Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Old to new.......to old. Vintage inspired makeovers.

Visually what often comes to mind with vintage pieces of furniture is the wear or the colour of the wood itself.  Now modern furnishings are seen in different materials and lot's of dark wood. When I close my eyes and try and try to visualize old, I see whites or soft blue's and greens.

Today, I decided to re-vamp and old plant holder and wanted to give it a bit of a vintage feel.  I decided to use a soft green but a nice apple green would look great too.  Now, I'm not going to give lessons on how to paint - all that "long and even strokes" jazz, but if you don't have the world's handiest father to show you (like me) then there are plenty of videos you can watch online.  One thing I will say though is don't paint over the holes where your screws go in,  it's a real pain to put your stuff back together again if you do.

By the way, Ikea is a great place to find wood that has not been finished yet.  No varnish = no sanding = less work!  You can paint almost anything, however, if there is a sealant or varnish (glossy coat) already on the wood then you must sand it with 100 grit sand paper first before painting.

Now for the pictures!

Here is the very common "before" shot.  

I suggest taking apart your project before painting.

I like to paint around the holes first with a smaller brush just so I don't need to get too close with the big brush and risk filling them with paint.  

Allow to fully dry before attempting to put back together.


Looks even better with plants on it!

Hope you feel inspired!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Pomegranate Peeling Made Easy

Dating back to beyond 1000 B.C, the pomegranate is considered one of the oldest fruits in existence.  Growing up to 15 feet in height, with the ability to live for over 100 years, and an antioxidant potential thought to be up to 3 times more powerful than green tea and wine, I can see why this fruit is considered a power food. 

Pomegranates offer amazing dietary benefits, providing substantial amounts of potassium, Vitamin C and niacin, and high fiber.  With so many health benefits, the pomegranate should be included in everyone's diet.  They're a fabulous snack, great on salads, amazing stewed with meat and makes the tastiest juice! Oh, and lets not forget the classic pomtini!

With over 600 arils (seeds) in one fruit, I can see how most people would look at eating the pomegranate as a daunting and tedious task.  But adding them to your diet can be easy!  I am here to show you how to de-seed this fruit in minutes!

The first thing you'll need to do is fill a bowl with water and then cut your Pomegranate in half.

Second, submerge one of the half of the fruit in the bowl of water and gently pull seeds away from the skin.  The seeds will sink and the membrane (yellow) will float making it an easy and clean way to get the fruit out.

Once completing both halves, pour into strainer - look at that beautiful red deliciousness!!! 

At this point it's ready to eat!  You can store the arils of a pomegranate in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze them for later consumption. Frozen arils will be good after a span of 6 months in the freezer!  

To freeze:  spread them apart on a baking sheet that has been lined with wax paper. Put them in the freezer for no more than 2 hours and then place them into a plastic container or bag.

Enjoy your pomegranates! (and Pomtinis!)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My First Quilt

I am a huge fan of quilts.  Whenever I'm at an art show I often find myself at the quilt booth running my fingers over the different textures, admiring the beautiful colours and work that goes into making one.   Buying a quilt is several hundred dollars so I decided to take a class and learn the art so I could make one for myself.  Now I use the word "art" because if you look closely at the detail in a quilt, the fabric, the texture, the colours and the patterns, you will see and appreciate the masterpiece that it is.  All these factors take a lot of thought and tons of time!

Was I the youngest in my class?  Yes!  But I feel quilting is making a comeback especially among younger people.   Take the modern quilt guild for example, it started in 2009 and now there are over 100 branches across the world with members of every age.  Even Toronto has one!  Take a look at the website and see how the quilt patterns have changed.  Long gone are the days of flowers and farm animals,  now it's about colour and shapes.  


The quilt I decided to do is called a sampler quilt.  I't's made up of many different squares which is a great way to learn each one.  I'm far from finished my quilt but I thought I'd post a few pics of my progress so far:

Still need to finish quilting it and then do my binding. (The edges)

My quilt is made up of squares and those squares are made up of even smaller squares.  Here's a picture of one square being pieced together.

 These squares are called Flying Geese.

  This is "Log Cabin (left) and "Friendship Star" (right)

I will post more pictures as I finish it and of course the final product!  If anyone has an interest in learning I encourage you to do it.  There are many people in the city that teach both hand and machine quilting so there's an option for everyone.  I've had so much fun making this and all my hard work (many, many hours) will be rewarded upon the completion of my beautiful new quilt!