Posts Tagged ‘Progress’

Full metal (window) jacket


The front of the house, circa 2015

One of the jobs on my 2017 New Year’s Houseolutions list was to paint the external window frames. Given I did the front and back doors in the early part of my holidays, and was looking for things I could do without DIY Dad assistance, external window frames seemed achievable.


Looking from the dining room window to the rest of the windows to be painted (taken in 2016)

I had scrape, sand, then use a rust converter on some of them, as they had spot rust, then prime them twice and then do 2 topcoats on them. On top of this, I had to work around when the sun hits some of these windows and also when it was too hot during the day to paint plus a 16 hour drying time between coats.

So I split the windows into 3 groups: back windows except the studio window (I couldn’t unscrew the bolt keeping that window shut, so had to wait until DIY Dad was free to unscrew it), the front windows and the studio and office windows. The back windows are pretty shaded, they get the sun from about 4.30pm onwards. The front window get the sun until 2pm by which time it’s too hot to paint, but if you get up super early (like 5am) you can paint them while the sun is lower in the sky and it’s not as hot. The side window (the office window) gets the sun from about 1pm onwards.

This is a little like one of those awful physics questions, but what it meant was that if I was painting several of these groups in a day, it had to be done in the following order:

  • Front windows
  • Side window
  • Back windows (or if I missed the window before it got too hot, I could come back and do these at 3.30-4.00pm, or after 7.00pm at night)

Back windows, looking from the bathroom, across the newly painted back door and window (they were wood), to the kitchen and on to the dining room window:


And so it begins…

The back windows where the first to be started. I used the extra wide blue painters masking tape for the windows as some of the window parts are quite narrow, and I didn’t want to have to clean a lot of paint off the glass if I could help it.


Primed and ready to be top-coated

It is a commonly acknowledged fact that to fix something around your house, before it’s fixed everything has to get a lot messier.


Looking back at the priming

My front windows took ~45 minutes to an hour to mask, so I started each group of windows in waves.


A shed load of masking tape.

In case you wondered: I used 3 x 54.8m long rolls of masking tape. That’s 164.4m of window panes that I masked. That’s beyond a shed load of masking tape, into a f*ck load of masking tape.

And once I masked them, I had to paint them x 4 times, waiting 4 hours till they were touch dry and I could close the window, and 16 hours before I could recoat. Once the last coat was on and dry, I then had to remove the portion of the 164.4m of masking tape on those panes of glass. It was an epic job.


First to be completed, the back windows barring the studio.

I suspect I would be feeling a warm sense of fulfilment at a job well done, if I wasn’t feeling so tired right now.


Once I could move everything back into place, I could also clean the back garden.

I’ve also painted the gas meter box (also metal) in the same colour (did that when I did the front windows). One day I will take a photo so you can admire my matchy-matchy painting skills. In the meantime, here’s a photo of the front with the windows complete and the masking tape just removed.


More epic than Lord of the Rings.

So…15 days into 2017, and one New Year Houseolution = done AND my epic holiday window painting (exterior) task = done. I look forward to a world where I am not moving ladders, chairs or milk crates holding a 1L can of paint in one hand, and a paint brush in the other. I look forward to not having to think about temperatures and angles of the sun throughout the day. I look forward to not having to clean up with turps. Mostly I just look forward to not using my arms for a while.


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Hipsta before shot from 2015 ๐Ÿ˜€

Another holiday job was to paint the exterior windows and doors to my house. Most of the windows are steel, some with a little rust that needed treatment, so it made sense to split the job into front and back door (and window)…and windows. Apart from the different pre-painting treatments required, there are significantly different drying times for metal paint vs wood paint.

Again, I had to scrape, sand and fill the doors and their surrounds. I removed the fly screens on the front and the back doors. The back door screen is in such bad nick, I have popped it aside to chuck. I have kept the front doors but as yet have not put them back on…since I intend to get security screens at some point this year.


Front door and meter box, pre-painting.

The back door was in particularly bad condition in terms of painting surface: a lot of the original paint had peeled and flaked away, probably as a result of the weather:


Back door and window, pre-painting.

Given the doors appear to cop a bit of weather (mainly the back door, but since I was on a roll), I primed with an oil-based primer and did 2 coats to ensure full coverage.

