Thursday, 27 June 2013

My Big Decision

There's been something on my mind a lot lately and I've debated over and over whether or not to share it here with you.

Then I decided what the does say 'plus lots more' in my header up there! I think I've covered the vintage furniture redesign pretty well and it's about time I got into the 'lots more' part. :-) plus it is a topic I've talked about before.

About 12 months ago, Tony and I did a 30 day juice fast - which I posted about firstly here and then again here -  and back then, I thought it was the beginning, middle and end of my weight loss story. 
I'd lost 14kgs/30pounds and had dropped three sizes on the bottom and two on the top, down in clothes and had amazing energy!!
Life was good!!

But now I know it was just the beginning.

During that juice fast, I wrote down my goals (an extremely powerful thing to do!) and detailed what I wanted, how I was going to achieve it and gave myself a date to get there by.

Everything I wrote down came true!! (See?! Powerful!) 

And I was stoked when I realised that!! I loved buying smaller clothes and having more energy...but then, after a few months, I really took stock of how I felt and looked and realised I'd let a few old bad habits sneak back in and my energy levels were not 
great. I'd put four kilos back on as well.
I realised that I needed to be even more specific/detailed with my goals and commit fully to the life I 'say' I want.
But I'm a procrastinator.

The weeks and months passed. My eating got bad, my clear head started to fuzz again and I wallowed in feeling like crap. 
Even though I knew what I needed to be doing/eating...I was really good at coming up with excuses as to why I couldn't. 
I figured I couldn't do it. I can't have the body/lifestyle I wanted. That's for other people. The ones 
with the rock hard bodies and no kids and buckets of cash. 

Not little old me.

So I let the self doubt creep in.

Nasty thing that.

So what it really boils down to was my self belief. Doesn't everything?!
If I don't believe in myself, how can I ever achieve anything? How can anyone else believe in me? What example am I setting for my girls?

So I made a decision a little over two weeks ago to believe in myself and I have committed to getting the body/mind/lifestyle I want.
There is so much inspiration online - I've mainly looked at before and afters on instagram and you tube - and so many of them looked and sounded like me that how can I not believe that I  can do it when they are living proof that you can. They didn't give up.
And I am not going to either...which is a big factor in why I'm posting this here at all. I will hold myself accountable to you to follow through with what I'm saying here. :-)

So what am I doing to change things?

Well I'm not juicing...that was an awesome starting point but its not a way of life. My commitment is for permanent change. I am determined. I have a juice every now and then, it's an awesome way to get nutrients :-)
 I am eating clean 95% of the time (so far!)and I am exercising which is something I didn't do at ALL when I was juicing! 
I always had been a sporty/active person, that's how I was brought up, but I'm now way past all the sports I used to play and really hadn't found any excercise in adulthood that I enjoyed. I literally couldn't do an exercise if I didn't enjoy it. I wouldn't last!
Lucky for me I've found things I actually enjoy and I look forward to doing!
I'm running again...well run/walking while I build up my fitness...still at night and still with my hoodie pulled up and in my 12 year old nikes ;-)  I'm also doing yoga which I love! It's challenging but makes me feel so good! Plus I'm getting quite flexible again which is kinda nice.
Its not the 'norm' kind of yoga that I do, its hardcore yoga...DDP yoga to be precise! DDP stands for Diamond Dallas Page who is an ex-pro wrestler who developed this style of yoga after he'd injured his back.
His slogan is 'it aint your mama's yoga' ! It sure isn't and I love it!!
I'm starting to feel stronger and I love that feeling, especially when I hadn't realized before that I was feeling weak - mentally and physically.

I could go into so much more detail about eating clean and what that means for me but I'd be here all day/night. But just know that I'm not missing out on anything at all, I've just replaced things I would normally have eaten with clean, less processed ingredients. So far I'm down three kgs but now I'm not really going to weigh myself much. I don't need to worry about that has nothing to do with my new goal.
I've been taking weekly photos, as well as a before one to track my progress and one day I might be brave enough to share them here!

