Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Rant

There is a very popular home furnishings place I know you all know. Starts with I. Ends with A. KE in the middle. I bought 3 wardrobes, two bedsides and one large chest of drawers on my one and only ever, in my life, visit there. They've moved house once and have been in storage for the last year and a half, doing nothing. One wardrobe quite literally fell apart today. The chest of drawers frequently loses the drawer-bottoms, the drawer runners have lost screws, and the whole thing can be pulled onto a slant. One bedside flat pack came with two left sides but no right side. The stuff is not cheap, and you have to select it yourself from the shelves, which can be really bloody awkward.

What is the big appeal? I don't get it!




Chasing my tail

Oh how remiss I've been. Poor neglected blog. I haven't known whether I was Arthur or Martha this week. Bathroom renos? Check. Two sets of visitors? Check. Frantic cleaning up before the first set? Check. 3 lots of BAS reports, teething baby, migraine? Check Check Check. Ahh you get the picture. And now it's feet up with a glass of wine, a belly full of cheese and crackers, and spaghetti bolognaise bubbling away on the stove (which I have zero interest in due to aforementioned cheese). Absolute bliss.


As I sit here, another "home improvement" project is bubbling away in my brain. I think that will make a major project or two for every single room in the house. Nothing like biting off more than I can chew, right? I won't bore you with the details just yet, except to say that it's creating a sleepout area on an unused stretch of enclosed veranda, with stretchers from the shearer's huts. Still mulling over the details of that one.


The bathroom is continuing to take shape. I reattached tiles onto the walls, using matchsticks as spacers. Check 'em out...

Yeah. I know how to tile! I was a bit disappointed at how they turned out, sort of crooked and uneven. I have to remember that the wall underneath is crooked and uneven too, with a great big crack splitting it in half, and almost no tile is straight or even, so I'll just need to suck it up and get over it. Oh, and wouldn't you know it? The day after I stuck these tiles on, two tiles in the other shower fell off at my feet, with two more threatening to do so at any minute. Typical!! And, I recant my comment about not believing in the rules. The rules can be good. The dark inky blue that I love in my bedroom looked appalling in the bathroom. I felt like I was in a deep dark cave, slowly being suffocated. I dug out the vintage duck-egg blue paint quick smart! It's so pretty, so I'm really glad I changed it. This little bloke had a great old time helping me. He liked the dark blue (it was much darker than this pic shows)... at least one of us did!


I have found I am a failure at the 'no baby monitor' thing. If I thought I was short on sleep before, I was wrong compared to no monitor. I couldn't sleep until I turned it back on! We experimented and we have to really strain to hear Vicki cry when we're awake, so there's no way she'd wake us while asleep. I just can't seem to do it! Oh dear. Paranoid mother.

In other news, we have a horse here! Now it really feels like a farm. Blue is very quiet, so Harry and I will be able to learn to ride, which will be good, although I find the idea a little unnerving. There's just so much animal there. But yes, it will be fun, I'm sure.


And here's one more image I just had to post as it makes me giggle so much... oh the innocence of youth! It's the shoes that kill me... lol...

Looking at that lawn, you'd never guess how dire the rain situation is. We pour the bore water onto it, and with the exception of the hammering the lawn grub gives it, it's coping well. There's got to be some green somewhere, else I think I'd cry every time I went outside. Given the choice between 3 or 4 inches of rain and a Louis Vuitton Mon Monogram bag, I'd choose the rain 1000 times over.

On that note, I might go google curtains. At least the house is something within my control, unlike the rain. Or lack thereof.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

5 ways to destroy your manicure.

1. Prise old towel rails and fittings off the wall.

2. Scrape heaping piles of old yellowed silicon off tiles and shower base.

3. Chip away at tile adhesive

4. Sand patches of No More Gaps on the walls

5. Scour tiles to remove...well...everything.


So guess what I've been doing? Bathroom reno is well underway, and I'm loving the process. Every time I remove another rundown broken and green thing, the more pleased I am with the progress. I just can't wait to finish! When we do the renovation properly, the feature tile will be the one below, so I've decided to use the leftover dark blue paint from our bedroom for this round, rather than the pretty vintage/duck egg blue I was going to use. Otherwise when we do it properly it may not feel new.

