crafts with trash

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Been off to holidays, scuba diving near Trondheim in Norway. Mmm, the seafood is incredible! But before I brag more (or get my photos from the trip sorted), here’s a little craft project. I’m taking a trash design course at the Aalto University, super fun! 🙂


Oon lomaillut Trondheimin lähellä Norjassa sukellusreissulla. Meren eväitä on pistelty sitä tahtia että heikompia hirvittää! Mutta ennen kun keulin enempi (tai saan kuvat ladattua kamerasta), tässäpä yks projekti jonka tein Aalto Yliopiston roskasta designiksi -kurssilla. Hauskaa miettiä, mitä kaikkea roskaksi päätyvistä materiaaleista voisi askarrella! 🙂

IMG_1208Here’s how the graters I found a while ago ended up. I think they look awesome as candle holders!


Tällaisiksi joku aika sitten löytämäni raastimet päätyivät. Tykkään että ne näyttää hyvältä kynttilälyhtyinä!

1 minute DIY linen cushion covers


hesitate to call this a DIY since it’s so simple! There’s no sewing, no glueing, no nothing really! All you need are some linen pillowcases (mine are from H&M, 50×60 cm) and cushions (f.e. Ikea, 50×50 cm). Slip the cushion inside the pillowcase and fold the excess in (like you would on an old, straight pillowcase)! All done! 🙂

You can secure the ends with safety needles if you feel it’s necessary, but I think they hold well just folded in.


En oikein tiedä kehtaanko kutsua tätä DIY:ksi, kun tää on niin simppeliä. Ei ompelua, ei liimausta, oikeastaan ei tarvii tehdä juuri yhtään mitään! Tarvitset pellavatyynyliinoja (omani ovat H&M:n 50×60 cm) ja tyynyjä (vaikkapa Ikeasta, 50×50 cm). Sujauta tyyny tyynyliinaan ja taita ylimääräinen läppä tyynyliinan sisään aivan kuin laittaisit vanhanaikaisen, suoran tyynyliinan tyynyn päälle. Valmista tuli! 🙂

Päät voi varmistaa hakaneuloilla, jos tuntuu että tyynyt karkaa, mutta mulla nää tuntuu pysyvän nätisti ilmankin.

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I wanted to create a light, airy, white space, but I really like graphic elements and colors, too. This is what my living room looks like right now! But oh my, it’s not easy to create the feeling of space into 41 sqm… It’s a slippery slope from cool stuff and nifty knick-knacks to clutter!


Halusin sisustaa kodistani valoisan, tilavan ja valkean, mutta toisaalta tykkään graafisuudesta ja väreistäkin. Tältä olkkarissa näyttää nyt! Tilan tunnetta ei oo muuten ihan helppoa pitää, kun fyysistä tilaa on vain 41 neliötä. Huomaan kerääväni helposti sitä ja tätä, ja sitten onkin jo ahtaan näköistä!


Like the corner here. I like to sit or read and sip on tea here, so I need a place for my cup. The boxes from Hay are filling that purpose, but they seem too bulky and eat the space up. So I’m fantasizing of a smaller table… If I don’t happen to run into anything suitable used, I might have to splurge on a Hay DLM. 🙂


Niinkun nyt tämä nurkka. Tykkään istuksia tai lukea ja siemailla teetä tai muuta mukavaa tässä, joten tarvitsen paikan kupille. Hayn laatikot nostin tähän siihen tarkoitukseen, mutta ne näyttävätkin syövän kaiken tilan. Haaveilen pienemmästä pöydästä… jos en löydä sopivaa käytettynä, saatan vielä innostua ostamaan Hayn DLM:n. 🙂


On the other side of the chair is a DIY inspired by the Muuto OTO 100. It’s handy for magazines and whatnot, but it tends to get cluttered like crazy! It’s too easy to just stuff it with whatever I have in my hand at any time! Open shelving needs to be curated or it’s no good! 🙂


