4 articles Articles posted in DIY

My Top DIY Tips

Before we begin, I should probably confess that I am by NO means a DIY expert. By the same token, we’ve been doing a fair bit of decorating and DIY recently as we had a few bits in the house that needed doing and our landlady asked us to do them. Between painting, damp-proofing, repairs and improvements, it’s been a real baptism of fire as it’s years since I’ve done anything like this, and I was probably a kid helping my parents the last time I did any of it. Jumping in at the deep end means that we’ve learned a few things along the way so I thought I’d share some of my pearls of wisdom with you:

It Doesn’t Matter How Careful You Are, Your Clothes Will Get Dirty

You can be the neatest, most careful painter and DIY-er on the planet but there’s still a better than average chance that you’ll end up getting SOMETHING on your clothes! Wearing old clothes for decorating in is all well and good, but using dedicated workwear if you have a big renovation project to complete is a really good idea as not only will you not mind if you get it dirty, you’ll also feel more in the DIY mood if you’re all kitted out. Take a look at the Engelbert Strauss’s website for some great options.

It Can Make or Break a Relationship

Decorating is one of those things which can be really fun and a great exercise in teamwork but it can also be massively stressful and a source of conflict for many couples. Husband and I are lucky enough to be really good at working together as a team when we’re doing practical things like decorating or furniture building, but it has also caused some fairly big rows in the past, so be prepared for potential tiffs!

It Might Not Always Go To Plan

Having a vision of what things will look like is all well and good but tempering your expectations will do you a favour in the long run, rather than allowing yourself to be disappointed if it doesn’t go your way. Husband and I recently decorated our bedroom and I had my heart set on a wallpapered feature wall, only to realise that the wall was just too damp to hang paper on. Although we’ve treated the damp and painted over it, it’s still pointless hanging paper which could ultimately be ruined but that didn’t change the fact that I was VERY disappointed for a while!

Have you learned something from a renovation project recently? Do leave me a comment below as I’d love to hear about it!

Making Your Garden Surfaces Kid Friendly

It might seem utterly bonkers to say that grass could be ‘out of fashion’, but there’s been a definite shift in recent years away from the traditional lawn and towards more modern solutions which can be used all year round. Grass is great in many ways, but is probably the single-most high maintenance flooring for a garden as it needs to be mowed, edged, fed, watered and weeded on a regular basis. Also, if you have pets it can be hard to clean up after them if their main toilet area is grass. Today, I thought I’d show you some really great alternatives to a grass lawn so that you can be inspired for your own lawn makeover.

Rubber Mulch Play Area

You know those squidgy rubber floors that you see in play parks, usually beneath apparatus like swings and slides? Well, it’s possible to use those on a more domestic level, too. It’s clean, safe, easy to maintain and will give your kids a safe area for playing on. It also comes in different colours and textures; find yourself a rubber mulch play area specialist and they’ll be able to advise you on all the options available.

Astroturf

Astroturf or fake grass is a great option if you still want to maintain the LOOK of a lawn, without all the maintenance. It’s a little on the expensive side but we know several people who’ve replaced their lawns with fake grass and they feel like it’s one of the best decor decisions they’ve ever made.

Bark Chips

Bark flooring is also something you see a lot in parks and playgrounds and it can be a great option at home as it’s largely something that you can buy and lay all by yourself. It can be expensive if you have a large area to cover and you’ll probably need to top it up every now and again to account for chips which get washed away in wind or rain, but it can look really nice and give the area a rustic feel, if you aren’t a fan of the super-modern.

Shingle

Shingle is a great choice if you are trying to cover a large area on a budget, but it’s not so great for play areas of if you have pets. It’s good for people who just want to make a relatively under-used area look a bit smarter and is easy to top up with an extra bag every now and again, making it a popular choice for people who are trying to sell a house and smarten up the exterior.

Slate Chips

Slate chips are really popular at the moment because they are usually grey, a colour which has soared in popularity for decoration and masonry in recent years. Slate gives a really premium look to a driveway or patio area and although it’s not cheap it doesn’t need to be topped up as often because each chips is heavier and doesn’t get brushed away as easily.

Making the Most of Your Space at Home

spaceSometimes, it can feel like your house has got smaller, when in fact it’s a simple case of your growing family needing more room, but moving isn’t always an option, especially if you own your home and don’t want a bigger mortgage. There are, however, plenty of innovative ways that you can gain space in your current home just by making a few changes. Here, we take a look at some of the spaces you can reclaim in order to make the most of your space.

