Friday 18 November 2016

Dining Room DIY Makeover

So we have been in our home just over a year now, and looking back I've realised that we've actually accomplished a lot over that time! And when I say we, I really mean my husband with me giving "directions". Some things have been easy to change and only needed new paint, others have been a major renovation project, which I will share later. 

I don't have any particular style in mind with our home, I just know what I like and don't like. If you go to my Home and Interiors Pinterest board you will see it's a bit of a mishmash of different colours and styles, but heavily featuring grey tones and crisp white.  Our home was built in 1983 and features a lot of wood, cream and peach. Some people are into that country wooden look but it's not for me. When I look at it I just see tired and dated. (Although at the same time it reminds me of my childhood home so also oddly familiar and comforting). The other strong feature of our home are the large wooden beams that are in the kitchen, dining room, lounge and master bedroom. 

These photos are from the real estate marketing with the previous owners furniture. It gives you a good idea of the type of style they had and how everything pretty much went with their furniture!

For the dining room I wanted to go for something really different. The dining room sits between the kitchen and lounge as a seperate space, rather than part of another room. I really wanted to make it stand out and. It's hard to describe in my mind what I was thinking of, but it turned out a lot better than I imagined! When we had the test pots of colour on the wall, there were some raised eyebrows! But since it's been painted we've only had positive comments. My only opinion with colour is that it's just paint- if you don't like it then paint over it! 
You have to excuse the mess! This is after we moved in with some test colour on the wall. A pretty dramatic change! Also check out that dining room light!
The "during" process. Wallpaper gone, beams being painted

The process was fairly straight forward. Our whole house (including the laundry and bathroom) was wallpapered in the same cream, slightly textured and shiny wallpaper. It makes me wonder if they got some kind of buy one get 20 rolls free kind of special deal!! It was also a very narrow width, maybe 40cm and with large rooms there were lots of joins. If you have wallpaper in good condition it is fine to paint over it but because of the joins, the texture of the paper and some of the areas around the windows were really bad, we decided the best option was to remove it. This was all my husbands hard work, along with all the painting. We also needed to replace a section of the gib board underneath the windows as water had leaked but this was only a minor fix. Anyway, after some prepping it was all good to go with painting, starting with the ceiling and beams. It was amazing to see the difference to the room even with just having the ceiling lighter. 

Let's just let the after pictures speak for themselves...... 

Most days we can look out the window to the Titahi Bay inlet and further beyond to the Tasman Sea. I fell in love with the sea views when we looked at the house!
The door to the kitchen has been taken off for painting, so you can see part of my emergency kit (!) and into  the kitchen. The entrance to the lounge is a wide double doorway. 
My babies look great in black and white on the dark walls! Our dining room table was completely refinished (for another blog post!)

Our Wellington painting looks fabulous contrasting on the dark walls. 
Original artwork by my father in law, Simon Turner

What do you think? It's almost my favourite coloured room in our house, although I do really like the colours we choose for our boys bedrooms. I really like the way the crisp white makes the colour pop. It's a hard colour to describe, a dark blue grey, but it changes depending on the light. We are lucky to have huge windows that let a lot of natural light in so the room doesn't feel closed in or dark. A light room with dark walls is an interesting mix! 

Wall colours Resene "Gumboot"
Trims painted Resene Lustacryl
Beams Resene ceiling white
Pendant light from Lighting Plus

Hope you enjoyed this sneak peak into my home, I hope to post a few more over the coming months :)

Wednesday 25 May 2016

Finished Projects: Easy Striped Baby Blanket

I started knitting this blanket when I was pregnant. I more or less lost my creative mojo when I was pregnant, but I saw this pattern and it inspired me to make something for my new arrival. I had been wanting to use up some teal coloured cotton yarn I bought for something else, plus some other yarns in my stash. The teal green, navy and silver worked really well together, a very similar colour scheme I saw in Kmart, so I'm totally #ontrend! 

