Sunday, 29 April 2012

Afternoon project

I made some placemats with my quirky IKEA fabric. I like them ;)

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Week 1.

Term 2 has kicked off and week one has passed in a blur. With ANZAC Day planted right in the middle of the week the kids were only back at school for one day before they were off for the public holiday. It was a bit unsettling for us all but it meant the week came and went before we had even realised it had started!

We have managed to get through a few little jobs this week, which just means that we have a graveyard of discarded furniture to do something with. The old TV cabinet is still a beautiful piece of furniture but no longer functional. It never actually fit into this house and was in separate bits around the house- why we waited so long to get rid of it I'll never know. Probably because I am well aware that nobody wants TV cabinets anymore and it breaks my heart to see it tossed out.
We have two new chairs for the reading/ music room. Drew likes to have his guitar lessons here so he keeps his guitar and amp set up in here.
I made some new cushions for the chairs using the cutest fabric I bought on etsy.
 Guitars on one side and cowgirls on the other- so cool!

That meant that I could put my favourite armchair in Campbell's room. He needed somewhere to sit and read and I think it looks lovely next to his bookshelf.
I made this cushion too- my first attempt at patchwork. Thankyou to my bestie for helping me with it.

I painted up an very old set of drawers- they have been around since my childhood! They fit in perfectly in our room now and Campbell has a bigger set of drawers for all of his stuff.
Painting while watching 'The Block'- prefect inspiration :) I painted an IKEA step ladder too.

We had lots of reasons to be proud of our baby boy yesterday (shhhh don't tell him I called him my baby boy- he hates that!) He was invited to a party and was very nervous about going. It was a preschool friend who he hasn't seen for a while and it made him feel very uncomfortable. He has made incredible progress since starting school but his extreme shyness still presents a constant challenge. We created a step ladder with the ultimate goal being a pet stick insect!! Its always about the pets with Joe. Despite many tears and much discussion he went to the party. He enjoyed it too!! It was tough. Eric and I badly wanted to back down and let him stay home- he was crying :(
We stood our ground knowing how important it is for him to face his fears and realise that it is never as hard as it seems. He has a few more steps to achieve but since facing the first 2 steps and overcoming them with ease he is feeling a lot more confident about achieving a stick insect. His swimming lesson with a new teacher was also completed with ease, despite the anxiety and tears leading up to it.
I felt emotionally drained after the party- it is really hard to be calm and firm and when your child is so distressed. All I ever want to do is cuddle him. We work really hard at not letting his tears effect the way we respond to him- even when we are fighting tears ourselves. I am very grateful that I was able to chat about all of this at work on Friday with two lovely ladies. That dreaded Mother Guilt really does stick its ugly head in some days.......weeks.........months. I know I am not alone with that, we all face it and do our best to fight it. I love my boys beyond words and just hate to think that I am not doing the best job of this mothering gig.
I can't afford to waste time wallowing in self doubt, so this morning I woke up on a mission!!

We got stuck into cooking up what we thought would be an awesome breakfast....hmmmm.

This is what we decided to cook:

This is what we got....

Our plans for delicious fillings in our ready made bowls were still OK with our little pancake/ cupcakes. Not sure why it didn't work but I suspect, after reading the blog comments, that we needed different muffin trays.

Then I finally found a use for the tins we always hate to throw away. I was going to just wrap them in contact but it always drives me nuts when it wrinkles. The fabric was much easier to get around the tins. The boys claimed them for their new desk and shelves. I was excited to use the gorgeous little froggy pegs all the way from Korea- thanks Ru xxx

Well all this on a Sunday morning and we haven't had lunch yet....what to do with the rest of our day.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Nervous energy.

