Brocante Workshop Originals

P1060026We have gotten our workshop busy making up some original upcycled items, including beautiful herb plant and cheese plate markers made of old silverplate cutlery.  We have been collecting old cutlery for months now.  We are using vintage silverplate that is not in good order for using as cutlery, or is orphaned and can’t fit well into a mixed setting.  Or in some cases we are using “odd” sorts of cutlery, like fish knife sets, which aren’t very popular or useful now.  To make the markers we obtained some sets of lettering stamps to imprint them with words.  I bundle the cutlery pieces up before they go to Ian in the workshop to make them up.  Some sets feature herb names and others feature cheese types.  Each set has handles from different patterns of cutlery, for a pretty bit of variety.



Ian carefully positions the letter stamp into the handle of the cutlery.  And then he has to give it a very sharp and forceful whack with a mallet to imprint the letter.  Then he repeats the process with each of the other letters, lining them up as straight as he is able and holding them steady while hitting with the mallet.  I can tell you this is not easy and requires strength and a very steady aim.  (I have tried and did not get a good imprint, and would not have got them straight either !)  You only get one shot at getting this right !    Ian checks the lettering imprints (Quality Control !)

The usual “business” end of the cutlery gets sawed off and then filed for a neat finish.

The lettering then looks very nice, but a bit hard to read at this point.  We use dark wax to polish up the lettering and also the detail of the piece.  Very little of it goes on, and most of it gets rubbed away.  After it is dry, I buff the pieces and again sort them for packaging up.IMG_1477

markersetsThe packaging took us a week to work out to satisfaction.  We print the label and attach it to card stock.  Ian carefully measures for the cutlery marker to attach and creates tidy holes to thread copper wiring to hold each marker into place.  The wires are very neatly tied off on backs of the cards.

These are 100% Australian designed and made.  Locally created here in our Angaston workshop in the Barossa Valley.  They make lovely and unique gifts.  We are pleased to offer these in boutique and from November 4th will also offer them available for purchase online in our online shop (on this website, see SHOP links in menu bar above).

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Furniture Doctor: The Old Farm Tables




It began with using my own old farm table in the shop for a display table.  So many people wanted to know if it was sale (it wasn’t !), I knew we needed to find some old farm tables to do up and have in the shop.  Ian got the task to work on this and before too long he had an opportunity to go view some old furniture at an old house and shed that was being cleared out.  He agreed to buy two of the old tables they had on offer there, but not a third.  However, in the end, he grudgingly agreed to take it too (he did not think it could be saved).  As it turned out, I was delighted with the three tables.   I thought he had done very well indeed when he turned up in the shop work area to unload the three very roughand worn, tired looking tables.  Before long, the first of the three went into our off site workshop (the one nearer all Ian’s tool’s !), to begin the repair & restoration work of these tables.

It has taken monthsfor all three tables to come out of the workshop.  farmtable1One had to be painted completely, due to its extensive repairs on top (nearly have the top had to be replaced). Another had to have a new plank put  on top to repair its top too.  scanpinktbleWe painted its base inChalk Paint TM decorative paint by Annie Sloan (Scandanavian Pink) and used Annie Sloan Soft Wax in dark finish to stain the new plank and come as close as we could to the look of the original plank on the table top. It provides work area storage and is also available for hire.  We took it to a wedding expo last month, to show it off !   scanpinktabletopweddingfair






The best one was saved for last, and it also needed the most work.  Turns out it is quite an old table, about 110 years old plus a bit (age set dating to circa 1900).  Ian hd to take it apart, repair and restore it, and then put it back together again.  Below photos show the table base, with clamps on it as it is in the early stages of putting-back-together-again process !


The base had been taken apart, filled, repaired, the drawer repaired, knob handle on the drawer was sheared in half and Ian painstakingly machined out a new other half for it, after gluing the original half we had to a timber block.  It looks perfect and whole again ! (see top photo above).

