Thursday, August 29, 2013

An oppie reunion

The oppies and I have had a reunion of sorts.

For the last 4 months any spare time I had was spent solely on house related stuff. Bank paperwork, toilet choices, lock shops, deck sealer discussions, demolition yard runs, site meetings about cantankerous old houses and negotiations with four year olds about witch management.

Recently, I was finally able to squeeze in a quick visit to my old haunts. The blue casey ware vase was calling out to me the minute I walked in the door.

And there is nothing I love more than reuniting long lost oppie items. I have reunited pillowcases with sheets, brother and sister chairs, pyrex dishes with their matching lids. Two items meant to be together but often found weeks apart in different op shops.

Just like these two.

It looks like kitty really peeved off puppy before they went their separate ways. (Puppy obviously holds a grudge). I suspect I will have to separate them to opposite ends of the shelf.

And the best reunion of all? Wandering in to the Salvos to discover this unusual shaped case.

Could it be? Could it possibly be the right size to fit my poor girl who has been living in her cardboard box?

Why look at that. Just meant to be and all ready to be carried off to the next sanity sewing circle. Of course that case is not going to stay brownish gray. But you knew that already. Only two more days until Spring and I can feel my mojo coming back.  Plus I have an almost complete kitchen, pics coming soon.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


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

He : dressed up for book week this week. A milestone moment as every other year he has gone in his school uniform. We hail Zac Powers books for inspiring not only countless hours of reading but enthusiasm for dressing up ( we are even talking hair gel). He did have to wake me up at 530 am to confirm whether I was SURE Zac really had a headset. He was also super chuffed when the year seven kids knew who he was. 

She : decided to go to her brother's book week parade at school as a polar bear. Gratitude for only having to staple some felt ears together the morning of and for friends who buy their children white fur coats and then hand them down to us. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Deliveries, kitchen cabinetry and welcoming toilets - Reno day 94

We have kitchen cabinets! With this close up you could almost be fooled into thinking we had finished painting something. But no, let me pan back a bit.

See, still going. Despite the lack of bench tops, it is starting to look a bit like a real kitchen. (The benchtops, overhead shelving and rangehood cabinetry are still two weeks away).  However, the pantry desk drawers and overhead shelf  are in.

The pantry cupboards are in too. They were initially too big to fit through the pantry door so the top 30 cm was cut off and then added back as a fixed shelf.

And whilst all the cabinetry was being installed another little red truck pulled up in the driveway.

And delivered our appliances. One stove, one fridge, one sink, two taps, a range hood and an ironing station for the laundry. The dishwasher had been living with us for the last two months as it had been purchased heavily discounted and needed to be taken immediately.

We of course had to be up there at 7 am with the kids to supervise all these deliveries. The excitement levels were running high.

While we ogled all the bits of our kitchen arriving,

The kids were swooning over those big boxes. As we have no furniture for this room I  have told them that they can create box city in here once we have unpacked.

Meanwhile the plumber arrived to make a start on all the downpipes and the installation of two new toilets. We now appear to be "Betsy, world of welcoming toilets" as we have toilets to welcome you at both front and back door.

And the builders pottered around finishing off some bits and bobs like all the shelving in the new storage cupboard between the family room and the spare room.

And moving that 'epic fail' of a back door handle, and installing the cat door. Ugly but essential unfortunately. Should all look better when it is painted.

So, next up is the rest of the lighting, plumbing and hopefully some kitchen bench tops. Only a few weeks to go.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Ratbags and showbags

Last week was the Ekka show public holiday. These two ratbags have never been to the actual show but this year I thought the peer pressure at school might kick in. I asked Roboboy if he wanted to go, to which he replied "No mama, you know I don't like crowds". Yep, I certainly know about that.

So, instead we took a day away from all the reno chaos and visited my mother in law on the other side of town. Her local shops host a family fun day every year and for the last three years we have spent our show day over there, with the perfect number of free rides for kids and virtually no queues or crowds.
Throw in a chupa chup showbag and it was an awesome day.

Roboboy has never been remotely keen to sit on a horse before, always makes me smile to see him try new things, thank goodness for fearless younger sisters to pave the way.

