one chair-back, three ways

What do you do with a broken chair? Fix it or throw it away, right? Or… you can re-use it as something else. For instance, you can make it into a shelf, a photo display or a coat rack. I know. Just look at Pinterest. There’s tons of ideas there. 
I couldn’t make up my mind what I wanted mine to be, but I found the bits to make it into an adaptable chair-back – it’ll adapt to any situation you put it in! Just pick a room and it’ll fit in with what you need it to do. Or be.
The best bit, I think, is the antique curtain rod holders I found. I’ve had these rusted and bent things for a few years, just waiting for the perfect project to use them on. They’re just so cute with their little flower topped screws for holding in the curtain rod.
I got a couple of bulldog clips – with the requisite amount of rust on them – and added those to the back to hold things… 
So, here are some options: 
1.  Kitchen utensil hanger. It can hold handy kitchen tools and recipes.

2. Garden tool hanger. The bulldog clips are a handy place for seed packets and gardening gloves.

3. Hand towel holder. The clips can hold shopping lists or notes.

I also tried the variation of a tea towel on the rod… it works, but the I think it works best as a hand towel roll holder. Hand rolls really struggle to look good in a kitchen and this kind of dresses it up in my opinion.

So where will it live? I’m not sure. I have to think about it. All three ideas work.
Till then it waits to find its home…
z

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electric heater mantle clock?

Some time ago I picked up this old electric heater. I can’t remember where, but I do remember why. It was the shape. I loved the shape of it. I saw it and thought “hey, I can make something out of this”.
I brought it home and snuck it past Wayne so I didn’t have to listen to a lecture about bringing home more junk.
Then I proceeded to bury it under a ton of crap in my shed. Not in order to hide it.

So, when I started my whole ‘clean out the shed, get organised, streamline my life, find the circular saw’ kick, I found this little beauty and briefly considered tossing it out.

Briefly. Very briefly.

I just couldn’t do it. Sometimes a vision is worth pursuing.

I was seeing it as a lamp. Or a clock.

A clock doesn’t need wiring so that won out. I bought a clock mechanism on ebay and proceeded to rip the guts out of the heater. Actually, I didn’t rip it all out. I loved the coiled springs so I kept those, just took out all the wiring.

I had to drill a hole in the front mesh to fit in the clock, then put it all back together.

Then promptly pulled it all apart again… The clock mechanism I got came with simple black hands which just didn’t work. Too dark.

I took it apart and sprayed the hands with Antique White USA gloss. Much better.

I put it all back together. Admired it a while. Then daylight savings ended. Now I avoid looking at it cause I have to take it apart again to change the time.

I really like it. Its a mantle clock with a difference. I mean, how many people have a retro heater which is now a clock?
And its not that hard to open up… I just have to get out the screwdriver and take out 4 small screws. How hard is that? Not hard at all.
…When I find the screwdriver. I know its on the bench. Somewhere…
z
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fun junky planters

I’ve been a bad blogger. I’ve let other things (like working and earning money to eat) get in the way of sharing all the exciting things going on around here. I know you’ve missed me and are dying to hear how things are going at Wind Dancer Farm.
Well… not much really. Except that I’m about $1200 poorer thanks to Romeo. First a couple of weeks ago while grooming him, I found he’d got a grass seed in the sheath of his penis. Yikes. And while investigating that I saw he had a lump on his flank. It didn’t look like a grass seed but I took him straight to the vet. There was nothing in the privates, whatever had got in had got out thankfully. He got a course of antibiotics and it cleared up.
The other thing, the lump, the vet was concerned about. The ‘c’ word was mentioned. So Romeo went in for surgery to have the lump removed and a biopsy done. We then waited a week to hear. Romeo limping uncomfortably cause he also seemed to have a grass seed in his left front paw. I searched but couldn’t see anything so I waited to see if it would improve.
The biopsy said the lump was cutaneous reactive histiocytosis. Not something usually found in poodles or even, for that matter, on that part of the body. Wierd. We are waiting and seeing if it was a one off… I’ve got my fingers crossed.
When the stitches came out I asked the vet to check his foot which was not improving. He couldn’t find any indication of a grass seed either and thought Romeo might have broken his toe. He gave him anti-inflammatories.
Well, it got worse and worse till I saw that there was now a hole in the webbing between his toes. I searched and pulled out a grass seed spike and took him back to the vet. They kept him for the day and searched but didn’t find any more foreign bodies. They cleaned it out and sent him home with a red bandage, antibiotics and he’s also on anti-inflammatories again. It should clear up now but till then we call him Limpy.
Poor Romeo.
Other than that all is well. The garden is looking shocking but given that a reader commented on my old toolbox planter I thought I’d share some of my whimsical plant containers.
I have quite a few old and rusty galvanised buckets. This one, one of my favourites, sits on the porch cause the begonia doesn’t like it too hot or frosty.

Last year I bought this gorgeous 60s planter from a garage sale and have put small pots with succulents in it, as well as a cutting of a beautiful pinky white geranium I’m growing.

At the end of the porch I have my lovely old mop bucket. We had one of those things when I was growing up. I much prefer it as a planter.

Since its now autumn the garden is looking pretty awful. Most plants have finished flowering and look ratty. But some are coming up again. Like the sweetpeas in the rusty old washing machine tub and the columbines in and around the old ammo box.

The steps up the porch have some new seedlings in them, alysum and lobelia which will fill and overflow the old pots and loaf tins they’re in.

I’ve replaced the succulents in the bike basket with plants which will overflow and cascade as well. Cat mint, which has purple flowers, in one pot and a pink groundcover I’ve forgotten the name of in the other.

In three pots in a basket on the back of the bike I’ve got a white daisy like plant, some alysum and lobelia. The white will grow upwards and the others should cascade. One day it’ll look great… one day.

The succulents I put in my stacked containers are coming along nicely. I have three of these but the third isn’t looking too good yet. I made these a couple of years ago for indoor storage but decided they’d work better with plants in them. They’re made of spindles and baking tins.

I made hanging baskets out of old strainers and steamers, put succulents in them and hung them on the wall near the door. Only succulents do well in planters with so many holes as they dry out very quickly.

I’ve had this old cane chair for many years, I bought it in an op shop when I was living in Fentonbury. When I got it it was dark brown, I used a wire brush to brush off the flaking paint and sprayed it white. The paint is flaking off again now so I decided to relegate it to a garden ornament.

A bright petunia will full the jam pot. Next spring I’ll put in another one – this time in spring so I have flowers through summer.

I used to have a lot of old toolboxes with succulents in them but this is one of the last ones. I sold a few of them at the market stall I did in January. I love old toolboxes and this one in blue and rust is just gorgeous.

The last one is the one on the back of this little tricycle.

You’ll notice the flour sifter near the old (cheap) half barrel planter that I can’t move without it falling apart. I have 3 sifters but this is one in best condition – ie the plant is still thriving.

One of the other sifters lies next to an overturned pot full of succulents. Hopefully the succulent in it will grow and spread. If not I’ll just put another in there!
This little area is in a wasted corner of the driveway where the retaining wall meets the steps to the path. I envisage that the succulents will grow and fill the area.
The other side of the retaining wall is decorated with some more buckets and drums.

And more ammo boxes… with more seedlings in them!

Do you get the feeling I love rusty old things? Well, you wouldn’t be wrong!

I do need to get out into the garden and begin trimming things back for winter and, if things go to plan, there’ll be a ton of flowers next spring.
I’ve been holding myself back waiting for the right time to cut things back. I get the urge to do it as soon as things begin to look ratty. Well, time is fast approaching. Time to tidy the garden, plug up all the holes the birds use to nest in, continue making the yard safer for the dogs next summer (ie keep them safe from snakes).
Lots to do.
Always.
z

grooming room leash storage

The grooming room is slowly taking shape. I’m moulding it into ‘my’ space.

And by ‘my’ space I mean I’m slowly filling it with things which I love, I made or which suit my needs.

Don’t know if you remember the tap coat rack I made a couple of months ago…

Well, I really liked it. And I needed somewhere to hang dog leads in the grooming room. Ideally somewhere near the door so I wouldn’t forget to hand people their leads as they leave with their dogs.
I’m notorious for forgetting. I still have some leads left over from last year…
Another thing I needed was a chalkboard on which to write dog names so I would know which lead belongs to which dog.

So I made this quick chalkboard, lead hanging thingy.

Ok, the spacing between the taps is off. No idea how I managed that as I actually did measure it all out before drilling holes… But I’m talented that way.

The chalkboard part is part of a box I’d pulled apart. I made a key storage out of one part, and I still had one door and a couple of box sides left.

