Iconic Lights and Grillo Designs: collaboration product launch night

Iconic Lights and Grillo Designs: collaboration product launch night

Not in a million years did I ever imagine that a day would come where I would be going to an invite-only exclusive launch event for a line of new interiors products! Never ever! When I set up my interiors account on Instagram last November, and then this blog a few months later, I did so for my own personal outlet and enjoyment. And yet, here I am, with thousands of followers, hundreds of unique visitors a month to my blog, and receiving party invites of this kind! I am one grateful girl.

The invite to the Iconic Lights and Grillo Designs event is the first invite of its kind I have ever received. The event was happening fairly locally to where I live, I am obviously a follower of Medina @ Grillo Designs on Instagram, and Iconic Lights and I had partnered before for a photo shoot opportunity, so all of those things combined to make me the lucky recipient of an invitation. Yippee!

So, a novice at this sort of thing, there then ensued several weeks of uncertainty over what to do and what would happen and I’m very happy to share with you the stupid reality of my experience, for your giggles if nothing else.

The Invite

One day I received a mysterious package in the post. I wasn’t too confused as my internet shopping addiction is well known and documented on Instagram, but I was still racking my brain trying to remember what I had ordered. On opening I found a lovely botanical themed invite and some beautiful little succulents.

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What I failed to realise is that the succulents and moss were intended to be put together into a glass container to create what is called a ‘terrarium’. This was a word which at the time I was completely unfamiliar with until several weeks down the line I saw people posting their own special deliveries on Instagram all styled up and beautiful…but by then it was too late for me: the moss was in the bin, and the succulents were in little pots on a shelf! Ha! #plantlady I am not!

The Build-up

There then ensued several weeks of Instagram stalking to see who else had received an invite and would be going to the event too. Guys, I’m talking interiors Instagram royalty here! Katie from @comedowntothewoods, Justin from @design_at_nineteen, Beth from @bethshehata, Louise from @home.of.four, Ellie from @e.t.shown_home…to name just a few! Eek! And here I am with my little account and my little blog and my tiny-human led home going to be mingling with design led interiors fashionistas!

This was also when I discovered my succulent faux pas, Justin I’m pointing at you here with your beautiful terrarium (there’s that word again). I remember walking into the hall and looking at my little succulents in their little plastic pots and thinking ‘Oooooooooo, that’s what I was suppose to do with the moss’, lol! I should also note that last week I managed to drop two of the succulents, smashing half of their beautiful little petally leaves off, so now I have wonky succulents in silly plastic pots, as if I couldn’t get any more useless!

The Wardrobe Issue

Every girl knows what it’s like trying to pick an outfit for anything…a date, an interview, a wedding, pretty much any event, ever. But, only a breastfeeding mama knows how it feels when you have humungous leaky boobs at the same time. Disaster! Although I wasn’t taking George with me, I did need to have access to the breast-area in order to express them off at some point in the night so they didn’t explode. So I needed to try and look sassy but not over-dressed, with easy access but not slutty, and accommodate the hot muggy weather even though it was also raining! What the hell?! How is this even possible?

I eventually settled on a canary yellow button up dress thinking it would be loose and baggy enough to feel cool despite the humidity. I could not have been more wrong.

Zara dress
Beautiful Zara Button Up Dress

The Wardrobe Issue Continued

My advice to you is never ever have a drastic haircut right before a big event. And that is all there is to be said on the hair issue!

Then there was the yellow dress issue. What a gorgeous dress, I mean look at it. However, what I didn’t realise was that it was made from a fabric that crushes really easily. Add in a delayed train journey, some torrential rain, a traffic jam that resulted in me needing to walk/run most of the way from the train station to the venue, and some hormonal sweats (yes, apparently that is an actual thing for breastfeeding mamas who don’t have their baby with them) and the dress turned into a sodden, wrinkled, limp mess! Disaster! I literally had to go to the toilet and take it off, hang it on the back of the cubicle door and let it dry off for a while as I expressed my sweat-causing boobs into a bottle. It is hands down one of the least elegant, unladylike, depressing things I have ever had to do. But a few proseccos later and I was able to openly laugh about it…my apologies to anyone at the event who really just didn’t want to know (Lee @ Iconic Lights, I am truly sorry).

The Event

Ok, so now that I have overshared quite sufficiently, how about the event itself? Wow! I don’t think I have been anywhere as cool as The Menagerie in Manchester.

 

Jasmine and the team from Iconic Lights had done an amazing job making this uber cool venue even more hip with their own additional decor, and of course, the products of the moment, the lights that we were there to celebrate the launch of.

