Saturday, June 30, 2012

Rainy day retail therapy

So, it rained the entire first week of the school holidays. In order to stay sane we hit the shops and scoped out all the big toy sales so I could sneak back later and have it all stashed away for Christmas and birthdays. And a few little things came home with us. The crochet apple cushion I had been coveting for a while, realized it would take me all year to do myself, and it was half price at Adairs Kids.

 Would you believe that wonderful wooden tea seat complete with tray was only $12 at Kmart? Miss Liongirl traded several weeks of marbles for that one (I am happy she has moved on from trading her marbles at the Aquarium shop for extremely tacky pink fishtank ornaments).

 Roboboy is still trading for fish. Every few weeks he has enough marbles for a new guppy- I think my love of vintage is rubbing off on him, the latest fish is called "Retro" cause of his groovy colour scheme. We are pleased that four months on, this reward strategy is still highly motivating the kids to behave well.

And I was obviously inspired by that tea tray because look what came home for me. I only own two coats, hard to justify more in Brisbane but it was more than half price and it is probably the prettiest thing I own. About five years ago I tried on one of her coats in a red cherry blossom print and have regretted not buying it ever since.

Miss Liongirl was quite smitten by the ballerina lining, I think she will be borrowing this one in a few years.

And we even managed to shop up a storm for Betsy. Not quite so glamorous to get your garments from the demolition yard but every girl needs quality flooring. Betsy has original wide honey coloured pine tongue and groove flooring throughout most of the house. In a small section of our lounge room the boards change to a narrow hardwood. Below is the worst section of join in the house, yep that's the ground you can see through that hole. Gorgeous wide pine on the right, non specific pale hardwood on the left.

We would probably have left these mismatched boards except that we are extending the lounge out a further metre and would have then had three floorboard changes in the one room and new pine is a very pale yellow colour that would stand out in a dramatic and potentially very ugly way. We also don't want to stain as we love that original honey colour that you only find in very old timber floors. So the only thing to do was to find some new old floorboards to match. And of course Betsy has a very unusual width board of 138 mm when most old boards were 150mm. We were super excited to find quite a large stash at our favourite demo yard.

They don't look much now but sanded up they should be beautiful. I so love the idea that we have rescued the floors from some old girl who had been taken apart piece by piece. Can you see how each board fits together and locks the tongue into the groove? Beautiful. Now we just need to scratch up this much again and we should have enough to complete the room.

We have our eyes on some recycled windows as well and a very keen builder who could start in a few months so time to finalize our house plans. In the meantime I am now nursing another sick child. This one was off colour earlier in the week and spent alot of time in this spot.

And now miss Liongirl is battling some high fevers and no one is getting much sleep. At least we finally had some sun today so I could take some decent photos of my recent opshop treasures. Back soon with the booty.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A little birdhouse

I finished the birdhouse, one of those frenzied midnight jobs in order to end the day on something other than dishes. So nice to choose all the wallpapers patterns and colours to complement each other.

And I even had a bird to test it out. Now I'm itching to make another one, maybe in blues and greens, can already picture three of them in a little bunch on my walls.

A few colourful finds recently too.

I found the fabric at the school fete. It is Noah's ark family covered with pairs of all different animals. I am hoping Roboboy lets me make him some shorts.

In the event that he spurns my offer, I thought I would start something else as well. A little present for a new baby. Time to ferret out some of that stashed corduroy. And then faff around with no actual idea what I am doing. Did I mention there is no pattern, just an idea in my head?

In the meantime, miss Liongirl was raiding my shoe and scarf cupboard as she and Roboboy collaborated to get those boots on. Yep, we are the fashion elite over here at Betsy's. I swear I do not go to work in my nightie or mix pink horizontal stripes with maroon.

I think this is some attempt at striking a pose, Madonna Vogue style. I think this girl and I really need to crank up some  Justine Clark  and prance around in our PJ's practising our MOVES. This was one of the few photos that did not involve poking out of tongues.

Back soon with some finds for Betsy.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Pretty pyrex and deck shenanigans

Look at this,  two pieces of wonderful matchy matchy pyrex, from the same shop. I haven't seen this pattern before but I love the colours.  And a tablecloth too with same shade of red that actually looks orange.

 This tablecloth had some stains but it's destined to be chopped and turned into a cushion cover, hopefully this week. I do love a guilt free chop. A perfect unstained piece of fabric is not so easy to convert.

I just love those shades of green, and you cannot go wrong with pears.

And in other news, we need a new deck, STAT.

Since we bought Betsy nearly two years ago, the deck has been progressively falling apart. Every week a few palings fall off (sometimes hastened by altercations with small children on swings, and various projects involving rope).

 Other times, entire sections of balustrade rail give way under the weight of garden machine wielding husbands.

