laundry powder tin to dog food container

Sharing a quickie this morning. Lately it seems my life is a series of routine chores, work and making things. Which is great. Except that all day, while outside in the garden, in the workshop or in the grooming room, I’m looking forward to the evening, after the chores are done, I’ve showered and had dinner, when I plan to spend some time doing inside craft type projects.
However reality is so rude. At the end of the day, once its all done and I’m inside, in clean clothes and should be looking at what to do next I find myself deflating like a balloon with a pin hole. First I sit on the couch to eat dinner while watching a bit of TV (and yeah, I know that’d bad for digestion, tell that to my butt which you can land a 747 on) and then, without even realising it, dinner is finished and its 2 hours later and I haven’t stirred.
Last night was different. Mainly cause I hadn’t worked all day. I’d been a social butterfly, running around the countryside doing errands and visiting friends. So last night, once the animals were fed and the car unloaded, I still had energy. Not a lot, but some. So I did a small project I’d been thinking about doing for a LONG time.
I converted a plain old Kmart laundry powder tin into a dog food container.
I’ve had this in the corner of the kitchen for at least a couple of years now, with the Laundry side to the wall. I wanted to do something to make it fit into the kitchen better, plus to label it as a dry dog food container.
I did some googling and found a few dog food ads I liked the look of. I had to find one big enough to fit over the lettering and which would look good in the kitchen. I loved this one, but I had to cut the bottom off as it was too long. That’s ok, the ad works without the details at the bottom.
Using Modpodge I stuck it to the front of the tin, and done!
How good is it to finish one small project that’s been in the back of my mind for years? 
Its like one of those things you nag your partner about for years, then, when he finally does it, you say ‘Well, that wasn’t so hard, was it?’ Meaning he didn’t have to avoid it off for so long and force you to turn into a nagging fishwife. Then you duck.
So here it is – in the corner of the kitchen, next to the free feeding bowl.
And here’s the beauty of ruthless creative cropping. Cause this is what the rest of the kitchen looks like at the moment.
The surfaces were clean about a week ago. I swear. Then I began to put project bits on them for things I meant to work on ‘tonight’… and never did obviously. Instead I chose to do something completely different. But hey. At least I did something. Maybe that will lead to more creative evenings… I can hope.
You may notice the yellow frying pans on the pot rack. Lovely in a minty green kitchen. They were Wayne’s purchase. When he goes away I knock down walls, pull out cupboards and carpets and swap rooms. When I go away he buys kitchen appliances and frying pans.
Oh well. At least now when you look that way you get the yellow dog food ad which sort of ties in with the frying pans. Which are great stone non stick pans on the inside, but the outside… ugh.
So, how much better does the cropped version look? 
It makes me look like a good housekeeper. 
Keeping the illusion alive.

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new kitchen shelves

Last weekend, Saturday evening to be exact, I got a surge of energy and decided it was time to put up the IKEA shelves I bought months ago. They’re from the Varde series (with those dots over the ‘a’.)
Since I was doing this on my own, and these shelves are incredibly heavy, I had to find ingenious ways to do get them up and level. I don’t advise doing it this way, but needs must…

I’m nothing if not inventive. And stubborn. I got the shelves up.

I had planned to put 2 of these units up (I bought two, making it 4 shelves) but I changed my mind. I decided one set was enough. Not so ‘cluttered’ feeling…. The space above the shelves gives you room to breathe.

For another thing there was no way I could get the other shelf up there by myself, so the decision was easy.

I had always planned to have my mugs and glasses on shelves, on display and easy to access. I love the look and I’ve been the right ones to suit the kitchen. I did have some pale blue mugs but they’re going. I found mint green ones at Kmart that are the perfect colour!

The green glasses are from Freedom. I’ve had those in my wardrobe since we finished the kitchen.

These shelves have a rail with 5 hooks underneath. Since I’d planned to have another shelf unit above this one, the wire cups I made were meant to hang higher, more at eye level. But now there is no top unit they have to hang lower. 