My Nanna is in surgery as I type this. She fell over early on Thursday morning and broke her shoulder and hip. I have had a tightness in my chest ever since. At the moment I am a bit nauseous and full of nervous energy. I can't sit still but can't concentrate on anything either. Since I am heading back to school tomorrow, I should be getting some preparation done- although every teacher knows that there is never enough time for preparation and no matter how much we do there is always plenty more that could be done. I always feel anxious about getting back into a new school term. I completely love my job and adore the children I have the pleasure to teach, but the school term is frantic. My family do a great job of surviving each term and catching up again every break. We love our time together to reconnect and rest. Add that to my stress over my lovely Nanna...I think I might pour myself a glass of wine.
My Nanna and Poppy have probably had a much greater influence than they think. I am not sure if they realise how much their love, support and encouragement has meant to me. A lot of my successes and strengths come from my desire to make them proud. My Poppy is very quiet and rarely expresses an opinion, but his love and pride is always very clearly expressed. In fact, I think I have married a man very much like my poppy. My Nanna always has an opinion and likes to share that in a hope that it will help us to be more successful, happier and healthier...I suspect we have not always welcomed her advice as much as she would like. In fact, I think I am very much like my Nanna!!
When I was about 5 years old they sold their house in Peakhurst (which still holds lots of lovely, sunny childhood memories of magpies calling in the morning and making pastry in the kitchen) and built a grand, brand new house on St. Hubert's Island on the Central Coast. Oh boy, in our eyes,  it was every bit as exotic as it sounds. They had a two storey house!!!! How grand. It had an ensuite!!!! It had two living areas!!!! It had a dishwasher!! In 1979 or 1980...I can't be sure when they actually built it..this was the height of grandness to us. Not only was this place a mansion (again through the eyes of a naive 5 year old) we could run down their back yard straight onto our own little beach. My sister, cousins and I spent many school holidays visiting and we had lots of special family celebrations at this house. Nanna has always been a wonderful cook, so we were always treated with delicious desserts, cakes and slices when we visited. We spent hours swimming and playing in the sand. We designed the most impressive castles, swimming pools and cake shops out of sand. I also have way too many memories of shocking sunburn on my back because we stayed out there from breakfast to lunch and then again until dinner. On rainy days we pulled out the lego and a game of 'trouble'. Poppy claims that he found bits of lego in the shag pile for weeks after we left. My Nanna always kept a little stash of coins in a glomesh (no idea how to spell that) purse in one of the kitchen cupboards- she used to share it out between my sister and I as holiday spending money. We savoured our shopping time in the very glamourous Woy Woy K-Mart buying little treasures.
I often wonder if my cousins have the same memories. I always felt like they were the 'good' grandchildren because we were always told about how careful they were with their toys and how they never fought with each other. For years I really believed that they were so much nicer than my sister and I, now I think that Nanna was just trying to give us an example to strive towards, and just maybe they were really no different to us at all. I know how much my Nanna loves me and how proud she is. It always makes me smile when she wanted me to send in my Year 9 school photo to enter a competition to be 'Kelly from the Tele'. It was a dreadful photo- she has it hanging up on her bedroom wall still- but she thought it was a pretty photo of me. I love that memory so much. I know that she is proud that I got through uni, despite having to work up to 3 jobs while studying. I also know that she loves my boys and takes such delight in seeing them. She also loves my husband, although I sometimes suspect that she loves him a bit more than she loves me. She is so often telling me how marvellous he is, I agree with her, he is marvellous. Maybe it is the same deal as the marvellous cousins...I can only hope that she says nice things about me behind my back, and that other people are sick of hearing how marvellous I am. Really though, she does quite often tell me nice things and every word of praise means so much to me because I really love making her proud.  She was amazed and amused when I was so fascinated when we found her ration cards from the depression one day. Nanna often told me that I had 'funny' tastes when I was interested in stuff like her ration cards or old dresses from the 50's and 60's.
I have her sewing box in my spare room- the room has now become 'the sewing room' according to my family. I don't call it that because I can't quite come to terms with the idea of me being someone who 'sews'. I loved pouring over her bits and pieces in her meticulously organised box. The pins stored in the ancient vaseline jar (it is glass with a metal lid- remember those) and the neatly folded and pinned bits of fabric tape. My Nanna used to sew us all matching outfits- I really, really wish I had appreciated the valour jump suit at the time and kept it. I did love it, but didn't realise how strong a memory it would hold. Her sewing box has inspired me to keep on trying, despite my lack of aptitude. I love the results, however awkward and crocked they are.
I think my poor Poppy is feeling far more anxious than I am right now and my lovely Mum is the pillar of strength, as usual. My grandparents are all creeping closer to 90 and it makes me nervous...and scared.
I didn't know what I would write today, and I should probably read over it to check for typos and to make sure I am not being to self- centred and pathetic...but I am too full of nervous energy to care.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Birthday spoils :)

