i’m back. sort of.

Its been almost a whole month since I last wrote and a ton has happened.

First I went off to the mainland, as I do most years, to groom poodles for the big shows. This year I went to Melbourne for the Poodle National and the Royal Melbourne Show.

I stayed with my good friend Iris, and groomed silver toy poodles for her, and her grand daughter’s white standard poodle.

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The gorgeous Kismet.

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The beautiful Mishka.

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The elegant Mystique.

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The cute Piper.

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The handsome Sonic.

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Retired from the ring now, the stunning Armani.

I had tons of fun playing with poodles and enjoying the smell of hairspray in the morning, but it was also exhausting and hard work.

I did manage to go out one night and catch a band, a great rockabilly/hillbilly trio called The Rechords – it was great to catch up with old friends and even have a few dances.

Unfortunately I got some bug on the flight over – not surprising, an airtight tube with a heap of people in it, you’re bound to catch something! – and spent my entire 10 days there living on cold and flu tablets.

I still had it when I came home, only worse. I spent the first week home feeling I was going to die and sounding like I had kennel cough. I’m still not over it … Still coughing, still blocked ears, still going through tissues at an alarming rate.

As a result, not much has been done around here. Priorities, right? I had to groom, its my job, so I concentrated on putting all my energy into that, then I’d crash out in front of the TV (or in bed) for the rest of the day.

The house looks like its been occupied by squatters for the last year, the yard looks like the weeds staged a coup and have taken over. Well… its spring and its been raining a lot and the grass and weeds are growing like WEEDS. Today Wayne took matters into his own hands and let the horses in to do some landscaping for me. As long as they don’t eat the precious few plants that made it through winter I’m happy. At least I can see the garden beds now.

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I also came home to an injured dog. Montana was run over by a car and had to have surgery to put in a plate and screws. She’s on the mend now thankfully, but coming home to her in hospital was awful. It really makes it hard to go away again. Between that and getting sick every time I fly, I’m considering putting down an anchor and staying put forever…

Anyway, I hope to get back to things soon. The bathroom is still not finished, the house, well, the less said about that the better, ditto the yard… The To Do list is staggering and I’m still spending more time on the couch with Montana, just existing and recuperating.

I hope you’ll forgive me and hang in there till I’m up to creating and sharing again.

z

nothing new to share

I have no idea what happened there.

I wrote a long, very detailed, very informative, insightful and articulate blog post where I answered all sorts of questions, not least being the meaning of life itself… and I lost it.

I hit save twice. Then pressed preview and nothing came up. I repeated the process, put it down to a glitch, proofread it, tweaked it, and hit Publish instead.

That’s when it all disappeared.

I gave up in disgust.

You lose. Now you’ll never know about all the wonderful stuff I wrote about.

So here’s a consolation prize.

Weight-gain-vintage-era

z

we have a vanity!

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Yes! We have a vanity.

The bathroom isn’t finished, but today I waved our adopted plumber off for the last time (for this project).

I feel like a weight’s been lifted. I have a heap of work to do to actually finish the bathroom, but the house can now go back to being a home instead of a construction zone.

So, let me remind you what the vanity started out like. I found this little cabinet, complete with a broken top, at a garage sale a year ago.

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From the moment I saw it I thought it’d make a great vanity for our bathroom. So it sat in the shed for months till I was ready. I had planned to just fix it up and replace the one we had in our bathroom currently. Till the broken shower moved the bathroom reno to the top of the To Do List.

The plan was to find a sink to put on top and I’d fallen in love with this Ikea sink:

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So I had the cabinet. I had the sink. I needed to decide on a colour. Well, that took a bit of work. I ended up with a grey/blue/green colour I love. Its paler than my original ideas, but I’m happy with it. Our towels are sea foam and white, so this will fit in nicely.

Here we are now. Finally.

