Mismatched Chairs

I love the look of mismatched chairs, I utterly blame Monica’s apartment in Friends. How cool was her kitchen?? I think I’ve been trying to emulate that look and feeling ever since.  When we bought our dining room table, we didn’t buy a set of matching chairs to go with it.  I had chairs why would I want matching ones? My poor husband despairs of me, he loves everything to match.

Our current set of dining room chairs are a couple of antique ladder back chairs which a kind lady I worked with gave me 20 years ago. And three Ikea chairs we bought about 5 years ago when we started hosting more family Sunday dinners. However as time’s gone by it’s not really enough now, we have friends and their now large children over for dinner on a regular basis. We really need about eight or nine chairs.

I therefore jumped at the chance to choose a couple of chairs from the new Habitat dining furniture range to review.  They have a new season available and they have some lovely chairs.  I went with two very traditional looks which go with the other chair shapes I have in the dining room.

However after having them in the house for about 5 minutes, I realised maybe one of my current chairs might look a smidge shoddy next to the new shiny totally on trend grey Habitat chairs!  Look at how gorgeous they are next to my more shabby than chic  much loved chair!

So how to make the old ones look more up to date?  I had a look on Pinterest and there are some great ways to display mismatched chairs, I’ve even created a handy Pinterest board so you can see all the different types of looks you can throw together.  You can get ones that are all the same shape in different colours, or different shapes in the same colour range or just go for it and have them all in different colours and shapes and embrace the madness!

Initially I was going to paint all mine different shades of grey, but then long suffering husband objected! I didn’t realise he really liked the blue painted chair so I’ve had to reign in my idea.  I’ve decided to paint just the super shabby white chair (last painted in 2008!) and to also re-cover the seat pad with grey velvet fabric.

I have broken out my trusty can of Annie Sloan Paris Grey and painted the frame. In hindsight if I was doing this again I think I’d just use a tester can of Farrow and Ball. For some reason the paint came out super thick this time and it’s needed two coats which is really unusual. It’s really odd I’ve not had Annie Sloan paint do that before, but maybe it’s the cold temperature of my house as the boiler has been broken for 2 weeks so it’s pretty cold in here! It could have thickened it up I guess?

And then I bought some wadding from the local craft store and ordered a small amount of pale grey velvet from eBay.

Lay down the velvet, pop the wadding on top (if you need it) and then the seat base

Then use a staple gun to secure it – mind your fingers! But it’s really simple to fold the fabric round and staple.

Chair done!

Now I have a nice groups of mismatched chairs, some in wood, some in grey and a random blue one!  They look great and I have more than enough chairs for my guests!.


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Writing Desk Makeover

I’ve been a terrible blogger of late, Instagram has taken over as my easy/time poor version of blogging lately. If you’re on there, come and say hi as usual I’m at @violetposy

Anyway onto what I’ve been up to the last couple of weeks? I decided that Miss L should now have a proper desk but they are SO expensive! So I went to a few local second hand shops, but no luck until I headed to our local Emmaus. Oh my word! It’s like an aladdin’s cave of wonderful old furniture and they are a brilliant charity so a win/win for me.

I spotted this little beauty, a bit rough around the edges and the veneer was peeling quite a lot but it was solid and only £50. I also thought it’d be ideal thing for me to try some Annie Sloan paint out of as I’ve been hearing it raved about.

I bought it home and asked Miss L what colour she’d like it painted and as you may have guessed – yeah she wanted purple, with pink on the inside – ‘Perfect, no ageing it Mummy!’.

I loved using the Annie Sloan paint, it was amazing, a little goes a really long way. The wood didn’t need any priming, sanding or any other prep, all I did was give it bit of a dust.  I was really pleased with it and will happily use it again, I’m thinking that the dining room bookcases can use some old white treatment 🙂

But back to the desk, the inside’s not finished yet.  I’m just waiting for some oilcloth from ebay to come and then I’ll redo the writing area inside and then wax it.  But I think it’s going to make a lovely place for Miss L to do her homework, art and dream….


