coconut oil and face creams

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Katie’s image from View From The Fridge.

You know how you get lost on Pinterest now and then, madly pinning everything that appeals to you, planning to make this, try that, or just collect pins cause they look cute?

Well, I saw this image on Pinterest one day and it grabbed my attention. Homemade face cream using only three ingredients? All natural and cheaper than store bought? What’s not to like?

I read on – I already had the essential oils and the supermarket had the coconut oil, so I decided to try it.

I’m not going to share the actual recipe – you can find it here along with the original post with all the details.

I have to say, I love it. I made the recipe according to Katie’s instructions and the only thing I’d change is that next time I’ll warm the coconut oil a bit first to make it easier to mix. Other than that, its fabulous! Just as the image says!

I’ve been using it on my face, neck, chest and shoulders every day, sometimes twice a day. I’ve used it on my hands, arms and body as well. Wayne uses it too and we’re only half way through the jar.

It is very oily when you put it on, but Katie’s right – you do absorb it really well and there’s no left over greasiness. Being winter its hard in the jar but melts on your hand instantly, making it easy to apply. My skin feels amazing and I think its even helped my neck lose that dry old look I was developing.

This is one Pinterest project that gets a huge tick from me.

Success.

Unlike the Greek fish soup with egg and lemon I made last night. That was not a success. It was edible, but not like mom makes it. sigh.

The dogs liked it ok. At least someone appreciates my cooking.

z

DIY grooming bench (the ugly bench finished)

I shared the ugly bench I made for drying dogs the other day. Its a bit rough and ready, made from leftover bits of timber and offcuts I had lying around, but its strong and sturdy and fits perfectly where I wanted it.

bench1

The bench stands in a corner opposite my hydrobath and its my drying area. It holds a small dog crate for cage drying small dogs, and fits over my show trolley for drying larger dogs. I stash my stand dryer in front, with two of its legs under the trolley, and my blaster sits on the floor in front of the wall my poodles destroyed going after some critter.

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That’s what it looked like when I finished it. The top was thick MDF, not water proof and thus not ideal as a drying bench.

This is what it looks like now:

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I visited the hardware store and bought some ribbed rubber matting. I bought enough in length to turn over the ends on either side, and had planned to cut the width off to simply turn over the sides as well.

However, when I laid it on top of the bench I thought “Hey… this is perfect!” By not cutting it and simply rolling it up the wall and fixing it onto the plasterboard with screws, I’ve successfully waterproofed the wall as well! Whoo-hoo!

My plan is to eventually reline all the walls in my washing/drying room using anything I can find that’s cheap (or preferably FREE) so it won’t look as tacky. Till then I’ve got myself a totally non-slip, waterproof, sturdy drying bench I don’t get a sore back drying dogs on!

I’m on a roll!

z

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the ugly bench

I did warn you. It ain’t pretty.

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I’m not a builder. I’m not a furniture maker. I’m a furniture recycler, re-maker, re-configurer. I take things someone else made and change them. I don’t often make things from scratch.

And here’s the reason why:

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I’m not very good at it. Sure, I can make things, but they’re never quite… right.

They might not be stable enough. Or quite the right size. Or not quite straight.

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A little dog tries out the drying cage. I think he approves of my handiwork though he wishes he was somewhere else.

At least I get good marks for trying, right? Not to mention, I actually measured right and the trolley fits underneath it perfectly!

The drying bench is made out of 2 different size hardwood posts ‘borrowed’ from Wayne’s stash as legs, thick MDF from our kitchen makeover as the top, small size treated pine timber bought by me in the wrong size for something a few months ago, and leftover bits of pine lining from the grooming room reno as side braces.

Its 100% recycled.

Today I bought some rubber non-slip ribbed matting which will sit on top to make it waterproof and safe for dogs. I’ve already used it a few times and its a great height and size.

I’m happy.

P.S. If you noticed the ‘wall’ behind it, don’t worry. I groom in a shed (aka the ‘casita’) which houses my grooming room, my workshop, our feed room, tack room and what passes as a laundry. It needs work. And that’s an understatement.

 

z

oval chalkboard – again

This poor chalkboard has been through a lot.

I was given a broken oval frame by a friend a few years ago. It was in three pieces when I got it. I finally got around to doing something with it about a year ago. I glued it together, used a mix of gold and silver paint to disguise the joins, put in some MDF with chalkboard paint and called it good.

I used it as our shopping list chalkboard in our pantry for a while. Then I replaced it with something smaller and planned to sell it.

Then it fell down and broke again. Oops.

