Tuesday, 25 April 2017

light switches - a starter collection



What do you call 4 light switches?

A collection!

In my opinion, anything over 3 of something is a collection. It means you have to buy/find/get more, otherwise you just have a pathetically small collection.

This is my small collection of old light switches. The first one, the one above the new light switch, is the original one that was on the wall of the grooming room. I have another 2 old light switches similar but so far they actually work so I'm leaving them where they are.

The others were my pathetically small light switch collection, scattered throughout my junk piles. One was a gift, the other two were things I picked up along the way.

Now I find I need more. I want to fill this section of wall in my new grooming room with vintage light switches.

Anyone have any old light switches they don't want?

I've been working hard on a new home for our rooster and his hen - the ones who have to live in a pen for their own safety. Well, the rooster is in there for his safety as his son got bigger than him and his time on this earth was looking pitifully short. I got him a girlfriend and now they live in Stalag 13 (which used to be a dog run in a previous life).

I'm hoping it'll be finished tomorrow so I can share photos. Not sure when I'll be able to move it into the pen though, as there's no way I can move it on my own. And I'm a weakling.

We'll see. Necessity is the mother of invention, they say.

z

Sunday, 23 April 2017

storing fabric

Sometimes all it takes to get creative is to have a need.

For instance, a need to store fabric. Or a need to get piles of fabric off the floor, hence a need for a place to store it.

The whole idea of storing fabric is to be able to find the bits you need quickly. The fabric has to be visible, not hidden in boxes and, ideally, sorted by colour.



I needed shelves. I needed narrow shelves. Or a bookcase. 

I didn't have either. But I had a box.

I had this box, which I'd used as a dog bed when we first moved to the farm, for Barney and Mischa. It was a solid timber box I found somewhere which I cleaned up and gave a lick of paint. The post on how I did this is here.






I made my own dog bed cushions for it and put it in the entrance which is where Mischa and Barney slept as they'd always been outside dogs and I was introducing them to living inside.



After we lost Mischa it didn't seem right that Barney slept by himself. He moved into the living room with the poodles and the box was put into the store room. Which is where I found it again while looking for something to make my fabric storage shelves from.



It was a very simple re-do. All I did was put small bits of timber on the sides as ledges to sit the shelves on. The shelves were cut from leftover bits of plywood. Easy peasy.

I sat it on the little side table in the office and now I have all my fabrics in one place.... or most of my fabrics... or some of my fabrics... Ok! You got me. I have a large basket full of small offcuts cause I can't waste anything, a wire basket with real and faux leather bits and a large plastic container with fabrics for doll costumes.

But I do have all my colourful cotton fabrics for things like my anti-bunnies sorted!

z

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

string holders and evicting bats

Phew. The day is over. A good day, but SO tiring. I got a ton done which is great. I failed at a couple of things too, but hey, you can't win 'em all.

So, what did I do today that was so exhausing? Well, I started with the plan of putting up the new grooming sign. I worked on that for about 30 minutes before giving up. It was just not working. Good thing too really, cause in the end I decided I needed to rethink the position. More on that soon.

I did 3 loads of washing and the usual chores of feeding and caring for all the animals, and I did a little garden work. Then I decided it was time to clean out the carport. 

Background: We used to keep our chicken feed in the carport and that encouraged mice and rats to live in there. Which encouraged the dogs to dig at the walls and generally cause trouble. About a month ago I started the car and a mouse jumped out of the engine bay. I've been parking out in the yard since. 

So, I decided the carport needed a makeover, more to make it safe than to make it look nice. Trust me, its a pretty basic farm carport... Not much I could have done to make it look pretty.

Anyway, I ripped off the sagging plywood which had been put over the barn wood and in the process evicted two rats and one tiny bat.

Yep, a tiny bat! Not a typo! I was so excited when I saw it. At first I thought I'd uncovered a hairless baby rat but then saw its cute little face and wings. I wanted to keep it! I wasn't quick enough to catch it, it escaped under the wall and out near the dam. I was worried the geese would eat it - I mean, it was full daylight... what do bats do if they're out in the day? I looked for it but couldn't find it so I hope it was ok. The geese weren't around so I know it wasn't lunch at least.

I threw out a ton of rubbish and rat infested nests and then I nailed a thick particle board to the bottom section of the wall - Its not about keeping rats out as much as its about keeping any small animals (ducklings, chickens, natives) out of our yard. The finished carport is so much neater and I like the exposed slatted wood back wall. And bonus - there is nowhere for rats to nest any more!

After the carport was cleaned up, I opened up a small area I've had penned off to keep the dogs from digging. Hopefully now the rats have been banished the dogs won't need to dig for them and destroy my plants. And I'll be able to pull weeds. Yeah. I live to pull weeds.

ha.

