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Shabby chic bathroom

Posted on 21 April, 2014 at 7:19 Comments comments (9)
Just getting some time finally to pop on my long neglected website and do some updating! Heres a quick post about my budget shower room revamp! 
The whole thing came in at under £100 though i appreciate if you are starting with a lime green suite this may not be possible!! I had a slightly dated scruffy white suite that needed some shabby romance added. As usual my budget was non existant but with the imminent arrival of a top photographer coming to do a magazine shoot the artistic pressure was on! I love the look of furniture in bathrooms, it lends a certain grandeur, but with `possibly` the smallest space in the world to work with there where limited possibilities! I opted for creating the illusion of a higher end sink unit by getting a hifi unit the correct height off ebay for £16 and cutting a semicircle out of the top, taking the back off and sliding round the stem of the sink unit!(and theres still storage room to use inside for loo rolls etc!) I painted it in Annie Sloan `antoinette` pink chalk paint, distressed and put a laquer over the top to waterproof! I renovated an old outdated corner unit(bought for £15) and stapled some fabric behind the door to hide shampoos, toothbrushes etc! The `blind` is actually just a £2 piece of rough hessian nailed to the top of the window with some lace ribbon tied on, no it doesnt work like a blind but hey, its a bathroom and i dont plan on sleeping in there!! With a pretty vintage mirror found on gumtree and a few little knick knacks and some pretty `fake` roses its a much nicer space now! Anyway off to entertain the kids! Good luck with your renovations xFiFi
With thanks to Lucrezia Vozza for the lovely photographs.

Shabby chic style candlestick ideas, lace, keys etc

Posted on 21 December, 2013 at 10:00 Comments comments (0)
I get quite a few emails about my candlesticks so thought I`d just post a quick blog on them, they`re so easy to do! There are some stunning candlesticks around, laura Ashley, white company etc however if you (like me) are on a pretty unforgiving budget or just plain don`t want to overspend here it is!
Firstly you don't need to spend a fortune for the basic candlestick, it doesn't matter what colour it is or even if its wood or metal, a nice shape is probably the most important part and variation in size and height is great if you want to do a big display! Ebay, charity shops, ikea, b&m, car boot sales- there are lots of places to look for those `bargains` we all love! I often paint mine white if they have started life off another colour. I use Annie sloan `old white` or `original` and its really a 2 minute job to paint! They can be customised with so many things but obviously do be careful if you are going to light them not to have anything flammable near the top! My favouirite things for customising the candles and sticks are-
1. Lace vintage style ribbons- these can literally just be tied round the sticks or candles and give a soft vintage vibe,fab! If you are looking for a cheap option to buy then end of rolls can be bought in bundles from ebay and haberdasher stalls at markets and work out very reasonable per metre!
2. I love antique sheet music that is nicely yellowed with time(you could also coffee/tea stain new music!) simply wrap round the candle and selotape or glue at the back! you can also layer with lace ribbon on top!
3. Vintage or antique style keys! These look fab on so many things and have a slightly Alice in wonderland charm! loop on ribbon or jute!
4. Vintage style tags, I add them to far too much but there are some great ones around and you can also make your own!
5.Hanging hearts- the ones I put on chairs just loop perfectly over my candlesticks so you see them in many of my table settings matching the chair fabrics!
There are loads of other things you can use, old necklaces and brooches etc but the above are the 5 things I use most. If you want to make an impact on a dresser groupings of very tall ones medium and short ones do look fab together and maybe a pretty vase of flowers nearby, ooh I`m getting carried away! Anyway have fun creating and please no fires!! xFiFi

Shabby chic vintage fireplace (chimney free!)

