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Always a good idea - embossed labels

I use our Dymo embossed label writer on so many things. Not just for organisational things [for which I use it a. lot.], but I love to use it for its retro-yummy-black-and-white-prettifying of things. I think embossed labels are not only timeless but super neat, a little bit sciency and official looking [such technical terms], fun and informative, won't go out of style any time soon and immediately take otherwise blaze things to the next level.

One of the first things I added an embossed label to was the jar of sand in our living room that we scooped from the Sahara Desert 5 years ago when we visited an abandoned Star Wars set. Which, by the way, the desert in June is kinda hot. FYI. It was an epic Tunisian adventure nonetheless; exciting, terrifying, haunting, surreal landscape and for the most part if you wanted to stay sane you had to ignore the constant undercurrent of sexism and double standards. But that's a story for another day. 

After I initially blogged my emergency rescue kit for our spare bedroom, it wasn't until a couple of months later that it dawned on me to upgrade the box and slap a lush embossed label on it. It instantly looks well lusher. Also - the spare bedroom is getting another update which I'm hoping to share soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

Another set of boxes I prettified with labels were our holiday memory boxes. In fact, I made some bespoke embossed labels for that project that I'm hoping to use again. The holiday boxes have since moved from our bedroom into the hall cupboard. I tried to photograph them in their new home but the photos turned out terrible. Some hall cupboards just weren't made to be photographed. 

Way back when I DIYed the Death Star globe for husband's birthday, I punched out "I love you to the Death Star and back" and stuck it to the envelope for his birthday card. Little did he know it hinted towards the present I had made him that still takes pride of place on our living room shelves. I framed the envelope and it now hangs in our newly updated hallway.

I've used these labels in more areas throughout our apartment, but the above are the most interesting [aka, least boring] uses. I have loads more projects I'd like to tackle with my Dymo label writer but alas, it's broken. It's fixable, it's just I need to actually sit down and figure out how to fix it. Welp.

So, are you a label-holic like myself? Do you have a penchant for punching out sayings? If so, you are among friends! 

Woodie's 'Get the Look' guide

On Wednesday afternoon I was busy working on my latest DIY project in Woodie's Carrickmines [more on that later!]. While I was waiting for some paint to dry, I saw their new brochures so I flicked through them to kill some time. Lo and behold, there on the last page was me and my Woodie's projects staring back at me. Ha! It was a lovely little surprise to be included in their Get the Look guide. And along side none other than stylist master extraordinaire Ciara O'Halloran of Style Serendipity. That girl has some serious skills and I'm forever oogling her work. You can see a glimpse of her skills in the Woodie's Summer Lovin' online magazine.

Speaking of summer loving, we're due some cracking weather this next week [the weather lady mentioned TWENTY ONE DEGREES at one point], so I hope you spend some quality time outside with a beverage in hand this weekend. So get off your electronic device! And get outside. xx A

My Woodie's projects to date - chalkboard tray - string art - #Shedspiration

Hallway tour + update

I've been in the process of overhaul updating our apartment. The biggest task to date was updating our hallway, and for the most part, it's finished! Yay! But there are minor aspects of our hallway that are very much unfinished [light fixtures, artwork etc]. It's still a work in progress, but the bones of the work are done.

I've never shared detailed pictures of our hallway before because it was a hot, embarrassing mess of high gloss yellow paint for 4 years. Over the past few months I've sanded and repainted [95% of] the skirting boards and doors in our apartment, with the biggest impact being in our hallway. It's definitely been a labour of love; slowly updating each door, room and detail at a time. 

To start the tour, our hallway is a reversed 'L' shape with our front door located at the heel of the 'L'. Here's how it used to look and what I did to bring it up to date ... 

In the picture above, I had already painted the front door so you can't see the glory that was how reflective and yellowed high gloss it was, but trust me, it was awful. 

We were gifted some tattered collapsible paper lantern fixtures in the hallway from the previous tenants. I'm guilty of leaving those up until very recently. The combination of the warm hued bulbs and the lanterns yellowed the hallway even more. At the moment, I'd rather bare bulbs until I find something better. 

