Saturday, November 21, 2015

IKEA Cheras is open!

Groggy. Eyes barely opened, I made my way to IKEA Cheras last Thursday at 7am for its special opening ceremony. Now, I don't usually do well in the mornings. Tap my pulse and you probably won't find any sign of life until I down a cup of coffee ... but that morning I was glad I beat the sunrise to Cheras. There's nothing quite like the buzz and excitement of a new IKEA store opening.

For one, being early meant no traffic. It was a smooth ride all the way to Cheras and the car park had ample spaces for the invited guests. (Two hours later, it was a completely different story). We were treated to 7 years of ABBA music and a very Swedish breakfast. In case you think we were served a box of tacks, "Tack" means "thank you" in Swedish.

A Swedish breakfast

In the box were chicken meatballs with beetroot sauce, hard boiled eggs, pancakes, scrambled eggs, grilled tomato and fried potatoes with onions. Way too much for so early a morning. I couldn't finish the box of goodies.

Swedish breakfast

But we were more fascinated by this tube of fish roe spread. It's kinda like salted fish mashed with mayo. Sounds gross but it's super yummy on KNÄCKEBRÖD.

Fish roe paste

After we had our tummies warmed, we were ushered downstairs for the opening ceremony. Read more here.

Monday, November 9, 2015

My RASKOG makeover and giveaway

Two weeks ago, I was invited to IKEA Cheras for a pre-launch blogger event. I shared what IKEA hacking is all about and demonstrated an easy makeover of the RÅSKOG cart.

IKEA Cheras_9

After my short presentation, I let everyone loose on the RÅSKOG. The creativity in the room was wonderful. The bloggers were really giving the cart their own spin with the materials given. We used tissue paper and ribbons from the FRAMSTÄLLA range and SPRUTT Decoration Stickers.

IKEA Cheras_10

See how amazing we look in orange.

IKEA Cheras_11

Me at work. Game face on.

IKEA Cheras_12

I'm into the whole B&W thing at the moment, so I used the FRAMSTÄLLA tissue paper to wrap round the RÅSKOG cart trays. A decoupage medium would have offered better results but in the time that I had, I used craft glue to stick it on. FRAMSTÄLLA gift ribbons as trim finished the look.

The best part is ... you can win this little cart that I madeover. Here's how:

  1. Repost a photo of my madeover cart on your Instagram and caption why you want to win it.
  2. Tag me @IKEAHackersOfficial and hashtag #IKEACheras & #IKEABuilt4Me before 14 Nov.
  3. I'll select a winner and IKEA Malaysia will send the cart over to the lucky one.
Note: This giveaway is for Malaysian residents living in the Klang Valley. 

IKEA Cheras_13

IKEA Cheras_14

IKEA Cheras_15

Update: The giveaway has ended. The winner is @poison_ivy_916. Congrats!  

Saturday, October 24, 2015

1 RAST, 14 Ways to Dress it

In fashion mags, they will take a piece of clothing ... a simple dress or shirt and show you 6 ways to dress it. Well, the RAST chest of drawers is kinda like that. Squat, square, and solid pine (which is a good thing). On its own, it's plain, almost dowdy, nothing to write home about. But when it is dressed up, my-oh-my, does it shine! Add some bling, shod it in pointy shoes and it becomes cheekily fun, even glamorous. Don't believe me? Look at these 14 ways to dRASTically (sorry, couldn't resist that) makeover the RAST.

IKEA RAST chest of drawers

Give it some alchemy

Dresser hacked into library card cabinet

See Shirley weave her magic on the RAST, turning it into a nostalgic library card catalog card cabinet. Read more.

Dress it shabby chic

Shabby Chic IKEA dresser

Laura dresses it down with a distressed paint technique to up its cute quotient. Read more.

See the other 12 ways to skin the RAST.

Friday, October 9, 2015

IKEA Cheras on track to open end Nov 2015

A Roof Capping Event?

I immediately had thoughts of giant cranes lifting the roof to the top of the building, which would be quite a feat to witness. Alas, my imagination proved too wild for IKEA Cheras. A Roof Capping event is a Swedish tradition to celebrate the end of construction and thank neighbours who helped out in the building process. In this case, IKEA Cheras invited the press and a little blogger to the event on Sept 28.

This event took place at the site of IKEA Malaysia's second store, at Jalan Cochrane. We sat at the makeshift "event space" in the markethall, with our neon jackets and hard hats, which we were told were safety measures as the building was still under construction.

