Saturday, 26 December 2015

kmart plant stand side table


Did you noticed the little side table in the guest room?


Its something really quick and easy to make.

First, you get one of these metal plant stands from Kmart. They had them in copper and aqua in our local store.


Then you get a round timber cheese board or whatever you have on hand. Give it a sand and then stain and/or varnish it. I did both.

Using liquid nails (liquid nails is your friend!) you glue the stand to the timber top.


I had it sitting upside down for a day with weight on top to make sure the glue was nice and dry.

Easy, and very cute.

The roses are from Patrice's garden. Yellow roses are my favourite.

z


the linen chest finished


You may remember this tallboy makeover from an old post. It started life as a chest of drawers but the drawers kept getting stuck and falling off their sliders. I decided to make it into shelves for linen storage.

This is what it looked like when I shared it back then.


All fine and good till you fill it up with mismatched linen and blankets. Kind of messy looking.


It needed doors. So I made doors. The easy way. Basically I made 2 square frames out of pine, with a bar across the middle. Then I used peg board for the door panels to allow air to circulate and to strengthen the doors.

I even used my router to notch fancy bits out of the bars!


I painted the peg board in chevron type stripes white and the same shade of aqua I used on the holland blind to tie it in together. And to make it more interesting.


The project wasn't without its delays and 'oops' moments. I'd originally measured to have the doors sit outside the walls of the cabinet, but decided that looked awful. And me and numbers ain't a match made in heaven... That meant I had to trim down the doors so they'd fit inside and I could use simple hinges.


I also changed the knobs to plain black ones. I wasn't sure the pumpkin knobs were working.



It took months to finish this cabinet. Mainly cause I got sidetracked with other things. In the end I let it sit for weeks just waiting for hinges. But it was worth the wait. I love the way it looks now.

z

final guest room reveal


Its been a gruelling few days, but the house is finally ready for mom's visit.

I'll start by sharing the guest room, but before I do I'd like to thank my friend Patrice for all her help today. Without her I'd still be walking around in circles, overwhelmed by the task ahead of me.

So here is the guest room before (right after I decided the old office would make a better guest room - that post here):


And here is is now, with the bed made, the ladder bedside table and fresh flowers.


Before:


After:


Yes, you'll notice something new... the linen cupboard has doors! More on that later.

Enjoy some more photos of the guest room. Mind you, the shelves aren't really 'dressed'. They're just 'there'. I had to draw the line somewhere or I'd still be working.





A nice, light, bright and welcoming room. And just to make it a big Christmassy, I hung these little twigs with felt shapes I made last year near the door.


I think mom will be comfortable in here, don't you?

I know I'm very pleased with it.

z

Sunday, 20 December 2015

room dividers and general craziness

So how's it going?

Well, not much in terms of excitement. Sometimes I feel like that hamster on its wheel... running flat out and still in the same place.

I've been going through the house and casita and purging to make space for projects and things I want to keep, instead of having everything stacked on top of everything else in every available shed and no space to work.

I'm being ruthless. I look at things now and think "is it worth keeping?", if not, out it goes. I've dedicated the tiny yard beside the casita (formerly known as Stalag 13 and housing roosters) as the To The Tip Site. I have boxes of stuff I'll donate to the tip shop, and piles of boxes of stuff to sell at a garage sale sometime early next year.

I'm making progress.

As I evaluate stuff I look at quality, usefulness and whether I'm likely to ever really do anything with it. If it doesn't tick at least one of the criteria it goes to the tip, but not before I've removed hinges or handles or whatever I want to keep.

I've also done some work on the garden with the help of a friend. The weeds have been whacked, I have some fledgling tomato plants, beans, bells peppers and cucumbers in the vegie garden, some lettuce in a washing machine drum near the kitchen and some more colour in the garden. More tyres have been filled with soil and plants and pine bark mulch has been applied. Its a long way from being a great garden, but I'm getting there.

Inside, there's still much to do. Mainly cause I got it into my head that I wanted to build a divider/tv unit in the middle of the living room and I wanted to do it now.

A friend said left brain people are never idle as they always have ideas they want to do, and they want to do them now.

I can relate.

So, since my divider/tv unit isn't ready yet, I thought I'd share some pics which inspired me.

Firstly, I love those 1960s type bookcase dividers which were so common in living rooms of that time. Often they were between the front door and the living area. I also love cube storage units. But the thing is I wanted the divider to hold the TV... so I was looking more at something which was a cross between a credenza:


And a 60s style bookcase:


Or something like this - which is totally gorgeous:


But we have two metal poles in the middle of our living room, so whatever I put there needed to either hide the poles or make them part of the design. Like this: 


Or this (if it wasn't fixed to a wall):


Better still, like this:


Something which would provide a home for the TV and dvd player, PVR, cds and dvds, etc. but let light through from one end of the room to the other.

