Wednesday, 20 September 2017

profane scrabble art





I love my kids, but good god they get in the way of DIY! Hopefully someday they will actually be able to help rather than hinder, but for now trying to do anything without them when they're awake is pretty much just pissing into the wind so things are moving at a glacial pace when it comes to actually finishing anything. It's fine. After three kids I know that time to do the things I want is not something that comes easy, or often, and to be honest I've realised that the time I do have is usually better spent looking after myself or spending time with my husband unless I really WANT to do some painting or whatever. It's a work in progress, but I'm getting better at suppressing my control freak tendencies and not letting the to-do list haunt me. 

So the big stuff is crawling along, unfinished and un-blogworthy, and I recently realised that's it's been a long time since I just did a simple little craft project. You know, something that takes less than an hour start to finish and is simple to do but scratches the old creative itch.




With that in mind, when I came across a bag of scrabble tiles in a craft shop for €4 I picked them up not really knowing what I'd do with them, but sure I could use them somewhere. A couple of hours later, after laying out a few different variations of our names, nicey-nice sayings etc I decided that the usual way of using these things just wasn't for me. "Nice" I am not, and sentimentality just makes me cringe. So I grabbed a wallpaper sample with a lovely print on it that I had picked up in B&Q with the idea of possibly using it in our en-suite somewhere, cut a piece to fit a little box frame I had and hot-glued on a phrase that really resonates with me.



I absolutely love it. I mean, I must say it at least fifty times a day...in my head.....or under my breath....or screamed into a pillow. 

Not for everyone admittedly, but it makes me smile. There's just something about that word in a scrabble frame, which are usually so sickly sweet, that makes it unexpected and even more offensive. It cracks me up. 

It's currently in our en-suite where it fits in perfectly with the black/white/botanical vibe I have going in there. 

                       

I would love to make more of these but to be honest finding phrases that have letters in common to make the scrabble thing work is really hard!!! 

And just in case you're worried that my kids will end up as foul mouthed hooligans because of my bad influence:

1. They can't read
2. It's in a part of the house they don't use
3. I'm pretty sure they're headed that way no matter what I do, may as well enjoy it
4. Why do I feel the need to explain myself?!!!!

Anyway, we're moving ever closer to a full reveal of this room. Check back on Monday to see the amazing job Gavin did sorting out our storage problems! It involved much planning, measuring and plumbing (which he had never done before), but he got it done over a weekend. Honestly, the things that man can do with a few hours and a wikihow page is unbelievable. 

Thursday, 31 August 2017

updating to add value






This post is sponsored by Velux Windows


I love my house. After living in tiny apartments all my adult life my heavily pregnant self thought the four bedrooms and a garden this house offered was just about the height of luxury when we moved in. But as happy as I was with it then (and still am now!) it was never intended to be our forever house. I would love to be able to build our own house eventually, somewhere with a bit more privacy. As great as where we live is for the kids with all the other children around here I don't enjoy knowing my neighbours can probably hear me screeching like a lunatic every time we try to leave the house, and some day I'm going to totally lose my shit with the boys who constantly batter our pathetic fledgling hedge with their ball and then we'll HAVE to move. You know how it is.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

so...how's it going?


becoming a stay at home mom update


It's been well over a year since I packed in my full-time job in order to be able to be home with the kids a lot more, and I thought it was time for an update.

Actually, a friend of mine recently said "you know people at my work regularly ask me how you're getting on, and I tell them you sell vibrators now", and that very random yet accurate description of my current situation made me think that maybe you guys would be interested in what's going on around here at the moment...and what vibrators have to do with it.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

She's here!






Yes, finally. After what seemed like the longest pregnancy in the history of the world Cora Olivia made her entrance at 7.02 on the 18th of July, five days early.

I don't know if any of you are as interested in birth stories as I am, but I'm going to share this one anyway so feel free to jump to the end if discussing dilation and stitches doesn't float your boat!


Tuesday, 27 June 2017

pallet wood shelves



Way back when, somewhere in the mists of time, you may remember that I started making over our en-suite bathroom. Yes, that was almost a year ago and it is still far from finished. I blame the fact that no-one but us sees it so it's easier to forget. Embarrassment is a great motivator I find. But I had a short list of things I wanted to get finished before the baby arrives and getting this space finished was way up there.


Saturday, 17 June 2017

fancy-fied plant pots




I feel a little bogged down lately guys. It seems like quite a bit is getting done around here diy-wise (di-yise?) but actually getting things finished, photographed on the odd day when there's decent light and I have the energy to clean up and then actually blogged about is a lot of hard work. And I'm like, large and slow at the moment. Plus, it seems like all I want to write about right now is the kids, or being pregnant, and while the odd post like that is probably interesting for you guys, it's not what most of you come here for right?

Friday, 9 June 2017

I totally missed my second blog-iversary!


  Related image

Time flies when you're desperately trying to get through the day without collapsing in a sweaty heap on the floor and refusing to do anything else until someone removes the life sucking human you're gestating from you....and consequently I just realised that I totally missed my second blog-iversary!

