Tuesday, 29 April 2014

false alarm - kitchen update

Ok, I'm curious how the women out there in blogdom can do these great reveals where they show 'after' photos featuring perfect rooms all set up with the right curtains, the right cushions, the right furniture, the right artfuly placed 'random' items.

Even when my kitchen is finished, it won't be finished enough for that perfect 'after' photo.

For one thing, I plan to put up shelves and I don't want to put them up till I live in it a while and decide where I want what...

For another, I won't have the perfect dishes for a while, and I won't have the kitchen dresser painted for who knows how long...

I guess you won't so much get a 'finished' photo but periodic 'after' photos every time I add to or change something... cause I'm nothing if not in a constant state of updating, rearranging and changing things.

Meanwhile, yes, you heard right.

The kitchen isn't finished yet.

It would have been finished but for the sink...

See, when Handyman was doing the plumbing, moving pipes from the old sink position to the new one (back when we had a hole in the floor), he calculated that the sink would be centered in the window and put the pipe there. But when he put the sink in the bench and showed it to me, the sink looked too far to the left.

Visually, the sink looks centered when its further to the right, cause the eye sees the bowls as the center.

So, Handyman moved the sink to where the boss (me) wanted it and now he has to find a joiner of some sort to connect the offset pipes.

Here are some photos I took this morning.

You can see the rangehood and glass splashback, the stove, the dishwasher with its protective film still on it, the sink with our two taps..

Same wall but you can see the cornice that needs painting and the handprints on the rangehood stainless steel cover.

This is the window into the living room. Note the decorative corner bits. Love them.

Now I have a dilemma. What type of window covering do I put on the window? A roller blind? Curtains? Lace? Doily curtains? Modern? Shabby? I have no idea. Well, I have an idea but I'm not sure. Any thoughts from my silent readers?

The window faces east so summer afternoons are hot hot hot. And on winter evenings I need a window covering that will keep the heat in. The rest of the time I want the window open to the view.

I await your thoughts.


Sunday, 27 April 2014

only the tail to go - kitchen update

There's a saying in Greece which says "You've eaten the donkey, only the tail to go".

My cousin Zefi reminded me of it on FB today and I had to laugh.

Its true. The kitchen is almost done. Sure, there's still a lot to do, but its really almost finished.

Handyman will be back tomorrow with a few plumbing bits we need and he'll finish connecting the sink and dishwasher and the kitchen, from his point of view, will be finished!

Of course, as you know, my job is just beginning.

You'll remember that, cause I've been tediously itemising my To Do list with monotonous regularity.

Still, I'm kinda excited...

If I don't sleep for the next three days and get all the painting, cleaning, polyurethaning, organising and moving done by Thursday... I might be able to make Wayne a home cooked meal and surprise him when he gets home from work.

Yeah. Don't hold your breath.


Its a nice dream.

Not long now!


Saturday, 26 April 2014

i made a door - and kitchen update

I've always wanted to make a door...

I finally made one.

Isn't it beautiful?

Ok... so its only 11in high.

Its still a beautiful door!

Its part of something I've been working on for the new kitchen... Hopefully it'll be ready to share soon.

Meanwhile... the kitchen progresses.

Today the cornices were all finished. Some of the corner trims went up. The hole for the sink was cut. The bench edges were rounded. The bench was glued together.

Tomorrow Handyman says he'll finish.

I really really really hope so.

Cause even after he finishes the kitchen won't be ready to use.

I figure it'll be next weekend before we can actually use the kitchen.

What with getting home late Mon-Wed, I won't have time to get much done till Thursday. Not that I won't plan to.

I always have the best intentions. I plan to get my entire To Do list done in 2 days. I plan to.

I never actually do.

Things always take longer than I plan they will and I'm tireder than I plan to be.

What is it about plans, mice and men...?

Well, either way, its getting closer... I can almost taste my own home cooking... I really miss pasta. And home made soup!



