very distressed turquoise coffee table

I had planned to post every day this week. Well, more often than once a week anyway. But, as most plans, that one went astray. Not cause I didn’t have things to share, just that for one reason or another I got busy. Or forgot. Or was just too plain tired.

So, without further ado, here is my very distressed coffee table.

What’s it distressed about you might ask. Well… it started life as a brown coffee table. Then it was painted white with a little distressing. Then a puppy or two chewed on its corners. It was stuck in the shed for ages. It was used as a step stool while I built my new grooming room. Then it was shunted into a corner of the shed again… Not much of a good life for a coffee table. You’d be very distressed too!

At some stage I decided I really missed having a coffee table in front of the couch. All this time I’d been using a footstool with a timber tray on it when I wanted to put something in front of the couch. But without a coffee table to fill up with crafty stuff I was being lazy every evening.
Surely you understand that!

So, I went shopping my sheds to find a coffee table for the living room. I can’t say for sure this is it, but this was a quick small table that would fit my needs …for now.

First I had to fix the puppy tooth damage. Then I had to choose a colour. I wasn’t sure what I wanted so I went with a colour I had – which I’d used in the guest room. Plus I’d just bought myself a throw from Kmart in that colour…

After painting it turquoise I wasn’t sure I liked it. Too much is sometimes too much… so I hit it with the sander. I took a lot more off on the top than on the sides and I’m loving the look.

Its like a work of art. Or like a work surface. Pity I’ll cover it with work…

I’m still finding my style for this house, so its a bit all over the place. So much to do. Still. But for now, I have a coffee table I can fill with craft odd and ends to work on while I watch TV. 
That’s gotta be good.

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electric heater mantle clock?

Some time ago I picked up this old electric heater. I can’t remember where, but I do remember why. It was the shape. I loved the shape of it. I saw it and thought “hey, I can make something out of this”.
I brought it home and snuck it past Wayne so I didn’t have to listen to a lecture about bringing home more junk.
Then I proceeded to bury it under a ton of crap in my shed. Not in order to hide it.

So, when I started my whole ‘clean out the shed, get organised, streamline my life, find the circular saw’ kick, I found this little beauty and briefly considered tossing it out.

Briefly. Very briefly.

I just couldn’t do it. Sometimes a vision is worth pursuing.

I was seeing it as a lamp. Or a clock.

A clock doesn’t need wiring so that won out. I bought a clock mechanism on ebay and proceeded to rip the guts out of the heater. Actually, I didn’t rip it all out. I loved the coiled springs so I kept those, just took out all the wiring.

I had to drill a hole in the front mesh to fit in the clock, then put it all back together.

Then promptly pulled it all apart again… The clock mechanism I got came with simple black hands which just didn’t work. Too dark.

I took it apart and sprayed the hands with Antique White USA gloss. Much better.

I put it all back together. Admired it a while. Then daylight savings ended. Now I avoid looking at it cause I have to take it apart again to change the time.

I really like it. Its a mantle clock with a difference. I mean, how many people have a retro heater which is now a clock?
And its not that hard to open up… I just have to get out the screwdriver and take out 4 small screws. How hard is that? Not hard at all.
…When I find the screwdriver. I know its on the bench. Somewhere…
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my new towel cupboard (in my new grooming room)

Yes! I’m in the new grooming room!

Its not finished. Well, not entirely. But then again, is anything ever really finished?

Ok. So the grooming room is usable-finished. I began using it as soon as I got the vinyl down on the floor. Even before I had most of my stuff moved in there. Or the door finished. But I have a new cupboard for my towels!

I’m sorry I don’t have any before photos – cause when the urge to paint hits, well, its all I can do to put on painting clothes!

***** I found the before photos. Well, more like the ‘almost before’ photos. Here it is with legs and masking tape…

And here it is with the painting just finished.

I got this little meatsafe/cupboard from a tip shop a few years ago. It had no top or legs, and was a stained and varnished wood colour. But the metal screen was fine.

I used a piece of pine I had to make a top for it and searched my leg collection for some legs that would work with it. I wanted it tall enough to be out of ‘pee’ reach.

It IS a grooming room after all!

I had some old green paint from a room I painted long ago (it was a hideous colour, no idea what I was thinking!). I poured some of it into a plastic container, added a bit of light blue I’d made up for another project and voila: the perfect antique green!
Being the lazy sod I am, the only prep work I did was mask off the handle, hinges and metal screen.