IKEA Cheras roof capping event
We gathered at the makeshift event space in the markethall
IKEA Cheras roof capping event 2015
After event refreshments

I tried to take a peek beyond the markethall but was barred from it. But from what I can tell, the store is going to be huge. Much bigger than IKEA Damansara. To be honest, I felt a bit envious of Cheras folks and the spanking new yellow and blue mothership landing in their neighbourhood.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

12 unusual ways to use the RIBBA picture ledge all round the house

At the last IKEA sale, the RIBBA picture ledge was marked down and I grabbed two of them, without knowing what I would do with them. So I did a search on it and lo and behold, found so many interested uses for it. Some that even I had forgotten.

Photo: IKEA.com

The advantage of the picture ledge is its width. It's so slim it can practically fit anywhere, as you will see from these awesome hacks and unusual ideas. All pretty easy to DIY too.

In the entryway

LEGO RIBBA key holder

When you don't have a spacious landing, a RIBBA picture Ledge can work wonders. Use it to catch your mail and keys. Go one step further with a customized LEGO key holder. See complete tutorial.

Click to read the rest of the post.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Back to College? Study these 6 IKEA styleboards

IKEA Back to college styleboards

When I saw these styleboards on IKEA.com, my thoughts zipped back to my campus days. College was awesome in many ways, but the decor was definitely not one of them. Lots of beech veneer and beige walls. Utilitarian. Rent was dirt cheap though, its only saving grace. I stayed in the dorm for a year before I moved to a rental off campus.

Here, take a peek at a similar dorm room from my alma mater.

Universiti Sains Malaysia Desasiswa Saujana

Watch the video if you are in for a bit of decorating horror.



IKEA did not exist when I was in college. But even if it did, I wonder whether I would have styled up my dorm room extensively. I was a frugal student before frugality was in and absolutely clueless about DIYing and decorating.

But now, should a Freaky Friday thing happen between me and a college kid, you can be sure that I will exorcise the beige-bland-demon out of that dorm room. I love the Worldly Wanderer but my younger-self would have gone for the Word Nerd or maybe the Fashion Addict. Oh, so hard to decide.

What about you? Click here to see all 6 boards. If you are going back to college, which is your favourite style board? Tell me in the comments section below.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

DIY IKEA NYTTJA bulletin board (Free stencil template)

DIY IKEA NYTTJA bulletin board | Jules @ IKEA Hackers

This DIY project simmered on my backburner for a while now. My church wanted a bulletin board and I volunteered to make a pair. So, like eons ago, I bought the NYTTJA frames and then left them to languish in my spare room.

Finally, 2 Saturdays ago, I was convicted of my tardiness and rolled up my sleeves.

But it wasn't entirely my fault (cough... ) you have no idea how hard it is to get a large sheet of corkboard in Malaysia. It's ridiculous. Shops don't seem to sell them in large sheets or not already framed as a noticeboard. One of the shops I enquired at said if I wanted large sheets, I needed to order like a 100ft of it. What?! If you know where to source them, please let me know.

I ended up at Daiso (the famous RM5 shop) and I bought A3 sized corkboards and joined two of them into one. It's not ideal as there's an ugly joining in the middle but it works.

Materials:
Corkboard
Nippon Paint Pylox spray paint - white
Elmer's Multipurpose Spray Adhesive 
Araldite Epoxy Glue
Cellophane tape

Tools:
Utility knife
Ruler

How to:
First, I drew my stencil template. I printed it on 2 sheets of A4 paper and cut out the crosses. I joined the two A4 sheets with sticky tape into one larger stencil. You can download the template here.


Then I marked where my stencil should go on the corkboard.
I lightly coated the back of the stencil with Adhesive Spray. (If you oversprayed, let the adhesive dry out slightly but not too much. I aired it too much and the stencil did not adhere firmly to the corkboard, making edges of the crosses a little blurred.)
Then I glued the stencil onto the corkboard, aligned with my markings.
Cover the rest of the corkboard with newspaper and sticky tape them down.

See ugly joining! :(

Using a sweeping motion, I sprayed the stencil cut outs until I reached the depth of colour I wanted. And woohoo, the stencilled corkboard is done!


Then using Adhesive Spray I fixed the corkboard onto the front of the plastic glazing. (Remember to remove the protective film first, on both sides!)

As I wanted a transparent border around the corkboard, I had removed the cardboard backing of the NYTTJA, which has the hanging hooks embedded. How to hang the frames then?

I salvaged the hooks from the NYTTJA backing and glued them with Epoxy Glue to the back of the plastic glazing of the NYTTJA.


All you need to do now is slot the plastic glazing (now with stencilled corkboard glued onto it) back onto the frame and secure it with the little metal clips.

Here's how it looks:

DIY IKEA NYTTJA bulletin board | Jules @ IKEA Hackers

DIY IKEA NYTTJA bulletin board | Jules @ IKEA Hackers

For the second board, I decided to use my all time favourite pattern - stripes. It is also much easier. I simply marked the width of the stripes I wanted on the corkboard. Covered the stripes with masking tape and spray painted the exposed areas.

