a little aqua cabinet

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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the blind – a win and a fail

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I really hated the blinds the house had when we bought it. They were all like this above: cheap and salmon. Eek.

I made curtains for the other windows but never got around to doing it for this small window in the corner of the living room. Not only was it ugly and cold in winter, but to add insult to injury the blind broke so wouldn’t go up and down and would actually fall on you if you tried to raise it.

It was time it went.

Actually it’d been time it went about 7 years ago, but hey… I was busy, ok!

My idea was to make a padded blind, inspired by something I saw on the Ikea website in their ideas section. My plan was to use a dropcloth (I love the natural colour) and get some batting for the inner layer. I kept putting it off cause I’d have to buy the batting…

Then Romeo decided to help me out. When Montana began having continence issues I bought some cheap single bed doonas from Kmart and use those as dog beds. I fold them up and put them into covers and voila – instant, easy to wash and dry dog beds.

Well, when Romeo gets bored he loves to attack his bed… He ripped a hole in the cover and tore a whole section of doona, leaving me just enough for the blind! He wasn’t being naughty. He was being helpful!

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This is the corner now, much better without the salmon blind. The pics aren’t the best but hey, I did the best I could. Don’t complain.

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The whole thing wasn’t as easy as I thought. The doona made it quite unwieldy to sew and I can’t sew a straight line if my life depends on it.

I also made a couple of mistakes. The idea was that I’d use large hooks and put rings on the blind so you could chose how much you wanted it gathered. You know… halfway, three quarters, all the way, etc.

First mistake was in calculating the length, I didn’t take into consideration the hooks, so the blind is a big too long. Even when I replaced the hooks I planned to use with smaller ones.

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The other error was where I put my rings. I put them on every crooked line when they only needed to go on every second one, and i needed one at the bottom which I missed. Oh well.

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So, I have a very crookedly sewn, nice thick and warm blind which is helping keep the house warmer in the cold. Its a win… even if there are a few failures involved.

z

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a lightbulb moment

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I found this brilliant old Phillips bulb at a swap meet about a year ago. I’ve never tried it to see if it works (too scared I’ll blow up the house) but I thought it’d look fantastic in the office, just LOOKING like it works.

Don’t know if you can tell, but its a bayonet fitting bulb and the strings to turn it on and off are in the actual bulb fitting itself. How cool is that?

(I only had this antique look bayonet light fitting to attach to my cloth cord and somehow I dropped the end bit so I’m sharing this with a nekkid bit over the screw on part. Please forgive me. I apologise profusely, but if you saw my office floor I think you’d excuse me just this once.)

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I have a small collection of old pulleys, this rusty little one is one of my favourites. I already had a hook in the ceiling in that spot cause when the office was the guest room that’s where I hung my upcycled xray chandelier.

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Right now, that means the bulb hangs above my shelf… but since I’m not actually using it as a light, that’s fine. Its purely decorative and looks great just hanging there over my finished and work in progress dolls.

Its cold here this morning. Probably not so cold for some people, but cold enough for us in southern Tasmania. It was -2.8C this morning – that’s 26F for my american friends. Everything is frosty and icy. Outside water bowls are solid ice, the lawn is crunchy and I found that if I pooperscoop early in the morning when poops are still frozen its much easier.

Poopsicles don’t smell!

On the down side, we have no water to the casita so on frozen days like this I’ll have to start grooming later in the morning – give the pipes time to thaw.

Ah the joys of farm living!

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.

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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

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.

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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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old window chalkboard #1

So… as part of the whole getting my mojo back thing, you know, getting inspired and finding the time and energy to finally get to some of the projects mouldering in the various sheds, I have finished a couple of items and started a few more. I’ll be sharing these over the next days, weeks, months even if I get lucky and keep the mojo going.
First up I have this little window recycle. I have two of these little windows. I think they’re king billy pine but I loved the rustic look of them so I didn’t sand them back completely to be sure. I’d say its a good guess as old windows and doors were made of king billy pine which is rare these days. 
I love king billy pine and not only cause of what it is, but cause it reminds me of my toy poodle Billybear… He was the King Billy of my life.

