Make your own butterfly chair cover

Butterfly chairs are currently in vogue again. I saw lots of them at Maison et Objects in Paris. They were covered in a variety of fabrics and skins including leather and pony skin.

I bought this old butterfly chair in a junk shop for £10. The cover was rust stained and not very nice so I decided to give it a revamp.

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You will need

3 metres of white cotton drill

Dylon goldfish orange machine dye

Dylon Tulip Red machine dye

Dress making scissors

Sewing machine



15mm bias binding




  1. Cut the fabric in half and using the instructions on the pot, dye half the fabric red and half orange.
  2. Draw round the old cover to make a pattern and don’t forget to add the seam allowance
  3. Cut out the pieces and sew the pieces first in one colour and then in the next together as in the original pattern.
  4. The only difficult part is pinning and stretching the seat top to the seat bottom as you are joining a concave piece of fabric to a convex piece. With right sides facing, pin the top of the seat to the bottom at the center seam. Sew from the center of the seat outwards stretching as you sew. This way the two pieces will fit together. Repeat this step to join the other half of the chair top to the chair bottom.
  5. The pockets for the front and back of the seam are neatened at their bases and then sewn with raw edges onto the cover. This is repeated for the reverse of the seat.
  6. Once the pockets are in place, with wrong sides facing, sew the seat top to the seat bottom round the edge and then hide all the raw edges with bias binding.



Studio – Creative Spaces for Creative People


by Sally Coulthard

 Studio - Front Cover FINAL.jpg

If you are a designer, or just love creative people and enjoy seeing how and where they work, then this is must have book.

It is full of inspiration. The author, Sally Coulthard, lives on a farm where she rents out barns to artists. As she says ‘it’s a scruffy space, but the people who work there have transformed the building into something truly special. Not only have the artists organized their studios into useful spaces, they’ve also created rooms that express who they are and inform the work they produce. Each space reflects the personality of the person who works there –studios are like fingerprints, totally unique.’

The first part of the book has inspirational pictures and descriptions of different kinds of studio’s. Included are brights, mono, natural, industrial and collected.AlunCallenderPhoto_SarahCampbell_31_0125.jpg

The second part of the book is divided into different kinds of artists and designers and includes crafters, fashion and textile designers. Fine art, graphics and illustrators studios are featured as are the work shops of bloggers writers and photographers and last but not least are workshops and up-cyclers. nathalie leté 20(1)

Different kinds of buildings are as unique as the artists and designers themselves. One artist works in a shepherds hut another in a barn others in industrial warehouses and lofts. Some work together others by themselves.AlunCallenderPhoto_SarahCampbell_02_0045.jpg

The final section of the book deals with practicalities of how to plan your studio, getting organized, desks, lighting and storage are all explored. As are work tops and drying spaces. If you want to set up your own studio you need look no further than here. The book is truly international showcasing designers and artists from many different countries.CathDerksema_FINAL_HIRES-7.jpg

A joy to read and a very useful handbook.

Published by Jacqui Small at £25



Mini Makes – Pom Pom Hat

Transform a dull, charity shop hat, into something a little more on trend with just some wool and a pom pom maker. If you don’t have a pom pom maker then cut two disks of card and make it the old fashioned way.

You will need

Woollen hat, An odd ball of wool this could tone in with the hat or be a complete contrast. Scissors to cut the wool and a pom pom maker.  A needle and thread to sew the pom pom onto the hat.


Instructions Cut the wool and thread it onto the pom pom maker. When the pom pom is finished sew it onto the center top of the hat.


The Little Book of Hygge

The Danish way to Live Well

By Meik Wiking from the Happiness Research Institute Copenhagen

Available on Amazon or directly from Penguin Books


The word on everyone’s lips last year was  ‘Hygge’, despite most English people being unable to pronounce it correctly. Luckily when this book arrived on my desk I had a Norwegian staying with me so we had a few lessons in how to make the guttural sound at the end of the word. As the whole of the UK is currently covered in snow I felt this has to be the correct time to publish this review.

The word Hygge comes from an old Viking language and was used to describe comfort and relaxation after coming in from a day out in the cold, but it is oh so much more than just that. Hygge is about atmosphere and experience rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love and a feeling of safety and warmth, being with friends and letting your guard down.

The little book of Hygge breaks down some of the elements that go to make Hygge. This includes hot drinks, fires, slow food, board games, hand made crafts, sweets and cakes, holiday and music. Candles are important, the Danes burn more candles than any other nation in Europe and almost twice as much as Austria who come second. Mind you if you live so far North of the equator, a way of creating light is important.

As with all the Scandinavian countries, the Danes are concerned with good design, particularly with the correct lights and lighting. “Danes select lamps carefully and place them strategically to create soothing pools of light.”

The rule of thumb is the lower the temperature the lower light, making more Hygge.

