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Apr 15 2013

Sale Ends 30th April

Hello – we’re still here, just about!!

It seems somewhat strange to see the stock room emptying. And yes, it’s like another chapter is coming to a close. But as each door closes, another opens and all that jazz …….  There’s lots happening at Write on Track with the planning of online social media courses and more.

World Map Sticker

I’d like to thank you all for reading the blog for 5 years and for supporting the business. It was recently described as one of the first online stores and when I thought about it, I guess it was, for a small business anyway.

There’s still some Greengate and Ferm Living stock although not many of each items as well as plenty of other bargains, including lots of items under €10. When they’re gone, they are gone so if you are thinking of treating yourself or know you have some gift-buying coming up, do have a look.

We’re hoping to finish up by 30th April so not long to go!

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Feb 12 2013

Love Birds for Valentine’s Day & What Lorna Did Next

Published by under Business Progress

I’ve had flu – not woman flu nor man flu, but that horrible real flu that makes you wonder if death might not be a bad alternative! I hadn’t been so ill for at least a decade and even though I’m up and tapping away at the laptop, I’m glad I’m here on my own in peace and quiet and can take a rest whenever the need arises!

Love Birds Cushion

The Garrendenny Lane sale continues –  planning to wind it up by the end of February as new projects are calling ……..  interestingly, I have just been asked to write a column on interiors for a bi-monthly national magazine so that will be a nice way of keeping my toe in the Interiors waters! Sian Phillips interviewed me for Tweak Your Biz too – What Lorna Did Next!!

Love Birds Wall Stickers

And as Valentine’s Day is coming up pretty quickly – don’t forget the Love Birds range by Ferm Living – we still have a few available in stock ….

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Jan 28 2013

Oh, for a cushion

What do you look for in a cushion? Apart from the fabric used, I like cushions to be well padded with a feather inner so that it has some weight to it and yet has enough give so that it can mould to my shape, be it if I plonk it on my lap, place it behind my back , or lie down and pop my weary head on it.

We recently stayed in the lovely Maryborough Hotel in Cork and reception is based in the original house. Walking in, it was lovely to be greeted by an open fire with sofas in Swaffer’s cut velvet fabric and see beautiful silk curtains, also in  Swaffer fabric – good quality, luxurious (nice silk cushions on the sofas too) and in keeping with the style of the building.  The bar area was comfortable too, lots of faux leather sofas and chairs placed in a long line – at first glance, I thought that each grouping was very close and the noise levels would be high if it was busy but it was fine. My only criticism was the cushions – they would drive me mad and I bet they drove staff balmy.  They were of cheap fabric and cheap fillers, they slipped and slid around against the leatherette of the sofa so they didn’t stay tucked in neat to the corners of the sofas, hence not looking as appealing and inviting as they could have. Neither did they contour to the shape of your back, they actually reminded me of boomerangs!

Cushions at Garrendenny Lane

Good quality cushions can really raise the bar in terms of adding to the luxurious feel of a room. A couple of cut velvet cushions interspersed with cheaper cushions can add so much to even an inexpensive sofa. Do you agree or do you think good quality cushions are overrated?

If you’re looking for good cushions, do check out our remaining stock of cushions in our  sale.

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Jan 14 2013

All About Quirki Furniture

Published by under Colours,lighting,New Looks,paint

I first met Sue of QuirkiStuff when she contacted me looking for some help with their social media (as she had noticed that I’d set up  Write on Track offering mentoring and training). Working with Sue was a dream, apart from the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed oohing and aahing over their handiwork, she grasped the concepts of social media so quickly.

Quirki Stuff is all about making preloved pieces of furniture quirky and loved again.  Sue and her husband Les have numerous pieces for sale on the Quirki Stuff website from telephone seats to shelving units to mantel clocks and re-upholstered chairs. They will also to work to commission so if you have a piece of furniture or even a small item lurking in the shed, that you’ve been meaning to do up for years,do give them a call. They will also source furniture and restore it to your specification if you wish too.

In order to provide you with the full  description of the services provided and to demonstrate their talents and keen eye, I decided to interview Sue for the blog. I hope you enjoy reading it.

1 Your pieces are certainly quirky, what do you think makes a traditional wooden piece of furniture so much more attractive when it is painted in a bright colour?

Some traditional wooden pieces of furniture have really interesting lines and details which respond very well to bright colours. These are the types of pieces that we tend to gravitate towards. The colours enhance the existing features, by making the lines more defined, highlighting the curves and creating interesting shadows. We are big fans of the Memphis Group who applied vibrant colours to furniture items specifically to emphasise the shape of the pieces.

But we certainly don’t advocate painting every piece of wooden furniture. In fact, we love wood, particularly wood that is a lighter shade and warm toned. If a piece has attractive wood we often strip it back and varnish or wax it…so that it becomes a feature. For example, in our upholstered pieces we often like to let the fabric do the talking (colour wise) and tend to strip and varnish the wooden components. However, much of the mid-century furniture that we work with is either veneered or dark stained timber, often damaged and sometimes requiring reconstruction…so more often than not, paint is the best option.

2 I can still remember stripping furniture of its paint back in the 90s, why has painted furniture become so popular again do you think?

We can remember that too…and very hard work it was! We think there are a number of reasons why painted furniture is enjoying renewed popularity. One reason is because it offers a (reasonably priced) alternative to discarding pieces when they become dated or you become bored with them. Recycling and upcycling are the order of the day.

Another reason is that it enables you to revitalise and transform a room with a splash of colour, provided by one strategically placed piece of furniture.

