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Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Adventures in chalk paint..

Since I moved I have become a regular in the chalk paint aisle at my local DIY store. Here's one of the things I worked on over the Christmas break and which turned out pretty well. 


We were given a trailer-load of pine furniture by a relative shortly after we moved and it's all lovely stuff but not entirely to our taste, so once I'd furnished one of the bedrooms, I decided that I could use a set of drawers in the sewing room, for storage of notions and smaller items.

I headed to Pinterest for some inspiration and was almost settled on painting the drawers in an ombre or a rainbow effect, when suddenly I remembered how much wallpaper I had left over in off-cuts (I'd originally planned to paper two walls but ended up just doing one). 


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After a little googling, I had a vague plan of how to go about this. I used pink chalk paint and grey chalk paint to paint the sections of the chest which I was not going to cover with paper - the tops, sides and edges of the drawers themselves. Since I'm lazy and didn't sand the chest before I started, it needed three coats to stop the paint looking patchy and give it a decent coverage, but you might get away with fewer coats if you were more into preparing the piece..

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Once the paint was dry I mixed up a watered-down PVA glue and painted the drawer fronts with this, leaving it for a few minutes to go tacky whilst cutting out the papers to fit the fronts. Cue a lot of measuring, craft knife action (and assistance). I painted those with the glue mix as well before fitting them into place. I left the glue to dry overnight and then painted the whole thing with this furniture lacquer. Again, I needed to use several coats of this to get a finish I was happy with and to ensure I covered the paper plenty of times, too. The final touch was to add these pink crystal drawer knobs to the front, which seem to be such a good colour match to the paper that they blend right in.

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I'm pretty pleased with how these turned out and have recently taken in another unwanted chest of drawers, which I'm trying to decide on a plan for so that it fits our living room, which is next on the schedule to be decorated. I might do something similar.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

An irregular opportunity..


Irregular Raffle

For those of you who are also fans of Irregular Choice, it might not be news to you that the brand are celebrating their twentieth anniversary in 2019. How exciting is that?! 
As you'd expect, there are lots of new and exciting things planned to celebrate this. New styles, as well as old design elements creeping back into some of the new releases. There's bound to be something for everyone over the course of the year. 

One of the exciting things in the pipeline is Irregular Day, which is going to be on 9th March 2019. On this day, Dan and the brand have asked people to step out of their comfort zone and try something new, whatever that might mean to them. It could be a new sport, going somewhere new to them or trying a new food; something that wouldn't happen in your "regular" life. 

One of my fellow IC-collecting friends has decided to step outside of her comfort zone and organise a fundraiser for two charities which mean a lot to her, and I'm very excited to share the information about it here...so, over to Tomi. 

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What is this about?
For Irregular Day I am getting out of my comfort zone and putting myself out there to raise money for two charities through an IC raffle.

How?
The raffles are being hosted on these two pages.

Unofficial Irregular Choice Wiki - https://www.facebook.com/groups/685609068211540/


Each ticket is £1 per ticket. You can buy as many tickets as you like.

Payments can be made via Paypal (snarfybooboo@yahoo.com) which has been specifically set up for this fundraiser. Please pay via Paypal and make sure you add your Paypal name as a reference (so we can contact you if you win!)

When?
There will be two live raffle draws on Saturday 9 March; one at Lottie’s Atik in Lincolnshire and the other at a soon to be confirmed location!

How can we help?
By buying tickets to raise money for two charities:

Teenage Cancer Trust - they create world-class cancer services for young people in the UK, providing life-changing care and support so young people don’t have to face cancer alone.

Chestnut Tree House - The children’s hospice for East and West Sussex, Brighton and Hove and South East Hampshire.

What are the prizes?
There are currently two lots of prizes. Lot one will be hosted on the Wiki Page and Lot 2 on the Irregular Choice Party People page.

Lot 1
£25 Lotties Atik vouchers
IC scarf
Just Dandy necklace
IC Heel grips
Madame Crystal sole protectors
Kitten mirror
1 jewellery pouch
Kids patches
IC stickers
IC postcard
IC display card box box (small)
IC perspex display stand
IC gold tote medium bag
IC gold tote large bag
Classic IC pink tote bag

Lot 2
£25 Lotties Atik vouchers
IC scarf
Macaroon tights
Lamb print tights
IC Heel grips
Carousel mirror
Bunny mirror
IC stationary set -pencil case, pen and pencils
IC Necklace
1 jewellery pouch
IC Sticker
IC postcard
IC 210 shoes calendar
IC gold tote medium bag
IC gold tote large bag
Classic IC robot tote bag


If you'd like more information, Tomi can be found on Instagram here where you'll be able to see this video, and the Facebook groups which are hosting the lots can be found here and here.


Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Tuesday Titles 167..

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Passion in the Bones: Elaine Howard
I have to admit, this book arrived at a very appropriate time for me. It's not really a secret that I've been struggling lately with a lot of things. I would never usually opt for a self-help or a motivational book, but something about this one, combined with the time I was approached about it, made me agree to try something new.

Like me, Elaine was feeling a little lost in her life. Unfulfilled, and concerning herself with the things which she felt were missing from her existence, she admits that she was feeling hopeless. Passion in the Bones is part-memoir and I think this made the concept a lot more accessible to me. Elaine explains how she found a new passion entirely by chance, and for her this was palaeontology.

