Friday, May 31, 2013

ASCP Duck Egg Blue Chest of Drawers

Good morning everyone, thanks so much for all the lovely messages about my 400th post. I have even got a bit teary from some of your emails. I am humbled. If you haven't entered the give away make sure you do!

annie sloan duck egg blue lilyfield life

Lately I have been making things beautiful with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Duck Egg Blue. When I bought this tin I was tossing up between it and Provence, but decided to go with the more muted tones of Duck Egg Blue. I am certainly happy with this colour.

This old chest of drawers was in my brother's room growing up. It was a vivid red in oil based paints and my mother had painstakingly stripped it back to the lovely old pine. But it was very orange....

antique kauri pine chest of drawers

So this chest of drawers sat in my pile of unpainted furniture for 5 months while I gathered the courage to paint it. The tough thing is that to sell it unpainted I would get barely anything for it. No one wants orange pine any more. So I gave myself permission to paint it. Although with every brush stroke I did say, "sorry, Mum" under my breath.

annie sloan duck egg blue lilyfield life french chair

I gave the chest of drawers a very good clean, removing all the dust and cobwebs. Then painted on two coats of ASCP. I then decided to wax with  Howard's Feed n Wax. It has orange oil in it and is extremely easy to apply. Annie Sloan gives a good analogy for waxing. She says imagine you are putting cream on your hands. You don't just wipe the cream on to your hands and walk around with oily hands; you rub the cream into your hands so it soaks into your skin and works within your skin.  Wax is the same. You need to apply some elbow grease and make sure the wax bonds fully with the paint. 

annie sloan duck egg blue lilyfield life

My method for doing this is probably a little labour intensive but it results in a very smooth durable finish. I apply the clear wax with a clean white lint free rag and rub in to the furniture. You will see the paint darken as the wax is absorbed.  It doesn't matter if you are using ASCP wax or another brand. They all work in the same manner.  Once the piece is fully waxed, I will often (depending on the piece) get a fine grit sanding pad and sand the whole piece, my aim is not to distress with paint but to bond the wax and paint even more fully. Fine grade steel wool would also work well. I then give it another light coat of wax and buff it. This will give you a fantastically smooth finish and gloss.

annie sloan duck egg blue lilyfield life

You can see in the photo above that the top surface is smooth and reflective.  For me, this is my main aim for using chalk paint. You can also achieve this with home made DIY Chalk Paint if you can't access Annie Sloan Chalk paint or you are on a budget. You will just have to work harder as home made chalk paint is grittier.

annie sloan duck egg blue lilyfield life

When I paint drawers I always paint along the dovetailed join and on the inside of the furniture where the drawers slide. This way if the drawers aren't shut properly, you won't see a stripe of unpainted timber. A lot of people will tape to get straight lines, I never use painting tape as I don't like perfectly straight lines (too unnatural) and just paint a neat line.

annie sloan duck egg blue lilyfield life

This seems the perfect spot for this chest of drawers, the duck egg blue pulling out a similar colour in the sea foam of the painting above. However I am selling these. Too much furniture here. Please let me know if you are interested.

I am pleased with how it turned out, the colour suits the shape perfectly. I even think Mum might approve. 

Fiona xx

annie sloan duck egg blue lilyfield life

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Lilyfield Life Give Away for my 400th blog post

Wow as of today I have published 400 blog posts. That is a lot of painted furniture and a few recipes and chit chat along the way.  Thank you to everyone who stops by and reads and comments and sends me lovely emails or asks me "how to" questions and a special thank you to all my lovely customers who actually buy my furniture. It means so much to me that I can continue what I love so much - painting old furniture and blogging, and being part of a lovely supportive and creative community.

Some recent work above and some of my original work below. 

What a journey! As a thank you to you for reading here, I wanted to give you the opportunity to win the following:

Open to everyone, everywhere:

a copy of Annie Sloan's most recent book - Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture. This is a brilliant book that I hope will inspire you on your painting journey.

a copy of Marian's book "Inspired You"
(Miss Mustard Seed)
Marian shares a lot of her home and family in this book as well as a load of DIY tutorials.

and of my original design necklace/pendants in Turquoise, Howlite and Amazonite on leather

and if you live in Australia, I will also send you
one of my blue/grey striped tablecloths 
(sized 250cm by 150cm)

I will ship anywhere in the world 
(although as stated above the tablecloth will only be shipped to Australian Residents)

to enter please

subscribe to my blog (via google, RSS or email) and leave a comment below letting me know a little bit about yourself

for additional entries you can also:

Like my facebook page

share this giveaway on your facebook

follow me on Instagram (lilyfieldlife)

tweet this give-away

one additional entry for each action, please leave a separate comment for each so I can use for the winner selection.

