Friday, 30 October 2015

meet mr fox - in felt

Hello Mr Fox!

Here is Mr Fox going for a drive. And below he sits on our gate post as the horses do a good job of mowing our driveway.

He's such a happy little fellow. Mainly cause I gave him a little grin when I needle felted him.

My what big ears you have Mr Fox!

Here I was ridiculing the Fox Eradication Program... They spent millions of dollars to eradicate every single fox in the state. 

Well, it worked! I've never seen a fox, have you?

Oh! Wait! There's one!

Perhaps they were right... there were ARE foxes in Tasmania!


Sunday, 25 October 2015

garage sale trailing

Yesterday was national Garage Sale Trail day. That's when there are garage sales all over the place and you can look online to see who's registered and plan your day so you can visit as many as you can.

I joined forces with my friend Patrice and we hit the sales early. I picked up a few odds and ends: a couple of mugs for Wayne (bucket size), a couple of plants, a really nice (badly in need of TLC) cabinet, a broken step ladder... and a few fun and wierd things. 

Like this:

I just had to have it. It was too wierd to pass up.

And this:

Have you ever seen a wooden girl with a pin cushion between her legs before? 

Then I got a box full of rusty things, like this old desk sharpener. I think it'll look good on my desk with paper clips in the drawer.

Also in the box was this tin train:

And these metal trains and truck. None of them are in good condition, but they're fun and colourful and I'm sure I'll find somewhere to put them.

Since our travels took us up to Bushy Park we decided to take a detour through the hops farms to look at the old hop kilns.

I love this part of the Derwent Valley. I worked picking hops during the harvest for 5 years when I first came to Tasmania, so this area is special to me.

Patrice bought tons of plants and a retro leather poof. All in all, it was a great day!

Today, on the other hand, was a challenge. Did I mention we got a new washing machine? We used to have two washing machines, one for the dog stuff and one for us. Well, one of them broke ages ago so I've been using the old Whirlpool for our stuff... and it get covered in lint. So much lint. And there's no filter, so there's no way to clean it. I tried everything I found online, even some guy showing me how to take it apart and clean it out. Nothing worked.

We were sick of all the crap on our clothes so I bought a new washing machine. Its a Samsung front loader and I think you need a degree in laundry to use the thing. It does everything but make your coffee in the morning! I actually had to read the manual to work it out... sheesh.


Saturday, 24 October 2015

a pink step-ladder bedside table

Before I show you this project I'd like to apologise for the fact that I can't find my 'before' photos. I know I posted about this step ladder when I got it, but when you give your posts wierd non-topical names, its impossible to find specific posts!

When I got it the middle step was broken off and it was natural timber but badly stained on 2 of the steps. And the top step was warped. Still is, in fact. I think the poor thing had been exposed to the elements and mistreated.

First order of business was to re-attach the middle step. I tried glue and clamps. Nope. It broke off when I thought it was all dry.

So I nailed the sucker down.

I have a hammer and I ain't afraid to use it!

I tried sanding off the stains with the intention of varnishing it, but that was too much hard work and didn't look like it was working. Paint was the answer. Paint is the answer to everything.

Even two coats of Zinsser Stain Blocker didn't cover those stains! So, I did two coats of that, then two coats of DIY chalk paint in grey.

While I was at it, I made a shelf for the bottom step, making it more useful as a bedside table. I cut and edged a piece of MDF, used a strip of timber to hold it in place, and viola. Easy (removable) shelf.

Then I painted it light pink. I still had some DIY pink chalk paint from a previous project.

Lastly I wet sanded it and rubbed it down in places to expose the grey, the white undercoat and even the timber in places. I'd never tried wet sanding before and I think I like it.

Here it is in the guest room.

I haven't yet styled the shelves or made the bed properly (no rush till I have visitors, then I'll run around like a headless chook trying to do it all in an hour), but I'm liking the new bedside stepladder!

The photos aren't the best. I'm having some trouble with my camera. I was playing with the settings one day and now I can't seem to get good photos...

I'll figure it out eventually. Hopefully before I'm too old to care.


Thursday, 22 October 2015

really easy ice cream

I mentioned I made ice cream the other day and that I'd share the recipe if it worked. Well, it did! So I'm sharing. Its really easy. So easy its really a cheats ice cream.

A bit of background: years ago, I found a recipe for raspberry ice cream in a magazine, cut it out and made it. It was wonderful!

...Only the recipe called for 1 cup of raspberries but I had more, so, what the heck, more is better right? I put them all in.

The ice cream was delicious but you had to spit pips out as you ate it.

It reminded me of the ice cream sold in a shop in Melbourne many years ago. They made full cream ice cream and their lemon ice cream which would coat your mouth with frozen cream.

Deadly but good.

