bathroom update

The bathroom has become one of those ongoing projects that just lingers…

When we started it dragged on, mainly cause I got the plumber to do the tiling and it turned out he’s a great plumber but not such a great tiler. It took forever. In the end I just wanted him gone so I opted to finish the room myself.

Not that much to do… Or at least that’s how it seemed till I listed it:

Patch holes in the window frame and paint
Remove silicon around the shower where it was stained by the grout and replace
Seal the grout
Paint the wall that wasn’t tiled
Put in skirting boards on that wall, quad in the corners and trims around door
Gap fill and paint woodwork
Put up the towel rail
Sort out a shelf/shelves for above the vanity
Finish the cabinet for storage
Paint and mount the mirror
Make a cabinet out of a window to finish the storage corner

Suddenly, it wasn’t such a quick job to finish…

This week I managed to cross a few items off the list – some cause I did them, some cause I eliminated the need to do them! Always a bonus when you rethink your plans and eliminate steps!


What I did get done:

Attached the towel rail
Broke the vintage mirror I had sitting on the window sill
Sealed the grout
Finished the cabinet
Did most of the door trim

Here is the cabinet’s story. This cabinet was on a pile to go to the rubbish tip. I rescued it cause I could see potential in it. By the time I got it it was missing its doors, shelves and was a total mess.


None of that worried me, I liked the shape. Problem was, it was too wide for the space I had. So I cut it down. I basically had to pull it apart and put it back together again in a narrower shape.


I painted it with a very pale grey DIY chalk paint and put a new dark grey back on it. The dark grey back almost matches the concrete effect wall the cabinet sits against.



The plan is/was to put towels in the larger shelves on the left and make boxes (or buy baskets) to slide into the smaller shelves on the right. These boxes (or baskets!) will hold the kind of stuff you don’t want on display – makeup, hair stuff, whatever. That way, since the cabinet is not in front of the mirror, I can take the box/basket to the vanity to do my hair or makeup… then put it all away again.

Since I wanted to start using it, I’ve gone ahead and made do with what I have for now. I some towels on the right and used some old suitcases to hold other stuff. It’ll do for now!


When I put up the towel rail I was able to put 3 of the screws into the joins between tiles, into the grout. However the last screw had to go into a tile.

Have you ever tried to drill into a tile? I hadn’t. I had to go buy a special drill bit.

I never want to do it again. I bought an acrylic suction type shelf for above the sink. MUCH easier… It gets things off the window sill and out of the way.


I also added a small IKEA mirror for doing makeup.

But I didn’t explain why the vintage mirror got broken… Well, when I sealed the grout I had all the house windows open plus the fan on in the bathroom, but I was still choking on the fumes. When I finished spraying I ran out and left the mirror where it was, leaning against the open window…

When I got back into the house after grooming I found the mirror on the floor, broken to bits. Sigh…

Oh well. At least its not the mirror I planned to put in the bathroom long term. It was a temporary mirror. I still have to paint the long term mirror.


So what’s left to do? Well… I need to finish the door trim. I had enough timber to do it but I cut the top bit too short, then cut another bit and did the angle wrong. Measure 3 times and still get it wrong… I bought some new trim and will finish it this week.

Needless to say I’ll then need to do the gap filling and painting of all woodwork.

What I eliminated from my list was the skirting board behind the cabinet. Without it the cabinet sits flat against the wall. Perfect.

What I’m changing my mind on is the quad in the corners. I dislike quad so I’m going to try gap filler in there and see if I can make it neat enough. If I fail I’ll go ahead and use the quad.

My plan is to make a smaller cabinet to sit on top of the larger one, with a window as the door. Step one is complete: I found the window I have earmarked to use as a door. Now on to making the actual cabinet…

That’s the fun bit!


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we have a vanity!


Yes! We have a vanity.

The bathroom isn’t finished, but today I waved our adopted plumber off for the last time (for this project).

I feel like a weight’s been lifted. I have a heap of work to do to actually finish the bathroom, but the house can now go back to being a home instead of a construction zone.

