Sunday, 30 September 2012

day 5 - memory box


What I did do:

I finished the memory box made from an old tin.

One more item crossed off the endless list.

This little beauty is made out of an old tin I found at an op shop. I sanded it back a bit and decoupaged it with the lyrics of If Tomorrow Never Comes.

I printed the lyrics out in a way-out handwriting font, then aged the paper using coffee.

I found it needed a little something extra, so I added some floral tissue paper to create a patchier look. I added some lace and topped it all off with a ticket stub and some tiny flowers.

Pretty isn't it? I think it'd make a cute little container for small keepsakes.


wild horses couldn't drag me away

What a great way to kick off 31 days!

I was just about to go out and feed the horses when the neighbour behind us called. Our horses were in their yard.

Their beautiful manicured acres of lawn.

Not so beautiful any more.

Seems the horses either knocked down the temporary gate to the ford, or took advange when it somehow came loose by itself.

I'm not pointing fingers, but I suspect Wally had something to do with it. Why? Cause that horse is like the schoolyard bully and class troublemaker all rolled into one really big package.

I walked over there with a bucket of feed and tried to coax them back. Ben, my sweetie (and a guts) came over straight away for some treats and followed me back to our paddock. Dancer followed and Wally held back a while, then galloped full pelt towards me.

I almost peed my pants praying he'd pull up in time.

I got Ben in our paddock but Wally refused to come. He stood outside the gate, then turned and hightailed it out of there, Ben and Dancer trailing him.

Repeat above 3 times.

3rd time they went down the neighbour's driveway. All the way to the road.

By the time I got down here, walking, bucket of feed in hand, they were about 3 houses down, getting to know the gorgeous leopard appaloosa that moved in a couple of months ago. They were sniffing and fence racing up and down the paddock.

Again, Ben, the sweetie, came to me (eventually) and Dancer followed. I grabbed hold of Dancer by the neck rug, and walked her back to our driveway. Ben was following. Wally eventually joined us, stuck his nose into the driveway, then turned and galloped off again, luring Ben off with him.


Luckily I was able to keep hold of Dancer and got her in the bottom paddock.

Meanwhile I walked further up the road and found the boys in a neighbour's front yard scaring the hell our of their dog.

Again, my sweet Benny boy came to me and I was able to grab him and lead him back to the bottom paddock. Wally reluctantly followed, taking off up the driveway in an effort to show he was no lamb being led to captivity like the others.

I lost the battle to move them back into the top paddock - I let them stay in the bottom paddock.

I'm over it.


office accomplished

I can't wait to see Wayne's face when he sees his new work space tomorrow!

So, you want the nitty gritty?

This morning when I woke up, I found I could barely walk. So sore! But I cowboy-ed up and got on with it.

After 2 cups of coffee and a breakfast of Weetbix (the breakfast of champions apparently) I was up to facing the mess I'd made in the living room.

First thing I did was mix up some more putty for the patched hole and apply it. Since its under the desk I'm not fussed about finishing it. That'll be a job for when I paint the living room.

I had an unpainted corner to deal with.

I did what every DIY person would do... I looked around at what I had that I could use. The easiest thing I found was 3 metres of burlap.

Using upholstery tacks (leftover from my kitchen chair makeover), I tacked the burlap to the wall. I had to cut and overlap a bit to cover the entire area, but I think it looks ok.

I then had to put together my old office desk. Its one of those corner units, made up of two separate desks joined together by a triangular piece.

I found the triangle piece and the metal joining strips. Naturally I'd lost the screws to put it all together.

Of course I didn't have any screws fat and short enough to do the job. I had to improvise.

I drilled new holes to fit the thinner screws I had on hand... then made little screw and nut kebabs to shorten the length of the screws so they wouldn't come up out the top of the desk.

I never said I did things right. I just said I got things done.

After much wrestling with desk parts and crawling around on my knees, I got the desk together. And while I was down there I untangled all the cables and put Wayne's computer, printer and speakers back together again.

At least I hope I did....

I got a whimsical wire frame Wayne made for me (as inspired by Pinterest) and put it on one wall. I put the floor lamp in the corner behind the desk, and a vase of flowers. Not sure how Wayne will like that!

I also brought in a couple of boxes I've been using in the shed for my tools. This gorgeously chippy box used to hold my framing equipment. It now holds Wayne's notebooks and sketch pads.

This timber tool caddy used to hold my smaller tools. It now holds rulers and pens.

I've also moved an old bookcase into the living room for books and paperwork. I'll take photos of that when I finish it.

So, lets review:




You can see the first stage of the makeover here.


