Saturday, September 29, 2012

Lilyfield Life in the Press

...or I could have called this post "Celebrity Friends".

My gorgeous friend, Veronica Morgan of Location, Location, Location Australia fame, was recently asked for her 10 favourite things for a magazine article. She's included one of my upholstered French chairs.  The article appeared today in the Home Magazine of the Telegraph (page 20). What a thrill to have my furniture once again in the Press. 



What a lovely friend I have! (and she's gorgeous and stylish as well, go check out her lovely favourite things)

I'll be blogging about a beautiful French armoire makeover on Monday. I have severe case of armoire love....is that possible?? Positively swooning here...

Have a lovely weekend. 
Fiona xx



Friday, September 28, 2012

Corners of my house today

It's late Friday night and today was a pretty incredible day and I'll soon be tucked up in bed and hopefully sleeping soundly but before I go I wanted to share some of the corners of my house from today's magazine photo shoot. These are just my Instagram photos and none of the professional photos; which I won't have access to until the magazine issue comes out whenever that is.



Serious camera gear and such a friendly talented team!


I'm posting this from blogsy as I've shut my desktop down for the night so I hope it formats ok. Rubbing my eyes as so tired and I've been staving off a big head cold all day, running on adrenaline, but really need to crawl into my comfy bed now and hope my nose stops running! Thank you for all your lovely well wishes for today. It was more work than I imagined but just a lovely experience.

But gosh I learned a lot today!

Fiona xx


Sharing at DIYbyDesign

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lots of changes here and some pretty flowers

I have been very busy around the house this week - finishing so many little jobs  (and a couple of big ones) that have been outstanding for so long.  I've repainted the lounge room walls, ceiling and skirtings, the bedroom doors, the front door, and the hallway wall. I've finally got around to putting back on the door handles on the bedroom doors and hung hooks in our bedroom and the bathroom. I've got two lovely furniture makeovers and two bedroom reveals to share soon.  You'll have to wait for all of that though as today I'm just sharing some pretty flowers.


This morning I was up at 5am and out at the Sydney Flower markets.  It is incredibly cheap to buy flowers there and I spent $20 and got lots of bunches for the photo shoot in my house tomorrow. The magazine stylist rang me this afternoon and said she would bring flowers but I didn't know that so I've saved her the trouble. 



Other changes that were threatening was my husband was making noises about being the stay at home dad again and me going back into the corporate world  full time (instead of doing my part-time business consultancy/part time furniture painter / blogger / mum etc) but Phew his contract has been renewed and all is fine in my little world again!

Thanks everyone for your gorgeous feedback on facebook, the blog, email and instagram on Dad's remedy for scale on citrus trees. A couple of people called Dad a legend (that he just loved!) and also suggested he do a regular guest posting here. I love that idea and so did Dad, so he's off thinking of gardening and pest control blog post ideas! He's a wealth of knowledge and I love that he's into my little blog.

Have a lovely evening
Fiona xx


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Selling my Industrial Pigeon holes

I have decided that my little house that is packed full of furniture has no room for the industrial pigeon holes I got a few months ago. Until we renovate in a few years time we just don't have the room and I am not a believer in keeping them in storage on the hope that one day I will be able to use them.  I'd much rather someone else was using them and loving them so I am selling them.


Dimensions: 1.5m long by 63 cm tall by 40cm deep.


I had planned to turn our dumping ground toy room into my sewing room but now I've turned it back into a third bedroom so my kids can have separate rooms. Although last night I went in to kiss my daughter goodnight and she was lying in the dark with a few tears in her eyes missing her little brother. Such a sweet girl.

Please contact me if you are interested.

Fiona xx

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How to Get Rid of Scale on Citrus Trees

Meyer Lemon tree buds

I'm slightly ashamed I even have to post about this but I wanted to pass on this helpful advice I was recently given. My poor garden had been quite neglected this past winter but we've done a lot of work recently to resurrect it.

A few weeks ago we were gardening and I was snapping photos with my camera, when I downloaded them I was shocked to realise my Meyer lemon tree was covered with little insect/fungus things...

How to get rid of scale on your lemon or lime citrus tree. Australian chemical advice.
How to get rid of scale on your lemon or lime citrus tree. Australian chemical advice.


I am very lucky as my clever dad is an entomologist and ever so handy to have to ask about random bugs, cockroaches, spiders and garden pests, so I emailed him a photo and asked for help. You know how your parents are always calling with questions about their phone and computer well this is my payback for my dad #itworksbothways. He rang me with an immediate diagnosis and remedy.  

