Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas for 2012

We have spent the last few days doing last minute shopping, wrapping present, planning menus and having beautiful times with friends and family.  It's not been too manic though - our kids need plenty of down time after a busy year of school.

The local farmers markets were very busy on Saturday morning with a lot of stalls selling out of fresh food by 10am.  We love having this great market so close to us. It's at Orange Grove Public School every Saturday from 8am-1pm if you are in the area. Fresh food, organic and conventionally grown produce, crafts, clothes etc.

We have spent some time making a few little Christmas presents. While I was at a funeral on Friday (my step-mother's mother, what a year) up the coast, my daughter decided she wanted to sew some ornaments and found some pictures on the internet. I helped her a little bit with my sewing machine but they were mostly her creations. She has very neat hand sewing!  I am very impressed. I often find myself underestimating my kids - thinking I need to control stuff or do it for them. It's just amazing when you let the reins go, what they can come up with themselves.

She used twigs from the garden for stems. She's made them to hand on the door as gifts for our neighbours and her aunts. So lovely.

It's been a good and bad year for me. Losing my mum has been so difficult. For a while there I thought I was coping quite well but grief has a funny way of sneaking up on you repeatedly. I have really been sad and lost these last few weeks. I have no self discipline, not my normal levels of  get up and go, have gained weight (when i was meant to be losing it) and just cry so easily. I think a break over Christmas and New year with my family is just what is needed.  I'll be back blogging in January.

Thank you for stopping by and reading this blog in 2012, for your comments, your support and friendship.  I occasionally think of stopping blogging but it's you - this friendly community - that keeps me here so thank you and I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and all the best for a wonderful 2013.

Fiona xx

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sydney Christmas Lights

Oh Sydney, you do know how to put on a show!  

The Christmas lights of St Mary's Cathedral are sure worth the trip into the city after dark.  Tonight we zipped in to the CBD, found a great car park on the street and were surprised by the lack of people shopping in the city (does everybody shop online??), we walked around the David Jones windows to see the puppetry and then crossed Hyde Park to St Mary's Cathedral where there was a choir singing carols and then a spectacular light show.

The wreaths represent "unity" from nations across the globe. 

The Madonna Series is also beautiful

 If you live in Sydney you must go for a look, it's very beautiful - the sequence of lights last for 8 minutes and it's breathtaking. 

Wishing you a Merry and Happy Christmas from Sydney! 

Fiona xx

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

White Vintage TV Cabinet

white painted tv cabinet sydney Lilyfield life furniture shabby chic

I bought this cabinet just before I went away - I wasn't going to buy anything before I went but how could I walk away from these gorgeous doors?

  I think the main reason that this piece had no one else buying it is that there was an area of bad damage on the top. Someone had obviously left a pot plant for ages on the wood and it was badly cracked in a large circle. If this wasn't the case I probably would have refinished the top and left it wood but it needed a huge amount of wood filler and then painting to fix it. I tried a new wood filler product and was so happy with it that I'm passing on the details.

the damage once I'd filled it with wood putty
I usually use wood putty for filling and find that it can be difficult to sand perfectly smooth and also that there is wastage as the jar of it usually dries out before you finish it. When I saw the powder form Agnew's Water Putty Multi Purpose Filler (500g for around $6) that you just mix the amount you want with water as you require, I thought I'd give it a try and it worked beautifully. I can honestly say that this gave me the best repair job I have ever done.  Once the cabinet was painted you could not even see where there was damage. I'll definitely be buying it again.

white painted tv cabinet sydney Lilyfield life furniture shabby chic

This cabinet is such a gorgeous piece and a perfect size to use as a TV cabinet.  Once I'd repaired the water damage, I primed it and painted it with my home made white chalk paint and then gave it a good sanding with my orbital sander. I love how the distressing brings out the ornate details. I then waxed it with Miss Mustard Seed's finishing wax and buffed and buffed and buffed so it is super shiny. (a great bicep workout! oh I really need to hit the gym again...)

white painted tv cabinet sydney Lilyfield life furniture shabby chic
white painted tv cabinet sydney Lilyfield life furniture shabby chic

Gorgeous original brass lion head pulls.

white painted tv cabinet sydney Lilyfield life furniture shabby chic

As you can imagine this piece was snapped up and is already in its new home as a TV cabinet.

white painted tv cabinet sydney Lilyfield life furniture shabby chic

I am feeling very relaxed about this Christmas.  I'm not sure if it's false and I've deluded myself to feeling in control. I did a little shopping while in America and then a little more over the last few days. I'm going to do some baking for teacher presents today and I'm giving several cows and pigs to family members so I can just order them online. Such a good present for that person who has everything!  (or kids who have too much already!)

What do you have to do still? are you feeling on top of it all or running around like a headless chook?

