Sunday, 27 February 2011

Tweaking: Nested Comments with Disqus

How's your weekend going?  My brother and his mate have been visiting again over the past week so things have been a bit more hectic than normal and of course, I've not been able to get to some of the little projects that my evenings and weekends are made for!  They are off to travel around Continental Europe tomorrow (jammy gits) so things will return to normal soon in the Swoon Worthy household.

In the meantime, I just wanted to let you know about a little tweak I have just made to the ol' blog.

Now, as you may know, I do love it when my readers give me some comment luvvin'.  To be honest, part of the reason I started this blog was because I can't really talk about interiors to the extent I would like to with my RL family and friends.  Oh, they will humour me for a brief, polite moment but I can see their eyes start to glaze over slowly as they begin to lose interest.  I needed to find like-minded people, obsessed with interiors and interior blogs, people that will quite happily discuss pattern and colour and texture and OMG did you see Jennifer Lopez's bedroom, etc etc...  Do you find this too?  Please tell me it's not just me.

OMG. Jennifer Lopez' bedroom.  
I love that you care even when no one else does.

Now, as much as I love Blogger, I didn't like the fact that I couldn't reply individually to comments.

And I do like to respond to comments because it creates more of a community and I like the idea of discussions - it just helps me get to know my readers that little bit better.  I want people to know that I appreciate them taking the time to say, 'Hey I'm here! You aren't talking into the ether!  There's someone out here and it's me!'  It makes my little heart sing.

So I have just installed Disqus (pronounced 'discuss' rather than 'dis-kiss' as I'd been doing! Numpty.) which allows for nested comments.  So far so good - it works with a number of different blogging platforms and allows you at the push of a button to import all your previous comments from Blogger.  So far, there doesn't seem to be any glitches.  Installation was pretty easy, too - it was just like installing a regular widget.

For commenters, it allows you to log in via your Facebook, Twitter, Google, email/username or just Anonymous to comment and will carry your avatar so I can see your gorgeous faces!

Hope you like the new feature as much as I do!  However, if you do find any problems with the new commenting style, can you let me know? It would be most graciously appreciated.

In the meantime, I do hope you are having a wonderful weekend.  It's amazing how quickly our alcohol is disappearing so I'm off to make myself a drink before it's all gone! ;-)

Images from here and here.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Shop in the Spotlight: Zara Home

I haven't done a Shop in the Spotlight post for a while and perusing Zara Home recently, I thought it was about time I did.

They've really picked up on a lot of trends that I see so prevalent in American and Australian blogs but rarely see on our fair shores so I've gotten very excited and I've basically had to sit on my hands to keep myself from pulling out the credit card.

As I mentioned in my last post, W pulled his 'veto' card on the oriental rug idea for the dining room which means I've been keeping an eagle eye out for something equally as fabulous.  There's a few on Zara home that I love...

This is Argentinian Cow Skin and I'm loving the black and white stripes...

Something more subtle?  This one is also patchwork leather and I love the name 'Rumbo' rug.. I keep thinking of Rambo. Unfortunately, under a dining table, this will look like Rambo too after a while with all manner of spillage and stains.  No, we're not animals but we are a bit clumsy.

FINALLY Ikat is making an appearance here.  I feared that by the time UK homeware companies started catching on to these gorgeous patterns, the trend would be over and I'll have tired of it.  Happily, I'm loving this ikat rug which comes in three equally gorgeous colours and I'm definitely not tired of it yet.

Moving on to bedlinens... Stripes are always a classic choice and the lime green really freshens up the mostly neutral colour scheme... I think I need that throw.

After something with a bit more wow factor?  Oh yeah baby. That's what I'm talkin about.

They've also got some great patterns for the table in gorgeous golden shades...

Need something to top it?  How bout this gorgeous cruet set?  I love the crystal tops.  A bit OTT perhaps for oil and vinegar but if you're a shit cook then perhaps your guests will be distracted by the sparkle!

How cool is this guy?

I don't think I'll ever be done with mercury glass.  This? WANT.

At 22.5mm tall, this will make quite an impact filled with a beautiful or quirky collection.  The detail is fab.

And storage really can be beautiful...  these baskets are stunning.

Hop on over to Zara Home for more prettiness.  Hope you enjoyed our virtual shopping list. Now if there was a way to get a virtual job to make virtual money to spend on a virtual house, I'd be all set.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Industrial Chic: Reclaimed Wood & Pipe Shelving Unit

I only just recently talked about my love of industrial style shelving units such as this beauty in this recent post.

And in my search for industrial style shelving units, I came across a style of industrial shelves that started, from what I could tell, with the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs.

Those clever clogs over at The Brick House figured out how it was done by taking some sneaky mobile pics and then showed the world that not only was it acheivable, but actually provided step-by-step instructions for the rest of us.  The generosity of bloggers knows no bounds, of this I am convinced.