My poor Meyer lemon tree that I have worked so hard to espalier against the fence and generally is beautiful and abundant with fruit had a bad case of hard scale. It also had some sooty mould.


After many years of working in the development and registration of pest control and crop protection chemicals, I think Dad is one of the most qualified people in Australia to give advice. (He has even discovered an insect and had it named after him).  He does have a love of chemicals so sorry but this is not organic gardening here today but a full on chemical emergency remedy.  I usually try to keep my garden as organic as possible but my poor lemon needed major treatment a bit like a cancer patient needed chemotherapy rather than just a  visit to a naturopath.


Meyer Lemon Tree - scale and sooty mould How to get rid of scale on your lemon or lime citrus tree. Australian chemical advice.

What is scale?

Scale are usually noticed in citrus trees by the yellowing of leaves followed by leaf drop. They suck the fruit trees' sap and excrete a sticky “honeydew” on the leaves that attracts ant so you may notice them on your tree also. Scale appear as waxy bumps on the trees limbs, foliage or fruit, they are an insect. While a few scale isn't too damaging, when it gets out of control like mine was, what is damaging is the ant population and sooty mould. 

How to Get Rid of scale from your Citrus Tree

I bought a 5 litre agricultural sprayer with wand from the hardware shop to make the spraying easier and to ensure I could reach the whole tree and spray under each leaf.

I bought a bottle of Confidor Concentrate and a bottle of White Oil both readily available from your local nursery or hardware shop.

I filled the spray with 5 litres of water and mixed in the Confidor Concentrate as per the directions and then added White Oil as per it's directions. Use the concentration measurements for 5 litres volume for each.

I gave it a stir with a stick. Put the lid on the sprayer tighten well.

Drench the affected tree and any neighbouring fruit trees. Spray the tree until it is literally dripping wet. Ensure you wet the undersides of the leaves as well.

Wait 2 weeks. Most of the scale will fall off in this time but any remaining scale will be dead and can either be gently scraped off with your fingers or hosed off.

It's been 3 weeks since I treated my lemon tree and it's now just beautiful and so healthy again (thanks Dad!). The scale has all gone, the leaves are no longer a sickly yellow, there is lots of new growth and it's covered in blossom. I'm hoping that this means a bountiful harvest.


How to get rid of scale on your lemon or lime citrus tree. Australian chemical advice.
How to get rid of scale on your lemon or lime citrus tree. Australian chemical advice.

You can see in the photo below that there are a couple of residual scale spots but I easily removed these with my fingers. 

How to get rid of scale on your lemon or lime citrus tree. Australian chemical advice.

Dad said to spray this mixture on my citrus trees every 6 months. I have 3 citrus trees that I espaliered along our side fence all in a row (a lime, a lemon and a mandarin). I love having fruit trees in our little inner suburban garden and this way they don't take up much room.

I'm hoping that none of you have had this problem with your lemon trees but if you do, this is a very effective treatment.

cheers 
Fiona xx

How to get rid of scale on your lemon or lime citrus tree. Australian chemical advice.




Monday, September 24, 2012

Weetbix Slice with Lemon Icing Recipe : Lilyfield Life

Weetbix Slice Recipe, easy afternoon tea

This recipe for Weetbix slice comes courtesy of my mother-in-law. It's such old fashioned Australian country baking and is one of those recipes that is delicious and handy to know. 

It's one of those slightly ugly looking but deliciously divine slices. Not good for a fine afternoon tea party but fantastic for a lazy Sunday afternoon, served with a pot of tea to happy husbands and ever-hungry kiddos.

Weetbix Slice Recipe, easy afternoon tea

Weetbix are a staple cereal in our house, along with oats, and are a great start to the day. We even pack a box or two when we go overseas on holidays. Nothing like familiar food for the kids. So we always are left with those crumbs at the bottom of the box that the kids don't want to eat in their cereal bowls but I can't bring myself to throw away (although we do feed them to out chickens occasionally   So we make this slice whenever we finish a box of Weetbix (or you can just crumble up a couple of whole weetbix instead).

We top this slice with lemon icing. Our Meyer lemon tree is doing very well now and is full of tiny lemons but none are ready for harvest. These lemons below are from my mother in law's garden and are very juicy. The whole recipe is very based on mother-in-laws - it's my mother-in-law's recipe and I bake it in her mother-in-law's (ie Phil's paternal grandmother's) slice pan.