Once that was done, it took 3 coats of the British Paints exterior in Ironstone (it’s a colorbond colour, not that I have colourbond but it was really nice) to coat the wood. I even did the meter box out the front (in truth: while I was painting the front door, I completely blanked that there was a wooden meter box about 1m away that could also do with a paint…luck there’s a quick drying time on these paints, so I was able to prime x 2 and paint x 3 in 2 days):


Front door looking very distinguished.

I haven’d finished cleaning the glass to get rid of the paint accidentally splattered or painted on the doors, but that’s not an urgent job…


The after shot. Looking mighty fine.

I did find the coverage of the wood exterior paint to be a bit painful: dark colour on light primer, so it took between 3-4 coats to do these surfaces.

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The Ginger Menace inspects the new colour…

I’ve been on holidays for the last month, with a full list of things to do. Some of which I have managed to tick off, in between binge-watching British crime TV and regular nap-times.

One of my holiday jobs was to finally paint the laundry door and window on the interior. When I moved in, I had run out of the paint I used and never quite got around to buying another tin of paint and finishing the job. It wasn’t all paint-tin procrastination, though. I had to fill a hole that had been left in the door thanks to a lock replacement prior to me buying the house, mind you I did that in 2011…there’s still 5 years of “one day I’ll get around to it…” in there.


The before shot.

I had to remove venetian blinds, scrape, sand, fill and prime the door and window: some of the old paint was in pretty bad nick. Then, after 2 coats of primer (it’s a wet area, so I wanted to get very good coverage before I top-coated), I applied the water-based enamel.


Job almost done.

The dark surround does make the room a little darker, but it’s so worth it. If I want the room to be lighter, I could open the venetian blinds a tad.


This looks like…another tick on my to do list ๐Ÿ™‚


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New Years Houseolutions 2017


Bluebells on my front patio

It’s Day 3 of 2017, time to think about the 2016 goals I managed to check off and what I want to carry over into 2017 (only 362 days left in the year y’all). Last year, I did pull back on house-related stuff in 2016, due to travel, family visits and some other commitments. Having said that: I did manage to cross off some items that had been carried across a couple of years of houseolutions lists. If I didn’t finish them, I did manage to make significant progress (hello Daybed).

2017 Houseolutions


  • Culinary and domestic skillz
    • Learn how to pipe buttercream icing
    • Make a gingerbread house and gingerbread men and women
    • Learn how to knit
    • Learn how to use one of my two sewing machines
    • Take a knife skills course
    • Make more passata and investigate other foodstuffs I can preserve at home
  • Daybed: make a mattress cover for it then transport it northwards.
  • Wet areas:
    • Finish painting bathroom cornices and fixing wall paint from last attempt to paint cornices (not a gift of mine)
    • Patch and repaint areas in the laundry (there are a couple of plugs that need to be removed from the wall, I need to fill, patch and repaint those areas)
  • Paint external window frames (done, d.o.n.e. and DONE).
  • Eaves: I need to repair, strip and repaint my Eaves. This relies on DIY Dad direction, and he’s currently busy renovating his house. So although I’d hoped to do this over summer, this will happen at some point in the future.
  • Front garden:
    • Topsoil and levelling of lawn
    • Finish front garden bed:
      • Buy agapanthus to fill in gaps and add some purple to the bed
    • Planters around patio:
      • Relocate bulbs in the patio planters (they need to be thinned and relocated from where I will be repointing)
      • Once new homes for bulbs are located, plant in Dianella Little Jess to add some year round foliage and colour to the beds
      • Relocate the reed/grass plant currently in the garden bed (to the front verge, sectioned and replanted)


  • Passive Solar Measures
    • Insulation: I live in Australia, y’all.
    • Get universal tile ventilators for roof: Whirly birds destroy the roof line, imho.
  • Termite treatment: I live in Australia, y’all.
  • Front verge
    • Plant front verge with drought resistant plants that attract pollinators and/or are native bush tucker foods (with the aim of total cost of plants being less than $50, so far no money has been spent :D)
    • Mulch it like itโ€™s hot

Longer term:

Some other goals that are optional and will probably not be achieved in 2017, but one can live in hope (and carry them over into 2018 and beyond):

