A Sylko Obsession

A Sylko Obsession

I have a confession. There is something about those little wooden cotton reels that make me go weak at the knees. I can’t really put my finger on it. It could be the lovely little brightly coloured labels, the stunningly beautiful colours that cling onto their brightness after fifty or more years of life or maybe its the quirky names such as Forget-me-not, Turkey Red or Gay Kingfisher. Whatever it is, my obsession has led to me collecting quite a few of said cotton reels, buying one or a bundle of them whenever I can get my hands on them. Then one day, I set myself the task of collecting all 500 colours. I have a spread sheet (did I hear a snort then) which I must say is decidedly out of character, so that I can keep track of what I already have and what I still need.


So far I have around 84 and they are stuffed in shoes boxes and bundled onto shelves in my sewing room and it seems such a shame to have such beauties hidden away. As I work in the Antiques trade, I am well placed for finding shelves and cabinets but I decided to make my own ‘made to measure’ shelf unit to display the ones that I have and to grow into as I collect.

Firstly, I worked out a simple design and measured my cotton reels to decide how wide I wanted my shelves to be. I also measured an overlocker reel as it will be useful to store these too. I then went to my local wood merchants and got them to cut me nine, 1 metre lengths. As they use a circular saw it ensures that the cuts are at right angles which is vital for accuracy.

Using my omnigrid ruler I divided up two 1 metre lengths to accommodate seven shelves, marked them on and then marked two screw holes onto each shelf.

Using a drill I drilled all the marked holes, I then used a countersink bit to sink the screws so that they are flush. I then drilled through the side pieces into the shelves and glued and screwed all the shelves together. It is vitally important to line the shelves up exactly and at right angles to the sides and also to make sure that the screws ‘bite’ when tightened up.

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Then it was just a case of filling the holes and painting it up ready to go on the wall!!

Im so pleased with the final result and now I can buy as many Sylko’s as I like!!




I’ve always hated those tiles!!

I’ve always hated those tiles!!


Okay, so the first room I decorated in our forever house was the kitchen. I trawled the internet, sent off for tiles samples, visited every tile shop in a 30 mile radius, and brought home several of those unweildy huge boards to see them in a ‘different light’.

I asked the other half what he thought and to be honest I did realise that he barely looked up from his iPad! It was finally (a joint decision as far as I was concerned) decided that we would go for the black/grey marble. They went with the Aga and were very ‘rustic’.

A couple of weeks later and my kitchen was finally finished. Painstakingly tiled by me and then grouted with an off white.


Now then, fast forward four flipping years! I’m standing in the kitchen, thinking out loud that I’m getting a bit bored of the imposing black marble and darling husband pipes up ‘I’ve always hated those tiles’. I’m speechless, I’m cross, I’m bothered. What???? You’ve only just decided to tell me!

Anyway, not one to make a fuss, the cogs quickly started turning in my brain. ‘Don’t make a fuss, you can turn this to a very advantageous shopping and DIY opportunity and you’re not going to get any resistance’. I trawled the internet, sent off for tiles samples, visited every tile shop in a 30 mile radius and brought home several of those unweildy huge boards to see them in a ‘different light’!! (I’m having a sense of Déjà vu here).

Suddenly there they were, like a shining light in a boring world of cream and beige. They were called Chateaux Collection by the The Winchester Tiles Company. They were beautiful, him indoors like them and they were going to be mine.


Fast forward two weeks, lots of smashing with chisels, screwdrivers, mallets and anything that would get those black tiles off (blimey, I’d stuck them on well). A plasterer later and lick of paint and an afternoon on the job and voila!! I’m very pleased and the husband likes them… result!