Easy Weet bix slice recipe with lemon icing


My Mother-in-law's WeetBix Slice Recipe

Ingredients

½ cup of castor sugar
1 cup of self raising flour
1 tbs cocoa
1 cup of desiccated coconut
4 weetbix well crumbled* 
1 cup of sultanas* 
125g of melted butter

Lemon Icing
2 cups of icing sugar
juice from a lemon
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and if it’s looking a bit dry add in a little bit of water. I usually add in about 50mls of water. 
  2. Press into a greased slice pan and bake at 180 degrees for 15 -20mins.  In my fan forced oven, I find that 15 mins is enough. 
  3. Let the slice cool in the pan and top with lemon icing (just icing sugar mixed with lemon juice, no water) and put in fridge to firm before cutting. 


*Recipe Notes: 4 weetbix is around 70g if you are using crumbs from the bottom of the box. I often add in some well-chopped dried apricots as well. Can be stored in fridge or an airtight container.
  
Weetbix slice recipe with lemon icing

Today is my mum's birthday and I know there'll be some tough times thinking of her so I'm off to do something nice with my kids and remember my mum with love. I'll post some photos on facebook and Instagram during the day as we are probably heading to the beach.

Fiona xx


Friday, September 21, 2012

Some vintage treasure hunting

For a while there I had a hiatus from vintage treasure hunting, my passion for finding pre-loved, old scrubby things to bring into our already bulging house, but recently I've scored some finds that were too good to pass up.  You know how it is!

These are all "before" shots and not the pretty "after" shots all made over, upcycled and fresh. So look away now if you are feeling delicate ... but if you are like me and can read between the lines, love a good vintage bargain and find beauty in the old scrappy things then this ones for you.


First up is this vintage shelving unit I recently scored from from Mr and Mrs Charlie at Innerwest Garage Sale. They host a nightly facebook garage sale with the best scruffy old stuff all selling for next to nothing. It's a bit of a scrabble to nab something as you never know when the sale is about to start and there are lots of others wanting their loot but you can get very lucky and find gorgeous old stuff.


To be honest I'm not quite sure what I will do with this shelf : keep? paint? sell? but in the heat of the moment as the deals were scrolling quickly on facebook and someone else was worrying about dimensions, I typed in SOLD without a second thought. and I have no regrets as whatever I do, it will be all good.  It's a sweet piece isn't it?  I'll have to style it some time and share with you.

I found these beautiful French style iron lamps at auction a while ago but they have been hiding in my shed for a while. I am going to paint them both black and replace the shades. I'll have to sand down and repaint the black one as well as it's pretty badly painted and all drippy and bumpy. I got these extremely cheaply but they will be a quick makeover and will look expensive when I'm finished. 


They stand a metre tall and have beautiful crystal details.


I love matching pairs of lamps. Especially French ones like these. I think these aren't quite as beautiful as my pineapple lamps on my French sideboard but I am looking forward to giving these a makeover and finding them a home (that's not in the corner of my rat infested shed!)

And then my latest piece of furniture that is currently sitting in my studio carport primed and ready for a cloak of white paint is this lovely hall cabinet.  These photos are strictly before photos as I had scrubbed this to an inch of its life with gumption of all things. It was so grimy!  While the wood looks good in this photo some of it was chipped and needing repair, quite scratched and looking dated so I don't mind painting over it.


I love the pretty shape of this piece. I bought this from a guy who I often see at the furniture auctions that I occasionally skulk around. Damien only ever spends an absolute maximum of $20 on a piece and then he resells them for a small but reasonable profit. While I could have gone to the auctions myself, you often have to wait around for hours only to miss out on a piece. So I never mind buying off Damien and he delivers the pieces to my house with a big friendly smile and saves me quite a bit of time and hassle. You can find Damien down the back of Rozelle markets most weekends and he and some other guys are opening a shop down in Kogarah so I'll get you the details when I see him next.



Depending on how this piece turns out I may keep it as my hall cupboard and sell the one that's in there currently. I like the fact that it has drawers I can load up with useless crapola that I think I need to keep at hand! Change is as good as a holiday, right?

and if you read my blog regularly you will have seen the lovely vintage jug and spoons I found last weekend. The kids are loving using these little spoons for their breakfast (that now takes twice as long! ha, ha)



My sister in law, Michelle, also loves a good thrifty vintage find and is renown in our family for it. She classifies people who only buy new stuff as "newbies" which I think is a classic. We get on very well together and I love visiting her and my brother for a laugh and an op-shop trawl.

