i’m baaaack!

Yes, I’m back. A lot has happened around here since I last posted, but I feel in a better place to share our life, news and my projects once again.
For starters, I’d like to share the old bike I rescued from a trip to the tip. It will eventually sit in the garden but till then I’ve leaned it up against the porch railing and started off some plants will which one day, hopefully, explode into colour and drape all over it.
I had a couple of rusty baskets, one of which was an actual bike basket for the handlebars. I lined them with plastic after poking some holes in for drainage, and filled them with potting mix. I then plonked in some plants.
I found this pitiful looking little plant at a garage sale – the daisies are so pretty I had to have it despite its one foot in the grave appearance.

Its looking like its going to the big garden in the sky right now so I may go ahead and move it to the embankment. Daisies obviously love it there, which is great, as I love the embankment covered in daisies.
When pulling weeds I dug up and added some alysum. Love that stuff. It grows anywhere – my kind of plant – and looks like clouds of white fluff.

The front basket got a gaura which was growing in a pot – it was a cutting… well, a broken branch from one of the established plants. I added a bit of catmint for its trailing propteries. Both of those are doing well, though the gaura will need to be moved as its way too big for a bike basket.

The garden is looking amazing right now with all the spring flowers. I’ve been sharing tons of photos of it on Facebook but might do a separate post on the blog about it soon.
Things on the farm are great. We have 6 ducklings in Stalag 13. The ducklings were easy to catch though I did throw myself on the ground in a most undignified way in their pursuit. The mother took us all day to catch. In the end we set up a dog crate and trapped her in it. I don’t think she’s forgiven us yet, but the ducklings are still alive! Unlike poor Little Herman IIs ducklings which disappeared in a matter of 3 days.
Sharing Stalag 13 with the duck family is a chicken. She hatched 3 babies who unfortunately got out of the dog house she’s using as a nesting box, then couldn’t get back in and froze to death over night. We were so upset. We’ve raised chickens in there before and that never happened before. Its always something. We now have a ramp so it won’t happen again. The hen is still sitting. She had 2 of her own eggs and I gave her 2 from another of the girls. Fingers crossed. More chickens would be welcome, though no more roosters. The older rooster is being hounded to death by his much bigger son. Its sad. Other than letting them sort it out I don’t know what to do. Chopping one rooster’s head off was suggested, but… um… no.
We have 5 goslings as well. Doris, the younger of our geese, hatched them out yesterday. Since then its been lovely to watch the group walking around the paddocks – Doris with her babies, surrounded by the boys guarding her. 
Annabelle, the older goose, is still sitting on her nest. They should hatch soon. Hank has made it his life’s work to guard Annabelle. We always know which boy is Hank, he has a squinty eye so he always looks like he’s watching you like a mafia boss. He’s also the one out front every time we step out into the paddock warning us to behave or else.
The youngest goose doesn’t have a name as we really can’t tell him apart from Jethro, the other original goose. It’s hard to tell pure white boys apart… At least the girls have different markings.
The horses are all in great condition thanks to all the feed in the paddocks. Wally is his usual cranky self, Dancer is as sweet as ever and she and Cass continue to dislike eachother. Little Chipmunk foundered again so he’s back in the starvation paddock. He’s not too impressed. We allow him into the casita (my workshop!) to get out of the weather and out of the mud when its been raining a lot. Now he’s bored he’s beginning to do naughty things. The other day he emptied the bag of rubbish all over the floor. I was not too impressed.
There’s been no progress on the new grooming room, but hopefully I’ll be taking all the rubbish/plaster to the tip soon and I can begin working on the walls. Which reminds me… where is the electrician? Hm… He was meant to come last week.
On a more personal note, I’ve taken time off work and am spending my days building up my home grooming business, painting, gardening, and playing with dolls.
Yes. You read that well. Dolls.
Ok, not playing as such, but remaking.
I’ll share in another post once I’m ready to show the world what I’ve been doing. Lets just say its a new hobby for me and I’m loving it.
So there you have it. For now. See you again soon.
z

one of those days

Just a quick post to let you know that I’m taking a break from blogging for a while. It might be a week (you’re thinking “whats new there?”), might be longer.

