Thursday, February 27, 2014

Vintage Paris Map Cabinets

I've had this project floating in my brain for about five months and found the two matching (but slightly different inside) cabinets last November but they've been in storage since. Last week I finally felt ready to tackle the vision in my head. I'm thrilled with how it all played out.

Two vintage Paris Map cabinets.
$450 each.

I'm happy to sell as a pair or separate. 
The blacker map (drawn in 1643) on left has three shelves inside. The grey map (drawn in 1776) cabinet has 2 shelves with vertical dividers also. 
Dimensions are 62cm wide by 38cm deep by 82cm high.

Below is the insides of the cabinet - I'll give them a wipe over with timber oil before I sell them.

Originally I planned on putting pretty crystal knob on but they didn't look good. The crystal detracted on the map so I got these gorgeous black and bronze knobs instead. Much better.

and the before photo below. When I bought these another antiques dealer laughed and said I'd never be able to make them pretty. I showed him a photo the other morning and he was so surprised and impressed. Never underestimate the power to paint and a little imagination I say!

On to the next project!

Fiona xx

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

ASCP Aubusson Blue Empire Cabinet

I love muted turquoise on furniture - much better than bright or light blue, and have painted several pieces with a lovely tin of oops paint I found at Bunnings about three years ago. A few months ago I finished the tin of paint and have been thinking I needed to source another turquoise. Last week I realised that ASCP Aubusson is a beautiful colour for my painted furniture range.

Aubusson Blue is a very french blue, named by Annie Sloan after the French town where tapestries are made, harking to the blue of the fabrics. I personally love the muddiness of it. 

I had this little Empire style cabinet to paint and thought the ASCP Aubusson would be a perfect colour for it. The mahogany is a great base for this turquoise/peacock blue. At first I thought this cabinet might be hard to paint but those metal pieces that hold the empire style rod on the sides just were nailed in and were quite easily removed with a little force.

Initially I thought of painting this in two colours but then decided against it as thought the cabinet was decorative enough - I don't like things that are too busy. I gave it two coats of ASCP, a coat of oil then a couple of coats of wax and sanded till it was silky smooth with a little distressing on the high points.

Here's an in progress shot - it's been lovely painting out in the garden - we have a shade sail over my work table so it doesn't get too hot there.

And a side by side comparison - before and after. 
I think this would make a lovey cabinet for a boys room - or a great bedside table - imagine lego set up on that shelf. It is for sale if you are interested. Dimensions are : 66cm wide, 38cm deep and 80cm tall. Single drawer, cupboard and shelf (pop a basket in there)

Hope you are having a good week
I've been a little slow responding to blog comments but will be on top of that soon, sorry. Thank you for your comments and for reading here.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Practice really does make perfect

I shared this last night on my facebook page and it seems to have struck a chord with many people. It certainly struck a chord with me.

So please enjoy Ira Glass' advice on perfecting your craft, especially good advice for beginners. The video below was put together by Daniel Sax.

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn't have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I've ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You've just gotta fight your way through.” 
Ira Glass

I so agree with this sentiment: when people say that I'm talented, I say "thanks but really, I'm just practiced."

I'm off now to do more practice - practice, paint, experiment, read, learn and do.

Keep on painting!

Fiona xx

Friday, February 21, 2014

Paint makes a big difference - white painted bedside tables

Just a quick post today to show you the big difference that white paint can make. I bought, painted and sold these bedside tables before Christmas but never got around to posting on my blog about them. I didn't even get to take proper photos so please excuse the poor quality, but I do think they are worthwhile sharing just because of the amazing difference that paint can make to old unloved furniture. 

These bedside tables are huge and had a lovely shape but were definitely in need of attention  scruff, dirty and scratched.

I was asked by a reader, Louise, if I had any bedsides for sale and I showed her these and she asked for them to be painted white.  After two coats of primer and three coats of Dulux Whisper White home made chalk paint they were looking much better.

I lined the top drawers with pretty wrapping paper to cover up the old felt. I had a tight turn around on these tables as Louise is in country NSW and her husband was in town for work. If I'd had more time I would have sorted out a difference lining for the drawers but so be it.

Never stop believing in the magic of white paint to transform your old furniture.

Fiona xx

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Brisbane weekend and Taupe Grey Painted Cabinet

Phil and I recently flew to Brisbane for a good friend's 40th birthday surprise party. We stayed at other good friends and were in hiding for a couple of days before the party. We had such a lovely time (the kids stayed in Sydney with their aunties) and it was fabulous to catch up with our Brisbane friends. The friends we stayed with are great fun, have a luxurious pool and my time was divided between laughing, talking about life and old fun times, swimming, lying by the pool and painting furniture with my friend. (and then partying hard with our other gorgeous friends at the 40th on Saturday night and recovering the next day) 

Lara had previously painted this little cabinet in ASCP Pure White but she wasn't entirely happy with it and some stains were creeping through. I suggested that Pure White may be a little stark for this old piece and against her grey taupe walls and that if we mixed some of the wall paint into ASCP Pure White that might solve her issues with it. So while we sipped our morning coffee we got to painting it. Lara said one thing she learnt from me was to just do it and get cracking. I think it's best not to put off what you can do right now. Within an hour or so we'd completely finished this project and were onto the next one.

