Thursday, September 30, 2010

DIY desk renovation

For the few of you (sad) who were puzzled about my last post. It's all good now, I took a chill pill and I feel great, in fact I have had a pretty darn nice couple of days since then. So as promised, my first DIY project.

Supplies for this project include: a desk, paint, knobs, glue and pretty paper.

We purchased this beauty from the Salvation Army in Tempe:

$50 bucks, and overpriced trust me (oh, and they were asking for $85). Perhaps they charged me for all those dead bugs I found inside and I'm not joking. The first step to renovation is cleaning the piece, this when I found spider webs and dead flies encrusted on the insides.

The next step to renovation is going to the hardware store and buying the supplies you will need. I needed new hardware (knobs) and paint. I went for white satin spray paint. I went for spray paint because I wanted to avoid having brush streaks all over my desk, I wanted it to look evenly painted, which it does, but I also learned that spray painting is wasteful and inefficient and dirty. Lots of those paint particles that don't end up on the piece will end up on yourself or on the surfaces around the spraying area. I think next time I will simply invest into a good brush/sponge and use the good ol' bucket of paint.

I had to do 3 coats of paint (about 2.5 cans, good news is spray paint dries fast!) to convert this desk from black to white. I chose white "satin" because it was the in-between medium between glossy and matte.

I let the desk dry for 24 hours before I did anything else to it, and I also sprayed the inside of the drawer with a single thin coat because I wanted a white surface for the next step.

Not too far from the hardware store, there is also an arts and crafts store. I found the most *beautiful* hand made Japanese paper there. The sad part is that it costs $24 per sheet :((( so Instead I went for a pretty floral pattern for $8 per sheet.

I measured my desk drawer and cut the paper to size. I also cut off the corners because sometimes you have to cut corners when the paper doesn't fit into them...

Apply regular white craft glue generously... not. I learned from this that when it comes to glue, less is more. If the paper gets soaked in glue then it will develop little wrinkles and even stains (happened to a different project). So just apply a little bit of glue and spread it around with a brush or bundle of paper.  Spread it all the way to the edges, and if more is needed then apply a little bit more. I worked with halves of my surface instead of all of it at once.

Let dry. Install hardware and voila!

I have pretty new desk and I really, really like how it turned out. I bought that little stool for it and I want to make a little cushion so it is more comfortable to sit. I have no plans on how I will do that yet.

Monday, September 27, 2010


I don't know if you know this about me, but stressing is one of the things I do best.

We finally moved into the new place last Saturday. It is beautiful, but also scary (oh, and also dirty). Everything is so uncomfortably unfamiliar and empty. I am not yet fulfilling my dream of finding cheap stuff.  We went to the Salvation Army store, their biggest store around here, in Tempe, and while we got an OK deal on the items we bought (comparatively to the price they were asking for) I still felt cheated a little bit. I have been to garage sales in the USA where chairs and lamps are $5 each. Here they are $20, $50 or even hundred's if you find something mildly resembling retro. Let it go people!!! It's junk!!! It's junk that I want, too, so please top selling it as if they were relics.

As I was saying, we bought a few items. These include a desk for moi, a little stool that will serve as a desk chair, a dinning table and funky drawer something, we decided to just call it "that funky thing".  We also have a bed, but that one we bought brand new, although it was pretty affordable. I also bought bedding and I will admit I went all out and bought fancy bedding. It makes me feel like royalty, plus the sleeping quarters are important aren't they? That's all for now. It's not enough. You know what else is not enough? Money! It looks like I will have to tap into the job market a lot sooner that I wanted to. M and I are starting from scratch, and I am starting to feel like it is not fair to him to carry all this weight alone. Right now I feel like I will be looking for employment before the end of the week.

So yeah, stress, stress, stress. Any tips on how to relax? Clear your mind? Preferably in a cheap/free and rewarding way?

I was working hard on my first renovation project today which is my desk. I snapped a few photos with my phone, but it is not finished yet so I will post about that next.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Our first week in Sydney

Sydney is still rocking my socks off.

We found a great place to live, actually M found it, and he has been complaining about me not giving him enough credit ever since I tweeted "I found an apartment". Next week we will be moving to a lovely little house in the heart of a trendy, hip, artsy neighborhood in Sydney. We will have 2 bedrooms (well, a bedroom and a office/guest room), a gas kitchen and gas water heater, one bathroom, living room and a backyard big enough for barbecuing and maybe a tiny patio table.

Ever since we found the perfect place I have been spending time scavenging for the perfect furniture. The truth is, I rather find crappy old stuff and try to renovate it myself, than to buy brand new everything. So I have been scavenging for places that sell this stuff and will try to write a blog post on my research later on.

