Before and after …

To paint or not to paint…that was the big question. The brick fireplace in our kitchen has never quite sat right with me. It is a big feature in the room..as in … you really can’t miss it. It is the monster that greets you as you come  through the back ( which is really used as a front) door. Here it is in all its former glory …

You might remember this pic from an earlier post of the fireplace before we moved in

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I knew I was going to paint it eventually … so I decided in January that the time had come. This is how it looked the morning before the big makeover. (I didn’t attempt to pretty any of these photos up as this was done while the little lady was having her morning nap and it was a race against the zzz’s  🙂 )

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Oh I should mention that the night before I cleaned the brick with a mix of half white wine vinegar and half water. It did stink but it was a natural stink so I reckoned that was ok!

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I had half a litre tin of Annie Sloan ‘Old White’ Chalk paint – which was perfect as after much deliberation I decided that I wanted a ‘wash’ effect as opposed to a full-blown white look all over the brick. I mixed the half litre of chalk paint with equal amount of water and got to work. It did run a bit but was easily blended as it was quite watery. It didn’t take long at all ( long enough for a morning nap and a few quick photos)

And this is how it all turned out! I was pleased enough although as you can see I ran out of wash and was unable to get underneath the stove. To be honest it’s not that noticeable in real life 🙂 but I will patch it up with a tester pot.

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There are a few other patches (below on the right) that could do with another little wash … but again in real life not that noticeable and with a little tester pot should be easy to fix. All in all not bad for two hours work with ingredients all found in the cupboard under my sink!

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All thoughts, opinions, shock and horror and any other brick painting escapades you may have experienced all welcome in the comments below! I am vowing to post more frequently so hopefully will see you soon … Ciao for now x

 

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HO Ho ho …

Holy Moly Christmas is nearly here! It’s that mad time of year when everyone runs around like the world is about to end … buying supplies that would be totally impractical if the world actually DID end! We haven’t bought our turkey yet and still haven’t planned what the menu will be for Christmas day … but that’s ok … we like to wing it!

I’ve been getting lots of updates (from other blogs I follow) on all the Christmas prep and decoration that’s been going on and to be honest in this house we’ve been fairly relaxed about the Christmas decor. It’s simple and not too fussy…and it feels calm! I took a few photos this evening but I have to edit them as my kitchen was in BIG mess in the background so not sure how they will turn out! I’ll probably end up sharing them after Christmas which totally misses the point but who cares!! 🙂

The first half of December was spent preparing for the Christmas Market which was being held locally. It was a new venture so it was exciting to be a part of it. Here are a few photos of what I had on offer on the day!

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I finally bought those HOOPS! I found some really pretty fabric and filled some hoops and a frame … I really want these for the girls bedroom!

IMG_6646I did some random cards for both Christmas and the Card stash … these went down well and I have to say I really enjoyed making these.

 My partner in crime made some fresh pasta ( as I was really worried I wouldn’t have enough stuff to fill my table!!) It went down a storm and I called it ‘Fresh Pasta from The Hungry Casa’ 😉IMG_6663

The glittery stags were my favourite and two of them toddled off to two lovely homes! (It made the fact that my house is absolutely covered in glitter much easier to swallow!) I enjoyed the whole

IMG_6643experience although I wasn’t as organised as I’d hoped … next year I’ll start in July … famous last words!

Alas the year is almost at an end and I have not dedicated nearly as much time as I’d hoped on writing the blog but it has been a busy year.

I would love a new funky WOW blog … but I don’t think I have the time to find the WOW for the blog at the moment … It’s hard to find time for a lot of things as it is!

I was hoping to paint the brickwork on our fireplace in the kitchen before Christmas but I don’t think that is going to happen now…although am VERY tempted!! We also just closed in our stairwell … but I think January will see more progress in that little project . I am very excited about it and already it looks way better so watch this space for cost effective simple updates that make huge life changing ( well heat conserving) differences!

So now, I have to get some zzz’s or nothing will get done tomorrow … I hope you are all enjoying the build up to Christmas and are not too overwhelmed by all the madness!

Hopefully it will bring peace , relaxation and great food to boot … HO Ho ho … x

Bring on the Guests!

