New obsession: the Louis Ghost Chair

I seem to always post about chairs, writing this blog seems to have uncovered a little problem of mine! However, once you see this beauty by French creator, designer and architect Philippe Starck you may start to have a little obsession of your own…

Introducing the Louis Ghost Chair in all its glory!

Isn’t it just lovely?

Starck reinvented the classic Louis XVI armchair for Kartell back in 2002, in a sturdy yet elegant transparent polycarbonate.

I love how versatile it is – it would fit perfectly in both ultra-modern interiors, or in a more traditional setting.

For the office..

1. Style Me Pretty 2. Peep My Style 3. Southshore Decorating

Oh yes, this would fit in my office with my white theme quite perfectly.. I too could casually toss a white sheepskin on the seat to give it some texture.

And why have one when you can have many?

For the dining room…

1. Fab 2. Oh Joy! 3. RueMag

They almost camouflage into any space, which is clearly why over a million chairs have been sold since their inception.

A million and one…

Not willing to fork out a small fortune for one of these, I set my TradeMe notifications up a very long time ago to email me when one became available. A few weeks ago I was lucky and somehow managed to swoop in and purchase one of these beauties to complete my office.

It really is as perfect as it looks (yes, complete with a white sheepskin throw) and to be honest my boring old office chair never really stood a chance. The old chair is now banished forever, and my new lovely bargain chair is ensconced in its new home!

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Coconut & vanilla banana loaf

I saw this recipe on my sisters’ Facebook feed the other day, and it looked rather delicious! I’m always swayed by a good banana loaf, so I made it immediately!

Perfect for those manky bananas which have sat on the bench for a few days too long, this recipe adds extra flavour with vanilla and coconut, which definitely ups the ante from your basic banana loaf.

Made by Kiwi chef Chelsea Winter, this one really is one for the recipe box.

Coconut & vanilla banana loaf

From Chelsea Winter

Note from Chelsea: The bananas really need to be over-ripe – as a banana ripens, some of the starch in the banana turns to sugar, and also the flavour intensifies – which is what we want.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mashed very ripe banana (about 2 big bananas)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened yoghurt
  • 150g butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 free-range eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla essence
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170c. Grease and flour a medium sized loaf tin and line the bottom with baking paper.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients except coconut into a bowl, and stir in the coconut to combine. Add to the creamed mixture along with with the banana and yoghurt and fold until just combined.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and bake in the oven for around an hour and 10 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Serve warm with butter – and golden syrup if you like! Yum!

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Headboard DIY

Headboards always seem to add in that little bit of luxury to a bedroom, and definitely seem to finish off the bed space. I’m one who loves to collapse on a big comfy bed at the end of the day, and so a headboard was on the ‘would like to have’ list for a long, long time.

With fancy upholstered headboards going for upwards of $600 around here, I decided to take it in my own hands and tackle it one weekend.

With just a trip to Bunnings and Pete’s Emporium (the most amazing craft/bits and bobs/everything shop ever), I had made this:

What I used..

  • MDF board cut to size (we measured ours out for the width of a queen bed, and enough for the headboard to go below the pillows  – approx 1600mm x 600mm)
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Foam batting (lots and lots of this!)
  • Nail-head trim (you can order this from Amazon, but I got mine from an upholsterer
  • Material to cover your headboard (I actually used a matching single sheet from our duvet cover designwhich is why it matches so perfectly.. I even had enough fabric left to make my own cushions!)

And what I did..

  1. Firstly, I cut out the top corners off the MDF as I wanted a curved shape to give the headboard a bit of pizazz. There are so many shapes out there for this… but I was fairly restrained as I had the window above that it had to work with, and I didn’t want it to end up too hard and crazy!
  2. I then covered one side of the board with layers and layers of foam batting and stapled it in place. I did three layers, and if I had more I definitely would have used it – I don’t think you can ever have too much batting on here! Make sure you pull the batting tightly around all the corners so it doesn’t bulk up and look funny.
  3. I then did the same with my fabric, stretching it out, and stapling it tightly. The curves were the tricky part (it’s all in the triangular cutting of the fabric!) and I soon had it down pat.
  4. Lastly to finish off the look, I hammered in some nail-head trim very carefully along the wooden edge. I really didn’t fancy nailing in hundreds of individual tacks, so it was good I only had to do every 10.

From the front…

From the side…

But how did you attach it to the wall?!

Weeeelll this was another fun part… I had to get my husband and my Dad over to use physics (and nails, a drill, rulers and angles) to make holes in our wall (don’t worry it was a structural beam!) so it would use its weight to slot into the wall and hang there nicely. What we didn’t want was it to fall off while we were sleeping so this had to be done by the experts!

The MDF was actually jolly heavy (hard for one person to lift) so I stood back and let the guys figure it out. In fact all I really did was nitpicked when the dang thing wasn’t straight on the wall!

And it’s done!

I am so so super stoked with the result of this project! All up this cost about $100 for all the materials, so it was much cheaper then forking out for something not so custom! Now I can sleep peacefully under my lovely headboard that will definitely not fall off whilst am asleep!

