Sunday, 10 May 2015

Before and After: White And Grey Bedsides


My apologies...again...for my absence here. It seems this is how all my posts will begin now. With me apologising. I'm sincerely sorry and hope I can get my act into gear and begin posting regularly again. 
I do miss blogging and connecting and sharing with you guys!
I just don't seem to make the time to post as often as I'd like. I honestly thought that life would get slower as the girls got older. Ha!! How wrong I was!!

Anyhoo, enough of excuses...lets get to today's redesign ;-)

I was lucky enough to be asked to redesign two matching bedsides for a client's daughter, whose room is being completely made over! I knew she loved shabby chic style and that white and grey were the colours of choice, but was then given free reign with their design. Yay!!

This is what I came up with -

Still shabby chic but I gave them a modern twist with the custom grey colour. 
I haven't done any distressing for months and I really enjoyed doing it again on these!
I didn't distress the grey, I wanted to keep it a solid colour for a little contrast.

This is how they started out -

When going white, it always takes 3-4 coats to get full coverage over a previously stained/painted finish. Its always a beautiful, neutral result and looks so fresh and clean...but not easy when you aren't  naturally a patient person ;-)
I am definitely NOT naturally patient and have found the only way I cope when painting things white is when I have a few other projects on the go at the same time. 
Distraction works wonders too ;-)

And for those of you who are new reading this, I usually give brief details of how I achieve my redesigns, in case you feel like a DIY (feel free to email me if you'd like me to elaborate on anything:-) and for those who have stuck with me (thank you!), you may remember my love of the fast and furious movies, and my usual Fast 5 in the spirit of the latest (bittersweet) one...I give you -

My Furious 7 Deets!!

1. The design has been planned out (or not! Often I just wing it) in my head and the very first thing I did was remove the hardware (knobs), take the drawers out (you can number them if you're so inclined, so they go back in the right spot) and give everything a good clean with a damp cloth. I now always use a Norwex cloth, they are just THEE best!!

2. I mixed up my DIY chalk paint in a separate container and did the first coat of that, then when dry I do a very quick and light sand with a 320grit sanding sponge (I get mine from Mitre 10). Sanding in between each coat like this gives you the smoothest possible end result.

3.Wipe over with a damp cloth, then on goes coat number two. Just normal paint this time. I only use the chalk paint on the first coat to help it stick because no, I didn't sand first. Impatient, remember! ;-)

4. Remember to read your labels! Paint tin labels, I mean. Make sure you've left it to dry as long as it says on the side (that way there's less chance of anything going wrong). I use Dulux so it takes 2 hours before you can recoat. The DIY chalk paint is can paint over that when it's touch dry. It'll dry heaps quicker because of the plaster of paris. Anyway, this is where we do another light sand again (as above), wipe over then apply coat number three.

5. Either repeat step 4 (I did) or if you're happy with the coverage, you can tape off the sections you are going to do in the darker colour. One important point I'd like to make you aware of is that when I'm applying painters tape (I use the blue Scotch painters tape, again from Mitre 10) I won't use it if I've painted the piece that day. It needs to dry longer than a couple of hours before you stick tape on it (preferably 24 hours - patience) otherwise it will remove some of the paint you have just painstakingly applied. And not in a cool distress-y way. Learn from my mistakes. ;-)
Paint on two coats of your chosen colour - again, following the drill from above. i.e. waiting the required time before painting the second coat and light sand in between.

6. Let it dry. As long as your patience will allow, but at least 24 hours. Then you can distress it. I do this with my mouse sander with a high-ish grit sandpaper and minimal pressure from my brute strength. Its best to remove a little at a time, stand back and have a look. You can always sand more away. Take too much too soon and you'll find yourself back at step one and none of us have the patience for that! :-)

7. Now you just need to wax it to protect all that hard work! I used Annie Sloan's soft wax on this. It's expensive but you get what you pay for. Its the best stuff I've used. It cures in 30 days and provides a tough barrier to protect from general use. It's easy to apply just wipe on, let it dry a touch then buff off. It leaves a nice subtle sheen too. 
Pop your hardware back on or attach newies and you are done!