  • Buy some big (preferably retro) pots and trees for front:
    • Yellow desert lime
    • Fig tree: DIY Dad has a very neglected Fig Tree in a pot at his. I will be bringing it to mine and seeing if I can resuscitate it.
  • Restore roof and then get solar panels: to make use of abundant resources and for guilt free electricity
  • Not as pressing, but on the radar:
    • Re-pointing:
      • I need to dig out sections of my patio planters, to enable those sections to be repaired
      • I’ll need to remove all my downpipes to repoint behind them
      • I’ll need to work out how to repoint in sections where there is no easy access thanks to a later wall being built (see next point)
      • I’d like to get the mortar gun working (issues to do with quality of sand are causing the problem, according to my research), as that will help with some of the trickier sections
    • Restore freecycled furniture in my garage
    • Get stainless steel + sailing wire trellises for out the back.
    • Carport: draw up a rough plan for what, where and how.
    • Grey water system to water lawn.
    • Garage:
      • Re-roof garage: making it water tight and insulated with a view to turning it into a studio.
      • Replace window and door, again making it water tight.
      • Replace garage door, making it water tight (or at least so I don’t get leaves from the street blown into the garage).
      • Invest in garage shelving to remove requirement for storing stuff on the floor.
    • Spare room: build a murphy bed, so I have space for visitors and painting. Murphy beds are the coolest.
    • Gallery hanging system: even if I can’t do the whole house, if I can do some of the rooms (or even just some of the walls in some of the rooms) it will mean I get some of my paintings and other sundries off the floor.

Previous Houseolutions


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Spring in the veggie garden


Snow peas, sugar snap peas and silverbeet

It’s spring, so I’ve cleared the veggie garden of weeds and reclaimed some of it from the dichondra that is trying to take over (next up to buy some edging to keep Dichondra on the side of the garden bed it’s welcome to cover and to keep it out of the veggie garden).


Radicchio makes a reappearance

I’ve kept the silverbeet from last year, these plants survived over summer and are looking very lush and prolific so they can stay.

I’ve planted zucchini seeds (they are from an older seed packet so if they don’t make an appearance soon I will buy a seedling), two types of sweet corn, bush beans, sugar snap peas and snow peas.


The peas, future beans, current silver beet and future corn.

There is a sad little padron pimiento plant in the garden, all my peppers are looking sad at the moment so I will keep an eye on it to see if it fills out with leaves and becomes productive: if not, it’s coming out.


Future corn and future zucchini as well as a sneak peak at the invading dichondra (and weeds) and the resurfacing radicchio

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You may (or may not) recall the daybed I freecycled in 2012. While it was in immaculate condition when I freecycled it, leaving it in the garage with the mattress on top of it was…a massive mistake.

The mattress got damp, and the top layer of plywood on the base warped and got mouldy. Even after treatment with Eucalyptus oil, the daybed needed restoration.

I ditched the mattress (but I did keep and clean the cover because it was RAD), but finding another one that matched the actual size of the daybed was challenging: it’s about 10cm longer than a normal single mattress, and about 10 thinner too.

So the restoration needed two parts:

  1. Rip out the plywood and replace it
  2. Purchase a king single foam mattress, which is cut down to the size required and then sew a cover for it (way in the future, as I don’t currently have a working sewing machine in the house)

I ripped off the plywood top in December, as part of my activities over my Christmas holidays:


Mostly before photo: Just after I’d torn the first strip off, and remembered I wanted a before pic

That took an hour or so, and made a lot of mess because the plywood sits in little niches so you couldn’t take it off in one piece easily.


After photo, but before I’d cleaned up the mess.

I then went on a hunt to find plywood that was about 3.6mm thick (you read that right 0.36cm) and that I could cut into the shape required (there are little notches at each corner, so it’s not just a standard rectangle).

I started by finding somewhere online where I could get it cut to order, cost $180. And then I asked DIY Dad if this is something we could do together after my sister (and new niece) had visited in February, and after I had been to Canberra in March (bridesmaid duties).

We were on track to do the plywood purchasing and cutting in April…then DIY Dad fell off a ladder and broke his ankle while I was away in Canberra.

After a long recovery, and allowing time for DIY Dad to catch up on all the DIY things he’d wanted to do prior to falling off a ladder and breaking his ankle, we were in the position to look at when we could restore the Daybed in August.

The first thing that DIY Dad did was check my measures (Which I had annotated using InDesign, so we weren’t referring to confusing hand written notes):


So much easier to pick up and put down a project over the course of 10 months when you have really clear and neat notes and measurements

I am pleased to announce that our measures only differed by 0.03cm on one side (and it’s the one I could have gotten away with because there were no niches on the lengths).

We bought the plywood in August and I stored it in my spare room until we could tee up a day when we were both free to cut it down.


