Friday, 31 May 2013

milk churn photo display

Ever since I took the doors off the two overhead cupboards in the kitchen I've liked my kitchen a whole lot more.

I've finally got somewhere to display some of my pretty things, and some of my collections.

The little vignette below includes one of my scales, the lid off a small milk churn, 2 flower frogs and other old metal objects in the form of a cast iron flying pig and an old light switch.

I got the milk churn lid at the Shabby Market I took part in a while ago, and have had it sitting on one shelf or another for a long time, waiting to for it to speak to me and tell me what it wants to do.

Yesterday it finally spoke and said "I want to hold a photo".

Well at the time I didn't have any photos handy and really didn't feel like printing one out. I wanted to test it out NOW.

You know how it goes.... Nothing like the present. Don't put off for tomorrow what you can do today... I pray for patience, but I want it now...

I took the photo of Wayne and Ben which I just love, man and horse communicating quietly.

I got a small magnet and put it behind the photo. It worked! The magnet holds the photo onto the handle. Perfect.

Who needs frames when you can do things like this? Much funner!


Thursday, 30 May 2013

the organised office

I thought I'd start this post with a pretty photo...

On the weekend that just past I found myself with a spare couple of hours so I thought I'd clean up my office.

It was so bad I couldn't bring myself to document it photographically. Lets just say that even the dogs avoided it. I think they were afraid that they'd get lost among the piles of stuff and would never be fed again.

Since I'm not a 'do half-a-job' kinda gal, I had to do it right.

That means, as we all know, make a bigger mess so as to reduce the mess.

In order to clean and tidy up, I had to move some things outside the office. Into the kitchen, the hallway, the bathroom and the guest room. Lucky Wayne wasn't home.

In fact, that's partly why I tackled this project at all, cause he was out! As it happened, he got home before I finished and tripped over the office chair in the entry, knocked some folders off the kitchen bench, and skinned his knee against the sewing machine in the hallway. Lucky he didn't need to go into the bathroom or guest room cause that would have necessitated grapple hooks and pick axe.

No wonder the guy hates leaving me alone in the house!

See, my office is a small room. Not tiny, but small. Big enough to almost hold most of the bits and pieces I need for my hobbies.

Its also got a ton of furniture in it, including two filing cabinets - one is Wayne's of course since we first set up the office to share.... I have since moved his office into a corner of the living room. 

I need all the space I can get!

So, two filing cabinets, stacked on top of eachother in a corner. An antique cabinet, a wall of shelves, a new cabinet with lots of small drawers, 2 desks (one is a real table, the other is a closet door), 2 old junior school desks, boxes, crates and suitcases.

You see the problem.

Though I didn't want to show you how the office looked before I started, I'll show you how it looked about halfway through:

I decided I no longer wanted the corner desk layout which took up two full walls. I moved the table under the window and took down the filing cabinet tower on my own (do not try this at home kids!) then pushed, heaved and persuaded the filing cabinets onto the right side of the room to hold up the door/desk.

Now... once I had some empty floor space I couldn't help but look at the carpet. The filthy disgusting dog peed carpet.*

*Long story. I am not one of those dog hoarders who lives amongst dog pee and poop. I am a dog lover who has house trained dogs, but all dogs sometimes have accidents of the vomit variety. And my partner owned two un-house trained dogs which I brought into the house as part of the family. Thinking I could train them. I gave up after I found one pee stain too many in the office where they'd been sleeping. They were out but the carpet remained.

So, I did what any obsessed DIY-er would do. I started ripping up carpet.

Somewhere in the middle of this I thought to myself "I've done this three times before. Why am I doing it again?".

The answer is simple. I hated the salmon, pee stained carpet. I want it gone. From every room in the house. But Wayne will kill me if I start ripping up the carpet in the living room when he goes out for an afternoon so I'll do a room which doesn't affect him...

Its not finished. Wayne came home so I had to start putting things back into the office or face a slow painful death. Plus I'd have had to move furniture again to expose more carpet to rip up and I was tired. I did manage to remove about 1/3 of the carpet.

The timber floors are old and rough, they will need sanding and polishing. I like the old look, but they will need a good clean and a coat of estapol or something to keep them clean. But it does look like a studio floor now!

Meanwhile I sorted out the shelves and made them prettier to look at by hiding away the ugly binders in  filing cabinets and putting documents and other stuff in suitcases and rustic containers.

Wayne's antique map of South Australia still hangs above my desk.

I love my little square crate. I've had that one since Melbourne. For years it held my oil paint tubes.

I bought this little aqua bird in a dollar store cause I loved the colour and found this broken little wire thingy at the tip shop. They look good together till I do something else with the wire thing.

I bought this cloche at Target a few months ago, added in some sticks, a bird I bought at the Shabby Market, a real nest and one of our tiny chicken eggs. My burlap flowers sit in an old wire hanging plant basket. Sorry about the blurry photo...

