Saturday 30 May 2015

Tiers of joy

WHAT? A YEAR HAS PASSED?! Well, let's just pretend that didn't happen. Although I can't just go on without casually mentioning that we in that time we moved cities and back into our house, which doesn't provide an excuse, but rather a whole new opportunities for house Pinterest activities that have already / will be done and with any luck, blogged about.

In other news, I will either be crazy out of control too busy for blogging in around 5 months when our first child is due (I know, thank you), OR turn overnight into a crazy earth mother who only allows Pinterest directed homemade products made from baking soda to touch her eldest's skin. It could go either way. I'm sure you're excited about that.

So...what have I been up to, Pinterest wise? Well, the following project has sat in my dining room now for around a month, and every time I eat I hear the voice of my only follower Libby asking, 'Why? why haven't you posted this?' So, to make eating a little less weird, here's the post.



OVERALL - 9 /10. "It's good to be back"

The photos don't do it justice. The beauty of this is that I've managed also to have a reason to have an awesome wedding gift on display 365 days a year without the temptation of cakes that a cake stand would usually bring, AND have on-trend succulents on display. Boom. The point off is because the bowls aren't quite big enough - they'd ideally be 3 or 4 more cm in diameter to fit the cake stand, but I sent 3 weekends looking for bowls and that's as much time as my patience could take.

Monday 21 April 2014

Frames of reference

There's nothing like a good DIY fail to bring one back to earth.  This one is straight and simple, so big long backstory (sorry), I just don't have an eye for art placement. But don't think I won't ever try it again.

Our apartment has a giant bare wall that I should really just leave alone but for various reasons feel compelled to fill with something. So naturally when I saw the following pin I had an artistic excuse to go and buy some op shop junk.  



OVERALL - 1/10. Not popular

That is actually a pile of junk. From a junk store.
You could say, 'well, you just haven't tried yet, that doesn't count'; but it does, 'cause it's been there six months now, and I have no idea how I'd even hang them on the wall without marking the (rented) wall or them hanging on an angle outwards which is just looks ugly. #fail.

Thursday 27 February 2014

The Cream Can Herb Garden of the Crop

What?! February only has 28 days? Lucky there is a Pinterest project I prepared earlier and can blog about pretty much at the 11th hour as to meet my monthly quota.

This is a DIY project almost of two halves. I did need a herb garden 'solution', but I more needed a solution to the fact that I'd just bought an antique cream can that my husband was not going to be happy about.

The cream can was only outside the antique store my work was located above about 20 minutes before I snaffled it without a second thought how one might get a 18 kilo rusty cream can home, what my husband would think, or even, what I was going to do with it.

Long blog cut short, getting it home involved trying to lift it for 20 metre bursts looking like it was all very easy and no problem to people walking the other way before letting go and collapsing over it puffing for a minute rest before doing it again. That only got me so far. Then I started to literally roll it down Cuba Mall like an idiot. Firstly, it's super loud on brick paving and attracted more attention. Secondly, it's not perfectly round, so hard to control.

So finally, I took it on the bus - a FULL bus, naturally - sitting on one seat with my trusty giant rusty cream can on the seat next to me. No one was going to dare question it.

So, voila, it was home. Then what? Obviously the miracle inspiration of turning it into a herb garden, thus meaning aforementioned husband could not complain (as much).



OVERALL - 10/10. Perfect! Yum and pretty.

The genius here is that of course the cream can is not filled with soil. That is a) gross, b) too heavy, c) not possible because of the multiple rust holes. But lucky me, the top of the cream can is just the same size as a bucket, so a black Bunnings bucket is snugly fit inside with rocks and sand in the bottom (all important drainage), then the soil, then the plants. Basil, mint, chives, and thyme, all doing well. The mint is clearly making a desperate attempt to escape, but I'm not taking it personally.

Saturday 25 January 2014

A huge Fantail of Pinterest

Happy 2014! Predictably, one of my New Year's resolutions was to blog more regularly - once per month - and here I am scrambling together one on the 25th of January. Oh well, a base for improvement.

