Wednesday, 3 May 2017
As everyone knows, to be properly punk, you really need a good pair of Doc Martens. I do own some Doc Martens, but unfortunately they are Mary-Janes like these:
Not the sort of Doc Martens that you glimpse people wearing in dark alleys right before they knock your teeth out and steal your coloured hair spray. I wear mine to work. Sometimes I even wear them with socks - which I guess is scary in it’s own way.
And I’ve also got masking tape - that’s what I used first..
then white spray paint..
the more tape, followed by blue spray paint.
Then I had to do a lot of touchups with a paintbrush as spray paint is no match for masking tape really..
Then more tape for the red bits..
Then more touchups..
Then I hand painted on the narrow red lines (which I'd learnt weren't even centred), and retouched the blue where the masking tape had peeled it off in bits (due to not allowing enough time between coats I guess).. and so finally I had..
Stll not exactly Doc Martens, but I'm pretty happy with the result!
Tuesday, 28 March 2017
This project seems very small after the behemoth that was the sliding wardrobe, in fact it just took a day from start to finish, and most of that was drying time.
We've had these two Ikea stools for ages. They have been used as chairs, side-tables, stools (for painting), and everything in between. They are great and if Ikea were still making them I'd buy two more, but unfortunately they discontinued them a few years ago.
Anyway - with all their use, they were starting to look a little worn - one even had a bit of water damage from its service in the bathroom as a side-table, so it was time to refresh them.
The first step was sanding them..
then using paint I already had (which was the aim of the project), I added some colour..
I painted each with a different design to keep it interesting..
Then I put 4 layers of clear varnish on them. The tin said to wait 2 hours between coats. I am an impatient craftsperson, so I waited 30 minutes between coats..
And voila! Shiney and new-ish looking!
Sunday, 5 March 2017
The first thing to do was remove the existing wardrobe bits and the little walls surrounding them.
That left large sections requiring plaster repairs and although I had originally thought that I’d hire a plasterer and a builder for a day or two each for this project, after getting a solid dose of price-shock ordering the carpet I decided I would have to do the plastering myself, since most of the area needing plastering would be hidden behind the new wardrobe. So a few youtube videos later (and a billion trips for supplies from bunnings), I dove right in..
Despite the mess and the dust, by some miracle it actually turned out pretty well, so I was able to paint the room and ceiling before calling in extra assistance from Clare for the start of the construction.
So it was a few steps backwards as I pulled them all out of their position and sanded down the floor where I needed to and chocked up other corners until I had a perfect fit.
Then I could do the fun stuff of putting all the shelves and drawers and fancy things into them. Yay!
Then it was the challenge of the 4 sliding doors. I’d ordered 2 in frosted white glass and two were mirror glass. They were all big and heavy and this was a daunting task especially as the ikea instructions suggested that I’d need identical twins for the job and I didn’t know any.
I built what I could through the day then got Jon to wear a matching top to mine as he helped me hang the doors when he got home from work. By some other miracle they went on pretty well too (once I realised I’d installed one of the rails upside-down, and made a few running fixes to where the two long rails joined. By this time in the project I’d used just about every power tool I’d owned, including the angle grinder to fix the sliding rails.yay tools
We got the sliding doors installed just the night before the carpet came, so the final stages of the project came together quite quickly and before we knew it, Jon and i were able to move out of the living room into our flashy new bedroom, and the kids could have the games room back.
I still need to do a few little things like move a powerpoint and sort out what will happen with the 5 cm gap between the wardrobe and the roof, but other than that I’m really pleased with the final result. It went better than I’d imagined it (without any professional help), and it looks just as good as I hoped. I have to admit that Jon and I are still getting used to the sliding doors but I’m sure we’ll get the hang of not crushing each other’s fingers and start to solve the logic puzzle of what doors to move to access which parts. All up the transformation cost about $2400 for the wardrobe, and $1000 for the carpet with a few extra hundred for paint and plastering stuff - so it wasn't all that cheap however when I've investigated gettng sliding doors before from local suppliers, the doors themselves cost over $2000, excluding any wardrobe upgrades, so I think it was all pretty good value.
Monday, 3 October 2016
For my own amusement I wanted to compare how our newish native strip is looking, compared to when we first planted it. And look - it's going great guns! I'm really happy with it - particularly the puffy cushion plants (seen at the front of the right hand picture) which I love!
In fact I like them so much I bought some more today (after I took these photos), and planted them further down the back, and I also added some more low grasses to the edges and around my creek-path.
