‘heap of change challenge’ johnny come lately

There was one project at the top of my list when I decided to join the heap of change challenge last month.

The office.

Not long ago I shared my office makeover (part 1 and part 2) and the blind makeover. It looked great for about a week.

Then things started piling up. And up.

Soon the office looked like this:

And this:

And this:

Actually, to be honest those photos were taken when I put ‘office cleanup’ at the top of the challenge list. Then I went on to clean up the workshop, got tired, ran out of time, got abducted by aliens… I just stopped. Cleaning and organising that is. I didn’t stop piling stuff in the office.

Every time I came across something I wanted out of the way , I’d put it in the office.

Side Note: Have you ever felt that cleaning is just another word for ‘moving things’? Have you ever considered that you will never have the entire house tidy at the same time cause in order to clean one area, you mess up another with things that don’t belong ‘here’ and there’s no ‘place’ to put them… yet… till you create one for them when you clean the next room.

The mess was a whole lot worse than in the pics, but by not sharing those pics I can keep a little dignity… (ha)

Here it is now. After I put everything in the workshop to sort and find a place for later.

Next week I’ll be cleaning the workshop again.

I even put initials on the filing cabinets. One for me and one for Wayne, in case Z and W wasn’t obvious.

The new/old shop rack is now extra storage for bits and pieces.

There are still a few things to do, get rid of the old desktop computer for instance, but I love the new clean office. So much in fact that I don’t think I’ll ever use it again.


cleaning and organising – heap of change challenge

You know how most people do spring cleaning? Well, turns out that most of the world (the DIY, decor blogging world) do their spring cleaning at the start of a new year no matter what season it is in their hemisphere.

Kinda like “new year, clean house”.


It made sense in my head…

Anyway, Donna at Funky Junk challenged everyone who wanted to participate in a clean up challenge. The Heap of Change Challenge. (For details, and to join in, click image below.)

Join in! You can never have enough cleaning/organising/tidying in your life.

Its one of those jobs you can do every day for the rest of your life.

Its depressing when you think about it.

Anyway… one job I’ve been putting off for ages is organising the casita. For the uninitiated, the casita is the original old house on the farm which we use as a shed. It was used as a shearing shed by previous owners. For us its a horse feed room, storage room, tack room, laundry, workshop, grooming room and I-have-something-and-nowhere-to-put-it room.

The large main room is my workshop basically so I have a ton of stuff my own stuff in there. Then about a year ago when I organised my office, I moved everything from the office to the storage room in the casita.

My office looked great (for a while, but more on that disaster area later) however, this is what the casita looked like.


Hope you have a high tolerance for chaos.

I am not a hoarder. I am not a hoarder. I am not a hoarder…

There was an upper cupboard in the store room on this wall but we removed it so I could use it in the workshop. Obviously all the stuff in the cupboard had to go somewhere!

Finding anything was a nightmare.

This is what my workbench looked like. The new/old workbench that Wayne had in his shed and wanted to get rid of. I love it cause of its heavy, industrial iron legs.

Basically, when I want to actually do any work in the casita I have to shove things over, step over electrical cords, trip over boxes, etc. The fact that I’m able to do anything in there at all is testament to my incredible talents.


Ready for the afters? Well, I’ll disappoint you. I spent all weekend working on that sucker and I’m still not even halfway there. I’m taking everything out of the store room and finding a place for it.

I have boxes for things to donate, I have rubbish bags I’m filling ruthlessly, I have boxes for things I plan to sell or give away. I’m trying to recycle and use anything I have on hand for storage and I’m sorting things into areas of related items. Maybe one day I’ll actually be able to start a project and know exactly where everything I need is.

I’ll share some pics for now, kinda like teasers of organisation to come.

However… there will never be any great reveal labelled organised clean and tidy perfection within an inch of its life photos in this workshop makeover. Its just not that kind of area. Its messy and dusty and not photogenic.

It has broken windows mended with bits of wire mesh, lots of cobwebs, hay from the feed room, hair from the grooming room, mouse droppings, sometimes possum droppings, unlined walls, groovy old wallpaper, severe drafts and half finished or half demolished areas.

So, put away your expectations of pretty, control your OCD and just enjoy the bits that don’t look too bad.

Like this beautifully rusty old biscuit tin holding my hammers.

On the right of the hammer box is the farm fresh sign with baskets I had in the kitchen for a while. I something better for the kitchen, so now my baskets are holding bits and pieces in the casita. Rulers, straight edges, whatever is long and straight.

My used paint brushes, scrapers and other paint related implements are now hanging off rake heads. Not only are they all in one place, but they can drip dry there and the bristles don’t get smooshed.

Below the rake head hanging system I put narrow shelves where the wall lining ended abruptly. Someone either stopped putting timber lining on the wall when they got to that spot, or they stopped ripping it off. Either way, there was a huge gap down there where things would disappear, never to be seen again. With the little shelves I kill two birds with one stone. While I don’t condone killing any birds, this stops things from falling into the gap and doubles my small paint tin space.

A cute galvanised box holds all tapes and my tape measures are all now in a cake tin.

The cubby shelf unit needs more drawers and I’m using anything I have for now. Mostly cardboard boxes cut to fit and labelled. Ignore the blue tape labels. They’re the ones I couldn’t remove. Yet.

See the timber box with knob top right? That is the worst-made box in the universe.

I made it.


Its not labelled but it holds knobs. I figured that was self explanatory.

And yeah, second one down holds more knobs, in case you’re wondering.

I decided that the roof was storage space just waiting to be pressed into service. I’ve started hanging baskets and light fittings up there. As well as light-fittings-to-be.

This is a corner cupboard from my old kitchen. I put an MDF top on it and some furniture legs and it now holds my power tools. I added a pretty curtain to keep the worst of the dust off them. Who said you can’t have pretty in a workshop?

 I even nailed pleats into it!

This cute little shelf is something I picked up at a tip shop. I used milk paint and almost all of it flaked off one side …I couldn’t be bothered sanding and painting it again. Its now part of the workshop.

Notice the graffiti and the old playing card wallpaper? Cool, huh?

I hope to do more sorting and organising this weekend and hopefully one day soon I’ll have some more finished pics of imperfection to share.


day 31 – a review

Day 31…. Its finally over. The pressure is off! Now I can just go on living my life as if I’m superwoman without the added stress of blogging about something semi-interesting every day!
So lets review. Here’s the original list as it looks now.
Projects to finish:
  • 4 wire dangles for a customer order  Done. I need to contact the lady.
  • memory box which was going really well till I stuffed it up More or less finished.
  • put up a shelf I’ve been working on in the toilet The shelf is done… its not up yet cause I have to figure out how to put it up.
  • finish living room curtains I started over a year ago Not even started.
  • memory tin I haven’t stuffed up yet 
  • finish sorting items to donate to the work garage sale The garage sale has been and gone and I’ve found more stuff I could have donated.
Projects to start (and finish would be good):
  • make tea light holders for the porch for summer Not started
  • organise hanging baskets for around the house I bought chains… its a start.
  • fix and put up an old chandelier for the bedroom No. Its still in the casita gathering dust.
  • make a hanging light for Wayne’s desk  Changed my mind so crossed that off.
  • clean up some old metal baskets and find a home for them in the house Technically its half done, I cleaned up one of the baskets, the galvanised one I’ve used in the office to store objects for inventive dangles.

  • re-make a drawer unit into a bench for the mudroom I’ve pulled it apart and balked at the work involved. But I will do it. One day…
  • make a hat rack for mudroom No rush. The mud room is far from finished.
  • make a coat rack for mudroom Ditto. ie. Not done yet.
  • make a small box to hold mobile phones & chargers Still in the planning stages.
  • use the flour sacks to make kitchen curtains and cushion covers Not started. This needs to be done soon as I want to include those in the market stall I’m having in early December.
  • make nifty curtain tiebacks (or rather, ask Wayne to make them for me cause this one involves metal work) Eh. I’ve totally forgotten about this one.
  • find a use for some fairy lights I have The fairy lights are sitting here, waiting.
  • make a broken suitcase into a side table The suitcase is now empty and waiting for me to decide whether I should try to mend it or should upcycle it.
  • finish my tip shop chairs They’ve been put on the backburner since I need to make market stuff first.
  • fix and paint my gate leg table Ditto.
  • make a shelf under the kitchen window for herbs I have the bits. Just need to put it together.
  • paint the mudroom Well… realistically I need a ceiling in there before I can paint the walls, but the window has a frame now so that’s a step in the right direction.
Big projects: 
  • remove office carpet Not yet.
  • remove linen cupboard from LR I did this before the 31 days started.
  • paint the toilet walls Not yet.
  • make the smallest room into a walk-in wardrobe Still a way to go on that one.
  • paint the house – outside Waiting for the weather to be reliably good. I’ll be waiting forever so I’ll do it starting this month. Maybe.
  • stain the deck Ditto.
  • repaint most of the house inside, cause I changed my mind on the colours. Backburner.
Not too bad…

On the other hand, I’ve done a ton of things not on the list:

  • made a wedding present for Kelly and Simon
  • made 2 items for their wedding and for them to keep 
  • decorated the church
  • re-arranged the office furniture
  • bought a cabinet and filled it with my craft stuff
  • tossed the grimy rug from the grooming room and put down lino offcuts from the mud room, making it easier to clean
  • learned how to rust things effectively
  • planted a ton of lavenders and a few other plants and cuttings – some of which are even still alive!
  • made a dispay for my old scissors and shears
  • started quite a few projects for the market stall
  • brought the ironing board into the house and bought a new cover for it so its usable.

