Monday 30 September 2013

Monday Slideshow (Sept #4)

As the school holidays are still in full swing here, there has been no reno work going on in this lil housey, yayyy!  And therefore no reno posts to blog about.  But we sure have been busy despite the reno-respite!

Because the last two sets of school term breaks were when we were in 'full time reno-mode', we didn't realise how many different programs are put on by various companies and businesses here in the Ville and I must say I am really impressed.  I am trying to fit in as many activities with the children as I possibly can.  And we are all loving it! But we are also enjoying the late, lazy starts and no school runs in the car too! Yayyy again! 
As our visitors left on Saturday, we thought after a morning of housework on Sunday we would have lunch then head off on a mini hike up through the Conservation Park at Cape Pallarenda.  The girls LOVE to go exploring and couldn't wait to see this new area.  As we parked the car we noticed the smell of smoke, then as we got out we could hear the sound of the dry grass crackling and burning.  As we ventured towards the beach we could see the smoke billowing into the bright blue sky and realised our hike wasn't going to happen.  A bushfire was in full force just over the hill right where we were headed. 
The pictures (from my phone) don't do it justice
It had only just taken hold when we arrived because the couple under that blue and yellow sun umbrella were on the phone to 000 as we approached.
I have added a filter here so that you can see the line of fire a bit clearer .
Poppy, bless her, was just happy that she could spend a few minutes to collect as many shells as she could carry, despite the plumes of smoke overhead and black embers falling from the sky.
Even though we didn't stick around long, my eyes were already stinging terribly, so we headed back to town and put plan B into action.
So instead of a hike we took a leisurely walk around the third of the Botanic Gardens we have here in the Ville, Anderson Gardens.  It is only round the corner from where we live so it's nice and close by and makes for a lovely, relaxing walk through the beautiful trees and gardens.

 The ducks were clearly fed up with pond water, they were queuing for the cold, fresh water from the bubbler..
You can see why many people don't believe us that there's almost 5 years difference between these two gorgeous girls.
  The temperature felt 10 degrees cooler under the canopy of this impressive mass of bamboo.  It was beautiful.

And that's it was a gorgeous walk and one we shall be doing again soon, next time with our dog and maybe some bread for all the ducks.

Once school is back next week, I shall be cracking on with some outstanding projects (including heading back to the tip shop for one of those casement window/mirrors I was talking about last time here) and hopefully the blog updates will be back on track with actual reno business.  Until then, have a great week everyone!


Monday 23 September 2013

Monday Slideshow (Sept #3)

Oh dear...try as I might, I can not get a slideshow together...OMG how rubbish am I?  The good news is I am feeling heaps better today...heaps!  So I can't blame that. 

But I did waste lots of time today (and last week) dealing with our Health Insurance Company, who 'forgot' (like you do) to take our monthly allotments for the last 5 months.  Yep we have had no private health coverage for 5 months because of a glitch in their system.  And before anyone dares say 'you must have realised you weren't paying it'. No we didn't, we had seen the first payment go out when it was re-started after our return from the USA, we had received our new cards, we had been getting mail from them since March for goodness sake!  And with the amount of money that has been coming and going (mostly going) in this household from various accounts due to the ongoing reno...NO we hadn't noticed that one monthly payment had not continued.  It turns out to be a massive fault with their system and for that they are so ridiculously apologetic it is not funny.  They have back dated all our payments by crediting our account, (if not we would have had to begin again with all the wait lists applying as though we were new customers, even though, before now, we've paid every allotment for the last 11 years).  I had three phone calls from managers today all assuring me that my case has changed the way they do things across the board and how profusely sorry they are that the ball had been so carelessly dropped, and only, ONLY picked up because I had rung about another issue.  So yep certain folk have the wind up them right now and at a guess I would say a full audit will probably be taking place to ensure all customers are covered right now.

Anyway I hadn't actually meant to rave on about that, it was more a pathetic excuse as to why I can't get my slideshow sorted today.  We spent the weekend on our beloved 'Suburb in the Sea', Magnetic Island.  I have a half-written post all about the Island but when I came to uploading the photo's I had HUGE technical issues.  Those technical issues that are baffling, like the computer picking and choosing the resolution as it transferred pictures...what the??!!  It made no sense and threw me the big Island post will have to come at a later date when I sort my photo problems.

So in order to have some kind of visual candy for you I thought I'd add a few random photo's of some of the things I get up to in this town.  Two of my favourite pastimes (when I am not on the phone to insurance companies) are dump shopping and photographing sights I see, so I combined the two!!  As you know from the last post, I am partial to frequenting auction houses and thrift stores and the dump shop is no exception.  I love nothing more than taking an old piece of furniture or other lovely piece (in fact I would much rather a re-purposed piece than new) and giving it new life.  I LOVE it, I would do it full time if I could.  Our daughter's cot was found on council tip day on the side of the road and I INSISTED (you don't mess with a 5 month pregnant lady) that I have it.  Col was so embarrassed he waited till it was dark and dragged it home.  I cleaned, sanded and painted that cot so well it was beautiful when it was finished and we both loved it.  Since then I have bought loads of old things and made them new, maybe enough for another post one day...but for now here are a few of the things that have caught my eye recently.. this wonderful old balustrade that we pondered getting for our back stairs

There are so many things in this shot that I would love to buy and re-furbish.  I can see futures in things. 

