Saturday, September 27, 2014

Saturday morning bliss

Wishing you all a weekend of love and sunshine. 

We've escaped the house renovation chaos and left the city behind. We are enjoying a sweet weekend away with our beautiful kids and my dad and stepmother. Dad's just about to teach the kids how to light the best BBQ fire and pass on some of his Boy Scout skills. Pyromaniacs in the making 😊.

Creating childhood memories. 


Have a good weekend. 
Fiona xx

Friday, September 26, 2014

House Renovation: Week One

I'm at a point where I don't even know where to start and what to tell you first. So much has happened this last week and I've missed keeping you updated. Each time I sit down to write I either remember something else I need to do or I'm just so exhausted that the couch or bed seems a better option. This morning though, my kids are at my sister's for a couple of hours, I have dinner in the oven cooking to drop over to a sick friend and I so am making time for an update here.

Firstly...I am unbelievably happy about the progress with our house renovations and how the house is unfolding.  Our builder Sam and his assistant, Murray, started on Monday and have spent the week demolishing the back rooms of the house. They built a ply wall between where we are living during the renovations and the building site. Not a fleck of dust is coming through the wall. We are barely affected by the building site at all...not like last time when we renovated and had no bathroom or kitchen for months.  Our laundry has been temporarily relocated to one of the sheds in the garden but at least it's fully functioning. We don't have a dining table in our current set up but we'll cope eating off the coffee table and kitchen bench for the duration.

This living space is usually our dining room off the kitchen but we decided it's better to have a good lounge room than a dining table for the 7-8 months of the renovation so we've set it up like this. It's lovely and coy. Phil has set my computer up on the console table in the corner and it's where I'm blogging now from and tracking the house costs with all my spreadsheets!

I thought you might like to see some photos of the back of the house when we first moved in. The house was a deceased estate and both owners had died of emphysema and the house had lots of smoke stains including two patches on the ceiling above the bed. Ewww....

Here is the back yard after we'd been here for a few years. We always knew one day we'd do a big renovation and go upstairs so we never spent much money on it in the interim. The hills hoist was pulled down about a year after the photo was taken and all the plants have grown massively.

(we are selling the spa if anyone is interested!)

The garden has grown so much (and so have the kids. That's Jonty in the highchair)

Here's the house this week.

What I think is interesting is that the original house paint colour on these bricks below is almost the exact colour we painted the house. it was pink when we bought it and we painted it Dulux Seed Pearl and when we pulled the fibro add on room off there is the same colour! 

Day 4

The room with the bookcase built in the side is Jonty's old bedroom and that will be our laundry/utility room. Enormous! The little door to the side hidden behind the timber was an old toilet that a few years ago we made into our laundry. This room is getting made smaller as the staircase is going where my desk used to be and the 800mm of the bottom floor behind the stair case will be a ling narrow wine cellar.  You can see in this photo above the ply wood wall that is separating the building site and our living quarters.

Before the building started but after we'd cleared out the rooms I let the kids go made with spray paint. They loved it!

When we pulled down the study ceiling we found a beautiful old horsehair plaster ceiling underneath. So sad to think this had been covered up while we were here. It's not able to be saved . I'm not sure if you can make out the detail but it was so ornate and lovely.

When the asbestos was being removed we cleared out and Jonty had a playdate so Sasha and I had some well earned pampering. She's been on the crowbar while I've been lifting the very heavy pavers. She is such a hard worker and a joy to be with.

I'll keep you updated with the renovation progress if you are interested.

Fiona xx

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Winner is (Wagner Australia Giveaway)

Thank you to everyone who entered this generous giveaway brought to you by Wagner Australia. I loved reading all your beautiful comments and seeing how many of you shared the post and liked the photo. It was definitely one of my highest ever reaching posts on Facebook.

I was going to get one of my kids to do the draw for the giveaway but they REALLY needed to go to bed early tonight. It's the end of school term and they are both waaaayy over tired! So I shut my eyes and drew out the winner myself. The lucky new owner of the beautiful turquoise cabinet I sprayed with the Wagner Flexio 585 sprayer is...

Miles, can you please contact me on 0405 766 445 to arrange pickup of your prize. I hope you love it.

If you missed out on winning this then why not spray a cabinet yourself with some Wagner gear. I have used my gun for several other pieces since getting it. It's fabulous for priming pieces quickly also.

For this cabinet I used the Flexio 585. Initially I used the Brilliant attachment (which has a very fine spray) until I got more confident and then I finished it off with the standard spray nozzle.  The paint I used was Dulux Porpoise Place. It's a lovely teal colour. It is meant to be mixed in an Ultra Deep Base but the hardware guy made a mistake and only used a deep base but as I wasn't colour matching anything I didn't mind. 

For the handles I used antique gold Rub N Buff. I love this stuff! What a great product to spruce up old hardware. You must wipe it on with your fingers and let it dry.

Thank you once again for everyone who entered.
Sorry I don't have a cabinet for each of you!

