Friday, August 31, 2012

More painted furniture - White bedside tables

Yesterday I showed you the ornate bed head that I painted white (thanks for your nice comments) and so here are the matching bedside tables.   I think they make a beautiful set. I have to still paint the matching long chest of drawers and mirror so will probably do that next week.

white painted furniture by Lilyfield Life Sydney

These are a great set of bedside tables - the drawers are well made and are on runners so slide very smoothly. I was unsure of painting the handles or leaving them as they are. I'm not such a big fan of painted hardware so I thought I'd leave them unpainted and see what whoever buys this set wants, and I can do them then if so be.  The handles are a gorgeous shape and really match the mouldings!

white painted furniture by Lilyfield Life Sydney

I love how the distressing has made the ornately carved details pop. I also like how you can still see the wood grain through the paint work. It's very subtle but still visibleThese bedsides are a good mix of solid practicality and prettiness. I personally like a big bedside table, maybe because our bedroom is quite big (by inner Sydney suburbs standards anyway) and the bigger bedside tables balance out the room. I use my bedside tables as storage for clothes so I'm grateful for the extra space. 

white painted furniture by Lilyfield Life Sydney

Here's the matching bedhead if you missed it yesterday.  I will have to ask who ever buys this set to send me a photo of it all together in their bedroom as I would love to see it all set up nicely with white linen and some big comfy pillows, some nice lamps and possibly a bunch of pretty flowers on the bedsides. sounds good, doesn't it?

white painted furniture by Lilyfield Life Sydney

When I'm in the swing of painting, I really miss my little furniture booth.  But I do have a better balance with concentrating on my (more profitable than painting) business consultancy work, keeping painting furniture as a hobby, my family, my community, my life without stocking a booth. 

But I did like having a little booth to stock and make pretty but it took a lot of time and effort that in particular cut into my weekend family time (so my husband is very pleased I don't have it any more!! and there's somewhat less crap all through the house).  I still sell my furniture well on the internet which means I get to meet the people who buy it. I really love that and being able to pass on the stories of each piece that I have lovingly restored and revived.

white painted furniture by Lilyfield Life Sydney

and here's the before (because we all love a good before and after shot, right?)

Do you have hobbies that somewhat take over your life? 

Do you paint furniture? 

It's addictive, isn't it!  There's something so damn satisfying about painting furniture, when in reality it's quite a simple process of slapping on some white paint (ok there is more involved than that but it's not rocket science) but it makes me feel so creative, productive and alive. 

I think I'm on a roll....

Fiona xx

Thursday, August 30, 2012

White Painted Ornate Bed Head

I'm clearing out my pile of unpainted furniture and am painting a bedroom set I bought a few months ago. This set consists of a queen bed head, two bedside tables, a big mirror and long chest of drawers. It has been quite lovely to paint with it's gorgeous mouldings.

white painted furniture by Lilyfield Life Sydney

I've painted it all in a bright crisp white and distressed it to bring out some of the detail, then waxed it for a silky smooth durable finish. If I was keeping it for me I would not distress the edges as it's possibly too shabby chic for me but this style sells well.  I have two people expressing interest in this set already but that was several weeks ago before Mum got sick and so I'll have to see if they are still in the market.

white painted furniture by Lilyfield Life Sydney

We have a full framed bed so I couldn't photograph this with an ensemble in front of it. I've just propped some cushions in front to mimic pillows but it gives an idea of what it would look like.

white painted furniture by Lilyfield Life Sydney

I love the detail on this bedhead. There's even a little fleur de lis on it (which I have always used as my painted furniture logo).  No wonder I like it.  The bedhead has a padded bar on the back of it so the bar will rest against your wall , but the wood will stand slightly off and not mark your wall.

white painted furniture by Lilyfield Life Sydney

And here is the before photo from the sellers on Ebay.  They had owned the set for over 20 years and have recently updated their bedroom. It's looking a lot different now!  When I turned up just with our car to load the whole set in they were incredulous that I could fit it in but I know my car and it's capacity so well after 2 years of painting furniture and lugging it all around. I did manage to squeeze it all in ! There was no way I was driving back for a second load.