So, maybe I didn’t get it all done, but I’m getting there in my own way. The round-about way where I take a step forward, a few steps to the right, a step back, two steps forward, spin around, step sideways and hop to the right.

I’m taking a break now.

I think I reached a point where I’m just so tired… for the last week, at the end of a long day, I’ve had no energy to do anything but watch TV in the evenings.

I need to restore myself so my hands get restless again, then I can start working on stuff as I watch TV like I usually do. I miss my times in ‘the zone’ where I multi-task cause doing just one thing is a waste of time.

Where is SuperZefi?

I want her back!


day 30 – the beach

Yesterday was a glorious day. 23 degrees C, a light breeze… It was the kind of day when Hobart is the best place in the world to live.

It was also one of those days when I have the best job in the world. Yesterday was my 1:1 day with a client where we’re free to go out and enjoy the day. We went to Kingston Beach for a long walk on the sand and along a walking track.

Today its a bit cooler, a bit rainy, and tonight the temperatures will drop and the horses will have to put their pjs on for a few days again.

Got home late yesterday, meetings you know, and just didn’t feel like doing anything at all.

List some random number big enough to make you feel queasy.
Zefi nil.

Ok. Not quite, but close enough.

What I did do:
I took the dogs for a run in the paddock and laughed at their antics.
Spent some time rubbing Ben’s tummy.
Clipped off Montana and did 1/2 a groom on her as well. You could say I’ve now groomed one entire standard poodle…
Watched Mischa find the dead baby blackbird I tossed over the fence the other day, in an entire paddock, and roll in it.
I had another close encounter with the dead baby blackbird as I relocated its remains.

What I didn’t do:
Wash poodles.
Clip and wash Barney.
Fold the washing. I did move it to a place the dogs can’t sleep on it. Does that count as a tick?

Turns out I also unwittingly gave Barney a forbidden treat.

When I got home I put my bag on the floor in the corner of the office, forgetting I had a small organza bag in it (from the wedding) with 5 chocolate hearts in it.

While getting ready for bed I found an empty (and strangely undamaged) organza bag on the floor and one tiny bit of red foil. That’s all that remained.

We’re looking forward to finding the ‘decorated’ poop in the yard over the next couple of days.


day 29 – rusty horse shoes

What I did today:
I mowed the lawn.
I went to Fentonbury to have a look at what work needs to be done there, and organise it.
I visited the pacing trainer I bought Ben from and collected some rusty horse shoes. Cause you never know when you’ll need more rusty horse shoes.
I put off folding and putting away clothes. Again.
I groomed half a dog. Or should I say, I half groomed one dog. I put Romeo on the table and clipped the dirt off him. Its amazing how poodles are clean under the top layer of fur. Tomorrow is Montana’s turn. Then they’ll both get a wash. At least that’s the plan.
I bought a baby oak tree. Now to research where to plant it…
I made carbonara with minimum bacon. By necessity, not choice.

What I didn’t do:
Look at my To Do list. Time is ticking, we’re nearing the end of October and I’ve barely scratched the surface of the list.

Basically, I crossed off a couple of items and added 4 more.


day 28 – it gets worse before it gets better

That’s what they say. And let me tell you, its true!

Here is what the office looks like now:

I’ve pilled old suitcases and metal boxes on top of the dresser to hold things in an organised fashion. I added tags to everything so I’d know what went where.

I can  see the desktop. But give me 5 minutes…

And I found a use for a couple of the bedsprings I got from the tip shop a couple of weeks ago.

This is what the office looked like earlier today:

Yep. There’s a desk under there somewhere…

This was yesterday:
This was today:

So, you’ll agree… it did look a lot worse before it got better, right?

Then, cause I loved the whole tag thing, I went a bit crazy and started tagging everything. Including the suitcases in the guest room which act as a bedside table.

I’m pretty happy.

What I did today:
I found my desk. I found the coffee table in the living room. I did 3 loads of washing. I made a cheesecake.

What I didn’t do:
Clip and wash the poodles. Its only been on the list for 3 weeks. Fold the washing and put it away. Cook dinner.

I’m going to go eat some leftovers and watch TV. I think I earned it.