Who even knew that Instagram selfie photo scenery even existed?! Ok, maybe some of you Instagram die hards did, but I didn’t! I wasn’t quite brave (or dry!) enough to get into the ball bath, but I did stand next to it trying to hide behind some beauties.

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From the front: Laura @lifeonjacklane, Frankie @luckyplot13, Lucy @_itslucy_, your truly, Amy @harrison_nate_and_me

Amy and Lucy were two of the first people I met, standing out in the street in the rain, looking rather lost and trying to work out where to go. They immediately took me under their wing and I was so grateful for the support given my embarrassed frantic state.

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The way Lucy and Amy looked after me is testament to how friendly and supportive the Instagram community is

And the product? Classically Iconic, the products are affordable, well made, modern pieces that can fit into a range of working homes. The range includes a pivoting desk lamp, a matching floor lamp (both available in both grey and black) and an amazing geometric ceiling pendant. They clearly display Medina’s practical style and reflect the functional artistic colour palette of her home. I would be happy and lucky to own one and am now surveying my house trying to work out where I can slide one in without my other half noticing. Although, even if he did notice, the cost is so purse friendly that I’m sure he wouldn’t mind at all!

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Iconic Forton Desk Lamp in Grey by Grillo Designs

I just want to take a moment to thank Medina and Jasmine, and all the team at Iconic Lights for inviting me to come along. I would also like to say a big thank you to the contributors to a gorgeous goody bag full of little lovelies which I had a rummage through on the way home. And lastly, I would like to say thanks to everyone from our Instagram community who made my night so much fun, it was so lovely to put names to faces.

Head to www.iconiclights.co.uk to see the full range of product in the Grillo Designs range and to read more about Medina and her vision for these products.

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Covering up your boiler to make your room feel more furnished

Covering up your boiler to make your room feel more furnished

We have the oldest, crankiest boiler in the world. But, for as long as it still heats our house safely and (fairly) effectively then I am happy to make do and mend until such time as we have the finances to afford to replace it. However, not only is the boiler old and cranky, it is also very ugly indeed. Years of age have stained it yellow and brown, it is covered in the old stubborn marks of stickers and labels that have decorated it over the years, and it really was such an eyesore in my lovely fresh utility room. So cover it I must!

The original utility room and its old stained boiler
The original utility room and its old stained boiler

I researched online for ideas on how to cover it and although I saw lots of great ideas involved blocking it in, using cool blackboard doors, and hiding it with kitchen cupboards, none of these were going to work for me because of the size, position and shape of the boiler. Where it is restricts me from using a cupboard style covering because we wouldn’t be able to access it for repairs and maintenance. So I came up with an alternative idea I thought would work wonders for us, and could do for you. And not only that, it was so cheap!!!

Shopping List

  • U or L shape shower curtain pole set. I got one from Dunelm Mill for around £15 that came with 3 rods, 2 corner inserts, 2 straight inserts, and 2 wall attachments. I can’t see it on their website (despite only getting it a few weeks ago) so I have used this image here from Argos instead where they are selling something very similar (but including a shower curtain too) for around £25. I would recommend trying out Home Bargains or B&M as I think this is exactly the sort of thing they would stock. For this project I used 2 rods, 1 corner insert and the 2 wall brackets.
    U Shaped Adaptable Shower Rail Set
    U Shaped Adaptable Shower Rail Set. For this project I used 2 poles, the wall brackets and one corner insert

     

  • 2 wall plugs and 3 screws. I used normal 5mm wall plugs rather than big heavy duty plasterboard ones because the weight of the pole is so very light. However, you should choose the wall plugs and screws that suit the wall you are hanging this on to.
  • One curtain to the width and length required. I got a dunelm curtain in the sale for £10. What a bargain! I bought a curtain in a nice light fabric so that heat from the boiler did not become trapped behind it. Also, the lighter the curtain, the less stress on the pole.

 

Equipment

  • Saw
  • Drill with suitable drill bit for the screws/wall plugs you are using
  • Measuring Tape
  • Pencil
  • Screwdriver (to fit the screws you have chosen to use)
  • Probably a step ladder if your boiler is wall mounted as high as mine

 

How To

  • Measure the width and depth of your boiler so you know how long to cut your poles down to. I needed one pole at 35cm, and one at 50cm. Remember to add on some breathing space so your curtain is not pulled tight against the boiler, I allowed for a few extra centimetres on each pole.

    Measuring up the boiler
    I measure out from the wall with the back door on it (31cm), and then out from the wall on the right (43cm)
  • Using the saw, cut the 2 poles to the required length. I cut mine to 35cm and 50cm. Then connect them using the corner shaped insert, and push the two wall brackets on to either end until you have a nice neat L-shaped pole.
  • Hold the pole up to the wall round the boiler and using your pencil, mark the points where your screws will go through. Each wall bracket on my pole had 3 screw holes, so I had 3 marks made on each wall.