Anyhow, thanks for reading if you've stuck with me (sorry there's no lovely pics to look at) and if you are or have been going through similar lifestyle changes - I'd love to hear from you!! I'd love the support and I'd love to support you women especially need that :-)

The next post will be furniture I promise!!

Courts xx

P.S I forgot to mention that I've also worked my way up to drinking 2 litres of water a day (I'd like to eventually drink more) and I think this is a massively important thing for us to do as it gets rid of all the nasty s*&t that's inside as well as keeping us hydrated. ;-)

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Before And After: An Antique Dresser


I have a gorgeous before and after to show you today, namely this...

a beautiful antique dresser that has been in it's family for a long time and is now going to be loved and used again in it's owners eldest daughter's bedroom.
It had been in their family farmhouse previously and the hard work in bringing it back to life had been started already (yay!) so this is what it looked like when I got it -

Look at that beautiful patina! I couldn't replicate that in a million years ;-) Given the age of this piece, it was without a doubt lead paint, so it had to go.

And what a stunner it is now!

Yep, I'm into vampire novels ;-)

That timber is like glass to touch...I glide my hand over it every time I walk past it ;-)
And the reason it feels like glass? Well other than my awesome sanding work ;-) is this stuff...

my new favorite wax!

This was the first time I'd used it on natural timber (the other times it's been over ASCP) and its so good!
You can see in the photo above the one on the left has been waxed and the one on the right hasn't.
It gives a similar lustre and richness to the timber that beeswax does, I just find it's easier to work with (it's softer) and the end result is just smoother and glassy-like! I also think it cures quicker than beeswax too - this may be just me - but if it does...that's a bonus for this impatient girl :-)

Another first for me was painting the original hardware. It was important to the owners to keep the original hardware for the history of this piece (and I agree totally!) You can see the bottom right one is broken and probably has been for a while, but that just adds to the character and individuality of it. It was my clients idea to paint it the same colour as the body of the dresser and I've gotta say...I love it!! I'll definitely do this again!
It gives such a unique look without being 'out there' at all.
So to paint them, I primed them first with a metal spray primer then I tried spraying the colour on with my sprayer on a very cold day and the paint just ran off.
I almost panicked as I didn't know what to do to get the colour to stick...but then I remembered what I always do when I don't know something...I ask!
So off to Mitre 10 I went (I practically live there) and got the answer on what to do straight away and it worked like a charm! Thanks guys!!
I had to heat the hardware first with my heat gun, just a little, then paint the colour on. No more problem, yay!!
I gave it two coats like that and then sealed them with a spray polyurethane.

So there you have it. Another project done and dusted and I loved doing this's been ages since I've done a dresser.

I have more projects to show you...I'm always doing something!
I just need to find the time to blog about them!!

Hope you are having a wonderful week!!

Courts xx

Friday, 21 June 2013

Two (Awesome!) Before And Afters!

Wow its Friday again!!
Where are the weeks going?! Lately I feel like I blink and I've missed a whole week!

I'm having a girls weekend, starting tonight - just me and our 6 year old! Tony and our 3 year old are heading back to my parents so he can work on their bathroom again and us two will stay here and maybe do some shopping and the movies :-) I asked her if she wanted to go to the movies in the day time or night time and she had no hesitation in choosing night...6 year olds don't often get to go out at night so I'm pretty sure she's going to milk that one!
I'm sure going out for tea will be requested as well ;-)

I have a couple of small projects to share with you today. 

The first one is a mirror that needed to be de-golded/de-gilded?? Well...the gold look was getting a little tired for my client so a change was in order.

The before...

Isn't it gorgeous?!
I completely forgot to take 'after' pictures (!) so the mirror's owner kindly sent some through to me..

A sunny yellow was chosen and then to really bring out the detail I used Annie Sloan dark wax.
This is the first time I've used the dark wax and it was awesome! I applied it after first using the clear wax - as per the instructions - and wiped it back off so it would settle wherever it wanted in the little nooks and cranny's.
When it comes to antiquing or glazing, I'm a less is more kind of person so I loved how much control you have with this dark wax.

