Tag Archives: Pinterest

Let’s Pretend…To Be Poor

upcycling twFollowing in the footsteps of that other oh-gosh-I-may-be-a-millionaire–but-I’m-just-like-you, Jamie Oliver, Kirstie Allsop did herself proud on last night’s television show, ‘Fill Your House For Free’ (sic).

Don’t get me wrong, I adore upcycling; been doing it as long as I can remember. In fact, the only thing I haven’t upcycled yet is The Teenager, but give it time.

So, last night, the first couple was your archetypal, ‘So, we bought this huge house, oh woe is us, sigh, but we have no sense of style and we’re too tight to get proper help, can Channel 4 come to the rescue?’

The woman pouted, stamped her foot and tossed her hair, declaring that anything second-hand was naff. The husband merely nodded. The second couple, about much the same. Bought the house, couldn’t afford furniture. Oops!

Bring on the experts in ‘free’ stuff. They showed us minions just how easy it was to find free goodies, as long as you’re prepared to work for it, i.e have oodles of leisure time (and I don’t mean signing on for the dole once a week). Yup, you’ve guessed it. Pretty much everything ‘featured’ in last night’s programme was way beyond your local charity shop schlep, just after you’d bagged the last of the windfall apples from next door.

When did you last pop into Oxfam to buy an aeroplane wing? Simply super for turning into a (rather horrible) desk? Or make a stepladder into a ghastly bookcase? And of course you have a whole workshop with state-of-the-art tools at your disposal  to turn said crap into rather less crap things?

In the end, this was just another example of that tedious wave of ‘austerity chic’ TV drivel, exhorting well-off peeps to weep/gnash teeth/rant at the camera. Although I did have to admire the second couple for bravely not crying when they saw their wall lamp fashioned from a spray-painted, rusted barbecue. And don’t get me started on the first couple’s twee/1950’s ambitions for a sewing room (her) and a man-cave (him). Why can’t she have a she-cave without having to sew?

If these guys really want to experience what it’s like to have no real furniture, look no further than the 1 in 5 of us who live below the poverty line. Furniture is the last thing on the list. So, yes, it may be fun to live like the poor people. Liberate a chair from the skip down the road. Congratulate yourself and pop open the Farrow & Ball chalk paint. Make a notice board out of all your champagne corks. Pinterest has a lot to answer for.

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And Here’s One I Made Earlier….

starsWho knew crafternoons could be so stressful?

I had a couple of days off work recently, and inspired by countless articles in picture-perfect Christmas magazines, I had amassed a whole pile of crafty bits just perfect for creating a home-made Christmas.

Getting into an arty festive mood, I put some Christmas carols on, brewed some cranberry herbal tea, tied my hair up in a scarf, and set to.

After an exhausting afternoon spent weeping into my glitter, here’s what I learned:

  • Invisible thread is called invisible thread for a reason.
  • Air-drying clay does not dry in 24 hours.
  • The cat likes licking air-drying clay (ew).
  • Metal star-shaped cookie cutters are painful.
  • Potato stamping isn’t half as much fun at 40 as it was at 4.
  • Paper folding is not relaxing.
  • Cutting card with a craft knife is deadly.
  • Too much herbal tea was a mistake.
  • The magazines lied.

I don’t give up that easily, so the next afternoon, I put some hard rock music on, made some mulled wine and wrapped my hair tightly with an elastic band (glue guns and hair don’t mix).

First up, the easy one. Slice some oranges, put in oven at a low heat for four hours (‘a delightful aroma will infuse your home with a wondrous Christmas spirit’).

Next, glue-gun some baubles to a distressed wooden frame, in the shape of a Christmas tree ( a simple, yet charming idea).

Finally, make your own candles (‘a bee-yoootiful gift for friends and family’).

My oranges curled up and died, sending out plumes of evil-smelling, acrid smoke, I became more distressed than my baubles and frame and after boiling up wax pellets for the candles, I realised too late that the wicks I had ordered were too short.

