Book Folding – The Easy Way

This is the easiest way to make master the art of  book folding that you see on Pinterest, in around an hour – with free book folding patterns! I have made a bunch of these for friends and family, and they are always well received.

First off you are going to need to find yourself an old book, hardback works best, and you will have to make sure that you have enough pages for the word you want. For the patterns I’m giving away today I used a book of around 300 pages. So long as you count up properly you can always leave unfolded pages either side of your word, but more of that in a bit.

Choose your word/shape from the patterns below and print it out onto an A4 page. If you don’t see what you want there’s a great tutorial on making the templates here  or I will be trying to sell the templates in my ebay Vs Etsy experiment (coming soon)

Just click to download the PDF

Book Folding Template Love
Heart Template For Book Art

Count both the black and white stripes, to get the number of pages you will be using. If your design has spaces between the letters just ignore them. Once you know how many pages you are going to fold you simply deduct this from the number of pages in your book and divide by 2. This is the number of pages in that you need to start folding from. *Remember that you are counting ‘leafs’ and not take the page number to mean anything… and yes I made this mistake first time I tried to figure it out!

The next stage is optional but it does make the finished item look neater so go on, take a minute to do it. Measure from the spine out by about an inch and draw a light pencil line. Do this top and bottom and use this mark to guide where you fold to – this gives a nicer finish than folding right up to the spine.

I fold the top of my paper over the page to get the word at the right height.

This a good stage to grab a cuppa, go for a pee or whatever, because in 5 minutes you are going to be scared to set it down!

Book folding patterns
I changed font after I took this photo

Next is the fun part… for about 10 minutes. Then it gets a bit boring, so stick on your favourite tv show and settle in for a while. Put your pattern behind the page you want to fold (you can actually put it 3 or 4 pages back just to cut down on fiddling with it). Fold from the top of your first black line to your guide line near the spine. Do the same from the bottom of your first black line. You are now officially doing it! If you need to you can tick off the lines as you are doing it but you should be ok to keep going for a while.

Next you do exactly the same using the white line (okay it’s not really a line but you know what I mean). Then the black line, then the white line, then the black line… you get my drift?

Eventually your guide will touch the inside crease of the book so just trim it up so you can keep feeding it in and folding… and folding.

Folded book tutorial

When you pattern calls for a top and bottom – like the ‘o’ in ‘love’ – simply fold one page to make the top, move onto your next line and fold the bottom.

Free book art templates

That’s about it! You have folded your first (or easiest) book. No measuring and minimal maths!


I’d love to see what you did,

Nikki x

What Happens At An Auction

I was talking to a friend the other day about some of the great things you find at a general auction, as well as the trash that can sometimes sell for a lot of money! She said that she ad never been to an auction as she has no idea how to ‘do it’.  I figured that she couldn’t be the only one out there so I should maybe write a real simple guide to auctions.

First rule is ‘be fearless’. They are there to sell stuff to you, so it goes without saying (but I will) that they are going to be welcoming and friendly (generally). It also means show no fear to the dealers you will come across – if they sense your nervousness they will sometimes try to intimidate you out of bidding against them – believe me I’ve come across it!  They will try to stand in front of you, jump bids up and stare at you when you bid. Laugh at them. Especially if you are buying for yourself and not to sell on. Dealers  need to make a profit so they have a limit they will go up to and no further so private buyers have an advantage here.

How to succeed at an auction

Turn up in plenty of time, especially if you haven’t been to a viewing previous to the actual auction. Once you arrive find out how much the buyer’s premium is – generally 15 – 20%, which is added to the final winning bid. Register for a bidding number (some places will charge a refundable deposit for your number) and then have a good look around.

how to buy at auction

Don’t get carried away! This is probably the hardest rule to follow – did you see what I bought by accident? Make sure that whatever you want is in an acceptable condition, with all necessary parts, without wood worm or dry rot (if relevant). Then set your price and don’t go beyond it! Often you will think ‘just one more bid’ but this can turn into another few bids and, before you know it, you’re paying retail for it! And don’t forget to include that buyers premium I mentioned earlier!

How to profit at auction
This sold for over £150 but the buyer plans on reselling it for £300

Also I should point out that you need to transport your purchases within a day or two (or you will be charged a storage fee), so remember your space and don’t go buying that beautiful Welsh dresser if you only have a motorbike to get it home.

Buying furniture
We had no room to transport this beauty home or she’d have been mine!

