Monday, September 23, 2013

Before And After: Mod Bookshelves


It's been a little while (sorry!) and I have been busy working...just have slacked off on the blogging side of things. Only human and all that!
But I'm here now with some gorgeous shelves to show you. Yay!!

This is my most recent project completed and I'm so happy with how it turned out!

These are going in a clients' daughters' bedroom, which is also undergoing an overhaul at the moment - fun!!
I'm not sure what this book shelf is normally called - I have seen a couple before - but I decided to call them mod bookshelves as they have a little 1950's feel to them, even though they possibly aren't that old. :-)

They turned out so good, I really love the look! See what you think...

I've styled it for a lot younger child - not having any tweenies yet myself, but I'm sure it'll look even more awesome in its' new room. ;-)

And for those interested in how I did this one, I give you...drum roll...


1. Give it a good (but quick) sand all over to help with paint adhesion. I used straight low sheen here - no chalk paint for this one! Then give it a good clean with a damp cloth and let dry. I get impatient sometimes...ok, a LOT, and always have the air compressor turned on when I'm working so I blow air over to help it dry quicker! I don't do this to help wet paint dry, I'd only blow dirt/leaves/dust on it and have to start again;-)
2. Lay it on its back and paint a coat on the interior, but not around the edges if you can help it. It doesn't matter too much if you get a little on the edges as we'll fix that later on. (By edges I mean the part that's left natural timber.)
3. Flip it upright and paint a coat on the exterior, again trying not to go over the edge too much. If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know what the blue colour is called. ;-)
4. Once dry, give a light sand with a 320grit sanding sponge and another wipe down before repeating more coats of both colours until you're happy with the coverage.
5. When it's all dry and you're happy with your paint job, flip it on it's back and grab a mouse sander and about 180 grit sandpaper and a steady hand, and sand the whole edge of the shelves that you want to keep as natural timber. The steady hand is so you don't go off the edge and take off paint that you've just finished applying! Practice on something else that has a narrow edge first if you're not feeling confident. I used 180 grit as I needed to remove the old varnish as well as some areas where I got paint on ;-) 
6. Time to seal. For the timber edge I used a little teak oil - no the timber isn't teak, but it just gives it a little depth that clear wax doesn't. Then the painted areas got ASCP clear wax, a good buff and it's finished!

On a complete side note - after typing fast 6 up there, I saw the other day (via Instagram) that Fast 7 is being filmed as we speak!! And I know that this is of no interest to any of you - unless perhaps you're my bestie or a male who's into cars - and I am not into cars at all (more into Paul Walker perhaps?!) but I've shared this un-interesting fact anyway...because I can! ;-)

That's all from me for now, have a lovely week!!

Courts xx

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Guest Post - Clair From A Cacao Life

Hi there!

There's someone that I really want you all to meet today - Clair, a friend of mine who has just recently started her blog - A Cacao Life 

A cacao life

If you've been reading along lately, you'll know that I've made some serious changes to my diet and exercise (from zero exercise to most days) and in the beginning phases of any big life changes - we need all the support we can get. 
Clair is a big supporter of mine, which I appreciate whole heartedly :-)
Clair lives in the same town as me and has been inspiring me with awesome clean recipes and food ideas for a while now. She's an awesome cook!! And an awesome person who happily share's her knowledge with you! I'll let her take it away now and introduce herself to you. You're gonna love her!!

My name is Clair, and I, like you LOVE Courtney's blog. Not only is this woman wonderfully talented, she also is the kindest soul you could find! She offered me to have a go at doing a guest post on her blog today! So bare with me!

My little blog 'A Cacao Life' is about something Courtney has occasionally posted about on her blog…clean eating, exercise and family. I feature 'clean' recipes of your most naughty foods, information about latest trends in the healthy food world, and some pics of me and my little family. I've recently had baby number 2 (Jimmy) and I'm on maternity leave from my career as a nurse.
I'm in the midst of doing the Whole30 and I'd love for you to pop over to my blog and have a peek. I love feedback- so bring on your constructive criticism! 
I hope you enjoy my blog and come back for another visit!

