Friday, 29 June 2012

Thrifty Foot Stool

Did you watch the England match? It was looooooong.

If I’m honest though I did get quite into it and when we lost on penalties I almost felt like crying - more for the disappointed fans than anything else.

One good thing to come out of it for me however was a new piece of furniture. Here’s how…

Whilst we were watching the game, C concluded that our sofa really doesn’t accommodate his comfort needs. It’s only a two-seater and he’s really tall so cant lie out on it when his legs get achey. We can’t yet afford a bigger sofa so we’ve got a bean bag chair for him to rest his feet on but it’s not particularly supportive. Fortunately, I’m ok because I rest my legs on him (how convenient).

So after putting up with his moaning for the entire first half I made an executive decision to get/make him a foot stool.

Time for some car boot sale hunting them.


Now, how was I going to jazz it up? I hadn’t thought that far ahead. I knew that I wanted to finish it in time for the next match and I wouldn’t have time to visit any fabric shops so I opted for another lap of the car boot sale, this time searching for material. I found a lime green and white child’s duvet set. Fun and quirky. £3 for stool, £3 for fabric. Not bad.

Back home it was a quick prep to the stool’s legs and body and then a coating of some left over Rust-Oleum Almond Gloss Spray Paint (love this colour) followed by a top coat of Rust-Oluem Clear Gloss Spray. Finally time for a (somewhat botched) covering with the duvet fabric…

 I wouldn’t normally fix the fabric with a staple gun – not the most professional of finishes – but I was on a tight schedule and I knew C wouldn’t even notice.


(What a terrible photo though)

Amy x

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Justamydesign - now live on Society6!

I've finally set up my mini shop on, please feel free to stop by. Not a lot on there yet - a couple of (completely random) pieces that I hope to add to soon. Check it out!

Iphone Case (designed by me!)

Amy x

Thursday, 21 June 2012

The Big Is-shoe

Oh dear. This really is turning into the “Blog of Awful Puns.” 

I apologise. 

But I don’t apologise for introducing the topic of footwear.

Shoes festooning the home? Really?!

Yes. I think it’s cute…

Planters by Giddy Spinster. Photo courtesy of

See, cute!

Amy x

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

10 Steps to Help Plan your Lighting Scheme

I’m currently in the process of lighting my living room. I dream of some day having my very own house with my very own lounge that I can repaint, remodel and revamp exactly as I want but until that time I’m happy enough shopping for floor and table lights; not having to worry about wiring in spot lights or sky lights. If I were however to go the whole hog, this is how I’d go about it;

1 Research.

This, to me at least, is the fun part. As much as I like to think I’m creative I’m not a patch on these talented individuals you find online and featured in interiors magazine. And although I have (what I think are) some great ideas, in reality I can’t always work out how to get to the finished result. This gives me a great excuse to spend hours on end scouring Pinterest and delving through tons home magazines. If you haven't researched lighting before, give it a try, it's fascinating. If you have the time you could even create a mood board just for lighting arrangements alone.

 Mood Board Courtesy of 
Although it doesn’t relate to the home you can see the benefit of collating great ideas.

2 Draw it out.

Even in my case, where I don’t have to worry about electrical wiring and where to place sockets, I’ve found it enormously beneficial to draw out initial sketches followed by a “final” plan showing the intended light sources. I flirted with the idea of posting them here but honestly I’d be embarrassed to reveal just how badly I draw. So let that encourage you – this not need be a time-consuming exercise or even a detailed one, just a very brief diagram using shapes and annotations if it helps.  No matter how crude a sketch it might be, I’ve found that it’s really helped me to consider my research and organise my thoughts. Plus, it’s a starting point that I can talk through with C and that we can then develop together. If you’re lucky enough not to be renting or to have the permission of your landlord to completely renovate the room then I’d bear in mind that your plan isn’t set in stone. You don’t necessarily have to stick to it rigidly. It’s likely that things will change, particularly if you haven’t yet completed the d├ęcor.

