Saturday, 28 February 2015

a wonky barn door

It seems doors are all the rage lately on blogs.

Last week Donna at Funky Junk Interiors shared this wacky door, and I love it!

And today I saw Angie at Knick of Time had made a mini barn door which is absolutely gorgeous:

Before I knew doors were going to be the trend I made my own shed door in the casita. Up till now we'd had a half door, bottom only obviously (top only would have been plain stupid!) between the casita entry and workshop. Since I sometimes put the poodles in there when grooming customers arrive and leave, I needed to close them in better.

I used to leave them in the house, but with open windows in summer I'm afraid they'll knock out a flyscreen or three. I won't let them meet and greet cause they're very protective and won't let people into the yard unless I'm there to let them in.

So I decided to keep them in my workshop. The theory behind the top door was less vision = less barking. Turns out it doesn't work quite that way, but hey, we now have a more gap filling door than we had before!

You'll notice the crooked gap between the two doors (I blame the door frame, it must be crooked)... the way the timber runs in different directions... the holes in the plaster where the poodles tried their paws at remodelling... Its all part of the charm.


I didn't actually MAKE this door from scratch. I used a door from an old chicken coop I'd demolished when I bought my house in Fentonbury. Since then I'd used this door and its matching partner as 'keep the dog out of the bedroom' gates in Fentonbury and here.

So, I basically adapted what I had to create the top part of a door for the casita.

Since the door is heavy, I needed some T hinges which I had to buy. I didn't have any the right size. I then had to cut a couple of pieces of timber so that the hinges had something to actually attach to. The door timber isn't that thick.

I kinda like my added bits. They're sort of like the patchwork of Donna's door, just not as neat or charmingly random as hers.

I used a hook latch to secure the upper door to the chalkboard dog lead organiser. Since the top door has to swing opposite to the lower door (long story having to do with light switches around corners), I have to keep it open unless its in use to keep poodle eyes from seeing too much.

Since the only time I need to access the lead organiser is when I'm grooming, and since the poodles are usually locked up at that time, its not a problem.

To keep it closed I used a tiny bolt I had in one of my collections and simply put a hole in the door jam.


A bit wonky but I don't mind. I can make a better door if I want. Just look at the door I made for the phone station. I just didn't want to this time!

In fact, my next door project will be more like Donna's or Angie's if I can get the right balance between wacky and neat.


ripped off - an angry post

I am angry, in case you haven't guessed it.

On Wednesday afternoon I lost my wallet and some lowlife found it and went on a shopping spree using my cards.

How did they do that without my PIN? Paypass and Paywave of course! This nifty newest convenient way to shop! Now, for purchases under $100 you don't need a pin! You just tap and go!

The problem is that ANYONE can tap and go with your card! And to the scum of the earth like the people who found my card, this was wonderful. All they had to do was make sure they visited as many shops as possible in the shortest time possible (before I realised my wallet was missing) and make as many purchases under $100 as they could.

I left work at 3pm on Wednesday as I had a meeting to go to. On the way I stopped at the house of an old guy who sells plants in his driveway, just around the corner from work. I'd been by in the morning and had him set aside a ton of plants for me.

I parked the car, picked up the bags of pots, paid him and put the pots in the car, leaving my wallet on the car and forgetting it there as I drove off.

I've never done something this stupid before.

I was at the meeting by 3.20pm.

By 3.20pm the lowlife scum had already found my cards and started their shopping spree.

First they visited Woolworths where they made 4 transactions on the one card. Then they had lunch at Banjos. Then the bottle shop for booze, and the gas station for fuel.

From there they went into the city center and visited Target, Jetty Surf, Red Herring among other places and made multiple purchases on both cards.

Then they went to Moonah to another bottle shop and Harris Scarfe.

From there to Glenorchy to another bottle shop (all up over $200 worth of booze), the shopping center where they made multiple purchases in many shops.

Their last stop was the Bridgewater McDonalds where their $66 dinner purchase was declined.