This pottery measure thingy (that really is the technical term) was given to me by Merrill before she left for the mainland. I knew I could do something with it. Its now a jewelry holder.

All in all, it was a productive weekend!


Tuesday, 28 May 2013

welcoming cas

Meet Cas:

Remember I decided to sell Ben cause he needed an experienced rider willing to take him on and train him? He was unbroken to saddle when we got him and we were finding it too hard to get someone to bring him along for me. And even if we had, he really was too green for me.

I had to face my limitations.

Enter Cas.

Cas is a 16yr old champagne appaloosa few spot mare. She's gorgeous and she's mine.

Not too big at 15hh (compared to Ben's 16.2hh - that's a lotta hands when you're falling off!). She's nice and fat and round. I could ride her bareback and be comfy. She's just what I need, a nice quiet, steady girl who will give me back my confidence and help me get my saddle bum back.

(Hey, if sailors can call them 'sea legs' surely I can call it 'saddle bum'!)


Cas arrived yesterday and while Dancer and Wally ran around like idiots, she remained calm, collected and way more interested in the grass.

This afternoon we let them all out together and it was all good. Dancer has her nose out of joint a bit, she's used to having Wally's affections all to herself. Wally is thrilled. He knew we'd eventually come round to getting him a harem.

I love the name 'Cas'. It reminds me of Castiel - aka Cas - on (you guessed it!) Supernatural.

Apparently when she was purchased as a youngster her call name was Nova. Her new owners didn't think that was a good name so they renamed her Casanova, thus Cas.

I first thought Cassandra.

When I told mom, she said Cassiopeia.

Wayne said Casserole.

Guess which one will stick?



beater halter hangers

Am I the only one who remembers Tom Hanks in Bachelor Party chasing his girlfriend around with the egg beater?

I LOVE Tom Hanks.

But this post isn't about who I find attractive (though if you really want to know, James Stewart, Jensen Ackles from Supernatural, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, also from Supernatural incidentally... )

Deep breath. Back down to earth.


In my "tackling the tack room" post I mentioned the beaters. And about re-using them to make a hanger for the halters for our tack room.

See, I'd been collecting these babies for a while thinking "one day I'll do something with them".

I used a couple in the mud room for hanging hats. Wayne used one on one of his robots. I spray painted some white. But for the most part they just lay there taking up space and not justiying their existance.

Last weekend when I ran out of hooks and anything bendy to use for hanging up tack I looked at the beaters once more and said "your time has come!"

The only hanging space left in the tack room by that point was the wall along the left hand side right near the door to the corral (or small horse yard... really a small sheep yard considering the casita was a shearing shed in its previous life).

Its a wall with exposed studs and no real place to hang things, so I put another of my handy timber slats up (leftover treated pine from our decking rennovation).

I then drilled holes in the pine, all the way through, for the various size beaters I had. Each beater had to be pushed (or pounded) in till it wedged snuggly.

Once done I hung up our collection of halters so they're easy to grab as you head out the door.

And just so you don't think I've forgotten Wayne's input into the hanging racks, here is a photo of one of the bent spoon hooks he made.

I like the way the tack room is organised now:

- saddles ready to ride on their trestles
- extra girths, stirrup leathers & reins along the wacky wallpapered wall
- bridles near the saddle on a timber slat
- saddle blankets over saddles to keep off bird poop
- horse rugs airing out over the fences and slats.



My mind is at peace in there.

Next job: tackle the workshop area...


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Sunday, 26 May 2013

rustic crate window boxes


I thought I'd share something I did a few weeks ago now. I had meant to share it soon as I finished it but the weather got nasty, then I never seemed to remember to take photos while the sun was out, you know how it goes.

This morning while taking photos of the fallen tree I noticed the window boxes and remembered to photograph them.

When I saw these crates at the tip shop over summer I knew they'd be perfect for the driveway side of our house which is BORING. I wanted something to brighten it up and make the house look more welcoming. These boxes are outside the mudroom and toilet windows.

(Excuse the ugly pipe, it will be painted to match the house. Its where the sink went into the mud room.)

I just love these crates! I have temporarily put stuff in them, some plants really need to go into the ground, but for now they brighten up the place. I love seeing them as I approach the house.

Mainly I'm going to keep succulents in them. This spot gets late afternoon sun in summer and I don't want plants to shrivel up and die. Though I think a couple of them are already showing frost damage.

And just cause I happened to take them, here's a couple of panoramic photos of our place from up the top paddock. I had to stitch these together from a lot of separate photos and I have to include them very small but you get an idea of the land around our house. (You can see the fallen tree to the right.)

The casita is the one with the red roof, the house with the blue. The wonky little shed in the foreground is the woodshed. Not so pretty from this side. :)


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life in the windy lane

We've had the worst winds for the last couple of days. Really really strong winds. Lucky for us, everything seemed to stay more or less where we put it. Aside from tarps, rubbish, the garage...

