Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Universe Provides

Sometimes everything just goes your way.

Monday, I was walking to the auction house at the end of my street and I walked past an old man's house about 100m down the road from my place. He and his nephew had a skip and were throwing out a huge amount of stuff. They gave me some cute vintage wicker chairs and a little cabinet. I then happened to mention the chairs to a woman at the furniture auction and she offered me $60 for them... how crazy is that?? I gave her them for $50 so I can buy the old guy a bottle of wine to say thanks for his stuff. A quick turn around.

I got some great deals at the furniture auction, a little chest of drawers that I absolutely love but I am unsure of whether to paint or leave alone. Any ideas? I want to sell it so which would be worth more? I'm thinking to just strip and revarnish??? But then that creative streak just gets in the way....

...and this great mirror that I'm selling.

I then went to Bunnings and found my favourite paint (Dulux Limed White) in the mis-tint pile for only $3 a tin ...and a tin of walnut stain (which is the reason I went there in the first place) for only $20. Original price was over $40 but it's been discontinued. I felt so lucky.

And then yesterday I just happened to mention to a friend that my heels were hurting and she immediately knew what was the problem as she'd been googling the same problem for her son the night before. I've recently started running again and had been stretching my glutes and hamstrings but not my calves. Stretched them out last night and this morning NO PAIN.  Phew.

I'm not sure which comes first good things or gratitude, but I think having an attitude of gratitude allows you to count your blessings and recognise when good things come your way.

If you read this post, I'd love for you to leave a comment on what I should do with the drawers above.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pencil Holder Tutorial (or how to contain the mess!)

My kids really love drawing and as a result we have pencils, textas, watercolour pencils and assorted pens ALL OVER THE HOUSE!! 

To contain this my 7 year old daughter and I built a huge pencil holder for their desk.  This is a really cheap and easy item to build.

First go into your shed and find suitable offcuts of wood (I know most of you reading this will have a stash).  

I found a kickboard that wasn't used in our renovation - already painted the kitchen colour. The wood was 4 foot long so using the mitre drop saw I chopped it in half to make the final pencil holder 2 feet long.  (When using the any saws I have my daughter hold the phone with the emergency number memorised in case I chop off part of my body. Not such a probability with the mitre saw but this is a very good thing to do when using the rip saw or circular saw).

Then using another piece of wood I made the dividers and ends. The ends I made the same height as the kickboard but the dividers I made slightly shorter (No special reason, just thought it would look good.)

Sand the edges of the wood and prime/paint the sides you'll see.

Line up the dividers on the front piece and using wood glue, stick them into place. As this isn't holding any weight I didnt think it needed screws. It's held up so far!

Once you have worked out where you want the dividers and have glued them onto the front and back, stack some weight on and let dry.  Wipe off the excess glue before it dries.

Cut some plywood the size of the base and once again glue into place.  Put on those little felt surface protectors to save your desk. (What are they called??) Cover the ugly plywood join with ribbon (love my hot glue gun!).

Fill with textas and let the kids loose. I love seeing their creativity flow.

Pictures drawn by my boy who turned 5 last week. Love them!


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Damask dressing table

I bought a little oak dressing table from the local antiques auctions that are held fortnightly at the end of my street. Lucky it was close as it didn't fit in my in car so I wheeled it home on a trolley!  It had good bones but was in definite need of some TLC.

I removed some water stains  from the top with Oxalic acid, sanded and stained and varnished the top, painted the rest a light french grey making sure you could still see the beautiful oak grain through the paint.  I then mixed a slightly darker grey for the damask design (thanks to the Graphics Fairy) although I hand drew the damask flourish so it's not exactly the same. I've very lightly distressed it. I replaced the cheap silver handles with some gorgeous crystal ones.

Selling this although it does look very nice in my bedroom at the moment!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Harmony Day (yesterday) and my gorgeous kids

The gods are smiling on me. My kids are fed, bathed and homework all done (by 7pm). They are now playing divinely in their room. I can just hear them discussing what Harmony Day was all about and how to be kind to people. Can I bottle this for when they are next hating each other?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Watercolour paintings of London

In lieu of any furniture reveals, I thought I'd share some paintings I did while I lived in London back in 2001/02. Nothing spectacular (I'm definitely no artist) but they bring back some wonderful memories.

The Chapel at Lincoln's Inn Field

inside the Priory Church of Saint Bartholomew the Great, London  

garden next to Southwark Cathedral, London

window detail at Barristers Chambers, Lincoln's Inn, London

flowers details, Kew Gardens, London

and a very quick one from the sunken garden at Kensington Palace

Regardless of your skill level; drawing or painting while travelling is a wonderful way to really absorb the detail of your surroundings and to ensure vivid memories.  Do you paint or draw?

Fiona xx

Thursday, March 17, 2011

From Sidewalk Trash to Industrial Chic

Dinnertime fun!

I'm not sure if this is really my style but as I found the table on the footpath I thought I'd do something fun and a bit out there!

A ultra red chalkboard centred table. I thought it would look good in a house which is decorated industrial chic.

