the blind – a win and a fail

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

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

It was time it went.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

z

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photo display and more pet sagas

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Wayne likes to get me little presents now and then. Usually rusty old things. Like a couple of rusty old chests he brought home a few weeks ago. And then this toast rack, hand held steak grill thingy he found somewhere.

I love rusty things (in case you hadn’t realised), and old things, and things which just look interesting. This covered all bases.

So, what did I do with it? Well, first I drilled a hole in the handle so I could hang it in the kitchen to go with my ever so slowly growing and encroaching collection of old and rusty stuff…

Then I put one of my favourite photos of mom and her brother on it to display. I really love this photo. Aren’t they both so gorgeous?

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I added a few bits and pieces to it to add interest…

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Take a step back and have a look at the things around it. The beautiful black and white plate is something I bought at an auction. I think I paid $20 for a box of junk just for the plate. The sieve on the right is something I brought back from Greece. The Mickey and Mini I bought years ago when I lived in Melbourne. The Flintstone characters I’ve had since I was a kid. The black mammy notebook is so politically incorrect but so gorgeous. She was a gift. And the charging station is something I upcycled from an old drawer.

You can read about that adventure here and here.

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Take another step back and you can see what I mean about encroaching stuff taking over the kitchen.

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I started with the two vintage food covers. Then I found some vintage strainers… then I needed another wall…

I’m loving it.

So, where are we with the animal situation? Well, Montana seems fine. She ate another nappy last night (ok, don’t get your knickers in a knot, she didn’t eat it, she chewed a hole big enough to counter any pee soaking effect it might have had). I washed and dried her bedding so its ready for tonight.

This morning I fashioned a funnel out of aluminium foil and chased her when she went out to pee and collected a small plastic container full of pee which I took to the vet. I’m now waiting to hear from them and take her in when they ask me to.

But the adventures don’t end there.

Yesterday morning when feeding the poultry (we have a few chickens, a lot of geese and we feed a fluctuating flock of ducks which aren’t really ours but they live around or visit our dam) I noticed one of the hens was wobbly on her feet. She seemed to cross her feet over as she walked and she’d overbalance like she was drunk.

This morning she was falling all over the place and I know she hadn’t been drinking.

I picked her up and checked her over. I think her feet are a bit swollen, but I’m not really sure. I asked on a FB poultry group (as you do) and got suggestions, advice, sympathy and well wishes. I also asked Dr Google. I still have no idea what’s wrong with her but now I have a whole lot of things I can worry about.

I’ve got her in a dog crate for the night, in the shed where she’ll be warm. I’ll have another look at her tomorrow.

Ah the joys of owning animals. I swear, if this is a fatal infectious disease that kills our chickens I am NOT getting any more.

z

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old window window chalkboard #2

(This was originally published on my Blogger blog, but for some reason when I moved to WP it came across as a draft only. I’m republishing it now as it was featured on Your Funky Junk!)
Time just flies when you’re having fun busy. Don’t know how it is with everyone else, but working from home sure doesn’t mean I have more free time. If anything, it means I have more to do than ever.
I mean, there’s the grooming, which is work and must come first. Then there’s caring for the house jobs, garden and animals. Often the house and garden don’t get their share of care. And then there’s crafting and DIY-ing and just plain making stuff. Sometimes that gets pushed aside as well in favour of work or rest.
Still, I’m managing to do a bit here and there between the bigger jobs like renovating the chook shed and making the new roosting box for Stalag 13. Here is one such small project… the second of the old king billy pine window frames made into chalkboards.
This gorgeous window frame was given a shelf at the bottom – new pine aged with steel wool and vinegar.
Its got a chalk holder as well, this time a sliding door pull I found at a tip shop, sitting down into the shelf.
This frame had much less paint on it so I left it more natural, giving it a couple of coats of polyurethane to seal and protect it and to bring out the grain of the wood.

I really am seriously considering keeping all my chalkboards and covering a wall with them. I think it’d be fantastic. If I had a big wall in the living room or kitchen… which I don’t. Too many doors and windows… the price you pay when your house isn’t big enough for the stuff you make.
… Maybe I can remove a door or two… we don’t need all our doors, surely…
z
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plants for sale

Nothing wrong with diversifying, right? I mean, I groom dogs for a living and I make stuff and I garden. And my garden produces flowers and flowers produce seeds and I end up with more plants and more seeds. Its the circle of life.
As Neil once said on The Young Ones, “we sow the seed, nature grows the seed, then we eat the seed, and after that, we sow the seed, nature grows the seed, then we eat the seed…”
Except for the eating part. I don’t eat my flowers. I admire them. Then collect seeds, sow seeds, grow seeds, you get the picture. As a result I have baby plants growing. I can’t use them all, so I normally sell them at markets here and there. 
Well, I decided that instead of having my plant nursery along the back of the casita where no one sees them, I’d put some out the front of the new grooming room so my customers can see them. That way, if anyone sees something they like they can buy it while I give ‘rover’ a new do.

