It’s pretty but …

It’s pretty but …..

Sometimes when out thrifting you can find something pretty but it just needs a little extra to take it to he next level.

Here is an example that I found earlier this week.

I love this rose oil painting but it looks a bit 1970’s in its faux gilt frame. I knew it had potential but needed to be given the Lexi treatment!

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I thought I would paint the frame in a vintage-esque colour by the wonderful English paint manufacturer Farrow and Ball to soften the look.

If you want to have a go:

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Firstly take your sandpaper and rub all over the frame. Don’t forget the sides and try and get into all the comers. Sanding it like this allows the paint to stick to the frame.

When you have finished sanding make sure you wipe any dust off as you don’t want bits in your fresh paint.

Mask off next to the very edge of the frame on the painting with newspaper and masking tape to make it easier to paint the inside edges of the frame. If you have a steady hand you can risk it and not bother …..brave move!

I painted the frame with a white paint as an undercoat to blank out the gold colour. With darker paints you may not need to bother but with pastels it is a necessary.

With this particular frame I used emulsion which I know is normally for walls but I wanted a more chalky finish to this frame. Also the coats dry so quickly, it can easily be completed in an afternoon which for any busy crafter is a big deal !

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Now you can get cracking with your top paint colour. I went for a soft pink from Farrow and Ball. It is named Middleton Pink but has nothing to do with Kate, the most famous Middleton of them all !

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Make sure you let each coat dry well between applications. On the day I painted this frame it was sunny and breezy so it dried really quickly. Usually two coats is plenty.

When the frame is really dry you can GENTLY rub back areas of the frame to distress it a little but I didn’t with this one. Rub back in the corners and along the sides to reveal the colours underneath. It can look great and instantly ages painted items and they don’t look so flat.

Here are some examples from a seller on Etsy but sadly there is no seller name on Google images to credit him or her.

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This is how the 70’s rose painting looks now its done. Pretty and less shiny and altogether a softer more feminine look.

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And here it is in place on a wall with a number of other vintage oil paintings. A painted frame really sets a painting off nicely . Have a go, it so easy and looks so fabulous.

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Have a great weekend everyone

Lexi xx

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Elbow Patches – not just for geography teachers!

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I adore an elbow patch !

I’ve jumpers with plain oval patches, a cashmere cardi with gold leather patches and a navy and white striped Maison Scotch top with navy stars on the elbows. Once I even had a jumper with SEQUIN elbow patches. It was a beauty!

You can imagine my delight when I found this grey striped top with red HEARTS on the sleeve in Gap. It was a ‘must have’ purchase and the fact it was on sale was the final deciding factor.

You can easily put cool patches onto your own clothes. Below you can see the pink star patches I put into a friends cardi.

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All I did was iron on some Bondaweb on the back of the cotton fabric. Cut out a patch in whatever shape you desire. I used pinking sheers to ensure there was no fraying.

Check where you are placing the patch on the sleeve. Need to match up to your elbow position !

Lie the garment flat on your ironing board and make sure the sleeves are lying flat too. Peel the paper off the back of the patch and place where you want them. Press with a hot iron without steam and allow the Bondaweb to fuse to the garment underneath. You may like to cover with a tea towel to protect the fabrics underneath.

Leave it a couple of minutes to cool down and remove tea towel. That’s it !

Being cautious as I didn’t know how the patch would stand up to the washing machine, I used some lime green embroidery silk to put a running stitch around the edge of the patch, about 1cm in to secure the patch a little more.

It also is a great design feature, I love contrasting stitching. Adds a little something.

Happy customising and show your Geography teacher how to rock an elbow patch!

L xx

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Customised stripey straws

Well it has literally been an age since I last blogged and so now I am determind to write some more posts.

Just a quick one tonight but a sweet little project for parties. Customised paper straws.

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I recently organised a party for a friend of mine with a red and white theme.

I bought some fab stripey paper straws and was going to be serving cocktails in retro mini milk bottles with said straws. That was all very well but a little plain !

I decided to customise the straws with some little paper banners that are easily printed out on a pc.

Simply type your message out and perhaps add a little picture if you fancy it. I used a heart as it was a hen night. Make sure you leave a decent margin on the left hand side of the sentence as this has to be wrapped around the straw to secure.

Type out as many banners as you have straws, plus a couple of extras in case of accidents! I double return between each line of type so that my banner is not too mean and stingy when I cut it.

Print out and cut into strips. I like I make a ‘v’ shaped notch into the far end of the message, looks more finished that just a straight end I think.

Next take a little glue and dab onto the back of the strip opposite end to the notch. Bend and stick around the straw where you’d like it and squeeze quite firmly. Hold for a few seconds. I then leave the straw to dry by popping it into a glass where it can remain upright.

