good luck bells

In my quest for the perfect home I’ve been doing all kinds of things. Purging stuff I no longer want or need. Giving things away, selling some, re-purposing others.
I want a home thats comfortable, welcoming, a place where I feel I can relax and be myself and where my soul will feel peaceful.
Most of the time I achieve clutter.
Partly that’s due to the fact that I art & craft everywhere, not just in my office.
I have an easel with an unfinished painting on it in the living room, along with the trolley I used to hold my materials. I have a side table and an ottoman acting as a work area and have commandeered one of the armchairs for night time crafting (mainly wiring and beading).
My brain never stops. 
I don’t want it to stop, but I’d like to come into a room and not have the heaps of stuff lying around needing attention: unwashed dishes, unfolded laundry, etc.
I guess there are two solutions to this problem… 1. find myself a wife. Or 2. (probably more achievable) actually make time to do the housework.
But its so boring!
I saw this and thought how perfectly it described my life.
But I digress.
In the quest for the perfect home I started looking at feng shui as a means to an end – the end being a home with a peaceful, fortune-ful and happy atmosphere.
Somewhere in my readings I came across the lucky bells for the front door. Apparently metal bells are best and they need a red ribbon or thread.
Well, I have bells. I have red ribbon.
So last night (when I should have been downshifting my brain in readiness for bed) I started this little project.
Being me, I couldn’t just hang bells on the front door with red ribbon.
I wanted something that said ‘zefi’… something old, something repurposed. Something interesting. And pretty.
I found this old tea strainer spoon thingy amongst my collection of wind chimes paraphernalia.
I created a double bow using two different widths and shades of red ribbon (in case the luck gods were particular about the red), threaded the bells on very fine wire – three lots of three bells (small for the bow and larger for the dangly bits), and for a bit of bling, added a few pearl beads to the strainer.
Now every time our door opens it chimes to bring in good news and luck!
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what do the internet and potted herbs have in common?

 I’ve been having some time off blogging.
Some of it was voluntary. I actually made a decision to not blog for a few days last week. Then a couple of other days I didn’t blog cause I was too busy doing other things… like… living.
Then I had some internet connection issues which caused me to mutter under my breath a lot and storm out of the office in disgust repeatedly.
The internet issues are continuing currently but I’m on the netbook, connected to the modem directly via a red umbilical cord. I can’t move from this chair if I want to be online.
At least I’m online, right? It would be better if I could remember my email password so I could log on to my webmail.
That’s the thing when you get too comfortable with your own computer. You set up your passwords in the computer memory (probably a really bad thing if you let others on your computer!) and you log in to sites on a permanent basis. ie no need to actually remember passwords.
Now I have to search for the safe place I wrote my password.
But I may have the situation under control before I need to panic.
See, I’ve been having internet connectivity problems for a while now. A couple of months for sure. Some days it worked fine. Other days I couldn’t log on at all. When it was bad I couldn’t log on to the Activ8me website to get the phone number to call… When it was working fine I would think ‘eh, its ok now, why call?’
Yesterday afternoon I finally snapped and called. I spoke to a nice man in India who said that the only way to get to the bottom of the problem was to disconnect the router and hardwire the computer into the modem direct.
Great. That means only one computer in the house has internet access for the period.
(Guess who’s?)
So I crawl around on my knees, unplugging bits and pieces and plugging other bits in. I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that step 1 didn’t work. I had to spend a second day, talking to another nice man in India, in order to set up the netbook to actually connect using the red umbilical cord.
Now that’s working. I’ve been putting it through its paces and so far no dropouts.
Step 1 seems to show that the satellite dish is working fine.
Tomorrow I’ll call again and see what the next step is. It could be the router. It could be the little silver box thingy on the modem cable.  Whatever it is,  I have finally gotten someone to confirm my suspicions:
That the satellite dish is interfering with the TV antenna and our reception. 
Why is it that when I say something is a problem I get pooh-poohed, but when someone else says it it makes sense?
Anyway, on another subject entirely, I made these little hanging baskets for outside the casita a few weeks ago and never got around to sharing them.
I used some old colanders I’d been collecting for a while with this project in mind, and some chains bought from the hardware store. I then lined the colanders with hanging basket fibre, added potting mix and put in basil and coriander.
I made one double hanging basket and 2 single ones which I hung on either side of the casita door.
You may have noticed my collection of pot plants below the double hanging basket. I actually I had to move all my pots there to get them out of the worst of the sun before they died.
Notice the barbed wire clover Wayne made me? He called it a flower, but its a four leaf clover. That’s ok by me. I can use the luck!
Anyway, this is how my plants looked 2 weeks ago. Since then the coriander has died and the basil is looking sickly.
I never have luck growing herbs. I don’t know what I do wrong but they just don’t seem to like me much. I give them pretty pots to live in and they repay me by dying.

