Sunday, January 30, 2011

I'm a finalist over at Saturday mornings!

My little french chair has been selected by Dana as a finalist in her Saturday mornings competition.

If you like how it turned out you can vote for me using the link below.
Thanks very much!

Fiona xx

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy Australia Day

Gorgeous morning on the (harbourside) beach at Neilsen Park.... with thousands of other happy Australians enjoying a beautiful summer day. I've never seen this beach so crowded. But the water was cool and refreshing.

Then the afternoon at my sisters-in-law's place for the obligatory roast lamb (butterflied in the BBQ), potato salad and an english spinach salad also.  I made this for dessert - a perfect summer dish. Pavlova Roll with Strawberries, Raspberries, Basil and Balsmaic Vinegar.  Saw it a few weeks ago on Better Homes and Garden and thought we'd make it. see this link for the recipe -

I love how fresh it looked. And I managed to not eat any....

I'm so grateful for being born in this wonderful country!

Fiona xx

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bargain of the week!

I was driving back from a client meeting today and saw a St Vincent de Paul shop ("Vinnies" as we Aussies call it) that had a 50%sale on. So I thought I'd see if they had any good deals. No furniture but I managed to snag this deal - $6 for a lovely picnic basket with leather handle and straps all in perfect condition. It's old and dusty but beautiful. Made in West Sussex, England.

I'll find some nice blue and white plates for it and then we'll have to take it out for a picnic.

I also bought this chair at Rozelle Markets on the weekend. It was for sale for $35 but I got talking to the guy and he gave it to me for $20! I'm looking forward to doing it up.

Do any of you have picnic sets? What do you keep in them?

Fiona xx

Friday, January 21, 2011

Recovering a sofa bed / lounge

I did this a while ago but thought it was worth blogging about, if only to inspire someone and perhaps save them $1000s on a new sofa.

I've had this sofa bed for about 15 years ago and it was starting to look a bit shabby.  However it was still reasonably comfortable - let's be honest, what sofa bed is ever really comfortable especially with 2 people in it...but as a lounge, this old girl still has a lot of life left in her and I liked the shape of it. I originally paid around $2000 for the lounge from Oz Designs and it is sturdy and well build so I didn't really want to spend a lot of money replacing it but I was OVER the eucalyptus green damask (especially alongside my beautiful aubergine lounges).

bad shot but I forgot to take before photos
Then I had the brilliant idea of recovering it myself.  I measured it all and managed to buy pretty much the exact amount of material I needed (I had just enough left over to recover my dining room chair seat pads).  I think it was around 4m. I bought a marco-suede as it's great for keeping clean especially with kids, dog and an active outdoor life.  I think the colour was ecru. $340 and 10 hours later here's my new sofa bed. While I was recovering the cushions I changed their shape. The back and side cushions had little wing tips which I no longer wanted so I used an old electric carving knife to reshape them. The bottom cushions that you sit on are foam and feather and I used to be forever replumping them and they used to hang over the edge of the lounge a bit so I made the new cushion covers a little smaller and now they sit much more firmly and I never have to plump them.

from the back
For the main part of the sofa - I decided to not use a slip cover as I wanted it to sit neatly and with the macrosuede there is no need to wash it as sponging with work perfectly. So I staple gunned the material to the frame and pushed it into the crevices/seams with a butter knife. 

For the arms I drew a template of the actual sofa bed rather than the old slip cover and then using upholstery thread and my trusty sewing machine, I sewed the shape then pulled it tight to ensure a good fit.

This was probably the hardest part - making sure these arms sat nicely.  It wasn't that difficult to do though as I just carefully measured the length of the arm on the side to ensure that the material didn't bunch.

I saved some money by reusing the zippers from the old cushion covers. I always use the hidden zipper method to make it look nicer and sit flat.

And here's the finished product - although with over a year of wear and tear on it since it's transformation.

And now here's the funny part:   In my usual fashion, I did this whole project the night before my daughter's birthday party and while I was also making this cake.  I wonder why I do this to myself.

At least I work well under pressure!
Fiona xx

Violet Macarons!

Last year on Masterchef the contestants had to try making Balmain patissier Adriano Zumbo's Macaron Tower.  It was a crazy show with not enough time for the task and the contestants had a lot of trouble with them.  But it got me thinking about macarons and how pretty they are so of course I thought I should have a go.

I made these Violet Macarons with white chocolate ganache and they all turned out perfectly. It was my first time I've made them and I was really happy with how the centres were all gooey but the outsides firm and crisp. They were very sweet and I'm a bit more of a savoury gal but my husband loved them.  I think next time I'd use more purple colouring so they are more vivid.

This plate is one of my favourites  - from the little island of Murano near Venice, Italy.  We had a delicious lunch at a beautiful trattoria there with good friends and lots of bellinis. Nice memories.

For the Violet Macaron I used Callum's recipe that he made in the London episode and won the challenge with. Find the recipe here.
 (leave out the filling obviously)

White Chocolate Ganache

90ml cream
200 gm (7 ounces) white chocolate
Bring cream to boil, pour over finely chopped white chocolate and stand 5 mins. Stir until all chocolate has melted and mixture is glossy. Chill approx 45 mins and use as required.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Coffee sack cushions

These are some cushions I made for a friend out of hand painted material and also coffee sacks. My friend and I usually grab a coffee at our little local cafe (Divi) after we drop the kids off at school so I thought it was fitting that the cushions had backs made from a coffee sack I got from Divi Cafe in Lilyfield. The little handpainted panels were samples from Prints Charming in Annadale.

My friend also loves all things French so these were perfect for her.

the Red one

And a black one:

I was a bit sad to part with them and sometimes wonder why I don't keep more of what I make.


A french chair for a child

hi - I have decided to start a blog to record my DIY projects. Welcome to you and thanks for reading also.

I reupholstered this little kids chair for a friend's daughter's 5th birthday using a drop sheet and paint to transform it into a gorgeous French Chair. Usually I start my projects at the last minute (i.e. morning of or night before the birthday party) but we're glad we gave ourselves a lot of time on this one.  

I bought the chair on ebay for a bargain price of $1.75.

I pulled all the ripped stained pink gingham off, recovered it in a (clean) drop sheet with a million staples and some upholstery tacks and then painted it with stripes and a fleur de lys.  I made the fleur de Lys stencil myself. I used Artist acrylic paint mixed with a fabric fastener then ironed it once it was dry.  I then put some red material on the base to hid all the inner workings and replaced the little feet.

My little boy was a great apprentice. Check him out using his new tool set we gave him for Christmas. They are proper miniature tools and not toys. He thinks he is the bees knees!

french chair child upholstered lilyfield life

french chair child upholstered lilyfield life

french chair child upholstered lilyfield life

french chair child upholstered lilyfield life

Really happy with how it turned out - a couple of little smudges in the red line paintwork but I don't think it's too noticeable.

I'm sure my friend and her daughter will love it.

Fiona xx