So, let me remind you what the vanity started out like. I found this little cabinet, complete with a broken top, at a garage sale a year ago.


From the moment I saw it I thought it’d make a great vanity for our bathroom. So it sat in the shed for months till I was ready. I had planned to just fix it up and replace the one we had in our bathroom currently. Till the broken shower moved the bathroom reno to the top of the To Do List.

The plan was to find a sink to put on top and I’d fallen in love with this Ikea sink:


So I had the cabinet. I had the sink. I needed to decide on a colour. Well, that took a bit of work. I ended up with a grey/blue/green colour I love. Its paler than my original ideas, but I’m happy with it. Our towels are sea foam and white, so this will fit in nicely.

Here we are now. Finally.

vanity2 (2)

vanity1 (2)

All I managed to do today after work, was to clean up a bit and move a few necessary items into the bathroom. A vintage mirror just leans against the window for now, toothbrushes close at hand… An Ikea trolley holds bits and pieces and can be wheeled in and out as needed. Our towels are on a timber towel rack for now. The idea being that I can continue to work in there with minimal need to move things back and forth till the bathroom is finished.


For now I’m just happy to have a sink in the bathroom!


new grooming room… almost done!

My new grooming room is almost finished. I mean I’ve been using it for weeks, but I’ve almost got it how I want it now. Not that I’ll ever stop making small adjustments and changes – I am who I am, after all. Being able to say its finished is a big thing for me.
Last week Wayne made me a ‘portico’ for the entrance. I love it. I just wanted a plain old canopy over the door but he created this wonderful little space which protects the door (and room!) from the wind and rain. He used materials we already had – some cedar boards a friend gave us, leftover bits of laserlite and treated pine from the stable makeover.

You can see where I’ve put flashing to stop water from seeping into the concrete. Hopefully that works… we’ll see when we get the next big rainfall.
Of course, you may have noticed there was one problem with this design… Its dark. Too dark. The three single fluoro lights in the grooming room didn’t seem bright enough any more. But I have a cunning plan…. watch this space.

The outside area is almost finished. I put two large pots out there with cuttings from my white hydrangeas in them. Both are doing well even while the original bush the cuttings came from seems to be dying. Even if its not dying it will die soon as I plan to dig it up. Its just not doing well at all.
Anyway, back to the groom room yard… last week, feeling energetic, I decided it was time to fill the yard with pine bark. I’d already lined the ground with newspapers, old rugs, old carpet, whatever I had lying around to stop weeds coming up. I’d ordered a load of pine bark which was sitting in the driveway… I had a shovel and a wheel barrow… what more could I want?

I’ll tell you what: a younger back. 
Or more sense.
I did something like 24 wheelbarrow loads of pine bark. I was breathing hard. I was tired. I was aching. But I kept pushing on. I kept thinking ‘not much more to go and it’ll be finished’…
Big mistake. I stopped about 3 loads short of finishing cause by then I was too sore to move.
I couldn’t walk for a week.
The original plan had been to put some sweet peas along the fence but I’ve decided against it. With the snake incident I’ve become a little bit too scared to let my dogs outside unless I’m home… However the snake lady who came to visit gave me some advice I’m following. She basically said two things: 1. get rid of the food source (ie keep all horse and chicken feed in sealed containers which won’t attract mice and rats) and 2. don’t try to keep snakes out – they will get in anyway if they want to – allow them a way out if they do get in. ie The one thing you don’t want is a snake trapped in with your dog.
So, I’m not putting plants in the ground in my little yard. I’ll let the sweet peas grow on the outside of the fence so if a snake wants to rest in a cool spot, its outside the fence. And if one gets in somehow, it will have plenty of gaps to escape through.
As for the embankment with the tyres – where the snake was – the snake lady suggested we fence it off. Again, using what we have, we decided to put an electric fence across it, thus stopping dogs from climbing onto it, and again, allowing any snakes that may get into our yard a way out.
Lets hope no snakes come into our yard again.
Its looking good though, isn’t it? I have little metal poodles which will have arrows on them to point the way, and a large sign on the wall. Hopefully people will then know where the grooming room is…
Inside is still a work in progress. I have hooks for my dremmel and clippers. I have paintings and photos on the walls. The door has a window and a handle!