Well done you!

Now go forth and create!! :-)

Courts xx

Sunday, 8 March 2015

A Courts Update

So its been a while. Sorry. 
I think we just have to resign ourselves to the fact that the frequency of me posting on here is going to be a surprise. Who knows when it will happen!
Sorry about that but unfortunately it's the best I can do at the moment. 
Life is busy and the nights (when I would usually sit and type blog posts) are more often spent trying to get girls into bed, working on stuff for the committee that I'm on or I'm in bed early from exhaustion. 

But just know that I do miss blogging and it's not something I'm ready to give away just yet, I just can't commit to regular posting like I tried to late last year. I really gave it my best!

So what have I been up to?

My health situation (leaky gut) has been pretty much doing my head in. I got better, then worse and it didn't seem to matter what I ate, I still had bad symptoms.

So I rebelled and gave in to my mega cravings for carbs and ate bread. And hot chips.
I was completely over cooking three times a day and had lost my mojo in the kitchen, hence the rebellion. 
My paleo/clean diet was a way of life and was so easy for me to commit to because of how good I felt. But when you have these not very nice symptoms for an extended period of time no matter how good I ate...well something had to give. I found that eating toast and hot chips actually helped reduce my symptoms. Go figure!

BUT...eating processed bread again also has (of course!) a negative side. Which is why I gave all that cr*p food away a couple of years ago. I have major brain fog as well as feeling flat and a little bloating. Those additives, preservatives and lack of any nutrition in that fake food really mess with us. And I know that, have known it for a long time but when you experience it first hand...well its a real eye opener.

It was more likely the carbohydrate part that is helping, not the fact that it was bread or chips. This is something that I need to research more and probably need expert help with, but it's definitely interesting!

So my gut health and eating are kind of in no-mans land right now, but my fitness is still improving. 
Exercise is something that I haven't lost my mojo for. Yay!
I train 4/5 times a week at Fuzion fitness here in Horsham and I just love it! I love the atmosphere and have met some fantastic people!
At each assessment I've had there I've made muscle gains each time while my measurements have either pretty much stayed the same or gone down. I'm very happy with that. :-)

This is me in January about to go and train at the hotel gym when I was in Melbourne for the tennis. It was early morning so forgive the bedhead look ;-)

I haven't done too much work of late as one child has been home sick all last week, but I have plenty on the cards and have lots to show you, it is just finding the time to get posts written and photos uploaded - it can just be so time consuming sometimes!

Anyway, thanks for reading and persevering with me, I truly appreciate it!

Hope you are well!!

Courts xx

Monday, 1 December 2014

Before And After: Antique Dentist Table

Well silly season has definitely kicked off here! It's crazy busy in pretty much every area of my life at the moment, hence I've missed another week of posting on here and I'm sorry about that!
But I'm back this week with a cute side table to show you that I recently finished :-)

I've called it a dentist table because it once belonged to a dentist (my client's Grandfather) who used it in his waiting room.

It's the perfect size to hold some magazines, lamp, plant etc. 

When I got it, it looked like this...

and underneath (where it hadn't been painted) was quite dark. I had no idea what type of timber it was made from - still don't ;-) - and we were hoping it was lighter timber underneath all the paint. It wasn't looking promising, what with it being so dark underneath. I figured it was a naturally dark timber. It couldn't be stain! I mean, who stains the underneath side of furniture??

Well apparently back in the day, they did!

As you can see it's now a gorgeous, light natural timber!
Well, except for the parts I've painted of course ;-)

I'm guessing this is some kind of hardwood, but I'm really not sure. It's come up beautifully anyway! 
Once I finished sanding, I waxed with Miss Mustard Seed's wax and it brought it up so smooth and glossy. Did you notice the reflections on the table top? It's that kind of finish that you just can't stop touching!!
Well if you're a furniture freak like me, you can't stop! And just FYI, a furniture freak is a good's one of those clubs that all the cool kids belong to ;-)
Maybe I'll call it 'Furniture Lovers Anonymous' instead? Furniture Freak might be a little negative.