Lastly, I felt blue no longer fit in with the decor of my church. So I went back to the spray board and the blue NYTTJA frame is now a chalkboard black. 

And that's it! Two bulletin boards in one afternoon.

DIY IKEA NYTTJA bulletin board | Jules @ IKEA Hackers

The stencils gives you something to look at, even when there are no notices.

DIY IKEA NYTTJA bulletin board | Jules @ IKEA Hackers

DIY IKEA NYTTJA bulletin board | Jules @ IKEA Hackers

DIY IKEA NYTTJA bulletin board | Jules @ IKEA Hackers

Checked this off my to-do list, at last. :)

Saturday, August 1, 2015

3 ways to enjoy Avocado Mousse

In my quest to reduce gluten intake and satisfy my occasional cravings for cake, I've taken to baking. I am still awful at it. The latest disaster being a "too bitter, too dense" version of the Healthy Chef, Teresa Cutter's Naked Chocolate Cake. The issue isn't her recipe, just my "creativity" and throwing in too many "ideas" of my own. (Hey, why do you think I hack IKEA?) I've had great success with her Banana + Coconut Bread though, which is delicious to the power of 3.

However, as in most things, there is a silver lining. The Avocado Mousse, made to top the cake. It made my ruined cake almost edible. Trust me. It's the bomb! I wondered how I lived so long without tasting this Avocado Mousse Supremo.

This is my first time but I promise you this, it won't be the last. A quick google later, I found the Avocado Mousse touted as a healthy alternative to icing, a gluten-free fan favourite. I also discovered that most people just ate it as well, mousse. That can't be! I made up my mind that this yummy thing should have more application than one. For the next few days, I raked my baking-noob brains for other ways to savour every last dollop of the fluffy, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth goodness.

So I humbly present to you my experiments on the Avocado Mousse.

A modified recipe of Teresa Cutter's Avocado Mousse (Serves 10) Thanks, Teresa!

Teresa suggests a high-speed blender. I don't have one, so I used my regular Philips blender. First I poured in the liquid Stevia, then I added the avocados, vanilla and melted chocolate.

Blend for about 30 seconds until smooth and creamy. You will need to scrape the mousse off the sides of the blender to mix well. Add a splash of water or coconut milk to achieve the consistency you want. Taste and adjust sweetness as needed. Spoon into a bowl and allow to set in the fridge.

Now that you've got the mousse, it's time for some fun!

1. Icing on a cake

This needs no explanation. Make a better version of the cake than I did and slather the mousse all over it. Dig in.


2. Avocado Mousse Coated Banana Popsicles

This was inspired by the cute Tokyo Banana I saw on my trip to Japan. But instead of a banana-shaped-sponge-cake, I thought the mousse may go well with the real deal. At first I wanted to coat a whole banana on a stick but it kept slipping off the skewer. Dang! If you manage to, let me know.

In a bowl, mix the Avocado Mousse with bite-sized banana cuts.


Then, it gets a little messy. When bananas are coated, poke them through skewer sticks. On hindsight, one bite-sized banana on a toothpick may be more fun to serve and eat.


Place the coated banana skewers on a tray and leave them in the freezer for 2 hours. Don't leave them for too long as they will be become impossible to bite into, unless you have jaws (and teeth) of steel.


After 2 hours, they are ready. Cold and crunchy. Sweet and chocolatey. A summer treat.

They should be eaten promptly. If left out in the heat for too long, you get soggy avocado-bananas, which won't fly.



3. Avocado Mousse Coffee Cream

Of the 3, this is my fav! The bitter coffee blends beautifully with the sweet mousse. The creamy coconut seals the deal. It's also beautiful to behold.

First, brew your coffee. Keep it black. Let it cool. (Hot coffee will melt the coconut cream a little and you'll get coconut swirls like the photo below. Impatience, I am looking at you!)


In a shot glass (or small jars, if you wish to keep them for later), gently layer in the ingredients. Using a teaspoon, scoop in a dollop of mousse. Keep adding until the base is covered.

Then slowly pour in coconut cream. Stop when it reaches the midway mark of the shot glass.

Lastly pour in the coffee. Leave it to set in the refrigerator.


Yums...

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

16 things I like about the new IKEA Catalog 2016


The arrival of the new IKEA catalog is always an event, on IKEA Hackers at least. So when the online version went up, I browsed and bookmarked my favourites, way past bed time. This issue is especially fun with "moving" pictures - steam wafting up, water trickling down ... woohoo! There are still loads of little details to pore over - videos to play and extra bonuses to unlock - so this is my first impression of the IKEA Catalog 2016 and the stuff that caught my eye.