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TDC Before and After

Beyond The Picket Fence

Saturday, 29 September 2012

when the cats away

As usual, I had big plans for this weekend. 

Its Grand Final weekend so Wayne has gone to his friend's house to watch the game and do the male bonding thing.

It was my big chance to do something I've been thinking of doing for a while now. We have (had!) a big cupboard in the corner of the living room which I used as my linen cupboard.

In the living room.

Who thought that would be a good place for a linen cupboard?

To make matters worse, it was brown, varnished MDF. Not exactly pretty enough to make me want to keep it!

A few weeks ago when I opened the door to take out clean sheets, the front piece of cornice fell off and broke in half. It was like a sign - the cupboard had to go!

So, with Wayne and his rolling eyes away for the weekend I thought I'd tackle it.

I didn't get any before photos cause I didn't think of it, but I started last night (Friday to those of us in the Southern hemisphere).

I started by pulling the doors off the cupboard (man those suckers are heavy!), then removing the last strip of cornice still clinging on. I was able to get the cornice off without breaking it, and the doors off without crushing any toes.

I removed all the screws from the inside of the cupboard which fixed it to the bottom frame, the wall and the outer side, totally planning to dismantle it and just move it out. I discovered that the cupboard itself was one complete piece, with a 'veneer' of MDF on the side which matched the doors, a frame which it sat on, and a bit of a strip where it met the wall.

The 'veneer' side was stuck to the wall with silicone gap filler. I had to get rid of that, then use a hammer to loosen it, again managing to get it off without crushing any toes.

 I got the whole cupboard off the wall with immense difficulty. Not only was it heavy, it was also very tight. I had to inch it forward on the bottom frame, then try to work it off and onto the ground without totally damaging the ceiling. You can see the scrape marks where I didn't quite succeed.

What I was left with was an expanse of unpainted wall and ceiling, with plaster bits stuck where the cornice used to be, and gaps that would need sealing up. And mouse droppings. Lots of mouse droppings.

This is the frame the cupboard sat on. No carpet underneath of course. And a hole in the wall behind the packing tape.

About halfway through the removal progress I began to have second thoughts. I wondered if I could/should leave the cupboard there, open it up to shelves maybe. It didnt look too bad all white and much brighter than the brown it was with the doors. But I decided to go ahead and remove it, however instead of pulling it apart, I'd keep it intact and move it to the tiny back entry as my pantry.

So I had to put half the screws back in.

My plan is to put my corner office desk in that corner so Wayne has a much bigger space to work. He never used the office so I've claimed it as my space and he has a desk in the living room. For now, I'll put in my desk and later I hope to make him a much nicer desk, something with character.

Anyway, once I got the cupboard off the frame I had to figure out how to get it out of there. The ceiling in that part of the living room is really low.

Actually, we have 3 ceiling heights in the living room. Originally it was 2 separate rooms, with a later extension. Why they didn't redo the ceilings to match I have no idea. But there you have it. A low ceiling plus a lower beam meant I couldn't get the cupboard out unless I lay it down on its back, then onto its side to push it to the entry.

Good plan.

I started to lie it down when it broke in half, almost crushing me underneath it.

Ok, it didn't BREAK in half. It was 2 pieces, joined together. It just came apart at the weakest spot.

On the bright side, it was now 2 pieces making it easier to move!

I lay each piece on its side, then slowly pushed them from the living room, across the tiny hall, around the corner in the kitchen and into the tiny dark entry.

I put the frame down first, then wriggled the biggest piece of the cupboard onto it. Then, using a ladder and my body as a counterweight, I managed to slide the top piece up and sit it on top. Again, using a push, slide and counterbalance technique, I got the smaller piece into place.

So high school physics wasn't a total waste of time!

I then screwed the bits together and to the bottom frame. I even managed to put a few screws into the wall behind to keep it stable.

It makes the fridge look tiny now, doesn't it? ONE DAY I plan to knock out half the wall from that tiny entry into the kitchen, making the kitchen an L shape and making that pantry area part of the kitchen. It'll remove the rabbit warren feel of the back of the house and bring the fridge into the kitchen.

Most country houses here in Tasmania use the back door as the front door. Our front door is on the other side of the house. Sort of silly really, but thats how it is. To enter our house you have to come into the mudroom (which we added on), go through the tiny dark entry/pantry, then into the kitchen.

For now,  I've just made the tiny entry into a real pantry.

The house is a mess, stuff piled everywhere. I grabbed a few things I'd taken out of the old wardrobe I was using as a pantry and put them on the shelves. I'm planning to leave the shelves open, not adding doors. I'll see if Wayne can remove the hardware. My arm is already killing me and I dont really want to be trying to remove them using a screwdriver.

