sells new items that are well designed and very reasonably priced. This pendant lamp is very similar to ones I used in my interior decoration project recently.

Duck Egg Designs pendant lamp

Ellie used to be an Art teacher and now uses her artistic skills to design fresh, pretty fabrics that would be perfect to upholster a piece of furniture – follow my upholstery tutorial.

Duck egg designs fabric

So, now there are no excuses for not bringing your dream interior to life; Duck Egg will do all the hard work for you!