Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Home Made Chalk Paint Recipe

We are still unable to buy Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Australia. I've been desperate to try it but not desperate enough to pay the huge shipping costs. I even started discussions with Annie herself on becoming an importer/distributor but have decided against that path.

So what does a die-hard DIYer do but make some myself!

I found several recipes online for gesso and chalk paint. Here are some links if you are interested in going down that path yourself:

Gesso - Earth Pigments

However in the end, I used a simpler recipe which was just mixing normal acrylic paint with powdered calcium carbonate. This is similar to what Sherry at No Minimalist Here uses.  I like how it turned out but as I've never seen ASCP or something painted in her chalk paint I have nothing to compare my homemade paint to. So I can't tell "if it worked out".

If you read this, and you have used ASCP yourself can you please let me know if the paint is smooth to touch before you put the wax on?  On Annie's website it talks about the paint feeling velvety and my chair does feel this but only after I'd waxed it.  COMMENTS MUCH APPRECIATED!

I think perhaps I'll have to order some sample pots from the UK to compare. .....Or I could just be happy with my version and not compare at all.

To make the chalk paint, I used a 500ml sample pot of flat latex (acrylic) paint and mixed it with 3 heaped tablespoons of calcium carbonate. I bought the calcium carbonate in the form of AG LIME (agricultural lime). I use the Ag Lime for my chickens so it was handy.  I think next time I will try a finer powder as there are little bumps in my paint that look fine on the chair but may not suit a chest of drawers or flatter surface.  I then mixed the paint with an electrical mixer (actually I used my bamix...).  I used a lovely mix of clear and dark wax over the paint.  I'm very happy with the result.  (* EDITED to say I now use Plaster of Paris instead of Ag lime)

I still have to finish upholstering the chair. I'm going to use double piping which I haven't tried before.  I haven't had time to drag out my sewing machine lately. And I want to stencil a French image on to the seat and just today ordered the stencil from the States. But this blog post is about the paint so I thought I'd share the unfinished chair with you now.

Ignore those staples and ragged edge below as they will be covered by the piping.

The stencil I ordered is this one from Maison Stencils. I think it will look charming on this chair:

The chair before was nice but very stained and dirty and I really didn't like the mottled wicker.  The wood on the flowers at the top was actually quite damaged even though it doesn't show up in the photos.

I hope this encourages you to try your own homemade chalk paint.  My chair has been painted for a month now and is wearing well. The paint has adhered extremely well and I didn't sand the chair but I did prime it.

I'll post the finished chair when the stencil arrives and it's all complete.


PS =- See here foe the finished chair - I ended up not doing the stencil.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Puppies and Profiteroles

A bit of a mixed post today but I wanted to share this video of these divine little puppies I saw today at the pet shop. I took my cavoodle, Charlie, in for a trim. We're heading into summer now and Charlie was suffering from the heat (although he looks a bit like a rat now he'll be much cooler and more comfortable).  These Spoodle puppies were so cute and so demanding of attention!  How divine is the little mewing noise they make.

I'd love to bring one home but with a dog, a guinea pig and four chickens we have enough pets already!

and I also thought I'd share some more photos of my dining room. We had very good friends from San Francisco come and stay for the weekend and on Saturday night we hosted a dinner party with friends of theirs as well. It was so wonderful catching up. (although after 3 big nights in a row I'm exhausted now!)
still loving my sideboard and mirror!
me with dessert - homemade profiteroles with chocolate sauce. No one was counting calories that night!
and all clean again the next morning once all the champagne and red wine bottles and food debris had been removed! 
Hope you all had a fun weekend! cheers Fiona

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Girls Bedrooms - French Style

How divine are these bedrooms for girls! I have been browsing the Internet for inspiration to paint my daughter's furniture.  I got a bit sidelined by some of these beautiful French style rooms... so I had to share with you.

So many of the rooms are pink which is probably her least favourite colour but I do like this one below!


I'm taking my little poppet to the orthodontist now. $5500 worth of damage from thumbsucking to fix...


Friday, November 18, 2011

Lounge Room Reveal

It's finally a sunny day in Sydney and I can take some decent photos of my lounge room with its painted white floors. This room is now so bright and clean looking, it would have been a shame to take photos of it for the reveal on an overcast day.

This is possibly the cheapest most profitable make over ever. Our insurance paid us $4300 for repairing the damage to this room in the storm back in July and I've managed to only spend $250 on the room to get it to this livable state. I love being able to repair things myself and to not have to pay tradesmen through the nose to do the work for me.

The lounge room is long and relatively narrow with the back door in the centre of the room so we functionally use the room as two areas. One end to watch tv and the other side as a sitting room. When we renovate this will be one of the parts of the house I will change as I want a squarer room that doesn't have the centre of it as a walkway to the back door. I'm not 100% sure how I'll achieve that but we've got some thinking time while we save money for the renovation....

I still need to sort some art for the walls and to drill some holes in the cabinet to hide the cables. The TiVo box us usually sits in the cabinet recess but now the tv is in the centre of the cabinet the cords don't reach so I need to sort that out also.

