An end of summer crafty catch up

I have been meaning to catch up on my blog but it’s just been one thing after another.  So I thought, I would actually sit down and see what I have actually done this past while.

Summer time, brought the holidays and of course the kids were at home, but I did manage to do a few projects, that is to say in between ferrying them here and here and constantly having to feed them and stop them fighting.  Of course visitors just seem to call, whilst you are in the middle of painting too, don’t they!

My last few posts were on the big revamp of the kids playroom, really happy with how that went.  I broke it down into five parts.  Just click on the pictures below if you fancy a read.

Upcycling an old bookcase








Playroom revamp - part 2: up-cycling an old cot into a hanging rack, using some paint, paper and some hooks








Playroom revamp part 3 - upcycling an old chest box with a geometric design







Using patterned paint rollers on your walls









Playroom revamp - decor and those last minute touches that wont cost a fortune








Really pleased that Colourtrend shared my post on the bookcase on facebook, yay!

Speaking of facebook, I finally sat down one day & published The Messy Brunette there.  Not sure what to really expect from it as it’s not my favourite social media.  If you are a regular user, please come and say hi.  Speaking of social media, I am still active on Instagram and Twitter, so if you prefer these, do pop over.

We went on holidays to Wexford back in July.  I have only been there once, years ago, at a Tommy Tiernan gig but have to say, we really enjoyed our stay.  We stayed at the Talbot Hotel, which I would highly recommend.  Here’s a few pictures, we actually had great weather as well.


Quietly working away on my Etsy shop,  things were slow during the summer period but it gave me time to tidy up a few things and streamline the products, I offer.  Selling handmade is hard work and an eye opener, learning lots from my first year of selling.  I managed to design and list some pretty laser cut jewellery.  I would love to try more but for now, sticking with these pieces.

As for the embroidery, I am still working away, I just really love it! Trying out some of my own lettering and drawings, thanks to Peggy Deans books.  Have you discovered these yet? They are great for people learning to draw or just to brush up on your skills.  You can have a look at her website, for inspiration.

I have found some of the Irish themed hoops sell well abroad and I have gotten some rude requests, which I love! Here’s a few hoops I have been working on.

I have neglected my crochet a bit lately, but i am working on a shawl/scarf, using Scheejes whirl, have your tried this yarn yet? I still have the spice of life cal blanket on to go too! I really should get a move on with it though.  I  have been trying out a few pieces of jewellery combing some crochet but I’m afraid I can’t show these just yet. So here’s a picture on the shawl.



Lately I attended a workshop with Joanne of Kyle Lane, it was a follow up on her furniture techniques one.  As usual, it was a great day and I came away with a little locker.  You can find Joanne’s website here.

Now that the kids are back to school, I have been messing around with some Christmas designs, I know, I know the C word!!  I wont say much on them, but you will see in time.  Also been toying around with the idea of a newsletter, its on my list ! Is it something you have? Any tips?

That’s about it for now, till next time !




Playroom Revamp Part 2 : Upcycled Cot into a Hanging Rack

If you want to read Part 1 on my painted bookcase, just click here.

Ok, still with me on this project ?  Good here we go …

Next up, I wanted something to hang stuff from, you know all the kid crap that likes to lie on the floor and has no place.  Because our back door is beside the playroom, they tend to traipse in through the house and look for hats, scarves, wellies, hurleys, helmets etc etc  Of course these things are never where they should be! So I remembered, I still had our old baby cot in the garage.  Now I did use the headboard for a project back ages ago, you can read about it here.

So I decided to use the other part of the cot for this project. Here’s a picture of the cot before I did anything.  I was just cleaning and prepping it here, funnily enough on another cot – don’t ask!

Playroom revamp - part 2: up-cycling an old cot into a hanging rack, using some paint, paper and some hooks


When I started, I was going to try a geometric pattern on it, see here …..

Playroom revamp - part 2: up-cycling an old cot into a hanging rack, using some paint, paper and some hooksPlayroom revamp - part 2: up-cycling an old cot into a hanging rack, using some paint, paper and some hooks

but I didn’t like the colours against the blue so I scrapped that.  I really wanted to use up the paint and materials I had, the last thing I wanted to do was buy more stuff!

Then I decided to use some paper. I was undecided on what paper to use.  I used Instagram stories, where I showed a few different papers and people there seemed to prefer this paper.  Its called Brighton Pier.  It was a roll I had for ages, yes just one roll!

Playroom revamp - part 2: up-cycling an old cot into a hanging rack, using some paint, paper and some hooks


Lastly,  I just screwed in some hooks, that I had from Ikea.  Then I  got himself to actually screw the cot itself, into the wall and now all the crap is hanging on this and not on the floor. Result!