Competition closes on 8pm AEST Wednesday 5th of June and announced the next day.
All prizes paid for and provided by me

A big thank you to you all

Fiona xx

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Easy Upholstering of a French Louis Chair

Lilyfield Life Easy French Chair Upholstering Bosch tacker

hi thanks for stopping by, I love a good French chair upholstery project and from your comments on my previous work, it seems that you do too.  Today I have a beauty of a makeover and as well as sharing how I did it, I was recently asked by Bosch to review their PTK 3.6 LI Cordless Tacker, so I thought I'd also share my thoughts on this nifty power tool.

Bosch Tacker ptk 3.6li
Louis French chair upholstery how to DIY Lilyfield Life

I bought two French Louis chairs years ago on eBay and only ever got around to upholstering one of them. The other has sat in our shed for ages. Part of my hesitation was that I wasn't sure if I should keep the chairs as a pair or if I should use a different fabric. In the end I decided to use the same fabric (that I'd luckily bought enough of initially for both chairs, as it is now no longer available). 

Louis French chair upholstery how to DIY Lilyfield Life

The chairs were originally pretty ugly - pink and tapestry, but were in good shape. The young guy I bought them from said they'd sat in his great-aunt's "good room". I'm surprised they weren't covered in plastic but then they'd be Italian chairs and not French! Ok so they are most probably Australian - French reproduction, but these are good solid vintage chairs with a nice heavy weight and well built.  The foam and webbing was all in extremely good order so I decided to keep it all and reuse - hence my title "Easy Upholstering". Really it is more recovering than re-upholstering.  This how the chair looked after I removed the tapestry and back foam.

Louis French chair upholstery how to DIY Lilyfield Life

One of the hardest parts of upholstering is removing all the old fabric and staples. When I was in the US last year I bought a handy staple removal tool that is like a screw driver but with a curved forked end. It is fantastic for removing staples and I wish I could direct you to one in Australia but I have yet to find one here.  I then painted the chair and antiqued it - which I will walk you through the process in another post but I have to say I think this is possibly my best effort yet. Antiquing wood with lots of ornate carving definitely makes it easier and I love how the dark wax makes the details pop on this chair.

Louis French chair upholstery how to DIY Lilyfield Life

I then cut out the fabric into a rough shape of what I would need - you can use the old fabric as a guide. Start your upholstery project with the seat first as I think it's the hardest. I forgot to take photos of this as it is very fiddly. However the Bosch Tacker made this fiddly job a lot easier. With the first French chair, I used a hand staple gun and it is really the wrong tool to use as you can't get close enough to the edge of the wood and also with a hand stapler your staples don't go into the wood far enough and are very easy to prise out - you really want something with a bit more "oomph". 

bosch tacker pti 3.6li

The most difficult part of this whole process is getting the fabric to sit nicely on the seat especially around the arms. I think the easiest way to deal with this is to gently snip a slit along where the arms go and tuck it under so there is a neat hem along the arms. A lot can be covered with the gimp braid so don't get too stressed. The worst error is to cut the fabric too far into the seat part as that will show and you'll need to start again. If you have the old fabric that you removed, this will act as a great guide. I just forgot to keep the seat part of the fabric so that didn't help me.  Once the seat is finished start on the back.

Louis French chair upholstery how to DIY Lilyfield Life

First you will need to staple on the fabric that is seen from the back of the chair - so it needs to be in reverse. Staple it on and then cut to size. 

Louis French chair upholstery how to DIY Lilyfield Life

and from the back, make sure it is firm but not so tight that it puckers.

Louis French chair upholstery how to DIY Lilyfield Life

If your fabric puckers remove a few staples around the puck and re-stretch your fabric then re-staple. You may need to form little pleats to make the fabric sit nicely. If you do need to use pleats, then make sure they are symmetrical on both sides so it looks intentional and not just puckered.  I find that upholstery is a tricky balance between not pulling the fabric tight enough and pulling it too tight. 

Bosch Tacker PTK 3.6li

Once the back fabric is in place, reinsert the back foam and then making sure your fabric pattern is aligned with the seat fabric, staple in your front fabric to the timber and backing fabric. I usually do a few scattered staples and then come back and insert extra staples. This way if I have to re-align my fabric it is much easier as it is pinned into place rather than pulling out fifty staples.  

Louis French chair upholstery how to DIY Lilyfield Life

If your chair has padded arms, then staple fabric on them also. I made sure the stripes on my fabric align on both arms so it's all symmetrical.  You know that the French are the Kings of Symmetry!

Louis French chair upholstery how to DIY Lilyfield Life

Then comes the wonderful part that will cover all your mistakes and make the chair look very professional. Gluing on the welting, or in my case, the gimp braid.  I use a hot glue gun, rather than my low-temp glue gun, as the glue bonds stronger. I used approximately 5m of gimp braid in this chair. 