I know dark colours are a no-no in small spaces, but I was never one for the "rules", and besides, there's going to be loads of white in there, so I'm sure it'll go ok.
Aside from a little help with the demolition (ie ripping the old shower screen off the wall), it's all been solely my own work, so I'm feeling very proud, and it's not even finished! I think I was born to do this type of stuff. Making over. Good for the soul.
Actually, I lie. I did have this little helper. Note the silicon slung over her arm like a handbag. That's my girl!
Another thing good for the soul is sleep, something I've had precious little of the last couple of nights. Last night I was lucky to get two hours, and about the same the night before. Teething babies, and I don't know what Harry's excuse is! Hopefully tonight it will be much much better, because I think I'll be too comatose to know if it's otherwise. At what point do you throw the baby monitor in the bin and let them fend for themselves?
Have lovely days... I'm off to paint a wall!




Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The hunt for the right knob...

Oi! Get your mind out of the gutter! (And if you don't know what I'm talking about, good for you...).

I do love a pretty drawer knob and found myself hitting a brick wall in my search for knobs "right" for some painted furniture. Exhausted eBay Australia, found myself in eBay UK, and there they were. Look!!


Aren't they gorgeous? I could just eat them up. No, really...

I can't wait to use them!


Meanwhile, it's been all action down on the farm. My kitchen ceiling is painted! Yes! The ghastly shower screen is gone, ripped down with much pleasure. Felt so good. I have a new one on its's going to be heaven.

We have a second bathroom which we never used even though it's in better nick, just because it was a bit of a dumping ground, the floor was black sticky under-vinyl substance, and it gets really hot of an afternoon. But I cleaned it up for the duration, put in a hose-able rug I had here, some shelves, curtains and doo-das, and it's looking so much better that it's actually rather nice to use now. In comparison to before, anyway. I even unpacked a few "bathroom" boxes from out of the wool shed which have been in storage for what seems like forever (since August 2011), and discovered that I now own three times as many towels as what I thought. Bonus!

Tomorrow we oil the deck and start on the kitchen floor. Having that floor done? I. Can't. Wait.





Friday, April 12, 2013

Champagne Tastes

Ok, so I'm one of those girls that gets a bee in her bonnet about finding something, and then, quite by chance and not at all by design, the version I find tends to be expensive, exclusive, or downright unavailable. And when I've allotted myself a beer budget for it, it gets a little frustrating. Take for example the apothecary bottles I was searching for this morning. I thought a row of old-looking bottles would be nice on a shelf in the bathroom. You know, the one that I haven't done yet, because I haven't painted the kitchen ceiling yet. That one. Anyway, I digress. I found these lovely bottles.

Vintage apothecary bottles with lids. Perfect! Price tag... $75. Ok - so they're worth considering, a bit more than what I wanted to spend, but they are lovely, and there are plenty of them, so they'd make a good display. But then in the description? Each. Yep, $75 each. So it was back to the drawing board.


And then the realisation hit. I have so many bottles already, all found in the paddocks and the dump here on the farm. I have these...


And these...


And these...


And these...


And these...

And these.

Why oh why oh why am I looking on eBay for bottles?


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sigh and swoon!


I absolutely love this. It's just gorgeous. Guess who's about to be frantically combing eBay for a sad dresser in need of sprucing up? See the wall colours behind? Exactly the same as our room. I think this would go beautifully. Obviously shipping from the US makes it impossible, hence the eBay quest.

The colours! The handles! The distressing! The peacocks!


You can see this (and many other awesome furniture makeovers) at The Turquoise Iris.


Which of these ones is not like the other one?

Today we headed off to a property just over the border in Queensland for a bit of an open day and discussion with other graziers who were accepted for a mentoring program offered by the government. It's all to do with holistic management of the land, improving and taking care of it, whilst also improving our bottom line - win win. Oh - we are "mentees", not mentors! Hopefully it will be a valuable program - we certainly have a lot to learn, that's for sure.

After lunch we took a bit of a tour around the paddocks, looking at groundcover and whatnot, and as I scanned the group, I couldn't help but notice something.

The others, in the country "uniform" - big hat, jeans, workshirt, boots...

And yes, I wore my big hat...

But what happened to the rest?

Oh dear. You can tell I'm a city chick. Look at that super-protective footwear, great for warding off snakes and burrs. Oh well. I guess I'll march to the beat of my own drum. And not trek too far from the car!

I do like photos like the top one - that laconic bushie pose - I always picture them as paintings. Sean (against the fence, second from the back) has perfected it beautifully.

There's Auntie Jan, second from the left. She educated us as to the significance of pockets on work shirts, today. No pockets = super lazy, one pocket = still lazy, two pockets... now that's the goods. You heard it here first, folks!

And that was our day, other than a quick stop for dinner in town (yay to no cooking...gotta take the opportunity for a meal out when you can). Unfortunately both Sean's and my meals came with a sauce that would be more at home on ice cream than on steak, but hey, the oysters were delicious.


