Category Archives: Recycling, Repurposed

Welcome To My Boudoir

Over the last 3 months, my bedroom has had a total transformation. Not an expensive, interior designer priced transformation, but rather a series of furniture rearrangements, lucky thrift store finds, items that I already owned being repurposed, and objects I “manifested”. 

First, the Queen-sized bed was turned 90 degrees and pushed into a corner. Originally, there were 2 bedside cabinets, one on either side of the bed. I gave one to my son Jack, and put the other one by the bedroom door. 

I had a Queen Anne dressing table in the junk room. It had been given to me by a neighbour in our previous estate, and although I’d given it a new coat of white paint, it had simply languished in the junk room of our present house. But this time, after several coats of gesso and varnish (I couldn’t find the white paint), it’s not taken up residence at the end of my newly positioned bed. And it houses my collection of Affirmation, Positive Thinking and Law of Attraction cards, as well as some books that I keep meaning to read, and some crystals.

I bought a rug to fill up the now empty space between the bed and the door. The dogs like to lie on it. It also makes a great work surface for my sewing projects.

I bought some cushions from thrift stores to place on my bed against the wall. They’re the colours of jewels – purple, teal, orange, and at the foot of my bed is a dog-themed cushion and my dog Shelagh’s 3 favourite toys – Gorilla, Tiger Tiger and Lion Lion. 

Where my bed had been before, I’d had a large romantic canvas print on the wall, flanked by 2 bird-themed canvasses. I’d found a modern abstract canvas for $20 at a thrift store. It now has pride of place on the wall.

On the smaller wall above my bedhead now (in the photo above) I have put up 2 canvasses which are actually cheats. 

The abstract on the left, with the line drawing of a woman’s face, is actually a T2 wrapping paper, from when I bought my “She Loves” limited edition teacup and saucer 2 years ago. It’s simply been Blu-Tacked and duct-taped (shock, horror! 😆) to a homemade wooden box frame. 

The canvas on the right, featuring peacocks, is actually a wallpaper sample stapled to an IKEA wooden frame. I’d bought it as such from a thrift store, for $3.25. 

For some reason I dislike hammering nails into walls, so to attach these 2 canvasses to the wall I used Command Hanging Strips (by 3M). Basically, Command Hanging Strips are a simple combination of flexible sticky tape and velcro. You can remove them from walls without leaving a trace. No need to fill in nail holes and then have to repaint the whole wall afterwards.

Here’s the rest of my “boudoir”:

The chair is a dining room chair in mock leather, picked up from a thrift store for $10. I’ve covered it simply with one of my Kantha-Boro quilted pieces. The 2 Totoro plush characters are actually sitting on top of a radiator heater, that I use in winter. The bookcase hidden under the blue cloth houses my collection of Tarot and Oracle cards. The blue canvas with the deer silhouette came from KMart, $15. And the “N O W” letters on the wall were made by me using Gelli-printed paper glued to wooden letters, then varnished.

The large romantic canvas atop this Queen Anne hall table is the one that used to grace the space above my bed. It was moved to make way for the modern abstract you now see on the main wall of my bedroom, flanked by the bird canvasses.

The Queen Anne hall table was a lucky find at a secondhand furniture store. I just love its sexy, curvy shape. Below it is my old piano stool, simply draped with another of my Kantha-Boro pieces. 

The striking turquoise artwork on the wall in the photo above, is one of my own creations. I created it on my Samsung Galaxy S4 mobile phone, then uploaded it to my computer, ran it through a Print-on-Demand service, chose the format (print on wooden/MDF panel) et voila! 

The black cloth with white circles and broken lines is a remnant I picked up from IKEA, over an IKEA tall chest of drawers. I like to call this spot my “Altar”. 

Bohemian Flags

I came across these recently on Pinterest. Putting aside any patriotism or nationalism, for me these flags demonstrate the essence of a bohemian outlook on life. They embody the philosophy of recycling and reusing materials, and I love their spirit of insouciance and their hint of rebellion. 

Plus, of course, they are just so darn pretty. 

Bohemian, crafty, artisan, shabby chic, patriotic, prayer flags, banners, Ibizan flags, country, homespun, handsewn, ribbons, lace, pom poms, feathers, sequins, embroidery, beads, tassels.   

Kantha + Patchwork Quilt Project

Here’s the result of my latest sewing efforts. I’d found someone’s unfinished patchwork project in one of my local thrift stores. It was basically just some square patches sewn together, without a backing. I liked the uneven, slightly wonky, amateurish feel to the piece and knew I could do something with it. At just $5, it was a real steal. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, right?

Inspired by my fascination with Indian Kantha quilts, which are fashioned out of layers of vintage sari cloths sewn together using simple running stitches, I decided to try my hand at making my own Kantha + Patchwork quilt. 

I had amongst my fabric stash a Queen-sized duvet cover in a lovely blue stripe, which would work perfectly with the patchwork piece.