Okay, not in this photo, but it does. My first ever door handle! I’m so proud of myself! 
I still have tools lying around everywhere so excuse the mess.

I even made myself a scissor rack. What self respecting groomer doesn’t have a scissor rack?

I have a cute little stool for visitors…

Of course I have a cd player, and a cute poodle planter holds my business cards.

Pictures, paintings, old ads featuring poodles… my aprons on a huge nail and a plaque painted by a friend many years ago.

I bought this mantlepiece years ago and have never had anywhere to put it. I decided I’ll use it as a shelf for now – to display some of my poodle items.

Eventually I’ll have all my poodle collection on display in there, along with items for sale. Since I now have a separate area for drying dogs things don’t get covered in dog hair in the room. Its such a relief!
Anyway, I’ll take more photos soon, as things progress – like the signs and the change to the portico…

progress in the grooming room

Its been slow. I mean, its been months! A project I thought would take me a couple of weeks… ok, a month or so… has taken ages. Partly cause it was a bigger job than I thought (ain’t it always?) and secondly cause I haven’t actually been working on it as regularly as I’d planned.
Things happen. I get busy. You know how it goes. Sometimes a book just has to be read, or a TV show becomes an addiction you can’t ignore.
Despite that, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.
This last week I finished the walls and ceiling. Those were the big things. 

The ceiling was the hardest. I used 3mm MDF sheets to cover the flakey, gappy, holey baltic pine ceilings. I’d have loved to remove the baltic pine to reuse but the job would have been way too big. I opted to just cover it, last thing I wanted was stuff falling down on me every time I groomed a dog. Now I have a smooth surface to paint.

The electrician is coming tomorrow to put my lights in – fluoros so I can see! There are no windows, just the one in the door, so I need plenty of artificial light.

Speaking of windows, I’ve made the window/door frame and have perspex to put in it, it just needs to be painted.

As you may remember, the right hand wall is covered in recycled masonite. It needs a good wash before painting. And everything needs undercoating before I paint the entire space white.

I’m leaving the center panel with its shabby paint look. I love it.

It was really hard to do this room cause nothing is straight. The ceiling and walls don’t have straight edges. Look at the gaps! I did all kinds of dodgey patches to try to minimise gaps. I also ended up lining the back wall which I thought I’d leave as it was (ie old) but I had pine left over. Not enough to go all the way up the ceiling though. I used leftover bits of MDF at the top. Very unevenly. I figure once the entire space is painted white and I put things on and against the walls no one will notice.

I hope.

Don’t look at the mess in the workshop outside the inner door.

This is better. Forget you saw that mess.

The room is clean now, swept, tools and rubbish cleared out. I just have to wash walls and move the compressor back to its spot in the garage and I’m ready to paint.

Outside in the tiny yard I’ve put flashing against the bottom weather boards to stop rain soaking in over the concrete slab. Hopefully that will stop any dampness – not so much in the new grooming room but in the old one.

I’ve sprayed weeds and have cardboard and newspaper to spread over the ground, then I’ll get pine bark to fill the space which will keep it from getting muddy.

Meanwhile, it’s been so windy here that I’ve had to go to extreme measures to save my little silver birch. There was a huge cosmos flowering to the left of it but it was broken by the wind. So sad.

The garden is looking awful right now. Everything that flowered in early spring has died (or gone to seed). I now have to find the time to cut back the dead stuff and pull out weeds. Then all I can do is wait for the summer flowering stuff to start looking good. 

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.

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.


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.
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
Whose idea was it to start this?
Its going to be great! I’ll keep telling myself that.

slow progress in the new grooming room

Its been slow going in the new grooming room.

Mainly cause I haven’t been working on it. I’ve been either too busy or too lazy. After all the knocking out of old walls and emptying the place out I kind of lost steam for a while.

I had to buy pine lining for the walls and even though I bought the cheapest stuff around it was still a lot of money. That put a damper on things for a while. Then I didn’t know how to use the air compressor. Then I realised I needed the right nails for the nail gun.

