Friday, August 31, 2012

Milestones, Vespas and Peonies

Everytime I see this cheeky face now, all I can think of is the Grand Canyon. I think Roboboy must have some massive chompers coming through. Just really hoping he can fit his father's superior teeth into his mother's not so superior lower jaw. This is the fourth tooth he has lost but somehow front teeth seem like such a milestone. His first tooth fell out at 6 years and one week, following a long term trend of rolling at 4 months and one week, crawling at 6 months and one week and walking at 13 months and one week. Now I just want the other one to fall out so we can start singing "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth....."

In other news I have been extremely slack in not acknowledging two recent awards that I was kindly nominated for. Both Jane from Teawagon Tales and Ada Bea from Vintage Sheet Addict shouted me a recent bloggy hello from the other side of the world and while it has taken me weeks to acknowledge, Sarah from Squiggling About also popped up and passed me over a Liebster award. Thanks so much girls, it is lovely to know that Betsy's adventures are being appreciated in faraway places. 

I think with one of these awards I am supposed to tell you a few obscure things about me:

 I LOVE everything about Italy. Legoman and I spent  a month there as our last hurrah before children.

I love the buildings the colour of gelato. This would be chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.

The fields of poppies.

The crumbling stone villas in Tuscany.

and cypress sunsests.

I long to return, but the memories of this trip, eight long years ago still fill me with joy.

 My favourite flowers are poppies and peonies. Both of which have a season of about a week where you can obtain them in our subtropical climate. Thank goodness for peony season being right around the time of my wedding anniversary.

Inspired by our first taste hiring vespa scooters on that trip, we came home and bought one of our own. For six years we have shared our little Vespa to ride to work. Despite having a six month old baby, I managed to obtain my motorbike license so I could return to part time work without us having to get a second car. And now it completely justifies my purchase of coats and scarves as even in Brisbane it gets cold on an early winters morning.

And now to share the bloggy love around a little. These are a few of my favourite new discoveries.

West End Cottage - Caroline's renovation of her Brisbane Queenslander cottage (unless she gets distracted and buys a different one)

Artistica Domestica - Annie's love of art,crochet and her kids while tackling breast cancer

High Maintenance Hippy- Allana and her million creative projects around her home

Zaranne Handmade- Zara 's wonderful vintage finds and crafty creations

Have a wonderful weekend. Spring arrives tomorrow, yippee!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Peach, fuschia and a crochet poncho

Miss Liongirl received her first Barbie from her cousins for her third birthday. This Barbie came with a car but unfortunately she also came with a dress that finished at groin level and was, well, pretty skanky. How excited was I to stumble onto this vintage peach and fuschia wardrobe stuffed full of outfits, shoes and coathangers. And the outfits, well this little crochet poncho and maxidress ensemble is just the tip of the iceberg. Doesn't that dress just perfectly bring out her 80's eyeshadow? And I'm predicting peach and fuschia the new hot colour combo for Summer.

The great pre Spring purge is ongoing and after handing over four more bags to the op shop, I had a quick wander and nearly fainted at the sight of this pillowcase peeking out of the pile. I have this same sheet in the purple/blue combo and this one was on my wishlist. I practically pulled apart the shelves looking for the matching sheet in equally pristine condition, but no such luck.

We have been enjoying all this sunshine, climbing trees ( she is the fearless one who climbs higher, goes faster, pushes the boundaries, despite being three to his six),

making collages,

and for once sitting still long enough for a proper photo in the morning sunlight.

Hoping the weekend has brought sunshine to you all.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sunshine and bees bottoms

Well with less than a week to go until the official start of Spring, things have taken a turn for warmer and sunnier around these parts. A prowl around Betsy's garden has revealed lots of hints to a new season around the corner. Much as I tried to photograph the bees in my garden, I was only able to obtain a series of bottom shots as they are so fast. Does anyone know what this flowering shrubby tree might be called?

I was super excited to not only find the regular bees stocking their pollen bags but also our teeny tiny native stingless bees out collecting as well. We are hoping to have some honey by the end of spring.

They look a  little like tiny black flies and have no audible buzz, much less flashy than their stripy counterparts. They seem to be doing their Spring swarming again as well.

Our mulberry tree is laden with fruits, last year they were ready just in time for school holidays.

And we have had a few visits from the birthday duck even though it isn't anyones birthday (last year they visited on Liongirl's birthday with a celebratory treetop quacking).

Inside, the anticipatory spring sprucing continues. Ages ago when I was op shopping by the sea, I stumbled across this lovely little silk oak hall table, for $22. Straight home to live just inside Betsy's front door. The little magpie painting came from the little old lady craft shop near my work. And the milk glass dish was from the same seaside trip but was quite tricky to photograph.

