Friday, 29 November 2013

Before And After: Little Old Vanity



Hi!


I've got a few completed projects around the house now, all ready to be taken off to the Makers' Market on the 7th. Most of them are stashed in our guest bedroom, which kinda makes it hard for visitors when they come. But...if they're staying here, then they know me and know to expect a little furniture clutter here and there! The most recent visitor said to me, 'Just clear a path so I can get to the bed!'


This was one of those I needed to shift out of the way...












This one used to be a bathroom vanity which had a timber and tile splashback attached, which I have plans for, and it possibly had a tiled top as well.

I had a whole other design plan for this one, but...things can change and you've just gotta go with the flow sometimes, right? ;-)
I made the top out of tongue and groove hardwood which Tony then cut to size for me. 
He also pulled out three of the four castors for me with his big, manly muscles. I could only get one. 
Thank you Tony :-)

The inside is painted in Klavier (of course!) my fave dulux black and the outside is hogs bristle.
The whole thing got some wax, except for the interior which I used wipe on poly.
I also primed this first with cover stain so that the stain would be...covered ;-) Didn't want that seeping through onto my lovely white finish! 
The knobs are from Provincial living, but I removed a little of the gold flowery element to keep it a bit on the plain side. Sometimes I'm just not feeling the flowery, tizzy thing.



It would be a perfect bedside, hall table, entrance table, side table. You could plonk this anywhere really!
It's 900 wide, 420 deep and 740 high. (That's in mm's peeps!)
It is coming along to the market...not long to go!!
I think my stall will be on the smaller side this year, I have had so much custom work this year that I haven't had time to do much of my own stuff. But it's all good!!

Hope to see you there!!
Except if you live in another country...then you're excused. ;-)


*Update - This little beauty is now sold.



Courts xx

Furniture Feature Fridays

Friday, 22 November 2013

What On Earth Do I Eat, If I Don't Eat Bread??



I was pondering recently about what it was like when I very first started 'thinking' about eating healthy and seeing the words - gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, raw, grain free,  no processed foods, vegan, etc floating around the old interweb and I wondered what on earth these people ate?!!
If I couldn't have toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and pasta for tea...what would I eat? How would I survive?

It all sounded like a whole lotta giving things I loved up to me!

And that's not even mentioning chocolate!! There's not a snowballs chance in hell I'd be giving chocolate up! ;-)

But really, one of the biggest things I wondered about was bread. If they don't eat bread, what do they eat?

I've had a couple of conversations with friends lately who asked me that very question. And so I figured I'd share it all here, then you would know too! :-)

I have touched on what I eat in previous posts, which you can see here.

But let's break it down a little further into meals.

I do want to preface this by saying that my taste buds have completely changed now to what they were 18 months ago. They changed drastically after the juice fast and then making gradual meal changes meant they've gradually changed more. I also eat way less than I was because I am in tune with my body and what it needs and when. I see food as fuel now and have a much better relationship with it than I did. Food used to have a hold over me...and some days it gives me a run for my money, but I'm so much better equipped to handle ridonkulous cravings I may get. If I blow out...I blow out on something healthy that's been sweetened with honey or maple syrup. You may have seen the raw snickers I made on Instagram a while back? Heaven!!
Remember I made gradual changes after the juice fast, then lapsed back, then made more healthy yet gradual changes to my diet up until June, when I finally decided that I was worth treating my body with love and respect and giving it whole, healthy foods. I decided to fully commit to this lifestyle change and I haven't looked back. I feel so amazing and there's something so freeing when you improve your relationship with food, that I don't want to go back to eating how I did!
If this is something you're thinking about yourself (Go You!), gradual changes is the way to go. Do your research and find what works best for your body.

Ok, enough of that, lets start with breakfast! 

I pretty much have a cooked breakfast every morning. Generally I'll have 3, sometimes 2 eggs which I poach, fry or scramble and they sit on wilted baby spinach - not toast ;-) - and I'll have 1/2 an avocado, mushrooms, bacon and tomatoes or whatever other veggies I have on hand and feel like eating in the morning. 
This definitely keeps me going until lunch time! 

Yes, this means I have to be up a little earlier, but it's like anything new...the more you do it, the better/quicker you get at it. 