Posted on 20 December, 2013 at 17:39 Comments comments (0)
I am finally getting round to putting my blog post on about creating a `chimney free` log burning fireplace!
 After moving house and missing my real fire last Christmas(not only for the cosiness it brings on cold winter mornings but also the lack of decoration over the Christmas period) I decided this year to do a fireplace.
With my `as usual` non existant budget I scoured ebay to see what could be found locally suspecting that `antique` and `marble` would not be on the list! I was thrilled to find a black plaster Louis fireplace someone was getting rid of within a 10 mile radius and for under £30. The grand shape meant this would be a perfect renovation project for my trusty Annie sloan chalk paint( in paris grey). I already had the plasma tv encased in a vintage picture frame and set into the wall (with the help of my long sufferiing husband) and the fireplace fit perfectly under this with no need to move anything around. I bought a small electric black log burner and decided to risk `Annie sloaning` this too in `country grey` to give it more the look I wanted and then used a hannants heat proof laquer to set.
 Aware that my tileing skills are limited and that even budget tiles seem rather expensive these days I decided a quirky, easy and very budget friendly option would be to use old sheet music as a backdrop to the burner. With about £2 of sheet music left over from other projects, some wallpaper paste and 5 minutes of work I had the backdrop to the burner looking quite fun and quirky! I bought a bag of real logs and dusted off an old coal bucket from the cupboard and I now have a fire back! The cold winter mornings are certainly more cosy for the children and though it doesn't smell the same(I miss that real fire smell!) with a blanket and a coffee snuggled up in the evening and a background of youtube sounds-`crackling log fire`(yes really!!) its pretty close!..XFiFi

Shabby chic christmas burlap stockings(hessian!)

Posted on 15 November, 2013 at 8:19 Comments comments (0)
Well, its heading for that time of year again and I cant believe its my first post since summer... The children are off and I have got a start on a couple of `crafty` projects I have been trying to find the time to do from my back log of ideas!!
It really is the most wonderful time of the year to me, the smoky evenings have started getting dark and there are suddenly 101 Christmassy places I want to visit with the kids, Christmas markets and the wonderful `Christmas adventure` at stockeld park in wetherby where you can take a walk in a magical forest as the light is disappearing and the woodland is lit up with magical things to find with the kids...
    All the excitement has pushed me into festive mode and so here is a Christmassy craft idea to try...
In the states I believe the trend for burlap in all its rustic charm has been around for quite some time but over here in the uk its started creeping up the last couple of years with certain fabulous items I have seen just not readily available yet without hefty shipping! I LOVE burlap,hessian,jute whatever we are calling the rustic and charming grain sack fabric, I even have it in my bathroom as a blind...
As you will know if you`ve met me, I am not a sower, I don't have a machine and if I did I wouldn't know how to use it(another thing on the list...) I am a `customiser` and so when I found a basic stocking for £4 in wilko I was quite excited that the part I couldn`t do was already taken care of and could finally have a go at a full size christmas stocking...
I have various lace ribbons, old tags, buttons, mdf cutout shapes(ebay ebay ebay) and without much actual skill I managed to create the stocking I have been after in about 20 mins! You could add endless amounts of things to yours to make it your own, I used an offcut of Clarke and Clarke fabric and pieces of ribbon tied into bows, a wooden key and edged with a ruffle lace ribbon on the sleeve of the stocking.
 I have plans for a couple more and plan to hang them around the fireplace(blog post to come on how to fake a log burning fireplace without a chimney) -though I`m tempted to do some stockings for my bed posts too.( I did some customised mini hanging decorations last month!) I will have a few more christmassy posts coming on soon- I promise...hope your feeling festive too.. x FiFiChic

FiFiChic In Period Homes and interiors!

Posted on 11 July, 2013 at 19:26 Comments comments (1)
Hi there, I have just realised quite how long it has been since my last post..... I should have some more time now the summer holidays are almost here! Well, I have just got home from the kids school summer disco and am having a peaceful moment so thought I would pop on here to say `hello` and put on a picture of the magazine article FiFiChic was featured in for August Period Homes and Interiors.(Such a fantastic magazine) I was very honoured to be put in an article about `vintage chic` with such beautiful brands/shops as Laura Ashley, Graham and Green, John lewis and Clarke and Clarke, - as a tiny operation It is just me and my long suffering husband at FiFiChic,, I`m generally covered in various shades of chalk paint and often work in the evening when the kids are in bed with `magic` power ballads playing....
I`m quite overwhelmed by the interest that vintage and upcycling has brought and have some more exciting projects coming up in the next few months so I promise I will keep you all posted, and I have a back log of blog post ideas I will try to work my way through over the summer!! In the meantime do pop over to my facebook page to say Hi! xFiFi

