Forget about spring clean, if you are moving abroad you have to major declutter.

At this time of the year a lot of you are looking for tips and advice on how to spring clean and de-clutter your homes and closets, but for a few of you probably will need more than just a spring clean.

How to major declutter

As I said in my previous post, we just moved country, from the UK to Canada so you might already guess that we don’t have much with us at the moment. We only came with a few suitcases and most of our stuff were left in a storage unit in London, to be shipped later, when we find a permanent place to live.

My spring clean this year in fact started last year when I had to eliminate most of our things in order to be ready for the big move. We’ve decided that we weren’t bringing any furniture or electronics like TV and small kitchen appliances. Electronics wouldn’t work here anyway. Most of the things were sold, freecycled, donated or passed on to our family.

Here is how I did this major declutter and how you can do it too. I didn’t want to ship to Canada anything that we probably wouldn’t use. I would be wasting money and time to pack things that weren’t important. But, how do you select what it’s important and what’s not? Since you will be restarting your life in another country and you will need everything to furnish your new home, everything seems important, right?

Well, not exactly. Some things are important because you use it daily but you can buy new ones in the new country, those I’ve decided to call the replaceable ones. Others are not important to take with you because you are not using them anymore and some are very, very important to take because they are the irreplaceable items.

On the replaceable list, it’s everything that you are using at the moment and you will need to use at the new place, but you can buy those items in the new country.  A few examples would be furniture, electronics like TV, sound system and appliances, if the voltage is different you won’t be able to use them. Kitchen utensils, decor objects, rugs, lighting, printer, sewing machine, power tools, sports equipment and so on. Everything that doesn’t have sentimental meaning and can be replaced can go on this listing.

It’s important to keep a copy of this list with you because you will need it to buy all those items again when you get to the new country. You can even put them in order of importance to buy, because if you have a limited budget, or you don’t want to spend all your budget at once, probably you will want to buy first the items that are more important for your daily lives, like kettle, coffee maker, microwave, hair drier, bed and mattress, table and chairs, sofa, etc. Other things that are less important, like a sewing machine, printer, power tools, you can buy later on as you need it.

For the not using any more items, here you can add everything that you haven’t used for while and you probably won’t be using again. These are the items that you can get rid off and don’t need to replace them. On this list, I had my daughter’s toys that she wasn’t playing anymore, books that I wasn’t planning to read again, a drawing board that wasn’t using because I have another one, clothing, shoes, etc.

On this list, you have to try to add as many items as possible because here is where the de-clutter is happening. Without this list, you will not be doing any de-clutter, and de-clutter is very important on a moving because you are getting rid off of stuff that you don’t use it anymore, items that are taking up spaces, items that are gathering dust and not being useful at all. My major closet makeover went on this list. I’ve donated many clothes and shoes and I didn’t regret at all. I’m not missing them and won’t. It was such a relief to get rid off of clothes and shoes that were just taking up spaces. And why would I bring all those clothes and shoes to another country if I wouldn’t be using them right?

On the third list, the irreplaceable list, you can have everything that is important to keep and to bring with you, no matter what. Here you can add, photo albums, important documents, travel keepsakes and mementos, decor objects that have personal meanings, antique, vintage and retro items that have some value and/or sentimental meanings, like inheritance furniture. You can keep everything that you won’t be able to replace them or have an attached importance to you or your family.

I’ve kept some vintage and old books, a retro typewriter, antique picture frames, two small vintage chairs from my daughter’s bedroom, her toys, books and other items that she’s got as gifts from family and things that she still uses and plays with it. These are things that you won’t be able to find an exact replacement, so if you really like it, keep it.

Talking about my daughter’s toys and books, when you move to another country with children, for them will be a great impact to restart, make new friends, get used with food and other impacts that might have on their lives. So, to minimize this impact I thought that was important to bring most of her things to make her feel at home, even in a different place.

We’ve packed in our suitcases some toys, books and things that she was currently using it and the rest of them were left in storage. When we were selecting the items, I’ve let her choose what she wanted to keep and what she wanted to donate or sell. Letting them be part of the process can also help them to understand the meaning of moving to another country.

At the end, our storage unit was 15sq feet, about the size of a small walk-in closet. It’s not much, I know, but as I said in the title if you are moving abroad, you have to major de-clutter. It’s easier to de-clutter before moving because will make it easier to restart in another place with less baggage, less clutter. We are restarting our life, so let’s restart afresh.

One last note, every person and family is different. If you have a big budget and you have really nice and expensive furniture that you wish to take with you, go on, do it. I would do it too if I had a bigger budget and expensive furniture. Otherwise, if you feel that you can replace with a similar one, even if it’s antique or vintage than you can get rid off. It’s up to you what you decide to call important or not, what is replaceable or not.

