time flies – lockdown 2 day 148

Ramos and Annie resting.

I’m always busy but never seem to get everything done. Of course part of that is that I have a lot of lazy time – which I excuse as resting/taking care of me time. But in reality its square eyes TV watching time which I could very well use to create but I don’t.

Wow. That paragraph was smooth!

I’ve caught up with friends and their dogs a couple of times. That was fun.

I’ve been to the bank 3 times. Not so much fun.

Seriously. How many visits to a bank does it take to change a recurring payment from my aunt’s account to the nursing home?

Three apparently.

So far. Let’s see if today’s fix has taken…

Sheesh. I might have to go back to old style banking (the mattress).

Anyway… I mentioned a little cabinet I bought locally to fit in the tiny alcove/hallway between the living room and bathroom. I had planned to make a custom sized cabinet for there to hold my towels, but this is the right size and its so much easier to fix an existing cabinet than make one from scratch (when you want to make it from pallet wood and need to collect and break down pallets and don’t have a proper space to work yada yada).

This little guy had glass on one side and the front. I removed the glass on the second side and plan to put flywire there to let the towels breathe. In keeping with the traditional old piece I’ll put a cut lace curtain inside the glass front to hide the towels.

Here it is in the alcove… just enough space for my easel beside it. Perfect.

And guess what?

I’ve done exactly nothing to it since I got it (well, other than removing one glass panel). Its been way too windy to work outside – which is where I have to sand it. I can paint it in the living room. It IS my studio after all.

I still need to buy the flywire and trim to finish it off. So I have a fair amount of work to on it before its usable. Guess I better start at some point…

I also have the other cabinet I bought online which needs 4 new doors and 2 new drawers as well sanding and painting.

I have my work cut out for me.

Stay tune for updates… when I get to them.

z

cabinet makeover – lockdown 2 day 79


I remembered that before the proverbial hit the fan on Sunday I had planned to share the first of the finished makeover projects I’ve been working on.

Firstly I apologise I don’t have any before pics. I tend to forget and just get down to the job at hand. Here is a photo halfway through:

It was a varnished pine cabinet, ie basic and ugly and yellowed with time. The plywood front doors were added before I got to it making it into a much more useful piece of furniture.

First thing I did was give it a sand, gap fill, re-sand, then a coat of oil based undercoat. Then 3 coats of water based top coat in Benjamin Moore Oyster. The closest to the chalk paint colour I was using on the bedsides I could find.

The drawer knobs were plain yellowed pine so I bought some unvarnished pine knobs and painted them myself.

Starfish in keeping with a holiday on the island theme.

Figured it was time to post something positive!

z

LAZY struck again – lockdown 2 day 57

It started great. I got up, walked the dog and cat, fed the dog and cat and myself, did some stretches, loaded the tools in the car and went to my uncle’s house to use his garage to do some work.

On the windiest day so far.

Always remembering that my uncle’s garage is full of his stuff, junk, and a very large boat. Not to mention (often) my uncles and the odd Albanian worker. But the previous days the peanut gallery had been gathered around the area my cousin was having paved: sitting, watching, drinking coffee, telling the crew what to do, what they were doing wrong, making suggestions cause they know better, and – get this! – they even accused my cousin of not having any taste! The uncles whose tastes remain firmly stuck in the 70s and run to kitch paintings of dolphins, sail boats and blue painted ceramic pots.

You gotta laugh.

Anyway… I picked the worst day in the season to start a project up there cause not only was it too windy for the uncle’s to sit outside, it was so windy I couldn’t keep the door to the garage open either. Plus the crew wasn’t working on the paved area cause they’d run out of supplies, so a truck arrived to deliver all that. Then a man arrived to service the boat.

So two uncles, one cousin, a mechanic and me (and two dogs) trying to do things in a squeezy garage.

I called it a day early and went to glue a leg on a dresser for my aunt down the road and went home where I promptly did nothing for the rest of the day but nap and practice for the Netflix olympics. (I’ve now finished Fargo and am back onto the newest season of Vikings.)

This is the project I was working on. I found two bedside tables in the rubbish pile a couple of days ago. In bad condition, but they’re solid timber so totally usable.

One was missing legs and was a mess so I pulled that apart thinking I’ll re-use the legs and doors. I love the doors. They’d make a fantastic bathroom cabinet for instance. Or kitchen spice cabinet…

The other one was intact. Well, the box at least. I began thinking of ways to use it. I could have possibly just fixed it up, put the legs and doors back on and made it into a bedside table again, or a side table without the doors, just a shelf, would be nice… Or a cat bed.

I began to think cat bed was the way to go… I sanded the flaky paint off. I love flaky paint but this was too far gone. Its almost in perfect condition except for a tiny bit of chipped off laminated wood on the top at the back which I puttied up.