 But I wasn't done. I couldn't leave the holes in the ceiling or the floor. Firstly its cold today and there was a lot of cold air coming in. Secondly, it was like a mouse superhighway judging by the droppings.

I've never done anything like this before and its a really bad job. However, it doesn't really matter. One of these days, when we win lotto, I'll get the whole living room ceiling redone. Till then, I just needed to get the holes patched up.

I used the cornice which had come off (or fallen off). I only had to trim down one piece and it turns out, cornice is easy to cut. The problem was with putting it up. I know you're not supposed to use nails, but seriously, after trying to get it up using liquid nails* and failing, I decided what the hell. I can paint over nails.

*I broke my caulking gun. Then I couldn't find the new one I'd gotten as a spare. I had to go borrow one from Wayne's garage!

I couldn't get the plaster blobs off the ceiling. They'll need sanding off. Ugh.

I got lucky with the skirting board. I was going to use anything at all, just to cover the holes, but I found some matching stuff in the casita. I even managed to cut it to fit into the corner!

After everything was glued and nailed in place, I used gap filler to fill in any gaps. I've left it all to dry overnight and tomorrow I'll sand back and re-fill any spots that need re-filling. Like the hole I patched.

Now, I know its not the prettiest job I've ever done. Its messy and ugly. There are plaster globs on the ceiling, missing carpet in the corner, the skirting is uneven where it goes from carpet to timber. But I don't mind. It will do for now. I can't paint the walls cause I don't have paint for it, besides I want to repaint the entire living room. And I plan to remove the carpet when I can too.

So, I'm tired. Its been a huge day.

Tomorrow is another day with more work!


31 days topic

After much deliberation, I have decided what my 31 Day topic will be. I figured the only way to post for 31 days straight is if its about something I already love doing, right? Makes sense.

So my topic for 31 Days will be Wishful Thinking.

aka Everything I Planned to Do But Didn't.

aka Crossing Things Off the To Do List.

Or Real Life if you prefer...

It'll be about life at Wind Dancer Farm - with all its ups and downs, dog hair, mess and unwashed dishes (I sure hope my mother doesn't read my blog!), dogs, horses, chickens, ducks and more rainwater than we have use for. But mainly about my our ongoing battles projects, new projects, planned projects, unfinished projects and dream projects.

For the 31 Days of October I hereby promise to post daily about the simple (complicated, frustrating, funny) things in our daily lives which make Wind Dancer Farm a home.

So what's different, you ask? Well, the fact that I'll be posting daily about things I planned to do but didn't quite manage as well as things I did do.

I wish I could say I'll post about interesting projects every day, but real life ain't like that. You can't be in control of everything all the time, much as I would love to. For example: a chipped filling last night which necessitated an emergency dentist appointment today. 

Life is unpredictable and the best laid plans are only there as a rough guideline to what you'd like to do today if all goes well, the stars align and you held your tongue just right in the corner of your mouth when you wrote your To Do Today list.


Thursday, 27 September 2012

to 31 or not to 31

The dilema continues to rage inside my head.

Do I do this thing or do I not? Can I do anything for 31 days straight?

Remember, we're talking about a person who has the attention span of a gnat. Most people who are successful in their chosen field are successful cause they choose something and stick with it.

I've chosen lots of things in my life, done really well in them for a while, then got bored and moved on.

Rock'n'Roll dancing. Roller blading. Breeding standard poodles. Showing poodles. Graphic design. Art. Gardening.

No. Never gardening. I only put that in to see if you were still paying attention.

What I'm saying is that I get all enthusiastic about something, do it for a while, do it well, then move on. I can, and sometimes still do, the things I'm good at (artist, designer, grooming show poodles), but I dedicate my time to my next new thing.

Thats why I don't have a 'product' to make/sell. I make one or two 'somethings', get bored and find something else to keep my mind and fingers busy. 

And trust me, I have a LOT of different 'somethings' on the go all the time.

I guess thats why I like painting - every painting is new and different, even if the subject is the same. The interpretation or 'expression' is different every time.

Back to the matter at hand - I've been torn over the 31 days project for the last week or so.

I thought I had the best idea: to make my 31 days days of making do and using what I have and not spending money. In theory its a great idea. Teach me a thing or two about money.

Then I realised I would end up having to spend money when I found I needed 45mm screws instead of 25mm or 65mm ones. Or when the curtain I decided to make needed a curtain rod I didn't have.

So I thought, maybe I should make do as much as possible and limit myself to buying the 'finishing' touches if necessary...

