Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday :: Things I Know...

I mentioned in my most recent post that Boofy and I are thinking of selling our house and buying another one. The property market is extremely bad here at the moment, so selling will be hard (since we bought in a better market and made a lot of improvements, so we won't get the price we feel it deserves). But its also true that you buy in the same market you sell in - so there is an opportunity to buy something that suits us better into the future, and be able to reduce our mortgage (which is always nice!)

In any case, I thought I would link up today to the Yay For Home  Friday segment, 'Things I Know'  to tell you all about the things I know about our current dilemma on whether or not to sell up and buy somewhere else….

So today I know that:

:: The next house will have to be very special indeed in order for me to be able to drag my husband (kicking and screaming) from this house.... he loves it more than life itself!

:: I will miss our swimming pool - a salt water pool with palms around it is as close to a maintenance free pool as you can get!

:: The next house needs to have some of the hard work (eg: kitchen, bathrooms) pretty well done - we are not ready for another major overhaul yet!

:: I am a gypsy at heart and it is incredibly hard for me to stay in one place for too long… so I am way more excited about this prospect than Boofy!

:: If I convince Boofy to move, I need to be happy about putting my gypsy leanings aside and stay in the next house for at least 5 years

:: It would be wonderful to start decorating all over again in a new place (the fun!)

:: We will never get as good a kitchen as the one we have put in this house (you can see the whole kitchen makeover here and here) since we designed it to be exactly what we wanted

:: If we move I will miss our current house MUCH more than I am probably admitting to myself….

:: If money were no object (or a certain amount anyway), I could definitely cast aside my gypsy urges, extend up on our current house and be happy there for the next 10 years (oh, if only!)

:: This post is all over the place (a reflection of my current state of mind!)

So there you go…. I am still no closer to deciding which way we should go. Boofy is firmly in the 'please can we stay put and enjoy the fruits of our labour' corner. I was firmly in the 'use the current downturn to buy something that suits us better long term and reduce our mortgage to boot' corner, but now I'm wavering…. What if we don't like the new place as much as we thought? What if the neighbours are total nightmares? What if we just plain regret letting go of our little slice of paradise? It's not easy to categorically reassure Boofy (or myself) that we're going to love the new place as much as this one. Boofy is also now well aware that I am flip flopping and is preying on my vulnerable state to try to sway me his way! (Don't think I don't know what you're doing, Boofy!)

Anyways, I think I'll use this weekend to get stuck into Photoshop Elements for Dummies and doctor up a pic of our current house with a big old parent's retreat on top of it… then make myself a dream board and slap that pic firmly in the centre! What is it Oprah says? Where focus goes, energy flows…. Who knows what sort of magic I could weave? ;)

I'll keep you posted!

Bye for now :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How Krispy got her groove back....

I know my posts have been few and far between lately, friends. Please be patient with me - I have been really ill for the last 3 months or so, with little energy or enthusiasm for normal life, let alone blogging. But I'm on the up now and getting my groove back, so slowly you will see the frequency of posts increase :)

I am conscious that there are just 82 sleeps until Christmas Day! Actually that doesn't sound that close does it… kind of like when Dr Evil demands one million dollars in the Austin Powers movie…

One Million Dollars
OK lets start again…. What if I told you there were less than 12 weeks until Christmas! Aha… much closer now, yes? This is slightly accelerated for me too because we are heading to Melbourne early December for my step brother's wedding, so we'll be having an early Christmas down there with that whole side of the family. With that in mind, I really need to get my butt into gear!

You might recall that back in July I made myself a list (which I only managed to partially complete!) called Thirty Things in Thirty Days… Well, I'm at it again! After the momentum of Alex's Baptism and party were over, I sort of fell in a heap, and that's where I've stayed in recent months.  But now its on like Donkey Kong!

So here it is… the new and improved thirty things in thirty days list for October (I'm aware that we have 31 days in October - but I need to get a rest in somewhere.. And we're already 4 days in!)

1. Sleep in past 8am (I can't believe I need to write this on a list, but others with young kids will understand it’s a rarity!)