Has anyone attempted their own bedhead? I’ve also heard you can upholster your own bed à la Jonathan Adler.. whose tempted?!

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Picking out my pair ‘o chairs upholstery

As mentioned a few weeks back, I am about to get cracking reupholstering my 1950s pair ‘o chairs. After a lot of scouting around and researching the different types of durable upholstery fabrics, I have settled on a heavy-weight velvet fabric called ‘Zenga’ from Charles Parsons.

There are so many fabric weights and patterns out there, I have to thank ES Design for helping me streamline my decision! I wanted something relatively easy to do, so my love for geometric pattern was scrapped, and it was recommended to go for something plain and in a darker shade.

Velvet upholstery inspiration

Images courtesy of Jonathan Adler via Instagram

The velvet fabric featured in the photos above is luxurious and textured, and i’m just swooning over the aquamarine tones Jonathan Adler used! This fabric style will definitely make my chairs cosy and current, and will last for many years of wear and tear.

Now bring on my upholstery course in July, so I can order my fabric and get cracking! I can’t wait to show you my progress, and hopefully it all works out well. Excite!

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DIY gold edged marble platter

One must always need a platter for soirées – something to arrange the fancy cheeses, nibbles and the like on. By day this platter can be used as a uniting point of any table surface with a vase or two, but by night break this gal out for the ultimate in sophistication – gold and marble has never looked so good.

I cannot take credit for coming up with this rather lovely project. This has by far been the easiest and quickest project I have done in a long LONG time, and all the credit must go to Emily Henderson.

Here is my twist on her DIY gold and marble cheese plate she posted last week:

My DIY marble platter

Step One: Take a trip to a tile warehouse (I didn’t make a special trip, I was in there for official parentals new house business), and select a marble tile.

This one cost me $6.23 and is about 350mm x 550mm.

Step Two: Tape the pretty side of the tile off, and spray-paint the tile edges gold. This is me being lazy, as I clearly did not follow the original instructions from the tutorial where it said to affix painted gold doweling to the sides to edge it. Do this if you want it, but I didn’t really think this detracted from the overall look at all.

Clearly I skipped this bit because I am somewhat rather a rebel. No really, I didn’t actually have any doweling so that made the decision easy!

Step Three: Leave to dry and do another coat to make sure its ultra shiny and metallic-like. Take extra care when peeling off the painter’s tape, you don’t want pesky paint peaking out over your beautiful marble! *ahem*

Step Four: Voilà! Sit back and admire your swish new gold edged marble platter!

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Easter Edition: Chocolate hot cross buns

It’s Easter time! And in terms of baking it only means one thing… hot cross buns!

Chocolate hot cross buns have always been preferred to me, not being a fan of ye old fruit variety. It was last year I finally decided to bake my own, not happy with the consistency of bought ones. Looking at the recipe below it does look kinda long and complicated, but I promise once you do it a few times it becomes second nature, and you may as well do a double batch as they go super fast!

Okay… so I kinda bunged up the crosses, next time they’ll be better!

Here is the recipe I have tried multiple times with success, made easier with the handy-dandy bread maker!

Chocolate hot cross buns

From Rainbow Cooking

Note: Recipe makes 16 buns, and uses a bread maker.

Ingredients

  • 3 teaspoons Surebake yeast
  • ¼ cup milk powder
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 450 gram (3 ½ cups) high-grade flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons (30 gram) butter
  • 1 cup water (250 ml)
  • Approximately ¾ cup chocolate chips

Spices and peel

  • 2 tablespoons glazed peel
  • 1 teaspoon all spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • pinch of cloves

Ingredients for crosses

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar
  • At least 5 tablespoons water

Ingredients for glaze

  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 45 gram sugar

Instructions

  1. Measure all the ingredients, except the chocolate chips, into the bread maker’s bread pan.
  2. Set on the “dough only” or “pizza” cycle and start.
  3. After the cycle is finished, leave the dough for half an hour in the unit to rise.
  4. Knead the dough lightly down.
  5. Divide dough into 4 parts and divide each of these 4 pieces into 4 again, so that you have 16 pieces of dough. (Some people use a scale to ensure even division).
  6. Add 2 teaspoons choc chips (a 10 ml medicine measure works well) to each piece of dough and work it in lightly.
  7. Shape each piece of dough into a ball and place in a greased oven pan.
  8. Cover the tray with plastic and leave to rise in a warm place, until 1½ times the original size. This can take about an hour.
  9. Crosses: Combine the ingredients for the crosses in a small snap-lock bag and mix well. Snip off 1 tiny corner of the bag. Pipe the paste over the buns to form crosses.
  10. Glaze: combine ingredients for the glaze and boil together for 1 minute. Brush mixture twice over buns.
  11. Bake in a warm pre-heated oven of 200°C for approximately approximately 12 to 15 minutes, until brown but not burned. They should sound hollow when tapped with a finger.
  12. You can glaze the buns if you like sticky chocolate hot cross buns.

Serve hot from the oven, either as is, or with butter or hazelnut spread.

Enjoy!

