Monday, 9 September 2013

Recycled home haven and garden

In one week my life should return to normal working hours after 3 months sewing costumes for Game of Thrones season 4.  And while it is wonderful working on the hand stitched costumes, the hours are long and leave me pretty much with no time to do my own thing, and no time to blog about doing my own thing!
So this Sunday evening finds me comfortably sitting on my sofa, listening to Chopin's Nocturnes on Spotify.  My sofa being 1 of 4 things in my house that has not been salvaged, recycled or found in a skip.
This blog is the 1st of a few on the subject of recycling, upcycling, skip-hoking whatever tag name you wish to give it, for it has many.  Kirstie has made her own TV series about it, and I was interested to read that she has been labelled 'the pioneer of skip searching'.  Hmmm, I have been at this since art college when me and my friends Grace and Alison rescued a Denby tea set, a fish platter and a glass serving dish from a skip at the corner of Royal Avenue circa 1992.
Let me share a few of my finds, upcycles, recycles, re-thinks, re-fashions around the home.  Kirstie eat your heart out!

I found this old spade handle in a bag of firewood my dad gave me. I instantly thought that it had a purpose and could be saved from a firey end.
I visited my local DIY store and asked for a 'double - ended screw'.  I was given a strange look.  12p it cost.  I charged up my sisters drill and in less than five minutes had a new hook to hang my satchels on.
Leather + wood = LOVE
This satchel was a charity shop find at £7.50. 
An unwanted mirror with a solid wood frame becomes...
My new pin/black board.  Re-using all my corks that used to be strung up for curtain tie-backs.  I am still working my way through the paperwork!
Next we head upstairs to the bathroom where the towels have been neatly rolled in this rack for 7 years.  I scratched this 7 year itch, and found a use for a drawer which I picked up for free in an old closing down linen factory.  See my previous post DIY Stacking shelves for another drawer uses.
Upturned and upcycled drawer with added shelves.  Perfect for storing loo rolls.  The towels are now rolled up into a woven straw basket.
They are stacked here before getting hung on the disused spool.
And finally for this evening, into the kitchen for a before and after found on Gumtree.
Cast iron Tractor stool before...
Tractor stool after a coat of red gloss.  It now sits in my kitchen beside the frame of my great grandmothers Singer sewing machine.
I hope I have inspired you to look at things differently before throwing them out or giving them away. Keep following my posts to see new ways to furnish your space for next to nothing. 
Till next time...
Keep Creating and tell me what you have been DIY-ing


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

DIY minature Mannequin


Hello everyone, its been a long time ...

I hope you all have been having a great summer so far and I am happy to report that in Belfast, Northern Ireland we have been having non -stop sunshine for 2 weeks!!
I've been working just a little too hard since May and honestly only getting a still moment to write this blog.  I prefer not to bombard you with blogs, posting thoughts that I haven't had time to think about.  Sharing what I have been up to is very relaxing for me, so here goes...
I have always loved mannequins, but they are so expensive, so I decided to make one myself.  I really wanted a miniature, but these are over £250 to buy.  Having a padded one, rather than a wire one, means I can design and play with ideas before cutting the full size pattern. 
 I bought the frame from Dunelm Mill for £9.99 and set to work with some polyester wadding, tshirt jersey and calico. 

Filling up inside the whole frame to make it solid.  Wrapping wadding around the wire arms to give shape.

Shaping up nicely

Adding some bosoms and pin-ipples.  Stretching the jersey over the form to shape and keep all the wadding in.

Adding curves and definition by stitching through the wadding and jersey

Jersey covered stretched and sewn in place. 
Slightly lob-sided, but hey aren't we all?

Fitting the back calico cover

Shaping the front calico cover
Sunday sewing...raising the neck height and slip stitching in place.

I named her Dolly.  She's not perfect, but I am really pleased to have taken the time to make her myself.  Looking forward to adding her to my sewing room.
After I made Dolly I came across this website for modern, vintage and antique dress stands 
Happy sewing, crafting and creating
Till next time




Monday, 6 May 2013

Reinventing the collar.

Hello everyone, I hope you have been enjoying the May day bank holiday weekend!

Blogging activity has been reduced to once a month lately, which is not favourable to either me or you.  There is much going on in the making world of Colour and Cloth and over the next month I will be setting time aside to tell you all about it.

