the woodshed gets a door

Hey! I’m back to typing with all fingers! Gently, but all fingers nonetheless!
So here, I am with the promised photos of the woodshed with its new door.
There’s a small drainage ditch in front of the woodshed, so Wayne made temporary steps up to the door as well! He’s a gem.
The door came from an old shed I pulled down at my house in Fentonbury. Its seen a few incarnations…
I used it as a divider in my bathroom in Fentonbury for a while…
I also used it as a ramp when I had puppies who needed a bit of help getting up and down steep stairs.
Now its back to being a shed door. Full circle.

In the spirit of using what we have, the hinges have come off a door somewhere, so has the lovely old rusty bolt. And being that Wayne is clever with wire, he made the bolt work with wire to latch it onto.
Looks great doesn’t it? Even Wayne thinks so. This morning he said ‘I hate to admit it, but the woodshed does look better.’
Score 1 for Zefi.
Though he did roll his eyes when he saw me hang the barbed wire on the door…
You may have noticed the roll of barbed wire lying against the shed along with an old tractor steering wheel and a huge wheel brace. After taking the photos I thought the barbed wire would make a great wreath for the door (hence the top photo).
I’ve got plans for that wreath.
Since when do I not have plans for everything?
Stay tuned.

the woodshed gets a makeover

Ever since we moved into Wind Dancer Farm, I’ve itched to do something about the eyesore which was our woodshed.

Note the lovely heavy duty shadecloth gift wrapping… Very pretty. Not.

Ok. Its just a woodshed.

But I had a dream.

I dreamed of a pretty woodshed.

Something rustic, made from old weathered timber, with signs hanging on it and a yellow climbing rose growing up it.

Ok. The rose will have to wait. That will take a few years to grow up up the woodshed.

If indeed climbing roses are frost and strong wind tolerant.

Anyway, back to the point…

I’ve been itching to give the shed a makeover. It was clad in that dreary shadecloth. And we had piles of old timber lying in the back paddock, rotting away.

Wayne pointed out that we had to use that timber soon or it would be beyond using. At which point I jumped at the chance to bring up my plans to redo the woodshed. Again.

Note: Previously, every time I brought up the ‘woodshed makeover’ plan I got eye rolling.

Bring up using old timber which needs to be used or burned to clean up the paddock, and suddenly Wayne is making plans… Turns out I was just going about it the wrong way all this time!

Over our break (this week we’re on holidays from work) we were going to make over the woodshed!


It seemed like an easy plan.

It would have been if we agreed on the basics of how to go about doing it.

My idea: rip off the shadecloth (so we can see what’s under it), put in extra support bits to nail the timber cladding to, and go from there.

His idea: lay the timber straight over the top of the shadecloth cause he didn’t want to go to the trouble of removing it and cause it would involve moving firewood.

Of course I won.

Mainly cause I said I’d do the removing on my own, as well as moving any firewood needed to do the job.

We started on Sunday morning. Or should I say, I started on Sunday morning.

I spent what seemed like 52 hours (and was probably only 2) removing the shadecloth. I still have scratches, scrapes and a slice just above one of my nails thanks to the shadecloth…**

The heavy duty,  metal infused shadecloth which medieval armour was make of.

Then I put on gloves.

By the end I could only reach 3 sides of the shed as there was firewood piled high against the 3rd side.

In the afternoon we drove the ute out to the paddock and loaded it up with timber. Brought it close the woodshed. Brought out the power tools and got to work.

We did a bit of arguing about what would go where and in the end we compromised.

i.e. I won.

We discovered my circular saw is stuffed. It works fine for a while, then jams and kicks back. No idea what’s going on. We decided it wasn’t worth the risk, so brought out the drop saw. Sensible.

We worked till late on Sunday afternoon and got the supports in and finished one side.

We had sore muscles where we didn’t know we had muscles afterwards. Ouch.

Monday, after a few errands in New Norfolk, we got back to work. This time Wayne cut the timber to size in the paddock using his chainsaw.


Sometimes he has good ideas.

It was quick and easy. All we needed to do was nail up the boards. That meant me carrying them over and Wayne nailing them on.