Friday, 25 April 2014

when will it all end?

I'm itchy... itching to get things moving in the kitchen.

I want it finished yesterday.

I want to move furniture in there and put things away and get organised, everything in its place, a place for everything and all that stuff.

I want to cook!

(I don't often say that.)

Handyman is putting up cornice as we speak. The plinth is up. The rangehood is almost finished.

The benchtop is still not glued together. The cornice needs undercoating and painting. The edging and trims need putting in and painting. The sink needs putting in. So does the dishwasher. The plumbing needs to be connected.

The benchtop will need 3 more coats of polyurethane.

THEN I'll be able to use the kitchen.

It seems like its still so far away. So much for "it'll be finished this week"... a sick Handyman doesn't help.

Meanwhile my patience is running really low on the mess in the house. There are things everywhere and I can't bring myself to care enough to move them, put them away or anything. Not till I can start putting things where they belong... like in the kitchen.

To make matters worse I went to get a cracker snack pack from the pantry yesterday and found mouse poop in the box and some of the packs had been chewed through and crackers eaten.


I want to clean EVERYTHING. Then put it all in mouse proof plastic containers. Or glass.


Winter is really here. We started rugging the horses overnight this week and yesterday was the first time we left rugs on during the day.

It rained pretty heavily overnight and everything on the front porch got wet. When its windy and wet the rain comes in at an angle onto the porch.

I think I need to get some of those plastic roller blinds...

The garden is still looking good, most things are still flowering and looking pretty and I'm enjoying it while it lasts. I'm eager to see how it comes through winter and what grows in spring.

The potato vine is climbing up the wire trellis I put up for it and I predict it'll provide a nice spot to sit in summer. Providing we aren't pestered by so many wasps again. We had so many this year. I'm finding wasp carcasses everywhere at the moment.

I'm still working on a couple of things for the kitchen, possibly. I'm liking one of the projects I did with the milk paint but I'm still not sold on the others. We'll see...

I better go out and do something before I go stir crazy.


Wednesday, 23 April 2014

hiccup - kitchen update among other things

 This is what the kitchen looks like right now.

Its what it looked like yesterday afternoon.

Handyman was sick today.

Today wasn't a great day for me either. I began to doubt that everything will be finished by the end of the week. I was not happy.

Meanwhile, I spent quite a lot of time in the workshop... I started a few projects and continued work on a few things I started ages ago then left languishing. I'll have photos soon... unless they're total failures... in which case I should share them anyway so you can see how badly I can stuff up at times.

I've been experimenting with some milk paint I bought recently. I've never used it before and I'm still not sure if I like it...

Either that or I'm just doing it all wrong...

Eh. Its all about learning and experiencing new things.

Learning from our stuff ups.

And finding ways to fix them or get rid of them.


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

the benchtop - kitchen update

Just a quick note to let you know things are progressing in the kitchen. Despite being laid up with my back for 2 days, then another 2 days with some stomach bug, I've managed to do all the painting - walls, door and window frames, skirting boards.

Yesterday afternoon Handyman brought over the kitchen bench. Today he's fitting it.

Easier said than done as there's that nasty 45 degree angle to contend with. Lucky it was Wayne who insisted it be done that way so I don't have to feel guilty when I see how had it is to get just right.

The other day he put the rangehood up and we discovered that when they sell these things they don't give you nearly enough stainless steel cover for the vent... you have to buy more! Seriously, we have a low ceiling in the kitchen and it was about 2 inches short of being safe and steady!

Wayne has made a 'plinth' for it to sit on on the ceiling. Looks very art deco. I'm painting that today so the job can be finished.

Besides the benchtop to put in, the sink to be fitted, the plumbing to be joined up, the dishwasher put in place, the edge trims for corners and the cornice, there's not much else to do...

ha ha ha.


