It’s al’white. Get it? Ha.

You know you’ve reached a new level of sad in your life when you laugh out loud at your own joke.  Even when it’s not really a joke but a very lame use of words.  And you’re home alone.

I’ve recently been accessorizing myself with white   – with the fashion product that is matt emulsion.  I’ve been sporting it in my hair, speckled over my arms, and if I’m feeling particularly cutting edge, smudged down my forehead and cheeks.

Before now I’ve only used white emulsion as base coats on walls before adding a coat or two of colour.  So it feel’s weird to be piling coat after coat of the white stuff.  It’s a bit like ground hog day.  But I like it.  A lot more forgiving.  And oh my goodness, the room is so much lighter now.  I’ve always always always preferred creams over white for the added warmth but I’m very excited to see how this room shapes up.  Carpet is coming Monday so we’ll have just enough time to bring the house back to normality in time for going away to Soul Survivor camp.

We’re house-swapping in the third week of the summer holidays so we’re all looking forward to slowing down in the very very gorgeous Yorkshire Dales.  This will be the pinnacle of our Summer Staycation (I guess we’re cheating really, because we’re not ‘staying’ at home that week – but you know what I mean) and the girls are loving coming up with ideas for our Summer Staycation List.

Mallorca Schmallorca.

I had my hair cut last week the day before my birthday.  I have not had a lot of luck with hairdressers. Back in 2010 I wrote about some of these hair-nightmares.   This time round was the shortest I’d ever had it cut and ironically it was at the salon that I ended up in at the end of my blog post a couple of years ago.  My regular hair dresser was on holiday so i had a younger girl.  After I’d washed it myself I couldn’t do a thing with it.  Clumps of hair pointed in all directions and all I could do was try to tame it with a hairband.   By yesterday I had had enough.  I had the salon’s number in front of me and I really wanted them to look at my hair, but I bottled it because I would have felt so uncomfortable if the girl had been there.  So I called a different salon and begged them to save my hair.  The owner was so lovely and told me to come over at 6.30.  I got there, sat down and showed her some pictures of what I had been hoping for.  She didn’t say much as she looked through my hair, section by section.  She got a mirror and showed me the back of my hair.  I burst into tears, so horrified at it.  The hairdresser soothed me and told me it would be fine.  She did say that she’d never seen such a bad cut. WHAT ON EARTH??? OF ALL THE HAIRDRESSERS IN THE WORLD, HOW DID I FIND TWO WITHIN A COUPLE OF YEARS THAT MANAGEDTO HACK MY HAIR INTO A MESS THAT HAD THEN HORRIFIED OTHER HAIRDRESSERS?? There were some things the hairdresser could fix, some she couldn’t.  She left the top of my hair to grow but had to cut quite a bit off the sides.  It is super short now but at least its in a definite style that should grow well.

Who knew hair could be so stressful?  What I need is a nice light and white, airy room to calm my nerves…

The very boring blog post about a picture frame.

PRIOR WARNING: This post contains content of very dull info on the redecoration of our living room.  I wasn’t going to write such dullness but I figured it would be nice to look back and think “ooh do you remember how long that took just to decorate one room?”!!!

Don’t say you weren’t warned.

So last week when I got to wander around the shops with my ma we picked up some crazy bargain picture frames – only they were picture frames WITH a pin-board.  Very cool.  The frames were black and straight away I knew I wanted them white and distressed.

I wish I’d taken a photo of it when I bought it for the sake of comparison.

So the first one I used I painted with  regular old satin wood.  It took a few coats to look even but by then it didn’t want to be scuffed up at all.  Uh.  I banged it around a little and I like it but it definitely needs roughing up a bit more.

 

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The pictures are not clear at all.  It makes them look way ‘whiter’ than they really are.  The pinboard section has been bordered with string.

The second one I used spray paint and it was soooooo much quicker.  Plus, because it was a lighter coat, it scuffed up so much easier too.  Perhaps too much, I’m not sure.

 

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I’m gutted that attempt #2 has bubbles in the pin board.  I fought temptation to mess with it with common sense.  I doubt any cork would remain if I had a scalpel in hand.  I’m not feeling the love with the picture frame people either.  But I figure once the pin-board has all sorts pinned onto it you’ll never see the little bubbles.