The wallabies have eaten 5 or 6 of the plants, but as our only alternative is to put them in cages (the plants, not the wallabies), we've decided just to put up with it and enjoy what does survive.
I have also planted some mondo-grass around the 'creek' bed, which I think looks nice (left picture).
After a wet winter, some of the plants which have struggled in the last few years, like this waratah, are really thriving..
Sadly the white waratah didn't survive the previous hot dry summer, so it's gone. The Magnolia continues to do ok (although it flowers about a month after all the other neighbourhood magnolias have - a symptom of our lower sunlight and terrible clay soil!)
It's always worth the wait though.
Take 1 of Zali's Room Renovation was shortly after we moved in , in about 2007 - so it has been almost 10 years or so since it had seen any improvement. I repainted the blue/grey walls to pink and white, changed the curtains, and painted her bedhead. The 1994 vintage carpet wasn't very nice, but I didn't bother changing it back - I figured it was still going to suffer some toddler wear and tear so it was best to hold off. This is how it all looked at the start of the Take 2 makeover:
Last time I did it all in a day while she was at childcare. This time around Zali got to have a say in the design, although she took so long to decide on anything (we're talking months) I did end up hurrying her along with some design ideas so we could get started. The teal and grey colour scheme was certainly all hers.
And that's it! I wonder how long it will be to Take 3 !
Tuesday, 31 May 2016
Alison and Nicola had been friends for ever and that's how we knew her and had seen her recycled wooden creations around the place. We were really happy with the CD towers she built for us.
Time marched on, circumstances changed, and the CD towers eventually came with Jon and I to Tasmania where they've languished under the house for the last 5 or 6 years, (what with CDs no longer being relevant to us Spotify-listening hipsters). I always felt this was a shame - I didn't want to give them away, I still wanted them to be part of our possessions - they were more than old cd towers. So when I renovated the greenroom (again) I was happy to come up with an idea of how I could re-use them.
It's taken a while to enact that plan, as it wouldn't have been possible without the fancy dropsaw I am lucky enough to own.
First I had to take out all the nails - that took a while..Alison obviously had a nail gun at her disposal!!
Then I had to do the maths and the cutting, as per the post below. And then some further glueing, re-cutting of a few pieces and hanging-on-the-walling.. et voila..
I'm really happy with it - It adds a bit of home-made warmth to the starkish scandinavian styling and I think Alison would have approved with my reuse of the reused planks. I recon it cost less than $50 which includes the mirror (from ikea) and the backing plywood - but of course it wasn't about the cost anyway.
Wednesday, 11 November 2015
We have been living in our house for just over 8 years. One of our first projects back in 2007 was to clean up the room under the house - dubbed the 'Green Room' due to it's heavy green carpet. It used to also have blue walls and particularly horrible cheap-fake-wood sliding doors over inbuilt shelves. In 2007 we repainted the walls white, removed the sliding doors (which I painted and turned into tables), and generally made it into a semi-comfortable guest room - albeit without any ensuite facilities and with the dark green carpet.
After a few years of infrequent guest use, we started to fill the green room up with stuff. Boxes, bikes, bike bags, until it wasn't really a guest room any more. However at the some time we started to make plans to add what was sorely needed to make it really good - an ensuite. We had plans drawn and submitted and approved by council. We even had Shirl and Tim help us start the excavation, then we hired a labourer to help us excavate the remaining square metres of clay so that we were ready to start work. By this time 4-5 years had gone by, and we really needed to be starting the council process again and getting plumbing plans drawn up. And then we went for a run and decided to spend our money on the upstairs bathroom, the one we use every single day, instead.
And I don't regret it at all. I love the new bathroom. I love the extra toilet. I love the bath.
But that did leave the Green Room in rather a state. Every surface was covered with dust from the excavations. The hole in the wall where the ensuite was going to be looked like a horrible and slightly scary dirt cave. The carpet hadn't really recovered from when the water heater was leaking behind the nearby wall and of course the whole room was packed with crap.
So after the bathroom was done, I did the laundry. Then when the laundry was done, I decided that it was time to reinstate the Green Room as a guest room. Unfortunately I didn't take any before photos, when all the junk was in the room, but I did take some during the first major operation - pulling up the carpet. I'd never pulled up carpet before, so I dutifully watched some youtube videos of people pulling up tacks and carefully rolling up the carpet. Then I headed downstairs with some gloves and expectations of being finished in an hour or so.
Yeah. Not. Exactly. Instead of tacks, I found that every square centimetre of carpet had been glued to the concrete floor. The original carpet layer must have used gallons of glue, and of course there wasn't any underlay so it was basically incredibly hard to remove. After an hour of dusty sweaty work I'd removed about a square metre and inhaled about a kilo of carpet dust. The only way to get it up was to edge the claw of a hammer underneath and pull up with all your weight.