Oh Hello! Introducing my new arrival :) He makes a pretty good photography prop!
Luckily for me I managed to finish the blanket before my little guy arrived! I also managed to get some matching booties done.

Matching booties to warm little feet! 

You can find the free pattern for this blanket here. It's surprisingly easy- if you can knit and purl you can make this! The pattern is from the fabulous Debbie Bliss knitting book "60 Quick Baby Knits". This is a really great book, although I don't own it (wishlist) I have borrowed it from the library before. 

The fancy looking border is actually just a simple seed stitch design- alternating rows of knit/purl then purl/knit creating a textured look. 
If you're interested in finding other patterns I like, feel free to follow my Crochet, Knitting & Yarn Pinterest board! I've also saved a few tips and tricks there too. 

Nothing cosier than a mummy made blanket to snuggle under!
Yarns used for this project:

Teal Green: 4 Seasons "Flinders" 100% Cotton 8 Ply Colour 80337207 
Silver: Panda "Dianella" 100% Viscose derived from Bamboo  Colour Shooting Star
Navy: 4 Seasons "Superwash Merino" 100% Merino 4 Ply
All purchased from Spotlight Stores 

Happy making x

Saturday 14 May 2016

Black Forest Chocolate Fudge

At Christmas last year, my clever sister made a few home made gifts, including the most delicious Chocolate Baileys Liqueur Fudge. It was so soft, smooth and creamy, I had to have the recipe. Being pregnant I didn't think it was such a great idea to include a liqueur in my version (even though it's a minuscule amount), and because I like to work with what I have, I also adapted the flavour with the chocolate too. I'm sure you could use a variety of different chocolate flavours, including plain dark, milk or white chocolate  Maybe not soft filled ones like peppermint or caramel, simply because I imagine you need enough chocolate to help set the fudge. You can also substitute the liqueur for anything too, if you want to make a non-alcoholic fudge then use a flavoured syrup like the type you put into coffee. I used milkshake syrup and it worked fine!

You can find the original recipe here, and if you're a fudge fan, you might like my recipe for White Chocolate Russian Fudge too! 

Black Forest Chocolate Fudge

Melted butter to grease
1 can sweetened condensed milk
100g butter, cubed
255g (1 ¼ cups) brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons glucose syrup
150g of Whittakers Berry & Biscuit Chocolate, finely chopped
30ml cream
30ml chocolate syrup OR
¼ cup of any liqueur or alcohol (vodka, kahlua, baileys, cointreau etc)


1.  Grease your dish with butter or non-stick cooking spray
2. Melt the condensed milk, butter, brown sugar and glucose syrup in a heavy base saucepan over medium-low heat until smooth, around 3 minutes. 
3. Turn the the heat up and cook the fudge for 10-15 minutes, stirring constantly until it becomes thick and a darker caramel colour.
4. Remove from heat and stir in the cream & syrup, then add the chopped chocolate slowly until the mixture is relatively smooth. It's important not to add the chocolate in all at once as you will lose the silky smooth texture
5. Pour into prepared pan and allow to cool for an hour before covering and putting in the fridge to set. 
Cut into small pieces with a sharp knife. 
Store in the fridge especially during hot weather 

Try not to eat it all at once!

Happy Making!

Tuesday 2 February 2016

Return to scheduled programming...

You will be forgiven for thinking that I may have dropped off the face off the earth! Since my last blog post (July 2015), I've actually been pretty busy making some other things and there's been a lot of other happenings in my life. 

Firstly, we bought our first home and moved in August. We needed to do some basic renovation work as soon as we moved in, and as a lot of my crafty projects were packed away, I didn't have a lot of time to get things out for creating. I also finished a lot of things mid-year and didn't have anything new I wanted to be working on either. 

I've also been pretty busy making something extra special-- a new human being! If you follow me on Instagram, this isn't "new" news, but in case you're the rare reader who just follows my blog, now you know! 

Being pregnant has more or less sucked all the creative mojo out of me! It's pretty hard work creating a baby so that's understandable! I've made a couple of pairs of booties for friends but that's about it. With the arrival of our baby now only weeks away, I have been making a few things which hopefully I can get finished and post about here. 

