Joan

Nov 212014
 
Mid Century Pinterest 2 copy

MCM tables with classic MCM update

This past  summer, I picked up two blond wood step tables for less than $10 for both.  They were not the typical “country” look but rather, a  sleek look with nice lines and angles.  Very MCM / Mid-Century Modern!  However, they were not especially sturdy or heavy duty.  Regardless,  they have survived years and I was smitten!

mid century step table mcm geometric

Great lines and angles!

I hummed and hawed about how to paint them.  Two-toned?  Two toned with dark and light stained wood?  Plain single colour? 

I tried out a few MCM patterns in Photoshop but they didn’t grab me.

I love playing in Photoshop!
pattern for tables 3 copy

Geometric 1

pattern for tables 2 copy

Geometric 2


 
 
 

 
 After some research on Google and Pinterest, I found the perfect inspiration I needed!
Check out this super cool Mid Century Plant table. 

MCM Plant table

How cool is this mid century plant table?? I was crushing on the black surface! Source

I loved the black level and decided to use narrow painters tape to tape off the angled lines and let the wood show through. Then add colour in random triangles.

To begin, I stripped the tops and stained them with my go-to walnut stain to darken up the wood. I just love the rich brown it produces. Then rather than trying to plan a pattern in Photoshop, I just grabbed the roll of tape and went to town, randomly taping various angles. The result is the two tables are completely different. 

To get crisp lines, you must ALWAYS paint the base colour over the tape to seal it. But since I wanted wood to show through and not paint, I used Mod Podge to seal the tape edges.

mid century step table mcm geometric

Taped and sealed with Mod Podge to get crisp lines

I love the cool tone of SW All Purpose Enamel in 6990 Caviar,  which I used to paint the base colour.  For the splash of colour in the random triangles, I used craft paint in MCM colours I had on hand. Finally, I topped it all off with a couple coats of Varathane Diamond non yellowing finish.

 I just love how they turned out!  

mid century step table mcm geometric

Mid-Century Geometric Design

 Mr. Nice thought they were brilliant!

mid century step table mcm geometric

The designs were random and different on each table.

 

Mid Century Pinterest 2 copy

MCM tables with classic MCM update

 

 If you are in the Toronto area, they are for sale!  Email me. 
Or they may go in Miss Nice’s first apartment when she leaves university residence.

 

What do you think about this revival of Mid Century style furniture? 

I think the show Mad Men has helped make it more mainstream. 

Betty Draper would love these!

Do you have mid-century pieces in your home?

Joan

Nov 092014
 

To be honest, that title is a stretch.  In reality,  I am now a member of a Friday night mixed curling league.  So I am assuming it is official.

For those readers who are from the Southern US or other parts of the Globe, you may have no idea what I am talking about.  For starters, being a curler has absolutely nothing to do with HAIR!

Curling is that “weird” sport featured in the Winter Olympics, dominated by:

  1. Canada
  2. Sweden
  3. Scotland
  4. Great Britain
  5. Norway

(Source)

Yep, popular in all the cold countries for those looking for an indoor sport where they can still be cold!

Here’s the deal for Mr. Nice and me… In May, we joined a private golf club.  The club is over 100 years old and one day (in the nice weather) I will feature how lovely it is. 

In June 2013, after only 4 rounds of golf, I broke my ankle, thereby ki-boshing my summer golf  schedule.  I did play in the fall.  In the meantime, I met amazing like minded people close to our age (as in — well over 50) and they all encouraged us to take up curling.  The club also has a curling rink and very active program.  Another way to use our membership!

Mr. Nice and I tried curling years ago and thought is was slow and COLD.  At the time we were big on tennis and curling just did not cut it on the aerobic front.

Well, fast forward at least 25 years and we are presented with an opportunity to hang out with a bunch of great social people and well… CURL. 

We joined a Friday night mixed league.  The people are lovely but I must admit my first experiences were PAINFULThis sport is NOT EASY!  The first week and the clinic that followed two days later showed me that I DO NOT HAVE THE TECHNIQUE to throw the rock! 

You see there  is the style…  there is terminology… Sheet. Hack. Rock. and oh the comments about sweeping etc. to the non-curler can sound obscene!  I will not elaborate at this time.

When you watch this video, not once does the rock deliverer’s knee hit the ice.  Hmmm…not so with me.  I need to work on BALANCE! 

 

Source of Video: The Continental Cup – Langley, B.C., Canada, Jan 14, 2012

Basically to throw the rock, you need to push off with your left foot out of the “hack” and balance with your right leg … and oh so much more.

You are NOT meant to BANG your right knee down on the ice, but rather stretch that right leg and slide… Ya right!

Doesn’t it look graceful? 

And look at that concentration! I guess you can concentrate when you do not fall over! LOL!

Sadly for me my ability to balance with the right leg and get everything in alignment is VERY CHALLENGING! 