I love open shelves in kitchens. I know things get dusty but I’m perfectly willing to get stuff down and wash it once every now and then.
So, my shelves are up. Its only been about two years since we started the kitchen renovation!

small things big impact – a bench in the mudroom

Day 4 – A bench in the mudroom

Do you remember when I made this little cabinet for my shoes? I always intended it to live in the mud room as a bench as well as storage. But up till recently we’ve always had a dog bed in that spot, somewhere for the dogs to get out of the weather.

Well, winter is coming, and I decided it was time to move the dog beds off the porch and out of the mud room and into the grooming room. Two birds: warmer dogs and we reclaim our porch and mudroom.

So the cabinet moved into the mud room. Its still not finished in there. I had planned to paint all the walls white, but I decided to leave that wall natural, showing the old weathered timber we lined the walls with. It really shows off the drawer front coat hangers I made.
This is another of the small changes and updates which I’m finally catching up on and which make so much of a difference.
The photos make the mudroom look ok, but its not really. Its filthy, the white squares on the vinyl are so grimey and so hard to clean. Possibly not the best choice for a mud room…
Oh well. Choices are made, things are done, decisions are proved to be wrong. Such is life. 
I still love my floor, but maybe not in this house, in this yard, with these dogs and with this man.

moving forward on the house painting

We have a week off work for Easter. Naturally my list of projects to do is huge.


Long even.

One thing I planned to do, providing it didn’t rain, was finish painting the outside of the house. Its not too much to want a single colour on all the walls…

Around here painting the house is more an ongoing project than a ‘do it once and don’t do it again for 10 years’ kind of thing.

I think I started painting the house about 4 years ago.

I’m a speedy worker.

Its still not finished by the way… the back porch needs the high areas done and, realistically, it needs another coat already due to the exposure on that side.

So, when we built the front porch I had painted all that front area (except the beams up above). Then we put in a new window in the kitchen and needed to patch walls. And we decided to enclose that area of the porch so there was a lot of raw wood to paint.

This past summer I gave all those spots an undercoat and thought that, really, how hard could it be to finish the job with a couple of topcoats?

One thing I’d been planning on from the start, was a window shelf for plants under the kitchen window. I had this little grey one from the living room so put it on the outside of the enclosed porch. The brackets need adjusting so its come off now, but I was dying to see what it looked like.

Kinda cute.

It sits above the gas bottles for our kitchen. Another project for that mythical ‘one day’ is to make a box to hide both the gas bottles and the rubbish bin. Two birds – hide the bottles and keep the bin safe from the dogs.
Not that my dogs rip open rubbish bags. They prefer live chickens… sigh.

I had bigger plans for the kitchen window. This old shelf was in the white timber shed which is being used just for storage. I got Wayne to remove it yesterday and with his help (its a heavy sucker) I screwed it onto the wall under the window.

All I did was give it a good scrub and a light sand to get rid of loose paint. I love the chippy look and the various colours showing through it.

One thing I’m doubting now is its position. I think I need to put it lower. The kitchen window isn’t deep and having the plants overlap the window so much makes the window look narrower, and from inside I feel like I’ve cut out some of the view.

What do you think? I’m thinking of lowering it by about 5-6in.

Another thing I plan to do is cut a frame for that window. All our other windows have aluminium frames which were blue and I’m (still) in the process of painting white. A frame around the window will tie it in with the other windows better.

So, after doing about 2 hours of work on the second coat this morning I had to stop. I felt exhausted, weak, had chills and a bit nauseous. I hope I’m not coming down with something. Not on my holiday!

I think I’ve done enough for today.


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what happened to the drawers?

So what happened to the drawers when I decided to make over the tallboy into a linen cupboard?

They became hat and coat racks of course!

First some destruction was called for. I got out the hammer and clobbered the drawers till they came apart.
I then removed the timber knobs and filled the holes. I gave them all a light sand and went through my paint pots to find colours that were similar but not the same. I painted them all in shades of greeny blue.

Yeah, for those who’re observant, there are only four drawer fronts there. There is another one but I didn’t need it for the project I was working on. It’ll appear somewhere else later on no doubt.

I used different hooks – these hooks were sent to me by a good friend in the USA (we can’t get them here) and they’re perfect for hats.

I put the hat racks up high and the coat racks underneath. I had to stagger them in order to fit them on the mud room wall. You can see where I had to put the electrical cable over the top one. Ugh. Not pretty, but here in real life, as opposed to decorating blog-land, things like that happen.

The coat racks have mismatched hooks collected from tip shops over time.
I’d originally planned to paint the entire mudroom antique white. Now I’m not so sure. I’m starting to like the rustic timber look.
I’ll paint the pine lined ceiling white and I’ll probably repaint the two house walls to match the outside of the house. But I’d already started undercoating the left side wall (with the window and sink) back when I was sure I wanted it all white. I guess I’ll paint that wall to match the other two. That will leave one weathered timber wall. It’ll be a feature wall.
I love the way the coat and hat racks look on the old timber anyway.

I also found a home for my crystal dripping tap wall art. Its been in the casita since I made it cause it needs somewhere out of the wind. I added another hat hook to it and voila, another handy spot for a hat!

This one’s on the wall I have to paint (plus you can see the terrible paint job someone did on the toilet door!) so it’ll stand out more. But that also means it’ll have to come off one day. I hope I never have to take the other ones off. Ever.

…Am I the only one who manages to twist the top off screws?


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polished concrete

Have you noticed how suddenly its all about polished concrete? Like its the big new thing, better than sliced bread, bigger than Ben-Hur, the new in thing, the must have…

I’m confused.

I grew up in Greece (well from aged 10-24 anyway) and to us there polished concrete – with exposed aggregate – was everywhere.

It wasn’t trendy.

It was boring, old fashioned and we couldn’t wait to get rid of it. When Dad built our new house in the seventies, he went for carpet and tiles. All new homes in Greece that I know have floorboards, tiles or carpet.

Yet here in Australia, everyone seems to be going bezerk over polished concrete.

I’m confused.

Mind you, I get the polished concrete where the aggregate isn’t exposed. Its just shiny grey and somehow more interesting to me… cause to me, the exposed aggregate type of polished concrete is not special.

Its the floor in my aunt’s kitchen. Its the floor in our first house till we put carpet over it. Its the floor outside the monastery on Paros, and in the church, and just about every single old floor I ever stepped on.

How did it become the new up market thing?

Someone better tell all those greeks they’re on the cutting edge of interior design!


a new chalkboard for the new kitchen

One of my friends said this corner of the kitchen looked wierd, with the little shelf and the mixers. Well, this corner is still the same as its always been since we bought the house. Only difference is its now a different colour.

And this narrow strip of wall always held a calendar.

Not even a really nice calendar most of the time.

When planning the new kitchen in my mind, I always thought a new chalkboard would look nice there… for our shopping list.

We already have a long narrow shopping list chalkboard near the fridge, but I have something else planned for that spot. Plus, I wanted a much more elaborate frame for the kitchen and this one fit the bill.

It had been painted a bright red before I got it and I thought that would make a nice contrast to the greeny/aqua colour I painted it. I used milk paint for the first coat and acrylic for the second. No idea why. It just seemed like a good idea at the time. It gave it a roughed up look which is fine by me. I added a little ‘age’ (or grime) with some burnt umber artist acrylic to make the details stand out a bit more.

Compared to our long shopping list chalkboard, this is pretty small. Maybe we’ll save money with smaller shopping lists… More likely we’ll just write smaller.

I used a drawer pull as a chalk holder. Old trick, yeah. But I had 10 of these pulls. I bought them for the kitchen drawers and when they arrived they were too small. Alright for my delicate girlie fingers, but not for Wayne’s manly ones.

