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Our figgy wiggy turns one

For regular people, this is not a big deal. The fact that I've kept track of today's date alone should prove how much of a deal this is for me. One year ago I bought and brought home our fiddle leaf fig and I've KEPT IT ALIVE FOR THAT ENTIRE TIME

"Wow. That is in no way exciting. Thanks for wasting my time, Alex", I hear you say. But for me, I've never been able to keep a plant alive for more than 6 weeks, maximum. In my entire 31 years. I stopped buying plants years ago for the plant's sake as bringing one home was basically death row for them. Except I changed my mind when I saw a this fiddle leaf fig in B&Q Liffey Valley and I took a chance and brought it home. 

As I said in my original blog post, fiddle leaf fig plants are very trendy these days. I've always just liked the look of them so that's why I bought one vs. their trendiness. Did I mention that fiddle leaf figs are some of the pickiest and most difficult plants to look after? Really great choice for old black thumbs here. But that's why I'm so proud. I kept the pickiest damn plant alive for a year. And it grew! By 7 leaves! [but lost a few lower leaves when they got old and crusty and I ruthlessly clipped them off]. Dad DIYer re-potted our figgy wiggy yesterday [that's how terrified I am of killing it - I didn't even want to re-pot it myself] and it fit perfectly into our Uashmama gold paper bag [from Dust!]. 

My 'secret' to keeping ours alive? I water it every 1-2 weeks, more in the summer when it's warmer, rub coconut oil on the leaves every 6 months, no direct sunlight and if the soil gets really dry, I submerge it in water then let it drain for a good hour afterwards. That's it. There's nothing more to this post other than the fact that I'm amazing and I kept a thing alive for a year. I've managed to keep Robert and Cora alive too, but they're less picky. 

Second hand love dove lamp

I've been dying to share my latest second hand find. This morning Cora was compliant enough to let me take some pictures [while she kicked around on our bed], and I was even able to get a bit of a blog post together too. I am feeling very together and boss-mom. For now. I suspect this is a fleeting feeling.

A week or so before Christmas I stopped into Second Abbey to see if the gloriously kitsch dove lamp I spotted months before was still there, and luckily, it was [I've had terrible luck lately with things I've not bought being long gone the next time I go back to buy them]. As I brought home my new lamp, I was stopped by an equally enthusiastic thrifter who admired how kitsch my lamp was. "It's the absolute right amount of crazy for our bedroom", I replied, in equal hysterics.

The lamp was in good condition [meaning, it wasn't broken], but it was in need of new paint as it was yellowed and scratched, and a new shade was desperately needed [the current shade was transparent red ribbon wrapped around the wire and looked terrible when the light was on].

First I cleaned and repainted the doves with white furniture paint. Robert wasn't too keen on the dove's anatomically correct beady red eyes that looked directly into his soul, so I painted them white along with the rest of their bodies. Don't worry, they're just sleeping! Very in keeping with their new bedroom environment.

I next focused on updating the lamp shade. The shape of the original shade really didn't suit the lamp. It was far too narrow and made the lamp look very bottom heavy, so on Monday evening I headed to B&Q with crazy lamp in hand and tried a bunch of shades for size. It came down to either a gold glitter lamp shade [which I was very in love with but it unfortunately gave off a very strange glow when the light was on], or a rectangular black shade. As you can guess, the black shade won. The shape is so perfect for the lamp - it's hard to tell but the size of the shade perfectly balances the oblong lamp base and anchors all the crazy going on below. But the lamp's update is not completely finished yet. Because our bedroom is painted nearly black, the black shade disappears into the background. I'm thinking of maybe re-covering the shade in a different fabric and adding sassy tassels, but I'm going to take my time and think about what colours and textures might suit it before rushing into anything.

Yeah, it takes up nearly my entire bedside table, but I give zero cares. I just look at how amazing it is and then I get over it.

Holiday home tour

This Christmas we kept things really simple at home. I didn't get around to decorating our apartment until the beginning of December, which by blogger terms, is so late I may as well have not decorated at all.

I stuck to my naked tree idea and [I think] it turned out really lovely. I decorated our tree with just two strings of lights - a solid set and a string of flashing lights, which ended up being Cora's favourite piece of entertainment. Who needs a babysitter when you have a Christmas tree to entertain a newborn for hours!

After driving Cora around to all her visits over the next couple of weeks [we're already her chauffeurs], I foresee lots of Netflix, eating waaay too much food, having an occasional glass of wine between feeds [#BadMom] and participating in as little physical activity as possible. I hope however you spend the holidays this year, you get to do a lot of what you want and a bit of what you need. 

xx The Carberrys 

Colour correcting a Christmas tree

Last Christmas we got a new Christmas tree. We had our previous skinny tree [as seen in this post] for 6 years, which we bought especially for our first apartment which was the size of a matchbox. Such a skinny tree always looked odd in our current living room, so last year I thought it was time to treat ourselves to a full sized tree.

