The Quest for the Perfect Bag

I’ve been wanting a new bag for a few months now for carting my belongings to and from work (when I return) and seem to have spent so much time looking for the perfect one that I feel a bit like I’ve seen them all and maybe the perfect one does not exist.

My perfect bag wishlist is….

  • 3 large interior pockets
  • Roomy enough to carry water, my filofax, keys, phone, purse, notebook and any other things that I may want in there like my kindle or a book
  • Not be too plain
  • But on the other hand, not be to flashy or blingy
  • Not be black or brown
  • But also not be too bright
  • Some kind of shoulder bag
  • Not be branded visibly
  • Be waterproof
  • Be hard wearing enough to withstand being chucked about
  • Not be nylon
  • Not look or feel too cheap
  • Be within my price range (up to £30)

I used to have a Bessie bag that I really loved, it was hard wearing, cream coloured with brown accents, fit everything and more, was perfect for any occasion, and fit most of the criteria that I have listed above.  I wish that bag still existed because I’d 100% buy it again.  It lasted me a good few years and, aside from swapping it over to another bag, I’m now unsure of what happened to it.

I am tempted by a few other Bessie Bags but I worry that I will compare it to my last one, and what if it doesn’t live up to my expectations?  I’ve also had my eye on a few different ones on Amazon but without seeing them in real life I’m not sure what to expect quality wise….

What sort of bag do you use?  Do you have any suggestions for bags?

Upcycle Project – Dining Chairs (Part 3)

I have shared the first two parts of this project already, you can find the first post (about finding my chairs) here, and the second part (about preparing them and painting) here .  Todays post is about upholstering the seat part of the chairs.

I had decided to replace the seat part of the chair fabric with white vinyl and decided that I would replace the seat padding at the same time as the padding was fairly flat and on some chairs felt pretty non existent.  I decided to use a thick, 2 inch deep foam for the seat padding which I bought from Amazon.  I also needed to buy a staple gun and the vinyl material which I also ordered from Amazon.  As the width of the material I chose to use was 1.4 meters I purchased 2 meters in length which gave me enough fabric to cover all 4 seats.

The first task I had was to remove the old fabric from the seats once the seat had been removed from the chair frame.  Sounds fairly simple doesn’t it?  This task took an age!  The old fabric had been stapled to the seat base with about a million staples per seat, and it wasnt just the sheer amount of staples used that made it a lengthy task, the staples were really tough to remove, some of them embedded into the wood quite deeply.  I used a screwdriver to lever the staples out one by one.  Once the staples had been removed I could see that the seat padding was made up of bits of milled material and foam had been used around the edges of the seat to make them less hard.  The foam had disintegrated fairly badly and had in many places turned to dust.  I had to carefully remove the fabric and use a Hoover to clean up as I went along.

The foam pads that I had bought were slightly bigger than the seat bases which meant I needed to cut the foam down to size.  as the seats were not square I also needed to make sure that the foam shape matched that of the seat so I used the seat as a template and traced around them onto the foam with a sharpie marker before cutting the excess foam away with scissors.

Once the foam had been cut to size I then needed to cut the vinyl down too.  I cut the piece I had bought into 4 sections, one piece for each seat.  I then laid this down on the table with the facing side to the table and the underside of the fabric facing up.  on to this I laid the cut foam and then placed the seat on top.  From that point I was able to start securing the fabric to the seat using the staple gun.  I started in the centre of the front of the seat, then the back centre, making sure the fabric was taught and evenly stretched over the foam.  I then secured each side before trimming down the excess fabric and then continued to staple the fabric into place.  Once I reached the corners I chose to fold the fabric and tuck it in, creating a neat looking corner.  I had, on the first chair. attempted to be fancy and create rounded seat edged but it didn’t work particularly well and I ended up with excess fabric in one corner and an awkward looking seat covering.   In hindsight I think that if the foam hadn’t been so thick then that idea would have worked a lot better!

In the pictures above you will be able to see that I started with stapling the corners of the fabric first…this was the first seat that I covered where I thought that making the corners rounded was a good idea…it wasn’t!  And starting on the corners meant that the tension of the fabric was out which made it harder to get the fabric to lay nicely over the foam.  On the other seats I secured the fabric in the centre of the sides and worked front centre 0 back centre, then both sides in the centre before working my way along the rest of the sides and out towards the corners.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take any more pictures of the full method I used….

