What to do With an Old Bucket

I was lucky enough to have an office above a pop up shop that specialised in all things beautiful. One of those shops that inspires you to have a beautiful house, with beautiful things and sit around drinking perfectly crafted coffees all day (the reality being your sitting in a mildly damp house where nothing matches, whist sipping a lumpy hot chocolate.)

Anyway, I digress…the pop up shop closed shortly after Christmas, and with the closing came a fluffy of dirt cheap offers. They had some beautiful steel buckets for just £1, all vintagey and retro style. I had no idea why I loved them so much, or why I could possibly want a bucket, but I bought one. The next day I was no closer to thinking what I could do with it, so of course I went and bought the remaining 9…

I spent the next few days convincing my other half that they had a perfectly valid reason to be in the house, before I started getting crafty. So here are some ideas on just what you can do with a good old bucket…(with or without a hole!)

Firstly, if your bucket is just an old boring one, jazz it up with some spray paint! There’s some great stone and metallic style ones available.

  1. Plant Pot. The first thing I’ve done (and loved) is used the buckets to plant some of my treasured house plants in. Some of them were needing replanting into bigger containers and they make idea pots. Just make sure you put a few stones in the bottom for drainage and your away. I love the colour of the green against the steel, it looks fresh and raw and so great.12755383_1274300905929668_1101328136_o.jpg
  2. Ornamental Flower display. Where light is poor in my house (my hallway has no windows) I still love to have flowers. I wanted to create a floral display using the bucket. I put some of the foam you get for florists in the bottom, then covered in shreddings. (I save paper shreddings I get from the packaging in the post). I then stuck in some floral and foliage stems and voila. It looks spectacular and I love it.12767385_1274300335929725_1263619013_n
  3. The next thing I did was to stick a load of toilet rolls in it! Instead of just stacking my loo rolls in the bathroom, by putting them all in the bucket it looked amazing!
  4. My final project was to make a pouffe! This is my favorite so far, and all I did was…Stuff in a pillow, cover in fabric then attach some wooden legs!12755186_1274302952596130_1339808644_o

So there we have it;one bucket, many uses!! Here’s hoping you all have a lovely Monday, I’m off to my new job, wish me luck!

xx

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I Love You Pizza Recipe (It’s not a pizza at all.._

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I can’t remember how or why this name ever came about, probably when I was trying to make my budgeting sound much more tempting to my long suffering boyfriend back in our student days. Its not a pizza at all, but more of a frittata/omlette, but a very tasty one, which makes for a satisfying and filling meal.

Again its one of those recipes that stands lots of fiddling and tweaking, so changing it up like you please!

Serves 2. Costs around £3 depending on filling and takes about 15-20 min

You’ll need:

1 large potato

4 eggs

1.5 mugs of milk,

200g of low fat cream cheese, garlic and herb flavour (for cooking I always use own brand, you can never tell.)

1 red pepper

2 spring onions

Optional filling of bacon, chorizo, tuna, mushrooms!

A handful of grated cheese

Some chopped chives

In a bowl, whisk your eggs and milk, adding some seasoning and the chives. Beat in half of the cream cheese.  In a pan, add a splash of oil and a layer of thinly sliced potatoes.

Pour over the egg mix, before adding the chopped onions, peppers and other filling. Cook on the hob for around 8 min on a medium heat. Add several knobs of cream cheese to the top (don’t mush it up,leave it in lumps) along with a sprinkling of cheese, before transferring under a grill.

Grill for another 5-8 min or until well golden.

Serve with salad and fresh bred and I can guarantee you’ll love it.

Cheap, quick and lots of vegi/non-vegi options

 

xx

 

 

Super Soup-Chicken Noodle Yum

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Here in the UK, the dreary winter is still dragging its heels, and the chilly nights and wet days are lagging on. Its difficult not to indulge in the comfort eating on the scale of pies and chocolate and stew daily which I regularly dream of, but I have found a ray of relatively healthy light in all the sin. This recipe has become my go to on those days when it all becomes too much, when I need a pick me up, when I need a cuddle on the inside.

Its a very flexible and mouldable recipe, so please change it to how you fancy!

It takes about 40 min from start to finish, and cost about £4 to make 6 portions-Pretty Good!

You’ll need:

4 Spring onions chopped finely (don’t forget my tip about planting the roots so they regrow!)

A thumb sized piece of ginger. Recipe books will tell you to chop it, but I hate it when you end up chewing on a chunk, so I grate it finely as if it was fruit peel.