I used the door for the chalkboard and one of the sides for the tap rack. I had a bit of the green paint I used on my meat safe towel cabinet left over…. it was almost dry but I managed to dry bush it onto the timber piece.

Do you get a sneaky feeling I like green? That antiquey greyish, bluish green?

Why on earth would you think that?

z

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my new towel cupboard (in my new grooming room)

Yes! I’m in the new grooming room!

Its not finished. Well, not entirely. But then again, is anything ever really finished?

Ok. So the grooming room is usable-finished. I began using it as soon as I got the vinyl down on the floor. Even before I had most of my stuff moved in there. Or the door finished. But I have a new cupboard for my towels!

I’m sorry I don’t have any before photos – cause when the urge to paint hits, well, its all I can do to put on painting clothes!

***** I found the before photos. Well, more like the ‘almost before’ photos. Here it is with legs and masking tape…

And here it is with the painting just finished.

I got this little meatsafe/cupboard from a tip shop a few years ago. It had no top or legs, and was a stained and varnished wood colour. But the metal screen was fine.

I used a piece of pine I had to make a top for it and searched my leg collection for some legs that would work with it. I wanted it tall enough to be out of ‘pee’ reach.

It IS a grooming room after all!

I had some old green paint from a room I painted long ago (it was a hideous colour, no idea what I was thinking!). I poured some of it into a plastic container, added a bit of light blue I’d made up for another project and voila: the perfect antique green!
Being the lazy sod I am, the only prep work I did was mask off the handle, hinges and metal screen.

Since I chose not to sand, I mixed some fine grout into the paint, making it a chalk-like paint and just slapped it on. It took 2 coats. Once dry I gave it a light sand to encourage a chippy look.

The new towel cupboard sits behind the inner door of the grooming room. Its not big enough really, but its pretty. I might one day make a base for it, another cupboard… Who knows? For now it holds clean towels and my cd player.

So here’s a pic of the other side of the new grooming room, in use! Erik lies on the table with the dryer on him. Such a good boy. He didn’t move while I changed cds and took the pic!

There’s a lot to do but I’m taking my time. The old grooming room wasn’t perfect by any stretch, but I got used to it – I worked in there for 7 years! It kind of grew around me. It’ll take a while for this room to grow around me too. I’ll need shelves and hooks for my tools. I’ll need pictures on the wall and hooks for leads…

I’ll need to put the window on the door! And a door handle!

Its a work in progress.

z

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mounted pug head

Thought I’d share a little project I’ve had sitting around for a while now.  This is Pugsly. A mounted pug head.

The best kind of mounted pug head: a fake one.

This little guy is made from old newspapers, diluted PVA glue, air dry clay, old comics and an old cheese board as a mount.

Talk about recycling.

Doesn’t everyone need a wall mounted pug head? Especially one as cute as this little guy!

I’ve listed him for sale on a Facebook selling page but no nibbles so far. I’m keeping it a secret from him so he doesn’t feel rejected and unloved. You have no idea how much a depressed pug head can bring down the mood around the house.

z

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my new farm gate

Progress on the new grooming room is slow. I had one day where things kinda just flowed and things got done. I was up on ladders, using my arms and head to hold up sheets of MDF to the ceiling and using the nail gun to secure them there.
Then I ran out of MDF.
Turns out I’d measured correctly but remembered wrong. I needed 6 sheets (of the biggest size I could handle on my own) but remembered to buy 4.
Live and learn my friends.
So, having NOT finished the ceiling I couldn’t very well finish everything else. I had one and a half walls I could put ‘skirting boards’ and ‘cornices’ on.
I placed those words in quotation marks cause I’m not using either cornice or skirting boards for the job. I got plain pine boards cause it was the cheapest way to go. The end result is the same: I’m covering gaps where walls meet ceiling or walls.
Having done the bits I could do without finishing the ceiling, I looked around at what I could do next…
…and found the gate.
Ok. I didn’t find the gate. I found the gate was a job I could do which wasn’t affected by the unfinishedness of the ceiling.

