Maudie’s Kitchen Dresser

April 2015


When we were clearing out my Mum’s shed, I claimed two old cupboards, including this one.

Well, what I claimed were two piles of paint in the shape of cupboards. Sorry, no photos of what I claimed, but the vision will be engraved on my memory bank for a long time.

This one kept me away from both real and virtual quilts for about 5 weeks as I tried every way I could think of to remove the paint.

Paint stripper, which is supposed to remove multiple coats of paint does … but it only removes them one at a time. It stopped altogether when it reached the shellac layers.

Sand paper also peeled off the layers one at a time, and again, stopped at the shellac.

Electric sanders helped considerably, but belting the layers with a hammer and breaking them up to be lifted off with a scraper relieved the frustration better, but wounded the underlying timber.

The man of the house produced a heat gun, but I couldn’t hold the thing off the ground, so that was placed back in the shed quickly!

Eventually I settled on an angle grinder with sandpaper discs, which has left a few marks when I didn’t have the angle quite right, which happened when I got tired … but it got the 15, 35, 73 layers of assorted paints and other finishes which had been applied to the outer surfaces over the last century. OK, the number of layers is probably exaggerated a little, but it felt like more layers were being added  as I got some off!

Along the way I dug through high gloss white, cream, dark green, light green, brown, pale green, dark brown, more brown, and even bits of fire engine red, with some brilliant, bright green splashed over the top, and what I presume was a pale pink undercoat under the lot …along with lots and lots of shellac between the browns.

Eventually I found TIMBER!

Several assorted timbers, in fact.

Underneath was a very sturdy frame of a very light timber, identified as cypress by the family carpenter last weekend, with similar timber on the sides, but pieced together from what ever scraps were available ,,, four on one side, five on the other. Pieced patchwork!

The front door panels are matching timber, but only to each other, and even then, one is about one-third thicker than the other! I noticed the difference in weight of the two doors when I was carrying one in each hand before I noticed the different thicknesses. (The doors were also still weighted down with multiple layers of paint at that time.) The back is similar timber to the front, and very roughly pieced together, with evidence that it was from packing cases, with a warning to keep it dry on one patch. The timber was very dry, but a crack between two pieces was wider than the large one through one piece!

In the bottom rear corners I found what kept the mice out … two corks! Looks like they had been nibbled by the mice trying to get in to the food which was kept in the bottom shelves of the cupboard.

The history behind the cupboard is based on a lot of guess-work with just a few facts to fill in the details!

The farm I grew up on five miles north-west of Spalding, South Australia, was taken up in 1992, make that 1892, when Adam, son of the settlers, was a boy of four. They built two rooms initially, one of them a kitchen, and I am guessing that the cupboard above was built soon after the kitchen. It was definitely built to fit the kitchen as the bottom of the cupboard was shaped to fit the floor, which sloped away from the wall. Eventually two more rooms were added to the front of the house, with a stable or barn attached to the north side, which was also up the hill!

Adam took over the farm from his parents, and eventually he and his wife, Maude, became unofficial foster parents to my father. They had no children of their own, and eventually the farm hand inherited the farm from the Boss. We grew up calling him Boss and his wife, Missus.

When my parents married they moved into the ‘barn’, which was modified to become a large farm kitchen, and two rooms were added to the front, with the additions and modifications completed in 1952. A door in the passage of the new part opened into the passage between the front and back rooms of the original house … and rather than the farm hand living below stairs, in this case the farm hand lived up two steps from the Boss.

I remember the old kitchen from the fifties, when the Boss and Missus still lived independently below the steps, with this cupboard as the base for a display shelf with the extra piece of timber on each shelf so the plates could stand at the back on display. The top shelf inside the cupboard also had this plate support, which was still there when I cleaned the inside, and as it was barely attached I removed it and it had been nicely shaped into a half round, but the length followed the growth of the not real straight tree! The upper part of the cupboard was used in the farm shed which Dad used as a workshop, and got eaten by white ants.