Stay tuned for the rest of the set.

Which do you prefer - distressed or undistressed furniture? Are you a shabby chic fan? 

If you are interested in buying this set, please contact me or leave a message below,

Fiona xx

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mini Raspberry Friands Recipe

easy recipe Raspberry Friands

I haven't made friands for about 10 years. I used to make them all the time when we lived in London. Today I had some friends come over for morning tea to celebrate a birthday, so early this morning I whipped up the friands while I was in the kitchen, packing school lunches, emptying the dishwashers, tidying up and getting the breakfasts. I only tell you all that to show just how very easy the recipe is and how they are made in no time at all.

To find the recipe I had to dig out my diary from 2001. The recipe is scrawled on one of the pages. I don't normally keep paper diaries but this was from Phil and I lived in London (we came home late 2002) and it's full of great memories, travel plans and postcards etc - so I've always kept it. I don't know who gave me the recipe originally, probably my sister on an international phone call.

easy recipe Raspberry Friands

Friands are delicious and this mini version is just the right size to balance on your saucer. So delicious and light and elegant.  I will often add other things besides raspberries into this mixture - cocoa for chocolate ones, raspberry and white chocolate, dessicated coconut or other berries.

So from my diary dated Friday 3rd August 2001 here it is:

Mini Friand Recipe

180g melted butter
1 cup almond meal
6 egg whites beaten lightly
1 ½ cups icing sugar mixture
½ cup plain flour
75 g frozen berries

  1. Preheat your oven to 190 °C (moderate hot)
  2. Beat your eggs lightly so they are white but not stiff peaks, fold in gently with a spoon the almond meal, icing sugar mixture, plain flour and melted butter. 
  3. In a greased pan spoon mixture in and drop in a raspberry or whatever berry you choose. You can actually stir the berries into your mixture and just spoon out. I prefer to keep the mixture plain and then add the extras (berries, white chocolate lumps, choc chips etc) one they are in the pan.
  4. If you use a normal sized friand or cupcake tin, then bake for around 20-25 minutes until golden. If you are making the mini version you will only need to bake for 15-18 minutes.
  5. Stand in tin for 5 mins.  
  6. Rack to cool
easy recipe Raspberry Friands

* if you add white chocolate lumps to this recipe, the chocolate can sink to the base of the pans and sometimes makes the friands stick, just use a knife to loosen friand and ease gently from the pan.

easy recipe Raspberry Friands

Enjoy with friends. This recipe makes 48 mini friands.  Friands freeze very well so you can always keep some for another day. This is a great recipe to have on hand when you are using egg yolks for another recipe and have left over egg whites - or if you are just making the friands then options to use up the left over yolks are: custard, icecream, creme brulee. 

easy recipe Raspberry Friands


Fiona xx

If you like this recipe, why don't you also try one of these others of our family favourites:

easy recipe Raspberry Friands

Sharing at Frugal Friday Feathered Nest Friday Funky Junk Tuesdays Treasures

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I think she's finished!

I find it very hard with paintings and drawings to know when something is finished. I suppose it's possible to keep adding and never be finished but I think my version of Lillian Bassman's photograph of a woman by the window is complete.  I'm really quite pleased with it as I wasn't sure of my ability to do this, especially just using one colour - pure white.  It was a real study of tones.

All the details are much more subtle when you see it from a proper distance but here it is from a couple of metres.  Once I've got it up I'll take a proper photo of it in situ.