Sean is home with the gyro, check him out! I was so excited (and scared) to see him up in the air. I've decided to let him get good and experienced before I have a go - I can't help but be slightly terrified at the thought of being up there all alone. Would you do it?


I'd like to say that tomorrow it's on with the painting, but I have BAS due in a couple of weeks, so I guess I better knuckle down. While the paint dries...


Monday, April 8, 2013

Domestic Haggess

Huff and sigh. I would like to say I've been channelling my inner domestic goddess, but sadly she's more like an inner hag. They reckon postal workers go mad because the mail never stops coming, but hey, what about Laundry? Loading the Dishwasher? Mice in the Pantry?

Yep, mice in the pantry just keep on coming, and I'm fed up with them. All food that they can get into is in plastic tubs, but still they come. I've washed off the shelves with disinfectant and detergent - I could still smell them. Finally, yesterday I followed up with pure unadulterated bleach. I much prefer bleach to mouldy old mouse. So, I'll be setting a gazillion more traps and hopefully there'll one day be an end to it. Though I doubt it. Even the cat can't keep up.


On a happier note, I'm doing it! The bathroom, I mean. I'm very excited - imagine not showering in gunge? Lovely. I even located a new shower cubicle that will fit, for $150, though I do have to find a courier who can bring it from Melbourne. I can't wait to get stuck in, though I must finish the kitchen first. It's my rule. I have enough unfinished projects as it is. Not to mention unstarted ones! I've been thinking about making a list.


And now on to more domestic hag stuff. Don't you think folding laundry would be much more pleasant if it looked like this?

Images via Kitten D'Amour (Either facebook, website or instagram. Can't remember!)


That's it. It's decided. I'm only going to wash pretty things. Humph.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Ugh...can't bathroom is keeping me awake!

Oh dear, could this be a record for me? Four posts in one day? Like I said earlier... feast or famine round here! So anyway, here we go...

Our sort-of-ensuite bathroom is a whole lot shabby, with not a hint of chic. It has hospital green walls, green bore-water-stained tiles, which are falling off the shower wall randomly, a flaky chipboard vanity, a mirror with a gold anodised frame to match the gold anodised framed shower cubicle with the missing sliding door. Oh, and the cubicle rocks away from the wall...handy, as the toilet rocks too, so there's a certain symmetry there. Perhaps the abundance of green is what attracts the multitude of frogs? I could do without them, and the frog poo I wash away daily. The floor is raw wooden floor boards, edged with the broken tiles we ripped up when we first bought the place, before realising that we would be spending the money elsewhere. I don't know if I've painted the picture adequately, so here are a few visuals.



That stuff on the shower walls? Won't come off. I've tried everything I can think of. As you can see, it's not the prettiest bathroom on the block.

We've decided against doing up either bathroom for another year or much as it pains me to admit it, there are other things more important. Fences, additional watering points... Not as exciting as a claw foot tub, but essential, all the same. And I'm cool with this. We did up the kitchen, which was really important to me, and we put down the lawn, also really important, and I'm truly grateful for it. BUT. Yes, it's definitely a Capital Letter But. I gotta do something!! I mean, this bathroom is really quite feral! So I've been tossing over things I could do to improve it a little, until the proper makeover is done. Here's what I've got so far.


Walls: Paint. This one's a no-brainer. I have Antique White USA by the bucketload, I'll slap a couple of coats on.

Vanity: maybe I can give the door and drawer fronts a sand and some gloss paint. A few repairs here and there, some new drawer pulls - maybe I can give it a new lease of life.

Tiles: Glue the fallen ones back on, tile paint, and re-grout. I wonder how good tile paint is? It only needs to last a couple of years.

Shower: Secure the shower stall back to the wall. Or I wonder what the odds are of finding one cheap on ebay? And if I can fit it myself?

Fixtures: Replace things like towel rails, taps, toilet roll holder etc with some from this decade. I already have these, so that should be manageable.

Mirror: I've seen a number of tutorials for framing mirrors on pinterest. I could have a go at that?

Floor: Leave as is or maybe floor paint? It's going to be covered over with aqua board and tiles down the track anyway, so why not? I just searched google images quickly, and I think floor paint could be an option, either a plain colour, or stencilled. One website suggested marine paint - guess that would take care of the water.

Image via
The two images above are via

Image via

I'm actually pretty keen on the painted floor - the plain white one is lovely with the aqua walls. Hmmm...I have aqua/blue paint too. Options!

Not including the shower stall, which I probably won't do, I'll only be up for the tile glue, tile paint, and possibly floor paint. I already have the rest.


