Monday, January 26, 2009

Getting closer to finished

Our blinds are ready for installation - they don't have anyone available to do it this week, but we're booked in for next Monday.

The RediShades have been great, but I'm a bit sick of the extra effort it takes to open them, and the pegs hanging off them aren't exactly a decorating statement. Also, they flap around in the breeze, which is pretty annoying when you have windows open. Or when you open or close doors.

Can't wait to pull them down and chuck them away!

LOL - I'm being picky now, aren't I? It could be worse, I might have had to put up with sheets for the past six weeks.

Is there anything more satisfying?

Well, sure, there probably are lots of things more satisfying. But I get some small pleasure out of clean washing flapping in the breeze.

One more task ticked off: clothesline installed. I think it's going to be quite adequate - I only have the small inner section unfolded here, and that's a full load from my 7.5kg washer, which doesn't even fill it. But if it turns out to be too small, we'll get another and put them side-by-side.

I discovered a small hitch when I went to hang the first load out though. In our old place, I had a peg tidy attached to the central post on our big folding rotary hoist. I can't stand pegs left on the lines; they get dirty and rusty and leave marks on your clean washing. Plus they go brittle and you're always having to replace them. So in the rental, with no post to attach a peg tidy to, I kept them in a plastic bucket with a lid, on the ground under the line.

My eldest son though, is apparently incapable of replacing the lid, so the bucket was continually full of rain and dust and when we moved, I just threw the filthy, rusty pegs out. Only thing is, I didn't get around to buying more.... d'oh!

A quick trip to Safeway took care of that little problem, and we now have lovely clean washing, air-drying nicely. :o)

We just need some paving underneath - that might have to wait for a bit, but meanwhile, we'll put down a layer of screenings or something to keep the mud at bay. That's if it ever rains again.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Last night we had ridiculous gale-force winds here in Melbourne. At 3:00am we were woken by the steel decking that forms the roof over our portico and behind the parapet wall flapping around. I think I got back to sleep about 5:00..... We're waiting for someone to come and fix that - as well as the 700 other "minor" things on our list.

But in spite of no sleep, high temperatures and the crazy wind continuing to blow, Bike Boy got outside and finished off the deck. Ta-dah!

Front view. The ground level will be raised to just below the trimmer on the lower section, so the garden beds and our path-to-be will be level with the driveway.

Side view from the driveway. I love the little lower section between the garage wall and the pillar:

So, driveway, letterbox, decking are all ticked off we just need that landscaping done and our blinds installed and the front of the house will be all finished. Should be looking good in another 2-3 weeks.

Must remember that I have to go Roundup those weeds and mark out where our paths are to go with spray paint before the landscaping guys turn up.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A couple more things crossed off the list

We've had another of our feature lights installed - I ordered this one from Beacon Lighting's online store and their service was sensational. They had none in stock, but rushed through an order for me and I had it in my hot little hands a few days later. AND it was on sale! :o)

So that's the retreat lighting all done - nice mood lighting, perfect for watching TV. Just needs a table in the corner, with something decorative on it:

One more light fitting to go - this one's going to cost a bit. Trapeze lighting for our raked ceiling in the lounge...

We had our consultation today for the "free" landscaping we get as part of our land deal, and there were no probs with what we want for the front yard. We've chosen our mulch and pebbles (no lawn, no mowing!), they have our plan, and the hard yakka should all be done by end of next week. The planting will be a separate job, a week or two later.

We get 30 plants provided as part of the developer's deal, which sounds like a lot.... but when you're not having lawn, there's quite a bit of space to fill in. So apart from the ones I've selected from the landscaping company, I've been eyeing off other plants I like, deciding which ones to get to fill up the gaps. I'm in love with this little cutie, Acacia Cognata:

And also the fluffy-looking Blue Fescue:

Gotta work a few of those in somewhere.

The deck didn't quite get finished today, but it'll be done tomorrow, in plenty of time for the landscaping fellas to work their magic around it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The latest project

What do you do on holidays on a 40-degree day? Work outdoors, building a deck, of course!