I bought an ornate vintage frame and replaced the canvas with a home made chalkboard.  Then using chalk and white pastel I drew my version of the vintage black and white photograph (taken by Lillian Bassman in the 1950s).  I've always loved this photograph. The model is so very elegant and I love the muted greys and folds of her dress and her beautiful hair.

her head

waist and folds of dress

the chair and light from window
And here is a close up of the ornate frame.  I love the cracks and vintage detail of it. When ever I find an ornate vintage frame or mirrors s for a good price I snap them up as they just don't make them like they used to and a vintage frame has so many uses.  I'm not sure where this painting will hang so at the moment it's just leaning against the wall in the lounge room.

and this is the frame and painting when I bought it:

And here's a sneak peak below of the furniture I've been painting lately.  Below is only the primer and first coat and I'll actually distress this set to bring out the detail and make all that carving really pop.  It's a vintage ornate bedroom set. With a lick (actually a lot of licks) of white paint, it's turning out beautifully.  

The magic of white paint never ceases to please me.  

The white sideboard that I painted a few months ago sold on the weekend to a lovely girl, Emma. It's been in our lounge room for a few months - with Mum being so sick and then the funeral etc, I hadn't listed it for sale until last week. Phil had got very used to it there and after I sold it told me how much he loved it, how beautiful he thought it was and how sad he was that I'd sold it. He then said "now you'll have to find something else to put there".  Hey mister there's no need to ask twice!! I'll be off to the auctions today! love it when I'm given a mission...

So what do you think of my drawing? 

have a lovely day.
Fiona xx

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Macro Photography in my garden

Yesterday was such a gorgeous day and we spent most of it in the backyard. Phil cooked a bbq for lunch and we gardened, kicked the soccer ball, made a big bed on the trampoline and lay in the sun and I mucked around with the freshly planted flowers and my camera.

Here are some of the flowers we planted yesterday. The detail you can capture with a macro lens is magical.  I have a 60mm F/2 Macro prime lens, which is what I take most of my blog photos with.

macro 60mm lens tamron photography

The little unopened buds on the purple flower below are about 2mm in diameter and I was right down in the garden bed to capture the little spikes - I've never done botany so I don't know any flower nomenclature.  Anyone??

macro 60mm lens tamron photography

The orchids we bought for mum's funeral are still blooming - alongside two yellow orchids I brought home from Mum's garden that are very old now as they were originally my grandfather's and he's been dead for around 30 years now. They are still going strong though and all are in bloom now and look beautiful against our blue fence in their blue pots.

macro 60mm lens tamron photography

How good is the weather, bring on Springtime.

Fiona xx

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fading Blooms for Saturday Flowers

Don't you just love beautiful bunches of flowers especially as they age and fade and become even more delicate?

I usually prefer a simple bunch of flowers but this beautiful mixed bouquet was given to Sasha by her auntie on their shared birthday. Its very pretty and Sasha has loved having it as her special bunch. It's now 10 days old and still going strong. The roses are a little faded but I find them even more charming like that.  The vase is an enamel jug from IKEA and was cheap as chips. Great for a big bunch of flowers like this especially as the tapered neck keeps the flowers in a good shape.

I haven't had a chance to work on my chalk portrait you can see in the background but I am actually enjoying it incomplete and resting against the sideboard in the lounge room.  It's a real luxury to have the time to play with a painting or artistic piece when you are not an actual artist and I've not been able to justify the time spent on this chalk drawing.  It's still there waiting for me. Saying that I've had plenty of free time lately to do nice things this week- the trip to Brisbane, taking these flower photos, seeing my kiddos in the book week parade and a fun pub trivia night with a gorgeous group of school mums on Thursday which is always a hoot of a night.  My life is a great mix of work, play, family and community.  I feel very blessed for that.

...and yes that French chandelier is still sitting in the chair!  I've got so used to it there and we have plenty of seating in our lounge room so it's out of the way.  I think the main reason I haven't tackled it is I'm not 100% sure of where to hang it at the moment.  Once we renovate the back of the house and knock down and rebuild our crappy lean too lounge room with it's sloping ceiling and white painted concrete floors I'll hang it as a feature in the new lounge room and it just doesn't seem worth the effort and expense of getting an electrician out to hang it until then.