Our living room is large and long without too many places you can put a TV. The obvious spot is either the corner it sits in right now or the middle of the room - that way we can still see it from the kitchen while cooking (a big plus in my book!).

I've been thinking about this since we moved in here. I hate the poles. They really cut the room in half both visually and literally, and make it hard to decorate. I considered cladding them in timber and then putting shelves between them first, but wasn't sure that's what I wanted.

Then I saw this and I liked it:


Here's another. Its just a cube storage unit clad in rustic timber and made into a credenza. How great is that!


I was thinking I have one tall cube unit with a back... Its mdf, but if I clad it in old timber I'd have both rustic and industrial with the poles...

Then I saw this and all bets were off.


I have a smaller 10 square drawer cd cabinet I bought from Freedom years ago... I could turn it on its side, put legs under it, clad it in old timber and extend it to take up the space between the columns, paint the columns black... I found some black 60s legs, got the screw plates to make them vertical...

Then I changed my mind and decided to make the 'box' out of plywood.

Good. 

I began.

I've got the base done... but the legs aren't strong enough to hold the cd cabinet and its now much wider 'box'.

So I'm changing my plan. I need different legs. I need to add 1 more full length shelf and a back and varnish it before I can put the TV on it...

And I have a week to get it done. Ugh.

z


Monday, 14 December 2015

this year's christmas tree

Its not exactly what I'd planned, but I love it.

I had planned a 3D tree, made using old timber on a central rod. Then I found the old crib sides I used to use as dog barriers when I lived in Fentonbury and thought "hey, I'll use the slats!"...

So I cut them up for branches. I drilled holes in the middle. I cut blocks to go between the branches. I drilled holes in those. I created a base for the rod. I put it all together and went "yeech".

Then I found myself with all these cut up slats - luckily not all had holes in them - so I went for plan B.

And this is what I ended up with:


Pretty huh?

Yes, I know its a bit wonky... but you know me. Nothing is ever quite perfect. I'm of the 'close enough is good enough' school of DIY.

I used the base I cut the slats off as the bottom, I like the way it grounds it. I had to stick the trunk slat back onto the base so I used an old hinge.

I then decorated it with the timber stars I bought a few years ago and some brown, natural looking, florist wire I'd had for years (I knew I'd find the right project for it one day!)


Its hanging in the middle of the living room, right over the air conditioner. Basically, its on the only bare wall I have. I'd been wondering what I'd put there, well, problem solved for the next few weeks. Gives me time to think about future displays.


Did you notice I put the presents under the tree (on top of the air conditioner?) They won't stay there. When I clean the old grate we use to hold firewood for the wood heater I'll put the presents in that.

Don't know about you, but I love wrapping presents. I've had a thing for plain brown paper for years now, adding different embellishments each year to pretty them up. This year I made large bows from burlap ribbon and a brown linen type ribbon.

The spotted paper was something I saw at a shop while browsing... I thought "I'm not paying that for wrapping paper!" so I made my own. I love the way it looks having plain and spotted paper wrapped gifts together.

I'm all excited now. I can't wait to get stuck into getting the house ready for Christmas and mom's visit.

I've already started in the garden. There's been weeding and some new planting (to fill in gaps) and heaps of general cleaning in the yard. Still much to do on that front!

I've also started building my tv unit/room divider. 

Its a big job and I can't believe I'm doing it, but after months, years even, of thinking about it and hesitating and doubting myself, I suddenly got hit with inspiration. Before I had time to rethink it I'd measured up and gone out and bought plywood.

Its half done now. I'm thinking it'll be a work in progress. The base part is done except for putting the legs on. Then I can move it into the house. It'll need polyurethane to protect it and I'll need to do the back, but it can be used and I can rearrange the living room the way I've been planning to for ages!

Later I can build the rest of it. The idea is to make it so it can be pulled apart in case I want to move it one day, thus making it in 2 stages works for me.

But more on that later. When I have decent photos to share.

Other than that I'm doing great. Well, other than the wisdom tooth I had pulled out last Friday cause it was loose (and turns out it had an abscess). And the fact that its now more sore than it was on Saturday. Thank goodness for strong pain killers! 

I'm falling apart.

z

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Saturday, 5 December 2015

my new toy


You know I groom dogs, right? Well the other day old faithful, my old GMC rotary tool, bit the dust. 

Yes, I use it to file dogs' nails.

It just stopped working between foot #2 and foot #3 on a dog.

Not a good time to stop. I still had 6 feet to do. Not all on the same dog, obviously!

So last night on the way home from work, we stopped at the hardware store for a replacement.

I looked at all the rotary tools and loved the size and shape of the Dremel 200 best... Its small, light and easy to hold. And cheap at the same price as the shop brand. Its only two speed but has high RPM.