Chances are it’ll be a bit longer.

Not sure.

I’ll let you know.

I promise that if I decide to stop blogging I’ll post to say goodbye.

z

water and keeping your head above it

So far there hasn’t been much in the way of more rain. It has been raining in the hills around us, but not down around our property. I took the dogs out for a look yesterday and took some photos.

They loved it. Running through all that mud and water. Luckily it was more like sand than mud so they didn’t get too dirty.
All this sand is washed down from the sandstone hills behind us. It fills the creek and the creek overflows.

This is the creek, still running madly. It’ll be days before the flow slows down even if it stops raining now. You can see where its been overflowing.

When we first moved here we spent time and $$$ fixing up the ford, putting in a huge pipe so that the creek could run through under the road.

That was money well spent!

The chickens are enjoying the muddy ground. They’re out scratching for worms happily. We have 3 chickens now and two roosters. The smaller rooster on the left is our original rooster, the huge one in the forground is a home bred boy, born last year. We had 2 x 3 eggs hatch but only have 2 survivors out of the 6 chicks. This big boy and one black hen.

He is pretty impressive!

The poodles keep a watchful eye on everything… note the dirty legs. Eh. They had fun.

Pretty Dancer keeps an eye on the dogs too. She doesn’t want them eating her hay.

The weather has been quite nice today, mostly cloudy but enough sun to make it lovely. However there’s more rain predicted for the week ahead.
The only thing about this that really worries me is that we’re 99% going to have to cancel the garage sale. I’ve been so looking forward to it, and I’ve worked so hard to get it organised… but reality is that even if we didn’t get a drop of rain between now and October 22, if we got sunny days with light winds every day, the paddocks would still be too wet to drive on.
Our place is not ideal for a ‘normal’ garage sale. For one thing we don’t have a garage we can have a sale in. All our sheds are full of stuff that we’re not selling so that won’t work. Rule #1 of garage sales is: hide/cover anything you’re not selling to avoid confusion.
We need to have our sale outside. You’d think our driveway would work for that, but no. Its not big enough set up a sale and still allow room for cars to drive in, park, turn around and drive out. And if the ground is still wet, we can’t even open the gates so people could drive out the back to turn.
We had planned to have the sale in the small paddock outside the casita. We have 2 small horse yards there, a large gum tree for shade, fences to hang things on and plenty of space for tables and larger items. We planned to open the bottom paddock gate so people could drive in, park and turn around…. No chance of that now. First person to drive in would get bogged. 
I haven’t cancelled it yet. I’m still hoping. But I think that come next weekend, unless some miracle happens, I will have to face facts and cancel it.
Postpone it really. We will have a garage sale, but probably in summer when the ground is rock hard and dry from lack of water.
Safer that way.
sigh.
z

sculpture and soul searching

I had a comment about how I’m blogging a lot lately. Unlike the huge gaps between posts most of the other time.
The fact is I know I’m a poor blogger. Good thing I’m not trying to make money from this blog!
I began blogging as a way to share news and photos of our lives with friends overseas. Then I began to share projects and got into the whole DIY/repurpose/recycle blog thing. I enjoy that stuff, I do it for myself anyway, why not share with others who like the same thing? Makes sense, right?
But… there are days I just don’t feel like blogging. I have nothing to say, I can’t be funny, or I’m flat. Its one of those vicious circles: when I feel good I’m creative, when I don’t create I feel flat. And work sometimes drains me to the point where all I want to do when I get home is curl up and zonk out in front of the TV.
On those days I think about giving up the blog. I mean, who cares what I make or do? I’m just some random person living on a small island on the bottom of the world. I have nothing important to say. 
I think the only reason I blog and share is cause I’m a showoff. I used to accuse my brother of being a showoff when we were kids but turns out I’m the one. 
Who knew…
Anyway, I’m still here, still blogging even if sporadically at times. You could say I like to be unpredictable. Like with the stuff I blog about. Its not all DIY, craft, decorating, gardening or any one thing in particular. Its a blog about me and my life – and I’m a wierd kind of jack of all trades kind of person.
So today I’ll share some sculptures. The theme was ‘body’… so body parts it is. As I found when making the animals, I love sculpting.