Using her experiences as a guide, this book helps readers to understand how a positive focus on something they are passionate about can make a huge difference tot heir outlook on life. I mean, all of this makes sense and seems accessible to me, so I've already started making some positive changes to the way I think about things. I've found that by shifting the focus of my thoughts to the good things in my life, or even breaking it down into the good things about my day, it quickly creates a more positive way of thinking about life. Much better to be thankful for the things which are great than sad about the things which you feel are missing from your life, right?!

Honestly, I'd recommend reading Passion in the Bones, even if you think you're a self-help sceptic, like me.


Thursday, 14 February 2019

Another knitted robot..



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I guess the clue is in the title for this one. Looking at the last knitting projects I seem to have shared, it certainly looks as though I have a bit of a knitted robot obsession. I mean, I do love robots but I guess it's also worth pointing out that neither the blanket nor this little guy are for me. 

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A couple of weeks ago I was scouring Ravelry (does anyone else get absolutely lost in there?!) for something heart-themed for Valentine's day. Eventually I settled on this pattern - Louie the Lovebot - which I've had saved in my favourites list for an absolute age. I'd been making a cable knit scarf in a grey DK which I'd picked up from a discount store recently, and had some left over, which made my mind up that one of the colours in my robot would be grey. 

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Since the intarsia heart on the front had to be in a contrasting colour, I decided on red. It seems to fit the Valentines theme. The pattern itself was quite easy to follow, although I got about halfway through and decided that I couldn't get the magic loop thing right, so switched to DPNs. I think that my problem was that the circular needles I was using probably weren't long enough, so I was finding it a bit of a struggle to loop it properly. I also found that my heart came out a little wonky - it's knitted in intarsia in the round and I think my tension between colour changes was a little off. I fixed this once I'd stitched him up by adding a few little stitches to sort out the shape. Hopefully it's not too noticeable. 

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I finished him off with a couple of button eyes and a little heart button in his hand so that he can spread some love. I think a larger button might have worked better for this but I was using up some from the button jar and this was the best I could find. I'm enjoying using up leftovers and working my way through my yarn stash (although I have to admit I did add to it recently when a local charity shop got a huge donation from a wool shop which had closed down). 

The little knitted heart was made using this free pattern from Studio Knits and it was so simple that I would definitely make more; perhaps as a string of bunting or something? 


Friday, 1 February 2019

#365DaysofIC January round-up





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I haven't really shared a lot about my new year's resolutions, although I have spent almost a whole month getting them honed and have some which are hopefully an achievable challenge.

One of the things I have jumped right in to is joining in with the #365daysofirregularchoice challenge on Instagram. A little like the shoe challenge I set myself a few years back, and the one I started but aborted last year, there is a year-long challenge going on to celebrate the brand's twentieth anniversary. I've pledged to join in by posting a different Irregular Choice item each day (we're including not only shoes, but clothes, bags and accessories as well, which is a welcome change to how I've done this in the past).

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So far, I've been keeping track by a daily Instagram story highlight and also keeping a list of what pairs I wore on each day. At the last day of the month I decided it would be a nice idea to take a collective photo of my January items - which was a great idea until I got them all arranged nicely on the stairs and then remembered the lighting on the landing sucks.

So, after traipsing them all down to the sewing room, where the lighting is a lot better, here we are. I'm going to ignore the fact that until I uploaded these pictures I didn't notice that something was missing.

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So, one month in and how am I finding it? I'd say this is the easiest part of the challenge; where you're so new to it that you're likely to remember which pairs you've already worn so it's easy to avoid duplication. I didn't plan any of these in advance (well, not much in advance anyway - I often get the following day's outfit out the night before if I have an early morning gym session, but that's about it). I have for the first couple of weeks in February made a bit of a list of the pairs I intend to wear, as I'm going to try and stick to a love-heart theme.

Some unexpected favourites have been the purple Otter boots - more sparkly than I remember them, and the bear face clutch bag (deceptively spacious!) and also French Fries - I'm sad to have worn them already and not be able to repeat until after the challenge. Also a little gutted I'd already "used" Shoely Not before thinking of my heart theme for February. 

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I've also managed to recognise a handful of pairs which I'll probably be parting with, for a number of reasons (too big, too low in the heel etc)- so far I've listed four of them for sale on my Insta-sale page if anyone's the same size as me / interested.

I'll leave you with the list..

Day 1: Candy Damsel
Day 2: Green Devil slippers (pre-name)
Day 3: Giraffe necklace
Day 4: Don't Bite
Day 5: Striped Mikey
Day 6: Bunny Cuddels bag
Day 7: Intergalactic boots
Day 8: Rocky Hopper
Day 9: Seduce Me
Day 10: Can't Touch This (black floral)
Day 11: pre-name teal duck shoe-boots
Day 12: Easy Trapeezy (gold)
Day 13: King of the Castle bag
Day 14: Pom Pom Parade scarf
Day 15: Shoely Not
Day 16: Little Tipple (blue)
Day 17: Chocolate Banana Smoothie
Day 18: I'm From the Future
Day 19: Bear Faced Cheek bag
Day 20: 2730 (pre-name) Love You heels
Day 21: Sundae Sprinkles
Day 22: Sugar Plum
Day 23: Smiley Fish
Day 24: Glitter Fawn (red)
Day 25: (pre-name) comic speech bubble flats
Day 26: Swan Lake bag
Day 27: Octavius
Day 28: Gold Spatz ankle boots
Day 29: French Fries
Day 30: Otter (purple)
Day 31: Face Calf boots (white)