If you are wondering how I did the scallop look...well if you're from the Northern Hemisphere you'd possibly assume I used a scallop tape like frog tape or something? 
Well unfortunately where I live I can't get such a product, so I have to DIY - which I am ok with - and after a first attempt at cutting my own scallopy look out of painters tape (wasn't quite up to scratch), I just used what I had on hand...namely my gold circle decals that are stuck on the wall behind the table in the pic above!

I had enough that I could spare a few ;-)

Although now I've stuck a few back on the wall! I kinda like the half white/half gold look.

The gorgeous family who own the table are very happy with it's new look, even though it didn't come with the plant and gold uashmama! Their eldest child was excited about the table after seeing a pic I'd sent when I'd finished...although not quite as excited as she was about the plant/bag it came with ;-)
Haha, my client had to explain that it didn't come with the plant.
Cool Christmas present idea though!

And so onto the next project! Even though it's crazy at the moment, it's the funnest, best time of year and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Hope your silly season is full of fun and laughter :-)

See you next week!

Courts xx

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Before And After: Antique Meat Safe

So sorry I missed last week's post! It is half written, it's the photo side of things that let me down. But I have a very cool one to share today, as well as a little insight into how I 'sometimes' work...which may or may not freak you out!
You'll know what I mean when you read that particular part :-)

I know I've said this before - every now and then you come across an extra special piece of furniture. Vintage or antique...they're all special, but those extra special ones that just have a little *something about them are just a little more exciting to work on.

And this one needed A LOT OF WORK ;-)

It's hard to see in the before photo, but it if you blew on it with a little force it would have fallen to pieces.

But it had that *something.

Character. Charm. History

Whatever you want to call had it in abundance!

So to work, we went.

And when I say we...I mean Tony. I wish I could do the rebuildey stuff. I pretty much know what needs doing and how to go about it, I just haven't had the power tool experience yet. 
I'm happy to admit that I'm scared of the circular saw, or power saw (whatever it's called;-) and am also happy to stay away from it.

But deep down somewhere (probably jammed in-between my patience and those other traits that I rarely access) lies a desire to be able to do-it-all-myself. Or DIAM if we're shortening it. I might as well coin myself a new phrase! Move over DIY, there's a new acronym in town!
DIAY! Now we can all use it :-)

There have been many DIY's in the past where I haven't actually 'done it all myself'. Maybe I needed help removing a screw or drilling some holes. 
It mightn't be much, but it takes away that 'complete' sense of achievement one gets when you finish a project. There is always that niggling feeling that I didn't, in fact, DIAM.
I DMOIM (did most of it myself) but not all. 

How can I sleep at night? ;-)

Quite easily, to be honest...this is not the kind of stuff that keeps me awake at night, haha ;-)

I digress.

So because this piece was so very special and Tony had the rebuild covered - I liaised with my beautiful clients who agreed to give me creative control with this one. Gosh I love them!;-)
I loved how it looked, which is saying something because I am not typically a lover of the colour blue. Not for furniture anyway. I'd always choose green over blue.

I wanted to...look there's no way to say this without sounding like a crazy person, so I'll just get over that and be honest with you...I wanted to 'feel' what the piece wanted me to do to it.
There. I said it. 
I talk to furniture. Well no, that's not quite right. I listen to furniture.
Strap a straight jacket on me, if you like...but it's true. 
Sometimes an old piece speaks to me and I just 'know' what to do with it. My hands just do whatever they're meant to do and the design just evolves organically without me having to really 'think' at all.
Is that weird?!  

And that is most definitely what happened with this one!

Luckily for me, my clients (the meat safe's new owners) loved the finished look!
The meat safe is happy, it's owners' are happy and I'm,win,win!!

There you have it. One of my most recent projects plus a little insight into the weirdness that is me. 
What more could you want for your Tuesday?! ;-)

I'm not going to bother with any of the technical stuff today, except to say all the paint work (new and old) has been sealed with water based poly.