First, I lay the duvet cover right side down on my bedroom rug. (This unassuming rug, a recent purchase, is around 6 x 8 feet and has become my workfloor for my bigger sewing projects, as well as providing a handy template for sizing quilts). 

Next, I lay the patchwork piece right side up, on top of the duvet cover. The duvet cover is larger than the patchwork piece. After making sure all the sides were equally balanced, I trimmed, folded and pinned the excess duvet cover fabric over the patchwork piece.

The laying out and pinning took a long time to get right. 

Next, I took the pinned piece to my sewing machine and sewed along all the edges, to secure both pieces together. Then I pinned the patchwork piece to the duvet cover at regular intervals, to prevent it slipping out of place when Kantha stitching.

The reason I chose the striped duvet cover as the backing for this project was so I’d have a handy guide to sew the running stitches along. 

I decided on a 4+3 pattern, i.e I’d sew along 4 rows of stripes and skip the next 3, then sew the next 4, skip 3 and so on. I used white crochet thread, which is strong and smooth at the same time. 

3 weeks of nights spent “watching” TV while sewing, rolling and unrolling this humongous swath of fabric on and off the sofa, et voila! I give you my first Kantha + Patchwork Quilt!

(Showing the front)

(Showing the back)

Now to show this off outside, in natural sunlight! The previous photos were taken at night, indoors, and don’t do justice to the vibrance of the colours in this quilt.

I draped it over Meep, my little Kia Cerato here, so you can see just how big a project this turned out to be!

This photo shows the rows of stitching and how they simply go over the patchworked squares on the other side. I just love the crinkly effect Kantha stitching produces!

Now for some close-ups:

Here’s what it looks like folded up. I love it! ❤❤❤

I intend this year to sew up a whole batch of Kantha-inspired items, ranging from little to large. These will be my inventory and stock for when I start selling my crafts later this year.

So, watch this space for more Kantha-inspired projects!

My Valentine

To those feeling lonely because you haven’t got a Valentine date, I say: Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Love yourself first and foremost, and if you love your own company, you will never feel lonely or alone. You don’t need some consumerist faux celebration to appreciate your own company or revel in your own awesomeness. 

Yes. 

YOU. ARE .AWESOME. JUST. THE. WAY. YOU. ARE.

I bought this white painted rattan heart decoration at a local thrift store for $3.

I found these skeins of feathered pom-pom yarn while clearing out my junk room. I remember buying them cheap, about $1 each, from a discount variety shop many years ago. I love the bright colours and the combination of different textures.

So, with Valentine’s nearly here and no beau in sight, what’s a girl to do but weave and wind some colourful yarn around the rattan heart and make her own heartfelt present to herself.

I started out weaving the yard through the gaps in the rattan, using a dowel. Then I realised I didn’t really need to do this at all. I could just wind the yarn around the heart, covering up all the white.So much easier! And at the end, I just had to use the dowel to push the end of the yard through one of the gaps, to bury it and secure it.

Et voila! I tied the ribbon back and now it’s hanging from a drawer in my bedroom. 

A soft, fluffy, vibrantly coloured heart ornament, perfect for Valentine’s Day. ❤

Patchwork Sofas 

I’m in love with the idea of having a patchwork sofa in my home. Problem is, I’m not sure where I’ll find the space for it in the living room. There IS a battered armchair  recliner that my dog Shelagh uses as one of her daybeds (yes, she’s very spoilt 😄), I could try my hand at re-upholstering it, or maybe I could donate it to a charity shop instead, and buy another armchair that I Could do up myself. 

The armchair that I have is not vintage or even beautiful, but it serves its purpose. It IS bulky and creaky, though, and the reclining part has barked my shins several times OUCH! So, I’m going to go for Option Number 2 – change it for a better one.

I’ve been researching upholstery techniques online, and I’ve browsed through a library book on upholstery. But, to be entirely honest, it looks very time consuming and labour and parts intensive. 

So, I might just have to save up and try to get a readymade patchwork sofa. Or ottoman, or bench, or stool. Or, maybe just do a simpler project with easier, straight lines. I DO have a piano stool that needs recovering, hmmm maybe I could start with that?

Meanwhile, in the land of the rich, here are some patchwork beauties from Pinterest, to whet your appetite.

Floral Block Print on Saffron: a Kantha-Boro story

This item can be purchased from my Etsy store through this link.


Description: This item is entirely handsewn, using fabric remnants and other recycled/reused/repurposed elements. My Kantha-Boro pieces can be used as scarves, table runners or wall hangings. Owing to the nature of handsewing and the Japanese Mottainai principle of “Waste not, want not”, each piece is unique and one-of-a-kind, with any imperfections in the fabrics or stitches forming part of the Wabi-Sabi ethos of being perfectly imperfect.