This is a little project I did a few months ago for my mother in law's birthday.  She loves fantail birds, and when I passed by a pop up craft shop with a cute little fantail photo holder string I was super keen to get it for her birthday the following week.  But being the great daughter in law that I am, I had already spent over the reasonable birthday gift allowance on something else, so I was dismayed to find the holder was $36.

$36? Not that extortionate, but it was just nice ribbon with felt cut out birds, embellished with above average stitching on the tail and glued onto mini pegs just like the ones I have heaps of at home for no reason...surely I could give that a go?

So I did.




OVERALL - 10/10. Boom!

I'm pretty sure it's true that mums like homemade gifts better than store bought ones. Or at least, they will pretend to super convincingly. This project was really easy, completed within the golden 3 hour timeframe that after which I will become crabby, not care, and just go out and buy something.  Even my terrible stitching skills were good enough, and the item hangs proudly in a prime position of Janis' lounge, Or at least, she remember to pull it out before we come over.

Sunday 22 December 2013

Twas the night before the night before Christmas....

When all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a mouse

Someone had tried hard
To copy a photo from a site
But failed to come even close
Even though she worked long into past nights

With the best of intentions
She bought metres and metres of paper
Cut it to fit, and taped
Then got sick of the whole damn caper

And with 75% of the project complete
She took this photo so at least someone would benefit
Even though she knew this project
Wouldn't bestow her any credit

So here you go followers
Enjoy and smile
'Cause after that all money and time went to waste
There should be something at least worthwhile



OVERALL - 0/10

Let me break this down for you into some simple bullet points.
  • Do not use wrapping paper. Use wallpaper. Proper, thick wallpaper, with proper thick wallpaper glue.
  • That means, you must own the stairs. Do not be renting the stairs.
  • Do not try and do it in gold, even if gold is your favourite colour, when the stairs are pretty much gold.
  • Make sure you get enough paper to do the whole job from the beginning. If you run out of paper, and then you cannot find any more of that paper even though you've been to all the Farmers stores, you will have to use another colour and you will look stupid.
  • Think carefully about spending money on this. If you aren't sure, go out and buy a dress. It will last longer, and not potentially trip someone up on the stairs.
Merry Christmas!

Thursday 12 December 2013

'Tis the season for Pinterest crafts ...

This blog entry is a special shout out to my home girl Libby, who I know has been on the edge of her seat waiting patiently for a Christmas project - and I have tried not to disappoint. I've had a few projects on the go recently which is well in keeping with my enthusiasm vis a vis inability to finish anything, and I can tell already that there will be some good fodder for blogging over the next few weeks.

First up though, something that seemed so easy I couldn't screw it up. Wreaths are a Christmas staple, but in the heat of the Southern Hemisphere December (arguable here in Wellington, but anyway ...), wreaths are really expensive and are largely left for the domain of shopping malls and large office receptions that can afford them.

So imagine my excitement when I saw this simple photo wreath on Pintrest! Of course! And so I raced to for 19c prints.



OVERALL - 6/10. Stylist required for the photo.

Bonus points if you realised that - SURPRISE - I didn't just copy the photo, I tried to be cutesy and get all my pics printed in black and white, bar a handful that were predominantly red and I thought might look like red baubles. They don't. That is mostly because the 'baubles' are to o big compared to the overall wreath. And the bow is too small. But luckily, the baubles don't detract too much I don't think.

The main things are that the bottom left quarter needs to move out a little, and I needed to style the shot better with a casually placed candle and vase of flowers. Fixable and superficial.

Heaps of love to Libby and to everyone reading this preparing for Christmas - hope you get time out to enjoy all your efforts. And do them for yourself as much as anyone else.

