Peeling paper + colour thoughts

Ok, first things first – sorry for the loooooooooong break! What’s that all about, eh? I’ve been tackling the living room in the house at the same time as I’ve been moving out of my flat, tying up loose ends at work and packing + planning for a holiday with Mr Man and Bean. My mum always says that if you aren’t busy already, you can always make yourself so. And I definitely seem to operate better when I’m juggling 357827589308 balls at the same time. So. I won’t be able to share the finished living room with you today as 1) it’s full of boxes and excess furniture and other moving-in-mess (the kind that just makes me want to cry) and 2) I’m on holiday (Sweeeeeeeeden baby!) and I can’t unpack boxes from here (which also makes me want to cry, but I am extremely grateful for the break – there are only so many boxes one can handle at once.). So I can’t show you the ‘after’. But I can get you started on the ‘before’! You may have reacted on the poor quality of our living room walls when you saw this picture:

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Look, there, above the door! I know – it’s all I see when I look at this picture! It’s been like this for longer than I care to share on the internet (and you know I’m not shy – proof!), but not having much experience in removing wallpaper, but instead having a head full of nightmare-ish ideas of it involving 2 weeks of peeling stamp sized wallpaper flakes off the wall, I simply kept putting it off. But then I started pulling at the wallpaper wherever it looked like it was lose, and soon enough our living room looked like this:

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I’m actually getting more and more convinced it’s a minor mental disorder. I would be on the phone and by the time I hung up I’d be standing there with a pile of wallpaper scraps around my feet – and no recollection of how they ended up there what so ever. I’m the same with bubble wrap. Cannot. Leave. It. Alone. I’m great fun at dinner parties. More living room:

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So, yeah, I couldn’t really ignore this any longer. The wallpaper would have to come off. But then what? More wallpaper? Paint? As we are always on a silly tight budget, paint seemed to be the best way to go.

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I did my research and it turns out that as long as I wash the walls properly, to remove all of the old wallpapering paste, there should be no issue to paint once the wallpaper has come down. We were however a little concerned about the wall behind the sofa as there used to be a fake fireplace there (Why? Just… Why?) which Mr Man ripped out on a particularly frustration-filled day not long after he had moved in to this house. It left behind a fairly bumpy surface, which we would need to tackle before painting over it. We have also drilled plenty of holes in this wall so we weren’t sure what to expect once the wallpaper came down… But, really that is a later problem – and a really boring one, compared to COLOUR CHOICE!

I bought the fabric for the living room curtains on a previous trip to Sweden, and I love it. It’s from Åhlens, but as they don’t seem to be stocking it anymore, here’s a picture I found on the interweb:

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I especially love the colour of the ‘shadows’. Look, here’s a close-up:

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It’s like a greige. It’s not too dark, but definitely not white. It’s warm without being Cappuccino (barf). It adds enough drama without weighing the room down… So, out came the sample cards and tester pots were ordered online.

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We ordered Dulux Chalk Blush 2 (middle at the top, next to light switch), Chalk Blush 3 (you a see a little bit of it right at the top of the picture – guess which one was out least favourite?), and Potters Clay 2. After uhm-ing and ahr-ing for a while, and testing the paints next to the curtains…

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… I almost got cold feet and went with Chalk Blush 3 (the lighter one), but Mr Man made his mind up immediately – Chalk Blush 2 it would be. Potters Clay looked too purple in our room (it’s the second one from the bottom) – not sure if it’s just the light or the low-ish ceilings, because a friend of mine has a wall of Potters Clay in her living room and it looks nothing like this. Either way, it wasn’t going to work for us. But I still wasn’t sure about the Chalk Blush 2 – wouldn’t it be too dark for our little room? I slept on it, and the next morning I decided to put my brave girl panties on, and go for it (after much reassurance from Mr Man that we could just repaint it if we didn’t like it). It’s a tiny little bit darker than the ‘shadows’ on the fabric, but I felt that would just bring out the depth in the fabric more, so I wasn’t too worried about that. Decision made. Now the only thing remaining between me and my beautiful paint was one layer of wallpaper and, what would turn out to be, 400 coats of wallpapering paste.