Colours: I found the backing fabric as a fat quarter, which I cut in half and sewed together to form a long and narrow piece. The other side is a beautiful vintage piece of saffron fabric, the colour of which attracted me from the start, and which is echoed in the floral fabric. Owing to the vintage nature of the saffron fabric, there are a couple of tiny tears in it, which I find adds to the beautiful Wabi-Sabi nature of this style of slow stitching. I have used an off-white crochet thread for the Kantha running stitches, to unify the whole.


Dimensions: 60 x 19.5 inches (152 x 50 cm)


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Bird On Saffron With Purple Pompoms: a Kantha-Boro story

Another of my Kantha-Boro projects, which is available for purchase from my Etsy store here.

Description: This item is entirely handsewn, using fabric remnants and other recycled/reused/repurposed elements. My Kantha-Boro pieces can be used as scarves, table runners or wall hangings. Owing to the nature of handsewing and the Japanese Mottainai principle of “Waste not, want not”, each piece is unique and one-of-a-kind, with any imperfections in the fabrics or stitches forming part of the Wabi-Sabi ethos of being perfectly imperfect.

Colours: Predominantly magenta, orange, medium blue and green. The design consists of stylised birds around stylised flowers, possibly Indian or Middle Eastern in origin. The piece comprises 2 pieces sewn back to back, the front being the fabric with the Bird motif – a scarf in its previous life, the back being a piece of vintage saffron-coloured fabric. Edged at both ends with royal purple pompoms. Kantha running stitches are embroidery floss in various different colours, complementing the colours of the Bird fabric. This piece is super soft and tactile.


Dimensions: 56 x 23 inches (142 x 59 cm)

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Dreaming Tree on Black Velvet: a Kantha- Boro Story

​”Dreaming Tree on Black Velvet” is available for purchase from my Etsy store here.

Description: This item is entirely handsewn, using fabric remnants and other recycled/reused/repurposed elements. My Kantha-Boro pieces can be used as scarves, table runners or wall hangings. Owing to the nature of handsewing and the Japanese Mottainai principle of “Waste not, want not”, each piece is unique and one-of-a-kind, with any imperfections in the fabrics or stitches forming part of the Wabi-Sabi ethos of being perfectly imperfect.

Style: Kantha-Boro. Indian Kantha running stitches in parallel rows, embroidered over Japanese Boro-style fabric remnants, which are simply pinned in place before oversewing.


Colours: The backing for this piece is a thrifted Oriental black velvet scarf. Oversewn Boro fabric remnants in shades of red, dark and light blue, yellow and cerise and white with sweetpea floral elements. 4 light brown Chinese knots edge the ends of the piece.


Dimensions: 54 x 10 inches (138 x 26 cm)

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Modern Floral on Ombre Velvet: A Kantha-Boro story

Last year, I threw myself into sewing a series of Kantha-inspired items. I’d blogged about a couple of them, then got a wee bit sidetracked by The Universe and immersed myself in the Law of Attraction and the practice of Gratitude. That was followed by Thirty Days of Gratitude, for which of course I am most grateful for 😊.

And now the time has come once again to pick up the threads where I’d left off previously, excuse the pun.

You can purchase this handmade, handsewn piece of Kantha-Boro, directly from my Etsy store here.

Description: This item is entirely handsewn, using fabric remnants and other recycled/reused/repurposed elements. My Kantha-Boro pieces can be used as scarves, table runners or wall hangings. Owing to the nature of handsewing and the Japanese Mottainai principle of “Waste not, want not”, each piece is unique and one-of-a-kind, with any imperfections in the fabrics or stitches forming part of the Wabi-Sabi ethos of being perfectly imperfect.


Style: Kantha-Boro. Indian Kantha running stitches in parallel rows, embroidered over Japanese Boro-style fabric remnants, which are simply pinned in place before oversewing.


Colours: The fabric for this piece reminds me of Amy Butler’s designs, a colourful and fresh take on florals. I’ve used a thrifted ombre velvet scarf as the back, it graduates from black through silver and back to black again, with black fringing at both ends. Very bohemian, indeed!


Dimensions: 70 x 7.5 inches (178 x 19 cm)


Colours Make Me Happy

Just sharing some of my favourite photos, curated from Pinterest. I appear to have come down with the dreaded ‘flu. 😢

But hey, I made a commitment and promise to myself nearly 4 years ago, that I would write something every day, and I’ve more or less managed to do that bar a couple of mishaps and accidental deletions. 

So here’s today’s offering to you all…a variety of colourful, vibrant scarves. Because Colours Make Me Happy. Colours uplift my spirits, make me feel cheerful and inspire me to go create my own splash of psychedelic combinations. I have some rather sweet pillowcases that I mean to turn into cute patchwork scarves, I might just start doing that.

Or..maybe wait til I feel a bit better.

Enjoy today’s Pinterest curated offerings!

Yeah, and scarves make me happy too 😄!