If you have any question about how I’ve created my listings and other details that you would like to know, please get in touch. Until next week.

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The copper look

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Copper is still very trend and beautiful. Metallic copper can bring that sparkle and glam to your space, specially for a bedroom or dressing room.

This Stag Minstrel low chest of drawers was the perfect piece of furniture to create that pale colour scheme of blush pink and grey with copper, that is trending up on Pinterest now.

This is a mid century furniture with beautiful strong modern lines with just the right amount of curves to bring some softness.

I’ve painted the frame in Annie Sloan ‘Paris Grey’ and the front drawers in a pale colour scheme of pink, grey, aqua and white.

img_9406The chest of drawers was dark and not very attractive. The drawers runners were broken and needed fixing, but the frame was very solid and perfect.

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I’ve starting giving one coat of Paris Grey on the whole frame and let it dry. Meanwhile I’ve had to figure it out the pattern I would create with the pale colour scheme for the drawers front.

Doing some research on Pinterest, I’ve found out the triangle pattern would look good and very contemporary, but I knew would give me some work to achieve a great result. In order to paint it in a very straight and neat line I’ve used painters tape.

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Painters tape
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working on the second colour

At this stage the paint job becomes a bit slower, because you have to wait for the paint to dry completely before you apply tape on top of the paint. Also, more then one coat was necessary for each colour. For the pink, grey and green I’ve applied two coats and for the white four coats.

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Copper Spray Paint

When I finished painting the drawers, I’ve sprayed metallic copper paint on the knobs and handles. I’ve had to apply two coats to cover it well.

 

When the drawers dried then was time to create the lines in copper where each colour meet. From the beginning I’ve wanted to create this lines in copper to give it a bit of detail to the front and also to match the handles.

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Paint marker in copper

 

 

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the not so perfect paint job

But at the end the lines ended up being very usual to hide the not so perfect paint job. Because even using the painters tape, the paint always leak a bit under the tape.

img_9965I’ve found  on Amazon this paint marker in copper and was perfect for the job.

With a metal ruler with cork underneath, so the ruler will not slide and will not touch the surface you are working on, so won’t smudge the paint, I was able to create perfect straight lines. This marker dries pretty fast, so you don’t need to wait too long to finish your piece.

img_9966At this stage when I’ve started doing the lines I’ve notice a big mistake I’ve made painting the triangles. On the middle drawer on the left side I’ve painted a set of triangles the wrong way, as you can see from the picture on the side. The second set of triangles from left to right (grey and white) were wrong. So I had to sanded it down and do it again. You can see the correct pattern bellow.

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Here you can also see close up of the lines and the knobs in copper paint. I think this was just the perfect amount of sparkle to make this chest of drawers very stylish and trend.

To finish the entire furniture I went for lacquer instead of wax, as I usually do when using Annie Sloan chalk paint. I’ve opted for the lacquer (from Annie Sloan as well) because of the hardwearing finishing and durability that gives to the paint. This lacquer also has a matte finishing, so no shining like a varnish, very appropriate for this modern furniture with a contemporary twist. The only shine here is from the copper. img_0060

This chest of drawers is available for sale at The Pallet House

Display cabinet/bookcase

Vintage display cabinet/bookcase is revived with a bit of paint, wallpaper and a cracked effect. Glass bookcase 1

We have used the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in ‘Coco’ on the outside and ‘Country Grey’ on the inside. We finished with clear wax and a bit of dark wax for an aged look.

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Cracked finish

On top for the cracked effect we have used Annie Sloan Craqueleur which is a two part application steps that gives an authentic cracked varnish finish. Then we finished with Annie Sloan soft dark wax to highlight the cracks and finished with clear wax for protection and durability.

For this cracked finishing, first you let the paint dry completely then you apply the part 1 of the Craqueleur, which has the consistency and smell of white glue. After you let dry, then you apply the part 2 of the Craqueleur, which has a consistency of a gel. At this part you can control the size of the cracks by the thickness of the coat. The thinner you apply it, the smaller the cracks will be. You can then use a hair drier to dry fast or you can let it dry outside on a sunny day. The cracks will start showing with the heat.

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wallpaper backdrop

Inside the cabinet, a geometric pattern wallpaper was applied at the back panel to give depth and to create an interesting backdrop for your displayed items.

Also inside, the side panels were painted in Annie Sloan ‘Country Grey’ and the shelves were left in original vintage condition, for a more natural warm touch of the wood.

Outside was finished with clear wax and a bit of dark wax for an aged look. A light distressed was created by sanding a bit at the corners, edges and at the carved pattern at the top.