This time I got serious about fixing it. Not only did I re-glue the joins, I cut an oval board and liquid nails-ed the entire thing to it, making it so much stronger.

ovalchalkboard

Do you think I have enough clamps? I think I might have a few more here somewhere…

Once it was dry and as sturdy as I could make it, I decided I wanted to change the colour. I picked a greyish white. I’m not really a gold kinda gal.

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Much better, I think. Though it doesn’t look its best against the pale grey-ish outer wall of our house.

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If you look closely you can still see the joins, but what do you expect when it was in three pieces to start with? It’s a rescued frame, you can’t expect perfection!

I don’t expect perfection.

In fact, I like imperfection.

…I’m not entirely sure if I like imperfection and am therefore happy with it, or if my skills can’t quite reach perfection so I embrace imperfection.

Potato, potato. Who cares?

z

barnwood rustic tray

About time I shared something I’ve actually made with my own little hands, right?

Here is a tray I made using offcuts of recycled timber, left over from one of our outdoor projects – most likely the stable makeover.

rustictray

I began this project when I found this old bit of wood which had some paint and lots of machining marks on it. I sanded it back but loved the look of the paint so left plenty on it. It gives it character.

First thing I did was cut the piece of wood and join it together to make a tray. I used glue in between the pieces but since I don’t have a biscuit joiner to do the join properly I had to find another way. I wasn’t going to rely on just glue to hold it together.

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I used one of these little galvanised metal thingies to hold it together underneath. I don’t know what these are actually for, but I’ve found them very handy for holding wood projects together… Cause I’m not exactly an expert woodworker…

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Once it was dry and the metal joiner thingy was in place, I put rubber stoppers on it to give it a nice stable base.

Did I fail to mention the timber has a slight curve to it? I think it adds character. Then again, imperfection gives everything character!

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I added a couple of my favourite handles. I got these at a sale in a cabinet hardware store and I will, to my dying day, regret not buying all their stock. I haven’t been able to find any like these since.

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I finished it off with a coat of wax. A coat of 2 different waxes mixed together in fact – a nice beeswax and an antique black wax.

I love the way it turned out.

Now to get onto some more DIY projects!!!

z

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old window window chalkboard #2

(This was originally published on my Blogger blog, but for some reason when I moved to WP it came across as a draft only. I’m republishing it now as it was featured on Your Funky Junk!)
Time just flies when you’re having fun busy. Don’t know how it is with everyone else, but working from home sure doesn’t mean I have more free time. If anything, it means I have more to do than ever.
I mean, there’s the grooming, which is work and must come first. Then there’s caring for the house jobs, garden and animals. Often the house and garden don’t get their share of care. And then there’s crafting and DIY-ing and just plain making stuff. Sometimes that gets pushed aside as well in favour of work or rest.
Still, I’m managing to do a bit here and there between the bigger jobs like renovating the chook shed and making the new roosting box for Stalag 13. Here is one such small project… the second of the old king billy pine window frames made into chalkboards.
This gorgeous window frame was given a shelf at the bottom – new pine aged with steel wool and vinegar.
Its got a chalk holder as well, this time a sliding door pull I found at a tip shop, sitting down into the shelf.
This frame had much less paint on it so I left it more natural, giving it a couple of coats of polyurethane to seal and protect it and to bring out the grain of the wood.

I really am seriously considering keeping all my chalkboards and covering a wall with them. I think it’d be fantastic. If I had a big wall in the living room or kitchen… which I don’t. Too many doors and windows… the price you pay when your house isn’t big enough for the stuff you make.
… Maybe I can remove a door or two… we don’t need all our doors, surely…
z
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plants for sale

Nothing wrong with diversifying, right? I mean, I groom dogs for a living and I make stuff and I garden. And my garden produces flowers and flowers produce seeds and I end up with more plants and more seeds. Its the circle of life.
As Neil once said on The Young Ones, “we sow the seed, nature grows the seed, then we eat the seed, and after that, we sow the seed, nature grows the seed, then we eat the seed…”
Except for the eating part. I don’t eat my flowers. I admire them. Then collect seeds, sow seeds, grow seeds, you get the picture. As a result I have baby plants growing. I can’t use them all, so I normally sell them at markets here and there. 
Well, I decided that instead of having my plant nursery along the back of the casita where no one sees them, I’d put some out the front of the new grooming room so my customers can see them. That way, if anyone sees something they like they can buy it while I give ‘rover’ a new do.