 

 

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Time seems to be running away and I can’t catch up with it!! The holidays are over, school and all the rituals that go with it have re-commenced, some projects finished, some nearly done … some still rattling around on a to do list.

We had a busy summer with guests from abroad – some came with children, others came and entertained our children! ( so appreciated )

The best result that came from all the visitors ( apart from their wonderful company and the excuse to drink far too much wine on a weeknight) was that the house never felt so organised. ( now obviously not every single corner ) but It didn’t feel too bad. And when the first lot of visitors sailed off into the sunset I felt ready for the next without the usual cleaning /organising frenzy that breaks out before any kind of social visit or event.

I had a conversation today with a friend who said she went on a mad cleaning frenzy because she had visitors arriving that day and then got another call to say that some unexpected guests would be also arriving the following day … this poor gal had further deep cleansing to do in between school runs and then ( possibly the hardest task of all) was hiding the evidence!

yeah, we always live this way … super organised and sparkly … everything in its place …even the mop and bucket (still steaming) 😉

Been there, done that. Who hasn’t?

It got me thinking though … BRING ON THE GUESTS!

It is indeed the answer to all my prayers … well not really … but if I could get myself into the state of mind that at any moment someone just might arrive on my doorstep … then just maybe…

And then I thought … just do it … stop complaining about the hot press not being organised enough, or the utility room being a mess … just do it. Not for the guests but for yourself.

(god that sounds so corny) but it’s true 🙂

And then I stumbled on this article  … if you’re any way like me and have the vision of the ‘not perfect but organised enough’ home then you have to read this … this lady is inside my head, there is solace in numbers … we are not alone.

Bi Lingual living

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My 6yr old corrected my Italian grammer at the dinner table the other night…her Babbo thought this was hilarious!

I swiftly interrupted ‘Babbo’s smug chuckles’ by reminding him of the book (in english) that he has been reading for the past FIVE years beside his bed.

Chuckling stops.

Spaghetti resumes.

Bi Lingual living.

Buy the HOOP …

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It’s been a busy few weeks what with Easter Bunnies and also a Family celebration at the weekend. Of course the most itchy and scratchiest of all happenings was/is the Chicken Pox!

It swept through our house a couple of weeks ago… took a week to chill out (somewhere in the ether!) before invading the two littlest of the little’ uns. In a word … scratchness!

So as you can imagine all ongoing project plans ground to a halt (literally speaking!) The children’s bedroom floor is half painted! All work came to a standstill with the return of the pox … so it’s back to higgledy piggledy upstairs again for a few more days ( what’s new? I hear my mother cry!!) 🙂

Due to lack of project updates or out ‘n about finds, I thought I’d share what has been getting my creative juices flowing of late!

I stumbled on this amazingly creative lady called Lucy Levenson on facebook. You can check her out on http://www.lucylevenson.com or Lucy Levenson Designs on Facebook. Her story is as touching as her artwork so if you have a minute go take a peek! I really love her use of colour and playful themes …This brilliant woman only took up sewing three years ago!

this gives me much inspiration and hope for my future!! 🙂

You can buy these in print form and are really affordable ..am definately going to buy one … might help me realise my Campervan dream sooner than later!!

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Hoop art has been whispering away in my ear for quite some time now and here is just a couple of examples that have been inspiring me to go out and … BUY THE HOOPS!! I really have to just do it!

This I found on Pinterest and was from blog.luulla.com … really want to try this ..so simple but soo cute for a little (or big) girl’s bedroom …  love love love these!!

 

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Here’s another cute little project to try … I found this on http://www.frecklenest.typad.com if you want a little tutorial on how to do it … seems pretty doable …buy the hoop, buy the hoop …

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So that’s it for this week  … here are my two in their ‘pre – scratchness’ state … oh happy days …!

 

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Please feel free to comment or share any hoop art or ongoing projects you might have at the moment … love the inspiration … and sharing the idea wealth! 🙂

 

 

 

Bonjour Monsieur Norman …

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I speak of Harvey… the Norman kind of Harvey… “Harvey Norman” I hear you gasp!