3 Look at the Purpose of the Room.

This might sound obvious but spend a little time thinking about the room, its purpose and its characteristics. The whole reason we’re currently redesigning our lighting scheme is because we’ve opted for a dark colour scheme. Our furniture is dark and all accessories are either chocolate brown or forest green. We chose these colours because, to us, they feel rich and homely but a small room coupled with only one window means that we have to think carefully about our lighting in order to pull off the whole effect. Not enough light and the room will look dark and feel flat. Too much light and we risk the greens looking overtly bright and out of place (or at least that’s how it appeared to us when we flooded it with too much light whilst experimenting).  In addition, I need to bear in mind that I like to lie on the couch to read so I need to ensure that’s there enough light suitably located for me to see clearly in the evenings which leads me to my next point…

4 Consider the Location of your Task Lighting.

As I’ve just explained, I like to read on the sofa. Not only this but I always read in the same place (does everyone have their “side of the sofa” or is it just me being a little OCD?) It would be sensible then to either have a lamp or a floor light next to my seat provided it’s not too bright or distracting. Planning your task lighting is very subjective – people do different tasks in different rooms but there are some general consistencies in most homes, for instance, having a good light source above the areas you prepare food in the kitchen or illuminating a favorite picture or painting hanging in the hall.

Image courtesy of 
Notice the spotlights above the sink and main table prep areas.

5 Plan the Mood you want to Create.

Here’s where we combine the technical with the touchy feely. First, consider what mood you want the room to reflect (the likelihood is you’ve already established this in steps 1 and 2). I’m sure you’re familiar with the term “mood lighting,” well, this is where you/I/we learn how to achieve it. If you don’t know your tungsten from your florescent (I certainly don’t!) then I suggest you take a quick peek at either this or this for a lesson in colour temperature.

6 Think about Light Patterns, Shadows and Shapes.

This may sound a little pedantic but if you pre-consider the shapes that your lighting is going to give, you’ll avoid unsightly effects like this:

This is all C's fault. Let me explain:-

We were given this handy little floor light not so long ago and he has spent pretty much every night since twiddling the head around trying to dim it down. It’s a wonder the head hasn’t fallen right off. He’s troubled by brightness, which is another reason we’ve had to redesign the lighting. 

When it comes to channeling the light, there’s a lot to think about – even (and especially) down to the lampshades (more on this later). These can act to soften and spread or channel and direct the light. If you’re feeling really clever (and a little frivolous with the old electricity bills) you can get fancy and create some really funky effects particularly by crisscrossing spot lights like so…

Image courtesy of

7 Consult an Electrician.

Here’s another obvious point, but one that ought to be mentioned, particularly if you’re re-doing the room completely. Unless you already happen to be an expert, bring in an electrician to look over your plans before you get too ambitious. This, of course, is especially applicable to the bathroom. You’d probably rather know sooner than later that those seven hanging lamps that you wanted to place over the bath are going to be a considerable fire hazard. Ok, so you probably wouldn’t do anything that ridiculous (although that is exactly the kind of totally impractical idea that I’m well known for) but you can see my point. He/she can also help you pinpoint the best place to fix the sockets and even advise you on the possibility of hiding them in a panel. Play your cards right and you’ll have built up a good relationship with an excellent electrician that you can pester time and time again because, as I’ve learnt in the past, the importance of befriending a really knowledgeable electrician and (in fact plumber) is invaluable.

8 Evaluate the Room in Relation to the Others.

Whilst not something that you need spend an exorbitant amount of time thinking about do remember to respect the lighting relationships between one room and the next. I read somewhere recently that going from one reasonably lit room into a much darker one can be really quite bad for your eyes and equally walking into a much brighter room from a very low lit one ‘aint no treat for the eyes either. If your first room is lit only by lamps and your adjoining room has one main “big light” consider how you can blend them together better.

9 Investigate LEDs.

A relatively new (to me at least) trend is the use of LEDs. I’m familiar with them being used for what I would call “novelty” lighting or sometimes to decorate the garden at night but until a friend introduced them to me I’d not really heard of LED bulbs in the home. He tells me that they’re far more cost effective and give out a very good, strong source of light that can come in a variety of colours. To me they seem very, very bright but I suppose you can get different strengths. I’ll be honest, I’m not convinced they give a great ambience but I guess it depends what sort of effect you’re after.

Image courtesy of

10 Shop Around for Lighting Accessories.

Finally, once you’ve chosen and positioned your lights it’s time to reward yourself with some retail therapy (hooray!). I suspect many of the lights and lamps you’ve bought will already have come with cute lampshades and funky stands – it’s probably part of the reason you bought them – but who doesn’t love a good excuse to go shopping? There’s a whole world of gorgeous lighting accessories out there and you needn’t spend a fortune buying new stuff when a brand new lampshade can do wonders to jazz up an old lamp you’ve had for years. And don’t forget there’s always the opportunity to work your magic refinishing rather than buying brand new as demonstrated wonderfully here by Centsational Girl.

