27/14: the bathroom reno finishing touches

Once a task is complete, one tends to forget how much work was actually involved, but looking back through the renovation photos we can appreciate the achievement…and we didn’t get divorced!

During the process, occasionally one of us would go and stare at the bathroom for some time. It turned out that when my husband was looking, he was working out technical and practical aspects of the renovation. Although I would do the same, I was more often envisaging what it was going to look like when it was finished, and where I would place different ornaments and accessories to create a bathroom with an Art Deco feel. This is how we make such a good team, and our labour of love has been truly worthwhile, but don’t just take my word for it. Time for some photographic evidence.

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26/14: bathroom reno: beyond the blue

There can be life after the bathroom blues. After much planning, shopping around and gutting the original bathroom, the reconstruction commenced.

My handy husband created a hob for the new bath. The cement sheeting went up, then, after waterproofing, as most of the bathroom was going to be tiled, I opted to paint first.

I also varnished the window frames in gloss, to give the timber a lift.

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How exciting it was to place the bath in the new hob. “One day closer to a bubble bath” became my mantra as each step was achieved.

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We were quite adventurous deciding to tile right up to the ceiling above the bath, but between us we overcame difficulties as we faced them – a good team-building exercise in the long run, notwithstanding the mini power struggles that ensued!

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Floor tiles went down first, then the hob and border tiles. Now we understand why tiling is usually only done to a certain height. Walls and ceilings are never square, and adjustments must be made. We did the central row first on a supporting timber beam.

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Another ambitious idea was to have three little feature tiles spaced above the bath, to break up the mass of white and coordinate with the front of the bath. To determine the best location for these, I blu-tacked little paper shapes in various ways and took photos of each to work out the optimum placement. Ah, the wonders of digital photography.

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I created a cardboard template for Dutchy to use for cutting the holes for the taps.

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Resting on the job? Just rehearsing for my bath.  Now, back to work!

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The last little piece of tile goes up. I must give Dutchy credit for his brilliant tile cutting. Good equipment helps.

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Once the grouting was all done and cleaned up, I used a combination of WD-40 and Isocol to take the stubborn clear film off the bath.

Now, the bathroom was ready for some final touches. Stay tuned!


14/52: rocks in my head

While some people may think this is a metaphorical truth, in reality I speak of my planning process. Some days I work quite hard in the garden, and at times I wander around just looking, thinking and planning.

Many ideas go through my head while strolling about the yard, some which take me off on total flights of fancy. For example, there was the time we came back from  a trip to France and I was envisaging building a second storey just so we could have a balcony. I came to my senses fairly quickly, as that would have been very expensive. Perhaps I might just enjoy the architecture when I am actually in France.

After Thailand I came back pumped about a tropical garden, but this idea has actually come to fruition.

Currently there are rocks swirling around in my head, ready for some revision. Whereas stone walls are permanent, single rocks or groups thereof can be rearranged as required. Usually these rearrangements involve more than one area, so it takes some thinking about. Okay, if I move those rocks over there, that means this area needs something else, and so on. Weeks may pass before I actually work on that project, but it has had time to agitate about my mind and change a few times before I even tackle the task.

Rocks can be rearranged to accommodate the growth of plants as well, such as in the front garden. The large rock featuring in the second photo was obscured by plant growth.

where the marigolds were

featuring large rock

I’ve tidied up the side of the driveway and the edge of the footpath using bricks and rocks I was given, in addition to rocks I already had. The whole job only cost me time and labour, and gave me much satisfaction. I even used old weathered palings to extend the bottom edge of the fence next to the driveway.

needing a makeover   edging done and fence repaired

front corner


11/52: a bridge too far

Some projects take longer to get off the ground than others. Take, for example, my bridge project. A year ago a friend gave me a pre-loved wooden bridge needing a little TLC.

I had grand plans for this bridge, and was going to repair it, sand it back and re-varnish it. Meanwhile, life, conifers and rocks got in the way and the bridge project was put on the back burner.