I made the cute little sign using a timber offcut and acrylic paint. The large basket they’re sitting in is a galvanised bakery basket I’ve had for a few years. I put some metal legs on it and for the last 2-3 years we’ve lined it with burlap and used it to hold carrots for the horses in winter.

I do love my galvanised metal things!

One of my favourite pastimes is moving things around, assigning new uses to old things, etc. 
I wonder how Wayne will feel about the carrot bin disappearing…. hm. He wasn’t too impressed with the wood box moving to Stalag 13 to house chickens…
z
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easy peg bags

The other day I found myself with time on my hands…
HAHAHA. As if.
Actually I didn’t find myself with spare time, on my hands or otherwise. I had to make the time. But this was one project I’d had sitting in a bag on the floor of my office for months. I wanted it gone. Seemed like it’d be a waste to just get rid of these tiny little pants since what I planned to do was a simple little conversion: from tiny people pants to peg bags.

I added patches to them to fancy them up a bit, make them cuter… and buttons on the loops.

I secured them to bits of wood or sticks and make hooks out of wire for hanging them on the clothes line.

This blue jean one is my favourite with its red star patterned fabric patch and the stitched star on the other side.

I even had a dress so I included that in my burst of industriousness. That one has been waiting longer than the tiny pants.

The dress actually is a much bigger peg bag, you know, for those heavy duty washing days. 
z

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old window chalkboard #1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.
z

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storing fabric

Sometimes all it takes to get creative is to have a need.
For instance, a need to store fabric. Or a need to get piles of fabric off the floor, hence a need for a place to store it.
The whole idea of storing fabric is to be able to find the bits you need quickly. The fabric has to be visible, not hidden in boxes and, ideally, sorted by colour.

I needed shelves. I needed narrow shelves. Or a bookcase. 
I didn’t have either. But I had a box.
I had this box, which I’d used as a dog bed when we first moved to the farm, for Barney and Mischa. It was a solid timber box I found somewhere which I cleaned up and gave a lick of paint. The post on how I did this is here.

I made my own dog bed cushions for it and put it in the entrance which is where Mischa and Barney slept as they’d always been outside dogs and I was introducing them to living inside.

After we lost Mischa it didn’t seem right that Barney slept by himself. He moved into the living room with the poodles and the box was put into the store room. Which is where I found it again while looking for something to make my fabric storage shelves from.

It was a very simple re-do. All I did was put small bits of timber on the sides as ledges to sit the shelves on. The shelves were cut from leftover bits of plywood. Easy peasy.
I sat it on the little side table in the office and now I have all my fabrics in one place…. or most of my fabrics… or some of my fabrics… Ok! You got me. I have a large basket full of small offcuts cause I can’t waste anything, a wire basket with real and faux leather bits and a large plastic container with fabrics for doll costumes.
But I do have all my colourful cotton fabrics for things like my anti-bunnies sorted!
z

my newest junky planter

I’ve had this gorgeous funnel shaped THING for a long time. Its some kind of filter, I presume it came from a water tank. I have no idea what it is… like so many of the things I collect, I just liked the shape.
I’ve had it for years. I’ve had various plans for it over the years. I was going to make a light fixture out of it at one stage. But its never happened. Its hung around in the yard most of the time, doing nothing useful.
Yesterday I decided it was time to do something with it. 
I’ve had many hanging planters over the years, mostly ones I made myself out of chains bought from the hardware store and steamers or colanders. I took one of the chains from a steamer with succulents in it and put them onto this rusty piece of gorgeousness of mysterious origins.
Who cares what it was in a previous life? What purpose it served. Now its a proud planter, holding a mix of succulents on the corner of our porch. In summer there’ll be tiny hot pink flowers forming a halo around it.
Below it sit my old mop bucket – one of my favourite planters of all time, the steamer which lost its chain – sacrificed for the greater good, and my camelia, in a new spot.
See, I’ve had this camelia for a year and it wasn’t doing great. Not where I had it… so, I’ve moved it. Its a heavy pot… moving it was pretty much impossible on my own… till I made a rolling base for it!
I used some pallet wood, made a frame and added castors. Now I can move it anytime I get the urge – to where it’ll get more sun, where the frost won’t get it or just a couple of inches to the left.

Meanwhile some months ago I posted about my change of heart regarding geraniums after seeing a photo of pelargonium apple blossom. Well… I was lucky enough to get a cutting of it from a really nice lady. And look at it now!

My formerly black thumb might be getting a tinge of green!
Before I go I’d like to show off my newest toy:

Isn’t that little tricycle the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? Imagine plants in the little wagon… 
Watch this space.
z

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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