Thursday, 7 November 2013

From firewood to country chic: grandma's oak wardrobe

Once there was an ugly old wardrobe, ready to be scrapped ...

The wood was rather ugly, but all in all the wardrobe was still in very good shape.

First step was sanding the varnish to get some key for the paint to adhere to,
followed by a thorough wash with a thinned down water and ammonia mix.
This got rid of the sanding dust and any trace of nicotine that still stuck to the wood.

After letting all pieces dry out thoroughly, I reassembled the wardrobe and applied a coat of primer.

I chose an oil based primer, because I wanted a smooth finish. With water based primers and paints, you always run the risk that brush and roller marks remain visible.

Next came 2 coats of lacquer in a slightly of white colour (colour shady grey), and then came the fun part ... making everything look just that little bit distressed and not quite freshly painted. 


And voila ... an old wardrobe made right for a modern country interior

and here is my dilemma ... I painted this wardrobe for a dear friend ... and ever since I am on the lookout to find a similar old lady to be refinished, one that would come and live with me ... but no luck so far.

There is one upside, at least I have an excuse to continue going to flea markets, thrift shops and garage sales.

Sculpture / Art made by Me!

Some sculptures and other art that I have made over the years.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Tajine tonight, sis and I are cooking Moroccan

Just dug the tajine out of the garage - freshly scrubbed and ready for use!

Stay tuned, step by step and recipe will follow as work progresses.

This tajine survived the plane trip back
from Morocco many years ago
Preparation is key, you need quite a lot of ingredients. 
For 2 persons you need:

  • 500 gr lamb chops (with bone)
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 zucchini
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 3 tomatoes (pealed)
  • 35 g tomato concentrate
  • 1 large onion (roughly chopped)
  • garlic to taste (min 2 cloves)
  • herbs: cumin, sweet paprika, kurkuma, pepper and salt, cinnamon (ground + 2 sticks), Ras el Hanout
  • 20 apricots (dried) and 1/2 cup raisins
  • chicken stock 
  • 1/2 cup green olives (without stones)
  • couscous


spice the meat (easiest is to put the meat and spices
in plastic bag and shake well)
cut the vegetables in big chunks, peal tomatoes and de-seed
sweat down the onions and garlic without colouring them (put aside)
same saucepan, brown the spiced meat (put aside)
pour some stock into saucepan and loosen  juices
add tomato concentrate and stir
layer the onions, the meat, the carrots, tomatoes, zucchini and
Cinnamon sticks, pour in the chicken stock until
half way up the contents
cover and bring to the boil, reduce heat to simmering
and forget for 45 min
I wish they made blogs in smell O vision, mmmmm
after 45 min add the potatoes and dried apricots, cover again
and leave for another 10 to 15 min until the potatoes are done

In the mean time prepare the couscous with some raisins.

We used a regular stainless steel saucepan for the preparation, but for presentation's sake, we used the tajine to bring to the table.

add some olives to the couscous at the bottom of the tajine
layer on the meat
now add all the vegetables and juices
sprinkle with sliced almonds and some sesame seeds
serve piping hot
 Beware! Enjoy, but watch out for over eating!

My 2 skinny ladies

Some years ago I adopted 2 Spanish greyhounds (Galgo Espagnol)

meet Gitana (Tana) and Simpatica (Tika)

They are the most adorable, sweet, good tempered dogs you can imagine. 

They only have a few drawbacks ... they can't be banned from the sofa (you don't have to believe me, just ask anyone who has adopted greyhounds) and because their skin is so fine, they don't like being wet or cold.

So, here are some things I have made over the years to keep them warm and dry.

Turtleneck and cable sweaters with embroidered monogram

Turtleneck (to be worn under their winter coats) can also be worn as a snood

Finding fitting coats (long in the back and narrow enough for their skinny bodies) proved to be difficult and expensive, so I made them myself. I looked at horse's winter turnout coats and went from there. As the material I used some XXXL men's anoraks that I bought at a discount store. And don't worry, Tika got an identical coat

November 3rd, 2013: today the coats were tested in the field!

Origami Slippers

My sis is coming to visit tomorrow, and as my floors are getting very cold, I'm quickly knitting her a pair of slippers.

Simple design, quick to make!


1st seam

2nd seam

final seam

and here it is : slipper number one

now knit a second one and then my sis will have warm feet !

And now they are a pair!
and here they are warming sis's feet

this is the link to the site where I found the idea: