Wednesday, June 24, 2009

More work on the kitchen

Work on the kitchen continues, though not much will happen today as both my son and I have other appointments. One of the cupboard doors was pulled off yesterday and sanded back. I can't believe the difference it makes. Under the old ugly dark stain is beautiful light coloured timber. I'm not going to restain it, it will be sealed with a clear sealer. Now we need to sun to come out so the painting can begin.

It is certainly cheaper to spruce up the kitchen when you have wooden cupboards and benches. They can be painted and sanded, unlike laminex. The kitchen cupboards in this house are what we call 'country'. They have been handmade by the original owners who built the house. The timber in the cupboard doors is at least 2" thick. They are heavy solid timber doors, door frames and bench tops. The hinges are big, metal and heavy duty. Its not trendy or fashionable but it is certainly durable. We are also discovering that timber is easy to sand back, paint and change the look of a tired kitchen.

We've been wondering what to do with the kitchen for quite a while. One family member ,who has done a number of renovations, suggested pulling the whole thing out (including the wood stove) and replacing it with white laminate. He thought it would brighten up the room a bit. I just figured he had no concept of the country look. I'm very glad we didn't follow his advice.

He also wanted to get rid of the sink. In his eyes it was old fashioned and ugly. In my eyes it is stainless steel, has a double sink and two generous draining boards. Why get rid of something that works well but has a few minor dents to replace it with a smaller modern sink? It seems the modern concept is to throw everything out and replace it rather than fix what is already there.

Oh, the wood stove is staying as well. Its old fashioned but it works.


Monday, June 22, 2009

The kitchen renovation (sort of)

The start of another week and the start of a very long awaited kitchen renovation. Its probably not so much as a renovation as a spruce up. My son is home from uni for the holidays and he has promised me a week of labour to fix up the kitchen. Sons are wonderful sometimes (he did bring home an enormous bag of washing, it will probably take me the week to get through it!).

Today the smallest kitchen bench was pulled apart and the top taken outside to be sanded and sealed. The bench tops are solid timber but desperately need refinishing. I would sometimes get splinters from this one! My son is doing the sanding and the construction work, I get to do the painting.

We will see how we go. It won't all get done this holidays but it will be great to at least get it started. We moved in 11 years ago and said "we need to do something about the kitchen" but there was always something that got priority.

Tomorrow the plan is to take off the cupboard doors and sand them back. They are also solid timber. There is a lot of sanding to do then I just need a few nice days to get the painting done.

Have a great day,

Friday, June 19, 2009

Cook books

Its official - I have way too many cook books. I have had a nagging feeling for some time that there were a few too many books crowded together on the shelf. I had even stopped buying them for a while, OK I didn't completely stop but I certainly slowed down.

My son is home for a couple of weeks and one of the jobs on his list is to finish the shelves he made me for my cook books. He is going to put an extra shelf on and put a ply wood back on the shelving unit. It was time to move the resident cook books. Each one was taken from the shelf, dusted off and sorted. The piles grew alarmingly high. I'm not brave enough to count them all but I know there are over 50. A bit excessive.

Some are cake decorating books as I used to decorate cakes. I don't anymore, partly because I lost interest and partly because my wrists are no longer strong enough to knead and roll out the icing. The cake decorating books are going. A few of my favourites are staying but the bulk are moving on. I'm listing them on Ebay today. Hopefully they will find a new home where someone will use them.

There is a large pile of mostly Womens Weekly cook books I need to go through. There are some there that haven't been opened in a long time. They will be going as well.

Amongst all the shiny new books is an old somewhat tattered blue book - "Cookery the Australian Way". It was my old school book and I still use it. Mine is edition 3. I was speaking to a friend the other day who has edition 1, she still uses it. Its the book I go to when I've run out of SR flour and only have plain, it gives the directions of how much baking powder to add, how long to cook a roast, the recipe for white sauce, my husband's favourite pancake recipe, making pizza dough. Its all there but without the glitzy photos.

I do like the glitzy photos though, what a thrill when you make a recipe and it turns out like the photo. It doesn't happen that often - at least not for me.

Its time for a cup of tea and some more book sorting.

Have a great day,

Monday, June 15, 2009

Belinda's Back to Basics Challenge Update

Sowing seed or Planting

Not much action in the garden, its been wet and cold.

Planning for The Future

We've been looking at a few properties with thoughts of moving in the next 12 months or so. The house we are in now is rather large and the kids are moving out. We won't be moving in a hurry, we have time to look and decide what we want to do.

Working for the Future

Started pruning the front hedge. This is a huge job and I'm only about half way. The hedge had been neglected a bit and was getting tall and leggy. I'm hoping it will grow back thick and lush like it used to be. The front hedge gives us some privacy and keeps the dust down from the dirt road in summer.