All I have to show for my efforts is a string of clay stars. After all the pummeling, rolling out, cutting out, three days of air-drying and chasing the cat away from them, I was determined not to be beaten.

The next day, I went to Poundland (three fold-out stars for a quid), chucked out all my magazine articles, cursed Kirstie Allsopp and Pinterest and flopped on the sofa to watch ‘Elf’ for the eighth time (with some re-heated mulled wine)….

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Putting On Mascara With Boxing Gloves

Ever tried putting mascara on wearing boxing gloves? Or holding a lovely cup of hot coffee? Pretty tough. My last relapse affected my hands and just for a laugh, they still play up every so often and this weekend was no exception.

Like most relapses, it came out of the blue. One day I was elegant(ish) and my hands were just things that did things hands normally do. I didn’t really give them much thought.

Until the morning I flicked the kettle on and knocked it over, swiftly followed by my cup. Odd. When I left the house that morning, I missed the door handle. Odder.

I tried to explain to the MS nurse that my hands were either a few seconds too quick or a few seconds too slow, they drop things unexpectedly and sometimes they’re so numb, they feel like boxing gloves. It doesn’t sound like such a huge problem, but socially it’s dire.

Putting on make-up is comical – I gave up on eyeliner months ago and mascara wands hurt like hell when they’re poked in the eyes. Lipstick goes on well until, blam, whoops, dodgy line – The Rocky Horror Show’s got nothing on me.

Wine glasses are a minefield. I’ve smashed countless. Be warned, never clink glasses with me, just say cheers and nod. All my plates and bowls are chipped and you can hear me doing the washing up a mile away.

If I’m walking through a cutesy, arty gift shop, I have to keep my hands rigidly by my side or ever so carefully reach out, inch by inch, to pick something up. I can clear a shelf of pottery in one fell swoop. And my days of playing KerPlunk and Operation are long gone.

I used to like craft work but can’t knit any more and the glue gun’s been in the drawer so long it’s seized up. I tried to make a Christmas wreath out of paper hearts and glued everything except the paper. The cat made herself scarce so now I scroll through Pinterest and sigh wistfully.

I persevere though. I am going to invest in melamine plates and plastic wine glasses and I will make that wreath by next Christmas if it kills me. If you see it, be polite and please don’t snigger….

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Pinterest Addict

How did I ever waste time in work before Pinterest? I can spend hours scrolling through other people’s adorable lives, cute kids, funny animals and interior decorating ideas. This is sheer fantasy football for women and I am addicted.

I even have my own account (I had to request an ‘invite to join’!), but am far too scared to start pinning – I wouldn’t know when to stop and I would probably end up wanting to live my Pinterest life rather than my real life. I’m sure I would find myself thinking, oh, I have the most incredible shoes that would go with that outfit, then realise they were in my pinterest wardrobe, not my real one.

Who are these pinners with their Boden-clad children, vast houses, oodles of spare time and a craft-box to die for? They make Scandinavian candle holders from birch wood logs, fashion keyrings from Champagne corks and create sensational art by gluing a few crayons onto canvas and blasting them with a hairdryer. They carve the most exquisite pumpkin designs, make home-made lollipops and still find time to post pictures of their grinning dogs and cute knitted cupcakes.

And now the Christmas pins are filtering through. It’s only a small trickle so far (too many pumpkins and ghouls jostling for space), but it’s sure to become a flood by November. How will I cope with pin-envy? How many glue sticks will I have to buy? Oh yes, I caved in and bought a glue-gun, the Pinterest weapon of choice. I just know I can decorate the whole house with only a stack of coloured card and some glue.

Two pinners have the right idea though – they pin the results of all the projects they have been inspired to try out from Pinterest and the results are very, ahem, reassuring…check out http://pinstrosity.blogspot.co.uk/ .

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