Friday, 14 November 2014

DIY cloud shelf for nursery

by Bex

I somehow came across a cloud shelf on Etsy and fell in love with it.  It's perfect for that little space between the sun clock and bookshelf in the nursery that I was wondering how to fill.  Unfortunately I wasn't willing to spend £66 for a small one including postage from America and I couldn't find one for sale in the UK.  Also, Nik agreed it was a good idea but thought the budget should be £15-18.

In the end I decided it actually wouldn't be too difficult to make my own!

Initially I taped 3 sheets to paper together and drew the large cloud, then a smaller one for the front.  I planned to cut these out of MDF (well not me as the dust isn't good for the babies).  As the front one is smaller and I planned to keep them thin, I decided the front cloud could be stuck on with some super tough glue (like the No More Nails I used to attach hooks to my ceramic coasters a while back).  As a result of this, I changed my design of the front cloud to have a fluffy bottom as well since it doesn't have to line up along the straight line of the shelf.

As I hadn't measured anything, I then took my cloud cutouts up to the nursery to see how they'd look on that wall and it was pretty perfect!

I bought the bits I needed in B&Q, they were extremely helpful when I was choosing the thickness of the MDF as well as a piece of wood for the shelf, the man helping me put everything in my trolley and another even pushed it out to my car and loaded the boot for me too (I also bought a lot of cans of paint!).

I wasn't sure of the best way to attach it to the wall without having to screw through the big cloud (you can see on the Etsy listing for the medium cloud shelf they have done this and added covers to hide the screws) or have unsightly brackets coming down underneath.  It's not huge (mine measures 48cm x 28cm x 15.5cm, just 12cm narrower than the large cloud shelf) so I thought hooking it onto screws might work but it wouldn't sit perfectly flush and things might fall off the shelf.  I then came up with the plan of getting L-shaped plates and screwing them to the wall before sitting the shelf on and screwing up from the bottom to hold it securely in place (basically brackets in reverse).  As it's not a heavy duty shelf and won't be holding anything overly heavy, a couple of good sized brackets should hold it comfortably depending how big you make the shelf.

Next I had to wait until Nik had the time to help Mum when it wasn't dark outside.  They're both great DIYers luckily so had no problems cutting my MDF clouds ready for me to build and paint.  In the end, it was dark outside but we have a good security light and it was the best time to get it done.  ;)  The old, musty garden table we found in the garden behind the oil tank has come in useful a couple of times as they also used it for sawing when sorting out Nik's built in cupboard in our bedroom.

So if you fancy making your own cloud shelf, here's my amateur guide:

What you'll need:

A pencil
Some paper
A piece of MDF (I bought 6mm thick MDF sheet for £9.18 from B&Q and have plenty left over)
A small plank of wood (I bought a piece of Spruce board for £7.32 from B&Q and have enough left for another smaller shelf)
A jigsaw and someone who's comfortable/able to use it
A stable table & handy helper or a workmate to hold the MDF while it's cut (I've just found one here at less than half price!)
A drill
A few screws
Paint brush
White woodwork paint
No More Nails or similar strong glue
Spirit level
2 or 3 Corner/angle brackets (I bought 76.5mm corner braces, £1.99 for 10 from Screwfix)
Rawl plugs

I had all the other bits already so spent £18.49 - pretty much right on budget ;)


Draw your template according to whatever size you want it to be.  Mine ended up 48cm wide and 27cm high at the tallest point of the cloud, the little cloud was 19cm x 14cm.  I also decided to to add a bit more shape to the bottom of the small cloud rather than just a straight bottom as this one sits on the front anyway.  Copy around the template onto your MDF and cut out the cloud shapes.

Cut the plank of wood to the same length as the big cloud.  I also asked Nik to trim the Spruce as the shelf was a bit deeper than I would like so he took one edge off to make the depth 15cm.

Then sand the edges and paint all the pieces with primer.

Drill small holes through the back of the base of the big cloud where the shelf will sit and match the edges up so it's sitting level.  Mark where these holes meet the shelf then make more small holes in the back of the shelf edge.  Match them up and screw through the holes to join the big cloud to the shelf.  We used 5 screws.

Paint the shelf/big cloud and small cloud separately with white wood paint.  I also painted the bottom of the brackets so they are more camouflaged if viewed from below (as we may well be crawling around on the floor with the twins).  Leave to dry.

I planned to stick the small cloud on the front with 'no more nails' glue but we decided to make it a bit more secure with 3 tacks which we sunk and covered with wood filler before painting over another coat of white paint.

