Thursday, 24 July 2014

Before And After: Mod Dresser Number Two


Before I get to today's B&A, I want to say a biiiiiiiiiig thank you to my North American friends who have voted for our daybed over at for their book nook contest
Its still running (up until July 29!) and you can vote daily! hint hint ;-) If the blogger you vote for wins, you are in with a chance to win too! The prize is a $100 Home Improvement gift card, a $50 Amazon gift card and a kindle paperwhite. Not bad!!

Onto the before and after!

So this is the second dresser I wanted to show you and is similar to this one I shared recently.
Similar but vastly different!

I tried something new with this one. A technique I've never tried before and had never seen on furniture before. I think it is a success and can't wait to try it again! If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen this a few weeks ago (sshh, let's not spoil it for the non-IG peeps;-))

Without further ado and all that...

Forgive...that black circle mat is impossible to keep perfectly clean ;-)

So what's so special about this??
I sewed the cross on!! Well kind of...I used string and stapled it on, but that's pretty well equivalent to sewing where timber furniture is concerned, in my book ;-)

I drilled four holes - which I actually measured, instead of my usual eyeballing technique - then threaded, knotted and stapled the black jute on.
I love it!! I have plans to try this with different designs when I find the right piece/s.
What do you think? Simple but edgy? Cool? All of the above? :-)

How it looked before...

Orangey goodness! Just how I like them ;-)

This baby is now in the hands of Five Boroughs in Melbourne who will find it a lovely new home, I'm sure.

That's it from me for now, I'm busy as usual. I'm trying to find more time to blog and read blogs...things get a little out of hand sometimes around here. There are projects galore, plus I still have a half painted house after probably almost 2 years! I really need to work on my time management skills...but then the girls usually throw a spanner in the works if I get too organized. Sigh.

We are all just doing the best we can and I appreciate you taking time out to read this!

Courts xx
Furniture Feature Fridays

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Our Daybed Is Up For Best DIY Reading Nook...And You Can Win Too!


I was contacted recently by the lovely Krista from who told me that our daybed had been chosen to be in the running for their 'Best DIY Reading Nook' award!

So you guys get to choose the winner by voting! Plus if the reading nook you vote for wins, you are also in with a chance to win too :-) One lucky voter is chosen at random to win the same prize! The prizes are listed below and are pretty awesome! You can also vote daily to really increase your chances ;-)

What an honour!! There are some awesome reading nooks also in the running from some other fantastic bloggers, make sure you check them out when you head over to vote!

This is only open to U.S residents to vote, sorry! So for all my Aussie friends, just know that I know you've voted in spirit ;-)

It starts on July 15 and runs for two weeks until July 29.

How to Enter

Visit's blog (here) to select the reading nook you want to win! Remember, you can enter up to one time per day.


The blogger whose reading nook design receives the most votes will be selected as the winner of the contest. An individual who voted for the winning design will also be selected, at random as a winner. Both individuals will receive the following (amazing!) prizes:
  • $100 Home Improvement Gift Card
  • $50 Gift Card
  • Kindle Paperwhite

Official Rules

  • You may vote for your favorite reading nook once per day beginning 7/15/2014 through 7/29/2014. You must provide your email address each time you vote.
  • The blogger whose design earns the highest number of votes will win.
  • Anyone who voted for the winning blogger will be entered into a pool for a chance to win the voter prize package.
  • The winner of the voter prize package will be selected at random and will be contacted by the email address they provide.
  • Only U.S. residents are eligible to enter.

Thank you!

Courts xx

Before And After: Mod Dresser Number One


I know it's been a little while between posts...again. I'm sorry! 
I appreciate you for sticking with me :-) 

Before I get to today's before and after, I want to say a huge thank you to those of you who left such beautiful comments on my last post about my fat loss journey so far - THANK YOU!!!! I truly appreciate it as it was a tough one to put out there. (Especially the photos!) It definitely encourages me to keep going with this healthy lifestyle! 