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{Guest Post} Frugal and Fun – Plant Pots

Today I’ve got a guest post from my friends who are starting up a new blog Frugal and Fun which I thought some of you might like? This seemed like a great idea for a project in the summer holidays so over to the gang!

Hi everyone, it is Jen from The Mad House, A Thrifty Mum and Frugal and Fun

Terracotta Plants Pots
Emulsion paint (we got some tester pots, as we only have cream in the house)
White acrylics paint
Pencil with eraser in the end.


Paint each of the plant pots and allow to dry, some may need a second coat, but this is pretty fast work.

We chose to just pop white acrylic as spots all over the pots, this way the boys could do it themselves and they really enjoyed it. By using the end of a pencil with an eraser on it was pretty simple. Now if we had more time I would have let the boys decorate each pot as they.

Again leave to dry, then cover with a layer of varnish.

We made sure that we painted the top of the inside of the pots too.

Then we added a primula in to each, et voila. Oh and it cost all of 30p for the pots, 59p each for the plants and a little paint and time.

Like this craft?  Then my not register to follow us on Frugal and Fun.  We are going to be releasing an e-book full of frugal ideas to keep you and your children happy over the summer holidays.

Do you love or loath the summer holidays?

I am in the love camp, but I do remember the time when my boys were both smaller that I dreaded them and the thought of six weeks (or more) straight with them sent me in to a tailspin.

This year you need worry no more, as we have an e-book on the way out which will show you frugal and fun ways to get through the summer holiday.

It begins with a week of preparation activities to help you get ready for the weeks ahead. The e-book will contain a recipe, an indoor activity and an outdoor activity each day within themed weeks. These activities are suitable for 3-10 years olds.

Themes include:

    • The Olympics
    • The Great Outdoors
    • Around the World
    • Heroes and Heroines
    • Home Sweet Home
    • Colours

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Flowery Bedding

I’ve just been to Primark for the first time! Yeah I know I’m so 5 years ago, but we didn’t have one in Cambridge for ages and then they put it in the part of town that I never go to.  So I’d missed the whole Primark experience. But today I was in the right part of town on my own, so I could shop in peace and quiet without anyone nagging me about some toy spotted 5 shops back – heaven!

So I had a wander round and none of the clothes really grabbed me, but there were plenty of nice woolly hats and scarves. And then I came to the homeware department on the top floor and there was a sale on….oh my!

Flowery bedding, single bedsheets, flowery union jack pillows, all sorts of goodness. For boys there was some really cool red bedding with white stars – just gorgeous!

So I went a little bit mad with bedding for Miss L’s room but in my defence it was too cheap and pretty to resist 🙂


The white embroidered duvet cover & pillowcase was £12, the flowery duvet & pillowcase was £9, bottom sheets fitted £3.50 and the Union Jack Cushion £7, so I spent £35 which isn’t terrible for a kids room. All of these also come in Double and King Size if you’d like to spoil yourself or pretty up a guest room….they have matching flowery towels…I can never go back!

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{DIY Makeover} Blue Chair

I’ve started making our old painted chairs over again.  In 2008 I painted them white and added some white and rosy Cath Kidston fabric to the seat to perk them up a bit as they were dark wood with tapestry seatpads.  I liked the ladder backs on them and hey they were free so why not!

Unsurprisingly three and a bit years of wear and tear have now made them a bit grubby and the paint has worn off in patches. So time to go again!  This time I’ve gone blue as I think it should last a bit longer than the cream.  I’ve used some Cath Kidston fabric from eBay and a tester pot of Farrow and Ball and some wadding from the market.  So I think so far it’s cost me just under £10 for both chairs, plus a bit of elbow grease.

I’m just waiting for the seat pad foam to come from eBay now, and then when I get time I can re-staple the new fabric to the pad and my chair will be done and I’ll post a photo. Hopefully before Christmas!


