Sunday, 23 October 2011

Another day in Paradise

Once again the weekend is over!

Our garden is bursting at the seams, flowers everywhere, tree's fruiting, the grass is actually green.  The birds have been around all day, Lorikeets in the flowering palm trees and in the Grevillia by the front door, cheeky mites they are.  I saw a massive crow steal an egg from a pigeons nest, while the poor pigeon tried desperately to shoo him away.  Butterflies, bees, and lady birds galore! I love this time of year.

We planted two more trees, another Fig tree (B's Favourite) and a Blue Quandong, which is a rainforest tree, but with some luck, and some babying it should be okay.  The Nectarine has loads of juicy looking fruit, the apple tree is valiantly trying for the first time to produce us many apples, the lemon tree is heavy with lemons. Everything is producing and growing quickly.

Our hours were spent finalising small details in the kitchen, and filling up the cupboards again! FINALLY!
No more pots and pans in the linen cupboard or the spare bed. Many hours cleaning the pit as during the kitchen make-over We ignored all other chores, tons of laundry, vaccuming, re-arranging.  Bleached the cats bathroom as the muddy little tykes put dirt all up the walls during wet weather :) (lucky we love them)

So this weekend was highly productive, however not the least bit exciting. Chores, gardening, enjoying the wildlife, harvesting vegetables for freezing and for dinner.  Finally my guest room, and my computer room are organised.  I feel much better now we are in control of our surroundings, no more sanders, paint tins, powertools to clutter up the place.

aahhhh paradise.........

Sunday, 16 October 2011


This weekend has been BRUTAL.  There were a million tasks to complete to finish the kitchen but we were determined, we came quite close.  We spent Friday night painting and sanding again, quite a time consuming task really. Saturday was spent putting up the splash back and more final coats of paint. Each cupboard door, each wall requires a minimum of two coats, which as you can imagine takes a lot of time, it isn't difficult just well... watching paint dry.   The bench top required 5 coats, with 24 hours in between, but I think it came up a treat.  The poly-urethane that we used was quite noxious.  The house was nearly impossible to breathe in straight  away, plus the cats both wanted to jump on the bench.
So for 5 nights we locked the unhappy kittens in our bedroom to sleep with us.  Manny didn't seem to mind, in fact, delighted in sleeping on the bed, purring and washing away all night.  Willis was extremely unhappy about being denied his night time havoc wreaking adventures, and let us know very loudly every morning at 3 am that he was not amused.

It was worth the effort though. As you can see from the photo's we made huge progress, we are not complete yet but 90% there.  The splash back we were worried about, as I originally wanted tempered coloured glass panels, however after looking at the costs we quickly changed our mind. 
Instead we went to and got creative.  B found some massive 60cm marble patterened tiles for $3 each, and then a large sheet of perspex that was the perfect size.
The tiles went on without a hitch, the perspex took some planning and care.  After cutting to size, cutting a hole for the powerpoint, we painted the back side the same colour as the cupboard doors.  When that dried we crossed out fingers and put in place, I think it looks great, and only a fraction of the cost!!

 We had extra space that wasn't being used, so a cupboard was the answer, as I have mention before, we made this using spares that were gifted to us, and the 'door' is actually a window.  B and I went for a drive to our local junk/demolitian yard and found two lead painted windows for only $20, we decided to give it a shot.  After sanding of the lead paint we discovered a beautiful wood underneath, we thought it would be a waste to paint over so just varnished it as is. (The handle we bought from bunnings)

Anyway to keep this one short, after many hours of working hard and creating as we went we nearly have a complete kitchen.  Only the pantry area to complete, the tile floor we will leave for quite a while, and we have plans at some point in the future to add built in cupboards around the fridge, freezer and think we can squeeze one more near the stove. Right now though, we both need (deserve) a rest, and the entire house needs a good clean, as most other chores have been neglected for weeks now.

I call this kitchen design "Better than Blue!"

Monday, 10 October 2011


This week has been many painstaking hours getting ALL the little details correct. Lots of sanding and painting of walls and doors, which although a little fun at first becomes a task.

All the while cooking on the dining table, and doing dishes in the laundry. It had a faint air of excitement to start with due to being a different routine, but has become a little annoying. We are both being patient as we know its a means to an end. However I'm dying to cook in the kitchen!

Friday night we sanded and primed the walls, as well as bolted the bench into its final place.
We thankfully have managed, with some difficulty all the heavy lifting.  We knew that being hardwood it was going to be heavy as well as difficult to cut but I was shocked at quite how dense it was. My poor little arms were very happy when we put it in place for the last time. 

I am ecstatic that all the blue is finally erradicated from my kitchen! Painting that away was a pleasure and much to B's amusement I was so happy I sang as we sanded, primed, painted the walls.(it may have been that I sang snippets of painting the roses red from Disneys Alice in wonderland for ages before changing the words to suit our tasks, poor B)

The room somehow appears a lot larger space than when blue. My brain was telling me that the space had changed size when I knew we had only painted.

Many hours we spent Saturday working hard. Then B decided he wanted a break, it was time to plant some trees. We had a thunderstorm that morning and plenty of rain, so our usual concrete ground was soft enough to dig.  We planted more bottlebrush, a pink cedar, and a scotia (or drunken parrot tree).

