DIY Fly Screens For Renters – Home Sweet Home

Ugh I’ve been meaning to do this home improvement since we moved in here three and a half years ago. Removable fly screens! We have 3 windows, one of them is floor to ceiling so I can’t do much about that but the smaller ones are just push outs. The building is from the 1920’s and has very little maintenance done so nothing is in very good repair anymore. We rent so I’m limited on what I can do to fix problems like the large number of flies Melbourne has in Summer.

I discovered by accident that our windows are actually very heavy metal which has been painted white so I set about making a screen which I could keep in place with magnets.



You need:

  • Mesh/tulle
  • Lace for the border if you want
  • Magnets

It’s really simple actually which makes me annoyed that it took me so long to get around to doing this.



Cut out a piece of tulle which is larger than the window.



Edge it with lace either by using hot glue or sewing.


Try to get “helpful” dog to stop laying on it.



Attach to window with the magnets in each corner.


Enjoy not having flies inside your house this Summer!!


It catches the light in these photos like crazy but normally you can even tell it’s there because I picked such a light colour.


Do you guys have any tips for what else to do with rental properties?


How To Store Hair Accessories- Home Sweet Home

So my mission in life seems to be how to store hair accessories in the best way possible. I’ve written about it before. A lot.  So yeah. The perfect way doesn’t really seem to exist. But that sure doesn’t seem to stop me from trying again and again and again.

The latest thing I’ve been doing is using them for decoration in the form of a big flower bouquet…



It sure beats what I was doing before then… which was keeping them in a pile:



The key to this method is to have pointy sticks which form the bouquet which you can clip the hair ties/bows/whatever to. I made mine out of wire wrapped in yarn and then mixed them in with some fake flowers for good measure.


Start by cutting a length of wire and then hot glue the end of your yarn to it.



Wrap the yarn tightly around the end of the wire and continue to the other end.


When you get to the other end glue in place and cut the excess.



Make a heap of them.


Now begin to arrange your flowers. I bent the ends of the wires so they were curly and interesting and then arranged them between the other sticks, leaves and flowers I had.


Next I began clipping on some of the larger hair flowers and accessories.



I have a lot of them so it took quite a while to fill in all the gaps…



But once it was done it looked pretty cute!



And in the Bathroom it does look huge but it’s a good way to display everything so I won’t forget what I have and can colour match them to my outfits.


The rest of the bathroom is pretty bare because I was giving it a big clean. How cute are the bee tooth brush holders though?? Everything will be spring themed soon!


So I’ve been using it this way for a few months and it seems to be walking the line between pretty and practical very well so far. I’m pretty happy anyway! Let me know what you guys think or if you have any suggestions I can try out! I think I probably need to start whittling down my collection but I’m a sucker for cute accessories and I like having things in a rainbow of colours… you know… just in case I ever want to have a neon yellow outfit… I don’t think I’m fooling anyone. I may just be a hoarder.


DIY Nespresso Coffee Pod Holder

So a few months ago James and I started drinking coffee. I hate the taste of coffee. I like being awake and getting stuff done though. I drink my coffee with a billion sugars and milk and also melted chocolate. Trust me it’s awesome. I used up all our old Lindt bunnies from easter by adding them to my coffee. Now that they have a vanilla version I am adding slightly less of the other things because it tastes more like chocolate anyway! Clearly even though I live in Melbourne, one of the coffee drinking capitals of the world, I am not a coffee snob.

It started as a way to keep awake during long hours and early morning meetings and soon developed into a bit of a habit and going to the 7/11 for $1 drinks was getting pricey so we decided to buy one of those pod machines because a Nespresso was out of our price range. We named it Map but it started leaking water after 2 days so back it went to the store. Luckily we found a cashback offer and managed to buy a Nespresso even cheaper than Map was originally AND it matched my kitchen colours!

I couldn’t think of a name for it though >_< I’ve been really bad at naming my things lately, I just can’t come up with anything. Bleh. Maybe Lorelei… because I’m always shouting COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE when I use it? I miss Gilmore Girls.

Anyway that long rambling story ends with us having nowhere to put the stupid pods and not being able to find a cute holder that didn’t take up heaps of space. Bench space is at a premium in our kitchen so after some googling I decided to just make my own for the time being and then work it out later. Suck it FutureViolet, it’s your problem now!

So I found a metal design that I liked (but wouldn’t ship to Aus) and made my own out of left over plastic from our bedhead and silver paper. It’s not perfect but it will do for now.



You need:

  • Pods for measuring
  • Plastic/cardboard
  • Wrapping paper
  • Stanley knife/box cutter
  • Chopsticks or something to create a gap in the back
  • Tape

I only had two small pieces of plastic left over so I taped them together.




If I was doing this again I would use cardboard or something easier to cut because this was an absolute bitch to do anything with.




So the idea of these things is that the pods slot into it and then you pull one out of the bottom when you want to use it. Because it’s up on a wall it doesn’t take much bench space and when you colour code them the pods look quite pretty.






So I drew out the rough design using a chopstick as a ruler because I’m classy like that.