Clair xx

Thanks Clair!!

The last time I saw Clair I asked her 'What do I wear for running in summer?' to which she didn't hesitate to answer my complete exercise newbie (and probably funny/blonde!) question...'Just a tank top and some running shorts Courts' Thanks for not laughing at me Clair!! ;-)

Wanna see a couple of things Clair's been making/eating??

Try this raw chocolate and hazelnut brownie tart on for size...


I'm literally drooling as I type!
Or this...

as either breakfast, lunch or tea! Both guilt free ;-) Bonus!!

So if you're curious about that stuff you put in your mouth and how it's directly linked to how you feel/look and want to try out some clean recipes (eating healthy doesn't mean you are deprived!) or if you're wondering what on earth the whole 30 is that Clair mentioned, please click on over to A Cacao Life and learn more about it won't be disappointed!

Courts xx

PS. I just finished a beautiful (and big!) dining table that I can't wait to show you!! Drying, drying...

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Before And After: A Duck Egg Coffee Table


It's back to a good old before and after today! I won't be mentioning the 'e' word at all in this post...ok, just once for those that missed my last post all about 'exercise' or the 'e' word as I'll now refer to it as. And if you did manage to get through possibly my longest post ever - thank you!

Onto today's post though, which is all about this...

A custom piece for a client that was handmade and it even has storage underneath the table top. Genius!

This has been painted in DIY chalk paint in a duck egg-ish colour (can't remember its exact name) but it is very similar to Annie Sloan duck egg. I colour matched to a frame my client has, using my Dulux fan deck. 
It was then heavily distressed and sealed with wax.

The before -

You know, I never tire of the magic that happens just by applying paint and a little know how/creativity to a piece of furniture that is past its prime. 
It's why I love what I do! :-)

And for those of you interested in how I do my heavy distressing - I always use my mouse sander with a fairly high grit paper. I used 320 grit for this one, and I go over the whole piece. If I'm doing light distressing, I just go over where the piece would naturally get wear and tear.
But for heavy distressing, I use the high grit combined with heavier pressure by me (and my now growing muscles;-) and I cover the whole piece using quite quick movements. I try to create more friction so that the paint comes off wherever it wants to but at the same time all these factors combine to make it all really smooth in one step. 
If it still needs smoothing, I'll go over with a sanding sponge, always 320 grit.

Hope this makes sense! 

Could you stand a little duck egg at your place? It's a colour that makes me think of summer and the beach and holidays...

Courts xx
Furniture Feature Fridays

Saturday, August 24, 2013

To An Exercise Wannabe, From An Exercise Newbie

My apologies if you visited to see a furniture before and after's just me banging on a bit about how I'm finding regular exercise :-) I've posted about eating clean (which you can read here) and thought now I'd broach the topic of exercise.

This post is mostly for anyone who doesn't exercise at all. Ever. Maybe you used to, years ago. But it's been a long time. Perhaps you've had thoughts about it though.
Fleeting thoughts about going for a walk - or even a run.
Maybe you've driven past people who are dressed in gym clothes and carrying their water bottles, obviously on their way to workout and it has sparked a thought.
Maybe the thought has lingered in your mind a little longer lately. It's not as fleeting anymore. You've actually started thinking about what exercise you could do - if you could be bothered.

That's how it started for me.
A fleeting thought about exercise which then turned into a full blown discussion with myself about what I could possibly do. Or what my body felt like doing. How it wanted to move.

Just to reiterate this post's title...I am an exercise newbie. I'm only about 11 weeks into this journey and my goal is just to let you - who fit in with the description above - know what I've found exercising regularly to be like. How I chose the exercise I do, how it makes me feel and how I stay motivated to keep doing it. So far.
And I am writing this from the viewpoint of losing weight and getting healthy...not because I'm training to win olympic gold in the 3000 metres ;-)

Firstly, I want to say that in my experience, exercise is not a hugely essential part of weight loss. If you want to be smaller than you are but still soft and spongey...then it is extremely possible to lose kilo's without any exercise at all. But if you want to be smaller AND firmer/stronger than you are now...then you need to exercise. Of course there are many, many other benefits of exercising which we all know, but I'm coming from the view of getting smaller, firmer, fitter and stronger.
(You can read about the experience I just mentioned, with a juice fast I did last year here and here) Knowing what I know now...I'm not a huge advocate of juice fasts anymore. But it does show that you can lose weight without exercise. I didn't start exercising until after the fast ended. 