    Marking your pilot holes
    I made 3 marks on each wall where the screws would go and used a 5mm drill bit to create pilot holes
  • Using the appropriate drill bit for your chosen screws and plugs, drill a pilot hole into the wall where you have made your marks.
  • Insert your wall plugs into the pilot holes.
  • Now, take the wall brackets back off your pole and screw the them into position.

    Brackets on the wall
    After I inserted the wall plugs into the pilot holes, I used my screwdriver to attach the wall brackets to the wall
  • Thread your curtain onto the pole (I used an eyelet curtain to save any faffing with pencil pleats and to avoid the need for curtain rings.)
  • Push your pole, holding the curtain, into the wall brackets.
Bye bye ugly boiler
I slid the curtain onto the pole, and pushed the curtain pole into the wall brackets

 

And, voila, all done! It looks so much better than before, don’t you think?!?!

Before and After:

 

 

Additional Note:

Not while hanging this curtain, but when I was hanging the door curtain, I drilled into the wall to make pilot holes for wall brackets and drilled straight into the electrics. Be careful! There will be a lot of plumbing and electrics around your boiler, especially if it is situated in a utility room or kitchen. We use a stud finder device we got on Amazon for around £20 to detect for electrics and pipes etc before we drill any holes in the wall now. I’m not convinced it is 100% accurate, but I do think it is better than using nothing at all!

For this project:

Our stud finder detected something behind the wall to the left of the boiler, so we used no more nails and glued a block of wood to the wall into which we then made our pilot holes and attached our curtain pole. Just sand the wood down on each side, paint it on the visible sides the same colour as your walls, and then glue into place following the product instructions. Ensure your screws are long enough to go through the block of wood and just into the wall but not all the way through the plasterboard. Arguably its not as neat as going straight into the wall itself, but the curtain covers it up anyway, and its a whole lot safer than burning your house down or electrocuting yourself!

Prepping your woodwork: my 5 top tips

Prepping your woodwork: my 5 top tips

Painting woodwork is the arsiest of all home décor tasks. There’s just so much of it…and it has all those little nooks and crannies and moulded bits…and you need to worry about paint spreading in multiple directions…down on to your flooring, up on to your walls, over onto your plug points and handles! What a headache.

However, it goes without saying that refreshing your woodwork is so worth it afterwards because what a difference it makes to the look and feel of a room.

When we moved in to our house in November we knew we would have so much woodwork to do…basically all of it. Our previous owners had not only not kept on top of their woodwork, they had also painted it gloss magnolia at some point in the distant past, magnolia which has stained even yellower over time. Gross.

So far, the only woodwork I have done has been in the utility room and in the new bedroom…which I am yet to reveal…however, just because you are special I will share with you now my top tips for managing your woodwork upgrade before I share the overall room with you.

  1. Use an electric sander

This is especially true if, like us, you have more than one door in your room. We had 4: entry, en suite, 2 x wardrobe doors. Or, if like us, you know that this is not the only room you’re going to tackle. You can pick these up fairly cheap and use with a medium grain sandpaper when removing top shine from glossed woodwork. It took us about 3 hours to do the whole room and all hovering etc afterwards using an electric sander. It doesn’t quite manage the most detailed and moulded of skirting boards, but those bits you can just go over manually.

Sanded Woodwork
I used an electric sander to take the sheen and grime off of the woodwork which was painted in gloss magnolia

 

2. Sand, but don’t worry about revealing the true wood underneath

If you are going to paint your wood again, this is true. However, obviously if you want natural wood skirting boards then ignore this tip. Most importantly you want to remove the top shine and grime from your woodwork so your new paint can stick to it. Do not underestimate the importance of sanding your woodwork. I forgot to sand one of the doors in the utility and paint just would not stick to it at all. I ended up having to give the door 4 coats!! The best way to know you’ve sanded enough is to use your fingers to touch the surface, if it feels slick then it needs a further wee rub, if it feels slightly rough or textured, then you’re good to go.

One coat of paint
Left door has had one coat of satinwood following sanding. Right door has just been sanded. There is already a massive difference.

 

3. Use polythene dust sheets in your wardrobes

That dust gets everywhere, and don’t assume otherwise! Our wardrobes are fitted and the doors are stiff and tight and nearly impossible to open, and yet that dust managed to seep through crevices and work its way all over the contents of the wardrobe. Damon bought a roll of polythene sheeting and I should have pulled off  a length and draped it over the clothing inside the wardrobe. Learn from my mistake people! Protect your threads!

