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Posted by Mama Max - - 1 comments

I am a sucker when it comes to jewelry! I am not talking diamonds (although, I love the ones Him Indoors gave me), rather, I am talking the cheap-and-cheerful type! I am definitely a bit partial to a beaded or long pendant style necklace, but there is no getting away from the fact that they are a bugger to store! I have a lovely leather jewelry box with plenty of drawers and compartments, but, necklaces will invariably become entangled and indistinguishable from one another! So I was looking for a solution to storing them in a fashion that enabled me to see them all whilst getting dressed (for easy outfit assemblage), that was totally easy to use without any fiddling about (I am notoriously lazy with things like this) and that was as cheap-and-cheerful as the necklaces themselves!

The solution came in the form of some old shower curtain hooks I found at the back of a cupboard in our bathroom (thanks to our landlord for not tossing them out)! They are admittedly a little dated, but this lends itself to a slightly bohmeian 'shabby chic' ambience!

You will need...

  • A set of decorative style shower curtain hooks - second hand/thrift stores, garage sales or ebay might be worth a look for some old and inexpensive hooks.  Or if you prefer a more specific look or something quite contempory, check out these...

  •  A closet rail
  • A selection of fabulous necklaces!!!

You simply slide the hooks onto a hanging rail in your closet.  The hooks are designed to fit over a shower curtain pole and to slide easily, so they are supposed to go onto a pole with a smaller diameter.  However, they also just about slide onto a standard closet rail albeit with a slightly snugger fit... this worked well as there was less movement once the hooks were in place. The hooks are then perfect for looping necklaces over.

This could not be simpler, but it has really helped me keep the clutter in my closet under control... with the obvious exception of the shelf above as evidenced in the pics below!  :-)

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Posted by Mama Max - - 0 comments

Silent Sunday

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Posted by Mama Max - - 2 comments

I am frequently looking for ways to brighten our home and add some colour without spending a fortune and I have blogged about this before a number of times. We live in a rented house, so it's not like we can decorate the walls directly and there is a LOT of beige in our home (much to my distaste)! So I have found that a good solution is to put up large colourful items as 'wall art' (sounds a little pretentious, but it's not, honestly!).

I have done this successfully in our master bedroom, where I created a large 'canvas' to match our bedding by repainting some old fabric and stapling it around a wooden frame. I've also put up rugs on the wall to create large scale wall decor on a budget. This last example was for my son's new cowboy themed bedroom (which, I am happy to report, he loves). It was while shopping in a Texas souvenir gift shop for a cowboy-boot shaped money box for his shelf (sad, I know) that I saw a tea towel with a Wild West themed map of Texas on it. I purchased it on a whim and am glad I did so, because it has made a great canvas wall art addition to his new bedroom.

I had intended to buy some wood and create a canvas stretcher frame, but this requires tools I would have had to borrow, so I had been putting it off.  I have done this before and it is quite straightforward and low cost to do, but you will need a few tools to cut & join the pieces of wood together.  There's a good tutorial on how to do this here.

But then I had an(other) idea in the grocery store while picking up some air conditioning filters... these are sturdy yet lightweight, relatively cheap and easy to come by (at least here in Texas where air con is standard!).  But mostly, they are the perfect solution to creating a stretched canvas piece of wall art.

You will need...
  • a piece of fabric you like ... this could be an offcut, a silk scarf, a coordinating pillowcase to match your bedding, a themed tea towel or dish towel or whatever takes your fancy!
  • a 1" thick air conditioning filter that is at least 2" smaller than your fabric all the way around, for example, my tea towel measured 22"x23" so I bought a 20"x20" filter
  • a strong adhesive or staple gun... I used a hot glue gun
  • white paint, white out, white paper or stickers ... I used white address label stickers
  • a soda can ring pull
  • an iron

Firstly, it's a good idea to iron your fabric before starting to make sure there are no unsightly wrinkles or creases on display.

If your fabric is pale, like mine, you will need to cover any writing on your air filter as this may show through. I used white adhesive address labels, but you could use white paint or glue on white paper.

Then, place your fabric over your frame.  Play around with the position until it suits your needs... this is less important with abstract prints, but was very important for my dish towel as I wanted the map central with an even border.  Once positioned, place a dab of glue in the center of one of the long edges and press the fabric to affix.  Pull the fabric taut and repeat on the opposite side, and then again on the other two edges.  Don't pull the fabric too taut though, as the frame is only made of cardboard and may warp out of shape.... you are just aiming for it to not be baggy!

Next, place another dab of glue about an inch or two from one of the corners and gently pull the fabric into place as before and stick it down.  Working on alternate corners, repeat this another 7 times (once on either side of each of the four corners).

Then flip the filter over so the fabric is face down.  You should then place a bead of glue along the edge, leaving the corner.  Gently, wrap the fabric from the front around to the back and press into place.  Repeat for the other 3 edges, until just the corners are left open.  Fold the corners as neatly as possible and glue into place.

Finally, create a hanger for your wall canvas by gluing a soda can ring pull just below the center point of the top edge on the back.

Once your glue is fully dry, your canvas is ready to hang!

If you don't have a hot glue gun or a strong adhesive, you could use a staple gun instead! This whole project cost me about $11 ... $5 for the dish towel & $6 for the filter!  And I think it looks pretty effective, so I'm now on the lookout for some funky fabric to create more!  Remember though, tea towels work brilliantly for this purpose and you can get some that are literally works of art!  Just a quick search turned up the following, all costing less than $15:

From the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, a reproduction of Paternosto's 1965, Staccato.

Or the iconic Collection du Chat Noir, 1898 Steinlen.

From the Tate Museum, London, Edvard Munch's Starry Night.

Finally, for those of you loving the Texas theme (and why the heck ain't that y'all!?)... I've managed to track down the exact same tea towel I bought in the local gift store, online... good old Amazon! They even do a 52" square tablecloth version, but I'm not sure you'd get a filter that big! :-) Click on the links below for more information!

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Posted by Mama Max - - 0 comments

My kids all went off to school today!!!! After 87 days of having them trailing me around like shadows, I honestly felt a bit bereft to be without them... saying that, I'm sure the feeling will pass! In fact, today was actually the twins' first day at proper school and so was actually a bit of a milestone for us! Cue lots of photos and the odd tearful moment (me, not them!).

It's going to be a bit of a culture shock managing 3 kids' school timetables rather just the Big One's and so I am on a mission to get organised! All 3 boys have come home with a folder full of notices, art work and class timetables today and my fridge and noticeboard are at full capacity... so I decided to create a streamlined magnetic display for the boys class information to maximize the noticeboard real estate!

You will need:
  • a clear plastic wallet for each child
  • sticky tape
  • small post-it notes (the tab divider ones work really well as they are clear on the bit that attaches to the page)
  • scissors
  • coloured paper & glue stick (optional)
  • a strip of magnetic tape (alternatively you could just use strong fridge magnets or pins on a normal noticeboard)

Firstly, bind all your wallets together along the hole punched edge using sticky tape.

Then you can cover this with a folded strip of coloured paper or card to neaten the edge.

Cut, peel and stick a length of magnetic tape to the covered edge of the wallets.

Using post-its or special sticky index tabs, create a tab for each of your kids on each of the wallets along the opposite edge from the covered magnetic side.

Slide in each child's timetable and then attach to your fridge door or magnetic noticeboards using the magnetic tape.  You can then simply use the tabs to locate the specific timetable you need at the time without having to cover your entire fridge door with paper!

How are you gearing up for the return to school?!!!
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