Shabby chic tables with pews and benches

Posted on 15 April, 2013 at 4:26 Comments comments (2)
Hi there, sorry its been so long, its not you its me...! Just a quick post today about the use of pews and benches with dining tables. I love doing this particularly in small spaces/kitchens etc because you can use a narrow table and a bench on one side (that fully tucks under when not in use) and pretty chairs on the other side maintaining the attractive look of a dining set without having to opt for a breakfast bar etc to save space!
If space is less of a problem a beautiful pew can be a fantastic seating option. I find they work best against walls and whether its a stunning reclaimed gothic church pew(sigh) or a painted mdf one they provide fantastically practical seating and (most importantly!!) another place to dislay pretty cushions that your husband never new you needed before(how did he not know!).
I have fond memories of being squeezed onto a pew with 100 other children(ok I do occassionally exagerate!) for parties and dinners as a child, my mum went through a pine`reclaimed` phase, unfortunately this involved getting rid of our inherited antiques and trawling shops and barns to find more modern furniture to replace them... however, I do remember the pew as being one of the changes I approved of!
For my `tiny` eating area (yes I do sometimes miss my grand dining room) I used an old church pew cut into a corner bench (with pretty cushions!) to provide flexible seating for our family, with a sweet vintage drop leaf table/trolley! My children are very happy with it, Oscar loves kneeling on the cushions and eating breakfast there and the table can be wheeled out of the way to hoover up the mess after!!
Anyway, thanks for reading and do remember to pop over to my facebook page if you want to say `hi`, i`m always on there and very happy to answer questions if your thinking about having a go at renovating for the first time!

Annie Sloan Chalkpaint transformations-Country Grey

Posted on 20 January, 2013 at 18:47 Comments comments (1)
Hi there, as usual I am blogging late at night when my brain is running away with me! I have decided to do some blogs organised into colours of Annie Sloan chalk paint since I spend most of my waking hours painting with the stuff! Even my 9 year old daughter talks in annie colours these days! Do forgive me if you are unfamiliar with these amazing chalk paints, you can find out loads about them including a great list of stockists on annies website This blog is is dedicated to my current favourite Country grey and I will do some on other colours I use over time!
     Country grey is beautiful neutral to add to your existing chalk paint repertoire and has a soft country feel to it thats just looks understated and classy or `quietly expensive` might be an appropriate desciption. I love the lack of yellowy tone in it and though everyone sees colour differently I would say it has more mushroom/taupe/beige tones to it though it will clearly look different on each screen! It looks good with other similar colours as well as whites and earthy tones, hessian, wood and looks fantastic in bedrooms as its a lovely calm colour, I have 3 pieces painted in it in my own bedroom including the cabinet in the bottom picture(yes I do have a bath in my bedroom!!)! Anyway just a quick blog tonight and hope you fall in love with it as much as I do, its a colour worth trying! Night night! xFiFi

New Year Upcycle Your House with chalk paint!

Posted on 29 December, 2012 at 16:47 Comments comments (0)
Well, its nearly the end of 2012 and despite some major changes, (downsizing etc) in my life over the past year since I wrote my first blog...i`m re fueling(yes...cake and chocolate have been involved!) getting my energy back and am determined to keep moving forward in 2013. Its all any of us can do right now.. when I see so many people having huge stresses in the current economic climate, I put myself in check,stop feeling self indulgent and get on with it! My kids are well and happy, my husband is pulling in the same direction and frankly I think weve done ok this year, as I told my little boy recently- I still have all the most important things with me! Whether your looking to spruce up some existing furniture or buying for a new house there is so much that can be achieved on a very low budget to give your suroundings a boost. By improving the look of your bedroom/lounge/inherited mismatched furniture and knick knacks, even just rearanging your furniture to give your surroundings a new energy can be really uplifting at a time when few of us have much of a budget for luxuries!!! With some chalk paint(I use annie sloan as no prep work!) or even some left over paint from your basement/attic /garage(if its latex based you will need to prep!) its really fun to create a new(low budget) look to make you appreciate your space again,make it feel more relaxing/fun or luxurious! Old/vintage/modern chairs can be given a whole new personality with some coats of paint and pieces of fabric, they dont even need to match but if you are nervous at visualising how something will look you can try creating your own mood board by cutting out pictures of things you like that are similar in style and shape to what you either have already or can buy cheaply from charity shops/auctions etc. If a bold statement leaves you very nervous as a rule I generally believe you can bring unity to mismatched furniture by keeping the colours and fabrics the same even if the shapes are different as shown in the top picture with 2 different pairs of chairs which work well together (as the height is similar) and the colours have been kept simple and matching! I also think sticking to fewer colours can be more forgiving if you arent a fan of an overly `cluttered` look but are trying to give a modern cream/white room some character, you can then add lots of detail in frames etc but if you keep the colour pallette simple it will have a serenity even when being quite full of treasures!!(I personally love clutter though!!)
As you will know if you have been following my year, I do love welsh dressers and would like to point out if you keep an eye out you can find the basic woodchip variety from as little as £15/£20 and with one tin of paint(sometimes a lot less depending on brand/colour etc) you can create a fun back drop for your lounge/dining room and with pretty things, mismatched china etc you can constantly revamp the look with little hasle and expense, you can add lovely handles -glass or my favourite quirky vintage ebay finds!! Although it has got more popular the last few years vintage cut/molded glass jugs/decanters/bowls are great for displays and always to be found in local charity shops!! I will try to do a video over the coming months showing how to easily recover chairs seats pads and a few other basics though practically every tutorial you can imagine is on the internet these days, its great to find out just how handy you can be and what you can accomplish with a little paint and patience!! Revamping your space can really be a great start to your new year...Now I just need to cut back on the biscuit breaks!!
Wishing you all a prosperous,painty and fabulous 2013 XFiFi

