I got the blues… I got the blues real bad!
I may have mentioned in passing recently that we are in the midst of a fairly serious budget crackdown. Ours, along with everyone else's, has a lot to do with the rising cost of fuel, groceries, electricity and living in general. But we can also throw in budget blowouts on the renovations, coupled with (more recently) a car accident right on the back of a family holiday! Subsequently we now consider our belts seriously tight… like unattractive-bulging-on-either-side-of-the-belt tight!
Anyway, that is not really the subject of my post, it just provides some background information. You see, I have been feeling a bit restless lately… I think I may have been a gypsy in a former life, I tend to move on to new houses with frightening regularity! In fact, one of my besties suggested I should buy a fantastic big caravan and be done with it! But I really do love this house... I don't really want to move away from this one any time soon, not that Boofy would let me anyway (in his mind, this is his 'forever house' I think). But I want to keep renovating and decorating.... to finish all the great work we've started.... the source of my restlessness, I believe, is that we have not done any home improvement projects in just ages, and I hate that!
I am looking around me, seeing things to be done everywhere. And week after week - nothing to report! A lot of it has to do with our lack of free time, and lack of motivation in the free time we do have. But also, I thought we couldn't do anything anyway due to the aforementioned budget crackdown.
I decided that, even though I don't currently have the funds, I should write down all the things I would do if I suddenly had funds available… self torture? Perhaps. However I'm sure a major lotto win is just around the corner! Lol… But to be serious, I just wanted a place to organise my thoughts more than anything - I just feel like I've lost track of what I want to achieve.
So I made a spreadsheet… now anyone who knows my Dad well will be sniggering… my Dad loves spreadsheets… he can make a spreadsheet about anything!! Hehehe… sorry Dad, I outed you! Anyway I can't talk because it would seem I am a chip off the old block!! And I've had a red hot go at driving people mad (in an apprentice-to-the-master-in-charge-of-spreadsheets type of way) myself over the years!! :)
So I went ahead and created a new Excel document called Improvements Still To Do. Not groundbreaking news, I know! But as I started to list things to be done, I had a revelation about the materials required.... so I created two worksheets. I called the first one Existing & Low Cost Materials, the other one New Materials & Renos. Can you see where I'm going with this? That's right - I actually realised that I had the materials on hand to do quite a few projects without having to spend any (or much) cash!! Hooray!!!
I'm not ready to share my new materials & renos one, since it is really a massive wish list, and would actually cost an insane amount of money to fullfil (but in my defence, dreaming is free!) But I can share with you my low or no cost projects:
Pressure Clean Everything Outside
All the rain we had at the beginning of year put a layer of filth all over everything… outdoor furniture, driveway, letterbox, pavers - even the underside of the pergola! The driveway and pavers are also very slippery when it rains as a result, so it all needs a good blast. Good friends of ours loaned us their pressure cleaner about 2 months ago, and it has sat in our garage ever since… can you say 'slack'?! Lol. Here are a couple of photos of the manky pavers and our yucky letterbox - you can see the potential for clean here can't you?
Cost of this project = free!
Replant the Vegetable Garden
I had much more success growing the winter crop last year than the summer one, so I'm looking forward to this! You will remember a while ago (in this post) I shared the before picture? Just to save you flicking back, here it is...
Well we removed all the weeds a couple of weeks ago and turned over the soil. Some weeds have grown back (as expected, which is why we didn't plant again right away) so I need to get in and spray all those, let it settle, then turn it all over again with some compost so I can plant. I would say actual planting is about a week and a half away if I get in and spray this weekend. Just for fun, here is how it looks at the moment with the weeds popping up again...
Stand by for the after shots hopefully in a couple of weeks!
Cost of this project (with seedlings) = approx $120
We have the paint sitting in the garage to do most of the house in our chosen colour of Dulux Half Self Destruct – it’s just a matter of finding time to get it done. Boofy is making noises about taking a week off when he has a bit of leave up his sleeve (hopefully in July sometime). So far this year, he has been sick every time he’s taken leave, so let’s hope that he’s well enough next time and painting moves to the top of his agenda! I would really love to get the toy room painted first - I have big plans in there! Although it would be nice to have the living area finished, since it currently looks like this...
Cost of this project = free!
