Friday, 28 February 2014

its all happening - kitchen update

Yesterday was one heck of a busy day. And every busy day begins with a busy day before cause I had to remove everything that wasn't nailed down from the kitchen.

That means I had to empty all cupboards and find a spot for the necessities (toaster, jug, coffee) and rudimentary food prep and cleaning. We now have a temporary kitchen area in the office and are washing up in the bathroom sink.

Handyman got here early in the morning and we removed the rest of the kitchen cabinets, then he started removing the flooring - vinyl and masonite.

I helped. I got down on the floor and started removing nails. Fun job.

The kitchen is a real mess. We have holes in the walls, electrical cords taped to the wall (my idea to keep them off the ground where the dogs can touch them, even though they're capped off). Speaking of caps, Handyman forgot to bring the caps for the taps so he had to put the tap back on so we could have water in the house without also having a swimming pool in the kitchen. Bet you've never seen a mixer tap used like this before!

We found that the bump on the floor is because there's a rectangle of boards that was put in later or something. The joist along the wall in that area is about 1/2 inch lower than the rest, creating a wierd dip. The previous owners found it easier to trim the baseboards than to do the floor properly.

So my plan of sanding the floor this weekend goes out the window. I don't think it'll be smart to hire a sander for the weekend hoping that Handyman gets the floor issue sorted out on Saturday... Who knows what we'll find when the floor comes up...

What did I say about this job growing with everything we start and can't finish?

The electrician arrived to do a bit more wiring work. I somehow found the only electrician in Tasmania who believes in drip feeding his work. Seriously, he keeps calling to say he needs to come around and do something, does a small amount of work, then comes again a few days later to do a bit more.

Maybe he just likes my company!

Well, he's a nice guy, neat, does a good job. And he likes country music. Anyone who likes Dwight Yoakam is a friend of mine. As long as it all comes together at the end I'll be happy. He can't finish the job till Aurora comes to move the electricity meter. Then he has to connect the stove and he's done.

I had advertised the kitchen online and a guy came with a truck and a friend to pick it up. Thank goodness cause the porch was chockablock and I hadn't been able to access my workshop area for weeks.

With all those cabinets gone, I was finally able to get to my power tools and I'm afraid that proved to be a temptation too hard to resist. I never finished pulling nails in the kitchen... I got distracted.

I'll share my creations later. Meanwhile Wayne has been warned to stay out of the kitchen and I'm feeling better even though I have to make toast in my office and have aching hands.

Being creative makes my day.


Tuesday, 25 February 2014

the whole picture

I was reading a book the other day and a line popped out at me.

"Maybe things always look better when you can't see the whole picture."

The main character was referring to seeing herself and her friend cut up into thin slices in their reflections in some office building windows, how in small slices they looked thinner, their clothes looked nicer, the colours seemed more vibrant.

She's right. Things do always look better when you can't see the whole picture.

You can take it literally, like the slices of reflections and in the cropping of photos, or you can take it figuratively and see how it can refer to everything in life...

Have you ever admired someone else's relationship from the outside, then gotten to know the people better and realised that it wasn't so special after all? You could only see 'slices' of their life, maybe just the bits they wanted you to see, maybe just the bits you chose to see. Then when you see the full picture you see the ugly as well as the pretty.

Since I'm not a psychologist, this post isn't about relationships but about cropping and how images can have so much more impact depending on how they're cropped.

As you know I'm a graphic designer (or was in my previous life in Melbourne) so I know a bit about layout, balance and the aesthetics of pages whether on paper or the monitor. To me, cropping is a big deal.

Firstly, sometimes images need to be cropped to hide the crap I don't want you to see!

Secondly, I have to crop to make things look prettier than they are in real life. You don't want to see the weedy grass or the old boots lying on the porch. Trust me. You don't.

So by cropping I not only make my house - and my life - look better, but I also spare you the reality of my life.

Now. Tell me. Aren't you glad I know how to use the crop tool?

Mind you, I normally crop a lot when taking photos. I actually had a hard time finding photos I really needed to crop crap out of. Most of the time my photos come out like this one, not needing cropping to make them more interesting.

I'm just a smarty pants!


Monday, 24 February 2014

not my usual type of post

This is definitely not the type of thing I normally post about. I'll get back to that later today.

