Friday, November 30, 2012

Day 88- Barn Raising

It's been so long since I posted its that point where you have to push yourself to continue. It's similar to when you haven't called a great friend in such a long time you don't want to explain why it's been so long so you don't call! Such a poor excuse. I've decided that no matter how long I need to keep posting.

My excuse for not calling-life. We all experience it and it takes over all the things we would like to be doing. Sick kids, budget difficulties, bad weather, new jobs, markets, unpacking, more unpacking, cooking, washing, the festive season. Sometimes it's important to not be consumed by trying to live life virtually and just survive doing it "offline."

It feels like not much has been done over the last few weeks but its all been a bit behind the scenes. Running a business that involves making things means you accumulate craft supplies. It's not until you are forced to box them all up, live without them for months and then unpack and trying to put them into some sort of order that you face the reality of how much that is! I have been a little overwhelmed by how much and a little ashamed when I think how much we have and how little others have. Even though these supplies are just the potential to be things, the point is there is potential. I read another lovely business. Finlee and Me are helping other families this Christmas and has given me the idea to do the same. If you know a family that could use some lovely things this Christmas, email me at with their sizes/ages and why you think they deserve it and we will choose one family to spoil this Christmas.

Out from under my overwhelming pile of unnecessary consumerism and onto a lighter topic. A cubby raising.

Put on some food, drinks and invite the best neighbours in the whole world and you can put up a cubby in an afternoon! Have I mentioned we have(had) the best neighbours in the whole entire world? You guys know who you are xxxxxxx

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day 74 - updates

Whoops. Been a little slack with updating you on progress- mainly because I still feel like I'm living in chaos but at least it is slightly more organised! Three days ago the kitchen tap went in and it was such a relief. No more walking down stairs to wash up.

So a quick update-

Wardrobes- check
Kitchen- handles, bench top, kitchen tap- check
Bathroom shower screen - check

Chaos of unpacking- check!

Things are going to move a little slower now hubby has gone back to work full time but today is organisation day. Watch out dad- get your work boots on!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Day 60 - birthdays and bench tips

Day was a double milestone - kitchen bench top went in and little miss turned one.

The kitchen installation has been a bit frustrating. Deciding which kitchen almost took a week. We did a lot of research before deciding and this will give you a bit of insight into the DIY options out there. We priced the same number of cabinets and a stone bench top from each.

As you might expect having someone install it was the most expensive. Less gadgets and less drawers but someone comes and installs it for you was about $2000 more than any other option and they were the cheapest installer.

Masters and IKEA were within $200 of each other. We have done 2 IKEA kitchens before and I would do one again. Instructions are fairly straight forward and easy to put together and the have a great customer assistance centre now but you will have to wait like Medicare for someone to help. I like their gadgets and they have a great range of stone colours.

Masters - great customers service to help plan, great gadgets- even Mir than ikea! I would have liked to try them this time . Stone bench top I think is the same person as IKEA- looked like the same quote form.

Builders warehouse- cheaper cabinets and stone. Lots of variety.

DIY renovations- who we went through.

PROS- great price, some cupboards come built. 2pac cupboards. Solid kick board.

CONS- quality control is poor. That being said be haven't had any trouble trying to take things back. (All 4tine!) this is IKEA flatpack but with no instructions. If you struggle with the instructions or haven't find flatpack before- I wouldn't attempt this. You have to get your own stonemason to cut your stone top for you.

I'm glad we tried it but I don't think we will race to do the same one again. Overall though, we are happy with the finish and more importantly the fact we now have a kitchen. Now to get a tap and fond handles.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Day 50 - halfway

Eek! It doesn't feel like half way. I know a lot has been done, and certainly the budget has been hit pretty hard, but there is still so far to go.

Today we decided on the kitchen/ yay! Tomorrow we start to bring it home. I can't wait. Some more blinds went up today with the help of the junior foremen. No need for the makeshift blanket blind anymore.

Tonight a storm is brewing and I can't help but feel apprehensive. The first time you face natures fury in a new house is always a bit scary. Lets hope there are no nasty surprises.

Day 49-shower screen shopping

We went looking at shower screens etc again today. I feel like my whole life I spend in bathroom/ kitchen shops. We were at Builders Discount Warehouse today. Very large range but I wasn't blown away by their "discount". Far cheaper online and other outlet places. It looks like we will definitely need a custom shower screen. Need to get some quotes but custom is always more expensive. :( The budget is quickly disappearing. Almost $8500 going to tradies this week! At least Indi is still enjoying herself.