I made the cute little sign using a timber offcut and acrylic paint. The large basket they’re sitting in is a galvanised bakery basket I’ve had for a few years. I put some metal legs on it and for the last 2-3 years we’ve lined it with burlap and used it to hold carrots for the horses in winter.

I do love my galvanised metal things!

One of my favourite pastimes is moving things around, assigning new uses to old things, etc. 
I wonder how Wayne will feel about the carrot bin disappearing…. hm. He wasn’t too impressed with the wood box moving to Stalag 13 to house chickens…
z
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renovating the chickens’ home (already)

Turned out the ladder I made for the chickens’ new home was too steep. Well, even if it wasn’t, they refused to use the perch. I’d sneak in every night and grab them and put them on it. The hen would stay but the rooster would just jump off and sleep in the corner on the bottom of the box.
I wondered whether it was the width of the branch that the rooster had an issue with. Maybe something wider would make it easier for him?
Someone in a FB poultry group suggested the box was too open, they needed more protection from the weather…. So, I revisited the whole thing.
This is what it looks like now:
First, I removed the trellis door and cut it down, cutting out a section to make a small door for the hen to get in to the nesting box.
I replaced the branch perch with a piece of timber, sanding the edges off so there were no sharp bits to hurt feet.
I used a large piece of plywood to make the upper door and cut a door into it as an entrance.
Lastly, I used a long piece of barn wood as a ramp. I used offcuts to make little steps on it to make climbing easier. I added a hook to the back of the ramp to hold it securely to the door, and hinged on a walkway leading to the perch.
I mean, what more can I do?
I even sprinkled feed on the ramp to encourage them to explore.
They’re totally ignoring it. They prefer to sleep on the bottom in the corner.
I mean, does it matter? No. They’re safe in their little yard either way, but what ungrateful little sods! I worked my fingers to the bone for this new improved housing and they prefer to roost on the floor!
Sheesh.
I hope the other chickens are more appreciative of my efforts when I redecorate their pen!
z

the new chicken box

What do you call it? A roost? A home? A box? I have no idea. But I’ve made our segregated couple a new home. These two live in Stalag 13 – a dog run converted to a chook pen.

Why are they segregated you may ask. Well, basically the rooster needed to be put in a safe place or his son was going to kill him. Then I couldn’t leave him lonely, so I got him a hen from the feed store. I didn’t want to pen one of our free range hens as I thought it’d be cruel to cage a girl who’s known freedom. This little girl was born and bred in cages so I figure that she’s happy not having to share her space with a lot of other girls.
So here are the steps to making this wonderful creation. In case you were wondering. If not just skip this post.
Believe it or not, I started by making a nesting box. I was dreaming of the day I’d open a lid and reach in to a clean poop-free box and remove fresh, clean eggs, without having to get down on creaky knees and grope through chicken droppings to get them.
Here is my box. I’m so proud. Don’t ask me for a tutorial on this. You really don’t want to make anything the way I do… But let me just say I only cut one piece of timber wrong! Honestly. That’s a new one for me. Especially working on angles ..I failed geometry. And the teacher was right… I did need it…
NOTE: This nesting box and roost is made up entirely of offcuts of wood I had in my workshop.
Let me try to walk you through it, I cut a base the size I thought the hen would appreciate. Then I put a front and a back on it, the front high enough to hold in bedding, the back high enough to give the hen head space. Since I really suck at putting sides on things I used brackets to put the back on. I’m a cheat. I’m comfortable with that.
To make the sloping sides, I held a piece of plywood up and kind of drew where I thought the sides would meet the back and front. Then I used a ruler to draw a line between them and cut along those lines. Once I was happy with side #1, I traced it onto another piece of plywood and cut that too. I used screws to join them together. 
I added a piece of pine to the top and to the front for the lid to swing off. This is how the box was looking at that stage.
I used some offcut pieces of cedar cladding for the roof. I had to add a thin strip of pine at the top in order to hold the screws. Turns out cedar is really soft and breaks easy. Who knew?
Result, a stylish nesting box. I hope the hen is pleased. I gave it couple of coats of the same self priming exterior paint that I used on the house, except for the roof which I simply gave a coat of polyurethane. 
So there I was, nice nesting box, nowhere to put it. I was trying to think of how to make a home for the chickens in Stalag 13 when I had a revelation. In the middle of the night of course. Lying in bed, not able to sleep cause of nesting boxes and angles going through my mind, when suddenly it was KAPOW.
The wood box!
We’ve been using this as our wood box for the last 7 years. I think it may have been a feed bin in a previous life. I’d given it a coat of paint and Wayne cut half the front out so we could reach in for our wood and put it on the back porch. We used to keep the smaller, kindling type of wood in there. But we now have air conditioning. And a broken wood heater… so… we don’t need the wood box! 
In my sleep deprived state I knew it was the answer to my prayers. I didn’t have to make a home from scratch!
First step, I took the front off. I had planned to just turn it upside down, leaving the opening on the bottom. 
Then I thought, why leave the ‘wings’ at the bottom? I cut it straight across and down the middle, creating doors. Which I had all kinds of trouble hanging on my own. Those suckers were heavy and its hard to hold the drill, screws, hinges and doors all at the same time. The lost screws under the deck are proof of that.
Plus, I was thinking it might be too enclosed. So I took them off again.
Meanwhile inside the box I put in a long branch as a roost. I sure hope its thick enough… I did this by drilling out two large holes with the hole saw (yes, I own a set of those!), pushing the branch through and then putting a screw through to hold it in place. You don’t want it spinning when the chickens get on it!
I also cut a hole out for the nesting box and attached it to the outside with screws. I admit, I googled how to make nesting boxes and chicken homes. The nesting box has to be lower than the roost or the hens will sleep in the nesting boxes. Since chickens poop in their sleep, if they roost in the nesting box, they’ll poop in the nesting box. YUCK.
Now I was thinking, can they get up onto the roost? Is the box too small? Is the roost too high? I have no idea.
So to be safe, I made a little ladder. A friend thinks its too steep. Maybe it is. I’m hoping they’ll use it. They’ve been living on the ground for so long…
Oh, and I added more cedar to the roof to make it match. Looking good!