Decorate Wall Above the Desk
When we set up the desk in our current house I had visions of the future when Alex would be begging us for a Facebook account and internet time. I've heard so much about the dangers of young people surfing the net unattended, so I plonked the desk right in the middle of our home, where it can be viewed from just about anywhere except the bedrooms (several people have commented on what a great spot it is, so I feel pretty good about the location now). It sits against a privacy wall that blocks the view of the bathroom and toilet from the main living areas and kitchen. Here is how it looks today:
That is one bare wall above that desk, right? Well sometime ago I bought a whole lot of stuff to make that wall more functional and decorative, including a floating shelf, corkboard, magnetic board and some rails with hanging containers… And where are said items? Why, sitting in the garage of course! Where else?! I do need to get one more floating shelf, but I have everything else. So next time we get a child free day together, I plan to rope Boofy into finally getting all this stuff up on the wall and getting some clutter off the desk!
Cost of this project = $35 (floating shelf from Bunnings)
Change the Desktop
I bought the two white cabinets and desktop we have now from Ikea… Long story short, I also ended up with the same desktop in wood (currently sitting in our garage). The white is fine, but I feel like it’s a bit bland - there is a lot of white going on in our house, with a big corner of wood where the dining suite is - it all feels a bit unbalanced. So I'd like to stain the desktop we have out in the garage a similar colour to the dining table, and change it over. My Sista, Nadine, assures me that once I have the wall decorated and a bit of colour there, I will like the white desk top much more - and a wood one will close in the area too much. Perhaps she's right - she is a visionary when it comes to these things for sure… So I have decided to reserve judgement on this one until the wall is done. When I've finished that I'll take another look and see what I think. If I'm still undecided, I'll go ahead and stain the desktop anyway (I have nothing to lose except the cost of the stain – it’s just sitting out there doing nothing anyway) and see what I think.
Cost of this project = approx $60 (for stain, unless I have some in garage already)
Line Translucent Cupboards
We currently have these Ikea Aneboda cupboards, sitting in the far corner of our home, looking very unattractive…
They are filled with 'stuff'! One is full of scrapbooking and craft supplies, and the other just has a mixture of all sorts of things. Neither holds the sort of items you want on display, however the doors are translucent corrugated plastic, which does afford one a pretty awful view! Many moons ago, Sherry and John at Young House Love put these cupboards in their basement and lined them with green paper (here) which looked great.
But I don't really want just one colour, I'd really prefer something more patterned - but because they are not completely transparent, and you see them (mostly) from far away, colours and smaller patterns tend to get lost and dulled down. I have spent quite a bit on various rolls of paper that did not work at all… But at least I won't be short of wrapping for presents for some time!! Lol… Given the amount of money I've already spent though, I now need a solution that is very low cost… or preferably free!! I do have something in mind in that regard…. But I'm not really sure it’s going to work, so you'll have to wait and see! I'll give it a try soon and let you know if it was a success (or not!)
Cost for this project = free! (Except for a rather audacious trip to Bunnings, which I need to work myself up for!)
Line Drawers in Master Bedroom
Same as the dilemma above, I have three sets of Ikea Aneboda drawers in my bedroom. That is nine (count them, nine!) drawers to line!
Currently you can see a mess of clothes and other items inside… it aint pretty! I need to line them. Simple as that. I am reserving judgement about what I want to do until I see the result of the cupboard experiment… if it’s a screaming success, I am going to try doing something similar in here…. We'll see.
Cost for this project = free! (Except for further audacious trips to Bunnings!)
My clunky old computer sits at my desk, gathering dust and doing nothing. You see, it took quite a knock in the move before last (but still functioned), and then in the last move it sustained a serious injury of the belted-in-at-the-front kind…. Maybe you can see what I mean from this photo….
There are sooooo many photos on this PC - many of them are backed up on CDs, but many are not. Currently it won't start at all - you push the button and nada! Alex pushed it one day and it whirred into action - I got it going and could view said photos, but my only flash drive was at work… arrggh!!! And the disk drive won't open, so I couldn't copy the photos onto CDs… I could have left it running, but it’s been such a long time (and so much dust) in between uses that I was afraid it would catch fire or something! So reluctantly I switched it off, and thought I'd try again another day… but I've had no success since. I even asked Alex to try again, it didn't work for him either - it was a one time only gig! So my plan is to get it up on the bench, take the back off and have a good look to see if there are any repairs I can do myself (or at least clean it with the dust buster!) If I can get it going again I will get my photos and documents off it, then book it in for more substantial repairs with an expert. Eventually I would like to get it going so Alex can use it for games and maybe later for assignments.
Cost of this project = free for phase one…. Not sure about phase two - maybe $100?
So that is the immediate list. All very do-able things I think, they will just take time. But at least I have a bit of focus in terms of what I can achieve, regardless of budget cutbacks, in the short term. Any or all of those things should also shake me out of my nothing's-getting-done doldrums too, which will be nice!
Bye for now :)