We then harvested the rest of our peas, some beetroot, and carrots for dinner with lamb chops. It was delish, steamed the peas with beetroot leaves in the microwave, roasted onion n beetroot wrapped in alfoil, while B got a lemon from our tree to marinate the lamb chops before cooking them on the BBQ.

That night there was more painting, B sanded the benchtop, so we could finally give it the first coat of lacquer. We were advised by B's dad to use a marine grade polyureathane, which after brief research did seem to be the best option. It went on easy enough, but the fumes were awful. The house was nearly impossible to breathe in. As both the bench and many cupboard doors were wet we had to lock the cats in with us that night. Manny was quite happy and purred himself to sleep on our bed, Willis wasnt very impressed that he couldnt run amok while we slept.

Sunday morning broke and we again jumped into the work. As all the doors need at least two coats of paint it was a repeat of saturday, sanding,painting, giggling.  Again the kitties slept the night with us, Willis registering his complaint from 3.30am until dawn, little does he know we have to do this every night this week.

There is light at the end of the tunnel now however. Just a few things left to do.

*Lacquer the benchtop (requires 5 coats, 24 hours to dry in between)
*Sand, paint cupboard doors and drawers, attach hinges, door handles
*Put up splashback (plexi and tiles)
*Paint walls (final coat)
*Put in sink, stove
*Put in dishwasher
*Fix oven cavity
*Decide on a kickboard and attach

I'm sure im forgetting a few things, but at least we are on the re-assemble stage and there is a small light at the end of the tunnel...

(Please forgive me if my typing,grammar or thought process not up to scratch this week, as im posting this blog from my phone on our way to work!!)

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Creeping Ever Closer...

As the day winds down on yet another productive weekend, I can't help but wonder if we squeezed enough into the hours we had. B made a lot on his own  Saturday Morning, as I was at work. But I think we were pretty productive.  We are on the last stretch home, creeping ever closer to a complete kitchen.  It has been hard, dirty, HEAVY work so far.  We are at the stage where it is taking shape, which refreshes our enthusiasm.

 Some weeks ago we purchased Iron Bark wood straight from the Saw Mill.  It is beautiful wood, albeit rather solid not to mention quite heavy.  The challenge has been to manuever and cut this wood, which with a fair bit of team work, we have managed rather well so far. B is a fair bit stronger than I am and sometimes seems to forget that as he picks up his end strides off with it, while I struggle to trot and hold up my end of the wood behind him.

 We had the wood cut into 4 metre lengths, 200mm wide, 50mm deep.  It fits snugly into position now, after a day spent lifting, holding, measuring, cutting, planing, measuring, lifting.  Many times I snaked around the kitchen, power tools, cords, B's Feet, with the vacuum trying to capture as much saw dust as possible without being completely in the way.  Trying desperately to keep us much mess as possible out of the rest of the house, and from our make shift kitchen.

We have during the destruction of the kitchen been coping rather well with food preparation.  A cupboard was dragged from the spare room into the lounge room, which I filled with essential kitchen items that we would definitely need. (Cups, plates, cutlery, etc,)

My dining table I covered with towels, in an attempt not to further ruin its surface. ( I had previously put several hot jars of relish directly onto the surface and burnt rings onto the wood. It is now a future project to fix) It has served me well, chopping veg for steaming in the microwave while we cook meat on the BBQ, or we have meals straight from the freezer that I prepared earlier in the month.  I cannot say I am enjoying cooking this way, it is very fiddly and takes twice as long to do anything.

The dishes I wash in the laundry tub which is quite a process that is for sure.  But not much longer, I can see the end of the tunnel now, besides it has been a little reminder of the convenience of a modern kitchen that is for sure.

B has set up little workshop area's both in front of and behind the house, so we don't need to carry the wood very far. Also means the majority of mess is outside the house and easy to sweep away, plus we have light to work on into the night after being at our jobs all day.

B mastered the art of gyp-rock, as we knew he could, we were a little worried after last weeks outcome with the wall.  However we went to Bunnings one night after work, discovered that it wasn't that expensive, bought a couple of pieces that were perfect fit for the hole in the wall and were quite happy with ourselves. That is until we got out into the car park...... no matter how we pushed, wiggled, cajoled the gyp-rock would not fit into the wagon! So off B trotted inside to buy a saw so we could cut up the perfect piece to fit into the back of the wagon. We giggled all the way home, as there have been many a time we laughed at others in the car park, saying to ourselves why wouldn't they measure their car first!

As you can see though, B did a wonderful effortless job in the end.  We have new kitchen walls, a new cupboard which he made from scratch out of pieces of laminated wood his father gave us before they moved.  The wooden bench tops still need to be sanded back, filled, coated in a marine grade poly-urethane, and secured to the cabinets.

After that, all that is left is to sand the walls, paint, rehang the doors and make sure the new dishwasher is wired and plumbed in correctly. Not long to go now, I can almost see/feel/touch my new beautiful, budget kitchen.

Late this afternoon, we called it quits on the kitchen so we could enjoy a little sunshine, harvest some vegies for dinner. (We pulled up carrots, plucked some squash, pea's and tomatos) We also needed to water the trees as it has been VERY windy, dry and hot for a few days, our baby fruit trees still need a lot of tender loving care.
As per usual I took my camera (my right arm) out with me for our duties captured some wildlife and some wonderful flowers that we have springing up everywhere.......