Some auctioneer’s will talk a different language (or it sounds like it) so listen carefully or you could get caught out bidding more than you want to. And don’t be afraid to offer less than they are asking for – if bidding has slowed down and they are asking for the next bid to be £50 feel free to shout ‘£47?’, the worst they will do is say no!

If you have an internet connection on your phone then use time between your desired purchases to check out eBay, Gumtree etc for current selling prices.

Once you have finished buying take your number back to the office where they will calculate your bill to include the buyer’s premium, and tax due etc.

Sometimes you will have to wait until the end of the auctions to collect your items but often you can gather them up and take them home to gloat over!

old telephones in an auction

So, what did I buy? At this particular auction I picked up a couple of chairs for a future project, 2 lovely candelabra, a new rug for my living room and 3 porcelain Disney figurines to go into my eBay verses Etsy experiment (coming soonish).

I’d love to hear of your auction experiences, good and bad.

Happy bidding,

Nikki x

Are you a follower of fashion?

Furniture fashion I mean, or interiors. Do you read all the glossy magazines and plan your home, or projects, according to what’s hot?

Pantone color of 2015
Do the industry ‘experts’ influence you?

I have to admit I don’t. Sometimes I will pick up a magazine when I’m shopping but usually a quick flick through, while I wait for Mark to choose a book, is enough for me. I very rarely buy one… I’d rather buy a little piece of cuteness in a charity shop or a new colour of wax.

So how do you choose? Is it the amount of work it will need to make it beautiful, or a charming little detail that catches your eye. Perhaps you are buying for yourself and need it to match your home?

interior magazines
Do magazines guide your tastes?

I’m an impulse buyer. Mark often says I like a thing more the cheaper it is but that’s not strictly  true. It is true that if a piece is going for a song I’m less afraid of taking a gambol on it but if I see something that I love, and can see it’s potential, then I will sometimes break the bank to have it.

So what makes you buy, I’d love to know? Is it budget or design? Is it saleability or potential?

‘Til next time,

Nikki x

Easy Jug Makeover Using Chalk Paint

Unfortunately, and for the second week in a row, Mark hasn’t been able to complete a makeover and I’ve been feeling yuk today so haven’t managed to finish the corner unit I wanted to show you. Instead I’m going to share one of those projects that’s so quick and easy you can do it while waiting for paint to cure on something else.

This is a real quick fix for a stone jug I picked up at a flea market for £2. I loved its shape but wasn’t too keen on the colours.

shabby chic flowers
Not too shabby, shabby chic flowers

I started out by lightening the whole thing using some chalk paint straight onto the very glossy finish. I’m still surprised that it covered in just 2 coats – got to love chalk paint!

Can I paint ceramic
All taped up and ready to go gold

Once I was happy with that stage I gave it 2 coats of wax varnish to seal it. You never know, one day I might actually want to put a liquid in it and I don’t want the paint running off onto my worktops.

Then I wanted to add some interest so out came the metallic gold. I knew that I could get carried away with it so taped off the section I wanted to paint. I find frog tape works great but it is a bit pricey, when you get through as much as I do. A trick my Mom showed me years ago is to rub some ordinary masking tape on your jeans so it picks up a little dust and looses some sticky.

Then I gave the lip a couple of coats of the gold. I like this Rustoleum brand because it’s not expensive and is nice to use (and dries quite quickly). I did try another brand before, that gave a lovely glossy finish but I couldn’t bear waiting 16 hours between coats!

Painted ceramic

Once I removed the tape I realised that the gold was a bit ‘stretchy’ and had peeled a bit in places where it had dried to the tape. Never matter.

new look for an old jug
New look jug!

Perfect to hold my fake porcelain flowers now.

What’s your favourite ‘quick fix’ you’ve seen recently? I’d love to see it.

Nikki x

Five of the best… No 5

Real life has, once again, gotten in the way of blogging but I’ve completed a couple of projects to share with you next week. I’ve also done a few little bits around the house – repainted my stairs, put a new floor down in the bathroom etc. – but nothing so spectacular or pretty that I want to share them lol!

I have had little time to read many of my favourite blogs this week but I managed to find some lovely pieces to go into my Five of the best number 5!

I mentioned a while back that my step-daughter helped me make a great backdrop from an old book and a huge piece of cardboard, well here’s the original tutorial from Knick of time – just in case you couldn’t figure it out!

Free photo backdrop
Book Page Photo Backdrop

This next one from Sadie Seasongoods is probably the simplest, but one of the best tutorials for making a suitcase table.

make a vintage suitcase table
It’s a happy looking piece!

