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 I originally made it for a birdwire cloche I’d made but ended up finding the perfect antique silver base for instead.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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steampunk faerie jacket

Today I’m sharing the work wearable art entry in the Art From Trash competition. This steampunk jacket was made by a ladies art group I work with.

It started with a jacket from the tip shop and a ton of odds and ends.

We collected anything we thought would work on the jacket and basically hand stitched it all on to get the look we were after.

We really wanted a bustle and that was added using layers of tulle from the discard bin.

We used stud earrings and other small bits of jewelry on the bustle to give to added interest.

One of the sleeves was cut short and re-finished with black velvet lace and beads.

We decided to run the decoration down one lapel and down one side of the back, bringing it together on the lace sleeve.

All the ‘junk’ we sewed onto the jacket is quite heavy so we had to make sure it was balanced. 
It turned out well and the ladies were all proud of being part of the project.

an orange phone table

Sharing another item I’m selling. This time a 60s phone table. Its in really good condition but I didn’t like the formica top – boring! Again, there are no ‘before’ pics cause when I decide to do something I often just start without grabbing the camera.

Montana gave me a hand with this job. She checked my work to make sure it was up to standard…

Basically what I did was use the offcuts of tassie oak planks I had, cut them to size, attached them to the formica top with glue, then sanded and planed them to create an even surface. Ok, not totally even. What’s the point of going old wood and making it perfect? You want some character!

Sanding and planing ended up taking off the weathered look so I had to bring it back. I didn’t want to stain the wood but wanted it to have some depth. I used another of my trusty artist acrylic paint washes. This time I used burnt sienna first to get the brown tones, then I used some black, especially in the joins.
The colours have brought out the beauty of the timber and its way prettier than the formica could ever be. The varnish on top just gives it a lovely finish which invites you to run your hand over the surface.

I have this for sale on gumtree and facebook for now, but I’d love to keep it if I had room for it.

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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!

my first big love

You got it.
My first big love was David Cassidy.
On the way to the radio station to do our show today* we swung past the community market and I found this in one of the stalls. When I saw it I said “Oh, David Cassidy! I had the hots for him real bad when I was 13!”
To which the stall holder said “And still do!” as I oohed and ahhed at the photos and memories.
I guess he was right. You never do get over your first big love. How can you get over that smile with that one crooked tooth, those long dark eyelashes and those beautiful brown eyes?
I’m guessing never. He set the standard for the type of guy I’m a sucker for: deep brown eyes, long lashes, a mouthful of (big) teeth, with at least a couple of crooked ones in there. Dimples are a bonus but not a requirement.

But get a load of this book! Seriously. I’d have killed for this when I was 13.

“How to make David happy” is just one of the amazing articles in it. I bet the owner of this book read it like a bible and slept with it under her pillow. I know cause that’s what I’d have done….

This one takes the cake: “How David wants you to look”! 

But look at the photo of David in his corduroy trousers that end about half a mile above his ankles and his platform boots.
The seventies really were the era of fashion best forgotten.
This stuff is priceless. Did they do this sort of thing for every teen idol back then? No wonder the guy hit the skids. Who can live up to this sort of marketing!
Anyway, it was a great trip down memory lane, with a bit of nostalgia for the feelings of adoration only a teen can feel for her favourite star.
*I mentioned a radio show. Its been a few weeks now that Wayne and I have been doing a 2 hour show at the local station on Sunday afternoons. Between 12 and 2pm. We play (or should I say *I* play) rockabilly, country, some hillbilly, some country swing, some rhythm and blues, some big band stuff. Pretty much the type of music you can dance to or tap your feet to. The stuff I used to dance to when I lived in Melbourne and used to go dancing 3-4 times a week.
We’re loving it!
Sunday is our day now. We sleep in, have brunch out, do the show, lots of laughs and great music, and then follow up with some coffee in town and perhaps bump into old friends. What a great way to spend a Sunday.
If you aren’t in range of the station (and lets face it, who is outside New Norfolk?) you can catch the show online at the TYGA FM website.
So there!

a fancy oval chalkboard

This is the story of a makeover which didn’t quite work the way I planned.