Monday 22 July 2013

A palletable idea

There is only one thing I love more than lanterns, and that is pallets (erroneously named 'crates' I note in previous blog posts.What an amateur).  In fact, I've already used the much better puns for other pallet related blog posts. Living on a wharf, it is very hard for me to walk past all those cute, derelict pallets each day and not carry them home to sit in a sad heap taking up most of our lounge, even though I already did that in Auckland and they're still there, taking up half the garden shed with no plan in sight.

So one day when I was walking home past the youth court for some reason, you can imagine my unbridled joy when I walked past a MINI pallet, 1/16th the size of the normal size, literally lying in a gutter.  Was it really unwanted? Or was someone coming to pick it up.  I looked around, but nobody seemed to want to claim the gift from above so I snaffled it - hey, it's not like I haven't already carried a coffee table, A-frame, lantern stands and a giant cream can to Waterloo Quay, so why not a pallet? So I did.

And there it sat, on a ledge seemingly made just for the pallet, for weeks - until I came up with a plan for it. And so - that's right - it's not me copying Pinterest, but everyone else woefully trying to copy my example:



OVERALL - 7/10

Nice try, everyone else. But essentially you've just got a both with wrapping paper ready to fall out all over the place. Just look how tidy my paper is kept, even after the roll has been started. Oh yeah.

Sunday 9 June 2013

Light of my life

I love lanterns. I love rice paper lanterns, I love string lanterns, I love ye olde antique lanterns in heavy metal and glass contraptions, I love those crazy Thai-style lanterns that float off into the sky and cause no end of environmental damage when they land in rural areas hours later and are eaten by cows.

It is no surprise then, that when I saw freestanding internal lantern holders like these from Pinterest below in a store in Auckland I got very excited. But just when I was ready to fork out however much they cost, the 17 year old shop assistant said she couldn't find the price in the computer and hence, couldn't sell them to me (so hard to get good help to do your sunny Sunday shift these days) ... which was probably just as well, because how would I have got them to Auckland?

Well anyway, that was her (boss') loss, because weeks later I saw the same lanterns in Living & Giving in Wellington, on sale, and those chumps were dumb enough to sell the lantern stand separate from the lantern itself. I suppose they thought that would make the set seem cheaper or something, but surely people would buy both together? Nope!  I cleaned them out of their stands for a grand total of $60 (forcing my poor friend Clara to help me walk down busy Lambton Quay with 1m stands) and left them with a bunch of lanterns, ready to combine two of the greatest Pinterest memes together:



OVERALL - 10/10

Lo! Behold the trinity of Pinterest projects - the cream can with white plant cascading like cream, the lantern with mason jar candle holder, and the suitcase side table. And it's not just a straight out purchase - in order to make the mason (pickle) jar hangable, I did have to DIY some fencing wire from Bunnings and use special wire bending pliery things to create a safe hook. Yay! These might be my favourite yet.

Sunday 2 June 2013

Ready, steady, chook!

Firstly, sorry about the title.  A prize of a postcard from Wellington goes to the person who comes up with a better chicken pun - thanks. [editor's note: I now don't apologise for the title, which is the winning pun from the aforementioned competition - thank you Amy, a wet wellington postcard is winging it's way to you]  Very few of these posts have been about Pinteresting food, for two reasons - 1. several of my friends have real food blogs, like GOOD ones, and why would I set myself up for that kind of comparison, and 2. because my cooking skills are 31 years behind everyone else's (due to my chef father not letting me near the kitchen, and then not cooking for anyone until I got married, and then the year after that marriage when I actually lived with my husband. Long story.) But, I have been trying hard to grow my repertoire from avocado on cruskits to at least ten actual dishes, so I have been using Pinterest to suggest meals and give them a go.  Yesterday, I had the craziest hankering for oranges right around 3pm, shopping for dinner time. I can't really explain why that was, but I Pinterested it and found a recipe I liked the look of:



OVERALL - 9/10

'Mom's Orange Curry Chicken"? Firstly, its "Mum's".  Secondly, what's that first ingredient, "2 1/2 lbs of  broiler-fryer chickens"? I don't understand the question and I won't respond.  That's where you lost me, recipe, and where I started to freestyle.  And you know how dangerous that is. But still, based on the photograph, I'm going to guess mine was a whole heap better - so good, in fact, I'm going to post the recipe below, and that is definitely a world first - me suggesting that other people try make food I made. This is a whole new world.


