Top Five Blog Posts for 2018

While I didn’t blog nearly as much as I would have liked to this year, I did work on some projects that I really enjoyed. To cap off 2018 I thought I’d share my five most popular blog posts as chosen by you! 

Dining room hutch makeover in Coal Black – One of my favourite painted updates this year by far. Finding and updating such a perfect piece for our dining room makes me want to buy big pieces of furniture for every room and repaint them.

How to repair cat scratched leather using just two household items!

How to repair cat scratched leather – An old blog post of mine from three years ago that’s becoming more and more popular thanks to Pinterest! Turns out a lot of people have cats that also enjoy destroying things. You are very welcome here.

One Room Challenge Spring 2018 – Much like some time after having a baby, you forget the physical pain it caused you and you consider doing it again. My One Room Challenge this spring was pretty intense mentally and physically, but I’m already thinking about the next room I want to tackle.

Painting a leather chair using Fusion Mineral Paint – My next most favourite paint update this year was my secondhand leather armchair I painted black. I’m sitting in it right now and I will honestly say it is still in perfect condition.

Click through to four top tips for sourcing secondhand pieces online! #Secondhand #Thrifted

My top tips for buying secondhand items online – I’m glad this made it into my top five blogposts for 2018 as this is one of my favourite pastimes; searching for my next secondhand piece online.

And thank you if you checked out my blog some time in 2018. It means a lot that in the fleeting age of Instagram, people are still vising blogs. Even if it was just to have a snoop.

If they’re good enough for Emily Gilmore

Around ten years ago my mom got us a pair of really lovely wine glasses for Christmas [one of them is the large glass in the middle above]. Unfortunately, one broke shortly after that, but ever since I’ve really loved the shape of that one glass that survived.

A few months ago when I was in Value Village I spotted a few of the exact same style glasses. I was standing looking at them when a woman walked by and said, “Oh those aren’t crystal. I’ll show you how to tell if a pair of glasses are crystal …“, and she kindly showed me some tricks to find out if some glasses are better quality than others. She was trying to help find some hidden treasures, but I was left feeling embarrassed for wanting the less-than-fancy glasses so I didn’t buy them. Later I of course wished I had, so now every time I see that style of glasses, I buy them. Crystal or not.

I’ve only found two medium and three small sized glasses since, but I’m determined to collect as many as I can now. I mean, if those glasses are good enough for Emily Gilmore, they’re good enough for me. Collect whatever you want. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. To finish with a quote from Emily Gilmore, that’s complete and utter …

 “Bullshit!”

Emily Gilmore image via here.

Also featured – black dining room hutchdiy dust coversrepainted red rose

Updating (and childproofing) our secondhand dining table with faux marble contact paper

It’s been in every dining room photo since my One Room Challenge but I never got around to properly introducing it; our updated dining room table! I updated it in May with some faux marble contact paper and I’m only getting around to writing about it now. Story of my life these days, but it was the best update I could have made to that table.

One of the many things the previous tenants left for us was their dining room table. They knew we had next to nothing since emigrating from Dublin and since they’d be buying a dining table for their new house, they decided to really kindly leave their old one.

I was irrationally excited about it as it’s a really solid table [we bought a table last October, but it ended up being very weak and flimsy]. Our dining room is also a really big room so it needs a big table to anchor it and make it feel less like you’re floating around in the middle of the ocean. While I loved the shape and size of the table, I knew I’d want to eventually update it. But exactly how was my next daunting question.

The table is for the most part solid wood, but in a deceptive way. In a few spots [as you can see on the left in the photo above] it’s some sort of MDF just beneath a thin surface of real wood. There was also no finish so the raw, untreated wood had a lot of stains it wasn’t willing to part with; nail polish, coffee and food in general. None of which could be cleaned off.

I first thought about staining the table with a wood stain, but to be honest, I didn’t like the wood pattern on the top and the already dark knots would have ended up looking even darker. My next immediate thought was to cover it in contact paper, but I was hesitant. I mean, that’s a lot of table to cover. And the edges were so fiddly.

It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I finally made a decision; I was trying to once again clean a smushed blueberry from a few days previous [yay, untreated wood that absorbs everything] when a massive splinter of wood from the edge broke off into the palm of my hand. And I mean it was huge [#ThatsWhatSheSaid]; it was about 5 inches long, razor sharp and decided it would much rather hang out in my hand. What if it had broken off when Cora was around? What if it happened when I wasn’t there to see it? The mind goes to fantastic places once you become a parent, so that afternoon during Cora’s nap I took out the rolls of contact paper and got to work.

It was time consuming but easy to cover the table. I took the leaves apart and applied the contact paper one section at a time. I used the same technique I used a few years ago to cover our then coffee table – you can see the full step-by-step tutorial here! [p.s. I was about 2 weeks pregnant with Cora in those photos, but didn’t know it 💕]. I also lightly sanded the legs and applied two coats of white paint [I used some leftover Behr’s eggshell paint for baseboards and doors as it was wipe-able and held up really well throughout the dining room].

I will be the first to admit it is not a perfect update. When you stand at the end of the table you can see the wood pattern in the reflection, but only if you’re really concentrating. The end leaves of the table are much wider than the width of the contact paper so there’s a random 2-inch strip of contact paper at either end. But for us right now, this table is perfect. It fits the three of us for dinner plus the hot mess of garbage that gets dumped on it. It’s very sturdy. But above all else, it is a dream to clean. No matter what you spill or drop on it, it wipes off immediately. And when you have a toddler that is an angel one minute and the 11th member of Suicide Squad the next, that’s a deal breaker. Function > form.

For anyone curious, I ordered my contact paper directly from the manufacturer. They said it’s available in Lowe’s here in Canada [but I couldn’t find it on their shop online], and back in Dublin I bought this exact same contact paper in B&Q.