To attach to the wall, use a spirit level to draw a straight line where you want the shelf to sit.  Using your drill, rawl plugs and screws, attach the brackets to the wall, spaced evenly apart along the line and ensure they don't correspond to the existing screws in the shelf.

Sit the shelf on top of the brackets and screw up into the base of the shelf to secure.  Ta da....

It fills that space perfectly and of course had to be finished off with some kind of mythical cloud dwelling creature - a unicorn or pegasus I thought would be perfect.  I picked one up in M&S for £8 which would of course be kept well away from the twins until they are old enough not to stab themselves/each other in the eye/other body part with the horn!  Nik thought it was a bit creepy though and wasn't keen on my back up plan of pegasus either so in the end I found the least creepy unicorn I could - a My Little Pony unicorn beanie!  I'm still waiting for it to arrive (along with some back up dragon beanies as they would also make good cloud dwellers.

In the meantime, I've put one of my old teddies up there with a few books...

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Felt Heart Garland - Pin It Do It

by Bex

This little project was so much fun to do and really relaxing, perfect for the last couple of weeks pre-babies!

The idea came from one of the very first nursery idea pictures I pinned when we decided on a rainbow colour scheme.  It's a fab heart garland from Etsy for £40.42.  I knew I could make this myself and would enjoy it.  I already had most of the colours of embroidery thread and some felt.

Image Source via Pinterest

Luckily for me I have a very crafty Mum (who's also on Pinterest) with lots of awesome craft tools and machines and while she was still in Saudi, before I even asked, she had cut out loads of colours of felt hearts in two sizes for me!  As she used her die-cutter, they were all perfectly uniform so they matched up easily for sewing.  Obviously you could just make or find a template to cut out the hearts by hand if you don't have a die-cutter or super crafty Mum!

I finally got around to doing something with them recently and spent many a happy evening on the sofa watching TV while hand-stitching the hearts together.  I used a simple blanket stitch (after a quick reminder from Mum how to do it!) and stuffed each one with some stuffing out of an old misshapen pillow.

I finished them off by tying a knot in the pointy end and burying it inside before bringing the end of the thread through the stuffing and cutting off before straightening out the point again.

Then I simply threaded them onto a pale grey piece of embroidery thread (the same colour as the wall I planned to hang them on) and tied a loop in each end.  They're just hung on pins above the Hemnes Daybed (I'd have preferred them to be higher on the wall but wanted them flush against it and the slope starts too low unfortunately) and I spaced them out properly after they were hung.

I still think they look great though and it's another thing I can proudly say I made for the twins' room.

If you fancy making one yourself, you'll need:

Your choice of colours of felt (50p per sheet in Hobbycraft and more than enough for multiple hearts from each sheet).
Heart template (drawn on paper or greaseproof paper would work well)
Tailor's chalk or a pen which will mark the felt
Embroidery threads in matching colours (90p each from Hobbycraft) plus white or grey to thread onto.
Stuffing (mine was from an old pillow but you can get it in Hobbycraft for £3)

If you choose the 7 standard rainbow colours and repeat them, and assuming you have a basic sewing kit, you could make this for around £13.70.  If you sew them like the one in the Pinterest example which looks to be sewn with just white edges on each coloured heart and on a white thread, or like me already have most of the felt and threads in the right colours, it would only cost around £8.30.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

My little Turtle Tot!

by Roz

How exciting that the twins have arrived, welcome to the world Kalyan and Priya!  Bex I could not be happier for you and your gorgeous family, I cannot wait to meet your beautiful son and daughter and neither can Aaron xxx

With so much squishy baby love in the air, I thought I would finish this post and share it with you all.  One of the things I couldn't wait to do with Aaron was take him swimming.  I can't remember not being able to swim, my dad took me swimming from a very young age and I apparently loved it from the beginning. So when A was only a few days old I signed him up to a course of swimming lessons with Turtle Tots and could not recommend it more!

Doesn't Aaron look funny without his hair all over the place?!

I'm so happy to report that A loves being in the water, from the very beginning it has chilled him out and he just loves splashing about and all the different things we do in the class. B and I alternate who goes in the pool with him as it's just too much fun too be sitting at the side.  The class tutor is lovely and the half hour class flies in all too quickly. Underwater swimming is part of the class and it's amazing to watch. You build up to a full swim underwater and use commands so that your baby knows what's coming. A is so used to it now that in his bath when we say the command he closes his eyes as he knows the water is going over his head - this is very handy for washing his hair!