And now back to the regular programme and the topic we all!!

You may have noticed the post title up there ended in 'number one'? Yes, this is the first of two similar style dressers I've completed recently. 
Which can only mean another furniture post coming up soon! I promise you won't have to wait six weeks for it! Yay!!

I really loved the simple and clean lines of this dresser. My taste in furniture is definitely changing and I'm really loving more timber, less paint in my designs. I love that design always evolves and changes. I love constantly being on the move!
I bought this piece to sell, and when I do that...well I like to push myself creatively and try new things. I also love to create a finished piece that I would be stoked to have in my own home. 
And I am happy to say that I achieved that with this one ;-)

Here is the before -

A bit on the orange side. A little plain. But not anymore...

I sanded my little heart out on this one, which I love...but I was glad that each surface was flat. No fiddly bits equals getting to the really fun bit quicker ;-)

To do the arrow design on the side, (which is only on one side, btw. I love asymmetry!) I measured the width to find centre, then taped my sections by eye, doing one section on each side at a time. I waited until the paint had cured before taping the next one. Otherwise the tape would pull paint off and it would have taken me longer ;-) I'm impatient enough already. 

The whole thing was sealed with hemp oil.

And there you go! This piece is currently for sale at the beautiful store Five Boroughs in East Brunswick, Melbourne. Yay!!

I will be back very soon with some exciting news to share!!

Courts xx
Furniture Feature Fridays

Friday, 16 May 2014

My Fat Loss Story So Far!


This  is one of those posts that has been on the cards for a while. One that I'll have to take a deep breath and muster a little courage before I press 'publish' ;-)

Its all good, though! 

I get a lot of views/emails/comments etc on my posts I've done about losing weight - or fat loss as I now like to call it. I don't mind what the scales say I weigh nowadays ;-) It's irrelevant.
Anyway...I probably have randomly done posts about it and thought maybe I could condense them all into one post to make it easier to find and read.
I figured it would also give me somewhere to point people who see me in the street etc. and ask what I've been doing but neither of us actually have the spare 4/5 hours needed for me to fully explain properly what I'm doing ;-)

So here as-brief-as-I-can-get-it snapshot into my journey so far. It mostly relates to food, the exercise stuff is in other posts which I will direct you to at the end. :-)
I'm including photos. 
Which explains my hesitation to actually post this. I will though. For real. Otherwise you won't be reading this. You'll just be dreaming. 

Here is what I've changed in my life to go from a heavy and unfit size 18 to a fitter and stronger size 10/12. In order. :-)

1. THE most important thing I've learnt in the last ten years of my that our thoughts create our lives. I knew I was unhappy. I knew that I wanted to lose weight and I knew that I didn't believe that I could. I'd tried and failed in the past many times so why would I believe that I could actually lose weight? Ever heard the saying, 'fake it 'til you make it'? Well that's what I did. By saying the affirmation - I am willing to change - as often as I could, everyday, eventually it became true for me and I was willing to change. I didn't worry about what or how I was going to change...I just said that affirmation over and over to myself. And have you also heard the saying, 'when the student is ready, the teacher appears'? Which brings me to number...

2. I was visiting my parents and they had a DVD sitting on their kitchen bench that had come attached to a magazine they had bought. It was called 'Fat, sick and nearly dead' and with nothing much else to do...we sat and watched it. After watching it I knew exactly what I was going to do to change. If the people on that DVD could lose weight, then so could I. So I started a...

3. 30 day juice fast. I lost 14kgs in the 30 days.  Without exercise. This was extreme. I don't recommend it.
What I did learn is that a, I could lose weight. And b, that I needed to set a more specific and detailed goal for what I wanted to achieve. I'd had a vague thought that I'd like to be a size 14 and then I'd be happy. And I was pretty well a 14 by the end of the fast...but I was very soft, flabby, spongey etc. and I wasn't happy with that for long. The juice fast did also changed my taste buds. I found I craved vegetables, rather than chocolate and began eating lots of them along with other healthy foods.
I also had energy like I hadn't had for years! So I started...