2 chicken breasts

1 tin of sweetcorn

2 cloves of garlic

400g of rice noodles

Splash of Soy Sauce

Splash of oil

Litre and a half of chicken stock

 

So start by chopping up the onions and adding them to a large pan of oil. Add the chicken breasts and sear for a few minutes.

Add the garlic and ginger, followed by the stock.

Simmer for 30 min.

Take the chicken from the pan, and with a fork, shred it into pieces. Re-add to the pan, along with sweetcorn, noodles and a splash of soy sauce. Cook through for another 5 minutes then serve!

A beautiful, beautiful recipe well under £1 a portion

xx

 

Recycling an Old Draw-DIY Blanket Box Project

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Following on from the tale of my transformation of my dresser from yesterday, you might remember I mentioned that I put aside the big old chunky draw from the bottom.

Well today I’m going to show you how I made a super cute blanket box from it (which has since become a cat nap box instead!)

I must apologise firstly for the lack of photos in this one, I’ve only got the finished project ones so I’m going to have to try being super clear with my directions!

Ok so I started with the feet. I had been looking at buying some but didn’t really want to buy them brand new. I wanted some short and stumpy legs (just like mine!) rather than tall table ones and they were surprisingly difficult to find as well as pretty expensive. I’d been saving empty ribbon reels for a while in the vain hope I’d find a good use for them, along with some small flower pots I had lying around. I realised that by creating a little tower of upside down plant pot, topped with a couple of reels I had the perfect stumpy leg! I glued four of these together with industrial glue and then spray painted them a cream colour. A little unorthodox but the result was 4 really awesome legs made from junk!

I put these aside and got working on the padded lid. I had some old ply lying around so cut it to the size of the the box to make a lid. I then went to the store to get some fabric. I chose some lovely spotty green material which looks perfect. I wanted the lid to be quite plush so I needed lots of padding. I was just planning on buying some wadding but then I had an idea…. I had some old pillows at home going spare that were waiting for a project!

So I ditched the padding and bought some biscuits instead…

Once home I aligned two pillows side by side down the length of my ply. Then covered with the fabric I bought earlier. I wanted to tuft the fabric (create buttoned pockets in the fabric) before I attached it all together.

As I’ve mentioned my needle skills are poor so I approached this with intrepidation but actually found it bearable in the end. I sewed through the fabric, into the pillows underneath and then back up through the fabric, repeated around 10 times for each puck and pulled tight before securing with a knot. I then added a button to the centre of the dent. I created all my tufts then after tucking the fabric round the ply and attaching it underneath, I stapled it all the way along the the ply on the underside of the lid.

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This gave me my finished lid. Ok so here’s the confession..one of my dents isn’t really a dent and looks a bit silly. I think the stitching hasn’t held or something…It looks authentic..

Next up I prepared the draw. I sanded the whole thing before giving it a coat of prime and leaving to dry. (I used the same primer as I did for the dresser) I then gave two coats of paint (same paint as dresser). Once dry, I attached two hinges to the lip of the back of the draw and screwed on my lid from earlier.

I then applied industrial strength glue to the tops of the legs and attached them to all four corners. Finally I finished the front of the draw with a little lace and bow and there we have it.

I learnt a lot from this project, namely about my sewing ability! However just how thrifty you can be. It would have been so easy to spend £40 on legs and padding but actually I had a solution right here at home waiting to be used! Sometimes its just about looking outside of the box…literally!

Have a lovely Sunday everyone, I start a brand new career tomorrow, so will be spending the rest of the day feeling the nerves 😦

xx

Thifty Recipes- My Take on Beef Wellington

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So it’s not just crafting which I love and try to apply my thrifting too, oh no, cooking too! I thought I’d share with you one of my recipes for a very cheaty,cheapo version of Beef Wellington. The clue here is my use of the phrase “version” which I’m reliably informed gives me the artistic licence to make anything vaguely log like and sell it off as a Wellington.  So if you’ve come here looking for a tradition recipe for a firm favorite, you’d better shoot off now before I insult you!

If not, then read on and prepare for an eye opening.

To feed two hungry mouths you’ll need…

400g of braising steak

2 tsp of mustard

1 roll of made puff pastry  (or make your own!)

4 pieces of smoked bacon

2 leeks

2 spring onions (once you’ve chopped the ends off with the roots, these can been planted in composted and will grow into new plants!)

Seasoning

Milk

Optional Red Wine or Port

Oil

 

This recipe takes about 45 min and cost £6.45, making it an expensive meal but still a much thriftier version of BW.

