There is so much satisfaction to be had from creating something yourself, even if the results are not 100% professional, you did it, you created it, it has a part of you in it, it is unique.
That is what inspires me to collect and create, to have something that no one else has.
On my travels, my walks, my visits to the beach, I am always on the look out for anything collectible be it pine cones, flowers, an unusual pebble, sea glass, anything in fact, some of it is thrown away on returning home but most of it is used in some way.
My first attempt at being creative (well,apart from the necklaces we made as children from melon seeds!) was making curtains, metres of curtains, over twenty metres in fact, I had never sewn anything before yet alone on a sewing machine, how difficult could it be?
Nothing phased me!
With my good friend M in tow, we trekked to Athens in a taxi, found the Laura Ashley shop, chose the fabric and bought about twenty metres...I had large, floor to ceiling windows, covering a whole wall.
Twenty metres of fabric is heavy! We took turns carrying it back to the taxi rank.
Now I had the fabric, off I went to buy a sewing machine, thread, curtain heading tape, pins and the fun began, what with the fabric, the sewing machine and the taxi to Athens it was turning into an expensive venture, I had better be careful what I was doing.
Was it easy? No.
Did I know what I was doing? No.
There was so much fabric, machines don't run straight of their own accord and as for threading the needle and the spool, it was all beyond me, it took days, I had to stay at home all day, I had to finish this I wasn't going to be defeated.
Poor M went through it with me, she lived next door, she went through a lot with me!
Ten times a day I was ringing her door bell for help, for moral support or just to come and have a drink with me!
Well I finished them, they were fine, the results amazed us both.
More amazing was the fact that I was only twenty years old and had managed this from scratch with no experience whatsoever.
Thank you M, while all this was happening you were planning your wedding, how patient you were.
After this is it was quite a while before creativeness hit me again, when it did, it stayed for good.
I'm forever looking for something to fix up, give a lick of paint, anything.
Ebay is a great place for finding things when I am on one of my "Projects", fabrics being a passion, high-end, designer fabrics that cost the earth in the shops, Ebay has them for nothing, £10 or so a metre, big interior designers, after finishing custom jobs, sell off the remnants, shops sell off dis-continued stock and samples, it is surprising what you can make with just one metre.
I have my favourite designers, Andrew Martin, Jane Churchill, Nina Campbell, Designers guild to name just a few.
Here are some cushion covers made from fabric collected from Ebay, the cushions themselves are cheap ones from Ikea...the satisfaction of creating something multiplies when it was also done cheaply, the results look anything but cheap!
|Andrew Martin cushions|
I have piles of fabric, when I see something I like I buy it, something will always be made with it.
I have been collecting yellow and blue fabric to use for cushions etc in the garden.
Just have to get around to doing it, by the way, anything now that needs sewing is taken to the local seamstress, my machine gave up the ghost long ago and seeing as I only sew in straight lines, I can't go round corners! It seemed silly to buy a new one.
|Jane Churchill fabric|
My most precious find was a large piece of Timney Fowler fabric "Porticos", I love the Palladio Style.
I keep having ideas for it and then think of something else to do with it, I don't want to waste it as I shall never find it at such a bargain again.
Timney Fowler Porticos
I have re-covered a few pieces of cast off furniture with my fabric bargains, one was a taupe hessian footstool looking rather worse for wear, re-covered with Fredensborg, a sumptuous silver grey heavy velvet from Designers Guild.
The legs were rubbed down with sand paper and painted silver, then sanded slightly again to give the "Distressed" look.
|Designers Guild Fredensborg|
After ( I didn't re-cover the dog! )
With some jet black cotton velvet I covered two chairs for my daughter's bedroom.
The armchair is antique and came all the way from the Greek Island of Syros.
The other chair was found in my Mother-in-law's store room, an old dining chair by the look of it.
The chair from Syros was only re-covered, didn't want to touch anything else and spoil it.
The dining chair I sanded down and rubbed on gold paint with a sponge, adding more until I had the desired effect and covered with the velvet.
I had been looking for ages for a suitable mirror for this room, couldn't find anything that I liked so in the end I bought an old gilt picture frame, took it to the glazier who put me a mirror in it..job done!
Lovely Sunburst mirror found and bought for a song on French Ebay, looks just right in my daughter's bedroom.
Another chair made for my daughter, this time for her house in Athens, was found for me by my friend H.A, again,sanded down, painted white, sanded again then I padded out the seat a bit with old cushion innards and covered in the black cotton velvet.
