Get Organised! DIY Drawer Dividers

This was a super exciting challenge!  Our last house was built with very limited storage space, especially in the upstairs bedrooms.  To make the most of the space available, we had a storage bed in one of the bedrooms.  That is to say, a bed which has eight drawers and two cupboards built into its base.  These drawers and cupboards are fantastically useful and back in 2015 we used them to store everything from bed linen and clothing to makeup and random bits and bobs.

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The one failing of this system was the lack of order within the drawers as they are so large that everything got jumbled up together… so I decided  that I was going to try my hand at some DIY to make a drawer divider system to help keep things separated and well organised.

Historically, I had demonstrated no aptitude whatsoever for DIY projects, however, I was absolutely determined to make this work – I was motivated out of necessity, you could say.

I still had several rolls of fabric left over from years ago so I picked out one to use as the base colour of the interior of the drawer and dividers, plus a second fabric to use for the trim.  Other than that, all that was required was some foamboard, adhesive spray, a measuring tape/ruler, pencil, cutting mat, box cutter, scissors, and black cat for luck and moral support (optional).

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The first thing I did was measure the internal length, width and height of the drawers, and carefully sketched onto the foamboard the different pieces: the bottom piece, two shorter sides, two longer sides and some dividers (these were exactly the same measurements as the pieces for the two shorter sides).  Then I cut them all out using the box cutter, and made sure each piece fit properly inside the drawer.

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Next, I got out my base colour fabric and using my pieces of foamboard as guides, I cut out a piece of fabric to cover one side of the largest cut piece of foamboard (which was going to cover the bottom of the drawer), with about an inch of overhang on all four sides.

For the rest, I cut out pieces of material big enough to cover both sides of each foamboard shape.

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Then I measured out and cut 2 inch wide strips to fit the length of each piece (other than the bottom piece which obviously did not require any trim).

After that it was just a matter of using the spray adhesive to glue the fabric to each piece of foamboard, and then repeating the process by gluing on the trim.

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And that was it, everything was ready to pop into the drawer!

Two years later, and I am still using these drawer dividers to keep everything organised in the storage bed.

In fact, since making these drawer dividers, my husband and I have utilised our skills to make our own cutlery organisers and desk drawer dividers, using the same method as outlined above, only using vinyl wallpaper samples rather than fabric!

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Turning Old CDs into Art

My husband, Tim, and I decided to work as a team on a rather ambitious project for this day’s “try something new” challenge: to refurbish a mirror unit using old CDs.

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The idea had come from a friend who had tagged me in a post on Facebook showing various projects and artwork made using CDs, which I thought looked pretty impressive.

First of all we painted the wood of the mirror unit, having removed the mirror and all the fixings.  Whilst that was drying we cut up a selection of old and unwanted CDs.  We found that the re-recordable CDs and DVDs we had burned at home worked a lot better than the thicker and sturdier official album CDs.

Cutting CDs is easy enough but then you have to separate the thin metal layer from the plastic, and discard the plastic.  This was a little tricky and really quite time consuming.

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Once the acrylic paint had dried on the wood it was time to start gluing on the pieces of CDs in a mosaic pattern.  We used super glue and tweezers to do this.

This project took four hours in total from start to finish and I was sick to death of it after the first two hours but once I start a project I like to see it through… Tim is a real perfectionist and the bits he was doing looked about a hundred times better than the bits I was doing so we decided to combine our efforts so he cut and placed the pieces of CD and I glued them down…

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The unit looks really pretty on the two sides Tim was in charge of (and a horrible mess on the side I was originally in charge of ha ha)… One of our friends fell in love with the finished piece and asked us to give it to her, so we did, and it has been lovingly displayed in her home ever since 🙂

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Learning to Paint with Watercolour Pencils

As one of the very first of my New Thing A Day challenges in 2015, I decided to try out a set of 24 of the Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer artists’ watercolour pencils which I had bought on a whim from Amazon. As a schoolgirl I had always preferred drawing and sketching to painting, so the idea of using pencils to paint really appealed to me, but I didn’t know how to use them or what to expect.

When I was younger, I had loved art: I was the Art Coordinator for my school house, I did Art & Design A Level, and by the age of sixteen I was lucky enough to secure an unconditional offer to study Fine Art at Art School.  But here’s the thing: once I finished school at eighteen, I chose to pursue an academic degree over Art School and I never again so much as picked up a pencil or paintbrush.

By 2015 it had been many, many years since I had done any painting or drawing.  I was nervous.

I sketched out a very simple drawing inspired by a photo I found on Google, lightly shading with a few different colours, and then went over it all with a clean wet paintbrush… all in all I think I only spent about five minutes on it but I was already hooked – these watercolour pencils were lots of fun to play with!

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So while this painting was drying I decided to do a quick sketch from a photo I had recently taken of Lila, one of our gorgeous Alaskan Malamutes… and watched my little sketch come to life as the colours spread and blended, becoming increasingly vibrant, as I went over the pencil strokes with a wet brush…

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At the time, I had no idea of the significance of this little personal challenge of mine.  I had not sketched or painted for so long, but when I picked up those watercolour pencils and finally put pencil to paper, that creativity that I had forgotten existed somewhere deep inside me was suddenly reignited, and my long dormant passion for arts and crafts reawakened.

That was 02 January 2015.  Two years later, my love and desire to express my creativity has not wavered or diminished since that day.  Watercolour pencils remain one of my favourite mediums to work in, and now I have upgraded to the full set of 120 shades.

So back to the day in question – I snapped photos on my phone of my two watercolour pencil paintings and posted them to my Facebook page right after I had done them.  The number of likes and comments I received from my friends and family was totally unexpected, but so encouraging…

Within hours I was approached by a dog charity I was involved with at the time, asking to use my painting of Lila as a design on products they were selling to raise funds to help dogs.  They asked if I could do more paintings for them.  Later, I was approached by a local card shop asking if I could produce a series of cards for them to sell.  Friends started messaging me, requesting paintings of their dogs!

At first I didn’t take any of it seriously, and then I got nervous and scared, and I wanted to say no to everything; but my husband told me to stop being so silly and to say yes – after all, wasn’t my New Year’s resolution to try out new things?  So I did.  I said yes to everything.  And it was amazing.

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More recently, I have been lucky enough to have the support and encouragement of some wonderful people on Instagram who have allowed me to paint their dogs to use as card designs. In the not too distant future, I would love to put together some designs for print on demand sites and perhaps even an Etsy store.

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This particular “something new” challenge actually helped me rediscover something I didn’t even realise I had lost…