Upcycling in W12 with Petit Miracles – An inspired Mother’s day present – Guest Blog

In the days before the word upcycling had been dreamt of, I was hard at work with a paintbrush, slapping the wrong paint onto unprepared surfaces, covering walls and furniture with wonkily aligned stencilling and generally making everyone wish I’d just left things alone.

This is what my son Ben was channelling when he booked me into an upcycling workshop. He got the idea past my creative sensitivities by saying it was a belated Mother’s Day treat.

Arriving for the workshop

And so we turned up for one of the Saturday workshops at the Petit Miracles hub in Shepherds Bush’s W12 Shopping Centre. Our little group had grown to four with daughter Georgina and Ben’s girlfriend Kirsty, also keen to release their hidden upcycler.  Read more

If you love books, this is a stairway to heaven – Guest blog by Toni

Although these stairs may look difficult, I can assure you, the hardest part was taking up the carpet to see what lay beneath! Living in a Victorian house, I had absolutely no idea what I might find. Although I didn’t find any secrets ‘swept under the carpet’, I did find numerous layers of paint!

After the initial shock {and a cup of tea} I tried a few methods to remove the paint.

Firstly, I tried paint strippers, far too messy and time consuming. So I decided a sander would be a much better option.

Because I wanted to varnish the treads, I had to make sure every trace of paint was removed, but for the risers as long as the finish is smooth, it should be ok.

Once all the paint’s removed have another cuppa, and give yourself a pat on the back! All the hard work’s done! Now you need to decide on a theme.

I chose my favourite books, but it can work just as well with films / CD’s etc.

Decide on a colour scheme {I tried to stick as close to the book covers as I could} This bit is relatively easy and cheap, paint your risers. I used sampler match pots for each stair.

Varnish the treads, for another option, paint the treads the same colours as your risers. {but for this option you will still need to coat the treads with a few coats of clear varnish}

Finally, the decals… I would like to take credit for the decals {book titles} but it has to go to an amazing woman on Pinterest. I emailed her the book titles I wanted and she found each book online so that she could match the font exactly.

Once they arrived, they were easy to apply. They are on tracing paper, so it’s just a case of putting in position and rubbing with a credit card until they stick.

Job done…now make a nice cup of tea and sit back and admire your work!

Thanks to Toni Connolly for this guest post
Follow her on instagram: @toni_connolly63

Save

Pay what you want – what the h*ll is that?

“The customer chooses the price of our furniture?? You’ve got to be kidding me.”  Those were my exact words when some clever marketing interns made the suggestion. Not only did this sound like a bad idea I had no clue what it really meant.

It is unusual for the price of a product to be placed in the consumers hands. And let’s be honest, I was worried people would suggest £1 for an item we would normally charge £150. But, apparently I have become cynical in my old age. While that may be true, the more I listened to the rationale the more I understood. Placing the control in the customers hands meant that they could become benefactors (talk about good karma). And, given the chance, people will pay a fair price for goods and services they think have value, particularly if there is a social outcome.

You may not know that our furniture is used as an engagement tool to teach restoration skills to long-term unemployed people or people who have experienced homelessness.  You may only know that we produce high quality, upcycled furniture.  And that’s ok, in fact, we like being known for producing a quality product.  But there is considerable value in our hand-restored furniture which goes far beyond the value of, say, the amount of storage a chest of drawers offers, or, the quality of dove tail joints on a drawer.  In fact, the value often goes unseen. The real value of our work is the people behind the product, the people who’ve been marginalised by society and want to improve their life chances.

The people of Petit….

I want to introduce you to Junior, a long-term volunteer at Petit Miracles. When Junior came for work experience he was rather unmotivated, but dearly wanted gainful employment. Since his time with us, he has grown his confidence, employability skills and restoration skills. You can read more about Junior here: https://www.petitmiracles.org.uk/humans-petit-junior/

So, how does one place a monetary value on confidence and employability?  Well, that will be relative to each person, but, to help you out, we have given you some suggestions for what your money can do at Petit;

We will utilise a base cost price which will just cover the cost of the materials + the time of the renovation.  And then leave it up to you to decide what in addition, you would like to pay.  Here are is some guidance:

  • An additional £500 will provide industry training: helping our volunteers become more employable
  • An additional £250 will provide workshop materials for one month: freeing money to spend on direct volunteer benefit
  • An additional £100 will upgrade our workshop tools: continuing to produce quality finishes on the furniture
  • An additional £30 will provide volunteers with PPE equipment: helping to keep volunteers safe
  • An additional £20 will provide basic materials such as sand paper and brush cleaner: freeing money to spend on direct volunteer benefit
  • An additional £10 will help the charity provide travel and lunch expenses for those volunteers who do not have the money to travel to the workshop

Pay What You Want Mission Statement ……

You may be thinking the people at Petit Miracles are quite clever for thinking of such an innovative and clever pricing strategy.  But, you must know there is nothing new under the sun. This kind of pricing is centuries old.  I want to share something I found on-line when researching pay what you want pricing – David Charles, pay what you want mission statement:

Once upon a time, far back in the mists of time – and, more literally, in the hill mists of Guilin – I heard a travellers’ tale about a wise old Chinese doctor. This antiquated physician, they said, would sit cross-legged at the entrance to his modest wooden hut, high up in the mountains, chewing on the end of a long pipe, twisting his long moustaches and waiting for the sick and the dying and the pilgrim seekers to make the rugged ascent to his clinic.

He’d listen to their ailments, lay his hands on their brow, pick rare Chinese herbs from dusty bottles on the shelves and brew some concoction on a small brazier above an open fire. At the end of the consultation, this wise old doctor would hand the patient a glass vial containing some esoteric unction or tincture that would cure their ills.

The grateful recipient would look up expectantly: “How much do I owe you?” The doctor, returning to his pipe and moustaches, would simply smile a crooked smile and raise his palms to the heavens: “Pay whatever the cure is worth.”

So, pay what you think is the value of our work. It’s in your hands.

 

Humans of Petit: Junior

My name is Junior, I live in Victoria and I have been volunteering at Petit Miracles for almost 2 years. I initially came to Petit on a work experience placement. I enjoyed it a lot; I met new friends, learned new skills and really enjoyed the work I was doing and skills learned. After the placement finished, I decided to stay on as a volunteer to continue my learning and develop myself and the skills I had gained. I have learned many different aspects of the workshop, from the correct use of hand tools and the traditional methods used, to learning how to use rotary saws such as the mitre saw and electric sanding machines.

Read more

Humans of Petit: Federico

My name is Federico and I am from a town just outside of Rome. I recently completed a degree in Furniture Design. The qualification involved all the stages from initial concept of a piece, right through to creation. I was offered to come to England on a 6 month internship through my college and was placed at Petit Miracles.

Here, I have learned more about commercialisation in the furniture industry but also have had the chance to learn and use different materials I had never used before; different types of paint, finishes, oils and stains. On top of all of this, I am also slowly improving my English!

Read more

Humans of Petit: Abdul

Abdul is currently on a 6-month placement with Petit Miracles. Originally from Italy, Abdul studied furniture design with a specialized focus on construction. After 5 years studying he has decided to throw himself, not only into a working environment but also into another country, test what he has learnt.

Within a short period of time he has developed an understanding of customer needs, standards, the demands and deadlines associated with the industry.

Read more

Humans of Petit: Kate Moore

Kate Moore – General Manager

I have always been interested in furniture and loved being creative but never really had the confidence to pursue it as a career. I saw an advert for an apprentice position at Petit Miracles and the rest is history! I am now general manager, my role includes Upholstery for the shop and bespoke orders, helping customers with their queries, making sure the shop looks beautiful and whenever I can I will be in the workshop!

Petit Miracles has given me confidence in myself and abilities and helped me grow as a person. I love working here because it’s a really creative environment, we have a great group of staff and volunteers and every day is different! My favourite piece of furniture so far has to be ‘Hattie’, a multi-media chest of drawers, one of the first pieces I worked on.

Read more

Guest Blog Post by Annalise Winter

Fun Upcycling Ideas to Redecorate Your Home

Sometimes it’s hard to part ways with your old things, especially if they hold sentimental value. But just like all other objects, they get worn out over time and begin to lose their purpose.

Throwing them out straight away might be a hard thing to do, so why not repurpose them into something new? Albeit not exactly like the original, you still get to keep your stuff and restore their usefulness in the process.

In a previous post, one of our upcycling workshop participants shared her experience and remarked how lovely the session was. During the activity, they transformed old oak chairs for our Petit Miracles shop. The article showed that anyone can do upcycling and all it takes is the willingness as well as dedication towards a project.

