Thursday, March 12, 2015

Getting there and a view

Almost every room in our house has a tradie working in it at the moment - the painters are still here, the wardrobes in the children's rooms are getting fitted out, bathrooms getting fitted with shower screens, the silicon guys are here, the electricians have been here half the week, the specialist fibro guys are here tomorrow to rip down the old sheds in our garden so I've spent the day, aided by a very kind friend, pulling out ten years of junk, camping gear, bikes and garden tools and an astonishing amount of rat poo, and of course the builders are here. It feels like such a mess and I'm working over time to stay on top of it all.

I'm tired and dirty and a bit over it all to be honest. I hate to admit but there has been tears shed in the last few days over a couple of things and tonight I may need a glass of vino before I start painting my dining rooms walls - not what I want to be doing but they need it and tonight's the only time I have free before the floors get refinished next week. We are so close to the finish line but I really do think that the last few weeks of a renovation are the hardest of the whole build.  I still have a mountain of work to do once the builders finish but we have to be out of the house next week so it will all have to wait. 

We do have a beautiful view though.
It's about the only thing worth photographing at the moment :)  Here's what I see from my bed through different times of the day.

That is keeping me smiling!

Fiona xx

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Renovation Update: Staircase Progress

When I had a draftsman draw up my plans for the house, I always knew that the stairs would be difficult and that what he had drawn wouldn't work. I kept saying to our builder Sam, who at the time was building one of my neighbour's house that the stairs in our approved plans weren't actually going to work. Sam said Don't worry we will work it out when we start the build. Back in September last year when he arrived for the job at 7am the first thing he did was go and measure where the stairs were meant to be and of course they didn't work. So we immediately decided to flip the house plan around put the stairs on the other side of the house. Nothing like designing a house on the fly. Luckily Sam and I are both spatial and were able to quickly come up with a good design. What this meant is that I ended up with a big laundry (instead of a space under the stairs, a grand staircase but no study in the centre of the house. That's actually a good thing though as I'm quite messy on my desk and I think it's better for my desk to be in my studio at the front of the house anyway.

I wanted paneling all along once we changed the stair case design to an open U shape but then we had a pipe for the upstairs bathroom that wouldn't quite fit over the kitchen beams below and so the wall on the upstairs side of the staircase wasn't flush and I knew then that paneling would be functional as well as beautiful as the paneling would hide the wall step.

Except for the timber treads needing to be sanded and sealed and the risers need another coat of white paint on them, the staircase is pretty much finished. Here are some progress shots.

I can't wait for it to all be finished.

Fiona xx

Monday, March 9, 2015

Proud Mummy - my daughter's art

On Saturday morning we were walking into the markets where we buy our weekly vegetables and I commented to Phil about the beautiful art works on the fence. There is a fantastic charcoal drawing of an owl that I loved and then out of the corner of my eye this beautiful bright interpretation of Monet's waterlilies caught my attention. I went to see it and then saw my daughter's name underneath. She hadn't told me her art work had been selected so I was so surprised and amazed by her use of colour.

I think it will make a fabulous piece of artwork for above her bed.  I just spoke to her art teacher and she said that another piece of my daughter's work is further up on the fence so I'll have to go check it out at school pickup.

Speaking of beautiful artworks - Sydney's sunrise was gorgeous this morning. Photos snapped on my husband's phone.

Have a wonderful day. I've got to finish dry brushing some bedsides that I'll share tomorrow.
Fiona xx

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Cake Stall Ideas - School Fundraiser

Our school holds a cake stall once a term for fundraising. We are lucky enough that there are farmers markets held on the school grounds every Saturday (The Orange Grove Markets) and so it's an easy thing to set up a stall and sell our baking efforts to the general public.

I wanted to gather a collection of ideas for cake stall baking in one place so I thought I'd blog about it.  I hope it helps you for your next fundraiser.

Cupcakes are always a favourite. 
Presentation is everything so make them look good!

Friands - use this recipe and you can swap out the raspberries for any other berries, lemon juice, choc chips etc.

Honey Joys - Recipe here

Whole cakes

Whole cakes sell very well at our cake stall.They also require less work on your behalf than cupcakes so if you are short on time then it's always a good option.

 This is a great chocolate cake recipe - super easy and works every time.

Slices and brownies sell well and are pretty quick to make. The chewy chocolate slice I blogged about here is always popular and you can whip up in 5 minutes of mixing and 20 mins of baking.