4. Use Frog Tape

I pride myself on being a good ‘cutter inner’. I have an innate ability to draw straight lines and find it therapeutic to cut in and paint straight lines with clean white satinwood. However, because I am pregnant and was struggling on my hands and knees to get the woodwork done comfortably, I decided to use frog tape for the first time and ever. Oh holy moly. Why oh why have I never used this stuff before?! I know people go on about how good it is, but I honestly never thought that would apply to me and my OCD straight line painting. It does! No straight line is as crisp as a frog tape straight line. Get all over it people! And, it is soooooo much faster if you take the time to frog tape your carpet too because then you just whack the paint on willy nilly without needing to be cautious on either side of your skirting boards. Frog tape = time saving = more time for tea and cake when painting is done! 🙂

Frog Tape for woodwork
Frog Tape, even for a good ‘cutter inner’ like me, is an absolute saviour!!!

5. Daylight Bulbs

I cannot underplay this tip…it might come last on my list but only because I want to go out with a flash…of daylight! If, like me, you have a job, or children, then you find yourself using your precious evenings and nights to do these painting jobs in the house. Cue winter woes, when the light starts to fail at 3pm in the afternoon and you can’t even see what you are doing. I bought some daylight bulbs from Wilko’s, removed the lampshades from the lamps and hey presto, its like painting in the sunshine except without the overbearing heat. This is invaluable for ensuring you have a good even coverage on your first coat, because get that right and only 2 coats should be needed, saving you time and money on that oh so expensive paint. Would you believe that this photo was taken by the light of a daylight bulb and not natural daylight itself?

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Fresh clean woodwork makes all the difference to a decorated room

 

 

 

 

Removing a radiator from the wall to decorate behind it: easy peasy instructions

Removing a radiator from the wall to decorate behind it: easy peasy instructions

I don’t want anybody thinking that I am such an OCD painter that I take radiators off of walls willy nilly to paint behind them, every time I decorate. I only do it when it’s completely necessary. In this case, I was starting to upgrade the utility room and discovered that the previous owners had painted straight onto plasterboard which was causing all of the paint work to peel off in strips. It was peeling down behind the radiator too and I knew I was going to have to remove it in order to prep the walls adequately before painting them again.

I should say from the beginning that I am not a trained plumber…in fact, I am not any kind of plumber…and therefore anything I share here today is not reviewed or confirmed by someone who knows better than me. However, what I can say is that when I watched video tutorials online on how to do this before trying for myself, they were all done by tradesmen called things like ‘Steve’ wearing tool belts round their waists and using terms like ‘ratchet wrench’ and ‘lockshield valve’, none of which made me feel remotely confident about being able to achieve this all by myself. So, I wanted to write this content up because if I could do this, then really anybody can. I have roped my Damon in to help me take some photos so you might see some ‘man hands’ in the photos at some points. And, one of the nuts was so tight I just couldn’t manage it by myself, neither of us could, so at one point Damon had to hold a pipe steady while I put my body weight behind a wrench. But that’s the only time I had assistance.

  1. Turn off the valves going into and out of your radiator. We don’t have thermostatic valves, so for us this meant pulling off the white cap from the valve:IMG_20180121_094144.jpgand then using a pair of pliers turned the valve clockwise until it won’t turn any more which indicates it is turned off.IMG_20180121_094128
  2. Once both valves are off there will be no more water entering or leaving the radiator, however, the radiator will still have water inside it and this will need drained out before you lift it clean off the wall. You need to pop a pot or tub underneath the valve on each side of the radiator because once you start to loosen the nuts water can start dripping immediately.
  3. Then you can start to loosen the nuts that connect the radiator to the pipes:IMG_20180121_094229Look how old and dusty and horrible these are…it was no wonder I couldn’t turn this with the strength of only one person, but hopefully yours aren’t so ancient. We used an adjustable spanner, which is the kind with a little roller on it to make the spanner size bigger or smaller depending on the size of your nut, to place round the nut.IMG_20180121_094253 (*by the way, I found out this was called a union nut…the one between the feeder pipe and your radiator*).
  4. You also need a tool to hold on to the vertical pipe at the same time as you try to loosen the nut…if you storm ahead and start trying to loosen the nut with the spanner without applying counter pressure, you run the risk of damaging the feeder pipe. I used a grip wrench which is like an extra strong wrench designed to grip onto things and keep them held still…it has a handle on it that clicks into place to hold something tight:IMG_20180121_094320
  5. Once these are in place, hold onto the gripping wrench (or your chosen tool) to keep the feeder pipe nice and steady and to loosen the nut on the inlet side of your radiator, turn the nut down towards the floor. To loosen the nut at the other side of the radiator pull your nut up towards the ceiling.
  6. When the nut gives, you can down tools and just use your fingers to loosen it the rest of the way. Water may start to leak and drip immediately, but if it doesn’t don’t be tempted to pull the radiator to the side to start releasing it, it may well gush and spit everywhere.IMG_20180121_143339 Instead use a radiator key to open the valve at the top of the radiator and allow some air into the system.IMG_20180121_100226As soon as air gets into the radiator, the flow of it will push out the water at the bottom and you will notice your bowl/pot start to fill up much faster.
  7.  Once the water stops dripping, repeat the process at the other side of the radiator. There will likely be hardly any water at this side because most will have drained already.IMG_20180121_100251
  8. And, you’re basically done. Make sure both nuts are fully loosened and detached from the piping and then you can lift your radiator off the brackets. Be careful!! Because even if you use radiator inhibitor, there will almost certainly still be some horrid black gunge at the bottom of the radiator which hasn’t drained out. Tilt the radiator slightly over one of the bowls/tubs/pots and allow the last of the watery content from inside to come out before setting aside.