Then I chickened out a while cause I was like “What on earth was I thinking? I’ve never done anything this big in my life before!”

But its just a shed, right. Who cares if its not perfect. It’s not like its the kitchen, right?

I already had the door, a lovely old door with a missing glass panel on top. I sanded it back, plugged all the holes and clamped it with some glue to make it stronger. But it needed a bit off on one side. I was too chicken to tackle that with a circular saw…

Well, a good friend came out and gave me a hand to get started. She’s done this sort of thing before. She knew how to use the compressor and how to change bits on the nail gun and she’s tackled way bigger jobs than this. As a result, the door was trimmed down with her saw (one that’s made especially for cutting long straight lines) and hung. And the wall around the door (the smallest wall) was done.

Yes, I can see light too. The ceiling in there is really crap so there’ll be a lot of fiddling to get the wall to join the ceiling properly. Maybe I can just put up a board and cover the holes?



Today, before it got too hot, I tackled the other wall. I stopped when I had to climb up and down for each board. Plus I had to stop birds from getting into the wall before I got to the top. I chose to staple bird wire into the gap between the flat roof part of the casita and the wall cause there were a LOT of bird skeletons in that wall. I don’t want that happening any more. I mean its awful hearing them in the wall and it smells when they die.

I also gave the door its first coat of paint, an oil based 3 in 1 undercoat. It’s an exterior door. It needs to be protected from the elements, hence the oil paint. I normally prefer water based paint cause it doesn’t smell as much and dries quicker.

Last week I got a tin of aqua enamel deep base on sale and had it tinted a bright blue. I’m thinking that’ll be the colour on the outside of the door. I was planning on white for the inside and I’ve left the inner bottom panel unpainted cause I love the chippy look (though I sanded it back so there’s no loose paint any more). I could change my mind and do the whole door blue, but we’ll see. I like the chippy paint and don’t think that’d go with the blue.

Of course, the door still needs a window. I have to see what timber I’ve got and make that. I’ve made doors before successfully (see my new linen cupboard) so how hard can it be? I think the only time I’ll run into problems is when I have to use the router to make a groove for the glass to sit in… never attempted that before. It’ll be fun for sure!

Actually, I think you’re supposed to do that BEFORE you make the door. Yeah. I’m sure of it…

YouTube to the rescue!

That will leave me with two more walls to do. I don’t have enough pine lining for all the 3rd wall so I’m having to get creative. I have quite a few large masonite pieces which I kept from when I removed the lino in the kitchen. I’m thinking I should have enough to cover that wall. Once its painted who will know? Especially when I cover it with old drawers! (Wait and see!)
Its getting to the good bits now. And I checked. That room is way cooler than the current grooming room, even on a really hot day like today. With both doors open there’ll be enough of a cool breeze to keep me sane.
Oh, see that play pen side? That will be fitted to one or other door to keep dogs in. There’s a tiny yard outside the room which, once I fit a gate to the back part, will be totally secure. Its been cleared out and I’ll be putting down newspaper, weed mat and pine bark to keep it dry and clean for visiting dogs.
Its all happening here.
If it wasn’t so hot.
I think I’m only good for a few hours work when it’s hot. Then I need to do quieter stuff. Not like I haven’t got tons of that to do either.

new grooming room stage 1

Oh man!
I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus.
I started work on the future grooming room today. I worked on it for about 6 hrs then had a shower and called it a day. It was a gorgeous day, I should have sprayed weeds and brushcut after ripping out walls, but I was more than ready to sit on the couch by then.
How about a glimpse of what I’ve been doing? This is what the grooming room looked like this morning. It was mostly empty but there were still quite a few things to be moved out for the ‘blank canvas’ I was after.
I managed to lug the cabinet and all the bits and pieces out of the room. Then I swept up all the rat poop. Eek.
This is what the ceiling looks like in there. Badly peeling.

And badly patched.

With plenty of holes. Ugh.
No idea how I’ll deal with that yet.
The walls were filthy, lots of holes in the plaster (drywall for you americans!), old mold in places, and tons of gaps between the floor and the ceiling. Double eek.