The transom window over the living room door had privacy paper stuck to both sides of it, rendering its purpose to provide natural light to the hallway almost completely obsolete. I got sick of it and removed it. The hallway side came off easily enough, but the living room side was a lot more work. It was brittle and was impossible to peel off so I marched to the fridge, grabbed the mayonnaise, brushed a healthy layer onto the window and left it for about a week. It was gross, but the high oil content in the mayonnaise softened the paper and I was able to peel it off. Lady-rage has its benefits. 

As you can see on the right side of the photo above, I still have one door left to paint - the kitchen door. We've actually never used this door as there's another entrance to the kitchen from the living room. In fact, I have shelves against the door as our kitchen is teeny and we need the extra space. I'll need to take the shelves down to repaint the door, so that will need to wait for a rainy day. And trust me when I say this door was the least yellow of the doors. 

My efforts to de-IKEA our place has been pointless as of late, especially since I discovered IKEA's new eketanga frames. And planera glasses while I'm at it. I just can't not. I hung up two frames over the storage heater in the hallway and I'm quite happy with how well this little nook looks. 

Oh I do like our front door before and after. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and makes all the hours of sanding worth it. I took all the hardware off of each door in our apartment while repainting it and gave it a good clean. And when a simple clean wasn't enough, I had to sandpaper the old paint off. 

The Pendleton Cowichan [aka, The Dude's] Cardigan I painted a couple of years ago is still going strong. It has also found home in an IKEA eketanga frame. It rests on the small floating shelf in our hallway, which is home to our change jar, a couple of trays for sunglasses and I thought it only too appropriate to use a tumbler glass to store our keys, taking pride of place within reach of The Dude's cardigan.  

I took these before pictures in March of 2014, so it only took me a year to get my act together and tackle the hallway. C'est la vie. Here you can see just how delightfully glossy the hallway was. It was like having your very own distorted hall of mirrors, except on 9 doors. It was a bit overwhelming to say the least. 

I am completely and utterly guilty of conforming to what I like to call 'landlord walls'; hanging your pictures on your landlords existing hooks in stead of starting over. Our hallway looked like the above for about 4 years. I really wasn't pleased with it, but it was better than nothing, right? Actually, no, it wasn't. Nothing would be a lot better. 

It was a sad attempt at a gallery wall. When I repainted the hallway I stripped everything back so I could start over. I'd prefer to have 2 or 3 bigger pieces of art along the main wall to make it feel less cluttered. I'm just really indecicive these days as to what to hang. I quickly added a few things for our visiting guests, but have since taken them down.

I swapped the existing bulbs to IKEA's opal globe ledare bulbs to add a neutral and less-yellow light to the hallway. I am however really stuck with what light fixtures to use. I tried tumbler shades, but I'm thinking wire shades spray painted in Montana 'winegum' would be more punchy while not too restrictive on light. 

A final little cheeky and unexpected update I made to our hallway was painting the haggard wood behind each strike plate. While the hardware was removed, being cleaned, and the door frame repainted, I decided hey, you know what would look neat? If I painted that butchered bit of wood! So I did. I originally was going to paint the strike plate innards red, but I thought that might look a bit morbid; like it was the guts of the door frame or something. So black it was.

It's not a change that people stop and notice, but I think it really streamlines the doorways and makes them seem a little more modern, personal and less 'rental'. It cost me next to nothing to do as I used a small tube of black acrylic paint I've had laying around for years.

Well I hope that little tour wasn't too tedious for you! Once I have some form of shades for the hall lights and a bit of artwork up, I'll share some proper finished hallway pictures. But for the moment, albeit the changes are small, our hallway feels more mature and dare I say sophisticated! If you've cracked the code on good [and affordable] hallway lighting, I'd love to hear more. Or artwork! I am clueless. 

In case you missed it - you can read my tips for painting doors and skirting boards here!

Meeting people online + my history with the internet

This past weekend I played host to two fabulous UK bloggers I met online. Yes, I invited internet strangers into my home. When I write it as bluntly as that, it sounds incredibly dodgy. But in reality it isn't and [thank god] it wasn't. I think the internet is a very different place nowadays; if you're actively on social media or if you're a blogger, the idea of meeting up with people you meet online is now normal.

My first experience interacting with another person on the internet was in roughly 1995. I was about 10 years old and I was hanging out in my friend Megan's kitchen. Megan was allowed to go on The Internet by herself - this was a HUGE deal. She logged on and directed us straight to a chat room that she frequented. A chat room. My mind was blown. She started messaging a guy she had chatted with before, but had never met in 'real life'. It was insane. We all chatted for a while and then the guy sent us a jpg of a rose. A ROSE YOU GUYS. OH MY GOD

I was so excited. When I got home I told my dad all about it. 