I learned some basic cooking in this old kitchen, though the Missus was far from a good cook. Her sewing skills matched her cooking skills, but she had time to watch over me as I learned to use her treadle sewing machine. Luckily, though Mum didn’t have time to teach me to sew, I got to watch her cutting out and putting clothes together, and so by the time I was allowed to use her machine I was allowed to do the lot pretty much unsupervised.

The Boss died when I was still at school, by which time the Missus needed to share our meals, and as there were now a tribe of kids and a permanent boarder above the steps, we started moving down the steps. Eventually the original kitchen became a bedroom, along with the original and front bedroom, and the front room, which was a crowded dining room and sitting room, but was always called the front room!

When I left home to join the navy, all my worldly possessions that I wasn’t allowed to take with me went into this cupboard, now minus the top shelves, which by then was in the old wash-house, for clothes and people, built under the back veranda.

Eventually Mum and Dad retired, or what passes for retirement when farmers move only a few miles off the farm. This cupboard moved with them to be used in Mum’s shed, which was part garden shed, and part pantry for all the stuff which she didn’t want, and didn’t fit, in her kitchen. It was still there when Dad put the house on the market, which is when I put my hand up to claim the pile of paint!

Just recently I returned to the farm and took this photo of the view from the first hill above the house, looking down on the valley. The town is pretty much hidden by the first big patch of trees. The house is about the equivalent of four or five stories below this point, and to the right … that little bus is heading down the farm track to the ‘bottom gate’.

2015 4 11 Ryan and DeArne's Wedding001

Forgot to mention that this cupboard was destined for my sewing room, but no matter how I twisted and turned the furniture I had to put it in the lounge room. However, I am using it to store the dressmaking patterns and fabric, beading stuff etc, exactly as I would have if it was in the sewing room.

271 Years Before Pantone, an Artist Mixed and Described Every Color Imaginable in an 800-Page Book | Colossal

271 Years Before Pantone, an Artist Mixed and Described Every Color Imaginable in an 800-Page Book | Colossal.

Love this … hand painted swatches are so much more alive than the modern colour chips!

(And that is just seeing them on a computer screen!)


Here is the link to the book itself.

Ms.1389 _1228__0001.jpg – Traité des couleurs servant à la peinture à l’eau – Ms.1389 (1228) – E-Corpus.

Would love to have a copy of this book … in English.

Crochet Coathangers x 20

2015 Crochet covered coathangers 1

Best part of this project … they are done!

20 wire coathangers covered with assorted yarn scraps and leftovers.

2015 Crochet covered coathangers 2

Purchased the hangers on 29th December 2014 …. all done 20th Jan 2015.

2015 Crochet covered coathangers 3


Not my most creative project, but there are now no excuses for HIS shirts to be ‘hung’ on the spare bed, though it has been known that even with a coathanger they find themselves on the spare bed.

Beads Restrung … the leftovers

8th August 2013


Last month I re-strung some beads which I had purchased, but which broke before I wore them.

Instead of putting the leftover beads in a jar and putting them away, I put them together to make a third string of beads to add to the wardrobe … or the gift box.

Green Fairy Quilts: Something to share! A beautiful quilt story…

Green Fairy Quilts: Something to share! A beautiful quilt story….

Lest we forget

For the Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Robert Laurence Binyon

CD Storage Book in a Box

CD Stordage Boxed Folders01

At the start of 2013 I had made up my mind to concentrate on increasing the number of patterns available from my website.

I started converting printed pattern files into PDF format, and as I was working on an eight year old computer with a suspected limited life span I started putting together all the files required and saving them onto CDs.

However, CDs come cheaper in bulk packs. I don’t have drawers the right height to store CDs upright even if I put them in envelopes or plastic packs.

I tried making a CD storage book for the car, but with design faults, then found the commercially made variety suitable for being knocked around in the car, but the creative juices were starting to think of new and improved versions to use inside the house.