And I love being accompanied by my dog Charlie. He is so loyal and loving and sits patiently beside me as I do my thing with white paint, or flowers or my camera.  He's had a little haircut and it's a bit shorter than I like it but just like human haircuts it'll grow out and look good in a couple of weeks.

Have a lovely weekend.  It's our last weekend of soccer games so we are soon free on the weekend mornings (at least until Little Athletics begin). We will be up at the local organic markets getting our fresh fruit and vegetables and then meeting our friends at the Divi Cafe for a coffee as we always do on Saturday mornings. I love these simple routines with local friends that so enrich your life.

Stay well my friends
Fiona xx 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Filing Cabinet Drawers Makeover

cabinet chalkboard paint
Chalkboard paint love
I haven't had many project reveals lately but I finally finished a project yesterday.  I felt very energised after my trip to Brisbane and woke early (530am which is super early for me) so I got up and did a huge amount of work, then after school drop off I had a great career-coaching session with a client, sitting at my favourite cafe in the beautiful Sydney sunshine while helping him sort through some options and drinking good coffee - did I ever mention just how much I love my work! and then I went home to finish up this little furniture makeover.

My neighbour who gave me the IKEA Bevkam Step stool that I recently rejuvenated also gave me this little two drawers filing cabinet. It also had had a hard life and had a bad paint job in an oil based paint with lots of lumps and bumps.  Over the years the white oil paint had turned very yellow. I cleaned it up, sanded it back, Zinssered it and painted it in nice crisp white paint and waxed it. Now it is smooth as silk and all bright white in a paint that will actually stay white.  For the drawers, I decided to have a little fun and painted them with black chalkboard paint which I had over for the vintage frame makeover.  It was all looking very black and the shape of the drawer fronts wasn't defined so I lightly sanded the edges so you can see the bevelled shape of the drawer fronts.  I took some of the photos before sanding the edges so you can see the difference it makes  What do you think?

cabinet chalkboard paint

I thought it would be fun to be able to write on the front what the drawers contain or perhaps just your to do list!
 cabinet chalkboard paint

The drawers are on runners for easy opening and are study and solid so they will hold a good weight. They are made for holding files and the whole unit is in very good condition.  While it is a very basic utilitarian piece, I think it's quite cute now and would look good in a home office or even kids play room.

cabinet chalkboard paint

While I'm feeling so productive I need to tackle the vintage five piece bedroom set that has been sitting in my carport for about 2 months now. I am going to enjoy painting this set as it's got some lovely mouldings on it and while it's pretty ugly now, some white paint is going to transform it!

The filing cabinet is for sale, please contact me if you are interested.

Fiona xx

cabinet chalkboard paint

Sharing at The Shabby Creek Cottage , DIY by Design , Primitive&Proper , Feathered Nest Fridays at French Country Cottage

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A few days in Brisbane then home again

I've just had a 2 day get away to Queensland and while the reason was very sad, it was a nice short break for me.  The weather was perfect and how good does the water look in the photo below.

On Monday morning I flew to Brisbane for one of my gorgeous friend's, Jodie dad's funeral. It was actually quite hard to go to a funeral so soon after my mother's but I really wanted to be there for Jodie as she and her family were in a lot of shock from losing their beautiful dad so suddenly.  He, like my mum, died within 3 weeks of being diagnosed with an illness. I stayed with another mutual friend Jen (actually I'd met both girls together back packing in the States, then we all lived in London for a few years and have all since returned home to Australia and we've remained very close friends since).  It was good to be able to have a night and another half day with Jenny in Brisbane after the funeral.

On the way home from the funeral, Jen and I stopped into Sandy from Paint Me White's beautiful booth at the Wolloongabba Antique Centre.  Sandy wasn't able to get up to Brisbane to see me (she's currently painting 35 pieces of furniture for one customer! She's amazing) but it was nice to see her latest pieces. Check out her blog for beautiful stuff if you don't already follow her.

