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The joy and satisfaction of a restored piece of furniture cannot be underestimated – especially when you have undertaken the job yourselves.

This post from November last year tells the story of our most recent furniture acquisition.  It was in very good condition but GMan sanded and recoated the entire piece, however, the real difference was the replacement of the drawer handles.

I have been using the dressing table for about 3 weeks while we were waiting to collect the new mirror.  I chose to have bevelled edges to replicate the original.

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Today we fitted the mirror in the frame and attached it to the dressing table.

Before and after photos.

I am really pleased with the final result.

New to Us

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A few days ago I was lying in bed in the morning  and scrolling through Facebook when a Marketplace advertisement popped up and caught my eye.  It was for a silky oak dressing table which looked to be in pretty good condition and a fair price- $150.  Silky oak is a tree which is native to where I live and we have one growing on our property so it is quite special to have furniture which was obviously made with locally sourced timber.

Within a matter of 10 minutes I had contacted the seller and arranged to buy it with collection that afternoon.  GMan and I took the ute and collected this beauty.

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It is currently in the workshop as we intend to sand and refinish the timber as well as replacing the handles on the drawers and possibly replacing the mirror.

You may remember the other dressing table, also silky oak, which GMan restored a few years ago.

Dressing table

Once the new one is restored I will probably swap the existing one to the guest room and replace it with the slightly larger one in our bedroom as there is more drawer space.

Filing Friday (on Thursday)


Welcome to 2015!  A brand new year for you to make of it what you want.

I have been gradually decluttering for several years so there is generally only a few things here and there to leave the house.  However, there are a couple of hotspots that just seem to invite clutter to hang around unless I am constantly vigilant.

In the lead-up to Christmas I was particularly busy at work so things got a bit neglected at home.  Also, our car was badly damaged in a hailstorm at the end of November and was declared a write-off by the insurance company.  So, as well as everything else we had to buy a new car, organise insurance, liaise with the towing company to collect the old car and so on.  All of this resulted in paperwork, notes and phone messages on the desk. Everything was finalised on Wednesday – we have a new, insured car and the old one is gone so this morning I got up and decided that I had to sort out all of remaining paperwork.

I started with the desk, followed by the other hotspots which are the end of the kitchen bench and my dressing table.  It then turned into a major clean-out of the filing cabinet and other folders so The Duke and I spent several hours working through it.  Some papers had been carefully filed for up to 10 years without ever being looked at so we were really ruthless.

Apart from clearing the papers that were in the previously identified spots, I actually have nothing to show for our efforts except that the contents of the filing cabinet have been reduced from 3 drawers to 2.  Everything was relatively neatly stored – it was just that much of it was no longer relevant.

001The desk is mostly cleared – there are just a few more things that I need to put away.

002I just need to set-up the pedometers so we can actually use them rather than be lurking in the bottom of the filing cabinet!

003This end of the kitchen bench is one of the most frustrating hotspots – the pile of papers never seems to go away completely.  It may seem counter-intuitive to put a basket here to dump “stuff” in but my theory is that it will be contained rather than expanding and spreading its tentacles across the bench.  I have also designated Friday evening as “Filing or Fling” so everything that is in the basket by Friday evening will be dealt with accordingly.  In a perfect world the basket would be empty but I will be surprised if that happens.  🙂

So, beginning next Friday (not tomorrow) the blog post will be about the filing or keeping the paper clutter at bay.

I would love to hear of any systems you may have in place to help you manage the clutter hotspots and filing.

Recipes and Restoration


In response to the comments from my Clean & Green post the links to recipes for both the cream cleanser and wool wash are under the tab at the top of the page marked “Recipes – Other”.  Unfortunately, the wool wash one does not have any photos as they were a victim of my culling photos some time ago 😦  I do need to make some more again before long so I will take some new photos.  Also, I have found that the mixture sets quite firmly so I will be experimenting to make it more like a gel or even semi-liquid.  I will let you know how I go.

Dressing table

Since we finished restoring the silky oak dressing table we have been searching for a similar unit for The Duke’s clothes.  Many that I had seen on Gumtree (online buy/sell site) did not have enough storage space.  I was hoping for a silky oak piece but that was not essential.

On the weekend we bought this piece.  The thing I really love are the small, deep drawers at the top.  They will be perfect for separating socks and underwear.

Chest of drawers
The seller had owned it for about 20 years and never restored it.  We will need to replace the bases of some of the drawers and do a bit of structural refashioning.  The piece is not original as the top left-hand drawer does not match the others and the front of the unit looks as though it was once the back of a piece of furniture.  Apparently it has come from Coober Pedy (an opal-mining town in the outback of South Australia) and there is clearly a lot of history so I believe it deserves to be restored.  It needs a lot of work but we are confident that it will come up nicely.  We intend to replace the wooden knobs with metal handles to match the dressing table.

We do not intend to embark on this project at the moment as we are trying to get things ready before we head overseas in a couple of months.  So we have covered the piece with a heavy drop-sheet and left it until we have more time.

Do It On Your Day Off

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The title was once part of an advertising slogan when 9 day fortnights were being introduced in some workplaces.

Well, yesterday was a day off for me and I did all sorts of things.  Belle had asked if we could look after the children for an hour or so from 5pm as there was an information session for the Year 1 parents which she wanted to attend.  I originally planned to leave work early to go to her place but then decided that a day off seemed like a better option.