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Thrifty Christmas is Coming…

Ok don’t shout at me! I know we are only in October so I’m doing a soft launch of this year’s ‘Thrifty Christmas’ now. That way it’ll give people time to make their gifts over the next couple of months.  In fairness I’ve not written or made anything yet, but I’ve also been hording tea cups, buying bulbs from the market and looking at crafty kits on Ebay. I’ve also been Pinning some ideas for inspiration on my Pinterest.

You can see my Christmas Board here.  Just let me know if you like a Pinterest invite in the comments and I’ll send you one.

This year it will be a little different as I’ll be giving Thrifty Christmas it’s own mini site (*cough* in theory. Blog in Blog is not being my friend at the moment!) or something!. So not only will there be a linky for people to link their posts to, I’m also looking for guest bloggers to share their crafty goodness too.  All ideas are well welcome – Presents, Decorating and Recipes just leave me a message on the blog or mail me liz@violetposy.co.uk

And for those without the time or who aren’t crafty there will also be posts about inexpensive interesting ready bought presents. So if you see something a little different and you think it’s cool let me know liz@violetposy.co.uk and I’ll put it on the site.

I’m hoping to get the site up in the next week or so, sorry for the delay! I’m so looking forward to seeing everyone’s ideas 🙂

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{Giveaway} Bright Young Things Knitting Book

Morning all!

Miss L and I went to the John Lewis ‘Christmas in July’ Event last week and it was lots of fun, but I’ll save all the yummy things they will have in store until later in the year. Even I can’t write about Christmas shopping in the middle of summer!

Anyway as I was wandering round I spotted this adorable toddler’s dress in the kids section:

It turns out John Lewis are getting into the whole funky make it yourself thing and they will be having a lot of contemporary patterns and materials to make your own clothes, which is good because some of the stuff is a little bit old fashioned.

Low and behold in my goodie bag was the book the dress came from.  It’s a lovely baby and toddler knitting pattern book and there was also a couple of balls of wool to get your started, which would be fabulous for me if I could a) Knit and b) had a baby or a toddler. So as I’m lacking both these things and it’s wasted on me, would one of you like them?

There are some great modern Scandi designs in there, and if you’re expecting or have a toddler or are a Grandma who wants to make your grandchildren something lovely this is the book for you.  I’m opening this up worldwide, because the book isn’t massive and the wool isn’t heavy so I can post it anywhere.

If you’d like the book and the wool (Dress not mine to giveaway!) leave a comment below and I’ll do a random number generator – giveaway closes Monday 25th July at Middday.

***Comments on this post are now closed!***



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The Dresser is here..

And it looks beautiful 🙂

First off I’d like to say a massive thank you to my Dad and Paul for going to get it!  It’s not orange (yay!) and there are a couple of water stains on it, but you can’t really see them at all as they are on the back. It doesn’t need much work at all, we do need to attach the top to the bottom which would make us both happier safety wise. It’s not wobbly but I am aware that the daft dog or child running into it might make it topple, so it’s worth a little work to make it safe.  I’m unsure of painting it now so,  we’re going to live with it for a bit and then decide. I can’t do it until spring anyway, as I have to take it outside to paint.

What do you guys think?

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{Thrifty Christmas Guest Post} Citrus Christmas

Today’s Guest Blogger is my very good friend and coffee buddy Karen from The Rubbish Diet one of the most creative women I know.  I spotted on Facebook that she had made some fabulous looking Christmas oranges and I thought you’d all like to see them.  So over to Karen…

Citrus Christmas

If you’re as unskilled with the sewing needle as me, don’t lose heart this Christmas, as it is still possible to add your own special and home-made touch to your festive decorations with something as simple as an orange.  If you like the natural look, a pack of just five orange slices can set you back at a rate of £1 a shot, so it makes economic sense to make your own.  Besides, they’re really fun, make excellent presents and fill the home with festive scents too.  You don’t need any special equipment, just an oven set on a low heat will do.