Ok, only joking. Though the poor chickens were pinned up against the fence for most of the day...

Alright. That was a joke too.

But the wind was strong. And this morning while we were out battling with a round bale of hay I spied a tree down in the top paddock.

At first I thought the tree had come down from the neighbour's drive, down over our fence. Turns out we were lucky.

The good news: It was our tree. On our side of the fence. The fence wasn't damaged. Neither was the water tank.

The bad news: It was our tree.

More good news: Plenty more firewood.

Notice the deep root system gum trees have. NOT.

A whooping tree came down and there's barely a hole to show where it was.

The poodles enjoyed running around in the tree. Its not often they get to walk among branches.

And here's a shot of Wally enjoying a munch on the new round bale.

A friend suggested that rather than just putting a round bale in the stable and letting the horses pull it apart and walk, pee and poop all over the hay, we should surround it with pallets and restrict how much the horses can pull apart at one time.

We'll see how it works. The way our monsters eat it won't be long before we need to lower the fences around the bale so they can reach the hay.


Saturday, 25 May 2013

tackling the tack room

Last weekend I tackled the tack room.

Actually I continued tackling the tack room - a job I started the weekend before. It was a mammoth task. Till now the tack had been scattered around the property: some in the small timber shed which we planned to use as the original tack room, some in the garage, some in the casita.

Every time we needed to do something with a horse it was like "Where's the halter?" "You had it last. Where did you put it?" "Behind the door." "What door?"...

This is what I'd like the tack room to look like:

Instead it looks like this:

Eh. We work with what we have.

(The saddles are covered to keep bird poop off them as well as to protect them from the sun streaming in through that window despite its liberal coating of grime. Yes, we have birds living in the casita. And mice, and rats. And a black possum named Siegfried.)

At this point I should explain. The casita is the original old cottage on our property. Not technically a shed, but a home in which a family once raised 14 children. When the original owners sold it, the new owners 'built' a new (relocated) house about 5.5 inches away on the other side of a tiny yard cause it made better sense than putting it further up the hill to have a view of the countryside and not of the old house...  But hey, its Tasmania.

Anyway, the council apparently said "sure, you can put another house there, but you have to make the old house unlivable". So they did. They ripped out half the ceilings, removed some doors, exposed stud walls, then put in a fence, gate, sheep grid flooring in the big room, a stock ramp on the porch and made it into a shearing shed.

When we bought the place we replaced the sheep grid floor with flooring, which I sealed with white undercoat/sealer and never painted, and we've been using it for all kinds of things. There's a toilet no one would want to use without a tetanus shot, a laundry, a chest freezer for dog food, the hydrobath and my grooming room, plus a musty dark room we avoid, a feed room for horse feed and the big room which used to be the shearing shed.

The right side of the big room is my workshop. I had to re-organise that side as part of my 'tack room makeover'.

You can see Romeo keeping an eye on me over the gate into the big room as I shifted things around.

I'd been using the left side of the big room as a hold-all area for things I was going to get to one day. One corner was being used as the spray paint spot. Horse rugs would got tossed on the floor, feed buckets thrown into corners... It was ugly.

Last week I started by clearing it out and sweeping it clean. I think the feed room yielded a full bag of chaff from the floor... In order to clean and organise you first must make a bigger mess. That's the law.

I started by sorting out the workshop area, took down the trestles and door I was using as a work bench which I never used as it was always covered in stuff, and moved the cabinets to different walls to allow access to the dividing fence rail. That rail is a built-in horse rug airer! I added a slat of timber between the posts to create a 2nd tier of hanging space.

I used the trestles to hold the two heaviest saddles (my stock saddle and Wayne's western saddle). Then I used an old ladder and a post to hold a second hand hybrid Wintec and some very old saddles.

Another timber slat between the far posts holds the rack I bought to hold our bridles. That's the only new thing in this makeover.

Another slat became a spot for girths and older tack, not so regularly used. Since I have no idea where the studs are behind the masonite wall I thought it'd be safer to put a slat of timber on the wall for my hooks. I used anything I could find as hooks. More photos of those later.

I had something which looks like the side of a playpen so I attached it to the dividing fence, its now another spot to hang a horse rug. We only have 2 horses right now but we have something like 6 rugs. They're all in varying degrees of repair (or disrepair).

We'll be buying new winter rugs for them soon, we try to recycle and re-use old rugs as much as we can. At least Wayne does. He's the rug stitcher in this family.

Cas will be joining us soon, this weekend I hope, and I'll finally be riding again.

Have I mentioned Cas? She's an older girl, a 16 yr old appaloosa who I met a few weeks ago. She belonged to the family who bought Ben. We went down to meet her and Chester, I rode both and I decided I liked Cas best. I loved Chester. He's such a gorgeous boy, but Cas was so comfortable to ride, sweet natured and, really, she's what I need... an older,  sensible, quiet horse I can get my confidence back with.

I can't wait!