Toisella puolella tuolia on Muuton OTO 100:n inspiroima DIY. Siinä on hyvä pitää lehtiä ja pikkutavaraa, mutta se täyttyy kyllä uskomattoman nopeasti kaikesta sälästä! Huomaamattaan sitä työntää tavaraa kädestään “piiloon” tuohon hyllyyn, mutta eihän ne mihinkään piiloon mene! Avohyllyjä saa olla sisustamassa jatkuvasti 🙂


It’s helpful to take pictures every now and then. Living here, my eyes tend to glide over unfinished stuff, like the Vee Speers poster and other artwork waiting to be hung, but in pics they jump right at me! 🙂


Kuvien ottaminen auttaa sisustamisessa. Silmä jotenkin oppii päivittäisessä olossa välttämään viimeistelemättömät hommat, kuten nyt tuon Vee Speersin julisteen ja muita ripustamattomia juttuja, mutta kuvista ne hyppäävät silmille heti! 🙂


That wicker basket used to be a wine carafe holder, but I’m planning to add strings to it and make it a hanging planter. It’s just waiting for the right string… 🙂


Rottinkikori oli viinikarahvin pidike, mutta suunnittelen että siitä tulisi kukalle amppeli, kunhan lisään siihen kantonarut. Toistaiseksi se kuitenkin odottelee, että löytäisin oikeanlaiset narut.. 🙂

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Chair Reupholstery Tutorial

OK, so here’s a tutorial on how I reupholstered my office chair. 🙂

First you need to get rid of the old upholstery. I have no pictures of that, sadly, but that’s a different story with each chair anyway. Start by turning the piece around and see how the fabric is attached. The most usual options are either staples or tacks, which are short nails with a wide head. There’s tack pullers and wood staple removers in the stores, but I’ve just used a dull knife to get under the staple or tack and lift it up a bit, and then removed it with pliers.

Make sure to remove the fabric without ripping it (opening the seams is fine), because it’s easiest to use that as a template for the new fabric. I’ve removed all of the padding, although if that’s in good shape, it’s fine to just change the cover fabric with perhaps a new layer of batting to plump it up a bit.


Here’s my chair with the new foam padding in place. Most vendors will cut the pieces for you, so I traced the shape of the cushions to a paper and took those to the store. I attached with super glue. I find that spray glue doesn’t work as well as the regular stuff, but YMMV.


Top off with batting (I used polyester) and cut it to shape.


Here I used the old cover to measure the new fabric and to mark and cut the handle spots. Just remember to leave enough extra on the sides – it’s going to be much easier to work with! 🙂

Now there’s gonna be a ton of pics to show you how to attach the fabric. Please click on them to make them bigger…

So here we go! Any questions? I’ll be happy to help if I can! 🙂

Just as a disclaimer, if you have real antique furniture to upholster or want to get a gorgeous finish with expensive fabric, I strongly recommend you seek out a professional for the job. I’m nowhere near a pro! I’ve pretty much just learned by reverse engineering the furniture I’ve taken apart to reupholster, seeing how it was done and imitating that. I don’t know if this is the correct way to reupholster things, but I’ve done a few regularly used pieces over the years and they seem to be holding up well, and look nice enough for my own use! 🙂

Office Chair Makeover


The Before…


…and the After!

I think it’s from the 50s or 60s. The shape of the chair was around for many decades, I think, but the back rest and seat are a sandwich construction of a wood frame and plywood covers, and somehow that and the metal bits just suggest that era to me. Honestly though, I have no idea. Do share if you have some knowledge of this type of chairs! 🙂

At first I thought to use either a green or grey fabric, but the green fabric is a bit thin and the grey seemed dull when I’d looked at it for a while. I had some durable white canvas left over from the sofa project and figured I’ll just use that for now. I think I’ll sew a slipcover from the green – that way it’s easier to replace if it’s too thin to handle the use.

Here’s a tutorial on how I upholstered this chair! 🙂 Hope you like it!

Storage / Platform Bed


I needed more storage in the apartment, because I hate crowded, poorly organized closets. I like to see my clothes and regularly used stuff at once, and find it very frustrating to have stuff piled high. I also liked the idea of a raised bed, thinking that would create some separation between the “bedroom” and “living room” portions of my one room. The sliding doors are another hack-in-progress, more on them later…

bed plan

So I doodled a bit (drawing’s not my strong suit, as evident above!) and came up with something that I liked. Originally I thought to incorporate some kind of a bookshelf to act as a rail so I wouldn’t fall from the bed, but pretty soon I realised this wasn’t going to be necessary. I haven’t fallen from my bed since I was 4 or something… It also looked nicer without the railing.