Here's a before close up of the awesome detail...

And the after -

I think this may be the beginning of a yellow phase for me, I love it and have already used a little mustard yellow in a project that I'm currently working on!
If you follow me on Instagram (@apprenticeextrovert) you will have seen a little sneak peek of that one! ;-)

What colour/s are you loving at the moment?

Another project I've finished recently is this one that I showed you a couple of weeks ago-

in a super close up of something that I'd been working on. You can read that post here.

It didn't really give much away as to what it was ;-)

Well it was an antique double bed head which started out like this -

And then turned into this -

It is going in a 9/10 (I think!) year old boys room and his whole room is being made over, so hopefully I'll get to see some pics when it's all done!

I'm off to do some housework now - sigh. I figure if I do it now, then I'll have the weekend free to just hang with my girl!
Have a wonderful weekend whatever you get up to! :-)

Courts xx

Friday, 14 June 2013

Before And After: Pine Hutch In Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

So my adventures with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint continue, this time with old white.

We travelled to my parents place for the long weekend, they live 2 1/2 hours away and while Tony and my dad started their long awaited bathroom renovation and my mum cooked/washed/looked after the girls...I de-oranged some of their furniture.

Yep, even my parents have plenty of orange pine and I had four days to get through it.

Seemed like plenty of time but by the end I was exhausted!

Mainly because of this -

My apologies for the terrible pics...its the best I could do at the time ;-)

This one started off like this -

You can barely see those mandarin's can you? They just blend right in with the orange pine ;-)

We removed the doors on the top half to create open shelves so that you can actually see what's up there and maybe even (heaven forbid) use it!
I know it means more dust, but for me, I'd rather see my stuff - even with dust on it - than hide it away so that you can't even tell if its dusty or not, let alone see it ;-) I actually didn't have to twist mum's arm...well, not much. She trusts me.

And we all agree it looks much, much better minus the doors.

I had to put the existing knobs back on as we didn't have any (or access to any) cool ones, but Mum will be able to do that herself when she gets some.

Wanna see some progress shots?

This is the base with one coat on. AND I did absolutely no prep on this!
I cleaned it and that was it.

I wanted to show you my new favorite brush. I pretty much use it on everything now! It gets into nooks and cranny's like on these drawers and works beautifully on flat surfaces too. I've used it with other paint as well, and it spreads it out with better coverage, which I love.
I got it at Mitre 10 and it was $14. Its called a detail and finishing brush and the brand is Monarch. Love it!! I haven't used the Annie Sloan brush I got for painting, only for applying the soft wax, and I'm sure its beautiful to paint with too. :-)

I also painted my parents' coffee table -

These all got three coats of old white, a little distressing and clear soft wax to protect them.
And by the end I was left with...

I have done another small piece in old white too before these. So it has gone a long way! I'll share that piece as soon as it's properly finished. :-)
I had hoped that two coats would be enough, but it wasn't quite. I  like really solid coverage unless I'm going to heavily distress a piece. Any other time I've used a white paint - even with primer - I've used four coats so ASCP is still better in the coverage department.

That orange pine doesn't like to go down without a fight!!

You may have seen some duck egg drawers in the progress pics above?
I had a little dilemma with those so I need to ask a few questions and I'll get back to posting those later when I've worked a few things out.

It's almost the weekend again and I'm having my hair coloured tomorrow (Saturday)...yay!!
Nothing too radical though, I'm afraid ;-)

What are you up to?

Have a good one, whatever you do!

Courts xx

Sharing at:
Furniture Feature Fridays

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - My First Project: A Bedside Table


I'm so sorry I've been MIA for the last few weeks...I have had a case of the winter blues which sometimes stops me in my tracks a little, but luckily for me I have some wonderful bloggie friends who took the time to ask how I am and listened to me bang on a while and reassured me that I'm not alone.
So a big thank you to Karen and Catherine for lifting me up when I really needed it. xx

But enough of all that, lets get onto some exciting extrovert stuff!!