I left home early in the morning and dropped of some mangoes and frozen mango puree to Belle.  The next stop was Albion Glass & Mirror to pick up the new mirror for the restored dressing table.  We had originally planned to have it re-silvered but that is an obsolete process as they can replicate any glass or mirror.  We chose to spend the extra money and have the bevel just inside the frame rather than a perfectly flat piece.  This is authentic and maintains the integrity of the piece.  I will post a photo once we have re-assembled the mirror on the dressing table.

Then I headed off to see my mother for the day.  We did not do anything startling.  The time was spent chatting, looking at some old photos and seeing her latest craft work.  We shared a simple meal for lunch and went to the local shops to pick up a few groceries.  It was lovely to have the time to spend together.

Picking up and caring for my granddaughters was a complete change of pace but also very enjoyable.  I heard all about their respective days, cooked dinner for them and have started teaching Miss O, aged 6, how to tie a bow.  She does not have shoes with laces but what prompted the lesson was her shorts.  She changed out of her school uniform and came downstairs in shorts and a t-shirt but these new shorts have a drawstring as well as elastic so we spent some time learning how to tie a single knot which she mastered almost immediately and then a bow which she has grasped the general concept.

I had an enjoyable day and it was great to connect with family.

On another note, I wanted to share this post from Frugal Queen who hails from Cornwall.  Cornwall has been battered by the wild winter storms of the past few week but in her post she shares many of the wonders of Cornwall and why the tourists should visit.  Not only Cornwall but many areas both at home and overseas really struggle for visitors after a disaster.

Downsizing the Drawers


Last week I showed you some of our furniture restoration projects.  Like everything we do they did not come to fruition quickly.  In fact, The Duke found the receipt for the new hardware for the drawers which was dated May 2012!!

The drawers are finally finished (apart from the mirror) and have been moved into our bedroom.

This is what they have replaced.

Chest of drawers
The first step was to remove the contents from the existing chest of drawers.
As per any good decluttering guide, the first step is to remove everything from its existing location.  Even though it was completely necessary to do it in this instance,it is certainly sobering to see the entire contents piled on the floor.  I was amazed at the things that I ‘found’ that had not been worn for some time.  After carefully sorting the items I managed to toss 2 pairs of socks  and an old t-shirt.  There probably should have been more but it is a case of small steps.

My clothes
I also removed the drawer liners and cut the pieces to size to re-use in the new drawers.

Drawer liners
It took a bit of judicious re-arranging but the clothes all fitted in.  This was mainly because the drawers in the new dressing table are somewhat deeper than in the previous chest of drawers even though there are less drawers.

Dressing table
This is my new dressing table/clothes storage which is silky oak timber.  The silky oak tree is native to the local area in which we live.  We bought this about 2 years ago and The Duke stripped all of the paint from it, sanded and stained the piece of furniture.  All of the drawer handles are new reproductions of a style similar to what would have been on the drawers originally.  All that is left to do is to get a new mirror cut and place in the oval frame which will be suspended between the 2 timber uprights that you can see in the photo.  We are taking the old mirror to town tomorrow to get it done.

I am really pleased with how this has turned out.  There is a huge degree of satisfaction in restoring old pieces of furniture and bringing them back to life.

Not So Perfect


More on the organising theme today.  After reading a couple of the comments on my previous post, I wanted dispel any misconceptions about me being perfectly organised.  That is definitely not the case.  My dressing table is a case in point.

This is what it looked like last night.


The state of this area has been bugging me for months but there always seems to be something else which was more in need of my attention.  The other thing holding me back was perfectionism.  Why start it if I could not complete the task properly?  I have come to realise that perfectionism is one of my personal hurdles and it has taken many years and false starts to identify the problem and then try to work on it.

I had moved some of the larger items in the last week or so but it was still messy and cluttered.  Some of the things that I moved and put away in their correct places were:

Bone density xrays
Prescription tablets
Repeat prescriptions
Warranty for new phone
Packet of Christmas bell decorations
Plastic container


What is not evident in the photos is that I have not washed all of the china, changed the doyley nor dusted and polished the timber.  The knowledge that I did not have time to do all of this would be reason enough not to tackle the job, however, last night I decided to just put away/discard the extraneous ‘stuff’ and leave the actual cleaning until another day.

The job did not take long and I felt better once it was done. So what was so difficult?  For me it is overcoming the feeling that I have to do the whole job in one go or why bother.

What are your hurdles and what strategies do you use?

In The Dark


Here is a test to see how organised your bedroom and wardrobe are.

Try getting ready for bed – remove clothes/jewellery, put away shoes, put on night attire and get into bed without turning on the light.

Can you confidently move around the room and place things in their right position because there is no clutter and everything has a home?

Think about how visually impaired people manage.

I regularly do this and realised that it is because there is the bare minimum in our bedroom and it is always in the same place.

Dressing tableThis is my dressing table and I can easily locate the box for my earrings when I remove them.  For years I had heaps of clutter on my dressing table and I yearned to have it clear and tidy and once I achieved that goal I have never let it go.

If you are overwhelmed by your stuff, try setting small goals and then achieve and maintain one thing before moving onto something bigger.