I learnt way more painting two frames.  I went back to the shop to get a load more and they’d all gone! Boooo!

The ones I do have though definitely have the weathered feel I was looking for and I love the string border on the pin-boards.  I think I just have that on the brain.  In any shop I gravitate to anything in the shade of teal or anything distressed or white.  Well not anything white.  That’d be just silly.  One wall in my living room has now got some paint on.  Granted, it is a base coat to secure the new plaster, but it has paint on it nonetheless.  I think everyone in the house is getting a little tired of everything being out of place so that’s an incentive to try and get the painting done. 

I’ve started distressing the fireplace that we took off to plaster the walls, and we’ve hidden the little bits and pieces we’ve bought for the room in a cupboard until the room is ready for them.

Not long now.

inspire.

While I wait patiently for the plaster to dry in our living room, I’m dreaming away looking for inspiration in rooms that are ‘coastal’ inspired without making you feel you’re actually in a beach hut, sand and all.

 

Shake things up in your living room by choosing mismatched pieces that are united by a common theme. In this case, it’s sea blues and nautical decorative elements.

 

Without the pops of cobalt blue, this smart seating area’s neutral tones would feel a little washed out. Fun patterned pillows with drapery and flowers to match don’t take the focus off the main event, the wraparound water view from the windows.

 

I’m having to think outside the box a little – push my creative limits.  Originally, I knew exactly what I wanted.  And I wanted blue.

Throw in some stripes and you have yourself some seriously relaxed coastal vibes.  The problem was that when I went to Dunelm Mill to get some curtains I was so overwhelmed by its’ enormity that I just walked around and around….And around in a daze.  Eventually I found myself standing in front of some really pretty curtains the right size.  When I got them home i noticed they were more of a really really soft teal than blue.

So instead of this….

Decorating With Blue

I need to start thinking in terms of this…

http://beachroseramblings.blogspot.co.uk

www.homesandbargains.co.uk

Though initially deterred I’m now refocused.  This is totally doable.  I’m thinking less (of teal) is more, and lots of white.

www.funkyartqueen.blogspot.co.uk

 

Beachy Elegance

 

www.designshuffle.com

 

I reckon I don’t need to depend on the colour though.  Of all the pictures I looked at this  – this last one was the most powerful.  Its’ use of texture convinces you that there’ll be sand-dunes beyond that window.  I’m in love with that mirror on the fireplace AND that small table!  The pebbles on the hearth remind me of my own memories of collecting treasures from the beach.

 

An extra-large cushioned space for lounging adds a quiet elegance to this simplistic living area. Organic extras such as the driftwood coffee table and decorative beach stones have a natural coastal charm.

 

So now I’m inspired I just have to make it happen.  And on a shoestring.

 

(All images that do not have a source immediately below are from www.coastalliving.com)

walls.

The upheaval for the week ahead has begun.  The fire surround is off and room empty bar the two sofas and the TV.  It is the England match this evening after all.

 

I know. Lovely right?

 

Tomorrow the walls will be plastered and the room will pretty much stay as it is until the decorating fairies come to paint the walls.

I want my walls to turn out nice.  I want my home to be nice.  But being in God’s house this morning reminded me that, of course, I can enjoy expressing myself in decorating my house but my heart beats for something so much bigger, higher and greater than that.

Faking it.

Its that time of year. Time to get the legs out. In fact that time of year sneaked up on me (am I the only one?) and I was very unprepared. With having a bad back, let just say I have struggled to maintain smooth legs.  The husband took every opportunity to make fun of this. But my vanity overrode my (very limited) wisdom and stretched this way and that to sort that situation out. With Rob’s razor. That’ll teach him.

I think I’m possibly getting more vain as I grow older and I didn’t think that would be so. I blame a certain woman (who will remain nameless) cough-BeckyFrance-cough cough who lured me into having a spray tan with her a couple of years ago and in all honesty it made me feel…totally…wonderful. I would just sit and admire my arms. But visiting the salon every week is out of the question. With my two little lovebugs there’s not much chance of lying in the sun to soak up a suntan either so there’s only one other option: Fake tan.