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vanity1 (2)

All I managed to do today after work, was to clean up a bit and move a few necessary items into the bathroom. A vintage mirror just leans against the window for now, toothbrushes close at hand… An Ikea trolley holds bits and pieces and can be wheeled in and out as needed. Our towels are on a timber towel rack for now. The idea being that I can continue to work in there with minimal need to move things back and forth till the bathroom is finished.

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For now I’m just happy to have a sink in the bathroom!

z

the bathroom saga continues

Ok. Yes. I’ve been absent. I realise that. I have a good reason: bathroom renovations are very hard on your psyche.

I think I left you last somewhere before this stage: one wall done and the second wall started.

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Next came the bit above the shower and onto the window wall. That wall includes a black ‘feature’ stripe. We made a feature stripe of that bit cause it was just easier to put in the black tiles than try to chop up the white ones and keep the brick layout going AND matching up with the next corner. At this stage I’m all for easier and quicker. I’m beginning to feel like we’ve adopted the plumber.

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You may have noticed the weird little red spaceships on the tiles. They’re a kind of tile spacing and leveling system. Click on image to see details on how it works.

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Great, wonderful invention. You place these blue plastic spacers in the corner, line up the tiles, then use the little red screw on widgets to clamp the tiles in and line them up. Genius. Except that they’re made to be used with much thicker tiles than the ones I chose. See below? That little blue bit sticking out where the grout is meant to be?

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Uhuh. Now, I noticed this earlier on in the process but didn’t say anything cause, you know, I’m no expert. I expected that if there was something amiss about this, the plumber would notice. Right? But obviously not. He continued to blithely tile using the same system leaving more blue bits sticking out. But again, who am I to question the professional?

Let me clarify, at this point, that he’s a plumber. Not a tiler. Yes. My mistake. However, when the plumber that you like and trust says “I can tile” and “I can put up cornice” and “I can put in the window and door trims” you don’t think “No, I think I’ll look around for another trades person who can come in at the right time so the job gets done in a timely fashion, without any wasted time waiting for someone to turn up or finish a job.”

No. What you do is you say “Fantastic! You can do the lot? Wonderful. Forge ahead!”

One tradesperson to organise. One bill. Great.

Ok. Maybe not so great.

These little blue things are one example. The time it took for a plumber to tile and the mess he made doing it, also not so great. By the end of this I’ll have a new bathroom and have to redo the floor in the hallway, repaint the door frame and touch up some walls…

But we grin and bare it. I did choose small tiles. I did ask for a brick pattern. I believed him when he said that cleaning off the tiles of the glue after it set would be easy peasy.

sigh.

Ok, it wasn’t so hard getting the glue off and out from between the tiles. It just took ages. Both my time and the plumber’s time. Not ideal. But too late to do anything else. After all, I was the one who said it was a brilliant idea after all…

So, back to the little blue things.

I had planned to use a medium grey grout. I decided to go with dark grey. Almost black. Why? So that I could use a Sharpie (the crafter’s answer to everything) to colour in the visible blue bits.

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After all, I loved the look of the dark gaps which looked sort of like dark grout, and a black Sharpie should work…

Anyhow… when the plumber came in the following day he’d had an inspiration: he was going to use a fine cutting wheel on his grinder and grind out the little blue bastards.

Um… No. I don’t think so. Not a grinder. Its big and heavy and so easy to slip up. So I offered him my Dremel – the one I use on dog nails. It has teeny weeny cutting disks and it has a flexible hand held bit, so much easier to use. A much better choice.

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The better choice would have been to not use the blue things, but hey, what was done was done. Let’s make this thing work.

Now we have a multitude of scratched tiles and one chipped one which he wants to replace… How hard is it replace tiles? “Easy Peasy!”. I’m not sure I want to replace them. I think I can live with the scratches… I want the bloody bathroom finished in this lifetime. Tomorrow would be nice!!!

sigh.