Now, for me, I'm not as concerned with weight loss but more fat loss. I want some muscle! I want to be firm and strong! You don't get that without exercise.

So I guess having a goal was my first step. It's so much easier to stay focused and motivated if you have a clear goal. I have mine (it's very detailed) written down and placed where I can see it. Its a great reminder to keep going.
It's what motivated me to start in the first place.
If you don't have somewhere you want to be, you'll never take those first steps to get to this mysterious and undefined place.

Ok, so what exercise do I do?

I run and I do yoga.
And I, for the most part, love both of them. I love the challenge that running gives me and I love how my body feels during and after yoga. 
I felt drawn to these two things and had done for a long time before I actually started them. I'd even mentioned to people that I wanted to start yoga, but always had an excuse. 
Recently I made the connection between these two forms of exercise and things that I did and loved as a kid. I'm talking really young, like 3 - 8 years of age. 
I started calesthenics when I was 3 - and did it until I was 16 and I started athletics when I was 5 and in those early years, running (sprints) was definitely my forte. 
If you are wondering what exercise you'd enjoy - a key part to wanting to continue with an exercise is enjoyment - look back to those early years of life and what you enjoyed then. Maybe, like me, you'll enjoy them now!
I've also discovered that I'm a mesomorph body type - albeit an overweight one - and am suited to short, fast bursts of exercise rather than having stamina to do long distances.
You can find out your body type and more info on that here.

I generally run 3-4 times a week and at the moment I only run 3kms. The challenge I mentioned is my times. I'm happy only running 3kms for now and perhaps that is the mesomorph in me that likes the shorter distances! I always hated the 400 and 800 at athletics as a kid and barely bothered trying...I would walk most of the way!
3kms challenges me and I give myself a goal to improve my fastest time within 2 weeks. So far I've been doing that fairly easily. Whether its a good or bad thing, I am a competitive girl...its ingrained in me. Possibly from winning lots as a kid, I got a taste for it and now I love the win! I use the nike + running app on my phone which keeps track of my distance/times so I can compete with myself. I always win! Yay!
I love the feel of getting air into my lungs. I love the feel of puffing - which in between the songs I listen to while I run, I hear myself and I do really, really puff! But it feels good! I feel a little fitter each time and its a really good feeling. Once upon a time I would have reached for chocolate to try and get that feeling, but it doesn't even come close to this.
It's winter here at the moment and I go out for my run in the evening, so its usually cold...sometimes wet. But I find its the best time for me and I actually like the colder air getting into my lungs. Makes me feel more alive. I think its easier than dragging myself out into 40degree weather which I undoubtedly will do come summer time. ;-)
I've been running once in the morning and I didn't like it. I don't know what it was, and I know most people exercise in the mornings but it doesn't do it for me.

I do have trouble with stitches sometimes - always at the 2km mark - so if your a little more seasoned than me and have any tips for avoiding getting a stitch, I'd love to hear it! Also sore calf muscles! Yoga helps with that but if I haven't done it the day that I run, I get really sore calves!

I know I've mentioned on here before a little of my exercise routine and that the yoga I do is DDP Yoga. These are DVD's that I do at home, whenever it suits me.
DDP stands for Diamond Dallas Page, an ex-pro wrestler (no, I'm not into wrestling. At all!) who developed this particular brand of yoga after serious injury from being in the ring. It's kind of a mix of yoga, calesthenics and old school strengthening exercises. 
After ten weeks I can finally do his style of push ups - on my knees - I couldn't even do one when I first started. Now I'm aiming to get off my knees and do them fully!
DDP reminds you to breathe all the time during all the workouts (there's quite a few of them) which I think is important. I know I forget to breathe deeply in general throughout the day, so it feels really good to do it throughout these workouts. 
The deep stretching really improves my flexibility which helps with everything else I do throughout the day. From carrying groceries, lifting furniture or kids, whatever I'm doing...I seem to do it so much easier now. When I say stretching, its still a damn hard workout, its not gentle stretching. It's challenging. But it makes me feel fantastic. Some days I feel really sore (in a good way) the next day. Sometimes I don't. It helps me with my running too. If I've done yoga in the morning, my run just seems easier that night.