My idea is to put very short blocky legs on it to keep it off the ground, put a solid front with a cat door in it and put it on my front patio so I have two cat houses out there, at least one of which is pretty (the other being a bought dog kennel type, ie pretty unattractive). The main problem with that however is that I don’t have any undercover areas so it would be exposed to the weather which seems such a shame. Plus it would need lining inside to keep it from getting wet.

Maybe I need to stop thinking of making everything for me and think of selling it to someone with an undercover area and a need for an outside cat bed.

So now its been sanded and its ready to fix. I found two thick marine ply pieces I can use as doors to the front, I can probably re-use the old hinges – very thin piano hinges… There will be some fiddly work involved in putting it all together in a practical way, but it should be a fun project.

I will paint it with enamel paint. I have a mistint light blue aqua enamel I bought a while ago cause you never know when you’ll need that sort of thing. That should do fine.

Add a fluffy home made cushion and it will make some cat very happy!

Now if I can only get over working in an area which isn’t mine and where I have an audience… sigh.

z

paros day 18 – sewing table make-over

The sewing table make over is finally complete and its back home where it belongs.

I can’t find any good before photos so these will have to do…

The top wasn’t in bad condition but I put some thick plastic over it originally to keep anything I sewed clean. Since I also painted on the table when I lived at my grandmother’s house I didn’t want to get paint on it either.

It was basically a pretty boring brown table with lots of chew damage on 2 of its legs. It was given to me by a good friend (the one who owns the dog who eats table legs). You can just see some of the damage on the right hand side in the above photo.

Anyway, I’ve had it for about a year and it was time to repaint and finish it. I’ve shared some during pics somewhere in the blog but (again) can’t find them right now so you’ll have to trust me. It was pretty bad. It took a lot of wood filler to make the legs look NOT  like a dog toy. But I managed more or less. I could have done more filler but a few imperfections are ok with me.

I sanded and  re-finished the top using an oil based gloss to give it a really good shine.

I used DIY chalk paint to do the legs. It wasn’t my best paint, I’m still not quite used to what I can and can’t buy in Greece. Still, I made it work. No wax on it so far, but that’s ok. I love the look of it as it is.

I kept the original tiny plastic drawer pulls as they’re too cute to replace. Not to mention I don’t have a big collection of handles and pulls like I did in my workshop in Tasmania…

Lainee had a little trim today and is resting on the cowhide rug as I type this. She’s also happy the sewing table is home and thinks its a successful make-over. 

Other than that I’ve been working on the bulldog, took Lainee out for a couple of walks and made semolina pudding. Yum. For once it worked out ok. Yay for me.

Today was a great day!

z

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paros day 10: a day late

Turns out I’m better off doing my posts in the middle of the day instead of in the evening when laziness takes over and the call to Netflix becomes too strong to resist.

So this is yesterday’s post. 

Yesterday was overcast but still lovely so Lainee and I went for a long walk up the back of here, to the top of the hill to look over the valley to the sea.

We also walked past the most beautifully kept farm on all of Paros.

And saw tons of these wildflowers blooming… Not sure what they are but they look like a native/wild lupin.

So… I did continue my work on the current projects but nothing is finished yet. Everything seems to take so much longer than you think between cutting, gluing, drying, painting, drying…

However I realised yesterday that I hadn’t shared my new coffee table! Its is one of the first things I made once I got my groove back.

Firstly, some pics of the before: This is the coffee table I inherited when I bought the house. Lovely table but just too big for my tiny space.

One of the things I brought with me when I came from Australia was the legs off an old 50s table I loved. I mean I loved the legs, not the formica top. I always knew I wanted to make my own top for it and a round table to go into the living room here seemed the best solution.

This is the finished product…

Meanwhile, if you’re interested in the hows, here goes. I was looking for old timber and found some in the bin at the timber shop back when life was normal. I glued it together as the first step using my table clamps (cause ever girl should have those!).

Then I realised that one of the pieces of timber I had used had termites so I had to treat the whole thing and let it dry before drawing a circle and using the jigsaw to cut it out.

Naturally disaster hit about then as I left it where water leaked and the table split down the middle… one of the glued bits didn’t hold.  I knew I’d have to strengthen the joins anyway so I reglued and cut out some ply pieces to attach underneath to act as a sort of binding, plus to give the legs something more substantial to screw into.

I used a combination of dark brown wood filler and a light coloured one to give the wood more interest.

Then I used my power plane and sander to create a nice smooth top and edges. I love the look of raw wood.

Last I attached the legs. Love those legs!

Et voila! A gorgeous round coffee table made by moi!

And here is it in the living room. Small enough to get around. Big enough to hold the necessities (but not big enough to become yet another crafting surface!), and oh so pretty.

I’ll end this post with a preview of another little project… Can you guess what it will be?

