Monday, 20 January 2014

[DIY] Chalkboard catalogue drawers . . . . . for those who wish to draw on their furniture!

There are those who say that chalkboard paint has had it's day with furniture and DIY's, I say to those people . . . .NEVVEERRRR!

The original piece with a pile of yet to be completed projects to the right!
I found these drawers at a vintage furniture store in pretty gross condition but they immediately reminded me of library catalogue drawers which I love. The prices can be somewhat prohibitive though. I saw some about 2-3 times the size of these at a 'fancy' vintage furniture store in Sydney for $2000, and they had not been refinished / restored.  The drawer pulls on these were ok, just a little boring and not particularly memorable.

There are some examples below of how the library catalogue style has been used in homes.

image via HomeJelly

image via Designsponge

Having a number of different hidey places for all your treasures, along with the ability to label the individual drawers for organisational purposes is my idea of heaven. I long to be one of those perfect organised people and figure that good storage is a great place to start.

I have pinned a heap of chalkboard images in the past but this is only the second one I have actually completed. The first was a Ikea Lack table that I painted for my nephews birthday. I cut out a few safari kind of images from contact paper, adhered them to the table, spray painted blackboard paint on top and done. It was enjoyed, but I don't think it lasted too long!

So for the drawers I needed to sand back the body and the drawer faces and do a little rehab on the middle supports that had come undone. Nothing too drastic. 

The sanding took quite a while as the wood had been stained a dark kind of chestnut colour. I am not sure what kind of wood it is, maple? I don't think it is cedar. I think the piece might be handmade actually, and not commercially. There is not a heap of precision on the inner structure, almost as if the person has built the outside, then measured and cut the innards as needed. I quite like that!

So after a marathon sanding effort and puttying up the original drawer pull holes, I put a coat of oil based clear varnish on the body. The drawers got treated to a primer and the chalkboard paint. 

The delicious shiny, shiny top

Stella loves it too . . . . 

Then measured the holes for the new drawer pulls and done.

I tend to love furniture a lot more when I have refinished it or restored it and place a lot more value in it and keep it a lot longer. 

I love it. I am not sure whether I am going to draw so much on the chalkboard, but I love that I can if I feel the urge!

Saturday, 4 January 2014

[CAKE] DIY One Direction chocolate mud cake with ganache and raspberry buttercream . . .and hidden insides!

One Direction Chocolate Mud Cake with ganache and raspberry butter cream and surprise centre

So, I don't get the whole One Direction thing, but I guess that I am also not in their main demographic! A friends daughter is a fan though so I made a sacrifice and made a One Direction cake for her birthday.

The process is fairly simple and can be easily adapted to specific icings or cakes that you prefer. The birthday girl likes mud cake so I used this tried and tested Exclusively Food recipe to make both the mud cake and ganache. I made two 16cm cakes and one amount of ganache. The raspberry butter cream was left over from a previous recipe. You could easily just use some jam and ganache to layer the cake. The edible image was purchased from eBay.

Once the cakes were made and cooled, I split them in two so that there were four cakes in total.

The two pieces that were going to be in the middle I placed on a chopping board for the innards to be removed (you can easily skip this part as well, unnecessary but totally fun.

I used a pastry cutter to cut a hole from the first part, then placed that part over the other part and cut the 2nd hole out also. Placing the pieces on each other whilst cutting the second part makes sure that the circles line up

Get the board ready that you are going to layer the cakes on. It's a good idea to place a clean cloth underneath the board to stop it moving.

Place some icing on the board and stick bottom layer down. Cover with icing (leaving a small rim around the edges free from icing. Complete with layers until you only have the top layer left. 

Place Maltesers (or whatever tickles your pickle) in the void. I reckon M&M's would be awesome.

Add icing to top of third layer and top with last layer.

Do a messy layer of ganache all over. It was stinking hot and humid so the cake took on a lovely melty appearance. Never fear, chuck it in the fridge to firm up and then take out and place on another layer of ganache. 

The ganache can be thicker than what you want as the next step is to smooth out all the mess.

Have an offset spatula, hot water in a jog and a tea towel handy. The aim is the get the spatula warm in the water, dry it off with the tea towel and then smooth over the ganache. The heat in the metal makes this easy,

Rough= not yet spatula'd.

Smoother = spatula'd casually until I got bored.
Set this in the fridge for at least an hour before covering with fondant.

Roll out fondant big enough that it will cover cake.

Smooth over cake. I wasn't too fussed about it being super smooth as it would be covered with hearts and humidity was at 75% so it would be a losing battle anyway!

Cut out hearts in whatever colours take your fancy and spiral around the cake. As it is so humid, the hearts slid down a little and became a tad squashed / misshapen.

I then placed the edible image on top.

Et voila. The birthday girl was happy so I call that a success! I might lay off fondant though in January as this humidity is crazzzzyyyy!