Since I chose not to sand, I mixed some fine grout into the paint, making it a chalk-like paint and just slapped it on. It took 2 coats. Once dry I gave it a light sand to encourage a chippy look.

The new towel cupboard sits behind the inner door of the grooming room. Its not big enough really, but its pretty. I might one day make a base for it, another cupboard… Who knows? For now it holds clean towels and my cd player.

So here’s a pic of the other side of the new grooming room, in use! Erik lies on the table with the dryer on him. Such a good boy. He didn’t move while I changed cds and took the pic!

There’s a lot to do but I’m taking my time. The old grooming room wasn’t perfect by any stretch, but I got used to it – I worked in there for 7 years! It kind of grew around me. It’ll take a while for this room to grow around me too. I’ll need shelves and hooks for my tools. I’ll need pictures on the wall and hooks for leads…

I’ll need to put the window on the door! And a door handle!

Its a work in progress.


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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. 

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.

recycling christmas

This year I really didn’t feel like doing much for Christmas. I wasn’t going to decorate at all. 
But then, while cleaning the office, I found the Christmas tree I made last year from the sides of an old cot. I’d wrapped it in plastic and left it as it was – with the wire and stars, ready to go. So… well, it was ready to go… I figured I way as well use it.

With one small difference. This year I put fairy lights on it! (’cause I found them while cleaning the pantry!)

I also put it in a different spot this year. Last year it was on the wall over the air conditioning unit where I now have my industrial stencil artwork.

Since I needed it close to a power outlet for the lights, it made sense to put it on top of my pretty antique cabinet.

This spot means you can see it from the kitchen as well which is an added bonus. I love fairy lights and this just makes me smile. I think I might leave it up for a long time… at least till the end of January.

new planter box

How do you like my new planter box? I think its really cool.
This is what it looked like when I got it. 

Yeah, your eyes are seeing well. I haven’t done a thing to it other than bringing it home and plonking it on the porch. 
Well… I did put some plants in it. For now. Temporary plants. Two established succulents and 2 cuttings I got from a friend that I didn’t have in my collection which I’m trying to grow. And one is a white geranium I am also encouraging to grow. 
I am not a huge geranium lover – I only have one pink one which forms balls of flowers which are gorgeous, and a variegated pink pellargonium a friend gave me a cutting of recently. That’s been planted and is already doing well. Talk about low maintenance. But this new cutting is a white one with a double flower I fell in love with.
Looking for pics of the geranium I have and the geranium I think I got I came across some amazing photos!
I’m totally rethinking my stand on geraniums…
This is similar to the pink one I have. Its a pale pink ball of flowers:
According to the site I found this photo on, its a common geranium. But I thought it was uncommon and pretty enough to make me want a cutting. Growing up in Greece, I was used to seeing geraniums everywhere but I never thought they were very pretty.
Maybe its cause they always looked sun bleached and dry… Who knows? My mother loves them cause they take neglect in their stride. Maybe the greek ones are tougher. On the website I found the pink one above it said they didn’t survive heat. Tell that to the ones living in pots on greek islands! Mine can cope with the heat but the frost nearly killed it a couple of years ago. Its still recovering. I now keep it on the porch in winter.
I think this is the one I got a cutting of. Its called a Double Trailing Sybil White Pearl. Click on the pic to go to the page.
Here is another photo of a Sybil White Pearl… Drool.
Or it could be this one. The Pelargonium Apple Blossom. How pretty is this one!
And here is another pic. OMG its amazing! I think I’ve just become a geranium person.

But I digress. My new planter box. I love the 60s look. The inside is lined with a bit of galvanised iron so I don’t have to worry about water leaking out the bottom of pots and rotting the wood.

I’ve actually had this for over a month, but I only put plants in it last week. 
A girl gets busy.

taps and coat rack

What’s on tap for today you ask?
Well, I tapped into my creative mind and came up with this recycled tap coat rack. You could say I tapped this old pine board into a coat rack.
Luckily I had all these things on tap in the workshop.
Ok, I’ll stop now. 

I love these old garden taps with their patina showing and all. Some are our own old garden taps and some I picked up from here or there, as I do.

I painted the board with chalkboard black paint so you can label the taps for each member of the family if you should so desire. 

Other than showing off my tap coat rack, I don’t have much else to say. You could say I’m all tapped out.
Turns out I had one more left.
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kids party cake stands and other things

Since I’m on a roll blog-wise (and I don’t want to let down my fans – heheh) I thought I’d share another work project which was HUGELY successful.