2. Go see the bank manager about what would be involved (financially) in selling our current home and buying another one, to see if its viable

3. Make a decision about whether to sell now or hang on to this house for the duration of the down turn and ride it out (and then move forward with whatever we decide and not look back!)

4. Cull Alex's toys (even more overdue now than it was on the last list!)

5. Have a movie night at home with my 2 favourite boys

6. Bake some muffins with Alex to take to Church - he enjoys telling people he made them :)

7. Read another book

8. Put on a BBQ brekky for our friends Julie & Tony and their kids

9. Go op-shopping again in my local area (since I had so much fun last time) but this time with only $10

10. Revamp an op shop find

11. Tart up my desk at work (still haven't done this!)

12. Look after Julie & Tony's kids for a day so they can have some kid-free time

13. Try another project I've seen on Pinterest (again, I had so much fun with that last time)

14. Redecorate the area where my random cupboards (still) are

15. Go out for dinner as a family

16. Hang painting in the laundry

17. Bake some savoury muffins to take in for my work mates

18. Make a list of people to buy for (Christmas)

19. Make a list of presents to buy for those people

20. Start buying Christmas presents

21. Attend a house auction (whether or not we decide to move on - just because we've never done it before)

22. Settle on a theme for Alex's new big boy room (so I can ask Santa to bring some of the items to move it from my mind to reality!)

23. Fill out the enrolment forms for Alex's prep year

24-30. Complete 7 new sewing projects (don't have to be unique, just not previously started - and none for myself)

I know you're saying 'what the'? '7 sewing projects'? There are two reasons for this range…

Firstly, I found that when I got into my list last time I got really excited about the sewing I was doing and completed lots of projects, but other things fell by the wayside. So in order for my October list to be more achievable, I'm trying to give myself as much opportunity as possible to actually enjoy the things I'm crossing off.

Secondly, I am really trying to make as many Christmas presents as possible (many of which will be sewing projects) so this will allow me to kind of kill two (or three) birds with one stone by crossing things off my list, enjoying it as I go and getting prepared for Christmas.

So there you have it folks - my brand new list!

Who's joining me in getting some stuff done? I look forward to seeing your lists.

Bye for now :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pots pots pots...

Well hello again!!  I know its been a really long time... I can't believe a month has passed since I wrote my last post.  Many apologies, its just been such a busy time.

As you'll know if you've read the blog before, we recently had Alex Baptised.  It was a very special day, both at the Church and the party that followed at home.  There are many stories that go along with that day, and quite a few things to update you on too - but I might tell those all together in a special update post.  For now, please enjoy this picture of my special little guy on his very special day :)

And now onto the garden pots...  Some time ago, in this post about how I had the blues so bad... I showed you a couple of pictures of what had become of the herb pots that we had around the place, and also my beloved kaffir lime.  To save you flicking back, here is what the herbs looked like:

So sad...  You see the herbs were undercover, so they never got any direct sunlight or rain (except the mint on the left which, as you can see, is the only one that was even close to survival) and I rarely remembered to water them!  (Notice the pre-pressure clean pavers too - urgh!)
And the kaffir lime, which did get sunlight and rainfall, was just as neglected...

And so they all looked awful....  Until very recently (actually it was more than a month ago, but lets pretend I'm totally up to date it was very recent... humour me!)  You already had a sneak preview of this in my recent Backyard Blitz post, but in case you missed it.... I got rid of those old dead herbs and repotted these with new plants - I also gave them a new location where they could enjoy the sunlight and any rain that came along, lining the little path into the garage.  There was a perfect spot between the path and the pool fence that was crying out for something...  I also added a couple of strawberry planters.  Here is how they looked when I'd finished that day:

Cute aren't they?  From left to right, they are parsley, lemongrass, mint and strawberries.  And here is how they're looking now (don't mind the weeds at the bottom - I have yet to lay some stones there!):

The strawberries have copped a beating from Alex lately... every time a little red strawberry pops up, its just as quickly popped into a little mouth!  Consequently there is not much doing there at the moment.

And as for my kaffir lime?  Well he really wasn't too healthy at all...  I decided to cut him right back and give him a fertilise and lots of water... When I originally wrote this post it still wasn't looking too healthy, and I wasn't holding out much hope....

But it has since taken off beautifully (we have had a lot of rain here lately, and I've been diligent about watering also!) and is now going great guns...

And yes, that is a little sprig of coriander growing in the pot there... and around that area on the ground also... clearly a previous effort went to seed somewhere around there!! Lol

You may have noticed a little companion on his left too...  I actually planted my very first thing from seed - radishes!  I'd had the seeds for ages and didn't know how they'd go, but one week on, I had some cute little green shoots in there!!  It was very exciting :)

Of course I should have separated them shortly after taking these photos - because they now look like this and all their roots are intertwined :/  I don't think they're actually going to produce anything, but Alex is still hopeful...

And again - I need to put some stones down on the ground there! 

Anyway we're loving the new little arrangement, and they're great for Alex to water while I focus on the big vege garden.  Speaking of which, stay tuned for an update very soon - I cannot BELIEVE how out of control it is after only about 8 weeks!!

So there you have it - another little backyard job done and dusted...  I'm so excited to be accomplishing things at home, it's great!  I promise I won't leave it so long to post next time, I just needed time to catch my breath after all the happeneings around here!

And the very last order of business today?  Happy Anniversary to my wonderful husband Boofy - we've been married 9 years today  xxx

Bye for now :)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Vege garden update - up close and personal...

As you know, I recently planted out the vege garden again, and it's going great guns! So as promised, here is a little update on how it's looking… not quite ready for harvesting just yet, but we'll be there in no time!

When it was planted just over a fortnight ago, this was the overall view from the end:

And here is the same view now - a lot more green in this picture, wouldn't you say?

Here are the peas (sugar snap and snow peas) a fortnight ago:

They have really taken off now and are grabbing nicely onto the little frame I put in for them:

I don't really have too many befores of the other things I planted, so how about some photos just right now - they can serve as future befores :)

The broccoli still has quite a lot more growing to do, but it won't be ready for harvesting for quite a while yet (it grows a lot slower than the leafier veges).  Something is currently have a little bit of fun with the leaves, so I will probably have to spray them this weekend:

The cos lettuce is looking nice and lush, getting ready to become my salad sometime soon!

The iceberg lettuce is really going well - it always does great up here in winter, we had a bumper crop last year. Now that our really cold weather seems to have passed, we are having beautiful winter days at around 22-24 degrees celsius (that's around 72-75 for those reading from the US) and these icebergs love it…. Our favourite thing to do with these is harvest leaves one at a time and make San Choy Bao - its something the 3 of us enjoy harvesting, cooking and eating together, and I'll be sure to share the recipe when we make it!

The shallots are growing well but looking a little yellow - I may cut back on the water for these ones a bit and see if they green up again (I have been watering a lot because all the leafies need it so much).

The beans have had a little growth spurt too and more than doubled their size! They are dwarf beans so won't grow very tall - but judging by these, and the weight that will be on the plants when they start producing beans, I will need to put in some stakes or growing frames for them this week, as they will need some support.

Our little capsicum plants have doubled in size also - except the one in the back right corner there… That one was a present from a friend, but the transportation from her house to mine seems to have given it a bit of a shock, and it's not really growing… Oh well, its alive, so for now it stays :)  Here is our first flower on these, which means capsicums are probably only a couple of weeks away!

All of the herbs are going great, especially the coriander (you might notice that I have already harvested a bit off that …. Couldn't wait! Lol) But parsley and basil are looking good too…

And right up the end are the aloe vera plants…. I planted them there because it’s a shady spot and nothing much seems to grow well there. My stepmum Heather suggested that aloe vera grow anywhere, so that was probably a good place. They are looking a little sad and pale though - I am not watering them directly (as they are a drought tolerant plant) but I think they are getting a lot of water by proxy as I'm attending to the other things in the garden…. Oh well. I have another one growing in a pot on the patio, so if they don't make it, at least I have a back up!

