20th October 2014
While in Japan recently I was really inspired by the concept of the beauty alcoves that I saw everywhere we went, styled corners consisting of drawers or shelves where people displayed their favourite collections and items. I think traditional Japanese houses have always had them for displaying art (called Tokonoma) but what I saw was mostly a little more modern and spontaneous than those. The Airbnb we stayed in had one. The doctor’s surgery we visited had one (his was a collection of porcelain owls… random but very cute). And the Ryokan we visited had one in the corner. I loved that it shows a pride in your space and a touch of sentimentality, as well as an admirable ability to keep that area tidy! After I finished (somewhat) with all the DIY projects at the studio (including this ladder wardrobe), I started thinking about how I could update our apartment, and integrate the concept of the beauty alcove – specifically as a place to put all the things I collected on my travels. I decided to create a set of ladder shelves for this purpose, they cost about $10 to make and packed such a punch in our small (v v small) space!
What’s on my shelves
Top: fish salt shaker from Peru
Second: Green vases from Shanghai, little clay house from Yangshou, porcelain cat pig from Hanoi, porcelain clogs from Munich, heart shaped porcelain jewellery box from Hong Kong
Third: Tea pot from Bali, Lumira travel candle, pink elephant from Thailand, stone and porcelain elephants from Sri Lanka
Fourth: DIY terrarium, Mochilla bag from Crystal Cove Collective, a few Lonely planets
Fifth: pink raffia box from Sardinia, Ottolenghi cook books, Glass jars from Sri Lanka
- a ladder
- pine planks cut to incremental sizes, I went for two at 1.2m (48 inches), then 1m (40 inches), 80cm (30 inches) and 60cm (23 inches) for the top.
- L brackets (2 x the number of planks you have)
- A drill
1. Stand your ladder up where you want it to sit in your house. It’s easier to be sure of the location before you build it.
2. Slide all the pine planks onto the cross beams of the ladder, making sure to stagger the size as you go up.
3. Press the L brackets up against the ladder cross beam and the plank.
4. Use your drill to secure the L brackets.
Fill your shelves up with your favourite pieces. My boyfriend’s mum was visiting while I was doing this and helped me style the shelves a bot, I learnt so much about placement of items in terms of colour, depth and symmetry. They looked wayyy better than when I randomly threw things onto them.
Dreaming of all the other things I can make out of these ladders… thoughts?
8th October 2014
Home and interior DIY projects are a great place to start in the world of craft if you’re not feeling up to the challenge of crafting your own dress. And something that differs between home and fashion DIYs is that unlike an upstyled skirt, your new ladder wardrobe or hanging shelves are out in the open for you (or your frenemy) to admire as you walk to and from the fridge. One of the things about home projects is that they can feel daunting if you have to pick up a drill (although trust me, it’s not as hard as it looks!), so something super easy that takes only a few minutes like this coat rack is the perfect place to whet your appetite for home improvement. Read on to see how – although this is so easy that I’m guessing you already know how to make it
- 4 or 5 dowels – these are pretty much broom stick handles and can be bought at your local hardware store.
- A length of leather cord
1. Start by holding your dowels all together and arranging them into a teepee shape crossing them over about a foot down from the top so you have somewhere to hand your hat and bag.
2. Once you’ve got your shape organised (and yes it’s a bit awkward and you’ll probably drop them a few times but whatever), start wrapping with your leather cord.
3. Wrap around and around until making sure to do it tightly until you’ve secured them all together. You want to make sure they all stayed crossed over as you do this.
4. Once you’ve finished wrapping, tie off the cord and snip and extra you don’t need. Hide the ends of the cord inside the wrapping. You’ll notice the cord has a small amount of give in it allowing you to adjust the angles of the dowels if you need to. And that’s it, all done! I said it was easy didn’t I?
1st October 2014
Is it just me or is there just something about photos with a marble background? Call me romantic (or ridiculous) but for some reason marble evokes a sense of elegance, of misty castles and vaulted ceilings, and is able to elevate an average afternoon coffee to a somehow whimsical experience, even if it’s just me, myself and I in a roadside cafe. It’s for that reason that I think marble makes such a perfect background for photos, but who has the dollar bills or bicep strength to use actual marble? Even if you’ve being doing your pump classes and carrying marble isn’t an issue for you, you’ll find that it’s actually quite a very brittle stone and is likely to crack when not treated really carefully. Enter a well kept secret of the instagrammer/blogger out there – the faux marble background created using marble paper. So simple to create and such a neat trick!
To be honest I wavered as to whether to share this or not, it’s really such a good trick and I use it all the time – and I’d hate to think you know it’s just a piece of paper and not real marble, but thought you might appreciate this little behind the scenes!
- A piece of plywood (ours was 50cm x 50cm (20 inches x 20 inches)
- Marble paper with adhesive backing (this one has a slightly different pattern but would work well)
1. Measure out the paper on your piece of plywood.
2. Trim to size, making sure to leave at least 2.5cm (1 inch) along the edge.
3. Starting on one side, press the contact paper onto the plywood, working your way carefully and removing the backing as you go so that you don’t have any bubbles. Use a tea towel to press the contact paper down well. A neat trick if you find a bubble along the way, use a small pin to prick the surface and squeeze the air out and then smooth down the bubble.
4. Turn the plywood over and fold the edge over.
5. To finish the corners, trim the folded edge to the corner as shown below.
6. Fold the other edge down into a triangle.
7. Fold that edge up and over the create a clean fold.
Voila! I said it was easy didn’t I?
Although when you KNOW the background is faux it might be a little more obvious, I’ve used it a lot and not once has anyone asked if it was faux. If you feel it might need a boost, increase the brightness of your photo and then also the contrast (I use Afterlight app on iPhone to do this) and you’ll find the marble looks more genuine. And if you make sure to put focus on the items in your photo (whether it be a coffee, a macaron or a necklace) rather than a marble itself, I promise people won’t notice.