I did make a pair of booties for a special friend overseas, so I thought I would share them here. They also travelled with a teddy bear who is in very familiar Kiwi attire-- an All Blacks (our national world champion Rugby team). Not only is the teddy very cute, but he also plays the Haka! (google it), you can watch him here:

The accompanying boots fit the bear, but they are actually for the baby they were delivered to! A very simple design which I think I will have to make again. Anyway, now that I am a little more settled, I'm looking forward to a bit more creating and sharing here again. 

Tuesday 14 July 2015

Finished Projects: Chunky Moss Stitch Cowl + Pattern

Right now we are just about in the middle of winter, experiencing some very, very cold weather. While most people are moaning about how cold it is, I actually like cooler weather. Mostly for one reason-- scarves! I just love wearing a scarf! Something about wrapping up and keeping warm really appeals to me. That and I felt like a scarf is the perfect fashion accessory which will brighten and add to any outfit. I have quite a significant collection of scarves, all different colours, lengths, textures and weights. I also love to knit scarves as they are SUPER easy and quick. 

My first knitting projects were scarves. I started with this one, then fell in love with this super chunky coral wool, so made this one too. The funny thing about the coral one is that I made it, felt is was too chunky, unravelled it, knit it again, steam blocked it and still find it too heavy! So I am actually currently in the process of unravelling it AGAIN, and I will knit it again using this pattern. There are so many things that are great about knitting a chunky scarf. You don't need much yarn, it knits up super quick, and it's super warm due to the extra bulk. I also like that the weave of the stitches really loosens up after blocking so it actually isn't so heavy. The nice open weave of the moss stitch really works for this type of yarn. 

The idea probably came from the "GAP-tastic" cowl which is a very popular pattern on Ravelry. The thing that puts me off making that cowl is casting on 131 stitches onto a circular needle. Yes, ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY ONE! The reason for this is to make a nice round circle that doesn't need a seam sewn together at the end. It also makes a HUGE cowl which I can imagine would be very heavy to wear. My version still creates a snuggly and plush neck-warmer, just without the huge bulk (Trust me when I say this, I used 6 skeins of coral coloured bulky yarn to make my first bulky cowl and my neck was sore after wearing it for a short while!)

These are just about all the colours of chunky yarn I have found so far. I've found them all at our local The Warehouse, they have a good selection. You can also buy some colours online, the style is "Largo". There are a couple of other colours but I think these are the best ones. So far I've used the Coral colour in the top right; the light grey on the middle left is the one I've used for the cover photo and close up of this post; In the middle photo, the purple/indigo blue I've used the most so far, making three cowls, the teal/peacock blue is in the bottom right of the photo above; the Magenta is probably my favourite colour, I used this to make a different style cowl; and the darker grey in the bottom right is currently on my needles!

Pattern: Chunky Moss Stitch Cowl/Infinity Scarf


Approximately 3x 50g balls of bulky/chunky yarn 
12mm knitting needles
Measuring tape
Tapestry needle for sewing in ends


Cast on 15 stitches using the long tail method (you can make your cowl wider by casting on more stitches, just make sure it's an odd number like 19 or 21).

Row 1: K1, P1 to the end of the row
Row 2-end: K1, P1 to end of the row

Continue in same pattern (K1, P1) until you have approximately 90cm of work, about 2 ½ balls of yarn. 
Cast off, sew ends of scarf together into a circle, making sure the work is not twisted

I like to finish by steam blocking the scarf. By this I mean "iron" the scarf using a tea towel or thin cloth between the iron and your work. Use the steam shot function on your iron to dampen the scarf and work your way around the whole scarf. This helps to soften the yarn and loosen the weave. If you want a chunkier/plusher scarf you won't need to do this. 

I highly recommend doing this project if you are a beginner, want a quick project or to teach kids to knit!

Please let me know if you make your own scarf, I'd love to see it!