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Letter Board from April and the Bear


Do you ever set something aside as a treat for completing a particularly boring pile of paperwork or other such remedial task? I do. A lot. The things I reward myself with are not always things that need to be bought. Sometimes it's watching an episode of Gilmore Girls, or doing my nails during one of Cora's naps, but honestly, these days a lot of the rewards I set myself are things like take a shower alone in the bathroom or have lunch at lunch time. Sometimes I set myself fancier rewards and recently one of those things was a letter board from April and the Bear.

I've coveted things like letter boards for years [I played with my dad's letraset when I was young and have since loved the idea of personalising something in font], so when Siobhan started stocking letter boards at the beginning of this year, I waited for months until the time was right and last week I visited April and the Bear [when it was open - huzzah!] and wrapped my hands around it's dainty frame. 

I of course immediately became paralyzed with what to write once I got my board home [too many options. Do I just write HELLO?], so for now I'm very happy with punching in our favourite movie quotes. That should keep me busy for a few years. 


IKEA tjusig bench makeover with Rust-Oleum


Earlier this year Rincy of a little bird very sweetly messaged me asking if I could update a piece of furniture for her and her boyfriend's new apartment. I do love a good update, and especially after Rincy explained the thoughtful details she was looking for, I couldn't refuse.

Rincy bought the IKEA tjusig bench with shoe storage, which was black along with a lot of new pieces in their apartment. She wanted something a little more personal, so she asked for it to be painted along the lines of a duck egg blue and for her favourite lyrics to be included on the piece. I immediately contacted Rust-Oleum and asked if they would like to partner on this project with me, and a few days later I had all the supplies I needed.    



Rincy decided on their 'Blue Sky' Satin Finish Furniture Paint which as you can see, is the sweetest muted blue. I started by disassembling the bench, cleaned it and applied a layer of Surface Primer. This took the longest to do as I had to wait for good weather during a time that Robert was home so I could spray paint the bench outside and safely away from Cora. It was a while before these two conditions occurred at the same time [because Irish 'summer'], but once I had a break in the weather I started painting the bench. Using a small roller, I painted thin and even layers of Blue Sky onto the bench. I painted between 3 and 4 layers of paint across the disassembled bench, leaving a minimum of 12 hours between coats to give it ample drying time. 

Once the bench was reassembled, it came to writing Rincy's sweet chosen lyrics [which had my singing for the rest of the day]. As Rincy explained, her favourite song ever ever was Frank Sinatra's 'The Way You Look Tonight'. I did 3 mock-ups of the top of the bench with different ways to write the lyrics on top and sent the options to Rincy. She loved the simple straightforwardness of the first option, so I got writing. 




Using a white graffiti marker from All City Graffiti, I slowly and carefully wrote the lyrics across the top of the bench. I had a large [like, really large] envelope to hand that I taped across the top and used as a guide to keep my wonky handwriting straight. Once one line was done, I moved the envelope down for the next line and continued on until the bench top was covered.

I [incredibly nervously] returned the bench to Rincy just the other day and thankfully, she really liked it. I always find when I work on something for so long by myself, I inevitably start to worry if it actually looks good. Like I'm too far down the rabbit hole to see out of it and I can't remember how things are supposed to look. But thank you, Rincy, for asking me to work on this project for you and for thinking my skills [and shoddy penmanship] good enough to have in your home and walk by every day. It was really special. 


DISCLOSURE - while this blog post is not sponsored, I did receive this paint and surface primer free of charge from Rust-Oleum. As always, all words and opinions are my own. I only work with companies I like and of course, think that you will too. Thank you for supporting the companies that support The Interior DIYer. 

#DrunkInteriors reunion - Manchester edition


Last weekend Maria [of Dinki Dots] and I escaped to Kimberly [of Swoon Worthy]'s house in Manchester for 3 days of absolute nonsense powered by alcohol, pyjamas, way too much food and serious catching up. 

Long ago, the three of us forged an online friendship that has become so close, that I can easily say that Kimberly and Maria are two of my best friends. You name it, we've talked about it. No topic is taboo and when one of us is stuck in a situation or just wants to rant [lord, the ranting], we know exactly who to turn to. The whole idea of online friendships has gone completely against what I was told growing up - be careful if you're chatting with someone online because they're out to kill you or at the very least, sell your kidneys

Maria and I took the risk and not only met in 2014, but shared a hotel room at Blogtacular and risked the other person possibly being a bit of a Buffalo Bill. But it was a risk that paid off and we had an incredible time. The following year Kimberly and Maria came to Dublin for 3 days of introverted carnage. It was Kimberly's turn this year and for anyone who follows Kimberly can only guess, it did not disappoint. 

I took loads of sneaky photos of Kimberly's house [which is mind blowing], but there's little-to-no need for me to share as her blog is the only way to view her home [plus, her photos vastly outweigh my hungover photography skills]. 


