Friday, 31 August 2012

Bitter Sweet Blogiversary

It's been a year since I started this blog...and it is kinda bitter sweet, as my post title suggests.

You see, starting a blog was something that I'd wanted to do and had spent a whole lot of time thinking about for ages. I just never had the courage to go for it.
It's not an easy thing to put yourself out there for the world to see :)

And then,

Nathan Prince

this sweet boy passed away unexpectedly. 

He was 17 and still had a whole, full life ahead of him.

Life seems so unfair sometimes.

I started thinking about all the things he won't get to experience in his life.

And all the things he did get to. The kind of person he was.

I thought about my own life and where I was at that particular moment. What I wanted to do and be and achieve in my life.

And so I started.

Apprentice extrovert was born.

And I've loved every minute of it!! I've met some amazingly talented, down to earth and generous people as well have tapped into a like-minded creative community from all over the world.

So many of you I'm proud to call my friends - even though we've never actually 'met'!

Moral of the story?

Don't let fear hold you back from living the life you are meant to be living.

You deserve to be happy!

If you don't think you deserve to live your dream - yes you do! - do it for all of the kids/teens/young adults who have been taken from us well before they got a chance to live their dreams!

You are here for a reason, so c'mon! Show us what you've got!!

Courts xx

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Chairs 6 And 7...And What They're All For!!

If you've been following along with my projects, you may have read that I have a September 1st deadline to get all my furniture and projects done...namely 7 chairs!!

Well I'm finally going to tell you why I have that deadline - I'm very excited about it!!

I am having an exhibition - entitled 'Vintageous' - of all my furniture at the local Makers Gallery here in Horsham for the month of September!!! I was asked a couple of months ago and have been preparing ever since. It's the first time they've had re-designed furniture on display, so I feel very honoured!
My things will be there for the whole month, so if you are local you can head down to the library during September and check out all my things in person - you can even buy them if you so desire!!

So, onto the final 2 chairs!!

Ah, my two current favorites - glossy black timber frames with black and white stripe fabric - check out that shine!!

Remember the before -

I have four of these and I initially wanted to refinish the timber frames - but decided that it would be way too much work for me as September 1st was looming. So I prepped two of them and painted the glossy black that you see here, then, being a typical female, I changed my mind!!
I decided that I could refinish two of them and have them done in time!

These two are staying like this and so is the pink one but this one below will be in a refinished frame (when I finish it!!) instead of a black one. It'll blend with the fabric better instead of contrasting so much.

I'll show you when it's done, of course!!
Its almost there! I've had to re-stock myself with sandpaper as I've used a lot more than I expected.
Hopefully I can go out to the shed tonight and work on it (and my Arnie arms;-)) until it's finished!

Before I go I'll let you know how I get the glossy black finish!

My Fast Five Details

1. Rough up your chair frame with your electric sander and 120 or 180 grit sandpaper.(5 mins max!)
2. Prime your piece with a spray (aerosol) primer. Ask at your hardware store if your not sure what to use and make sure you read and follow the directions!
3. I used spray paint (aerosol) in satin black (it can be matt or gloss, it won't matter) and gave it three coats, allowing the drying time in between (read directions!)
4. Apply spray polyurethane in gloss finish as per directions ( I did 2 coats) and get it from hardware store to. I used cabothane clear - made by cabots - and I'm extremely happy with it. (I've used it lots!) I think it pays to use a superior product for this important step.
5. You need to allow it to cure for a couple of weeks before you handle it too much. You don't want any scratches or dings on your beautiful work :)


Are you having an awesome week? I hope so!!

Courts xx

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Sunday, 26 August 2012

Chair 5!!


Hope you had a wonderful weekend, I had a very productive one...I've almost finished all my chairs!
Tone went to Melbourne to be a rock star for the weekend so it was just us girls.
When they went to bed...I got to work!

Wanna see?!

I cut out the fabric (ok, it was a dropcloth!) and then hand dyed it this gorgeous pink!
I'm LOVING pink at the moment!! 
It's so 'now' in clothes, home decor and especially hair too!! I think I could handle a little pink in my hair ;-)

For the frame, I pretty much sanded the life out of it.
I took so long to get the stain and extremely thick varnish off that now my arms look like Arnold Schwarzneggar's!

Just kidding!!

The frames must have been stained when the surface was a little uneven so you can still see areas of the last little dregs of stain in there. But I really, really like that!
I'm not into perfect for vintage furniture and it also gives a nice texture to the timber.
I then finished it with a coat of beeswax - love that stuff!!

You may be wondering about the mat the chair is sitting on?

