Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Home Improvement Hero: Patio revamp

I like a challenge me. Which is pretty handy considering the challenges life tends to keep throwing at me.  So entering Moneysupermarket's Home Improvement Hero challenge was right up my street.  The challenge?  "Improve the appearance or functionality of a room of your choice" in my home.  The catch?  You've can only spend £50 to do it.

The hardest part was deciding which part of my home would get the improvement.  Then the heatwave arrived and hubby got a new BBQ and I realised our patio was...well...a little neglected...


Hmmm.  As you can see it was somewhat lacking in...anything at all.  Just a load of old pots, a wonky table and a disused parasol holder (out of a job since a hardy gust of wind dealt with the flimsy parasol that once existed).  A quick scan of eBay revealed that £50 wasn't going to solve my wonky table problem, though hubby will deal with that once he's finished with all the other jobs in the garden.  But £50 does go a long way...

Ta da! A far cry from the bleak corner it once was don't you think?  Although unfortunately money cannot change the weather and it was raining by the time I took these "after" shots. Ah well, I feel the bright pink parasol and the pretty candles more than make up for the lack of sun, not to mention the all-important bunting :)

So how does it all add up?  This home improvement cost me £51.54.  And here's the lowdown on where to get all the bits and bobs pictured:

The parasol was £30 from B&Q, which I think is quite a bargain.  It comes with it's own storage bag in matching pink too so it's easy to store away without it becoming filthy in the shed, or spiders setting up home over winter and falling on your head when you open it up in the spring *shudder*

The storm lantern was a particular bargain from Sainsbury's for just £6! It was half price in the sale and it's pretty big actually. It's VERY sturdy and very smart.  I am extremely pleased with this as I can pop it on my hearth indoors in the winter months.

The candle in the storm lantern is a must for all crochet/knit/yarn geeks like me.  It has a cable-knit texture.  It was £5 from Amazon.  You can get all manner of knit effect candles if you search on Amazon, and plenty of other online shops too.


The jar candle holders were basically free, unless you count the ribbon of course but I had that lying about in my ribbon box.  I tied ribbon and lace around the jars in order to get all rustic and shabby chic, and I think it worked quite well.  I really love the lace one especially.  The crochet one was made by crocheting with crochet thread over a Gu dessert jar.

The pattern I used as a base for this was on Ravelry here and I modified it to fit a short wide jar and added a little shell border to the top.  (A little tip with these crochet jar covers: I always dab some superglue around the top rim to stick the cover in place and make sure it doesn't slip down.)

The plant is fake (fooled you!) from Ikea, as is the white pot (from Ikea, not fake).  The plant was £6.50, the pot was £2.25.  This was a particularly good buy as I can use it inside when I am not brightening up the outside! Plus I can't kill it, which is a great advantage for me with plants.

The bunting was made from Bonus DK yarn, £1.79 a ball from Hobbycraft.  I made this before for Lillia's meadow party and thought I'd make some more for this project.  I made up the pattern and it's very simple really, I can post a tutorial if enough people are interested, just let me know by leaving a comment.

The seat cushions are B&Q value range, I got them for £4 on eBay and I'm not sure that B&Q do them anymore, but they do similar ones, or you could just make them I guess with some plain fabric and a bit of wadding. But it's the school holidays and quite honestly I don't have the time or energy to whip up pretty cushions whilst I am running around after two little whirlwinds of energy all day, and working too!
The blanket was dragged outdoors from the sofa where it has been in constant daily use since Lillia's 4th birthday

All in all I am delighted with how it all turned out.  We are having a BBQ in two weeks time for some old university friends and all their kids. In our tiny garden in should be interesting fitting everyone in!  But at least the adults will have somewhere nice to congregate and drink pimms whilst the children trample the geraniums and terrorise next door's dog.  Happy days.