Is this a worthwhile project, or a waste of time given that we'll renovate in a couple of years anyway? Would you do it?


Just a few musings...

Behold... the wall that was this just 3 weeks ago...


Is now this:

I do love a gallery wall, and I love how the white wall and white frames make the colours in the photos pop. Pop! Neat word. I plan on having a few gallery walls around the place, and with the prevalence of cameras on phones, computers etc, there's really no excuse not to have lots of snaps to choose from.

If you look closely, you'll spy a pic of a very cool dude back in the seventies (my dad), and my mum and I when I was just a wee thing. Retro photos are the best.

We had two showers of rain today, each only a few minutes, but oh the smell! It was heavenly. I think the smell of rain coming off the gidgee trees is one of my most favourite. Wouldn't mind smelling a whole lot more of that, just quietly. But on the positive side, when it comes to grazing and such, I noticed this in "The Land" this week...

Sounds good to me... bring it on!


On a farm you find yourself tackling unexpected tasks, sometimes. This week, hubby and I changed a set of brake pads on the LandCruiser for the first time. Although it wasn't entirely smooth sailing, we did manage to achieve it, and we now have working brakes, which is nice. I'm very proud of the spring I had to find a correct home for. Thank God for google...



I've taken to bathing Vicki in the hand basin. Not because I'll save water, not because I don't have to bend over to wash her, no, purely because she looks so damn cute! Look at her! Little treasure...

I don't know why her little leg looks red... It wasn't red at all. Poor little thing looks scalded here!


And on that note, I'll say goodnight. Hope everyone had lovely weekends.




Saturday, April 6, 2013

Playing catchup #2

I can't wait any longer, I have to share a sneak peak of the kitchen. Sneak peak only, as it's still in progress. I still have half the ceiling to do, I'm waiting on wallpaper for the backs of the glass-fronted cupboards and shelves, and I still need to tackle that floor. But here's a little bit of before/after, finally!




Grimy, grotty walls, sludge-coloured door, crap piled on top of the fridge (why do these make such great dumping grounds?), cobwebs.... yep, you can see it in all its glory, right here. I didn't do any kitchen cabinets on this wall, as right behind it is a big pantry, and I was going to knock a second door through, roughly where the fridge is, to access it. But now I'm thinking of relocating the pantry, so something needed to be done with this wall. The kitchen is long, 7 meters, and with the two long stretches of cabinet on each side, it felt more like a tunnel or thoroughfare, and not at all cozy or room-like, so I needed to do something. It also needed some colour to warm it up. And well, I do love a little colour. Finally... the clock looks like a little pimple, don't you think?



And after...

So much better! The cabinet is temporary, until I find something a little bit longer. When we have the right cabinet, I'll work out some sort of shelving for coffee cups and other coffee-related bits and bobs. The colour brings the wall in, making it feel more like a room. I adore the clock!

Weeks ago, I ordered wallpaper samples. Before they got here, I chose the green paint, figuring I'd just paint some wallpaper so they'd match. But when my samples got here, I was amazed at how well they matched...look!

I've chosen the top one, which just happens to be called Wedgwood, which is the dinnerware I use. It's got to be a sign, right?

Once the wallpaper arrives (from London...typical me, have to choose something difficult), I will wallpaper the cupboards, add extra shelves, and display my bits and bobs. Can't wait! I can just imagine I will be trawling ebay before long, searching for cream pitchers and teapots and the like. There are a lot of shelves to fill.


Playing Catchup #1

It seems to be feast or famine when it comes to blogging at the moment - better late than never, I guess. I thought life in the country was meant to be slow? Hell no!!

This last week we've had my sister and her boys to visit, which was lovely. Harry absolutely loved having his cousins here.

We rode motorbikes. Carla and her boys had a ball gadding about the countryside...

You'd never guess she'd never ridden one before. She was ferrying both boys around in no time! A natural.


We worked on a gallery wall for my kitchen...

The boys played...


Vicki was loved and adored...


And abandoned...


Sean's Big Hat was passed around...


And around...

And around...


There were lots of cuddles...

and lots a little wine...
We talked, and talked, and talked, and did our best to keep food up to 3 constantly "starving" boys. There really is a co-relation between country air and appetite, I think.



Harry's a little lost and lonely now that they've gone...cue mum on her hands and knees playing with trains and flying airplanes. I can even tell you all the latest plot twists on ABC for kids. It's impossible to say no to a little voice begging "play with me mum, pleeeaassse!!" Soon it will be more like "go away", so I think I'll take full advantage now.

I think he's still trying to catch up on his sleep... he's worn out!