Half the time the carpet would just rip (sending you toppling backwards), the other half the time it would come away reluctantly, leaving tufts stuck to the floor.
It was truly horrible work. And it was clear after that very first hour that I needed help.. so I invited my best two helpers (Jon and Clare) for a pulling-up-the-carpet-party..and a few nights later they came!! yay!
Clare is making it look easy there - it wasn't, but after a few hours of hauling and hacking, the room was just left with all those tufts, which I spent the next week of evenings scraping off the floor.
Then I was ready to paint the walls and ceiling, lay the new floating laminex flooring, find a solution for the ensuite-hole-in-the-wall (dubbed the non-suite), and redecorate with the help of Ikea-delivery-to-Tasmania, Target, Bunnings and Kmart…(and Clare of course)
..and it was slow going. The project took another six or so weeks to complete after the carpet was up, but it was fun and I was able to indulge in one of my favourite past-times - assembling flat packs…
I'm really pleased with the new sliding doors which I built with plywood and pine, then whitewashed. Behind them, in the non-suite, are our good bikes and the rest of the storage area. Maybe one day it will be an actually be an ensuite but until then, I think this is a nice solution.
The table in the corner is one of the original sliding doors and there are still some green touches and original decorations from the first time this room got an overhaul. The addition of Janet's artwork, some of the relocated posters from upstairs, and some framed photos of Jon's that were banished years ago, give the room a travelling theme.
So overall I'm really happy with it. There are a few details I hashed up along the way which I still need to fix (like the bottom of the external door which looks like I chewed it), but I'm still really proud of the room. And fittingly, Clare will be the first official guest when she stays tomorrow night.
Monday, 28 September 2015
Lake St Clair - 6.35am Sunday 27th September
Lake St Clair - 7.45am Sunday 27th September
I've done the Dove Lake Circuit a million times. It's a great walk but I really just needed to knock if off my official challenge list so I scooted around it first thing on Sunday (while Jon went for a 3hr training run). I have run it before but today I just walked (fast) as I'm suspicious I am still carrying an injury from my runs and walks at Port Arthur a few weeks ago.
Being early meant I happened to have the best of the view. The reflections were amazing..
I also had the track to myself. Not least because it was officially closed due to track maintenance. I figured that since they only closed it the day before that I'd get away with sneaking around before any workers did anything serious to impede my way - it looks like they have a bit of work planned (replacing rusted metal raised walkways) - so I guess I was lucky to be able to get around it.
Unfortunately having to walk (rather than run) meant I didn't quite have time to do the other 6k circuit that's on the Great Walks list - again, I've done it before but I just needed to tick it off officially. Next time.
Wednesday, 16 September 2015
Pinto, there are bits of you that just don't fit in that basket anymore...
and also.. that basket is looking a bit.. um… stressed.. just sayin.
Saturday, 1 August 2015
Our house has a surprisingly spacious laundry. Equipped with built in cupboards on one side of the room, a laundry tub on the other with plenty of floor space in between. When we first moved in I repurposed an old door to create a very dodgy bench top, and we used the standard cheapo wire drawers to make storage for hardware and electrical underneath. Very functional, but kind of messy.
Sometime between agreeing on the bathroom work with our designer, and leaving for india, I decided I'd like to do the opposite type of project to the bathroom, in the Laundry - i.e. I wanted to do a low budget, self managed renovation where I did most of the work myself. So I drew up some sketches and went to Bunnings to investigate flat packs. I wanted a proper bench top and drawers and some extra storage for tall things. As our towel storage in the bathroom was going to be significantly reduced I wanted something for them too.
But I couldn't really find a Bunnings option that would work. They had flat packs, but it was just too hard to get a solid plan happening so I gave up on them and investigated a local flatpack maker called Ezikit. They manufacture flat packs to your specifications. So I emailed and asked them to draw me up a plan and give me a quote - I sent them this very dodgy stitched together picture as a guide..
The person who got my email promised a weeks turnaround on a design and quote so I waited excitedly. And waited. And waited. Two weeks later I decided to visit them on a Saturday morning and as luck would have one of the owners was on duty so after explaining that I'd been waiting for a while he fished my email out from the pile and by Monday morning I had a nice plan and quote in my inbox. Yay.
The quote was about $2700 including a sink (I wanted to have the sink as part of the bench). It all looked good so I paid a deposit and was told they'd deliver 5 or 6 weeks later.