Playroom revamp - part 2: up-cycling an old cot into a hanging rack, using some paint, paper and some hooks


Here it is all finished …Playroom revamp - part 2: up-cycling an old cot into a hanging rack, using some paint, paper and some hooks


Please note: I did wash and clean down the cot before I started. I used Bin to prime it for the paint.  The paint I used was a test pot of Valspar.   This apparently has a primer built in.  I used some Mod Podge to glue and seal the paper.

No children were harmed during this project 😉

Till next time !


To see my other follow up posts on this revamp, have a look here – Part 1, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Playroom revamp - part 2: up-cycling an old cot into a hanging rack, using some paint, paper and some hooks



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


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

CraftBlogClub Challenge – Upcycle Children Clothes for a Memory Keeper

I decided to take part in the CraftBlogClub Summer Challenge, which was to complete an upcycle challenge of your choice.  You can read more about the challenge here.  The host of this challenge was Jenniffer Taylor queen of the #sewingrevolution.  So I decided to use one of my sons little shirts, you know you always have a favourite little outfit they wore and don’t like to throw away ….. so I wanted to keep this and use it as wall art for his room.  It would be something I would have of his to keep.

So this was the shirt …. there are little anchors running through it and it was cotton so an ideal medium to embroidery something on it.  So I decided to keep with the nautical theme and used this design from Kelly Fletcher’s “Embroidered Home” Book

How to upcycle your childrens clothes to wall art to display

How to upcycle your childrens clothes to wall art to display

I traced it onto a sheet of Sulky sticky fabri solvy , peeled it off and stuck it right on the material.  This product is great & acts as a stabilizer as well.  You then rinse it off with some water when finished your stitching.

Here’s some progress shots ………

How to upcycle your childrens clothes to wall art to display

And the finished result……. all hooped up and ready to hang.

How to upcycle your childrens clothes to wall art to display

Have you used something of your childrens as a keepsake ? Any other ideas ? Id love to hear.

Till next time

Maura x


Upcycled Cable Reel Table

I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of these old cable reels for free – yah go me! they have become so popular now for upcycling.  People are now charging extortive money for them!

I wanted one for my garden, as the table we had, had seen better days and was literally falling apart. So here is my before picture, I had just started sanding it.

Upcycle cable reel table

and here it is all finished and sitting nice and pretty in the garden, with some flowers that I wish I could say I grew in my garden but ahem no ….


I decided against painting it, I know! major shock for me too! I just gave it a good sand down with my trusty hand sander.  I left the wording on it and left it a bit rustic and rough looking.  I then gave it two good coats of wood decking oil, left it to soak in and thats it!

Here’s a few shots of the work in hand.

Upcycle cable reel table

A nice effective upcycle and there’s even a little hole to put your umbrella in, result !

Upcycle cable reel table

So have you used a cable reel in any project? I’d love to try a smaller one for a coffee table.

Till next time ….

M x


# I link up here




How to Upcycle Kilner Jars or any Jars

I love these little jars, especially when painted & distressed. The Americans have Mason jars, we have these!

Here’s some I recently did ……

Upcycle your Jars with chalk paint & napkin decoupage, even some folk painting - tutorial

Upcycle your Jars with chalk paint & napkin decoupage, even some folk painting - tutorial

Upcycle your Jars with chalk paint & napkin decoupage, even some folk painting - tutorial
So if you want to try your hand here’s how …..


  • Jars of course!, doesn’t have to be the Kilner ones by the way, but try & get some that have a bit of detail on them. I like using the Bonne Maman jam jars too.
  • Paint; I use chalk paint, it’s easy to distress but you can use acrylic or some people use paint specifically for glass.
  • Foam brush, I prefer to use these as they don’t leave brush marks.
  • Sealer; I used Americana Decor Creme Wax, it’s a lovely creamy wax varnish, great to work with & gives great results, but you can use regular varnish too.
  • Fine sandpaper or try a nail file
  • Napkins & glue if you want to try some decoupage on the jars.

Ok, let’s get started.

  1. First up make sure your jars are cleaned thoroughly, maybe run through the dishwasher first and remove any stickers.  Some people rub them with spirits first but I don’t and they work out just fine.
  2. Choose your paint & give the jar about 3 coats of paint, let it dry in between the coats. Paint in one direction.  On one of the jars, I originally painted it pink and then gave it 2 coats of grey and sanded it to bring out the pink.
  3. If you are going to decoupage then match the paint to your napkin, click here to read more on trying out decoupage on your projects or try a bit of painting on the jars, I did a small bit of folk art painting on one.
  4. If you are happy with the coverage then you can begin to distress.  Using your fine sandpaper or nail file , lightly sand over the detail on the jar, I worked on the name & the tag bit to the front. You don’t have to distress, you can leave it as is too. I just love distressing things!
  5. Once you are happy with the look, it’s time to seal the jar , I gave the jars 2 coats & let them dry in between. It gives the paint a nice finish & brings out the colour more.