And I thought I could make it about making stuff from nothing... or from as little as possible. From junk, in other words..

Then I realised that's what I already do! I pick things up from tip shops (or our back paddock) and make them into something people might want to put in their homes.

So what would be the point in doing 31 days of the same ol' thing?


I'd talked myself into a full circle and talked myself out of the idea.

I'm frustrated.

Maybe I should just do what another blogger I follow is doing: simply blogging daily for 31 days. Not only is that copying, but...

I'm not interesting 31 days in a row!

Wahhhh! This is where I throw myself on the ground and have a tantrum.

Maybe I should write 31 Memories From My Childhood.

Or 31 days of crazy rennovation/furniture re-making ideas... Name that one 31 Days of Big Plans. Or just 31 Days of Eye Rolling From My Other Half.

What about 31 Days of Finishing What I Start? (All the languishing products in the shed...)

31 Days of not complaining about anything Positive Thinking?

31 Small Treasures?

Hey. I kinda like that one. It can mean anything - its a broad topic... But I might get too mushy. Like I do when I talk about my poodles...

Or 31 Days Without Ch-Ch-Chocolate?

Ugh. I can't even say that one!

 31 Days of Reducing. A worthwhile topic.

My weight would be good, but I was thinking along the lines of possessions. Things we don't need. Clutter. Stuff under beds. Things you never use but keep cause one day you might feel the need to take it out, look at it, then put it away again. I could make a point of donating, giving away, selling or tossing one item a day for a month.

31 Things I Can Live Without. That'd work.

31 Things I Can't Live Without. (Do I have that many things I can't live without?)


I have 3 more days to think about this.

3 days.



Monday, 24 September 2012

creative in a different way

Suzi, looking cute
Today has been a very busy day. A non-DIY busy day.

Just as creative though.

I spent most of the day grooming. Only three dogs. One blink-and-you'll-miss-it monkey faced little shitzu cross girl (above) called Suzi, and two not-quite-so-small poodles: Chewie (aka Chewbacca The Wookie) and Zefi (aka Munchkin or Munch).

Chewie with her new bell bottom 'do'
Grooming is creative work. Especially grooming poodles. I love making dogs look gorgeous. Unfortunately, with most pets, you have to balance practicality with as much 'pretty' as you can.

Most pet owners start off with 'Don't take a lot off, I like him fluffy' and end up with 'Shave it all off! I'm sick of the grass seeds/the mud/the matts/that he bites me if I try to brush him.'

With poodles its different. They have that sculptural hair - you brush it out, fluff it up and it stands there for you to scissor like a topiary.

Its respectful hair. It stands up, waiting to be scissored. It doesn't just flop, making your life difficult.


Its the best hair.

And scissoring its a pleasure.

Then again, I love scissoring. Yeah, I use the clippers. But when it comes to finishing a trim, nothing beats scissors.

Scissoring is the fine tuning of a trim.

Zefi Munchkin waiting for her mommy.
As satisfying as DIY really.

Like when you find that perfect piece to fix up a piece of furniture, or you get the paint job just right.

Worth the effort when you see them go home looking great.


cupid cage?

What on earth would you do with a small drawer thingy with a cage that you can't even open?

I mean, really.

I saw this thing in a 2nd hand shop.

It was ugly. 

Painted gold and aged in a really tasteless mass produced authentic made in china antique kind of way.

Yet I bought it anyway. Says a lot about me, doesn't it?

To be fair, it was part of a 'how much would you take for the lot' kind of deal. 

There was something about it. Something I couldn't put my finger on... maybe the dust, or the faux finish...

Anyway, got it home, brushed it off, gave it a wash, then proved the well known saying in DIY-blogland: everything looks better painted white.

So, it does look better. Doesn't it? 


Still quite as useless though. 

Unless you only have 2 rings you need to store.

Which I don't.

.... I have no idea what I'll use it for... then again, give it a few months of sitting on a shelf and I'll find something.


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Sunday, 23 September 2012

quick & easy photo display

Here's a quick and easy little project. It only took 4 months to finish.

3 months, 30 days, 23 hours and 40 minutes were spent in the planning stage. The most important stage, as you know.

20 minutes were spent putting it together.

First step, spot these cute little flower frogs in an op shop.

(I was told that's what they're called. I had no idea what they were, much less what they were called, when I saw them. I just liked the shape. And the rust didn't hurt either.)


Next step, pay your $2 and take them home where you put them on a shelf and let them gather dust while you consider options.