 Now all I need to do is get rid of that cream wall paint and replace it with some fresh white. Still working on the custard though which is infinitely worse so the quarter strength Hog Bristle will have to wait. Cannot believe this is a top three popularity colour, it looks hideous on Betsy. Especially in our south facing bedroom where it is distinctly greenish.

As the season turns we are enjoying eating icypoles in our winter pj's. See the distinctly untrustworthy look on this childs' face? He is plotting to plant a cold icypole on my back, it was cold spoons last week.

He has discovered the joy of crosswords now that he is able to read the clues by himself.

And this minxy girl has discovered a love of numbers and is writing them everywhere. I think it might be nearly time to pack away the crochet blankies. This was the set up for our last trip to space in our rocket, with essentials like magazines and cupcakes.

Back soon but leaving you with an action bee shot- can you see those bulging yellow pollen sacks?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Demolition delights

Firstly, can I start by saying how nice it was to hear from you all about your husbands (or other halves) and to know that many of you are being driven equally crazy by men who either have no interest or excessive interest in the small domestic details.

After reading that post (yes, it appears Legoman does read the blog), we have managed to agree on a laundry door. I'm not holding my breath yet on the rest of the list. The plans come back in two days.

In the meantime we have been dragging our children around various demolition yards and miraculously agreeing on a few other purchases. Including some wonderful huge sliding windows,

some more reclaimed floorboards, and a gorgeous set of french doors. After vacillating between a large contemporary sliding door and these old french doors, Legoman came around to my vision and has even agreed to let me paint them. A colour even. (Legoman does not like surprises so I have learnt to do all negotiating up front). These doors, (a set of french doors stacked) will fit perfectly in the corridor between our new family/tv room and the kitchen. So I will be able to stand at my new island bench, supervising the appropriateness of tv shows without having to listen to any more of that Giggle and Hoot.

So, how does a girl get her husband on the same page? Bribery of course. Except in this house we call it   "Incentives". Now because this is a G rated blog,  I had to consider other options. Some of you may remember Legoman starting to cut a huge branch off our poinciana tree, oh , about a year ago.

 Well, he has been chipping away at this goliath of a branch with a little handsaw. Whenever the kids and I were driving him bonkers he would disappear up a ladder for about 6 hours and proceed to cut off about a foot of branch. After about 36 cumulative days of this parental absenteeism, I could stand it no longer and I caved in. Over the chainsaw that is. This is a picture of a very happy man. Hopefully very happy and very agreeable when it comes to renovation decisions.

 And of course in my weaselly little mind, I was figuring this would have to give me some leverage over at least the stove choice. Given that  Legoman has not been endowed with spectacular coordination, there were safety requirements. He came home with the helmet, the ear muffs and even the chainsaw proof chaps. Who knew there was such a thing as chainsaw proof chaps? He then demolished the rest of that branch in record time as well as another small tree and every branch overhanging into the neighbours. Chain happy if you will. There were casualties. Thankfully only our back stairs. See how the bottom two collapsed under large logs and are now propped up on bricks.

Now we have a contractual agreement that he will not cut anything down while I am at work or if he is in charge of the children. Given that this is what I found when he last supervised the children.

Yep, that is the two small children up on the roof, while I am inside obliviously stuffing the roast chook. Can you see why I had reservations about allowing this man to have a chainsaw?

At least the kids are enjoying the offcuts. I did request some large chunks to turn into stools.

Incentives my friends, it's all about the incentives.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Husbands with opinions (and other annoyances)

Well, it's been a while between posts over here at Betsy's and it's all because there are goings on and also not so much going on at the same time. You see we are culling and sorting and giving away and selling on ebay in every spare minute that we have over here, but photos of my boot full of bags destined for the oppie were not inspiring a blog post.

 I do find that whenever I ruthlessly rifle through the kids stuff and give it away I am rewarded with op shop treasures. Hence the little trio of vintage sheets from my very local oppie that has never before produced sheets in the 2 years I have been visiting. All neatly folded and tagged and wrapped up with pink ribbon.

I even found the pink and yellow version of the purple and green floral that I  found months ago at the beach.

And the not much going on? Well that would be anything crafty, my overdue tax and our house plans. After taking nearly six months to actually agree on a floorplan, Legoman and I have kind of stalled on the details. Quite a few of the details in fact. The entire problem has arisen because Legoman has opinions on interior design. And is quite stubborn about it all. I am spending days fantasizing about him working on an oil rig whereby he would be away for months of the year while  sending back wads of cash for me to recklessly lavish on laundry splashbacks and undermount sinks. He would wipe his smelly, oily hands on his overalls and skype things like "Love, I'm not much into that design malarky, you just order whatever frosted glass pantry door takes your fancy".