So easy I thought to myself! It was only as the delivery date approached that I realised that my plans meant I'd need a plumber to move the washing machine taps and the wall taps to the bench, and then it dawned on me I'd also need an electrician to move some power points, one of which was going to be smack bang underneath one of my 3 feature tiles, and the other one to plug the washing machine to under the bench. Huh! Not so simple after all! The fortunate thing was that by this time the bathroom had been renovated and the plumber who did that had to revisit us as there were a few things not working quite right in the bathroom - so I lined him up to do the plumbing stuff in the laundry while he was here. I had to scramble to get an electrician but found someone who could come quickly - phew. The reason for the rush was that I decided to ask the same builder to help me for a day, as while I'm a whizz with flat packs (my secret skill), I'm very bad at attaching things to walls and executing any sort of right-angle that isn't pre-drilled. The builder had a holiday scheduled so he only had a very small window to do the job, so I had to get all my ducks in a row ready for installation day.
In preparation I removed all the existing bits in the laundry and assembled all the cupboards and drawer units. It took me three evenings of tricky work - even for a flatpack expert like me. There were some things (like the open shelves) which had just been delivered as pieces, with no pre-drilled bits at all. Not so easy after all 'Ezikit'. There as no way I was going to attempt to assemble those by myself - so I was really glad I'd hired in the extra help. I also ordered and picked up the tiles and taps and generally did all the stuffing around that I thankfully didn't have to do for the bathroom as it would have been ten times more difficult.
So after the plumbing and electrical stuff and the demolition and rebuilding - installation day finally came, and then stretched into 2 - at least for the builder. It was not an easy job - even if I was twice as skilled as I am, I still wouldn't have had the skills or equipment to complete the installation of the not-so-EZIKit. I only had one day off work so I left the builder to finish off the job the next day (which he luckily had available). He finished the tiling and left me to do the grouting and sealing which I completed today. I'm pretty happy with the final result..
I really like the tiles - well the 3 feature tiles anyway. They remind me of a scandinavian birch forest. I look at them and imagine clothes strung between trees in on a summers day - (as opposed to the reality of clothes in the dryer on a dark and miserable winter's day). Ideally the dryer would be mounted higher and in line with the bottom of the cupboards, but that was the only place we could find a stud for it - so that's where it is - a bit low, but whatevs.
I repainted the walls and ceiling to tidy it all up and match the colour of the walls of the new toilet and bathroom (leaving the height measurements by the door frame of course). I also splurged on a fancy pants spray tap which I already love - I've never needed one for the kitchen but to wash dirty shoes and rinse kitty litter trays in the laundry, it's the bee's knees!
While I was at it I also installed a cat door, then really took my handy-womanning up to a new level by installing a new lock on the back door - which totally works and is only a bit dodgy!
So it was certainly a different experience to the bathroom - which in fact made me more glad we had a project manager for the bathroom to deal with all the little bits and pieces along the way - at least for the laundry it went quite smoothly.
So the final cost? Well I don't have the invoices from the builder, electrician and plumber yet - but I'm guessing around $1000, plus the Ezikit stuff ($2700), plus tap, paint & tiles - say another $500. So the final total would be somewhere between 4000 and 4500. Not bad. But certainly not cheap either - it's a good thing I really like it!
Monday, 13 July 2015
My extremely long term readers (mum), might remember a previous before and after project involving our bathroom. See Here (before) and Here (after). I was pretty happy with it at the time. But it didn't solve the problem that our house only has one toilet. This has always worried me as I feared a nasty outcome if someone was sick, or two people were sick or whatever. It's always been in a separate room to the bathroom which is handy but I still fretted. So for the past 5 years or more we've been slowly but surely working towards putting in an en-suite in the guest room below the house. Our reasoning was that we'd be making a great studio type guest room with an en suite which we could use should there be toilet emergency one day. The access to the guest room is via the garden so it wouldn't be all that convenient, but it would be there. We also optimistically thought there might also be a possibility to make some cash with AirBNB rentals.So we've had plans drawn and submitted to council, we did a lot of excavation (and thus built a set of bike jumps with the dirt), we got underground pipes investigated and marked out. We were almost ready to go. Then we went for a run together one weekend and chatted about the flat property market in Tasmania. Our house probably isn't worth much more than it was worth in 2006, unlike our Sydney friends whose skyrocketing house values will have them retiring in luxury in 20 years time. We discussed the fact that we would be crazy to invest any money in the house that wasn't going to benefit us every day and also upon resale (not that we're planning to sell anytime soon), and as we ran we came to the realisation that doing the ensuite was a very expensive and difficult way of getting an extra toilet which probably wasn't going to be appreciated by any potential buyers anyway. So that day, on that run, we decided to upgrade our existing bathroom instead. Replacing the old daggy leaky stuff and putting in a new toilet as well. So we'd have a nice new bathroom that we'd get to enjoy every day, and a new toilet to boot. It suddenly made a lot more sense to do that than spend a heap more money on an ensuite we'd rarely even see.Compared to how long we'd been working towards the ensuite, our new bathroom was done in a flash. The following Monday I registered on a renovation website and had 3 builders contact me within 24 hours which was quite a shock. I made appointments with all 3 of them but of course only one showed up (at exactly the agreed time I should mention). She turned out to be a designer/project manager (with a team of tradesmen) rather than a builder so she basically took on the project completely and a week or two later she presented us with a complete design and quote as well as presenting some tiling options on the same day. I was impressed. So we agreed on the quote, we agreed on the start date (the Monday after I returned from India), and things were rolling. On the start date Georgina (the designer/project manager) and Michael the builder turned up at exactly 8am and got stuck straight into it. We went from having an indoor bathroom..