How to create your own copper detail shelving

How to create your own copper detail shelving

When we moved in to our house, the previous owners did as most sellers do and left us some little bits and pieces that they didn’t want to take with them to their new home. These included some lush UV-marked curtains covered in cat hair, some desirable ‘doctors surgery blue’ vertical blinds, and some instaworthy pine shelves with splinter-giving brackets. We were such lucky lucky buyers.

The shelves were still hung for us all over one wall of what is now Evie’s room, there were about 8 of them hung one above the other and all different distances apart, I can only imagine this was a deliberate interior design move to create some visual interest on what was otherwise a bland blue wall. Interestingly enough, the doctors surgery blue vertical blinds weren’t in the doctors surgery blue room…the room instead had the wine red cat hair curtains in it.

Anyway, the point is, we took all the shelving down to get Evie’s room done and I decided that in order to try and save a few bob in this massive money pit of a house I would upcycle the pine into something I could use elsewhere in the house. I wanted some shelves in the dining room, and so the copper leaf idea was born. All the items I got for the shelf cost about £12 because I already had paint brushed and some things around the house. 8 copper shelves for £12 isn’t bad, is it?!

Shopping list

  • old, crappy, basic wooden shelf of your choosing
  • white chalk paint (I already had Rustoleum chalk white paint in the house so I just used this. I reckon you could use any paint suitable for wood surfaces though)

    Rustoleum Chalk Paint in Chalk White
    Rustoleum Chalk Paint in Chalk White
  • Sandpaper (I used fine sandpaper)
  • Size (I discovered that this is the name given to the special glue that is used for doing leafing.) I used Windsor & Newton Japan Gold Size, an oil based adhesive that I was able to get cheap on Amazon Prime.

    Japan Gold
    Japan Gold size, specially formulated for copper/gold leafing
  • Copper leaf. I used a copper effect leaf as opposed to real copper. The argument is that real copper has more lustre, but I think my faux stuff looks wonderfully lustrous. It cost me about £3 from Amazon prime again.
  • A leafing brush…surprise surprise also from Amazon Prime.

    Leafing brush
    Leafing brush, a few pounds from Amazon
  • A small thin paint brush for applying the size
  • A larger paint brush for applying your paint
  • You might want to consider using an old dust sheet too because the copper leaf remnants do go everywhere. I was a wild child and didn’t bother for the leafing part and relied on my trusty Vax instead, but I did put something down to protect the carpet while painting.

Instructions

  • Sand your shelf and brackets all over. I always wondered what the point was with this, but have ultimately discovered that its kind of like when you get your gel nail polish done…the base needs prepped and all oils, shininess and stains removed so that the paint sticks better. It also removes any scabby bits that can cause splinters.

    Sand your shelf
    Sand your shelf so the surface is prepped for painting
  • Paint your shelf and brackets with your chosen paint. I did three coats on the shelf and only 2 on the brackets…god knows why the brackets needed less, but it worked for me. I wanted a more ‘shabby’ finish so I used a paint brush for everything, but if you want your shelf paint finish to be really smooth then use a small roller on the large flat bits.

