Sunday, 25 May 2014

a new chalkboard for the new kitchen

One of my friends said this corner of the kitchen looked wierd, with the little shelf and the mixers. Well, this corner is still the same as its always been since we bought the house. Only difference is its now a different colour.

And this narrow strip of wall always held a calendar.

Not even a really nice calendar most of the time.

When planning the new kitchen in my mind, I always thought a new chalkboard would look nice there... for our shopping list.

We already have a long narrow shopping list chalkboard near the fridge, but I have something else planned for that spot. Plus, I wanted a much more elaborate frame for the kitchen and this one fit the bill.

It had been painted a bright red before I got it and I thought that would make a nice contrast to the greeny/aqua colour I painted it. I used milk paint for the first coat and acrylic for the second. No idea why. It just seemed like a good idea at the time. It gave it a roughed up look which is fine by me. I added a little 'age' (or grime) with some burnt umber artist acrylic to make the details stand out a bit more.

Compared to our long shopping list chalkboard, this is pretty small. Maybe we'll save money with smaller shopping lists... More likely we'll just write smaller.

I used a drawer pull as a chalk holder. Old trick, yeah. But I had 10 of these pulls. I bought them for the kitchen drawers and when they arrived they were too small. Alright for my delicate girlie fingers, but not for Wayne's manly ones.

In other words, I had spare drawer pulls, I may as well use them, right?

This is the only creative, house-related thing I managed to do all this weekend.

Though I did bake again! I made a pasta flora. Its a greek jam tart.

I also made another spanakopita cause I'm addicted. Sorry, no photos of that, but here's a photo of the baclava I made last weekend.



Shared at:
Beyond The Picket Fence

Saturday, 24 May 2014

pom pom suite - more art from trash

This is another entry in the Art From Trash Exhibition. This time its a collaborative piece (or pieces) made at work.

I work on different programs at work, and we try to enter interesting things in competitions when we can. This suite is something that took us almost a year to pull together.

The concept was inspired by an image I saw on Pinterest of a chair covered in coloured pom poms. I found two old plastic fabric covered chairs at the tip shop which were perfect for our project. I had the broken stool legs at home, as well as a shallow tray/box from previous tip shop explorations. 

With the help of a couple of ladies at work, we sanded off rust and spray painted all the metal work glossy black. And cleaned up the chairs.

A whole lot of ladies helped make the billions of pom poms needed to cover the chairs. These were stitched into the chair upholstery to create very comfy padded seats.

We made heaps of tiny pom poms using the fork method I saw at Eclectically Vintage. These we put into the table top box, which we attached to the stool legs. I had a thick piece of perspex cut to size for the top, which is held on by screws.

We created a fun little sitting arrangement.

To finish off the 'suite' I made this chandelier at home using an old lamp shade stripped off its original covering, some fancy wool and more pom poms.

I love how it worked out. So soft and feminine. Here's Montana keeping an eye on things. She agrees, though I think she wanted to eat the pom poms.

In the spirit of entries being made of 'trash', we made the whole suite out of things people had mostly discarded. The chairs, table and lamp shade all came from the tip shop. The light fitting in the chandelier came from a 2nd hand lamp I bought to revamp. The wool was mostly from op shops or donated (I ran an ad on asking for white wool and a really nice guy actually sent some!).

I just love making things out of 'nothing' and the guys at work love seeing what they helped create being exhibited and admired.

Who doesn't?


junkyard dogs - art from trash

Every year the City of Hobart Council has an exhibition called Art From Trash. Its one of my favourite events of the year. This year I entered my Junkyard Dogs - partly inspired by the little dog I made during my art course last year. Remember Hair of the Dog

Well, here he is again, with one of his new mates:

Let me introduce you to them properly.

First there was Tiny Terrier, the first art from trash dog. He's made of a wire frame and felted dog hair... plus some dryer lint and possum fur I found in the woodshed.

Then there's Wire Terrier:

He's made of electrical, phone and computer cables. See, while cleaning up the house a while ago I found all these cables which belonged to printers, phones, computers and stereos I haven't had in years. A whole box of them. I actually put them on the porch to take to the rubbish. Then I had second thoughts. I could make something from them!

So I made another dog. He's made of a cardboard frame with all kinds of cables and a few legos.

Then there's Toy Terrier.

He's made of toys and a bit of wire on a cardboard frame. A whole lot of small toys and toy parts a friend collected from her daughter's bedroom floor. She was going to throw them away but of course, I could do something with them!

Lastly there's Bubble and Squeak (the name kinda says it all). He's a mix and match of all the materials I used on the other three dogs. Befitting a junkyard dog.

He's made of a wire frame, a hollow bowl shape which holds all kinds of thing... toys, a broken mobile phone, chargers, old ink cartridges, electric plugs. His tail is made of cables and an old metal spring. His legs are all hollow wire frames, but front legs end in felted dog hair paws. His head is full of felted poodle hair and dryer lint, which flows down to cover half his back.

These guys will be in the Long Gallery in the Salamanca Art Centre till June 4th. I already know Tiny Terrier won't be coming home and I must admit I felt a bit sad saying goodbye to him. I believe Toy Terrier is also going to a new home. 

Seriously, I don't have space to keep everything I create, but sometimes its hard to say goodbye!


Saturday, 17 May 2014

then and now - the kitchen

While its still fresh in all our memories, here are some then and now photos of the kitchen.

