'It' Sheepskin Stool DIY

I've seen sheepskin covered stools around for a good while now, but I recently saw an image of Jaime King sitting in a dressing room on a particularly beautiful one that I think was from Jonathan Adler, and had that familiar 'I WANT ONE' pang. Well at just under $2000, I don't think I'll be buying one any time soon, so of course I started to think about a DIY version.
I've dubbed these 'It' stools, because they remind me of Cousin It from the Addams Family, but they are also everywhere at the moment, and with good reason. They add a bit of glamour and fun to any room, they don't take up much space, but are great for extra seating when needed. Exactly what I'd decided our living room was lacking. I'm certainly not the first to do this DIY, but this is how I tackled it.

I began my hunt for something to transform on eBay (of course), and found a fab pair of little mid-century side tables for £20.00 (plus, £10 delivery, so let's call it £15 a piece). They were the perfect shape and size to re-purpose as stools.

When they arrived, my intention was to give the legs a quick sand before spray painting them gold. However, much to my surprise, when I started sanding, the black paint quickly turned to dust, revealing the bare wood beneath.

Now I'm not one to shy away from painting wood, but it just didn't seem to be the right thing to do as it was in perfect condition under that bad black paint job, and such a lovely colour. I still can't believe how easily the paint came off - just ten minutes sanding by hand per leg, so I decided to hold off with the spray paint, and give them a few coats of Danish Oil instead.

The cups and feet didn't shine up as much as I'd hoped, so I might give them the gold spray paint treatment instead, but the jury's out on that one, so I'm leaving them for now.
I was lucky that my job was made super easy by the fact that the legs unscrew. I decided not to remove the plates that the legs screw into, because I'm lazy like that. I just didn't want to make the job harder, so I worked around them instead which was pretty easy. Besides, not many people will be inspecting the underside of these - they'll be too busy marvelling at their beauty.
I traced around the tops, and cut foam pieces (about 3cms thick) to size, which I stuck on with spray adhesive. Next I cut the Mongolian Sheepskin - another eBay purchase - to fit. The rectangles need to be large enough to cover the top and sides, leaving a few centimetres over-hang for securing it with staples. I admit I did have second, and possibly third thoughts about cutting the sheepskin up - it was SO beautiful, fluffy and soft! I think I'll have to buy another one soon to help me get over the trauma...
Then I got busy with my staple gun. I knelt on the tops as I went, making sure to pull tightly and evenly - I did the sides first and just trimmed the excess off the corners before securing the edges around the leg plates. This is a super easy upholstery job - the sheepskin hides pretty much everything.

Once both skins were secured, I screwed the legs back on and stood back and marvelled at their beauty. Told you.

I'm super happy with these - a particularly quick, easy and satisfying DIY. They make for great occasional seating and a lovely bit of eye-candy. And eye-candy is something we all need.

The overall cost? £42.50 each. Not bad huh?

Gold Pinch Pots

Sometimes I get an overwhelming urge to make something. Something satisfyingly quick and easy. I recently bought my daughter some Fimo, and spotted that they also do a modelling clay. I'm really lucky to have a large, well stocked, craft and haberdashery shop a five minute walk away, so when my 'I need to make something' mood struck, I went and bought some.

I decided to make some little pinch pots for the succulents I've been attempting to propagate. I had about fifteen  leaves that had sprouted roots and the beginnings of new plants that needed to be potted, so these are a great size whilst they're still tiny. If they're successful, I'll have to re-pot them eventually, but for now these are perfect.  These little pots would also be great for rings, and any other tiny bits and pieces, and they're so easy.

I made meat-ball sized balls with the clay once I'd softened it up a bit, and pinched them into various shaped, rough little vessels. Perfectly imperfect. They took about 48 hours to dry (not the 24 that it promises on the pack and which was the selling point for Miss Impatient over here), and once completely dry I sprayed them gold.  I lined them with a double layer of foil and filled them with succulent potting mix before adding my new little plant-babies.  I apologise for the cringe-inducing term plant-babies - I started saying it to annoy my husband and amuse myself, and it's kind of stuck. Besides, I do love them.