    Paint your shelf
    I painted my shelf with Rustoleum chalk paint
  • I wanted a very random and uneven finish from my copper leaf as opposed to a straight parallel stripe, so I will explain how I applied my size (glue, remember?!) to achieve that look. If you want a crisper edge then I would recommend marking your area to be leafed with frog tape. That stuff is heaven sent.
  • Using your small paint brush, apply a generous layer of size all down the middle of the shelf. Then simply squiggle your brush back and forth over that stripe to drag the glue out on each side in a very random wishy washy pattern. The glue will taper out towards the edges and be uneven and thinner in places, but this is good as it will add to the shabbiness of the finished look.
    Apply Japan Gold size
    Use small paint brush to apply generous stripe of size

    Uneven application of size
    You can see the unevenness of the size application at the edges
  • Japan Gold size is tacky and ready to apply leaf to within 20 mins. Use your knuckle to press lightly on the sized area. If it makes a little clicky sound when you lift it off it is ready to apply your leaf, if it is still wet and smooth to the touch it needs a bit longer to get sticky. You only have 30 minutes maximum to work with it before it dries fully, so move fast as soon as you know your shelf is tacky enough to go.
  • Then, apply your sheets of copper leaf along the glued area. They will need to overlap slightly so you don’t miss any glued bits out. Don’t worry if they get a bit folded and crumpled, this is what we want.

    Copper leaf application
    Apply sheets of copper leaf all over the glued area, overlapping them slightly
  • Once the glued area is all covered, use your soft brush to brush down the leaf, sticking it firmly to all tacky areas. There will be lots of bits that don’t stick because the glue isn’t on that bit of the shelf, as you brush over these areas the leaf will lift off and disperse, eventually making a big fat mess of your carpet (enter, the Vax!)
Brush down the leaf
Once you brush the leaf down, it will remain stuck to the areas with glue and will brush off the rest of the shelf
  • Then, all you need to do is flip the shelf over and do the same thing on the bottom. After all, once your shelf is hung it is as likely that you will be able to see the bottom of it as the top.
  • You can choose to seal your shelf with either an easy spray sealer, or by applying Japan Gold all over the leafed bit again. I decided not to because I want to shabbiness to continue and if little bits of leaf wear off this can only be a good thing.

Finished Shelf

Copper Shelf
Finished copper shelf

How to hang THAT mirror from The Range

How to hang THAT mirror from The Range

I think what the title of this post should be is ‘how to hang THAT mirror from The Range (you know, that ginormous ridiculously heavy one?!) when you have crappy plasterboard walls’ but that seemed too long to be reasonable!

I’m sure any interior junkie will know exactly what mirror I am talking about, but, in case you don’t follow every interiors account worth following on Instagram, then basically I am referring to a large arched window mirror from The Range home shop made from ivory painted metal, see pic below…

The Range Mirror
Ivory Metal Window Mirror from The Range

Hanging this mirror is no small task…it measures 115cm (h) by 85cm (w), and weighs in at a whopping 12kg (roughly…I used my bathroom scales to weigh it and I tell myself every day that they are wrong. VERY WRONG. VERY REGULARLY.) Not only that, but it wasn’t until I actually went to hang it yesterday that I realised there is only one fixation point on the back of the mirror, in the middle at the very top of the arch. Yes, my friends, you read that right, ONE fixation point for this humungous 12kg metal mirror.

So, how did I do it? I’m not going to lie, the final hanging of above gigantuan mirror was only achieved after multiple mega bitch fits, documented through the whatsapp videos I sent my other half during the ordeal for him to view while he sat relaxing round a table at his friend’s house playing games and having lots of fun and banter. I say that as if I was annoyed at him for not being there to help me during my crisis, and yes, I was. However I would have been equally annoyed if he was actually at home to offer a hand because the feminist sirens would have been alerting inside my brain complaining about how having ovaries does not mean I am incapable of hanging a mirror on my own. Even though this is no ordinary mirror. Irrational? Maybe. The point is, I did it. I hung that mirror with zero assistance from anyone except the inner sane not-pregnant version of me who was responsible for ensuring I didn’t fling the hunk of junk down the stairs mid bitch fit number 3.

So, I repeat, how did I do it?

First of all, ignore your boyfriend’s advice to hang it from hooks/fixings/nails fitted into the studs of the wall and trust your own instinct. Honestly, he even went to the extent of buying a stud finder. I used the stud finder to find the studs, mark my points for fixings, and then tried to drill in to said stud and the below happened…

IMG-20180106-WA0015

Go back to your own plan, which was pretty flawless to begin with and just stick to that. If you don’t you will end up with multiple unnecessary holes in your wall. Trust me. My plan was to use the surface of a chest/shelf below the mirror to help support the weight and to use the wall plugs and wall fixings to offer additional support and balance. Perfect plan. So I have the IKEA Hemnes Shoe Cabinet for our hallway, but any chest of drawers or shelf, as long as it is anchored to the wall with the help of some plugs and screws, would work just fine.

Measure from the bottom of the mirror to the bottom of the horizontal bar running along the back of the mirror. It measured 57cm exactly on mine so I’m guessing will be the same on yours. Then measure from the top surface of your chest/shelf 57cm up the wall and make a mark. I did this twice, about 30cm to each side of centre. But if you wanted to be extra careful, you could do it 3 times: centre, 30cm to the left and 30cm to the right.

