Saturday, February 17, 2018

A Knitting Project

I searched high and low for a cushion cover in the right colours to go into my newly refurbished spare room.........(well, honestly, it was really only a perfunctory look) Couldn't find anything, so I bought some wool and knitted my own. This is knitted on the diagonal, so you start with very few stitches at one corner and increase at the beginning of every row and then decrease once you reach the widest point. The reverse is four squares knitted diagonally in the four colours I used on the stripy side.

I love the complementary pep in this room now - you would think such strong colour contrasts would be a bit hectic, but, on the contrary, I find it restful.
Total cost for renovating this room: around $250!


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

A Bit Of Wabi-Sabi

Yesterday, I dragged out the old table I mentioned in my previous post........and, yes, it was in a pretty sorry state. It had spent a number of years outside as a kind of potting table I think, and all four feet had varying degrees of rot where it had stood on and in the soil. I cut the bottoms off all four legs to the same level to remove all traces of rot. The frame and top were in surprisingly good condition - turned blackwood legs and a deal pine top, which had all the signs of a hard life, but was not warped or split. The base had been painted a grey blue which was weathered and peeling. 
I bought four matching pine feet to glue and screw onto the bottoms of the legs to replace what I'd cut off (remarkably, it is solid on its feet - no rocking at all!) I also braced the corners under the top to reinforce and strengthen it.

I then set to with the sander to sand back the top and remove most of the paint from the legs. I didn't want to obliterate every trace of its former life, so I allowed some of the stains and dents to remain in the top and  I left some of the grey paint on the legs. I stained the pine extension feet to match the colour of the legs and I oiled the top (thirsty, it was!) I'm really happy with the result of a little bit of effort - this cost me nothing except time!

So here it is: my new/old wabi-sabi table  - a perfect addition to finish off my spare bedroom. (Wabi-sabi comes from the Japanese aesthetic - it celebrates and finds beauty in the imperfect, the broken, the fits in perfectly with my designer-frugal style! In fact, I really have a wabi-sabi house!


Sunday, February 4, 2018

A Paprika wall

I had to stop work on the spare bedroom before Christmas, because I needed it for a few house guests over summer..............they didn't seem to have too many objections to the fact that it was not quite finished!
All the summer guests have departed, like birds flying South, so I've been able to get back to work.

I have devised a plan of attack for the coming months.....apart from continuing with outstanding jobs inside, I'm about to start repairing and painting the roof as well as the external woodwork. This is something of a priority, because I want to get it done before the weather gets too damp and Autumnal, so I probably have until mid-April.

I've done a few small repair jobs around the house - my portable fan needed new feet, because the flimsy metal ones it came with got all bent and no longer held it up straight. It's now sporting sturdy new wooden feet! I also repaired the broken frame around a large mirror that was here in the bathroom when I bought the house. More about that later.

I decided the spare room needed a bit of pep, so I opted to paint one wall in a beautiful warm paprika shade - it goes really well with the mainly blues in the room.....

This is the mirror frame I repaired - sturdy enough after the repair job, but it was looking a bit grotty and tired, with a sort of dirty cream paint on I went wild with a mottled painterly effect using all the colours that are in the room. It looks great and a real one-off. I'll varnish it later with a matte varnish to protect my artwork. True "designer frugal" style! I'll be putting up some shelves in the blank area of this wall, and I have a lovely old table waiting in the garage for some tlc. That along with another bentwood chair that was a gift and the room should be complete. Except for a second coat of paint on the white woodwork and another coat of oil on the floor, which will then be polished. I love this room!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Spare Bedroom

The extra bedroom in my house was still looking tatty and tired, despite having the nasty old asthma-inducing carpet taken up and a good clean. With my son getting married next month (second marriage for both of them, so a good excuse for a big party?) and a few interstate and international visitors expected, thought I might be called upon to put people up, so now is the time to get the room spruced up.

The room was basically OK, but someone had had a half-hearted attempt to paint parts of it in a fairly horrible shade of pink - the built-in wardrobe was the "best" example. And it was coupled with large dark brown resin knobs. It was fairly awful!

The windows had been allowed to get very wet (inside) at some stage, so the paint was flaking and there was black mildew everywhere. I was told the previous owner had had the power cut off the winter before I bought the house, so I'm not surprised there had been damage caused by dampness. I've had two winters here now and the winter of 2016 was the wettest on record, but the house has remained completely dry, thank goodness. I keep the wood-heater going pretty much 24/7 during the winter, so the house stays dry and warm. It does show, however, how moisture intruding into the fabric of a house can soon start to cause real damage, But I digress! I stripped the windows back and painted them fresh white - what a difference! Same with the built-ins - basically in good condition, but just needed a couple of coats of fresh, white paint. I bought some sweet ceramic knobs from an Indian import shop (Ishka, for the locals) - enough for all the doors and drawers......but each one a bit different, except that they are all in shades of blue and green. Looks great!

The door was badly damaged - it looked as if it had been given a thorough kicking at some stage! I thought about replacing it with a new one, but in keeping with my "designer frugal" ethic, I decided to have a go at restoring it first. I took it off its hinges a was able to glue the panelling back to the frame. Once the glue had set, I filled the badly damaged areas where bits were missing. After sanding and painting, it looks like a new door! I probably saved about $100 on the cost of a new door, and while that doesn't sound like much, it all adds up.

I've spent a lot of time and effort removing tacks from the floor and sanding off the paint drips and splodges around the edges (not my doing!) I now need to fill the holes and seal the floor. A couple of rugs around the bed and some new cushions, some pictures on the walls and this room will be done! I'd like to stay in it, if I were visiting.
But silly me! Now I have to pack everything up and clear the room so that I can finish off the floor........but I was desperate to see how it was going to look.

                              ......and now with a few more Ishka touches - a rug and a throw.

                                   I love these ceramic knobs - I used thirteen different ones.\

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Spring in the Garden

After a cold start in September, Spring is finally here with milder weather and a blooming garden!
I really like living in a place that has four distinct seasons.........there is always something different happening in the garden. That first head of broccoli is ready to harvest - it will be on my dinner plate tonight!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Blue Door!

At last I have a blue front door! I spent yesterday prepping and painting my front door - it now looks bright and fresh and very welcoming.

Now you can walk up the fourteen steps and actually FIND a blue door!

The lighter shade will be the colour I'll be using to paint all the external woodwork on the house - barge-boards, soffits and window-frames. I'm hoping to get it all done this summer, but that depends on how much repair work needs to be done. I know there is some.
I'm also going to repaint the concrete of the balcony and the steps - at the moment its a rather awful shade of yellowish cream and it shows every speck of dirt and dust and I'm forever scrubbing it.........I'm going to choose a colour that will go some way to hiding some of that dirt and I'll be replacing the old wrought-iron balustrading with something a bit smarter and more enclosing. I want to create a more private and lovely place to sit out the front, with a potted garden and some nice outdoor furniture. This balcony is shady in the afternoon, so it's a great place to find a bit of cool on a summer evening. 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Hall Table

I've been on the lookout for a small narrow hall table to go in my small entrance hall......seems like they are rare as hen's teeth! I eventually found one advertised in the local online marketplace for very few dollars. Well, it's cheap furniture - poorly made from cheap materials, but is exactly the size I want and approaching the clean, simple style I'm looking for, so it will do until I find or make something better. I think I'll paint the front door this will be blue at last!

The sculpture is one I made a few years ago; it is called "Demeter"