She might be fearless on horseback but the abundance of fears at bed time is requiring significant discussion. In an attempt to "hear" her concerns, I asked her to tell me all the things she was afraid of while I was tucking her in. I intended to then supply rational reasons why these fears were unfounded.

1. Wolves (particularly the big bad variety)- none in Australia
2. Witches - only in Brisbane for Halloween
3. Dinosaurs- extinct
4. Snakes- all hibernating, and no, the warm reverse cycle aircon will not lure them inside
5. Spiders- too cold
6. Dogs (how much longer can this list be)- unable to open doors and get in the house
7. Foxes- ditto number 6.

She then promptly rolled over and asked me to read yet another book featuring witches, wolves and  foxes. Sigh.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Luscious laundry love - Reno day 91

We managed to get two coats of undercoat  on before these beauties arrived. Yep, that would be all the cabinetry for my new, real (not in a cupboard) laundry. Now, I grew up with a laundry down in the dirt under the house so a laundry in a cupboard, inside the house is not something to be sneezed at and for the last 11 years was much appreciated.

However, a laundry in a cupboard, in the lounge room is another thing altogether. Remember this little box of custard?

Now, it looks like this. A lovely set of louvres that open up onto a huge old frangipani tree and the north facing sunshine.

And the laundry has been moved to the southern side of the house where it also forms our main back entry inside. We have included a broom cupboard, linen cupboard, stacking washer/dryer, sink cupboard, large drawer for miscellanea and two large pull out laundry hampers. We chose a low sheen white laminate for this area as it is hard wearing and less expensive. If all goes to plan, we will be using remnants of the kitchen marble for the bench in this space as well.

There is just one small problem.

Yep, that back door handle will have to be moved if we want to be able to open this drawer, and the laundry hamper underneath. Just another one of those things that no one sees coming until it's all done. Legoman has been wandering around muttering "epic fail" under his breath as a testament to the slow descent to insanity that goes hand in hand with the final weeks of a renovation. I have been trying to use a soothing tone whilst avoiding wearing red or making any sudden movements.

At least we saw some positive progress elsewhere, there are now shelves in the nook of the old bathroom window.

And the electrician has made a start on all the fans, downlights and switches throughout the house. Not particularly inspirational but once these are in he will probably hang some pendant lights and that is a whole lot more exciting.

It was however, exciting to discover that you can put downlights into horsehair ceilings, so we were able to banish all ugly fan-light combos from the house. (And yes, that is yet another cream ceiling that needs to be painted white. Just add it to the list.)

So while we continue to paint the world white, it's only a matter of days until the pantry and kitchen cabinets are installed. Exciting times.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Floors galore and dropping the ball - Reno day 87

Last week was floor week. The builders left and Betsy, for the first time in months, had a little peace and quiet. Well, after the initial noisy sanding process that removed her old floor polish and revealed the true colours of her hoop pine floors.

The old polish was very worn and scratched in many parts of the house and had never felt clean underfoot, despite vigorous moppings. The new hardwood in the Legoroom appears to be an almost perfect match as the true colour is revealed.

Then came the laborious task of hand filling every single one of those holes. The house was very, very quiet for a few days while this happened.

 When I asked the floor polisher if he found it lonely working by himself he replied that no, it was really quite awesome as he could just pop in his earphones and not have to listen to anyone whinging and moaning. 

The fumes however, you never get used to. 

Meanwhile, we took advantage of the peace, quiet and incomplete floors to get some painting done. Have I mentioned that there is a LOT of painting to be done? As the kitchen and laundry cabinetry is arriving soon, we were keen to get the walls in these areas at least undercoated before they went in.

We were lucky to have my mum babysit at night so we could paint after work. Thanks, Nonna! There is nothing like a deadline to motivate the old brush.

 And it was really nice to see Betsy go from this,

 To this, within a week. She's almost looking like a house and not a demolition yard.

And what a treat to be able to sneak up and check out the wintery morning sun falling all over the lounge room floor. We made the ambitious decision to remove the large ugly hood over the lounge room windows to let in more light. By summer, with the sun higher in the sky, we will get all the light without all the direct sun, but in winter there is nothing better than a sunny patch and a cup of tea.

