DIY chalk paint at home…New Zealand

I decided it was time to make my own DIY chalk paint at home. I love Annie Sloan Chalk paints, but the shop in the village which stock them sadly closed down, so it was time to attempt to make my own. For some reason I thought it was going to be hard, maybe because I read a lot of recipes for DIY chalk paint on pinterest and the comments as well. It didn’t sound so easy.

I choose to try making chalk paint with calcium carbonate, the hardest part was trying to get hold of it. In the end a friend had some extra and I brought it off her, but in the future I will have to buy it online.

Calcium Carbonate

Next I brought some small pots of paint at our local Mitre 10 (hardware store). I managed to get some clearance paint (mistint colours) at a great price.

To test out my paint I brought a great little table for $15 at a Op Shop. Perfect for this project.

I mixed a small amount of chalk paint up using just 1 cup of paint.

The consistency was great, so similar to Annie Sloan Paint and colour came out just the same as Old White. Calcium carbonate mixed in really well and I added water to get the right consistency.

 

It was necessary to paint the little table with two coats, sanding after the first coat to try and get rid of brush lines and an occasional drip which escaped my notice.


Homemade Bees Wax

Finally, I waxed the dried surface with bees wax. This I had brought locally – homemade bees wax. I must say I really liked using this, it went on well (rubbing it in with a clean rag). I didn’t really notice any difference from using Annie Sloan Clear Wax.

Really love how this turned out! I think time will tell how this paint stands up to wear and tear. But I will from now on be making my own DIY chalk paint at home…

It you would like the recipe for this chalk paint I made, email me at andi@riverroad.nz and I will be happy to share it with you.

Many thanks for reading my post! Happy chalk painting!

Andi

 

GIN & TONIC CUPCAKES RECIPE…

Gin & Tonic Cupcakes

I was asked to make some Gin & Tonic cupcakes for an event and came up with this recipe. They didn’t want cupcakes with icing on top which is what I would have wanted to do… yummy buttercream icing with gin and tonic. Instead they wanted a syrup which to my surprise actually came out rather nice.

It also helps if you get to have a drink of G & T whilst making the cupcakes!

Gin & Tonic Cupcakes recipe

Ingredients (makes 24 cupcakes)

125g unsalted butter, softened

1 cup caster sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup (185ml) milk

Juice and zest of 1 lime

2 TBsp Gin

Syrup

Juice and zest of 1 lime

Zest of 1 lime for decoration

4 TBsp Gin

3 TBsp Tonic

2 TBsp sugar

Preheat oven to 180 degree C/350 degree F

Method

Place cupcake papers in two 12 hole cupcake trays.

In a bowl beat together the butter and sugar until pale in colour and creamy.

Beat in the eggs.

Add the gin, lime juice and zest, beat until combined.

Sift the flour and baking powder and add half to butter mixture with half the milk. Mix until well combined. Repeat with remaining flour and milk.

Fill cupcake papers 3/4 full.

Bake muffin-sized cupcakes for 20-25 minutes and small cupcakes for about 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Baked cupcakes

Transfer to wire racks and allow to cool slightly.

Next, make the syrup, I did this in the microwave, but it can be done in a saucepan.

Mix together the lime juice and zest, gin and sugar. Microwave for 30 seconds on high. Stir well, making sure sugar is dissolved, then add the tonic water. Microwave again for 30 seconds on high. Stir well.

Syrup

Carefully pierce, with a toothpick a few holes in the cupcakes, then spoon the mixture over the cupcakes while they are still warm.

Finally sprinkle grated lime zest over the cupcakes. Enjoy!

Now I have to say if you want the gin flavour to be stronger add more gin! It is a personal preference here…

Thanks for reading my post! I do hope you get to make these delicious Gin & Tonic cupcakes!

Andi 

Wooden Shelf Makeover – New Zealand

My wooden shelf makeover was a inspiration really. It was offered free on my local neighbourly, which is a wonderful site to find things in your neighbourhood in New Zealand.

Wooden Shelf Makeover

I got it to use as extra shelving in our shed, but it wasn’t that stable and a shelf was missing. It was sitting in front of our house waiting to be fixed when my husband suggested it would make a great shelf for my potted plants sitting around by the front door. I mainly have succulents in the pots because they don’t need so much watering and maintenance.

