Thursday, 9 July 2015

Home maintenance and DIY

Home Maintenance
In our home, I am the fixer-mender-maker handy(wo)man!  And I hate to pay for a job I think I could do myself!  But some jobs, are best left to professionals.  Believe me, I found tiling the bathroom far easier than applying window putty!!

Old windows in cottage in need of putty weather-seal

I have been meaning, for some time (years, even) to mend the broken bits of putty missing from our cottage windows.  I know it's a &*^! job, so have been putting it off.  Next holidays, I always say.  So eventually, I bit the bullet, jumped in feet first and bought a container of window putty.  I googled how to do it, so was miffed off with myself when I followed the instructions - to knead the putty before using, to get rid of hard bits.  Well I did that.  Enough putty to be manageable.  But what I should have done, was knead the entire container of putty first!  It was only at the end of the job, I realised how much linseed oil was down in the bottom, which would have made the rest of the putty so much softer and easier to manage in the first place!!  
Second tip - paint the underlying wood to seal it, or it will soak up the oil from the putty and cause it to crack.  Done.  I then set about spreading it, cutting the excess with a putty knife but it was most non-compliant!  All due to not having much oil in it, so it crumbled as I tried to work it.  
First layer of acrylic outdoor paint to seal the wood
 A job I thought would take an hour and a half, tops, ended up being 3 and a half hours worth of hard yakka!  $#@*!!  Anyway, in the end, it looks a little better, and in 2 weeks time, I have to paint 2 coats of exterior acrylic paint to protect and seal the putty.  But truly, never again!  Aluminium framed windows now seem such a blessing.  Luckily our house has aluminium framed windows, it's only our guest cottage which still has wood-frame windows.  Apparently, this putty should last 10-15 years.  Hmmn, hope so.  It's not a job I'll do willingly, again!
An okay-job, for an amateur.

It's harder than it looks!
 I have managed to barricade myself down in the shed one blustery day on my off-work-week, to create some scavenged cedar wood-bit projects.  First off; this little bird nesting box, complete with hinged roof to make cleaning up last year's nests easy.  The landing branch is not yet glued in, as I need to post this one off to friends as a gift, and the job is easier without a poking-out branch!

Bird Nesting Box.
 I have made some herb markers, with my favourite choices - Basil, Rosemary, Chives and Parsley.  One to keep, and one to give away.  Which reminds me - I still need to clean up my herb garden and plant some new herbs in Spring.

 Feeling rather on a Creative High, I set about making yet more projects; a wall-mounted jewellry hanger, an elasticated holder of all-sorts for wardrobe organisation, and some whimsical garden signs.
Tree Jewellry Hangers

Elasticated Hanger for ties, scarves or other

Garden Signs
A corner of the garden, for reflection
 As it is our 26th wedding anniversary, I decided to make my Love a token of appreciation.  He loves to travel.  He always wraps his shoes in a plastic bag before stowing them in his luggage.  That seems so Third-Worldish and we always strive to move away from plastic, so I took one of his old t-shirts and cut it up into sections.
2 pieces of the body will suffice for the project

I turned them inside out and sewed them up on the 2 open sides, stopping short of
 the existing bottom hem.  I slit the opposite side top hem open too, for threading the
closing strings.
Some fabric paint, an Indian printing block and we're away....

A little printing embellishment to brighten up rather plain bags....
We have 2 shoe bags, and 2 small bags to stow phone charger or other small items easily lost in the
bottom reaches of the suitcase!
 Some time back I purchased a tatty Fiji photo book at an Opp Shop for $2.  Yesterday I cut out some pics, pasted them onto blank card and made 10 blank greeting cards out of them.  That's one way of recycling something not-quite-useful.  I shall make another batch when I run out of these, as there are many more pages in my shabby-chic Fiji photo book!

Beautiful images of Fiji
 The winter frosts have really hammered our banana plants.  They do every year.  So we chopped down a near-ready bunch a week ago and hung it in the shed to ripen - they won't be "tree-ripened" but still will make a great supplement to seasonal citrus.

Anyone for bananas?

Post Update 27.07.15
The window putty is painted.  Yet another tedious have-to-do job!  Done!  Yay!


  1. You really are a woman after my own heart with your philosophy of 'why pay for someone to do it when you can do it yourself'! Like you I often end up in a fix with jobs taking far longer than they should. That's half the fun, especially when you succeed. Your other creative talents are fabulous, I must say.

    Helene Raymond @ Trade Squad

  2. Hi Helene, thank you for taking time to read and comment, it encourages me to share! Yes, I love to try my hand at all things. I have just had a certified Velux fixer man come and solve a leaking sky light, he siliconed around it and charged $207 for 20 mins worth of work ! I should have done that!! We could have gone on holiday with the money saved!! Haha!

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