28 June, 2010

Show and tell

I was going to save this for Thursday's Creative Space, but I just can't keep it to myself.

It's my 'new' desk  - so that I don't have to keep moving my laptop and paperwork on and off the dinner table (I do have a perfectly good desk in our office - but it's too far away from little children).

Here's the before... (a handmedown from a friend, that was previously used as a child's desk) ...

And, wait for it ...................... here's the AFTER!

Before you ask, it's covered in fabric that I had in my stash. I had about 3 metres, and think I bought it in the first place simply because I loved the pattern.

I painted each surface with glue and cut and stretched the fabric onto it, added new knobs and a perspex top ($70 - now that was a surprise :( ) and stretched and stapled the red fabric onto the back to give the piece more weight.  It looks great next to the red rug in my 'grown ups corner'. And it was SO much quicker and easier than sanding, priming and painting!

My top tips for gluing fabric on furniture (can you tell I'm also loving Masterchef?) -

  1. Paint glue over the whole surface. I started with Aquadhere, then ran out, so finished with 'Weldbond'. I mixed both with a little water as I brushed it on to make sure the whole surface was covered.
  2. Cut enough fabric so you cover the whole piece, and then you can cover those rough edges with ribbon or some sort of trim. I've got a few bare bits hidden (but I'm not going to show you!).
  3. Use a patterned fabric (at least for your first go). This will disguise any unplanned or unavoidable lumps and bumps, which is bound to happen with an old piece of furniture.

I love LOVE LOVE it, and it's going to help me be more organised and pay the bills on time (instead of putting them on my office desk and never going in there again). And when my kids are bigger and I actually use my office properly again, it'll make a marvellous dressing table.

And here are some gratuitous 'try-hard-stylist' photos.

My gorgeous paintings are by the very talented Nic Hohn. I have a collection of "Hohn's" actually. Must blog about that one day. (Wouldn't it be nice with one of those 'navy' designer chairs...)

Yep. Love it. Thanks for coming.

PS. I forgot to mention that I was inspired by a completely upholstered chest of drawers I saw in a shop window in Paddington (Brisbane) last weekend - it was an impressive piece of furniture - with a $2995 price tag! Makes the perspex price seem quite reasonable...

(And sorry I haven't supplied the Black Forest Pikelet recipe yet - it's not yummy enough. I'll keep working on it.)

24 June, 2010

My Creative Space - sharpening my skills

After all the lovely encouraging comments last week, combined with a terrific weekend away BY MYSELF at some lively 40th's, I've been itching to bring a few more ideas to life as papercuts. This was last night's effort...

I had a two hour drive home on Sunday night, and when I parked in the garage I had to write down notes about all the ideas that were in my head - isn't it amazing what a little peace can do?

Of course, since I've got home the creative pace has slowed somewhat, and today I've actually lost internet access on my laptop (why does this happen?) so maybe that's the Universe telling me it's time to do some folding.

Tomorrow - a recipe that I'm working on for 'Black Forest Pikelets' ... they're not quite right yet, but we're close.

For today, head over to Kirsty's at Kootooyoo for more creative spaces!

18 June, 2010

Getting back into the groove

I was humming and haaing about sending an envelope into Pip's envelope project... I really wanted to do it, but I'm trying to prioritise better and I definitely have other things that are higher up on the list...

But then I saw that one of my favourite illustrators, Allison, had gone ahead and done it, and I got all inspired, grabbed an envelope and some paints and bloody well DID IT.
I was inspired by the stamp actually - it was from a 'Country Show' stamp set. Plus S is begging for a merry-go-round theme for her birthday in July, so this is good practice.

And what to put in it... you know when you are in the mood to fill a bag to drop off to Vinnies, and you start, and there's suddenly heaps of stuff you'd like to donate... it was like that. It would have been very easy to get stupidly excited. But I had already stuck the stamp on, so couldn't get too carried away. Here's a peek...

So now I'm all warmed up and have to paint some more. But am also trying to prioritise being in bed by 11pm. Sometimes it's hard to stop...

(NB. It's obviously also hard to stop the full stop thing I've got going on in this post...)

17 June, 2010

My Creative Space - cut it out!

Last night was my last night at tafe (I've been doing a few units on webdesign) and I got all my assignments in and got an early mark! Hooray!

So after toying with the idea of taking myself off to see Sex and the City 2 (sometimes it's nice to miss bedtime around here), I caved, came home, helped out, got the little ones off to bed (bigger ones were settled in with pizza to watch the State of Origin), made my latest TO DO list and got this done -

Inspired by the immensely talented Rob Ryan and Julie at Famille Summerbelle I wanted to do a papercut for B's birthday, and I'll use it on her christening invite, etc. I also wanted to include a silhouette of her perfect little one-year-old head, and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

Now to scan and colour it - perhaps do a little screenprint - hmmmmm....

Impressed with how 'real' papercut artists cut appear to cut on the reverse of coloured paper - I haven't managed that, so there are quite a few pencil lines that I'm too scared to rub out for fear of tearing.

To check out what some other creative types are doing check out the HUGE list at kootooyoo.

16 June, 2010

A bit about cake

For my sister's benefit (she'll be moving closer soon, so she'll get to see it all for real), this was the inside of the 'morning' birthday cake last Friday -

(I don't know why you don't see more Spongebob plates used for styling.) Looks like a burger, but it's two cakes (orange and choc-orange) split and sandwiched with melted strawberry jam and buttercream (that was in the fridge too long and was very hard to spread).