Friday, 18 April 2014

ouch - kitchen update


I woke up with a very stiff neck this morning. I've got a heat pack on it but to be honest I don't hold out much hope for that.

I'll just have to cowboy up and work through the pain.

Why, you may ask.

I finally got to do some actual work in the kitchen. I had planned to do the painting during the week, in short bursts every afternoon after work. But you know how it is. Daylight savings turns off, its dark at 6pm and my body says "wind down".

Not to mention that we've been home late almost every day this week and small bugs like to dive bomb wet paint at night.

So yesterday, my regular day off, was it. I got up early and got into it straight away.

I undercoated the ceiling and plaster wall in one type of undercoat. I undercoated the pine lined walls in another type. And I undercoated the door and window frames in oil based undercoat.

I undercoated the skirting boards which are cut and ready to go in. I want those suckers painted before they go in so I don't have to crawl around on the floor to paint them.

I didn't even stop for lunch.

Well... I did stop around 11am...

The dogs had been barking persistently for a long time before it registered that it was not normal. So I went out and sure enough, there was a wallaby near the dam.

An obviously sick wallaby.

Last year we had them dropping like flies in the area. Cats spread toxoplasmosis, which native animals have no immunity to. It attacks their nervous system, they go blind and wobbly and basically die of starvation.

I did not want that to happen to this little fellow. I put on my boots, grabbed a blanket and a dog cage and went out to catch it.

It was obviously blind cause it couldn't see me but it had keen hearing. It ran off towards the stable and trapped itself in a corner where I managed to catch it easily.

I took it to the vet. If there's a chance it can be cured they'll pass it on to wild life carers. If not they will put it down. A way better death than weeks of getting sicker and starving to death.

I hate it when I see them suffer. That was my good deed for the day.

Anyway, I grabbed a frappe from McDonald's cause I'm addicted to them and if there's something I just can't resist, its temptation. The vet is right opposite McD's....

You could say I had a liquid lunch.

I didn't stop till after 5pm when all undercoats were done.

I also put in a bit of time packing all my fabrics into plastic containers to empty the old kitchen dresser which I'll be moving to the kitchen.

This morning I have a dog to groom, then its back to work. doing topcoats. I hope to have one topcoat on everything today, another tomorrow.

Handyman will be here tomorrow to get back to work and he promises he'll work through till the kitchen is finished. He told the other guy he's been working for that he has to finish my job. Even if he has to sleep here to get it done by the end of the week.

I better get the guest room ready!


Sunday, 13 April 2014

the best thing about living in the country

One of the things I love about living in the country is the sound of animals instead of humans around us. Every morning we wake up to the sound of the ducks and geese fussing around the dam. Birds hopping around the roof and catching up on gossip. The sound of Chipmunk telling us its time to let him play with the big guys. Not to mention the rooster crowing about how great life is.

I just love it.

This morning when I woke up the dogs let me know we had a visitor. A big wallaby was spending some time in the middle paddock. I tried to creep closer but I spooked it.

Probably a good thing. The dogs were all set for a game of chase.

Today the sun was shining which was a nice change from the cloudy days we've had lately. The horses were up near the mostly finished stable munching on hay. There's Cass, making a break so I won't put her mask on (she has to wear a mask to avoid sunburn).

Chipmunk is now enjoying days out with the others. They all get along pretty well. The girls sort of avoid him but he and Wally are still best friends.

He's put on a bit of weight since we got him. He's got a big round tummy now. He's just so adorable I can't stand it. He comes into the casita every evening when we're preparing their dinner and he follows us around like one of the dogs. We love him.

Wally is the biggest of the horses. And quite round. Though not as round as Cass!

Dancer is much finer than the others. Unfortunately I haven't ridden her for a long time. I've been so busy and the weather hasn't been nice. To be honest I want to ride, but not if the ground is muddy and slippery. I'm nervous enough on stable ground!

I love having horses so close to the house that I can hear them chomping grass.

