Guest blog – my experience of a Petit Miracles Upcycling Workshop

1888e80 Petit Miracle Workshop – Guest Blog

Kindly written by Christina @cbtravelbug

Take some tired brown furniture, five willing participants and a few hours on a Saturday afternoon and you’ll get… five transformed chairs in a paintbox palette ready to go on sale for a good cause. Here’s how it was done:

Workshop manager Iyoub explained our goal for the the afternoon: a brief introduction to upcycling. We’d learn a new skill and Petit Miracles would get some new furniture for their treasure trove of a shop in West 12 Shopping Centre.

20150418_124954 The upcycling process:

First step: Pick a chair. These were old oak ones, probably from a school or a church hall. Check it is sturdy and sound before you start. There’s no point in painstakingly transforming a rickety old wreck, until it has been mended.

Washing

Wash it down with sugar soap. It’s really important to remove all grease, grime and dust to give the paint the best chance of adhering. Make sure the cloth is damp but not drenched, because the wood will absorb the moisture.

The difficult bit: choose a colour. We were using Annie Sloane’s chalk paint. The advantage here is that it doesn’t need a primer or base coat, compared to emulsion, which can be a much more laborious process. The boys went for bright colours, the girls went neutral and classy… just saying.

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Painting

Shake the paint can so the colour is even, open it up carefully and give it a good stir. Mix in a tiny bit of water if necessary, so the consistency is like double cream.

Flip the chair over and start painting the underside first. Start on the part furthest away from you so you aren’t leaning over your work and getting splodges of paint on your clothes. Don’t go overboard with the paint. Start near the edge and work paint to the ends carefully. Try not to let it bleed over the sides, that will just mean more sanding later.

Once the whole underside is done, flip the chair back over and finish the top side. Some colours will need more coats than others. To get to this stage took around two hours.

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Sanding

Next, you need to sand to get the smoothest finish you possibly can. This can take minutes or hours. We were going for a shabby chic look, so as well as sanding the paint down everywhere, the areas which would naturally get the most wear and tear needed a bit of extra attention.

On chalk paint, we used P240 sandpaper. It’s really fine, and you work gently, applying pressure in the direction of the grain of the wood. The paint goes as soft as silk once it is done: check your work by touch. I sanded a bit extra on the raised part of the seat to give a slightly more worn look.

Gently wipe away the chalk dust with a damp cloth.

Waxing

closeupchair The next stage is to apply the wax. This helps seal in the paint and protect it. It also darkens the colour slightly. Again, we used Annie Sloan wax. With a brush or a cloth, you get a tiny dab on your finger and rub it into the paint. Work in small sections and make sure it spreads consistently across the wood. You don’t need as much as you think you do. The left section has been done here: you can see how it makes the colour darker and shinier.

Final stage: buffing

With a clean cloth, you rub that wax until it shines and all the excess has been absorbed. It’s elbow grease that’s required, no two ways about it. Check it with the back of your hand: you shouldn’t feel any residue if it is properly absorbed.

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image2 Finished products:

I loved my afternoon at Petit Miracles: I saw how with a little care and effort you can transform drab old furniture into something contemporary and personal. What’s more, this social enterprise provides work for the long-term unemployed and teaches new skills to those who want to learn. I thoroughly recommend getting involved.

Workshops run on the first and second Saturdays of each month. The three hour session including all materials and tuition costs £45 per person.

Thank you for writing and sharing your blog and photos Christina!

Book your place:

https://www.petitmiracles.org.uk/category/workshops-events/

If you would like to blog for us please get in touch: marketing@petitmiracles.org.uk

Hub member interview – Kate of KC loves

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Interview – Meet Kate Cummins

What is your background?

I moved to London at 22 years old, from worthing, a small seaside town, have met some amaz-ing people and had been working as a visual merchandiser for many years, I have the love of making things look pretty!

  • 2005 / 2014 – European Visual Coordinator : My previous experience working as a visual merchandiser for a global company, bringing creativity and artistic flair to deliver high standards and results. Excellent attention to detail, organised, proactive and adaptable.
  • 2012 / 2013 –  At night collage, Studied silver smithing at Kensington and Chelsea college and have qualified in a BTEC level 1 in 3d design.  3D design products – distinction / 3D design crafts processes – distinction / working to a 3D brief – distinction.
  • 2012 / 2014 – I have been hand crafting Sliver Jewellery as a hobby, making gifts for family and friends for 3 years.
  • 2014 til now – started my own business designing and making handmade silver jewellery.