This post is about something that has upset me deeply and which I cannot get off my mind since I watched 60 Minutes last night. They had a segment about the dolphin slaugher in Taiji in Japan.

I hadn't planned on watching it, I didn't want to watch it. I even tried to change channels. But then I told myself that closing my eyes and ignoring something would not make it go away, and would not help make the world a better place.

I'm an animal lover. I'm not a vegetarian though I should be. I just hate cruelty in any form. I believe that humans are omnivores, we eat meat, but that we should treat the animals we eat with compassion. They give our lives so we can eat, they deserve to be killed in a human and respectful manner. I hate killing for sport or fun or just for the sake of it.

The program last night has given me nightmares - although watching re-runs in the back of my mind all day isn't a nightmare technically.

The Japanese herd these poor dolphins into a small cove during dolphin hunting season and then slaughter them. They say its tradition - but are power boats and the huge numbers dolphins they kill the same tradition thats been going on for centuries? Why would a tradition continue once the meat is toxic and unsafe to eat? They're no longer killing dolphins to feed the people. What really got to me is that they select the 'pretty' ones to sell to marine parks around the world for mega bucks and kill the rest.

And how do they kill them now? They ram a steel rod into the dolphin, give it a bit of a poke and jiggle around inside, then plug the hole by pounding in a wooden plug so the blood won't flow and colour the water with their shame. The dolphins die slowly from internal bleeding. There was footage of them doing this and you could see the dolphins seizing as they died slowly.

I'll never be able to un-see that.

If its all so great and cultural, why are the fisherman hiding it? Why do they need to do it at night behind tarps, and why do they need to stop the blood from turning the water red?

I feel absolutely sickened.

Luc Besson, director of The Big Blue (one of my all time favourite films) and now my hero, has made a documentary/film about Taiji called The Cove. I haven't seen it and I'm not sure I'll be able to. Its bad enough having watched a sliver of an excerpt...

I couldn't find the 60 Minutes story online but here's CNN coverage.

This seems the sameto me as the dolphin slaughter in Denmark where dolphins are slaughtered yearly in a tradition where boys become men by butchering defenseless, trapped dolphins.

Only difference seems to be the Japanese are making millions from selling captured dolphins while the Danish are just using it as a right of passage.

Society no longer needs this type of "tradition" to eat, so why does it continue? Surely man has progressed beyond such barbaric ways and some cultural traditions are better in history books and not expanded on with the advantages of new technology.

I mean, we no longer traipse down to the coloseum and nibble on peanuts while watching Christians being fed to lions and that was a pretty strong tradition for a while...


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

guitars cadillacs hillbilly music

It didn't rain on Sunday.

I'm glad I didn't listen to the voice of laziness and watch tv all afternoon. After cleaning up the mess in the kitchen I got out a paint brush and tackled the porch rails.

I only did the front of the slats and the posts as far as I could reach without getting out a ladder. I figured squatting, bending and ducking behind lavender bushes was enough of a workout for one day.

Squint and imagine the rails painted the same pale grey as the house with white posts and top rail.

It'll look good.

Of course there would've been more contrast if the colour I chose for the house was a bit darker like I thought it was...


Now all I have to do is undercoat the top of the posts, the inside of the rails, the fascia and do two topcoats on it all, and I'll be done.

Sometime in 2017.

It was fun though, cause when I paint I listen to music and sing out loud. It helps me keep up the pace. I have proof the dogs love me unconditionally. They lay around my feet as I painted.

But the geese complained.

The music brought back memories... I listened to cds I hadn't listened to for a while. Like BR549.  Little Ramona... That song was dedicated to me by a country band I would go see. I was the punk girl who went hillbilly nuts.

And Dwight, I love that nasally voice.

A favourite dancing tune by Warren Smith...

And of course, the Straight 8s, the best band in the world. Well, Australia anyway. I used to go watch, and dance, to these guys at least once a week. If they were playing in Melbourne, I was there or I was in traction somewhere.

Did I ever mention I was a rockabilly gal? Did I ever mention I also line danced and did the two step? Or that before that I was a punk and a goth? Like little Ramona, I went from army boots and studded belts to ponytails and circle skirts to cowboy hats and boots.

Now I wear a cowboy hat in the garden and work boots to ride.

My how times have changed.


