Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Blatent Promo Post: Apartment Therapy The Homies

I know already that I could never in a million years compare myself to the likes of Bower Power or Little Green Notebook or Centsational Girl... but just to be nominated in the DIY category would make my little heart sing.

And then we could totally be BFFs and we can go shopping and wear matching friendship bracelets cuz that's just how I roll.


You can vote for your favourite DIY blog here.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Cheap and Easy Before and After: DIY Antique Gold Starburst Mirror

You might recall from previous posts about my bedroom that hanging above my bed is a starburst mirror.  I bought it ages ago from Really Linda Barker for less than £20 and originally quite liked the subtlety of the dark grey iron against the black wall.

But then something happened.  As these things do.

Ya see, I saw this image.

Apartment Therapy

And a voice in my brain said, "I NEED A BIT O' THAT IN MEH LIFE."  (Yes, it was a very direct, very shouty voice and it may or may not have had a Scottish accent for some reason.)

So of course, I had to listen.

Disclaimer:  Bear in mind, this room is SO NOT DONE.  We are currently saving our pennies for a king size bed which means the bed will be replaced (yay!).  I've also been keeping an eye on eBay for some cool cheap bedside tables that need some lovin' as well.  Of course, there are loads of other upgrades this room is crying out for (including new wardrobes, some kind of seating etc) but ya know, I might as well show  you what I did with the mirror.

So the first step was take my handy-dandy Montana Gold Gold Chrome spray paint and cover that sucker completely with gold paint.  What I failed to do was take a picture of this step because I'm a bit of a div sometimes.

I initially and quite foolishly thought that that would be that - a bit of spray paint, good as gold.  (geddit?)  But alas, the finish looked a bit too fake and the gold paint too flat.

It needed antiquing.  Badly.  So let's pretend somewhere around here, there is an image of a really brightly shiny gold mirror.

My second step (about a week after the first step and this is why there are no pictures of the first step) is that I finally got out the Rub N'Buff which I got for Christmas and hadn't yet used (such was the power of the Montana Gold, I didn't see the point) and concentrated it mostly around the centre portion of each individual 'ray'.

While this toned down the brightness of the gold (leaving only the far edges of each ray untouched), it didn't quite give me the antique look I was hoping for.

So I did a bit of scrounging around in the paint shelf in our cellar, hoping for some brown paint I could thin down.  While I couldn't find brown paint, I did find this.

Yes, that is floor stain.

I figured, worse comes to worse, it doesn't quite work how I imagined and I buy some brown acrylic paint.

I took a small brush and went to work, concentrating on the centre of each ray and blending out as I went along so that - as would have occurred naturally - the ends stayed quite shiny with the more detailed areas inside of each ray going a bit darker.

(As an aside, I originally applied the paint and tried just using a cloth to wipe it off but it didn't work - this method allowed me to control how much antiquing I wanted much better than the wiping method.)

Now I know there are probably 30 different products on the market I could have used to get the same result but you have to bear in mind, I didn't really fancy purchasing anything for this one.  This makeover was gonna cost me zero, nadda, zilch, nuttin.

And I have to say, once dry, I was incredibly happy with the result - it gave me that antiqued look I was going for.

Just for comparison, here's the before...

And here's the after...

For the eagle-eyed among you, you might have noticed I also sprayed the handles on the bedside tables gold although the expression "polishing the turd" comes to mind.  It does, however, tie in better with the mirror.

And now, all I have to do is get that antique nickel bed outta here.  And before you suggest it, I have considered spray painting the bed but as I'm not planning on keeping it, I imagine I'll have a better chance of selling it if I don't mess with it too much.

So what do you think of the antique job?  Maybe you prefer the dark colour better?  Admittedly, I don't think there was anything particularly wrong with the 'before' but I do really quite love the 'after'.  Antique anything lately?  Any handy tips on your own method?  Do the voices in your head have accents?  Go on then, spill it in the comments.

By the way, here's a fantastic article all about how bloggers love comments, as if you didn't know... but really, it's a very worthy read.   I know there are lots of you that just come to read and not to comment but it would be so great to involve you in the conversation... so go on, get involved.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Ebay Alert: Faux Bamboo Desk and Chair

First off, apologies for not getting a 'Free For All Friday' post in this past week.  I got home from work on Thursday feeling rather yuck, took a long hot bath and went to bed.  So no posts were written that night.  Ho-hum.

Alas, I couldn't let this weekend go by without alerting SOMEONE, ANYONE near Bournemouth to go and get this deal off eBay and let me live vicariously through you.

This beautiful faux bamboo desk and chair set has a current starting bid of £119 and there have been NO bids as of this posting.

The item is available for pick up and honestly, if I thought I had some means of driving the 230+ miles down south to get it, I totally would do.

Believe me, this sort of style is A RARE FIND and this is a fantastic price.

Need a little inspiration of what this could potentially look like?

Interior by Christina Murphy - Patrick Cline Photography via Lonny Mag

You've got a week left to bid.

Now run my pretties, run!!!  The listing is here.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Ubiquitous Trend or 'New' Classic?: Python Trays

They seem to be everywhere.  In every designer's secret stash of accessories, they add texture, pattern and that certain je ne sais quoi.

