Saturday, July 23, 2011

How to Turn a Wardrobe into a Desk (and other transformations)

Last year, I bought a condo and, over a 6 month period, fixed it up. By the time I was done with the the renovations, I couldn't afford any new furniture and planned to slowly update my old furniture over time. I have most of the items I need but, my old furniture is reaching the end of it's life. Most of it was purchased about 12 years ago from Ike@ and, while Ike@ furniture certainly fulfils a purpose, it is not known for it's longevity. In addition to dealing with increasingly wobbly tables and some punctured particle board, I am so done with pine. I want to get rid of it ALL.

But, I have no money. And, because I have a big project in the works, I am not likely to have any money for a very, very long time. One day, as a was feeling sorry for myself and my "college student" furniture, I had a brain wave. I realized that I could transform my underused white wardrobe into a desk, thereby starting a chain reaction of furniture rearrangement that would allow me to, not only sell my old pine desk and make some money for a new piece of furniture, but to repurpose a lot of what I already own. Win-win!

My old pine desk (it looks like a wardrobe, but was secretly a desk). Sold to a good home.

Once I made the decision to make this change, nothing could stop me. I spent three whole days reorganizing, moving furniture and selling my desk. The furniture domino the sale of my desk created was huge. The desk was replaced by my white wardrobe (now desk), the white wardrobe (which held quilting supplies) was replaced by a dresser I kept in the front hall, the hall dresser (which held bags and hats and mitts) was replaced by an empty chippy toy box that I had stored in my bedroom closet. I was able to sell my old desk for a decent price and I used the funds to buy a kitchen table and a bookcase (both used, solid wood and painted white). Getting a new-to-me kitchen table allowed me to move my old kitchen table (actually a large night stand) to where it belongs, the bedroom. The new-to-me bookshelf allowed me to remove one more pine-like (*not real pine*) item out of my main living space and into the spare bedroom.

Wow! I feel like I have almost all new furniture, at absolutely no cost to me. I do have some more replacements to make in the living room before I will be satisfied, but I am very happy with the outcome!

The biggest change I made was the wardrobe to desk transformation. Because I never actually sit at my desk and I loved the tidy and pet-proof nature of my old wardrobe-style desk, turning a real wardrobe into a desk was a no brainer for me.

My wardrobe, about to be transformed.

I cleaned out my quilting supplies.

And then I sawed a hole in the back panel to allow cords and cables to exit.

Easy peasy!

Once that was done, I loaded my new desk.

I even added some magnet and cork boards onto the doors for notes and keepsakes (this was an additional expense, but it didn't cost much).

The bottom drawer of my wardrobe/desk now holds gift wrapping supplies and the top drawer holds desk supplies such as some old letters, paper, envelopes, markers and pens. As you can see, my laptop, printer, lamp and some other miscellaneous desk supplies fit easily on the shelves.

I am so happy with the airiness my "new" tall and white desk provides. And, I love that thinking differently about my current furniture allowed me to make the changes I wanted without spending money that I don't have. In the picture below, you can see my "new" wardrobe style desk along with the new-to-me table and bookshelf that the sale of my old desk allowed me to purchase.

I won't be able to make my next series of changes (new coffee table, couch and TV stand) without some money, but now that I have managed to get a bit closer to the beachy, shabby-chic look I am after, I know that I can eventually make it happen.

Hopefully white furniture won't go completely out of fashion between now and then!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Weekend Homemaker

I'm nearing the end of my financial month again and you know what that means . . . no more money. I don't know how some people do so well with their monthly food budgets, but I am certainly not one of them.

So, it's time to streeeeetch the last few dollars and do some cooking from the pantry. Last weekend I spent $50 on some fresh groceries (and some chips, whoops), scrounged in the cupboards and came with a delicious menu.


Yogurt and strawberry sauce
Homemade granola with soy milk


Almonds and Raisins
Twelve Grain Pumpkin Muffins


Tuna and crackers with carrot sticks
Whole wheat pasta and lentil salad with basil dressing


Pad Thai

Crepes with yogurt and strawberry sauce

I even had enough basil left over from the salad dressing to make a batch of pesto.

Along with a pot of Thai Chicken Soup, I should have enough meals to make it happily through the rest month and prevent me from making last minute (and expensive!) trips the grocery store throughout out the week.

And, no more chips!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Strawberries . . . let me count the ways

The local strawberry season has already come and gone. The sweet and tender Vancouver Island Juneberries don't last long. I bought two flats of berries, a week apart, and had to eat and/or process all of the berries within 24 hours. It was a yummy, crazy, mess.

What to do with all of these berries?

I ate them for breakfast:

Greek yogurt, strawberries and honey

And for lunch:

Strawberry smoothie

And for dinner:

Salmon burger with strawberries on the side

I even had them for a snack:

I made strawberry jam, strawberry sauce and strawberries in sugar syrup:

And, the best thing I made? Baked french toast with strawberries AND (last year's) raspberry sauce. I love berry season!

Baked French toast

Thank goodness raspberry season starts soon!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Block of the Month

I just have a few more months left in the "Yours, Mine and Ours" quilting workshop that I have been taking. Some of the ladies (not me!) have started to meet to sew together the donated blocks into lap quilts and I am excited to see how they will all look. I had wished they would wait until the end of the workshop to sew the toppers so that all of my blue and white blocks could be together, but it was not to be. Oh well, the June block was very different from what we have made thus far and it is unlikely that all of my blocks would have been together in any case.

For June, we made a "Twinkling Star" block, a contemporary paper pieced pattern, rather than a traditional block. I love the casual look of paper piecing so I was excited to try this star out.

Because I cannot use the Twinkling Star block in the larger quilt that I am currently working on for myself (which is a very traditional sampler), I decided to do something completely different and start a flannel baby quilt (this means I now have 4 quilts in the works, whoops!). I don't know any new baby girls at the moment, but I was feeling the pink. I am sure one will come along soon enough!

My donation block also turned out well. I think that I am the only one in my quilting class that likes the Twinkling Star pattern (this fact may be explained by the fact that I am at least 25 years younger than everyone else in my class), but I think it is super cute and flexible. I will definitely be using it again!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

To Market, To Market

Sadly, I seem to have already spent my farmer's market allotment for July. Not good. But, my money did go towards and good cause, a kitchen table. Finally!

Fortunately, my last market visit was especially delicious. I bought lunch and ice cream!

Lunch was from the International Women's Catering Co-op. I had their fantastic pakora and a buraq (a pastry stuffed with spinach, peas, mint and feta). Yum.

Then I picked up a few other goodies - basil, tomato, brioche and two handmade ice cream sandwiches with Kaffir lime ice cream sandwiched between coconut macaroon cookies. Oh. My. Goodness.

I have never tasted anything quite like these fresh and yummy treats. It was the "ice cream woman's" (I can't remember the name of her business) first weekend at the market. She was very busy and had sold out of my first choice, Rose, Mint and Watermelon sorbet, when I arrived. I hope that she will be back weekly (and that I can scourge up some cash for next weekend)!