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Tag Archives: upcycling

Transforming rubbish old tins with old paper

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I really, really hate throwing stuff away. If it wasn’t for my husband I’d probably get written about in the Metro, how I have to tunnel myself in and out of my house because it is wall to ceiling with stuff. Much of that stuff would be containers that I plan to Do Something With. I have a whole cupboard of jars and tins and things. They are SO useful, but I appreciate that they are a bit annoying while you wait for the inspiration/ time to craft ’em up.

A few weekends ago we went to an AMAZING car boot – and met some of your typical Booty Rogues and Gems– and I came away with a load of lovely jumble, including two rolls of truly retro wall paper, one for 10p and one for 50p. For real, I mean, HOW LUSH!

I felt it would be perfect for a bit of transforming old tins business.

You will need:


Schnizzors (that is Gangsta for scissors)

Paper or fabric

A ruler (but you are not a school kid and it isn’t the nineties so maybe a measuring tape instead)

A pencil

Some homemade Mod Podge (Pva and water)

Some old tins – coco tins/ milk powder tins/ stock tins/ etc tins

Measure all the way around the tin, and the height of it. Plot this on to your paper (It will be a long rectangle) add an extra 0.5cm onto the end of the length and cut it out.

Slather it with Mod Podge, if it is thick. Be a little scrimpier if lightweight paper. Smooth it on, adjusting it, overlap the last 0.5cm. I did loads at one time and, honestly, it probably took me 15 minutes for the whole shebang. In the past I have also varnished over the top to make them super robust.

These will be ideal for odds and ends and crafting supplies, but also for… wait for it… presenting people with biscuits! Tim makes the most AMAZE biccies and it is always a bit of a worry that the tin they get given in (or manky tupperware) might not come back. With these it just doesn’t have to.

Linking up with that totes marv Liz and the Magpies!

PS Fancy joining in with the Charity Shop Blog Hop? Simply write up your fave chazza shop/ route & link it up in a few weeks time. See the details here, my friends.

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The Anti-Swank (and check out my orange pop)

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I’ve had a few conversations recently that have made me realise, that when it comes to clothes, furniture and general belongings, Tim and I are like the Anti-Swank.

We take an absurd kind of pride in going as low as you can go. We revel in it and I bet it really annoys people.

Ah, this? Well, this particular suitcase was found in skip, covered in turd. And this chair? From a car boot sale, absolutely ALIVE with FLEAS. And this? Ha, WELL, this old cupboard was dug up from a graveyard and came with decayed flesh in the hinges!

We like to clean things up and say “TADA!” and people often say we’re a bit jammy. (An equal number of people look at the stuff we are TADA-ing over and think “Ugh, looks like it belongs in a turdfilled, cat infested graveyard hole.)

People are mistaking jaminess for total dedication. You see, we can’t walk down a street without peeping up each driveway hoping for something sitting by a bin; we squizz into every skip, take huge diversions to pass by certain bounteous  charity shops.

We absolutely RUIN our days out. When we went to Brighton for a day out on the beach but ended up lugging round a pair of antique scales that, no joke, weighed more than me because we couldn’t resist them in the first charity shop we saw.

We look RIDICULOUS on public transport. The time Tim got three buses home carrying a 6 foot headboard for our bed. Or that surreal time we spent a whole morning unloading a stranger’s giant BeanBag bed into plastic bin bags and then had to get the tube across London, with 4 bags each, thousands of tiny, escaped polystyrene balls whizzing around the carriages on the Underground breeze.

Sometimes our scavengey tactics are foolishness – we think this 100% of the time when we are stranded half way home with a baby, a two bikes and a sofa.

But mostly, when the things end up in our house dolled up and chintzed out, we are pleased.

This corner shelf ruined a perfectly wonderful day out in Putney. It involved scaling a huge fence into a backyard wasteland where we picked through discarded trolleys and tellys. It hung out with us all day and then we had to cycle home with it. We left it plain and enjoyed it immensely until I saw on Pinterest the most WICKED bright shelf and knew I had to recreate it. (Have a look- isn’t it a beaut?)

BEFORE. Do you think I paint funny? Tim mocked my “hold”

So serious was I about making this happen in my kitchen that I WENT TO A SHOP! AND BOUGHT SOMETHING NEW! My sister would be SO proud.  Some lovely bright paint. (Being such a cheapskate however, I only bought the tester pot and it, um, wasn’t enough. I had to blend up my own concoction with some acrylic I had in the draw. Barely perceptible though!)

When we moved into this house two years ago the kitchen was the dreariest, most pinecladded place you didst ever see. Now it is awash with colour and this little corner just totes makes my heart sing. Hopefully in a few weeks time we’ll have some better photos that Pretty Nostalgic took and I’ll do an Extreme Makeover post.

Total Linky WIPEOUT

So many lovely things on Tinternet right now that I have to link up with:

Linking up with the Pinaddicts Crew over at ButWhyMummyWhy – your life will be enhanced by checking out their skills this month..

and the one and only Lakota and her Ta-Dah! Tuesday. She is one of the Charity Shop Oligarchy and you will love her.

Also, it frankly goes without saying, the illustrious Liz and the Magpie Mondays and …

PHEW BLINKING PHEW!

And finally, I, erm, kinda, ah…. GOT THROUGH TO THE FINALS OF THE MADS!!! ARGHHHHH!! I am competely and utterly thrilled. Thank you so much if you voted. Would you mind doing it one more time? You can vote for me in the Thrift and Craft catergories here. Please check out all the other blogs there- they are boombastic.