When I feed them I spend time cuddling each one. Except Wally. He gets butt scratches if he's good but no cuddles. I don't trust him to keep his teeth to himself.

The girls love having special one on one time, though sometimes Dancer chases off Cass so she can get all the cuddles.

Animals really are good for the soul...


baby steps - kitchen update

We seem to be progressing, albeit slowly, in our kitchen makeover.

I'm beginning to breath normally again.

This last week I undercoated and did a topcoat of some timber trims, including the moulding for the new kitchen window. Handyman came on Friday and put it in and it looks great!

Yesterday he was here again and he put in the duct for the rangehood including the roof thingy..

and sanded back the patches on the ceiling (plaster dust everywhere...) and helped me rescue a bird from one of the walls of the casita.


The dogs were going bezerk at something in the wall. Romeo was trying to eat the door! I had no choice. I asked Handyman to help me cut a hole in the wall so we could find what was in there and get it out. Save the dogs doing more remodeling down there like they did last time...

I put on gloves, cringing at the thought I'd be finding a rat nest complete with an angry mother rat and her 93 babies... only to find a bird which had gotten in the wall cavity and couldn't get out.

And a mummified carcass of a bird long gone which had obviously suffered the same fate.

Bird got out safely. The wall lives another day.

Handyman will be back again today to finish the rangehood on the inside - put the ceiling plate in and the rangehood's stainless cover. He says we can then cook.

I said I refuse to cook till I can wash up properly...

When I'm not walking around in circles wondering where to start and being overwhelmed by all the options of jobs to do, I do occasionally get a few things done.

I sanded back all the wood filler so that once the plastering is finished I can paint both the ceiling and the walls.

I've painted the kitchen door (the one from the entry/pantry area) a colour I got a sample of cause I loved it on the swatch. Its called Caramel Craving... whats not to like about that?

Turns out its not quite as yummy on a full door. I'm afraid Wayne will call it 'duck sh#@!t yellow' - one of his favourite colours (not). His opinion is that they must have had a huge sale on that murky mustardy yellow colour a few years ago cause so many houses around here are painted in it.

Well... on paper its the same colour as the stove, only in a much darker tint. We'll see how it looks once the door is in. Its only paint after all!

Meanwhile I did a few small jobs that needed finishing. Cleaned out the workshop area. Mended a broken drawer in the coffee table. Did a bit of potting. Sorted out some things to be burned or thrown out.

There's work to do today. The sun is showing through the clouds occasionally... maybe I can finish that fascia today and never have to worry about it again.



Thursday, 10 April 2014

the pits - kitchen update

Please tell me why it is that I find myself lying in bed awake at night with lists of things to do running through my head, unable to sleep. The gap filling, the painting, the sanding, the order of things in which things need to be done. There are mice in the office/temporary breakfast prep area. I've been finding mouse poop on the desk. The guest room smells suspiciously mouse-pee-ey. I need to buy a zillion plastic storage boxes and pack everything in them. I need to clean out both rooms, throw out anything mouse-stinky. I need to rip up the carpet and throw it out of the office.

I itch to get up and get doing things, but I don't. I lie there hoping for rest and sleep.

All these things and more whir around my head at night keeping me awake, no matter how many times I tell myself to think of something caaaah-lm.... like the still waters of the Aegean early in the morning...

Then, the next day, I get up early to actually DO things, and I feel like this:

The house is still a pigsty. There are piles of crap to be thrown out, sorted and put away. There are things to find which may be lost forever under the mountain of timber offcuts and gap filler tubs that were tossed in corners to be put away later.

In fact, I haven't been able to find my orbital sander this morning.

Maybe that's partly the reason for my renovation-breakdown...

I got up, still fighting a tightness in my chest that seems to have lodged there for the last 3 days... Stress? Kitchen makeover depression? Overwhelmed-renovator related asthma?