Then I tried to make dark choc ganache, but it's for a one-year-old, so I used (cheaper) compound chocolate, and it wasn't really sweet enough, so I added icing sugar ... and it set in the bowl like cement. So I made milk-choc ganache, which was a light brown (hmmm), but I soldiered on and iced the cake, topping it with mini marshmallows, but that didn't 'do' it either. So I mixed up a batch of plain old ordinary chocolate icing (using cocoa) and iced it again, over the ganache and then added the marshmallows again, in a flower pattern, with yellow M&M centres.

By this stage it was looking nothing like my original plan, so I did the usual, and disguised it with shredded coconut.  Tadaaaah!

It looked like some sort of hairy, wookie, alien thing by now. But it did the trick (ie. held a candle) and (thankfully) tasted great. Here's a cross-section (in case you're still reading...).

I went with a similar idea when icing the main 'after dinner' birthday cake -

It actually smelt a lot like an iced vovo in the end. Lovely combo of jam, marshmallow and coconut.

B liked it!

She didn't mind the lamb shanks for dinner, either.

Happy First Birthday B! It's fun having you around!

15 June, 2010

Just quickly

Baked this lovely thing yesterday -

It's a Orange and Vanilla Upside Down Cake (a Donna Hay Seasons recipe) baked in the oven in the frypan. Have never made anything like it before, and it was lovely, but I wish we'd had some cream to serve with it.

And this is a painting experiment that I really hope will work -

I'll let you know! Just got to finish these assignments....!

10 June, 2010

My Creative Space

The sewing space has all been put away, and I'm still to finish sorting out my sewing 'room', and nothing more can be done until the tafe assignments are finished. But today this arrived...

It's a Pettiskirt Kit from The Haby Goddess. I plan to make it for S's 3rd birthday next month. It looks so lovely all wrapped up - wish me luck.

Otherwise today, we've been baking for B's first birthday tomorrow.

Small cakes for a very small (one friend) visit in the morning, cupcakes for school lunches and a bigger 'marble' cake for after dinner with the family tomorrow. Haven't quite decided how to ice them... am leaning towards a choc ganache covered in mini-marshmallow flowers... we'll see. (Any sort of special icing effort is mainly for my satisfaction (and yours!) - let's face it.)

Of course, when there's this sort of creating going on, I'm now heading off to clear this space here...

... when what I really want to be doing is cutting out the papercut artwork I'm making to mark B's first year. Hmmm.

On another tangent, I love the colours in the 'Little Princess' cartoon on the ABC and today realised the voices are done by Julian Clary and Jane Horrocks. Fantastic. I'll enjoy it even more now.

Hope you're having a terrific week, and please head off to enjoy some more creative spaces over at Kootooyoo.

07 June, 2010

One on one with my baby

Have just spent a lovely three days alone with my baby (literally, my very-nearly-one-year-old baby - nothing romantic happening here, folks), and the only time we left the house to go further than the chook shed, was to the doctor (because she hasn't been well, poor love). But we did have a particularly happy moment in the bathroom mirror as I attempted to get a photo for the project that I'm a little behind on.

How sweet it was to move at her pace. She slept when she was tired, we spent quite a lot of time putting 3D glasses on each other and chuckling, I fed her slowly and un-distractedly (that should be a word) with no others to attend to, and I got through a few things on my to-do list so that things will go a little more smoothly this week.

One was lunch-box baking. I had two overripe bananas so this is what we made:

Nanaberry muffins. They are delicious! Didn't even mash the bananas actually (they were pretty soft tho). A nice change from cupcakes, and I made them a good size so the boys will be pleased. And in an effort to do a little more drawing in my day-to-day, here's the recipe if you're keen... (click image to see larger).

I also did all the laundry (altho since the four travellers are now home the cycle starts again), ironing and folding (it really is an achievement these days) and while the bulk of my home still looks, well, lived in, here I'd like to show one of the tiny pockets of intense organisation:

Yep, I've named all the tops of the spice bottles. A whim that took me when I realised we were all out of cumin. And yet amazingly have three bottles of cinnamon and four of allspice. And there just happened to be a liquid paper pen on the bench. What can I say? That is synergy.

(Note - I've just reread this and think perhaps I should get out and go further than the chook shed occasionally....)

For more motherly chat, visit Megan's Monday Mama meme here.

03 June, 2010

My Creative Space - packed up for now

I've been struck by the sewing bug for a little while now, but it's time to get the dinner table back and do some other projects for a bit. So here it is, all packed up, ready to be put away when I reorganise this -

 -the clothes rack on wheels that I like to refer to as the 'portable sewing room'. It's in a state right now, but I'm going to do some sorting and reorganising this weekend so it's easier to find things.

This week though, my space has made another pair of cord pants for S and this lovely floral top (above),

and a cardi thing (not pictured) and an ottobre tunic top for me (this fabric was just crying out to be made into something - and can you tell I ran out of material for the sleeves - I'm not sure if it's a look that works, but I'm going to wear it anyway).

I used sleep time to make these because I just had to. Why? I read this post from Sooz today, and she explains it so well:

"...no amount of repetition takes away from the uniqueness of each creation. The choosing, the indecision, the second guessing, the surging confidence, the sudden fear, the disaster, the resurrection, the final reveal.

"And the wearing of the things I have made, deeply imbued with the memory and feeling of that creative process is such a rich experience, always richer than I remember it.

"As though that wasn't enough, compliments on the wearing are a whole other layer, slathered on top."

I get an enormous amount of joy seeing my children wearing clothes I have made for them, and snuggling under quilts that did not exist before I got it into my head that they should be made.

Visit the lovely Kootooyoo for more spaces from creative types.
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