August 12, 2015

Barbara's up to her Daiquiris in DIY! Domestic Tales of a Benefit Scrounger from the Chateau De Rustique ...Featuring Barbara Ganoush!

Old man winter as they call him, blew a cold breeze up Barbara's skirt, how rude! Keeping warm, and safe, in our Chateau de Rustique is almost an impossible miracle. 

Barbs, never one for letting things get on top of her, has some domestic austerity tips and juicy gossip from the Coalition Tea Lady -  Joe Hockey likes to drink 'Lapband Souchong', oh that's wicked! I hear you say, yes!, yes! it is. So as we rattle the china, in part because we're snickering at that last little snippet, and in part because we're shivering from the cold, we huddle together to listen to what tips Barbs has to keep the cold breeze out of the boudoir and removing uninvited organic guests.

Did you know that bubble wrap acts as an insulator for keeping the cold air off of the window? no?, well neither did I. Plus, the bubbles give you a nice frosted glass effect and can offer some privacy without obscuring the light entirely. Also, it's dead easy to remove by just peeling it off. Who would have thought that Barb's has gone all greeny on us and we're now living off the grid!. Ok, well we're not quite living off the grid just yet. Gets you thinking though doesn't it?


So while all those groovy folk are renovating their homes and talking about double glazed windows, Barbs has got us talking about double glazed bubble wrap. All you need to do is cut it to the size of the window pane. 

To apply it to window, you spray water on the plastic with the bubble side up, and the inside window pane. Then you place the plastic bubbles against the glass and smooth out the wrinkles. It's supposed to block out at least 50% of the chilled air circulating off the window. Bigger bubbles is better, but on the day we bought ours, Bunnings (are you listening? maybe Carmen can do some kind of advertising deal) only had the small bubbles. There doesn't seem to be a problem with it staying on the window pane, and I've only had to spray a quick touch up on a couple of corners.

You can read all about bubble wrap insulation here ...

People do like open plan living, or combined lounge dining rooms. In our 'original condition' shanty, both doors to this area have been removed, which makes for drafty living quarters. So Barbs, ever the make-over queen for the Casa del rustique, suggested we do some rummaging at our local Vinnies stores for some thick curtains.

Wouldn't you know it, we found some bright blue, green and white flower designed curtains which were rubber backed and that's good for insulation apparently.

Another quick trip to Bunnings (...Again, are we listening!?) to buy some dowel rods and brass hooks to hang them, and we had those curtains draped in no time. Quite the Shabby chic! Plus! with K-Mart selling polar fleece blankets for $5 bucks we grabbed a couple of teal coloured ones to match the curtains and used those as throws over our cheap and cheerful black faux leather sofa/futon.

Did I tell you how we got the sofa?, no?, oh ok. Well, flattie was coming back from buying groceries and alerted Barbs to the fact that there was a bunch of furniture and other used goods sitting on the pavement around the neighbourhood - hope no-one got evicted (awkward! I know).

Barbs, never one to miss an opportunity to scavenge something, but drawing the line at road kill, wanted to know if there was anything we could use. Within two shakes of a Babba Ganoush, we were up the road checkin it out, and so was half the neighbourhood.

Keen not to let this gem get away, Barbs had us pick it up and move it further up the road. I sat guard shooing away any potential claim jumpers while Barbs ran back home to get the trolly. Thank god we only had to transport it a couple of blocks to get it home, but it was well worth it, because up until then, we'd been sitting on plastic out-door chairs.

In amongst the loot! we also grabbed a nice old wooden desk with a lovely rustic finish; just needed the screws tightened on a couple of legs, a computer chair that needed a good vacuum (someone must have owned a long haired cat or dog) and a wooden framed mirror that I placed on top of my chest of draws.

The sofa was in pretty good nick, only a couple of fabric tears in spots, and we covered that up with some black cloth tape. It's not the most comfortable of couches, but it's way better than the plastic chairs.  I now have a makeshift dressing table, something to put my computer on (essential for looking for work and logging in to mygov website.) And our bums are on something a bit softer and warmer.

So as the nation’s in a feeding frenzy and all manner of talk fests over Bronnie Bishop's expensive entitlement rorts, I'm in a feeding frenzy over the huge slugs crawling up the inside walls in the dead of night, (how do they get in, the freeloaders?).

And, just how do I get the mould off of my wooden bed base, chest of draws, bookshelf, my clothes, shoes, electronics and a whole bunch of other stuff using my meagre plate of increased Consumer Priced Index (CPI) beans. A quick search on google had a lot of information and expensive solutions.  Barbs, however, settled on the advice of a professor from a Queensland university who had been studying mould for over twenty years (sounds exciting! doesn't it), and he had some pretty inexpensive and sage advice. Vinegar! a great mould killer! ....and you can put it in the washing cycle. 