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Kitchen plans

Our kitchen at present is a mixture of 1970s farmhouse meets failed modern.

You can tell that it is the original kitchen left til last to tackle in our modernized home – the amount of rimu wood that has been used is way up there, and the maroon bench tops are clearly not something that I would pick! However, it has lovely sunshine in the morning, a great layout, oodles of space and a large pantry that you can fit a whole person inside (including all your kitchen knick-naks to channel your inner domestic goddess!)

Photo credit goes to our real estate company Harcourts, back in 2012.

Since we moved in nearly two years ago, we have replaced the old dishwasher (it was the first to go after less than a month’s use!) splashed out on a gleaming new oven and cook top, and replaced the sink tap. Gone are the white appliances, and they have been replaced with shiny new silver ones. I’ve been itching to get my hands on the rest ever since.

This is when I get the sensible voice of my husbands’ in my ear, and I somewhat agree. There is no point in fully gutting and replacing this kitchen of ours if we intend on keeping this place as a rental eventually when we move on. As you may well be aware, kitchens are the most expensive to remodel in a home, and budgets can get blown very quickly! So, we have compromised, and have sussed out what we are keen to do as a ‘mid-fix’ if you will – considering there is actually nothing wrong with the kitchen itself – it’s just plainly not my style.

What we’re thinking

  1. Remove the rimu cabinetry and sell it to someone who can put it to good use!
  2. Install new cabinetry (white?)
  3. Replace the bench top with something more subtle (Marble? Neutral and flecky?)
  4. Install splash-back with lively wallpaper behind it (if the budget permits, maybe subway tiles?)
  5. Fix the lighting in the ceiling (set in lights and perhaps some pendants?)
  6. Paint the walls to match

New kitchen inspiration

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

I did think about painting over our rimu wood, but since it’s actually quite valuable (and I nearly gave my Dad a hernia when mentioning it) it seems to be a better idea to sell it to recoup some of the kitchen costs. I’ve pretty much settled on the splash-back wallpaper, and next on the agenda is getting quotes for the cabinetry.

Exciting plans afoot then! Has anyone painted over their wooden kitchen cabinets or have a cabinet maker they can recommend to me? I can’t wait to get started! I love to cook so this is just going to add to the baking projects I post on here… everyone wins!

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Crushing on black, white and gold

I don’t know what it is at present, but skimming through my Pinterest stream I seem to have been encapsulating a lot of moody black, white and gold. Could it be the changing seasons? The current sales? My magpie tendencies? One can only guess the inner workings of my creative mind!

So a round-up: here are a few things – both of interiors and fashion – that have caught my eye this week:

1. Country Road Arco Gold Candle 2. Decjuba Wearing My FurtureTop 3. Crate & Barrell Alston Ivory/Gold Curtain Panels 4. Kate Spade Lindenwood Laptop Bag 5. Witchery Crystal Disc Stud Earrings

…spot the two items above I didn’t end up taking home!

P.S – Seeing as these round-ups now seem to be making a regular appearance on my blog, I have made a new topic round-ups for your perusal. Enjoy!

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Edmonds yoyo biscuits

I made these yoyos last week for Valentines Day for my other half. We usually never do much for Valentines Day, (happy corporate endorsed, love themed, merchandising day anyone?!) preferring to have spontaneous little treats all year long. But this year I couldn’t resist, and made these little cookies which went down a treat.

I toyed with the idea of shortbread hearts, but wanting to lay off the cheese I decided to make yoyos instead. With pale pink butter-cream filling, they were quite simple but weren’t too twee.

Here is the recipe for you:

Edmonds Yoyos

From the Edmonds Cookbook

For the cookie

  • 175 g butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 1/2 cups high grade flour
  • 1/2 cup custard powder

For the filling

  • 50 g butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons custard powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180C or 350°F.
  2. For the cookie, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy and add vanilla essence.
  3. Sift the flour and custard powder and mix sifted ingredients into butter mix.
  4. Roll small teaspoons of dough into balls and place on greased tray. Flatten balls slightly with a fork.
  5. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  6. For the filling, beat all filling ingredients together until combined.
  7. To assemble, sandwich two cookies together with a little butter filling and serve.

Note:

I added a drop of red food colouring to the butter-cream icing for a touch of Valentines whimsy, and probably would do again if it wasn’t V Day, so much cuter!

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Bar cart/tray table

We visited the wonderful Hawke’s Bay again a few weekends ago, and not having crash-hot weather meant we had to take in a little bit of retail therapy!

Havelock North had an array of rather cute boutiques and I had a great time wandering through their beautiful wares. After being on the hunt for an art-deco era bar cart for a while, I cut my losses and picked up this mirrored tray stand at one of the shops.

Here is a sneaky-peek how i’m styling it currently:

As you can see my hydrangeas are STILL blooming..

Eventually i’d like the top and bottom to have an array of my crystal decanters, cocktail bits and pieces and whiskey glasses, but having quite a few little people running around the place these days I may just keep them away until everyone is a bit older!

Thanks to the husb for my Valentine rose.. it’s like he knew I needed a third item to make the look complete!

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