Since the outside of the box had already been painted, I just gave it one coat of house paint to freshen it up. Then I decided the inside needed painting too.

In the end I decided to use a piece of trellis I found and make a single door. A bit of privacy, and more air circulation. Remember, these chickens have been sleeping in an old dog kennel till now. This has got to be a step up in the world!
Here is the other side. Pretty plain huh? I thought a little porch would look nice, balance it out, you know. I’m all about curb appeal. 
I used some brackets and some timber wedges to achieve an angle, added more cladding and voila! An undercover area for eating.
Ok, the reason behind the porch is that I had planned on demolishing the dog kennel. I hated that thing, it was stinky and hard to clean out. And I was over reaching into it for eggs.
Well, when I started pulling it apart I had another idea. I pulled off the cladding on 2 sides, making it into a kind of summer house. How many chooks have a summer house? huh?
Its actually a great place for the food dish too. You can see the hen is having a peck at the shell grit while the rooster is having a snack of grain under the porch.
I didn’t think I was going to be able to get the new home into Stalag 13 till next week as there was no way I could move that thing off the porch on my own. However a nice man gave me a hand today and its done! I’m not above playing the weak female card. 
I cleaned out old bedding and put down some new stuff, put some hay in the bottom of their new roost and in the nesting box, and here they are…
Stalag 13 has never looked so good!
I’m so pleased. I love the new look. Now, if they would only use the roost…
Next job – the chicken coop. Ugh. Don’t remind me.
z

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storing fabric

Sometimes all it takes to get creative is to have a need.
For instance, a need to store fabric. Or a need to get piles of fabric off the floor, hence a need for a place to store it.
The whole idea of storing fabric is to be able to find the bits you need quickly. The fabric has to be visible, not hidden in boxes and, ideally, sorted by colour.

I needed shelves. I needed narrow shelves. Or a bookcase. 
I didn’t have either. But I had a box.
I had this box, which I’d used as a dog bed when we first moved to the farm, for Barney and Mischa. It was a solid timber box I found somewhere which I cleaned up and gave a lick of paint. The post on how I did this is here.

I made my own dog bed cushions for it and put it in the entrance which is where Mischa and Barney slept as they’d always been outside dogs and I was introducing them to living inside.

After we lost Mischa it didn’t seem right that Barney slept by himself. He moved into the living room with the poodles and the box was put into the store room. Which is where I found it again while looking for something to make my fabric storage shelves from.

It was a very simple re-do. All I did was put small bits of timber on the sides as ledges to sit the shelves on. The shelves were cut from leftover bits of plywood. Easy peasy.
I sat it on the little side table in the office and now I have all my fabrics in one place…. or most of my fabrics… or some of my fabrics… Ok! You got me. I have a large basket full of small offcuts cause I can’t waste anything, a wire basket with real and faux leather bits and a large plastic container with fabrics for doll costumes.
But I do have all my colourful cotton fabrics for things like my anti-bunnies sorted!
z