Another DIY project - which I will most definitely share very soon!! I promise :)

What do you think of this one?
It's a little different from chair 4, which incidently I am changing a little. I'll show you it's new look as soon as it's done (which will be this week!)

I'll be back soon with chair's 6 and 7 and also to tell you why I had to get all these finished by September 1st.
Not long to go now!

Wish me luck!!

Courts xx

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Monday, 20 August 2012

Chair 4!!

Oh finally I've finished another chair!! Yay!!

This is chair 4 out of 7 I'm doing for a September 1st deadline - I will tell you why the deadline...soon!

If you've missed them, you can see chair one here and chair's 2 and 3 here.

This one's upholstery had me stumped for a little bit - hence the procrastinating, plus I have four of these to do!!

But I got there eventually - 

A before and after -

And yep, I have used this fabric before...

I did a high gloss black on the chair frame - loving black at the moment - and just FYI, each of the four chairs will be completely different!

These chairs came from a golf club originally and are really sturdy and surprisingly comfy!!

Another flower on the back 

My apologies for the shadowy photos, we haven't had much sun here lately!

Wish me luck with the rest!

Have an awesome week!!

Courts xx

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Turquoise LOVE!!!

Here's my next turquoise piece - well, there's only two and you
 can check out my last (and favorite!) one right here! 

This piece was done very quickly with my left over DIY chalk paint which I wanted to try on a piece that I wasn't going to distress. I looked around for something to paint and found this...

Which you may remember from last year when I was going through my GT-Stripe phase.
I am a bit over the green so now it's turquoise!!

After doing the two pieces, I've decided that to get the above result, I'd prefer to use my paint sprayer.
It gives a much smoother result, even though it takes longer in drying time.

But I love, love, love the chalk paint and will definitely make it my go-to paint when I want a distressed finish.

We're still juicing over here as well as just starting to introduce chewing again (only veggies!) - it's day 26 today and its getting really hard now!!
We're treating ourselves to a weekend away (sans kids!) this weekend to reward ourselves for our hard work, can't wait!!

Have an awesome week!!

Courts xx

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Saturday, 11 August 2012

Before And After: Vintage Dresser And DIY Chalk Paint

*Since writing this post almost three years ago and after many discussions with some of seems not all brands of plaster of paris mix well with hot water. So I now recommend mixing your plaster with warm water first before adding the paint. The recipe on the pictures below are still correct, only change hot water to warm. Happy painting! Cx


I have had this dresser for six months or more now...

and I have had many debates with myself as to what to do with it!
I finally had a brainwave!!

I had some plaster hidden away that I bought when we were on holidays so I could make my own chalk paint. I'd forgotten about it!

So that's what I did, and now...

this piece is a show stopper!!

And the whole thing was finished in a day - including drying time!! That's only one of the bonuses of chalk paint!!

So what is chalk paint?
It's a paint for furniture that is bordering on being a phenomenon in the DIY world.
It's major bonus is that it pretty much sticks to anything - which prep work!!
No sanding!!
Just make sure your piece is clean and dry and you're good to go.
It also distresses easily and dries super quick, which is how I could finish this in one day.

Have you got a piece of furniture at home that needs an update?
You can totally do it!! It's a perfect weekend project. 

Here's how -

*remember to use warm water, not hot :-)

You just paint it on with a brush, this dresser was two coats with enough left to do another piece!

I used a sample pot of paint (make sure it's water based) and got my plaster from spotlight.
I used two old containers - one I added in the hot water then sprinkled in the same amount of plaster - the other I measured out 3 parts paint then added the mixed plaster/water to that.
I just painted straight from that container.
Allow it to dry in between coats, which won't take long, then grab your sander and distress away!

I also seal all my pieces for longevity and also it really finishes off the look.
For this one, I mixed beeswax with a brown carnauba wax.

I didn't distress the other piece I did, but have decided that I love the DIY chalk paint for a distressed piece, but if you want a super smooth and even result, I'd stick to my paint sprayer.
Simply because there are no brush strokes.

I love this dresser and am so happy with the result!!! I will definitely use chalk paint again!!

If you want to give it a try, you know I'm here for you!!
If you have any questions or need advice- just shoot me an email and I'm only too happy to help!!

Go for it!!

Courts xx

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Thursday, 9 August 2012

Before And After: Thonet Chair

Well first, I have a huge thank you to send out to everyone who left me such wonderful and encouraging comments after my change is good post the other day!!
I really needed it (and still do!!) as it seems to get harder the longer this juice fast goes on!!

BTW, today is day 21 and I've lost 10kgs (22 pounds), yay!!

If you missed the post - click here to read all about our juice fast and for links to the site where I got all my info.