Bed underlay top structure

Then I sketched it up with the measurements I knew I would work with. I had already decided to build the base out of Ikea kitchen cabinets and doors. I’ve seen a lot of raised beds in Ikea Hackers and elsewhere in the net, and the cabinet versions seemed to end up looking the nicest. They also played together with my new kitchen, helping to make the small space coherent and calm.


Altogether there’s nine cabinets. Four 80 cm wide ones: 2 in the front and 2 in the back. There’s one 60 cm wide cabinet on the back, since the back wall is 230 cm and 60 cm was the widest that would fit. And then there’s four 40 cm wide cabinets: one in the front and three in the end.



All of the cabinets rest on a simple wooden footing on the floor, but nothing is attached to the floor or the walls. The weight of the unit with the bed on top is plenty enough to keep it in place. I put loads of big felt pads under the footing to keep it from scratching the floor, in case I want to sell the place later. I’m not sure those are necessary, but they’re there now… I even remembered to paint the lumber footing before laying it on the floor, so I didn’t have to paint it in the spot!

The cabinets are attached to the footing and to the adjacent ones. Then I built the inner structure, adding lumber to hold most of the weight of the bed and to rigidify the part with no cabinets. The big pieces of lumber are on 2 corners of the bed and the cabinets and smaller lumber hold the back side of the bed. I also added 15 mm plywood on top of the cabinets to give them a nice finish and to keep with the theme of the kitchen (and to make the top level, where they’re not visible). Only the parts that are visible form under the mattress are treated – yes, I’m lazy. 🙂


My bed is a box spring -type bed (the kinda mattress with a built-in wooden frame, they don’t seem to sell the exact same type at least in the States) from Ikea and I attached it to the cabinets and the plywood with L-brackets. That way I didn’t need to build a “roof” to my storage space: the mattress forms the roof. I just made sure to measure the base so that the mattress covers the opening!

A quick search didn’t come up with a tutorial on how to shorten the cabinets for the steps, so I’m thinking of doing one. But since I didn’t take pics the first time I did these, it might be a while…

Basically, I just sawed the sides of one 40 cm wide cabinet into two and drilled new holes to correspond to the required bits to assemble the cabinets. To someone with a bit of DIY experience it was pretty straightforward and easily figurable just by looking at the parts and how they were supposed to fit together. Of course I needed 2 cabinets for the hack (to have enough top and bottom parts), but I didn’t need to use the sides of the other cabinet. I also got around with just 1 door for these shorter ones!

I left the 80 cm wide middle cabinet open (no backing!) to form a doorway into my storage space. To keep it looking uniform I only used the 40 cm wide doors. Most of the plywood is attached with screws from underneath, but the smallest step was so low that it was easier to glue the cover piece on it. Oh, and then I put some thick cardboard covered with DC Fix (a semi-permanent plastic film/tape) over the end piece on top of the steps, to cover the hole there and make it look nice. That’s just attached with double sided tape and seems to be holding up fine.


And I even have a light under there, to make it easier to rummage for what I need… I think it turned out pretty nifty, and it’s definitely great to have so much storage!  It makes me happy just looking at it – there’s nothing quite like the feeling of a job well done!

Let me know if you find this helpful and please share if you build something similar! I’d love to see your interpretation of the storage bed! 🙂

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Peacock Pillows



The peacock tapestry I thrifted a couple weeks ago turned into pillows! It was super easy, too. The tapestry already had a separate fabric backing, which I cut in half along the middle line. Then I zigzagged 2 seams next to each other on the tapestry side and cut it between them, so that the edges wouldn’t fray. Then I sewed zippers to the cut edges. All done! 🙂

Renovation: Assembling the Kitchen!