simple christmas decorations

I’m not all that into the big traditional Christmas thing. I’ve never had a Christmas tree since I moved out of home. It seemed rather pointless when living on my own. Then, later, something small and slightly offbeat seemed a better way to decorate the house for Christmas.
This year I had some bedsprings I wanted to do something with. I bought some wooden stars and put them together to make these:
Aren’t they gorgeous? So simple yet so interesting!
Well, I took them to the market with me thinking I would sell them. I’d keep one for myself and sell the others….
It seems I’m the only person who finds these little beauties irresistable. One person picked one up and looked at it, not even asking for a price. No one else even seemed to notice them! 
How strange.
Maybe it was meant to be. I mean, I loved them so much I was torn over selling them in the first place. Maybe fate steered everyone away from them so I could keep them.
Then again maybe it was the way I growled when anyone went near them that put people off!
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day 27 – running to stay in place

Oh boy!
Was today a day of rushing around like a headless chook or what!
First, I packed the car with everything I’d need to decorate the church, then I had to get the trailer onto the car so I could go pick up the dresser. In order to do that I had to let Wayne know what I was doing. It went down pretty much the way I expected it to… he spat the dummy was thrilled and excited about my purchase.
Here it is in my office – now go on! This is worth being yelled at isn’t it?
Its going to hold a lot of crafting stuff, office stuff and general stuff in the office for me. All I need to do now is sort the stuff out and start cramming it in! Maybe I’ll get lucky and actually clear the coffee table in the living room…
After moving this baby in I had a dog to groom. He’s one of my special customers, a sweet little boy that comes in regularly for a wash and tidy.
When he was done I was off to the church where I made bows to the sounds of the choir practising for a concert in November. It was actually lovely to be working to their singing.
I put the little sign I’d made on a plate holder on a table near the church door. I covered the table in burlap and rose petals… The rose petals were stolen from a garden on the way to the church. I’d been thinking that I really needed some red rose petals so I took a scenic route to the church looking into gardens for easily accessible roses. 
Isn’t the saying “Something old, something new, something stolen, something blue”?
Sorry about the photo. It was dark and the flash didn’t look good on the sign. For that reason its smaller than usual… smaller photos don’t look as blurry!
Then it was a rush home to jump in the shower and make myself beautiful so we could be back at the church in 30 minutes. The wedding was beautiful and Kelly and Simon looked happy as they said their vows. Kelly was gorgeous and the bridesmaids looked great in their red grecian style gowns.
After the wedding I shot off to the reception hall to add the heart wreath to the bridal table. The reception was great fun, the food very good, the sweets excellent and the hall looked fantastic in the red and white theme.
Here is the happy couple…
And here is the Baileys I ordered which came in a beer glass. I had to get a photo of that! … Too bad they didn’t feel the need to fill it to the top…
All in all, it was a very busy but lovely day!