All in all, in three hours they visited 20 or so shops and, between my Mastercard and my Visa, they got over $1000 worth of stuff.

Not bad for THREE HOURS work.

And all in transactions under $100 each.

I think that surely, if I was a shop assistant and saw someone using the same card for multiple small transactions, warning bells would go off. And my credit card is bright orange, not a common card at all. It stands out. I read a forum on this subject and found comments from people who work in shops where they've suspected something was up - in most cases they just let the suspects pay and leave without notifying the police or bank.

While this was going on, I had no idea my wallet was even missing. I had my meeting, then drove home, stopping at a friend's for a visit. I heard my phone beep, saw a message to call BankWest but planned to call when I got home. When I got home I fed the animals, mowed the lawn and totally forgot about the message.

In the morning I remembered and called them - getting online at the same time to find $500 worth of transactions I had not made. That's when I realised I couldn't find my wallet. First thought was that I'd forgotten it at the plant man's place, but later on I remembered putting it on the car.

I immediately called Bank West and cancelled the Mastercard. They had suspended it by then, however not before $736.63 worth of transactions had gone through.

I was angry, upset, disbelieving, violated. Maybe its cause I'm honest and honest people just don't think like that... we can't see ourselves doing something like that so we're surprised when others do.

I had a playdate for Romeo with a couple of other poodle friends but I stopped at the police station to report the lost wallet/stolen wallet. After all, the wallet contained everything! They said that since the cards had been used it wasn't just a matter of reporting a missing wallet, it was fraud. However, without transaction details they couldn't make a report.

It wasn't till I was at the playdate and said to my friends "at least they can't use my debit card and access my savings account without my PIN" that I realised they COULD.

And did.

Cause of course my debit card is also a VISA card and it has paywave.

So on the phone National Australia Bank. I wanted to know if they'd used that card. Without being able to answer the security question (what automatic deductions do you have on this account - I knew I had one but couldn't remember what) they wouldn't give me any information. Even when I could tell them exactly what my last purchases were prior to losing it, and what payments went in there regularly... Cause I may have been the person who'd stolen the card.

Like the person who stole the card would care about anything other than a balance! Just a simple Yes or No answer was all I wanted.

I was in the city without access to the internet so I went to a friend's house and logged on to internet banking... . About 10 transactions on that account, approx $250 at that stage. I printed them out for the police.

I couldn't print out the Mastercard transactions cause they'd closed that account already. Bank West sent me a list. This list had transactions on it that hadn't been on my online banking in the morning.

They visited 20 or so places and made over $1000 in purchases... All because they could use Paywave and Paypass without a PIN.

(I keep saying 'over $1000' cause I'm not sure of the exact amount.)

When I asked the bank to give me a card without the tap and go feature I was told that no one makes credit cards without it any more and it cannot be disabled.

At least with National Australia Bank I was able to get them to issue me a plain debit card, not a VISA, as my replacement card... no chip, no paywave.

Everyone says "hey, you'll get it all back, the fraud protection on the cards will cover it". That may be so... but if they'd had to use a PIN this wouldn't have happened at all. I wouldn't have to wait 4-6 weeks for my money to be refunded.

I'm angry. I work for my money. I have 3 jobs. It was very hard for me to save to the point where I actually had some money in my savings account and I'd paid out my credit card. Now I wish I hadn't bothered! If there was no money in my account and my credit card was still maxed out, they wouldn't have been able to go shopping with my money!

Not long ago credit cards here went from signature to requiring a PIN. I thought that was a great step in security.

Then they bring this in. I just don't see how this can be more secure.

I've done a ton of reading and its all about how fast and convenient this new system is, how much faster and easier we can now spend our money, how its much safer cause no one can scan your card when its in your bag, or duplicate your magnetic strip... That the new chip technology gives each transaction its own unique number or some such, giving the new cards an 'added layer of security'.

Like this:

What about security?