Besides, while I was sitting at the computer I was learning new ways to create patterns from my designs and new ways to get them onto the website … and the stack of CDs was growing, and there will be more added to the pile as I record music from vinyl to CD, and scan my parents photos to computer, DVD and probably memory sticks as well. I already had 15 CDs of my Dad’s 78s to store somehow!

So, I had learned from the first version that A4 paper wasn’t big enough … but how about scrap booking paper.

CD Stordage Boxed Folders03

Folded the right way I got double sided storage pages with room for two CDs from one sheet of paper.

CD Stordage Boxed Folders04

Stitched together I have a folder which will hold twenty CDs.

CD Stordage Boxed Folders02

As I was creating the CDs I started saving the files onto a USB memory stick as I found this to be the easiest way of moving the files to the lap top … there was a generation gap between the two computers so I couldn’t connect them via any sort of local network. If I kept the sticks as well as the CDs I would have two generations of storage outside the two computers … hopefully I will never need so much backup, but esier to save it all now than later! If necessary I can carry a stick with me to any where any time and have access to those files on any computer.

So, if I put the book of CDs in a box with a little bit of room left over I could store the and a memory stick in there too …

CD Stordage Boxed Folders05

… away from the computers …

CD Stordage Boxed Folders06

… and it just so happened that I had just the right box … lots of them actually … the joys of being a golf widow is access to a ready supply of sturdy boxes just the right size for my new storage system.

CD Stordage Boxed Folders09

And yes, one brand of golf balls goes by the name of Freak!

CD Stordage Boxed Folders08

I decided I should add labels which could be removed easily in case I change my mind about the contents … or the wording I use to describe those contents.

Plastic milk bottles are readily available, with a new supply of labels every few days!

Museum needles taxpayers |

Museum needles taxpayers |

I look out for attractions like this where ever I go, and if I ever travel overseas this is one of the places I have on my wish list … tourist dollars for the US are boosted every year by quilters, both local and international, seeking out quilt museums.

MAKING A MARK: How to make an effective Facebook Interest List

MAKING A MARK: How to make an effective Facebook Interest List.

Spiral Flower Project | The Inbox Jaunt

Spiral Flower Project | The Inbox Jaunt.

MAKING A MARK: The Facebook Guide to Facebook Interest Lists (Part 1)

MAKING A MARK: The Facebook Guide to Facebook Interest Lists (Part 1).

South Australia’s market scene is booming | adelaidenow

South Australia’s market scene is booming | adelaidenow.

Tuesday Treat: Keeping thread clippers safe. « Always Playing with Aurifil Thread

Tuesday Treat: Keeping thread clippers safe. « Always Playing with Aurifil Thread.

It’s All Been Done Before | quiltpaintcreate

It’s All Been Done Before | quiltpaintcreate.


Quilt museum built piece by piece – Houston Chronicle

Quilt museum built piece by piece – Houston Chronicle.

Places I’ve loved #1: Andrew Bolt Blog

Tips for Monday, November 5 | Herald Sun Andrew Bolt Blog.

The opening shot of this YouTube, seen again about 25 seconds in, would make a great quilt!

Barbara Brackman’s MATERIAL CULTURE: Happy Birthday, Helen Blanchard

Barbara Brackman’s MATERIAL CULTURE: Happy Birthday, Helen Blanchard.

And thank you for the zigzag stitch.

Selvage Blog: Edda’s Selvage Quilts – 1

Selvage Blog: Edda’s Selvage Quilts – 1.

I have seen some pretty amazing things featuring selvedges. This has got to be the most stylish of all those article.s.

A touching gesture for the blind

What a great crafty project idea from my local state newspaper!

A touching gesture for the blind | adelaidenow.

Update On The Interpretive Sign

Update On The Interpretive Sign.

Some interesting notes about copyright included.