The red is Sassy Red by British Paints and I used some White Knight chalk board paint I had in my shed. For the red I bought a 500ml sample pot which is a very economical way of buying paint especially when it's a colour you may not use a lot of. I then topcoated it with Miniwax Wipe on Poly - what great stuff!

Now it's ready for sale.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fleur de Lis Sideboard Reveal

I've been working on this beauty of a vintage sideboard for a while and I am so please with how it finally turned out. The height isn't quite right for where it could go in our house so I'm selling it but I'll be sad to part with it.

Remember how it was mahogany before?

I stripped the top and sanded (and sanded and sanded) back to the most beautiful wood that I then gave a couple of coats of walnut satin and varnish.  The rest of the sideboard I lightly sanded and primed then painted Dulux's Limed White Quarter strength - getting a lot of use out of this colour!  I removed the panel on the doors and hand painted a fleur de lis on both and then on the doors I used green masking tape to create a lattice pattern and painted with Limed White full strength. I then lightly distressed everything.

I replaced the drawer handles as the originals had one broken and were a bit overpowering once the sideboard was painted.

I think if I was keeping it I wouldn't use the backing mirror but to give the buyer that option I painted it also.

Inside the top drawer is a cutlery insert. All so lovely as well as functional.

So what do you think?


Sunday, March 13, 2011

One man's trash... this woman's treasure!

Our suburb had a council cleanup day today  - where the council rubbish trucks come and get everyone's junk that they've hauled out this weekend to the footpath.

I found this beauty in a massive pile of junk across the road from our house.

Such beautiful legs.  I started work on it immediately and I've already stripped and sanded it and primed the base. I'll finish it tomorrow hopefully.

All for free and saved from landfill. Feeling very happy.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Yosemite photos with snow

Last year we had an amazing holiday in the US, travelling around in a RV. We had an fabulous time travelling mainly around national parks (and Disneyland) and we met so many nice Americans. I thought I'd share some of my favourite photos from the trip. Today the ones from Yosemite which was my favourite place we went to. I've wanted to go for years and we were so lucky as there was a late fall of snow which made everything magical.

Our itinerary was:
  • flew into LA and overnighted only - I've spent months in LA years ago so didn't need to stay there this time.
  • Grand Canyon
  • Arches National Park (via Monument Valley, Blanding and Moab)
  • Bryce Canyon
  • Zion National Park
  • Las Vegas
  • Highway 1 - Cambria/San Simeon, Big Sur, Carmel
  • Yosemite National park
  • San Francisco
  • Santa Barbara
  • Disneyland
A lot of driving in between but we did some amazing hiking and had a great time.  Living in the RV for the month was fabulous. We rented the Apollo Sunrise Escape which was very spacious and comfortable - and powerful to drive.

I'll share some more photos over the next few weeks.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Ikea DOMSJÖ Sink

After posting about my kitchen renovations here, a lot of people have commented on my ceramic farmhouse sink and asked for details.

It is the DOMSJÖ sink from IKEA.  The product code is 901.043.19.  It costs AUD$430 plus $10 each for the ATLANT strainers/plugs. It is not listed on the IKEA Australian or USA websites but it is available in the actual stores.  You will need to go into the actual IKEA stores to buy it.

and in situ at my place below:

I did find it on the Canadian IKEA website for $399.

Let me warn you though the sink is somewhat difficult to install.  But worth it for the look and functionality in the end so persevere with it. The sink runs the entire depth of the sink cabinet (in front of the window) and actually protrudes out in front, so instead of cutting a hole in the counter as you would for a traditional sink, you need to cut two separate counters for either side of the sink.  You can use the IKEA 36" AKURUM base cabinet but my cabinet maker made one himself for it. If you use the IKEA cabinet you simply don't install the top support braces and instead install two metal support braces which come with the DOMSJO sink. 

The hardest part about installing this sink is making sure the cabinets and benchtop sit nicely with no gaps around it.  On the front edge of the benchtops next to the sink, you will need to cut a little notch, 18mm (left to right) (or 4/5" )  x 38mm (front to back). So it looks like a square has been cut out of the front edge of the bench. 

I hope this all helps.  

Do you have an IKEA Domsjo sink? leave a comment with your thoughts!


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sweet French Harlequin Desk

I'm loving reviving furniture. My very patient husband is coping with the loads of furniture around the house -as well as paint cans, sanding paper, brushes etc. When I say coping it's only just...

Here is my latest project. I bought this lovely desk at the antique auctions which are conveniently located at the end of my street! Can you believe it? It's where I'll be on Monday mornings from now on (with my take away coffee and book as the auction goes for 2 hours).

I sanded back it back and primed it before painting it firstly with a coat of Limed white and then with limed white quarter strength. this gives it a lovely aged look as the darker coat shows through just a tiny bit. I then painted the harlequin pattern - same as on the coffee table I did on the weekend.  I then top coated it all with poly acrylic. I also had to replace the little bits of wood that stops the drawers going back too far.

I'm not much of an interior designer but I've done a couple of vignettes below. Not sure I rate with Miss Mustard Seed and her latest display on her Union Jack Dresser but it's a start.

and before below.