1. Heat oven to 3/4 of the way the knob will turn. That always seems like a good amount - not too greedy.

2. Cut 500g discount chicken thighs from New World into thumb sized pieces, do not mistake for your thumb.

3. Sprinkle chicken with curry powder to cover and a little salt on both sides and rub into meat.  Also sprinkle with mysterious "orange petal powder" your husband has in his Mexican shelf. Sounds legit.

4.  Arrange in your greased cooking dish or tagine bottom half.

5. Combine 2 cup orange juice, 3/4 cup honey, 5 tbs sweet marmalade (genius!), 3 tbs mustard and 1 tbs cinnamon (that's my patented secret ingredient!) in saucepan; simmer for 5 minutes.

6. Pour over chicken and bake for 30 minutes.

7. Turn chicken, add orange slices cut as cartwheels and continue baking another 20-30 minutes or until richly browned. If sauce is reducing too much, add 1/2 cup water to pan and stir.

8. Whoops! By now your rice should be ready. Go back to step 6 and turn on rice cooker and start cooking enough rice for 2 people.

Sunday 7 April 2013

Like watching paint dry

Well, the paint hasn't dried yet but I think I know how this blog post is going to end so here it goes.  The old 'painted mason jar' craze is everywhere on Pinterest, so it has been a bit of an oversight that I haven't tried any myself yet. I guess the reason for that is that I don't actually need any jars turned into a vase...but hey, that hasn't stopped me before from plunging money into some pointless DIY project that ends up in the bin after some ruthless mocking from my husband. So today, being a wet and cold Sunday night in Wellington (I know! Who would've thought) I walked briskly to trusty Bunnings to buy a test pot of paint in what should really by now be called Pinterest Duckegg Blue:



OVERALL - 7/10

OK, so a few things to consider here. Obviously, Bunnings did not have any test pots in the colour or even near to the colours I wanted. Any shade of Duckeggish Pinterest Blue, or my secondary colour Eggy Pinterest Yellow, or even Concrete Grey with a tone of Pinterest were noticibly absent from the shelves, which only reinforced my point that this is an old Pinterest trick and I'm too late to be trying it now.  However, when I got home I realised that I already had paint leftover from the drawers in the last blog post! So hurrah, this was to be a no cost project barring any disasters. But there were to be no disasters, it was actually even easier than it sounds - pour paint in, swirl it around slowly and carefully until the jar is that colour. Even I managed to do it  (although I did get paint everywhere because I was really sloppy in getting the paint into the jar, but that was just dumb). Now I just have to think of something to put in them,and maybe a different place to put them since they are so well camouflaged. Suggestions welcome.

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Luck of the drawers

I think it's pretty clear from my last 16 posts that I am no where near a place where I should be taking on major DIY involving a perfectly operational, expensive piece of furniture, but hey! I was bored. And it was ugly, so it was asking for it. 



OVERALL - 6/10
Obviously, the instructions required sanding down the object prior, especially if it had a thick varnish, which this piece did. I went as far as buying the sandpaper, but really that was never going to happen on so many levels - namely two: I live in an apartment. Sanding something indoors (and we have epic "open plan (read: one room) living) would definitely be a dusty, messy pain. And secondly, how boring is that? As a result, it's no surprise that the paint isn't really holding that well and it dings pretty easy. It is no accident that the photo has been taken quite far away as to hide my slightly sloppy painting job near the bottom. But I still like it better than the original, so a win for Pinterest. 

Friday 8 February 2013

Dish-tasteful DIY

I know that this blog can't be all about buying stuff I've seen on Pinterest, so this week I got into making something that looked pretty easy to make - foolproof.  In fact, it looked so easy and so good on the pin that I did wonder why people didn't do it all the time.  Now I know why.

