Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Before And After: Mid Century Desk

I bought this gorgeous desk a couple of months ago because I loved its simplicity and those perfect mid century legs...plus it had an awesome price tag!! ;-)
It was the first non-custom piece I"ve done in a while and knew pretty soon on what I wanted to do with it, I just didn't know what sort of timber it was and if it was going to be worthwhile.

It had a gorgeous yellow varnish...a step up from orange hey? And that definitely had to go, but if it was pretty much anything but pine, my design plan could go ahead.
Turns out it's hardwood. Most of it is ply, but totally workable for what I wanted to do.

What do you think?

I love how it turned out!! 

It tested my patience, that's for sure. But I think I won the battle! :-)

Some really quick deets are:

  • Sand that yellow varnish off! With ply, its the only way to remove it. The heatgun doesn't do a thing. Good thing I like sanding...don't judge, it's my thinking time. I solve all the worlds problems while I sand!
  • Make sure all that varnish is off. I mean completely, because if you leave any near where you plan on painting...and you think you can just sand it off afterwards right up close to where you spent countless hours painting triangles and still keep those sharp lines in tact...you are wrong my friend! (Do you see my lesson in there?? Might still be a sore point...)
  • Paint a drawer. Paint a handle.
  • Tape your design on the side and paint the shapes you can, then let those dry. Like really cure because if you don't, when you re-tape for the next shapes, the tape will take the paint back off. And no...I learnt that on a different project, not this one ;-)
  • Fine sand all over then wax that baby!! I did two coats.
  • Stand back and admire your hard work and imagine a child with a cool/modern bedroom (or even an adult!) sitting at this desk pretending to study whilst actually playing on their ipod/phone.

This one is for sale. I'll probably kick myself for selling it as one day the girls will need one and I'll never find one as cool as this. At the moment, there is no room anywhere for this to go. Believe me, I've tried!

Courts xx
Furniture Feature Fridays

Sunday, 21 July 2013

A Fast Upholstery And An Ikea Hack


Well the school holidays are over and I'm back to my usual 'work' routine...except it seems my projects are moving a little slower lately due to the fact that 1, Its been cold. I mean it is winter, but its been cold enough lately to not want to drag myself outside to the shed. And 2, I'm working on something of my own design and I've muffed it. Sigh. It is fixable...it's just time consuming. And completely due to my own lack of patience so there is a lesson learned. Again.
Why does it take me so long to learn patience?!

Moving on. I have two quick before and afters to show you today, that I did ages ago and never got around to posting!

The first one is the second of my thonet dining chairs - you can see what I did with the other one here - and it took me all of 15 minutes to do...

I stapled on some Ikea fabric and ta-da. Done. Gotta love a quick one ;-)

And speaking of Ikea, I picked up this Frosta stool for $15 the last time I was there, thinking I would do something with it...

and here's what I did -

It looks a little brighter in the second pic, but is probably a lot more like the first one in colour.

To do this one, I taped off the triangle and then painted it with a custom colour mix, x 2 coats.
I let it dry a few days, then sealed with a spray polyurethane for protection, x 2 coats.

This gets shifted around and used quite a bit here at home, its a handy piece!
The girls sit on it to have their hair done...or stand or I have magazines/coffee sitting on it ;-) It wipes clean really easily, which is a bonus too.

I hope you are having a fantastic, or warm at least, weekend wherever you are. And if you're in summer or the sun is shining on you...send some my way please!! Just so I can get some work done ;-)

Courts xx

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Clean Eating...What I've Learned So Far

So I've just started my sixth week of eating clean full time and I thought I'd share how I've been going and what I've learnt so far. Also a little heads up...I'm no food photographer, that is an art in itself!! I've done my best so hope it passes ;-)

I'm writing this from a complete newbie's point of view - I'm not proclaiming to be an expert at all, I figured it'd be nice to look back on, down the track, at how I was going and the things I found easy or not easy. I also thought if you were thinking about cleaning up your diet then maybe this would be a good read for you too! :-)

Firstly though - what is eating clean?

For me, it means eating foods as close to its natural state as possible. Real, whole foods that aren't processed or full of chemicals. I do still cook my food (going raw would be a big, big thing and I don't think I am ready for that! Yet.) as well as snacking between meals and eating clean treats. 
I pretty much eat as much now as I always have, it's just different food! And I still get to have chocolate!

With clean eating, you can pretty much eat the same menu that you love, you just swap out ingredients that aren't clean, for more cleaner ones. That makes it sound easy, and once you get the hang of it, it is. You soon get introduced to ingredients that you've never heard of before!

FYI, I've lost 5 kgs in the five weeks I've been eating clean. Much slower than when I juiced, but I feel so much better! I'm not hungry and I feel fitter. (I didn't exercise when I was on the juice fast, now I'm excercising between 4 - 6 times a week.)