Start of by chopping your leek and braising steak. Coat the steak in some seasoned flour before searing in a hot and oiled pan. After a few minutes add the leek. Stir in the mustard and optional glug of wine/port.

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While this is cooking on a low heat, unroll the pastry and cut into two. Lay two pieces of bacon side by side onto each piece of pastry. After ten minutes remove the steak and put onto the pastry squares. Fold up the sides and crimp. Paint in milk and then pop in the oven for 30 minutes around 180 degrees.

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And there we have it! (My crimping is terrible, I’m sure yours is far better!)

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xx

Vanity Dresser Upcycle Project (How to Distress Paint with Only a Hairdryer)

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A few months ago when we moved into our new home, I picked up a beast of a dresser from a second hand site. It was beautiful and had some age to it but the wood was dark and heavy and it just looked dreary. It had a stunning scalloped mirror that was fixed to the back, and to be honest, at that time it was easily is best feature.

When I came home from work one evening to find the mirror had broken free of its supports, splintering them as they fell and taking some impressive chunks out of my wooden bay window sills, I wasn’t impressed. The only redeeming feature was gone and as a hopeless DIYer I knew it was beyond repair.

Project Upcycle commenced! I had quite a few baskets about the house and the bottom drawer was so impressive that I had other plans for it (to be continued in another blog) so I decided to remove it all together and create a shelf in the alcove remaining by fitting a sheet of Ply into the void.

I then sanded the whole thing down. Unfortunately I don’t own a sander so I did the painstakingly boring task of it all by hand….after this I gave it a good clean with some vinegar soaked rags. The old wood smelt bad and there was years of dirt built up.

After the sanding I gave it a prime. I used an ordinary own brand for interior wood but chose it in grey.

Next came the painting. Again, I’m on a budget and while Annie Sloan etc are all lovely I find cheaper brands often pretty much just as good for a fraction of the price. I used a lovely gloss finish duckshell blue and covered the whole thing.

After leaving to dry overnight (made the mistake of painting in situ in my bedroom then sleeping through the fumes!) I applied a white gloss to specific edges. As it dries, a trick of mine is to blow a hot hair dryer over it. This will make the top layer crack to reveal the colour below-distressed look with none of that fuss! Once you’ve achieved the cracking you want just leave to dry.

To finish the look I put some baskets in the shelf and there we have it! I plan to replace all the handles at some point and would love to reattach the mirror too!

Excuse the rubbish before photo, its the only one I had!

xx

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Pottery Marbling Masterclass

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I’ve become utterly obsessed with marbling, since I discovered it a few weeks back, and as those of you who follow my Instagram (link at the bottom of my page) will know, everything and anything in my house has fallen prey to this prettiest of transformations.

What I love most about it is how cheap, quick and beautiful the results are-it truly is the mother of all cheats! So grab your bottles, plates and mugs and let me show you this nifty little trick!

We are going to need:

*Nail Polish (yes really!!)

*Either old white pottery/glass or clear glass and some spray paint in white

*Large bowl/bucket of water

*Clear enamel

 

First of all start by preparing your pots, plates etc. They need to be clean and dry. A background colour of white works best, but you can try others. If you have a lovely clear glass bottle or pink plate you want to use, no fear, just grab some spray paint and give it a good going over. Make sure its all dry.

Next up fill your bucket or bowl with cold water. Now there is a good chance this bucket may get stained so best used something you don’t mind getting splashed!

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The next step requires speedy action…Get your nail polish (either just one colour, or a mix) and drop some splashes into the water. I find it easier to pour straight from the bottle rather than trying to drip it off the brush. Dunk your pot straight into the water and watch as the nail varnish magically zooms in to cling onto the pottery. You can gently encourage this to happen my turning the pot around in the water.

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Take the pot out and leave to dry. If you’ve missed bits, of there are areas where the colour has come out a little too strong, don’t worry. As long as you are quick, the nail polish can be smudged with the tip of your finger into a blanker area.

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Once all dry (around an hour) give the pot a cover of enamel. This will just add some durability to the polish. I wouldn’t recommended washing the pot, but with enamel you can certainly wipe it.

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And there we have it! One of the most simple, satisfying and effective things you can do.

Experiment with applying different colours to different areas, mixing multiple colours in the water etc-its so much fun.

Don’t wash any remaining polish down the drain, its bad for the fishies, instead you can just scoop it off with wet towel.

Have fun! xx