We got one more side finished and the 3rd wall almost finished till the rain chased us indoors.

Of course, it wasn’t without some stuff-ups. This wall below for instance. This was the result of the following conversation:

“Should I get the level?”

“No. We don’t need a level.”

“Yeah, you’re right. Its just s shed. I want it rustic.”


Tuesday we both looked at it and agreed. We had to rip those boards off and redo that section.

After we fixed the crooked bits, I tackled the shadecloth again. Wayne was really worried that the wood would get wet if it rained, cause the slats don’t fit perfectly.


So, in order to not hear “I told you so” next winter, I said I’d take care of it. I measured and cut the shadecloth, then clambered over the ever shifting pile of wood, legs spread-eagled, slipping and sliding, to nail it all up.

(Note: nail tacks in the back pocket isn’t a good idea if you end up on your butt.)

Then came the fun part. Moving the pile of wood from the outside of the shed to the inside. See it there? under the sagging roofline?

 I cut a hole in the remaining shadecloth and picked up and tossed every single piece of wood into the shed.

My back!

But in the end I had a clean and tidy outside, under cover (more or less) area.

The plan is this: we’ll need to redo the roof on that outside area. Then new wood that needs chopping will be staked there. Wayne does the chopping in our driveway right now, but with this area cleaned out now, he can chop on the grassy bit to the left of the shed where there’s room to swing an axe. He wanted to keep the door (I was all for closing in that whole side), so he’ll be putting an old shed door I brought from my old home on there tomorrow. The side that opens to the undercover area will get made into a large door so chopped wood can get tossed in.

All in all, its going well. I plan to do some more work to the exterior, make a sign for it… stay tuned.

Unfortunately,  I’ve managed to mangle my middle and ring fingers on my left hand. Typing is Really hard with one hand and 1 finger… Its like type, type, backspace, backspace…

How? Well, we took a load of trash to the tip this morning and somehow I managed to jam my fingers in the ute door. YOUCH!

There I was, fingers jammed, swearing up a storm (a couple of men nearby blushed) and trying to pull them free. Took me a few seconds to realise I could open the door with my other hand. I swear, if I’d been in water, I’d have drowned.

**The shadecloth cut is now gone. Sliced off with a bit of my nail bed. Nice.

Nothing broken at least, I had an xray and had a tetanus shot (ouchies). I opted to get the shot in the same arm. Why spread the pain?

So here I am. feeling sorry for myself.

At least I can’t do dishes!


DIY – rennovating the bathroom

I’ve done my share of rennovating. My first house, in Melbourne, was a 1950’s style home with a beautiful deco staircase in front. It needed a ton of work when I bought it – I lived in a construction site for 2 years, only finishing it to sell it. Ain’t that the way?
When I moved to Tasmania I wanted a house I could move into which didn’t need any major work. Not structural work. In Melbourne I had to remove walls and move doors. In Fentonbury I only needed to revamp the kitchen with paint, enclose the back porch for grooming, paint everything… and put in a new bathroom.
I thought I’d share the adventure just ’cause I can.
Warning: the following photos may offend people with delicate sensibilities.
This is what the bathroom looked like when I bought the house. Yet I still bought it.
Am I the only person in the world that can look beyond something like this? Our current bathroom is just as bad. And my first house in Melbourne, well… that was worse than both put together. 
There was a small clawfoot tub which I actually really liked. And a cupboard bolted to the floor and wall which acted as storage and a room divider (privacy for the toilet). That had lovely oak doors but was a boring melamine cupboard. And it really took up a lot of space in the small bathroom. The only reason you could get past was that the clawfoot tub was very small.

What about the colour, huh? White walls, ok, blue and white vinyl on the floor, ok, egg yolk yellow trims….

Notice anything? Taps in the middle of the tub… and no shower! Obviously the family of 7 who ‘rennovated’ this house shared the bathwater… eeech. No thanks. I prefer my water running fresh and clean.

