UpcyclingΒ 

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know I love a bit of arts and crafts, in particular upcycling. 

If you have been living in a cave and have no idea what I’m talking about then you should probably know that upcycling is extremely popular these days and it basically means taking an existing item and turning it in to something else. Whether that means keeping the item in tact and just using it for another purpose or turning it in to something else.

I do a lot of upcycling for a number of reasons. I enjoy being creative and love taking on projects. It makes my home look unique and I love that something old can become something new.

I’ve done a lot of upcycling around my home, both simple and difficult so I thought I’d share some with you…

Shelving 

Luckily my husband is a scaffolder so scaffold boards (yes boards, not planks) are easy for me to come by, but if you don’t know any scaffolders then eBay or gumtree are a great place to start. Scaffold boards make excellent shelves, and can create anything from a rough rustic look, to a polished, stained look. You could even sand and paint them. 



I also made a shelf from a plank of wood from home base, drilled a hole in each corner, threaded rope through and knotted it and then attached to a picture rail above our bed using picture rail hooks. I won’t lie, the first night I thought it might be ‘death by terracotta pot’ but it’s been up for a couple of months and hasn’t killed us yet! 



Lighting

In our downstairs loo, that I never photograph because it’s just plain boring, I turned a Mason jar in to a light. It was easy to make and ridiculously cheap. I got a Mason jar for about Β£1 from homebargains, made a hole in the top for the light fitting, along with a few little holes to let the heat out, and attached it. Easy! 


I also got a filament bulb on a string from The Range for Β£3.99, I didn’t like the string so I replaced it with twine and sprayed the cheap looking white plastic with copper spray paint. 


In our bedroom I converted a bamboo basket from ikea in to a light shade by turning it upside down, making a hole in the bamboo and attaching to the light fitting. 


And by far the hardest upcycling project I have ever done was making a beaded chandelier for our dining room. The tutorial is on my blog if anyone fancies a challenge! 😜 



Furniture 

Ikea furniture is so easy to upcycle, it can be as simple as changing the knobs on a chest or drawers, or giving it a lick of paint. 

In our bedroom we have a large chest of hemnes drawers. I wanted to give them a bit of a makeover so I bought some marble self adhesive from Homebase and covered the top. I have to say it was reasonably easy and extremely effective. 


In our living room we have a singer sewing machine table underneath our TV. It doesn’t serve much purpose but it looks nice. 

I was looking for some side tables to go either side of the bench in the dining room when I came across some vintage tea chests on gumtree. They were only Β£5 each, so I gave them a clean, stained them, turned them upside down and whacked some lamps on them! 


Painting vintage furniture is probably the most popular way to upcycle something, which I have done a fair bit of. Annie Sloan chalk paints are great for upcycling, and if you want to put a bit more graft in then farrow and ball works amazingly too! 


Because we live in a rented property there are some limits to what we are allowed to do. Therefore upcycling things temporarily is something I am always exploring. 

You may have seen my kitchen tiles that I recently have a makeover to using tiles stickers. I was apprehensive at first but once I got going I couldn’t believe the transformation. They have made the kitchen look completely different! 



Fabric 

In my son’s room my mum transformed a duvet cover in to a tepee. Always try to see the possibilities with fabric, it doesn’t have to be on a roll to make things with it. 


Before I decorated our bedroom I had a runner on the bed that I have made from some vintage curtains. The possibilities are endless! 

Most recently I made this plant stand out of copper pipe! I got the tutorial from Pinterest and it was really easy! 


I’ve got loads more upcycling planned as I’m giving our kitchen and utility room a makeover at the moment so keep your eyes peeled! 

I hope I have inspired you to get creative and think outside of the box! 
Until next time 

Hayley x

How to make a beaded chandelier…

After posting the photos of my newly decorated dining room on Instagram the other day, showcasing my handmade beaded chandelier, a few people asked me to do a blog post on how to make one.

It was ambitious of me to attempt to make it, and I won’t sugar coat it, I probably won’t ever make another one. Not because I don’t like how it turned out, I really do, but more because it was an absolute pain in the arse to make, not to mention very time consuming.

Nevertheless, if you fancy trying to make one here is how I did it…

The first thing I bought was a 14″ hanging basket for Β£4.99 from Homebase. Try and get the same colour as you want the chandelier to be, if not you will have to spray it.

The next thing you will need are beads.

I massively underestimated the amount I would need and only bought 1200 10mm black wooden beads. I got them from eBay, 99p for 100 which is the best price I found.

I then had to figure out how I was going to get a light fitting. You can buy them on eBay, if you do this you’ll have to wire the basket to the fitting. You can find out how to do this on Pinterest. Luckily I came across a small glass pendant light in Homebase reduced to Β£15, so I bought it on a whim hoping it would work.