Then it was a matter of cutting it out without severing an artery. Knives are sharp.







Next I covered it in silver paper. If I was doing this again, I would pick better paper. This one was too thick and reflective so the creases and mistakes showed up a lot.




Lastly I taped some chopsticks to the back so there was a gap between the wall and the plastic for the pods to slot in between.








I drew some windows on the top so it looked a bit more building-y but to be honest, when I finished I realised that the cold hard city look really doesn’t work for our kitchen design. It looks great in other people’s homes but just doesn’t work with mine. We need something curvy and girly and much more adorable. So back to the drawing board I go 😀




I have another idea for this, I just need to think about the logistics some more and decide if it’s a good idea to encourage having a coffee habit haha! If you guys have that kind of style then I would definitely suggest making something like this, it’s much cheaper buying some thick cardboard than it is for the store ones!

Adventures Making A DIY-ish Mannequin – Meet Miss Quinne

Last Christmas/Halloween I was gifted the most beautiful mannequin by Fables In Fashion. It was a complete surprise because I had been complaining about wanting a better way to display things for sewing tutorials for a while and even started to save up for one again… and then she showed up at my apartment with one *_* I am so grateful to have such amazing friends, I honestly feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

We named the new addition to the household Quinne…. because we are unoriginal like that!

This is the story of how Quinne had her make over and turned into this:



When she came out of the box Quinne looked like this:DIY-Duct-Tape-Mannequin245

She was amazingly pretty and actually had the same measurements as me which was a very pleasant surprise. Originally I was just planning on blinging her out a bit but after using her and draping some patterns I decided that if she was going to really work she needed some shape change.


As this shape she was extremely pretty and while the measurements were correct, the proportions weren’t.  She had much wider shoulders than me, a barrel shaped stomach and her neck was so long that it reminded me a bit of something from Silent Hill. I’ll be honest, seeing her in the corner of my room in the middle of the night terrified me >_>

I’m little but I’m a curvy girl with an hourglass shape which I love and having an mannequin that doesn’t have the exact same shape becomes a little pointless if I can’t use it to make patterns on. Most of my home made dresses are very fitted around the bodice area so her having triangles for boobs meant that I couldn’t even zip up half of them on her.

The other problem Quinne originally had was that she was completely stiff so it was quite hard to get my size clothes on and off. My arms and shoulders are movable and I can squish myself into various places to get into clothes. Sometimes I like to minimize the curves for certain outfits and Quinne just couldn’t do that.

I don’t look like this from the side, my boobs aren’t quite that pointy and I have much more junk in my trunk…


So it was time to give Quinne a make over! Insert a 1980’s montage of trying on hats!

Anyway we thought that she was made of cardboard under her fabric so I stripped her down and had a look.

All of the trimmings were just hot glued on.



Naked Quinne:



Unfortunately underneath her fabric she was actually fiberglass >_<

So that was a problem. I got tiny painful splinters all over my hands which took forever for me to remove!


For a little while I considered cutting through the fiberglass but after some googling I decided that really was not a good idea. Don’t mess with fiberglass and always research new materials you don’t know much about before trying anything. Your non-splintery fingers will thank you!!!

So with that out I had to do some serious thinking about where to go from there.

I knew I wasn’t going to use the fiberglass torso so I removed all the hardware and put it to the side for the moment.


After thinking about it for a few days I decided on “The Duct Tape Method”. This method has been around for as long as I can remember and I’ve made a couple of these for other people over the years. It’s not hard to do and you just need some basic materials.

Off to the shops I went to get some duct tape and a shirt from the thrift store.



Make sure you pick a shirt you don’t like, you won’t be getting it back so make sure you won’t ever want it again! If you want something very true to size use a fitted shirt. I just picked something out of the $2 bin which was quite loose as I wanted the finished product a little bigger than be, more on that later!



Start by taping around the most important measurements: bust, waist, hips. Make sure you’re wearing your favorite bra so it’s more accurate of how you’ll look when wearing your actual clothes.



Then just continue adding tape until you’ve got a decent frame. I like the do the shoulders first so it’s quite secure and the tshirt fabric doesn’t stretch out.

Enjoy your new look as Leeloo from The Fifth Element…



You will probably need some help to get this done especially around the back!



The way you do this will depend on what you want to use your mannequin for. I didn’t want arms so I did little cap sleeves. I also didn’t want it to go right down my butt because I don’t wear fitted skirts. You can go as far as you want though obviously. The chest area is something to think about as well. You can make it defined or not. I chose not because I prefer them covered up. and most of my clothing reflects that. So what I ended up with was a rough approximation of my figure because I still wanted it to be quite stylised. Easy!



Now you need someone to get it off you! Cut the whole thing right down the back so you can remove it. Make sure you don’t cut your underwear or pants as you go, just cut the taped shirt XD



Then you have this… shirt inside and duct tape outside. Super creepy!



Use some duct tape to close up the back again.



