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

Canadian man cave – reveal!

After 4 months of brain storming, DIYing and carefully planning, my brother’s Canadian man cave office is complete! I finished and photographed the room yesterday afternoon, and after wading through 200+ photos, I’ve narrowed it down to just a handful of pictures. Times four. 

As my brother’s a college student, the budget for his home office was basically non-existant. But for me that just made it more of a creative challenge, and I personally find that more interesting than someone throwing a wad of money at me to design a place. But I will say, if you feel so inclined to throw a wad of money at me, you will still have my attention. 

Note – I’ll be including a source list at the end of the post, so if you see something that I haven’t mentioned, it’ll be mentioned there! 

My brother wanted a Canadian man cave retreat for an office, and I’d like to think a Canadian man cave he got. If you’d like a reminder of what the office looked like before, check it out here. I’ll start by taking you through the desk area of my brother’s office …

There are so many changes that happened in this room, I don’t really know where to start. I first moved his desk so it was along the back wall with the window now on its left. It’s now the first thing you see when you walk in the room and as he’s right handed, the most amount of natural light is coming from the left. 
I added an IKEA shelf above the desk to hold a few piece of artwork and a chalkboard clip board. I wanted to use this type of shelf here so my brother can easily change whatever is in his line of sight above his desk, without hammering loads of holes in the wall every time he changes his mind. 
I styled it with one of my dad’s old Ontario licence plates, a clock from Tesco, a faux taxidermy stag from Tiger, and of course some artwork.

It was important that there was artwork in his room. Manly artwork. And since we were on a tight budget, we DIYed most of it. I asked our incredibly talented and artistic mom to create a Canadian scene to hang over my brothers desk. She created this pastel piece in an evening. It’s perfect as it’s one of those scenes you could get lost in. 

I also printed an Instagram I took of some of Maser‘s work as some encouraging words, and hung it over with some manly plaid washi tape [that arrived just as I was leaving yesterday – YUS]. I also framed some plaid wrapping paper I picked up over the holidays so add some depth. 

My brother wanted a ‘man lamp’ for his desk, and he mentioned he really liked angular lamps. I searched high and low for a lamp with a translucent shade. Why a translucent shade? It was important that if my brother was using just this lamp in his office on a dark day, a lamp with a solid shade would be very harsh and not cast light throughout the room; it would only cast light down at his desk. But this way, this warm lamp will light up the rest of his room.
Thanks to Smudge, one of my parents cats, I upgraded an old bedside table to act a desk drawer to hold all the office supplies. Which will segway nicely to the shelving area of the office … 

It was important I reuse as much as I could when redesigning my brother’s office. My parents had a set of old shelves so we removed the previous wooden brackets and I added a slightly more industrial style bracket to make it seem a bit more manly and rustic.

I had way too much fun going through all our old treasures to deck out the shelves. I used an old black and white canvas I painted for our office as a backdrop [as seen here], added some pictures I took of our backyard before we left Canada, a wolf vase I painted in primary school in Canada, a baseball cap and of course – LEGO. My favourite thing is that little white ball. Husband and I bought that when we were in a design shop in Helsinki – it’s an everlasting snowball. When you squeeze it, it crunches and sounds exactly like a compacted snowball. I mangle it every time I see it. 

I got the loveliest text from my brother yesterday to thank me for all the work that went into his room. I’m sure there were a couple of moments where he wanted to tell me where to go, but he was strong. For me the most rewarding part was taking a room and turning it into a retreat that will help my brother work towards his goals and of course chillax. After all, that’s all design is – creating a comforting and inspiring environment. 

Stay tuned as I’ll be sharing some of the DIYs and upgrades that went into the room over the next couple of weeks. And as promised, here is my source list … 

Paint – ‘swan’s a swimming’ from Crown Paint
Desk – our dad’s architectural desk

Desk drawers – repurposed bedside table
Chair – owners own
Man pillow – check out my tutorial here!
Flag – owners own
Lamp – Hybrid task lamp from Marks & Spencer

Faux foliage – IKEA
Chalk clip board – see my tutorial here!
Faux taxidermy deer head – Tiger
Mouse pad – repurposed cork dining mat
Pen holder – repurposed drinks mixer holder
Notepad – IKEA
Shelf over desk – PS wall shelf from IKEA
Framed plaid paper – wrapping paper from Dealz
Bin – SOCKER plant pot from IKEA
Faux tree – FEJKA artificial tree from IKEA
Wooden shelves – repurposed
Shelf brackets – Woodies DIY
Cardboard monogram – check out my tutorial here! 
Plaid washi tape – BacktoZero on Etsy 
White storage box – KASSET box from IKEA
Black and white striped mini vase – see my tutorial here!
Wolf vase – hand painted by me in primary school
Birch covered change container – see my tutorial here! 

The year ahead

My first blog post of 2015 is about what I hope for the year ahead. I know. GROUNDBREAKING STUFF.

I’ve noticed people are choosing a power word to define their upcoming year this year. Creativity. Growth. Opportunity. Success. Those are all lovely words. I’m however going to choose a number of words this year. My words this year are going to be GETTING MY SHIT TOGETHER [thanks for that one, Julie!].

This year I’m going to get my shit together and make things happen. I have a little notebook in my desk FULL of projects. Projects and ideas I’d like to work on with companies, other bloggers [here in Ireland and abroad], and people I look up to. Some of the ideas in my notebook have been there for over 2 years. Not a single one has been acted on.

I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like asking people things because I don’t want to disrupt their schedule / cause them to dedicate time to me / have to change their plans / cause them to feel obliged etc. I get a whole spectrum of uncomfortable. It’s just easier for me, and let’s face it other people, if I just don’t ask them.

However, only over the past couple of weeks I’ve started to pick up some of Cowardly Lion’s courage. Just a little bit. I’m going to start to do things for me this year. I’m going to start crossing things off my notebook, and I’m going to be cringing behind my computer screen every single moment along the way.