Do you like making things? Me too. Here are the projects I’ve created and the tutorials to match!

Landing Strip Makeover

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In the next few months, unless something really unexpected occurs, Michael and I will be moving out of the sweet little apartment we’ve lived in for the last five years. We’re in the process of trying to buy a house that will give us a little more space, and while we aren’t sure when we’ll leave this home, it will likely be sometime this summer. I’m already getting soppy envisioning our last night in what was truly our first home as a married couple. We have so many happy memories here – parties, kittens, chickens, dinner parties, fights and some of the saddest and loneliest moments of my life, but also the making up and moving on and growing that happens in a home.

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I’m sure I’ll have so much more to say about the move and the changes we’re planning in the coming months, but in the meantime, I realized I hadn’t shared the changes we had made to a few more of the rooms in the house last year! Really, since there are so few rooms, it’s only the entry room and the living/dining room that I have left to show – and since we’re running out of time here, we’re going to forget that it’s not Pinterest-perfect!

I lovingly call the entry room our landing strip, because it’s where we enter and drop everything. Jackets, bags, motorcycle helmets and gloves and pants, so many shoes, mail and bills and grocery bags, all start and live here. Luckily, this is where the only closet in the apartment is, although it is half full of the immersion hot water heater (which you have to turn on half an hour before you want a shower every single time, don’t get me started!) and half full of shelves up to the ceiling.

You can see the before photos here!

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Last year, when we decided to paint the whole apartment white instead of cream, we also tried to make each of the spaces work better for us. We moved the standing wardrobes out of the bedroom so that we could walk all the way around the bed and it was life changing. It made such a big difference. We moved the wardrobes into the landing strip and effectively turned the room into all storage. It once held my desk, but since the internet signal won’t reach that far, it didn’t make sense to keep it there, so we sold the desk and I work on the dining room table now instead.

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This is an old photo of the phone seat that sits opposite the front door. I realized I completely forgot to snap any photos of it, plus Coco was snoozing on it and he just looks like a black blob in photos! You can see a few more photos of it here!

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You can see Coco snoozing there on the phont seat to the right, and on the left are the two wardrobes, which I painted blue. We obviously have more shoes than we have storage, so Michael’s giant basketball sneakers and coaching runners go underneath the bench. A few pairs of mine go in the basket, and we keep scarves and hats in the bucket.  landing_strip_shoes windows_landing_strip

When I found light blue paint for the wardrobes, I thought light blue with accents of red might be cheerful. I ordered red pom pom trim from Ebay in America and my mom brought it with her when she visited in October. I’m not the biggest fan of red, but the contrast with the white is ultra perky. landing_strip_curtains

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The room is quite narrow, so quite difficult to get much of a shot of every wall. We bought the sideboard my first year in Ireland for €11 on Ebay! It holds extra bedding, all those grocery bags, extra hats and mittens, all our keys and sunglasses, and the ever-important junk drawer. The light fixture is from Irish designer Grainne Lyons. It comes in flat pieces and you put them together yourself. It took us a few tries, but once we got the hang of it, assembly was quite simple. sideboard_landing_strip

But of course, more fun is the set of shelves above the sideboard. They’re inexpensive Ikea shelves and brackets, wrapped with colorful washi tape around the edges.  souvenirs_landing_strip

I brought that little cross stitch back from Amsterdam last week! Isn’t it adorable? It was €5 at the Noordmarkt and it was made and framed in 1983, the year I was born. The creature creamers are from Avoca a few years ago, and the painting is a limited edition print by Irish artist Lola Donoghue. My favorite trick with art is to buy a slightly less expensive frame and have a framer cut a mat to fit, making it look much more polished without breaking the bank. shamrocks_landing_strip_makeover

My mother-in-law painted the landscapes, and we rescued them from her parents’ farmhouse before it was torn down. The pottery dish was a wedding gift and is one of my favorite possessions. The salt and pepper shakers are from the Oh Joy for Target collection and I picked them up on clearance last time I was in America! One cracked in transit back to Dublin, but eventually I’ll superglue it back together.  landing_strip_birdcage

We keep loose change and coins from other currencies in the old tea tins. And for Christmas this year, my mother-in-law made us these little salt dough ornaments that represent the homes we’ve had. First, our little “Hobbit House” as we called our tiny basement flat where we lived for a few months when we first arrived, and then this house. On the back they even have tiny labels with our addresses and the dates. Such a lovely keepsake idea!

I have to say that having this whole room function as storage has made our home so much more pleasant in the rest of the rooms. It’s still a tight squeeze for all those pairs of shoes, but that keeps us from buying anything that won’t fit! It’ll be interesting to see whether more space means we end up with more things. I hope not!

In a few weeks, when the garden fills in a little, I’ll share the final room in our little apartment. Our dining/living room is where we spend the bulk of our time and it’s so bright no matter the weather. Back soon!

Check out our bedroom, bathroom and hallway makeovers too!

How to Say I Love You in Irish

How to say I love you in Irish

Happy Friday, everyone! I wanted to put together a little DIY Valentine in case you’re the last minute type, and in case your Valentine is particularly enamored of all things Irish. This will be such a hit and won’t take more than a few minutes to put together! That is, if you can find a bunch of pink tulips this late in the game!

Inspired by the I Love You sign in Appassionata Flowers, I wrapped up a little bouquet of pink tulips and made a card to say I Love You in Irish!  Irish Valentine with I Love You

I think the key to making nearly any flower look a little special is to wrap it in some craft paper, tape it up with some washi tape, and tie it with a fancy fabric ribbon. Add a sweet little tag and voila! An instantly impressive yet inexpensive bouquet for any occasion.

How to say I love you in Irish Happy Valentine’s Day, friends. I hope you feel loved tomorrow (and every day!), and you should know that if you come here and read these words, I love you! And I’m so grateful that you spend a few moments here. Is breá liom tú from Dublin!

 

Simple Printed Wrapping Paper / Video on Evoke.ie

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I’m over on Evoke.ie again today with a little video showing how to make this simple printed wrapping paper. One of my favorite tricks for wrapping gifts is to take inexpensive rolls and spruce them up with my own stamps or stencils. It instantly elevates just about any gift!

Have a peek here.

A Christmas Card Magnet DIY and PicPack Giveaway

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Happy Friday, friends! I thought I’d show you our Christmas cards this year and how I DIY jazzed them up with some cute magnets from PicPack! And then I thought I’d do a little giveaway of a pack of magnets from PicPack since I think they’re fab. How’s that for a Friday plan?

First, a peek at our Christmas cards this year! When I was home in Maine over Thanksgiving, I read in the Design*Sponge weekly newsletter that Staples was having a Black Friday deal where if you bought any single thing in the store you could get a coupon for 25 free Christmas cards. So I stopped in for ten seconds and one very inexpensive pack of tissues and got my coupon. It’s the one and only Black Friday purchase I’ve ever made and I’m thrilled with how the cards turned out! They’re along the lines of all my other minty holiday decor this year, and they’re VERY cheerful.

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I used one of the photos Ashley took of us, sitting on the steps of one of Dublin’s iconic Georgian buildings, right in front of the most perfectly turquoise green door. The colors worked perfectly with the geometric photo template. That’s the back of the card on the right in the photo above. Well, minus the bits in the middle. That’s the DIY jazzed up part I’m going to show you!

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So once I had the cards all printed (you can pick them up 24 hours after you order them! Score one for Staples!), I ordered magnets from PicPack. I’ve used PicPack to print Instagram photos before and loved the quality of their magnets – the colors come out great and the magnets are really strong. This time, I used higher resolution photos instead of Instagram photos and they’re even lovelier! I ordered a selection of Christmassy ones, like pine boughs and Bean boots, as well as a few more of Ashley’s photos of us.

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The magnets arrived just a few days later and I started jazzing up those Christmas cards. The only complaint I have with the geometric back of the Christmas card is that it make it a little hard to write the actual Christmas greeting. So I used blank minty green cards I had left over from our save the dates about seven years ago! I tell you, it pays to hoard stationery supplies! I took out some washi tape and used that to affix the blank cards to the Christmas cards and stuck the magnets on top using regular Scotch tape. Metallic Sharpies are my go-to for all things wrapping, they make anything look a little more fancy!

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On a few magnets, like the pine branch ones, I used the metallic markers to write on them, so they’ll be a little something our friends and family can put on their fridge and add a little holiday cheer. You could get really clever and write in speech bubbles over kids’ photos as well.

And now the fun part! I’m giving away a free pack of 12 magnets from PicPack to one lucky reader. To enter, head over to Facebook and like and share this post! I’ll choose a winner on Tuesday at noon (Irish time) so you can have your magnets by Christmas!

If you don’t win, you can still order your PicPack magnets today and have them in a week! They have free shipping worldwide, which always makes me particularly happy since Ireland hardly ever gets that!

Good luck and have a happy weekend!

DIY Velvet Ribbon Magnets

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At the moment our magnet boards in the kitchen have more magnets than things to hold up, but after living without a magnetic fridge for four years, magnets feel like a novelty so I’ve been hoarding them. And these are probably the cutest DIY magnets I’ve made yet. They take all of ten seconds to complete, and you only need two supplies and two tools!

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Here’s how to make your own. You’ll need:

  • magnets or magnet tape
  • velvet ribbon
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun

Start by cutting your velvet ribbon into sections. You’ll need a one-inch strip and a two-inch strip for each ribbon. Then use sharp scissors to cut out a little triangle section on each side of the two-inch piece.