I was given this oval frame in three pieces. Its some kind of resin, not timber, so I had no idea how I would fix it.

I let it sit around for a couple of years while I pondered.

In the end I decided that cutting some thin MDF to fit inside the frame and using trusty liquid nails might be the way to go.

Well, it wasn’t.

Not really.

Its holding together okay but I wasn’t able to clamp it properly, so the joins aren’t as good as I hoped.

They’re visible. Really visible.

Oh well. Not to worry.
I got out some silver paint (I thought I had gold but didn’t) and rubbed it on to try and disguise the cracks where the liquid nails was showing through. Silver looks better than liquid nails any day! I think I’ll get some gold and finish it in gold at some later date.
I hung it in our entry/pantry for our shopping lists. Its not perfect, but its different, and for me a change is as good as a holiday.
It replaces a plain long oblong chalkboard I’ve had for years. ‘Cause even a pantry deserves a bit of flashy!
PS Please forgive the awful photo of our yucky pantry/entry… Its taupe and dark and gloomy (as opposed to the bright fun kitchen) and I like covering our fridge in magnets!

our junky garden

In the last week I’ve managed to get a bit of work done in the garden. Not on my own… I had some help otherwise I’d be lying on the couch moaning in pain right now.

One thing I did by myself was move these broken old chairs into the front garden bed. Partly to stop the dogs from digging, partly as garden art. I got these chairs at the tip shop ages ago. The guy there thought I was going to fix and restore them. I had no such notions. I only bought them as garden art.

There used to be a gorgeous burgundy penstemon growing where the chair (below) is but the dogs dug it up and killed it. I have another one in there now but till it grows up enough to grow through the chair like the one above, I have an old jam saucepan sitting on it.

The birdcage is protecting a newly planted daisy.

I love my junky garden art.

Close to the front door the old washing machine drum which used to hold lettuce now has sweet peas in it. I’m using the broken windmill as a climbing trellis for them when they grow.

I do have plans to restore the windmill.

If you’re wondering about the springs… dog barrier.

Need I say more?

I found this little chair at the tip shop a couple of weeks ago. I had planned to fix it up but for now its holding some of my succulents on the front porch.

AND…. (drumroll)

I bought a maple!

Its a japanese maple, no idea what type exactly. I had one of these in Melbourne many years ago and I sure hope this does well. Till now we’ve had no trees in the house yard and that’s just wrong. This is tree no. 1.

I dressed it up with a few junky planters so it wouldn’t feel so alone on the side of the woodshed. The soil there sucks, but we dug a deep hole and filled it with soil, fertilizer and manure. Fingers crossed.

I did plant some trees just outside the yard – one canadian maple which bit the dust, one orange tree which was eaten by the geese, three birches near the dam of which one survived. The others were eaten by the geese. Seven birches near the water tanks, and five pussy willows, all of which have survived and are growing despite having been pruned back by the horses on numerous occasions.

Meanwhile, you may have noticed the tyres around the maple… We’ve now added tyres down lower in front of the new drainage ditch, creating an extended garden area. For now I’ve got some spring bulbs in the tyres closest to the maple but need more plants to fill the other tyres.

I bought a new camellia which I put in a container on the side of the house. Advice of a friend: put it in a container in the spot you think you want it to live, that way you don’t have to dig a hole and plant it till you know if it likes it there.
Excellent advice.
Procrastination 101.
The white banksia rose I moved twice and almost killed has come back. Its now in a pot in the spot I intend to plant it eventually. I like this way of gardening. Why do today what you can put off till tomorrow?

Other than that, I got this old singer from the tip shop. The base is broken but I’d love to find a way to grow a plant around it. Same with the typewriter. I got them both with the plan of making them into garden art. I can put a small pot into the centre of the typewriter, something which will grow up and hang down over the keys a bit. The sewing machine… maybe I can remove the base and sit it in a container and grow a plant around it…
There’s still more to do, but isn’t there always? I’ve spread sugar cane mulch, got the vegetable garden cleaned out of weeds and attacked the weeds. Again. We’re coming in to winter here so I won’t be doing an awful lot to the garden till spring. I just wanted it to look tidy.
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