Playroom Revamp Part 1 : Upcycled Bookcase

I recently did a major revamp of our kids playroom.  It had gotten old and tired looking and there was crap everywhere.  My hands were itching to do something and so, when the good weather hit, I got started.

I showed a lot of my progress on Instagram stories and I got good feedback.  I am going to break my process down in the next few posts, as it would probably take too long, in just one post!

It started with this book cabinet. I originally painted it years ago for the kids with yellow chalk paint.  It was one of those dark mahogany coloured cabinets that everyone’s mother seemed to have back in the day.  It was never prepped or primed and to be honest it showed and with the kids using it, it didn’t last the pace.  So I decided to give it a major over haul.  My before picture is not great, of course I forgot to take a decent one before I started, but you get the gist.

Playroom revamp - part 1: up-cycling an old bookcase with some paint.


Firstly I had to get off the wax, so I used good old methylated spirits.  This stuff is good, but be warned, open your windows and doors, it will give you a headache!  I then sanded it back a bit to give the new paint some key to work with.  I then applied undercoat.  I decided to use Colourtrend satin wood in shades of Beade and Blue Roan, basically two different blues. And here it is ….

Playroom revamp - part 1: up-cycling an old bookcase with some paint.

Really happy with how it turned out.  It took a lot of elbow grease, as they say.  Getting the wax off was a pain, as I was practically high from the fumes, but this stuff works.  (I have since discovered my local hardware shop supplies Krud Kutter and will try this the next time)  It took 2 coats of paint to get  good coverage.  I really like how the blues turned out.  What you think ?

Till next time !


PS, if you wan to read more about my playroom revamp, have a look at these posts – Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Upcycling an old bookcase



DIY Teacher Appreciation Gifts

Yes, its coming to that time of the year again, some of us will be breathing a sigh of relief, a break from the routine of car taxing and lunch box making. Don’t you just hate making lunches, or is that just me! Others maybe having a silent scream of having the kids all day.  I am somewhere in the middle 😉

Teacher appreciation gifts seem to be the thing these days and as my two are finishing up, I decided to make my own. So I am going to share these little DIYs with you. They are simple enough to make and won’t take up too much of your time. Result !

Here they are ……………………

Tutorial: Teacher Appreciation Gifts - with some embroidery hoops and iron on glitter fabric, how to make these simple little glitter apples



  • Embroidery hoops – 3inch & 4inch
  • Embroidery thread of your choice
  • Fabric of your choice
  • Glitter iron on sheet ( you can find these here) these are great!  you get a glitter sheet with a protective surface, all you do is cut your shape, use your iron to attach it to your surface,  then peel back the protective sheet and your shiny glitter pops.
  • Iron, Scissors, Needle

Tutorial: Teacher Appreciation Gifts - with some embroidery hoops and iron on glitter fabric, how to make these simple little glitter apples
I think this graphic fabric was ideal for this project but you can use anything in your stash.  The bigger hoop is a 4inch one, and I embroidered on some lettering. Here’s a little template for you to copy and trace.

Tutorial: Teacher Appreciation Gifts - with some embroidery hoops and iron on glitter fabric, how to make these simple little glitter apples

Tutorial: Teacher Appreciation Gifts - with some embroidery hoops and iron on glitter fabric, how to make these simple little glitter apples

These will be headed off soon enough, but i have some over on Etsy if you are more of a buyer than maker.

Till next time !


Tutorial: Teacher Appreciation Gifts - with some embroidery hoops and iron on glitter fabric, how to make these simple little glitter apples

#CraftingIsMyTherapy_May on Instagram, Here is May’s RoundUp

#craftingismytherapy_May - join in with this creative community on instagram. All crafts welcomeWell May is nearly at an end and we are onto June soon, so my time as a co-host of the tag  #craftingIsMyTherapy_May is coming to an end on Instagram. If you are wondering what the heck is that all about, have a read here on my original post explaining it.

Thank you to Nicole and Jennifer for asking to me participate.  I tried my best to comment and like each of your posts, it was great to see a good variety. Some I shared on Twitter throughout the month and on Instagram stories.

So just to recap, here’s a roundup of some the pictures that caught my eye.  I have included each persons Instagram handle for you to check them out.#craftingismytherapy_May - join in with this creative community on instagram. All crafts welcome

Lovely makers starting from top left and its @ crafticland, top right @ yarnandblarney.  Bottom left @shirleyrainbow_tb and bottom right is @knottyhoops .