And that’s it ! Simple, cute and a really sweet way to make personalised party items.

See you soon,

Lexi x

 

 

Cool Britannia !

Hello y’all !

Its been an age since I blogged so I thought I’d show you what I’ve been up to. I’ve had some really special things to make and I’ve been itching to share this make with you. A special commission which I hope you agree looks SO cool! I love it!

This is my take on a re-worked vintage trunk and in this blog I am going to show you how I made it…..

UJ Trunk

Some months ago I was flicking through Homes and Antiques magazine (September 2010 issue) and spied this re-worked vintage trunk which I thought was a great idea but then put it to the back of my mind……

Reworked Vintage Trunk

Now there's an idea.....

It turned out that some time later I would need this idea for a very special commission for a friend, and the ideas from the magazine were given the Lexi treatment.

So….first of all I needed to gather together all the bits and pieces for this special project. It was for a man with a love of vintage pieces and classic cars combined with a preppy English style that is so current right now.  I wanted to make my piece look  a bit like something from Jack Wills but way more exclusive and personal. Each element to the trunk was specifically chosen with him in mind. It takes a while to find all the little quirky car motifs and antique insignia but its what makes it unique and for me that is vital!

So, this is the trunk in its basic state – nice but awfully dull and SO brown!

Take one brown canvas trunk......

Take one brown canvas trunk......

Inside it was in quite a good condition. A little battered, but then so would you be if you were that old! I am based in Cirencester, Gloucestershire and I love the fact that this trunk was made in Cheltenham, 15 miles up the road. It feels a bit like its come home!

Trunk interior

Love the stripes!

In the magazine article it says  to paint PVA glue all over the outside of the trunk in order to prevent any colour leaking from the canvas onto the fabrics when they are attached to the trunk. So, I painted the trunk and let it dry whilst I got to work measuring and cutting out the fabrics for each section.

PVA

Bring on the glue

Glue is drying

Its nearly dry !

The fabrics I chose were to work around a union jack bandana that I had so I used various red, white and navy fabrics to co-ordinate.  I like to mix up patterns and scale to give an eclectic look. I found some red and white ticking which I was particularly pleased with. It was an arduous task cutting out all the little pieces of fabric to fit in around the curved corners and locks and hinges on the trunk, but I was not too concerned about it being perfect. I like it a little shabby around the edges!

Meanwhile….the union jack bandanna I wanted to use for the top of the trunk was very new looking and very bright! So, in order to vintage-i-fy it I left it soaking in a solution hot water and household bleach for half an hour or so to age it. Now, if you decide to do this, proceed with caution – too much Domestos and it could all be over very quickly! When it was the correct colour I washed it thoroughly and dried and pressed it so it was ready to go.Oh yes, and to make it look even more genuine, I rubbed it up and down on my grater to make a few holes!

In the bleach

Soaking.....

Now with holes

Now with holes

When sticking the fabric pieces to the trunk I started with the smallest in order to get the hang of it before attempting the bigger ones. What was concerning me was getting wrinkles and air bubbles underneath the fabrics. In the magazine article it says to smooth out any lumps and bumps by rubbing a bundle of cloth over it which should sort out any issues! I did have some little bumps as there were various screws etc holding the trunk together but I dont think this detracted from the overall look.

spotty corner pieces

Bit fiddly around the corners

On the areas of the trunk where the handles were, I simply sliced gently down the fabric with a stanley knife and then eased the fabric around the obstruction and stuck it down. You hardly even notice the slit and I think it looks neater that two or three separate pieces.

Around the handle

Easy does it with the Stanley knife....

Once all the underneath and side pieces were on I could then concentrate on the main two panels where I wanted to place the union jack and to add the monogramming letters. I planned to applique them to the fabric using a zig zag stitch on the machine along with the woven car badges and the mini union jacks and felt initials before sticking the base pieces to the trunk.

I put the flag on the trunk at a rakish angle to make things a litle more quirky and then cut it up the centre and pinned each piece of bandana to the base fabric and then I was ready to start machining.

The flag is cut and pinned

Cut and pinned - ready to sew

Now to sew it …..

Let the sewing begin

Let the sewing begin

The last things to be stitched onto the main fabric panels were felt initials as well as the fabric car badges and a genuine military insignia.

Car badges

Now for some of the fun stuff !

Vintage Insignia

Vintage insignia looks just the thing on here

Mini UJ

Its not all red, white and blue!

To finish off I had to stick the two large central panels onto the trunk and to look for any lose threads that needed trimming. I also checked for any bits of fabric that might have required a bit of extra sticking. And the result of all this hard work  was this …..

The finished product

And so here we have it. Whatd'ya think?!

I am please to tell you that the recipient was really pleased with it, and at the end of the day, thats what matters!

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed putting it together for you.

More soon,

Love Lexi x x