Preheat oven to a low setting, e.g . 100C.

Using a sharp knife, cut across the orange to create slices that are around 5mm thick.

Press the slices with kitchen paper or an old tea towel to soak away excess orange juice and arrange the slices on a non stick baking tray.  Use baking parchment if necessary.

Bake in the oven for a couple of hours (turning over the slices half-way) then transfer to an airing cupboard overnight when the slices are dry to the touch.  This simply saves energy.  If you don’t have an airing cupboard, just keep baking for an extra hour or two, checking and turning the slices every half hour.

When the oranges slices are dry, they will be almost translucent and will look gorgeous set again the tree lights.  Simply poke a hole through the top with a skewer and use ribbon to hang them onto your Christmas tree.   They also look gorgeous when added to wreaths.

Alternatively create a citrus bauble, by arranging the slices to form the shape of an orange, smallest slices at each end, with the largest in the middle.  Thread a length of ribbon through the centre of the slices, creating a loop at the top and tying the ribbon at the bottom to secure the slices.  Cut away the excess ribbon and you’ll have another beautiful decoration with which to grace the tree.

A few things to consider:

Keep costs down by buying your fruit from the market.  However, seek out fair-trade where possible.
For smaller decorations, try satsumas and clementines, which work out even cheaper or try lemons and limes if you prefer an alternative colour scheme.

Use natural, compostable materials such as raffia or string for hanging and threading  the decorations.  This way the whole of the decoration can be composted when Christmas is over.

Some people recommend using a spray fixative to help the decorations last the season. However, I find that if the slices are dried properly using the instructions above and are not damp to the touch, they will last through December and into the new year.

Top Tip:

Children love getting involved with these simple decorations, especially laying out the slices on the baking tray and threading them once they are dry.  Another easy activity to try with the kids is to get them to decorate small fruits with cloves.  Again, pop in the oven for a couple of hours to dry.  They’ll also look fabulous on the tree, while keeping sticky fingers at bay.

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How to Paint Kitchen Cupboards

I have to admit I tried this 2 years ago and I screwed up!  I didn’t sand, or take them off the kitchen cabinets. I used one coat water-based eggshell to cover the laminate which has peeled terribly helped by my dog’s claws – classy!


So here’s the new and improved ‘How to Paint Laminate Cupboards’ as I’m really pleased with how they have come out and it should cost less than £40 to do. There are many methods you can use spray paint laminate,  but I always get that everywhere! So I used regular Dulux cupboard paint which is made especially for laminate and wood cupboards doors and is very tough (according to the tin!).

You’ll need:

1 Can of Cupboard Paint – I’m using a Dulux in a pale cream

Small 1 or 1.5 inch paintbrush

Spray Sugar Soap

Fine Sandpaper

Screw Driver


Somewhere to dry them in between coats

New Knobs if you need them


1. Take them off from the cabinets and onto a flat surface and remove knobs

2. Clean with sugar soap – you’ll need to do this thoroughly and leave to dry

3. Use the very fine sandpaper and don’t rub too hard – it’s laminate but just key the surface. If you have old paint on there try and get as much off as possible – I’ve learnt that through trial and error!.

4. Go over the surface with a damp cloth and get rid of all dust – change the paper underneath. Dry it off with kitchen roll

4. Paint. Do lots of thin layers leaving an 1.5 hours in between coats to dry and somewhere between 5-6 seems to give a good finish. Follow the fake grain of the laminate.

5. Repeat on all your cupboards and drawers.


The finished article and a month later they are still unscratched


4 fronts done another 6 to go and the surrounds – eek!

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Thrifty Back to School

UK Readers, the nice people at Voucher Codes have sent me some voucher codes for ‘Back to School’ shopping to share with you.  There are codes for Tesco, Barrett, M&S, Kickers, Borders, Waterstone and lots more.  Have a look and hopefully it might save you a bit of money, which is kind of essential these days.


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