30 September 2014

Art Deco cabinet upcycle: from ugly to beautiful!

This old Art deco wooden china cabinet 
is yet another of my love/hate relationships!
I love the shape of it,
 and simply adore the lead light panels, 
but I sooooo hate the wood!!
In my minds eye I pictured this painted white.
But one day while looking at furniture on 'Trade Me', 
I came across this very cabinet that somebody had upcycled, 
by painting it-
 solid - shiny - white.
EEEEKKKKK!!!
It looked disgraceful!!!
And so my cabinet has remained to this day
in its ugly stained wood state.
But then I had seen 
 a painted dry brush technique 
on an upcycled old wooden ladder.
Rustic and interesting.
And so that was the new inspiration for my china cabinet.
Very slowly I dry brushed...
Layer upon layer of white paint...
 Until I was happy with the paint coverage...
It took 3 hours to get it just right!
Not too light,
and not too heavy.
(Note to self:  wear knee pads next time one attempts such a project!)
After 24 hours drying time, 
I used steel wool to distress the paintwork. 
A little here,
and a little there...
following the grain of the wood.
Very slowly I am falling in love with this cabinet.
And as I apply a layer of beeswax polish, 
I'm thinking 'You really are starting to look rather fine!'.
But what to do with these yucky old knobs?
Paint to the rescue again -
matt black in fact!
And what a difference that made!
I am so glad I decided to keep the original hardware.
Because there was a moment when I thought I might just change them!
And here is the end result!
The Art Deco cabinet upcycle: from Ugly to beautiful.
Now it no longer blends in with the dining room wooden wall panelling...
She simply says - 
"woohoo - LOOK AT ME!!!"
The 'Aqua collection' simply 'POPS' against the white.
The leadlight glass looks gorgeous!
And the distressing offers a little bit of detail but not too much.
The glass urn picks up on the gleam
 of the leadlight glass in the cabinet doors.
My original chalk artwork 
picks up all the colours displayed on and inside the cabinet.
Aqua, blue and white hues...
My favourites!
The mirror had a drybrushed makeover too...
It just could not remain natural wood.
So here it is again...
Which do you prefer?
Before 
Or
After?
My vote is definitely for after!





25 September 2014

Apple Shortcake Heaven...


As a child I remember the joy 
when my mother made apple shortcake for dessert.  

And the next day,
there was a piece wrapped in wax paper in the school lunch box.
Either way, 
hot as a dessert served with vanilla ice cream, 
or cold as a cake slice,
apple shortcake is HEAVEN!
This a an adaption of my mothers recipe,
which has the addition of custard.
ENJOY...

Custard Apple Shortcake

Prepare Apple Pulp: 
6 large apples apples-
Peel, core and cut into wedges.
Place into a lidded microwave container.
Add 2 Tablespoons caster sugar
and 1/3 cup water.
Microwave on high until soft. 
(about 8 minutes)
Drain and cool.

Prepare Shortcake:
Cream 200 grams soft butter
3/4 cup caster sugar and
2 teaspoons pure vanilla essence.
When pale and creamy, 
add 1 egg.
Beat again to combine.
Add 1/4 cup custard powder,
 2 cups plain flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder.
Mix to combine.
Press half of the shortcake dough into a baking paper lined slice dish.
Top with cooled apple
Using your hands,
roll small balls of remaining dough. 
Press balls to flatten, 
and place these rosette on top of the apple.
(they do not have to meet perfectly, hints of apple should be visible).
Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of coffee sugar or raw sugar on top.
Bake at 180 degrees celsius for 25 - 30 minutes.
Serve warm with Ice Cream or cream.
Or serve as a cold as a slice.
Printable version of this recipe can be found here:
https://sites.google.com/site/miabellapassions/desserts/custard-apple-shortcake




12 September 2014

Pale Pink Snapdragon...

It is amazing how one thing can capture your attention...
And this afternoon as I was strolling around Mia Bella Gardens,
I was captured! 
By the beauty of this lone pink snapdragon.
Captured by the joy that is in seeing 
the first blooms of Spring...
In the delightful furry buds...
 In the exquisiteness of the pink flower...
In the gorgeousness of the contrast 
between the colours of green and pink...
Captured...
 by a pale pink snapdragon.



6 September 2014

French Look DIY Mini Terrarium...

 There is so many inspirational ideas
 for DIY mini terrariums in Net land...
You can use moss, interesting rocks, small stones,
bulbs - like grape hyacinths,
mini varieties of orchids, 
and air plants (tillandsias).
Decorate with crystals, 
miniature fairy scenes,
 or just a singular mini item as a focal point.
Put your chosen selection 
into jars, big or small, cloches, fishbowls, lightbulbs or bottles!
I thought I would create one in a large mason jar,
but then I remembered tucked away in a cupboard
was this sweet wee terrarium that my son made many years ago.
It was perfect...
in a not perfect rustic kinda way.
 In the bottom I placed a small amount of fine bark.
Arabella (assistant editor) had a little help from Clea today 
with her usual pre 'next step' inspections...
With a flick of that chocolate coloured tail, 
Arabella declared 'you may proceed to plant!".
A larger piece of mossy covered bark was placed inside,
and a baby fern was planted...
 A tiny impatiens seedling joined them..
along with Eiffel Tower!
 A quenching spray of water to finish.
The mini metal Eiffel Tower 
is the perfect addition to the terrarium as a focal point.
 It is official!
I'm in love with it...
Anything French,  anything Eiffel tower -
and my heart is completely lost!
You would never guess what it really is though...
Shall I tell you?
This just has to be the cutest Eiffel tower pencil sharpener you've ever seen!
 The completed terrarium looks fabulous on the French side table...
 DIY Mini Terrarium with a tiny touch of French = LOVE!