Succulents love our bathroom, and the tiny pots are the perfect size to sit on the marble ledge behind the basin, where they will hopefully thrive.  We'll see over the coming weeks, how many of them make it. Fingers crossed!

Its hard to tell from the photograph, but this pot is only about 6 centimetres in diameter. Pretty cute huh?

Trend-spotting: Bolster Cushions

I'm going to stick my neck out here and predict that oversized bolster cushions are going to be everywhere over the coming months.  And not just on beds - you'll see them on bench seats and sofas too. They look so comfy and inviting - perfect for snuggling up on during the winter that is nearly upon us.

I spotted one a while back on the ever fabulous DesignLoveFest, in Bri's beautiful bedroom. (That's the light I want for my kitchen. Le sigh...)

Image: Bri Emery / DesignLoveFest
I'd been hanging on to an amazing piece of vintage Chinoiserie Linen that I'd found on eBay for a steal well over a year ago, that I just didn't know what to do with. Cutting it into smaller pieces for standard sized cushions would have wasted the design, but I didn't have enough to do much more with it. So when I saw this image, I instantly knew it was the perfect thing to make with my linen.  I used the entire width of the fabric to incorporate the beautiful lattice border.  I used the linen for the front only, piped it with black velvet, and the back is heavy-weight charcoal cotton.  I love, love, love it.  It looks like a really expensive piece, but in fact cost me less than £10 just for the pad - everything else I already had in my studio.

I think this shape looks more contemporary and relaxed than a traditional cylindrical bolster, but anything goes. Really, it's all about using a great fabric. These are a great way to add pattern to a room without the expense or commitment of wallpaper. Unless you go for über expensive fabric of course, but if you only use your 'good' fabric on the front, you don't need much at all.  My husband is so thrilled that there's another cushion on the bed. Not.

Popsicle Pots

I recently saw what I'm pretty sure was a planter made from popsicle sticks in an image on the amazing Emily Hendersons blog.  If you don't know it yet, you must go and have a look - that woman is pretty amazing.  WAIT, NOT YET!  Read this first, okay?

I think it's pretty safe to say that we've all made one of these at some point in our childhood.   If not, then I'm sorry you missed out, and let me assure you, it's not rocket science.  Making one of these is akin to a therapy session.  Not that I'd know.

Anyway, I thought it looked cool (I think that a LOT when looking at her blog), then forgot about it until I randomly saw some popsicle sticks on Amazon whilst looking for something totally unrelated.  It was clearly fate, so I ordered some, deciding to make some pots for my growing collection of succulents, which I've been struggling to find a nice selection of pots for.

They arrived and sat unopened on the dining table, slowly getting buried under a pile of paperwork. Then a few weeks ago, I was at home with my two small people, and it was really awful stormy weather, and I'll be honest - we were driving each other a bit mad.  Then I remembered the sticks. The sticks!!

So out they came, along with some wood glue, and we got to work.  Well, Edie and I got to work, and Baxter did his utmost to sabotage our efforts.  We all had fun though (except the bit when I realised that Baxter was running riot with a highlighter pen all over the living room, and the other bit when I got cross that he was trying to smash my creation).

This is my rather anal neat effort.  I wanted it to be sculptural and simple.  Not too seventies, but maybe just a little bit, which was kind of inevitable.

Some black spray paint was definitely in order to take it from an average crafty thing, to something I actually want to display.  I love it, and I'm pretty sure it will end up on my new kitchen table when it arrives.  I'm also pretty sure I'll be ordering some more sticks for another rainy afternoon, to make a hexagonal one to spray gold.  Yep.  And white, and mint, and pink...

If you're going to use yours as a planter, you'll need to add an inner receptacle like a jar to put your plant into, because obviously these pots aren't going to hold soil or water.

Okay, NOW you can go and visit Style By Emily Henderson, and then you might want to order some popsicle sticks and get gluing.