Prospect Park Smorgasburg

The Smorgasburg located in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, reminded us of the good old Hazel Food Market in South Africa. The Hazel Food Market was literally around the corner from our house, and a favourite stop for us every Saturday!!

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Here in Edmonton the closest thing to these markets would be farmers markets. To tell you the least, although we do have farmers markets, they are a far cry from the from the fantastic food markets we had in South Africa, and this delightful market called Smorgasburg!

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Yum! 😀

There were SO much to choose from!!! Smorgasburg, you were a delight!! In the end I drank coconut juice (directly from the coconut!!)… Hubby ate the smoked beef brisket sandwich!! And for dessert we settled on some delectable sugar coated and roasted coconut doughnuts and lattes!! Hhhhmmm… I am realizing now that I might be into coconut!! – Just a teeny-tiny bit! 😀

We even got to meet up with a German friend who I met in England in 2005, and who now lives in New York – isn’t that just really awesome!?!

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The variety was crazy! I think we must’ve walked through the market four times before we ‘kind-of’ decided what we wanted!! So many delicious options!! …. If we lived near a food market like this, we’d once again have found our regular hangout spot for a weekend morning! For now though… I’ll have to look at these photos and dream about the many yummy options we missed out on!!

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Main Bathroom Update

Our Main Bathroom Update was done probably about 18 months ago (I know… WAY overdue post!!). We are SO busy updating our house (and doing life), that sometimes I just don’t get around to blogging about it… and then, when I do get time, I’m so overwhelmed by the HUGE amount of things that I want to share, that I end up not doing it!!

Not today!!! Although this post is 18 months overdue, I am going to show you how much we have changed in this little part of our house!! So without further ado, I give you our main bathroom update!!

Just for funzees… here is the ever popular before photo! Pictured here is the previous owner’s setup!! But this is basically what it looked like until we started changing it!!Main bathroom updateYes, I am cringing as I am looking at this!! It is crazy to think how much this room has changed! Just have a look at the highlights!! We started with the floor… remember how I have mentioned that everything was white? We had this white linoleum (vinyl?) flooring throughout our main floor! (As of now, the only part left of this floor is on the stairs!! – I know, it is a slow process!) We also painted the cabinet white!! (This was around the time that I was painting our kitchen cabinets, which I haven’t showed you yet, because yes, I am that behind, and I have THAT much to share!)Main bathroom update Main bathroom update Main bathroom update Main bathroom update Main bathroom update Main bathroom update Main bathroom updateAlready a great improvement!! 😀 The next part was that horrible tile, wood cabinet above the toilet, wood accessories and wood/mirror vanity!! It all had to go!!

Lucky for me, my husband has a hard time not bashing holes into our walls – which I won’t lie, sometimes speed up our renovating process somewhat!! On this particular day I came home to a hole where there once was tile!!

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Once I completed the drywall and removed all the other uglies from the walls, the next part of this project was paint. Colour scheme was simple – grey and white! My biggest decision was whether I was going to paint the ceiling… As I was going to paint the top half dark grey, I was worried that it might be too dark with a dark ceiling. But I buried the fear (because it is just paint after all…), and I went for it!!

When we moved in, the whole house was white – but all the rooms were shades of white… and all different shades of white… some had a green tinge, others a pink tinge, some – you get the idea… I prefer untinted white! White white!! You can see the difference in the photo below!

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The next step was the border and trim. I used a simple thin border for separating the white from the grey, and “filled in” the trim with peel-and-stick mosaic. I bought a couple of sheets which I cut into strips and just paste into place. We also bought a beautiful grey-on-white rose shower curtain from Ikea (oh how I love that place!) and mounted it onto a new shower curtain rod – the kind that bends outward and make the shower feel huge (similar to this one – although I can’t remember where we bought ours)!!

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As you can see from the photo above – the next step was to update the counter top! Although we would love to upgrade this to a pretty stone-type top, the money just is not there for this type of an upgrade! Our ‘Plan B’ is to finish this with Ardex feather finish product, to give it a concrete look – this however takes a couple of days worth of dedication, which we did not have time for a the time (and have not found the time for this in the meantime…)

Instead, for our main bathroom update, we opted for ‘Plan C’ – spray paint! Yes, it seems unconventional, but for a fraction of the cost, we could temporarily update our countertop!! So we did it!! We used Rustoleum Forged Hammered  in Antique Pewter in silver. Afterwards I sealed it with a Minwax Polycrylic water-based sealer (which is pretty much my go-to sealer for just about anything, because: water based, and no discoloration).