Remember these jars are only for display purposes & you can’t put them in the dishwasher.  Just a wipe of a damp cloth should do, if needed.

You can use these for so many things & try different techniques  ….. Here’s a few more I did a while back.  Works great on tin cans too.

Have you tried to do these ? Did it work out?

Decoupage tin: with a paper napkin, paint and some gold leaf, distressed & a bit of twine for effect
Upcycle your Jars ... heres how with paint and decoupage
Upcycle your Jars ... heres how with paint and decoupage
I have a Pinterest board on upcycling your Jars/Tins here, have a peek for some inspiration.
Till next time ..!

Upcycle your Jars with chalk paint & napkin decoupage, even some folk painting - tutorial

#I link up here ..

Giveaway prize from the Crafty Mummy Blog …. so here’s what I did

I recently won a giveaway from the Crafty Mummy blog, yah me! I never win anything, in fact the last time I won something was back when I was about 12 years old and it was an umbrella ….. ugggh so, to say I was delighted was an understatement and especially as it was all crafty stuff.  So I got my box of goodies, thank you Kasia by the way …..

This was the prize (picture from The Crafty Mummy Blog)


and here’s what I did ………….

Upcycled Jars

I painted & decoupaged some of the Jars and tried some folk art painting on one.  My hooks & pens are taking pride of place in these.



I decorated some of these little wood cut outs with some paint and more folk art hearts






Upcycled Jars


Upcycled Jars

With the ribbons and hesin & other little bits, I decorated some more jars that I use for my craft supplies.  All prettied up now.

There was some chalk board paint included so I upcycled one of my old kitchen doors and put it in my craft room.  This paint is amazing by the way, its goes on so smooth, much better than other brands I have used in the past.

UPcycled Kitchen door into a chalk board Blackboard paint





If you want to read more on The Crafty Mummy blog, please hop over, she has a great crafty blog and I am loving her stuff.  She also has recently started up a new business venture called The Cute Kitsch, which is a monthly craft subscription box full of craft goodies! So please do pop over and have a peek.  Wishing you all the best Kasia.

Till next time folks!




It was a cot, now it’s not ….. an upcycle project!

Upcycled project, how I turned my old cot into a hanging rail

We had an old cot  ready to be dumped, we couldn’t sell it on or gift it, as himself sat on it one night, whilst reading a story &  forgot he wasn’t a lightweight & broke the lats so that was the end of the cot bed! It  was a swift move into the big bed for the small fella.

So it was left sitting in our garage for a while along with various other crap projects. The front and end pieces were perfect so I decided to use one piece as a hanging rack.  Here’s a before picture.Upcycle project, how i turned one old cot bed into a hanging rack. Tutorial and pictures.

and here’s the end result.

Upcycle project, how i turned one old cot bed into a hanging rack. Tutorial and pictures.

Gather your supplies and for this project I used the following:

  • Bin Zinsser, which is primer, sealer and stain killer
  • Wood filler, to fill in the old screw marks
  • Some nice wrapping paper.
  • Mod Podge or PVA Glue
  • Paint, I used a tester pot of Valspar paint called Shy Girl, it’s a nice dusky pink
  • Hooks or knobs,  I had these lying around (as you do!)
  • Gold leaf and glue
  • Sandpaper
  • Stencil
  • Embossing Paste & some acrylic paint
  • Paint brushes
  1. I started firstly giving it a quick rub down and a light sand.  Next, I used the Bin to prime the piece, this stuff is great, as it provides a surface to hold the paint.  Leave your windows open as it’s quite strong and smells terrible.  I left this to dry.
  2. I used the wood filler to fill in any old screw marks
  3. I then painted the piece with the Valspar paint, I gave it three coats in total and left it to dry between coats.
  4. I cut my paper to match the indent on the top part of the cot.  I only had enough paper for this part otherwise I would have used it on the second indent. I used some mod podge and glued this on and again I applied the mod podge on top of the paper to seal it. Here’s a close up of the paper. Upcycle project, how I turned and old cot into a hanging rack, Pictures/ Tutorial
  5. I had only 2 of the ribbon hanging hooks but I decided it needed another hook.  I had this old door knob, so this would go in the middle. The other long one in the picture was used for purely decoration purposes.  I used some gold leaf on the knob and distressed it a bit to match in with the other hooks. Upcycled Cot6
    Upcycled Cot10Upcycled Cot8
  6. These were then screwed into the piece.
  7. I felt the end indent was a bit bare and I wanted to try out some embossing paste I had, so I mixed in a bit of green acrylic paint to the paste and applied it to the stencil. I left this to dry overnight.  This give the stencil a raised 3D look.  I used a tiny bit of bitumen I had to give the stencil an old look to blend in with the hooks and the paper.
  8. I slightly sanded down the piece in places to give it a distressed look, not much though.Upcycled Cot3Upcycle project, how I turned and old cot into a hanging rack, Pictures/ Tutorial