The clawfoot tub was gorgeous. It was a small thing, not that practical but oh so cute. I’d love to have kept it, but it was so ridiculous. It was a round type, with the nice lip around it, not squared off like our current one (yes, I have another clawfoot tub). I even loved the pink. But years of filling the tub with water and sitting in it, water splashing behind and under it had rotted the floor/wall. It was only a matter of time till I got in to shower and landed on the dirt below the house.

I needed a new floor.

Interesting wall treatment. In theory. I mean, I used mini-orb to redo the bathroom walls (that’s mini corregated iron in zinc finish). They used sheets of colourbond and they alternated them right way (blue), wrong way (grey) for artistic effect.


I hated the vanity unit, and I really hated the taps. Since I had to live with what I had for a while I put up a circular curtain rail and a curtain, got myself a handheld shower thingy with a wall attachment and spent the next few months showering while trying to uncling a cold curtain from my body. I also painted the vanity, changed the knobs to make it more acceptable.

Below are photos of the rennovation started. When the colourbond came off we found holes in the wall. Of course.

I got a friend, ex plumber, to do the bathroom rennovation for me in return for helping him with his show dog. A bit of contra is a good thing when you don’t have much money.

I bought a new bathtub, one that could be built in. Alan put in a new floor for me and moved the plumbing so I could have a shower over the end of the tub.

Having lived through this in Melbourne I was used to living around construction.There’s another advantage to this for a dog breeder: all my pups were well socialized to power tools.

Eventually the bathtub was in place, a large angle rod went up for the curtain and I could finally shower without peeling cold wet curtain off my butt.

I had this great curtain I’d bought at IKEA I was hanging out to use too.

I tried putting in the old cupboard but it didn’t fit. The new tub was much longer and wider than the clawfoot and the space between the cupboard and bathtub was too tight. I replaced it with an old shed door – this formed a simple visual barrier so you couldn’t see the toilet when you opened the door. It also served to hold towel rods.

Since I have dark hair and shed like a collie, I opted for dark vinyl on the floor. Nothing worse than long dark hair on light floors.

The bathroom had originally had a sliding door which I hated. I removed it and replaced it with a 2nd hand shed door. (Have you noticed I love shed doors?) I didnt paint the bathroom side of the door for a long time cause it matched the weathered room divider door.

You may notice I also clad certain areas around the tub and the walls below the mini orb with old fence palings. Going with that rustic look.

Oh yeah, and if you noticed I painted it lime green.

I have no idea why I did that but it seemed like a good idea at the time. It was bright…

Here’s the door from the outside, painting started on the door frame.

Eventually I painted the door Antique White USA on both sides, same colour as all the woodwork.

I got sick of the lime green and repainted the walls a gorgeous soft blue colour. I had a friend put panelling on the walls and the bath surround, eliminating the rustic look. I moved a tall narrow bookcase I had into the bathroom, panelled the back of it to match the walls, then painted it blue and white. It became the privacy divider plus great storage for towels and other bits and pieces.

I bought a new shower curtain which was perfect for the new colours and painted my old cane laundry basket white. All that needs now is lining made from blue and white ticking. Lovely.

Big difference huh? From this:
to this:
Much better huh?

It’s a room which actually feels welcoming now, fresh and clean and spacious. And it didn’t cost the earth either. I bartered for some of the work, used what I had where I could, and did as much of the work as I could myself.

Now on to the horrific room that passes as a bathroom here… that will take time.


in the trenches

It was a disaster waiting to happen. I mean, we knew it was coming… we just stuck our heads in the sand and hoped that if we pretended everything was fine, that it would be fine.

When we first moved in over a year ago now, we had a problem with the plumbing. The shower started to back up, the sink wouldn’t empty and we got smelly as we waited to the plumber to come fix the problem.

It turned out the pipes under our house were all 1/2 the size they needed to be to carry away grey water from the house. We found a nice plumber who came and replaced all the pipes under the house for us and said he’d be back to replace the rest when we dug them up in the yard to the sullage pit.

Obviously, we didn’t do that. We thought ‘if it ain’t broke’ and carried on like ostriches till the water started to back up again. Last week I timidly said ‘Wayne, if I tell you something, will you promise not to yell?’ Of course he yelled. Words I can’t repeat for fear of being sensored.

