Friday, 31 July 2009

school chairs revamp

We bought these school chairs here and recently decided to freshen them up with a lick of white paint. Here's the before and after shots along with some shots I took as I went and then a finished chair in our spare bedroom.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

builders bums

I've never been so glad to see them! Our much talked about (2 years!) extension has finally started and it's flying up! It's very exciting but also very grown up to think we're paying three people to work for us for a couple of months, not to mention the guys who pull up in huge trucks on a daily basis and of course all the supplies, yikes! Here are some daily snaps so far (before and afters)...

clockwise from top left...the garden as we bought it. mart & his dad clearing the garden out (there was a LOT of wood). the garden this summer. foundations dug out on monday.

clockwise from top left...the back of the house soon after we bought it (you'll see we didnt change the bottom window or back door as we knew we would be extending). back of the house on monday (thats the soil from digging the garden out which the builders have now used to level the garden). the foundations dug out. a couple of walls up already.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

strawberry basket

Sorry I haven't been around for what seems like ages recently - I was actually without my laptop limb as the charger cable stopped working. I freaked out at first but (as I still have internet use on my PC, albeit at a desk rather than slouching on the sofa) amazingly I survived!

Anyhow, I've been up to lots of things. Here is one project...I bought this (what i think is a magazine rack) in an auction recently with plans to use it as a strawberry hanging basket. I decided to spray paint it first as it had a funny mottled finish as you can see here and to help stop it from rusting...

I picked up the spray paint in B&Q - it's in sage green - very similar to the original colour but it gave a really lovely finish and was really easy to use. It was a pretty windy day when I did it (outside to avoid turning everything in the house green!) so it dried pretty quickly too...

I then lined it with (a small bag of) fresh moss which I bought here. I made sure to put the pretty green stuff to the front and any browner bits inside or to the back.

I made sure my strawberry plants were well watered and left them to drain for a bit...

And then finally I planted them - I half-filled the space with multi-purpose soil, removed the plants from their pots and sat them inside before filling around with more soil, packing it fairly well. I split one of the plants in two and poked them out the sides too - we'll see what happens there! Finally, I gave the whole thing a good water with some tomato feed diluted in there.

Just need mart to screw it onto the wall for me now!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

elderflower cordial gift

There isn't much of our homemade elderflower cordial left so I quickly made up a small bottle of it for our neighbour, Mrs. Kelly. She was bemused to see me dangling from the tree and wondered what I was up to. She's very sweet and I can't wait to make cakes for her too once our kitchen is sorted (yawn).

I filled the cordial into a (ballygowan) water bottle which I had steralised and dried. Then I used my pinking shears (from any good haberdashery) to cut a small circle of fabric (which I got in trimmings) and secured it on top of the bottle with a piece of ribbon (from rubenesque). I then used my alphabet stamps (from ebay) and ink (easons) to stamp out the label (sticker labels from easons too). I finished off the bottom edge with my pretty lacey stamper (from martha stewart) and stuck it on.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

homemade napkins

It's pretty quick and easy to run up some napkins, never mind how much cheaper it is than buying them and also the fact that you can make them to your own style and colour scheme. Choose a heavyish cotton or a linen - it's wise to test a little in the washing machine for shrinkage or colour loss. Cut out about 30cm squares and embellish them if you like. I simply machine sewed on some ribbons and ric rac but you could applique, embroider or print a design on either for example.

Next you need to hem it to hide the frayed fabric (and ribbon if using) edges. This is pretty easy with only the corners being a bit tricky. Working with right side down throughout, firstly, snip off a little of each corner (this helps to reduce the bulk when all the edges are folded in). The iron is your friend from here on. Iron the edges in evenly all the way round (I turned the edges about 5mm).

Iron the trimmed corners in by the same depth also. If you are not very confident at machine sewing, then tack (large hand stitches) the hem down to stay in place.

Turn the edges once more (just a little deeper than the last turn, so I went about 7mm). Pay extra attention to the all important corners so they sit together nice and neatly (or as neatly as possible at least!) - you have just made a mitred corner! Again, tack the edges down to secure in place for machine sewing.

Almost there now! Machine sew the hem in place, turning the fabric around at the corners (leaving the needle in the fabric as you do this). Remove any tacking and give a good overall press with the iron.

Fold the napkins neatly and voila and you're done!

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Don't give up hope now!

Some days are tougher than others living in what we call 'home sweet hell hole'! Some days we just surrender and say we're never going to be finished our renovations. Some days we just look around, laugh and wonder how we got ourselves into this mess!?! Other days we are more optimistic. Mixed feelings today which is why I have had a look back through our progress photos for a little bit of encouragement and reassurance that we are getting's a few's hard to believe how bad it was to begin with actually (although to be honest parts of it still are, but lets just pretend its all done for now!)


Green rug - M&S, white waffle duvet & pillow slips - Dunnes Stores, Petulia & Jeremy bears - Habitat, black & white cushions - Ikea, stripey pillow slips - Oxendales, bed - M&S, hydrengea wallpaper - Villa Nova from Home Couture.

I love this room (possibly because it's the one room thats almost finished!) - the bed is sooo comfy that sometimes we sleep in here pretending we're staying in a hotel for the night! Hydrengeas are one of my all-time favourite flowers so I died and went to heaven when I found this wallpaper. The stripy sheets remind me of our sheets growing up - they're so warm and fluffy too. The black and white cushions might seem a bit odd with the pastel colours but I love the contrast and I'm working on another item for the room which will help bring the clashing together so watch this space!


bathroom suite - B&Q, tiles - Allied tiles, rubber flooring - the rubber floor company

The bathroom was so depressing when we first bought the house. There was no sink and only a really crappy old shower. We had to line the walls of the shower with plastic (which stuck to your bum when showering!) as the tiles on it kept falling down on us. It was definitely the first room that had to be tackled. It looks like there was a nice wooden floor on the original bathroom but it's actually wood effect 'lino' (and it was all over the house!). We love our new rubber flooring - it's perfect for the bathroom with lots of water around and it's warmer on our tootsies than tiles. More about the bathroom on another post.


Rug & sofa - habitat, blankie - Dunnes Stores, cushions - Homebase, Debenhams & Ikea, Shutters - Shutters of Ireland

We kissed the ground the sofa delivery man arrived on - it was a long time coming - disasterous bad timing with the habitat closure and all that but we got it in the end. We really do miss shabbytat but luckily had stocked up on lots of goodies before it closed, including this rug. The room furnishings are quite dark so it's fun to add splashes of colour around the room like the cushions and my snuggly blankie. I had dreamed of these shutters for a long time and was so glad to see them installed - I love them to pieces still.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

favourite fabrics

Here are some delicious fabrics I've fallen in love with online....I feel a shopping splurge coming on...the first four are from here, the next two from here and the final two from here. (As you can see I like my graphic prints!).