FYI, I haven't weighed myself for a bit, but last time I did (about week 9 I think) I'd lost 7kgs and I've started noticing some small changes, such as collar bones appearing (hello! haven't seen you in a while!) and shoulders looking squarer and definitely a flatter tummy. People I haven't seen in a while have commented on my appearance, which is always nice! Still a long way to go, but a little noticeable progress is plenty of motivation in itself to keep going.

I better stop'll all be falling asleep!! I said at the top I'd be banging on a bit...I think I've banged on a lot!
So, hopefully you get an idea of what its like to exercise when you first start out - it's all good I promise! Makes me wonder why I waited so long!

If you have any advice for me or any other exercising newbies - please leave a comment or shoot me an email. I love to learn and any tips would be much appreciated :-)

All the best on your exercising venture!

Courts xx


Monday, August 19, 2013

Before And After: Coral And Stainless Half Table

Before I show you my latest before and after, I would like to explain it a little. Bear with me, k?

I tend to go through creative phases...does that happen to you too?

First I loved antique furniture and now I'm more into mid century stuff. Once upon a time I would paint GT stripes on everything in sight and now I'm over that. There has been many other phases since then. 

At the moment I am in love with contrast.

What I mean by contrast is two (or more) polar opposites existing on the same piece.

For example: a person dressed in contrast might be wearing black pants and a white top - two contrasting colours. Which, btw, makes me look like a waitress if I were to wear black/white. I am suited to more blended colours but that is a whole other post...or ten ;-)
Another example of contrast is a person with quite dark hair putting a really light (or bright) piece/chunk/foil in for...contrast. :-)
Mixing feminine with masculine is another way to contrast. Or contrasting textures, like high gloss paired with dull texture. 

So in the spirit of my newest love...I give you -

The before -

This one has a couple of contrasts going on.
It's such a curvy, feminine piece so I chose this gorgeous coral colour and then added the stainless steel geometric shape to the top that is quite masculine. 
There is also contrasting textures going on here, with the distressed coral with some white peeping through here and there and then the full, sharp and geometric steel design.

For the stainless steel I used Rust-Oleum Stainless Steel paint -

Which comes in a box and has real stainless steel in it! See those little flecks in the paint above? Love it!! It gives the design so much more depth and interest than just silver paint (which I've used before) and it's also really tough and durable.
I met a Rust-Oleum rep (Hi Scott!) in Mitre 10 and he showed this paint to me - I wouldn't even have noticed it on the shelf, maybe new packaging is needed? - and the creative cogs in my brain started turning for different ways I could use this, other than painting a white fridge which is how this product is predominantly marketed. I do love a creative challenge!
So I made contact with the good people at Rust-Oleum and was given a tin of this to try...yay!!
Rest assured that even though I was given this product for free, I am under no obligation to sing it's praises here on extro. I am because I do truly (so far) love it!
I will always share the good stuff with you guys and if I don't love something...then you won't find me talking about it. :-)
I have one other project underway with this paint and lots of idea's in my head for other projects! It's a perfect way to bring some masculinity to a piece...or contrast if that's what you're going for!
You could also just paint a whole piece in this paint if you so desired :-)

FYI, this one is sealed with ASCP clear wax. I didn't seal the stainless though, I really love the look of it as is and figure it's so tough already that it probably doesn't need extra protection.
I'd happily sit stuff on it without fear of it scratching.

This one is for sale. (my email addy is in the contact tab up the top)

What do you think of this one?

Do you like a little contrast too?!

Have an awesome week, won't you?!

Courts xx