The first night we talked for 10 hours before heading to bed ahead of some Manchester touring the following day. I was lucky enough to stay in the Glam Cave and Maria slept in Kimberly's office [quite fitting really as each room we stayed in reflected our design styles]. 

The next day we lazily headed into Manchester and stopped by The Refuge for a few drinks ... 





I just can't. 

From there we went to another bar [which I can't remember the name of], wandered through some shops, and finally headed to the Grand Pacific for dinner and more drinks [this is called #DrunkInteriors, after all] ...




We had a fantastic and very posh meal in utterly beautiful surroundings at Grand Pacific, but we knew it was time to go when the out, out [circa Micky Flanagan] people showed up in tiny shorts and giant hair and expensive watches so we headed back to Kimberly's, got into our pyjamas, watched Bridesmaids and talked more shite. 

To say it was a fantastic weekend is an understatement. I didn't want to admit it, but I really needed a break to recharge my batteries [mom guilt was telling me not to and I was confusing wanting to have me time with you're abandoning your child?! I have learned these are two very different things].  

Thank you so much Kimberly, Maria and of course Wayne for putting up with me for 3 days, making me feel more than welcome and showing me a truly fantastic time. I already cannot wait for #DrunkInteriors round 3 when the wolf pack reunites next year ;) Big feels. Such love. 

Top 100 Interior Design Blogs for New Home Builders


Last week I got an email from Vision One Homes to say that The Interior DIYer had made it into their Top 100 Interior Design Blogs for New Home Builders. To be in the company of such incredible international bloggers is pretty flattering to say the least. It really is an honour to be included in such a list and situations like this really leave me with not much to say because I get awkward and then words don't work good. 

Thank you for including me, Vision One Homes. It means a lot to this blogger. 

Bespoke eternity ring by Da Capo Goldsmiths


When I was pregnant with Cora, Robert asked if an eternity ring was something I'd like. To be honest I didn't know what an eternity ring was before then, but I liked the idea of one [sans diamonds. My engagement ring has more than enough diamonds for me]. 

Five years ago when Robert and I were organising our wedding, I had the idea of having a flat-top ring as my wedding band. I really like strong contrasts and I liked the idea of having a flat-top ring next to the engagement ring that Robert chose for me*. At the time we were on a tight budget, so it was an easy decision to go with a traditional wedding band. But I still thought about that ring. And in the five years since we got married, I thought about it often.

Once Cora was a few months old, I started thinking about an eternity ring and my flat-top wedding band came to mind. As I was sketching its general shape, I noticed that if I turned the drawing one direction, it looked like the letter 'C'. I turned it again, and it looked like an 'R'. Then depending on which way you turned the ring, it would spell out Cora's name. I had the perfect shape in mind, but I knew it wasn't finished. In April I had a stronger idea and began sketching a new design [I remember it being April because I drew on the back of an After Eight easter egg box]. To loosely mirror the gallery look of my engagement ring, I thought about removing the inside corners of the eternity ring [I don't know if that makes sense. My sketches below will help]. When I did this, the 'Cora' aspect of my design was so ridiculously strong that my heart jumped and I knew this was the design I wanted. 

I drew the ring in four different directions for each letter in Cora's name, marked each letter in green pen and showed Robert - "Cora".  



I went to a jeweler in town and asked about getting a bespoke ring made. They didn't have such a service, but they pointed me in the direction of Da Capo Goldsmiths. I emailed Sé and a few days later I had an appointment in their studio. 

Sé [pronounced 'Shay'] and I talked for over an hour about the design. He showed me countless pieces he made that were full of secret messages and perfect details that only the wearer knows. Sé immediately understood what I was looking for and I knew my idea was in more than capable hands. A few weeks later Sé sent some 3D designs including 2 alternative designs. I ended up deciding on my original design and of course felt so guilty because Sé's designs were really beautiful. As Sé explained, by having a choice between designs I can me more sure about what I want. 






Do you know how difficult it is to photograph your own hand?
It's about as elegant as trying to photograph a string of burst sausages.

A few weeks later my eternity ring was ready and I haven't stopped looking at it since. I love the juxtaposition between my engagement ring, my wedding band and my eternity ring. They're a collection of different styles from different parts of my life and I love how they all make the other stand out. Thank you again, Sé for your talent, creativity and for making the ring I've been dreaming about for 5 years into a real thing. If you're thinking of having anything bespoke made, I would strongly suggest you contact Sé and Lee. They are jewelry wizards.  

p.s. I should also thank sleepy Toshi for being my perfect backdrop model. Also, my new ring looks a little like it has cat ears and I am 9,000% okay with that.


*Robert spent 2 weeks worth of lunch breaks going from one jewelry store to another comparing engagemetn rings and looking for the 'perfect one'. He'd often spend his entire lunch hour looking and not have time to eat a lunch. He'd then come home starving, I'd be in the middle of making dinner and he would want a sandwich. "I'm making dinner, can you just wait 20 minutes?" I'd say, and he never told me why he was hungry. Don't worry, the guilt still haunts me. 
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