I had planned to use pallet wood to make the gate, but I had 2 long pieces of old tassie oak flooring outside the grooming room, in the tiny yard, just waiting for a use. So I used them.
Firstly I had to measure the distance between the cement slabs the casita and the tiny shed (its an aviary) are sitting on, then the distance between the walls. I’d already attached an extra post to the one on the side of the casita which holds up the porch roof so I could swing the gate off it.
I cut my timber pieces the height I wanted – tall enough to stop a dog jumping over them. 
Then I did what any sane, mathematically challenged person would do: I marked the measurments out on the floor and lay the timber down, spacing the boards by eye and laying the cross pieces over the top. Good enough for me.
I joined all the boards together using screws then reinforced those with nails. 
I cut my Z pieces. I did two cause I couldn’t work out the angle to cut a single one on… I did say I was mathematically challenged! In order to save wastage I went with 45 degree angles and 2 Z pieces. It should work fine.
I hope.
Last I used some nice strong chicken wire over the back of the gate cause the gaps are big enough to allow dogs through. I had wanted a picket style gate with small gaps but I didn’t want to spend money on treated pine or fence pickets.
This is one heavy gate cause tassie oak is heavy stuff. I had to get some pretty strong hinges from Wayne’s collection of rusty items to hang them with.
I love my new rustic gate. It fits between the wall of the casita and the aviary and will stop dogs from escaping into the paddocks.

I’ll be putting a bolt onto the gate at #1, put a hole into the aviary wall for the bolt to slide into.

#2 shows where the end board is cut short to accommodate the height of the concrete slab. I found I had to reinforce that spot as the wire could have been bent by a particularly insistent dog bent on escape. (haha)

#3 is where a sliver of wood was removed to allow the gate to swing without hitting the concrete on the casita side.

All in all, a job well done.

I’ll finish this post with a gratuitous photo of a poodle: Romeo was overseeing my gate-building efforts. He approves.
z

update on the grooming room

Well the grooming room is still far from finished.
You can’t rush these things. It takes time to think, measure, plan, get your materials together, find the energy, the time. Have you ever noticed how much STUFF needs to be done when you plan to spend a day working on a project?
… Then one day the planets align and things start happening.
Yesterday was that day. 
I’d already drawn a ‘map’ of the last wall, drew in the posts and noggins (that’s the brace type of horizontal studs, yeah, I didn’t know that either), numbered and measured the drawers I’m going to use, and, using Illustrator, did a jigsaw puzzle to figure out how to fit it all together. The map helped me figure out where I needed noggins to secure the drawers to the wall.
I went down to the casita, turned on the air compressor and began putting noggins between the posts where the map told me to.
I then pulled out all the sheets of masonite I had stacked against the wall in the workshop area. I knew I had used sheets but had no idea how many and what sizes.
Turns out I had 1 large sheet of 6mm, 3 smaller sheets of 6mm and 3 medium sized sheets of 3mm.
Naturally I began with the largest sheet, starting in one top corner. I measured, cut out a nick to make it fit properly, trimmed it down so I could join the sheets on a post, then measured it again and cut it again as I got it wrong first time. Thankfully I cut it too long, not too short. Phew.

The biggest sheet at the top far end is painted green with a bit of white over one section. That obviously came off a wall somewhere. The darker, smaller pieces came off the floor when we ripped up the vinyl in the kitchen. I was sure I had more of that stuff, but I don’t. Must have thrown it out cause most sheets cracked when pulling them up.

Whatever.

I used the 6mm stuff for the top of the wall since that’s where I’m going to put my drawers.

The bottom area won’t have things hung on it so I used the 3mm masonite there. That’s all painted yellow, also obviously second hand. I have no idea where these sheets came from as I didn’t remove them from anywhere. Another of the bonuses we got when we bought the farm. Like lots of old bricks, old timber and loads of rubbish.

I had to overlap the thinner sheets a bit cause I didn’t work that out well (ie the joins aren’t on posts. ooops.) so I used liquid nails and nailed them as best as I could. This wall will hold crates and dog beds so it should be fine. Unless a rhino head butts the wall we’ll be good.

It looks funny with all the patches of colour. When its all painted one colour it’ll look much better. I’m sure.
Next step is the ceiling. I’m going to cheat there. I do not want to sand back all the flaking paint and I definitely don’t want to try to fix the saggy or gappy bits. I’m going to get some thin MDF and just cover it.
Easy.
Famous last works.
Anyway, we’ll see.
Of course there’s still one more wall. The interior wall. I can finish the room and leave that wall as it is and still groom, with the old timber showing. In fact, that’s what I planned to do. But now I’m having second thoughts. I’m wondering whether I should do some kind of patchwork on it…. use old shutters… that’d be interesting!