Finally the task is complete, and the bridge is safely ensconced in the middle tier of the back yard, surrounded by an imitation river bed, which utilised many of the river pebbles I was given by some neighbours undertaking a dual occupancy of their block. Rather than see all their rocks and pebbles go to waste, they have been recycled here.

With the addition of a number of palms, the bridge has added another aspect to the tropical makeover of my garden.

halfway through the transformationa bridge too far as seen from bottom tier bridge over a dry river bed  the bridge leads to another area transformation complete

339/366: a seasonal change to the patio

In the interests of having a jolly holly Christmas, I thought I would make the patio a little more festive. Where has the year gone by the way?

I cut some holly from my real live holly bush, and then I spray painted it gold. I’m not sure how long this will last on live leaves, but it’s worth a try. Perhaps I should have let them dry out first? But then they may have looked withered. Time will tell.

golden holly leaves

Once they were dry I put the sprays in a little pot stuffed with oasis foam (the type florists use in arrangements), then topped it off with some of my ubiquitous river pebbles.

sprays of golden holly

It now rests on the outdoor table, attached to the umbrella with a cable tie, to prevent it falling over. Underneath, as though they are under mistletoe, are two kissing cherubs.

under the mistletoe

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Seasons Greetings from Sandi Claus.

338/366: decorating a trunk, but not an elephant’s trunk

Since I pruned back the dead branches of the conifer behind the built-in bluestone barbecue, that area has looked a little bare.

bare conifer trunkTo the rescue: another basket I had lying around.

artificial and natural decorationutilising old freesia leaves With the addition of dead freesia leaves that I had recently removed from the bulbs, and some artificial greenery, the trunk now has some added interest, with no ongoing maintenance.

adding interest to a tree trunk

336/366: random renovation or a speedy recovery

Noticing a chair on the patio in need of renovation, I went to my material cupboard and found I still had some of the upholstery fabric left with which I had previously re-covered it with years ago.

previously renovatedIt was a simple matter of removing the screws holding the seat on, then cutting a large piece of material out. This time I added half an old pillow underneath for extra comfort.

new fabric and extra cushioning

With my trusty staple gun, the job was finished in almost no time.

attach with a staple gunI even added a pretty edging of ribbon on the underside. Mini project completed!

edged with ribbonthe final comfy result

330/366: tropical corner on the patio

Things are moving forward with my tropical theme. I worked on the patio today, rearranging items and putting up a tropical oil painting under the pergola.I enlisted the help of the electric drill and a masonry drill bit to attach the hooks on which to hang the work of art.

These days pergolas are more like an outdoor living room than merely a covering for the barbecue and outdoor furniture. And since all my walls are covered with various artwork in the actual house, I am more than happy to find some new walls to decorate, even if they are outside!

The bonus here is that where I sit at my laptop doing my blog, I can look directly out over this revamped area. I’m especially pleased with the little arrangement of artificial ivy and ferns which discreetly covers the rather ugly, but necessary, outdoor double power point.

329/366: nesting instinct or a basket case?

My daughter was visiting me the other day and laughed at me when I told her I was having a go at basket-weaving. I think it conjured up pictures of mental institutions in old movies, or maybe old people’s homes.

It all started because I had leftover bamboo strips from the blinds I used on my fence re-vamp, and I was trying to think of a way to recycle them. Before I knew it, I was trying to thread them onto a semi-circular wire hanging basket. They kept snapping, so I soaked them for a couple of nights in the bathtub, with water just covering them.

This helped their malleability, and I also added the last bit of brush fencing, with the whole thing ending up looking rather like a bird’s nest. Hence the title. Finally, I added some artificial plants and attached it to the fence using cable ties, which have many varied uses. Now it’s up on the fence, never needing watering, and disguising the join of the trellis. But really, I must try to finish some projects before constantly launching out in other directions. Nevertheless, I was quite pleased with the result.

300/366: the neglected chair

After buying two chairs needing some TLC from a garage sale, I set about providing the necessary tender loving care, with some help from my husband. The “before” photo shows a rather decrepit looking seat.

Needing new timber across the seats, he kindly obliged. I finished them off with a coat of paint and they were nearly as good as new, another example of recycling. Pictured is the “after” shot of one of the pair of chairs.