Oh, and remember the deep scratch on the shower wall? I spoke to the guys in the store. They said “No problem. Bring it in and we’ll replace it”. Yeah right. Its ON THE WALL NOW. I wasn’t waiting another week for a working shower! Can we fix it? Nope.

Did I mention that some of the stuff on the floor tiles won’t come off? Its meant to all be the same stuff but some of it isn’t, I swear. I’m so over this. I want to start on the fun prettying up work!

Speaking of which, here’s a preview of the vanity. The colour looks awful cause of the lighting in the casita, but in the end I went with a greeny grey blue I loved – the colour of a Kmart throw I use on the couch all the time. I had a colour which was similar, I added a bit of grey which I already had on hand and viola! Happy Zefi. Only took 4 different colours to land on this one.

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I gave the inside a coat of waterproofing paint and then painted it white. Hopefully it’ll be easy to keep clean.

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One of the reasons I fell in love with this little cabinet was the hinges and the shape. Its not the ideal vanity unit, having only one door. It makes accessing things inside difficult. But I’ll make it work.

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So this is where we’re at today. All tiling done. Grouting touch-ups still to come. Tile replacements a threat hanging over my head. Tons more cleaning to do.

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The power points need putting back in place (and I need to get new cover plates for them). The wall you can’t see needs patching with plaster to smooth it, the door trim needs to go back on, then I need to patch and paint both the door and window trims and the wall itself.

And of course the vanity will go in tomorrow. And the cornice. Then the plumber will be finished.

I hope.

I’m not holding my breath.

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Meanwhile I found these towel rail holders with hooks. I love them. They were in my house in Melbourne and I kept them to use if I ever renovated another bathroom. I plan to use them in this one. On the long wall, a long towel rail… very industrial aren’t they?

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But I’m getting ahead of myself. There’s still so much to be done before I can begin the fun parts.

I sure hope this is over soon. But at least we can shower now!

z

shoot me now – bathroom stage 2.5-3ish

You know how there are some things you’d rather not see? Well, this bathroom renovation is full of things I’d rather not have seen. Like, I could live happily without ever seeing men in boots stepping on my new acrylic shower base while putting the glass sides up. Or seeing the amount of cement-like tile glue all over my floor, the tiles, the walls, the shower base…

I’m going insane.

I keep telling myself this isn’t the guy’s first job. He knows what he’s going. It’ll all turn out great. I hope.

I’ve watched gazillions of TV renovation shows. And they never, ever look as messy as what I’ve been looking at all week. Sigh.

Anyway – this is after the cement sheeting went up and the wet area paint was put on the walls.

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The next step was to put in the shower. All was going well till we unpacked the corner acrylic shower walls and found this… about 10 inches of deep scratch. Not impressed. But by then it was already Saturday and we’d been without a working bathroom for almost a week. I was over showering in the hydrobath. I was not waiting for another one to be brought down.

 

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The plumber did a bit of sanding and its better but its not exactly fixed. I’m not happy about it.

This is the bathroom after the shower went in (note, no taps – still not usable!) but before any tiling began.

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Meanwhile, I’ve been working on the vanity. This is the old cabinet with the Ikea sink sitting on top – I had to see how it would look. I’ve had to make it a bit higher and a bit deeper and I did that by using bits of pine on the top and back. I’ve added trim around the top to give it a bit more character.

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I spent ages trying to decide on a colour to paint it. I wanted blue – a light blue. But I also liked yellow… I tried about 2 different blues and 2 yellows by painting swatches on it and none of them appealed to me. So I went with something similar to the minty greens I already have in the house. I’ll share pics soon.

This pic was taken last night – we could use the shower… but we couldn’t use the bathroom cause the floor tiles needed to dry… sometimes you just can’t win.

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See all that stuff on the floor and tiles? sigh… is this normal?

And this is tonight. Tonight we CAN shower. I did. Good, cause I really needed it!
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Again, all the crap on the tiles… I sure hope he’s right and it comes off easily. I’m tired just looking at it. It seems I’m always cleaning and its always a mess around here. Mainly cause it is.

Oh well. It’ll be over soon.

But I must admit, I love the tiles!

z

PS. Sorry this is flat. I’m tired but I really wanted to share progress.

okay, this is for you

I just got this email from a friend and I have to share. I’m seriously sore from laughing so hard. Its not often you get something that makes your day like that. So this is my gift to you – Hope it makes your day!

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Complaints from Council House Owners.
These are genuine clips from council Complaint letters:

1. My bush is really overgrown round the front and my back passage has
fungus growing in it.

2. He’s got this huge tool that vibrates the whole house and I just
can’t take it anymore.

3. It’s the dogs’ mess that I find hard to swallow.

4. I want some repairs done to my cooker as it has backfired and burnt
my knob off.

5. And their 18-year-old son is continually banging his balls against
my fence.

6. I wish to report that tiles are missing from the outside toilet
roof. I think it was bad wind the other night that blew them off.

7. My lavatory seat is cracked, where do I stand?

8. I am writing on behalf of my sink, which is coming away from the
wall.

9. Will you please send someone to mend the garden path? My wife tripped
and fell on it, yesterday, and now she is pregnant

10. I request permission to remove my drawers in the kitchen.

11. 50% of the walls are damp, 50% have crumbling plaster and 50% are
plain filthy.

12. The toilet is blocked and we cannot bath the children until it is
cleared.

13. Our lavatory seat is broken in half and is now in three pieces.

14. This is to let you know that our lavatory seat is broke and we can’t
get BBC 2.
A Spot of British Humor

As reported in the newpaper…

Commenting on a complaint from a Mr. Arthur Purdey about a large gas
bill, a spokesman for North West Gas said, “We agree it was rather high for the
time of year. It’s possible Mr. Purdey has been charged for the gas used up
during the explosion that destroyed his house.”
(The Daily Telegraph)

_____

Irish police are being handicapped in a search for a stolen van, because
they cannot issue a description. It’s a Special Branch vehicle and they
don’t want the public to know what it looks like.
(The Guardian)

_____

At the height of the gale, the harbourmaster radioed a coastguard and
asked him to estimate the wind speed. He replied he was sorry, but he didn’t
have a gauge. However, if it was any help, the wind had just blown his Land
Rover off the cliff.
( Aberdeen Evening Express)

_____

Mrs. Irene Graham of Thorpe Avenue , Boscombe, delighted the audience
with her reminiscence of the German prisoner of war who was sent each week to
do her garden. He was repatriated at the end of 1945, she recalled. “He’d
always seemed a nice friendly chap, but when the crocuses came up in the
middle of our lawn in February 1946, they spelt out ‘Heil Hitler.'”
( Bournemouth Evening Echo)

____

A list of actual announcements that London Tube drivers have made to
their passengers…

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I do apologise for the delay to your service. I
know you’re all dying to get home, unless, of course, you happen to be
married to my ex-wife, in which case you’ll want to cross over to the Westbound and
go in the opposite direction.”
____

“Your delay this evening is caused by the line controller suffering from
E & B syndrome: not knowing his elbow from his backside. I’ll let you know
any further information as soon as I’m given any.”
_____

“Let the passengers off the train FIRST!” (Pause.) “Oh go on then, stuff
yourselves in like sardines, see if I care — I’m going home….”
_____

“We can’t move off because some idiot has their hand stuck in the door.”

_____

“Please move all baggage away from the doors.” (Pause..) “Please move
ALL belongings away from the doors.” (Pause…) “This is a personal message
to the man in the brown suit wearing glasses at the rear of the train: Put
the pie down, Four-eyes, and move your bloody golf clubs away from the door
before I come down there and shove them up your bum sideways!”

Are you laughing yet?

z

bathroom stage 2.0

Ok, before I go on, I have no photos of today. Cause, really, there’s not much to show. The shower cubicle was removed. The water pipes were moved. The cement sheeting is down on the floor.

That’s it.

I was sure we’d be further along today. I was all set to paint on the waterproofing this evening. But no, cause nothing ever goes as planned!

For one thing, I went in to pick up our shower and accessories, the tiles, the tile glue, the grout, and whatever else was on my list.

Like any shopping trip, it took longer than planned. But that’s ok. The plumber was late too. So part of not getting along further was due to the fact that we didn’t start on time.

Meanwhile, we had second thoughts on the shower. See, the sink I ordered from Ikea is 49cm wide. The cabinet it’ll sit on is 40cm wide. That’s ok. I’ll extend the back and we’ll put the waste pipe behind the cabinet instead of inside. Problem solved.

However, the swing door of the shower we initially chose would hit the cabinet. Even if I was to change the sink (too late for that, its arrived in Hobart!) so I had to change the shower to one with a barn style sliding door.

Below left is the shower we originally ordered, the one on the right is the one we’re getting now.

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We’re getting a combination shower with handheld cause we disagree on the best way to get wet. This one is a good compromise. In order to match the squareness of the shower fittings I bought the square mixer tap below right for the vanity.

accessories

Now, when it comes to tiling, I’ve decided to tile up to the window and over the window sill. No wood trim. The picture below is the inspiration. Plus I remember old school buildings with tiled windows… I think it’ll look really nice in our bathroom.

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Of course our window is a pale yellow aluminium called ‘primrose’. hmph. I’m sure some paint will change that easily enough.

There’s also a bit of an issue with the size of the tiles I chose (150 x 150cm) and the gap between the shower and window. That’s a 200cm gap. Which meant that either the poor tiler would have to cut every single tile to create the brick layout I want OR I had to find another way to deal with this troublesome spot.

My solution: some black subway tiles which will go up the wall in a strip.

Hopefully it’ll work.

Meanwhile I have a ton of work to do… the cabinet needs a total re-haul. The rest of our supplies need picking up. Cement sheeting needs to go on the wall… no rest for the wicked.

Our planned timeline is already blowing out and we have no idea how smelly we’re going to get before we have a working shower again…

z

stage 1.5 – the bathroom

Stage one is the stage where you remove everything from the bathroom that isn’t nailed down. Actually, everything that is nailed down, but not plumbed in. Stage one point five is where you remove the plumbed in stuff as well. That’s pretty much where we are right now.

On Sunday I removed all the extras from the bathroom – the medicine cabinet, the towel rails, hooks etc. Then this morning the bathroom looked like this as I got ready to remove the faux tile sheets. I’d already begun removing the window frame before I remembered to get the camera.

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Nice bathroom. Yep. Especially the space between the vanity and the shower cubicle. You’d never guess, but there used to be a bathtub along the far wall. Great layout for a small bathroom! First thing I did when we bought the place was to remove the tub so we could towel off after a shower.

bathroom1

I removed the door and window trims, the cornices and skirting boards and the faux tile sheets off one wall before the plumber got here this morning.

Together we ripped out everything but the shower.

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We left the shower in so we could get clean tonight, but we have a plan. The shower comes out first thing tomorrow. Then work starts on the floor and walls…

And we all know plans go perfectly, don’t we? We’ll have a working bathroom in a couple of days!

Bwhahahahah!

z

new bathroom on the horizon

Sooner rather than later actually.

Our bathroom is awful. I’ll try to find and share pics of it when I do the great reveal before and afters, but for now just trust me when I say its awful. Not that I haven’t seen worse, but…

Anyway, to add insult to injury, the hideous laminated fake tile sheeting we have in the shower recess (all over the bathroom in fact) has cracked and water is now getting into the wall.

Wonderful.

Well, really wonderful in fact, cause it means we get to renovate the bathroom!

Ok, so I’ve got some ideas.

I want subway tiles with dark grout, concrete floor tiles, white storage cupboard and a DIY vanity.

Sounds nice. Simple. Tasteful. Clean and tidy.

So… I have a cabinet I’m planning to make into my vanity using this sink from Ikea:

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My inspiration are these images I’ve had on my Pinterest ‘bathroom’ board ever since I began pinning things. I figure I can get something similar to this using an old cabinet and the Ikea sink top:

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Cool isn’t it? I know not everyone is into shabby, rustic or plain old, but I love it.

This one I pinned for the colour. For some reason it spoke to me though I’ve never considered yellow before.

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This colour is way more me, but I’m thinking darker, more aqua or turquoise will be the way to go.

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More like this!

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Anyway… wall tiles. I’m thinking subway tiles, right? I mean you can’t go wrong with subway tiles!!! And dark grout!

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Then I saw these pics on Pinterest and it got me thinking… We’re obviously going to be redoing the bathroom on a tight budget. And plain square white tiles are cheaper than fancy types. Right? So, I’ll go get quotes on both, but this is an option. I don’t mind the look at all.

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Of course, my window surround is timber and white, not black, but there’s no reason I can’t paint the aluminium window black. It’ll probably look way better than the ‘primrose’ it is currently. Ugh.

Still, how cute is that?

This week I’m off getting quotes and ordering the bits and pieces we need to create our new bathroom. And tomorrow I’m starting work on my new vanity and shopping my shed for what I can make my storage cabinet out of…

Another big adventure begins. Stay tuned.

z

barbie with tattoos

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I love this girl. She’s my first rockabilly pin up barbie doll.

Do you know what a rockabilly pin up girl is? Its a cross between a modern day rockabilly chick and a 50’s pin up girl.

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Gorgeous. I guess I’m lucky I never saw this look when I was a rockabilly or I’d be covered in tattoos now. Not quite so attractive when they’re stretched out beyond their original size. hehehe.

Check out my Pinterest page for more images. Of the pin up girls, not me.

This barbie was a mess when I got her. You can imagine – she was a tip shop find. Her hair was a matted mess and she was dirty. But there was something about her that I really liked. I don’t like all newer barbies. I love the vintage ones, but the later ones, well… some are nice and others not so much. This one had something special and I looked at her and thought: pin up girl.

First thing I did was give her a good wash and work on her hair.

pinup1

Given how frizzy the hair was I was surprised how well it came up. I made rollers out of straws and created victory rolls in her hair. (After watching YouTube videos on how to do them since I’ve never done one in my life!)

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Once the hair was set I made a bandana, using pins to secure it while it dried in place. Either that or I just like torturing dolls…

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Of course any rockabilly pin up girl worth her salt has tattoos, so I had to do those!

(Yes, there are often naked and sometimes headless dolls lying around the kitchen and bathroom. The place looks like a serial killer in training lives here…)

tatts

I found this great dress on ebay and decided not to risk my less than perfect sewing skills on my first pin up girl… The finished product is stunning. She looks pretty and sexy.

pinupgirl1b

Her hair has turned out better than I had hoped. Especially considering what I started with!

pinupgirl1c

And her tattoos are fun! Teeny weeny tattoos. I think I need a stronger magnifying glass. Do you know how skinny barbie arms are?

pinupgirl1d

This girl will be listed in my etsy shop soon… As soon as I find some time to package and weigh and sort out postage.

Is it just me or is life way too busy and complicated?

I thought working from home would mean I got more time to do things I wanted to do, but instead I feel like a hamster on an exercise wheel: my goals (crossing items off my endless To Do Lists) remain out of reach. If anything, they seem to be dancing away every time I think I might grab one of them.

Is it just me? I’m beginning to think it must be. I’m one of those people who want to do everything and be everywhere and be involved in everything.

“No” is a theory to me.

z

 

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