4. taking our dog for walks at night. Then I got the 5k runner app on my phone and started doing that. I'd bought a few new clothes and was researching and trying out new clean and healthy recipes occasionally.
But I hadn't made a commitment to myself. I was cruising along, on auto-pilot a lot of the time, and old ways of eating had started to creep back in. I'd put 4kgs back on. I know that's not much, but I could see where I was heading.

5. So on the long weekend in June last year - instead of beating myself up, which is what I would normally do - I sat myself down and made a commitment to myself. I asked myself what did I really want and I wrote it all down into a goal. I was specific and gave myself a deadline and committed myself 100% to it. 'I am willing to change.' I knew that if I didn't fully commit, I'd be back where I started in no time. I'd already started in that direction again and I didn't like it.

6. So from that day on, I've been committed to my goal...which has changed a lot along the way! I am not only concerned with how I look or what size I am, (lets face it...that is a BIG motivator in the beginning!) but I'm also concerned with how I treat/feed my body, seeing as it's the only one I get in this lifetime ;-) 
I'm only eating whole, real and unprocessed foods. I do this all day, everyday! I don't have cheat meals or eat 80/20 or anything like that. This is my lifestyle now and a way that I show myself that I love myself...which is something I work on everyday and have done for the last 10 or so years. Self-love is a slow process :-) I've done tons of research online regarding food and exercise and have tried various ways of eating and exercising to see what works best for me. I still drink coffee...for now ;-)

Instagram has given me a wealth of information, as has chatting with like-minded people such as Clair who told me about Whole 30, which btw...I recommend first and foremost now over a juice fast anyday! In a little over thirty days your taste buds will have changed, you'll have lost a little weight, your shape will have started to change and you'll know if you have any aversion or reactions to food that perhaps you didn't know before. As well as any number of other miraculous things that can happen to your body when you take out processed food! Check out more about whole 30 right here. And you can read a little about my whole 30 experience here.

As far as exercise can read my post on that here. I have half written another post on my exercising but I am changing a couple of things (I think!) and need to see how that pans out before I post about it. ;-)    .
Basically I researched what body type I am (mesomorph) and how best to train for my particular type. And when you start eating real foods, you'll find that you want to exercise and that you can easily fit it in to your schedule as you won't be spending so much quality time with your couch ;-)

So there are the photo's. The second one was taken on my birthday a couple of weeks ago by our 7 year old who instigated an impromptu photo shoot and had me doing all sorts of crazy poses. This was the tamest one!

I hope this helps you a little on your journey :-)
Just remember that there is no one else like you, so do your research and try different things and see what works for your body.
Take photos of yourself so you can see any changes as they happen.
And most willing to change! Your body/family/friends will thank you for it :-)
If I can do it - YOU can do it too!!!

Courts xx

PS. Email me if you have any questions!!! 

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Before And After: Massive Mint Dresser

Well hello!!

I have a beautiful, beautiful piece of furniture to show you today :-)

It is a huge dresser and not a style I come across all that often around here, and definitely not something that I would normally be drawn to in it's natural state. But does come up a bit special when it's painted!! ;-)

I'll show you first, then bang on a bit about it, if you're interested ;-)

You might wonder why I'd normally not be drawn to this style of furniture? Or not. But I'll tell you anyway. 
You see, its laminate veneer. Or fake wood. Faux timber. Whatever you like to call was going to be a challenge for me. I've never painted laminate veneer before.
But I have taken on challenges before, and this one turned out better than I could have hoped!! To the uninitiated, the challenge with laminate veneer is getting paint to stick to it and stay stuck so it doesn't scratch off.

Wanna hear the story?