This time last year I had had 60,000 visits to my little blog, and I was hugely proud of that. In the last year I have had 330,000!!!!!!! That's growth of like 550%* people!!!

*Please don't check my maths.

I hadn't actually realised things were going that well, and I'm so happy about it. On top of that I've recently been nominated for an Irish Beauty Blog Award (I know, weird, but it turns out they have a "design blog" category) and I ended up coming second in my category at the Blog Awards last September. It's really nice to get little pats on the back like that. Sometimes I wonder if I'm wasting time I should be spending elsewhere on this blog, but seeing things like that make me feel like I'm justified!

I'd totally keep doing it no matter what, but it's nice to feel like maybe I'm actually ok at this.

And wary as I am of seeming like I'm blowing my own trumpet here, I always love to know actual figures when it comes to blogs I follow, so I though some of you might be interested too. Plus, it's not like I make any money from this, so horn-tooting is all I have!

So what's the plan for the future of my little corner of the old interwebs? Well, I'm hoping that as soon as the little soul-sucker exits my body I'll get my mojo back and find myself able to do more of an evening than lie in a darkened room scarfing biscuits and binge watching Parks and Rec. There are many, many things that I could improve on here (starting with my blogging schedule!) if I just had a couple of hours a week to sit down and dedicate to it, and seeing as Em is starting school in September and Max will be in Montessori every morning then I'm hoping that the next year will be a LOT more productive than the last has been, blog-wise. Sure I'll have a newborn, but I've long since mastered the art of typing while breastfeeding, so I'm hoping it won't be a problem ;) 

So thank you guys for reading, and if you feel like saying hi leave a comment every now and again, I really do love hearing from you. Blogging can be weird and lonely, and it's hard to believe there's anyone paying attention sometimes.

                  



Saturday, 27 May 2017

I've been nominated! And it's weird!

Image result for beauty blog awards 2017 tickets




Ehm, so this is a bit weird but....I've been longlisted for the Irish Beauty Blog Awards?

Yeah, I don't know how that happened either. I'm lucky if I shower every second day and my idea of the perfect lipstick is one that hasn't been dropped down the toilet by my kids at some point, beauty blogger I am not!

I'm in the "Best Design Blog" category, which I don't even know if it refers to the actual design of my blog or the fact that I talk about design. But hey, it's really lovely to be included! Every time something like this happens it just makes me feel a little bit more justified in spending so much of my time dicking about on the internet! I'm quite proud of my little blog, and to get this kind of positive feedback is amazing.

So, if you'd like to vote for me that'd be awesome, and you can do so here.

And whoever nominated me, thanks. It's a bit weird, but I really appreciate it :)

Saturday, 20 May 2017

plans for a super cheap garden makeover



Our garden is pretty crap. Yes, we're delighted to have it and it's a decent size, but our whole estate is built on a flood plain, and on top of that our soil is full of the usual builders detritus that seems to get dumped in the gardens of all estate houses, so our drainage is non-existent and the soil we do have is almost clay it's so wet and clumpy. 


So, it's not easy to have a pretty garden here. For most of the year our grass is completely waterlogged and even normal rain results in flooding at the bottom. So, I think in an effort to combat this and create some areas that were immune to this waterlogging, the previous owners put in slightly raised beds at the bottom and left hand side of the garden, and an area of concrete covered in gravel on the right.

We've stolen lots of plants from my MIL's garden and bought many more and the beds are finally starting to fill in a bit and there's a bit of colour out there now, but the gravel area is a problem. Sure, it looks nice and it's tidy, but practically it's pretty pointless. The problem is that the gravel is pretty deep, and while this is great for playing diggers, it's not so great for walking on. Also, and I'm only sharing this because I believe in showing you guys the reality and I feel like this is a safe place......the right hand side of our garden currently looks like this.....


*screams internally*

Yep, that's a giant pile of rubbish that not only hasn't been shifted since we got the kitchen tiles done but has actually grown as we clear stuff out of the house and throw them out there waiting to go to the recycling centre. You also have a large collection of plastic vehicles that Max likes to line up and wash here, various dead plants in pots plus some pallets I've been meaning to find a use for for over a year and a new fence panel that sticks out like a sore thumb. Pretty, isn't it?

So, what to do? It's been pretty much unused since we moved in nearly three years ago, and I suppose we were thinking that eventually we'd install some sort of paving or decking over it and make a usable seating area (and also somewhere where the kids could play outside when the grass was a swamp) but that's not going to happen this year. So we leave it until then I guess? But then, we actually had a week of beautiful weather recently, and as I sat at my tiny bistro set by the back door, perched on an uncomfortable chair trying to enjoy my coffee in the sunshine I thought "ENOUGH"! I have all this space available, why not just make it usable as cheaply as possible for now, and worry about doing a permanent job later?