I looked for a couple of weeks but couldn't find a decent secondhand faux tree online, so we went for a new tree. I picked one out, we brought it home, I opened the box and immediately had an awful feeling. The colour was very wrong. It was way more yellow than a normal tree which made it look dead. A dead looking fake tree.

You can't tell the true awfullness of the colour of our tree in last year's pictures because I actually edited the colour on my computer before sharing the pictures. That's how horrified I was with the colour. The feeling of dread crept up when I soon realised I'd be unboxing our vom-coloured tree again this year, but then I had a very simple idea - just paint it.

The above will give you a better idea of the colour difference - on the left is our previously Exorcist-Green Christmas tree compared to a piece of proper green garland. It may not look too bad here, but when you're looking at an entire tree that colour, it was very obviously wrong. 

I headed to All City Graffiti on Crow Street last week on the hunt for a merrier green to spray paint our tree and found the perfect shade of 'Amazonas Green' ...

That afternoon I took our entire Christmas tree outside and set it up / opened up all the branches. There was a light breeze, which I used to my advantage, and I used it to lightly mist the whole tree vs. spraying it with an intense stream of paint. Holding the can about 1 foot away from the tree I sprayed one section at a time, turned it, sprayed another section, turned again, and repeated until I was happy with the coverage. It was incredibly easy to paint in this way and I was finished in about 20 minutes [including drying time as the light breeze was again very helpful].

I'm really so much happier with the colour of our tree. The last thing I wanted to do was have to buy another Christmas tree as that would have been a complete waste and I'm very conscious of buying things unnecessarily, so I'm so glad it turned out looking as good as it does. It's a proper Christmassy green now and it no longer makes me cringe when I look at it. Yay! \o/

I put 2 sets of lights onto it this year [one plain, the other chasing lights] and I'm quite happy with just leaving it like that. I like the idea of just lights this year. Leaving it as a naked tree. What do you think? I'm going to add some sort of makeshift tree skirt and maybe some ribbon to the very top, but overall, no decorations. I just really like the idea of keeping things a bit simpler this year. 

Cora's cute and quirky nursery

I'm slowly learning that time is now very different. BC [Before Cora], it would take me say, 45 minutes to tidy the apartment and get myself ready before heading out the door. Now? Multiply that by 4 and you're starting to get close. Between feeding, changing, predicting how much to bring with me, getting myself ready, getting Cora ready, feeding Cora again, dealing with explosive situations and then actually leaving the apartment, I'm glad I have very few scheduled things these days. One thing I have been hoping to do, you know, when I have a spare minute [๐Ÿ˜‘], was to properly photograph the nursery. Though it's not entirely finished, it's been at this stage since the week before Cora was born. So yeah. Getting things done nowadays takes time. Even if it's just taking photos. Baby steps?

Our spare bedroom is quite small and I didn't want to leave anything to chance, so I did what I quite embarrassingly love doing - I measured everything and made a little mock-up of the room on Google SketchUp. Here's the design I decided on a couple of months ago ... 

Before I bought anything or decided on a design detail, I did a mock-up of it in the space. I imported Pantone's 'Lunar Rock' paint swatch before committing to it, drafted a combination of fancy and plain knobs for the nursery dresser before buying them, did up a rough placement of artwork and shelves before hanging them, decided whether or not a secondhand chair would fit [which, as you can see, none have just yet], what kind of rug would look the best, what would be the best placement for the crib - everything. Everything was decided on in SketchUp. I find SketchUp so helpful for making decisions digitally so you don't have to make a disaster in real life. It was only today that I looked back at my plans and realised how close the room is to what I had hoped. I'm quite proud of that!

The room felt a bit stale when I was finished so I added a string of Christmas lights up and over the curtain rod to help make the room feel warmer and ... funner. I really love Christmas lights and used to have them hanging up in my bedroom as a teenager throughout the year. When I first switched them on  in the nursery for Robert, he was so surprised by them and really impressed [thanks to the dark curtains, you can't really see them when they're off]. 

There are a few major pieces I have still yet to get. One being a proper bin [I'm currently putting dirty diapers into a plastic bag that hangs beautifully off one of the knobs on the dresser] and the other being a chair of sorts for the corner of the room. To give an idea of space, I put our buggy roughly where a chair would go, but I have yet to find a really great one secondhand to reupholster.

I also have a good few pieces of artwork to hang [like my baby prints by Bill & Coo.!] and some more fun pieces to perfectly place, but for the most part, this is Cora's nursery. I feel like I say this in every blog post but if we owned our apartment, there would be so much more I'd do to the nursery. But we don't. But I'm still so happy with our cute and quirky nursery. 

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