Then, when you've got a spare 20 minutes, search your computer for photos you like. Resize them, adjust the saturation in Photoshop and add frames to 'age' them. Put new ink cartridges in the printer, print them out, laminate them and trim them down.

Once that's done, stick the photos in the frogs and photograph.

See? Easy.

Have I ever lied to you?


Shared at

DIY Show Off

Saturday, 22 September 2012



I got an email today with a link to the site with these colour slides from the early 1940s. They're just gorgeous. Of course I love some of the old buildings (especially the old shop fronts with their signs) but the people are what touch me the most.

Like the faces of these cute little boys. The innocence of them. The photo looks like it was taken a week ago, but these boys probably grew up, got married and are now are grandparents. Or they are no longer alive. But they look so alive in this photo, their whole life ahead of them...

And the clothes! This is what making do and re-using what you had on hand was all about. Hand-me-downs and making dresses out of bolts of cheap fabric... We don't know what it was really like in the depression. At least my generation and younger doesn't.

I love this old shed, which is actually some juke joint apparently. What struck me is that this is pretty much how the side of our garage looks - all patchy pieces of corregated iron.

 What I need now is some old signs... Then I think I'll love the patchy old shed!


Thursday, 20 September 2012

an old tie hanger sparkles

I've had this old tie hanger for years. Since I was at art school. I think its the little black knobs that appealed to me. Plus I've always had a love affair with all things 50s and early 60s. That love affair predates my love affair with french provincial, shabby chic and country/rustic style.

Even though I've slowly gotten rid of most of my 50s-60s items and furniture over the last few years, I have retained a few favourites.

This little tie hanger somehow managed to survive my many bursts of clearing out and re-homing.

Over the years I've used it to hang scarves (ok if you only have thin scarves), belts (not so successful) and necklaces. Its hung on the wall as a work of art in itself.

It was time for a makeover.

Its now making music with keys and little bells every time the wind blows.

And lately the wind's been blowing a LOT.


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

upcycled pringles container

The other night my hands got bored as I watched TV so I got this old pringles tin and made it unrecognisable.

First I cut it into 3 uneven slices. Put bottoms on the ones that ended up bottomless. I did a couple of layers of papier mache to strengthen them.

I wanted it to say something, so I found synonyms for the word 'write' and printed them out in different sizes.

By way of aging the paper, I used a candle and slightly browned it.

Note: Browning paper is a tricky business... there's a fine line between browning and flaming.

After dancing about the kitchen with a piece of paper rapidly turning to ash in my hands, I kinda liked the burned edges.

Note (again): After a certain point, blowing on a flame doesn't put it out. It encourages it.


Tuesday, 18 September 2012

good things come to those who fossick

I really scored today!

On the way home from work I had to stop for something at a $2 shop (ok... I lie... I didn't have to!) and well, once I was in there I just had to look around, right? I mean, I was there!

I went through all my favourite aisles (art & craft, homewares, stationery) and just as I was leaving I spotted this little fellow.

I just had to have him! Of course he's not porcelain, what do you expect from a $2 store? (Things which cost more than $2, that's what). He cost me $8 but I think he's worth every cent. I'm working on a few little projects and I think he'll find himself in amongst them soon enough.

My other, even more exciting news, is this!

You know I can't resist an op shop, right? And if there's no one there to stop me, I just have to go in.

Well, this time I'm so glad I did!

This is an op shop I generally visit once every 2 weeks or so as they tend to have good prices. When I walked in today I spotted a basket full of what looked like old cotton pillowcases.

On closer inspection it turned out they were all cotton sacks. Flour, bread, coin sacks even. As I started pulling them out and looking at them I knew I had to have some.

The basket had 30c each on the side so I started unfolding, sorting, looking.

Then I thought stuff this. I want the entire basket!

So I took it up to the ladies behind the counter and asked how much for the lot?

$5 they said.

DONE, I said.

I'm so excited! Not all of them are old, but a few at least are before the metric system! (I haven't yet sorted and counted them, just flipped through them.)

Oh boy!

I can barely contain myself.

They wanted to know what I was going to use them for.

I have no idea. When I saw them I just knew I had to have them.

Kitchen curtains comes to mind.

Office curtains even, if there's enough of them.

Some of the bigger ones would make nice cushion covers. Some would probably look fantastic framed...

I just love the idea of a curtain though, sacks sewn together, without cutting them up and ruining them... so the curtain is double thickness. Or do I cut them up and sew them together so the curtain is more flimsy?

Oh, the dilema!

I may have to sleep on it. Give them a wash and good iron. Sort them out by size. Just look at them and admire then and thank my lucky stars I decided to stop in at the op shop today!