old houses

So, I’m back on Paros for the Paros Festival again this year. Three days of tours, dancing, bands, performances and open houses.

Last year I just managed to scrape in a visit to a couple of houses, an exhibition and a tour of the old church. This year so far its just been old houses… I absolutely love old houses.

These old places are old mansions belonging to the aristocratic island families of the past. They are either lived in and kept more or less in original condition, or left empty and are slowly falling apart cause the owners can no longer afford to maintain them.

They contain original collectables and furniture and are more like museums than homes.

They’re beautiful old places, and man, would I love to have the money to buy and restore one… sigh… not in this lifetime!

Meanwhile life goes on at a breakneck pace… whereas things crawled along for ages, a while lotta stuff happened all at once this last week.

For one thing, I now have wifi at home! Which is great cause I had my new 50in TV for a week with no internet access…

I also now have a bamboo screen, a clothes line and a sail in my back patio area. And 4 new plants…

My Ikea shelving unit (aka the bookcase) has been fixed to the wall and most of the stuff sitting on my kitchen bench have gone back to living on shelves… till I sort them out…

I have a washing machine (…maybe… long story…) but no connections for it AND it won’t fit under the kitchen bench… sigh…

There have been broken pipe incidents all over the place at the little community I live in. Apparently, they tell me, when the desalination plant went operational and we were connected to the service, pipes began to burst all over the place. Two reasons for this…. up till now the water was always pumped into a tank and the water ran on gravity feed. Plus they’re old pipes. They couldn’t take the new whiz bang mains pressure. Ugh. The first pipe to burst was next door above me. I came home to no water as they worked to fix that till late evening. Next was a place up the hill from me. And yesterday the place on the corner of my floor had a leaking ceiling cause the unoccupied place above was flooded. That was particularly bad as it wasn’t an outside leak, this one has done more damage.

I have a plumber coming today to put in the necessary plumbing for a washing machine and I was told to ask him to put some kind of pressure limiting gadget on my water line.

Ah… adventures….

Other than that, things move at their usual rushed pace. Get up early to walk Lainee and go to work each morning. Hurry home then to the beach or a grooming appointment. Go home for a shower and change to go out with friends or meet family.

Where is that slow paced life people talk about on a Greek island?

z

rodeo! (and more)

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We’re back from some weekend fun. And I’m so tired. It seems like I’ve been driving all day today (in fact I was driving most of the last two days), but it was worth it.

I took Wayne away for a weekend up north of the state, to the Carrick Bull Riding Rodeo.

I don’t have any photos of the rodeo. It was too windy and too hard to take photos, but hey, everyone knows what a rodeo is like. Horses, bulls, whips, cowboys, hats, barrel racing, roping, steers and dust. Not in that order necessarily.

It was an evening event and by the end of the night we were both frozen and could pass for a red indians thanks to the red dust. It was fun though. I do love a rodeo.

Here are some pics of our trip. I decided it’d be a trip through the central highlands and past the great lakes of Tasmania so we went through Bothwell where we stopped for coffee at a cute little coffee shop.

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I loved the sign, but I loved the door even more!

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Not to mention this table was so rustic, I could have it here, no worries.

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The only photo I took of one of the lakes at Breona, dark clouds and amazing colours.  I began to think I’d love a shack up there… to spent time up near the lake.

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I love going up north through the middle of Tasmania, the way the countryside changes as you leave the lush Derwent Valley, through the dry highlands, trees being replaced by scrub as you get up higher, down the mountains with their dense forests and ferns, all opening up to the lush pastures as you go down the other side.

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This time we stopped in Deloraine. I’ve only ever driven through (on the way to dog shows up north), never stopped to look around and appreciate the town. It’s beautiful. I love it. I want to live there.

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We had lunch at the 50s Diner and it was great! The best malted milkshake I’ve had in years!

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And all the collectibles! I was in heaven. If I lived in Deloraine I’d live in the Diner…

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I’d found a cute little Air B&B unit to stay in at Evandale. It was a bit further on from Carrick so we drove there to check in, then backtracked to go to the rodeo.

Our hosts were great and the self contained unit was gorgeous, thoughtfully decorated and very comfy. This was only my second Air B&B stay and way better than the first!

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Wayne made himself at home straight away…

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I’d been to Evandale before, (for a dog show – obviously!) so bascially I hadn’t really been there. For years I traveled around the Victoria and Tasmania, only ever seeing the showgrounds…

Evandale is gorgeous. I love it. I want to live there.

Wayne says I want to live everywhere I visit. Maybe so, but Evandale was beautiful…

And it has a famous Sunday market. I didn’t take many photos, I was too busy darting around from stall to stall, but loved the colours (and items) at this stall.

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Before you ask, yes, I did buy a few things. Like this little rusty corrugated iron pig made by a local Evandale artist. Isn’t he gorgeous?