The pin was a dish made out of a CD - well two, to be precise.  Everyone has old CDs lying around, and my lovely colleague handed me two straight away, keen to help me write another blog post and having been recently coerced into buying two demo CDs off dodgy guys standing outside our work on Cuba Mall.

So all I neded to do was put the two CDs on a mug in the oven - already on from cooking salmon for dinner, oh yeah - and voila! freshly baked dish goodness.



OVERALL - 2/10
I know its not completely clear so I'm going to point out that the styling here with the candle is meant to be ironic - WHAT A PIECE OF JUNK. I mean, it should have been obvious, but THE CDs HAVE HOLES IN THEM. The dish is completely useless for anything but putting a candle in it, and why would you want a wierd crumbled plastic thing around your candle? Waste of time - you are probably better off listening to the roots / R&B / reggae mix that was on those CDs. Plus they made the oven stink.

Monday 14 January 2013

Bags of fun (or how to annoy your husband in three easy suitcases)

Of all my Pinterest endeavours, this is the one that has been the cheapest (except the crate one which shall not be mentioned - its 8 months on now and they are still rotting outside our house), the easiest, and the one that has annoyed my husband the most.

In fact, when he spotted me snapping the pics below this morning, his face lit up in a way that is really quite usual for a man of his demeanor and asked "are you finally selling those things on TradeMe?*" 

No way. Our apartment is a little devoid of personality thanks to some impressively stringent rules against hanging anything. That, together with a huge amount of wall space and lack of large pieces of furniture means the place looks like the beginnings of a minimalist installation rather than a home.

Lucky we have Pinterest to suggest whimsical junk that not only could look cool, but solve our storage issues.

*For the benefit of any exotic reader who may accidentally stumble here (welcome!) TradeMe, or, is the New Zealand equivalent of ebay, e.g. a second hand trading site used to sell junk, or in my case, buy junk.



OVERALL - 9/10
Woohoo! $10 for things to put stuff on, to look cool, and stuff things in when people come around? Awesome! And no skills required - just hand over the $10 note, and then carry the cases, two each day, on the 20 minute walk home after work.  Luckily I live in Wellington, so that sort of thing looks normal. 

Sunday 13 January 2013

Bun times with Pinterest

I'm not exactly the most stylish person going, especially when it comes to my hair. Long and out of control, it has been confined to a messy ponytail al a 1997 styles since ... Well 1997. Apart from only one occasion when I wore it out (Hayley and Craig's wedding. It drove me crazy). On a whim, I thought I'd try a fashion that was now only 3 years old and ask my colleague how people do that top knot bun thing that is oh so incompatible with my motorbike helmet. She looked at my funny and said, 'wouldn't that be on Pinterest? Well yes, of course it was.



OVERALL - 4/10
We're just like twins! So why the low mark? It's because I well imagine the model above's sock did not fall out while walking along Cuba Mall, leaving me with super ugly crazy hair and a sock to pick up off the foot path. MIght try it again some day, but with hairspray and a heck of a lot of bobby pins.

Saturday 29 December 2012

A Cracker of a Christmas!

I have an amazing knack for voluntering to do unneccesary things that I think will be easy and end up creating a whole bunch of stress and harrassment for little gain to anyone.

For this year's Christmas, I opted to create a rod for my own back by thinking it would be SO MUCH FUN to make Christmas crackers for our awesome annual Christmas dinner with people at the long suffering Hogglebert household.

Making five crackers would have been fun. Finding things to put in 25 crackers, plus trying to steal 25 toilet rolls from various houses and workplaces proved tricky. And don't start me on trying to get good cracker jokes.

However, for all my long nights and early mornings to finish them off, it did end up being fun, and like childbirth, I imagine I'll forget about the pain in about 12 months and be ready to do it again.

(p.s. I don't have any children, I'm basing this on my friends' experiences)
(p.p.s. If I have children, imagine how many new posts there may be!



