A fast (cheat) way to recover a stool

Last week last repainted an old dressing table using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and wanted to recover the stool too. I’ve finally got around to doing it, but am showing you a real cheat version. This will be your best friend:

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Firstly, press your chosen fabric to remove any creases. Lay the old stool seat on top of the new fabric and cut to size ensuring it’s 2-3 inches larger that the seat. Now make sure the fabric is face down and spray the back of it evenly with the adhesive, before spraying the top of the seat with it too. Lay the seat onto the fabric, obviously making sure the fabric is completely flat and free of creases before you do.  Spray one corner with the glue and fold up and over the seat like so: 

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Continue around the seat until all four corners are done.

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Now spray one of the sides and fold up as if you’re wrapping a parcel.

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Continue all the way around until your corners look something like this.

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Now at this point, if you have a staple gun go around the edges to secure it further. I don’t have a staple gun so am relying on the base to give extra holding power to the fabric as there’s enough fabric to go under where the base will lie.  See pic, as I’m not doing a great job of explaining!

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Screw the base back on and there you go; probably the easiest way ever to recover a stool!

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Fuss free Banoffee Pie

This is probably the easiest, quickest but most liked dessert recipe in my repertoire. If you don’t try it, you’re definitely missing out!

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300g ginger nuts, a large knob of salted  butter, a can of condensed caramel, 3 or 4 bananas, a splash of lemon juice and chocolate curls/smashed up Scottish Tablet to decorate, and you’ve got a very indulgent and very tasty dessert.

Blitz the biscuits in a processor and slowly drizzle in the melted butter.  I didn’t actually weigh mine,  but you want it the consistency of wet sand.  It needs to be able to stick together and contain all that sticky caramel. Press it into a springform tin and push it up about an inch and a half up the sides.

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Cover the base with a layer or sliced bananas and drizzle over a little lemon juice to offset the sweetness slightly.

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Empty the caramel into a bowl and beat with a spoon to loosen it to a pourable (I’m not sure that’s even a word!) consistency. Drizzle over the bananas.

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Lightly whip the cream, spread it over the caramel and sprinkle with crushed Scottish Tablet and dark chocolate curls. To make chocolate curls lay a slab of chocolate on a worktop, smooth side facing up, and drag a large sharp knife firmly down it holding the tip of the blade as well as the handle.

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Leave to chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before carefully removing the tin to reveal your masterpiece. Enjoy as is… This certainly doesn’t need any accompaniments.
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Shortbread with Scottish tablet.

Yesterday seemed to whiz by. After dropping the little one at nursery, going to the gym, coming home, having lunch, painting my old dressing table, picking the little one up, making dinner, eating dinner, clearing up and waxing the dressing table it was 7pm and I suddenly realised I didn’t have anything to serve to our Life Group, which started at 8pm. Needing only three ingredients, I immediately thought of shortbread and set to work. Here’s the basic recipe and method (I hope you can read my writing):

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As the butter and sugar were creaming in the mixer, my eyes fell on a jar of Scottish tablet I’d made for DH as a birthday present back in January. His Nanna used to make it for him as a child, and ever since we married twelve years ago I’ve been trying to replicate her recipe with little success. On this occasion I’d tried this version on the Carnation website, but I think I’d boiled it a little too long and it was slightly too hard and crumbly.

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I wondered what it would be like in the shortbread, so crushed a few pieces up with a rolling pin and threw them in the mixer with the flour. Obviously the dough needed a little helping coming together because of the addition of the delicious golden nuggets, so I just tipped it out onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and gently pressed it together with my hands. Not even having time to cut out individual biscuits, I rolled the dough into a rough round and scored it with a knife to mark out slices that would easily break apart once baked. Had I had time I would have chilled it for twenty minutes at this point, but as our guests were arriving in less than half an hour I decided to just bung it in the oven and hope for the best.

25 minutes later it looked golden around the edges, so I took it out and lifted the huge shortbread round, still on the greaseproof paper, onto a wire rack. Re-mark the segments at this point if you need to.

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After cooling I snapped it into pieces and served. It was delicious. More cookie like than regular shortbread as a result of the extra sugar, but still delicious. Give it a go and let me know what you think.

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Annie Sloan dressing table makeover

When it comes to upcycling things, I’m a bit of a late starter.  Bar a blind in our downstairs loo and a very bad job on a dressing table mirror, I’ve never really taken on a project.  For Pb’s birthday we’ve decided to give her bedroom a bit of a makeover and as part of that I thought I’d paint my old dressing table which has been my sewing table since we moved house a couple of years ago. With every Mary, Martha and Mildred raving about Annie Sloan chalk paint on Pinterest and Instagram, I wanted to see what all the hype is about.  After watching various tutorials on YouTube I was left wondering if there’s anything you can’t give the Annie Sloan treatment? Wood, metal, plastics and even upholstery, you could even slap a bit on your granny to take her from drab and outdated to vintage chic. Ok, maybe that’s a step too far, but you get the idea.

A friend very kindly passed on some paint she had left over.

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Here’s a before pic:

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What I love about this is that there is no sanding or priming. You quite literally wipe the piece down to get rid of any dust or grime and paint away. I gave the sides, stool and draw fronts two coats and the top three. I think I may have applied it too thickly but the paint really is forgiving and anyway imperfections can be beautiful.

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Three hours later I was ready to wax. This really is a simple process. I simply used a lint free cloth to wrote the soft clear wax on in circular motions. I’ll leave it to cure for twenty four hours and then apply another coat of wax to seal the top. Et voila! Easy peasey! I can’t believe I left it so long before having a go. Now I just need to recover the stool cushion using the fabric in the photo and it’ll be ready for a certain little almost 4 year old!
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Sweetie cone party favours.

I don’t know about you, but I reluctantly admit I’m not a fan of traditional kids party bags. I’ve done them for P’s previous birthday parties but can’t help feeling like I may as well be setting fire to my cash as I fill my shopping basket with bags of plastic tat, party poppers and those horrifically irritating party blower things. Eurgh!

Bah-humbug you may cry, but this year I’m going down the sweetie cone root. Yes, I realise there’s a huge sugar debate going on at the moment and yes, I admit to feeling a pang of guilt as I think back to a TV documentary I watched last week about five years old having to have their teeth pulled out.  That said, it’s supposed to be a treat, an occasional thing, and it’s up to the parents to implement some sensible rationing (as I attempted to do as we merrily filled piping bags this afternoon.  It was hard when I had this little excited face asking me for,  “just one more” every three seconds!).

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Anyway, here are the finished products. Easter themed as her party falls on Easter Weekend this year.

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