Tag Archives: Home Furnishing

Picture frame rejuvenation

Recently I bought a picture frame containing three advertising postcards for OXO, Bovril, and Bisto, mainly because my best friend and I have a running gag about Bisto but also because I like retro advertisement art.

The frame was in pretty poor condition. The backing of the frame was cardboard and was rippled and warped, causing the postcards to bow, the sealing tape was coming away, and it was all pretty grubby. But it was also only £10. I figured that worst case scenario was that I would have to re-frame it.


Upon disassembly, I found the photo mount was actually in fairly good condition and unmarked, and likewise the postcards themselves were in pretty good condition too. This was excellent news.


First job was to address the back. I had the backing board from an old clip frame whose glass had broken, so using the existing cardboard back as a template I marked out a new back, choosing to live with the clip holes as otherwise it would have been more sawing and less backing board left over for future use. I then cut it with a fine tenon saw and sanded smooth with a sanding block.


Next was to thoroughly clean the glass with glass cleaner, which brought it up a treat. The glass isn’t perfect, and has some scuffs on it, but is good enough.
I also decided to attach the postcards more firmly to the mount using brown picture tape. Although this wasn’t strictly necessary as the rigid back board should squish them flat, there is no harm in over-engineering.


Next, reassembly. I don’t have a tab gun, so instead I used panel pins. The first one I tried just hammering in, but it immediately became clear that this was putting too much stress on the frame so instead I used a jewellers hand drill to make pilot holes, which then required only minimal hammering on the pins.


Then I finished it off with brown picture tape. I applied two overlapping layers in order to hide the slots from the clip frame back.

I also moved the hanging eyes up from their midpoint position to a little higher up, and replaced the original string with wire. Since I didn’t have any picture hanging wire to hand, I used some green garden wire instead which should be entirely adequate.


And, at last, it was done. It looks so much better than when I started, even if it isn’t immediately clear from the pictures.




Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Project Reorganise: Shelves and chair

I have been on the lookout for some shelves to go above my dressing table, and finally found something suitable on Amazon from a seller on the Marketplace. They do two versions; both the same height and the same number of shelves, but differing widths. On the photographs, at least on cursory inspection, they looked to be the same so I made the assumption that they would be the same apart from width.
These were ordered at a cost of £87.90 (£75 + £12.90 delivery) for the pair, which I thought was a little steep although they had very good reviews on Amazon.

The shelves arrived sometime in the following week. They turned out to be sturdily made, consisting of 2cm thick shelves and end boards, with the back made from 1cm tongue-and-groove planks. Although sturdy, they felt a little hastily thrown together and slightly wonky (Note: as in, not straight. They weren’t wobbly or anything), but that could well be a Shabby Chic thing I guess. They were painted in a uniform cream eggshell colour, as advertised. For some reason that I can’t quite fathom now, I decided that the supplied colour was not suitable and that they should be white, and so ordered some white chalk-based Shabby Chic paint by Rust Oleum.

Ready to paint

Ready to paint

A few weeks later, when the weather was nice and I fancied tackling the painting, I wondered how best to paint the shelves and looked around the garden for inspiration. Sat in a corner, quietly rusting away, were the steps for a rigid-framed above-ground pool that I had once owned (and which gone to the tip many years ago). They’d been squashed flat, but were good enough for what I wanted. With the addition of two opened-out wire coat hangers I was able to hang the shelving units by their mounting holes using the steps as a frame.

It was whilst painting them that I realised they were not the same. On the wider shelf unit, the bottom shelf was flush with the bottom of the back board, whilst on the narrower unit, it was not and there was some back board below the bottom shelf. This was rather annoying and, of course, since I was in the middle of painting them they could now no longer be returned. However I figured that, given I was going for a Shabby Chic style, this probably didn’t really matter. In fairness to the seller, when I went back and looked on the photos on Amazon it was very obvious that they were not the same and also the seller didn’t even claim that they were. It was just a bad assumption on my part. With hindsight, I should have contacted the seller and asked for a price of a matching pair; one wide and one narrow.

