Wednesday, July 31, 2013


a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013

He : grows taller and so do the sticks that he drags home from wherever we go.

She : making mini-me mermaids by the sea. Not sure which part is more fun, the collecting, the decorating or the posing at the end.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013 via Che and Fidel

They : are having a very rare moment of close contact. He was in an inordinately good mood and allowed her not just into his room but under his doona for a snuggle. He is clear though, absolutely NO KISSES. 

I : am over a week behind but that's what happens when you desert your children all weekend to go and crochet with the girls.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Woolly winter wanderings, the Warwick way

So, last weekend I escaped for the inaugural annual sanity sewing circle girls weekend. My sewing group (which kind of fell apart this year due to my reno and general domestic hoo-ha for the other girls)  were all still very keen to take some time out to recharge our worn out mama batteries.

It had dawned on me that while renovations are exciting (in a nausea inducing kind of way) they are also very, well BROWN. As in brown mud, brown timber, brown sawdust, and brown dirt and dust everywhere. And whilst I like the colour brown (it's black I'm not friends with) one can have too much brown. Especially in winter, when the days are equally grey.

 For a colour lover like me, all that brown is a big ask. And a weekend of riotous colour was just what the doctor ordered for my cranky pants mood.

With two of us able to crochet in a basic fashion and one keen to learn we headed west for the Jumpers and Jazz festival in Warwick. We booked into an all day crochet class and had grand plans to go op shopping (regional are always the best), sleep in, wear coats, scarves and boots, slurp hot chocolates, stay up late chatting and soak up eyefuls of glorious yarnbombing. It exceeded all our expectations and the drive home late on Sunday was filled with plans to go back next year.

For me, it was the perfect combination of gorgeous architecture and colourful woolly goodness.

The deciduous trees dotted either side of the main town street had each been claimed (by either groups or individuals) and had been adorned by either crochet,

or knitting,

or paper,

or felt

or fabric,

or recycled plastic.

Several had been done solely by children.

And some were just, ahem, interesting.

There were some gorgeous little shops to explore.

And pretty things to covet, (but not purchase as unfortunately I have other  porcelain items to throw wads of money at, you know the white vitreous china versions essential to a functional bathroom).

There were tiny details everywhere. Some required you to look up high.

Some were down at your feet.

Roboboy declares this his personal favourite, after spending an eternity trawling through all my photos.

And Liongirl predictably chose this one.

And I have to admit, this little yarny badger was pretty darn cute.

Me, I'm not sure I can choose a favourite, but I do have a few more to share in another post.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Issues- the floor and door variety- Reno day 68

So, after a whirlwind weekend of colour and crochet, (which I will share as soon as I can sort through the mountain of images) I am back recharged, hopefully enough to get me through the remaining weeks of this reno. It seems that I hit my hump-slump quite late in the day as the builder tells me that the bulk of the "building" part will be finished this week! Goodness, that seems incredible.

It will still be a few weeks before the kitchen and laundry are installed and the electrician and plumber return, but it does seem that we are on the home stretch. More exciting (and equally frightening) was the dawning realization that our lease is up in about six weeks and we will be packing up again to move back home.

So, let me fill you in on the most recent debacles. Firstly, last week we realised  that the second hand french doors we had purchased a year ago were significantly too small for the space they were meant to go in.  This walkway (in the above pic) separates the kitchen from the tv/family room and was always intended to have a set of doors, partly to conceal the height discrepancy between the two rooms, but also as a noise barrier to separate the tv from our other living area.

When our builder suggested that he could keep part of this room at the full height of 3 m we jumped at the chance. This really opened up the space and we toyed with leaving it all open with no doors. If this was a purely aesthetic decision I must say I would not have put the doors back. However, as I am keen to create some noise barriers in the house we really felt they needed to go in. So, now we had to find wider doors and some sort of fanlight above them, within a week.

Luckily, my favourite displaced demolition yard ( Woolloongabba Demolitions at Rocklea) came through with a set of french doors the exact ( unusual) width I wanted.

So then I had to try and find a fanlight 1450 wide to go above them. Unfortunately this is an extremely non standard window size and they had nothing close. So, I then trotted over to my other favourite demolition yard ( The Demolition Yard in Coorparoo ) and would you believe they had a casement window almost that exact size. In fact, once the bottom was trimmed up to make all the edges the same width, it was THE exact size. So that's $320 for the doors and $40 for the window, all sorted. (The same combination custom made for these unusual sizes would probably be around $1200) so I was a happy girl.

And, here they are installed beautifully. Yes, one side is blue.

And the other is green. Lucky I like painting! The hideous gold handles will be going, not sure what to replace them with, knobs or handles?

And because the fanlight was a casement window in it's previous life, it still had all the hardware to open like one. So my awesome builders (without even asking) installed it to open like a hopper to encourage airflow. I was impressed as I was just expecting a fixed panel.

Now back to the other debacle. Remember this pic? What is going on, you wanted to know?