Fiona xx

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dining table, French Kitchen and a Tiled Floor

Back in April I received an email from Marianne asking me to paint her dining table and kitchen hutch white. At the time I was busy with a lot of jobs and the items were too big for me to paint here at home so I turned the work down. One of Marianne's friends had recommended me to her so she nicely asked again. I finally agreed but said to save moving the items and me having to paint a massive hutch in my bedroom that I would paint them onsite. This week I finally started the job. Little did I realise just what a gorgeous site I would be painting them in.

I put a drop sheet down on the floor to protect the beautiful tiles. I shared a couple of photos on facebook and had lots of people ask about the tiles. They are from Belmondo Tiles, Parramatta Road, Camperdown. 

Marianne didn't want to spend a lot of money on her dining table. She just wanted to make match better with her kitchen. As the top was in very good condition (Tasmanian Oak) we decided to just paint the apron and legs of the table. 

Marianne's kitchen is a poly pac in Dulux Natural White and she wanted the other furniture to match it. So I used my home made chalk paint recipe and painted the apron and legs. I just used two coats of Zinsser primer and then 4 coats of paint.  I turned the table upside down and taped off the underside of the table. For the final coat I flipped the table up the right way to ensure there wasn't any little bits I'd missed.

Because I was painting onsite, I had some time in between coats with nothing else to do.  My sister-in-law lives in the same suburbs so she came over and we went for a lovely walk in a nearby park. Spring is definitely here!

Marianne is so happy with her dining table and is planning on buying some new chairs. Once school holidays are over I'll go back and paint her hutch.

I think it's going to be fabulous painted. (excuse my box of tools in the background!)

I'm off to someone else's house today to paint onsite. I think it may be the way to go while we are renovating!

and don't you love Marianne's kitchen?

have a good day

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Lovely Feedback - thank you!

I have lovely customers!! Thank you all for being so kind. I got some lovely feedback today from Geraldine about this cabinet I recently painted for her.

"Hi Fiona
Here is a photo of the hutch (finally). My apologies for taking so long. I just couldn’t get a good picture to do the cabinet justice (and I still can’t). 
We are very happy with this piece – it may not be as lush as other pieces but I am always happy to see things reused, repurposed and reloved. I can imagine that this was difficult to paint – but you did a great job. You are very talented!
I love reading your blog, and wish you all the best with your renovations.

Here's the cabinet before on the left (very reddish brown) and finished but not assembled on the right. It was too big for me to reassembled and take staging photos so it's lovely to see it all together and filled back at Geraldine's house.

Thanks Geraldine for the lovely feedback, you made my day.

Fiona xx

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Win with Wagner: a gorgeous turquoise cabinet

Hi everyone, well this is the opportunity you've all been waiting for. I'm so excited to be able to offer this giveaway!

Wagner Australia are giving you the change to win this fabulous vintage cabinet that I painted using the Wagner Flexio 585 spray gun.

To enter please go to my Lilyfield Life facebook page and follow the instructions.

This vintage cabinet offers very practical storage with two cupboards and three drawers. The dimensions are: 102cm wide by 137cm tall and 51cm deep.

The winner must be able to pick up the cupboard from Lilyfield, (Sydney's inner west) within 2 weeks of the draw or to pay for removal/courier at their own cost.

Good luck!!

and a big thanks to Wagner Australia for making this giveaway possible.

All the legal junk - Terms and conditions for the giveaway are below for those that need these things.

Fiona xx

1. The promoter is: Fiona Gaven

2. Employees of Wagner Australia or their family members shall not be permitted to enter the competition.

3. There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.

4. Route to entry for the competition and details of how to enter are via

5. Closing date for entry will be 8pm 18th Spetember 2014. After this date no further entries to the competition will be permitted.

6. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.

7. The rules of the competition and the prize for each winner are as follows: Follow both Lilyfieldlife and Wagner Australia on Facebook and Like the competition photo on Lilyfield Life's facebook page.

8. The promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice in the event of a catastrophe, war, civil or military disturbance, act of God or any actual or anticipated breach of any applicable law or regulation or any other event outside of the promoter’s control. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter.

9. The promoter is not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied to any entrant by any third party connected with this competition.

10. No cash alternative to the prizes will be offered. The prize is not transferable.

11. The Winner will be chosen at random by software from all entries received and verified by Promoter.12. The winner will be announced on on Friday 19th of September. If the winner does not make contact or claim the prize within 14 days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.

12. The promoter will notify the winner when and where the prize can be collected.

13. The promoter’s decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

14. By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.

15. The competition and these terms and conditions will be governed by Australian law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of Australia.

16. The winner agrees to the use of his/her name in any publicity material. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current Australian data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent.

17. Entry into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions.

18. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

5 Quick Tips for painting with ASCP

When I was teaching the recent series of classes for painting furniture with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, I realised that there are a lot of little tips and techniques that I do automatically that you perhaps you may not know. once you get to a certain skill level so much of what you do becomes second nature so I found it very interesting to go back to basics with a few people to give them a good grounding in painting.

I thought today I'd share 5 quick tips for using ASCP.