Sanding the chair

Sanding the chair

Also that day I sanded down one of the chairs using an orbital sander. Strictly speaking, this isn’t actually necessary when using chalk-based paint as it doesn’t require preparation or undercoat, but I did it anyway. It came up pretty well. I then painted it with the same chalk-based paint as I had plenty left over from the shelves.

Pew! Pew!

Pew! Pew!

The next day, when the shelves were dry, I drilled holes in the wall above the Dressing Table for them, using my laser spirit level (pew pew!) to ensure they were at the same height and also level. When screwed to the wall I considered it a job well done.

Unfortunately, the next day in daylight, I realised I had made a terrible mistake on the colour. Although there is some white in my bedroom (from the wardrobe doors, the skirting board, the door to the en-suite shower, the ceiling, and the door into the room), all my furniture is cream. The white of the shelving units clashed quite horribly with the Dressing Table and the other furniture. And, worse, with hindsight the colour the shelves had originally been supplied in might well have sufficed. *sighs*

So back onto Amazon, and I ordered ‘Clotted Cream’ chalk-based paint by Rust Oleum, and also some Rust Oleum clear furniture finishing wax.

When those arrived, I took the shelving units down and sanded them and also the chair, and repainted with the cream paint. Then the next day, gave them a light sanding with a fine sand paper to smooth out the paint brush marks a little, and then applied the wax to seal them.

Finished items

Finished items

The result is much better, and I’m happy with it. The shelves are now back up on the wall and populated with some of the trinkets and nick-nacks I have bought during my visits to Antiques and Collectors fairs, although there is room for plenty more.

I’ve stayed with the original cover on the seat of the chair for now, but I plan to source some suitable material (possibly from an old pair of curtains) at some time and re-cover the seat.

I also need to find a lamp or wall light too, as that corner is a little dingy and needs some additional lighting.


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Project Reorganise: Initial progress

Just a quick update on how things are shaping up with Project Reorganise.

Earlier in the week I finally moved my memory foam mattress from the spare room and onto my new bed, thus officially moving into my “new” bedroom. I’d also that day taken delivery of a lovely rose garland that I bought on Amazon, which I wrapped around the bedstead.

New bed, in situ

New bed, in situ

Although I am concentrating on my bedroom, I’m also accessorising the downstairs cloakroom. The room already has a vague nautical theme, with a nautical mirror and nautical towel hook, but that’s about it. So I have decided to take it to another level.

I purchased a lighthouse from The Range, and boat-shaped wall shelf from White Lion Antiques.



I bought a similarly themed toilet roll holder from Amazon, and also whilst having a clearout I discovered a pack of 3 ceramic fishes that had been bought years ago by my partner and left, unopened, in a drawer somewhere. I used the fishes to cover up some unsightly holes.

The toilet roll holder was supplied fitted with two small triangular D-rings on the rear for mounting it, but these looked wholly unsuitable and flimsy to me. So, instead, I removed them and drilled & countersunk two holes all the way through the wood so that I could securely screw it to the wall. I’m far happier with this.

Roll call

Roll call

I also bid on a driftwood shelf on eBay, putting in a Best Offer of £45 inc postage when the seller wanted £44.99 plus £5.50 postage, which they accepted. It’s a really lovely bit of unique artwork which I totally adore. My only criticism is that I wish it were a little larger.

I haven’t yet decided on which wall I will mount this yet, nor how I will accessorise it, so for now here are the eBay product pics for it.

Driftwood Shelf - eBay pics

Driftwood Shelf – eBay pics

Finally, I bought a nice little “WC” sign from Amazon, which was ridiculously cheap but took ages to arrive – no doubt coming direct from China. This is how it looked in the advert.

WC sign - product photo

WC sign – product photo

When it arrived, some of the whimsy had fallen off and the shell had broken, but these were easily reaffixed with superglue. I then decided that it would make a lot of sense to spray it with acrylic crystal clear spray lacquer (as I had a can of it), as the acrylic would hold in the shells, gravel, pebble, and other bits of ephemera far better than glue would, because otherwise every time the door was closed then more bits might fall off.

