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.

our junky porch

Our porch is a receptacle for junk. I mean, its the natural place for it, right? You come home with  your hands full and think “I’ll just leave that here till later” and you put it on the old box Wayne uses for his boots.
Or you step out onto the porch with an armload of stuff that doesn’t belong in the house, or you no longer want in the house, and you think “I’ll just leave this here till later…”  Or forever.
See the oil stain on the decking? Well, that’s where someone sat a chainsaw when the porch was all new and shiny. I won’t mention names, but it starts with “W” and ends with “ayne”.
I’m sure that at the time he was thinking “I’ll just rest it here for a while”… which turned into weeks and a permanent stain.
But its the nice junk on our porch I want to share with you today. Like this rusty birdcage I found at a tip shop a few years ago.

The coat rack I made using big nails and recycled skirting board, with a cute little bird accent.

The rusty propeller (ok, tractor fan) light I made.

The beautiful rusty old typewriter found on the side of the road. You may recognise it as part of one my blog headers.

The old chalkboard, made from something I found once – no idea what it was. Now it hangs beside the door to the mudroom with hopeful advice.

I recycled an old mantle shelf I found in one of our sheds by putting it under the kitchen window for plants or my collection of old white vases. And rusty hooks and other rusty things. Don’t you just love this hook?

My collection of old shears and rusty scissors.

Even the unattractive electricity meter box is dressed up with two wire hearts. The white one was once a wire coathanger…

I have a collection of old galvanised buckets. This is one without holes so I’ve put a pot inside it with my tortured begonia. I’ve almost killed it at least three times.

The fish Wayne made hang on the wall. He made these out of wire and flattened corregated iron. Aren’t they great!

An old, weatherbeaten table, a very comfy cane chair and a kid size chair grouped around an old galv mop bucket bursting with succulents.

A not so old galvanised watering can is now a planter, sitting on an old school desk the sun and rain are doing their best to ruin.

I love our porch, even if it doesn’t actually have much of a comfy area to sit and relax. I just love looking over the garden and enjoying my collection of junk.

industrial rustic table

Today I’m revisiting a project I did a couple of years ago. Not sure exactly when I made this table, but it was Wayne’s second desk for quite a while.
The base of the table is an old office desk from the tip shop. The top was ruined when I got it but that was ok, I got it with the plan of putting a salvaged timber top on it. That’s one plan I actually followed through on!

Up till now I’ve been quite lucky with salvaged timber – when we bought our farm there was tons of old wood just lying around the place, exposed to the weather and rotting away. We saved and reused, then stored what was left over. Wayne fixed and extended the stable using this wood. We revamped our woodshed using it. We’ve gone through a lot of it, but its not all gone yet.

I went through what’s left of the timber to find 4 pieces that matched. I didn’t. But I found some which were close enough. That’s the beauty of rustic… it doesn’t have to be perfect!

I had to brace the timber under the table to hold the slats together, and I used the holes in the metal frame to screw the top on. I then gave it a light sand to make sure there were no loose bits and to even out the worst of the wear.

Of course that ended up taking away the gorgeous grey weathered look I wanted.

Easy fixed. Using a mix of acrylic artist paints I gave the timber a wash, brushing on watery paint then rubbing it off, till I got the colour I wanted.

I used black wood putty in nail holes and filled the gaps between slats with gap filler. When that was dry I gave it a couple of coats of semi gloss polyurethane to make it easy to keep clean.

It was great as a desk. For a while. But it doesn’t have drawers. So I made Wayne a new desk (the less said about that one the better!), and this one is now for sale. If I had a large kitchen I’d keep it for an industrial rustic farmhouse look… but our kitchen is too small for such a long table. Its too cool to end up as a workbench, thus I’m trying to find it a new home.
Sometimes you just have to part with things in order to make room for new creations!

where we’re at

Literally or philosophically? Maybe a bit of both!


Either way, I thought it was time to catch you up on stuff around here.

Everyone is well – dogs, horses, geese, ducks, chickens… us. Although one chicken is looking half plucked. Its autumn… I know they go through a molting phase, but she’s a step above being in a roasting pan by the looks of her.

Meanwhile, we’re down one rooster. We did have two – one was a home bred boy. He’s disappeared. Either he was run off by his dad or he met a sticky end. I haven’t found any evidence to suggest which.