1.  Before you start painting, don't only shake the tin a little. I know you are VERY KEEN to get painting but turn the tin upside down for about 20 minutes and then shake upside down. Make sure the lid is on nice and tight first though!  Because ASCP is so "compoundy" (I'm struggling to think of the correct word) a simple shake of the tin is really not sufficient. This is especially true in Australia where the paint tins have sat for so long on their journey here from the manufacturers in America. All that chalk compound and some of the colour pigment settles at the bottom of the tin.

2. Depending on how shiny/glossy your piece is, give it a light sand before painting. I know, I know ... the whole reason you bought your can of ASCP is the promise of not having to prepare, sand or prime. BUT a little prep work will save you a whole lot of hassle down the track. Annie Sloan herself will tell you that very shiny modern pieces need a little sanding. I use a medium grit sanding sponge. The aim is to not remove the previous varnish or paint; just to create a little key for the paint to adhere to. If your piece is raw timber or old then this step can be skipped.  If you think the piece might bleed, prime with Zinsser or clear shellac.

3. Don't panic if the first coat looks like cr*p. This is a point where so many people give up and think they can't paint, but don't worry! First coats always look bad. The second coat will make a world of difference and you will be glad you persevered. Some spots may even need a third coat.

4. For your second coat, before you load the paint on your brush, slightly dip the very tip of your brush into water - just so that it touches the meniscus and your brush is the tiniest bit wet. Then load your brush with paint. This will give you a much nicer second coat.

5. Sanding after painting or after waxing will make your piece much nicer to touch. Well worth the effort. Use a very fine grit sanding sponge or paper for a lovely velvety feel.

What other tips can you add?

Fiona x

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

10 Spray Painting Tips from Wagner Australia

Several months ago I had a call from Wagner Australia offering me a great deal: they would send one of their Territory Managers to teach me to use their spray gun on one of my pieces of furniture, they would then buy the piece I sprayed and offer it as a giveaway on Lilyfield Life, and I get to keep the spray gun gear. I thought that was such a win for all of us so I agreed.

I'm still working on the piece of furniture and hope to have it finished tomorrow. Stay tuned for your chance to win it as it's a beauty and so very functional.  In the meantime, I thought I'd share what I learnt on Friday with Alun from Wagner. He's such a great guy and we had a lovely productive few hours together as he taught me lots of tricks of the trade.

Wagner sent me their Flexio 585 Sprayer and the Brilliant Attachment. I have to say that I love the Brilliant attachment particularly. I'm such a novice sprayer and was so nervous of overspray and paint runs but this attachment has such a fine spray that there is virtually NO overspray and I had zero runs. The blue nozzle has what they call golf ball technology to make the paint flow extremely well and finely.

Here you can see how fine the spray is and how directional it is. We were just having a practice run with water for me to get used to wielding the gun. (not my arm LOL)!

Look at the video of Alun below spraying an old timber door. We haven't taped the edges but they remain unpainted, such is the fine spray.

Alun's Spray Painting Tips

1.  Dilute the paint a little. The Wagner gun comes with a handy 10% measuring tool that takes the guess work out of this.
2.  Warm the paint, especially when the weather is cold. Do this by putting the paint in the spray gun flask and then filling your sink with warm to hot water. Let the flask sit for 5 minutes. This will help the viscosity of the paint and let it flow better.

3. Cover hinges or door hardware with Vaseline. Once the paint is dry, then wipe off the paint to reveal unpainted hardware underneath.

4. Test spray on an old piece of cardboard or timber to ensure you have a good spray flow. If you need to, dilute the paint a little more until you are happy with the flow and finish.

5. Do two coats - the first coat is a tack coat and won't look very good but don't worry as the second gives full coverage.

6. Make sure you turn the nozzle to the direction of your strokes. It's very self explanatory.

7.  Keep your gun parallel to the surface. Move your arm across the surface with the gun, rather than tilting the gun.

8. Release the trigger nozzle at the end of each stroke to avoid runs and overspray. See here for a good technique to explain what I mean by that. You can see (and hear) that the guy releases the trigger at the end of each swipe pass.

9.  When you are finished it's very easy to dismantle the gun and clean up in warm soapy water for water based paints. Alun normally two buckets; one with warm soapy water for the initial rinse and then the second with warm clean water for the final rinse. To be honest I just did it in my kitchen sink. I found that the whole cleaning process took me about 2 minutes. So quick and easy.

10. And the last piece of advice was my favourite. Be confident! I was worrying a little about whether Wagner Australia would like how the piece turned out and if it was going to be what they wanted. Alun said that I am the artist and that people come to me because they like what they at Lilyfield Life and I need to be faithful to my style and what I feel that each piece of furniture needs.  That that's what people want and pay for. It made me feel much more confident with the spray gun and how I want to use it in my work.

Below you can see the cabinet with the primer only. I will be painting it today in the beautiful teal that I have chosen for it. I can't wait to see how it turns out and hope that you all love it and enter the competition (details coming soon)

Thanks Wagner for a great day and fabulous gear. I have already used it again on several pieces that would have been tricky with a brush.

I hope that helps those of you who are contemplating buying a spray gun. The technology had improved a huge amount recently and these tools are now so affordable and easy to use.

cheers Fiona