The valve stem of the can appeared to be broken, but pressing the spray nozzle button down kind of worked. Increasingly, though, it started to leak and hiss, so I put it down and leant a little too close to it whilst I wondered what to do with it, and with that the valve seal failed and the entire can discharged upwards into my face and, more scarily, into my eyes. I immediately rushed to the cloakroom and within a matter of seconds was splashing my eyes with water from the tap. When I felt I’d done that sufficiently I grabbed a bottle of water and then leant my head back over the sink and properly irrigated my eyes. It was too late at night to see a doctor, and I didn’t fancy a 5 hour wait in A&E, so I drove to my nearest pharmacy but they were closed. Then to the next nearest, but they were closed. Eventually I ended up at one in a supermarket who were closing in 5 mins, whose pharmacy was closed but whose medicine aisle was open. So I grabbed a bottle of Optrex multi-action eyewash and then flushed my eyes with that in the car park and then several times throughout the evening. Fortunately I suffered no damage to my eyes due, I am sure, to my clear-headed quick thinking on flushing my eyes the moment it happened. But I am going to be way more diligent on eye protection in the future.

WC sign - as fitted

WC sign – as fitted

After that, I grabbed a bottle of automotive spray lacquer that I had left over from a previous project, and used that to finish off the sign with a few more coats. Whilst, of course, wearing goggles. Lesson learned. It was gloss, rather that matte, which meant that I ended up with a gloss finish, but sometimes you just have to use what you have.

This is how the plaque ended up. The quality of the item is pretty low, with really awful glue overspill (which you can just about see if you click the photo to enlarge), but I think that the spray lacquer really helps to hide it. And, for £4 including postage, you can’t really argue with the price.

And, of course, retaining my eyesight was a total bonus too.


Posted by on 22nd March 2015 in Arts and Crafts, Diary, Home furnishing, Photos

1 Comment

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Project Reorganise

It’s been well over a month (6 weeks, in fact) since I last posted, and a few people have asked me what I have been up to and said that I should post it on a blog post. I confess that I have been wary of turning this blog into a “Dear Diary” one which is why I have held off a little.

So, what have I been up to since my last post?

For quite a while now, I’ve been rather ‘treading water’ in my house. I’ve bought the odd picture here and there, the odd houseplant here and there, have moved various items of furniture around, but haven’t made any really major changes since my divorce.

Over the past few years, as I have embraced all facets of myself, I’ve come to realise how much I love Art Nouveau and the whole vintage aesthetic. I also have come to appreciate Shabby Chic, whimsy, and quite a feminine vibe. It started with a few little trinkets and accessories around the house here and there, and then recently has coalesced into a grand plan for my bedroom.

The plan, which is already well-progressed, is to move the heavy antique pine furniture in my bedroom into the back bedroom, where the wardrobes from the same set already are, to end up with all pieces from the set in the same room. It should make for a really nice themed guest room. Who knows, maybe I might even have some guests over to enjoy it.

That leaves my own bedroom, and the plan is to go for a rustic sort-of Shabby Chic look but without going all the way to half-broken mismatched furniture. So a sort of “Shabbyish Chic”. 😀

I’ve been keeping my eyes open for suitable furniture and finally found what I think to be ideal in a branch of What Not Antiques. It’s a bedroom furniture set called Claremont that is made from solid reclaimed timber in a rustic style. Unlike true Shabby Chic, everything matches, but this is what I want.

Claremont tall chest, wide chest, bedside cabinet, and table

Claremont tall chest, wide chest, bedside cabinet, and table

Funnily enough, just after I bought the Claremont items I was in House of Fraser and saw a very similarly styled chest of drawers to the 7-drawer low & wide one. However, unlike the one I had just bought, this was all smooth melamine-faced board with smooth drawer runners and shiny handles, and completely lacked any character. And, ironically, it wasn’t a huge amount cheaper either. So although what I have bought is fairly expensive, I’m really pleased with it. It also comes with an extremely comprehensive insurance-based 5-year warranty which even covers it for having a glass of red wine spilled down it – if they can’t remove the stain they’ll replace the item.