Just chilling on my back with daddy :)

I know this picture is a bit blurry but I love it anyway!

And here's a little video of one of A's early on mini underwater swims - I really hope the video works as it's the first one I've put on the blog and it looks a bit funny in blogger.  Let me know if you can see it.


As a result of all that swimming A totally loves his baths!  Unfortunately we don't have a bath in the rented one bedroom flat we are staying in at the moment - another reason we are desperate to get in to the Forever House, I cannot wait to have a bath with my boy again! - so behold the duck bath of wonder!  It is supposed to be used inside a bath, to reduce the amount of water used for your baby's bath but also as it's perfect for them to lean against and enjoy splashing about without you having to hold on to them before they can sit up properly.  A adores it and it was only £7.99 from Boots.


That wee face!

I just realised that neither of these pictures show the actual her she is!  Sadly A is getting too big for her already.

Bex I hope you enjoy taking your gorgeous babies swimming as much as we love taking Aaron!

Roz x

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The Olive Dragonfly Twins have arrived!

by Bex

Meet baby boy Kalyan and baby girl Priya, 6lbs 8oz and 5lbs 11oz.

Born 11/11/14 at 9:24 & 9:25.  We are utterly in love!

Monday, 10 November 2014

HomeSense arrives in Scotland

by Roz

A few weeks ago a rather exciting invite popped in to my inbox, from the lovely guys at Publicasity which was right up my street given our current renovations at the forever house. Increasingly over the last year or two I've seen some quirky homewares on other blogs and Instagrams from HomeSense and been frustrated that I had no way to shop in this store of wonder...I'm happy to report that this has now changed! The highly anticipated TK Maxx and HomeSense combined store is now open at the Fort Kinnaird Shopping Park in Edinburgh and I went through to their sneak preview night the day before the store opened to the public on 30th October. 

It's a big shop - 34,000 sq feet if you're counting - and if you like the home section in your local TK Maxx then you will love HomeSense.  They sell all of the items you would expect from the TK Maxx home section but also have larger pieces of furniture, from beds to beautiful, comfy chairs perfect for a dressing table, to a large selection of mirrors and lighting.  We were happily wandering through the store and realised nearly two hours had passed before we headed to the tills to purchase our items.

When we were there, staff were still finalising the products and layout, but I was loving the colour coordinated displays and the number of different items on offer.

These lanterns caught my eye as I think they would be a lovely way to add some colour or detailing to a room.  My favourite is actually the small blue one of the far left.  I really wish I had bought it on the night.

And of course I spotted a few bits that Bex would love...

This bug cushion would go in her new bedroom

And of course all the green here made me think of her!
I particularly like the two green chairs either side of the bed.

Cheese forks!

I was very kindly gifted a store card for attending the preview of the store and it was fair to say that I was like a kid in a candy store!  I honestly couldn't decide what to buy.  I had a good look for things for the forever house, we need some new bedding to go with our master bedroom colour scheme.  The super king bedding we currently have was a great price from TK Maxx (£32 for the duvet cover & two pillowcases) but is a plain pale grey, so I was excited to see what HomeSense had.  Unfortunately there were no super king sets in the store, they had bedsheets but no duvet sets.  I then spotted this knitted pouffe, it appeared to only be one in the whole store.

I walked about with it in my trolley for a while but wasn't sold on the colour, I think I'd like a yellow one. So I popped it back on the shelf.  Yip I kind of wish I had bought this too!  I was then going to buy a giant lampshade that I spotted on the way in to the store but these were actually part of the fabric of the store and not actually for sale, oops!  We need one that is 36 inches across for our living room and other than a bespoke one which is £££, I am struggling to find anywhere that sells shades in that sort of size.  If anyone knows of anywhere please let me know.

After a few false starts, I decided to have a wander around the rather excellent collection of Christmas decorations.  There were lots of lovely items and I ended up buying quite a few bits and bobs for our first Christmas as a wee family.

Golden glittery stag of glory!

Below is a picture of all the bits I bought in my trolley...yes that is a giant sparkly star :) I will hopefully be sharing a post of the Christmas decor in the forever house which will showcase some of these items very soon.

The next time I'm through in Edinburgh I will definitely pop back for another look around HomeSense, thanks to the guys at Publicasity for the invite.  Have any of you found any bargains at your local HomeSense store?

Roz xx

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