Next week I will be showing you the completed chairs and the fun decoration I have added to the chairs!

Room Divider

The downstairs of my home consists of a front door that opens onto a narrow hallway with a door that leads into the living area.  The living area consists of 2 rooms that have been knocked into one with a bit of an archway separating the 2 spaces with a kitchen right at the back that leads onto my garden.  I love the main space, it feels big and airy and light, and I love that even though it is one big space it still manages to hold the definition of 2 separate spaces so well.

Having the space set up as 2 separate rooms, the main “living room” area at the front of the house – where watching tv, sitting and relaxing, chatting with friends, reading takes place, and the “dining room” area towards the back, nearest the kitchen, made the most sense to me.  I liked the idea of having areas defined by their use and making the most of the archway between what was the partition wall at one point.  I started to think about creating a proper divide for the space, the idea that I could close off one part of the space if I wanted for privacy or if it got chilly in winter and I wanted the space to feel more cozy seemed really appealing.  At first I thought about using my Ikea Kallax Unit to divide the space and had seen some really neat ideas using units in this way on Google, however I was worried that it could make moving between areas awkward, that I would lose floor space in one of the areas and that it would look more clumsy than cozy.

I settled on the idea of using material to divide the space, something similar to curtains, not only would it be cozy in the winter, it would be tactile and a playful addition to the pompoms Id already added to the space.  I thought that more texture and print would fit together perfectly.  I found just what I was looking for one evening on Amazon…  I knew that I didn’t want anything to heavy as it would be a pain to hang, I also didnt want fabric that was too thick as I wanted them to be easy to clean, wash and dry.  I also didn’t want anything to plain or “traditional” as it wouldn’t fit my style.  What I wanted was something that was bright, patterned, fitted with the colours of the room, was a little bit hippy, easy to care for and even easier to hang and live with!  I love the mandala print of these hangings, and the colours too, they seemed perfect to me.  I was a bit unsure, once they had been delivered as the colours were not as bright as I had imagined or seen in the listing but decided to hang them and see what they looked like anyway…

I hung these with Command Hooks and some pegs for the short-term, though they have been hanging since July and I’ve not changed the hanging method yet, so that may not change!

I’m really happy with the space divider, using hangings to create the divide has worked out really well, they have added texture and colour as well as being a privacy screen when needed though I have not really used it to its full capacity –  the curtains mainly stay open but as it gets colder and the nights get darker that may change!  And despite my reservations on the colour difference when I recieved them, I’m liking them a lot, they are not overbaringly bright and garish and really go well with the rest of the room and the decor!

Pulling the Room Together

As promised, this is the second post about decorating my downstairs room and the extra decoration I have added.

After painting and leaving the walls to dry for a time I decided to add some fun touches and textural interest to the arches and alcoves in the form of multi-colour pompoms.  I measured the alcoves and archway and searched the internet for what I had in mind…. I eventually found what I wanted from Amazon .  I was able to purchase this in long lengths which was what I was looking for, each length had to be more than a meter so I could run a continuous length rather than fixing lengths together to fit into the alcoves.

I bought some Command Hooks from B&Q that are meant for hanging decorations such as Christmas Lights, to hang the trim up.  Command Hooks are able to be used and removed without harming the wall underneath and, having used several of their other products in the past, decided that these would be the best thing to use.  The hooks were a bit fiddly as they come in a pack – the hooks all connected to one another and the sticky part separate.  You need to break off the hooks and attach the correct side of the sticky to the hook before peeling the other side from the sticky and attaching to the wall.  I found it easier to break off all the hooks and then attach the sticky to them all before using.

I placed the hooks up the alcoves at equal distances but alternating the facing of the hook, so one faced towards the wall, the next at 180 degrees and facing away from the wall before weaving the trim up and through each hook.

I was really worried that upon the trim being delivered it wouldn’t be as bright as I’d wanted or, not even the correct thing at all (going by past experiences…) and worried that the overall effect would not be like I imagined.  I’m really pleased with how it turned out though, and it always makes me smile.  Visitors to my home have commented on how nice it looks so I’m guessing that it’s not just a hit with me!

Here’s some pictures of the room with the trim up!  (please note that some of these photos are really recent ones…)