Anyway, fast forward to now and I can't find the recipe. I've looked for it on and off over the years but never found it.

I did an online search but couldn't find it, just a couple of recipes which were similar, ie no cooking! I decided I'd make it from memory and with what I had on hand.

Basically this is what I did:

1 400g container of cream
approx 400g flavoured yogurt (I had caramelised fig)
1/4 cup sugar

I used my new food processor to mix it together well. Put it in the fridge for 3 hours, took it out and blended it again. Repeat. Then left it over night.

The result is a very creamy ice cream which coats your mouth with cream, but is very hard to scoop out. Basically if you don't mind using a jackhammer to dish up your ice cream, this is the recipe for you.

Now, having read up on google, I learned that adding sugar would stop it crystalising which is why I added a bit of suger. The original recipe didn't have any in it. However, without a proper ice cream maker I think I'll always have rock hard ice cream.

I may experiment with light cream next time.

Still. I'm happy with it. I'll make it again when our raspberries are ready.


Tuesday, 20 October 2015

zip junk necklace

Have you ever looked at junk or steampunk jewelry and thought "I want to make one of those"?

I do every time I see them on Pinterest, so I decided it was time to try making one of my own... my own way.

It was so much fun! I've always had tons of junk (obviously!) so I had a lot of things to choose from.

I started with an old zip as the base. Then I began building on it using old bits of jewelry, buttons, beads, a tiny spanner, rusty safety pin, bits of chain... even a rusted through bottle top... all kinds of things.

(I really am a magpie!)

Its not just a necklace, its a piece of art! I had it entered in the Salvaged Art Competition last month but before that I had it hanging on the wall and it looked great.


Sunday, 18 October 2015

comfy poodles and where have I been?

Montana keeping Wayne's seat warm.

Where have I been, you might ask.

Well at least one person asked, but I'll answer anyway, cause when you start a blog you have this feeling of responsibility to post even when you're busy or don't feel like it.

Lately its been a bit of both: being busy and not feeling like it. On the busy bit, well, its spring. Spring is not just the season the garden begins to come to life and you can hear it calling to you, its also the season when daylight savings kicks in and you spend more time outside doing things you put all 'till the weather got better'.

Romeo snoozing till another animal show comes on TV.
Around here the lawn is currently needing mowing twice a week if I want it to look like lawn and not the collection of weeds it really is. But I may have taken care of that. I bought Kamba-M on the recommendation of a friend who said her husband uses it on their lawn and it kills weeds but leaves the lawn alone.

I guess we'll see. Given we have more weeds than actual lawn I think my mowing problems will soon be a thing of the past and my new problem will be the dust bowl in the front yard.

Montana squeezing into the smallest of the dog beds.
Meanwhile I've been working on a few projects. The major one right now is a work art installation we got roped into volunteered to help with. I've been making large round spheres with plaster bandage and various size beach balls. Yesterday in an attempt to keep where I'd been with new plaster bandage and where I still needed to go I had this brilliant idea... I'd use food dye to die the water I was dipping the bandage in, thus creating a definite distinction between the old (white) and new (pink) bandage.

I couldn't find any food colouring though... I probably threw it out... so I used potassium permanganate. Do you know what that is? Well, in the dog world it can be used to stop nails from bleeding when they're cut too short. Its a disinfectant. It goes a vibrant purple when wet so I haven't used it in ages, but I still have it. Thing with this stuff is it goes purple but dries yellowish and stains like hell.

I had dark brown hands all day yesterday.

My nails were the worst. The hands are back to normal now, thanks to many many many many washes, but the nails are still looking decidedly jaundiced.

I solved that with some dark grey nail polish.

Live and learn.

Next time I'll wear gloves.

Other than that, what's been going on...

Well, I mentioned the garden flowering and crying out for work. Some things are going great. My mexican orange blossom bushes are flowering for the first time since I put them in a few years ago. The yellow banksia roses are flowering on the one stem that avoided the great massacre of last year when I thought I needed to cut them back cause they weren't flowering. I've set them back about 3 years.

There are pink foxgloves coming up everywhere (not necessarily a good thing considering they're poisonous), forget me nots are popping up everywhere, and I have baby lupins popping up all over the place too! I even have sweet peas where I sure didn't put them. I love cottage gardens and, by golly by gosh, I'll have one one day!

I lost two of my gauras, one white and one pink. I lost one pink daisy bush, one lavender and a few other flowers. The potato vine is struggling along after Wayne accidentally broke it while dragging out the sculpture it first grew up on. Its gonna be a hot summer without the shade that provided on the porch.

The frost damaged quite a few of my succulents but most are coming back since I moved them onto the porch. I found this little shop basket at the tip shop a while ago and am using it to hold some of my plants.