The best laid plans

I had big plans for this weekend… I thought I’d rearrange the office, do some filing, some gardening, mow the lawn, groom some dogs (I had appointments set up for Saturday and Sunday) and then I’d take Monday off (neither Wayne nor I work Mondays) and finish a load of stuff I have to do in the office.
Well, I got some of it done. I mowed the lawn. The only other gardening I did was pick one ripe tomato and re-pot two plants (see pic) and put them on the electrical meter box on the porch.
Oh, I did buy a large glazed planter pot at Mitre 10 where they were on sale for $19.95. How can a girl resist a bargain? I’m going to put my young jasmine in there and train it up the post on the porch. Of course I have to paint the deck first…
I also re-arranged the office. That task took almost all of Saturday. See, when we first moved here we (read I) decided that the back room of the house would make a good office for us to share. I put a long desk under the window for Wayne and put my 2 part desk (meant to be a corner desk) along one wall minus its corner, making into a long desk. I put those wall mounted shelf thingies on the far wall and put up shelves to hold books, binders etc.
That worked great for about 5 minutes. Wayne didn’t like the office much. He set himself up in the kitchen. He put his laptop, boxes of pens, his drawing paper, rulers etc, and he’d work there, doing research and creating his weekly cartoon strip.
When it was time to have a meal we had to shove over all the accumulated detritus of his work just to make enough space for our plates. 
It got old quickly.
So I set up a desk in the living room for him. A small desk with a small table on the side to provide a bigger work surface. That was fine till I appropriated the small table for the sewing machine. For the last 3 weeks (ok, I haven’t finished sewing yet!) Wayne’s been taking over the kitchen table again. It was time to take matters into my own hands.
I decided to make the office more Zefi-friendly.
First I had to move all the crap craft stuff I had in there in boxes. It really was hard to move in the office which may be one reason Wayne avoided it… I piled all that into the living room, the bathroom and onto the porch to go to the casita where I plan to keep the craft stuff I dont need on hand. Then I pushed desks and shoved filing cabinets from one side of the room to the other. And vacuumed where they’d sat for a year.
What I ended up with is this:
My computer on the right, sewing machine on the left, books and other officey stuff on the shelves above. I put the smallest desk, a drawer unit and Wayne’s filing cabinet along the wall opposite (behind me when I sit there) so he’d have somewhere to pile up paperwork. I added a more or less comfy chair along the left hand side of the room where the window is. Now I can access the window and open it without busting my guts having to lean over the desk to do it. I have kept the small TV with the dvd player on the right hand side on its small table. The theory is that Wayne will sometimes be allowed to watch TV now as I can work in here and watch dvds as I do. 
At least thats the theory.
Other than that, I haven’t done much at all. My day of relaxing and working on the computer (mutually exclusive, I know) seems to have disappeared. We spent most of the morning driving into Hobart to pick up some new hens. We’ve added 6 young isa browns to Dennis’ harem. Dennis being our black rooster.
Wayne has finished stalag 13 and the 4 roosters (aka Boris) have been relocated. Hopefully they’ll be relocating further away soon. The chook man we got the new girls from said he IS interested in roosters (now, why didn’t Wayne ask him before we went down there??). I sure hope he comes and gets them soon. Two of them are looking decidedly scraggly as they’re starting to pick on eachother. I feel so sorry for them, but we can’t let them free range any more. Fingers crossed the chook man does come get them.
And tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. I thought I’d share this gorgeous heart Wayne made me last year. 
And while I’m at it, I’ll share some more photos of stuff I’ve made or done as promised. Below is a great idea for a bedhead if you’re into rustic stuff like we are. I found this old ladder at a tip shop a year or so ago. I’ve mounted it to the wall and decorated it with all kinds of old horsey things which mostly belong to Wayne. I made the stars for Christmas using sticks and silver wire. The heart and a couple of other items are tied on with raffia. I love raffia!
Below is an old window made into a mirror. I brought this from my house in Fentonbury where it was the bathroom mirror. It now sits on top of my dresser so I can check myself out when I get dressed in the morning. (That’s why its up high, I can’t see if my bum looks big in it!)

And lastly, I made these little boxes a few years ago using tasmanian oak from old skirting boards from a demolished house. I sanded them back enough to expose the timber, leaving the layers of paint in places. I hinged the lids at the back and now I use them to store jewelry and hair accessories. They add a pretty touch to the bedroom in front of a very old wedding photo of Wayne’s uncle.

So there you go. I better get going. I promised I’d make ravioli for dinner tonight so I need to get started.