Right. So, after we had the old kitchen taken down and finished the new walls we could start assembling the new kitchen! I bought the cabinets and doors from Ikea – I’ve been happy with my previous Ikea-kitchens, they look nice and are very good value for money.

That nook that extends from the wall outwards was a challenge: it’s only 172 cm high. It had the fridge-freezer combi and that fit nicely, so I decided to stick with that. Another challenging point was that the lower cabinets needed to be extended from the wall about 8 cm in order to fit the plumbing there: my counter needed to be at least 70 cm deep. The normal depth is 62 cm, but a lot of places sell 80 cm deep counters for islands and such. The only problem was length – my counter is 3,20 m long. Apparently you can buy countertop materials in 62 cm for up to 400 cm long sheets, but the 80 cm deep sheets tend to extend to maximum 300 cm.

Since there was going to be a seam anyway (there was no way I was gonna shell out the cash for a MTM Corian counter!), I figured I could try something out. Plywood is relatively cheap and looks awesome, and it has held up nice with the Osmo wax in the table I made a couple of years ago. So I got a couple of sheets of the thickest birch plywood and we cut them to form on site.


Plywood can be tricky to saw, mmkay. Any sawblade needs to be very sharp, and at least for circular saws there’s special plywood blades with a lot of small teeth. If you use an electrical jigsaw, like we did on the cutouts for the sink and the stove top, don’t use any forward motion in the blade. That will splinter the plywood. Some people recommend putting tape to the intended saw line and sawing through that, which might have helped. I only saw this tip after we had already finished the counter… 🙂 Anyway, no forward motion on the blade with very slow and careful forward motion with the saw did the trick for us.

Here you can also see the scaffolding we attached to the wall behind the cabinets. It extends the cabinets so that they can be attached to the wall as intended, but the plumbing has space underneath. Also the top cabinets are attached to the wall via scaffolding. That allows room for electrical wirings and whatnot, and it was easier to attach just 2 long scaffoldings to the concrete wall. The cabinets were much easier to attach to the scaffolding, in turn…


Starting to take shape… the empty spot in the middle is for the dishwasher.


Sanding the countertop would have been easier on top of another table, but we had already attached this in order to measure and cut out holes for the sink and stove top. The sides of the holes, especially for the stove top, were thin and we were scared to break the counter top if we moved it.

The cut outs are lined with a marine silicone/glue to keep any water out of the plywood. After attaching the sink (more silicone/glue and the snippets that are screwed in), I waxed the counter with Osmo products just like I did with the table. I’ve been using the kitchen for about 7 months now, and it seems I need to put another coat of the wax on… but this was to be expected. My friend has waxed their counter with the same products and she told me they needed to rewax a couple of times the first year and yearly after that.


And here it is in all it’s glory! 🙂 The top cabinets are lined with plywood, I think that gives the outside a nice finish. I was a bit worried about placing the oven next to the fridge, but I’ve been cooking a lot and following how it behaves, and there seems to be very little escape heat on the sides of the oven. There’s plenty air space behind the oven and some between it and the fridge too.

I finished the back edge of the countertop with some more silicone/glue and a U-shaped aluminium profile. My first idea was to put glass next to the wall to protect the wallpaper, but I didn’t like the look of it. So I painted the wallpaper with a couple of coats of clear laqcuer. I figured I’ll see how long it lasts… So far it’s held up nice! I just wipe any spills with a damp cloth and they haven’t left stains.


The oven, stove top , fridge, microwave (in the left cupboard) and faucet are from the old kitchen, so I only had to buy the dishwasher, extractor hood and sink. I dreamt of a new faucet, but the nice ones tend to cost a pretty penny. My plumber warned me against Ikea faucets, he had heard of a lot of leaks with them. In the end I figured I could update the faucet later.

The washing machine I had bought for my old place, so that didn’t add to the costs either. It needs so much extra space behind it that I can’t get a door to cover it, because the plumbing eats away what extra I had behind there. I’ve been thinking of a curtain to cover it up, but it doesn’t really bother me as it is, either, so that hasn’t been a high priority.