These sculptures are more along the lines of ART than the animals. I wanted them to look like an unfinished work.

Here they are finished. Difficult to photograph cause they’re so bright white. 

Unfortunately the wire nose ring burned off in the second firing. I’ll try to replace it but the bit remaining is in really firmly. I also need to make earrings to go in the holes I made in the ear.

So there you go. Another completely different thing.

z

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?

Whatever.

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.
z

a little gardening and where on earth have i been?

Tomorrow is the first day of spring. Not that the weather has been told. Its sunny one minute, pouring with rain the next, frost in the morning, warm in the afternoon… Pretty normal really.

The garden is confused. Plants flower. Then the frost gets them. So they flower again, The frost comes again and gets what survived the previous frost. Pretty normal really.

The garden isn’t the only thing that’s confused. Annabelle (the goose) has laid eggs. On top of last year’s dead eggs which I never got around to removing from the nest she abandoned.

In fact we’re not sure she’s actually laid new eggs on top of the old ones or if she decided to give the stale eggs another chance… either way, she’s gone clucky. Too early.

The place is a mess. Muddy and wet. Seeds I tossed out are growing and blooming between the frost bitten plants. The grass is growing and the weeds are growing faster. When walking across the yard I sometimes just can’t resist picking up the grandpa weeder and ‘just grubbing out that obnoxious weed that’s just staring me in the face, laughing at me’.

An hour or so later I put away the weeder and go into the house.

In the good news department, my new hyacinths are up. And the tyre retaining wall is filling up as the plants grow.

I put more wire up for the hardenbergia so it can spread across the carport wall.

Even the dogs got into gardening – digging new holes where pretty succulents used to grow.


I’m trying to get the garden done in short spurts, a bit here, a bit there. There’s just so much to do. And so little time. Which is why I haven’t posted. I just haven’t felt like writing, watching TV is all I want to do at the end of the day.

That and exercising my fingers.

With the broken finger now healed I can do almost anything again. My fingers are very stiff and sore and my left hand has only 1/2 the strength of the right,but I’m grooming again and I’ve started doing things in the workshop again. Finally.

One of these days I’ll be organised and have time to do it all.

In my dreams.

z

what language does your phone speak?

This afternoon I ran into a problem I’ve had on numerous occasions with my phone. I was in my car, using bluetooth, to make a call. I hit the ‘phone’ button on my steering wheel and the phone said ‘Main Menu’.

I said “Call Amanda”.

It said ‘Would you like to call Pam?’

I said “No.”

‘Would you like to call Tourist Information?’

“NO!”

‘Please press the call button to select from the following names: Brian. Mano. The Japanese Embassy.’

“Cancel.”

Lets try again…

“Call AMANDA!”

It said ‘Would you like to call Pam?’

“NO.”
‘Would you like to call Mom?’

“NO!!! Cancel.”

‘Sorry, I don’t understand that request.’

“Cancel.”

Lets try again…

“Call Ah-MAN-DAh!”

It said ‘Would you like to call Pam?’

“NO.”
‘Would you like to call Steven?’

“NO!!! Cancel.”

‘Sorry, I don’t understand that request.’

“Cancel.”

At this stage I asked Wayne to help. I pressed the phone button and he said (in an INDIAN accent): “Call Amanda”.

It said ‘Calling Amanda’.

I mean, really.

Its like that message to text thing some phone services offer.

Have you ever got a message from them that makes sense?

You say “Hi, I’m calling about the table you have on Gumtree. Please call me back this afternoon”.

The message the guy on the other side probably says “Hi I’m talking around me cable pull have up tree. Please collar after you.”

I don’t have a typical Australian accent, but I really am not that hard to understand. I speak English. As a native speaker. With a mostly northern American accent… you wouldn’t think technology would have such a hard time understanding me.

But its not just me it doesn’t understand. The amount of times I’ve received incomprehensible texts (which have been conveniently converted to text for me by a helpful phone provider) makes me wonder if they aren’t just having a joke at our expense…

z

passing the time not so productively

So, other than pondering the big questions in life (like is DIY worth it) what have I been doing with myself since the circumcised finger incident?