Front portico decking almost complete:

The lower section is on the agenda for tomorrow.....

How cool is this? Bike Boy spotted this idea at a display home and shamelessly copied it. Not only is our deck flush with the brick door sill, but the doormat is flush with the decking. Beautifully framed too:

You don't get much more Aussie than this....a spotted gum deck at the entrance, plus a dirty old pair of Blunnies. :o)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Outdoor stuff

There's still lots going on around the place, but it all takes time.... Our portico decking is under construction, and should look great once finished. The landscaping guy is coming on Wednesday to go over our plans for the front yard - I can't wait to have that all done, so the place looks complete from the street. I'm sick of dust and weeds....

Finally, a photo of our driveway:

And a close-up, showing the colour. We're still considering whether or not to seal it:

The beginnings of our deck:

And the first section completed:

We're also making plans for the back yard landscaping - the ideas seem to be getting more and more grand. A simple deck and pergola is developing into a major project, involving feature wall, built-in barbecue, water feature, Balinese hut, and possibly an outdoor bar. I'm thinking something like this would be nice......

I'm sure it wouldn't cost much....only a million or so. :o)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Small steps

We've been busy bees, with both of us pretty much tackling one project each day. Of course, some days I'm just all tied up with the CLEANING. Ugh - dust is a nightmare here, so I've had to reform my slovenly ways and get busy with the broom, duster and mop. Hopefully, that's temporary and once all the building around us is finished, it'll get easier and I can go back to hiding shit in cupboards as a house-cleaning method.

We're gradually working through a long list of things to do, and we now have feature lights in our ensuite and outdoors. Two to go.... Most of my contribution has involved unpacking, sorting and finding homes for things. Today another load of boxes went off to Diabetes Australia, and Bike Boy headed off to the council recycling depot with the mountain of cardboard we'd accumulated from moving boxes and new 'stuff' we've bought.

The mess and clutter is just about gone. Hallelujah!

Here's a bit of a random collection of images:

Up-and-down lights for the facade

Smaller downlights for the al fresco area

And some wall lights in the ensuite (I've since cleaned the fingerprints off them - oops!)

We've (I'm using the Royal "we" here....I did nothing) hung our mirror in the bedroom....

....almost finished clearing out and organising the garage.....

.....And added a few decorator touches around the place:

I still need some "pretties" for the niches in the bathrooms. And the lounge is almost empty, and likely to remain so for a while. I'm organising a flyscreen for our sliding door - I'm sweltering in here! And we have to seriously get moving on some outdoor stuff - the guys are coming to get started on landscaping the front yard on the 21st, so we have to get the portico decked before then.

And if the bin in the kitchen isn't hidden in a cupboard soon, my head might explode. I hate kitchen bins on display. Yuk!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Set in stone

Kristy asked me about sealing the feature pebble strips in the showers, and since I've had a few questions along those lines, I thought I'd post a quick explanation.

Natural stone is porous, so it requires sealing to make it waterproof, and also to bring out the colours. Think about rocks and pebbles in a creek and how pretty they look - but when you take them out of the water and they dry off, the colours aren't as brilliant. Slate floors or outdoor stone pavers require the same treatment to weatherproof them and bring out the natural beauty of the stone. The samples you see in tile showrooms are sealed, but the product you get to bring home looks dull and colourless in comparison.

A tiler would probably do the sealing for you and include it in the price if you ask for it, but it wasn't a standard process provided by our builder, and we saw no reason to pay extra for something simple that we could do ourselves.

So a trip to Bunnings revealed numerous products that would do the job - most were in giant economy-sized containers though, obviously intended for large expanses of flooring or outdoor paving. All I needed was enough to do two strips of pebbles.... I ended up with a litre of All-Stone Sealer - still way more than I needed, but the smallest quantity I could get. Cost was around $25, I think. Plus about $2 for the cheapest paintbrush I could find, since I had no intention of cleaning it for re-use.

Then it was just a matter of applying 3 coats with a brush as per the instructions on the bottle. So simple, any idiot could do it. If only all DIY was that easy....