A month or two ago, I got an email from my friend Catherine from Paisley Vintage asking if I'd heard from anyone about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint launching in Australia. 
Well no I hadn't, so she promptly forwarded on the email to which (long story short) ended with me being given these amazing products to try...

And try them I have!!

But before I get into my first project, I want to introduce you to Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - just in case you haven't heard of it before. Feel free to scroll down if you already know all about it...I'll allow it ;-)

Annie Sloan invented her chalk paint over 20 years ago and is a versatile paint that is easy to work with as it sticks to just about any surface - wood, metal, matt plastic, terracotta etc. and rarely requires surface preparation. There are 30 shades and all can be intermixed.
For more detailed info you can click here or even try here!

At this stage there are no stockists in Victoria, but it can be bought online. For a full list of  Australian and New Zealand stockists click here.

This is the first piece I've done and belongs to a gorgeous client who is about to move house (and have baby number two!) and this will be one of their bedsides in the master bedroom. It was made by her father-in-law many moons ago, so it's extra special!

This is what it looked like before -

It had been painted a light grey colour a while ago and we kept the existing cute is it?!

As this was my first project with ASCP, I really wanted to slap it on as fast as I could without prepping to see how it went!
But I didn't.
I tapped into my patience that lives somewhere under a rock inside myself and this is what I did. :-)

The piece was a little rough to the touch so I gave it a good sand to get it nice and smooth. This step probably took me a good ten - fifteen minutes and I just used my mouse sander with 180 grit paper, after I'd taken all hardware off (knob and hinges) of course!

I then gave it two coats of duck egg, which went on easily and with great coverage. Its quite thick, which I like - but you can add a little water if you prefer a thinner concistency. Alternatively you can make it thicker just by leaving it sit with the lid off for a bit.

The next day I gave it a light sand with my 320 grit sanding block to make it smooth. I only did this lightly, it didn't need much as it stayed quite smooth from me sanding prior to painting. Bonus!
We'd decided against any distressing as we both felt it wouldn't really suit this piece.
The next step was giving it a good clean and then waxing with soft wax in clear and um...I'm kinda in love with this wax!!!
It's so easy to apply and the finish is almost like glass. It really goes super smooth.
I used the brush that I was given to apply it and after a bit of practice, I love that too!
It made applying the wax in a thin coat so much easier, as I tend to get a little heavy handed. I then buffed it with a clean, soft cloth which gives it a beautiful sheen.

This paint gives a beautiful texture to furniture and the soft wax enhances that. Check out the close up-

That's my three year old's hand,  I think she liked touching it too! ;-)

So it is really smooth to touch and yet is quite textural. I didn't know if this was because this piece had been painted underneath, but I've since done more pieces that weren't painted and the same thing happened!
I like it! Mind you, this look is obviously not going to suit every single piece of furniture you or I come across, but for the right piece it looks amazing! And for the least amount of effort, another bonus!!

So do I prefer Annie Sloan Chalk Paint over my DIY chalk paint?

Great question!

And my answer far, yes I do!
It is really beautiful quality paint that is not at all gritty - which is one thing you get with DIY chalk paint - and the colours are gorgeous too and all intermixable so you can custom mix a colour.
Sometimes when buying paint to mix into DIY chalk paint, you only need a sample pot and depending on where you shop, the quality is not always there. (I always get the good stuff, never fear!)

The only downfall to me is that stockists are limited at this stage and I need to order online which would be hard for this impatient girl. ;-)

As for the soft wax?
I love, love it! I'd choose it over beeswax now as it's much easier to apply (it's softer) and just seems to get a little more smoother/glassier than beeswax. You can apply it with a soft cloth, the brush just makes it easier to get into nooks and crannys etc. But it isn't a necessity.

So have you/would you try ASCP?

What do you think?

Stay tuned for more project reveals!!

Take care,

Courts xx

*Disclaimer - I was not paid for this post but I was provided with product to try. All opinions are most definitely my own.
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