With fake tan, my whole brain screams out to me to buy the ‘good’ stuff. We all know the brands. But there was an impulse buy on Thursday. The purchase process went something like this:

Sunny morning…Weather man says we’re in for a very warm week…by lunchtime I’m sweltering in my jeans…pop in to Home Bargains to get some rabbit food and I walk past some fake tan…brain working very fast…contemplate trying to pull on and squeeze into my shorts that are lurking somewhere at the bottom of my drawer…cheap fake tan is  dropped into my trolley.

Not being someone who has ever really looked after herself I’m vaguely familiar with the idea of exfoliation. Generally  this isn’t a step in one’s beauty regime that mums of young children get to experience. Sometimes it’s a result to wash your hair, and you feel pampered if you can wash your hair and shave your legs. But when I was rubbing this very dark looking mousse into my legs I wondered if it really made a difference.  I thought I’d live a bit try it out.  And not being one to go down the simple route I was intrigued by home-made body scrubs on pinterest.  They look pretty simple and quick to whip up and seem to either have a sugar base or a salt base.  There were a couple though that managed to out their own spin on it.

Carlee over at Deliciously Organised explains how to make a summery Orange and Coconut Scrub

Image credit to Deliciously organised.

 

I love how Rachel from Maybe Matilda has made her home made body scrubsinto gifts for mums-to-be.  I’m all for pampering a pregnant mamma!

Image credit  to Maybe Matilda.

There were loads more but I just couldn’t celebrate creative divas without acknowledging the ultimate domestic guru Martha Stewart.  I only discovered her a couple months ago.  In a non-idol-creating way – where has she been all my life?!?!  Amongst a gazillion other home-made ideas she has a video of making an exfoliating scrub.

Right, I’m gonna go make me some body scrub!

It worked for me: Chalk Board.

As soon as I  bought some chalk board paint I was desperate to try and make my own vintage-y distressed chalk board.  It has a been a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge learning curve, and I think I now know a little more about how the stuff works.  My original vision for the chalk is completely different from what I ended up with but I’m ok with that.

Most of my projects have been off the cuff, requiring a lot of winging it.  But this one, ironically, the one that was a pain in the bum, is the one I looked into.  I read countless times that chalk board is so versatile it will paint onto anything.  Call me a little naive but I took that at face value.

I wanted a really intricate frame, and when I find one I’ll make another chalk board, but all I had at the time was a reasonably plain picture frame.

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The glass was actually stuck onto the wooden frame, which was an obstacle in itself.  Had they been separable it would been a matter of painting and distressing the frame and chalk boarding up the glass.  But it wasn’t like that so I had to work with it.

First up I concentrated on the frame and I grabbed my trustee friend:

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and a couple sheets of old newspaper (next time I’m at B&Q I’ll be dumping the masking tape for a new best friend that goes by the name of Frogtape.  It’s said to be the king of all tapes when painting anything.  I covered up the glass and sanded the frame down a little.  I did not prime the wood.  That was me being too impatient because I wanted to do it that afternoon and because I wasn’t able to drive then, I couldn’t get out to buy some.  Next time I paint anything I will definitely prime it. From what I’ve read I’m convinced it will improve the overall finish but I’ll let you know after I’ve tried it.

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I wanted the frame to be a ‘distressed’ white so I used my enamel spray.  I’m too lazy to get the brushes out and start using a tin of satin wood.  I don’t know what the best medium should have been.  This worked for me.

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Easy peasy lemon squeazy.  I sprayed a couple of coats, letting them dry properly in between, until it looked even.

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This is the part I was looking forward to.  And it didn’t disappoint.  This chalkboard paint brushed on really nicely.

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The story should have ended there my friends.  Well, after sanding and battering the frame a little.  But it kinda went down hill for a while.  MY BIGGEST MISTAKE: Not painting over the glass fully, so when it dried you could still see through little parts of the glass.  No biggie, I thought, I’ll just paint another layer on.  It’s really tricky to explain – apart from to say it did NOT work for me!  I should have taken a picture of the disaster that was my chalk board right then.  The second layer of paint somehow unsettled the bottom layer that was adhering to the glass.  the whole surface of the paint cracked into weird little ‘islands’ that ‘floated’ on top of the glass.  It’s a shame because I had the white frame all nice and distressed

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I don’t exactly know how I came about wiping the blackboard paint with a damp cloth, but for some reason I did and all the freaky little ‘islands’ wiped straight off.  Hmmmmmm, I reckoned that maybe I could fix it afterall.  I cleaned the whole thing, and although this wrecked messed up the frame, I was happy to start from scratch.  Waste not, want not and all that.  When the picture frame was cleaned up and dry again I tried again, but this time a different way.