OVERALL - 8/10
Already some time has passed so the pain has dulled and they get a higher rating ... plus they were fun.  Only points off are for how hard it was to find good stuff to put in them. And the sloppiness I put into some.

A Trifle Disappointing

Pinterest is nothing if not a medium by which you try to create things so that people will love you and approve of your life choices (no? just me?), and so the old 'friends fly down to visit you for dinner to check out your new apartment' chestnut obviously meant hours of scrolling in preparation for Libby and Aidan's trip to the capital last weekend.  

However, this week's adventure only proved yet again that you cannot simply substitute all bar one of the ingredients and expect to get away with it. 

I blame the recipe name, "Easy Trifle". Apparently that does not mean it is so easy you don't have to read the ingredients or instructions.



Visually this was fine, hence the one point and punny section title. But taste wise, sickly sweet and somehow less than the sum of its parts. Aidan finished his out of sympathy, husband Murray did not afford me that pity.  

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Buying is Cheating

So far, the thing I miss the most about my move from Auckland to Wellington (and also, from a house to an apartment), is not having a garden.  Have no fear - Pinterest is full of 'loft' garden ideas! And so important was this to me that I guaranteed success by stamping out any need for me to do anything and therefore wreck it. 



OVERALL - 10/10
Whoop whoop! Love it ... the secret is revealed ... just buy it. But will I in the future? Not a chance. 

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Not a Christmas Miracle

I'd apologise for not blogging in a while, but I still have no followers, and would hate the pressure of having any, so we're all good. 

I have recently moved cities and will blame this for not writing anything up, but actually the move, and subsequent need to completely redecorate, rewardrobe, refurnish the home has actually provided many opportunities to follow my Pinterest dreams and risk fulfilling them, or crashing and burning them. 

Today's subject was certainly the latter. 

With my husband away for the evening, I embarked on a along-awaited project of making these funky white "baking soda Christmas decorations" that I thought were a bit like some I saw for sale in the Grey Lynn 'Crafternoon tea' market I love so much. 

Maybe they are, but most likely, not a chance. After completely screwing up the mixture the first time (1 cup of baking soda, 1/2 cup of cornflour - NOT the other way around) and failing to do a key part of the instructions because they were obscured by the formatting on my iPhone, the first lot became a burney, smelly mess condemned to the bin pretty quickly with a burn on my hand as a semi permanent reminder of the misadventure.

For the second lot I followed the instructions to a degree of precision quite unlike me, and yet, this is how they came out:


The Pinterest subtitle is "better than salt dough!"....if so, stay the hell away from salt dough. Bumpy, rough, yellowy brown coloured, and most significantly, smell like commercial grade toilet cleaner. You have been warned.  

Sunday 14 October 2012

The birthday that keeps on giving

OK, so maybe I didn't exactly do this one myself, but I helped instigate it. My BFF Libby continued on the balloon theme for her daughter's birthday and aimed to create a balloon cake for the weekend festivities with friends and family.  And she totally aced it!


OVERALL RATING 10 /10 - How much better is this?!
A couple of minor adjustments - e.g. normal balloons and a bit of colour co-ordination - and BOOM! Awesome cake. And now its even closer to my birthday, Libby ... just saying ....

Monday 8 October 2012

Happy birthday Elliot!

I don't think that I have mentioned my beloved best friend's daughter, Elliot, before.  In her name I happily pin things away on the "For Elliot" board that are partly for her but may be partly for me if I ever get around to stop working / mucking around on Pinterest all day and actually have children.

Well, that just paid off today, Elliot's second birthday. Last night, after some fairly painful dental surgery for which no doubt "don't blow up 30-odd balloons' was only accidently left off the instruction list, I blew up 30-odd balloons to create a celebratory balloon arch for my favourite little girl.



OVERALL RATING 9/10 - Love it!

Hurray for it being my birthday in two weeks, might just whip up one of these for myself.
Only one point off because I guess the top one is pretty cool in that it has so many balloons. But I only had so much breath. And they wouldnt have fitted anyway.