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Although it is not perfect, and not what we prefer, it turned out great. And as it has been 18 months since this upgrade, I can give you some feedback on how it is holding up! It doesn’t look quite as good as above. But we have been using this bathroom a LOT…. leaving soaps, razors toiletry bags etc. on it for long periods of time!! It definitely shows signs of wear… but really, I never expected it to last as long!! It is due for either a “re-spray” or a brand-spanking new countertop!! I vote for the latter…. however, for now, we’ll just leave it as it is!! (Too many other projects on the go!)

We (semi) finished the look of the main bathroom update with some new hardware and a few pretty touches to the wall!! Overall, I am still SUPER happy with my pretty bathroom!! We do have a couple of updates in mind for it though (read countertop, low flush toilet, tub with tile surround etc). For now though, it is a huge improvement (and I’m going to try to get a pretty mirror up there before too long to!)!! And we’re still pretty chuffed with this project!! Just for good measure, I’ll post the before shot again before I share the final look!! 🙂

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You likey?? Because I do!! 😀

I’ll be there for you!!!

… (When the rain starts to pour)
I’ll be there for you
(Like I’ve been there before)
I’ll be there for you
(‘Cause you’re there for me too)…

…Friends !!!

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Yes, we are THOSE people… We talk in friends quotes, and we’re highly offended when you don’t ‘get’ it!! Its simple, in order to be friends… talk friends!! Hahahaha!! Anyway, this was a cool moment for us!! 🙂 friends building nyc friends building nyc

Grand Central Station – NYC

Grand Central Station is undoubtedly one of the busiest and most beautiful stations in the world. Of course a visit to New York City won’t be complete without a stop at Grand Central. The activity in this place is SUPER CRAZY!!! You really just want to stand in the corner and admire the fact that everyone in the station is in a rush to reach their end destination.grand central station - NYC grand central station - NYC

We walked around for a while admiring the roof, the architecture of the building and savouring the fact that we were indeed standing in the iconic Grand Central Station. We found a spot that allowed for a moment of standing still and grabbing a couple of shots. I also found this great article about the clocks at this station – which is always wrong!!! But for a good reason!! The clock pictured below is estimated to be worth more that $10 million USD – this is likely because of the four faces of the clock is made of opal.grand central station - NYC grand central station - NYC

Can you spot me in the photo above?? I just love this photo!!grand central station - NYC grand central station - NYC grand central station - NYC

DIY World Map Stain Art

I want to show you guys what I am working on at the moment – a world map stain art piece!! I did this on a 4’x 8′ sheet of plywood with Minwax English Chestnut stain. Since the study is mostly my hubby’s domain, this is what he had in mind for one of our walls! The plan with this guy is to mount it in our recently organised and updated study.

We are (constantly) in the process of working on parts (multiple parts usually) of updating/upgrading or doing some reno’s… I will be so happy once we are at a stage where it becomes fun and games, but as of yet, there are still a few crucial/necessary projects to complete!! For this project I followed a similar procedure as the one I used to create our Kudu Stain piece!

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The first part of the project was to get a world map projected onto the plywood in order to trace it. As you can see above I followed an extremely simple setup – I printed a world map onto a letter size paper and traced the outlines with a sharpie marker onto a transparency sheet. Once this was complete I used my cellphone flashlight to project the image onto plywood. Easy-peasy…. and start tracing! (Take note that this is way easier in a very dark area!)

The next day, (I took advantage of hubby being away on a hunting trip), I started the painful task of staining the outlines! This took around 5-6 hours (thankfully I had a whole season of Grey’s Anatomy to keep me company!)… Beware, you might want to look at alternative positions – I lay mine on the floor and shifted around in multiple sitting positions… My knees, hips and elbows were NOT happy!!

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In progress…. One of my current diy projects on the go…. Watch this space!!! 🌎🌍🌏

A photo posted by Xandré Verkes (@xan3ver) on

The next morning I started the next couple of hours ‘colouring in’ the map with the stain. I used a brush and sponge!! Again, if you have cranky  joints, you might want to explore alternate setups!! Once again, a couple hours later and almost through a season of Grey’s I was done with the stain part of the project!

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The only thing left now is to seal this piece and mount it in our study!! Super excited to see it in its final position!! Hoping to do all of that this weekend!!

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I’ll try and share the end result with you as soon as possible!!