Author Archives: sisgem

Knit and Knatter







I have made a discovery.. what with our world of social networking and virtual time passing, it fits that to get anything done you need background company!

On reflection, perhaps this is a personal character flaw, I always studied best with company and over the years at school and uni came up with many study comradery adventures – in caravans, parks, cafes, sleepovers chewing actual coffee granules.. aah moment of appreciation for all you tortured students out there.

It was bliss to attend the recent Belfast council run Revamp workshops I wrote about here and here, not least because just pottering away in a room full of people doing the same thing was so comforting, social, inspiring.

So in a bid to reclaim a childhood skill I had a glorious girls night in to ‘Knit and Knatter’.













It really was a rare privelige to have both a relaxing and gratifying friday night after a long week..  sipping cocktails from a teapot ((i was served lately in a bar in Belfast to this effect) and catching up, whilst patting oneself on back for new skill acquired and that comforting feeling that should you find yourself shivering or naked in the future, you could yarn your way out of that predicament!










The next event, a ‘Pic – knit’. If you’re interested let me know! Extreme knitting ideas welcome..







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Before and Afters.. At the Souk

Had a lovely day today surrounded by inspiring, talented and eco conscious stylers at the Home Souk and Rethink, Revamp, Restyle event. I was demonstrating furniture painting techniques all day.. and transformed this dowdy little chair into a french bistro styled monsieur!

I absolutely adore french style, and especially that romantic yet battered chippy paint loved and used look.. I did a little inspiration trail into this project as people were going to be looking on..

My first go to for any styling ideas is Design Sponge.. I could get lost in their ‘Sneak Peaks’ for hours, and voila, there’s a perfectly placed Bentwood Bistro chair!

Bentwood Bistro Chair at Design Sponge

Colour inspiration came from the beautiful photography blog Paris Parfait..

I’ll do another post on my chippy paint crush another time..

So here I am sanding away..

Sand first, then paint, sand again, paint, sand again

With my little helper..

Everyone needs a little helper!

Carried away.. check out my official poster!

Sanding is key for any furniture paint job, and especially for the ‘distressed’ look. Sand all over first. I had to strip this chair initially, but I would only do this if it had a heavy gloss on it.. if you want a very smooth painted result, prime before you start. Otherwise just get the first coat on, sand again, second coat, and sand sand sand until you have the finish you want. I had a lot of questions today on the type of paint you can use. Technically ‘satinwood’ paints are designed to go on wood, but they do give a bit of a sheen. I really like  a flat powdery look for this kind of thing, so I use emulsion and then seal it with a wax or a very light coat of varnish or stain. My favourite part of todays project was that i intended to use a contrasting colour on certain parts of the chair, but I loved the original wood contrast so much, I kept it! Sometimes the items just re- invent themselves!

first coat

Wood contrast

And here’s the table I transformed at the workshops on display today at the showcase.. Will bring you a final after shot of my two chairs when they’re complete.. Don’t forget the Fashion Souk tomorrow too at the Europa! A feast of conscious style all weekend!




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Showcase – Rethink, Revamp, Restyle

Hi Blog, missing you. I’ve been enjoying the devotion of  three hours of a thursday evening to “Rethink, Revamp, Restyle” so much, I havent had time to pop in and tell you about it.

However you can catch up on all the happenings at the Europa Hotel, Belfast this Saturday from 11am – 5pm where we will be showcasing lots of the items from the workshops. You can see what I did with this little table..

The event is running alongside the fabulous Home Souk stall holders selling their bespoke home furnishing, there’s a keynote speaker on environmental living issues, and exhibits and tips on how to revamp your household items.

Salvage Sisters are proud to be one of the ‘exhibits’, I’ll be revamping this Bentwood type chair.. come, shop, play and say hi!

More details on facebook.. Dont forget the fashion Souk this sunday too!

Tuesday at 11:08am · · · Share

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TV Sista

As traumatic as it is to see yourself on TV, thought I’d share the link for your amusement, to tonight’s regional news, with me on it having a bad hair day!! It’s a feature on the brilliant Revamp Rethink Restyle classes I’m taking part in that I mentioned here..

Check it out!

Scroll in to about 16 minutes.. Not sure how long this link will stay up, sorry if you miss it!

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Seasonal Soup

Early spring is the time to pick your nettles I’ve heard,apparently they get tough after that.

It seems just as your getting into spring, its already speeding past, so I marched myself out on sunday, dentist latex gloves to hand, and went nettle hunting. Harder to remember where you last saw a lucious big clump of them than you might think!

I’m told you can pick nettles bare handed if you know how, always run your fingers upwards along the stem and your golden. I didn’t risk it, and was bemused to find my double layer of latex gloves still allowed the sting to cost me for my harvest!


I was surprised to find a Nettle soup recipe in ‘Rachel Allen’s Home Cooking’ book and this is what inspired my mission.

It turned out rather unnattractively, not the ideal ingredient for a soup I’d day, it doesnt merge itself into the rich bright velvet texture of perfect soup. Was it tasty? Yes, but the texture was off putting!

I served it up with some smoked haddock pate and bread so a hedgerow lunch was still achieved!

If you’re up for some nettle picking, here are two more recipes you might like to try,  Nettle Spanakopita and Nettle Lasagne. Don’t forget to report back if you do!


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Rethink, Revamp, Restyle.. all after work!

Sigh – I’m high and drunk on my three blissful hours spent this evening at the first workshop in Ballynafeigh community centre by Rethink, Revamp, Restyle – an amazing collaboration by SS favourite ‘The Fashion Souk’ and Belfast Council. The ethos is on creating and ‘repurposing’ items to prevent waste and give them a new life of usefulness!

After a mad dash from work I found myself with lots of lovely ladies making cushions out of old jumpers and shirts – in a flash, whilst helping to reduce the fourteen double decker bus loads of clothes which are thrown into the waste every WEEK!

jumper cushion

shirt cushion

jumper embellishment

shirt embellishment

The fabulous team of demonstrators poked us into action and inspiration with a quick how to, and left us to wade into piles of old clothes and come out with a unique creation! No better way to spend an evening I tell you, I haven’t felt this relaxed in so long, with the added delight of new additions to my couch.. the husband probably wont share the sentiment that we needed a few more cushions though! I’m  quite pleased with how I matched them into my living room scheme..

My only problem was cushion envy, so many juicy little creations –  and the fact I forgot my camera, photos of the next one to come. Oh but BBC newsline did turn up, so keep them peeled on the regional news!!

Jealous? Check out the Rethink, Revamp, Restyle group on facebook to see what slots are left that you could sign up for. It’s old furniture revamping next time, can’t wait!


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It’s yours..take it!

You must look out out for this little treat of an event, which popped up in our city in February this year.

This one in February was held in the delightful venue, of the recently opened Belfast Barge near the Waterfront, and run by Portavogie artist, Alice Burns.

It’s an artists collective, which was conceptualized as a free art show with world wide artists sending their work to be displayed at an impromptu street gallery created in a public space. The works are displayed by local artist(s) residing in the city of an IYTI! show. It was resolved that the shows would be held on the same weekend in 5 cities globally! You can read more about the concept here.

I love Butterflies, and was delighted to pick up a street artist interpretation by ‘A1’, a Finnish street artist apparently.

I love it, and you can see me happily picking it up, along with the other chuffed customers and their finds in the event gallery.

Thanks A1, and IYTI!

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