The parts aside from the plywood counter and finishings are Ikea, but the design and the magic to put them together is all my talented friends and me! I can’t even begin to say how happy I am with the new kitchen! It’s much more functional and pretty now!! 🙂

Renovation: Prepping the Kitchen


So this was the kitchen before. I got rid of that wall on the left and switched the kitchen around to make it more functional. The wall on the right in the picture is the new kitchen wall, and the old kitchen wall is a plain wall. The plumbing and pipes were changed around like this:


The red line marks where the plumbing and pipes run, and unfortunately a lot of that would have been visible in the new kitchen. So we built the wall out to house the plumbing, pipes and electricity. Also, there were 2 holes near the ceiling. These are for the air to get around the building and could not be covered. So we put in extension pipes for them.


I was super afraid to drill into the floor because of the underfloor heating. I had no idea where the pipes lay in the floor, although they probably didn’t run them right next to the bathroom wall under the kitchen cabinets in -58. Nevertheless, I didn’t want to risk puncturing one of them. So we attached the vertical studs on a horizontal stud that’s attached to the original wall behind it. It took some fiddling to get the wall extension as thin as possible, so here we’re building a bridge over the original sewer that was much wider than the modern plastic plumbing.



I had the plumber and electrician come in and finish everything they needed to do behind the wall, and then we finished the studs and attached the drywall. You can see the drywall up in the post about the floor.


After the wall was finished and floor extended all the way, we smoothed the new kitchen wall and put up the wallpaper. The plumbing and electrical cables are still just sticking out of the wall, since further progress with them needed the kitchen to be assembled first.

That recess the fridge and oven are sitting in is actually sticking out from the building wall. It  used to be one of those pantries or cold storage cabinets they had in the 50’s. It basically had insulated doors and a couple of holes in the back wall, to let in the cold air from the outside. Now the doors are gone, the holes covered and insulated and it’s just a weirdly shaped nook in the kitchen… but more of that later!

Renovation: Gutting the Floor

The apartment has a feature that might not be apparent right away, but it was very striking at it’s time. It has an underfloor heating system. These systems were very popular in the Tapiola, Espoo in the 50s and 60s, when the original Garden City was built (my building is from 1958). Underfloor heating fit the architectural ideals, because there was no need for visible radiators.


The original floor was linoleum, which was also popular during that time. And later (in the 80s, judging from the materials) someone put a parquet floor over the original linoleum. The original lino, a cardboard and cork-fragment underlay and the parquet are visible on the top photo, taken after I removed the AAC kitchen wall.


That parquet was now in a pretty bad state. It seemed to have been put together from odds and ends to begin with, since some of the pieces were just 5 or 10 cm long at places.

I pondered the pros and cons of having the original parquet sanded and refinished or replacing it with something else. In the end the replacing won – the parquet was cheap quality with a thin top layer (about 2 mm), and the sanding and finishing process could have ended up costing more than replacing the floor. The underfloor heating would also work more efficiently with fewer layers.



So the scrapping began. First I ripped of the parquet, which was glued together. It didn’t go without a fight, but I emerged victorious! It’s unbelievable how much scrap material ripping the floor produces… You’d never think there’s so much volume there! You can see the original lino on the hallway floor, and the concrete underneath. The lists were also original, visible in the hallway. The parquet had been laid next to them.


The problem for me was that taking the lists out also removed the layer of plaster covering the concrete. The outer walls of my apartment are weight-bearing, regular concrete cast on site, while the internal walls are that lightweigh AAC. The outer walls thus have a layer of plaster to smooth the ridges left by the casting mold. That plaster had gone soft behind the lists in the course of the 50+ years since the building was built. Had the floors been washed and the water got behind the lists? Who’s to know…

So, I took a hammer and lightly tapped the plaster until all of the loose plaster came off and I was left with stuff that was still sticking firmly. You can hear and feel the difference easily. Luckily, this wasn’t too far from the floor – I didn’t really want to have to redo the whole plaster as that’s a major PITA.


Here we go with the floor gutted to the concrete and the first layers of new plaster applied to the areas it was missing from. That blotch on the wall is from the beam. At this stage I painted all the ceilings and walls except the ones I knew were going to get covered with something else. No need to protect the floor from paint splatter now! 🙂