My one epic failure so far is surely the tomato plant…

It looked healthy enough at the nursery, but pretty much the day after I planted, it started to go downhill. One of my work colleagues told me its too early for tomatoes, so I didn't feel too bad…. But then another friend, Sam, came over and said hers are going crazy, with currently 20+ on her plant…. Bugger! I am persevering for now, but I don't like my chances, tomatoes were my epic failure last year also! As a result, I do have an old tomato planter currently gathering weeds, grass and all manner of junk:

Sam said she has some special tomato food that she will bring over next time, so I'll clear the planter out and get it all ready for her next visit, and we can plant the next ones together…. Hopefully her involvement will be the magic touch I need to finally master the tomato!

You might notice in the first photos that I have not planted all the way back to the fence - this was deliberate, and I have two reasons for doing it this way. The first is that at 1m high and 1.2 deep, its very hard to reach the back of the garden, even with a step ladder! The second is that it is impossible for Alex to reach any of the garden on the step ladder, so I tend to put him in the garden and let him trudge around picking things for me or pulling weeds. The bare spot near the fence gives him a nice little pathway that runs the full length of the garden, and also gives him something to hang on to while he's walking - everybody's happy :)

So there you have it! A full update on where we're at with the big vege garden. I'm so excited about how well everything is doing - but I must say, the winter crop is so much easier to grow than the summer crop up here. We have such mild winters (although it was really cold a month or so ago) that it’s a pleasure to be outside enjoying the winter sunshine and getting a good dose of Vitamin D!

And just for fun, I will leave you with a pic of the cute little marigolds I have sprinkled through the garden for no purpose but to repel pests (and look pretty) - sorry about the photo quality (still saving for the DSLR!)

I do also have some baby carrots growing, but for some reason I missed those when taking photos... oh well, next time!

Bye for now :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Backyard Blitz Part 1 : Patio Area....

This is part one of an EPIC project…  if moving out my random cupboards is my whale (still not done by the way), then I now know this job is my titanic - only it didn't hit the iceberg!  Okay well maybe the iceberg sort of caught the side of it, but not enough to sink it - just slow it down!!  Confused?  Yep, me too... let me start again!
Some time ago in this post about how I didn't feel like the jobs to be done around my house were really progressing, I mentioned that our outdoor areas were in desperate need of pressure cleaning.  Our good friends Julie and Tony brought over their pressure cleaner back in February, and it has sat in our garage from that time on, lonely and unused…  It had been such a long time in fact, that when I mentioned to Julie that I was finally going to start pressure cleaning, she offered to lend me their pressure cleaner!!  Oh the embarrassment when I had to sheepishly tell her that she'd already kindly brought it over months ago, and we were just slack slack slack and had neither used it, nor returned it.  (Shame Krispy, shame!) 
So the Saturday just gone, I had organised the lovely Judy to look after Alex for the afternoon, I had five uninterrupted hours planned, and Julie had given me a crash course in using the pressure cleaner - I was set to go.  So here was the hit list I did up for Saturday:
::  Pavers in patio and BBQ area
::  Windowsills in patio area
::  Quick wash of bricks in patio area
::  Ceiling of pergola
::  Pavers in pool area
::  Windowsill of Alex's bedroom
::  Painted concrete path down side of the house
::  Driveway
::  Letterbox
Do-able in five hours?  In my infinite wisdom (did I mention I have never used a pressure cleaner before?) I thought it was definitely achievable - five whole hours, piece of cake!  (Spoiler alert: here comes the iceberg!)  As it turns out, pressure cleaning is a lot slower going that I anticipated.  Of course my Mum, who has done this a hundred times and works on a marina, warned me that I would not get it all done in one day.  Did I listen?  No.  As daughters sometimes do, I assumed she hadn't done it recently enough, or the cleaner I was using was more powerful than the one she used, or that I am 10ft tall and bullet proof and can do anything… whatever!  So going into this, my hopes were higher than Snoop Doggy Dog…. I couldn't wait to get started!
Just for fun, here are some photos I took on Saturday morning before I started - behold the filth and general blah of the patio area:

So pretty much the moment Jude arrived to play with Alex, I moved the furniture out of the patio area and got to work.  Wow.  Well I'm not going to give you a blow by blow (because to be honest, most of the time my eyes were looking at what I was doing, but in my mind I had wandered off to my happy place… how else could I get through 5 straight hours of that?) but in the end, I didn't get nearly as far as I would have liked.  I got the windowsills, bricks and pavers in the patio and BBQ area done.  That was it.  Mum was right!!!  (Sorry for doubting you Mum!  What was I thinking?)
To be fair, the pavers that were out in the weather were really, really dirty - here is a look at cleaned ones next to uncleaned ones mid-way through the job so you can see how bad they were:

And I couldn't resist writing a pressure cleaner love message to Boofy in the filth… aaawwww, so romantic :)
So at 5pm I packed up for the day, headed inside, got myself dried and dressed, and immediately poured myself a drink (with stiff, shaking hands!)  I'd never felt more deserving of a glass of wine!
Next morning I was very stiff, sore and sorry (but thankfully not hungover).  Still, I picked up that pressure cleaner and did another hour and a half, this time on the ceiling of the pergola….  Let me tell you that looking up for an hour and a half, while holding something up with arms that are aching, pressing a trigger with fingers that are so stiff they're almost numb and having cold water pour all over you (it is winter in our neck of the woods after all) was really hard work!  But I did the whole ceiling.
After I had packed it all away, given the whole area a good sweep with the big yard broom and got myself dried off, I started to move the furniture back in.  We recently added to our shelving and I have been slowly (over time) picking up little bargain nick nacks to go on these shelves.  This was the fun part, and I had a ball putting it all back together.  I am so happy with the result in this area, I cannot stop walking past it and looking out the door!  The photos really do not do it justice, but here they are... 

The shelves hold all sorts of things that are cute and fun for the great outdoors... there are a few cute little plants, a stereo, candles, watering cans and some boxes with useful things in them (like gardening gloves, seeds to plant and cleaners for the BBQ).

I couldn't go past these plants - especially the kale in the middle there - isn't it beautiful?

A few lanterns are always handy to have around - this one is resting on my favourite placemats that Mum bought me from Freedom about 5 years ago...

And what sort of area, devoted entirely to relaxing, would be complete without some light reading material...

Of course my little tropical windowsill from this post fits in perfectly too:

And just for fun, before and afters one after the other:

Now that I've started on this task, I really REALLY want to finish it off.  So I have organised Jude for next Saturday afternoon as well, when I'll be doing it all over again.  At least my list isn't as long any more - here is how its looking now:
::  Pavers in patio and BBQ area
::  Windowsills in patio area
::  Quick wash of bricks in patio area
::  Ceiling of pergola
::  Pavers in pool area
::  Windowsill of Alex's bedroom
::  Painted concrete path down side of the house
::  Driveway
::  Letterbox
I honestly don't know if I will finish it next Saturday either - there is a fair amount of square meterage around the pool and it is all exposed to the elements, so very dirty - as is Alex's windowsill (I don't know why but it seems to catch sludge there and its just black).  So with my new found respect for the pressure cleaner, I suspect I'll be pushing just to get the pool area done next Saturday, but we'll see.  
I do have a little trick up my sleeve though... dependent on weather, I am going to coat the whole area in an industrial strength mould remover some between now and then - I am hoping this will make my pressure cleaning a lot quicker going!  Fingers crossed!!  The pressure is on for Saturday, as we have Church Sunday morning and on Sunday afternoon I am getting around to one of those things that was on my July list that I didn't get done - I am using the massage, facial and pedi voucher Boofy bought me for Christmas!  Hooray - I'm sure a massage after all that pressure cleaning will be absolute heaven!
So what do you think of the transformation, friends?  You like it? 
Coincidentally, I have achieved this makeover right on time to link up to this week CSI Project's Porches, Terraces & Patios Challenge, so that's exactly what I'm doing!
Bye for now :)