Thursday, 6 June 2013

Make your own lampshades

Last Valentines Day Mr. Hunter and I went to a restaurant in the Village and I was in love with the decoration. It used glass bottles and jars as lampshades. I haven't got a picture of it unfortunately, but I was sure I would be able to find a tutorial online with tips of how to create that... Well, here it is, we written by Britt & Tom, from the lovely and colourful Dutch Woonblog.

The pictures below are pretty self-explanatory, but if you want a more personal insight on how to make these, use Google Translate and read the couple's post. For me, the hardest part would be to find a lamp socket already wired. I am not quite sure of how to search for it online, but I will update this post after my next trip to B&Q or Homebase.

Photo Credit: Woonblog

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Agatha the hippo

I am so pleased to welcome Margaret Harrold, from the incredible Heath Barns, with this wonderful creation: Agatha, the hippo. I will let her tell you about the great story behind the project and her insights on the making of it. Enjoy!

What to do with those lovely bundles of material?
by Margaret Harrold, guest blogger

Everyone is selling tempting bundles of material now and here is a blast from the past that uses them in a fun way.

In 1980, when my granddaughter Jennifer was born I made a hippo for her from a Simplicity pattern. Her sister Hannah is now pregnant and asked if her baby (due in July) could have one. I had to say I was sorry but I didn’t keep the pattern and am not talented enough to guess and try again after 33 years!! Then, to my disbelief, while thumbing through a Simplicity pattern book for other ideas I found this:

The very pattern that I had used all those years ago! It made me feel rather old that I was working from “Archives” but here it was and so off I went and bought two bundles of material and have ended up with a 21st century hippo… Here she is! I have called her Agatha as while I was doing the gathering stitches on all the circles I was watching an Agatha Christie murder mystery on the television!

So, was she easy to do? A little time consuming, but really not too much of a challenge to anyone who can use a sewing machine:

1) The head, feet and tail were straightforward sewing and stuffing.
2) The body is made up of large circles of material (perfect size for those bundles of material) gathered around the edges and then smaller circles of padding placed centrally.
3) As the gathering is pulled in you are left with the padded circles you see above.

Finally, a half inch cut is made in the centre and half inch wide elastic threaded through all the circles and sewn securely onto both head and tail. The legs are than also attached the same width of elastic and placed two circles from front and back. I hand stitched the facial felt to make it safer and the mouth is embroidered in chain stitch. Agatha is flexible, stretchy and a fun gift for any child.

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I hope you have loved this post as much as I did. :) If you want to get Agatha's pattern, you can find it on Simplicity's website via this link.
And don't forget to check Heath Barns and to follow Margaret on Pinterest

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Time to up-cycle: DIY chest of drawers

I hope you missed me as much as I missed writing here. I know Mango's posts date back from January 2012, but those are remnants of an old blog of mine. Mango as we know it, actually, only started in June last year... To be precise, the first post was on 15th June.

I have to admit, I am proud for keeping up with it. I think all bloggers who don't let the ball drop should be very proud of their babies. To maintain a blog is not an easy task when there are so many other aspects of your life fighting for your time.

Anyway, there is a section of Mango that I noticed needed some updating, so here it goes: some Home Decor inspiration for you!

I've been saving these pictures because I love both ideas sooooo much. So why not share it? You might very well find it useful too!

This one comes with a tutorial, by Cameras & Chaos

The first image is by Cameras & Chaos. Cindy talks us through the task of turning an old and rough chest of drawers into this beautiful piece of vintage looking furniture. Can you think of a more perfect place to store all your bits of fabric or linen?

The second is by a German blog and shop Titatoni. I couldn't find the exact post with the picture, but trust me, the entire blog is worth a visit. I could spend hours going through the lovely ideas and photos on it. It's simply gorgeous!

Photo credit:


I love the idea of using wooden apple crates to make a piece of furniture. But, to be honest, I love the whole composition of this picture. The colours, the vintage radio, the little topiary tree - or is it an olive tree? - even the cushion is adorable!

Monday, 6 May 2013

The beautiful art of needle-felting

I was always intrigued by needle-felting. I found this tutorial on Pinterest and I loved the idea, but I had never tried this technique before, so I didn't dare just giving it a go without reading more about it first.

As I couldn't find the original post online - the link just led me to a Polish "Pinterest-alike" tool - I had to look for information else where. Luckily, I am a member of Crafty Creatives and one of the monthly kits contained a pretty good "how to" for beginners with no previous experience on needle-felting. So below are my thoughts on this tutorial. I am not sure about the elbow pads, but I absolutely adore the idea of adding textured shapes to plain cotton fabric. The possibilities are infinite!

What you will need:

- Wool roving (this is wool that has been twisted, attenuated and freed of foreign matter in the stage before its conversion into yarn. It is more refined than wool batting).
- Felting needle (Caution! Felting needles are covered in tiny barbs - these are what tangles the wool together - and it really hurts if you stab your finger with it, a lot more than with a normal needle or pin).
- A foam pad (you can easily find this at Amazon or Ebay and they came in different sizes, make sure you get the ones specifically designed for needle felting, mainly because of its thickness).
- For this particular tutorial a cookie cutter is used to help with the shape. Although it is not essential, it does help first timers.

Things to keep in mind:

- This process of needle-felting through another fabric is slightly different then just making shapes using your wool straight agains the foam pad.
- Remember to work with layers and to keep your bundles about 1cm thick. You can always add bits here and there as you will see in the next pictures.
- With the wool in place, start stabbing it. Remember you don't need to stab it too far in the foam. The barbs are the the tip of the needle.

Last but not least...

- After working a few layers, remove the cookie cutter (if you're using one) and work your edges. Use the needle to perfect your shape.
- Once you've finished, use an iron to help fixing it. Remember to do it both ways (inside and out). I learnt that spraying some water over it before ironing helps make your shape denser.