I usually only visit Harvey Norman to get photos developed or buy a mattress and at that it’s an in and out job!

( Admittedly I may browse around the cooker departmentt… sad but true..I have cooker/oven envy..anyone who has seen ours will understand why!)

Anyway, a friend of mine text me a photo of some new furniture she’d seen in Harvey Norman and thought I’d like them. A few weeks later I happened to have an NCT test and was in and out very quickly ( an incredible event!) so I decided not to waste my precious time out alone and nipped in quickly to Harvey Norman next door to do a little self indulgent browsing.

note: I didn’t take any photos on my first visit but returned with my little man who features in a couple of pics below..I had no choice as he kept photo bombing! A lot of cajoling went on in order to get product shots on their own!

I couldn’t believe the changes since my last photo developing session! I picked up a catalogue at the entrance and on the front page were some fab chairs which I have been agonising over for months as to whether I buy for our own dining table!

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Whilst wandering through the shop I came across two lovely ladies putting up a very intricate display in a little nook … I asked one of the girls if there was a new buyer? Yes ME! She exclaimed.  Rachel McCann,  Buyer Co ordinator for Homeware and Accessories was very helpful in going through all the bits and pieces she was knee deep in. She kindly gave me her card when I asked about photos for my blog and told me that the chairs I was looking for would be in stock in a few weeks time.

The chairs are still on order in the Little Island Branch in Cork ( the Lovely Ann informed me today, so I will have to wait to see them in person )…I am not sure I would go for a uniform all one colour around the table but they could be fab as a pop of colour in a more eclectic style Dining setting …or as an occasional chair in a recreational room or bedroom …

The vibe was very industrial, current, quirky with beautiful home accessories, vases, lamps cushions furniture .. totally NOT what I expected to find in Harvey Norman. This yellow/mustard colour features a lot across the new Spring range … not everyone’s cup of tea I know …I am very partial to it myself but even if you’re not, there’s nothing like a pop of yellow or ochre in a room … it just makes you feel sunny!

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This gorgeous trinket box would be equally stunning in the livingroom, on a bedside locker or in the bathroom to hold jewellary … this is on my wishlist …love it …

 

IMG_4219I know I probably sound like I am gushing…but  Monsieur Norman definately took me by surprise and I felt that I could have easily bought home furnishing, accessories and gifts if I wanted to! I loved the quirky stationary and the fabulous garden/outdoor dining accessories. The new range called The Top Table which is aimed at targeting the Wedding market is full of simple and tasteful ideas for the bride to be to feast her eyes on !  I am definately eyeing up those lightbulb tea light holders for our apple trees come summer evenings!

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And here is my beautiful assistant! Throwing himself in front of every single thing I tried to photo! In fairness he was very patient so he deserves his place in front of some of the lovely new range of cushions and he manages to pull it off with his coordinated orange jacket to boot 🙂

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There is a fabulous Quirky, Gifty section with lots of lovely little notebooks, fabulous Bento boxes ( again on my wish list) mugs and novel bits and pieces very reasonably priced. Here’s a few examples below … they are really worth a little nose around…

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I wasn’t going to put this pic in of the lamp but I just couldn’t resist that beautiful face!! ( I am biased after all 🙂 )For such a shy boy at times … he doth loveth the camera!! Think he upstages the lamp but the base is really nice on this … kind of a morrocan vibe but blends in nicely to a more conventional classic decor aswell.

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Et Voila! … Those were just a few things that really caught my eye…and what can I say..if you don’t normally go into Harvey Norman… at least take a peek whilst you’re fretting over your nct or whilst waiting for your photos to be developed …  you might just be pleasantly surprised..:)

Merci beaucoup Monsieur Harvey Norman … I will be back!

ps. If you have stumbled on anything fabulous where you least expected it I’d love to know…or if you’ve been to Harvey Norman and had the same revelation as I had drop me a line in the comments below! I know that Jenna Crotty from the Homeware Huntress blog had an amazingly similar experience to mine!

Check her out at http://www.homewarehuntress.com She published her blogpost just before mine but I went ahead anyway … thus great minds must think alike is what I say!! … and am glad to spread the blog love 🙂