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Working on my shelfie

I recently vented about wanting to paint over our burgundy feature wall. I love burgundy, but for some reason it was really getting to me. I was being driven insane [I know, total #FirstWorldProblem]. It was, dare I say, too much burgundy?

But in reality, the last thing I want to do was to paint over it. Even though feature walls are a bit of a faux pas these days [I'm not one to stick to trends], I still love ours. I sat down and stared at it; trying to figure out what irked me so much about it. Then I realised there was simply too much - a burgundy wall, burgundy books, red books, purple books and burgundy accents all over the shelves [which you can see a bit here]. It was too much of the same colour in such a small space. So I gave our wall one last chance before getting my paintbrush out. On Monday evening I took everything burgundy off our shelves and went strictly black and white with little pink and viridian highlights ...

While I was de-burgundying, I tried to take a fresh look at our shelves. It's tough though when you've been staring at the same shelves for 5 years [and can't do much because they're your landlords], so I tried mixing up the monotony of the layout by removing a couple of shelves to fit in larger pieces [cloche and desk lamp]. I wish I did this years ago ...

I of course had to reintroduce the kitty nook back into the shelves as part of making the layout simpler and sassier. It was quite sad when I got rid of the kitty nook by putting books on that little shelf; Juniper would walk up to it and stare at it longingly. To say she was excited when it returned is an absolute understatement. She clambers onto the chair and up into her cosy nook once again.

I'm hoping you'll also pay special attention to my obvious pairing of the pillow with the spine of Abigail Ahern's Decorating with Style book under our Robert's radio. Marvel at my sublime coordination skills and including a new colour in our home! I'm breaking out. Aren't you impressed? Next I'll be trying socks with sandals.

I'm not sold on the layout of the right shelving unit yet [as seen in the second picture]. I need to put a bit more effort into that one, but as for the left unit, I am completely game. The burgundy wall no longer fights with what's on the shelves. The pink and minuscule amounts of viridian compliment it nicely.

You're safe for now, burgundy wall. I'm glad we're on speaking terms again. 

Life imitating catalogue

Over the weekend I was fussing over our bar cart; rearranging stuff, adding new tumbler glasses and finally getting around to re-syncing our clock. And then I had a teeny, tiny, mini 'aha' moment. 

In the winter of 2010 I brought home the current Marks & Spencers Home catalogue at the time, solely for its cover. It gave me heart-eye emojis, inspired a lot of what I did to our apartment afterwards and pretty much summed up everything I was digging at the time [I even blogged about it]. All those dark moody hues mixed with pops of bold pink and turquoise viridian really got me right in the feels. That catologue has been on display in our apartment since the moment I got it. For anyone who's crept my blog for the past 5 years, you will have seen it from time to time. It wasn't however until this weekend while I was dusting off said catalogue that I realised our couch is a little bit nailing it ... 

Overcrowded with pillows, velvet and throws in lots of yummy dark colours and not forgetting the burgundy wall in the background [but let's quickly forget my landlords hot mess of a leather couch]. I find it funny and kind of weird when things come around like that. Hardly blog worthy I know, but it was a funny realisation for me at the time. I've adored these colours for so long that this has only cemented how I feel about them.

It took me 5 years, but at least I took the scenic route. 

DIY Friday - vacuum cord pendant light

For me, the most exciting part of our spare bedroom tour I shared earlier this week was the upcycled vacuum cord pendant light. Perhaps I need to get out more, but to date it's been my most proud upcycled, recycled, nearly new challenge project that is full of winning. 

I had the idea of a pendant light for over the bedside table in our spare bedroom for a while now. As it's a tiny room and it has an even tinier bedside table, the previous light was taking up valuable tabletop real estate so I needed a light that didn't sit directly on it. I was talking to my dad [aka, Dad DIYer] one day and was telling him about my idea. I explained I was on the lookout for a long cord to make into a statement industrial-style light fixture. "You'll never believe me, but our vacuum just died and I cut the cord off it before recycling it," he stated. My eyes widened. It was beyond perfect! And even more importantly, it was going to make an epic upcycling project. Thank the stars my dad's a bit of a hoarder ;)

So sit down and buckle up because I'm about to show you how I turned this ...

Into this ...

What you'll need 
- a vacuum cord or equally long cord [4+ meters long], in working order
- an exacto knife or Stanley blade
- cord grip [I ordered mine here]
- E27 lamp holder [I ordered a white ceramic one here]
- a wire stripper 
- black electrical tape 
- washi tape
- a stud finder
- 2 white cup hooks
- drill 
- 2 hollow wall anchors [plastic]
- a pretty vintage style filament bulb. I bought mine in Industry [a larger version of this Round Edison bulb]

Do not attempt this DIY while the cord is still plugged in for heaven's sake. I know you're a lot smarter than that, but I unfortunately need to state the obvious, for safety purposes. So don't do it. But you knew that already.

Nothing scares me more than dealing with wires and the inner workings of electronics, so I enlisted in help from Dad DIYer for this tutorial, who not only showed me how to DIY the light, but was kind enough to let me take approximately 1,000 photos of his hands and every detail of the tutorial. So you can sleep soundly knowing this DIY has been done by an expert.

Step 1 - thread both pieces of your cord grip onto the cord one at a time, as pictured above. Why use a cord grip? What a cord grip does is it clamps itself to the cable and takes the weight off the wire connections at the terminals [as seen in Step 5]. 