Anyway, that's not what I wanted to share with you today. I wanted to share my new rustic string holder. 


I was inspired by this lovely makeover of a thrift shop find by Carlene at Organised Clutter. When I saw it I thought what a great idea, I have to make one of those!


Yeah. Ok. Mine looks nothing like that. 

I had spindles. I had a ton of string. I didn't have a fancy wall sconce. I also didn't really have a wall spot to put it. So I just grabbed a piece of timber from my offcut pile and put them together. It'll do for now.




Its not pretty, but it works. Its not for the office, its for the workshop so it doesn't need to be pretty. The workshop leans more towards a more rustic-farmhouse-hoarder design style.

Thanks for the inspiration Carlene, and sorry I killed your idea. 

z

Sunday, 16 April 2017

DIY wire hanging hooks


An observant reader noticed these cute hooks Wayne made for me. He made them to go on driftwood sticks and I'd use them when I went to markets, for hanging my windchimes.

They really are quite sweet, and they're easy to make. I know cause I've made them myself. Only I make them with thinner wire than Wayne does.


All you'll need is:

1. Wire thick enough to hold the weight of what you plan to hang. And as thick as you feel comfortable working with - ie you have to be able to bend it and cut it. If you're anything like me (a weakling) you'll want to stick to a not too hard wire...

2. Needle nose pliers and wire cutters. In case you don't know what they are, here is a visual aid:


And here are the instructions. 







So, if you followed that, and if I didn't do a bad job with the instructions, you should have something like this at the end of it.



Have fun! :)

z

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Wednesday, 12 April 2017

my newest junky planter


I've had this gorgeous funnel shaped THING for a long time. Its some kind of filter, I presume it came from a water tank. I have no idea what it is... like so many of the things I collect, I just liked the shape.

I've had it for years. I've had various plans for it over the years. I was going to make a light fixture out of it at one stage. But its never happened. Its hung around in the yard most of the time, doing nothing useful.

Yesterday I decided it was time to do something with it. 

I've had many hanging planters over the years, mostly ones I made myself out of chains bought from the hardware store and steamers or colanders. I took one of the chains from a steamer with succulents in it and put them onto this rusty piece of gorgeousness of mysterious origins.


Who cares what it was in a previous life? What purpose it served. Now its a proud planter, holding a mix of succulents on the corner of our porch. In summer there'll be tiny hot pink flowers forming a halo around it.


Below it sit my old mop bucket - one of my favourite planters of all time, the steamer which lost its chain - sacrificed for the greater good, and my camelia, in a new spot.

See, I've had this camelia for a year and it wasn't doing great. Not where I had it... so, I've moved it. Its a heavy pot... moving it was pretty much impossible on my own... till I made a rolling base for it!

I used some pallet wood, made a frame and added castors. Now I can move it anytime I get the urge - to where it'll get more sun, where the frost won't get it or just a couple of inches to the left.


Meanwhile some months ago I posted about my change of heart regarding geraniums after seeing a photo of pelargonium apple blossom. Well... I was lucky enough to get a cutting of it from a really nice lady. And look at it now!


My formerly black thumb might be getting a tinge of green!

Before I go I'd like to show off my newest toy:


Isn't that little tricycle the cutest thing you've ever seen? Imagine plants in the little wagon... 

Watch this space.

z


Sunday, 9 April 2017

dog bandanas - something fun


Just wanted to share a quickie tonight. A quickie project I mean. Mainly cause I really enjoyed making these little dog bandanas out of scraps of fabric.

The idea of these is that they can be put on a collar, taken off and washed then put back on. They're colourful and fun. I got the idea from a little bandana a friend gave me and I thought I could put some of my millions of fabrick offcuts to use to make something different and special for the dogs I groom.


I didn't use any large pieces of fabric to make these, just small squares. First I joined two pieces together, then folded, ironed, and stitched the sides for neatness. Lastly I folded over and ironed to create a sleeve to put the collar through. Then ironed again. Easy peasy. If you don't mind all the ironing.

If I can do it, trust me. Its easy.


Ok, so you noticed the crooked stitching on the dog paw bandana. Yes... it was my first try... Not an excuse, I basically lost control of the sewing machine. It happens. (To me, it happens too often...)

No two-tone effect for that first one either, justvery crooked stitching. That's what makes it special... hehehe

I used black thread for all of these - there was no way I was going to change the thread and bobbin colour to match each one. Too fiddly and too much work for a fun little project. I put these little bandanas on grooming customer dogs cause it makes me happy to make them look good.