All of this, resulted in the HUGEST BRUISE on my right knee.  Thank goodness, my daughter had a pair of knee pads I got her for Hip Hop Dance that saved me the unbelievable pain of landing on my knee in my second session.

Now back to Mr. Nice.  I wouldn’t call him a jock because he is not a big man.  But the man is a “sportsman”.  And damn him for that!  He is such a keener and this week, he has been going to the club and “practicing” his rock throwing.  He is developing a very lovely style but in the last game, I had very BAD STYLE and still put 5 rocks in the row in the” house!”   Bruises and all!  Much to his chagrin!  I was just very happy I did not fall over.  Seriously… I tip over… often.

Look at this, they do not tip over (and no knee hits the ice) and this is SERIOUS stuff!

Oh and then there is sweeping.  This basically heats the ice so the rock will move and curl better… I think.  Sweeping I can do.  It is how you keep warm.  You REALLY want you team mate to throw too softly so you can sweep like crazy and keep warm. If you have read this far, yes, it appears to be a weird sport!  BUT very fun!

If you do not know anything about curling, this may be the most ridiculous post you have ever read! However, if you do understand curling … you will most likely relate and find the observations of a beginner to be very amusing.

Last night,  we had a match / game/ whatever they call it,  at 9:00 pm. (YES!  The second shift is very close to my bedtime!)  I had not dropped in to ractice like Mr. Nice.  So I wore my knee pad and HOPED LIKE HELL I could throw the d@m% rock into the house (the bulls eye rings).  Note: being a “first” in our team of four I feel very little pressure.  Result: I did okay!  I still threw with NO Technique and landed in the “the house” about 80% of the time and all was well.

Mr. Nice on the other hand, the man who practiced twice was terrible! but he looked good doing it!

In addition, we are SO VERY FORTUNATE to have the very best technical curlers as our Skip and Vice.  They are so patient,  so nice and SO GOOD!

All in all,  my Friday Night-out with Mr. Nice and a whole bunch of great  people has been lots of fun!   Afterwards, it is all about  consuming our favoruite beverages and being social. 

If you are bored in the winter…try curling.  Cheap and very cheerful!

 I would LOVE to hear from other curlers and curling-lovers! 
It is such a fun sport and oh so not easy!
If you can join a fun, non-competitive  group while you get the hang of it,  you may find you love the sport!
  I think.
Just bring knee pads.

 Joan

 Posted by at 7:51 pm  Tagged with:
Nov 032014
 

Just before I delivered a few pieces to my client she had someone drop off a super cute  vintage magazine rack made of dark wood with brass pulls and brass casters.  The client simply said…”Get rid of the dark wood and have some fun!”.  This is the same client for whom I transformed her old toy box to a very cool Union Jack coffee table.  She liked the blue and this magazine rack was for another room so it did not need to match.

This magazine rack was cute but a bit fiddly and spraying it would be faster and easier.  I happened to have some dark blue spray paint on hand.  However it was Rustoleum Tremclad Rust Paint. Although the piece was wood,from experience, I knew this paint would cover and adhere well.

I removed the brass pulls from each end as well as the cute little caster wheels from each of the legs.  I updated these brass coloured pieces with some brass spray paint I had on hand.

BTW–NO affiliate links — Just facts!

IMG_2907

Brass caster covers updated with paint.

IMG_2903

The pulls at each end were also renewed with brass paint. A lovely contrast to the royal blue.

I  then primed the piece with a spray can of primer I also had on hand because  I did not want the dark wood to bleed through.

Once dried,  I applied two to three very light coats of Rustoleum Tremclad in Glossy Dark Blue.

I love any dark blue with brass and this application did not disappoint.  The client just loved the finished product and so did I!

IMG_2901

Royal Blue and brass is such a winning combo!

IMG_2900

Such a cute piece! Any colour would be nice!

I have a couple of pieces of  campaign style bedside tables in my garage and I am thinking royal blue, like the Union Jack chest, will be perfect with the brass embellishments. Cannot wait to start them.  The only problem is they are the heaviest night stands I have ever encountered.  I will need Mr. Nice to help me get them into the basement workshop!

Stay tuned for more BLUE and BRASS!

Such a simple project and it looks so pretty and updated now.

Have you ever used Rust Paint on Wood?
What was the outcome?
I would love to hear from you!

Joan

 

 Posted by at 2:31 pm
Oct 292014
 

As I revealed in a recent post, I think I have the “original” crockpot from the 1970s.  In fact, it is being described as “vintage” on ebay!

Regardless, I have been using a crockpot / slow cooker for years!  So much so,  I often don’t use recipes for some of the standbys like Beef Stew.  I just buy the beef and whatever root vegetables I feel like and throw them in the pot and turn it on.

But when my  daughter  was home from university  for Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, she asked “So what’s the recipe for this?” 