Suddenly, like a gangrene growing and flowing through the blog world, I saw more.

Next at Hindsvik where they added a very chic cupboard to theirs...

Then five2eight tackled it in a weekend with the help of their folks...

Then at Manhattan Nest where he did a mini version which looks fab....

It was like I was in free fall.  One after another, bloggers of the world were taking on plumbing pipes and bits of wood and building beautiful, functional industrial style shelves.

On re-nest, I saw this one...

And just today on Apartment Therapy, this gorgeous image appeared...

In fact, a lovely reader who calls herself BrooklynKate commented to my post asking if I'd seen these DIY ones.  Oh, Kate, my sweet, I have.  Many many times as you can see in the  last couple weeks.  It seems the universe is trying to tell me something, no?  I've resisted this long getting foo dogs, mind you, but this may be a call I can not resist answering.

One of the best parts?  Not too hard to do.  Even better? Not that expensive!  Oh yes, I like me a cheap, easy solution like a fat kid likes cake.

To be honest, I thought it would be one of those things that W wrinkled his nose at.  I can get very caught up planning something in my mind but at the end of the day, W lives here too and while he trusts my judgement, I like to make sure we're on the same side when it comes to decorating our home.  For instance, I spoke to him about my idea of getting an oriental rug for the dining room.  He read my post and wrinkled his nose.  I showed him some other pics floating around blogland.  He wasn't buying it.  Oriental rugs remind him of the 70's (he is not a fan of this era by the way).  Alas, I don't think I'm going to be able to talk him 'round.  (Sigh.)

So, as you can imagine, I held my breath as I tentatively showed him the images I've showed you above.  I waited for the nose wrinkle.

It didn't come.

He thought they were cool.

He said it wouldn't be difficult to do.

He shrugged, 'Yeah we can do that.'

Oh I do love that man.

So, I hear you asking, where is it going to go?  In the alcove to the left of the new sideboard.  I initally wanted to put a little bar cart there but seeing as I'm using my wrought iron console table for that very purpose at the moment, a nice industrial style bookshelf might be better placed in the space.

We've got quite a bit on the go at the moment and we're struggling to figure out when we're actually going to have time to DO all of it but don't you worry your pretty little head.  It'll happen, dammit.  Oh yes it will.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Hot Stuff: Getting a Bargain

Granted, this isn't going to be the sexiest post so there's your first warning.  However, I just had to share.

W mentioned at work that we are going to be renovating our kitchen and included within that renovation was underfloor heating.  With gorgeous slate flooring on top like so...

His work mate casually mentioned that he'd bought some underfloor heating when they were redo-ing their kitchen and he still had it because it didn't fit under his flooring.  In order to install it, it needs to go above a plywood base that sits above the floor and that raised the level of his kitchen flooring above what he wanted it to be.  So he still had it.  £240 worth of brand new never-been-used devimat underfloor heating doing nothing, sat in his home collecting dust for the last year or so.

A few checks into the details and he happily accepted our offer of £100 to take that right off his hands.  Ya see, our kitchen actually is on a slightly lower level (by about 3 inches) to the adjoining dining room floor.  So there's lots of room to raise the flooring to whatever height necessary.

Shazzam.  That's a savings of £140 thankyouverymuch that can be spent on other pretties.

And because I wouldn't leave you with an image of some really ugly underfloor heating, how about I balance it out with some pictures of lovely kitchens that have been hanging out in my inspiration folder?

Ahhh that's better now, isn't it?  And isn't that shelving in the last image to die for?!

Image credits:  Sorry, these have been in my files for a while, if anyone knows where they are from (save the quite clearly marked Elle Decor ones), let me know and I'll credit where credit is due!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Before & After: White Painted Sideboard Revealed!

I meant to post this sooner but my week has been ultra busy - well, busy for me I should say, seeing that I do most of my blogging in the evening.   Thursday night we went to the cinema with friends to see Paul (big Simon Pegg fans in the Swoon Worthy household - t'was funny although nothing will ever beat Shaun of the Dead);  On Friday night, I went to a dear friend's leaving do who is off to Korea for a year (!);  Saturday was best spent in recovery from Friday night (drank far too much, oh dear) and today, W finally used my birthday present to him from last April (!!) which gave him the opportunity to drive a single-seater race car very fast around a big track.

Being the massive F1 fan and fan of fast cars and karting in general, he loved it.  I stayed in the pits and took lots of pictures and generally froze my arse off because wow, it was SERIOUSLY COLD and of course, typical for me, I didn't dress warmly enough.  But W had the time of his life, which was what it was all about.

Go Speed Racer Go!

But come on, be honest, you really could give a shit about the last few days of my life, can you?  You just want to see the sideboard, don't you?  Well, okay, I won't make you wait any longer...

As you may recall from this post, this was what the sideboard looked like prior to getting my grubby mitts on it...

And because there are a million and one tutorials out there on how to refinish furniture, I will leave that to the experts and just share with you some 'during' shots...

