Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Although it's a few days late, I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas! Time disappeared again and I didn't finish all the decorating that I had planned for the house in amongst everything else I had to do in the last 3 weeks! I didn't even get to send out (or write any) Christmas cards, despite buying them LAST YEAR in the Boxing Day sales! Next year I will endeavour to start Christmas in October! I actually didn't anticipate such a busy end to the school year...and that was what completely threw me. Apart from organising school uniforms for the new Prep's (I run the shop by myself), three teachers left at the end of the year, so there was butterfly frame making, parties to organise and a cake to make. There was also a Christmas raffle to help organise and a school Christmas picnic to help set up for.

...then I had to clean and organise the house ready for 18 people on Christmas day!

Thankfully now I am relaxing and catching up on blogging!

I decided to 'wrap' my front doors again this year, as it seemed to go down really well last year. I used the same pieces of ribbon and the same bow as last year, and it does look a little faded, so here is the photo of last year! It didn't look as fresh this year...

My colour theme was red and white, and I wanted to stick to a more vintage and natural feel to my wrapping (I like to do something different every year...). I had 3 different wrapping papers (white, brown craft paper and red with white Christmas words on it), and tied up with either red organza ribbon, jute string or red and white twine. Combined with my vintage inspired gift tags I think it came up OK!

The Christmas tree:

The stair banister creation (which I didn't get time to finish...):

My table decorations:

...and finally, my take on Christmas Bon bons! I refused to spend $50 on something that ends up in the bin, so I took inspiration from Sharnel's Blog and made some gorgeous chocolate candy cane hearts, found here. They were so easy and fun to make...and yummy to eat!! I put them in cellophane bags, tied up with my vintage tags, doubled as name tags, and added a rolled up 'bad' Christmas joke!

A fabulous day, but I'm glad it's over and I can now completely relax!

Happy New Year!!!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Study Nook Complete.

Although I have already celebrated with a giveaway to coincide with one year since handover and my 200th post, this is officially my 200th post! That's an awful lot of babbling on for the past 3 years!

I can finally say another 'section' of a room is finally completed. I'm sure you remember the tired old looking pine desk in the 'planned' study nook in the family room:

Pretty unattractive, huh? After a trip to IKEA for some floating shelves, a Barometer lamp (although that's already sitting proudly in the photo above), a few accessories, a new Ingolf chair to match the bar chairs in the kitchen, a can of Zinsser BIN Primer, some paint and new handles, and we have something a little more pleasing to look at and work on!

Looks a bit different, doesn't it!

I spent roughly $17 on the primer and $21 on new handles. I used the left over paint from the bookshelf make-over previously and it's completely transformed it. Sure beats spending over $500 for a new desk!

I couldn't resist this gorgeous Union Jack paper weight:

Another bargain! Target were selling these apothecary jars for $20. When I bought mine, it happened to be on sale for $14! Inside I have vintage sheet music I rolled into scrolls and tied with cotton twine. I bought the large book of vintage sheet music for $5 at an Antiques shop! Plenty left for many other uses.

Apart from transforming furniture, I've also been working on some more of my frames (butterflies and keys!), and also my vintage look tags. These ones are made from a sheet of French ephemera wrapping paper:

So quick and easy to do, but I won't make too many more until I know they will sell!

I can't believe it's December this week! I'm looking forward to setting up the tree, dressing the banisters and tying up the front doors!!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Long time, no post.

As the title suggests, it has been a while...quite a while in fact!

I have been incredibly busy with life in general, not helped by being unable to download photos from my (dying) camera and onto my (in need of attention) PC.

I have been reading and occasionally commenting on all my favourite blogs, though. I have been saddened by the news that A-M from The House That A-M Built is going through a terribly difficult time at the moment. I have never met A-M, but have had the pleasure in buying some things from her through her old Armchair Trader site, and reading her blog updates almost on a daily basis for several years. Drop A-M a line and let her know we are all thinking of her if you haven't done so already.

So, what's been happening in my life? There has been Birthdays, a Ballet Concert, deck cleaning and staining, organising and running the school disco, butterfly frame making, furniture painting and 4 arson attacks on our little school in 4 weeks. The first 2 were minimal (bins and fences), the third was in a disused building (but emergency services arrived very quickly and saved it), and the 4th last Saturday was in the same building which has now been totally destroyed (and demolished as of today).

This low act comes on top of the devastating fire which took out about 40% of our school in 2008. Good news is that I believe there are 2 teenagers in custody regarding the recent incidents. May they rot in Hell...