Although you can make a contactless payment with up to 4cm reach, most credit card companies require you to tap your credit card for the transaction to go through, ensuring you don't pay for another person's sale. Even if you do accidentally tap your credit card twice on the terminal, you won't be charged because every transaction generates a unique authentication code which cannot be used again.
The wireless technology can be concerning because no pin or signature is needed for a sale to be processed. Not to fret - all NFC cards use the latest chip technology, which come with secure encryption (cryptographic key) technology to protect you from thieves who might try to 'scan' the wallet in your pocket.
There's not much stopping a thief from hitting up the shopping centre with purchases under $100 at different outlets but as with other payment methods (e.g pin, signature), most credit cards provide a zero liability policy. This means that you will be covered for any unauthorised transactions, with 100% reimbursement. Some providers state that you must notify the institution immediately in order to get your money back.


Now have a look at this article by the Financial Obudsman Service... particularly look at this line which baffles me:

A customer can only be held liable for unauthorised contactless transactions if:
1. Their card was misused, lost or stolen. 
2. They knew that their card was misused, lost or stolen.
3. They took an unreasonably long time to tell the card issuer about the misuse,
loss or theft of the card.

HUH?... how else would there be any unauthorized transactions on your card if it wasn't misused, lost or stolen????

If you're not tired of reading, most articles about this flashy tap and go system are upbeat and positive, like this one. Some, like this one, are a bit more balanced as they include the cons, but again, its more about the positives.

Personally, having just been through this violation, I fail to see the positives.

I fail to see how not having a PIN is in any way a more secure way to do things.We should have the chip and a PIN, which is how I use my cards. That'd make sense.

Maybe we just need to be given the choice on if we want our cards to have a tap and go option.

Maybe banks should let people make up their own minds and let them enable or disable tap and go, even it must be available on their card.

I'd like it disabled on my cards please. I know a lot of people would like that too.

I should have replacement cards in a week or so and my 'dispute' should be resolved (favourably I should hope) in 4-6 weeks. Till then I just have the fun part of replacing my driver's license, library card, membership cards, health insurance card, medicare card, etc.


Tuesday, 24 February 2015

who let the dogs out?

To look at them you wouldn't think butter would melt in their mouths. They're so pretty, so cuddly, so loving.

You'd never guess that lion hearts nest inside their curly chests.

Many's the time I've come home to find dead chickens, birds or ducks in the yard. Or occasionally woken up to the unpleasant task of burying a wallaby or possum.

I'm not proud to say that the carnage count includes rats, mice, a goose and even a bandicoot.

While we try to keep our yard critter safe (poodles in - critters out) we sometimes fail. And you can be sure the poodles are there to rub that failure in our faces every time.

This is one aspect of larger dogs with a high prey drive that I dislike. I know its natural - they hunt. Its what they do. I have to accept it, I don't have to like it. Especially when I'm the one finding and disposing of the bodies like an accomplice after the fact.

Neighbours see me out in the paddock with a shovel, looking furtively over my shoulder as I dispose of the evidence, and they worry if they need to be concerned for Wayne.

At least toy poodles didn't have a chance of bringing down larger prey... a small bird, a mouse, a skink. But with standards the hole you have to dig is much bigger.

Up till recently, all bodies retrieved were intact. No blood, less evidence.

At least, I'd tell myself, they're neat killers - one grab around the neck, a good shake and its curtains for the critter who had the misfortune to step inside our yard. No mess.

Very befitting a poodle.

Just the thing to be grateful for: intact corpses.

Except for one memorable occasion when I came home with a friend to find Romeo parading round the yard with a duck head in his mouth. The rest of the duck was still intact though... just minus the head...

Way to impress visitors.

So, you can imagine how disgusting it was to wake up on Sunday morning and find what looked, at first appearance, to be an intact dead pademelon, only to find its guts lying next to it. Outside its body. In a neat little bundle. Barely a mark on it. Like someone had carefully opened a birthday present.



Then, this morning, I woke up to find a single feather and some guts on the footpath.


I might be good at identifying animals, but even my abilities were stretched to identify this one from the inside out.

I think it was a native hen.