I don’t want everything to be matching, though – I felt that would be just too much. I envisaged the bed being a metal-framed one, possibly in a Victorian wrought iron style – perhaps black with brass detailing. Benson’s for Beds had something sort-of suitable and, better yet, it was in their sale for £199 rather than the usual price of twice that. For the price, it was ok. However, I really had my heart set on something antique with some character and on Saturday I found just that at Victorian Dreams, which is a company based in Hampshire who specialise in sourcing and restoring antique beds. Although the prices were way outside what I was planning on spending, I found the most awesome bed with the help of the owner of the shop, and she gave me a good discount to help me afford it too. The bed dates from the early 1900’s and is apparently Portuguese in origin, and I’m so excited about how it’s going to fit in with the style that I have chosen.

The plan is to have the low, wide, chest of drawers across the foot of the bed, which is why a high foot was quite important to me. By my measurements the top of the chest should come to exactly the base of the vase on the bed, which is ideal.

Butterfly Lamp

Butterfly Lamp

Whilst this has been going on, I’ve been visiting various Antiques and Collectables fairs around the Hampshire, Berkshire and Surrey area, ranging from small village halls to large Sports Halls, looking for things to complement the look I’m going for. There are probably too many to mention here but notable purchases include a gorgeous Tiffany-style butterfly lamp and a mirror featuring artwork by Alphonse Mucha. I also bought a cheap table lamp also in a Tiffany style to use as a bedside lamp.

Mucha Mirror

Mucha Mirror

At one show I bumped into Amita Vetta of Love That Jewellery again, who was the person selling the Charles Horner necklace that I mentioned in a previous post. I bought a lovely earring and bracelet set off her, and was chatting to her about the Charles Horner necklace but it was quite clear she didn’t remember me. It was only when I got home that I realised that I was in guy mode this time and that I had chatted to her in girl mode originally. No wonder she didn’t recognise me!
A few weeks later I was at another fair and she was at that one too, and I was in guy mode again, so I went up to her and she instantly recognised me. I explained the situation and it was like a light bulb came on over her head and there was a look of relief on her face. She said she did remember the conversation and that I had been wearing a really lovely necklace when we’d been talking about the Charles Horner one, which indeed I had.
The thing that I found the most nice is that she totally took it in her stride and didn’t so much as bat an eyelid over the concept. How wonderful! I think it is yet more evidence that Society as a whole (the decent members thereof, at least) are much more tolerant to transgenderism these days.

Rose mirror

Rose mirror

Another purchase was a gorgeous mirror, although with the design of the room starting to mutate out of Shabby Chic and towards a more vintage bronze look (what with the Tiffany-style lamps, the bed, the handles on the furniture, and one of the candidates for the chandelier light fittings I’m considering), I’m starting to be concerned that it still fits. But I really like it so I think it will stay.

The furniture and the bed both arrive next weekend, and once installed there will be a little more still to do, but I will be sure to post pics when it’s all done. I’m not planning to re-decorate or re-carpet, but I do want to fit some coving to soften the feel of the room and make it less boxy.

Not only have I been pretty remiss on this blog, but I’ve also been remiss on going out in girl mode and taking pics for my Flickr. I think I’ve only done it once or twice since my last blog post. I’m at the stage right now where it is no big deal whether I do or don’t. Much as I love the clothes and jewellery of girl mode, it is a complete palaver and if I’m absolutely honest, after a long week at work I can’t really be bothered on a weekend. Especially in the cold weather we’ve been having, I just like to dress up warm and comfortable, and I can do that much more easily in guy mode than girl mode. There may also be some confidence issues too, but I think it is more down to the fact that warm clothing doesn’t really flatter any woman, although I do think I look particularly chunky in my more recent pics even though I’ve put no more than 5lbs back on. That’s well on the way to coming off again though, so perhaps by the time Spring comes I will be in a place where I want to resume.

I recently got to a stage where I considered stopping buying any more dangling earrings because I think I probably buy them more often than I wear them! So I told myself that I had two options – either stop buying them and start wearing what I have, or else say that I am collecting them. So, a Collector of Nice Earrings I now am. 🙂

I will have to photograph them all and make a static gallery-style page on this blog, I think. Something to do one day.


Posted by on 6th March 2015 in Diary, Home furnishing, Transgender


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,