Fiona xx

Monday, December 17, 2012

Wall Drawing and a Tablecloth Winner

We had a wonderful weekend mainly centred around our street party on Saturday night. So many of our street neighbours gathered in front of our house and our friends' next door. We put on a BBQ and everyone brought a plate of something delicious so there was a lot of food, drink and neighbourly cheer.  There were hoards of kids playing on the footpath with scooters, handballs and colouring in.  One thing I really love about living in Sydney's inner west is the community spirit which I think is a direct result of our small landsize and smallish houses and that most houses don't have garages so we all park on the street in front of our houses and see each other unloading the groceries etc. The kids play with each other on the footpath and we all spend a lot of time at local parks as no one has a huge backyard.

thank goodness for Pinterest for inspiration.
We put up a lot of fairy lights around our house and I thought our front wall looked a little bare so I got out my chalk pen and drew this on it. I'm hoping it comes off ok and I don't have to repaint the wall in the New Year! 

My daughter did the reindeer on the pot plant. It's very cute.

I posted this on facebook earlier, the winner of the French Stripe tablecloth is:

Rachel de Hosson

After I posted this I realised I'd misspelt Rachel's last name and apologised and she wrote back immediately "WHO CARES!" I think she's very excited to be receiving this table cloth.  If you missed out and are disappointed, feel free to buy one from here. I've decided to sell them for less, so they are even more of a bargain.

I'll be back in the morning with a lovely vintage TV cabinet I painted.

Fiona xx

Thursday, December 13, 2012

And the winner of the MMS Milk Paint is...


Sandy, I am looking forward to seeing what you end up painting with it. 
One thing for sure is that it will be beautiful!  Have fun!
I'll email you re the colour choice and shipping address.

I was going to do a random number generator draw but people entered on facebook and my blog so that was out. Then I went to print out all the names to draw one out of a bowl but our printer has carked it which is really annoying so I wrote out all the names (over 85 of them) on little pieces of paper.  I couldn't even do the cute thing and have my kids draw it out as it was at 11pm last night and everyone but me was asleep, so I just shut my eyes and fished around the bowl - oh so professional! I need a new printer and quick smart...

Thank you to everyone who entered and shared the giveaway on social media.

I am heading off to a Christmas party lunch at Aqua with the company I did the contract for before my trip. It will be nice to catch up with people for a relaxed pace, especially as the project there was so frenetic.

I will definitely be enjoying this view. 
If it's a nice day I may even go for a quick swim before the lunch.

Have a lovely day
Fiona xx 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Little Christmas Bokeh

I've been playing around with my camera and my Christmas lights. I love the bokeh!

I get asked a lot about my camera and my photography (thanks everyone for your nice words). My camera is a Canon 350D. It's really old and an entry level Canon DSLR. I use Canon over Nikon mainly because when I was 24 I bought my first SLR camera which was a Canon (it was one of my first big purchases when I started working in the RAAF) and I am used to the way they work and I don't want to swap over my lens when I buy a new body.  This camera, I bought it when my daughter was a baby and she's 9 now, and every time I go into a camera shop they tell me "wow, this camera is obsolete!!" but I've thought it was fine as I have several good new lens and am generally happy with my photography, especially as most of my photography is of furniture and still life for my blog.  But when I was in America recently one morning when I was specifically going hiking to take photos of a particular beach that I have wanted to see for many years, I could not get my camera to take a single photo. Eventually after about half an hour of mucking around I got it working again but I'm taking that as a warning sign and am going to use some of my mother's inheritance towards a new camera. (The rest will go towards our renovations and I'll just think that the craft room/studio/my workspace is a gift from her which is just perfect as she was very creative and always encourage us kids to have creative productive hobbies).

I'm making myself wait to go camera shopping until the post Christmas sales but I'm getting quite excited! hmm...I think I need a camera bag also - can't decide between the highly functional Crumpler bags or the beautiful 3Annie bags.  Any thoughts?

Fiona xx

A French Striped Tablecloth Giveaway

Good afternoon!

I have wanted a French style striped tablecloth for ages. I already own a lovely red and taupe striped tablecloth but I really wanted one with dark blue grey stripes. I have looked everywhere and not found one that I want. 

So what's a craft lovin' DIY girl to do but make one herself.

And what's an entrepreneurial craft lovin' DIY girl to do but decide to offer them for sale.

Reminiscent of a vintage grain sack, this 100% cotton fabric is quite lovely. The white is a slight off white and the stripes are a dark blue/grey.  It's not a super heavy weight but it has a lovely stiffness and weight that makes it iron easily and drape nicely.

And what's a entrepreneurial craft lovin' DIY girl who has a blog to do but decide to give away one as well.