After sanding...

Drawers and cupboard doors get the first coat of primer...

After the first coat of paint...

And finally... ta da!

You'll notice we painted the cover where the leads go from the television to behind the sideboard and I have to say, I'm pretty happy how subtle it is.  It would have been nice to have them recessed completely into the wall and that was a consideration but with 100+ year old walls, we were afraid the brick was just too brittle to go digging into it.  So we went with this option.

As I've spoken about in a previous post, my intention is to create a gallery wall so the television doesn't take centre stage and I'm still working on it.  I don't want to start putting things on the wall, however, until I have amassed a bit of a collection so the process is unfortunately a bit slow.

I really like the way the sideboard now balances the white doors and the white mantle on the opposite walls.

I decided to leave the hardware exactly as it was - the aged rusty bronze patina is just lovely and I love the way it looks against the clean white background.  When the sideboard was stained, it just didn't show off the hardware the way it does now.

I was really unsure how to 'decorate' the sideboard and it'll probably change a hundred more times but at the moment, I have a few of our favourite autobiographies... If you are curious, the Russell Brand and Stephen Fry books are mine; The Long Way Round and Simon Pegg are W's.

I like my hardback books 'naked' better than with the sleeves.
I covered two other hardback books in just plain kraft paper.
They aren't books that either of us have actually read, but strictly for aesthetics! Shhh!

And some cheapy flowers on the opposite side.

Despite being cheap, they do add a wee bit of brightness.

I have to admit, I was actually tempted to just leave the sideboard stained when we initially brought it home but I'm really so pleased with the white, it really balances the room so nicely and it makes the room feel that one more step closer to 'done'.

And how about another reminder of how far this room has come using little more than a healthy amount of paint and a £50 sideboard from eBay?

After all everyone likes a good Before...

And After...

It's not done yet by any means, but we're definitely getting there.  Aside from the gallery wall, the floors still need to be refinished and I've been keeping my eye out for a new light fixture (the current one is definitely too high above the table, regardless).  Soft furnishings are also on the agenda and we'll be needing a rug.  So yeah, lots more to come!

So what do you think?   Do you think I should have left it stained?  Or gone with a different colour all together?  Or cleaned up the hardware?  Have you given an old piece of furniture a new lease of life?  Do share in the comments...

Image credits:  All images my own.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Epic Fail: Painted Tray Before & After


As this is a blog that I intend to share both successes and failures, it's time for a failure post.  Ya know, those times when all your intentions are pure, when you think you have followed every step to the letter and yet, well... things just don't go as planned.

I started with this tray which you may recognise from this post and this one.  It had been hanging out on my console table minding it's own business before I decided to pounce.  Poor thing had no idea what was coming.

I actually bought both W and I a set of these when we were dating and in the throes of new romance and doing a lot of breakfast-in-bed / all-day-under-the-duvet weekends together.  Ahhh, those were the days.  Since then, they've been sat on the top of our kitchen cupboards collecting dust. [Insert inappropriate joke about relationships and gathering dust here] (Just joking baby! Love you! Even if we don't do breakfast in bed anymore... *cough*)

I started by cleaning the tray and wiping it down with white spirits and then, because the wood is unfinished with a bit of texture, I just wacked on Dulux Primer & Undercoat, and then, a few hours later, Dulux Satinwood Pure Brilliant White for Wood, which just so happens to be what I used to paint the sideboard.

After those two coats and waiting a full 48 hours for the paint to completely dry, the tray looked like this.  It was actually rather lovely and I toyed with just leaving it like that but nooooooo.  I had to press on.  (Stupid, stupid girl.)

Now, I SPECIALLY PURCHASED 'Premium Masking Tape' from Homebase which says on the label (and I quote): "A superior quality masking tape which is both easy to apply and remove, giving a professional finish with clean sharp edges and no residue".  Yeah you can see where this is going.

The taping went fine and I started to get quite excited about the final results.

Two coats of Crown Indulgence 'Little Black Dress' (2 hours between coats to dry) and about 10 minutes after the second coat (so as not to disturb the paint of course), I removed my tape...

And this, my darlings, is what I was left with.

Sorry, did you need a closer look?

Yeah, I know.

That tape was complete and utter bollocks.  Considering I did a very similar paint project on my chevron-patterned shoe stands with regular old masking tape and it came out damn near perfect, I didn't think for one minute that this tape would be so utterly shite.

I'll be honest, I've stuck it under my bottles and from far away, you can't really tell the lines are so bad or that the paint has peeled off.  Pretty much.

Closer inspection reveals otherwise.

However, if you dim the lights and squint your eyes and walk into the room backwards, you can't even see it!

My only consolation is that I have 3 more trays just like it on the top of the kitchen cupboards.  Take two coming soon...

Had any epic fails recently?  Please share, I need to feel better about myself.

All images my own.
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