These kids party cake stands were made in my Thursday group. We spent time collecting, begging, stealing and borrowing old/broken toys from anywhere we could find them. I spent ages asking for things on FB and at work via our newsletter and noticeboards.

We also took a few trips to the tip shop to find some wooden or plastic platters and lamp bases to build them with.

The tall one that looks black in the photos is actually a very dark blue. It began life as a tall metal lamp base which was covered in toy animals using liquid nails, then sprayed what we thought was bright orange. Unfortunately the orange sucked big time, so we tried a couple of other colours, ending up with dark blue for the best coverage.

Warning: if you plan to do this at home, beware. Not all spray paint is created equal. And not all of it matches the lid colour…

For the top we used different flat items as bases – anything from old cds to small wooden dishes. These were glued to the light globe holder on the lamp base and provided a nice big surface to glue the platters to.
The top to this cake stand is a plastic lazy susan which spins.
The light blue one was made using a large ceramic lamp base, covered in random toys and topped with a large wooden platter.
Here it is in progress. In this instance we removed the globe holder bit entirely and glued a flat surface to the ceramic base directly.
This one is my all time favourite. Its made out of a pirate ship, tea pots and all kinds of ‘human’ and animal figures plus anything ‘fishy’ we could find.. Oh and the wheels off a toy truck.
Sorry about the bad photo but its the only one I have of the pirate ship in progress.
The red cake stand was made out of a small metal lamp base. The top was a flower shaped bit of wood we found which we sprayed gloss white (all the tops were sprayed gloss white to make them easy to clean). This one also went through a colour change.
You can see below how it started yellow but the yellow didn’t cover well enough. We found a brilliant red (I know it looks a bit pinky in the photos) which looked way better.
Here are the four drying in their first coats of paint. The smallest one with the bowl on top is more like a bowl for M&Ms or other lollies than a cake platter. Its made of a basically flat square base that a light globe fits onto without a shade. We used a snoopy body as the ‘stand’ and surrounded it with Peanuts characters in cars. The top is a wooden bowl I had lying around.
All five were entered as a group entitled Kids Party Collection at the Art From Trash exhibition this year. They sold instantly.
We also had a mirror decorated with toys all around it, that sold too, and we’re now working on another, larger, toy project.
Stay tuned.

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updating the oval chalkboard

I’ve been really busy lately. I’m getting ready for a couple of big events. One is the Garage Sale Trail on October 22. 
I registered our garage sale on the Trail cause I have too much stuff and I really need to have a garage sale. I thought if I set a date I can’t back out of, I’ll actually do it.
Considering I was already interviewed for the local paper, I really can’t back out now.
The other big event is less public: I’m moving my grooming room into what is currently the storage room in the casita.
For the last few weeks I’ve been sorting through things every time I a few spare minutes. I began by moving things from the store room into the workshop area. This is so I have a blank canvas to work on – considering the room in question needs a ton or work… Holes in the walls patched, the timber on the ceiling needs loose paint scraped off, it needs repainting from top to bottom, a new door… You get the picture.
I’ve been stacking things in the workshop area – on top of eachother, in boxes, on top of the workbench… I started by sorting things by general use as I went and putting it in boxes: clothing, kitchen stuff, plumbing, lighting, miscellaneous… but that went by the wayside when I ran out of stacking room.
What I haven’t begun doing yet is price things. I figure I can do that later.
Later. Good word that.
Hours of work and I’ve barely scratched the surface. I plan to go through every room in the house and every shed, look at everything we have and decide whether it stays or goes. 
I’m using the method of “if you haven’t used it in a year, get rid of it” but I’m doing it my way. I’m going through all my finds and projects ‘to do’ and thinking “I bought this over a year ago and haven’t made anything with it – its time someone else made something with it”.
Among the things I’m planning to sell are coffee tables – some I’ve done something with, others I haven’t touched. A couple of cabinets I’ve remade. Some of my recycled light fittings. A collection of things I planned to make wind chimes with, Chalkboards.
Speaking of chalkboards, here is a remake of a remake. It started as an oval frame in 3 pieces a friend gave me. I first tried to fix it and used it as my shopping board for a while. 

I had to re-glue it cause I did a bad job first time round. Its still not perfect but I like it. There’s character in its imperfections.

Just one thing I’ll put in the garage sale.

Stay tuned for other great stuff I’ll be sharing here which will be for sale on the day.

October 22. Mark the day. If you live close enough, that is.