Today you find me on a peaceful journey over the Irish sea after a beautiful weekend in Scotland.  Enjoying the 2 hour ferry journey catching up on news, the latest magazines, text messages and of course blogging!

Here's a little project that had been put on the back burner for a while...

A buttery chocolate brown leather jacket by Irish designer Roisin Gartland. 

Im a real sucker for Irish designers.  I like to support local talent and industry, even though it was a charity shop find for £5 a few years ago.  I never really wore it and I have just realised was the collar.  It had to come off!

Scissors in hand I started snipping. Now what to do with the now detached collar?

I love sheepskin, and had a very small skin than had never really found a lasting purpose.  Inspired by our costume making for the 'Wildlings' Season 2 Game of Thrones' I played about with some collar ideas on my mannequin.

Northern Ireland's very own Ciaran Hinds in the HBO series Game of Thrones wearing his Wildlings costume well.  Image by Helen Sloan.

I love designing accessories and garments that can be worn many ways and this was no exception.  Heres are at least 5 ways to wear. 

Option 1
Option 2
Option 3
Option 4
Option 5
Lets not forget about the leather jacket...heres how it looks now.  Much better I think, and more comfortable to wear.

Pity the weather is hotting up now...I will have to wait until winter to wear it! As they say in Game of Thrones 'Winter is Coming'.
I say lets have Spring, Summer and Autumn first!

                                                                       Until next time,
Enjoy creating
Christine x

Thursday, 4 April 2013

From 1980's to 2013 LBD Transformation

Evening all, I hope that this week is being good to you.
Just a quick mid-week catch-up.  Its been a busy week, Easter holidays and a day trip to Manchester.  But there is always room for a quick customisation.  This one took 2 hours and gets the rating of EASY. 

Another Oxfam find.  £5.99 for a Japanese silk dress.  With potential.

 Beautiful shoulder drape detail with black glass buttons.
Getting to work with the stitch ripper and off come the arms!  I will save these for another project.
Different camera filter.  Arms completed, handstitched. 
Waisted and Belted
I think I'm turning Japanese :)
Close up of the front
Closeup of the back
Its my birthday next week so I think that this dress deserves a special night out!
I am off to catch-up on The Great British Sewing Bee!  Have you been watching it?
Till next time,
Christine x

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

D.I.Y ... Stacking shelves and shoes

Long time...but after a very relaxing seaweed bath I was inspired to do a little D.I.Y and put some shelves up in my bedroom. 

I am sure I am not alone when I admit to having over 30 pairs of shoes (not including boots) so a gal needs plenty of space to store them all.  We all know a girls best friend are Diamonds, but along with her daddy, her triple D is 'D.I.Y'.

Marilyn singing 'Diamonds are a girls best friend' from the film 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes'.

I sometimes forget what shoes I actually own because they are hidden at the back of the closet in boxes.  If they are on display then they will be worn more often.  I had written on my 'To do list' - get some shelving for shoes.  In what will be another blog post I was given over 8 drawers from a linen factory that was closing down in Belfast, these were perfect to display and store my shoes.

Every girl should have one of these!

I have to be truthful here....

I called my dad :)

Heres me and my dad in the 70's at the caravan in Newcastle...great memories!

My dad is a D.I.Y wiz-kid.  He worked as a butcher all his life but I think DIY has always been one of his big hobbies.  My mum is very lucky...

The guy in the picture is NOT my dad!!

So with tools in hand: nails, hammer and a spirit level I found a wall in my bedroom with nothing on it!!  ... These things are pretty hard to come by these days after being in my house for 8 years!

Blank, but not for long.

Up go the drawers  note the handles on the side.  Dad made the dividers.  A lick of wood stain, and a few hours drying time and the shelves were ready to be anointed with shoes.

First shelf filled.  Thats 3 pairs and counting.

4, 5, 6, 7...

8, 9 , 10, 11...


15,16,17 (the bottom pair have already been counted)


and 20!  These lace up Gladiator style stilettos are strung up through the drawer handle.

The finished shoe shelving.  I can still spot a place for a very low shoe...can you?!

I don't often get the chance to wear heels, but I am going to make sure that these superstars get a night out on the town very soon.

This DIY project took me 30 minutes to put up.  My dad took a good few hours making me the inner shelves, thanks Dad!  Many thanks also to Peter of 'Copeland Linens' Belfast for the drawer donations.

Until again, happy DIY-ing

Christine x