Ok, I'll take that as a yes ;-)

So I was asked by a neighbour if I was interested in some furniture they had. Well yes, I was. 
When I first saw it all, I thought wow...that would look so fantastic painted! Then I got closer and saw it was laminate veneer...bummer. I loved it, but I didn't love it that much. 
I had ages ago given myself a rule about real timber furniture only. I'm not really sure why!

Anyway, they were having a garage sale and I said I would wait and see what they had left after that and if I missed out...well too bad.
Obviously I didn't miss out. I bought this dresser plus the three matching bedsides.
(You'll see the bedsides soon)
I did two of the bedsides first. They are done differently to this and if you follow me on instagram, you would've already seen one :-) The third bedside has a side base board that is crumbly and it isn't really sale worthy, so that has been my practice one!

I did quite a bit of research before I started, both on the interweb and chatting to one of my go-to people at Mitre 10. Plus in the back of my mind I had my own experience of getting paint to stick with metal primer.

What to do, what to do??

I knew I had the practice bedside to get it right on, but if it took me three goes to get it was going to cost me a lot more than I wanted to pay!
So I went with the most expensive option...go figure...and what was recommended by my mitre 10 man...laminate primer. Kinda makes sense, doesn't it? A product specifically designed to get paint to stick to a laminate surface. But even still...nobody else had used it on the blogs I looked at and so I was a little dubious.
But they don't often steer me wrong at Mitre 10 (thanks BJ!), and this one worked like a charm :-)

And it only needs one coat, bonus! Most primers I've used need at least two coats.

Then I just painted like usual, lightly distressed like usual and waxed like usual. Easy!
I don't know what I was so scared of!

I also used dark wax immediately after waxing for a different look. Dark wax takes away the 'freshly painted' look, which really suits this one.
It has cured really quickly (I definitely let the primer cure before painting the colour on) as did the colour and now just waiting for the wax to cure.
I know that it's not going to scratch off in a hurry, as the distressing step took me the same amount of effort that it usually does on solid timber furniture. It didn't distress easily!

This one was sold in it's 'before' state, so it's new owner and I discussed it's re-design before I got started. It was so fantastic to have a practice one to do for us both to see how it was going to turn out. I could see how technically it worked and she could see design/colour wise how it would look. It all worked out perfectly, I'd say and I can't wait to see photo's of it in it's new home! It is going to live in an office that is currently being renovated and will be a statement piece as well as provide awesome storage ;-)

What do you think? Is this your style?

Courts xx

Friday, 4 April 2014

Before And After: Cedar Side Table

My client picked this gorgeous cedar table up recently and found it a spot out on their verandah in the morning sunshine where she and her husband like to sit and have a coffee before they start their day.
It was gorgeous as is, but has come up even more so, now that it's been 'extroverted' ;-)

And the brief I got from my client?

'Do whatever you want, Courts!!' I used to love when clients said that to me when I was hairdressing and I gotta say...I love it now too! ;-)
It doesn't mean that I go all crazy and cover a piece in rainbow colours or means I'll choose colours and the design that suits my client, the piece and the room...or in this case the verandah where it will live. That gives me my boundaries and then I go crazy within those boundaries!

The only time those words 'do whatever you want' scare me (and did a little when hairdressing, too) was if I'd only just met the client. It takes a little while to get to know a person and their style, likes and dis-likes when it comes to interiors. Or hair for that matter. 
I am definitely an observer of things in general and usually like to visit a client in their home so I can see other rooms and how they're styled/furnished etc. It helps enormously in re-designing a piece that's going to live there.

Sometimes I know straight away what I want to suggest, and sometimes - especially if their style is vastly different from my own - it takes a while for it to come to me. Which is what I'm currently experiencing on a future project, but I know it'll come to me eventually :-)

Anyhoo...I guess you want to see what I did with the cedar table?

Well wonder no more, my friends!