What a week! I can't believe it has only been ONE week. I do love to make the absolute most of my precious time- but that was ridiculous!! I am even thinking really hard to remember what I started on Monday.
After a lovely Easter weekend of visitors and visiting it was time to get to work...the list is very long.
So after reading blogs and goggling over pinterest I decided that I had pondered enough and starting pushing furniture away from the walls in the family room. The plan was to start and finish painting the entire family room, including the ceiling before the end of the day. I didn't start until 11am and because it was on a whim I had nothing planned properly. Eric had to make a trip to the paint shop and find all the drop sheets for me- bless him. So I did it! I got it all done and it looks amazing. Nice and clean and crisp and ready for some new accessories. My arms ached and my eyes were stinging by the time I climbed into bed- but I still intended to finish what I started and continue into the kitchen. So I dragged my aching bones out of bed on Tuesday and ticked the kitchen off the list too. It looks so much better. I loved the little microwave nook all white and shiny, and when Eric pointed out how nice it would be with some cookbooks in it, we tested it out. Yep- looks cool. We never use the microwave except for the occasional melting of butter for cooking. With our super organised meal plans working out so well, I never need to defrost stuff in a hurry any more. I think we can find a place for the microwave in the laundry or garage so we can pull it out in an emergency, but I bet we don't.
I have traced around all of the plates I intend to hang on my lovely stretch of white wall and tacked them up to try out a few plans. I keep moving the paper around and I think I have finally settled on the placement I like the best.
On Wednesday I woke up to my darling boys snuggling into bed beside me to wish me a happy birthday. They gave me delicious cuddles and a much prized voucher- signed by them all! I was allowed to look in every single "girly" shops I could find in the Blue Mountains and they promised not to complain or whinge about how long I took. Ha! By Thursday they were already suggesting to Eric that he was a bit silly to have not included an expiration date on the voucher. I did enjoy pottering around some pretty shops but it was more fun to hang out with my boys in our cute little cottage in Katoomba. The owners took such care to recreate the 50's decor to match the original style of the house. They had managed to work around a gorgeously intact kitchen and the bathroom had been modernised with cool 50's flair. We made good use of the record player and their quite diverse collection of records. We ate cheese and played scrabble. We watched movies by fire light and drank hot chocolate with marshmallows. We enjoyed walks in the crisp autumn air and chatted about every possible thing.
It was lovely :)
Home again on Friday and with no time to waste I hit IKEA! I am still not quite sure how I managed to get those flat packs off the shelves and into the car alone- pure determination and pride I think. All that thinking during my forced rest was fantastic- time to plan before diving in to do stuff is a good idea. The house is now looking a bit like a bomb site today but things are coming together- flat packs are becoming furniture.
As soon as Eric and Drew left for soccer this morning I started on Campbell's room. I knew that Eric would try to talk me out of big changes if I didn't act fast. Everything has been repositioned with some grunting and creative strategies for shifting heavy objects single handedly. One last thing to do in there to make his room perfect- hanging a big Union Jack above his bed. Cam loves all things British, and despite his many requests to go to BBC studios in London, he is prepared to settle for a themed bedroom for the moment.
Tonight my bestie and I are getting together to craft. Oh dear- I really hope she knows what she has got herself into. As much as I love the idea of sewing and all that stuff, I am really terrible at it. She is a brave woman and obviously loves me a lot!
Eric just had the greatest idea for the boys room! So fabulous but we will need some time to think it through- if it works you will hear all about it :)

Joe was a clear winner...although there was some discussion about the validity of 'ga'.
Some of the record collection- loved listening to the 'Femmes' on vinyl but forgot about the rude bits!