Tell us about your business?

KC Loves Designs and hand crafts unique Sterling Silver Jewellery, sometimes featured with other materials such as gemstone, shell, wood and natural hemp cord. Delicate, fine, natural feel, a sense of freedom, when wearing a piece. My professional services include making bespoke Jewellery for the customer either bought for themselves or a gift.

I am inspired to make my Jewellery by the beautiful Caribbean island of Barbados, the warm excited feeling of being on the island, the tranquil surroundings of the beaches, the alive blue sea, the unaffected nature and the passion of the people for life its self. My Jewellery can be adjusted to the customer’s needs, in size, materials used, texture, colour and design.

The product is unique in design, suitable to wear for every day to evening. Ideal bought for a favourite holiday piece, can be worn to complement a daywear outfit to the beach, the same piece can be worn to dress up the favourite outfit for the holiday evening out.  If you are not on holiday, wearing KC Loves make you feel you are just about to walk out onto the beach front, no matter where you are in the world. Perfect bought as a personal gift, received in a gift box and bag made to feel special, to compliment the Jewellery itself.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

From the love of being in Barbados, I was inspired to make jewellery. Me and my boyfriend regularly visit Barbados to the sun, the sea, the beauty and to see family and friends. Our dream is to one day live on the Island and I would have my own jewellery work shop built on the side of my beautiful wooden house by the sea. I have always loved wearing and buying handmade jewellery, something unique and different. I can myself only wear nonmetal materials and silver.

What is the most challenging thing about running your own company?

I find the most challenging thing to be the marketing side, with running your own business you have to work on all areas (no one to do it for you) keeping up with social on a daily basis.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

I would advice to take small steps, it’s all very well to see the dream and the bigger picture, but you would have to take small steps to make it achievable and more real. Take on all the advice you receive from people that have experience. Don’t be afraid to try new ideas, don’t be afraid to make mistakes they can always be corrected.

How has working with Elisicia and Petit Miracle hub helped you?

Elisicia and the petit miracles hub have been really helpful to me and my business, this is the start for me and I have learned a lot from being at the hub. Working with other entrepreneurs and sharing each others skills, amazing training, there is so much opportunity on holding events, networking, getting to know your customer, feedback and great atmosphere. The concept is amazing!

In 5 years time…

I will be more established with more and regular customers, I will be a professional at marketing my brand. kc loves will be known in the industry and will be a popular jewellery brand 😉

Connect:

https://twitter.com/kclovesjewels

https://instagram.com/kclovesjewels

https://www.facebook.com/pages/KC-loves/578549282184773

Shop online: http://www.shop.masato.co.uk/collections/kc-loves-jewellery

Guest post from our volunteer Jeanette – Learning to be, you, in a local innovating environment

Jeanette in action upcycling furniture

Jeanette in action upcycling furniture

Petit Miracle Interiors (PMI) was one of the very first places I ever visited when I first moved to this part of London. What made me curious to take the escalator upstairs at West 12 Shop and explore what was hiding on the 2nd floor still I don’t know, but today I am very glad I did. More people should let their curiosity lead their way from time to time – the discoveries you make might add so much more to your life. Discovering PMI added lots of new challenges, valued experiences and amazing people to mine.

Our shop floor is always intriguingly inviting. The smiles and creative minds which fill this place are found behind every unique piece you see, and they all have a story to tell. Inspiring talks, colors and ideas daily create this very special workplace for many people. Its an understatement saying this place is purely made up by its people. The Director Elisicia is a person everyone would love to meet. Her passion for the environment and its people is addictive and positively contagious. The very core of creativity is found in this environment.

As a new local I decided to sign up and roll in on one of the following Saturday workshops. Simply because I could not leave PMI and not knowing I would return soon. That said DIY has always been a highly valued skill I wanted to learn, and this was a golden opportunity. Ever since that Saturday, soon a year ago, I have been a weekly PMI worker. PMI has become an unique part of my week. I have got an ordinary job for a London based company, which has granted me one volunteering day a week. At PMI team work is all about attitude and gratitude. I will thank everyone for this amazing opportunity and recommend readers, new and old, to visit and get to know more about this truly amazing gem store located in Shepherds Bush.

We would like to thank Jeanette for volunteering with us and kindly writing this blog to share her experience.