Louis French chair upholstery how to DIY Lilyfield Life

Start at the back of the chair and work your way around, gluing only about 2-3 inches at a time and pressing the braid in hard with your fingers. Watch out for burns. As you glue, tuck in any fabric or snip it off if you've left too much and make sure the braid covers the fabric edge and the staples.  On the arms I shoved down a lot of glue into the hollow and braided over the join.  It finishes it off nicely.

Louis French chair upholstery how to DIY Lilyfield Life
I love this chair now.

Louis French chair upholstery how to DIY Lilyfield Life

And then stand back, or even sit down, and admire your handy work. 

Louis French chair upholstery how to DIY Lilyfield Life
Louis French chair upholstery how to DIY Lilyfield Life

To be highly critical of my own work, I am not entirely happy with those pleats along the front of the chair but I am sure I'll be reupholstering this chair down the track sometime. I used curtain backed fabric for this chair and it was hard to work with as it's very stiff. When you see the chair in the room as a normal chair rather than inspecting photos, you don't really notice any issues with it. However I'd really like to see this chair in a dark grey linen or a vintage grain sack. One day...

I was sent the Tacker from Bosch - "gifted" it - such a strange term gifted - why do bloggers use the term gifted?? Actually I was given it to trial and keep. I am happy to share my review with you as I think it's a handy addition to my tool kit.  I think you know by now that I'm honest with my opinions and recently I turned down another brand's offer of being in a television commercial to promote their DIY tool as I thought it was crappy and not what I stand for.  All opinions below are my own.

So besides loving my new old French chair for my bedroom, what are my thoughts on the Bosch PTK 3.6Li Tacker?  To sum it up quickly, if I hadn't been given one, I'd be buying one!

Packaging: Yes! I love how it comes in a metal case rather than a cardboard box. I know that is a funny thing to like about a tool but the packaging is excellent and means that the tool and power cord will be easily kept together and safe in my messy shed.  I find that power tools in cardboard boxes are much harder to keep neat and to keep all the bits together. (However that might just be me as I am not very good at putting things away where they belong).

Ease of use: The Bosch tacker is cordless which I found to be a very useful feature. I have used a cheaper electric tacker before and it was very cumbersome with the cord getting in my way. Upholstering a chair like this is fiddly enough without having to worry about the length of an electric cord and being near a power source and then getting the cord tangled up the the chair legs etc. I have also love being able to just grab the cordless Tacker out of it's case, still charged, for quick and easy jobs around the house.

The staples get punched in very firmly with good pressure - it is much easier than using a hand-held stapler and it meant that the chair was upholstered  much more quickly and I didn't end up with sore hands as a result of using a hand staple gun.  With the Bosch tacker you can use staples up to 10 mm in length so I think that would work well with a variety of DIY.  Also the staples still work well till the very last staple. When you use a hand gun or cheaper Tacker they will often get caught up inside near the end of the strip.

The design of this is what you would expect from Bosch. The front arrangement of the tacking nose is excellent for tacking close to edges and it means you can get into tight places with the staples which meant that I could secure the fabric onto the chair in the correct position.  The soft grip handle was nice and easy on my hands.  If you've ever used a staple gun to upholster a French chair you'll understand.

Battery Life: you just plug it in to the power point to recharge for a few hours so it is very handy. With the 3.6V Lithium ion battery you get very good power usage. I was able to tack the whole chair and a few other projects without recharging it.  Actually I have now been using it for several weeks and not had to re-charge it - I am only using it intermittently but still it is impressive.

As a brand, I have always been impressed with Bosch power tolls, I have many other of their tools that I have bought over the years and they all still work very well. I am a bit of a fan off the saying "buy once and buy well". The Bosch tacker retails for $99 so that is pretty good value for a keen DIYer. I know I'll get very good use from mine.

Louis French chair upholstery how to DIY Lilyfield Life

I hope you've found this review and tutorial useful if you are attempting any upholstery. 

So that's one less French chair in my shed - actually I'm all out of French chairs now as I sold 2 more on the weekend to a guy who is upholstering them with a zebra hide. He's a taxidermist and a hunter and I'm pretty sure he killed the zebra himself. I was very relieved when he said he wanted the chairs to do himself and not me to do it for him.  I've killed and eaten one of our own chickens but handling a huge zebra hide is probably more than I could deal with!!

let's stick to nice striped fabric or vintage grain sacks here, ok?