He has been wanting a chain saw. I want a husband with all limbs intact. I did relent and let him buy one of these in the current Stihl sale. He does have the onerous job of clearing the gutters of a zillion tiny poinciana leaves every few weeks. I suspect he is more excited about escaping my fishwife harping by throwing on those earmuffs and spending afternoons languidly blowering the driveway.

Can't fault his creativity when faced with a slightly unsafe situation for two small children.

So love, howse about we just pop this here slide directly next to that bit of deck with no balustrade, so the kids can make a quick getaway? Yep, the kids thought it was a hoot and have been down the slide and up the stairs over and over and over......

Meanwhile I just so pleased that we have two reno quotes back and we are in the ballpark. Plus a bit of course but close enough. Now we just have to hurry up before the entire deck falls off the back of the house.   \

Linking in with Sophie for the vintage finds , not a forum on the dangers of husbands with power tools.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Winter wallpaper, caravans, apple trees and Ikea

Winter has arrived this weekend with cold, grey, blustery days filling this Queen's Jubilee long weekend. When the skies are murky and the winds chilly, it's even more reason to stay indoors and break out some colour therapy.

I finally splurged and bought myself a cutting mat, blade and rotary cutter in a recent Spotlight sale. And something else caught my eye while I was there, something else for my friend Mod Podge and I to collaborate on. It's nearly finished,  just a few touch ups needed.

When it rains and grand plans are thwarted, we often fall back on visiting our old faithful, Ikea. And we had a list this time. There has been a dire lack of paper rolls in the house, Roboboy has been making do with A4 but it's definitely been limiting the masterpieces.We finally bought one of these.

And Roboboy fell in love with these placements. Can't blame him really, there is a matching tray too, he was swooning over that as well.

For me, a lovely little wire basket for all my rolls of vintage wallpaper- it was on sale for $6.

I finally had a little moment of understanding over where my love of vintage wallpaper has come from. Before I started blogging I guess I didn't really know it was out there. Then when I discovered all the gorgeous colour and pattern it was like finding an old friend.

 My mum has been going through a minimalist phase for about a decade and anything that is not nailed down is being sent to the Salvos. Imagine my surprise a few weeks back when she turned up with a folio full of all my  preschool art, class photos and report cards. And in the pile were some Grade 1 folios covered in, you guessed it, vintage wallpaper. And I was filled with a rush of recognition, a warm fuzzy kind of rush. Check out that purple and blue number.

And there was another little moment too. One of those- the apple doesn't fall far from the tree moments. Roboboy and I share a great love of colour, his artwork has always reflected  that. It would  never occur to him to draw in just lead pencil or biro as many boys do. In fact when his best mate gave him a highly detailed    
lead pencil drawn Octonauts birthday card, Roboboy was confused about this incomplete work. He was only slightly satisfied by my suggestion that perhaps it was done intentionally so that Roboboy could colour it in himself.

Anyway the other thing Roboboy does is produce vast quantities of the same kind of work. A collection of sorts. I thought it was kind of funny in a quirky way. Seems he gets that particular quirk from me. Amongst my pile of preschool art there were piles of houses with apple tree gardens, an assortment of marsupials with babies in pouches, treehouses belonging to Owl and Pooh, Santas with christmas trees and a hefty assortment of these below . Explains another one of my little loves.

Yep that would be a fleet of vintage caravans, circa 1977 I suspect. No idea where this love came from for as far as I can recall I never actually went anywhere in a caravan. I was obviously coveting them from afar. Nothing really changes in 3 decades, now I just stalk them on ebay.

And this huge poster was my version of the town show or Ekka. I must have been  a bit older for this one, it obviously made a big impact, I think that's the Superloop top left and the Matterhorn down the bottom. It's nice that my mum kept them all these years to share with my own kids. Roboboy if off again now, inspired by all my Christmas trees, he's whipping up a giant Christmas tree advent calendar.......... in June. That gives him 6 months to produce another 57 versions before the big day.

Anyway, enough of 70's childrens art, I bet you are all wondering what I found at the oppies on my little daytrip to Caloundra to rescue a rogue suitcase?. Worth every minute of that drive for this $15 find.

Yep, those asymmetric curved pieces just keep finding me. I am seeing this one repainted in pink, maybe some wallpaper treatment as well, then straight to miss Liongirl's room. Hope you are all staying warm this weekend.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Plans for Betsy

Despite the fact that winter has arrived, miss Liongirl appears not to have noticed and is soldiering on with an alternating wardrobe of tutus and princess frocks. All of which are completely inappropriate and inadequate in coverage. She has not developed a relationship yet with ANY of the cardigans, coats or tights in her wardrobe.  I am endeavoring to choose my battles and bake cakes instead.