What are your top lighting tips?

Amy x

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

If you’ve been following my Twitter feed lately you’ll know that I’ve decided to make my Dad a deckchair for Father’s Day. Well, that’s the plan. I’ve got this horrible feeling though that it might turn out to be one of those decorative chairs that’s not totally fit for its basic purpose of seating someone (do these types of chairs exist??) Either way, I’ve made a start and I’m hoping to post my finished product on here next week along with a step by step “what-I-did.”

Just finished priming the frame (excuse the garage floor!)

So that’s Plan A.

But I realised today that Father’s Day is THIS WEEKEND! 4 days time in fact. So I really need a Plan B. I need some back up pressie ideas in the entirely likely event that this labour of love is a) not finished in time, b) a complete disaster, c) a health and safety hazard disguised as a loving, hand-made gift.

Here’s where I turn to the internet for inspiration (and to the Royal Mail’s next day delivery service should it come to that). I’m fortunate to have stumbled across some fabulous gift ideas whilst undergoing my daily blog browsing. Here’s a selection I’m keeping in mind for my Dad, who also happens to be the hardest person in the world to buy for. Thought I’d share:

Desk Tidy/Ipad Holder, from The Letteroom

Personalised Notebook - Top Dad Street, from Getting Personal
(Can be personalised with any name)

Rustic Vintage Painted Pine Step Ladder, from Boathouse Originals

The Plant Hunters Book, RHS Online Shop
(He loves plants)

And if I do decide to go home-made...

Candy Filled Tie Pots idea, courtesy of makeit-loveit
How cute!!

Amy x

Thursday, 7 June 2012


As a new blogger, I’m especially keen to post as much as I possibly can but unfortunately a few hectic days at work combined with some frantic evenings trying to finish off a few crafty projects hasn’t left me with a whole lotta time.

But here I am, ready to present you with a particularly sexy sideboard courtesy of the very talented Lucy Turner. I hope you drool over it as much as I have. I love fern patterns. Bringing them into my home makes me feel less guilty about skipping my 20 minute jogs through the forest after work.

And here’s a little peak at one of my latest projects. It’s not mind-blowingly original but I think the finished product is pretty quirky. 

More on this soon…

Amy x

Monday, 4 June 2012

Jubilations to you all!

I’ll admit it, I’ve caved.

I’ve given in to GB design inspiration. I was trying hard to resist any impulsive patriotic purchases on the grounds that they are almost certainly going to date quicker than the average trend and at the moment we just can’t afford anything that hasn’t got a long design shelf life.

Looking at these little gems though, how can I resist?

Lizzie Cushion, from Habitat

Union Jack Footstool, Blue, from John Lewis

Personalised Diamond Jubilee 4 Cup Teapot, from Emma Bridgewater

1p Stamp Rug, from Stamp Rugs
(I never noticed how little the Queen actually resembles her picture on the stamps!)

Queen's Jubilee Tea Towel, from Magpie Miller

Gorgeous selection of fabrics, from Fabric Rehab
(My mind’s already a-buzz with thoughts of all the lovely things I could fashion from these)

Plus, it is the Jubilee Long Weekend after all! How can one (the Royal “One,” - tribute to you Ma’m) not get caught up in the hype? We watched it on TV all day yesterday as we weren’t quite patriotic enough to hold an all out street party. In fact, I surprised myself by my lack of enthusiasm for making home-made bunting but then, as a family we were more focused on celebrating my Dad’s birthday – Happy Birthday Dad!

Still, the flotilla pageant was certainly quite a spectacle. And I LOVED the crafting bridge. What a wonderful idea to transform the Millennium Bridge into a haven for all sorts of artists to capture the scene. Shame about the rain though (did this really warrant every presenter in the country overusing the phrase “it won’t dampen our spirits/mood/crazy British resolve?!”). I’ll be keeping on eye on the websites of the artists who attended, particularly that of Gillian Burrows whose fantastically colourful ipad paintings never fail to cheer my mood.

London Celebrates the Diamond Jubilee” ipad painting by Gillian Burrows
(Absolutely stunning!)

What are you up to for the Jubilee?

Amy x