Oh, and a Baileys of course… It helps me sleep!

z

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quick and easy computer station

I don’t know if any of you remember I bought an Ikea Ivar bookcase for my home. I’m all about storage since I do so much art and craft in my one room. I needed some serious storage space. You can read about the bookcase project here and here.

I love it. Its pretty and holds so much of my stuff. Nothing like being surrounded by your creative mess to make you feel at home.

Only problem was the computer ‘desk’ area…Well there were two problems – first was the fact that I need the laptop screen to be up higher but the keyboard lower for a more ergonomic workspace. I have a wireless keyboard so I can have them at different heights. I looked on ebay for a retractable keyboard shelf but decided to make my own.

Cause you know I have that insidious crafter’s syndrome:

I had a bit of scrap pine perfect for the job. After sanding, liming and varnishing the pine to match the rest of the bookcase, I joined it to the shelf with hinges underneath to be able to drop it down when I wasn’t using it. Mind you, since I made I’ve never dropped it down… Hm… At least I can if I want to, and that’s what counts!

To hold it in place when it was out yet allow for folding down, I cut two pieces of wood to act as my brackets. When I want to fold it down they swivel under the shelf.

Then the other problem… my laptop has had an issue with the screen for a long time. Its not the screen itself that’s the problem – its the wire connections. Although my laptop is so big and heavy its never really been something I open and close and carry around often, still, there’s an issue with the wires that connect it to the keyboard. Basically I’ve have to jiggle, poke and beg for the image to be clear and not all weird coloured. The reason I know its not the screen but the wires going bonkers is that when I hit the sweet spot it works perfectly. For about 2 minutes.

So a new monitor was on the cards. No reason to spend money on a new laptop since this one is still more than good enough for the stuff I do, so I bought a new monitor while in Athens over Christmas.

Of course that created another problem…

Like where to put the new monitor. How to set it up to keep the top of the laptop open and access the power button. I tried it on the shelf to the side but the cables wouldn’t reach. Time to put on the creative genius cap again.

This time I used bits of cut off legs I’d also collected (it pays to collect stuff which might come in handy one day) and a piece of MDF I had. Cause, again, I collected it…

Firstly I had to find leg bits the same height as my drop saw keeps throwing the fuse, I simple screwed them in place – I was too impatient, no time for pretty or neat here. It had to be high enough to hold the laptop underneath and allow me to slide my hand in to turn on the power. I had to cut out a section at the back to allow the screen to be raised permanently. Once I had it all fitting properly I limed it white to match the bookcase and set it up.

It might not be perfect but it works.

z

PS. Sorry for the bad photos… I’ve been using my phone more than my camera these days.

sometimes its good to be a girl

This is my new 120 year old couch. Its a traditional island couch, everyone on Paros had one in their home in the old days.

Mighty uncomfortable… but people didn’t lounge around back then. They sat up all prim and proper.

They make new couches in this old style now, a bit lower, with a deep seat and softer cushions… not the horse hair or straw or rocks they seemed to fill the old ones with. And not the rigid foam that was used to update the old couches a couple of decades ago…

So, this old couch belonged to one of my mom’s aunts, given to her as a wedding present, inherited by her daughter, no longer wanted… its now mine.

Of course I have nowhere to put it… my place has one living kitchen dining office studio room which already has a corner proper lounging couch in it. The only place I could put it is out the back in my tiny courtyard or out front on my patio… It will make a great little relaxing spot. Once I kill the termites who’ve been calling it their home and dinner for the last long while.

I removed and threw away the severely feasted on slats and have painted termite poison on the rest. I wrapped it in cling wrap and will soon be repeating the process prior to chalk painting it white.

For the rest of this summer I’ll just use the hard foam cushions it came with, but hopefully next year I can get some nice soft ones made.

I really wanted it out the front so I could read or entertain but everyone insists it will be stolen. I’m like “really? Who will steal a couch?” Maybe I’m naive.

Meanwhile, my two handy male neighbours helped with the sails. I asked if I could borrow an extension ladder and it came with two very capable guys. Sometimes its good to be a girl.

I finally have both sails up. Not exactly as planned, but they’re up and that’s what’s important.

I originally wanted the small triangle sail at the back to provide privacy and shade to the bedroom and the large rectangle one at the front to provide protection for furniture placed under the resin – sorry, I mean pine – tree.

When the uncle entourage tried to put the big one out the front a couple of weeks ago it didn’t work. So now I have the bigger one out the back and the small one out the front.

Its windy today. We’ll see if its still up when I get home from work…

Having the front sail up finally means I’ve been able to move my outdoor table and chairs to the patio so I can enjoy the space, and its freed up a bit of room at the back so I can work on the couch. And enjoy a nap outside once its finished.

I think I need fairy lights now…

Yep.