So that's what I'm doing. I want a comfy seating area where we can all hang out in the unlikely event that we actually get a nice summer. I'm thinking pallets, cheap plastic furniture and fairy lights. Magical! The budget for this is non-existant so I'll be using things I have already and sourcing stuff from euro stores and second hand shops. I'm actually excited by the challenge! We'll be getting going clearing the rubbish this weekend, and I've already picked up a few bits and pieces to prettify the area, so watch this space!

And yes, I did try to get better pictures of everything out here, but I was foiled by a small naked entymologist who managed to get himself into nearly every photo asking me what I was doing and trying to show me the very interesting woodlice he had just captured. I don't know why he was naked, but it's not unusual around here.




                             
                                 

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Saturday, 13 May 2017

removing and replacing a contact paper countertop

removing and replacing a contact paper self adhesive vinyl counter top



If you've been following my blog for a while you'll probably know that I covered my old kitchen counters in d-c fix contact paper about eighteen months ago. It's still by far one of my most popular posts and I constantly get questions about it's durability and whether I'm still happy with it, and the answer was always a resounding YES! Honestly, in the eighteen months it was in place it took a lot of abuse, I mean, as far as I was concerned it was an interim measure and I really did absolutely nothing to try and protect it. Water was spilled on it (and left to sit), hot things were placed on it, my "coffee station" which is basically a little tray on pointy legs was dragged across it repeatedly, and yet....nothing. It held up to everything I could throw at it with no lifting, scratching or bubbling. In fact, the only tiny piece of damage it showed was from when my husband dropped superglue on it and tried to scratch it off with a knife, and even that was minimal!



So, the time finally came to replace our kitchen tiles, and as the chipping off of the backsplash lifted the edges of the contact paper it was time to remove it. All along I had thought that this would be the perfect time to replace our counters as well, but when it came to it....well, I was totally happy with the contact paper, so why change it? I mean, a brand new shiny solid wood counter would be lovely, but was I willing to spend nearly a grand on it when I had such a fantastic alternative? No sir, no I was not.

So I contacted the lovely people at d-c fix (they had gotten in touch last year offering to supply me with more paper if I ever had a suitable project) and I got them to send me a roll of their grey marble paper. I was absolutely delighted to discover that they do many patterns in a wider roll now, which meant I could cover my counters horizontally rather than vertically, meaning way less join points and consequently a much more seamless finish.
removing and replacing a contact paper self adhesive vinyl counter top
I'll leave an affiliate link for this product at the bottom of this post ;)


I had loved the more dramatic black vein through the paper I had previously, but I'm liking the more pared back feeling I've got in the kitchen now with the light grey floor and white subway tile backsplash, so I thought a lighter pattern would really compliment that. I definitely wanted to stick with the marble pattern, mostly because I love it, but also because I think the pattern really helps hide any joins in the paper and gives it that seamless look.

So first, we had the fun job of removing the old paper, and after all the questions I've gotten about whether it really doesn't do any damage I was eager to see just how this would go. I gathered my crack demolition team and set to work....


removing and replacing a contact paper self adhesive vinyl counter top


It was really stuck on there! But once you get it moving it came off easily. We didn't have to use any scrapers or tools and it took about twenty minutes to uncover the whole thing. The d-c fix website does suggest you blast it with a hairdryer to aid removal but I didn't feel like we needed to do that.


removing and replacing a contact paper self adhesive vinyl counter top


And just to clear up any "will it damage what's underneath" questions, may I present to you a photo of some paint splashes that I was too lazy to remove before I covered the counter. As you can see they are completely unharmed after removing the paper....and I was able to scrape these off with a knife in seconds afterwards! So honestly I couldn't see this stuff doing any damage to any surface. And there was absolutely zero adhesive left behind anywhere either. I don't know how this stuff sticks, but it didn't leave so much as a residue that needed to be wiped. 


removing and replacing a contact paper self adhesive vinyl counter top

removing and replacing a contact paper self adhesive vinyl counter top
Not a terrible counter by any means, but it still had to go!

The process of applying the new paper was exactly the same as before, and you can find the tutorial here. I cut the pieces to size, peeled back a small section of the backing at a time and started to stick the paper down, smoothing out bubbles as I went with a credit card. If you find any when you're finished you can poke a tiny hole in it with a pin and remove the air that way, but getting it right while you are doing it is really preferable. The paper can be lifted and re-done many times so don't worry if you get a lot of bubbles at any point, just peel the paper up past that point and lay it back down, being more careful to work the air out as you go.

I left a small edge where the paper met the wall/any edges, and went back over that with a craft knife at the end, trimming off the excess. As the roll was so wide this time, technically I could have done the whole thing in two pieces, and I did try, but I found it much too difficult to get a good finish around the cooker and sink this way, so I ended up using more than one piece for each counter, but I still ended up with a hell of a lot less in the way of joins than I did the last time I did this.

And that was that, two hours after I started I had brand new marble counters once more, and I'm loving them! I think the lighter colour really compliments the light grey in the floor now, and I' sure I'll be happy with them for the next two years at least!


removing and replacing a contact paper self adhesive vinyl counter top

removing and replacing a contact paper self adhesive vinyl counter top



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