2015 in review

The end of most years I’m not too keen on the idea of a roundup post. But if you make the mistake of scrolling through the past year of your blog, it’s near impossible to not pick some favourites to write about. I’ll try to keep this brief, so I’ve picked a handful of my favourite memories and projects from this year. 
2015’s game started strong with the completion of the Canadian man cave office I designed for my Broseph [above]. I really loved taking that theme and running with it. I still spot pieces I’d love to add to his office, but I really have to stop myself. I still have serious office envy.

We traveled near and slightly less near this year to Edinburgh, Scotland and San Sebastian, Spain [also Bilbao]. I love seeing new places and crossing new countries off my list, but I’m also not the best with traveling so I’m a bag of emotions at the best of times. Over the next year I’d love to visit Iceland, Netherlands, Poland and Japan, but we’ll see how far my nerves get me.

One of the biggest, most time consuming and monotonous projects I took on this year was conquering the disgusting yellowed doors and skirting boards throughout our entire rental and repainting them white. It may not seem like a big deal, but to us it made a huge change [you should really see the before pics]. I’m still deliriously happy with how much it’s changed our home. Projects like this don’t make an impression on anyone else but you. I like those changes though. When people eventually go “Oh! I just noticed the ugly yellow is gone!” Clean and fresh and not gross.

My mind was fairly blown this year by the people that got in contact to work alongside with. I teamed up with Woodies and created a huge variety of DIY tutorials for them, I became Image Interiors & Living’s DIY Expert, conducted interviews and corresponding blog posts for Colortrend paint twice, wrote for the Irish Independent and the Sunday Times, created some fun posts for Harvey Norman’s blog and partnered with Wayfair.co.uk again for some Star Wars goodness to name a few [all of these and more can be found here].

But if I’m honest, my favourite projects this year [and TBH, always and forever] are projects where I upcycled and updated otherwise unwanted or unloved pieces. For example, the upcycled vacuum cord pendant light in our spare bedroom and the updated faux marble bedside tables in our bedroom. Things like that will always be my passion. That’s what gets me really excited and wanting to scream from the roof tops that style and the contents of your home don’t have to come with a hefty price tag. And sometimes, no price tag at all [if you wanna see all my DIYs, check out my DIY Tab]. And if you’re stumped about upcycling or upgrading a piece and want some help, get in contact! I would just die to help other people out with making the most with what’s already available. I’m hoping 2016 will be the year everyone becomes a bit more conscious of where their stuff comes from and at what cost. 
At the very least, I hope you had a lovely 2015. Even if not all of it was perfect, it got you to where you are now. And from me, a massive thank you. If you’re reading this or ever read any of my blog posts, thank you. I know it won’t be translated fairly well through a screen, but it really means a lot to me xx

Canadian man cave – man pillow

Hey, remember the lumberjack man pillow I made for my broseph’s Canadian man cave last month? I’m not a particularly good sewer, so that should speak volumes about how straight forward this project was. I didn’t even use a machine and sewed it all by hand, old school style. Wayfair.co.uk graciously provided the perfect pillow for my project and in return you can check out my full project today on their site HERE
Just like New Kids on the Block, you can follow the tutorial step by step, oooooh baby. Good luck getting that out of your head. I’m not even sorry. 

xx A

DIY Friday – birch covered container

In the beginning stages of brainstorming ideas for the Canadian man cave, I had spied a number of birch covered candle holders and vases on the high street. Some of which were a little steep on price. I was about to buy one when I had a moment and thought, “wait a second, I can DIY that“. 
The next weekend husband and I were out driving and I spied a couple of birch trees that were shedding A LOT. Perfection. Now I’m not one to normally attack an unsuspecting birch tree, but this tree had massive pieces of bark hanging off. I couldn’t not peel it a bit. So I did

What you’ll need
A piece of birch bark
An empty container
A pencil, pair of scissors and a ruler
Spray adhesive [or any strong glue]
Dymo label maker [optional]
Step 1 – I first measured the height of the container. I roughly marked it on the piece of birch using a pencil and ruler, and then I simply cut it out. Now, be warned – birch bark will roll up and out of control, so maybe you’ll need a glass of wine near by to calm the nerves. Handle it gently. Remember, this is only a 5 minute project so you won’t have to put up with it for long. 
If you can’t get a solid piece of birch, it would be just as easy to cover your container by alternatively building up strips of it. 

WARNING: shoddy phone picture alert … 

Step 2 – I next taped off the top lip of the container. I did this so the adhesive spray wouldn’t get all over it. If you don’t do this and should any glue get on it, the lid will stick to it. And we don’t really want that. 

Step 3 – I sprayed the outside of the container with spray adhesive in a well ventilated area. Carefully add the piece of birch. Spray adhesive is usually quite forgiving, so if you need to move the birch, it should be no problem. You know what else is forgiving? That glass of wine. 

I finished off the container with a quick punch of my Dymo label writer to kick it up a notch. It was a really easy, and the best bit, it was FREE and in keeping with making the most out of what you already have.

Happy Friday, friends! I hope you have a good one lined up this weekend xx A