Extend Upwards

If you live in a house with a decent sized loft, this is probably the most obvious area to claim as living space. Many people have lofts which are big enough to accommodate a full bathroom as well as a couple of bedrooms, or even a big master suite, and this can add real value to your home so your investment will be protected. Opt for VELUX windows (more here) for a real sense of space and light. There are a huge amount of options with VELUX windows, and they’re super energy efficient, giving you space, light AND insulation against the cold. You also needn’t worry about noise, because VELUX is great at blocking out noise and even minimises the sound of rain or hail on the window!

Convert Your Garage

Recent research showed that only 24% of people actually use their garages for storing their car, which means you could have a whole load of space which isn’t fulfilling its potential. If the garage is attached to your home, you could easily knock through and re-purpose the space, maybe giving you a huge kitchen/dining/living area, or even an extra bedroom. Even if your garage is detached and in the garden, it could still be refurbished into a delightful office space or granny annexe.

Under the Stairs

Many houses have a cupboard under the stairs but in actual fact, the WHOLE of a staircase is usually empty underneath and simply boxed away. There’s so much space under a staircase just asking to be utilised – lots of people strip away the boxing in altogether and use it as office space, with a desk underneath. It can also be turned into really innovative storage if you add drawers and cupboards along the full length of the staircase.

Conservatories

If you’re crying out for more space then a conservatory could be an excellent solution. Conservatories aren’t the draughty, cold spaces they used to be with modern glazing and insulation and they’re perfect for using as a playroom, dining room, second sitting room (great if you have bigger kids!) or any other space that you may require.

Summer Houses

If you have a decent amount of outdoor space then a wooden summer house could be the ideal solution to your space issues. One of my friends uses  summer house as a writing retreat and takes her laptop down there when she needs space and it provides the perfect place for her to work, distraction-free.

 

Gardening and DIY with Kids This Spring

When it gets to this time of year, where the weather is a bit more clement, my mind is always full of all of the DIY and garden stuff that I’d like to do and now that the kids are older and a little more able to get involved (don’t worry, I won’t let Burrito Baby hold any power tools!) I’ve been thinking about things we can do together. Luckily, my friends from the blogging world are the BEST source of inspiration, so I thought I’d share some brilliant posts with you of my favourite projects that they’ve done.

How to Make a Tardis Wardrobe

I’ve you’ve got a gaggle of mini Whovians living in your house then this guide to making a tardis wardrobe is perfect for you. Husband and I really encourage the girls to have their interests and try to indulge them as far as possible so I absolutely love the fact that Penny at Parentshaped has nurtured her daughter’s love for all things Doctor Who with her bedroom furniture.

CD Fish Bird Scarers

CD fish bird scarers

I absolutely LOVE this idea for DIY bird-scarers that Liz over at Me and My Shadow made with her daughter to protect their home garden patch. As well as upcycling and making use of old CDs, thus keeping them out of landfill, they look really pretty too. Such a great project to do with kid as you can be as creative as you like with how you decorate them.

DIY Matchbox Drawer Chest

Red Ted Art DIY matchbox drawers

Something that we ALWAYS need more of in our house is storage, so I love the idea of making ourselves some storage solutions out of other things. These cute little drawers from Red Ted Art are the perfect place to keep art supplies and school stuff, and I’ll definitely be making some of these with the girls.

Top Tips for Gardening With Children

At the risk of going a bit meta, Carolin at Mummy Alarm has put together another rundown post, sharing a whole load of other posts about gardening with kids. It’s a real wealth of information which will be useful in the months to come and I’m going to go through and read all of it with interest.

Bedroom in a Box

Dulux Bedroom in a BoxMaking design decisions can be really tricky, especially when you’re trying to stick to a theme, which is why Dulux decided to make the “Bedroom in a Box”, which Sian at Helpful Mum reviewed. She chose a jungle theme for her kids and takes us through exactly how she dealt with the makeover, as well as giving her opinion on the results.

Five Easy Foods to Grow with Kids

If you’re planning on growing veg this spring and summer with your kids, Emma at The Syders has got some excellent suggestions of what you can grow. When I was a kid, I loved nothing more than helping my grandad to pick the peas and runner beans he’d grown in the garden and I think it’s really important for kids to see where food comes from…plus, NOTHING tastes better than strawberries grown in your own garden!

Planting and Sowing

Emmy’s Mummy has got another great gardening post about how to get the kids involved with the planting and sowing stage of gardening, perfect for this time of year. They’re growing a whole variety of different fruit and veg which will be a fabulous crop once they’re all grown and ready for harvest.

Easy DIY Crepe Paper Tulips Craft Tutorial

Tulips are one of my favourite flowers (have you ever seen the black ones?!) and this tulip craft is absolutely perfect for this time of year when the flowers are starting to bloom. As Katie says, they’d be the perfect centrepiece for an Easter dinner, but I also think they’d be ideal for Mother’s Day too, especially if your Mum has allergies and can’t have real flowers.