Hub member interview – Patrizia of SensiChic

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Petit Miracle Hub Entrepreneur interview
Meet Patrizia Galeota

The Petit Miracles Hub, with all its stall owners and founder in attendence, in the West12 shopping Centre in Shepherd's Bush opend to the public for the first time. Founder Elisicia Moore (black dress) with Dawn Newton (paterned blue dress). Photography

Elisicia (Left) and Patrizia (right) in front of the SensiChic display at Petit Miracles Hub


What is your background?

Beauty PR for over ten years working for a number of renowned brands with the L’Oréal Group and Estée Lauder Companies.

Tell us about your business?

SensiChic is passionate about creating exquisite candles in a variety of equally stunning designs to suit every desire. All our products are made using 100% natural soy wax from renewable sources and the highest quality oils to ensure clean burning for hours. Not only is each candle hand-blended but also hand-poured in limited quantities (batches of 10) in a tiny North-West London kitchen (mine) to guarantee best care and quality.

Lifestyle NATURE LOVER

Nature Lover candle – SensiChic

There are currently two core collections:
The Classic Collection: a premium and sleek line of divinely blended scents in heavy glass tumblers with a signature base layer of coloured wax finished with a silver lid. Available in five beautiful scents: Orange & Clove, Spiced Apple & Vanilla, Honeysuckle Peach, Rose Cerise and Seasonal Cedar.

The Eclectic Collection: Fun and frivolous, these gorgeous candles with fabulous hand-drawn illustrations inspired by my passions in life (beauty, fashion and nature) with embossed lids come in three divine scents.

  • Beauty Junkie – Spearmint & Grapefruit
  • Fashion Fiend – Green Tea & Fig
  • Nature Lover – Mimosa & Mandarin

Exclusive to the Petit Miracle Hub and next to launch online is the Vintage-Style Collection: Vanilla scented wax housed in traditional English teacups and two wick breakfast cups.

A bespoke service is also available which has proven to be extremely popular for weddings, christenings and other special occasions.

Customised candles - SensiChic

Customised candles – SensiChic

Where did the idea for your business come from?

It all began in 2011 with a wedding of Southern Italian origin and trying to decide on the perfect ‘Bomboniere’. In Italian culture, it’s customary to present each household with a gift known as a ‘bomboniere’. The bomboniere is the perfect way to thank guests for taking part in a special celebration whether it’s a wedding, baptism, first holy communion or confirmation, with five sugared almonds included symbolising health, wealth, happiness, fertility and long life. The bride-to-be (me!) wanted something original, quintessentially English and personal for her Italian family and friends, and hit upon the idea of hand-blended, hand-poured scented candles in beautiful vintage style teacups. This immediately became a craft love affair and a dream that one day would turn into a family business.

What is the most challenging thing about running your own company?

The greatest challenge for me is most definitely juggling motherhood with business; trying to work around my fourteen month old son, but I wouldn’t have it any other way, he is my courage, drive and inspiration to make the brand a success.

Rose Cerise candle - SensiChic

Rose Cerise candle – SensiChic

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

My very first steps into making SensiChic a reality was trademarking the logo and name, creating the website, writing a business plan, registering SensiChic as a Limited Company and hiring an accountant… the rest just followed naturally and it will. So start small, decide who you are and where you want to be and try… try… try… and try again! It’s easier to give up when things get tough but perseverance is the key to finding your way. There is so much help, info and guidance out there, it’s a matter of finding it and tapping into it, take what you need from each experience to make your business a success. It’s a long process so a lot of patience is required.

How has working with Elisicia and Petit Miracle hub helped you?

The Petit Miracles Hub is such an incredible initiative that gives entrepreneurs like myself an important stepping stone into retail; there really should be more projects like this up and down the country and Elisicia’s energy and creativity is infectious; it’s hard not to get inspired when speaking to her!

In 5 years time…

I hope for SensiChic to become a recognised boutique brand known for its style, quality and attention to detail for each and every candle created. I disagree that luxury scented candles should be extortionately priced, unfortunately the ones we all aspire to having in our homes usually are – I want SensiChic to change this perception.

There are so many creative ideas in the pipeline… it’s a case of watching this space!

Find out more and follow SensiChic:

www.sensi-chic.com

facebook.com/SensiChicLimited

twitter.com/sensichic

instagram.com/sensichic