Sometimes when we buy a miscellaneous (mixed) boxes at auction we will find an odd doorknob that is just begging to be used for something. Often It will end up being saved until we have enough miss-matched knobs to use on a chest of drawers but I came across this lovely alternative at Petticoat Junction.

Vintage door knobs
See what she does with these old knobs

When I saw this transformation on Vintage Farm Furniture I added ‘old grandfather clock case’ to my wish list. It’s so pretty and unusual that I just want one now!!!

Fix a grandfather clock
Stunning Clock Makeover

I would love to have a go at this project I found on See Cate Create but I’ve a feeling it would drive me nuts so maybe not! I have to say that the end result is simply stunning and the tutorial gives you all the information you need to have a go yourself.

how to make vintage marquee letters
Fantastic tutorial at see cate create

Well I hope that you’ve had a wonderful, and relaxing weekend. I’d love to hear what you have been up to.

Keep warm ’til next time,

Nikki x

How To Make Faux/Fake Porcelain Flowers In 20 Minutes

You were probably hoping for a Monday Makeover from Mark, what with this being Monday and all, but he’s been busy working on other stuff and just hasn’t had time to do his own makeover this week!

Instead I’m going to share this great tutorial I found over at White Lace Cottage and knew straight away that these faux porcelain flowers would be absolutely perfect for the vintage table centres I was designing for a friend. I had to have a play with it at the first opportunity, which happened to be just 12 hours after reading her blog post. Not that I don’t have anything else to do, because I really do have a ton of stuff on my list, but sometimes fun and crafty can jump to the front of the queue!

My first decision was what flowers to choose, ideally something like a rose or a peony, but as I was only practicing I took what the pound shop (the UK’s Dollar store) had to offer. I think they are supposed to be rosebuds and maybe peony?

Cheap silk flowers
Normally I wouldn’t give these house space!

Next it was the colour choice. The bride has a lovely scheme of grey and yellow, with touches of navy blue (like these pieces I worked on recently). Personally I liked the idea of a washed out pinks, greys and yellows so I just had a mess around with the paint I had to hand which happened to be a really pale lilac that Mark is was using recently.

cheap wedding flowers
These have so many uses

I tried using the hairdryer on one but be warned it can get kind of messy blowing paint around so make sure you aren’t doing it while sitting on your brown leather sofa. No photo as I didn’t want evidence of paint splashed everywhere, because I was doing it in the living room… while watching an old episode of House. It also changed the shape of the flower and exposed some bits that weren’t covered in paint so I gave it up as a bad job and left them to dry naturally.

porcelain roses
I love the different shapes they took

It took about 2 days for the paint to properly dry, due to the amount of thick chalk paint on them. I’m serious, it was at least 2 days before I could pick them up! Perhaps I should have watered down my paint a little, but I wanted them to look a bit ‘thick’,  like they were actually made of porcelain.

shabby chic flowers
Not too shabby, shabby chic flowers

Not to bad for a first attempt I thought and I imagine they would look better with slightly better flowers to begin with. And I really have to get around to fixing up that little brown jug some day soon!

See the full tutorial and to see how Anne puts her finished  faux porcelain flowers to a great use pop over to White Lace Cottage for a look.

White Lace Cottage Original Tutorial

Now I really must get on, I’m supposed to be setting up an” etsy vs ebay” experiment and decorating my stairway today!

Speak soon,

Nikki x


Five of the best… No 4

After having to skip a couple of weeks due to work commitments I’m happy to come back with our popular ‘Five of The Best’ series!

Up first is this amazing chair re-do came to me via Lindsey at Better After where she shares a lot of photos and info on how the project took shape. The guys who did it don’t seem to have a blog to link to but you can check out their facebook page for more of what they are up to.

Using aluminum on furniture
Check out the before and after shots and prepare to be impressed!

You know how I love mixing it up with paint so this piece really grabbed my attention. It’s from Knot to Shabby – make sure that you follow them from their new home and not the old blog pages this link takes you to!

Annie Sloan Green Glass Paint
Beautifully distressed

I am quite enjoying using wallpaper on furniture recently and this post from Girl in the Garage shows how it can give a real ‘WOW’ factor to an, otherwise ordinary piece.


This whole room makeover from DIYher is just so pretty I had to share it. It does leave me wondering why my own bedroom has piles of furniture, old frames and ‘it might be handy one day’ bits stashed all over the place!