Shelf turned upside down

As you can see I turned the shelf upside down to fit in the area, but there is a electric metre box in the way so I had to move the now top shelf up. The metre reading man needs to open it to read the metre! Fortunately it only took removing some screws and sliding the shelf up. Then I tightened all the other screws to stabilise better.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Next I painted it in one of my favourite paints Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Old Ochre.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Old Ochre

Finally, I painted just one coat this time and there was no need to wax as I am using it for outside. Not too worried about wear and tear here.

Finished shelf

It was wonderful to get all my plants off the ground, I love how it turned out! I also used it for a time growing my lettuces, which was a great spot and super easy to pick them when needed.

Growing lettuce

It made my front of the house look so much better, much tidier and it is easier to water the plants now.

I hope my wooden shelf makeover inspired you! Thanks for reading my post!

Andi

 

 

 

How to make a bay leaf wreath … last minute

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Bay leaf wreaths tend to quickly dry out in the summer heat, so I left it till the last minute to make one.

I picked some branches off our bay tree in the garden and used what supplies I had at home to keep things simple. At this point I am trying to avoid going to the shops and enjoying just being at home with the family.

Supplies needed:

twine (you can also use florist wire)

wire coat hanger

scissors

bay leaves (or any greenery you have should work well)

Instructions:

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First take your coat hanger and make into a circle.

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Next cut your bay leaf branches to the right length and place around the coat hanger.

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Tie the branches onto the wire.

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Continue add leaves until the wire is covered and you have the amount of leaves on the wreath you desire.

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Finally, wrap the twine around the coat hanger wire hook at the top.

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This was really quick to make and I am hoping it will last really well throughout the  Christmas holidays. It will also be great to have so many dried bay leaves for cooking now! This wreath would be easy to make with other greenery from the garden or neighbourhood, whatever you can find!

Thanks for reading my post.

Andi

 

Easy to make rustic christmas log project…New Zealand

No mantel and fireplace – make a rustic wooden log box…

We don’t have a mantel and fireplace so I decide to make a really quick rustic wooden log project to give that winter log, pine smell, Christmas feel to our living room…

 

Supplies needed:

Wooden crate

Logs

Juniper or some pine looking cuttings

Pine cones

Christmas white lights

Rustic wooden log project:

This project didn’t take long, but it really fun to do.

I had found a discarded wooden crate the other week and was saving it for a project. First I lightly painted it using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Old Ochre. It probably didn’t need painting, but it had some writing on it from the liquor store I found it outside of, so to get rid of this I painted. I love painting as well, so any excuse. You could use any paint you have handy! The paint dried within an hour because I only did a very light coat and it was a hot day today.

unpainted wooden crate

unpainted wooden crate

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Old Ochre

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Old Ochre

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Next I put the logs, which had been recently cut from a tree in our yard, into the crate.

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When I was out walking the dog this morning I came across some juniper in the neighbourhood. Fortunately, no one was looking as I trim off some of the tree! It was a large tree so I am sure no one would have minded. I arranged the juniper with pretty light blue berries around the outside of the logs on the crate.

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Then the lights, placing them down into the box and around the logs.

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Finally, I place the pine cones I collect earlier this week for my branch Christmas tree post, putting them onto of the juniper and lights.

Rustic Christmas log project

Rustic Christmas log project

It looks so cute can’t wait until it gets dark tonight to really see how wonderful it looks!

Thanks for reading my post! Hope you give my rustic wooden log box a try!

Andi

 

 

 

 

Simple branch Christmas tree…New Zealand

A simple  branch Christmas tree is so quick to make, looks fantastic and can be a great alternative to a traditional tree…

If you are like me and looking for something different this year, don’t have the time or even the space for a traditional tree try this:

I was on my way home this afternoon and stopped to have a look at a local reserve where I knew there would be pine cones. I was excited to find some great branches on the ground that could be made into a branch Christmas tree. It had some lovely moss on it which was even better for this purpose.

There were some natural things for decorations as well and when I got back home I picked some little crab apples from the garden to add some red colour to them.

Supplies needed:

Branches

Pine cones

Decorations

Scissors

Galvanized bucket (I brought mine at Kmart)

Floral foam (optional)

Twine

Instructions:

Start by placing your branches in floral foam (if you have some, I already had some left over from a florist bouquet in a little burlap bag, so I used this for convenience).