If you have any questions though, feel free to email me (apprentice I'm only too happy to help! :-)

Hope you have a fantastic week!

Courts xx

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

A Tale Of Leaky Gut.

As I type this, I am away from home and my now familiar MAC. I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get photo's loaded onto this PC, so I've moved this planned-for-the-future post up the list because it's something I can publish without any pictures.

As you can tell from the post title, its all about leaky gut. Well my leaky gut. And I really could not come up with any pic ideas to go along with it!

So if you follow me on Instagram, you'll probably know I've got leaky gut and have been on a 6 week detox to start the healing process. It's been tough, I've gotta say and I definitely have a new found appreciation of gut health and I will never, ever take it for granted again!

So what is leaky gut? Well my understanding is that it means the lining of the gut has been compromised or develops small holes etc that large undigested food particles can slip through into the body where they are definitely not meant to go. This causes a number of not very nice symptoms - of which I'm sure a quick google can fill you in on, if you are curious - but the good news is it can be repaired!

So how can you get leaky gut? I'll only talk about my own scenario here, and for me it came about from a bacterial infection I got from something I ate. Possibly I undercooked chicken or something, I don't really know. So having this bad, bad bacteria in my system coupled then with antibiotics (which are really harsh on the gut, I never knew this), weakened my gut lining. Even though I was eating clean, unprocessed foods and had been for a long time, I hadn't eaten much of anything that was full of good bacteria for my gut. Hello leaky gut!

My symptoms have been going on for a long, long time as it's taken ages to get to the bottom of what was actually wrong with me. Doctors visits, tests, waiting to hear back from doctors who forget to actually check their emails for tests results, more doctors visits, more tests, more waiting.
Like I said, its taken a while! And also taken it's toll on my body. I am really low in iron as well as most other vital minerals and vitamins because even though I eat really well, nothing is in my system long enough to be absorbed. I have been told by family/friends that don't see me everyday that I look exhausted or terrible and other even worse things. Yeah it's not the nicest thing to hear, so if you see me in the street and think I look terrible, rest assured I'm on top of my health and doing everything I can to be back to 100% healthy again.

 I am now under the support and guidance of a wonderful naturopath and I've just completed a very strict 6 week detox. This involved removing all toxins from my diet, which for me probably wasn't so bad as I eat so well anyway, but I did have to cut out coffee and red meat and also my favorite go-to meal base...eggs. I actually have to keep away from eggs for a while longer as one of the tests I had revealed I react to egg whites, cows milk and peanuts. The last two doesn't bother me as I don't eat them anyway, but eggs are hard to go without!

I did discover coyo on my detox! I've never been a yoghurt lover, but plain yoghurt made from coconuts...yes please!! So the detox wasn't all bad ;-)

I also took lots of herbal support during my detox, most of them were nice thank goodness.

It will take a few months to completely heal this gut of mine and so far I've had some improvements and some setbacks. I'm positive that it's going to be even better than ever once it's healed as I now know about eating for gut health and the importance of good gut health. There is so much information out about it now if you go looking for it - although as far as I'm concerned, its not nearly enough. It needs to be in everyone's faces. All this has really rung true for me about eating for health and thinking of food as medicine etc.

So what can you do to ensure you have good gut health? Well that, my friends is your homework! Haha! You can research what works best for you and your body, but for me right now it means eating fermented foods daily, not drinking water during my meals, eating coyo, bone broth, drinking kombucha and (after I do a little more research on synthetic and non-synthetic) taking probiotics. I also want to look more into food combining - which helps with digestion as different foods digest at different rates.

Congratulations if you've made it all the way to the end! Thanks for reading and I hope this gets you thinking about your own gut health and maybe do a little research yourself.
That was my sole aim by sharing my story here - to perhaps spark a little interest on this subject in you, my lovely reader. I want you to continue to have good gut health and health in general too!

Courts xx

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Before And After: Refinished Childs Rocker

I don't very often do strict refinishing of furniture, but when I do...I always end up enjoying it!
I think at the beginning of these refinishing projects, I feel like I maybe won't enjoy it so much as it's all of the 'work' side of things and none of the creative side. 