There you go, all done! What do you think? Have you tried any upcycling lately?

Upcycle project, how I turned and old cot into a hanging rack, Pictures/ Tutorial

Header pic from Barn Images

How I upcycled my Writing Bureau

Hey there, as promised here’s my take on upcycling an old writing desk or if you prefer bureau!

We had this old writing bureau in the back back room as we call it, well…. because it’s a room in the back of the back room! Dont ask! That’s a whole other post!  Let’s get back to it, it  was left abandoned there along with a load of other old crap. Doesn’t everyone have a room like that in their house, that you just dump stuff into?? Please say you do?!

It was a nice piece, but had not been used in many many years.  Eventually when I got around to clearing out, said room, I kinda liked the look of this cabinet.  Big and spacious and loads of space to hide store my craft stash.

Upcycled Writing Bureau Tutorial : The Start

So my vision for this cabinet was to paint her a bright colour on the outside but to leave the inside in the wood.  There is a pull down shutter to the front of the cabinet and there is also a pull out leaf so it’s a great craft cabinet! I decided to try out some stencilling on the shutter and on the pull out leaf.  I saw some pretty cool wood stained stencils over at the ambitious procrastinator, she has some great tutorials.  So I thought, this was the perfect project to try it out.

Ok, lets talk supplies, I used the following:

  • Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Antibes Green
  • Annie Sloan Clear & Dark Wax
  • Sugar Soap
  • Sander
  • Sandpaper
  • Stencils
  • White Acrylic Paint
  • Wood Glue
  • Stain, I used Indian Rosewood
  • Soft cloth or brush


  • First off, I cleaned cabinet down with some sugar soap and let it dry
  • I gave it a sand down with my sander, there was a lot of marks and dirt on it.
  • Next up, I used the wood glue to fix back any loose bits, there was a small strip hanging off at the bottom of the drawer.
  • I usually give any pieces I do an undercoat or some kind of primer but this time I decided not to do this step, as first of all its chalk paint and you don’t need to prep.  I don’t necessarily believe this, as I think if you prep your pieces first they will last a lot longer, but anyway I had no primer & no patience so I just brushed on the paint.  I find AS paint to be quiet thick, so I did water it down somewhat and it goes on a lot easier.  So after 3 coats, yes 3 it look in total, it was ready. I decided to leave the lips on the drawers in the wood, I just painted the drawer fronts.
  • After each coat, I gave it a light sand.  I like the look of the paint after you do this.  I distressed the piece in places, harder in some areas and lightly in others.  I like the shabby look.
  • I then used the clear wax all over, I love how the paint looks after you wax it. I decided to age it a bit so I used the dark wax after the clear in places.  Just by dabbing the wax on and rubbing it off again it gives it a nice old look.
  • I decided to try out the wood stain stencil on the pull out drawer.  I positioned the stencil and used a stencil foam thingy (you know what I mean!) with the glue. I let this dry.  It was a nice effect but it wasn’t very obvious to see.  Maybe my stain was too dark ?Wood Stain Stencil Effect Tutorial
  • After that I decided to use white acrylic paint on the stencil for the pull down shutter and try to show off the stencil.  Again, I positioned the stencil and instead of the glue, I used the paint. Left it to dry and yes, this time I was happy with this result.
  • Next up, I needed to stain the pull down shutter over the stencil.  I used Indian Rosewood stain.  Just a small piece on your cloth or brush and rub it into your piece.  Do this in small bits at a time until you are finished.  Let it dry and lightly wipe off any excess.  I lightly sanded where the stencil was to give it a slightly distressed look.
  • I also stained the lips of the drawers and in the end I stained the inside part of the desk too as there was a slight difference between the wood colours.

So here’s the final result!

Upcycled Writing Bureau Tutorial : Final Result !

Sorry about the state of my floor but I did fix it up after this project, to see what I did have a read over here