I want to make more. I have tons more fabric offcuts to mix and match. I just need to find the office desk. I know its in the office somewhere... under 3 metres of fabric...

z




Thursday, 6 April 2017

one chair-back, three ways


What do you do with a broken chair? Fix it or throw it away, right? Or... you can re-use it as something else. For instance, you can make it into a shelf, a photo display or a coat rack. I know. Just look at Pinterest. There's tons of ideas there. 

I couldn't make up my mind what I wanted mine to be, but I found the bits to make it into an adaptable chair-back - it'll adapt to any situation you put it in! Just pick a room and it'll fit in with what you need it to do. Or be.

The best bit, I think, is the antique curtain rod holders I found. I've had these rusted and bent things for a few years, just waiting for the perfect project to use them on. They're just so cute with their little flower topped screws for holding in the curtain rod.


I got a couple of bulldog clips - with the requisite amount of rust on them - and added those to the back to hold things... 

So, here are some options: 

1.  Kitchen utensil hanger. It can hold handy kitchen tools and recipes.


2. Garden tool hanger. The bulldog clips are a handy place for seed packets and gardening gloves.


3. Hand towel holder. The clips can hold shopping lists or notes.


I also tried the variation of a tea towel on the rod... it works, but the I think it works best as a hand towel roll holder. Hand rolls really struggle to look good in a kitchen and this kind of dresses it up in my opinion.



So where will it live? I'm not sure. I have to think about it. All three ideas work.

Till then it waits to find its home...

z

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Monday, 3 April 2017

electric heater mantle clock?


Some time ago I picked up this old electric heater. I can't remember where, but I do remember why. It was the shape. I loved the shape of it. I saw it and thought "hey, I can make something out of this".

I brought it home and snuck it past Wayne so I didn't have to listen to a lecture about bringing home more junk.

Then I proceeded to bury it under a ton of crap in my shed. Not in order to hide it.


So, when I started my whole 'clean out the shed, get organised, streamline my life, find the circular saw' kick, I found this little beauty and briefly considered tossing it out.

Briefly. Very briefly.

I just couldn't do it. Sometimes a vision is worth pursuing.


I was seeing it as a lamp. Or a clock.

A clock doesn't need wiring so that won out. I bought a clock mechanism on ebay and proceeded to rip the guts out of the heater. Actually, I didn't rip it all out. I loved the coiled springs so I kept those, just took out all the wiring.

I had to drill a hole in the front mesh to fit in the clock, then put it all back together.


Then promptly pulled it all apart again... The clock mechanism I got came with simple black hands which just didn't work. Too dark.


I took it apart and sprayed the hands with Antique White USA gloss. Much better.


I put it all back together. Admired it a while. Then daylight savings ended. Now I avoid looking at it cause I have to take it apart again to change the time.


I really like it. Its a mantle clock with a difference. I mean, how many people have a retro heater which is now a clock?

And its not that hard to open up... I just have to get out the screwdriver and take out 4 small screws. How hard is that? Not hard at all.

...When I find the screwdriver. I know its on the bench. Somewhere...

z

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Sunday, 2 April 2017

more on that embarassing desk makeover

Once upon a time I decided to make a new/bigger desk for Wayne - who's office is in the living room. I had been through two desks up till that point (three if you count the original desk in the office he never used!) and Wayne was sort of over it.

Anyway, the desk I decided to remake was one he'd had in the garage since we moved here - a big, heavy solid piece with a ruined top due to it being used to hold chainsaws. The thing with these old desks is that you have to have the legs of a Monster High doll to fit into it without banging your knees at each turn. So, I decided that since I had to replace the top, I may as well separate it into two drawer units and put an old door across as a top... cause don't old doors make the best tops? They're huge and the ones I had were gorgeous.

This is the first attempt at the desk... ugh. In a nutshell, it started like this...


Step one: paint it white. With chalk paint. Obviously!


Put castors on it, stencil on it, top it with a shed door. Obviously.


It didn't look right. So repaint it. Just the drawer fronts. Chalk paint. Dark grey.


Okay... not quite right... Still wrong somehow.

Wait till Wayne's away for a few days and sand it back, then lacquer it in gloss... hm. I like it better.



I may have left a bit too much paint on the drawers, you can see the grey, the white and even some of the stencils... I like it. Its so me.


Yes, its not my desk... I know that. But its in my living room. I have to look at it all day, so I wanted something I didn't dislike. This blends in much better with the room divider I created so I'm happier.





Won't Wayne be happy when he comes home and finds I've changed something again? 

hehehe.

He hates it. In fact, every time he's going to be away for more than a day his last words to me as he waves goodbye are: "Don't knock down any walls."

He didn't say I couldn't rip up floors though... hmmm...

z

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