Finally after completing the decking back in April, we were able to clean it and oil it on the only weekend we had free where it didn't pour with rain!

Not too shabby for a completely DIY project! It just needs some furniture and jazzing up a bit to complete it.

A while ago I posted about this book shelf that was also in need of attention!

The bookshelf itself I've had for about 20 years, and the only thing wrong with it was the colour! Pointless buying another, so I cleaned it, sanded it, used Zinsser BIN primer on it (previously stained and varnished so it needed a stain blocker) and transformed it with white satin acrylic (won't go yellow...). Looks a bit better, doesn't it?

With the inclusion of the CD's and my London Underground picture, it looks 100% better.

This area tended to be the dumping ground for school bags, so I bought a rattan trunk to fit nicely in the space. No more messy school bags lying around!

Sitting in the garage already undercoated is my 25 year old pine desk I was using in the study nook:

With any luck I'll have it finished this week to show you!

Last, but not least, I have been busy making things. I've had several butterfly orders to complete, including this one which is now for sale in a shop:

...and I've been dabbling in some vintage inspired tags:

...and some vintage looking keys:

All good fun!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Anyone have a spare $27 Million?

We can all dream a little, can't we?

I was looking through Real Estate sites (as I often do!) and came across this little gem in Sagaponack in 'The Hamptons'. So much potential, so much space....and so much cleaning!

Newly built on 7 1/2 acres with a pool house, carriage house and restored 250 year old barn! Also a pool, tennis court and spa. The 'main' house has 8 bedrooms, a theatre, gym with sauna, 11 toilets, a wine 'room' and a lift, all spanning 3 levels!

Just look at it's beautiful huge entrance. Imagine the possibilities here!

Huge living room with marble fire place, built in shelves and beautiful ceilings:

Separate library:

Kitchen, which I would change quite a bit in:

Second staircase and mud room:

Main staircase landing:

Marble master bathroom with fireplace:

The Wine Room:

Full plans, pictures and other info all HERE.

What would I change? The lights and hardware in the kitchen, and possibly the splashback tiles, and have the island bench top match the others. I would probably also like to see some internal french doors, or just transoms to define different rooms where there are no doors. Also noted there are no transoms above the exterior windows and french doors. I would probably also change the mirror lights in the bathrooms and add chandeliers everywhere! Nice to dream a little!

How would you furnish it, and what would you change?

All images here.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

And The Winner Is.......

Congratulations April from A City Girl Stuck In Rural Oz. You are the winner of my first giveaway, and will be the owner of a six butterfly frame of your choice.

Congratulations!!! I will email you shortly!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Hard to believe it's a year today since we got the keys to our house!

Outside, not much has changed at all...except the weeds! Inside there have been lots of changes, but still soo much to do. These school holidays I plan to clean out the kids wardrobes (again...) and also all their toys upstairs and get that a little more organised. A garage sale is sure to follow at some stage!

Now I have lived here for 12 months, what would I change?

Not a lot, really!

*I'd move a couple of power points so they weren't behind big pieces of furniture

* we perhaps could have extended the garage a bit to give us more storage space but less room down the side for garden

* move the 2 way light switch for the stairs to the stair wall not on the dining wall

* added another downlight in the family room

* not got the standard 'builders' dishwasher (it's basically crap!)

* installed a small openable window in the laundry for the dryer (which now lives in the garage with better ventilation)

* possibly an extra 3 pot drawers instead of a double cupboard on the island bench

* more power points behind the TV in the family room

* applied for special dispensation to get the house moved forward the 1 metre it had to be pushed back for the double storey portico (a bit more room in the backyard could have come in handy)

* different taps (yep, I still don't like them)

I still love all my colour choices, adore my bricks, love the facade (goes well with all the older 1960's houses in the street!), love the layout (but could do with a bit more furniture!) and love the space!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway competition, for your chance to win one of my butterfly frames. Just leave a comment on my giveaway post HERE to be in the running. Entries close 8pm EST Friday 17th September 2010.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


To celebrate 'almost' 1 year since getting the keys to our home, and 'almost' 200 posts (they won't quite line up at the same time!) I am going to be giving away one '6 butterfly' frame of your choice. Have a look through THIS POST HERE at all the ones I have created to give you an idea of what I can create for you. Leave a comment on this 'Giveaway' post telling me a little about yourself, and what butterfly frame you would love to see in your home to be eligible to enter.

You must be an Australian resident to enter and only leave 1 comment. Spam comments will not be included! The competition will close on Friday 17th September at 8pm (Eastern Standard Time), and be drawn sometime that evening.