I used a greenish grey for the main colour, and on the rails underneath and the back piece I used the same colour but in double strength, if not triple. Sorry, I can't remember!!
The two colours are subtle, yet...not! If that makes sense?! They blend...but don't quite.
And the heavy distressing...well, that's just where I'm at, at the moment. And it just suits this style of table perfectly in my opinion. 
It didn't need to be modernized, although the colour is definitely a modern one. On trend, if you will. But a modern geometric design wouldn't have worked. 

Ok, some technical stuff -

*DIY chalk paint.
*Heavily sanded to distress and show some of that beautiful cedar back through again.
* Sealed with a new-to-me product - Sceneys Old Fashioned Weatherproof Oil - which is a linseed oil based product and is perfect for furniture that will be outdoors. Plus look at the shine it gave!!

It could perhaps double as a mirror? ;-)

Another one done and dusted and many more in my immediate future...I literally cannot get into the shed for furniture!
Speaking of the shed, I can almost, almost call it 'mine'!! Tony has given up trying to claim it back and has gone out and found himself a space to rent that he'll use to store his plumbing supplies. I'm a little excited and am already dreaming up how I can rearrange the storage and make it functional as well as look a little nicer. ;-)
It is going to be a mammoth task when the time comes to clean it out, but still...I'm looking forward to it!!
It might even lose it's shed title and be referred to as 'the studio' ;-)

Courts xx

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

How-To Fix A Missing Piece From A Stained Table Top

I have a bit of a technical post for you today, so if you're not into the technicalities of fixing antique timber furniture...just have a quick scroll down and look at the gorgeous end result and then you can move onto the next awesome blogger's post in your feed! It's ok...I don't mind ;-)

Late last year I was asked if I would restore the top of an antique wine table that also had a small piece missing. I was a little nervous, having not attempted to fix something like that before, but I said 'yes' and was lucky to have an awesome client who helped me with how to do it! (She is/was a painter and told me how she would go about it, she didn't have time to so was happy for me to have a go!)

As well as to replace the missing piece, I had to refinish the top as it had lots of wear and tear, white rings and the like. Gotta use coasters for your coffee/tea people...its the only way to stop those white rings appearing. :-)

This is the table top after I'd sanded a bit, but before I filled that hole.

My initial concern was how I was going to get that same rounded shape, or lip the table top has with whatever product I used, and could I find something that would actually stay in there and not just fall out.
Then when I started researching products at Mitre 10 - resin was at the top of the list - I was told that resin could not be stained, but could be sanded just like timber. So now I had a new dilemma. I'd found a product that could stick and be sanded into the shape I wanted, but it was gonna stick out like a sore thumb because it was going to be white.

Luckily, my client suggested using pure pigment to tint the resin. And it worked like a charm!!

I used Knead It by Selleys and some pure pigment which I got from the local art supplies store for $4. I had to pick from about 4 or 5 shades of brown, so I just went with my instinct.
I grated the pigment into a plastic container, then broke off the Knead It and while I was 'kneading it'...I added some grated pigment in until I was happy with the colour.
With Knead It, you get about two minutes to play with it before it starts to go off, so I had to move fairly quickly.
I pressed it into the space and tried to mold it into shape as best as I could, then left it to dry.
The next day I sanded it with my mouse sander, (it was as hard as a rock!) then by hand to blend it into the real timber I then cleaned, dried and stained the whole table top.
Then all that was left to do was seal it, which I did with teak oil in a few coats to blend with the base of the table, which didn't need any refinishing done.

I was really happy with how it worked out and my client was happy, so win/win! It took me a while to find the fixed section to show her when she picked the table up! :-)

Hopefully I'll get to do something like this again down the track ;-)
And I'm hoping this was easy enough for you to understand, should you need to do this yourself one day.

Ask away if you have any questions?

I'm off to put girls to bed, then into the shed! Hope you're having a killer week!!

Courts xx
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