Saturday, August 15, 2015

Back to College? Study these 6 IKEA styleboards

IKEA Back to college styleboards

When I saw these styleboards on, 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.

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

Utility knife

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.


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