Then while my friend, Jen was getting dinner for her girls I went for a stroll around her lovely suburb admiring all the beautiful houses and huge back yards.  I love Queenslanders (the name of these weatherboard raised houses) to look at but think I'd prefer to live in a brick house. I always wonder how noisy weatherboard houses are especially between rooms when you have noisy kids.  If you have one, let me know what you think in the comments below.

Jen and I then had dinner, drank a bottle of champagne and chatted until midnight.  We don't see each other nearly often enough so it was great to have time with her.  The next morning as we were dropping her 3 girls to school one of them asked what we were doing for the day.  I said "Mummy and I are gallivanting for the day!"  and gallivant we did...

First stop was to drop in for morning tea with A-M in her shed to hear all about her wonderful trip to the Hamptons and NYC Blogher conference. She's got severe post travel blues!  so it was good to be able to cheer her up with a coffee and muffin.

A-M had warned me that her shed was very unglamorous but I am fine with that. My first job out of uni was an engineering officer in the Royal Australian Air Force and my office was in an aircraft hanger and when the aircraft did their engine warm ups I had to wear black zone ear muffs while doing work at my desk.  

A-M's shed is at least filled with very pretty things. (behind all those boxes) If you want beautiful homewares and lights for a very good price and to do business with a lovely lady then check out A-M's blog and website.

We then went and dropped in to my good friend Cath who has recently moved to Brisbane. She's a teacher so we spent her 20 minute recess catching up. After that lovely but all too brief visit we headed over to Paddington to Hamptons Home Living for lunch and a browse. If you are in Brisbane and like home wares (and good food), this shop is a must see.  It's perched on top of a ridge and from the balcony where you can eat your lunch there are wonderful views.  The front of the shop has lovely homewares, then the cafe in the back and a small providore section.

I love this hanging bottle look and have been saving my tomato passata bottles to create some little hanging bottles for flowers.  Once I have a few days at home and get some of my already in progress projects finished I might attempt something like this.

Blue and white was the theme this month and it all looked gorgeous.

And some beautiful artwork from Kerri Shipp at Driftwood Interiors blog.  I love Kerri's ming vase series in watercolour.  Her print prices are very reasonable and you can buy directly from her blog if you wish.

Lunch was delicious and enormous! I ordered the avocado and Persian fetta with bacon and a poached egg on sourdough, and a latte of course. Sitting in the sunshine, chatting to my beautiful friend and eating yummy food I felt myself relax for the first time in weeks. Even while we were in Bali I didn't properly relax because of mum being so sick and I've had so much trouble sleeping since she's died. One of Phil's friends has recently lost his dad and he said he didn't sleep for about 6 weeks after the funeral so I'm hoping I can start sleeping properly again soon.

Across the road from Hamptons Home Living is a shop with a riot of colour - The Happiness Place.  So much colour in this place and I think an easy place to find a present for someone.  I loved this Pantone colour chair.  Not sure what the sort of room it would look good in but it's pretty cool.

and speaking of cool, how groovy is this peace sign. the 20 year old daughter of the owner made it from fake flowers.  I love it.  The photo is bad because the sun was streaming in but you get the idea.

then it was back home again. It's always good to fly back into beautiful Sydney.  The Qantas magazine had a feature on Sydney and the first paragraph read "If you're not living in Sydney you're camping out", declared former Prime Minister Paul Keating. Arrogant? Maybe but on a warm summer's day when the light dances on the harbour and everything looks newly washed, it's easy to see what he meant. Hedonistic and outward -looking, Sydney is all about the view - and the views are generally about the water..."

I then went to pick up my kids (who had been cared for and fed  dinner by another lovely friend Maxine) - actually who poured me a glass of red wine as soon as I arrived - I love friends like that!  Once i got home, put the kids to bed, sorted out dinner for me and Phil, I stayed sewing until midnight for the kids school book parade. Trust me to leave it till the last minute. I am quite proud of my efforts though. Sasha went as red riding hood and needed a cape. Luckily Jonty wanted to be Zac Power and just needed earphones and a back pack.

Back to normal now. Can no one else die for a little while please! 

Fiona xx