Trash and Treasure : Upcycling a used kids furniture set

I was itching to embark on another upcycling project having successfully painted our IKEA Step Stool. This time round, I was a little more ambitious and decided to add a kid’s table with chairs to our living room. The Man was not pleased when he heard it. The immediate words that came out of his mouth was “It’s going to be a white elephant. We don’t have room in the living room for this! We already have a small table for her in her room and she doesn’t even use it!”

Well, it was partially true but having a kid’s table with chairs in the living room meant that the Bub could sit and have her meals with her friend if we do host families with young children. She could also sit there for a spot of reading/ crafting/ playing if she fancied. So I decided to stick to my guns and hunt for a sturdy and reasonably-priced kid’s table with chairs to be upcycled.

This was quite a gem-of-a-find! Priced at $50, I found this set on Carousell. It looked sturdy and the owner said that she had it imported from UK and paid way more for it. It was lovingly used in their home for about 5 years. The price seemed fair and yes, it looked scratched but I thought a fresh coat of paint should do the trick nicely. So one Saturday morning, I drove down to the home and lugged these set back home. I was worried that it could not fit into my boot but after some shoving and shifting, it eventually did. Phew!

So what did I do with it now that it’s home? According to upcycling pro – Libby, you would have to first sun the furniture. I guess this is important because in a humid country like Singapore and particularly if you are not sure how the furniture was once kept, the sunning process would help to “drive out” unwanted inhabitants (hopefully, no mites! YIKES!). On our end, we also disinfected the table/ chairs with Be Sanitised and Konk, just wanted to be doubly sure because the items are to be used by the Bub at the end of the day.

After sunning, we sand down the surface of the table and the chairs. This will help remove the layer of varnish (if any) so that the paint will go on evenly on the surface.

On colour, we decided to go with a colour theme that would match her Stokke high-chair. It was hard deciding between the Mother Duck and Anguilla. In the end, we went with the Anguilla which was a slightly darlker shade of seafoam. It did still match our colour scheme eventually.

I wanted to achieve a Shabby Chic look so decided to play around with the Copper powder from the Frensheen collection.

Think it looked pretty okay after putting the finishing touches on the grooves of the table. It wasn’t too much I guess and it had a very Marie Antoinette look and feel that I was trying to achieve.

For the chairs, we went with the Nougat which is a lovely shade of dusty rose pink. A little subtle but complemented the Anguilla table and our surroundings.

The finished product which took us about 3-4 hours to paint and complete. It wasn’t all too difficult and the sunning of the furniture took us about a week before I applied the paint on the items. I have to add that our helper who’s actually quite creative was the extra pair of hands that I relied on for this upcycling project.

Super pleased now we have a proper kids table with chairs to host our little friends when they come over to play. 🙂

Can’t quite believe that we’ve already completed 2 upcycling projects in the course of a couple of months. The Man thinks this is pretty simple stuff, so he said he will take on an upcycling project in the form a shoe rack. I’ve got the shoe rack but it’s still sitting in its original form on our porch. I reckon I probably be the one to do this up again. Let’s see!

Upcycling our old IKEA step-stool

Our Ikea Step Stool has been with us as long as I’ve been married. It was one of the items that we purchased and I popped into the containers when I relocated to Tokyo then. Thought it would be useful to have around the home if I needed to climb and reach the cabinets. We moved it from house to house when we shifted and till today, it remains as one of our older fixtures around the home. We like using it as a stool occasionally when I sit next to the Bub and blow her hair. While the helper likes using it as a ladder when cleaning our room. To be honest, after 11 years, it was looking a tad bit dirty but we never got round to getting rid of it because it was actually very sturdy and looked like it could last.

So after deliberating and seeing how fun upcycling of old furniture can actually be (thanks to Mama Libby), I finally got round to purchasing some paints from French Chic Paint to embark on my refurb project.

Okay, why choose French Chic Paint over other types of paint or even spray paint that you can get off the counter? Here are the reasons why after seeing what Libby did with some of her stuff, I was sold! It really does help when your Mama pal share the information which is what I’m doing here as well. 🙂

  • Frenchic Furniture Paint is fabulous for transforming any piece of furniture whether you are into that shabby chic, retro or industrial look.
  • I like that different looks can be created simply by using their eco-friendly range of waxes and Frensheens or finish with a Finishing Coat to add an extra level of protection to your furniture.
  • Best part? Their paint, waxes and finishes are all natural and non-petroleum based with no horrible odour.