Sunday, 16 February 2014

its sinking in


Deep breath.

I think I've narrowed it down.

I realised that whichever way I go, I need a sink with the space to put in two taps. See, we have rainwater tanks. And those tanks only work when the pump is working. ie if there's a blackout we have no water in the house.

Or we wouldn't have water in the house if we didn't also have a gravity feed from the bore water tank.

Sure, the water isn't the nicest to drink, but you can use it to wash up (to save rainwater) and cook with. For that reason we have 2 taps in the kitchen and in the bathroom. The mixer tap for 'real' water, and a regular cold water tap for the bore water.

So, after all that stuffing around yesterday and the tossing and turning last night, the conclusion I've come to is that NONE of those sinks I'd narrowed down to my list of 3 will do. None of them have enough space around the rim for 2 taps.

I now have a new list of 3, two of them are economical in price and come in shiny stainless steel, one is more expensive (but cheaper than the Franke) and comes in brushed stainless steel.

Needless to say I'm leaning towards the most expensive, brushed stainless one. Its called Posh. That's so me... (not). Its got a bigger, deeper large bowl and a 1/2 bowl and overall size is 1050mm.

Next on the list are the Squareline sinks. Those are pretty much a tie in as much as bowl sizes, one has a 3/4 2nd bowl, the other has a 1/2 second bowl. Those are 980mm wide and 1080mm wide. If they done have the Posh in stock I'll chose one of the others. They're sold at the hardware store and they have plenty in stock. Or so they told me.

I choose to believe them.

So, I've made a decision. On Monday when the girl from the plumbing store calls to let me know if they can get the Franke in for me in time I'll tell her I want the Posh instead, find out if they have one in store and go pick it up after work.

If they don't I'll just go buy one of the others.

Get the darn thing done and over with.

Now, on other news, I sit here while Handyman and significant other pull out the pantry in the kitchen. They already pulled out the corner unit so the electrician can put the wire in for the dishwasher. I've spend most of the day till now moving stuff from the pantry and rearranging things in the kitchen.

This is the bit I dislike about renovating.

The good news is that we have floorboards under the lino and under the masonite!!!!!!!!!!!!

When we rip out the rest of the kitchen cupboards we'll lift up the flooring so the new cupboards can go on the floorboards!

That discovery really made my day!

Now I'm pondering whether to risk painting a bit on the porch rails. Will it rain? They said chance of early afternoon showers... Yesterday it poured and thundered. But the sun is playing hide and seek... The potato vine is saying 'please paint so I can grow upwards' but the sun is saying 'go on, I dare you to paint'... decisions...


Saturday, 15 February 2014



Today I spent the entire day looking at sinks. our kitchen guy said the cabinets would be ready in 3 weeks. A week ago. So I went shopping for a sink.

I started out unsure about what I wanted. By the end of the day I was unsure of who I was.

See, I thought I had the sink sorted.

Firstly, I wanted a double bowl sink. But I've managed for 3 years with a single bowl and it hasn't killed me. Then I decided I won't need 2 bowls. I'll have a dishwasher.

I planned to go with a laundry tub - single bowl, big, deep. No drainboard, but my sink in Fentonbury didn't have a drainboard and I managed for 8 years with no permanent scars. I still have the plastic white drainboard I bought for there. We could use that till I find something prettier.

Then our kitchen guy recommended a Franke sink, single bowl, with a bowl almost as big and deep as a laundry tub, with the added bonus of drainboard as well. Yay.

Today I found out that they need to order that sink from Melbourne. They say 7-10 days delivery.

So, do I go ahead and order it and risk the sink not arriving in time for the kitchen installation?

Wayne doesn't want to risk it...

I spent the day looking for alternatives. Prices vary wildly from under $100 to over $1000.

I'm not insane. I'm not willing to pay more than the cost of the Franke sink ($396) if I'm to pick an alternative. The idea would be to find something cheaper and save money, right?

This is where things started to go downhill.

Single sink? One and 3/4 sink? Drainboard or no drainboard? Bigger, deeper sink or shallower and smaller overall?


I'm surprised I'm not still lying in the middle of the hardware kitchen aisle in a fetal position sucking my thumb....

I did what any normal (slightly OCD*) person would do.

I made up a comparison table.

