Friday, 19 September 2014

#184. Going green and upcycling, part 1

Image from Pinterest. Link

The environment is very important to me and even though I don't work or study biology anymore, I still love nature and learning more about it. I appreciate the natural world, understand how delicate the balance is and how easily things can be turned on their head. Humans have a big impact on the environment, so we have a big responsibility to ensure that anything we do is sustainable, to preserve things as they are and keep them for future generations. I am very big on recycling, buy tuna caught with pole and line and always make sure lights are turned off to try not and waste electricity. They are only little things, but every little really does help.

The Scottish Government's Greener Together campaign is all about the small changes that everyone can make to their lives, that will make Scotland a cleaner, greener place for us all and the future. They have introduced 52 ways to go greener, with ideas ranging from starting a compost heap, to only buying the food you need and walking or cycling to work, rather than using the car. Have a look at their website and blog - there are a tonne of ideas and lots of them are small and will be easy to fit into your day.

Image from Pinterest. Link

One of the goals is all about giving old furniture a makeover, or upcycling. I thought this goal was really interesting, as I have often wanted to start a little home project where I can pimp something up. As we have only moved into our new flat a few months ago, we are still slowly adding furniture and most of it is brand new IKEA, with little need for a makeover. So, I thought I would buy something we need in the flat instead and do it up, make it unique and pretty and have fun doing it too. 

Image from Pinterest. Link

With that in mind, Robin and I went to a big warehouse called Drum Farm outside of Edinburgh at Shieldhall, this past weekend, to find some lovely piece of furniture. There was so much to choose from and we came away with a lovely nest of tables. Stay tuned for my next post when I'll be showing off what I've been working on.

Image from Pinterest. Link

In the meantime, as giving old furniture a makeover is the Greener Together goal for this week, I thought I would share some tips and inspirations I've been gathering and researching. There is so much you can do to reinvent old furniture, it's all very exciting and gives older pieces a new lease of live. Just have a look at some of the amazing projects clever folk have been working on, in the photos on this post!

Image link

So many good ideas! I want to try them all!
  • A simple lick of paint can completely transform a piece of furniture and make it a lot more modern or vintage inspired. You can even paint it, to look like something suitcases!
  • Change the handles on a dresser, or set of drawers. You can buy unusual handles from Anthropologie or Oliver Bonas for quite cheap.
  • Add legs to little bookcases or little cabinets that started off having wheels.
  • Stencils can add detail to plain furniture. It can be anything from flowers, to animals to patterns.
  • Fancy wallpaper or giftwrap can be used to cover shelves or decorate the inside or outside of drawers and give a pop of colour.
  • Use lace to add delicate, intricate patterns to furniture.
  • Decoupage sheet music, pages of old books or vintage magazines onto furniture. Or even maps, postcards or photographs - make it personal.
  • Reupholster a chair cushion to a fabric you like better. Remade in Edinburgh teaches sewing and material skills using sewing machines, as does Materialise, so why not pop down and have a go at something new and creative. 

If like me, you are short on furniture you can experiment with, stop by Drum Farm, Four Square or the many charity shops around Edinburgh - there are big furniture shops on Dalry Road (The British Heart Foundation) and Leith Walk (Barnardos) - and see what you can find.

There are so many things you can do to reinvigorate old pieces of furniture, it really is amazing. There are so many inspiring posts on Pinterest and craft websites, giving ideas and how to's. I have been gathering so many interesting concepts for doing up my table and I am really excited now to get started. Why buy new when you can be crafty and redo what you already have (or in my case, buy something specifically to do up!).

Have you ever given a piece of furniture a makeover or has my post inspired you? Stay tuned for the post on my own table upcycle soon!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

#183. The Little Things

Earlier on in the year, you might remember, I was documenting the things that made me happy everyday. It could be something big like a birthday, or working on a theatre show to small things like drinks with friends, a beautiful sunset or a surprise letter in the post. To be honest most of the time it was little things I was taking photos of and recording and you know what, I really enjoyed it. It's ok not to have big and exciting things happen in your life all the time, it's not boring but completely and utterly normal. Come on, even Beyonce will have perfectly normal days most of the time and the grass isn't always greener. 

I began to appreciate these small things and not sit patiently and wait for the excitement of the bigger things and even if I was having a bad day, it was good to be able to find even a wee thing that made me smile, to cheer me up, brighten up the most boring of days and make the day seem not that bad at all really. After all, lots of little things pave the way for the bigger and better things and I found by doing it I was more comfortable with things as they were, happy in my own little bubble and not waiting for things to happen. If something made me smile I took a photo. If something made me feel great, I took a photo. Snap, snap, snap. So, I ended up with a full set of pictures over 100 days, almost a third of a years worth, of those great happy things, those little things. Now, even without documenting them, I look forward to and appreciate those little things everyday. I think it has made me a happier person and that can only be a good thing.

I was excited when I seen the new campaign from Freixenet, urging fans to celebrate those little things in life. I had a lot of fun documenting them first time around, so I thought this would be a nice way to start it right back up again. 

With that in mind, here are some little things that have been making me happy over the past two weeks.

  • New shoes for the bargain price of £12 from ASOS.
  • Being out on a rib boat on the west coat and spying some dolphins.
  • A long walk along the beach.
  • A funny night of playing games and having wine with friends.
  • Trying something new out of my comfort zone and going to a diving class. Now two weeks in, I am still rubbish but loving it, even with face plants, belly flops and swallowing half the pool.
  • I managed to put my hair into a french plait for the first time and the next day I had beautiful wavy mermaid hair - someone told me it looked like the mermaid from Splash. Love it.

  • Edinburgh was so foggy that the castle completely disappeared!
  • Robin and I went to a friends for dinner and they had a really old toy called Big Loader, which brought back a lot of memories of being wee. My brother had it and I was still as fascinated watching it as I did when I was 5! Yes its a toy for little kids, but it's fun, ok?
  • I ran out of tea bags, so sometimes there's nothing better than a proper cup of tea from a little pot for one.
  • Some new rings from LVNDR which arrived all wrapped up in lavender tissue paper, in lavender chiffon bags, tied with lavender ribbon. I'm a sucker for packing.
  • Being given a balloon after an event and having random banter with strangers because of it.
  • Walking home and being given a free coffee and some cookies.

What little things make you happy?