It was then I realized perhaps I should write out the basics and share a few tips I have accumulated  over the many years of slow-cooking.

Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew

 

My Tips for Slow Cooker Beef Stew

To Brown or Not to Brown?

Many slow-cooker recipes for a BEEF dish tell  you to brown the meat  but I have found it is not  necessary.

Let’s face it, once meat has been simmered in a crockpot for 6-8 hours, do you really notice if it was browned or not… Not in my family.

Precook the vegetables?

Many recipes also say to precook the onions until soft and add in the root vegetables, etc. This too, I have found unnecessary for a stew. 

It is all about layering.

I put the onions and root veggies on the bottom and the meat on top.  The juices and liquids go to the bottom and the onions and veggies  come out perfectly cooled!

Broth or other Liquids?

For my simple, throw it together beef stew, I try to add very minimal liquid.  For the stew pictured above,  I added a 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes, STRAINED.  Adding too much liquid makes the gravy thin and then you feel as though you need to thicken it.  I like my beef stew hearty and robust.  In my opinion. adding more than 4-8 oz. to a pot makes the gravy runny and dilutes the flavors.

What about you? 

Do you use recipes or just throw it together?

I would love to hear your tips and success stories with slow-cooker dishes.

Joan

Easy Slow-Cooker Beef Stew
Serves 8
This is an anything goes kind of recipe, requiring NO PRE-COOKING. You can add vegetables and herbs which suit your taste. This stew makes a lot and can be frozen for later meals.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
6 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
6 hr
Ingredients
  1. 3 lbs Stewing Beef cut in 1.5" cubes
  2. 1 medium onion, sliced
  3. 4 cloves of garlic minced
  4. 4 cups of root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, potatoes, celeriac cut in 1 inch chunks
  5. 1 tsp each thyme, oregano, basil, salt, pepper
  6. 1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes, with most of the liquid drained.
Instructions
  1. Wash the meat and dry in a paper towel.
  2. Prepare all the vegetables.
  3. Place the onions on the bottom, followed by the chopped root vegetables and garlic
  4. Place the meat on top
  5. Sprinkle the herbs and salt and pepper over the meat.
  6. Pour the tomatoes over the top.
  7. Cover the slow cooker and turn on to the low setting.
  8. Cook 6-8 hours until done.
Notes
  1. For the stew pictured, I used 3 large carrots and 3 large parsnips. I did not have any potatoes.
  2. This method also works with Pork and Lamb stews.
Nicer Than New http://www.nicerthannew.com/
Oct 272014
 

Last week, I shared the Vintage Secretary Desk I completed for a client.  I love the way it turned out with the grey paint and the contrasting walnut stained top.  It looked so fresh.

Updated Vintage Secretary Desk

Updated Vintage Secretary Desk Before and After

This desk also came to me with a chair.  A very dark chair with gold velour upholstery.  I love the shape of it and the lovely caned back but it too needed an update.

Chair

Desk and Chair

I primed and painted the chair the same SW West Highland White I used for the cubbyholes on the desk.  Then I covered the chair is a lovely peacock fabric, picking up the grey of the desk.

reupholster desk chair

A lighter, fresher look.

Steps to reupholster a basic chair:

Re-upholstering a chair like this is relatively simple.  I considered doing a tutorial but there are a plethora of similar tutorials out in Blogland so I will just give you the key points. (NO affiliate links)

  • Unscrew the seat from the base
  • Remove the existing cover and foam by removing all the staples. 
  • Using the wood seat base as a guide, cut 3 or 4 inch foam at least one inch bigger all around.
    • This excess with ensure you cover the wood edges when you add the new fabric.
    • I have a basic electric knife I use specifically to cut foam
  • Using the wood seat base with the foam on top of it as a guide to cut the fabric.  Be sure to make it large enough to wrap both and be able to staple underneath,
  • Optional:  Add a layer of quitting batting over the foam / under the fabric.
  • Center the fabric over the seat and begin to staple.
    • I like to begin with a few staples on one side then go to the opposite side and pull tight and staple a few there. And continue until you are finished.
    • I have used a regular wood staple gun but often they are not powerful enough.  I purchased a stronger stapler requiring a compressor and it makes all the difference.  I am fortunate to have a neighbour with a compressor who lets me “store” it for him.

The upholstering part of the chair took about an hour. The basic tools I used really help, especially the pneumatic stapler.

Reupholster desk chair

Basic Upholstery Tools ~ source ~ source ~ source ~ source ~      

Here is how the desk and chair look now. 

What a transformation! 

I just love these pieces and kind of wish I could have kept them 😉

 

reupholster desk chair

Vintage Secretary Desk and Chair before and After

What do you think?

Have you upholstered a basic chair? 

How did it go?

I have a few bigger and more complex pieces I want to try and upholster soon.  Stay tuned.

Be sure to follow me by email or Bloglovin to keep up to date.

Joan

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