Friday, 19 September 2014

Custom Framing with

So when I shared the dressing room reveal, I told you I would be talking a little more about the beautiful bamboo frames for my Leigh Viner prints that I got so long ago.

You may remember that they were originally framed in some inexpensive John Lewis' numbers that I'd spray painted gold. I always felt the original frames really didn't do these stunning illustrations justice and they really warranted something a little more... I dunno. Special perhaps.

So when got in touch with me a couple of months ago to see if I would be open to reviewing their frames here on Swoon Worthy, I naturally agreed. In fact, they provided 3 frames to me but let's talk about these two first.

Now, let me start by saying the frames come in looking like this.

Which, being rather ignorant, I panicked thinking, 'Oh my god I didn't order blue mats!!', Kimberly, they are not blue, you div. They are covered with a transparent blue film.

Panic over.

Once the prints were all framed up, they looked rather lovely. We went from this...

To this...

So much better, no? I love the gold bamboo frame which works really well with the Chinoiserie-style wallpaper in here and I am absolutely in love with the option for a metallic gold bottom mat. I haven't seen this before on other framing sites and for me, it's a big reason I'd order again. It really lifts the look of the print so beautifully.

Now, ordering is very straight forward and your options truly are endless. You simply choose the 'custom frames' option and then you can either browse the options available or choose 'design your own' and 'frame and mount' which is what I did.

You can start by uploading a picture of your print. This is brilliant for allowing you to easily see whether the frame and mount you choose will work well with your artwork. You then enter the size of the aperture based upon how much of the print you want to see (so if you want to show the whole print, just take 10 mm off the finished height and width so you have a 5mm overlap on each side). You can then choose the thickness and style of the mount you want (either single mount or double mount) and the colours of each. There are literally a myriad of options available for frames at different price points and choosing each option will reflect the change in price at the top of your page. For this look, I chose the 'Ice White' top core mount with a 'Metallic Gold' bottom core mount.

Shipping was quick and painless and the finished quality is very good - the frames feel heavy and well made. They come with hanging hardware as well but there are all manner of extras available as well as different glazing options on the site so have a look around to see what suits your print best.

Here is the one in the dining room... I purchased this print recently from Sarah & Bendrix and the frame was the perfect finish for the gold foil lettering.

While I still have plenty of inexpensive frames in my home, I'm starting to see how ordering a custom frame for a print really does elevate the look and feel of your artwork.

I've already got my eye on a few more prints (you can never have enough art, can you?) and am happy to recommend to you if you have a special print that really deserves a beautifully crafted frame.

Don't miss a thing!

I received my frames free for my review of but all images, opinions and words are as always, my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Swoon Worthy.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Dressing Room Mini-Makeover: DIY Vanity and Pleated Skirt

I hope you enjoyed my reveal of my newly improved dressing room! As I said in that post, one of my favourite additions to the room is the larger and prettier vanity. My previous skirted vanity was very small (only the width of the shelving units) and wasn't practical any more - I needed something I could spread out on whilst doing my face in the morning!

If you'd like to make one yourself, here's how we created mine. (Or you can pin the image below for future reference!)

I started off with this incredibly detailed drawing that would make most engineers blissful in it's accuracy. It's like AutoCad - you can practically reach out and TOUCH it, can't you?!

I know, I know. The pretty paper is just a bonus. Ahem.

Anyway, we started off with the same leftover doors that I used for the top of the chest of drawers, cut to the correct width. We then drew two quarter circles on each side using my large round photography reflector as a guide (any really large circular object will work fine), making sure they met at what would be the top of the vanity to create the curved shape.

Wayne then took his router and cut it to shape...

...and then used a belt sander to smooth out any uneven edges.

It was the turn of my newly most favourite stuff in the world. The marble patterned sticky back plastic. We essentially used the same method as the top for the chest of drawers with one change.

That rounded edge is a little more challenging to get a nice tight fit so we used a hair dryer to warm up the plastic making it more pliable. This allows it to be stretched around a curved edge and gives a much smoother finish. (This was my idea and I'm rather proud of that because it's usually Wayne who comes up with the genius ideas so I thought I'd blow my own horn..errr hair dryer with that one.)

The top was then just affixed to the original brackets (like these ones) that held the old vanity top. You can see the reason why that skirt is necessary - it hides all manner of cords and appliances. Oh and for the fire-safety conscious, no, that extension lead is no longer hung on the radiator, it was off at the time. 

The next step was the full pleated skirt. I purchased 2.5 meters of a lovely shimmery golden-brown fabric that looked a bit like pulled silk for £8/metre from Terry's Fabrics which is about 2 minutes from my home (convenient). It looks like a plain brown fabric in the photographs but you can really see how it shimmers in this picture taken right in front of a window where it really catches the light.

I ironed the fabric and then measured the distance between the bottom of the vanity and the floor for my height and then added on 4cm (1cm to fold under the cut edge, then another fold of 2cm for the bottom hem and 1cm allowed at the top where it would be stapled to the underside of the vanity table) to get the finished height. This left with me a 2.5 metre long piece of fabric just slightly taller than the height of my vanity.

Once cut for the height, I folded it in half length-wise and cut it to get two panels of equal length (so 1.25 metres long for each panel). I simply hemmed each panel on the 3 cut sides (I left the top unhemmed as this is where it would be stapled). The reason there are two panels is so that you have an opening in the middle to access whatever you are hiding underneath the skirt. I've overlapped them in the middle so that the gap isn't visible unless you open it (seen below, apologies for the dodgy grainy photo).

I then climbed underneath the table and staped like so... this looks horribly confusing but I'm going to explain it.

On each panel, you want to staple one end to where your skirt begins and one end to where the skirt ends (being sure to overlap the ends of the two panels in the middle). You then want to find the middle of each panel and staple that directly between your two end staples.

Each panel is much longer than the width of your table so in order to get that full pleated look, you need to continue doing this - I call it dividing and conquering.

You find the middle of the fabric between the staples and staple it directly between the two staples either side. The loose fabric will very quickly start to pucker and you just continue stapling, halving your excess fabric and stapling into the centre of your previous staples until the gaps between where you've stapled the fabric become so small you can't see them any more.

You don't need to be perfect with this - I very much eye-balled it and it came out fine. Witness my rather haphazard stapling style underneath...(in my defence, it was dark under there - this photo is with flash).

It sounds complicated but it couldn't be easier. I had a full skirt in less than an hour.

The length of the skirted part is around 1.2 metres and so I used 2.5 metres of fabric to get this fullness (so around double the length). If you want an even fuller skirt, you can go up to 3 times as long as the length you are 'skirting' (yep, totally a word in this context). If you want something less full, then obviously go to 1.5 times the length and so on.

I really love my new little vanity but really this is something you can fit in the corner in a bedroom too if you had a little bit of space - the footprint is quite small but you get quite a lot of space on top and room underneath for storage. And it was actually quite inexpensive (It cost just £34 in all and that gave me enough fabric for the pelmet too). I'm considering adding some hooks underneath for all the paraphernalia that hides below!

Is this a DIY you might try?

Don't miss a thing!

Oh and don't forget, there's still time to vote for my little splodge on the interwebs in Amara's Interior Blog Awards 2014 in the DIY category! Thank you to everyone who's already voted, it truly does mean so much to me!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Dressing Room Mini-Makeover: The Reveal!

This is pretty exciting for me. I decided in August that I was going to be giving my dressing room a little bit of a makeover before we started on the work to the guest bedroom/office. The reason for this is because I knew I would need the now (mostly) empty guest bedroom to do some of the DIY work I had planned and I didn't want the chaos of doing two projects at once - I also knew that with a bit of a push, it could be done relatively quickly.

And quickly done it was. The whole room was finished within 5 weeks. Now, for me, this is HUGE. I mean, we work pretty slowly on projects (let's remind ourselves of the bathroom remodel, shall we?) but with the summer winding down and the cooler Autumn weather setting in, we still had the longer days to work without the heat or draw of outdoors that summer brings with it.

As you can see, Meisha has already made herself very much at home in the space.

One of my aims was to really tone down all the turquoise and pink that was originally in the space and give it a more grown-up palette of predominately mint, golds and browns... I know, ME using brown, it's practically unheard of! But I truly think it works really well in here.