Also, now that houses are becoming regarded as homes rather than a commodity to be traded on, we have noticed that people are more willing to experiment with colour. There are more people who want their homes to say something about themselves other than “I want to be like everybody else.” Colour is the best way to personalise your home and to express your personality and painted furniture is one of the most effective vehicles for this.

 

3 Do you use a special type of paint or method of painting? Are they primed, undercoated etc (i.e. is there a danger of the paint chipping off or are they quite robust)?

We have experimented with a huge range of materials and techniques over the years. However, at the moment our favourite medium is spray painting. (Les actually spent many of his school holidays – in the far distant past – learning how to spray paint cars…so he has quite a bit of expertise!)

We aim for a finish that is smooth (needless to say no visible brush strokes, runs, drips etc) and lustrous, allowing the grain of the wood to show through if appropriate. But at the same time we don’t want the piece to be so highly finished that you can’t see its history. We try to use paints that are somewhere between matt and satin so that the colours are at their most vibrant and luminous.

For spray painting we use enamel spray paint that is weather and uv resistant, has excellent flexibility, good scratch resistance and strong adhesion. In addition, we always leave pieces to harden for at least a week. If a piece is to be used in a bathroom or needs to be particularly hard wearing, we apply a clear protective finish.

 For this type of finish thorough preparation is vital. Whatever type of paint is being used the surface has to be prepared sufficiently to provide a key for the paint. In addition it is vital that joints are tight, cracks are stabilised and so on. So we often spend the majority of time working on a piece on the preparation phase. This is where the fact that Les used to be carpenter in a past life comes in very handy!

In some cases we would prime the piece, particularly if reconditioning metal furniture. We would also definitely use undercoat to seal wood that has been stripped for repair or to stabilise surfaces that could otherwise lift or flake.

 

4 What is your most popular item? What tends to be the most fashionable?

Overall probably our most popular items are chairs, clocks and mirrors. Another item that is quite popular is the re-imagined china display cabinet. We have done several of them now, including commissions. They respond really well to being “quirkified” as they have such lovely lines and such potential for transformation. They turn out to be real statement pieces.

 Retro clocks do seem to be quite fashionable at the moment. They are such amazing shapes, they can carry off the most vibrant of colours. Luckily Les has discovered a previously unknown talent for fixing them, as many of the clocks that we find have ceased to tick!

 

5 Have you found pinterest good for spreading the word about your business or for gaining inspiration?

We find pinterest fantastic for inspiration. Sue does the pinning and has become a bona fide pinter-addict…it’s just so therapeutic after a stressful day! And, as someone said, it’s just like getting your favourite magazines everyday…but you get to choose the content!

We don’t find it particularly useful as a business tool though as, although we are getting increasing numbers of people clicking through to our website, most of these people are overseas so it doesn’t tend to lead to sales as we don’t ship overseas (yet!).

6 Given that you paint items in such bright colours, is it sometimes difficult trying to choose a colour? Do you sometimes have to repaint something if the colour hasn’t worked?

Choosing the colours is probably our favourite part of the whole process. We spend a lot of time agonising (in an enjoyable way!) over the choice of colour before we actually start to paint. And of course, once we have chosen a colour, we then agonise further about the exact shade of that particular colour. We have developed our own library of extra large shade cards which we find immensely helpful, as it makes it much easier to visualise the finished item.

 Despite all this, we do still occasionally change our minds and have to repaint. The good thing is we nearly always agree…otherwise things could get messy!

 

7 For those who have a piece of furniture languishing in a shed or even in the living room, do you take in pieces and transform them for people.

We love to do commissions for people. Sometimes people will say that they have no idea whatsoever what to do and give us carte blanche, other times we will work closely with people to put their ideas into practice. Either way we find it really enjoyable. It’s very satisfying to see how much pleasure it gives to people to be able to transform something that has become outdated or just doesn’t fit with their lifestyle into something new and vibrant.

We can also source pieces for people and transform them to their specification. We get a lot of pleasure from trawling through charity shops, auction houses and even the odd bit of skip diving!

 

8 Have you any tips for anyone considering upcycling or transforming any items of furniture?

Probably the main tip is to remember that preparation is all important. Also practise makes perfect…so don’t experiment on your favourite piece of furniture. Practise on small items until you get confident.

And for people who are chronic procrastinators our tip would be…give us a call!

 

9 Where can people buy your furniture and smaller items?

At the moment we sell through our website. If someone sees something that they like they can email us or give us a call and we can take payment and arrange delivery. People can either pick up from our premises or we will deliver (free of charge) to anyone in the greater Dublin/Wicklow area, or we can arrange a courier. Of course we are very happy for people to come and have a look at things before they buy.

We also occasionally go to markets and keep people informed of any impending dates on our website and facebook page.

There you have it – the full details of where to know if you want a piece customised or if you are looking for a quirky table, chair, clock or other item.  Sue pins away on Pinterest too so don’t forget to follow her there too.

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Jan 10 2013

Winning Ways With Pinning – How To Use Pinterest

Published by under Business Progress

It was a nice surprise this morning to receive a copy of Irish Interiors in the post and to receive the PDF of my pinterest article by email. As you probably know, I love social media and recently set up a business providing a ghost blogging service and teaching businesses how to use social media effectively for their business over at Write on Track.

Pinterest is one of the fastest growing platforms and is fast becoming one of my favourites. I’ve found it to be effective for the online shop and it’s also providing significant traffic for Write on Track too. Below is the article I wrote for Irish Interiors – if you’ve been thinking of setting up a pinterest account and aren’t sure how to go about it, I hope you find it useful. It’s a great tool for planning changes to your home.

Just click on the PDF and it will enlarge.

Do follow me on Pinterest too :)

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