Hey-ho, hey-ho, it’s off to work I go…

Update: Pepsi

I left it. I shouldn’t drink soft drinks anyway, bad for me!

Life. You have got to stop taunting me!

Random note: Pepsi

At the bus stop. Somebody has left a can if Pepsi behind. It’s unopened, and it’s cold. I’m hot and thirsty. Do you think it may be poisoned? If I took it, what do you think would happen to my karma? Could it have been left here just for me?

Gah! Tough one!

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Another IKEA hack for Bean

This week is all about the living room – we’re stripping the wallpaper off the walls and will be redecorating this weekend. I’ll keep you posted on wallpaper removal tactics, wall repair dramas and colour choices as we go. But first…

Bean’s room is almost finished! I will show you the room in its entirety soon, but wanted to share this with you now as I’ve really enjoyed transforming a boring and plain piece of furniture into a funky little gem!  (Have I had too much coffee today? I have, haven’t I?)

So this is iCarly’s chest of drawers:

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As I might have mentioned before, we are (always) on a tight budget, so I figured I would have to get creative. I bought this from IKEA:

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Boring, isn’t it? But cheap! So, it doesn’t hurt so much to start cutting into it, or painting it. Which is exactly what I did.

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First I stained the sides and the top if the ‘casing’. I could have painted it, but it looks nice to be able to see the wood grain through the stain. I used this one:

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Gotta love anything that’s quick drying! Then I went to work on the drawer fronts. I used a hole-saw to cut 2 circles in each front. Then, using my jigsaw, I joined the 2 holes up with 2 straight cuts – you can see the preparatory lines in the bottom right picture.

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The result was a long hole with rounded edges. I could have left it like this, after paining the fronts white, and just used the holes as handles. Like this:

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But then we would have missed out on the orange, and nobody wants that. So, I decided to cut down the top inner edge of the holes diagonally – to create a lip. Does that make sense?

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I don’t have any better photos of this part of the process, as both my hands were busy cutting and sanding. Hopefully you understand what I mean… To get that orange gripledge effect, I cut a thin piece of MDF into 3 strips, painted each of them orange using just a test pot (great shade of orange, isn’t it?!), and nailed them into place on the inside of each drawer front. I had to use short nails as the drawer fronts aren’t very thick. This proved to be quite a challenge for my chubby little fingers – until I realised I could use a wall plug as a nail holder. One has got to be clever to get things done!

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The drawers ended up looking like this:

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I just love how the orange pops out from the white! And now, the finished piece:

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Cute, huh? The inspiration again:

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And my version again (last time, promise):

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I think it’s really cute, in a funky kind of way. Suits Bean perfectly! :)

Budget breakdown:

Chest of drawers: £20

Sample paint pot: £1.59

Wood stain: £4.99

MDF: had on hand

White paint: had on hand

TOTAL: £26.58

The Rast chest of drawers from IKEA is a hack favourite. Have a look over at www.ikeahackers.net, and search for “Rast’ – it’s amazing how you can transform one piece of furniture in so many different ways! I might have to add mine to their collection… :)

Weekend and Cinema Rolls

Aaaah, the weekend is here – bliss! About bloody time too! Wasn’t this week at least, like, 22 days long? Last weekend, we were treated to a pre-release screening of Monsters University (two words: go see!) and the night before I stayed up late making cinnamon rolls to take with us (as the screening was in the morning, and popcorn for breakfast? Really? No.). At about ten to midnight, as I tiredly stumbled up the stairs after having finished making said cinnamon rolls, I realised something. Those weren’t cinnamon rolls. They were CINEMA ROLLS! Get it? Because they were for the cinema, right? Cinema rolls! I think it’s the funniest I’ve been since Christmas. Mr Man may not agree, but I think that might be because he isn’t Swedish. Anyway, the CINEMA rolls (not letting that one go that easily!) went down a storm, so this weekend, I’m baking again.