Are you a "newbie" or a vintage loving gal?

Fiona xx

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Easiest Yummy Chocolate Cake Recipe Ever

This is possibly the best ever chocolate cake recipe! Whenever I bake this, people ask me for the recipe. It is so simple and easy to make - one of those all too easy recipes that you throw all the ingredients into the bowl, let it mix and then bake. ...and then lap up the accolades, as people think you are a marvellous cook when in reality you've been lazing around and reading blogs!


This is my absolute staple recipe for school cake stalls, birthday parties or quick afternoon teas. It's super easy and a really nice chocolate cake - not too heavy like a mud cake. I can assure you that both adults and kids will love it.

Simple easy chocolate cake recipe

My friend, Jane, gave me this recipe so in our house we call it :"Jane's Chocolate Cake". We're very inventive like that!

Jane's Easy Chocolate Cake Recipe

Ingredients
3oz (85g) butter
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoon of cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1 cup Self Raising flour
2 eggs
Vanilla extract (or essence)
(N.B. in Australia our cup measure size is 250ml, I think the US is different)

Method:
  1. Place flour, sugar, cocoa, milk, vanilla essence & eggs into mixer bowl.
  2. Melt butter and pour over ingredients.
  3. Beat well for 4 minutes (the mixture will turn a much lighter colour).
  4. Pour mixture into greased cake tin and bake for 45 mins in moderate oven.
  5. Let the cake cool for 5 mins in the tin then cool on a wire rack.
This easy chocolate cake recipe also works well for cupcakes. You will have to adjust your baking time depending on the cupcake size.

If you try this out leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Below are some chocolate cakes I've made using this simple recipe. The rosettes are made with Wilton icing tip 106 and the ruffle stripes with Wilton Tip 104.


Simple easy chocolate cake recipe
Simple easy chocolate cake recipe
Flower shaped birthday cake
Simple chocolate cupcakes recipe
Spiderman birthday cake for boys


If you are looking for other cake recipes then why not try these:

Happy Baking
Fiona xx


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Painting Vintage Furniture White

There is something so soothing and rewarding about painting vintage furniture. If you do this yourself, you will know exactly what I mean and you're probably addicted to it, like I am. I pretty much always have a furniture paint project in progress and I love the transformation that is so simple to achieve with white paint.


It's not only that I enjoy the thrill of the chase - nabbing a bargain, seeing beauty in something other people have passed over, and saving landfill by making a piece lovable again. I also love the physical act of working with a piece of furniture, getting to know it's curves and detail, sanding it down and thinking of its life and who made it & who has used it, dipping my paintbrush into a tin of white paint and making the furniture all bright and clean and fresh. In the same way others find watching TV or knitting relaxing, I find painting relaxing, especially on a gorgeous day like today when I can sit in the warm sunshine and paint.


This long chest of drawers/console was lovely to paint. The detail on the drawers and door and the wood grain that still shows through the paint made it very lovely to work with. You'll have to excuse the location of the photos but I wasn't dragging this inside just to take photos of it today.


Initially I didn't paint the handles but they just stood out like a sore thumb and I hated the way it all came together so I lightly painted them ie not solid white - enough so they look good but the intricate detail still shows through.  

 

The handles definitely needed painting, didn't they? I went back and painted the ones on the bedside tables that I blogged about previously.  

This chest of drawers has a central cupboard with a shelf so it could be used as a console or sideboard in the lounge room as well. I painted the inside of the cupboard to freshen it all up. The shelf is adjustable.


I lightly distressed it to highlight the beautiful ornate mouldings and then gave this piece several coats of wax, sanding and buffing it between each coat. It now has a beautiful smooth finish that will wipe clean of marks and be easy to maintain. Don't think that you need to use oil paints to get a durable surface. Wax has been used to protect furniture for centuries and gives such a lovely finish. One reason I never use white oil based paint is that it will yellow over time especially in areas that do not get a lot of sunlight. I am going to write a post on this specifically soon as I get asked a lot of questions about what paint I use and why not oil.
  
Here's the before shot from the eBay seller.


so what do you think? do you like it this paint transformation?

are you addicted like me?

Fiona xx


Sharing at  Transformation Thursday