(Oooh she's just used french words in her blog.  She's feeling rather fancy today.)

Sometimes trends we see are so HOT they suddenly become a bit lame.  Well, whether you think this is a trend that's developed cult-like classic status or so sick of it, you can't bear another image without a certain amount of snark, there doesn't appear to be any let up.

And I have to admit, I'm rather enamoured myself.

I'm talking, of course, about the python tray (or snakeskin tray as its also called)...


It's a trend that seems to work in nearly every setting... from barcarts to bathrooms, dressing rooms to coffee tables, sideboards to offices and everything in between.


I can't actually tell you HOW it works (oh sure you can SAY it's classic monochrome with texture but personally, I'm thinking MAGIC FAIRIES), just that it quite obviously does.


It doesn't hurt when what is carried INSIDE the tray is gloriously fabulous of course.


And it does seem that gorgeous pink peonies certainly up the 'X' factor as well.


Or a sparkling collection of perfume and jewelry.


But whatever it's contents, the python tray seems to be the magic bullet of pretty texture and style - the ability to transform a mixed assortment of items into a structured sexy collection.


As like so many of the trends I admire from afar, I just don't see them here in the UK.

Well, not until I visited Zara Home (a new favourite, I have to admit) and I found my own little bit of snake-y yumminess.

So it's not EXACTLY like the trays I see everywhere in the blogosphere and I don't even know if this is where it will stay but I am loving it nonetheless.

Don't hate me for jumping on a trend bandwagon - I've never claimed to be a trend-setter.  In fact, I feel like I'm extra late to this particular showing.  But I do think it's rather lovely.

Do you have a python tray in your own home somewhere?  Are you sick to death of seeing them?  Do you think sometimes being heavily influenced - as I am - by trends we see in the blog world mean we are over-saturated with ideas used over and over?  To be honest, I don't know anyone personally who has one so does it still mean they've gone from HOT to NOT?  What do you think?

Monday, 20 February 2012

Colour Cravings: Artist Cate Parr

I have to be honest.  We've really not had too bad of a winter here in the North West.  The last two years, it felt like there was no let up of snow and ice and this year, well, we've had only one spell of snow and I was away when it happened!

Nevertheless, I'm pretty much over winter now.  The days are starting to hint at getting that bit longer, the sun is just slightly higher in the sky and it's making me yearn desperately for Spring.

Senna posing ever so graciously in our back garden, April 2011

Now, don't let that image fool you.  My garden at the moment looks like a desolate wasteland.  I am still wearing a coat, gloves AND hat when I leave my house.  Frankly, I've had enough.  I want to wear flip flops dammit.

And so, as the winter finally looks to be drawing to a close (it's supposed to be 14 degrees C here on Thursday - 14 DEGREES!!), I am greedily consuming every bit of colour I can from interiors in a desperate bid to keep myself from sinking into a dark grey SAD-induced hole.

One artist who particularly caught my eye recently is Cate Parr, who's shop Silver Ridge Studio swirls with feminine images in water colours that are a pure joy to behold.

Many of her pieces use fashion as inspiration and with prices starting as little as $35 (£22.66), it wouldn't break the bank to splash some colour around while we wait for the sun to make an appearance.

This one in particular has grabbed my attention with the soft blues, greens and golds - I think it could work in so many colour schemes and so many settings.  I just love the movement.

A pink feathered headdress?  I don't mind if I do, thank you.

This Vogue Cover is just so incredibly chic, isn't it?

... Whilst this illustrations brings to mind the flower power of the 70's...

You can see more of Cate's work her shop, Silver Ridge Studio or on her website, www.CateParr.com.

Do you love Cate's work as much as I do?  Craving a bit of spring weather where you are?  What do you do to pull yourself out of a winter funk?  Do share in the comments, I can use all the help I can get!

P.S.  I just wanted to say a very big congratulations to Ria, who was the winner of the Swoon Worthy Homewares cushion competition on Florence Finds!  Ria chose 2 of the turquoise diamond link cushion covers which are whizzing their way over to her this week.

via swoon worthy homewares

If you entered but didn't win, then never fear!  I'm offering a very special introductory discount for my readers.

Just quote SWOONFF12 at checkout for 20% off your order at Swoon Worthy Homewares.

Now that's a bit of sunshine for all of us :)

All images via South Ridge Studio except where noted.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Friday Free For All: Stairwells and Entrances in Black and White

Happy Friday peeps!  Well, it's been a bit of a whirlwind week here at Swoon Worthy HQ!

I got to welcome a few more lovely followers to my ranks in various guises (Facebook and Twitter among others) so big smoochie hello's to you if you are new around here! A very very big thanks to Rebecca's endless support firstly, for the lovely post at Florence Finds featuring my lil' abode - I received so many genuinely kind comments that I was afraid I might have to hire a trailer to tow my head back home from work for fear it wouldn't fit in my Mini.

And then Tuesday saw the tie-in with the launch of my wee shop, Swoon Worthy Homewares along with a competition to win 2 free cushions of your choosing and that with Rebecca's help and support again.  She's an absolute star, that girl. 

