Sunday, 22 January 2017

playing with barbies

Meet the girls. From left to right: Barbie, Barbie and Barbie. And their poodles - Larry and Peggy.

These are my girls. The one on the right is the first one I bought - Fashion Queen Barbie from 1962 or 63. The middle one is a Ponytail Barbie from 1962. And then there's the blonde Ponytail Barbie from 1961. I have one more brunette Ponytail, also from 1961, but she's not dressed. Yet.

The blonde girl is in her original clothes. I got her on ebay. The other two I bought from a local collection. They came in their original bathing suits and I had planned to make their clothes myself but have you ever seen how TINY their clothes are?* I ended up buying them dresses from a very talented lady on etsy who's probably way younger than me and has way more patience (and better eyesight!). You can visit her shop here. I already had shoes to match their outfits thanks to a friend and her collection!

The white standard poodle is also an ebay find from many years ago. She's been living in my poodle collection since I bought her over 16 years ago. She's now finally got a mom of her own.

The miniature poodle was a recent ebay find. When I went Barbie mad and went looking for an early Ponytail model I came across him. He came complete with two outfits, two leashes, a food bowl and a couple of other bits and pieces. How could I resist?

I love them, though to be honest, I think I could probably make a pipe cleaner or felt poodle that looks better than either of these... their charm is in their vintage-ness.

I have big plans for these girls. But I have things to do before I start playing with dolls. (Playing MORE with dolls). I have a grooming room to finish, an office to clean up (so I can find my projects) and Bratz dolls to make over and list in my etsy shop.

The To Do list never gets shorter. It just changes so I don't get bored of it.


* Tiny clothes on Barbies says the woman who's now making clothes for repainted Bratz dolls!

Monday, 16 January 2017

progress in the grooming room

Its been slow. I mean, its been months! A project I thought would take me a couple of weeks... ok, a month or so... has taken ages. Partly cause it was a bigger job than I thought (ain't it always?) and secondly cause I haven't actually been working on it as regularly as I'd planned.

Things happen. I get busy. You know how it goes. Sometimes a book just has to be read, or a TV show becomes an addiction you can't ignore.

Despite that, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.

This last week I finished the walls and ceiling. Those were the big things. 

The ceiling was the hardest. I used 3mm MDF sheets to cover the flakey, gappy, holey baltic pine ceilings. I'd have loved to remove the baltic pine to reuse but the job would have been way too big. I opted to just cover it, last thing I wanted was stuff falling down on me every time I groomed a dog. Now I have a smooth surface to paint.

The electrician is coming tomorrow to put my lights in - fluoros so I can see! There are no windows, just the one in the door, so I need plenty of artificial light.

Speaking of windows, I've made the window/door frame and have perspex to put in it, it just needs to be painted.

As you may remember, the right hand wall is covered in recycled masonite. It needs a good wash before painting. And everything needs undercoating before I paint the entire space white.

I'm leaving the center panel with its shabby paint look. I love it.

It was really hard to do this room cause nothing is straight. The ceiling and walls don't have straight edges. Look at the gaps! I did all kinds of dodgey patches to try to minimise gaps. I also ended up lining the back wall which I thought I'd leave as it was (ie old) but I had pine left over. Not enough to go all the way up the ceiling though. I used leftover bits of MDF at the top. Very unevenly. I figure once the entire space is painted white and I put things on and against the walls no one will notice.

I hope.

Don't look at the mess in the workshop outside the inner door.

This is better. Forget you saw that mess.

The room is clean now, swept, tools and rubbish cleared out. I just have to wash walls and move the compressor back to its spot in the garage and I'm ready to paint.

Outside in the tiny yard I've put flashing against the bottom weather boards to stop rain soaking in over the concrete slab. Hopefully that will stop any dampness - not so much in the new grooming room but in the old one.

I've sprayed weeds and have cardboard and newspaper to spread over the ground, then I'll get pine bark to fill the space which will keep it from getting muddy.

Meanwhile, it's been so windy here that I've had to go to extreme measures to save my little silver birch. There was a huge cosmos flowering to the left of it but it was broken by the wind. So sad.

The garden is looking awful right now. Everything that flowered in early spring has died (or gone to seed). I now have to find the time to cut back the dead stuff and pull out weeds. Then all I can do is wait for the summer flowering stuff to start looking good. 


Friday, 13 January 2017

i picked up a whale

Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

I know.

It's been ages since I posted. I have the best of intentions, then things happen. I get busy, distracted, lazy, sick, tired, out, whatever. You know... LIFE.

I had meant to post last weekend, or was it the one before that? Wayne and I went out for the day so we wouldn't be tempted to spend the day working on 'things' around the place. We wanted to just 'be', spend time together, have lunch out...