Wayne came along and said 'how about that one?' pointing to the next model up, with variable speed and a few more gizmos, and more expensive... I considered both for a while but without being able to turn them on and give them the noise test, I was going for the smaller, easier to hold one.

Then the salesman said 'May I suggest something else?'...

And we ended up spending three time as much as but now I have a variable speed Dremel with a flexible shaft and I have both light and easy to hold as well as less noise close to dog's faces!


I'm happy.

So, other than that, where have I been? 

Well, flat out really. I'm so tired! And I'm overwhelmed which seems to be the normal state for me at least twice a year.

I have so much on my To Do List that even looking at it gives me palpatations. I'm sleepy at 8pm and yet, when I do go to bed, I can't sleep cause of all the stuff that goes through my mind...

Did I mention my mom is visiting at Christmas?

For the first time ever? Her first trip back to Australia in 22 years? And she's visiting us here and staying for a week?

Did I mention that its the first time my mother has visited me in my own home? Ever?

So I'm a bit stressed.

And I'm so @#*&#$ busy (and tired!) that I can't start on the mountains of work I have to do in order to be ready for that visit.

Am I over-reacting?

No way. 

We all know how important it is to get mom's approval!

eek.

z

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

3 ways to make a display mannequin

Maybe I should really call this "three variations on making a bust"... 

Either way, we started with a plastic bust and then duplicated it using a variation of plaster mixes to see which would work best. I say "we" cause I worked on this project with a friend at work in order to find the best way to make busts for displaying jewelry.

First up, we used a bust which had been made with papier mache over a plastic one (then cut into pieces, which I had to put back together again like a jigsaw puzzle, missing a piece or two, hence the odd distortions... its a long story...). 

Whatever.

After piecing it back together with masking tape we mixed up a batch of plaster of paris with some PVA glue mixed in to combat brittleness.


I applied the plaster with my fingers, using swirling patterns and leaving small furrows and peaks. Kinda like frosting.


The result is a textured bust which, while retaining that plaster look, has none of the brittleness of plain plaster.

Next, we used a half bust which we used paper mache pulp in first. The pulp we used had too much water in it so it took forever to dry but was nice and strong once it did. Since we didnt want the rough look of the paper pulp showing, we used some plaster bandage over it to even out the texture. We then mixed up a plaster paste using both PVA and a bit of gap filler.


This time I applied the top coat smoothly, using damp fingers. I don't have photos of the back, but in order to make it strong enough to hang on the wall I filled the shoulders with a plaster mix and embedded wire into it.


Lastly, we decided to see what happened if we used paper pulp and mixed it with PVA glue and silicone... Other than the smell (gack) it worked really well. The bust is light but strong, even a bit bendy.


This bust was painted black by someone while I was off work and wasn't smoothed over, but its still an interesting piece and a great way to display light coloured jewelry.


All in all this is my advice:

If you want to make your own bust with plaster, add glue to give it strength or use plaster bandage. Another way would be traditional papier mache.

Whatever you choose, have fun with it. What's the worse that can happen?

I don't know if any of these would survive being dropped but my bet is on the black one.

z

PS. In editing mode this post is left justified. In preview its centered... and I hate centred posts. So please forgive me for whatever bug got into blogger today.



Wednesday, 11 November 2015

propeller (fan) light fitting

Time just flies, doesn't it?

Every day I think about posting on here but something comes up. I think "I'll do it later, tonight". Then tonight comes and I'm wiped out and it takes all my energy to change TV channels.

So, given its been two weeks or so since I last posted, I thought I'd better share this project. I finished this weeks ago and just never got around to posting about it.

Not only has it taken me a long time to share this project, its also been a few years in the making. I bought this propeller for Wayne for Christmas ages ago, with the aim of making it into a light. Its been gathering dust in the casita up until a couple of months ago.


I've put it in the enclosed part of the porch where I used to have the fry basket light fitting before. I like this one better and it was time for a change anyway.



Please ignore all the electrical cords. We don't have enough power points and I've got extension cords everywhere for the time being.

I'd originally thought I'd put this light over Wayne's desk, making his office area more industrial... but the living room ceiling isn't high enough for a large pendant light. I could just see him knocking himself senseless every time he stood up at his desk.

Not to mention this is one heavy sucker. I doubt I could find a beam in the right spot to hang it from in the living room. On the porch I can see the beams! 


When I first got the propeller I had a friend weld a chain to it for hanging. I already had the bits to make the light part so it was just a matter of joining things together and adding a globe. I chose an LED edison bulb for bigger shine. There's already a light fixture nearby so I put a bayonet end on the cord to plug into the socket.

Funny how the house looks yellow in the photo... I hate pale yellow houses and picked this grey/brown tone to change the look of the house.

I'm loving the new light. It makes me smile every time I walk through the door.

z

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