Occasionally I'll have pancakes which I make from rolled oats, an egg, banana and a little almond milk which are then topped with a splash of pure maple syrup. 



Lunch is also cooked. Sometimes, if I remember, I'll make extra tea the night before and have that for lunch. Quick and easy! But it's usually chicken with a sauce made from coconut milk on top of a fresh salad that takes a couple of minutes to whip up. 
Or frozen prawns that I quickly fry up in some ghee and garlic and throw over a salad. 
Or a egg, bacon and veggie frittata. 
I'm not a huge soup fan, I don't find it filling enough but occasionally I'll have veggie soup followed by some soft boiled eggs on salad. 
FYI, If  I was a full-time worker, I would still have these types of food for lunch, I'd just prep them the night before.




And lastly tea. This is the easiest one. You probably already eat meat and veggies for tea. It's just a matter of adding some healthy fats, which I usually do now via a coconut milk sauce. It's so easy! You just take your cooked meat out of the frypan, turn the heat down low and grind some salt, pepper , garlic powder, onion flakes, curry powder and/or any herbs you like. You could add in some sliced mushrooms or onions. Splash on a little water and stir for a second then pour on a tin of full fat coconut milk or cream. Turn the heat off, plate up your meal then pour some sauce over. Done!
FYI, I cook my meat in either ghee or coconut oil, both I get from the supermarket. 




What about snacks, I hear you asking? I don't snack every day, it completely depends on how I'm feeling and how much exercise I've done or if I've eaten enough for brekky/lunch. If I'm snacking,  I only eat something I've made from scratch myself. There's heaps of clean recipes out there for sweet snacks that are so easy to make. It's just a matter of getting the ingredients into your pantry so that when you really feel like something sweet or snack-y, you can whip something up. 
Most supermarkets here in Australia stock good nuts and seeds and coconut oil, dates etc. These generally go in a sweet snack. Cacao I buy from the health food store and is what gives me a chocolate fix when I need one!


The next step for me is to eat more raw foods. I have been craving raw veggies lately, which is new to me so I'm going to introduce that a little more now. I figure coming into summer it'll be a good time to try raw foods more. Plus I'm happy to give up cooking three times a day! I'm not the worlds most organized person so I tend to forget (a lot!) to make extra to eat for the next meal ;-)


You may have noticed that I didn't mention fruit at all?

I've never been a big fruit eater, and I'm ok with that! But also, a few years ago I read a book called Fit For Life by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond and it was hard going, but the one thing I got out of it and it's something I've always done since reading their book - fruit should only be eaten on an empty stomach. For me, that's first thing in the morning. The reason for this is really well written in their book, but in my own words/understanding it's because fruit digests really fast and if it's digestion is slowed down by other foods blocking its path...well it can ferment in there and if it's something that happens often, it can cause big problems down the track. As in later in life, down the track. 
This theory was really sold to me via their book, but I'm not trying to sell it to you! Just thought I needed to explain why I hadn't mentioned fruit!

Hope this helps anyone who had pondered that 'no bread' question and I guess I need to throw in why I don't eat bread - because it is highly processed and has other 'unclean' ingredients and really does nothing good for my body. I'd much rather eat eggs on spinach with bacon in the morning than two pieces of toast and be hungry an hour later. ;-)

Feel free to email me if you have any questions!


Thanks for reading :-)


Courts xx

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Before And After: Cane Bedheads



Hello!

So cane has made a bit of a resurgence and I must admit...I kinda love it ;-)

Not that I would want a house full of it. Just a few pieces here and there to add some boho vibe to a room. 

But...it's gotta be bright.

Like bright, bright.

Maybe a colour like this...








Which used to look like this...







There are two of these (Yay!!) and I've done both in the same colour - Seaside by Rust-oleum 2X spray paint.

I'm pretty well in love with this range...it covers so well compared to others I've used. It really does cover twice as much and it comes in some cool colours too!
Up until now, it's been impossible to get a spray paint in anything other than a basic colour here in Australia, so its fantastic to finally have cool choices ;-)
It is also affordable, at only $10.95 a can, it ticks all the boxes for me :-)
If you're in Horsham, Mitre 10 has it (not all colours, but they'll order in for you and it doesn't take long) and is where I get mine.





I've also used it in sun yellow on this...






This is a perfect yellow...not too gold and not too lemon! Now I just need to find the perfect spot to hang this!