I've been growing my finger nails and had them all nice and long but managed to break 5 of them while doing these floors. I'm not sure I'm cut out for a glamorous life.

We've got a great weekend lined up. Our good friends are getting married tomorrow afternoon which will be lovely. Our kids are going for a sleep over at their aunts' house so we'll even get a sleep in Sunday morning. And I've also got a wonderful girlfriend of mine in town Sunday from Brisbane and we're catching up in the city.

Here's to fun weekends with long time friends!

Hope you all have a good weekend also.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Divine Ornate Mirror

I am so excited. I have been on the lookout for an ornate mirror that was either white or paintable for about 2 years.  You can easily buy ornate silver and gold mirrors for around $500-700 but I didn't want to spend that sort of money and then have to paint the mirror white. 

Last week I found this beauty at an auction.  I stood next to it and pointed out the damaged edge to everyone who showed the slightest interest in it and so in the end, I was the only one bidding and snagged it for $60.  It is made from timber and plaster and is in wonderful condition. The damage is minimal, there is a little bit on plaster missing from one of the scrolls. I bought some plaster of paris to fix it but ended up not worrying about it.  Once it was painted white you couldn't notice it at all.
Below is the before photo. 

I quite liked the cream and brown on the mouldings but would never have been able to live with the rest of the brown. So I whipped out the undercoat and white paint and here it is now.

Notice the bevelled edge on the mirror. I think this is lovely especially with all the curvy shape.

I am undecided of where the mirror will hang. Most probably over the French sideboard in the dining room (photo below). Or if it's too much "scroll" there and competing with the sideboard then it will hang in the hallway where the ornate blackboard is currently (see photo above).

Actually before I had a chance to hit "Publish Post", Phil has come home and hung the mirror for me above the sideboard. It's sitting a little high (using old screws in the wall) but I think it looks good.

What do you think? 

Will this room ever be finished?? You can see I still haven't painted my table and chairs. I am still undecided about what to do with the dining setting but that can wait for another post....(and those 2 french chairs still aren't uphostered...).

Have a good night!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


A couple of times a week the kids and I do "Crafternoon" after school. We all love it. Today we read "The Snail and The Whale" and then the kids painted their own interpretation of a scene from the book. The rule is they aren't allowed to try and copy the exact picture. This way no one gets upset when the picture doesn't turn out exactly the same.

While they painted, I made bread dough which we later kneaded and rolled into knot rolls for the kids lunches tomorrow.

These afternoons are the reason I don't let the kids watch tv during the week.

I'm having trouble with my computer and can't log into blogger so am posting this from my iPad so I apologise for the lack of formatting.

I'll be revealing the rest of my lounge room tomorrow. Just the skirtings to paint then it's done (good enough anyway).

Cheers Fiona

Monday, November 14, 2011

Painted White Floors

The concrete floor under our ruined carpet is terrible. It is so pitted and rough. Sandy from Paint Me White and I have been laughing that it looks like road base.  Sandy has lovely smooth concrete floors that she has painted white (after she pulled up her bright blue carpet). Her floors (along with her divine furniture and house) have been featured in magazines ... mine on the other hand will do us until we have renovated but certainly won't be attracting any attention from magazine stylists and editors.
Here's what I started with:

and then after two coats of Berger's Jet Dry Satin White paint and 4 hours of reinstalling the built in cabinets (on legs and not a plinth, so I have access to any water that may leak in)

here is the room now.  The tv still needs to be moved back into place but it's too heavy for me to lift so it can wait for Phil to get home.
and Phil likes lying on the floor so he's requested a rug. (yes it's looking pretty bare at the moment...)

Our lounge room is actually 9 metres by 3.5 metres so this is only half of the room. I'll start painting the other side tomorrow. I couldn't do the whole room at once as I needed somewhere to stack all the furniture and cabinetry.

It's been a huge job and not one we chose to do but I quite like the rough floor, a bit like a Greek house. and so cool, especially today which has been ridiculously hot.

I still have lots of little things to do to fix this room: repair the benchtop to the cabinet where there is a split in the top, finish removing all the carpet wood tack things on the other half of the room, sort out the step into the room which is currently carpeted, paint the skirtings white (instead of the off white it currently is).

At least we can live this this till we renovate down the track.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Mould and Redback Spiders

Now there's an interesting title for a blog post.

I finally got the insurance claim sorted for our lounge room where the wall leaked during heavy storms back in July. Water has actually been seeping in for a long time and the carpet under the built in cabinetry has gone very moldy.

Yesterday I emptied the cabinets and started the huge task of fixing this room up. I am feeling a little stressed for three reasons:

Firstly, how do I own so much crap??? I know ....I sew, paint, craft, play board games, read etc. And these cabinets are our main storage area....BUT when look at the piles of STUFF I really wish I was someone whose hobbies were going to the movies and watching TV.....