So, I get up and get a running start. I put on and hung out 3 loads of washing in the futile hope that the foggy air will dry them. I fill holes and gaps in the pine lined walls. I lightly sand and do a 2nd coat of paint on the kitchen door which is lying flat in the grooming room right now. I lightly sand and do a 1st topcoat on the moulding and trims.

I look for, and can't find my orbital sander. I consider hand sanding, or using the corner sander on the gapfiller...

I look at the drill and the broken cabinet on the porch and consider taking it apart to scavenge.

I look at the mess on the porch and remember I told Handyman I'd make room for him to put the cornice tomorrow.

And somewhere around there I lose all will to live.

I better go get my inhaler.

cough, cough, wheeze.

I better go do something or I'll be beating myself up for wasting time instead of sleeping tonight.


Sunday, 6 April 2014

kitchen decisions

I've been thinking about new kitchen chairs.

And dishes.

And light fittings.

But the chairs pushed themselves to the top of the list when Wayne broke the leg on one of my old kitchen chairs last week.

I always suspected the day would come when I'd need to rethink the rickety, pretty but badly restored chairs I have in the kitchen. I love my mismatched timber tip shop chairs, but truth is there's only so much strengthening I can do with my limited expertise.

(ie no expertise...)

So, I started looking for new chairs for the new kitchen and found this website:


I love it! I love everything they have. Not that its all right for this house... I would have loved all their furniture in my house in Melbourne which was a 1950's house both in architecture and my decor.

Anyway, this is the style of chair I thought I'd love in the kitchen. They've been all over the  various TV renovation shows and magazines lately. I love the mix of industrial and vintage in a country style kitchen. Plus I think they'd be strong...

I was able to test these ones out at Freedom locally and they're really nice. Though Wayne is right... they may be too cold!

I like the school-like simplicity of these chairs from Retro Jan. Not as trendy but really cute.

However I've decided that Wayne is right. Timber chairs would be better, not to mention warmer!

Finding timber chairs sold separately, that didn't cost squillions of $$$ is another matter. I managed to find these which should be available locally. I'll go look at them soon and see.

I think I like the first one best, the last is too chunky. 

Not sure I want them 'natural' either but I won't make any decisions till the kitchen is finished.

I think I need to see it finished and live in it a while before I make final decisions or purchase anything new. Right now I don't even know how my table will fit in the kitchen with the new layout.

So, where are we on this whole kitchen thing?

Well... this last week has seen the pine panelling on the walls finished. Except for the corner trims... the gaps filled, and the painting.

I've undercoated the kitchen door, the window moulding and the trims for the bench and corners.

Handyman has put up the rangehood but not put in the vent cause... of course... we've hit a snag. A roof support snag.

Right in the way of the vent.


So we need a bit of flexi pipe or a rigid 90 degree bend to finish it.

Wayne is now asking when, realistically, we can expect the kitchen to be finished.

I want to know too.

Well, Handyman says he will probably be able to put the benchtop in next weekend.


I won't hold my breath. At this stage having no kitchen feels almost normal.

Its been so long!


Thursday, 3 April 2014

thats the way the apple crumbles - kitchen update

A bunch of hydrangeas from my garden adorn my new kitchen...

Don't get your hopes up. This is just the magic of creative cropping at work. Here is the full picture:

The kitchen is still a non-working mess. )

Though there has been progress... let me fill you in.

Last Thursday Handyman came in the morning to start work again since the electricals had all been moved. He arrived with the warning that he could only work 3 hrs or so cause he had to go to the other job he took on (after mine I should point out) which is a huge entire house makeover. Apparently the owner changed his mind about the type of shower he was putting in so Handyman had to go back and get the base ready for the plumber who was arriving the next morning... ie it was urgent.

I said fine, that was ok. It would be good if he went through with me and we wrote out a list of all the things that needed doing in the kitchen to get it finished. That way we (I) could plan ahead, buying or preparing each area for the next job. We wrote it out and then measured and made a list of things I needed to buy.