Now close up the holes with more duct tape and stuff it. You can use old clothes, fabric, pillows or actual stuffing depending on what you have on hand. I also stuck a broom handle inside so she was a lot more stable.

I then taped it all shut and used the cardboard tube from the duct tape to make a neck and taped that on too!



I closed up the bottom of Quinne with a piece of cardboard to make it flat and I screwed the hardware from the old Quinne to the bottom so she’d have a base.


Quinne looked a bit deflated on one side so I gave her an augmentation using a bit more stuffing 😉



And to make sure she had a smooth surface I taped her up some more.



Now it was just a matter of some cosmetic surgery!

Originally Quinne had a really bright print. I really liked her print when she was by herself but I thought that when I put my clothes on her it clashed quite a bit with all of my prints. I didn’t want to loose it though so I decided to mute it a bit by bleaching it out.

Unfortunately it was not susceptible to bleach so that was out. I decided to give her an acrylic wash once she was all put together again.


Getting her fabric back on was a challenge because she was obviously not the same shape anymore and had a lot more curves. I did it by wetting the fabric and then adding darts and working the fabric until it fit. I then pinned until it was dry, hot glued it in shape and snipped the extra off.




I added the other fabric back on the base too.



And then I hot glued the trimmings back on.



The it was time to tackle the colour. I watered down white acrylic paint and gave it a wash. The paint muted the colour but also gave the fabric extra stiffness which will soften over time. The mannequin is still squishy so she’s easy to get in and out of things!



I added her head piece with some extra lace and a lace skirt to hide the crappy bottom section and she was all done!



And there she is!


Welcome back Quinne!



She’s got much more of a curved figure now and is very practical. Her proportions are a bit bigger than mine which is my preference because it helps me in knowing how something is actually going to look and feel when it’s on. I can squish her and move her stuffing around and I use elastic to change her shape depending on the outfit I want to style.






So while Miss Quinne took some work to get perfect, she’s now going to be a regular here on the blog as I’m sewing a lot more.



It’s great to be able to actually complete some of my long term projects!

What do you guys think? Time for some new sewing projects? Do you think Miss Quinne should make regular appearances here?

New Kitchen Backsplash Stickers

You guys will probably remember that as part of the Home Sweet Home Project I made a new kitchen backsplash out of contact and wrapping paper. I couldn’t find a pattern that I wanted so I ordered some purpose made kitchen sticker covering.

The new version and the old!


I bought the sticker from ebay. They no longer ship here unfortunately but you can easily find similar products by searching for “kitchen stickers”. It arrived around 2 weeks later and came from Korea. It cost around $35 for a 2 meter length. I had quite a bit left over and I’m going to be using it in the laundry.Kitchen-Stickers-Back-Splash57


I also bought some stickers for the fridge but I haven’t taken proper photos yet.



It comes in a roll and passes the puppy sniff test.



It was quite easy to stick together. After cutting to the right size I just peeled the back off and lined it up.



Lining it up was a bit of a problem because the designs themselves didn’t actually line up as they weren’t printed completely straight>_<



Worth the effort though because I love this patten and I think it goes with my Spring theme much more than the older version.


While it was more expensive it’s probably a bit more durable and I definitely love the pattern!

How To Decoupage Shelves – Home Sweet Home

When I did the Home Sweet Home reveals in early January I promised to show how I decoupaged all of the ugly black plastic shelves we had. It’s extremely easy to do though a little time consuming and all you need is some pretty paper, PVA glue and water.

This was the finished result of my shoe shelf:



It started out life looking like this:



I love these shelves, they really saved us storage-wise because they were only $10, fit in the wardrobe and are strong, easily stacked and moved so you can do pretty much anything.

Watch out for stray puppies trying to eat your supplies. These stray craft eating puppies are getting to be a serious problem 😉



Mix up some glue and water in a shallow bowl. I used around half water, half glue but your solution may depend on how thick your glue is. Basically you want it to be very watery but still white.

Tear up pieces of pretty paper. I used wrapping paper that matched the stuff on our bedroom doors but as long as it’s not super thin you can use pretty much anything. Tear up lots of different sizes and shapes now before you get glue everywhere, much harder to tear paper when you’ve got wet gluey fingers!




Dip a piece of paper into the glue so it soaks through.



Then wrap it around the shelf. Repeat over and over again with pieces of paper until you have covered the entire set of shelves. Make sure to overlap the pieces too, this will give it extra strength. Don’t try to match up patterns, just make everything random, the key to it looking good is selecting a paper which has a patter that can blend well that isn’t too busy.

Because the base of this is plastic you may have trouble getting the first couple of pieces to stick, I started on the columns and wrapped the paper around so it stuck to itself. This formed a base which I then worked out from.



I did all of the easier parts first then ripped up some much smaller pieces of paper to go over all of the details



Let the whole thing dry thoroughly then cover it all with another coat of the glue/water mix for extra strength. Easy!



Up close you can see the way the pieces just blend together.



Much cuter than the plain old black anyway and it’s quite cheap to do something like this!


And there you have it! Now I just need to get some more paper to do the couple of shelves that are left over!


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