#craftingismytherapy_May - join in with this creative community on instagram. All crafts welcome#craftingismytherapy_May - join in with this creative community on instagram. All crafts welcome#craftingismytherapy_May - join in with this creative community on instagram. All crafts welcome#craftingismytherapy_May - join in with this creative community on instagram. All crafts welcome#craftingismytherapy_May - join in with this creative community on instagram. All crafts welcome

The lovely Rosina crocheting in Spain you will find her here @ zeensandrodger

#craftingismytherapy_May - join in with this creative community on instagram. All crafts welcome


Look at that fabric … yum this is from @meyouandmagoo Nicole started this hashtag.

#craftingismytherapy_May - join in with this creative community on instagram. All crafts welcome


and this is from Jennifer, another one of the hosts.  I think maybe a perfect craft to do with the kids, my sister likes doing these – @jenniferslittleworld

#craftingismytherapy_May - join in with this creative community on instagram. All crafts welcome

and last but not least Emma from @ emmacraftsdesign Love this ripple blanket.


So please head over to instagram for a peek at the hashtag and see some other lovely makes and makers.  Follow along if you fancy,   I am sure June is going to be craftastic too.

Now I am off to finish some painting and decorating!

Till next time !


How I Upcycled an old (Pirate) Chest Box

Upcycle Furniture - How I upcycled my old Chest boxWell its not really a pirates chest, the kids think it is, so I just go with the flow!   This box actually belonged to my late Uncle.  He used it for his tools and later on he used it to store coal and wood blocks for the fire. Yah he  wasn’t really into keeping things in good nick!  So you can image what kind of state it was in when I got it.  I had always admired it and thought it would look great brought back to life so here it is  ………………. What do you think ?

Upcycle Furniture - How I upcycled my old Chest box

Here’s some before pictures of the chest.  It was pretty battered and dirty.  There was some kind of green paint on the top of the chest and the bottom part was ready to fall out.  The metal pieces on it were all discoloured and to be honest I didn’t know what kind of state they were really in and wondered if I should pull them off.  There also was a lock screwed to the front, so this needed to come off.

Upcycled Chest project - pictures & tutorial

Upcycled Chest project - pictures & tutorialFirst up, I cleaned it  and let it air dry, then I got to sanding and low and behold it came up nice, very nice indeed.  I love the battered look of it and all the markings just added character.  I left on the metal pieces as I was sanding and to be honest the sanding took away a lot of the dirt and grime on these pieces.

Upcycled Chest project - pictures & tutorial

Upcycled Chest project - pictures & tutorialI had wanted to try out General Finishes Gel Stain and I had bought the Java stain but it was too dark for this chest so I ended up using Ronseal varnish in Medium Oak, it’s a water based varnish and I applied with it with a brush leaving 24 hours between each coat.  I used a total of 3 coats and it just soaked right in.  You can see how it was looking here with the stain going on …..

Upcycled Chest project - pictures & tutorial

VarnishI placed the handles, on either side, in a jar of Coke, yes Cola Cola for a couple of days to see if it would help bring up the brass.  I also used brasso on the metal pieces and scrubbed hard.  I kinda like how they came up in the end.

The inside wasn’t too bad, I gave it a sand and a varnish too.  The bottom part had to come out, it was too bad to save so my Dad made me the bottom part, yay for Dads! and he also put on some wheels.  It’s such a heavy box the wheels were needed.

It’s now taking pride of place in my son’s room much to his delight as he loves his pirates! It’s kinda tribute to my Uncle and a nice memory to keep.  So what do you think ?

Upcycle Furniture - How I upcycled my old Chest box

Till next time ..!

Maura x

Upcycle Furniture - How I upcycled my old Chest box

#CraftingIsMyTherapy_May – Join in with this Creative Community on Instagram

I was ask to guest co-host this lovely crafty tag over on Instagram for the month of May. I was only delighted to help out.  If you don’t recognise this tag, well do please check out the tag on Instagram.  Here’s the April tag 

It was started by Nicole from Me, You and Magoo and Jennifer from Jennifers Little World. Originally it was craft linky for  bloggers to link up their posts and I discovered it on Twitter.  They are now bringing it over to Instagram and it celebrates  all things craft and how crafting is a form of therapy and as Nicole elegantly puts it “Art and creativity have an important role in improving our health and well being”  You can read more on Nicole’s blog.

So tag your images to be in with a chance of having your work shared with our creative community.  At the end of the month, we will do a round up and select some of our favourite images..



Don’t forget to use the  monthly hashtag #craftingismytherapy_may to add your creative images to the Crafting is my Therapy gallery.

If you want to follow Nicole on Instagram, here’s her link and Jennifer’s Instagram is here.

My instagram is here 


Enjoy and till next time!


Yes, I am still here! a crafty catch up …. another one!

