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…?


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

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.


falling in love with barbie all over again

When I was a kid I had a Barbie. In fact, I had a Barbie and a Skipper. I loved my Barbie, but I wanted a newer Barbie with long hair cause mine had stiff short hair. I also wanted the bendable knee type, Skipper had bendable knees cause I got her years later.
I’m not sure what the story of my original Barbie was, but she was a very early 60s model, most likely 1962. Since I was too young for a Barbie at that age, I’m guessing someone bought her for me and I didn’t get her to play with till I was older.
Anyway, why am I discussing Barbies?
A couple of weeks ago someone posted some Barbies for sale on Facebook. I saw this one and my obsession began.

This is the Fashion Queen Barbie. Early 60s.

Needless to say I bought her!

But it got me thinking about my first (and only) Barbie. My mom gave her and all my other dolls away. No going back for me.

I began to feel nostalgic. Why is it that the older I get, the more I want stuff from my childhood?


I began to research Barbies. I learned about the different early models, the dates, the markings on their butts.

What I really wanted was to find, and buy, the same Barbie as the one I had when I was a kid. This is what I had: a blonde bubble cut Barbie.

This is more like mine looked like – stiff hair like a helmet. No fun for a young girl.
Turns out, bubble cut Barbie came in 4 colours.
While researching I stumbled upon a couple of sites for Barbie restoration. Its amazing what these people can do with Barbie hair! I mean, look at this!
How wonderful to get a bubble cut Barbie and have her hair redone to look this glamourous!
I want more Barbies now. I’m only interested in the hard plastic ones which were the earliest Barbies made. I dislike the cheaper feeling late models. Plus I think the early Barbies are just so beautiful.
I’ve already got the Fashion Queen Barbie – this is her in the brunette wig.
I still need to get my blonde bubble cut girl, but I also want a ponytail Barbie now! There are different versions of the ponytail model, some have longer ponytails. I think I want a brunette but the blondes are gorgeous too.
Love the curly fringe on these girls. They’re so fifties.
I’m no expert for sure, but I believe the earliest Barbies have the most striking eyes.
I think what I’m falling in love with all over again is the beauty of these dolls. They’re just so pretty.
Is this the beginning of a new collection? I sure hope not. I don’t think I can afford to buy a lot of these old Barbies. I want TWO more and I’m done. 
That’s my story and I”m sticking with it.
Remind me to share some photos of my other collections at some stage.

finds at the car show

Today we went to a car show.
I love car shows.
I’m such a boy.
Mainly its cause I spent years and years living in the 50s… not literally! I danced rock’n’roll both for pleasure and for competition, and vintage cars and r’n’r go hand in hand. 
I used to dream of owning one of these:


But right now, I’d love one of these:

Or these:

Or these… not so much in the fin department, but the wider, flatter, bigger cars. So cool.

Mind you, I wouldn’t knock back one of these:

Or one of these:

So cute.
But I have a thing about trucks now too… like this:

Or this…. drool.
This one was for sale. Only $32k. I gave Wayne permission to buy it. 
Sometimes I’m such a boy!
Anyway, we didn’t buy the truck, but I still managed to spend my money (and some of Wayne’s!… ok, all of mine and all of Wayne’s…)
I got this cute sign which will find a spot in my workshop.

And these cute rusty items, cause you know how much I love rust!

What about that light globe!!! Isn’t it adorable? I don’t care if it doesn’t work (which I doubt it does)… I’m going to hang it over my desk and just admire it!

These little tins (full of old greasy stuff) were intended for Wayne’s garage but for now…

They’re sitting on top of one of the ‘shelves’ I put in my workshop.

Last but not least are these wonderful foundry molds/cogs. They’re solid timber and I love them! Sorry the photo’s a bit blurry but you get the idea.

All in all I’d say it was a good day!

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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small things big impact – crystal bud vase

Day 11 – nothing to report

You heard me correctly. I have nothing new to share.

I blame Chris who came over on the weekend causing me to put all my efforts into cleaning prior to his visit (cause the only time I clean the whole house is when I have visitors), and turning the weekend into a social rather than creative time.

Not that I can complain. He did help me put up the kitchen shelves! So, it was way worth it.

All the rain we’ve been having lately isn’t helping.
I’ll tell you what I did do (besides cleaning). I worked in the garden. But there’s nothing exciting to show for that, unless photos of dirt does it for you.
Last weekend I got my garden helper to dig out all the plants in the narrow casita garden bed. They were all too big for there and I plan to fill it with flowers and bulbs. Then the dogs began to use it as their private sand pit, so I had to put wire over it. Its not much to look at right now.
This weekend, between bouts of rain, I planted some stuff in that little garden bed. Then I risked life and limb to crawl all over the tyre wall and weed and put in new plants. The mom of one of the dogs I groom regularly brought me a heap of plants from her garden and I put them all in. Next spring I’ll have a ton more flowers on that wall to show off.
But today, I have nothing new to share, and I have to pedal like crazy to catch up with my challenge…
Meanwhile I thought I’d share this pretty little vase… I’m not sure what this thing is. I originally thought it was a bottle stopper but its hollow. Wayne suggested its probably a perfume dispenser. Any ideas?

Whatever it was originally, its now a cute little bud vase.