But then I remember how much I actually enjoy the 'work' side of my job!! ;-)

I find sanding very therapeutic and the staining and sealing parts are fun, plus I like the challenge. Strict refinishing can get a little technical sometimes, hence the challenge, whereas the creative stuff I normally do is more natural and organic and flowy (if that makes sense!) I can 'feel' what needs to be done while I'm working on the creative stuff and refinishing needs to be more planned and strict and each step followed to a T.

They each have their own positives ;-)

My latest refinishing project was this very sweet antique childs rocker, which originated in the U.S and somehow made it's way out here to Oz years ago.
I think it's a beautiful American style - not something that we Aussies see very often, so it was a real pleasure to work on this unique one :-)

Actually, I enjoy all the pieces I work on! They are all a pleasure to work on! I just loved that this one was made in another country...especially one where a lot of my readers are from and a country that I've actually been to! (Hello to those in The States!! :-)

So this is how it started out -

And now after it has had a little repair work done on the wonky seat, its been sanded, and sanded, and sanded, and re-stained in walnut stain, then sealed with satin poly -

Looks ready to face another few decades of little ones rocking away on it!

I must admit I'm feeling a little stressed atm with projects. I have a LOT of them to do and will have our youngest in tow full-time for the next two weeks. Yikes!!
I generally don't work unless I'm child free - I literally cannot wear my 'mum' hat AND my 'work' hat at the same time, it would end in tears. Probably mine. However I may need to break that rule just this once to try and complete some projies...if you have any suggestions on how to paint/sand etc with a four year old...I'd love to hear them!

Have a wonderful rest of the week!!

Courts xx

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Before And After: Two Upholstered Antique Chairs


So it seems my posting-here-once-a-week is going swimmingly so far! Thanks for sticking with me during my blogging slump, I appreciate you coming back to see what I've been up to :-)

Speaking of what I've been up to...

Over winter I tend to have more upholstery projects - which I love because it means I can set up in front of the TV, put on a movie and work away in the warmth. 
I also seem to have an abundance of ottomans/footstools here and they are usually the perfect height to sit a chair on to upholster ;-)
The only down side is the clean up afterwards. Staples everywhere. It's not my favorite part. 

I have two chairs to show you that I reupholstered over winter for clients. 
Unfortunately I must have deleted all my pics of the second chair, so I'm sharing the same pics I posted on Instagram. 

The first one is an antique rocker that my client scored when they bought a farmhouse. It had been sitting unused on the verandah for a while but was still in good nic. 
The colour worked for them so it was a refinish of the timber arms and some new fabric in the same tone. Take a look!

The before -

And a little footstool to match...

This was underneath the old fabric! Pretty cool, right? My client thinks her Grandma might have embroidered it! It was definitely NOT thrown out like most of the 'before' fabrics do ;-)

And the other chair and footstool combo I did started out looking like this -

They weren't bought together and in this before pic, don't go together at all...but now -

Much better!

This one had its ugly, dark stain removed and then was waxed for protection.

And for the upholstery for both of these, I did what I always do, which is to follow along what the previous upholsterer did. I take photos as I'm removing the old fabric - sometimes video too so I can give my future self advice if I'm not going to be working on the chair again in the next couple of days.

Very high tech, I know ;-)

It's been action stations as per normal around here as I work on quite a few pieces at once, plan for my annual market stall in December as well as being a mum, taxi, housekeeper etc as per normal and hectic everyday life.

Some days by the end, I have to take myself out for a walk (I drag Doyle, our dog out too!) just so my frustrations don't cause world war 3 or worse...children in tears.
I always find it's worse during the first few weeks of daylight savings. There is usually a period of adjustment and everyone ends up a bit grumpy by the days end. This year it seems to be dragging on longer.

I always remember an old client from hairdressing days who was a social worker telling me that the busiest time of year for her, with lots and lots of callouts is the days around when daylight savings starts.

Amazing that an hour difference can have such a big impact on our lives!

Anyway...thanks for listening :-)

See you next week,

Courts xx
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