The list of things to do went something like this:

-put in window which involves: patch timber outside house, put in lintel for new window, move old window to porch
-put in rangehood which means making a hole in the roof and ceiling to vent it, getting a rubber seal for the roof

-mount glass splash back which should be easy as I already have the clips for it

-put pine lining on 2 walls

-plaster and smooth ceiling and one wall we’re not lining

-put up cornice around entire room

-put in skirting boards on 2 walls

-put in benchtop once its finished – includes some kind of decorative trim for edge where bench meets wall, there will be a small gap there we need to cover. i need to find/pick that, and let me tell you, the amount of decorative trim and moulding available in Australia (or Tasmania?) is pathetic

-plumb in dishwasher

-put in sink – add a new hole for 2nd tap (for the gravity fed bore water - a necessity for us)

-plumb in sink 

-patch a hole in the cabinet which my kitchen man thoughtfully put in for the power point for the dishwasher but which the electrician didn't use ... its now a hole that just needs filling. 

-put the sliding door back in kitchen (we took it off to make it easy to bring things in and out) – after giving it a coat of paint and painting the frame

-paint all woodwork - all the new pine lining, window and door surrounds

-paint the unlined wall

I mean, it looks like a ton, but it shouldn't be that much! Not really.

IF I had a Handyman...

This is what he did last weekend when he worked a couple of hours on Thursday, all day Friday and Saturday.

He cut a hole for the new window.

He put in the new window and we love it. There's so much more light in the kitchen now and it has a view! Downside is we can't walk around naked in there any more!

He lined the entire front wall of the kitchen with pine. We definitely need a frame around the window and I have found a moulding I like. Unfortunately he's not here today to tell me if its ok. I plan to buy it anyway and hopefully he can make it work.

 He chose to come back on Sunday (his choice. I'm not a slave driver!) to finish the third wall so I could gap fill and paint during the week. He didn't finish it so I didn't paint it.

Do I sound a bit peeved? Well, yes, I am. Not cause he didn't finish last week. I'm peeved cause he called last night to say that he can't come in to work today. Which means one less day of work this week, which delays us further.

Actually, it means that he'll only work one day this week. Just tomorrow.

Yes. I'm very annoyed right now.

Deep breath. Its progress. If I wasn't going to be flat out this weekend I'd undercoat all the timber, finished or not. I'll give it a go and get what I can done anyway.

I'm so over not having a kitchen. I'm so over the entire house being a mess.

Did I mention that one of the dogs had diarhea in the office a couple of weeks ago? I just cut out a section of carpet and threw it away. I've started removing it anyway, may as well not waste time and effort cleaning it.

Well, someone did it again yesterday. No better way to wake up than to find a mess to clean up.

Another bit of carpet bit the dust.

I'm itching to get the office emptied out and get rid of that carpet and do the floor in there. That way, if someone does get sick in there its easy to clean.

I want a dog door.

What worries me about a dog door is dogs who go outside to hunt all night. And bark.

What worries Wayne is that a dog door for my dogs would be big enough for a small person to get through.


As for hunting... Came home last night to be greeted with Montana proudly carrying a prize. A huge dead rat.

Took them out to pee last night and found another offering on the mat outside the door. Another dead rat.

They've caught two mice which they've given me to dispose of. Both alive. Barely.


But the fact is they give me their catches! I'm so impressed.

Yesterday they were sniffing and digging under something in the yard. I lifted it and sure enough, there was a mouse underneath. Romeo caught it and there it was, hanging out of his mouth, tail out the side. I asked him to give it to me and he stood till I grabbed the tail.


Ok. All these rodents are sick and dying. We've had to resort to poison as there are just so many of them. Luckily the dogs don't eat them, just catch them, kill them and present them proudly. It still concerns me and I hate finding them dead, or worse, alive.

Oh the joys of country life!