Thursday, 22 January 2015


Having the right tools for the job is essential for any DIY project!
Now, I'm lucky, as after years working in the British film industry as a mould maker, I have an extensive collection of tools:

This is my tool box, and yes: My tools are well used and look horrible, but this is also just the top of the iceberg, as I have a whole shed full!!

Now that I've shared that slightly off putting image with you all, I must stress that I probably have an excessive amount of tools ....
....and today I want to share with you all which tools I'm always using....the ones that I pretty much always have out for impromptu DIY sessions and various makes:


The reason I thought I'd share this with you all today, is that I want to not only inspire you to get more creative with your interiors, but also set you up for a doing a good job.
And it would really help you out if you already had a basic set of tools in your home... that way You can crack on whenever inspiration takes you!!

Invest in some dust masks, latex/rubber gloves and protective eye wear ....and maybe even some ear defenders! Keeping all these to hand will make it easier for you to NOT skip on health and safety!
Dress appropriately for the job in hand!

First, let's talk DIY....home improvement DIY!
From hanging a picture to resurfacing your work tops:

You will definitely benefit from owning both a drill (Yes, mine's really seen better days :()) and a palm sander!
 Of course you'll also need a selection of drill bits and sandpaper to hand with these!
But these two will be a great investment, if you don't already own them, as they are useful for almost all sorts of projects, little and large!

I would've included a jig saw in the top 3, but as this is a very basic list of MUST HAVE tools, I've left it out .... but if you're keen to get making and DIYing for your home, this may be very useful as well!!

Here are my list of must have hand held tools:
A wood saw (unless you've got a jig saw...lucky you!!)
Screwdrivers, both phillips (that's the + ones) and slots...One big and one small of each should fit most jobs!
Pliers, one Big flat nosed one and a smaller pointed one for those fiddly little jobs!
Measuring tape. ESSENTIAL!!
Cutters/snippers....for those jobs when scissors just won't do!
A chisel. This is very useful when you need to remove anything old and cakey (You'll know what I mean when you get there!!)
A hammer...this one is NOT just for nails, but sometimes you just need to give something a good old whack!! (Just not you husband, no matter how annoying he can be!!)
Stanley knife...just soooo useful!!

Other things that may come in handy on a regular basis is a spirit level and a selection of paint brushes.
Buy the best that you can afford and look after them! See how in this post! But sometimes the cheap disposable ones can be handy as well!
There's a type of brush for every project....I have a whole box full

Here's a few of my favorites:
 "Normal" 2" paint brush, 1/2 inch brush, both for decorating and furniture painting!
big soft bristle brush (for gilding etc.)
  sponge brush for applying glue evenly,
 Various flat and pointed art brushes, for the little, awkward to get to spaces (IE: around an electrical socket on a wall) or just for art!!
Wide flat surface brush for stippling and stenciling! 

Like I said: I have a whole box full, and in my opinion you can never have too many: Pick them up whenever you see them on offer....those children's art sets are also great value for money!!

For your  interior decorating,; Painting the walls etc I would recommend that you also stock up on  paint rollers and trays in various sizes! And you'll save your back if you invest in an extension rod for the rollers as well!!

And let's not forget to protect your surroundings when painting or sanding: Always keep some dust sheets and masking tape handy!

Now, moving on to those smaller projects you may find yourself inspired to do around the house, from repairing that broken list on the stairs to making that lovely candlestick you saw on pinterest...
These two are top on any DIY'ers tool list:

A glue gun and a heavy duty staple gun!!

Other things that come to mind after mentioning these two, is to 
keep a good selection of tapes: Gaffer tape, double sided tape and parcel tape are some of the ones I use most frequently (aside from masking tape and clear tape of course)
And a selection of glues: Super glue, craft glue, PVA and Glue sticks are always good to have in the house....but I also love using re-positionable spray glue when I do paper crafting:

Other things I consider a MUST HAVE , apart from pencils and pens, for paper crafting (but that is also useful for other projects) are:
A cutting mat (to protect the work surface)
A metal ruler
A scalpel or precision knife
and a good selection of scissors (I love using hair scissors for cutting details into paper) are always useful for any types of DIY, including sewing and textiles:

I would love to have a great big sewing machine with all the bells and whistles, but until I can afford one my little Mini one will do just fine for my basic sewing needs, like making cushions and hemming curtains.... Of course a set of needles and a variety of threads are a must for any hand sewing . I also keep a set of scissors especially for cutting fabrics with, and I am always using my Dylon fabric pens when doing any jobs using materials...And a measuring tape is useful not just for sewing, but for all sorts of things!!