But the fact is, we knew it was coming.

So, poor Wayne spent 2 days outside digging up our entire yard. This time, for once, he didn’t accidentally hit a water pipe – he was actually looking for water pipes!

What he hit this time was the phone line.

I wouldn’t have minded, but imagine all the calls from New Delhi telling me I won a cruise to Atlantis if I just buy $50,000 of aluminium siding I missed!

Wayne tried to tell me it was my fault. He said it was all the long distance phone calls I made which stretched the line and wore it out.

This afternoon it looked like WWI in our front yard, trenches everywhere. We had 2 Telstra trucks here as men crawled over the yard trying to find the fault in the line.

Its fixed now, so thats a relief. I would have missed the call from a nice man trying to sell me a new mobile phone otherwise.


progress on the mud room

The guys have almost finished the mud room. The reason its not finished yet is that there are still a few minor bits and pieces we need to finish it, plus it still needs a ceiling. I’m not overly worried about the ceiling at this stage – it has a roof and its not leaking. That’s a bonus whichever way I look at it.
First, the mud room used to be a small porch. Chris and Wayne put up stud walls, we bought a window to go in one wall and they clad the external walls. Last time Chris was here they started on the interior walls. I wanted the walls lined with timber and we had a pile of tassie oak flooring so we used that. Its not all one size but I’m easy (in some things) so what I got the guys to do was randomly alternate the thin boards with the wider ones to create interest.
Over Easter the guys put some plywood down over the decking to create a level surface and I went and collected the roll of vinyl I’d found in a shop way on the other side of Hobart. This morning they put down the vinyl… I love it. Love the 50s black and white tile look. Their laying of it isn’t perfect, but it’ll do!
I had also bought some skirting boards on the way from collecting the vinyl and I had time to paint it before it was put in place. I’d never had the time to do that before. Sure makes life easier.
As I said, its far from actually finished yet, but the main stuff has been done. The mud room and toilet both have vinyl on the floors and skirting boards. Only the house ‘exterior walls’ needs a bit of skirting board to finish them and that’s my job to buy, paint and put in place. I also need to buy some trim to go around the window.
Once thats done I’ll fill gaps and paint… and then the best bit: decorating! I have such ideas for this small room. The main idea is to get all the coats and jackets and shoes (oh so many shoes) into one place in an organised fashion… well, I can dream.
The new/old front door is in place with a deadlock on it. It still needs a handle but I’ll find one I like in my travels somewhere… The door needs 2 panes of glass in it but till we get the glazier in to do that, Wayne’s put in a bit of plywood to stop the howling wind. 
Going to the toilet is so much warmer than it used to be! 
Better go and tizzy up the gourmet pizzas we bought for dinner tonight and feed the monsters. The dogs too.  

i need a holiday

Just a quick post to let you know I’m still alive… but barely kicking. I’m exhausted and my arm has been sore since I woke up this morning. Usually it has the good grace not to hurt till I’ve been working for half the day. I’m not impressed.
I know I’m always saying I’m tired cause I’m doing too much, but I’m really working my butt off. Pity its still as big as ever… its just not fair.
So, photos of projects will be coming soon, as each is finished, but I’m still working on the kitchen chairs, a coffee table, a coat rack and some smaller projects. 
Meanwhile, the sign outside the door has changed – this one inspired by a sign on Pinterest. Love it.
Montana is fine, but still not her usual self. She’s sooky and isn’t eating much at all. Yesterday when I started packing the car with stuff to take to Fentonbury she got in and stayed there all day. That’s not unusual, she loves the car. Sweet girlie. I hope the results are all good.
Meanwhile, Chris has been here since Friday and the guys have been working on stuff. In 3 days they lined 2 walls in the mudroom (they do look great) hung our new/old front door, bought and installed a deadlock on it, and I think they connected a downpipe to our new guttering – a good thing too cause its been pouring.
In the same 3 days I made a chalkboard and painted an old frame for it, sanded and undercoated and did 2 topcoats on a coffee table, 2 chairs, a louvre door and a coat rack. Groomed 3 dogs, 2 of which were standard poodles, did the washing and folding of  laundry, loaded the car with things to take to Fentonbury, entertained visitors, went to Fentonbury and cleaned the house and started getting it together, washed dishes countless times and avoided cooking.

Why is it that when men work they take so many breaks? Maybe if I adopted their more relaxed attitude to working I wouldn’t be wearing my wrist brace during the day and moaning about the pain…


DIY – paint it white

Since this last week has been flat out work-wise and I don’t have anything new to share, I thought I’d share my kitchen make-over in my house in Fentonbury.

It wasn’t the first house I rennovated, that prize goes to my house in Melbourne. But unless I can find the photos for that rennovation it will forever remain a mystery.

The house in Fentonbury however, was recent enough that I have all the photos on cd so I get to bore you with how I managed to take my kitchen from this

to this

When I bought the house I fell in love with it despite the fact that I hate pine. I loved the space of the kitchen. And I loved the white old country style sink.

Ok… so it didn’t have a drainboard, and, when you don’t have a dishwasher, you kinda need a drainboard. But I solved that problem by buying a plastic drainboard from Howard Storage World. Problem solved.

To be honest, I’d much rather have that sink here, now, instead of the single tub double drainboard sink we have in our current kitchen. I hate that.

Anyway, first thing I did when I moved into Fentonbury was to change the tap in the kitchen. I hate those low taps which you can’t get the kettle or a big pot under unless the sink is empty (who’s sink is always empty? Not mine…)

I put in a nice, high gooseneck tap. I have no memory of how I actually did it so I can do it again here, but I did do it myself.

So… here are some photos of what it looked like when I first moved in. Full of packing boxes to start with…

Then tidier, but oh so dark with all the pine…. From the living room, which was all white back then, the kitchen looked like a gloomy cave even though it had a skylight.

The breakfast bar was really wierd. It was low so that you had to use normal chairs to sit at it, not stools… which meant you were really low compared to the bench.

(The ‘rail’ to the right of the photo isn’t built-in… it was my cot side solution to keeping dogs out of the living room at the time.)

Among other things, there were 3 cupboards that didn’t have doors. On the plus side, my microwave fit perfectly into one of them!

Luckily, the floor was perfect.Polished tassie oak floorboards. I didn’t need to do anything to that.

Another plus – the bench top was gorgeous. Also tassie oak. Beautiful.

I did a few little things to make the room look better till I got the courage to take the plunge and really change things. I removed the little shelves from one side of the sink and moved them to the large blank wall on the breakfast bar side. I added a few more shelves to display my collectables and to hold the coffee and sugar.

I put an Ikea bathroom/towel metal shelf above the corner near the stove to hang pots from. And I put an old bathroom cabinet I’d re-done and repurposed on the wall to hold spices.

The cabinet is solid tassie oak with a king billy pine door that I found at a tip shop for about $5. That’s before they started charging like bulls. I removed the old mirror from the door, sanded back all the old paint to expose the timber. I put a solid tongue and groove back onto it. Added clear glass to the front door and a hand made handle, and voila! Gorgeous spice cabinet!

I’ve always loved the look of painted timber on walls. The only thing which was holding me back from painting the kitchen walls and cabinets was the thought of all that sanding!

Then I thought about ESP (I had used this stuff in Melbourne to paint an old laminated kitchen dresser and I loved the finished product).

So, instead of sanding, I simply wiped on and wiped off the ESP, then painted.

I used Antique White USA for both walls and cabinets. I changed the ugly plastic white handles with some simple black knobs cause they were cheap enough and weren’t brass. I don’t like brass.

I removed the small shelves (relocated them, a couple of them went next to the pantry to hold cook books) and added one large shelf to hold display items. I put another of my bathroom cabinet makeovers (this one with a bird wire door and a metal back) on the large blank wall to hold coffee, tea, sugar etc.

