Tuesday, August 26, 2014

From Garbage to Glamour

She-Who-Worships-Pink apparently now worships animal prints.  I could say "oh dear" but in all honesty I must say that she's a chip off the old block.

I promise, I have never nurtured or encouraged this - so it must be a matter of DNA. Or just her innate sense of style.

Walking through an enormous fabric store, my Pinkster strolled past a roll of sparkly fabrics in both her favourites; blue and pink. She didn't bat an eyelash.

Then she called me over to another table; "Mummy! This is beeyewdiful; can we use this?" Her tiny little fingers were tugging at a roll of leopard print Lycra. Then she gasped and grabbed the one next to it: faux snake or maybe crocodile, it was hard to tell.

You see Pinkster (I can still call her that, right?) had designed a dress for her latest favourite Bratz doll.

Oddly her current favourite doll is the one I recently rescued from a kerbside garbage bag; washed, dressed, coiffed and offered prosthetic feet (long boots).

But apparently, one extreme make-over wasn't quite enough. 

She drew a picture of her design, once she'd chosen her fabrics; some leopard print Lycra and sequined lurex. (Would not have been my first choice of fabric combinations.)

Then the nagging started: "Mummy pleeeeeeeease, make it." "today?"

Well all in all, as much as I had little confidence in her fabric combo,  the dress turned out quite well. 

Pinkster asked me to put up Bratz's hair in a French Twist, before removing her bangles to thread them through her ears!

I think my girl might just have an eye for this stuff...

Friday, August 15, 2014


"Did you get that out of the trash? You did! You trash-picker!"

"I'm not a trash-picker. I'm a recycler. That's a lot more romantic. Isn't it?"

 ['The Wild' Movie]

This week has been Council Clean Up, where households put out rubbish that's too big for the bins and the council trucks come along, smash it up and dump it as land fill.

I've been out with a fellow civic minded green recycler type, picking through the trash and I've been equal parts thrilled and appalled.

Thrilled at all the stuff we rescued from land-fill including one brand new, I swear it's never been sat on, Ikea Klappsta armchair. 
This had been pitched out (then rejected by other civic minded recycler types) I suspect, because of the wobbly legs. 
Well somebody didn't read the instructions did they? 
I got it home got out my tools and put the legs on the right way.  
It's gorgeous. It's not land fill.

My friend similarly rescued many more items of good, even lovely furniture, but some of it was very much worse off for the poor weather.

The appalling part is that people throw good quality useful stuff, unceremoniously onto the curb without giving it a thought.
I felt like putting charity shop leaflets in peoples letter boxes or a note even, saying something like:
 "Do you know that the Salvation Army will pick this stuff up, free of charge, and give it to families in need? Or sell it and feed homeless people?" "Surely a phone call is less trouble than dragging it onto the curb?" 

I just hate waste: that's why I filled two suit bags with around 30 plush toys, expensive toys, in mint condition - apart from the fact they'd been left out in the rain.  I took them home dried them on the line, washing the dirty ones, and donated them to charity myself.   
Apart from the fact that watching Toy Story 3 has scarred me for life, I think of all the poor little kids, who through no fault of their own, don't get nice toys at all and it breaks my heart to think of this stuff going into a dirty rubbish truck to be smashed up, buried and turned into pollution.

She-Who-Worships-Pink came with me on her first 'trash or treasure hunt' and she asked if she could find some treasure to keep. 
I told her"If it's clean and in good condition, you can take one teeny- tiny little thing" :

Yes, this was the first thing she laid eyes on!
We found a pitiful Bratz doll, hair all matted in a tangled ball, with a mix of craft glue and general crud, naked with no feet and again I thought of Toy Story 3...

I wish I'd thought to take before photo's - who doesn't like an extreme makeover - but you'll have to take my word for it - she really didn't look worth rescuing.

But in 15 minutes after a good shampoo, a brush through with conditioner, some prosthetic feet (old Barbie-doll boots), leggings from one of my old dolls and another Barbie hand-me-down blouse...She's like new and Pinkster adores her.

The little Pinkster decided to do a presentation for news this week on re-using and recycling which has turned out to be the hot topic this semester: 

And unfortunately the bear goes everywhere..