Shabby chic christmas ideas!

Posted on 9 November, 2012 at 17:48 Comments comments (2)
   Hi there, well yet more time has passed and I have been meaning to get a blog post out there ...and the possibility of doing a christmassy one was just too tempting....chesnuts roasting on an open fire, shabby chic knick nacks and even more reasons to decorate...the smell of smoke in the evening air, I just LOVE it all!!
   I have been getting my shop looking festive with christmas tree and pretty packaging, it was only the end of september when the tree went up however my crafting friends on facebook where closing their christmas order lists already- so I had a great excuse to get it up early and set the `festive`shabby chic mood ...!
    I love doing table photographs with christmas displays on and here are a few i have put on my recent tables, notice I actually found a small shabby wood sleigh!! 
 I have been thinking about vintage inspired packaging this year and decided old fashioned plain brown paper works fantastically as a backdrop to pretty tags and old lace ribbons etc, you could even sew quirky old buttons on the ribbon or old charity shop brooches(the cheap kind!!) to customise!old piano music looks fab too!  Its amazing what you can find to reuse, with a little imagination to make beautiful and frugal wrapping, i have used offcuts of old wallpaper in the past which can look really expensive and is a great use of something that would otherwise probably just get thrown out!The great thing about beautifully wrapped presents is they make lovely display pieces in the buildup to long as the kids don`t open them out of curiosity!
    Gorgeous tags can be created quite inexpensively with a stamp and luggage labels which can be soaked in tea or coffee if you want a really authentic `aged` look! My heart tags I confess where bought from
D`Epoca Vintage Inspired Stationery off ebay who do the most beautiful vintage looking tags and decorations...I just couldn`t resist!!!
  Well `have yourself a shabby little christmas`... XFIFi

Chalk paint and back to school...

Posted on 9 September, 2012 at 15:55 Comments comments (0)
 I`m sorry I have been shamefully neglecting you, I wasn`t even sure what to call this post and decided my life over the last 2 months can be summed up thus... I am always covered in chalk paint...annie sloan of course! And my kids dominate most waking hours...who are now back to school! My youngest has started `big boy`school so that has been quite an event. I can`t tell you how proud I felt when after going to collect my smart little school boy I arrived to find what can only be described as a `little scamp` with untucked shirt and tie half out oh his cute!!
  I had a very busy time over the summer and did some furniture sets for a restaurant in mismatched colours of annie sloan paints, french linen, duck egg, paris grey, old white and in different chair styles and fabrics, the colours mix so well!
I have recently fallen in love with a new colour which is `country grey` it has a lot of similarities to the `old ochre` but has more of a taupe/beige hue and less of a yellow tone, its stunning and very classic/expensive looking it has become one of my favourites, I will pop some pictures on shortly of an armoire i`m doing for my bedroom in it!
Anyway i`m back, i`m going to find the time to blog more...and if you miss me, i`m always updating my facebook FiFiChic page so pop over and say `hi`!! XFiFi