Hi there.

Thanks for popping in. Good day today. A Billy-Building day! There’s nothing like a mindless exercise to clear the head, is there?! Mind you, building BILLY Bookshelves does require a little focus – as I found out! There IS a set sequence, and it’s best to stick to it, and not be the first in the process. So we formed a production line, Paul and I. Paul started the step by step. He likes unboxing things, so I let him!

Then I was supposed to push the dowel plugs in the holes, and promptly put them in the wrong holes. So Paul took that job off me, once he had tracked down a pair of pliers to get the errant plugs OUT of said holes. Long story short, Paul pretty much built the shelf unit to completion; then my job was to hammer the nails in the back, to hold the backplate in place. Bit of a sledgehammer to crack a nut, but hey. You use what you’ve got, and Dave had sloped off with the toolbox!

According to the packet, it should take 20 minutes to complete erecting a Billy Bookcase from start to finish. That may well be correct, provided you haven’t got to spend half an hour hunting down the screwdrivers, pliers and mallet, then shoot over to Greggs for a cuppa and a sausage roll. NOTE TO SELF: Must buy kettle.

I detect definite cutbacks at IKEA. Back in the day, they provided you with the little screw thingies, didn’t they? Alan keys I think they’re called. Alan, Billy – whatever.

In the meantime, our other two accomplices were downstairs, painting. Leanne, on arrival: Where are Barb and Paul? Jilly: Upstairs, banging away.

I even failed pulling the completed shelf along the freshly cleaned carpet into one of the rooms. How hard can THAT be, I asked myself. Dragged it over a stray tack and scratched the Bejeebers out of the entire left side. Scheisenhausen!

If you don’t know what a Billy bookshelf is, where have you been?!?!? It’s probably THE most bought shelving unit of all time. Did you know…117 million Ikea Billy bookcases have been sold since its inception 40 years ago (Quote from 2019).

I remember when I lived in Germany in the early 80’s my entire living space was IKEA – from the kitchen and the bed, to the Billy Bookshelves!

In Germany, IKEA stands for Idioten Kaufen Einfach Alles Idiots Buy Simply Anything). But what does it really stand for?

Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd. The acronym is derived from Ingvar Kamprad (the store’s founder), Elmtaryd (the name of the farm he grew up on) and Agunnaryd (the village in he grew up in). How did you not know that?!? And did you know, young Ingvar was only 17 years old (in 1943), when he founded IKEA. Mmm. The rest of the world is at war, and he is making furniture out of chipboard. Go figure…

Back in the day, I always used to say we should invest in IKEA shares. The entire younger German population built their foundations on it! Tell you what though, I’d want shares in Greggs nowadays!

Now for some other riveting news! Greggs was founded by John Gregg as a Tyneside bakery in 1939. See? The war starts, and they start up a bakery! It opened its first proper shop in Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne in 1951. When Gregg died in 1964, the bakery was taken over by his son, Ian, assisted by his brother, Colin. There are now 1,650 Greggs Bakers in the UK. The Highstreet may be dying, but at least we’ve got Greggs! There are no less than 29 in Newcastle alone!

I’d best go indoors now. ENough woffle for one night!

Oh. A winner! We need a winner for the competition. Thank you to all of you who joined in and tried to guess how I made the Clockwork card.

Well, the crafter who came closest to the way it was made is… drumroll….


Well done Hilda. A £20 Clarity Gift Voucher is yours! Thanks again to all the other clever crafters. So many great ideas – probably would all have worked admirably too – but this time Hilda nailed it.

I will step it up for you tomorrow morning.

Love & Hugs

Barb xxx

30 thoughts on “BILLY

  1. Congratulations Hilda well done . I have 2 Billy bookcases in my craft room bloomin brilliant , I got the larger ones holds s much clarity items I could open a shop lol lol lol .

  2. Hello Barbara,
    I have the Kallax units in my craft room. All put together by yours truly. My husband didn’t have a scooby doo what to do.
    Remember MFI? Made For Idiots, lol.

  3. As we haven’t got room for any more shelves we have had to box up a lot of our books to make room for all my Groovi folders on the book cases. Whatever, you and Paul look like you were having fun.
    Congrats to Hilda.

  4. Well… I have put up countless BILLY’s as well as kitchen cupboards and whatever else from IKEA. I never came across anything that was easier. Never needed 20 minutes for a BILLY. Getting it out of the box takes longer than getting it up.
    Ok, I don’t have two left hands…

  5. Hi Barb,
    Congratulations to Hilda – enjoy your spending!
    I have to confess that I had to look up what a Billy bookcase was. I’ve only been in IKEA once in my life! I also have to admit , I e been in a Greggs loads of times! Their cheese savoury stotties are to die for. I think I’m a bit like Paul in that I like unpacking things and I actually like putting flat pack furniture together ( sad I know!) . I think I must like the challenge of it. You seem to be very cheerful through the move, so that’s good. Love and hugs,Alison xx

  6. Such a happy photo to start, having to do lots of jobs is ok if your getting fun out of it. Looks like a brand new building .
    So cross I wrote a reply last night and tried twice, but it didnt get printed. Don’t know why. Anyway doesn’t matter. Enjoyed Grace’s blog today. Clever young lady. Xx

  7. I must admit I’ve never heard of Billy bookcases as we haven’t an Ikea anywhere near us – I think I’ve only been to one a couple of times in my life and thought it was only semi-organised chaos and didn’t want to go back!! I’ve put together loads of DIY furniture in my time (for myself and friends) and really enjoyed it . Thanks for the history lessons -and congrats to Hilda!