Oh and I'm poring over some house plans, trying to make some more decisions. Care to take a peek?

Well first let me show you Betsy in her current state.

The original part of Betsy has 3 bedrooms and a sleepout in the old front verandah. Can you see my miniscule kitchen probably shrunk down in order to fit Bed 4? Not only is it tiny, but it's also really dark and has a spectacular outlook onto the carport guttering. (Sarcasm inserted here).

 About 15 years ago, previous owners added a large granny flat linked to the house by the deck. The granny flat has quite small skinny rooms but includes a kitchenette and second toilet/shower. Mostly since we have lived here it has become a storage area for stuff that we are trying to sort and get rid of. It has at times been a great space for building lego train sets and I even cleared one end recently for my sewing gang. The deck is large but only one small section has a roof so  for much of the year it is either too hot to sit on or too wet to use.

Our goal was to create a more functional use of the space that we already have rather than increase the size of the house as Betsy already has quite a reasonable footprint on the block due to the granny flat. And did I mention that we have silk purse aspirations on a sow's ear budget?

So, here is what we have come up with.

Let me explain a little. The front part of the house (blue) will remain unchanged. Down the track we will probably steal a little space from Bed 2 to make the bathroom larger but  there is no budget for that right now.

The red box with the cross is a proposed addition of an ensuite and bedroom that we may get around to adding in 5-10 years. With small children we are completely used to having no privacy in the bathroom, one bathroom is less to clean and there is no budget for that either. However in a house this size we realize that most people would anticipate an ensuite so we didn't want to be short sighted and not leave room for one. The area would have skillion roof and would be simple to add later. The carport will move to the front of the house and become a double instead of a single. If we run out of money this may not happen either. We wanted to put it at the very front of the block but were unable to due to the fact that our house is on a corner   and the carport must be 9 metres from the boundary.

We plan to take out the wall between Bed 4 and the kitchen to make it  a much larger space and then close in the verandah along the side of the granny flat to link this area to the kitchen. This would create bigger, more functional rooms including a second living area, a small sewing room/study for me and the displaced 4th bedroom. These rooms will all face north and have an outlook over the garden. The yellow area marks out the only new footprint we are adding in order to fit a laundry/entry. The deck is a similar size but will have a gabled roof covering the entire area. The deck faces East and we wanted  a high roofline to maximise light into the house and also to make the most of a view onto the huge poinciana tree in our backyard.

At the moment the back of the house is a real dog's breakfast, with rooflines galore. Sorting out the new roofline has been the trickiest part. This is the granny flat end where the verandah will be closed in.

And the back of the house with about 8 square metres of deck that has a roof.

So, there you have it. If anyone else is like me and enjoys playing with floorplans, please let me know any ideas/criticisms you might have as we are still fiddling around a bit. Also if anyone has experience with either large span bifolds or stacking sliding doors, we would love to hear about that too as we are trying to choose between them. I am hoping to share my kitchen and laundry ideas soon too. 

In the meantime I  might just go and get miss Liongirl's clothes ready for tomorrow. Pink princess frock from op shop? Check. Tiara and matching bling necklace? Check. Tacky merchandised bike and matching helmet? Check. Equally nasty merchandised princess footwear? Check. Oh look, she's good to go.

Oh, it's a single digit temperature outside? I think I'll go and bake another cake.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Milk glass moment

I had a little moment the other day.  A heart stopping milk glass spotting kind of moment. I had been to two op shops and found nothing whatsoever and figured I should probably head home. And then I thought, maybe I could just pop into one more that was practically on the way home.

And look what I spied sitting in the window. I practically jogged into the shop and scooped it up under my arm.   A huge scalloped fruit bowl. We had no pears or lemons at home for artistic placement, so I had to make do with nuts.

And as I was walking to the counter to pay, a little vase popped up as well. That shaggy triangle one second from the left. I love all the different patterns. I love that translucent glow when you line them all up along the windowsill. I love never knowing what shape or texture might pop up next. Love, love, love.

I also really love sneaking away to the beach. Even it is raining all weekend. This latest long pause between blog posts was actually filled with a girls weekend away with two dear friends. This would probably sum it up.

There was a lot of cafe hopping, hot chocolate slurping while gazing out at a misty grey sea, boutique browsing, novel reading, late night chatting, late morning sleep ins, slow walks along the seashore and a quick op shop dash on the drive home. Bliss.

And you know the really hilarious part? In our desperate haste to clean up, check out and madly dash to breakfast we left a suitcase outside the door. So two of us are going back tomorrow with our smallest children to soak up some beach joy, retrieve a lost case and hopefully shake up some op shops. And then hopefully I'll be back to share some house plans ( and maybe some more treasures).

Linking in with Sophie for more op shop moments.