Reading this book what struck me was that Hygge is the art of creating the kind of childhood some of us were lucky enough to grow up with, before the day of mobile phones, daytime television and the internet. It is a more humble simple and comforting way of living. Buy the Little Book of Hygge and learn how to live well as the Danes do. Enjoy the snow  keep warm and enjoy those Hygge moments.

Mini Makes – Envelope back notepad

This is a very easy and practical way of using up old envelopes to create a notepad. Useful  for writing shopping lists and phone messages. I would love to say this is my idea but I must be honest and admit to having seen similar elsewhere. I have one friend who creates wonderful works of art from old envelopes so that are really worth taking a second look at and also why waste them.

You will need a collection of old envelopes, split open to reveal the patterned inside, a hole punch, paper scissors, charity shop key rings with easy opening rings.



Cut the envelope backs to roughly the same size. Punch a hole in one corner and then thread on the envelopes, with the patterned side facing upwards, onto a key ring.



Flowerbomb! By Hannah Read-Baldrey

25 beautiful craft projects to blow your blossoms by Hannah Read-Baldrey


If flowers and crafting are your passions then this is your  book, flower power for the twenty first century.

Hannah Read-Baldrey, who incidentally models her own makes throughout, is very stylish and her creations  are equally stylish.


Included  are projects for both the home and  to wear. There are 25 different makes  covering a variety of crafts. Many are easy to do and accessible with sewing, sticking, paper crafts and crotchet. There are unusual items such as a resin covered floral phone case and dried flower resin panes. Making floral bath bombs and sugar craft flowers and white rose marshmallows are also included.
I adore the fake tattoo and the many fashion projects such as the three dimensional fimo Poppies that are made to enhance a pair of plain black sunglasses.
Many of the projects are the adornment of existing garments such as The Killer Heels,  a pair of mules decorated with 3D leatherette Hellebores.

A black bomber jacket is up cycled with fabulous sequin flowers. My most favourite item in the book is The Frida Flower Crown made from velvet lined with satin. I shall be making myself one as soon as I have finished this review.Flower Bomb19016

Lovely photographs by Tiffany Mumford.

Hannah Read- Baldrey runs a successful blog called

Published by Pavillion  at £14.99


Fresh Clean Home by Wendy Graham

Fresh Clean Home 9781911595106This is an unusual book for me to review as it is not about crafts, although if you follow the very easy recipes to create your own cleaning products you will be crafting them. I must admit to not being too keen on the hippy dippy yoghurt knitter vibe that creating your own cleaning products might suggest. However Fresh Clean Home is  very far from that and is full of recipes for natural cleaning products from

Wendy Graham who runs the green living blog ‘Moral Fibres’. I love that name, it sums up the blog in two words.

This book shows you how to make your home smell as fresh as a daisy with these eco-friendly, money-saving, germ-busting recipes.

Using a base of essential oils and natural ingredients, these cleaning products are easy to make, are kinder to your skin and to the environment, while being as effective as any shop-bought solution.

The recipes use simple, inexpensive ingredients that are widely available such as bicarbonate of soda, vinegar, salt and citrus fruit, and will leave your home sparkling clean. You can even customize the fragrances to make your home smell crisp, time and time again.


Fresh Clean Home guides the reader from the kitchen to laundry and the bathroom, and also includes a section of recipes for specific household cleaning products, such as window and mirror cleaner, carpet and upholstery spot cleaner and sticky stuff remover.

Clean every nook and cranny, with surface cleaners and bathroom shiners, laundry powder and fabric conditioner, kettle descaler and more, for a beautiful, fresh clean home.

Obviously I had to do some testing, so first of all I tried the ‘Lemon Grove microwave cleaner’ It is very easy to make and did the job well.FRESH HOME SHOT 13 17

I then went on to try out her method for getting ink stains out of garments. I have a much loved pair of cashmere finger-less mittens that were ink stained. Wendy  suggests putting ink stains in milk. I did just that and  the milk turned blue within twenty minutes and the stain came out. It felt like alchemy and I  am more than delighted with the result.

The third item I tried out was a necessity.  I was at a friend’s for dinner and whilst passing me a glass of wine she managed to  tip a lit candle on to  me, the result was wax on a new cashmere cardigan, tee shirt, vest and trousers. The method of wax removal I was already familiar with, but for anyone who doesn’t know, it is the way to get rid of candle wax. Place a piece of brown paper over the  area where the wax is and iron with a warm iron . The wax will melt on the garment and go through to the paper. You may have to do it a few times before it all disappears. When you have removed as much as you possibly can, wash the garment. At the end of all that everything is as good as new and no stains!

A book I highly recommend. Oh and I forgot to mention, lovely styling and photography throughout the book. Photographs by Rachel Whiting.

Wendy Graham graduated with an MSc in Environment Sustainability from the University of Edinburgh in 2005, but it wasn’t until she became a mum that she started her blog in 2013. Since then she has shown thousands of readers how easy, affordable and stylish it can be to love a greener life. Whilst interested in a wide range of environmental topics, green cleaning is a particular passion.


Published by Pavilion