At this stage there is no lounge room furniture in the budget so we may just be rolling around on some vintage blankets. At least the new polished floors will be lovely and smooth. This is a semi gloss finish.

Apparently this is the finish that everyone is getting. We were talked out of going full gloss by both the builder and the floor polisher. Actually, I was busy dealing with real life issues unrelated to the reno and was unavailable to hash out that debate so I gave in.  And unfortunately I am not loving the semi gloss. So, now we will have to pay extra for a final high gloss coat. The motto of this is, even if you are near the end, you cannot stop to drop the ball.

However, the silver lining is that we now can paint to our hearts content, and let electricians and plumbers stomp all over the floors and we don't have to be precious with them. The final sand and last glossy coat will go on at the very end. See, I'm almost chirpy about it all as we are coming down the home stretch.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


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

He : was incredibly enthusiastic to climb up into that pantry nook, he even filled all the holes so Legoman could start painting. 

She : has been wearing this white fur coat all winter. Despite solely choosing all her clothes based on comfort, she has managed to start a trend at kindy, it's faux fur galore down there.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Decision fatigue - Reno day 80

The builders finished the carport by the end of the week. When it is painted in the final shade of grey we choose for the house (still undecided) with white trims, I think it will look great. The other good thing is that it now conceals the unusual 5 degree angle of the laundry roof. With the rest of Betsy's roof a traditional 20 degrees, the 5 degree slope solved all of our complex merged roofing issues but did not really suit the style of the house, so I am happier now it can't be seen.

Inside, all the newly installed windows were completed. The old bathroom window has simply been vj'd in and the builders are going to put some shelves in there to turn it into a nook. This may be filled with a collection of bath ducks, Octonauts toys or something more of my liking. We are still in negotiation phase. Eventually we will widen and re-do the bathroom completely but I like having an in progress space that I can do what ever I please with for the time being. First to go will be those blue walls.

The master bedroom window was completed. This room is south facing and is the dullest in the house but given that sleep ins are a good few years away, that is ok with us. We should be able to lie in bed and see the stars at night.

The new floors were completed in the end bedroom which shall henceforth be known as the Legoroom as that is where all those plastic bricks will be living. We kept the original floors in this room but had to fill in the gap from the old verandah and the builders did a great job of matching the hardwood's reddish tones.

For me it was a crazy week of more last minute decisions. That would be all the door and window hardware for the entire house, toilets ( changed my mind at the last minute), fans and downlights. Needless to say, my brain is fried and there have been many negotiations with four year olds ( especially when we had to go back to the lock shop with the witches at least four times).

I have decided that I have the renovation affliction  known as  decision fatigue. ie when you get to the point that when someone asks you a  question you wave your hand in the air and say "whatever".

While I held onto the last vestiges of actually caring, I managed to make a decision to keep the old front part of the house separate from the back where hardware was concerned. All our new contemporary doors have satin chrome hardware, however for the front door and all the bedroom windows I decided to choose a chrome finish. The new doorbell looks lovely and shiny but the tring is not as substantial as our old one so I might be doing a swappo at some point.

Here are the new old doors in all their glory. The light alone that they allow into the house is glorious.

Now moving onto upcoming events, the laundry is arriving very soon, so I thought I had best hurry up and share the plans. Ignore the raked ceiling as that is not happening, but otherwise these are spot on.

The cabinetry will fill the left hand wall of this space, which will also be our main entrance into the house. I am hoping to hang some hooks up for school bags in here on the right, and fit a small rack for shoes and boots.

Outside on the back landing sits our proud new outdoor toilet feature. Perfect for sitting with a beer and a laptop whilst surveying the goings on in the street.

 Just kidding. I'll give you a close up. Boy did they make cisterns massive ( and ugly) in the eighties. This beauty is an absolute stinker as it lost the ability to flush several months ago but that did not stop the builders making use of it while it was still connected. It has now been in this spot for a few weeks, I suspect while the boys draw straws as to who has to actually deal with it further. Sounds like a job for the apprentice (he was also given possum extraction duties).

Anyway, I'll leave you with the carport completed and fully lined. (Had to choose lights for that too, nearly pushed me over the edge). Next up it's floors, floors, floors.