I wanted something that would stick the blackboard paint to the glass so rather than cover it over, I left it exposed when I spray painted the frame  I picked the can up and started spraying only to find that I’d picked up the wrong can of PINK rather than WHITE  Within seconds though I considered the pink and continued with it.  A happy little mistake in the end.

This could have been the end of this project though, had I not liked the pink on the frame the whole think would have been thrown straight into the bin! Morale of the story: ALWAYS CHECK THE CAN BEFORE YOU USE IT!!!

The spray created a light coat of paint on the glass that would hopefully be a more suitable surface for the chalkboard paint.  I made a point of painting it on thick to cover all the glass fully, and when I was done I checked to see if I’d left any gaps.  It dried fine and there was no need to put on a second coat and risk creating those freaky islands.  Phew.

The chalk board was actually a chalk board now, so there were only a few final touches needed.  I roughed up the frame a bit using sand paper and a chisel to make it look ‘distressed’  I read on a lady’s blog that she drags small pieces of furniture along her road from her car to ‘distress’ it.  That made me laugh but I decided against it.  I also wanted some string to hang from one side to the other as a mini ‘clothes line’ for receipts, notes etc.  We (meaning The Husband) screwed in some tiny hooks to anchor down the string.

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All done!

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It worked for me: Art Gallery

One of the first images I fell in love with on Pinterest was this way of displaying children’s pictures.  I wanted to use different words and make it a little more ‘home made’ but I loved the concept.  so I got thinking and figured it should be pretty straight forward to make my ‘Art Gallery’.

I went over to B&Q and picked out  a batten 3.5 cm wide and 1 cm thick.  I didn’t even know what it was called, I had to google it.  See, DIY can be educational as well as fun…! I don’t remember how long it was but we (meaning The Husband) cut it to 88cm long so it fit nicely above the radiator.  I wanted it white, and thought about using simple White satin wood paint or white enamel spray (for all kinds of surfaces).  I went with the spray because it’s loads easier and quicker. 

The spray paint may well be a ridiculous error.  I totally understand that there’s a proper way to do things.  But as you’ll see a lot in these DIY posts – It worked for me, so I’m ok with cutting corners and making up my own rules.

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Those black shiny babies there behind the batten are my previously silver cupboard handles.  But back to the Art Gallery.  I wanted the Gallery to have the option to easily come down so I couldn’t nail it or stick it to the wall in any way.  So I took two of these off an old picture frame.  perfect.

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Screwed into the back of the batten and jobs a good’n.  For the front of the the Art Gallery I wanted a bit of sparkle so I took some regular wooden clothes pegs, spread clear glue over the whole surface of one side and sprinkle glitter over.  Tapping off the excess glitter and the pegs were ready to dazzle.

 

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Using my glue gun I glued the razzle dazzle pegs to the batten and the Art Gallery was ready to hang.

I wanted to to Have ‘Art Gallery’ on the wall somehow and my mind went into overdrive to get the creative juices flowing.  As soon as I saw some 3-D cardboard letters in a little craft store I new I was onto something.  I wanted to team them up with some vinyl stickers and I searched and searched for someone who would create a personalised sticker and not charge a bomb.  But I was too impatient and wanted to get the Art Gallery up so gave up on the stickers.  I know I could have found it if I had more time so if you’re looking for something to brighten up a wall there are loads out there.  So instead of the stickers I went all Blue-Peter on the project, printing out letters, cutting them out and sticking ‘em directly on the wall.

And there we have it.  Our Art Gallery.

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If you look you can see the ‘Art’ is not centred above the ‘Gallery’.  This is the kind of thing that normally drives me crazy.  I totally have an OCD thing with symmetry.  But this time I’m choosing to be ok with it and embrace imperfection.  And not start twitching whenever I look at it.

You might have spotted a pink chalkboard, which has nothing to do with the Art Gallery, it just happens to be near it.  And this pink chalkboard will be the next ‘It worked for me’ Post.