Measuring the height of the fixing points
The fixings needed to go 57cm on the wall

Use an 8mm drill bit to drill a pilot hole into the plasterboard where you’ve made your marks. If you have different colours of drill bit, use the black ones, they’re the strongest.

Buy some heavy duty plasterboard wall plugs. These are kind of like big fat wall plugs with wings on the side of them. Once they are in place the wings “spread out” on the back of the plasterboard wall to stop the plug ever slipping out. Hammer these wall plugs into the pilot holes you’ve made with the 8mm drill bit.

Heavy Duty Plasterboard Wall Plugs
Heavy Duty Plasterboard Wall Plugs

I used 5mm screws and screwed them in to the wall plugs. The screws were the same length as the wall plugs so that when I screwed them in they didn’t quite go all the way and had about 5mm left sticking out from the plug. Then I hung my mirror by hanging the horizontal bar on the back of the mirror on to the two screws and resting the base of the mirror on the shelf of the Hemnes chest.

The Range Mirror on Hemnes Cabinet
The Range mirror rests on the Hemnes shelf

Ta daaaaaa! Owned it. #gettingmydrillon

You’re going to need to ignore the decor in these pictures. Clearly it’s not of my own design. I had ripped a squinty dado rail off the wall earlier that day to discover a lovely glue-stained blue stripe underneath.

Nice.

 

Bringing The Outside In This Christmas

Bringing The Outside In This Christmas

I find it incredibly difficult to decorate my home at Christmas time because basically anything that twinkles, glitters and decorates otherwise bland surfaces is attractive to me, so how am I meant to choose between all of the options on store shelves? There’s just so much variety…colour, style, raw materials…that narrowing options is tough. Therefore, I have ended up with the exactly the same Christmas tree and baubles year after year to save me the headache of my indecisiveness.

This year however, I have decided to embrace the change. A little bit at least. It all started with my visit to a gorgeous website by @floandcointeriors which I discovered via Instagram a few months ago. They stock a wide range of things for the home, but my order consisted of some decorative stars, a lantern, and the most gorgeous hanging wreath. Originally I thought I would hang the wreath all year round, and maybe I will, however, it will start its life of decoration servitude when I hang it for this year’s Christmas.

IMG_20171205_091730-03.jpg
@floandcointeriors Barn Star and Willow Star

The wreath I selected is a beautiful rustic product made with intertwined twigs and decorated with just a hint of sparkle, some pine cones and star decoupage. When I received it I couldn’t believe how much lovelier it was in real life compared to the photo too. I am one happy customer! So I decided to make my amazing new wreath the centre of my Christmas decoration theme for this year which will be to bring the outside in and keep my decor to rustic, natural materials with muted earthy tones and lots of green.

Garland – I have bought a pine needle garland from an online supplier DIY Direct. I couldn’t believe the price of the product, at only roughly £5 for 2.5metres of garland, I bought two which hook together and make one longer piece.

Eucalyptus – I have bought some faux eucalyptus in both green long stems (from a garden centre), frosted green plant (From The Range) and gold glitter (from Amazon). I will use some fairy lights in the frosted green plant to Christmas-y it up a bit, and the gold sparkled eucalyptus I will use in the garland to break up the green and the pine needle texture.

Pine Cones – I know this might sound silly, but these just make me think of Scotland. My wreath has some glittered pine cones woven into its twigs for added dimension and interest. I have decided to take this theme onto the Christmas dinner table by using pine cone name place holders like the ones from @somethingbluebyzara on Etsy.

Rustic Shimmer Heart Wreath
@floandcointerior Rustic Shimmer Heart Wreath

Trees – Of course it goes without saying that you will likely have a large Christmas tree in your home during the festive season, but I love the idea of having some mini table top trees like these little beauties from Lights for Fun which would carry forward the outdoors-in theme alongside the pine cone name place holders really well.

Twigs – Last but not least, in between my cute table top trees, I would like to add some empty glass jars (Which I always seem to be throwing out unnecessarily) very simply filled with some woodland walk items like pine cone twigs and sprays, and some simple battery operated string lights. Rustic, inexpensive, and unique.

How to incorporate pom poms into your interior decor

How to incorporate pom poms into your interior decor

One of the best things about creating my home Instagram account for Behind Door 28 is the number of small businesses I have had the pleasure of interacting with since. I would never have found these businesses and their amazing products if it wasn’t for Instagram so there really is something to be said about the power of social media for independent business owners.

I have developed a bit of a thing for the good old pom pom in recent months, which probably started with the gladiator sandals that hit the high streets in the summer displaying poms and tassels across their straps and ties. Everywhere from Boden to DLSB to Asos was stocking sandals of that kind and I spent so long trying to pick the perfect pair that I ended up missing out on all of them because they sold out so fast.

