Thursday, July 07, 2011

Around the Block

Before I get to carried away here's a squizz at a recent make for a special little girls first birthday pressie. The horse is from a pattern in the Scandinavian Stitches Book and I had to use the beautiful border fabric from the hideaway range (Lauren and Jessie Jung I think) because it is sooo lovely. She's a little small to actually have an opinion on whether she liked it or not but her mother seemed to think it was great so I'll chalk it up as a success!
I been watching the latest series of The Block on channel nine (well taping, then watching it really) and I have to say that I am liking the extra challenges and segments where they learn some new skills to use.
I would much rather see the contestants tackle some real renovation work and not just be involved in the decorating side of things, if they are getting builders in to do nearly everything then the builders might as well be the contestants. And I'm especially loving the second hand challenge though buying an ex floor stock piece of furniture is not exactly my idea of second hand. I'm liking Josh and Jenna's style the most (at the moment) as it's the closest to mine, and I was a little amused to see Polly's heart rate go up upon entering a second hand shop from being stressed. Mine does the same thing but for the opposite reason! Second hand shops are awesome! The lack of enthusiasm the contestants had for the trash to treasure challenge was a bit surprising. I know that they have $100,000 to spend transforming their little terrace houses but they would not have had that in their real life renovating to spend on whatever they fancied, so I thought they would have been a bit more familiar with using things that are not brand new. If I wanted my home to look like a furniture showroom then I would just go and live in one! It is very easy to go and buy everything brand new from a shop, but much more creativity and thought is needed to transform pre-loved pieces into something new to treasure. And really, who spends $250 dollars on one cushion! Maybe it's the sewer in me but the thought of spending that much money on a bit of material and stuffing, now that makes my heart rate go up! So producers of The Block please keep giving the contestants challenges that make them think about recycling furniture into new pieces and thinking outside the square (or block!). It's much more inspiring to viewers (me) and much more realistic in terms of budgets. And just in case one of them actually reads this and is thinking "well what did you have in mind?" (cause that is really likely to happen!)

Here's some examples-

Little fishes bed is a good one. Remember it cost all of ten dollars from an op shop and after a sand and a paint with some glossy white, it looks brand new. It's solid wood and is so much lovelier than a cheap crappy bed made from chipboard or laminate. It can always be painted or sanded if someone draws on it and made to look new again so it's perfect for a kid. Here's another example- I recently bought a TV cabinet from the tip shop ( it's like a giant op shop) that has been turned into a low line cupboard. I wanted a low cupboard or buffet side board thingy to go in the dining room and wanted something wooden and solid to go with the other hutch thing and our table and chairs that are in there.

It was difficult to find what I was after (remembering that I'm not going to spend a fortune on a cupboard) so some clever thinking was needed. The TV cabinet was perfect, it was basically two sections that were easily separated and the bottom section became the new cupboard. (Apologies for not remembering to take a pic of the TV cabinet, you should all know I'm crap at remembering to take before shots by now)

It's solid wood (yay!) and sturdy so if a little fish climbs on it, nothing will break or collapse.

Mr fish kindly removed the top of the cabinet and made it the top of the cupboard for me (with eyes rolling of course) as it was in better condition than the piece on there and fixed a broken door insert with some panelling from the back of the unwanted section. None of this was difficult to do and we only needed some nails and a jigsaw to transform it. We broke down the remaining pieces of the cabinet and put some bits aside for disposal and kept some bigger pieces for use later on. The spare top piece that got replaced will make an excellent mobile work bench when put on a pair of saw horses.

So there you have it, a new piece of furniture made out of an unwanted one. It's being painted at the moment and then I'll show you how lovely it looks! So come on Block people, inspire me! Apologies also for the terrible photos, I forgot to take one when the light was better.


  1. I just discovered your lovely blog and I look forward to popping by again for some more inspiration! I've just put the finished touches on my new blog ‘Coastal Style’ It will have lots of inspiration on beach houses, resortwear, summer food, travel and anything ‘beachy’. I had a lot of fun putting it together so maybe you would like to check it out if you have a spare minute.

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