Like this:

Or this (swoon):

But with all the hair flying around in a grooming room, I’m not sure that would be a good idea. Maybe I should use cupboard doors… less gaps.

Like this:

Or this (swoon):

I’ll have to see what bits I have and how much wall I can cover before I go buy anything new.
Oh, I also fixed the interior door. It wouldn’t close. Its got an exterior lockset and the latch wasn’t catching. Well, I fixed the sucker. I got the hammer and wacked it a few times till it worked. Ha.
I also learned how to fit a handle on a door so I can do the exterior door. Thank you YouTube.
So, basically, what I’m saying is that the room is coming along, but there’s still a lot to do:
1. line the ceiling
2. put in powerpoints and lights that work (electrician job)
3. paint all walls and exterior door
4. paint ceiling (once its done)
5. paint the floor
6. put a lock/handle on the exterior door
7. make a window for the top of the exterior door
8. make gates for both doors (to keep dogs from escaping)
9. put shelves in the drawers, paint the drawers, put poodle figurines in drawers, put glass or perspex on drawers, put drawers on the wall
10. make a canopy for over the door
11. make a gate for the little yard
12. sort out the ‘landscaping’ in the little yard
13. run screaming into the hills
Sheesh.
Whose idea was it to start this?
Its going to be great! I’ll keep telling myself that.
z

taps and coat rack

What’s on tap for today you ask?
Well, I tapped into my creative mind and came up with this recycled tap coat rack. You could say I tapped this old pine board into a coat rack.
Luckily I had all these things on tap in the workshop.
groan.
Ok, I’ll stop now. 

I love these old garden taps with their patina showing and all. Some are our own old garden taps and some I picked up from here or there, as I do.

I painted the board with chalkboard black paint so you can label the taps for each member of the family if you should so desire. 

Other than showing off my tap coat rack, I don’t have much else to say. You could say I’m all tapped out.
Turns out I had one more left.
z
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kids party cake stands and other things

Since I’m on a roll blog-wise (and I don’t want to let down my fans – heheh) I thought I’d share another work project which was HUGELY successful.

These kids party cake stands were made in my Thursday group. We spent time collecting, begging, stealing and borrowing old/broken toys from anywhere we could find them. I spent ages asking for things on FB and at work via our newsletter and noticeboards.

We also took a few trips to the tip shop to find some wooden or plastic platters and lamp bases to build them with.

The tall one that looks black in the photos is actually a very dark blue. It began life as a tall metal lamp base which was covered in toy animals using liquid nails, then sprayed what we thought was bright orange. Unfortunately the orange sucked big time, so we tried a couple of other colours, ending up with dark blue for the best coverage.

Warning: if you plan to do this at home, beware. Not all spray paint is created equal. And not all of it matches the lid colour…

For the top we used different flat items as bases – anything from old cds to small wooden dishes. These were glued to the light globe holder on the lamp base and provided a nice big surface to glue the platters to.
The top to this cake stand is a plastic lazy susan which spins.
The light blue one was made using a large ceramic lamp base, covered in random toys and topped with a large wooden platter.
Here it is in progress. In this instance we removed the globe holder bit entirely and glued a flat surface to the ceramic base directly.
This one is my all time favourite. Its made out of a pirate ship, tea pots and all kinds of ‘human’ and animal figures plus anything ‘fishy’ we could find.. Oh and the wheels off a toy truck.
Sorry about the bad photo but its the only one I have of the pirate ship in progress.
The red cake stand was made out of a small metal lamp base. The top was a flower shaped bit of wood we found which we sprayed gloss white (all the tops were sprayed gloss white to make them easy to clean). This one also went through a colour change.
You can see below how it started yellow but the yellow didn’t cover well enough. We found a brilliant red (I know it looks a bit pinky in the photos) which looked way better.
Here are the four drying in their first coats of paint. The smallest one with the bowl on top is more like a bowl for M&Ms or other lollies than a cake platter. Its made of a basically flat square base that a light globe fits onto without a shade. We used a snoopy body as the ‘stand’ and surrounded it with Peanuts characters in cars. The top is a wooden bowl I had lying around.
All five were entered as a group entitled Kids Party Collection at the Art From Trash exhibition this year. They sold instantly.
We also had a mirror decorated with toys all around it, that sold too, and we’re now working on another, larger, toy project.
Stay tuned.
z

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