Saturday, 25 October 2014

Getting Vintage Furniture Restored

When I was a child I would love to explore my Grandfather's garage. He had a long, 4 car garage. However, it only fit one car, as it was so full of treasures. My Grandfather used to be a window dresser, so he had many weird and wonderful items. On a hook hanging off the roof, he had a set of chairs. They had springs popping through the leather seat and were in rough condition. They were beautiful. I asked him what he was going to do with them, and he replied nothing, but one day I could have them, if i'd like them. When he passed away, my Grandmother sent them to me.

They have sat in my garage ever since. I loved their shape, and knew that one day they would be a beauty, but I had no knowledge of how to fix them. I did try one afternoon, and very enthusiastically started sanding. However, I had no idea what else to do, so there they were left.

Finally, after updating our lounge room, I decided it was time to dust them off, and get them restored. My friend's Brother is an upholsterer, having taken over the family business. I knew he was a bit of a genius, having seen some amazing work he had done. He had even restore antique chairs that had been damage in a fire.

He liked the natural colour of the timber that was showing through from where I had sanded it back, so he decided it would be nice to sand it back and oil the timber. He fixed some broken foot rails and then replaced the seating with a beautiful navy leather and bronze studs.

Just look at that nailhead trim. The blue leather matches my rug perfectly too!I had considered choosing a patterned fabric however I settled for this because a) I didn't want there to be too much clashing fabrics in he room and b) I wanted something classic that wouldn't date

A huge appeal of these chairs for me are the flat arms and curved back. I love the smooth lines they create. 

They are simply beautiful. My next task was to find the perfect table to go between them, and I am considering making mini ottomans for feet to rest on when people sit on them, but am unsure if having them slide under the chairs will overcrowd them.

It was well worth getting these chairs restored. I think, if you are unsure of how to restore an item and if it has too much sentimental value, or monetary value, to rick making a mistake, then it is well worth having them restored.

My hope is that these will become heirloom items, passed down through the generations. In the meantime, I am simply going to gaze lovingly at them, and perhaps pet the arms as I sit in them.

Do you have a beautiful item you would love to see restored?

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Recipe - Blueberry Crumble Teacake

This lovely cake is so easy to whip up. It is from Belinda Jefferies Mix and Bake cookbook. I adapted it so I could use my Thermomix, but you can easily make it in a food processor, or mix master.

The easy part about this recipe that there is no creaming butter and sugar. It is a Wet/Dry mix cake so it quick and easy.

The crumble on top is what really makes this cake special. I made mine in two loaf tins, but I admit I should have followed Belinda's instructions of using a springform pan. I realised my error when I went to turn the cake out and had its of crumble falling off.

This would make a lovely gift though, baked in a disposable  loaf tray, or a very impressive offering when visiting friends.

Makes 1 cake in 24cm Springpan or 2 small loaves


Crumble Topping

Topping :
  • 35g plain flour
  • 55g brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 70g pecans or walnuts
  • 30g cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
Cake mix:

  • 150g plain flour
  • 120g wholemeal plain flour
  • 220g caster sugar
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 300g fresh or frozen blueberries [I used a mixture of raspberries and blueberries]
  • 80ml light olive oil
  • 180ml milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • icing sugar and cream, to serve

Preheat your oven to 180ÂșC. Grease a 24cm springform cake pan.

For the topping: Place the flour, sugar, and spices into thermomix (or food processor) speed 4 for 5 seconds. Add the nuts and butter and put on speed 6 for 5 seconds or until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Tip into a bowl and chill.

For the cake mix: Place dry ingredients in thermomix Speed 4 for 5 seconds, transfer to a bowl. Remove 1 heaped tablespoon of the mixture in a separate bowl and toss with 200g berries. Set aside.

Measure oil, milk, egg, vanilla and zest in the processor and blend on speed 5 for 5 seconds or until well combined.

Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add milk mixture. Sire until combined, then gently fold in blueberry mixture.

Spread evenly in cake pan, sprinkle the crumble over the top and press remaining 100 blueberries into the crumble.

Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in pan. Dust with icing sugar and serve with cream

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Repainting our home - The result

Repainting out home was a lot of work. Before we even could lift a paintbrush, we ad to do a heap of prep work. Our house had a lot of cracks in it as a result of loam and clay soil, differences in moisture under our house and the drought. The most significant crack was in our living room, and it was over 1 cm wide in some points.

Our first step was to replace the section of wall, fill it in then smooth it out. We then also had to sand every bit of skirting, wash the walls, paint the roof and undercoat. It took 2 weeks of solid work to finish (truthfully, we are yet to paint all the doors in the house, but that will be done soon).

Once the house was finished I also went out and purchased a new lounge and a new rug. I am gradually buying new pieces to fit in with my new colour scheme.

The improvement is incredible though. We changed the layout to suit our new lounge. The colour has brightened our whole house and made it seem light and airy.

The pop of colour from our feature wall is refreshing, and will feature in little accents in the living room so it can create cohesion between areas. The darker colour in the kitchen is wonderful, and blends in beautifully.

Overall, I am delighted by the results.

It is still a work on progress. As you can see there is a blank spot under these shelves, where a special restoration project (more details later!) will go. I also have some antique chairs being restored that will go in front of one of the windows.

What I love is that I have plenty of room, and even a kids nook. Our lounge is sooo comfortable, and the whole house finally feel like it's mine.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Aussie Curves - Animal Print

This is my first Aussie Curves post on this blog. I have participated in Aussie Curves since the very beginning, over at my old blog Sister's Closet. I have left that blog open, so feel free to check out any old Aussie Curves posts.

Animal print is one pattern that generally is always around. Who can resist a bit of leopard print? while animal print isn't something I always gravitate towards,  I have a few items that feature it.

When I decided to dress for this challenge I pulled out a few pieces that I owned. However, it was a sunny, but windy day. I vetoed a dress I have as skirts/dresses on a windy day are not always wise. I thought about a kimono jacket I have, but it felt too dark. I wanted a pop of colour.

That is when  spied my colorful neon animal print scarf. It is a last season purchase from Kmart. It was actually much wider, however I cut it in half as I had found it a bit too full when I wore it as a scarf.

Kimono - Supre
Crochet Top - City Chic
Sandals - Target
Scarf - Kmart

I don't usually wear head scarves as I find they don't sit well and don;t seem to suit me. However, on this particular say it worked. Hurrah! It meant my hair was able to stay in place on the windy day, gave me a pop of much needed colour, and looked rather hip.

I kept everything else very plain, as I was letting the scarf feature. I usually wear a big, bold necklace but I felt bangle suited it better.

I have now been inspired to try wearing a headscarf more often, what do you think?