Fiona xx

Louis French chair upholstery how to DIY Lilyfield Life

Friday, May 24, 2013

Lounge room update but not for long

Change is as good as a holiday

Lilyfield Life Mid Century Armchairs

Hello in the early afternoon! Yesterday I had to cancel my plans as I had a little one home sick for the day but it was nice to spend a quiet day at home (especially as I have a bit of a cold and thumping head myself). I decided to rearrange the lounge room although I probably was a bit ahead of myself as this morning I have sold the coffee table. However we won't be coffee-table-less for long as I have an old one ready for a makeover.

Lilyfield Life homewares and french painted furniture

I usually place a cabinet or bookshelf along the side wall under the chalk board lady but I thought it might be nice to switch the lounge around. I've stated before that our lounge room is a hard shape as it's very wide and not that deep. One half is where we have the tv and aubergine lounges and the other half acts as a sitting room.

Lilyfield Life homewares and french painted furniture

Soon (well within the next two years - no rush with these things, you know!) we will be knocking the whole back of the house off - this is a bit of a dogdy fibro add on with a badly poured cement slab that I painted white and a sloping roof with hideous fluro strip lights. The double doors you see above are into what would have been originally an outside toilet. It is now a tiny, tiny laundry that is almost impossible to use as it also houses our vacuum cleaner, suitcases, the ironing board etc. I have to pull everything out to put the washing on. Anyway such a first world problem.

Lilyfield Life homewares and french painted furniture
Lilyfield Life homewares and french painted furniture

The wooden chest above houses my paints and tolls that I'm using for current projects. It saves me dragging everything back out to the shed at night - and means the house at least looks tidy when I'm not mid-project.  I love the old lettering and patina on this. A good little spot to rest your drink on also.

Lilyfield Life homewares and french painted furniture

I am not a fan of overhead lights in the evening. Especially in this room as they are two huge double neon strips. We have lived with the lighting for 10 years as it just isn't worth replacing when we will eventually rebuild this room.  We have several lamps scattered around and candles. This Moroccan hanging lantern is a recent purchase, second hand from the talented and creative Miss Melissa and Mr Charlie of the InnerWest Vintage Garage Sale. If you love old junk and special treasures then join their popular facebook page. They run an auction most evenings and you can get some wonderful treasures on the cheap.

Lilyfield Life homewares and french painted furniture
Lilyfield Life homewares and french painted furniture

This is a beautiful Victorian cabinet that was my parent's. It has always been by their front door whichever house they have had. I really love the amazing carvings. Such workmanship.  I am hesitant to put stuff in the cupboard. It would really ake it mine then - another step of accepting Mum's passing. Weird I know. I have had a couple of friends whose parent have died in the last few weeks. It is so sad but I suppose to be expected now we are in our mid-40s.  It just makes me appreciate my dad even more - he's fit and well and busy with life. He even keeps me on my toes by letting me know of any grammatical errors or typos on my blog - Love you, Dad!

Lilyfield Life homewares and french painted furniture
Lilyfield Life homewares and french painted furniture

And even my kids approve of the new layout. As soon as we got home from an appointment late yesterday afternoon, they grabbed their books and snuggled up in the new area.  We are without any form of heating at the moment as I've left it so late to get our gas heater serviced - the lovely long Sydney summer had me fooled. So we are all wrapped up in blankets of an evening. Anyway, I much prefer this environmentally friendly and snuggly way of staying warm.

I am coming up to my 400th post very soon and will be hosting a give-away.  I really appreciate all the support you give me. 

Lilyfield Life homewares and painted furniture

Have a lovely weekend.  I am looking forward to sitting on the couch and having a cup of coffee while the morning sun streams in.  (after all the kids' sport  tomorrow I should find some time to do that.)

Fiona xx

Thursday, May 23, 2013

My French Inspired Coffee Table for sale

french provincial painted furniture by LIlyfield Life

Phil and I have decided to make a few changes in our lounge room. You know they do say a change is as good as a holiday - and so I am selling our French inspired coffee table.  I've had a lot of people ask about this lovely coffee table over the last year  so I'm sure it won't last long.

french provincial painted furniture by LIlyfield Life

It is an interesting and unusual shape with lots of carved details. The legs are gorgeous with claw and ball feet. The  coffee table had been antique glazed to bring out the details and then top coated with a beautiful Porters Paints sealer for durability.

It is very good condition - I have to say I mainly use it for folding clothes on! Dimensions are: 120cm by 70 cm wide by 40cm high.  Let me know if you are interested.

I am half way through painting some beautiful French drawers (in Paris Grey and Pure White) and a lovely simple chest of drawers in Duck Egg Blue. However I'm not making much progress this week to be honest with lots of family stuff going on. It's all good but the normal mother duties busy, you all know how it is I'm sure - sports, general appointments, some business consulting work, a car servicing, a sick child etc. But that's okay, no rush on these things. Painting furniture is my hobby and passion, not my mainstay.

I hope you are all having a good week also.

Fiona xx