The 2016 catalog is all about food and and celebrates how food – and all the activity around it – brings people together. (Last year was the bedroom and bathroom.) In line with the food & cooking theme, the catalog opens with gorgeous spreads of kitchens. The one below with the gold stripped backsplash is definitely attention grabbing. The kitchens also showcase the versatility of the new SEKTION/ METOD system.


I'll start from the kitchen and dining sections and work my way through the catalog. Let's take a look. Here are my top 16 picks from the IKEA Catalog 2016.

#1 LISABO dining table  


Besides its curvy profile, the solid birch LISABO has an interesting back story. It all started with a funny looking dowel. A wedge dowel that completely changes how an IKEA table is assembled. It promises to cut down assembly time by up to 80%. That alone is worth celebrating!   

#2 MÖCKELBY table


The MÖCKELBY has traditional country good looks. Made from solid oak and it is pretty hefty looking. I think it will last forever. Sits 6 comfortably. 

#3 SINNERLIG range


The SINNERLIG range was one of the items I saw during my trip to Sweden and I totally fell in love with it. The use of cork as the base for this range is genius. Unlike some cheapo corkboard material, the SINNERLIG cork has a warm, natural feel. I can't wait for it to arrive in Fall.     

#4 RIMFORSA range


In the RIMFORSA, IKEA introduces another star material - the bamboo. (We will be seeing a lot more of bamboo, that's for sure). It combines beautifully with glass and steel. Hang up the RIMFORSA rail & accessories to free up your kitchen worktop for clutter free cooking. The RIMFORSA tablet stand may also mean the end to hacks like this.

#5 RISATORP cart


I met the RISATORP in person during my last trip to IKEA and was immediately taken by how attractive it is. It's a pretty cart to have around the kitchen for cooking essentials you want to keep close by. The baskets are also detachable. A friend also commented that it may be good for serving a super sized traditional English afternoon tea. 

#6 OLOFSTORP storage unit


I can see the OLOFSTORP working for small kitchens. As a breakfast bar, additional prep area or even a compact kitchen island. I can also foresee lots of people adding wheels to it and carting it around.

#7 New IKEA 365+


The IKEA 365+ range finally gets an update. It's not too fancy and very practical for daily use. I like it especially because of the use of cork as accents.

#8 JÄTTEVIKTIG candle holder


I like this purely for its curves and how it can be used for tealights or candles. 

#9 SÖTCITRON self-watering plant pot


The food theme extends to growing edibles. For inept (and forgetful) gardeners like me, a self-watering pot is a god-send. Fingers crossed, my herbs will not die on me now. 

#10 BITTERGURKA


The name BITTERGURKA is just too cute and seems to be a close cousin of the bittergourd. (Or a very angry Gurkha). That aside, the hanging planters are plain clever! It comes with a hook that lets you hang the pot from a rod. Simply add more pots for a vertical garden. The touch of bamboo makes it so pretty.

#11 JOXTORP 


Moving away from the kitchen, after all, there is more to a home, let's take a look at other sections of the catalog. In the lighting department, I like the JOXTORP paper shades. It's origami-like and at $7, you can swap one out every month or two.

Besides that I am very happy to see that IKEA is all-in with LED lighting. More energy saving and bulbs that last longer. Yay!

#12 SVIRVEL work lamp


I find the SVIRVEL lamp irresistibly cute. It looks like a guy holding his oversized head or plugging his ears (depending on how you want to see it).   

#13 TSUJIG hanger


The branch like TSUJIG hanger is one of IKEA's better looking clothes hangers. You can build up rows of different heights for visual interest. I am not sure yet until I see this in person, but I think it has lots of hacking potential.

#14 NORDLI for the landing space


The NORDLI is not new but I like how it is used here to create a colourful and open landing space. If it is well-organized, a landing space becomes a display in itself.

#15 RÅGRUND bathroom range


The RÅGRUND bathroom range is made entirely from lacquered bamboo, a material that boasts the ability to withstand high humidity. It looks akin to the MOLGER but with more "texture"? I'd need to see it in person to confirm that. But that too tall towel chair over there, I definitely want one!

#16 YDDINGEN cabinets


And lastly, these streamlined tall bathroom cabinets will make any bathroom look neat and structured. I think they will hold loads of stuff and will make great lockers and landing space storage too. 

And that's my rundown of favourites. What about you? What's your favourite piece in the new IKEA Catalog 2016? Tell me in the comments section.  

Besides the products, there are lots of inspiring room sets to oooh and aaah over. Like this one.  


And this.


Another thing I noticed is that IKEA seems to have muted the colours -- going for cool whites, softer greys and blacks. You'd find fewer fire-engine red, green or cyan. Canary yellow is still in but only as an accent colour and where it does appear, it really does pop.  

Hop over here to view the IKEA Catalog 2016 (US version).

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All images courtesy of IKEA.com