Lastly, I want to mention craft paints and pens!
I keep lots of pens and pencils in a drawer in the kitchen, but the most useful are the marker pens!
I pick them up in all sorts of colors whenever I see them on offer!
I also have a big box of acrylic paints that are very useful when I am feeling a bit arty!!

Now chances are that yo'll at least have some of these things already, but don't be tempted to rush out (??) and buy every tool and kit I've just mentioned....As you get into DIY-ing and making things for your home, you'll naturally start accumulating the kit that YOU need!
And chances are that there will be things that I've not thought to mention here that you will need one day....just try to take my advice from This Post  and plan ahead before you embark on a DIY project, so that you can get everything you need in advance. Because there is nothing worse than getting halfway through the job, then realizing you'll need to stop to go out to buy something you've forgotten you'd need!!

This week I will not be posting any DIY tutorials, as I am busy working on an art commission and making some more concrete bowls , but I will instead be telling you about one of those people that have inspired me the most to get making and DIY' ing for my home!
So pop back at the weekend for that: You don't want to miss this one!!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015


It's official! HEAL'S is one of my favorite shops for all things interiors...not only do they capture my Scandinavian tastes perfectly,they are also on the forefront of design and are keen supporters of up-and-coming design talent.

In the spirit of getting into DIY and making things for the home this year, I was thrilled when I received an e-mail from Heals telling me that they are repeating their successful CRAFT MARKET again this year, as I missed it last year!

Now, I totally missed out this point in my How to get motivated and find the time to DIY post from last week....but of course, one of the best way's to get into getting creative is to take a CRAFTY WORKSHOP! Learning a new skill can be all the inspiration you need to get more creative with your interior!

So I felt obliged to tell you all about it, so that you have a chance to book one of the amazing workshops they are holding:

Heal’s Modern Craft Market promises to inspire any creative soul!
Not only will they be Showcasing the work of the best contemporary craft makers in the UK today, letting you discover and collect unique pieces by the craft names of the future,
 but also host live workshops using new materials and processes by a stellar line up of crafts men and women across all fields of design!

 It is taking place at their Tottenham Court Road store running from 2 to 15 February 2015, so if you live or work in or around London, love design and crafts, why don't you try to catch one of these amazing workshops and discover what it takes to be a modern craftsman in their exclusive hands-on workshops hosted by the exhibitors at the Heal’s Modern Craft Market this year:.

3rd feb

Leather Moulding with Tortie Hoare

Setting the market off with a bang, bespoke furniture designer Tortie Hoare provides an insight into the medieval art of leather moulding. This workshop is a unique opportunity to explore a centuries old technique by making a one-off piece for you to take home and treasure.
3rd feb

Fair Isle and Pattern Knitting with Gabrielle Vary

Providing a crash course in the intricate craft of knitting, Gabrielle Vary will take you through a range skills and techniques; from teaching you the basics of how to use a knitting machine right through to creating Fair Isle and pattern in knit.
This small workshop is the perfect opportunity to take a love of knitting to the next level, giving you the chance to translate your designs into custom knitting patterns.

4th feb
Porcelian Tea Light Making with Jo Davies

Exploring the translucent qualities of porcelain, Jo Davies’ workshop gives you the chance to design your own porcelain tea light lantern. Using natural and man-made materials to imprint the porcelain clay, you will create beautiful patterns around the surface of the tea light, building them up to make a truly personal gift or memento.

6th Feb

Screen Printing with Gabrielle Vary

Hosted by textile designer Gemma Waggett, this workshop teaches you how to create and screen print pattern on to your very own tote bag. Working alongside Gemma, you will learn all of the skills involved in using a digital embroiderer as well as translating to a silkscreen. With all materials provided, there’s nothing stopping you from making.