What do you mean you haven't entered yet?  What are you waiting for?   Go on, then, there's still a few more days left...

Everyone was so lovely and supportive of my new little venture but I wanted to say a special thank you to the gorgeous El of {What You Fancy} and Careen of Inspire My House Pretty who both graciously featured my shop on their blogs.  Their write ups were so flattering and so kind - My heart bursts!  If you haven't visited {What You Fancy} or Inspire My House Pretty before, I implore you to do so because you are in for a treat from both of these fabulous ladies.

Sooooooo seeing that I've been getting all sorts of loved up for blogland this past week, I thought I'd bring you some yummy gorgeous dreamy images using Black and White in an often neglected part of our home (I know it is in mine) - the stairwell and entrance.

Firstly, this stair well... are you dying?  Because you should be.


That black and white tile is just insane.  It's also a bit MC Escher, don't you think?  (And for the young ones, despite the name, he's actually not a rapper from the 90's).

Second image is this ultra glamorous Chanel entrance... goodness me, I wouldn't even want to walk on it.


And the third may give you a bit of vertigo but oh god, it'd be worth it.


That pattern is just STAGGERING, no?  I just love the glimpse of the chequered floor all the way on the bottom.  Fabulous!

So if you are dizzy from that last image, it's okay, I'm going to wrap it up by asking if you would ever do something so bold or so glamorous in your own entrance?  Of these images, do you have a favourite?  Do share!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  As for me, I have some friends from London coming to stay so I expect there will be above all, lots of laughter and sillyness, the bar cart being used to excess (oh dear), going to bed in the wee hours of the morning - and a very good possibility of a Sunday in which I stay in my pyjamas all day and watch crappy television.

Whatever your plans, make it a good one and thanks again for being so damn cool!! Y'all rock my world!! xxx

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Nightmare, Interrupted: Helen Warner Photography

Just wanted to first say a very big thank you for all the support around my new little venture.  It's so difficult for me to articulate how just how much it means to me to have the support of some really fantastic fellow bloggers and friends.  Honestly, I'm just so grateful.  So thank you.  From the bottom of my heart.

And by the way, if you haven't yet joined in the competition to win 2 free cushions and you live in the UK, you can still enter at Florence Finds.  And if you haven't seen the shop yet, please have a little wander around, it would be lovely to have you!

Now, on with the post...

Helen Warner is a fine art photographer living and working in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Originally from Toulouse in the South West of France, Helen is a graduate of The Queen's University of Belfast where she mastered in Cinema and Modernism.

Helen contacted me recently with a link to her staggering photography.  And as soon as I saw it, I realised there was no way I could keep her beautiful art all to myself.


Her photography has a very dream-like quality which brought to mind another photographer I featured not long ago, Kirsty Mitchell, which is probably why I love it.

There's so much movement and emotion in so many of the shots.  The lighting is magical.

Flame of the Banshees

There is a different layer here, however.  Something very dark - like a nightmare interrupted, it leaves you feeling a little bit shaken, a little bit melancholy.

The Woods Are Calling

Her photography is deeply influenced by the intertwining of theatre, intricate costume making and story telling. With the use of traditional props and costumes, Helen creates fantastically freakish images which aim to recreate the opaque world of dreams. Her work, presented in a square format, is never digitally manipulated.

Eternal Winters

Dream Logic


Unearthly White

Chasing Phantoms

Intrigued?  Visit Helen's flickr page here or you can follow her work on her Facebook page.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

It's Here!!: Swoon Worthy Homewares - Pretty Cushions for a Pretty Fabulous Home

Well, I'm very very proud to announce the launch of my wee little shop...

I registered the domain name long, long ago with my only idea that someday I might move the blog there... but this made so much more sense.

The concept was simple.  Bring the beautiful geometric fabrics of the United States (that are impossible to find on these shores) here to the United Kingdom.

At the moment, because I'm just starting out, the selection is a very carefully curated base of lovely bright colours that I believe will work with most colour schemes.  Soon, however, I'm going to look into bringing more fabrics this way and offering an even greater selection.

But as they say, if you are going to dream, you might as well dream big... so I know that more is on it's way.

Even better?  I'm offering those of you in the UK a chance to win 2 cushions (worth £60) absolutely free.

All you have to do is pop on over to Florence Finds for the details.

Of course, the early bird gets the worm so if you can't wait for a competition to end and you are eager to get some gorgeous geometric patterns into your home as soon as possible, then just visit to the shop 

and enter the coupon code


for 20% off right now!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Guest Posting at Florence Finds Today!

I'm visiting at Rebecca at Florence Finds today with a little bit of a House Tour!

You may remember that Rebecca showed off her gorgeous Scandinavian cabinet last week in the Home or Away series.   So, today, I'm visiting at her lovely blog to show some before and afters from my own place.

I know you've all seen it a hundred times but I actually took some new pictures especially for this post so would love it if you could stop on by and say hello!

And don't forget to check back here
tomorrow morning 
for the launch of Swoon Worthy Homewares!

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