Chippy Painted Side Table

Is it too ambitious of me to hope there’s actually someone loyal enough they’re still around to read this post?

I’m now nicely settled back in at home with beautiful baby Charlotte and between putting milk in one end and cleaning it up out of the other (plus spending way too long just gazing in wonder) I have found time for some decorating, it’s just I haven’t until now found the time to blog about it!

You see, being a part-time perfectionist doesn’t easily lend itself to half-arsedness (if that is even a word) so, for me, putting together a decent blog post takes a fair bit of effort.

Anyhoo, the nursery is now nearly complete so hopefully I’ll share it soon enough though in the meantime here’s a little furniture re-do.

The day before I went into hospital I put the first coat of paint on this old round side table.

I was intending to finish it the very next day though needless to say that never happened so now, three months on, it’s finally complete!

Under different circumstances I would have retained the original walnut colour though this table was destined for my living room which already had enough ‘brown’ after the injection of our new leather sofas.

I’d also already re-finished this round coffee table….

….which I heavily distressed through sanding, so to avoid a ‘matchy-matchy’ look I decided on a more chippy finish for the side table.

Soooo, instead of sandpaper I used one of these….

That’s right, a surfboard wax comb! Call me crazy though it worked brilliantly. I simply rubbed it over the table in various places – using the straight sides, rounded end and the teeth – gradually chipping the paint off until I achieved my desired effect.

The flexibility in the comb teeth caused the paint to chip in a natural, random way. I found it worked best when rubbed in a slightly circular motion.

For best results ensure your paint isn’t adhered too well to begin with (that is, just sand your item very lightly before applying paint).

I finished my table with a sealing coat of tinted furniture wax and am really loving it in my living room.

I can’t believe she’s only been in the world for eight short weeks. I can’t imagine having never had her with us.

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It’s a Girl!

Finally introducing little Charlotte Mae Franklin.

Arrived safely on the 23 June 2011 at 2.30pm weighing 2.5kg (5.5lb).

The most adorable creature I have ever seen.

Thank you to everyone for all the encouraging comments, lovely well-wishes and thoughtful enquiries leading up to the long-awaited arrival!
I’ll be in touch over the next few weeks and months as I settle back into life at home after eight weeks in hospital and work on re-decorating the house to accommodate our new little addition.

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Baby Bumps

Yes, as in plural, though no, I’m not expecting twins.

There’s the literal ‘bump’ in my belly and then there’s that unforeseen ‘bump’ in the road.

Over the past few days I’ve learned a few things; babies truly ARE unpredictable (even when they’re still in the womb) and hospital food’s not all that bad (if you’re really, really hungry).

Thirty weeks into a complication-free pregnancy the last thing I expected to hear at 4.30am on a Sunday morning in the emergency department was; “Nothing to eat or drink in case we need to go to theatre and get baby out”.

What the? Back up a second. I haven’t even finished the nursery yet, let alone blogged about it (okay, so at the time that may not have been foremost in my mind though it did perhaps register a fleeting blip :-)

Well, fortunately he/she didn’t need to come out and is still snug in my belly though the incident has thrown a reasonably big, fat spanner in the works.

At this stage I’m in lock-down on my hospital bed until bub is born – probably via early cesarean hopefully no sooner than 36 weeks gestation (though that may be out of our control).

Apparently being young, fit and healthy is no defense against placenta previa and with none of the risk factors I’ve been told I’m just plain unlucky – well, good on me!

I’m sure many women who have been through labor might think me crazy though I was cautiously enthusiastic about experiencing something so weird-wonderful and the prospect of a cesarean was initially pretty devastating for me. Whilst I’ve managed to come to terms with that aspect of things it’s now the potential of facing weeks ‘alone’ in hospital which feels most daunting. I’m quietly yearning for the constant companionship of my husband Luke more than ever – I never thought the gentle droning of his occasional midnight snores would seem so precious.

At this point it’d probably be easy to whinge and sulk and cry “why me?” though the fact is there’s nothing to be done. A few lonely weeks away from home seems a reasonable ransom for the eventual safe arrival of a healthy new baby and I’m certainly under no illusions that, whilst things could be better, they could also be much, much worse.

I’m just taking it day by day.

At least by the time I’m outta here I should have lovely nails free of paint residue and a still intact vagina.

Glass half full, hey?

I decided to write this post, not in search of sympathy, though because I believe my readers deserve an honest explanation for my absence over the next few weeks – and because so far you’ve all been on this journey with me. Perhaps some people who can relate may even find comfort in reading this post.

Baby will be going into a bassinet beside our bed for the first little while so somewhere between sleeping, feeding and cleaning up poop I’ll still find time to finish the nursery as planned.

In the meantime I’ll try to chime in with occasional posts where possible though short of redecorating maternity wing 5B (I’ve already straightened all the pictures on the walls and neatened the stacked boxes of latex gloves – yes, I’m serious) there might not be a whole heap of projects to blog about.