7th feb

Paper Cutting with Miss Paper Cut

Join ‘Miss Papercut’, aka Stephanie Hosmer, for an introductory workshop in crafting with paper. By first teaching you the techniques of how to use tools to cut from templates, the workshop leads on to you trying your hand at more complex patterns, creating a collection of beautiful cards in the process.

9th feb

Leather and Concrete Moulding with Katharina Eisenkoeck

This workshop lets you test out the techniques used by Katharina Eisenkoeck to mould leather and emboss concrete, creating 2 beautiful handmade napkin rings to take with you. By cutting the leather into strips then wet-forming it in water you will learn how to emboss the material with your own unique pattern, before cast small cubes of concrete to attach to your napkins.

9th feb

Out of the Dark Introduction to Chair Caning

Join Out of the Dark ( a charitable social enterprise that recycles, restores and revamps salvaged furniture as a means to train, educate and employ young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.) at the Heal's Modern Craft Market for their brand new, introduction to caning workshop. You will cover the different styles, examples of caning and its history.
Learn the basics of 6 way chair caning on a small frame that you can then take home with you.

10th feb

Lino Printing with Justine Wall

Talking you through the different stages and techniques, Justine Wall of Hector and Haddock’s workshop will show you how to design and make your very own lino-cut. Sketching your own designs onto tracing paper, you will transfer your creations onto lino block before carving in your design. This highly-skilled workshop includes all the materials you will need to create a master piece in your lunch break.

11th feb

Love Token Making with Rosemary rose

Led by Zara Day of Rosemary Rose, this workshop gives you the chance to create your very own Love Token. Popular in the 19th Century, the Love Token is a gift traditionally given by gentleman to show their affection. The hearts are filled with fragrant local Cotswold lavender, which in Tudor times was associated with passion, and are hand-made using the traditional technique of embroidered stitches. The perfect workshop to craft handmade your Valentine’s Day gift.

11th feb

Panel discussion

Keeping it Real: Craft and Authenticity 

If you are particularly interested in the future of crafts in design Why not pop down to participate in this panel discussion, Talking traditional techniques to cutting-edge digital processes,  – chaired by Crafts editor Grant Gibson and featuring bodger-in-chief Chris Eckersley, Studio Manifold’s Zachary Eastwood-Bloom and up-and-coming designer Xenia Moseley – The panel sets out to discover where the limits of craft reside and begs the question: what precisely is ‘real’ craft.

13th feb

Letter Carving in Stone with Thomas Appleton

Using stone donated by London Stone Conservation, this workshop gives you the chance to try your hand at traditional techniques of letter carving. Under the watchful eye of heritage craftsman Thomas Appleton, you will carve letters in stone to take with you and enjoy at home. All equipment and materials needed for the workshop will be provided.

13th feb

Clock Making with Umut Yamac

With years of experience making delicate paper sculptures, this workshop will show you how to create your own handmade wall clock using the origami style of folding paper. Inspired by Umut Yamac’s own Perch Light artwork, each participant will be supplied with all the materials necessary to create their own clock to display at home.

14th feb

Stitch Knits with Nancy Nicholson

Learn the art and craft of stitch-work with Nancy Nicholson. During this workshop you will be shown many of the specialist stitches that Nancy uses in her designs, which will also be on display throughout the duration of craft market. You will also be provided with a printed motif for you to stitch and take home to enjoy.

If you want to learn more about the various artists holding workshops for HEAL'S MODERN CRAFT MARKET, just click on their names to be taken to their individual websites!
Amazing , right??
And to think that YOU can go and meet and learn from these super talented people!!??

I had a hard time choosing....would've liked to do them all, but in the end I decided on the Screen printing workshop as this is something I've always wanted to try ....
and  katharina Eisenkoeck's concrete and leather workshop, as I'd love to meet her and discuss the possibilities/limitations of concrete!!

Prices for the various workshops vary (but they are all totally affordable) and Places are limited, so please hurry over to Heal's to choose and book your Workshop!!
I will of course tell yo all about after!!
Maybe I'll see you there?

If you are NOT London based, but would like to find craft workshops near you, Craft Courses lets you search your local area for any available workshops!