Step 2a, 2b and 2c - next we're going to remove the black outer wire casing to reveal the two wires underneath; the live [brown] and neutral [blue]  wires. Using your exacto knife / Stanley blade, carefully begin to cut through the outer black casing about 3cm from the bottom of the cord. We want to avoid cutting the brown and blue casings at all costs, so take your time. You may find it easier to bend the cable to cut through [as seen in Step 2b]. When you've carefully cut the black outer casing all the way around, pull it off to reveal the two inner wires [blue and brown, as seen above]. 

If you manage to nick or cut through one or both the blue and brown inner casings, don't worry! Just cut the entire wire through and start over from Step 2a.

Step 3 - using the wire stripper, strip off about 6mm of the plastic casing off each the brown and blue wires, exposing the copper wires underneath.

Step 4 - unscrew the lamp holder and place the top half of the lamp holder onto the cord, as seen above. 

Step 5 - next we're going to connect the wires to the terminal block. Twist the inner copper wires so they're nice and tidy and go into the fixture more easily. Don't forget to loosen the screws on each terminal to allow the wires to be inserted. 

Step 6 - insert the copper wires; one into each terminal and tighten the screws. 

Step 7 - screw the bottom piece of the cord grip [from Step 1] into the top of the lamp holder. 

Step 8 - we're next going to tighten the screw found on the inside of the lamp holder; this locks the top of the lamp holder to the base of the cord grip. 

Step 9a and 9b - move the terminal block [as seen in Step 4 and 5] into the top of the lamp holder. Ensure the terminal block is placed within the guides on the lamp holder, as shown in Step 9b.

Step 10 - screw the the top piece of the cord grip [the cord grip 'cover'] on to the threaded cord grip, and tighten well. What this does is tighten the cord grip and clamps the lamp holder in place on the cable. 

Step 11 - add the locking ring [aka, the bottom piece of the lamp holder] to the top piece of the lamp holder and tighten carefully. Be careful, as if you use a porcelain light holder like I did, they're not easily unscrewed, so double check everything is good to go. 

Step 12 - using a stud finder, find two safe areas to place your hooks. Dad DIYer marked with washi tape the edges of the beams in the ceiling. Using a drill, drill a hole into each beam and add the cup hooks. If the hooks don't feel like they're secure enough, screw in a plastic hollow wall anchor to the hole before adding the hook again. This will soundly secure the hooks in place. After this, I simply added the cord to the hooks and played around with the double loop detail. Once I was happy with the double loop [which is strictly for visual purposes, it is not necessary], I secured it in place with a piece of black electrical tape. 

Step 13 - finally, add the piece de resistance and the crowning glory to your project; the vintage bulb. It's important you add the bulb at this point and not at Step 11, as the bulb is delicate and you might run the risk of smashing it during Step 12

And there you have it! For those of you more familiar with electronics, I may have gone into too much detail, but I wanted to include everything and in crystal clear instructions for anyone out there who like me, might be intimidated by wires. Also, thank you Dad DIYer, who can now add hand model extraordinaire to his resume of skills ;) 

Happy Friday, everyone! So tell me, do you have any DIY plans in mind this weekend? It's pouring here in Dublin, so it looks like we'll be staying indoors indefinitely. Whatever you do this weekend, have a good one! xx

Viridian is in

I have a love / hate relationship with colour. I'm forever envious of people's homes that are full of colour, character and are beautifully cheery. I've tried colour. And I can't do it. I fully appreciate and admire brave colour palettes, but I just can't do them. I get really uncomfortable when there are wild colours in my own space. I've tried to figure it out. I fought it for a long time, but I've learned to accept that I'm a colour-phobe and embrace it. 

I do have colours other than maroon / burgundy that I appreciate [I know, I didn't think it were possible either]. Case in point - teal or turquoise viridian*.

I wrote about my new colour crush back in September, but it kinda fell by the wayside. Until last week. I casually dropped into TK Maxx [the most dangerous kind of visit] and what did my eyes see? Only the most luscious pair of turquoise viridian velvet pillows. I actually closely resembled Gollum while I plucked them from the shelf; looking over my shoulder in case I'd be found out and my find would soon be compromised. 

I crammed them in my bike basket on Friday and cycled home. And so far, they're not driving me crazy! They're such a deep turquoise viridian and I think that's what works. Plus, they're velvet. But don't expect to see loads more teal all up in here. Just little punches. 

I think this dark shade goes really well with the plum accents as well as some of the dainty pink here and there in our home. So what about you? Do you have an unusual colour crush? Or is there one you can't stand? Please tell me I'm not the only one who's this picky with colours ...

*EDIT: we were discussing teal vs. turquoise over dinner tonight [I know, we're so wild] when husband pipped up, "so turquoise and teal are like viridian then?". There's a reason I married that man. Viridian, for those of you who may not be as into Beetlejuice as I am, viridian is mentioned by Otho as a perfect blue-green colour for Delia's bedroom. Is it starting to make sense now? Black and white stripes? Viridian? A serious aha moment.

May the 4th be with you

From me and mine to you and yours, May the 4th be with you xx

Today over on Instagram I'll be sharing the stories behind all our favourite Star Wars accessories PLUS pictures from that time we drove 6 hours into the Sahara desert to abandoned Star Wars sets in Tunisia. Be sure to check my Instagram account throughout the day for updates. It should be good! 

I hope you celebrate today in the nerdiest way possible xx

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