Building Community
  • Voluntary work with a local youth organization
Learn a new Skill
  • Repaired a pair of my daughter's school trousers instead of throwing them out.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Another cold day

Its cold today, cold and foggy. The fire is burning and the house will soon warm up. We have actually had rain this week, real rain not just a few drops here and there. I had forgotten what real rain was like. The water tanks are overflowing and there are puddles on the ground. After years of drought it is pretty exciting.

Its the last day of mid year VCE exams today. My daughter is looking forward to this afternoon when they will be over. She thinks she did well on one and not so well on another. We won't know until the results come out.

The cold weather has inspired me to continue with my knitting. I've completed a few more squares. The pile of completed squares is growing and my wool stash is shrinking. Luckily wool was on special last week so I could stock up again.

Another set of nine square completed, one in each of the nine colours of my quilt. Each square has a different pattern, its a bit hard to tell in the photo, but they do. The next set of nine I'm working on are all in stocking stitch. They knit up pretty quickly then I'm going to embroider hearts on them.

Better go and check the fire, its time for a cuppa and some morning tea.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Exam Week

Its finally here - the beginning of exam week. This week is mid year exam week for both my son at university and my daughter in Year 12. There has been lots of studying happening around here over the last few weeks. Every flat surface is covered with text books, pens, papers and past exam papers.

The first exam was today. We ventured out into the wet and cold to drop our daughter at her exam. She was a little nervous.Now its over and she is back home she seems happy enough. She has two more exams this week. Our son has his first exam today and finishes next week.

Good luck to all those kids studying who have exam week.

Its raining today which is great. Its about time it got wet around here.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Being Organized

I would love to be more organized, really I would, but it just never seems to happen. This week has been busy with work. A small project turned into a big project which hopefully, fingers crossed, will be finished today.

I also committed to helping a community group with a project. It was going to be an easy job, the bulk of the work was done and I just had to do some finishing touches. Famous last words. It turned out to be a much larger job than expected and the launch date is creeping ever so closer and I'm just not finished. The plan is to do some more tonight and tomorrow, wait for the necessary feedback from the rest of the group and complete it on the weekend.

It seems that I'm never organized in all facets of my life. If my work is up to date then the house is a mess, if the house is clean and organized then the garden hasn't been touched for weeks. I've come to realize you can't do it all. I work from home and have two children. Its been wonderful as the hours are flexible and I can work around the kids.

As a young mum I would worry about keeping the house clean now, older and wiser (hopefully wiser) I don't stress about the small stuff. The priorities are good healthy meals and keeping the laundry up to date. We all need food and clean clothes but does it really matter if the house hasn't been dusted for two weeks?

It would be nice to be a supermum and get everything done but I just don't think thats me. I have grand plans but somehow everyday life gets in the way. Taking the dogs for a walk with my daughter and having a chat seems much more important than weeding the garden.

Some time saving tips which work for me are:
  • invest in a slow cooker. It takes 20 minutes in the morning to throw everything in the slow cooker so when you come home at night there is a hot meal waiting and the house smells wonderful.
  • cook double batches of some meals and freeze half. You then have a simple meal for busy days.
  • record your favourite TV shows and watch them later. You can zap the ads and once the show is finished that's it you don't stay and watch what ever comes after just because you are there.
  • plan your meals and shop weekly or monthly if you can manage it. All those quick trips to the shops during the week take time.
  • when you do go out try and combine more than one job in the trip, go to the bank, post office, libary and do your shopping. Its better than lots of small trips.
  • say no sometimes (I'm still working on this one)
Have a good day,

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

More Knitting

My knitting has been progressing although a bit slower than I would like. I've completed about 25 squares for my blanket. This is good for me but I've still got a long way to go. I'm envious of those who knit up a blanket in a few weeks. My knitting has improved though, I'm a little faster and I don't have to unpick quite as often. Knitting in front of the TV probably doesn't help.

I had knitted my daughter a scarf last year. It was one of my first ever knitting projects. It had stretched a bit and gotten too long. I unravalled it a couple of weeks ago and promised her I would re knit it. I finished it a couple of nights ago, except for the tassels on the ends. My knitting must have improved because the 'new' scarf looks so much nicer than the old, the knitting is even and firm.

There are so many things I would like to knit but it all takes time. My next project is going to be a poncho for a niece. I want to finish a few more blanket squares first though otherwise the blanket won't be finished for years.

Its always nice to have a project on the go and a new planned to look forward to, its a great excuse to go shopping for new yarn!


(I'll post some photos later, unfortunately I can't upload photos on this PC)