Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Watercolour Wednesday - Interiors

Today in my Wednesday watercolours course we looked at painting interiors. Right up my alley. Just a different way of painting furniture!

I thought I was improving but when I showed this painting to Phil, he said "Nice, but I can't tell what it is..."  (in case you can't either it's a bed with an upholstered bed head, next to a window, with blue and white striped sheets and lots of pillows)

and another bedroom below. 
I love the moodiness that painting with a limited palette of French Ultramarine blue, raw sienna and burnt sienna gives.

And of course I had to share some of Jan's brilliance. I love this chair of hers. It makes me want to snuggle up with a good book and a coffee. 

 Here is one of our inspiration paintings. 

I've had a great week furniture sales wise. My French table and chairs sold to the nicest couple on Saturday. They came on Sunday morning to pick it up and we ended up spending about 2 hours with them drinking coffee and talking about life!  So thanks Keith and Nerin, I hope you have many a happy time sitting down together at your new table. 

I also sold the lovely carved white night stands, the white chest of drawers and i have three buyers coming to look at the desk this week. I also sold 6 of the 11 un-upholstered French Louis chairs that I was going to do up. I was quite happy to let them go as to upholster all 11 chairs by myself is one huge job.  So the house is much nicer without all that furniture jammed in.  

And today is the last day of summer, and guess what... it's raining just like it has pretty much all summer long....

have a lovely week

Sharing at:
The Shabby Nest

Monday, February 27, 2012

French Farm House anyone?

Want to go to France and stay in an amazing French farmhouse?

I've got just the place for you....

Years ago when we were living London (before kids) I worked at an amazing entrepreneurial company. It was a tight knit team doing incredible work with major companies. The company was one of the forerunners of the mCommerce industry and it was probably the most exciting role of my career.

Anyway fast forward 10 years and I'm now back in Sydney being a mummy, running my own business consultancy and painting furniture.  I'm still good friends with most of the team but we are now scattered around the world.  I recently caught up the with company's co-founder, Jon, and he's living in France looking after his family property, La Plissonnais

La Plissonnais is a stone-built 17th Century Norman farm and it has 3 houses on it available for rent at very reasonable prices.  I thought I'd share some of the photos.

 Jon's parents and dog

So if you are in Normandy and looking for a getaway please feel free to contact Jon via the website and let him know Fiona sent you! I'm sure he'll make you feel very welcome.

cheers Fiona

PS It's for sale also if you feel like a complete sea-change....

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ornately Carved White Nightstands

It's been a busy week and I've been sleeping so badly - several nights I've ended up on the couch so as not to keep my husband awake with my tossing and turning. Too much on my brain and I'm exhausted. Tonight I'm going to try Sarah from A Beach Cottage's trick of a 10pm soak in the bath.  I can't wait for a relaxing weekend. We are off to a friend's for a BBQ today, Phil's off to the rugby tonight with mates and I'm going to get the kiddos early to bed and relax. There's not much planned for tomorrow. Phew!

So my final furniture reveal this week are these sweet things - I've finished these lovely little bedside tables/night stands. I love their ornately carved and slender legs.

They are just so sweet and would look perfect in a shabby chic or a French Provincial bedroom.

The before photo doesn't really do it justice, That's not wood stain it's Mission Brown paint!

Have a lovely weekend everyone
be safe!

Sharing at

Friday, February 24, 2012

It's for Sale...

My friend who was wanting to buy the dining table and chairs that I finished yesterday brought her husband around this morning to look at it before she bought it.  He sat at the table and said "Oh, I wanted something perfect, high gloss and spray painted". 

Umm... not happening in my workshop baby....(and not for $650 either).  Perhaps he's wanting something like this which retail for around $5000 for that table alone.  It's what I originally wanted but couldn't justify the expense and then I fell in love with vintage furniture anyway.

I think my friend and her husband will have some interesting discussions today as they want very different things in their furniture.

So if you are in Sydney and you like beautiful hand-painted vintage furniture that the wood has stood the test of time, then you're in the right place.

French style butterfly extension table with 4 chairs.  $650

Call me if you are interested.

Butterfly extension mechanism that works very well and saves storing the extension leaf elsewhere.

Dimensions:  90cm  wide, 136cm (4.5 ft) unextended and 183cm (6 ft) extended.

The white is a pale limed white (not pure bright white)

4 chairs with damask upholstery

Thursday, February 23, 2012

French Butterfly Extension Dining Table

This is up there with my all time favourite projects I've done (the other being my sideboard).  I've just finished a beautiful French style dining table. It's got such a lovely butterfly extension mechanism. It's so smooth and clever (once an engineer, always an engineer). 

Photo overload but you'll have to excuse me  - I'm that excited by this transformation.
and extended for comparison
 Lovely cabriole legs and curved apron.
The table comes with 4 chairs that I've painted in a soft limed white and upholstered in a divine damask material. This material is very high end upholstery material that retails for $220 a metre. It will wear extremely well.
I've already had about 8 people ask to buy the chairs when I styled my white desk with one and listed it on eBay.
Beautiful carved details on the table and chairs.
  and extended it will seat 8 people easily.
A close up of the beautiful wood. I stripped the old varnish off completely, re-stained it and have top coated it will a Porters Paint sealer.  It is beautifully smooth now and much less shiny. 
The table may already be sold - one of my friends has been waiting with bated breath for me to finish this and she came this afternoon and loves it. While she was here another neighbour popped in and said if my friend didn't buy it she would or another lady in our street would. Very funny.