When I was at Ikea a few weeks ago I bought two white doona covers for our bed and am now loving the new white look. I'd always been afraid of white as it gets dirty so easy, but I realised that its easier to have white since you can bleach it.

Our bedroom is quite small, it barely fits the wardrobe, two chests of drawers, bed and bedside tables. I love the blue walls but I'm considering white walls. Everywhere in the house. I've come full circle. When I was young I wanted plain white walls. Then I wanted anything but white. Now I'm back to white again.

Bedrooms feel restful when they're a darker colour though. What do you think? All white house including bedroom, or leave it blue as it is?

I have a plan for the bed itself... the bedhead mainly. I guess I'll reserve decision making on wall colour till I've made changes to the bed. One step at a time.

I broke my food processor. It was cheapie from Kmart but I broke it making pastry for spanakopita. Not my usual pastry but a recipe I found online... Just goes to show you should stick to what you know. Anyway, I replaced it. I'm trying out the new one today. I made us milkshakes in the blender and am making ice cream. I'll let you know how it goes. Maybe even share the recipe if it works out.

With the better weather comes time to move on replacing our old wood heater. I've gotten one quote and am waiting for one more for reverse cycle airconditioning. That'll be exciting. Maybe I'll actually get through a long hot summer without melting this year.

Oh, and our geese are having babies. Did I mention that Annabelle is sitting on something like 21 eggs? One of which is a duck egg (long story). Well, turns out that her daughter (as yet unnamed) is also sitting on eggs. Its so funny to watch Hank protect Annabelle, he hovers around her when she comes to the dam for a swim and a wash, then herds her back to her eggs while keeping the other boys away from her.

I have no idea what we're going to do if all the babies hatch. We don't have room for 5 million geese. Wayne wants more but seriously, 50 will be a bit too many.

As for the duck egg... well, the day I found and counted Annabelle's eggs Wayne found an egg in the middle of the paddock. It was still warm, kinda like a duck had been walking along and suddenly went "oops, I can't make it to the nest" and dropped the egg where she was. I took it and put it outside Annabelle's nest. Next day it was in the nest with the others.

Its going to be so funny when we have one duckling in a flock of geese thinking its a goose. At least the geese protect their young from crows better than ducks do so maybe the little duckling will make it.

So we wait and see.


Sunday, 4 October 2015

my new office, or while the cat's away, the mice will play

Welcome to my new office.

Thing is, I had a nice office before. Let me remind you what it used to look like...

The office used to be the room beyond the bathroom, the room furthest from the living room. When making it over I ripped out the carpet and finished the floorboards, painted the peach blind, painted the walls, put up shelving... I did a lot of work making it a gorgeous room.

Then I never used it.

It was cold in winter. I used it as a store room. I'd open the door, toss something in, then close it again.

Meanwhile, the guest room was depressing. I painted it taupe when we moved in and its a dark room, with a small window. It was gloomy. On the down side the room was unwelcoming. On the up side, none of our visitors stayed long. :)

Anyway, I got the idea to swap the rooms. Make the guest room the prettier room, with the big window, lots of light and fresh air. Bring the office closer to the heater, with the carpet to keep it warmer, and make it more usable.

I began operation Room Swap on Friday, once Wayne had gone off to spend a weekend with friends watching the Grand Final and male bonding.

Here is what the guest room looked like once I removed almost everything and before I began painting.

I started painting before I got the bed out cause I needed help to do that. The colour I chose was Dulux Mountain Snow half strength. Its a much cooler white than the one I chose for the kitchen. It might be a bit stark with its undertones of grey, but I really wanted to crisp up the room. The taupe was really getting me down. Here it is after one coat on the bottom part.

After 2 coats.

And here it is finished. Its very white and bright, especially since I haven't got any window coverings.

Here is the same corner once the room was finished. Notice my new wardrobe? I've put shelves in it and am using it to store craft stuff. I've never distressed anything this much before and I'm not sure I got the balance quite right.

The desk I was using in the old office wouldn't go through the door to the new office, so I had to make do using the filing cabinets and an old shed door.

All I did was sand the door, it hasn't been finished in any way. I used an old crate to hold the dvd player and the TV I use as a large monitor. I no longer have a desktop and just connect the laptop to the TV when I need a bigger monitor.

Its a work in progress. I'm not showing you the other side as its still a bit of a mess, with things which need proper homes.

I love how the light comes in through that window and how bright the room looks in all white. Though it is hard to photograph it.

My favourite part of the room is the wardrobe and armchair. And the old wash board with photos of my mom. Even the old icon my aunt gave me when I was in Greece last time.

It took me all weekend. I just finished this afternoon, finally got (almost) everything out of the living room and cleaned the rest of the house. I have not finished the guest room... yet.

Here's a preview of the new guest room...

I told you I've been busy.


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