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Galvanized bucket

Galvanized bucket

Then carefully place into the galvanized bucket. Or a large jar would work, as long as it doesn’t topple over everything is on the branches.

Put the pine cones on top.

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Next using twine tie up the berries, nuts, natural decorations onto the branches.

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Finally, add any other decorations, I used my burlap hearts and stars, which I made in a previous post, see instructions here.

And some cute little decorations I brought from trade aid, it is always nice to buy things from companies that support third world countries.

trade aid Christmas ornament

trade aid Christmas ornaments

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Thanks for reading my post! I have also made a pallet Christmas tree, see here. Have you made an alternative Christmas tree this year?

Andi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pretty Christmas star cookie tree – New Zealand

I was very excited to find these pretty Christmas star cookie tree cutters to make my Christmas cookies look that much more fun.

Star cookie cutters and stand

Shortbread…

One of my favourite cookie recipe is from Chelsea Sugar Shortbread. This is a gorgeous recipe and to make it even more yummy I added 1 cup of dark chocolate chips at the end (before rolling the dough). Check out the recipe here.

Butter and icing sugar beaten together

Butter and icing sugar beaten together

1 cup of chocolate chips added

Once I rolled out the dough, I cut out the star shapes and a hole in the centre of each one.

This dough was wonderful to roll out, no need to refrigerate first

This dough was wonderful to roll out, no need to refrigerate first

Star cutters

Star cutters

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Stars cut with holes in centres

When they cooled I decorated them by sprinkling icing sugar over them. It is important to let them completely cool before stacking. Although I love eating them while they are still a little bit warm.

Cooled shortbread sprinkled with icing sugar

Cooled shortbread sprinkled with icing sugar

Then I stacked them largest to smallest, it is up to you how many of each size you want.

Finally, I added a red ribbon to make it more festive and attractive.

This is really a great way to present your Christmas cookies as I did for morning tea today.

Christmas Cookie Tree

Christmas Cookie Tree

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Christmas morning tea

Thanks so much for reading my post! What is your favourite cookie recipe?

Andi

Easy to make pallet Christmas tree…New Zealand

This easy to make pallet Christmas tree took me around 2 hours to make. It is a simple project that you can get the children to help you with and it is fun!

I found this on Pinterest here. And immediate decided it would be perfect hanging on our wall this Christmas.

Supplies needed:

Pallet

Hack saw

Paint (60ml)

Water

Nails (tacks)

Hammer

Christmas Lights (I used battery operated 24 LED string lights)

Christmas decorations

Tree log

If you read my previous post on pallet coffee tables, here, you will know I have pallets stacked in the yard just waiting to be used.

The pallet I picked was easy to dismantle.

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First, I used a hack saw to saw through the nails on the back of the pallet. Removing the two sections of wood. The nails that were sticking out I just sawed them off to tidy them up.

Hack saw

Hack saw

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Next, I washed down the pallet with a hose, and started painting the front only. I used Resene paints, test pot colour Bianca (only because I already had this colour at home). I watered it down in the paint tray. Only a light cover was needed as I wanted the wood showing through to give it a rustic look.

Painted pallet front

Painted pallet front

Once it was dry I placed the nails (tacks) in the wood. I made a zig zag pattern. Placing the nails out more each time to widen the tree.

Christmas decorations

There were some great decorations at Kmart, very cheap and cheerful! Some gold beading at a Thrift store and gold balls I already at home, which I brought at Kmart last year, but they are still available.

Kmart Christmas decorations

Kmart Christmas decorations

Attaching the gold beads I strung them around the nails. Doing this gives you a good idea how your tree design looks and whether you need to make any alterations. I attached the lights in the same pattern. The cookie cutter copper lights are so cute!

Beads put on in zig zag pattern

Beads put on in zig zag pattern

Check out the star and hearts I made of burlap, see my post on how to make these here. And, then all the decorations I wanted.

Christmas decorations on pallet

Christmas decorations on pallet

Pallet Christmas tree decorations

Finally, I attached with twine a piece of a tree log I grabbed from a wood pile.

Tree log

Tree log

We hung this on a wall for the holiday season…the family love it!

Pallet Christmas Tree

Pallet Christmas Tree

Pallet Christmas Tree

Thanks for reading my post! Hope you get to make a pallet Christmas tree!

Andi 

 

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