Now onto the before and after!!

I came across two original thonet bentwood chairs recently - when I was in my lucky streak - and I really, really wanted to NOT paint them...

It wasn't meant to be.

They both have been very heavily lacquered with a thick varnish that had started peeling off. It was patchy of course and I tried getting it all off so I could just re-seal it, but it would have taken me forever to get it off being as there are no flat surfaces really on these chairs!

Here's the before -

I didn't take a close up of the peeling varnish and it looks ok in this pic!!

But it wasn't.
So I opted for glossy black instead and some of my favorite Ikea fabric!

These two will live around our dining table - when the other one is finished!

With all my new-found energy courtesy of only drinking veggie and fruit juice, I'm accomplishing a lot!!
These two chairs aren't even part of my 7 chairs I need to finish before September 1st!!

Although, I could just be procrastinating on them?! No - seriously - its the energy!! I can get more done in my day now, love it!! I have two more chairs underway so we're all good for the deadline!!

You can see completed chair 1 here and chairs 2 and 3 here which are for a surprise in September (that I'm excited about!!) and that I'll tell you all about as it gets a little closer!!

Hope you're having a great week and happy chewing you lucky things!!

Courts xx

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Sunday, 5 August 2012

Change Is GOOD!!!!


This is a very un-furniture related post today. (chair 4 is not as easy as I thought so I'm procrastinating.)
*warning - lots of words, no pretty pics of furniture :)

I would like to talk about something that has been on my mind a lot lately.


Wanna know a little something about me?

Ok, you know I'm gonna tell you anyway - 

I'm overweight.

Yep and I have been for most of my adult life. When we had child number two, (2 years ago) the extra weight I'd gained didn't just naturally come off in 6 months like it did the first time.


So I did what most of us do - buried my head in the sand - and figured I'd do something about it one day.

Well my friends, that one day has arrived.

Well it arrived back in the holidays while we were at my parents house visiting. I noticed a DVD on their kitchen bench that had a before and after pic of a guy who had obviously lost a lot of weight.
I asked what it was about, to which my mum replied, "I'm not sure. It came with a magazine I got a few weeks ago."
I read the back and it sounded interesting, so a few days later we sat down and watched it.



It was just what I needed to hear. Funny that!
Have you heard the saying 'when the student is ready, the teacher appears.'?
Well that was the case for me.

I will tell you the DVD's name, but first I want to say that I had been leading up to this for a while now. I've been doing loads of research into eating whole, non-processed foods.
Tony and I are both ready to make healthy lifestyle choices. We have and are still looking at why we over eat or, why we partake in emotional eating to put it another way. What things are we afraid of - fear is a BIG factor in being overweight - and how to deal with that.
So what we are now doing (which I'm about to explain) is to kickstart a new and much, much healthier way of eating in our daily lives. THIS IS NOT A DIET!

Ok. So you may have heard of this before (I hadn't) - the DVD is called 'Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.'
It is a documentary made by Australian Joe Cross who embarks on a 60 day juice fast in America.
Just to clarify, 'juice' means freshly extracted (by a juicer) fruit and vegetable juice and the fast is pretty obvious. He only drank juice and water for 60 days.
Wow! What a feat!!

But not only was Joe overweight, he also had a serious skin condition that required him to take a lot of tablets daily, including steroids.
This juice fast kick started his healthier lifestyle or rebooted him as he calls it. And that is exactly what it does. Reboots your mind and body.
Joe is now fit and healthy and completely medication free.
Its amazing how our bodies can heal themselves when given the right nutrients and mind set.

So, Tony and I are both on day 17 of our 30 day reboot.
We both have so much more energy and feel more engaged in 'life'. A nice bonus is clearer thinking!
And as for weight loss? I've lost 9 kilo's (just under 20 pounds) and Tony's almost lost the same.
I know!! Crazy right?!!

We've been having lots of these -

The mean green juice which we have twice, sometimes three times a day.

Recipe -

6 or more kale or silverbeet stalks
1 continental cucmber
2 celery stalks
2 green apples
1/2 a lemon peeled
1cm ginger peeled

The key is in the vegies! You have 20% fruit and 80% vegie juice each day. Good stuff!!

I think I've talked enough. I'll stop now :)

For more information :

If you live in the U.S, you can watch 'fat, sick and nearly dead' for free online here
If you're in Australia or elsewhere you can watch the trailer and get more info here
For loads more info and support and answers to questions etc. you can go here and check out the tabs at the top.

I'll be back with regular programming as soon as I get my 'much clearer' mind around the next set of chairs ;-)

Courts xx

P.S I'll keep you updated on the juicing too!!
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