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I also got a jar full of wooden buttons, some bone handled knives, a poodle with her pups and a minty green clock!

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I’m happy.

Tired and happy.

I have a ton of wonderful photos of falling down houses I’ll share in another post, so stay tuned!

z

kitchenalia

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I’ve always liked collecting old kitchen paraphernalia. Among other things. I basically collect anything that appeals to me. I mean, you never know when you’ll need ‘that’, right?

So, while making some wind chimes for the local market I found this extra long THING in my collection. I normally use these for my junky sun catcher/wind chimes.

These are two of my previous ones. Click on images to go to post.

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You can see other suncatchers and wind chimes here and here.

These things are so me. I love the mix of sparkle, rust and old wood. The one above was my first one and I kept that one for myself. I love looking at it.

But back to the kitchenalia one…

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A selection of old and vintage kitchen tools, a small steamer pot and a little airplane… cause, why not? Doesn’t everyone have a vintage wood airplan toy in their kitchen?

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It sold at the market as soon as I hung it up. Obviously I’m not the only one who likes these odd dangley things!

I have three more available at the moment. I’ll share them when I get photos of them and probably put them in my etsy shop.

z

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my new butter dish

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I had this longing for a butter dish. Well… when I did the Easter sideboard display I wanted a butter dish. Badly. I thought it’d look really nice with the fresh hot cross buns.

I didn’t have one. Obviously. Otherwise I’d have used it. So I looked around for a bit. Didn’t find any I liked. Not in my price range anyway. My price range is narrow…

Anyway, a post on Facebook reminded me that I desperately needed a butter dish in order for my life to make sense, so I started looking again. On ebay of course… I wanted vintage. And found this!

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This is the butter dish of my dreams! I saw it and knew I wanted to hold it and love it and call it my very own!

When I saw it I thought the bottom was bakelite and I love bakelite. But its not. Its glass, and somehow that’s even better!

And I’m using way too many exclamation marks!!

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How do you like my new butter dish? I love it. As you may have noticed. It’s the perfect colour for my kitchen too. It was made for me. It was fate. That’s why I couldn’t find the right one at Easter… cause I was meant to have this one.

To quote Garrison Keillor – “isn’t it nice when things just work?”

z

 

barbie display box (almost finished)

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Remember when I began working on this display box for one of my vintage Barbie dolls? We (I) decided the TV would be the way to go for the background… The above is a Photoshop-ed version which is a good way to envision something.

I decided to put ‘wallpaper’ on the sides of the box, plus a floor, ceiling, skirting boards and cornices of course…

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Putting in a floor, dark timber, and wallpaper on the sides.

I decided I wanted to use a different barbie in this box so I chose another. These are my girls. The headless one in the back is the green-eared barbie I mentioned before. Her head is on a pen on my desk right now. Without hair. Kinda creepy really. Her hair is on the way so I can start re-rooting her soon.

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I went with the blonde ponytail barbie in her original outfit. In order to create the background I printed out the TV and mounted it on board to give it a 3D look. I also printed out a large vase and put in some plastic flowers.

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I’d printed out the TV smaller than I’d planned to, so the wall looks really bare above it. I could live with the smaller TV but I needed something more. I made bunny ears (antenna) for the TV using Fimo and wire but that wasn’t enough.

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A 60’s style starburst clock was the obvious solution. Its the ultimate 60’s decor!

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Yes… The clock needs hands, I did forget about that, but I see it now looking at the photos… Plus I’m thinking I may need to put some ‘floorboards’ on the stand so its not so glaringly obvious.

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I also need to decide how I’m going to mount this first box on the wall and put a perspex front on it to keep it from getting dusty. THEN it’ll be finished.

And then I can start on the next boxes. For my barbies, and for dolls I’m listing on Etsy!

Coming soon!

z

display box for barbie

I’m still finding my way on WordPress… Its seems that the spaces between paragraphs I see when I write a post disappear when its published. Given I like my white space I have to find a way to keep it!


 

Meanwhile, I thought I’d share an idea I have to display my barbies (since I bought a few). A small collection – remember, over 2 of anything is a collection, though a collection of 3 items is a pretty pitiful collection… Whatever. I have 3 vintage barbies in great condition and one green faced one I’m restoring. More about her in the future.

For now, I’ve finally started on the first display box for one of my barbies. The idea is to fix up and ‘furnish’ each box as a room, put in the barbie and accessories, then put on a perspex front to keep her safe.

Naturally, since I’m going to mount these boxes on the wall, I can’t go deep, so real furniture and real rooms are out of the question. I mean, I’d have loved to make them into a kind of dollhouse – using larger drawers for each room then mounting them on the wall in a stack, but I just don’t have that much room. For now I’m just using smaller, shallower boxes.