My dad proceeded to give me the most undiluted level of stink-eye I have ever received. And rightly so because it was creepy AF. I pleaded to be allowed to use the internet, and I was met with a firm 'NO'. There's really no better way to convince your parents to let you use the internet than telling them about a man who just sent you a heavily pixelated rose. 

I was eventually allowed to use the internet by myself. But for years, I'll be honest, I judged people for meeting other people online. It sounded so lame. What's wrong with you that you can't find friends or a partner in real life? I can safely say I have royally changed my tune.

This past weekend Maria of Dinki Dots and Kimberly of Swoon Worthy flew over for 3 days and I have to say, it's been a long time since my face hurt that much from laughing. I had it in my head that I should be the ultimate Dublin tour guide and show them the sites, but the truth is we ended up falling from one place to the other, talking complete and utter nonsense. We were to meet with Hilda of Hilda by Design on our first night, but we were too shattered and in stead retired to our onesies. Soon, Hilda. SOON

Just know that if I pick you up from the airport, I will embarrass you.

I had met Maria before at Blogtacular in London last year. I knew she was alright because she didn't fillet me with a machete in the hotel bathroom. But don't let her sweet manner and posh accent fool you - she is as hilarious and inappropriate as they get; just how I like them. I hadn't met Kimberly before, but the moment we met it was like we had known each other for years. Probably because we actually had, virtually. Kimberly is wild, hilariously honest and has stories that make me wish I could have built a camp fire just to listen to her all night. 

I think the most surreal thing about this weekend was having Kimberly and Maria walk into our apartment and know where everything was, be able to recite projects back to me, and know so much about our home. It was so weird but hilarious. Like I had my own really polite stalkers.

That's the wonderfully strange thing about bloggers - we put it out there. Not everything, but we get to know each other through our different styles and personalities. You find bloggers you click with. You realize you have a lot in common and you have a penchant for inappropriate comments. You follow each other for years and then sometimes you meet up and I've got to say, if the opportunity arises for you to meet an online friend, go for it. Make plans and make it happen because, as cheesy as it sounds, you only live once and you need a weekend like the one I had. 

I consider Kimberly and Maria to be really good friends of mine. Yeah, we met online about a hundred years ago. They aren't axe murderers. They are wonderful and they're exactly how I thought they'd be. Bring on #DrunkInteriorsRound2.

Home Improvements

I've had a variety of projects going on over the past few weeks, all of which are / will be finishing up shortly. Some have been minor yet long overdue [and sometimes giant] updates to our apartment. Nothing particularly exciting as they're mostly paint related. 

I repainted all the skirting boards and doors in our apartment, and this morning at 04:00 I repainted our hallway [husband had to be in work really early, so I was awake and figured I'd strike while the iron was hot]. All the boring painting jobs have needed to be done for 4+ years now, so while it's not a big change to the actual design, to us it's a huge difference. Even husband commented last night "it feels like we just moved in again!" In a good way. 

This week in particular I have the perfect excuse to spruce up our spare bedroom a little bit as we'll have 2 very important guests. But first, I need to change the battery in that tiny clock. It ran out before I met husband ... Nine years ago. It's been stuck at 07:13:43 for long enough.

I picked up some second hand furniture and fittings for our master bedroom makeover, hemmed a pair of giant curtains, removed the awkward radiator from the middle of our bedroom wall, and souped up our chest of drawers to house our TV accessories [the latter two were completed by Dad DIYer]. I've also started rearranging and hanging more artwork in our apartment, which is something I'm terrible at doing. I have about 50 picture frames, all of which are in a cupboard gathering dust. 

I've also had a chance to sit down and do some small projects I've had in mind for a long time. I sewed a cute bauble trim onto our bathmat [as seen in the first picture] and I'm in the process of cross stitching a cheeky number for the bathroom. It's a bit risque, which is fine in person, but I'm not sure about how well it would translate online. We'll see. I might share it as it's a bit of fun. 

It's another cracking day here in Dublin so when you're finished a day of work, you feel like there's still time to go out and enjoy yourself. I'll be trying my hand at foraging later this evening. Hopefully I pick the right stuff! xx A
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