In short: not much.

Today I managed to make the bed almost entirely by myself. I had to call in reinforcements to pull the last corner of the fitted sheet down… But I was able to wrestle the doona into its cover all by myself.

I call that a victory.

Other than that I’ve been doing a lot of computer stuff. My mouse hand works fine.

Things like a heap of pics for my dog grooming:

And some self promotion for the radio show Wayne and I do:

Or, my favourite:

I’ve taken to wrapping my splint in neon coloured vet wrap.

I’ve been bored.

Tomorrow I’ll try to take some photos of projects which have been finished for a while but lack photographic evidence.

Plus, I finished a gift for Wayne’s workshop which I can photograph and share.

I can do that now cause I got batteries for my camera.

z

DIY – is it worth the bother?

Seriously, I’ve been thinking this for a while now… in fact its a thought I get every time I go shopping…

And let me say right now, this is in no way an advertisement for Kmart (though if they’d like to throw some money my way I’d be more than happy to take it!)

Why bother making our own stuff when Kmart, The Reject Shop, Big W, Target and just about every other big store sells the stuff we pin, make from scratch or make over from curbside finds.

And (usually) for less than we can make them for!

We spend hours and often $$ making these things when we could walk into Kmart and just buy. No muss, no fuss.

I mean, I’m a fan of old, rusty, crusty and broken, so I’m not a big fan of cheap new imitations… but if you make things to sell then this is what you have to compete with. And not everyone has the same passion for old dirt as I do.

How about some examples? All items on right are from the Kmart website.

Ladder shelves are a big thing, pretty and practical. Image on left from Pinterest.
Who doesn’t love cement lamp bases? Image on left from Pinterest.
Trendy pegboard shelves… Image on left from Pinterest.
 Cement planters. Image on left from Pinterest.
 Come on, haven’t you been tempted to make one of these? Image on left from Pinterest.

Test tube bud vases… Image on left from Pinterest.

If I didn’t love old things with authentic scratches from many years of use, rust from being treated with a healthy amount of disrespect, and antique grime, I would be decorating my house with this stuff.

So what if it breaks in a year or less? Just buy a new one. Or something else. Just means you can re-decorate again!

So where does this leave us DIYers?

I don’t know.

I will still make, remake and revamp old stuff. For my own home and enjoyment. And maybe there’ll be enough people out there who appreiciate the real thing with all its not quite perfection.

But sometimes I’m tempted…

Like this faux cowhide rug. I plan to buy this soon as I have some spare cash.

So its not real… it’ll look pretty cool on my couch.
z
PS. Notice the new banner? Like?

canberra

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade they say.

So, you’re prepared for lemons – you set up a lemonade stand, line up some sugar and get your juicer ready.

But life sends you prickly pears instead – and not a knife and fork or armoured gloves in sight!

I’ve been in the country capital (Canberra, not Syndey, for my American friends) and have been for a week and a half now. Feels like 5 weeks…

Oh, there are no direct flights to Canberra from Hobart any more, so I had to take 2 planes, and by the time I stepped off the plane I was sick with the flu.

I arrived late afternoon only to find funds hadn’t cleared in my credit card and I was in trouble hiring the car I’d organised. I was ready to sit down and cry. But the great guys at Redspot Car Rentals (HUGE plug for them, they’re wonderful!) worked it out for me and I was soon on the road.

I’ve been sick the entire time I’ve been here, only really starting to feel human today. Wonderful. I came here to see my brother who is sick and guess what? I gave him the flu too. As if he didn’t have enough pain already.

I gave it to my cousin Mayia who I’m staying with as well as a few other members of the family.

Share and share alike.

Sigh.

I’m only telling you this so you know why the silence. I have a ton of projects to share which feel like old news now, but they haven’t been written up or shared cause I’ve been too sick and have limited access to internet.

So, I’m fine now. Almost. Surely. And I’ll be back to flood ravaged Tasmania soon to see if our driveway is still there.

And then I’ll catch up.

I promise.

z