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

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Before And After: Retro Side Table


So this little side table could quite easily be mistaken for a brand new one, seeing as it's design is very much on-trend at the moment, but it is most definitely a vintage piece!

It's owner found it hiding underneath a bigger piece of furniture on her way out of a second-hand store and quickly snapped it up (after talking the seller down to $20!) and passed it on to me to re-design for her.

It's quite unique, this one, as it has little wheels on top of each of the four legs so when you press down on the table top, you can rotate the top to face any direction you'd like!

Pretty cool, huh?

It is a very solid piece, so didn't need anything structural done to it, just quite a bit of (gentle) sanding to take the dark stain away. The top is layered ply that was a little fragile in places, hence the gentle sand :-)

After it was painted I waxed with MMS wax and then reluctantly handed it back to its owner.


I do really love this one. 

What do you think?

Could you find a place for this at yours? I'm pretty sure I could find several ;-)

Courts xx

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Before And After: My Fave Yellow Dresser


I'm back, as promised, one week later with my weekly post. Go me!! ;-)

So today's B&A is a dresser in my all-time favourite yellow! Which I cannot remember the name of right this second, I had some left over from the last time I used it so it's not fresh in my brain ;-)

But it looks fantastic, doesn't it?

This is going to be a change table/dresser in the nursery where this chair is also going to live -

and is also the same yellow I did on this dresser a little while ago -

Much better light in that picture!

It's slowly warming up here. Spring has definitely arrived, but bring on summer I say :-)

Here's the before pic of the dresser at it's previous owners -

This one already had been painted so I just went straight over the top with three coats of the yellow and then heavily sanded the whole lot to bring out some detail.
I then waxed the whole thing with Miss Mustard Seed's clear wax which I am in love with!
It is by far the best quality wax I've used and is worth every cent. :-)

We kept the original hardware cause they just work!

All of the bits I've plonked on the top there are vintage finds from either an op shop or a second hand store, except for the lamp which is by Citta design. From Velvet Ark if you're local ;-)

The painting is a favourite of mine and I'm yet to find the perfect place for it. It lives in our office at the moment but in there...I don't really get to look at it much. Which I guess is kinda the point of art. I'm generally just looking at a computer screen when I'm in here! (the office)

See you next week,

Courts xx

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Before And After: Retro Upholstered Chair

Hello and welcome to my blog, I'm Courts and I've been AWOL for a while. 

I have no excuse.

But I've missed you! So I've set myself a goal to post once a week.

One teeny, tiny blog post every seven days. Totally doable!!

I have a brand new Mac (Mac newbie right here), I have a gazillion projects to share (with a gazillion photos to match;-), plus plenty on this always buzzing mind of mine to share.

Yay! So why not start with my most recent project to date...

Its a beauty, right?

Completely unique, one-of-a-kind and it is going into a baby's nursery of a beautiful family who are expecting their first child! (Along with a couple other of my 'extroverted' pieces;-)

I cannot wait to see the whole room put together!

So this chair is the most challenging one I've ever done and I'm so happy with how it turned out.

I've learnt how to use ply grip (thanks you tube!) which is amazing stuff and so easy to use once you know how.  FYI, ply grip is metal strip that has two edges. One edge you staple and the other has teeth that grips the fabric which you tuck under then bang it down with a mallet. It gives the appearance of a neat sewn edge. It's how the back piece is attached and the little semi-circles on the front sides there. You can make it into any shape you need and looks so professional that people will say 'Wow!! How did you do that? That's amazing!! You're amazing!! Can I marry you?!'
Ok, maybe you won't get too many of the last question thrown at you, but I'm just putting it out there. Ply grip results may get you a marriage proposal people. Just keeping your options wide open for you ;-) And no, I haven't received any marriage proposals from my awesome ply grip work, but that doesn't mean you won't. Ok?

But seriously now...

I think when a project challenges you, once you get your head around the steps you'll need to take and be prepared to make mistakes - I had the whole main body of this chair almost done, buttons and all, when I realised I had cut the fabric too narrow - and you are open to learning new things and commit to seeing it through...well it's amazing how easy it becomes and everything just kinda falls into place!

You wonder why you were so worried in the first place!

Mind you, had this chair needed me to sew something I may have had trouble following that advice ;-)

Here's the before and after -

And some other terribly important details -:

- We were going for a linen look and so of course the fabric is a painters drop cloth. Kinda looks like linen, but is thicker and so is perfect for upholstery. It has a nice texture to it in my book ;-) It also leaves a fair whack of cash in your pocket when you compare linen which is around $100 per metre (I used about 4) to the 5 metre drop cloth I got for $30. 
Don't like the colour for your project? No problems! you can dye it or even paint on a design. I have successfully done both :-)

- I left the timber work as is. I love the colour of the timber and also the wear and tear marks adds to the character, but the main reason I kept the timber as is, is because the arms are such a big part of this particular chair's design. Keeping them darker makes them a focal point (or points) for the chair. I think if I went lighter with them, which I tend to do a lot of, they would have gotten lost. Blended into the fabric a bit. It needed the contrast, in my book.

- I self-covered buttons with a lightweight cotton. I've tried covering buttons with a thicker fabric before and it just didn't work for me. Did I mention there were 23 buttons? No? Oh well there were 23 buttons that had to be covered. To attach those I just followed what had been done previously, using a loooooong needle.

And that is it my friends!

Another projie ticked off my list. Yay!!

So lets meet back here in week? Yes? Awesome, I will see you then! You bring the coffee, I'll bring the herbal tea. I can't drink coffee for another 4 point 5 weeks. I'm on a six week detox to heal my leaky gut situation I've just found out about. Its all good, just wish I could borrow Adam Sandler's remote to fast forward to the end!

Take care,

Courts xx

PS. If you do happen to receive a ply grip related marriage proposal (PGRMP) It would be really bad form to NOT ask me to be a bridesmaid. I would actually prefer to be matron of honour, truth be told.  I'd get to do so much more for you, that way. Especially if you live in a country other than Australia. Europe perhaps. OOOH the Greek Islands! Please plan your wedding for Greece. Or anywhere on the mediterranean would work for me, really. ;-) 

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
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