I'm busy now getting things finished for the Makers' Market on December 7th and if you follow me on instagram, you'll have seen I've finally had some success with sewing piping round a footstool!
 I have just a few more to go so fingers crossed it keeps working for me ;-)

Hope you're week is going great!

Courts xx
Furniture Feature Fridays

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Before And After: Chevron Ottoman




Neglected.


I'm pretty sure it's how this little ol' blog is feeling lately.


And excuses are pointless, really. I could babble on for ages about what I've been doing instead of blogging, reasoning my way out of the guilt.



But I won't.



Instead...I'm going to show you this awesome ottoman I re-designed last week!


Not only is it chevron and an ottoman - ergo cool - it is also neon!

Oh yes...you read right.

A Neon Chevron Ottoman.

This is definitely one of those one's that if it doesn't sell...I don't mind in the slightest ;-)



Here we go!! -










Wanna see the before? It's a doozie...





This one was definitely an ugly-duckling-into-a-swan kind of transformation. My favorite!

FYI, I put the pillow top thing back on after removing the old fabric and then went over nice and tight and snug with the new, it's what gives it such a beautiful luxe shape. :-)



The new feet are made for the ends of curtain rods (can't think of their proper name) and are suitably chunky. All I needed to do was wax them for a little sheen and protection. 

So I'm doing the Makers' Market again this year on Saturday the 7th of December at the library here in Horsham. I just realized it's about 3 weeks away and I don't have much to take, so I'd better get on that ;-)

Thanks for still reading, I really do appreciate you :-)


Courts xx
Furniture Feature Fridays

Thursday, 17 October 2013

My Whole 30 Experience Plus More



Before I get to my whole 30 experience, I thought maybe I'd let you know how I'm going with losing weight/fat, exercising etc. The numbers always seem to be what everyone wants to know, and I guess it does kinda put things into perspective...but...I'm not too concerned about how much I weigh. My goal that I'm working towards has nothing to do with numbers. Just thought I'd share that. :-)

You might remember last year that I juice fasted for 30 days and lost 12 kilos/26 pounds? (no exercise)
You can read all about that here and here.

I lost another two kilos in the few months after the juicing finished by eating mostly clean...but then old habits started to creep back in. I didn't quite have my head wrapped around it all yet, so gained 4 kilos back.
I was all about the numbers then ;-)
Then I decided enough was enough. Time to get serious about my health. You can re-cap that bit here.

And now I've been eating clean pretty much 99% of the time since mid-June, so about 4 months, (plus the whole 30 in there) as well as running and yoga for that length of time as well.

In these last four months I've lost 11 kilos/24 pounds...but the scales only tell a small part of the story! The first thing you may notice is that I've lost pretty much the same amount of weight over four months as I did juice fasting over one month.
However, there are huge differences - even when you take into consideration that my start weight before juicing was higher than my start weight this time - Namely, I feel fitter, stronger, am not hungry all the time (I really missed chewing food for those 30 days!) and my shape has changed more as well as feeling firmer, thanks to the yoga and the not-so-rapid weight loss!


So how did I find the whole 30? (Don't know what whole 30 is? Check it right here.)

Basically, I loved it!!
The first two weeks were definitely an adjustment - mostly by only eating three meals a day, when I'm used to snacking. Also I had to get used to adding healthy fats to every meal and not ever getting to satisfy my craving for sweets. This was my main reason for doing whole 30...I wanted to rid myself of sugar addiction. Even though I'd made the switch to natural sugar (honey, bananas, maple syrup etc) in baked goods, I still had to have something everyday. It had an emotional hold on me and I wanted to break that habit.
It is definitely better now than it was, but I think it's going to take this sweet tooth a little longer than 30 days to break that habit.;-)

In the last two weeks, it was all so much easier. I just shop for meat and veggies and can make up plenty of different menus out of whatever I'd bought.
I learned how to deglaze a pan to make a sauce to go on meat or stir through mince. I've eaten a lot of coconut milk and avocado's in the last four weeks and I can make a mean (mild) curry!