I have been slow on the blogging front lately…… so many wips but so little time! The usual story I suppose with us crafters.  Since I opened my Etsy shop, I have been busy there too, trying to keep it up to date and all those listings and tags aahhh!

So this post really is just to pop in and say hello, yes I am still here 🙂 a little catch up if you will.  So here’s a few pictures of work I have been doing lately ….

I was asked by Toni from TL Yarn Crafts to test a pattern for her, she has lovely patterns and her Mega Pom beanie hat pattern is one of my favorites.  Here’s a link to her Etsy shop. This is  a crochet scarf pattern using the moss stitch.  Here’s my take on her pattern.  She is hoping to release this soon, so keep your eyes peeled.

Moss Stitch Crochet Scarf
I did a few custom embroidery hoops, I really had to lock myself away and concentrate on these but I was pretty pleased with the outcome.  I even managed to feed the kids in between!

Custom Name Embroidery Hoop Art


I won some lovely goodies from another blogger buddy, Emma from Emma’s Crafty Projects.  These arrived this week, all the way from Australia.  The yarn is gorgeous, I have never used something like this before, so saving it for a special project.  my crafty win

The kids fought over the little plushie (that’s why its not in the picture, I wasn’t allowed !) they are now requesting more to be made.  Hmm I will admit, amigurumi I find is fiddly and takes me forever!  She also gave me some embroidery threads and a lovely cross stitch book marker.  So thank you once again Emma!

my crafty win


The Easter holidays are here, I was trying to do some Easter crafts but its not happening.  My computer is being upgraded hopefully next week, so I hope to get more organised with everything.  Normally I am good with organizing stuff but lately I have been all over the place!  I have also been wondering about upgrading the blog, taking the plunge and going self hosting, therefore have more control over the layout.  I am in the middle of working out a new logo/branding, so bare with me.

I did a big tidy up on my boards over on Pinterest, you can find me here and please leave your pinterest name in the comments section below and I will follow back, I need to find more people to follow.  Speaking of social media, anyone on Twitter or Facebook even ? I confess I am not a fan of Facebook but I have been wondering lately if I should start a page over there. What do you think ?

And finally, I am working on an up cycling project, I just need the weather to behave so I can take a decent picture! so hopefully my next post will be that.

Till next time!



St Patricks Day DIY – using colouring pencils in your Embroidery

Using colouring pencils with embroideryA post for St. Patricks Day!  This is our National Holiday here so I wish you all a  Happy St. Patricks Day for the 17th ( not paddys day and not pattys day, mind !)

Anyways onto the project on hand – using colouring pencils with embroidery. What! I hear you say, why, yes, yes  you can…..

I used this technique recently when embroidering up a shamrock, and thought I would share the process here.

Firstly, I just outlined the shamrock using stem stitch , I did two rows around and filled in the edges a bit more. I confess I was a bit lazy and really didn’t want to fill in the rest of the shamrock so I had the brain wave of colouring in the rest with colouring pencils.  If you follow the Kitchsy Stitcher on Instagram, you’ll know she uses this technique a lot in her work, so I decided I would give it a go here.

I already had some water colouring pencils in my stash, nothing special about them, just a regular brand I had.

Using colouring pencils with embroidery

So I just coloured in the fabric like you would with paper.  When it was coloured in, I used a small paint brush dipped in water and blended in the colour more.  I did this until I was happy with the result.  I confess I wasn’t mad about it so I left it there to dry.  When I checked the next day, it was so much better ! It dried a lot brighter and it blended in really well.  I heat set it with my iron but  I don’t think it really matters if you don’t do this step, as its not going to be washed.

Here it is all hooped up and ready to go. What ya think ? I must try this more in my embroidery.

Using colouring pencils with embroidery

Till next time ! ….. oh  ……. and Happy St. Patrick’s Day 🙂


PS  these hoops were popular in my shop, but I do have one left, its listed here 🙂 I also have an offer running at the minute. Free Shipping on everything! just use code STPATSFREESHIP – expires March 18th.

Book Review: Every Which Way – Crochet Borders By Edie Eckman & a Giveaway!

everywhichwaycrochet*** Giveaway now closed ***

winner was Sarah @yarnanblarney. Congratulations !

I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of Edie Eckman’s latest book
‘Every Which Way Crochet Borders, 139 Patterns for Customized Edgings’ Having been familiar with Edie’s work, I was delighted to be asked to participate in the blog tour of the book and today its my turn.

Published by Storey Publishing and out since 7th February, here’s my take on her latest offering.

This books offers more than 100 borders, well that’s 139 to be exact for your projects. Each one has step by step text instructions and easy to read symbol charts for each border.