I have no idea how it got in the yard. The poodles leave things alone out in the paddock, but anything that comes in their yard is, literally, dead meat.



Sunday, 22 February 2015

not quite the mediterranean

Its hot today. It was hot yesterday too. I don't do well in the heat... All I want to do is lie down and sleep. I probably will after this post...

Its been a good day though cause we went for a dip at a local swimming hole.

Only took us 5 years of living here to learn about it.

I've never been one for swimming in rivers, even though I swam in the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers way more than in the sea for the first 10 years of my life. Back then we lived in inland NSW, far from the sea, and rivers were the only option outside the public swimming pool.

One thing I dislike about rivers is the dark tannin stained water, the murky black depths. I'm never comfortable in water when I can't see my own feet, let alone the bottom.

Ok, I'm being unfair. The water was clear and I could see my feet, but it was dark and I couldn't see the bottom beyond a certain depth. That gives me the creeps. I mean, when you've been spoilt, spending as many summers on a greek island as I have, you get kinda fussy about the water you immerse yourself in.

In Greece beaches are usually crystal clear, sandy and blue. Rivers are dark and scary looking to me.

Take a look at these images for instance (I got these off the net cause I can't access my original blog and all my photos are on the external drive that went to meet its maker, figuratively speaking.)

Not quite the same is it?

Enough of that now. I'm making myself homesick.

Still, the river was beautiful and peaceful (till the hordes descended with their anklebiters). It has a beauty entirely of its own.

Despite my many years of Paros beaches (and being Greek), I'm also an Aussie country girl. My childhood memories are of living in country NSW. The Australian landscape speaks directly to my heart... which is why I choose to live on a farm and not in a city.

And lets face it: wet is wet!

When the river is closer than the beach and its too hot to move, that's all that counts.

At least there are no sharks in Tasmanian rivers. Or crocodiles. Or piranhas. Basically, they're pretty safe unless you stupidly dive in without knowing what's beneath.

We hung around for a while swimming, relaxing, reading. I went in till I got all pruney and even though we were in an area of shade, I think I still managed to get a bit too much sun... hence the headache.

Not quite Paros, but it'll do. 


Sunday, 15 February 2015

small changes make the world of difference

I really do love the way the porch is looking these days. The potato vine I planted a couple of years ago has taken off and is threatening to swallow up the whole house, but it provides a calm spot to sit and read in dappled shade during the times when the sun normally sends you scurrying inside.

My various pots and containers with succulents and one pink geranium (I may be greek but I've never been a really big geranium fan) are all doing well.

I bought a couple of outdoor setting cushions for the adirondack chairs a friend made for us and they're way more comfy and inviting.

Of course, we have to bring them in when we finish our 'front porch sitting'.

Not cause of the dogs. Its the birds that worry us most.

We don't call it the poop deck for nothing!

My plan is that one day we'll put a roof over the back porch as well, making it more usable in all weather and a good spot for hot summer afternoons.

When that happens we'll still have this little corner where roofing will be a challenge. I'm not worried. I'm thinking more trellis, a pink climbing rose I'm growing from a tiny cutting, and we'll have an 'arbour' area at the corner of the porch.

How pretty will that be?

Or... I could go all Greek and put in a grape vine...

I have time... The rose is too little to go in the ground till spring and it'll be at least a year before its tall enough to need support above the rail. I have till then to find a way to convince Wayne we need a roof on that side of the porch.


PS I apologise to geraniums for my earlier comments. I had no idea they come in so many varieties and colours. Thanks to Google, I'm now re-evaluating my stance on geraniums and will most likely become a staunch supporter of them in the future.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

a cute little airplane

Do you like my little wooden toy plane? I have no idea where it came from, but when cleaning out and organising the casita I found it among my toy collection.

(Doesn't everyone have a toy collection?)

I have lots of collections. I basically collect anything I like the shape of, the colour of, plus anything I think I can use when doing junk art or repurposing. Behind the little airplane you can see a collection of tea pots and creamers and a collection of clothes hangers among other things.