CinnemaBunsInstead of the traditional rolls, I’ve made mine the way my nan used to make then when she was alive. You just cut the dough into strips and twirl them until they curl into a… Twirl? Gah, I’m running out of twirly words, but they almost look like flowers anyhow:

CinnemaBuns3Whip an egg and brush on – this is to make them brown nicely in the oven, but my nan always used to say that the egg really was glue for the sugar crystals to stick to! Hmmm – yum!

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And in the oven they go!

We’re having a BBQ this evening. My cousin is coming over (who is obviously also Swedish) and so is my Swedish colleague from work. So us Swedes will probably indulge in some of these tonight. Tomorrow morning myself, my cousin and Bean are doing a car boot sale (hello 6 o’clock start on a Sunday!) so we’ll bring some with us there too. I’m thinking this batch of CINEMA rolls will go down a treat!

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Have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

Told you it was dangerous!

Ok, so you know I said it was dangerous for somebody like me (who can see potential in almost anything) to be exposed to charity shop goodies on such a regular basis? Well, yeah I meant that. I spotted these babies on a back shelf in the stockroom and  FELL IN LOVE!

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I’ve been looking for some large table lamps for a while and have been considering buying a couple from the charity shop and just do them up (spraypaint, hello). But all the lamps I’ve seen that I have liked have been £35 or so, and right now I’ve just not been able to justify spending that sort of money. I know these are just from IKEA, but even if I have bought them new from there they would have been £57 each (£114 total). It’s the…

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… Åsele base, combined with the…

Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 14.26.13… Jåra shade. (why do they allow for the seam in the lampshade to show in the picture?? Strange…). And no, those names don’t mean anything in Swedish, they are just names.

My lamps were a little dusty…

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… but what does it matter – look at them! Oooooh and Aaaaaah with me, people – come on!!

Textile cord – oooooooh!

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Old style looking dimmer (that’s right, d-i-m-m-e-r) switch – aaaaaaaah!

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All I had to do was wipe them down a little, attach the shades to the bases, and add bulbs… Like so…

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And they were ready to rock n’ roll!

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I have absolutely no idea where to put them.

 

Charity Shop Window

As you may have gathered already, I absolutely love DIY and anything to do with building / painting / wallpapering / improving / creating. Our house can only handle so many projects at any one time (and I’m seriously thinking of going a project diet for a while, just to focus on finishing touches to projects already started but only completed to 99%), so I started to look elsewhere for an outlet for this passion of mine. As I have spent a third of my life working in retail, it’s an environment I feel very comfortable in. I figured I could try to apply my passion to my experience, and landed on window dressing. I now window dress for a few different shops around London, and I LOVE IT! I’m having so much fun! I’m always looking for more window dressing opportunities by the way, so if you have a shop or business with a window in need of TLC, get in touch!

I work for this charity shop once a week, and I find it so satisfying. As it’s a charity shop, I never know what I will be working with, but have to look over what has been donated in the last week (or what has been hiding in corners of the shop for too long) and think on the spot. It really pushes me to apply all my creativity and cleverness at once!

I’ve got quite a backlog of window displays to blog about, but I ‘m setting up a new category today for them all – so keep an eye out!

This is from Monday of this week. We decided to go for a Vibrant Summer theme.