Don't be afraid to mix paint. You can get great results. By using the wall colour in our custom mixed paint, we knew that the cabinet colour would go perfectly with the wall and blend in. Lara had grabbed this little cabinet off the side of the road years ago when one of her neighbours had tossed it. Gorgeous isn't it.

We also painted a huge pine mirror that they have had forever but the golden pine didn't go with this this house so they hadn't hung it. We painted it white and Lara is much happier with it now. We also refinished her previously painted coffee table to get a smoother table surface. It was good to teach Lara some of my chalk paint techniques. In return she taught me a new technique for sourdough bread making that I'm just loving and we chatted while we worked and solved all the problems of the world. I love days with friends like that.

We also stopped by the WAC and checked out Sandy's beautiful booth Paint Me White.

I thought you might like to see Sydney from the air as we flew home. The sun was glistening on the harbour and it was beautiful.

Fiona xx

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Interiors Addict feature

What a thrill to have Lilyfield Life featured on the ever popular interior design blog, Interiors Addict.

Pop on over to Jen's blog and read the feature.

I am so grateful to Jen for the exposure on her wonderful blog. I hope you also know that every single day I am grateful for you who read here, who follow on facebook and instagram and to those who buy my furniture. Thank you for your support and for allowing me to continue working doing what I love - painting vintage furniture.

Fiona x

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

ASCP Graphite Painted Cabinet

Some pieces of furniture have had a very hard life. 

This was one of them. Oh it was scratched, dry wood, dirty and a bit broken. (can you see my foot holding the door shut as even it didn't stay closed)

Missing beading

Broken handles, someone had carved WORKING into the top (pretty sure this is from some governemnt department) and loads of scratches. It also had a massive split in the timber at the top.

But it was a great shape with lovely legs and details and fantastic storage.

I posted a photo on facebook of the rusty garden chairs I restored and this cabinet was in the background and Yvette who had been asking after my furniture for a while asked me to paint this piece for her. We decided on ASCP Graphite for a moody look. I sanded the top with my orbital sander as it was so scratched and I needed to get the graffiti off. I used a high grit initially and then medium grit and then a very fine grit to give the top a lovely smooth finish.

I then removed both the locks and the handles. To repair the spilt and fill some holes, I mixed up some Turbo Builders Bog which is a two part polymer that cures quickly and mimics the behaviour of wood (you can carve and sand it and paint it etc). I have rebuild rotten window sills out of this stuff and while it's stinky while curing it's fantastic.  I also made a mold of the broken beading out of builders bog. I wrapped some bog in plastic wrap and pressed against the good part of the beading. Once it was dry I filled the mould with wood putty and let cure.  Here is what I ended up with.

Once it was painted and you didn't stick your face 5cm from it, it looked pretty good. Good enough for this rustic old cupboard and for Yvette anyway.

I then finished painting the cabinet and top coated it with wax. I put new locks, handles and keys on it. I was oiled the inside with Orange furniture oil.

and here it is all set up at Yvette's house. How fantastic is that sign.

Yvette sent me lovely feedback 
 "Love it! Thanks so much! It holds so much stuff - I feel like my whole life is organised now. Thanks again, Yvette x"

Monday, February 17, 2014

Works in Progress

I thought you might like to see what happening in the Lilyfield Life studio last week - okay that's an exaggeration - in the Lilyfield Life carport and lounge room.

Sorry in advance for the large amount of brown in this blog post - BUT some of it's chocolate so that's okay!

I picked this huge chest of drawers up for my sister. She said she wanted something pretty for her room and for it to go with the silver bedside table I painted for her recently.

I decided on ASCP Paris Grey to complement the silver but not look to matchy-matchy. To make that huge chest of drawers, which in actual fact is quite masculine, more pretty I have hand painted a white trim around each drawer. This really softens the whole piece and makes it much more pretty. The piece still needs a few spots touched up, a good sand and waxing but it's nearly finished.

I have also been working on a pretty console table I just love this piece with it's lovely lines and carved detail. I have been told it may be cedar but it had a huge split down the centre of the table - not on a join but in the actual wood so it needed filling and that means painting.

It is still a work in progress. I am aiming for a bone-look layered. I am not 100% confident of achieving the vision in my head but worst comes to worse I can give it a good sand and paint it white...and it will still look beautiful I'm sure.

I am also painting these lovely bow fronted chest of drawers white. A friend is first in line for buying them but if they don't turn out to be what she wants then they'll be for sale also.

The last brown piece is actually a good brown - a bear chocolate cake that I made for my friend's little boy's birthday. I had fun making this.

Hope you all had a great weekend. We celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. Beautiful times.

I also wanted to say thanks for stopping by, I always appreciate your comments and visit.

Fiona xx