Friday, May 15, 2020 value in the home...May 2020

I may as well be up front. This post is mostly about my chandelier restorations and gratuitous blinging.
And a bit about cooking.
I've always loved chandeliers. When I was a child, my mother worked in the kitchens and function rooms of the five star hotels in our city. We as kids, would sometimes accompany her when she could not find a babysitter. We were good kids, and would sit quietly filling the salt and pepper shakers and sugar bowls for the chef.
Always, always, there were chandeliers. I adored them. And ever since, I've wanted them in my home.
It's been a long, long, loooong wait, and has taken viewing of many chandeliers, to decide my preferences.
But to my immense pride, I saved enough money to buy these French Empire Basket chandeliers, and pair of wall sconces, from a flea market in Nice, earlier this year. I had to walk past many other beautiful treasures to fund these, and that alone, just about broke my heart. But I am so thrilled with them! I had priced these over the last decade or so, and they range from $1,200- $3,000 each.
I bought these two chandeliers, and the two wall sconces behind, for 500 Euros for the lot, and about 250 Euros to post them home. 750 Euros at that time, would have been the equivalent of about $1,400 AUD. BUT, to buy these locally or online, would have cost me around 3 to 4 times that price, so I'm very pleased indeed.
Alas one of the wall sconces was broken upon arrival, and clever husband had to find a way to fix it. Mission accomplished though, and none the worse for the wear. Many crystals were also broken, and we had to source new ones locally. If you look closely above, you can see some of the octagon chains, dangling loose from their moorings.
Meanwhile, Husband was totally converted to the whole Chandelier idea by this time, and as I've mentioned a few weeks ago, we found this one below, as a total tangled mess, in a thrift store. It had two wall sconces hung on it, as the store staff thought they were part of the main chandelier.
We paid $90 for the chandelier and the two sconces.
Husband patiently untangled, repainted and reattached the crystals and we ended up with this....
But I wasn't done. Oh no, no, no.
Since we had to buy replacements for the French chandeliers, I decided we needed further bling on this one.
16 chains and maple leaf drops later... looks like this....
...happy me. are all the crystals...sigh...pretty.
And that gold spiky thing? That's one of the wall sconces we scored for well...let's say $15 each. Bereft of crystals.
And here it is now...
...not in it's final spot. It still needs replacement of the little mirror behind it too.
Next project will be to replace the acrylic drops and octagon chains on our $110 bargains from Bunnings Warehouse, seen below, with the real crystals. To buy these already with true crystals would be around $1,000.
All up, our crystal spend has been around $500 for ALL the crystals we needed.
Total spend on chandeliers and wall sconces has been $1,510.
Let's say that's a total of $2,000 over a six month period.
Total value purchased new, or online from antique dealers, around $8,000. And that's a conservative estimate.
I'm pretty chuffed with that!
Meanwhile, it's not all about crystals.
I made broccoli soup in the slow cooker. The potato gives it substance.
Why buy individual custards, when you can make them...

...and turn them out into little ramekins, pour over maple syrup, and call them Cheats Crème Caramels...

Mothers Day brownie gifts were made. This one had a base of Lindt chocolate. To buy these in an upmarket deli, would cost around $4 each. I made 24 the same size for around $8. That's a value of $96.00 for a spend of $8.00.

I packaged them like this....

..although in the past, I've also done this...

Here's that recipe:
Microwave chocolate brownie
Place 125 gms chopped butter, and 200 gms chopped dark chocolate in a large microwave proof bowl.
Microwave on medium power for 3 minutes until not quite entirely melted. Stir until smooth.

Add 1 1/4 cups soft brown sugar, 3 eggs, and 3/4 cup plain flour to the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth.

Pour the mixture into a 650ml-750 ml square microwave safe container and cover with cling wrap.

Place the container on a microwave proof rack or upended plate in the center of the microwave.
Cook on medium (500w/50%) for 6-8 minutes.

Cool in the container.

To serve dust with icing sugar.

Daughter made beetroot gnocchi. We all joked that these look more like miniature meat patties, but the were delicious nonetheless. Three serves of gourmet gnocchi at a restaurant? Around $60. Ours cost around $6.
Feta, lemon, chilli and basil pasta for lunches. Around $2 per serve to make. Around $16 per serve to buy.
Jam drops. So easy to make. Ridiculously expensive to buy.
I made 4 dozen.
Apparently that's about $52 worth.
My value in the home this month?
A very lot.
As my younger sister used to say.
About $6,500.
Happy me.
How is 2020 shaping up for you?


  1. Chandeliers are not my thing at all. Having said that I can see the beauty in yours and can only imagine how much more gorgeous these will be with their added bling.
    I have been fermenting and preserving here. Currently there is a big pot of steak sauce simmering away on the stove. The house smells amazing. The ingredients came in at $8. A bottle of gourmet steak sauce is $15. I will get 8 bottles or more from this batch.
    I made Mum a dozen Unicorn cupcakes with purple icing for Mothers Day and an embroidered mug rug. I saw on a Handmade Australia site a similar mug rug selling for $15. Mine was made from scraps. The cost was minimal. I saw some themed muffins in a store for $4 each. My cupcakes were smaller but nicer. That is already a very lot of saving.
    Must go and give the sauce a stir.

    1. Jane I saw your Unicorn cupcakes. What a triumph! Mug rugs are something I've been researching lately as well. You seem to have the method down pat. The bling here warms my heart after so many years of waiting. I'm enjoying it! Mimi xxx

  2. Hi Mimi, I love your childhood story about the chandeliers. I've always love them also. You got a good buy and I'm happy for you. I don't have any, but maybe one day will find a treasure.
    Your food all looks delicious.
    Stay safe and well.
    Thelma xo

    1. Hi Thelma, thankyou! Isn't it funny how childhood experiences influence well into our adult lives? I hope you find a treasure soon. Mimi xxx

  3. I'm all about making it at home. Dh thinks I need a break from time to time and want to eat out. Not so easy now. Today I made blueberry muffins for breakfast. Chocolate chip cookies for desserts this week. All of our weekday meals will be homemade with leftovers for lunches. We don't really eat breakfast. (fruit or yougurt and coffee mostly). As I was straightening the pantry this weekend and observing the fridge and freezers, I was reminded again, we do not need to eat out for quite a while. We have plenty of food right here! We are blessed.

    1. I agree Kay. The thing is, most times we eat out, we are disappointed food-wise. I think we now try to find somewhere with a great view or fun atmosphere, so that the 'food' is not the focus. We have been blessed during this strange time too. We live in such an area of plenty. Mimi xxx


I love hearing from you! I always respond to comments, so don't be shy! Mimi xxx