Before and after: our bureau

This is possibly more accurately called a chest of drawers, but since it lives in our living room and because we are tres chic and all that, we call it a bureau. Well, that’s not the real reason. It’s really so we can call it the Bureau of Stats and laugh every time we say it. I know, we’re a regular old comedy club around here.

Anyway, it didn’t matter what we called it because it was ugly as an old bone. Especially so covered with the remnants of failed attempts to keep children out of it.

We bought it back in our impoverished just post-uni days from a place called “24/7 Pine” or something ace like that and at the time I thought it was very lovely and natural and woody.  In  an added bonus, it matched our wardrobe, bedside drawers and big brown bed head. Ahhh, the early 2000s: time of poorly stained pine. How I do not miss thee.

I almost chickened out and went with a light tan colour called “Palomino” (not least because if I ever own a horse it will be a Palomino with a white star on its forehead and I shall call him Moonlight) but after consulting my very stylish sister-in-law she convinced me to follow my heart.

And so I give you the after:

I am SO glad I listened to my sister. Every time I walk past this now I have a little internal “yay”. I just love how it turned out. It’s smack bang in the middle of our living space and really brings lightness to the whole area.

I am a little bit obsessed with painting things. What about you. Have you ever painted anything a colour you thought was slightly brave and loved it? If I were really brave I would do this.

Before and after: our bedroom


So, we had two not-very-good paintings of Rome and two Ikea side-tables and lamps. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE IKEA but those lamps? Loved them for the first day, hated them from the second.

I wanted to make a big change in our bedroom, a place that is (almost) wholly and solely for us. In the sense that our guests don’t tend to congregate on our bed, but rather in the living room. So I felt I could be bolder with this space, safe in the knowledge that whatever I did could be kept a secret if it all went pear-shaped.

So I give you the after (which, in my view at least, worked out very well):

I KNOW!  Are you surprised? Or is it not quite as OTT as I think it is. Really, the only daring bit is the painting.

I’ve had two distinct reactions to that painting. The first: LOVE it. The second: HATE  it but trained in the social arts so will say something  acceptable yet damning in its faint praise like “Gee, it’s big”.

Here’s a trap for young players. If you use heavy-duty, double-sided sticky tape to secure your painting to the wall, it will fall. I don’t care if the box it comes in says it will hold a 50 kilogram mirror. It won’t. If you choose not to heed my advice I do hope yours falls, as ours did, during the day when no one is actually in bed.

For the second hanging ( which is like the second coming only not as exciting) we drilled that sucker into the wall using silver corner brackets.

I really like the industrial look that they gave it. And then of course there’s the added bonus of being able to sleep without fearing for my life.

Also, the photos above REALLY distort the bedhead. It’s actually very uniform. I’m not joking when I tell you staring at that finely striped fabric while I stapled it on actually made me nauseated. But then again, I get nauseated during 3D movies so no surprises there really. Anway, here’s a better pic.

I actually made the upholstered bed head (and, truth be told, got the “new” couch from my earlier post) half way through last year. So really, these transformations aren’t that new. But I only got around to doing the painting a few weeks ago. So it all feels new again.

I made the large cushion covers using a tutorial that has now disappeared from the interwebs but I found this tutorial for you which looks good too. Quick and easy and immensely satisfying.

Only thing is, I’ve never been entirely happy with them.

Before I hung the painting, I loved the orange and blue colour scheme but once I put them against the bed head I’ve just always felt their pattern was too small and busy against those narrow stripes. Since I’ve hung the pic, I now also feel the colours are too matchy matchy. The little pillow at the front, however, is staying. I made that using some vintage fabric from my friend’s mother’s stash and so as well as being a little bit cute it has sentimental value too.

So there are new cushion covers on my horizon. I’m on the hunt for the perfect fabric. And I have plans for a couple of other bits and pieces for our bedroom walls as my handsome husband objects to the doily on the right-hand wall – even if it was one of Betty’s. And I quote “Who hangs a f#*$ing doily on a wall?” But more on those projects to come.

Speaking of the bed head, here’s another tip for young players: don’t try to load your staple gun while peering down the barrel of the spring-loaded staple chamber bit.  Because if your finger slips and aforesaid springy bit comes flying up, it will hit you in the face like a five iron at close range and you will get a fat lip. And come very close to if not actually lose a tooth. Yes my friends, I did sustain a fat lip in the course of decorating our bedroom. And no, you may not see a photo.

I have a question for you: would you enjoy tutorials for how to make my padded fabric bed head (it’s super easy provided you treat your stapler with respect) and my painting (also super easy)? The beauty of both these projects is how customisable they are. If anyone is interested, I am happy to do so.

A couple of other little things. A few people asked where I got the pens the kids used to decorate the biscuits in my last post . My gorgeous sister-in-law actually sent me mine from America. But if you google “food pens” there are suppliers here too. Another lovely reader asked about photos of the original Easter Bonnet in all its tear-inducing Gaga glory. I’m afraid, though, that I can’t provide any as I forgot to take any before I deGaga-ed (yep, that is definitely a word despite the fact my spell checker has put a red line beneath it) it in order to create the toned-down, socially acceptable version. I’m kicking myself for not getting Gaga-ed pics but then again the child was quite distressed and so if I had got photos I might be kicking myself for being a bad mother. It’s a fine balance that: capture craft madness v scar kids for life. I think I got it right in this instance, though.

Finally, my lovely, lovely readers, I hope the bunny delivers the goods (whatever they may be) to each and every one of you. I wish you all a very:

And if you don’t believe me, pop back up to the close-up picture of the fan on our bed and see if you can spot the little creature to my right (your left). Yep, he hopped past just as I took that shot.

Before and after: the couch

One day I just snapped. Despite having agreed that replacing the couch while the kids were still young was sheer folly, I no longer cared.

I mean, seriously, look at it:

Lest you think we sit on our couch on the front porch, hillbilly-style, I should explain that this is a hastily snapped “before” shot taken at the very last minute.

Unfortunately you really can’t see the true extent of the damage that 10 years of large black dogs (an actual Rottweiler, not depression) grubby hands and drunken guests have wreaked upon its pale hide. At least that massive red splash (which I hope is red wine but can’t be sure) down the closest side does give you a small taste of it.

One trip to IKEA later and we had ourselves this:

It’s a little hard to see, but it’s actually L-shaped which works really well in our small space. Even better, it has a pull out trundle-bed thingy that pops up and makes it into a double bed. AND it has a large storage drawer underneath. I know, I know, it’s basically the holy grail of couches.

The gorgeous cable  knit cushions I had made by the absolutely lovely Tanya of Strikk on Etsy. LOVE her stuff. And they are every bit as cosy and delicious as they look.

I made the other cushions using some of my precious Florence Broadhurst fabric (that I mentioned in this post). I decided to really take my time with them rather than my usual cowboy approach and was pleased with the result. I even put in invisible  zips by following this fanstastic tutorial.

I do loves me my Flo Bro.

The final touch was this wonderful cushion.

Do you love him or think he’s strange? I adore him. Look at his broidsed spout and little gold tooth. He came from another Etsy seller alison alison. I want one of her elephant cushions too.

Already our new couch is decorated with stains and smudges and general evidence of life. But I try to ignore it. After all, evidence of life is always a good thing. Especially considering the alternative.