So, when it came to buying some pretty little pom poms for my home and interior decor, I wasn’t going to be caught out by the same trap. Instagram has been the biggest source of inspiration for ideas on how to include pom poms into my interior decor.

Cushions

There are so many places you can use cushions in your home: there’s the obvious sofas, armchairs and bed, right through to floor cushions, kitchen/dining chairs, snugs, window seats, occasional chairs, etc. And the cushion is the perfect platform to display some cute little pom poms. I got some gorgeous pom trimmed cushions from the lovely Judy @frenchgreylifestyle. They come in a couple of different colours and are feather filled rather than foam filled which makes them so soft and comfortable for leaning in to.

I also found some cushions with larger poms sewn onto the front face of the cushion from @maisonbyemmajane which are great for a more dramatic and textured display, but not so much for sitting on. The plan for my pom pom cushions was to use them on the sofa in the living room so I wanted them to be super comfy and therefore a trim was a better option for me. But why not try the bigger front faced pom pom cushions if you’re not planning on sitting down on them?

Blankets and Throws

To supplement the cushions, my house is full of lots of blankets and throws. At first I draped them over the back of the sofa to protect the furniture from the effect daylight can have on fading colour. This also helps to protect your paintwork if the sofa is pushed up against a wall. However, to save me having to move them and rearrange them all the time whenever I wanted to have a snuggle under the covers (!!!) I have started storing some blankets in baskets next to the sofas for me to pull out and use for warmth on a chilly winter evening.

I’ve got two pom pom trimmed blankets, one from @marksandspencer and one from @nextofficial which add warmth, cosiness and texture to the room. Evie also loves to play with the poms which is so cute.

Pom Garland

I saw these on another Instagram account where the girl in question had used simple strings of poms to hang from her daughter’s bedroom shelving and walls for texture and decoration. To be honest, they look quite easy to make yourself using materials sourced from ebay or amazon (See this blog www.pennypothome.wordpress.com for a DIY tutorial on how to make one with fluffy pom poms), however, for the price of a finished good you could also buy some finished pieces for more ease and speed. Try @meandmoo and @thelemonbutton for example for finished goods made from lovely firm felt pom poms, which personally I prefer to the fluffier kind. Both of these, and many more, pom pom garland makers are available to find on Etsy or Instagram just by typing in ‘pom pom garland’.

String Lights

Strictly speaking these are not ‘pom pom original’, but given that they are spherical and similar in size, style and utilisation in an interior space, I am including the string light garland to the mix.

I have been in love with @cableandcotton products for months now…another amazing Instagram find. I particularly love Cable and Cotton because you can design your own string lights by requirement: battery or plug, USB or three prong, 30 balls or 20? What colours would you like…because they have about 50 to choose from!! The choices are endless…but if choice is not your thing, don’t worry as they have standard sets available to purchase too. I would strongly recommend you check them out. Also, if you sign up to their newsletter you receive 10% off your first order…go pom pom sphere string light crazy!

Mobile

What is cuter than seeing a handmade pom pom mobile hanging over your baby’s cot? And how original compared to some of the ‘normal’ products you can buy off of the shop shelf in the high street! Once again Instagram has inspired me and I will definitely be buying a pom pom mobile for the next baby’s bedroom, whenever that may come along. I wish I had seen them before Evie was born…although we did make a home-made mobile for Evie with non-other than pom pom trimming on it, so I can’t complain too bitterly 😊 I think the range of colours, sixes and textures of a pom pom mobile would be fantastic for baby’s sensory development.

Try @myprettylittlenursery for a UK based manufacturer, however pom pom mobiles are the hand-crafted beauties of New Zealand and Australia mainly so you may need to consider a more far-reaching location if this is something you want to have lots of choice in.

Other

Other fantastic little finds for pom pom accessories for the home include:

  • Pom pom trimmed baskets: amazing for storage solutions, especially if hung from a hook or shelf in your hallway (see @roseandgreyinteriors online shop via their gorgeous Instagram feed)
  • Pom pom rugs: yes, you read that right…head over to Pinterest for some DIY examples on how to make a little pom pom rug to step onto in the morning when you get out of bed…cozy!
  • Pom pom trim placemats and table runners: these are so easy to do yourself by buying some simple fabric placemats and pom pom trim from a haberdashery store and running the trim along the edge of your mats. No sewing machine or advanced sewing skill necessary!
  • Pom pom wreath: in time for Christmas coming up, why not adorn your traditional Christmas door wreath with some additional pom poms, or better yet go completely new and have something different that your neighbours will really take notice of?