Reno tip for today- make sure you do your research online and don't assume that a discount outlet will be the cheapest. I found under bench sinks for $250 whereas they were $500 at the discount outlet.

Day 48- birthday breaks

Renovating had a bit of a break today while we celebrated a family birthday. I love a good party and it was such a lovely day for it.

The rest of the day we picked up the last of the new appliances for the house including our new tv. We have still had my 13yr old tube tv and have been reluctant to upgrade simply because it isn't broken. This time though we decided to and I am still trying to get used to the picture! I'm so not a fan yet. We had to get an ariel man to come out and replace the ariel and all the cables. We should have got him to hook up all the extra things too. Hubby spent best part of a day and its still not working.

Reno tip for today- when buying a house make sure you check that everything works. Hot water, tv ariel, fans,lights,hardware on the windows etc. all these things are not that expensive to fix( except for the hot water) but they all add up and blow out your budget. For example- the window locks on our windows need to be repaired or replaced. They are only $15 each but we have 20 windows. That's another $300 out of the budget!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Day 47- laminate flooring

I just realised I posted the last two without Reno tips. Don't move with small children and don't do it twice in two months!

Grandad and I laid timber laminate flooring I the playroom today. You must have an underlay which was a bit like the foam they wrap around new TV's etc I their packaging. There is a glue less sealer you can get for in between the boards to help guard again water damage- highly recommended. There is also an installation kit- essential if you ask me! It's pretty easy although a bit diddly. You start in the left hand corner and basically wiggle and click bits together a bit like you do with cheap jigsaw puzzles. When you get to the end of a row and have to cut a piece to fit you use the other bit to start the next row.

Could not be easier!

Day 46- back to work

Hubby went back to work today. Not just renovating work but real work. After not being a chef for the last 6 years, he went back today. That meant grandad and I played box Tetris and box lucky dip to find everything we needed. We hubby got home he was right onto fixing the panes of glass to the gaping holes in the kitchen. Up a ladder in the dark with a big bit of glass- work place health and safety nightmare! Thankfully they are all in ok.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Day 43-45 floors,moving and mayhem

Moving is always a stressful time. I personality hate it. Not only because of the time it takes to sort,pack and unpack but also because it makes me confront the fact that we have way more than we need. Being a teacher and a crafter I do like to collect things like fabric, teaching resources etc. the crafter in me thinks that I can use just about anything so it gets saved for future crafting. Disorganisation central!

We have been a little held up with illness and moving. We moved in with no shower screen, no kitchen, skirting boards not painted but we will manage.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Day 42 - almost broken

Today almost broke me. I got a bit of a sleep in and thought it was going to he a great day, first mistake. The plan was to pick up all the lights and get a quote and pick up kitchen cabinets from Ikea. This was not the actuality. You know when you are driving along and the kids are cranky and you think, I could turn this car around right now. Well when I felt that at the Boondall entertainment centre exit- I should have.

The next omen- go via tag didn't go off.

The third omen- light shop closed. ( at this point I'm thinking- ok should have checked- my fault- never mind)

Fourth omen- cars lined up to get into car park at Ikea. I still persist. Find an awesome park and think all is right. With the world again. Did I mention I had to wake up both children to get out!

Play centre full so I soldier on, along with the population of the south east corner of Queensland, and make it to the kitchen section. They now have a Medicare style machine to get a ticket for help. Ticket in hand my two well behaved kids and I get to planning to kitchen. Kitchen planned, hit print, number called. The world has aligned and then I hear it. " I really need to do wees." No chance of holding on I pass my ticket to the lady, place both kids in the trolley and like a salmon in mating season swim upstream through the population of greater Brisbane dodging the bears scowling at me for going in the wrong direction. Toilet stop complete we waited in the food line for another half an hour and had a delicious lunch.

My energy renewed, and toddler in the play centre, I grab my ticket and get planning again. I did get my quote just as the time in play land ran out. Now to get out of ikea with a baby who has developed a temperature and a toddler wanting to push their own little trolley. Fast forward through an hour and a half, an ankle tap from a trolley, abandoning the trolley to avoid the purchase line only to wait 15mins in the line for an ice cream bribe for good behaviour. I swore I wouldn't resort to caffeine- I cracked right there in the soft serve line. It did little for my approaching migraine.