  8. I have only been to IKEA once, a long time ago. To get there for me involves braving the horrendous M5/M6 link which is truly dire. I think our only visit was for a large computer desk, which is long gone now. I do still have the set of drawers which came with it, but I remember struggling to get all the boxes into the car. At one point, it looked as though I would be left behind with half of them until Geoff could get back to me after offloading the first half at home. Most of my craft stuff is in Really Useful boxes in the wheeled units made specially for them. I just might have to get more of them for the back bedroom, just so that I can tidy up in there and clear the spare bed in case it is needed. Have fun with your nail hammering. xxx Maggie (Silvercrafter)

  9. Well done Hilda for working out how the clock card was made. I look forward to seeing the step by step tomorrow.
    The Billy range must be one of Ikea’s oldest ranges as we have several over the years. We assembled a number of Ikea products before Christmas when we help give our granddaughters bedrooms a makeover & we commented on how well they all went together. A Greggs sausage roll sounds like a great incentive to get the jobs done.

  10. Thank you for the utube today, brilliant. I have a number of cupboards and drawers from IKEA in my back bedroom (craft room), not sure they are Billy ones, but super for storage. Trouble is I fill them too quickly. Love Gregg’s too, Friday lunch on our way shopping, ham and cheese bagette between us and a yum yum. Then a Costta coffee next door with a packet of crisps. You look as though you’re having great

  11. You can’t go wrong with a nice bit of Billy Bookcase storage! My husband never reads the instructions though which totally does my head in!

  12. What!!!! I can’t believe I’ve won the competition. Thank you so much, Barbara. That’s brilliant. Lol. That fair cheered me up tonight!
    As for Ikea, I came across it first in Germany and have built too many Billy Bookcases for my study and they have even crept into a couple of other rooms now. Instead of getting rid of books, I buy another bookcase! Shifting a tall one on your own is not funny though. I did that on Hogmanay – what else would you do on New Year’s Eve! Getting it through a door and into the sun lounge where the ceiling is lower was like something out of Laurel and Hardy! Got there in the end, though. Thanks again for the voucher. Absolutely didn’t expect that! Hx

  13. I love putting together flat pack furniture. I have several Fjälkinge shelving units. They are great. The only problem is that the nearest IKEA is over an hour away (each way) and when I had to exchange a part that wasn’t drilled properly it was a nuisance.

    Your new offices look great. Lots of natural light. Hope the move goes smoothly.

  14. I love making up there units ones got the hang of it works like clock work as long have the tools sounds like all having fun and lots food from Greg’s do love there bacon and cheese puffed squares yummy xxx

  15. Hi Barbara
    I have just ordered 2 Billy bookcases for my craft after our move to Somerset earlier this month. I love putting together flat furniture but it if Paul is free I’m sure I could provide the sausage roll.
    Looks like your well on the way to creating a happy place to work

  16. I think IKEA ‘s flatpacks are better than some though I must admit it is a good few years since we bought any, but the BILLY is a well known item. We have a MALM at each side of the bed and put together by yours truly. My husband doesn’t have the patience. Mind you it took me hours to do each one but I got there in the end. Congratulations to Hilda. x

  17. We’ve put together our fair share of IKEA flat packs in our time and still have a Billy or two in the house. The nearest store now is in Edinburgh so I tend to buy more locally. Congratulations to Hilda – enjoy spending your voucher!

  18. Got to love Ikea the tv programme about the way they work also showed the setting up of the new store in Sheffield i found their processes for deciding on new products fascinating. When I worked in Bristol the local one had coach parties travelling from Wales as apparently it was the nearest store for all of Wales….
    Is the new Clarity building geared up for craft tourism??????? You might find such pilgrimages a thing

  19. Hello Barb, firstly well done to Hilda, enjoy spending your voucher. As for Ikea and MFI, I think a large portion of the furniture in the house is from one or the other. As my husband is moving my craft room/home office (notice the order there) into the 2nd biggest room in the house (kids having moved out into their own home now), there are going to be a number of Ikea items moving, like my Kallux units, my big drawers for envelopes and blank cards etc. I like going there early in the morning before the hordes arrive and you end up wanting to push your trolley into someone. Good on all the Clarity team for pulling together to get the new space sorted. Hubby has promised me a trip to the factory shop. Take care all. Bx

  20. I remember my first TV cabinet with glass doors that I did on my own! I was so please when I finished it with just the wheels to put on??? Which I discovered had to be done first with the crews that I had used elsewhere! !!!! Hey Barb I think you should have just got your Brayer out and painted the walls and put Jilly on the furniture with Paul! Xxx

  21. lol I am the flat pack Queen in our house, I love it, Hubby just leaves me to it. I have only been to Ikea once and we decided stay for long unfortunately, I think you’d need a whole day there, the nearest one to me is near Leeds, I’m in Scarborough x

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