Library Card Cabinet Upcycle

Whada you do when you come across something you really love?

Something for your home that you know there is no practical place or use for?

Do you buy it just because?

Just because you might never come across one again? Just because it was a really good price? Just because your mother’s sister’s second cousin Mavis had one just like it? Just because you could remove that, paint this, add some of these and turn it into an umbrella stand?

Well, a while ago I bought this old library card cabinetI bought ‘just because’.

It sat in my junk room serving absolutely no purpose for about a year until the arrival of Charlotte saw my junk room (which was the temporary home for many of my ‘just because’ items) become a nursery.

So, with our shortage of storage space made even shorter it was finally time to let some things go, starting with my card drawer cabinet.

Before selling it though I decided a mini makeover was in order.

Rather than paint over the character-filled timber I simply gave it a good all over clean and oil (just with furniture polish) to retain and enhance the original patina.

I also attached some solid metal castor wheels (as I had always originally intended). Along with the advantage of mobility the wheels also add enough height to give the cabinet perfect proportions for a coffee or deep side table.

I could only find silver steel castors which looked too modern paired with the old cabinet so I tinted them black to resemble cast iron.
Here’s a little trick; rather than use spray paint (which easily chips off smooth metal) I coloured the wheels with a black permanent marker! It sounds time-consuming though it was actually really quick and so far has held up great. Whilst I imagine it will likely fade a little over time where the wheels roll it will probably look nicely worn rather than just plain chipped.

So, mini refresh complete, I re-arranged my living room a bit to plonk the cabinet beside my leather couch to take some photos for the eBay listing and….

….I’m kinda loving it!

Luke even made the rare comment that he also liked it!

Did I say we have a shortage of storage space and it was time to let some things go? Well, maybe not this…for now anyway.

Hmmm, perhaps I should stop buying stuff ‘just because’.

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DIY Transfer Decal Tutorial

Sure, there are a heap of different embellishing methods out there though did you know you can make your own custom, professional-looking, easy to use decals at home with no expensive outlays, time-consuming crafting or specialty equipment?

All you need is some waterslide decal paper and a printer (plus a cute design of course!).

Waterslide decal paper comes with a white or clear carrier film and is compatible with either inkjet or laser printers so be sure to purchase the type of paper best suited to your particular project.

Let’s get started….

1. Waterslide decal paper 2. Printer 3. Clear acrylic sealer 4. Item to embellish

Yes, those are my ugly kitchen tiles you can see beneath the plates. I will get around to making over my kitchen one day!

I really love the professional finish, ease and graphic flexibility of this method. Anything you can design you can use as an embellishment, and waterslide decals can be applied to all kinds of substrates (glass, timber, metal etc.).  The possibilities are vast and, for a DIY-aholic like me, embarrassingly exciting!

Waterslide Decal Paper (eBay)
Ceramic Plates (Provincial Home Living)
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The Industrial Dining Room Light

After I blogged about my mini dining room update I got a lot of questions about the light fixture so thought I’d dedicate a little post to it.

I’d been inactively looking to replace both the original fixtures in my conjoined living-dining room since we moved in.

Yep, that was them. Except they were originally green and bright gold so not long after we moved in, to save my sanity, I painted them antique bronze.

I knew I wanted something industrial-ish to replace them with though it took me five years to actually do it because….
One; finding stylish and affordable pendants here in Oz isn’t easy.
Two; I needed two fixtures. A single pendant above the dining table would have been easy enough though I had to consider the aesthetic of having two within around three meters of one another.
Three; Our ceilings aren’t high. And whilst having a low-hung pendant above a dining table is no problem I needed it to match the height of the pendant over the living area otherwise it just woulda looked plain bad. Long story short, it needed certain proportions.
Four; Last Monday I had a photographer at my house to take pics for a potential future magazine feature so that kinda motivated me!

Luckily, the magazine shoot just happened to coincided with the release of a new stylish and affordable lighting range from Recollections.

I’m sure many of my fellow Aussies feel the same quiet longing for the seemingly endless array of affordable stylish homewares available overseas, particularly in the USA, so I was wrapt when I came across this new collection. Finally, a slice for us (albeit small, though a slice none-the-less!).

I got two of the Grantham pendants (usually $99 each) for $160 as they currently have 30% off your second pendant. I also sold both my old light fittings for $60 so if you take that off the price for the new ones I technically got them for $100 which is just $50 a piece!

Hubby installed them for me and I’m really pleased with how they look.


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Time Management and New Ticking Sheets

Check out pics of my updated bedroom here.

I pretty much never publish posts like this (with potentially boring ‘real life stuff’). I know many of you visit purely for decorating inspiration, so if you’re simply interested in seeing some pretty pictures then scroll straight to the bottom where you can read more about this….

