Feb 19, 2015

Spare bedroom - upholstered floral headboard and more

It was in my bucket list of things to get done around Christmas and amazingly the guest bedroom was all finished and painted on Christmas Eve, right before our guests arrived.

One thing about our current house is that sometimes it looks better in person than in photos... I'm just learning this! It's the opposite to our last tiny place which photographed awesome.

This house is big and spacious and sunny - people seem to love being here and we love that. But the bright and airy vibe is hard to translate into pictures for some reason.

Anyhoo, here's the room from the doorway:

And just before we carry on, you might remember that it used to look like this...

[When we had just moved in]
 .... and then it was like this (below) for a while as I went nuts upholstering the headboard with a 'normal colour' fabric (navy).

I bought thin sheets of wood, fixed them over the slatted headboard you see above and then stapled wads of foam and batting around it, followed by fabric.

And I hated how it ended up!

(The boring blue that didn't last long, and the yucky apricoty cream walls behind)

I was so disappointed that what I had hoped was a safe option looked so blah. The Huz confirmed it when he told me 'you should do whatever you want to do. Since when have you cared what anybody else thinks?'

So naturally I changed it to a pink floral.

...and painted the walls in a pale aqua/mint and a neutral chalky cream.

The cream/lemon curtains used to be in our lounge, and the bedside tables are from our bedroom before we replaced them with bigger modern ones. I replaced the short yellow curtains above the bed with the roman blind, and put those modernish little lamps in although I'm unconvinced about them with the classic style drawers... but they have to stay for now.

I also just set up this little desk area so I can finally have a baby-free area to spend 5 if-I'm-lucky minutes sometimes to myself to think or pray or do whatever. I didn't really want any clutter there so it's not styled or filled with accessories like all the beautiful design bloggers desks that I see on the interwebs!

 Last but not least, there's a piano down here which was from my grandma. I just popped some leftover headboard fabric on the seat part.

 So there you have it, a quick update that massively changed this room, in person at least!

There is plenty more I would love to finish in this room (don't get me started) but without the time or money or any of that, it's doing it for now, and I figured I better just publish it before it ends up never happening.



Feb 9, 2015

Master Bedroom progress update

I really miss posting about design projects and home makeovers. In recent days there have been little glimmers of time and energy where I've been able to do a bit more in this area. You may remember that a year or so ago we moved into this 70's house and then had a baby. Recently, after a year of living with no furniture in our bedroom other than the bed and these tiny bedside tables below...

Master Bedroom progress - fresh, warm, light - BEFORE
{Shortly after we moved in and bought a bed}
.... it became clear that the mess was out of control and we needed some proper storage solution for our clothes, and some surface area to put things. Our bedroom is really wide so the small bedside tables were lost against the wall. 

I found these sets of drawers (below) at Freedom Furniture and although we had to build them ourselves and ran into a few hiccups with parts not being supplied or being scratched, they are now ideal and exactly fit our space.

Master Bedroom progress - fresh, warm, light
{Husband's side with the new drawers}
It's a small step in the right direction. I love the warmth of the wood (which is still pale enough to not look orangey at all) and the width it adds to the room, visually. It also provides a bit more surface area to keep random bits and pieces:

What I don't love in this room...

Master Bedroom progress - fresh, warm, light 

...are the curtains! The whole scale of them is off and does nothing to flatter the dimensions of the room (which is really quite large). I also really dislike the colour of them in this room - they draw out all the cold/musty tones when I would prefer something fresh and warm and haven-like.

Speaking of tones, allow me to share this rendering I just whizzed up in 5 seconds. I know I know, my skills are off the hook:

Master Bedroom progress - fresh, warm, light
Amazingest photoshop of all time
I think I could have done a better job in Microsoft Paint and you'll have to forgive the random greigey mottled walls and all... but baby's naptime is almost over so time is of the essence!

But what I'm trying to say is, some less invasive window treatments such as a horizontal blind over the bed in a neutral colour, will open up the whole wall and elongate it visually. Then potentially some floor length curtains on the big side window (where the current half-length ones are) in a lighter colour. And in case you are pondering that weird green line I drew over the pillows - it's a potential headboard placement. In what colour I do not know. I really really really like the look of pale ones (off-whites and neutrals) but tan tones look awful with the brown dressers, and cream would show up every little mark or stain. So I don't know. Mint and change the wall colour????

*** Update: here is a more *proper* photoshop rendering showing minty/aqua walls and a cream-neutral headboard superimposed over the photo, to see how it could look:

{I like this look, not convinced about the wall colour but this colour headboard still grabs my attention the most, even tho it would get dirty I suppose.. :( }
 Here's another option with a warmer greyish headboard:
{What are your thoughts??? I really struggle to get on board with darker colours so I don't know... it bores me a little bit!}

In other very exciting news that I'm sure you're reading while seated on the edge of your chair (#oppositeday) is that I moved these Euro pillows up here from the spare bedroom after the husband complained that we didn't have cushy pillows. So for now they are kind of acting like a headboard except for they get plonked on the carpet at night which I find disgusting because of my hair-fluff-and-lint phobia. But I'll get over it...

