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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another record table

Yes, I mentioned a new record table. It was in the photo I shared in my last post. I forgot I hadn’t actually posted about it…
Honest mistake.
So, here it is, in a rustic setting.

I don’t know if you remember, but I did make a record table before. I had a stool base with hairpin legs but no top and thought a record would make a great top for it.

It was great. I sold it at one of the markets.

I regretted it.

I made another one. Not as pretty. No hairpin legs. This one was a stool with a top when I found it. A ratty top which I promptly dispatched to the great broken stool home in the sky.

All I did to make this table was give the legs a wash, buy new rubber stoppers as it only had one left, dust off the old gramophone record and use a crapload lots of liquid nails to glue it together.




I put it in the living room and for ages I used it to hold my coffee cup as I watched TV or worked on the laptop. Then one night I forgot myself and put my feet on it.

I don’t recommend you do that. Gramophone records are really brittle.

Out came the liquid nails again. This time I glued the new record to the old one, making it double thickness.

Its back holding the remotes right now. And I have a footstool for my feet.

It pays to remember what things are for. Footstools are for feet. Brittle 33.5 record side tables are for a cup of coffee. And perhaps a bowl of popcorn. A small one.


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new cabinet for the grooming room

New, old, whatever. Its the same thing to me.

Its the new cabinet for my grooming room. Up till recently I had a monstrous pink bookcase/desk combination in that spot. Nothing wrong with it… other than it was pink.

In fact, I gave the pink bookcase to a friend who’s using it as extra storage space in her kitchen. Of course she’ll repaint it.

But for my grooming room, I like this better! It reminds me of a gorgeous old kitchen cabinet thing I had in Melbourne. That one was bigger – 3 cupboards and drawers. And it had etched glass in the top bit. I bought it at the Salvation Army and it was original yellowed white paint with the same fake dark timber doors. I painted the doors pale yellow. left the naturally antiqued white, changed the handles and adored it. Unfortunately when I moved to Tasmania there was nowhere to put it in my new house so I gave it to a friend.

I believe in what goes around comes around. I gave someone something I loved, I got something from someone else.

Now I have this cute little old cabinet for the grooming room. Maybe I’ll repaint it one day. Maybe not. The fact that its smaller and not so PINK means that corner is already brighter.

These photos were taken before I filled the shelves with my myriad tools and potions. The room even looks sort of tidy and organised.

I like it.

The other side (the one I didn’t photograph) is stacked full of stuff I took out of the silver shed…

I cleaned out the silver shed, then filled it right back up with a friend’s stuff.

I’m not good at empty spaces.

Its a character flaw.

The friend who’s stuff I’m storing is the friend who gave me this little cabinet.

What goes around, comes around.


the kitchen sink

When renovating the kitchen, I chose a double sink (1 and 3/4 actually) with a single drainboard. I mean, I had a dishwasher, right? I no longer needed all the drainboard space to drip dry all the dishes I wash.
Well, what was happening was that piles of dirty dishes, cups, cutlery and other items would pile on the benchtop and sit there waiting for me to put them in the dishwasher, which meant I had to first empty the dishwasher… 
Wayne hates things stacked IN the sink cause he can’t fill the kettle or whatever, so they ended up on the one drainboard, then overflowed onto the other side on the bench.
The mess wasn’t the issue. I mean I can turn a blind eye if it means not having to do a chore, but the items sitting on the benchtop have caused the varnish in that area to flake.
I should have used oil based varnish. Live and learn.
Now, the sensible thing would be to NOT pile up dishes, to put everything in the dishwasher soon as it was finished with, empty the dishwasher soon as its finished, etc.
But who am I kidding?
I’m not that person. I try, but I can only sustain an immitation of  “Perfect Housewife” for a few days, then I lapse straight back into “Slovenly Housekeeper”.
So… I found this cute little enamel tray in my stuff. 

I’d forgotten I had it.

See, cleaning up occasionally is a good idea!

Anyway, I put some rubber stoppers under it which do two things: they stop it from sliding and they keep it off the bench so water won’t sit under it and do further damage to the bench.

Its the spot we can now rest dirty things till its time to put them in the dishwasher, allowing the sinks to remain free so we can actually use them.

Funny thing… since I put the tray there there’s been no mess in the kitchen. I put things in the dishwasher and empty it straight away.


It won’t last.


what to do with the foundry cogs

When I saw these little beauties I just knew I had to have them.
No idea what I’d do with them.
I just knew I wanted them.
They’re cute.
“I have no idea what this is, but I love the shape” has lead to a whole lot of interesting acquisitions!
Anyway, I was thinking about what I could do with them and went into the workshop to have a little look…

What do you think? Aren’t these the bestest jewellery holders you’ve ever seen?

These are the two smallest of the cogs. The bottom bits are lamp bases which I’ve had for a while (cause I knew I’d need them for something special one day!) They’re not attached yet as I was just trying them out. When I do finish them I’ll need to put small nails on the ends of each tooth to hold the chains on effectively.

The tops make great spots for earrings or bracelets. In fact, I’m thinking I’d need to keep both cause they’re just perfect for different items… longer chains, shorter chains…

The largest cog is currently trying out this tall base I have… I’m not really sure what this is from and its not perfect. If I decide to go this way I’ll paint it white cause I love the black and white look…

The biggest cog has way more space on top for smaller items of jewellery too.

So, what do you think? I have to go ahead with this, right? I mean, they’re perfect!

I was thinking of wall art, maybe, but without any real plan… can you think of anything better?

Go on. I challenge you… Tell me if there’s anything you can think I could use the cogs for and I’ll consider all ideas. Otherwise I’m making these permanent! 🙂
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