DIY Dad mugging for the camera

We cut the plywood down in September using my stone table as our cutting base (we measured and were very careful about positioning the plywood and cutter toย  ensure at no point were we going to cut the table):


DIY Dad in his preferred place: doing the DIY and using the sharp implement, me in mine: supervising

We used a stanley knife to cut the plywood, and the DIY Dad used a tennant saw to cut the notches (he really wanted to use a saw at some point, why deny him that joy?):


DIY Dad cutting one of the last divots out of the plywood

We manouvred the plywood into the niches, and use a mallet to reattach the bed together (it’s held together by wooden dowels that I loosened to get the original plywood out):


Fancy Mallet Photograph

Then DIY Dad applied 2 coats of varnish, and then 1 coat of a marine varnish (if anyone sleeps on the daybed, we don’t want the plywood to warp again as a result of the mattress getting condensation in it): house-1083

I still have to sand with wet and dry then apply the last layer of marine varnish, but I managed to catch a horror cold – it came on the day after we cut the plywood – so it will be another weekend or so before I apply that final coat.

Once that’s all done, it’s off to Clark Rubber to get a foam king single mattress cut down to size AND sew a new cover (at that point: working sewing machine will also need to be in place). Then – finally – the daybed will make a treck up to its new home in DIY Dad’s beach house.

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Tractor Seat Mark #2 In Position

The title sounds foreboding, but rest assured there is a happy ending for both Mark #1 and Mark #2 Tractor Seat Plants.

When I last left my quest to own Ligularia Dentata, affectionately known as Tractor Seat Plants, I’d successfully identified the plants, and tracked some down to an independent garden store who had ordered them in for me (which took months by the way): I’d bought 6 pots of small plants, and was waiting for the weather to cool before I planted them. So both you and I thought the job was pretty much done: plants purchased, once planting was completed it would be JOB = DONE!


Mark #1 Tractor Seat Plants in position

And I did do what I set out to do: I planted 5 of them in their pre-ordained spots as punctuation marks between my Japanese Hedging Bamboo (Bambusa Multiplex) and my Slender Weavers Bamboo (Bambusa Textilis Gracilis). The sixth pot, however, was a little too big to go into it’s pre-ordained home. So it got planted behind the Mulberry Tree and I put on my lists of things to do: Buy A Tractor Seat Plant In A Smaller Pot.


The Mark #1 plant that caused my quest to be continued is on the far right.

I did go back to the independent garden store to see if they had another pot. But they were out, and I would have to order one in…knowing it would likely take months to come in.

So I did the next best thing, I went to a decidedly non-independent hardware and garden store, where I had seem some while I had my goods on order, and purchased one from there.

I bought it home and planted it…and then realised the leaves were slightly different to the 5 other plants already in position.


The Plant that caused the second part of the quest, in position.

Now the version of Ligularia Dentata (Tractor Seat Plants) that I wanted, was a larger plant, that was a more emerald green and its leaves grew on stalks about 0.5-1m of the ground.

But the plants I’d got from my independent garden centre were more forest green, were much lower to the ground and did not appear to be making the move to becoming bigger, taller and brighter green plants…while the plant purchased from the decidedly non-independent hardware and garden store was actually doing all the things I wanted my Ligularia Dentata (Tractor Seat Plants) to be doing.

You guessed it: I had two different types of Ligularia Dentata (Tractor Seat Plants) in my front garden. 6 of one variety (Mark #1) and one of another (Mark #2). And Mark #2 was actually what I wanted all along.

However I did still like the Mark #1 plants…I just didn’t want the Mark #1 Ligularia Dentata (Tractor Seat Plants) plants where they were, I wanted those to be Mark #2 Ligularia Dentata (Tractor Seat Plants).

So I went back to the decidedly non-independent hardware and garden store, purchased 5 more of the Mark #2 Ligularia Dentata (Tractor Seat Plants) and mapped out where I could rehouse my Mark #1 plants to.

The Mark #1s are now under the Mulberry Tree. They appear to be very happy there as their little friend who was already planted there is going great guns (you can see him to the right of the photo below).



Mark #1 plants in their new home under the Mulberry Tree

Meanwhile the Mark #2s have been planted in their recently vacated homes and also appear to be going great guns:


Mark #2 growing into its new home

And I am looking forward to when they grown 0.5-1m in the front garden bed. I suspect they will be on the smaller side as I have deliberately inhibited their growth by planting them in a smaller, shallower space, but they are already looking very happy between the Bamboos and behind the Alocasia:


The Quest Is Complete. FINALLY.

So at long last I can write: JOB = DONE!!!!!!


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