The borders range from narrow to simple designs to wide and more complex designs.  So all the designs are aimed for the beginner and the more advanced crocheters alike.

There is a border directory included, which lists each border in picture format and gives the page number, so no flicking back and forth trying to locate the page.

She gives help with working on knitted fabric, woven and non woven fabric.  Choosing colours for your borders and especially your base round.  How to handle corners and troubleshooting fabric flatness.  She gives direction on stitch multiples and why whey matter, there is a good section on the maths behind this, maths was never my strong point, I’m afraid.

Each pattern can be approached in both rounds and rows, she gives full detailed pictures and charts on this, really valuable especially if you are a visual learner like me.

I used one of her borders on this blanket, remember I blogged on it here, finally its finished ! ta-dah what you think ? I used copper for the border.  This border is no. 62 but from her previous book.


But don’t despair, Storey Publishing have given permission to share one of the patterns from the book, I choose pattern no. 121.

everywhichwaycrochet - pattern no 121

All in all, a great book to help you finish off those crochet designs  that you have lying around.  If you are like me and struggle with that final bit, this book will definitely help you along the way


And now for the best bit, the good people at Storey Publishing are giving away a copy of the book to one of you lucky lot, so to win, please like and comment either here on the blog or on Instagram, you can find me here.  I will announce the winner on Saturday. (Opened Worldwide)

To find out more on Edie and her work, have a look here and to find out more about the blog  tour, click on image below.

Till next time !




Five minutes with Simple Stylish Makes

Yahoo my interview with Simple Stylish Makes is up, if you want a quick read have a peek over here . Thanks to Joanna from Adventures and Tea Parties for asking me !

One of my next blog posts is going to be crochet related and if any of you are fans of Edie Eckman, stay tuned  ……. there might even be a giveaway!

Nothing else to report, busy prepping shop stuff at the minute, here’s a few peeks behind the scenes and if you want to follow me on Instagram where I post daily updates, I am right here


Laser Cut Wood Earrings made by The Messy Brunette


Rude Embroidery - its not all florals !


Till next time!


A Crafty Catch Up

Well we are into the beginnings of the new year that is 2017, so wishing you all a Happy New Year!

Like you all, I suppose I ate my way into a sugar coma and drank way too much.  If I see any more turkey sandwiches, i’ll throw up! I don’t do new year resolutions but we did manage to buy a Nurtibullet at the sales, so a major detox & some healthy choices are on the way, once the kids are gone back to school!

In between, I did manage a few projects …………………..

I won this little sticker pack from Happy Stickers on Instagram. You can find them on Etsy here  Really simple and easy to use, just peel and stick to your surface, these ones were personalized to my son’s name. Cute eh? Id love to try more in my craft room. Sorry for the last photo, too many little excited helpers!

Using stickers to update your kids bedroomsUsing stickers to update your kids bedrooms

I managed lots of crochet hats and scarves for some Etsy orders with my shop.  Here’s some.  I used a pattern from TLYarnCrafts, you can find her shop here. Toni has a great range of patterns.

Crochet Hat & Scarf Set made by meCrochet Hat & Scarf Set made by me

This scarf, I did for myself for a new coat, love this yarn so soft.  Its Wendy super chunky, I used some of this yarn before here and its a favorite for scarves.  Its a simple cowl and I must write up a quick pattern.

Crochet Scarf in Mustard

I managed to fit in some Embroidery, this kit is from Tamar Nahir Yanai , you can find her new website here.  I love her work and this little hoop is going on a feature wall I am working on.

Embroidery Kit

My love affair with Embroidery is continuing on, I really love it, I managed to get myself some of these hand dyed embroidery yarns from Jessica of Little Twig Designs.  I just need to figure out a special project for them now.  You can find Jessica’s shop here.


My first 2017 order came through and its a little crochet hat and booties for a newborn, so tiny so cute!  You forgot how small babies are.

Crochet Hat and Booties for Newborn

I have a few plans for my Etsy shop, I have been working on some wooden jewellery designs, I just need the kids to go back to school so I can sit down with no interruptions!  Also I have been working on a big embroidery piece.  Its one of the biggest pieces I have ever done & its causing me a bit of stress! Here’s a peek …


I am also working on a crochet blanket, the spice of life cal from Sandra Cherryheart, just taking my time with this. Love the colours. You can find more about this blanket here.


Finally, are you still with me? this turned into an epic post ha!

I am loving this fabric and planning on making more hoops using it,  this one was for my niece.

Embroidery Name Hoop

So what are you working on? anything interesting ? Any plans for projects in the new year?

Till next time !