From Lampshade to Hamper…

I’ve been getting creative in the last week – I just had to start doing something with my car boot sale finds – and this project didn’t involve paint and sandpaper! To be honest the initial idea came from a fantastic book, ‘Junk Genius’ by Juliette Goggin and Stacy Sirk and you can see that they have a wonderful, quirky approach to giving unloved objects a new lease on life

lampshade coffee table

I could have done something like this because I love the idea, but I was more interested in creating something for the garden – with a plant in the centre – and then I thought, ‘it’s time to get that dirty laundry pile under control’ and the lampshade hamper was born!

So I started with a car boot lampshade (£2.00)

car boot lampshade purchase

And then I stripped off the outer covering and liner. Sharp scissors required and what a lot of dust!

Wire framework exposed

So, I found some fabric that I thought would work in my bathroom and measured the circumference of the largest part of the frame, I added on 10cm and divided that number in three. This created the width of the panels.

Then I measured the height of the frame, added to that the radius of the smaller part of the frame and then allowed another 10cm, for fullness of the liner. Adding these three numbers together, this created the length of the panels. I cut three panels from these dimensions with the base of the panel about 15cm narrower than the top (so it was shaped like a flower-pot) and used flat felled seams to join then in a loop. I pleated the bottom seam so that it would sit inside the wire frame and also used a flat fell seam to finish it.

Next, I measured the radius of the larger part of the frame, added 5cm and using the width measurement of the liner panels, created three rectangles for the ‘lid’. I used flat felled seams to again create a loop and with wrong sides together, stitched this to the body of the liner. To neaten this edge I attached bias tape with a zigzag stitch. Leave an opening so that you can pull it up with elastic. On the outer edge I inserted bobble trim to liven it up. With 1cm elastic measuring 15cm less than the circumference, I inserted this into the bias tape so that it would hug the wire frame.

Using more bias tape, I turned under the edge of the ‘lid’ to create a casing for a drawstring. With a safety pin, insert a piece of ribbon or cord into the casing and tie the ends together.

Lampshade Hamper 1

Lampshade Hamper

And there you have it, no longer a lampshade and no more dirty laundry on the floor!

Local Finds

So, while I was out for a walk on Sunday, I suddenly saw something I’ve walked past thousands of times and never seen before!

Hard Landscaping that can be used for play.

Hard Landscaping that can be used for play.

Railway Sleepers, fence posts and decking have never looked so much fun. This is outside a local school, but wouldn’t it work so well in a garden that needed a barrier or seating that can also be the focus of play? And why stop there – remember the wooden building blocks of early childhood – with a combination of rectangles and cylinders, you could create castles and towns, cars and furniture. Even a grown up garden would benefit from the whimsy of a wooden block ‘sculpture’. I want to do some garden revamping myself…I feel an idea coming on.

And speaking of ideas, I just love this!

Sculpture of a natural kind.

Sculpture of a natural kind.

Every time I see this garden, on the edge of Tooting Bec, I am mesmerised by the atmosphere these standing stones create. It’s like they’re guarding the house, friendly protectors. Ok, so mid-winter, they’re a little creepy – just a little bit – but in mid summer with the acanthus spires surrounding them, I love how they add height and texture to a very green garden and reflect the colours of the blooms on the acanthus.

I imagine that the sculptures are created by drilling a central hole in each river stone and then threading them onto a metal rod that has been secured into a poured concrete pad, but with the right tools ( and a friendly builder 😉 ) this is not hard work considering the impact achieved. And with a little wooden town, these stone spires look a bit like trees, can you see where I’m going with this? So much inspiration from natural materials…

Warm and Toasty

I know mid summer isn’t really the time that people think about their radiators, but when you’re doing up a property on a shoe-string, believe me, now is the time to look! And where better to start the search than a refurbishment that is removing items that don’t suit their taste?

reclaimed Edwardian radiator P1010278

Richard removed six of these Edwardian column radiators from a bungalow in South London and I know what you’re thinking – why?? They have so much more character than the modern panel rads, but for all their charm, these old rads are not as energy efficient. They were made before BTu’s were even considered and as a result, they can be fairly random in their heat output, which means you might not be able to rely on them as your main heat source. They also take up more space and refinishing them can be a real labour of love.

For all that, I think they really add something to a room, especially if you like a sculptural, industrial feel to you fittings. And Richard says that rubbing these back with a wire brush would be enough to give you a good surface for repainting in something like Hammerite, for a gunmetal appearance. If you want them professionally dipped, then obviously the costs are much higher, but this too, can be lower than buying off-the-peg modern column radiators, so it pays to do your homework. And that’s where eBay comes in! These are listed on eBay under Edwardian Column Radiators. The auction ends on the 11th August, so tell your friends, if they’re hunting for radiators that you have the perfect ‘find’ for them!