When I got it home I attached the basket to it and it looked like the glass would be well hidden by the beads, so I began to thread.

This is the frustrating bit. I originally started threading the bottom part of the chandelier using fishing wire. It was quite time consuming to thread through the beads, but also it kept slipping through my fingers, resulting in the 22 beads I’d just threaded to fall all over the floor. You can imagine the explicit language coming out of the dining room at this point.


I felt like giving up but I’d come this far I needed to carry on with it.

Another thing I found with the fishing wire was that it was stretching when I was tying knots, causing the string of beads to sag.

Once I’d threaded all of the beads I had I worked out how many more I needed to get and ordered another 3000.

Instead of using fishing wire for the top section I decided to use cotton thread and a needle. This made the threading part so much easier and a lot faster.


I just worked my way around the basket, ensuring there were enough to cover the glass pendant, but leaving small gaps for the light to come through.


Once I’d finished threading I tidied up any that had loosened up and wrapped twine around the middle to hide any knots.


I’m so pleased with how it has turned out.


I ended up using around 4000 beads, and it cost around Β£60 to make.

Sadly it doesn’t give off much light but it does make a real statement in the room and I can enjoy it even more knowing I made it myself.

Who needs to see their food anyway! 😜

Thanks for reading

Hayley x

How to make a simple cushion cover.

Cushions are something we all buy, and are often charged over the odds for. Making your own cushion covers gives you the ability to choose your own fabric, ensure quality and save money. 

When making your own cushions, your first job is to find some good quality fabric. I came across a great supplier called The Great British Curtain Co who had a huge selection to choose from. I chose some Ashley Wilde fabric in Aqua and raffata heather, 1m of each. 


I wanted my cushion covers to be 18″ x 18″ so with the fabric I had ordered would allow me to make 4 cushions in total with some fabric left over. 

The next thing you’ll need is a feather inner cushion. You can buy these from Dunelm Mill. I always buy feather as it keeps the cushion looking full and doesn’t go flat. 

For an 18″x 18″ cushion, I would recommend buying a 20″ x 20″ feather inner cushion. You might think this sounds strange, but it just ensures the cushion is plump and the cover doesn’t sag. 

So now you have your fabric and your feather inner cushion, it’s time to start making your cushion. 

Measure 20″ x 20″ and mark a line where you need to cut. 



Once you have cut to size, place your inner cushion in the middle and wrap the fabric around to create an envelope cushion cover. Remember if your fabric has a print, it will need to be wrapped inside out.


Once you have positioned your fabric, cut any extra off of the length. 

Next you need to create about and inch hem at each end, by folding and pinning. 


Once you have pinned, grab your inner cushion and wrap the fabric around again just to check the measurements. 




Then you will need to sew the hems.


Once you have sewn your hems, fold the fabric in to the envelope shape again and just check measurements (this time without the feather inner) 

It should measure 18″ across this time. 


Then measure from the fold to the bottom to check it’s all straight. 


When you are happy, mark a line half an inch from the top and bottom, pin, and sew.



Grab some pinking shears and trim along the line you have just sewn, to neaten it up. 


Then turn the cushion inside out (or outside out in this case) and voila! You have made yourself a cushion cover! 


Please do check out The Great British Curtain Co, not only do they have a huge array of fabric to choose from but as you may have guessed from their name, they also make curtains including;

  • Made to measure curtains
  • Made to measure blinds
  • Grey curtains
  • Velvet curtains
  • Childrens curtains
  • Yellow curtains
  • Blackout curtains

You can find their website here.

Or visit them on Facebook here.

You can also enjoy 25% off all products from The Great British Curtain Co with code HomeS25. 

I hope I have inspired you to try and make some cushion covers of your own. 

Thanks for reading.

Hayley x 

Jazz up your plant pots…

If like me you love plants then you’ll know that standard inexpensive plant pots are pretty bland and not very exciting.

I saw these pots on Pinterest and on the Internet for around Β£20, but I wanted to do what I love and upcycle some cheap terracotta pots from Homebase. I think they were about 79p each so I ‘splashed out’ and bought 3 of them.


I wanted them to look a bit aged, so I got some white paint (just any old emulsion or chalk paint will do) I applied a tiny bit at a time and then blended it all in with a damp sponge.

Then I got some gold leaf foil from The Range for Β£1.50 for a box, which goes a long way. Sadly they didn’t have sheets which I think would have made it easier, so I got the gold flakes instead, which also come in silver and rose gold.

I applied the gold leaf to the pots using clear PVA glue.

It’s important to put a really thin layer of glue on, and to wait until it’s almost dry before applying the gold leaf.

Press the gold leaf on with your finger and then rub it in. Don’t worry if bits flake off as this will add to the aged/antique appearance.