Friday, August 8, 2014

Seeing The Light

For as long as we've been in this house, every time I use the powder-room I've known I'll never be happy until I have two big holes in the door.
You probably wouldn’t imagine that knocking holes in a door would be a solution to disguising a great mess.
You might imagine going by my last post that mess is a problem in our home. Well sometimes. Maybe.  Just a bit.
But I mean, look at the view from our downstairs power-room. <Urgh.>  My laundry ‘aint pretty - not in the least, but with the door closed the powder room looks like a dark cave.

I’ve been thinking about having window panes inserted to replace the top two door panels for ages- years in fact. That solution would let in the light, while I close the door on the mess.
I’ve asked two handymen and three builders and they’ve all scratched their heads and talked about removing the door which involves removing the frame, part of the wall. Buying a new door and doing all of the above to get it in.. Well, I think that’s serious over-kill. 

I wanted to do the same with the front door of the house, and I ended up with a brand new door. Which then had to be primed (several times), and painted and sanded back (several times) and that all took weeks to complete.
So during a visit from family, my sister’s clever husband took a look.  He uttered words that were music to my weary ears: “I’ve actually done this before..it's quite simple.”
As he checked out mine; knocking a bit on it to see if it was solid, he reminded me of a beautiful door in their home with two gorgeous stained glass panels.
“See here? This beading is nailed in, get a fine chisel under it and you can ease this off. Then cut out the panels – replace the beading on the back, silicone in the glass then nail back the beading on the front.”
More music to my ears, and I understood most of it. Beading, also known as moulding, is the trim inside a door panel: 

We started out running around the edge of the beading/moulding with a Stanley knife to cut through the thick paint, then worked the chisel around slowly working off the front moulding.
After measuring up the panel size, minus mouldings, we stopped by the glaziers to order the glass panels, then headed to the hardware store, where among other things I bought a new chisel and a new toy.
Ryobi Multi tool - I cut, I shaved and I sanded!
I also needed new beading, as I wasn't quite gentle enough in places. oops but as it turned out, the original moulding was very wide anyway which meant smaller panels and less light.

So the whole thing went merrily along just as my renovation wingman had described. I should call him the reno-Pilot really because I certainly had neither the expertise nor the courage to tackle this on my Tod, and wouldn't have at all if he hadn't motivated me (pushed me into it)

So this is the story in pictures:

Ta Dah!
Many thanks to my clever Brother-in-law who recognises a procrastinator when he sees one and knows just how to give a gentle shove :0)

Saturday, August 2, 2014


I'm cheating this week on finish up Friday, by showing off something that was finished on another Friday.

I love sneaky spaces, especially home work spaces. My own home office takes up a quarter of one bedroom which is not ideal and I've had to add a shelf unit at the end of my desk, which ends a meter before the doorway, jut to improve the view from the main passage.  The paperwork is bad enough but when I'm sewing, the moment anyone hits the top of the stairs, my messy desk is the dominant feature of the first floor.

The apartment I just finished needed a work-space and fortunately there was an enormous cupboard in the main living area. I took half of this to create a hide-away workspace.

It was almost too simple, just a matter of adjusting the shelves to create a desk and adding a pull-out keyboard drawer and some accessories. My fabulous cabinet makers did all the hard work retro fitting the old cupboard with new shelves.  Because it was so old there weren't any movable shelves (and the shelves were hideous raw timber slatted things) so it took a bit of working. I had an elecrician install an additional power outlet inside the cupboard bottom to run the computer, printer and modem.

The fun part for me was buying office accessories to dress it up, with an Ikea SPONTAN magnetic message board and  Ikea Kassett magazine files and a print for the back wall:

I'd like to do this at home and reclaim my guest room - I have the cupboard space (it just needs a good clear out).
I've since found  a number of attachable keyboard shelves available on Amazon. Who knows, maybe I can figure out a way to make a hidaway sewing station too...

Maybe I should call my favourite cabinet makers for another nifty creative design.

Maybe I should be clearing some cupboard space first.

Special thanks to Creative Space Constructions - for truly inspired solutions and quality finishes.