In other words, I had spare drawer pulls, I may as well use them, right?

This is the only creative, house-related thing I managed to do all this weekend.

Though I did bake again! I made a pasta flora. Its a greek jam tart.

I also made another spanakopita cause I’m addicted. Sorry, no photos of that, but here’s a photo of the baclava I made last weekend.



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Beyond The Picket Fence

DIY – rennovating the living room

Another walk down memory lane. Lets re-visit my house in Fentonbury how it was when I first bought it.

So, you may remember this is how it looks right on my real estate listing as I wait for someone to decide its their dream home:


And this what what it looked like when I saw the original listing. Gotta give it to the owner and agent for staging huh?

And here it is after I moved in.


It was painted white with dark blue and egg yolk yellow trims. Tasteful.

There was a wood heater in the middle of the living room far wall which, I discovered, wouldn’t burn all night and didn’t do much to heat more than just that room.

When I bought the house I came down and stayed for a week just to get a few things organised. It was August and thus freezing cold. I brought down an air mattress and slept in front of the heater, waking up every couple of hours to put more wood on the fire.

Of course, a city like me had no idea about damping down back then… however, the wood heater still refused to burn all night even after I figure it out. It had a tiny firebox so would only fit smaller pieces of wood.
On the area between the bathroom and kitchen there was a laminate built-in wall unit. I used this to dispay items and books. I didn’t do much to the room for a while, just lived in it as it was more or less. At the time most of my furniture etc was 50s as it had come from my 50s style house in Melbourne.

The living room was a newer extension to the house. There was a step up from the kitchen (and a step down again to the bathroom, weird), the ceiling was a bit lower and the window was aluminium (compared to the sash windows in the old part of the house).

First thing I did when I started renovating, was to get pine lining onto the walls and a dado rail. I love that look. The idea was to tie this newer part of the house with the older part. At that stage the dining room had an unfinished dado rail – no lining below it. Once I had both rooms lined with timber below a dado rail the whole area would flow. Seeing at its open plan, that made sense.

The colours I chose were dark brown (Dulux Columbia) for the feature wall behind the wood heater, and a creamy mocha colour for the rest of the walls. Sorry, I can’t remember that colour at the moment. All the trims were painted Dulux Antique White USA.

The room looked warmer and more inviting straight away. The white trims were so much nicer than the egg yolk yellow!

Of course, the carpet was a problem. It had been 2nd hand when it was put in, I was told, and a year of muddy paws running in and out did it no favours. I was itching to get rid of it. However, the floor underneath was not floorboards like the rest of the house. It was chipboard flooring. I had to find a covering which would allow for easy cleaning, be hardy, and look good.

And while I was at it, replacing the flooring, I decided it was time to get rid of the woodheater. The woodheater in the dining room was much better placed to heat the house and more efficient. I liked the layout of the living room much better without the wood heater in the middle of the far wall.

I dislike laminate flooring. I’ve seen it not wear well in others’ homes. I couldn’t afford to replace the floor with timber, so I settled on vinyl. I bought a good quality, non-slip, industrial strength vinyl by Gerfloor. Its taupe in colour and small flecks/flowers scattered through it.

I didn’t want to put vinyl floors that pretended to be something they weren’t. The idea of timber-look alike floors next to real worn floors in the kitchen and dining rooms would have been tacky. And no way was I doing the tile/stone thing either. I wanted something warmer than that. And this vinyl is just that. Warm and easy to keep clean and pretty to look at.
Sure, ideally I’d have liked to be able to afford real timber floors, but this was so much more practical with standard poodles jumping about on it.

An area rug for warmth in winter and a seagrass rug in summer finishes off the room nicely, don’t you think?



This post has been added to a link party at The Thrifty Decor Chic. Why not visit and see other living room makeovers.

Thrifty Decor Chick