Keep applying the gold all the way around, there are no rules, you can add as much or as little as you want for your personal desired look.

Because these terracotta pots are for outdoor use and I want to use them inside, I bought some little clear dishes that I’ve sprayed gold.

I’m really pleased with how they have turned out. I’ve made two so far so I’ll be finishing the other one today! I know, I know, I am wild!!

I hope I have inspired you to jazz up your plant pots!

Let me know what you think on my Instagram page @bettyscottage.

Until next time

Hayley x

Make a new candle from old ones…

I’ve been meaning to try this for ages so I decided that today was the day.

Sometimes when you burn a candle, a lot of the wax gets left behind around the edges of the jar. Instead of throwing it away, keep it in a cupboard until you have a little collection of them because you can make yourself a new candle for just over Β£1, and here is how…



1. Firstly you’ll need a couple of supplies…
A jar… I got a mason style jar from Home Bargains for an amazing 59p…


Some wicks… I got these from Hobby craft, 6 for Β£3.99. Make sure they are long enough for the jar you are using. It doesn’t matter if they are too long as you can cut them down at the end.


2. Gather your collection of old candles and decide what scents compliment each other. This will help when determining which order the wax will go in.

3. Boil some water in a pan, and pop your first candle in until all the wax has melted. If it still has a wick in it, carefully remove it and try not to burn your hands.

4. Whilst the wax is melting, dip the metal bit of your new wick in to it and place it inside your mason jar. This will help it to stick to the bottom. Then use a lolly stick or something similar to wrap the top of the wick around to stop it from moving.

5. By this time your first lot of wax should have melted. Carefully pour it in to your mason jar and allow to cool and harden before repeating the process with a new wax.


I also bought some small Yankee candles to add to mine as they were on offer in Home Bargains – 4 for Β£2.

It has taken me a few hours to finish the candle but it’s pretty hassle free as you can just pop back to check on the wax every now and then whilst getting on with other things.



These handmade candles make a lovely gift or a great rainy day activity to do with a child (supervised by an adult of course.) Or just do what I did, and make one for yourself.

I hope I have inspired you all to give it a try.

Until next time,

Hayley xxx

How to improve your IG page…

I have had quite a few people ask me in the past how I have made my Instagram page successful and how they can do the same…


Firstly I’d like to point out that I am in no ways a professional photographer and have no experience in photography other than using my iPhone.

However, since I first started my Bettys Cottage page I have learnt quite a lot about taking good photos and creating an attractive Instagram page which I am going to share with you.

Number 1…

This one is so important… Make sure your lens is clean! A dirty lens massively affects the quality of your photos. It can cause glare and a blurry look to your pics. So before taking a photo make sure you give the lens a little rub using a cloth or your T-shirt, trust me it makes a huge difference to the clarity.

Number 2…

Try and take your photos in natural light only. If you really want to take and post a photo in the evening up the brightness and lower the warmth using the settings on Instagram to avoid that yellow tone. However photos taken in the evening tend to have a grainy texture to them.

Number 3…

Choose a theme for your page. You need to decide what your feed is all about and try and keep it consistant. If you primarily want to show case photos of your home, then try and post just that, as you will more than likely lose followers if all of a sudden you start posting drunken photos from a night out.

Remember people follow you for a reason, maybe set up a separate page for personal pics.

Number 4…

Add variety to your feed.

Depending on the purpose of your instagram page will depend on its versatility, however nobody wants to see the same photos over and over so try to mix it up a bit to add interest.

Number 5…

Use the same filter for every photo. This will make your page look attractive at first sight and all the photos will flow.

I use Valencia.

Number 6…

Only put quality photos on. If you are unsure as whether to post as it’s a bit blurry or not quite fitting to your page then DON’T post it! Simple!

Number 7…

Everyone loves a selfie, but don’t over do it. If you are posting a photo of you pouting in to the camera everyday, then your followers are likely to unfollow no matter how beautiful you are! Remember mix it up, add variation!

If you do want to post a selfie then take it facing the window as it will make your skin look radiant!

Number 8…

Take inspiration from others but try not to copy.

We are all inspired by someone but it’s good to have a unique style, so embrace who you are and what you like. People will love you for it.

Number 9…

Try not to over post.

2 or 3 photos spread throughout the day is fine but don’t post 10 in a row as its another reason for people to hit that unfollow button.

Number 10…

Interact with your followers.

Yes there are people out there with hundreds of thousands of followers and can’t possibly reply to all their messages, however if you can keep up with your notifications it’s always nice to interact so people can get to know the person behind the page! There is nothing worse than an undeserving snubber!

I hope I have given you some useful tips on how to improve your Instagram feed. Please let me know if you have any tips, as I’m still learning myself!

Thanks for reading.

Love

Hayley x