Sunday, 31 January 2016

chalkboards with spoon chalk holders

Long ago while going through a mad chalkboard phase. I made these two chalkboards from the doors to an old cabinet I trashed. They were the only solid timber parts so they were worth keeping. 

I'd forgotten about them and failed to share, so here goes...

...'cause its been too quiet on the creative side lately!

I used milk paint on both of these doors for the surround and water based chalkboard paint for the middle. I bought the milk paint on ebay in powder form from a seller who makes his own and uses it on the rustic furniture he makes.

I love the colours. I bought 5 of them... but I find it hard to work with. Actually I am pretty sure I'm not using them properly yet..,.

Still, the results are pretty good. Especially since I doubt I'm doing it right.

The bluey green is called lichen. Nice name as well as nice colour.

Given they're doors and basically the same design flipped, I gave them the same chalk holder - a bent spoon.

I mean... why not?

I finished them off with DIY rusted eyelets and wire for hanging.

Kinda cute, even if I do say so myself.

I'm sure you'll agree.


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Wednesday, 27 January 2016

a measuring cup pencil holder, a wire shelf and a shutter shelf


A little more cleaning up...

Its not finished yet. There is still another 3/4 of the workshop to finish, but I made a start last night.



Of course, I would have gotten more done if I didn't get distracted. The way I seem to work is: stare at the mess, dither about where to start, pick up something, put it down, move it over to another surface, look for a container to put it in, think a shelf would look nice there, look for things to make a shelf out of, necessitating moving more things over just a bit to make space, find a measuring cup I got at a tip shop and decide it would make a great pencil holder, find wire to make that, then start cutting wood to make brackets cause nothing I have will work, then make a shelf out of a broken wire basket cause I always planned to do it but never got around to it, and now I have and its good to finally do it, but oops, there's still a huge pile of stuff to put away so I pick up things and put them in their place, realise there are now too many things so create new places for things and labelling them so I can find them again... and suddenly its 9pm and I'm blowing black stuff out of my nose.

But my new toolbox is now full of tools...

and that wall is looking like a working workshop instead of a jumble sale.

The drawers are only there temporarily... till I find my electric plane. Then they'll go back into the tv unit/divider.

You may notice a few other things in the picture above... the stencils given to me by a good friend cause she knows I'll love them and cherish them and call them my very own. My new measuring cup pencil holder (that dark little triangle lost in the gloom), my new wire shelf and, last but not least, the new recycled shutter (louvre door to be exact) shelf.

The one I always planned to put up but didn't have the necessary bits or the patience to buy them. What the heck, right? Make do is the name of the game!

Don't try this at home.

Hey. It works. Don't judge me cause I'm imaginative!

Meanwhile let me share my gorgeous new pencil holder. Its a measuring cup I found at the tip shop last weekend. I've never seen one like it before.

Please ignore the hole in the wall. I didn't do that. The wall came pre-punched.

Do you wanna see the wire shelf?

I've had this wire basket for quite a while and the wire on the corners has come undone and its not in the best condition. I always thought it'd make a good shelf.

So, while in the middle of cleaning and organising my workshop, I naturally had to stop and make this little fella.

Firstly I had to wire the corners to stop the wire bits from sticking out and causing bad things to happen.

Then I trimmed some offcuts of plywood as the shelves. The bottom shelf just sits in place but the one in the middle is wired in place. I drilled holes to feed wire through and hold the shelf in place.

I attached it to the wall with those plaster wall plugs... which of course weren't the right size for the job. Oh, they'll take the weight ok, but the screws weren't long enough to clamp the wire back in place properly.

Thats ok.

As long as its pretty!


Tuesday, 26 January 2016

cleaning up and clearing out - a cathartic exercise

I've been on the path of simplifying my life for a while now. More in my head than in the actual physical world unfortunately... I lie in bed at night and mentally clean out the sheds with overflow with crap I've accumulated in the last few years, things I plan to use to make something one day, things which will come in useful one day, things that I'm sure I'll need again one day...

Well, I've decided that if one day hasn't come in the last 5 years, it probably won't ever come, and I'm beginning to sort things out.

Of course, its way easier said than done. Especially when you visit a friend's house and she has way more stuff than you do, and you talk about something you once had but threw out, and how there's a great idea for it here and now, but its gone, cause you cleaned out and threw it away, and now you don't have it for that great idea and you kick yourself and you want all the more to hold onto things you do have right now, cause you'll surely need them one day, when you have another great idea and you'll go searching in the bowels of the shed where people are afraid to enter cause its crammed full of things precariously balanced on top of other things and if you shift one thing you're in danger of being crushed by the weight of all the good stuff you can't let go of, cause, surely, you will need them soon, or one day, cause here you are now, looking for that one thing you know you put in the shed in 1993 cause you were sure it would come in handy one day and the day has arrived and here you are, rummaging in boxes up to your neck and pulling it out triumphantly and saying "here it is! I knew I had one of those!" its perfect for the job, and you're glad you're so clever and had the foresight to keep it all those years ago...


Its not easy to clear out stuff.


But here I am, my nose full dust and, ugh no doubt, mouse droppings, cause storing stuff in sheds means that, inevitably, mice get into things and if you're lucky they only chew up the newspaper and plastic containers and not the items you so loving shoved in there so long ago.

