Sunday, October 21, 2012

Thifty Chicken: A lovely $4 chair

With the arrival of Spring, my annual 'clean and re-decorate the house' illness has struck.  Again.  I do believe that I am genetically programed to re-do the nest on a near constant basis, but it decidedly reaches fever pitch in Spring.  When I can see the hiding dirt.  And the furniture in daylight.

So thank goodness for op shops.  I. LOVE. THEM.  Because, you find fantastic stuff that you wouldn't otherwise find, at an unbeatable price, the money goes to a good cause, and the house gets a change up: WIN/WIN/WIN/WIN!  But you already know that!

I have completed a few projects recently which I hope to share with you soon, but I wanted to jump ahead and show you this adorable chair.  It was purchased as part of my table dressing for Chicken Ink. Creative at the upcoming summer markets, but of course I could not deny Miss 4 the joy of having it in her room the other 99% of the time.

Throwing caution to the wind (i.e. with no training and no research into upholstery) I jumped into this little project, and crossed my fingers and toes, hoping for the best.  Because really, there isn't much you can't do with a staple gun.  Is there?  Did I tell you that I have an electric staple gun?  Look out world! 

This is the BEFORE and AFTER:

Cute, no?  While you're you're having a squiz, check out the other items in the room, which are either second hand, re-decorated, or handmade:
  • Chest of drawers - was my grandmother's. It was dark wood, and hubby re-painted in Antique White USA.
  • Mirror - was already distressed and awesome, bought from an op shop when I was in my 20's.
  • Little shabby chic box - recently purchased for a song at a local op shop.
  • Photo frame - ok that one was from the Reject Shop (so not quite but nearly).
  • Cushion - was a lovely pink napkin, already embroidered and sitting all by itself in an op shop, turned into an appliqued cushion be moi.
  • Bunting - see it in the reflection, also by me.
  • A Calamity Bolt filly - because Elke does the BEST horses in Australia.
  • And of course, the new chair.
And here is a bit of a visual step by step of how I did it.  Yes, I did use a nappy box as part of the upholstery.

Don't 20 month olds make the BEST helpers?  Except when they try to insist on using the power tools.  And hammers.  And nails.... 

The whole thing cost me under $10. I had the fabric and everything I needed in my stash, including the box which I used to help me create a stable back to wrap the fabric around.  I did have to get some new upholstery nails, but that was it.  And there are stacks left over for another job. 

So here is Miss 4, showing off her new chair.  I am glad she likes it, cos I am not changing it now!

Do you like to thrift, re-do, renovate, up cycle?  What was your best project?

Cheers, Chicken

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Chicken's Creative Space

Are you lucky enough to have a dedicated space for your creative persuits?  I am, but I wasn't always.

When I first started Chicken Ink. 3 years ago, I was taking over the family dining table and driving everyone nuts.  Then we moved house, and a dedicated workspace was a non-negotiable item on our checklist.  But then, when we moved in I only had trestle tables and other temporary furniture to work on.  Still, it was a massive step up!

Recently though, after carefully watching my local Buy Swap Sell pages on Facebook, and scouring the op shops, I have picked up some key pieces of furniture second hand, allowing me to fit out my creative space with much more of the design aesthetics I have always dreamed of. My space now proudly houses a refectory table and two second hand chairs, a vintage cupboard and an upcycled chest of draws {decorated by moi}.

Side note: I love recycling and upcycling, and I love supporting other creatives.  Therefore it pleases me no end that my new antique fabric cupboard with shabby finish is from a local maker, Michelle of "I Love Vintage".  It was the final piece to upgrade the space.

While the area will always be a work in progress, I am super happy with it's feel and atmosphere.
I sometimes just like to stand in it.  I know I am really lucky to have it.  Now to find time to make stuff.....

Enjoy my photographic tour of my creative space!

 Cheers, Chicken

Monday, March 19, 2012

Dinner and drinks with Yes, Dear

I love this social media thing. How did we ever live without it?

How did we maintain our connections with people who live far away? How did we meet new people who live in another town, another state, another country? Oh all those missed opportunities!

Thank you Social Media for somehow linking me to Ange, from the blog Yes, Dear. For a year or so I have enjoyed my regular contact with her via Facebook, and reading her blog, and always suspected her to be someone who was 'my kind of person'.

Thank you fate for putting us together, in the same city at the same time, for 2 hours. Just enough time for a girly dinner with a couple of wines, and non stop talking.

Yep. She is exactly who I thought she was, but even more lovely and awesome. That is her on the right, me on the left.

Have you been able to meet in person an online friend? Was it as great as you had hoped? Were they who you thought they were? Do tell!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

6 Reasons To Buy Local, Buy Handmade

Have you ever stopped to consider the story behind the items you purchase? Whether they were created in accordance with good humanitarian practices? How about their impact on the environment? Is your purchase benefiting your local economy; a local business, a local designer? How about if the design is unique and original, or just another version of what you can find on any end cap, in any department store?

Having the ability to make a conscious decision about how and where we spend our money is a gift; one we can use to do more than add to our possessions. One that can benefit our community, local designers and the environment. One that might just help a Mum send her child to dance class, a Dad afford to take the family on holiday, an artist to make a viable living doing what they are passionate about. One that doesn’t support sweat-shop manufacturing.

Here are 6 reasons why buying locally produced handmade items is good for everyone.

Love the environment When you purchase locally produced handmade goods, they don’t have to travel hundreds or thousands of kilometres to reach you, reducing the use of fossil fuels, and pollution being released into the atmosphere. It is also common for designers to create up-cycled products from pre-loved materials, potentially reducing the number of items going into landfill.

Be a humanitarian Handmade artists create items in their own homes or studios, and on their own terms. You can be sure that human rights have been respected during their creation. Every time you buy a locally produced handmade item, you are reducing demand for mass produced items made in sweat shops.

Support your local economy Purchasing a locally produced handmade item has a flow on effect which benefits your community. Your purchase supports a local person to put that money back into the local economy; it may mean that the maker can buy more supplies, extend themselves by studying, afford to go to the movies, donate their time and skills to charity or even just buy groceries. Surely its better the money goes to them, than to a chain store CEO who wants a new sports car.

Unique design, quality production Handmade is often fashion forward or better still timeless. Makers are producing items which are one off or limited run, and different to what you can find in every chain store. Moreover, the craftsmanship and attention to detail is generally of a very high standard; designs created and made with genuine care and attention, for your benefit.

Personal connection Buying locally produced handmade products often affords us the opportunity to meet with the maker; to learn their story and hear about the creation process. Many makers also love to create custom items specifically for you; an added luxury not possible in the mass produced marketplace.

Give a gift with care Giving handmade gifts can denote an extra level of care and attention shown when choosing the gift; and you can be pretty confident that no one else will give the same gift!


Pictured: Shown above is a new retail space inside the stables gallery, Bairnsdale VIC. Along with the gallery director, I established it to support East Gippsland makers by providing them with permanent ongoing retail space within our community. It's called The {East Gippsland} Makery.

It's the first step in some grand plans to create a handmade cooperative with a dedicated retail space in our CBD; which will include a sewing lounge and public meeting space.

What's happening in your community? Is there a gap that needs to be filled? Are you waiting for someone else to fill it? Hmmm... maybe something to think about then?

Cheers, Chicken

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