Secondly, under the cabinets we found a huge amount of mould and a family of red back spiders (very poisonous, for my international readers). They were right next to my daughter's bedroom....I was glad to kill them. No concerns about bad feng shui here. We've now hauled out the carpets and will air the room over the weekend.
and thirdly, i don't actually know how to fix the leaky area. So how to decide what to do going forward....

This room is a badly done extension, probably built around 40 years ago. Our plan is to eventually knock it down and rebuild this part of the house and at the same time build an upstairs with 2 bedrooms and a bathroom. The rest of our house is double brick and tile, and wooden joists with floor boards. But this room is on a badly laid concrete slab, has uninsulated fibro walls and a sloping tin roof....hmm.,. that sounds attractive! I can't wait to rip it down and rebuild. But the renovation is more money than we want to spend at the moment so I need to live with this room for at least two more years. I'm pretty sure part of the slab is under ground level and that's why the water is entering the house. I don't think there is an easy solution for this so I'm going to rip the skirt boards off behind the cabinets and paint it all with waterproofing membrane.

Tonight Phil and I will pull out the rest of the carpet and see if the concrete floor is paintable. I'd really like a white painted floor in this room as the carpet gets filthy with the foot traffic, kids and dog, and also if the wall leaks again it would be easy to clean up any water.  Fingers crossed the floor is smooth enough.

.....Or at least good enough to live with for the next 2-3 years.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Racing through Ikea Tempe

I had to go to Kogarah today for a meeting and left home a little earlier so I could stop at the new Ikea in Tempe to check it out.  It's only a quick 15 minute drive from Lilyfield so nice and convenient. I didn't really want much so gave myself 70 minutes to race through the store.  I wasn't sure that time frame was even possible, but I made it, with time to take some photos....and I only spent $40 so I think that might be a world record!

I loved this set of cupboards. Looks like a window. How creative.. 

Throughout the store there are loads of displays. Not just rooms and apartments but tablescapes. Loved this wedding one. 

Can you believe this kitchen below is Ikea?  The bricks are just wall paper but look so realistic. I felt like I had stepped into French country cottage. It made me want to whip on an apron and start cooking! (although I'd have to change those handles out for something more classic)

and a little butler's pantry off the end....I have died and gone to heaven....(Ikea understands their customers!)

This little cushion caught my eye. Only $19.  I've been looking everywhere for map fabric.  Cute but I resisted. (I had it in my trolley for about 1 km but then tossed it out before the checkout . A bit like how I pack for holidays. Pack everything I want then severly cull)

...and I really want one of these gorgeous chrome desk lamps. My sister bought a divine vintage one (for $450). These are much more reasonable for $98 (or something like that).

But this is all I came home with.  Some cute little glasses, Christmas gift bags, 4 tea towels,  4 sets of floor protectors for all those French chairs I'm restoring and some Christmas cookie cutters.  Total $40.90.

I also popped into Spotlight at Rockdale on my way home and found the striped material that Spotlight had told me was discontinued so I am very happy to get on to reupholstering that chair that's been sitting in my lounge room for 10 months!

I am not a huge fan of Ikea furniture- sure it has it's place but I'm into vintage (you may have picked that up by now).  But I love going to an Ikea store as it really inspires me to come home, tidy up and make the house all fresh and styled.  I think tomorrow I'll squeeze some vacuuming in, and call the insurer about the carpet.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Unfinished Projects...

A very unglamourous blog post - I am halfway through so many projects at the moment. Most of which are strewn around my lounge room floor. I really should be tidying up before Phil gets home rather than writing a blog post about my mess...

First up is a lovely French armchair. The twin of the one I did all the way back in  February.  I ran out of material and then the shop discontinued it so I'm stuck not knowing what to cover this chair in so it's sat in my lounge room deconstructed for almost a year.

and then is another french chair that I thought I'd use as practice for homemade chalk paint and also to decide if I really do want my dining chairs white.  I'm onto this chair. It's only a new project started this weekend.  I just need to sort out the material to cover it in. I'll probably use a dropsheet.  I'll be doing a post on my experiences with homemade chalk paint later this week. 
Here is my most embarrassing part of the lounge room.  Back in July our room flooded and the carpet under these built in cabinets went moldy. I'm still dealing with insurance to get the carpet replaced.  Fingers crossed it will happen later this week.

While we are still in the lounge room here is my pile of ironing....told you not to expect glamour today (and yes I do iron my tea towels and pillow slips).
... and then in the shed the list continues. 

What will possibly be a lovely parquetry french coffee table - if I can ever strip of the awful Chinese lacquer on it. I've used so much chemical stripper on this and it still has layers of gunk on it. I think I need an orbital sander... perhaps I''ll pop it on my Christmas list.

and behind the coffee table is a pile of cute chairs that I bought ages ago to restore not realising they were stuff with horsehair. Not sure how to approach these so have chucked them in the shed until I can give them the time they need. 
I also have a divine little cabinet to paint (easy job) and my daughter's wardrobe and chest of drawers.

What's your "to do" list?

I'm sharing this mess over at: