DIY grooming bench (the ugly bench finished)

I shared the ugly bench I made for drying dogs the other day. Its a bit rough and ready, made from leftover bits of timber and offcuts I had lying around, but its strong and sturdy and fits perfectly where I wanted it.

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The bench stands in a corner opposite my hydrobath and its my drying area. It holds a small dog crate for cage drying small dogs, and fits over my show trolley for drying larger dogs. I stash my stand dryer in front, with two of its legs under the trolley, and my blaster sits on the floor in front of the wall my poodles destroyed going after some critter.

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That’s what it looked like when I finished it. The top was thick MDF, not water proof and thus not ideal as a drying bench.

This is what it looks like now:

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I visited the hardware store and bought some ribbed rubber matting. I bought enough in length to turn over the ends on either side, and had planned to cut the width off to simply turn over the sides as well.

However, when I laid it on top of the bench I thought “Hey… this is perfect!” By not cutting it and simply rolling it up the wall and fixing it onto the plasterboard with screws, I’ve successfully waterproofed the wall as well! Whoo-hoo!

My plan is to eventually reline all the walls in my washing/drying room using anything I can find that’s cheap (or preferably FREE) so it won’t look as tacky. Till then I’ve got myself a totally non-slip, waterproof, sturdy drying bench I don’t get a sore back drying dogs on!

I’m on a roll!

z

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the ugly bench

I did warn you. It ain’t pretty.

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I’m not a builder. I’m not a furniture maker. I’m a furniture recycler, re-maker, re-configurer. I take things someone else made and change them. I don’t often make things from scratch.

And here’s the reason why:

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I’m not very good at it. Sure, I can make things, but they’re never quite… right.

They might not be stable enough. Or quite the right size. Or not quite straight.

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A little dog tries out the drying cage. I think he approves of my handiwork though he wishes he was somewhere else.

At least I get good marks for trying, right? Not to mention, I actually measured right and the trolley fits underneath it perfectly!

The drying bench is made out of 2 different size hardwood posts ‘borrowed’ from Wayne’s stash as legs, thick MDF from our kitchen makeover as the top, small size treated pine timber bought by me in the wrong size for something a few months ago, and leftover bits of pine lining from the grooming room reno as side braces.

Its 100% recycled.

Today I bought some rubber non-slip ribbed matting which will sit on top to make it waterproof and safe for dogs. I’ve already used it a few times and its a great height and size.

I’m happy.

P.S. If you noticed the ‘wall’ behind it, don’t worry. I groom in a shed (aka the ‘casita’) which houses my grooming room, my workshop, our feed room, tack room and what passes as a laundry. It needs work. And that’s an understatement.

 

z

doing stuff

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Today was another gorgeous day in the Derwent Valley.

Ok, it was a bit cloudy. And a bit windy. But it was gorgeous. It  hasn’t rained for quite a few days, maybe a whole week, and with the wind, the grass was dry enough to mow. And it needed mowing!

I’d been putting that job off for a while now. It was always too wet. I was always too busy. But today was the day. It was a write-off as far as being creative as I had errands to do in the morning and Montana had a vet appointment.

Update on Montana: she’s now on oestrogen pills. Fingers crossed that sorts it out cause Wayne looks ridiculous putting her undies on. All her tests are good (boring as the vet said) thankfully so hopefully she’ll respond well to these pills.

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Anyway, I decided that it was a day to work outside for once cause I tend to neglect it at this time of year. I needed to check the fence lines as the other night Romeo managed to kill a pademelon (that’s a tiny wallaby) that got into the yard. I don’t like that happening so I went around and put things all across the bottom of the fence where there were gaps. Hopefully no more wallaby deaths in our yard…

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I also hung a small bell by the gate for my grooming customers. 🙂

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By the end of all that I was on a roll. I wasn’t ready to stop. I thought I’d clean up my workshop – I stood there and stared at it for a while before deciding that the best thing I could do to begin sorting it out, was to remove the huge sheet of MDF I had baring the entrance. I mean, it seemed the right place to start.

I measured out the length I needed to make the drying bench I planned to make and cut it using my circular saw. Then I thought, well, I started… may as well make the bench!

I looked around and found bits of this and that timber and basically made a bench for my dog drying area. It ain’t pretty. I’ll get photos tomorrow. Its rough and rustic and it needs a coat of paint and rubber matting on top to keep the MDF dry and the dogs from slipping. But it does the job. It fits in the corner, my show trolley sits underneath it for cage drying large dogs, it fits a smaller crate on top for cage drying small dogs and it has enough space to dry dogs on even without removing the smaller crate.

And its not even really wobbly!

Wow. I surprise myself with my talents.

(Its really badly made!)

z

working on green ears

I like a challenge. Which is why, when I decided I needed some vintage barbies and to have a go at re-doing dolls, I ended up with this girl.

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Those are the listing photos when I found her on ebay. She was in great original condition if you didn’t mind green. She’s a 1960’s brunette bubble cut barbie… no neck splits, body in good condition, straight legs, eye paint great… but she had green ears. Or rather, a green face!

In fact she was still wearing the earrings which made her go green! I can’t say whether they were original, I don’t think so since they look too big and the outfit was home made.

On the good news front, her outfit made me feel like an expert sewer!

Once I got her, I removed the disgusting earrings and the rusty pins holding the veil on her head. I then tried the various methods I’d read about online for fixing green ear issues. I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned her with CLR cleaner. Inside and out. Inside the holes in the ears too. I made CLR face masks and placed her in the sun on the porch to scare away unwanted visitors. It worked. We didn’t have any visitors. But at the end of it she was a paler shade, but still green.

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Right side, not too bad, the green is a ghost of itself.

I removed her face and began the job of repainting her. I gave her green eyeshadow and green eyes. I think I did a great job on the eyes and eyebrows actually. Since she still had a green face it was a long process to get her looking less… alien…

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Great eyes. And wow, Zefi did you do those perfect eyebrows? Yes, why thank you. I did. 🙂

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Only a slight tinge of green remains under the pancake makeup… so? She was feeling a bit sick.

See? She was looking pretty. Not bad huh? Till you looked at the other side…

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That’s quite a bruise you have there, Barbie!

Ugh. I wasn’t happy with the result.

So I decided to have another go. And since I wasn’t really happy with her hair (I just couldn’t get it right at the back) I took drastic steps. I removed all her hair and started over. I’m not sure the paint job is as good – I’ve gone for softer, more natural eyebrows and I’m not sure I like them as much – but I got rid of the green almost entirely!

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No more bruise!!! But those eyebrows are a bit wishy washy…

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And thats a bit heavy handed on the eye shadow. Very late 60’s….

Only a person who’s into re-making dolls has bald doll heads on pens in their office. At least I hope so.

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Its still there. The green won’t go away, but its a gazillion times better.

So far so good. I just have to decide on a hair colour for her… Maybe platinum. Maybe pink… As for hairstyle, I’m thinking a beehive! Her outfit pedal pushers and a cute top… how cute would that be?

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Meanwhile life continues at the usual pace. Flat out. I’m still struggling with the planning and scheduling thing. I plan to do so much and end doing not much of it at all. If anyone has a solution or a vaccination, please let me know.

Montana is better but just when I thought she was over it, she wet the bed again last night. Her’s, not ours thank goodness. Poor Montana. Vet again on Monday. Hopefully it can be sorted.

The horses are well. The chickens, geese, ducks and other dogs are well. Wayne is doing better, though I think he’s still holding a grudge that I convinced him it’d be a good idea to get both knees replaced at once.

What can you do?

z

fun chalkboard doll display

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While doing things yesterday, I found a box I’d painted with chalkboard paint for a project sometime last year or so and decided it was time to get it off the floor of the office.

Its actually too shallow to be a doll display shelf but I thought it might be fun to display my most recently finished Game of Thrones Bratz doll repaints in it for a while. They got tired of standing on my desk, the printer, the stack of papers to be filed and the ironing table.

So, what do you think?

I’m not sure whether I should call them makeovers or makeunders. I mean, they’re not madeUNDER are they? More like madeoverthetops… They sure aren’t Tree Change Dolls!!!

Anyway. I’ll share my Game of Thrones dolls soon. I’m really enjoying playing with dolls. Second childhood? Still on my first? I don’t know, I know I like remaking stuff. I can’t help myself. There’s just about nothing I will walk past without thinking “I can do something with that”.

It kinda explains the mess in the casita. And the white shed. And the silver shed. And the office.

Ok. I’ve been working on it. I’ve been getting rid of things. Either selling, giving away or throwing away things that I will never, ever get around to “doing something with”. Or by actually finishing them and selling them. Which is good as the money is always welcome.

I can use that to buy more stuff.

Its not my fault. I have a condition.

I have ‘I Can Do That’ syndrome. That’s where you look at something and think “I can do that” and proceed to start “doing that” with all that “that” involves – buying tools and materials to do “that”, spending hours working on “that”, filling your space with the results (and remnants) of “that”…

Its a thing! I read about it on a blog!

z

white horse makeover

Do you ever spend a whole day working hard, so in the zone that you don’t have breakfast till 11ish, forget lunch and then look around and think “what on earth did I do all day”?

I’ve had one of those days.

Sure, I did do a few things, but not really enough considering the hours I put in. I washed some dog blankets. I worked on 2 dolls I’m repainting. I worked on my horse makeover. I finished (mostly) my Barbie display box (will share later)… but somehow I don’t feel like I really got much done.

Anyway, here is my horse makeover. Sorry, I don’t have any before pics cause it was so truly hideous I couldn’t bring myself to take photos. Trust me. You’re better off not having seen the extreme hideousness of it. I found this little horror beauty at the tip shop, no mane, no tail, the worst smiley lips and blue eyes with painted on eyelashes. Eek.

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First thing I did was remove the paint. Phew. I could look at it without gagging. Then I attacked with the Dremel.

Yep. You heard me right.

I have a brave friend who sometimes uses sandpaper to alter dolls. I’ve never had the guts to try anything like that, but this horse was so ugly I had to give it a go. Nothing to lose, you know. Using the sandpaper attachment (which I use to grind dog nails) I got rid of the lascivious smirk. Then I sanded down some of the features to soften her look (cause I’d decided it was a girl by then) and even had a go at ‘dishing’ the face a bit to give her an arab look.

Cause I’d already decided she’s going to be Daenary’s horse. For my Bratz doll makeover. Another thing I’ll share soon.

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Note the bald doll head on a stick in the background. I’ve spared you the headless bodies on the other side. My office sometimes looks like Dr Frankenstein’s lab.

After all that I gave it a sand with 200 or 5000 grit sandpaper to smooth it all down. And I painted a more realistic face on her. I’m missing a photo right about here, after the hooves were painted, but you get the idea.

Then I moved on to the mane and tail. I used hair I bought on ebay, which came on stitching. I had no idea what I’d use it for when I bought it but I knew it’d come in handy one day. And so it did!

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I used glue to attach the mane and tail and then used glad wrap to keep it all in place while the glue dried.

Once it was dry I poured boiling water over the hair to make it lay the way I wanted to. And over my fingers cause you have to suffer for your art.

Here is the finished product. So different to the horse I found at the tip shop. Again, trust me on that. It gave hideous new meaning.

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All in all, despite not feeling like I got enough done, at least I got one thing finished.

Pat myself on the back.

z

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oval chalkboard – again

This poor chalkboard has been through a lot.

I was given a broken oval frame by a friend a few years ago. It was in three pieces when I got it. I finally got around to doing something with it about a year ago. I glued it together, used a mix of gold and silver paint to disguise the joins, put in some MDF with chalkboard paint and called it good.

I used it as our shopping list chalkboard in our pantry for a while. Then I replaced it with something smaller and planned to sell it.

Then it fell down and broke again. Oops.

This time I got serious about fixing it. Not only did I re-glue the joins, I cut an oval board and liquid nails-ed the entire thing to it, making it so much stronger.

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Do you think I have enough clamps? I think I might have a few more here somewhere…

Once it was dry and as sturdy as I could make it, I decided I wanted to change the colour. I picked a greyish white. I’m not really a gold kinda gal.

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Much better, I think. Though it doesn’t look its best against the pale grey-ish outer wall of our house.

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If you look closely you can still see the joins, but what do you expect when it was in three pieces to start with? It’s a rescued frame, you can’t expect perfection!

I don’t expect perfection.

In fact, I like imperfection.

…I’m not entirely sure if I like imperfection and am therefore happy with it, or if my skills can’t quite reach perfection so I embrace imperfection.

Potato, potato. Who cares?

z

barnwood rustic tray

About time I shared something I’ve actually made with my own little hands, right?

Here is a tray I made using offcuts of recycled timber, left over from one of our outdoor projects – most likely the stable makeover.

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I began this project when I found this old bit of wood which had some paint and lots of machining marks on it. I sanded it back but loved the look of the paint so left plenty on it. It gives it character.

First thing I did was cut the piece of wood and join it together to make a tray. I used glue in between the pieces but since I don’t have a biscuit joiner to do the join properly I had to find another way. I wasn’t going to rely on just glue to hold it together.

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I used one of these little galvanised metal thingies to hold it together underneath. I don’t know what these are actually for, but I’ve found them very handy for holding wood projects together… Cause I’m not exactly an expert woodworker…

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Once it was dry and the metal joiner thingy was in place, I put rubber stoppers on it to give it a nice stable base.

Did I fail to mention the timber has a slight curve to it? I think it adds character. Then again, imperfection gives everything character!

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I added a couple of my favourite handles. I got these at a sale in a cabinet hardware store and I will, to my dying day, regret not buying all their stock. I haven’t been able to find any like these since.

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I finished it off with a coat of wax. A coat of 2 different waxes mixed together in fact – a nice beeswax and an antique black wax.

I love the way it turned out.

Now to get onto some more DIY projects!!!

z

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photo display and more pet sagas

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Wayne likes to get me little presents now and then. Usually rusty old things. Like a couple of rusty old chests he brought home a few weeks ago. And then this toast rack, hand held steak grill thingy he found somewhere.

I love rusty things (in case you hadn’t realised), and old things, and things which just look interesting. This covered all bases.

So, what did I do with it? Well, first I drilled a hole in the handle so I could hang it in the kitchen to go with my ever so slowly growing and encroaching collection of old and rusty stuff…

Then I put one of my favourite photos of mom and her brother on it to display. I really love this photo. Aren’t they both so gorgeous?

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I added a few bits and pieces to it to add interest…

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Take a step back and have a look at the things around it. The beautiful black and white plate is something I bought at an auction. I think I paid $20 for a box of junk just for the plate. The sieve on the right is something I brought back from Greece. The Mickey and Mini I bought years ago when I lived in Melbourne. The Flintstone characters I’ve had since I was a kid. The black mammy notebook is so politically incorrect but so gorgeous. She was a gift. And the charging station is something I upcycled from an old drawer.

You can read about that adventure here and here.

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Take another step back and you can see what I mean about encroaching stuff taking over the kitchen.

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I started with the two vintage food covers. Then I found some vintage strainers… then I needed another wall…

I’m loving it.

So, where are we with the animal situation? Well, Montana seems fine. She ate another nappy last night (ok, don’t get your knickers in a knot, she didn’t eat it, she chewed a hole big enough to counter any pee soaking effect it might have had). I washed and dried her bedding so its ready for tonight.

This morning I fashioned a funnel out of aluminium foil and chased her when she went out to pee and collected a small plastic container full of pee which I took to the vet. I’m now waiting to hear from them and take her in when they ask me to.

But the adventures don’t end there.

Yesterday morning when feeding the poultry (we have a few chickens, a lot of geese and we feed a fluctuating flock of ducks which aren’t really ours but they live around or visit our dam) I noticed one of the hens was wobbly on her feet. She seemed to cross her feet over as she walked and she’d overbalance like she was drunk.

This morning she was falling all over the place and I know she hadn’t been drinking.

I picked her up and checked her over. I think her feet are a bit swollen, but I’m not really sure. I asked on a FB poultry group (as you do) and got suggestions, advice, sympathy and well wishes. I also asked Dr Google. I still have no idea what’s wrong with her but now I have a whole lot of things I can worry about.

I’ve got her in a dog crate for the night, in the shed where she’ll be warm. I’ll have another look at her tomorrow.

Ah the joys of owning animals. I swear, if this is a fatal infectious disease that kills our chickens I am NOT getting any more.

z

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its been four days!

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I just realised its been four days since my last post. I had planned to post three days ago. Then two days ago. Then yesterday. You get the picture.

It totally illustrates my point about planning.

Anyway, I may not have posted, but I’ve been busy.

I’ve finished a few small projects which had been mouldering in the casita (aka my shed), cleaned the house (mainly cause we had visitors), taken part in a scheme to take over the world (or just created a Women’s Shed in the Derwent Valley), and discovered that one of our dogs is having continence issues.

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While cleaning the house today I did the usual changing of dog bedding, something that I do on a regular basis. This time I found some wet spots, which I sniffed (as you do) cause, you know, one of the dogs could have spilled his/her tea in bed… It was pee.

Not good.

I’m thinking Montana. She’d been unwell about 3 weeks ago, waking me up multiple times through the night to let her out. Not only did the poor girlie have diarrhea, she had a urinary tract infection too. Perhaps she needs another course of antibiotics… But she normally wakes me up to go out – so maybe its not her…

That’s not a welcome thought. I mean, I brought a huge crate up to the house and set it up in the living room  (as you do) for Montana to sleep in tonight. Then I thought ‘but what if its not her? I get up and find a dry crate but a wet couch!’

So I did what any sensible person would do: I went to the supermarket in search of nappies (diapers to Americans) or pull up pants.

I stood in the aisle staring at all the baby, toddler and small (and not so small) child continence products and went ‘Whoah!’. There’s so many of them! And naturally they come in boxes of 5000.

What size diaper would a standard poodle wear? When I bred poodles I used to put undies on my girls to stop them staining everywhere when they were in season, but that was a while ago and I can’t remember what size I bought.

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This is not Montana, but its a good illustration of the look I was going for.

The supermarket didn’t have undies, but they have lots of choice in the nappy department.

After standing there looking stupid for a while I asked a nice young lady who was buying little people juice what size she thought a poodle would wear.

She was very helpful, once she figured out I wasn’t a nut. She had no idea what size I would need but she was buying a box for her son so she gave me one to try. As it happened I had a poodle in the car so I went out and tried it on. That was fun. Luckily I hadn’t parked too close to the store so no one saw me wrestling in the back seat with Romeo who thought his mom had developed some really kinky interests.

It was way too small.

I ended up buying 14-25kg nappies in a box of 30. The good news is that if one (or more) of the dogs have bed wetting issues I have plenty of nappies.

What fun I’m having!

z