This item is available for purchase at our online store

 

Cane seat broken? Re-upholster with fabric

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I’ve got from a Freecycler these 3 chairs with all 3 cane seats broken. Everybody knows how difficult and expensive can be to change or fix cane on a traditional cane seat chair. With all those little holes around the edge of the chairs, if you really don’t know what you are doing, is better to call for a professional, but if you don’t have that kind of money to pay for it, you better put your brains to work and find an alternative solution to create a beautiful seat.

IMG_8666I loved the colour of the wood and the vintage look with the original patina and I definitely didn’t wanted to change that, so I had to come with a solution to hide the holes without hiding the whole wood of the seat.

After a few days work to remove all the broken cane from the 3 chairs, I’ve got some webbing and started to fix to the seat to close the hole and make a base to receive the filling and fabric on top.

At this point you really have to fix the webbing very well to the chair and make sure its has a good tension, use a webbing stretcher if you have one, if the webbing is loose the seat won’t have a good result at the end. I’ve used 6 staples on each side of each webbing strip.

IMG_8669One the the chairs also had being fixed before with screws on the inside edge, because I believe the too many holes made the wood a bit weak and at some point in the past it broke and previous owner had to fix with screws to hold the wood together. So I decided to used wood filler to fill in all the holes on this chair to make it stronger.

 

After I’ve finished the webbing, then I started filling. I didn’t used foam, first because I didn’t have any and I wanted to use what I had at the home, so I had some  polyester wadding and loose polyester filling. I’ve used 4 layers of wadding with the loose filling between them. I’ve stapled them around the edge on top of the webbing.

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To finish off, I’ve used a fabric in a blue greyish colour with white embroidery, I’ve already had it, didn’t have to buy it. I’ve folded the edge and fixed with staples first, then finished with decorative upholstery nails. These nails come in strips and you have to use only one nail at every 5 to fix the strip to the chair. So this is not for the purpose of holding the fabric, but merely decorative, so make sure you staple the fabric very well, because that is what will hold the fabric.

 

Cane chair

I know a lot of people throw away chairs with broken cane seat, just because the only solution is to put another cane seating which will cost a fortune and it’s not worth it. But here is a very good alternative and much cheaper. You just need a bit of patience and some basic skills in upholstery. Hope you enjoy and will be able to save some very good chairs from the tip.

These chairs are now available to purchase from my online store.

 

Mini lantern from baby food jars

How to make mini lanterns for your next BBQ party using baby food jars.

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Mini lantern made of baby food jars.

When I first had the idea of making these mini lanterns, was last Christmas when Preloved (a British web site for all things second hand) had a competition to create the thriftiest and most beautiful Christmas decoration for under £5, ideally using what you have lying around the house. I’ve got the third place on the competition with these mini lanterns .

Then, Christmas was gone and a new year started and I had 3 big boxes full of baby food jars, that I’ve been saving for too long. Already thinking ahead for next spring and summer I’ve decided to make the same mini lanterns to be used in BBQ parties, birthday, weddings and any summer garden party. I only had to change the shapes of the cut outs and put on some colours.

This was a very easy project, but you will need a few things in order to make it easy.

Materials and tools

Baby food jars, cleaned without labels
Cut out shapes in adhesive vinyl (I’ve used the Silhouette Cameo machine to cut them), but you can cut by hand as well.
Chalk Paint,
Clear wax
Craft wire, 18 gauge plastic coated
Brush
Cloth
Pliers

The Process:

 

  1. Apply vinyl with the shapes you wish, to clean jars. I’ve used two different shapes on each jars.
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  2. Paint the jars using chalk paint of the colour of your choice. I’ve used 5 different colours because I wanted to create a set with 5 mini lanterns.
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Remove the vinyl to reveal the cut outs

I’ve let them dry overnight and next day I’ve applied a light coat of clear wax. Then I removed the vinyl to reveal the cut outs. When removing the vinyl be careful not to damage the shapes.

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Create the handle with the wire.

Then to finish the lanterns, I’ve created a handle by using 18 gauge plastic coated wire used for crafts. I will post here soon the process of doing the loop handles.IMG_8084

The whole process: apply vinyl, paint, apply wax, remove vinyl, and make the handle.

Add tea light candles and on your next garden BBQ party, you can have these easy to do mini lanterns to light up the party when the sun goes down. But if you are not inclined to DIY, you can buy them at my online shop, I dispatch nationwide (UK only) through Hermes.

Hallway cupboard

This lovely hallway wardrobe did’t required much work when I’ve got it. We fixed the back panel that was loose and filled some cracks on the door that was showing off.

Then we just had to paint it, we use Graphite and Olive by Annie Sloan and finished with clear wax and a bit of distressing, and that’s it. A “new” wardrobe to store coats, hats, bags, shoes and others bit & bods at the entrance hall. It’s good to keep everything organised and out of sight. The size is perfect for a entrance hall, without being bulk and out of place.

 

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If you wish to buy this piece or any other vintage up-cycled furniture just visit my site for many options.