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.


when a fry basket becomes a cloche

Don’t you love a quickie? Quickie project I mean!

I’ve had this base for quite a while. I originally made it for a birdwire cloche I’d made but ended up finding the perfect antique silver base for instead. So this wooden base just sat in my workshop, gathering dust.

As I prepare for the garage sale, going through everything I own and evaluating it, I found the base and thought, I wonder if the old sieve food cover I made would fit it? I know I have photos of that but I can’t find them right now so take my word for it… Anyway… Nope. It didn’t fit.

So I looked around and what did my eyes alight upon? A fry basket.

I tried and and it fit perfectly!

All I had to do was give it a wash, spray it antique white and find a knob that suits. I went with a tiny wooden knob which more or less matches.

And voila! A quick project finished.

Isn’t it nice when things just work?

And a quick project only takes 30 min and one year to complete.


our new old kitchen trolley

Today I thought I’d share the fun makeover of a sidewalk find.
Last year I picked up this pitiful serving trolley from the side of the road. The top was broken off, it had no lower shelf and it had at least 3 layers of bad painting… one of which was peach.

Well, that had to go!

I’d always planned to have a movable kitchen trolley in our kitchen but there’s really no room for it. Here you can see the original little side table I planned to make into a trolley for the kitchen.

I brought it in cause Wayne had bought a couple of appliances that were taking up space on our kitchen bench. I needed more space. But this little green side thingy wasn’t the right size… it was nice and narrow and had a drawer (missing in the photos for some odd reason) but it was too long, forcing the table over too far.

See that big blank wall? Watch this space…

Anyway, the little trolley is a bit better in proportions. Its not as long so the table doesn’t have to get shoved over too far, and its not too wide, allowing the dishwasher door to open when its in place! AND its taller and already has wheels!
It was meant to be! Thank you hard rubbish collection day!

This is a project I got the bug to do one afternoon and I almost finished it the same day. Basically it took me one afternoon and 4 weeks to finish.
Thanks to a broken finger.
I used the off cut of the pine slab I had left over from making the kitchen shelves. I cut it to fit on the top. Since it was a lot thicker than the previous top, it sits up above the trolley sides.

I cut the bottom shelf out of a piece of leftover plywood from the TV cabinet/room divider. (I’ll need to buy more plywood to finish that now as I keep using the bits I planned to use.)

The reason it took so long to finish was the whole circumcised finger thing. That put a damper on my creativity for a while. The main work was done though, all it needed to be finished was a couple more coats of polyurethane.

I could do those with one hand.

Once those were done I only had to lug it up to the house using one hand, one arm and one hip.
In pieces.
Then I put it in place and started using it.
Not bad for a piece of rubbish.

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recycled milk bottle armchair – alternative furniture

You know how sometimes there’s an idea in your head you just can’t find the time to do, yet you just can’t let go of?
Well this armchair is one one those.
I’d wanted to make usable furniture out of cardboard, papier mache and other recycled materials for a long time. I had this vision in my head …and one day I decided it was time to make it reality by building it at work in one of my creative programs.
I work in day support for people with intellectual disabilities and am lucky enough to have some creative programs.

We began by using a pallet base for strength. We used milk bottles as the main building material, using tape and glue to create the shape we wanted.

Next we cut and folded thick cardboard around the bottles to give the chair smooth surfaces.

The chair is quite big and it took weeks and weeks to build. We did many, many layers of papier mache to hold it all together.

At one stage we even began to colour the glue so we could tell how many layers we’d done!

As the chair began to take shape we found we had to add more bottles in order to get the size we wanted. We used cardboard. milk bottles and shredded paper to create the curved arms.

Once the chair was ready for its final layer we swapped out newspaper for book pages. We added detail on the arms so it looked more like a ‘real’ armchair.

The pages were stained using a mix of coffee and tea.

After all the work to put the chair together, we ripped a hole into the back so you can see the milk bottle and shredded paper construction.

I mean, what’s the point of it if you can’t see what its made of?

A little surprise on the back with this cute mouse illustration.

There’s another ‘rip’ on the other side too, as if a cat’s had a go at the chair.

Or a mouse?

Lastly we coated it all with clear polyurethane for protection.
We made a seat cushion for it, recycling an old sofa cushion with a new, reversible cover. Castor wheels on the base make it easier to move around and finish it off.

We entered our armchair in Art From Trash, of course.

Its pretty comfy for a cardboard, milk bottle, papier mache chair!


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the ‘don’t toy with me’ dress

I’m going stir crazy. Yesterday it took me an embarrassingly long time to butter my toast…
I’m eating oatmeal for breakfast ever day cause its easy to make one handed. I got bored of it but its back to oatmeal again. At least I make it nice. You know how you can get all those flavoured instant packs now? I make my own. I still buy the instant packs but I buy plain. I make it with water, then add milk, cinnamon, nutmeg. brown sugar and slivered almonds. yum.
I watched the entire 1-5 seasons of Game of Thrones. Wow.
I’ve gotten square eyes and a couch shaped butt. Can’t wait to get moving and working again. 
Meanwhile I called the hospital… they said they’d contact me with a followup appointment but I hadn’t heard from them. They forgot me… Now I’m waiting for them to follow up. Again.
So, meanwhile, how about I share another wearable art from trash entry made at work in one of my groups!
This one was an easy one.  We bought this tiny sized strapless little black party dress from the tip shop. I think its about a size 8…

Then we chose toys from our collection (we need more toys! please donate your old, broken, unwanted ones!) and put them on the dress using fabric glue. That way the group could do more since their sewing skills aren’t so great.

Even toys are heavy, so I found I had to add straps to keep it up. We made the straps blend in with the dress by extending the toys up on one side.
Here is the finished dress again. Not bad for a bit of discarded stuff.
It’d sure stand out as unique at any party!
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