to an outdoor bathroom..
As you can see we got the toilet next door upgraded with new stuff & tiles to match the bathroom - it's even exciting to have a new WC room.
Oh and it turns out our renovation was timely as the water leaking from the exisiting shower had rotted the floor panels so it wouldn't have been all that long before an unsuspecting nude person would have the shower stall turn into a glass elevator which only went downwards.
Thursday, 15 May 2014
I was originally expecting to go back to work the Monday after our return, so I was very relieved when a few days before we arrived home I was asked to postpone returning to work until Wednesday. That has now stretched out until next Monday - and given it's taken me until today to get through the washing it's been extremely handy.
So yesterday I did something I've been wanting to do for a while - sorting out Zali's wardrobe - she gets great hand-me-down clothes from a number of family and friend sources but it does get a bit overwhelming as they spill from her wardrobe into extra baskets and onto piles all over the floor (which aren't visible in the photo below).
With some help of some flat packs from Bunnings, it's not perfect but it's a lot better.
There's a (dark blue) hanging shoe rack on the left of the wardrobe units which will be handy as the drawers turned out to take up more floor space than I was expecting! Anyway - it looks a lot better now and in the process I filtered out a garbage bag full of clothes that are either too small or that she'll never wear. I'm sure it won't look this tidy again but it's an improvement!
Wednesday, 18 December 2013
The photos below are from Jett's first day of school at SBIS, in February 2010.. (from left is Toby, Jett, Miley & Zali)
The photos below are from the eve of the last day of Jett's time at SBIS:
Georgeous isn't he. Also, when you are the last child from a clan you end up with a few hand-me-down uniforms gained along the way..
Amongst that pile is 10 rugby tops and 17 school shirts.
Tuesday, 28 August 2012
This is Jo's boyfriend Matt. Matt hadn't really ridden a bike since his childhood BMX days but he very bravely agreed to join Jo and Clare on the three hour hard core mountain bike lesson they took in Forrest.
Of course in order to go for a ride on a mountain bike he had to go through a rigorous transformation from Melbourne Hipster to Total Geekster.
To the left is the before shot. Please note the standard issue hipster hoodie (with craft beer brewery logo), half laced shoes with zero arch support, torn jeans and funky patchwork hat so hip I don't have any idea what it is called.
I don't even need to describe the geeky details on the right as they are in full view - except to say that the fluorescent top is complete with a full length velcro 'zip' which is so dorky (sorry Jo) that it even had me (not a hipster) rolling around on the floor laughing.
In true laid back hipster style Matt took his transformation in his stride and did himself proud out there on the trails.
Monday, 2 July 2012
The photo on the left is of Jon as he was out for a morning run in Port Melbourne on Saturday morning. It was before he came home, served himself the last of the muesli, poured himself the last of the milk, and sat down to a well deserved breakfast with Paul my brother.
The photo on the right is what happened after the household Naughty Kitten #1 - Aardy, jumped onto Jon's lap and started eyeing off his cereal bowl. And then stuck his face in the bowl... Jon picked him up with the intention of dropping him back on the floor however Aardy desperately dug his claws into the placemat the breakfast was served on, thus resulting in the inversion of breakfast (muesli and freshly brewed tea) and the after photo... heh heh.
Jon tells me he was able to retrieve some of the breakfast so he didn't go too hungry (the same couldn't be said for Dani, arriving later after yoga - Jon says sorry).