Anyhoo, in non-decorating related news, at the moment my days kinda go like this….

….get up and pull on the same t-shirt and trackpants I was wearing yesterday (and probably the day before too). Feed Charlotte, play with Charlotte, put her back to bed (hopefully). Wander around the house looking at everything that needs doing, making mental lists though not actually achieving much. Pile all the dishes in the sink (though don’t actually wash them). Grab everything that’s lying around the house and pile that somewhere too (because, clearly, one ridiculously large mess is better than several small ones?). Sweep the carpet so the grain is all running in the same direction because I have some weird obsession with the grain all running in the same direction (remind myself to buy loop pile next time so there is no need to worry about “grain direction”). Think of twenty things to blog about though don’t actually manage to blog about anything because taking pretty pictures and compiling meaningful posts takes way too long for part-time perfectionists. Feed Charlotte, play with Charlotte, carry her around all afternoon because there’s no way she’s going back to bed this time. Consider doing some laundry though just end up making more piles; washing, ironing, things to put away. Kiss my husband on the cheek when he gets home from work. Cook dinner, eat dinner, feed Charlotte, bath Charlotte. Sit on the couch for five minutes. Feed Charlotte (again), put her to bed (hopefully). Sit in front of the computer for five minutes. Fall into bed way too late, turn off the light and sleep until a crying baby wakes you up.

Somewhere in there, if I’m lucky, I might also find time for breakfast and lunch and perhaps eating too much ice-cream. Going to the supermarket, taking the poor neglected dog for a walk, taking a shower, having a conversation with someone other than a four month old, checking my emails, buying my nephew a long overdue birthday present, working on some client consultations, working on some furniture refurbishments, working on some decorating projects for my own home. Baking choc chip cookies, paying bills, making my bed, cleaning my car (yeah, right), tackling my jungle of a garden (yeah, even bigger right!), visiting the doctor, doing fifty sit ups and making lists of things to do that never seem to get done.

And I only have ONE kid. Holy cow, women (clearly not including me!) are awesome.

Seriously though, of course I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m not complaining and am super grateful for, well, pretty much everything! It’s just at the moment I feel like the epitome of inefficiency. With every one thing I do get done there are a million other things I wan’t to get done. Anyone relate? More than half the world’s population I’m sure.

Anyhoo, on to some decorating stuff!

Along with my weird obsession with carpet grain I also have a less weird love for ticking stripes.

And when I was in hospital for two months recently I did what any other bored in-patient with wireless internet might do – shopped online!

I must have been craving the comfort of my own distant bed because when I stumbled upon this gorgeous black and white ticking sheet set on EziBuy I bought it without much hesitation (which is very rare for me).

They are 100% cotton though feel much softer (almost like a flannel). I love them paired with my quilted doona cover and gilt headboard frame.

They just add that little extra something plain white bedding can sometimes lack.

Oh, and on a different side not, sorry for all my long vertical photos lately. The rooms in my house are just all so small that I have to shoot a lot of my photos through doorways then crop them down.

And now, just cause I’m loving it so much at the moment, here’s some more ticking inspiration….


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Tolix Chairs for the Dining Room!

Have I mentioned my complex? The one about buying furniture brand new?

Seriously, I mean complex. The whole concept is just an enigma to me.
Don’t get me wrong though, I know second-hand is not always the best way to go though if I happen to spy you buying something so generic they sell one every five seconds on eBay for just fifty cents please forgive me for wrestling the credit card from your hand!

My sister does it all the time and it drives me nuts. Luckily she’s my sister so I’m allowed to wrestle her.

Anyhoo, I faced my fears last week and couldn’t be more pleased with the result….

Four brand new tolix replicas now grace my dining room, making perfect companions for my rustic farmhouse table.

With their low slung backs, sleek lines and robust gal finish not only are they beautiful, though as one of my readers pointed out, they are also perfectly child proof!

I did a fair amount of research to find a local supplier with the best price and ended up getting all four chairs for around $450 AUD. Not too bad.

The hammer hasn’t yet fallen on the eBay auction for my previous IKEA chairs though whatever they sell for I’m gonna mentally take it off the total price of the new chairs – it just makes me feel better.

So, here’s my dining room around this time last year…

And here it is today…

Last year…


Did you catch a few other new details in there too?

I’ve been tizzy-ing up a storm over here lately and will post further details soon.

In closing, as a self-confessed new-furniture-neurotic who’s not overly convinced that buying pre-loved can’t be applied in every instance, in this case I reckon brand new was the way to go.

And until the tolix replicas make their way onto the second-hand market it’s a heck of a lot cheaper (if not quite so prestigious) than forking out for the current pre-loved ones on offer (I’m not saying I wouldn’t love some gorgeous Xaviar Pauchard originals though!).

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