Posts by Jessica


Reupholstery Rewards


Posted By on Feb 9, 2017 | 0 comments

I inherited two Morris chairs from my maternal grandparents several years ago. They have always needed a little bit of “work” but they have always been further down the to-do list than other items. My grandmother actually wove the cushion covers herself but the cushioning was super uncomfortable. And had a previous pet been a little more well-behaved, the covers could have been deep-cleaned and kept… The actual chair probably needs to be sanded down and either varnished/sealed or painted but that will be for another time as the reupholstery was more important.

This is the before pic.

I used the same contact as with my 6 seater lounge suite that was reupholstered before I moved into my home. He is an amazing guy who is friendly and accommodating, his workmanship is phenomenal, and he is really cost effective! We met towards the end of last year at my home so I could choose fabric using the colouring of the walls, other furniture and decor, etc as a reference. With all the fabric books he came with, it was a FEAT to finalise my decision…

I decided to keep to the neutral shades so they would fit in with decor no matter where they were placed (both in our house now, as well as in any future homes), and allowing pops of colour to be introduced easily with a scatter cushion or throw blanket.

And this is the after pic.

Gorgeous colours hey?! Then throw in a funny emoji pillow and colourful crocheted blanket and the entire look changes!

I really am so please with the chairs. Maybe once I have a garden or garage I will undertake the mission of giving the chair a bit of TLC with a much-needed sanding and varnishing… For now though, I have one less thing off my current to-do list!

If you have any pieces that need a bit of love in the reupholstery department, please let me know and I will gladly pass on Wellington’s details.

To see other posts about my home decorating see here:

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Bathroom Bliss


Posted By on Jan 30, 2017 | 2 comments

For a while now I have had an idea of using decorative boxes to decorate this bland wall in the bathroom. In my opinion the bathroom needed “something” to finish it off (even after adding these portraits) and I figured this idea would work to create depth and allow for extra storage.

We originally had three boxes (2 squares and 1 rectangle) in a greyish pink whitewash. Since I needed more to create “the look” and was planning on painting them a darker grey, I was trying to find out where I could buy extra ones that were raw wood. Luckily I didn’t have to look too far as we ended up inheriting some white ones from a friend that moved to the Cape in December (3 squares and 1 rectangle).

I then took a couple days playing with possible layouts on the floor of our loft. Originally I had wanted something symmetrical but since we had an odd number of boxes this just wouldn’t work. So I played around and we finally decided on the layout that worked best without having to buy any extra boxes.

Once the layout was decided I needed to choose a colour and get to work sanding all the boxes. I wanted a darker grey to create a feature of them but had to make sure the grey was in the same tone family as the current wall colour.

The “fun part” came next when I used an electric sander for the first time! It took a few hours to sand all the boxes down (inside and out) and for days afterwards my hands were tingling. Such a weird feeling! Then I spent the next week or so painting the undercoat, primer, and three coats of colour. It took so long because I had to paint the outside of the boxes and let them dry for the day, then paint the inside of the boxes the next day and let them dry for the day. Luckily once I moved onto the colour coat I could do the inside and outside in one day based on the water-based paint drying quicker.

Once they were dry we then finalised the spacing between all the boxes and started with the three central ones.

From there we measured out the placement of the other four boxes.

I really am so pleased with the bathroom! Even happier that one room in the house is completely finished! Here’s a panoramic of the bathroom to give a full idea of the space.

To see other posts about my home decorating see here:

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Custard Caramel Fridge Tart


Posted By on Dec 19, 2016 | 0 comments


This dessert was so easy to make and a real hit! It does need to be refrigerated overnight so be sure to make it ahead of time.

Ingredients:
Biscuit base:
250g Tennis biscuits, crushed
200g butter, melted
Custard layer:
1,5l milk
200g sugar
3 eggs
100g flour
100g cornflour
2 tsp vanilla extract
50g butter
extra 250ml milk
Caramel pudding layer:
1 box caramel instant pudding
250ml cream
Other:
1 can caramel treat
1 slab milk chocolate, grated

Method:

  1. Mix the biscuits with the melted butter and press it firmly into the bottom of a deep, square 30 cm dish. Let cool until needed.
  2. Heat 1 liter of the milk with the sugar for 10 minutes in a large microwave-safe bowl.
  3. Whisk the eggs and remaining 500 ml milk, flour, cornflour and vanilla extract in a separate bowl until smooth.
  4. Mix the flour mixture into the hot milk and microwave for about 4 minutes, stirring every minute until the mixture is thick. Beat in the butter and let cool.
  5. Beat the extra milk and instant pudding together. Whip the cream in a separate bowl until soft peaks form and fold in the instant pudding.
  6. When the custard has cooled, pour over the cooled biscuit layer. Smooth caramel treat over the custard, then add the instant pudding mix. Top with grated chocolate (and crumbs of any leftover biscuits) and refrigerate overnight.

This recipe caters for about 10-12 guests.

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Picture Perfect


Posted By on Dec 1, 2016 | 0 comments

Of all the prints/artwork in my home, these two sets are my favourites!

Tony & Ian

When I was still searching for my home, I met up with some friends at a cafe in Illovo and spotted Tony and Ian. I can’t remember which is Tony and which is Ian now but I absolutely love these paintings. I love how the artist teamed a human body with an animal’s head giving these a fantastic talking point over their unusualness.  I only recently got these framed as I was waiting to find my home, decide where to put them, etc. I love the bit of red backing board which makes the colour pop in their waistcoats!

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The Ladies

It’s no secret that I am a BIG fan of a certain second hand group on Facebook. My first buy was a couch that is now sitting in our TV loft and is the most comfortable thing ever! I came across a young lady selling a bunch of hand-drawn portraits. There were six available but I chose the below four as they spoke to me the most. Again, I love that they are not the normal type of portraits one sees. I love that they add a finishing touch to my bathroom.

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To see other posts about my home decorating see here:

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Orchid Whisperer


Posted By on Nov 10, 2016 | 0 comments

orchids

The oldest orchid in my collection is approximately 4-5 years old. A few months ago I noticed these weird white spots growing in the roots, and white bugs on the leaves, spikes (stems) and flowers on most of the plants, so I started a household treatment of diluted dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle. This seemed to do the trick on some of the plants in getting rid of the bugs but the issue of the roots was still not resolved.

A few weekends back I turned to this wonderful thing called The Internet to try and find out what the problem could be and how best to sort it out. It turns out that I’ve been less than stellar with my orchid care!

Did you know you should repot your orchid every year? Uhm…I must have missed this memo when I was given my first orchid about 4 years ago! It’s no wonder that the plant has been upset and giving me problems.

Before visiting the nursery to buy orchid potting mix and new plastic pots, I schooled myself with the help of a few YouTube videos. I watched this lady effortlessly remove her orchid from the plastic pot, soak the roots to make them more pliable to avoid breakage, remove leftover bark chips etc, and then repot. All in the matter of about 5-10 minutes. So of course I thought, “How hard can this be? She’s done it and it’s so super easy. Let’s give it a try…”

So the Sunday morning arrives and I decide I’m going to visit the closest nursery and buy the necessary things. I get home and get my little patio ready for this “easy” task.

Let me tell you something… When they say you should repot every year, they’re right on the button. Because if you don’t repot every year and wait four years to figure this out, you’ll end up having to cut your orchid out of the pot since the plant doesn’t just “twist out” of the pot. You’ll start off being super careful with the roots with gentle tugs, and quickly move on to wrestling with the plant and the pot trying to disentangle the roots from their death grip on the pot. You’ll be forced to cut the entire pot off but leave the bottom on, then soak the roots for a while longer, then work like a surgeon cutting pieces of the pot away until finally extricating all the roots. A ten minute job, my butt!

To treat the white spots surrounding the roots and make them pliable, I soaked the roots in an aphicide diluted in water. Once the roots had soaked long enough I was then able to remove all the “hangers-on” in terms of old bark chips, sponge (??), etc.

Then I disentangled the roots, placed the plant in the new pot and then held it still while filling with the orchid potting mix. The potting mix has some rather large bark chips so I some of these I had to break into smaller pieces. Before finishing, I used an old stake to “jimmy” around the edges to make sure the potting mix secured the roots as much as possible (adding more bark chips if necessary).

In total I think it took me about an hour to do this one plant. The other few plants I chose to repot thereafter were a little quicker (now I knew what I was doing and the roots hadn’t wormed their way through all the drainage holes). And this past weekend I repotted the last handful of orchids which took me no time at all. I suppose practice does make perfect! Plus the others have only been with me for about a year or less so the roots weren’t holding onto the pot for dear life.

I’ve learnt a few things from my up close and personal relationship with orchids and their roots…

  1. When you buy orchids from stores such as Woolies, you’ll need to repot them as soon as possible as their roots are packed with a sawdust type material and sometimes pieces of sponge. This material soaks up water and the plant ends up drowning and dying because the roots are too wet. Great for the retailers because you end up buying more plants. Bad for you because you think you don’t have green-fingers…
  2. Make sure the orchid is in a pot with drainage holes on the bottom so the water can drain properly when you water it. If you get a plant in a fancy pot, remove all the moss and fancy packaging and see whether it is potted in a separate pot that you can then take out when it comes time to water.
  3. Orchids like warm environments so plastic pots are best as they keep the roots warmer than a ceramic pot. You can still keep the plastic-potted orchid in a decorative ceramic pot but not directly in a ceramic pot.
  4. Water your orchids once a week in summer and once every two weeks in winter. Place them over a sink or in the bath so that the water can drain away. Put them back in their decorative pots only once all the water has drained away.
  5. Repot your orchid before they spike (send out a stem) or are in flower as this is less traumatic for the plant. If you’ve just bought an orchid which is generally in flower because they look prettier (see point 1) then you’ll need to go a bit more gently. Start by removing the stake and then removing the plant from the pot. Keep the stems supported as much as you can while removing the excess potting material, when soaking the roots, and when repotting.
  6. Feed them with orchid care every second week to make sure they are healthy and can bloom again. I also believe that orchids like friends as my oldest plant only bloomed again once I brought in other orchids.
  7. When buying or receiving a new orchid, quarantine them for a few weeks. This will allow you to see if this new plant comes with any new bugs or pests so you can treat it separately before introducing it to the rest of your collection.

If you’re keen to learn more about repotting, be sure to watch this video which is one I found to be most useful.

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