Without rain there’s no grass so we’ve been hard feeding the horses a few months now. There’s no hay to be found anywhere and, if you can find it, it costs more than gold.

Here’s Waldo, sharing his breakfast with the chickens. I give Wally a wide berth… after the time he bit me I’m very wary of his teeth.

Dancer, on the other hand, is a real smoocher. We love that girl! 

We have a new female goose. She arrived one day and paired up with one of the boys. That now makes us the proud owners of 3 couples. I really am afraid of what will happen when they decide to have more babies. We got lucky last year. One of the girls lay 20 or so eggs but didn’t sit on them long enough to hatch them.

Next year when they lay eggs I think I’ll skulk around stealing them!

Our dam has never been so low. Its spring fed and it’s always been full. This summer its more mud puddle than dam. I think we either stuffed up the spring when we had it dug out or the spring has dried up. The dam never seemed to bounce back from being dug out, the water has been like brown soup since… then again, with the lack of rain around here, maybe the spring has just packed it in.

If the situation doesn’t improve I think the geese might move out. Not sure if that’ll make me sad or glad. I love them, but they’re pretty deadly on any plants I try to get growing where they can reach.

I mean the horses are bad enough, but now I had to rethink all the fencing. Not just tall and strong for the horses, also shorter and closer for the geese!

Wayne built a cute bonfire pile in the middle paddock. Won’t be long now and he’ll be out there roasting marshmallows. If he liked them. And if people actually roasted marshmallows in Australia.

It looks like a forest fairy home, complete with a door. I suggested we could do a rain dance one night under a full moon. The neighbours would enjoy that.

Providing we keep our clothes on.

Meanwhile, Wayne and I are doing a regular radio show at our local community radio station. It was my idea, I have a ton of cds and some vinyl from my rockabilly/rock’n’roll days and I thought it’d be a great opportunity to listen to and share my music. So far we’re really enjoying it.

Turns out Wayne is a closet radio announcer! Who knew? He’s a natural.

You can stream it online if you’re out of range, so look us up – TYGA FM 98.9 – 12-2pm on Sundays.

Other than that, I think I may have mentioned I’ve lost my mojo in terms of creativity lately. I just don’t have the motivation. Or energy. Or desire.

My get up and go has got up and gone.

One of the only things I dragged myself out to do last weekend was put up three old mirrors in the mud room. We now have someplace to check ourselves before we walk out the door. Surely that’s a good thing.

When I feel flat like this I have to remember – we’ve done so much to this place since we moved in. All I have to do is look at the old photos to appreciate that.

And darn… I have to remove the Xmas bow from the front door.

I told you I’ve been ‘off’ lately.

Sometimes its ok to just watch TV, read books and rest. Its ok to do nothing for a while.
At least that’s what I tell myself. I’m almost convinced.

an embarrassing desk makeover

This is an embarrassing post… But in the interest of reality, here goes…
I’ll start at the beginning: 
Those of you who know me know that I like rearranging furniture. I also like re-assigning furniture and making it over. And over. Then moving it again.
It keeps me busy and Wayne confused.
When we first moved into our home I created an office for both myself and Wayne. He got an extra large desk and I got a cupboard door on filing cabinets. He never used his desk, preferring to work in the kitchen, so I created an office space in the living room for him using my original corner office desk. 
There was nothing wrong with that desk… It was large. It was practical.  But it didn’t have drawers and it was made of melamine.
I dislike melamine.
So, I replaced it with something more my style.* I had this old office desk with metal legs and a crappy top. I put weathered timber on top and all was well with my soul.
Wayne lost his corner desk and had to adjust to less desk acreage.
*Cause it might be his desk, but its my style!
This new improved desk had the same issue as the corner melamine desk. No drawers. Wayne ended up with about 54 odds and ends to hold all his stuff. When you don’t have drawers you have a small filing cabinet, an el cheapo metal and plastic drawer unit whose drawers fall out every time you pull them out, and a couple of bookcases… 
No so pretty. Not the style I was going for.
Just before Christmas I decided it was time to move Wayne’s office space. 
(No, he has no say in this.)
I put a divider in the middle of the living room for the TV and moved Wayne to the other side so the first thing you see when you walk into the living room isn’t his messy office desk.
Then, just to keep things interesting, I decided to change his desk. 
We had this old desk in the garage since we’d moved here. I got Wayne to remove the top cause it was beyond repair – he’d been sitting his chainsaws on it. As you do. It was covered in oil. 