I definitely don't regret doing the juice fast, I learned a lot from that. Namely that I could actually lose weight. I think before that, I didn't believe I could because I'd tried and failed in the past. Now I know that anyone can if you have the right information! That's what I love about blogs and other social media, it's a place where we can all share what we know and learn from and support each other!
I also rebooted my system when I juiced for 30 days. This is a pretty big thing and what it means is that my taste buds and cravings changed during those 30 days. 
It lessened my sugar addiction and I started craving salads and veggies instead of chocolate and sugar fixes. 
If I went back in time to before I juiced and looked at what I was eating now, there's not a snowballs chance in hell that I would consider eating these types of foods. I would think it looked too diet-y and   I'd have quit before I'd even begun. 
What the juice fast did was rearrange or changed my reaction/attachment to food.
I needed that to be able to want to eat real food. 
After the juice fast, I ate quite clean for a while, even though I didn't know at the time that that was what it was called. But gradually old habits crept back.

Before the juice fast, my diet was pretty much toast and coffee for breakfast, another coffee mid-morning, maybe a toasted sandwich for lunch. More coffee in the afternoon with something sweet like cake or biscuits, and you know I didn't eat just one ;-) Then I'd have something casserole-ish for tea with sauce from a jar, white rice and maybe another coffee or a BBQ in summer with pasta salad and followed by ice cream. And I always had chocolate at night. I'd eat half a block most days, sometimes I'd eat the whole thing. 

So It was bad, not just because of how much I ate, but that most of it was highly processed, full of sugar or caffiene and low in nutrients.
And I felt crap. Most of the time. I only realise that I felt crap because I can compare it to how I feel now...which is awesome, by the way ;-) I have heaps of energy, I don't get that mid afternoon slump where I could sleep for a couple hours and I feel like excercising! I actually crave it and it annoys me if I can't get my excercise done like I planned for whatever reason. 

So what do I actually eat now?

Firstly let me say that I find lots of recipes online and especially on Instagram that are clean and healthy and I wouldn't be able to keep this up if people weren't so generous with sharing their recipes. I'm a creative person, but when it comes to cooking, I'm not quite! I need a recipe to follow a few times before I try adapting it myself. 

Most mornings I have eggs, spinach, mushrooms, tomato and avocado. Every now and then I'll have bacon with it too! About once a week I'll have oat/banana pancakes or porridge.

For lunch I'll eat a salad or leftovers or soup. I try out new things so I'm never bored. Tea is usually a meat/fish and lots of greens and other veggies.

I sautee a LOT!! I only use coconut oil to cook with, which you can get from coles in the health food section. It comes in a jar and you can eat it straight out of the jar! Turns out sugar is the bad, bad stuff for us - not fat! Although not all fat is created equal so do your research.

I've found I need to be organized because if I'm not...it'd be so easy to go and grab take away and I am so not heading down that path again! I am not a natural at being organized so its all learning for me. When I'm cooking, I make heaps extra so I can freeze some or have it for lunch the next day.

I've also found lots of chocolate/snacky recipes so I always have a clean treat on hand for the times I really need it! The girls don't love my clean treats that much...ok, not at all. But it means it lasts longer when its only me and Tony eating them. They do eat the cheesecake in the top picture (it has honey in it) but the most of the treat isn't sweet enough for them. I have gotten my girls addicted to sugar like I was (and I feel guilty everyday for it) so it's going to be a slow process to wean them off it. It's amazing when you start reading labels how much sugar is in everything! If you're curious about learning more about sugar and why it's so bad, I highly recommend reading the book I Quit Sugar here or find out more about the author Sarah Wilson and her blog here.

Basically I've done and am still doing lots of research as well as experimenting what works for me and my body. I'm mostly gluten free (except for those oats some mornings) and I'm mostly dairy free. I use almond milk now, which I buy from coles. I know you can make it yourself and hopefully I'll venture into that territory in the near future. :-)
I still drink coffee - I'm keeping one vice - but I only have one a day. The rest of the time I have water (lots of water!) and herbal tea.

So that is a basic idea of what I've been doing/eating for the last little while. If you have any tips/questions, please shoot me an email - apprenticeextrovert@gmail.com I'd love to connect!

The last two weeks have been school holidays here so I haven't done too much on the work front.
I did get back into it today and I mucked up what I was doing so maybe it doesn't pay for me to take a break! It's fixable, just time consuming and it's going to be awesome - I cannot wait to show you this one!! It'll just be a while longer now ;-)

Take care!!

Courts xx

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Sweet Bedside In Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Hey there!!

A big thank you for all the beautiful comments and emails on my last post, it is so encouraging to hear those kind words and to connect with others who are on a similar journey. :-)
So far, I'm still going strong!

Today I have a little bedside redesign to show you. This is one I did with Annie Sloan chalk paint in the two colours I got to try.

I completely forgot to take a before...I was a bit keen to get started and it slipped my mind. My bad!:-)

This one was awesomely pine ;-) and I did no prep, just straight on with two coats of old white (I only did two coats as I knew I was going to heavily distress it) on the inside I used duck egg...again only two coats but that was enough with this colour to give me solid coverage. I didn't distress the duck egg at all. I wanted a nice contrast with colour and with finish.
I'm really happy with how it turned out!!

Oh and I waxed it (of course) with soft wax and let me tell you after sanding it a lot to get that heavy distressed look...it. is. like. glass.
Love it.

So check it out for yourself and let me know what you think!

So there you go. 
Another contribution by me to the 'rid the world of orange pine crusade.'
Its gonna happen. Slowly but surely people ;-)

I hope you are having a fantastic week!
Thanks for reading!!

Courts xx
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