I also raised the breakfast bar. Since the bench overhung on both sides, I couldn’t put the breakfast bar at the same level as the benchtop. I considered leaving it off completely, but then had second thoughts. I just moved up the brackets holding it in place and so there was a small step down to it. I never got around to getting proper matching stools for there…

I made a large frame from old dado rail to hold an old poster I’d bought off ebay many years ago. Below I was testing out how it would look by putting it on a box on the breakfast bar… Very technical.

I added some tin signs over the stove (no rangehood, so many old Australian houses don’t have rangehoods).

Still no doors on those cabinets. The problem was working out how to make doors cause of the position of these cabinets… considering I was making them without professional help. I just didn’t think I could make doors to match the existing ones. No wonder the previous owners had left those cupboards door-less.

I tried curtains but I hated them. Yuck. I lived without doors for a long time till I found the solution.

What I did was make a simple flat door for the microwave cupboard and swing it so it opened toward the oven. I decided flat doors would work fine, flat doors being way better than no doors, right?

I then made sliding doors for the corner cupboard under the stove and the cupboard on the other corner where position made it impossible to hang outwards opening doors. I bought some MDF, cut it to size, got some metal ‘tracks’ and made myself some sliding doors.

Ok… I know I’m not exactly making sense here, but one day while browsing in a hardware store (I do that a lot) I saw these square U shaped metal things. They came in long lengths and looked just the right size to hold a 6mm MDF sheet. I tested them and sure enough, they did. I have no idea what they’re meant for, but I bought a few pieces of the metal, cut them and glued them onto the shelves inside the cupboard.

On the corner cupboard above, where the doors could slide back into the corner I only needed one track top and bottom for each door. On the other side, where the doors had to overlap so you could only open one side at a time, I had to make the tracks double, one for each door so they could slide past eachother.

I painted the new doors the same colour, added the same knob to the flat door but I used sash window openers to the sliding doors.


I considered using the fabric I bought on Paros while over there on holiday a couple of years ago to make curtains for the kitchen. But I realised this fabric would be too thick for the amount of light coming in through that window. I’m glad I didn’t use them there now as I have put them in the bedroom here and they’are perfect for there! They add a touch of Greek island to our room and make me smile.

I needed something thinner. A friend gave me some old tab topped organza curtains which I cut and hemmed and they worked perfectly. They let in all the light and blurred the view just enough.

I can’t give you an idea of cost for the kitchen update but it was cheap. I didn’t need to replace appliances or move anything. I just gave it a facelift the only way I could – with paint and imagination.

Lots of fresh white paint, some new doors, new knobs, a new tap, some personal touches and I had a kitchen I loved.


A work in progress

Wayne’s been working flat out on the stable for the last few days. I think I’ll take you for a small stroll through the history of the stable thus far.

This is what it looked like when we first saw the farm. It was an old shed, housing a tractor and many bits and pieces of rusty engine parts, broken plowing implements, trucks, boat bits, drums of oil and a truck parked next to it. The roof was being held in place by spit and a collection of old tractor wheel hubs and besser blocks.

Before we moved in the previous owner took away everything he wanted to keep. Most of the truck parts, boats and tractors went. All that was left was a falling down shed and a whole lot of rubbish. Really. A ton of rubbish that we are still coming to terms with.
So Wayne started looking at it, considering how to go about converting it into a stable for 2 horses. We only had Wally at the time but were planning to get a horse for me. He found that the roof needed replacing entirely, that the low ceiling on one end of the shed was too low for horses, and that one post wasn’t holding up the wall let alone the roof. It wasn’t even in the ground.
Slowly, over the next few months, Wayne started to rip the old shed apart. He dug holes and put in posts to hold up a new roof for the ‘extension’… only to find the irrigation pipes. Twice. Seems like every single hole that Wayne dug for a few weeks had a pipe going through it. I think we spent more on mending pipes than on anything else during that period.
One weekend our friend Chris came up and together the guys put the first half of the roof on. By then we’d already had Ben join our family so the two bays were perfect for the two boys. Of course, now we also have Dancer which means that the work is far from finished. We need another bay, so Wayne is considering a ‘lean-to’ bay added to the side of the current structure.
I suggest he builds another, similar structure at a right angle to the one we have now – another 2 bays…. Cause you never know when you may need another stable… 🙂