The neighborhood itself is quite fabulous, there are SO many restaurants. Even if we ate out every night, it would take us a solid year to check out every restaurant. There are not one, but two yoga studios on our street (let's see where that gets us). The bus stop and train station are a 5 minutes walk, and the grocery store is about 6 minutes. Basically, it's perfect.

... Except for one thing: rental properties don't have appliances :( So we will need to either buy or rent our own fridge, washer, dryer and/or dishwasher (in order of importance).

Yesterday we went to a bike sale sponsored by the City of Sydney and benefiting Erskineville Public School. Volunteers took the time to fix and clean old donated bikes, and sold them for profit for the school. I bought myself an old road bike, a bit dirty but in good shape and with working gears. M has higher standards and he wishes people donated brand new bikes, so I think he is holding out for the perfect thing to come his way.

After the bike sale we headed back to the harbour (or harbor?) and went on a ride on the Thunder Jet. We received a gift certificate for this ride from our friends in Zurich. It was a LOT of fun, I would describe it as a roller coaster on water. Here is a photo of M before we sailed off:

M is coming down with a cold today, so we are staying put and enjoying a movie/internet marathon in the hotel. This week will be a lot mellower... I will need ideas to keep busy.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

No longer homeless!

We have found a place to live! And it is cute and beautiful and open and perfect and I can't wait to get my hands on it!!!

Oh thee beautiful white canvas...

We are staying in the hotel until Saturday the 25th, then moving into the new home. We have nothing but the clothes on our backs. First item on the list: a mattress.

On different news, I started tweeting:

Monday, September 13, 2010

A message from the future...

We made it!

This was officially one of the suckiest trips of my life. The trip started off with lots of hiccups and we were both in a bad mood the entire time. Not what I had in mind for the first day of my new life.

[I had written several paragraphs on this page about everything that happened. But I think it is best to leave it behind and rejoice on the fact that we are here, together]


We arrived in the evening of Saturday, and we went out for a walk and a beer around Sydney's Darling Harbour (our hotel is there). I never felt more like a country girl before. Naturally, it was Saturday night, and so people looked absolutely fabulous, while we were walking around in jeans and t-shirts. I was astonished by the amount of mini-tight dresses and platform high heels I saw in such tiny area. I admit that I felt a bit overwhelmed and nervous, and it was a feeling that totally sneaked up on me! I didn't see it coming...

Thankfully on Sunday we left the CBD, back to normalcy. We rented bikes and did a tour of the Inner West suburbs. All the houses have beautiful Victorian railings, the streets are quiet and the neighborhoods have parks! I was particularly fond of King Street in Newtown, which reminds me of Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco. People there were much more eclectic, relaxed, artsy and friendlier than the good looking folks at CBD. And yes, Australians *are* good looking. What really surprises me is how they eat. We stopped at a grill restaurant on Saturday night and all the dishes coming our were piles of meat (piles!!!) on top of piles of chips!

Everything already seems cheaper than in Zurich, and that makes me happy. The weather is sunny, though still a bit brisk, it is only the beginning of spring here. That makes me happy too. We're happy.

I will be looking for apartments all of this week.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

D-2 Day

I have been up since 5 am and I cannot sleep. I have a big knot in my stomach and I don't know if it's all that Vietnamese food I ate too much of, or if it's the thrill of moving.

The apartment is EMPTY. Weiiiird! And awesome, I am happy I never have to see that furniture again :)

6 am living room shot

Monday, September 6, 2010

D-4 Day

Welcome back! It's been a long time and I am happy you stuck around.

As I write these few words I am thinking to myself that I don't know what this blog is going to be about from now on. However a few people convinced me that given the current situation, I should try to revive it and I am going to do just that. 

For now it is just going to be about me. And my boyfriend (M). And my future cat. We're moving to Sydney, Australia!! Not Canada (well, at least M and I are, the cat should be waiting for us there). Right now we live in Zurich, Switzerland and to be honest moving to Sydney is not exactly a career move for either of us, but we always talked about doing it and even if it's not wise, at least it is possible.

The next few days consist of cleaning, packing and then some cleaning. I just wanted to re-open this blog by letting you know that I am very, very excited. Ecstatic, even. I cannot wait for Friday to come. And after Friday, comes a whole lot of figuring-things-out. Apartment, cat, furniture, career, though not necessarily in that order. Until then.

PS. I hope you like the new look, although this background is not going to be here much longer, I'm still waiting for something way cuter to come my way.