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Add a dot of hot glue on the back of the longer piece, then wrap the short piece around so it meets in the back.  diy_velvet_ribbon_magnets velvet_ribbon_diy

Then simply attach your magnets with a little more hot glue, and you have DIY magnet ribbons!  DSC_0009 Aren’t they sweet? (And a little Colby College pride from a wedding last summer. Miss those friends of ours so much!)

Am I the only one cluttering up spaces with magnets?

Hot Chocolate Season / A DIY Gift

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It’s finally gotten chilly here in Dublin. It took forever for winter to get here, thankfully, and now that it’s here I’m trying to remind myself that winter in Dublin means two things. Candle season (cosiness!) and hot chocolate season.

I’m plotting a round-up of my favorite spots for hot chocolate in Dublin in the coming weeks (must do a little more research – yum yum!) but in the meantime, I’m sharing this sweet little customized cocoa mug DIY over on Wedding Party today. I love the copper and navy – it’s wintry without screaming Christmas. Not that screaming Christmas is a bad thing, per se, but there’s a time and a place and that time has not quite come yet, despite the displays already set up in most shops here!

You can see the full DIY (very simple, very inexpensive) over on Wedding Party today.

Make It Videos with Evoke.ie / Mummy Treat Cans

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Guess what’s going on today? More Halloween crafting! I made a video of these super cute mummy treat cans for Evoke.ie …And I actually made myself watch the video this time – anyone else hate watching themselves on video?! But it’s pretty good and really short. In less than a minute, you can see exactly how to make your own, just in time for Halloween on Friday!  westbrooks_mummy_treat_cans_diy

And you can see how to make those hilarious bats right here!

Cocktail DIY / Flower Petal Ice Cubes

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I love the idea of sprucing up water or cocktails with flower petal ice cubes. They add so much fun color that your drink is instantly more festive! My mother-in-law has billions of bright nasturtiums, and I knew they were edible, so I just needed to figure out how to make big ice cubes that would fit the whole flower. Enter: muffin tins! They’re just the right size for a whole nasturtium bloom.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

A muffin tin

Edible flowers, washed

Cold water

Make sure the flowers are edible and all the bugs and dirt are washed off. I used nasturtiums (my mom calls them nasties, which is way more fun to say!) and snipped off the little bumpy part at the back so they would lay flat in the muffin cups. Then I carefully poured water over each flower so they were just submerged. I put the whole muffin tin in the freezer and popped them out when they were good and frozen.

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One quick tip – if you fill glasses with cold water the flower ice cubes won’t melt as quickly. Or you could use them with either of these cold summer drinks!

DIY Painted Flower Pots for Confetti Online

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I wrote a little post over on Confetti online that I thought you might enjoy. They’re the fastest, simplest painted flower pots. I think they’d make great centrepieces for a garden wedding or for a backyard barbecue. The best thing about terra cotta pots is that the paint dries instantly. Nothing better than a DIY project that can be finished in 10 minutes!

You can see more photos and a little explanation over on Confetti.

DIY Stamped and Watercolored Poem Greeting Cards

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I have a confession to make. I do not actually need more greeting cards. I’m a recovering greeting card hoarder. I’d pick up pretty boxes of thank you notes and blank cards, mostly from TJMaxx, whenever I saw a new design I liked. And I picked them up at a much higher rate than I mailed them out. When I moved to Dublin, my whole card collection came with me, at which point I realized I’d better use up those cards before I bought any new ones. I’ve mostly kicked the addiction in the last few years, but that doesn’t stop me from DIYing a few now and then. After all, I also have a giant collection of blank greeting cards out in the studio. Many, many more than I’ll ever need.  diy_greeting_cards_poem_stamp_2014_2

For all my vast collection of greeting cards, I didn’t have anything particularly sweet or inspiring. Tons of thank you notes and some floral prints, but nothing with an inspirational phrase. Which led me to this simple DIY project. Blank greeting cards, watercolor paints, and a super-duper customizable stamp. (I got mine from Viking, they’ve quite a selection to choose from but I thought this one was the best – it comes with tweezers for moving the letters around. And they also have same day delivery in Ireland which is fairly novel.)

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I painted on really simple strokes of thinned out pink watercolor paint and let it dry completely. Then I arranged my little letters on my stamp and pressed it on. Once you have your stamp set up, you could whip out lots of them really quickly. A whole pack of them would make a really sweet gift, actually. And there’s a new way for me to use up that stockpile of blank greeting cards!

I’d love to know what poem you’d stamp. I find this Emerson poem nicely inspiring without being too over the top. It just makes you want to take a walk around the block!

 

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