Living room makeover – painting update

At long last, our canvas is at peace. After my previous attempt, I knew exactly how I wanted to paint it, and finally finished it late last night.

I’ve really enjoyed uncomplicated artwork as of late, so I thought why not magic some up for myself. I wanted it to pop, for it to remain monochromatic, and something artsy fartsy yet simple going on in the middle. I also chose to hang it up compared to it previously sitting on our shelf, which I think has made a huge difference. 

At the moment I’m conscious of it looking a bit pretentious. But I’m really, really happy with it this time around, so that’s trumping my hesitations. 

And below, the ‘work’ I had done on it previously. I felt a whole mess of guilt painting over it at first thanks to your incredibly sweet and thoughtful comments, but for me, it’s previous state made me want to barf a little I felt wasn’t to its full potential. 

I finished painting late last night, and when husband saw it this morning all I heard was “Woah. That looks a lot better” from down the hallway. Happy face.

I hope you guys had a relaxing and / or refreshing weekend! It’ll be Mothers Day on Sunday here in Ireland so I’m determined for no last minute malarky this year. I have a couple tricks up my sleeve … 

xx A

That’s just like, your opinion, man

I’ll start off by stating that we are a household of regular Dude references. When it came to making something for fiance for his birthday last week, I knew I wanted to make a pop-culture/cult reference. For fiance, that would be either Star Wars, Call of Duty/Battlefield, or The Big Lebowski.

While scrawling through Honestly WTF a couple weeks back, and saw this post about the seriously talented Mark Hall-Patch and his watercolours, where he delicately paints and draws clothing. There was one particular cardigan that immediately reminded me of the Dude’s cardigan from The Big Lebowski, also known as a Pendleton Cowichan Cardigan, and I knew I had to make a Mark Hall-Patch-inspired version for fiance.
I drew up an image of the Dude’s cardigan, and for the first time in eight years, I used watercolours. A little scary, but watercolours are quite safe and very forgiving, luckily for me. I’m not madly in love with the final piece {it’s a little cartoony, I could have chosen better paper, and I should have spent more time on it; the ush}, but those with a keen movie interest shouldn’t have too much trouble deciphering it. I hope.

Image 2 image cred!

After and before – beef up your bookcase

The key to a good before and after is to have a really shitty ‘before’ picture. This works wonders and will exponentially boost your ‘after’ picture. Just sayin’.
We have a large IKEA shelving unit in our living room. I really like it, but it took some time for me to get it looking just right. Up front, my key pieces of advice are – less is more and patience. I’ve been working on our shelves, one display idea at a time, since August. Yes, I’ve been whittling away for almost 5 months. But patience is a virtue.

As I’ve mentioned before, our living room is quite dark. When we first moved in, I had a knot in my knickers to repaint the sterile white walls a deeper color. But it wasn’t long before this icky colour it was killing my eyes. So, after careful consideration, a new colour was chosen. Which makes my before and after look even better. As you can see, my shelves were previously a shower of shit; there was no order, and it drove me crazy. So over the past while, I’ve come up with some little display tips and ideas.

1. Pick a colour – don’t be afraid to choose a colour you’re into at the moment, and add little pops of it here and there. I’ve used hits of lavender throughout mine, alongside our mostly dark collection of stuffs. 

2. Thrifty things  I love displaying cute and unusual things I’ve found in charity shops. This is a watercolor painting of the Kremlin I bought about a hundred years ago. I adore it. 
3. Man up – I’m always conscious of displaying fiance’s favorite things. I worry sometimes I’m smothering the place with my stuff. Don’t be afraid to incorporate gadgets and whatnots, such as fiance’s guitar pedal shown here. 
4. Creature comforts – yes, I’m that kind of cat lady. I’ve incorporated sleeping cubbies for our kitties throughout our shelving. I was on the lookout for box cushions for this very purpose, and I luckily found some in Arnotts Bargain Basement for €10 each. And in the right color! Our girls approve of them. 
5. Sneaky art – not only is this painting I did the right amount of contrast to the surrounding books, but it also has a secret; layering a painting over shelves like this is a super sneaky way to hide things behind it. See below … 

Look, a sneaky mess. Clever, huh? I keep all the books here that I have yet to re-cover. If you’re curious by what I mean, you can check out my deceptive dust covers tutorial here. Also, you can check out my original drip painting here if you like.

6. Delightfully kitsch – I don’t like limiting ideas to certain rooms. Here I thought, why not add little hanging teacups like you would see in cute kitchens? I hung these with extremely sturdy 1″ white cups hooks, so there’s no risk of them falling. You can get a bit of a better idea of the hanging cups here
7. Balancing act – the previous users of these shelves must have had brick collection because each of these shelves were so strained in the middle. A trick I figured out to counter balance a saggy shelf is to use slightly taller {and lighter} books towards the center of the shelf. This way the sag will be nowhere near as noticeable. Trick of the eye.
8. Geek out – this is about layering up books and non-book items together. I’m a big cross stitch geek, especially when making cheeky ones. This particular piece is a cross stitch I made fiance for Christmas. You can check it out up close here if you like. 
9. More creature comforts – another little nook for our kitties to snuggle in. 
10. Stack em up – there was no better place to put all our super heavy books other than right on the bottom shelf. My Salvador Dali book alone is about 5lbs. I like mixing between horizontal and vertical books, but be careful not to make it too repetitive.

11. Variety is the spice of life – a little more punch of purple here. Also on this shelf are some shotgun shells; for our most recent anniversary I gave fiance a trip to a shooting gallery. It was amaze-balls. Let’s just say yours truly kicked his ass at accuracy.
12. Family treasures – my parents have given us a few pieces over the years and I love displaying them. This is a serving bowl my parents used. They also gave us the teapot you can see at the beginning next to number 1, which was one of their engagement presents back in the day. 
13. Bottoms up – some of my thrifted pride and joy, my delicate decanter collection alongside our pretty gold tumblers. Displaying drinks in decanters like this will never go out of fashion. And if it does, I’ll take pride in being unfashionable. 
14. Knowing when to fake it – it would just be wrong if there weren’t any hydrangeas on these shelves. These are the ones fiance {then ‘boyfriend’} got me for Valentine’s day last year. You can see my post all about them here.

When I was taking these pictures the other day, Toshi and Juniper got in on the action in their cubbies. But you know what it reminded me of? This. FML.