This is one corner of the workshop which holds timber bits and pieces on the shelf, painting bits in the cupboard and tools on the pegboard.

I like this little corner. I like lots of little corners around our place. The theory is, if I like enough corners they add up liking the whole house and yard.

I pretend not to notice the bits I dislike till I can actually do something about them. Till then I focus on the pretty/cute/interesting bits that I like.


what happened to the drawers?

So what happened to the drawers when I decided to make over the tallboy into a linen cupboard?

They became hat and coat racks of course!

First some destruction was called for. I got out the hammer and clobbered the drawers till they came apart.

I then removed the timber knobs and filled the holes. I gave them all a light sand and went through my paint pots to find colours that were similar but not the same. I painted them all in shades of greeny blue.

Yeah, for those who're observant, there are only four drawer fronts there. There is another one but I didn't need it for the project I was working on. It'll appear somewhere else later on no doubt.

I used different hooks - these hooks were sent to me by a good friend in the USA (we can't get them here) and they're perfect for hats.

I put the hat racks up high and the coat racks underneath. I had to stagger them in order to fit them on the mud room wall. You can see where I had to put the electrical cable over the top one. Ugh. Not pretty, but here in real life, as opposed to decorating blog-land, things like that happen.

The coat racks have mismatched hooks collected from tip shops over time.

I'd originally planned to paint the entire mudroom antique white. Now I'm not so sure. I'm starting to like the rustic timber look.

I'll paint the pine lined ceiling white and I'll probably repaint the two house walls to match the outside of the house. But I'd already started undercoating the left side wall (with the window and sink) back when I was sure I wanted it all white. I guess I'll paint that wall to match the other two. That will leave one weathered timber wall. It'll be a feature wall.

I love the way the coat and hat racks look on the old timber anyway.

I also found a home for my crystal dripping tap wall art. Its been in the casita since I made it cause it needs somewhere out of the wind. I added another hat hook to it and voila, another handy spot for a hat!

This one's on the wall I have to paint (plus you can see the terrible paint job someone did on the toilet door!) so it'll stand out more. But that also means it'll have to come off one day. I hope I never have to take the other ones off. Ever.

...Am I the only one who manages to twist the top off screws?


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Thursday, 12 February 2015

stubborn? never!

Wayne likes to read.

Wayne likes to read all the time.

Wayne has tons of books.

We don't have enough bookcases for all the books Wayne has.

I like to read.

I have some books.

I also have a Kindle which has tons of books on it.

I prefer to read on the Kindle as its light, easy to hold, easy to read and I will never run out of books while I have access to the internet.

I bought Wayne a Kindle for his birthday in January... He had told me repeatedly that he did not want a Kindle, that he would never use a Kindle and that I better not ever buy him a Kindle.

Did I listen?



Cause I used to feel that way about Kindles. I liked the feel of a book, I liked the smell of ink on new pages, I liked turning pages. Then I bought a Kindle cause taking 15 books to Greece with me on holidays just didn't appeal to me.

I love my Kindle.

When Wayne ran out of books to read before Christmas he was grumpy. He was reduced to reading cereal boxes. He even read some of my books and that's saying something. He wanted to read Game of Thrones (I have the box set) but found the type too small to read comfortably.

So I bought him a Kindle Paperwhite (like mine, cause I love mine!) to surprise him. I got him a case for it, I even put Game of Thrones on it.

(Ulterior motive: The books are so long I figured he'd be hooked on both the Kindle and the series by the time he finished book one!)

He flat out refused to try it reminding me how often he'd warned me not to buy him one. It sat on his bedside table gathering dust for weeks. He kept finding books to read: the dregs he'd overlooked on his first pass over the bookcases, what he could scavenge from friends, whatever, as long as he didn't have to give up his principles and try the Kindle.

Then the day came... He was desperate. He asked me to show him how to read the Kindle.

He's been using it non-stop ever since. He takes it everywhere with him.

He hasn't said a thing to me, but I heard through the grapevine that he loves it.


What can I say?


tallboy makeover

Long time in coming, but its finally done! The second chest of drawers makeover.