After all it's Christmas time and I'm feeling generous!

Don't you just love these gorgeous clay tags from Marley & Lockyer that I've used as little serviette rings. If you don't already know Ness and her beautiful blog you really must check it out. She is incredibly artistic and talented and is such a lovely person as well.  You can order these tags and many other beautiful clay and linen items on her blog.

The white roses and rosemary sprigs are from our garden.  they both smell beautiful. I like the pops of green against the blue and white table setting. If you want to buy one of these gorgeous table cloths go here.  I have yet to work out shipping costs but will be adding those details in the next few days.

If you love all things French, linens, home decor, and blue striped and also for free ...then here's what you need to do:

Give away

One 100% cotton striped tablecloth as pictured above
(size 150cm by 250cm to fit a 6-8 seater table or smaller by request)

Follow my blog 
- via Google Friend Connect or Email (over on my sidebar)

for an additional entry -  LIKE my Facebook Page
Share the love: Additional entries can be gained by sharing this give away on your facebook, twitter or blog.
Please leave a comment for each action/entry. If you already follow then leave me a comment letting me know.  
This giveaway is limited to Australia only. 
The winner will be announced on Monday morning, 17th of December.
There is still time to enter my Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint give away also. Thanks so everyone who has already entered it and shared it on facebook/twitter/blog.
So what do you think of the table cloths? A good addition to my blog and furniture?
Fiona xx

Friday, December 7, 2012

Decorating at Christmas time

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

I've been having fun making our house festive.
I've had these vintage scales for a few months now. They were my dad's and he asked me if I wanted them. They are just lovely and with a few red and silver baubles in them, they are the centrepiece of my Christmas decorations.
The beautiful wooden Christmas sign was a gift from Michele at Knot Too Shabby in LA. It was a very lovely gesture by her and will be a sweet reminder of the inspirational morning I spent with her.

We have a very simple wreath on our front door - vintage ticking bow and little baubles that contrast beautifully with our blue door.  I would love a fresh boxwood wreath but have searched high and low and can't find one in Australia.  Does anyone know where to find them?

I haven't got around to selling the red cabinet I painted in Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint so I thought I would use it in the hallway for Christmas
(have you entered my paint giveaway yet?)

Pine cones gathered from the park dabbled in silver paint.

I am going to have to sort out some greenery for the dining table. 
We aren't having Christmas Day lunch at home but I am hosting a dinner on Christmas Eve so I am thinking of table setting ideas. 
Something pretty and simple.
In the meantime I just have some candles and decorations as the centre piece.
On my French sideboard we have our nativity scene. 
A good reminder of what Christmas is all about and a reminder to not get caught up in the commercialism of it all.

Australians aren't as big "seasonal decorators" as Americans. 
Pre-blogging I would have just put up the Christmas tree and possibly some fairy lights on the front of our house and have been done with it.
Reading blogs have made me think more creatively about my own home. Even more than reading magazines that sometimes seem too unobtainable. 
What about you, who inspires you?
Do you go all out with decorating for Christmas? 

Do you find that you keep the house neater once it's decorated? 
I do, for sure!

Fiona xx

Thursday, December 6, 2012

LilyfieldLife Giveaway: Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint

I am a lover of painted furniture and DIY. I am constantly amazed by the transformational power of paint.

I recently tried Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint and was impressed by it.

I love the depth of colour and the ease of painting - so much so that I bought 3 more boxes of it while I was recently in California. I know I am going to have fun with all this lovely paint. I bought Typewriter, Shutter Grey and more Tricycle. (although I'm thinking I also should have bought some French Enamel but there's only so much paint a travelling girl can fit in her suitcase!)

I know a lot of you are keen to try it also (especially you Aussies out there!)


Mike and Laurie from Red Posie and I have teamed up to give away a box (or the new packaging bag) of MMS Milk Paint in a colour of your choosing.  Red Posie are gifting the paint and I'll pay for the shipping to any where in the world.

to enter:

Follow my blog 
- via Google Friend Connect or Email (over on my sidebar)

for an additional entry -  LIKE my Facebook Page
Share the love: Additional entries can be gained by sharing this giveaway on your facebook, twitter or blog.
Please leave a separate comment for each action/entry. If you already follow then leave me a comment saying that. Also I would love the hear which colour you would choose and what piece of furniture you would paint with it.
This giveaway is open worldwide. It will end Wednesday, 12th December, 2012 6pm AEST and the winner will be announced on Thursday 13th December.

If you can't wait for the giveaway to end and want to buy MMS Milk Paint yourself then pop on over to Red Posie and make a purchase - they have the lowest prices on MMS Milk Paint in the US. Click on the MMS Milk Paint Box in my sidebar.

So are you keen to try this paint? 

Fiona xx

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