There were quite a few shelves to take down. What I imagined would be a quick job was a monster. Some of the screws were so hard to remove I ended up breaking the plaster and prying one of the suckers off.

Since I’d already pulled out a section of plaster I thought, what the hell… I’ll pull it all off and pine line the entire room. Fresh start. All nice and clean…

Surely that won’t be so hard, right? I mean, how hard can it be? First I’ll have to dig out my drop saw which is buried under garage sale items, then move the bench (which is darn heavy) to a spot where I can actually use it… then I’ll have to measure (not my best skill), cut and nail the pine to the wall. I have a nail gun. Surely I can do that.


Anyway, when I pulled off the plaster on the wall leading to my workshop, which is lined in timber, I found this gorgeous moth eaten wallpaper. I wish it had been in better condition. I’d have kept it!

I found a lot of other stuff too. Bird skeletons for one thing. Oh fun. 
So, in the end I pulled the plaster off all the walls. This is what the room looks like now.

And yes, thats a hole in the outside wall you see there. With years of old bird nests in the wall beneath it. Triple eek.

Mouse droppings, rat droppings, dead spiders (no live ones thankfully), tons of bird dust… thankfully I was prepared for all eventualities.

I’ve organised an electrician to come give me a quote and tell me when he can rewire the room. I need more power points and I want fluoro lights. Sure hope he can do it soon.

Tomorrow I’ll go buy the timber lining I need. I’ll buy seconds quality pine so that shouldn’t be expensive…

First job is to empty the room of all the old plaster – that in itself will be a big task and will necessitate a trip to the tip.

I can’t do all the walls till the electrician has done the wiring but I can start. I can also replace the outside door. I’m considering cutting the inner door in half to create a barn door so I can keep dogs in the room but still have circulating air.

I plan to put some vinyl on the floor to make it easier to clean and better to stand on.

I now have to add “replace the rotten bits of wood on the outside wall” to the To Do List. I never planned to do that. Maybe I’ll just replace the worst ones…

I always under-estimate the time a job will take, or even how hard it will be. Hopefully once the messy stuff is done the rest will flow easier.

I can dream, can’t I?


small things, big impact – improved phone charging station

Its a new month and I’ve had an idea. I’m going to share the small things I’ve been doing lately that make life a little better around here. Its mostly those small things which I’ve been meaning to do for weeks, months, years… that I’m finally making a point of getting around to.
Ok, don’t cringe. I probably still won’t post daily, but for the month of May I’m challenging myself to not only finish a few of the niggly jobs I’ve been putting off for ages, but also to share them in the hopes that I’ll inspire someone to get up off the couch and fix that loose hinge, broken door handle (darn, that reminds me…) or whatever.
I actually started on this challenge last weekend, before I knew it was actually a challenge. Now its all up to me to keep up the momentum.
So, here is Day 1.
Improved phone charging station

I like to change things around a bit… Most of the time I re-arrange furniture (which Wayne LOVES), but I also like to update, change and re-make things I’ve got.

Like this phone station. I made this last year to hold the phone and as a place to charge up our mobile phones. Back then we had normal dumb phones.

Now we have smartphones and they’re bigger than the old ones…

BTW, who saw that coming? Mobile phones kept getting smaller and smaller, then suddenly the trend was reversed and they got bigger and bigger, the bigger the better.

With the new mobile phones and kindles all needing charging…

…and there’s another thing. Back when mobile phones were small and stupid, every single phone had a different charger cause heaven forbid they made things universal. Every household in the world had a drawer full of mobile phone chargers which didn’t fit any phone in the family.

Now, the kindles and smartphones use the same chargers. Will wonders never cease!

So anyway, as I was saying, the new smartphones and kindles didn’t fit on the narrow shelf which used to hold the old mobiles. And sitting them on the top shelf was to risk them sliding off and breaking.

It was time for an update.

This is what it looked like before:

This is what it looks like now with the addition of a couple of timber strips across the front, making a safe charging space.