Good Luck!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

12 Month Maintenance Inspection.

Monday last week saw our 12 month Maintenance Inspection. I can't believe nearly 12 months is up! Where has the time gone??

I had been keeping a list of items I wanted attended too. There was nothing terribly serious, mostly just the odd crack and nail pop here and there that comes with a settling house. I am happy to report that 'most' things on the list will be attended to. Here are some of them:

* Touch up crack above garage and internal access door:

* Sand rust off external door jambs to garage external door, prime and repaint (no photo)

* Downpipe above rear garage door needs sealing as it leaks, and has done all over the w brickwork and caused moss to grow on the mortar. Bricks will be cleaned and a sealer put on to prevent them going green again IF it happens again.

* Fix quad at rear eave under alfresco:

*Stain seal the eaves beside the meals area and repaint. This is where the eaves were wet from the inside when the the roof scaff had been on but the tiles were not replaced, and it rained...right onto the eaves. The first image I took back in July last year before they had been painted and clearly shows the wet patch:

...and this one today with a nice big water stain showing through the paint work:

* Repair nail pop and cornice (not shown) in lounge:

* Touch up kitchen/hall doors along lounge wall (few cracks - no pics).

* Repair nail pops in ceiling above kitchen sink. There is a whole line of them - no pics as they didn't show up terribly well!

* Refit and touch up centre moulding in stairwell (that's the thin flexible wooden moulding around the wall in the first pic):'s cracked and come away from the wall in several places (added contrast makes it look loads worse than what it actually is):

* Touch up stair landing:

* Refit skirting in Bedroom 3:

* Refit skirting in Bathroom (funnily enough it's on the other side of the wall to the bedroom 3 skirting):

* Repair flexi pointing (coloured mortar) to roof in several places, and inspect upper storey as well (it looks like a 30 year old roof, not 12 months old...HUGE disappointment):

* Replace window beading in bathroom (this split very early on and I have been scared to touch it!):

* Supply cold water tap to bathroom (we have to install). The 'pin' on the tap (which I hate anyway...long story) is the wrong one for that tap. It's too short, and I cannot turn it to make it sit into the tap as it's too short. The gap has always been evident and doesn't look like any of the other taps:

* Seal around tap washers in shower (I wasn't aware there was a problem!)

* Repair cornice above bedroom 4 door in TV area (added contrast to make it more walls are not that colour!!):

* Replace lever door handle on front door (it's corroded and looks terrible. Hopefully the replacement won't do the same):

* Electrician to inspect cut HDMI cable. This is the one item left over from handover which (12 months later) still has not been attended to. It's the $200 cable from the family room to the alfresco which was cut by the fit off electricians prior to handover, when it was installed by our own Network cable guy. It had nothing to do with Henley and they should never have touched it. It's useless and needs replacing.

The one thing they may not attend to (which funnily enough was the first thing on my list back last September after we moved in) is the paint work on the front door. I signed a 'dark paintwork disclaimer' as the doors are black, so they would not warranty the doors against warping. Strictly speaking they haven't warped at all, and either the paintwork is crap or the doors are faulty. As I have panel doors, not flush doors, the panel moves under the paint, and the paint has cracked, so you can see the lovely blue door underneath. It looks terrible and I'd love them to be replaced, but I may not get my wish because they are black. I noticed this the day after we got the keys, and I 'should' have called them straight away, especially due to the 'dark disclaimer' on the doors. But, because handover time is such a busy time, I didn't. I also don't have dated photographic evidence, as I had to content with school holidays, birthdays, a weekend away and all the dramas with moving in all within a month. It was forgotten quickly...

Fingers crossed 'something' is done about it...

I also had drainage on the list, and squeaky doors, but because we haven't landscaped yet, it obviously a soil issue (thick clay in places). The squeaky doors can be fixed with graphite powder and we will have to do ourselves. I also had the splashback in the kitchen on the list. Quite often I get 'runs' down it from the silicone underneath the upper cupboards down the splashback. The inspector tried to put it down to condensation, but it doesn't happen so much under the rangehood where most of the condensation is, and it's an oily run, not water. He has never seen it before and couldn't explain it....neither can I! But it does have something to do with the silicone, as every so often it looks shiny and runs! I am not in the habit of cooking endless amounts of oily fried food too, that 'may' cause this....and I tend to keep the splashback clean and free from cooking residue.

Strange, and has me completely stumped!

So that was pretty much it. The bathroom window will be fixed this Thursday, and I recieved a call from Henley to organise a time for the week after next to fix some other issues. Fiingers crossed they are all done properly!