Monday, July 28, 2014

At home - vintage treasures

I decided to have a day without any painting on Friday. Shock horror I know. I had some tiny withdrawal symptoms but you'll be glad to know I coped okay :) I had a mountain of admin to do, my tax and quarterly BAS, applications to fill out for our home renovation, an online course to obtain my construction site white card and Owner Builder licence, house plans to finalise and also...very exciting for Lilyfield Life: a plan for my new venture of offering painted furniture workshops.  The day at home also gave me a chance to take some photos around the house.

One of the ladies, the beautiful smiling Judy, who came last week to the painting workshop commented that I have a lot of lovely things around my house and I suppose I do. I'm a big believer in slowly collecting treasures that are useful and meaningful. I don't shop often at chain stores, preferring to make things or buy second hand as how things come to me can often resonate more with me than what they are: my mum's handmade quilts, beautiful gifts from beautiful friends, artwork from people I admire, furniture I've spent my time and effort on I value more than things I just spend money on.

some of my mum's kitchenware that I inherited,

vintage bone handled knives sourced over the years from a million different markets.

a wire beer crate found in a dusty little shop on the far south coast

white painted vintage mirrors propped around the place bought on the cheap at estate sales, french chairs awaiting painting and reupholstering, and the galung (terracotta crown) that we bought in Bali and carefully brought home

Old furniture handed down that was my mum's and mine as a girl and now is my girl's

What special things do you have at home? 
Are you a collector of vintage also? 
I assume you probably are if you read here but I'd love to hear what is meaningful to you.

Fiona xx

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A beautiful marble top cupboard

I've been busy with the black paint again as I felt this lovely little cupboard needed a black base to showcase the beautiful marble top.

The marble is so lovely. It's very old and there are some small marks and one tiny chip out of it at the back but it's still totally gorgeous.

The original varnish on the cupboard was heat damaged and bubbled so I sanded a lot of it back to smooth it out but I didn't remove all the damage as it's made a lovely interesting effect under the black paint and it's part of the cupboard's story. I don't want my furniture looking all super new.

 The cupboard is for sale at Meshea Lifestyle in Leichhardt. Corner of Short St and Norton St.

A special thanks also to Bec from my painting class on Thursday for the stunning flowers. They are making me very happy. She is one clever florist. Just beautiful. 

Fiona xx

Friday, July 25, 2014

Lilyfield Life Furniture Painting Class

Yesterday I held my first group furniture painting and  it was a great success from all accounts. The women were lovely a few I've known for a while from my blog and painting some of their furniture so it was a pleasure to pass on some of my painting skill to them.

I really enjoyed the group class and over the next week I will be putting together a program of workshops.If you are interested in a furniture painting class with me, feel free to send me an email and I will keep you updated.

We really had a lovely day: good company, laughs, interesting conversations, lots of practical painting tips, a cake baked by my sweet daughter, a yummy lunch and a glass of bubbles and a painted piece of furniture for the ladies to take home. Sounds good doesn't it).

I thought you might like to see what everyone painted. (and their big smiles). 

Judy painted a vintage filing drawer in ASCP Graphite as well as a coat rack not pictured

Katie painted this low table in ASCP Aubusson and distressed it and antiqued it with dark wax. It's for her husband's man cave. I think he's going to be very happy. Katie's dad made this table years ago and so it was lovely for Katie to be able to give it a new lease on life.

Linda transformed her vintage bedside tables with ASCP French Linen and clear wax. She is going to paint the matching one at home so good luck with that, Linda. When she's finished both I'll get her to send me a final photo and share with you.

The lovely Bec painted a pine side table with ASCP Paris Grey. Because she has a little boy and a busy household we decided to not wax this piece but instead Bec will seal it with a Porter's sealer for added durability.

I am very much looking forward to making the paint classes a regular thing and I'd love to hear from you if you are interested.

I have to say the people who I have met through this blog over the years just make my heart sing. Such a great bunch of people reading here. Thank you for making my life all the richer.

cheers Fiona xx

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Table to Keep and Upcoming Pieces

People always ask me how do I sell so many of my pieces.  I am usually fine with selling them and there's only a few I want to keep (have to keep!). This little table is one that has wormed its way into my heart and I have decided to keep. One reason is the beautiful shape and another is I like the idea of sitting here and doing some reading or work.

I have to say "the idea" in reality I almost never sit down during the day. I usually just end up moving the table from this spot to photograph my painted furniture here. A girl can dream though and one day I'm going to sit down and read a magazine and sip a coffee here!

The table has heaps of imperfections, dings, gouges and a big old crack up the middle of it. I did fill the crack but it has split again and I have just come to accept that it's imperfectly perfect. It's very old and beautiful and if it's got a few wrinkles well that's just fine.

To paint this piece I layered several colours: taupes, white and grey and just dry brushed randomly. I probably could have kept going but I just got sick of having it unfinished and kind of liked how it was so I waxed it and decided to start using it. It's a good spot to hold my brushes. 

I love these wax brushes, they are pretty well worn but still work beautifully. I keep them tied after washing them to keep the bristles neat. 

I thought you might like to see a couple of pieces I'll be painting next week. I've found some wonderful pieces lately.  First up is this very pretty, old French dresser. I think it would make a great TV stand. It needs some work but I'm really happy to have this piece. I saw it last week but thought it was sold but apparently it wasn't and two friends called me this week to tell me it wasn't sold so I raced to snap it up.

