Shoe Rack Pallet

Shoe Rack Pallet

With a new oven that got delivered to my home today (yay!), I received a small square pallet. Usually, I have to get them from places, but this time, I got one straight to my doorsteps! I have been thinking back and forth how and where I could store our shoes in the entrance area because there is no room anywhere that would not make it look cluttered. And often it already looks cluttered even without the shoes… So I put all our shoes into the Ikea closet that’s in our guest room. But that meant, we’d have to take our shoes off and carry them through the entire house… and again, they ended up under that entry table! I really want the shoes out of sight, so I got this big vintage pickling can/box and shoved the ones we use all the time in there. But then it rained and the shoes were wet and yucky and I didn’t want them inside a box either. So again, shoes under the entry table! There just doesn’t seem to be a good solution for such a small place to have our shoes hidden. So today, after I removed the oven from the pallet and had the pallet leaning against the wall to be carried back out, I stuck some of my shoes in there and I liked it immediately. I think I’ll just have the pallet leaning against the wall and stick shoes in there and that’s it. And this is it, shoe rack pallet! ShareShare on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click...
My new Obsession with Dahlias

My new Obsession with Dahlias

*Sigh* — I went to the St. Johns Farmers Market yesterday and I found a new love. It’s a flower. A special flower. A flower, I rediscovered. We went to have breakfast, get some produce and listen to live music and home I went with a big bunch of dahlias (and local kombucha). After I talked to my Mom on Skype and her commenting on my Facebook dahlia flower pictures, I decided to do some more research where to get them for my garden. I grew up with dahlias in Germany, especially old farms always had them in their gardens; between potatoes, cabbage, carrots and tomatoes there was always a row of dahlias. And so I found out, that I am only 30km away from the largest US grower of dahlias! My first plan to go to Tillamook Forest to hunt chanterelles was cancelled quickly. We didn’t have much rain in the last week, so I don’t think I’d be very successful coming home with a big basket of mushrooms. Swan Island Dahlias in Canby, Oregon is open to the public to walk the rows and take pictures. Amazing: an entire town dedicated to dahlias! And next year, my yard will be filled with these beautiful creatures. Here’s my flowery day in pictures: ShareShare on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new...
Upcycling Trunk: From Box to Storage Table

Upcycling Trunk: From Box to Storage Table

    It is hard for me to pass a cool looking vintage trunk at the thrift store! Or at the curb…. Within one week, i came across two and got both of them. We just moved across the country and we don’t really have any furniture. So I turned one of them into a table and the other into¬†storage for photo albums. A friend of mine gave me a box of old mixed table feet. I was able to find 4 matching piece and decided to use them for my new side table Luckily, the interior was still nice, so I did not have to line it with new fabric. I drilled 4 holes into the bottom of the trunk, applied glue and stuck the feet through the holes. And here’s my new storage side table: There are many other ways to upcycle a trunk or suitcase. Depending on the size, you could turn it into a hanging cabinet, a dog bed or to stash your electronics and cables away. ShareShare on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new...
Updating a Curbside Treasure

Updating a Curbside Treasure

        I found this great table at the curb, two blocks from my house. It was heavy and crazy big, I couldn’t lift it let alone shove it into more car (since I couldn’t lift it but it wouldn’t have fit anyways). About half an hour and two blocks later, I had it at my house. I took the center part out and turned it from rectangular, long to a square table. Then I sanded the top and spray painted the bottom with favorite color blue ūüėČ I painted one coat white, then sanded the top because I wanted the beautiful wood to shine through. Then taped to and sprayed the golden stripes first. Then I added blues and grays to the remaining stripes. Finally, painted two coats of polyurethane for protection and durability. And here’s the finished dinner table! ShareShare on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new...
My (Culinary) Life as a Pastry Chef

My (Culinary) Life as a Pastry Chef

Welcome back to Throwback Thursday! Like every Thursday, I am writing about my past culinary career as a chef. In 1996, I started as a chef apprentice at the Steigenberger Inselhotel¬†in Southern Germany. Besides other departments in the kitchen, I was trained¬†(at least one year) in the patisserie, so that I had most of the basics down. Later I even got¬†hired by Michel Roux in England as a Pastry Chef. It has always been my favorite department even though I don’t like sweets myself. It’s an amazing craft, you are more of a chemist and artist really. The following pictures are my own recipes and pictures. Sweets I have made while I was not working for a company. I was a private chef while I lived in Dallas in 2008. My interpretation of ¬†my Mom’s apple pie (Apfelkuchen): This is a Panna Cotta, milk and cream based Italian dessert with a hazelnut crust and cherries: Then a Peach Tart with peaches from my backyard and homemade (made form scratch) puff pastry and pastry cream filling with vanilla: Here’s a warm Tarte Tatin with Vanilla Mascarpone and Butter-Balsamic Reduction: And because I really love this picture, again the Blueberry Napoleon Tart with sugar garnish: I hope you enjoyed these pictures! ShareShare on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new...
Upcycling: From Favorite Shirt to Favorite Pillow

Upcycling: From Favorite Shirt to Favorite Pillow

Turn shirt inside out Place existing pillow on shirt Draw around pillow Keep 1/2 inch allowance, cut square / rectangular Pin in place, stitch along seam Unbutton, turn pillow cover right side out Insert the pillow and button back up   And there’s your decorative pillow! ShareShare on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new...
How to Organize Books