The plate wall- the lastest layout.
My microwave nook- looking much cheerier now :)

Monday, 9 April 2012


Hurray for holidays. The last week of school was full of fun and sugar filled children. I was very, very spoiled by the gorgeous kids I have the pleasure to teach. It was too much fun to hide Easter treats for them all and more than one also saw the rabbit run out of the classroom as we came up the stairs from lunch. My goodness we were all thoroughly exhausted by Thursday night and relieved to know that we had a bit of a rest to look forward to.
I spent the first few days of the holidays entertaining, being entertained and planning!! I pinned stuff like a crazy woman, I poured over the IKEA catalogue turning down corners to many, many pages, and I read blogs. Blogs that are full of many beautiful houses, so beautifully renovated and organised beyond my wildest dreams. I love being organised but find it nearly impossible to maintain during the busy term. I can only recall my former, newly renovated house with foggy memories of neat and tidy rooms and a perfectly organised kitchen. A shiny white bathroom bench wiped clean every morning, with a little vase of fresh flowers. Not a sign of toothpaste splattered all over the mirror :/ It was actually fun when I only had to go to work a few days a week and didn't have any extra responsibility at work.  When we moved here my lovely friend, who volunteered to come and clean the filth with me, named this place the 'Monster House'. It was so revolting in every way. The decor was hideous when I had my first look through and every surface was covered in grimy, greasy yuck! The pool was green and the garden overgrown. Yet, somehow I saw some potential. Perhaps it was just because it scraped into Baulkham Hills affordability (only just, after some bargaining) and it was fairly wheelchair friendly. It had the right number of bedrooms and surely that pool could be blue again eventually??
Four years later I do kinda like our place. I absolutely HAD to replace the kitchen benches and doors- the apparent kitchen fire had done quite a bit of damage that the former owners obviously felt happy to work around! We have since modified the bathroom so that Campbell can access the toilet and shower with a bit more independence- I am happy with the way it still resembles a family bathroom and is not at all clinical. However, I am looking forward to getting a funky shower curtain and some new towels from IKEA next week.
Everything else though is unfinished. A sloppy coat of paint when we first moved in covered the grime but did look like a quick, sloppy paint job. We were very lazy with the walls that would be hidden behind furniture- that backfired when I decided I didn't like the original layout! I was in a bleach delirium for weeks after we moved in and there were lots of decisions that were made in haste and chemical confusion. Every square inch of flooring was scrubbed with bleach and a toothbrush (seriously sent me blind some nights) and all of the carpet was ripped up and replaced. This all happened on the first week back of school- because the former owners were big fat fibbers and didn't want to leave when they said they would!!
Sooooooo.....the past 4 years have passed in a bit of a blur. The pool did come good and has had many hours of use- since we don't have air conditioning it is only relief in Summer! We also invested in a camper trailer about a year after we moved and have had lots of very cool adventures since.
The time has come to transform the monster house once and for all! No more stalling and putting it off. Clear minded decisions need to be made...although those paint fumes are starting to make me light headed tonight. At about 11am this morning I decided on a whim that it was time to start and that I should single- handedly paint the entire family room and ceiling in one day! Yep... I did do it...but I couldn't lift my arms above my head to wash the paint out of my hair tonight. In fact typing is pretty painful too, but I am hanging in there ;)
I was inspired by the beautiful plates my darling Bestie gave me for my birthday. I really don't think I could have picked a more perfect present for myself. A set of four gorgeous blue and white plates by Rob Ryan (as well as a divine Cath Kidston bag delivered by her brother from London- I told you-PERFECT) . I decided that those plates needed to go on display and after pinning some totally awesome plate displays I have decided to throw in all of my vintage plates collected over the years. Of course this meant that I needed a freshly painted white wall.
Well the paint fumes are making me giddy and I am ready to start pinning more stuff. I hope my arms work tomorrow because I want to continue to white paint into the kitchen and explore Bella Vista for some wallpapering options. 
My class Easter Egg Hunt. Thankyou to 'A Little Delightful' for my bag toppers.

Busy making Easter treats for Good Friday.
Lili and Campbell being the big kids and hiding eggs for the hunt.

Time to paint. Check out the hand-me-down Trackie dacks from my Mum! Yes- I know- who bothers to accept hand- me- down trackies? They were very comfy OK!!!!

Got the slow cooker going before I started painting and just had to throw some puff pastry onto the chicken pot pies for dinner. 

I used left over pastry bits to make mini chocolate croissants for the boys- because they haven't had enough chocolate lately :)

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