mix of whimsy

Dutch expat in the UK, love making our home look eclectically fab for less with funky thrift store finds and DIY projects.

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DIY ill-fitting skirt to pretty pouf tutorial


About three years ago I bought a skirt from the Urban Outfitters website. Nearly all of the reviews said that this was a skirt that would make your bum look fat, but it looked cute and it was massively on sale, so I took a gamble and bought it. Once it arrived and I tried it on I realised it made my bum, too, look fat, so I only wore the skirt once and it sat in my closet since.

Well, until three days ago that is, when I turned it into a pouf! I had been wanting a pouf for our living room for a little while. We’d just got a new (vintage) chair, a black Ingmar Relling Siesta chair (more on this in another post) but did not have the ottoman that goes with it, so I wanted something that we could put our feet on whilst sitting in it. Turning the skirt into a pouf was surprisingly easy and really only took minimal handsewing skills, so I thought I’d share a little tutorial with you here in case you might want to convert a skirt into a pouf as well. Here goes:

Mix of Whimsy’s DIY skirt to pouf tutorial:

Materials needed:

  • Skirt
  • Needle and thread
  • Old clothes, sheets or towels that you want to get rid of or any other fabric that you could use for stuffing
  • Polyester wadding
  • A drawstring, either that came with the skirt, a long shoe lace or a piece of ribbon
  • Button, possibly with tufting needle and thread if you’d like to add this to the top of your pouf (I didn’t)

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Basil the basil tree

We’ve been growing some herbs to use in our kitchen, but never expected our basil tree to grow as big as it has! I took the picture above about two weeks ago and since then it has grown even another 30% or so taller. We keep trimming it back (there’s more basil than we can eat really!) and yet it grows and grows. It smells gorgeous and I love having a plant we can eat, although it did take some explaining to the kids that while you can Basil’s leaves you can’t really eat the leaves of most other plants. And yes, we do give our plants cheesy names – just like our cars for that matter. Next to Basil of course sits Rose the Rosemary plant. And with that, I wish you a happy Friday!

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More vintage modern fashion

I had this 1950s dress in my closet for years – literally – without ever wearing it. Part of the reason has been that about half of the time a baby bump ensured I couldn’t fit into it, but the other half of the time I didn’t wear it because I wasn’t sure how to style it. It’s a fun dress and very quintessential fifties New Look: fit and flare, full skirt, a very light-blue-almost-grey pattern, high waist and two little bows where the straps meet the top of the dress. Paired with a 50s structured bag, red peep-toe heels and bright red lipstick it would be the perfect dress to wear to a fifties dance party. But how to style it for every day wear? The neon orange belt eventually brought inspiration, and this is what I came up with. As it got warmer that day I wore the dress without the cardi, too, and with the bright color of the belt it still looked quite modern. I loved wearing this dress and am sure I’ll wear it all the time from now on!

Dress: 1950s home-sew cotton fit’n’flare, shoes: Nine West tan leather heels, belt: orange leather belt from Ebay.co.uk, Cardigan: striped navy and white button down from Atmosphere, necklace: H&M from about 15 years ago (so nearly retro, too, lol!), bracelet: small orange glass beads, I don’t remember where I got this.


Nearly finished: Cat skirt a.k.a. Insa skirt

Nearly all done; all I need to do is iron on the cat patches:

Cat skirt front:

Cat skirt back:

This is the Insa skirt from the book Sewing Clothes Kids Love by Nancy Langdon and Sabine Pollenh. Some of the clothes in this book are almost too wildly colorful and embellished for me, but I recognize the fact that my kids would love them, and I really like how the book’s designs allow the sewer to play with different fabrics and styles. You could easily tone down some of the patterns shown in the book, as each design has many options for making it your own. In the case of the Insa skirt, which I sewed for our girls, we went for a colorful cat theme, as you can see above. Recommended!

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Scandi rocker make-over


We’ve been on the look-out for a rocker for Baby Boy’s room and not long ago ran into this vintage Scandinavian elm rocking chair at one of our local charity shops. As it was missing a cushion we were able to buy it for just £15. A total steal! As you can see in the photos it’s going to need some work. My husband is going to sand it down and re-stain it and I’m sewing a cover to go around a new foam cushion we’ve bought. The fabric I’ve chosen is a fish print on a linen-colored, upholstery-strength cotton; see what it looks like below. I think it’s going to look fab once we’re all done with it!


What do you think? Keep an eye on this space to see the result in due time!

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On loving vintage and combining pieces

As any reader of this blog well knows I am a HUGE fan of everything and anything vintage. It’s not just in home decor that I love treasures from the past, however: my wardrobe sports many a vintage find that I’ve scored at thrift stores, second-hand markets and on Ebay. Three pregnancies during the past seven or so years has meant I have not had much of a chance to wear my vintage pieces for some time, but now that Baby Boy is ten months old (wow, how did that happen?? It’s going so quickly) I find myself happily pulling some ‘old things’ out of the closet to wear again.

I love combining vintage pieces with modern ones to create an eclectic mix that doesn’t look too costume-y and have a particular soft spot for certain designers from the fifties and sixties (Jacques Heim, Jean Patou, Pauline Trigere, Jeanne Lanvin, and more, of course!). I’ll post some of my favorite looks here from time to time, interspersed with my home decor posts as well as ramblings on other assorted topics – the usual mix of whimsy!

Check back soon, too, for two more chair make-overs. We’ve got a vintage elm Scandinavian rocker to sand down, re-stain and sew a new cushion for, as well as a bigger project, a Parker Knoll rocking chair from the 1960s that needs complete re-upholstering due to a persistent, nasty smoke smell. Wish me luck – I have never re-upholstered anything before!

Here are two of my vintage looks this week:

Dark orange shift dress: 1990s Fabiani. Navy and white striped blouse: Topshop. Shoes: Timberland. Purse: Francesco Biasia.


Chevron striped midi skirt: 1970s Bill Blass (this is one of my favorite thrift shop finds ever!). Top: BDG at Urban Outfitters. Sandals (just seen): Next. Purse: Giani Bernini. Sunglasses: Yves Saint Laurent. Bracelet from Sperlonga, Italy.

Until next time! Have a fab Summer!

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Thrift shop find – modern vases


These are two modern vases I recently found during a little thrifting expedition. I’m not familiar with the maker’s mark on the taller one, nor with the partial sticker on the other, but I love the look of them together. It’s hard to tell in the photo but the darker color on both is a very dark green-ish brown. They fit in well with our eclectic decor, and at £8 for the pair, I’d call them a steal!


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