How to Organize Books

Here’s the problem: you love books and you have lots of them. How to get them organized? If you are like me, you want to be surrounded by your books, they are like friends who follow you through your life. My books remind me of the stages of my life I have gone through. Often, I get one off the shelf and spend time reading or looking up stuff. I have: professional books (cooking books I bought during my chef’s career for inspiration and education) children’s books a few school books, I thought were worth keeping lots of encoclypedias dictionaries novels history, art and photography books lots of educational books (geology, geography, archeology, zoology, botanics…) and many many more I shipped 20 moving boxes from Germany, full with books only, when I moved over¬†and ever since, I added¬†a few more to my collection. I used to organize them by category, by size and by language. And who knows what. And now I live in Portland that has¬†the biggest bookstore I have ever seen: Powell’s! An entire street block, 4 stories, nothing but books! Trouble!! Back to getting your books organized:¬†how about organizing them by color? If you have a lot of books, you can still organize them by topic and then divide them into colors. I decided to separate my cook books (200 of them!) from the other books since they’ll be living in the kitchen. The living room looks a lot less cluttered with the books being organized by color (and I actually find books I am looking for a lot faster). Another tool improve your organizing skills...
What to Do with Reclaimed Fence Wood?

What to Do with Reclaimed Fence Wood?

This is the stuff dreams are made from: reclaimed wood! For a while, I lived in the suburbs of Dallas, so I had access¬†to lots of¬†free weathered wood. Lots of high fences and lots of tornadoes (quite scary at times!). But while they had to be replaced, I was ready to help out remove the old ones. And the wood was perfect for all kinds of projects. Don’t pass free wood on the curb, crab it when you can! You could make beach inspired signs with reclaimed wood. Cut into the same length, use pastel colors (if they’re too bright just add white), sand them a little to get a distressed shabby-chic look, then write ‘beach’, ‘sand’, ‘ocean’, ‘pacific’, ‘breeze’ or other beach inspired words on them with a pencil. If you need font ideas, go to FontSpace¬†and type in some of these terms. Then outline the ¬†beach words with white paint. Finally, apply polycrylic, that way you can hang them outside to your beach bar or next to your pool (if you have one). Project #2: build a book case or shelves: 3) Perfect for frame making! They look especially cool when either not painted or white (I just love the shabby chic and white is a neutral color and matches all your framing projects well): Here a picture of a pinboard I framed with weathered wood. #4: if you have an old bed frame that is not longer used in your household, you can turn the headboard into a bench. For the seat and other parts you will need extra wood. Here’s where you can use reclaimed...
DIY Chevron Pattern Tabletops

DIY Chevron Pattern Tabletops

I don’t know how you feel, but isn’t chevron stripes already outdated (sooo 2012, you might say!). It’s become so popular that it has become irritating to my eyes. Chevron everywhere. Bags, mirrors, tables, chairs, curtains, socks, rugs, shirts, skirts. Booooring! And then I went through my archive of pictures and thought to myself ‘I still kinda like it’. Don’t tell anyone! So,¬†I found quite a few pictures of tables I made with the v-shape design in the past (above, my first piece: a coffee table which did not sell until I painted the turquoise v-stripes on top). (I googled chevron stripes and found great information around it and learned that it dates back 4000 years, found in archeological sites, also used in heraldry) Now back to tables… And furthermore, scrolling through my pictures, I actually thought my diy design on old pallets and upcycled thrift wood doesn’t look bad at all. Above one of my pallet tables (diy banister legs dipped in coral paint). And another pallet coffee table below: This one became a kitchen table; first, I applied white paint, after it had dried I applied tape, spray-painted the golden stripes and chose two different kinds of gray. Then I added several coats of polycrylic for durability and water-resistance (*I usually choose polycrylic over polyurethane, since -from my personal experience- it doesn’t turn yellow over time). The next project was a custom piece for one of my favorite clients! I used pallet and reclaimed fence wood to build this kitchen island. After I applied the white paint, I sanded this monster beauty (my customer had to remove...
Diy Candle Holders from Banisters

Diy Candle Holders from Banisters

For a while I didn’t even know what to do with this weird set of -what are they anyways?- church pews, staircase banisters? I found this set on the curb and shoved it into my car for later use. They looked great with potential but what could I do with them? First, I turned them into side tables with triangular tabletops but the weirdness didn’t go away, they continued to look weird and un-classy… I carried them to flea markets but nobody needed them. No wonder, I didn’t think either they looked like Pottery Barn furniture. After two trips to the market, I decided take them apart again. I cut them down to different heights and cut circles out of wood. Then I used a router to cut a smooth edge around the circles. I had never used a router before which I thought was a little scary but it worked out somehow and I still have all my fingers. Then I glued and screwed them together, let them sit over night to dry (that’s a lie, I painted them right away, but I recommend to wait until the glue is set). Wiped off some of the paint to get a distressed look and voila I had multiple sets of 3 candle holders. At the next flea market, I sold one pair on the first day and in no time they were all gone. One set stayed in my house though. Upcycled, diy, shabby-chic candle holders with a story (and I still don’t know the full story about what they once were before I picked them up), good for...