The main issue with this desk was that the leg space was so narrow. Just imagine all the times you’d knock your knees on this!
I took the saw to it and cut it apart (in a really messy way), leaving me with two drawer units. The plan was to paint these units, put them on castors and plonk a large shed door on top.
It all started well enough. I gave them a light sand, then mixed up my own chalk paint – in white. Of course.

I added castors.

I painted some random numbers on it, cause I have stencils you know.

And yes, I know I put it on upside down.

This is the door I had earmarked for the top. Its half of a huge hinged garage door.

I love the chippy cream paint. 
I didn’t put a top on the units, just plonked this baby down on top of them. I mean, why bother, right? No one would see it.
I got all the pieces up to the living room (that is one heavy door!) and put it all together. Wayne began moving his stuff in…
I hated it. Not just cause of the upside down stencil either. It just didn’t look right.
Then, while I was wondering what I should do to fix it, Wayne broke it. One of the bottom drawers got stuck on a castor lock and he heaved and broke it.
I thought about repainting it. I mean, I had to fix it anyway… but what colour?
I thought about black, but I didn’t have any black. I did have dark grey… Same colour as our feature wall… I thought ok… how about I paint it dark grey? 
I painted the drawer fronts first. Not sure I liked that either so I didn’t paint the units.
I used offcuts of plywood, which I had planned to use to finish the TV unit, to put a top and bottom on the units. The plan this time was no castors, just a flat bottom. For the extra height needed, I put a little shelf on top. This provides a handy place for Wayne’s large sketchbooks.

Its still not right. Its messy looking, but given that its a door with Z braces on the back, not much I can do about that part.

The one thing I did do to the door is attach a small piece of pine along the back to stop things rolling off behind the desk. You can just see it below, behind the lamp base.

For now its more or less finished, and I can pull it apart easily any time.

The dressmakers model and the cream Ikea trolley are mine. In case you’re wondering. I’m working on a wearable art piece on the model and the trolley holds my pastels.

This is how the desk area looks now. Cosy.
But I’m still not happy with the desk. I’m thinking all black drawer units and natural timber on top would be the best way to go. I haven’t painting anything black since my student days…
I need to buy black paint.
Wayne won’t be happy if I pull his desk apart and start over…

easy industrial stencil art

Somewhere along the line, my rustic shabby country farmhouse has turned a bit industrial. I mean with the poles in the middle of the living room there weren’t many places to go…

So I embraced the poles (not literally, though there was that one night when I thought I’d try pole dancing… best forgotten. Forget I mentioned it…) and built a TV unit/room divider between them.

Now I have a proper separation between the ‘work’ and ‘entertaiment’ areas of the living room. Instead of trying to hide the poles (ever tried to blend in poles in the middle of a room? impossible) I painted them black and made them a feature.

This resulted in a slightly more industrial feel to the decor.

Plywood and poles will do that.

I also bought a new leather couch and ended up with a scandanavian style instead of the old gentleman’s club style that I thought I wanted. The colour and style really suits the new rustic industrial farmhouse decor.

Here’s a preview of the new couch in place, including the mess all around it…

Anyway, I decided it was time to up the industrial aspect of the living room with some original recycled artwork.

Plus, it was time to take the christmas tree down!

These stencils are all real, factory shipping label stencils, some have even been used. Many times. Others are just plain old. They were given to me by a great friend and soon as I saw them I knew I wanted to make this artwork.

I recycled an old frame I got from the tip shop. I had originally put fabric in it to match some cushion covers and hung it over the bed in my house in Fentonbury when I was selling it.

Since then its been in our bedroom, just sitting there.


Till yesterday.

Yesterday I took it down to the casita, took out the fabric, laid out the stencils in a way that pleased me, used a ton of glue to hold them in place (there’s no glass on this) and then decided the frame looked wrong in distressed white.

So I taped off the inner rustic timber ‘mount’ and sprayed it gloss black. Then, after it was dry but before it had cured completely, I used a paint scraper to scrape a bit off here and there to show some white through.

Much better.

I especially love the splashes of blue!

It kinda looks good there now. It goes with the black poles and the little record side table. Which I haven’t shared yet… oops.

We’re getting there.

All I need to do now is paint the living room white. Or a grey that isn’t blue. Get rid of the carpet and put down some kind of floor that’s easy to clean and doesn’t make me gag. Finish the TV unit. Get a bigger rug. Find a solution to the world garbage problem.