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It’s difficult to get the entire window into one picture, so here are a couple from the sides:

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In general it’s just really difficult to get good pictures of a window, as you risk ending up with more reflections of the other side of the street than of what is actually in the window itself. It looks vibrant enough though? Everytime I go to the charity shop I marvel at the treasures that other people have discarded as trash. As somebody who can see potential in almost everything, it’s almost a little bit dangerous! I’m always falling in love with something. Right now, I’ve got an eye on this basket:

WindowDrssing2Isn’t that just a great shape for a basket? I’m thinking I might use it as a flower pot for a large green plant somewhere in the house… I deliberately put it in the window – has it sold next time I get there it wasn’t meant to be. On the other hand, if it’s still there… :) Hmm, Mr Man, we may have to make room for another basket at home!

 

Bean’s Bubblegum Cupcake

So Bean’s room is coming together. Remember her inspiration? It was this:

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It’s quite (!) an eclectic room, and due to size restrictions (and budget restrictions) I won’t be able to recreate all of it. So I’ve chosen just a few key pieces and hope they will be enough to recreate that funky feel in the space. First up is the cupcake table – see it there next to the sofa? Here’s a close-up:

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Now, I got the idea of how to recreate this back in January. Remember this post? The clue was in the pictures all this time:

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It’s a Hatten table from IKEA! They’ve had it forever, but it’s never really appealed to me. Until now. I was just looking around for anything with a similar shape to the cupcake table above. I figured I could always change the appearance, but the shape was essential. So I bought this without being entirely sure how to go about transforming it into iCarly’s cupcake table, but for £16? Worth giving it a shot.

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Once home, it quickly went from this:

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To this:

ElliesRoom2 I realised pretty soon I should have spray-painted it instead of being cheap and only buying sample pots of paint and a brush.  See those stripe marks? Yeah, they’d become a problem later. For now though, I just kept painting the inside of the table again and again, hoping that the stripes would fade more and more for every coat of paint. Once I had used up all 3 sample pots, the table looked like this:

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Not too shabby huh? But I wanted more oomph. I had these gorgeous fairylights laying around, so decided to incorporate those.

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That pink colour is just glorious, isn’t it? :) Anyway, this is when the paint stripes mentioned earlier really became apparent. When backlit, they looked like this:

ElliesRoom8I was going to leave it, trying to convince myself that I was the only one who could see them because I knew they were there.  But nah, couldn’t do it. So, I ordered this from eBay for £1.99:

ElliesRoom9I thought I would be like wrapping paper and fairly easy to work with. Turns out I was REALLY wrong! It’s a thin horrible, slippery plastic film which was a nightmare to work with. But out of two bad options (backlit paint strips that would FOREVER bug me, or temporary hell of working with flimsy film) you choose the less bad. (Just to clarify, that would be temporary hell of working with flimsy film. I’m happy to suffer but only if it’s temporary. FOREVER scares the living daylight out of me!)

So, I measured, traced and cut, and the flimsy film was just as horrible as I had predicted.

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The flower shaped piece is for the bottom of the ‘cupcake’ and the long rectangles are to wrap along the sides inside it. Does that make sense? It will, trust me!

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Making sure that my sparkly little flower shaped piece of Flimsy Film (FF) would fit – I wanted it to come up onto the sides a bit, to overlap with the rectangular side pieces which would come next – I glued it into place. I used spray glue (which I love and hate in equal measures) and this one allowed me to reposition the pieces for a short period of time before drying completely. I had a feeling that would be handy to be able to do. Sparkly, huh? :)

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And then the sides… See where I’m going with this? Can you picture the oomph? :)

ElliesRoom14I cut little circles out of the FF to cover the top of the leg sockets, and voila! Sparklefication complete! Now, lights, camera, action! Or more like ‘lights and drill for cable’…

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You can see it there though, in the top right picture – it’s cute, isn’t it? :) Here it is in a slightly darker corner to really show how it lights up, and how the sparkly FF reflects the light beautifully!

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One more:

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I love it! You think Bean will? I know I’m probably biased, but I think I actually like my cupcake table better than iCarly’s! Here is a picture of hers again to save your scrolling all the way up to the top of the post.

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Yes, definitely like mine better! What do you think?

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