The table top was rough and needed a lot of filling work.  But great care was taken not to ruin the original character of the piece, and that meant extra work to restore the top surface, as we know it would be finished and on display.  We wanted to retain all we could of its character.oldtabletopb4You can also see how the original paint was at one time redoxide style and colour paint.  This informed our paint choices.oldtableb45





old tabledetailWhen the table was put back together, we painted the base in three layers of Chalk Paint TM by Annie Sloan.  Primer Red was used to echo the original first layer of paint the table had had.  Then a coat of Arles went on.  And last court was Old Ochre, a light neutral that picked up the original paint work colour (see above).  The entire Old Ochre coat was given a clear wax with Annie Sloan Soft Wax. And we began some distressing to reveal the paint layers underneath. distressed1This was followed by clear wax again, and then dark wax was applied and artfully rubbed back.  The wax work took two days to complete.  But the detailed work on the base was excellent and came out well.


oldfarmtableWhen the table was ready to come out of the workshop2 weeks ago, it was brought back to the Brocante in the Barossa shop.  I applied a coat of clear wax to the top and then worked in a generous amount of dark wax.  After leaving it to dry I gave it all a good polish and buff.  I love how this came out, it looks amazing !  The table looks magnificent and is a credit to its history and character, which it proudly wears, but with a new look and restored to readiness for its next 100 years !  And I have dubbed Ian the “Furniture Doctor”…He does amazing work on these old pieces and fixes them without diminishing their character or integrity. This table now has pride of place in centre of our boutique floor, with beautiful ceramics on display on its top.  And it sports a price tag too.  Though, I confess–I am not all that keen to see it go anywhere anytime soon !shopshot

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Chalk Paint TM decorative paint by Annie Sloan: Purples and Mauves

colourmixpurplegreyLast week we had a big purple mood here in boutique.  I pulled out one purple hued Chalk Paint TM decorative paint by Annie Sloan and soon that was followed by another and another !   Mixing purples and greys was our colour theme for the week.

smalltablePaloma.  I love Paloma, it is delicate and a touch sophisticated, not just another lavender colour.  I have used it straight before but this time I mixed it with French Linen to create a very sophisticated neutral that I painted on the base of this small farm style table.  Inspired by Kevin McCloud’s book Colour Now, in vignette 23 on page 57 he says purplish greys are interesting, flatter flesh tones, and bring natural woody materials to life.  He says they should be more popular than they are.   I can see why.

purpledayEmile is a deeper hued purple than Paloma and is a lovely rich mid tone colour.  I used it on an small vintage atrium shaped birdcage.  So cute too.  A warning though–painting a bird cage is a fussy little job.  I kept finding bits I missed and for two days my hands and forearms were covered in purple paint !

heathermauveclockThen I got a bit braver and mixed into Paloma and Emile a colour I have not used before:  Henrietta.  Not sure why, but it seemed a bit sugary and bright to me and so I just have not picked it up for other projects.  But it is a nice bit of relief from the straight purples, as it is sitting the fence between purple and pink.  So it is a little shot of brightness next to Emile and Paloma.   I layered Emile and a mix of it and Paloma on the frame of a carriage style clock.  The gold tone edge by the clock dial had a bit of a pinky mauve tarnish on it, I think this was my inspiration to use purples on its frame.  But as with my other clock frame projects, I aim for a layered mix that is not all single toned.  So when I got to the top layers, I added Henrietta into the combination.  I worked it into the other colours on surface, before they were dry, to blend it in, without fully mixing it.  This gave the paintwork a bit of dimension.  Then some light distressing exposed the darker Emile in a few spots.  And then clear wax finish followed by dark wax for a warm look.  I call the paint work on this clock Heather Mists.

window10mayWe wrapped up our purple week with a window display in soft dreamy colours.  Duck Egg Blue and these purples & mauves.  Plus Bison ceramics in colours Leaf, Fig, Sage and Milk.


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Blues and Greens

We are experimenting here in the boutique with the colour range of Chalk PaintTM decorative paint by Annie Sloan. All the colours are beautiful, but lately we have painted a number of pieces in some of the gorgeous blues and

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The Perfect Pink

Maybe you can see why I find selling decorative paint to be creatively appealing–I love colour mixing and working with colour (and pattern, texture, etc).  This afternoon I had some custom colour mixing to do, while in the boutique. Good

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Stencilled Feature Wall

I decided to stencil a feature wall in the boutique…but as with many of my projects, things evolve or morph a bit.  Initially, I thought I might do it in charcoal ground with mid grey stencilled pattern over it, like

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