Please wait for me.

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Convert a Music Tripod into a Lamp

Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact I get to call Australia home, though a word of warning to anyone thinking of moving here (particularly if you’re a home DIY-aholic accustomed to a seemingly endless array of affordable and easily attainable supplies). Sure, we might have lovely weather (most of the time), beautiful beaches (almost exclusively) and kangaroos frolicking about (nearly everywhere) though you can pretty much kiss good-bye to affordable and easily obtainable tinted wax sealers, oil-rubbed bronze spray paint and Hershey’s Bars (whatever they are) amongst many other wonderful things :-(

So why the rant? Well, I’ve seen  a tonne of DIY lamp kits readily available from a heap of international sources though do you think I could find any here in Oz?

Course not, though never fear, there’s always a longer, frustrating, more expensive way around these things.

Anyways, enough venting and on with the actual project.

There are many different ways you can create your own custom lamp so for the purposes of this tutorial I’ll focus on how I did it.

Of course, depending on which country you’re in electrical components may vary and I do have to say that technically any wiring should be undertaken by a qualified electrician – technically :-)

Anyhoo, you will need….

Something to form your lamp base.

On a recent thrifting adventure I found this really cool old music stand for just $5 and knew straight away I wanted to try a lamp conversion. It has a wonderfully grungy patina with crud and rust in all the right places.

And the following items (all available from pretty much any hardware store)….

A lamp switch.

A power outlet head.

A length of power cable.

And the steps….

1. I removed the sheet music holder from the top of the tripod which left a nice hollow shaft perfect for housing the power cable.

2. To securely attach the lamp switch to the tripod, I first inserted the plastic thread (which comes with the lamp switch as shown above) into the top of the shaft and glued it firmly in place (you can see what I mean by this in one of the following pics).
If your lamp base won’t easily accommodate the plastic thread then put your thinking cap on for a way to make it work.
When faced with a conundrum like this, I usually just browse the hardware store isles til I find something I can adapt.

3. Once the glue dried, I inserted the power cable into the hollow shaft so it protruded from both ends.

4. I wired and attached the power outlet head to the rear end of the cable as per the packet instructions. If you’re lucky enough to have a lamp kit this step is already done for you.

5. I wired and attached the lamp switch to the top end of the cable as per the packet instructions and screwed it onto the glued-in thread.

Because the thread would only fit into the fat section at the top of the shaft, half of it was still visible once the head was attached (as can be seen above). I could have cut it down though instead decided to keep the extra length for greater stability and simply wrapped it in some twine as a camouflage.

6. I inserted a globe, plugged in the power cord, flipped the switch and crossed my fingers…it actually worked! I was momentarily blinded by light – mental note, do not stare at bulb in anticipation during testing!

7. To finish I simply added a budget K-mart linen shade.

Course, if you are lucky enough to have a DIY lamp kit then this project gets a whole lot easier.

Sooo, from this….

To this….

I love this lamp…even though I don’t really have anywhere to put it at the moment :-(
I especially like that the upper shaft and tripod base are both adjustable so the height and splay can be easily altered to best suit its chosen location. I’ve rarely seen industrial style tripod lamps like this selling for under $150 so for around $30 I’m pretty chuffed with my little re-invention – if I do say so myself.

Oh, and I’m also loving this new (to me) green enamel alarm clock I picked up on the same thrifting adventure for just $5.

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Rocking Chair for the Nursery

I have a confession to make; I’m not really much of a sewer.

There, I’ve said it, and the truth is, I don’t even own a machine!

I mean, I can do basic straight lines – like pillows and the like (as you may have seen in previous posts) – though ask me about slip covers and you’ll be met with a blank stare.

Yeah, when it comes to befriending the sewing machine I pretty much always need a re-introduction by my Mum.

She’s an awesome sewer. She even made my wedding dress from scratch

I do truly hope to increase my sewing skills and confidence one day and it’s little projects like this one that help me take the steps needed – hopefully!

I recently found this pre-loved wicker rocking chair on eBay.

(I usually get a few questions when I mention buying furniture off eBay. I know many of my readers don’t realise I’m based in Australia where we don’t have Craigslist – well, technically we do though there are only about three things on it – so eBay is one of the biggest and best resource for picking up inexpensive second-hand furniture).

It was just what I was after; comfy, neutral, generously proportioned (perhaps a little too much so for my teeny nursery :-) and just that little bit different.

Though as with most second-hand finds there’s always something I gotta change – I wasn’t too keen on the shape and style of the back cushion so decided to replace it with a standard european pillow instead.

I sewed the simple envelope cover from drop cloth fabric to closely match the existing seat cushion and attached four timber buttons to give it some extra character.

I’m contemplating painting grain sack stripes on it though think I’ll wait til the nursery comes together before deciding for sure – it’ll probably happen though (I’m a sucker for those stripes!).

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