I began with a plan: throw out anything I'm not likely to need or use in this lifetime. That included all bits of furniture or timber which wasn't real wood - I took things apart, removing and keeping hinges or catches or doors. Any smaller bits of real wood which were of no use were put into the kindling pile.

I allocated the space just outside the store room as a temporary rubbish dump, tossing bags of rubbish out there, flinging out the chipboard pieces I don't think I'll ever want to use but which I kept just in case...

I packed up things which would be sold at a garage sale I'm planning to have sometime in the near future. ie useful things which need to be in someone else's home where they'll be used and appreciated more than I appreciate them.

Another pile for items I'll take to work for projects there.

Bags of things I no longer want to take to various friends who I know might appreciate them.

Lastly, I went through my big plastic storage boxes of craft and sewing stuff. I was ruthless. I managed to go from 9 boxes down to 6. I still have tons of craft materials, but I'm a bit more realistic about what I'll actually use.

So, prepare your eyeballs for the before and afters.



Almost everything on the lower level on the left hand side of the above pic is garage sale stuff - which means I'll have that much more space when its gone!



I still have bits of wood, doors, STUFF, but its easier to get to now.



I even have space left on shelves now! The poodles approve. They can now get through the room and get outside.



I'm feeling better already, and I've only just started.

I mean that in a figurative way cause I've been working on this for most of the weekend. On and off. But I still have the entire workshop area to clean up and organise and a whole 2 other sheds to start on.

Its going to be a looooooong haul.


Saturday, 23 January 2016

eat more fish!

My brother is in the fish business.

In fact, most of our family is in the fish business. I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that my grandfather was a fisherman or that we're greek and sea water runs through our veins, or anything like that. 

Its pure coincidence.

However, fish is what our family does. I can't tell you how many years I spent my holidays working in the family fish processing plant - packing fish, pulling apart squid, stinking of fish...

My brother has a fish shop and seafood distribution business in the ACT, my cousins work in fish or, if they don't work in fish all the time, they fill in when they're needed just to keep the tradition going.

We're a pretty smelly bunch.

But I digress.

I wanted to share with you this little present I made for my brother's shop. 

Get it?

Its a lamb... and its saying we should eat more fish.

Ok, yeah. You get it.

Pretty appropriate with Australia Day coming up, when everyone needs to eat lamb or be labelled un-australian!

I actually had the little sheep. I made him a long time ago and had him sitting on a shelf in the living room.

And the idea isn't mine. I have to confess I saw it somewhere and thought I'd use it... I mean, hey! I had the sheep, I have a brother in the fish business... can you blame me?

All I had to do was make a sign, a post and twist one of the little sheep's legs to hold it.


Cute, topical and relevant.

A thoughtful gift if you ask me!


Thursday, 21 January 2016

the living room then and now

This post has been a long time coming.

Basically cause its a big post.

And cause the before pics are rather embarassing...

But I'm taking a deep breath and here goes.

This is what our living room looked like when we moved in. After de-pinking the walls, but nothing much else was done. Stuff just plonked in. 

Yes. You may have noticed the metal poles holding up the roof.

Over the last few years I tried a whole lot of different layouts but nothing really did it for me... The TV antenna plug is in the dark grey wall under the window so I kept the TV in that general area for most of the layouts, while everything else got moved whenever I got restless.

Which was often.

The wood heater is in the middle of the room, more or less in line with the poles, further limiting my furniture placement choices.

Not to mention the need to dry things in front of the fire in winter... lovely.

Given the TV placement in that corner, we were stuck with the front part of the living room being the 'living room' area while the back part (near the kitchen pass) was the work area.

I tried the couch at a right angle from the wall, near the front door...

I tried the couch against the poles...

I tried the couch on the other side of the poles and leaving just armchairs on the TV side...

I moved every single armchair, recliner, bookcase and coffee table we own, and trust me, nothing worked.

Maybe cause we own ugly furniture.

But the poles in the middle of the room were driving me crazy!

I knew I had to do something to make the poles part of the design of the room or remove them.

Since removing them meant putting a PROPER beam across the living room ceiling which would be expensive, a room divider it had to be!

The idea for a room divider was nothing new. I'd seen the need for one the minute I walked into the house the first time. But the inspiration (and guts) to tackle it took years to hit me.

Only last month as a matter of fact as you may remember.

After thinking about building a room divider/entertainment unit and flipping the living room for approximately five years, I suddenly went out and just did it!

So here are the before and after pics.

This is what the front part of the living room looked like before:

And here it is now:

Wayne's office is now in the corner where the TV was and there's a reading corner near the door to the porch.

In the middle of the room is my brand spanking new, upcycled cd cabinet room divider, which incorporates the poles as part of the design.

When you walked into the living room from the kitchen before, this is what you saw:

Now you see this:

The divider separates the 'working area' from the 'relaxing area' of the room without cutting it in half.

Instead of this:

We now have this:

We still have ugly furniture, but we make do for now. A dropcloth makes a nice cover for the couch and I try to ignore the blue recliner. 

And yeah... I need to toss out that salmon carpet and I need bigger rugs, but for now... you got it! We make do!

I can't afford a wall of bookcases for behind the couch, so until I find the courage to build my own, I make do with what I have. Once I paint them all the same colour it won't look so bad.

The living room feels much nicer now, more comfortable. Of course I had to get used to the TV being so much closer, but its ok now. And I love the way the work area isn't the first thing you see when you walk into the living room. Its a much better layout.

Its not perfect... but it'll do for now!

(till the next time I get restless!)