And finally, I found this quirky bench on Pinterest while looking for ideas on how to use up the dozen or so old chairs that seem to be breeding in my shed! I couldn’t find the original source so if anyone out there knows who it belongs to I’d appreciate it so I can give credit where it’s due!

mismatched chair bench‘Til next time,

Nikki x

Crackle Glazing Ikea Hack – Part 2

I told you yesterday about my first Ikea hack using a crackle glaze effect. I really didn’t like the finished set of drawers at all. It wasn’t the crackle glazing or even the colours I’d used but something was a little ‘iffy’ about the piece!

Painted wooden drawers

I decided to give it all a good covering in black and then consider rubbing it back to show some yellow streaks through it – with the already crackled paint and it being quite thick I hoped the ‘ridges’ in the yellow paint strokes would come through a little like mini tiger stripes.

Again, I forgot to take a photo at this stage because this piece was just getting me down!

The black looked okay, but nothing like ‘wow’ and only verging on saleable. So I hunted around for inspiration and found a sample of wallpaper that I had been considering using on my stairs. It was just about big enough lengthways and it didn’t really matter if it wasn’t covering the entire width of the drawer front.

So out came more PVA glue and on went the paper. While rubbing down the paper hard (you really don’t want bubbles or bits lifting) I managed to rub off a big patch of the black paint, giving me no option but to do it again in a few other places and then distress it all over! (Did I mention I was hating these drawers?)

Wallpapered drawers
A million times better?

I couldn’t wait to get the handles on – I was loosing light fast!

Black Drawers with wallpaper Fronts
Typography Drawers

And it really was a happy coincidence that I had black and yellow paper to work with!

love life laugh typography
Love Life Laugh wallpaper

So what do you think, did I pull off a rescue or is it one for the bonfire?

Nikki x


Crackle Glaze Ikea Hack

I’ve had more than the odd triumph with crackle glazing furniture over the years but got a little bored with the finish so haven’t done it for a while. Remembering how much fun it could be I thought it would make a great tutorial. That and the fact that I hadn’t tried to crackle glaze with my own paints yet was enough to encourage an Ikea trip to buy their Rast drawers.

Ikea Hack
Ikea Rast Drawers £20

I started out by painting all the visible surfaces with a lovely red chalk paint. It didn’t have to be perfect so one coat was great.

Painting Ikea Furniture
It started out easy

Then, one at a time as you have to work quite fast, I gave the red pieces a generous coat of PVA glue. If you aren’t in the UK PVA is just the white school glue, cheap as chips and dries clear.

Using white glue to crackle glaze furniture
Step 2: also easy!

While the glue is still wet I painted over the top with a mustard yellow, using a single stroke so as not to disturb the glue to much. Some people like to water down the top coat a little but I didn’t bother. This stage can be quite intimidating so have a practice on some scrap wood a few times until you get the look you want – the thickness/dryness of the glue and the amount of paint on top make a difference to the size of the ‘cracks’ so play around.

I forgot to take a photo here as I was completely consumed by the magic about to happen!

In warm weather you can just leave it and watch the paint dry – I promise you won’t be bored – but it’s freezing here and a little damp in the air so I pulled out the hairdryer and moved things along a little quicker!

Red and yellow crackle glaze
It takes just minutes for the cracks to appear!

Once everything was dry Mark put it together while I cooked up some dinner.

Painted wooden drawers

I loved the effect, but hated the overall look :( I didn’t even get around to putting on the cute cup handles I had picked out for it before I decided I wasn’t putting my name to it in it’s current state!

What to do with ugly drawers
After one coat of clear wax, I still wasn’t feeling it

You’ll have to come back tomorrow to see what I did next!

Nikki x

Mark’s Monday Makeover – Another Nest of Tables

Last week I showed you the dirty bureau that I didn’t really like. The week before it was a bedside table I wasn’t keen on. This week Mark has been working on a project that I actually L O V E!

He has transformed another bog standard, dark wood nest of tables from this…

Mahogany  Tables
Not very inspiring, eh?

To something really quite pretty…

Tables for ale in Lydney

The main colour is a light, almost mint, green. The paper under glass is a small pattern in green and blue with a tiny speck of pink highlights. My only teeny tiny criticism is that I think he put the paper in upside down, but that’s an easy fix.

Wallpapered furniture
Upside down?

He has distressed them quite subtly in all the areas of detail.





So glad to be able to post a Monday Makeover that I really, really like. I was starting to worry that you’d think we had nothing in common, Mark and I, but sometimes we do agree totally!

Nikki x