Hey. It worked for me when I was buying my first new car. It should work when I find myself unable to make a decision for something that costs 1/100,000,000th of that.

By making a table, doing hands on research, pushing Google to its limits and driving a good friend to drink, I managed to narrow it down to a choice of 3 single bowl sinks. The Franke and 2 others which are smaller overall but still with good sized bowls and nice designs.

Too rounded?


Then I realised the bench top won't be ready for installation in two weeks. If the kitchen is actually being installed in two weeks. We are talking about tradesmen here... We could put the old sink in the temporary bench top till the new bench top is finished and the sink arrives... I can still get the Franke.


It should be easy. Right?


*Tell me... is it normal to count everything? Is it possible to be 'slightly OCD' or have OCD tendencies? I count everything. I count snips when I trim pom poms. I count mugs as I rinse them. I count brushstrokes when I brush my teeth.

Basically, I count when my mind isn't busy doing anything else.

Is that normal? Should I have my head examined?

Friday, 14 February 2014

close encounters of the lion kind


I did something amazing.

I visited Zoodoo with a friend to play with the lion cubs!

It wasn't cheap, but it was worth it. I justified it to myself by saying its not every day you get to roll around on the grass, hug, kiss and play with two gorgeous 6 month old white lion cubs. Its a once in a lifetime thing!

I mean, here we are, at the start of a very expensive exercise (renovating the kitchen - don't ask) and I'm spending money on lion cub encounters.

Everyone needs a lion cub kiss at least once in their life.

The park had two 6 month old cubs, Zuri and Araali, and a litter of 3 week old cubs. We had a choice: wait 4 weeks to go play with the baby cubs, or go play with the older ones. I thought big bear hugs with big cubs would be better - more 'lionlike'.

The cubs were so different. Araali was the quieter, more aloof of the two. Zuri was more playful and a bit devilish. And Araali had mismatched eyes. This is Araali as a baby.

This is Zuri and Araali as a babies.

This is what they look like now.

Just a bit bigger.

This is their dad - Bakari. A gorgeous, huge, white lion.

And their mom, Kiara. Obviously also white.

So much for 'once in a lifetime'... I want to go again. Soon. I want to work there... I think I'm addicted to lion cubs...

Of course there were other animals and I patted as many of them as I could. Obviously, not this guy...

Or these guys.

Though I'd have loved to pat this baby.

I love these guys!

Apparently they're trying to get government approval to have encounters with meercats, where you can book to go in and feed them and let them climb all over you. How great would that be! But apparently the Tasmanian government thinks that its safe enough to have an encounter with lion cubs up to 9 months old when they're bigger than 2 newfoundlands, but its not safe to get in a pen with meercats.

Well, they have been known to maul people to death with their little teeth... Vicious little critters.

I so would love one.

Of course, they have plenty of other, calmer, sweeter animals. Like these wallabies...

and plenty of white wallabies.

But the most dangerous animal of all is this...

Hey, it IS dangerous! Haven't you seen The Holy Grail with that monster with the big teeth... It was a bunny! I was lucky to escape with my life...


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

a special find


I found the most gorgeous step ladder EVER.

I was picking up Wayne at work when I noticed this beauty in the middle of the training room.

You know me. I have an eye for special things. And this is special.

I had to have it. Turns out it belonged to a good friend of mine so I made an offer and this gorgeous stepladder is now living at my place.

Its in great condition considering its very old. There's some staining on the timber and the middle step has broken off. Nothing a bit of sanding and gluing can't fix.

(You don't want to know what I paid for it, but I think it was worth it.)

I already have a spot planned for this baby. I'm going to put it in the entry/pantry.

This is the plan:

The entry to our house is a tiny little area which holds the fridge and the pantry cupboard I moved from the living room. (Minus its doors as the space is too cramped for doors.) Eventually I'd like to build a custom pantry which will go over the fridge to maximise storage space. 

This is what I'd like to build (from DIY Showoff).

The main problem, however, is that any pantry will be high and I can't easily reach things on the top shelves.

This is where the step ladder comes in.

With a custom built pantry cupboard I'll have a spot for the ladder to sit, keeping it handy for when I need to step up and get something from a top shelf...

...With the added benefit of looking pretty and being one of the first things I'll see when I enter the house.