Here is the finished product. Cute. It retains remnants of old paint, mostly on the sides… and where it didn’t I added it to create the framed look.

The best bit of this little chalkboard project, in my opinion, is the rusty old hinge I found and added as chalk holder. Its stiffened up so keeps it shape. Plus I’ve gone over it with a touch of polyurethane to stop the rust from coming off.

If you know me at all, you know I love rust. And old things. And weathered things. I collect almost anything old and rusty. I’m pitifully easy (and cheap) to buy for!
I knew this hinge would come in handy one day.

I gave the whole window a couple of coats of polyurethane to bring out the grain of the wood and to seal it. 

You know, I make a fair few chalkboards. They can be used anywhere, not to mention how handy they are. I’m planning to list this one for sale but in the back of my mind is this feeling I’d love to have a wall of chalkboards…
If only I had more walls in this house!
Really. We have a huge living room with 3 windows, 4 doors and a pass into the kitchen. All the available wall spaces are taken up already. The office is full to bursting with storage and decorative items, so is the guest room… and the kitchen. The only empty wall is in the bedroom but I have plans for that – a photo/memory box wall…
I wonder…
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

string holders and evicting bats

Phew. The day is over. A good day, but SO tiring. I got a ton done which is great. I failed at a couple of things too, but hey, you can’t win ’em all.
So, what did I do today that was so exhausing? Well, I started with the plan of putting up the new grooming sign. I worked on that for about 30 minutes before giving up. It was just not working. Good thing too really, cause in the end I decided I needed to rethink the position. More on that soon.
I did 3 loads of washing and the usual chores of feeding and caring for all the animals, and I did a little garden work. Then I decided it was time to clean out the carport. 
Background: We used to keep our chicken feed in the carport and that encouraged mice and rats to live in there. Which encouraged the dogs to dig at the walls and generally cause trouble. About a month ago I started the car and a mouse jumped out of the engine bay. I’ve been parking out in the yard since. 
So, I decided the carport needed a makeover, more to make it safe than to make it look nice. Trust me, its a pretty basic farm carport… Not much I could have done to make it look pretty.
Anyway, I ripped off the sagging plywood which had been put over the barn wood and in the process evicted two rats and one tiny bat.
Yep, a tiny bat! Not a typo! I was so excited when I saw it. At first I thought I’d uncovered a hairless baby rat but then saw its cute little face and wings. I wanted to keep it! I wasn’t quick enough to catch it, it escaped under the wall and out near the dam. I was worried the geese would eat it – I mean, it was full daylight… what do bats do if they’re out in the day? I looked for it but couldn’t find it so I hope it was ok. The geese weren’t around so I know it wasn’t lunch at least.
I threw out a ton of rubbish and rat infested nests and then I nailed a thick particle board to the bottom section of the wall – Its not about keeping rats out as much as its about keeping any small animals (ducklings, chickens, natives) out of our yard. The finished carport is so much neater and I like the exposed slatted wood back wall. And bonus – there is nowhere for rats to nest any more!
After the carport was cleaned up, I opened up a small area I’ve had penned off to keep the dogs from digging. Hopefully now the rats have been banished the dogs won’t need to dig for them and destroy my plants. And I’ll be able to pull weeds. Yeah. I live to pull weeds.

ha.

Anyway, that’s not what I wanted to share with you today. I wanted to share my new rustic string holder. 

I was inspired by this lovely makeover of a thrift shop find by Carlene at Organised Clutter. When I saw it I thought what a great idea, I have to make one of those!

Yeah. Ok. Mine looks nothing like that. 
I had spindles. I had a ton of string. I didn’t have a fancy wall sconce. I also didn’t really have a wall spot to put it. So I just grabbed a piece of timber from my offcut pile and put them together. It’ll do for now.

Its not pretty, but it works. Its not for the office, its for the workshop so it doesn’t need to be pretty. The workshop leans more towards a more rustic-farmhouse-hoarder design style.
Thanks for the inspiration Carlene, and sorry I killed your idea. 
z