After putting the Bub to bed one night and as I was solo-parenting, I got down to painting our stool. It was pretty easy painting this and the best part was that it didn’t really matter that the brush strokes needed to be uniformed if it’s the rustic look that you are trying to achieve on your pieces. The paint had no foul smell and this meant that I could do my painting in the comfort of my own room while supervising my sleeping child. The paint also dried up rather quickly. I painted the first coat in Mother Duck and then let it dry for about 15 – 20 minutes before applying on the second coat.

Thereafter, I let the stool dry overnight before putting on the Finishing Coat the next morning to seal the paint for the stool. We used about 2 coats of the Finishing Coat on the stool and in between each application, I do let the coat dry from about 2 hours before applying the next Finishing Coat on the stool.

Presenting our stool with a fresh coat of paint! And what a difference the coat of paint made.. love the duck-egg blue (Mother Duck) colour that we chose and it stood out among our white furnishings.

Upcycling my army green top in Hong Kong

IMG_5640My Zara khaki green camo top that double up as a jacket has been with me since 2013. I’ve always loved the crystals on the side of the pocket that gives a gentle feminine touch to the jacket. It’s also one of the things I would bring on a trip to countries with a cooler climate as I don’t have to bring an additional jacket for I could simply wear something slightly warmer inside and throw this jacket/top over leggings.

But with a young toddler, this jacket wasn’t going to be as functional for the crystals had sharp edges that might scratch the kid if she’s fussing around when I’m carrying her. During my recent trip to Hong Kong without the kid, I bought this jacket along for it didn’t scream MUMSY gear. My cousin remarked that it was pretty and I told her that I was probably going to trash it after the trip for this jacket has been with me for the past 4-5 years and it’s time to ‘retire’ the look. She told me it would be a waste to do it and I should probably look at salvaging it and updating the look to make it more current for the crystals were actually sewn on to a patch that will be easily removed.

On hearing this, I got really excited and wondered how I can breathe new life to one of my fave wardrobe pieces. We decided on perhaps getting some funky iron-on patches and pins to dress up the jacket.

We stumbled on Pottinger Street at Central Hong Kong enroute to lunch and I was pleasantly surprised to find a row of old stall selling appliques and iron-on patches. Just the items I really needed for this DIY upcycling project to work! The best part? There was actually a seamstress available and she could help sew on the patches on to my top so that it will be fully secured rather than having it ironed-on and risk having it drop off and leaving a mark when the adhesive is no longer sticky.

I was over-the-moon! We got down really quickly to selecting of the different patches that would be eye-catching and had the seamstress work her magic on the top.  I think the entire project must have cost me about 150 – 200 HKD (about S$30) which I thought wasn’t too bad.

Victory for thinking of this idea! Hehe..

Pardon the picture quality but here’s a shot of how the jacket looks like with the various patches. It does not matter that the the patches all don’t match, I think what really matters is what you like and the creativity that you can inject into such a simple project and to give your clothing a new lease of life instead of trashing them.

Now that this project is somewhat successful, I’m kinda hooked on upcycling more stuff in my wardrobe that funky patches can do the job. Stay tuned! Hehe…

I heart these cupcakes

A good part of May was spent shuttling in and out of the hospitals.  Managed to also squeeze in a couple of dates to check out brunch places and restaurants but I have deliberately avoided crowded places or rather my fave activity of shopping for myself!  Can’t really fit much into clothes these days, I don’t really dare to buy shoes either (for fear of water retention), think the Man will scream at me if I buy more stuff for Bun, etc.  So what do I end up doing?  Surfing the net for more food places to suss out and drooling over sweets – I’m talking about ice-cream, cakes, chocolates and cupcakes… droolz…

I was recently gifted with a box of cupcakes from Goobycakes and man, were they good!  Personally, the thing about cupcakes with icing is that it could be too sweet.  I usually just scrap away the icing and just have the cupcake.  When I was gifted with my first box of cupcakes from GoobyCakes, I have to admit, a little skeptical about the taste.  Well, I should have known better cos said friend who gave the cakes said it was good and boy, was she right!  They weren’t too sweet, the cream cheese topping was really lovely as well instead of being sickeningly sweet.  As for the fondant?  Well, I didn’t bite into the sugared bits but the handicraft was one of the nicest I’ve seen in town.  🙂

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So for a friend’s recent birthday, I decided to get her a box of chocolate cupcakes from Goobycakes with her fave bag as a topping.  The Man helped to pick them up at the store to save me the hefty delivery fee and grumbled at how far the place was.  Again, thanks for doing this!!!  Muacks!!