Apple Pies

Scones sold as take home or picnic packs

Rocky Road is ever popular. Recipe here

It's always a good idea to have some little bags of treats that people can take away or give as gifts. These balls above are glazed cherries, condensed milk and coconut balls. Super easy and we sold each bag for $5. Other bag ideas are small biscuits, chocolates, apricot balls, savory biscuits. 

Other ideas are:
Individual pavlovas or Meringues. These can be served in a bowl with cream and fruit and spoon for just dry.
Little bags of popcorn
Anzac biscuits
Marshmallows on a skewer, dipped in chocolate and rolled in 100s & 1000s.
Fairy Bread
Chocolate dipped Strawberries
Toffees and Toffee Apples
Fruit Muffins
Banana Bread sold by slice or whole
Decorated Gingerbread Men
    I hope this helps next time you are searching for school baking ideas.  If you have any other ideas, please add it in the comments section.


    Friday, March 6, 2015

    Master bedroom wardrobe painting fest

    Painting these wardrobes for our bedroom nearly killed me but I am so glad to have them finished. 98% finished anyway as the handles are still to arrive and need to be installed.

    The hardest part of painting these was getting an even sheen in the Aquaenemal Semi gloss paint. The second hardest part was my limited time frame to do this massive job. I had two evenings to get it done as I couldn't paint during the day as there was too much dust from the builders working. The first evening I managed to paint two of the long doors and 4 drawers. The carpet was due to be installed yesterday (and of course it was delayed by the company) so I wanted to get it all finished on my second night of painting. 

    I finished painting at 2:30am and I was aching all over. It's no good to paint in semi gloss when you are tired. It is very hard to get a perfect sheen. Anyway it all all done and on Wednesday night I put down my paint brush and enjoyed a few glass of bubbles with some girlfriends. Such a relief to have it finished. We are going to love having all this storage space. The handles should arrive today - I found them on eBay and I really hope that they suit it.

    However my painting tasks haven't finished. I have one more cabinet door to do in the laundry and then the lounge room cabinetry. These will be much easier due to their smaller size.

    Hopefully the carpet layer turns up today.

    Fiona xx

    Thursday, March 5, 2015

    French Style coffee Table

    A few years ago I upcycled an old coffee table into what is possibly my husband's favourite piece of mine. He refuses to let me sell it although I've had many offers.

    Although not slatted and a little different, my latest project reminds me of this coffee table. The photos don't do it justice. We are at the very final stages of our renovation and I have so little space to work and style furniture in. You may need to use your imagination :)

    Here it is before. The varnish had turned very red and the top was a bit scratched.  

    The coffee table is for sale. Dimensions 1060mm by 460mm wide and 450mm tall. $375. 
    Email me or call 0405766445. Pick up Lilyfield.
    The coffee table has a waxed finish so it's best to use a coaster or a magazine to put down your drink.

    This will probably be my last piece of furniture for a month or so while I concentrate on finishing the house.

    Our carpet was due to be installed today but it's been delayed till tomorrow. Luckily we built an extra day in to our schedule in case they were delayed.


    Tuesday, March 3, 2015

    Industrial Card File

    Hello from my sea of sawdust and white paint. I am limping to the finish line of our renovation. It will all be finished by Easter (that's when the builders leave although I will still have more work). I am very much looking forward to living in the new space although I am still coming to terms with it being ours - part of me feels it's a bit decadent. Weird but I am sure we will get used to it all pretty quickly. Photos coming soon.

    A lovely Lilyfield neighbour asked me if I wanted an old CD unit they were getting rid of. I almost declined as I've got a lot of painting on at the moment with our house renovations. Once I saw it I am so glad I didn't refuse it. 

    Industrial filing card drawer painted by Lilyfield Life

    The handles on this piece make it for me. I thought the piece could look very industrial with the right finish so I painted it in ASCP French Linen, lightly distressed it and waxed it with clear wax. When painting a piece like this it's worth the effort to unscrew the handles and paint without the hardware. A bit fiddly especially as the screw holes are uniform and you need to match each drawer with each handle when putting them back on but you will get a much nicer finish.

    Still painting next to my bed...not long to wait now.

    Industrial filing card drawer painted by Lilyfield Life

    This piece was snapped up very quickly on social media. I had many buyers asking to be next in line. I
    ll have to keep a look out for more like this.

    Today I'm working on the doors fronts for our wardrobe. I need to have them painted by Thursday morning when the carpet is installed. We are then moving upstairs into the bedrooms while downstairs is finished. All very exciting.

    Have a great day
    Fiona x