Shared at:

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!

day 26 – wedding decorations

Yes, yes. A day late. I know. I know. I had started this last night but I couldn’t get photos till this morning. So live with it!
I don’t know if I mentioned that our friends Kelly and Simon are getting married today. They asked me for help decorating the church. 
I’d tried to get into the church a week ago to see about the decorations they’d arranged to use… the church is always open but there was no one there. And I had no idea how to find someone to ask. I’m greek orthodox and our churches are different, as are our wedding ceremonies. Not that I’d know how to decorate for a greek wedding either…
 Anyway, I thought I’d make a few things for the wedding to use at the church or the reception… Whichever worked. In the end, thanks to the endless amount of free time I have, I only managed to do two things – a heart wreath which I think I can place at the head table at the reception. Or on the cake table. Or on the door…
I used willow twigs, wire and jute string to make the heart, then reinforced it with raffia bows. I added flower decorations, a bought (and Zefi-fied) wicker heart, a jute tassel I made with a small clockface and rusty key and some pearls. I really want to add a tag which has their names and wedding dates on it but I dont have any tags! If I can get one this morning in town I’ll add that to the wreath.
 The other thing I made was a small sign I had planned to put at the door to the church, as a kind of welcome to people as they walked in.
 I made this out of an old sign which I’d sanded back to resurface. I used an image of hand made paper with flower petals in it and created the sign in InDesign.
I then glued it to the timber using spray adhesive (I get too many bubbles with PVA glue) and then covered it all in some satin varnish for protection.
I added a rusty wire heart which I fixed to the sign using one of my pre-rusted eye hooks. Unfortunately there’s nowhere to hang the sign at the door so I’m going to have to compromise. I’m taking in a small plate stand to put it on at a table near the door.
Another thing crossed off the list.
Gotta run. I have to get going this morning. Tons to do. Tell you later!
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Beyond The Picket Fence

day 25 – a day off

And by that I mean a day where I slept in till 10am.

I no longer can sleep in till 10am. Not usually. On work days I get up at 6am and on weekends I feel the need to get up almost as early just so I can get things done.

Gone are the days of sleeping in till 2pm when I’d been out late the night before. Nowadays a late night is 10pm.

Getting old sucks. And I really needed the rest.

When I was young I’d hear about people working 2 or 3 jobs and I’d think “No thanks! One job will be enough for me when I grow up!”

And here I am now… 2 jobs and countless hobbies which keep me busy all the time.

No wonder I’m tired.

I had planned to go to the Royal Hobart Show today to help with poodles, but I was just feeling too average to go. Average sounds so much better than ‘icky’ and really, it implies that the rest of time you feel fabulous!

So, I slept in. Had brunch instead of breakfast… then pottered on down to the casita where I played with paint for a while.

Ahhh. That’s the life.

And its been raining all day so its been the kind of day where you just want to take it easy and listen to the raindrops on the roof.

Meanwhile at least a few things in my garden are growing. Here is the clematis. I planted 3 things on that trellis, this is the only one that survived.

Here are my prize flowers. I just love them! Granny’s bonnets or aquilegia.

 My purple daisies.

And my gorgeous baby snowball bush (vibirnum). Billy’s bush.

I’m not going to bother with what I did and didn’t cross off the list today cause, basically, I didn’t cross anything off!

Rest wasn’t on the list.


day 24 – its shameful

I wish I could say this was the home of a hoarder I happened to know.

Alas, its my office.

What happened was I had to pile stuff when I decided to re-make Wayne’s office space in the living room. I had to take a desk and bookcase out… so I had to put things somewhere and the floor seemed as good a place as any.

There’s an ottoman you can barely see buried under the piles of stuff, its meant to be a visitor’s seat in the office. It basically holds the fabric up otherwise Barney will lie all over it and then I’ll have curtains covered in dog hair.

The other stuff… well, some of its projects in almost-progress. Some of it is wishful projects. The rest is stuff I need to sort through and find a place for.

As I said, I got rid of a desk and bookcase from in here so now I’m down some storage.

And stackable surfaces…

I have, however, organised a new, improved lot of storage… I’ve bought an old kitchen dresser (a cupboard) from a friend who’s moving. Its gorgeous. I have another similar to it in the living room. I need to make room for it in the office (by pushing aside piles of stuff) and then I’ll be able to sort and stash.

Meanwhile, the problem is I haven’t told Wayne about it. He’ll flip his lid. Another piece of furniture.

Maybe I can sneak it in without him noticing… hm… He doesn’t come into the office that often… maybe he won’t see if for a few weeks and by then I can say “What? That old thing? I’ve had that for ages!”

What I did today:
I had a LONG day at work, ending with a meeting after work.
Bought chicken for the dogs and spent what seemed like hours up to my elbows in raw chicken frames, bagging them up into one day meals to freeze.
Went to a work Trivia Night. We came second. Always come second…
I downloaded and installed Google Chrome cause I was sick of the problems with Firefox.
I moved my desk in a fit of rage when the internet and FF kept playing up, so I basically just added to the mess in the office.

What I didn’t do:
Cross much off my list. Seems I added more just to cross it off and that doesn’t count.