I’ll get right on to it.



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rustic tea light holder

This is one of those projects I had lying around for ages. Its probably from some kind of gun safe, two bits of old timber with holes, just waiting for a makeover. I had it for so long I can’t remember where it came from.

I started making into a tea light holder a couple of years ago but then just left it in the shed till it got buried under piles of other projects ‘to do’.

Then one day I just sort of got inspired to finish it with some nuts and a rusty hinge.

It might not be exactly fire safe as far as tea light holders go…. but hey! You can put LED tea lights in it!

And its rustic and cute.

Those things count for a lot in my world.

I took it to a local shop and it sold straight away.

So there you go. Rustic and cute won out over fire safe for someone other than me!

Meanwhile I know its been a long time since I posted last. The cataract surgery in my right eye was not easy to get over. For the last month I’ve had tired eyes, dry eye, blurry vision and I’ve just been too tired to do anything online or any craft at all.

Luckily, my left eye, which was done 2 days ago, has been the total opposite. Its been a success from day one. Almost no pain after surgery, very little blurry vision or discomfort. Thank goodness as I was getting pretty depressed about the whole thing.

Both eyes are much better now and I can see well… except now my near vision is worse than it was before and I need to wear glasses (at least those magnifying ones from the chemist) in order to do any close up work. That means that sewing or fine craft work means glasses. Since I can’t get used to wearing glasses and looking up OVER them rather than through them, I get awful dizzy spells when I wear them. I’m sure I’ll get used to it.

The good news is that apparently my eyesight won’t get any worse from this point on so I’ll have plenty of time to get used to the new eyes.


a measuring cup pencil holder, a wire shelf and a shutter shelf


A little more cleaning up…

Its not finished yet. There is still another 3/4 of the workshop to finish, but I made a start last night.



Of course, I would have gotten more done if I didn’t get distracted. The way I seem to work is: stare at the mess, dither about where to start, pick up something, put it down, move it over to another surface, look for a container to put it in, think a shelf would look nice there, look for things to make a shelf out of, necessitating moving more things over just a bit to make space, find a measuring cup I got at a tip shop and decide it would make a great pencil holder, find wire to make that, then start cutting wood to make brackets cause nothing I have will work, then make a shelf out of a broken wire basket cause I always planned to do it but never got around to it, and now I have and its good to finally do it, but oops, there’s still a huge pile of stuff to put away so I pick up things and put them in their place, realise there are now too many things so create new places for things and labelling them so I can find them again… and suddenly its 9pm and I’m blowing black stuff out of my nose.

But my new toolbox is now full of tools…

and that wall is looking like a working workshop instead of a jumble sale.

The drawers are only there temporarily… till I find my electric plane. Then they’ll go back into the tv unit/divider.

You may notice a few other things in the picture above… the stencils given to me by a good friend cause she knows I’ll love them and cherish them and call them my very own. My new measuring cup pencil holder (that dark little triangle lost in the gloom), my new wire shelf and, last but not least, the new recycled shutter (louvre door to be exact) shelf.

The one I always planned to put up but didn’t have the necessary bits or the patience to buy them. What the heck, right? Make do is the name of the game!

Don’t try this at home.

Hey. It works. Don’t judge me cause I’m imaginative!

Meanwhile let me share my gorgeous new pencil holder. Its a measuring cup I found at the tip shop last weekend. I’ve never seen one like it before.

Please ignore the hole in the wall. I didn’t do that. The wall came pre-punched.

Do you wanna see the wire shelf?
I’ve had this wire basket for quite a while and the wire on the corners has come undone and its not in the best condition. I always thought it’d make a good shelf.

So, while in the middle of cleaning and organising my workshop, I naturally had to stop and make this little fella.

Firstly I had to wire the corners to stop the wire bits from sticking out and causing bad things to happen.

Then I trimmed some offcuts of plywood as the shelves. The bottom shelf just sits in place but the one in the middle is wired in place. I drilled holes to feed wire through and hold the shelf in place.

I attached it to the wall with those plaster wall plugs… which of course weren’t the right size for the job. Oh, they’ll take the weight ok, but the screws weren’t long enough to clamp the wire back in place properly.
Thats ok.
As long as its pretty!

this year’s christmas tree

Its not exactly what I’d planned, but I love it.