I better go think of something to do!


small things big impact – the bathroom gets cleaned out

Day 8 – breathing space in the bathroom
Nothing much to show for today… but I did clean the bathroom. Its been months. Seriously. I’d clean the sink and shower but things just piled up on all the surfaces… today I went in there and gave it a good clean and tidy. I even went through the medicine cabinet and my makeup and tossed out anything that was old and not used.
Except for my perfume. I don’t use it often but I do love it when I do.
Since our bathroom is a disgrace, I’m only sharing tiny bits of it at once cause its like the funniest joke in the world (according to Monty Pythons Flying circus). You can only be shown one bit at a time for your own safety.
Above are my wire ducks. Love those things. They hold soap bars on the middle shelf I put up a couple of years ago.

The bottom shelf holds two wire baskets I got from… you guessed it! A tip shop! They hold hand towels and bathmats.

Or they do when I do the washing…

The top shelf holds my collection of bottles. Most of them are old bottles I dug up from a corner of my yard in Fentonbury.

Below the shelves, in the corner the bathtub used to be in, is a big square basket I’m using as our laundry basket. I lined it (badly) with some grain sacks. One day I’ll get some ticking and do a better job.

A little air plant lives in a tiny galvanised planter given to my by a friend. The fat pig is a Chinese good luck symbol.

At least that’s what I was told.

I have quite a few old tins in the bathroom, and a few enamel mugs. The tins are purely decorative but I use the mugs. I also use the old wooden caddy to keep stuff looking tidy. (It only works till we use the bathroom next).

Wayne keeps his stuff in the old timber medicine cabinet I refinished years ago.

The rest of the little tin collection sits on top of the medicine cabinet. This cabinet was in the office (which was a bedroom back then) when we bought the house. How odd.

All in all, I feel better about our ugly bathroom. I threw out a bag of stuff and its much less cluttered.

a kettle collection and an old cupboard

I love my depression cupboard.

Wayne and I bought it on a spending spree when we bought the farm. Up till yesterday it lived in the guest room holding linen.

It wasn’t very good for holding linen and I didn’t like it in there so I decided to replace it and put it where I can see it and enjoy it.

Its actually not in great condition. The top bit needs to be re-attached properly (right now its got huge nails that’ve been hammered in randomly but have come loose) and the base has rotted away in parts… it probably spent a lot of time in someone’s damp shed. Thankfully its not musty.

And it still has the remnants of the sold sticker on it cause I never saw it often enough that it would bother me enough to get out the eucalyptus oil to remove it.

I love it cause its made of old crates. When you open it up inside you can see them. During the depression a lot of furniture was made from crates cause they were easily available. Back then stuff came in real wood boxes, not cardboard and polystyrene.

Today old crates cost almost as much as a new lounge suite.

So, the old cupboard is now on the front  porch, in the enclosed area protected from the weather, and it holds the broom, steam mop and vacuum cleaner, as well as all kinds of stuff which don’t need to be in the pantry: cleaning products, light globes, etc.

And the top now holds my collection of old kettles and some of my succulents.

Of course, where it is it covers the bottom half of the window, but I don’t mind that. I love the way the light comes in over the kettles.

And I love the way you can see the crates writing through the window.

I’m thinking of making a small doily curtain for the top part of the window to finish off the quaint look.
One day, when I get around to more sewing projects.

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look what i found

I got a great email the other day from Laure,l from The North End Loft, telling me she had featured my tin crown in her Friday Finds post. Thank you Laurel!

It got me thinking. Lots of bloggers do ‘finds’ type of posts once a week and its a great way to share things with your friends and followers. Maybe I should do it…

Then again I’m a ‘fair weather’ blogger. Sometimes I post a lot, other times I disappear for weeks and my friends have been known to phone E.T. to intercede on my behalf in case if I’ve been abducted.

Its all very well to have time to do everything I try to cram into my day, then I have to find time to blog. And most of the time I’m just too tired at the end of the day to answer emails, let alone be creative and blog.

I think I will join the ‘finds’ club, but make it a random thing… you know, more like a surprise than a reliable weekly thing.

So, in the spirit of sharing interesting things I’ve seen, been inspired by or found… here is the best idea for displaying art. I found it while browsing The North End Loft. Laurel made up boards with pegs and clips up different art according to the room and the mood. Isn’t it brilliant?

I think I’m going to make some of these for myself. There is only so much wall space in this house and there is just so much I’d like to display. Changeable displays are a wonderful idea.
Here are some great finds from a garage sale up the road a week ago. I love this old fashioned bike light…  it’ll make a great something one day. And those clamps. I have ideas for those already, but you’ll see how one has already come in handy in an upcoming post. 

I also found these two old scales to add to my collection. (Anything over 3 is a collection and I now have 4 of the hanging type and 5 of the table type scales). This first is wonderfully chippy with that lovely old fashioned green on the back.

The other has a lovely patina of rust and green. They’re both hanging on the side of the house for the time being, replacing the plants I had in hanging baskets.

Most of the plants I had in pots have gone into the ground now. The garden is looking wonderful. Most of the plants I put in have grown and the place is starting to look like someone loves it. If I continue in this vein my garden will soon look like a little old lady lives here.

– You know. The older the you get the more into gardening you are… the best cottage gardens usually belong to little old ladies who’ve been gardening for 30 years.