  •  The trolley on the left, painted in a glossy emerald colour, with a timber top added to the cross bars and hooks underneath to hang all your gardening supplies.  Would make a lovely portable potting table
  • The bookcase to the right, sanded and painted in a bright red or pink gloss would be a lovely addition to a kids play room

Awww all these old bikes.  I am sure there are some kids that would love to have these to 'do up' and make their own

This shot just reminds me of a scene from Priscilla Queen of the Dessert


I may even go back for one of these casement windows, friend of ours (think last post.. chopper pilot) have a mirror in their bathroom made from one of these and it is fabulous, I may very well copy! 
  • Knock out that fragile, old glass, take it back to the beautiful, old, silky oak frame that's hiding underneath, stain/seal it and add mirrors back into the panes...gorgeous!
 It always amazes me how many crutches are at the tip, I am sure someone would find a new use for them but it has me stumped!  They just seem to breed at the dump shop.

And this...well I am not sure what I would do with it, but I still love the shot.

Do you love tip/dump/second-hand store shopping or, like Col, do you think I am just weird?  We would love to know!

Have a great week everyone..

PS - today when I went to pick up Col's dry cleaning, right next door is this store, I felt like breaking out in a stupid, repetitive, dance but as I am so behind the times and don't actually know the moves, there were so many people around I just got my camera out instead...!


Friday 20 September 2013

A chopper pilot we know flew so low over our house that we had to replace our shaking stairs...

...ok so that's not strictly true but we couldn't think of a title and thought it'd be funny. (Sorry Mr. S)

As we have a fully loaded weekend ahead of us I thought that if I could put together a teeny, tiny, little post today then it would keep us going until Monday's slide show. Unfortunately I have had an awful throat infection (ick) this week that has completely knocked me for six (typical when we have visitors) and has left me drugged up on Nurofen, anti-biotics and currently with very little voice!  So no reno work has been done at all this past 5 days. It has taken all my energy just to get the kids to school and back.  So a nice quick and easy post for me to put out is the front stairs update. There's not a great deal to say about it as it was very similar to the back but on a smaller without boring you all to tears with endless repetition, I shall give you a little history on the job and leave you with pictures to fill in the blanks.

Originally we had big plans for these front steps..

We were going to add on a small landing that would reach to the edge of the wall, with a timber screen at the end to block out the afternoon sun and those units next door, change the direction of the stairs from the top to face out to the gate and street, and of course update, rebuild and 'make safe' all the treds, stringers and handrails.  The quote we got for this was big!  Coming in at over 12k! Now as nice as it would be for the sought after 'street appeal' (that's all you ever hear from real estate agents these days, 'street appeal', it has taken over from 'location,location,loaction' as a marketing buzz word for property deals nowadays) it is an awful lot of money to spend on steps that are second fiddle to the back. Our carport is at the rear of the property on the left up a long driveway.  So these front right hand corner steps rarely get used. The afternoon sun hits this front corner full on so it's not like we would use the small landing, it would purely be for show. So quite frankly our money is better spent elsewhere. It definitely wouldn't add 12k of value onto the property right now, so we figured we shall have to find the elusive 'street appeal' elsewhere.


But the bottom line was, the stairs still needed fixing/re-building so we panned all the grand plans laid out above, and we got Phil to quote us on the upgrade of them instead. 

Phil's quote was again - awesome! And he also had the idea to keep the existing hand rails to keep the cost down further. Seriously, what tradie goes out of their way to help you save money like that?!   What can I say, the man is awesome!  The handrails, although not 100% perfect, were about 95% perfect and their design is in keeping with the era of the house, so we thought why not keep what's been there for 60 years and keep it cheap simple. When the back steps were at a point of being usable Phil continued on with them, but sent his assistant Jake round the front to start demolishing these ones.

So from here on out the photo journal of this job will not be as fluid as others as they were so quick doing these stairs that I missed some crucial photo opportunities but really you'll get the idea.  

I barely blinked and the entire staircase was gone!
Before I new it, the steel stringers were going up
And the timber treds finally began to be attached
Our resident Ibis's were extremely intrigued by all the work going on
I had to nip out and by the time I was back it was pretty much all done
Unfortunately I don't seem to have taken a full length shot since all the cables and tradie's tools have bad, but seriously it's only stairs, you get the idea.
So although it doesn't look 'that' different now that it's completed (mainly due to the fact that the same handrails went back up, and we've yet to paint and finish the treds), the difference when you use them is phenomenal, no more crossing our fingers on that dodgy step for a start! 

Have a fab weekend folks, and happy holidays to all the kiddies who have just finished term 3 here in Australia, only one term left!!  Can you believe it?  After New Year I will have a Preppy and a Grade 5 girl!! (insert shudder) Sheesh, where does time go??
K xx