I don't know how much weight I lost as I hadn't weighed myself for a fair while before I started whole 30, but I did take some pics of myself and I can definitely see a difference and feel a difference in my clothes.
I've just had to donate a whole heap of clothes (some of them favourites!) because they just didn't fit anymore. And whadayaknow...I just may have had to go shopping and re-stock my wardrobe a little! I now have some size 10's and small's in there which I have to say, is extremely exciting!! I'm pretty sure I haven't EVER had anything in a small/10 before! I think that's the part I was looking forward to the most when I started this whole thing - buying new/smaller clothes! And it's even more exciting knowing that this journey is still going!

I'm now tentatively introducing other things back into my diet. I mixed some tomato paste into mince last night and almost immediately felt ill and bloated. It was the second one of a twin pack and the ingredient list must have been on the other one. I'll steer clear of that from now on!

I've also made some of this today...



so I can once again have a milky coffee. I had been using bought almond milk, but found out via It starts with food (the book you must read before embarking on a whole 30), that it has carrageenan in it which is inflammatory and is actually used to create inflammation in lab animals. It can cross even a healthy gut barrier - which I like to think I have. Basically, its bad stuff.

Almond milk is so, so easy to make! Plus you then have almond meal to bake with = win/win ;-)
It obviously doesn't taste anything like cow's milk, but I like it and only have it in coffee. Other than ghee, I am dairy free nowadays.




I'm now sticking to a paleo-ish diet and will definitely do whole 30 again down the track.
I'm also sticking with my exercise routine - I have consistent energy throughout the whole day now and have even recently done some after 9.00pm runs (circumstances ruled that!) which was ok because I was still energised to do it. I also fall asleep quickly and sleep really well all night now which is another bonus!




The above was taken from my running app, and if you follow me on instagram you might have seen this already, along with me being astounded that I could actually ever run this far over four months! Or this many times even!!




I've seen the quote 'food is our medicine' around the interweb a bit and you know what?
I totally agree! I've never felt as good as an adult as I do now, and I know its because of what I put in my mouth.


Thanks for reading this, even though there's not even a hint of furniture in it ;-)


Courts xx

Monday, 14 October 2013

Before And After: MCM Teak Dining Chair



Hi!

You know how you have those moments in life where a grandiose idea forms in your mind or you have a 'right brain' thought (the creative side) about a project and your heart beats a little faster with excitement at seeing the finished product?

Well I had one of those moments a while back about this MCM chair. (Mid-Century Modern for those of you wondering what the MCM stood for ;-)







Except the initial excitement only lasted about 10 minutes into making the upholstery for this chair...that was when I realized how long it was going to take me to actually finish one! 
I have four. Sigh.

But, then I look at the finished product and I think to myself, 'Maybe it was all worth it, Courts?'

What do you guys think?












Pretty awesome, right?!

And the credit for this upholstery  idea does not belong to me, I saw this on design sponge ages ago and filed it away for future reference. A very creative and talented girl named Jody came up with this after being inspired by an Anthropology chair she'd seen. 
You can visit her tutorial here. and check out her awesome chair.

Along with the denim I added some of my tan vintage leather that I'd been saving for something special.







Not only did the upholstery take an age, refinishing those teak frames added to the large time frame too.
They have seen a fair bit of heat in their day and were covered in blisters/bubbles. 






I initially thought they must've been saved from a house fire, but have since learnt that even the sun can do this to chairs over time. I've never come across it before and to solve the blister problem involved good old sanding...lots of sanding :-)





This front one above hasn't been sanded yet and the back one has. I then gave them two coats of matt polyurethane, followed by two of danish oil.




Much better now!

Tomorrow is my last day of whole 30, so I'll be back after that to let you know how I've gone with it.
Have an awesome week!


Courts xx




Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Before And After: Kitchen Dresser



So much going on, so little time! 
So sorry (again!) for not being here much lately, I do have heaps to share...I'm just a little dis-organized. I tend to only be able to focus on one thing at a time, and for me lately it seems to be cooking!
I'm in my last week of whole 30 and it takes a lot more kitchen time to make myself three whole 30 approved meals a day. But so worth it!!
I'll share how I went (and what it is) when I'm finished, or click on the link two lines up to read a little of what it's all about :-)

On to some furniture!

This beautiful kitchen dresser belongs to a client of mine and came from a farm house - where lots of these types of dressers could be found in the 50's, or possibly earlier? I always think of this style of dresser as very Australian - simple lines, practical (a lot of them had square metal lined bread cupboards which would have kept the mice out!) and made stylish by the textured or stained glass cupboards at the top.