A small, simple change which makes life a little easier, or neater.

Now if I could just convince Wayne that we should never cook in the kitchen, I might be able to keep the entire room neat…


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no longer an ugly duckling

You’ve come a long way baby!

(Does anyone remember the Virginia Slims ad? or am I just too old?)

I am loving my home. I get so much enjoyment out of stepping out the door onto our front porch and just looking at it and the garden. Sure, the back deck (or the poop deck as its affectionately known) is still a mess, it really needs a roof and bird evictions, and there’s still a healthy farm-like amount of crap around the place… but its home and its becoming beautiful – and I love it.

We went from this:

To this:

What’s not to love?
You can read more about the before and afters here.
Here is the back deck, unpainted, exposed… I have plans for that… one day… till then I pretend I can’t see it.

The deck is welcoming and cosy now. The potato vine has gone bezerk and provides dappled shade in one small area.

Soon the pale yellow banksia roses on the trellis should also hide the water tanks on the left. And once the potato vine spreads a little more to both sides there’ll be more shade in the afternoons.

The plan is that when we roof the back deck we’ll just put more trellis on the corner and make it sort of like an arbour area where you can sit in dappled sunlight with plants growing around you. Perhaps a pink banksia rose… I’d love a purple potato vine but they’re not so hardy, and I’d love a jasmine but I’ve killed two of them so far.

Maybe I’ll stay away from them.

Ah… home. In this pic you can almost not see the bare spots on the weeds lawn where I sprayed Roundup. As I keep saying, if it wasn’t for weeds we’d have no green. 

There is still much to do but at least I can say I’ve managed to do something over the Christmas break. I finished painting the front of the house where we had bare timber from moving the kitchen windows. I undercoated the enclosed porch area ready to paint. And I put up my corner brackets, something I’d been planning to do for the last couple of years.

Now, if I wasn’t such a clutz I’d be out there painting today. Top coating the enclosed area and all the window surrounds.

Instead I’m sitting in the ugly purple recliner trying to move as little as possible.

Why you ask?

I was climbing ladders, on uneven ground, for days painting and screwing in brackets and I was fine.

All I did was water the embankment yesterday and I think I’ve cracked a rib.

I need to rethink riding again… I don’t think I should get on anything with its own feet. I can’t be trusted on my own two feet.

Let me explain: the embankment is made up of old tyres. A bit redneck but in the spirit of recycling, which I’m into big time. Its a steep embankment, impossible to walk up at the best of times. The other day I’d walked along the top tossing down the tyres from the top line that I thought were unnecessary.

Obviously, I didn’t put them out of the way or stack them nicely. I left them where they fell.

My bad.

So, while watering last night I was walking along the bottom of the embankment, a small channel which catches rainwater and directs it away from the house, when I tripped on one tyre, stepped back to get my balance and stepped on another, bounced off it and landed like a sack of potatos.

Hm… not quite. A sack of potatos keeps its shape.

I landed like a sack of potting mix. With a big splat, on my left side, on my left arm and on my ribs. My whole weight just kind of formed around and over my arm so that I had to kind of pry myself up.

After I’d caught my breath… ie about 3 minutes of moaning and groaning in pain.

It probably took me 5 minutes to stand up and pick up the hose again. I’d been lying in the ditch of course so of course I was covered in mud.

Like a trooper, I kept watering. It had to be done, right?

Then I went into the house and sooked to Wayne while I changed and washed the gravel off my arm.

The elbow is bruised but doesn’t hurt. In fact, the right elbow (which was nowhere near the squash zone) still hurts more than the left, but the bruising is impressive.

Its my ribs that hurt. And the weight of my left breast. Youch. (Wayne kindly offered his support. Pun intended.)

I can breath but deep breaths hurt and moving hurts.


I’ve had broken ribs before. Many times.

You don’t want to know.

There’s nothing to be done but rest and patience. So, whether its soft tissue damage or a broken rib, I just have to wait it out.


I still have a week off work and I had so much to do.

NOT happy Jan.


PS. I watch too much TV and have a head full of quotes and movie trivia.