So let’s check out fun ideas for redecorating your home. Most of these are simple enough to follow so you don’t have to worry about needing advance techniques and skills just to complete a project.

Old lampshade frames can be turned into a coffee table. Use them as the base and simply attach a wooden block for a unique minimalist piece. You can either remove the shade sheets or retain them for a quirkier look.

Two sturdy upcycled lamp shades plus salvaged butcher block add up to one stylish, minimalist coffee table in the living room of this Texas home.

(image credit: Country Living)
http://clv.h-cdn.co/assets/cm/15/09/480×601/54eb7537181c0_-_04-salvage-chic-living-room-0214-s2.jpg

How about taking a piece of your old barn with you in your bedroom? Memories from your childhood can be stirred up through a framed old barn door that can serve as both decor and a nostalgic reminder.

(image credit: HGTV)
http://hgtvhome.sndimg.com/content/dam/images/hgtv/fullset/2010/11/29/0/original_Brian-Flynn-bedroom-repurposed-art-beauty_s3x4.jpg.rend.hgtvcom.966.1288.jpeg

Since it’s almost time for ‘Happy Holidays!’ once again, objects that will add to the festive cheer are perfect to complement your Christmas decor. First off, a worn-out, unusable globe can be cut in half and turned into a fruit holder as a table display to give the impression that you enjoy traveling the world.

(image credit: Better Homes and Gardens)
http://images.meredith.com/content/dam/bhg/Images/2009/01/101203726.jpg.rendition.largest.jpg

Those paper bags can be morphed into fruit baskets as well. Cut them into strips and with some weaving skills and glue, you can fashion them into rustic-style baskets.

(image credit: Pop Sugar)
https://media1.popsugar-assets.com/files/thumbor/GXD1FyQ84vYSrc6mi4IML2ue8CI/fit-in/550×550/filters:format_auto-!!-:strip_icc-!!-/2013/07/17/952/n/1922441/5048beebdebe3a25_P1160481.jpg

Furthermore, vintage magazines and old fabrics are great for making ornaments to hang on your Christmas tree or your walls. Cut out an image of Santa or Rudolph and stick it on a cardstock. Trim the edges and fix a string to the back for hanging.

For old fabrics, cut two small identical pieces of your desired shape such as a star or a chestnut. Put some stuffing between the pieces and sew them together. Attach a string at the back as well for hanging.

Sweet Paul Magazine DIY Decorations

(image credit: Tootsa)
https://www.tootsa.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-shot-2014-12-02-at-11.40.22-1024×367.png

These are just some ideas for upcycling old things into repurposed decor. There are literally hundreds more you can do with all sorts of unused stuff. Just let your imagination and creativity run free.

Do you have your own projects that you want to share with us? Leave them in our comments section below.

Written by Annalise Winter
Exclusive for petitmiracles.org.uk

PM Hub Entrepreneur interview – Alan of Hidden Hand

interviewbanner

Petit Miracle Hub Entrepreneur interview

 

Alan Insua

Alan Insua

Meet Alan Insua

What is your background?

After completing a HND in Business IT at South Bank University I worked at a few jobs, mostly retail, with my last job being at John Lewis Head Office in an admin role where I worked for 8 years. While I was working there I came up with the idea to start “the Hidden Hand” and between the commutes to and from work, my lunch breaks and a few late nights after the children were in bed, I managed to start up my business.

Tell us about your business?

The Hidden Hand is a t-shirt brand that through our t-shirt designs and website aspire to give people just a peak under the veil of what the mainstream media doesn’t tell us, or doesn’t want us to know. The themes that are covered in our designs are mainly only covered in alternative media, but our aim at the Hidden Hand is to change that to where these themes become the mainstream as we feel that one of the major problems in this world is the suppression of information, and we hope to just do our little bit in trying to expose some truth.
Read more

We’re going to be on TV! Watch us on Find it Fix It Flog it

New TV Show, Elisicia, our Founder features as specialist valuer: Find it Fix It Flog it

Elisicia is a specialist valuer on this new TV show, we hope you enjoy it.

More about the show:

We  are  a  nation  of  hoarders  and  British  barns  and  sheds  are home  to  a  rich  and  forgotten  treasure  trove.  From rusty motorbikes to tarnished tea pots,  valuable medals,  stopped clocks, discarded  garden furniture and  20th century collectables, the  Find it Fix It Flog it boys  sifted  through  barn clutter, restored it then sold it for you. Read more