Travelled most if the way home at 80km/hr for no apparent reason and go via tag worked! Pulled into the driveway only to realise I'd forgotten to get money for tradies. Off to the ATM and back again. Pull into the driveway- hubby rings. He gas forgotten floor estapol. Two really cranky kids and I got to bunnings and get all essential tools. Drive it over. Dumb on footpath. Beep horn. Drive home.

Showered, kids fed and waiting for the boys to return. Sorry to rant but today was definitely a day I want to forget. You know it must be bad if you get out of ikea without buying anything. I am so ready to curl up in bed. Shame the girls are both sick. A long night ahead I fear.

Oh - first coat should be on the floors.

Reno tip for today- don't go to ikea on Sundays. Period.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Day 41- carpet be gone

All the carpet is up.

More kitchen shopping for me today- thankfully masters had another cool trolley for the kids to try as I chatted with the lady. Excellent customer service again. Well done masters!

Hubby has been ripping up the floors and sanding today.

Reno tip for today- if you are sanding floors for the first time make sure you punch the nails in and putty over the holes with a matching putty before you sand the floors with a drum sander.

Day 40- goofing off!

I went to look at kitchens today. We lived in Beijing for a while and this reminded me so much of being there! Nothing like a good smoke filled tiny falling down office in a warehouse to get you a good deal.

Under the Lino tiles in the kitchen was a tar like substance that was proving quite stubborn to remove. Thankfully there was Goof off. Nothing like getting your dad to handle the toxic chemicals. The guy at bunnings assured me it even smelled nice. I think he'd been doing a bit too much goofing off if you ask me.

Hubby painted his first(and I think his last) ceiling today. I didn't realise he hasn't painted one before. I assured him it was better than cutting in the walls. I of course lied. He asked me about 2 mins in why would I think it was better- what isn't good about doing the limbo permanently for 1hr or so.

Paint is done!

Today's Reno tip- get out of painting the ceilings by conning someone into it who has never painted one!

Day 39 - concreting in the rain

Now I know concrete can set underwater but it didn't need to rain for the first time in 90 days the day we were pouring concrete slabs for the air conditioners! Thanks to the help of all the tradies and my dad we ended the day with the kitchen walls rebuilt, the bathroom downstairs with new walls, concrete slabs for the aircons and done painting.

I know the muchy crunchers had been upstairs but I think that must have been their holiday home- their crunchy commune was definitely in the bathroom downstairs.

Today's Reno tip- if you are getting air conditioning fitted remember that it will cost about another $800 to install, more if you are on the second level and you must have a large area to place them. You can buy large pavers or pour a small concrete slab.

Day 38 - ikea again

Those of you who follow Facebook will know that I arrived at ikea before it opened today. I always forget the open at 10am but never fear- spotlight is here! Indi and I got our fabric fix and some yarn for the baby blankets before fitting the hordes of people lined up to get into ikea. I know their breakfast is cheap but the line up was crazy. Today's task was wardrobes. After nearly 4hrs,multiple phone calls and a quick feed for miss I in the aisle of the self help area I realised we couldn't fit the doors in the car anyway! Decided to get the man to come and quote on Tuesday.

Today's Reno tip- make sure you take into account the size of objects before you attempt to pick them up from the shop. All the best customer service helpers still can't get a square peg in a round hole!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Day 37 - window shopping

With 7 days to go until we move in upstairs it was essential to get s hurry along so today was hire a Tradey for a day. That's right ( it would have been nice to win the money for one) we had some paid help today. What better way to celebrate all this progress than to do a bit of window shopping!

I did the dash this morning to pick up a new window for the kitchen. Im sure the men at the shop would have preferred i wait in the car while they put it together but it was fun to watch. After a bit of baby car seat Tetris we had the window in. A very tentative drive home and I was amazed with the progress.

End if today- kitchen window out and in, kitchen window built in, door built in, bathroom in, toilet in, second bedroom skirting and architrave on!

Reno tip- sometimes it's better to pay someone to do parts of the Reno you feel they would be much quicker at. If its going to take you a week to do something they can do in a day- it's sometimes worth the $500 dollars.