Ten new uses for old teacups

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What IS it that is so tantalising about a vintage tea cup? Is it its daintiness, a fragility that makes you feel kind of feminine? Is it the beautifully detailed roses, or bright, retro colours?

The love of tea cups has gone pretty mainstream now. I am surprised they are not selling them in Oliver Bonas,  made in a ginormous factory, flown on to shelves, packaged up as “unique!” and “vintage-like!” and “shabby-chic!“, The Apprentice style.

I think this is why we love them so much – it is simply their antiquity. A tea cup evokes an old world, where ladies in beehives spun tales together. When you sip from a perfectly curved patterned rim you know your Nana and her generation dunked their digestives in it. You imagine a tea party, china clinking on china, neighbourly solidarity, rum slipped in, laughter cackling, biscuits crumbling.  Perhaps drinking from a proper old tea cup helps you see this new world through a lens of nostalgia, rose tinted tea-steam.

But still, despite all that history and all those memories, you won’t catch me paying more than a pound for one.

I love the vivid blue rose one most. Do blue roses even exist?

Because everyone loves a nice tea cup they can be tricky to find, but I have rescued these four (the four nearest the camera)  from various charity shop shelves in the last few weeks to add to my collection. Each one cost exactly £1.

They are sitting on a cute little wooden shelf thing we found on the street last week. I think I will paint it up with a bit of white, or maybe grey. The years have ravaged this old thing and keeping it as plain wood only emphasises it.

I always nab a tea cup when I see it so over the years have gathered a list of ideas for them other than tea drinking, some I have yet to do. Please do add to this list!

Ten Uses for Old Teacups

1– Feed the birds, tuppence a tea cup. How cute do they look in the garden? How much do you reckon those birds are enjoying getting their food out of a vintage tea cup? I have lazily stuck one of our ready made shop balls in one, and even more lazily just hung it on a hook on our back wall. But I suspect you are not half as lazy as me, so you could go all out and whip up your own feed to stick in there OR, as the excellent and thrifty Mrs Syder has done, get a giant tea cup and drill it on to a stick.

2– Plant bulbs in them. These look amazing—as you can see here. It is just a case of drilling a hole in  the bottom with a 10cm diamond coated drill bit and planting then nurturing your bulb.  *Looks around at all the dead plants in my wake* *Smile to myself knowing that readers of my blog can not know this*

If you are not hugely green fingered  – yes, it’s true- there ARE some people who kill plants, you might want to read this for more on that nurturing bit.

3– Serve desert in them. Have you ever baked a microwave mug cake? I can testify, we did it in a lunch break a couple of years ago, despite only taking 3 minutes they are delicious! Halving the recipe and doing it in tea cups would be Next Level and look totes marvellous. Mind you don’t use tea cups with gilt though, sparks will fly.

4– They make beautiful fairy lights. I have tried this as you can see below. I felt they didst look stunning. The light shone right through them in the most gorgeous way. String them up, knotting around the handles, securing in place with tape. Make sure they are at the right angle so that the flame reaches past the rim.

I do suggest you do this with caution.  They get really hot. Stringing up teacups of fire around a party is a bit risky.  I may not be the best model. I used to make candles with keys, leaves, flowers, random crap etc, melted  in them. Lovely looking they were. I made one for Tim as a gift while we were long distance fiancés and he lit it at dinner with his folks and all the family and right then and there it self combusted and  caught fire to the table.

5– So, perhaps the SAFER alternative, and this still looks beautiful, is to either melt wax and add a wick to make a permanent (but not swinging from the walls fairy lights styles) candle. If you are less keen for the permanence (personally that is me—this week I chipped out a candle from a beautiful vintage mug that someone had gifted me so I could use it for drinking) then just fill your teacups up with water and use floating candles. (Remember floating candles? So nineties! But, c’mon, they look The Biz.)

6– Use them for sorting. They have revolutionised my dressing table where they are now home to my bobby pins and jewelry. Ideal for tiny little craft extras like buttons. If I’d known organising could be so pretty I’d have done it yonks ago.

7- Keep your body scrub in it. A little while ago I posted the How To for my favourite body scrub with three kitchen ingredients. I now have said body scrub in a little tea cup in our bathroom. Sweetness alright. Hmmm, actually, this would make an EXCELLENT gift…

8- Speaking of gifts… Give as a gift!  Yaawwn! No really, stay with me.  It is what you put in it, and how you present it, that makes these extra special. Fill with sweets, or with little sewing bits and bobs, or make some cookie dough and put it in there. Put the saucer on top and tie a bow.

9-  Use them as vases, particularly for blossoms and berries, or full heads of roses. They look utterly delightful on the dining table and you don’t have to do the normal peer-over-huge-vase- meerkat-neck to talk to someone.

10- Hold a tea party in a surreal place. When I was a youthworker we took a whole bunch of young ‘uns dressed in their glad rags to Macdonalds but set up the tables with candles and fine dining wares.   It added a huge element of fun to a pretty basic burger and fries.  Always take your tea cups on your picnics in the park this summer, they will add the magic!

Soooo. Set fire to anything lately? Got a favourite tea cup use? All this talk of vintage tea cups making you feel nostalgic or just ill with twee-ity?

Linking up with Liz and the Magpie Mondays! (Have you seen her new badge on my side bar over there? Swanky innit.)