The custom pantry is a long way away, especially since I'm told that making it out of galvanised pipe will 
cost me an arm and a leg, so there's no rush to fix this beauty up, but I'm sure glad I have it!


Monday, 10 February 2014

goodbye to some dear friends

I have some dear friends who've been there for me through thick and thin, through the good times and the bad... I'm really quite attached to them.

I'm talking about my Blundstone boots.

Tasmanian made, all Australian, tough and comfortable. 

I love them. They're the first boots I bought after moving to Tasmania in 2003. They're 10 years old now.

All in all that's a pretty good run for boots... They've been failing for a while now and I've been planning to throw them out every time we go to the tip, but somehow I can never bring myself to take that final step.

Sometimes you just have to face facts and admit that its time to let go.

When I had my first litter of standard poodle puppies they chewed off a pull tab so its been hard to get one of the boots on for years.

Then last year something in the vamp seemed to collapse and make them uncomfortable to wear, but I persevered and we got past that hickup.

They have scuff marks from kicking weeds, scratches from having things dropped on them, dints where I used them to prop up doors when screwing in hinges. They have at least 3 different colour paint splotches on them from when I wore them while painting my house in Fentonbury first, then here later...

When the soles gave way I knew it was time to say goodbye.


To make matters worse, the boots I bought for riding are starting to smile. And they're only about 3 years old and nowhere near as comfortable for all day wear as the blunnies...

On the upside, I can now buy myself a new pair of Blundstones...



Sunday, 9 February 2014

getting there slowly - kitchen update

Not much has actually happened in the kitchen yet, so the title of this post is misleading. However things are going to be happening. Soon, I hope.

This is where things are at.

Handyman has been over and worked on the end of the porch till he ran out of wood. That's semi enclosed for now and already making a difference when its really hot, and today when the wind picked up and it rained horizontally.

Yesterday evening we sat on the bench at the end of the garden and looked back at the house and I'm loving how its looking. I love the enclosed end of the porch and the way the retaining wall frames the house.

Just squint a little and picture the painting finished... perhaps with some decorative corners on the posts...

Meanwhile the electrician has put in the new meter box and the gooseneck thingy where the power comes into the house. We're waiting on the electricity company to come move the power before we can put the new window in the kitchen and finish lining the walls.

All the power points have been moved and we now have a power point outside for those times when you need power outdoors. Power has been pulled to where it'll be needed for the new stove, dishwasher and rangehood.

My kitchen maker has been to confirm measurements and will be placing the order on Tuesday (Monday is a public holiday here) and thinks the new kitchen will be ready to install in 3 weeks.

That means that the week before we need to rip out the old kitchen bench and cabinets, lift the lino and masonite on the floor and hopefully find floorboards in decent condition. If so, I'll need to give them a sand in preparation for the new cabinets to go in. If not we'll be putting the masonite back and organising vinyl for the new floor.

I really hope we have nice floorboards.

Soon as I get the precise measurements for the new benchtop I can give them to Handyman so he can start making it. Then it can go in soon as the cabinets are in place.

I'll have to organise delivery of the stove, rangehood and dishwasher so the kitchen can be put together at the same time. I think... The timing of this still kind of stumps me.

I know I need to organise a plumber gasfitter to come get everything ready for the stove and sink before they're put in place, then come back to connect them up...

Ditto with the electrician when he puts in the bits he needs to wire in.

Remind me never to do something like this again...

Meanwhile I found this little beauty at the tip shop while looking for something else. I think it might be the perfect mobile island bench for the new kitchen. All it needs is new handles, a bit of TLC, a shelf and castors. Oh, and a new top to match the benchtop Handyman is making.

On another note, the garden is going well. I'm waiting for 3 of the 4 of these plants-who's-name-I-have-forgotten to bloom so I can decide if and where I'll put them in the garden. I love the pink but I don't want red.

Wierd, but I don't remember planting these seeds... Remember, I never wanted yellow flowers in my garden and now I have plenty of yellow flowers.

Oh well. The garden is a work in progress. I can always dig up, pull out and move things I don't like.

Yesterday I planted a ton more seeds in pots so hopefully they'll start sprouting soon and I can add them to the garden. There are already a few things which are ready to be put in. Its just a matter of deciding where they should go and put them in.

I'll have a pretty garden yet!