We drove up to Oatlands and Ross in Tasmania's midlands... visited some antique shops, had coffee in Oatlands lunch in Ross. It was a lovely day.

Oatlands is a beautiful town, famous for its working windmill, sandstone buildings and dry stone walls. I could happily live in Oatlands... a fact I mentioned to Wayne a few times on our walk through town.

Ross is a little further north, a little further from Hobart, but just as touristy. I love the old take away shop. 

Wayne told me the story of the Four Corners of Ross. What a great story:

The Four Corners of Ross

The town is centred on the crossroads of Church and Bridge Streets with a field gun from the Boer War and a war memorial as a central part of the intersection. The crossroads area is humorously referred to as the "Four Corners of Ross" with each corner having a label:

Ross also had the best antique store - it went on forever... In one corner we found a suit of armour!

With a cute little reindeer made of wood and real antlers sitting below him. His trusty steed perhaps...?

There were tons of things in that shop that wanted to come home with me, but I was tough. I said no. I had no room, no need, no money. But then I saw this:

Its a whale! A glass and aluminium whale. 

Ribbed glass, hollow with an open mouthed aluminium head. What on earth could this have been used for? Its not an ashtray, there's nowhere to rest a cigarette. It's not a sugar dispenser, the mouth is too big. Its not a decanter, it sits on is stomach and won't hold liquid. The store owner had no idea, so I'm asking you. Has anyone seen anything like this before? If so, what on earth was it used for?

I mean, obviously, apart from looking pretty. Cause it sure does that well.

I love my whale.

Oh and the shop is for sale. 

I was tempted.

I forgot to mention... In Tunbridge, Wayne fell in love with a property. It was empty, the garden was overgrown, the fences in bad need of repair, but it had such character. I think the fact that it was opposite the only pub in town might have helped.


Wednesday, 4 January 2017

my new farm gate

Progress on the new grooming room is slow. I had one day where things kinda just flowed and things got done. I was up on ladders, using my arms and head to hold up sheets of MDF to the ceiling and using the nail gun to secure them there.

Then I ran out of MDF.

Turns out I'd measured correctly but remembered wrong. I needed 6 sheets (of the biggest size I could handle on my own) but remembered to buy 4.

Live and learn my friends.

So, having NOT finished the ceiling I couldn't very well finish everything else. I had one and a half walls I could put 'skirting boards' and 'cornices' on.

I placed those words in quotation marks cause I'm not using either cornice or skirting boards for the job. I got plain pine boards cause it was the cheapest way to go. The end result is the same: I'm covering gaps where walls meet ceiling or walls.

Having done the bits I could do without finishing the ceiling, I looked around at what I could do next...

...and found the gate.

Ok. I didn't find the gate. I found the gate was a job I could do which wasn't affected by the unfinishedness of the ceiling.

I had planned to use pallet wood to make the gate, but I had 2 long pieces of old tassie oak flooring outside the grooming room, in the tiny yard, just waiting for a use. So I used them.

Firstly I had to measure the distance between the cement slabs the casita and the tiny shed (its an aviary) are sitting on, then the distance between the walls. I'd already attached an extra post to the one on the side of the casita which holds up the porch roof so I could swing the gate off it.

I cut my timber pieces the height I wanted - tall enough to stop a dog jumping over them. 

Then I did what any sane, mathematically challenged person would do: I marked the measurments out on the floor and lay the timber down, spacing the boards by eye and laying the cross pieces over the top. Good enough for me.

I joined all the boards together using screws then reinforced those with nails. 

I cut my Z pieces. I did two cause I couldn't work out the angle to cut a single one on... I did say I was mathematically challenged! In order to save wastage I went with 45 degree angles and 2 Z pieces. It should work fine.

I hope.

Last I used some nice strong chicken wire over the back of the gate cause the gaps are big enough to allow dogs through. I had wanted a picket style gate with small gaps but I didn't want to spend money on treated pine or fence pickets.

This is one heavy gate cause tassie oak is heavy stuff. I had to get some pretty strong hinges from Wayne's collection of rusty items to hang them with.

I love my new rustic gate. It fits between the wall of the casita and the aviary and will stop dogs from escaping into the paddocks.

I'll be putting a bolt onto the gate at #1, put a hole into the aviary wall for the bolt to slide into.

#2 shows where the end board is cut short to accommodate the height of the concrete slab. I found I had to reinforce that spot as the wire could have been bent by a particularly insistent dog bent on escape. (haha)

#3 is where a sliver of wood was removed to allow the gate to swing without hitting the concrete on the casita side.

All in all, a job well done.

I'll finish this post with a gratuitous photo of a poodle: Romeo was overseeing my gate-building efforts. He approves.