Now, you've already seen the new lighting, the painting of the chest of drawers and it's new 'faux marble' top and the makeover my Billy Bookcases. Well, I'm excited to share the rest of the room now but I'll be going into more detail in future posts so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, I've linked as many sources as I could so you can see where I got some of the new items.

But for now, here's my newly grown-up eclectic, a bit boho and definitely glam dressing room...and I have to say, I freaking love it.

Welcome to Dressing Room 2.0...

My absolute favourite part of this makeover is the new vanity. From the beginning I wanted something with a fuller skirt but my first attempt didn't use nearly enough material. I'm going to share how I made it really soon but for now, shall we just bask in it's prettiness?

I also finally purchased a proper pretty vanity mirror(I used to hide my old chrome one under the skirt of the vanity so trust me when I tell you it was pretty ugly.)

And of course, I couldn't resist adding a Maidenhair fern in the space (thanks to a surprise gift card from my friends at Homebase) and I dressed up the pot with a little bit of washi tape. The new white wood clock is another addition, entirely necessary but subtle (the display turns off when I'm not in the room).

Of course, my other favourite change was seeing the Billy Bookcases completely transformed. It's made such a difference to the room. Swapping out the inexpensive roman blind with white wood blinds and a DIY pelmet covered in the same fabric as the skirt really finishes things off.

The addition of the leopard print wallpaper to the backs really gives the shelves a bit of depth. The funny thing is I always felt that my darker shoes and accessories looked a bit strange against the original pale turquoise backs. Now those darker items seem to fit in just fine.

I added a couple of baskets as well to one of the shelves to house my flipflops, flat sandles and fuzzy slippers! And I purchased a clear acrylic bracelet display to keep them all in one place.

Of course, you've seen the new light fixture but here she is in all her gilded glory... And no, we still haven't centred her properly because I keep forgetting. So embarrassing. Never mind.

You'll also notice there's a new rug in the room. I really wanted that boho look in here that I love. I know not everyone would choose a cow skin (and I'm not looking for a debate here) but I have a white one in my living room and I love it. If you want a hard-wearing rug, these things are practically indestructible. It's part of the reason why I wanted another - because a quick vacuum and it looks like new.

I also finally treated myself to a really nice full length mirror. I've been wanting a new one in here since Day 1 and this one has a beautiful antique look without being too OTT.

I'd considered a leaning mirror but as you can see, the space is TIGHT in this room and so it made more sense to choose one I could hang.

I had an extra hook left over from the bathroom remodel so I decided to hang it along side the mirror. I have a scarf on there right now but I use it to hang the clothes I'll be wearing the following day. Just keeps me more organised and anything to assist me in getting out the door on time is a winner in my book.

Obviously, you've already seen the chest of drawers makeover...

The one change I have made here is that pretty much all my jewellery is now in one area of the room. I used to have it spread out around all the shelving and the chest of drawers but now it's all contained to the top of the dresser and the one shelf. It's just so much more practical - I don't know why I didn't do it before!

The side of the room where the clothes rail is didn't get so much a makeover as a clearing out. I donated 2 very large bags of clothing, handbags and shoes I just didn't wear any more. Even though I have more room in here than I would with just a small wardrobe, I think a clear out is always good for the soul and entirely necessary at least once a year.

Finally, I used a very very cheap wide angle lens to capture a bit more than what I can with my normal lens. It's not a great shot mind you but it gives  you a better idea of the new look.

As you can see, it's got Meisha's full approval. Since I've made the room over, she hangs out in here more and more. And as she matches the space, I'm allowing it. For now. ;) I reckon she thinks I did all this for her. Typical diva cat.

I'll be sharing a little more about this room including the DIY vanity skirt and pelmet, and those stunning new bamboo-style frames I got for my Leigh Viner prints that you can see now on the top of each shelving unit so stay tuned for more.

In the meantime, what do you think of the new look?

Don't miss a thing!

(If you need a reminder of what the room used to look like, you can see Dressing Room 1.0 here, here and here.)

Oh and don't forget, there's still time to vote for my little splodge on the interwebs in Amara's Interior Blog Awards 2014! Thank you to everyone who's already voted, it truly does mean so much to me!

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