This is what the kitchen looked like when we viewed the house for the first time - with the old owner's stuff in it:

And here it is now:

This the side with the window/pass/whatever you call it into the living room on the day we moved in:

Here's the same wall now:

Here's the basic layout the day we moved in: 2 windows in awkward places due to the upper cabinets, stove in the middle of the front wall, sink to the left.

This is the layout now: big window in the middle of the room, sink under window, stove the left, no upper cabinets. 

I took a set of photos showing walls so I can sketch on and work out where to put my shelves. I'm thinking 3-4 on either side wall, all same length on the left and staggered from shortest to longest on the right. I'm thinking the top shelf will run across over the window as well...

I'm thinking tassie oak shelves, matching the benchtop in colour and finish.

The entrance to the house is through the mudroom, the pantry and the kitchen. (Don't ask!) The door to the kitchen and another door leading to the rest of the house create a funny corner with two doors. This is how it looked the day we moved in:

This is how it looks now:

Naturally, I made small changes to the kitchen along the way to make it more me... which basically means cramming it full of collectible old bits and pieces... I hated the top heavy upper cabinets so I removed the doors on one set to create open shelves.

Here is the same area with the open shelves:

Here is the same corner now.

The plan is to put some kind of pot rack on the wall next to the door...

We had a large built in pantry in the back corner of the kitchen. Very handy admittedly, but when I moved the pantry to the old entry, I decided I wanted something prettier there... Here it is with the ill-considered and badly executed, huge fail chalkboard pantry doors:

Now my antique kitchen dresser pretties up that corner. With its extra support legs which need staining to match! Its old and was sagging in the middle so it needed some strengthening. 

When designing the new kitchen I looked over all the gadgets I owned and decided I didn't need half of them. I'm streamlining. I still need to sort where to put some of them, but I'll get there. I haven't even started on the pantry yet...

The kitchen bench then - always full of stuff:

The bench now:

I love it being clean and uncluttered. We used to drop everything on the corner as we came in the door. I've outlawed that now. We have a phone station for phones, I'm making a key rack, and I'm thinking about how and where to create a drop zone for other stuff. 

For Wayne mainly.

I'm over his constant search for his wallet, glasses, keys, etc.

So, here's what we did to achieve this transformation:

Removed 2 inconvenient windows.
Put in a new window in the middle of the front wall.
Bought a new stove, rangehood, dishwasher and sink.
Had new cabinets custom made.
Had a solid timber benchtop made (which I finished)
Moved the hot water cylinder to another spot.
Moved the electric power meter to another spot.
Put in new wiring for the new stove and rangehood.
Lifted lino and masonite and I refinished the original timber floor.
Fixed the uneven original timber floor.
Moved the sink/plumbing to another spot.
Lined 3 of the walls with pine.
Painted all the woodwork Dulux Antique White USA.
Painted the whole kitchen a Dulux China White 3/4 strength.
Mounted an old tempered glass door behind the stove as splashback.
Painted the doors a minty greeny aqua colour I made up.

Did I miss anything? The months of mess. The months of having nothing to cook on... waiting for tradesmen... the frustration when things didn't work out or we discovered unpleasant surprises when doing something we considered a 'quick job'...

So there you have it.



To celebrate, today I've spent HOURS cooking up a storm to try out the new fan forced large oven which promises to cook 3 dishes at once evenly. I made lasagne, spanakopita (greek spinach pie) and baclava.

I'll let you know how they go.


Friday, 16 May 2014

then and now - the ugly house

I've been thinking about the amazing before and after photos on the blogs I follow. And the TV shows I like. They're amazing. Even when I don't particularly like the style, I see the amazing transformations and feel inspired and more than a little envious.

I mean the after rooms are always perfect, styled to within an inch of their lives, great colours, interesting mix of textures, fantastic furniture, creative vignettes... Magazine quality rooms.

I may occasionally be able to set up a perfect corner in my house to photograph, cropping out the mess of stuff I've had to move out of shot in order to create that corner of perfection. But I can never show you a complete finished and styled room.

Even if I finish a room (the only room here close to being finished is the kitchen!) I won't have the right furniture. Or I'll have a stack of things I have no real place for and that just don't fit in. Or I'll have clothes airers drying clothes in front of the wood heater (this place is like a chinese laundry all winter,)

So, in the spirit of sharing the progress of our home, from what it was when we first saw it, to how its looking right now, almost 3.5 years later, I decided to do a then and now series.

We've come a long way since we bought the farm... at least in some parts of the property. Its good to remember just how much has changed - for the better.

This is how the house looked when we bought it:

And this is what it looks like now:

When we bought it, there was a tiny little porch on the end near the driveway, with an outside toilet (the blue door):

We enclosed the tiny porch, making a mudroom, and bringing the toilet into the house:

Of course, the hot water cylinder (which used to be on a blank wall) was now on the porch:

So this year we moved it to the driveway side of the house:

We also enclosed the end of the porch to give us a dry zone and protect our boots from horizontal rain:

This is what the driveway side of the house looked like before:

Here it is after some painting and planting but before the hot water cylinder was moved and the retaining wall was put in.

What we've done:

Enclosed the tiny porch.
Added a big porch which we joined up to the small one on the back of the house.
Replaced the small kitchen window with a bigger one.
Planted flowers.
Painted the house.
Moved the hot water cylinder.
Levelled the driveway and put in a retaining wall along the side.
Replaced the trellis on the small back porch with slats to match the new porch railing.

Its been a long, meandering road.

Again, here is the house when we first bought it:

And here it is now:


And now:



Even with wheelbarrows on the porch and painting waiting to be done, its a lot prettier now, wouldn't you agree?