I had planned a 3D tree, made using old timber on a central rod. Then I found the old crib sides I used to use as dog barriers when I lived in Fentonbury and thought “hey, I’ll use the slats!”…

So I cut them up for branches. I drilled holes in the middle. I cut blocks to go between the branches. I drilled holes in those. I created a base for the rod. I put it all together and went “yeech”.

Then I found myself with all these cut up slats – luckily not all had holes in them – so I went for plan B.

And this is what I ended up with:

Pretty huh?

Yes, I know its a bit wonky… but you know me. Nothing is ever quite perfect. I’m of the ‘close enough is good enough’ school of DIY.

I used the base I cut the slats off as the bottom, I like the way it grounds it. I had to stick the trunk slat back onto the base so I used an old hinge.

I then decorated it with the timber stars I bought a few years ago and some brown, natural looking, florist wire I’d had for years (I knew I’d find the right project for it one day!)

Its hanging in the middle of the living room, right over the air conditioner. Basically, its on the only bare wall I have. I’d been wondering what I’d put there, well, problem solved for the next few weeks. Gives me time to think about future displays.

Did you notice I put the presents under the tree (on top of the air conditioner?) They won’t stay there. When I clean the old grate we use to hold firewood for the wood heater I’ll put the presents in that.
Don’t know about you, but I love wrapping presents. I’ve had a thing for plain brown paper for years now, adding different embellishments each year to pretty them up. This year I made large bows from burlap ribbon and a brown linen type ribbon.
The spotted paper was something I saw at a shop while browsing… I thought “I’m not paying that for wrapping paper!” so I made my own. I love the way it looks having plain and spotted paper wrapped gifts together.
I’m all excited now. I can’t wait to get stuck into getting the house ready for Christmas and mom’s visit.
I’ve already started in the garden. There’s been weeding and some new planting (to fill in gaps) and heaps of general cleaning in the yard. Still much to do on that front!
I’ve also started building my tv unit/room divider. 
Its a big job and I can’t believe I’m doing it, but after months, years even, of thinking about it and hesitating and doubting myself, I suddenly got hit with inspiration. Before I had time to rethink it I’d measured up and gone out and bought plywood.
Its half done now. I’m thinking it’ll be a work in progress. The base part is done except for putting the legs on. Then I can move it into the house. It’ll need polyurethane to protect it and I’ll need to do the back, but it can be used and I can rearrange the living room the way I’ve been planning to for ages!
Later I can build the rest of it. The idea is to make it so it can be pulled apart in case I want to move it one day, thus making it in 2 stages works for me.
But more on that later. When I have decent photos to share.
Other than that I’m doing great. Well, other than the wisdom tooth I had pulled out last Friday cause it was loose (and turns out it had an abscess). And the fact that its now more sore than it was on Saturday. Thank goodness for strong pain killers! 
I’m falling apart.

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birdwire light fitting

I went through a phase a couple of weeks ago where I was updating, making, changing light fittings. If you know me, you know I’ll do nothing for ages cause I’m worn out, then do all kinds of things which aren’t on my to-do list, then begin working on things which are on my list, then get side tracked with spur of the moment things.
The light fittings were like that. I began by doing the office/guest room swap and thought it’d be a good idea to change light fittings in those rooms while the furniture was out of the way.
Somehow I managed to stuff up the light connection (no idea what its called, but its the bit that’s in the ceiling and holds the globe) so the guest room has no light currently.
The office has a light (a working one I might add) but it hasn’t got a light fitting. I want a pendant in here as the ceiling is high enough.
So, having given up on the guest room light and having put off the office light, I went ahead and changed the light fitting in the wardrobe room. For those that don’t know, that’s a tiny room in our house which I converted into a wardrobe for Wayne.
Yes. You heard me right. In our house the man has the walk in wardrobe cause he has more clothes.
Anyway, back to what I was saying… The original light fitting in there was a real quickie I whipped up using wire and an old lamp shade. 
I never liked it much.

The new light fitting is made from some leftover bird wire I found in the shed. It was a bit crushed but that made it perfect. Imperfection is what I’m all about. Sometimes its even on purpose!

I had this shallow shade frame so all I did was attach the bird wire cylinder to it. Originally I had a long Edison bulb in it but they really don’t give off much light. Now it has a big white ball glove in it.

I think Wayne’s happy with it. Its a light. It comes on when he hits the switch. He’s happy.


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