I was very happy with the results of this job.
|The chair in Athens|
The chair in Athens, oh and the linen curtains that I altered, by hand, took two days, they are now awaiting me in Athens apartment number three to be altered again!
A really quirky thing that I did for my daughter (isn't she a lucky girl ) are these two chairs, cheap formica, around 30 euros each , a roll of feature wallpaper, Rome scenes, and a pot of Mod Podge, Mod Podge is brilliant, glues, seals and varnishes all in one go, there are the options of matte, gloss and even glitter!
I can't remember why the man from the wallpaper site asked me what I was going to do with the paper, anyway, when I told him he was very interested and asked to see the results, he was so impressed he put the picture up on his site, I can't for the life of me remember the site to show it to you.
|Chair before covering|
Here they are in Athens, this is the second of her three apartments I have helped her with...stay in one place Nais!
The roman blind and the cushions on the sofa are also made from Designers Guild fabric, my son now has the blind, nothing is ever wasted!
I have a pile of pictures that I had framed for her waiting to be taken up to Athens, one painted by me, don't know if it shows on the picture, The Arc De Triumph, Paris.
I have done quite a few frames, just from cheap plain, unpainted wood, painting and then "Distressing" them.
|"Distressed" picture frame|
|Detail of "Distressed" picture frame|
|Postcards from the Acropolis museum|
These are postcards that I had bought at the Acropolis
Museum, Athens, then "Distressed" the frames.
All these also for Nais!
Other bits and bobs collected are sea glass from Loutraki beach, at the moment I have them in jars that I use as doorstops, eventually when I have enough I want to make a mosaic table for the garden.
Gifts from the sea
Notice the Eiffel tower bottle at the back, also filled with sea glass.
Pebbles are also a thing that I collect, I bring them home from the beach a few at a time as they are heavy, sometimes I leave a trail behind me because I have taken too many to carry and ditch them one at a time along the way...Susan was here!
These I put around the urns in the garden, others display in bowls, others can be painted.
|Pebbles and sea shells|
Drift wood is also collected.
Flowers I don't really collect, I am not a flower person, the sea is my passion but I did collect some everlasting flowers which grow near our house and made a beautiful May wreath with my Granddaughter Melina.
It now hangs outside above the kitchen door.
The corner under the stairs was made more interesting by my collection of baskets, most bought on holidays in France, they are all used, for the beach, clothes waiting to be ironed, dirty linen and beach towels, I love baskets!
The sweet little lamp is covered with Fornasetti fabric which costs an absolute fortune(Ebay again), as does anything Fornasetti (the real stuff, not the porcelain stuff made by Rosenthal)
I do have a collection of Fornassetti but it growing very slowly due to the prices!
The Fornasetti fabric in detail
|Marks & Spencer lamp|
The cream-coloured shade on this little Marks & Spencer lamp had become so dirty, so I cheered it up a bit with felt tip pens!
|Wooden salad bowl|
An old wooden salad bowl that I painted white, roughed up a bit and then drew a pattern with felt tip pens.
For some of the things I do I need help, like this trestle table in the sitting room.
Our local carpenter, George, made the trestles from cheap pine, stained it dark brown, then the local glazier, Vangelis, cut me a piece of glass and voila, how stylish, the carpenter charged me nothing ( family friend ) and the glass cost twenty euros!
So be creative...it's worth it!
At the moment I am on the look out for Fornasetti wall paper in Green Malachite, I don't need a lot , just a cut off, I have great ideas for this!
|Fornasetti Malachite wallpaper|
Fornasetti malachite wallpaper
So there you are, I like to collect and be creative, there are many other things that I have done but can't show because they have been spirited away by certain family members, I shall take that as a compliment!
Some little things I do and make all the time such as my laundry spray, lemon essential oil, pure alcohol (vodka will do ) and water, poured into a spray bottle, used when ironing, so fresh-smelling.
Before I finish, let me tell you a funny story about some Dylon fabric dye.
I use fabric dye quite a lot, for faded jeans, faded black items of clothing etc,.
I used to buy it from Ebay until the palaver in the post office.
The parcel had been opened by the customs and the dye sachet slit open, it had not been securely re-packaged, it arrived at the local post office where it was handled by some of the staff...the powder had leaked out, they were covered in it, hands, face , clothes,( it was navy blue dye! )
Luckily for me it was MGG (My Greek God) who went for the post that day, firstly they wanted to know what it was, then how long it would take to get off...a long time, they were not happy!
Now my friend R brings it in his suitcase for me on his yearly visit.
|Dylon black fabric dye|