Most commercial products for getting rid of mould in the bathroom contain bleach.  But, according to the doc, bleach just turns the mould white and doesn't really kill it. And, bacterial wipes are good for wiping down soft furnishings, leather products, laptop bags, electronic cables, shoes etc.  You get the picture?


Barbs, denying that she is a bit of Greenie, was quickly barking orders at us that would have made a correctional officer swoon and Commando get... a bit... well - 'Polly pissy pants'. We are now in fully loaded boot camp for the seriously unemployed. Does this qualify for 'work for the dole', I wonder?

 "I'll need three buckets" said Barbs.  They consisted of; one with 8 parts vinegar to 2 parts water, another with 4 parts vinegar to 2 parts water and one bucket with water only and a microfibre cloth (the doc said to use one). The 80% solution kills the mould, the other two buckets are for washing the cloth so that you don't respread the mould spores back onto the furniture. The active ingredient in the anti bacterial wipes is the same as a bottle of disinfectant, but the wipes are handy to use, cheap as chips and smell nice to boot!

After taking my clothes out of the chest of draws I needed to move it to the backyard to get started with the scrubbing, and I thought the sunlight might also help speed up the process. The backyard is higher than the house (I know, who would do that?) So we needed to traverse the two steps up to the lawn. Barbs is a girl with all the tools in the toolbox and she's as smart as a whip. Maybe she should apply for the position of speaker of the house, I hear that jobs on offer.

The trolley did all the heavy lifting for us but in all honesty it was a hard slog scrubbing the whole chest of drawers and other pieces of furniture and it took several days to complete the project.

"So what do you do all day long with all that spare time?" Said someone to me once, and then never was seen again. "Who me", I said, "Oh you know sit around eating cheezels all day long and watching TV". When I finished all that heavy lifting, washing and scrubbing including some of the walls, I told Barbs I never wanted to do that again. She called me a "whinger" and a "leaner" and said that "life wasn't meant to be easy". Maybe Barbs can go into business for herself. From Shabby Shack to Love Shack with the Domestic Hack. 

Mould happens when there is too much moisture in the air. There is only so much circulating air and pots of DamPrid around the house that we can do to try to combat the problem. A dehumidifyer is too costly a product to purchase and run for benefit scroungers. Looking at the edges of the carpet of our hacienda, it appears to be damp, which is also where the slugs make their entry and escape. In all likelihood, we have a rising damp problem. Our landlord has already indicated that if we don't like things the way they are, we can always move out. But Barbs has got an innovative way to combat that rising damp and you'll have to wait for the next instalment to read all about that.

Stay tuned for more Babaliscious cleaning and make overs for the employably challenged with the delightful Barbara Ganoush.  As seen on The Block 
...well maybe one day??

More Styling Tips From Barbara Ganoush


Image: via flickr


  1. Barbara, I enjoyed reading these latest tips for designer living on the dole. In fact, your particular brand of austerity styling - combining upcycled op-shop "has-beens" with nature-strip chic - rivals any of our (over-rated mind you) Australian, Oprah Winfrey-endorsed home decor kings. Here, of course, I'm thinking, Jamie Durie & associates. Particularly impressed by your use of ordinary, every-day items (bubble-wrap & vinegar) for problem solving domestic mishaps. Babs, you bring industrial chic and upcycling to a whole new level. Can't wait for the next instalment.

  2. Thanks Christina,

    Gosh I'm blushing and gushing :), thank you for those compliments. 'Industrial Chic' I like it! - perhaps Barbs can start a new domestic branding for benefit scroungers. Soon, everybody will be doing it.

    1. Barbara, quite sincerely, I'm having visions of a coffee table book.

  3. Barbara Ganoush, who would have known that now (after reading this) every time I see a bubble wrap opportunity at the local shops - that is, the shop assistant pulls out some bubble wrap and says,"do you want that bubble wrapped?" I say, yes yes yes. For in these lean times one can never have enough of such a multi-tasking item.

  4. One can never, ever, have too much bubble wrap.

    It's bubbaliscious

    The Barbster

  5. On my way back from the beach, just had a Babs Ganoush moment. Spotted the perfectly shaped coffee table (with gorgeous turned legs), tossed outside on someone's nature strip. A lady walking by even helped me to put it in my car. That's community! As she said, all it needs is a good sandpaper, and I added a lick of white-ish paint, and it's got shabby chic written all over it.

    1. Wow, sorry I missed this comment before. I applaud your effort in trying to get that Babaliscious make over effect in your house. Community spirit it what Babs is all about. Remember to add your personal brand of industrial chic to the effect

  6. Post script: re above coffee table.

    Well after dragging into the house, realised the house was not big enough for the nature-strip sourced coffee table. So back out to my nature strip it went. I guess it's one way to move furniture across the miles, from one scrounger to the next! I call it "Furniture Trafficking".

  7. I love love 'Furniture Trafficking'. Babs is proud of you for your scrounging efforts and moving on the goods for another scrounger.