Thursday, April 3, 2014

Craigslist Credenza

I'm a fitful Craigslist user. Some weeks I am scouring everyday in the hope of hitting the jackpot (you know when you find that item) other weeks I can take it or leave it. Thus allowing myself the illusion I'm not a compulsive bargain hunter.

This particular purchase was found on a random flick through day. Everyone needs a credenza, right?

Here is the original image from Craigslist.

Not the best picture, but a bad Craigslist pic is a good thing.  It can often disguise a hidden gem that only you, with your trained eye can spot.  Also it can mean less interest (those without your superior 'eye' pass it up) = plenty of wiggle room on the price.  It was the chrome legs that sucked me in...

I wanted to paint it mint green. The best colour match was a Valspar spray paint called Mellow Spring. I love the colour but won't be using Valspar spray paints again. 5 cans later its still not the best finish but I feel guilty enough about the environmental impact of those 5 cans, not to mention the light dusting of Mellow Spring on everything in the garage.

To cover the laminate top I ordered PSA walnut veneer and edge banding to fit around the sides. It was worth a shop around on the veneer as the same product seems to vary greatly in price.

Having lightly sanded the cabinet all over I covered the chrome base and loosely cover the top. I applied one coat of primer to the cabinet then went all out with the 5 cans of spray paint.

The next stage was the application of wood veneer.  As there was wood involved Mr. got in the mix (I think woodworking is considered more manly than regular re purposing).  After much deliberation with decided to do the edge banding first. 

Ironing on edge banding
Using a Stanley knife we trimmed it down to be level with the top.

Smoothing down veneer with homemade scraper
Sticking down the top piece of veneer was a little more tense. Its pretty sticky stuff so there is no margin for error. Having cut a piece bigger than needed, we started by lowering the middle down then applied pressure outwards, smoothing as we went.  Mr. fashioned a veneer scraper from a scrap of wood which he used to smooth out any air bubbles. Fortunately there were just as many air bubbles on his side as mine! They did all come out.  I then did the final trim around the top.  We were both very impressed with the results. The edges are extremely neat and it could pass as a solid piece of wood.

Several coats of beeswax and orange oil furniture polish (the best BTW) and we were good to go.

Just look at those edges and corner!

Beautiful wood

Break down of costs

Credenza $60 (advertised as $100)
Walnut edge banding (plenty leftover) $22
Walnut veneer (inc shipping) not all used $60
Spray paint $25

Total cost for one-of-a-kind credenza = $150

Not the cheapest piece but I can see it being of use to us for many years to come. 

Alice xx

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Chocolate covered coconut squares

Chocolate and coconut is a winning combination.  This is a great little recipe and a fun one to do with kids as its quick, it can all be done by hand and you get 2 delicious bowls to lick!  There are plenty of recipes out there for similar chocolate/coconut bites. I looked at a few a came up with my own quantities.

Chocolate covered coconut squares

2 cups of unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup of coconut oil warmed
1/4 cup of honey
generous dash of vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
4 oz 72% dark chocolate
knob of butter

Mix together all of the ingredients together except the chocolate & butter.  You can blitz it a little in a food processor which makes it a smoother texture or just do by hand.  Press the coconut mixture into a tin or Tupperware greased with coconut oil or lined with parchment paper.  I used an 8"x 8" tin which was just too big. My coconut layer is not quite thick enough.  Pop it into the freezer for 15 minutes while you melt the chocolate and butter.

Once the coconut layer has firmed up pour over the melted chocolate.  Tap the tin to get any air bubbles out. I sprinkled over some Roasted coconut chips from Trader Joe's then put back in the fridge/freezer to set. 

Cut into squares when set. To make you feel better I ate 5 in the first sitting...Be warned they are very moreish!

NB: To make a 100% paleo version you need chocolate without added sugar. I used 72% dark which has a little sugar in. I'm OK with that, its your choice.