I imagine this one would have housed the crockery and cutlery though, rather than food.

I apologize for the bad photos...one day I might feel the need to buy a proper camera, but for now its iphone all the way ;-)








And the before...






My clients chose to keep the original hardware, which I was stoked about! I think new hardware just would not have suited it, plus I got to try out a 'removing paint from hardware' tutorial I'd stumbled across a while ago online that involves gently simmering the hardware in an old lidded pot on the stove for hours before rubbing and scrubbing the old paint off.
Does anyone else get excited about heating metal objects on the stove?! No?!
Then it's just me...I am a little wierd I know. And having had to do it twice to get all the paint off, it's safe to say the novelty has worn off.

This is the tutorial I used if you ever need to do this yourself.


Here's the before and after of the hardware -





 Much better!


One last pic in case you haven't seen enough...



This was primed first, then painted in a low sheen dulux white, then sealed with some Annie Sloan clear wax  - my go-to wax these days! 
I still love beeswax however Annie's is softer and therefore easier to use.

For those of you wondering how I'm going eating clean and exercising and well...really everyone just wants to know how much weight I've lost - which I can now answer because I 'fixed' my scales. Turns out they weren't broken...just needed new batteries. Hello to another blonde moment ;-)
I'll cover all that in my post (which is coming!!) about my whole 30 experience.
Sunday is my last day of that so that post will be up next week.:-)

Take care of you!


Courts xx
Furniture Feature Fridays

Monday, 23 September 2013

Before And After: Mod Bookshelves


Hello!

It's been a little while (sorry!) and I have been busy working...just have slacked off on the blogging side of things. Only human and all that!
But I'm here now with some gorgeous shelves to show you. Yay!!


This is my most recent project completed and I'm so happy with how it turned out!

These are going in a clients' daughters' bedroom, which is also undergoing an overhaul at the moment - fun!!
I'm not sure what this book shelf is normally called - I have seen a couple before - but I decided to call them mod bookshelves as they have a little 1950's feel to them, even though they possibly aren't that old. :-)

They turned out so good, I really love the look! See what you think...













I've styled it for a lot younger child - not having any tweenies yet myself, but I'm sure it'll look even more awesome in its' new room. ;-)

And for those interested in how I did this one, I give you...drum roll...

MY FAST SIX DETAILS

1. Give it a good (but quick) sand all over to help with paint adhesion. I used straight low sheen here - no chalk paint for this one! Then give it a good clean with a damp cloth and let dry. I get impatient sometimes...ok, a LOT, and always have the air compressor turned on when I'm working so I blow air over to help it dry quicker! I don't do this to help wet paint dry, I'd only blow dirt/leaves/dust on it and have to start again;-)
2. Lay it on its back and paint a coat on the interior, but not around the edges if you can help it. It doesn't matter too much if you get a little on the edges as we'll fix that later on. (By edges I mean the part that's left natural timber.)
3. Flip it upright and paint a coat on the exterior, again trying not to go over the edge too much. If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know what the blue colour is called. ;-)
4. Once dry, give a light sand with a 320grit sanding sponge and another wipe down before repeating more coats of both colours until you're happy with the coverage.
5. When it's all dry and you're happy with your paint job, flip it on it's back and grab a mouse sander and about 180 grit sandpaper and a steady hand, and sand the whole edge of the shelves that you want to keep as natural timber. The steady hand is so you don't go off the edge and take off paint that you've just finished applying! Practice on something else that has a narrow edge first if you're not feeling confident. I used 180 grit as I needed to remove the old varnish as well as some areas where I got paint on ;-) 
6. Time to seal. For the timber edge I used a little teak oil - no the timber isn't teak, but it just gives it a little depth that clear wax doesn't. Then the painted areas got ASCP clear wax, a good buff and it's finished!

On a complete side note - after typing fast 6 up there, I saw the other day (via Instagram) that Fast 7 is being filmed as we speak!! And I know that this is of no interest to any of you - unless perhaps you're my bestie or a male who's into cars - and I am not into cars at all (more into Paul Walker perhaps?!) but I've shared this un-interesting fact anyway...because I can! ;-)


That's all from me for now, have a lovely week!!


Courts xx
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