Really happy with how the entire design turned out!  Almost wanted to sink my teeth into one of them cupcakes because of my crazy pregno cravings but of course didn’t!  Hehe, friend was also pleased with the little gift I got her so all smiles around here!  🙂  Wheee…

In love with these fabrics

Ever since I’ve set my eyes on these gorgeous designs from Sarah Jane, there has been no turning back for me.  In preparation for Bun’s arrival, I actually contemplated making a quilt using the fabric from Sarah Jane. We all know how that went for I have zero knowledge on quilting, plus making a hand-sewn quilt would be really tough.

IMG_3770So I opted the lazy way out, went on Etsy, popped a couple of these super gorgeous fabric from the Wee Wander fabric  collection into the cart and paid for them.  Am patiently waiting for them to arrive in the mail to see what I can do with them for Bun.  I seriously think that they will make really cute pillow covers or they could even be popped into a frame to dress up the makeshift nursery that we are attempting to put together!  Ooh whatever it is, I really hope the final products for these will turn out pretty!!!

Tokyo buys: Fukubukuro [福袋]

Fukubukuro (福袋 lucky bag, mystery bag) is a Japanese New Year’s Day custom where merchants make grab bags filled with unknown random contents and sell them for a substantial discount, usually 50% or more off the list price of the items contained within.

When we were living in Tokyo, I wasn’t crazy about these bags but I recalled fondly the Man bringing one of these lucky bags filled with nuts that he purchased for a steal.  Over the New Year period, we hit the stores in search of discounts and to also try our luck in scoring one of these 福袋.

I think we did pretty well, the Man scored a Fukubukuro that was filled with a rose-wood chopping board, a Japanese sashimi knife, a pair of scissors, 2 tea-towels and a knife sharpener for under ¥5000.  He was thrilled with the buy.  We found some really good deals with lucky bags filled with Le Creuset products for about ¥10000.  So tempted to bring them home but the Man felt that it would be too heavy to lug back.  Arh well.  😦

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As for me, I happened to purchase some products for a friend at Koh Gen Do and jumped on the bandwagon for this lucky bag that I spied on the shelves which had some of the items that I had wanted to try.

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Can’t wait to put these products to good use now that I’ve scored them on a good deal!  🙂

If you are ever in Japan during the New Year, don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for these lucky bags.  Who knows what you may walk home with.

Have you met Cho San?

You’ll never guess where I picked up these goodies?  These are picked up right here on our tiny dot.  Best of all, they aren’t that expensive to begin with but will look oh-so-good with my food.

I can so imagine the Man giving me the dagger eye and going ‘Do we really need another piece of decorative cutlery?’ <Massive eye-rolling>.

Well, you know me.  I can’t resist a bargain.  Been wanting to get these mother-of-pearl mini spoons for the longest time since Fashionista Cat planted the thought in my head for the past 3 years.  Could never find the right ones at a price I was willing to fork out.  Yeah, sure, one could argue that these could be easily purchased in markets at Bangkok or Indonesia.  But they were either sold in too many pieces or it was ridiculously marked up for tourists to bargain down.

At Far East Fine Arts, I was surprised at the wide selection of designs that one could get with the mother-of-pearl designs.  Prices start from S$5 a piece, which I thought was pretty okay since all I wanted were a pair for decorative purposes.

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And those hand-crafted porcelain mini spoons, don’t they look cute too?  I got them for S$3 a piece and will be putting them to good use when I have creative streaks for food styling.  Till then, these go into the prop drawer for now.

Go check out this store and ask for Cho San (the friendly owner).  His store has been featured on many Japanese publications and he shared that many Japanese tourists specially make a trip down just to purchase souvenirs for loved ones back home. Chat up with him and I’m sure he will share with you the great buys as gifts for friends who are living overseas or for the home that you won’t regret.

Far East Fine Arts
Address: 304 Orchard Road, #04-58, Lucky Plaza, Singapore 238863
Opening hours: Mon – Sat: 11.00am – 6.00pm, Sun & Public Holidays: 12.00pm – 4.00pm