I also have this huge sideboard to paint. When finished ,this will be in the front window of Meshea Lifestyle for sale. 

I am also picking up a nine drawer French dresser on Friday from a great guy I met last week who had a load of lovely bedroom furniture to sell. (Don't worry I'm not stepping out, I didn't meet him in his bedroom!!) I'm not sure if the feet are like the white one I painted below or the taupe one I painted second photo below. I will see when I go pick it up. Either way is good :). These drawers are always popular and lovely to paint. Fabulous storage in a pretty package.

In the meantime I have a painting class to teach, also a matching French tall boy and a pair of bedsides to finish painting white, a sideboard to paint pink as a custom order and a vanity dressing table to paint.  We are also submitting our house renovations plans to the certified today so I need to catch up with our builder to make sure it's all in budget! 

Best I get to it then
Have a great day
Fiona xx

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How to paint furniture black like a boss

I am delivering this sideboard tonight to the buyer and I'm really hoping she loves it as much as I do.

The sideboard was beautiful when I bought it but big and brown and very scratched on top. But oh the shape had me getting out my money as soon as I spied it. The bow front and those carvings are just beautiful. 

Big and Black is way more beautiful. I think she's pretty classy now. She's slipped on her little black dress and is ready to hit the town! Read below for my tips to achieving a perfect (or as close to perfect) finish when painting furniture black.

This possibly is one of my favourite pieces. The finish is very smooth and even which can be difficult in black when hand painting by brush.  I distressed the edges and details slightly as I love the rich timber showing through.  I left the original handles as it as I love them with the black. I removed them for painting as you get a much better finish not painting around the hardware.

How to paint furniture black

  1. Remove the hardware.
  2. Lightly sand your piece. The smoother the surface, the better you piece will look in the end. I used 400 grit sandpaper to sand this piece down before painting.
  3. Clean your piece well and let it dry.
  4. Avoid using a white primer as it will show through when you distress.
  5. Either choose a paint that has an inbuilt primer (paint/primer in one) or sand extremely well and just use black paint. 
  6. Choose a satin or a semi gloss acrylic paint that has a good flow.
  7. A matte black finish is beautiful but it will show lots of finger marks and wear and it is hard to keep looking nice. Black can be very difficult to get an even waxed finish if you want to go that path.
  8. A gloss black paint will show every imperfection so unless your piece and your painting is ABSOLUTELY perfect and blemish free then avoid high gloss.
  9. Don't paint in hot weather or high humidity as those conditions shorten the drying time and make the brush marks more obvious. 
  10. If you are getting obvious brush marks then use a drying extender such as Floetrol.
  11. Use a good quality synthetic angled brush.
  12. Paint your first coat, painting in the direction of the grain and not overworking your brush strokes.
  13. Wait for the paint to dry.
  14. Lightly sand with a fine sanding pad. Remove dust.
  15. Paint your second coat (and third after drying if required)
  16. Once fully dry lightly distress the edges to bring out the timber on the details. When distressing be careful as you don't want to scratch the painted finish, you only want to remove the paint on the edges. 
  17. Replace hardware.

Just to prove that I'm not all work and play, some sunset shots from playing in the park yesterday evening with the kids and the dog.

I'm looking forward to my competition painting class tomorrow with the winners. I look forward to sharing their efforts with you.


Monday, July 21, 2014

What I've been working on

I thought you might like to see some of the projects I've been working on lately. It's been a few busy weeks!

My neighbour is renovating her house and she gave me a little pine vanity cabinet which I painted in ASCP Paris grey and used a Porter's Liming wax to soften the grey. Inside I painted it a white enamel. I also added a little porcelain Paris knob. This piece is for sale at Meshea Lifestyle at Leichhardt.

I have painted this chair for a client with ASCP and am just waiting on the gimp braid before I finish it and share it with you. You wait till you see the final reveal; you won't believe the difference!

I am turning this fabulous piece into a coat rack. It's a custom mix colour that is a pale stone. I can't wait to finish this piece hopefully later today. It's very OTT but lovely.

This beautiful sideboard is going black with distressing. You can see I've tested the edges to make sure I liked the paint and colour. (I do!)

The french style bedsides and a matching tall boy (not pictured as the drawers need repairing first) are being painted a semi gloss white (the buyers request). I bought them from a guy who was selling a whole bedroom set in Rockdale. Such an interesting guy, he had built his house himself many years ago and the main staircase was hand carved and just a work of art. I will also be picking up another long 9 drawer dresser this week from him. The bedsides and tall boy have already been sold to Dee, who bought the white dresser pictured below. She's very happy to have a whole matching bedroom suite.

Last week I spent a huge amount of time painting this hutch. I will eventually share photographs of it all assembled back at the owners' house. It's been painted a Paris Grey. 

So. Much. Work.

I also painted this sweet little chest of drawers white and distressed them. These are for sale at Meshea Lifestyle also.

I'm almost finished this bow front chest of drawers. The colour is a stone putty/stone colour. These drawers are very beautiful and solid. They will be for sale soon. I really love these.

and I repainted this silver bedside again. I will write a blog post soon about this one. It has caused me quite a bit of trouble. Hopefully it's all fixed now.

So you can see there is lots going on here. I was chatting to the builder who is going to renovate our house soon and I said "you can see how much I need a studio". His reply was "Fiona, you don't need a studio, you need a factory!"

I'd best get stuck back into it. Thanks for reading and taking an interest in my work.

Have a good week
Fiona xx