Well, the fantastic blue star floor from the back bedroom that was to become about half the kitchen floor turned out to not be level due to this old platform it had been built over. Quite a few of the boards were not in good shape and had to be removed. This meant that the pile of reclaimed pine flooring we had been amassing for the last year was going to fall significantly short. And reclaimed hoop pine flooring is almost impossible to obtain, especially at short notice.

 I desperately rang around all the demolition yards in search and was told a houseful was expected that week and we could have the lot. I waited with bated breath, only to discover at the final hour that the floors were all  rotten and could not be used and no more was expected in the coming weeks. So, with some sadness we have had to go the way of new pine flooring for the family room. Our builder says it can be stained to match, and luckily we have been able to place to join in the natural junction of two rooms, but it is still disappointing.

The cost difference between the two options is not huge but unfortunately, to find reclaimed timber you  need time on your side and at this point in the reno that was one thing we did not have.

The one positive is that we were able to continue to pine into my sewing room which otherwise would have had this issue to deal with.

Yes, that's the original narrow hardwood floors on the right half of the doorway and the yellow tongue subfloor of the closed in verandah on the left. Not a great look in a doorway as even  if we added more hardwood there would still be a huge join down the middle. So much better to just continue the new pine straight in here from the family room.

And look, there are are even cornices, architraves and skirting boards now too. And the sliding door is in for my little room. We ordered the same profile as the original part of the house.

And in other progress, the back stairs were completed.

The wall was sealed up between our bedroom and the pantry.

And a start was made on the installation of the high louvres in Liongirl's room

All in all, a bit of drama, but lots of progress. Back soon with LOTS to share from this week.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Running away to crochet

I have hit a bit of a reno hump. Or maybe it's a slump. That point in a renovation where you feels like it is never going to end and why on earth would a sane person choose to do this? I could whinge and moan about the endless unforseen problems that have cropped up and the extra money that somehow we need to scratch up. I could complain  that living in a rental house with no landline and no mobile reception except outside on the front porch (in winter) sucks, and discovering that the camera charger is packed somewhere in one of the 78 boxes under the house is not ideal for photo documenting a renovation.

 I could also add that moving house with a neurotic cat creates the added bonus of needing to wake up at 449, 458 and 512 daily to let the cat out, then in, then out again. This is instead of the cat deciding to urinate on a whole box of important papers like rental contracts, builders contracts and tax documents which you may or may not discover for several weeks. And lastly, if I was choosing to head more towards a rant, I could add that discovering that both your children are infested with nits, can only be topped by the growing awareness of your own very itchy scalp.

So instead of burdening you all with these renovation woes, I will leave you with this glorious colourful yarny image. Yes, I have indeed run away for the weekend for a spot of therapeutic crochet. To the Jumpers and Jazz festival in Warwick no less. Back soon with some colour, some crochet and hopefully a better personal demeanor and a louse free scalp.

Friday, July 19, 2013


a portrait of my  children, once a week, every week in 2013 via Che and Fidel

He : is going to miss hurtling down the steep driveway of the rental when we move home.

She: Back to ballet after a six month hiatus due to gross maternal disorganisation. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Reno Day 66- VJ walls, back doors, pipes and pitfalls

Despite the very erratic weather, now that the roof is on there is nothings stopping the builders from powering ahead. It seems, we are now possibly ahead of schedule and may only have another month to go. So, the back door finally arrived. The remaining large slider onto the deck also turned up. We are just waiting on the laundry and kitchen windows and we will be at full lock up stage.

Now while we have some grey paint in the frame, can I say that you guys by and large all unanimously agreed with MY HUSBAND on colour choice. Yikes. Yep, I preferred the lighter grey, so it was just  me and Mum E standing together against the rest of the tide. And I'm even more confused now about my choices. But I have been slightly distracted by the sight of this.

And this. Hello Family/TV room. With real walls.

And sewing room. Squee! How I love thee, this tiny space just for me.

Yep, lots of vj sheets are in on the walls and ceilings. Now the realisation of how much painting I will be doing is starting to sink in. Whilst I am itching to get stuck in there and turn it all vivid white and fill it up with some colourful bits and bobs, the reality of the enormity of that task is making me a little nervous. We painted our last house ( and by we, this time I mean me) and it took about four years. And we did not have any children. Hmmm.

Anyway, back to the progress. The pantry has been partially sheeted.

And the wall around the fridge and microwave is done too. Real timber was used for this as all the edges around the fridge cavity have been mitred to create a seamless look without architraving.

We ended up having to move a wall over by about 20 cm in order to fit the kitchen design, hence the timber box which will not be a feature for long once it has been painted.

And the fasted plumber I have ever met, turned up, plonked in pipes and vanished all before kindy pickup. Our kitchen sink is almost the exact location of our old one and there is just the new piping for the laundry but even so, he is fast.

So, after this uplifting post of progress, let me leave you with one final image.

This is the pitfall that single handedly unravelled all the best laid recycled timber flooring plans. I will discuss further, once I have worked out how to do it graciously, without obscenities. Sniff.