All I’ve done on the first box so far is put in the background. I used scrapbooking paper for this cause I wanted it to look like wallpaper. So here is Barbie with her poodle… (forgive the photo – bad lighting in the office, good pics when the project is finished).

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Now I have to decide what I’m going to ‘furnish’ the room with. My idea is to use images I find and print out, then decoupage them into the background.

First idea – a dresser and a painting for a bedroom look:

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Next idea, a couch for a living room look:

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Only that looks a bit bare. I need a large picture on the wall, or a few small ones… its not quite right.

Lastly, a TV, which I kinda like, though I dread cutting out that antenna!

This is the smallest box of the three I’m planning and as such doesn’t have room for any real accessories. I’ll add a floor but not sure if I want to add sides.

So which one do you like best?

 

z

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

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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cluttered easter sideboard

I don’t usually do special things for Easter. In fact, I barely do special things for Christmas… I mean, who remembers the chalkboard Christmas tree when I was too lazy to make a real one? Or the book stack tree? Even when I did make an effort, it was minimal.

Well, this Easter, inspired by the anti-bunnies I’ve been making for my Etsy shop, and finding a rusty rubbish bin in my stash, I’ve gone all out.

Working on the theory of more is more, and the design principle of clutter is good, I’ve decorated our sideboard with a mix of vintage, rusty, junk and food.

I like it.

Of course, unless the hot cross buns get eaten soon they’ll have to be covered, ditto the chocolate, but hey, for one day it looks great. When the food is gone I’ll just add a few other things to maintain the cluttered look.

Its not like I don’t have a lot of junk.

So, what’s taking up space on my sideboard today?

Starting on the left, a couple of empty frames I’ve moved from one house to another and never got around to filling ‘frame’ (hahah) an antique vent I found at a tip shop. Just had to have it. I mean, could you resist that shape? Sure, its not exactly your average sideboard decor…

A couple of funnels add the necessary (in my life) rust factor. And a couple of anti-bunnies sit back and enjoy the view.

What are anti-bunnies you might ask? Well, they’re scrappy monster bunnies, kind of the opposite of cute Easter bunnies. Not that they aren’t cute. These guys are cute as. They’re made of a mix of recycled and vintage fabrics. I recycled bits of fabric out of an antique armchair the poodles pulled apart. Turns out it was stuffed with fabric scraps. Who knew.

The middle section is the serious section – ie the food section. Since I sold all my cake stands and haven’t made any more (yet) I’ve had to improvise using one of my retro kitchen scales and an antique serving dish. The dish holds eggs of both kinds: real and chocolate. I bet you know which I’ll be going for…

You can’t have Easter without hot cross buns, and naturally you need butter for those. I don’t have a butter curler so I’ve had to make do. The napkins are vintage ones I’ve collected over the years from different places. One on the right under the side dishes was given to me by my aunt Marissa in Greece – it used to belong to my grandmother.

On the right its ‘help yourself’ with a stack of smaller plates and knives. But it can’t be too practical… Old timber cogs, old books and a couple of sets of salt and pepper shakers, topped off by a wooden duck finish the look… Cause what sideboard is complete without a duck?

Above it all hangs the masterpiece. A rusty galvanised bin lid I scrounged from somewhere years ago. Does anyone remember my previous bin lid projects? I love rusty bin lids. This one holds more anti-bunnies and a couple of vintage Easter greeting cards I found online. The cards are held in place by vintage earring magnets (also for sale in my Etsy shop).

This rusty lid has little hooks on the side so I tied a bit of hemp rope to hang it with. I placed a few of those floor protector felt pads on the back to stop it from marking the wall.

The sideboard itself is something I acquired via barter. Barter = good. A friend of mine had a sideboard I’d admired and he admired the oriental cabinet I used to have my TV on. We swapped. Everyone is happy.

The sideboard is a very heavy solid tassie oak piece, made in Tasmania. It holds all kinds of useful things and doubles as our bar. Its very useful and very pretty.

Speaking of sideboards and cabinets, I saw this one in my online browsing and fell in love. I want it. Its nothing like the oriental – or ‘ming’ cabinet I had my TV on and swapped for my sideboard (ie it has the same ‘locks’ on the doors)… its way better!

Anyway, back to reality, you know what its like with these vintage cabinets – they have keys and if you lose them you’re in trouble. I think I have one key to share between 3 bits of furniture – including the small cupboard in my office.

In order to make this key less prone to being misplaced, I’ve added a tassel I made of jute string. It was okay, but a bit too plain. I thought the sideboard needed a bit of bling so I steampunked it up a bit with bits of chain, crystals and other bits from an old necklace.

Much better.

There you go. Our sideboard is finally all dressed up.

Now… what else can I decorate…?

z

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