The current list of items unable to be agreed upon is extensive and includes:

1. The freestanding stove- Eventually he will realize that I am not going to back down on this one just because he does not like the knobs

2. The kitchen bench thickness - who knew that was a whole debate topic in its own right and I am in  trouble with this one as he even has pictures stored in his ipad of the desired bench

3. The kitchen tap- I am actually prepared to give in on this one but plan to hold out to the last minute for leverage on other items

4. The entire vibe of the kitchen- he wants minimalist contemporary, I want a fusion of this plus vintage, hamptons,scandi,and farmhouse.  I plan to confound him with the sheer confusion of such a fusion and hope that he is willing to give this up for the tap that changes colour with hot and cold water.

5. The size and position of the TV- which then unfortunately has a flow on effect on the whole lounge room arrangement and window positioning. I now see that having only the tap as leverage is creating a problem

6. The laundry splashback- I can sense weakening on this front though, victory may be swift and absolute.

And you thought that Women's Olympic hurdle final was tense? That split second victory by Sally Pearson has nothing on the atmosphere over here at Betsy's.
I hadn't even included all the things that we don't agree on simply because neither of us can decide what to choose. That would include all the doors and windows, the back wall of the kitchen, storage and where the heck we are going to live when we go ahead with it all.

On a more positive note all this selling of unwanted stuff has generated $1600 towards the lovely freestanding stove that we can't agree on. And Legoman has designed the best walk in pantry a girl could ask for. And we have new building designer who uses a computer (instead of drawing everything by hand!) and the plans are due back in a week. We are hoping that having some 3D walkthrough images will solve some of these tricky decisions.

I think this was my first ranting post. Every girl needs a good rant every now and again I think.

Anyone else out there have husbands who like to meddle?
Or all you all lucky enough to have ones that say "Yes dear" while they take another call on their phone or start constructing that window seat you sketched on a serviette?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sprucing for spring and a pigeon pair

It's fitting that it's pretty much two years to the day that we moved into Betsy and finally I have some completed white wall pictures. Painting vj's can only be done with a brush and is slow, tedious, time consuming work. This was all done by me during toddler naps and late nights after the kids are in bed. (Legoman does not paint, he is way too messy both on and off the walls).

I finished a few months ago but with all the rain and sick children it just was too hard to find time to photograph it all. Not to mention the epic tidy up required to produce shots like this. When the sun was out today I decided to counter my post illness winter slump with a good spruce up.

Just look at all the white. Remember when it looked more like this?

So much better now it's all white. Pity all my hard work on this back wall will be demolished in a few months. Not going to miss the yucky barred windows though.

I will miss having  a wall space perfect for all the kids art. This wall will be going to make room for a much bigger kitchen and it will be good riddance to that nasty faux tasmanian oak laminate pantry poking out into my dining room. See how it is covered in art as an attempt at camouflage.

And the pigeon pair?  Well look what I found at the demolition yard. Initially I only bought the green one, but then I had the guilts over separating them. When I went back today to get the blue one, the lovely man gave it to me for free.

The green one is for my sewing table, not sure where the blue one is going yet. Just having fun moving my furniture around. I might paint them one day, but right now I like them just as they are.

I love seeing this change in Betsy, she is becoming more and more our home, and much more to my taste than the custard delight we moved into two years ago. I'm getting more excited about our having a new kitchen and there is definitely a whiff of spring in the air today.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Whooping it up in the winter sun

We have been whooping it up over here at Betsy's in the gorgeous winter sunshine. Now that both kids have their Micro scooters we are unstoppable, it has really increased the distances we can travel. Roboboy has not had the balance needed to ride a two wheel scooter but is now just like all his mates. I would highly recommend these scooters to anyone who has a child with coordination or balance issues and even two year olds can ride them. Amazingly, even the wearing of long rainbow skirts  and one armed lamb clutching does not hinder fast scootering either.

Given that the school holidays were a cesspit of disease, the kids have been very busy making up for lost time. There have been intensive collage sessions,

Building of turkey traps that require intensive testing on the unsuspecting toy lambs of little sisters,

and even one afternoon where both kids worked together in a highly unusual display of unified solidarity so as to open their own library. Complete with both fiction and non fiction sections, personalized library cards, scanner, returns chute and borrowing limits. Both the cat and I were entitled to 8 items each and hefty fines were in place for late returns.

Meanwhile I have been finding some sunny sunshine pyrex. I found two of these sunflowery pyrex lids that the kids have pinched and are using as plates,

And to top off the week a pyrex flower pie dish as well.

Despite record cold overnight temperatures of 3 degrees! (this is Brisbane folks, with no heaters or even carpet in our houses it is seriously freezing), that daily dose of sunshine is just perking us all up enormously.