Again, I'm sharing a before pic that isn't the exact tallboy I made over, mine was 5 large drawers and two small top ones... but you get the idea. It was almost exactly the same as the before pic. Pine, boring, plain. After has some class to it with its fancy base and pretty colours.

It was a pretty major job for me as this was the first time I'd attempted something so big in terms of modifying an existing piece. I've done tons of modifying before but most of the time my modifications are the type you can knock up with a few nails in a few hours. This one took a few weeks to complete, and a couple of new toys to play with.

This old chest of drawers came to Wind Dancer Farm with Wayne when we moved in. It used to be part of his bedroom furniture which included two matching plain chests of drawers (see the first one made over here) and a wardrobe (started but not finished). Since I made Wayne his own walk-in robe (here and here) I've been using his items for my own clothes.

Yes. He needs a room. I make do with a wardrobe and 2 chests of drawers.

What's wrong with this picture?

Anyway, I hated their pine plain-ness and the way this particular chest of drawers had the propensity to drop drawers off sliders everytime you wanted to get a T-shirt out. Hence the makeovers.

Firstly I had to put a bottom on the chest, thus the next few photos are of it upside down, so don't get confused. There was no need for a bottom when it was just drawers. I used an old piece of bamboo flooring a friend gave me and attached that to the frame first.

I drew the fancy front design on a piece of paper, drawing only half, folded it in half and cut it out. I traced it onto the piece of pine and cut it using my jigsaw. I then got to play with my new router and do the edge.

I used glue and a couple of nails to fit the fancy front onto the base.

I had to create a frame for it to sit on, to lift it off the ground enough for the fancy front. A normal person might have made the frame first, then cut out the front to match the raised frame, but I'm no normal person.

Its very makeshift. I used a combination of pine pieces and particleboard pieces to get the right height on my frame.

Note: this blog is all about making do and making up. Do not try this at home. Google how to do things properly!

You can see where the old base board of the chest had two cutouts. I had planned to cover those with trim but ended up keeping them visible. They kind of add a design element to the base.

Turned it right way up... It was looking good!

Those little cut outs I mentioned earlier created little gaps for dust (and mice*) to get in, so I glued a couple of scraps of thin plywood to the back of them.

*Not that mice will have a hard time getting in as there are no doors!

You can never over-do clamps!

Next I added some trim to the back edge of the melamine bottom brace and some dado trim to the front to create finish the edges. I added some leftover bits of skirting board to the sides to cover the hodge podge of the frame. I also added a piece of pine under the drawer space at the front to serve as an added precaution to the drawers falling out!

I gap-filled my heart out.

Then came the easy part: painting.

I'd thought yellow would be a nice colour, cheerful, clean... I bought a small pot of a colour I picked in the paint store.

Too pale.

I played artist and darkened it up using warm yellow and some warm red. Hmmmm...

It actually looks nice in the photos but trust me, in person it was gag-worthy. Kinda like the colour of raw fat...

Out came the trusty, tried and true aqua/green I used on the kitchen doors. Maybe not original, but hey, if all else fails, go back to what worked before.

I added a couple of the leftover knobs from the kitchen makeover as well while Romeo oversaw progress.

The makeover wasn't without its failures. You can see where I ripped off paint when I ripped off masking tape on the melamine bottom brace. But nice trim!

Eh. No one will ever see it... Once its full of stuff, which it will be forever more.

Here it is in the guest room. Ignore the blurred background of all the crap stuff I removed from the old cupboard (the one that now lives on the front porch). Some of this stuff will be finding a new home soon as part of the cleaning up and organising regime.

We don't have pretty matching sheet sets and doona covers... and I can't fold fitted sheets.

Now you know my shameful secret.

My grandmother would roll over in her grave.

I'm now thinking it needs doors as I'm not liking it all on display... so in-your-face. Fly wire or bird wire in the doors to soften the un-colour-co-ordinated linen...

One day.

For now I kinda like the way it looks and the old cupboard on the porch. I'm happy.


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