Here it is before. The wood was very shiny and lacquered. It was also quite reddish (which this photo doesn't show that well)  The chairs had pale yellow material which had little flowers on it. Much more chic now.

The photos of the finished dining table are all in a corner of our master bedroom.  The afternoon sunlight streams in so it is a bit difficult to get good photos (and I still can't find my Canon camera charger so still using my iPhone).  

I have been told by my husband not to buy any more tables as I really don't have any where suitable to do them up. I can't do them in the carport as dust would get on the sealer/varnish and our access to our lounge room is too difficult for tables so I actually painted, stained and top-coated this in our bedroom (there's a door into the carport from the bedroom as it would have been onto a verandah originally) and so we've been sleeping with this massive thing in our room all week.   

Just more proof I need a workshop, I say.

If anyone is interested in the table, please let me know as my friend may not end up buying it.


I'm so excited to be showing this off at these parties:
Elizabeth and CoHouse Party, Restore Interiors, It's overflowing
Scrappy Happy Thursdays
Show Me extraordinary
Adventures of a DIY Mom
French Country Cottage
MMS Furniture Friday
The Shabby nest
Meg and Mum's
DIY by Design
Between naps on the Porch
Boogie Board Cottage

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Watercolour Wednesday - Candelabra and Flowers

I'm loving the art class on Wednesdays. It's such a pleasant break from my everyday life. Don't get me wrong - it's not that I don't absolutely love my everyday life... But I usually am trying to pack so much into my time - dealing with my consultancy clients - business process improvement, company restructure, recruitment, resolving HR issues or painting/stripping/buying/selling furniture - and looking after my kids/home/marriage.  

So for three whole hours on a Wednesday I get to sit in one spot and just concentrate on the still life in front of me and create (or try to create) a lovely painting - and there's no pressure to make it saleable or something anybody else has to like.  I find it extremely relaxing.

a quick couple of flowers

A candelabra. Our study today was to paint this with no pencil drawing first. It's more difficult than it sounds.

and here below is our teacher's( Susie Murphie) very quick example of the candelabra -She honestly just whipped this up - She's an amazing artist. I love her work.

The lessons I took from today's class include:

Exaggerate the variations of tone

Leave lots of white space

Show confidence in your brush stokes

Because you all expressed such appreciation of Jan's lovely work last week -here's a lovely little floral study she whipped up at the end of the class. It's a card for her friend's birthday. Imagine receiving such a lovely thoughtful card - it would make my day.

around the class room are quotes from famous artists.  I love this one.

...and I thought I'd share a painting I did years ago. It's water droplets in a leaf.  An exercise in transparency and three dimensional shapes. I wonder if I could even do this now. I 'll have to try and replicate it.

The best part of today is Susie let me take home some of the flowers we'd been painting. 

These roses are about 10 days old but I actually prefer roses when they are fading and they still smell divine....  

and the colours....

 and here's an amazing bunch of orchids.  The mottled colours are so beautiful.

I hope you are all enjoying this new segment on my blog.


sharing at
The Shabby Nest

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

French Style Hessian Boxes

I've been busy painting and also working with my business consulting clients in the last couple of days. It's a juggle sometimes.  I've almost finished the beautiful walnut French extension table and chairs and am hoping to be able to share it in the next few days.

Two of my friends (a mum from school and my next door neighbour) have had little baby boys born last week.  Both boys were born around 35 weeks so they are very tiny but both are doing well.  I saw my friend from school's baby yesterday and he is perfect, just like a little doll. My 8 year old daughter is even more clucky than I am.  Once she realised I'm not about to have more kids, she's now full of excitement about having her own baby - let's hope it's in about 20 years time....

As little gifts I made these hessian boxes and filled them with clothes, nappies and goodies.

These boxes are great for storing items on a baby's change table but would also work well for storing items in the bathroom (loo paper, hand towels, lotions) or even holding items in the kitchen. They are plastic lined and fold flat for posting.  I will be selling them on my for sale page.  $AUD15 each.  there will be several designs available.

Dimensions are: 23cm L * 23cm W * 23cm H
Natural Fibre : Jute
Folds flat when not in use.

The photo above makes it look a little wonky but they are very square (or cubed).  I will take better photos later but I can't find the battery charger for my Canon so these are taken with my iPhone.  #ineedtotidyup

Fiona sharing at The Shabby Nest

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Shabby White Drawers

I'm slowly getting through my pile of furniture. It's been a working bee at our house with both painting furniture and fixing our pergola to mount Phil's new basketball hoop. Our pergola is extremely old and quite rotten so what should be a fairly simple job has meant replacing beams, repainting it and then we've realised the shade sails are almost completely perished. When we washed them they just disintegrated so we'll have to replace them also.  But Phil is determined that he will get the hoop up today (even though a cold/flu has hit him full force this afternoon and he's gone for a rest). Hopefully we'll finish it when the afternoon cools down.

I finished this sweet chest of drawers. It's a really well made Australian classic - the with manufacturer's markings to prove it.

The handles are bakelite but really didn't look good in their original orangey-brown colour once the chest was white, so I sanded them back, primed with Zinsser then painted and waxed.  

I really love the shape of them and the light distressing. 

beautiful curvy top

The chest of drawers is for sale. Please contact me if you are interested.
Below is a before photo. Lovely shape but pretty beaten up.

A close up of my lovely vintage trunk that we use as a coffee table and to store our lounge blankets.

and I had to share this photo I took yesterday.  I found these divine iron bell light pendants at Fleur Furniture in Gladesville yesterday afternoon. They are $375 each which is very reasonable as they are massive.