Master Bedroom progress - fresh, warm, light

All that to say, I hope I have some actual 'After' photos for you sometime soon! And, what colour upholstered headboard would you choose? I usually love bright colours but I'm enjoying the kind of serene vibe that's starting to happen in here!

Jan 12, 2015

Holiday recap and points of note...

Let's work backwards because my photos are in that order and who has time/patience to drag photos around in blogger? 


1. I jumped a really ridiculously SMALL jump and my husband took it on a low angle to make me look 10x more athletic than I actually am. I trained him well...
[Beach walk at Karioitahi where we attended a wedding a few days ago]

2. My baby matched my colour scheme for said wedding. I'll never get sick of making sure we are matchy matchy and then denying it and saying it was an accident.

[Also, this girl is pretty much crawling and she can move way faster than is practical for her slow mama. And she has become freakishly sociable the last few weeks. So good.]
 3. Before that, we redid our guest room and had guests sleep here on Christmas night. It still has a few touches waiting so I may or may not blog about it before then, but here's one side. The wall is a pale aqua-mint, not that it shows in photos very well!

4. And even before that... I attempted to make a yarn-ball wreath. Glue the balls on and it couldn't be easier you might think, but I ran into a few hiccups and it still has bald patches that I disguised/avoided for this photo.

5. Also there was Christmas! My favourite. I was SO pumped about it and was dreading it being over but then as soon as it was done - so relieved. There is a lot of stress that goes into something so enjoyable - it's weird! On Christmas day we spent time with both sides of our family and packed in lots of great food and tennis playing (by which I mean smacking balls around and/or looking like you are doing something other than standing on the side lines doing nothing) and presents. Christmas with a baby was fun - we didn't go nuts buying presents for a 6 month old but I kept forgetting that everyone else bought her things and I got to open them! If you know me then you know that present-opening is my favouritist.
[Our first actual Christmas tree that's not plastic! It was quite beautiful aside from the droopiness and husbands allergic face-swelling reaction.]

For other titbits of my private life that you probably don't care about....my instagram.That's where the magic happens these days. Am I right, bloggers?

Dec 17, 2014

DIY Chocolate truffles 3 ways

So back in the day I used to make chocolates, and sell them, and supply the odd wedding with them as favours. It was fun but I got really sick of making chocolates. To this day, people ask about them and since I finally have my chocolate-making mojo back I thought I'd share.

Here are 3 flavours that I've been making for Christmas events and gifts lately.
There's a reason this is not a baking blog - I tend to bake by eye rather than following a strict recipe. So instead of giving exact quantities, I'll try to briefly describe the method below each one!

Chocolate truffles 3 ways - recipe. by fivekindsofhappy blog
Chocolate truffles 3 ways - recipe. by fivekindsofhappy blog 

These peppermint cremes have fresh mint leaves in the filling - I got the idea from Chelsea Winter's peppermint slice recipe, and it tastes SO GOOD. The husband says "it looks like sour cream and chives" when he sees the tiny flecks of mint in the mixture, but everyone votes 300% for them including me. Mmmmm so delicious.

For the filling, the ingredients should be mixed to a smooth paste - sticky and not too firm, but not as runny as icing. You should be able to shape it into sloppy balls. Then freeze the balls to firm them up before re-rolling into perfect balls and dipping in the melted chocolate with your swizel stick, and tipping out onto a sheet of baking paper.

I topped mine with slices of green gummy lollies (cut with kitchen scissors).
When the chocolate sets, it contains the soft minty filling.

Chocolate truffles 3 ways - recipe. by fivekindsofhappy blog
Chocolate truffles 3 ways - recipe. by fivekindsofhappy blog

I wanted a chocolate that was christmassy in taste and appearance, so put a few spices into the filling (cinnamon and cardamom). BUT this is also the best base recipe for any truffle. I made some today with no spices, and just a few grains of rock salt on top of each one. So good!

For the filling, ratio the chocolate to cream at 2:1.
E.g 200gm chocolate, 100gm cream.
Melt them together and mix, then leave in fridge to set in the bowl before scooping and shaping into balls. I freeze them to make dipping in the coating easier.

Chocolate truffles 3 ways - cookie dough. by fivekindsofhappy blog
Chocolate truffles 3 ways - cookie dough. by fivekindsofhappy blog

 I feel like this combo is still considered *So American* by New Zealanders as eating cookie dough isn't really the done thing here.  But"Ewwwwwwwww" said no-one ever when confronted with raw cookie dough. This dough is eggless and I just add a bit of cream to make it softer and more truffley. You can use any basic cookie dough as a base.

These all look sweet when packaged in a bag and tied with string - happy gifting!

And by gifting I mean one-for-me-one-for-you pop-it-in-your-gob because you have to eat every single truffle that is slightly misshapen or less than perfectly spherical or that has too much chocolate on it because it's the rules. So really, happy eating!