I definitely need fairy lights.

z

a little aqua cabinet

aqua6

I’ve had this little cabinet for a few years now and its been through a few incarnations. When I got it it had an awful, damaged, laminate top which I replaced with beadboard to start with. Then I painted it white with a crackle effect and used it as my bedside table for a while.

When we moved to the farm it ended up in the shed gathering dust.

Firstly, I disliked the crackle effect – it just wasn’t quite right. Then I disliked the legs I’d put on it – they were the wrong style but they were all I had at the time.

A little while ago I decided it was time for a makeover. I love the retro glass door and even the original liner, but I decided it needed new legs, a new handle and a new colour to make it pop.

aqua2

First I looked for legs among my collection of junk handy things and found these lightly tapered 60’s style legs. I painted them black to go with the silver and black handle I chose.

aqua3

I mixed paint using what I had on hand, making my own chalk paint by adding fine unsanded grout. I find this works great and gives a lovely finish. It also allows for a chippy look with use, giving it a natural worn look rather than a purposefully distressed one.

aqua4

The paper inside is a bit ripped, but its clean and has been glued down – plus it has touches of the aqua which ties it in nicely.

aqua5

I love the contrast between the aqua and the black. No one can accuse this of being a boring little cabinet any more!

Oh, and please excuse the filthy floor. It was raining and the only place I could take these photos at the time was the grooming room between customers.

z

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chunky pine chairs makeover

I love our kitchen. Its my best makeover ever. Its everything I wanted it to be.

But the kitchen chairs have been an ongoing thing… I started with 4 mismatched vintage chairs, all painted white. I loved them. Till Wayne broke one of them. Oops. Vintage chairs aren’t the sturdiest things.

So I bought these chairs off Gumtree. Matching, newer chairs. They’re sturdy and nice. I planned to paint them. That was about a year ago and they’re still unpainted.

before1

before2

While sorting and cleaning out our sheds I rediscovered these solid, chunky pine chairs which Wayne brought with him when we moved here. I didn’t get before photos. Sorry. I think I didn’t want to cause I really disliked those chairs. They’re too chunky. Too country colonial. But they were strong and well made.

chairs1

The painted chairs and a gratuitous poodle.

I hate painting chairs. All those spindles and legs! ugh. I decided to try out the new Rust-Oleum spray chalk paint. I gave them a spray of undercoat first, then used Linen White on one chair and Serenity Blue on the other. Love the look and love the colours. And I’m not being paid to say that (though I’m not opposed to the idea… hint hint).

after1

The kitchen chairs aren’t perfect, YET, but I’m liking these two in their new colours. I’m now thinking of the two shades of grey in the chalked Rust-Oleum paint: Aged Grey and Country Grey. Or maybe Blush Pink…

after2

OR I could use the same colours, then we’ll have two chairs in each colour.

Eh. We’ll see when I feel like painting more chairs. Took me a year to do the first two… wonder how long it’ll take me to do the other two?

I spent some time in the garden today, massacring some plants. Not sure if I did it right, but I figured its winter, I should cut things back so they grow well in spring. Time will tell if I did right or killed everything.

z

more on that embarassing desk makeover

Once upon a time I decided to make a new/bigger desk for Wayne – who’s office is in the living room. I had been through two desks up till that point (three if you count the original desk in the office he never used!) and Wayne was sort of over it.

Anyway, the desk I decided to remake was one he’d had in the garage since we moved here – a big, heavy solid piece with a ruined top due to it being used to hold chainsaws. The thing with these old desks is that you have to have the legs of a Monster High doll to fit into it without banging your knees at each turn. So, I decided that since I had to replace the top, I may as well separate it into two drawer units and put an old door across as a top… cause don’t old doors make the best tops? They’re huge and the ones I had were gorgeous.

This is the first attempt at the desk… ugh. In a nutshell, it started like this…

Step one: paint it white. With chalk paint. Obviously!
Put castors on it, stencil on it, top it with a shed door. Obviously.
It didn’t look right. So repaint it. Just the drawer fronts. Chalk paint. Dark grey.

Okay… not quite right… Still wrong somehow.

Wait till Wayne’s away for a few days and sand it back, then lacquer it in gloss… hm. I like it better.

I may have left a bit too much paint on the drawers, you can see the grey, the white and even some of the stencils… I like it. Its so me.
Yes, its not my desk… I know that. But its in my living room. I have to look at it all day, so I wanted something I didn’t dislike. This blends in much better with the room divider I created so I’m happier.
Won’t Wayne be happy when he comes home and finds I’ve changed something again? 
hehehe.
He hates it. In fact, every time he’s going to be away for more than a day his last words to me as he waves goodbye are: “Don’t knock down any walls.”
He didn’t say I couldn’t rip up floors though… hmmm…
z
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